Taken and left — Matt. 24:40, 41 etc.|
Thanks given separately — Matt. 26:26, 27 etc.
Commendatory letters — 2 Cor. 3:1
Being crafty — 2 Cor. 12:16
Christian baptism — 1 Peter 3:21
Atonement — Lev. 16
Prophetic scriptures — Rom. 1:2-4
Angels — Deut. 32:8, 43 etc.
The cleansing in the 12th and 18th years — 2 Kings 22, 2 Chr. 34
Discrepancy? — 1 Chr. 21:6; 1 Chr. 27:24
Are three parties implied — Psalm 91:11
Why heaven — Luke 15:18, 21
Strangled and blood — Acts 15:20, 29
The mediator is not of one — Gal. 3:20
Is "deliverance" all? — Gal. 5:17, 25
Calling days after heathen usage — Rev. 1:10
Was the anointing, etc., of Aaron typical — Ex. 12:28, 29
Please relate — Matt. 13:30, 1 Cor. 5:13, 2 Tim. 2:21
Zion and Jerusalem — Isaiah 1:27
Pray explain — 2. Col. 2:20; 1 Peter 2:13
Stater — Ex. 30:13, 15; Matt. 17:24
Seeing or surrounding? — Heb. 12:1
His generation, grave and death — Isa. 53:8
The gathering of Israel — Jer. 31:22
Can a believer lose life eternal? — Matt. 13:5, 6
Tares — Matt. 13:25
Their angels — Matt. 17:10
Is it a little one only? — Matt. 18:5; 19:13-15
The second miracle? — Mark 1:23, Luke 4:33-36
The sabbath — Matt. 28:1 etc.
Only a preface of the writer? — Luke 1:1-4
Why is the cross not included here? — 1 Tim. 3:16
Propitiation was on the cross — Heb. 2:17; 8:4
To judge, and communicating — 1 Cor. 2:15 etc.
The article — Acts 19:15
How do we meet as Christians? — Eph. 4:4
The valley of Elah etc. — Joshua 15:48
The Lord's prayer — Matt. 6; Luke 11
Why — Ps. 78:67, 68
The indwelling Spirit — Rom. 8
Going out and putting out — 1 Cor. 5:13
Burning and refined — Rev. 1:15; 3:18
Are we still responsible to persevere? — Acts 2:42
Why no mention of the Jordan? — Heb. 11:29, 30
Unity — Eph. 4:5
Azazel — Lev. 16:10
Moses kept the passover through faith — Heb. 11:28, 29
Who wrote it? — Hebrews
Believe also on Me — John 14:1
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 16. January 1900.
Q. — Matt. 24:40, 41; Luke 17: 31, 35: "taken" and "left," for what? A.W.
A. — "Taken" for judgment by the coming King; "left" for blessing in the kingdom. If the Lord had been here speaking of the church or Christian, the taking would have naturally pointed to being caught up to heaven. But the context proves decisively in both Gospels that He speaks of Jews in that future day of His appearing after the heavenly saints have been translated and appear with Him in glory.
Q. — Matt. 26:26, 27; Mark 14:22, 23; Luke 22:19, 20. Is it not clear that thanks should be given separately for the bread and the cup? and that reverence is due by doing so at the table? T. M.
A. — Though spirit is far beyond letter, it is sad to allow a slipshod way with the Lord's Supper. Even the Lord Himself, as all three Synoptic Gospels show, teaches by His action what is comely on our part. Nothing can justify irreverence or self-will. We have only to follow Him. As He took bread and gave thanks before breaking it, so He did with the cup. Why should any one depart from His example? Is it not habit, or carelessness?
Q. — 2 Cor. 3:1. Commendatory letters, from whom? Z .
A. — From such as are known to have the assembly's confidence. If others took on them to write, what weight could they have? If a man wrote of contention or faction, the letter would represent his own bad state. — We have the Spirit of God to guide by the word; but all is vain if we be unspiritual habitually, or carried away by prejudice or prepossession at any particular time.
To doctrine, as to discipline, the same principle applies. If a saint were of single eye, the whole body would be full of light. And all things when convicted by the light are manifested. The errors of a Christ born at a distance from God, of uncertainty as to possessed and known life eternal, and of a fabulous propitiation in heaven, distinct from Christ's expiation on the cross, are lies of the enemy; and "no lie is of the truth." Nor will faithful men tolerate any of them, or whittle them down, or pretend that the light does not manifest them. It is grievous to know that any and all of these heterodoxies have excusers, who are more guilty end dangerous by their wicked sophistry than the misled. In such questions, it is "the eye" that is wanted, not "the light," for this is quite clear,
Q. — 2 Cor. 12:16. What means, "Being crafty I caught you with guile"? R. M.
A. — It is the low insult which deceitful workers insinuated among the Corinthian saints, to defame the apostle and exalt themselves. They dared to say that, if he did not burden them directly, he all the more craftily reaped what he could through Titus and others. None fall into such depths of baseness as Christian professors alienated and self-seeking. In short then, it is the language, not of the apostle, but of his adversaries, whom he exposes for our admonition; and he calls such words of his speaking "folly," because it was not about Christ but himself, to which their iniquity compelled him.
Q. — 1 Peter 3:21. What is really meant here? R. M.
A. — Christian baptism sets forth, not new birth, but salvation by the work of Christ. We are, as another apostle says, buried therein to His death; the virtue of which was proved by His resurrection. This a good conscience requests and receives. But it is carefully said, to avoid superstitious perversion, "not the putting away the filth of the flesh," which was all that water could do, but what a good conscience as to God asks for, salvation by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For He was given up for our sins and was raised again for our justification. Thus have we acceptance in Him.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 31. February 1900.
Q. — Lev. 16 etc. Does the Hebrew distinguish "atonement" and "propitiation"? Are there two different words? What distinction does the chapter present? It is known that ἱλασμὸς in the N.T. is translated "propitiation," and in the Septuagint answers to "atonement."
A. — The Hebrew word Kaphar (for the question) means to atone, or make atonement. So it is regularly; and Deut. 32:43, Isa. 47:11, Ezek. 16:63, Ezek. 43:20, Ezek. 45:15, 17, 20, are the same in substance, though the effect in some cases is meant, as pacified, purged, forgiven, merciful, etc. "Propitiate" would be just as good a rendering as "atone"; and no other word regularly expresses either but the one. There is however a real distinction definitely drawn in the chapter, not between atonement and propitiation, but between propitiation and substitution typified in Jehovah's lot and the scapegoat. The error which has so often been exposed in these pages is limiting propitiation exclusively to the use made of the blood by Aaron in the sanctuary. That theory necessarily involves the frightful error of denying that the offering of the slain victim is any part of the propitiation for our sins. What a slight on Christ's sufferings! For this monstrous theory is that propitiation was made "in heaven, and after death," thus nullifying for ever that great work of God by Christ's blood and death on the cross, and making it altogether dependent on another work "after death and in heaven," instead of the type met before God in heaven by what Christ suffered on earth. "You hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh (not when He was out of His body) through death" (not after death and in heaven). Assuredly to be "reconciled" is grounded on propitiation, and presupposes it; but the truth is that Christ fully reconciled us in the body of His flesh through death. The ghostly work after death and in heaven is a ghastly fable, and calls for abhorrence.
Q. — Rom. 1:2-4, Rom. 16:26, 26. Why is it that in the first of the scriptures we read "by His prophets in holy scriptures," and in the second, "by prophetic scriptures"? The distinction is slurred over and lost in the Auth. Version as well as the Revised: how do you account for the difference between them, which is so plain in the Greek? AN OLD DISCIPLE.
A. — The key is given, as generally, by the context. God's gospel, or glad tidings, He had promised before; this was therefore through His prophets in holy scriptures. It centres in His Son, come of David's seed according to flesh, marked out Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by resurrection. While Jesus Christ our Lord then fulfilled the promises, He brought in deliverance from sin and therefore from death by power according to the Spirit of holiness, as even the O.T. prophets had foreshown. So far says Rom. 1:2-4. But 16:25, 26 goes much higher. For therein the apostle, without opening out the mystery or secret kept silent eternally as it had been, here tells the saints in Rome it was now manifested and by prophetic scriptures made known unto all the nations for faith-obedience, not by man's wit or imagination but according to command of the eternal God. The development of this hidden secret was mainly given to the Ephesian and the Colossian saints; but Paul's gospel as he calls it, yea the preaching of Jesus Christ in general to establish the saints in the faith, was in accord with it. Here therefore we necessarily pass beyond all the O.T. revelation, and are told, not of "the scriptures of the prophets" which is an incorrect rendering and a false sense, but of "prophetic scriptures." These are in fact definitely distinguished from even all the prophets of the Old Testament, and refer solely to scriptures of the N.T. which reveal the secret of Christ Head over all things to the church which is His body. Never does the O.T. make this known, as the apostle declares here and elsewhere. Now it is revealed, and by prophetic scriptures (that is, the epistles, etc., of the N.T, generally) made known, not to Israel as the O.T. was, but expressly unto all the nations.
Q. — Deut. 32:8, 43, Ps. 97 (or — Ps. 6), Heb. 1:6. Are not "angels" in the Sept. V. of the first scripture text, and can this stand? Is it not so in the Psalm, cited in the N.T.? How are we to understand all this? H.
A. — The Epistle to the Hebrews quotes verbally from the Greek Version of Deut. 32:43, at least in the Vatican copy. The same truth is revealed in Ps. 96:7 (- Ps. 7:7) substantially but as a direct address. There is therefore no ground for doubt that "angels" are meant and commanded to pay supreme honour to the Son as the risen and glorified Man, but none the less a divine person. Indeed if He were not so, worthiness as man and conferred dignity could not warrant the homage God claims from the highest creatures of heaven to His Son. "Gods (Elohim)" we find often applied to those who represent God as in government, or who are commissioned to announce and execute His will; as the Lord makes plain to the reader of John 10:34, 35. Thus there is no real difficulty. Idols must pass away and the demons behind them be punished and put down. In that day all must bow in honour of Him Who appears to reign, Who is not more truly the Anointed (or Christ) of God than He is God Himself, and Jehovah. Whatever place He takes in humiliation or in glorious administration to the glory of God, and for the blessing of creation, He is in personal title and divine nature as truly Supreme as the Father or the Holy Spirit. To think otherwise is to disown His true Deity.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 47. March 1900.
Q. — 2 Kings 22, 2 Chr. 34. How are we to reconcile the cleansing in the 12th year and in the 18th year? H.
A. — Both are true; and both speak of the cleansing which in Josiah's eighteenth year followed the discovery of the book of the law in the house of Jehovah. But 2 Chr. alone adds the account of his earlier seeking after God ten years before, in the eighth year of his reign and the twelfth beginning to purge.
Q. — 1 Chr. 21:6. What explains the apparent discrepancy between this and 1 Chr. 27:24? H.
A. — There is no discrepancy. One text says, that Joab did not count among those that were counted Levi and Benjamin; the other adds the particular, that though he began to number, he finished not, and divine displeasure fell for it upon Israel; and the number was not put in the account of the chronicles of King David. All is harmonious; but the second is a fuller explanation.
Q. — Does Psalm 91:11, quoted by Satan, refer at all to the Lord? or are there not three parties implied in it? W.
A. — The godly one that relies on Jehovah in ver. 2, Who will surely deliver Messiah as in vers. 3-13, and is answered in vers. 11-16 by Jehovah.
Q. — Luke 15:18, 21. Why "heaven"? It is well known that the Chinese identify God and heaven, and worship heaven as a true deity? H.
A. — Heaven being Jehovah's throne, as earth His footstool, we can understand readily how that highest region of divine glory is associated with every thought of purity, love, and worship. But there is no identification with God. On the contrary, after naming heaven as the unsullied seat of His honour, in contrast with this wholly defiled earth of man's will and sin and lusts, the prodigal distinguishes "thee," "Father." Compare 2 Chron. 32:20, Dan. 4:26, Matt. 21:25 and Mark 11:30, 31, Luke 20:4, 5, John 3:27, etc.
Q. — Acts 15:20, 29. Are not "strangled" and "blood" separate prohibitions? and both distinct from "pollutions of idols"? But why is "fornication" joined with things so different? W.
A. — Meyer's view that the phrase, "the pollutions," refers to the four particulars which follow seems to me untenable. The reason on which he argues (the absence of ἀπὸ before τ. π. has no force); for ἀπὸ is unnecessary any where after ἀπέχεσθαι, and is a doubtful insertion where some ancient MSS. give it. But there ought to be no question that "blood" means what is drawn out expressly from the animal for culinary use, and thus manifestly distinct from "strangled" where the purpose is to keep in the blood from flowing. Both are forbidden; for God demands that man shall by abstaining own that life belongs to Him. If any be so self-willed as to plead that they do not see or understand, let them own their ignorance and obey. It is not a Jewish or Mosaic statute only, but for man since Noah and the deluge (Gen. 9:4). "Things offered to idols," though classed here like "fornication," with the other two, as things which the heathen counted indifferent, are forbidden as evils unworthy of Christians (one might add, of men) apart from the law, which the Pharisaic party in the church strove in vain to impose on Gentile believers. But the decrees in no way meant to weaken the immorality of fornication, any more than the insult or indifference to the one true God in eating knowingly of pollutions of idols. The apostles were content here to determine, that none of these things is an open question to Gentile converts, but that, if they abstain from all these necessary things, they will do well.
Q. — Gal. 3:20: what is meant by "the mediator is not of one, but God is one"? D.
A. — It is the principle of the law on the one hand, and of promise on the other; which the apostle contrasts, in order to deliver the Galatians or any other souls from the dangerous error of mingling them together, as unbelief is prone to do. The legal mediator is intended, Moses, not Christ; and that office implies two parties: God demanding right, and sinful man wholly unable to render it. The law therefore cannot but be for sinners a ministry of death and condemnation, as we are told in 2 Cor. 3. It is wholly different with promise; for this rests on the sole and unfailing fidelity of God Who cannot lie. As God is the only party to promise in His sovereign and unconditional grace, all He promises comes to fruition. "God is one"; whereas under law man, being under obligation to perform and failing through sin, all his hopes thus come to nothing. God on the contrary accomplishes all in and by Christ, and hence to faith. And as in Him is the Yea, so through Him also is the Amen (2 Cor. 1).
Q. — Gal. 5:17, 25. Is "deliverance" all? Are we not after that to walk in the Spirit? W.
A. — Assuredly: to question it would be antinomianism, or systematic unholiness. We are called to walk in the Spirit by the faith of Christ, in confidence of His care, in habitual self-judgment, and in obedience of the word.
Q. — Have we any scriptural example for calling days of the week after the heathen usage? E.
A. — The only N.T. change from the Jewish "first of the week" is the Lord's day in Rev. 1:10. There is no example, we may presume, of the Gentile Sunday, Monday, etc. How could there be? "Easter" in Acts 12:4 should be "the Passover."
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 64. April 1900.
Q. — Ex. 12:28, 29. Was the anointing, consecrating and sanctifying of Aaron and his sons, to minister in the priest's office, typical of anything that had to take place before our Lord entered upon His priestly work?
(1). If so, of what does the oil speak?
(2). Of what was the killing of the ram of consecration a type?
(3). Had what they typified to be fulfilled before our Lord became High Priest? J. S.
A. — If the querist were to read what has already appeared in the "B,T." (New Series), ii. 290, 306, 324, 338, 354, 370 (1899), as well as the papers regularly following in 1900, he would find much more ample discussion than in a brief answer now. But the Epistle to the Hebrews is the inspired warrant for regarding the Aaronic priesthood as typical of our Lord's exercise of office in heaven, and of those who are His as His house on earth. At the same time contrast is pointed out as clearly as analogy. So it must be with One Who is Son of God and Son of man in a sense and personal dignity beyond all others, as Heb. 1, 2 were meant to show as a starting-point. Hence also Ps. 110 is introduced as early as Heb. 5: to indicate that, if the exercise be yet Aaronic (within the veil, on the ground of a completed atonement by blood), its "order" is according to Melchizedek (everlasting and intransmissible, not successional like Aaron's).
But the sanctifying, anointing, and consecrating typified what was found in our Lord or accomplished by Him in order to His priestly function.
1. The oil here as elsewhere speaks of the unction from the Holy One, the Spirit given to Him before, to us since, redemption.
2. The slaying of the ram of consecration, like every other sacrifice, typified Christ's death, each in its own special point of view, but all fulfilled in that wondrous fact.
3. They were fulfilled here below, though the value was recognised instantly in heaven and for ever, before our Lord was addressed by God as High Priest, or entered on His heavenly office in due form and glory.
Q. — Matt. 13:30, 1 Cor. 5:13, 2 Tim. 2:21. How do these scriptures hang together? B. A.
A. — The first speaks of evil professors of the Lord, who are not our objects of extermination, but living in the field of the world till judgment falls at the end of the age. The second commands the wicked man to be at once put out of the church. The third provides for the day when the professing church sanctions vessels to dishonour, from which the faithful soul is bound to purge himself. Thus only can he be a vessel to honour, sanctified and meet for the master's use, prepared unto every good work.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 95. June 1900.
Q. — 1. How are we to understand "Zion" as compared with "Jerusalem"? "the daughter," and "the daughters," of Zion? 4
A. — 1. Zion was literally the south-eastern height called David's city, as Moriah was the north-eastern one on which Jehovah's house was built. But Zion (Isaiah 1:27) is often employed figuratively by the prophets and synonymously with Jerusalem as, a whole. "Daughter of Zion" (as in Isaiah 1:9) is a poetic expression for the inhabitants of the Jewish capital, and so for the people in general. "Daughters of Zion" (as in Isaiah 3:16) would represent rather its female inhabitants. But we may add that it is nothing but ignorance to assume that Zion anywhere means the church of God even metaphorically. In Heb. 12:22, 23 it is no doubt contrasted with Sinai (18, etc.), that is, the mount of royal grace, with that of legal responsibility; but it is distinguished alike from the scene of glory on high, a living God's city, heavenly Jerusalem, and yet more from the church or "assembly of first-born ones enrolled in the heavens." Nor is there solid ground to doubt that, as Rev. 7:2-8 points to a sealed number out of Israel's tribes, to be secured from providential judgment in a future day, so does Rev. 14:1-5 to a still more honoured complement of godly Jews, associated with the earth-rejected Messiah and blessed in that day. In both chapters, whether Israel or Jews properly, they are shown separately from the Gentiles, and grace will not forget them in the tremendous crisis at the end of the age. The heavenly redeemed are then and even before this seen symbolised by the crowned elders, who will have been with the Lord on high, and therefore manifestly distinct from any of them.
Q. — 2. Col. 2:20; 1 Peter 2:13: pray explain.
A. — 2. The two are wholly distinct in their objects and aim; and hence there is no discrepancy possible.
Col. 2:20 asks, If ye died with Christ from the elements of the world, why as alive in the world do ye subject yourselves to ordinances? The apostle gives a specimen of these ordinances in the three prohibitions which follow, Handle not, nor taste, nor touch. This was Jewish legalism over again, consistent with a people in the flesh like Israel, or as he here says "living in the world," but quite incompatible with the spiritual condition of the Christian as one who died with Christ: a privilege acknowledged and signified even in baptism. To revive such ordinances was not only carnal, but a contradiction of their position as having died with Christ.
In 1 Peter 2:13 we have nothing to do with these δόγματα of earthly religion, which Col. 2 declares to have been nailed to the cross and taken out of the way. The apostle of the circumcision urges on the believing remnant, that their behaviour be seemly among the Gentiles, and in subjection to every human creation or institution for the Lord's sake. This he explains as civil government: "whether to king, as supreme; or to rulers, as being sent through him for vengeance on evil-doers and praise of well-doers." Christian Jews must not be refractory like their unbelieving brethren.
Q. — How are we to reconcile the Sept. version of Ex. 30:13, 15 with the Greek of Matt. 17:24? The latter seems double the former. X.
A. — It is an interesting result and evidence of the version being made in Alexandria, where the drachm had just twice the value of the Greek or Attic drachm. Hence half the former was the equivalent of the latter, which is intended in the Gospel, answering to the Hebrew half-shekel. Theophylact, Abp. of Bulgaria in the latter part of the 11th century, seems to have been ignorant that the stater, or shekel, found in the fish's mouth, was the tetradrachm of later Greek writers, as distinguished from a gold coin and a heavier silver one earlier known, both so-called. He says that some thought it to be a precious stone found in Syria. Singularly enough, Clem. Alex. and Origen, Augustine and Jerome, are all wrong in confounding the ransom tax with a civil due. But Hilary and Chrysostom were right; not so the Jesuit C. à Lapide, or the Lutheran J. G. Wolff, and down to Wieseler, though the Jesuit Maldonat, and J. Albert Bengel, with Hammond, and J. Lightfoot etc., had long pointed out the truth.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 112. July 1900.
Q. — Heb. 12:1: how seeing, or surrounding? M.
A. — We are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, not spectators of us, but giving testimony in faith; but the call is to look away from all else to Jesus, the leader and completer of faith. Neither sentiment nor superstition can do anything here but hinder our running the race well; and this can only be with endurance rather than energy.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 158. August 1900.
Q. — (1). Isa. 53:8. What is meant by "Who shall declare his generation?" H. D.
(2). Isa. 53:9. How are we to understand "His grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death?" R.M.
A. — (1). It appears to be as contrary to general usage as to the particular context, that we should here conceive "posterity" (even though of course in a spiritual sense) The meaning is rather His contemporaries. How blind they were, not only to His glory, but to the wondrous work His humiliation was about to achieve by His atoning death on the cross! They in their murderous hatred were but hurrying on that which would give effect, in the grace of God, to taking away the transgression of His people.
(2). The next verse refers, not only to the grave which was appointed to one reckoned with lawless men, but to that honour which God took care should notwithstanding be paid in His burial. As is well known, "the wicked" is plural, whereas "rich" is singular. The simple facts are thus the best comment on the prediction. Man proposed, but God disposed, Who alone could and did set it out long before. Men assigned Him in his thought a grave with the wicked, but He was in fact according to His purpose with a rich man in His death.
Q. — What is the real bearing of Jer. 31:22? Bp. Pearson treats it as the prophet's prediction of the Incarnation, as you will know, declaring this interpretation "ancient, literal, and clear." "Ancient" it may be, both for Rabbis and Fathers; but is it either literal or clear? Is it the truth intended? E.
A. — The context clearly looks on to the gathering of all the families of Israel, not to a mere remnant of Jews provisionally (in a day when Jehovah will be their God) and they His people. He that scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a flock; when priests and people shall be satisfied with His goodness (vers. 1-14). Rachel's tears are to be no more; her children instead of perishing shall come to their own border. Ephraim turns and repents; and Jehovah says He will surely have mercy on him (15-20). Then, as filling up the beautiful picture of Israel's return, we hear the call to act up waymarks and signposts, yea to set their heart toward the highway, once of sorrow, now of joy; for Jehovah bids the virgin of Israel, forgiving all past delinquency, to "turn again to these thy cities." "How long wilt thou wander about, thou backsliding daughter?" What has one word of all this to do with the miraculous conception, all-important as it is in Isa. 7:14? "For Jehovah hath created a new thing in the earth; a woman shall encompass a man" (22). No matter what their weakness, they need not fear the strong, but should go round about him. The word here used is never employed to express any such idea as is assumed, but is suitable for a phrase that imports one out of weakness made strong. And this is confirmed by all that follows to the end of the chapter. Even Calvin, unintelligent as he was in prophetic truth, understood the verse correctly. The Incarnation rests on grounds so plain and solid as to need no forced construction. For a female compassing a mighty one has nothing in common with giving birth, but rather to freedom and exemption from his power, however weak in herself. Usage quite agrees with the force of the words. Where is the phrase applied to gestation? Scripture speaks similarly where any strikingly divine intervention wholly distinct appears; as, for instance, of the earth opening its mouth to swallow the apostate rebels, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Num. 16:30). The phrase employed therefore embraces a far wider range than the Incarnation, to which the terms of a woman compassing a man are in themselves wholly alien.
Q. — Matt. 13:5, 6. Can a believer lose life eternal? R.C.
A. — It would not be life eternal if it could be lost. Animal life can perish; but even the soul is immortal for man, being inbreathed by Jehovah-God (Gen. 2), How much less can that life perish, which the believer hath (not merely shall have) in Christ, the Son of God! What then means the withering away of what sprang up on the stony places? Our Lord explains in vers. 20, 21. There is more than one way of ruin for mere professors of His name: 1st. Satan hindering the entrance of the word, as in ver. 19; 2nd. as in vers. 20, 21 the flesh receiving the word hastily without conscience before God, and therefore quickly giving up under pressure; and 3rd. as in ver. 22, the anxiety of this age and the deceitfulness of wealth choking all fruit, the necessary issue of life. It is the world. He who hears in faith is no longer Satan's prey and does bear fruit, though even so the flesh and the world may hinder the hundredfold which ought to be.
Q. — Matt. 13:25. What is the true force of the word (ζιζάνια) translated "tares" in the A, & R. Versions? Is there any ground for the strange notion, among many of old to our day, that the noxious weed intended is degenerate wheat? QUERIST.
A. — The word beyond doubt means "darnel," which is in Latin "lolium," or "l. temulentum" because of its deleterious properties. The "tare" or vetch is in Latin "vicia," and, far from being a noxious weed, a leguminous grain wholesome in itself and useful to the agriculturist in spring and winter for feeding his cattle. There is no more ground in natural science to confound tares with darnel than there is in philology. The things are as distinct as the terms. Nor is there the smallest evidence, since man began to observe, that wheat ever degenerated into either. It is a mere and baseless fancy. Yet so farmers talked and fathers wrote, to say nothing of natural philosophers like Pliny of old, and grave divines, as Dr. J. Lightfoot down to Abp. Trench, who goes so far as to treat as a Manichean error that wheat and tares (or rather darnel) are different in kind, and their spiritual counterparts incapable of passing from the one into the other! As his assumption is not the fact in natural history, so it is a mistake doctrinally to deduce from our Lord's words that the sons of the kingdom and those of the evil one are interchangeable. They are viewed as the results of the respective sowings. It is still more palpably the error of ancients and moderns to overlook our Lord's interpretation of "the field" as "the world." To regard it as "the church" opens the door to confusion and evil without end, as every Christian ought to see.
Q. — Matt. 17:10. What mean "their angels?" R.M.
A. — Not the spirits, but the angelic representatives, of the little ones. Compare what is said of Peter in Acts 12:15. It is well however to abide within the limits of what is revealed without prying beyond. See Col. 2
Q. — Matt. 18:5; Matt. 19:13-15. Is it a little one only, or a believing one, or both? R.M.
A. — The Lord at the beginning of the chapter corrects the ambition of the disciples by the figure of a little child as far as possible from any such thought. But it is certain from ver. 6 that He goes forward to the "little ones that believe on Me." But it seems worthy of Him before closing the subject to give us comfort in a more distinct way than elsewhere respecting "little ones" like the one that He called and set in the midst of them. How many die at an early age? Do they perish? We are not left to spiritual instinct, or to reasoning from general principles. Nor is it the unbelieving and unspiritual plea that they are "innocent." They do belong to the fallen race, for whose sake the good Shepherd came and died: "even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." Are we not entitled to look beyond those that believe to "these little ones" for assurance that, if called before believing could be, they are not to perish? Compare also chap. 19:13-15.
Q. — (1). Mark 1:23, Luke 4:33-36. The late Dr. Trench, Abp. of Dublin, in his well-known Notes on the Miracles of our Lord (p. 233, seventh ed. 1862), speaks of the healing of this demoniac as "the second miracle" of the kind which the evangelists record at any length. Is this correct?
(2). He connects in p. 234 "the Holy One of God" in the accounts of this miracle with Ps. 16:10, as "the first appearance of this phrase." Is it really so?
(3). Dean Alford in the fifth edition of his Greek Testament, i. 313, says that this demoniac's healing in the synagogue at Capernaum was "not immediately after the preceding. The calling of the apostles, the Sermon on the Mount, the healing of the, leper, and of the centurion's servant, precede the following miracle." Is this the fact? or ignorance of the chronology? QUERIST.
A. — (1). The Abp. cannot have carefully examined the relative order of the events in the Gospels; else he must have known that the cure of the demoniac at Capernaum was the first case of detailed account, and long before that related in Matt. 8:28-36. Mark and Luke are explicit that the cure in the synagogue at Capernaum was on the same sabbath when he healed Simon's mother-in-law, soon after the four apostles were called as Mark proves, whereas only Luke reserves that call for fuller development in the miraculous draught which so powerfully acted on Peter's soul (Luke 5:1-11). But both conclusively show that the cure of legion (Matthew telling us of two demoniacs) was after the day when the parables of the kingdom were delivered (Matt. 13), and the storm on the lake when the Lord rebuked the winds and the raging water.
(2). Dr. Trench is not less mistaken as to the phrase, "Holy One of God." "Holy" here answers to ἅγιος, whereas the corresponding Greek in the Sept. rendering of the Psalm (and quite accurately) is ὅσιος. The former means strictly holy, as separate from evil; and this the angel announced even of the Lord's humanity, in a way never said of any other born of woman, nor yet of Adam unfallen. Compare also 1 John 2:20. The latter is often in the Sept. said of Christ as the "pious" or "gracious" One, which comes practically to the sense of "holy" as said of man, and "merciful" of God. This is the word that occurs in Ps. 16 as quoted in Acts 13:35, as also in Heb. 7:26. Ps. 89 is very instructive, in that we have the former said of the Holy One of Israel, our King, in ver. 18; whereas He is said to speak in vision of His Holy or gracious One in ver. 19, the One in Whom His loving-kindnesses or mercies centred.
(3). From what has been already remarked on Dr. T., it will be plain how far from all intelligence of the structure of the Gospels, and of Matthew's in particular, was Dean Alford. For there is no ground to doubt that the healing of the demoniac at Capernaum is the first recorded miracle of our Lord after calling the four apostles, that the leper was healed not long after, and considerably before what is called the Sermon on the Mount, and that the centurion's servant was not healed till after it, as is shown in Luke 6, 7 beyond cavil. Matthew was led to displace the events in order to group together a divine dispensational picture; Luke brings to-ether events for the moral purpose which reigns in his account. Mark had no such reason to depart from the sequence of fact. Failure in apprehending the truth of things has wrought serious mischief in immature harmonies of the Gospels, and still worse in those whose lack of insight emboldened them to tax inspired men with discrepancies and errors.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 175. November 1900.
Q. — Matt. 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1: please explain. M.
A. — The first text speaks, not of the resurrection day, but of the sabbath which preceded, though late on that day, the dusk of evening when the next day was to begin according to Jewish reckoning. With ver. 2 commences a distinct paragraph referring to that first day. When the Sabbath was past, as we bear in the second (ver. 1), the women named bought the spices to embalm; but on coming to the sepulchre very early next morning, they learnt that the Lord was risen; and so speaks the third text. The fourth tells us of the two separate visits of Mary of Magdala, when she saw the stone taken away, and subsequently when He first appeared to her, as also Mark 16:9 declares.
Q. — Luke 1:1-4. Are those verses equally inspired as the rest of the Gospel? or only a preface of the writer's? M.
A. — They are a striking evidence and instance of what characterises Luke, in the combination of man's motives and affections and aims with the inspiring Spirit's power and design. It is only unbelief which tries to sunder what God has united. No doubt then a preface is peculiar to the third Gospel; but so it ought to be, if this Gospel have for its speciality, as it clearly has, to present the Lord Jesus, while truly God, in all the reality of that holy human nature, of which He deigned in grace to us and for God's glory to partake. The converse we see in the prediction of Caiaphas (John 11:49-53). There in divine sovereignty the Holy Spirit gave him to prophesy the death of the Saviour in terms which none the less betrayed the selfish and unprincipled wickedness of the high priest. Here we see the piety, faith, love, and conscientious care of the writer, who was none the less empowered by the Spirit to give us the truth of Christ without error according to the divine purpose in view.
Q. — 1 Tim. 3:16. May I ask why the cross is not included in this summary view of Christ? and why His being received up in glory is put last? A DISCIPLE.
A. — The reason, as I believe, why the cross does not appear is because Christ's death of rejection and in atonement was fully revealed in the O.T., as Ps. 22, Isa. 53 and Zech. 13 serve to prove. Sacrifice in general pointed to His death for our sins. Here it is "the mystery" or secret of piety which is presented, (i.e. not so revealed in the O.T.). Next, it would seem that the last clause is taken out of its historical place, in order that the blessed object of Christian dependence in faith should there stand in the more marked contrast with the falling away of some in later times, giving heed as they did to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons by the hypocrisy of legend-mongers branded in their own conscience, forbidding to marry and bidding to abstain from God-given meats. Such a system was a mere fleshly religion in open contempt of the ascended Christ. These were the victims that fell away, through seducing spirits etc., behind the hypocritical legend-mongers, who were their instruments. Christ in glory was nothing to them. Their confidence was in self-devised ordinances instigated by demons. Christ's being received up in glory" is an essential and characteristic truth of Christianity.
Q. — Heb. 2:17, 8:4. As a matter of interest, not of authority, can you cite the judgment of the late J.N.D. on these scriptures so strangely misused of late? O. D.
A. — His uniform doctrine, as far as I know, was that the work of propitiation was on the cross when lifted up, before He entered on His proper priestly office in heaven, an exceptional work in being representative for atonement as the foundation of all, Take, out of many proofs, the following from Notes and Comments, 2:17, "But then the High Priest represented the people as such, and in this character, when He has personally, not as priest, offered Himself to God. He acknowledges the people's sins — He becomes that Khat'tath, but in conscious confession first, not in judicial suffering that follows. But the sins are laid on Him — the Lord has laid them on Him; and He, willingly bearing them, confesses them in perfectness before God for reconciliation being made. This the High Priest does as representing the people, but it is not high-priestly in the proper sense, though the High Priest's service — the priest's was with the blood; but then the sacrifice was finished. Had the High Priest not done this, there could have been no priestly service at all; even this was not done on earth, but as lifted up from it. Earth was connected with flesh (there was no reconciliation for it), and as long as Christ was alive upon it, He presented Himself to men in the flesh. When that is done with, He begins His lonely work where none could enter while it was going on — and as representing the people, He makes reconciliation. Hence no priesthood in any sense was exercised on earth; for the reconciliation work, in which the High Priest was engaged, was as lifted up from it, and, though not in heaven, no longer on earth."
Q. — What is the precise difference between κρίνειν, ἀνακρίνειν, διακρίνειν, ἐγκρίνειν, κατακρίνειν, and συγκρίνειν in N.T. usage? E.
A. — The meaning of the first or simple form is "to judge," ἀνακρίσις being the technical word for the previous enquiry or preliminary investigation. Compare 1 Cor. 2:15, 1 Cor. 4:3-5, 1 Cor. 9:3, 1 Cor. 10:25, 27, in the Greek, as well as Acts 25:26 (noun). But διακρίνειν is "to discern," right in 1 Cor. 11:29 but wrong in 31; as the simple form means not "damnation" but "judgment" and even as contrasted with that. Again συγκρίνειν is in plain contradistinction to ἀνακρίνειν in 1 Cor. 2, and means the communicating or authoritative explaining of spiritual things in spiritual words, not sifting or examining them. In John 5:22-29 the confusion of the A.V. is extreme and seriously misleading. The right word is "judge" or "judgment" throughout, not "condemnation" as in 24, nor "damnation" as in 29; for our Lord is contrasting "life" with "judgment," though the issue in this case be the same. In 1 Cor. 11 the "judging" is present, in the sense of temporal only, in contrast with final and everlasting condemnation (κατακρ.). Compounded with ἀπὰ the verb means "to answer," as it should be in 2 Cor. 1:9, not "sentence," as we may add.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 192. December 1900.
Q. — Acts 19:15. Dr. J. B. Lightfoot in his Fresh Revision of the N.T. iv. §3 (p. 60) speaks of "the distinction which is effected by the insertion of the article before the one name and the omission before the other," etc. But this is not the fact, though he cites the Greek expressly, and wrongly, just before. He was eminently learned, and usually most accurate. How can we account for the statement? R.
A. — It is a striking proof that good Homer sometimes nods. Not only no known MS. bears him out, but the supposed omission would be in this case impossible Greek. The repeated article is even more requisite than the separate verbs, γ. I know or acknowledge, ἐπ. I am acquainted with. It is to be presumed that in a later edition so glaring and of course unwitting a mistake must have been corrected; I have only the first before me.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 208. January 1901.
Q. — Eph. 4:4; Matt. 18:20. Do we meet as Christians on the ground of the one body, or as gathered to the Lord's name? What about 1 Cor. 12, 14? J.C.L.
A. — I see no right reason to regard any one of these and other like scriptures exclusively. None can be forgotten or overlooked without loss. The others treat of the essential and abiding truth of God's assembly; whereas the word in Matt. 18:20 supplies the resource given by the Lord to assure of His presence, if we are gathered to His name as the centre, in times however difficult or disastrous. Those so gathered in faith of His presence may not be intelligent as to the church's privileges or the Spirit's action therein; but they could not be thus gathered truly, if they resisted the truth by indifference or by independency. They might need and would welcome instruction in the truth, so clearly revealed and deeply concerning God's honour and their own obedience; but they could not, if dependent on the Lord, oppose God's will, and they would humble themselves and correct their fault, if they mistook through haste, influence, or error of any kind. Departure from the unity of the Spirit is fatal; and refusal of just discipline is rebellion against the Lord.
Q. — Has the valley of Elah, where Goliath fell, been yet identified, or Ephes-dammim, or Socho, or Jarmuth? DISC.
A. — It would appear that what is now called the Wady es-Sumt answers to the first famous spot; that Damun may be Ephes-dammim; that Socho in this neighbourhood is now called Shuweikeh, as is also the other Socho in the mountain district of Judah (Joshua 15:48), and that the Yarmuck of our day corresponds with Jarmuth of old.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 224. February 1901.
Q. — Matt. 6, Luke 11: I believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture; but how are we to explain the differences, e.g., in the Lord's prayer? Why are there such distinct reports of what the Lord uttered? Or were there two occasions with a form not identical? PERPLEXED.
A. — God's inspiration, so far from binding the Evangelists to an identical re-echo of our Lord's words, shows the power of the Spirit in discourse or fact reported, so as to carry out His special design in each Gospel. A simple reproduction of our Lord's words in all the four might have been done by mechanical skill; but the Holy Spirit inspired each to give us all according to divine design respectively. It was God's editing with specific purpose, which man, however pious, never could have achieved but by His energy, yet in the style of each. There is a new reissue of a pamphlet on this prayer, which goes fully and minutely into these differences, and can be had of the Publisher.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 255. April 1901.
Q. — Ps. 78:67, 68. Please explain the "why." W.H.G.
A. — God is sovereign, or He abdicates Godhead. One of the twelve tribes must of necessity take precedence; and He chose Judah. If any creature is entitled to ask "why," surely it is a very plain answer that His Son deigned to be born of that tribe. But it is well to be content with God's wise, good, and holy will, if we could give no reason.
Q. — Rom. 8 etc. Is it possible for a believer to rest on Christ's work without having God's Spirit dwelling in him? W.S.
A. — Certainly not. But many did and do believe on Christ without at first resting on His work. It is hasty and wrong to assume that such have the Holy Spirit given to them, though born of the Spirit. See the case of Cornelius in Acts 10. He was a converted man of marked piety, which is not nor can be without believing on Jesus; but he did not appropriate the saving power of His work, till God sent the warrant, henceforth as open to the Gentile as to the Jew, in the gospel preached by Peter as by others since. Many fail to see this, and suffer through the error in various ways. The truth is quite plain.
Q. — 1 Cor. 5:13. Is the public mention of one gone out from the assembly the same as putting out, as some fancy? E.
A. — Certainly not. It is a mistake in any case; in some it would be a gross wrong. The assembly cannot without absurdity put out one who has already gone out. Sometimes the going out is an act of mere ignorance; as for instance when one, used to a sermon every Sunday morning, grows weary of worship in spirit and truth, and pines for a discourse to relieve him of the distaste he feels for the Spirit's liberty of action in the assembly. How cruel and unjust to stigmatise the weak one, unspiritual though he may be, as a wicked person"!
Wholly different is he who goes out because of necessary discipline, and yields to his self-will in abandoning the assembly which till then he had owned to be of God. He is, what the apostle denounces as, "an heretical man," not necessarily heterodox, but factious to the last degree, whom (for he was outside) Titus was to have done with after a first and second admonition. If he were a brother of intelligence and experience, the sin is greatly aggravated; for it is rebellion against the Lord's authority in His house, were they but two or three gathered to His name. If the fact be known even in a very general way, it is a sin for any professing to keep the unity of the Spirit to receive such. If warned by competent witnesses, it is worse still. Can a meeting claim licence to abandon the unity of the Spirit and turn independent for a season to gratify feeling? Even if it were only a person standing aside and under investigation, no meeting is free to receive: how much less if one had gone wilfully outside, even if he had not joined a party in opposition! To receive in such circumstances is a violation of unity and order, of love and righteousness. Nor is it conceivable that any would agree to so deplorable an act of independency, save under the influence of partiality quite unworthy of holy brethren, to say nothing of His name that is slighted and of His word that has not been kept. We are bound if on scriptural ground to walk together in fellowship. An offender cannot be out and in at the same time, save to the Lord's dishonour. One "outside" is outside everywhere, save to people of loose principles. We are bound to walk as one.
Q. — Rev. 1:15, Rev. 3:18 Why should πεπυρωμένος be translated "burning" in the first text, and "refined" in the second? Other versions, down to the most recent, vary the rendering in the two places, so that there most likely is a modifying cause which forbids the same force to be given to the word in both cases. May we have this cause explained, unless we can get a rendering that suits the Greek word in both texts? M.
A. — The contextual aim differs like the phrase, though the same remarkable word reappears. But in chap. 1:15 it is part of the Lord's judicial attributes, not only "eyes as a flame of fire," but "feet like brilliant brass (or copper), as though they glowed in a furnace," penetrative and firm unsparingness to the last degree in judgment of responsible man. They were as though red-hot in a furnace. In chap. 3:18 the scope is wholly different; for there the Lord counsels the angel of the church in Laodicea to abandon his self-satisfaction in their empty riches and acquisitions, and to buy of Him what is alone genuine wealth before God, "gold tried by fire," His own righteousness to suit His nature and presence; as also the white garments figure the practical righteousnesses which become the saint. The justified must be righteous. But so distinct is the connection that it is extremely difficult to suggest one English counterpart to both. For it is ἐν καμίνῳ in the one text, and ἐκ πυρὸς in the other. This modifies the rendering of πεπυρωμένος. It is true that copper or brass, as in the altar of Burnt-offering, also represents divine righteousness; yet this, not as meeting God's nature on high, but rather as dealing with man's responsibility on earth. "Fired" as in a furnace or out of fire is literal, but would be somewhat harsh.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 272. May 1901.
Q. — Acts 2:42. Are we still responsible to persevere in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, in the breaking of the bread and the prayers"? How sadly loose the enclosed tract! LONDON.
A. — Assuredly. The Lord's name was the central object which by the Spirit gathered saints into unity, and became the standard to judge what was inconsistent in doctrine and ways. So the apostles taught; as the saints were called to walk in their fellowship. The breaking of the bread expressed it openly; and the prayers sought grace of the Lord in vigilance against everything that imperilled what was due to Him. Schisms wrought at Corinth from an early day; dissensions or disputes at Rome later. Alas! those internal workings of the flesh portended the "sects," or outside factions, which the apostle told the Corinthians must also be where a contentious or an otherwise carnal will was unjudged (1 Cor. 11:18, 19, Gal. 5:20). To Titus (Titus 3:10) he gave authoritative instructions how to deal with the independency which refused to keep the unity of the Spirit: "after a first and second admonition have done with" such. There was no sense in putting out one who in self-sufficient insubjection had gone out: "such a one is perverted, and sinneth, being self-condemned."
There were of old persons among us who, never having adequately felt the ruin-state of the church, endeavoured (perhaps unwittingly) to imitate the apostles in setting up elders, and in restoring the church. But this was rejected strongly by those who upheld the unity of the Spirit, as incumbent on the "two or three" wherever gathered to the Lord's name in as thorough subjection to the word as when all stood in unbroken order and peace. It is false that any visible body was, or was sought to be, formed by learning better the duties of fellowship; or that acting together as "one" in a town, which scripture requires, led to manifest central authorities, which it rather helped to counteract, and is therefore distasteful to aspirants. Hence the effort of adversaries to brand the revealed truth or acting on it with the very evils which are their own.
Think too of the decency for one justly excluded from fellowship writing on "Fellowship"" and abusing persons, names, and their words to support the grievous laxity which they always abhorred! Truly "the unjust knoweth no shame." The tract is indeed deceitful claptrap, as opposed to truth as to holiness.
Q. — Heb. 11:29, 30. Please explain why there is no mention of the Jordan.
A. — The Epistle characteristically dwells on the actual walk through the desert (and so the tabernacle) rather than the land (save in prospect). Hence we have the Red Sea crossed, not the Jordan which would suit the line of truth in the Epistle to the Ephesians.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 288. June 1901.
Eph. 4:5. Unity is in this verse distinguished from that in ver. 4, as the unity of the Christian profession, not that which is necessarily vital and everlasting. It is excellent in itself; but those who have the external privileges might not personally be born of God. The unity of ver. 6 first goes out universally on the one hand, and embraces at the end of it what is intrinsic and divine in the deepest way.
Rom. 9:21, and 2 Tim. 2:20. Vessels to dishonour are the reprobate in both scriptures. But in Romans it is in the general sphere of the wicked; in 2 Timothy, in the narrower one of those who, while nominally Christians, have no conscience toward God, and defile or destroy His house; whom God will destroy.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 304. July 1901.
Q. — Lev. 16:10. No one can be surprised at the uncertainty of such as trust either the ancient fathers or the modern Germans. But one does wonder at the dilemma of the late Archdeacon Hardwick in "Christ and other Masters" (Procter's Ed. 1874, p. 504): "How ... could the goat as mentioned in ver. 10 be sent to or for Azazel, if Azazel were the goat itself?" Pray explain this. X.
A. — The answer is simple enough. Azazel does not mean the goat simply, but the goat of dismissal. It is all a mistake that the phrase leads directly to the notion of either a person or a place. As the first goat was that on which Jehovah's lot fell for sacrifice, the second was allotted to signify in a striking light the people's sins sent away into oblivion. The foundation was laid in the goat sacrificed to Jehovah. The goat on which the lot fell for Azazel (i.e. for this specific sign of dismissal) was set alive before Jehovah, to make atonement with or on it (i.e. in conjunction with the one slain), to send it away as Azazel into the wilderness, or as said in ver. 22 to a land apart. This was the place; and it is wholly unfounded to conceive Satan or a demon, or any other being. Jehovah forbade every thing of the sort in the next chapter (Lev. 17:7), and is as far as possible from sanctioning such wicked folly here or anywhere else. It is sad to think of a pious man like Hengstenberg carried away by a notion so gratuitous, to say nothing of its impiety. The true and only sense is as evident as it is satisfactory adding substitution to propitiation, and thus completing atonement, as far as the type could.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 320. August 1901.
Q. — Heb. 11:28, 29. Why is it said that Moses kept the passover through faith, and that the Israelites passed through the Red Sea by faith? Was Moses the only one who had faith as to the Passover? and had all the people faith who crossed the Red Sea? Compare for them Heb. 3:16-19. H.
A. — Moses not only kept* but instituted the passover according to Jehovah's word: it was the sole occasion when the sprinkling of the blood took place. And this was really if secretly the basis of Israel's deliverance that followed through the Red Sea as by dry land. But it would be too much to assume that any as yet understood the antitype in Christ's blood, death, and resurrection for those that believe. Yet the people as well as Moses did believe that God would according to His word screen and deliver, however sadly the mass fell in the wilderness by unbelief. It may be noticed that the last word of ver. 28 prepares the way for the general form of ver. 29. The experiment made by the Egyptians was wholly their own doing without reference to God's word, and so without faith; just as men perish now, even in Christendom.
*The perfect of abiding result is used here as in vers. 3, 17, whereas the aorist is elsewhere, expressive of the fact simply.
Bible Treasury Volume N3, p. 336. September 1901.
Q. — The Epistle to the Hebrews, who wrote it? Learned men contend for Apollos, Barnabas, Silas, Titus or Luke. Is there any real ground to doubt the prevalent belief that it was the apostle Paul? Z.
A. — The difference of style has been pleaded, the absence of Paul's name, and the circumcision addressed in it, all proved by the nature of its contents. But there is nothing in any or all these circumstances to weaken the claim of the apostle. That it expounds the law more fully than does any other of his Epistles, that he withholds his name and title purposely, the one as writing outside his allotted sphere of the Gentiles, and the other as presenting the Lord Jesus in the light of the apostle of the Christian confession, may satisfactorily account for its peculiarities. Here he is the inspired interpreter of the O.T. rather than unveiling the mysteries of the N.T.
But it is certain from 2 Peter 3:15, that Paul wrote an Epistle to the Jewish believers as Peter addressed both his Epistles to the same. This is here distinguished from "all" the rest of his Epistles, as written to Jewish Christians, according to the wisdom given to him, and speaking of the grand scenes which await the coming and the day of the Lord, as Peter was then treating of these things in his way as directed of the Holy Spirit. In them were some things hard to understand which the untaught and ill-established wrest, as also the other scriptures (for it too was scripture), to their own destruction. That such an Epistle of Paul's should be lost would be a harsh and intolerable supposition; but if so, it must be the so called Epistle to the Hebrews. It is in fact the only Epistle attested as Paul's definitely by another inspired writer of the N.T. Yet this is the one which more than any other has been denied to the great apostle. What a proof of men's trusting in their own wisdom, and of their blindness to divine authority!
Q. — John 14:1. Why "believe also on Me"? Were they not already believers? A DISCIPLE.
A. — It is the change from Jewish faith to Christian. Henceforward it was to be no longer a present and visible Messiah, but the Lord invisibly known in heaven. As they believed in God without seeing Him, they were now to believe in their Master on high, when they ceased to behold Him here below.