"Eyes as a Flame of Fire"

It is not the church, but the Person of the Lord, that we find brought out in the letter to Philadelphia. We get a chain of personal links between those He is addressing and the Lord Himself. "My" and "thy" are the things He takes notice of. (Rev. 3:8.) They had "a little strength," yet the Lord entirely commends them as a people who had discovered and appreciated through the Holy Ghost that which Ephesus had lost. He had against those in Ephesus that they had lost their first love. Prayer-meetings and preachings might go on as much as ever, but Christ was not the spring. Love to Christ had gone down.

Here the principal characteristic of this remnant is that they have learnt in the Holy Ghost's hand to appreciate CHRIST - the Exalted Man in His Father's throne at God's right hand. They had so tested His love, so got into fellowship with His mind, that though they are still weak, He finds everything to commend, that which answers to His mind, they were faithful to Him. In Revelation 1:13 the Lord is seen in judicial glory coming to judge among the candlesticks; He is the Glorified Man who conquered death, and has authority over death and hades; but here it is - "Eyes as a flame of fire." Nothing could evade the searching power of those eyes, they know everything, every movement of the heart. All things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. To see the bearing of this upon the church at Philadelphia is blessed to the soul. The same eyes of fire could see weakness, but could also see a people who had discovered Himself, and known Himself, a people who will have no other motive, who have a motive that is entirely beyond all that is around, and that is Himself. Those eyes of fire see through it all, see everything to commend. Blessed place! The Lord keep us in it, gathered to His name, to know Himself. What a blessed thing it is in these last days, when apostasy is running on, evil flowing in, to get a place appointed by Himself, where Christ's heart is satisfied to go with a people who are true to His name. Now, can our hearts bear those eyes of flame searching them morning, noon, and night? I am sure we shall love, as we know His tenderness, the light of His presence searching our conscience, bringing us into the consciousness of union with the risen Christ. Exercises of the wilderness we shall have, but He is so near that I can bear Him to search my whole heart. I know Him as the Advocate, and as the One who ever lives to make intercession for me, to carry on His work in my soul.

We are His, members of His body, of His flesh and of His bone. Our choicest blessing is to be so in His hand that in His searching I should know His tenderest love. He introduces Himself as the One who is holy and true, and He says, "I know thy works." "Thou hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name." The church at large does not know His name. The person of the Lord is forgotten, Christ Himself not known, but the heart that knows Himself is satisfied with what He knows about it. It is a great point in communion with the Lord, and loving Him, knowing His love in living power, to be satisfied that He should know what we are about, as we shall be when the eye is single. He gives no great account of these saints, they have but "a little strength," yet it is a people who have got back to the source of blessing, and therefore they find what He is to them. They have "kept My word." "If a man love Me, he will keep My words." It is intelligence in His mind. If I love Him I am seeking to learn how to obey Him. My heart is in it. The new man delights to follow it to its source, that is what obedience is. It is the last days, but His eyes are specially on a feeble people, one here and another there, who have really known and loved Him who first loved them.

It is "the word of My patience." There is the personal link again - "My patience," "the patience of Christ." What patience I see in that Man at God's right hand! I see Him there, who for 1800 years has been waiting to rise up and come with a shout to take up His waiting people. Patience while evil is flowing in, the world getting up in glory and power, saints going down to the dust in weakness! He is waiting, so we wait in communion with Him for Him to come. But are we keeping the word of His patience? "Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." It is the trial that will come upon the world, the general state of the tribulation. But this poor people get the promise of being kept out of it; for, indeed, they will be with Christ before it takes place.

"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." What a word that is to us! I get the personal thing still, how remarkable it is to the overcomer. (v. 12.) To those who have a little strength He will give almighty power. Upon those who have kept His word and not denied His name He will write "the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, and My new name." Wonderful blessing for us to get into this personal kind of link of association with Christ where He is now in glory, and we have to walk as living that life. The soul that has discovered the blessedness of it comes back to Him as the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls - two very distinct titles and offices. "The Shepherd" guards, feeds, lays down His life; the "Bishop" overlooks, oversees, and restores the soul,

We learn His priestly action in Hebrews 4, and that chapter brings out His sympathy with the new man. He bears up the soul, and comes in in times of sorrow, in sympathy and love, so that the soul discovers that in Christ which it never knew before; I get intercourse with Him. "The life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." In spirit with Him, waiting for and seeing Him, not as through a glass, darkly, but face to face. May we know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that we may be filled unto all the fulness of God! G. A.