And so the questions begin.
I had expected they would come, questions about whether the events coming upon the world are God’s judgement. Are they the beginning of the end times? How to answer these and many more? Many in the churches, pastors and teachers included, shy away from all thought of God acting in judgement. I always recall how David Wilkerson became the darling of the infant charismatic movement when he first published, ‘The Cross and the Switchblade.’ However, several years later he published, “The Vision,” a series of prophetic visions he believed God had given him, suddenly he was a pariah. Some even declared him to be a false prophet. He helped to establish Times Square Church in New York City years later and as he did so in 1986 God gave him some specific messages in visionary form concerning things that would take place there. Some of these are possibly being fulfilled in the events of these weeks as the virus rampages through New York and the mass burials are taking place on Hart Island.
Maybe it is slowly dawning on many people that this is not something that will last a few weeks and all return to normal. The idea of the machine of national, international, domestic and global economy all clicking into gear again is a deception. 9/11 brought massive changes to the world, but this is larger. Things will not be the same again. This is a warning voice, a cry to the world and especially the churches. People of God, awake! Already there are plans to have an app fitted to mobile phones, every persons location and movements can then be tracked. Another possibility is that each should have a medical passport permitting them to move around. Enforced vaccination is almost a certainty and thus the power of State encroaches upon personal liberties. Massive unemployment will make many dependent upon help from governments where such is possible. We could go on, the scenarios are come and go but are often very much in line with the stuff of science fiction writers and certainly some chapters in the Book of the Revelation.
IS THE CHURCH AWAKENING?
Let the church awake. If these days are days of the beginning of judgements, then judgement begins at the house of the Lord. What days of opportunity these are! Especially for the church! A few weeks ago I wrote a short article In which I tried to establish the fact that these days are a gift of God, something in the flow of His loving will, days in which He is completely involved with all occurring in this place, it is still His creation and He is still its proprietor. To think of a time like this as being a God given bounty seems outrageous to some. Difficulties are arising financially, job losses, bereavements for some. Limitations on our movement and cooped up in the house for weeks on end. Calls reporting domestic abuse have risen one hundred and twenty-five percent in the UK, multitudes are coming into subtle debt slavery to government. “The great “auntie” will bail us out.” Churches are unable to gather together. Can these truly be days of opportunity? Most definitely! Perhaps some of us even welcome them. An enforced slow down for many. A sabbath rest extending into weeks possibly and months even. It may be that there will be further lockdowns if there is a local outbreak. What cause for thanksgiving! Have many not been complaining for years that they are too busy? The frenetic pace of life suddenly slowed down and almost stopped.
When circumstances are forced upon us the first thing we should do is go to the Lord, present ourselves to Him, seek His face and listen. I did that, in a simple way, weeks ago, when it all started. Almost immediately I was directed to Isaiah 26:20. “Come My people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves a little while until the fury has passed by.” It is not a great leap to then go to Exodus 12:22b. “None of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.” Moving earlier into Genesis 7:16 we read, “So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God commanded Noah: and the Lord shut them in.” A final verse to add to these three is Matthew 6:6, “When you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father Who is in the secret place; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Three sections of the scripture from the Old Testament and one from the New. Verses having great relevance to current events. Verses to consider seriously as we try to extract from them lessons that will give us perspective on what is happening, whether these lockdowns advised and even enforced by secular governments are God’s way of getting the attention of His church. First, note the Isaiah, Genesis and Exodus scriptures mention the shutting of the door in the context of the judgements of God. In Genesis it is the flood. In Exodus it is the final plague, the death of the firstborn, and in the Isaiah scripture judgements in Israel and possibly at the end of time.
A look at Isaiah 26 shows us that the verse occurs in the flow of a series of oracles that seem to oscillate between God bringing judgement and then blessing. Whereas there had been earlier messages delivered to Ethiopia, Tyre, Jerusalem chapters 24 through 27 begin with words that concern the whole earth. “Behold, the Lord makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants,” Isaiah 24:1. At least seven times the words, “in that day,” occur. Isaiah 24:21, 25:9, 26:1, 27:1,2,12 &13 are statements of devastation and yet great promises of blessing to God’s people. In Isaiah 26:20 the Lord bids His people enter in to their places, shut their doors, hide there, the indignation, the fury is passing across the land, He is coming out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. For some, their sensitivities make them avert the eyes of their hearts away from such direct involvement of God in human affairs and the idea of His being a judge is abhorrent.
HAVE WE GOTTEN INTO THE SECRET PLACE WITH GOD?
Earlier in the chapter the prophet spoke words that seem to have a contemporary ring to them. A chastening of the Lord had come upon the people of God and,”In trouble they have visited You. They poured out a prayer when your chastening was upon them.” Their prayer was a confession that they had only brought forth wind, they had not accomplished any deliverance in the earth, nor had the inhabitants of the earth fallen, Isaiah 26:17-18. There is a whole mixture of things here. People of God coming to a discovery that their endeavours had wrought little, the judgements of God were abroad in the earth, they must enter into their houses and shut their doors and hide themselves in God for a while. It seems that self examination and honesty had a place in all this. It involved not only entering into their houses but the shutting of the door too. I do not think it is as easy as it sounds. To enter the house, yes, that is possible, but the shutting of the door, that is another thing. The denial of entrance to other things, other voices, to meet the Father in secret. Jesus did not simply say that we were to enter the inner chamber. He told us to shut the door also, Matthew 6:6. Addressing ourselves to the Father, attention directed to Him, awareness of His presence with us in a place apart. Space is vital. Our God is Trinity, the Everlasting One Who is Three each pouring into the other, but the thought of outpourings of the love of the Father unto the Son and Son into the Father and all by the Spirit suggest that in some amazing way there is space into which Each pours to the Other, fulness implies the making room, the emptying. The question is, has the church been too full of itself. It’s own self-importance, getting the job done. Elevation into expertise, has it been empty enough to allow God’s fulness in? In these days there is an emptying taking place. The streets are empty, the factories are empty, many machines are lying still, a foretaste of that which shall come in a dreadful fulness one day before the Lord shall come, Revelation 18:14-19.
HAVE OUR SPIRITUAL SENSES BECOME DULL?
The churches and missions have been rushing on for a good number of years. The linear approach of ‘progress’ is a drug the church has become a bit addicted to. Someone said, “tell me what the world is doing and I will tell you what the church will be doing in twenty years time.” There has been much busyness in the work of the Lord. Some have been concerned about this, even specifically calling for a slow down, a taking stock, a deeper look at what has been happening. Twenty years ago David Wilkerson preaching in Times Square church bemoaned the way music was taking over the churches, entertainment instead of the word of God in the power of the Spirit, conviction of sin and transformation of lives does not come by popular christian music concerts. Music is only one of the things the world has been doing and the church has been copying. The world has its plethora of ‘celebrities’ and these last thirty years have seen the rise of many so called Christian celebrities. Celebrity preachers, celebrity musicians and so called worship bands. The church has gotten far away from the simplicity of ‘where two or three are gathered together in My Name, I am THERE in the midst of THEM, Matthew 18:20. Many have been testifying that they are so busy that they scarcely have time of quiet, or times with their family. Mothers are rushing their children to lessons of all sorts, extra curricular, very often, as well as the conventional school runs. Fathers are chasing their tails to make money to keep the family and frequently mothers join them in the merry go round of money making to satisfy the lust for material plenty. Families scarcely eat together let alone have family devotions. Churches are expected to provide the Bible teaching for the children, fathers and mothers have opted out. The children’s program has become the criteria for many as to the choice of the church they will attend. In ways, we are so drugged with busyness that our spiritual senses have become exceedingly dulled.
HAVE WE BEEN LISTENING?
Things are not standing still. The weeks have gone by. Now we have the tragic death of a black man sparking a host of demonstrations. The fact that he was a long standing criminal and high on at least two drugs at the time of his arrest has been conveniently buried by the media and thus the unwary are in danger of making a martyr of a criminal and the statues come tumbling down. This is not a racial struggle, nor a political one, but a spiritual battle. The main protagonists on the streets of whatever colour or political extreme are but pawns in a much bigger thing and it is certainly not a chess game. Spiritual wickedness in high places says the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:12. A careful look at that verse leads me to question the connection between the ‘high places’ in the economic realm, the governmental realm as well as the hidden realm of the powers of darkness. That there is a correlation of the two, the seen and unseen is undeniable. Do those in the ‘high places’ in this world realise their inspirations and empowering of will may well of a demonic origin? Some will be aware but others not so. But, is the church awake to its role in this warfare? How can we be alert and aware if we continue dull as ditchwater, our spiritual senses remaining unexercised? Hebrews 5:13-14 plainly shows that if the church has been yielded to babes and novices, (and in many quarters it has), then they will be undiscerning. Those who are mature discern, but, we live in time when it is the young who march and demonstrate on the streets and in the churches dominate so often and press to have their way. The aged have often quit the scene because they have been relegated to the back benches. Those who shout loudest are listened to. This is true in the world and getting that way in the churches also.
HAVE WE LEARNED ANYTHING IN THESE DAYS?
I have been wondering what I have been learning, what I have been seeing as these weeks have passed. This season of sabbath has been a great blessing. Quite how it is not so easy to say. There is a sifting of the heart, a shedding of the superfluous. A getting back to the bare bones of things. What really matters? Where is the simplicity of Christ, of church, of the ministry, of the meaning of time? Jesus said to go into the inner room. He said that there we would meet the Father. The inner room, where is it? Well, first we can say that it is within us. Jesus teaching the disciples concerning the coming and ministry of the Holy Spirit was explicit when He said the Spirit would bring both Himself and the Father to indwell them, thereby they would become the temple of God, John 14:23. Each individual Christian is a temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:19 and each church corporately gathered is a temple of God, 1 Corinthians 3:17. A temple has an innermost, the holiest of all. It is there that we meet the Lord our God, Who is our Father and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. In each one of God’s people there is an inner room of profound quietness, silence and stillness. It is there, the Spirit remains and with Him, the Father and the Son for He is the Spirit of God and of Christ. To become familiar with the quiet place within our own hearts is a great wonder, to know God’s presence there. This is not foolish navel gazing, but the communion the Holy Spirit gives, a fellowship into the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and into the Love of God, 2 Corinthians 13:14. How blessed are those who know at least the beginnings of this life of fellowship with the Triune God! It is the place of sharing the concerns of God, the purposes that lie in His will, it is a participation in His life. Those who find that place in the inner room find that they are at the same time aware of the Heavenly Throne and the Lamb with the Father upon that throne. There is both immanence and intimacy but balanced with the transcendence found there. Although we may turn there, within the veil troubled in mind with many questions, without words being spoken perspective is found there, balance of mind, answers without utterances are granted and thereby rest to the soul. It is a place of profound silence, but silence is not a vacuum, a nothingness, true silence is pregnant with the presence of God. Awareness of Him, the Spring of all life, the Giver of sanity of mind in the midst of a mad, mad world. This is why it is quite wrong to associate silence with the absence of sound. There is perfect sound there, from that place of the Presence the true Word emerges. All true ministry outflows from that inner sanctuary.
DO WE TASTE AND SEE?
That last paragraph will annoy some readers. The word ‘mysticism’ will be coming to the mind. But, I will press on regardless because ‘mysticism’ is considered as something to be avoided, it has been misused consistently. Mention the word ‘contemplation’ and you are likely to be discarded as off track by some. It is quite amazing how the old adage about ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ is apt. It is partly a result of the enlightenment (so called). The mind became the prominent faculty of man. “I think, therefore I am,” is the famous saying. Thinking is good, it is necessary, the mind must not be thrown out with whatever bathwater it may be found submerged. We do not stop being thoughtful. But we must not only live there, in our minds. This is where the majority of people in the ‘educated West’ live. An unending series of thoughts from which they only find rest in sleep or a drug induced ‘high’. There is a place in the inner man, a place deeper than the mind. In fact, the truly thinking mind is to be found in the heart, Biblically speaking. It is not something separate. Sadly, the mind has been separated from the other faculties of man and has become the dominant factor. When people live in their minds, (and many of us Christians do), then everything is boiled down to ‘either/or’. For instance, here is a very serious one, in much evangelicalism there is ‘Spirit or Word”. The Bible/the Spirit, the charismatics will emphasise the Spirit, experiences predominate in their estimation. The non charismatic evangelical will emphasise the belief and confession of Bible truths and it does not matter if any experiences are involved at all. It is ‘either/or’ for so many. When we learn to go into that inner room and shut the door the ‘either/or’ disappears, because perspective, wisdom and understanding is gradually to be found there in the presence of the Father. Thus, it is more ‘The Word, (scriptures) AND the Holy Spirit. It is no longer either/or. Over the years two words have often come to me, in some peoples writings, they struggle with the apparent disconnect and difference of emphasis in them, they are, action and contemplation. The monastic emphasis on quietness and contemplation, stillness and silence is coming more to the fore in certain circles nowadays for instance. It is almost a reaction against the fast paced ‘missional’ vision of the churches to get the job done for Jesus. The insistence of ‘action and activity’ is frequently the measuring stick as to if we are living for Jesus. In some countries to which we travel almost the first question we are asked is ‘and what is your ministry, your service?” Once answered we are put into an appropriate box and labeled! Sad isn’t it? But true.
So, let us rid ourselves of the contretemps between ‘action and contemplation’ and be still and know that He is God, Psalm 46:10. Yes, ‘cease’, for that is what the word ‘be still’ actually means. Cease! Stop the arguing, stop the running around, stop the setting one thing against the other in the manner of dualistic thinking, instead, go into the inner room, in the silence with God begin to slow down and rest a while, in His light we shall see light, slowly, (it may take many months or even years) and we will know that there is no competition between action and contemplation, and we will write the words ‘action AND contemplation’. The most important word of the three is ‘AND’. It is here that we begin to taste and see that the Lord is good!. Not implying simply accepting it as an objective belief, but tasting and knowing and seeing and enjoying and finding rest to our souls in reality. Fear is melted away like mists by the sun and the spirit of competition and comparison between this and that disappears as things are joined appropriately as God intended.
MARY OR MARTHA?
Well, here we are again, the mind applying itself to the story of Jesus and the two sisters is bound to set the one against the other. Luke 10:38-42 is the relevant scripture. How good to see that they were of the same family. From the same father and mother. That is vital. One is not to be rejected in favour of the other; Martha the active one, and Mary her contemplative sister. Both are ‘of one’. They are sisters! They belong together. Martha is disturbed because whilst she is busy preparing the meal her sister “chooses to sit at Jesus feet and hear His word. She interrupts the conversation with the words, ‘do you not care?” Jesus gently rebukes her but He is not rebuking her activity, but that she has gotten aggravated by her sister. Her spirit is awry, her attitude is what is wrong. Meals need preparing, there is a crowd to feed, it must be done. Do not fret and regard the other as out of order. Get your own heart right.
The contemplative is not against the active, the active one can learn to serve contemplatively, with quiet and joyful heart as she goes about her service. The one is not against the other, to work, to serve, to labour with contemplative heart is a fine art slowly learned. This leads to a seamless life where the two are one and all takes on a vitality and dynamism that keeps the soul fresh day in and day out though the body may get weary, the spirit is renewed. What we so often fail to understand is the profound mystical quality in the verses where Paul writes of us being transformed ‘while we look with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord,” (2 Corinthians 3:18). That section of scripture is contrasting the Jew still reading their scriptures with a veil over their minds, locked into letter and belief system, the duality of do’s and don’ts according to law and those who turn to the Lord and find freedom from the do’s and don’ts and are ushered into a seeing of the Lord. Here is transformation indeed! And Who is the “Lord” to Whom they should turn? None other than the Spirit!
AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXIT BABEL
These days are a gift from God, an opportunity to leave Babylon. Babel, babble and Babylon. They all go together. How we need to learn something about exterior silence. Exterior silence is a great help towards the discovery of inward communion with God. The quieter roads, the empty streets, the opportunity to actually hear the birdsong. This has come our way through these last three months or so. I know things are busying up again. I know too the internet has gripped many more than is truly legitimate. The noise of many voices on the TV and movies has not ceased, nor the draw of Youtube and the various politicians, pundits, experts and ministers sounding their points of view and even their wares. It has been a regular Babylon. For a little while in a small way, something of what is described in Revelation 18:22 has come to pass, “the sound…shall not be heard in you anymore.” We have to understand that we are not at the end of things yet, but this virus and what it is ushering in may will be described as the beginning of the end. The economic hit will lead to job losses on a massive scale and poverty will come in its wake. The horsemen described in Revelation 6:1-8 come to mind. Some believe that the first Horseman on the white horse is the Lord Himself, that He is always first. The second is a red horse with rider bringing war, conflict and death. We seem to be beholding a manifestation of that in the conflict taking place politically between the liberal left and the more conservative right, it irrupts somewhat in various ways, and recently with the racial riots. Conflict, not yet hardening into civil war that calls for the heavy hand of government to quell it has not yet come, but maybe we are nearer such than we realise. The third horse is black and seems to indicate serious shortages of needed goods and food, the wealthy managing quite well but the poor going to the wall. Finally there is the black horse bringing death to a quarter of the world’s population. The Book of the Revelation is profoundly pertinent to what is taking place in these days. The call comes to the church, ‘come out of her (Babylon) My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues,” Revelation 18:4. This world, its systems are Babylon. She is filled with noise, inane voices fill the screens and air waves, the major parts the media are corrupted, the presuppositions of those who hold the power strings are little more than propaganda and presented in the distorted reporting. Our correspondent in Washington toes the party line of the owners of the channel. The welter of words can stun the senses. More than ever the words of James Russel Lowell, the 19th Century American poet ring true and express what is happening.
“Truth forever on the Scaffold,
Wrong forever on the Throne,
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
and behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadows,
keeping watch above His own. “
Blessed are those who are learning to exit the noise and strife of Babylon, get out of Babel! The place of the confusion of tongues. Yes, Babel and Babylon are names both of which mean ‘confusion.’ Noise in not a sin but the turmoil of our society, its confusion of voices, its selfishness and refusal to have God opens the whole scene to arguments without ceasing and selfishness that considers no one but number one. The child of God must exit Babylon, it is not possible to be a member of the city of God and the city of Babylon at the same time. We must learn to have quiet hearts, to dwell in the city of God is forever joined with entering into the interior place and shutting the door. Only as we learn to hear the still small voice of God that never ceases speaking the Everlasting Word, “Fear not, I AM,” will we be able to live to the glory of God in the midst of the noise. Alas, even the churches have succumbed to noise. Earplugs at the door are available. Thus the church again copies Babylon instead of abiding in the City of God.
CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE
We who know God, especially those who lead the church must understand that part of their calling is to nurture and to create an atmosphere in which God is at home. This can only be done if the leaders themselves know that atmosphere in their own lives from day to day. In these days, in our homes, there has been opportunity to order the days unto a quieter rhythm. Families eating together, with devotional reading and prayer incorporated, parents teaching their children the things of God instead of dumping them on others to teach them on Sunday mornings. Give attendance to reading, to listening to good music rather than the inevitable shallowness that is part and parcel of ‘pop music.’ This is relevant to some of the music that has been given room in the churches also. If it does not pass the Biblical test that it builds up, then leave it out. If the TV is proving an interference to a quieter home, then jettison it. If the computer is beginning to fill the place, then put boundaries around its use. As far as the gatherings of God’s people are concerned as churches begin to meet again, let those who have learned a little of God’s quieter ways find and meet with others who have made similar discoveries. We dare not go back to the ‘same old, same old’. God has given us an opportunity to learn His ways more perfectly. To get out of the rut of ever busy “churchianity”. To know Him, to know where He dwells and what He loves. To be rid of the spirit of manipulation that runs rampant in the world and has gotten more and more into some of the churches. In a quiet home parents do not shout noisily at each other and the children will find themselves quieted by example. This will all lead to the disciplines of a helpful silence in which we can become attentive to what is around us, to others, to living things and most of all to God. Those who have found something of the quiet place can help others who are teachable. There will always be those who prefer to return to the safe zones of the worship band and the loud guitars if they can. But, maybe it will be denied them and it will be in the house meetings, where there is some quietness together and where the Lord in the midst by His Spirit can quicken spontaneous rising of hearts in prayer and praise and words of life and comfort can be ministered one to the other. In such homes and churches space must be given for quiet listening. Attentiveness is more rare than you would think. In fact, silence is something many are afraid of. The constant thrust of noise upon noise upon the senses has a detrimental effect on the capacity to really hear. We should be providing places in our homes, times too, when we can go and be quiet for a while. The possibilities of all this, and much more has been brought our way by the events of these months. A time for learning new habits, and good ones too, shutting the door, having gone in to the quiet place. It involves discipline, make no mistake about that, discipline implies the turning from other things, choosing the valuable and leaving aside the lesser. The fact is, that when we become more and more deeply acquainted with that interior room of silence with God then we will move around this world prayerfully, at rest, having a word in season for others. But, let no one think that such a life is gained without ‘dying with Christ.’
SHUT IN WITH GOD AND GRIEF
This has been a long musing. There are many thoughts presented in these paragraphs and they represent some of my pondering over these months, indeed over many years. The way ahead is not clear. There are many who have said to me that they will be unlikely to return to their churches when such is permitted. Especially if things remain unchanged. Some people are learning, for sure. But, I wanted to conclude by mentioning the sense of grief that comes with dwelling in the secret place of the Most High. The more we abide quietly in the silence with God the more His love and care, His sorrow for a lost world seeps into our inner being and we lament. We lament the way people are played as pawns by wicked powers both seen and unseen. We lament the effects of lawlessness, of the sanitising of the great sorrows which are the inevitable fruit of homosexuality and the confusion of sexual identity being tampered with. The prophets of old, they experienced a shutting up, a closing down, Jeremiah comes to mind, Ezekiel also and they had great laments. Jesus, as He looked over Jerusalem wept. He was shut up to the pathway set before Him by His Father. He lamented that Jerusalem did not know her time. Luke 19:41-44, “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,” truly Jesus ‘SAW’ the city. Not the bricks and stones and mortar, the houses and the streets, but the hearts of those dwelling there. Its privileges squandered, carelessly discarded for other worthless trinkets religious and otherwise. He wept, He lamented that she did not know her day and the things that belonged to her peace. Opportunity missed. I think that this is something we should all be feeling for this world in which we live firstly. Lament for this world, the direction it is taking. No encouragement from the politicians to bring the people to prayer. instead, fermenting trouble and nurturing pride in some cases. “We can get through this,” the scientists will discover the needed vaccine, the government will sort out the racial inequalities and so the words gush out. It is all just more noise. I am quite certain that dwelling in the quiet with God will make our hearts break over the way the world rides on in her juggernaut of self confidence. Yet, I also find a lament for the church. I hope I am wrong, but I sometimes wonder if we are learning? Are we prepared to hear Him more than we ever have done. I have heard of some mission leaders indicating that their long term strategies seem a bit irrelevant now. I say amen to that. I heard recently of some who said that going down on our knees and faces before God was somewhat unnecessary. I thought of the knee of the policeman on the neck of the hapless man in Minneapolis and of the multitudes of those going down on one knee in the street demonstrations and the sports games and I think of God’s people. We should allow the blessed Spirit to take us to our knees. Lament is a legitimate condition of heart as we consider the state of the world, its pride, its heartbreaking poverty, its rejection of God, and it is legitimate to have a grieving heart for the church of God that has drifted and now has opportunity to be knit with God to be made ready for days ahead in which difficulties will multiply and rejection could well deepen into opposition and opposition harden into persecution even unto death. I return again to the book of the Revelation and chapter 6. I note that after the four horseman have gone forth, the fifth seal is opened by the Lamb and John saw the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony that they held, Revelation 6:9. They cry out “how long, O Lord, holy and true until you judge….’” And the answer comes, that they should rest a while longer until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who would be killed as they were was completed. Perhaps it is appropriate to say, we are not at the end, but we are at the beginning of the end. The time of harvest is fast approaching. The field which has growing in it both the good seed of the sons of the kingdom and the false seed of tares, the sons of the wicked one, is coming ripe and God Who’s field it is shall send in the reapers and there shall be the gathering, the tares to the burning and the good into the barn. The good seed, “the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He that has ears to hear, let him hear,” Matthew 13:43.