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DAVID, and the charter for mankind | Arise into Thy rest | Watchman, What of the night? | THIS IS THE DAY ! Psalm 118. | Love, the bond of perfectness
Bible study (West Wickham. England)
Watchman, What of the night?

The burden of Dumah.
He calleth to me out of Seir,
Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?
The watchman said,
The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.
Isaiah 21:11,12

This text has been used, not inappropriately, as heading for reviews of where we are in the stream of time. However, the question of Isaiah 21:11 is not that prompted by the yearning of a heart athirst for God. It does not represent the searching enquiry of His faithful servant for clearer understanding. At first look, this remarkably short oracle may seem to tell us little. It consists of a repeated question, and a brief and seemingly paradoxical reply in verse 12. One commentator (Cheyne,) said that for all practical significance, for what it would tell the people of Isaiah's day or since, this short oracle might just as well not have been written. But it was written, and it was the Holy Spirit that moved that holy man to thus convey the Lord's dictates in a statement as eloquent as it is brief, and of great import to every person who has ever lived.

"The burden of Dumah" "Burden" means just that! The Hebrew conveys the thought of great weight. Great weight means great import. It also implies a burden of judgment. Here is an important statement of judgment that so long ago was made to hang like a millstone upon the neck of its subject. Yet even in such a message and even so brief a word, in the same breath comes a gleam of mercy and hope. Isa 21:12 "if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come."

The word for "enquire" means to "boil", implying the possibility of a deep inner response to the message of the Lord's watchman. The account of Acts 2:37 comes to mind.. "Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?" If this is so, the watchman says, then boil indeed, and may that inner fervency be manifest in a whole-hearted return to the Lord.

But first, what is Dumah, and what means this judgment upon it? The burden of Dumah appears in a sequence of judgments upon peoples and nations outside Israel who strove against the people chosen of God to inherit the land of promise. After dealing first with Israel itself, these burdens, ten in all, occupy chapters 13 to 27, culminating in the destruction of the present evil world and the establishment of the kingdom blessings. Then follows a new sequence of six woes in chapters 28 to 33, leading to a seventh, the terrible judgment of Edom in 34, to be followed by the subsequent and contrasting scenes of blessing for the redeemed in chapter 35.

These surrounding nations were enemies of Israel. They came between that people and the realisation of the promised rest. The state of "quietness and assurance forever" was shown to be the result of "righteousness" reigning in the heart. It therefore requires very little depth of Bible study to discover in each of these enemy forces that hindered that attainment the true enemies of the human heart, not other people.. These were used by the Lord as a kind of dramatisation of the underlying truth. The enemies those nations represented are the true enemies of the human heart.. the attitudes, deep inbred sinful conditions of the inmost being, the distortions of mind and character each of which must be rooted out and ruthlessly destroyed before the kingdom blessedness of life and peace with God can be achieved.

Pride of Moab.. that brutal and merciless iron sword of sin of the Philistine.. the false sensual religion of Babylon.. These and all other enemies of human happiness have so long blinded the mind and captivated the heart of the race lest light reach those hidden recesses of the soul to deliver into the glorious liberty of sons of God.

The Lord knows how to deal with each and every one of these giant enemies, and to bring the trusting heart into the land promised.. the new earth, under new heavens, where dwells every righteous principle of holiness, heavenly wisdom and love.

Dumah is number eight in the list of these powers at enmity with God. If we were clever with Hebrew we would spot a fairly easy anagram here of the word Edom, the first and last letters being reversed. Even without that advantage we have an immediate clue to the identity of Dumah in the reference to the land of Seir. Seir was the main mountain of the region of Edom, land of Esau. Edom, means "red", and this reflects not only the appetite but also the nature of Jacob's twin brother, who was a man given to anger, and warlike in temperament. He respected not the landmark of others, cared not for the red soil of his land to cultivate, but lived on flesh. His hand was against his neighbour, and every man's hand was against him.

By slight adjustment to the name Edom, [and this device is also used elsewhere in Isaiah,] the word Dumah was produced. Dumah means "silence", the silence of the dead, for so the word is used elsewhere.. Psa.115:17."The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence."Dumah. Psalm 94:17 likewise.. "Unless the LORD [had been] my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence." Dumah, .. the state of the dead.

The Greek for Edom, Idumea, reflects this name change, and by it the wild hairy nature of man is doomed to the silence of destruction or death. However, as is often the case, there is a double play on this word. Edom, the old Adam, (the word is the same), despised his birthright, thought less of it than the gratification of the flesh, and became an alien to God and His ways. In this Edom became symbolic of Adam and the race..spiritually dead.

Edom represented that in man which is totally inert and unresponsive to the things of God. In Edom, the voice of praise is EVER SILENT. Jesus alludes to this state.. "Let the dead bury the dead.." Paul too.. "we were dead", he says, "in sin." Both Jesus and Paul were speaking of the walking dead.. physically animated, but spiritually lifeless.

When Israel went after other lovers the Lord turned them over to the pagan gods they worshipped. So with Edom, silent in praise, like the dead who praise not the Lord, this same Edom is to become silent in death. Such is the judgment pronounced that within this new age before us will be realised upon this spiritually void state of the human heart.

So the voice calling here from Seir is to be understood not as the enquiry of an individual. No one person is here depicted. This is rather the crying out of this state of heart in all mankind, man's spiritual lifelessness crying out, as it were, concerning its future. How long will the Lord allow this state to continue in this earth. How long before "The heart of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly." ? (Isaiah 32:4) How long before the tongue of the dumb be taught how to sing the Lord's praise? The cry of this state of heart in mankind, like the groaning of creation for something better then this bleak state of lifeless existence, this universal condition of spiritual inertness, cries out for the Lord's intervention and resolution.

Edom was ever jealous and scornful of Israel. When judgment came against Israel under Nebuchadnesar, Edom was first to back the enemy to its own advantage, taking in reward part of the land of Judah. In somewhat similar way the Arab too was to take the land during Israel's dispersion of so many centuries. Under Cyrus, however, type of the second advent of Christ, the Edomites were conquered and Israel restored. However, this old enemy was not to disappear overnight. It persisted long after the coming of Cyrus. Half a millennium later we find an Idumean, Herod, ruling in Israel under the Romans. It took nearly a whole millennium after the coming of Cyrus for Edom to become completely overcome and removed around the 5th century AD. Then at last was the prophecy fulfilled regarding the final physical collapse of this old enemy as the silence of death descended upon it. Today the land of Edom lies a complete wilderness. Its high rock dwellings, such as at Petra, were rediscovered in more recent times, completely desolate, but for the occasional visit of Bedouin Arabs. Brethren, this is the most cheering bit of desert in the world.. In its silence it gives the most powerful testimony to the Lord's ability to fulfil His Word, and overcome finally and forever this sad state of resistance in human hearts to the ways and love of their Creator.

The coming of Cyrus was a type of Christ at His return. The fact that it took nearly a 1000 years from his coming to wipe out Edom - is not without interest to us today, with our privileged understanding of what the millennial age is all about. We realise that the whole thousand years will be required for the great task envisaged of revitalisation and re-education of the race. Christ must reign UNTIL all enemies are overthrown.. Until that is achieved He reigns in the midst of these enemies of the human heart, and pursues their overthrow. The enemy "Death" comes last at the end of the age. For it to be removed as an inevitable sequence of human life - the old Adam has to be completely eradicated from the human heart. Edom must go.. never to return. The final test at the end of the thousand years must guarantee this.

The watchman here in our text is well represented in Isaiah himself Isa 62:6 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD {or, ye that are the LORD's remembrancers} , keep not silence. The word for watchman is different in Isa. 21:11 to the one used a few verses before. In verse 6, it means a look-out, a watcher for coming events. Here in verse 11, it means one maintaining vigil as the long hours of darkness progress. We too, if the Lord's watchmen, need to embrace both the vigilance, and the same faithful continuance fully alert and resistant to drowsiness.

The "night" refers to the long dark night of sin. Night is often related to the thought of trouble or trial.. "Weeping may endure for a night.." The hope of any change lies in the coming of dawn, the new light of morning to sweep away night's dark shadows.

The question asked does not mean "What kind of night is it?" "What is the weather doing?" The Edom heart is scornful of any prospect of change. "All things continue as they were.. where is this promise of His parousia, of the presence of a new King, the incoming of a new reign of righteousness?" If this was man's enquiry we might feel in it the irony of blind unbelief.

The Edom spirit would indeed make scornful jibe at Israel's persistent hope throughout the centuries for a coming day of reversal of her dark exile night of tears. Even longer has been the night for all mankind since Adam sold his birthright. Impossible the thought from human viewpoint that such gross darkness could ever give way to light of a better brighter day of sweet release from every human woe under the joyful sound of the jubilee trumpet. But we feel that the cry from Seir is the crying out of the condition of heart itself that fills a whole race of rebellious children.

The cry is "How long?" "Watchman, What of the night?" means "how long is there yet to go before the dawn of the promised new day?" "How long before this darkness with all its evil works gives way to light, and truth, and godliness?" "Watchman, What of the night?"

The answer comes in terms that help us understand the grim truth behind the question. "The morning comes.." Notwithstanding the scorn and vain unbelief of Edom's unresponsive heart. These things SHALL BE..! The coming of Dawn is just as sure as was this dark night of sin at Adam's fall. "The morning comes.." but with it "also comes the night." For man's relief from sin and sickness, death's dark shadow over wasted life, for all that will ensure true happiness and blessing forever for the fallen race.. "The morning comes.." But with the advance of the increasing light of the Sun of Righteousness all that is of darkness must depart and every shadow flee of dark base instinct, selfishness and greed, and every cause of ill within the race. For all of good "The morning comes.." For all of evil "night" descends in that same age.

The prospect of that day is to some things a savour of life unto life.. The same savour of the spirit of earth's new government of righteousness is at the same time to some things a savour of death unto death... Death unto death. Silence unto silence. Man is being brought to meet His Creator, to stand one day before God unashamed, Whose eyes are too holy to behold evil... for what concord hath light with darkness?

Lift a stone in the garden and, [in my garden anyway,] a host of little creatures scurry away. They run before the light, creatures of darkness. Think what works of darkness have filled this earth through its long long night. Think how they each and everyone will run before the increasing light of the new day... What concord hath light with darkness?

The prospect of new day is wonderful - for everything that rejoices in the truth, and is at home in the light... men of transparent characters, vessels of holiness. But what doom that same light spells for all that is wrong in the human heart.

Jer 49:17 Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all her plagues.

The voice from under altar of Rev. 6:10 WAS NOT disembodied souls in heaven, for we are told the cry came from under the altar, not from heaven. Just as Abel's blood had cried out, so the righteous blood of saints, CRIES OUT WITH A LOUD CRY. Similarly, the voice from Dumah.. The desert state in human hearts in conflict with the ways of God, cries out. The very absence of acknowledgement of its Creator, that deafening silence in the praise of all His works.. each hour of each day this voice from Dumah cries out. We hear it in the news, sense that absence of love for the Lord, that apathy towards the things of God, feel it everywhere around us in our walk in this world. The voice of Dumah, of Edom, the old Adam, cries out..

Its days are numbered. As morning comes, as Sun of Righteousness breaks through to light every man, bringing with it breath of life, that very breath is savour of death to all that offends, to all that comes between mankind and that blessed realisation of the Creator's wise and loving purpose.

Isaiah 34 describes a bloodbath. In most graphic terms we read .. 34:1 Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. 2 For the indignation of the LORD [is] upon all nations, and [his] fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. 3 Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. 4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling [fig] from the fig tree. 5 For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. 6 The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, [and] with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. 7 And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. 8 For [it is] the day of the LORD'S vengeance, [and] the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion. Why is Edom singled out? Why Idumea, why Bozrah? How does the wrath upon all the nations become centred in this one enemy? This little puny tribe goes out of existence a millennium and a half before the judgment of the last days here described.. It HAS to be symbolic!

In Jeremiah we read also the words.. [49:13] For I have sworn by myself, saith the LORD, that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes.

Amos 1:12 But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah. In Obadiah the message is the same. vse 3 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation [is] high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? 4 Though thou exalt [thyself] as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.

Isaiah.63:1-4. Who [is] this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this [that is] glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2 Wherefore [art thou] red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people [there was] none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. 4 For the day of vengeance [is] in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.

Bozrah was a chief city of Edom. Its name means "inaccessible" or "fortress". How well this describes the inner recesses of the human heart where lies the breeding ground of all that is opposed to the Lord and His ways of righteousness, mercy and love.

In this prophecy the Lord is, we believe, graphically described as overthrowing and cleansing from His kingdom all that offends in the hearts of mankind.. the aggression, the animosity, the willful unbelief and disregard for the Creator's ways.. all that in fact stands between man in his present state and the enjoyment of every kingdom blessing, membership in the family of God on earth.

It speaks of the burden of Dumah.. the ultimate doom of eternal silence for that which has produced this ages old silence of praise and of acknowledgement of God in the hearts of deluded men.

A great object lesson is taking place before our eyes in Israel today as she faces, this very moment, her greatest crisis. We are not talking about the Arabs. The sons of Ishmael in many ways parallel the characteristics of Esau or Edom.

Gen:16:11* And the Angel of Jehovah said to her, Behold! You are with child and shall bear a son; and you shall call his name Ishmael, because Jehovah has attended to your affliction. 12* And he shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against all, and the hand of everyone against him; and he shall live before all his brothers. Ver. 12. And he will be a wild man, &c. Gill, the expositor, said.. "Living in a wilderness, delighting in hunting and killing wild beasts, and robbing and plundering all that pass by; and such an one Ishmael was, [see Ge 21:20,21;] and such the Saracens, his posterity, were, and such the wild Arabs are to this day, who descended from him; "like to a wild ass among men", as the Targum of Jonathan; wild, fierce, untamed, not subject to a yoke, and impatient of it, see Job 11:12 ["For vain man would be wise, though man be born [like] a wild ass's colt."] "Such [says Gill] was Ishmael, and such are his posterity, who never could be subdued or brought into bondage, neither by the Assyrians, nor Medes and Persians, nor by the Greeks nor Romans, nor any other people; "Aben Ezra translates the word rendered "wild", or "wild ass", by "free", These people having been always free, and never in bondage, always lived as free booters upon others: "his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him;" signifying, that he would be of a quarrelsome temper and warlike disposition, continually engaged in fighting with his neighbours, and they with him in their own defence; and such the Arabs his posterity always have been, and still are, given to rapine and plunder, harassing their neighbours by continual excursions and robberies, and pillaging passengers of all nations, which they think they have a right to do; their father Ishmael being turned out into the plains and deserts, which were given him as his patrimony, and as they suppose a permission from God to take whatever he could get. "And a late traveller into those parts observes, that they are not to be accused of plundering strangers only, or whomsoever they may find unarmed or defenceless; but for those many implacable and hereditary animosities which continually subsist among themselves, literally fulfilling to this day the prophecy of the angel to Hagar, Ge 16:12; the greatest as well as the smallest tribes are perpetually at variance with one another, frequently occasioned upon the most trivial account, as if they were from the very days of their first ancestor naturally prone to discord and contention." [end of quote.]

As Esau and Jacob wrestled together in the womb of Rachel so do the two propensities of the human heart one towards and the other opposed to the things of God. In like manner we find the same illustration in the two sons of Abraham.. Isaac, quietly reflective and with affinity for the things of God, close to his mother, and beloved by his father.. and Ishmael.. as we have just read, wild, aggressive, with untamable temper, and violent in his ways, illustrating that ungodly old-Adam spirit in man which lies responsible for every aggressive and shameful act of man's behaviour both to man and to God.

Muhammed devised a way to turn this aggressive nature of marauding tribes from their continual fights and battles one with the other to a combined aggression against the rest of mankind. And so the Moslem empire grew, and it grew even larger than Rome, or any other previous world power. Yet even their fanatically held religion, though appealing to their baser nature, barely holds them together, nor keeps them back from a long history of internal conflict.. arab against arab. But the Arab is a force to be counted in the world today. Certainly there can be no peace for Israel unless this basic antagonism and hatred be resolved...

To change the nature of this Arab people after millenniums of consistent aggressiveness..? Mission impossible, from human endeavour. Change the Arab, and you can change mankind, for there in Ishmael's posterity we see all that is wild and uncontrollable in man.

At 9.40 pm, Israeli time, one week ago yesterday, in most stirring manner the attention of the world became focussed on the conflict which is dividing Israel right down the middle today.

When Jacob returned within the borders of the land, though this was in accordance with the Lord's promise, he experienced great turmoil of mind as he sat pensively by the agitated waters of Jabbok.

Gene 32:1 (av) And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This [is] God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. (which means.. two camps..) 3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, 6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.

[[We note that Jacob sent unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom: which had its first name from Seir the Horite; and Esau having married into his family, came into the possession of it, by virtue of that marriage; or rather he and his sons drove out the Horites, the ancient possessors of it, and took it to themselves, from whom it was afterwards called Edom, a name of Esau, which he had from the red pottage he sold his birthright for to his brother Jacob, Ge 25:30;]]

The prospect of this army of Esau fills Jacob with fear. In his distress Jacob cries unto the Lord. But his other half, Rachel, still clings to her father's gods, the teraphim, representing the things man looks to for security and salvation. What follows reveals this conflict within.

Mahanaim. This is a place of "two camps.." he confessed, and whatever Jacob actually meant by that expression, [whether he referred to the accompanying host of angels attending his path, which seems most likely,] the fact remains that there were two minds within struggling together in his plotting by human effort to resolve the threat of his brother Esau. How well this depicts the state of Israel's turmoil at this hour. The aggressive hawk fights with the peaceable dove. The change of government turned on the minimum vote to Netanyahu. This turmoil was so vividly expressed in the face of Rabin. We remember well his reluctant shaking of the hand of Yasher Arafat at the signing of the peace plan.

Jacob's scheming to achieve the divine purpose by human effort is well illustrated in Israel's recent history. We quote from a historian of our day.. "As early as May 1942 the Zionist leadership had begun preparations to convert the whole of Palestine into a Jewish state... They had evolved strategies to offset and diminish the Palestinian quantitative advantage, and had foreseen a sequence of stages leading to the desired revolution in the local status quo... Military organisation was a high Zionist priority. The main armed force was the Haganah (Defence) under the command of the Jewish agency. The Haganah had evolved in the early days of the Mandate as an offshoot of the pre-Mandatory Hashomer (Watchman), itself descended from the secret societies of Csarist Russia.. " [The writer goes on to describe the growth of this secret army.] "Ben-Gurion [he writes] confirmed that "the major preparations to convert Haganah into an army were begun three years before the birth of the State." (1945). [end of quote] Military machinery was purchased in the USA and smuggled into Palestine under the Mandate, and became the nucleus of a heavy Jewish military industry.

[From elsewhere we learn that as the British maintained uneasy watch, they little realised that there, beneath the very fields of the kibbutzim, hidden underground factories were producing thousands of machine guns each day.]

In May 1946 the Haganah developed a strategy embodied in the so called May 1946 plan, in which the central concept was that of "counteraction".. Such action was to be of two kinds; "warning" action generally confined to the area of the enemy's own operation, and punitive action unrestricted in its geographical scope... The objective should be to "inflict physical harm", take the individuals in question "hostage", or "liquidate them".. Villages, urban residential quarters, and farms used for planning operations or as bases for attack and withdrawal should be surrounded and occupied. "Everything possible in them should be burned, and the houses of those who had incited or participated in operations should be blown up"

Such have been the workings of Jacob's mind in these days that parallel the time of Jacob's wrestling with his problems at Jabbok. Israel still believe they are struggling with a human enemy outside themselves, and have yet to realise that the Edom is the old Adam within, an Adam that leans to its own understanding, and makes its own arrangements, though these be in conflict with the ways of God.

Such were the initial schemes of Jacob's mind, and we have seen them worked out in treatments of their human enemy that have at times shocked the world. But the plan did not succeed. In fact it proved a hopeless failure, forcing an urgent review of tactics.

The military advantage has slipped away from Jacob. Missile launchers encircling the land and capable in moments of taking out her chief means of defence and bringing her cities to rubble, called for a different mind, and this precipitated not least by the turmoil of opposition in every territory of the Arab in Israel. The Arabs could stand no more of Israeli suppression and domination of their homes.

So began the overtures of peace. Where the hawk had failed [and such was Rabin] the ways of the dove would be tried. Jacob prepares to send his gift to Esau.. a gift hard-earned by blood and sweat. A change was beginning in the attitude of the Israeli mind. Rabin, hawk by nature, leader of battle, found himself faced with a desperate need for change of heart.. and in a war-weary nation he found just sufficient support for this change.. but only just!

Only a previous hawk could carry enough of the people with him in this changed approach. His death has brought the nation into its greatest crisis. Who now can lead? .. And which way?

Greater changes still await that people, and more turmoil still, until they come to realise that they have been fighting with God, not man alone, and come to recognise their frailty and weakness, and to turn all their remaining energy into clinging, clinging to the Lord and His promises, until that which He has promised is fulfilled.

The world watches, little realising that they are watching an object lesson which they, each one of them, have yet to learn.

Not only Israel, but the whole world of mankind, all must come at last through painful trial to recognise the true nature of their conflict. Gene 6:3 "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also [is] flesh:"

Just how the Lord will achieve this eradication of the old Edom or Adam from the heart of Israel and mankind will be one of the wonders of the ages. That He will indeed accomplish this is one of the certainties of the Word, and the present desert state of what was once the kingdom of Edom stands as witness to the sureness of that purpose. Brethren, for Israel this process has begun.

So to those evil propensities of the human heart the approach of morning brings inevitable prospect of annihilation. Until the blood-bath of Edom of Isaiah 34 there can be none of the kingdom blessings of Isa 35. The songs of rejoicing are for the redeemed who have experienced that cleansing power divine in their lives, freeing them from the domination of sin deep in the human heart. The first faltering step on that Highway of Holiness will be accompanied by praise, the last step by a mighty chorus of adoration and love for the Lord.

And we have prior experience of these things. The last of the Lord's people of this age are waiting now close to the veil. The prospect of what lies before us in terms of our change could not be brighter. We have travelled many years along the way. Those first days of learning are now in the past. So many blessings of fellowship and building up.. talk after talk, study after study, experience after experience... the continual washing of the pure water of the Word at the hands of Our Lord. Take a pebble from a brook. Feel its smooth contours, and recognise there in your hand the passage of years.

In total, how many hours of study of that Word.. of meditation upon Truth.. of contemplation of the hope..? And now, where are we? -What have we become? -How ready am I for the perfect day? What rough edges remain? -What lies in me even now, even at this late hour that has to be removed before I pass that veil?

The Lord is so patient, so understanding. -He is also thorough. Nothing will pass His scrutiny that is unworthy. " I know thy works.. but I have something against thee.." What would that "something" be? What in me even now offends my Lord? How much of Edom, that old Adam, lurks still within, and stands between me and that moment that my Father can say "it is finished.." ?

No self-denial scheming will overthrow that foe. Yet it must go. There are no Edoms there beyond that veil.. no old Adam. No flesh will glory in that presence. With Mary's wonder do we ask .. "How shall this be?" The power of the Highest overshadowing, the Spirit, - the Holy Spirit, - the life of God Himself, nothing less, can effect this new birth. --The feasting of the heart upon the Lord, until the cry of the psalmist becomes our own.. Psal 42:1,2. "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" Psal 84:2 "My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God."

This is the preceding incense essential to my passing through the veil. This is total absorption in the things of Our Father.. the savour of His Beloved Son so sweet to Our God, rising from the heart of each child of grace.

We stand this moment indeed in a holy place. One wall of gold surrounds and encloses us now with the throne of God. Only a curtain intervenes. The last piece of furnishment close to that veil..a gold altar of incense. Why is it there so placed?

The veil now so thin we sense the brightness of the glory beyond. He that dwells between the cherubim is even now shining forth, sending out His light and truth to lead us to Himself.

[The sight of the fire beyond the cubicle curtain at hospital...] --Stays in the mind as now we sense something of the glory there so close. We are learning now to live - with the glory of God. Therein lies the power of our transformation, our change... It rests not in ourselves.. no matter how hard we try.

We long for that final change,..have done for years.. It seems now hard to realise it is so very near. No more weaknesses of the flesh.. No vile body to continually humiliate those higher aspirations of the new mind... No more ugliness of the wild man, the old Adam.. that complexity of faults by which others recognise us today... This Donald, this -----, this whatever we are after the flesh.. the coming of our morning means their final departure forever. Watchman what of the night? Watchman what of the night? If we echo that question it is not from idle curiosity. It would be nice to have hard questions solved, or difficult prophecies interpreted; but the Lord's watchmen are fully aware that their watching for the morning has deep consequences within themselves. Each new sign of morning brings its own sense of urgent longing.. nearer still nearer.. to that moment we shall see His face. Does He - greatly desire - my beauty?

In this chrysalis state, so little do we comprehend the real work going on within.. His workmanship... His "poem".. If it is His poem, it has to be a masterpiece! We read of Israel [Num. 23:23] "according to this time - it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!" His workmanship, not theirs. Result not of human effort or ability, but of clinging to their Lord until His Promise is realised. The pattern is the same for us. Gen. 32:26 "And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh.

And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."