Scripture Notes.


2 Kings 3:20.

It is of the deepest import to notice that the water of which Elisha had prophesied came "when the meat-offering was offered." A parallel case may help to explain it. When the Philistines came up against Israel in the days of Samuel, the children of Israel entreated the prophet to cry unto the Lord their God that He would save them out of the hand of the Philistines. "Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord: and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him." Then we read, that "as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them." (1 Samuel 7:7-10.) Now both the meat and the burnt offering, set forth different aspects of Christ: the former of His entire devotedness to God, proved and tested in manifold ways all through His life up to, and including, His death; the latter His perfect devotedness to the glory of God in death, at all costs, so to speak, inasmuch as He was showing forth His obedience in a new way and under new conditions - in the place of sin, and as made sin. The lesson therefore in both cases - in that of Samuel, and in that of Elisha - is that whenever God meets the need of His people, whether it be to succour them out of the hand of their enemies, or to turn the dry land into springs of water, it is in virtue of what Christ is before Him and what He has wrought. The difference in the respective offerings represents varying appreciations of Christ. Samuel's offering was neither a bullock nor a sheep (see Leviticus 1) - only a sucking lamb, but still Christ was prefigured. The offering in the camp of the three kings was but a meat-offering, stopping short of the sacrificial nature of the death of Christ, and of God being glorified by it. Yet it was Christ presented before God; and God, blessed be His name, acts for His people, not according to their apprehensions, but according to His own estimate of the preciousness of Christ and of His sacrifice. This is all our comfort and encouragement, that we can be before God in all the efficacy of Christ as understood by God Himself.


2 Corinthians 11:14; 1 Peter 5:8.

In the context of these two scriptures will be found the means of interpreting aright these different aspects of Satan's activity. It is evident that Paul had to contend with false teachers in the church at Corinth, with men who claimed also to be apostles (v. 13) and ministers of Christ. (v. 23.) They were probably Judaizers (v. 22), and on that very account would claim to be possessed of larger light, and, it may be, of a deeper spirituality. Thus they might beguile and lead astray simple souls. The apostle in this chapter strips off their mask, and, exposing their real character, designates them "false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ." He then morally identifies them with Satan (compare John 8:44), and points out that they were but imitating Satan, who "himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore," he adds, "it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness." This kind of activity on the part of Satan, acting through those who claimed to be teachers, partakes, it will be perceived, of the nature of a wile, as his object is not to terrify, but to deceive and entice the people of God. But in Peter, discovered to us as a roaring lion, seeking whom lie may devour, Satan is seen as stirring up persecution, inspiring the world-powers, it may be, with determined hostility to Christians, and with the resolution to exterminate them from the face of the earth. Traces of persecution indeed are found all through his first epistle. (Chap. 1:6-7; 3:14-16; 4:12-19.) Such are the two forms of Satan's opposition to Christ and His people. As with the blessed Lord Himself, Satan sought first to allure Him in the temptation in the wilderness, and then, having failed, banded together every class of the people in order to destroy Him, so with the saints, Satan will if possible seduce them, but if he cannot succeed in this way, he will, in order to terrify and to drive them from Christ, make them pass through the hottest fires of persecution he can kindle.


John 14:13-14; John 16:23-24.

We cannot conceive of any limitation of these wonderful scriptures. It is quite true that they were spoken to the eleven disciples, and that parts of these chapters have a special application to themselves, as, for example, chapter 15:16, 20, 21, 27, but every believer is in view when the Lord speaks of asking of the Father in His name. Indeed verse 12 shows, however it might have been first fulfilled in the experience of the apostles, that it widens out from them and includes all servants, if not all believers. It is, "he that believeth on me," even as in verse 21 it is, "he that hath my commandments, and keepeth them." This surely opens the door for all who are enabled through grace to answer to the conditions." Doubtless it is "ye" in our scriptures, but even so it is "ye" as representative, and we therefore hold that the Lord, speaking here as the Son,. accords the unspeakable privilege to every believer of appearing before the Father in His name. What then is involved in this? First and foremost, condition of soul; for it would be impossible to ask of the Father anything in the Son's name unless in communion with His own mind, with His own desires, objects, and interests. This presupposed, it teaches likewise that, when the believer thus approaches the Father, he appears there by the warrant and authority of the Son, and consequently in the Son's place, and with all the claim of the Son upon the Father's heart, with all the claim He has upon the Father in virtue of what He is, and in virtue of His having glorified Him on the earth and finished the work which the Father gave Him to do. It really amounts in this way to the same thing as the Son Himself asking of the Father; and if this is understood, the absolute, unconditioned promise - "If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it" - is at once explained.


Revelation 5.

Two things must be remembered in the interpretation of the scene; first, that it is in heaven, and, secondly, that it is future. In chapter 4:1, John is called up to heaven, for as he was now about to be instructed concerning events upon earth he must view them from heaven. Chapters 2 and 3 contain the history of the church on earth, from the loss of her first love in Ephesus to that nauseous, lukewarm condition in Laodicea, which draws down upon her the irreversible sentence of rejection as God's candlestick on earth. In chapter 4 the twenty-four elders, who certainly include the church, are seated on thrones round about the throne of God. This proves that the church has been caught up from the earth before the opening of the chapter. From this fact, moreover, it may be gathered that chapter 5 refers to the period after the rapture of the saints, as described in 1 Thess. 4, and before the appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. In fact, all the events in the book from chapter 4 to chapter 19:11 are comprised in the interval between the coming of our blessed Lord for, and His return with, His people. The book with the seven seals is the book of God's purposes for the earth, and we learn from the Lamb, as it had been slain, being the only one able to unloose its seals, that it is He alone in virtue of His death who will make good all that God is in government upon the earth. In His kingdom, which He will establish, He will vindicate God's name, and maintain His authority in the face of the whole universe. The Lamb, as it had been slain, already exalted in heaven, will then be exalted above all in the very scene of His rejection. It follows that the adoration of the elders, the ascriptions of the myriads of angels, and the burst of praise from every thing that hath breath, are all future. So far, heaven has never yet heard the songs of the redeemed, excepting from the saints on earth, and hence in the worship of the saints eternity and its eternal occupation are anticipated.