Text: Isaiah 52:5-7
Salvation has been defined by the whole church as being born again and living a holy life but there is so much more to salvation than we have seen. Despite that the early church had people who had been born again, apostle Peter still spoke to them of a salvation that was yet to be revealed until a time that he referred to as the ‘last time’ (1 Pet. 1:5). Salvation is an allocation of, not just the last days, but also the last times. The last time is what Peter called the times of refreshing (Acts 3:19). The reason for faith is to raise and preserve a people that will be able to stay steady until they arrive at salvation (1Pet. 1:5). The faith power is necessary to keep believers and to ensure that their focus is not taken away from the hope that is set before them.
Salvation is the glory of God. There are various levels of glory on the path of life; some of which are still not the glory of eternal salvation. Whatever does not have eternal glory is not the salvation that God ordained to be revealed in the end of time. Although Jesus was familiar with glory, He was aware that there is a glory - or salvation - that is peculiar to God Himself (John 17:5). This is the salvation that the prophets desired to look into; it was a glory unlike any one they had ever seen or heard of (1 Pet. 1:10-11). The reason Christ had to go through the process of suffering is for the glory that should come after.
It is clear that God has been making attempts to communicate Himself to His people but they have not been able to identify the voice of God or to discern the personality of the God that speaks to them (Isa. 52:5-6). A man responds differently to the voice of his father in comparison to the voice of his brother. Similarly, our response to the voice we are hearing is greatly dependent on how well we are able to discern the One who is speaking. The people of God did not know Him as the “I Am” and could not fully receive Him as such (Isa. 52:6). There is an “I” in that voice that is an expression of His personality as Father.
In the beginning portion of the book of Hebrews, Paul had to introduce the One who speaks; even the Son (Heb. 1-2). There was a Son that the apostles who spent time with Jesus were familiar with and this perspective constrained how well they received His subsequent speakings. This former perspective of the Son was what they communicated to the churches and this limited them from receiving His nature. It was apostle Paul who began to introduce the Son as the heir of all things so that they could hear His voice more accurately (Heb. 1:2). It was this same voice that spoke to the Israelites in the wilderness, saying: “to day if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb. 4:7). Paul went ahead to compare Him with angels and to declare the person that He had now become unlike He was during His earthly ministry. He has moved up to a realm of higher glory which is where He speaks from and there is a need for the church to hear Him from that domain.
God wants His people to know Him as the “I” that spoke, and to relate with Him as their God (Isa. 52:6). Prophet Isaiah goes on to reveal the wisdom that will fully minister this work (Isa. 52:7). The purpose of good tidings is to arrive at peace. The faith of the new testament is yet to fulfill its course if it has not yet brought us to peace. The hallmark of peace is the expression of charity; the point of believing all things. It is only a man that has arrived at charity that can begin to interact with ‘all things’ of God (1 Cor. 13). The essence of publishing peace is to bring man to a place of the “hope that maketh not ashamed”; a hope for the glory of God (Rom. 5:5).
Glory is not something that a man can labour for; it is only God that gives glory as an approval of His judgement (Ps. 84:11). However, we cannot get to the glory of salvation without first receiving the tidings designed to align us to receive the glory of God. Before any man can publish salvation he has to receive the glad tidings of good. There is a light of good tidings, while there is also a light that accompanies glad tidings. The first good tidings are the tidings of Christ and those who preach this message are bringers of light.
God is equipping the church with the message of glad tidings. It is not possible to come to glad tidings if the first gospel has not finished equipping us in preparation for the glad tidings. It is not every believer that God can speak to. It is only those who have become sons, that God can speak to at this frequency. It is Jesus that speaks to the churches. Jesus, standing amidst the seven candlestick churches, appeared Himself as the Judge; not as Son of God (Rev. 1:11-13). The Lord must first be our Judge, be our Lawgiver, then be our King. He appeared in this manner in order to bring the churches up.
The message of glad tidings is the message of God (1 John 1:3-4). Joy is the oil of the journey. We began the faith journey with joy. Joy is the strength of the journey. At the time of Paul’s message, the churches were receiving the things of the ‘now’ (1 Cor. 13). Jesus was the first person that began to speak the words of eternal life during His earthly ministry (Heb. 2:3). He raised the standards but did not minister them. He began to speak to them as a sign. Faith comes by hearing and hearing. You cannot hear God except you hear Him over again (Romans 10:17). The faith of that tidings was once delivered to the saints by the Lord. Speaking does not mean He spoke it once; but the message was delivered to them so they can hear and hear.
That message of eternal life is God is light (1 John 1:5). God is light; in Him is no darkness at all. That is a dreadful zone. There is a new day coming. The night must end. We hear and hear until we move from darkness to light. The program of faith has an end and an entrance into a new sphere that is called “the day”. Those who stay in the night do so in hope that the light of the day will soon shine upon them and that all things will be made bare by revelation (Heb. 4:13). When the light of the day is yet to shine on the faith of the Son, certain things can still be hidden under the cover of the darkness of the holy place except the menorah light fully shines.
The Lord is moving towards the end of the “now” and is moving men into the light of eternal life. The light of eternal life is the vehicle of transmission to the life of the true God. The only way the true God can unveil Himself is through eternal life. Jesus came to prepare the way to eternal life (John 14:6). The demand of heaven for this season is to bring down the content of the message of eternal life.
The true expression of the Kingdom of our Lord has not yet been manifest, and He is yet to be revealed as the King that He truly is (Psa. 45:1). He is a King who also serves as a high priest. He is a King of peace, a King of righteousness but he is about to move into a sphere where He would reveal Himself as the King of eternal life. Sin is a king and death is also a king; they both reign and perpetuate dominion (Rom. 5:21). Our Lord, on the other hand, is a mighty King who is riding in truth, meekness and righteousness (Psa. 45:4). He possesses the power and skill to hack down the reign of sin and death, despite that man naturally prefers to remain subject to them (Psa. 45:6).
However, this King has moved on to another realm of dominion that no man can see; a realm peculiar to God. God is the only one who has immortality (1 Tim. 6:16); it was once invisible even to the apostles. Truth, meekness and righteousness are all expressions at a domain but there is a higher righteousness that is yet to be revealed; even the very righteousness of God. Man does not naturally have the strength to love the righteousness of God. God has to keep on revealing his things to us to help us believe.
Whosoever arrives at the point of loving righteousness and hating wickedness will be anointed with the oil of gladness (Psa. 45:7). No creature (man or angel) has ever worn this oil before our Lord Jesus did. Not every joy is gladness; gladness is a kind of joy that is only peculiar to this realm. The oil of gladness is the crystal of the tidings of God. What the message of glad tidings does is to confer this oil on us like a garment of glory. As Jesus was being moved through various palaces He was being adorned in preparation for this oil (Psa. 45:8).
Likewise, only those who, amongst the company of Christs, have become pure virgins would be adorned with this sweet smell. The essence of the husband is to make chaste virgins out of us. Paul’s jealousy and labour was to present a whole church as a chaste and pure virgin for Christ (2 Cor. 11:2). The essence of the faith is to bring us to a place where we can ascend to a higher palace; a place where Jesus calls the “I am” realm (John 14:1-2). Paul’s teaching was to ensure that the whole church ends up in such ivory places. Strength is needed to withstand the wicked one and to overcome (1 John 2:14). The ‘wicked one' is the enemy that contends with those on their way to this height.
There is a destination ahead of us, and because of this we need to give the more earnest heed to our journey as we transit into this realm. We need to be cautious bearing in mind that a promise can hinder us from entering into His rest (Heb. 4:1). At this time, God is finalizing His speakings to us and the things He is saying God to us are from the realm of “I am”; a realm with “no variations”. If God does not speak to us from this realm we cannot finish our course with joy and there would be no hope for us to receive gladness.
Just as Paul finished his course it is also important for the church to finish her own course with joy (2 Tim. 4:7). Finishing her course becomes uncertain if the church should lose sight of her joy. The scheme of the enemy is to bring afflictions and troubles to the church in order to stop her joy (2 Cor. 8:2). He may be unable to stop our faith but he can stop our joy. At this time, we must both be righteous and upright; having the tenacity to withstand pressure. Joy is essential for the course of Christ, while gladness is essential for the course of God.
The church in Hebrews were dull of hearing despite that they had heard the word of Christ to a point where they were persuasive about the better things that accompany salvation; things pertaining to God (Heb. 6:9). They had heard Christ and journeyed with the light of Christ but could not hear God because they did not have enough joy as a result of the pressure they were faced with. They were unable to hear the things of the high priestly ministry of Christ that could give them strength for the next journey. Once Joy stops, journey stops and gradual departure from the living God takes place.
The first principle of the oracle of God is Christ (Heb. 5:12). In Christ, there is milk and meat; they were supposed to move into strong meat which is things pertaining to God. This is the realm of the righteousness of Psalm 45:7.
In the principles of the doctrine of Christ, every milk element has its meat counterpart (Heb. 6:1-2). The writings of the meat are expected to bring us to a place of full joy (1 John 1:4). At this point, we are expected to have certain things in abundance (2 Pet. 1:8). Those who would have abundance of joy must have been exercised in patience. Although, patience is required to do the will of God as laid out by the meat, an abundant level of patience is still required even after the will of God has been finished (Rom. 5:1-3; Heb. 10:36). In like manner, abundance of joy is a requirement for making progress into gladness.
The realm of glad tidings is the realm of the love of God (SOS 1:2-4). We must come to a place where we are truly love-sick for our beloved.