(adapted from volume 56, number 3 of Unsearchable Riches magazine)
THE FUNERAL MESSAGE
Delivered Thursday, April 1, 1965 at the Chapel of the Hills,
Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California
SPEAKER: HERMAN H. ROCKE
IN HIS LAST LETTER to Timothy, in the fourth chapter, Paul wrote these words, “I have contended the ideal contest. I have finished my career. I have kept the faith. Furthermore, there is reserved for me the wreath of righteousness, which the Lord, the just Judge, will be paying to me in that day; yet not to me only, but also to all who love His advent.”
Our dear brother and senior teacher, A. E. Knoch, did love His advent. It was his heart’s desire to be among those who survive, who are changed when our Lord Himself “will be descending from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the Chief Messenger, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall be rising first. Thereupon we, the living who are surviving, shall at the same time be snatched away together with them in clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And thus shall we always be together with the Lord. So that, console one another with these words.”
Months ago, Brother A. E. Knoch often began the day by having his chair pushed to the window, sitting there with unseeing eyes, and waiting for His Lord to come. As his health failed, this longing was intensified. Now we can rejoice in the Lord that his heart’s desire is fulfilled. So far as our sleeping brother is aware, the moment of his lapse into oblivion will be followed by His Lord’s shout of command, and then, in an instant, in the twinkle of an eye, at the last sound of the trumpet of God our brother’s frail form will be changed into a glorious likeness of the image of the Son of God.
From his sleep, our brother will be roused incorruptible. “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality.” Thus the glorious expectation which had occupied his thoughts will be fulfilled. From his first conscious moment, he will always be together with his Lord. And so will all the dead in Christ.
"We, the living who are surviving, shall at the same time be snatched away together to meet the Lord in the air,” i.e., the dead in Christ and the living, together, as one company, just as if none had ever died. Hence our outlook in this administration of the grace of God is not death but life. From Paul down to the present day, the prospect put before the believer is the vivifying presence of Christ. Day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, the next event for which we yearn, should be the trumpet’s joyful note when Christ Jesus will transfigure the body of our humiliation, so as to conform it to the body of His glory.
Then all limitations will be withdrawn and the boundless universe will be before us, and we will be seated together, in fact, among the celestials, in Christ Jesus. Then God will use us as His display material for the celestials, “displaying the transcendent riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For in grace are we saved, through faith, and this is not out of us; it is God’s approach offering, not of works, lest anyone should be boasting. For His achievement are we, being created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God makes ready beforehand, that we should be walking in them.”
Our dear brother and senior teacher has finished his earthly career, which was God’s achievement, good works which He made ready beforehand that our brother should walk in them.
THE USE OF CONCORDANCES
Early in his youth, God’s spirit awakened young A. E. Knoch to a life-long response, shining in his heart ever since, “with a view to the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” The book of Romans prompted him to believe that we all sinned and are wanting of the glory of God, and are justified by faith, apart from works of law, justified in the blood of Christ, Who died for our sakes, that God should become All in all.
It was about seventy years ago when A. E. Knoch, still a young believer, having the ardent desire to arrive at a better understanding of the Word of God, discovered that practically all solid progress in the recovery of truth during the nineteenth century had come through the use of concordances. Hence he also began to test and correct his ideas as to the meaning of Bible words by tracing them through all their occurrences. But he found that even keen students of exceptional intelligence were not able to derive much profit from concordances based on English translations. So he bought himself a small Greek Testament and kept it always with him, devoting every free moment to its study. It gradually dawned on him that it was foolish to fill his mind with a discordant English version if he hoped to advance in the knowledge of God. Thus it was that the idea of a concordant version suggested itself to his mind. His continual use of Greek and Hebrew concordances had so thoroughly impressed him with the need for more uniformity in translation that he began to standardize his thinking by always using a certain English word when he had a Greek or Hebrew term in mind.
A. E. Knoch ranks among those men of God who devoted their lives to the task of classifying God’s wonderful world of words, just as the great botanist Linnaeus studied and arranged and classified God’s wonderful world of plants. Just as the flowers tell us of God’s wisdom and power, His Sacred Scriptures tell us of His plan and purpose and love for us. The honor to which A. E. Knoch was called, is unique. It stands apart from all the coveted honors of a passing world. For the Lord called him to develop the concordant method for an unprecedented and unprejudiced translation of the Sacred Scriptures, so as to lead him to, and us toward a fuller understanding of God’s truth for today. The story of the toil and trials which paved every step of our brother’s way, will never be told until that day when he will receive the special wages which the Lord, the just Judge, will award to those who have been building with gold and silver and precious stones. In that day, the fire will be testing our brother’s work, what kind it was.
Paul writes in First Corinthians, “For other foundation can no one lay beside that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Ever since the beginning of this century, our dear brother and senior teacher has been building on this foundation with precious stones, silver, and gold, while expounding justification, which is the great basic truth, conciliation and reconciliation, as well as God’s sovereignty, for out of Him and through Him and for Him is all.
In addition, he has written on a multitude of other scriptural subjects, from Genesis to the Unveiling of Jesus Christ, from the Problem of Evil to the secrets in the Pauline epistles.
Brother A. E. Knoch made it a point to imitate Paul, always toiling with a view toward presenting every man mature in Christ Jesus, ever struggling for us in his prayers that we may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.
IN PRAISE AND PRAYER
Very early in his life for Christ, A. E. Knoch was led to discover God’s mind concerning the special praise and prayer for today. He found both in Paul’s epistles; in Ephesians, where more than half of the doctrinal portion is presented in a series of prayers. The same is true of the first chapter of Colossians. A. E. Knoch added these prayers to his own daily petitions, pleadings, and thanksgiving, so as to be in accord with the delight of God’s will and for the laud of the glory of His grace. God blesses us with every spiritual blessing among the celestials, in Christ, blessings which we may enjoy as long as we praise Him accordingly.
Before the Concordant Version was made, or any of the concordant literature written, there was persistent prayer for the spirit of wisdom and revelation. Nor has it ever ceased. Not only was it necessary to pray for this special spirit of wisdom and revelation in order to recover the Ephesian secret, this crowning revelation of God, but now, even after our senior teacher has so often expounded it at length, this special prayer is needed to apprehend his expositions.
When viewed by itself, the personal destiny of a man seems so pitifully unimportant in this great universe, but when it is seen to be a part of God’s own glory, it ceases to be insignificant. It is no longer inconsequent. It must be safe and sure. “Even though,” A. E. Knoch once said, “it is not the reward of our merits, for we have none. Our personal destiny is rather reared on our demerits, of which we have no lack. Let us but see that we are the instruments for revealing God’s grace, and hence essential to His goal, and we have the best basis of eonian bliss which man has ever imagined.”
Our sleeping brother has been an instrument for revealing the glory of God’s grace in an amazing way, during threescore and ten, out of a lifetime of ninety years. And God willing, his written ministry will continue, while he is asleep, not only in English-speaking countries all over the world, but elsewhere as well, especially among German-speaking believers.
ASLEEP IN HIS CARE
Unique as our brother’s life work was, it is just his starting point toward the goal where God makes ready even better works, that he should be walking in them, again as His achievement. Let us give thanks to the Father Who makes us competent for a part of the allotment of the saints, in light. For in grace are we saved, through faith, in order to show forth His grace, in this life, and even more so, in the coming eons among the celestials.
“Faithful is the saying: ‘For if we died together, we shall be living together also; if we are enduring, we shall be reigning together also.’ ” For our sleeping brother, the time of endurance is past. For his sake, we should not grieve. While in oblivion, he is waiting for the vivifying voice of his Lord. Our brother is spared the loneliness of his widow, the heartache of his family, and the sighing of those who were near and dear to him. No one will miss him more than those who had the privilege of living with him, of personal acquaintance with him during his lifetime.
Praise the Lord, we have not lost him but for a brief and weary night, and we will meet again in the morning. So we will not say goodbye, but rather good night, knowing that he is asleep in the care of Him Who will not fail to wake him in immortal glory when He comes to call His own.
“Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of pities and God of all consolation, Who is consoling us in our every affliction to enable us to be consoling those in every affliction, through the consolation with which we ourselves are being consoled by God, seeing that, according as the sufferings of Christ are superabounding in us, thus, through Christ, our consolation also is superabounding.”
“Now may the God of peace Himself be hallowing you wholly, and may your unimpaired spirit and soul and body be kept blamelessly in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Faithful is He Who is calling you, Who will be doing it also.”
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