(adapted from volume 56, number 3 of Unsearchable Riches magazine)
MUSINGS ON MOUNT OLIVET
EDITOR’S NOTE: One of the most popular of A.E.K’s writings was his personal narrative of his visit to the Holy Land. The following brief excerpt is a vivid example written while sitting on a rock atop the Mount of Olives.
To the Mount of Olives this morning! Better than a church service. By a new way. Up to the Damascus gate. To the east by Herod’s gate, down into the Kidron. Up the slope of Olivet, past Bedouin camps. Tents made mostly of old sacks. Children playing in the dust, quite happily. Up to the Augusta Victoria Institute. The top of the ridge. First glimpse of the deep Dead Sea and the misty mountains of Moab!
A memorable view. The far-off range makes a horizontal line unbelievably straight, like the horizon of the ocean. Here and there are dimly discerned ravines descending to the water, but they do not disturb the level of the skyline. Deep down in the depression the surface of the Dead Sea shimmers in the sunlight. It hides part of its length behind the high hills of Judea. With the exception of a green patch near the head of the salt sea, all seems dry and desolate and dead. Much may have changed since the days when He sojourned in Judea, but this soul-stirring sight is still the same. He alone has learned all the lessons which lie concealed in this, the lowest land on all the earth. To many eyes which His hands have touched it teaches the most terrible tragedy of human history.
JORDAN A PARABLE OF HUMAN LIFE
The river Jordan and its salty sink is a parable of human life. Rising high and pure beneath Hermon’s snowy head, it flows down, with many a tortuous turn, through the lake of Galilee, into the sea of death, which has no apparent outlet. Such is the course of mankind, and so also is the life of each mortal of which it is composed. From infant innocence, we descend, by devious ways, into the domain of death, from which there is no visible release. How hopeless it seems! But hold! There must be an outlet! Otherwise, the Jordan’s swelling tide would soon fill up this whole depression. The opposite is the case. The sea is lower now than once it was. Every drop of water which descends into the sea of death escapes from it in some subtle way. No, there is no subterranean outlet into the ocean. Water would not flow up even if there were. But even dead sea water can ascend under the beneficent influence of the sun. It is transformed and purified and raised above the earth, freed from the defilement and death which had contaminated its course. So, also, in the spiritual realm. Every sinner of mankind who enters death may count upon the spiritual Sun to draw him out of death and transform him by His grace. The sea of death not only will not be eternally full, but it will be utterly empty when death itself is abolished. Cannot He Who saves and sanctifies the waters of this sea, do the same for His creatures in the realm of spirit?
Moreover, when mankind no longer surges into the dead sea, as at present, when Christ will reign and dying will be diminished, then the parable will be adjusted accordingly. The waters will be healed. They will no longer deal out death, but sustain life. It thrills me to think that this miracle will occur very near the spot on which I am sitting. Just across the ravine from the Dome of the Rock (“the Mosque of Omar”), on Olive’s brow, on a large rock, in the shade of a gnarled old olive tree, I sit and muse. The past has a strong appeal. Here He was in His humiliation. The present has little. The future is tremendous. Who knows but that His feet shall stand upon this very spot, and will leave their impress (not upon these stones for future fanatics to fight about but upon the whole mountain, for it will cleave in the midst hereabouts and run a ravine square across yon mountains to the Mediterranean). Then the eastward scene will change. The depressive depths will be filled. The Dead Sea and the Jordan and the lake of Galilee will disappear and form an inland sea. The diminutive waters of death will become immense waters of life. So will God work!
A Final Entreaty
A.E.K.’S APPEAL TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE GOD’S WORD
BE CONFIRMED IN THE FAITH
IT HAS BECOME the fashion to make a virtue out of timidity, of dubiousness and uncertainty. Indeed, a firm stand for the truth is decried as “petrified dogmatism” and other slanderous epithets. God gives us, not a spirit of timidity, but of power and of love and of sanity (2 Tim.1:7). The era has come when they will not tolerate sound teaching, and turn away from the truth (2 Tim.4:3,4). Some are always learning, yet not at any time able to come into a realization of the truth (2 Tim.3:7). Many of the saints do not glorify God as God, they will not have it that all is out of and through and for Him. This is the principal seed-plot of the apostasy.
These are the last days, and nothing that we can do will stop the apostasy, for God has warned us that it must come. Man must reject the greatest grace agoing, to demonstrate the depth of his own depravity. But our appeal is to those who fear God and believe His Word.
They need not be dragged down with the rest! Read and heed the special message for today! Suffer evil with the evangel! Have a pattern of sound words! Be invigorated by grace! Don’t engage in useless controversy! Correctly cut the truth! Withdraw from injustice! Remain in what you learned and verified! Herald the Word! Stand by it! Expose, rebuke, entreat, with all patience and teaching (2 Tim.1:8,13; 2:1,14,15; 3:14; 4:2)! May God enable you to steer clear of the many sunken reefs that beset your course, and glorify God as God, out of Whom, and through Whom, and for Whom is all!
A. E. Knoch
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