Lot's daughters — Genesis 19:14-16|
Pharaoh and his host into the Red Sea — Exodus 14:15
Their unbelieving husbands — Genesis 19:8, 12, 14
The Lord had said to Abram — Genesis 12:1
Whom do the five wise virgins represent? — Matthew 25:1-13
The old man — Galatians 5:17
A mystery hidden from the ages — Acts 26:22, 23
A veil in Ezekiel's temple?
Receiving a Christian from a denomination
How are we to understand Sheol? — Jonah 2:2
The glad tidings — Luke 14:17 etc.
Eternal — Romans 1:20 and Jude 6
Gathering to Christ's Name — Matthew 18:20
The sixth hour — John 19:14; John 4:6
Paradise — Luke 23:43
Castaway — 1 Corinthians 9:27
A sin unto death — 1 John 5:16, 17 etc.
The mystery — Romans 16:25-27
Timing of the rapture — Daniel 9:27
What is the true text of — 2 Timothy 4:1
Jehoshaphat - King of Israel — 2 Chron. 21:2
Altar — Ezek. 43:15
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit — Matt. 12:31, 32
The head covered — 1 Cor. 11:4
Christ died for their sins — 1 Cor. 15:3, 4
Every creature — Col. 1:23
Christ's blood presented in heaven — Heb. 9:12
The mission of the Twelve — Matt. 10:23
The peoples associated with Israel — Ps. 120:5
When God forsook Jesus — Ps. 22
The word "spirit" in — Rom. 8:10
Marrying in the Lord — 1 Cor. 7:39
Bible Treasury Volume N 4, p. 16. January 1902.
Q. — Genesis 19:14-16. Is it correct, as often assumed, that Lot had only two daughters of sorrowful memory? A DISCIPLE
A. — It would seem that besides the two maiden daughters in his house Lot had others with his sons-in-law outside, whom he sought in vain to save from the doomed city. In the "Introductory Lectures on the Pentateuch" this oversight is said to have been made. That the confusion has been often made by excellent men is of no weight against the simple force of the word.
Q. — Exodus 14:15. Is there substantial ground for doubting that the Pharaoh of Exodus, Menephthah, perished with his host in the Red Sea? I am aware that Sir G. Wilkinson (Ancient Egypt, 1:54) so thought, and that the Rev. Proffessor Rawlinson follows him (Hist. of Anc. Eg., 2:336) A DISCIPLE
A. — We are not limited to the writings of Moses. The Psalms are no less divinely inspired. If the language is only general in Exodus, Psalms 136:15 is explicit, that Jehovah "overthrew Pharaoh and his host into the Red Sea".
Bible Treasury Volume N 4, p. 32. February 1902.
Q. & A. — Genesis 19:8, 12, 14. An American friend writes wondering at the oversight in Lectures on the Pentateuch (76) where Lot's daughters are spoken of as brought out without "their unbelieving husbands." It is clearly new to him that there is any question possible. But it is a fact that very competent persons agree with the Vulgate that the two daughters were only espoused and still under their father's house, not yet taken to their future homes. Hence the Hebrew well bears the marginal reading of the Revisers, "were to marry" in verse 14; for it is literally "the takers of." The A.V. agrees with the Sept. If these would be right, it would of course imply other married daughters who perished in the judgment that befell Sodom. Bp. Christ. Wordsworth accepts the Latin version unhestatingly. But enough is said to show the question.
Bible Treasury Volume N 4, p. 48. March 1902.
Q. — Genesis 12:1. The A.V. renders this, "Now the Lord had said to Abram," etc.; the R.V. has "Now the Lord said," etc. The difference involved is great. Which is correct? A DISCIPLE.
A. — No doubt if we merely look at the Hebrew, there is room for discussion, for its tenses were modified by the context; and in fact versions ancient and modern differ. But happily for all who are humble enough to value a divinely furnished aid, we have Stephen in Acts 7:2, 3 making it certain that the appearing of Jehovah, when the call was given in the words cited, was not in Haran but in Mesopotamia. Here the call came, which was only partially verified in Abram while Terah lived; for the latter was quite content to dwell in Haran. But after his death the power of Jehovah's call revived in Abram's heart. "So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken unto him." "And they went forth to go into the Land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came." The spiritual mind will feel that the difference between the A.V. and the R.V. is that between truth and error; and that the error is due to confidence in the bare view of the letter, which slights not only what the letter implies but the invaluable help of the inspired N.T. interpretation. But this is decisive for believers, while it furnishes fresh fuel for sceptical criticism.
Bible Treasury Volume N 4, p. 62. April 1902.
Q. — Matthew 25:1-13. Since believers are the bride, whom do the five wise virgins represent? They went in to the marriage feast as guests only. When the bridegroom came, was he not taking her to his home at the end of the feast given at her father's house? S. de G.
A. — The Lord in this parable presents not the church as such in its unity, but Christians as an aggregate going out to meet Him in figure; and hence He depicts them as the nuptial cortège. "The bride" would not have answered His purpose at all, but the maidens, foolish and prudent, so as to be emblematic of professors through Christendom's state and at His advent. The possession of the Holy Spirit is the crucial test. All had gone asleep; but at midnight grace sent forth an awakening cry, which wrought, even on the foolish, to arise and trim their lamps. But when the Bridegroom came, only those ready could enter in; for they alone had the unction from the Holy One which could fit any to have their portion with Him. The object here was not to fix attention on the bride, but on the individual responsibility of the Christian to await Christ's coming duly. Mere profession gives no title to go in with Him to the feast. There must be oil in their vessels; and the foolish active as they were ("earnest" as men say), had none. The bride is nowhere in this scene.
Q. — Why in the February B.T. the censure on saying "the old man is gone in the death of Christ?"
A. — Because of so speaking as to ignore the flesh still in us. This is a very real danger, because it oversteps the truth; especially as most confound "the old man" and "the flesh." And we know that, however delivered and blessed the saints may be here, the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh (Galatians 5:17). The more precious the truth (and it is precious to know that our old man has been crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be annulled), the more important not to go beyond the word. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves." The terms "gone," "removed," etc., are liable to convey what is unscriptural and misleading, and in particular where no careful guard accompanies the term. "They that are of Christ Jesus crucified in the flesh with its passions and its lusts."
Q. — Acts 26:22, 23. This text is urged to set aside the apostle's distinct assertion of a mystery hidden from the ages, and not in other generations made known to the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets (clearly and exclusively those of the N.T. so called, Ephesians 2:20). Kindly explain: on the face of it such an allegation arrays one scripture against another, which must be of the enemy. What then did the apostle mean before Agrippa? Surely not to contradict what he wrote to the Ephesians saints?
A. — The context of each proves that both declarations are perfectly true, and therefore in divine harmony. For in the Acts he defends his public testimony in preaching the gospel and the kingdom of God, both of which rested on the basis of Christ's death and resurrection, and, as he said, of the righteousness of God now manifested, "witnessed by the law and the prophets" (Romans 3:21). But to the Ephesian and the Colossian saints the time was come to open out the mystery of Christ in His exaltation to the heavenlies, God summing up the created universe, all things in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth; and the saints, now called (Jewish and Gentile naturally), united to this heavenly head as His one body. As he tell us in 1 Corinthians 2:6-10, he did not preach this wondrous truth to the Jews any more than Gentiles, nor even to immature saints. God's hidden wisdom in a mystery he spoke only to the perfect or full-grown, which was then and is now far from being true of all believers. Hence, as the Jews arraigned for him in his public appeals to themselves or to others, the passage in Acts in no way clashes with what he avowedly taught only to full-grown saints, of which they knew nothing and to which the apostle made no reference. The inference confidently drawn to deny that he had taught the new revelation characteristic of the N.T., is entirely at fault, and betrays fundamental ignorance of what every full-grown Christian ought humbly to learn.
Q. — Will the temple described by Ezekiel have a veil? W.P.
A. — It was a slip in the January B.T., p.11, to say so. The future temple will have double-leaved doors, instead of a screen and a veil then renewed. Yet the sons of Israel and even the prince have no entry into the house — only the priests. There is no question of going within. Still the differences are marked and instructive. There will then be no evening lamp; for Jehovah their light is for ever risen upon Zion, No candlestick is needed more, but the altar within is Jehovah's table; and no high-priest ministers. There is no Pentecost more; for it is already consummated in the church. There is no feast of trumpets; for the people have been already summoned and gathered:; and there is no atonement-day longer; for the work was done, and they had truly afflicted their souls when they looked to Him whom they pierced. The Red Heifer disappears. But the Passover abides the memorial of redemption, and the Tabernacles will mark their place and blessing. The altar of holocausts has an absolutely central place, though of course outside the sanctuary; for seven days atonement is made for it; and on the eighth onward the priests offer Israel's burnt-offerings and peace-offerings. Sabbaths and new moons are still celebrated as witnesses of rest come, and Israel's regaining their place. No table with the twelve loaves is seen, for Israel were themselves before Him; no candlestick, for the True Light was seen. In the Holiest is no sign, no ark needed: Jehovah fills it alone. Outside is no laver to cleanse for entry; but from within the sanctuary issues a river, not merely to gladden the city of God, but to go without, dividing when there to east and west with life-giving fertilizing power, expressly naming the cast or Dead Sea, and the west or Mediterranean, but not yet absolute blessing; for an exception is kept up in the marshes given to salt. Still the city's name is Jehovah- Shammah, Jehovah there; yet the millennium is not eternity.
Q. — If gathered to the Lord's name, on what principle in the present disorder and ruin of God's house should we receive a Christian from a denomination or sect though he were desirous of abiding there? R.M.
A. — The principle is, "as Christ also received us, to the glory of God." If there be a known cause of sin and shame, we ought to refuse: not so did Christ receive us. Even when we had much to learn of the truth in detail, (50, 60 or more years ago), a firm stand was made by faithful men against such as trifled with fundamental truth. I remember in those days a fervent Wesleyan, who had learnt "the blessed hope" and was morally driven out of that society by their opposition to that truth; yet was he rejected in his wish for communion in the Lord's supper, because he denied the personality of the Holy Spirit, too common even then. But it is of comparatively late years that the fatal tidal wave of heterodoxy has been overflowing Christendom, as to Christ's person on both sides, everlasting punishment of the lost, and God's inspiration of scripture. This actual and growing condition compels all who fear God to reject such as either hold these grievous errors or, what is if possible worse, make light of these evils and insist on their title to go on where these destructive lies are taught. No matter what they plead, they disqualify themselves for true communion of saints, if they also claim indifference practically to such God-dishonouring errors. It is awful to think that some who were at least associated long with men faithful to Christ are now looser than the loose. For they faithlessly swamp the truth and holiness of God to receive Christians so called, no matter how defiled now. All of these may not be equally bold and careless; but there is no path so dangerous as, under heat for some and opposition to others, departing from known and cherished truth, and slighting those servants of God to whom they owe no small debt of love. Ere long, if grace do not deliver, they will hate their testimony more and more, and the light in them will become darkness; and then how great the darkness!
Where it is a known saint in an orthodox though sectarian position, yet in no way exercised about it, it appears to me still our privilege as of old to receive such an one in the Lord's name, who desires to remember Him with us in the breaking of bread. But he needs adequate testimony and comes under discipline like others. Of course bargaining on either side would be intolerable. How many simple ones of spiritual feeling, though far from intelligent, having once enjoyed His presence thus, have enquired and learnt His will, and never returned to man's devices! The easygoing are such as retrograde, and so do the stiff and narrow; when they come to see that Christ is not therein, reaction may ensue.
Bible Treasury Volume N4, p. 80. May 1902.
Q. How are we to understand Sheol in the O.T. as in Jonah 2:2, also Numbers 16:33? If a place of punishment, how is it in Psalm 16:10? EARNEST INQUIRER.
A. There is vagueness as to the unseen in the O.T. The gospel only has brought to light life and incorruption. But we never do find Sheol or Hades associated with joy or blessing like Abraham's bosom or paradise. Consistently therewith Psalm 16:10 teaches that Jehovah would not leave Messiah's soul unto Hades, any more than His body to see corruption. To leave in seems the force of neither Hebrew nor Greek in the correct text; and early superstition made much of the error, revived widely in our day. The Revisers are right in Psalm 16:10, wrong in Acts 2:27, 31.
Q. Do Luke 14:17, Romans 10:9 and 2 Corinthians 5:20 refer to the gospel? Do saints need to be reconciled to God? and what is the bearing of Matthew 18:20? J.H.K.
A. The three texts cited together are unequivocally the glad tidings for those not yet saved, though no doubt in inspired writings addressed to saints. For they need a standard that the message of grace be kept intact and unclogged. The notion that saints, and especially of the church of God, require to be reconciled is an outrage against the truth, and a virtual denial of the gospel. Whoever teaches thus is an impostor. As to the last text, the Lord puts His presence in the midst of those gathered unto His name as the general principle, whether for discipline in ver. 17, binding or loosing in 18, prayer in 19; and in 20 it might be for any legitimate purpose wider still, even if there were but two or three gathered to the only true and gracious centre.
Q. What is the difference between ἀΐδιος (in Romans 1:20 and Jude 6) and αἰώνιος, the much more frequent word for "eternal"? The learned authorities seem to have nothing to say. B.
A. Though both are derived from ἀεὶ (the latter strengthened, as the Stagirite tells us, by the participle of being, ὢν), the usage of the N.T. helps us to discern. These are the only two inspired occurrences of the former; and they are external, as compared with the deeper associations of the latter. The passage in Romans does not rise above what the natural mind might and ought to know, His invisible things apprehended through the things that are made, both His everlasting power and divinity (not His Godhead properly, which dwelt and dwells in Christ), so as to make them inexcusable if they turn to idols. The second of the two words is applied to the eternal God who reveals Himself in Christ and through the gospel as well as the church, as e.g. in the same epistle, Romans 16:26. But again the "everlasting chains," in which He has kept and keeps the apostate angels under gloomy darkness, points to the judicial action of His power, not to His nature or His gracious counsels which befit or require the other word.
Bible Treasury Volume N4, p. 94. June 1902.
Q. Matthew 18:20. It has been recently stated that men like Mr. J.N. Darby sought to help out their interpretation [of this scripture] "by a quite unwarrantable change in the translation of the words εἰς τὸ ἐμὸν ὂνομα, which they rendered unto my name, and took to import a gathering to Christ's Name as a rallying point." Is there any doubt of the right version? or any warrant for so evil an imputation? Μαθητής.
A. None whatever for either: no true scholar could have weighed the usage and given such an opinion. The evidence is decisively for the change. The aim of opposing it is to set aside the ecclesiastical character of the context, on which the Lord has impressed it so indelibly, that almost all the jarring parties of Christendom recognise that character, though they naturally overlook a word which none of them heeds, and which does mean a living and exclusive centre. Its denial is a very bold exegetical error; for any serious inspection of the Lord's words suffices to prove that the case adduced had passed out of individual dealing to "the church" or assembly (not the synagogue). Then the Lord (18) strengthens this with His solemn averment of heaven's sanction of their binding and loosing (not the keys), and His gracious assurance of His Father's answer to the united petition of even two. Then He closes with the general principle for the worst of times (20) that He is in the midst, where two or three are gathered unto His name. The last promise is an invaluable guard against party work, as well as unbelief and the world. It speaks little to hearts which never had, or have lost, faith in His word or presence.
As to usage, the case in question quite differs from ἐπὶ τῳ ὀν. in ver. 5, where His name is made the motive, condition, or ground for receiving a little child, and εἰς would have been out of place. It is therefore strictly "on," not "in"; and so in Acts 2:38 Peter bade repentant Jews be baptized, each of them on (ἐπὶ) the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins; and they should receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If they had repented, they were already born of the Spirit, as where real is invariably the case. Compare Matthew 24; 5, Mark 9:37:39, Mark 12 :6, 9. In Luke 1:5, 9 it shades into "after." In Acts 10:48 the same Peter commanded the Gentile believers to be baptized in (ἐν) the Lord's name. See Mark 16:17; Luke 10:17; John 5:43 etc. It would have been just as possible and true to have said "on"; but it is not the same thought or expression as in virtue (or, in the power) of His name. In Acts 11:16 Peter speaks of the Holy Spirit's baptism, contrasted with John's as ἐν Πν. ἁγ. in the Holy spirit, where ἐπὶ, on, would have failed, for ἐν means in the power of the Spirit Himself. In Acts 19:5 as in Acts 8:16 the object proposed in baptism occurs, and here it is neither "in" nor "on," but "unto," εἰς. The Revisers correct the faulty "in" of the A.V. but say "into" which is refuted by their own rendering of 1 Corinthians 10:2 (where "into" would be improper), and by the A.V. of Acts 19:3. The Greek admits of either "unto," or "into" according to context, which here requires the former. Water baptism does not imply more than "to" or "unto." It is profession only; and the very aim of the apostle in 1 Corinthians 10 is to insist that it might be without life. So in our Lord's commission in Matthew 28:19 it is baptism "to" or "unto" the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It was baptism with water, and could not itself carry deeper. But the baptism of the spirit has quite a different power, and effects incorporation, not "unto" merely as profession, but "into" one body, Christ's body. Dean Alford gave up "in" but argued for "into" invalidly, his views being uncertain here as to often.
In Matthew 10:41, 42 we have indeed the peculiar phrase of receiving a prophet; a righteous man, and a disciple, "unto" (εἰς) each's respective name, or as such. Here it is perhaps hard to avoid in English saying "in the prophet's name"; but it really means as aforesaid, and not what would have been imported by ἐν, in the power or authority of each, as in Christ's name or even without any preposition as in Matthew 7:22. But Meyer thinks that here "by" Thy name is preferable; and this may well be the just sense of a Greek phrase which differs from the rest, the instrumental dative.
Again, such forms as ἕνεκεν τοῦ or διὰ τὸ (or, ὑπὲρ τοῦ) ὀν. are indisputably "for thy Name's sake," so that we need not say more.
In the A.V., etc. Philippians 2:10 is, as we all know, rendered "at" the name of Jesus, a rendering on which a well known and pervading practice of superstition was founded. The Revisers here say "in" (ἐν). If right, it means as usual in virtue of His name all creatures shall bow.
In 1 Corinthians 5:4-13 where putting out for wickedness is laid down peremptorily and perspiciously, it is in (ἐν) the Lord's name that the assembled saints were charged to act. It was ordered of God that the written word should enjoin excommunication, when no apostle was actually there, nor apostolic delegate like Titus, and no elders had yet been appointed. This abides as the inalienable duty, as does the divine warrant for the assembly's act, whenever the sorrowful need calls for this last resort. The Corinthians saints were light in various ways and had shirked or ignored what was due to the Lord, not even mourning that one so guilty should be taken away from them. The apostle insisted on purging the leaven out, in accordance with the sacrifice of Christ our passover; and the Spirit took care that as Christendom would show special disregard of this Epistle, it should be more impressively addressed than in any other, not to that assembly only, but coupling with it "all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours." Slight is therefore verily inexcusable.
As a matter of fact too, it was not till long after the Christians referred to had gathered, not as belonging to denominations, but simply as members of Christ, recognising the one body and Spirit according to the word, that the precise force of the Lord's word in Matthew 18:20 struck any. Believing in the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit since Pentecost, they had learnt the immense value of every inspired word. Tradition had no place in their eyes. Since they accepted every scripture as God-breathed and profitable, they sought entire subjection to it as a living word, while declining either to claim more than they had or to substitute human devices in lieu of what they had not. Any scholar who looks into the text in question must allow that, unless there were an obstacle from our idiom, in this particular case, "unto" must be the exact force; for "into" would be absurd, and ἐν properly, not εἰς, means "in". But, far from a difficulty, the context here favours nothing so much as the proper import of εἰς, gathered "unto" My Name as the central presence on which they all depend and confide.
It was thus and only then perceived to be a confirmation of their position, already founded on the revealed principles of God's assembly, modified as this must be by the ruin not less carefully foreshown in the later Epistles and the Revelation, of which we are bound to take account, if we avoid that assumption which is so unworthy of Christ and so unbecoming in all that are His. How blessed to know that Christ remains as ever the centre for even two or three gathered to His Name!
But it was received as certain truth, on the evidence of scripture better understood and independently of any ground other than the precise and full meaning of our Saviour's words. Just so for many other truths of moment we have learnt since: we acted on the little that we first knew to be from God and of God; for we need the Spirit as well as the word. "To him that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away from him." Nothing more perilous to man, nothing more dishonouring to God, than to give up what we once confessed and enjoyed as divine. Who can tell where departure once begun may end?
Q. Mark gives for the Crucifixion the 3rd, 6th and 9th hours of the Jewish day (our 9, 12, and 3); but how then are we to understand the sixth hour in John 19:14, and John 4:6, etc.? T.H.L.
A. Clearly in the same way throughout his Gospel, which looks on Jewish things as closed. Hence in John 1:39 the tenth hour would mean from the same hour of the morning as we count. In John 4:6 it was the usual time for women to draw water, as the seventh hour (52) would be the same time as with us of the preceding evening or possibly morning. So in John 18:28 it was early morn when the mockery of our Lord's trial went on; and no reason forbids Pilate's judging at our 6 a.m. (John 19:14). The actual crucifixion began, after all mockeries and preparations were done (including perhaps the trial of the two robbers) at the 3rd Jewish hour, as Mark (Mark 15:25) alone specifies, i.e. our 9 o'clock a.m. of Friday; the supernatural darkness at the 6th Jewish hour, at our 12 or noon; and the Lord died at the 9th Jewish hour and time, or our 3 p.m.
Pliny (H. Nat. ii. 77), Plut. (Quaest. Rom. 84), A. Gell. (Noct. Att. iii. 2), Censor (dde Die Nat. xxiii.), and Macrob. (Saturn i. 3) clearly prove that the Romans computed the civil day as we do from midnight, and as John did. So Dr. Townson argues for a similar reckoning in Asia Minor. Revelation 1:10 shows a kindred departure from Jewish phraseology.
Bible Treasury Volume N4, p. 110. July 1902.
Q. Luke 23:43. In "Things to Come" for May, which I send, you will find a very dangerous paper on this text, practically undoing, as far as it goes, its testimony to Christ's work. If the robber's spirit did not go that day to Paradise, where did it go? The error opens the door to Purgatory or anything but the truth. O.P.
A. It is a bold man who ventures to set aside on this text, not only the Authorised and Revised Versions, but every translation, ancient or modern, hitherto regarded as reliable; and for this to set aside the conviction of the great mass of the godly orthodox, not only in other churches so-called, but in his own English Establishment. For it is mere claptrap and party spirit to attack in particular those he calls Plymouth Brethren, because the O.B. Witness rejected his own "strange doctrine." His notion is that Paradise "is never used in any other sense than that of an earthly place of bounty and delight." Never but an earthly place! and this in full view of Revelation 21, Revelation 22! And he dares to say that for "the intermediate state," and Paradise as a part of it, "they have not a shred of scripture warrant! nothing but a mixture of Heathen and Jewish Tradition handed down and further corrupted by Pagans and Papists!"
Let us weigh his two arguments. 1. If the Lord had intended to separate "today" from the introductory clause, either the particle ὃτι would have been prefixed, as in Mark 14 :30, or the passage would have been differently constructed, as in Luke 11:21, 22; Luke 14:9. But this is decisively overthrown by the fact that, with the formula of our verse, in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke there is nearly an equal number where ὃτι is omitted as inserted, various readings causing a slight uncertainty. In that of John who uses the twofold "verily," the ὃτι occurs for about half the cases which omit it. Clearly therefore there is no such rule as is alleged, and the deduction as to its absence in Luke 23 is unfounded. There is a similar usage in Hebrew and our own tongue, where "that" is often dropped, instead of being formally expressed.
2. Thirty-eight examples are pointed out in the book of Deuteronomy to justify taking "today" with "Verily I say unto thee." Now not one of these has the smallest analogy with our verse. They are all due to the exceptional nature of Moses' pathetic charge "this day," and of Israel about to cross the Jordan which was forbidden him. What has that to do with the case before us? The resemblance is only in the word, not the least in the sense or context. It is not "a common Hebrew idiom used to emphasize and mark the solemnity of what was said," etc. It is the peculiarity of Deuteronomy and owing to the then circumstances. On the contrary the Lord is replying to the earnest prayer of the robber, then repentant and believing: Remember me, when Thou comest in Thy kingdom. The testimony of His enemies in derision had through our Lord's words and bearing penetrated; but he knew that he would have to wait for the coming in His kingdom. The whole force of the answer of grace and truth is that "Today thou shalt be with Me in Paradise"; and putting "today" in the first place gave it marked emphasis. What case in Deuteronomy ever approaches even a parallel? To talk of such dictionary or concordance work as this settling the question is more than ordinary illusion.
The aim of the enemy is to defraud the departing saint of his joy in looking for immediate blessedness into heavenly blessing with Christ, as the fruit of redemption. The very gospel of God is thus enfeebled and darkened. Meetness for sharing the portion of the saints in light is what the Father confers on his children, delivered from the authority of darkness, and peace made through the blood of Christ's cross. The worshippers, once purged, have no more conscience of sins. The basis of holiness too is shaken, and the growth of saints hindered. The poor robber's spirit went just as the martyred Stephen's: Christ's blood has the same perfect value for all that are His. Both slept to be with Christ. Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, cried the servant, as the Master said, Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit.
So Philippians 1:23 lays down departure and being with Christ as being very much better than remaining here, even though exulting with joy unspeakable and full of glory. It is not of God to let the hope of glory lessen this, because it would dishonour Christ and his work. If we fall asleep, we go to be with Christ; and where is He? He is not only in heaven but in its brightest part. As Adam's Paradise was the brightest spot on earth, so this so-called Paradise; it is the Father's house in John 14. They are both figures, but figures of divine truth. To literalise either is folly. It is the blessed scene on high where God in love glorified His son on accomplishing His work on the cross; and there the saints are with Him, they, it is true, waiting for the redemption of their bodies when He comes. But no joy or glory on earth will equal that which they will there have, then in their best form of being with Him, that they may behold His glory, entirely above the world, as He was loved by the father before it was founded. This is far above the kingdom which the world will see "in that day."
2 Corinthians 5 tells us no less clearly of the condition of the Christian's soul after his death. "Now he that wrought us for this very thing (i.e., to be swallowed up of life) [is] God who gave us the earnest of the spirit. Therefore being always of good courage, and knowing that, while at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight), we are indeed of good courage, and well-pleased to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." This is not as Jews or Tradition-mongers conceived. But it is "the intermediate state," the state between death and resurrection. It is a human term like the Trinity, and the thing in both cases, if not the word, is a clear truth of God. How unwise and unworthy to cavil at the expression! Why should any object, unless the sleep of souls or some worse error be held which jars with the truth? But if they live to God, after death and before resurrection, what is this but "the intermediate state" which the paper treats with unbelief and contempt. Is there a single sound Anglican who excuses him?
Then comes 2 Corinthians 12 which explodes his delusion as to Paradise. For the apostle in verse 2 alludes to his rapture to "third heaven," before he speaks of Paradise (ver. 4). Surely this is a supplied help to bind them together. It is no question, as he absurdly supposes, of "Paul caught away to that blessed time when this earth restored shall become again the paradise of God" (a sentence bristling with evident error), but of Paul caught up to third heaven and Paradise then. There Christ's Spirit went after death; there is He glorified now; there go spirits of departed saints, as the robber's did, and Stephen's, and whither we go if we depart this life.
But Revelation 2:7 completes our knowledge; for there shall we when glorified eat of the tree of life in the Paradise of God. The lost paradise of man is not restored. Grace always gives a better thing than what was lost; and the new and heavenly scene of glory is rightly distinguished as the Paradise of God. Rightly is its future aspect symbolised in Revelation 21:9 - Revelation 22:5. Think of imagining that the holy Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, is the earthly capital of Israel! Righteousness reigns in the Jewish city; and the nation and kingdom that will not serve it, as Isaiah 60 tells us, shall perish. But the heavenly city will be characterised by grace; and if the unfailing fruits of the tree of life in figure refresh the glorified, its leaves are for the healing, not wasting, of the nations. For that day will look on all things put under Christ's headship, the glorified on high and reigning with Christ, Israel and the nations on the earth reigned over and blessed under the King of kings and Lord of lords, when we shall reign with Him. It is the father's kingdom for all above; and the Son of man's kingdom for the long rebellious earth, cleared by judgments, before righteousness reigns here below, when His will is done on earth as in heaven.
Alas! the writer so profoundly judaizes that he denies the heavenly Paradise of God as a falsehood, and will have it as the restoration of the paradise of Genesis 2 on earth. It is to renounce the Christian hope and to mistake the Jewish one; for the words restrain glory to their land and holy mountain, instead of the vague dream of "this earth" becoming again the Paradise of God. It was never so.
The still worse improprieties near the beginning and at the end we can leave in silence and shame.
Q. 1 Corinthians 9:27. Is there any sufficient reason to lower the last clause, as Calvin does, by excluding the issue of ruin before God, and looking rather at failure in the fruit of service among men? In other words, does the apostle mean, not a "castaway" or reprobate, but merely disapproved for his work and disappointed of a special prize? Q.
A. There ought to be no doubt that in the text, as in the context, the most searching and solemn warning is intended. Very great levity at that time prevailed in the Corinthian assembly: parties attaching themselves to favourite teachers, just as outside to the rival schools of philosophy; indifference to gross wickedness in their midst; keenness for their alleged rights carried into worldly law-courts; boasting of liberty in partaking of food which had been offered to idols; women forward in speaking; men turning the assembly into licence for their speech; and questions raised, not only as to the marriage time but such a truth as the resurrection of the body. they too were unspiritual to feel the dishonour done to the Lord by all this laxity. Hence it is that the apostle insists, not on preaching only but on our living to God soberly, justly, and piously as he enjoins in writing later to Titus. To make it the more impressive, without being personal he applies the case to himself. "I therefore thus run, as not uncertainly; I so combat as not beating the air. But I buffet my body, and lead it captive, lest having preached to others I should be myself reprobate." It is not service or fruit failing, but himself rejected by God. The use of the word is the same as in 2 Corinthians 13:5-7. It has no other sense in the N.T. Even if softened down to disapproved, it means everywhere the total and final the disapprobation of God. It is really lack of faith, fearing to face the plain and certain truth that an unholy liver, no matter how he preaches or what the resulting fruit, will assuredly be lost. Paul was as decided for devotedness of life as for sovereign grace in justifying the ungodly. Nor is there a greater danger for man and dishonour for God than to be zealous in preaching and loose in practice. This he follows up for Christians (not preachers only) in 1 Corinthians 10 where he adduces the ruin of multitudes in Israel, as a warning to presumptuous professors of Christianity.
Q. 1 John 5:16, 17. Does this refer to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, as in Matthew 12:31,32, Mark 3:29, Luke 12:10? Or does the apostle speak of sin incurring the chastening of death without going farther? Q.
A. Here is what he lays down: — "If anyone see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for those that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: not about that do I say that he should make request. Every unrighteousness is sin; and there is a sin not unto death."
The apostle had just spoken of the boldness or confidence to which grace entitles the children of god who walk in obedience and dependence on Him, as having life eternal in His Son. It is so real and great that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us; and if we know that He hears us whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him. Nor is it only in what concerns ourselves. His love would have us divinely interested in our brethren as His children, and cherishing like confidence in Him touching them. But there is a caution. He carries on a holy discipline; and where a lack in self-judgment is, He may not only send sickness but death as a chastening. We read in 1 Corinthians 11:29-32 the plain fact, and the principle. Many at Corinth were falling asleep, because they did not judge their deplorable ways. This was a sin unto death in ever so many cases. Where the Lord is thus dealing, it would be lack of communion with Him to pray that such souls should live. When so judged, says the apostle Paul, we are chastened, or disciplined, by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world (which of course would be everlasting perdition). It is therefore as far as can be from the unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It is the Lord's dealing with a soul guilty of what He cannot allow to go on, and therefore calls him away, but with mercy assured, although there be withal chastening righteousness. It is a sin unto death; and we bow to God, instead of interceding. It does not seem some peculiarly heinous sin which brings destruction from God, but a sin of such special dishonour in its circumstances that He thus visits it. Such seems to have been the lying of Ananias and Sapphira in a day of great grace.
Bible Treasury Volume N4, p. 127. August 1902.
Q. Romans 16:25-27. Does this mean that the "mystery" in question had been already revealed in the prophets of the O.T. though only now understood? or that it was absolutely "hid in God" (Ephesians 3:9), not in the scriptures? It is all-important to have the truth clear. INQUIRER.
A. There is no question of various readings for the critic, or of disputed grammar for the scholar. All are agreed on the text and the construction. Faith, with an eye single to Christ, and self-will judged before God, alone can decide what the apostle intended. It is clear that the apostle does not mean to unfold the "mystery" here, but looks only to an only wise God to establish the saints according to his gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to revelation of a mystery, as to which silence had been kept in everlasting times. But now it was manifested, and by prophetic scriptures made known according, to the eternal God's command, for obedience of faith unto all the Gentiles. It was written in due time by the apostle.
To gather the true sense, we have to take heed to a quite new phrase, never employed when "the prophets" are certainly referred to. Next, he declares that "a mystery had been kept in silence," σεσιγημένου. How can this last term bear the interpretation that it had been of old expressed in what God wrote through the prophets? If it had been then revealed in the scriptures, silence had not been kept about it, or as the A.V. has it "kept secret," which is substantially right. God had never as yet spoken or written it into man. So, as the query points out, the apostle affirms in Ephesians 3 that it had been hidden in God, in evident contrast with being of old revealed revealed in His word. Hence the stress laid, both to the Romans, to the Ephesians, and to the Colossians, that it was NOW made manifest to His saints. Indeed Ephesians 3 adds that through the church (which was part of it) was now made known to the principalities, etc. in the heavenlies the manifold wisdom of God.
There is therefore an insuperable contradiction in applying "prophetic scriptures" to the O.T. prophets; none at all in understanding it of such scriptures as the apostles and prophets were now to write. For they are the joint foundation; not prophets of the O.T. and apostles of the N.T., but "the apostles and prophets" of the N.T. On these are built those Jewish and Gentile saints who are brought into a union where their differences were abolished, as they were both reconciled to God in one body through the cross. This was a new thing counselled by God before the world's foundation; wrought by Christ, Who died, rose and ascended; and brought home by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, quite incompatible with all known relations in the O.T. times.
Accordingly there is no article with "prophetic scriptures," as would be correct if "the prophets" had been meant, whereas the anarthrous form was requisite, if new scriptures were intended, written by those who had prophetic gift, whether by apostles who had that gift also or my such as Mark and Luke who were prophets inspired to write though not apostles.
Deuteronomy 29:29 is an interesting oracle and may help: "The secret things belong to Jehovah our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." This was a great privilege and duty for the sons of Israel. The downfall of the favoured Jews that returned from Babylon when they rejected their own Messiah gave occasion, in the interval before their restoration, for God to exalt the Lord Jesus in glory on high as Head over all things heavenly and earthly to the church, which is His body. It is a "secret" or "mystery," and a great one, now only possible, and a fact divulged through "prophetic writings" to the divine glory for the edifying of the church as we find elsewhere; only now made known in accord with the eternal God's command for faith-obedience unto all the nations.
What can be more according to Paul's gospel, which treats alike the Jews and the Gentiles in sin and in salvation, than that fulness of grace which now unites the believers from both in the same known nearness to the God and Father of our Lord Who made both one? It is a unity which will not be in the millennial earth, any more than revealed by the O.T. prophets, blessedly associated as the nations will be with the then unjealous Israel, in marked contrast with the ages and generations which preceded the cross. Hence the apostle speaks of himself emphatically (Colossians 1; 26), as minister according to the stewardship given to him for such Gentiles, "to fill up the word of God." This hidden mystery fills the blank left for it in God's wisdom unto the display (not of law but) of sovereign grace on earth, and for heavenly glory for ever. A new revelation was hence necessary; yet it only enhances the Christian's value for the O.T., whilst itself has its own distinctive character of the profoundest worth and interest. And great is the loss of all who fail to learn of God a truth most sanctifying. The unbelief that refuses the evidence which the word affords tends ever to earthly-mindedness and judaising, as we see not only in Christendom generally but in many dear Christians, who least suspect it of themselves.
In 2 Peter 1 we read of τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, the prophetic word, the known body of predictive truth, confirmed by the vision of God's kingdom beheld on the holy mount of transfiguration. And the fact that both προφητεία and γραφῆς are anarthrous is strictly necessary in order to exclude every part of prophecy in God's word from being its own solution. The article with either would have been anomalous. Peter was guided perfectly, even in this, by the Holy Spirit. Every part of that word forms part of the great scheme for revealing Christ's future glory, which the Holy Spirit carries out in men speaking from God as He alone was able to make good.
Bible Treasury Volume N4, p. 143. September 1902.
Q. Daniel 9:27. Is it true that the translation of the heavenly saints to the mansions on high synchronises with the arrival of Daniel's last week? or does it suppose a partial restoration of Jews in unbelief, the acceptance of antichrist as king, a rebuilt temple, and re-established sacrifices? How then, since none of these has taken place or can occur in the next 24 hours, can it be taught that if the rapture were to be today, the man of sin would reign to-morrow? And if the Lord may come any hour, and the church be removed at the beginning of the tribulation seven years long, how can this be in view of the four events already mentioned? O.
A. There have been and are men of marked spiritual intelligence who look for (not the last week but) its latter half. I see no sufficient reason for just seven years, still less the half. The seven Seals of Revelation 6 have no apparent connection with Daniel's last week. Their nature, especially of the first four, seems to imply a considerable time for each to stamp its own space with the predicted character; and all the more because it is a general sort, instead of anything more definite and extraordinary in divine providence. So does the persecution of the fifth Seal; and surely also the immense catastrophe to befall high and low in the sixth. We may see some traces coming into evidence of the West and East for the latter day in the later Trumpets; but we do not hear of the Beast till the parenthesis before the last or Seventh in Revelation 11. Does not all this indicate a longer lapse of time than enquirers generally conceive? Is there not implied a series of judgments before the last week begins? There is no solid ground in scripture for conceiving that, when the rapture to heaven takes place, the Roman prince of the future forthwith confirms a covenant with the unbelieving mass of the Jews as to their reconstituted worship and temple service. The week remains to be fulfilled; yet there is nothing but assumption or theory for closing up all so sharply. Enough has been said to show that scripture involves preparatory circumstances of great moment, which leave ample sphere for a considerable settlement of unbelieving Jews in the land, and for all the other connected events. Indeed there is nothing to hinder much while the Bridegroom tarries. But scripture is clear that His coming to receive His own for heaven is wholly independent of any such changes on earth. Therefore does it remain the same for us now as for the saints in apostolic days: so that the one hope might have its heavenly power, and all have the blessing of waiting for Him in wholly separateness and bridal affection, sure that He is coming, with nothing to enfeeble our constant expectancy. Thus it is of all moment to keep the lamp of prophecy as distinct as the written word makes it from the Christian hope, and to know that this is heavenly and rests on Christ's love and truth, and never there mixed up with the earthly things which prophecy unveils. Even now it is our privilege to have day dawning and Christ as daystar arising in our hearts, whilst we look for its actual fruition at His coming. Nor is there a greater hindrance to the power of the truth in our souls, our communion, our walk, and service, and worship, than confounding our proper hope with prophecy, as is done in the query here answered.
Bible Treasury Volume N4, p. 160. October 1902.
Q. 2 Timothy 4:1. What is the true text and the right version of this solemn scripture? The explanation even of the wisest seems unsatisfactory in consequence. ENQUIRER.
A. Almost all agree that the οὖν ἐγὼ ("I therefore") of the Text. Rec. is uncalled for accretion, and "the Lord" too before "Jesus Christ" or rather Christ Jesus. The present κρίνειν expresses the long continuity of the judgment, instead of the brief act on the great white throne to which κρῖναι would tend confine the process. But the great defect is not only the allowance of κατὰ "at" (E K L P, 37, 47, and the Syrr.), but the failure to take the accusatives with καὶ repeated as the direct and simple object of the verb. The older Latin copies have no "per," but say loosely "adventum" for ἐπιφάνειαν. "I testify earnestly, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus that is about to judge living and dead, both his appearing and his kingdom." It is a fresh charge in which the apostle urges this twofold, however closely connected, object of the special ground of responsibility for Christian walk and service. Then will shine forth not only the Lord but those that are His, each in the position awarded by the righteous Judge according to the things done in (or, through) the body (2 Corinthians 5:10). It is not simply His coming, His παρουσία, to receive us to Himself for the Father's house, which is sovereign grace, but when He appraises the fruit of each one's reward according to his own labour (1 Corinthians 3:8). This the apostle earnestly testified, that Timothy too might believe and act on it in preaching urgently with every duty of ministry, looking for the glorious result, as one who also loved Christ's appearing when righteousness shall reign and therefore His Kingdom. But the grace which gives us Christ now in all its fulness and will receive us to Himself (not heaven only but the deepest joy and bliss with Him) for the Father's house is far more, and the means too of bracing and strengthening us to fulfill our part in responsibility. Such grace gives us to enter into His will and interests both intelligently and with devoted affection; so that, instead of shirking present duty and suffering for Him and the truth, we love His appearing and His reign when Satan will be powerless, evil put down everywhere both at once and infallibly, and the Lord exalted over all the earth and the heavens. Then indeed will "Thy (the Father's) Kingdom" have come; and His will be done too, not only on high, but on the earth even as in heaven. Everybody is familiar with the words: how few seem to enter into their blessed force! Yet men boast of theology, colleges, school-boards, Sunday schools, societies and sermons without end. Is not the reality humbling? The words are plain.
Bible Treasury Volume N4, p. 190. December 1902.
Q. — 2 Chron. 21:2. In this verse Jehoshaphat is called King of Israel, not King of Judah as in 2 Chron. 18:3. Why is this? Is it in praise or blame he is thus called King of Israel? W.R.K.
A. — It is clear that historically Jehoshaphat was King of Judah; and this was necessarily stated in the second passage and throughout the chapter where he is shown in guilty alliance with the then King of Israel. But he was a man of faith and ought to have kept clear of so compromising an association. Even after Jehovah's great intervention against the vast gathering of Moab and Ammon, Jehoshaphat joined with the wicked King of Israel, Ahaziah, and had his fleet broken, and so the joint design came to nought. Was not the name "King of Israel," attached to Jehoshaphat to mark that he ought to have stood as de jure sovereign, while owning de facto the chastening which broke up their unity? We see how Hezekiah and Josiah (2 Chron. 30:1, 2 Chron. 34:33, 2 Chron. 35:3) went out in heart to fraternise with the godly in Israel. How much more had Jehoshaphat wrought for Jehovah's glory, if he had in his life kept aloof as "King of Israel," the title given to him after death? How sad his son Jehoram's course in every point of view! The remarkable scripture in Isa. 48:1 may be compared in some respects: "Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah," etc.
Q. — Ezek. 43:15. According to the margin two very different and highly significant words are translated "altar": Harel, mount of God, and Ariel, lion of God. Is the A.V. correct? And if so, what spiritual meaning underlies those singular words? W.E.K.
A. — It may be well to notice first that the regular word for altar is neither of these terms, but Mizbeach, derived from the verb zebach, to slay, especially as a sacrifice. Hence this is the word in verses 13, 18, 22, 27. The words questioned are figurative. The former, Harel, designates the upper altar, naturally flowing from its etymology; the latter, though capable of meaning "lion of God," rather signifies "hearth of God," in this scripture, the whole upper surface of the altar. But "Ariel" in Isa. 29:1, as applied to Jerusalem, makes good sense as "lion of God," though some prefer there as here "hearth of God."
Q. — Matt. 12:31, 32. Is there any difference between blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and speaking against Him? ONE.
A. — The same thing in substance is meant, the first stating its evil character with energy, the second widening its extent. It signifies imputing to Satan that power of God which the Holy Ghost exercised then and afterward; and it bespeaks deep and settled hatred of God. Souls that give themselves up to such malice against the worker of all good are beyond pardon. Forgiveness is for those who repent and believe the gospel.
Q. — Is preaching the gospel of the grace of God with the head covered (1 Cor. 11:4) scriptural? YOUNG DISCIPLE.
A. — The question of covering the head is raised in the early verses of 1 Cor. 11, because certain sisters at Corinth had forgotten or never known the due place of men and women in divine things. It is a reproof of the Christian females who were disorderly. For if in salvation and relationship to God by grace there can be no difference, there is in His service. Woman's head was to be covered, man's not. Every man praying or prophesying with aught on his head (i.e. covered) dishonours his head; as did every woman uncovered in such exercises. It is the order of power; and God will have this divinely constituted propriety in such as fear Him and know His grace. If she will not be covered, let her also be shorn, is the apostle's taunt. But this says nothing about preaching the gospel, though it is well that man should ever speak reverently and act after a comely sort even in evangelising, instead of yielding to nature, or cultivating popularity in a worldly way. In the assembly, where God's presence is manifested and enjoyed specially, still more should flesh be disallowed. Woman were there to be silent (1 Cor. 14). For, says the apostle, it is not permitted to speak, even could they prophesy like Philip's daughters, but in their father's house it seems, and with due subjection.
Q. — 1 Cor. 15:3, 4. Did the apostle preach to the Corinthians, while unsaved, that Christ died for their sins? How are we to use these words? E. M.
A. — On the contrary it is evident that the apostle thus writes to the Corinthians, after they believed the gospel and were baptised. Never is language so precise applied to unbelievers. Those who so preach assume what is false: namely, that all are saved, but that it after all avails only for such as believe. But this is to trifle with both God and man. For it is absolutely true that, till they believe, all are alike sons of disobedience, and children of wrath. So the apostle classes himself with the most privileged of mankind, yet declares that "we also all once had our conversation in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and the thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest." All were alike dead in their offences and their sins. But God being rich in mercy, because of His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in our offences, quickened us together with the Christ. It is contradictory, unsound, and evil to claim for the elect that they were not dead but alive as compared with the rest of men, and that faith only manifested their previous life. The idea is only another form of the error as to life. "For by grace are ye saved — have been and are — through faith ; and that not of yourselves; it is God's gift and not of works, lest any man should boast." Grace did not need to be said "not of ourselves," for grace means God's unmerited favour to us. But faith might be, as it has often been, argued to be of ourselves, because it is a subjective work of the Spirit in the heart. Therefore the apostle carefully declares that this thing faith, is not of us, but God's gift, that he might counteract and preclude that proneness which is in man to boast of something in himself.
We are therefore to use the words of the apostle to the Corinthians, as he wrote them, when they bore the name of the Lord. Nothing more simple or natural than that he should say that he delivered to them first, what he also had received, that Christ died for them according to the scriptures; and that He was buried; that He was raised the third day according to the scriptures; and that He appeared variously after that. But he had already stated what was meant to warn their light minds, that the gospel which he announced, which they too received and in which also they were standing, by which also they were being saved, involved their also holding fast the word he preached to them. Caution in other forms and to a similar effect he repeatedly gave them in this Epistle. It was necessary for those who were tampering with evil and danger. It is wholesome for every soul who confesses Christ, and not least for those who are impatient with such grave admonition, as if it weakened sovereign grace; whereas all flows from it and is levelled at the presumption and self-confident laxity of professing Christians.
Q. — Col. 1:23: "the gospel, which was preached to every creature which is under heaven." What is the meaning? Does "every creature" include North American Indians and South Sea Islanders? P.H.D.
A. — The universality of its witness is meant in the then known world, "in all creation that is under heaven." Compare ver. 6 for its fruit-bearing and growth, as also Mark 16:15 for the Lord's commission. The word 'creation" is not that used for each individual creature, but for creation in an abstract way; and this is confirmed in Col. 1:23 by the absence of the article, so that there is no assertion of the Red Indian or of the South Sea Islander. Yet had it been proclaimed as a fact then, as Christ's bondmen had gone forth and preached everywhere in all the world as then known. So Mark 16:20 testifies.
Q. — Heb. 9:12. Can it be that this warrants, as I have heard it said, that Christ's blood is literally presented in heaven, and would be seen by us when with Him in glory? F.C.G.
A. — The notion, utterly baseless and revolting, shows the danger of speculation by going beyond the N.T. and literalising the O.T. shadow. It should be met with, not discussion but rebuke.
Bible Treasury Volume N4, p. 240. March 1903.
Q. — 1. Matt. 10:23, etc. The mission of the Twelve to Israel in Matt. 10 is generally inferred, from verse 23, to be now in suspense, and resumed (of course per alios) before the Lord's appearing. How is this reconcileable with the total absence of the Father's name in the Revelation? We see the name of the Father plainly revealed in the Lord's ministry to Israel, and conspicuous in the commission of the Twelve in this chapter. See verses 20, 29.
2. Does the gospel of the Kingdom ("this gospel"), to be preached to all the nations under Matt. 24:14, coalesce with the mission to all nations under Matt 28:19 (the latter carrying the full revelation of the Trinity)?
3. Why is the mission of the Seventy (Luke 10) omitted from Matthew? What is its special significance as distinct from that of the Twelve? E.J.T.
A. - 1. It may be observed that from ver. 16 our Lord goes forward from this primary Jewish mission while He was there to the time when the Spirit should be given and their Father consequently known. Then again ver. 23 passes over to the still future days when there will be the resumption of the mission in the land. Hence it seems that there is no sufficient ground to infer that "your Father" as in ver. 29 applies to the future messengers. Nor on the other hand can we speak of His Father's name being absolutely absent, when we had such words as meet our eyes in Rev, 14:1. But it is nowhere implied that the Apocalyptic saints know the Father for themselves, as even the babes of the family do now.
2. 1 do not think that the future mission of converted: Jews to preach the gospel of the Kingdom for a witness to all the nations can be said to coalesce with Matt. 28:19, because there is baptism to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit enjoined on those who bowed in the latter case. This is the special revelation of God proper to Christianity, and goes far beyond the preaching just before the end.
3. The mission of the Twelve was before the Transfiguration which brought out His rejection, death, and heavenly glory as risen. That of the Seventy followed as an extraordinary call of grace, and therefore in full keeping with the design and character of Luke's Gospel as compared with Matthew and Mark. But we need not suppose that these things and others were yet understood. In the latter case, so urgent was it, they were to salute no one on the way; and the rejection of them was to reject both Himself and Him who sent Jesus.
Bible Treasury Volume N4, p. 271. June 1903.
Q. — Ps. 120:5. Have you any light on the peoples so remarkably associated with Israel in the latter day? The commentators seem perplexed by these names, and without anything of moment to suggest. W.
A. — It may be fairly asked if the construction of "sojourn" does not point to "with" Meshech, rather than "in" (as Ps. 5:5 (4); as also the preposition "with" is really meant, and not "in," the tents of Kedar. Hence it is not dwelling among these enemies that is intended, but their hostile proximity to the sons of Israel in their land. The difficulty supposed from the one belonging to the far north, the Muscovites once inhabiting the country near the Euxine, but afterwards with others migrating to the land of Magog or Russia, and the other to the north-west of Arabia in the south, is exactly what gives point to the plaint. The Psalm refers to the last part of the latter day crisis, when Gog (as in Ezek. 38, 39) comes up to crush the restored people dwelling in their unwalled villages. Little does the great and last north-eastern chief of Rosh (the Russians), Meshech (the Muscovites), and Tubal (the Tobolskians), know that Jehovah-Jesus is their King, and that he with his vast hordes, not only of Gomer and Togarmah, etc., in the north, but down to Persia, Cush, and Phut, and as here Kedar in the south, only come up to be punished for their unbelieving greed and presumption, that Jehovah may make Himself known in the eyes of many nations, at the beginning of His glorious Kingdom for a thousand years, It is of interest, one may add, that the Assyrian inscriptions connect two of the three, Mushai and Tuplai; as Herodotus much later the Moschi with the Tibarini. In the Byzantine historians, οἱ Ῥὼς is used for the Russians, the very name by which the Septuagint long before rendered the Hebrew Rosh employed by Ezekiel.
Q. 1. — What took place on the cross when God forsook Jesus, as He said? Was the divine entirely withdrawn, leaving only the human, or, if not, what? C. B. St. G.
A. 1. — The union of the divine and the human in the Person of Christ was indissoluble from the moment of the incarnation. It was an error distinctive of the Gnostics to imagine a separation when He was about to suffer atoningly and die. And the error is fatal to the divine efficacy of atonement, as well as to the abiding glory of His Person. He had been a sufferer from man all His days on earth, and these sufferings were intensified as He hung on the cross: how did not dogs and bulls of Bashan, as Ps. 22 expresses it, vent their shameless spite and unbridled rage then! But the psalm opens with the new and infinitely solemn fact that God forsook Him — forsook Him when man failed, even His disciples forsaking Him and fleeing, when He most of all needed sympathy. But no: He must drink the cup to the dregs, he made sin, and bear our sins in His body on the tree, have God, His God, dealing with Him, as thus giving Himself as a sacrifice up to God for sin, where all was darkness and not a ray of kindly light could enter. Till then He had walked in the unclouded enjoyment of His Father's love; but then He must taste, as He did to the uttermost, what God feels and must execute as the Judge of sin, and (in His case) of all the sins which were laid on His holy head. This was the perfection of His suffering, not merely from man for righteousness and love, but what was peculiar to Himself, and peculiar to that time of atonement, suffering from God for sin because He was faithful to man and came to save sinners. Only thus could God be glorified about sin; only thus could the unjust be justified to God's glory and the full proof of divine grace also, as laying the ground for the righteousness of God in Christ. Never was the unfathomable love for God and man so proved in Him as when thus bearing our judgment at God's hand on the cross; but for that very reason it could not be a time for Christ's enjoying the communion of His love and delight as ever before and since. This was the necessary change then.
Q. 2. — Why should you think the word "spirit" in Rom. 8:10 means the Holy Ghost and not man's spirit? C. B. St. G.
A. 2. — It is evident if we examine the context that the "Spirit" in the verses before and after the text referred to means the Spirit of God, variously characterised in ver. 9 and especially 11, but none other than the Holy Ghost. The spirit of man introduced in any of these cases would not only weaken and destroy the truth intended, but render the reasoning null and void; and so it is down to ver. 16, Where first we hear of "our spirit," and here only. For in vers. 23, 26, 27, it is beyond doubt the Holy Spirit. It is true that ver. 10 implies that we are quickened inwardly, but the inspired word goes further. It is not that the "spirit is quickened," but that "the Spirit is life." This could only in my judgment be said of the Holy Spirit. The continuation of the argument in ver. 11 confirms this, because the same Spirit is not only "life" in the believer now, but shall also quicken our mortal bodies by and by at Christ's presence, and thus complete the work of grace by a deliverance even of the body from the last vestige of the power of death. It is so, because of "Christ in you."
Q. — 1 Cor. 7:39, Does this scripture mean that a sister, or a brother, was allowed to marry, if so led, but "only in the Lord," that is, a fellow Christian? YOUNG DISCIPLE.
A. — In my judgment the apostle meant more than that. A Christian is called to walk by faith in everything, and how much he needs it in a step so important to his future here below! He might be attracted by a sister, who so differed from himself in habits, circumstances, and age as to make it unseemly for others and unhappy for themselves, but by the still sadder fact of such fleshly or worldly mind as to endanger his soul and his testimony, and all the more, if he had been of spiritual mind or sought to be. This scripture therefore seems to cover more than the bare fact of being in Christian fellowship, and teaches that the marrying should be in the Lord, that is, guided for their good to His glory, and so by His direction. This appears to be "only in the Lord."