J.W. Bramhall

Mr. John W. Bramhall of Charlotte, N.C., whose written ministry has frequently appeared in the magazine, is still active in the Lord’s work in a Bible teaching and writing ministry.

There can be no other foundation beyond that which is already laid; I mean Jesus Christ Himself. If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver, and fine stone, or with wood, hay, and straw, the work that each man does will at last be brought to light; the day of judgment will expose it (1 Corinthians 3:11-13, New English Bible).

At the Judgment Seat of Christ, “gold, silver, precious stones” alone will stand the test of fire and be rewarded. The “wood, hay, and stubble” will be destroyed. We can rightly ask ourselves the question, “What is my reward then?” (1 Corinthians 9:18). What is the meaning and eternal implication of “gold, silver, precious stones”?

Gold is mentioned 479 times in Scripture. We know that it is the most coveted treasure of the natural heart; therefore, God symbolizes it as the most coveted gain for the spiritual man. In Scripture, gold is “the emblem of that which is divine, of the divine nature, excellence and glory.” The Holy Jerusalem will be a city of “pure gold” and descend “out of heaven from God, having the glory of God” (Revelation 21). In the holiest of Solomon’s Temple, nothing was seen but gold! Therefore it is the symbol of the glory and the presence of God! The greatest treasure a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ can covet in life is fellowship with God in His holy presence.

Fellowship With God in the Sanctuary

Have you realized that the greatest privilege is to “enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19)? There is divine gold to be found there and we are to enter into God’s presence for two reasons:

1. We enter the holiest to worship God! This fulfills the desire of God our Father, that His children should worship Him (John 4:23, 24). This is gold! The sanctuary of Solomon’s Temple revealed nothing but gold: walls, ceiling, and floor were overlaid with “pure gold” (1 Kings 6). The Ark of the Covenant, symbol of Christ Himself in the midst of His people, and the covering cherubim, were also of “pure gold.” What a privilege for the High Priest in Israel to enter once a year into the holiest, but the people must stay outside! Now, since Christ’s death, burial, and glorification, the priesthood of all believers gives liberty for us to “enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” The sanctuary of God’s presence where our Great High Priest is, “heaven itself” (Hebrews 9:24), is our home and within this sanctuary our Lord Jesus Christ delights to lead His brethren’s praise to the delight of the heart of God (Hebrews 2:12). God dwells in the praises of His people, and since Israel refused that place, God has provided the Assembly, the New Testament Church, to be a consecrated company inside the sanctuary as purged worshippers to enjoy the divine glory of His presence. All saints are a “holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5) and are expected to avail themselves of this greatest of all Christian privileges. Do you gather with His people around the instituted emblems of “the bread and wine” in order to remember the Lord and fellowship in worship and praise, giving thanks to the Father for the great gift of His Beloved Son? This, this indeed is “gold” of highest quality, which the Judgment Seat of Christ will reveal. How much of this “gold” shall you and I have in that day?

2. There is individual and corporate fellowship with God, as expressed by our “supplications, prayers, intercessions,” etc. (1 Timothy 2:1), which at the Judgment Seat of Christ will be revealed as “gold.” Every God-given opportunity to fellowship with Him in His holy presence will produce eternal gold. “Golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints” (Revelation 5:8) will be seen in heaven’s glory. How much time do we take in our daily life to lay up such “gold” for the day of rewards? Let us not neglect the “gold” of the sanctuary, both in worship and in prayer, for the day will declare it!

Fellowship With God in His Word

There is eternal gold, “the glory of the Lord” to be found in the Word of God on every page (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). The matchless glory of the Person of the Son of God is found in the pages of Holy Scripture from the beginning to the end. Do we approach the Word of God in our reading and studying for the purpose of discovering “gold”? Hear the psalmist’s words of its divine glory: “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold,” as he declares the value of God’s Word, in Psalm 19:10. Also, “the law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver” (Psalm 119:72). Again the psalmist speaks: “Therefore I love Thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold” (Psalm 119:127). How much gold have you and I accumulated from God’s Word? There is much gold to mine from the Word of God and at the Judgment Seat of Christ the quantity will be revealed!

Fellowship With God in Our Trials

The trials of a Christian should produce gold for eternity, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). The golden cherubim of the earthly sanctuary were to be molded as coming through the fire and to be of beaten work as coming under the hammer (Exodus 25:12-18; 39:3-9). There is a Man in heaven who is the very center of the glory of God as the answer to the beaten gold of the cherubim where the glory cloud dwelt. He is the Lord Jesus Christ! Peter writes of “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11).

Our path is the same and in accordance Peter writes: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12, 13). There is divine gold for us in our troubles, fellowship to be known with God! The three Hebrew lads were cast into the fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold; but they found far better gold in the furnace — the glory of the Son of God! When Job found himself in the furnace of trial, he declared: “But He knoweth the ‘way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). What do you get out of your troubles? Find fellowship with God through and in them: they will bring you closer to Him and bring eternal gold for eternal reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ!

Fellowship With God in Our Service

Our whole occupation of life is to be obtaining gold for eternity, lived for “the glory of God.” Is it not written, “Whether, therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31)? Even the smallest and the greatest of life’s responsibilities can produce “gold” for eternity. Our very conversation, so often trivial and careless, should be carefully guarded as it can produce “gold.” Listen to the wise man say, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). The Apostle Paul counsels us saying, “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him” (Colossians 3:17). How much gold we are losing by neglecting faithful service for our Lord each day!

To summarize: the Judgment Seat of Christ will reveal how much fellowship my soul has enjoyed with God in every phase of earthly opportunity as dictated by His precious Word. Worship, prayer, Bible study, trials, and all my daily service for Him, will be subjected to the test of fire in the day of judgment. How much gold will He reveal? Let us lay aside the attractions of this world, consisting only of “lust and pride” and seek the gold that shall never be dim — the glory of God! In that day we shall be:

Where no shade nor stain can enter,
Nor the gold be dim:
In that holiness unsullied I shall walk with Him.
Meet companion, then, for Jesus,
From Him, for Him, made;
Glory of God’s grace for ever,
There in me displayed.

—Reprinted from “Help & Food” magazine
(November 1961)