Hid Treasures

A Few Hid Treasures Found in the Greek New Testament

G C Willis.

Contents
Introduction
1 Rejoice!Chairete  Peace! — Eirene
2 Be of Good Cheer!Tharsei
3 Called-out-onesEkklesia
4 Gathering together untoEpi-sun-agoge
5 Right WorshipEu-sebeia
6 Logically NecessaryDei
7 I SellPiprasko
8 Wanted! Beautiful Margaritas!Kaloi Margaritai
9 Paul's AmbitionPhilotimeomai
10 Don't Turn CowardEnkakeo
11 The Slack Bow-StringEkluo
12 Hit him under the EyeHupo-piazo
13 Some Meditations on Diminutives:
Little Lambs — Arnia
Little Sheep — Probatia
Little Children — Paidia
Little Children (bairns) — Teknia
Little Daughter — Thugatrion
Little Dogs — Kunaria
Little Crumbs — Psikia
14 I RetreatAna-Choreo
15 Inns, Guests, and Guest-ChambersKata-luma, Kata-lusai, Pan-docheion.
16 EnduranceHupomone
17 On ThrowingEk-ballo, Dia-ballo.
18 The Last LapThlipsis, Plateia.

Introduction

A day or two ago I had a letter from a friend, acknowledging a book which contained a few brief comments on some Greek words: he says in part: "Reading your book has well established my long conviction that the most profitable form of study of Holy Writ, is that of the words which 'the Holy Ghost teacheth,' viz, the actual study of Greek words and their meaning. For this reason your frequent, and illuminating references to such words have been wells of refreshment to my spirit."

In these few words my friend has expressed more plainly and more concisely than I could do, the object of the little book before you. And as a second witness to the same truth, may I quote a few words written over a hundred years ago by Mr. G. V. Wigram, in the Introduction to his priceless Concordances to the Hebrew & Chaldee Scriptures, and his Greek Concordance to the New Testament. Mr. Wigram says of "The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance": — "The chief object proposed by this work is a very simple one, . . . it seemed, in a peculiar way, desirable to lead each student to deduce his 'meaning and definition of words' (so far as possible), from the use made of them by the Holy Ghost."

In Mr. Wigram's own account of the making and perfecting of the Englishman's Greek Concordance, he speaks of it as "a dry Concordance." His book has been to me anything but a "dry Concordance;" and my hope has been to help make a few of the words in the Greek New Testament cease to be "dry," but rather to become (as they have become to my friend and to myself) "wells of refreshment." For instance, what depths of meaning open before us as we notice that in John 13:33, our beloved Lord said not 'teknon', but 'teknion.' Only the difference of an 'i' added, and in the Greek Testament an 'i' is without even a dot! but it makes the whole passage glow with love and life. (See Chapter 12).

The present little book is only a feeble attempt to point to a few of these priceless treasures, that otherwise might be unknown, or overlooked, by some of the Great Shepherd's sheep and lambs: and with the hope that to some these may prove food convenient for them.

The studies have been prepared for the most part at odd moments, amidst constant interruptions; and I fear there may be mistakes. Few of the words considered include every occurrence in the New Testament, but those interested may find all these in Mr. Wigram's "Englishman's Greek Concordance", which is still available from the publishers, Messrs Samuel Bagster & Sons Limited, London.

My sister, Miss Helen A. E. Willis, has prepared some of these studies, and provided me with thoughts and suggestions that have helped me with others; not to speak of my hope that she will take care of seeing it through the press also. For all this I owe her a great debt of thanks.

G. C. W.

Chapter 1

Rejoice!Chairete

Peace!Eirene

When our Lord Jesus took the disciples with Him into the Garden of Gethsemane, just before the cross, He said to Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." (Matt. 26:38). The word used in the Greek New Testament for "exceeding sorrowful" is one word, peri-lupos. Peri, the first half of the word, means 'around.' We get our word 'perimeter' from it. The last half of the word, lupos, means 'sorrow.' The whole word literally means, 'surrounded with sorrow.' Which ever way our Lord looked, there was sorrow: unutterable sorrow, on every side. Then He, the Man of Sorrows, turned to His Father in prayer. Then, only, do we hear Him say, "Abba, Father." It was then, being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:44).

It was at this time that Judas came to betray the Lord. He had given those with Him a sign, "Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He: hold Him fast." (Matt. 26:48). The fact that the traitor came just at that time, and with such a sign, seems to add greatly to the sorrow and anguish of our Saviour; and at the same time makes the awful hardness and cruelty of Judas' act more terrible than ever.

In our English Bible we read, "And forthwith came he to Jesus, and said, 'Hail, Master'; and kissed Him." (Matt. 26:49). The word translated 'Hail' is Chaire, and literally means 'Rejoice!' though it is true it was also commonly used for a greeting or farewell. But the true, literal meaning of the word is 'Rejoice!' "Rejoice, Master!" he said, "and kissed Him."

As we gaze with bowed heads, and unshod feet on our Lord and Master, in such agony of soul: at His sweat as great drops of blood: as we hear His words, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death;" and then as we hear that heartless traitor saying: "Rejoice, Master!" how it makes our hearts recoil with horror at such cruel and awful conduct. And the word for "kissed Him" is changed from the word that Judas used when he gave them this sign. Then he had used the word phileo, I love, or, I kiss. But in his eagerness to make sure they seized the One whom once he had followed, he "covered Him with kisses:" kata-phileo, a much stronger word. It is difficult for us to conceive of anything more horrible than Judas' method of betraying his Master; and we know from the Psalms how keenly our Lord felt it. See, for example, Psalm 41:9: "Yea, Mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of My bread, hath lifted up his heel against Me." And Psalm 55:12-14: "For it was not an enemy that reproached Me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated Me that did magnify himself against Me; then I would have hid Myself from him: but it was thou, a man Mine equal, My guide, and Mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company."

* * * * *

The next time we find this word Chaire, 'Rejoice!' in the Greek New Testament is when the Roman soldiers put the crown of thorns on His holy brow, and smote Him on the head with the reed, driving those thorns into that beloved brow: they spat upon Him, they abused Him till His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men: and then they said to Him, Chaire! "Rejoice, King of the Jews!" The cruelty, the heartlessness, the wickedness of such mockery is beyond words. "Rejoice!" at such a moment! See Matthew 27:29.

* * * * *

But, wonder of wonders, we find the same word again in the very next chapter of Matthew: Chapter 28: the Resurrection Chapter. Perhaps the very first word that our Saviour spoke after His resurrection was this very word, Chaire: 'Rejoice!' Twice over during that terrible time before He was put to death, He had listened to that word in mockery: and now it is the first, or almost the first, word that He uses when He meets His own, alive from among the dead. In Matthew 28:9, we read, "As they (Mary Magdalene and the other Mary) went to tell His disciples, behold Jesus met them, saying, Rejoice!" 'Chairete' (the plural of 'Chaire.')

The sorrow, the unutterable sorrow on every side, was all His own. The joy, the unspeakable joy, He immediately shares with those He loves. The Chief Priests and Captains rejoiced (the same word) at the prospect of His death. (Luke 22:5). The disciples rejoiced (John 20:20: the same word) when they saw the Lord, their own beloved, living Lord. Listen again to His own sweet word: "REJOICE!" Yes, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice!"

* * * * *

It is worthy of note that the salutation 'Rejoice' is really the Greek salutation. The Hebrew salutation is 'Peace!' "The clear, cheerful, world-enjoying temper of the Greek embodies itself in the first; he could desire nothing better or higher for himself, nor wish it for his friend, than to have joy in his life. But the Hebrew had a deeper longing within him, and one which finds utterance in his word, 'Peace.' It is not hard to perceive why this latter people should have been chosen as the first bearers of that truth which indeed enables men truly to rejoice, but only through first bringing peace; nor why from them the word of life should first go forth." (From, 'On the Study of Words,' Archbishop Trench).

It is possible that the lightness with which Judas performed his dark deed of betrayal, and the thought of the thirty pieces of silver that he had gained, caused him to use the lighter Greek salutation rather than his own native, and deeper, salutation, 'Peace!' But our Lord, having made peace through the blood of His cross, and having won true joy for His own; He can greet them first of all by saying, "Chairete: Rejoice!" But the same day at even Jesus Himself stood in the midst of His disciples, and saith unto them, "Peace be unto you." And when He had so said He shewed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad when they had seen the Lord. Then saith Jesus to them again, "Peace be unto you."

And so, Beloved, through that mighty victory, our Lord has won both salutations for us: both Greek and Hebrew:

"Chairete . . . Rejoice Ye!"

"Eirene humin . . . Peace be unto you!"

Chapter 2

Be of Good Cheer! "Cheer up!"Tharsei

The Spirit of God tells us that "in the last days perilous times shall come." (2 Tim. 4:1). The word translated 'perilous' is chalpos, and the dictionary gives the meaning as: "hard; hard to do, or deal with; difficult; hard to bear; painful; grievous; harsh; fierce; savage." Does not this word very accurately describe the condition of our present day? As we look around us we might well be discouraged, cast down, filled with fears and forebodings.

But if one little Greek word can so accurately describe the spirit of the present day, there is another little Greek word that can heal the wounds of fear and sorrow and discouragement caused by all that is about us. That little word is Tharseo, or, as our Lord loved to use it, Tharsei,* for it is a favourite of our blessed Lord: indeed, with one exception it is reserved entirely for His use. He used it time and again when He was on earth, both to man and woman; and He used it once again after His return to the Father in the Glory. Eight times we find it in the Greek New Testament.** We find it in every Gospel, and in the Acts of the Apostles: and if I mistake not, He whispers it to His tried saints even in the present day. Sure I am that you and I may take it for ourselves.

{* Second person singular imperative.

**Eight times includes the doubtful reading of Luke 8:48.}

My father often had to use a seal in his work, and he loved this word so much that he had the Greek letters of it engraved on the seal he always used, so that he might ever be reminded of its message. As a little child I loved to watch the hot, red sealing wax, as he sealed his important letters; and when a little older, loved to trace out the strange Greek letters, which he told me meant

"cheer up".
So this word was my introduction to the Greek New Testament. Do you wonder I love it?

The word has been translated: "Be of Good Cheer!" or, "Be of Good Comfort," as we generally find it in the Authorised Version of our Bible: but others prefer, "Be of Good Courage", or "Be Confident!" or "Take Heart!" or, (as I love it best), "cheer up!!" But it has the meaning of all these.

The first time we find it in the New Testament is in Matthew 9:2: where He says to the man sick of the palsy: "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." We find it next in the 22nd verse of the same chapter. He is using it here to a woman; and that is not by accident. The Lord would have us each, man or woman, girl or boy, learn this word for our very own selves. Here He says: "Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole."

We find it for the third time in this same Gospel. (I think Matthew loved this word). See Chapter 14:27. It was a dark, stormy night, and the disciples were far out on the sea, and the wind was contrary, and for hours they had been battling with wind and waves. It is at such a time this word sounds the sweetest. The disciples were toiling in rowing. They were alone, without their Lord in the boat. But unknown to them, He had been watching them in their toil and fear, though they had no idea He was doing so. Then they saw a strange sight, Someone walking on the water, and coming near to them. They were troubled and cried out with fear. So would you and I, had we been in their place. Then, straightway, Jesus spoke to them. What did He say? "THARSEITE!"* "Cheer Up! It is I; be not afraid!" Or, as the old Wycliff translation so beautifully puts it:
"I am, nyl ye dread."

{*Second person plural imperative of Tharseo.}

We find it for the fourth time in the same story, this time told by Mark, Chapter 6:50. We find it next in Mark 10:49, to the blind beggar Bartimaeus, when he cried to the Lord for mercy, and Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called, and they call the blind man, saying unto him: "Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee." This is the only time in the New Testament when this word is not spoken by the Lord Himself; but used in directing a needy one to Him.

Then we find it in Luke 8:48; but this time the reading is doubtful. It is the same story we saw in Matt. 9:22.

John 16:33 is the last recorded time our Lord uses it on earth, and it seems to be wonderfully fitted as a parting message to us all, as He prepared to leave this world and return to His Father. "In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." What a word for us today! So, Be of good comfort! Be of good cheer! Cheer up! The Lord says it! "I have overcome the world!" This is His message to you, to me, for today.

The last time we hear it in the New Testament is in Acts 23:11. Paul had used a rather clever device of his own to divide the Jewish council, setting the Pharisees and the Sadducees against each other. In Acts 24:21 he seems to confess that he had been wrong in doing this. We can well suppose that the night following, lying there in the Roman prison, too sad and discouraged to sleep, Paul was deeply regretting what he felt had been a dishonour to the worthy Name by which he was called. Then the Lord Himself comes and stands by him. He does not call to him out of heaven. He does not use a vision, or send an angel to carry His message. No! He Himself comes right down into that prison, and stands by His grief-stricken servant: not to upbraid him: No, Indeed! But to say once again that well known and well loved word, "Tharsei"! "Cheer Up, Paul!" I think this transformed that dungeon into Heaven itself.

It may be that you and I are at times sad, discouraged, cast down, filled with fears and dread; perhaps we have failed, and dishonoured the One we love. It may well be that at such a time we will hear His voice, — the voice His own sheep know so well, — and in tones of love, of hope, of confidence, we will hear Him call our name: (for He calleth His own sheep by name): and we will hear Him say:
"Tharsei! . . .": "cheer up . . ."
"Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercies, and will break
In blessings on your head."

Chapter 3

Called-out-onesEkklesia

(The Church, or, Assembly)

The word ek-klesia, — nearly always translated 'church' in the Authorized Version of the Bible, — was originally a heathen word, and meant a lawful assembly in a free Greek city of all those who possessed the right of citizenship, for the transaction of public affairs. (See Trench, Greek Synonyms).

When Paul claimed to be a 'Roman', he meant that he possessed this citizenship: and although he was a Jew, and a citizen of Tarsus, he was also a 'Roman citizen' and had the right to take part in any assembly (ek-klesia) of Roman citizens; as well as giving him other privileges. As far as we know Peter or John had not this citizenship, and the Chief Captain of the Roman soldiers in Jerusalem told Paul that he obtained this citizenship "with a great sum." But Paul could reply, "But I was born free." It was a very great privilege to have this citizenship.

When the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew into Greek, this word ekklesia was used to translate the Hebrew word meaning the 'congregation' of Israel, and so in this way prepared the word for use in the things of God; and when the Lord Jesus began to tell His disciples about the Church that He was about to build, He Himself chose this word to describe it: see Matthew 16:18 and 18:17. These are the only places in the Gospels where we find this word, but it appears many times in Acts, and over and over again in the Epistles and Revelation.

The first time it is used in the New Testament (Matt. 18:18) is very striking: "Upon this rock will I build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Many times have they sought to do so: but they have never succeeded. As we have seen, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself chose this word to describe it: so we should give the more earnest heed to seek to learn the lessons that He would teach us through it.

You will notice that the word ek-klesia is made up of two words: the first is ek, which is like 'ex' in our word 'exit', and means 'from, out of, away from.' The second part of the word is klesia, which is from the word kaleo, meaning, 'I call: ' indeed one may recognize the root of our English word 'call' in it. So the whole word means, "called-out-ones," with the emphasis on 'called.' Paul wrote to the Assembly at Rome, "Ye also are the called of Jesus Christ." (Rom 1:6), and he tells them they are "saints by calling." See note in New Translation.

The one who called out the citizens in a Greek city to the assembly was the herald: ho kerux, and this is the very word that the Holy Spirit uses for the one who heralds, or proclaims, or preaches, the Good News, the Gospel: as we may see in 1 Tim. 2:7 and 2 Tim. 1:11: "I have been appointed a herald." (kerux). See New Translation. The one who preaches the Gospel is truly a Herald of Glad Tidings, sent out by the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit he calls people unto Christ, who makes them free, calls them out from this world, and makes them citizens of Heaven; and they become part of the Church, or Assembly of God.

But you will recall that in a Greek city not all had the rights and privileges of the ekklesia, the Assembly: but those who were free citizens, and had not lost their citizenship; these only formed part of that Assembly. And so it is today in the Assembly of God. Only those who are citizens of Heaven (See Phil. 3:20) belong to this Assembly; and these heavenly citizens are free: "Ye are called unto freedom." (Gal. 5:13).

But, sad to say, there are today, as in days of old, those who have lost their right to be part, openly, of that Assembly, as it is gathered unto Christ the Lord. Sin has come in, and like the man in First Corinthians 5, some have had to be put away from that Assembly.

How wondrously this word ek-klesia describes the true Church of God today: — called out by the herald of the Gospel; called out from the world, for the one who answers this call is no longer of the world, even as Christ their Lord is not of the world; (John 17:16); gathered together unto the One we love, our Lord Jesus Christ; and so we form part of the Assembly, or Church of God.

'Assembly' is a better translation of ek-klesia than 'congregation,' for congregation has in it the meaning of to congregate, or come together, of one's own voluntary will; whereas ek-klesia emphasizes the call that brings them together: God's own call, through the herald of Jesus Christ our Lord. In Acts 19, we find this word three times translated 'assembly' in our Authorized Version.

But notice further: there was but one Roman Empire, with the Emperor at its head: and you may see that Paul's Roman citizenship was recognized without question, regardless of the place in which he claimed it: Philippi or Jerusalem: it made no difference. The one Roman Empire linked together into one every Roman citizen in the whole Roman Empire. (Acts 16:37; 22:25-28). Even so, there is but one true Church of God, with the Lord Jesus Christ as its Head, and every true believer in the Lord Jesus, every one who has heard the call of the herald, and obeyed, belongs to that Church, or Assembly of God, quite regardless of place and race and language: they all form one body with Christ the Head. As there was but one Roman Empire, so there is but one Church of God: compare Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22; 5:23, and other Scriptures. And just as the Assembly of Roman citizens in any one city was recognized equally as representative of the whole Roman Empire: the Roman Empire in miniature, perhaps we might say: so the Assembly of true Christians in any one place represents the whole Assembly of God, the world over: and every true believer in the Lord Jesus in any one place, belongs to the Assembly of God in that place, even though he may not realize this, nor obey the call that calls him to that assembly.

The Scriptures speak of "the Church of God which is at Corinth," or "the Church of the Thessalonians." This does not mean there are many Churches of God, independent one of another: but each individual church is representative of the whole. In 1 Cor. 15:9, Paul tells us, "I persecuted the church of God." He persecuted the church, (or, assembly) at Jerusalem: but then he tells us, "I persecuted them even unto strange cities." (Acts 26:10, 11). Here we may see that all the true Christians in Jerusalem and those in the strange cities, all together formed "the church of God." It is but one ek-klesia but one Church; and every blood-bought soul throughout the whole world is part of that one church.

Chapter 4

Gathering together untoEpi-sun-agoge

Some years ago vast crowds in every part of Canada gathered together to honour Princess Elizabeth, now our beloved Queen, and her husband. It was the Princess, whom all the British Empire loved, that attracted the people. They were gathered together unto her. She was the attraction. Most of the people had known her from the time she was a little child, and had watched her grow up. Our children had pictures of her, with her little sister, and her dogs; and they had learned to love the charming girl with the sunny face. So when Canada was honoured by a visit from her, all who possibly could, were gathered together unto her.

We read of great gatherings almost every day. People gather together to help some cause they love and admire. They gather together to a Cause, to a Doctrine, for a Purpose: but how different such a gathering is to those who are gathered together unto a living person in their midst, whom they love.

You will note that the word we propose to consider is really made up of three words; and the second and third together, sunagoge, make a very common English word: "Synagogue." One is the Greek way, the other the English way, of spelling the same word. As you may guess, it really means "A-Gathering-together," and in this way it is often used in the Greek Old Testament. In the New Testament it has generally come to mean the place where they gathered. And today the Jews gather together in the Synagogues to hear the Law and the Prophets and to pray. This is "A-Gathering-Together," but not "a Gathering-Together-Unto" any loved and living person. All over the world we hear of religious meetings of one kind or another, which for the most part are "Gatherings-Together", but not "Gatherings-Together-Unto" one they love. It is the living Person we love, unto whom we gather, that makes the difference.

This word, epi-sun-agoge, a "Gathering-Together-Unto," as a noun, is only used twice in the Greek New Testament; but the verb is used seven or eight times. We find it first in Matthew 23:37, in which verse it occurs twice: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how often would I have gathered thy children together unto (Myself) even as a hen gathers together her chickens unto (herself) under her wings, and ye would not."

This, the first time the word is used, beautifully illustrates its meaning. We have all heard the mother-hen give that special little cluck that calls the little chicks, — calls them, where? Calls them unto herself. That is just the thought in this lovely word. You may look up the other places where we find this verb, all of which, you will note, are in the Gospels, telling of our Lord down here on earth: Matt. 24:31; Mark 1:33, 13:27; Luke 12:1, 13:34, and perhaps 17:37; but the reading here is, I believe doubtful. If you examine these Scriptures, I think you will find that all, except the last, refer to gathering together unto our beloved Lord and Saviour. CHRIST, and CHRIST alone, is the Object and Centre of our gathering. May the Lord help us to bear this in mind when we come together to remember our Lord's death; it is not only a "gathering together", (the synagogue was that), but a Gathering Together Unto the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Many today gather together unto a Doctrine, such as baptism; others gather together unto a great leader, as Luther or Wesley; others to a Form of Worship or Church Government; or to a National Church. Such gatherings have no right to claim they are gathered together unto Christ, and Christ alone.

But let us look a little at the two Scriptures (and only two) where we find this word as a noun. The first is in 2 Thess. 2:1: "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled." Here this word tells us of that great gathering in the air, described in 1 Thess. 4:13-18, and in 1 Cor. 15:51-57, when all the true believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, whether living or sleeping, shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. What a gathering together that will be, and all unto Him! Not one saint, from the thief on the cross to the last one brought to the Saviour before He comes again, will be missing then: then all will be gathered together unto their Lord, and He will be the Centre, the only Centre and Object, of that vast throng. And, note, the One unto Whom we are gathered is not left to be understood, (as it is in some cases), but is plainly told us: — "unto Him," — unto the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The archangel will be there, and will utter his voice: but he is not the Centre or Object, the One to whom that vast throng is gathered! No! It is unto the Lord Himself, the Lord alone, He is the Centre of all: "The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout." The Lord Himself is our only Object and Centre then.

Who would be willing to miss that meeting in the air, with the Lord Himself in the midst? Who then, at that moment, will want any other centre, any other object, than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself? Why any other centre, any other object, now?

The only other place where we find this word is in Hebrews 10:25; "Not forsaking the gathering-together-unto (Him) of yourselves, as the manner is with some." This tells us of our gathering together unto Himself down here on this earth, in the present day; just as the other occasion on which this word was used, told us of that mighty gathering together unto Him in that coming day, that gathering together unto Him in the air. How amazingly sweet that the Spirit of God should choose exactly the same word for each of these gatherings! Thus the Lord tells us that this gathering together unto 'My Name', as we get in Matt. 18:20; (for almost the same words are used), is, in His sight, the same as that wondrous gathering together unto Him in the air.

And in both these gatherings He promises to be there. In the one, "The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout:" and in the other, "There am I in the midst of them." It is the presence of the living Lord we love that makes all the difference, — the one down here, the other in the air, — but the Lord Jesus Christ Himself present in each case: His presence makes these meetings different to all other meetings that can be arranged by men.

Very likely today that meeting is held in some upper room, or down a back street, or in a private house, as in New Testament days. Adornments are not there. The organ and the choir of the world, or even the music of Old Testament days, are all missing. It may be there are only "two or three" present: but, dear Reader, do not scorn it, for in the sight of God, it is just as truly a gathering-together-unto the Lord Jesus, as is that glorious meeting in the air, with countless myriads, from the grave and from the earth; and HE HIMSELF in all His glory, the visible Centre of that mighty throng. Then we shall see Him with our own eyes for the first time: and through that sight, we shall be changed to be "like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."

It is amazing, is it not, that the Holy Spirit chooses exactly the same word for each of these gatherings? It tells us that the Lord Himself is just as truly present in that bare upper room with the despised two or three, as He is visibly present in that glorious gathering to which we all look forward with hope and joy.

And just one word more. The Holy Spirit adds this admonition: "And so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Beloved, Do we not see "the Day approaching" now. Never was "the Day" so near as in our day! May you and I love that blessed place where Jesus Himself is in the midst, and love and treasure it the more as we see the Day approaching now. May other gatherings-together lose their attraction as we find an irresistible attraction in that
"gathering-together-unto Him"!!

Chapter 5

Right WorshipEu-sebeia

"His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness." (2 Peter 1:3)

The Greek word here translated 'godliness' is eusebeia. It, and several words from the same root, are formed from two words eu and sebomai. The little word eu is very often found compounded with some other word (as here) to give the meaning of 'right,' or 'good', or 'well.' Sebomai tells of the attitude of men towards God, to honour Him reverentially with holy awe: (Cremer). It is also used for 'worship:' (Arndt & Gingrich).

Sebomai is found ten times in the Greek New Testament. Six times it is translated worship: Matt. 15:9; Mark 7:7; Acts 16,14; 18:7,13; 19:27. Three times it is translated devout, and once religious. So we may see that the basic meaning of sebomai is, 'I worship'. But note, the worship may be right or wrong, true or false. Matt. 15:9 reads: "But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." And Acts 19:27 tells of the worship of the idol, Diana of the Ephesians. Both these are 'wrong worship.'

Nor let us flatter ourselves that we are exempt from wrong worship. I recall an old and honoured brother stating in a meeting that when we come together to remember the Lord's death, the bread should be broken and we should drink of the cup, within half an hour of the time the meeting began. This is an example of "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men;" and such worship is empty and in vain. They that worship the Father must worship Him in spirit and in truth.*

{*Here a different Greek word is used for worship to that we have been considering.}

But when we combine eu with sebomai, making eu-sebomai, we emphasize the rightness of the worship. Only worship that is in spirit and in truth is right worship, such worship must come from the overflow of grateful hearts, as we gaze upon our Lord Jesus Christ in all His loveliness and beauty, and as we ponder His love that passeth knowledge. Looking upon Jesus as He walked, John exclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God!" That was true worship, right worship: it is such worshippers that the Father seeks to worship Him.

Right worship is not obtained by magnificent cathedrals or beautiful music, or by any outward forms or ceremonies. Rules and regulations can never fill our cup, far less make it run over; and it is only as our hearts are filled with Christ, by gazing upon Him, that our hearts will overflow, and give forth Right Worship to Him and to His Father.

But let us deeply ponder the truth that God has by His divine power given us all things that pertain unto Life and Right Worship.

We have pondered the word sebomai, as meaning 'I worship.' But it is a remarkable thing that the word eu-sebeo is only used twice in the Greek New Testament, and only once is it translated 'worship.' We would expect this word to emphasize the fact that it was right worship when it was used: but it may surprise us to find that it is used of the Athenians who had an altar "To the unknown God." Paul says to them, "Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship (eusebeo), him declare I unto you." May it be that the wondrous Grace of God reckoned this ignorant worship of an unknown God, by those who were 'feeling after Him', as right worship? But He is not to us an 'Unknown God,' but One whom we know well: One who is our best Friend: One to Whom we owe all. As we gaze upon Him, well may our hearts rise up in true worship and adoration, until they overflow! May it be so, more and more!
"O fix our earnest gaze
So wholly, Lord, on Thee,
That with Thy beauty occupied,
We elsewhere none may see."

Chapter 6

Logically NecessaryDei

Some years ago I knew a very clever and able medical doctor: a man who had had a thorough, scientific training. This man did not believe there is a hell. When I pressed him for his reasons for his unbelief, the only reason he could ever give was this, — "Its not logical." I pointed out that it was not many years since we would have said that it was not logical for a person on the other side of the earth to claim he could sit and listen to a speech being made in London; and that without any wires. But the doctor merely repeated, — "Hell is not logical."

I did not know at the time that the little Greek word dei had the fundamental meaning of "logical necessity" or of what is "right and proper." (See, Abbott-Smith, Thayer, etc). How striking, then, to find this little word is used eight times in Revelation; and three times we get the expression: ha dei ginesthai, — '(things) which it is logically necessary to occur.' (Rev. 1:1;4.1; 22:6). How very striking to find that the first verse of this Book which is largely taken up with judgment, reads: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass." The word translated 'must' is in Greek dei: so the real meaning is "things which are logically necessary to come to pass." The very first verse of this Book tells us that the terrible judgments that are coming on this poor wicked world are 'logically necessary:' are 'right and proper.' Let us remember that it is this Book which tells us of the Great White Throne of judgment, and of Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. It is this Book which tells us of "the Lake of Fire," of the "Second Death." of torment "day and night for ever and ever." And God Himself tells us as an introduction to these things, that they are logically necessary. Let the man who wishes to deny this truth, ponder deeply Revelation 22:19.

What a solemn answer God gives to the cavils and quibbles of unbelieving men and women, by the use of this one little word dei! Let no man ever say that hell is not logical. No! Hell is the only logical end to life without God.

* * * * *

But, Thank God, we find in the Scriptures other necessary things besides the judgment of hell. The very first time this little word dei is used in the New Testament, is Matt. 16:21. In this Scripture Jesus shewed His disciples that it was logically necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things, . . . and be killed, and be raised again the third day. And we find it again in Matt. 26:54, with a similar meaning. We find the word used many times: and each time it is full of meaning. We may not look at more than a very few: but consider these: —
It is logically necessary for you to be born again. John 3:7.
It was logically necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up. John 3:14.
It was logically necessary for Him to increase. John 3:30.
It was logically necessary for Him to go through Samaria. John 4:4.
Because God is a Spirit, it is logically necessary that men worship Him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24.
It was logically necessary that the Good Shepherd should bring His 'other sheep', so that there might be one flock and one Shepherd. John 10:16.
I might continue with many more, but there are two that I want you to specially think about: —

It is logically necessary that Heaven should make merry and be glad, when the son who was lost, comes Home. Luke 15:32. Yes, if the weeping and wailing of hell are a logical necessity: even so the music and gladness of Heaven are also a logical necessity.

Just one more: and please ponder this one:
It was logically necessary for the servant who had received the one talent, to trade with it, so that when the Lord of that servant returned, He might receive His own with interest. Matt. 25:27.

What are we doing with the talent the Lord has given us?

Chapter 7

Sold into Bondage, I SellPiprasko

In Romans 7. 14 the "wretched man" exclaims, "I am carnal, sold under sin." The Greek word used here for 'sold' is piprasko, and when used with a person it means 'to sell into slavery.' In the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament it is used metaphorically, of selling oneself to sin: of Ahab in 1 Kings 21:20, 25; in 2 Kings 17:17; see also Isaiah 50:1 and 52:3. So Paul may have had these in mind when he cried in desperation, "I am sold under sin." But this is not the experience of the apostle Paul only. It is the condition of us all, though we may discover it only when the light of the Gospel shines upon our fallen state.

The Lord uses the same word in His parable at the end of Matthew 18. The king reckons with his servants, and finds one owing the impossible sum of ten thousand talents (one talent is worth nearly Two Hundred Pounds.) And he had nothing to pay. Exactly my condition! And the condemnation is just — let him be sold as a slave, and everything, whatsoever he had; and still it would hardly make a first payment on the debt.

What can be done? In the parable the guilty servant promises to pay all, and is released. But he has hardly gone out from the presence of the King before his wicked heart is manifested, and the wrath of the king falls upon him. He thought he would take advantage of the mercy of the king, but he must add his own works: he was not trusting to that mercy. It is no use for me to think I can deliver myself by making a part payment. I can never repay: it is no use making promises and seeking pardon on my merits. "By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight . . . . but now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested . . . . even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe." Rom. 3:20-22.

But how can God righteously forgive that debt? Again we may find the answer in our word. In Matthew 13 our Lord uses it in the parable of the Merchantman. The 'Merchantman' here is literally 'a man on a journey' one who has come from far. This Merchantman had come all the way from Heaven's highest Glory, down to seek pearls in the depths of the sea of the nations. There he found one pearl of great price, and he sold everything, whatever he had, to buy that pearl. This is not the word used of the man who sold all to buy the field in Verse 44. It is our word piprasko, 'to sell as a slave.' The Merchantman not only sold all, whatever he had, but He sold Himself as a slave. "He emptied Himself, taking a bondman's form." (Phil. 2:7: N.T.), and bought the pearl.

The word has been used three times:
(1) of my lost condition,
(2) of my rightful doom,
(3) of my Saviour's wonderful way of deliverance.
It is used six times more in the New Testament; three times in the three Gospels of Mary's precious ointment which "might have been sold for much;" and three times in the Acts, of those who "sold their possessions and goods." Mary had her own private treasure, that pot of ointment. And each of us has some special treasure, some desire, some ambition. That treasure might have been sold for much if Mary had kept it for herself; but it would have been a selling into slavery. And if we withold our treasure, if we refuse our best to God, we too are sold into slavery to that desire. It may not be a sin, but it is a 'weight;' we must drag round with us a ball and chain of bondage to that desire, instead of walking in the full freedom of the sons of God. But if like Mary we pour out our treasure; if like those first Christians we surrender our possessions and goods, then it is the things which are in bondage, and we are free. Acts 4:34 says they sold the things. This is the ordinary word for sold — and they brought the price of the things "sold into bondage." It is a wonderful thing to be free from the bondage of things, to be their master, not the servant of house and lands, furniture, books, every treasure. Then we can take joyfully the spoiling of our goods, knowing that "we have in heaven a better and an enduring substance." The best reading here might be translated, "knowing that ye have yourselves as a better and enduring possession." We possess our souls in the perfect freedom of His service, no longer sold unto sin, or sold into bondage to things. We have the privilege of giving our little all, for the One who gave His unsearchable riches for, and to, us. (Helen A E Willis)

Chapter 8

Wanted! Beautiful Margaritas!Kaloi Margaritai

I was reading in my Greek Testament the other day, when I came across something like this: "A travelling wholesale Merchant, going abroad to purchase wares, was seeking beautiful Margaritas."

My mind flew back to the fairest and loveliest Margarita I had ever known: but she spelled her name, "Marguerite," but it was the same name, only a different spelling. She was about fourteen, and she was as good as she was beautiful.

This Merchantman found her, and bought her, but the price was very high: she cost Him all things whatever He had: Yes, even His own life. But from that day her heart was completely won by Him; and when He told her that He would like to take her Home to be with Him in His own Land, she was perfectly content to go with Him. The day before she left on that journey, that some dread so much, I said to her: "Marguerite, the Good Shepherd will carry His lamb in His arms, on that journey." She gave me the brightest smile, and replied, "Oh, He does that for me already!"

Perhaps your name is Margaret, or Marguerite, or Margarita. They are all the same name really, only a different way of spelling it; and they all are from the Greek word that means a PEARL. And the Merchantman? I need hardly tell you that He is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The word used here (Matt. 13:45) for 'merchantman' is specially for a wholesale merchant who goes abroad to distant lands to seek his wares. But you will note that when He buys His Margarita, it is only one that He buys. Yes, He buys us each one individually. He does not buy as all in a heap.

In the parable just before this one, in Matthew 13:44, we read of a man who found a treasure hid in a field. He goes away, and for joy of it sells whatever he has, and buys that field. The word used for sell in this parable is quite different to the word used for the wholesale Merchant in the other verse. Here it is a word that means to trade: but the word used of the Wholesale Merchant who bought the Margarita is piprasko,* a word used to sell, especially in connection with selling slaves: and seems to tell us that in order to get that fair and lovely Margarita He had to sell not only "all things whatever He had" — His Home, His Throne, — but, even Himself: as indeed we know He did: for the Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me. That Wholesale Merchant was so rich, yet for the sake of buying that Margarita, He became poor: as poor as that poor widow who cast in the two mites, absolutely all the living she had: for the Spirit of God delights to use the same word for what the wholesale Merchant sold, and what the poor widow gave.

{*For a further study of this word, piprasko, see Chapter 6.}

But there is another difference between the two parables in Verses 44 and 45: In the better manuscripts the man who bought the field sells "whatever he has." But the Man who bought the pearl, sells "all things, whatever He had:" Home, Throne, All Things.

I need hardly remind you that before He could get that beautiful pearl, death had to come to the shell-fish in which the pearl was found. And that shell was brought up from the ocean bed, at the risk of a man's life. All this must take place before that beautiful pearl can adorn the One who purchased it for Himself.

Perhaps I should add that, because "Thy Word is exceeding broad," we may borrow this lovely parable, and apply it to individuals, as we have just done, and none may condemn us: yet, the primary meaning of this parable, I have no doubt, is Christ and His Church. The beautiful pearl brought up from the ocean beds, at the cost of death to another, is the Church. The ocean speaks of the nations (Rev. 17:15), and so the Church is formed from individuals gathered from the nations, to make one church, the one pearl. To find her, He travelled from His own Country to our poor, sad, wicked world: and to purchase her, He gave all things, whatever He had, yea, He gave Himself for her.

There is surpassing beauty in this parable, as we read it in the Greek Testament, a beauty which I suppose no translation ever can convey. May the Lord stir the hearts of His own, to read His own precious Word in the original language, which He has so graciously given to us. I suppose it is not until we reach Home, that we shall know the incomparable loss we have sustained, by neglecting the Greek New Testament.

Chapter 9

Paul's AmbitionPhilotimeomai

The Apostle Paul speaks of three ambitions. Would that you and I knew more of each of them in our own daily lives!

In Romans 15:19,20 Paul writes: "From Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ. Yea, so have I strived to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation." First, let me ask, Where is Illyricum? We read of it in no other place in the New Testament. We never hear of it in the Apostle's missionary journeys in the Acts of the Apostles. It is not a city, but a large area, a province, north west of the Province of Macedonia. It is almost equivalent to Dalmatia, where Titus went during Paul's last imprisonment. (2 Tim. 4:10). You will find it on the map about opposite Rome, on the other side of the Adriatic. This gives some idea of the extent of Paul's labours.

But, you will ask, What has this to do with Paul's ambition? Just this, the word translated "so have I strived" is philotimoumenon; which literally means 'loving-honour', hence 'being ambitious.' Paul said, he was "being ambitious to preach the Gospel of Christ, not where Christ was named." How few there are who have such an ambition! This ambition almost surely entails hardship and dangers: it means sharing some of the sufferings Paul describes in Second Corinthians 11. Read them for yourself, and unless the love of Christ works in your heart mightily, it will take away the kind of ambition that Paul had. Excuses are easy to find. We should not go where we are deprived of remembering the Lord in His death. We are called to preach separation: not the Gospel. I think I can be more use attending a conference, than going to some place far away from meetings. And so the excuses go. But rarely do we hear of those who share Paul's ambition, and sadly little do most of us know of it.

The next ambition Paul describes is in 2 Cor. 5:9: "We are ambitious, that, whether present (with the Lord), or absent (from the Lord), we may be well-pleasing to Him." (Literal: See Verses 5 to 8). What more beautiful ambition for every true Christian, — to be "well-pleasing" to the Lord: no matter whether it is in life or in death. Worldly ambition has wrought ruin with multitudes of the Lord's soldiers and servants. All around us we see beloved saints of God whose lives proclaim their ambition for riches or honour or ease or learning or fame. We see Demas who loved this present world and Diotrophes who loved the pre-eminence: and their descendents are with us today: but how rarely do we meet a man whose ambitions in life are to preach the Gospel where Christ is not known; and whether in life, whether in death, to be well-pleasing to Him. Oh, that these two ambitions may be mine, and your's, my beloved Reader: may our love be for the Gospel, where Christ is not named: and ever, and always, to be well-pleasing to Him.

The third ambition of which Paul speaks is found in 1 Thess. 4:10, 11. The Apostle beseeches his beloved Thessalonian brethren to "be ambitious to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands." I sadly fear that most of the Lord's people today love the honour of working with their heads in a clean and honourable position, rather than soiling their hands by using them in hard work. They forget their Master worked with His own hands until He was about thirty years of age. They forget that the one who exhorted to this ambition could hold out his hands, and say "Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me." "These hands" were probably worn and calloused with making tents. And let us remember his words: "I beseech you to be imitators (mimics: mimetes: always in a good sense in the New Testament) of me." (1 Cor. 4:16). And to the very saints whom he exhorted to be ambitious to be quiet, and to work with their own hands, in the very same Epistle, he wrote: "Ye became our imitators (mimics: mimetes), and of the Lord." (1 Thess. 1:7; See also 2:14.) And in the Second Epistle, Chapter 3, Verses 7 & 9, we read: "Ye know yourselves how ye ought to imitate (mimic) us ... We ... give ourselves as an example to you, in order to your imitating (mimicking) us." (See New Translation).

May God help us to learn the lessons that Paul's ambitions would teach us: —
Ambitious to preach the Gospel where Christ is not named.
Ambitious, whether by life or death, to be well-pleasing to the Lord.
Ambitious to be quiet, to do our own business, to work with our own hands.

Chapter 10

Don't Turn Coward!!Enkakeo

"Men ought always to pray, and not to faint." (Luke 18:1). So reads our good old Authorised Version, and it is not a bad translation of the word at all. That word 'to faint' is en-kakein, formed from the word kakos, 'cowardly.' (Abbott-Smith). But from 'cowardly' it came to mean anything that was 'bad, mean, base,' for to the Greeks cowardice was all that. The first part of the word, en, means 'in.' The whole word taken together we may say means literally, "Give in to evil." (See Robertson). We find it translated by such words as 'faint', 'lose heart', 'be discouraged', 'turn coward.'

The evil about us is so strong, the battle is so fierce, and the result seems so hopeless, the sides appear so unequal; that, as we pray, we are tempted to say in our hearts, if not with our lips, It is hopeless, it is no use praying any more for that person: I'll give up. No! the Lord says, No! Do not give in! Do not lose heart! Do not be discouraged! Do not turn coward! In due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (But this 'faint' is a different word; perhaps, God willing we will look at it some other time).

We are really on the winning side. The Lord is still on the throne. He still sitteth on the waterfloods, and the Lord on high is still greater than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. See Psalm 93:4. So, Cheer up! Take courage! Pray on! Pray always! and never turn coward, never give up.

This word en-kakeo is only used six times in the New Testament, and each is very instructive. We have already seen the first time it is used, and that is in connection with prayer. Next it is used twice within a few verses of each other, in 2 Cor. 4. 1 and 16. "Therefore, having this ministry, as we have had mercy shown us, we faint not." . . . . "Wherefore we faint not; but if indeed our outward man is consumed, yet the inward is renewed day by day." And so though troubles and sickness and sorrows come down here, and consume our outward man, there is no need to lose heart, no need to be discouraged, no need to turn coward, or give in to evil. "Tharsei!" Cheer Up! Take Courage!

The next place we find it is in Gal. 6:9. "Let us not be weary in well doing," or, as Mr. Darby renders it, "Let us not lose heart in doing good." It is so easy to lose heart in doing good. That poor soul you helped out the other day, later proved to be a crook, and not in need at all, and you vowed you will not be taken in as easily again. No, no; let us not be discouraged; let us not give in to evil. Next time you may turn away somebody really in need: and "whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard." (Prov. 21:13). Or that Sunday School class that is so noisy and unruly! It seems to be useless to try and go on with them. You are desperate, as old Dr. Cremer translates the word. Give it up! It's not worth trying any longer!

I once did that. I once had a desperately bad Sunday School, and at the advice of an older brother, I gave it up. About three weeks later I met one of the children on the street, and she said "Oh, why did you give up the Sunday School? I wanted so much to know I was saved. I think I would have found the Lord the very next Sunday: but I had to go somewhere else, and there I found the Lord." Another time an old brother urged that I should give up some children's work that the Lord had opened up. I was much perplexed, and went for advice to another old brother: and to my amazement he said: "Take on more work of that kind; but never give up! All giving up is of the devil." That was more than fifty years ago, but how often have I thanked God for those words. Dear Mr. Herbert Taylor, Mr. Hudson Taylor's eldest son, once told me that he was at one time so discouraged that he said to his father, "Father, I'm so discouraged, I'm going to give up." His father replied, "All discouragement is of the devil!" God is "the God of all encouragement." (2 Cor. 1:3: New Translation). No, Beloved, God's Word is clear. "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not." (A different word).

Next see Ephesians 3:13. "Wherefore I beseech you not to faint through my tribulations for you, which is your glory." Paul 'despaired of life' in his tribulations for the Ephesian saints, but he did not turn coward. (Acts 19. 23 etc. & 2 Cor. 1:8). He was ready to go in and face the mob who were thirsting for his blood. No need to be discouraged even if tribulations do come. Nay, rather, "we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh endurance." (Romans 5. 3). The word 'tribulation' comes from the Latin word tribulum, which means 'a flail.' I suppose most of my readers have never seen a flail, such as they used to use to thresh wheat: I have seen one and used it: and terrible 'tribulation' it gives to the wheat: but that is the way it is delivered from the chaff.

The last place we find this word en-kakeo is in 2 Thess. 3:13. "We hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing." I suppose this means you and I are not to be discouraged, not to lose heart, not to turn coward, through the daily grind of our daily work in the office, the shop, the kitchen, the field the school, or where ever else it may be. Let us do our daily work to the Lord and not unto men, and let us not grow discouraged in it. It is our Lord's own command. There may be much evil around you. It may be unspeakably hard, we may be desperate: but even so, let us never give in to evil: never turn coward, never lose heart.

So, to sum up, Let us not give in to evil, whether it be, —
To give up Prayer: Luke 18:1.
In failing health and old age: 2 Cor. 4:1 & 16.
In doing good, or, in well doing: Gal. 6:9.
In tribulation: Eph. 3:13.
In our daily tasks: 2 Thess. 3:13.
Having obtained help of God,
Let us not give in to evil: lose heart: faint: be discouraged: turn coward

For the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

* * * * *

There is another word which means "lose heart"; a-thumeo, in Col. 3:21: "Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, lest they be discouraged, (or, lose heart)". This is the only place in the New Testament where we find this word. It comes from a word thumos, which means (amongst other meanings) heart, temper, will, courage . . .

What a word for the "Fathers" is this! How many sides to the child's character are affected: not only the danger of his losing heart, but it includes losing courage as well; and stirring up the child's temper, and that will of his that is so hard to control.

Lord, Help us!

Chapter 11

The Slack Bow-StringEkluo

In our last meditation we referred to Gal. 6:9: "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season, we shall reap if we faint not." We saw that the word translated 'be weary' is en-kakeo, 'give in to evil,' but generally translated 'faint' in the New Testament. However, you will notice that we have the word 'faint' near the end of this verse: and it was mentioned that this is an entirely different word to en-kakeo. The word used here is ek-luo, 'I loose,' or, 'I unloose,' as, for example, a bow-string: letting it become slack.

When I was a boy my father took me down to a wagon shop (I suppose there are no such things now) and there he got a piece of nice, well seasoned ash; and from this he made me a beautiful bow. The good piece of ash alone could not make the bow, there had to be a strong cord, or thong, tied from end to end of the wood, and tightened till the wood was well bent, and the cord was taut. Then with a good straight arrow, what a joy it was to any boy!

But suppose the cord got slack, and loose, what then? The bow is useless in spite of having such a good piece of ash to make it. One secret of a good bow is having a good tight bow-string.

The Spirit of God uses this illustration in the verse we have referred to in Gal. 6:9. We find this word, ek-luo, five times in the New Testament, and each time translated 'faint.' In Matthew 15. 32 and Mark 8:3, the Lord Himself uses this word of the people who had been with Him three days, and had nothing to eat, and He would not send them away fasting to their homes, for some of them came from far, lest on the way they would faint. (ek-luo). And so He fed the four thousand men, beside the women and the children, with the seven loaves of bread and a few little fishes.

We find the word twice more in Heb. 12: Verses 3 & 5: "Consider Him . . . , lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds . . . Ye have forgotten the exhortation . . . , My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him." The word translated 'faint' here is, in each case, ek-luo.

Notice that in the Gospels it is our body that faints, and in Hebrews it is our mind. In the verse in Galatians 6, "Let us not grow weary in well doing: for in due season, we shall reap if we faint not," I suppose it might be both body and mind that faint. But in all these cases we grow slack, like the bow-strong: and a slack bow-string is no use to its master.

How important then for us to find out the remedy, so that we shall not grow slack. In the case related in the Gospels it was eating the loaves and the fish, provided by our Lord, that kept the men, women and children from growing faint. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself has told us that He is the Bread that came down from heaven; so we know that by feeding on Him as the Man down here, we may be kept from growing faint, or slack. When He fed the Five Thousand, John tells us that He fed them with 'barley loaves.' Barley bread was the cheapest kind. See 2 Kings 7:1 & 18, where you will find that barley flour was just half the price of wheat flour. This tells us, surely, of our Lord Jesus, not only come down from Heaven, but despised and rejected of men. And what of the "few little fishes"?

The Greek word for 'fish' is ichthus: (The ch, and the th are each only one letter in Greek). The word used in this story in both Matthew and Mark isichthudion, only used in these two places in the New Testament, and is the diminutive of ichthus, fish: literally meaning "little fish." Now let us arrange the word for fish, ichthus, in a vertical line, thus:
i is for Iesous = Jesus
ch is for Christos = Christ
th is for Theou = of God
u is for Uios = Son
s is for Soter = Saviour
So the Greek word for 'fish' meant to a Greek Christian:

"JESUS CHRIST GOD'S SON (the) SAVIOUR."
Because of this meaning the Christians often used the picture of a fish to mark the graves of Christian friends who were buried in the catacombs under Rome. So the "two little fishes" tell us of our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son, our Saviour. The bread on which the people fed to keep them from fainting told of our Lord Jesus as the Man come down from Heaven: the fish tell us of Him as the Son of God, our Saviour, glorified in Heaven. If we feed on our Lord Jesus Christ in these two ways we need never fear that we will grow slack.

* * * * *

And what do we learn from the two occasions in which ek-luo is used in Hebrews? Oh, ponder well those two first words we quoted: "Consider Him!" "Consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." As we feed on Him in His humiliation and in His glory: as we "Consider Him": we will grow strong in spirit (Luke 1:80), and never grow slack.

But I cannot resist a little note about the word "Consider." The Greek work is ana-logizomai, and is only used here in the Old or New Testament, so is quite different to the word translated "consider" in Heb. 3:1. We get our word 'logarithm' from the root of the last part of this word, so you may see there is in it something of the thought of 'reckon.' Bishop Westcott says of it: "It expresses in particular the careful estimate of one object with regard to another. The use here in respect of a person and not of a thing is remarkable.

The writer seems to say, 'Consider Christ, reckoning up His sufferings point by point, going over them again and again, not the sufferings on the Cross only, but all that led up to it.'

With our eyes fixed on Him, and on His sufferings, and feeding on Him despised and rejected, but now exalted in the Glory, we are safe from ever becoming slack.

Chapter 12

Hit him under the Eye — Hupo-piazo (1 Cor. 9:27)

Who was hit under the eye? Paul was! Who hit Paul under the eye? Paul did! He made a practice of doing it. "I buffet my body, and lead it captive," so reads Mr. Darby's translation: but literally it reads, "I hit my body under the eye, and lead it away a slave." The word comes from hupopion, "the part of the face below the eyes."

You boys who like a fight, here is a fight worth while. Here is a fight that will keep you at it all the rest of your life down here. Do not think because you give him one hard blow under the eye, that you have laid him out for good and all. Very far from it: you will find 'the old man' up and at it again in no time. Do not ever, even for one moment, let your 'body' lead you away as a slave, or you will find it terribly bitter work. Do not let your 'body' hit you under the eye: many a good soldier of Jesus Christ has been rendered unfit for service in just this way.

But you will find, if you try it, that you are no match for the body. You will cry out, as Paul once did, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" You must call in your Lord and Master to fight for you, and then you will be able to answer that question, "Who shall deliver me?" with the triumphal cry: "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 7:24, 25). Yes, Tell the Lord plainly that you have no strength at all yourself for the fight, and He must do it all. Cast yourself without reserve on Him; and then, then, you will be enabled to "hit him under the eye, and lead him away a slave."

Do you remember it says in another place, "leading captive every thought into the obedience of the Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5: N.T.). The Greek word for "Leading captive" here is an entirely different word in Greek to that used in 1 Cor. 9:27, for "bring it into subjection." This word in 2 Cor. 10 is taken from a word that means 'to throw a spear.' Perhaps it is because our thoughts are so elusive, so very hard to get hold of to lead captive, that the Spirit. of God uses this word telling of throwing a spear. But, thank the Lord, not only is it possible to lead the body away as a slave, but even to lead captive every thought to the obedience of Christ; and that is, I suppose, the very hardest of all.

Dear fellow-soldier of Jesus Christ, let us not be satisfied with anything short of this. Good it is, unspeakably good, to have our sins forgiven. Never can we cease to praise and give thanks for this: this is according to the riches of His grace. (Eph. 1:7) But in the next chapter of Ephesians we find "the exceeding riches of His grace." The very first page of the New Testament tells us there is something more than the forgiveness of our sins: "Thou shalt call His Name JESUS:, for He shall save His people from their sins." Not only from the penalty of them, but from our sins themselves. "Sin shall not have dominion over you." (Rom. 6:14). Literally this is, "Sin shall not lord it over you."

So, dear Reader, follow the example of the Apostle Paul, and make a practice of hitting your body under the eye (not literally, like the old monks), and of leading it away a slave: to do what you tell it: to be subject to you, — the new man. And remember it is all through the grace and the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

* * * * *

This word is used on only one other occasion in the New Testament, and that is in Luke 18:5. You remember the widow woman who kept going to the judge who feared not God nor respected man. She wanted him to avenge her of her adversary, but at first he would not. However later on he said to himself, "If even I fear not God and respect not man, at any rate because this widow annoys me I will avenge her, that she may not by perpetual coming completely harass me." (J. N. Darby). Mr. Darby did not like to translate it by saying the judge feared the widow woman would hit him under the eye, or give him a black eye, as the dictionary says it may be translated. And I do not blame Mr. Darby; yet, that is what the Spirit of God wrote down, to encourage us to come, and come, and come again in persevering prayer; and never give in to evil thoughts of discouragement. We ought always to pray and not to faint. And you remember in Isaiah 62:6 & 7 we read "Ye that are the Lord's remembrancers, keep not silence, and give Him no rest, till He establish and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." (margin). Think of the Lord Himself telling us to "give Him no rest"! After the war it was almost impossible to get a passage out to China. I wanted one very badly, and heard of a small ship that was going to Shanghai. It had no passenger accommodation, but it was a ship, and was going to China. Every day I went to that shipping office, and asked for a passage. The man in charge was most courteous, but always put me off: but next day I would be back again. At last he said to me, "It must be a great deal of trouble for you to come to see me so often: just leave me your telephone number and I will call you when I know if we can give you a passage or not." I assured him I had nothing else to do at that time except to get that passage, and I would be down every day to see him, I would give him no rest. The next day we got our passages. But who would have thought of the Lord God Almighty talking to us like that? Oh, how little do we know of true prayer, and how little do we know of the heart of our God!

Chapter 13

Some Meditations on Diminutives:
Little Lambs — Arnia
Little Sheep — Probatia
Little Children — Paidia
Little Children (bairns) Teknia
Little Daughter — Thugatrion
Little Does — Kunaria
Little Crumbs — Psikia

In our English language some of the tenderest, sweetest and most endearing, yet most elusive words are our diminutives. Webster's dictionary tells us that 'Charley' is the diminutive of 'Charles.' Her Majesty the Queen might call Prince Charles, 'Charley,' but we may not do so: it is too intimate, too endearing a name, for a stranger to use.

Nor is it only to children that we use diminutives, I had an uncle by name of Charles, and he was 'Uncle Charley' to his nieces and nephews as long as he lived: so a diminutive may lose the sense of size, by being overpowered by the sense of endearment. Yet not all diminutives have the sense of endearment, though many have. 'Rivulet' is the diminutive of 'river,' and has no other sense than the smallness of its size. 'Bairnie' is the diminutive of 'bairn' and really means 'a little bairn;' but a Scotch mother may say to her boys and girls, even after they are grown up: "My bairnie!" and they will understand that she does not refer to size, but affection: and if they are nice children, they will return that affection with a kiss. We have various ways of forming our diminutives in English, as noted: rivulet, bairnie, lambkin, and so forth. In the Greek New Testament we also find diminutives, but they are formed by adding the letter 'i.' Thus, 'teknon' a child, becomes teknion in its diminutive. 'Thugater,' 'daughter,' has 'thugatrion' for its diminutive; but I know of no diminutive in English for 'daughter,' though a beloved friend tells me they have one in German.

We do not very often use diminutives in English; in a sense they are almost too sacred to be dragged into ordinary usage; and are reserved for occasions of special stress or feeling. The same, I think, is true in Greek. This makes them the more precious when they are used. To me, one of the loveliest diminutives in the Greek New Testament is 'teknion', mentioned above. The Lord Himself is speaking when we first hear it in the New Testament. It is on the same night in which He was betrayed; and He exclaims, 'Teknia!' (the plural of Teknion), "Teknia, Yet a little while I am with you!" That parting was before His soul, and well He knew what it would mean to His disciples: and so, with a heart full of love, He exclaims: "Teknia!" I know not how it can be translated. Our Authorised Version has, "Little Children!" Mr. Darby has, "Children", Rotherham has "Dear Children." All, in a sense, are right; but none seem to me to even begin to translate what was in the Lord's heart, and what He expressed to His disciples that night, by that one little word, "Teknia." One excellent dictionary suggests that the best translation of teknon' is the Scottish word 'bairn.' Both come from a word meaning to be born.' Those who have had the privilege of a Scottish mother or wife will know exactly what was meant when she said to her children: "Bairnies!" That, I think, is what the Lord meant when He said, on that dark betrayal night 'Teknia!'

When the mother says 'Bairnies!' she knows they are her own born children, her very own! She sees them as still needing her tender loving care; she pours out the love of her heart through this word in a way, perhaps, no other word could convey. It does not mean they are good children; It is a word that may be wrung from a broken heart, because of the naughtiness and selfwill of the children. But above all else, it tells of the mother-love, and that must flow over in some way, and so she exclaims, 'Bairnies!' So was it that night when we meet this word for the first time in the New Testament.

You may stand and gaze on a lovely rose, in all its perfection, with its exquisite fragrance: but if you try and study it, and pull it to pieces, you ruin the rose; so one feels afraid to touch these exquisite words with clumsy hands, for fear we spoil the beauty of them: and yet they were written for our learning. But, alas, with most it is matter of complete indifference whether the Spirit of God writes Tekna' or 'Teknia.'

The next time we meet it is in Galatians 4:19: but the reading here is not certain: it may be 'teknia mou' — 'My bairnies', or it may be 'tekna mou' — 'My bairns.' I confess I hope Teknia is right. Paul had to write more severely to the Galatians than to any other of his children in the faith, and there in the midst of his stern reproofs, (if the reading is correct), we hear him exclaim: "My Bairnies!" This is the only time we find this word in Paul's Epistles; and he used it to the naughtiest children of all: used it, I doubt not, out of much affliction and anguish of heart, and many tears. It seems to be one of the most touching spots in all that great Apostle's writings. But diminutives are generally meant for the heart, not the head, and they are not meant to be explained, but to be understood by that wondrous intuition, that (in the things of God) the Spirit alone can, and does, give.

We find this word again in the First Epistle of John, seven times. This need not surprise us, for the Disciple that Jesus loved, naturally loved to use the one word uttered just once by His Lord, (as far as we know), that told, as perhaps none other of his Lord's words, the tender, yearning love of His heart for His own: and at such a time! These are the only times we find this word in the New Testament.

If you will turn now to John 21:5-17, you will find the Lord using three more diminutives. You all know the lovely story of that breakfast on the beach, with the fire of coals that the Lord Himself had kindled.

You remember how He stood on the shore, and called to the disciples who were in the fishing boat, "Children, Have ye any meat?" And they had to answer, "No!" In the Greek Testament the word the Lord used is not "Children," but the diminutive of children, Paidia or, as we would say, Little children." But I do not think He was thinking of their age or size: I think that diminutive was called forth by the Lord's loving concern for their long, discouraging night of failure; and now no breakfast; for the very form of His question, as recorded in Greek, intimates that He knew the answer must be, "No!" Then the same love that asks the question in that particular form, tells them what to do: "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find." And then the answering chord in the heart of the disciple whom Jesus loved tells him who is that "Stranger" standing on the beach, and he says to Peter, "It is the Lord!"

Then He invites them to breakfast: the breakfast His own hands have prepared, and after they have finished eating, you remember he asks Peter if he loved Him more than the other disciples. Peter dare not use the strong word (agapao) for love, that the Lord had used, but replies, "Thou knowest that I am fond of Thee, (phileo.) Then the Lord says, "Feed My arnia." Arnia is the diminutive of 'lambs.' I suppose the most literal would be, "Feed My lambkins." And I am not sure that it would be such a bad translation either. Rotherham has 'dear lambs,' and I think that brings out the thought intended. I doubt not that it was love, as well as size or age, that was in the Lord's heart. This is the only place we find this diminutive, except in the Book of Revelation, where we find it 27 times or more, used of the Lord Himself: but in 13:11 we find it was the beast imitating the Lamb. Dr. Moulton thinks that on account of this the word had lost its special diminutive meaning of affection; but I like to think that the Disciple whom Jesus Loved, even at the end of his life, and when banished on the Isle of Patmos, could not breathe that word 'Lamb' without using a form that expressed the beloved Lamb;' just as the Father would not say, "This is My Son," but rather, "This is My beloved Son." And is He not to you, to me, the 'Arnion': the 'Beloved Lamb'? And so, I think, the Lord said to Peter, "Feed My beloved lambs." And let us not forget that He meant size or age as well as affection. So let us not pass by the Children.*

{* Moulton & Millican think there is complete absence of diminutive force: but I hope they are not entirely correct.}

The Lord then again asked Peter: "Lovest thou Me?" And Peter replies as before, and the Lord says: "Shepherd My probatia." 'Probatia' is the diminutive of 'sheep:' and I think what Peter understood by the Lord's use of this word was just this: "Shepherd My dear sheep," or, "My beloved sheep." The size of the sheep has been forgotten in the dearness of it: and how sweet to the soul, whether we are young or old, are these words: "My beloved lambs," "My beloved sheep." And you, Beloved, and I, are truly the Lord's beloved sheep and lambs; even though so often we are selfwilled and failing, yet to Him we are 'beloved.' And it may be the Lord has entrusted you with the care of some of His lambs or sheep: perhaps you have a class of children that are lambs of His, and it may be that sometimes they are noisy and trying and disobedient. Or it may be some of my older readers know what it is to seek to shepherd some of the Lord's sheep, and you find them stupid and contrary and hard to get on with, and you lose patience with them, and find them a sorry lot. It will help us if we remember the Lord calls them "My beloved lambs, My beloved sheep." That memory will help to make them dear to us also, and love suffereth long and is kind. And may we never look at them as our sheep, for the Lord calls them, "My dear sheep, My dear lambs."

And then came the Lord's third question, and He changes the word for 'lovest' from the word He had just used twice, to the word that Peter had used: the weaker word for 'love:' "Simon, son of Jonas, are you fond of Me?" That is what cut Peter to the heart. It was not that He asked three times if he loved Him, but it hurt terribly to think that the Lord would change the word for 'love' to the weak word; as though He questioned whether he really loved Him at all. And he bursts out: "Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I am fond of Thee." And the Lord says: "Feed My probatia:" "Feed My dear sheep." Those are the only times we find 'sheep' in the diminutive in the New Testament, as it is the only time we find 'lamb' in the diminutive, except in Revelation. But what a depth of meaning the Lord adds to His words, by just including that little 'i' three times: and you know, the Greek 'i' does not even have a dot to it!

* * * * *

Let us next look at a lovely cluster of four diminutives, strung like four rare and sparkling jewels, in Mark 7:25 to 28. We find the story also in Matthew 15:21 to 28, and we have to ponder both Gospels to get the full beauty from this exquisite portion of Scripture. It is the story of the Syro-Phoenician woman. Mark tells us that her 'thugatrion': (diminutive of 'daughter') had an unclean spirit. Matthew tells us she was "miserably possessed" (kakos daimonizetai) by a demon. Jairus had come to the Lord not so long before, using the same diminutive for his daughter. Mark 5:23. These are the only places in the New Testament that we find this word, and notice both are in Mark; for it was Mark, more than any other, who tells us the minute detail of some special word or look. How can we translate it? I know not, for in English we have no diminutive for 'daughter'. The translators have done their very best: 'little daughter', or 'young daughter', or 'dear daughter,' but I am sure it does not tell half the story. Perhaps for Jairus the nearest we could get in colloquial English would be something like this: "My wee girlie is near her end!" Can you not hear the pleading love in his words: "My wee girlie." She was twelve years old, but to the broken-hearted father she was still his 'wee girlie', — his 'thugatrion!! — and she was dying: he dare not use the word for 'death' so he says 'she is near her end.'

The Syro-Phoenician woman uses the same word. The Lord had walked very far, some fifty miles, to reach that woman of Tyre and her 'wee girlie,' and doubtless, as on another occasion, He was weary with His journey: and He kept wishing (Imperfect) that nobody would know the house he had entered: but He could not be hid: for this woman of Tyre hearing of Him, came and kept crying (Imperfect): "Pity me, Lord, Son of David!" But He answered her not a word. The disciples did not like her constant crying, and they kept asking (Imperfect) Him to send her away, because she keeps crying (Present) after us. But He answered, "I have not been sent but unto the lost sheep of Israel's house."

She came as to the "Son of David," which was His true title, but to the people of Israel: and as such she had no claim at all. So He replied: "Let the children first be filled:" The Lord used the word tekna: the ones who have the dignity and position by birth: (not teknia the diminutive): "for it is not right to take the children's (same word) bread, and throw it to the wee doggies." The poor mother had been pleading for her 'wee girlie', and the Lord takes up her term, and speaks of the 'wee doggies': the diminutive. Now notice, had the Lord used the ordinary word for dog, and not the diminutive: — and this story is the only place in the New Testament where the diminutive of 'dog' is found: — then this woman could not have replied as she did: for literally, as well as spiritually, in the East, 'without are dogs.' The fierce, horrible dogs of that land were not allowed in the houses, but the "wee doggies', the cute little puppies, could come in: and so the Lord gently and skilfully leads on her faith, by giving her this special, unusual word to encourage her; and she takes it up instantly: "Yes, Lord, and the wee doggies under the table eat of the wee crumbs (another diminutive) of the wee children (another diminutive, but not the honourable word for 'children,' teknia, but paidia, one that could be used of a servant).

She had watched her wee girlie eating, and knew how often she dropped wee crumbs. In our house the wee doggie used always to sit under the chair of the littlest one, because it well knew most crumbs dropped there. And, says she, I'm not asking for a lot; only for a 'wee crumb'. Has Jairus's wee girlie not dropped a wee crumb for a wee doggie over in Tyre? The children, the tekna, have been having a grand feast over in Judea; their sick healed, their lepers cleansed, the devils cast out of their children, even their dead raised to life: and is there never a wee crumb for a poor wee doggie in Tyre?

What joy that conversation brought to the Saviour of the world! Why, (I doubt not), it was just on purpose to bring a wee crumb to this wee doggie, — this wee girlie, — that the Saviour had made that long, weary journey; and when she had got her wee crumb He turns round and goes back again to 'the children.' Do you think that the Holy Spirit put those four little 'i's' into that story by accident? Sure I am He did not. Is that exquisite cluster of jewels nothing to you? Ah, Beloved, talk not slightingly of the Greek Testament; and discourage none from seeking to read the very words the Holy Spirit wrote. There are such treasures hidden there that none can ever exhaust them.

Only one more example. In John 6:9 we find the word 'Paidarion', the diminutive of 'pais', 'a child.' It might be either a boy or a girl; but in the 6th of John there is later a pronoun in the masculine, so we know it was 'a little boy.' It was this 'little child' who provided the five barley loaves, and the two little fish, with which the Lord fed five thousand. This is the only place we find this word in the New Testament; but we find it twice in Genesis 22. This is the Chapter that tells of Abraham offering up Isaac. What Abraham seems to have said to the servants was something like this: "Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the dear child, or, little child, will go yonder and worship, and come again to you." And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham out of heaven, and said, "Lay not thine hand upon the dear child, neither do thou anything unto him." May the tenderness, the pathos, of these passages fill our hearts; for, as we have said, diminutives are for the heart, not for the head.

Chapter 14

I Retreat — Ana-Choreo

"By weakness and defeat, He won the mede and crown; Trod all His foes beneath His feet, by being trodden down."

* * * * *

I do not think we have the word 'retreat' in our ordinary English Bible, though we do find 'retire' several times, and a good many times we find 'withdraw': words which have a very similar meaning. There are, I think, six different Greek words that are translated 'withdraw', (though they are also translated in many other ways).

I would like to ask you to look for a few minutes at the word ana-choreo. This word has the meaning of retreat in war. (Liddell & Scott), Moulton & Milligan say that retire is too weak for it, "The connotation of 'taking refuge' from some peril will suit most of the New Testament passages remarkably well."

This word is used 14 times in the Greek New Testament: ten of these are in Matthew's Gospel, of which six refer to our Lord Jesus Christ: Matt. 2:14; 2:22; 4:12; 12:15; 14:13; 15:21. We also find the same word used of our Lord Jesus in Mark 3:7 and John 6:15. It is also used of the Wise Men in Matt. 2:12 & 13; and of Judas in Matt. 27:5.

You will notice that Matthew uses this word far more often than any other of the New Testament writers: indeed besides those mentioned, it is only found in Matt. 9:24 and twice in Acts. Our readers will recall that Matthew presents to us our Lord Jesus as KING. How very remarkable that in this Gospel we find the King of kings, the Captain of our Salvation, the Captain Who has never lost a battle, and Who never will lose one, — here we find Him six times in retreat. In this Gospel we do not see Him destroying His enemies, as He could so easily have done, but retreating before them. In this Gospel we see Him who is the King, "meek and lowly in heart." It is in this Gospel our Lord says: "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?" (26.53). But He did not pray for those legions: instead He allowed Himself to be bound, to be abused, to be scourged, to be crucified by wicked men. It looked like utter defeat, after years of retreat. Little did the enemy know that this was the greatest Victory that has ever been won: and won "by weakness and defeat."

And through the centuries the soldiers of the King have often passed the same way: often has defeat seemed to be our portion; and retreat instead of advance has taken place. What a sad retreat we have watched with breaking hearts in China! But let us remember that the Captain under whom we are fighting is still in command: and He will yet prove to be the Victor, even in these sad, dark days of weakness and defeat. So, beloved fellow-soldiers, Take heart! Let us press on! Let us never be discouraged! We have a Captain in Whom we may implicitly trust: and the last words He says to us in the Gospel that tells so plainly of His retreat: are these: —

"All power is given unto ME in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore!"

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." (Romans 8:37).

Chapter 15

Inns, Guests, and Guest-Chambers — Kata-luma, Kata-lusai, Pan-docheion.

I suppose we all know well the lovely story of Zacchaeus, the Chief Publican of Jericho, told us in Luke 19:1-10. But the full beauty of this scene, it seems to me, does not appear on the surface. The words 'to-be-guest' are only one word in Greek: kata-luo: a verb. From this word we get the word kata-luma: a noun. This is the word used in the story of our Lord's birth, in Luke 2:7, when "there was no room for them in the inn." Here kata-luma is translated 'inn'. The only other occasion on which this word is used in the New Testament is when the Lord ate the last supper with His disciples in the large upper room: told us by both Mark and Luke. The Lord instructed Peter and John to say to the goodman of the house, "The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with My disciples?" (Luke 22:11). And in Mark 14:14 we find the same question, but (in the better reading of the Greek text) one word is changed: "Where is My guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with My disciples?" Yes, it was His guestchamber; His disciples; and His supper.

Though kata-luma, the inn or guest chamber, is only used these three times, the verb, kata-luo is used some seventeen times; and with the exception of Luke 19:7 and Luke 9:12, it always means to 'unloose,' or, 'undo', to 'pull down,' or 'destroy.' See, for example, the Law in Matt. 5:17; or the Temple in Matt. 27:40; or its stones, in Matt. 24:2, etc. In the two exceptions, the word in Luke 19:7 is translated 'to-be-guest' (as we have seen already), and in Luke 9:12 it is translated 'lodge.' I think the thought is that when we lodge, or be a guest of someone, we relax, we loosen our clothes, we ungird, both ourselves and our beasts of burden. This gives us the fundamental thought in the noun, translated 'inn' or 'guestchamber.' But our Lord did not come to this world to rest or relax or ungird: He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister: and so it would have been utterly unfitting that He should have been born in an inn that had such a meaning as we have seen. And so He chose the stable. As we follow our Master's footsteps through Luke's Gospel, we find the foxes had holes, the birds of the air had nests, but the Son of man had not where to lay His head.

And now we find, again in Luke's Gospel, that as He entered and passed through Jericho: the very last journey of any length our Lord ever took along these weary paths of earth: a man received Him; Yes, received Him joyfully, to be his guest. The Spirit of God is careful to use the same word (only a verb) as He had used in the second chapter of this Gospel to tell of the place where there was no room for Him, and they sent Him out to the stable. But here, in the house of Zacchaeus the publican, He has found a place where He may ungird, where He may relax, may rest. Full sure I am that in this home there was water for His feet, and oil for His head, and kisses in abundance: all of which were denied in Simon's house in the seventh chapter of Luke. But Zacchaeus is a sinner, and Simon is a Pharisee. To the one much had been forgiven, to the other little: so the one loved much, while the other loved little. And it does not say that He went 'to-be-guest' (this lovely word) with Simon.

But there is another difference between the inn in Bethlehem and the home of Zacchaeus in Jericho. The inn where there was no room for the King of kings was located in Bethlehem, first, by interpretation, 'The House of Bread', the place where there was an abundance: and second, the birthplace of King David; the town foretold by the Prophet where the Messiah must be born. But Zacchaeus lived in Jericho, the 'City of the Curse.' (Joshua 6:26). Bethlehem's inn had its opportunity to welcome the King of kings, the Lord of Glory, but the inn-keeper, who is not even mentioned, did not know "Jesus, who He was", as Zacchaeus learned that day to know Him. Had he known, he would not have turned the Lord of Glory out to the stable.

In the 10th of Luke a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house, and she was careful and troubled to prepare a great feast for Him: but even that did not warrant the Spirit of God in using this lovely word, gone 'to-be-guest', in describing this visit. That word, kata-luo, is reserved for the home of "a man that is a sinner." He, and he only, supplies to the Son of God what was refused Him at His birth: a loosing-down place: a place where He might ungird, and rest. And what rest and refreshment must that day have been to our Saviour, as He saw something of the travail of His soul, and in part was satisfied.

But there is a little more. The people who watched Him grumbled that He was "gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner." The Greek work is more than just 'gone.' It is rather, "He has entered in to be guest." This seems to me to be much more vivid. I see Him walk up the path, and pass through the doorway, and enter right inside the house. And if there was joy in the presence of the angels that day, as we know there was, we know there was equal, nay, rather, there was greater joy inside that "sinner's" house in Jericho. Joy for the sinner, truly: but joy that exceeded for the sinner's Guest.

* * * * *

But let us look a little at the other kata-luma, the other 'Guestchamber', of which we read in Luke 22:11. And we have noted that Mark, who so loves to tell us little details of our Lord's path down here, tells us that He called it 'My guestchamber.' I do not remember any other place in this world that He claimed as His own. And in this kata-luma, this 'loosing-down-place', instead of ungirding Himself, as we would have expected: we find He takes a towel and girds Himself, to do the slave's work, of washing His disciples' feet. But then He "took upon Him the form of a slave (doulou)" when He made Himself of no reputation. (Phil. 2:7). Years later Peter wrote, I doubt not recalling that evening in this Guestchamber, "Gird ye on the slave's apron."* 1 Peter 5:5. If we have the privilege of being the Lord's guests in His Guestchamber, let us remember what the Lord did there that night, and also the words He added: "I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you." But don't forget, to do this we must first gird on the slave's apron of humility.

{* eg-komboomai: from kombos, a knot, whence egkomboma, a garment tied on over others, used especially of a frock or apron worn by slaves. (Abbott-Smith's Manual Greek Lexicon of the N.T.).}

* * * * *

In Ephesians 3:17 the Apostle prays that "Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." The word translated 'dwell' is the same word as in Matt. 2:23, "He came and dwelt at Nazareth." The Greek word is kat-oikeo. The first part is the same word as is used in kata-luo, — to-be-guest; and the other part is from oikos, 'a house.' The whole word means 'to settle, to dwell.' Some think 'To make one's home' is nearer the true meaning; or, perhaps, 'to settle down.' Either translation seems to bring a lovely thought: "That Christ may make His home in your hearts." When I am in my 'home' every part of the house is open to me: nothing is hidden or closed: all is, in a sense, mine. I doubt not this is the meaning here in Ephesians. But before He can do this we need to receive Him joyfully, like Zacchaeus, and He must be able to claim my heart as His Guestchamber. And not only will He come in and sup with us, and we with Him: but we will find He makes our hearts His very home. In John 14:23 He tells us much the same: "If a man love Me he will keep my words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him." The word for 'abode' is the very same word translated 'mansions' in Verse 2. "In My Father's house are many mansions: . . . I go to prepare a place for you." He is preparing the mansions for us in the Father's House; shall not we prepare a 'home', an 'abode', for Him now, down here? And the secret of preparing that 'mansion' for Him is to keep, not His commandments, as in Verse 21; but His words: which go further. Lord, help us so to do, for Thy Name's sake!

One night, years ago, I was trying to tell a little group of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong about this wondrous promise. They mostly lived in Sik Kiet Mei, at that time one of the most miserable of all the refugee settlements in Hong Kong. Many of the 'homes' there were more miserable shacks than anything, I suppose, my readers have ever seen; just piled up at random on a wild, rough, steep hillside. One I knew well was only a hole in the earth dug under a great boulder, to form a sort of cave. I pointed out that He who was born in a stable was quite willing to make His Home with them at Sik Kiet Mei, if they kept His words. They looked very incredulous, and at last one asked, "Mr. Lee, have you ever seen Sik Kiet Mei on a dark, rainy night?" I had to admit I had not: there were no roads, hardly paths; and it was hard enough to find one's way in the daylight: but yet I could assure them that if they kept His words, their Lord, the Lord of Glory, would gladly make His Home with them, even in Sik Kiet Mei. And another replied, "Yes, in our hearts, and that is the best place."

* * * * *

But there is one other 'inn' mentioned in the New Testament, and I believe the only other. Once more we find it in Luke, chapter 10:34. A certain man went down from Jerusalem, the city where the holy Temple of God was built; he was going down to Jericho, the city of the curse: the home of Zacchaeus. But on the way he fell among thieves, who left him naked and wounded and half dead. A priest and a Levite passed by, but did nothing to help the wretched man. Then came 'a certain Samaritan', and as he journeyed, he came where he was; and he had compassion on him, and went right down into the ditch with him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; I am sure he clothed him with his own clothes, and he put him on his own beast, and he took him to an inn. Ah, but there was no room in the only other inn we read about in the New Testament: will there be room for him in this inn? Yes, Thank God, there is room, abundance of room, for him: for the name of this inn is not kata-luma, but, pan-docheion: the 'place that receives all.' Not one has ever been turned away from this inn. Poverty, wretchedness, sin will never keep a person outside the inn call Pan-docheion.' It is God's own inn. Never yet has an applicant been told there is 'no room.' It 'receives all.' "Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out," is, I think, inscribed over that door.

And this inn has a 'Host,' and the Spirit of God tells us His name: His name is 'Pan-docheus': the Person who receives all.' And the Samaritan only stayed a short time, for he went away the next day; but before He left, He promised to come back, and in the meantime, He left orders with the 'Host': the 'pan-docheus', to take care of this poor man. He left Him two pence, but added, "And whatsoever Thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay Thee." (Luke 10:35). Since He only paid 'two pence' the poor man knew that his good Friend meant to come again soon; and I am sure he kept watching down the road to see if He was coming.

"Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, Come, Lord Jesus."

Chapter 16

Christian Graces

Endurance — Hupomone

This word is generally translated "Patience" in our Authorized Version, and by "Endurance" in the New Translation by J. N. Darby. The original meaning of the Greek word is "Remaining Behind." It comes from the verb, "I remain behind", which in Luke 2:43 is translated in this way.

We find a very beautiful example of this word in the lovely story of Shammah in the field of lentiles in 2 Samuel 23:11, 12. "After him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles; and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines; and the Lord wrought a great victory."

Shammah "remained behind." Shammah "endured." There are, perhaps, few things more difficult than to endure. When others have given up, to remain behind, is not easy. I suppose Shammah's friends and fellow-soldiers told him it was hopeless, it was certain death to stay where he was, and anyway for a field of lentiles (in the Chinese Bible it is "red beans") it was not worth remaining behind. I expect David had given that field of lentiles to Shammah to defend. And you and I have been given a field of lentiles to defend, in the midst of which 'great David's Greater Son' has placed us. Our field of lentiles may be our home, or the office, or the shop; it may be the little feeble company of two or three gathered to our Lord's own Name, that others have despised and forsaken for something greater and more attractive. Our field of lentiles may not seem worth defending, and we may feel like giving up, or perhaps we are turning our eyes to fields that seem to us more attractive, and more worth while. Let us remember Shammah. who remained behind when the others fled. Let us endure, as he endured.

Our God is called "The God of Endurance"; "The God of Endurance and Encouragement." (Rom. 15:5, New Trans.) Many years ago some kind friends were urging a young man to give up some work the Lord had given him to do. He went in his perplexity to a dear old brother. He will never forget the way he exclaimed: "Give up? All giving up is of the devil!" Yes, our God is "the God of Endurance."

I suppose every Christian is willing to "boast in hope of the glory of God." (Rom. 5:2. New Trans.), but now many of us can truthfully add: "And not only (that) , but we also boast in tribulations, knowing that tribulation works endurance." The word tribulation comes from the Latin word "tribulum", "a flail." The flail I used when a boy was a cruel looking instrument, made of two sticks of wood fastened together at the ends with a thong. You held one of the sticks, swinging it so that the other came down with a terrific whack on the wheat. The result was that the chaff and straw were separated from the wheat. The chaff and straw were blown away, while the wheat remained. The wheat endured. The flail brought tribulation to it, right enough, but by that tribulation the wheat obtained endurance.

It may be you have been having some pretty heavy blows with the flail. You may feel that you have been having more than your share of tribulation. May the God of Endurance give you to boast in tribulation also, knowing that tribulation works Endurance. You will have noticed the way James opens his epistle. Immediately after the greeting, (which only takes one verse), he plunges straight into his subject. "Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into various temptations (Peirasmos: An Experiment, a trial, a testing, a temptation. We are put into the crucible, like the chemists do the substances they are testing). "Count it all joy when ye fall into various temptations, knowing that the proving of your faith works endurance." Bishop Ellicott says: "In the noble word hupomone there always appears in the New Testament a background of andreia (manliness) . . . it does not mark merely the endurance, but the perseverance, . . . the brave patience with which the Christian contends against the various hindrances, persecutions and temptations that befall him in his conflict with the inward and the outward world."

Yes, Endurance is so precious, and of such inestimable value, that we may count it all joy when we fall into these trials, because we know they work endurance. "But let endurance have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2, 3). And the passage we looked at in Romans, says: "We also boast in tribulations, knowing that tribulation works endurance; and endurance, experience; and experience, hope; and hope does not make ashamed." Yes, Endurance works experience. That is what our hymn tells us:
"His love in times past
Forbids us to think
He'll leave us at last,
In trouble to sink."

This is experience, and it was endurance taught it. Do you think Shammah would have missed the experience he gained by that fight in the lentile field? Never! And when we get Home, we will see that some of these hard places on the road were the bits we would not have missed for anything. They worked Endurance.

The first mark of a true servant of God is "Endurance." "In everything commending ourselves as God's ministers (or, servants), in much endurance," (2 Cor. 6:4). The false servant, the hireling, fled when he saw the wolf coming; but the Good Shepherd "remained behind." He endured. Endurance was also the first sign of an Apostle. "The signs indeed of the apostle were wrought among you in all endurance . . ." (2 Cor. 12:12).

Years ago my work took me to the woods in the North of Canada, far from any Christian services. One Lord's Day morning I was reading the first chapter of Colossians. I got as far as the eleventh verse, and I read: "Strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory . . ." and I stopped there, somewhat overwhelmed by the stupendous display of mighty power. And as I stopped, I dreamed of the great deeds I would some day do for the Lord, with all this mighty power on which I might so freely draw; what crowds might be converted; how the heathen might be won for Christ! Then I decided to finish the verse: "Strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory unto all endurance and longsuffering with joy." It was a bit of a shock, for in those days I had never thought very much of endurance, or of patience either, as it is put in our ordinary English Bible. But God's thoughts are not our thoughts; and God knows the true worth of Endurance, and just the power that is needed for it, especially when "longsuffering", or "suffering-for-a-long-time", is connected with it; and the whole is done not with a spirit of being sorry for ourselves, but, "with joy." Ah, my brothers, my sisters, you will find you do indeed need to be "strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory", if you are to have "all endurance and longsuffering with joy." We never, never can do it in our own strength, but Thanks be to God, He does not ask us to use our own strength, and He offers us all this vast store of power on which to freely draw, with unlimited demands, and all for the sake of Endurance: "Endurance and longsuffering with joy." It is not easy, but, Thank the Lord, He can do it for us; He can work it in us.

The Apostle used to boast about the Endurance of his dear children in Faith, the Thessalonian Christians. "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and Endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thess. 1:3). And their Endurance kept up, for in the Second Epistle we find he is still boasting of it, "Your faith increases exceedingly, and the love of each one of you all towards one another abounds; so that we ourselves make our boast in you in the assemblies of God for your Endurance and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations, which ye are sustaining." (2 Thess. 1:4). They had the real, genuine thing; their Endurance did not break down.

There are some things that pursue us, press after us. This word "Dioko", "Pursue" or "Press after" is an intensely interesting word, but we may not stop to pursue it now. The things that press after us are very often troubles, (not always: for Goodness and Mercy are amongst the things that very earnestly press after us, as well as other good things); But we are to press after quite a lot of things; you will find a list of some of them in 1 Tim. 6:11, 12; and amongst these you will find Endurance. Yes, we are to press after Endurance. These days are apt to be soft days, and we do not like to endure hardness if we can help it; but remember, it is not wealth, nor ease, nor comfort, nor learning, we are to press after; but Endurance, as well as other blessed graces we may not mention now.

The Apostle could say to Timothy, his son in the faith: "Thou hast been thoroughly acquainted with my . . . endurance." (2 Tim. 3:10). Yes, Timothy knew how Paul had remained behind when John Mark gave up and deserted him; He knew how Paul had endured when Peter gave up the truth at Antioch, and all the others with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away; but Paul remained behind in the true faith. And in Second Timothy 4:16 the old Apostle, Paul the Aged, tells his child in the faith how "all deserted me." But Paul Endured, he remained behind, and faced Nero alone; "and I was delivered out of the lion's mouth." Few there are indeed who have Endured like Paul, and few were acquainted with his Endurance like Timothy.

Paul tells Titus that the "elder men" were to have Endurance, though this would indeed include patience (See Titus 2:2, New Trans. Note). It may be that as we get older we learn to value this quality more. The urge and impetuosity of youth has passed away, perhaps. But, Thank the Lord, Endurance is one quality we old folks who are not good for much may, and should, have. Keep on in the race, dear old Friend, the goal is almost in sight, "Press toward the Mark!" Endure!

And Hebrews 10:36 tells us we have need of Endurance in order that, having done the will of God, we may receive the promise. We can see "the streaks in the sky." The Bright and Morning Star will soon appear, and make good all the promises. But now, in the darkest part of the night, just before the dawn, "Ye have need of Endurance." And those who have Endured, we call happy. "Ye have heard of the Endurance of Job, and seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is full of tender compassion and pitiful." (James 5:11). Sweet attributes are these to link up with Endurance. It did not look like tender compassion and pity in the early chapters of Job. But it was true for Job, and it is true for us. Tribulation did work Endurance, and if we let it, tribulation will work Endurance for us too, and we also will prove the Lord to be "full of tender compassion and pitiful."

And in that famous addition sum of Peter's (2 Peter 1:5, 6), we find our word once again: Endurance! To our Faith add Courage: to our Courage add Knowledge: to our Knowledge add Self-control: to our Self-Control add Endurance, and to Endurance add Brotherly Affection: and to our Brotherly Affection add Love. May God help us so to do.

"Let us therefore, having so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, laying aside every weight, and sin which so easily entangles us, run with Endurance the race that lies before us, looking steadfastly on JESUS the Leader and Completer of faith: who, in view of the joy lying before Him, Endured the cross, having despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider well Him who Endured so great contradiction of sinners against Himself, that ye be not weary, fainting in your minds." (Hebrews 12:1 to 3).

Endure hardness as a Good Soldier of Jesus Christ. (2 Tim. 2:3)

Chapter 17

On Throwing — Ek-ballo, Dia-ballo.

One of the commonest words in the Greek New Testament is Ballo, 'I throw,' or its derivatives. There are a number of words formed from this word, by adding a preposition to it, as, for example: Ek-ballo, 'I throw out.' We get our English word 'ball' from this word ballo, so every time a boy or girl talks about a 'ball', he can be reminded of this word in the Greek New Testament. Actually it is very rarely translated 'throw', but rather, 'cast', 'put,' or occasionally, 'lay.' In Mark 12:42, the poor widow 'threw' in two mites; and in Acts 22:23, the mob who tried to kill Paul 'threw' dust into the air.

I want you to think for a little while about the word ek-ballo, 'I-throw-out.' It is translated in a number of different ways: 'cast out' Matt. 7:5; 'send forth' Matt. 12:20; 'drove out' John 2:15, etc. The thought is, I believe, forcibly sending something, or someone, out: as a boy forcibly sends a ball out, when he throws it. The ball is not consulted as to this, the force and power all come from the one who throws it. If you will turn to Matt. 9:38 or Luke 10:2, you will see words something like these: "The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest." The word translated 'send forth' is ek-ballo in each of these Gospels. The Lord of the Harvest Himself is the one that sends forth, or, thrusts forth (New Trans.) these labourers. It is not left to the labourer's own choice as to whether he will go or not. No man, not even a mission board, has the authority to send forth these labourers. No, the Lord of the harvest alone has right to send forth a labourer. And I need hardly add that if the Lord of the harvest sends forth a labourer, He will make Himself responsible for the support and care of that labourer: even though he may share some of the sufferings of the Apostle Paul, described in 2 Cor. 11; such as 'weariness and painfulness, watchings often, hunger and thirst, fastings often, cold and nakedness' and, Oh, so many more. But the Apostle reckoned that these sufferings, which were but for a moment, were not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. See Romans 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17,18.
"I will give her My cross of suffering,
My cup of sorrow to share:
But in robes of white, in the Glory bright,
All shall be righted there."

But there is another word we must consider in this Scripture, and that is the word that the Lord used here for 'Pray.' "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth labourers into His harvest." There are a number of words used in the New Testament for pray, but this is the strongest of them all. It is deomai: it might be translated 'beseech', or 'supplicate.' Mr. Darby uses 'supplicate' in his New Translation. Now, Beloved, I wonder how many of us obey the Lord's command (for it is a command) given to us in these verses. I wonder how often in our own private prayers we supplicate the Lord of the harvest to thrust forth labourers. I wonder how often in the Prayer Meetings do we hear this earnest, fervent supplication. I fear not very often. Is it for this reason that the labourers are so pitifully few? The harvest is just as great as ever, and the right sort of labourers unspeakably few: so this prayer the Lord taught His disciples is just as applicable as ever for our own day.

* * * * *

The next word I would ask you to consider is Dia-ballo. It means literally 'I throw across.' It is only used once in the New Testament as a verb, that is in Luke 16:1. Here it is translated 'accuse.' It may remind us of the old proverb, "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones." And the meaning of the word has come to be, 'To slander, defame, accuse falsely or maliciously.' Where it is used in Luke 16, it tells of someone who accused the unjust steward to his master. Now the use of this word lets us know that it was not out of love to the master that he did this, but out of spite to the steward.

There is one very striking example of a man who 'threw across' stones and dust with a malicious intent. His name is Shimei, and we may read the story in 2 Sam. 16:5-13. "Shimei went along on the hill's side over against him (David, his rejected king) , and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust." David is a picture of our Lord Jesus, the true King, but rejected and cast out. How many there are who like to throw stones at Him today, or at His followers. And, sad to say, there is many a true Christian even now who seems to spend his time throwing stones and dust at his fellow-Christians: and it is much to be feared, sometimes doing it with malicious intent. In fact he is doing the work called in the New Testament, dia-ballo.

Now, there is one, more than any other who does this work. In fact so constantly is he employed in it, — the work of casting stones and dust at the Lord's people, — that in the New Testament this personage has won for himself the name, Dia-boles,' 'The one who throws (stones) ,' or 'The Slanderer.' This word is used many times, and with three exceptions, (1 Tim. 3:11; 2 Tim. 3:3; Titus 2:3) it is always translated 'devil.' This ought to pull some of us up pretty sharply. Are we doing the work of the devil: helping him in his own special work of accusing the brethren (Rev. 12:10)? (And even Peter could do the work of the devil).

This is a very solemn question for us to ask ourselves. Are we helpers in the Lord's harvest fields today, by supplicating the Lord of the harvest to thrust forth (ek-ballo) labourers into His harvest fields? or, Are we weakening the hands of His labourers by throwing stones and dust across at them (dia-ballo)? There are, I doubt not, labourers today standing idle; while the harvest fields are white, waiting for them: and all because some of us have been employed in dia-ballo instead of ek-ballo.

* * * * *

I can hardly leave this word dia-ballo without a reference to the three places where it is not translated 'devil.' The first (1 Tim. 3:11) refers to the wives of the deacons, and tells them they are not to be slanderers, — not to be 'devils,' for 'devil' means 'slanderer.' The second scripture is 2 Tim. 3:3, and tells us that in the last days men shall be . . . false accusers: that is 'slanderers.' This is one of the marks of the times in which we live: and brothers and sisters alike are liable to fall into this horrid sin. The third time this word is used in this way (Titus 2:3) is in a special message to the "aged women" that they are not to be 'false accusers.'

Some of the stones and dust that we throw hurt far more than ever we intended they should; and let us bear in mind that we can greatly hinder the work of the Lord, on the one hand, or greatly help it, on the other by our use of ekballo or diaballo.
Which is it going to be???

Chapter 18

The Last Lap of the Narrow WayThlipsis, Plateia.

The "Narrow Way" begins at the "Strait Gate." (Matt. 7:13,14). The Greek word here for "Narrow" is thlibo, meaning 'compressed.' It is also translated 'afflicted' (2 Cor. 1:6); 'suffer tribulation' (1 Thess. 3:4); 'troubled' (2 Cor. 7:5). The Greek word thlipsis (formed from thlibo) is used over and over again to describe the normal path of the Christian through this world. For instance, in John 16:33, "In the world ye shall have tribulation," we have thlipsis used. In Romans 5:3, "We glory in tribulation," we find this word again. In 2 Cor. 4:17, "Our light affliction," it is the same. And the examples might be greatly multiplied. The Bible makes it unmistakeably clear that the "Narrow Way" is a way of tribulation.

We must remember that the word 'strait', in the expression "The strait gate," is an entirely different word in English to 'straight'. We speak of a 'straight line;' but a 'strait gate' means a 'narrow gate.' The Greek word is a 'stenos' gate. It is used three times in the New Testament, and always means 'narrow.' From this word stenos another word is formed, stenochoreo. This word is used seven times in the New Testament, including the noun formed from it. In 2 Cor. 6:12 we read: "Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels." In Romans 8:35: "Shall . . . . distress?" 2 Cor. 6:4: "In necessities, in distresses;" 2 Cor. 12:10: "In distresses for Christ's sake." So we see that the 'Strait Gate' by which we enter the 'Narrow Way' is one that brings us distress and pressure. That is the proper, normal path for the Christian in this world. "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Tim. 3:12). True, we may seek to reign as kings down here, and dwell in our 'ceiled houses:' but that is not the path marked out by our Master for His servants.

And what is the 'Last Lap' of this 'Narrow Way'? It leads us to "The Street of the City," the Heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 21:21; 22:2). The word for 'Street' here is plateia or platus. It means 'Broad' or 'wide,' and is the word used for "Wide is the gate" in Matt. 7:13. We walk the 'Narrow Way' down here: but when we get Home, we will find that it led to the 'Broad Street,' paved with gold where are the 'Many Mansions.' And then we will find it was no mistake when the Apostle said that our light thlipsis, our light affliction, which is but for a moment, (that is the length of the Narrow Way compared to the length of the Broad Street above), worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory. (2 Cor. 4:17).

And what is the 'Last Lap' of the 'Broad Way' that is entered through the 'Wide Gate' that leadeth to destruction? Romans 2:9 gives us the answer: "Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile." 'Tribulation' here is thlipsis, and 'Anguish' here is stenochoria, the very words we have just seen that mark the path of the Christian through this world! The Christian starts with the 'Strait Gate' and the 'Narrow Way' that tell of Tribulation and Anguish, but they are but for a moment,' and he ends in the 'Broad Street' and the Many Mansions, for Eternity. The Unbeliever starts with the 'Wide Gate' and the 'Broad Way' that perhaps tell of ease and luxury: but they end in thlipsis and stenochoria, — Tribulation and Anguish, — for Eternity!

"CHOOSE YE TODAY!"