Scripture Notes.

p. 275


Isaiah 53:12.

It is essential for the understanding of this striking chapter - a chapter that contains such a distinct setting forth of the substitutionary death of Christ  -  to remember its connection in the future with repentant Israel. Like Thomas, believing when they see Him (Zechariah 12:10), they will then confess their past unbelief, and express their present faith in the Messiah as here recorded. They had despised and rejected Him, they had seen no beauty in Him, for to the natural eye He had no form nor comeliness that they should desire Him; but now they will understand that He had borne their griefs and carried their sorrows, though at the time they had esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted, that He was wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities, etc. This gives the key to the language employed in the chapter; and it will be noticed that the rejection of Christ together with the nature of His death, whether as suffering from the hand of Jehovah, bearing the sins of His people, pouring out His soul unto death, or as numbered with the transgressors, is given with every possible variety of detail, and is so presented that even the most unwilling are compelled to acknowledge that the doctrines of substitution and atonement are here plainly taught. Coming now to the end of the chapter, we find the consequences of the atoning death of the Messiah; but it should be observed that, while some of the expressions are general, these results of His death are given as affecting Him in His relationship with His earthly people. For example, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. (v. 10. Compare Psalms 21:4; Ps. 72:17, etc.) The next verse tells us that He Himself will be satisfied with the results of the travail of His soul; and that on the ground of His atoning death He will "justify" many.*

{*Another has written, "It is my belief that, in verse 11, the two parts of Christ's work are distinguished. By His knowledge He shall bring many to righteousness, or instruct many in righteousness, and He shall bear their iniquities." The same writer translates as follows in his French Version: "Par sa connaissance mon serviteur juste enseignera la justice à plusieurs." ("By His knowledge shall my righteous servant teach righteousness to many" - i.e., as is explained in a note "to those who are in relationship with Him.")}

Lastly, we have His earthly exaltation depicted, and depicted as also flowing from His death. "Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He hath poured out His soul unto death," etc. The present exaltation of Christ at the right hand of God, as we Christians know, is in consequence of His death (Phil. 2); and here we learn that His victory over His enemies (for He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet) and the glory of His Messianic kingdom are ascribed to the same cause. The cross therefore is the foundation both of the glories of Christ, whether earthly or heavenly, and of the redemptive blessings, whether of Israel as the earthly people, or of the church as His body and bride.


1 Corinthians 11:1-16.

There is no real difficulty in this scripture if it be borne in mind that these directions are given, not for the assembly, not for sisters when gathered together with the saints, but for their private guidance and instruction. This is certain on two grounds; first, that it is not till the 17th verse that the apostle begins to deal with order and conduct in the assembly; and, secondly, that in this very epistle he enjoins silence on women "in the churches." (Compare 1 Timothy 2:12.) It is clear therefore that the reference is to praying or prophesying in private, or in their homes, or in places other than in the public assemblies. Nor is the praying of necessity audible prayer; for the term would undoubtedly include every act of prayer, whether the woman were the mouthpiece, or whether bowing in concert with others in the presence of God. The fact indeed that the woman's special place in relation to man, not solely the place of a wife with her husband, is introduced, would point to the inclusion of those occasions when men, such as in family prayer, or in household or private readings of the Scriptures accompanied with prayer, might be present. It should also be observed that prophesying is not preaching. We read that Philip, the evangelist, "had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy." (Acts 21:8-9.) In those early days of the Church, before the New Testament Scriptures were written, God was pleased to send inspired communications to His people through chosen vessels, and these were termed prophets. (See 1 Cor 14:29-33.) But, as the scripture already cited shows, women were never so used in the assemblies, and hence the prophesying of the daughters of Philip, as well as the prophesying of the women here, must have been on other than public occasions.

The prescription then for the covered head applies in this passage to those seasons when women were praying or prophesying in the manner mentioned. And another has called attention to the fact, that "to decide this question, simply of what was decent and becoming, the apostle lays open the relationship, and the order of the relationship, subsisting between the depositories of God's glory and Himself, and brings in the angels, to whom Christians, as a spectacle set before them, should present that of order according to the mind of God." The foundation, therefore, on which the apostle directs women to pray with covered heads is the divine order which God has ordained: "The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." (v. 3.) Man, "forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God," and as such representing God's authority, ought not to cover his head; but the woman being the glory of man, is under authority, and, as a sign of it, is to be covered. This is distinctly stated on the introduction of the second ground of the exhortation; viz., the relationship of the woman to the man in creation (vv. 7-10); for it is then said, "For this cause ought the woman to have power" (i.e., the symbol of it, as being subject to it (authority) "on her head, because of the angels" (v. 10), inasmuch as these, whose characteristic is obedience (Psalm 103:20), are the delighted spectators of submission to God's order on the part of His people. The apostle urges yet another consideration - the teaching of nature. He says, "Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God (and these words are very absolute, seeming to include all acts of prayer) uncovered? Doth not nature itself teach you," etc. (13, 14.)

A few remarks may be added. First, the hair, long hair, is evidently not, as it is sometimes contended, the covering indicated by the apostle; for he says in verse 6, "If the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered." The covering is thus something in addition to the long hair. Secondly, the instruction is for women, not wives only, but for women, and not for children. Finally, it will be helpful to observe that this is no prescription for women's dress, but simply and solely a direction concerning what is seemly and suited for them when they are praying.


Hebrews 9:26.

The exact language of this scripture must be carefully noted. It does not speak of sins, but of sin; and it does not say that Christ has put it away, but that once in the consummation of the ages hath He appeared to do it - to put away sin - by the sacrifice of Himself. The all-efficacious work is done on the ground of which it will be finally put away, but it is not yet put away. It is thus still in the believer as also in the world. Cleansed by the precious blood of Christ, he is without spot or stain of guilt before God; but he has, notwithstanding, sin - the flesh, the evil nature - still in him; and hence the apostle John writes, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8.) In the millennium it will be still existent, and accordingly, even towards the close of the blessed reign of Christ, Satan will succeed in deceiving the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth. (Rev. 20:8.) But in the new heaven and the new earth every trace of it is removed; for then the former things will have passed away, and God will be all in all. It is only, therefore, when we reach this perfect and blessed scene that we behold the complete results of the sacrifice of Christ. Then, and not till then, on the ground of His finished work, sin will have been entirely and for ever put away. Of course faith apprehends this even now; for "if any man be in Christ, there is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." But in what has been said we speak of the actual abolition of the presence of sin in the universe of God. E. D.

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We never find the Lord's own sufferings preventing Him from thinking of others. On the cross He can think of the thief, just as though He were not suffering Himself. If He had not time to eat, still He had always time enough to announce the truth to the crowd which followed Him; tired at Jacob's well, His heart does not grow weary of speaking of the living water, nor of looking into the poor Samaritan woman's conscience. He was never tired of doing good; and He is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.

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The true way of having the highest place is to serve, to consider oneself as the slave of the wants of other disciples.