Matthew Chapter 24
Luke 17:31-33 continued, “In that day (the day when the Son of Man is revealed), he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”
He upon the Housetop
“We first inquire what house is referred to here, and find that the nominal or professing church is meant. There is a sense in which only the over-comers are spoken of as the house--"Christ as a son over his own house, whose house are we IF we hold fast," etc. Again the Jewish Church and the entire nominal church of wheat and tares are called houses, and we read that Jesus shall be for "a stone of stumbling and rock of offense to both the houses of Israel (viz. the nominal fleshly house then, and the nominally spiritual house, the professing church today)." Isa. 8:14.
The house referred to in our text is the latter of the two; the nominal spiritual or Gospel house. Those in the house are the members of the nominal household; those on the housetop (as we mentioned in our previous post) represent those nearest heaven--the most devoted and consecrated ones--the jewels which the Lord says he will gather; "the stuff in the house" represents the individual interests centered in the organizations, such as honor, respect, family ties, friendships; these are valuables indeed; we all love these things, but the Lord says that in this day, as soon as we discern his presence we must flee and escape from the house--the house is stumbling and fallen. A terrible gale is coming on; we know it is just at hand, for we see the flashes from the dark clouds of trouble which indicate the presence of him who is as the lightning.
It is the same message which is put in other words in Rev. 18:2. "Babylon is fallen; come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues." But how loathe are the inmates to leave their old and comfortable home; they do not believe that their house has fallen--these will not obey the voice; they will be buried in the ruins. "Woe unto them that are at ease in Zion." (Amos 6:1-8)
But there is another class which cries and laments for Zion's transgressions, which are not at ease. Some of these housetop saints hear and believe the call, but some stay and try to prop up the shaking house and hope against hope; some of them take the alarm and attempt to escape, but loving their stuff (goods) seek to take it with them; this involves delay, and is dangerous. It is this danger our Lord warns us against, saying: "Let him not go down to take it away. And let him that is in the field likewise not return back." Those who have got out of the house and are fleeing from the coming storm let them not think it a false alarm and return, for the destruction of the house (nominal church) lingers only until such sheep as hear the shepherd's voice, "Come out of her, my people," and are obedient, shall have had opportunity to escape; then will come the crash and fall.
Now mark the illustration given: "Remember Lot's wife." In the days of Lot they of Sodom ate, drank, etc., as usual, but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. We all recall the story, how Lot was called out of Sodom before sunrise; how he endeavored to get his relatives, who were wedded to Sodomites, to flee with him; how his words seemed to them like idle tales; how even Lot and his family were so tedious that the angels laid hold of their hands and urged them out. They had hardly escaped when the destruction came upon the city. So here God pronounces certain judgments upon the world and on a worldly church. He tells his "friends" (represented by Abraham), who live separate from the world--from under the influence of Sodom, of what is coming upon Sodom, and delivers the class who have become almost overcharged with the cares of this life--if they will hear his voice, obey and come out into separateness of life.
But Jesus called special attention to Lot's wife, who, when on her way out, began to remember her goods, and slacked her pace for a moment to sorrowfully look back. Let us see the application of this to those who are now called in this day of the revealing of the present Lord to come out from the nominal Gospel "house." He that loves houses, or lands, or reputation, or relatives, or friends, more than the Bridegroom is not worthy to be of his Bride; let him stay with his stuff, and they will; but let each one who has consecrated all to the Lord remember that he has nothing of his own, and let him leave all and obey the voice, "Come out of her."
Here the test seems to be entire consecration; every interest of life and comfort draws and binds you to remain in the now condemned house. We understand that the nominal church was given up in A.D. 1878, the exact parallel of time to the giving up of the Jewish house when Jesus said to them: "Your house is left unto you desolate;" as he now says to this house: "Because thou art neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth;"—my word of truth and knowledge will no longer be uttered through you.
As there were 3 ½ years of favor extended to individual Israelite’s following the death of our Lord and the casting off of the nominally fleshly house so likewise 3 ½ years of individual favor were extended to the nominally spiritual house following its being cast off in A.D. 1878. It was from this point forward that not only was the voice of the bridegroom no longer heard in the Babylonian (confusion) house, but likewise thenceforth the voice of the bride was no longer heard in her anymore (Rev 18:23).
The bride consist of those “mature” Christians who have heeded the Lord’s injunction to leave Babylon, all that remains in Babylon presently of the Lord’s consecrated peoples are “babes” in Christ, undeveloped Christians, “foolish virgins” who either have not heard the Lord’s call to come out or who having heard are to reluctant to leave their “stuff”. We would urge such to flee out of Sodom; "flee out of Babylon;" stay not in all the plain--leave the stuff-- sacrifice it in obedience to the Lord's word.
Yes, it will test you sorely--"every man's work shall be tried so as by fire."
He that loves his life, (honor, reputation, friends, etc.,) shall lose it, and he that sacrifices all these elements of the human nature, shall find that which God hath promised to the overcomers, viz. “the crown of life"--immortality.” (R228 Edited)
Continued with next post.
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