E-book: Holiness and missions

by Susan N. Fitkin

In 1915 Susan Fitkin emerged as the first president of Nazarene Missions International. This 1940 booklet sounds one of Fitkin's major themes. Minor editing has been done to increase readability.

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Chapter 7: Ultimately triumphant in Revelation

     Jesus Christ and the glorious consummation of His missionary enterprise is the central theme of John's Revelation. The first three verses of the book give its title, the description of the writer, and a blessing upon on the readers:

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it know by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw--that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." (Revelation 1:1-3)

     In 1:4-8, there's a salutation to the "seven churches of Asia." This salutation includes the fundamental principles upon which the Church of Christ is built:

  • The person of Christ
  • The redemption wrought by Him
  • The discipline of Christians in this present world
  • Christ's Second Coming.

     In the book of Revelation, there are seven major visions. Each vision contains a striking missionary element as well as a clear sense of God's righteousness and holiness.
     In the first three chapters, the venerable Apostle John describes the first vision he had while banished to the Isle of Patmos:

"I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and testimony of Jesus. On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.'" (Revelation 1:9-11).

     As John turned to see the one speaking, he saw seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of these "someone like a son of man,' dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet . . . In his right hand he held seven stars . . . When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!'" (Revelation 1:13, 16, 17-18)
     Seven is a symbolic number. Denoting completeness, the number seven is used frequently in this final book of the New Testament. The golden candlesticks typify God's true Church. A glorified Christ in the hearts of His people is the prerequisite to the coming of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying power, lighting the candles from which must shine the light of His love and grace to a dark world. In the vision John saw of the End Times, God is seen as emphasizing holiness and missions.
     Then follow the special messages sent to the churches in Asia. Some Bible students interpret these as dispensational, and thus see them as describing various periods of the entire Church age. Whether this interpretation is true or not, these words from Revelation were not just for these particular churches. The words are for the ear of the church in all ages.
     The church at Ephesus is commended for its works and patience: "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent." (Revelation 2:4-5)
     History tells us that, in addition to the evangelism and church planting that went on in Europe and Asia, nearly a thousand churches were planted in northern Africa during the first and second centuries. In losing their love for Christ, as had the church at Ephesus, these north African churches failed to pass on the "good news" and became extinct.
     The last part of the First Century was a period of great persecution. So, the church in Smyrna is comforted in its poverty and tribulation with the promise: "Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2:10) Believers in Pergamos and Thyatira had failed to keep themselves separate from the world. They were accused of dwelling "where Satan has his throne." (Revelation 2:13) Holding the doctrine of Balaam (worldliness), they had drifted into idolatry and were urged to repent.
     Those who look at this passage through dispensational eyes see the condition of the church at Sardis has been suggested as being emblematic of the period of the Reformation, "You have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy." (Revelation 3:4)
     The words directed to the church in Philadelphia have been understood as depicting the modern missionary revival: "These are the words of him who is holy and true. . . . What he opens, no one can shut . . . I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. . . . I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown." (Revelation 3:7, 8, 11)
     In our day we seem to have reached the condition of the last church, Laodicea: "I know your deed, that you are neither cold nor hot. . . . You say, I am rich . . . and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked" (Revelation 3:15, 17).
     In the message to this last church, the attitude of Christ at the end of the Church age is revealed. It is a world message: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)
     In verse 21 is what has been called the tallest promise in the Bible, "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne." (Revelation 3:21)
     How comforting and assuring are some of the closing scenes in this prophecy. In this vision there was encouragement given to each church for those who were faithful.
     In his second vision, the apostle John seems to have been translated to the highest court of heaven: "After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.' At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne." (Revelation 4:1-3)
     The hosts of heaven were giving thanks because of creation:

"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being."
(Revelation 4:11)

     Next, a book with seven seals is presented. John says he wept because no one was found who could open and read the book. The slain Lamb, the Redeemer, is announced as the "Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David. . . . He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat upon the throne." (Revelation 5:5, 7)
     This moment is followed by a worship time. Golden vials full of odors, which can be seen as the prayers of the saints, were poured out. "And they sang a new song:

"You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth."
(Revelation 5:9-10)

     When that missionary song was ended, the angel choir of "ten thousand times ten thousand" took up the strain, singing in "a loud voice . . . .

"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!'"
(Revelation 5:12)

     This triumphant song was now swelled to a mighty chorus of universal adoration: "I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:

"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!

The four living creatures said Amen,' and the elders fell down and worshiped." (Revelation 5:13-14)
     The ultimate triumph had begun. This second vision probably had reference to the rapture described in First Thessalonians 4:14-17, With the opening of the seven seals, the apostle saw judgments poured out upon the world. He saw a period of great tribulation which was followed by a time of rejoicing: "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

"'Salvation belongs to our God
who sits on the throne,
and unto the Lamb."
(Revelation 7:9-10)

     These were joined by the heavenly hosts, "saying,

'Amen!
Praise and glory,
and wisdom, and thanks, and honor
and power and strength,
be to our God for ever and ever,
Amen!'

. . . These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple.'" (Revelation 7:12, 14-15)

     The trumpet judgments meant more woes will be poured upon the world. Following this is recorded a vision of the Lamb with the one hundred and forty and four thousand, at which time another victory was celebrated. This was a special service of the Lamb with the one hundred and forty and four thousand. They sang a new song, which they alone could sing:

"And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne . . . No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. . . . They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as first-fruits to God and the Lamb." (Revelation 14:2-4)

     Just the vials with the last seven plagues are poured out, there is another burst of praise and thanksgiving in the heavenlies:

"I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb:
   Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty.
   Just and true are your ways, King of the ages.
   Who will not fear you, O Lord,
   and bring glory to your name?
   For you alone are holy.
   All nations will come and worship before you,
   for your righteous acts have been revealed.' (Revelation 15:2-4)

     We are now reaching the climax. A "Hallelujah Chorus" precedes the announcement of the Marriage of the Lamb:

"After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:
   'Hallelujah!
   Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
   for true and just are his judgments.' . . .
And again they shouted:
   Hallelujah!' . . .
Then a voice came from the throne, saying:
   'Praise our God, all you his servants,
   you who fear him, both small and great.'
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing water and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
    Hallelujah!
   For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
   Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
   For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
   and his bride has made herself ready.
   Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.'
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
Then the angel said to me, Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' "
(Revelation 19:1, 3, 5-9)

     The apostle then saw the Second Coming of our Lord with His saints, the battle of Armageddon, and Satan bound for a thousand years. He also saw the first resurrection of the blessed and holy dead, who should be priests, and reign with Christ a thousand years. He saw the final doom of Satan, the last judgment, and the new kingdom age ushered in. There was a new heaven and a new earth, the New Jerusalem that needed no temple nor light, and a new Paradise with a pure river of water of life and a tree of life whose "leaves . . . were for the healing of the nations." (Revelation 22:2)
     We now come to the last message of the Bible:

"'I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. . . . I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.'
"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
(Revelation 22:13-14, 16-17)

     The last promise in the Bible is: "Yes, I am coming soon." The last prayer is: "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen." (Revelation 22:20-21)
     Holiness and missions are central to God's plan for the ages. That plan will be ultimately triumphant.

India

     This is harvest time in India. The plowing and seed sowing was done by faithful missionaries and occupied many years. A rich harvest of souls is now being gathered in.
     Our Western India Mission field has taken rapid strides ahead in the last eight years. Our borders have been enlarged, giving us more and better equipment. New buildings have been erected. More missionaries have been sent out. We are now carrying on definite evangelistic campaigns at five strategic centers.
     India's Bible Training School -- opened by Sister May McKay of sainted memory and to whom the splendid Bible School building is now a memorial -- was unique in many ways. Especially was this true when high caste Hindu leaders, with red paint spots on their foreheads, came pleading to be taught by a woman (it is very unusual for Indian men to desire to listen to a woman). She received them gladly. Many later sought and found the Savior at the altar.
     A Brahman, one of India's highest castes, was saved and baptized. He became an earnest evangelist on our field. A holiness, jungle camp meeting helped to attract the heathen, as well as bringing added light and blessing to the Christians. Many have been sanctified wholly and have gone out to witness and lead others to Jesus Christ.
     Two years ago, three camps were held in different sections with large crowds attending. Dear Sister Louise Chapman (later Robinson) wrote me about the final service at one of these camps. It was a great service, which was especially to praise and give thanks for victories won. During the service a Hindu man arose in that vast crowd. He surprised everyone by announcing, "I have been seeking God for three days, and I have found Him." Then, looking up to heaven, he folded his arms across his breast and said, "From this day forward, I will be a soldier for Jesus Christ."
     The new Reynolds Memorial Hospital at Washim, with our splendid, efficient Dr. Orpha Speicher in charge, has been ministering to the needy. That medical ministry has opened many homes -- even among Muslims -- to the gospel message. [ video on Dr. Speicher ]
     A new main station has been opened, and a new missionary home built. The Andersons, who are stationed there, are finding this new district very fruitful. No doubt the outstanding reason for these many extra souls being gathered in, is the wonderful Pentecostal season experienced at their District Assembly a couple of years ago. There had been many precious seasons in past years, but all agreed there had never been such a wonderful outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church as at this time. They marched about the church singing and shouting praises to God. They then marched out of the door and around the church building again and again, while a large company of heathen gathered and stood watching in wonder and astonishment. God was answering the prayers of years gone by. Their faith had prevailed, and the gracious revival spirit continues.
     When General Superintendent Chapman was there, he organized the one thousand members into a Missionary District and ordained their first elders, six tried and proved spiritual leaders. They elected one of them District Superintendent. That was indeed a time for great rejoicing in India.

Palestine and Syria

     General Superintendent Chapman and wife recently visited this mission field and brought back encouraging reports. In the Holy Land the constant conflicts between the Arabs and Jews have made the situation difficult. However, our missionary, Rev. A. H. Kauffman, and the two splendid national workers had been doing their best and God's blessing was upon them. The churches in Jerusalem and in Bludan, Syria, were being crowded out of their small buildings. A new work had been opened in Damascus, the oldest city in the world. Evangelistic services were being held in other cities as opportunity offered. The following interesting incidents were contributed by Brother Kauffman:

A man saved in Jerusalem

     One of the outstanding cases of salvation in our Jerusalem mission is that of a man who was brought up in the Gregorian Church (Armenian Orthodox). He was married and had one daughter. His home was located in the Armenian quarter of the old part of Jerusalem -- that part within the walls. He had lived a good moral life and had been faithful to all the requirements of that church. Yet, he did not have peace in his heart.
     One Sunday afternoon this man came into our service. God definitely spoke to his soul. At our altar he found forgiveness and peace. He broke off his relationship with the old church and came into the membership of the Church of the Nazarene.
     Everything did not go smoothly and easy for this new convert. He had to contend with continual opposition from his wife. She did not believe in the Protestant religion and persecuted him in various ways. God gave him grace to bear it patiently. He is still standing true to God and is one of the pillars of the Jerusalem church. Although his wife has not yielded her heart to the Lord, her attitude has changed completely. She even attends church occasionally with her husband. The daughter graduated from our day school. She is one of our fine group of young people in our Jerusalem church.

A soul saved in Syria

     A few years ago, a Roman Catholic family moved to Bludan from another town in Syria. They were not poor, as the standards of the Near East go. The man bought a nice lot and built a better-than-average house on it. He operated the bus line with Bludan and Damascus as terminals and with half a dozen towns in between.
     The wife of this man was a very capable woman who had never enjoyed the opportunity of attending school. She could neither read nor write. In our congregation at Bludan, there was a very humble and zealous man named Shaheen. He offered to teach the woman to read. She was delighted. Shaheen used the New Testament as the "First Reader." It was the first time in her life that she knew for herself of the contents of that holy book. Through the power of the Book and the prayers of Shaheen, this woman was led into a beautiful Christian experience.
     Immediately, people began to talk about her. They spoke of her as insincere and hypocritical. But the husband, though still unconverted, took her part. He said he knew that a great change had taken place in her because she came and paid back some money which she had taken from him.
     This woman stood true to the Lord in the face of great persecution from her own Roman Catholic relatives. One day, a near-relative pointed a revolver at her, threatening to kill her if she did not give up her new faith. She was not intimidated. She told the man holding the pistol that he could kill her if he wished, but she would not deny what the Lord had done for her.
     When one makes restitution and endures persecution as this woman did, it is good evidence of a work of grace in the heart. Salvation works the same all around the world.
     This field has had no reinforcements for many years. If the war clouds lift, we trust that new ones, now waiting and praying to go, may soon be sent out to this needy field. We, as a church, must do our best and "hurry, hurry." The King may soon be coming for His Bride, and the door of mercy will be closed for this and all our needy mission fields.

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