Scripture Notes.

p. 305.


Luke 12:35-37.

The returning from the wedding in verse 36 does not apply to our Lord. It is only an illustration to show, by the comparison introduced, the suited attitude for those who are awaiting the return of Christ for His people. This is clearly seen in the original. First, the Lord says, "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;" and then, in order to press home the exhortation, He adds, "And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their own lord, when he will" (whenever he may) "return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately." It will thus be seen that the illustration runs on to the end of the verse; and what the Lord enjoins by its use is, that just as menservants, uncertain of the time when their master might come back from the wedding, stand waiting inside the house, with their hand as it were on the door, ready to throw it open on the first intimation of his approach, so believers should be found maintaining, while careful also that they are morally ready, the constant expectancy of the coming of their Lord. There is therefore no thought whatever of dispensational teaching through the figure of the wedding in the passage; but it goes entirely to the one point of urging preparedness for and expectancy of the Lord's return. This may be seen from verse 37; for after pronouncing the blessedness of those whom the Lord shall find watching when He cometh, He proceeds to say, "Verily I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them." All know that the Lord took upon Him the form of a servant when He came to earth, and also that He still carries on, at the right hand of God, His service on behalf of His people; but here we learn that, after He has come for His saints, it will still be His delight, in the glory itself, to minister to His own. The heart may well be filled to overflowing with wonder and praise in the contemplation of such ineffable grace!


John 3:36; 2 Corinthians 5:20.

There is no inconsistency, it need hardly be remarked, between these two scriptures. In the former, the position of the sinner is given; in the latter, the attitude of God in grace towards the sinner in that position. "He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." He is, in fact, condemned already ("has been already judged"), though the sentence of judgment be not yet executed. Still, he is "under" the wrath of God, which is his due; for, as we read in Romans 1, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness. But the day of grace has interposed to postpone the visitation of the righteous judgment of God upon sinners; and during this period He assumes, in the gospel, the attitude of entreaty, beseeching men to be reconciled unto Him, on the ground of Christ having made peace through the blood of His cross. (Col. 1.) All by nature are the children of wrath (Eph. 2); but on receiving the message of the gospel, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are turned from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God; moreover, we are set in a totally new place before God in Christ, where there is no condemnation, and we are delivered from the wrath to come. (Romans 8; 1 Thess. 1.) Rejecting the gospel, the sinner is judged according to his works, as also for his slighting and despising grace, as presented in Christ, and he inherits the righteous doom of God's wrath for eternity. Already under it, he is now overwhelmed by it, since it falls upon him as the execution of God's pronounced judgment upon lost sinners. (Compare 2 Thess. 1:7-9.)


John 20:17, 26-29.

"As to her position, Mary Magdalene represented the Jewish remnant attached to the Person of the Lord, but ignorant of the glorious counsels of God. She thought to have found Jesus again, risen no doubt, but come again into this world to take the place that was due to Him, and to satisfy the affections of those who had left everything for Him in the days of His humiliation, despised of the world, and denied by His people. But she could not have Him thus now. A glory far more excellent, of far greater extent, was in the thoughts of God, and blessing for us far more precious. In receiving Christ she could not rightly receive Him, but according to the thoughts of God with regard to the Saviour. Only her attachment to the Lord opened this blessed path to her. 'Touch Me not,' the Lord says; 'for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.'" She could not have the Lord, even when risen, as come again as Messiah upon earth. He must first of all ascend to His Father and receive the kingdom, then return; but there was much more. A work had been accomplished that placed Him, as Man and Son always, with the Father in glory - Man in this blessed relationship; but it was a work of redemption that set His own, redeemed according to the value of that work, in the same glory and in the same relationships as Himself." It was on this very account that the Jewish remnant, represented by Mary, becomes in this message "the company of the Son, associated with Him in the power of the privileges into which He has entered, as risen from amongst the dead." The Lord therefore forbade Mary to touch Him, that He might communicate to her, and to His own through her, this far more exalted and heavenly position and relationship into which they had now been brought through His death and resurrection.

Thomas, on the other hand, is a type of the Jewish remnant in the last days, who will own their Messiah only when they see Him. "For they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced." (Zechariah 12) His confession, when he is convinced by seeing the risen Christ, "My Lord and my God," makes this evident. For "Lord God" are the titles by which the Jew has in the past, and the Jew will in the future, address their covenant God; whereas "God and Father," as seen in verse 17, are the names used by Christians as associated with Christ in His own relationships. It is very clear therefore that we have in this scripture a "sketch of the dispensations of God." E. D.