Scripture Notes.


Luke 24:39; 1 Corinthians 15:90.

There is the widest possible difference between these two scriptures. In Luke our blessed Lord is opening the eyes of His doubting disciples to the reality of His resurrection body. "They were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit." "No," He says in effect, "I am not a spirit"; and to convince them of this, He said, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have." The body prepared for Him, in which He came to do the will of God (Hebrews 10), was not, like ours, a mortal, but a holy body. He arose from the dead therefore with the same body as that in which He was crucified; and hence He showed them His hands and His feet, through which He had been nailed to the bitter tree. But while it was the same body, even though He was not yet glorified, it was in another, a resurrection, condition, a condition which He describes as "flesh and bones." Of His incarnation it is said, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same," etc., and this at once shows the difference as to His resurrection state. But we can only wonder and adore as we thus recall His infinite grace, and His tenderness in dealing with His poor timid and doubting disciples, and remind ourselves, at the same time, that in speaking of such a subject it must be with bowed and reverent hearts. Passing on to the statement in 1 Cor. 15, it is clear that the apostle is speaking of our mortal bodies, teaching that these mortal and corrupt bodies, "the image of the earthy," cannot inherit the kingdom of God. For lie proceeds to point out that the living saints, at the Lord's coming, will be changed, and that the dead will be raised incorruptible. Then when death is thus swallowed up in victory, as we have in our mortal bodies borne the image of the earthy, we shall bear the image of the heavenly, and thus be suited in body, as well as in soul and spirit, for that new sphere and state into which we shall be introduced at the coming of the Lord.


1 Samuel 14:21-22.

The change in this scripture in the use of the terms "Hebrews" and "the men of Israel" is very significant, and is easily explained. Those who had abandoned the ground of the people of God, and had identified themselves with their enemies, with the Philistines, are called Hebrews. The Spirit of God will not own them as of Israel, even though in the day of victory they turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan. On the other hand, the weak and fearful ones who, remaining in their place, yet hid themselves because of the enemy, are denominated "men of Israel." A distinction is thus drawn between those who had openly allied themselves with the Philistines, and those who, being afraid of their enmity, concealed themselves for safety. God knew the frame of these feeble ones, and remembered that they were dust. In chapter 13:3-4 another lesson may be learned. Jonathan, in the energy of his faith, counting upon God as his helper, had smitten the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba. Saul, elated with the success, exalted in his own estimation by his foolish pride, and claiming the honour of the victory for himself, blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, "Let the Hebrews hear." Acting as a natural man, he viewed the people of God as natural men, and gave them their natural name. But the Spirit of God records that "all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines," etc. We may fail to remember the true place of God's people, but He will always view them as His chosen ones, unless indeed they become apostates through fear or the seduction of their adversary. It cannot, therefore, be too much insisted upon that God's thoughts of His people should ever be our thoughts.


Philippians 3:3.

The word translated "rejoice" in these verses is not the same. In v. 1 it is the same word as is rendered "rejoice" in Phil. 4:4, and means spiritual joy. In 3:3 it signifies to glory, or to make our boast in - a word the apostle often uses. For example, it is found in Romans 5:2-3, 11; 1 Cor. 1:31; Galatians 6:14, and in many other places. The examination of the connection of these several scriptures will at once reveal its significance. In Phil. 3:3 Paul has the Jewish teachers in his mind, who prided themselves upon their carnal rites and ordinances; and it is in contrast with all this, which only tended to exalt man, that he says, "We are the circumcision, who … rejoice [make our boast in] Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." In 1 Cor. 1:31 the contrast is with human wisdom and human power, in which man naturally glories. For the Christian - man having been for ever set aside in judgment in the cross of Christ - everything is found in Christ glorified, the Man of God's counsels (v. 30), and hence it is the apostle says, "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." The reader will find much profit and edification in reviewing the other examples cited. Turning again for a moment to Phil. 3:1 and 4:4, the lesson there is that in the Lord alone is our true spiritual joy to be found, and not only so, but also that it may always be found there, for the exhortation is, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." If we seek our joy in our experiences, or in Christian fellowship, we shall be infallibly disappointed; but, if we turn only to the Lord for it, we shall discover an overflowing fountain, the streams whereof, filling our own hearts, will run over in continual thanksgiving and praise. As another has said, "When through exercise of heart we are weaned from all other springs, His joy remains in all its purity, and our concern for others partakes of this same purity. Nothing, moreover, troubles this joy, because Christ never changes. The better we know Him, the better are we able to enjoy that which is ever enlarging through knowing Him. But He exhorts Christians to rejoice: it is a testimony to the worth of Christ, it is their true portion. Four years in prison chained to a soldier had not hindered his doing it, nor being able to exhort others more at ease than he."