In this issue of The Lampstand we are commencing two series of articles on themes which are both compelling and related. They are God Manifestation and the Apocalypse. We hope to demonstrate not only the importance of these subjects as far as our understanding of the Word is concerned, but also how simple, practical and exhortational they are.

The Apocalypse is actually a confidential message from the Lord Jesus Christ explaining to his “friends” how the Father has manifested His Glory in the past, is manifesting it at the present time, and will assuredly reveal it in a multitude of glorified ones in His future Kingdom. It is written in a style which only the Lord’s friends can understand and expresses “spiritual things in spiritual words”. This revelation of God’s purpose was never intended for every man to understand, but only those separated ones who understand the Truth and are constituents now of that Christ-Body.

The glorious concept of God-manifestation is beautifully outlined in the various titles of the first chapter, and all of them are in harmony with the total message of Scripture. The Apocalypse expands facets of this message to show how Yahweh has provided a “cloud of witnesses” in all ages, following the pattern of His “Faithful Witness” (Rev 1:5), and how He will deal with men and nations to bring to pass His desired purpose. The titles of the first chapter of the Apocalypse provide the indispensable key to unlock the rest of the book. Whether it be the “Him which is and which was and which is to come”, the “seven spirits which are before His throne”, the “faithful witness”, the “firstborn of the dead”, the “prince of the kings of the earth”, the “Alpha and Omega, beginning and ending”, one “like unto the Son of Man”, or the “clouds” with which the Lord appears, these are all expressions of the manifestation of Deity in one form or another—in His Firstborn Son, or in the many sons begotten by the Spirit Word and who collectively witness to that Word as members of that multitudinous body of Christ.

The Apocalypse opens with the promise of a blessing to those that read, hear and keep the things which are written therein. This blessing does not come so much from being able to interpret all the historical events as it does from understanding and practising the principles of God-manifestation which pervade the whole book. Whilst many of the chapters deal with historical events, we must never lose sight of the fact that the purpose of the book is to show the way in which saints of all ages would witness against error, and how the final triumph of God’s righteousness in the earth will only come about with the manifestation of Christ and the saints at the Lord’s coming.

Many people have become confused with such terms as preterist, futurist and continuous historic views, describing historical interpretations given by various authors, but we must be aware that a correct understanding of the Apocalypse will only come with a proper appreciation of God-manifestation. The key to the Apocalypse is found in chapter 1 and any interpretation of the book can very readily be put to the test by analysing its treatment of the vital subject of God-manifestation as set out in the opening vision. There are a number of significant verses in this chapter which can be considered in this context and one of these is when John says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet” (1:10). A correct interpretation of this verse is vital to the understanding of the book as a whole. The term “the Lord’s day” (or “the day of Yahweh”) occurs twenty times in the Old Testament and five times in the New Testament and it is always associated with the day when God’s judgments will be poured out on the wicked. All passages, either in a primary or secondary sense, have their ultimate fulfilment at the manifestation of Christ and the saints, as expressed in Psalm 149. In every instance the day of Yahweh is associated with words such as “destruction”, “wrath”, “vengeance”, “battle”, etc. Some examples are:

“For the day of Yahweh is at hand and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come” (Joel 1:15)
“The great day of Yahweh is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of Yahweh: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath” (Zeph 1:14,15)
“For this is the day of Adonai Yahweh of Hosts, a day of vengeance, that He may avenge Him of His adversaries… ” (Jer 46:10)
“… neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of Yahweh” (Ezek 13:5).
John was projected forward in spirit to the day of Christ’s return when the saints, having been resurrected and made immortal, will be revealed in power to judge the nations in the “day of Yahweh”. Being figuratively in that position, he heard a voice behind him and turned to see the voice which spoke to him. John was to both hear and see the apocalypse of the Almighty in its complete unfolding, of the “him who was, and is, and is to come”. Hence he is shown in subsequent visions, two thousand years of world history from the time when he recorded the Apocalypse to the “day of Yahweh”, and in spirit he witnessed the decline of the Truth, the development of the apostasy and finally the “day of the Lord”, when the Apocalypse will be consummated. Brother Thomas states in Eureka, volume I, page 159: “It is the day when ‘the only Potentate’ in the saints shall lord it over mankind—and those represented by the symbolic son of man in the midst of the seven lightstands, shall be the sovereign power of the earth to its utmost bounds.”

This vision must surely be the great hope and motivating force in our lives and we trust that these series of articles combining these two wonderful themes of God Manifestation and the Apocalypse will help us consolidate that vision and, for some readers, perhaps give them a deeper and fuller appreciation of the subjects.