Scripture Notes


John 5:21.

It can scarcely be doubted, when the whole context of this scripture is weighed, that the quickening by the Son goes on to and includes the resurrection of the body. Two very striking things are apparent: first, that the Son, become man, ever maintains entire subjection to, and dependence upon, the Father; and, secondly, that in all He did He acted in perfect communion with the Father. It could not indeed be otherwise, inasmuch as He came not to do His own will but the will of Him that sent Him; and as He Himself said to Philip, "The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works." So here, the Son can do nothing of (from) Himself, but what He seeth the Father do, for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. Then He adds, as bringing out the Father's complacent delight in the Son, and their perfect communion, the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. This lays the foundation of what we have in v. 21, but it will be observed that, while the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, the Son is only said to quicken whom He will. There is divine power and sovereignty in its exercise, but it is in quickening and not in resurrection. The reason of this, we apprehend, is found in v. 25. During the present period the dead hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear live; but in the hour that is coming all that are in the graves will hear His voice and will come forth in resurrection (vv. 28, 29). But then it must be remembered that the life received now through hearing His word secures, carries with it, resurrection. Thus in the next chapter it is, "Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." Even while down here eternal life may be known and possessed, but until our bodies are "fashioned like unto His glorious body" - the glorified body of Christ - we shall not be in the condition for its full enjoyment according to the counsels of God. It is on this account that we conclude that quickening in v. 21 contemplates, and indeed ensures, the resurrection of the body.


Matthew 26:29; Luke 22:16-18.

It would be a mistake to take these scriptures as meaning generally the same thing. The characteristic differences are most instructive, and, according to the divine wisdom of inspiration, in perfect harmony with the object of the two Gospels. It may be noted first of all that the expression "My Father's kingdom" is peculiar to Matthew (compare chap. 13:43); and it signifies the heavenly part of the kingdom during the thousand years, embracing as it does the glorified saints associated with Christ. This will help us to understand the Lord's words in this verse. He had taken the cup, and, after giving thanks, had given it to them, saying, "Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood of the new testament [covenant] which is shed for many for the remission of sins." It is remarkable, it may be said in passing, that the Lord thus travelled out, in this Gospel, to all the redeemed, for the "many" here could not be limited to Jewish believers. Then returning to the immediate circle of His disciples He added, "But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." Ever a Nazarite morally while passing through this world, He was about, through His death and resurrection, to become one (compare Rom. 6:10) actually, in departing from this world to the Father. But He comforted the hearts of His disciples by leading their thoughts onward to the time when in the kingdom of His Father He would renew His associations of joy with them in a new way. He thus showed them His "separation from all on earth" till the establishment of the kingdom. In Luke there are two things: first, that He desired to eat this last passover, before He suffered, with His disciples, "for" (He added) "I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God"; and, secondly, He would not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God should come. We gather, then, that the passover in all its blessed significance will be fulfilled in the kingdom (see Ezek. 45:21-25), and that then the Lord will renew His relationships of joy with His earthly people, as founded upon the efficacy of His sacrifice and death, which will ever be recalled in the celebration of the passover. The reader will notice that the institution of the Supper follows upon the words considered; and this fact makes it all the more plain that the Lord had in view the moral import of His death for His earthly saints in vv. 15-18. It was thus for the Lord Himself a total break of His relationships even with His disciples as men in the flesh; and at the same time it was the revelation of the fact that He could only renew His association with them in a new way in that new order of things which, in virtue of His death and resurrection, would be established in the kingdom. To remove all difficulty it should also be observed that the Church period is not here contemplated, whatever the blessed instruction that Christians may derive from these touching words.


1 Thessalonians 5:23.

"In general the words 'soul and spirit' are used without making any distinction between them, for the soul of man was formed very differently from that of animals, in that God breathed into his nostrils the breath (spirit) of life, and it was thus that man became a living soul. Therefore it suffices to say soul as to man, and the other (spirit) is supposed. Or, in saying spirit, in this sense the elevated character of the soul is expressed. The animal has also its natural affections, has a living soul, attaches itself, knows the persons who do it good, devotes itself to its master, loves him, will even give its life for him; but it has not that (the spirit) which can be in relationship with God," etc. This extract shows very plainly the difference between "soul" and "spirit."