The sheep — Matthew 25:33|
Wash away thy sins — Acts 22:16
Baptised for the dead — 1 Corinthians 15:29
Moisson — Isaiah 63:19
The serpent — Genesis 3 etc.
All the house of Israel — Acts 2:36
Dan — Revelation 7
Jacob's house — Genesis 46:26, with Acts 7:14
Eternal or everlasting — Matthew 25:46
The whole world — Luke 2:1
The sceptre — Genesis 49:10 etc.
The kingdom of the heavens — Matthew 13
Christendom — Matthew 24, 25
Dependence — Matthew 7:7, 8
Reckoning time — John 19:14, Mark 15:25
Jacob's serving for Leah and Rachel — Genesis 29
Thou hast answered — Psalm 22:21
Blessed righteously — 2 Corinthians 5:21
God's witness worthy — 1 John 5:11
All — πᾶς
Prayer and prophesy of women — 1 Corinthians 11:5
Esau sought the blessing — Hebrews 12:17
When do the O.T. saints rise? — 1 Corinthians 15:23
Are any of the church left behind — John 14 etc.
Then I restored what I took not away — Psalm 69:4
What means — Job 22:30
Wine — John 2 etc.
The great white throne — 2 Corinthians 5:10
Ye are fallen from grace — Galatians 5:4
Call to mutual love and esteem — 1 Corinthians 11:33
Christ's judgment-seat — 1 Corinthians 4:5
Abram's age — Genesis 11:26-32; 12:4
The Spirit dwelling — John 14:16, 17
The blind and the lame — 2 Samuel 5:8
Sixty-two weeks — Daniel 9:26, 27
Heresy — Titus 3:10, 11
The sacrifice of the present — Luke 16:9
The Father's judging — John 15:2, 6
Patriarchal graves — Acts 7:16
The universal Fatherhood of God — Luke 3:38
The book of Enoch — Jude 14
Genealogies — Matthew 1 and Luke 3
Sanctification and cleansing — Ephesians 5:26
What is the meaning of — Deuteronomy
The Israel of God — Galatians 6:16
Reigning on the earth — Revelation 5:10
The kingdom of the heavens — Matthew 13:24; 18:2
The surnames of the Twelve — 2 Peter 1:1 etc.
Is the law finally abrogated? — Hebrews 7:18, 19; 8:7, 8, 13
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 32. February 1894.
Q. Are "the sheep" in Matthew 25:33 the same as the Gentiles in Revelation 7:17? They are alike out of the nations, but which? Heathen or christened? How then 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12? G.R.
A. That they are the same objects of mercy in that day is confirmed by the remnant in Matthew 24:15-26, answering to Revelation 14:1-5, and His elect in Matthew 24:31, answering to Revelation 7:1-8. "All the nations" seems from the context to be outside Israel and Christendom (already judged in the previous parts of the Lord's prophecy on the mount). 2 Thessalonians 2 does not exclude a remnant that love the truth, even when all that reject it perish irremediably.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 48. March 1894.
Q. Would you kindly explain "be baptised, and wash away thy sins," in Acts 22:16? B.G.
A. It is not at all that a soul should by grace believe the gospel. The Lord enjoins the outward act of baptism, as the appointed and standing sign of burial to His death, in subjection to His name. He that would refuse it on principle despises Christ and His work. On the other hand, he that has no more than submitted to the sign has only an external name before men, and no real intrinsic part in the privileges he claims, which is inseparable from faith, without which millions have been baptised in vain. See Mark 16:16. The apostles, etc., were told to baptise, as they did: and even Paul was baptised by a simple disciple. But it is a grave fact for system-makers, that scripture is silent about the twelve themselves. There is no ground to believe that one of them was the subject of Christian baptism. Some or all may have been baptised by John; but his baptism was quite distinct, as we see in Acts 19.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 63. April 1894.
Q. (1) 1 Corinthians 15:29 — Will you kindly explain?
(2) Also, when do the O.T. saints rise? A.C.W.
A. (1) "Baptised for the dead" means, in my judgment, simply those that entered ("that are being baptised") taking the place and filling up the ranks of the deceased saints. For grace in the face of all dangers keeps up God's standing army here below. It refers to ver. 18, as 30 to ver. 19 (20-28 being an evident parenthesis of great value and positive), which resume the apostle's interrupted argument. The resurrection is the key to suffering and death itself for Christ's name. Without such a hope it were folly to join such a devoted band; but with it, His name will never lack recruits in faith even for a death or life of suffering. To suppose (like Deans Stanley and Alford) a superstition alluded to, and the apostle dealing gently with such folly as "survivors getting baptised on behalf of friends deceased without baptism," seems as contrary to his character as in itself strange. In all probability what Bishop hall calls "the usual but ungrounded practice" was a conceit grafted on this verse misunderstood. Again, Luther's idea of "over the dead," i.e. over their graves, is another imaginary superstition, worthy of the middle ages. Nor is it a tolerable interpretation that the plural is used for the singular and refers to the Lord. Sir R. Ellys seems to have first suggested the true thought in his "Fortuita Sacra" (1728), adopted and popularised by Doddridge in the "Family Expositor."
(2) The O.T. saints as well as those dead of the New rise at Christ's coming (ver. 23) (the living being then changed, 51, 52). "They that are Christ's" is surely comprehensive enough to embrace both. Revelation 20:4 adds the rising of the Apocalyptic martyrs, too late for the rapture but just in time to be raised and reign with the previously risen saints, before the kingdom of Christ's and of His saints over the earth begins. For in that verse we have, in the first class already seated on thrones, the saints of the Old and New Testament, whom the Lord translates to heaven at His coming (the twenty-four elders of Revelation 4, Revelation 5); then the souls of those beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God (Revelation 6); and lastly those who worshipped not the beast or his image (Revelation 13): which two classes, having been killed, needed to live, in order to reign with Christ, like the enthroned ones. "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" (1 Corinthians 6:2) — not the church merely, but "the saints." The reason why these two classes of sufferers are carefully shown to have part in the First Resurrection is because Christ had come and received to Himself the first and general company. Otherwise, being slain afterwards, they might seem to have been to late for that blessed part. Here they are assured of it.
Q. A Christian writes from Guernsey as to Isaiah 63:19 variously rendered, and asks D. Martin's authority for "long temps" in that verse; and the reason for "maison" instead of "moisson" in Isaiah 8 last verse (or Isaiah 10:2 or 3 as in others). So it is in Bagster's reprint of Martin's version.
A. Our correspondent is correct; and Martin, though far closer than Ostervald, is wrong in the first text, and misrepresented as to the second in the London reprint, which seems an erratum. But the former is quite mistranslated in the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, and consequently in the R.C. versions such as that by le M. de Saci. As the A.V., the French Bible of Jean Diodati (Geneve, 1644) gives "jamais." The first clause in the A.V. is unwarranted; it interpolates "all thine" and severs the connexion. "We are from of old [looking back from the future tribulation before deliverance] over whom thou ruledst not, those not called by thy name." Alexander comes to the result of the English Bible in supposing Israel to be contrasted with their adversaries: — "We are of old: thou hast not ruled over them, thy name has not been called upon them." Isaac Leeser represents the Jewish preference of "We are become as though we are those over whom thou hast never ruled, over whom thy name hath not been called;" rather paraphrastic but right substantially. Benisch gives more concisely, "We are like those over whom" etc.
Q. Does scripture determine the serpent in Genesis 3?
A. Surely Revelation 12:9, Revelation 20:1, with 2 Corinthians 11:3, are ample to decide this question. Satan availed himself of that subtle animal, not yet reduced to its humiliating condition.
Q. Why should it be "all the house of Israel" in Acts 2:36, as there is no article in the Greek? Does not πασ οἶκος mean "every house"? ENQUIRER.
A. Without "of Israel" connected it would be "every house"; but with it the case is altered. "House of Israel" is in thought a compound term and is sufficiently defined without the article, like "all Jerusalem" which dispenses with it. So it is with "building" in Ephesians 2:21, a composite whole in sense, which makes "every" improper and false. The Revisors seem to have been quite astray in all this, though right of course in Ephesians 3:15, as "family" has no such reason to plead. "Each several building" is gravely false, at issue with the context even, as with all scripture, which insists on unity.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 80. May 1894.
Q. Why is Dan omitted in Revelation 7?
A. Not because this tribe is not to have its share in the future partition and blessing; for Ezekiel 48 enumerates it as the first and most northerly of all. A tradition among the fathers prevailed, founded on Genesis 49:17, that it was because antichrist was to spring from this tribe. It is certain that it was the first to sanction idolatry: and evil reprobated the more solemnly in the Revelation, because it will revive as the judgment of the quick draws near. It seems also omitted among the genealogies of the early chapters of 1 Chronicles.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 95. June 1894.
Q. Genesis 46:26, with Acts 7:14: how to be explained?
A. There is no question really of truth, but of object and mode of speech; for the original history speaks of 66 (ver. 26) and 70 (ver. 27). Even in ver. 26 the Hebrew strictly means "belong to," rather than with Jacob. The 70 are his house, including more. The LXX, in their Greek version, which Stephen quotes, include five more though born in Egypt, according to this well understood usage of regarding parent and children as one.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 112. July 1894.
Q. Does the word of God really mean "eternal" or "everlasting" in Matthew 25:46? or only "age-lasting?" T.H.T.
A. The word is used in Romans 16:26 of God, in Hebrews 9:14 of the Spirit, and in 1 John 1:2 of that life which Christ was and is. Are They merely age-lasting? In 2 Corinthians 4:18 the same is contrasted with "temporal," instead of being similar in force, as these false teachers aver. Nay, the verse itself refutes their desire; for even they own that the life of the saints is "everlasting," and the same word in the same sentence is applied to the punishment of the wicked. Hebrew, Greek, English, or any other tongue, makes no difference. The N.T. differs from the Old in the utmost clearness as to this, now that Christ is come; as the O.T. had dwelt chiefly on the present government of God, while pointing here and there to the eternal things which are now unveiled under the gospel.
Q. Does "the whole world" in Luke 2:1 include Russia, etc., or merely the Roman Empire?
A. It is clear that a decree of Augustus or any other emperor could not run in its effect outside the empire. But it was the phrase of the day, as we see in acts 24:5. To a Roman the urbs ruled the orbem terrarum. The world and the empire were the same; all without was of no account. But the apostles had a true and larger view, as we may see in Acts 17:31, Hebrews 2:5, Revelation 3:10, and elsewhere.
Q. Genesis 49:10 compared with 2 Chronicles 36:21, and Matthew 2:1, etc.; how would you deal with them?
A. The "sceptre" may be no more than the tribal symbol; and if this be the sense, Judah was thus kept till Shiloh, the Prince of Peace, came and was rejected, when in due time the place was lost, till He come again: then, and not before, the gathering or obedience of the peoples shall be unto Him. If it mean one entitled to royal sway in Zion, this is also true. So the line of David through Solomon went on to Jesus, as Matthew 1 shows; and in Him dead, risen, and glorified it abides, to be made good when God's time comes.
Q. Parables of Matthew 13; what do they teach?
A. There is a complete circle of truth: seven, of which the first, though not a likeness of the kingdom of the heavens, shows the Lord sowing the word, with the opposition of the devil, the flesh, and the world. The six after open its mysterious form while He, the King, is rejected and on high. Three were spoken outside to the multitude, three (with the Wheat-and-Tares interpreted) to the disciples within the house: the external and internal views of the kingdom. In the first the crop is spoiled by intermingling of tares, and no remedy till judgment at the Lord's appearing. In the second the little seed rises to a towering tree. In the third the leaven works, over a given space — creedism, not life.
But to the spiritual the Lord shows the treasure, and the field bought to have it; the one pearl of price, the union and beauty of His loved object for which He surrendered all His Jewish glory; and the final severance of the fish taken out of the sea of nations in the net, at the completion of the age.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p.128. August 1894.
Q. Parables in Matthew 24 and Matthew 25: what do they teach? W.E.
A. The successive parables of Household Servants (faithful or evil), the Ten Virgins (wise or foolish), and the Talent-given Servants (good or wicked), are the portion of the Lord's great prophecy on Olivet, which sets forth Christendom after the introductory part devoted to the Jews and the remnant in particular at the closing scenes (Matthew 24:1-44), and before He winds up all with all the Gentiles (before His judgment seat as King in His glory) who will have been put to the test by His messengers preaching the gospel of the kingdom in the whole habitable earth, for a witness to all the nations before the end comes when He shall appear and sit on the throne of His glory. Accordingly, in the central parables, which treat of christian profession, all Jewish allusion is dropped, which abounds in the opening portion.
Q. Matthew 7:7, 8: what is the bearing of these verses? W.E.
A. To encourage the disciples in dependence and prayer, with ever rising degrees of earnest importunity on our part, with every assurance of a gracious answer on our Father's. Even in human relationships the needy suppliant is not refused or mocked. "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more will your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
Q. John 19:14, compared with Mark 15:25?
A. It would seem that the hours are regularly different in John, after the destruction of Jerusalem, from the Jews' familiar reckoning in Mark. If this be well founded, the different computation furnishes no real difficulty. Thus John would speak of the early morning; Mark of three hours after.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 144. September 1894.
Q. Is there typical meaning in Jacob's serving for Leah and Rachel, in Genesis 29? W.E.
A. It appears that Rachel was the first beloved wife, but in fact the last to enjoy, and bear the fruits of, the relationship — Joseph rejected of his brethren and exalted in another sphere over Gentiles; and Benjamin, his mother's sorrow, but son of his father's right hand. Leah before this is the mother of many sons, as there are before Israel comes into full and happy view.
Q. Psalm 22:21. What is the true rendering of this verse? J.N.
A. I see no reason to question the common view. The R.V. is clearer than the A.V. The force of the verse lies in the unexpected turn. For "and from the horns of the r'eem" (wild oxen or buffaloes) the natural thought would have been "answer me." But there can be no doubt that the only legitimate sense is, as is generally if not universally given, "thou hast answered," or heard, "me." It is impossible, without wresting the scriptural expression, to extract a future bearing. Parallelism is usual, but cannot override the plain language of inspiration; nor can a priori doctrine, which is sound only as far as it is subject to scripture. Nor is there more difficulty in understanding these words of our Lord than what He subsequently cited from Psalm 31:5. Is there not something to learn?
Q. How is 2 Corinthians 5:21 to be taken? W.E.
A. In 1 Corinthians 1:20 saints are said to be of God in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (for the body itself will be under the power of redemption at His coming). This is all of grace that no flesh may glory save in Him. But in the second Epistle the apostle goes further and affirms that God made Christ Who knew no sin to be sin for us (i.e. dealt with as a sacrifice for it on our behalf) that we might be made or become His righteousness in Christ (i.e. blessed righteously according to His estimate of Christ's work and its answer in glory).
Q. 1 John 5:11? What is the force? W.E.
A. It seems impossible to make the truth plainer than the apostle was given to do. He is showing God's witness worthy of the greater heed, as in itself greater beyond comparison than any witness of men. And it is this, that God gave unto us, Christians, eternal life (not merely promises or a kingdom), and this life is in His Son. For He is that life, though of course far more, as being very God no less than the Father. But it is ours now, and it works in us all that is pleasing in His sight; though we have it in His Son, and all the more surely and incorruptibly ours because it is in Him. But it is equally true that we have life, as it is destructive error and unbelief to doubt or deny, to darken or defile, this grand truth of Christianity.
Q. How is it the πᾶς without the article in many cases like ἐξουσία, δικαιοσύνη, κ.τ.λ. means "all" and not "every"? QUERY.
A. Because they express moral thoughts, grouping every case under the word; so that it is a question of our language not here admitting "every" but requiring "all" in idiomatic English. With article before or after, πᾶς in English must be translated not "every" but "all." So without it words expressive of moral ideas, as righteousness, joy, fear, power wisdom; but it really means every such case. So of the common "all flesh," all the individuals without distinction. But ordinary appellatives come under the regular rule which is true of all languages.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 160. October 1894.
Q. 1 Corinthians 11:5. Does it imply that in apostolic days women prayed and prophesied in public? Compare Acts 1:14, Acts 2:17, 18; and Acts 21:9. V.L.
A. It is in ver. 18, that we hear of "in public" or in assembly. The early verses of the chapter treat of decorum in females. Wherever they might pray or prophesy, they were bound to walk in the subordination of God's order. But 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35, enjoins imperatively silence on the women in the assemblies. They are to be in subjection, as the law also says. If they wish to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is a shame for a woman to speak in the assembly. Compare too 1 Timothy 2:11-14. It is likely that among other disorders Corinthians women spoke in the assembly: if so, the apostle put an end to it. Yet women might prophesy, as Philip's daughters in their father's house, and even then with careful decorum of subjection even outwardly marked. It is certain that they were charged to keep silence in the assemblies of the saints.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 176. September 1894.
Q. Hebrews 12:17. Is it the blessing or repentance Esau sought carefully? F.H.
A. Genesis 27 is explicit. Esau sought importunately the blessing of his father and with tears. He was a self-willed, profane, and unclean man. Not a word is breathed of repentance. He had already despised his birthright heartlessly. God was in none of his thoughts, but he counted on Isaac's carnal partiality; as Jacob, misled by Rebecca, trusted to cunning, instead of crying to God and resting on His purpose, which, spite of their low state, both believed in. Hence the R.V. joins J.N.D.'s, and very properly in parenthetically marking the clause, "for he found no place of (or for) repentance." One fails to see any sufficient reason for taking μετανοία in any other than its uniform sense elsewhere in the N.T. To make it here only equivalent to μεταμέλεια demands at least the strongest proof, and seems to be uncalled for, though an expositor second to none appears to have been of that opinion for this place.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 192. December 1894.
Q. When do the O.T. saints rise? A.C.W.
A. "They that are Christ's at His coming": not the church only, but the O.T. saints also, being Christ's (1 Corinthians 15:23).
Q. Are any of the church left behind to go through the final tribulation, or to miss the millennial reign in Christ? A.C.W.
A. Not a single scripture intimates either. That which is written forms and strengthens the hope that every member of Christ's body will enjoy all so clearly and fully pledged in John 14, John 17 and elsewhere. The bride of Christ is no mutilated body, as the error imagines. Again, those that go through the great tribulation are demonstrably (as in Revelation 7, Revelation 14, etc.) either Israelitish saints or Gentile ones, while the symbol of the glorified company is seen on high. So far is it from being true that any real Christians miss the millenial reign with Christ, Revelation 20:4 is explicit that such of the Jewish or Gentile saints as follow after our translation to heaven, and are put to death under the earlier persecution of Revelation 6, etc., or under the Beast's violence later (Revelation 13, etc.), are to be raised from the dead and share that reign, though only called after the Lord comes and takes us to heaven. Those who survive are kept to form the nucleus of the Jews and Gentiles blessed on the earth under His reign.
Q. Psalm 69:4 (5). What means "Then I restored what I took not away"? I.H.
A. Our Lord pleads that He was not guilty of the wrong, but yet it was His to make good the right. His causeless enemies were innumerable; they were as strong as they were false; and where He was unrighteously charged, He walked in grace, seeking at all cost nothing but Jehovah's glory.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 208. January 1895.
Q. What means Job 22:30? Or is it that the A.V. fails, as well as others? The connection too in ver. 29, is obscure as we read them. X.
A. The translation correctly given serves to make all plain, as any one may find in a version which appeared long ago in the B.T. and reproduced by Morrish, the Publisher.
"When they are dejected, then shalt thou say, Lift up,
And He will save him of downcast eyes;
He will deliver him that is not guiltless,
And he is rescued by the cleanness of thy hands."
This was unexpectedly illustrated before the book closed in the rescue, not of Eliphaz only but of the other two self-righteous friends, when Jehovah's anger was kindled against them and their unjust opinions, and Job prayed for them. "Island" or "house" (J.M. Good) ruins the sense of the sentence; for the word here is simply a negative particle, as taken in the Chaldee paraphrase, and approved by the ablest of late. I. Leeser's Version is even closer: "He will even deliver" etc., i.e. not the humble only, but the faulty.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 224. February 1895.
Q. Wine, John 2 etc. Are there two kinds in scripture, one unfermented and legitimate, the other fermented and only evil? ENQUIRER.
A. There is no ground whatever for such a distinction, which is due to teetotal imagination. Wine in its natural and proper sense means the fermented juice of the grape, though it may be applied figuratively to other liquor, or even more widely still. The Nazarite only abstained when under vow; the priest, when about to enter the sanctuary. It was offered to God: not a word of an unfermented liquid. Must was also drunk, which was not fermented. But the new or sweet wine of Acts 2:13 was intoxicating evidently. So wine is supposed throughout the scriptures, Old or New; and hence the warning against excess, never, save in special circumstances, against its use. The Lord made the water into wine at the marriage feast in Cana, and made it "good wine," and abundantly. Nor is the late Dean Alford unduly hard, when he says in his comment, "He pours out His bounty for all, and He vouchsafes His grace to each for guidance; and to endeavour to evade the work which He has appointed for each man — by refusing the bounty to save the trouble of seeking the grace — is an attempt which must ever end in degradation of the individual motives and in social demoralization, whatever present apparent effects may follow its first promulgation. One visible sign of this degradation, in its intellectual form, is the miserable attempt made by some of the advocates of this movement, to show that the wine here and in other places of scripture is unfermented wine, not possessing the power of intoxication." (The Greek. Test. i. 701, fifth edition, 1863).
Q. 2 Corinthians 5:10. Has this to do with "the great white throne?" or is it to magnify God's grace? D.M.
A. It is general, and applies to both. Hence the word is "We all," we, the whole of us, a larger term than "we all" in 2 Corinthians 3:18, which is restricted to the Christian community. Next, it is "shall appear" or rather "be manifested," so as to embrace every one, believing or not, though of course as we know from other scriptures not at the same time, any more than for the same end. Were it "judged," it would apply only to unbelievers and only to the great white throne: no believer, as our Lord declares in John 5:24, comes into "judgment," which is in contrast with the eternal life which the faithful have in the Son of God. Here again the language employed is expressly general. It is equally erroneous to limit the manifestation to believers or to unbelievers. Both in their season are to be manifested before the judgment-seat or Bema of our Lord; and all the deeds done by the body as an instrument will come out in result before Him. In the believer's case, how magnifying for God's grace! in the unbeliever's, how vindicating His judgment of evil! Even for the saints, what was worthless will bear its consequences, though by grace they are saved, as what was good will be rewarded. But hopeless at last will be seen the lot of the wicked when manifested there, all their works bad, and above all, their rejection of Christ and the gospel.
Q. What is meant by "Ye are fallen from grace" in Galatians 5:4? Does it mean gone into sin or become infidel? X.
A. If the context were duly read, the answer would be apparent. The apostle is proving to the Galatian confessors their exceeding danger in mixing the law with the gospel: ceremonial or moral makes no real difference. We as Christians are under grace, not law. We are saved by the faith of Christ, not by deeds of law moral or ceremonial. Indeed the moral law must condemn the sinner more tan the ceremonial. For a Gentile to be circumcised is to abandon grace, to lose Christ, and to become debtor to do the whole law. Such "are fallen from grace." It is to give up God's grace in Christ, now published in the gospel and for every Christian to enjoy.
Q. 1 Corinthians 11:33. How does this apply in our day? M.
A. It exhorts against selfish or unholy haste, it calls to mutual love and esteem, in coming together before the Lord.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 240. March 1895.
Q. 1 Corinthians 4:5. Does this verse refer to the Lord's coming for or with His saints? M.
A. The Lord comes and receives the saints to Himself for the Father's house. As the last act before the marriage supper (Revelation 19), the bride gets herself ready; which appears to point to that manifestation of the glorified before Christ's bema or judgment-seat, as the result of which each shall receive according to what he did by the body as an instrument. Then follows, after the bridal supper, the appearing before the world.
Q. Genesis 11:26-32; Genesis 12:4. How was Abram but 75 when he left Haran? Terah lived to 205. If Abram was born when Terah was 70, would not this make Terah live 60 years after Abram went to Canaan? H.B.
A. The difficulty is due to supposing that Terah's eldest son was Abram. Genesis 11:25, 27, does not give the order of birth, but names Abram first from his superior dignity, as is common in Biblical genealogy.
Acts 7:4 is express that Abram came into Canaan only after Terah's death, who was 205 years old. Deducting 75 years (Abram's age at that epoch) we have 130 as the years of terah's life when Abram was born. Haran was really the eldest; Nahor, the second son of Terah, married Haran's daughter Milcah, his own niece; and Abram was youngest of the three. Lot was Haran's son, as Sarai (or Iscah) was his daughter. Thus Lot was Abram's brother-in-law, as he also is called his brother, and Abram called Sarai his sister. The great difference (60 years) between the eldest and the youngest sons of Terah (by two different mothers, as Abram intimates) made this possible and explains the matter.
It is plain therefore that Dean Alford was not only precipitate but predisposed to think Stephen in error, and the inspired word guilty of "demonstrable mistake." Josephus and Philo were right and confirm the account in the Acts; and so was Usher.
The mistake arose from assuming that Genesis 11:26, 27 meant the order of birth, and consequently that Abram was eldest. There is no ground to doubt that he was the youngest, but named first because of his honourable position. So was Shem in Genesis 5:32, Genesis 6:10, Genesis 7:13, Genesis 9:18, Genesis 10:1; yet Genesis 10:2, compared with verse 21 plainly shows that Japheth was the eldest, Ham being probably the youngest (Genesis 9:24). The place of precedence is due to both Shem and Noah, not to birth but to the honour God set on the respectively. Haran then was the eldest son of Terah, and Abram born 60 years after. And with this agrees the fact that Sarah (or Iscah) Haran's daughter was but 10 years younger than Abram. Nor is there force in the objection that this makes Terah 130 years old when Abram was born; for Abram took Keturah after Sarah's death, when he was at least 137 years old and had six sons subsequently (Genesis 25:1, 2). It is Stephen in Acts 7 who enables us certainly to adjust what in the O.T. was not so clear. And so the early Jews saw, as may be gathered from Philo (de Mig. Abr. i. 463). Bengel made no mistake here.
Q. John 14:16, 17. What is meant by the Spirit dwelling with you and to be in you? and how does it differ from the O.T. action?
A. As we had the Father and the Son in the first half of the chapter, the Spirit, another Paraclete or Advocate, introduces the second half at this point, Who when given should remain with the disciples for ever (unlike Christ Who was leaving them for heaven), or, as it is added later, He remaineth with you and shall be in you. It is a mistake as old as Euthymius Zigabenus to fancy a distinction here between the then time and after Pentecost. The true sense is that, when given as at Pentecost, His was a permanent stay with them; and not only so, but He would be in them in a way peculiar to Himself, and only known since redemption. No doubt, He had acted on souls and in saints at all times, as we see in the O.T. throughout. But now His presence personally and forever was the fruit of Christ's redemption and heavenly glory. The Father was revealed in the Son; the Son incarnate had done the will of God, consummating all sacrifice, and was received up as risen man in glory; and the Holy Spirit, given and come for ever, was the witness and power of all, both in the Christian and in the church; as we wait for the coming of the Lord to receive us to Himself and set us before the Father in His house, where Christ is now.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 255. April 1895.
Q. 2 Samuel 5:8: how do you explain? C.S.H.
A. The blind and the lame seem to have been set as a taunt to the anointed of Jehovah on the supposed impregnable fortress of Zion; and David felt it with all indignant ardour. They were the hated of his soul. Nevertheless Joab took the hill of Zion on David's behalf, the centre of his kingdom, and the prize that secured his own place of command. All in man's hand fails. How blessedly does the Lord contrast with it, Who, when He cast out those that made Jehovah's house a den of thieves, received blind and lame that came to Him in the temple, and healed them!
Q. Daniel 9:26, 27. Is Young's version correct, or that of the A. and R. Versions? The latter substantially agree; but Young changes the sense by confounding Christ with the one who confirms in ver. 27. Have the English translators forced the Hebrew? or is Young without warrant? I greatly desire information. G.A.S. N.J., U.S.A.
A. There need be no hesitation in accepting the general sense of the A.V., modified by the Revisers. The article of reference is due to "sixty-two weeks," after which Messiah was to be cut off and "have nothing," as the Genevese E.V. had already rightly said. But the force of the next clause is utterly missed by Dr. R. Young. It really means, "And the people of the prince that shall come [in contrast with Messiah the Prince already come and cut off] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood [or overflow], and even to the end war — desolations determined. And he [the coming prince] shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause sacrifice and oblation to cease; and because of sheltering [lit. wing of] abominations [or idols] a desolator [shall be], even until the consumption and that determined shall be poured out upon the desolate." So in fact the Roman people (not yet their coming prince) did come, and destroy the city and the temple [or holy place], followed by a flood of desolations on the guilty people and on Jerusalem for ages. But the time hastens, when the thread must be resumed and the last or postponed week of the 70 be accomplished. Then the coming Roman prince, in his incipient form, shall confirm covenant with the ungodly majority of the Jews, "the many," but break it by putting down their worship, and protecting idolatry and the Antichrist as we know from elsewhere. This will bring on the closing scenes of the Assyria, or king of the north (Isaiah 10, Isaiah 28, Isaiah 29, Daniel 11:40-45), "the desolator;" and the last word of predicted judgment will be accomplished on the desolate Jerusalem. The death of Messiah broke the chain; but that closing link has yet to be joined, and all will be fulfilled in due season. The attempt to foist in the gospel is baseless. To translate the last verse, as Wintle does, following ancient versions, may be grammatically possible, but is unaccountable harsh, if not absurd: "Yet one week shall make a firm covenant with many, and the midst of the week shall cause the sacrifice and the meat offering to cease" etc. With what propriety or even sense could "one week," or its half do these remarkable things? The coming Roman prince is to confirm "a" covenant with "the mass" of Jews for seven years; and then breaks it when half the time expires. How strange to attribute either to the Messiah! "The many" rejected Him and shall receive the Antichrist. "Many" and "the many" are by no means to be confused in Daniel, any more than elsewhere. Translators (the Revisers among the rest) have not heeded the distinction, nor have commentators generally. It is the few, or the remnant, who receive the Messiah in faith, and in due time (when their wicked brethren, "the many" meet their doom) become the "Israel" that "shall be saved." This plainly and powerfully refutes the assumption that the last verse alludes to Christ's covenant. It is rather a covenant with death and hell; as Isaiah 28:15 also lets us know. This will be for seven years, but broken.
Q. Titus 3:10, 11, kindly explain, giving the significance of "heretic" and "reject." Is there any reference to reception or to excommunication? W.D.
A. "Heresy" is used by the apostle for a party of self-will, a faction which severs itself from the assembly. Such is the usage in 1 Corinthians 11:18, 19: "I hear that there are schisms among you (i.e., divisions within), and I partly believe it. For there must also be heresies (i.e. external division or sects) that the approved may become manifest among you." (See also Galatians 5:20 and 2 Peter 2:1). The precise meaning here comes out incontestably. But doctrine (the later ecclesiastical sense of "heresy") does not of necessity lead its advocate to form a party without; but schismatic feeling directly tends to this. A split within ere long issues in a split without; whereas heterodoxy seeks shelter within in order to leaven the lump if possible. So in Titus 3 the apostle directs Titus to have done with a man stamped as heretical after a first and second admonition. He had gone outside and was forming a sect. It was no question therefore of putting him without; for he had gone out himself, and refused admonition, perhaps repeatedly. You cannot put away one who has already gone away, though it may be announced for the profit of all. The word translated "reject" is not to excommunicate, but altogether general, and capable of application to persons inside (as in 1 Timothy 5:11) no less than to the outside maker of a school or sect; also to fables and foolish questions whatever they might be (1 Timothy 4:7, 2 Timothy 2:23). From its primitive meaning of deprecating and making excuse, the word acquires the force of refusing, rejecting, or avoiding. In no case is it applied to putting out, which is the function of the assembly and expressed by a totally different word. Among the Jews "heresy" was used indifferently for the parties of Sadducees, Pharisees, and Nazarenes.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 272. May 1895.
Q. Luke 16:9. What does it mean? G. de M.
A. The sacrifice of the present in view of the heavenly future; which those make who believe. It is their character and conduct, not of course the hidden spring of faith which leads to such ways and sustains in them. The unjust steward freely gave away his master's goods to gain friends for another day. The Lord praises his wisdom (not of course his dishonesty), as an example to us, who are called by faith to regard the money, etc., men call ours as our Master's, and act as freely as people do with the goods of others, being their stewards now. When the Lord comes, we shall have our due, the glorious inheritance, and be received into everlasting habitations.
Q. John 15:2, 6. What is the difference? G. de M.
A. The early verse sets forth the Father's removal in judgment of one not bearing fruit. In the latter verse it is the utter ruin of fruitless professors. It is not in this case attributed to the Father's judging according to the work of each (1 Peter 1:17) but all is external and irreparable. The great white throne disposes of such finally, as men burn dry or rotten wood.
Q. Acts 7:16. You have recently shown Dean Alford's error (borrowed from rationalists) as to ver. 4; but how is the apparent confusion of ver. 16 to be cleared up? Yet one feels with Stiew that it seems "almost infatuation" to accuse Stephen's wonderful exposition of Israel's history as a "demonstrable error," where scripture so plainly distinguishes the grave of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from that of Joseph and the rest. A.D.
A. The true solution lies, not in Calvin's idea of "Abraham" as a wrong reading for "Jacob," but in the elliptical compression with which Stephen, like other Jews, referred to the well-known facts. Abraham's grave was at Hebron, bought of Ephron the Hittite; Jacob bought ground at Sychem of the sons of Hamor. In the former notoriously were buried Sarah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But as ancient scripture tells us that Joseph was laid in the second, so Stephen intimates here that his brethren were also. Josephus is opposed to Jewish tradition in fancying that they were buried in Hebron; and Jerome confirms Sychem as their grave, affirming that it was seen as a fact in his day for all twelve. The difficulty is due to bringing both together as Stephen did. Ignorance is rather with those who do not enter into his manner, and so are apt to impute their own blundering and irreverant haste to a discourse of the profoundest character with an astonishing mastery of principles as well as facts throughout scripture. Without speaking of the Holy Spirit (and this of course if admitted incalculably condemns such criticism), it is rash beyond measure to impute to such a man a mistake which a child might detect. The late Archdeacon Lee in his book on Inspiration points out the same system of combining incidents; as for instance, comparing ver. 7 with Genesis 15:13, 14, and Exodus 13:12; ver.9; but especially ver. 43 with Amos 5:27, "Beyond Damascus" clearly referring to the Assyrian deportation of the ten tribes; whereas Stephen combines in his way that of the two tribes to Babylon. This the Dean might have as fairly assailed; but he contents himself with saying that "fulfilment of the prophecy would make it very natural to substiture that name which had become inseparably linked with the captivity." This apology is as unworthy here as his attack there.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p288. June 1895.
Q. In Luke 3:38 Adam is called son of God; in Genesis 6:2 his posterity are called the sons of God. Malachi 2:10, says, "Have we not all one Father? hath not one God created us?" Paul, in Ephesians 4:6, says :there is one God and Father of all." Is it therefore lawful to speak of the universal Fatherhood of God? J.H.
A. Undoubtedly, as angels are called sons of God in Genesis 6 and Job, so also it is extended to the human race as distinguished from the beasts that perish. Indeed man distinctively was made in God's image, after His likeness, which is never said of angels. Hence in the third parable of Luke 15 the two are spoken of as sons naturally; and Paul, in preaching to the Athenians, adopts the sentiment that we are His offspring, even the heathen. With this agrees the statement in Ephesians 4:6: "one God and Father of all." So far Dr. Crawford was more scripturally correct than the late Dr. Cavendish in their controversy. But this universal Fatherhood of God only makes man's wickedness and unbelief more inexcusable and ruinous. It has to do with nature only, which is now fallen and sinful, and proved to be God's enemy by rejecting His Son, sent to save. Salvation is in no other than Christ Jesus, His only begotten Son, and our Lord. Then only are we who believe His sons by grace.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p304. July 1895.
Q. Do you consider the assertion that Jude 14, "Behold the Lord cometh" etc., is a quotation from the book of Enoch, is just? J.H.
A. The existing book of Enoch, translated into the Ethiopic tongue, may have had a Hebrew original, as it is a Jewish production. Some contend that it preceded the birth of our Lord. It was probably after Jude gave the words of Enoch by divine inspiration, which also supplied the fact of the contest between Michael and Satan about the body of Moses. It is certain that, as Jude's words (vers. 14, 15) are divine truth, the corresponding language in the Ethiopic is false. For this spurious book makes the Lord to execute judgment on His saints, in direct opposition to His own word in John 5:24: the prevalent error of Judaism and Christendom.
Q. How do you understand the genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3? J.H.
A. Matthew gives the properly Messianic genealogy from Solomon through our Lord as legal heir of Joseph, for without it promise had failed and He had lacked the legal title. Luke gives His real line as Son of man, and Son of God here below, through Mary, not down from Abraham and David, but up to Adam and God. Mary, as the Talmud allows, was Heli's daughter; "being, as was supposed, son of Joseph," is the true parenthesis, and not part of the genealogical line.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 320. August 1895.
Q. Ephesians 5:26: what is the nature of the sanctification and cleansing? J.D. (Moneymore)
A. It is stated that Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it. This He did in perfect love, though nothing was to be seen loveable but hateful and guilty.
Next, it was His for (not redemption only, but) an actual result agreeable to the divine nature; that He might sanctify it, or set it apart to God from all evil, having cleansed (or cleansing) it through the washing of water by (or in) the word. The entire work of sanctification, first and last, in principle and in practice, is here set forth luminously under the well-known figure of the washing of water, but carefully tying it to God's word, not to a sign or ordinace, whatever its place.
The blessed issue is, that He might present to Himself the church glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. The word employed is not "laver," (which in fact never occurs in the N.T. but often of course in the Greek version of the O.T.), but "bath water," and hence "washing." The absence of the Greek article with the qualifying term ἐν ῥήματι is strictly correct, though English like most other tongues cannot dispense with it, as thereby it bakes the word to characterise the washing. Nor could any instrument but God's word applied by the Spirit effect that purifying process all through.
But it is Christ's love, which accomplishes now the sanctification of the church, as it was before that His love in which He gave Himself for it on the cross. And His love will complete the work when He presents the church all glorious at His coming, the heavenly bride of the Second man, the Last Adam. It is well to note that in this connection "the Lord" is quite out of place in the Received text of ver. 29. It should be "Christ" as the best witnesses testify and the truth itself requires.
Q. Deuteronomy, or Deuternomy, which is correct? and what is the meaning of the word? J.S. (Mount Auburn, Mass., U.S.A.)
A. If intelligent usage be allowed to decide, the former is correct; and etymology also favours the word so formed from the Greek. It means a second edition or repetition of the law, being the title of the fifth book of Moses given by the Septuagint translators. The Jews as usual designate each book by the opening Hebrew words. It may be added that there is no real ground to doubt, save in the unbridled fancy of rationalists, that it was (save the last chapter or at least its last part) written, as it professes to be, by Moses. As to its scope and contents, Deuteronomy presents a practical direction in the spirit of prophecy for life in the land, given from the east of Jordan, and looking onward to the final restoration of Israel after captivity, "the secret things" of grace after total failure under law. The books of the law, as in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers were rather an abstract system of types, only in part reduced to practice, with the facts even selected as types also. Hence in Deuteronomy the typical institution has no practical character as compared with those elsewhere. And, as has been remarked, it is the book, and the only one, which our Lord quoted in reply to Satan's temptation. So also it is the book which the apostle applied to the righteousness of faith in the gospel as contrasted with that of the law. All this, and a great deal more of spiritual interest, contribute to pour scorn on the scorners who vie with one another in striving to make it out a forgery or religious romance composed not earlier than the days of Josiah. Inspiration accounts for its salient properties, as it does for each of the books that preceded, all written by Moses, but in a wisdom of the Spirit beyond his who was the instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 352. April 1895.
Q. Galatians 6:16. Does this scripture give any sanction to the idea that we, believers from among the Gentiles, are now "the Israel of God"? What is the true force? X.
A. The verse plainly intimates two classes, the general one of the saints who walk as Christians by the rule of the new creation in Christ, and the specified one, not of Israel now no longer for the time God's people, but such of them as were true to the Christ they were baptized unto (where is neither Jew nor Greek, but all are one in Him), who are therefore designated "the Israel of God."
Q. Revelation 5:10. It is alleged that the Sept. Psalm 46:8 and Matthew 6:10, render doubtful the view that the text in the Revelation means reigning over, rather than on the earth. Is it really so? S.
A. The accusative is used for the object where activity was to be expressed. The propriety of this as to the nations is plain. The dative (among other senses) is employed for fixed relationship where it is not condition, occasion, or circumstance. The genitive expresses rather the simple fact. But there is another element in the text, which distinguishes it from Matthew 6:10, the usage of the preposition with verbs of governing; and the Septuagint abounds with proofs that, as en is used for the locality where the king lived, ἐπὶ is for the sphere of his reign.
Bible Treasury Volume 20, p. 379. December 1895.
Q. What is intended by the different ways in which the likeness of the kingdom of the heavens is spoken of? Y.
A. In Matthew 13:24, Matthew 18:2, it is "become like" or "was likened," these being historical (as others are not) likenesses that the kingdom assumed through the rejection of the Lord and His going on high. The rest (Matthew 13:31, 33, 44, 45, 47, Matthew 20:1) were merely likenesses of certain special features at particular seasons; as one case differs by a peculiar comparison with the future (Matthew 25:1).
Q. Could we have a few words of explanation on the names and surnames of "The Twelve"? ENQUIRER.
A. Simon or Symeon (2 Peter 1:1) had the patronymic of Bar, that is, son of Jona or Jonas, (Matthew 16:17; John 20:15-17), and was given by the Lord the name of Kephas (Aramaic) or Petros (Greek) = Stone or Rockman (John 1:43, confirmed solemnly later in Matthew 16:18).
Andrew is a Greek name (as Philip also in another case) and seemingly answers to the Hebrew Adam. He was Simon's brother and the means of leading him, afterwards far more famous than himself , to the Lord, as we read in John 1, before their public call (Matthew 4; Luke 5).
John, "the beloved disciple," was in Hebrew Johanan, "the gift of Jehovah."
James is our English form of Jacob, who, like John, was son of Zebedee or Zabdi. They were surnamed by our Lord (Mark 3:17) Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder.
Philip, of Bethsaida like the foregoing, answers in Greek to the Hebrew name Susi, father of Gaddi (Numbers 13:11). It means "fond of horses."
Bartholemew is the patronymic, meaning son of Tolmai; his personal name was Nathaniel (gift of God).
Thomas in Hebrew, like Didymus. means "a twin."
Levi and Matthew were both Hebrew names of the same apostle who wrote the first gospel.
Jacob son of Alphaeus or Clopas (Chalpai) is the second apostolic James.
Jude or Judas, Lebbaeus, and Thaddaeus are the three names of the apostle who wrote the so called catholic Epistle (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18).
Simon was called Zelotes (Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13), answering to the Hebrew word translated "Cananean," as it should be, not meaning either of Canaan or of Cana, but "zealot," one of that well-known fierce party of Jews.
Judas finally seems designated "Iscariot," meaning man of Kerioth in the south of Judea, alas! the traitor.
Q. Is the law finally abrogated? Is it correct to say there is no further resumption? Turning to the notes on Hebrews 7:18, 19, Hebrews 8:7, 8, 13, I observe you distinctly affirm on Hebrews 8:13, "The cross annulled it, and Jerusalem was its grave." Do you mean the whole law (ritual and moral) of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, as also of the Psalms? If so, how does this acquiesce with Ecclesiastes 3:14, "Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever?" For the law was written by God (Exodus 24:12, Exodus 31:18). It might be said, God has the prerogative of so doing, being sovereign. But does this harmonise with his validly declared authority? If the whole law is finally abrogated, what will be the millennial rule? The Psalms, it appears, have not yet received their adequate fulfilment, nor the Prophets either. Thus Ezekiel declares for a modified ritual with an earthly priesthood and a suited temple in the future. Zechariah too informs us of the resumption, especially of the feast of Tabernacles, which had been laid down in Leviticus 23. Isaiah is generally clear that the law will be observed in that day, not only by the people of God in the land, but by the isles waiting for it, and all nations flocking up to the mountain of Jehovah's house in honour of it (Isaiah 2, Isaiah 42, etc.).
On the other hand Jeremiah clearly speak of a new covenant made with both houses of Israel in pointed contrast with the old Mosaic one (Jeremiah 31:32). This I find so conflicting that I fail to understand how all this agrees, yet I am sure that all is divinely true notwithstanding. And thus I fail to put intelligently together the Lord's priesthoood, heavenly and according to the order of Melchizedek, with the sons of Zadok of Aaron's house who are to exercise their earthly functions that day. Ezekiel 40:46, Ezekiel 44:15. If I regard the whole law as abrogated, what do these passages teach? If I hold it to be resumed as these and other scriptures imply, how am I to understand Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 7, Hebrews 8? Still I believe all those scriptures and await explanation. W.E.
A. It greatly helps to see, first, that the heavenly state of things which Christ on high has set up and into which the Christian is introduced, (already in faith, by-and-by in person), calls for that immense and total change which the apostle announces in Hebrews 7:12-19; secondly, that even for the earth and Israel in the millennial day the presence of the Messiah and the establishment of the new covenant (not as now with us in spirit only) with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah in all its literal force will bring in such a blessed revolution that the prophet justly contrasts it with the Mosaic condition. It will be Jehovah undertaking and thus sure blessing, instead of a test to prove man's weakness and ungodliness. But now, although we died to law even had we been of Benjamin or Judah in dying with Christ, we are entitled to use the law for the conviction of the ungodly who own its authority, as we read in 1 Timothy 1:8-10.