Christian Friend vol. 14, 1887, p. 26.
2 Cor. 1:21, 22.
This is in many ways a remarkable scripture. Everything, as is the case in this epistle, is traced up to God. (Compare 2 Cor. 5:18.) It is "He who establisheth us with you in Christ" (bebaion eis, "attaches firmly to," "connects firmly with" - see note in New Translation); and He who "hath anointed us is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." We have thus three characters of the Holy Spirit as dwelling in the believer. First, as the anointing. The sons of Aaron were anointed, after being sprinkled with the blood, in association with Aaron, who, as type of Christ, had been anointed, without blood, alone. So our blessed Lord was anointed at His baptism. (Matt. 3; compare Acts 10:38.) Then, after His death, resurrection, and ascension," having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost," He "shed forth" the Spirit on His own on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:33.) The precious ointment on the Head ran down to the skirts of His garments (Ps. 133:2); and thus His followers were anointed of God. The effect of the anointing is to give intelligence (1 Cor. 2:12; 1 John 2:20, 27) and power. (Acts 10:38.) The very name which God has permitted to be attached to believers - that of Christians - indicates this character of the Holy Spirit. The meaning of "Christ" is "the Anointed One," and hence that of "Christians" is "anointed ones;" and it also points clearly to their association (not to say union) with Christ in the anointing, explaining doubtless the reason of our being reminded in this scripture that God has connected us with Christ.
We are also sealed by God. It should be borne in mind that, whether as anointing or sealing, it is the same Spirit, and takes place at the same time, though the character is different. When God seals the believer - and He seals every believer who has the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38, 10:43, 44; Eph. 1:13, etc.) - He marks them out as belonging to Christ (Rom. 8:9), and He secures them until the day of redemption. (Eph. 4:30.) The Spirit as the seal thus points to ownership and security, God in His grace impressing His stamp upon us, and making it at the same time inviolable. The Holy Spirit as dwelling in us is likewise the earnest; that is, He is the pledge and guarantee that we shall be put into possession of all that God has promised, the bestowment of a part which ensures the whole. In Ephesians He is "the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory" (Eph. 1:14); in this epistle (2 Cor.) He is the earnest rather of our resurrection bodies, of our being "clothed upon with our house which is from heaven . . . that mortality might be swallowed up of life." (2 Cor. 5:1-5.)
What a field of research then is opened up to us in such a scripture as this! And how few of us have comprehended, in any measure, our priceless possession in the gift of the Holy Ghost! E. D.
Joel 2:28, 29.
These two verses are a short, independent prophecy, and so are the verses from thirty to the end of the chapter. Verses 28, 29 promise the outpouring of the Holy Spirit consequent on the repentance of the nation, which will be also accompanied by temporal blessings. The repentance is the point of departure for both. So the partial fulfilment of Acts 2 was on those who repented, though the temporal blessings could not come on the nation. Thus, though there was that which was analogous in the destruction of Jerusalem already accomplished, signs and wonders will come before the great and notable day of Jehovah yet to come. The blood of the new covenant was shed, and all things ready; but the nation would not repent, and could not get the blessing. The remnant got the spiritual part of it with "all flesh;" the Jews will all have it when they say, Blessed be He that cometh in the name of Jehovah. The Holy Spirit, who foresaw all this, has ordered accordingly the structure of the prophecy.
J. N. D.
Isaiah 14 - 24.
Let us retrace the objects of these judgments in their moral order. We have Babylon, the power of organized corruption, when the people of God are captive; the public open enemy of God and His people - the Assyrian; the inward enemy - the Philistine; then Moab, the pride of man. Damascus is that which has been the enemy of God's people; but allied with the apostate part of that people against the faithful part. From all these the people are delivered. Afterwards we find, under judgment, Egypt, or the world in its state of nature, the wisdom of which is lost in confusion; Babylon, now desert in the midst of the nations; Dumah, the liberty, the independence of man; Jerusalem, the professing people; Tyre, the glory of the world; and, finally, all that is on the earth, and, to sum up all power, spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. J. N. D.
J. G. Bellett.
Christian Friend vol. 14, 1887, p. 29.
Beloved Brother, - I had a little scrap on Jeremiah lying by me. I do not know if it will suit the present current of your thoughts, but it may give a little communion for some half hour, and it is well to look at the growing character of those boastful and yet religious days in which we live. The Lord keep us, dear brother, and surely He will; "for His mercy endureth for ever."
There is nothing like confidence in His love. Service and worship are precious, but to trust Him excels all. Better to walk before Him in childlike confidence than even in a spirit of prayer and watchfulness; but all suits the liberty and the holiness of His presence.
Believe me, Ever your affectionate, J. G. Bellett.