Scripture Queries and Answers

1916 48 Q. — 1 Cor. 11:32. "But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." — Does "condemned with the world" mean (as some affirm) judged or criticised by the world, which, if given the cause, is ready to point the finger and say, There are these Christians!? If this is not the meaning, what is? T.H.

A. — To be "condemned with the world" is to share its doom. Once we were of the world, but now, as believers, we are "not of the world." The Christian can say, "There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus."

Is there then liberty for carelessness of walk and ways? Assuredly not. We are called to holiness in every manner of behaviour, because it is written, "Be ye holy; for I am holy." We are children of God, and our Father judges according to each man's work without respect of persons. Hence the call to pass the time of our sojourning in fear, knowing we have been redeemed at how great a cost! — the precious blood of Christ.

So here, the Corinthians were guilty of dissoluteness, and irreverence in the assembly, and accordingly the Lord's disciplinary hand was upon them as Son over His house. Many were weak and sickly, and some overtaken by death. For there is "sin unto death." If, therefore, we Christians are judged, it is here and not hereafter. We are chastened now of the Lord who cannot but take cognizance of every believer's ways.

From this it will be seen, how entirely beside the mark is the affirmation that the passage means "judged or criticised by the world."

1916 80  Q. — Will you please say, through the "Bible Treasury," whether, in your judgment, 1 Cor. 11:1 17 (re sisters covering heads) may be applied to a Bible reading in a private house, which is private in character? Also, whether, in such a reading, it is proper for sisters to pray? Such a meeting is not to be regarded as an "assembly" gathering, is it? Your reply in the May issue, if possible, will be appreciated. J. M.

A. — We should never confound a "Bible reading" with an "assembly meeting." The character of each is altogether different and distinct. For the freedom of speech and asking of questions which pertains to a Bible reading is altogether disallowable in a meeting of "assembly." Whilst, however, there is this freedom, and more or less conversational character, which obtains in the reading meeting, women, nevertheless, have their suited conduct which, in general, is "to be in silence."

"The men" may pray in every place, lifting up holy hands; not so women, who (not in dress only, but) in seemly deportment, should be adorned with "modesty and sobriety." It would be a contradiction of this if women were to pray in public. We can well understand the liberty of a mother praying with her children at home, and that scripture does not call upon her in such a case to cover her head either then, or, as it appears to me, in the reading of God's word at "family prayer."

But in a Bible reading, where men are present, even if held in a "private" house, would not this assume a "public" character? And if so, comeliness would call for the covering of the head on the part of the women as well as (need we say?) for their silence whether of prayer or speech.

1916 128 Q. — Can it be shown from Scripture that when the reign of Christ over the earth is finally established, there will be none of mankind living in the world but such as have been born of the Spirit? C.

A. — Does not Rev. 20:7-9 supply the answer? For the expiration of the millennial reign of Christ reveals the solemn fact that, in spite of the universal knowledge of the glory of Jehovah (Hab. 2:14) the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth fall under the deceptive power of Satan, then loosed out of his prison, who succeeds in gathering them to battle against the camp of the saints and the beloved city Jerusalem, God's holy mountain.

With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, a new covenant will have been made, and "they all shall know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" Jer. 31:31-34). Compare also Ezek. 36, 37. They shall be all righteous and shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of His planting, the work of His hands, that He may be glorified.

As regards the Gentiles, all flesh shall see the glory of Jehovah, but the nation and kingdom that will not serve Israel shall perish, they shall be utterly wasted (Isa. 60:12). "Whoso will not come up ["from year to year"] of the families of the earth to Jerusalem to worship the King, Jehovah of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain." "Jehovah shall smite the nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles." This shall be the "punishment [or sin] of all the nations that come not up" (Zech. 14:16-19).

Whilst, therefore, Israel will be a "holy nation," not so the nations universally. Righteousness will reign, and evil be suppressed; non-existent it will hardly be, else how can we understand (the margin of) Ps. 18:44, "sons of [the] stranger shall yield feigned obedience to me," also Ps. 66:3, "Through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies yield feigned obedience to thee"? And of the children of the righteous born during this period of universal blessedness, how can we assume that they would be all born of God? — that they necessarily grow up to walk (as did not the sons of Samuel remarkable man as he was) in their father's ways? On the contrary, we see judgment falling during, and at the end of, the thousand years, disclosing conclusively that not all are converted, whatever may have been the case at the beginning of the reign. Does not Isa. 65:20 show that the man who filled not his days was cut off, because he was a sinner? For there will be no death during the thousand years except as the result of open sin; death will be swallowed up in victory (Isa. 25:8).

We thus learn that no outward circumstances avail for the conversion of the soul. There must be an inward work of the word and Spirit of God. The mighty works of our blessed Lord in favoured Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum failed to work repentance in these cities! So in the millennium, with all its manifested power and glory and knowledge increased, the heart of man remains unchanged, unless the subject of divine grace. There must be a new birth, and this cannot be apart from repentance and faith.

1916 176 Q. — Will you kindly answer the following question?: — In Luke 9 the Lord told the disciples not to take a staff when sending them out whereas in Mark 6:8 He says, "Take nothing … save a staff only." Can you say why the two Evangelists differ?

A. — If the enquirer has access to vol. 9. (N.S.) of the Bible Treasury (1913) he will find on page 356 what, we think, may be a solution of his difficulty.

1916 176 Q. — Rom. 14:13-21; 1 Cor. 8:8-13. Would you please state what, in your view, is the bearing of these scriptures on the subject of the paper in the September Bible Treasury, page 137, "The use of wine"? A.R.C.

A. — "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."

The things of peace and mutual building up are here presented as the object of our pursuit. And in so doing we are serving Christ, and are well-pleasing to God, as well as approved by men.

It is not to the "adjudication," or settlement of disputed questions that we are to receive one another. For one who is "weak in the faith," a Christian brother, for whom Christ died, may have a conscientious difficulty in regard to the prohibitions of the Mosaic law, through ignorance of the liberty into which (not law, but) grace has now brought us. Yet true, as it is, that we have been called unto liberty, we are not to use this liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love to serve one another.

We are not called to satisfy the "whims" of our brethren in Christ, but it is blessed if, by denying oneself, we succeed in removing a stumbling-block to our brother's growth in the truth. "Weak" though such a one be, he that is strong is not to despise his weak brother, but to "please his neighbour for his good to edification (or building up). For even Christ pleased not Himself."

If we are filled with the Spirit, we shall not be drunk with wine. All the sophistry of those who declaim against its use, is exposed (to the simple soul who bows to God's word) by the simple and telling fact that our Lord made wine (John 2) — the "use" of which was not therefore prohibited, and yet in excess it is intoxicating, or we should not be told to be not drunk with it; and as the writer of the article points out, it is the "abuse" against which we are warned. And if it be to any of us a snare it clearly ought to be avoided. "Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." What greater safeguard can there be than this?

Comparing Gal. 2:3 with 1 Tim. 4:3-5, we see how man's will is as ready to demand as to forbid. But whilst Paul could circumcise Timothy (Acts 16:1-3), where it could not be demanded, yet in the case of Titus, where the demand was made, the Apostle resolutely refuses. Grace knows what is consistent with the truth of the gospel.