Scripture Notes.



Luke 24:49.

It is impossible to attach too much importance to the direction which the Lord here gives to His disciples. By "the promise of my Father" is meant the gift of the Holy Ghost, for which they were to remain in the city of Jerusalem until the day of Pentecost. (Compare Acts 1:8.) Until they should be thus "endued with power from on high," they would be without the final and crowning qualification for service. It is in this fact that the special teaching of this scripture, in connection with what precedes, is found. The Lord had expounded unto His disciples (at least to the two) in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself. He had convinced them of the reality of His resurrection from among the dead, by submitting His body to be "handled" by them, by showing to them His hands and His feet, and by eating before them "a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb." He had opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures; and He had given them their commission to preach repentance and remission of sins in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, thus constituting them His witnesses. But with all this they were not as yet properly qualified. They believed that Jesus was risen, they understood the scriptures in their application to His suffering, His death, His resurrection, and His glory on high, they were divinely appointed to bear testimony to Him and to the efficacy of His work; but all this, ever necessary and important, was of no avail without the power of the Holy Ghost. Surely there is a significant voice in all this for the Lord's servants in every age. Knowledge of the scriptures, ability to explain and apply them in their several dispensational relationships to Christ, a direct call from heaven to preach the word might all be possessed; but though possessed, could not be rightly and divinely exercised, save in the power of the Spirit of God. It might be well enquired if knowledge and understanding have not been more diligently sought than the power which can only come from the action of an ungrieved Spirit.


Hebrews 10:23.

It is difficult to understand why our translators have rendered the original of this scripture, "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith." There is no question of any difference of reading, and yet the word "faith" has been substituted for "hope," and thereby the whole sense of the scripture altered. It should be then "the confession of the hope" which we are urged to hold fast. What then is "the hope" to which the writer refers? It is mentioned first in Hebrews 3:6: "If we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." Passing onward to Hebrews 6, we read of those "who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." (Heb. 6:18.) And the next two verses explain that the hope, which we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil, is Jesus, who has entered there as our forerunner, made a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. In Hebrews 9 we further read that Christ will appear the second time, unto them that look for Him, without sin unto salvation. (Heb. 9:28.) If we now combine these scriptures, it seems evident that "the hope" of this epistle is Christ coming out of the heavenly sanctuary for the salvation - salvation final and complete - of His people. This hope, as so explained, would carry with it a peculiar force for the Hebrew saints, to whom this epistle was primarily written, accustomed as they had been, especially on the great day of atonement, to await the coming out of the high priest from the holiest, in evidence that all the rites of that day had been efficaciously accomplished. An illustration of this is found in the gospel of Luke. Zacharias had gone into the temple (naos) of the Lord to burn incense, "and the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense." Again, "And the people … marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple." (Luke 1:10-21.) So in the epistle to the Hebrews, Jesus, the Son of God, has, as the great High Priest, passed "through" the heavens into the heavenly sanctuary, and His people are waiting outside, down here, for His reappearing, and this constitutes their hope. Well might the Holy Ghost exhort us to hold it fast, for there is no part of the truth which believers are so liable to surrender as the hope of their Lord's return; for it is bound up with the very essence of Christianity, and with the nature of the heavenly calling.

E. D.