Scripture Notes.

p. 163.


Genesis 4:23-24.

"In the history of Lamech we have on man's part self-will in lust. He had two wives, and vengeance in self-defence; but, I apprehend, an intimation in God's judgment, that as Cain was the preserved though punished Jew, his posterity at the end, before the heir was raised up and men called on Jehovah in the earth, would be sevenfold watched over of God. Lamech acknowledges he had slain to his hurt, but shall be avenged." Thus far is a citation from the well-known Synopsis. A few words may be added in further explanation. The "self-will in lust" of Lamech is seen in his wilful departure from the institution of marriage in Paradise. (Genesis 2:24.) He acted in self-gratification in having two wives. He also, as pointed out, avenged himself, and that at the cost of the life of his enemy. The two forms of evil, on account of which God afterwards sent the flood, viz., corruption and violence (see chapter 6:12-13), are both combined in Lamech. Hence he acknowledges that he had slain a man to his wounding and hurt; for these things must bring down the judgment of God. But Lamech also, as descended from Cain, is a type of the Jew of a later day; and, inasmuch as he is introduced before the "heir is raised up" - that is Seth, who becomes a figure of Christ (for it is in His days, in the kingdom, that men will call upon the name of Jehovah) - there can be but little doubt that the sin of Lamech is a foreshadowing (as also the sin of Cain) of the wickedness of the Jews in rejecting and crucifying Christ. In this light all is plain. The sin was great when the Jewish nation by wicked hands crucified and slew their Messiah; and it was most surely to their "wounding," and to their "hurt;" for to this day they abide under the judgment of God on account of His blood. (See Matthew 27:25.) Notwithstanding, great as has been their iniquity, God preserves them, and avenges, and will avenge them "seventy-and-sevenfold" on any nation that may seek to destroy them from off the face of the earth.


Matthew 13:58; Mark 6:5.

The difference between these two scriptures is characteristic; that is, in accordance with the respective presentations of Christ in Matthew and Mark. In the former gospel, where Christ appears as the Messiah, it is no question as to His power to do the mighty works; but it is rather the state of the people, their inability, through unbelief, to profit by His presence in their midst which is made prominent. Hence the record is, "And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." In Mark, on the other hand, where Christ is seen as the Servant, our attention is directed to the fact that unbelief limited His activity. There He was seeking to bless; His heart yearning over His people; but their unbelief raised up a barrier, so that we read, "He could there do no mighty work, save that He laid His hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them." And are not these two things often witnessed in service at the present day? How often, for example, is it, when the gospel is preached, that the power of the Lord is present to heal (as we read in Luke 5), and there are few, if any, ready through faith to receive the blessing. Again, it is often the case that the Lord's servants are hindered and limited by the unbelief of the audience. They have come forth from the Lord's presence, in communion with His mind, and in the power of the Holy Ghost, and yet the message they proclaim falls powerless on the souls of those to whom it is addressed. In many such cases it is, as with the blessed Lord Himself, that they are circumscribed by unbelief. It is, therefore, always needful to remember that, if all things are possible with God, all things also are possible to him that believeth.


Hebrews 2:17-18.

Two things are clear from the teaching of this epistle. First, that the priesthood of Christ is connected with, and indeed based upon, the propitiation which He made for sins; and, secondly, that the scene of His priesthood, the place of its exercise, is heaven. (See Heb. 1:3; Heb. 2:17; Heb. 8:1-6; Heb. 9:23-28.) But in the scripture before us we learn that it was necessary, in order to His qualification for the office, that He should in all things be made like unto His brethren. He was thus, in bringing many sons unto glory, as the Captain of their salvation, made perfect through sufferings. It became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, thus to deal with Him who identified Himself with His people. Since the children were, moreover, partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, in order to emancipate as many as, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage. He was thus in all things made like to His brethren, with the object of being qualified to act as Priest. Two terms are then given to indicate the nature of the qualification; viz., "merciful" and "faithful." It was needful for the high priest in the olden economy to "have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity." (Heb. 5:2.) But Christ became a merciful High Priest, One who could feel for and tenderly sympathize with those for whom He acts, through becoming man, and suffering Himself to be tempted in all points like as we are - sin apart. (Heb. 4:15.) The word "faithful" points rather, we judge, to the execution of His office Godward, though it would not exclude the idea of fidelity in dealing with those whose cause He has undertaken. The phrase, "in things pertaining to God," may therefore be taken as covering the two aspects.

The next thing mentioned is propitiation (not reconciliation) for the sins of the people. Christ was both victim and priest; and it was He, the priest, who made propitiation. But, as we have seen, it was not until He entered heaven that His real priestly work began. Propitiation is, however, here brought in as indissolubly bound up with His priesthood, and, as the next verse shows, as the foundation of its exercise. It might therefore be said that in verse 17 we have the qualification and basis of His office as priest, and that in verse 18 we have the functions, or one of its functions, exercised; "for," as the apostle writes, "in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted." Other functions are specified afterwards. Here the priesthood is viewed in relation to a tempted people; and the Spirit of God calls our attention to the fact, that He who was in all things made like unto His brethren, and who made propitiation for their sins, is, as the merciful and faithful High Priest, abundantly qualified, as having Himself suffered being tempted, to succour them out of all their temptations.


Hebrews 9:24-28.

It has been recently remarked, that there is in this scripture a most striking correspondence with the four-fold rites of the great day of atonement; and it is to this we desire especially to draw the attention of our readers. First, the entrance of Christ into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us, is contrasted with the entrance of the Jewish high priest "into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true." The latter entered "every year with blood of others." But Christ - not to offer Himself often; "for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." This brings before us the second correspondence, or rather contrast. Both entered. The Jewish high priest made propitiation, after he entered, "with blood of others;" but, let the reader mark it, in view of recent discussions, the work  - propitiation, surely - of Christ, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, is connected, not with His entering, but with His appearing; that is, His first appearing in this world, and with the sacrifice of Himself. This is conclusive as to the fact of propitiation having been completed on the cross. The point is most important. Thirdly, we read that "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many," the substitutionary aspect of His work for His people corresponding with the scapegoat bearing, and bearing away, all the transgressions and sins of Israel which had been confessed over it, and transferred to it by the laying of Aaron's hands upon its head. (See Lev. 16:21.) Lastly, as the high priest of Israel came out, after the completion of all the rites of atonement, and in token of their accomplishment (Lev. 16:23-24), so to "them that look for Him" will Christ "appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Heb. 9:28.) Unlike the Jew, we already know, by the Holy Ghost, that the work of atonement has been finished and accepted; but the appearing of Christ the second time will but be the consummation of His work in the full salvation of His people. E. D.