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Myth Of Early Revisions

By Pastor David F. Reagan


Men have been “handling the word of God deceitfully” (II Cor. 4:2) ever since the devil first taught Eve how. From Cain to Balaam, from Jehudi to the scribes and Pharisees, from the Dark Age theologians to present-day scholars, the living words of the Almighty God have been prime targets for man’s corrupting hand.  The attacks on the Word of God are threefold: addition, subtraction, and substitution. From Adam’s day to the computer age, the strategies have remained the same. There is nothing new under the sun.

One attack which is receiving quite a bit of attention these days is a direct attack on the Word of God as preserved in the English language: the King James Version of 1611. The attack referred to is the myth which claims that since the King James Version of 1611 has already been revised four times, there should be and can be no valid objection to other revisions. This myth was used by the English Revisers of 1881 and has been revived in recent years by fundamentalist scholars hoping to sell their latest translation. This book is given as an answer to this attack. The purpose of the material is not to convince those who would deny this preservation but to strengthen the faith of those who already believe in a preserved English Bible.

One major question often arises in any attack such as this. How far should we go in answering the critics? If we were to attempt to answer every shallow objection to the infallibility of the English Bible, we would never be able to accomplish anything else. Sanity must prevail somewhere. As always, the answer is in God’s Word. Proverbs 26:4-5 states:

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

Obviously, there are times when a foolish query should be ignored and times when it should be met with an answer. If to answer the attack will make you look as foolish as the attacker, then the best answer is to ignore the question. For instance, if you are told that the Bible cannot be infallible because so-and–so believes that it is, and he is divorced, then you may safely assume that silence is the best answer. On the other hand, there are often questions and problems that, if true, would be serious. To ignore these issues would be to leave the Bible attacker wise in his own conceit. I believe that the question of revisions to the King James Version of 1611 is a question of the second class. If the King James Version has undergone four major revisions of its text, then to oppose further revisions on the basis of an established English text would truly be faulty. For this reason, this attack should and must be answered. Can the argument be answered? Certainly! That is the purpose of this book.


If God did preserve His Word in the English language through the Authorized Version of 1611 (and He did), then where is our authority for the infallible wording? Is it in the notes of the translators? Or is it to be found in the proof copy sent to the printers? If so, then our authority is lost because these papers are lost. But, you say, the authority is in the first copy, which came off the printing press. Alas, that copy has also certainly perished. In fact, if the printing of the English Bible followed the pattern of most printing jobs, the first copy was probably discarded because of bad quality. That leaves us with existing copies of the first printing. They are the ones often pointed out as the standard by which all other King James Bibles are to be compared. But are they? Can those early printers of the first edition not be allowed to make printing errors? We need to establish one thing from the out-set. The authority for our preserved English text is not found in any human work. The authority for our preserved and infallible English text is in God! Printers may foul up at times and humans will still make plenty of errors, but God in His power and mercy will preserve His text despite the weaknesses of fallible man. Now, let us look at the pressures on a printer in the year of 1611.

Although the printing press had been invented in 1450 by Johann Gutenburg in Germany (161 years before the 1611 printing), the equipment used by the printer had changed very little. Printing was still very slow and difficult. All type was set by hand, one piece at a time (that’s one piece at a time through the whole Bible), and errors were an expected part of any completed book. Because of this difficulty and also because the 1611 printers had no earlier editions from which to profit, the very first edition the King James Version had a number of printing errors. As shall later be demonstrated, these were not the sort of textual alterations, which are freely made in modern bibles. They were simple, obvious printing errors of the sort that can still be found at times in recent editions even with all of the advantages of modern printing. These errors do not render a Bible useless, but they should be corrected in later editions.

The two original printings of the Authorized Version demonstrate the difficulty of printing in 1611 without making mistakes. Both editions were printed in Oxford. Both were printed in the same year: 1611. The same printers did both jobs. Most likely, both editions were printed on the same printing press. Yet, in a strict comparison of the two editions, approximately 100 textual differences can be found. In the same vein the King James critics can find only about 400 alleged textual alterations in the King James Version after 375 years of printing and four so-called revisions! Something is rotten in Scholarsville! The time has come to examine these “revisions.”


Much of the information in this section is taken from a book by F.H.A. Scrivener called The Authorized Edition of the English Bible (1611), Its Subsequent Reprints and Modern Representatives. This book is as pedantic as its title indicates. The interesting point is that Scrivener, who published this book in 1884, was a member of the Revision Committee of 1881. He was not a King James Bible believer, and therefore his material is not biased toward the Authorized Version.

In the section of Scrivener’s book dealing with the KJV “revisions,” one initial detail is striking. The first two so-called major revisions of the King James Bible occurred within 27 years of the original printing. (The language must have been changing very rapidly in those days.) The 1629 edition of the Bible printed in Cambridge is said to have been the first revision. A revision it was not, but simply a careful correction of earlier printing errors. Not only was this edition completed just eighteen years after the translation, but two of the men who participated in this printing, Dr. Samuel Ward and John Bois, had worked on the original translation of the King James Version. Who better to correct early errors than two that had worked on the original translation! Only nine years later and in Cambridge again, another edition came out which is supposed to have been the second major revision. Both Ward and Bois were still alive, but it is not known of they participated at this time. But even Scrivener, who as you remember worked on the English Revised Version of 1881, admitted that the Cambridge printers had simply reinstated words and clauses overlooked by the 1611 printers and amended manifest errors. According to a study which will be detailed later, 72% of the approximately 400 textual corrections in the KJV were completed by the time of the 1638 Cambridge edition, only 27 years after the original printing!

Just as the first two so-called revisions were actually two stages of one process: the purification of early printing errors, so the last two so-called revisions were two stages in another process: the standardization of the spelling. These two editions were only seven years apart (1762 and 1769) with the second one completing what the first had started. But when the scholars are numbering revisions, two sounds better than one. Very few textual corrections were necessary at this time. The thousands of alleged changes are spelling changes made to match the established correct forms. These spelling changes will be discussed later. Suffice it to say at this time that the tale of four major revisions is truly a fraud and a myth. But you say there are still changes whether they are few or many. What are you going to do with the changes that are still there? Let us now examine the character of these changes.


Suppose someone were to take you to a museum to see an original copy of the King James Version. You come to the glass case where the Bible is displayed and look down at the opened Bible through the glass. Although you are not allowed to flip through its pages, you can readily tell that there are some very different things about this Bible from the one you own. You can hardly read its words, and those you can make out are spelled in odd and strange ways. Like others before you, you leave with the impression that the King James Version has undergone a multitude of changes since its original printing in 1611. But beware, you have just been taken by a very clever ploy. The differences you saw are not what they seem to be. Let’s examine the evidence.


For proper examination, the changes can be divided into three kinds: printing changes, spelling changes, and textual changes. Printing changes will be considered first. The type style used in 1611 by the KJV translators was the Gothic Type Style. The typestyle you are reading right now and are familiar with is Roman Type. Gothic Type is sometimes called Germanic because it originated in Germany. Remember that that is where printings were invented. The Gothic letters were formed to resemble the hand-drawn manuscript lettering of the Middle ages. At first, it was the only style in use. The Roman Type Style was invented fairly early, but many years passed before it became the predominate style in most European countries. Gothic continued to be used in Germany until recent years. In 1611 in England, Roman Type was already very popular and would soon supercede the Gothic. However, the original printers chose the Gothic Style for the KJV because it was considered to be more beautiful and eloquent than the Roman. But the change to Roman Type was not long in coming. In 1612, the first King James Version using Roman Type was printed. Within a few years, all the Bibles printed used the Roman Type Style.

Please realize that a change in type style no more alters the text of the Bible than a change in format or type size does. However, the modern reader who has not become familiar with Gothic can find it very difficult to understand. Besides some general change in form, several specific letter changes need to be observed. For instance, the Gothic s looks like the Roman s when used as a capital letter or at the end of a word. But when it is used as a lower case s at the beginning or in the middle of a word, the letter looks like our f. Therefore, also becomes alfo and set becomes fet. Another variation is found in the German v and u. The Gothic v looks like a Roman u while the Gothic u looks like the Roman v. This explains why our w is called a double-u and not a double-v. Sound confusing? It is until you get used to it. In the 1611 edition, love is loue, us is vs, and ever is euer. But remember, these are not even spelling changes. They are simply type style changes. In another instance, the Gothic j looks like our i. So Jesus becomes Iefus (notice the middle s changed to f) and Joy becomes ioy. Even the Gothic d is shaped quite differently from the Roman d with the stem leaning back over the circle in a shape resembling that of the Greek Delta. These changes account for a large percentage of the “thousands” of changes in the KJV, yet they do no harm whatsoever to the text. They are nothing more than a smokescreen set up by the attackers of our English Bible.


Another kind of change found in the history of the Authorized Version are changes of orthography or spelling. Most histories date the beginning of Modern English around the 1500. Therefore, by 1611 the grammatical structure and basic vocabulary of present-day English had long been established. However, the spelling did not stabilize at the same time. In the 1600’s spelling was according to whim. There was no such thing as correct spelling. No standards had been established. An author often spelled the same word several different ways, often in the same book and sometimes on the same page. And these were the educated people. Some of you reading this today would have found the 1600’s a spelling paradise. Not until the eighteenth century did the spelling begin to take a stable form. Therefore, in the last half of the eighteenth century, the spelling of the King James Version of 1611 was standardized.

What kind of spelling variations can you expect to find between your present edition and the 1611 printing? Although every spelling difference cannot be categorized, several characteristics are very common. Additional e’s were often found at the end of the words such as feare, darke, and beare. Also, double vowels were much more common than they are today. You would find mee, bee, and mooued instead me, be, and moved. Double consonants were also much more common. What would ranne, euill, and ftarres be according to present-day spelling? See if you can figure them out. The present-day spellings would be ran, evil, and stars. These typographical and spelling changes account for almost all of the so-called thousands of changes in the King James Bible. None of them alter the text in any way. Therefore they cannot be honestly compared with thousands of true textual changes which are blatantly made in the modern versions.


Almost all of the alleged changes have been accounted for. We now come to the question of actual textual differences between our present edition and that of 1611. There are some differences between the two, but they are not the changes of a revision. They are instead the correction of early printing errors. That this is a fact may be seen in three things: That this is a fact may be seen in three things: 1) the character of the changes, 2) the frequency of the changes throughout the Bible, and 3) the time the changes were made. First, let us look at the character of the changes were made. First, let us look at the character of the changes made from the time of the first printing of the Authorized English Bible.

The changes from the 1611 edition that are admittedly textual are obviously printing errors because of the nature of these changes. They are not textual changes made to alter the reading. In the first printing, words were sometimes inverted. Sometimes a plural was written as singular or visa versa. At times a word was miswritten for one that was similar. A few times a word or even a phrase was omitted. The omissions were obvious and did not have the doctrinal implications of those found in modern translations. In fact, there is really no comparison between the corrections made in the King James text and those proposed by the scholars of today.

F. H. A. Scrivener, in the appendix of his book, lists the variations between the 1611 edition of the KJV and later printings. A sampling of these corrections is given below.  In order to be objective, the samples give the first textual correction on consecutive left-hand pages of Scrivener’s book. The 1611 reading is given first; then the present reading: and finally, the date the correction was first made.

  • 1   this thing – this thing also (1638)
  • 2   shalt have remained – ye shall have remained (1762)
  • 3   Achzib, nor Helbath, nor Aphik – of Achzib, nor of Helbath, nor of Aphik (1762)
  • 4   requite good – requite me good (1629)
  • 5   this book of the Covenant – the book of this covenant (1629)
  • 6   chief rulers – chief ruler (1629)
  • 7   And Parbar – At Parbar (1638)
  • 8   For this cause – And for this cause (1638)
  • 9   For the king had appointed – for so the king had appointed (1629)
  • 10   Seek good – seek God (1617)
  • 11   The cormorant – But the cormorant (1629)
  • 12   returned – turned (1769)
  • 13   a fiery furnace – a burning fiery furnace (1638)
  • 14   The crowned – Thy crowned (1629)
  • 15   thy right doeth – thy right hand doeth (1613)
  • 16   the wayes side – the way side (1743)
  • 17   which was a Jew – which was a Jewess (1629)
  • 18   the city – the city of the Damascenes (1629)
  • 19   now and ever – both now and ever (1638)
  • 20   which was of our father’s – which was our fathers (1616)

Before your eyes are 5% of the textual changes made in the King James Version in 375 years. Even if they were not corrections of previous errors, they would be of no comparison to modern alterations. But they are corrections of printing errors, and therefore no comparison is at all possible. Look at the list for yourself and you will find only one that has serious doctrinal implications. In fact, in an examination of Scrivener’s entire appendix, it is the only variation found by this author that could be accused of being doctrinal. I am referring to Psalm 69:32 where the 1611 edition has “seek good” when the Bible should have read “seek God.” Yet, even with this error, two points demonstrate that this was indeed a printing error. First, the similarity of the words ”good” and “God” in spelling shows how easily a weary typesetter could misread the proof and put the wrong word in the text. Second, this error was so obvious that it was caught and corrected in the year 1617, only six years after the original printing and well before the first so-called revision. The myth that there are several major revisions to the 1611 KJV should be getting clearer. But there is more.

Not only does the character of the changes show them to be printing errors, so does their frequency. Fundamentalist scholars refer to the thousands of revisions made to the 1611 as if they were on a par with the recent Bible versions. They are not. The overwhelming majority of them are either type style or spelling changes. The few which do remain are clearly corrections of printing errors made because of the tediousness involved in the early printing process. The sample list given above will demonstrate just how careful Scrivener was in listing all the variations. Yet, even with this great care, only approximately 400 variations are named between the 1611 edition and modern copies. Remember that there were 100 variations between the first two Oxford editions which were both printed in 1611. Since there are almost 1200 chapters in the Bible, the average variation per chapter (after 375 years) is one third, i.e. one correction per every three chapters. These are changes such as “chief rulers” to “chief ruler” and “And Parbar” to “At Parbar.” But there is yet one more evidence that these variations are simply corrected printing errors: the early date at which they were corrected.

The character and frequency of the textual changes clearly separate them from modern alterations. But the time the changes were made settles the issue absolutely. The great majority of the 400 corrections were made within a few years of the original printing. Take, for example, our earlier sampling. Of the twenty corrections listed, one was made in 1613, one in 1616, one in 1617, eight in 1629, five in 1638, one in 1743, two in 1762, and one in 1769. That means that 16 out of 20 corrections, or 80%, were made within twenty-seven years of the 1611 printing. That is hardly the long drawn out series of revisions the scholars would have you to believe. In another study made by examining every other page of Scrivener’s appendix in detail, 72% of the textual corrections were made by 1638. There is no “revision” issue.

The character of the textual changes is that of obvious errors. The frequency of the textual changes is sparse, occurring only once per three chapters. The chronology of the textual changes is early with about three fourths of them occurring within twenty-seven years of the first printing. All of these details establish the fact that there were no true revisions in the sense of updating the language or correcting translation errors. There were only editions which corrected early typographical errors. Our source of authority for the exact wording of the 1611 Authorized Version is not in the existing copies of the first printing. Our source of authority for the exact wording of our English Bible is in the preserving power of Almighty God. Just as God did not leave us the original autographs to fight and squabble over, so He did not see fit to leave us the proof copy of the translation. Our authority is in the hand of God as always. You can praise the Lord for that!


An in-depth study of the changes made in the book of Ecclesiastes should help to illustrate the principles stated above. The author is grateful to Dr. Dave Reese of Millbrook, Alabama, for his work in this area. By comparing a 1611 reprint of the original edition put out by Thomas Nelson & Sons with a recent printing of the King James Version, Dr. Reese was able to locate four variations in the book of Ecclesiastes. The reference is given first; then the text of the Thomas Nelson 1611 reprint. This is followed by the reading of the present editions of the 1611 KJV and the date the change was made.

  • 1   1:5       the place – his place (1638)
  • 2   2:16     shall be – shall all be (1629)
  • 3   8:17     out, yea further – out, yet he shall not find it; yea farther (1629)
  • 4   11:17  thing is it – thing it is (?)

Several things should be noted about these changes. The last variation (“thing is it” to “thing it is”) is not mentioned by Scrivener who was a very careful and accurate scholar. Therefore, this change may be a misprint in the Thomas Nelson reprint. That would be interesting. The corrected omission in chapter eight is one of the longest corrections of the original printing. But notice that it was corrected in 1629. The frequency of printing errors is average (four errors in twelve chapters). But the most outstanding fact is that the entire book of Ecclesiastes reads exactly like our present editions without even printing errors by the year 1638. That’s approximately 350 years ago. By that time, the Bible was being printed in Roman type. Therefore, all (and I mean all) that has changed in 350 years in the book of Ecclesiastes is that the spelling has been standardized! As stated before, the main purpose of the 1629 and 1638 Cambridge editions was the correction of earlier printing errors. And the main purpose of the 1762 and 1769 editions was the standardization of spelling.


Maybe now you see that the King James Version of 1611 has not been revised but only corrected. But why does it make that much difference? Although there are several reasons why this issue is important, the most pressing one is that fundamentalist scholars are using this myth of past revisions to justify their own tampering with the text. The editors of the New King James Version have probably been the worst in recent years to use this propaganda ploy. In the preface of the New King James they have stated, “For nearly four hundred years, and throughout several revisions of its English form, the King James Bible has been deeply revered among the English-speaking peoples of the world.” In the midst of their flowery rhetoric, they strongly imply that their edition is only a continuation of the revisions that have been going on for the past 375 years. This implication, which has been stated directly by others, could not be more false. To prove this point, we will go back to the book of Ecclesiastes.

An examination of the first chapter in Ecclesiastes in the New King James Version reveals approximately 50 changes from our present edition. In order to be fair, spelling changes (cometh to comes; labour to labor; etc.) were not included in this count.  That means there are probably about 600 alterations in the book of Ecclesiastes and approximately 60,000 changes in the entire Bible. If you accuse me of including every recognizable change, you are correct. But I am only counting the sort of changes which were identified in analyzing the 1611 King James. That’s only fair. Still, the number of changes is especially baffling for a version which claims to be an updating in the same vein as earlier revisions. According to the fundamentalist scholar, the New King James is only a fifth in a series of revisions. Then pray tell me how four “revisions” and 375 years brought only 400 changes while the fifth revision brought about 60,000 additional changes? That means that the fifth revision made 150 times more changes than the total number of changes in the first four! That’s preposterous!

Not only is the frequency of the changes unbelievable, but the character of the alterations are serious. Although many of the alterations seem harmless enough at first glance, many are much more serious. The editors of the New King James Version were sly enough not to alter the most serious blunders of the modern bibles. Yet, they were not afraid to change the reading in those places that are unfamiliar to the average fundamentalist. In these areas, the New King James Version is dangerous. Below are some of the more harmful alterations made in the book of Ecclesiastes. The reference is given first; then the reading as found in the King James Version: and last, the reading as found in the New King James Version.

  • 1:13 sore travail; grievous task
  • 1:14 vexation of spirit; grasping for the wind
  • 1:16 my heart had great experience of wisdom; My heart has understood great wisdom
  • 2:3 to give myself unto; to gratify my flesh with
  • 2:3 acquainting; guiding
  • 2:21 equity; skill
  • 3:10 the travail, which God hath given; the God-given task
  • 3:11 the world; eternity
  • 3:18 that God might manifest them; God tests them
  • 3:18 they themselves are beasts; they themselves are like beasts
  • 3:22 portion; heritage
  • 4:4 right work; skillful work
  • 5:1 Keep thy foot; Walk prudently
  • 5:6 the angel; the messenger of God
  • 5:6 thy voice; your excuse
  • 5:8 he that is higher than the highest; high official
  • 5:20 God answereth him; God keeps him busy
  • 6:3 untimely birth; stillborn child
  • 7:29 inventions; schemes
  • 8:1 boldness; sterness
  • 8:10 the place of the holy; the place of holiness
  • 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour; Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment
  • 10:10 If the iron be blunt; If the ax is dull
  • 10:10 wisdom is profitable to direct; wisdom brings success
  • 12:9 gave good heed; pondered
  • 12:11 the masters of assemblies; scholars

This is only a sampling of the changes in the book, but notice what is done. Equity, which is a trait of godliness, becomes skill (2:21). The world becomes eternity (3:11) Man without God is no longer a beast but just like a beast (3:18). The clear reference to deity in Ecclesiastes 5:8 (“he that is higher than the highest”) is successfully removed  (“higher official”). But since success is what wisdom is supposed to bring us (10:10), this must be progress. At least God is keeping the scholars busy (5:20). Probably the most revealing of the above mentioned changes is the last one listed where “the masters of assemblies” become “scholars.” According to the New King James, “the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.” The masters of assemblies are replaced by the scholars who become the source of the Shepherd’s words. That is what these scholars would like us to think, but it is not true.

In conclusion, the New King James is not a revision in the vein of former revisions of the King James Version. It is instead an entirely new translation. As stated in the introduction, the purpose of this book is not to convince those who use the other versions. The purpose of this book is to expose a fallacious argument that has been circulating in fundamentalist circles for what it is: an overblown myth. That is, the myth that the New King James Version and others like it are nothing more than continuation of revisions which have periodically been made to the King James Version since 1611. There is one problem with this theory. There are no such revisions.

The King James Bible of 1611 has not undergone four (or any) major revisions. Therefore, the New King James Version is not a continuation of what has gone on before. It should in fact be called the Thomas Nelson Version. They hold the copyright. The King James Version we have today has not been revised but purified. We still have no reason to doubt that the Bible we hold in our hands is the very word of God preserved for us in the English language. The authority for its veracity lies not in the first printing of the King James Version in 1611, or in the character of King James I, or in the scholarship of the 1611 translators, or in the literary accomplishments of Elizabethan England, or even in the Greek Received Text. Our authority for the infallible words of the English Bible lies in the power and promise of God to preserve His Word! God has the power. We have His Word.

© Copyrighted by David F. Reagan. As long as this notice is included, permission is granted to copy and distribute this material (electronically or in print form) for individual use or for small groups. All other rights (such as use in books, periodicals, on web pages, etc.) are reserved and must be obtained by permission from the author. Contact David Reagan at Antioch Baptist Church, 5709 N. Broadway, Knoxville, TN, 37918 – (865) 688-0780 – Fax (865) 689-1611 –

Used With Permission

Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible is the Word of God

I was brought up to believe that the Bible was the Word of God. In early life I accepted it as such upon the authority of my parents, and never gave the question any serious thought. But later in life my faith in the Bible was utterly shattered through the influence of the writings of a very celebrated, scholarly and brilliant sceptic. I found myself face to face with the question, Why do you believe the Bible is the Word of God? Read the rest of this entry »

Principles Of Bible Preservation

By Jack Moorman
(From Missing In Modern Bibles)

One hundred years ago John Burgon wrote:

“If you and I believe that the original writings of the Scriptures were verbally inspired by God, then of necessity they must have been providentially preserved through the ages.”

This is the crux of the matter; does God preserve that Word which He originally inspired? And if so, to what extent? Is it merely the concepts and basic message that is kept intact; or does preservation, as inspiration, extend to the words themselves?

That the Bible declares both the fact and extent of its preservation is made abundantly clear in the following:

“Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD” (2 Kings 10:10).

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD; thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever” (Psa. 12:6,7).

“The law of the LORD is perfect converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Psa. 19:7).

“The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Psa. 33:11).

“For the LORD is good, his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psa. 100:5).

“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psa. 119:89).

“Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it” (Psa. 119:140).

“Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever” (Psa. 119:152).

“Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Psa. 119:160).

“Every word of God is pure” (Prov. 30:5).

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isa. 40:8).

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa. 55:11).

“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18).

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).

“And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17).

“The scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23).

“But the word of the Lord endureth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:25).

We have a strange anomaly today; Christians claim to believe what the Bible says about it’s own inspiration but virtually ignore the equally direct statements concerning preservation. To say that you believe in the full inspiration of Scripture while at the same time accepting the textual theories inherent in the modern versions, is about as incongruous as taking Genesis one literally while holding to the theories of Darwin.

One: The starting point of apostasy

The questioning of the Bible’s preservation is the starting point of all other kinds of apostasy. Satan in Genesis 3 did not begin his attack by questioning whether there was a God, or whether God created, or whether the doctrine of the Trinity is true. Nor did it begin with the question of whether God’s word was inspired in the originals. Apostasy began when Satan asked Eve, “Yea hath God said?” “Eve, are you certain that you presently have a full recollection of what God said?” When doubt was given a bridgehead at this point, the other defenses soon fell. The same principle applies today: Has God preserved His word and kept intact His original work of inspiration or has He not? It is a fact that the one common denominator in all the varied errors, deviations, and heresies is that their advocates will first criticize the standard received edition or translation of Scripture.

Two: Preservation must be approached in an attitude of faith

Like all other Bible truths, the Scripture’s teaching on its own preservation is to be in the first instance accepted by faith. Edward F. Hills in his outstanding book, The King James Version Defended calls it “the logic of faith.” The facts and evidence of such preservation will then follow.

Three: Preservation is grounded in the eternal counsels of God

The Bible’s preservation is rooted in the eternal counsels of God. The Scriptures are as eternal as God Himself.

“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psa. 119:89).

Four: Preservation is brought to pass through the priesthood of believers

The preservation of the Scriptures took place through the priesthood of believers. The Old Testament text was preserved by the Aaronic priests and the scribes who grouped around them. “Unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Rom. 3:2).

In the New Testament dispensation every believer is a priest under Christ. Hence, the New Testament text has been preserved by faithful Christians in every walk of life. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).

It was not the pronouncements of church fathers or counsels that determined the text and canon of the New Testament. Rather, the Holy Spirit guided His own into the acceptance of the true word of God. Such copies proliferated, while defective ones were ignored. The Holy Spirit continues this work today in the questions that arise over the wording in the modern versions.

Five: Preservation extends to the actual words

Preservation has to do with the actual words of Scripture, not merely the general teaching or concepts. This is made clear in the list of verses just given. Advocates of the modern versions commonly say: “There is not a single doctrine missing.” But what they fail to tell you is that the words which support and develop these doctrines are frequently missing. Thus, the force of the doctrine is diminished. As inspiration of the Scriptures is verbal so also is preservation.

Six: Preservation is operative in the spread of the Scriptures

Preservation has taken place in the diffusion of God’s word, not in its being hidden or stored. Stewart Custer, in seeking to somehow equate the use of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus with the doctrine of preservation, said:

“God has preserved His word in the sands of Egypt.” (This statement was made in a debate at the Marquette Manor Baptist Church in Chicago, 1984.)

To take such a position would mean that believers have had the wrong text for 1800 years, and it has been only with the advent of two liberal British churchmen, and the retrieval of two disused Alexandrian manuscripts that we now have the “true preserved” Word of God. No! The miracle of preservation was operative while the Scriptures were being disseminated.

“The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it” (Psa. 68:11).

“Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Rom. 10:18).

Seven: preservation must of necessity apply to key translations

As so few can read the original languages, God’s promise to preserve His Word has no practical relevance if it does not extend to translations. The Scripture frequently affirms “that we are born again by the Word of God” (James 1:18; 1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Pet. 1:23). If a translation cannot be equated with the actual Word of God, then ultimately this leads to the situation that one must know Hebrew and Greek before they can be saved, or built up in the faith (Rom. 10:17; Matt. 4:4).

Further, the Bible’s use of the term “preserved” demonstrates that it is an absolute and not a relative term. To speak of the Bible, or in this discussion, a translation as being “almost preserved” is a misnomer. Either it is preserved or it isn’t, either it has errors or it doesn’t. Either the flower fades and the grass withers or it does not.

Eight: The meaning of the term “Scripture”

While it may be assumed that the Bible usage of the word “Scripture” has reference to the original autographs; yet virtually each time the word is used it is the copies or even translations of the Scriptures that are in view, e.g. it is the Scriptures that the people had access to.

“But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth” (Dan. 10:21).

“Did ye never read in the scriptures?” (Matt. 21:42)

“Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures” (Matt. 22:29).

“How then shall the scriptures be fulfilled” (Matt. 26:54)?

“That the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled” (Matt. 26:56).

“That the scriptures must be fulfilled” (Mark 14:49).

“The scripture was fulfilled, which saith” (Mark 15:28).

“This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21).

“He expounded unto them in all the scriptures” (Luke 24:27).

“And while he opened to us the scriptures” (Luke 24:32).

“That they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45).

“They believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said” (Jn.2:22).

“Search the scriptures” (Jn. 5:39).

“He that believeth on me as the scripture hath said” (Jn. 7:38).

“Hath not the scripture said” (Jn. 7:42).

“The scripture cannot be broken” (Jn. 10:35).

“That the scripture may be fulfilled” (Jn. 13:18).

“That the scripture might be fulfilled” (Jn. 17:12; 19:24; 19:36).

“Another scripture saith” (Jn. 19:37).

“They knew not the scriptures” (Jn. 20:9).

“This scripture must needs have been fulfilled” (Acts 1:16).

“The place of the scripture which he read” (Acts 8:32).

“And began at the same scripture and preached ” (Acts 8:35).

“Reasoned with them out of the scriptures” (Acts 17:2).

“They searched the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11).

“Mighty in the scriptures” (Acts 18:24).

“Showing by the scriptures” (Acts 18:28).

“Promised before by his prophets in the holy scriptures” (Rom. 1:2).

“What saith the scripture” (Rom. 4:3)?

“The scripture saith unto Pharaoh” (Rom. 9:17).

“The scripture saith” (Rom. 10:11).

“Wot ye not what the scripture saith” (Rom. 11:2).

“Comfort of the scriptures” (Rom. 15:4).

“Scriptures of the prophets” (Rom. 16:26).

“Christ died… according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3).

“He rose again… according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:4).

“The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify” (Gal. 3:8).

“The scripture hath concluded all under sin ” (Gal. 3:22).

“What saith the scripture” (Gal. 4:30)?

“The scripture saith” (1 Tim. 5:18).

“That from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures” (2 Tim. 3:15).

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16).

“The royal law according to the scripture” (James 2:8).

“The scripture was fulfilled which saith” (James 2:23).

“Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain?” (James 4:5)

“It is contained in the scripture” (1 Pet. 2:6).

“No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Pet. 1:20).

“Wrest, as they do the other scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:16).

The above shows clearly that the word “Scripture” refers to what the people had access to, what was at hand, what was current, what they could then actually read and hear. Therefore, the biblical usage of the word refers primarily to copies rather than the original autographs.

The fact that these copies and possibly even translations are called “Scripture” strongly implies their preservation, and that the very qualities of the inspired original have been brought over unto them.

These copies are holy (2 Tim. 3:15; Rom. 1:2).
These copies are true (Dan. 10:21).
These copies are not broken (Jn. 10:35).
These copies are worthy of belief (Jn. 2:22).
The prophecies contained in these copies have been fulfilled to the very letter and await fulfillment (Luke 4:21).
These copies are the very voice of God.

This can be shown by a comparison of the following:

And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews… For this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth” (Ex. 9:13-16).

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth” (Rom. 9:17).

And again:

Now the LORD had said unto Abram… In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:1-3).

And the scripture… preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying in thee shall all nations be blessed” (Gal. 3:8).

And further:

Wherefore she [Sarah] said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac” (Gen. 21:10).

Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman” (Gal. 4:30).

These verses establish the fact that there is no difference between the Scriptures speaking and God speaking. And as the Scriptures refer to that which is current and available, it follows that our copies are as much the voice of God as the original is.

Consider also that classic passage on inspiration:

“And that from a child thou has known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:15-17).

There are some remarkable things about this passage that are often overlooked. The words “is given by inspiration of God” are translated from the one Greek word, theopneustos (God-breathed). And “is profitable” is from Ophelimos. These two words are joined by the conjunction kai. Thus, all scripture (graphe) is said to be “God-breathed and profitable.”

The Jamieson, Fausett and Brown Commentary says of this phrase:

“Graphe is never used in the Bible of any writings except the sacred Scriptures. The position of the two Greek adjectives (theopneustos kai ophelimos) forbids taking the one as a modifier and the other as a predicate. i.e. ‘every God-breathed scripture is also profitable.’ The adjectives are so closely connected that as one is a predicate the other must be too.”

Therefore, the translation “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof…” must be adhered to.

But what is remarkable here, is that while the Scriptures were inspired in the past and their profitability has to do with the present, yet both facts are joined together in an identical grammatical construction. Therefore, it is the work of past inspiration which makes the Scriptures profitable in the present. And conversely, the Scriptures cannot be profitable in the present if the manifold blessings of inspiration have not been preserved. Past inspiration is inseparably linked to present profitability.

Nine: The bearing of John 16:13 upon the translation and preservation process

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).

God has promised to guide His people into all truth. “All” here does not mean “basically,” “generally,” “almost,” “nearly,” “relatively.” It must surely mean ALL!

“Truth” is defined in the next chapter of John as referring to the Bible. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (Jn. 17:17).

Through the priesthood of believers, God guided His people into all truth as to the canon of Scripture, e.g. which books were and were not inspired. He also guided them into all truth as to the text of Scripture (which were and were not the correct readings). And in order to make this relevant and practical He must also guide them into all truth concerning the translation of Scripture.

Three important things can be seen in John 16:13:

(1) The Guide – “the Spirit of Truth”
(2) The Journey – “will guide you”
(3) The Arrival – “into all truth”

The history of how our Bible came down to us after its inspiration in the original autographs is to be found under these three points. These must be considered in the history of every Bible of every language.

The Guide

The same Holy Spirit of Truth who verbally inspired the Word in the autographs is committed also to its verbal preservation in the textual, transmissional, and translation process.

The Journey

The statement “will guide you” indicates that a process is in view. In the history of a given Bible where God was actively guiding there will be at least three key periods:

(1) The Manuscript Period
(2) The Early Printed Edition Period
(3) The Period of an Authoritative Standard Edition

In each of these periods God’s Word will be current and available to His people. “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart that thou mayest do it” (Deut. 30:14).

In the first two periods God’s Word may not have been available from the same written source. Relatively minor variations existed in the hand copied manuscripts of the Received Text tradition. The early printed Greek texts of Erasmus, Stephanus, and Beza had some variation, as did the early printed English versions. Yet, God’s promise of guiding into all truth could still be counted on, and through the comparing of several sources He would put upon the heart of his people which of the variants was the true reading.

For example, Wycliffe’s Bible was based on the Latin Vulgate and was therefore flawed. Yet it could be clarified with the Celtic, Waldensian, and Old Latin translations which had a Received Text tradition.

This same general principle could hold even today in those remote and primitive areas where only a preliminary translation is available. The earnest seeker of truth can know what a true reading is, for God has promised to “guide into all truth.” There is, however, the disadvantage today that many missionary Bibles are based on the Alexandrian text.

The Arrival

If “will guide you” refers to the process or journey; then “into all truth” must refer to the arrival at a destination. This destination refers to that point when a given language receives an authoritative standardized Bible accepted over a considerable period of time by the great mass of believers. By any criterion the publication of the King James Version in that language which is most used in international communication is the single most important event in the transmissional history of Scripture.

Certainly here we see the biblical principle of 1 Corinthians 13:10 (at least in a secondary application): “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

History has shown this version in its widespread appeal to tower above the other great standard versions of Europe. Even to this day it is the measuring rod against which all others are judged.

The King James Version is the grand culmination of God’s promise to guide His people into all truth. Our conviction that this pinnacle was reached in 1611 is enforced by the fact that since then textual scholarship has been rationalistic, has denied the inspiration of Scripture, and has moved in precisely the opposite direction.

Ten: Lifegiving qualities in a translation

Inspiration in the originals will not only ensure preservation in certain key translations, but also animation. It is this quality which enables a translation to convict the sinner and bring manifold grace to the believer: Heb. 4:12; Acts 2:37; Isa. 55:11; Psa. 119:9,11,130; Rom. 10:17. It is this which ensures that a translation will become an enduring standard among the humble people of God. The Old Latin, Syriac Peshitta, Ethiopic, Armenian, Georgian, Gothic, Slavonic, Luther, Tyndale, Geneva, and King James are examples of versions which in a sweetly natural way worked their way into the hearts of millions of God’s people. High pressured promotion was not needed as in the case of Constantine’s Bible, the Latin Vulgate, or the New International Version.

Thus when a translation is being prepared in accordance with the will of God, the life giving breath of God will be felt in that translation. Modern versions claim to be the “results of the most recent scholarship,” but there is no life in them and they fall flat after a few years.

God’s work of preservation does more than keep the Bible from error in its transmission and translation, it gives to the Bible an enduring freshness. Therefore, a translation can be as much the Sword of the Spirit as the original autographs. When God is active in the work of a translation (and is there reason to think that He would not be?), the manifold blessings of the once delivered work of inspiration are transmitted to that translation. Our standard translation is not a valley of dry bones, it has breath! To test this fact, read John 14 in the New International Version and then in the Authorized Version.

Eleven: A standard translation should be accepted as the preserved Word of God

It is only God who can make a translation or version a true Standard. Such a Standard will endure the test of time, receive universal acceptance, and result in widespread conversion. Such a Standard will spawn and encourage the publication of vast amounts of supplemental literature: commentaries, concordances, theological works, study helps of all kinds. And such a Standard will evoke the wrath of Satan. Since it’s inception, the King James Version has been called “the paper pope of the Protestants.”

That the Authorized Version is such a Standard and the only Standard in the English language for nearly 400 years argues convincingly that it is God’s preserved word in that language. In response to God’s promises of preservation and the abundant evidence of the same, the believer may be fully confident that the AV has no blemishes and is without proven error. There are places that may need explanation, and it is right for the teacher within reasonable limits to amplify, elucidate, and expound the English as well as the underlying text. But this must not be done in such a way as to imply to the listener that errors exist. For example, “This word means” is acceptable; but, “A better rendering would be” is not. Certainly also, before being too concerned about the “force of the Greek or Hebrew,” the reader should be certain that he has a grasp on “the force of the English”!

I say that the KJV is without “proven error” because I am not aware of errors having been proven! Given all that can be said in behalf of the King James Bible, the burden of proof must rest with the one making the charge. If he feels he has better understanding and spiritual insight at a given point than did the fifty AV translators – not to mention the translators of the seven Bibles from Tyndale to the Bishops which prepared the groundwork of the AV – then he must set forth his evidence.

That this is not so easy can be seen from the following incident involving one of the AV translators:

Dr. Richard Kilby, the translator in the Old Testament group at Oxford, heard a young parson complain in an earnest sermon that a certain passage should read in a way he stated. After the sermon Dr. Kilby took the young man aside and told him that the group had discussed at length not only his proposed reading but thirteen others; only then had they decided on the phrasing as it appeared (Gustavis S. Paine, The Men Behind the KJV [Baker Book House, 1959], pgs. 137,138).

Great and totally unnecessary harm has been done by “young parsons” (and old ones too!) who do this.

Long ago it was said:

Nothing can be more unseemly than for the unskillful to be always correcting with their literal translations and various readings, distressing simple souls rather than seeking that which tends to godly edifying. Anyone who approaches a so-called problem passage in an attitude of honour toward God’s Word will find the solution equally honoring. He will find that God’s promise of preservation has been vindicated.

Twelve: Will there be another standard Bible?

It is possible that in the providence of God another universally accepted standard translation could be produced. However, given the lateness of the hour, the lack of spiritual scholarship, and the fact that our language no longer has the depth and vitality it once had, this seems most unlikely. All indications point to the KJV as the Bible God would have His people use in these last days before the Second Coming of Christ.

A final word

What is it that make the King James Version unique? Does it indeed have a sense of the supernatural that is lacking in the modern versions? That is does, is given remarkable confirmation in the following extended quotation from the research of a secular author:

Can a committee produce a work of art? Many would say no, yet we have seen that this large group of the king’s translators, almost threescore of them, together gave the world a work greater not only in scope but in excellence than any could have done singly. How did this come to be? How explain that sixty or more men, none a genius, none even as great a writer as Marlowe or Ben Jonson, together produced writings to be compared with (and confused with) the words of Shakespeare?

…If hard work alone were the secret of success, we would have the answer, for we know that the learned men worked hard. Many of them labored like monks in rooms so cold and damp, except close to the fires, that fingers and joints got stiff even though they swathed themselves in their thick gowns. They worked at odd hours, early in the mornings and late at night, as other duties permitted. They endured rigors that we would think beyond us.

But hard work alone, singly or in groups, does not insure a great result. Were the learned men saints, under direct inspiration?

As we have seen, these men who made the translation for King James were subject to like passions as we are. Even as they gave themselves to the great work, they yielded also to petty vanities and ambition and prejudice zeal for the great undertaking survived their own wrangles over doctrine and their differences of opinion in personal matters. The quarrels that are recorded were over such differences rather than the work in hand. There they must have learned to rise above themselves for the good of the whole, an act of grace deserving of reward. But does even this account for the result?

To know that the Bible words were beyond the choosing of the best of them, we have only to look at their individual writing. And this writing of theirs in books or sermons or attempted poetry also answers the suggestion that their work on the Bible was great because they lived in a great age. It was an age of great writing, in which poets and dramatists flourished, yet these men as individuals lacked the skills of those who made the Mermaid Tavern and the Globe Theater live in literature. In vain do we look to the eloquent Lancelot Andrewes or even to Miles Smith for the dulcet temper and torrents of sound in concord that mark the religious prose of Sir Thomas Browne, or for the dooming ire, like a knell, of Dr. John Donne. At the same time their Bible surpassed others in an excellence not to be attributed wholly to the original writers in the ancient tongues, so that Lytton Strachey could say of the prophets, “Isaiah and Jeremiah had the extraordinary good fortune to be translated into English by a committee of Elizabethan bishops.” Badly as some of the committee could write on other occasions, not only was theirs the best of the English Bibles; there is, in no modern language a Bible worthy to be compared with it as literature.

Though such verse as we have of their own lacks value for us, they were poets who fashioned prose without knowing how expert they were Keats, silent on a peak as he marveled at Chapman’s Homer, might have marveled still more if he had much traveled through the realms of gold in the King James Bible. Chapman’s Homer of those same years no longer has the power to dazzle us, while the Bible’s power has shown increase. At Oxford and Cambridge the learned men breathed the air of noble language, amid brilliant buildings and gardens which could excite them to lofty efforts in a domain that seemed timeless. And they produced a timeless book.

Are we to say that God walked with them in their gardens? Insofar as they believed in their own calling and election, they must have believed that they would have God’s help in their task. We marvel that they could both submerge themselves and assert themselves, could meekly agree yet firmly declare, and hold to the words they preferred as just and fitting. At the same time they could write and they could listen, speak clearly, and hearken to the sounds they tested, as well as to the voice of what they deemed the divine Author. And that must have been the secret of their grace and their assurance: they agreed, not with the other men like themselves, but with God as their guide, and they followed not as thinking themselves righteous but as led by a righteousness beyond them.

…So they put down what they had to put down; their writing flows with a sense of must. Some of it they took wholly from former works, yet the must extends to what the 1611 scholars had the wisdom to adopt and, as it were, to inlay in the rest.

…They knew how to make the Bible scare the wits out of you and then calm you, all in English as superb as the Hebrew and the Greek. They could make their phrasing proceed as though caused by the First Cause, without shadow of turning; they could make the stately language of threat and wrath or the promises of tender mercy come word for word from God Himself.

…Soul and body, the work of the learned men still moves the world because they wrought inside each sentence a certain balance of letter and spirit. If other versions have their day and pass, it is because this balance is somehow marred.

Miles Smith in his preface bears out this idea that the work carried them above themselves. “The Scripture is not an herb but a tree, or rather a whole paradise of trees of life, which bring forth fruit every month, and the fruit thereof is for meat, and the leaves for medicine… And what marvel? The original thereof being from heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man; the inditer, the Holy Spirit, not the wit of the Apostles or prophets. But how shall men… understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue? As it is written, `Except I know the power of the voice, I shall be to him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian to me’.”

“Translation it is,” Smith continued, “that openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we may look into the most holy place; that removeth the cover of the well, that we may come by the water.”

…”After the endeavors of them that were before us, we take the best pains we can in the house of God… Truly (good Christian reader) we never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make a bad one a good one but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal one.”

…”Neither did we disdain,” Smith declared, “to revise that which we had done, and to bring back to the anvil that which we had hammered: but having and using as great helps as were needful, and fearing no reproach for slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition, we have at the length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the work to the pass that you see.”

…”And in what sort did these assemble? In the trust of their own knowledge, or of their sharpness of it, or deepness of judgment, as it were in an arm of flesh? At no hand. They trusted in him that hath the key of David, opening and no man shutting; they prayed to the Lord” (Gustavus Paine, The Men Behind The KJV, pgs. 167-76).

God has preserved in the King James Version His original work of inspiration. The flower has not faded. The sword is as sharp as in the day it was first whetted.

NIV Bible Test

It has been said by many that the NIV is the most readable and accurate Bible on the market today and that it is based on older and more reliable manuscripts than the King James Bible. In regard to the above statements an “acid test” is the only fair way to put the NIV and the KJV “to the test” as one might say… so get out you NIV, a pen and when you have completed the test I encourage you to then take a KJV and see the result…


Using the New International Version (NIV) Bible, answer the following questions. Do not rely on your memory. As the Bible is the final authority, you must take the answer from the Bible verse (not from footnotes but from the text).

1. Fill in the missing words in Matthew 5:44. “Love your enemies,__________ them that curse you, ______________ to them that hate you, and pray for them that __________ and persecute you.”

2. According to Matthew 17:21, what two things are required to cast out this type of demon? a. ______ b. _______

3. According to Matthew 18:11, why did Jesus come to earth? _______________

4. According to Matthew 27:2, what was Pilate’s first name? ________

5. In Matthew 27:35, when the wicked soldiers parted His garments, they were fulfilling the words of the prophet. Copy what the prophet said in Matthew 27:35 from the NIV. ________________

6. In Mark 3:15, Jesus gave the apostles power to cast out demons and to: ____________

7. According to Mark 7:16, what does a man need to be able to hear? ____________

8. According to Luke 7:28, what was John? (teacher, prophet, carpenter, etc.). What is his title or last name? _____________

9. In Luke 9:55, what did the disciples not know? _______________

10. In Luke 9:56, what did the Son of man not come to do? According to this verse, what did He come to do? a. _______ b. ________

11. In Luke 22:14, how many apostles were with Jesus? ___

12. According to Luke 23:38, in what three languages was the superscription written? a. _______ b. _______ c. ________

13. In Luke 24:42, what did they give Jesus to eat with His fish? ______________

14. John 3:13 is a very important verse, proving the deity of Christ. According to this verse (as Jesus spoke), where is the Son of man? __________

15. What happened each year as told in John 5:4? ____________

16. In John 7:50, what time of day did Nicodemus come to Jesus? _______

17. In Acts 8:37, what is the one requirement for baptism? _______

18. What did Saul ask Jesus in Acts 9:6? _______

19. Write the name of the man mentioned in Acts 15:34. _______

20. Study Acts 24:6-8. What would the Jew have done with Paul? What was the chief captain’s name? What did the chief captain command? a. _______ b._______ c. _______

21. Copy Romans 16:24 word for word from the NIV. _____________

22. First Timothy 3:16 is perhaps the greatest verse in the New Testament concerning the deity of Christ. In this verse, who was manifested in the flesh? _______

23. In the second part of First Peter 4:14, how do [they] speak of Christ? And, what do we Christians do? a. _______ b. _______

24. Who are the three Persons of the Trinity in First John 5:7? a. ___ b.___ c. ___

25. Revelation 1:11 is another very important verse that proves the deity of Christ. In the first part of this verse Jesus said, “I am the A______________ and O___________, the _________ and the _______:”

Conclusion: Little space is provided for your answers, but it’s much more than needed. If you followed the instructions above, you not only failed the test, you receive a big goose egg.

If you would like to improve your score, and in fact score 100%, you can take this test using the Authorized (King James) Bible.

How I Know The King James Bible is the Word of God

How I Know The King James Bible is the Word of God


God Promised to Preserve His Words

The Authorized Version Was Translated Under A God-Ordained English King

Because It Has No Copyright

Because God Always Translates Perfectly

Because It Produces Good Fruit

Because the King James Translators Believed
They Were Handling the Very Words of God

Because the King James Translators Were Honest In Their Work

Because All New Translations Compare Themselves to the KJV

Because of the Time in History in Which It Was Translated

Because No One Has Ever Proven That the KJV is Not God’s Word

Because of the Manuscript Evidence

Because It Exalts the Lord Jesus Christ


Copyright © 1997 James L. Melton

Published by Bible Baptist Church, Sharon, TN

There are many good works that one can read on the authority of the King James Bible, and this particular effort offers nothing really new. However, it does attempt to explain the issue in a simple and brief manner for all to understand. Over the years I have learned a great deal about this issue, and I believe that a truth worth learning is a truth worth telling.

Many preachers and teachers across our land talk about “preferring” and “using” the KJV, but I haven’t heard them speak much about BELIEVING it. Many prefer it and use it, because that’s what their congregations prefer and use, but they do not BELIEVE it to be the infallible words of God. They are taught in college to USE, PREFER, and RECOMMEND the KJV, but they are NOT taught to BELIEVE it. Most “Christian colleges” teach that the King James Bible is only a translation, and that NO translation is infallible. Consequently, the average minister today uses a Book which he doesn’t even believe.

Now, I thank God that I don’t have that problem. I don’t have to play make-believe with anyone about the word of God. I believe it. I believe the King James Bible is the preserved and infallible words of God. It doesn’t merely “contain” the word of God: it IS the word of God. I’m absolutely sure of it, and I’d like to give a few reasons why. Here are twelve reasons how I know that the KJV is the word of God:

God Promised to Preserve His Words

Psalm 12:6-7 says, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Then we read in Psalm 100:5 that “. . . . his truth endureth to all generations,” and Jesus said in John 17:17 that God’s WORD is truth.

These words state very clearly that God’s preserved word MUST be available to us today, because God PROMISED to preserve it for us. There MUST be an infallible Book somewhere.

You say, “But ALL translations are God’s word, not just one.” That’s impossible, because the various translations contain different readings, and God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33). Besides, if all of the versions are the word of God, then where are the “corrupt” and “perverted” versions that we are warned about in II Corinthians 2:17 and Jeremiah 23:36? If everyone is innocent, then where are those who are said to be GUILTY of subtracting from and adding to the word of God (Rev. 22:18-19)? God wouldn’t have warned us about Bible perversion if it wasn’t going to be a reality. According to the scriptures, there must be a single Book that is the word of God, and there must be MANY which are involved in CORRUPTING the word of God.

Now, if the Authorized Version isn’t the infallible word of God, then WHAT IS? There has to be a Book somewhere in “all generations” which is God’s word; so what book is it? Those who “use” the new versions believe that these are good and reliable translations, but they do NOT believe these to be INFALLIBLE translations. However, I know MANY people who believe the King James Bible to be an infallible Book. Why? Because they know that the One True God has ONE TRUE BOOK. He promised to preserve His words, and we believe that He has done just that. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). If His words didn’t pass away, then where are they? I want to read them. There has to be a perfect volume somewhere. I know the King James Bible is the word of God because God promised to preserve His words.

The Authorized Version Was Translated

Under A God-Ordained English King

The main subject of the Bible is the kingdom which God intends to give to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will be crowned “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS,” according to Revelation 19:16. Ecclesiastes 8:4 says, “Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?” Unlike the modern versions, the KJV was translated under a king. In fact, the king’s name was “James,” which is the English word for “Jacob,” whom God renamed “Israel,” because he had power with God and with men (Gen. 32:28).

The new versions have been translated in America, which is not a monarchy. God’s form of government is a theocratic monarchy, not a democracy. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that His word would be translated for the English-speaking people under a monarchy with an English king. I know the King James Bible is the word of God because it was translated under a king.

Because It Has No Copyright

The original crown copyright of 1611 does not forbid anyone today from reprinting the Authorized Version. It was only copyrighted then for the purpose of allowing the printer to finance the publication. For nearly four hundred years now we have been printing millions of copies of KJV’s without requesting permission from anyone. Over eight hundred million copies of the Authorized Version have been printed without anyone paying royalties. This cannot be said of any of the new translations.

The new “bibles” are the work of MEN, but the KJV is a divine work of the Holy Spirit. The term “Authorized” has traditionally been applied to the King James Version alone, for this is the one Book, which the Holy Spirit has blessed and used for so long. The fact that it bears no copyright allows printing ministries throughout the world to print millions of copies each year for the mission field. I know the King James Bible is the word of God because it has no copyright.

Because God Always Translates Perfectly

The words “translate” and “translated” occur three times in the Bible, and GOD is the Translator each time. The scholars insist that the KJV cannot be infallible, because it is “only a translation.” Do you suppose that such scholars have checked II Samuel 3:10, Colossians 1:13, and Hebrews 11:5 to see what GOD has to say about translating?

In II Samuel 3:10 we are told that it was God Who translated Saul’s kingdom to David. We are told in Colossians 1:13 that Christians have been translated into the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and Hebrews 11:5 tells us that God translated Enoch that he should not see death. God was the One doing the translating each time. What’s the point? The point is that a translation CAN be perfect, if God is involved in the translating.

When the New Testament writers would quote the Old Testament (Mt. 1:23; Mk. 1:2; Luke 4:4; John 15:25; Acts 1:20; 7:42; I Corinthians 2:9; Galatians 3:13, etc.), they had to TRANSLATE from Hebrew to Greek, because the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, but THEY wrote in Greek. So, if a translation cannot be infallible, then EVEN THE NEW TESTAMENT IN THE “ORIGINAL GREEK” ISN’T INFALLIBLE, because it contains translations from the Hebrew text!

Obviously God assisted them in their translating by the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and He assisted the King James translators as well. The scholars will never understand this, for most of them have QUENCHED the Holy Spirit in their own lives by looking to higher education for truth, rather than seeking the Lord’s leadership (John 16:13).

The Holy Spirit Who inspired the word of God through “holy men of God” (II Pet. 1:21) is quite capable of guiding His servants to KEEP the words which Jesus told us to keep (Jn. 14:23). In essence, the KJV translators were merely INSTRUMENTS which God used in translating and preserving His word. In fact, they said this themselves in the Dedicatory to the Authorized Version: “ . . . . because we are poor instruments to make God’s holy truth to be yet more and more known to the people. . . “

I know the King James Bible is the word of God, because God is very capable of using anyone He pleases as His very own instruments of righteousness in order to preserve His word.

Because It Produces Good Fruit

The Lord Jesus said that every good tree will bring forth good fruit, and we can know them BY their fruits (Mt. 7:17-20).

God had the KJV translated for the purpose of bringing forth fruit, and it has been very obedient to the call. The greatest preachers of the past four centuries have been King James Bible believers. Billy Sunday is said to have led over one million people to Christ, and he was a KJV believer. Spurgeon, Moody, Whitfield, and Wesley were all KJV men, and the list goes on. God has richly blessed the ministries of such men as these because they stayed busy OBEYING His word rather than questioning its authority.

The KJV produces good fruit. I was led to Christ with a King James Bible. Nearly every Christian I know was led to Christ with a KJV. Why? Because it produces good fruit.

The new translations produce EVIL fruit. The modern perversions of scripture are producing infidels who do not even know what the word of God is, much less where to find it. The new translations produce spiritual babies who are totally incapable of discussing Bible doctrine. The new versions produce NEWER versions, which produce MONEY for the publishers, and I Timothy 6:10 tells us that the love of MONEY is the root of all EVIL.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t bear witness to the modern translations, but He DOES bear witness to the King James. I’ve always believed the KJV to be God’s word, even before I was saved. No one ever told me to believe this, but the Holy Spirit just bore witness to the King James–not the others. After being saved, I spent several years of my Christian life not being aware of the big debate going on these days between King James Bible believers and New Age Version believers. The whole time I believed only ONE BOOK to be God’s word, and even then I was suspicious of the new versions, although no one had told me to be. When I discovered that over eighty percent of the “Christian” schools in our nation do not believe the KJV to be the word of God, I was shocked.

How is it that one comes to believe the KJV naturally, but must be EDUCATED OUT of his belief in it? Why is it that King James believers are accused of following men when GOD is the One Who led them to believe it? Why do opponents of the KJV accuse us of following men, when THEY are the ones who allowed MEN to talk them out of believing the KJV.

The KJV produces good fruit, because the Holy Spirit bears witness to it like no other book in the world. It’s easier to memorize than any new version, and the beautiful old English language gives the reader the impression that he is reading a Book very different and far superior to the rest. It reads different because it IS different, and it IS different because it has a different Author. We shall know them “by their fruit”, and I know the King James Bible is the word of God, because it produces GOOD fruit.

Because the King James Translators Believed

They Were Handling the Very Words of God

One can see this truth by reading the Prefatory and Dedicatory remarks in the Authorized Version. These men didn’t believe they were handling “God’s message” or “reliable manuscripts.” They believed they were handling the very words of God Himself. As I Thessalonians 2:13 says, they “. . . . received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

Like the serpent of Genesis 3:1, modern translators approach the scriptures in skepticism, saying, “Yea, hath God said?” This was the first recorded sin in the Bible, and it still runs rapid through the hearts and minds of most scholars and new version promoters.

God has always allowed such people to be DECEIVED because of the IDOLS in their hearts (Ezek. 14:1-9; II Thessalonians 2:10-12; I Kings 22). A man who lacks faith in God’s word is in no condition to translate it. This eliminates every revision committee in the past one hundred years, because these committees have consisted mostly of highly educated men who were heady, high-minded, and proud, thinking that their intelligence qualified them to tamper with the pure words of God.

The KJV translators were not like this. Their scholarship FAR EXCEEDED that of modern translators, yet they remained humble and allowed God to use them in order to produce an infallible masterpiece. They didn’t set out to “judge” and “correct” the word of God. Their purpose was to translate God’s word for the English speaking people, as they were told to do by their appointed king. I know the King James Bible is the word of God because the KJV translators believed it themselves.

Because the King James Translators

Were Honest In Their Work

The critics of the KJV enjoy making a fuss about the words in italics, which were added by the translators, but the argument is entirely unnecessary and unfair.

The italic words in the KJV actually PROVE that the translators were honest in their work. When translating from one language to another, the idioms change, thus making it necessary to add certain words to help the reader grasp the full meaning of the text. When the KJV translators added such words they set them in italics so that we’d know these words were added, UNLIKE we find it in so many new versions today, which do NOT use the italics.

Besides, no one has ever PROVEN that the italic words are not the words of God, because no one has “the originals” to check them with. In fact, we know for sure that the translators were led by the Holy Spirit to add at least some of the italicized words.

One good example of this is found in II Samuel 21:19. When the translators came to this verse in the Hebrew text, they noticed that an exact translation would give Elhanan credit for slaying Goliath, but we know from I Chronicles 20:5 that he actually slew THE BROTHER OF Goliath. So the KJV translators added the words “the brother of” to II Samuel 21:19. If the Lord had not led them to do so, then II Samuel 21:19 would contradict I Chronicles 20:5 (as it DOES in the New World Translation!).

Another fine example is I John 2:23. The last half of the verse was missing at the time, but the KJV translators inserted it anyhow (in italics), feeling that it was necessary. This naturally disturbed many people, but since that time new manuscripts have been found which CONTAIN the last half of I John 2:23. The translators were RIGHT in adding the italicized words.

One last example of the Holy Spirit’s guiding influence on the KJV translators is found in Psalm 16:8, which says, “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” As you can see, the words “he is” are in italics. According to many scholars they should be omitted, but according to the Apostle Peter they should NOT be omitted. Peter quotes Psalm 16:8 in Acts 2:25, and he USES the italicized words! How did the translators know this if the Lord didn’t lead them?

The italics in the King James Bible are the marks of an HONEST translation, for no one added these words to mislead us, or to change the word of God. They added the words to help us, and they set the words in italics so we’d know they were added. That’s honesty. I know the KJV is the word of God, because the translators were more honest in their work than any of the modern Bible translators.

Because All New Translations Compare Themselves to the KJV

The new versions do not compare themselves with each other, because they’re too busy comparing themselves with one Book–the King James Bible. This fact alone proves that there is something very special and unique about the KJV.

Why does everyone line up in opposition AGAINST the King James Bible? Why not attack one another? That’s easy: Satan has no desire to divide his own kingdom (Mt. 12:26). His desire is to discredit the word of GOD, not himself; so he attacks only one Book, God’s Book, the KJV.

Those who oppose the KJV are unsure of themselves, for they have no Final Authority; so they despise those of us who DO have an Authority. They’re unstable, insecure, dishonest, and very inconsistent. They’re all TERRIFIED of One Book, the KJV, and they’ll stop short of nothing in their efforts to rid the Body of Christ of that Book.

I know the KJV is the word of God, because it’s the standard which all others use for comparison.

Because of the Time in History in Which It Was Translated

The King James Bible was not translated during the apostate and lukewarm Laodicean church period, like the new translations. The Laodicean period is the last church period before the Second Coming of Christ. It is the last of the seven church periods in Revelation chapters two and three. One can clearly see that we are living in the Laodicean period today by simply comparing modern churches to the church of Revelation 3:14-22. This lukewarm period began toward the end of the 1800’s and will continue until Christ returns. The new versions fit well into the lukewarm churches, because they are lukewarm “bibles.”

The Authorized Version, however, was translated LONG BEFORE the Laodicean churches appeared. It was translated during the Philadelphia church period, which is the best church period of all. It was this church that the Lord Jesus COMMENDED for KEEPING HIS WORD( Rev. 3:8-10)!

In 1611, when the King James Bible was completed, the scourge of lukewarm Laodicea had not yet swept over the world. There was no “scientific” crowd around in 1611 to put pressure on the translators. There was no civil rights movement going on at this time to influence the work of these men. The women were not screaming for “equal rights,” and the humanists and socialists had not yet taken control. The massive army of liberal and modernistic preachers had not yet been assembled. The open public denial of God’s word and the Deity of Christ was practically unheard of among ministers. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that professing Christianity became flooded with lukewarm preachers who would be willing to compromise the word of God for self gain.

The greatest missionary work in church history occurred between 1700 and 1900, so it makes perfect sense that God would have a Bible ready for this great work, and He did – the KJV. Unfortunately, the new translations appeared a bit LATE on the scene! Think about that. I know the KJV is the word of God because of the time in history in which it was translated.

Because No One Has Ever Proven

That the KJV is Not God’s Word

Any honest American should know that innocence is supposed to prevail in our land until guilt is proven. The KJV should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Has anyone proven it guilty? No. Has any scholar actually PROVEN that there are errors in the King James Bible? No. Enemies of the KJV delight in IGNORING the facts about the Authorized Version, while never PROVING anything. All apparent “errors” in the KJV can be explained through prayer and a careful study of the scriptures, but the opponents of the KJV aren’t interested in looking for TRUTH; they’re interested attacking God’s word, while never proving anything. I know the KJV is the word of God, because, over nearly four hundred years, no one has proven otherwise.

Because of the Manuscript Evidence

Only a very deceived individual could believe that the new versions are equal to the King James Bible. Ninety-five percent of all evidence SUPPORTS the text of the King James Authorized Version. The new versions are supported by the remaining five percent evidence.

The new “bibles” are supported by two very corrupt fourth century manuscripts, known as the “Vaticanus” and the “Siniaticus.” These manuscripts are filled with many text alterations to meet the demands of Roman Catholic tradition. They also include the Apocrypha, which the Lord Jesus Christ EXCLUDED from the Old Testament in Luke 24:44. All new versions contain readings from these corrupt manuscripts, and all new versions use their tiny five percent evidence to attack the ninety-five percent majority text of the King James Bible.

The Textus Receptus (received text) from which the King James Bible came can be traced clear back to Antioch, Syria, where the disciples were first called Christians and where Paul and Barnabas taught the word of God for a whole year (Acts 11:26). The other “bibles” do not come from Antioch. They come from Alexandria, Egypt, and from Rome. We don’t need an Egyptian version, for Egypt is a type of the WORLD in the Bible. God called His people OUT of Egypt (Exodus 3-14), and God called His Son out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1 with Matt. 2:13-15). Why, the Bible says that “every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians” in Gen. 46:34, and the Lord Jesus Christ is called a SHEPHERD in John chapter ten. Alexandria, Egypt, is associated with SUPERSTITION in Acts 28:11, and Aquilla and Pricilla had to set an Egyptian straight on his doctrine in Acts chapter 18. Alexandrians are also found DISPUTING WITH STEPHEN in Acts 6:9. So we don’t need a “bible” from Alexandria, Egypt.

Then there’s the Roman text, also called the “Western Text.” We can also do without a Roman “bible”, because it was ROMAN soldiers who nailed our Lord to the cross. The harlot of Revelation 17 is a perfect description of the Roman Catholic Church, which has persecuted Christians for thousands of years. Romans persecuted the Christians in Acts18:2, and in 70 A.D. the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. Rome is the “dreadful and terrible” beast of Daniel chapter seven, and Christ will destroy the “Revised Roman Empire” at the Second Coming (Dan. 2; 7; and Rev. 13). It has been estimated that Rome is guilty of the blood of some 200 million people who have rejected her corrupt system. A “bible” from Rome is another thing we can live without.

There’s only one line of manuscripts that we can trust, and this is the line from Antioch, called the “Syrian” or “Byzantine” type text. The word of God speaks POSITIVELY of Antioch, and NEGATIVELY of Rome and Egypt. We should TAKE THE BEST AND DUMP THE REST! I know the King James Bible is the word of God because of the manuscript evidence.

Because It Exalts the Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: And they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39.

A REAL Bible will testify of the Lord Jesus Christ. The true word of God will always EXALT Jesus Christ, and it will NEVER attack Hid Deity, His Virgin Birth, His Blood Atonement, His Bodily Resurrection, His Glorious Second Coming, or any other doctrines concerning His Person. However, the new versions attack ALL of the fundamental doctrines concerning the Lord Jesus Christ at one time or another.

By perverting the many important verses of scripture which deal with the fundamental doctrines of Christ, the new “bibles” have a CONTINUOUS ATTACK launched against our beloved Saviour, and this is NOT an overstatement! His Virgin Birth is under attack in Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:34, and Luke 2:33. His Blood Atonement is under attack in Colossians 1:14, Acts 20:28, Ephesians 1:7, and Revelation 1:5. The Bodily Resurrection is under attack in Acts 1:3, Luke chapter 24, and the last twelve verses of Mark. His Deity is under attack in Acts 10:28, John 9:35, and I Timothy 3:16. The new versions attack the Second Coming in Revelation 11:15, and Titus 2:13, and the list goes on, because the new versions have an extreme bitter HATRED toward the Authorized Version and the way it gives the Lord Jesus Christ the pre-eminent place.

If the reader doubts this, we challenge you to take whatever version you want and compare the above verses in it to the same verses in the King James Bible. If you still doubt it, after checking the verses, then write us and we will send you a great many more references to check. The new “bibles” have a very consistent record of attacking the Lord Jesus Christ; so they cannot possibly be “the scriptures” that He said would testify of Him in John 5:39. They testify AGAINST him.

The King James Bible NEVER attacks our Lord. More than any book in the world, the Authorized Version of the Protestant Reformation EXALTS the Lord Jesus Christ. If we had no other reason for receiving the Authorized Version as the word of God, this reason alone should be enough to convince any true believer, for how could we not become suspicious of the new versions for making such changes? I know the King James Bible is the word of God because it always exalts the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible Versions – Does It Matter?

Bible Versions – Does It Matter?

I have been comparing Bible versions and it is amazing how much deception is out there. I can see where the United Church Moderator gets his beliefs from – straight out of the NIV Bible without even twisting the text. The NASV and NRSV are just as corrupt. I believed that the NASV was the most accurate version, but the Lord opened my eyes in 1997. Some friends challenged me to compare these modern versions verse by verse (and word by word) with the King James Bible. So I did and I was shocked at all the changes and omissions (there are over 64,000 words less in the NIV Bible – that is over 8% less!)

You may think that I am unjust to use that old “error-ridden” translation as my standard, but I will tell you something: I have never found an error in it yet! Everyone says it is untrustworthy so therefore we should use these newer versions. Almost every single translation that has come out in the last 120 years has used the Westcott and Hort Greek text (commonly known as the NU Text – the N estle-Aland Greek New Testament and the U nited Bible Societies Greek text.) (Even the New King James Version does not solely use the traditional texts – see next paragraph – and contains many NU readings in the margins, if not in the main text.) Both Westcott and Hort were heretics who denied many fundamentals of Scripture (and especially about Jesus Christ), they were pro-Catholics (Westcott even renamed his wife Mary in honor of this church), they were also both involved in the occult, satanic worship, and even believed in contacting the dead – in fact they started several clubs to do this very thing – The Hermes Club and The Ghostly Guild respectively. These two have also chosen several Unitarians for the committee of the English Revised Version of 1881. Westcott believed in Communism, and Hort believed in evolution. They were both friends of Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Helena Blavatsky, the mother of the modern New Age/Satanic movement ! (Her doctrines have influenced them in some of their major departures and changes from the Traditional Texts.) If an unsaved man cannot understand the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14), why do the majority of modern scholars somehow assume that the work of these apostate, unbelieving heretics would be superior to the Authorized King James?

All forty-seven translators of the King James Bible (KJ) were godly, committed Christians, who were Protestants and believed in the inerrancy of Scripture and that God will preserve His Word according to Psalm 12:6-7. The King James Old Testament was based on the Hebrew Masoretic text, which history proves as thoroughly reliable and unchanged because the scribes, who believed they were handling the very words of God and took seriously the warnings not to add to or subtract from Scripture, preserved the words exactly as they were written originally. (The Masoretic and priestly scribes also destroyed the worn out copies as they made newer word for word {and jot and tittle} perfect copies. See Matthew 5:18. A jot is the smallest letter and a tittle is the smallest stroke or mark of a letter – like the dot over an “i”.) The King James New Testament comes from the Greek Textus Receptus (Received Text). Both of these became the common accepted Bible texts (the traditional texts) for the Old and New Testaments. The King James was based on these, and it thus became known as the Authorized Version (AV) because all of the known world at that time, excepting the Roman Catholic church, accepted it as the Word of God. ( Note: the King James Bible was built upon the sevenfold foundation of the Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthews, Great, Geneva, and Bishops’ Bibles.) King James authorized this translation for public and private use, to replace the various English translations that were currently being used so as to remove confusion and have one universal standard for his realm. Authorize means To give authority, credit or reputation to and To justify; to support as right . According to these definitions, we can see that the common people authorized it as well. It was written at the height of the English language. The Philadelphian missionary age (and Great Awakening) from 1750-1900 (approx.) solely used the King James Bible.

One of the myths the New King James Version’s publisher and owner (Thomas Nelson) is striving to promote is that they are continuing in the tradition of the King James, and are in fact the fifth major revision of it, implying that our present-day King James Bible has gone through four “revisions.” This is a blatant lie that careful research will bear out. The first two “revisions” (actually editions) were done in 1629 and 1638, within twenty-seven years of the original printings, and were in fact mere corrections of printing press errors. These omissions and errors were also corrected by two of the original translators, by the way. The last two “revisions” were performed in 1762 and 1769, and were merely standardizing of the spelling. When the King James was translated it was at the height of the English language, though many words and names were spelled several different ways. (How many different ways have you seen William Tyndale spelled?)The majority of the word changes were along the lines of changing sonne to son, borne to borne, blinde to blind, sinne to sin, etc. As you can see, these types of changes don’t warrant the term “revision.” According to D.A. Waite, there are only 421 changes, between the 1611 and the 1769 editions, that can be heard by the ear. These would include changing burnt to burned, towards to toward, amongst to among, lift to lifted, you to ye, etc. (He listened to the 1769 King James being read while he compared it visually with a 1611 edition.) “There were only 136 substantial changes that were different words. The others were 285 minor changes of form only… Now you’re talking about only 136 real changes out of 791,328 words.” That certainly doesn’t sound like thousands of changes at all. Puts their claims in a little different perspective, doesn’t it?

Now in an apostate generation we are supposed to believe that we have accurate, more reliable manuscripts; that our newer “Bibles” are easier to understand (for who, the unbeliever?). What about the Holy Spirit helping us to understand? What about God’s promise found in Proverbs 8:8-9, All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. What about studying to shew (present) yourself approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth? (2 Timothy 2:15) What about continuing in the Word of God and being a disciple? Jesus promises if we do that, we would know the truth. (John 8:31-32) If we have better, easier to read Bibles (like the NIV), how come North America is walking away from God at a rapid pace? How come so many “Christians” with these “perfected Bibles” are just going through the motions? I thought God’s Word was quick and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit… and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart! (See Hebrews 4:12-13) Instead of a sharp, twoedged sword, most of modern Christendom prefers a dull, gilt-edged butterknife!!

This is Laodicea; this is the age when we have a form of godliness, but deny its power. According to Matthew 22:29, the Scriptures are the power of God! (See also 1 Corinthians 1:18 and Romans 1:16) What about all those who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted? (See 2 Timothy 3:12) Who in North America is being persecuted? (Except for the lone Christian or church that goes against the flow.)

And if the NASV (or the NIV, the NRSV, or the others) is the “right” translation, how come they keep coming out with more? Like the Message, God’s Word, The King and The Beast, The New International Reader’s Version, etc. Whether you agree or disagree with using the King James Bible as a standard, I challenge you to check out the differences. Whether you believe that the King James is accurate or not, look at what they are deleting and changing, and tell me honestly that you can’t see Satan in the works. I think that you will find that the differences between the King James and all the others is Catholic doctrine or New Age teachings. The King James is what many of the Reformers stood on – now we’ve got everyone rushing back to Rome! What changed? Our Bibles?! When you’ve got the whole “Christian” world at any given time running after something, you’ve got to take a step back and carefully examine what they’re caught up in, like these new Bibles, especially the NIV. (See Matthew 7:13-14 and 24:28) And when you’ve got the majority of this same lukewarm bunch knocking a Bible that has been the standard for almost 400 years, you’ve also got to take a look at that as well.

There are many liberals and compromising “Christians” translating these newer versions. In the preface to the New Revised Standard Version, it says that the translating committee was comprised of liberals, evangelicals, Catholics and Jewish scholars, and that they worked together to make a translation that they all could agree with. Okay, so who compromised? Catholics and Protestants have disagreed strongly over the Gospel for 500 years. (Do the words “Protestant Reformation” ring a bell?) Jews do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah (unless they are Messianic Jews); maybe this is why many of the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament pointing clearly to Jesus, are quite vague (if not altogether gone) in the NRSV.

The editor of the NIV, R. Laird Harris, does not believe in Hell, which is probably why this version doesn’t have too much to say about it. Virginia Mollenkott, the assistant editor, is an avowed lesbian who believes that God is female, that there is scientific evidence that Jesus also was female, and that God is the One. She also believes that homosexuality is not wrong, and that the main sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not homosexuality but lack of compassion on their neighbours – that where they did wrong was in wanting to rape the men (angels) that came to take out Lot from that wicked city. She is also a member of a church that has 500 homosexual couples. The chairman of the NIV’s Old Testament translation committee, Dr. Marten H. Woudstra, was a homosexual. Maybe their stance in this area is the reason for the NIV’s complete removal of the words “homosexual” and “sodomites”, except for 1 Corinthians 6:9 that uses the vague term “homosexual offenders.” According to this verse in the NIV, those who “offend” homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God. The NIV chief editor, Edwin Palmer, believes that God’s sovereignty so overwhelms our humanity that we are not responsible for our own sin; in his own words he stated, “All things are foreordained by God; the moving of a finger… the opening of a window… the mistake of a pianist while playing – even sin… The Bible describes man as passive in the whole matter.” (Note: I later found out that this statement was a result of his Calvinistic beliefs; something is wrong with a school of thought, if it can lead someone to a conclusion like this!) This is similar to theological liberals stating that they believe that homosexuality is in the genes. In other words, it’s not our fault; God made us that way!

What about Kenneth Taylor, who lost his voice in the middle of translating the Living Bible. His psychiatrist suggested that the voice failure was Taylor’s psychological self-punishment for tampering with what he believed to be the Word of God. Philip Schaff, who was on the Greek committee and director of the American Standard Version and who openly admitted to holding beliefs that were considered heretical, had lost his ability to speak entirely. Westcott, who (along with Hort) wrote the Greek text on which all modern versions are based, also lost the ability to speak audibly. John (J.B.) Phillips, who wrote the New Testament in Modern English, aside from losing his voice, also had periodic bouts of insanity. Phillips also believed he had ESP and found comfort in Psychiatry during his bouts, comfort he believes Christianity does not offer. Robert Bratcher, the chief translator of the Good News Bible, denied that Jesus Christ was God.

At least Frank Logsdon, the man who was involved in the NASV committee and wrote the preface for it, totally renounced all his involvement with that translation before he died. He was shocked and ashamed of all the changes and deletions that the committee made. I’m glad he repented of his work on the NASV. He also became convinced that the KJ Bible was inerrant and chose to promote that translation. I believe that he was saved and that we will see him in Heaven. Unfortunately, the havoc that the NASV has wreaked cannot be undone.

Are these people reliable, godly, committed Christians; people that God would use to preserve His holy inerrant Word? Many of the people on these translating committees don’t even believe that we can have an inerrant Bible today. What good is their statement that “we believe that the originals were inerrant” when we no longer have any originals? But God promises that His Word will never pass away and will be preserved forever. (See Psalm 12:6-7 in the KJ, and Matthew 24:35) Where is this infallible, inerrant, preserved Word if we don’t have the originals? What about the King James Bible? I can prove over and over again that there are corruptions and contradictions in all these newer versions, can you prove that there are “errors” in the King James?

Many people complain about the “thee’s and thou’s”, but a little education will clear this up: in the King James, the words thee, thy, thou, thyself, and thine, always refer to one person, and the words ye, your, yours, yourself, always refer to more than one person. (By the way, these pronouns accurately reflect the pronouns in the underlying Greek and Hebrew texts. Sometimes the Biblical writer will switch between the singular and plural pronouns in the same passage or verse, and this emphasis is lost in modern versions. Consider two passages that clearly illustrate this point: Luke 22:31-32 and John 3:7) The only other real drawback with the King James are the old words, but I have a list of several hundred archaic words in the NIV, NKJV, NASB, and NRSV,and in most cases the KJ reading of these same passages is much easier to understand – a quick glance in a Strong’s Concordance or a good dictionary such as (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) will dispel any confusion. How many times have you come across hard to understand (multi-syllable) words in the NASB? The KJ uses mostly one or two syllable words, and it has been proven to have a lower reading level than most modern versions despite claims to the contrary. The history of the KJ, plus its simplicity over all, prove that it is the version honoured by God. (Most scholars will readily admit that God wrote His word in the common language of the people.) Only now there is so much confusion and slander regarding the King James that most people won’t even try to read it.

The problem is not so much that people can’t understand the Bible (don’t forget the Holy Spirit – 1 John 2:20, 27), it’s that people don’t want to obey what they already understand. God promises to give us greater understanding if we obey Him; if we don’t apply what He has already revealed to us, then He will take away what little we have. (Matthew 13:11-12; Mark 4:24-25; Luke 8:18) Maybe this is the reason that so many “Christians” are running after every new “Bible”; maybe these newer translations by lukewarm (dare I say, apostate) Laodicean scholars can help compromising Christendom understand what God’s Spirit hasn’t (or won’t) reveal to them. Reminds me of a King named Saul, whom the Lord wouldn’t guide because of all his rebellion and sin. (See 1 Samuel 14:37; 28:6, 15)

Read the footnotes in your Bible and see what they are explaining away. (See the NKJV – it’s famous for these types of footnotes!) Look in a Strong’s Concordance for the names “Jesus”, “Lord”, or “Christ”, and see how many times they are removed from the NIV, NASV, NRSV, etc. See how many times they delete the references to Jesus being Lord, or God, or Christ. To a New Ager, “the Christ” is someone who has reached godhood or has a divine spirit living within him. Notice how many times these newer versions say “the Christ” instead of “Christ”; and see how many times when it mentions Jesus Christ in the KJ that either “Christ” is removed, or “Jesus” is removed in these modern versions so we don’t confuse Him with “the Christ.” Also “the One” is the chief Babylonian god, not our God. The only time the KJ uses a similar title is when it says “Holy One (of Israel)”, “Just One”, “Mighty One (of Israel, of Jacob)”, and “High and Lofty One.” These are descriptions that tell us something about the character of God. God (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and my God as well) is never called “the One” in the KJ, but some of these newer versions use “the One” everywhere (like the NASV, NKJV, NIrV, and NLT.) The One is not Jehovah God!! Any historian commenting on the religion of old Babylon, like Alexander Hislop in his book “The Two Babylons”, can tell you that. So can any New Ager, or witch, or satanist! New Agers refer to Lucifer as “The One” and use the terms “Living One,” “Coming One,” and “Mighty One” (without the clarification “of Israel,” or “of Jacob”) to reflect religious philosophies that are worlds apart from Biblical Christianity.

Open your eyes if you are serious about serving God; this is an issue that you can’t just overlook. There is so much deception out there; if the elect don’t open their eyes they will be deceived, like Jesus said. But if we are following Him closely and bringing everything in our lives under the subjection of the Word of God, we won’t be deceived. I don’t think just being a Christian excludes you from deception; check how many times it says in the New Testament, “be not deceived.” And also check how many false cults are in the world, all claiming to teach true Christianity. These cults have thousands upon thousands of followers, some who truly believe they are Christians.

Look at the following changes about Jesus’ deity and eternality:

Matthew 1:16 in the NIV adds an extra comma to imply that Joseph is Jesus’ father. Luke 2:33 in most modern versions change the word Joseph to “his father.” (See also Luke 2:43)

Isaiah 7:14 in the NRSV has “young woman” and not virgin. Luke 1:34 in some versions have Mary saying “How can this be seeing I am not married.” Last I checked (and according to John 4), being unmarried doesn’t necessarily imply virginity, especially in North American culture today!

In Galatians 4:4, most modern versions completely remove the miracle of the virgin birth by changing the words from made of a woman, made under the law to “born of a woman…” Funny thing is: I was born of a woman, how about you? Where’s the miracle there? If God wasn’t Jesus’ Father (as declared in numerous passages), and if Mary wasn’t a virgin, then Jesus wasn’t God!

In fact many newer versions declare in 1 Timothy 3:16 that “He was manifest in the flesh.” They just don’t say that God was manifest in the flesh. If Jesus had a human father that would also mean that He inherited Adam’s sinful nature that is passed down through his descendents, according to Romans 5:12, 19.

John 1:18 in these same versions state that Jesus was “the only begotten God,” not the only begotten Son of God. When was Jesus’ Godhood begotten? The NIV calls Jesus “God the One and Only.”

Look at Micah 5:2 in the NIV, “whose origins are from old, from ancient times.” KJ says whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Look at Philippians 2:6 in the NIV, NASV. They both imply that Jesus was not equal with God.

The NASV’s rendering of Psalm 8:5 as “Thou hast made him a little lower than God,” does the same thing in a round about way when you consider that this passage was specifically applied to Jesus in Hebrews 2:7. (Funny thing – the NASV translates the phrase as “lower than the angels” in Hebrews, but not in Psalm 8. Why this inconsistency?) (Also a little apostate side note according to Eugene Peterson’s The Message; in this same verse he says that “we’ve so narrowly missed being gods.” Listening to the Serpent again there, eh Eugene? See Genesis 3:5)

Romans 14:10 says “God” instead of Christ.

For an interesting glimpse of translator’s apostasy, look in Jude 25 (NIV, NASV), “to the only God our Savior…through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Uh, excuse me, last I checked the only God our Saviour is Jesus Christ our Lord!

What about Jesus’ physical resurrection and ascension to Heaven:

Mark 16:9-20 are put in brackets and explained away in the NIV and the NASV. They are also explained away in the NKJV footnotes.

Luke 24:51 in the NASV removes and was carried up into heaven.

Romans 14:9 in the NIV, NASV, NRSV – removes and arose.

Some ways these new versions pave the way for Catholic doctrine are:

Hebrews 1:3 removes the words by Himself. Allows room for Mary as co-redeemer.

Matthew 1:25 removes the word firstborn, thereby removing the implication that she had other children. Though personally, I can’t understand how some people can believe that the four other sons and at least two daughters mentioned in Matthew 13:55-56 could possibly be Jesus’ cousins (and not his actual siblings as those verses plainly state.)

Mark 1:5 in the NIV implies that the people were confessing their sins to John in order to be forgiven. If you don’t think that is implied here, I dare you to read James 5:16 in either the NIV or the NASV. It says “confess your sins to each other.” The KJ reads Confess your faults …

1 Corinthians 9:27 says “I beat (buffet) my body and make it my slave,” instead of I keep under my body and bring it into subjection. (See also Colossians 2:23) There’s a major difference between controlling your body and abusing it, like the doctrine of penance.

Revelation 14:8 removes the word city. Babylon is not here identified as a city. Wouldn’t want Catholics to get the idea that God’s wrath is upon their beloved Vatican City (Rome), which has been known as the City on Seven Hills for 2500 years or so. (See Revelation 17:9, 18) In the NASV, Revelation 17:5 says “a mystery, Babylon The Great…” Wouldn’t want Christians to do research on the Mystery religions, especially associated with Babylon; they might discover that many (if not all) of the Catholic doctrines (and a few Protestant practices) come straight out of Mystery Babylon. If you don’t want to believe this, I highly don’t recommend “The Two Babylons” by Alexander Hislop, because he does a great job of documenting this very fact.

There are so many changes and contradictions in these newer versions that it’s hard to mention which ones to get your attention.

Here are some contradictions:

Several places in the Old Testament, like Deuteronomy 32:17; Leviticus 17:7; and 1 Corinthians 10:20, make it pretty clear that we are not to seek to contact the dead (and in fact we can’t) and when we think we are speaking with the dead, we are actually in contact with fallen angels (devils). 1 Samuel 28:14 in these newer versions say that “Saul knew that it was Samuel.” KJ says that Saul perceived… In other words, he thought he was communicating with Samuel. Quite a difference, I’d say.

Matthew 5:22 in the KJ says that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement. Newer versions remove without a cause (because Origen didn’t like it in there), thereby making it a sin to be angry at all. This contradicts Ephesians 4:26, and makes Jesus a sinner according to Mark 3:5 and Matthew 23.

Mark 1:2 in the KJ says as it is written in the prophets because Mark quotes from two Old Testament prophets – Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1. These newer versions say “Isaiah the prophet.”

Luke 2:22, in the NIV and NASV, says ” in the days (time) of their purification.” This contradicts Leviticus 12:2-8 which states specifically that it is the woman herself who must purified after bearing a child. Many feel this is a direct attack on the sinlessness of Jesus Christ, as this particular change leaves the implication that the pure, spotless Son of God also needed purification! The KJ reads the days of her purification.

The NIV states that Jesus was the “one and only Son of God” in John 1:14,18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9. That contradicts both the Old Testament where God calls the angels sons of God (Job 38:7), and the New Testament where Christians are called sons of God (John 1:12; Romans 8:14, 19) Adam was called a son of God (Luke 3:28) as were those saved in the line of Seth (Genesis 6:4). The KJ calls Jesus the only begotten Son of God. Jesus was the only person who was ever born physically as the Son of God. Angels and Adam were created individually (were not born), some in the lineage of Seth chose to follow the Lord and be saved (therefore they were called sons of God – see Genesis 4:26), and Christians are born spiritually as sons of God.

David killed Goliath with a slingshot and a stone and then cut off his head in 1 Samuel 17:50-51; however, according to the NIV and NASV in 2 Samuel 21:19, it says “Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite.” This even contradicts another passage in these versions (1 Chronicles 20:5) which states that “Elhanan… killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite.” Will they make up their mind. This is worse than a murder mystery; at least then you know that it was the butler who did it! (And you also know who was killed!)

The NASV in John 7:8 makes Jesus out to be a liar when He says, “I do not go up to this feast” and two verses later He’s there! The KJ has the word yet in verse 8. He was going, but not at the same time His brothers went.

These apostate translators’ adding, subtracting, and twisting of God’s Word make it so hard for the serious Bible believer to study and rightly divide the word of truth. They are playing at being God over what should be and shouldn’t be in there, and this removes and changes many cross-references, parallels, and word studies. It’s almost impossible to determine what God meant by a word or phrase in the NIV when you’ve got that same word translated fifty different ways. In the King James Bible the translators were consistent. These new translators, by rejecting the authority of God’s Word, are doing what is right in their own eyes. When you’ve got 200 or more different translations of a word or passage, you’ve got total confusion and chaos. God didn’t mean 200 different things when He spoke. He meant His Word to be clear and easily understood. (Of course we still have to study it, but when we seek for the meaning of a passage the Lord will reveal what He wants us to understand at that time, if we intend to obey His will when it is revealed to us. John 7:17 makes this clear. Those who seek – from God and His Word – do find.)

Ephesians 5:30, in newer versions, deletes the words of his flesh, and of his bones , thereby removing the beautiful type of Christ and His church found in Genesis 3:21-23.

Now either I’ve thoroughly annoyed you with this letter, or I’ve made you realize that there are some serious differences between the King James Bible and all these modern, newer, “more accurate” versions . (I decided to mainly use the NIV and the NASV for these comparisons, but grab any other version and check out these same passages.) (Note: the NIV and the NKJV have gone through several revisions, so some of the passages that I’ve pointed out may be even further changed in the edition that you may have.) Hopefully you will pray about this issue and check out other passages as well. There is so much at stake here; this is a choice between deception or truth, between tradition (and peer pressure) or standing alone on the uncorrupted Word of God. Most people will not acknowledge these differences or say that they do not matter doctrinally (or even personally.) Ha!

Does it matter if Acts 8:37 is completely removed? The verse that clearly states that a person must be mature enough to understand and make a choice to follow and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Does it matter if the words through his blood are removed from Colossians 1:14? These are the words that clearly state how this redemption is made possible. Does it matter that 1 John 5:7 is removed? This is one of the clearest references to the Trinity in the whole Bible. Does it matter if your “Bible” states that Jesus was just a created god; or if he was just a man? “He was manifest in the flesh.” Well, so was everyone else – we just weren’t God (or gods) before! (Never will be either – sorry Benny Hinn, Kenneth Hagin, Copeland, Satan, et. al.)

Does it matter if your “Bible” translates Lucifer as the Morning Star in Isaiah 14:12, thereby equating the person who sought to exalt himself above God and who was subsequently cast out of Heaven with Jesus Christ, the Morning Star? And if that heresy wasn’t obvious enough for us, they also added cross-references referring to 2 Peter 1:19 and Revelation 22:16 so we wouldn’t miss the point. The Amplified (Satanic) Bible even goes one step further by their note on Isaiah 14:12, where they say:

“‘Light-bringer’ or ‘Shining one’ was originally translated Lucifer , but because of the association of that name with Satan it is not now used. Some students feel that the application of the name Lucifer to Satan, in spite of the long and confident teaching to that effect, is erroneous. Lucifer, the light-bringer is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word Phosphoros , which is used as a title of Christ in II Peter 1:19 and corresponds to the name ‘bright Morning Star’ in Revelation 22:16, which Jesus called Himself.”

Does it matter if North American Copyright Laws state that for someone to copyright written material, it must be 10% (or more) different from any other previous published material – yes, even Bibles! A copyright states that the creator of a product has exclusive rights to that product. (So these translators are setting themselves up as the creators of God’s Word!) The King James Bible is not copyrighted (not in the same sense we copyright today – it had a Crown Copyright, which protected the text of the Bible and prevented anyone from changing it); however, if you buy a KJ with a concordance, maps, or notes, etc., then these will be copyrighted – not the King James text itself. Every other “new” per-version is copyrighted, including the New King James Version. (There are over 100,000 word changes in this “faithful” translation!) No one can tell me that the difficult words in the King James account for 10% of the text. What are all these other changes? (Why do they change many easy to understand passages if they are trying to be “faithful” to the KJ, and why do many of their changes not only “update” words, but also change the meaning of the passage?)

I don’t want to be in any of those translator’s shoes. They won’t see Heaven unless they repent of their playing around with, deleting, and adding to God’s Word:

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book; And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, And out of the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book. Revelation 22:18-19

And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15

I will pray that you will check out what is written in this letter and will share this knowledge (if you are convinced) with others. May God bless you as you search the Scriptures daily to see whether these things are so. Please don’t reject what I am saying until you have prayed about and checked this issue out for yourself. Don’t just take some Bible teacher’s or “scholar’s” opinion as truth. You are accountable before God to be a Berean, to compare every teaching with the Word of God. (See Acts 17:11; 1 Corinthians 2:15 and 14:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; and Hebrews 5:14, among others.) If I’m wrong on this issue, you have nothing to lose; but if I’m right, Babylon’s got a worse foothold than most Christians realize and the final apostasy is upon us. Wake up, Laodicea, before Jesus spues you out of His mouth forever!

I leave you with one promise and one warning:

But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word . Isaiah 66:2

You can’t tremble at God’s Word if you don’t believe that the Bible you read is God’s infallible, inerrant, inspired, preserved Word. And if you don’t let the Spirit of Truth teach you and change you.

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they might all be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, we will accept and believe, and yes, even tremble at His Word. How about you? Don’t reject what I’ve told you, before you’ve personally checked it out, especially if you are convinced. I believe all the true evidence will lead you straight to the King James Bible in English (and Textus Receptus-based translations in other languages.) Don’t reject this information just because it is unpopular with the world and carnal Christians. Receive the King James, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually worketh (continually works) also in you that believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

May God guide you and make you strong in Christ – I know you’ve got some serious choices to make.

Jerry Bouey
Eagle’s Wings Ministries

A Sermon For The Time Present

A Sermon For The Time Present

A Sermon

(No. 1990)

Delivered on Lord’s-day Morning, October 30th, 1887, by


At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

“In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.” —Zephaniah 3:16-18.

HOLY SCRIPTURE is wonderfully full and abiding in its inner sense. It is a springing well, whereat you may draw, and draw again; for as you draw, it springs up for ever new and fresh. It is a well of water springing up everlastingly. The fulfillment of a divine promise is not the exhaustion of it. When a man gives you a promise, and he keeps it, there is an end of the promise; but it is not so with God. When he keeps his word to the full, he has but begun: he is prepared to keep it, and keep it, and keep it for ever and ever. What would you say of a man who had wheat upon his barn floor, and threshed it until he had beaten out the last golden grain; but the next day he went and threshed again, and brought back as much as the day before; and on the day after, again taking his flail, he went to the same threshing, and again brought back his measure as full as at the first, and so on for all the days of the year? Would it not seem to you as a fairy tale? It would certainly be a surprising miracle. But what should we say if, throughout a long life, this miracle could be prolonged.? Yet we have continued to thresh the promises ever since faith was given us, and we have carried away our full portion every day. What shall we say of the glorious fact that the saints in all generations, from the first day until now, have done the same; and of that equal truth, that as long as there is a needy soul upon earth, there will be upon the threshing floor of the promises the same abundance of the finest of the wheat as when the first man filled his measure and returned rejoicing? I will not dwell upon the specific application of the text before us: I do not doubt that it was specially fulfilled as it was intended; and if there still remains some special piece of history to which this passage alludes, it will again be fulfilled in due time; but this I know, that those who have lived between whiles have found this promise true to them. Children of God have used these promises under all sorts of circumstances, and have derived the utmost comfort from them; and this morning I feel as if the text had been newly written for the present occasion, for it is in every syllable most suitable to the immediate crisis. If the Lord had fixed his eye upon the condition of his church just now, and had written this passage only for this year of grace 1887, it could scarcely have been more adapted to the occasion. Our business shall be to show this; but I would aim at much more. Let our prayer be that we, may enjoy this marvellous portion of the sacred word, and take intense delight in it. As God rests in his love, so may we rest in it this morning; and as he joys over us with singing, so may we break forth into joyous psalms to the God of our salvation.

I am going to begin with the last verse of the text, and work my way upwards. The first; head is, a trying day for God’s people. They are sorrowful because a cloud is upon their solemn assembly, and the reproach thereof is a burden. Secondly, we will note a glorious ground of consolation. We read in the seventeenth verse, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” And, thirdly, here is a brave conduct suggested thereby: “In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.”

I. Beginning at the eighteenth verse, we notice A TRYING DAY FOR GOD’S PEOPLE. The solemn assembly had fallen under reproach. The solemn assemblies of Israel were her glory: her great days of festival and sacrifice were the gladness of the land. To the faithful their holy days were their holidays. But a reproach had fallen upon the solemn assembly, and I believe it is so now at this present moment. It is a, sad affliction when in our solemn assemblies the brilliance of the gospel light is dimmed by error. The clearness of the testimony is spoiled when doubtful voices are scattered among the people, and those who ought to preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, are telling out for doctrines the imaginations of men, and the inventions of the age. Instead of revelation, we have philosophy, falsely so-called; instead of divine infallibility, we have surmises and larger hopes. The gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, is taught as the production of progress, a growth, a thing to be amended and corrected year by year. It is an ill day, both for the church and the world, when the trumpet does not give a certain sound; for who shall prepare himself for the battle?

If added to this we should see creeping over the solemn assembly of the church a lifelessness, an indifference, and a lack of spiritual power, it is painful to a high degree. When the vitality of religion is despised, and gatherings for prayer are neglected, what are we coming to? The present period of church history is well portrayed by the church of Laodicea, which was neither cold nor hot, and therefore to be spewed out of Christ’s mouth. That church gloried that she was rich and increased in goods, and had need of nothing, while all the while her Lord was outside, knocking at the door, a door closed against him. That passage is constantly applied to the unconverted, with whom it has nothing to do: it has to do with a lukewarm church, with a church that thought itself to be in an eminently prosperous condition, while her living Lord, in the doctrine of his atoning sacrifice, was denied an entrance. Oh, if he had found admission— and he was eager to find it— she would soon have flung away her imaginary wealth, and he would have given her gold tried in the furnace, and white raiment with which she might be clothed. Alas! she is content without her Lord, for she has education, oratory, science, and a thousand other baubles. Zion’s solemn assembly is under a cloud indeed, when the teaching of Jesus and his apostles is of small account with her.

If in addition to this, worldly conformity spreads in the church, so that the vain amusements of the world are shared in by the saints, then is there reason enough for lamentation, even as Jeremiah cried: “How is the gold become dim!” Her Nazarites, who were purer than snow and whiter than milk, have become blacker than a coal. “All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.” If no longer there is a clear distinction between the church and the world, but professed followers of Jesus have joined hands with unbelievers, then may we mourn indeed! Woe worth the day! An ill time has happened to the church and to the world also. We may expect great judgments, for the Lord will surely be avenged on such a people as this. Know ye not of old that when the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they were joined unto them, then the flood came and swept them all away? I need not pursue this subject further, lest our burdens take from us the time which is demanded for consolation.

It appears from the text that there were some to whom the reproach was a burden. They could not make sport of sin. True, there were many who said that the evil did not exist at all, and others who declared that it was not present in any great degree. Yes, and more hardened spirits declared that what was considered to be a reproach was really a thing to be boasted of, the very glory of the century. Thus they huffed the matter, and made the mourning of the conscientious to be a theme for jest. But there was a remnant to whom the reproach of it was a burden; these could not bear to see such a calamity. To these the Lord God will have respect, as he said by the prophet:— “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” The many drank wine in bowls and anointed themselves with their chief ointments, but they were not grieved for the affliction of Joseph (Amos 6:6); but these were pressed in spirit and bore the cross, counting the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt. God’s people cannot bear that Christ’s atoning sacrifice should be dishonored; they cannot endure that his truth should be trodden as mire in the streets. To true believers prosperity means the Holy Ghost blessing the word to the conversion of sinners and the building up of saints; and if they do not see this, they hang their harps upon the willows. True lovers of Jesus fast when the Bridegroom is not with his church: their glow is in his glory, and in nothing else. The wife of Phinehas, the son of Eli, cried out in her dying agony, “The glory has departed,” and the reason that she gave was once because of the death of her husband and his father, but twice because “the ark of God is taken.” For this she named her new-born child Ichabod — “The glory is departed from Israel, for the ark of God is taken.” The bitterest pain of this godly woman was for the church, and for the honor of our God. So it is with God’s true people: they lay it much to heart that the truth is rejected.

This burdened spirit, is a token of true love to God: those who love the Lord Jesus are wounded in his woundings, and vexed with the vexings of his Spirit. When Christ is dishonored his disciples are dishonored. Those who have a tender heart towards the church can say with Paul, “Who is offended, and I burn not?” The sins of the church of God are the sorrows of all living members of it. This also marks a healthy sensibility, a vital spirituality. Those who are unspiritual care nothing for truth or grace: they look to finances, and numbers, and respectability. Utterly carnal men care for none of these things; and so long as the political aims of Dissenters are progressing, and there is an advance in social position, it is enough for them. But men whose spirits are of God would sooner see the faithful persecuted than see them desert the truth, sooner see churches in the depths of poverty full of holy zeal than rich churches dead in worldliness. Spiritual men care for the church even when she is in an evil case, and cast down by her adversaries: “thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof.” The house of the Lord is to many of us our own house, his family is our family. Unless the Lord Jesus be extolled, and his gospel conquer, we feel that our own personal interests are blighted, and we ourselves are in disgrace. It is no small thing to us: it is our life.

Thus have I dwelt upon the fact that it is an ill day for God’s people when the solemn assembly is defiled: the reproach thereof is a burden to those who are truly citizens of the New Jerusalem, and because of this they are seen to be sorrowful. The Lord here says, “I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly.” They may well be sorrowful when such a burden is laid on their hearts. Moreover, they see in a hundred ways the ill effect of the evil which they deplore. Many are lame and halting; this is hinted at in the promise of the nineteenth verse: “I will save her that halteth.” Pilgrims on the road to Zion were made to limp on the road because the prophets were “light and treacherous persons.” When the pure gospel is not preached, God’s people are robbed of the strength which they need in their life-journey. If you take away the bread, the children hunger. If you give the flock poisonous pastures, or fields which are barren as the desert, they pine and they become lame in their daily following of the shepherd. The doctrinal soon affects the practical. I know many of the people of God living in different parts of this country to whom the Sabbath is very little of a day of rest, for they hear no truth in which rest is to be found, but they are worried and wearied with novelties which neither glorify God nor benefit the souls of men. In many a place the sheep look up and are not fed. This causes much disquietude and breeds doubts and questionings, and thus strength is turned to weakness, and the work of faith, the labor of love, and the patience of hope are all kept in a halting state. This is a grievous evil, and it is all around us. Then, alas! many are “driven out,” of whom the nineteenth verse says, “I will gather her that was driven out.” By false doctrine many are made to wander from the fold. Hopeful ones are made to stray from the path of life, and sinners are left in their natural distance from God. The truth which would convince men of sin is not preached, while other truths which would lead seekers into peace are beclouded, and souls are left in needless sorrow. When the doctrines of grace and the glorious atoning sacrifice are not set clearly before men’s minds, so that they may feel their power, all sorts of evils follow. It is terrible to me that this dreadful blight should come upon our churches; for the hesitating are driven to destruction, the weak are staggered, and even the strong are perplexed. The false teachers of these days would, if it were possible, deceive the very elect. This makes our hearts very sorrowful. How can we help it?

Yet, beloved, all the time that the people of God are in this evil case, they are not without hope; for close upon all this comes the promise of the Lord to restore his wandering ones. We have the sense twice over: “I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.” “I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.” The adversaries cannot silence the eternal testimony. They hanged our Lord himself upon a tree; they took down his body and buried it in a tomb in the rock; and they set their seal upon the stone which they rolled at the mouth of the sepulcher. Surely now there was an end of the Christ and his cause. Boast not, ye priests and Pharisees! Vain the watch, the stone, the seal! When the appointed time had come, the living Christ came forth. He could not be holden by the cords of death. How idle their dreams! “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord doth have them in derision.” Beloved, the reproach will yet be rolled away from the solemn assembly: the truth of God will yet again be proclaimed as with trumpet tongue, the Spirit of God will revive his church, and converts as many as the sheaves of the harvest shall yet be gathered in. How will the faithful rejoice! Those who were burdened and sorrowful shall then put on their garments of joy and beauty. Then shall the ransomed of the Lord return with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. The conflict is not doubtful. The end of the battle is sure and certain. Methinks I even now hear the shout, “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

II. Secondly, let us think of something which shines like a star amid the darkness. The second verse of the text presents A GLORIOUS GROUND OF CONSOLATION. Here is a rich text indeed. This passage is like a great sea, while I am as a little child making pools in the sand which skirts its boundless flood. A series of discourses might well be founded on this one verse: I mean the seventeenth.

Our great consolation in the worst times lies in our God. The very name of our covenant God— “the Lord thy God”— is full of good cheer. That word, “the Lord,” is really JEHOVAH, the self-existent One, the unchangeable One, the ever-living God, who cannot change or be moved from his everlasting purpose. Children of God, whatever you have not got, you have a God in whom you may greatly glory. Having God you have more than all things, for all things come of him; and if all things were blotted out, he could restore all things simply by his will. He speaketh, and it is done; he commandeth, and it stands fast. Blessed is the man that hath the God of Jacob for his trust, and whose hope Jehovah is. In the Lord Jehovah we have righteousness and strength; let us trust in him for ever. Let the times roll on, they cannot affect our God. Let troubles rush upon us like a tempest, but they shall not come nigh unto us now that he is our defense. Jehovah, the God of his church, is also the God of each individual member of it, and each one may therefore rejoice in him. Jehovah is as much your God, my brother, as if no other person in the universe could use that covenant expression. O believer, the Lord God is altogether and wholly your God! All his wisdom, all his foresight, all his power, all his immutability — all himself is yours. As for the church of God, when she is in her lowest estate she is still established and endowed in the best possible sense— established by the divine decree, and endowed by the possession of God all-sufficient. The gates of hell shall not prevail against her. Let us exult in our possession. Poor as we are, we are infinitely rich in having God; weak as we are, there is no limit to our strength, since the Almighty Jehovah is ours. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” If God be ours, what more can we need? Lift up thy heart, thou sorrowful one, and be of good cheer. If God be thy God, thou hast all thou canst desire: wrapped up within his glorious name we find all things for time and eternity, for earth and heaven. Therefore in the name of Jehovah we will set up our banners, and march onward to the battle. He is our God by his own purpose, covenant, and oath; and this day he is our God by our own choice of him, by our union with Christ Jesus, by our experience of his goodness, and by that spirit of adoption whereby we cry “Abba, Father.”

To strengthen this consolation, we notice next, that this God is in the midst of us. He is not a long way off, to be sought with difficulty, if haply we may find him. The Lord is a God nigh at hand, and ready to deliver his people. Is it not delightful to think that we cry not to God across the ocean, for he is here? We look not up to him from afar, as though he dwelt beyond the stars, neither do we think of him as hidden in the fathomless abyss; but the Lord is very near. Our God is “Jehovah in the midst of thee.” Since that bright night in which a babe was born at Bethlehem, and unto us a Son was given, we know God as “Emmanuel, God with us.” God is in our nature, and therefore very near unto us. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” Though his bodily presence is gone, yet we have his spiritual presence with us evermore; for he saith, “Lo, I am with you alway.” He walketh among the golden candlesticks. We have also the immediate presence of God the Holy Spirit. He is in the midst of the church to enlighten, convince, quicken, endow, comfort, and clothe with spiritual power. The Lord still works in the minds of men for the accomplishment of his purposes of grace. Let us think of this when we are going forth to Christian service: “The Lord of hosts is with us.” When you call your class together in the Sabbath school, say to your Lord, “If thy presence go not with me, carry me not up hence.” Ah, friends! if we have God with us, we can bear to be deserted by men. What a word that is, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them!” Shall not the army shout when the King himself is in their ranks! Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered! When he is with us they that hate him must flee before him. Be it our concern so to live that we may never grieve away the Spirit of God. Beloved, there is such abundant consolation in the fact of the presence of God with us, that if we could only feel the power of it at this moment, we should enter into rest, and our heaven would begin below.

Let us go a step further, and note that our consolation is largely to be found in the fact that this God in the midst of us is full of power to save. “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save.” That is to say, “Jehovah, thy God, is mighty to save.” His arm is not shortened, he is still “a just God and a Saviour.” Nor is he merely able to save, but he will display that ability; “he will save.” Come, my brother, we see around us this and that to discourage us; let us, like David, encourage ourselves in the Lord our God. We may very well forget all difficulties, since the God who is in the midst of us is mighty to save. Let us pray, then, that he will save; that he will save his own church from lukewarmness and from deady error; that he will save her from her worldliness and formalism; save her from unconverted ministers and ungodly members. Let us lift up our eyes and behold the power which is ready to save; and let us go on to pray that the Lord may save the unconverted by thousands and millions. Oh, that we might see a great revival of religion! This is what we want before all things. This would smite the enemy upon the cheek-bone, and break the teeth of the adversary. If tens of thousands of souls were immediately saved by the sovereign grace of God, what a rebuke it would be to those who deny the faith! Oh, for times such as our fathers saw when first Whitefield and his helpers began to preach the life-giving word! When one sweet voice was heard clear and loud, all the birds of paradise began to sing in concert with him, and the morning of a glorious day was heralded. Oh, if that were to happen again, I should feel like Simeon when he embraced the heavenly babe! Then would the virgin daughter of Zion shake her head at the foe, and laugh him to scorn. It may happen; yea, if we are importunate in prayer it must happen: “God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.” Let us not seek power of rhetoric, much less of wealth; but let us look for the power which saves. This is the one thing I crave. Oh, that God would save souls! I say to myself, after being badgered and worried through the week by the men of modern thought: “I will go my way and preach Christ’s gospel, and win souls.” One lifting up of Jesus Christ crucified is more to me than all the cavillings of the men who are wise above what is written. Converts are our unanswerable arguments. “Happy is the man,” saith the Psalm, “that hath his quiver full of them: they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Blessed is the man who has many spiritual children born to God under his ministry; for his converts are his defense. Beholding the man who was healed standing with Peter and John, they could say nothing against them. If souls are saved by the gospel, the gospel is proved in the surest manner. Let us care more about conversions than about organizations. If souls are brought into union with Christ, we may let other unions go.

We go yet further, and we come to great deeps: behold God’s joy in his people. “He will rejoice over thee with joy.” Think of this! Jehovah, the living God, is described as brooding over his church with pleasure. He looks upon souls redeemed by the blood of his dear Son, quickened by his Holy Spirit, and his heart is glad. Even the infinite heart of God is filled with an extraordinary joy at the sight of his chosen. His delight is in his church, his Hephzibah. I can understand a minister rejoicing over a soul that he has brought to Christ; I can also understand believers rejoicing to see others saved from sin and hell; but what shall I say of the infinitely-happy and eternally-blessed God finding, as it were, a new joy in souls redeemed? This is another of those great wonders which cluster around the work of divine grace! “He will rejoice over thee with joy.” Oh, you are trembling for the ark of the Lord; the Lord is not trembling, but rejoicing. Faulty as the church is, the Lord rejoices in her. While we mourn, as well we may, yet we do not sorrow as those that are without hope; for God does not sorrow, his heart is glad, and he is said to rejoice with joy — a highly emphatic expression. The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, imperfect though they be. He sees them as they are to be, and so he rejoices over them, even when they cannot rejoice in themselves. When your face is blurred with tears, your eyes red with weeping, and your heart heavy with sorrow for sin, the great Father is rejoicing over you. The prodigal son wept in his Father’s bosom, but the Father rejoiced over his son. We are questioning, doubting, sorrowing, trembling; and all the while he who sees the end from the beginning knows what will come out of the present disquietude, and therefore rejoices. Let us rise in faith to share the joy of God. Let no man’s heart fail him because of the taunts of the enemy. Rather let the chosen of God rouse themselves to courage, and participate in that joy of God which never ceaseth, even though the solemn assembly has become a reproach. Shall we not rejoice in him when he, in his boundless condescension, deigns to rejoice in us? Whoever despairs for the cause, he does not; wherefore let us be of good courage.

It is added, “He will rest in his love.” I do not know any Scripture which is more full of wonderful meaning than this. “He shall rest in his love,” as if our God had in his people found satisfaction. He comes to an anchorage: he has reached his desire. As when a Jacob, full of love to Rachel, has at length ended the years of his service, and is married to his well-beloved, and his heart is at rest; so is it spoken in parable of the Lord our God. Jesus sees of the travail of his soul when his people are won to him; he has been baptized with his baptism for his church, and he is no longer straitened, for his desire is fulfilled. The Lord is content with his eternal choice, content with his loving purposes, satisfied with the love which went forth from everlasting. He is well pleased in Jesus — well pleased with all the glorious purposes which are connected with his dear Son, and with those who are in him. He has a calm content in the people of his choice, as he sees them in Christ. This is a good ground for our having a deep satisfaction of heart also. We are not what we would be; but then we are not what we shall be. We advance slowly; but then we advance surely. The end is secured by omnipotent grace. It is right that we should be discontented with ourselves, yet this holy restlessness should not rob us of our perfect peace in Christ Jesus. If the Lord hath rest in us, shall we not have rest in him? If he rests in his love, cannot we rest in it?

My heart is comforted as I plainly see in these words love unchanging, love abiding, love eternal: “he will rest in his love.” Jehovah changes not. Being married to his people, “he hateth putting away.” Immutability is written on his heart. The turtle-dove, when he has once chosen his mate, remains faithful throughout life, and if the beloved dies, he will, in many cases, pine away with grief for her, for his life is wrapped up in hers. Even so our Lord hath made his choice of his beloved, and he will never change it: he died for his church, and so long as he lives he will remember his own love, and what it cost him: “Who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?” “He will rest in his love.”

The love of God to us is undisturbed: “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding,” dwells with his love: he is not disquieted about it, but peacefully loves, and is never moved. The calm of God is wonderful to contemplate: his infallible knowledge and infinite power put him beyond fear or question. He sees no cause of alarm as to his redeemed, nor as to the cause of truth and the reign of righteousness. As to his true church, he knows that she is right, or that he will make her right. She is being transformed into the image of Jesus, and he rests in the full assurance that the image will ere long be complete. He can carry out his own purposes in his own way and time. He can see the harvest as well as the sowing; therefore he doth “rest in his love.” You have seen a mother wash her child, and as she washes its face the child perhaps is crying, for it does not for the present enjoy the cleansing operation. Does the mother share the child’s grief? Does she also cry? Oh, no! she rejoices over her babe, and rests in her love, knowing that the light affliction of the little one will work its real good. Often our griefs are no deeper than the cry of a child because of the soap in its eyes. While the church is being washed with tribulations and persecutions, God is resting in his love. You and I are wearying, but God is resting.

“He shall rest in his love.” The Hebrew of this line is, “He shall be silent in his love.” His happiness in his love is so great, that he does not express it, but keeps a happy silence. His is a joy too deep for words. No language can express the joy of God in his love; and therefore he uses no words. Silence in this case is infinitely expressive. One of the old commentators says, “He is deaf and dumb in his love,” as if he heard no voice of accusation against his chosen, and would not speak a word of upbraiding to her. Remember the silence of Jesus, and expound this text thereby.

Sometimes also the Lord does not speak to his people: we cannot get a cheering word from him; and then we sigh for a promise, and long for a visit of his love; but if he be thus silent, let us know that, he is only silent in his love. It is not the silence of wrath, but of love. His love is not changed, even though he does not comfort us.

“His thoughts are high, his love is wise,
His wounds a cure intend;
And though he does not always smile,
He loves unto the end.”

When he does not answer our prayers with his hand, he yet hears them with his heart. Denials are only another form of the same love which grants our petitions. He loves us, and sometimes shows that love better by not giving us what we ask than he could do if he spoke the sweetest promise which the ear has ever heard. I prize this sentence: “He shall rest in his love.” My God, thou art perfectly content with thy church after all, because thou knowest what she is to be. Thou seest how fair she will be when she comes forth from the washing, having put on her beautiful garments. Lo, the sun goes down, and we mortals dread the endless darkness; but thou, great God, seest the morning, and thou knowest that in the hours of darkness dews will fall which shall refresh thy garden. Ours is the measure of an hour, and thine the judgment of eternity, therefore we will correct our short-sighted judgment by thine infallible knowledge, and rest with thee.

The last word is, however, the most wonderful of all: “He will joy over thee with singing.” Think of the great Jehovah singing! Can you imagine it? Is it possible to conceive of the Deity breaking into a song: Father, Son and Holy Ghost together singing over the redeemed? God is so happy in the love which he bears to his people that he breaks the eternal silence, and sun and moon and stars with astonishment hear God chanting a hymn of joy. Among Orientals a certain song is sung by the bridegroom when he receives his bride: it is intended to declare his joy in her, and in the fact that his marriage has come. Here, by the pen of inspiration, the God of love is pictured as married to his church, and so rejoicing in her that he rejoices over her with singing. If God sings, shall not we sing? He did not sing when he made the world. No; he looked upon it, and simply said that it was good. The angels sang, the sons of God shouted for joy: creation was very wonderful to them, but it was not much to God, who could have made thousands of worlds by his mere will. Creation could not make him sing; and I do not even know that Providence ever brought a note of joy from him, for he could arrange a thousand kingdoms of providence with ease. But when it came to redemption, that cost him dear. Here he spent; eternal thought, and drew up a covenant with infinite wisdom. Here he gave his Only-begotten Son, and put him to grief to ransom his beloved ones. When all was done, and the Lord saw what became of it in the salvation of his redeemed, then he rejoiced after a divine manner. What must the joy be which recompenses Gethsemane and Calvary! Here we are among the Atlantic waves. The Lord God receives an accession to the infinity of his joy in the thought of his redeemed people. “He shall rejoice over thee with singing.” I tremble while I speak of such themes, lest I should say a word that should dishonor the matchless mystery; but still we are glad to note what is written, and we are bound to take comfort from it. Let us have sympathy with the joy of the Lord, for this will be our strength.

III. I close with a brief word upon THE BRAVE CONDUCT SUGGESTED THEREBY. Let us not sorrow under the burdens which we bear, but rejoice in God, the great Burden-bearer, upon whom this day we roll our load. Here it is—”In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.”

There are three things for God’s people to do. The first is, to be happy. Read verse fourteen—” Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all thy heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.” Any man can sing when his cup is full of delights; the believer alone has songs when waters of a bitter cup are wrung out to him. Any sparrow can chirp in the daylight; it is only the nightingale that can sing in the dark. Children of God, whenever the enemies seem to prevail over you, whenever the serried ranks of the foe appear sure of victory, then begin to sing. Your victory will come with your song. It is a very puzzling thing to the devil to hear saints sing when he sets his foot on them. He cannot make it out: the more he oppresses them, the more they rejoice. Let us resolve to be all the merrier when the enemy dreams that we are utterly routed. The more opposition, the more we will rejoice in the Lord: the more discouragement, the more confidence. Splendid was the courage of Alexander when they told him that there were hundreds of thousands of Persians. “Yet,” he said, “one butcher fears not myriads of sheep.” “Ah!” said another, “when the Persians draw their bows, their arrows are so numerous that they darken the sun.” “It will be fine to fight in the shade.” cried the hero. O friends, we know whom we have believed, and we are sure of triumph! Let us not think for a single second, if the odds against us are ten thousand to one, that this is a hardship; rather let us wish that they were a million to one, that the glory of the Lord might be all the greater in the conquest which is sure. When Athanasius was told that everybody was denying the Deity of Christ, then he said, “I, Athanasius, against the world”: Athanasius contra mundum became a proverbial expression. Brethren, it is a splendid thing to be quite alone in the warfare of the Lord. Suppose we had half-a-dozen with us. Six men are not much increase to strength, and possibly they may be a cause of weakness, by needing to be looked after. If you are quite alone, so much the better: there is the more room for God. When desertions have cleaned the place out, and left you no friend, now every corner can be filled with Deity. As long as there is so much that is visible to rely upon, and so much to hope in, there is so much the less room for simple trust in God: but now our song is of the Lord alone; “for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”

The next duty is fearlessness: “Fear thou not.” What! not a little? No, “Fear thou not.” But surely I may show some measure of trembling? No, “Fear thou not.” Tie that knot tight about the throat of unbelief. “Fear thou not”: neither this day, nor any day of thy life. When fear comes in, drive it away; give it no space. If God rests in his love, and if God sings, what canst thou have to do with fear? Have you never known passengers on board ship, when the weather was rough, comforted by the calm behavior of the captain? One simple-minded soul said to his friend, “I am sure there is no cause for fear, for I heard the captain whistling.” Surely, if the captain is at ease, and with him is all the responsibility, the passenger may be still more at peace. If the Lord Jesus at the helm is singing, let us not be fearing. Let us have done with every timorous accent. O rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. “Your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.”

Lastly, let us be zealous: “Let not thine hands be slack.” Now is the time when every Christian should do more for God than ever. Let us plan great things for God, and let us expect great things from God. “Let not thine hands be slack.” Now is the hour for redoubled prayers and labors. Since the adversaries are busy, let us be busy also. If they think they shall make a full end of us, let us resolve to make a full end of their falsehoods and delusions. I think every Christian man should answer the challenge of the adversaries of Christ by working double tides, by giving more of his substance to the cause of God, by living more for the glory of God, by being more exact in his obedience, more earnest in his efforts, and more importunate in his prayers. “Let not thine hands be slack” in any one part of holy service. Fear is a dreadful breeder of idleness; but courage teaches us indomitable perseverance. Let us go on in God’s name. I would stir up the members of this church, and all my brethren, to intense zeal for God and the souls of men. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

Would God that all were on Christ’s side out of this great assembly! Oh, that you would come to Jesus, and trust him, and then live for him in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation! The Lord be with us. Amen.

Our Leader Through The Darkness

Our Leader Through The Darkness

NO. 3370




“Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.”
— Isaiah 50:10.

“Behold I have given him for …. a leader.”
— Isaiah 55:4.

I DESIRE to speak to you, dear friends, not only of Jesus as our Leader, but of following him in the dark. Can you see Jesus in the dark? Yes. We sometimes see him better in the dark then in the light. If you will go outside in the daytime and look up, you will not be able to see a single star; but if you will get into the bucket of a well, and go down into the darkness, very soon you will behold the stars. To descend may sometimes be the shortest way to ascend. Certainly, to suffer is the road to the land where there is no suffering; and to be in present darkness may be the nearest way to eternal light. All light, but that which comes through Christ himself, hinders rather than helps our sight of him. He is best seen by his own light. Begone, sun! Begone, moon! Begone, ye candles! He is the Sun of Righteousness, and where he is there is light enough. All earth-born light but hinders the vision of his face. I fear that many, trusting, in the greatness of their mental light, have become blind to the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Blessed is he who sees Christ by Christ — the crucified in the light of his five wounds — the risen one by the brilliance of his own life!

Darkness — can it fall upon a child of God? He is a child of light; shall he walk in darkness! Not in darkness in the sense of ignorance, and sin, and death, but in the sense of gloom and sorrow. Saints may have much of it. The heir of heaven sometimes knows a midnight. But if he be with Jesus, following him as his leader (and that is my topic), then he is in a safe condition. The words of one of our songs are ringing in my ears:—

“Anywhere with Jesus;
Anywhere with Jesus.”

Better in the dark with Jesus than in the light, ay, than in heaven itself, without him.

“Not all the harps above
Can make a heavenly place,
If Christ his residence remove,
Or but conceal his face.”

Give us Christ, and we will make no hard terms about darkness, or light. Only let us be with him, and it is enough. “For ever with the Lord” is only another word for glory everlasting.

Adam, I suppose, was created in the daylight, and he wandered about in the garden enjoying his God and the fair works which surrounded him. When night came on, darkness was a new phenomenon to him. He must have wondered at it; but since he had no sin, his childlike trust in God would not permit him to be afraid. He laid himself down to rest without a fear. It was a memorable night for him. In the dark he lost something, but the loss was a great gain. In the morning, when he woke up, he found someone there — the very one he wanted. She was there, whom the Lord had made for him, since “it was not good that man should be alone.” So have you and I found the darkness coming on, and we have been distressed for a moment; but when we have thought of God we have found rest. Then we may have lost a good deal in the darkness, as we thought, for we were conscious of an inward pain taking away what we thought to be a vital part of ourselves; but when we came out of the gloom into the morning light, a joy was ours which we had not known before – a joy that has been our companion and our comfort to this very day. Brethren, I have lost nothing by the darkness. I say “I,” for everyone must bear witness for himself. I believe every child of God can say the same. Do not the dews fall at eventide? Could we bear the perpetual shining of the burning sun? Is not the morning freshness so great a joy, that it compensates us for the night by which we reach it?

As I thought over my theme, “Jesus, our Leader in the Dark,” I began to fall in love with the dark. There are two parts to my subject; if one seems gloomy, the other is bright enough. Following Christ is a lightsome theme; the darkness may be very dark, but I say I have almost fallen in love with it when Jesus comes to me therein, and makes it his pavilion. Rutherford declared that the cross which he carried for his Lord at last came to be so dear to him, that he was half jealous of it, lest he should begin to love the cross with a love rivaling his love to his Lord. Darkness of soul in itself is horrible; but the rich fruit it has brought to us, has made us cease to dread it. We now can thank God that the evening and the morning make up the day, and the evening is as much a part of the day as the morning. The nights of our lives are as rich as the days. The agony is as useful as the rapture; the depression as instructive as the exaltation. Let us think, then, of:—


Well, surely we may say, first, that in some respects we are always in the dark while here below. We must wait with patience until the day break, and the shadows flee away.” Our Lord here on earth may be said to have been always in the dark, in comparison with the glories which he left, in contrast with the bliss that he has reassumed. To be here at all, was to him to be in the dark. The ever-blessed Son of the Father was away from the home country and its splendor; he was among sinners, and his heart was pained with human sin, his ears were vexed with ungodly speeches, his eyes were filled with tears because of obstinate rebellions. He was all tenderness, and yet his soul was among lions. It must have been a constant trial to his holy, sensitive spirit to have dwelt in the midst of sinners. So in a certain sense we also are always in the shade compared with what is coming. “It doth not yet appear what we shall be.” He is coming! He is coming! The axles of his chariot are hot with speed. He cries, “Behold, I come quickly.” When he comes, the glory of his presence will make the greatest joys that we have ever known to seem but twilight, as compared with the full day of his appearing. If his life was so truly in darkness, we must not wonder if our lives are the same.

We are not, however, dependent upon natural light any more than he was. If a Christian man can only be happy when his feelings are right, I should be afraid that he is trusting in his feelings. If you are only confident when your frames are delightful, I should be afraid that you are resting in your frames and feelings. Faith is a principle which hath its root deeper feeling. We believe, whether we see or not. We believe, whether we feel or not. We believe in Christ upon the testimony of the Father concerning him; that testimony is enough for us even if there be no attendant signs. Our happy experience of salvation is a pleasant confirmation of the Word of the Lord; but, when it seems to fail us, we believe still. God is not changed because we tremble. Christ is not altered because we are in fear. The ground on which we stand for salvation is not our attainments, nor our experiences, nor our communions. We stand upon the finished work of Christ, in which we believe, whether it be dark, or whether it be light. The young Christian will say, “I believe that I am saved, because I am so happy.” He is no more correct than the old Christian would be if he should say, “I believe that I am saved, because I am unhappy.” Let me explain myself. The value of feeling depends upon its cause. All happiness in the young man is not a proof of piety. He might be happy if he had received a large legacy, or had been invited to a party of pleasure. All unhappiness in the old Christian is not good evidence of grace — by no means would such an assertion stand. And yet, if we sigh and cry because of the abominations of the city, we have therein a strong evidence of our being on the side of Christ and righteousness. If we mourn our imperfections and want of spotless holiness, our very sighing and crying are proofs of heavenly life and salvation. The heart is clean, and the course of the soul is heavenward, when the heart can never be satisfied with anything short of perfect holiness.

Had we not been quickened, and quickened to a high degree, too, we should have been content with dim signs of holiness; but now nothing but perfection will content us; we are unhappy when even the least mist comes between us and God; and these feelings prove how much we love him, and how our very element is to dwell in unbroken communion with him. We are not dependent, therefore, upon happiness or unhappiness as the ground of our confidence. Christ loved me, and gave himself for me — this is the rock upon which I stand. He died effectually for every soul that trusts him. I trust him, and this is the token, that he has redeemed me from my sins. I am his. Here is my rock of refuge. I stand on Christ’s righteousness, be it dark or light. The ground of a Christian’s faith is not moved in the least degree by the time of his spiritual day, or the state of wealth in his experience. Could we sit for ever on the top of Tabor, we should be no safer than if we were made to dwell always in the Valley of Humiliation, longing for brighter days. Christ! Christ! Christ! In him we are safe.

Yet, dear friends, there are glooms which fall to the lot of some of God’s best people. I would have you beware, my brethren and sisters, who have made a great advance in grace, and are very joyful in the Lord, of judging your fellow-Christians. I have noticed with sorrow on the part of some, whose shoe-latchets I am not worthy to unloose, that, nevertheless, they are hard towards the lambs and the lame of the flock. Because they have not reached your own high attainments, do not condemn them. If you have strong faith, you may condemn unbelief, but do not condemn weak believers, who may have beautiful points of character, although they are as yet mere babes in grace. Have you never heard of the strong cattle, of whom the Lord said, “Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.” Beware lest thou become proud of thy attainments, and unkind to those beneath thy level. I believe that there is such a thing as being so long in the light that you do not believe that others are in the dark; or, if they are, you judge them to be weak and foolish, and you are apt to scold them. Brother, you cannot scold the darkness into light! A little sympathy will do far more than what you are pleased to call faithful upbraidings. That word “faithful” sometimes means “cruel.”

None can doubt that some excellent children of God are often in gloom through bodily sickness and weakness. There are forms of sickness which bring no depression with them. You might suffer from them through life, and never be saddened. But there are certain forms of disease which touch not only the bone and the flesh, but the mind also. The pain of the mind impinges upon the spirit, and the spirit is darkened with trouble. “Oh, but they ought not to be troubled.” Granted; but they are troubled, and I have noticed this — that your very strong men, ay, and your very strong ministers, too, who can say rather sharp things about the weak, and may be justified in saying them, yet, nevertheless, are not themselves beyond incurring the same rebukes. Great teachers may not make good sufferers. When the hot iron touches them it is another thing from what it seemed to be. It sounds fine for them to say that we ought not to be cast down; but ask their wives what these strong men are like when their head aches, or their heart is out of order. When nights grow long and weary with sleeplessness, do they show all the faith of which they now speak? Ah, brethren, the flesh is weak!

But our Lord knows all about sickness: “He himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” No form of sickness is beyond the sympathy of Jesus. Nothing is sweeter or more reviving than his fellow-feeling. One does not know how sympathy works so effectively; but it does operate marvelously. A little girl said to her mother, “Mother, poor Widow Brown has asked me to come in every day end see her. She says that I comfort her so. Mother, I don’t know anything that I do to comfort her. I would wipe all her tears away if I could; but when she sits and cries, I go and put my cheek against hers, and I cry, too, and she kisses me, and says that I comfort her.” Just so. One poor human being can cheer another by fellowfeeling, and how much more can Jesus do it! Oh, to feel your Master’s tears drop on your cheek! When you are weeping, then you read that “Jesus wept.”

“In every pang that rends the heart
The man of sorrows had a part.”

Another cause of great gloom is frequent with us: it is bereavement. I will not say much about it, lest I needlessly draw up the sluices for many a widow, or wifeless husband, or fatherless child. How often does the mourner judge that he has laid the best part of himself in the grave! However dear they were, they could not stay with us — perhaps, because they were so good that it was needful that Christ should have them away from earth. He prayed for them, “Father, I will that they be with me where I am”; and we kept on praying the other way: “Father, we will that they be with us where we are” Our Lord’s prayer conquered ours. It should do so; for they were more his than ours, since he had bought them with his blood. We should never pray against our Lord, and when we do, may his prayer always have the preference, as it will. Yet bereavement has brought many a Mary and Martha very low.

“Jesus wept” at the grave of Lazarus. Here, too, we see that the Master is near akin unto us. I believe that if we want to know the weeping Savior, we must weep ourselves. We always see our Lord, to a great extent, like ourselves. If we are pilgrims, he comes to us as a wayfarer, as he did to Abraham; if we are in conflict, like Jacob, he comes to wrestle with us. If we are in trouble, he meets us, like Moses, at the burning bush. If we are soldiers, like Joshua, he meets us as Captain of the Lord’s host. If Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are in the furnace, the Son of God makes the fourth in the fire. As we are, so does he become, that as he is, so may we become. Our bereavements are a part of the way in which we see and follow our Lord.

And poverty, too. Many of you have never known poverty. I do not wish that you should, for poverty is a very heavy cross to many of the children of God. It hinders them when they would give to the Lord’s cause, and hampers them in their work for him. This, perhaps, is not so lamentably true as they think. When poverty involves crushing toil, long hours of labor, and scarce enough of bread to keep body and soul together, then it is a burden indeed. Dire poverty has hung like a cloud over many a child of God. There is a poverty which the poets love; it dwells in a thatched cottage, whose porch is overgrown with woodbine. Perhaps if the poets had rheumatism through the wind blowing through the decaying walls, they might not sing of it quite so sweetly. But in London we have a poverty that has neither porch nor woodbine; poverty that has no cottage, but a single room, where scarcely the decencies of life can be preserved. Beloved, it you have to suffer from this gloom, remember that the Son of man had not where to lay his head.

Another gloom has shadowed many here present in their measure, and upon some in special it has loomed tempestuously. It is the cloud of slander and reproach. If you have preserved your garments unspotted, if you have sought nothing but the glory of God, and yet you find everything that you do misrepresented, your words misconstrued, and yourself abused, this is a trial. Slander is no bed of roses, nor a test to be desired; but, oh, how easy it is then to see Jesus, and how sweet it is to follow him! “He was despised and rejected of men.” If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, they have not left another name that is bad enough for us. We might in very modesty wish to have a name a little lower than our Lord’s, guided by the same motive which made a great saint consider ordinary crucifixion too great an honor, and therefore entreated to be nailed to the cross with his head downwards. Would you not be content to be called something worse than Beelzebub? Might you not gladly accept such a name as wine-bibber and madman, that you might come in behind your leader? “Consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself,” and then sing:—

“If on my face, for thy dear name,
Shame and reproach may be,
I’ll hail reproach, and welcome shame,
For thou’lt remember me.”

Gloom also falls upon the Christian in time of desertion. I do not know whether Judas had sons and daughters, but I have seen several persons who bear a family likeness to that son of perdition. “He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me,” is a sentence oft repeated. “It was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: but it was thou, a man mine equal, mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” This also is an oft-told tale. Yet fret not too much because of ingratitude, fickleness, and treachery. Is it not written, “Cursed is he that trusteth in man”? All men are liars. Canst thou not be content to take the inevitable? Thy Master had his Judas. Shalt not thou have thine? “Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.” It may be so with you all the more because you desire to be faithful to your Lord.

The worst cloud of all, I think, is deep depression of spirit accompanied with the loss of the light of God’s countenance. Sickness, poverty, slander, none of these things are comparable to depression. “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” Do you know what exceeding heaviness means? I pray that you may have but very little of it; but if you do have it, remember him who said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Those words were once a great comfort to a child of God dying in despair. Though an eminently gracious man, he was in the dark. He could not find his God, and he knew that he was soon to pass into eternity. I do not think our heavenly Father often puts his children to bed in the dark; but if he does, they will wake up in the light in the morning. This man of God said to the minister who visited him, “O sir, although I have trusted Christ for years, and have served his cause, I have lost him now. What will become of a man who dies feeling that God has deserted him!” The wise pastor answered him, “What did become of the man who, just before his death, cried, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ Is he not on the highest throne of glory even now?” The sick man’s mind was lightened in a moment. He began to say, as the Lord Jesus did after the dark sentence, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit”; and he died in peace. Yes, God loves his people quite as much when he leaves them in the dark, as when he sets them at his right hand in the light. Measure not God’s love by his providences, nor even by his manifestations of it. Measure it by the gift of the only-begotten; for Jesus is the only measure of the immeasurable love of God our Father. Yes, a child of God may be in despondency for many a year. Timothy Rogers was the victim of despondency for many years, and yet he came out into the light, and then wrote his experience in his memorable book upon “Trouble of Mind,” which has been of great service to others in like condition. I hope that none of you will wish to be in soul darkness. Some trembling people acquire a sort of perpetual palsy of fear. They have become so shut up in doubt that they are afraid to come out of it into the light of faith. Come out of your hiding-places, ye troubled ones. Do not make yourselves one line lower in spirits than you can help. But if you should be long in depression, and that depression should turn to despondency, and that despondency should curdle into despair, believe in God. Say with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” If I cannot see his face with delight, yet in the shadow of his wing will I rejoice. I come now to the more specially practical part of my sermon.


There were three aspects of the darkness which our Lord endured in which we should resemble him. First, he was in darkness for education. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” Our Mediator went to school, and his school-books were “the things that he suffered.” Do we learn much out of any other books? Is not our best schoolmaster the one named Adversity? Are not our best school-books printed in the old black letter? We make but small account of any other.

Our Lord Jesus learned obedience. Some people, when they get into the dark, think that they can make no progress, but must lie still. Say not so. Our greatest progress should be made in the dark. We should grind most when the wind blows hardest. A friend of mine went to Australia, and on board of his ship there were a number of gentlemen of different degrees of ignorance, one of whom was a complete greenhorn. He had never been to sea before: I do not think he had been anywhere else. When it came to be night, he said, “Where do they put up tonight?” My friend said, “What do you mean?” He replied, “You do not mean to say that they will go on sailing in the dark?” “Certainly,” replied my friend. But the other said, “Why, they may run into something, for they cannot see their way.” “No,” my friend answered, “and they will not see their way till we get to our destination, unless they touch at the Cape, and they will travel as fast in the night as in the day.” So they did. Who but a fool would have thought otherwise? Growth in grace must go on in the dark, as well as in the light. I have been told that plants do most of their growing at night. Surely, Christ’s plants grow very fast after a period of darkness, which has been sanctified to them I half wish for some friends that I know that they might have just a day or two of darkness. I hope I am not unkind. I know one who would wish to sympathize if he could; but he has never had an illness; and when he does sympathize, it is a remarkable thing that he should be able to do it. You think of him with wonder, as you would think of an elephant picking up a pin. He does it, but it seems out of his line; it does not come to him naturally.

Our Lord learned obedience towards God through his sufferings. If you think of it deeply, it was a very great lessen for him to learn. The Ruler of heaven and earth, whose will was law, had to learn obedience. He speaks, and legions of angels fly at his commands; and yet he is to learn to obey. Now that he is here on earth, in the fashion of a man, he becomes an obedient servant. Have you and I ever learned that lesson? It is not every Christian that has learned obedience of the commonest sort. I know some Christians who would think it dreadful to obey ecclesiastically. “Obey them that have the rule over you,” is not a pleasant Scripture to them. They will have no pastor. Nobody ever was set over them. I am sure I am devoutly grateful that I was not, for it would be a very uncomfortable office to guide such unruly spirits. Obedience is one of the lessons of wisdom which this age needs to learn, for everybody must be master or mistress nowadays. We all desire to rule, and we all feel that we could do it far better than the present leaders are doing it. He who has the least wisdom, and has failed in business half a dozen times, is the very person who believes himself to be the most fitted to be Prime Minister. We do not love obedience; but we have to learn it. The rod is our teacher’s instrument; this darkness, this heaviness, is pressing us into true service. We are now to follow Jesus in the dark by learning obedience as he learned it. The Lord prosper us in this.

We have next to learn sympathy. I have hinted at that already. “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Our glorious Elder Brother learned sympathy by suffering. By his passion he learned compassion. Whenever we suffer, let us regard it as a part of our education, and so follow Christ, closely to learn of him, as he learned of the Father. See yonder text, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; and ye shall find rest unto your souls!” First we come to him by faith, and he gives us rest. That is one sort of rest. Then, by obedience, we take his yoke upon us, and we learn of him, and we find rest-another degree of rest. The one is given, and the other is found, and there is no finding the second rest, except with the yoke upon our shoulders, and learning of Christ.

Education in the dark helps to keep us from self-dependence. I sometimes sing:—

“If today he deigns to bless us
With a sense of pardoned sin,
He tomorrow may distress us,
Make us feel the plague within,
All to make us
Sick of self, and fond of him.”

The angel wrestled with Jacob. We usually speak of Jacob’s wrestling with the angel. I suppose that he did so wrestle; for there cannot be a wrestle at all without two being in it; but the main point of the conflict was, that the angel wrestled with Jacob. What wrestlings God has had with us to get our self out of us! We are such Jacobs: we are plotting, scheming; and crafty. God would beat us down as to this fleshly wisdom; and when he has laid us low as Jacobs, and made us lame, then he will knight us, and we shall come off the field as prevailing princes, or Israels. The death of self-dependence is the joy and triumph of faith; and this often comes through darkness. God bless the darkness, then, for our education; and may we follow Christ by complete obedience to God.

I spoke of three things: the second is for usefulness. Our Lord went into the dark to save the guilty sons of men. We cannot follow him in the central darkness, where all the storm-clouds gathered, for that was substitutionary. Into that awful wine-press, where he went alone as our Sacrifice, we would not think of intruding; but, nevertheless, there is a cup of which he has said – ”Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized.” We have no atonement to make. “It is finished.” Yet for the ingathering and saving of the elect of God it is needful that the church of in many of its members, should pass into the darkness.

I will tell you a story. It shall be none the worse because it is of myself; for we are gathered here to bear and hear personal testimony. One Sunday I preached a sermon from this text: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” What I then spoke was in the agony of my heart, for I felt that I was myself, for a while, forsaken. Such was the sorrowful dread of my spirit.

I could not tell why I should have been made to feel in this way. I was not unwell. I could see no physical cause. I had not wandered from God, and I could see no moral cause. But after the sermon there came into the vestry a man of about sixty, whose very hair seemed to stand on end, and his eyes were bright with a strange luster. He took my hand, and stood and held it, and wept. I looked at him, and I saw that I had before me a man dazed, if not crazed. “Birds of a feather will flock together.” It struck me that he was a madman, and I was not much mistaken. Then he said to me, “Nobody ever preached my experience before. I have now been for years in a horrible gloom of great darkness, and could not find God; but this morning I learned that I was not the only man in the thick darkness, and I believe that I shall get out.” I answered, “Yes, that was the reason why I was put into the dark, that I might help you; and now that I know the reason, I am already out of the prison.”

I had many interviews with that man. I piloted him back from the gulf of insanity. I was enabled, by God’s grace, to lead him into joy and peace, so that he could, resume his daily calling. The Lord’s servants have to experience many things which are not so much for themselves as for usefulness towards others; and we ought to be content to have it so. You cannot help a man if you know nothing about him; and therefore the Lord sends you into many a thick wood and dark valley, that you may meet with his own redeemed in their wanderings. If you did not know the wilderness, how could you act as a guide through it? So it is for usefulness that God calls us thither; and as Jesus went there to save, let us learn from him the great grace of self-sacrifice.

I have done when I have added the third thing. Darkness may come over the soul that we may give glory to God. Our Lord Jesus passed through the darkness that he might glorify the Father’s name. The lesson which he set before us there was, that he still believed. Read the twenty-second Psalm. See there the faith of the much-hunted “hind of the morning.” He goes back to his early infancy, when God cared for him. “Thou art he that took me out of the womb.” He goes back to ancient history: “Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.” Read that psalm carefully, and mark that the sufferer’s faith never failed him. Dear friends, can your faith stand in trial? “I have great faith,” says one. Yes, there was a stag that stood by a brook, and looked at the reflection of his antlers in the water, and said, “What fine horns I have! My friends in the herd no sooner hear the bay of a dog than they take to their heels; but I, with such fine horns, will fight any dog, or, for the matter of that, any pack of hounds. Let them come up, and they shall see what hart’s horn can do.” So he said; and he was a fine fellow, was he not? Landseer might have been proud to sketch him. That is the very picture of a man full of untried faith. Presently there was heard the yelp of some poor puppy, and where was our stag? His heart was not so strong as his horn, and his legs were carrying him far away from the dog. So it is with untried faith. You must not be sure of it for a moment. Fear will destroy it in the day of trouble.

Our Lord had abundant and abiding faith. I will only quote one instance of it — his faith in prayer to God in Gethsemane. There are two parts in that wonderful prayer of his in the garden. “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” We dwell too exclusively upon the full surrender at the end: please notice the prayer itself. “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” When you are in the dark, go to God and plead with him to take the gloom away. Ask him to take the cup from you, and be bold to go as far as your Lord did, which is a very long way indeed; for he said, “If it be possible.” Go to that length. I would encourage the child of God in the dark to “possess his possessions,” to make real use of promises, and expect help. We do not always trust God as being what he declares himself to be; and sometimes if we would but do so, our darkness would come to an end. I remember in my own case, after a period of continued pain with little sleep, I sat up, as best I could, one morning in my bed, in an agony of pain, and I cried to the Lord for deliverance. I believed fully that he could deliver me there and then, and I pleaded my sonship and his Fatherhood. I went the length of pleading that he was my Father, and I said, “If it were my child that suffered so, I would not let him suffer any longer if I could help him. Thou canst help me, and by thy fatherly love I plead with thee to give me rest.” I felt that I could add, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” But I did the first thing first: I pleaded with my Father, and went first where Christ went first, saying, “My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” I shall never forget my success in this appeal. In real earnest I believed God to be my Father, and threw myself upon him, and within a few minutes I dropped back upon the pillow, the pain subsided, and very soon I slept most peacefully. God loves us to believe him, and to plead earnestly with him; for even if he does not think it best to grant our request, he will be pleased for us to go on to number two, and with full submission cry, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

You can hardly prove that you have any will to surrender, if you have not first brought it before the Lord in fervent prayer. Pray about the matter up to the hilt, and then sheathe the prayer in submission, if it be not the Lord’s will. O brethren, let us learn this last virtue. Faith-healing is grand, but faith-enduring is grander. Glorify God by believing that his will is right, and that the strokes of his rod are kind. Use both edges of the sword of faith. Believe for deliverance from sorrow, or for deliverance in sorrow. Anyhow, honor the Son by fully trusting him. This is the way to follow your Leader, who said, “I will put my trust in him.”

Oh, that the Lord our God may be with you all in the hour of darkness, if it is so with you now; and since, if it is not so now, it may be very soon, I would have you lay by these truths in store for future use. When one is very happy, the suspicion lurks at our foot that this is too good to last. Therefore, the poet of experience said:—

“We should suspect some danger nigh
When we perceive too much delight.”

Let it, then, be settled in your minds that you will trust only in the Lord, and keep your expectation only upon him. Come fair, come foul, come wind, come rain, come hail, come tempest, or come all the brightness of a fruitful summer, it shall make no difference to us; for ours is not the confidence which changes with the weather-glass, but that which has its foundation among things eternal and immutable.

“And when thine eye of faith is dim,
Still hold on Jesus, sink or swim:
Still at his footstool bow the knee;
And Israel’s God thy strength shall be.”

Bread Enough And To Spare

Bread Enough And To Spare

A Sermon

(No. 1000)

Delivered on Lord’s-day Morning, July 16th, 1871, by


At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!”
—Luke 15:17.

“He came to himself.” The word may be applied to one waking out of a deep swoon. He had been unconscious of his true condition, and he had lost all power to deliver himself from it; but now he was coming round again, returning to consciousness and action. The voice which shall awaken the dead aroused him; the visions of his sinful trance all disappeared; his foul but fascinating dreams were gone; he came to himself. Or the word may be applied to one recovering from insanity. The prodigal son had played the madman, for sin is madness of the worst kind. He had been demented, he had put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, darkness for light and light for darkness; he had injured himself, and had done for his soul what those possessed of devils in our Savior’s time did for their bodies, when they wounded themselves with stones, and cut themselves with knives. The insane man does not know himself to be insane, but as soon as he comes to himself he painfully perceives the state from which he is escaping. Returning then to true reason and sound judgment, the prodigal came to himself. Another illustration of the word may be found in the old world fables of enchantment: when a man was disenthralled from the magician’s spell he “came to himself.” Classic story has its legend of Circe, the enchantress, who transformed men into swine. Surely this young man in our parable had been degraded in the same manner. He had lowered his manhood to the level of the brutes. It should be the property of man to have love to his kindred, to have respect for right, to have some care for his own interest; this young man had lost all these proper attributes of humanity, and so had become as the beast that perisheth. But as the poet sings of Ulysses, that he compelled the enchantress to restore his companions to their original form, so here we see the prodigal returning to manhood, looking away from his sensual pleasures, and commencing a course of conduct more consistent with his birth and parentage. There are men here to-day perhaps who are still in this swoon; O God of heaven arouse them! Some here who are morally insane; the Lord recover them, the divine Physician put his cooling hand upon their fevered brow, and say to them: “I will; be thou made whole.” Perhaps there are others here who have allowed their animal nature to reign supreme may he who destroys the works of the devil deliver them from the power of Satan, and give them power to become the sons of God. He shall have all the glory!

It appears that when the prodigal came to himself he was shut up to two thoughts. Two facts were clear to him, that there was plenty in his father’s house, and that he himself was famishing. May the two kindred spiritual facts have absolute power over all your hearts, if you are yet unsaved; for they were most certainly all-important and pressing truths. These are no fancies of one in a dream; no ravings of a maniac; no imaginations of one under fascination: it is most true that there is plenty of all good things in the Father’s house, and that the sinner needs them. No where else can grace be found or pardon gained; but with God there is plenitude of mercy; let none venture to dispute this glorious truth. Equally true is it that the sinner without God is perishing. He is perishing now; he will perish everlastingly. All that is worth having in his existence will be utterly destroyed, and he himself shall only remain as a desolation; the owl and the bittern of misery and anguish shall haunt the ruins of his nature for ever and for ever. If we could shut up unconverted men to those two thoughts, what hopeful congregations we should have. Alas! they forget that there is mercy only with God, and fancy that it is to be found somewhere else; and they try to slip away from the humbling fact of their own lost estate, and imagine that perhaps there may be some back door of escape; that, after all, they are not so bad as the Scripture declares, or that perchance it shall be right with them at the last, however wrong it may be with them now. Alas! my brethren, what shall we do with those who wilfully shut their eyes to truths of which the evidence is overwhelming, and the importance overpowering? I earnestly entreat those of you who know how to approach the throne of God in faith, to breathe the prayer that he would now bring into captivity the unconverted heart, and put these two strong fetters upon every unregenerate soul; there is abundant grace with God, there is utter destitution with themselves. Bound with such fetters, and led into the presence of Jesus, the captive would soon receive the liberty of the children of God.

I intend only to dwell this morning, or mainly, upon the first thought, the master thought, as it seems to me, which was in the prodigal’s mind— that which really constrained him to say, “I will arise and go to my father.” It was not, I think, the home-bringing thought that he was perishing with hunger, but the impulse towards his father found its mainspring in the consideration, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare!” The plenty, the abundance, the superabundance of the father’s house, was that which attracted him to return home; and many, many a soul has been led to seek God when it has fully believed that there was abundant mercy with him. My desire this morning shall be to put plainly before every sinner here the exceeding abundance of the grace of God in Christ Jesus, hoping that the Lord will find out those who are his sons, and that they may catch at these words, and as they hear of the abundance of the bread in the Father’s house, may say, “I will arise and go to my Father.”

I. First, then, let us consider for a short time THE MORE THAN ABUNDANCE OF ALL GOOD THINGS IN THE FATHER’S HOUSE. What dost thou need this morning, awakened sinner? Of all that thou needest, there is with God an all-sufficient, a superabounding supply; “bread enough and to spare.” Let us prove this to thee. First, consider the Father himself, and whosoever shall rightly consider the Father, will at once perceive that there can be no stint to mercy, no bound to the possibilities of grace. What is the nature and character of the Supreme? “Is he harsh or loving?” saith one. The Scripture answers the question, not by telling us that God is loving, but by assuring us that God is love. God himself is love; it is his very essence. It is not that love is in God, but that God himself is love. Can there be a more concise and more positive way of saying that the love of God is infinite? You cannot measure God himself; your conceptions cannot grasp the grandeur of his attributes, neither can you tell the dimensions of his love, nor conceive the fullness of it. Only this know, that high as the heavens are above the earth, so are his ways higher than your ways, and his thoughts than your thoughts. His mercy endureth for ever. He pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage. He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. “Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive: and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” “Thy mercy is great above the heavens.” “The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”

If divine love alone should not seem sufficient for your salvation, remember that with the Father to whom the sinner returns, there is as much of wisdom as there is of grace. Is thy case a very difficult one? He that made thee can heal thee. Are thy diseases strange and complex? He that fashioned the ear, can he not remove its deafness? He that made the eye, can he not enlighten it if it be blind? No mischief can have happened to thee, but what he who is thy God can recover thee from it. Matchless wisdom cannot fail to meet the intricacies of thy case.

Neither can there be any failure of power with the Father. Dost thou not know that he who made the earth, and stretched out the heavens like a tent to dwell in, hath no bound to his strength, nor limit to his might? If thou needest omnipotence to lift thee up from the slough into which thou hast fallen, omnipotence is ready to deliver thee, if thou cry to the strong for strength. Though thou shouldest need all the force with which the Creator made the worlds, and all the strength with which he bears on the pillars of the universe, all that strength and force should be laid out for thy good, if thou wouldst believingly seek mercy at the hand of God in Christ Jesus. None of his power shall be against thee, none of his wisdom shall plan thy overthrow; but love shall reign in all, and every attribute of God shall become subservient to thy salvation. Oh, when I think of sin I cannot understand how a sinner can be saved; but when I think of God, and look into his heart, I understand how readily he can forgive. “Look into his heart,” saith one; “how can we do that?” Hath he not laid bare his heart to you? Do you enquire where he has done this? I answer, yonder, upon Calvary’s cross. What was in the very center of the divine heart? What, but the person of the Well-beloved, his only begotten Son? And he hath taken his only begotten and nailed him to the cross, because, if I may venture so to speak, he loved sinners better than his Son. He spared not his Son, but he spares the sinner; he poured out his wrath upon his Son and made him the substitute for sinners, that he might lavish love upon the guilty who deserved his anger. O soul, if thou art lost, it is not from any want of grace, or wisdom, or power in the Father; if thou perish, it is not because God is hard to move or unable to save. If thou be a castaway, it is not because the Eternal refused to hear thy cries for pardon or rejected thy faith in him. On thine own head be thy blood, if thy soul be lost. If thou starve, thou starvest because thou wilt starve; for in the Father’s house there is “bread enough and to spare.”

But, now, consider a second matter which may set this more clearly before us. Think of the Son of God, who is indeed the true bread of life for sinners. Sinner, I return to my personal address. Thou needest a Savior; and thou mayst well be encouraged when thou seest that a Savior is provided— provided by God, since it is certain he would not make a mistake in the provision. But consider who the Savior is. He is himself God. Jesus who came from heaven for our redemption was not an angel, else might we tremble to trust the weight of our sin upon him. He was not mere man, or he could but have suffered as a substitute for one, if indeed for one; but he was very God of very God, in the beginning with the Father. And does such a one come to redeem? Is there room to doubt as to his ability, if that be the fact? I do confess this day, that if my sins were ten thousand times heavier than they are, yea, and if I had all the sins of this crowd in addition piled upon me, I could trust Jesus with them all at this moment now that I know him to be the Christ of God. He is the mighty God, and by his pierced hand the burden of our sins is easily removed; he blotteth out our sins, he casts them into the depths of the sea.

But think of what Jesus the Son of God has done. He who was God, and thus blessed for ever, left the throne and royalties of heaven and stooped to yonder manger. There he lies; his mother wraps him in swaddling clothes, he hangs upon her breast; the Infinite is clothed as an infant, the Invisible is made manifest in flesh, the Almighty is linked with weakness, for our sakes. Oh, matchless stoop of condescension! If the Redeemer God does this in order to save us, shall it be thought a thing impossible for him to save the vilest of the vile? Can anything be too hard for him who comes from heaven to earth to redeem?

Pause not because of astonishment, but press onward. Do you see him who was God over all, blessed for ever, living more than thirty years in the midst of the sons of men, bearing the infirmities of manhood, taking upon himself our sicknesses, and sharing our sorrows: his feet weary with treading the acres of Palestine; his body faint often times with hunger and thirst, and labor; his knees knit to the earth with midnight prayer; his eyes red with weeping (for ofttimes Jesus wept), tempted in all points like as we are? Matchless spectacle! An incarnate God dwells among sinners, and endures their contradiction! What glory flashed forth ever and anon from the midst of his lowliness! a glory which should render faith in him inevitable. Thou who didst walk the sea: thou who didst raise the dead, it is not rational to doubt thy power to forgive sins! Didst thou not thyself put it so when thou badest the man take up his bed and walk? “Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?” Assuredly he is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him: he was able even here on earth in weakness to forgive sins, much more now that he is seated in his glory. He is exalted on high to be a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance and remission of sins.

But, ah! the master proof that in Christ Jesus there is “bread enough and to spare,” is the cross. Will you follow me a moment, will you follow him, rather, to Gethsemane? Can you see the bloody sweat as it falls upon the ground in his agony? Can you think of his scourging before Herod and Pilate? Can you trace him along the Via Dolorosa of Jerusalem? Will your tender hearts endure to see him nailed to the tree, and lifted up to bleed and die? This is but the shell; as for the inward kernel of his sufferings no language can describe it, neither can conception peer into it. The everlasting God laid sin on Christ, and where the sin was laid there fell the wrath. “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” Now he that died upon the cross was God’s only begotten Son. Can you conceive a limit to the merit of such a Savior’s death? I know there are some who think it necessary to their system of theology to limit the merit of the blood of Jesus: if my system of theology needed such a limitation, I would cast it to the winds. I cannot, dare not, allow the thought to find a lodging in my mind; it seems so near akin to blasphemy. In Christ’s finished work I see an ocean of merit; my plummet finds no bottom, my eye discovers no shore. There must be sufficient efficacy in the blood of Christ, if God had so willed it, to have saved not only all this world, but ten thousand worlds, had they transgressed the Maker’s law. Once admit infinity into the matter, and limit is out of the question. Having a divine person for an offering, it is not consistent to conceive of limited value; bound and measure are terms inapplicable to the divine sacrifice. The intent of the divine purpose fixes the application of the infinite offering, but does not change it into a finite work. In the atonement of Christ Jesus there is “bread enough and to spare;” even as Paul wrote to Timothy, “He is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.”

But now let me lead you to another point of solemnly joyful consideration, and that is the Holy Spirit. To believe and love the Trinity is to possess the key of theology. We spoke of the Father, we spoke of the Son; let us now speak of the Holy Spirit. We do him all too little honor, for the Holy Spirit condescends to come to earth and dwell in our hearts; and notwithstanding all our provocations he still abides within his people. Now, sinner, thou needest a new life and thou needest holiness, for both of these are necessary to make thee fit for heaven. Is there a provision for this? The Holy Spirit is provided and given in the covenant of grace; and surely in him there is “enough and to spare.” What cannot the Holy Spirit do? Being divine, nothing can be beyond his power. Look at what he has already done. He moved upon the face of chaos, and brought it into order; all the beauty of creation arose beneath his moulding breath. We ourselves must confess with Elihu, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” Think of the great deeds of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, when men unlearned spake with tongues of which they knew not a syllable aforetime, and the flames of fire upon them were also within them, so that their hearts burned with zeal and courage to which they hitherto had been strangers. Think of the Holy Spirit’s work on such a one as Saul of Tarsus. That persecutor foams blood, he is a very wolf, he would devour the saints of God at Damascus and yet, within a few moments, you hear him say, “Who art thou, Lord?” and yet again, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” His heart is changed; the Spirit of God has new created it; the adamant is melted in a moment into wax. Many of us stand before you as the living monuments of what the Holy Ghost can do, and we can assure you from our own experience, that there is no inward evil which he cannot overcome, no lustful desire of the flesh which he cannot subdue, no obduracy of the affections which he cannot melt. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? Surely no sinner can be beyond the possibilities of mercy when the Holy Spirit condescends to be the agent of human conversion. O sinner, if thou perish, it is not because the Holy Spirit wants power, or the blood of Jesus lacks efficacy, or the Father fails in love; it is because thou believest not in Christ, but dost abide in wilful rebellion, refusing the abundant bread of life which is placed before thee.

A few rapid sentences upon other things, which will go to show still further the greatness of the provision of divine mercy. Observe well that throughout all the ages God has been sending one prophet after another, and these prophets have been succeeded by apostles, and these by martyrs and confessors, and pastors and evangelists, and teachers; all these have been commissioned by the Lord in regular succession; and what has been the message they have had to deliver? They have all pointed to Christ, the great deliverer. Moses and the prophets all spoke of him, and so have all truly God-sent ambassadors. Dost thou think, sinner, that God has made all this fuss about a trifle? Has he sent all these servants to call thee to a table insufficiently furnished? Has he multiplied his invitations through so long a time to bid thee and others come to a provision which is not, after all, sufficient for them? Oh, it cannot be! God is not mocked, neither does he mock poor needy souls. The stores of his mercy are sufficient for the utmost emergencies.

“Rivers of love and mercy here
In a rich ocean join;
Salvation in abundance flows,
Like floods of milk and wine.
Great God, the treasures of thy love
Are everlasting mines,
Deep as our helpless miseries are,
And boundless as our sins.”

Recollect, again, that God has been pleased to stake his honor upon the gospel. Men desire a name, and God also is jealous of his glory. Now, what has God been pleased to select for his name? Is it not the conversion and salvation of men? When instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree, and instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. And dost thou think God will get a name by saving little sinners by a little Savior? Ah! his great name comes from washing out stains as black as hell, and pardoning sinners who were foulest of the foul. Is there one monstrous rebel here who is qualified to glorify God greatly, because his salvation will be the wonder of angels and the amazement of devils? I hope there is. O thou most degraded, black, loathsome sinner, nearest to being a damned sinner, if this voice can reach thee, I challenge thee to come and prove whether God’s mercy is not a match for thy sin. Thou Goliath sinner, come thou hither; thou shalt find that God can slay thine enmity, and make thee yet his friend, and the more his loving and adoring servant, because great forgiveness shall secure great love. Such is the greatness of divine mercy, that “where sin abounded, grace doth much more abound.”

Dost thou think, again, O sinner, that Jesus Christ came out of heaven to do a little deed, and to provide a slender store of mercy? Dost thou think he went up to Calvary, and down to the grave, and all, that he might do a commonplace thing, and provide a stinted, narrow, limited salvation, such as thine unbelief would imagine his redemption to be? No. We speak of the labors of Hercules, but these were child’s play compared with the labors of Christ who slew the lion of hell, turned a purifying stream through the Augean stables of man’s sin, and cleansed them, and performed ten thousand miracles besides: and will you so depreciate Christ as to imagine that what he has accomplished is, after all, little, so little that it is not enough to save you? If it were in my power to single out the man who has been the most dishonest, most licentious, most drunken, most profane— in three words, most earthly, sensual, devilish— I would repeat the challenge which I gave just now, and bid him draw near to Jesus, and see whether the fountain filled with Christ’s atoning blood cannot wash him white. I challenge him at this instant to come and cast himself at the dear Redeemer’s feet, and see if he will say, “I cannot save thee, thou hast sinned beyond my power.” It shall never, never, never be, for he is able to the uttermost to save. He is a Savior, and a great one. Christ will be honored by the grandeur of the grace which he bestows upon the greatest of offenders. There is in him pardon “enough and to spare.”

I must leave this point, but I cannot do so without adding that I think “BREAD ENOUGH AND TO SPARE” might be taken for the motto of the gospel. I believe in particular redemption, and that Christ laid down his life for his sheep; but, as I have already said, I do not believe in the limited value of that redemption; how else could I dare to read the words of John, “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” There is a sure portion for his own elect, but there is also over and above “to spare.” I believe in the electing love which will save all its objects— “bread enough;” but I believe in boundless benevolence, “Bread enough and to spare.” We, when we have a purpose to accomplish, put forth the requisite quantity of strength and no more, for we must be economical, we must not waste our limited store; even charity gives the poor man no more than he absolutely needs; but when God feeds the multitude, he spreads the board with imperial bounty. Our water-cart runs up and down the favored road, but when heaven’s clouds would favor the good man’s fields, they deluge whole nations, and even pour themselves upon the sea. There is no real waste with God; but at the same time there is no stint. “BREAD ENOUGH AND TO SPARE;” write that inscription over the house of mercy, and let every hungry passer-by be encouraged thereby to enter in and eat.

II. We must now pass on to a second consideration, and dwell very briefly on it. According to the text, there was not only bread enough in the house, but THE LOWEST IN THE FATHER’S HOUSE ENJOYED ENOUGH AND TO SPARE.

We can never make a parable run on all fours, therefore we cannot find the exact counterpart of the “hired servants.” I understand the prodigal to have meant this, that the very lowest menial servant employed by his father had bread to eat, and had “bread enough and to spare.” Now, how should we translate this? Why, sinner, the very lowest creature that God has made, that has not sinned against him, is well supplied and has abounding happiness. There are adaptations for pleasure in the organisations of the lowest animals. See how the gnats dance in the summer’s sunbeam; hear the swallows as they scream with delight when on the wing. He who cares for birds and insects will surely care for men. God who hears the ravens when they cry, will he not hear the returning penitent? He gives these insects happiness; did he mean me to be wretched? Surely he who opens his hand and supplies the lack of every living thing, will not refuse to open his hand and supply my needs if I seek his face.

Yet I must not make these lowest creatures to be the hired servants. Whom shall I then select among men? I will put it thus. The very worst of sinners that have come to Christ have found grace “enough and to spare,” and the very least of saints who dwell in the house of the Lord find love “enough and to spare.” Take then the most guilty of sinners, and see how bountifully the Lord treats them when they turn unto him. Did not some of you, who are yourselves unconverted, once know persons who were at least as bad, perhaps more outwardly immoral than yourselves? Well, they have been converted, though you have not been; and when they were converted, what was their testimony? Did the blood of Christ avail to cleanse them? Oh, yes; and more than cleanse them, for it added to beauty not their own. They were naked once; was Jesus able to clothe them? Was there a sufficient covering in his righteousness? Ah, yes! and adornment was superadded; they received not a bare apparel, but a royal raiment. You have seen others thus liberally treated, does not this induce you also to come? Some of us need not confine our remarks to others, for we can speak personally of ourselves. We came to Jesus as full of sin as ever you can be, and felt ourselves beyond measure lost and ruined; but, oh, his tender love! I could sooner stand here and weep than speak to you of it. My soul melts in gratitude when I think of the infinite mercy of God to me in that hour when I came seeking mercy at his hands. Oh! why will not you also come? May his Holy Spirit sweetly draw you! I proved that there was bread enough, mercy enough, forgiveness enough, and to spare. Come along, come along, poor guilty one; come along, there is room enough for thee.

Now, if the chief of sinners bear this witness, so do the most obscure of saints. If we could call forth from his seat a weak believer in God, who is almost unknown in the church, one who sometimes questions whether he is indeed a child of God, and would be willing to be a hired servant so long as he might belong to God, and if I were to ask him, “How – after all – how has the Lord dealt with you?” what would be his reply? You have many afflictions, doubts and fears, but have you any complaints against your Lord? When you have waited upon him for daily grace, has he denied you? When you have been full of troubles, has he refused you comfort? When you have been plunged in distress, has he declined to deliver you? The Lord himself asks, “Have I been a wilderness unto Israel?” Testify against the Lord, ye his people, if ye have aught against him. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, whosoever there be in God’s service who has found him a hard task-master, let him speak. Amongst the angels before Jehovah’s throne, and amongst men redeemed on earth, if there be any one that can say he hath been dealt with unjustly or treated with ungenerous churlishness, let him lift up his voice! But there is not one. Even the devil himself when he spoke of God and of his servant Job, said, “Doth Job serve God for nought?” Of course he did not: God will not let his servants serve him for nought; he will pay them superabundant wages, and they shall all bear witness that at his table there is “bread enough and to spare.” Now, if these still enjoy the bread of the Father’s house, these who were once great sinners, these who are now only very commonplace saints, surely, sinner, it should encourage you to say, “I will arise and go to my Father,” for his hired servants “have bread enough and to spare.”

III. Notice in the third place, that the text dwells upon THE MULTITUDE OF THOSE WHO HAVE “BREAD ENOUGH AND TO SPARE.” The prodigal lays an emphasis upon that word, “How many hired servants of my father’s!” He was thinking of their great number, and counting them over. He thought of those that tended the cattle, of those that went out with the camels, of those that watched the sheep, and those that minded the corn, and those that waited in the house; he ran them over in his mind: his father was great in the land, and had many servants; yet he knew that they all had of the best food “enough and to spare.” “Why should I perish with hunger? I am only one at any rate; though my hunger seem insatiable, it is but one belly that has to be filled, and, lo, my father fills hundreds, thousands every day; why should I perish with hunger?” Now, O thou awakened sinner, thou who dost feel this morning thy sin and misery, think of the numbers upon whom God has bestowed his grace already. Think of the countless hosts in heaven: if thou wert introduced there to-day, thou wouldst find it as easy to tell the stars, or the sands of the sea, as to count the multitudes that are before the throne even now.

They have come from the east and from the west, and they are sitting down with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and there is room enough for thee. And beside those in heaven, think of those on earth. Blessed be God, his elect on earth are to be counted by millions, I believe, and the days are coming, brighter days than these, when there shall be multitudes upon multitudes brought to know the Savior, and to rejoice in him. The Father’s love is not for a few only, but for an exceeding great company. A number that no man can number will be found in heaven; now, a man can number a very great amount. Set to work your Newtons, your calculators, they can count great numbers, but God and God alone can tell the multitude of his redeemed. Now, sinner, thou art but one at any rate, great sinner as thou art, and the mercy of God which embraces millions must have room enough in it for thee. The sea which holds the whales and creeping things innumerable, dost thou say, “It will overflow its banks if I bathe therein”? The sun which floods the universe with light, canst thou see “I should exhaust his beams if I should ask him to enlighten my darkness”? Say not so. If thou comest to thyself thou wilt not tolerate such a thought, but thou wilt remember with hope the richness of the Father’s grace, even though thine own poverty stare thee in the face.

Let us add a few words to close with, close grappling words to some of you to whom God has sent his message this morning, and whom he intends to save. O you who have been long hearers of the gospel, and who know it well in theory, but have felt none of the power of it in your hearts, let me now remind you where and what you are! You are perishing. As the Lord liveth, there is but a step between you and death; but a step, nay, but a breath between you and hell. Sinner, if at this moment thy heart should cease its beating, and there are a thousand causes that might produce that result ere the clock ticks again, thou wouldst be in the flames of divine wrath; canst thou bear to be in such peril? If you were hanging over a rock by a slender thread which must soon break, and if you would then fall headlong down a terrible precipice, you would not sleep, but be full of alarm. May you have sense enough, wit enough, grace enough, to be alarmed until you escape from the wrath to come.

Recollect, however, that while you are perishing, you are perishing in sight of plenty; you are famishing where a table is abundantly spread; what is more, there are those whom you know now sitting at that table and feasting. What sad perversity for a man to persist in being starved in the midst of a banquet, where others are being satisfied with good things!

But I think I hear you say, “I fear I have no right to come to Jesus.” I will ask you this: have you any right to say that till you have been denied! Did you ever try to go to Christ? Has he ever rejected you? If then you have never received a repulse, why do you wickedly imagine that he would repel you? Wickedly, I say, for it is an offense against the Christ who opened his heart upon the cross, to imagine that he could repel a penitent. Have you any right to say, “But I am not one of those for whom mercy is provided”? Who told you so? Have you climbed to heaven and read the secret records of God’s election? Has the Lord revealed a strange decree to you, and said, “Go and despair, I will have no pity on you”? If you say that God has so spoken, I do not believe you. In this sacred book is recorded what God has said, here is the sure word of testimony, and in it I find it said of no humble seeker that God hath shut him out from his grace. Why hast thou a right to invent such a fiction in order to secure thine own damnation? Instead thereof, there is much in the word of God and elsewhere to encourage thee in coming to Christ. He has not repelled one sinner yet; that is good to begin with: it is not likely that he would, for since he died to save sinners, why should he reject them when they seek to be saved? You say, “I am afraid to come to Christ.” Is that wise? I have heard of a poor navigator who had been converted, who had but little education, but who knew the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and when dying, very cheerfully and joyful longed to depart. His wife said to him, “But, mon, ain’t ye afeared to stand before the judge?” “Woman,” said he, “why should I be afeared of a man as died for me?” Oh, why should you be afraid of Christ who died for sinners? The idea of being afraid of him should be banished by the fact that he shed his blood for the guilty. You have much reason to believe from the very fact that he died, that he will receive you. Besides, you have his word for it, for he saith, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”— for no reason, and in no way, and on no occasion, and under no presence, and for no motive. “I will not not cast him out,” says the original. “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” You say it is too good to be true that there can be pardon for you: this is a foolish measuring of God’s corn with your bushel, and because it seems too good a thing for you to receive, you fancy it is too good for God to bestow. Let the greatness of the good news be one reason for believing that the news is true, for it is so like God.

“Who is a pardoning God like thee?
Or who hath grace so rich and free?”

Because the gospel assures us that he forgives great sins through a great Savior, it looks as if it were true, since he is so great a God.

What should be the result of all this with every sinner here at this time? I think this good news should arouse those who have almost gone to sleep through despair. The sailors have been pumping the vessel, the leaks are gaining, she is going down, the captain is persuaded she must be a wreck. Depressed by such evil tidings, the men refuse to work; and since the boats are all stove in and they cannot make a raft, they sit down in despair. Presently the captain has better news for them. “She will float,” he says; “the wind is abating too, the pumps tell upon the water, the leak can be reached yet.” See how they work; with what cheery courage they toil on, because there is hope! Soul, there is hope! There is hope! THERE IS HOPE! To the harlot, to the thief, to the drunkard.

“There is no hope,” says Satan. Liar that thou art, get thee back to thy den; for thee there is no hope; but for fallen man, though he be in the mire of sin up to his very neck, though he be at the gates of death, while he lives there is hope. There is hope for hopeless souls in the Savior.

In addition to arousing us this ought to elevate the sinner’s thoughts. Some years ago, there was a crossing-sweeper in Dublin, with his broom, at the corner, and in all probability his highest thoughts were to keep the crossing clean, and look for the pence. One day, a lawyer put his hand upon his shoulder, and said to him, “My good fellow, do you know that you are heir to a fortune of ten thousand pounds a year?” “Do you mean it?” said he. “I do,” he said. “I have just received the information; I am sure you are the man.” He walked away, and he forgot his broom. Are you astonished? Why, who would not have forgotten a broom when suddenly made possessor of ten thousand a year? So, I pray that some poor sinners, who have been thinking of the pleasures of the world, when they hear that there is hope, and that there is heaven to be had, will forget the deceitful pleasures of sin, and follow after higher and better things.

Should it not also purify the mind? The prodigal, when he said, “I will arise and go to my father,” became in a measure reformed from that very moment. How, say you? Why, he left the swine-trough: more, he left the wine cup, and he left the harlots. He did not go with the harlot on his arm, and the wine cup in his hand, and say, “I will take these with me, and go to my father.” It could not be. These were all left, and though he had no goodness to bring, yet he did not try to keep his sins and come to Christ. I shall close with this remark, because it will act as a sort of caveat, and be a fit word to season the wide invitations of the free gospel. Some of you, I fear, will make mischief even out of the gospel, and will dare to take the cross and use it for a gibbet for your souls. If God is so merciful, you will go therefore and sin the more; and because grace is freely given, therefore you will continue in sin that grace may abound. If you do this, I would solemnly remind you I have no grace to preach to such as you. “Your damnation is just;” it is the word of inspiration, and the only one I know that is applicable to such as you are; but every needy, guilty soul that desires a Savior is told to-day to believe in Jesus, that is, trust in the substitution and sacrifice of Christ, trust him to take your sin and blot it out; trust him to take your soul and save it. Trust Christ entirely, and you are forgiven this very moment; you are saved this very instant, and you may rejoice now in the fact that being justified by faith you have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. O come ye, come ye, come ye; come and welcome; come ye now to the Redeemer’s blood. Holy Spirit, compel them to come in, that the house of mercy may be filled. Amen, and Amen.

Christ Our Passover – Spurgeon


Christ Our Passover


(No. 54)

Delivered on Sabbath Evening, December 2, 1855, by the


At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

"For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." —1 Corinthians 5:7

THE more you read the Bible, and the more you meditate upon it, the more you will be astonished with it. He who is but a casual reader of the Bible, does not know the height, the depth, the length and breadth of the mighty meanings contained in its pages. There are certain times when I discover a new vein of thought, and I put my hand to my head and say in astonishment, "Oh, it is wonderful I never saw this before in the Scriptures." You will find the Scriptures enlarge as you enter them; the more you study them the less you will appear to know of them, for they widen out as we approach them. Especially will you find this the case with the typical parts of God’s Word. Most of the historical books were intended to be types either of dispensations, or experiences, or offices of Jesus Christ. Study the Bible with this as a key, and you will not blame Herbert when he calls it "not only the book of God, but the God of books." One of the most interesting points of the Scriptures is their constant tendency to display Christ; and perhaps one of the most beautiful figures under which Jesus Christ is ever exhibited in sacred writ, is the Passover Paschal Lamb. It is Christ of whom we are about to speak to-night.

Israel was in Egypt, in extreme bondage; the severity of their slavery had continually increased till it was so oppressive that their incessant groans went up to heaven. God who avenges his own elect, though they cry day and night unto him, at last, determined that he would direct a fearful blow against Egypt’s king and Egypt’s nation, and deliver his own people. We can picture the anxieties and the anticipations of Israel, but we can scarcely sympathize with them, unless we as Christians have had the same deliverance from spiritual Egypt. Let us, brethren, go back to the day in our experience, when we abode in the land of Egypt, working in the brick-kilns of sin, toiling to make ourselves better, and finding it to be of no avail; let us recall that memorable night, the beginning of months, the commencement of a new life in our spirit, and the beginning of an altogether new era in our soul. The Word of God struck the blow at our sin; he gave us Jesus Christ our sacrifice; and in that night we went out of Egypt. Though we have passed through the wilderness since then, and have fought the Amalekites, have trodden on the fiery serpent, have been scorched by the heat and frozen by the snows, yet we have never since that time gone back to Egypt; although our hearts may sometimes have desired the leeks, the onions, and the flesh-pots of Egypt, yet we have never been brought into slavery since then. Come, let us keep the Passover this night, and think of the night when the Lord delivered us out of Egypt. Let us behold our Saviour Jesus as the Paschal Lamb on which we feed; yea, let us not only look at him as such, but let us sit down to-night at his table, let us eat of his flesh and drink of his blood; for his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed. In holy solemnity let our hearts approach that ancient supper; let us go back to Egypt’s darkness, and by holy contemplation behold, instead of the destroying angel, the angel of the covenant, at the head of the feast,— "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."

I shall not have time to-night to enter into the whole history and mystery of the Passover; you will not understand me to be to-night preaching concerning the whole of it; but a few prominent points therein as a part of them. It would require a dozen sermons to do so; in fact a book as large as Caryl upon Job— if we could find a divine equally prolix and equally sensible. But we shall first of all look at the Lord Jesus Christ, and show how he corresponds with the Paschal Lamb, and endeavour to bring you to the two points— of having his blood sprinkled on you, and having fed on him.

I. First, then, JESUS CHRIST IS TYPIFIED HERE UNDER THE PASCHAL LAMB; and should there be one of the seed of Abraham here who has never seen Christ to be the Messiah, I beg his special attention to that which I am to advance, when I speak of the Lord Jesus as none other than the Lamb of God slain for the deliverance of his chosen people. Follow me with your Bibles, and open first at the 12th chapter of Exodus.

We commence, first of all, with the victim— the lamb. How fine a picture of Christ. No other creature could so well have typified him who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. Being also the emblem of sacrifice, it most sweetly pourtrayed our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Search natural history through, and though you will find other emblems which set forth different characteristics of his nature, and admirably display him to our souls, yet there is none which seems so appropriate to the person of our beloved Lord as that of the Lamb. A child would at once perceive the likeness between a lamb and Jesus Christ, so gentle and innocent, so mild and harmless, neither hurting others, nor seeming to have the power to resent an injury.

"A humble man before his foes, a weary man and full of woes."

What tortures the sheepish race have received from us! how are they, though innocent, continually slaughtered for our food! Their skin is dragged from their backs, their wool is shorn to give us a garment. And so the Lord Jesus Christ, our glorious Master, doth give us his garments that we may be clothed with them; he is rent in sunder for us; his very blood is poured out for our sins; harmless and holy, a glorious sacrifice for the sins of all his children. Thus the Paschal Lamb might well convey to the pious Hebrew the person of a suffering, silent, patient, harmless Messiah.

Look further down. It was a lamb without blemish. A blemished lamb, if it had the smallest speck of disease, the least wound, would not have been allowed for a Passover. The priest would not have suffered it to be slaughtered, nor would God have accepted the sacrifice at his hands. It must be a lamb without blemish. And was not Jesus Christ even such from his birth? Unblemished, born of the pure virgin Mary, begotten of the Holy Ghost, without a taint of sin; his soul was pure, and spotless as the driven snow, white, clear, perfect; and his life was the same. In him was no sin. He took our infirmities and bore our sorrows on the cross. He was in all points tempted as we are, but there was that sweet exception, "yet without sin." A lamb without blemish. Ye who have known the Lord, who have tasted of his grace, who have held fellowship with him, doth not your heart acknowledge that he is a lamb without blemish? Can ye find any fault with your Saviour? Have you aught to lay to his charge? Hath his truthfulness departed? Have his words been broken? Have his promises failed? Has he forgotten his engagements? And, in any respect, can you find in him any blemish? Ah, no! he is the unblemished lamb, the pure, the spotless, the immaculate, "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world;" and in him there is no sin.

Go on further down the chapter. "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year." I need not stop to consider the reason why the male was chosen; we only note that it was to be a male of the first year. Then it was in its prime then its strength was unexhausted, then its power was just ripened into maturity and perfection, God would not have an untimely fruit. God would not have that offered which had not come to maturity.

And so our Lord Jesus Christ had just come to the ripeness of manhood when he was offered. At 34 years of age was he sacrificed for our sins; he was then hale and strong, although his body may have been emaciated by suffering, and his face more marred than that of any other man, yet was he then in the perfection of manhood. Methinks I see him then. His goodly beard flowing down upon his breast; I see him with his eyes full of genius, his form erect, his mien majestic, his energy entire, his whole frame in full development,— a real man, a magnificent man— fairer than the sons of men; a Lamb not only without blemish, but with all his powers fully brought out. Such was Jesus Christ— a Lamb of the first year— not a boy, not a lad, not a young man, but a full man, that he might give his soul unto us. He did not give himself to die for us when he was a youth, for he would not then have given all he was to be; he did not give himself to die for us when he was in old age, for then would he have given himself when he was in decay; but just in his maturity, in his very prime, then Jesus Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. And, moreover, at the time of his death, Christ was full of life, for we are informed by one of the evangelists that "he cried with a loud voice and gave up the ghost." This is a sign that Jesus did not die through weakness, nor through decay of nature. His soul was strong within him; he was still the Lamb of the first year. Still was he mighty; he could, if he pleased, even on the cross, have unlocked his hands from their iron bolts; and descending from the tree of infamy, have driven his astonished foes before him, like deer scattered by a lion, yet did he meekly yield obedience unto death. My soul; canst thou not see thy Jesus here, the unblemished Lamb of the first year, strong and mighty? And, O my heart! does not the though rise up— if Jesus consecrated himself to thee when he was thus in all his strength and vigour, should not I in youth dedicate myself to him? And if I am in manhood, how am I doubly bound to give my strength to him? And if I am in old age, still should I seek while the little remains, to consecrate that little to him. If he gave his all to me, which was much, should I not give my little all to him? Should I not feel bound to consecrate myself entirely to his service, to lay body, soul, and spirit, time, talents, all upon his altar. And though I am not an unblemished lamb, yet I am happy that as the leavened cake was accepted with the sacrifice, though never burned with it— I, though a leavened cake, may be offered on the altar with my Lord and Saviour, the Lord’s burnt offering, and so, though impure, and full of leaven, I may be accepted in the beloved, an offering of a sweet savour, acceptable unto the Lord my God. Here is Jesus, beloved, a Lamb without blemish, a Lamb of the first year!

The subject now expands and the interest deepens. Let me have your very serious consideration to the next point, which has much gratified me in its discovery and which will instruct you in the relation. In the 6th verse of the 12th chapter of Exodus we are told that this lamb which should be offered at the Passover was to be selected four days before its sacrifice, and to be kept apart:— "In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: and if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb." The 6th verse says, "And ye shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month." For four days this lamb, chosen to be offered, was taken away from the rest of the flock and kept alone by itself, for two reasons: partly that by its constant bleatings they might be put in remembrance of the solemn feast which was to be celebrated; and moreover, that during the four days they might be quite assured that it had no blemish, for during that time it was subject to constant inspection, in order that they might be certain that it had no hurt or injury that would render it unacceptable to the Lord. And now, brethren, a remarkable fact flashes before you— just as this lamb was separated four days, the ancient allegories used to say that Christ was separated four years. Four years after he left his father’s house he went into the wilderness, and was tempted of the devil. Four years after his baptism he was sacrificed for us. But there is another, better than that:— About four days before his crucifixion, Jesus Christ rode in triumph through the streets of Jerusalem. He was thus openly set apart as being distinct from mankind. He, on the ass, rode up to the temple, that all might see him to be Judah’s Lamb, chosen of God, and ordained from the foundation of the world. And what is more remarkable still, during those four days, you will see, if you turn to the Evangelists, at your leisure, that as much is recorded of what he did and said as through all the other part of his life. During those four days, he upbraided the fig tree, and straightway it withered; it was then that he drove the buyers and sellers from the temple; it was then that he rebuked the priests and elders, by telling them the similitude of the two sons, one of whom said he would go, and did not, and the other who said he would not go, and went; it was then that he narrated the parable of the husbandsmen, who slew those who were sent to them; afterwards he gave the parable of the marriage of the king’s son. Then comes his parable concerning the man who went unto the feast, not having on a wedding garment; and then also, the parable concerning the ten virgins, five of whom were very wise, and five of whom were foolish; then comes the chapter of very striking denunciations against the Pharisees:— "Woe unto you O ye blind Pharisees! cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter;" and then also comes that long chapter of prophecy concerning what should happen at the siege of Jerusalem, and an account of the dissolution of the world: "Learn a parable of the fig-tree: when his branch is yet tender and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh.: But I will not trouble you by telling you here that at the same time he gave them that splendid description of the day of judgment, when the sheep shall be divided from the goats. In fact, the most splendid utterances of Jesus were recorded as having taken place within these four days. Just as the lamb separated from its fellows, did bleat more than ever during the four days, so did Jesus during those four days speak more; and if you want to find a choice saying of Jesus, turn to the account of the last four days’ ministry to find it. There you will find that chapter, "Let not your hearts be troubled;" there also, his great prayer, "Father, I will;" and so on. The greatest things he did, he did in the last four days when he was set apart.

And there is one more thing to which I beg your particular attention, and that is, that during those four days I told you that the lamb was subject to the closest scrutiny, so, also, during those four days, it is singular to relate, that Jesus Christ was examined by all classes of persons. It was during those four days that the lawyer asked him which was the greatest commandment? and he said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy might; and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." It was then that the Herodians came and questioned him about the tribute money; it was then that the Pharisees tempted him; it was then, also, the Sadducees tried him upon the subject of the resurrection. He was tried by all classes and grades—Herodians, Pharisees, Sadducees, lawyers, and the common people. It was during these four days that he was examined: but how did he come forth? An immaculate Lamb! The officers said, "never man spake like this man." His foes found none who could even bear false witness against him, such as agreed together; and Pilate declared, "I find no fault in him." He would not have been fit for the Paschal Lamb had a single blemish have been discovered, but "I find no fault in him," was the utterance of the great chief magistrate, who thereby declared that the Lamb might be eaten at God’s Passover, the symbol and the means of the deliverance of God’s people. O beloved! you have only to study the Scriptures to find out wondrous things in them; you have only to search deeply, and you stand amazed at their richness. You will find God’s Word to be a very precious word; the more you live by it and study it, the more will it be endeared to your minds.

But the next thing we must mark is the place where this lamb was to be killed, which peculiarly sets forth that it must be Jesus Christ. The first Passover was held in Egypt, the second Passover was held in the wilderness; but we do not read that there were more than these two Passovers celebrated until the Israelites came to Canaan. And then, if you turn to a passage in Deuteronomy, the 16th chapter, you will find that God no longer allowed them to slay the Lamb in their own houses but appointed a place for its celebration. In the wilderness, they brought their offerings to the tabernacle where the lamb was slaughtered; but at its first appointment in Egypt, of course they had no special place to which they took the lamb to be sacrificed. Afterwards, we read in the 16th of Deuteronomy, and the 5th verse, "Thou mayest not sacrifice the Passover within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee; but at the place which the Lord thy God shall chose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the Passover at even at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt." It was in Jerusalem that men ought to worship, for salvation was of the Jews; there was God’s palace, there his altar smoked, and there only might the Paschal Lamb be killed. So was our blessed Lord led to Jerusalem. The infuriated throng dragged him along the city. In Jerusalem our Lamb was sacrificed for us; it was at the precise spot where God had ordained that it should be. Oh! if that mob who gathered round him at Nazareth had been able to push him headlong down the hill, then Christ could not have died at Jerusalem; but as he said, "a prophet cannot perish out of Jerusalem," so was it true that the King of all prophets could not do otherwise,— the prophecies concerning him would not have been fulfilled. "Thou shalt kill the lamb in the place the Lord thy God shall appoint." He was sacrificed in the very place. Thus, again you have an incidental proof that Jesus Christ was the Paschal Lamb for his people.

The next point is the manner of his death. I think the manner in which the lamb was to be offered so peculiarly sets forth the crucifixion of Christ, that no other kind of death could by any means have answered all the particulars set down here. First, the lamb was to be slaughtered, and its blood caught in a basin. Usually blood was caught in a golden basin. Then, as soon as it was taken, the priest standing by the altar on which the fat was burning, threw the blood on the fire or cast it at the foot of the altar. You may guess what a scene it was. Ten thousand lambs sacrificed, and the blood poured out in a purple river. Next, the lamb was to be roasted; but it was not to have a bone of its body broken.

Now I do say, there is nothing but crucifixion which can answer all these three things. Crucifixion has in it the shedding of blood—the hands and feet were pierced. It has in it the idea of roasting, for roasting signifies a long torment, and as the lamb was for a long time before the fire, so Christ, in crucifixion, was for a long time exposed to a broiling sun, and all the other pains which crucifixion engenders. Moreover not a bone was broken; which could not have been the case with any other punishment. Suppose it had been possible to put Christ to death in any other way. Sometimes the Romans put criminals to death by decapitation; but by a such death the neck is broken. Many martyrs were put to death by having a sword pierced through them; but, while that would have been a bloody death, and not a bone broken necessarily, the torment would not have been long enough to have been pictured by the roasting. So that, take whatever punishment you will— take hanging, which sometimes the Romans practised in the form of strangling, that mode of punishment does not involve shedding of blood, and consequently the requirements would not have been answered. And I do think, any intelligent Jew, reading through this account of the Passover, and then looking at the crucifixion, must be struck by the fact that the penalty and death of the cross by which Christ suffered, must have taken in all these three things. There was blood-shedding; the long continued suffering— the roasting of torture; and then added to that, singularly enough, by God’s providence not a bone was broken, but the body was taken down from the cross intact. Some may say that burning might have answered the matter; but there would not have been a shedding of blood in that case, and the bones would have been virtually broken in the fire. Besides the body would not have been preserved entire. Crucifixion was the only death which could answer all of these three requirements. And my faith receives great strength from the fact, that I see my Saviour not only as a fulfilment of the type, but the only one. My heart rejoices to look on him whom I have pierced, and see his blood, as the lamb’s blood, sprinkled on my lintel and my door-post, and see his bones unbroken, and to believe that not a bone of his spiritual body shall be broken hereafter; and rejoice, also, to see him roasted in the fire, because thereby I see that he satisfied God for that roasting which I ought to have suffered in the torment of hell for ever and ever.

Christian! I would that I had words to depict in better language; but, as it is, I give thee the undigested thoughts, which thou mayest take home and live upon during the week; for thou wilt find this Paschal Lamb to be an hourly feast, as well as supper, and thou mayest feed upon it continually, till thou comest to the mount of God, where thou shalt see him as he is, and worship him in the Lamb in the midst thereof.

II. HOW WE DERIVE BENEFIT FROM THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. Christ our Passover is slain for us. The Jew could not say that; he could say, a lamb, but "the Lamb," even "Christ our Passover," was not yet become a victim. And here are some of my hearers within these walls to-night who cannot say "Christ our Passover is slain for us." But glory be to God! some of us can. There are not a few here who have laid their hands upon the glorious Scapegoat; and now they can put their hands upon the Lamb also, and they can say, "Yes; it is true, he is not only slain, but Christ our Passover is slain for us." We derive benefit from the death of Christ in two modes: first, by having his blood sprinkled on us for our redemption; secondly, by our eating his flesh for food, regeneration and sanctification. The first aspect in which a sinner views Jesus is that of a lamb slain, whose blood is sprinkled on the door-post and on the lintel. Note the fact, that the blood was never sprinkled on the threshold. It was sprinkled on the lintel, the top of the door, on the side-post, but never on the threshold, for woe unto him who trampleth under foot the blood of the Son of God! Even the priest of Dagon trod not on the threshold of his god, much less will the Christian trample under foot the blood of the Paschal Lamb. But his blood must be on our right hand to be our constant guard, and on our left to be our continual support. We want to have Jesus Christ sprinkled on us. As I told you before, it is not alone the blood of Christ poured out on Calvary that saves a sinner; it is the blood of Christ sprinkled on the heart. Let us turn to the land of Zoan. Do you not think you behold the scene to-night! It is evening. The Egyptians are going homeward— little thinking of what is coming. But just as soon as the sun is set, a lamb is brought into every house. The Egyptian strangers passing by, say, "These Hebrews are about to keep a feast to night," and they retire to their houses utterly careless about it.

The father of the Hebrew house takes his lamb, and examining it once more with anxious curiosity, looks it over from head to foot, to see if it has a blemish. He findeth none. "My son," he says to one of them, "bring hither the bason." It is held. He stabs the lamb, and the blood flows into the bason. Do you not think you see the sire, as he commands his matronly wife to roast the lamb before the fire! "Take heed," he says, "that not a bone be broken." Do you see her intense anxiety, as she puts it down to roast, lest a bone should be broken? Now, says the father, "bring a bunch of hyssop." A child brings it. The father dips it into the blood. "Come here, my children, wife and all, and see what I am about to do." He takes the hyssop in his hands, dips it in the blood, and sprinkles it across the lintel and the door-post.

His children say, "What mean you by this ordinance?"

He answers, "This night the Lord God will pass through to smite the Egyptians, and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you."

The thing is done; the lamb is cooked; the guests are set down to it; the father of the family has supplicated a blessing; they are sitting down to feast upon it. And mark how the old man carefully divides joint from joint, lest a bone should be broken; and he is particular that the smallest child of the family should have some of it to eat, for so the Lord hath commanded.

Do you not think you see him as he tells them "it is a solemn night— make haste— in another hour we shall all go out of Egypt." He looks at his hands, they are rough with labour, and clapping them, he cries, "I am not to be a slave any longer." His eldest son, perhaps, has been smarting under the lash, and he says, "Son, you have had the task-master’s lash upon you this afternoon; but it is the last time you shall feel it." He looks at them all, with tears in his eyes—"This is the night the Lord God will deliver you."

Do you see them with their hats on their heads, with their loins girt, and their staves in their hands? It is the dead of the night. Suddenly they hear a shriek! The father says, "Keep within doors, my children; you will know what it is in a moment." Now another shriek— another shriek— shriek succeeds shriek: they hear perpetual wailing and lamentation. "Remain within," says he, "the angel of death is flying abroad." A solemn silence is in the room, and they can almost hear the wings of the angel flap in the air as he passes their blood-marked door. "Be calm," says the sire, "that blood will save you."

The shrieking increases. "Eat quickly, my children," he says again, and in a moment the Egyptians coming, say, "Get thee hence! Get thee hence! We are not for the jewels that you have borrowed. You have brought death into our houses." "Oh!" says a mother, "Go! for God’s sake! go. My eldest son lies dead!" "Go!" says a father, "Go! and peace go with you. It were an ill day when your people came into Egypt, and our king began to slay your first-born, for God is punishing us for our cruelty."

Ah! see them leaving the land; the shrieks are still heard; the people are busy about their dead. As they go out, a son of Pharoah is taken away unembalmed, to be buried in one of the pyramids. Presently they see one of their task-master’s sons taken away. A happy night for them— when they escape!

And do you see, my hearers, a glorious parallel? They had to sprinkle the blood, and also to eat the lamb. Ah! my soul, hast thou e’er had the blood sprinkled on thee? Canst thou say that Jesus Christ is thine? It is not enough to say "he loved the world, and gave his Son," you must say, "He loved me, and gave himself for me." There is another hour coming, dear friends, when we shall all stand before God’s bar; and then God will say, "Angel of death, thou once didst smite Egypt’s first born; thou knowest thy prey. Unsheath thy sword." I behold the great gathering, you and I are standing amongst them. It is a solemn moment. All men stand in suspense. There is neither hum nor murmur. The very stars cease to shine lest the light should disturb the air by its motion.

All is still. God says, "Has thou sealed those that are mine?" "I have," says Gabriel; "they are sealed by blood every one of them." Then saith he next, "Sweep with thy sword of slaughter! Sweep the Earth! and send the unclothed, the unpurchased, the unwashed ones to the pit." Oh! how shall we feel beloved, when for a moment we see that angel flap his wings? He is just about to fly, "But," will the doubt cross our minds "perhaps he will come to me?" Oh! no; we shall stand and look the angel full in his face.




"Bold shall I stand in that great day!
For who aught to my charge shall lay
While through thy blood absolved
I am from sin’s tremendous curse and shame."



If we have the blood on us, we shall see the angel coming, we shall smile at him; we shall dare to come even to God’s face and say,

"Great God! I’m clean! Through Jesus’ blood, I’m clean!"

But if, my hearer, thine unwashen spirit shall stand unshriven before its maker, if thy guilty soul shall appear with all its black spots upon it, unsprinkled with the purple tide, how wilt thou speak when thou seest flash from the scabbard the angel’s sword swift for death, and winged for destruction, and when it shall cleave thee asunder? Methinks I see thee standing now. The angel is sweeping away a thousand there. There is one of thy pot companions. There one with whom thou didst dance and swear. There another, who after attending the same chapel like thee, was a despiser of religion. Now death comes nearer to thee. Just as when the reaper sweeps the field and the next ear trembles because its turn shall come next, I see a brother and a sister swept into the pit. Have I no blood upon me? Then, O rocks! it were kind of you to hide me. Ye have no benevolence in your arms. Mountains! let me find in your caverns some little shelter. But it is all in vain, for vengeance shall cleave the mountains and split the rocks open to find me out. Have I no blood? Have I no hope? Ah! no! he smites me. Eternal damnation is my horrible portion. The depth of the darkness of Egypt for thee, and the horrible torments of the pit from which none can escape! Ah! my dear hearers, could I preach as I could wish, could I speak to you without my lips and with my heart, then would I bid you seek that sprinkled blood, and urge you by the love of your own soul, by everything that is sacred and eternal, to labour to get this blood of Jesus sprinkled on your souls. It is the blood sprinkled that saves a sinner.

But when the Christian gets the blood sprinkled, that is not all he wants. He wants something to feed upon. And, O sweet thought! Jesus Christ is not only a Saviour for sinners, but he is food for them after they are saved. The Paschal Lamb by faith we eat. We live on it. You may tell, my hearers, whether you have the blood sprinkled on the door by this: do you eat the Lamb? Suppose for a moment that one of the old Jews had said in his heart, "I do not see the use of this feasting. It is quite right to sprinkle the blood on the lintel or else the door will not be known; but what good is all this inside? We will have the lamb prepared, and we will not break his bones; but we will not eat of it." And suppose he went and stored the lamb away. What would have been the consequence? Why, the angel of death would have smitten him as well as the rest, even if the blood had been upon him. And if, moreover, that old Jew had said, "there, we will have a little piece of it; but we will have something else to eat, we will have some unleavened bread; we will not turn the leaven out of our houses, but we will have some leavened bread." If they had not consumed the lamb, but had reserved some of it, then the sword of the angel would have found the heart out as well as that of any other man. Oh! dear hearer, you may think you have the blood sprinkled, you may think you are just; but if you do not live on Christ as well as by Christ, you will never be saved by the Paschal Lamb. "Ah!" say some, "we know nothing of this." Of course you don’t. When Jesus Christ said, "except ye eat my flesh, and drink my blood, ye have no life in you," there were some that said, "This is a hard saying, who can heart it?" and many from that time went back— and walked no more with him. They could not understand him; but, Christian, dost thou not understand it? Is not Jesus Christ thy daily food? And even with the bitter herbs, is he not sweet food? Some of you, my friends, who are true Christians, live too much on your changing frames and feelings, on your experiences and evidences. Now, that is all wrong. That is just as if a worshipper had gone to the tabernacle and began eating one of the coats that were worn by the priest. When a man lives on Christ’s righteousness, it is the same as eating Christ’s dress. When a man lives on his frames and feelings, that is as much as if the child of God should live on some tokens that he received in the sanctuary that never were meant for food, but only to comfort him a little. What the Christian lives on is not Christ’s righteousness, but Christ; he does not live on Christ’s pardon, but on Christ; and on Christ he lives daily, on nearness to Christ. Oh! I do love Christ-preaching. It is not the doctrine of justification that does my heart good, it is Christ, the justifier; it is not pardon that so much makes the Christian’s heart rejoice, it is Christ the pardoner; it is not election that I love half so much as my being chosen in Christ ere worlds began; ay! it is not final perseverance that I love so much as the thought that in Christ my life is hid, and that since he gives unto his sheep eternal life, they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of his hand. Take care, Christian, to eat the Paschal Lamb and nothing else. I tell thee man, if thou eatest that alone, it will be like bread to thee— thy soul’s best food. If thou livest on aught else but the Saviour, thou art like one who seeks to live on some weed that grows in the desert, instead of eating the manna that comes down from heaven. Jesus is the manna. In Jesus as well as by Jesus we live. Now, dear friends, in coming to this table, we will keep the Paschal Supper. Once more, by faith, we will eat the Lamb, by holy trust we will come to a crucified Saviour, and feed on his blood, and righteousness, and atonement.

And now, in concluding, let me ask you, are you hoping to be saved my friends? One says, "Well, I don’t hardly know; I hope to saved, but I do not know how." Do you know, you imagine I tell you a fiction, when I tell you that people are hoping to be saved by works, but it is not so, it is a reality. In travelling through the country I meet with all sorts of characters, but most frequently with self-righteous persons. How often do I meet with a man who thinks himself quite godly because he attends the church once on a Sunday, and who thinks himself quite righteous because he belongs to the Establishment; as a churchman said to me the other day, "I am a rigid churchman." "I am glad of that," I said to him, "because then you are a Calvinist, if you hold the ‘Articles.’" He replied "I don’t know about the ‘Articles,’ I go more by the ‘Rubric.’" And so I thought he was more of a formalist than a Christian. There are many persons like that in the world. Another says, "I believe I shall be saved. I don’t owe anybody anything; I have never been a bankrupt; I pay everybody twenty shillings in the pound; I never get drunk; and if I wrong anybody at any time, I try to make up for it by giving a pound a year to such-and-such a society; I am as religious as most people; and I believe I shall be saved." That will not do. It is as if some old Jew had said, "We don’t want the blood on the lintel, we have got a mahogany lintel; we don’t want the blood on the door-post, we have a mahogany door-post." Ah! whatever it was, the angel would have smitten it if it had not had the blood upon it. You may be as righteous as you like: if you have not the blood sprinkled, all the goodness of your door-posts and lintels will be of no avail whatever. "Yes," says another, "I am not trusting exactly there. I believe it is my duty to be as good as I can; but then I think Jesus Christ’s mercy will make up the rest. I try to be as righteous as circumstances allow; and I believe that whatever deficiencies there may be, Christ will make them up." That is as if a Jew had said, "Child, bring me the blood," and then, when that was brought, he had said, "bring me a ewer of water;" and then he had taken it and mixed it together, and sprinkled the door-post with it. Why, the angel would have smitten him as well as anyone else, for it is blood, blood, blood, blood! that saves. It is not blood mixed with the water of our poor works; it is blood, blood, blood, blood! and nothing else. And the only way of salvation is by blood. For, without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. have precious blood sprinkled upon you, my hearers; trust in precious blood; let your hope be in a salvation sealed with an atonement of precious blood, and you are saved. But having no blood, or having blood mixed with anything else, thou art damned as thou art alive— for the angel shall slay thee, however good and righteous thou mayest be. Go home, then, and think of this: "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us."