Hebrews

F W Grant.

Division 2. (Heb. 2:5–4:13.)

Christ, Captain of salvation, contrasted with Moses and Joshua, in his humiliation to death for his brethren, annulling the devil and delivering those subject to bondage.

In the second division we have now the way in which the Lord becomes the "Originator of salvation" for His brethren, the Kinsman-Redeemer. We see Him here already crowned with honor and glory, and to be set over the world to come; and then look down from this to see His humiliation and suffering with the purpose of God in it; thus leading on to the view of His complete glory as Son over the house of God. This, in the first place, is the universe, and gives Him, therefore, His connection with all God's purposes from the beginning; but then it is the priestly house; which leads us on to the great subject of the epistle, — how He has given to us an entrance into the Holiest, and brought us nigh to God perfectly revealed.

Section 1. (Heb. 2:5-9.)

As already crowned with glory, and to be over the world to come.

The first section, then, shows us Christ as Man destined to be set over the world to come, though, as yet, not seen with all things put under Him as such, but crowned with glory and honor. The world is here the "habitable earth to come," to which the psalmist is looking on now. Angels are not set over that. The Son of Man is, and He is the representative Man for God, — not the first, but the Second Man. The first man is fallen, and the race with him. The Second Man it is in whom the restored earth stands, and whose work reaches even to the reconciliation of the things in heaven.

Here we have again the testimony of the Old Testament. The habitable earth was designed for man, as is plain, at the beginning, and, spite of his fall, the purpose of God in this cannot be defeated. The angels are not to displace him here. In the quotation of the eighth psalm man is seen indeed, not merely made naturally a little lower than the angels, but such an one as makes it a matter of God's condescending grace, if He remembers him at all. The very glory of God in the heavens over his head makes the psalmist ask with astonishment, how God can visit this fallen son of man. The answer is plainly that it is not the fallen man with whom God is occupied, but Another altogether. And when Christ is seen, then the glory of the visible heavens is all eclipsed in comparison. What does it all amount to when compared with the glory of Him who is now before the eye of God, made indeed Himself a little lower than the angels, but to be crowned with glory and honor, and with all things put in subjection under His feet!

The apostle emphasizes this in the most absolute way: "For in that He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not in subjection under Him." It is quite true, he says, we do not see that yet. That is a mystery revealed to faith: it is not yet a manifestation. Nevertheless, "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels on account of the suffering of death," which He had to endure, "crowned with glory and honor. Here is One who has plainly come to seek the lowest place, and not the highest, but who, just in that very way, is exalted to the highest. Here is a true Man, and even a Son of Man; and One who has come under the penalty of sin in order that He might remove it; by the grace of God tasting death, realizing all the bitterness of it, "for every one" or "every thing," as we may otherwise read it; in either case, for the ransom of all the creation, wherever sin had blighted it. The first man stood for the whole scene with which he was connected, and which fell with him. The Second Man, in the same way, stands in connection with the whole scene, but as Redeemer and Restorer. The habitable earth to come is the sphere of the first man, but in the hands of the Second. It is earth, not heaven (as is plain by the psalm), and can only take in part of the scene in Heb. 12:22-24; as, for instance, Zion, but not the New Jerusalem. The eighth psalm may give hints of a wider dominion, but its plain speech does not go beyond the earth; but thus the purpose of God in man's creation is vindicated abundantly, nay, shown to be inconceivably more wonderful than could appear at the beginning. God is glorified in Him with a glory which fills not the earth only, but also heaven.

Section 2. (Heb. 2:10-18.)

His humiliation and suffering as Kinsman Redeemer.

In the next section we find the Lord's work as Saviour dwelt upon. A Saviour from sin must be a Sufferer. Power simply cannot suffice. There are necessities of the divine nature which condition the forth-putting of divine power. Divine holiness must be vindicated at personal cost, but divine love is bent upon bringing sons to glory. There can be no perfecting of the blessed Person, but there must be the perfecting of a Saviour. "It became Him," therefore, "for whom are all things and by whom are all things, . . . to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."

This word "Captain" may be better translated "Leader," or, better still, "Originator": One who establishes the way by which He will bring others through to salvation. Nor is it indeed only salvation for which He destines them, but He brings them as sons, new-made, to a glory unimagined. How beautiful is the reminder that if there are conditions of all this, they are conditions which spring from the very majesty of Him who is bringing these sons to glory. For Him are all things, by Him are all things. This does not make Him work independently of that which must display and vindicate His holy nature. The power of God is indeed limited, but only by His own perfections. Truly omnipotent, that does not mean, of course, that He can do that which is in any way unworthy of Him; and how gloriously does He display Himself in One who comes down Himself to suffer according to the requirements of divine holiness, — Himself to take the penalty which in righteousness He has imposed! How thoroughly the rightness of the penalty is seen as taken by the Son of God Himself, God glorified in it!

The voice of the twenty-second psalm is that of One who bears witness thus in the sufferings, the unequalled sufferings, in which He is found. "But," says He, "Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." He shall inhabit, He shall dwell amongst the praises of a people such as these have, alas, proved themselves to be. He shall dwell amid these praises for eternity, but in holiness, as alone He can. He shall satisfy Himself in that in which His people too are not only satisfied, but overflow with the joy which they trace to Him, and which, therefore, is the joy of worship. Here, then, are sons related as such to the glorious Son, who has come down to be the Son of Man also. "Both He who sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren."

Here, surely, is the First-born among many brethren, and all the connection assures us that "of One," or "out of One," means really "of one Father." Yet there is an infinite difference, so that indeed it is divine love in Him which makes Him recognize and welcome brethren such as these. He is the divine Son. They are only human. Moreover, He is the Sanctifier they have need of sanctification yet he is not ashamed of them. By and by, He will conform them to His own likeness, so that they may indeed be the companions of His heart for evermore.

But this is, again, so new and strange, apparently, that the apostle must produce the Old Testament scriptures for it. He produces three: the first from the twenty-second psalm, where, immediately after the sin-offering is accomplished, and the Sufferer is heard from the horns of the aurochs (the buffalo), He is heard saying: "I will declare Thy Name unto My brethren; in the midst of the assembly will I praise Thee." It is the gospel of John that gives us the primary fulfilment of this: "Go and tell my brethren," says the risen Lord to Mary, "I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and unto My God and your God." Here is the distinction indeed preserved which must always remain between the Sanctifier and the sanctified, between the Former of the relationship and those who are brought, through grace, into the relationship. But this difference is only one main element of the blessing itself, and it is in the full enjoyment of what His grace has wrought that He gathers around Him the assembly of the redeemed to sing praise to God in their midst. It is not here that they sing, but He sings. Their song will come in due time, but His must have the priority, and must have the pre-eminence. Who is the one who can sing praises to God like Him? Who can be, in that sense, associated with Him? By His Spirit, no doubt, He can and will bring His people into fellowship with Himself. Their joy is His joy, and His joy their joy, but far more blessed than any song in common is the song of this single Voice in the midst of those He gathers.

The two other quotations are side by side in Isaiah (Isa. 8:17, 18), in which the prophet personates, after the manner of the Psalms, the One to come. "I will put my trust in Him" is from the Septuagint, where, in our common version it is: "I will wait upon Him;" but in either way it is the expression of that trust in God which in Christ was absolute, and which made Him "the leader and finisher of faith," the One who in His own Person was the perfect example of it. This makes in a practical way the family of faith His brethren.

The third quotation is different, again, in its expression of the same truth. Indeed, it looks as if it were not the same. "Behold, I and the children that God has given Me" seems to refer to the natural relation of father and children, as in the prophet's case it certainly did; but here again we are to remember the typical significance, and find therefore, in this, Christ as the last Adam; which supplies thus a most important link in the chain of evidence, for it is as this that He is the Representative-Head of those for whom He laid down His life. The first Adam was, by the human life which he communicated to his descendants, a real first-born among brethren; and Christ is the same among those to whom, as life-giving Spirit, far beyond the power of the first Adam, He communicates divine life.

We are here again very near to the gospel of John, and are listening to the Voice which said: "As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him;" but, for this, the corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die, that it may bring forth fruit. The passage here goes back even of this, to His taking flesh to die; and since, then, "the children are sharers of flesh and blood, He Himself, in like manner, took part in the same, that through death He might bring to naught him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and set free those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." This is not putting away of sins exactly, but it supposes it. The shadow of death is dispelled by the Light of Life descending into it; and, as again the Lord says in John, of the effect of His coming as the Resurrection and the Life: "He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live," — (that refers to the past, but again) — "He that liveth and believeth in Me shall never die." Death was, in the past. He has now abolished it for faith, and brought life and incorruption to light by the gospel.

It must be noted here, as it often has been, that while the children are said to be partakers of flesh and blood, — this "partaking" being a real having in common, a participation of the most thorough kind, — in His own "taking part," another word is used which implies limitation. It does not indeed show the character of the limitation but the difference between the words makes us necessarily ask what, in fact, that was; and the answer comes to us immediately, that while His was true humanity in every particular necessary to constitute it that, yet humanity as men have it, the humanity of fallen men, was not His. Here there must be strict limitation. We must add, as the apostle does afterwards with regard to His temptation, "sin apart." Sin, with the consequences of sin, He could not take. Death could have no power over Him, except as He might submit Himself voluntarily to it, and this He did; but it was obedience to His Father's will, and no necessity of His condition, as it is of ours.

"For He taketh not hold of angels, but of the seed of Abraham He taketh hold; wherefore it behooved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things relating to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." All this is in language which an Israelite would well understand; but the seed of Abraham, the people, are to be seen in the light of Christianity as the company of faith. If Israel nationally answered to this description, then, of course, they could claim as such the old promises; but even here not exclusively, for the apostle's words, that "they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham," must necessarily apply at all times and under all circumstances. The apostle has, in fact, however, before the end of the epistle, a word of exhortation as to leaving the camp because of Christ's rejection; and those to whom it is written, though Hebrews, are immediately here addressed as "holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling," — which Israel's was not. "The people" and "the seed of Abraham," must be understood here, therefore, in the light of this.

The Day of Atonement is, of course, contemplated in the making of "propitiation for the sins of the people." Upon that day the sins of Israel were put upon the head of the scapegoat and taken away. It belonged to the series of feasts of the seventh month, which, in contrast with those in the early part of the year, the Passover and Unleavened Bread, the Sheaf of First-fruits, and Pentecost, are all national, and speak of the fulfilment of the promises to the nation in God's "due time." Thus, in the Feast of Trumpets, at the beginning of it, the new moon, (when the light of divine favor is beginning to shine again on Israel,) we have the feast of recall to the people. On the tenth day, the Day of Atonement, they come under the value of the work of Christ; while, beginning with the fifteenth, the Feast of Tabernacles exhibits them in the joy of their re-establishment in the land. The first series of feasts they lost through their refusal of Christ when He came, and in the prescient wisdom of God we find the Passover to have been a family rather than a national feast, that "thou shalt be saved and thy house," which Christianity proclaims. The feast of Unleavened Bread took form from the Passover, which it accompanied; and the Sheaf of First-fruits, that is, Christ risen, and Pentecost, the coming of the Spirit, are characteristically Christian. Israel's unbelief has delayed blessing for them; and as a consequence there is the gap which follows in the services of the year. This explains in the simplest way the mystery of the two goats of the Day of Atonement, of which much else is sometimes made.

For Israel, in consequence of their rejection of the blessing when it was offered, the putting away of sins, as in the scapegoat, is separated by a gap of time from the work which actually puts them away. This is exactly what is pictured in the two goats. When their sins are put upon the scapegoat, there is no actual sacrifice, no real atonement made at all. The goat is a scapegoat, that is, a goat that gets away, not that is offered. There is positively no offering of this goat, a thing from which, through not understanding it, much confusion has arisen. Atonement is not made "with it," as in our common version, but "for it" (Lev. 16:10), as the words (kapper al) elsewhere and constantly are rightly taken to mean (Ex. 29:36; Ex. 30:12, 15, 16; Lev. 1:4; Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35, etc.).

The difficulty, of course, is obvious. How can propitiation be made, or why does it need to be made, for the goat? But the answer is not far to seek. It is indeed because the two goats are for one sin-offering, while in fact only one is offered (Lev. 16:5). The Lord's lot falls on the one to be offered, the other escapes. The atonement which ideally he was to make, is, in fact, made for him by the former one.

The application is simple in view of Israel's history. The first goat is offered and its blood carried into the holiest of all when the high priest enters it. Not till he comes out again are Israel's sins put upon the scapegoat and carried away. The Day of Atonement is thus made to extend back through the whole Christian period. We have the link of the future with the past. The atonement, all of it, was made once for all, before Christ as High Priest entered the heavens. When Israel's sins are put away He will have come out again; but then, of course, no fresh sacrifice can be offered. The scapegoat is, therefore, not a fresh sacrifice. It points simply to a former time in which the actual one took place, and the two goats are necessary to preserve the connection, and point out the delay of blessing which the national unbelief occasions.

Another thing, also, must not be overlooked. When the high priest goes in, he takes into the sanctuary not merely the blood of the goat which is for Israel, but that of the bullock, which is for his own priestly house. Here, assuredly, it is that Christians have their typical representatives. They are, as Peter says, "a spiritual house, a holy priesthood" (1 Peter 2:5), and here we find the "sanctified ones," the "companions" of Christ, "partakers" (metochoi, Heb. 2:14), for whom the great High Priest appears before God. Notice, too, that on the Day of Atonement, the high priest does the whole work. None of the priestly family appear at all, except as they have part in the offering made for them. This has been noticed as exceptional, and to throw doubt on the offering of sacrifice as distinctly priestly work. Being so exceptional, we must not argue for its necessity; and even the fact that the high priest entered the holiest, not in his garments of glory and beauty, but in the plain white linen garments, is urged on the same side. We shall have to inquire as to this elsewhere, rather than here; but it is enough here to say that the words will not admit of such a thought as this. Christ must be "a merciful and faithful High Priest in things relating to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." How could one insist more upon the distinct priestly character of making propitiation than by saying He was the High Priest to do it?

Once more we have to distinguish between the offering of sacrifice, which was always priestly and nothing else, and the killing of the victim, which was commonly the act of the one who brought the victim. The offering was upon the altar, (except in the sin-offerings for the high priest and for the congregation), and that was the complete manifestation of the character of the Lord's death upon His own side, not His life taken from Him, but given up, and with this all that was implied in and associated with His death, — the deeper reality of His bearing sin in His own body upon the tree. The offering of sacrifice was thus absolutely priestly and nothing else.

It is quite true that at exceptional times, when things were out of joint in Israel, God might sanction the work of a prophet in this way; but as a regular thing, the offering of sacrifice was that into which no other but a priest could dare intrude. The Day of Atonement was exceptional in this, that it was by eminence the Day of Atonement; and therefore all that belongs to it is emphasized in a special way. Thus it is that now even the ordinary priests disappear, and on this special Day of Atonement one figure alone is kept before our eyes. However, all this will be plainer as we proceed.

The people for whom our High Priest atones are, of course, wider than Christians or the priestly house. They are all the true seed of Abraham, the family of faith through all time; and this definition is precise enough to escape all ambiguity, and wide enough to bid all men welcome to participate in the value of the atonement. The propitiation for the whole world, of which John speaks (1 John 2:2), is thus quite easily reconciled with "a propitiation through faith by His blood" (Rom. 3:25), because faith is that to which all men are invited. Let a man believe, then he finds an absolutely efficacious atonement according to divine knowledge of his need and grace to meet it. "The worshiper once purged has no more conscience of sins."*

{*See Lev. 16, notes.}

In the last verse of this section we have the sympathy of the great High Priest with us guaranteed by His human experience: In that He hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succor those that are tempted." Temptation to Him was suffering, and only that. The man who is drawn away by the temptation does not suffer, so far. He enjoys. With the Lord, temptation was the cause of suffering simply; nor do we desire or need sympathy with us in being led away; but, on the other hand, in the suffering simply which sin occasions to every soul that is right with God. Thus, here is the true sympathy of the Priest that we need, One able to realize our weakness, and One who has Himself stood for our sins, under the whole burden of these before God; One who is able, therefore, to show us the most perfect grace in ministering to the need we have under the temptation.

Section 3. (Heb. 3:1-6.)

His glory as Son over the house of God.

The third section carries us from the scene of His humiliation to that of His glory. He is over the house of God as the Son of God; and as His being the Son of God is the foundation of His priesthood, and that is the direct connection here, we are still in the line of the Day of Atonement; although, as ever, the substance goes beyond the shadow. The high priest in Israel (though, of course, with well-known restrictions) was over the house of God; and in the tenth chapter here we have, in confirmation of this, the very thing expressed: "Having a great High Priest over the house of God" (Heb. 10:21). This makes it evident that the comparison with Moses, which exists no longer here, is not the sole one; and to take it as such is to hinder a clear conception of what is before us. Moses is the apostle, rather, as Aaron the high priest; and we are exhorted to consider both "the Apostle and High Priest of our confession." Moses and Aaron appear together thus, in the history, as the double type of the Lord; and as Moses was in a sense the builder of the tabernacle, receiving the pattern of it in the mount, so, having built it, he put it under the charge of Aaron. Moses and Aaron are thus together before us here.

The apostle addresses us here distinctly as "holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling." He thus, therefore, even while addressing Hebrews, does not fail to remember that these are Christian Hebrews, and what is implied in that. Israel when fully blessed will never have this character; and if they had received the Lord, as in fact they rejected Him, still would not have had it. Those who believe, in the midst of the sorrow of national rejection, have the joy of higher privileges which the perfect grace of God has brought in in the lapse of the old earthly ones. It is in this way, then, that we are to "consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus," one Person now, who fills the double type of Moses and of Aaron, one "who is faithful (this is not past, but present) to Him that hath appointed Him, as Moses also was in all the house of God." This is, of course, the tabernacle. It is with reference to this, that the apostle is speaking; but he has before him One who is not a servant in the house as Moses was, but a Son over it. He does not belong properly, as the servant does, to the house Himself; His glory is above it all; even though the house represents, as doubtless the tabernacle represented as a whole, the universe of God.

The house itself included, in the general thought of it, the court around, as well as the actual building, and in that court stood the altar, the altar of burnt offering, as the cross of Christ and the offering upon it therefore were on earth. The house proper, the sanctuary, was typically heaven, as the apostle says that these things were the patterns of things in the heavens. By faith we enter into them here, but that does not, of course, alter their character; rather, their character as heavenly gives our entrance in its proper blessing. But thus the tabernacle, looked at as a whole, is the picture of the universe of God, which, in that sense, is the created house in which God dwells. The apostle refers to this here, where he says that while every house is established by some one, he that hath established all things is God. This establishment of all things he applies to Christ. And Christ, as we have seen, is the Creator and Upholder. "Without Him was not anything made that was made," and He "upholdeth all things by the word of His power." He is divine, therefore, in the fullest sense. But He is the Son of God, as we know. He is the One who has been pleased thus to come forward in representative character to make known the Father, and in all the work of His hands is doing this.

Thus the difference between Moses and the One whom he typically represented is vast indeed. Moses was faithful in all God's house as a ministering servant, for a testimony to the things to be spoken afterwards. He has had his place in an important dispensation which had its purpose in the mind of God, but which was to be done away. Christ, on the other hand, is a Son over, not "His own" house, (that is not the meaning here,) but the house of God. He is the One to whom all things belong, for whom they are, as by whom they are; and this connects His work from the beginning with His work now for fallen man, and in view of all that sin has wrought in the creation of God.

Thus, then, although Aaron does not come into view in the chapter before us by any plain statement, yet in fact we find how we have to take him into account in order to reach the full truth of what is here. If the Son of God be in supreme charge over the universe of God, and now if sin come in as a breach upon its glorious order, then we can see that He is immediately concerned in this. He will not give up His place. Sin will not make Him renounce His office, but, on the contrary, only display the more His competence for it. In view of sin it is that the Son becomes the Priest, the Mediator and Reconciler; and the moment it is added, as in the passage before us, "whose house are we," all becomes clear. Aaron is now before us. It is now the Priest in charge, assuredly, if we are His house.

It is simple to refer to the board structure of the tabernacle in typical explanation of how, in fact, the redeemed come in here, and a wonderful thing it is to realize the connection of this with that larger aspect of the tabernacle which we have been called to remember as the pattern of the universe at large. Here, at the heart of it, in the boards set up on the silver sockets made from the atonement-money (see Ex. 26, notes), we find a "spiritual house," of sinners redeemed and standing upon the basis of the work accomplished for them; and being the fruit of a mightier work than creation itself, we can understand, also, how this should be in fact the very sanctuary of God. Here is the display of His holiness, His grace, His manifold wisdom, as nowhere else. Here the very principalities and powers of heaven find their sweetest theme of praise.

But it does not seem as if the board structure is sufficient by itself to give us the thought of this house of God which we are. Here, as in so many other places, different types are needed, in order to give us the full thought of God. The house is a living house, nay, human; and thus not display alone, but living activities abide in it. That the Holy One would inhabit the praises of Israel is the Lord's own answer, in the twenty-second psalm, to the question of the cross; and the connection with the Day of Atonement is obvious: for the main purpose of it is that the dwelling of the Lord in the midst may be continued among them. Here we are in direct connection with all this, though beyond it, as the substance is beyond the shadow. The house is a spiritual house, and the praises are those of a people brought near to Him, a priestly house, therefore. For these the largest offering of the Day of Atonement, the bullock, is offered; and for us the High Priest is One who could not offer for Himself; so that it is the priestly house alone for which, in fact, the bullock is offered. It is not strange, then, that they should appear here. It would be strange, rather, if they did not appear; and Peter joins thus together, also, what might seem at first too diverse to be identified in such a manner, the "living stones" built on the "Living Stone" with "a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." "Whose house are we," as it certainly shows the Son over the house to be now the "Great Priest over the house of God," so does it identify, also, the tabernacle with the priestly worshipers. But we are the house of God, the apostle reminds us, if indeed we "hold fast the boldness and the boast of our hope firm unto the end."

Section 4. (Heb. 3:7 — 4:13.)

And leading on through the wilderness to final rest.

The fourth section is of a very different character. It is the shadow following the light, and in Hebrews we find how the brightest lights can cast the deepest shadows. As a fourth section it reminds us of that wilderness through which the Lord led Israel of old into their rest, and that for us too there is a wilderness, a scene of trial through which we are called to pass on to the rest which for us also still and ever lies beyond us. We are called, therefore, to persevere, to hold on our way, to "hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end." This, in fact, is the test of the reality of things with us. Continuance is the proof of divine work.

1. The first subsection insists upon the spirit of obedience as always the condition of blessing. Grace does not alter this for a moment. It produces in us such a spirit. It meets the conditions; and faith is the very principle of fruitfulness, working, as it does, by love. The exhortation to God's people of old abides, then, for us, as much as it did for them: "Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." The truth speaks with authority, which those who are true will recognize; and the more precious the truth is, the sadder the consequences of practical refusal. To trifle with any truth is perilous, and hardening of heart is the necessary result. How many will one find with consciences, if one may so say, locally paralyzed through refusal of that in which the voice of God was once recognized by them? or, perhaps, the refusal to listen to that in which it was feared God might be speaking; for it is a wrong thought that responsibility only comes with the conviction of God having spoken. There is accountability easily to be detected by the question, Were you willing to have Him speak? What hearts we have, to which such a question could ever need to be put! How sad, above all, that unbelief should in believers produce a disregard, like this, of the one supreme Voice, like which there is no other! Thus the "ifs" come in here. All these are the tests of profession, under which the true and the false alike come necessarily, just because they are needed to distinguish between the false and the true; and also because God uses them to exercise those that are really His people; for we have in us the flesh still, and therefore those tendencies to departure from God which make His constant grace so needful.

But then they are not warnings to the believer against having too much faith, or too simple faith, but they are the very reverse. They are warnings to persevere in joyful confidence to the end. All through this epistle, where the substance which is replacing the shadows is yet invisible, it is faith that is, as it were, the one necessity, and which is as much emphasized, though from another side, as it is in the epistles to the Romans and Galatians.

2. And this is what is dwelt upon in the second subsection, in which the word is seen as needing to be mixed with faith, unbelief being the very root and principle of disobedience; and if we are become the "companions" of Christ, (better not "partakers" here, which would give another thought from what is intended, but what is in the first chapter translated "fellows,") Christ is the complete Example of faith from first to last. We, therefore, must hold "the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end."

Difficulties are supposed, for how could faith show itself if there were no difficulties? Difficulties are, therefore, not strictly a hindrance to faith, but even the reverse. They are the conditions of its manifestation; they are a means of its exercise, and so actually of its growth. Those whose "carcases fell in the wilderness" are not types of believers in any sense, but of those who fail of final entrance into the rest of God; for that is what Canaan here typifies, as is obvious. It is important to distinguish between this final entrance and that under Joshua, which, as we know, was not final, and is for us the type of present entrance into our heavenly portion by faith. In this way we must remember that Joshua is not typically a continuation of Numbers or Deuteronomy, but a new beginning, parallel with these. It is while we are in the wilderness that, in fact, we enter also by faith into our heavenly inheritance. The experience of the wilderness and the laying hold of the inheritance, in this way, go together. The searching of the land by the spies (Num. 13) answers, however, but partially to this, while Deuteronomy ends typically our whole earthly history with that review of the wilderness-course throughout, which is only fulfilled for us at the judgment-seat of Christ. Joshua added to the books of Moses would make them a hexateuch, which the higher critics would have them to be, but which they are not; Joshua being, in fact, a new beginning, the Genesis of a new pentateuch, the historical books. We must have God's truth in God's order, or we shall not find it even God's truth.

3. The third subsection shows us what the actual rest is. We are entering into rest, we who have believed; but we have not entered. From the nature of it, as described presently, no one could enter into it in this life. We are going on to it, and God has been always speaking of it, as in the Sabbath type, keeping it before men from the beginning. God rested on the seventh day from all His works. That was at the beginning; but man violated that rest, and it remains for us only a shadow of what is yet to come. The apostle quotes, also, David's words, long after Joshua's day, as showing that Israel's coming into the land was still not rest. After they had come in, it was still said: Today, if ye will hear His voice." The rest remains, then, a true "keeping of Sabbath" for the people of God, — a rest which will be God's rest also, or what good could be in it? A rest, too, in which he who rests ceases from all the labor which sin has imposed. Such a rest has not come for us. This carries us, in fact, on to eternity, the eternal rest, of which we have seen long since that the Sabbath is the type, and not of any millennial anticipation of it. The thousand years are a time in which the earth has indeed come to its regeneration. Sin does not reign any more. Righteousness reigns, but still sin exists; and it is after the thousand years that death, "the last enemy," is put under Christ's feet, and the judgment of the dead comes with that. As a consequence, what we speak of sometimes as millennial rest, is not strictly correct. God cannot rest except with the perfect accomplishment of perfect blessing. He cannot rest while there are enemies yet to be put under the feet, — before sin and death are cast alike into the lake of fire.

4. In the fourth subsection the apostle exhorts all, therefore, to use diligence to enter into the rest before us, and again brings forward, as a warning, Israel's unbelief in the wilderness. Good tidings had come to them of the land to which God was bringing them, but they had not faith to receive them. The word, full of promise and blessing as it was, yet only exposed the unbelief which goes too surely in company with a rebellious spirit. Though good, it brought out but evil, and thus it is characteristic of the word of God to search us out and make manifest to us what we are. If we submit ourselves to this searching, how great will be the blessing in it! It will bathe us in the very light of God, and thus purge from our eyes the film that hinders the perception of other things.

"For the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword; piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, both of joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there a creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and laid bare unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." Thus the word of God acts in the power of Him whose word it is. It brings the soul into His presence. The aroused conscience brings everything before God for judgment. Mists roll off as before the sun; and if the light shine as when at first, at God's bidding, it broke out upon the darkness and the yeasty waves of the shoreless and barren sea, still we have the word which says: "God saw the light, that it was good." The beginning of communion with God, whatever may be the matter of it, is the reception of the truth. "Soul and spirit" as thus named together can only be the two parts of the immaterial nature of man; which Scripture, spite of what many think, everywhere clearly distinguishes from one another. The soul is the lower, sensitive, instinctive, emotional part, which, where not, as in man, penetrated with the light of the spirit, is simply animal; and which also, where man is not in the power of the Spirit of God, will still gravitate towards this. The spirit is intelligent and moral, that which knows human things (1 Cor. 2:11). In the "natural man," which is really the psychic man, the man soul-led (1 Cor. 2:14), conscience, with its recognition of God, is in abeyance, and the mind itself becomes earthly. Important enough it is, therefore, to divide between "soul and spirit." Joints and marrow" convey to us the difference between the external and the internal, the outward form and the essence hidden in it. Not at all that even the form is unimportant. Everything in nature forbids such a thought. But its beauty and effectiveness depend upon its appropriateness to the idea which rules in it. The word of God must thus be in the highest sense the book of science. All the highest and deepest knowledge is in it, and that of things naturally inaccessible to man; while everything, also, is in right relation and proportion, nothing overbalanced. It has, indeed, none of the pedantry or technical knowledge in which science is apt to shroud its wisdom, but a sweet, homely simplicity and familiarity of greeting, welcoming all comers to it, which deceives the would-be wise, who cannot understand how God's light should shine for babe and for philosopher, and how God's learning can have so little savor of the schools. Yet, is it true wisdom to make nought of it for this? Rather, does it not show us God's real desire for the education of the masses, about which men are beginning to show such very tardy earnestness? All the highest, deepest, and most practical knowledge made the possession of all that will with a Divine Teacher also for the lowly but inquiring soul!