The promise, Peter says on the day of Pentecost, is to us and to our children, to all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. God gathers His covenant children in the line of continued generations. He is pleased to gather His children out of our children. And as a result there are also little prophets among us. Attend to the Word of God in Psalm 45:16, 17, “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth. I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.”
We go the way of all flesh. Our fathers and mothers have been called out of the earthly prophetic sphere, out of all the preparatory stages of that office into the glory of the kingdom, to praise this God from Whom all blessings flow unhindered by the flesh and its motions of sin. That has been left behind in the grave. But there is no void. They taught us God’s praises. To us they handed down the glories bf the kingdom of God. Faithful they were to their calling. And what they saw on the mountain top of revelation, what they learned from the Word of God during their earthly pilgrimage, that they shared with us. And by God’s grace we have received that truth. We know it, and it has become precious to us. From that generation it has been handed down to our generation. And, according to the truth of Psalm 75 it may, by God’s grace be sung:
“Instructing our sons we gladly record
The praises, the works, the might of the Lord,
For He hath commanded that what He hath done
Be passed in tradition from father to son.
Let children thus learn from history’s light
To hope in our God and walk in his sight,
The God of their fathers to fear and obey,
And ne’er like their fathers to turn from His way.
The story be told, to warn and restrain,
Of hearts that were hard, rebellious and vain,
Of soldiers who faltered when battle was near,
Who kept not God’s covenant nor walked in His fear.”
That, by God’s grace we have done. And, as we said above, There is no void. The mighty princes, the pillars of the truth, the staunch men and women of faith, not only our natural fathers and mothers but also our spiritual fathers and mothers, those mighty men who penned down our beautiful confessions, those faithful soldiers of the truth who dared to oppose the forces of darkness and to maintain the cause of Christ against overwhelming odds, they are gone. We stood side by side with some of them for a time, till God called them out of this life. We could literally for a time gather at their feet and listen to the words of their mouths as Israel gathered before Moses, before Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and the minor prophets of the Old Testament times.
And, lo! the wonder of God’s grace, when we look back we see that they are taken away; and when we look forward we see our children springing up as little prophets beside us to carry on that truth and that praise to God which we received and passed on to them. Instead of our fathers—who have departed and gone the way of all flesh—now stand before us our children, God’s royal priesthood. Budding prophets they are, of whom Jesus says that these least in the kingdom of heaven are greater than John the Baptist. As we pointed out, they are not greater in glory than John in the .kingdom. Jesus does not mean to declare that John is not in the kingdom today. He surely is and is a mighty prophet in that kingdom. Though he is with those whose souls are under the altar and cry to God for vindication, John the Baptist in the glory of heaven sings loudly the praises of the God from Whom all blessings flow. Of that you may be sure. Our children, however, budding little prophets that they are, have a richer revelation of the God of our salvation in Christ than John had when he stood by the River Jordan preparing the way before Christ; John must send to Jesus out of prison and ask whether He is the coming one or whether they must look for another yet after Him. Your and my children KNOW that He is the coming one and that in Him all our salvation is realized. John was disturbed because he saw no earthly kingdom of David restored. Your and my children look not for such an earthly kingdom, but now they see Jesus crowned with glory and honor at God’s right hand, and they expect Him to come from heaven for a heavenly kingdom at the end of time.
How faithful our Covenant God is!
He takes away out of this life and unto Himself His saints after a pilgrimage of some seventy or eighty years. He gathers His Church in the glory of heaven. But He also continues to gathers His Church here below, regenerating those whom we have generated, blessing our prophetic toil with children who also prophesy to the glory of His name. John says in III John 4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” And that joy He gives us in the children who are our own flesh and blood. Again, how faithful is our covenant God!
But how faithful are you and I?
Is it really true of us? that,
“Instructing our sons we gladly record
The praises, the works, the might of the Lord.”
Do we instruct them as faithful prophets always do? Do we gladly record these things, or do we do it grudgingly and under silent protest? Do we with resentment pay the financial cost of what it requires to train them in their prophetic office? Surely we dare not give them over unto the world, do we? To save a few pennies, to have more of this world’s goods and pleasures we do not deny our children this covenant training which they need and it is our calling to provide, do we? If you do, do not be surprised if this word of God is not fulfilled in your children and grandchildren. Do not find fault with God when He does not instead of your fathers give your children to be princes, His princes in the earth, heirs of the new creation and of the salvation that is in the Prince of Peace! This promise of God is for those who say in the next verse, “I will make Thy name to be remembered in all generations, therefore shall the people praise Thee for ever and ever.” If you fail in your prophetic office over against your own children, do not find fault with them either for not proclaiming God’s praises. It does not depend upon our work. God can and will save His elect children and make them prophets and princes even when we are so very unfaithful. But if we do not provide them with the truth and instruction based upon His Word, we have no right to expect that His promise will be fulfilled in our children, and we certainly will have nothing on which to base our hope that they will be princes of God on the earth.
The world in its schools cannot possibly prepare your children for their prophetic calling. That world does not itself see the praises of God, and what it sees of Him it hates. That world has not the beginning of wisdom, which is the fear of the Lord, and cannot possibly teach your children the wisdom that they as prophets must know. And not only is the world not able to give your children anything that they require, not only is that world in absolutely no position to train your child as a prophet of God; but what is far worse, that world can only oppose you in such training and oppose the child in his office of prophet of the living God. Opposing him in his office as prophet it will also oppose him in his office as priest and king. Of this we will have more to say, D.V., when we consider these two offices somewhat later. But be wise in the fear of the Lord yourselves, parents, and understand that the ungodly can never train God’s royal priesthood. The Roman Catholic priest cannot teach your Protestant child to partake properly of the sacrament of Holy Communion. The Communistic leaders cannot teach your child to respect a democratic president. The blind cannot teach you how to see. The spiritually depraved cannot teach your children to be God’s royal priesthood. But they surely will oppose your child in his calling as God’s prophet, priest and king.
There is no such thing as spiritual neutrality. Jesus says, “He that is not with me is against me.” Matthew 12:30. What is more He adds, “And he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” How dare we entrust our children to those that scatter abroad? And how can we seriously expect God to make our children princes in the earth and gather His children out of our children when we give them whose only activity can be that of scattering abroad instead of gathering with Christ? But “God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap.” Galatians 6:7. Let the prophet of God provide then for his children the instruction that will train them for their prophetic office.
And we make bold to state that any prophet who will go up the mountain of God’s revelation, that prophet who listens to God and runs to Him to have his mind filled with knowledge and wisdom, will come down from that mountaintop of revelation with nothing less than a firm conviction that the world is not fit to teach his child and that, cost what it may, he has no choice but to provide, to the utmost of his power, instruction for his child in harmony with the doctrine taught in God’s Church. Still more, that parent who with an open mind and a willing heart comes to stand before God and asks, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do,” that parent is going to provide not only instruction in harmony with the truth taught in God’s Church but instruction that is the truth taught in that Church.
We said at the outset that the prophetic office is expressed in I Peter 2:9 in the phrase, “that ye should show forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The parent who is faithful in his own prophetic office of teaching his own children— either personally or through the teachers he hires—will realize this and want the praises of God taught his child. The Psalmist says, “Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto Thee do we give thanks: for that Thy name is near Thy wondrous works declare.” Psalm 75:1. God’s name is near in all His works. Shall we not provide the budding little prophets, our own flesh and blood, the children whom we love, with instruction day after day wherein they see that name of God in geography, history, civics and science but also in the world of numbers, of letters and words? It is there for us to see. The believing teacher sees it and can transmit it to your children. The world that hates that name cannot provide your children with such instruction.
Prophets! Teach your children and provide for their teaching in His fear. And remember that you do teach them also when you send them to the world for instruction. But what you teach them then is not God’s praise. You have served your children in that respect as a false prophet. For here too you have not gathered with Christ but scattered abroad.