brackets [ ] indicate interpolations, queries or
corrections made by the transcriber that were not in the
original spoken message.
We are today occupied with the
Resurrection side of the Cross, and this afternoon
Im going to ask you to consider with me some of the
titles of the Risen Lord: the Resurrection titles of the
Lord Jesus. In the Book of the Revelation, chapter
one, at verse four: John to the seven churches
which are in Asia: Grace to you, and peace, from Him
which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from
the seven Spirits which are before His Throne; and from
Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the Firstborn of the
dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth.
There you have three titles of the Lord in Resurrection.
That they relate to Him in Resurrection is quite clear
from the context where He Himself says to John: I
am the Living One; I became dead, I am alive for evermore
[Revelation 1:18]. Three titles: the faithful
Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, the Ruler of the
kings of the earth.
it is important to note two things as we advance to this.
Firstly, this is the Book of the Revelation, or the Unveiling
of Jesus Christ, so the first sentence declares. Secondly,
it is the Revelation of Him as exercising authority and
judgment: firstly, in the Church; secondly, in the
nations, and thirdly, in the kingdom of satan. Those
three things comprehend the whole of this book. This
authority, which He is here revealed as exercising, is
itself based upon three things:
first, what He has proved Himself to be in Person, in
secondly, what He has become in Triumph over death; and
thirdly, what He is in Exaltation and Divine Vindication.
At a glance, you will see that
those three things are but an exposition of the three
 what He has proved Himself to be in Person, in
Incarnation: the faithful Witness, taking Him
right up to the Cross and into all the experience of the
 what He has become in Triumph over death: the
Firstborn of the dead; and
 what He is in Exaltation by Divine Vindication:
the Ruler of the kings of the earth.
All His authority and judgment is
based upon those three things, or upon what He has proved
Himself to be in Person.
We take these, as far as time
will allow, one by one.
The Faithful Witness
faithful Witness the testimony in
incarnation: that is, in His Person while here on the
a witness is the embodiment of the truth if he is
a true witness. If he has the right to be called a
witness, he himself should be the very embodiment of the
truth. Jesus was THAT! Jesus as the
faithful Witness was a, we may say THE, faithful
Representation of Gods Mind concerning man. What
God intended man to be, what the whole race of men had
failed to be, Jesus became THAT: a faithful
Representation of Gods Mind in the creation of man.
That is how we must look at Him while here on the earth:
not just following His steps, noting His words and His
actions, being interested or even fascinated with His
teaching and with His mighty works. But looking
deeper, deeper into His heart, into His mind, His whole
mentality, His whole Spirit, looking deeper to see what
kind of a Man this is. What comes out from the very
nature of this Man, all the reactions that He makes to
all the play of conditions and trials and sufferings and
disappointments. All that He meets in this world,
and all that He meets in men, all that He meets in His
life circumstances, and how He behaves, and what Spirit
He shows. What comes out from the inward Man?
What kind of a Man this is?
think we can sum up the Life of the Lord Jesus here in
Perfect Love perfect Love:
perfect Love to God His Father. That is not only
seen in things that He says about it, and as to it, but
it is seen in His relationship to the Father all the way
through a perfect Love. And, mark you, if He
had been other than He was, He might have had some
questions about the Father: why His lot should have been
what it was why this and why that from
infancy to the Cross, why He was called upon to do this,
to endure this, why He was so tried with the very men
whom He said the Father had given Him. He said: Those
whom Thou hast given Me. You know, He
might have looked at those men, if you had been other
than Christ, and said: Look what Youve given
Me. Look what Youve given Me, what Ive
got to put up with. These are what Youve
given Me. You see what I mean. But at
no point, at no time, under no circumstance: suffering,
adversity, trial, provocation, disappointment, do you
find a cloud coming over His love for the Father.
what shall we say about His love for them. It needs
to be a perfect Love, doesnt it? But
heres the declaration: having loved His
own which were in the world, He loved them to the
end [John 13:1] to the end:
thats the love that never faileth, that never gives
up, that never disappears. It might have broken
down many times. Here is perfect Love.
what about the world? What about the world? I
mean the world of sinful, weak, evil, persecuting,
mankind the world. Im not speaking
about the world system, which He positively hated and
repudiated, but the world of man that world that
God so loved, that He gave Himself for that world, and in
its worst representatives its WORST
representatives, who were exercising their power for His
utter destruction, to SLAUGHTER Him. No, not
too strong a word: He was led as a sheep to the
slaughter [Acts 8:32] to SLAUGHTER
the Son of God. He says: Father, forgive
them perfect Love. Heres a
Man that God intended men to be. And heres
the Man to the likeness of whom God will work to have all
men in His Kingdom. Perfect Love the
Faith perfect Faith.
quite clear that His Life from its very beginning, right
on through to the end, was placed deliberately by God
upon a basis of faith. In all material and temporal
matters, His was a life of faith. But far, far more
deeply and testingly than in the temporal, in the
spiritual realm His was a life of faith. Youve
only to sit down and think for a little while about how
far your faith would carry you under the conditions of
His life. You will discover, I am quite sure, that
you wont go very far with Him. Your faith
wont stand up to very much of what came upon Him.
If we understood all that was going on in this necessity
for faith: one Who had, through past eternity, never had
to live by faith at all never had to live by
faith. He had all that heaven can give: its
riches, its honour, its glory, its servants to wait upon
Him to fulfil His behest to the Word never had to
live by faith. It was all sight! It was all
possession! And, now, emptied of all THAT!
know, its one thing if youve never had
anything else. Its not so difficult, if
youve never had anything else, to go without.
But if youve had it all and suddenly found yourself
in a position where you just cannot, cannot do what you
did before, you havent got it to do with. You
may not in any case do it youre morally
bound not to do it. You have accepted a life and a
course and a ministry which FORBIDS you to draw
upon those other resources and COMPELS you to live
wholly out from Another, out from God in all things.
Its a big changeover, and this is faith this
is faith! His faith was a perfect Faith. And
that is how God meant man to be. It is just at that
point that the first man broke down. He did not
implicitly trust God.
Love, and Perfect Faith, and Perfect Obedience.
need not dwell upon it. We know how at all times
and in all things, having committed Himself to the
Will of His Father, He fought right through on that: Not
My will Thy will, Thy
will, Thy will [Luke 22:42] to the end
and through all and what an all it
was. And Paul is right when he said: He
became obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the
Cross [Philippians 2:8]. Perfect in these
three things, and that is how He was the faithful Witness
to Gods thought concerning man. He was a
perfect Representation of Gods Mind. In that
way, He was a faithful Witness.
Faithful Witness to the Truth
He was a faithful Witness to the
a word that was very often on His mouth on His
lips: the truth truth truth. Faithful
and True Witness He is called in another place in
this book of the Revelation [3:14]: faithful
Witness to the Truth.
was faithfulness about His Witness, His Witness as to the
truth of man. He covered up nothing. He made
no pretence that man is better than he is. He was
faithful in His Witness as to what man is. We might
be afraid to do that. Or we might think it not
politic. We certainly would know that it would be
unpopular to speak the truth about man. But Jesus
was faithful in this in the uncovering and the
exposure of the truth about man.
was faithful to the truth about God. He was
faithful in His Witness to the truth about sin
sin. And He was faithful in His witness to the
truth about satan. He does not hedge this matter.
He does not hesitate to uncover the devil; He exposes
him, drags him right out into the light, tells you
exactly what he is: hes a liar from the
beginning - hes a murderer. A faithful
Witness to the truth.
Because He was the Truth. His nature was the Truth.
And there we must stay to use more of our time. It
is a tremendously important thing, in relation to the
power of Resurrection, to authority, to Government, to
what is here revealed as to Christ in Resurrection.
It is a basic, a fundamental thing that there shall be
the Truth the true Witness.
see, His authority, His judgment, His government, His
everything His right His right to call the
churches into question, His right to judge the nations,
His right to deal with the kingdom of satan is
based upon this thing this one thing, and that He IS
the Truth. He is TRUE. He is TRUE.
There can be no comeback from Church or world or satan
which would find some point in Him that was a flaw, that
was not true. That would upset His whole authority,
His right to judge. It is all resting upon the fact
that He is True.
friends, you will at once pass in mind from Him to
ourselves, to the Church, see weakness, failure to
register, the lack of authority, the absence of
authority; and all this terrible state of weakness, and
that the world can point at the Church, point a finger.
And that the Church has not the influence and power with
the world; and that satan can stand and hold the ground
and almost laugh at the Church is very largely due to the
fact that the truth is not here. Its not
true. It is just not true. Many of the things
that you say may be true in themselves; theyre not
true in you. Many of the things that you profess,
while in themselves they may be correct, they are not
true of you. Theres a gap between what you
profess, and say, and claim, and yourself. Its
just not real in your own case. Therefore your
whole position is given away. You see what Im
is a very important matter for witness, for influence,
for effectiveness, for standing before God and standing
before man, before the world, and standing before satan.
What a large place God has given to this matter of truth!
He is Himself the God of Truth. He is shown in His
Word to be very jealous over the truth. He is said
to desire truth in the inward parts. He holds all
lies, we are told, in abomination. He has consigned
all liars to the lake of fire, so the Word says
[Revelation 21:8]. He excludes from the city, the
New Jerusalem, EVERYTHING that maketh a lie.
It has no place within [Revelation 21:27]. Jesus
Himself is called the Truth. He called
Himself the Truth. And here He is the
Faithful and true Witness.
on the other side satan, at the other extreme, in the
other realm altogether, is called the liar,
and the father of lies [John 8:44]. The
whole structure of creation collapsed when the lie, the
falsehood entered in. There was that time that all
that beautiful structure just went to pieces. It
was all because of a lie, a lie came in. And if
there is a lie in anything, thats whats going
to happen to it. Sooner or later it is going to
mean the collapse, the disintegration of any structure,
if theres a lie in it.
result of that lie entering at the beginning was that man
himself became a lie. Man became a falsehood.
It was not just that there was untruth in him: he himself
BECAME a falsehood. He is a deceived
creature. Theres a lie in his very nature.
He is not the true thing that God made him and intended
him to be. He is a misrepresentation of Gods
thought about man. There is a lie not only in his
nature and constitution, but there is a lie in his life
and in his work. He hopes and he believes. He
works and he strives. And it is all in vain. It
is all in vain.
wise man said that he had explored every realm of
knowledge and learning. He had sought out every
secret law. He had made it his business to go into
every realm to discover its secrets and to make himself
acquainted and familiar with all things with all
things. And he said when Ive done it (and,
you know, he did get quite a lot; the Queen of the South
came to see his wisdom. And the wisdom of the [
] of Solomon is proverbial, if it
is not fabulous), hed gone a long way in this
matter, and when he had done it all, made it his life
business, he said: All is vanity. All
is vanity. All is vanity
[Ecclesiastes 12:8]. Theres a lie in it all.
Theres a falsehood in the whole thing. Disappointment
awaits the best that man can do. Disappointment is
his destiny. Thats the end.
thinks that hes free, but he is a prisoner. He
thinks that he knows, but hes a fool. Thats
not too strong a word. In the light of things today
you have to say: Oh, what fools men are. The
wisest and the cleverest and the strongest of them, what
fools they are. Theyve missed the Way.
He thinks he knows. Hes a fool. He
thinks he can do, and he does a great many things. But
where does it end? In the hydrogen bomb. Terror,
fear in all the earth, apprehension, holding of the
breath, men at their wits end. What to
do? What to do? Thats what he can
do. The end of his wonderful, wonderful work, all
that he can do, only leads to more problems still
more problems. He builds on sand, not on rock.
His whole world is run by lies, [hypocrisy],
make-believe, pretence, falsehood.
of the rarest commodities in this world is downright
honesty, in politics, in industry, in commerce, in
business, in society downright honesty. Man
can only succeed in this world if he misrepresents or
deceives or pretends (I speak quite generally), if he
mixes things a bit, he exaggerates a bit. What
about all our advertisements? What a marvellous,
marvellous world this would be if a modicum of what is
said in our advertisements were really true. My, we
should have reached utopia. We should all have
immortal bodies. We well! The golden
age would come if only half a dozen advertisements were
true. Its true thats a fact, you
know. Just read them and, of course, you read them
and youre captured and go off and buy this, that:
food or medicine or something. And then you try it
out, and afterwards, well, it hadnt done the thing
it was advertised to do. But man can only run his
world like that. He can only get on, he can only
make money, he can only get any success by these
appearances and exaggerations.
a lie, you see, somewhere in the whole creation, and the
lie has gone into religion. The charge that our
Lord laid against the scribes and the Pharisees was in a
horrible word a horrible word: HYPOCRITES!
play-actors, pretenders, those who are making
false, false. Yes, the outside of the platter
washed, but underneath... the sepulchre painted white,
but inside: rotting bones. The Lord saw through!
Its a horrible story, isnt it? this
story of mans deceived and lying nature.
against that, you see, Jesus says: I am the
Truth; I came to bear witness of the Truth
[John 18:37]. Those were among His last words at
the Cross, for His statement to Pilate that He had come
to bear witness of the Truth and Pilate was so unfamiliar
with that commodity that he said Well, WHAT
IS TRUTH? I Im not familiar
with that. I I dont know anything
about that. What is it? What is that thing
you call truth? This world doesnt know
what that is.
Truth, the true Witness. You see, its a great
spiritual fundamental law. This is why I said that
it is so important to note these things at the beginning,
that this is an unveiling of Jesus in Authority and in
Government and in just Judgment, because it rests upon
this. No-one has a right to exercise authority or
judgment at all. No-one has a right to be in a place of
government unless this can be said of them: They
are true. They are true absolutely true,
through and through. Theres no lie in them.
Theres no falsehood in them. There is no
question about them. There are no two things in
them that contradict each other.
friends, that is why the Lord Jesus came to the church's BEGINNING.
He started there, you see. Judgment begins
at the house of God, and He began this whole
exercise of His Authority with the churches, the seven
churches symbolic, of course, of the whole Church, and He
stands before and He is really saying, Look here,
you are weak, you have failed, your testimony has broken
down. The world is not feeling the impact of your
presence. Powers of evil are making inroads into
your life as churches, and it is because this is
the implication it is because theres
something false there something false there.
You notice how again and again, in His messages to the
churches, He raises this question of falsehood and truth
whether things are true. Oh, it is
important for it to be like this about us that we
are real, that we are real, that we are genuine, that
what we say is true, what we pretend or profess is true
of us. It must be like that for spiritual power in
this world. If only the Church could recover itself
from the weakness resultant from a false position
something that is not really true. As the
truth is in Jesus. If our representation
of Gods Mind were more exactly according to THAT
MIND, what power there would be what power
there would be. But as I said, as the creation at
the beginning collapsed and went to pieces because a lie
entered in, its an abiding an abiding fact
that wherever there is anything that is questionable,
doubtful, not true, not real, there will be sooner or
later spiritual collapse. We have to be built upon
the foundation of the Truth the Truth.
this so much explains, does it not, the very title of the
Holy Spirit that Jesus gave Him: When He, the
Spirit of Truth, is come [John 16:13]. The
Spirit of Truth the Holy Spirit is THAT!
He is exact! He is particular! He sees
through everything. And if you and I walk in the
Spirit, we shall be very true. We shall be very
real. There would be nothing that is doubtful and
false about us. We shall be checked up on
everything: upon maybe an exaggeration maybe an
exaggeration, it may be a pretence, a make-believe,
anything that is not true, that is false, the Holy Spirit
will check us up on that not because He delights
to bring us into judgment, but simply because it is so
very important for the building of that which is going to
stand, abide, and go through, and go right through to the
end, and come out triumphant at the end. It is so
important that right from the foundation the thing should
Lord will take us down, take us down, take us down, all
to pieces, and bring us right down to the bottom in order
to begin with what is true if theres a
superstructure that is unsafe because it is mixed or
because it is not true. And we ought to be thankful
to the Lord that He does that. I am sure we would
say: Lord, let there be no falsehood in my
position, no untruth in what I profess. There
should be nothing that is not absolutely real in what
people think about me. Its very
important. You see, the Lord Jesus stands as He
does, and as He may, to judge, and to be the Measure
because He is the true Witness the true Witness.
That is, He is the embodiment of the Truth.
that is a sombre word. Its a searching word.
It is not perhaps a very inspiring and uplifting word.
But, you see, after all, this is a title of the Risen
Lord a title of the Risen Lord. Why did God
raise Him from the dead? Why could He be raised
from the dead? God wont raise a lie! God
will never even resuscitate a falsehood! He was
raised because He was the true Witness. He had in
His Own Person borne a true testimony to His Father, and
to the thoughts of His Father. Its a matter
of life whether theres truth, you see. Life
can never go alongside of anything thats not true.
Life demands the Truth.
leave that then and go to this second of the
The Firstborn of the Dead
Firstborn of the dead. The
Firstborn of the dead: what He has become in
triumph over death.
phrase firstborn is used, as you probably
know, quite a number of times in the New Testament.
In Romans 8:29 we have it: that He may be the
Firstborn among many brethren. The idea
is here again and again in the New Testament. In
that great resurrection chapter of 1 Corinthians 15,
its there again: Christ is Risen, the
First the Firstborn, from among
the dead [vs.20]. Theres a very
interesting reference to this, which impressed me very
much because I admit that I had not noticed it or it
hadnt struck me very forcibly before, in Acts
chapter 26. It is the great significance attached
to it (Acts 26 and vs.23). Here is Paul making his
defence before Festus, and the others, and this is what
he says: How that the Christ must suffer, and
how that He first by the Resurrection of the dead should
proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles.
He FIRST by the Resurrection of the dead:
the FIRST Witness, the FIRST
Preacher, the FIRST One to proclaim
it begins with Resurrection, He is the FIRST of a
long line of preachers. Well, I am not going to
dwell upon that and make much of it, but Im saying
that this phrase, the Firstborn, again
and again occurs in the New Testament.
what does it imply? Well, firstly, of course, quite
obviously it implies that there is to be a succession.
And here we are back in Isaiah 53: He shall see
His seed He shall see His seed.
[vs.10] He is the Firstborn. Were back
again in John 12:24, the corn of wheat and the abundant
result of it falling into the ground and dying: The
Firstborn among many brethren, the
Firstborn from the dead. Then, it means
that all these, of which He is the First, the many
brethren, the seed, the progeny of His Resurrection, will
share the same Deathless Triumphant Life. Were
a family who have a life which has proved itself already
in the FIRST of the family more than a match for
death. Great hope, great assurance, great comfort,
wonderful truth: that if we are of this company of the
family of the many brethren, He has passed on the same
Life to us as He has, which has so marvellously and
gloriously proved that death is not equal to it: O
death O death, where is thy sting? O grave,
where is thy victory? That comes, as you
know, in the resurrection chapter: Now is Christ
raised [1 Corinthians 15:20]. We
brethren, the many brethren, sharing the same
death-conquered Life. We have it we
have it, if we are of this company. But it means a
people of a distinctive character, not only possessing a
certain Life, but people of a distinctive character.
Old Testament illustration of this, as you know, is the
Levites. You remember the story of the Levites and
their inception, when the people broke down and
worshipped the golden calf at the foot of the mountain.
Moses came down and saw what had happened. He took
the tent of meeting right outside the camp and then,
standing at the door, he cried: Who is on the
Lords side? let him come unto me. And all the
sons of Levi went to him [Exodus 32:26]. And
the Levites, as you so well know, were taken as
representative and in the place of all the firstborn of
Israel, and became the church of the firstborn
One [Hebrews 12:22-23]. Why? Because they
separated themselves from that iniquity. They
separated themselves from that sin, from all idolatry,
from all disobedience, from all corruption. They
separated themselves and went outside the realm where
that evil thing was at work. Its a great type
and illustration. But the many brethren, of whom
our Lord is the Firstborn, constitute this church of the
Firstborn so different in character. And so
the context is vividly appropriate to what we have had
here about the firstborn. You see, Unto
Him That loveth us, and loosed us, or washed us, from our
sin in His own blood [Revelation 1:5]. Its
a different character that is here in the firstborn ones.
They take their character from Him. And, then,
being the Firstborn again, He is in every sense the
Prototype of the family. Pauls given us the
great secret out of the heart of God from eternity past
when he has said, to be conformed to the image
of His Son conformed to the
image of His Son [Romans 8:29]. In
Resurrection, He is the Prototype of all the sons-to-be!
hurry to the third title:
The Ruler of the Kings of the
Ruler of the kings of the Earth. What He
is in Exaltation and Vindication, or Ruler of
the kings of the Earth. Fuller, stronger
title still is given us in the 17th [19th]
chapter of this Revelation: KING OF KINGS, AND
LORD OF LORDS [vs.16].
at present this is not official and temporal, in a sense
not literal: it is spiritual. It is a longterm
thing. I say this because I know the problem that
arises when you say: Jesus is on the Throne. He
is Ruler of the kings of the earth, King of kings, and
Lord of lords then then then:
Why this? Why that? Why are these men
doing what they are doing, these rulers of the earth
taking the course that they are taking, these kings of
the nations? Why if Jesus is on the Throne?
Let us remind ourselves that this is first of all
spiritual, and its a longterm thing. On His
Throne, as Ruler of the kings of the earth, He will over
a long term prove the utter, utter fallacy and falsehood
of all their standards.
dear friends, here in this hall this afternoon, even
younger ones, have lived through a period in which we
have seen the lifting up of certain heads of rulers of
this world. I could mention their names; Im
not going to: this one, that one, within our lifetime,
who have lifted up their heads to take the government of
this world to take the government of this world.
Their whole idea has been world dominion. One was
going to bring all the nations under his government to be
the dictator not of his own nation only, but of all the
nations, and he set himself to do it. And another
one was going to be the final Cæsar: to gather
everything under his control. And yet another,
weve seen them rise. Weve seen them go
so far and seem to be seem to be in the way of
doing it. But what has happened? The
ignominious end of these men! The oldest of us go
back to others who did the same thing. What an
awful end these men have come to: shame and dishonour!
Yes, theres Someone on the Throne Who says:
The world dominion belongs to Me belongs to
Me. The Father has made Him Ruler of the
kings of the earth, and no-one can take that place.
It may be a longterm and painful outworking, but there it
it happened like that right through history, you see.
It happened with Babylon. It happened with Rome.
It has happened with other empires. And it is right
up-to-date, this right up-to-date. God has
given the Empire to His Son. He may let men go so
far. But He only will let them go so far as He did
Pharaoh, in order to show His Superior Might and Strength
over all that man can do and can be. Thats
thats history, and that is still history in
the making. He is the Ruler of the kings of the
earth. But I said its spiritual in
this way, that His Government is on spiritual things
I mean character, such a thing as truth.
know, in the end, truth does prevail. In the end it
does prevail. Its the only thing that stands!
Men may set up a whole regime and system of lies
lies. And, oh, its a terrible thing today to
see how great world powers are based upon lies. Indeed,
they dont seem to know what the truth is. They
are laying themselves out to get their way by lies.
That is so. But wait and see. Truth will
prevail and the lying thing will go to pieces. He
is Ruler of the kings of the earth.
it is now, the Day is coming. And this book of the
Revelation shows us the Day that is coming, when it will
not be the longterm business and not be just the
outworking of spiritual things. He will come.
And very swiftly He will arraign the kings of this earth
and all the forces of this world. He will have the
kingdoms before Him and He will pronounce the judgment
and the verdict for eternity upon them. THAT DAY
is coming when it shall be seen by all. We read
this morning: every eye shall see Him
all shall mourn because of Him and they which
pierced Him [Revelation 1:7]. Thats
a startling statement! Theyre dead 2000
years. Their dust could not be found in the earth.
Their eyes shall see Him, they who pierced Him. They
shall see Him THEY!
yes, you cant get away from this One
cant get away from Him. Time, or any other
thing, does not get rid of Him. In the end, you
have to face Him. He is Ruler of the kings of the
earth, because God has Exalted Him and God has Vindicated
Him. Its like that. These are great
things all bound up with His Resurrection: titles of the
Risen Lord. They are titles of great comfort to the
Church, of great instruction to us believers. They
are titles of great terror to the ungodly.
Lord give us new joy in contemplating the greatness of
our Risen Lord!
Transcript of an undated spoken message by T. Austin-Sparks. First published by Emmanuel Church, Tulsa, OK. This message can also be found on the Audio Page of this website.