Scripture Notes.

p. 166


2 Samuel 23:20-21.

While it needs great caution in the interpretation of the meaning of scripture names, there may yet be often found in them some very instructive lessons. In this passage the combination of the different names is very remarkable. Benaiah signifies, "Whom God has built;" Jehoiada, "Jehovah knoweth;" and Kabzeel, "God has gathered." Putting these meanings together, we learn that Benaiah was the son of one whom the Lord knew ("I know my sheep"), and had been built up in the truth by God Himself, and knew his place in God's assembly (Kabzeel). In the next place his acts are described. He had slain two lion-like men of Moab. Moab means "progeny;" that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and inasmuch as the men were lion-like, it was the flesh under full Satanic energy. He also slew a lion in the midst of a pit in the time of snow. Satan is compared by Peter with a roaring lion, and thus Benaiah was enabled to overcome Satan himself in his own haunts. He slew, moreover, an Egyptian, a goodly man, the expression of the fairer aspects of the world; and just as David beheaded Goliath with his own sword, so Benaiah, having "plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, slew him with his own spear." The spear, like the sword, is a symbol of the power of death, and, as another has remarked, "Death is the best weapon in the arsenal of God when it is wielded by the power of life," and this was Benaiah's experience in his conflict with the world (the Egyptian). Taking then the whole history, we learn that this child of grace, built up on his most holy faith, and gathered out upon the ground of God's assembly, successfully meets and overcomes the flesh, Satan, and the world. This too was of grace; but, while of grace, it reveals the path and possibility for every believer. E. D.


Hebrews 4:3.

A whole system of erroneous doctrine has been built upon the words, "For we which have believed do enter into rest" - a system which is often named by its advocates "the rest of faith." That is, as it is contended, upon the exercise of faith in Christ in all that He is for the believer in his daily life, as a Saviour from the power as well as from the guilt of sin, the soul passes instantly into a region of perfect rest, where conflict is no more known. In its essence this teaching is the same as what is known as "holiness by faith." Now, that there are boundless resources in Christ for the believer in his daily path is unquestioned, and it is our failure that we know so little how to avail ourself of them - of the grace, the wisdom, the power, etc., which are treasured up in Him; but the present question is whether this is the meaning of our passage. In answer to this, it should be first remarked that the rest spoken of is the rest of God. In the previous chapter we learn that God had sworn, concerning Israel, they should not enter into His rest; and the reason they could not enter in was unbelief. (v. 19.) The promise therefore of entering in was left over, "for unto us was the gospel preached [the gospel concerning God's rest, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." This leads to the statement before us, that "we which have believed do enter into rest." The rest spoken of belongs therefore to those, and only to those, who believe the gospel preached.

The further question now arises, Is this rest present or future? In verses 3 and 4 we have the character of the rest; in verses 5 and 6 the truth is recalled that Israel had been excluded through their unbelief, and hence that some must enter into the rest. Then it is said that He limiteth a certain day, saying in David, "Today, after so long a time … for if Joshua had given them rest, then would He not afterward have spoken of another day." The conclusion is now drawn, "There remaineth therefore a rest [a keeping the sabbath] to the people of God;" i.e., it is yet future, being in fact the sabbatical rest of eternity, God's own rest, into which He in His grace proposes, as He ever has proposed, to bring His people.

That there is a present rest, both of conscience and heart, for the believer, needs ever to be insisted upon; but the rest here spoken of goes further, and points to the end and result of all God's purposes for, and ways with, His redeemed, just as the Jewish sabbath was the type and figure of the end of His counsels for Israel. We, as they in the wilderness, are journeying onward to the rest which He has promised; and "we which have believed" shall infallibly enter it, and then for eternity we shall, through infinite mercy, share in the sabbath of our God. E. D.