Scripture Notes


Revelation 2:14; 3:20.

There is a very significant connection between these two scriptures. From the first we learn that in the assembly at Pergamos there were those that held the doctrine of Balaam; and from the second we gather that this evil leaven had so spread that it characterized the state of Thyatira. It is true that there were a few who maintained a holy separation from it, but Jezebel, who had adopted and publicly taught it, was allowed even by the angel of the assembly; and it was this fact which drew forth the solemn exposure of the evil, and the condemnation of those who tolerated it, from the Son of God, "who hath His eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass." (v. 11.) What, then, is the nature of these evils? Through the counsel of Balaam, finding that he could not curse Israel, God's people were seduced to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab, and in addition, being invited unto the sacrifices of their gods, "the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods." (Numbers 15:1-2; 31:16.) Such were the actual sins of the children of Israel; and what spiritually answers to these will be the teaching of Balaam for Christians. It is clear from many scriptures that spiritual fornication is alliance with the world. The assembly is espoused as a chaste virgin to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2); if therefore she is unfaithful to Christ, and courts the world's favour, she falls into this sin. "To eat things sacrificed to idols" is equally plain. By eating we understand appropriation, and consequently identification with the thing eaten (see 1 Cor. 10:16-21); and we thus gather that when the assembly identifies herself with the world in homage, for example, to its objects of admiration or veneration, she is really partaking of the things sacrificed to idols. If so, Christendom is full of this sin, for even so-called Christian edifices are turned, on every hand, into temples for the world's idols. Great warriors, poets, statesmen, and others have - apart even from the question whether they were Christians - their statues placed in buildings which claim to be the house of God. But the evil may go deeper. If in our hearts we unite with the world in the incense offered to its great men, or to its objects of praise, we have to this extent the doctrine of Balaam. The means of deliverance are to be found in the words of the apostle (and in no other way), "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."


John 13:30.

Of course it is, in the first place, the actual fact that it was night, to which John refers, when Judas, having received the sop, went out from the presence of his Lord. But in view of the solemn character of the moment, and of his awful moral condition - for Satan had then entered into him (v. 27) - there can be no manner of doubt that it was intended that we should be arrested by the moral significance of the statement. Jesus had said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world"; for in Him was life, and the life was the light of men. As such He surely sat at the Passover table in the midst of His disciples, and hence, when Judas turned his back upon Him and went out under the power of Satan, it was indeed night in his soul. He loved darkness rather than light, because his deeds were evil; for every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. The "spirit" of this scripture lies clearly in its spiritual teaching, and it thus conveys a very solemn admonition to all who have their faces turned away from Christ.