A J Pollock
I have for long felt that our young friends could be helped in their grasp of Divine realities by putting on record some of the thoughts that helped me in my own young days. In this hope I have, therefore, put them upon record. No particular order has been observed, and the autobiographical element is of the slightest.
Towards the end I have written on the grand truth of the Atonement at length, feeling that this is the great foundation for our eternal blessing. I conclude by remarks entitled, "THE FINAL TRIUMPH," feeling that some little description of what may be expected in the last days, and the final triumph of God, will be helpful.
Why I Believe the Bible
Most Convincing Testimonies
A Great Test
The Elevating Character of the Bible
The Conditions Under Which the Bible was Written
There are Many Things in the Bible We Cannot Understand
Analogy Between the Spiritual and the Material
The Old Testament Prepares for the New Testament
The Relation of the New Testament to the Old Testament
Quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament
The Original Books of the Bible Have Tracelessly Disappeared
Were the Inspired Writers of the Holy Scriptures Mere Automatons?
The Methods of Modernism
Who is the Author of the Bible?
The Bible and Science
The Great Significance of Prophecy
Prophecies and Their Fulfilment
The Triune God
Three a Basic Number
The Son of God
Christ's Resurrection, the Proof of Divine Approval
The Red Line of Atonement
The Final Triumph
"That Blessed Hope"
Why I Believe the Bible
I had the inestimable privilege of being brought up in a Christian home. I feel sure the well-being of a nation lies in the proportion of Christian mothers it possesses. The mind of a child is plastic, and takes impressions for good or evil at a very early age. One may and does forget a good deal of what was learned at a mother's knee, but the impression lasts through life, and cannot be thrown off. Many a young fellow has broken loose from the restraints of a Christian home, who in the end found early impressions too insistent to be disregarded, and lived to thank God for the prayers and training of a Christian mother.
When I was only eleven years old I made a profession of faith in Christ. Looking back it was a very feeble and shallow start that was made. As I grew up to manhood many a time I was tempted to give up the profession of Christianity, but something held me back. Infidel doubts assailed me. Any attack on the Bible distressed me and shook my confidence. Such questions as, Why does God allow evil? Why does He allow the Devil to work such mischief in the world? Why was I born in sin and shapen in iniquity? crowded into my mind and shook my foundations.
But all this only, in the end led me to take a stronger hold on Christ as my Saviour. It is said that a young sapling gets firmer hold of the soil as the result of fierce winds loosening the roots. When the storm is over, the loosened roots have room to push farther out, and take a firmer grip. The life and safety of a tree lie in the fact that there is as much out of sight below the surface as there is above ground. The taller the tree the longer and more far-reaching the roots.
So it is with the Christian. Nothing will stand the assault of the enemy save a true heart-knowledge of the Lord as Saviour, a true faith-grip of the Gospel of the grace of God. There must be an out-of-sight hold on divine realities before there can be effective Christian life and testimony.
One thing that helped me at that time was discovering that the advocates of infidelity were usually men of evil life. Just as I might turn from a drink offered in a filthy cup, so the individuals, who sought to overturn the faith of the Christian, were mostly repulsive. On the contrary, the earnest Christians that I knew and listened to impressed me with their saintly lives and the inward peace and joy reflected on their faces.
In my early days the professing Churches were, very generally speaking, fundamentally sound. There was a large proportion of evangelically-minded clergymen and ministers, who kept the Gospel flag flying. Infidelity at the same time was blatant and aggressive, but its activities were outside the Churches. Higher Criticism and Modernism had not entered them to any great extent.
Infidelity had for its champions such men as Charles Bradlaugh in Britain and Colonel Ingersoll in the United States. Bradlaugh was a man of colossal size, of great intellectual force, a magnificent speaker. He became M.P. for Northampton, where a statue to his memory is to be seen to-day. Colonel Ingersoll was a man of imposing personal appearance and the silver-tongued orator of unbelief. Such as they appealed to the worst side of humanity. Their addresses were popular with the unthinking and the vicious. Ignorant of the true meaning of the Bible, they poured abuse and scorn upon it. They had nothing to put in its place. Their evil work was destructive. There was nothing constructive about it. Their influence tended to weaken the morals of their admirers, to loosen the solemn sanctity of the marriage tie, in short to remove from the human mind those restraints from evil that the Bible so happily exerts.
This aspect of infidelity rendered it repulsive to me. I wanted something elevating and productive of good. But things have changed and for the worse. In my young days the attack was from the outside. To-day it is from the inside. There is little need for aggressive atheism. Modernism and Higher Criticism are carrying on the evil work within the professing Church. "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light … his ministers also … transformed as the ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor. 11:14-15). Clergymen and ministers, who have on solemn oath promised to uphold the Word of God, are undermining it in many a pulpit. They pocket stipends for the work of upholding the Gospel of God, and are traitors in the camp, wolves in sheep's clothing. Professors of Theological Colleges are poisoning the minds of young men preparing for the ministry. Alas! how many of them are unconverted, blind leaders of the blind.
I was reading the other day of a servant of God asking in utter astonishment a famous theological Don of Oxford University, "What do you believe?" This followed on a conversation when the Don declared he could not believe in the Virgin Birth, in the physical resurrection and ascension of our Lord, nor could he believe the things recorded of Him in the Gospels, especially those in the Gospel of John. And this man, alas! has the moulding of the minds of young men preparing for the ministry. Is it any wonder that there are many young ministers who are infidels in all but name, destitute of spiritual power, with no influence to help anyone on the heavenly road?
A striking story is told of a colonel at a dinner table loudly declaiming that in his judgment the Koran (the Mohammedan's sacred book) was vastly superior to the Bible. An earnest clergyman present spoke up. He said, "Colonel, may I ask you two questions? Have you ever read the Bible through from beginning to end?" He had to admit that he had not.
A second question was then asked, "Colonel, have you ever seen a copy of the Koran?" He had to admit that he had not.
Then came the crushing retort, "Colonel, what do you think of yourself? You make a statement that a book you have never seen is vastly superior to a book you have never read from beginning to end." There was an ominous silence for a considerable time at that dinner table.
A second characteristic case occurs to me. An infidel was holding forth on a cross-channel ferry, declaiming against the Bible. There happened to be on board an earnest preacher, who listened in pained silence to the outburst. When the infidel ceased speaking, the preacher spoke up. He placed a five pound note on the table, and on the top of the note his watch. He then said to the infidel, "Sir, you are evidently very familiar with the Bible."
"Yes," he replied boastfully, "I have made it a lifetime study."
"In that case you will easily earn this five pound note and watch. They are yours if you will quote ten verses out of the Bible correctly."
The infidel hesitated and looked confused. He then said apologetically, "I have not read the Bible for the last fourteen years, and I am afraid my memory of it has failed a good deal."
"You shall have this five pound note and watch, if you can quote five verses." Still no response.
At last the preacher said, "You shall have this five pound note and watch, if you will quote correctly one text." Still no response.
Then the preacher opened his Bible, and spoke earnestly to those assembled till late at night. They then withdrew to their cabins for the night.
The infidel went to his bed, but not to rest. He spent a sleepless night. In the morning with a friend he came to the cabin of the preacher, asking him to pray for him, which he gladly did.
We appeal to our readers, especially young men and women, to give the Bible a fair trial. Read it, study it, and seek earnestly the truth.
MOST CONVINCING TESTIMONIES
What always struck me in my young days as very convincing proof of the Bible were the reports of the British and Foreign Bible Society. They told of the Scriptures being translated into very many languages, now over a thousand, either in whole or in part. Behind the cold print think what that means. Think of thousands of missionaries through its influence leaving all the comforts of home and the amenities of civilization in order to carry the good news of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Think of all the laborious toil involved in mastering strange languages, and then reducing hitherto unknown languages to writing in order that the Word of God with its saving message may be read by the men and women among whom they labour.
Consider the thousands of devoted colporteurs through the influence of the Bible thinking it worth while to spend their lives in carrying the Word of God to the remotest parts of the globe. Ships, railways, motors, aeroplanes, lorries, barges, carriages, camels, horses, mules, asses—all are requisitioned to the task. Traversing oceans and seas; crossing mountain ranges, rivers, and lakes; pushing their way through dense forests; travelling in the tropics under a burning sun, or in the arctic regions of perpetual winter, the Word of God travels on its conquering round.
All sorts and conditions of men come under its influence. It makes its conquests—in palace and hovel alike. King Alfred the Great and John Bunyan, the tinker; Sir J. Y. Simpson, the discoverer of the use of chloroform in operations, and Mary, the poacher's wife; Prince Dhuleep Singh, one of India's richest rajahs, and many an untouchable on India's torrid plains; men of high degree and of lowly birth; men, whose skin is white or brown or black—all come under the mighty influence of the Book of books. No other book in the world can boast of an influence like this.
It is no idle boast that the Bible makes when we read, "The Word of God is quick [living] and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12). It is living. It is powerful. It is the only living book in the world. Any books that are in any degree living are so because they present the truths of the Bible. They are like little tiny rivulets issuing forth from the mighty river of God's Word. They are like tiny tapers lit from the sun of God's revelation to man.
No wonder the Christian poet wrote:—
"Oh! for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise;
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace."
If Charles Wesley were alive now, he would rejoice to know that the Bible has been translated in full or in part into over one thousand languages and dialects, and that a thousand tongues all over the world are singing the great Redeemer's praise.
A GREAT TEST
Scripture itself furnishes a test from which it emerges triumphant. "Every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. WHEREFORE BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM" (Matt. 7:17-20). There could not be a finer test than this.
The fruit of the Bible is good and only good. Earl Baldwin, the famous statesman, once Prime Minister of Great Britain, speaking at an annual meeting of the British and Foreign Bible Society, said, "No living man can tell or know how THE Book in its journeyings through the world has startled the individual soul in ten thousand different places into a new life, a new world, a new belief, a new conception, and a new faith." Millions of lives can testify to the truth of this.
A striking example of good and bad fruit is seen in the following incident. An uncle and nephew were travelling with a large sum of money over a wild and very thinly populated prairie land of America. Nightfall came on, and the travellers had to look for a shelter. They discovered a log cabin, and knocked at the door. An old man with long shaggy beard and unkempt appearance answered their call. They asked for accommodation, which was willingly accorded. They were shown into a room where they could sleep on the floor. It was arranged that the uncle should lie down to rest, and the nephew should sit up with loaded revolver to make sure that their treasure was safe. Presently the uncle saw the nephew preparing to sleep. He reminded him of the vigil he had promised to keep.
The nephew replied, "There is no need to sit up with loaded revolver. We are perfectly safe here. I looked through the keyhole to see what the old man was doing. I saw him take a Bible down from the shelf, and read a chapter to his wife. I then heard him pray for the blessing of God to rest on the travellers under his roof."
I ask, Would the sight of a pack of cards, a whiskey bottle, a copy of Tom Paine's Age of Reason, and a handy revolver, have produced the confidence and sense of security that the sight of the open Bible and bended knee did? This incident was told me when quite young, and made a great impression on my mind. And well it might. The story is worth repeating.
Wherever a life is moulded by the Word of God you get purity, honesty, truthfulness, goodness, kindness. Wherever its teaching and influences are refused you get evil of every kind abounding. Who are the murderers, thieves, adulterers, forgers? Certainly not Christians. Where one Christian disgraces his Christian profession by evil deeds, a thousand men and women, unrestrained by the Bible, are found doing evil.
Take these totalitarian dictators. Are they not shameless liars, wanton murderers, truce-breakers, cruel ruthless aggressors? Is this not sufficient evidence of the truth of the Bible? Volumes could be written to prove that the tree of Christianity bears nothing but good fruit, and infidelity nothing but bad.
I have heard of infidels saying that the Bible is a bad unclean book. It is true that it faithfully plumbs the deepest depths of man's sin and folly. It courageously exposes what man is. But if it is an unclean book, why is it that the unclean and wicked do not read it with avidity, whereas they shun it as if it were the plague? The good read it, and extract nothing but purity and good conduct from its pages. Dr. Paley in his Evidences of Christianity well says, speaking of the Apostles of our Lord, "If bad men, what could have induced them to take such pains to promote virtue? If good men, they would not have gone about the country with a string of lies in their mouths."
Surely the Bible stands its own test triumphantly, "By their fruits ye shall know them."
THE ELEVATING CHARACTER OF THE BIBLE
One thing that struck me very forcibly when young was the wonderfully elevating power of the Word of God. Far-off islands of the southern seas, the scene of unspeakable horrors—cannibalism, tribal wars, and the like—have come under the influence of the Bible, and have been made perfectly safe places to dwell in. Cannibalism has ceased, the horrors of stark heathendom have been exchanged for prosperity, security and peace.
As I walked the streets of Suva, the capital of the Fiji Islands, I reflected that a short century before heathen horrors had reigned. I saw the islanders, formerly cruel cannibals, well disposed, happy and prosperous. Life and property were safe. There is no denying that this was due to the influence of the Bible in the hands of self-denying missionaries. The case of Fiji could be duplicated in hundreds, nay thousands of places. The missionary with the Word of God has ever been a civilizing agent wherever he has been successful. If he seeks only to be a civilizing agent then he is a failure from the Divine standpoint, and his civilization rests on a rotten foundation. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
It may, however, be asked as to the state of the world to-day. Europe, where Christianity has had its greatest triumphs, the scene of the great and glorious Reformation, is literally an armed camp. Millions of men are in arms. Its leaders are guilty of the most wanton aggression. Money is being poured out like water in the manufacture of weapons to destroy human life on a vast scale. Nations are being bled white to gratify the blood lust of totalitarian rulers. Civilization totters to its collapse.
You may turn round and ask, How does this agree with the example you give of the Fiji Islands? I answer it only emphasises what I have just said. For what is the root cause of the trouble in Europe these many years, especially at this present time? The trouble is caused by the refusing of the influence of the Bible in the life of the nations, where it once had some measure of sway. If these totalitarian rulers were to be obedient to the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, would they act as they are doing? Would they murder, have blood baths and wage wars of ruthless aggression, employing millions of men in the task of wholesale slaughter, if they had paid attention to "Thou shalt not kill"? Would they treat their plighted word as made only to be violated, when it suited the furtherance of their evil ends, to treat it as a mere "scrap of paper" with no binding force, if they had paid attention to "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour"? Would they pounce upon little defenceless nations, enslave them, and strip them of their possessions, had they paid attention to "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's"? Would they act in the cruel and diabolical way they do towards the Jews, and the Christians, who refuse to be stampeded into heathendom, if they had paid heed to the Sermon on the Mount, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you"?
Anyone can see with half an eye that the cause of the trouble is not the Bible, but the refusal of its influence, and the setting at defiance every law of God. Man becomes immeasurably worse than the brute when he ceases to be held in check by the Bible.
Words carry a peculiar weight when an opponent of Christianity pays tribute to the Bible. The late Professor Thomas W. Huxley, a declared agnostic, said:—
What a tribute to THE Book of books! Of all the books in the world, in his judgment the moral effect of the Bible is stronger than any other book in the world, though personally he refused to bow to its claims. When an enemy of Christianity can write like this, it constitutes a more powerful testimony to the Bible than could be rendered by even the very best of its friends.
Heathen devotees will tell us that in their religion there may be the most exalted ethics, but that it furnishes no power to carry out these precepts. On the other hand, the Chinese convert wrote to the missionary, "I am diligently reading the Bible and BEHAVING it." In that attitude lies the true peace and happiness of the world.
THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN
Think of Moses. He wrote long centuries before printing by metal type was thought of. A few years ago I passed through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. The description of the desert had from my earliest years fascinated me. At last I saw it with my own eyes. I was pointed out the part where Mount Sinai is situated. I thought of Moses. I had looked upon him as a hero, but I thought far more of him when I saw the lonely trackless barren desert where he was for forty years the leader of a stiff-necked and rebellious people.
I thought of his writing the five books that bear his name—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy—in those dreary and desolate regions. Did he inscribe the sacred writings in cuneiform characters on clay tablets? All we know is that the work must have been crude and laborious compared with our methods. The wonder is the Books have been preserved, and have come down to the present time in their wonderful detail. The whole of Genesis is taken up with history that took place hundreds of years before Moses was born. Was there ever such a book? How is it that this record did not disappear?
Secular books of that period have vanished tracelessly, or are at best known by mere fragments, and disjointed statements, that compare very unfavourably with Genesis. For instance, the world was said to be borne on the back of an elephant, the elephant standing on the back of a tortoise, but we are not told what the tortoise stood upon. The ungainly movements of the elephant were said to be the cause of earthquakes. Genesis is free from such ridiculous accounts. How is this?
Think of David, the little shepherd lad, who grew up to be the King and the sweet singer of Israel. How is it that his Psalms have survived, and are even now, many centuries after they were penned, the solace and comfort of untold multitudes down the centuries?
Think of that matchless Psalm 22. One thousand years, ten long centuries, before our Saviour died, this Psalm anticipated the cry of anguish uttered by the Holy Sufferer upon the cross of Calvary—"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" The Psalm foretold the mode of His death, "They pierced My hands and My feet" (verse 16). At that time crucifixion was a death unknown. How David himself must have wondered when he wrote those words. They did not refer to his hands. His hands were not pierced. He foretold the robber soldiers gambling for our Lord's clothes, "They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture" (verse 18).
It has been said that our Lord, knowing this Psalm, took care to fulfil it, uttering the cry foretold at its beginning. Such a subterfuge is senseless, and shows how hard up the opposers of the truth are for arguments that they will condescend to such puerilities. For we may ask, Did the Roman soldiers, who drove in the nails in our Lord's hands and feet, know of the Psalm, and were they anxious to fulfil it? Did they gamble for His clothes to fulfil the Psalm? No, such writing as Psalm 22 could not come from the pen of an uninspired writer. Inspiration is clearly marked upon its every line.
A volume could be written on this theme, but let this suffice. surely God is the Author of the Book.
THERE ARE MANY THINGS IN THE BIBLE WE CANNOT UNDERSTAND
This is as we should expect. If man could fully understand the Bible that would prove it to be written by men. If man could fully understand the Bible, then man must be God, or God must be man. Scripture tells us, "What man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God" (1 Cor. 2:11).
I remember looking at a busy ant colony on a broiling summer day in Australia. My thoughts ran as follows. The distance between a man and an ant is very great, but after all it is but a finite distance. You can weigh the substance of a man and that of an ant, and you can find out how much heavier a man is than an ant. But can an ant understand what is passing through a man's mind? Can an ant understand the achievements of men? We know it cannot. But the distance between God and man is infinitely greater than that between man and ant. God is the Creator. Man is the creature. The distance between them is infinite. No arithmetic is of any use here. Is it possible that the mind of man can understand and comprehend God? He is "the only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen" (1 Tim. 6:15-16). We may well re-echo the words of Zophar, "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea" (Job 11:7-9).
If I could understand the Bible through and through, I should not and could not believe it to be a revelation from God. That there are mysteries insoluble is what my faith feeds upon. As the Christian poet expressed it:
"They are darkness to my intellect,
But sunshine to my heart."
ANALOGY BETWEEN THE SPIRITUAL AND THE MATERIAL
The analogy between things spiritual and things material helped me. I was encouraged to follow up this line of thought when I remembered the words of inspiration, "Does not even nature itself teach you?" (1 Cor. 11:14); also our Lord's own words, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory is not arrayed like one of these" (Matt. 1:28-29).
I asked myself the question as to why God made the world? The only answer I could give was, Because He chose to do so. I could put a thousand questions to scientists, and the only answer they could rightly give is, Because God chose to do so. We could do without primroses, or stars, or strawberries, or horses, or mosquitoes, or bananas, but God chose to give these gifts to man. Why have we night and day? Because God chose it to be so. Why does fire burn? Because God chose it to be so.
When we come to things spiritual, is it any wonder we have many questions to ask, and can only give the answer, Because d God chose it to be so? For instance, man's responsibility and God's sovereignty. How can I reconcile them? One thing is sure. God is sovereign. He who existed from all eternity in the blessedness of His own Being—Father, Son and Spirit, ONE God—is the Originator of the universe, and creation must have taken place at the fiat of His will. We cannot understand it.
How can we understand that this planet on which we stand is suspended in space, turning round on its axis every twenty-four hours, causing night and day; travelling on its yearly orbit round the sun, producing the four seasons—spring, summer, autumn, winter? We cannot understand it, not even a Sir Isaac Newton or a Sir James Jeans.
Responsibility on the part of man is clearly taught in the Scriptures. We believe God is sovereign. We believe man is responsible. There we must leave it. With this attitude to God's Word we are greatly helped. Let us be modest.
The reason for the contrary attitude is described by the words of Scripture. We read, "Every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God" (John 2:20-21). The Apostle Peter tells us of scoffers "walking after their own lusts," that such are "willingly … ignorant" (2 Peter 3:3, 5). This brings out a most important truth that the inability and reluctance to receive the truth of God is very largely because of what is moral. Often a man wants to go on with his sin, or the flesh has a natural dislike to God. May be the searching character of the light, and the restraining influence of the Bible are resented. It is not the head that is so much at fault as the heart. "Walking after their own lusts … willingly ignorant" well describes these latter-day scoffers.
A certain evangelical professor at a university held a Bible class for his undergraduates. A young fellow was in the habit of regularly attending this class. The vacation came along and for some weeks the pupils were away. The holidays ceasing, the class was resumed, but this young fellow was missing. One day the Professor met him. He asked him why he did not come to the class. The young fellow sought to brazen it out, and replied that he did not care for religious things, and did not intend resuming his attendance at the class. The kindly Professor put his two hands on the young fellow's shoulders, and, looking him searchingly in the eyes, said: "Charlie, what have you been doing?" He quailed before the gaze of the Professor, his cheeks mantled with a blush of shame. The Professor acted on the leading of Scripture, and touched the difficulty as moral, as something wrong in the young fellow's life. He confessed what was wrong, and was recovered for the class.
THE OLD TESTAMENT PREPARES FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT
If God had wished He could have made no preparation before sending His Son into the world to be the Redeemer. He could have sent Him without any preparation. To see who God did prepare for the advent of His Son was a very great help to me when I was struggling to get a firm foundation for my soul.
How patient God is! How considerate! Do you remember what the Lord said to the two doubting disciples as they took that never-to-be-forgotten journey to Emmaus. They were dubious of His divine mission. They did not know of His resurrection, and their eyes were holden as He walked by their side. He said, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:25-27). Yes, we are all "slow of heart to believe."
It is a very big thing indeed that we are called upon to believe in the Scriptures. First, that the record is inspired. Second, that Jesus is the Son of God; who became Man, dying on the cross to be the world's Redeemer, and that He is risen from the dead, and ascended to glory, and coming again to reign over the earth.
I am profoundly thankful for the patience of God in teaching us these wonderful things. For about four thousand years He was patiently preparing the minds of men to receive the revelation of Himself in Christ, and the necessity and meaning of Christ's sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary.
We shall see in succeeding pages how this was effected.
THE RELATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT TO THE OLD TESTAMENT
Judged from a surface standpoint the Bible is easily the most remarkable book in the world. That it should consist of two distinct parts, separated by about four centuries the one from the other, the latest book of the Old Testament being written nearly five hundred years before the first book of the New Testament, is a striking feature unshared by any other book in the world.
But digging beneath the surface we see how very wonderfully this was designed. Again, the inspiration of the Bible is stamped plainly on its pages, showing it to be the product of One Mind, even of God Himself. It is evident, too, that whilst the Old Testament is complete so far as its record goes, it needs something further to fully manifest its import.
We are reminded of a native convert, who had the New Testament given him by a missionary. By and by the convert came to the missionary, and, referring to the New Testament he was busy reading, said, "Please can you give me the first volume?" He plainly saw there were many allusions in the New Testament that referred to a previous book.
For instance, all the quotations from Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and many of the Old Testament writers; references to Adam, Eve, Abraham, Melchisedec, Moses, David, Solomon, etc.; to customs such as the keeping of the passover, the rite of circumcision; the offering of sacrifices such as the sin-offering, peace-offering, burnt-offering—all show that there is a former volume of great authority, quoted as infallible and inspired of God.
It has often been tritely and truly said, that the New Testament is enfolded in the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is unfolded in the New Testament. That the New Testament is latent in the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is patent in the New Testament.
We have pointed out already that the Old Testament claims for itself inspiration, that our Lord affirmed this, that the New Testament also claims it. But how can we know that the New Testament is as fully inspired as the Old Testament? Our present enquiry furnishes the answer.
We will give an illustration, and then apply it. Some seals consist of two parts, the obverse and the reverse, the one fitting into the other with the most exact precision. The dictionary gives as a meaning of obverse, a second or complementary aspect of the same fact. Suppose further there is such a seal, made up of two complementary parts, known to be of great historic interest and value, but lost in the sands of Egypt. A party of archaeologists in the course of their excavations come across the reverse of this seal. They know there must be the obverse probably near. They diligently search for it. At last they find it. They compare the two parts. They fit exactly one to the other. One is complementary to the other. The design is so rich and full that it is not possible for an obverse belonging to another reverse to fit it perfectly. What conclusion do these archaeologists come to? That the reverse and obverse make one whole, one is part of the other, and together make completeness; that the one part is as authentic as the other. The proof is complete. The seal is one.
So with the Old Testament in relation to the New Testament. For instance, the prophecies of the Old Testament in relation to the coming of Christ into the world, the place and manner of His birth, His life, His death, His resurrection, are all answered in the New Testament with their fulfilment to the very letter. The obverse and the reverse.
Again, the sacrifices—sin-offerings, burnt-offerings, peace-offerings—offered century after century on Jewish altars were prophetic in their character. They emphasised that there is no approach to God save through the offering up of the life of a victim, spotless and without blemish. "Without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb. 9:22), is a refrain covering the whole of the Old Testament. But blessed be God, the one efficacious sacrifice of the Lord Jesus did what the blood of bulls and goats never could do. The Old Testament sacrifices were shadows, which effected nothing, save to point the way to the great efficacious sacrifice of Christ on the cross of Calvary. Their priests were always standing offering the same sacrifices, which could never take away sins. The Lord Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God, because the work of redemption is completed. It is thus proclaimed by a righteous God to be the full settlement of the sin question, that which sets Him free to offer salvation to guilty man wherever found. The obverse and the reverse.
The passover was prophetic on the same lines. "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us" (1 Cor. 5:7). The obverse and the reverse.
The rite of circumcision, the cutting of the flesh, the rolling away of the reproach of Egypt (Joshua 5:9), was prophetic in character. It found its counterpart in the rite of baptism in the New Testament, though baptism carries the thought still further. Circumcision was a rite to teach that the flesh, the evil nature, was condemned and would not do for God. It is like the broad arrow mark put upon the trees of the forest as the sign they are to be cut down. Baptism is like the sign acted upon, the trees felled to the ground. In baptism we are buried with Christ unto death, that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, believers should walk "in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4). Being planted in the likeness of His death, we, believers, shall also be found in the likeness of His resurrection. The obverse and the reverse.
Adam is "the figure of Him that was to come" (Rom. 5:14). "The first man, Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam [Christ] was made a quickening spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45). The obverse and the reverse.
It is to be observed that the prophecies and types could never fully portray all that Christ should be. The types were often partly typical and partly contrast. How could types and shadows fully set forth Him, "who is the express image of God's Person" (Heb. 1:3); "the Image of the invisible God"? (Col. 1:15). Impossible!
We give two or three examples from the Epistle to the Hebrews. "Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a SERVANT … Christ as a SON over His own house" (Heb. 3:5-6). Note the contrast.
It is said of the priests of the old Jewish economy that they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: but this Man [Christ], because He continues ever, has an unchangeable priesthood" (Heb. 7:23-24). Note the contrast.
Moses prophesied, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me" (Deut. 18:15). Our Lord said, "Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for He wrote of Me" (John 5:46). Note the pre-eminence of our Lord.
Abraham was father of the faithful. In him all the nations were to be blessed. We read in Galatians 3:7, "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham." Three times over do we get the quotation:—"And he [Abraham] believed in the Lord: and He counted it to him for righteousness" (Gen. 15:6). The quotation is found in Romans 4:3; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23. The obverse and the reverse.
David writes in Psalm 32, "Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputes not iniquity" (verse 2). The Apostle Paul, quoting this in Romans 4:7-8, says, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered, blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Note, David in the dim light of types and prophecies could only take comfort from the negative, that the Lord will NOT impute sin to the believer; whereas Paul in the full light of the redemptive work of Christ gives us the comfort of the positive, that "God imputes RIGHTEOUSNESS without works." How good it is to see the fuller light coming out.
First comes the starlit night of Judaism. David says in Psalm 8:3, "When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars," evidently a night scene. The Old Testament ends with "Unto you that fear My name shall the SUN of righteousness arise with healing in His wings" (Mal. 4:2), a very evident allusion to our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the New Testament, Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, in his song of praise to the Lord exultingly exclaimed, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He has visited and redeemed His people … the Dayspring from on high has visited us" (Luke 1:68, 78). Our Lord Himself said, "I am the Light of the world; he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). The obverse and the reverse.
Yes, it is blessedly true that "ALL Scripture [Old Testament and New Testament] is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
We can be devoutly thankful for all that can be said in support of the inspiration of Scripture. It is given to us of the Lord to help us in the slowness of our faith. We may travel a good way on the road towards the goal, but it is true nevertheless that the last step in the full recognition of the Holy Scriptures, as the Word of God, is one of FAITH. "We walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7).
We cannot follow the Modernist professor, who writes:—
We reject with scorn such an attitude to the Word of God. The professor would not write of any uninspired book in such degrading terms. What kind of Book would it be, if what he writes were true? A Book where truth and error are inextricably mixed up. We should never know whether we were building on a sound or a rotten foundation. To suggest coolly that God would be a party to deceit in a Book that is supposed to throw light on the profoundest matters of man's eternal well-being, and allow mankind to be mocked with a farrago of nonsense mingled with what he is condescending enough to describe as truth, is pitiable in the extreme. It does no credit to either heart or head. We brand it with indignation as the despair of common sense, an insult to God, a crime to his fellow men. No, thank God, we rise from our study with the conviction that if God graciously sends a message to man, He will send it unmixed with error, that it will be truth and light for mankind. "ALL Scripture is inspired."
QUOTATIONS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
There is a point raised in this connection, which I have never seen alluded to by any writer I have come across, and that is the way the quotations in the New Testament from the Old Testament are made. It only furnishes an added proof of Divine inspiration.
A Modernist author, a professor of a Theological College, writes as follows:—
On the surface this statement seems to score a heavy point against the inspiration of Scripture. In reality it does not show up the Bible, but the ignorance and simplicity of the Modernist writer who makes it. Perhaps an illustration will best convey the complete answer to it.
Suppose I have two volumes of science, and the one book quotes from the other. If the books are written by different authors, then the quotations must be exact word for word. This is a strictly recognized law in such matters.
But suppose the books are written by the same author, and he quotes his own statements. Suppose the first book was published for beginners; the second, for advanced pupils. The author would be quite in order to vary the quotation, nay he might enlarge on his previous statements, and amplify them to meet the needs of his advanced students. The statement in the first volume would be his and his alone; the enlarged and altered quotations found in the second volume would be also his and his alone. This would be quite in order. The only point to make clear would be that in whatever way he used his previous book, he would not have to contradict it, unless he frankly acknowledged a mistake to be rectified.
To apply this illustration to the Bible. If the writers of the Bible were not inspired, then it follows any writer quoting another would have to quote with care and exactitude. But if the writers were inspired, as we fully believe they were, in short if GOD Himself is the Author of the Book, using human pens—Moses, Isaiah, Matthew, Peter, Paul, etc.—then it would be quite in order to use a quotation from the Old Testament in the New Testament, taking what is desired for this purpose, enlarging upon it, if so desired, in order to give fuller light and instruction. Of course this would never contradict the Old Testament in any way.
If it were a mere question of exactly repeating word-for-word quotations from the Old Testament, a mere copyist could perform that task to the satisfaction of the narrow mind of this Modernist writer. An office boy could have been set to a task like this. But what should we not have lost, if this had been so. An illustration or two will help.
In the Old Testament we have the following Scripture; in the New Testament a quotation from it, altered by the Divine hand to suit the fuller teaching of the New Testament:—
"Though IT tarry, wait for IT; because IT will surely come, IT will not tarry" (Hab. 2:3).
"For yet a little while, and HE that shall come will come, and will not tarry" (Heb. 10:37).
Why is the "IT" of the Old Testament altered to the "HE" in the New Testament? This Modernist writer sees in it no more than the mistaken bungle of the writer of the quotation in the New Testament. He is looking at it from the standpoint of a mere mechanical copyist. He fails to see the beauty and design of the alteration in the New Testament quotation.
The fact is both passages are equally and verbally inspired. In the Old Testament we get the hope of Israel; in the New Testament, the hope of the Christian.
The former is for Christ to come back to this earth, subdue His enemies, "take out of His kingdom all things that offend," and set up His glorious kingdom, making Israel the head of the nations, because in that day He will be King of Israel in manifest power. Such a prospect is rightly described as a vision, and a glowing, wonderful vision it is, which a groaning creation is waiting and longing for. Reference to this vision is rightly marked by the word "IT."
But when we come to the hope of the Christian, another point of view is taken up. Before the believer is called upon to take his part to reign WITH Christ, Christ will come FOR him, and take all His people "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:52) to be with Himself in glory. The Christian thus waits for a Person, and the quotation is altered designedly and of set purpose from the "IT" of Habakkuk to the "HE" of Hebrews. Both the Old Testament passage and the altered quotation in the New Testament are alike verbally inspired, and equally Scripture, for God is the Author of them both.
One more instance must suffice:—
"I will declare Thy name unto My brethren: in the midst of THE CONGREGATION will I praise Thee" (Ps. 22:22).
"I will declare Thy name unto My brethren, in the midst of THE CHURCH will I sing praise unto Thee" (Heb. 2:12).
Why should the New Testament quotation substitute the word Church for the Old Testament word Congregation? The answer is very simple. David wrote Psalm 22, and God in inspiring it had in view the day when Israel in the great congregation shall praise the Lord in the fullest possible way, when the praises beginning with "the seed of Jacob" shall widen out until "all the kindreds of the nations" shall praise the Lord. The New Testament quotation is designedly altered. The writer addresses Hebrew Christians, Jews who had renounced Judaism and embraced Christianity. They belonged to the Church of God.
The result of the redemptive work of Christ will be that not only God's earthly people will praise Him, but also His heavenly saints, the Church of God, will praise Him. ALL who come under the blessing of the cross will glorify their Lord with songs of praise. Therefore the word Congregation in the Old Testament is designedly by Divine inspiration altered to the word Church in the New Testament.
How much we should lose if the beauty and scope of Scripture were confined to the dull accuracy of a mere mechanical copyist, or a compiler of dry statistics. The Word of the living God cannot be so bound.
THE ORIGINAL BOOKS OF THE BIBLE HAVE TRACELESSLY DISAPPEARED
This is so, and the Modernist writer we have referred to returns to the attack on this line. He comments on the fact that the original Scriptures have disappeared, and that in the hundreds of manuscripts of the Scriptures there is a good deal of variation; that while we can be practically certain of the correctness of most passages, we cannot always be sure which rendering is nearest the exact wording of the original text. He writes:—
This statement is as ignorant and foolish as the former one we have been examining. On reflection it is much for the better that the original manuscripts have disappeared. If they existed one of two things would have happened. The incredulous, the infidel, the mind that produces the Modernist and the Higher Critic, would have asked, How can we know these documents to be authentic? What would there have been to have hindered their doing so? So would speak the rationalist. On the other hand the credulous, the mind that produces the ritualist, the superstitious, would acclaim these documents, and surround them with idolatrous worship.
We have an illustration of something like this in the Old Testament. God commanded a serpent of brass to be made so that the bitten Israelites might look and live. Time rolled on, and the children of Israel venerated this relic. They burnt incense to it. But Hezekiah, the godly king, brake it in pieces, destroyed it, called it in derision, Nehushtan, a piece of brass. We believe that God allowed the original Scriptures to disappear for the same reason that Hezekiah destroyed the serpent of brass.
To proceed. The multiplicity of copies of the Scriptures running into many hundreds, laboriously engrossed by hand in many a place and during many centuries, first of all proves the existence of the original. There can be no possible doubt of the existence of the sixty-six books that compose the Bible. Second, it proves the high regard in which they were held, a regard extended to no other writings, this attitude towards the Holy Writings being quite unique. Third, the effect of these writings in the spread of Christianity proves them to be living and powerful.
As to the Old Testament Scriptures, the Jews were the custodians of these for centuries. Though their Scriptures were a condemnation of their idolatry and stiff-neckedness, yet they guarded them with fanatical jealousy.
The whole situation proves that the writings were regarded as sacred, and inspired of God, and to be reverenced.
As to the contention of this Modernist writer that God should have inspired all those who made copies of the Scriptures, in the first place of the original Scriptures, and then copies of the copies, so that each copy should agree in every particular with all other copies, the Professor does not grasp the difference between the inspiration that God accorded to the writers of the sixty-six books comprising the Bible, and what he is contending for. In the former case GOD chose the instruments He would use for this wonderful task of making Himself known to men. In the case of the Professor's suggestion it would mean that God should inspire each copyist, who chose to set himself the task of producing a copy of the Scriptures. Would Modernists and the like be more ready to accept the Scriptures, if this were to happen? No, they would contend that it is within the bounds of merely human effort to make faultless copies. That the copying was mechanical and liable to error falls out to the greater proof of the inspiration of the original Scriptures than if each copyist was inspired.
The number of copies of the Scriptures runs into many hundreds. It is true there are various readings, but the general agreement is so very great that we have every confidence that we have the Word of God in our hands. If you take all the disputed passages, as the result of various renderings of the ancient manuscripts, it is as but a mere handful of grain compared to a whole field of wheat. It is as if you had a looking glass with a mere speck or two of the quicksilver defective. If you looked into such a glass, and saw your reflection, you would have no doubt as to what you saw, though the glass had sustained this trifling defect. So with the Word of God.
The very multiplicity of the copies of the Holy Scriptures found in such large numbers in many countries, and dating from different centuries, only proves overwhelmingly that the original Scriptures existed, and the exceedingly insignificant variations of the text only brings into brilliant relief the marvellous reliability of the Scriptures we hold in our hands.
The very fact that the copyists were uninspired in their work, and that God worked no miracle in their case, only proves more than ever the integrity of the Scriptures. If so much in the Word of God in these circumstances is undisputed, and the little that is does not affect anything fundamental or vital in the very least, it only confirms in overwhelming fashion our confidence that we hold the very Scriptures of God in our hand.
It is interesting and confirmatory of our own attitude in this matter that our Lord Himself used a translation of the Holy Scriptures, the Septuagint. This is known not to be too accurate a translation. Yet He quoted it as the Word of God, and appealed to it as final.
We too have to use translations. Our English translations are admirable and very accurate. Here and there other translations may throw fuller light upon this passage or that, and whilst we avail ourselves of these helps, we regard the Bible we hold in our hands as the Word of God, authoritative and final. For this we cannot sufficiently thank God.
WERE THE INSPIRED WRITERS OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES MERE AUTOMATONS?
One great objection to verbal inspiration has been to urge that it would make the various writers God chose to use into mere automatons, mere mechanical tools. This is not so. As we read the Scriptures we can gather a good deal of knowledge of the different writers by the way in which they present things. One can tell the great difference between Paul and Peter. Peter himself acknowledges this when he wrote of the epistles of "our beloved brother Paul … in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest … unto their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:15-16). Peter was "ignorant and unlearned" as far as this world's learning was concerned. A fisherman from Galilee, with a dialect that betrayed him, he stands in vivid contrast to Paul.
When we read Peter's writings they are in accord with what we know of him as to style. As to matter he was an inspired penman in the hands of the Spirit of God. On the other hand, Paul was brought up at the feet of the well known Gamaliel. Evidently Gamaliel was a very prominent rabbi, for there is a saying in the Talmud, "Since Rabbi Gamaliel died the glory of the law has departed." When we read Paul's writings we discover the writer to be a man of culture, learning, personality, logically minded, in short an outstanding man.
So with Moses, "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians … mighty in words and in deeds" (Acts 7:22). Yet the wisdom of the Egyptians could not tell him how the world was created, but God's inspiration saved him from perpetuating their strange fables as to the origin of this earth. Nehemiah, cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, was evidently a man of rapid decisions and bold actions. This we gather from the book that bears his name. Amos, the herdman of Tekoa, a gatherer of sycamore fruit, writes a book in character with his calling and social position.
How then are the characteristics of the different writers, their attainments, their personalities preserved and allowed their play, and yet verbal inspiration be true? How are their writings free from being simply mechanical? Our Lord clearly laid claim to verbal inspiration, when He said, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled" (Matt. 5:18). Then there are Paul's words to Timothy, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16). Twenty times over in Leviticus we read, "The Lord spake unto Moses saying." All through Scripture is the claim made that it is God speaking.
An illustration will help us to understand how God did not put aside the personality of the writers employed, and yet fully ensured that what they wrote was His unalloyed message. Suppose you are a guest at a noble banquet. You notice a number of stately dishes on the table. You observe that they differ in size and shape. Some are small, others are large. Some have the shape of fruits, others of flowers, others again of a stately building, another is shaped like a bird on the wing, etc.
You ask yourself the question, Why do these tempting dishes differ in size and design? Of course, you reply, It is decided by the mould in which the material is put. Let me ask you a question. The mould decides the shape and design of the attractive dish you see on. the table. How much of the mould is there in the material, or is it all pure material? You answer, There is no mould in the material. The mould determines the shape of the material, but the material is pure.
If man can do this with his humble powers, what can God not do? Moses was the mould. There is no Moses in the matter he writes. It is the pure unalloyed Word of God. Paul was the mould. There is no Paul in the matter he writes. That is the pure unalloyed Word of God. So with the whole of the Scriptures.
THE METHODS OF MODERNISM
Because Genesis 1 throughout used the name of God (Elohim), and Genesis 2 employs the names, the LORD God (Jehovah Elohim), Jean Astruc (1753), a profligate French physician, started the theory that Genesis was composed by two authors. He did not grasp the plain fact that Genesis 1 gives us the story of the creation of the world, and, following a state of chaos into which the original creation had fallen, its reconstruction. Therefore the name of God (Elohim) was suitable. But when we come to Genesis 2, the narrative is centred on the creation of man and woman. It is not the story of creation in detail. Nothing is said of the six days of reconstruction. Verse 5 tells us of God's provision for the food of man; verse 6 how fertility was sustained by the watering of the earth with a mist; verse 7 gives us the creation of man; verses 8 to 15, the arrangement for his habitation; verses 21 to 25 the creation of Eve, the helpmeet for Adam. Now Jehovah is the name God takes in relation to His creatures. It is His covenant name. How fitting that the name Jehovah should be added to that of Elohim.
What would reasonable men think if a history of the great Napoleon were written, and because in one chapter it spoke of Napoleon, and in another chapter of Napoleon Buonaparte, it was argued that the book was necessarily written by two authors. Yet on such trivial grounds the methods of Modernism were launched.
The German Higher Critic, Wellhausen, went still further when he announced that no less than twenty-two different authors were responsible for the Books of Moses. The fact that his authors were all anonymous deepens suspicion. Would twenty-two brilliant authors collaborate in the composition of a book, and leave no trace of their identity behind? We are not credulous enough to believe such a thing possible.
The late Canon Cheyne was a well-known English Higher Critic, who followed in the steps of Wellhausen, and even surpassed him in his wild guesses. Bishop Welldon, commenting on his methods, writes:—
For many years the Higher Critics have pursued their evil way. Many of them are entrenched as Professors in the Universities and Theological Colleges, poisoning the minds of the young men, who are preparing for the ministry, who in their turn will pass on their evil teaching to their their congregations with very fearful results.
Many earnest Christians have seen through their methods, and detected the sophistry of their "assured results." Up to quite recently there has been no striking present-day example to prove the reliability or otherwise of their methods.
That example has now arrived. We can only see the hand of God in the matter. We will give it very briefly.
A literary lady in Canada, Miss Florence Deeks, wrote the story of the part women have played in history, under the title of The Web, and lodged her manuscript in the keeping of the Canadian branch of the well-known publishing house of Macmillan in Toronto.
A few months later appeared The Outline of History by Mr. H. G. Wells, published also by Macmillan, but from their London office.
When Miss Deeks read the Outline of History, she was struck by the fact that Mr. Wells had introduced ideas and incidents, which also appeared in her book, and that many of the phrases were common to both. She came to the conclusion that Mr. Wells must have had access to her manuscript and was guilty of gross plagiarism.
Seeing that there was no proof that Mr. Wells had seen the manuscript of The Web, a means of convincing a court of law that plagiarism had really happened must be discovered. Why not try the methods employed by the Higher Critics? Why not get an expert of wide experience on these lines?
So Miss Deeks took her case to the Rev. W. A. Irwin, M.A., B.D., Ph.D., at that time an associate professor of Ancient and Old Testament Languages and Literature at Toronto University, afterwards Professor of Old Testament Languages and Literature at Chicago University. The Professor in accepting the task said:—
So he diligently pursued his task, and at length formulated his "assured results" in much detail, proving, as he claimed, that Mr. Wells had access to Miss Deeks' manuscript, that he had made free use of it, and had been guilty of considerable plagiarism.
Miss Deeks then brought action against Mr. H. G. Wells and the Macmillan publishers in a Canadian court, claiming $500,000, or about £100,000 damages.
This court dismissed the case. Miss Deeks, not satisfied, carried her case to a Court of Appeal, but with the same result. Miss Deeks then carried the case to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, London, the highest legal tribunal in the British Empire. Again and finally the case was given in favour of Mr. H. G. Wells and the Macmillan publishers.
At these trials it was sworn on oath that Miss Deeks' manuscript had never been in the hands of Mr. H. G. Wells, that it had remained in secure custody in the safe of the Macmillan Company in Toronto, that no copy of the manuscript in part or whole had been made, that in short no leakage of information had taken place, and that Mr. H. G. Wells did not even know of the existence of the manuscript. The verdict of the House of Lords was unanimous in dismissing the case.
What must have been the feelings of the Rev. W. A. Irwin, M.A., B.D., Ph.D., when he heard one of the Canadian judges, The Hon. Mr. Justice Riddell, a well-known legal luminary, famous throughout Canada and the United States, describing his "assured results" with such epithets as the following, "Fantastic Hypotheses," "Solemn Nonsense," "Comparisons without significance," "Arguments and conclusions alike puerile."
Professor Irwin was in a splendid position to arrive at "assured results" when he had before him both documents in question, and both of recent dates; whereas the critics deal with very ancient documents, generally written in dead languages. If Professor Irwin failed so lamentably in the case of what was comparatively easy, what chance have the "assured results" relating to the Ancient Scriptures of being anything else than "solemn nonsense" and "fantastic hypotheses"?
A smashing blow has been dealt against the Higher Critical methods in dealing with the Holy Scriptures. The hand of God is behind the blow, we believe.
One very ancient "assured result" that was stoutly upheld by many learned men, and was considered, by many unanswerable in my young days, was that it was impossible for Moses to be the Author of the Books that bear his name, since writing was quite unknown at that time. Thank God, the spade of the archaeologist has turned up more than soil.
Sir Charles Marston, F.S.A., writes:—
Note this is alphabetical script, but writing in another form was in vogue at a still earlier period. We read:—
Moses came upon the scene more than two centuries after Abraham's death, and if writing was in vogue before Abraham's day, it was not difficult for Moses to have written the books attributed to him.
There are ten patriarchs mentioned in Genesis 5, which Modernists have treated as legendary and mythical and unworthy of serious attention. But the archaeologist's spade, as we have said, has turned up more than soil. A recently discovered clay prism, now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, gives long lists of kings and the dates when they reigned. It commences with a list of eight kings, who were prior to the flood. These correspond with the names of the patriarchs mentioned in Genesis 5. The Modernist will disbelieve the Bible, until some clay prism turns up, written by heathen hands, and this is believed, even if the Word of God is not. It is awkward for the critics when the "assured results" are discovered to be false. They are then quietly dropped and fresh charges against the Bible are brought forth. If the Bible were reduced to such straits, it would soon be laughed out of court.
We can assuredly make the statement that whenever science and the Bible have been at variance, and fresh light on the subject has enabled a right judgment to be arrived at, the Bible has ALWAYS been right. Similarly when it has been a matter of ancient history, stated in the Bible and refused by the Higher Critics, and the spade of the archaeologist has brought up something that throws light on the subject, it has always been the Higher Critics who are wrong, and the Bible has ALWAYS been right. No book in the world can stand such a test as the Bible. With perfect calmness the Christian can await the labours of the explorers in Bible lands, confident that their discoveries will only confirm what they have believed in the Word of God.
A case in point is interesting. The Rev. James Neil was chaplain to the first bishop of Jerusalem, and was in that city in the early days of the Palestine Exploration Society. Operations were begun under the leadership of Lieutenant Conder. Charles Terry Drake, a descendant of the famous Admiral of that name, was interpreter. He was not a believer, indeed was sceptical in his views. Again and again he would say to Mr. Neil, "It is wonderful: here we are testing the Bible as it has never been tested before. Often we think we find it wrong, but as sure as we stay about three weeks in a place, in EVERY case we find the Bible minutely accurate."
For three years Drake continued at his post and then died, but not before he was convinced of the truth of the Bible, and lost all his sceptical notions. He left a clear testimony to his faith in the Saviour, and his confidence in the Word of God.
It is well known that the late Lord Allenby in his Palestine Campaign, culminating in the historic capture of Jerusalem, found the topography of Palestine and the records of the wars in the books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings very helpful in the conduct of the campaign.
The late Professor Sayce, who once was a Higher Critic, but was obliged to reconsider his position in the light of archaeological testimony, wrote:—
When I was young I used to wonder how it was possible for the priests and armed men to perambulate the walls of Jericho seven times in one day. I read about the king of Jericho, and imagined he would rule over a large and imposing place. Professor John Garstang, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Jerusalem, thoroughly explored the site of Jericho within recent years. He found that the area of the city was only seven acres, and its circumference measured six hundred and fifty yards. Seven times that distance only makes a little over two and a half miles. It was with great interest I saw the excavations myself, and was able to check on the spot this statement. Professor Garstang found that his labours only confirmed the Bible narrative. He gave it as his opinion, resulting from his investigations in 1931, that the walls of Jericho fell through an earthquake. The miracle was that the earthquake was divinely timed to coincide with the shout of the Israelites at the command of God. We have no difficulty in believing in miracles, for surely the world and ourselves are outstanding miracles. Our earth suspended in space with its three motions, the diurnal, the orbital, and travelling no scientist can tell where, is a stupendous miracle that the cleverest scientist cannot explain. Our hearts beating night and day, summer and winter, sleeping and waking without cessation for one single minute sixty, seventy, eighty years is a miracle. How does it start? How does it cease? It is amazing. No man-made machine can rival this achievement.
You will remember how Joshua gave instructions that Jericho should be destroyed by fire, and nothing to be saved but silver, gold, vessels of brass and iron, which were to come into the treasury of the Lord. Three thousand years later Professor Garstang found scorched remains of foodstuffs—wheat, barley, lentils, dates, onions, olives, and pieces of dough, etc., but no metal. The writer possessed a phial containing dust and charred wheat from the ruins of Jericho. For three thousand years the secret was buried. The excavator comes along, and the Bible narrative is confirmed again and again.
Time was when Modernists scoffed at the idea of the flood recorded in Genesis 7 and 8. The excavators come along. Professor Langdon worked at Kish, near Babylon. Sir Leonard Woolley excavated at Ur of the Chaldees, the place from whence Abraham came. They both at the same time came upon deposits which could only have been the result of a mighty flood. Dr. Langdon stated in The Times 18th March, 1929, that the thick alluvial stratum he had discovered in his opinion afforded "conclusive testimony that the Genesis story of the Deluge is historical." He said in The Times, 4th January, 1929:-
"When we [viz., Sir Leonard Woolley and himself] made these discoveries we were loathe to believe that we had obtained confirmation of the Deluge of Genesis, but there is no doubt about it now."
We hope many other things will be brought to light by the spade of the archaeologist. It can only prove the Bible to be true in every particular. When men are loathe to believe, but find the evidence too strong to refuse, it is powerful evidence indeed.
I was very interested recently in an article by Dr. Shelley. He stated that the amount of the earth's surface covered by water is seventy per cent of the whole, and the amount covered by land was therefore thirty per cent of the whole. The average height of land above sea level is 2,300 feet. The average depth of ocean is no less than the astounding figure of 13,000 feet. There is more than fifteen-and-a-half times more water than earth. If the solid surface of the globe was smoothed out the water would cover the earth to a depth of 9000 feet.
Something catastrophic in the history of the world has happened when arctic regions yield fossil remains of a tropical growth, as is the case in Hudson Bay territory; and in Northern Siberia where thousands of bodies of elephants have been found embedded in ice, elephants that evidently belonged to tropical countries. The only conclusion we can come to is that some mighty change was made in the structure of our globe. Can it be that almighty power altered the axis of the world, for if this were the case it would explain the flood? How little we know after all!
WHO IS THE AUTHOR OF THE BIBLE?
If the Bible had been written by one individual, or even two, the argument we are about to adduce would not be so powerful, but when we reflect that the Bible is not one consecutive Book, but is composed of sixty-six books, and that in spite of that fact it is indeed one Book, each contribution fitting like stones shaped and polished into a symmetrical whole, each contribution complementary of the rest, we are obliged to believe that there is a Master mind behind it, in short that the Bible is God-breathed, inspired, that God Himself is its Author.
Bind together sixty-six medical works, or political works, or even theological works, and you would find one writer affirming what another denies; one writer praising what another blames; one writer stating what he believes to be exalted truth, another denouncing it as utter folly.
Sir Charles Marston, F.S.A., says:—
When we reflect that the writers of the Books of the Bible were about thirty in number, that their writings ranged from about 1950 B.C., or over 3400 years ago, to about 90 A.D., or about 1850 years ago, we must come to the conclusion that the Book could not possess a definite plan, as it undoubtedly does, without ONE Master Mind behind it. Moreover, in the nature of things these writers described events of which they could not possibly have any knowledge by personal observation. For instance Moses wrote of the creation of the world well over 2400 years after the earth came into being as an ordered place for man's abode. This he could only have done by revelation, and that alone by the Mind who brought creation into being. Others prophesied of many events that still lay centuries off from fulfilment. These prophecies have been fulfilled to the letter. These men could not have foreseen these events. The prophecies must have been inspired by a Mind that looked down the centuries, and that Mind could only have been God's.
How came it about that one writer never contradicted another? They wrote in different centuries, unknown to each other with few exceptions, especially in Old Testament times. If they were uninspired the book would most certainly have been a jumble full of contradictions and absurdities, as is evidenced by the uninspired sacred books of heathen beliefs. But this is not so.
Consider the character of the different writers. They were all Jews with the exception of Luke, who wrote the Gospel that bears his name, and the Acts of the Apostles. They all, save Job and Moses, belonged to a little slip of country, 150 miles long by 50 miles broad, the land of Israel, Palestine, situated in Asia on the confines of Europe and Africa. There was Moses, "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians … mighty in words and in deeds"; David, a shepherd lad, who became King; Nehemiah, in exile a cupbearer to a heathen monarch; Daniel of royal blood, captive in Babylon; prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Malachi; Psalmists such as David, Asaph, Ethan; Proverb-makers such as King Solomon, Agur, Lemuel; fishermen such as Peter and John; Luke, "the beloved physician," the only Gentile among the writers of the Bible; Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, learned, brought up at the feet of the renowned rabbi, Gamaliel. And yet these writers, to use the phrase of an old author, wrote "without collusion or collision." That phrase could not be rightly employed unless the Bible was inspired of God.
To believe that the Bible was uninspired would mean that we should be infinitely more credulous than the unbeliever, in thinking that uninspired men could reveal the unknown past, or unveil the unrevealed future. A French savant wrote: "I am not credulous enough to be an unbeliever." But such is the darkness that sin brings upon the human mind, that, even after such strong and irrefutable testimonies, men are found not believing the Bible.
THE BIBLE AND SCIENCE
There has been for many years a great conflict between scientists of a certain order and Christians, who are old-fashioned enough to believe the Bible. To a large extent it is a conflict between Evolutionists and Fundamentalists. There is and can be no conflict, however, between TRUE science and the Bible, for God is the Author of them both. He is the Creator, seen in all the multitudinous phenomena of nature; and the Revealer, seen in the unfolding of Himself in Christ in the Scriptures. The one revelation of God's almighty power and Godhead in creation appeals to the senses, and its phenomena,can be made the subject of intelligent observation. The other revelation is moral and spiritual in its teaching and effect.
As to the conflict between science and the Bible, the Scriptures put an unerring finger on where the difficulty lies. We read, "The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:14.). The fact is the mind of unregenerate men is incapable of rightly understanding the Word of God. This is not flattering to man's culture and intellect. The moral aspect of all this is clearly seen in the bias of men's minds.
When Darwin brought out his theory of evolution, it was hailed with delight by men, who wished to see the Bible discredited. It was received with open arms by unconverted professors of the Christian religion. It became popular to doubt the account of creation given in Genesis 1, and to describe it as mythical, folk-lore and the like. A theologian was considered abreast of the times when he embraced the unproved theories of evolution.
I remember well the despair I felt as a young man when Darwin's theory first swept the country, as if it would carry all before it. But one has lived long enough to see the highest scientists acknowledging that evolution in all its phases is but a theory unproved, even in its initial stages. It is a pretty rotten foundation to build on for eternity.
I remember being present on board ship in the Indian Ocean one evening when a discussion on the truth of Christianity was propounded. It was a moving sight under the strong arc light of the upper deck, on a warm autumn evening, to see Mohammedans, Parsees, Hindus, British, Europeans of all types, gathered to hear a missionary expound the tenets of Christianity. Alas! it was pitiable. The so-called missionary was a Modernist, and had no clear message for the poor heathen he laboured among. He spoke of men being descended from apes, as if it were an established fact. I had to tell him that scientists of the highest order had testified that evolution was a theory, an unproved guess; that it was only ignorant scientists, and third-rate theologians, who did not keep abreast of the times, who made such a statement as he had made.
The late Oswald Chambers made a very pertinent remark. "If the Bible agreed with modern science, it would soon be out of date, because in the very nature of things modern science is bound to change." The late Professor Thomas H. Huxley said, "The great and frequent tragedy of science is a beautiful hypothesis killed by an ugly fact." Never were there truer or more devastating statements.
Science is always changing for the simple reason that a large proportion of so-called science is not really science, but merely theory unsupported by fact. It was so even in ancient times, for the Apostle Paul's advice to young Timothy in his day was, "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so-called" (1 Tim. 6:20). What shattering expressions—"PROFANE AND VAIN BABBLINGS" and "SCIENCE FALSELY SO-CALLED!"
Science, if it be really science, cannot change, for really ascertained knowledge must remain knowledge. One thing is certain. God is the Author alike of true science and the Bible. Therefore there can be no contradiction between them.
But does the Bible teach science? The answer is obvious. The Bible does not set out to teach science. It is the revelation of God in Christ, a Book with an authoritative message to the souls of men, a Book with a spiritual testimony of moral import, above all conveying the message of redeeming grace to a world of sinners. Yet at the same time anything that refers to science in the Bible is true. We shall see how the Bible sets forth more than one scientific fact centuries before these were discovered by scientists. One is amazed to see here and there the Bible forestalling by long centuries modern discoveries.
The contrast between the ancient uninspired writings and the Bible is very marked. For instance according to Greek and Roman philosophies, the heavens formed a solid vault over the earth. Aristotle, who flourished B.C. 384-322, described the heavens as "a sphere studded with stars." The little girl, who imagined the stars to be gimlet holes on the floor of heaven through which the glory of heaven shone, was not far apart from the learned Aristotle in her idea.
Genesis 1, that incomparable description of the original creation, and the reconstruction of the earth following on a supervening chaotic condition, describes the heavens by the word firmament. This is the word employed by the translators of the original Hebrew word. The original word is inspired, the translation, correct though it may be, is not. But when we examine this particular Hebrew word we find it would be correctly translated as expanse. There could not be a better word to describe the illimitable space we know as the heavens. It was the great Lord Salisbury, no mean scientist, who described the word ether as a convenient word for hiding our ignorance. Who then guided the hand of Moses when he wrote the opening verses of Genesis 1? Surely it was Divine guidance and nothing less.
The ancient Egyptians taught that the earth was formed by the motion of air and the upward course of flame. But where did the air come from, and who gave to the flame its upward tendency? How was it that Moses, brought up in the wisdom and learning of the Egyptians, should have described the real origin of the universe in the simple and sublime words of Scripture, "In the beginning God CREATED the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).
The Hindus taught that the earth was flat and triangular and composed of seven stories. This in turn was sustained on the heads of elephants, and the movements of these unwieldy animals produced earthquakes. In contrast how was it that Job, writing over 3000 years ago, uttered this profound truth, "He … hangs the earth upon nothing" (Job 26:7). How did Job know this? What could he know of the earth being suspended in space? What could he know of the law of gravitation? In that simple statement he put on record a scientific fact utterly unknown in the writings of the Egyptians, Hindus and the like. How was it? He was inspired.
The early Church, the dispenser in those days of what scientific knowledge there was, taught that the earth was flat, that it was the centre of the universe, and that the sun was subservient to it. Lactantius wrote, "The rotundity of the earth is a theory, which no one is ignorant enough to believe."
The astronomer Galileo (1564-1642) was threatened by the Romish Church with excommunication, if he continued to assert that the earth revolved round the sun. It was considered an insult to put the earth in a place subservient to the sun.
How is it that the truth of the rotundity of the earth lay enshrined in the Scriptures over fifteen centuries before Galileo was born. Yet so it is. We read, "In that night there shall be two men in one bed: the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together: the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left" (Luke 17:34-36).
Here are two men in bed, night-time; two women grinding corn, breakfast-time; two men working in the field, day-time. How can one event find those it affects at one and the same time at different hours out of the twenty-four. Extend this statement, and the one event would find those it affects during every hour and minute of the twenty-four hours, forming a complete day and night. That could only be if the earth were round, and performed its diurnal motion of turning round on its axis in relation to the sun once in twenty-four hours. The Bible is an amazing Book, and leaves us speechless with astonishment. Inspiration is clearly marked upon it. It is the Word of God.
The late Lord Kelvin, the renowned scientist and a humble believer on the Saviour, made a profound impression on the scientific world when he announced a great discovery, viz.: that there is never precipitation of rain unless caused by electrical discharge; in other words that an electrical charge, whether very marked in a thunderstorm, or in such a small degree that it is not noticeable, produces rain.
An interesting incident occurred in this direction a few years ago. A staff officer in the army, a brother-in-law of the writer, was lecturing on electricity to his brother officers. He referred to this interesting discovery, and remarked that he had a very ancient volume in his possession, parts of it dating back over 3000 years that antedated this discovery. His statement startled his audience not a little. At the close of the lecture a crowd gathered round him, asking for proof of this extraordinary statement.
He drew from underneath his tunic a pocket Bible, and read to his astonished questioners, "Who has divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; to cause it to rain on the earth" (Job 38:25-26); "When He made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder" (Job 28:26); "He causes the vapours to ascend [evaporation, or forming of clouds] from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain" (Psalm 135:7); "He makes lightnings with rain" (Jer. 10:13; 51:16). His audience was much impressed. They might well be so.
It would be well if the reader were so impressed by these undeniable facts of the Scriptures, that he sat down to read the Word of God, and let it instruct him in the true ways of peace. Some distinguished scientists have had this happy experience. Copernicus, the founder of our modern system of thought concerning the universe, had these striking words engraved on his tombstone,
“Not that grace which Paul received crave I; not that favour with which Thou didst pardon Peter: that which Thou didst grant the malefactor, that alone I beg."
Linnaeus, the great naturalist, when he discovered the formation of leaves, exclaimed in transports that he had traced "the very footsteps of God." When he beheld a mountain side in all the golden glory of gorse in full bloom, he fell on his knees and worshipped the Creator. Liebig, the greatest of chemists, confessed in his writings that "the great value and dignity of natural science consists in the fact that it is a stepping stone to true Christianity." Robert Mayer, discoverer of the unity of forces, declared to an audience of physicists he was addressing, "From the bottom of my heart I proclaim that a genuine philosophy cannot possibly be anything else than a prelude to the Christian religion." Such men as Kepler, the great Sir Isaac Newton, Herschell, the great astronomer, Faraday, the great electrician, who conducted Bible readings, and Lord Kelvin were all devout Christian men.
THE GREAT SIGNIFICANCE OF PROPHECY
We read in Galatians 3:8 a very striking statement, "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed." "THE SCRIPTURE, FORESEEING!" What a momentous statement! Who can foresee but God alone? Man may foresee a little way ahead when circumstances plainly pointing in a certain direction accumulate, but who can look down the centuries, and say what is going to happen when there are no outward circumstances foreshadowing the future. But this is what God does, and God alone can do. If the Scriptures foresee in this way, it is proof that they are inspired of God, and if inspired of God entirely trustworthy.
Let us look at a few examples sufficient to prove our point. Prophecy began very early in the history of sinful man. Before our sinning first parents were driven out of the Garden of Eden, the Lord God said to the serpent, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen. 3:15). This is a most pregnant prophecy. It foretells the seed of the woman, the virgin birth of our Lord. Moses knew perfectly well that procreation throughout nature is effected through male agency. But he made no mistake when he wrote of the seed of the woman. He would most certainly have made a mistake unless God had guided his hand.
That the seed of the serpent should bruise the heel of the seed of the woman was seen in our Lord, the Child of the virgin mother, though "over all, God blessed for ever" (Rom. 9:5), being crucified on the cross. How Satan must have gloated over his seeming victory. It was short-lived, for our Lord the third day rose triumphant from the dead. His heel only was bruised, as far as Satan's malevolence was concerned.
But the seed of the woman was to bruise the serpent's head; a mortal blow was to be struck. Satan must never rise again. That looks further down the ages, when Satan at last will be finally flung into the lake of fire and brimstone (Rev. 20:10). Going by the dates at the top of our Bibles this prophecy was four thousand years before any part of it was fulfilled.
Over three thousand years had rolled by, when the prophet Isaiah wrote, "Behold, a virgin [literally THE virgin] shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). He enlarges on the Garden of Eden pronouncement. The seed of the woman might have been male or female. Here it is definitely said to be a Son. Further, there was no indication in Genesis 3:15 that the seed should be more than human. Here we are told the Son is to be named IMMANUEL, which means "GOD with us." Who told Isaiah that the Child born would be "God. … manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16)? That must have been revelation.
Not only so, but further on in his prophecy Isaiah writes, "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). Inspiration could not be more manifestly seen in a passage than here. The wit of man would never have told us that a Child should be born, who should at the same time be "The Mighty God": that a Child of days should be "The Everlasting Father." Such a statement is either the most sublime truth, or the most blasphemous folly. Which is it? I believe from the bottom of my heart that it is the sublime truth as to the glorious Person of my Redeemer.
Isaiah also wrote, seven centuries before the death of Christ, a full and exhaustive prophecy as to that great event. The Jews were willing to have a glorious triumphant Messiah, who should put their little nation at the head of all the nations, and set up a world-wide dominion, a condition of things that their carnal flesh could glory in. They could not and would not entertain the thought of a suffering Messiah. Chapter 53 presents this so vividly that there is no mistaking its meaning. It is the despair of the Jewish theologians, of the rabbis of their synagogues. Their only way out of the difficulty is to ignore it. So when they read consecutively in their roll of the Scriptures, they read Isaiah 52, and then pass on to chapter 54, and ignore chapter 53. But it cannot be ignored, as they will find out in due course to their sorrow.
On the other hand, this chapter is prized very highly by the Christian community. One verse in particular puts the sacrificial, vicarious, atoning character of the death of our Lord very clearly, and in the past tense, as if it had already taken place, so sure is the Divine mind of its due occurrence. We read, "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed" (Isa. 53:5). This verse alone has been the means of the conversion of vast multitudes.
Was it not the famous John Calvin who, stirred by the heroic death of Christian martyrs burned at the stake in Paris because of their belief in the Bible, took to diligently reading the Scriptures to find out the reason of their peace and confidence? As he read on he came to this very verse. The light of God's forgiving grace through the righteousness effected in the atoning death of His well beloved Son on Calvary's cross flooded his soul, and he cried out, "O Father, His sacrifice has appeased Thy wrath; His blood has washed away my impurities; His cross has borne my curse; His death has atoned for me." Thus John Calvin and multitudes besides have passed into peace with God.
The truth of the glorious resurrection too is seen in verse 10. We read, "When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand." There again is the visible hall-mark of inspiration. If our Lord were put to death and there were no resurrection, the prophet could not have truly penned these words. He went on to say that though He has been brought to death, yet His days go on, that the One who died on the cross would see "of the travail of His soul, and … be satisfied" (verse 15). His resurrection is thus plainly foretold. Who could foretell all this seven centuries before it happened?
And why cannot the Jews see the necessity of a suffering Messiah? Whenever a Jew or Gentile is convicted of sin, and feels the burden of his guilt before God, he at once sees the necessity, of a Redeemer, a Saviour. A suffering Redeemer is our only hope of eternal blessing.
The Jews ought to have seen this, for the whole meaning of their ritual of approach to God by sacrifice, their sin offerings, their trespass offering, their burnt offerings, all were prophetic in their symbolism. For hundreds of years the Jews had this ritual before their eyes. They were familiar with the fact that on the passover night in Egypt every Hebrew dwelling was sprinkled with the blood of the lamb without blemish or spot, and that Jehovah had said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you" (Exodus 12:13). They were familiar with the necessity of sacrifice on every approach to God. "Without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb. 9:22), is writ large over the whole of the Jewish ritual, a ritual designed by God Himself. What a wonderful preparation for the coming into the world of "the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
PROPHECIES AND THEIR FULFILMENT
The great bulk of the prophecies of the Old Testament refer to the coming of the Son of God into this world as Man in order to be the Redeemer. They refer to His Person as God and Man, the place and manner of His birth, the wonder of His life, and above all His death and its sacrificial meaning and His glorious resurrection. We append a few of these prophecies and their fulfilment.
He was to be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14. Fulfilment. Matthew 1:18-25.
He was to be sold for thirty pieces of silver. Zechariah 11:12. Fulfilment. Matthew 26:14-15.
This money was to be cast to the potter. It was to be silver and thirty pieces, and thrown down in the house of the Lord. Fulfilment. Matthew 27:3-10.
His hands and feet were to be pierced. Psalm 22:16. Fulfilment. John 20:24-29.
His side was to be pierced. Zechariah 12:10. Fulfilment. John 19:34-37.
His garments were to be divided among the soldiers, who crucified Him, and for His vesture they were to cast lots. Psalm 22:18. Fulfilment. John 19:23-24.
They were to give Him gall and vinegar as He hung on the cross. Psalm 69:21. Fulfilment. Matthew 27:34.
He was to be buried in a rich man's tomb. Isaiah 53:9. Fulfilment. Matthew 27:57-60.
THE TRIUNE GOD
The Bible is the only sacred book in the world that presents the character of the Supreme Being as one of love and light, of goodness, compassion, tenderness, of inflexible holiness and righteousness. On the other hand, the sacred writings of the heathen present a plurality of gods, male and female, generally vindictive, cruel, tyrannical. The heathen live all their lives in terror of what may happen to them through the supposed agency of these malevolent gods.
As to cruelty,we read that Ahaz, king of Judah, "made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen" (2 Kings 16:3). Manasseh, the grandson of Ahaz, in spite of a godly father, King Hezekiah, "reared up altars for Baal [the deity of the Phoenician and Canaanitish nations], and he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards" (2 Kings 21:3 and 6). The customs attending the worship of these divinities were of the most licentious and abominable kind. That familiar spirits and wizards were invoked shows that the powers of hell were behind idolatrous worship. All this was most sternly forbidden to the Jews.
We may well ask, How was it that the Israelites, surrounded by nations practising these debased and evil heathen rites, had such an exalted and elevating conception of the true God? It could only have been by revelation. The history of the Israelites was that when the people were drawn aside to the worship and abominations of the heathen divinities, they got into trouble and were punished by God allowing them to be overcome by their enemies, and their country brought under tribute to them. When they turned to the Lord, He raised up deliverers, who by the help of God threw off the yoke of the enemy.
The true knowledge of God is elevating. Mankind is measured by its conception of God. Wherever this conception has gripped a man or a nation, there you find qualities that command respect. Reflections like these impressed me mightily in my young days, and time has only strengthened the impression made.
Divine revelation tells us of a triune God, that is three Divine Persons yet One God. The Bible presents three in One and One in Three—Father, Son and Spirit, the Triune God, completely One in power, will, and knowledge.
We shall see how wonderfully this was revealed. And the very manner in which it is first intimated is most impressive.
The Hebrew language possesses three numbers—singular, one; dual, two and only two; plural, three at the least or more. Why did Moses in the Pentateuch write the name of God nearly 700 times in the plural? Could such a conception have ever come of itself into his mind? Must it not have been by revelation, and that revelation could only be from the Triune God? Who can reveal but God alone? Moses wrote the name of God in the singular nearly 50 times.
The very first verse of the Bible, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," gives us the name of the Supreme Being in the plural.
One very striking instance of the singular and plural use in employing the name of God is found in Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD [Jehovah, singular] our God [Elohim, plural] is one LORD [Jehovah, singular]." So that in the very affirmation of the Oneness of God, we have the truth of the three Persons in the Trinity carefully preserved. It surely is past the wit of an uninspired man to have recorded this. Nor is it Moses alone who differentiates between the name of God in the plural and in the singular. Scattered right through the Old Testament the name of God is 2,500 times in the plural, and a little over 300 times in the singular.
Perhaps the clearest unfolding of the Triune God in the Old Testament is found in Isaiah 48:16: "Come ye near unto Me, hear ye this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning: from the time that it was, there AM I [the assertion of Deity]: and now  the Lord God, and  His Spirit has sent  ME." We are left in no doubt who the ME is. Verses 12 and 13 say, "Hearken unto Me, O Jacob and Israel, My called; I AM HE; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also has laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand has spanned the heavens."
All through the Gospel of John the Lord continually refers to Himself as The SENT ONE. Take one chapter only as witness. "Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3). "They have believed that Thou didst send Me (verse 8). "As Thou hast sent Me into the world" (verse 18). "That the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me" (verse 21). "That the world may know that Thou hast sent Me" (verse 23). "These have known that Thou hast sent Me" (verse 25).
John the Baptist had a very clear testimony as to the Triune God. When he baptized our Lord prior to His coming forth into His public ministry, John saw the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descending as a dove and alighting upon our Lord. He heard the voice of the Father, saying, "Thou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11). John the Baptist had both ocular and aural demonstration.
We find Father, Son, and Spirit linked up together again and again in the Scriptures. We all know the well known benediction: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen" (2 Cor. 13:14). The risen Lord, before His ascension, told His disciples to "teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. 28:19).
THREE A BASIC NUMBER
There is a very remarkable book written by an American author, Nathan R. Wood, D.D., who died in 1937. Its title is the Secret of the Universe. The work is the fruit of twenty-five years' labour. The theme of it is to trace how the number three is basic throughout nature, and is the reflex of the great Trinity of trinities, even of the Triune God. It is so very striking that I append a few examples.
You cannot have a solid without length, breadth, and height—three dimensions. There are three persons in grammar—first, second, and third—these exhaust all the relations of mankind. Man is composed of three parts, spirit, soul, body. There are three spheres of life—earth sea, air. There are three types of life—terrestrial, aquatic, aerial. Substances are three in kind—inorganic, vegetable, animal. Three forms of matter are solid, liquid, gaseous. There are three times—future, present, past. Family consists of three—father, mother, child. Mankind is separated into three divisions—Caucasian, Semitic, Hamitic. Man is made up of three qualities—mind, affections, will. Without mind man would be an idiot. Without affections man would be like a devil. Without will man would be a mere clod. There are three degrees of comparison—positive, comparative, superlative. The least possible support for an upright position is a tripod, three legs for a table, or three guy ropes to support a pole. A syllogism is the simplest form of reasoning. It consists of three parts—the major premise, the minor premise, the conclusion.
Many more might be enumerated, but I have reserved till last a very striking example, and one that supports Dr. Nathan Wood's theme in a very remarkable way. There are three basic colours—red, yellow, blue. Every other colour is a blend of these three. All the glowing colours of the sunset are variations of these three.
It is an extraordinary fact that light is not only colourless, but broken up by a prism is full of vivid colour. None but God could conceal vivid colours in what is colourless, nor combine vivid colours in such a way as to produce colourless light.
God is light. He dwells "in the light which no man can approach unto: whom no man has seen, nor can see to whom be honour and power everlasting" (1 Tim. 6:16). "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, INVISIBLE, the only wise God, be glory and honour for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Tim. 1:17).
If God is invisible, has never been seen, nor can be seen, how are we to know God? Just as light is broken up into its component parts, so the blessed God has been pleased to reveal Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit, yet one God, blessed for ever.
As we shall see, the three basic colours lend themselves as an extraordinary illustration of the Holy Trinity. Red is the heat ray, the source of life. It is invisible. Without heat we should perish. We have heat in our bodies. Without heat there would be no ripening of crops and fruits. Yellow is the light ray. Without light we should be in perpetual darkness. Not only are the yellow rays visible, but they make everything visible. The blue rays are the chemical or actinic rays, and are invisible and only known by the effects they produce.
The illustration is very extraordinary. Of these rays the red and the blue are invisible. So the Father and the Spirit have not become incarnate, have not come in flesh, are invisible. The yellow rays are visible. Our Lord came in flesh and blood. He was visible. Man saw Him, heard Him, witnessed His miracles, even handled Him. He Himself said, "I am the light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). Not only are the yellow rays visible, but they show everything up in its true colours. So we read of the Lord,That was the true Light, that lights every man that comes into the world" (John 1:9). He is the true
The red rays are invisible, yet their influence is life-giving and life-sustaining. The Father is invisible. The Son has revealed Him. He is the Source of life and blessing. Everything flows from Him.
The blue rays are invisible and are only seen in the effects they produce. The Holy Spirit of God is invisible, but we know His presence by His effect in the lives of men.
The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are equally God. The order in which the names are put in Matthew 28:19 does not indicate any difference in status, but is casual: the Father sent the Son; the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.
The foregoing thoughts as to the Triune God helped me much in former years. May they be a blessing to many readers.
THE SON OF GOD
The whole of the Scriptures revolve round the Person of the Son of God. It has been put in a striking way as follows. The Pentateuch gives us the figures of Christ; the Psalms, the feelings of Christ; the Prophets, the foretellings of Christ; the Gospels, the facts of Christ; the Epistles, the fruits of Christ; Revelation, final judgments by Christ. Remembering how ancient are the Scriptures, how many are the different writers of the various Books, how they lived far apart from each other, both geographically and in time, it is astounding that such a statement can be made about one Person and one Book. It is absolute proof that there is a Master Mind behind the Book. And if GOD thus presents in such different ways and phases a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that such a presentation should command our deepest homage.
Indeed, when we come to see that the Book testifies of this wonderful Person, and the Person testifies of the Book, and that these testimonies stand or fall together, we conclude that we either must receive both the Book and the Person, or refuse both the Book and the Person. A little consideration will show the force of these remarks.
Take the case of the Bible prophecies concerning our Lord. He was to be born of a virgin. His name was to be Jesus, meaning Jehovah Saviour. He was to be born at Bethlehem. He was to be called out of Egypt. He was to be brought up at Nazareth. He was to die a sacrificial death. The time about when that would take place was clearly indicated by the prophet Daniel. He was to rise from the dead. If any of these items had failed in their fulfilment, then it would show the Book was not inspired. But they and many others were all fulfilled to the very letter.
On the other hand, the Lord Jesus quoted many an Old Testament Scripture as authoritative. Did He not say, "It is written" (Matt. 4:4, 6-7) three times, quoting passages from Deuteronomy when resisting the Devil in the temptation in the wilderness? In the Sermon on the Mount we read, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law [the law, a term covering the five books of Moses], till all be fulfilled" (Matt. 5:17-18). This is a particular affirmation of the authority and inspiration of the Old Testament. A jot is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet; the tittle, a little mark on a letter to distinguish it from another letter, so alike that a mistake might be made were the mark not there. Some people are afraid of the word verbal inspiration, but our Lord goes further, and tells us every letter and mark is authoritative.
As a very young believer I was thankful indeed for these thoughts. It is a tremendous thing to pin one's faith for time and eternity to one single Person. To believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God is a very big thing indeed. But once this has been reached in the soul, all else falls into line.
At the same time there is much to learn in the full unfolding of the Person of our Lord as found in the New Testament.
In John 1:1-4, we read, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men."
Why is the Lord designated as the Word? Just as the spoken word reveals a man's mind and personality, so God has revealed Himself in and by a Person, who came near to men, living a perfect life before them, and above all dying a sacrificial death upon the cross in order that this revelation of God might be one of infinite grace and eternal blessing.
In these verses we read that Jesus from all eternity was God, that He was a distinct Person in the Godhead, the eternal Word; that as distinct in the Godhead, He was eternally so; that He was the Creator of all things; that in Him was life inherently, that is to say not conferred, but that He was the eternal source of life. He was ever living, and all life flowed from Him as the Source. This life was the light of men.
Then comes the stupendous statement that "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
When I had the great privilege of being in the Holy Land, and walked the streets of Jerusalem, of Bethlehem, of Nazareth, on the shores of Galilee, I asked myself again and again, Do you really believe that the lowly Jesus, who walked this very country; who slept in a fisherman's boat in a storm on that little lake of Galilee; who taught in the Temple; who died on the cross on that hill I gazed on; who rose from the tomb I visited, was the eternal Son of God? I could only answer with deep adoration that I believed in my heart of hearts that He was, "God manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16).
But we must be careful. Every bit of light shed on Christ in the Scriptures we have to receive, weigh over, and cherish. But we have to be careful not to go beyond Scripture on such a theme. To do so is fraught with terrible danger. Many have made shipwreck in this way. We have to receive revelation. We have to refuse speculation.
One thing that stands in the way of the recognition of the Son of God are the carnal thoughts that some entertain as to Father and Son. They argue that a father must be older than his son. They think of the ordinary way in which children are begotten. This idea is very common among Mohammedans. When I was in India I met this objection very commonly.
It is very clear we must not argue from the natural to the spiritual. It is clear from Scripture that the Father is the Father from all eternity, that the Son is the Son from all eternity, that the Spirit is the Spirit from all eternity. There never was a time when there was the Father and not the Son and the Spirit. We do well to take the statements of Scripture as they stand, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only begotten of the Father from all eternity, and leave the mystery of it where Scripture puts it. How can a creature ever understand the Creator? Impossible!
There came a moment when the Son of God became flesh in Bethlehem, born of a virgin in a stable, and cradled in a manger. It was an event in an outward way that would stir no interest and sympathy save of the few immediately in the vicinity.
But what might mean little to earth was great to heaven. An angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, as they were watching over their flocks by night, with a glorious message, "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). "Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (verse 14). A sign was given that the Child should be wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Many a babe could be found in swaddling clothes, but did you ever hear of a child being cradled in a manger amidst the cattle of the stall? The sign was surely unique.
Living in obscurity at Nazareth, our Lord began His public ministry when about thirty years of age. That wonderful ministry only lasted a brief time. What a wonderful three-and-a-half years it was! His life was unique. No life was ever like His. He healed the sick. He raised the dead. He cast out devils. The common people heard him gladly. They wondered at the gracious words that fell from His lips. He answered questions with a wisdom none could gainsay. He never apologized. He never withdrew a single thing that He did. He never uttered a word He had to withdraw. His life was without reproach. Nay, every step He took, every word He spoke, was music to heaven. A stream of miracles followed Him wherever He went. He undid the works of the Devil.
And He went on to the cross of Calvary to die the sacrificial death, to be the Mediator, the Saviour. The Christian religion is the only religion that presents a Saviour to mankind. All other man-made religions appeal to the pride of man in that they put salvation before him as the climax of his own endeavours.
Speaking of the life of our Lord, it has been well said that if it were the mere imagination of the writers of the four Gospels, that were a greater miracle than the chronicling of the actual life that was lived before the eyes of men. Such a life could not be imagined. Man cannot rise unaided above himself. There is only one life, that was ever lived in this world, of such beauty, such faithfulness, such wisdom, such love, such patience, such compassion, such purpose, as the life of our Lord. Even with His example before men, His life has not been remotely duplicated by anyone, and never can be. He was the eternal Son of God, who became Man, who died on the cross to satisfy the claims of Divine righteousness and enable God in all His holiness justly to save guilty sinners, such worms of the dust, as we are.
Even infidels have been constrained to offer their admiration of this matchless life. The late Theodore Parker, a well-known infidel writer in the United States, wrote:—
Jean Paul Richter says of Christ:—
Napoleon, who certainly was not a professed believer, said to his companions in exile in St. Helena:—
These are wonderful and unsolicited testimonies, extracted we may almost say from the Lord's enemies.
Thank God, His life on earth was human, but it was also Divine. The Lord was God and Man, one blessed Person. His Godhead was not abrogated but veiled. He was God undiminished. He was truly Man. He was human. His humanity never contradicted His Deity. His Deity never contradicted His humanity. There never was such a Person, nor such a life, nor ever will be.
CHRIST'S RESURRECTION, THE PROOF OF DIVINE APPROVAL
His resurrection was God's Amen of approval to all that the Lord claimed to be, of every word He spoke, of every step He took, of every action He performed. Above all it was God's manifest approval and acceptance of the glorious work of atonement on the cross of Calvary as satisfying Him concerning the whole question of sin. "GOD raised Him from the dead" (Acts 13:30). "Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father" (Rom. 6:4).
We read that the truth of the resurrection of Christ was a central and convincing theme in the preaching of the early apostles. "With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 4:33). It carries on the one hand the assurance of salvation to all who receive the Lord Jesus as their Saviour; and on the other hand the assurance of judgment to all those who refuse the testimony of God. We read that God "has appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness, by that Man [the Lord Jesus Christ] whom He has ordained; whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31).
It is a fact historically testified to in amplest measure by many witnesses at different times and in divers places. "He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once" (1 Cor. 15:6).
There is an interesting story told of Lord Lyttleton (1709-1773) and his friend Gilbert West. Both were trained lawyers, well able to sift evidence. The early part of eighteenth century was the darkest period religiously in the history of Britain since the time of the glorious Reformation. It was the age of the great deists, agnostics, and rationalists, when it was the fashion to be an infidel.
Both Lyttleton and West were infidels. They consulted together, and conceived the idea that if they could disprove the resurrection of Christ and the conversion of St. Paul they would strike a mortal and much desired blow at Christianity. Lyttleton chose to write on the conversion of St. Paul; Gilbert West on the resurrection of Christ. Little did they foresee to themselves the result of their enquiry. Of course they had to read diligently the Bible accounts of these two great events. They were obliged to weigh the evidences.
They were convinced against their will. The Rev. J. L. Campbell, D.D., of Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A., wrote:—
Their books can be seen in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, at this present time.
Dr. Johnson of Dictionary fame said of Lyttleton's treatise that it was one "to which infidelity had never been able to fabricate a specious answer." Thank God, the Christian has an unshakable, immovable, enduring foundation to rest upon. It is computed that there are over three hundred prophecies in the Bible, covering "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow" (1 Peter 1:11). Those concerning His birth, life in this world, and His sufferings on the cross, have all been gloriously fulfilled to the very letter. Those referring to His coming glory will be fulfilled as surely as those referring to His sufferings have been.
Quite a large number of these prophecies concerning His sufferings were fulfilled in the last twenty-four hours of our Lord's life upon the earth. Judas, the traitor; the Apostles; Roman soldiers; the High Priests, Rulers, and Jewish people; Joseph of Arimathaea, who begged our Lord's body and interred it in his own sepulchre; God Himself, who forsook His Son when He was made sin on the cross that He might make redemption for sinful man; our Lord Himself—all these were involved in the fulfilment of prophecies made long centuries before. These could not have come about by pure accident. It has been computed that by the law of compound probabilities the chance that they all happened by accident is one against thirty-three millions.
No book in the world could stand the test that the Word of God does. It is the only Book in the world which has prophesied numerous events which have been fulfilled to the letter; prophecy marks the Scriptures as inspired of God and inerrant. For prophecy as a young believer I was profoundly thankful, and found it confirmatory of my faith. Now as life speeds on to its close the testimony becomes more and more convincing and precious.
THE RED LINE OF ATONEMENT
We have purposely kept this subject almost to the last. We trust we have pointed out sufficiently clearly and conclusively that the Bible is indeed inspired, the Word of the living God. If that is the conclusion arrived at, it follows that the Book is to be received and acted upon. To refuse to do so would be serious indeed, and it would be attended with disaster, the magnitude of which could not be exaggerated. If God has spoken, shall I not hear?
We would now point out the truth of the atonement, the great sacrifice for sin our Lord offered on the cross of Calvary, thus furnishing the only way of approach to God, and the means by which eternal life and blessing could be offered to sinful men. To receive the benefit of this atonement there must be personal faith in the Saviour. You must be able to say from your heart, "The Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). There must be the unbreakable link of faith forged between you and the Saviour, if you are to be blessed.
It will be seen that the red line of atonement runs right through Scripture. There is a unity of testimony as to it seen throughout the Word of God, confirmatory of its inspiration.
Before our first parents were driven out of the Garden of Eden, we read, "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord make coats of skins, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21). In this we read a prophecy. The word atonement, so often occurring in the Old Testament, means in the Hebrew original to cover. Our first parents were covered by these coats of skins. How were these skins procured? It must have been by the sacrifice of innocent animals. It must have been that blood was shed. Centuries roll by, and David throws fuller light on the subject. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Psalm 32:1). The New Testament links on with this. We read, "David also describes the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputes righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin'" (Rom. 4:6-8). We see clearly how atonement is for the purpose of sins being forgiven and iniquities being covered, that is put out of God's sight for ever. Nay, further, in the clear light of the New Testament, in full view of the meaning of the death of our Lord on the cross, we read that "God imputes righteousness without works."
We get the very highest expression of this wonderful truth in these words, "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested … even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and UPON all them that believe" (Rom. 3:21-22). Notice the righteousness of God is by faith of Jesus Christ. Righteousness cannot be imputed, save as an individual puts his or her faith in the Saviour, accepting His work upon the cross, as their only plea before God. Note too, this righteousness is toward ALL. It is offered freely to men of every clime, century, age, and disposition. But it is only "UPON all them that believe."
Just as our first parents were covered by the coats of skin, procured by the death of innocent victims, so the believer is covered by the righteousness of God, procured through the atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a covering! What a robe!
Here the truth is put in the terms of the law courts. In the parable of the prodigal son the same truth is presented in the form of a parable. "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him" (Luke 15:22), was the glad command of the father to his servants. The prodigal came in his rags and tatters and misery. What a robe was his in exchange! Surely our God has given us the best that love could devise at the tremendous cost of the death of His beloved Son, who died under His righteous judgment, making atonement for sin.
In. Genesis 4 we see again the red line of atonement. The first children are born into the world. They grow up. They both approach God. Cain brings of the fruit of the ground. Abel brings of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. God accepts Abel's offering. He refuses Cain's. Why? Was God partial? Surely not. What does it mean?
Does not the way these two young men sought to approach God illustrate how multitudes of men and women, alas! seek to approach Him to-day? Cain's way was indeed the wrong way, for we read, "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain" (Jude 11). What way is that?
It is the way of the Unitarian, the way of the man or woman who thinks that doing his or her best is sufficient to procure favour before God. Such ignore the atoning character of the death of Christ. They vainly think they can be their own Saviour. Cain brought of the fruit of a cursed earth. He might have been, and surely was, sincere, but God nevertheless refused his offering.
I remember well a lady who attended some Gospel services I was holding in St. John's, Newfoundland. She told me early on in the meetings that she was a Christian. Towards the end of the mission she came to me to say that she had discovered through the meetings that she was not, and never had been, a Christian. I asked her in astonishment, "What made you think you were a Christian when you were not?"
She replied, and it is the reply of hundreds of thousands of earnest but deluded people, "I have always lived a good life. I take the sacrament and do all the good I can. I teach my children to pray, and take them regularly to a place of worship. I thought these things made me a Christian, but during these meetings my eyes have been opened to see the terrible mistake I have been making."
Wherein lay this lady's mistake? Note well, that in all the things which in her mistaken ideas constituted her a Christian, she spoke ONLY of her OWN doings and efforts. She left CHRIST out, indeed never once mentioned His name, or His death for sinners on Calvary's cross. True she made the mistake of calling herself a Christian, but she had no title to that designation, for she had no saving faith, no true link with the Saviour. She was treading the way of Cain. The word Christian has for its first six letters, C-H-R- I- S- T. Now these six letters spell the name Christ, so evidently a Christian means a follower of Christ. But you cannot follow Him unless you first accept Him to be your own personal Saviour.
Thank God, the lady in Newfoundland that evening dropped all her doings and strivings, and so-called good deeds, and placed her faith in the Lord Jesus as her own personal Saviour. Can you say, reader, that you are a true Christian?
I remember a thrilling experience I had many years ago. I was asked to visit a Portuguese general in the city of Lisbon. He knew enough English to enable us to interchange thoughts fairly comfortably. General Albuquerque, I was told, had never been to a Protestant place of worship in his life. Wishing to turn the occasion into one of some real value, I earnestly put before him the difference between being a nominal Christian and a real Christian. I shall never forget the surprise, the thrill, the pleasure he gave me. He put his hand on my knee, and said earnestly in his broken English, "To be a real Christian you need the Holy Spirit's touch." I could have no doubt, as to his being a real Christian.
The red line of atonement is clearly seen in the Passover described in Exodus 12. God was about to redeem His people Israel, and bring them out of Egypt, the land of their cruel bondage, into the land flowing with milk and honey. But if God visited the cruel Egyptians with judgment, He must also show His mercy to His redeemed people righteously. To accomplish this each household had to find a lamb without spot or blemish. On the fourteenth day of the month the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel had to kill this lamb. The householder then, with a bunch of hyssop dipped in the blood of the sacrifice, had to sprinkle the lintel and door posts of his house, and God said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you" (Exodus 12:13).
How beautifully this illustrates the Gospel. They were not told to hang up a list of their good works, their strivings and doings on their lintels and doorposts, but to sprinkle the BLOOD. Blood came from a slain lamb, and that lamb was without blemish or spot.
Does not the New Testament answer fully to all this? Do you remember John the Baptist pointing His disciples to the Lord as He walked, saying, "Behold the LAMB of God, which takes away the sin of the world?" (John 1:29). Do you remember the Scripture, which tells the believer, "Even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us"? (1 Cor. 5:7). Do you remember the Apostle Peter saying, "Ye were … redeemed . . with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot"? (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Is it not clear that nothing but an acceptable sacrifice will meet our case? Our Lord was indeed a Lamb "without blemish and without spot." We have a blessed threefold testimony to our Lord. "He knew no sin" (2 Cor. 5:21). "He did no sin" (1 Peter 2:22). "In Him is no sin" (1 John 3:5). Surely He was "without blemish and without spot."
The red line of atonement runs right through the Old Testament. It is as if there was a range of mighty mountains, but there are two outstanding majestic peaks towering above them all—Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53.
Psalm 22 is undoubtedly prophetic of the death of our Lord, and that from its sacrificial character. It recognizes man's side of the cross—man's enmity and activity in bringing about the death of our Lord. "Dogs have compassed Me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet" (verse 16). There is outlined to us in its naked enormity the greatest, the most dastardly, crime that this world has ever committed. Christ's blood, like Abel's of old, cries aloud for vengeance from the ground.
But, thank God, we also get the cross from the Divine side. It begins with the actual cry of our Lord upon the cross, "My God, My God, why hast THOU forsaken Me?" (verse 1). Again, "THOU has brought Me into the dust of death" (verse 15). Why should God forsake His Son? Why should He bring Him into the dust of death? Had Jesus not fully done God's will? Did He deserve to be forsaken? Nay, our Lord's going to the cross was the supremest act of obedience to the will of God. Was God ever known to forsake his faithful witnesses, the martyrs of old, in their hour of direst need? Never once, we can confidently affirm. Why then did God forsake His Son?
The answer is plain. May we each take in its significance. He was forsaken because He took the sinner's place, bore the sinner's judgment, atoned for sins not His own.
"He bore, that we might never bear
The Almighty's righteous ire."
We must grasp this, or else we shall never understand God's way of salvation for sinful men.
We come now to that grand Old Testament chapter, Isaiah 53, in which the red line of atonement is very marked indeed. There is no mistaking it. It is the one chapter in the Old Testament that the Christian worker uses above all others when he seeks to convince a Jew of the necessity of the atoning character of the death of Christ. It is the one chapter that the blind fanatical Jew avoids, so much so that in their synagogues the readers of the law purposely leave this chapter out of their consecutive reading of the prophecy of Isaiah.
The chapter may well begin with the words, "Who has believed our report?" (verse 1). It tells us of One who was indeed the delight of God's heart, the "Root out of a dry ground," the One who was beautiful under God's eye in a world of barrenness and sin. To men He was unattractive, "no form nor comeliness . . no beauty that we should desire Him" (verse 2).
We are told this One should bear the grief of His people and carry their sorrows. This is most beautifully alluded to in Matthew 8:16-17 "When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
Finally, they took the "Man of sorrows," the One who cared for the griefs and sicknesses of men, suborned false witnesses at the mockery of a trial before a judge, who weakly truckled to the fanatical outcry of the high priests and rulers, and condemned the Just One to death.
Why did He die? The answer is glorious. "He was wounded for OUR transgressions, He was bruised for OUR iniquities: the chastisement of OUR peace was upon Him, and with His stripes WE are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). This surely is plain and unmistakable in its meaning, and should have been sufficient to give light and hope to the Israelites of Old Testament times. Doubtless such words were used in many, many instances.
But we would again stress before we go further that the work of Christ as Saviour on the cross must be definitely accepted by each one personally to be of any avail whatsoever. May I ask the reader, Have YOU accepted the Saviour for salvation, for the complete alteration of your life here and your future eternally?
To come to the New Testament, in the four Gospels we get the red line of atonement strongly marked. The time of shadows is over, the fulfilment of prophecy has arrived. The Son of God was seen as a Babe lying in a manger in swaddling clothes. Immediately a messenger from heaven, an angel announced that there was born in the city of David "a SAVIOUR, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). Mark "a Saviour"! That was His mission.
For thirty years He lived in seclusion, and then the time came for Him to come out in public service. He was a young Man when He stepped out into the limelight of public service. It lasted for a brief three-and-a-half years. He died a young Man.
Lecky, the historian, commenting on this in a striking way, says:
And this is all the more remarkable a testimony in that it comes from the pen of one who was reputedly an infidel.
A stream of miracles followed the Lord, wherever He went. He healed the sick. He cast out devils. He raised the dead. He preached the Gospel to the poor. The common people heard Him gladly. Our Lord Himself defined His mission: "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).
The title Son of Man was often on His lips. He Himself connected His death as Son of Man with the fufilment of prophecy. "All things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished. For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated and spitted on: and they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again" (Luke 18:31-33). The Apostle John wrote, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so MUST the Son of Man be lifted up" (John 3:14).
Who is the Son of Man? Psalm 8 tells us He is destined to have dominion over all the works of God's hand. The prophet Daniel tells us that the day is coming when there shall be given the Son of Man "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:14).
The Son of Man, Heir to such high honours, destined to be the supreme Head of Mankind, is called upon to uphold all for God in this world, where the first man signally failed. Yet this Son of Man again and again told His disciples that He must die and be raised the third day. "From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciple how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day" (Matt. 16:21). This he repeated again and again. The disciples did not understand it at the time. After He rose from the dead, the meaning of it all became clear to them. One day the Lord will appear and take up His public place of pre-eminence as the Son of Man: "For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works" (Matt. 16:27).
If the Son of Man had not died an atoning death, then His whole action would have been one of unsparing judgement, but He died in order that God might be "just, and the Justifier of him which believes in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26). Only through His death could blessing come to guilty men. Have YOU believed on Him to the saving of your soul?
The third day Christ rose from the dead. This is the great test. His resurrection is the great proof of God's supreme satisfaction with all that Christ is and has done, especially with His atoning death upon the cross under the wrath of a Holy God because of man's sin. His resurrection is the complete vindication of the three wonderful words He uttered after the three hours of darkness, "IT IS FINISHED!" (John 19:30).
So we come to the testimony of the Epistles. The Epistle to the Romans is the unfolding of the Gospel of God in all its grandeur and completeness. If the Gospels give us the atoning death of our Lord from the aspect of its actual historical happening, the Epistle to the Romans gives us the unfolding of the Gospel from the side of doctrine, its meaning, its power, its results.
The red line of atonement is very clearly marked in the Epistle to the Romans. The Apostle Paul declared that he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; "for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16). The following Scriptures are clear. "The righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe" (Rom. 3:22). Christ "was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 4:25; 5:1).
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers that when he first came among them, he had been determined not to know anything among them, "save Jesus Christ, and Him CRUCIFIED" (1 Cor. 2:2). He reminded them that "Christ our PASSOVER is sacrificed for us" (1 Cor. 5:7). In the commemoration of the Lord's supper, he reminds us that "the bread which we break is it not the communion of the BODY [the body in which He died for us] of Christ?" "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the BLOOD of Christ?" (1 Cor.10:16). Chapter 15 of this wonderful Epistle reviews the convincing and varied proofs of the resurrection of Christ, showing that without this foundation to our faith we could not have any blessing from God. "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain" (1 Cor. 15:14). How triumphant is the apostle's assertion, "Now IS Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept" (verse 20). No doubt is there as to the triumph of the resurrection of Christ.
The Epistle to the Ephesians strikes the same happy note. "We have redemption through His BLOOD, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7). "In Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the BLOOD of Christ" (Eph. 2:13).
The Epistle to the Colossians speaks of Christ "having made peace through the BLOOD of His cross" (Col. 1:20).
1 Timothy 2:5-6 says: "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus: who gave Himself a RANSOM for all, to be testified in due time."
The Epistle to the Hebrews tells us that Christ has "obtained eternal REDEMPTION for us" (Heb. 9:12). "Without shedding of BLOOD is no remission" (Heb. 9:22). "We are sanctified through the OFFERING of the BODY of Jesus Christ once for all … By one OFFERING He has perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:10 and 14). "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the BLOOD of Jesus" (verse 19).
The Apostle Peter writes, "Ye know that ye were . . redeemed. . . with the precious BLOOD of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:18-19). "Christ also has suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18).
The Apostle John- writes: "The BLOOD of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). The same writer bursts forth in Revelation 1:5: "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own BLOOD … to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
There is evidently no room for cold Unitarianism in the Bible, no room for obscuring the redemptive character of Christ's atoning sacrificial vicarious death on the cross of Calvary by unduly stressing that death as a great example for sinful men to follow, as if that exhausted all its meaning.
Alas this is being done on all hands by Modernist preachers. It is acceptable to the fleshly mind, as it appeals to the pride of man's heart, giving him a feeling of self-importance that he can be his own saviour by his own efforts. But Scripture strongly contradicts such a proposition, when it states in language that cannot be mistaken, "Without shedding of BLOOD is no remission" (Heb. 9:22).
The reason of this is very plain. Death is the penalty of sin. "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). If that is so, ONLY death can meet that penalty. If the sinner is to be forgiven the consequences of his sin, someone must die for him. That someone must be one who is sinless himself, one on whom death has no claim. Who can answer to that test? Only One, and that One is the Lord Jesus Christ. So He could say: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father but by Me" (John 14:6).
I heard of a lady who was very annoyed on hearing the simple Gospel story. Salvation through a crucified Saviour was not to the liking of her pride. She said to the preacher that she was not going to demean herself by thinking that spiritual life came through anyone's death for her. He wisely asked her, "How do you support your natural life?"
"Whatever do you mean?" she asked.
"I mean this," said the preacher, "that you support your natural life by feeding on DEATH. Animals have to be sacrificed, blood has to be shed, to provide food for the support of your natural existence." He then went on to explain that we get eternal life, and maintain it by feeding on DEATH. Did not our Lord say: "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you … whoso eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, has eternal life"? (John 6:53-54). Of course the preacher had to be careful to tell the lady that the analogy he had drawn helped so far, that the slaughter of animals for human consumption is not an atoning sacrifice. The animals do not offer themselves. They are made to be taken for the use of man. But our Lord's death was atoning and sacrificial. He offered Himself for our salvation. It is, however, a striking analogy as far as it goes.
To eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man is a symbolic way of presenting the truth that it is necessary for the sinner to appropriate the death of Christ for his salvation by an act of faith. Eating and drinking are the strongest similes, and set forth real appropriation. I remember setting forth this truth before an audience in Jerusalem. At its close a Professor of the Jerusalem University on Mount Scopus came up to me and thanked me, saying, "I wish to thank you for your satisfactory exposition of Scripture to-night." The incident was deeply interesting to me.
We have culled but a very small tithe of what can be said as to the testimony of Scripture concerning the red line of atonement, but enough to show its vital importance.
THE FINAL TRIUMPH
It is fitting that the reasons I have given why I believe the Bible should conclude with the final triumph of our Lord, the fulfilment of prophecy to complete the Word of God. We remember how the Apostle Peter described the writings of the prophets of Old Testament times as "testifying beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow" (1 Peter 1:11). We have seen how the prophecies concerning the sufferings of Christ have all been fulfilled to the very letter. We wait now for the manifestation of the glory that is to follow.
The Apostle Peter was in a strong position in regard to both these wonderful items. He saw the sufferings of his Lord on the cross, all the more accentuated to his mind by his own terrible fall in denying Him with oaths and cursings. Before, however, he was called upon to witness his Lord's sufferings, he had been taken with James and John up to the holy mount, and had seen with his own eyes the glory of the Lord. Transfigured before them, His face shining as the sun, His raiment white as the light, Moses and Elias talking with Him concerning "His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem," our Lord thus manifested His glory to these three witnesses.
It was an outburst for the moment of "the glory that should follow." No wonder the Apostle Peter wrote, "We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16).
We rise from our contemplation of all the proofs of the Bible being the veritable Word of God with the absolute conviction that God will triumph in the end, that He is surely evolving His own plan of the ages, that truth must triumph at last.
The condition of the world to-day makes many doubt this. They think evil is having its way, and truth and righteousness will never again rise. But what is happening all around us to-day is just what a Bible student is led to expect. The Word of God prepares him to see that it is all working out God's plan of the ages.
What does the Word of God prophesy as to the last days? It tells us that the Jews will return to their own land in unbelief. Writing of the future we read, "In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers" (Jer. 3:18).
This prophecy is being fulfilled under our very eyes. The Jew, after having been scattered among the nations for nearly two thousand years, is coming back to his own land in large numbers. Only a little short of 50,000 came back in the times of Ezra and Nehemiah. In fourteen years in recent times the Jewish population in Palestine grew from 84,000 to 384,000 persons, and its number is still growing. Tel Aviv, a totally Hebrew city, sprang from nothing in 1909. To-day it boasts of 200,000 inhabitants or more [nearly 500,000 in 2023]. The terrible anti-Semitic persecution that has broken out all over Europe only makes millions of Jews long for settlement in the land given to them by God Himself. God will make the wrath of man to praise Him (Psalm 76:10).
In the last days Scripture foretells the apostasy, the casting aside of every semblance of belief in even God Himself. We read, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the day of the Lord] shall not come, except there be a falling away first [Greek, apostasia, apostasy], and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (2 Thess. 2:3). We are already seeing the partial fulfilment of this. Higher Criticism and Modernism have produced many who profess to be Christians in name, but are in reality infidels with a thin religious veneer. Then we have a crop of eccentric and weird religions such as Christian Science Christadelphianism, Mormonism, and the like.
When the Christians are caught away to be with the Lord at His second coming, and only empty professing Christians leavened with religious infidelity are left behind, it will only be a short step to open apostasy. That time is prophesied in Psalm 2:2-3, "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us."
Are not the rulers of the nations beginning to do this already? What of Russia's rulers, who have sought ruthlessly to stamp out the name of Christ, and even of God Himself, out of the land? What of Germany, where, as we write, a thousand pastors are languishing in prisons and concentration camps, because they will not support the neo-paganism that is being set up? A straw shows which way the wind blows. These are more than straws. They tell us the end is very near.
The Bible foretells the revival of the Roman Empire in the last days. Time and space fail to tell the whole story, but the way Italy has forged ahead the last few years is significant. The very overthrow of her mighty pretensions will only make her more desirous to be buttressed up with convenient alliances. There are signs that France, Spain, the Balkan States, etc., through very fear of the might of Russia and Germany might ultimately join together for mutual protection. For years it has been thought that the only cement that will bind the Roman Empire together will be abject fear. Even the very humiliation of France may drive her into the arms of this latter-day alliance. They will say, If we do not hang together, we shall hang separately.
The Bible foretells the rise of Russia and with her Germany. Russia is described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 under the name of Gog and Magog [Gog the ruler, Magog, the people]. It tells us that associated with Russia will be Germany under the name of "Gomer and all his bands." If Germany is soundly beaten and weakened, as she has never been before, it will be understandable that she will nurse fierce dreams of revenge. Not able to accomplish this unaided, she will join forces with Russia. Prophetic students have taught this for many years. Lately responsible statesmen are beginning to envisage the likelihood of this happening.
Ezekiel tells us that in the last days a mighty host —Russia, Germany, and allies—will invade Palestine, only to meet its fate on the mountains of Israel. They will leave five-sixths of their number dead in Palestine. It seems fitting that nations, which have cruelly persecuted the Jews and practised unspeakable horrors on them, should endure this crushing defeat in the land of the Jews. The Lord of Sabaoth is taking note of their evil deeds. The punishment will fit the crime.
The prophet Daniel tells that in the last days the King of the North and the King of the South will be prominent in invading Palestine also. Daniel 11 shows that the King of the North is Syria, some thinking it may mean the Turks. The Turks belong to Asia, and come from the direction of Syria. The King of the South is Egypt. Both Turkey and Egypt are coming much to the front of late.
Palestine is undoubtedly a country strategically situated, and it will be the battlefield of the last days. Armageddon will be fought on the Plain of Esraelon. Doubtless it will be Satan's animosity against God's ancient people that will be the driving force to cause the nations to attack God's land in the last days.
There will be two outstanding characters arising in the last days. They are outlined in Revelation 13. There will be the beast arising out of the sea, evidently setting forth the Roman Empire in the last days. A wonderful superman will arise, who will answer to the number 666, "it is the number of a man" (Rev. 13:18). He will be superbly endowed as a man. As a statesman he will be far-seeing, as a military leader unrivalled. These qualities under the domination of the Lord would make such a man a great blessing, but when they are found in a man who casts off all allegiance and the fear of God, they will make him the greatest curse the world has ever seen. In the symbolism of Scripture six is the highest number short of seven (divine perfection), and stands for human perfection. Six hundred threescore and six is the intensification of this. The beast will be the world's greatest egotist, and greatest curse. He will arrogate Divine honours to himself just as the last Roman Emperors did in the apostolic age. One shudders to think what a curse he will be, a man without the fear of God. We have an example of it in Adolf Hitler. Without conscience he breaks his plighted word, his propaganda is shameless lying, his urge is consuming lust of power. At last he will be driven by his own vices to his own destruction.
The second great character that will arise, as foretold in Revelation 13, is the second beast that will arise out of the earth or land of Israel. The prophet Daniel tells us he will be an apostate Jew, who will lead the Jews into idolatry, even to worship the first beast, the great head of the revived Roman Empire, as well as claiming Divine honours to himself.
The second beast is called "the King" in Daniel 11:36; the Antichrist in 1 John 2:18; "that man of sin … the son of perdition" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3; "the false prophet" in Revelation 16:13. Like many another evil man he will be described by many aliases.
As the result of the battle of Armageddon, the beast and the false prophet will be taken. We read, "These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Rev. 19:20). Such is the solemn symbolism of Scripture concerning their end.
When the end comes it will be the Lord Himself who will bring this sad state of affairs to an end when He appears out of heaven on a white horse, the armies of heaven following, destroying His enemies with the sword out of His mouth at the battle of Armageddon. Thus in symbolic language we see how the end will come.
The Lord's feet will touch the Mount of Olives cleaving it in two, making a way of escape to His own besieged in Jerusalem (Zech. 14:4). Then will He set up His millennial kingdom. He will reign over His ancient people as their Messiah, and to the ends of the earth as the Son of Man.
When that glorious day comes it shall be said of Jerusalem, "The name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there" (Ezek. 48:35). As to the whole earth, "The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14).
"THAT BLESSED HOPE"
Finally, I cannot finish on a happier note than bringing before the reader the truth of the Lord's second coming FOR His own. Many, even Christians, deride this hope as being impracticable and visionary. The Old Testament prophets foretold the coming kingdom glory, but there is a peculiar hope plainly held out to the Christian of this dispensation, that of the Lord's coming FOR His saints before He comes WITH them to reign over the earth. This is "that blessed hope" (Titus 2:13), and a blessed hope it truly is.
The coming of the Lord as the Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings was freely prophesied in the Old Testament. (Malachi 4:2). For that a believing remnant in the great tribulation will wait with truly earnest and fervent desire. But it is equally clearly taught in the New Testament that Christ is "the bright and Morning Star" (Rev. 22:16).
I well remember a charming sight I saw some years ago. I had been feeling seasick on a Shetland ferry, and rose up at 5.30 in the morning, thinking fresh air on deck would help me. I was rewarded with a beautiful sight. The early morning was calm. The sky had that peculiar velvety appearance. There was enough light to pale all the stars out of sight save one. This one star shone in its solitary splendour. It was the bright morning star. Just appearing on the horizon was the rising sun with its golden beams shooting up into the sky.
I looked at the bright morning star, and thought of "THE bright and Morning Star," our Lord Jesus Christ, coming at any moment to call His people to His Father's house. I looked at the rising sun, just emerging over the horizon, and thought of "The Sun of righteousness arising with healing in His wings," our Lord Jesus Christ, the Hope of Israel, the Hope of the world. What a blessed time for this earth when all her sores shall be healed, when peace and righteousness will hold sway.
But just as the morning star appears in the night, and the sun brings in the day, so Christ will come FOR His heavenly saints, before He comes as the Hope of His earthly people Israel, bringing in blessing for the whole earth.
1 Corinthians 15:51-57 makes it plain that this hope of the Christian was not hinted at in Old Testament times, but is specially revealed in the New Testament. We read, "Behold I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
This is a very comforting passage! The question, however, is often asked. Will ALL believers be caught up when the Lord comes? Some teachers of note believe that only certain deserving saints will be caught up, and undeserving ones left behind. But this passage makes it very plain. "We shall ALL be changed."
"Yes," says someone, "but may that not be true that in the end all shall be changed, though some may be raised at first and others later on?" No, the passage is clear not only that ALL shall be changed, but ALL at the same moment. We are told it is to take place in a moment, and that moment is defined as the twinkling of an eye. There can be no doubt as to this passage.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is a very precious passage enlarging on 1 Corinthians 15, which particularly is taken up with the resurrection side of the question. In Thessalonians 4, however, we get outlined the procedure that will take place. "The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God." The Lord HIMSELF shall come and shout the quickening word. The first to feel the power of it will be the sleeping saints, all those that are Christ's at His coming. That surely will include the Old Testament saints, and all the Lord's during the Christian era, indeed all who are under the shelter of His precious blood.
What of the saints alive on the earth when the Lord's shout is heard? We read, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them [the raised saints] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:17). Wherefore comfort one another with these words." Was ever such comfort like this?
The practical effect of "that blessed hope" is that "every man that has this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure" (1 John 3:3).
A good many Christians have a card with three words upon it hanging on their walls, "PERHAPS TO-DAY." What a happy reminder!
"He's coming perhaps to-day
He's coming in bright array;
When the dead hear His voice
Living saints will rejoice,
For He's coming perhaps to-day."
But let it be clearly understood that this refers to the first resurrection, when only those that are Christ's at His coming will be raised or changed. This takes place before the millennium. After the millennium the second resurrection will take place, when none but the wicked dead, "the small and great," will be summoned to stand before the great white throne to be judged for their sins and rejection of Christ.
My task is done. I have not attempted anything but a slight sketch of thoughts that helped me when a young man to a clear and absolute belief in the Scriptures as the Word of the living God. It brought life and salvation to my soul, it taught me what true life is, it gave me a hope beyond the grave, even a hope of not dying at all, but of being alive and on the earth when our Lord gives the summoning shout. I have not attempted anything systematic, but will be ably rewarded if this book helps my young brethren in any little measure.
With my mind reviewing all that I have been led to bring before my readers, I should like to close with a remarkable testimony to the Word of God in its living power and force. May you experience this power in your life.
Would that a mighty revival of the Book of books might take place, a revival of its truths, of the Gospel of the grace of God, of earnest Christian living, of love and loyalty to our blessed absent Lord. Surely the coming of the Lord is very, very near.
If any reader wishes for more details of these deeply important things we have been looking into as the happenings of the last days, he will find them taken up more fully in two volumes written by the author of this volume, "Things that must shortly come to pass" (now 3rd Edition), and "The Amazing Jew" (now 7th Edition), [was] to be obtained from
the Central Bible Truth Depot, Little Britain, London, E.C.1.
Made and Printed in England by JOHN WRIGHT & SONS LTD., BRISTOL. [ca.1940s]