A Great Doxology -- By: Frank E. Gaebelein
BSac 98:390 (Apr 41) p. 194
A Great Doxology
[Editor’s Note: A radio sermon delivered recently, this contribution is from the pen of the distinguished headmaster of Stony Brook School.]
It is a strangely modern scene. A group of men, women, and children are gathered in a dark, cave-like chapel, hewn out of the rock below the surface of the ground. Their faces are alight as they lift up their voices in adoration to their Lord. “Unto Him that loveth us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us a kingdom, priests unto His God and Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Rev 1:5, 6). How the words ring with faith triumphant, how joy shines from their eyes, as these persecuted witnesses praise the Christ who died for them! The scene takes us back some sixteen centuries. The infant church of apostolic times has grown and, as it has grown, persecution has flamed forth, receded, and flamed forth again to its fiery culmination under Diocletian. Those who dare to remain true to the Redeemer are being hunted throughout the Empire. And so we find groups of them down in the catacombs, those amazing labyrinths first built as burial places under more tolerant emperors and now used for emergency refuge.1 Yes, these are the Christians of pagan Rome. And who of us, picturing them over the long arch of the centuries, is not reminded of those across the sea driven by the fury of modern paganism to shelter beneath the soil? “Unto Him that loveth us...” The words swell forth again, then die away in the all-embracing
BSac 98:390 (Apr 41) p. 195
blackness of the catacombs. But what peace and assurance they give these believers. They have learned, these saints of long ago, a great lesson in the School of Christ-they have learned to rejoice in tribulation.
Such is one of the uses to which our text must assuredly have been put during those days of trial and martyrdom. Its author, John, the beloved disciple, well knew the meaning of persecution, being himself exiled under the Emperor Domitian. And the great prophetic book to which this text belongs has for every one today who believes in the Christ whom it exalts a message of divine encouragement. With the imagery of a stupendous apocalyptic drama, it portrays in living colors the certain victory of Christ over every enemy. No book is closer to our present need in this time of world-wide persecution and intolerance when evil challenges righteousness on every hand.
“Unto Him that loveth us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us a kingdom, priests unto His God...
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