Scripture Notes


John 5:30.

It is undoubted, at least in our judgment, that when the Lord says, "As I hear, I judge," He refers to hearing, not from man, but from the Father. The last word of the previous verse is really "judgment," and not "damnation." It is necessary to observe this to understand the connection. Thereupon, after speaking of the resurrection of judgment (and this must bring in what is said in verse 27), He proceeds, "I can of Mine own self do nothing," that is even in executing judgment as the Son of man; as we also read in verse 19, "The Son can do nothing of [or from] Himself, but what He seeth the Father do." Then He adds, as explaining this, "As I hear, I judge." Invested thus with authority to judge all who will be brought before the great white throne, all the unconverted dead of every age and dispensation, He will act in communion with, and in dependence upon, the Father. Every sentence He passes will be the expression of the mind of God, for the very reason that as He hears, He will judge. What follows will justify this interpretation, for He says, "My judgment is just; because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me." In the judgment, therefore, He will do the will of God, just as He did it in every step of His pathway upon the earth.


John 6:54; 1 Corinthians 10:16.

"Is there any difference in the significance of these two scriptures. If so, what is it?"

There is, we think, a very marked distinction. To take the last first, the cup of blessing which we bless, and the bread which we break, express our identification and fellowship with the death of Christ in this world. In the act of partaking we avow that we are in fellowship with the One who, as far as this world is concerned, is dead. We thus take our place as associated with Him in death, and as thus outside of man and man's world. True it is that through His death we, as associated with Him in it, pass on to new ground - resurrection ground, but we confine ourselves here to the aspect presented in 1 Cor. 10. Passing now to John 6, the first thing to be noted is that after v. 53 the eating and drinking are continuous. In 1 Cor. 10 it is an act, though repeated whenever we partake of the Lord's Supper, whereas in John it is something to be maintained - something which goes on in the soul - in order to the enjoyment of eternal life. What we have then in John is the constant appropriation of the death of Christ in the power of the Holy Ghost; and thus abidingly identified with it, we are morally (in spirit and in life) outside of this world, and brought into that blessed circle of divine affections where eternal life is known and enjoyed. This will be more fully perceived if connected with verse 40. In Corinthians, then, the eating and drinking speak of what we are in this world as in fellowship with the death of Christ; in John it is rather the condition for the enjoyment of eternal life.


Acts 6:1; Acts 11:20, etc.

A difference is intended between the terms "Grecians" and "Greeks" in the Authorised Translation. By "Grecians" are meant Greek-speaking Jews, or, to use the technical term, Hellenists, in contradistinction to the Jews who spoke Hebrew. Thus, in Acts 6:1, the Hellenists (those whose ordinary language was Greek) murmured against their brethren who used the Hebrew, because they thought that there was favouritism in "the daily ministration." There was always a tendency on the part of the Hebrew-speaking Jews to look down upon their brethren who were not acquainted with, or who did not use, the sacred tongue. The same class is indicated in Acts 13; but it is now known to be a mistaken reading: it should be "Greeks," and not "Grecians." This term "Greeks" is apparently employed in two senses: first to describe their nationality, that is, that they belonged to the Greek people; and secondly in a general way to express the nations, Gentiles, in contrast with Jews. Acts 20:21, 1 Corinthians 1:23-24, etc., may be adduced as examples of this. A little attention to the context will soon enable the reader to detect the special signification of these words, and thus to understand whether Jews or Gentiles are in the mind of the writer. The Syrophenician woman was probably a Gentile rather than of the Greek nation.


Revelation 22:14.

There is scarcely a doubt that this passage should read, as in the Revised Version, "Blessed are they that have washed their robes," etc., but it may certainly be questioned whether the explanatory addition, "in the blood of the Lamb," which is found in some versions, conveys the mind of the Spirit of God. It is quite true that we read in chapter 7: "These are they which … have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb"; and at first sight this might seem to govern the interpretation of chapter 22:14. A closer examination of the passage, however, leads to another conclusion. There are two actions mentioned: "They have washed their robes," and "they made them white." It is quite possible that the second action expresses the effect of the first; still the words, "in the blood of the Lamb," follow the second. What we have to ascertain, then, is the force of these words. Let it be said at once that the phrase, "in the blood of the Lamb," has the meaning of "in the virtue" or "in the power of the blood of the Lamb," and it is often so rendered in the New Translation. (See, for example, Rom. 5:9.) Accepting this as the true significance of the words, we shall read that this multitude, which no man could number, had washed their robes, and made them white in virtue of the blood of Christ. By this we understand that they, being under the efficacy of His precious blood, and rejoicing in its cleansing efficacy as to the guilt of their sins, had, moreover, washed their robes and made them white, had gone on to maintain holiness of walk and conduct through constant self-judgment and the application of the Word. Our reason for this conclusion is twofold: First, that robes or garments always represent, when used symbolically in the Old Testament scriptures, a man's habits and surroundings; and, secondly, that they were washed with water, never with blood. Thus, after the leper had been sprinkled with the blood of the bird which had been killed, he was to wash his clothes … and wash himself in water that he might be clean. (See also Lev. 15 for numerous illustrations of washing the clothes of a defiled person in water.) When, therefore, we read, "Blessed are they that have washed their robes, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city," we understand it of practical meetness for heaven, in a word, of holiness, and as thus agreeing with the Scripture, "Holiness [or "sanctification"], without which no man shall see the Lord." This is of great moment, for while insisting, and vehemently insisting, when necessary, that none who are not under the value of the blood of Christ before God can follow after holiness, it is an essential of the Christian faith to press earnestly upon all who claim to be on the ground of the death of Christ that sanctification or holiness is that to which we are called (1 Thess. 4:7); and hence it was the apostle's desire for the Thessalonian believers that the very God of peace might sanctify them wholly, and that their whole spirit and soul and body might be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.