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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 3


4. The Life of the Lamb




The life of the book is peculiar. It is "the life of the Lamb slain." The present life is hereditary and natural. It comes to us based upon the sympathies of flesh, which "profits nothing" in relation to that which is "the Lamb's." He gave bis life as a price for the purchase of life for many brethren (Matt. xx. 28). It is therefore styled "the life of the Lamb slain;" and a right to it is predicated on a "justification unto life" which results to a believer from the obedience of faith, or doing the commandments of God (Apoc. xxii. 14). The dead enter upon this life, then, by resurrection, because of righteousness. Sin was the original cause of their death, for "the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit (gives) life because of righteousness" (Rom. viii. 10). From the very nature of things, therefore, the righteous, or the Saints, they who are sanctified by the truth, they only can be on record in God's remembrance for the life of the Aions. All others inherit the life of flesh because they are flesh; and have an existence bounded thereby, because they walk after the flesh, in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Thus, death and corruption are the horizon of the flesh; incorruptibility, life, honour, and glory, the boundless expanse to them who sow to the Spirit of God. "If ye live after the flesh ye shall die, but if, through the Spirit, ye do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit (or the truth) of God, they are the Sons of God" (Rom. viii. 13,14; Gal. vi. 8,9).

But "the scroll of the Lamb's Life" is not yet opened. When the Lord God shall have judged the Woman Jezebel, who sits upon the Scarlet Beast of the many waters; when he shall have killed the beast with the sword, (Apoc. xiii. 10) and have utterly burned her with fire, (Apoc. xviii. 6-8), he will have "prevailed," and, in prevailing, have opened the Book of Epistles, the Book of Seals, and the Little Book of Vials. But in order to open these, he must first open the Book of the Lamb's Life. It is as necessary to the opening of the first three books, that "truth should spring out of the earth," as that righteousness should bow down from the heavens" (Psa. lxxxv. 11) for the Lord Jesus above, and the Saints, his brethren, at present in the earth beneath, are the associates to whom it is appointed to cooperate with the Spirit in the execution of "the judgment written" (Psa. cxlix. 5-9). He who was dead, but now is living for the Aions, has the keys of the invisible and of death which reigns there (Apoc. i. 18), so that until he appears, "the Gates of the Invisible" (Matt. xvi. 18), will remain closed upon the Saints, and the Book of the Life will be unopened. Their resurrection is the opening of the Book of Life, or God's remembrance of them practically demonstrated in their deliverance from death. Spirit-truth inscribed them on His memory, and Spirit-power, the same Spirit of God that revealed the doctrine through prophets and apostles, raises them from the dead, or opens the gates of the invisible, by Jesus; and then will be verified the words of Paul, who says, "If the spirit of him who raised up Jesus from among the dead dwell in you, he who raised up the Christ from among the dead shall also make alive your mortal bodies by means of his spirit indwelling among you" (Rom. viii. 11). "I am always bearing about the putting to death of the Lord Jesus in the body, that the life of Jesus (the Lamb's life), may be manifested in our body. For we, the living, are always exposed to death on account of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh." And, "he who raised up the Lord Jesus shall also raise us up by Jesus, and shall present us with you," when "mortality shall be swallowed up by life" (2 Cor. iv. 10,11,14; v. 4). This is the Lamb's life -- immortality of body, a living incorruptible body, evolved from the ashes of the former body by the Spirit of God, therefore a Spiritual Body, or SPIRIT, which are equivalent terms in the case; born from the invisible by resurrection, which is the opening of the house of death. Thus, "that which has been produced from the Spirit is spirit (John iii. 6). The resurrected spirit-body is one of "the invisible things" of the Aion to come, and therefore aionian, in the Common Version termed "eternal." It is the aionian house -- the house aionian from heaven, and in the heavens -- which is explained in the words, "Our commonwealth subsists in heavens, out of which also we wait for a deliverer, the Anointed Lord Jesus, who shall remodel the body of our humiliation, that it may become conformable to the body of his glory" (2 Cor. v. 1-4; Phil. iii. 20,21). The beginning of the citizenship is he putting on Christ as the righteousness of the adopted. Hence it is written, "as many of you (believers) as have been immersed into Christ, have put on Christ" (Gal. iii. 27). Christ Jesus who is in the heavens, is "put on" by individuals on earth, who "believe the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ, and are immersed" (Acts viii. 12). In doing this, their citizenship begins; and it begins in the heavens, because Christ, whom they put on, is in the heavens. In so becoming citizens of Israel's Commonwealth, their citizenship is recorded in the Every-Day Book of the Lamb's Life -- their names are borne on his breast, after the type of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel being borne on the breast of Aaron, when he wore the official breastplate on which they were engraved. In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ, the High Priest after the Order of Melchizedec (Psa. cx. 4; Heb. v. 6; vi. 20: vii. 17, 21; Zech. vi. 13), though personally absent from earth, is, by the Spirit, not far from every one of us (Acts xvii. 27, 28). He is still as observant and forecasting of the truth as he was in the days of the apostles, although, indeed, he abstains from direct miraculous interposition in its behalf. When one believes and obeys the truth, he becomes "known of God," and therefore of Christ (Gal. iv. 9); for to come in the obedience of faith to the knowledge of God in Christ-manifestation, is to be known and acknowledged of him. Christ is in his heart by faith (Eph. iii. 17), and he is in Christ's heart, or breast, on the same principle -- Christ in the believer, the believer in Christ, and Christ in God: and therefore, the believer "in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ." This is what "the obedience of faith" accomplishes for a man in the present state.

Now such a citizen is in a waiting position. His faith lays hold of Christ within the vail. His thinking concentrates there. On earth bodily, his mind is anchored within the vail (Heb, vi. 19); for the "anchor of his soul" is the hope of Christ's departure from the far country where he now is; and that he may unveil himself, the vail of mortal flesh being no longer a curtain excluding the believer from "seeing him as he is" (1 John iii. 2). His hope is, the manifestation of Jesus out of heaven. Thus, he is looking, or waiting, for him, that he may come and remodel or transform him in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. xv. 51,52); or, if he may have been previously "laid aside" in the earth, that he may build him up, and convert his mortal remains into "a house not made with hands," that it may become a habitation for God, who shall dwell in it by Spirit (Eph. ii. 22) -- a habitation produced by Jesus Christ, the life-imparting Spirit, at his appearing and therefore styled our habitation from heaven.

The putting on additionally (the word used by Paul 2 Cor. v. 2, and rendered in the C.V. "to be clothed upon") the present nature of Christ, as it was added to his mortal body; or the clothing of our flesh with incorruptibility and life, is "presence with the Lord." When the body of our humiliation is conformed to the body of his glory, "we shall be like him," and see him as he is;" and not before. Till this corporeal transformation is effected, we are absent from the Lord." It cannot possibly be otherwise; for until the books are opened," none are delivered; for until then judgment is not declared;" nor can any man "enter into the temple till the seven vial-plagues are fulfilled " (Apoc. xv. 8); and much of the seventh remains to be fulfilled by the conjoint operation of Messiah and the Saints. The temple in the heaven is undeveloped. It does not exist in the "far country" where Jesus is now; but belongs to his Aion on the earth. He comes to co-operate with the Saints in its development. When the work is finished they will be with him "in the heavens;" and no more plagues will afflict the world for a thousand years. The books are not yet opened. This being indisputable, it is certain that no dead saint is with the Lord, or in heaven. No reward is given till the book of life is opened: and that book will not be opened until all have been recorded there, who may yet obtain right to the wood of life composed of many trees. "Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just" (Luke xiv. 14); and "the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; THEN (after this event) He shall reward every man according to his works" (Matt. xvi. 27); and again, "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, THEN (after this coming) shall he sit upon the throne of his glory" (Matt. xxv. 31.) These are "the wholesome words of the Lord Jesus" published to Israel in his proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom; and they define with great exactness the time of the opening of the book of his life at the resurrection when he comes to sit upon the throne of his glory; this is the great epoch of judgment and reward.

It is the Lamb's life as opposed to the first Adam's life; and to that hypothetical existence, fabricated by the philosophizings of Sin's flesh. Adam's life is flesh sustained in action by blood, air, and electricity, or by digestion and respiration; and transmitted by natural laws. The fabulous existence elaborated by the unenlightened thinking of Sin's flesh, is that theory upon which all superstition is based -- the conceit of an inborn ghost, deathless and having independent existence, apart from all corporeality. This incorporeal abstraction the Devil, that is, Sin's Flesh, has denominated "THE IMMORTAL SOUL." This serpentine philosopher, whose pious lucubrations "deceive the whole world" (Apoc. xii. 9; xx. 2,3) teaches, that it is "the vital principle," the real man, and the true image and likeness of his Maker! Religion, he says, is for the preventing of all immortal ghosts who sincerely repent of their sins, from falling into eternal torments, to which they are all liable by an eternal decree; and for their emigration from earth on angels' wings to kingdoms beyond the skies! This is the gospel of the Archdeceiver of the world; and preached substantially by all the "Holy Orders" of his establishment; and all mankind, in their Names and Denominations of Blasphemy, go "wondering after" the abomination. So long as the serpent in the flesh can charm them with such vanity they will remain unregistered in the book of the Lamb's life, and be obnoxious to the plagues of the Little Book in which it is written, that "for the fearful, and UNBELIEVING, and the abominable, and murderers, and harlotists, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and for all the liars (the "clergy") their part is in the lake burning with fire and brimstone,"being there" tormented in the presence of the holy messengers, and in the presence of the Lamb" (Apoc. xxi. 8; xiv.10: xix. 20: xx. 14,15). The life purchased by Jesus for his brethren has no affinity with such a fiction. He purchased life for dead bodies; not happiness for immortal ghosts. "This is the testimony, that God gives aionian life to us, and this life is in his Son; he who hath the Son, hath the life; he who hath not the Son of God, hath not the life" (1 John v. 11,12), and "shall not see life but the wrath of God abides upon him" (John iii. 36).




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