Truth & Testimony Vol. 1 No. 2, 1991.

Allanhurst Hymnal 1200
Unless the Lord the house should build,
The labourers work in vain.
With richest furnishings though filled,
No peace therein can reign.
But let the Lord His blessing give,
Then all in safety live.

Unless the Lord protection gives,
The town may be o'erthrown,
And everyone who therein lives
No peace or rest has known.
But those that trust it to His care
May know His presence there.

Unless our life to Him we trust,
No settled peace we'll know.
To find true inward rest we must
To Christ the Saviour go;
For He alone can sins forgive,
And we for Him may live.

Head Covering

In the first issue of this magazine the editors included an extract from a letter of J. G. Bellett on the subject of head covering in the Assembly. As complementary to that extract we now include another which we hope our readers will find equally helpful. While obedience, and not understanding, is the first thing that God calls for from His children, where there is obedience understanding will surely follow.

One may then more intelligently, but not more gladly, bow in happy subjection to every direction given to us in God's Word. The subject of head covering is closely allied to that of headship. These subjects, in the context of 1 Corinthians 11, are considered in some detail in a booklet called Headship and Head Covering According to Scripture by Mr. R. K. Campbell, which the editors heartily recommend to any who would like further help on these matters. R.F.W.

"The woman's head was to be covered. The apostle shows by her hair that God had covered her, and her mind and will are put on the same ground. A woman ought to be covered at family prayers, or as one of Philip's daughters prophesying in her father's house. The principle applies to both praying and prophesying The man is the head of the woman, and she puts a covering on her physical head to show that there is authority over her. The apostle takes the state of the head of the body as a sign of the condition of the man or woman in respect of their moral head. The woman's head-the man — is her head really, and she must cover her own head in sign of her subjection; and so she says in effect, I have no head myself; the man is my head, and I am in subjection. The man could not do that, or there would be no visible head. A woman's gift ought to be confined to women, or to her own family".

From Notes of a reading on 1 Corinthians with J.N D.

Abba Father

Mark 14:36. Romans 8:15. Galatians 4:6.

The phrase "Abba Father" occurs three times in the New Testament. Abba is Chaldee or Aramaic for "Father". In the original text it is transliterated into Greek but untranslated. The second word of the couplet that we are studying is the regular Greek word for Father and is translated into our modern language — along with the rest of the Greek text. This repetition of the words for Father in the two different ancient tongues has a purpose. One is sure that Abba is not merely a diminutive or affectionate form like the English word "Daddy". This is often asserted by preachers but seems to be an inadequate explanation.

The combination of the Jewish and Greek languages in the use of these two words seems a clear indication by the Spirit of God of the great truth that there is One Body.

God has predestinated us for Sonship (Ephesians 1:5).* We were once of the nations, in the flesh, apart from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:11-12). Gentile and Jew may now together address God as Father. For Christ is our peace, Who has made both one, the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile having been broken down. He has reconciled both in one body to God through the cross. Paul continues to instruct the Ephesians that we have access through Him by one Spirit to the Father.

{*the King James translation gives "Spirit of adoption" in Romans 8:15, "adoption of sons " in Galatians 4:5 and "the adoption of children" in Ephesians 1:5. In Mr. Darby's translation "that we might receive sonship" is given in Galatians 4:5 and in some editions there are footnotes to Romans 8:15 and Ephesians 1:5. "Adoption is the same word as sonship in Galatians 4:5".}

It is an immense privilege for us to take up the same words that our Lord addressed to His Father. In Gethsemane's garden we see Him in an agony, submitting to God's will. He experienced in an anticipative way a foretaste of what He would endure at the cross. It was His delight to do God's will but another constraint upon His soul was the eternal deliverance of the elect. Was there not joy set before Him, would He not see of the fruit of the travail of His soul and be satisfied? Through suffering He would bring many sons unto glory. Though of Jewish and Gentile stock, by the work foreseen at Gethsemane, Christ would lead a united company which He is not ashamed to call brethren.

To the Roman assembly comprising, as so many of the early assemblies, of both Jew and Gentile (though predominantly Gentiles; Romans 3:29) Paul writes: "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we cry, Abba, Father".* The liberating gospel of glory bring once lost sinners into the place of sons. Would it not have been sufficient to be a pardoned criminal? No, not for God. His purpose was to elevate the fallen creature not just to the place of a servant but to that of a child — a son, a joint-heir with Christ.

To the Galatian assemblies Paul again uses this beautiful couplet in Galatians 4:6. The Judaisers in that group of gatherings really offered nothing. They would place their disciples under bondage. They would rob the saint of the liberty to draw near to God in the same manner as Christ. The flesh would intrude and make the soul subject to the legal requirements of the Mosaic law — but this would never suit the free grace of God. They needed to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free.

Whenever we use these precious words "Abba Father" they should remind us of our Saviour's agony in Gethsemane and the wonderful work accomplished at Golgotha which has brought to light the heart of God. He delights still to lead us into the Father's presence. If, in the marvellous grace of God, we are made children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, we are responsible to act as such, to walk in a worthy manner, to walk worthy of God Who has called us unto His kingdom and glory.


A type worthy of consideration

Genesis 48:8-10.

Joseph is a wonderful type of Christ who brings His children into the Father's presence. It is the Father's delight to bless us.

From Our Archive


Wednesday Evening, Speaker: Hamilton Smith. September 13th, 1922.


(Ezekiel 43:10-12 and Acts 2)

While we have been together reference has been made to that wonderful scripture, Ephesians 5, which tells us that "Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church". From this scripture we rightly judge that to the heart of Christ the Church is the most precious thing on earth to-day.

Now I propose to speak on one aspect of the Church of God. We know, do we not? that the Church is presented in two great aspects in the New Testament. First, as the body of Christ; then, under another figure, as the House of God. When we speak of the Church as the body of Christ we think of all the Christians on earth formed into one body by the Holy Spirit and united to Christ as the Head in heaven; but when we speak of the Church as the House of God, we think of all believers united together by the Holy Spirit to form the dwelling place of God upon earth.

In other words, if we think of the Church as the body of Christ, we think more especially of the Church in its heavenly aspect, because it is obvious that if we are united to the Head in heaven we belong to the place where the Head is. But when we speak of the Church as the House of God, we think of the church in its earthly aspect as the dwelling place of God on earth, and therefore as a witness of God to the world. It is this latter aspect of the Church that I want to refer to this evening, namely, the House of God.

As the truth of the House of God may be new to some here, I will first refer to two scriptures which definitely show that God has His House on earth to-day. Let me read one verse: Ephesians 2:22, "In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit". Then read 1 Timothy 3:14-15, "These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God … " Then the Apostle distinctly says that the House of God "is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth". I simply refer to these two scriptures to prove the great fact that God has His House upon earth to-day.

Now, brethren, I would just remind you of a historical fact which is somewhat remarkable. Most here will remember, how that in the last century, about 1825, God in His grace revived the great truth of the Church, and at that time the truth that was first apprehended was the Church in the aspect of the body of Christ. It is striking that it was not until some years later that the truth of the Church as the House of God was generally apprehended or taught. It was only in the year 1860 that Mr. Darby published his tract, "The House of God; the Body of Christ", and in 1867 his second tract, "The Church — The House and the Body", appeared. The importance of this lies in the fact that the Church as the House of God is the last great truth that has been revived by God. And mark you, dear friends, the truth that is last revived is the truth that we first let go in a day of departure, and hence I think we shall agree that this truth of the Church as the House of God is of the first importance, and therefore I venture to bring it before you in a simple and practical way.

Now before I go further, I will ask you to turn to Ezekiel 43:10-12, "Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them. This is the law of the house … ".

Now we all know that Ezekiel was the prophet of the captivity; he was speaking to the people of Israel when they were held in captivity because of their iniquities, and God gave Ezekiel a magnificent vision of the House of God, and He says, as it were, to Ezekiel, "You show the people this vision of the House so that they may see how far they have departed from My thought". There are two things the prophet was told to do; first he was to show them "the pattern of the House" then He goes on to say in substance a second thing; "If", and you will please mark that If — "if these people are ashamed of the way they have departed from the pattern, you may go on and show them the law of the House". There are then two things; there is (1) the pattern of the House, and (2) there is the law of the House.

I may point to a magnificent building, and you may admire its design and you may say to me, "Yes, I see the pattern, but tell me on what principle is the house governed?" Now, God has His House, and He has His principles for the administration of His House, and mark this, we cannot apply the law of God's House to a house that man has designed; you can only apply God's law to God's pattern; you cannot have a pattern of your own, and then try to work that pattern on God's principles. Hence, unless the people repented, the prophet had nothing more to tell them; but if they did repent, if they owned that they had departed from the pattern, he could tell them the law of the House.

Coming now to New Testament times we find that God has still His House upon earth. From the verses I read you, the one in Ephesians and the other in Timothy, it is very evident that God's House to-day is not formed of material stones; it is a House formed of living stones, of believers, and moreover God has given us the pattern of His House, as well as the law — the principle — on which His House is administered. Now in order to bring before you the immense importance of this great truth, let me briefly show you what a large place the House of God has in the New Testament.

For instance, in the Acts we see the pattern exemplified in a practical way. In 1 Timothy we find the pattern of the House in a doctrinal way. Then in 1 and 2 Corinthians we have the law of the House, or, the divine principles for the administration of the House, such as association, fellowship, holiness, liberty, love, edification, and separation. Then again, in the Epistles to the seven Churches in Revelation 2 and 3, we get the prophetic history of the Church as the House of God in the responsibility of men, with the result it has been ruined. Then coming back to 2 Timothy, we get instruction how to walk in a day of ruin, and finally, in Revelation 21, in the vision of that magnificent city, we have presented to us symbolically, the House of God in millennial display. From these scriptures you will see that a very large part of the New Testament is taken up with instructions as to the Assembly, the Church of God, viewed as the House of God.

To be continued in next issue (D.V.).

A Day of Small Things

We sometimes murmur, either with disappointment or resignation: "After all, it is a day of small things". It may be that we use this as an excuse to give up any form of service for the Lord, or even discourage others from attempting anything at all. Perhaps we forget that the text says: "For who hath despised the day of small things?" (Zechariah 4:10).

There have been many times when it must have seemed difficult to carry on in a life of faith. When there arose in Egypt a king who did not know Joseph, and who ordered that all the Hebrew boys should be killed at birth, it might have discouraged Moses' parents from having a third child. Yet it was just this act of faith that is commended in Hebrews 11:23, where we are told that they "were not afraid of the king's commandment". As we know, this child was the one chosen to deliver God's people from the power of Egypt.

Later, in the time of the Judges, when "every man did that which was right in his own eyes", we find faithful Gideon, raised up to deliver the Israelites from the power of Midian. We can understand why he says to the angel: "If the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of?" (Judges 6:13). How patiently the Lord dealt with him, and even gave him the signs that he asked for, to confirm his feeble faith. It was a day of small things, but God gave His people a wonderful victory through that young man of faith.

During the same difficult period there were parents who dared to name their little son Elimelech, "whose God is King". It was a day of ungodliness and unfaithfulness, and yet there were those that still looked for redemption in Israel, as we read of similar faithful ones at the time of the Lord's birth. Such names as Elkanah, "who God provided", and Hannah, "grace", shows that there were still some, in the day of small things, who trusted in a great God. We see in the historical books how their faith was rewarded.

Much later, when it seemed that all was lost — the temple was destroyed, the ark, and all the precious things that meant so much to the faithful Jews, had been carried away to Babylon, and even the bulk of the nation was in exile — we read of faithful men like Daniel and his friends, who would not defile themselves with the food that had been offered to idols, and we read of Daniel himself that "he continued", he persevered until the 70 years of exile were expired, and the prophecies of Jeremiah were fulfilled. In a day of small things there was one on whom the Lord could rely, as we read in Ezekiel 14:14, where Daniel's name is coupled with Noah and Job as one that could be counted upon to be faithful to the end.

Of those that were privileged to return to the land of promise, we read of faithful men such as Ezra and Nehemiah, who were not afraid of the heathen adversaries, but trusted in the God of their fathers. We read in the book of Ezra of how they set the altar upon its bases, and they offered burnt offerings. They even kept the feast of tabernacles, although the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid. When at last the foundations were there, we read that the people shouted and praised the Lord, although the older ones, who remembered the magnificence of Solomon's temple, could but shed tears at the weakness and insignificance of the new building. It was to these people that Zechariah and Haggai were sent, to encourage the workers, and to remind them of the faithful God who was still ready to bless them.

Of Nehemiah we read again and again how he prayed and worked, notwithstanding the enemies, of whom we read that "it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel" (Nehemiah 2:10). When these foes mocked them, Nehemiah replied: "The God of heaven, he

will prosper us; therefore we, His servants, will arise and build"

(Nehemiah 2:20). Although the enemies tried all manner of ruses to stop the work, we read finally that the work was completed: "So the wall was finished" (Nehemiah 6:15).

At the end of the book we read of the unfaithfulness of some of the priests, as well as the negligence of the people, who had not supported the Levites. The result of this double unfaithfulness was that Tobiah, the enemy, had taken possession of the very room in which the tithes ought to have been brought for the upkeep of the Levites. Nehemiah gave orders for the place to be vacated, and thoroughly cleansed, so that the Levites, and so God Himself, could have their, and His, portion.

Much later, in the time of Malachi, we see a terrible state of affairs. The temple was there; the offerings were brought; the services went on, just as they had in the time of Isaiah, but there was no heart in it. The offerings that were brought were merely the lame and worthless animals that were no good anyway. God said to them: "offer it now unto thy governor: will he be pleased with thee?" (Malachi 1:8). Yet they dared to give to God "that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick" (Malachi 1:13). They could even ask of God: "Wherein have we despised Thy name?" (Malachi 1:6).

Does this say anything to us today? We go, no doubt, week by week to the meetings. We sing our hymns, we read out of the Bible, we say our "Amen" at the end of each prayer — but is there any more heart in it than in the time of Malachi? "Bring no more vain oblations", although addressed to Judah in the days of Isaiah, could well be the message to many of us to-day.

But God is faithful. He cannot deny Himself, and, just as He was mindful of His covenant with Israel, so He will never leave us nor forsake us. As He expresses it in Malachi's prophecy: "I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed" (Malachi 3:6). So, in the midst of all their unfaithfulness, He could say to His people: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10).

It is interesting to see that the name "Jehovah of hosts" is used twenty four times in the book of Malachi. We first read this name of God in the first chapter of 1 Samuel, when Elkanah went to worship the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. Hannah, his wife, too, used the same name when praying for a son in verse 11 of that first chapter. When Israel was at

its lowest ebb, and every man did that which was right in his own eyes, God made Himself known as the Lord of hosts, a contrast to their own weakness and insufficiency. This is seen in a particularly precious way in the well-known verses 16 and 17 of Malachi 3. In the midst of all the unfaithfulness the Lord saw those that feared Him, and spake often one to another. We are, perhaps, reminded of the two going home to Emmaus, when "Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them". What a delight to His heart to hear them speaking to each other about Him! So here in Malachi, "the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name". Again, in the last chapter of Malachi, when the day of judgment has been announced, we find an allusion to "you that fear My name". For the remnant in the days before the birth of our Lord this must have been a particular comfort. The Sun of righteousness would arise with healing in His wings.

We know, of course, that this prophecy is only partially fulfilled in the first advent, but it is encouraging to see that there were those, like Zacharias and Elisabeth, Simeon and Anna, who saw the fulfilment of their hopes in that blessed Child, and shared their joy with "all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem". May we, who have a still more blessed hope, be found among them that "live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:12-13).


Extract from Commentary on the Old Testament by

C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Volume 1.

"The king commanded the midwives to destroy the male children in the birth and to leave only the girls alive. If the child were a boy, they were to destroy it as it came out of the womb. The failure of his plan drove the king to acts of open violence. He issued commands to all his subjects to throw every Hebrew boy that was born into the river"

Book Review

The Rock and the Sand by Geoffrey T. Bull.

189 pages, paperback, £5.95. Chapter Two, London, 1990.

"When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand "

Already on its cover rock and sand stand strikingly in contrast. The life of faith is its theme. In fact, this most recent book of Geoffrey Bull's bears the subtitle "Glimpses of the Life of Faith". Some readers may remember how in 1950, when the Chinese Communist armies overran Tibet, Bull, a young missionary serving his Lord there on the roof of the world, was arrested, imprisoned, and subjected to their process of thought-reform. In answer to the many prayers that ascended for him all over the world, the Lord caused the iron gates of his bondage to yield, bringing him safely out of China more than three years later. His mind was still sound and his faith in God unshaken.

The Lord has subsequently used Bull in many countries for a rich ministry through testimony, teaching, and writing. The Rock and the Sand is a choice example. The author knows today's issues. His international flavour and lifetime of experiences certainly add tremendously to the interest of his book. And there's a depth and

solidity here that stands in graphic contrast to both the superficiality and the flamboyance being promoted so much in Christendom all around us.

Furthermore, Bull does not simply know God's Word and its principles well; he evidences what amounts to a keen personal acquaintance even with some of its more obscure characters. As they take the stage, one after another, on the pages of his book, they are more than mere figures from biblical history: they are people of like passions to ourselves, triumphantly living the life of faith, examples for us to emulate.

This book is rich and fresh in every way. It strengthens and stimulates. It is not written as a commentary, but rather is a challenge. Yet it is certainly doctrinally reliable and helpful. And as a bonus to the profitability of its contents, its author is a magnificent craftsman with words. His language is vivid and colourful. Comparatively few contemporary authors today still use the Authorized or King James translation of the Bible in their writing, and even fewer use it effectively. Geoffrey Bull is one of those very few.

I heartily recommend The Rock and the Sand to all Truth & Testimony readers of secondary school age and above. It is spiritually well worthwhile and a pleasure besides.

Eugene P. Vedder, Jr. Grace & Truth.

News from the Field


The republic of Djibouti is an arid enclave between Ethiopia and Somalia. Before 1977 it was the French colony of Afars and Issas. The majority of the one-third million population are Moslem. There is only a handful of native believers. About 4% profess Christianity, chiefly Roman Catholics, with less than 5% Coptic and Greek Orthodox. However, there is a considerable degree of religious freedom quite lacking in other Mohammedan lands.

About eighteen months ago two hundred copies of "A Letter For You" Gospel booklet in English and Arabic were sent to Djibouti. It is believed that this is our first respondent to that little scattering. We have included Solomon's letter as an example of many items of correspondence coming to Chapter Two's office from needy fellow believers around the world. Much comes in from West African countries where English is used. Very few come from the Horn of Africa.


I am so happy for your consideration to send me a letter. I gladly answer as follows:

My family originated in the northern part of Ethiopia we call Eritrea. I was born there and went to school in Wollo province. We felt the problems caused by the Military government. In 1986 I left Addis university and went round looking for work. I was unsuccessful because I was not a (communist) party member. I suffered a lot and was tired of trying to survive. I did not understand the meaning of life. Many people became refugees and searched diligently to sustain their existence. I became sad and blamed Almighty God.

You see we suffered repeatedly. Our family are Orthodox Christians. My mother prays but she finds it hard to believe that God rules in our lives.

Things changed and not in the easiest manner. I was wanted by the Military because I was not conforming to their ideology. I escaped to the neighbouring Djibouti. After some days of walking I arrived here safely. I determined to pray and follow the path of Jesus Christ. In order to do this I wrote my first letter to you for help.

I have an Amharic Bible and I read it, though life in Dgibouti is too hard and sometimes I do labouring work. But I have to hide from the authorities who reject us refugees.

I pray now about those past days when I blamed God and pray for help on the true path of life as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Now I have needs: I do not need money, I do not need luxury articles, I do not want to be a hypocrite. But I need true help and that assistance is going to come from the hands of the Lord you can send some literature and perhaps an English Bible, besides that I would welcome fellowship in correspondence.

Yours sincerely, a believer,

Solomon Taeme Tekele.

The Old in the New Explained


"And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel".

Hearing of one " … born King of the Jews … " we can understand why " … Herod the King … was troubled … " yet we read also " … and all Jerusalem with him". The city of the great King (Matthew 5:35) was estranged from Him. Though it seems impossible that they did not suspect his evil intent, the chief priests and scribes turn Herod to Micah 5:2 in answering his question as to where Christ should be born. Bethlehem's size evidently did not distinguish it. It was "little among the thousands of Judah". (Micah 5:2 — Hebrew). That it was probably where David was born and brought up is passed over (Luke 2:11, 1 Samuel 16:1, 1 Samuel 20:6). Bethlehem's greatest distinction lay not in being the birthplace of David, but that of Messiah. His rule will be according to God — very much the contrast to that exercised by Herod and the leaders of the nation (Isaiah 40:9-11). Looking at Matthew 2:6 in its context in Micah 5 we discover that, in a day to come, the Assyrian (Micah 5:5) will, with others (Micah 4:11) be gathered against the "daughter of Zion" (Jerusalem — Micah 4:8). He lays siege because "they (the Jews) shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek" (Micah 5:1). Micah 5:2 tells us who the judge is — Messiah-Jehovah "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting". In the government of God "Therefore will He give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return unto the children of Israel" (Micah 5:3). When there is repentance the remnant get the blessing that belongs to the children of Israel. His provision is enjoyed (Micah 5:4), Messiah is Israel's peace (Micah 5 : 5) and they are given power from the Lord to deal with their foes (Micah 4:13, Micah 5:6). They are "as a dew from the Lord" bringing blessing to "many people" (Micah 5:7), while "among the Gentiles in the midst of many people, as a lion … " Jehovah will by them deal with His enemies as needs be (Micah 5:8-9)

R. F.W.

It may be of interest to some to know that Walter Scott lists most of the quotations from the Old Testament in the New in his Bible Handbook to the New Testament. He gives an English translation of each verse from the Hebrew and Septuagint as well as the verse in the New Testament from the King James version. Copies of the handbook are available from Chapter Two.