"Gather my saints
together unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by
sacrifice." (Psalm 50:5).
"Now we beseech you,
brethren, touching the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our
gathering together unto him" (2 Thess. 2:1).
"Not forsaking our own
assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one
another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing
nigh" (Hebrews 10:25).
In all of the above passages
there is this one common factor, that an end-time movement and
feature is dominant. It must be remembered that the Psalms
themselves represent what remains when a history of outward
things as to the general instrumentality has ended in failure.
The history of Israel in its first great phase closed with the
book of "Kings" in a calamitous and shameful way.
Weakness, paralysis, declension, reproach, characterized the
instrument in general. But out of that history now so concluded
the Psalms are carried forward, and they represent what has spiritually
been gained and is permanent. This is pre-eminently a
personal, inward, spiritual knowledge of the Lord gained through
experience. That is why they always reach the heart and never
fail to touch experience at every point. To them the saints have
turned in times of deep experience. They are the ministry of
experience to experience, the only ministry which is permanent.
The end-time instrument will always be that which inwardly knows
the Lord in a deep and living way through history fraught with
much experience of the heights and depths. What David gave to the
Chief Musician for the wind instruments and the stringed
instruments touches the highest and deepest notes of a mortal's
knowledge of God. Worship, Salvation, Sorrow, Appeal, Victory,
Battle, Faith, Hope, Glory, Instruction, are all great themes
interwoven with the mass of matters touched, but the point is
that all came in real life; he passed through it all. It
is this, and this alone, which can serve the Lord when what He
first raised up has failed Him as a public instrument. So the
Lord would take pains to secure this, and this may explain much
of the suffering and sorrow through which He takes His chosen
It does not need pointing out
that, in the other two passages with which we commenced, the
end-time is in view; they definitely state it.
There is a further common
feature, however, which is more particularly the subject before
us. They all definitely refer to gathering together as something
related to the end-time. The Day is drawing nigh, therefore there
is to be a "so much the more" assembling together. The
Lord is coming, and there is a gathering to Him.
A history of a religious system
which sprang out of something which the Lord raised up in the
first place has ended in weakness, chaos and shame. Therefore,
there is to be a re-gathering to the Lord of His
Before we deal with the nature
of this end-time gathering, we must get clearly in view those
that are concerned in it. The passage in the Psalm would embrace
and include those referred to in the other two passages.
Saints... Those That Have Made a Covenant with Me by
It need hardly be remarked that
when all has been said and done through type, symbol and figure,
the covenant means an entering into what the Lord Jesus has done
by His shed Blood. It is an appreciation and apprehension of Him
in His great work by the Cross. The Lord, by His Blood, has made
a "New Covenant" by sacrifice, and we, His spiritual
people, have entered into that covenant and set our hand to it.
Christ as "the mediator of a new covenant" stands for
both parties, for a covenant requires two parties. On one side He
is God, "The Son of God": on the other side He is man,
"Son of Man". In Christ we are made the humanity side
of the covenant, and by taking our place by faith in Him we enter
into the covenant. Just as, in Christ, God has come out to us in
a great committal, so also - as in the case of Christ - we in Him
go out to God in a like utter committal. The Blood seals the
covenant, that is, makes us wholly the Lord's, and the Lord
If we see the meaning of
"a covenant by sacrifice" then we shall see who it is
that will be in this gathering together. It will certainly be
only those to whom the Lord is everything, to whom He is all and
in all; and those who are all for the Lord without a reservation,
a personal interest, or anything that is less or other than
Himself. Spiritual oneness is only possible on this basis.
The Lord's word to Abraham in
the day of covenant was, "Now I know that thou fearest God".
Malachi's end-time word was "Then they that feared the Lord..."
The fear of the Lord is an utter abandonment to Him at any cost;
His will being supreme, claiming and obtaining the measure of a
Nature of the Gathering Together
Having then in view the kind
who are concerned, which forms a test as well as a testimony, we
are able to look at the nature of the gathering together.
We are well aware that there is
a widespread doubt as to whether we are to expect anything in the
way of a corporate movement or testimony at the end. Indeed, it
is strongly held by some that everything at the end is
individual, and this conviction rests, for the most part, upon
the phrase "If any man", in the message to Laodicea.
Let us hasten then to say that
we here have nothing in mind in the nature of an organized
movement, a sect, a society, a fraternity, or even a "fellowship"
if, by that, any of the foregoing is meant.
Having said this, however,
there are some things on the other side which need saying quite
The Church of the New Testament
never was an organized movement. Neither was there any organized
affiliation of the companies of believers in various places with
one another. It was a purely spiritual thing, spontaneous in life
and united only by the Holy Spirit and mutual love and spiritual
solicitude. There were other factors which acted as spiritual
links which we will mention presently. Further, and still more
important, was the abiding fact that a "Body" had been
brought into being. This is called "the body of
Christ". You can divide a society and still it remains, but
you cannot divide a body without destroying the entity.
Are we to understand from the
exponents of the individualistic interpretation that all the
teaching of the Lord, in nearly all the Scriptures concerning the
House of God, and in nearly all the letters of Paul concerning
the Body of Christ, is now set aside or is only an idea without
any expression on the earth? Are we to blot out the mass of the
New Testament and live our own individual Christian lives with no
emphasis upon working fellowship with other believers? Surely
not. This would be contrary to all the ways of God in history,
and would certainly spell defeat, for if there is one thing
against which the Adversary has set himself it is the fellowship
of God's people.
impossible if the truth of the "one body" still stands,
and what is more, the Lord's people are becoming more and more
conscious of their absolute need of fellowship, especially in
prayer. The difficulty of 'getting through' alone is becoming
greater as we approach the end.
What then is the nature of this
It is a gathering to the Lord
Himself. "Gather my saints together unto me";
"our gathering unto Him".
In times past there have been
gatherings to men, great preachers, great teachers, great
leaders; or to great institutions and movements, centres and
teachings. At the end the Lord will be very much more than His
vessels or instrumentalities.
God's end is Christ, and as we
get nearer the end He must become almost immediately the object
Our oneness and fellowship is
not in a teaching, a 'testimony', a community, a place, but in a
Person, and in Him not merely doctrinally but livingly and
Any movement truly of God must
have this as its supreme and all-inclusive feature, that it is
the Lord Jesus who is the object of heart adoration and worship.
The two great purposes of the
'gathering' are prayer and 'building up'; "supplication for
all saints", and spiritual food. These two things have ever
characterized Divine gatherings or convocations - representation
before God, and feeding in His presence.
This, then, is the meaning of
"call a solemn assembly" (Joel 1:14; 2:15). The need
more than ever imperative as "the day" approaches is
the gathering together unto Him.
May we see more of this as His
Divinely inspired movement to meet the so great need!
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony"
magazine, Nov-Dec 1952, Vol 30-6