Q. 1 Is there any difference between the words "casting away" in v. 1, and "casting away" in v. 15 (Rom. 11.)? The first would suggest that God has not cast away His people but the second rather says that He has.
Ans. The words used in these two places are distinct. In v. 1 the word is, aposato = driven away. Its bearing is seen if we turn to Acts 7:27, "thrust him away." It means complete refusal. The word used in v. 15 is apobolee = loss. This word is only used twice in the New Testament. The other occurrence is in Acts 27:22: "no loss of any man's life." In v. 1 the thought is that God has not driven away, or finally given up Israel, but v. 15 would rather mean that the present loss of Israel has meant the gain of the nations. Israel nationally is lost at present but they will yet be brought in again as the latter part of the chapter shews.
Q. 2 In v. 11 we have another difficulty. First it suggests that Israel has stumbled but not fallen, then goes on to speak of their fall. This fall is repeated again in v. 12. Have they fallen then or not ?
Ans. The word "fall" is used thrice here as though it was the same word in the original each time. The second and third are the same word but not the first. It is pesosin = "to fall down." This word is used in 14:4, "standeth or falleth." It occurs again in 1 Cor. 10:8, "fell in one day." To fall down following a stumble, is the meaning! The stumble in this chapter was the rejection of Christ. In the wilderness they fell never to rise again but here we are told, that though Israel has stumbled they have not fallen finally, they will yet rise again. Now the other word translated twice "fall" is paraptomati = transgression. This is the common word for transgression and is translated as "offences" in 4:25 of this epistle. In the Greek Interlinear New Testament translation it reads, "Did they stumble that they might fall ? May it not be but by their offence, salvation is to the nations for to provoke them to jealousy. But if their offence, etc." The New Translation does not make this clear for following the Authorized Version, fall is used each time! We have read earlier, "Behold I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offence" 9:33. Israel has stumbled and they have offended but they have not fallen for they will yet rise again. As branches they will once more be grafted in.
Q. 3 Who was the angel of the Church in Rev. 2. and 3?
Ans. Angel signifies a representative or messenger, hence in the aforementioned connection it can only mean the intangible representative of the Church, i.e. , really the responsibility of the local company bearing the Lord's name. (The angel was in no sense an officer of the "synagogue"). The responsibility may devolve on individuals to discharge. Nevertheless, Scripture holds the whole local company responsible for its conduct.
Q. 4 Does "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32), refer to Israel or to the assembly, and what is meant by "giving" the kingdom?
Ans. Primarily it referred to the remnant addressed, but "the little (minute) flock" is the character bestowed on all attached to Christ (irrespective of dispensation) in a world bent on display and greatness and antagonistic to Him. They were not to be anxious about temporal things as the nations were because they would be enriched beyond conception as the objects of the Father's good pleasure in giving them all the spiritual good of the kingdom immediately, and ultimately the remnant in lineal descent will rule the redeemed earth!
Q. 5 What is the distinction between "commandments" and "words" of John 14:21, 23?
Ans. The words of Christ were special testimony to (and the revelation of) the Father while the commandments of Christ expressed the Father's will or good pleasure. Thus there is evidently a distinction between the person of the Father and His good pleasure or will. The cross revealed God the Father, but the resurrection expressed His good pleasure. Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father! The veil of the temple was rent in twain at the death (not the resurrection) of Christ. But the stone was rolled away to allow the disciples to look into the empty tomb and hear the words of the angels bearing testimony to the Father's good pleasure in Christ. "He who has My commandments and keeps them loves Me." We cherish His commandments and they dominate us in the measure that we love Christ. The truth cannot be compressed into creeds. The truth is maintained as it gives the character of Christ to the Christian, i.e. , the truth is maintained by the power of the Holy Ghost in those who belong to Christ. The Word of God is living and operative!
Q. 6 What would "the living creatures" of Rev. 4 convey to us as relative to that coming day?
Ans.They are symbolic instruments of the throne of executory judgment, full of intelligence and power. They only celebrate and declare the judgment of God and are not agents in the execution thereof.
Q. 7 Who was the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews?
Ans.For centuries past that question has occupied the attention of theologians to little purpose. For our own part we have no difficulty in accepting the general belief that it was written by Paul, but the first word in the epistle, "God," shows the essential authorship!
Q. 8 What is the difference between "the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:9), and "our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3)?
Ans.The latter is apostolic! We come into that indirectly as having fellowship with the apostles as walking in the light (1 John 1:7). The former implies joint participation of all Christians in the results of the death and resurrection of Christ. We are all in one entity and the bond is the Lord. That is contrasted with the darkness and opposition outside in the world. Hence this aspect of the fellowship is objective and abstract; while that in John's epistle is subjective and specific!
Q. 9 In Ex. 12:40 (evidently referred to in Gal. 3:17) the time of sojourning in Egypt was said to be 430 years. How can the Apostle speak of the Law being 430 years after Abraham?
Ans. by a correspondent (abridged) — in Ps. 105, God made the Covenant with Abraham (v. 9) and confirmed it to Jacob (v. 10). In Galatians, the Covenant is confirmed not made. The confirmation is recorded in Gen. 46:1-4. God appeared to Jacob at Beer-sheba and confirmed the Covenant made with Abraham. In Gen. 15:13, God said that the seed would be afflicted 400 years, the time of peace under Joseph may fill up the other 30 years. (So as we should expect the quotation is strictly correct! This is a further example of the beautiful precision of Scripture! Moreover, the Pharaohs were oppressors for four centuries, we need not be discouraged through Hitler trampling down liberty of conscience for nine years! -EDITOR).
Q. 10 What does "delivered unto Satan" mean in 1 Tim. 1:20?
Ans. The two offenders were put outside the Christian assembly, thus they were deprived of the protection thereof. (God dwells therein as His house). They would be caused to feel their position in Satan's sphere of control (the world). Satan would afflict them so as to break their self-will. The love of God takes extreme measures to bring a soul into subjection to His will. The solemn discipline would ultimately lead to the person ceasing to speak in a derogatory way about God. Timothy could only deal with cases within the Christian company!
Q. 11 What is the distinction between "the times of refreshing and of restitution" in Acts 3:19, 21?
Ans. The times of refreshing would seem to be the gracious prelude of that great consumrnation "the times of restitution" of all things when righteousness shall reign. It would seem also that the former will be accelerated through repentance and conversion of sinners. The better rendering is : "so that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."
Q. 12 Is there a distinction between (a) entering the Kingdom and (b) being saved?
Ans. (a) is by new birth (God's work entirely); (b) is consequent on believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. God must begin or man could not. To deny that would be seeking to nullify that man is lost naturally!
Q. 13 What relation holds between the types of the death of Christ, viz.:- (1) the blood on the door posts in Egypt; (2) the Red Sea; (3) the brazen serpent; (4) the passage of Jordan ?
Ans. (1) sets forth security from judgment; (2) redemption in the death and resurrection of Christ; (3) condemnation of sin in the flesh; (4) death and resurrection with Christ (there was no ark in the Red Sea).
Q. 14. Is there a difference between : "My grace is sufficient for thee" (2 Cor. 12:9) and "grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 2:1)?
Ans. The former is the Lord's application of grace to His servant in trial. The latter is a characteristic quality realised in the soul of the Christian. Every moral quality was seen in Christ Jesus when here. There is a distinction between the use of "in Christ Jesus" in Eph. and in Tim.
Q. 15. What did the Lord mean in John 21:22?
Ans. A. Much has been surmised about these cryptic words to little purpose, e. g., that John would not die before the Lord's coming! Such interpretation is quite unwarranted. Peter was simply enjoined not to be curious about the future of others, but to mind his own steps which would be safe in following the Lord.
Ans. B. John 21:23, clearly shows that the Lord neither said nor meant that John would not die. Nevertheless, the fact that the Lord's words are repeated, seems to imply that they were of special significance. Is there not an indication that the Lord was giving to John a special character of ministry, which would carry us on to the Lord's return? John's Gospel is different from the three others. In it there is unfolded what lies outside of all dispensations, the Father's world, with all its affections, joys and glories: that in which there is no human failure, for these things subsist in the Father and the Son, and are brought to us in the power of the Spirit. Already, in Paul's day, he saw the ruin of the church, in those things committed to men; but after Paul had gone, John remained, and was enabled by the Spirit to bring out "That which was from the beginning," and that which abides till the Lord comes. Moreover John seems to abide till the Lord comes in a very different character of ministry; that unfolded in the book of Revelation. It is indeed in marked contrast to the spiritual, heavenly and eternal things, revealed in the Gospel. Here he shows God's government of the world in the period just prior to the Lord's return, and including it; and also records the prophetic history of the church in the addresses to the seven churches; the last four of which contain reference to the Lord's return. So that we might quite well understand the Lord to mean that although John personally would pass off the scene before He returned, John would abide in his special ministry.
Q. 16. What is the bearing of "my lie" (Romans 3:7) ?
Ans. A. The apostle is taking up his critics on their own ground and claims on their principles equal latitude for himself. Evidently the critics often averred that Paul was a liar! He makes the supposition as if he had uttered a lie, as an antithesis to the truth of God. He claims sarcastically exemption from the liar's death sentence.
Ans. B. Paul is evidently quoting the words of a rebellious reasoning sinner who attempts to prove that God is unrighteous in bringing him into judgment. Such seem to say, "Admitting that every man is a liar (v. 4); the fact that I lie but confirms the truth of the divine statement, and so glorifies God. Seeing then that my sinful condition glorifies God by proving His word to be true, why should He bring me into judgment?" It was not Paul, but these rebellious and perverted sinners who said "Let us do evil that good may come," and God's judgment of them was just.
Q. 17. Last year in an article "Concerning Justification" in another magazine, the author said that "Christ's resurrection did not enter into the justificatory act." He said that in the N.T. dia with an accusative case, always has the significance "because of," so that Rom. 4:25 should read "was raised again because of our justification. What do say to that?
Ans. These novelty-mongers with their pretensions to secular learning may be suspected from the outset. They know quite well that ordinary people, like ourselves, are not fitted to challenge their linguistic points. But if the "deep miners" of the 19th century failed to locate the averred "fault in the strata" of the Scriptures, then it is unlikely that an "outcrop miner," would discover it! His exposition of Rom 4:25 is not really new but an exploded theory of olden times! It does despite to the integral thought of justification of life! We need not seek to found doctrine on one passage which will render invalid its import in another passage. Christ's death does not in itself justify one, yet justification is in the power of it. It is a necessary antecedent or basis. But "Christ risen" is our justification! His resurrection involves more than a receipt that the debt has been paid. (If the contention is right, then God cannot judge anyone!) We are taken out of death by the gift of the Spirit who is life in us. Hence we can practise righteousness and live to God. So that we cannot dissociate righteousness or justification from life. Christ's death does not clear us in order to start us once more in the course of the flesh. So that the justified need more than His death. We need His resurrection to be associated in His risen life in the power of which we have salvation (Rom. 5:10). "Justified in Christ" (Gal. 2:17) shows that we are justified in the One who has completed the work. Found in Him, not having mine own righteousness (Phil 3:9) and many similar Scriptures show that the assertion is invalid!
Q. 18. Does "at that day" (John 14:20) refer to the Spirit's Day or to the establishment of the Kingdom?
Ans. The context would decide that it refers to the Spirit's Day. Since He is the Spirit of truth, the revelation of the Father, such intimacy must lead to great progress in the apprehension of divine relationship. The reference to "the Kingdom" will be to the Apocalypse, because the coming of the Spirit introduced a phase of the kingdom but not subject to observation!
Q. 19. Please explain: "Though He were a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things that He suffered" Heb. 5:8.
Ans. This unfolds the truth of Christ as a man and is not related to Him as God. He learned obedience in taking the place of a man. He had been in the place of administration previously. As He had no will to break, it was not learning to obey, but obedience. Although Son, He did not presume. He entered more deeply into the experience of obedience. His faith and obedience were tested by circumstances becoming more difficult even to death! "Having been made perfect" is "perfectly fitted" or "completed" as to obedience and suffering, for His subsequent function as Priest and author (or founder) of eternal salvation.