BIBLE STUDY SERIES #59, 60 and 61

13 December, 1992

GENERAL TRIBAL PROPHECIES - PART II

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

This talk is a part of our on-going series of Bible Studies, in which we are presently examining, in the Genesis account, the manner by which Almighty God is working out His plan for the world through the lives of the Biblical Patriarchs.

On the previous programme, we began an examination of those tremendously symbolic prophetic pronouncements found in the 49th Chapter of Genesis, which the dying Jacob-Israel directed to each of his sons. This, he did, in the nature of a Last Will and Testament, concerning their tribal futures down the centuries. We had seen how Reuben, Simeon and then Levi had received Israel's words applying particularly to each. Today, I want to pick up our study at verse 8, where Jacob-Israel now turns his attention to his fourth son, Judah. The passage reads:

8. Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.
9. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
10. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
11. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
12. His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

We are here left in little doubt concerning the tribal symbol which shall apply to the Tribe of Judah. The Lion, an animal which is termed "the King of beasts" is that well-known symbol, and it has held that honourable position down the centuries to the present. Although the identity of Judah may, in very large part, be hidden from the understanding of the average person in the world today, that Lion symbol will, in later studies, supply a major clue as to the identity of those who descend from that tribe. We have already spoken of the use of that symbol in the Royal Banner of Scotland, for example, but there are a number of examples of heraldry, displayed by other nations of the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon world and among kindred peoples, which include as prominent components the Lion symbol derived from ancient Israel, and many of these, in turn, derive the symbol from this tribe.

Jacob is blessing the tribes in chronological order, taking first, the six sons of Leah, then the four sons of the handmaids, and Rachel's two last. The New Bible Commentary explains that "The pre-eminence of the Judah and Joseph tribes in Israelite history is prophetically matched here by the prominence of their blessings. Reuben, Simeon and Levi are included as tribes belonging to the future covenant nation and to that extent are blessed. Yet it is the shadow cast by their crimes over their blessing that receives all the notice ... thereby providing a dark foil against which Judah's glory bursts forth." Later, in Deuteronomy 33, the prophecy upon Levi is changed into a blessing.

The New Bible Commentary shows that the double portion of the birthright went to Joseph, but the spiritual leadership to Judah. The name "Judah" means "praise", and the Companion Bible notes that Jacob uses a pun in verse 8 by stating of him the words "shall praise", "Jehuda, Joducha".

The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary yields, not just the meaning "Praise", but, from Genesis 29:35, the variant meaning "he for whom Jehovah is praised". That Commentary carries the examination of this blessing upon Judah through more than ten pages, particularly concerning the meaning to be assigned to the term Shiloh, and from this we can see that there is much that should be said on the matter if our time permitted. We can only touch on some of the major and most noteworthy points at this stage. The noble characteristics already manifest in the life of Judah are made the stamp of his tribe in manliness and strength against all opposition. The words "from the prey, my son, thou art gone up" speak, we are told, of the lion having seized its prey, ascending to its mountain lair in majestic quiet.

In the explanation "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet...", that Commentary also draws attention to the fact that the sceptre, the symbol of kingly command, was, in its earliest form, a long staff which the king held in his hand when speaking in public assemblies, and when sitting upon his throne, he rested it between his feet, inclining towards himself, as a Persian king is represented to do, in the ruins of Persepolis. The words "...from between his feet..." may also bear the sense of Judah's issue in years to come.

The phrase "...till Shiloh come..." does not indicate the cessation of rule when Israel took the actual town of Shiloh in the Promised Land, for, as it points out, Judah did not assume the throne until David later received it, after Shiloh had seen its day as the centre of Israelite worship. As with the names of some other cities, the name Shiloh can also be the name of a person. Using this, the sense appears to be, rather, that Shiloh, being a place of rest, is a name of The Messiah; a meaning which fits perfectly with the prophetic sense of the whole passage.

From of old, the promise of a coming Saviour had been understood, and the Abrahamic blessing had indicated that this Messiah should come from among the descendants of that family. The blessings having now come down to Jacob's clan, it must pass to the tribe most suited to receive it. Reuben, Simeon and Levi have transgressed, and the line of the Messiah thus shifts to the next in line, and the one who, by demonstration of an outstandingly commendable character is most appropriate to receive it, namely, Judah.

As the New Bible Commentary says, "The royal dignity of Judah attained in David was made permanent by the Davidic covenant". We find this covenant expressed in II Samuel 7:16.

Although Christ was born of Mary, and was thus a "Son of David", He was not given that throne or sceptre at His First Advent. His crown was of thorns, his sceptre a reed, on that occasion. Mighty indeed will be the majesty wherewith He will be pronounced King, and receive that sceptre of Israel at His Second Advent! Revelation 5:5 speaks in visionary terms, saying "...behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

The words "unto him shall the gathering of the people be" speak of obedience or submission. The Companion Bible notes of the words "Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes" that the vine was "so plentiful in Judah, that people were without care in such matters." Further, speaking of the reference to the wine, it adds "There was more than enough to lavish." Washing one's clothes in wine would indicate a super-abundance of it indeed!

There just possibly might be one additional, but rather subtle point to see in the binding of the ass, indicative of kingly estate in Jacob's day, to the vine, a later symbol for the Ten Tribes of Northern Israel. There would later emerge a time when the Lion of the Tribe of Judah would be united to the people of those Northern Tribes.

As Israel goes on to say in verse 12 that "His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk", The New Bible Commentary indicates these words to speak of Judah being bright with prosperity.

Let us now continue, in the remaining minutes, to examine further of Israel's blessings upon the Tribes in the last days. We pick up the account at Verse 13.

13. Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.

Though it might come as something of a surprise to some, a book entitled "Strange Parallel", and a VHS video tape made from it, recount evidence which would relate the tribe of Zebulun to the present day people of Holland. Certainly, the people of Holland live by the sea, and their harbour works and dikes are world famous.

Upon the entry of Israel into the Promised Land, Zebulun's allotment placed them, along with the Tribe of Asher and the northern section of the sea-going Tribe of Dan, in an area which lay towards the North-West of that land near Tyre, and, particularly through their close contact and co-operative ventures with the Phoenicians, they came into early contact with the sea. The symbol assigned to the Tribe of Zebulun is one quite widely repeated among those we believe to be of Israel today. It is that of a sailing ship.

Jacob's next words speak of Issachar. He says:

14. Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:
15. And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.

Of this prophecy, we might note the words of the Companion Bible. It re-states the first part of the passage thus: "The hireling is the ass (or saddle bearer) of strangers, Couching down among the folds; When he saw rest that it was good, And the land that it was pleasant...". Thus the indication is that Issachar "preferred to pay tribute to the Canaanites rather than engage in the struggle to expel them." The possibility has been suggested that the people of Finland today number among them at least a section of this Tribe of Israel.

When we come to designate the tribal symbol for this Tribe, we find that some authorities display a beast of burden, well laden with supplies, while others display a banner upon which are found sun, moon and, elsewhere, in addition, stars. This latter insignia of heavenly bodies is presumed to have been epitomised in I Chronicles 12:32 which says of the children of Issachar that they were "men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do." In extension, I would further presume that this was taken in concert with Genesis 1:14-16 which speaks of those heavenly lights which were set "for times, and for seasons, and for days, and years".

As our time has about gone, we shall pick up this study on a later occasion.

20 December, 1992

EMMANUEL

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

We are approaching Christmas, a time when the thoughts of most of Western Society turn in anticipation towards a holiday break, and it therefore seemed appropriate for us, also, to step aside, so to speak, from our ongoing series of Bible Studies for a short interval in order to consider the occasion which is thus marked.

The commercial interests all across the land would, I feel sure, panic at the mere suggestion, or even the thought, of giving up the lucrative Christmas market and so those aspects of the encrusted social rituals which appear innocuous to the establishment are cultivated with lavish intensity. It has, in fact, become a bit like Hallowe'en in this respect.

No doubt the whole commercial community desires to sustain the pagan aspects of the hour, in order to stimulate the sale of gifts which are nice, but not really essential to one's existence. This pagan distortion of the true intent of the holiday becomes obvious when the God-given Law, requiring the observance of a weekly Sabbath for rest and a time for the whole national community to worship, is totally dismissed and set aside in the interests of intensified avaricious commercial activities which nominally are supposed to be supportive of, and to reflect, a Christian occasion.

It is apparent that, while the non-Christian, humanist elitists among us have, for well over a generation, been planning the extinction of any effective Christian aspect to official, national observances of the occasion, the great mass of those in the nation who draw their spiritual sustenance from a more religious era are increasingly dissatisfied with this arrangement. The divergence of interest becomes clear when we contemplate the increasingly restless voting patterns of a public, the members of which are awakening to the fact that our national right to determine and sustain the traditional Christian nature and heritage of our community has been filched from us while we slept.

The elitists have, it seems, become cockey in their manipulative power to control, and it would appear that they envision the goal of a non-Christian world which now seems to them but a few steps from their grasp. I am reminded of the Pharaoh of the Exodus, demanding unquestioned compliance as we note the directives which issue from the media manipulators and the interests which some have characterised as the gnomes of Zurich.

But just as the glorious and mighty hand of God intervened at the Exodus, God has promised the second time to bring His people out from the present forms of bondage. Isaiah 11:1-5 says:

1. And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2. And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
3. And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
4. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
5. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Continuing at Verse 11:

11. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
12. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Now whatever you may think of those passages, I believe that it is a clear reference to Our Lord, as He returns, to lead His Israel peoples out of a second period of bondage parallel to that which their forefathers endured in Egypt prior to the Exodus. This Second Exodus would appear, however, to be of another order. This emergence will be out of the present un-Godly economic, spiritual, cultural and governmental bondage which presently acts to fetter the fullest expression of a truly Christian, God-serving Israelitish community. As regular listeners know, we in British-Israel hold that the present day descendants of the vast majority of ancient Israelites are to be found among the main racial groups of the British Commonwealth, the Americans, and kindred folk of North-West Europe.

Such a community, with the Throne of David at its centre, must come, for in Luke 1:32 the angel Gabriel speaks to Mary of her son, saying that "the Lord God shall give unto him the Throne of his father David."

As Jesus did not receive that throne at His First Advent, it awaits the Second. However, we should apply the name "Emmanuel" at both the First and the Second Advents. Matthew 1:23 simply says "They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Incomparably, the Christian world has historically fulfilled this prophecy by applying the name exclusively to Jesus Christ.

Young's Concordance, under the word "Immanuel", informs us that the word means "God is with us". The Concordance notes that this was "A symbolic name given to the child who was announced to Ahaz and the people of Judah as the sign that God would give them deliverance from their enemies... ."

Although the name used in Matthew's Gospel is spelled using an initial letter "E" where the Old Testament uses an "I", the passage in Matthew is almost a direct quotation of Isaiah 7:14, a passage which states "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

In the time remaining, I want to see if we can determine an answer to the question "What purpose was served by Jesus' coming into the world of human experience?", and specifically, we ought to look at the questions "Why did Christ come?", and "Why must He come again?"

Christ is described in the symbolic language of Revelation 13:8 as "...the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." This statement reveals that, from the very first concept in the mind of The Creator, it was His intention to create men and women possessing the ability to think rationally and so to make decisions involving expressions of love and of commitment to Himself. That over-riding requirement necessitated granting permission to test immature selfish decisions, some of which have resulted in savage calamities during the present age. We call these "Sin".

Incidentally, the ability to make any such decisions is not possible without the ability to project the results one should expect from those decisions. Such rational thoughts must enjoy a totally rational environment in order to develop. Thus, Natural Law had to be built into the Creation and apply in all aspects of the physical universe. It is this natural law which forms the subject-matter of the Sciences.

Do not be fooled by concentration on this aspect alone. As the Psalmist said in Psalm 14:1, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." Fulfilled prophecy demonstrates that God exists. As Peter wrote in II Peter 1:19, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts."

But that ability to sin required, in love, the availability of some means of healing the breach, and re-constituting the whole environment to one enjoying fellowship with God Himself. For guidance, man needed a statement of Law, The Commandments, and penalty for the defiance of sinful experiments. Survival of the created, however, requires the payment of that penalty through some means available to mankind. The Cross is that means of payment. Do not despise it.

We read in Genesis of the fall from Grace of Adam and Eve. Their experimental rebellion was foreseen by God, and this necessitated on God's part, right from the very beginning, the advent of a "Second Adam" who would serve, much as Noah's ark, to take the waves and storm and shield the occupants. (Incidentally, the "nave" where the congregation sits in a church takes its name, like the "navy", from the Latin "navis", a ship, as it is intended, symbolically, to serve that very function!)

Thus only those sinners who, so to speak, "come into the ark" of Christ's "body", are safe from the ultimate consequences of their inadequacy because He alone could fully satisfy the penalty of Law-breaking on The Cross. That act had to occur on a separate occasion from His Advent as King, when He would finally establish God's rules as a Law written in our hearts and thus in Israel, His Nation.

Christ told us to pray to Our Father that His Kingdom would come or be developing on earth as it is at all times effective in heaven.

From this we see that two Advents were required right from the first planning stage of the Creation. The First Advent must be as the perfect suffering penalty-bearer, the silent Lamb of God, to Whom the ordinance of Old Testament sacrifices pointed. Only thus would Christ earn the right to lay claim upon the hearts and loyalty of His people at the Second Advent.

The Second Advent, then, must follow the First. Christ, as the Lion of Judah, the all-powerful King of kings, must establish society under the congenial and gracious rule of The Almighty God, free of the attacks of those who refuse to abide by that Law.

Revelation 5:5 speaks in symbolism thus: "...behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."

It is the selfless act of Jesus, condescending to be humbly yet royally born of the Virgin Mary to initiate this sequence of Advents, which the herald angels gloriously announced to the shepherds of Bethlehem.

There is a further aspect which we ought to explain. The Northern House of Old Testament Israel, the people whom God formed for Himself, as His "wife" (Isaiah 54:5, and Jeremiah 3:14), the "example nation", had sinned to the point of national divorce from Him (Hosea 2). They were deported by Assyria. Judah was not at that point divorced from God (Hosea 1:7).

By Deuteronomy 24:4 and Matthew 5:32, God could not, prior to His Own death, re-marry His divorced wife, Israel. There was only one way that a marriage could take place along the lines of Hosea 2:19-20 and Revelation 21:2. Paul explained it in Romans 7:1-3. God, the husband, incarnate in Christ, had to pass through death first.

Thus, in Matthew 10:3, we read Christ's words "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel...". It is the so called "Ten Lost Tribes" to whom Jesus stated that He was specifically sent at His First Advent, and to those same "lost sheep" the Apostles were sent in Matthew 10:6, to preach the Gospel explaining this central aspect of His two Advents.

May these thoughts add meaning to your Christmas.

27 December, 1992

A RESPECTFUL ROYAL HUG

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Like many busy people these days, my telephone has an attached answering device and recently, upon returning home after doing some errands, I found two recorded messages. One was a message from a lady in my own province but in another county, and the other message was from a lady in another country, and half a continent distant. Both messages were brief, but fullsome in appreciation of the studies which we strive so hard to place before the public week by week. As you might imagine, I received both these unexpected messages with the greatest pleasure.

The year is almost ended, and at that "milestone" which tallies another stretch upon the road of life, I think we all tend to take stock, so to speak, and to look back over what has been accomplished in the past months, and to assess the possible challenges and difficulties which, although unknown, may lie ahead of us down the road to the future.

It is, then, in part, a response to that sense of pleasure which I derived from hearing those messages that I have decided for today, as the year comes to a conclusion and that process of assessment of our accomplishments gets underway, to incorporate a digression into the whole matter of Praise and Appreciation.

To those two persons who left those messages, should they be listening, I want to say this: You will never know how far such unsolicited and supportive words will take effect, or in what form they may return as a blessing to yourselves at some future occasion! The books of account in the hands of The Almighty keep all such minutes in careful tabulation.

Experiencing that sense of pleasure set me to thinking and if you are like myself, I believe that you will understand what I am about to say. We all appreciate approval. Let me put it another way. When we make the choice to expend some measure of our own time as an investment, particularly on behalf of others, (and this applies especially when we might rather be doing something else), we are making an important gift of ourselves to those people.

Even those whose accomplishments in areas such as sport appear to be solely for personal satisfaction do, in a sense, make the effort on behalf of others for they would lose much of the zest in their accomplishment if nobody was interested enough to take note of their attainments. In fact, professional sport depends upon yielding pleasure to the paying public who, in return, gain a sense of identity with the superior talents of the experts.

We all like to know that our efforts have been marked with approval by those to whom we have made that investment of training, or that gift of time and work.

The pleasure may not always be forthcoming, however, in spite of our best efforts. That gift of expended effort of which I speak may seem quite inconsequential to those who receive it. It is not out of place at this juncture, to remind ourselves that no-one is exempt from the human feelings which expended effort and time call forth.

One prominent Canadian newspaper reported that, in assessing the past year, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II appraised it in the words "Nineteen ninety-two is not a year I shall look back on with undiluted pleasure". The words "Annus Horribilis" were quoted and the newspaper explained the phrase in the words: "The Latin tag, which translates as a horrible year, was a reversal of the more usual phrase, annus mirabilis, meaning a wonderful year".

I think that some part of that "horrible year" was occasioned for Her Majesty by certain more mercenary and irresponsible or antagonistic portions of the mass media. I Chronicles 29:23 says "Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him." That "Throne of the LORD" is David's throne which, by II Samuel 7:16 was established to last for ever by God's word to David. It will pass to Christ when He returns, as the angel Gabriel told Mary. It is the same upon which the present Monarch sits. Some people just do not want that throne to continue until God gives it to Jesus at His return. Satan's troops desire to thwart God's programme thereby.

Her Majesty's expressed reaction to the year's events was quite understandable, and right-thinking people everywhere will completely sympathise with the point of view thus presented. I might even go so far as to suggest that the irritant portion of the media is actually losing touch with the deeper and more responsible feelings of Her Majesty's wider, patriotic "family".

For our own part, we may gain some sense of the identity we share, as part of that greater Israel family, as we seek to supply the approval which is lacking in those insensitive organs of expression.

There is, however, a problem associated with the assessment of the works of others. Should we be unaware of the pressures of a certain occupation, we may drastically under-estimate the requirements of the task and the consequent effort which is required to succeed in its accomplishment. If someone is constantly striving to match multiple demands with perfect response in a limited time, energy may be consumed at a tremendous rate.

I would in an admittedly somewhat odd comparison, draw the parallel with a champion chess player, manifesting little show of outward movement, yet intensely pressing every nerve, seeking to avoid the slightest mistake in the sequence of moves. The display appears slight, but the inward tension is immense. Should the idle bystander make rude remarks or disparaging comments it does not express love nor do justice to the situation but simply reveals that the onlooker is unable to fully comprehend or appreciate what an expert has done.

I also sense that there may in other cases be a reverse situation to that which I just described. Some people, particularly those who by nature are most talented or exceedingly bright of mind and quick to accomplish things themselves may, on occasion, show some insensitivity to the amount of time and effort which others might have made in order to bring that gift of self to them. Indeed, they may seem almost impatient to depart the encounter for pleasures of a different order.

This may be particularly true of parents whose busy lives lead them to brush off parental obligations with a superficial show of momentary approval. They may unintentionally quite ignore the tremendous effort which a young child or perhaps one handicapped in some way, may have expended in arriving at some apparently indifferent conclusion.

Should praise be granted according to the actual result displayed, or according to the proportional effort occasioned by the gift? And how may we measure that effort? It might be tested by what we term "love". How much love was poured into the work? What sacrifice lies behind it?

If I might respectfully paraphrase what I understood to be the thrust of a recent message by a prominent member of the Royal Family, that message was to the effect that we all need a hug on occasion. By that I understand the concept of giving and receiving fullsome appreciation from those whom we respect and love.

Have you ever had the experience of trying to please someone and feeling that the effort was a total failure? One may almost feel like departing in tears because the effort was all one was capable of putting forth, but the high quality of the work was less than fully appreciated.

How important such approval is, especially for those who are by reason of some handicap, less capable of winning accolades for a sustained effort that, in spite of all, appears to have gone nowhere.

But in this same connection, we might ask "What is "winning"? What is "success"? A short definition of success is this: "The conforming of one's will to the demands of one's God."

We might go to some Biblical examples wherein a person was seeking recognition which was not deserved, but others wherein they richly deserved such supportive comment.

What of the parable found in Luke 18:10-14? "Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a Publican." Essentially, the Pharisee praised himself and received no commendation of God, while the Publican, seeking only mercy, received justification, and Christ's commendation with the concluding words "everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

Again, in Luke 21:1-4, we read "And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had." That poor widow has, by this account, been established through history as one whose unselfish act received Christ's commendation.

We might think of the repentant woman in Luke 7:36-50, who broke the costly alabaster box of ointment to anoint the feet of Our Lord in the house of Simon the Pharisee, and how Simon despised her gift but was reproved by Our Lord.

Even Christ Himself looked for appreciation. Think of those ten who were healed in Luke 17:12-19. Only one, a Samaritan, returned to give Him thanks. Christ said "But where are the nine?".

Do we truly appreciate what Christ did, in coming to us at the First Advent? As He came, to be born of Mary, what considerations must have existed in the highest councils of heaven? to what purpose was the whole of His life and death? To what end was the gift of Himself? The mighty angels who brought the good tidings to the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night certainly expressed praise. Their praise has rung down through the centuries to our own day, and each Christmas it reverberates once more in the multiplied sounds of music and readings in the churches of the nations.

We read in Revelation 5:11-12: "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands. Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour and glory and blessing."

Praise cheers. It is a form of appreciation to God, an expression of our thanks for the work which we could never do for ourselves. To praise does honour not only to the recipient, but also to the one who offers praise. Perhaps we should think on that when we have the opportunity to offer praise to another.

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