Scripture Notes



Isaiah 6:13.

It is only necessary to consult the Revised and other versions of the Old Testament to discover the difficulty of giving an exact rendering of this scripture. Perhaps the following paraphrase, which we borrow from a well-known exposition, will help the reader to the understanding of its meaning: - "And yet, even after the entire desolation which had been first mentioned (v. 11) - in it - the desolated land - (there shall remain) a tenth or tithe  -  here put indefinitely for a small proportion - and (even this tenth) shall return and be for a consuming - i.e. shall again be consumed - but still not utterly, for - like the terebinth and like the oak - the two most common forest trees of Palestine - which, in falling - in their fallen state, or when felled - have substance or vitality in them - so a holy seed shall be, or is the substance - vital principle - of it - the tenth or remnant which appeared to be destroyed. However frequently the people may seem to be destroyed, there shall still be a surviving remnant, and however frequently that very remnant may appear to perish, there shall still be a remnant of the remnant left, and this indestructible residuum shall be the holy seed … the 'remnant according to the election of grace.'" The words in italics in the above extract are the translation, and the rest is explanatory according to the judgment of the author. If we now append J. N. Darby's French version, the reader will be able to compare it with the foregoing (we give a free rendering): "But there shall be there again a tenth; and it shall return, and it shall be as the terebinth and the oak, of which the trunk [remains] when they are cut down: the holy seed shall be the trunk." The general significance may thus be clearly apprehended. It is to the effect, as stated above, that whatever desolating judgments may be poured out upon Israel, there will always be a holy seed remaining, which will one day appear, just as the trunk of an oak or terebinth will send forth new shoots after having been 'felled to the ground. Some have connected Isaiah 11:1 with this passage, and it is quite true that the word rendered "substance" in chapter 6, and "stem" in chapter 11, are both (they are different words) used of a trunk of a tree; but in the former case it is the nation, or at least the remnant, which is indicated, whereas in the latter it is the family of David - "the stem of Jesse." Doubtless the preservation of the remnant, the maintenance of its life and blessing, are bound up with the Branch that shall grow out of Jesse's roots, with David's Son and David's Lord, and in this sense the connection is most intimate. As attention has been recently directed to it, another thing may be observed. In chap. 6:12, the word given as "men" is in the singular, and hence it has been suggested that the passage points to God's judgment on man, in the cross of Christ, as the foundation of all the blessing promised. It cannot be too often repeated that the setting aside of the first man in judgment is the foundation for the accomplishment of all God's counsels concerning the second Man out of heaven: but whether this truth lies in this scripture is another question. In the first place the word rendered "men" - "Adam" - has no plural, and hence it is constantly used in a collective sense for men in general, as well as for the race; and, secondly, the context would seem plainly to point to the removing of the guilty nation in judgment. At the same time, as already said, the introduction of the new order of things on earth, under the sway of Emmanuel, can only flow from the death of Christ (see John 11:51) and the judgment which was there visited upon all that man was, and upon his deeds. The whole subject is worthy of the most careful consideration.


Matthew 19:28; Titus 3:5.

It is only in these two passages that the word "regeneration" is found. No doubt in theological usage it is used as equivalent to new birth, or being born again (John 3); but, in fact, the word used for the latter is different in its compound. That there may be a moral connection between the two things signified is quite probable; for "except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," that new state of things - outside the dominion of Satan - where God's authority is owned as supreme. Attention to the use of "regeneration" in Matthew will help to the consideration of the second passage. It is evident, then, that the Lord is speaking of His coming kingdom in this world. He says plainly, "When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory." This consequently is the time of the "regeneration" of which mention is made. It will thus mean, in this connection, that totally new order of things which will be introduced under the reign of the Son of man in this world - a change so great as to amount to a complete renewal of the face of the earth, and one which could only be accomplished by divine power in resurrection. (See Phil. 3:21.) Passing now to Titus, we see at once that the application of the word is not to the future, but to the present, and hence that it indicates a new order of things spiritually, into which believers are now introduced. This will be clear if the whole passage be cited. It says, "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost," etc. It is thus connected with the process of our salvation, and is wholly the work of God. The term "washing of regeneration" is very significant, as it points to the application of water through the Word to cleanse - and to cleanse by its removal - that which was utterly defiled and corrupt before God. It involves, therefore, "a passage from the state we were in into a wholly new one, from flesh by death into the status of a risen Christ." The "regeneration" will here then go on to the new creation. But there is also the renewing of the Holy Ghost; so that there might be constant growth and an inward state in correspondence with the new order of things to which we now belong (compare as to the "renewing," Col. 3:10); and this renewing can only be produced by the unceasing power and activity of the Holy Spirit. How diligent, then, should we be to seek grace for the maintenance of an ungrieved Spirit within us from day to day


Hebrews 7:18-19.

If the reader has the New Translation at hand, he will perceive that the obscurity of our version is entirely removed. As it stands it reads, that while the law perfected nothing, "the bringing in of a better hope did." But this is not at all the sense. What the apostle shows is, that the Levitical priesthood is superseded, or set aside, by the Melchizedek priesthood of our blessed Lord, and that, "the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." (v. 12.) Then, in verse 18, we are told why "the commandment going before" has been disannulled, namely, because of its weakness and unprofitableness, "for," he adds, parenthetically, "the law made nothing perfect," and then, besides the disannulling of the commandment going before, there is also, in connection with the Melchizedek priesthood, the introduction of a better hope, by which we draw nigh to God. This makes the passage intelligible. We append the version to which we have referred: "For there is a setting aside of the commandment going before for its weakness and unprofitableness (for the law perfected nothing), and the introduction of a better hope, by which we draw nigh to God."