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THE UPRIGHT SHALL HAVE DOMINION
In the morning, that morning when joy comes (Psalm 30:5), in the morning "when I awake" as David declares, that morning whose dawning beams presence with the Lord, then "I shall be satisfied with Your likeness": I shall see God, I shall be in a form fit for seeing Him face to face (I John 3:1-4), for I shall be like Him, resurrected in a spiritual body, just as on this earth, it was a body from the earth that was clothing, in which my spirit dwelt!
Then with a tent, a covering eternal in the heavens (II Corinthians 5:1ff.), not unclothed but over-coated
with the format for eternity, then shall be the glory of the Lord,
without curse, with redemption,
without pain and suffering, with total sanctification,
without loss, with the gain of the Shield and the Exceedingly Great Reward (Genesis 15:1),
who is God Himself, the same who has known His saints through all ages, and whose Gospel has shone from the first (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, TMR Ch. 3).
Then, in that morning, "the upright shall have dominion over them" ... Psalm 49, that grand and sublimely clear Psalm, shows the meaning of this. Man CANNOT redeem his brother, for redemption of a human soul is immensely costly, something which is to be provided (Psalm 49:15), but by God alone; and once paid, it is finished, without equal, comparison, parallel or hope (49:7-8). The matter is signalled, signed and deliverance on a once for all basis.
If it is gone, it is past; if you equivocate, you are lost.
As to unbelief, that secateur of
salvation, that axe of welfare, that slush-fund of sleaze, it means this:
"That is the way of those who are foolish, and of the
posterity who approve their sayings. Death shall feed on them ..."
Well, why not be realistic ? It is not one's own idea of a game to have death feeding upon one; but then, some seem to want this. Cutting their spirits from God, with slithering sentiments of autocracy, of autonomy, a sort of spiritual autism, they ruin their real estate, despise their inheritance, sell short their spirit's abode, humble their destiny and indulge their pride. What is the good of it, the possible good of it!
"Their beauty shall be consumed in the grave..." (Psalm 49:14). That is the upside of it! But as for the upright, those who found in GOD ALONE their righteousness (Psalm 71:16, Romans 3:23-27, Ephesians 2:1-12), "the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning" (Psalm 49:14).
THREE QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Now there are three things into which at once to enquire. Firstly, HOW shall the upright have dominion over them, and WHAT are the spiritual dimensions of this thing. Secondly, WHERE shall the foolish be, that the upright should have such dominion. Thirdly, WHO are the upright ? Let us take the last first.
Psalm 49:15 at once makes this last point clear. It is those, each one, whose soul the Lord has REDEEMED; for it declares of the writer, "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave!"
Unlike the unredeemable foolish, who find in anyone BUT God, their desire, where there is therefore NO HOPE, for brother cannot just redeem brother, for all have sinned, and none is a sacrifice fitting to cover the GAP between the doings of man and the glory of God (49:7): the redeemed by contrast are those who are the Lord's, who have the available Victor. HE is the GAP FILLER, the COST DEFRAYER, the REDEEMER. Who is HE ? He is GOD, as it expressly declares. Indeed, He is set in infinite disparity from ineffectual man! It is the Saviour (and again, ONLY GOD is the Saviour, Isaiah 40:10-11) of Isaiah 52-53, in format of man, the actual and living God.
They who find this redemption, they are not subject to the final warrant of the grave, to the final doom of death, and indeed, to the final damnation of judgment (Revelation 20, John 5:19ff., John 3:15-36). That is why vitality and joy, everlasting joy is upon their heads (Isaiah 51:11), and why peace like a river is their place and the site of their planting (Psalm 1, Isaiah 48:16ff.): in the sharpest contrast to those who insist on using the equipment and the spirit which God has given, and yet being in a perpetual and horrid state of divorce from their source.
In what way, however, will those so redeemed have dominion over the foolish in the morning of salvation's primacy, when resurrection past, the world of wonder continues in fresh premises ?
First, in the millenium (see preceding chapter, with also its terminal references), there is that work, as when the twelve apostles shall be as it were on twelve thrones (Matthew 19:28-30):
Verily I tell you, That you which have followed Me, in the regeneration
when the Son of
man shall sit in the throne of his glory,
you also shall
sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And every one
that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or
Here when ALL the saints come with the Lord to the earth which once had Him stricken, with the Word of God in flaming purity (Zechariah 14:5, I Thessalonians 3:13), like rejoicing soldiers coming to their triumph, there will be a cleavage infinite and vast from the denizens of the earth then left; for these who come are now resurrected, whom no more pain can touch, nor sorrow.
Disposed as the Lord sees fit, His people perceive and do as He would; and the manifest ruin and exposure of the crass wickedness and corruption of mind, spirit and body which characterises this world's ways will be in deep contrast. It is to be noticed that the apostles are shown in their function in the text above, and the principles apply more rigorously to many. So do the righteous shine forth as the sun, with the spiritually dispossessed no longer holding the apparent reins of this earth, but exposed where dark, for the darkness they have, like so many walking X-rays! Duplicity cannot prevail, and they shall not hurt or destroy in all His holy mountain (Isaiah 65:25).
In what other ways would the upright have dominion over them in the morning ? It would be, perhaps in the sense of Isaiah 66:24, where the 'pit' is seen as if topographically near to Jerusalem in the allegorical format here displayed (for in fact there is an impassible gulf - (Matthew 16:26ff.). Here there is the attestation of the relished intimacy of the saints with the Lord, and to those in such blessedness there comes the abhorrence at the departure from the living God, where this is perceived graphically (cf. Daniel 7:13-14,26-27, 12:1ff.). The restless ruin that is exposed is outside Christ, and it is for those who by ignoring or seeking to delete Him, have divested from themselves the whole thrust of the mercy of God; while the kingdom is given to the people, "the saints of the most high".
Again you see it in Revelation 22:5, where in the light entire and whole, "There shall be no night there. They need no lamp nor light of sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever," there where the "Lamb is its Light" and "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its Temple." In such ways, the dominion comes with the Director, in whom is the rule of reality and the life of love.
Further, there is the sense that after all this world's vain philosophy has had its vain outcomes, that in the plenitude of truth and peace, the carnal wars of this fallen world its badge and testimony of guilt, and the spiritual wars which it did not fight its indictment, then the redeemed rule and have victory most manifest IN THE TRUTH. Millenia have sufficed to indicate the folly of vanity, and the spiritual slums of seeking to use what God has made for Himself, instead for your own self, your world, your culture, multi-cultural or other, your wish, your dictates of your own heart!
The upright bear rule in the Lord over all the slithering valleys of corruption, all the sideways and all the shambles of ruin, at one time so loud in its own proclamation, now exposed and this for ever, as not only base, but abased.
Yet what is the sense in which the REDEEMED of the Lord, who know how vain is the dominion of the Gentile nations in their power and glory, their pride and their vainglorious self-elevation, their unserviceable preoccupation with their own will and way, can have DOMINION over the others ? Did not Christ expressly state in Matthew 20:25-28, the contrast in style between sovereign sinners and serviceable saints ?
"But Jesus called them unto him, and said, You know that the princes of the
exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
|"But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your slave: Even as the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."|
You see there the explicit and vast contrast. How then could the upright have dominion ? It lies in the way it is done. Authority is vested first of all in CHRIST, and that not in mere name but in fact, so that HIS WORD rules. Secondly, look at the actual Peter (not the fraudulently re-created lord of the Romanists), who made it clear that he saw himself as an elder who, with the other elders, should not act "as being lords" over those "entrusted" to them, but as "examples to the flock".
As Paul put it, he is there "not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow-workers for your joy: for by faith you stand" (II Corinthians 1:24). Certainly, if there is outrageous departure from the faith, the apostle Paul will come in the authority of the Lord, but it is not as PAUL and his doctrine, but in terms of what is written, of the book of the Lord and in the strength of the Lord, that any such action would be taken (II Corinthians 13:7-10). Nothing, says the apostle, can he do against the truth; but it is for the truth alone that the power of God is given. He serves with them, and does not lord it over them, for ONE is Lord, even Jesus Christ.
Per se, he has no desire but to be faithful and to serve under ONE living Master, to whom all must individually relate by faith.
Thus there is indeed authority; but it is neither self-willed, nor is it casuistical, far less casual. It has no butt, no victim; for its object is to be subservient in all things to the actualities and realities of Christ, not in terms of some super-human and imaginary authority of one's own place, for ONE is your Master and ALL of you are brothers (as Christ put it in Matthew 23:8-10). There is NO pretence and no pretension.
What sort of 'dominion' then or rule is there which has no selfish or self-centred or self-augmenting or self-imagined glory or greatness, but which serviceably seeks to apply what the Lord is and wants, with humility and meekness, in order to help their joy and to service their needs: all being of One, who alone has power and dominion and authority ?
It is a derivative dominion, in which love is the atmosphere, grace is the governor, truth is the impeller, reality is the ground, service is the function; but the presence of the Lord is there, so that His will is implemented. It is not a free love-in in spirit or body or mind; it is a liberty of love where the truth is known and not in question, and where service is deft, diligent and delicate. That is the spirit of it. The really helpful then become the really serviceable, not the really lordly; but there is NO SCOPE for sedition, since the truth is itself in dominion, BECAUSE it IS the truth. Christ is Lord as the life, the way and the truth.
The clouds of vaporous and vapid thought have by now departed, and the sun of righteousness having arisen with healing in His wings (Malachi 4), His presence upon the whole earth, even in the millenium, righteousness rules with a flair and a flavour, as the perfumes of Spring in its season. This is the ruling way, the sway of righteousness, the fragrance of virtue, and now it is manifest.
This is the joy of spiritual service in which one may even now participate; but then, with the earth no more appalled with the wry faith of unbelief, there is the unclouded custom and the unruffled magnificence of the spiritual Spring where the nectar of truth is not despised, and the ways of peace are found on all sides (Micah 4, Isaiah 59), until the earth itself is removed and the eternity of the blessed proceeds (Revelation 20:1ff., Matthew 24:35).
Joy comes in the morning.