By Elder Larry Wise
It is a wonderful blessing to serve a God that speaks and it is done; commands and it stands fast. Abram (Abraham) became concerned that one born in his own house would be his heir since the Lord had given him no seed and he went childless. The Lord came to him in a vision and made him this promise: “And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.” (Gen. 15:4). The Lord said a child would come forth out of his own bowels to be his heir. Many years passed (about 25) before the Lord fulfilled His promise and Isaac came forth as the promised son as the Lord brought life from Abraham’s dead body and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. Isaac came forth at the appointed time that God had spoken. Only God can bring life from the dead.
There were many prophecies in the Old Testament of the coming forth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah foretold His coming in Isa. 11:1, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” Jesus Christ was this rod and branch and is referred to as the Son of David in his lineage. A virgin would conceive and bear a child whose name would be called Jesus for He would save His people from their sins. This promise (like the promise of Isaac) came forth at the appointed time of the Father. Paul tells us, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Gal. 4:4-5). Christ came forth into the world to offer the one sacrifice that could and would atone for the sins of the family of God because He had a body prepared by the Ancient of Days. “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:” (Heb. 10:5). We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all. Jesus came forth at the appointed time and went forth to the cross at the appointed time (His hour) to shed His blood for the sins of the family of God.
Lazarus had been dead for some four days as Jesus went to his tomb. Jesus called for the stone to be rolled away so there could be no doubt to those present that Lazarus was dead due to the putrefying odor. Jesus then thanked the Father for always hearing Him. “And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11:43-44). Lazarus came forth because he had heard the voice of the Son of God. God’s children shall also come forth from a state of death in trespasses and sins when they hear the life giving voice of the Son of God. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (John 5:25). Just as Lazarus came forth, God’s family will also come forth; they have no power to accept or reject; it is the Master Potter that acts in sovereignty on the vessel of clay. The application of the shed blood of Christ to the heart of the sinner that occurs in regeneration will be applied some time between conception and death. This is true because Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37).
After coming forth from our dead state in sin, we are subject to trials and temptations as never before. David was pained when he thought about his trials and chastisement compared to the wicked. Job was subject to great trials as one calamity after another came his way. Peter tells the elect that they are not to think it strange when some fiery trial comes to try them, but they are to rejoice as a partaker of Christ sufferings. (I Pet. 4:12-13). Job was tried but continued to trust God who knoweth all things and maintained his integrity. He declared in Job 23:12, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job said that he would come forth as gold after this trial; as this trial would surely purge away any dross and leave him truly shining as refined silver. “Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.” (Prov. 25:4). Job was serving a great Deliverer and had no specific sin to bring about his trial, contrary to what his miserable comforters would say. Peter tells about this Deliverer who knows all. “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:” (II Pet. 2:9).
Job went the way of all the earth as we all shall unless we are alive when the Lord returns for His bride. However, he had a knowledge that he would come forth from the grave and in his flesh he would see his redeemer. Just as surely as all of the redeemed that are dead in trespasses and sins shall hear the voice of the Son of God and come forth in the new birth, it is also sure that they, and all others, shall come forth from the grave. Jesus makes this promise in John 5:28, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28-29). It doesn’t matter where the bodies are; they may be in the grave, in the depths of the sea, burned to ashes, devoured by wild beasts, etc., but they shall come forth and be presented to the Heavenly Father (the elect) in body, soul, and spirit without the loss of a single one. Precious thought indeed!
We should be therefore motivated to come forth from the world and serve a risen Saviour who is in the world today. We sing the song “He Lives” and when someone asks, “how do you know he lives?” we can reply, “He lives within my heart.”