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Nov 172019
 
Purpose, Promise and Performance …


The present Study arose out of an attempt to help a Bible Study leader to show how rational was the principle of “Right Division”, by asking at the outset of any Bible study the questions Which? Who? When? and Where? but found that when the question “Why?” was put, a different category involving the question of Purpose was introduced. This is a matter for the most careful research, much exploration and illumination, and it is not at all unlikely that when we reach the last page we shall not have arrived at a complete answer. However, the Scriptures have been written as a revelation of all that may be known or should be known of the Divine Purpose. Providing we realize our limitations and avoid the attitude against which the Apostle warned the Colossians of “intruding into those things which he hath not seen”, we cannot but be pleasing to our gracious God if we manifest a desire to understand something of His wonderful purposes, even thought we limit our investigations to that phase which belongs to the dispensation of the Mystery.

Let us open our study with a salutary reminder or two. Zophar, one of Job’s three friends, said:

  • “Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” (Job 11:7).

We quote next the A.V. [Authorized Version] and Moffatt’s translation of Ecclesiastes 3:11, because of its ambiguity in most English versions:

  • “He hath made everything beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world (Heb. olam ‘age’) in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end” (Eccles. 3:11).
  • “He assigned each to its proper time, but for the mind of man He has appointed mystery (olam Heb. a period of undefined limits, an age), that man may never fathom God’s own purpose from beginning to end” (Eccles. 3:11 Moffatt).

The Scriptures themselves lead us to expect to be baffled, especially regarding the beginning and the end of God’s purpose, but we remind ourselves with much comfort and assurance that Christ Himself is “the Beginning and the Ending”, and to know Him will provide keys to unlock the hidden purpose of God. The Apostle also warned the Corinthians saying:

  • “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:11).
  • “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away . . . for now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.”

Or as Moffatt renders the passage:

  • “At present we only see the baffling reflections in a mirror, but then it will be face to face” (1 Cor. 13:9-12).

The writer of this article has no fuller revelation given to him than to others, of the purpose of God which is being wrought out through the ages; he stands exactly where the reader himself stands. He has opened the Bible, and the opportunity to “search the Scriptures” must ever remind us of the limitation which those self-same Scriptures set upon our search.

Purpose in the Old Testament

The A.V. uses the English word “purpose” to translate eight Hebrew words, and two Greek words. The verb “to purpose” is translated by seven Hebrew and six Greek words. These original words mean a word, device, delight, thought, work, counsel, desire, foundation and intention. Whether we can hope to solve the problems that are associated with the outworking of this purpose or not, it is a comfort to realize that the Scriptures gives us every assurance that, however inexplicable certain happenings and developments may appear to us, all are known, all are under control, and when the time is ripe we “shall know, even as we are known”. With this limiting proviso in mind, we can now freely meditate on all that is written, and refrain from intruding where no explanation has been given.

First let Ecclesiastes speak:

  • “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccles. 3:1).

This is salutary. To know or to reveal any part of God’s purpose before the appointed time could be disastrous and play into the hands of the Great Enemy. This explains the evasive answer to the Apostles’ question, recorded in Acts 1:6. It may be well to remind ourselves that the Serpent did not tempt Adam and Eve to commit some brutal or degrading sin, but to “be as God, knowing good and evil”, which though forbidden while man was in his infancy, is the very mark of those who are “perfect” or “full grown” (Hebr. 5:14). Moses desired to see the glory of God, but was told that he could only look upon His “back parts”; the time had not then come for the fuller revelations of God’s purpose that are found in the New Testament. Even there we are not given a complete revelation “from the beginning unto the end”, but are pointed on to a future day of complete revelation.

The word translated “seasons” in Ecclesiastes means an appointed and appropriate time, and is expanded in the words of Habakkuk, and although it is not the same Hebrew word that is there translated, it is an inspired commentary and a word to guide and assure when we feel baffled. We subdivide the passage so that each portion may speak clearly.

  1. “The vision is yet for an appointed time,
  2. but at the end it shall speak, and not lie:
  3. though it tarry, wait for it:
  4. because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Hab. 2:3).

There can be no altering or hurrying the fulfillment of God’s purposes; our attitude is to rest assured that any appearance of delay is only because of our own ignorance and limitation. The attitude of heart that God looks for in the perplexed believer is that :

5. “The just shall live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4).

which is an exceedingly practical as well as a basic truth. Ecclesiastes speaks twice more about the purpose of God and its relation to time:

  • “I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work” (Eccles. 3:17).
  • “Because to every purpose there is a time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him” (Eccles. 8:6).

The context of these passages needs examining, but for the moment we are listening the different references to the Purpose of God in order that all that is said may be before us as we go into details. Another thing to remember is that the purposes of God are the results of “counsel”. They are not the arbitrary dictates of a despot.

  • “Without counsel purposes are disappointed” (Prov. 15:22).
  • “Every purpose is established by counsel” (Prov. 20:18).

Here the essential feature is “counsel”. A Specific purpose occupies Jeremiah’s prophecy, that which deals with the overthrow of Babylon.

  • “Therefore hear ye the counsel of the Lord, that He hath taken against Babylon, and his purposes, that He hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans . . . At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved” (Jer. 50:45,46).
  • “Every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Babylon” (Jer. 51:29).

Here judgment of evil and the certainty of its performance are stressed. This is true also of the Assyrian oppressor:

  • “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass, and as I have purposed so shall it stand.”
  • “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth . . . who shall disannul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back” (Isa. 14:24-27).

Quite apart from what is purposed, we see from these verses that there can be no disannuling of the purposes of God, whether for judgment or for blessing, as Jeremiah and Isaiah declare.

  • “Every purpose . . . shall be performed.” (Jer. 51:29).
  • “Declaring the end from the beginning . . . saying My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isa. 46:10).

Purpose of the New Testament

  1. Prothesis, something “set before” the mind, a resolution.
  2. Tithemi, the verb to purpose, to set or to place.
  3. Bouleuomai, to wish, to take counsel.
  4. Poieo, To make or to do.
  5. Proaireomai, To choose, to take one before another.

Let us acquaint ourselves with the context and usage of these words in the New Testament, and become more acquainted with their inner meaning.

Prothesis. Four times it is used in connexion with shewbread (Matt. 12:4; Mark 2:26; Luke 6:4 and Heb. 9:2) literally “The bread of setting before”. It is used of Paul’s own purpose and of others, but we are concerned with the purpose of God, so we read “the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28), which is followed by such terms as predestination. There is the danger of missing the sovereign will of God that lies behind His purpose, for we read in Romans 9:11,12:

  • “For the children, being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth; it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.”

The Prison Epistle uses this term three times, and their meaning and place in the overall scheme is too implicit to deal with at this stage. We will give these references, but wait for a fuller exposition, after we have considered the remaining terms that are set out before us:

  • “In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His Own will (Eph. 1:11).
  • “According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:11).
  • “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling; not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim. 1:9).

We leave the correction of one or two of these words in the A.V. until later.

Tithemi, which gives us the word Thesis in prothesis just examined, is variously translated appoint, set forth, lay down, ordain, to lay as a foundation, to put, as all enemies under His feet, all of which have a bearing on the question of purpose, to be considered presently.

Poieo. In one passage, namely in Ephesians 3:11, the clause “which He purposed” employs the word usually translated “to make or to do”, which at first reads somewhat strangely when we read of the “eternal purpose which He MADE in Christ Jesus”, but the word has wide significance. Dr. Bullinger’s comment in his Lexicon is:

  • “To make, i.e. to form, produce, to bring about, cause, spoken of any external act as manifested in the production of something tangible and obvious to the senses, and referring to completed action.”

If that is what is purposed in Christ Jesus, how great is our joy and confidence.

It is not our intention to attempt to examine the whole … … …

 Posted by at 10:37
Nov 112019
 
The apostasy of Christendom began in the departure from the teaching committed to the apostel Paul

DEPARTURE from the teaching of the Pauline Epistles was the beginning of apostasy in the Church — the commencement of the dark ages. The Reformation was an awakening to sense of this disobedience, but it was only “in part”; and the condition of the Protestant Evangelical Churches to-day exhibits as sad a condition, from another point of view, as the Church before the Reformation, and needs another Reformation, as great, though of another kind and in a different direction.

To see the root causes of this confusion we shall have to go back to the beginning, and see what Paul’s ministry really was, and was intended to be. It is recorded in Acts xiii. – xxviii. It is not taken up until after the record of Peter’s ministry is closed.

Paul (Acts xiii. – xxviii.) proclaims to Jews and Gentiles alike, perfection, apart from all ordinances, in union with Christ (Messias), in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. He preaches Christ as the Head of His Body, the Church [ecclesia]. He declares “all the council of God” (Acts xx. 27). He “fully preaches the word of God” (Col. 1. 25, margin). Paul’s ministry completes the testimony which thus, in connection with the Parable of the Great Supper (Luke xiv. 15-24], ends in grace; while the ministry of Peter and the Twelve, in connection with the Parable of the Dinner, ends in judgment, see Matt. xxii. 7 {[his armies. The Roman armies. burned up their city. Gr. empretho, Occ. only here. This refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, which took place shortly after the close of the Acts Dispensation – Companion Bible / http://www.levendwater.org]} where we have the significant words: “He sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers and burnt up their city.”

This refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, while the Third ministry (begun by Paul) to the Gentiles is carried on after that destruction, during the National rejection, and while Jerusalem lies desolate. No words could more distinctly express the present dispensation of Grace [Gr. oikonomia – Eph. iii. 2] to the Gentiles given to the apostle Paul.

After speaking the Parable of the Great Supper, the Lord first lays down the great truth that those who receive Him must be prepared to give up all connected with Judaism (Luke xiv. 26,27), as exemplified by Paul in Phil. iii. 4-14, where all that he once counted as “gain,” he counted as dross and loss for Christ’s sake.

This is followed by three solemn illustrations as to this coming change in the dispensation, ending with the words (v. 35), “he that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” They are the “Tower,” the “King,” and the “Salt.” These are given after the rejection of Israel had been spoken of in verse 24. Three solemn warnings are conveyed by these as to the folly of claiming the apostolic commission and authority when not possessing apostolic power: the warning which Christendom did not heed, and the error into which it has fallen.

THE BUILDING OF THE TOWER (Luke xiv. 28-30).

The Lord gave authority and power to His apostles to gather a people to His great supper (Luke ix. 1; Mark xvi. 15-18; Luke xxiv. 47-49; Acts ii. 38, and xv. 14). This was connected first of all with Jerusalem (Acts i. 4), and with Himself as the King of Israel and Lord of all.This authority and power ceased with the apostles to whom they were given, and they never were and never could be transmitted by them to others.

The apostles exercised this authority and power. They baptized; and, by the laying on of hands, they conferred miraculous gifts; but they could not transmit to those recipients the authority and power to give those gifts and signs to others. And when the ministry of the kingdom ended, Paul’s ministry of “the gospel of the grace of God” was to be continued and carried on among Jews and Gentiles alike, calling out the members of Christ’s Spiritual Body until that Body should be complete.

By this illustration of the “Tower” the Lord warns us not to claim this apostolic authority, unless we have the power to complete the work by the laying-on-of-hands, and the bestowal of miraculous gifts, which were the inseparable signs of that power and that authority.

In other words we are not to begin to “build,” unless we are able to “finish.”

Instead of this, men soon began to build the Church upon the foundations of the Kingdom; they began to build this Tower, and they went to war with the great enemy. They assumed to act in “apostolic succession,” but were destitute of its authority and power. The result of this attempt to build the Tower is another Babel (Gen. xi.), and it will now soon end in another Babylon (Rev. xvii.). That which claims to be the continuation of the ministry committed to the twelve apostles becomes “Babylon, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” / http://www.weguitbabylon.nl

[HET BLOED SCHREEUWT UIT DE AARDE – De hartverscheurende geschiedenis van een eeuwenlange Jodenvervolging in Christelijk Europa en Gods antwoord hierop – Wim Verwoerd / boek is voorradig]

The Lord Jesus sent forth His apostles to proclaim the Kingdom of God, with power and authority over all devils (Luke ix. 1). This was the proof that the Kingdom of God was come to Israel (Luke xi. 20). The Lord warns men not to proclaim the King or the Kingdom unless they had power to cast out Satan, the great king who is opposed to them. If they have not this power, their true course is to act as ambassadors, seeking the peace of those who are afar off.

The parable teaches plainly the change in the character of the gospel as sent to the Gentiles by Paul from its character as addressed by Peter and the Twelve to Israel. To Israel it proclaimed the Lord Jesus as the King, by His apostles as the heralds of His authority and power; but now to the Gentiles, afar off, the ministers of the Gospel are ambassadors of Christ, desiring His enemies to be reconciled to God.

Those, therefore, who in any sense lay claim to the figment of “Apostolic Succession,” and those also who, while they reject it, yet ignorantly assume the continuation of the apostolic ministry (after the authority, and power, and sign-gifts have alike ceased), are trying to build this Tower, but are unable to finish it. Nay, worse, far worse than this, this building results in another tower of Babel–for confusion is the meaning of its name, and confusion is what we see everywhere around us. They are unable to cope with the great king with whom they contend: they “forsake” not those things that hey have (v. 33), and they cannot be, the Lord Jesus says, “My disciples.” They may pretend to be the Apostles’ successors, but are not Christ’s disciples.

The great lesson for us lies in the fact that the apostasy of Christendom began in the departure from the teaching committed to Paul concerning “The Mystery,” or the great Secret concerning the Church of God [ecclesia] as the Body of Christ, “the pillar and ground” of all Church truth.

ORDINANCES ARE THE TEST!

Paul’s “teaching” declares that Christ is made of God the Head of the Church [ecclesia], which is His Body, and that true believers are the “members of Christ,” in dwelt by the “one Spirit,” wherewith, by the “one baptism,” they have been baptized by the “one Lord,” into the “one Body” (Eph. iv.); that these members of Christ are sanctified in Christ; and are called by God into fellowship with His Son; that they are one Spirit with Him, and are “the temple of the living God.”

For these, “Christ hath abolished in his flesh, the law of commandments contained in ordinances.” Colossians ii gives us their true standing. They are “complete in Him” (v. 10). Hence, their circumcision is that which is “made without hands,” being “the circumcision of Christ” (v. 11); and if their circumcision is effected without hands, then, of necessity their baptism must be of the same character. Their baptism is Christ’s burial (v. 12): for them, ordinances are “blotted out” and “taken out of the way” (v. 14), and they are asked Why, if they died with Christ from the rudiments (i.e. religious ordinances) of the world, Why are they “subject to ordinances after the commandments and doctrines of men?” (v. 20, 22). Thank God, there are those who thus know their completeness and perfection in Christ.

But there are thousands who have not this wondrous knowledge. The eyes of their understanding are not enlightened (Eph. i. 18). They are led by those who claim to be successors of the Apostles, and who claim to continue–not Paul’s ministry, but that of the Twelve! And what was …

“THE TEACHING OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES”? http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/didache.html

In 1883 there was published, under this title, a MS., then recently discovered in the library of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, at Constantinople. The date of the MS. was June 13th, 1056: but all scholars are agreed that is a copy of a work which was originally written in the last quarter of the first century. Its existence had long been known, for it had been quoted by the Sub-Apostolic Fathers, Barnabas (A.D. 71), and Hermas (A.D. 100), and by Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 192). Eusebius (H.E. iii 2), A.D. 330-340, mentions it as well-known in his day, and classes it among the “controverted books” of the Canon (Two or three reproductions of it have been published in English, with notes, &c.)

The work consist entirely of moral precepts, and rules as to prayer, fasting, baptism, and the Eucharist, and ends with a solemn reference to the coming of the Lord and the resurrection of the dead.

We cannot, of course, believe that this was the actual teaching of the Twelve. But this is what it had degenerated into before the close of the first century. We can well understand why all Sacramentarians should hail the appearance of this ancient writing: and, instead of seeing in it the corruption of Christianity, and the commencement of the Apostasy, should welcome it, and make it the ground of their own “teaching.” But it shows a lack of discernment indeed for others to speak of this Didache, or “Teaching of the Twelve,” with approbation, and to see in it a model for the present day, instead of a departure from Primitive Christianity.

Alas! the teaching of Paul was soon apostatised from! and even the teaching of the Twelve “was corrupted”! That corrupted teaching may be summed up in two words, MORALITY AND ORDINANCES.

Is not this exactly what we see around us on every hand to-day? Holding fast to these two, the other two have been abandoned and practically lost, viz., (1) the coming of the Lord, and (2) resurrection as the hope of the Church (ecclesia)!

This was the cause, the beginning, of the apostasy of Christendom: this it was that led up to and brought on “the dark ages”: and this is the secret cause of “the present distress” in the churches.

The ministry of the apostle Paul is rejected, and the ministry of the Twelve is still carried on by those who, though destitute of the Apostles’ authority and power, impose on their hearers “the commandments and doctrines of men,” and put them in subjection to “ordinances”: and, worse than that, they add “commandments” . . . “touch not, taste not, handle not”!

Christianity, to-day, has woefully degenerate. Ordinances have become more and more positive in their character; preaching is everywhere being set aside, while even morality itself becomes more and more negative. For the most part it consist in abstinence from this or that; and in vows and pledges and badges. It is “touch NOT, taste NOT, handle NOT”: but “all are to perish with the using”; and all are characteristic of the ministry which is now being every where exercised. THE END!

By Dr. E.W. Bullinger / http://fellowshipbiblechurchorlando.org/bullinger

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Gerard J.C. Plas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 Posted by at 15:15
Oct 292019
 

PEACE, and at such a time


PEACE, and at such a time

We have taken an harmless liberty with the salutation found in Ezra 4:17 with which Artaxerxes opened his letter to his chancellor, for there, the frase ‘at such a time’ was equivalent to our indicating 2/6/63 at the opening of a letter to-day.

  • Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and unto the rest beyond the river, “Peace, and at such a time … ” (Ezra 4:17-22).

To us ‘Peace and at such a time’ reminds us that though the signs of the times are ominous and the great Dictator with the United nations, churches, army, police and government seem well on the way, and the hearts of many be very disquieted by looking after the things that are coming on the each, and in the air. There can nevertheless be enjoyed a peace, which the world cannot give nor blessed be God, take away.

Let us open our meditation by becoming acquainted with the words we use, for if we invest them with meanings foreign to the intention of the Holy Spirit Who inspired this use and insertion, we shall be misled and misguided at the outset. Peace, the English word is derived from the Latin Pax, and means mainly ‘Absence of war and strife’, as Byron puts it:

  • ‘Mark! Where his carnage and his conquest cease! He makes a SOLITUDE, and calls it – PEACE!

There has come into our vocabulary the terrible words ‘Peace at any price’, which we shall presently see is diametrically opposed to the Scriptural grounds of peace. To ‘hold one’s peace’ is just to say nothing — this too is a belittling of the Scriptural concept of peace. We even use the expression ‘Peace establisment’ to refer to the number of the armed forces that are enlisted when actual war is not being threatened or engaged. In 1 Timothy 2:2 quiet and peaceable are the translations of the Greek words eremos and hesuchios.

  • ‘For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet (eremos) and peaceable (hesuchios) life in all godliness and honesty’

Let us consider the testimony of Romans Five, which opens with the words:

  • ‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Rom. 5:1).

When our Saviour appeared in the midst of His disciples, after the resurrection He not only SAID ‘Peace be unto you, but He SHOWED them His hands and His side (John 20:10). It is easy for any of us to say ‘Peace’ but it will be a mockery unless it is grounded in the finished work of Christ, that not only ‘justifies’ us freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus but ‘Justifies’ God in so doing. ‘That He may be JUST and the JUSTIFIER of him which believeth in Jesus’ (Rom. 3:24-26). So we come back to our earlier reference, namely Rom. 5:1:

  • ‘Being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’.

The Rock foundation– ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusted in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is the ROCK OF AGES‘ (Isa. 26:3,4; Deut. 32:4, 18&30 see: Companion Bible – http://www.levendwater.org

  • ‘Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin, The blood of Jesus whispers, Peace, within’, (lines of a hymn). ‘Righteousness and peace have kissed each other’ (Ps. 85:10) – which is a poetic way of bringing ‘Righteousness and Peace’ together in the word ‘reconciliation’ as we find in Romans 5:1-11.

Aspects of Peace

Peace has a doctrinal aspect, a dispensational aspect, a personal aspect, a prophetic aspect, and it also has, as nearly all the good things of God, a false travesty against which we must be warned. We have looked at the doctrinal basis of peace, let us now consider the way it is employed in Ephesians, where we shall find that the dispensational change associated with the prison ministry of Paul is closely related to ‘peace’ of a special nature.

eirene ‘Peace’ in Ephesians — We are not surprised to find that this word occurs eight times in this epistle, and by the way in which it is distributed gives evidence of Divine disposition of its occurrences:

A Eph. 1:2 The Salutation B a 2:14 Enmity abolished b 2:15 The twain — one c 2:17 To the afar off / c 2:17 To those made nigh b 4:3 The Bond — Unity B a 6:15 Enemies withstood A Eph. 6:23 The Benediction

Romans lays the foundation. This is doctrinal truth, Ephesians builds the superstructure, the Temple, this is dispensational. Doctrine does not change. Dispensational do, they have regard to spheres, earth, heaven, new Jerusalem, callings, Kingdom, Church [ecclesia], Bride, Body, and the peace of Ephesians 2:14,15 is the peace brought about by the constitution of the Church [ecclesia], the Body of Christ, were distinctions such as were typified by the middle wall of partition abolished. ‘The both one’ almost expresses what some Lexicographers believe the origin of the Greek word Eirene to be, i.e.:

One by means of Two — and so we are not surprised to observe that where we read in Ephesians 2:14,15 peace is associated with ‘one new man’ [Jew and Gentile], in Ephesians 2:16 reconciliation is associated with ‘One Body’ [Jew and Gentile]. Ephesians 2:13 declares this company to be ‘made nigh’ ‘by the BLOOD of Christ’ while verse 16 shows that reconciliation is by the ‘cross’. The unity thus formed necessitated the ‘breaking down’ of the middle wall of partition, the abolishing of the law concerning ordinances and the slaying of the enmity such had engendered. Further, those ‘made nigh’ in verse 13 by ‘the blood of Christ’ have ‘access by one spirit’ (17). ‘Far off’ are made nigh (13) and Far off and nigh have had this special aspect of peach preached to them. Some, i.e. Gentiles were once ‘aliens and strangers’ (12), but they are ‘no more strangers and foreigners’ (19). It may be of service if we demonstrated a little more graphically what this ‘middle wall of partition’ was to which the apostle refers. What is this middle wall? (This middle wall was part of the temple at Jerusalem. An area exclusive to the Jew within the Court of the Gentiles. A barrier marked its boundaries and was marked by signs (which remained known but undiscovered until 1871). The apostle Paul was thought to have taken Greeks across the barrier, which (Acts 21:28,29) began, as a result, Paul’s protracted journey to ‘see Rome’ (Acts 19:21) This Middle Wall therefore took on immense significance as dividing Jew from Gentile).

The bond of peace

It is important that we know that the article ‘the’ is employed here. Paul, is not referring to peace in general, but to some aspect already known to these Ephesians, he speaks of ‘The bond of the peace’ (Eph. 4:3). The introduction of the covenants, whether old or new, any distinction between ‘far off and nigh’ [Jew or Gentile], the continuance or attempt to perpetuate ‘ordinances’ or ‘the decrees’ same word of Acts 16:4, are antagonistic to the concept of the Church [eclessia] which is ‘one body’, the unity of which can only be kept ‘in the bond of the peace’ already revealed. Finally, just as there was ‘enmity’ which had to be ‘slain’ so the corresponding reference is to the enmity of the heavenly principalities and powers (Eph. 6:12-15). At first sight there does not seem to be any valid connection between ‘ordinances’ observed down here and ‘principalities and powers’ up there, but a consultation of Colossians chapter 2 will reveal that such is the truth. This church [ecclesia] is told that there is a true circumcision ‘made without hands’ which is linked with a corresponding ‘baptism’, for if baptism be in water, then circumcision here will be literal also. All such ‘handwriting of ordinances’ that was against us’ and ‘contrary to us’, Christ has taken away ‘nailing’ all such to His cross. This evidently ‘spoiled principalities and powers’ and triumphed over them. As a consequence, the apostle says:

Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day (Notice the ‘y’ not ‘i’, it has nothing to do with Bank holidays or the seaside), or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days, which are a SHADOW of things to come, but the body is of Christ … if ye be dead with Christ (see vs: 13) from the rudiments of the world, why are ye subject to ORDINANCES? (Col. 2:16-22). Zie ook artikel: THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND THE FEAST OF THE LORD etc. / http://www.vriendenvanisrael.nl

To us, the controversy regarding whether ‘Infant Baptism’, ‘Adult Baptism’. ‘Believers’ Baptism’, ‘Sprinkling’ or ‘Immersion’ has no personal concern, the only ‘Baptism’ in which we are interested is that ‘one baptism‘ of Ephesians 4:5.

Peace, in Colossians

There are but two occurrences of eirene ‘Peace’, in Colossians one in the opening salutation (Col. 1:2), and one in Colossians 3:15. As it is most probable that the two epistles, Ephesians and Colossians, were exchanged as suggested in Colossians 4:16, so we give all our attention here in Colossians 3:15:

  • ‘Let the peace of God rule in your hearts’

This is a new aspects of ‘peace’ and its meaning is made clearer by comparing with Philippians 4:7. There are many words used both in the Hebrew and the Greek which are translated ‘rule’ but there is only one occurrence of Brabeuo. The word so translated in Colossians 3:15. It means the ‘rule’ of an Umpire adjudging the prize winners or disqualifying those engaged in the Greek sports, and so is allied with Brabeion, I Corinthian 9:24 and in Philippians 3:14 where it is translated ‘Prize’. Bloomfield gives the following free translation of Col. 3:15:

  • ‘Let that peaceable disposition enjoined by God to all true believers be, as it were, an UMPIRE to compose all differences between you, so as to be the director of your feelings, the ruling principle of your hearts’.

Some commentators advise us to avoid any idea of a combat or a prize here, but Colossians 2:18 uses the compound katabrabeuo ‘Beguile you of your reward’, and the words of 1 Corinthians 9:34 ‘One receiveth the prize’ where brabeion renders all such objections valueless. ‘To act the Umpire’ is borrowed from the Greek sports, and Colossians 3:15 with its use of brabeuo and the earlier reference to ‘the prize’ or ‘reward’ in Colossians 2:18 make all such objections, however learned, void. Let us turn to a reference to ‘the peace of God’ in the epistle of ‘The Prize’. The apostle enjoined upon these Philippians ‘moderation’ or ‘yieldingness’ if such a word is permissible. The quality must not of course be shown in stewardship, in which capacity we may yield ‘no, not for an hour’. But in the matter of our own rights and liberties we can afford to let much go for the sake of Christ and His people, even as did Paul. The apostle told the Philippians to be ‘careful’ for nothing in 4:6, yet he commended their ‘care’ and their ‘carefulness’ in verse 10, but in verse 6 the word means ‘over anxiety’ as in Luke 10:41. He did not want them to be a group of ‘Marthas’ ‘careful and troubled about many things’, but said after committing our cause to the Lord in prayer, leave it there, and then uses a military figure, which he drew from his own experiences: in 2 Corinthians concerning his escape from Damascus, he said that ‘the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison’. The word he uses which is translated ‘kept with a garrison’ is the same used in Philippians 4:7 where instead of an army soldiers, it is the peace of God that acts like a garrison. This like the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, may pass our understanding but it is possible to simple faith.

The God of Peace (Phil. 4)

These things lead us on to the God of Peace. It is one great blessing to know that we are ‘at peace with God’ but it is almost overwhelming to think that ‘The God of Peace’ may be with us’. The apostle refers back first to a list of virtues, then to his own manner of life. Things honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report:

  • ‘If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise think on these things’ (Phil. 4:8).

If the mind is occupied with such things, many that disturb and cause anxiety will retire into the background, but there is more in it than that. Logizomai ‘think’ is the word uses in Philippians 3:13 where it does not, and cannot mean meditation, but ‘reckon’ or ‘count’. Logizomai occurs in Romans 19 times, translated ‘Think’ in Romans 2:3 in the sense of reckoning, and in Romans 4 it is translated ‘count’, ‘reckon’, ‘impute’, and what the apostle seems to say in Philippians 4 is that whilst we shall find no difficulty in discovering the faults and failings of others, I enjoin you, use a magnifying glass if need be to see IF there be any virtue, and IF there be any cause for praise, and then RECKON THESE THINGS, and turns to his own example saying:

  • ‘Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me DO, and not only will the ‘peace of God’ act as a garrison of soldiers to your hearts and minds, but ‘The God of peace’ shall be ‘with you’ (Phil. 4:7-9).

The God of Peace (Rom. 16:20)

We do not associate in our mind, Peace and War at the same time and by the same agency, but in Romans 16:20 we read:

  • ‘The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly’

We have already learned that ‘Peace’ (Heb. shalom) means ‘settlement’ and not until Satan is destroyed and the seed of the serpent eradicated will ‘Peace’ be fully realized. Rom. 16:20 looks back to the primeval promise of Genesis 3:15, and it must be observed that both seeds, the seed of the serpent, and the seed of the woman are ‘bruised’ the difference being that in the case of the Serpent, the head was to be bruised, and in that of the seed of the woman, His heel was to be bruised in the conflict. In the one case that of the Serpent, no possibility of life after the struggle was possible, but in the case of the Seed of the woman, the bruising of the heel, left room for recovery. It is not at all clear in Genesis 3:15 that the ‘seed’ would include the followers or progeny of both the Serpent and the Saviour, but Romans 16:20, while not allowing the true seed to take any part in the sacrifice of Christ for sin, ‘He was bruised for OUR iniquities’ (Isa. 53:5) we yet refer to the revelation of Romans 16:20 to discover that the closing verse of Isaiah 53 where we read ‘He shall divide the spoil’ includes the redeemed. At the future destruction of the Serpent, Satan shall be bruised under their feet also.

A word of warning:-

Satan does not originate, he travesties, copies, distorts to his own ends the words and ways of God, consequently we must be on our guard against being deceived by a false peace. Speaking of the coming Day of the Lord, the apostle warned the Thessalonians that:

  • ‘When they shall say PEACE and SAFETY: then sudden destruction shall come upon them’ (1 Thess. 5:3) for those who thus speak are called ‘children of darkness’ and are unwatchful, and asleep in their false confidence (1 Thess. 5:4-7).

Joshua was tricked into making peace with certain Canaanites, into making ‘peace’ and a ‘league’ with them, and such have their counterpart to-day (Josh. 5). Jeremiah 6:14 warns against those who healed the hurt of the people ‘slightly’ saying ‘Peace’ when there is no peace’ (Jer. 6:14; 8:11); Ezekiel 13:10 speaks of the people being ‘seduced’ by the false prophets. The world in which we live, terrified as it well may be with the growth of weapons of wholesale destruction are seeking ‘Peace’ almost at any price, seeking some ground of peace for the Nations, the Churches, the labour movements and other bodies of men, only to prepare, if they did but know it for the Advent and the grip of: ‘The Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition’. There will be no peace, no Millennium while the true ‘Prince of Peace’ Christ Jesus [Jesjoea Masjiach] is absent, neglected or denied.

By C.H. Welch / The Berean Expositor / OCTOBER 2019 VOL. 70 No. 4

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OUR LEGACY

Legacy – A bequest, a gift of personal property, by will. We ask the question, what is our legacy as members of the Body of Christ? How do we begin to understand what the Mystery is about? Let us look at three references to start with, by the Apostle Paul.

  • ‘Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure with he hath purposed in himself’ (Ephesians 1:9).
  • ‘How that by revelation (unveiling) he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)’ (Ephesians 3:3-4) .
  • ‘Wherefore I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill (complete) the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints’ (Colossians 1:25-26).

The mystery of Christ as seen in Romans 16:25, cannot possibly be the mystery given to Paul in the Ephesian epistle, as the mystery of the prison ministry had not been made known to Paul at this time. Secondly, the epistle to the Romans speaks of that mystery here being given ‘since the world began’ and not before ‘the foundation of the world’, when we were chosen in Christ, see Ephesians 1:4.

We cannot separate the mystery from the body of Christ as revealed in Paul’s ministry after Acts 28:28. There is only one way that we can get this understanding, it is not by maturity, scholarship or experience as many teach. If that was the case many of the great teachers and preachers down the ages, would have both written and preached about it, alas, the absence of such writings dispel this theory. There is only one way to gain an appreciation of these wonderful truths and that is by revelation.

  • ‘That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints’ (Ephesians 1:17-18).

Without this enlightenment, understanding will not happen. So the argument that all believers from Acts 28 are in the Body of Christ, whether they appreciate it or not, is not valid. Let us examine this in more detail.

Assuming that all believers are members of the Body of Christ, why was it necessary for Paul to pray the prayer of Ephesians 1:16-18. Surely if all believers are automatically in the Body of Christ no enlightenment was needed.

Then there is the question of our walk.

  • ‘I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy (worthily) of the vocation wherewith ye are called’ (Ephesians 4:1).
  • ‘There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling’ (Ephesians 4:4).

The question will then be asked, ‘Can more than one calling, dispensation or stewardship run together?’ The answer is most definitely YES.

The land was promised to Abram and his seed, this was their legacy.

  • ‘Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed’ (Genesis 12:1-3).
  • ‘And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land; and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him’ (Genesis 12:7).

When we come to the Hebrew epistle we read:-

  • ‘By faith Abraham when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God’ (Hebrew 11:8-10).
  • ‘But now they desire a better country, that is, and heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city’ (Hebrew 11:16).

Evidence here that there were those who would happily inherit the land which had been promised to them, then there were those like Abraham who were looking for another inheritance (heavenly city). This is not an isolated example. Although this nation of Israel were given the law and were under the dispensation (stewardship) of the law, there were those, who knew nothing of such things and were under the dispensation of conscience and creation. See Romans 1 and Acts 14:16-17. This demonstrates to us, the holiness and fairness of our Heavenly Father, to those who have never know the law, or heard of Christ.

The following shows two different stewardships of Peter and Paul running together:

  • ‘But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me towards the Gentiles)’ (Galatians 2:7-8).

These are two dispensations, of Peter and Paul running together.

Coming to John’s gospel, here we find much controversy in the dating of this book. The majority of scholars give it a late dating. If that is the case it must have been written after Acts 28 and the Ephesian epistle, although John never writes about the Truth of the Mystery, the message must have been known. John is writing to the world.

  • ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).
  • ‘He came unto his own, and his own received him not’ (John 1:11).

This verse suggests that it was written after Acts 28, certainty after the Jews had rejected Christ. Of course it is convenient for those who teach that all believers from Acts 28 are in the Body of Christ, to give John an early dating. The gospel of John is for the world, presenting Christ as God and claiming that there is only one way to the Father and that is through our Lord Jesus Christ. See the following verses: – John. 1:1-4; John 5:24-26, 40; John 6:35, 40, 47; John 10:27-28, ‘my sheep’; John 11:25; John 14:6; John 20:30-31, all in Christ. This message from John’s gospel is for the world at large.

We read something similar in Paul’s ministry, see Ephesians 1:7 and Ephesians 2:8-9. There the similarity ends. In the church (ecclesia) of the One Body, we are never referred to as sheep, here we stand complete in Christ in the Heavenlies.

  • ‘And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 2:6).
  • ‘And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power’ (Colossians 2:10).

Ephesians 1:4 tells us that we were ‘chosen before the foundation of the world’.

Colossians 2:14-23. Here there is an absence of ordinances. Our legacy has to be closely guarded, this calling within a calling has to be zealously watched, Paul recognized the dangers of those who would spoil these glorious Truths that have been entrusted to us. Paul writes: ‘Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ‘ (Colossians 2:8).

May our Heavenly Father give us the knowledge, courage and wisdom to combat those who would try and confuse this calling to which we have been called.

Alan Schofield / The Berean Expositor / OCTOBER 2019 VOL. 70 No. 4

booksatbpt@btinternet.com

http://www.bereanonline.org

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Gerard J.C. Plas

 Posted by at 19:16
Sep 262019
 
The book of Revelation and the Feast of the Lord

Did you know that in the Book of Revelation alone we find references to over six hundred verses from the Old Testament, which is also known as the Tanakh? How in the world can you understand the Book of Revelation if you don’t connect the verses to the original Scriptures that were used as a reference? The Book of Revelation relies extensively on imagery and allusions from the Tanakh, so the Christian view of the coming Messiah is most properly understood by looking through the Jewish lens.

For example, John 1:1 states, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John used the very first words from the Book of Genesis, “In the beginning,” implying Yeshua is the Word that was there at creation.

Then, in the first chapter of Revelation, the apostle John sees a menorah (“seven golden candlesticks”), and Yeshua is standing in the middle with eyes like flames of fire (vv. 12-14). The Greek rendering states John is seeing the Alpha and Omega. But in Hebrew it is correctly rendered as the Aleph and Tav, the first and the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

The most exciting revelation I ever had concerning end-time understanding was when my eyes were opened to how the feasts of the Lord were directly tied to the Book of Revelation and the unfolding of end-time events. By the feasts of the Lord I am referring to Leviticus 23, where God lays out His divine appointments according to His calendar for the timing of His feasts such as Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Yom Kippur, Tabernacles, and others. I say this because too many Christians portray the feasts of the Lord as the feasts of the Jews and throw them into the trash bin of history because of the Anti-Semitic philosophy of the early church fathers.

I studies the feasts back in the ’70s when I went to Bible college, but they were taught from a replacement-theology perspective. To properly understand who the Messiah is, you must look at His second coming and the Book of Revelation through the eyes of the feasts. God said He declared the end from the beginning, so let’s go to the beginning of the Bible and see what God says concerning the end of times!

In Genesis 1:14 God said He created the sun and the moon for signs, seasons, days, and years. All too often we think this refers to our calendar, made up of winter, spring, summer, and fall, as well as our days of the week and the year 2017, 2018, 2019 …

There are many calendars in the world. The current pagan calendar most of the world uses today is only two thousand years old, so it can’t be an original. As you probably know, our calendar is very scientific and accurate, as it is based totally on the cycle of the sun. The muslim calendar is also very scientifically accurate, as it is based solely on the cycle of the moon.

But guess what? In Genesis, God told us the calendar He uses is based on both the sun and the moon. When He talked about how they were to determine the days and years, He was referring to His holy days such as Passover and Yom Kippur. The years referred to the seven-year cycle in which Israel was to let the land rest and settle all financial debts. It was known as the Shemitah year. There was also the Jubilee year, which was ever fiftieth year, when the land returned to its original owner. Nowhere are any od these recognized on our regular calendar or the Muslim calendar, so our calendars are definitely not God’s calendar.

It doesn’t help that the English word seasons is also translated inaccurately! The Hebrew word is moed. Did you know the English translators decided to translate this same Hebrew word in Leviticus 23:2 as the word feast? What in the world? Does the Hebrew word mean fall or food? When I think of a feast, I’m thinking of a big turkey dinner!

Believe it or not, both translations are inaccurate! The word moed actually means a divine appointment. Think of it this way: God set the sun and the moon on His time clock. The sun can be the our hand, and the moon the minute hand. The Bible says a day with the Lord is as a thousand years. (See 2 Peter 3:8). God placed specific times (moed) in His daily planner when He wanted to meet with His people.

This is why God specifically showed Moses how to determine when the months were to begin by showing him how the moon would look at the beginning of each month. He also told him that Passover had to be kept in the spring, which is why the biblical calendar adds a thirteenth month seven times over a nineteen-year cycle to keep Passover in the spring.

I used to live in Garden City, Kansas, on the border between two time zones: mountain time and central time. If you’ve never lived near the border between two time zones, let me tell you, it’s helpful to have two clocks — especially if you live in one zone and work a couple of miles away in the other. It can take “an hour” to drive a couple of miles without any traffic!

It is the same for believers. We must realize that we need to operate on two different calendars: the one God created (if we care about His schedule) and the one man created (because we still live in this world), The time is coming when our pagan calendar will be trashed and all believers will be following God’s calendar, as it says we will be doing at the end of Isaiah 66 when He creates the new heavens and new earth (vv. 22-23).

If your boss told you he wanted to meet with you at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, and you told him that didn’t work in your schedule, so he’d better meet with you at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, do you think you would have a job on Monday? The Creator of the universe ordained a calendar at creation that He would reveal to mankind at the appointed time. In other words, He scheduled divine appointments to meet with His kids.

The problem is that many believers don’t show up because they are either unaware or don’t care. One of the big things the evil one wants to do is get you to miss divine appointments. Daniel 7:23-25 mentions how the fourth beast wants to change the times and the laws. This refers to God’s appointed times, not the calendar the world uses!

In one sense the antichrist spirit has partially succeeded by moving Passover from the biblical calendar to the pagan calendar. In 2016 Christians celebrated Easter a month before Passover! How in the world do you celebrate Christ’s resurrection a month before His death unless you’re on the wrong calendar?

Why is Christmas always December 25, but Easter bounces all over the place? It is because the early church wanted to separate from anything to do with the Jewish people! So in AD 325 the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. God’s calendar is based on both the sun and the moon, so Passover doesn’t fall in the winter or Hanukkah in the summer.

During the time of the Messiah, there was no set calendar, as the Sanhedrin would determine it based on several factors. The primary factor was the spring equinox, and if it look as if it would fall later than the first half of the month of Nisan, they would declare a leap year and add an extra month. Yet that was not the only factor, as God wanted them to participate in the decision, so if the weather was not spring-like and the barley would not be harvested, then another month would be added.

The Greeks were big on nature and astronomy. They did not like that the Jewish authority felt they could decide when the new moon was sighted to determine the new month for the Jewish people, even when it didn’t coincide with their own observations. During the times of Hanukkah the Greeks determined that the Jews would die if they used the authority of the Sanhedrin in determining the biblical calendar. In AD 359, because Rome was in power, the Sanhedrin was no longer able to determine all the factors that were necessary to set the calendar. So Rabbi Hillel of the great Sanhedrin set a perpetual calendar, adding an extra month seven times over nineteen years to keep the calendar accurate until either the temple is rebuilt or the Messiah comes.

The Catholic Church members felt they had the authority rather than the Jewish people to determine when Easter should be celebrated. Protestants today follow the authority of the Catholic Church in this and other matters.

DRESS REHEARSAL FOR THINGS TO COME

The next incredible finding I discovered was that the feasts were actually dress rehearsals, or shadows, of what was to come! Leviticus 23 tells us that on the fourteenth day of the first month before the evening is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread unto the Lord. Notice it says the Lord’s Passover, not the Jewish Passover. This is also not referring to January 14 or 15!

Why do you think the Lord died on Passover, He was buried on Unleavened Bread, He rose on the Feast of Firstfruits, and the Spirit was poured out on Shavuot, which we know as Pentecost? Do you believe the LORD is the same yesterday, today, and forever? Do you really? Then if He fulfilled the spring feasts to the day of His first coming, He will also fulfill the fall feasts to the day of His second coming!

I am not setting dates but revealing established patterns in the Word of God. So let’s review the instructions for the feasts and see how they correlate to the Book of Revelation.

We have the Feast of Trumpets in Leviticus 23, which takes place on the first day of the month of Tishri, which is around September/Oktober. I believe this is the appointed time for the dress rehearsal of the coronation of the Messiah some year on that day. Do we hear anything about trumpets in the Book of Revelation? Of course we do! So we must understand this feast to fully comprehend what the Book of Revelation is talking about.

The Feast of Trumpets is known as the opening of the doors and is the day when God sits on His throne to judge all of mankind. What do we find in Revelation 4:1-2? We find John beholding a door being “opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the trone.” This is the Feast of Trumpets terminology! All through Revelation we are hearing of trumpets.

What about Yom Kippur? It is found in the Book of Revelation? You bet it is!

In Leviticus 16 we read about the instruction for the Yom Kippur service. We find in verses 12-15 the priest “shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: and he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may come over the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: and he shall take the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat.”

Psalm 141:2 likens our prayers to incense. Compare this to Revelation 8:3-5, were we see an angel standing at the heavenly altar with a golden censer being given “much incense” to be offered “with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth.” This is Yom Kippur being fulfilled!

Look at this next comparison as well. Let’s go back to the Yom Kippur ceremony in Leviticus 16:16-17, where we find that there was to be no man in the tabernacle when the priest went in to make atonement until he has made atonement for himself, and for his house and the congregation of Israel as well. Then we find in Revelation 15:8 that the temple in heaven was filled with smoke from the glory of God and again, “no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” Every year on Yom Kippur the high priest would have to take off his regular garments and put on white linen garments, as mentioned in Leviticus 16. This is why religious Jews wear all-white garments every year on Yom Kippur, they realize white is symbolic of righteousness. Can you imagine having on all-white linen garments and being around the slaughtering of animals and then splashing their blood all over the altar?

Yom Kippur is known as the Day of Judgment, when the books and doors are closed and judgment is meted out. Well, what do we find in Revelation 19 but that God has “judged the great whore,” He has “avenged the blood of his servants,” and He is “clothed with a vesture dipped in blood” (vv. 2,13)? Then we find the armies that were in heaven following Him on white horses; they are all clothed in fine linen, white and clean, and all the nations of the world are smitten by God’s Word (vv. 14-15). These are all images of Yom Kippur! This is confirming that these events will happen according to the pattern at the appointed time in the future on Yom Kippur.

What about the Feast of Tabernacles? Of course it is in the Book of Revelation! This is the grand finale where the Creator of the universe once again tabernacles with His creation. In Revelation 21:3 we find John hearing “a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. “How exciting! Imagine, as God said in Ecclesiastes 3:1, there is a time and a season for everything done under the sun, and He has appointed specific times when He will intersect human history!

Based on this understanding I believe the prophetic events of the Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled during the appointed calendar time for the Feast of Trumpets in some year.The same will happen for Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles!

People tell me that the feasts are all done away with, and they base it on two Scriptures that have been totally misinterpreted.

  • Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. — GALATIANS 4:8-11, EMPHASIS ADDED
  • Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. — COLOSSIANS 2:16-17, EMPHASIS ADDED

Do you notice the change in the description of months compared to new moons and days to holy days? Paul is talking about two different calendars here! In Galatians he is referring to our pagan calendar, and in Colossians he obviously refers to the biblical calendar! We need to look at this in context to understand. In the first scripture Paul is talking to the Galatians. Who were they? Well, let’s go to the Book of Acts. In Acts 14:8-11 we learn of a man at Lystra who was “impotent in his feet,” meaning he had never walked. When he heard Paul tell him with a loud voice to stand up on his feet, he leaped and walked. And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying, “The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.”

In verses 12-15 we learn “they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,” saying that they “should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein” (emphasis added).

So before the Galatians knew God, they were worshippers of the solar system and followed those gods. This is why Paul is asking why in the world, now that they know God and are aware of His calendar, they would go back to the weak and beggarly elements of worshipping the planets and following a pagan calendar.

In the next verses from Colossians 2:16, Paul is referring to the biblical calendar. He is basically congratulating them for staying on it and encouraging them not to let the Galatians judge them for keeping the feasts and the biblical calendar! The Colossians were the Galatians’ next-door neighbors. So he was telling them not to be deceived in the neglecting of God’s calendar.

I believe Paul was asking the “foolish Galatians” why in the world they would go back to a pagan calendar system when they had the biblical calendar. They could not have been returning to a biblical calendar they were never on. And he was telling the Colossians not to let anyone judge them because they were living according to the biblical calendar.

The festivals are shadows of things to come — not just a shadow of what has happened but a shadow of future events that are yet to come! Just as Moses’ tabernacle in the wilderness was a shadow of the heavenly tabernacle, just as the earthly Jerusalem is a shadow of the heavenly Jerusalem, over and over we see things on earth are shadows of what is to come. Even our earthly bodies are shadows of our heavenly bodies to come.

My goodness, if there were no shadow, how would anyone know there is a reality out there casting it! If you throw out the shadow, you have just blocked the little information we do have coming from heaven that is trying to help us! Not only that, but when the Bible declares we were “created in God’s image,” it is the same word that is used for God’s shadow! A shadow is not insignificant. Even you are God’s shadow; are you insignificant?

By Mark Biltz / http://www.elshaddaiministries.us

New Book: DECODING THE ANTICHRIST AND THE END TIMES (what the Bible says and what the furture holds)

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The Autumn feasts of the LORD

Introduction

The Calendar of Gods Appointed Times is His way of making sure we do not forget His benefits. We are a forgetful people but the Jewish calendar of cyclic festivals is God’s way of helping us remember history. So, what is the significance of the Autumn Biblical Feasts? Where do they come from and what is the message to us as believers?

Biblical Connections

For Israel the Autumn Feasts are not a one-day wonder. The Feasts of Trumpets is followed by Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement or Covering which culminates in Sukkot – the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles. It all starts on 1st Tishri (Beginnings). Tishri is the first month of the new civil year. The Jews certainly know how to celebrate. They have so much to be thankful for and have so much practice through the year. The key to the Jewish feasts was ‘regularly, generosity, purity.

God is a God of order and works to a timetable

Psalm 102:13 says “You will arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favour her, yes the set time has come.” Israel is restored physically but what about spiritually? God is working to a timetable and Romans 5:6 says, “In due time Christ died for the ungodly …“; 2 Corinthians 6:2Now is the time for salvation” and so Galatians 4:4 … in the fullness of time God sent His son.”

All the Feasts of the Lord are important

Leviticus 23 talks of the Feasts of the Lord. They are not Jewish Feasts or Feasts of Israel – but appointed times of the Lord. Time out to spend with Him. All seven form a timeline which tell the redemptive story of God’s dealings with Israel, Romans 11:17-25. We all need reminding because we so quickly forget.

Rosh Hasjana

First of the Autumn feasts celebrated as the Jewish new year. A common custom is to say “L’shanah tovah”, which means, “May it be a good year.” Another custom is to eat apples dipped in honey. The apples and honey represent God’s provision and sweetness that He will manifest to us in the coming year. We read about this feast (Yom T’rooah) in Leviticus 23:24 — “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, in the seventh month, on the first of the month (Tishri), you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of (shofars) trumpets.” The sounds of the shofar represent crying, and are intended to bring each individual toward deep introspection and repentance.

Yom Kippur

Second of the Autumn feasts is the holiest day of the year. We can read about this feast in Leviticus 16, 17 and 23:27. The High Priest would carry the blood of the bull and goat through the veil and into the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle – the Holy of Holies. The High Priest of the Israelites would then poor the blood onto the altar over the Ark of the Covenant and, in doing so, make atonement for the children of Israel (Lev. 17:11).

Sukkot

Third of the Autumn feasts. This feast is a joyous and happy time of giving thanks to God for his provision. We read about this feast in Leviticus 23:34-42On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD … You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the LORD … It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations … You shall live in booths for seven days.

How was thankfulness & fruitfulness to be expressed?

  1. Throughout the Bible in a life offered up to God. Ephesians 5:18-21.
  2. A life filled with the spirit of God instead of this world.
  3. One whose sacrificial offerings were meant to cost something – whose whole life was given as a living sacrifice to God, Romans 12:1.
  4. Offerings were to be perfect, the best, without blemish. Not our castoffs or things we do not need anymore but the very best.
  5. Living sacrifices were not dead – obviously!

Offerings

Burnt offerings were required by the Law and 205/210 references to offerings and 535/547 refs to offering are Old Testament. But this repeated offering of animals was never going to take away sin Hebrew 10:11, but there would be someone who in his own blood offered himself for sin once and for all, Hebrew 9:28; 10:14. Hebrews contains much information about offerings and the limitation of offering for sin yet we are to be perpetual living sacrifices. What does that mean for earthly ambitions?

Features of the end times

Remembering God’s Promises and thankfulness will be a rare commodity in Last Days. Linked with ungratefulness and a people more concerned with rights than responsibilities. “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy“, 2 Tim. 3:2.

The Autumn Feasts are about fruitfulness & thankfulness

A farmer who sows without expecting a large return isn’t much a farmer. Similarly, if he sows with few seed, he will quite naturally get a poor return. God wants us ” … to be fruitful in very good work.” Colossians 1:10, Hebrews 13:21. But what does this mean? “Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do,Deuteronomy 29:9; 23:6; 28:29. It is a declaration that God wants us to do be a truly ‘blessed’ people who have enough for our lives and enough left over to bless others. But we also need to sow carefully in accordance with the Word.

http://www.prayer4i.org

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Vereniging van Jesjoea Hammasjiach Belijdende Joden

http://www.hadderech.nl

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Day of Atonement / Yom Kippur / Peter Tsukahira

http://www.carmelcongregation.org.il

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MATTHEW 24, HANUKKAH, AND THE MESSIAH

WHEN IT COMES to Matthew 24, every end-times enthusiast is all over it! It really does set the stage for coming events. Let’s look at Matthew 24 through the lens of what the disciples might have thinking based on their own history. We’ll see what it tells us about the coming of the Messiah. When we read this chapter, we need to keep in mind what the listeners of that day were thinking rather than superimposing our own present-day thoughts as we read it.

When we realize that history is always repeating itself, we will have a better understanding of what can be unpacked in this chapter. Don’t think of biblical prophecy as some kind of a checklist, where if it happened once, it won’t happen again. See it as a recurring theme happening over and over again but from different perspectives. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 1, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (v. 9).

Matthew 24 is actually about many of the events surrounding Hanukkah happening again! Did you know the New Testament even talks about Yeshua keeping Hanukkah? It’s another excellent example of a perceived bias in the translation. John 10 speaks of Yeshua being in the temple at the Feast of Dedication, and it was winter. The Hebrew word for dedication is Hanukkah! As a first century Jew, Yeshua kept all of the biblical feast every year, celebrating Hanukkah and Purim as well. Because of the very fact that He was Jewish and part of that culture, I don’t think it’s a leap at all to assume that John 10 is simply recording one of those times.

To understand the connection between Hanukkah and the end times in Matthew 24, we need to better understand the facts surrounding Hanukkah. It is a very biblical event — Daniel even prophesied that it would happen — and as the Scriptures state, “That which has been is that which shall be!” (See Ecclesiastes 1:9). I must first lay a foundation as to what happened during the original Hanukkah, around 168 BC, for those unfamiliar.

Imagine that you were one of Yeshua’s disciples. Put yourself right there with the rest of them. He is now talking to you two thousand years ago in Matthew 24. Hanukkah would be ringing in your ears as He spoke, and you would be wondering how it could ever happen again. To the disciples the events of Hanukkah were similar to our War of Independence; it even occurred about two hundred years earlier; which is roughly the same length of time from the signing of our own nation’s Declaration of Independence until today.

According to Josephus, in his work Antiquities of the Jews Book 12.7.6.317, we find that the site of the temple was found to be deserted, the gates were burnt down, plants were growing in the temple of their own accord, and they built a new altar and had to make new vessels. Josephus then goes on to say that the desolation of the temple came to pass according to the prophecy of Daniel!

Let’s consider what Daniel saw in his vision: a ram with two horns (8:3). Then he “saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward” and nobody “could deliver out of his hand” (v. 4). As he was considering it, a he-goat with a great horn between his eyes came from the west and struck the ram and broke its two horns.

We know from history that after the Babylonian Empire, the Medes and Persians, represented by the ram with two horns, took over (vv. 5-7). The he-goat represented de Greek Empire. Do you realize who the leader (the great horn) of the Greek Empire was? None other than Alexander the Great!

It says that the he-goat became “very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken.” And in its place “came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven” (v. 8). Students of history know that after Alexander the Great died, his kingdom was divided up among his four military leaders.

The Bible goes on to say that “out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land…. He magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down” (vv. 9,11, emphasis added). This little horn that became great was none other than Antiochus Epiphanes, the very leader that the Hanukkah story revolves around!

We are now going to compare what happened historically at Hanukkah with Matthew 24. You can see the connection when you read from the historical book of the Maccabees. Remember, these events occurred over 150 years before Yeshua was born! From 1 Maccabees 1:10-15 you will find there were many Jews who transgressed the Torah and were seducing others to do the same. They even suggested making a covenant with Gentiles, thinking all the evils that had come upon them were caused by their separation from the Gentiles. Therefore, upon agreement they went to Antiochus Epiphanes and introduced the idea of the Gentiles building a gymnasium in Jerusalem.

This gymnasium was the location where athletes would practice for the Olympics going on in their day, and all the events were done without clothes on! The only problem was, now everyone knew who the Jewish ones among them were.

Matthew 24:5-7 talks of many being seduced and says there will be wars and rumors of wars, and nation will rise against nation. Hanukkah was the last major war Israel had fought. Matthew 24:10-12 speaks of people betraying each other and lawlessness increasing.

The book of Maccabees goes on to say how after defeating Egypt, Antiochus goes up against Jerusalem, enters the holy temple, and takes away the golden altar, the lampstand, the offering table, the censers, and even the curtain. It mentions how he shed much blood and spoke with great arrogance. The destruction of the temple had begun.

The book of Daniel tells of one coming who would speak with great arrogance. Matthew 24:9 speaks of many being put to death. Then came the turning point.

Here is what happened next: Similar to a one-world government, the king ordered that all people in his kingdom should abandon their own particular customs and be one people. The king prohibited all the Jews customs on penalty of death, forcing them to build pagan altars, sacrifice unclean animals, stop circumcising their children, and not keep the Sabbath in order to forget all the laws of God. Many Jews thought this lawlessness was great, and they joyfully sacrificed to idols. A royal decree put to death anyone who was found with a scroll of the covenant or followed the Torah!

In 1 Maccabees it goes on to explain that many Jews decided not to go along with this plan and to defy the orders even in the face of death. One story in particular is an example.

When officers in charge of enforcing the king’s orders came to a city known as Modein, they found many in the city were compliant with the king’s order. The officers asked a leading family of the city to set the example and be the first to sacrifice on the pagan altar. He told them they would be counted as friends of the king and would be showered with gifts. Mattathias and his sons came together and declared that even though everyone else was doing it, they would not forsake the Torah in the slightest degree or keep the king’s commands. Just as he finished speaking, a certain Jew announced that he would do the sacrifice, and Mattathias pounced on him and killed him as well as the king’s officer. He tore down the pagan altar and yelled out that those who wanted to continue obeying the Torah should flee with him. They stood up for God’s Word, then fled to the mountains, leaving all their possessions behind. This corresponds with Matthew 24:16-17.

The time of the Maccabees was also a very critical juncture in history for the Jewish people, as something unheard of took place that would never be forgotten. For the very first time in their history the Jewish people decided it as OK to defend their lives on the Sabbath. Look at how this unbelievable event took place.

  • Many hurried out after them, and having caught up with them, camped opposite and prepared to attack them on the sabbath. The pursuers said to them, “Enough of this! Come out and obey the king’s command, and you will live.” But they replied, “We will not come out. nor will we obey the king’s command to profane the sabbath.” Then the enemy attacked them at once. But they did not retaliate; they neither threw stones, nor blocked up their secret refuges. They said, “Let us all die in innocence; heaven and earth are our witnesses that you destroy us unjustly.” So the officers and soldiers attacked them on the sabbath, and they died with their wives, their children and their animals, to the number of a thousand persons. When Mattathias and his friends heard of it, they mourned deeply for them. They said to one another, “If we all do as our kindred have done, and do not fight against the Gentiles for our lives and our laws, they will soon destroy us from the earth.” So on that day they came to this decision: “Let us fight against anyone who attacks us on the sabbath, so that we may not all die as our kindred died in their secret refuges.” — 1 MACCABEES 2:32-41, NABRE, EMPHASIS ADDED

We read in Matthew 24:20, “Pray ye that your flight not be in the winter, neither on the Sabbath.” Hanukkah is in the winter, and look what happened on the Sabbath! Wow! Now we see how very biblical Hanukkah is; Hanukkah was actually a fulfillment of prophecy.

  • And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.DANIEL 11:31-33, EMPHASIS ADDED

In Matthew 24:15-16 Yeshua tells them, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains” (emphasis added).

This is the verse that Josephus was referring to when he wrote the following:

  • Now it so fell out, that these things were done on the very same day on which their divine worship had fallen off, and was reduced to a profane and common use, after three years’ time; for so it was, that the temple was made desolate by Antiochus, and so continued for three years…. This desolation came to pass according to the prophecy of Daniel, which was given four hundred and eight years before. — JOSEPHUS, ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWS, BOOK 12, CHAPTER 7, EMPHASIS ADDED. [Flavius Josephus, The Works of Flavius Josephus, trans. William Whiston (n.p: The British Library, 1849), 268. Quote verified at http://books.google.com]

Matthew 24:15-16 speaks of this abomination of desolation. When the disciples heard this, they got it! Hanukkah will happen again!! This is what happened historically and was recorded by Josephus as being fulfilled, so they understood that not only did what Daniel prophesied happen several hundred years before them, but also many of the events would be repeated again!! This goes back to the biblical mind-set as well as the Jewish mind-set that what happens to the fathers will happen to the children.

Many Christians put this verse into their end-times theology. If you follow the normal Greek mind-set — “It happened once, and it can’t happen again” — then you have real trouble with the fact that it has already happened. But if you have a Hebraic mind-set — “If it happened once, it is sure to happen again from another perspective” — then you will have no problem with what seems to be conflicting theology.

Hebrews 11, which we all know as the faith chapter, speaks of all those Jews who were filled with faith before Messiah ever came. The writer of Hebrews tells us of all those Jews “who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (vv. 33-34). It talks about others who “were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection” and how “they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” (vv. 35-38, emphasis added).

This last part is precisely what happened at Hanukkah, as they hid in the caves and were slaughtered on the Sabbath. In reality, Hanukkah is very much a part of the fabric of the Bible. To understand how Hanukkah will happen again, we need to understand its dynamics.

Now let’s look at another very biblical holiday we find in the Book of Esther. We will see what we can glean from it concerning the end times and the soon coming of the Messiah in our time.

By Mark Biltz / http://www.elshaddaiministries.us

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HONDERD/100- jaar na Weizmann-Feisal overeenkomst (1919)!

Na vierhonderd jaar Turkse overheersing (1517-1917), waarbij de provincie ‘Palestina’ als onderdeel van het Ottomaanse rijk min of meer aan haar lot was overgelaten en er amper bomen stonden, kwam er sinds 1917 een nieuwe bestuurder: Engeland. Aanvankelijk leek dat heel goed te gaan en het land toonde sympathie voor de zionisten die eind 19e eeuw mondjesmaat het land probeerde te herstellen door moerassen te dempen en bomen te planten.

In 1903 al, bood Engeland de Joden aan om hun nieuwe staat te stichten in Brits Oost Afrika (Oeganda). Theodor Herzl, die het eerste Zionistische congres had georganiseerd in 1897, had wel oren naar dit plan maar de meeste leden van de Zionistische beweging wilden dat ‘Palestina’ afgescheiden zou worden van Turkije en dat er een Joodse staat zou verrijzen in het aloude, aan de voorvaderen beloofde, land. Besprekingen tussen Chaim Weizmann (toen de voorzitter van de Zionistische wereldorganisatie) met dhr. Balfour en Lloyd George leidde uiteindelijk tot de Balfour-declaration waarin werd bevestigd dat er een nationaal tehuis voor het Joodse volk zou komen in ‘Palestina’. Tegelijkertijd kregen de Arabieren ook steun van Engeland om hun eigen onafhankelijkheid uit te breiden. Weizmann had in 1919 een historische ontmoeting met emir Feisal, een zoon van de Hasjemitische sharif van Mekka. Feisal zei zich te verheugen op de samenwerking tussen Joden en Arabieren en noemde de voorstellen van de Zionistische organisatie over de grenzen zelfs bescheiden en juist. Bij besluit van de opperste raad der geallieerden werd ‘Palestina’ in 1920 officieel als mandaatgebied aan Engeland toegewezen en werd dit land met de uitvoering van de verklaring belast.

Israëls recht op het land ligt vast in een aantal bindende documenten. Eerst is daar de resolutie die is aangenomen tijdens de San Remo conferentie die is gehouden van 19 tot 26 april 1920 door de eerste-ministers van Frankrijk (Mitterand), Groot Brittannië (Lloyd George) en Italië (Nitti) en Japanse, Griekse en Belgische afgevaardigden. In deze resolutie is de bewoording uit de Balfour-declaration overgenomen. Ook de 52 regeringen van de landen van de toenmalige Volkenbond (waarvan 25 Europese landen) erkenden tijdens een bijeenkomst op 24 juli 1922, op hun beurt het Britse Mandaat en de rechtmatigheid van de in de Balfour-declaration uitgedrukte beginselen waaronder de grenzen van het aan het Joodse volk toebedeelde gebied.

Met de Anglo-American Convention van 3 december 1924 respecteerden de Verenigde Staten, die geen deel uitmaakten van de Volkenbond, het Palestina-mandaat. ‘De San Remoresolutie, is bindend internationaal recht en is als deel van de boedel van de Volkenbond overgegaan naar zijn opvolger, de Verenigde Naties. De volle soevereiniteit over het land van Israël is daarbij aan het Joodse volk overgedragen. Na afloop van het mandaat blijven volgens volkenrechtelijke principes alle aan genoemde regelingen inherente rechten van het Joodse volk overeind.’

Evenzo geldt dat sinds de Anglo-American Convention, hoewel verlopen, de rechten van het Joodse volk ook door de VS moeten worden gerespecteerd. Tevens werd de Britten opgedragen “om zich alle moeite te getroosten om Joodse immigratie te stimuleren, om het land te bevolken en om het Joodse Nationale Thuis te garanderen.” Maar vanaf het begin hebben de Britten onder druk van het Arabische nationalisme, de bindende afspraken genegeerd en de immigratie van Arabieren naar het deel wat aan het Joodse volk was toegewezen, gestimuleerd. Reeds in 1922 werd het zgn. witboek van Churchill de draagwijdte van de Balfourdeclaratie beperkt; daarin wordt ontkend dat het de bedoeling was een uitsluitend Joods ‘Palestina’ op te richten. De Balfourdeclaratie werd uiteindelijk tot het in ‘t westen van de Jordaan gelegen gedeelte van ‘Palestina’ beperkt waardoor 80 procent van het aan Israël toegezegde land, volkomen illegaal, aan de Arabieren werd overgedragen.

Joodse immigratie kwam weliswaar gestaag op gang maar een opstand, georganiseerd door de Palestijn-Arabische Haj Amin al-Hoeeseini, leidde ertoe dat er een enorme breuk ontstond tussen de twee ‘nevenvolkeren.’ Haj Amin liet Joden aanvallen die bij de Westelijke Muur in Jeruzalem wilden bidden. Toen kwam ook de dubbelrol die Engeland speelde aan het licht. In plaats van deze man in het gevang te gooien, kreeg hij van de Engelsen o.a. de machtige positie van Moefti over Jeruzalem. Hij zorgde ervoor dat alle afspraken tussen Arabieren en Joden teniet gedaan werden.

Het niet eerbiedigen door de Britten van de bindende resoluties, heeft de Arabische moslims alle gelegenheid gegeven om Israëls legale recht op het land te bestrijden. Met hulp van historische leugens en met hulp van buitenaf, waaronder Europa, dat zo plechtig de resolutie van de Volkenbond had aanvaard, probeerden/proberen ze het bestaan van Israël uit te wissen.

Er bestaat geen enkele juridische grond, ook niet in het internationale (humanitaire) recht, waardoor Israël verplicht is de, eenmaal aan het Joodse volk toegekende, politieke en nationale rechten op te geven. Stichting van een ‘Palestijnse staat,’ gebaseerd op VN-resoluties is volledig in strijd met vroegere bindende documenten. Het is volkomen absurd en illegaal dat men van Israël eist dat het nogmaals een deel van de overgebleven 20 procent dient af te staan aan een door de wereld gecreëerd volk, dat geen enkel historisch recht op het land heeft en dat zelfs haar vernietiging nastreeft! ‘EuroBabel‘ draagt verantwoordelijkheid voor eerder gemaakte afspraken, die in het verleden in Volkenbondverband verricht hebben: bekrachtiging van het Palestina-mandaat. Ook de rest van de wereld negeert de bindende afspraken, en doet net of ze niet meer bestaan. Zij noemen de Bijbelse gebieden Samaria en Judea ‘de Westoever’ of ‘de Palestijnse gebieden’ en verkondigen massaal de leugen dat Israël deze gebieden bezet houdt.

In 1909 stichtte men de stad Tel-Aviv. Tussen de Eerste en de Tweede Wereldoorlog trokken arme Arabieren uit de omringende landen het toenmalige ‘Palestina’ binnen, aangetrokken door de welvaart die de komst van de Joden naar het Beloofde Land in die streken had gebracht. In Jaffa hebben zich in die tijd Arabieren uit niet minder dan vijftien Arabische landen gevestigd. Sinds de Oslo-Akkoorden in 1991 hebben zich tienduizenden Arabieren uit Jordanië, Egypte, Irak en andere Arabische landen in de Bijbelse gebieden Samaria en Judea gevestigd en daar vele nederzettingen gebouwd.

Honderd jaar na de Weizmann-Feisal ontmoeting zien we maar deels verbeteringen in de relatie tussen de twee ‘nevenvolkeren.’ Als Israël maar iets aankondigt wat de Arabieren niet zint, zoals de opmerking van de Premier Netanyahu dat hij eraan zou willen werken om allereerst de Jordaanvallei te annexeren, dan schreeuwt heel de Arabische wereld moord en brand, het lijken wel de uitlopers van de haatzaaierij van Haj Amin. Deze Moefti heeft overigens in de jaren ’40 ook een ontmoeting met Hitler gehad om te spreken over de vernietiging van het Joodse volk in voormalig ‘Palestina.’

Gelukkig werden de Duitsers ook verslagen in het Midden-Oosten en kwamen zij ‘Palestina’ niet binnen: Het volk Israël leeft, Am Yisrael Chai en het Land is nu voor een aanzienlijk deel terug in handen van hen aan wie het door de God van Israël beloofd is. Hoe dan ook … op een dag … zal de Messiaanse Koning van Israël, Jehoshua, regeren vanuit Jeruzalem over heel de aarde en zullen er nergens op aarde andere goden gediend worden, dus zeker niet in het aloude Harteland van het huidige Israël, Samaria en Judea.

Uit: TijdStip / Sukkoth 5780/Oktober 2019, 10e jaargang, nr. 1 / Uitgave van Studiehuis Reshiet, Israël / http://www.studiehuisreshiet.nl

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Weg uit Babylon:

Het Bloed Schreeuwt Uit De Aarde” — De hartverscheurende geschiedenis van eeuwenlange Jodenvervolging in christelijk Europa en Gods antwoord hierop. / Bestel op: http://www.weguitbabylon.nl

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http://www.iltv.tv

http://www.israeltoday.co.il

http://www.israeltoday.nl

http://www.israelmybeloved.com

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LUISTER TERUG:

http://www.deheerezalvoorzien.nl

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Gerard J.C. Plas

 Posted by at 19:53
Sep 192019
 
OUT THE WITNESS OF THE STARS (E.W. BULLINGER)http://fellowshipbiblechurchorlando.org/bullinger

We have seen the great truths [The book: The WITNESS of the STARS / Het Getuigenis van de Sterren / http://www.everread.nl ] which are taught from the position, and forms, and names of the heavenly bodies. There are also truths to be learnt from their motions.

When God created them and set them in the firmament of heaven, He said, in Gen. 1:14:

  • ‘Let them be for signs and for seasons’

Here the word “signs” is othoth (plural of oth, from the root atah, to come). Hence, a sign of something or some One to come. In Jer. 10:2 Jehovah says, “And be not dismayed at the signs (oemeeotot) of the heavens, for the heathen are dismayed at them.”

The word “seasons” does not denote merely what we call the four seasons of the year, but cycles of time. It is appointed time (mo-eed from verb ja-ad, to point out, appoint). It occurs three more times in Genesis, each time in connection with the promised Seed:

  • Gen. 17:21 ‘At this set time in the next year.’
  • Gen. 18:14 ‘ At the time appointed I will return.’
  • Gen. 21:2 ‘At the set time of which God had spoken.’

Gen. 1:14 is therefore, “They (the sun, moon, and stars) shall be for signs (things to come) and for cycles (appointed times).”

Here, then, we have a distinct declaration from God, that the heavens contain not only a Revelation concerning things to come in the “Signs,” but also concerning appointed times in the wondrous movements of the sun, and moon, and stars.

The motions of the sun and moon are so arranged that at the end of a given interval of time they return into almost precisely the same positions, with regard to each other and to the earth, as they held at the beginning of that interval. “Almost precisely,” but not quite precisely. There will be a slight outstanding difference, which will gradually increase in successive intervals, and finally destroy the possibility of the combination recurring, or else lead to combinations of a different character.

Thus the daily difference between the movement of the sun and of the stars leads the sun back very nearly to conjuntion with the same star as it was twelve months earlier, and gives us the cycle of the year. The slight difference in the sun’s position relative to the stars at the end of the year, finally leads the sun back to the same star at the same time of the year, viz., at the spring equinox, and gives us the great precessional cycle of 25,800 years.

So, too, with eclipses. Since the circumstances of any given eclipse are reproduced almost exactly 18 years and 11 days later, this period is called an Eclipse Cycle, to which the ancient astronomers gave the name of Saros [{General Vallancey spells Saros, which amounts to 666 by Gematria: Viz., Sjien=300 + Ajin = 70 + Reesj = 200 + Waw = 6 + Tsadie = 90 = 666}]; and eclipses separated from each other by an exact cycle, and, therefore, corresponding closely in their conditions, are spoken of as being one and the same eclipse. Each Saros contains, on the average, about 70 eclipses. Of these, on the average, 42 are solar and 28 are lunar. Since the Saros is 11 days (or, more correctly, 10˚96 days) longer than 18 years, the successive recurrences of each eclipse fall 11 days later in the year each time, and in 33 Sari will have travelled on through the year and come rond very nearly to the original date.

But as the Saros does not reproduce the conditions of an eclipse with absolute exactness, and as the difference increases with every successive return, a time comes when the return of the Saros fails to bring about an eclipse at all. If the eclipse be a solar one before this takes place, a new eclipse begins to form a month later in the year than the old one, and becomes the first eclipse of a new series.

This is the history of one such eclipse: On May 15 (Julian), 850 A.D., there was a (new) eclipse of the sun, and it occurred as a partial eclipse. On August 20 (Julian), 1012 A.D., this new eclipse became total. From that time it has been an annular eclipse, the latitude of the central shadow gradually shifting southward from the north, until on December 17 (Julian), 1210, it had reached N. Lat. 24˚. It turned northward again after 1210, until March 14 (Julian), 1355, when it fell in N. Lat. 43˚. Then it turned south, and has moved steadily in that direction, until on March 18 (Greg.), 1950, its last appearance as an annular eclipse will take place. On May 22 (Greg.), 2058, it will fall so far from the node at a new eclipse will follow it on 21 June. It will make three more appearances as an ever – diminishing partial eclipse, and be last seen on June (Greg.), 2112. Its total life-history, therefore, will have seen 1,262 years and 36 days, and will have occupied 70 Sari.

In the above life-history of an eclipse [{These facts are kindly supplied by Mr. E.W. Maunder, of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, who gives another example, as follows: — In A.D. 586 there were two solar eclipses: on June 22 (Julian) the old and dying eclipse, and on 22 (Julian) another (the new one). A Saros (viz. 18 years and 11 days) earlier there was only one, viz. on June 11 (Julian), A.D. 568, there being no eclipse on July 11 of that year. The last appearance of this new eclipse, which first appeared on July 22, 586, was on August 28 (Greg.), 1848, so that it had a life history of 70 Sari, amounting to 1,262 years 36 days (after the Julian dates have been corrected to correspond to the Gregorian). Thus the eclipse that died, so to speak, on August 28 (Greg.), 1848, first appeared on July 22 (Julian) in A.D. 586. See an important article on Eclipses by Mr. E.W. Maunder in Knowledge, for October 1893, where other life-histories of eclipses are given, and the whole subject of eclipses clearly explained.}]there is not the slightest difficulty as to its identification. The Saros shows no break, and no interruption; nor does the character of the eclipse suffer any abrupt change. The district over which it is visible moves in a slow and orderly fashion from occurrence to occurrence over the earth’s surface.

Now the important point is this, that if we take the prophetic reckoning of 360 days to the year, we have the following significant Biblical numbers: — In the first place, we already have the 70 Sari divided into two portions of 33 + 37. A perfect cycle is accomplished in 33 Sari, or 595 years, when the eclipse, by a series of unbroken Sari, has accomplished a passage through the year of 360 days; or, if we reckon only the whole numbers, i.e., the 18 completed years, we have for the 33 Sari the period of 594 years, while the remaining portion of 37 Sari makes 666 years (37×18); and the whole 70 Sari makes 1,260 years (594 + 666). [{The relations between 595 years and 1,262 years 36 days, are the same as the relations between 594 years and 1,260 years. The difference of the 2 years 36 days is due to the excess of 10˚96 days over the 18 completed in each Saros.}].

We have then the following figures: —

  • 18 x 33 = 594 years.
  • 18 x 37 = 666 years.
  • 18 x 70 = 1260 years.

Independently of this, we also know that 1,260 years is a soli-lunar cycle, so exact that its epact, or difference, is only 6 hours!

There must, therefore, be something significant in these numbers, e.g., 70; in the number 1,260, with its divisions, not into two equal parts, but into 594 and 666; as also in its double, 2,520.

There must be something to be learned in the occurrences and repetition of these heavenly cycles, which for nearly 6,000 years have been constantly repeated in the heavens, especially when we find these same numbers very prominently presented in the Word of God in connection with the fulfillment of prophecy.

We have the great “seven times” (2,520) connected with the duration of Israel’s punishment, and the Gentiles’ power. We have in Daniel and the Apocalypse the half of this great period presented as “days” (1,260), as “months” (42), and as “times” or years (3,5).

Futurists believe that these “days” and “months,” etc., interpret for us the purposes and counsels of God as connected with “the time of the end,” and as meaning literal “days” and “months,” etc.

Historicists take these terms and themselves interpret the numbers, in the sense of a “day” being put for a year, and they believe that these “1,260 days” will be fulfilled as 1,260 years.

One party boldly and ungraciously charges the other with teaching “The Fallacies of Futurism“; while the other might well retort with a reference to the Heresies of Historicism.

But is there any necessity for the existence of two hostile camps? It is not possible that there may be what we may call a long fulfillment in years? And is it not more than probable that in the time of the end, the crisis, there will be also a short and literal fulfillment in days?

We firmly believe that there will be this literal and short fulfillment. We believe that when God says “days,” He means days; and that when He says “42 months,” He means months, and not 1,260 years. In all the passages referred to by historicists in support of what is called “the year-day theory,” the Holy Spirit uses these words “days” and “years” in the sense of days and years. In the two particular instances of Israel’s wanderings (Num. 14:34), and Ezekiel’s prophesying (Ezek. 4:6), He chooses to take the number of days as denoting the same number of years; but He does not tell us that we are to do the same in other cases! He only asserts His sovereignty by thus acting, while we only show our presumption in taking His sovereign act as a general principle.

But while fully believing in the short fulfillment, we are quite prepared to admit that there may be a long fulfillment as well; and that, owing to the wondrous harmony, and marvelous correspondence, and infinite wisdom of all the works and ways of God, there may be a fulfillment, or rather a “filment,” if we may coin the word, in years, which will be only a foreshadowing of the literal ful-filment afterwards to take place in days.

If historicist will allow us this liberty as to interpretation, and permit us to believe that God means what He says, we will give them some remarkable evidence in support oft heir views, by way of application. In other words, if they will allow us to interpret “days” as meaning days, we will gladly allow them, and be at one with them, in applying them to years. So that while we believe the interpretation to mean “days,” and to teach a short fulfillment at the time of the end, we will thankfully admit an application which shall take these days as foreshowing a long fulfillment in years.

In applying, then, these significant numbers (42, 70, 594, 666, 1,260, and 2,520) to years, from what point or date shall we begin to reckon the “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24)? That there are such definite “times” the words of the Lord Jesus show, when He says, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24). That there are “seven times” of Gentile dominion is more than intimated by the symbolic episode in the life of Nebuchadnezzar as recorded in Dan. 4; and that there are “seven times” of Israel’s punishment is clearly stated in Lev. 26:18. “Seven times,” according to the Historicist school of interpreters, are equal to 2,520 years.

Instead of asking where they begin, let us first note the fact that it is duration which is emphasised in the Scriptures rather than chronology; and loot at the duration of these years independently of, and before we attempt to fix, their beginning and ending.

In Daniel 2 and 7 it is shown first to Nebuchadnezzar in a “dream,” and afterwards to God’s servant the prophet in a “vision,” that Israel was to be put on one side and become “Lo-Ammi” (not My people), while government was to be put into the hands of the Gentiles. Jerusalem was the central point of both these great and solemn facts. That is to say, during 2,520 years, while Jerusalem should remain in the power of the Gentiles, Israel could be “no more a nation” in possession of their land and city.

We know, as a matter of fact, that to-day Jerusalem is in the hands of the Turks, and that it is still “trodden down of the Gentiles.”

If we ask how long it shall continue to be “trodden down”? how long it will be before Israel shall again possess their city and their land? — the answer brings us at once to the heart of our subject.

In seeking to determine both duration and chronology, it is necessary to plant our feet on sure ground. To do this, let us take a point on which all are agreed. There is one date which is universally accepted; and concerning which the evidence is unquestioned.

ABU OBEIDA, the Mahommedan General, laid siege to Jerusalem towards the close of 636 A.D. The City was then occupied by the Romans, who held out for four months. When they capitulated, the Patriarch SOPHRONIUS obtained a clause in the treaty giving security to the inhabitants, and requiring the ratification of OMAR himself. OMAR, who had therefore to be sent for, arrived some six months afterwards, and delay caused the actual delivering up of the city to take place early in the autumn of A.D. 637. [This is the date which concerns only the City of Jerusalem. The Romans were not completely driven out from the land until Caesarea had fallen in 638, when the conquest was finally completed. See Gibbon’s Decline and Fall.].

The year A.D. 636-7 is therefore the accepted date of the passing over of Jerusalem from the Romans to the Turks.

OMAR seems to have stayed in the city only about ten days, during which he must have given his instructions for the erection of the Mosque on the site of the Temple. This Mosque, therefore, stands as the sign and the symbol of the treading down of Jerusalem, and while it remains, those times of treading down cannot be considered as fulfilled.

How steady was Israel’s decadence from Nebuchadnezzar to OMAR! Nothing could exceed that darkest moment in Israel’s history, when Israel was well nigh obliterated in the mighty struggles of her enemies who fought over her inheritance. Thus OMAR becomes the great central point of the 2,520 years, whether reckoned as Lunar, Zodiacal, or Solar, dividing them equally into two portions of 1,260 years. [{This dat 637-7 is a great and important central date, whether we reckon backwards or forwards; whether we reckon them as Lunar, Zodiacal (360 days), or Solar (365 days) years. If we take Lunar years (=1222,5 Solar) — reckoning backward, we get to 587 B.C., the very date of the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar; reckoning forward, we get to 1860 A.D., the very date of the European intervention in the Lebanon, which has brought the Eastern Question into its present prominent position. If we take Zodiacal years (=1242 Solar) — reckoning backward we get to 608 B.C., the date of the battle of Carchemish (2 Chron. 35:20), when Babylon completed the conquest of Assyria, and became supreme; utterly shattering all the hope which Israel had in Egypt; reckoning forward bring us to 1879 A.D., when, by the Treaty of Berlin, Ottoman power received a blow from which it has never recovered, and which has prepared the way for its extinction. If we take Solar years, then — reckoning backward, we get to B.C. 624 (A.M 3376), the beginning of the Babylonian kingdom, the “head of gold;” reckoning forward we get to 1896-7 A.D., which is yet future. These reckonings in their beginnings and endings form an introversion, or Epanodos, thus: — 587 – 608 – 624 B.C. dates increasing. 1860 – 1879 – 1896-7 A.D. dates increasing. The Solar reckonings are the more important dates; the Lunar are next in significance; while Zodiacal reckonings furnish us with dates which, to say the least, fit neatly into their places.}]

Having thus fixed the central date, which already points forward to the end, let us go back and find the starting point, that we may the better understand the end.

When Daniel was explaining to Nebuchadnezzar his mysterious dream, he said, “Thou art this head of gold”! (Dan. 2:38). This moment is popularly, but erroneously, supposed to mark the commencement of the Babylonian kingdom — the first of these four great Gentile powers.

But Daniel spoke of what ALREADY existed, and was explaining the ten condition of things. He said, “God hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory” (Dan. 2:37). The kingdom of Babylon had already been in existence for more than thirty years, for its king had destroyed Jerusalem and burnt the Temple with fire, and brought away many captives, amongst whom was Daniel and his companions. The opening words of the book make this very clear.

The monumental history of Babylon, as now dug up, shows that before this it had been sometimes tributary to, and sometimes almost independent of, Assyria. In A.M 3352, after a severe struggle with Assurbanipal, the Assyrian king, Babylon was once more subdued, and its king setting fire to his palace perished in the flames. After that there was peace for twenty-two years, during which time Kandalanu governed Babylon in succession to Sumas-sum-ukin a son of Assurbanipal.

In A.M. 3375 (i.e B.C. 627), [{These dates are those furnished by the Monuments, as given by Dr. Budge, of the British Museum, in his Babylonian Life and History, R.T.S., 1885. They also agree with the dates dug up by Sir Henry Rawlinson in 1862, consisting of fragments of seven copies of the famous “Eponym Canon of Assyria,” by which the Assyrian chronology has been definitely settled. Before this, historians had to be content with inferences and conjectures.}] another revolt broke out, and the Assyrian king sent a general of great ability to quell it. His name was Nabu-pal-user (which means Nebo protects his son). He put down the rebellion with so much skill that Assurbanipal made him governor of Babylon. He shortly afterwards, in A.M 3376, himself rebelled, and made himself King of Babylon. Associating with him his son Nebuchadnezzar, they commenced a campaign against Assurbanipal, which ended in the fall of Nineveh and the complete subjugation of Assyria. The kingdom of Babylon, thus commencing in B.C. 625, [{In adjusting the A.M. and B.C. dates, the latter are always apparently one year in advance of the former, because B.C. 4000 was A.M. 1, and B.C. 3999 was A.M 2. Hence A.M 3376 is not B.C. 624, but it is B.C. 625.}] became the first great Gentile kingdom as foretold in Daniel.

There is practically no question, now, as to this date.

The actual duration of the three kingdoms that followed — Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece, may not perhaps be so accurately determined. Their total duration is known, because it is fixed by a known date at the other end, but it might introduce controversial matter if we attempted to assign to them their exact relative duration. Probably they were, roughly: — Babylon about 90 years; Medo-Persia about 200 years; Greece about 304 years.

We believe these to be fairly proportionate, [{Cyrus took Babylon, according to the Monuments, in the 17th year of Nabonidus, B.C. 539. I Maccabees 1 begins the first of Alexander from the death of Darius Codomannus in A.M. 3672. This would slightly vary the above distribution of the years of separate duration.}] but whether they are or not, their total amount must have been 594 years, because the undisputed date of the battle of ACTIUM, by which Augustus became the head of the Roman Empire, was September B.C. 31.

From this date Jerusalem passed permanently under the power of Rome until the Mahommedan conquest in A.D. 636-7.

We have, therefore, three fixed dates, and these decide for us the duration of the intervening periods; dividing them into the two great Eclipse Cycles of 594 years and 666 years!

Jerusalem under the Gentiles.

Babylon (the 1st Kingdom) commenced (Fixed date) B.C. 625 – Battle of Actium, ending the possession of the 3rd Kingdom (Fixed date) B.C. 31.

Duration of the three Kingdoms, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece, together (1st Eclipse Cycle) – (Duration of Years 594).

Rome (the 4th Kingdom) became the possessor of Jerusalem (Fixed date) B.C. 31. Mahommedan conquest of Jerusalem, ending the possession of Rome (Fixed date) A.D. 636.

Duration of Rome’s possession of Jerusalem (2nd Eclipse Cycle) – (Duration of Years 666).

FIRST HALF OF “THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES” (Duration of Years 1260).

Date of Mahommedan conquest of Jerusalem (Fixed date) A.D. 636-7.

SECOND HALF OF “THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES” and Duration of Mahommedan possession of Jerusalem — 1260 years.

End and “fulness” of “the times of the Gentiles” A.D. 1896-7 (2,520 years of 7 x 360 years) / Lev. 26:18 / “Seven Times”.

[{In passing from B.C. dates to A.D. dates, one year must always be deducted, e.g., from B.C. 2 to A.D. 2 is only three years, not four! Thus — From Jan. 1 B.C. 2 to Jan. 1 B.C. 1 is one year / From Jan. 1 B.C. 1 to Jan. 1 A.D. 1 is one year / From Jan. 1 A.D. 1 to Jan. 1 A.D. 2 is one year (making only three years.). Hence, B.C. 31 to A.D. 636 is 666 years, not 667.}]

From this it appears that 1896-7 A.D. would mark an important year in connection with the “times of the Gentiles.”

The above reckoning has the following advantages over all previous historicist interpretations: —

  1. Controverted dates are excluded.
  2. The whole period of 2520 years is dealt with instead of only the latter half (1260), as is usually the case.
  3. It confines these “times” to the one place where the Lord Himself put them, viz., “JERUSALEM.” He said, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

These “times,” therefore, are confined to Jerusalem. This “treading down” is confined to Jerusalem. It is not the city of Rome that is to be trodden down for 1260 years. Why, then, should these “times” be separated from what is characteristic of their duration, and applied to Rome, papal or imperial? Why should historicists search for some act of emperors or popes in the early part of the seventh century in order to add it to 1260, so as to find some terminal date in or near our own times! [{While the premisses of the Historicist school are thus strengthened, their conclusions are shown to be erroneous.}]

We claim that the Lord Himself has joined these “times of the Gentiles” with the city of “Jerusalem,” and we say, “What, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).

When Jesus spoke of this treading down, it looks as though it were then still future; for He said, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down,” etc. The occupation of Jerusalem by Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, was for purposes of government rather than for a wanton treading down. Government on the earth was committed unto them. But when Jerusalem passed from the government of the Roman Empire into the hands of the Turks, it could then be said, in a very special sense, to be “trodden down.” For of any government worthy of the name there has been none; and of desolation and desecration the city has been full. Under the feeble rule of the Turks, all the Gentiles seem to have combined in laying waste the holy city.

Though Jews are returning thither in ever-increasing numbers, they are only strangers there. They have as yet no independent position, nor can they make any treaties. But when these “times” shall end, it means that they will have a position of sufficient independence to be able to make a treaty or league with the coming Prince (Dan. 9:27); and then the course of events will bring on another treading down of 1260 literal “days,” which will thus have had a fore-shadowing fulfillment in years! This is written in Rev. 11:2. And to save us from any misunderstanding, the time is given, not in days, but in “months.”

The angel, after directing John to measure the Temple of God and the altar, adds, “but the court which is without the Temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles; and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.”

This refers to a future treading down, which will be limited to the brief period of “forty two” literal “months,” during the time of the coming Prince; and “in the midst” of the last week, when he shall break His covenant with the Jews, [{And cause sacrifice and oblation to cease (Dan. 9:27). We know that is referred, by historicists, to the Messiah. But they are not entitled to so interpret this passage unless they take with it Dan. 8:11; 11:31; 12:11, where the same event is distinctly referred to, and is spoken, not of Christ, but of Antichrist.}] set up the “abomination of desolation” (Dan. 9:27; which is still future in Matt. 24:15), and “tread down the holy city.”

We now desire to specially emphasize the fact that all these dates, and their termination in a rapidly approaching fulfillment, refer ONLY TO JERUSALEM, AND THE GENTILES, AND THE JEWS! They refer only to the end of the Gentile possession of Jerusalem, and to the settlement of the Jews in their own city and land.

These “times and seasons” have nothing whatever to do with “the Church of God” (1 Thess. 5:1). The mystical Body of Christ, whenever its members are complete, “will be taken up to meet the Lord — the Head of the Body — in the air, so to be ever with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:15-17; Col. 3:4). This glorious event has nothing to do with any earthly sign or circumstance, so far as the members of this mystical Body are concerned.

Therefore we are not dealing here with the coming of the Lord; either for His saints, or with them. We are not referring to what is commonly and erroneously called “the end of the world.” We are merely pointing out that the end of Gentile dominion over Jerusalem is drawing near! And we cannot close our eyes to the marvellous manner in which the veil is being removed from Jewish hearts: to the change which has come over the Jewish nation in its attitude towards Christ and Christianity, chiefly, under God, through the unparalleled circulation of more than a quarter of a million copies of a new translation of the New Testament into Hebrew, by the late Isaac Salkinson, published by the Trinitarian Bible Society, and freely distributed by the Mildmay Mission to the Jews: to the Palestine literature which has sprung up amongst the Jews in recent years: to the persecution in various countries which are stirring their nest, and setting the nation in motion: to the organized emigration to Argentina, which is promoters avowedly speak as “a nursery ground for Palestine” (Daily Graphic, March 10th, 1892): to the railways completed and in course of construction in the Holy Land: to the numerous Societies and their branches which have permeated the whole nation, which, while having various names, have only one object — “the colonisation of Palestine.”

When we put these events side by side with the reaching of the heavens as to the “cycles” or appointed times, we are merely showing how wonderfully they agree with what is written in the Book, and witnessed to by great and uncontested historic dates.

Nor are we absolutely naming a definite year or day even for these Palestine events. After all, they can be only approximate, for man has so misused every gift that God has ever given him, that even with such wondrous heavenly time-keepers he cannot really tell you what year it is! And, besides this loss of reckoning, there is confusion as to the commencement of the A.D. era, which makes absolute accuracy between the A.M., B.C., and A.D. dates impossible.

Added to this, there is another point to be borne in mind, viz., that when the “times of the Gentiles” shall end, Jewish independence need not be either immediate or complete!

For when Nebuchadnezzar began his kingdom of Babylon in A.M. 3376 (B.C. 625), the Jews, though in their land and city, were not independent. Nebuchadnezzar went to and fro to Jerusalem, and put down and set up whom he would; and it was not till some thirty years afterwards that he destroyed the City and Temple and made the people captives.

So, likewise, in the time of the end, there may be an epanodos. They may be a similar period of possession without independence, a quasi-independence guaranteed by the Great Powers, and, for ought we know, it may be that, in order to gain complete independence, they may intimately make that fatal league with the coming Prince.

So that while we name the dates 1896-7 as being significant, we are not “fixing dates” in the ordinary sense of the term, but merely pointing out some of “the signs of the times,” concerning which we ought not to be ignorant.

The true interpretation will in any case still remain, and will surely be literally fulfilled in its own time. The Word of God will be vindicated; its prophetic truth will be verified; God Himself will be glorified; and His people saved with an everlasting salvation.

Meanwhile the members of His body will “wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus (Yeshua), which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10). They will live “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people (R.V., a people for His own possession) zealous of good works” (Titus 2:13,14). They will “look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,” from heaven, believing that there is no hope either for “the Jew, the Gentile, or the Church of God,” or for a groaning creation, until “the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of ALL HIS HOLY PROPHETS SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN” (Acts 3:19-21).

By E.W. Bullinger / The Witness of the Stars. *

http://fellowshipbiblechurchorlando.org/bullinger

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Bijbelstudie boeken:

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http://www.hadderech.nl

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INFO ISRAEL:

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http://www.israeltoday.nl

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http://www.wimjongman.nl

Dagelijks internationaal nieuws uit ISRAEL: Van Wim Jongman in de nieuwsbief!

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Gerard J.C. Plas

 Posted by at 15:51
Aug 082019
 
The Holy Scriptures

The Completeness of Christ in Type and Shadow in the Old Testament …

THE BOOK JOEL

The dating of this prophecy is unknown. We know practically nothing of the prophet, other than, just as Hosea was sent to Israel, Joel was sent to Judah.

We do know that his father’s name was Pethuel.

In Joel 1:1 we also read: ‘The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.’ This gives the writing its divine authority.

Another interesting thing regarding this name is, Joel – Jehovah (is) God (Companian Bible – http://www.levendwater.org. Joel – The Lord is God (Dr. David Jeremiah).

The various titles given to Joel by these authorities, point to the strength of his name. In verse 4 of Joel 1, there are four types of locusts mentioned, according to Rev. S.L. Warren M.A. there are ninety different types of locusts. In Exodus 10:3-19 we get some idea of the destructive power of this insect. The destruction they brought on Egypt was total.

If we compare Joel 2:4-11 with Revelation 9:7-10, we get a further description, not only of how devastating this insect can be, but also of its appearance. Having consulted various authorities, we get a diversity of views regarding their appearance and none of them are appealing.

The theme of this book is repentance. Five times we get the phrase ‘The day of the Lord’ (Joel 1:15; 2:1,11,31; 3:14) always signifying judgment.

The following references in Joel’s prophecy, are a clear indication of the coming judgment of Israel. ‘The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong and executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can abide it?’ (Joel 2:10,11).

  • ‘The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.’ (Joel 2:31).
  • ‘The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD wil be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.’ (Joel 3:15,16).

In the midst of all these terrible events, we get the wonderful promise to Israel, that the Lord will be the hope and strength of his people. The little word ‘but’, is such an important word in the Scriptures, that it is a study in itself.

As we read Joel 2:28-32, we see the need to apply the principle of Right Division. In Acts 2:17-21 Peter quotes this prophecy of Joel. Dr. Bullinger points out that, ‘Had the nation repented at the summons of Peter in Acts 2:18-26 then Joel 2:30-32 would have come to pass’. Hence the need to Rightly Divided the Scriptures. See App. 183 of the Companion Bible. http://www.levendwater.org / http://www.bereanonline.org

Paul also quotes Joel in Romans e.g. ‘And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered … ‘ (Joel 2:32). ‘For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Romans 10:13).

In Joel 3:10 we read: ‘Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears … ‘. It is interesting to compare this prophecy with the writings of Isaiah 2:4; Hosea 2:18 and Micha 4:3.

  • ‘ … And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks … ‘ (Isaiah 2:4). ‘ … and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely’ (Hosea 2:18). ‘ … and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn was anymore.’ (Micah 4:3).

Joel’s prophecy precedes the other three prophecies. The Lords victory had been achieved and peace was reigning.

In Joel 3:17 we read ‘ … I am the Lord your God … ‘, Elohim the name associated with the Creator. ‘In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heaven and the earth’ (Genesis 1:1).

Contrary to modern teaching we have here a Creator, the alternative is the principle of evolution. A theory which cannot be proved, in fact, the evidence they build this theory on is badly flawed and unscriptural. As Christians we do not look at the writings of man, but to the Truth of Scripture.

The question can be asked, who was the Creator? John in chapter 1 supplies us with the answer. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.’ (John 1:1:3).

The Colossian epistle is specific as to Who was the Creator. ‘In Whom we have redemption through His (Christ’s) blood, even the forgiveness of sins. Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him.’ (Col. 1:14-16).

This is obviously the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the last two verses in the book of Joel, we see the justice of God. There is only one who can administer justice fairly and without bias, we know from the Scriptures who that one is: ‘ … for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.’ (Romans 14:10-12).

  • ‘That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Philippians 2:10,11).

What a blessing to know, that man’s flawed judgment will be no more, but Christ Himself, the righteous judge, will administer all judgment.

There will be no one who will escape His judgments. A believer will not stand before Christ regarding eternal life, that has already been settled by Christ, by His death and resurrection, but we will stand before Him regarding our walk.

Alan Schofield

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THE BOOK AMOS

The name Amos means Burden Bearer.

Although from Judah, Amos prophesied in the Northern Kingdom. His occupation was a shepherd before his call to prophesy.

‘The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa … ‘ Amos 1:1. ‘Then answered Amos and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither’s was I a prophet’s son; but I was a herdman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit.’ (Amos 7:14).

As Dr. Bullinger points out, ‘Prophets were not hereditary as priests were’. To prophesy was a calling, similar to a preacher today (how important it is to be called to minister the Word of God).

We are also told Amos was ‘A gatherer of sycamore fruit’. In the Alphabetical Analysis Part 8, Mr. Welch says, ‘Apparently the fruit of the sycamore does not ripen until it is rubbed with iron combs, after which rubbing it ripens in four days. The point that Amos seems to make here and which has a typical teaching, is that Israel, like the sycamore, will not bear fruit apart from great tribulation’. http://www.levendwater.org

The tone of the prophecy can be seen in Chapter 1 of Amos. ‘And he said, the LORD will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn and the top of the Carmel shall wither’ (Amos 1:2). The same wording can be found in Joel ‘The Lord also shall roar out of Zion … ‘ (Joel 3:16).

Amos 1:1 says, ‘ … two years before the earthquake’.

Speaking of the return of our Lord, we read in Zechariah 14:5, ‘ … ye shall flee, like as ye fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.’ The judgment we have just read about, was due to the corruption of the nation.

The catastrophe as a result of this flood is seen in Amos 8:8 and 9:5. The cause of these dramatic events can be seen in the fifth chapter of Amos, ‘I hate, I despite your feast days, and I will not smell your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beast.’ (Amos 5:21,22).

The expressions ‘they take a bribe’ in Amos 5:12, both Dr. Reynolds and Prof. Whitehouse say, ‘This was a ransom which the poor and defenceless were obliged to pay a tyrannical judge’. This assessment is questions by many other scholars.

One thing is clear, the behaviour of this nation is corrupted and one day judgment will fall on these people.

Despite the corrupt behaviour of this nation (which had gone on for centuries), we read the remedy for this way of life can be seen in the fifth chapter of Amos, ‘Seek good and not evil, that you may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate thee evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hots will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.’ (Amos 5:14,15).

For justice to be just, is followed by restoration. Amos 7:8 speaks of ‘a plumbline’, something which is used in building construction, to see if anything is true. Lasers are now often used in building work. The principle here is to see if anything is misaligned. This has to do with the nation of Israel. Dr. Bullinger refers us to the following references: Isaiah 28:17, 34:11 and Lamentations 2:8.

The restoration of Israel can only come about by the finished work of the Messiah. As we read of the disciples, ‘When they therefore were come together, they asked of him saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?’ (Acts 1:6).

The time for that restoration had not yet come, it had been promised in Amos, ‘In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.’ (Amos 9:11,12).

In Acts 15:13-17 we see James quoting these verses from Amos. The possibility of that restoration at that time was delayed at Acts 28:28, when the administration of the Body of Christ came into being. This is not to say, that Israel will not be restored to its former glory. The book of Zechariah confirms this, ‘Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, … then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, … and his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, … and the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.’ (Zechariah 14:1-9).

Coming to the New Testament, 2 Thessalonians gives us a description of the return of our Lord, ‘And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: … when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all then that believe … ‘ (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

Alan Schofield *

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THE BOOK MICAH

Micah is a shortened form of Micaiah meaning – Who is like Jehovah?

Micah was a patriot and foresaw the invasion of the Assyrians.

It is interesting to see that the writer of 1 Kings concludes his prophecy with the words ‘Hearken O people every one of you’ 1 Kings 22:28. Micah begins his prophecy with the words ‘Hear, all ye people; ‘ Micah 1:2. He continues this theme in Micah 3:9, 6:1,2.

As the Rev. S.L. Warren points out, the styles of Isaiah and Micah are similar. The word that Isaiah the son of Amos saw, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

  • ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it … And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up swords against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.’ (Isaiah 2:2-4).
  • ‘But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it … And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.’ (Micah 4:1-3).

One cannot fail to see the similarity between the writings of the two prophets. Isaiah’s writings are more protracted than the writings of Micah. The critics accuse Micah of copying Isaiah’s writings. We would not entertain this claim for a moment.

The state of Israel’s worship at this time was one of decadence. Pagan worship was commonplace and some of the details of their practices are horrific. Idolatry was everywhere, even in the temple itself, Baal was worshipped more than God, heathenism was at its height. 1 Kings records that the worship of Molech had taken hold in the days of Solomon.

  • ‘Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice.’ (1 King 11:7-9). See also: http://www.elshaddaiministries.us / Decoding the Antichrist and the end times / by Mark Biltz.

When one considers the wonderful blessings that the Lord showered upon Solomon and then for Solomon to have been sucked into depravity, should serve as a warning to all. It is shocking to read in 2 Kings and Jeremiah just how evil these practices in worshipping Molech were.

  • ‘And (king Josiah) defiled Tophet which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.’ (2 Kings 23:10).
  • ‘And they built the high places of Baal, … which I commanded them not neither came it into my mind … .’ (Jeremiah 32:35).

This brings into question the traditional doctrine of hell. (For a more in dept study on this very important doctrine, see the booklet ‘Hell pure from blood of all men’ by Charles H. Welch). Available from the Berean Publishing Trust in London. http://www.bereanoneline.org

The book of Micah looks forward not only to the judgement, but the coming of the Messiah.

  • ‘But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose going forth have been from of old, from everlasting.’ (Micah 5:2).

This verse is giving the people hope and is confirmed in both Matthew and John’s Gospels;

  • ‘And they said unto him, In Betlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Betlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.’ (Matthew 2:5,6).
  • ‘Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, were David was?’ (John 7:42).

There is a similar thought in both Micah 5 and Isaiah 14.

  • ‘And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty in the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.’ (Micah 5:4).

This is a glorious picture of an assured sovereignty of a tender Shepherd. See Psalm 78:70-72.

The theme of a shepherd guiding and looking after his sheep is found in this psalm.

For the many wrongs in this world to be put right, it will take a firm hand. It is obvious that no politician or leader can put right the many problems in the world. The only One who can achieve this, is the Lord Himself.

  • ‘ … The LORD has said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thy inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession … ‘ ‘Thou shall break them with a rod of iron; thou shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ (Psalm 2:7-9).

For the fulfillment of this prophecy, see Revelation 2:27, 12:5 and 19:15,16. The One to accomplish this is the One whom they pierced.

  • ‘Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so Amen.’ (Revelation 1:7).

Micah’s conclusion of his prophecy pays homage to the God of gods.

  • ‘Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He deligteth in mercy.’ (Micah 7:18).

These glorious promises are all centred in Christ, the wonderful words of Mary (Mirjam), at the realisation of her pregnancy (by the Holy Spirt) with Christ, affirm this. See Luke 1:46-55.

Alan Schofield

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THE BOOK JONAH

Jonah – the Dove. He was a successor of Elijah and Elisha. Jonah has a unique place in the Scriptures.

The book has come under severe criticism from many theologians down through the years, as being myth, legend or fantasy.

We are told in Jonah 1:1 that his father’s name was Amittai, this is confirmed in 2 Kings.

  • ‘He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He spake by the hand of His servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher.’ (2 Kings 14:25).

The fact of Jonah was confirmed by our Lord. If we compare Jonah 1:17 with the words of our Lord in Matthew, we see the Lord put His divine stamp on the book of Jonah. ‘But He answered and said unto them, an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’ (Matthew 12:39,40).

Can we ever consider throwing doubt on the Lord’s words? John in his gospel gives seven occasions where the Lord testifies to the truth of His words. (John 7:16; 8:26,46,47; 12:49; 17:8).

The question to be addressed is, why Jonah, a prophet refused to go to Nineveh? Was it through cowardice? The cruelty of the Assyrians brought fear and dread to other nations at this time. One can hardly accuse Jonah of cowardice, as he offered his own life to save the crew of the ship. ‘And he said unto them, take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.’ (Jonah 1:12).

Another significant statement is found in Jonah 1:14 ‘ … and lay not upon us innocent blood … ‘. What a wonderful type of Christ Jonah was. See Matthew 27:4. Jonah had offered his own life to save others and the testimony by others of the ‘innocent blood’ being offered.

Jonah’s refusal to go to Nineveh is summed up by Jerome: ‘The prophet knew, through the inward suggestion of the Holy Spirit, that the repentance of the Gentiles would be ruin of the Jews. Therefore a lover of his country, he was not so much displeased at the thought of Nineveh’s salvation, as he was adverse to the destruction of his own people’.

The disobedience of Jonah is there for all to see, but the reason for that disobedience is not obvious. Jonah 1:3 is partly answered in 4:2. He knew that God’s displeasure, which resulted in refusing to go to Nineveh would be upon him. ‘ … I am cast out of Thy sight; yet I will look again unto Thy holy Temple.’ (Jonah 2:4).

Jonah’s patriotism at the expense of God’s will and purpose for Nineveh, led to the most wonderful type of Christ that can be found in the Old Testament. ‘Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.’ (Jonah 1:17).

Was this for a period of seventy two hours? Many critics point out that part of a day be reckoned as a full day. Therefore it is possible that Jonah could only have been in the fish for twenty six hours, one hour before the end of one day and the first hour of the third day. Dr. Bullinger points out that the three nights must have resulted in three full days, as Matthew 12:39,40 point out.

Another question which arises is did Jonah actually die in the fish? Again Dr. Bullinger says: ‘If he had not died, he could not have fulfilled the type of Christ.’

Jonah 3:3 describes Nineveh as ‘a great city’. Many scholars say the walls were so wide chariots could be driven at three abreast along the top of the walls. The actually size of the city can be judge by what is written by various people, some conflicting with another. Heroditus reckons a day’s journey at about eighteen or twenty miles. Rev. Aglen M.A. states most commentators measure a city by its circumference, the time taken to walk around the city would take three days according to many scholars. ‘ … forty days … ‘ Jonah 3:4, a period of probation. The number forty plays a significant part in Scripture.

In verse 10 we read where God repeated. ‘And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that He said He would do unto them; and He did it not.’ (Jonah 3:10).

We see where this word repentance is ascribed to God in Genesis 6:6. If God is perfect in all His ways, it would be both impossible and unnecessary for Him to repent. We turn once again to Dr. Bullinger for the answer to this query. It is what is known as a ‘Figure of Speech’, meaning also ascribing to God what belongs to human and rational beings. There are many such instances of this ‘Figure of Speech’ in the Bible. See Appendix 6 in the Companion Bible for a more detailed study on this subject.

In Jonah 4:5 we read of a booth (soeka/sukkot) which Jonah had made and in verse 6 we see where ‘the LORD God had prepared a gourd’. Rev. Aglen M.A. says it is a large shrub having palmate leaves with serrated lobes. In vers 7, ‘God prepared a worm’ (Deut. 28:39 and Isaiah 14:11), the worm is associated with dead and destruction. In verse 10 and 11 one can see the turmoil that was in Jonah’s mind, he had more pity for the gourd than for Nineveh.

The prophecy suddenly finished, it exhibits God’s care for all people and His creation.

Alan Schofield

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THE BOOK NAHUM

Nahum means consolation, or full of comfort. Although only three chapters long, it conveys to us that the believer will go through difficult and unfair times, but God is ultimately in control!

Dr. David Jeremiah points out that three principal themes stand out in this prophecy.

  1. Judgement. God allows sin (which is never excused) but even uses it for His purposes. ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.’ (Romans 8:28).
  2. Oversight of the Nations. He raises up kings and He also removes kings. ‘And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.’ (Daniel 2:21).
  3. Comfort. ‘Behold upon the mountains the feet of Him that brings good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pas through Thee; He is utterly cut off.’ (Nahum 1:15).

In the first chapter, in the book of Nahum, verse one reads ‘The burden of Nineveh’. This evil godless city, brought misery and death amongst its enemies. The Assyrians had terrorised the known world, but the great redeeming feature is: God will only allow His people to suffer so much, then He puts a stop to their persecution.

  • ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.’ (Isaiah 40:1,2).

What a blessed word this is, it takes us immediately to the New Testament. ‘And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever (John 14:16). Verse 26 of this chapter identifies Who the comforter is: ‘The Holy Ghost’. John 15:26 ‘He shall testify of Me.’ The question of Nahum 3:7 is answered in Acts 2:1-4, were the disciples ‘ … were all filled with the Holy Ghost … ‘.

The word ‘Comforter’ figures greatly in the prison epistles. Writing to both the Ephesian and the Colossian churches, the word ‘comfort’ is stressed. See Eph. 6:22; Col. 2:2 and 4:8. No matter which calling we are in, we need the Comforter to encourage and strengthen us.

God’s name has a twofold character, as seen throughout the Scriptures. ‘And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and thruth, … and that will by no means clear the guilty … ‘ (Exodus 34:6,7).

The mercy God is demonstrated in Jonah 3:10-4:2,11. In Nahum 2:11-13, God’s anger and power is demonstrated here against this city of Nineveh, where the city was destroyed completely. Rev. A.C. Jennings M.A. points out that the image of the lion figured greatly on Assyrian monuments. This of course points to the power and strength of their nation.

This prophecy of Nahum shows Nineveh was partly destroyed by fire and partly by water from the Tigris. (Nahum 2:2-6; 3:13 and 15).

Jeremiah records the mercy and judgement of God:

  • ‘Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place and I will cause them to dwell safely: And they shall be my people and I will be their God: … And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, and I will not turn away from them … For thus saith the LORD; like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.’ (Jeremiah 32:37-42).

This proves that God’s judgement and mercy is everlasting and that He has not forgotten His people. These everlasting covenants with His people are unconditional. The fall of this great city Nineveh, caused great rejoicing among God’s people. Compare Psalm 47:1-10.

In the third chapter of Nahum we read, ‘Art thou better than populous No, … ‘. Nahum 3:8 No = Thebes (See – Companian Bible – E.W. Bullinger) http://www.levendwater.org

Scholars tell us that Thebes is the city of the pagan god Amon. (Dr. David Jeremiah). Thebes, the capital of upper Egypt, perhaps the house of the god Amon. (Rev. A.C. Jennings M.A.).

The judgements of God are terrible, but just.

  • ‘The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him.’ (Jeremiah 46:25).

The lesson here is that no matter how prosperous and strong a city is, or nation, if they are openly hostile to God’s people and His word, judgement will fall.

In the last verse of this prophecy of Nahum we read, ‘There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?’ (Nahum 3:19).

The fall of this nation (Assyria) was a joy, not only to Israel, but to many other nations. The cruelty of the Assyrians was legendary. No wonder there was a clapping of hands with joy, at the destruction of Nineveh.

Alan Schofield

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THE BOOK HAGGAI

Although the background of this prophecy is not recorded in Scripture, we do know that Haggai was one who receive the Word of God. See Haggai 1:1,5; 2:1,10,20.

It is interested to note that the name Haggai means ‘My Feast’ and although there are only two chapters in this prophecy, there is a wealth of truth contained in these writings.

Like all biblical prophecies, its displays the uniqueness of God’s Word. In fact it never becomes obsolete.

  • ‘For whatsoever things were written afore time were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.’ (Romans 15:4).

Once again this is showing the reliability of the Old Testament.

The Jewish scholar, David Baron says: ‘The aged figure of the prophet Haggai stand prominently as the last group of three prophets after the restoration from Babylon.’ Haggai’s prophecy was of short duration, possibly as short as four months. See Alphabetical Part 8 page 298. http://www.bereanonline.org / http://www.levendwater.org

In Haggai 1:4 there is a word of rebuke to the people and a great lesson to us all, to put the things of God first. The word ‘consider’ is a word that Haggai uses five times in his short prophecy. We find it in the following references: Chapters 1:5,7; 2:15, twice in verse 18.

The rebuke in 1:4 continues to verse 11. These people had built their own houses with expensive woods, cedar, etc., at the detriment to the house of God. Haggai was angry at the attitude of these people as they had their priorities wrong. The joy of the old men at having seen Solomon’s temple in all its glory turned to sadness as the work of their temple almost came to a halt.

  • ‘But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy.’ (Ezra 3:12).
  • ‘Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?’ (Haggai 2:3).

The sentiments of Haggai 2:7-9 are also seen in Malachi. ‘Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even te messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.’

The question of ‘peace’ seen in Haggai 2:9 is also seen in Isaiah 9:6 and Zechariah 9:9,10. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who can bring everlasting peace to this world. Man has tried over centuries to achieve a lasting peace and it has always failed and will continue to do so.

Chapter 2 in Haggai speaks of the glory of God. ‘And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.’ (Haggai 2:7).

In both Matthew and John’s gospels, we see how the Glory of God in the temple was being corrupted by the behaviour of those trading in the temple.

  • ‘And Jesus went into the temple of God and cast out all of them that sold and bought in the temple and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.’ (Matthew 21:12,13. See also John 2:16).

The greater and true Glory of God is in the Lord Jesus Christ. The corruption of the old nature in man, leads to judgement, which can be both swift and terrible. ‘I smote you with blastings and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD’ (Haggai 2:17).

We find similar words in both Deuteronomium 28:22 and Amos 4:9.

It is impossible to divorce the principle of a temple from the believer. The temple was an essential part of Jewish worship. The believer today is associated with this principle.

  • ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?’ (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Just as the temple of old was the dwelling place of God, so the believer should be likewise.

  • ‘Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple of the Lord.’ (Ephesians 2:19-21).

Here the temple in question is of believers. ‘Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.’ (1 Peter 2:5).

The Scriptures are full of encouragement for the believer. ‘Then spake Haggai the LORD’s messenger in the LORD’s message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.’ (Haggai 1:13). ‘Yet now be strong, O Zerrubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts.’ (Haggai 2:4).

This truth of God’s abiding presence with us is clearly seen in the New Testament. ‘Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’ (Matthew 28:20).

Paul stresses this recurring doctrine in Ephesians 1:1-5; 2:6; Philippians 1:6 and Colossians 3:3. Those wonderful words of Romans 8:35-39 are the quarantee that the believer has today regarding the Lord’s abiding presence with all who love the Lord Jesus Christ.

We get the types and shadows in the Old Testament and the fulfillment of those types and shadows in the New Testament.

Alan Schofield

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THE BOOK ZEPHANIAH

Zephaniah means ‘hidden of Jehovah’ or ‘protects’. Some says ‘The watchman of Jehovah’. There is some dispute amongst scholars regarding the second title.

In verse one Zephaniah traces his pedigree back some four generations to Hezekiah. He was probably the great, great, grandson of Hezekiah. (According to Dr. Bullinger, Hizkiah and Hezekiah is the same Hebrew word) See: Companion Bible / http://www.levendwater.org

Such is the language of chapter one, that terrible judgement will befall this nation. Throughout the nation’s history, we see that it has been contaminated by pagan worship.

  • ‘I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims (black-robed priests / Companian Bible) with the priests;’ (Zephaniah 1:4).

Both 2 Kings 23:5 and Hosea 10:5 make reference to these black robed priests. Coming to Zephaniah 1:5, we read of those who worshipped upon the housetops. Rev. A.C. Jennings M.A. says, ‘The last half of the verse should be rendered, and the worshippers who swear to Jehovah and swear (also) to Malcham, those who divide their allegiance between the true God and the false.’ Malcham was a pagan god, as Baal was a Canaanite god of fertility. In 1 Kings 11:5 we have reference to the goddess Ashtoreth and Milcom, the one Malcham of Zephaniah 1:5, has been suggested that this deity is identified with the planet Saturn. Ashtoreth is often mentioned in the Old Testament, as one of the many gods that led Israel away from the true God. Zephaniah 1:14,18 strong emphasis is laid upon ‘The Day of the Lord’. The first chapter of Zephaniah is one of judgement. In Zephaniah 1:7 we read:

  • ‘Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, the hath bid his guests.’

The day of the Lord, is seen in the fulfillment of the prophecy in Revelation 6, at the opening of the six seals. ‘For the great day of his wrath is come; who shall be able to stand?’ (Revelation 6:17).

Coming to the second chapter of Zephaniah we read of the judgement that will fall on those nations which have corrupted the Lord’s people, these nations are Moab, Ammon, Ethiopia and others, but also the correction for His people.

We read many passages in Scripture referring to the judgements associated with God, but many view these judgements lightly. The reality is vastly different as we see in Revelation 6. The reading of Matthew 24 shows gravity of those days.

Turning out attention to chapter 3 of Zephaniah, we read God’s of displeasure to His people. The first two verses portrayed the sinful condition of those who are disobedient.

  • ‘She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; shew drew not near to her God.’ (Zephaniah 3:2).

The sentiment of verse 7 is echoed in Matthew 23 verse 26. A.M. Hodgkin points out in Zephaniah chapter 3:5-7 that the Lord comes as a judge, ‘every morning’. A similar thought can be seen in Psalm 101:8. The behaviour of these people, particularly from their leaders, the Pharisees, caused much distress to our Saviour.

  • ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathered her chicks under her wings, and ye would not!’ (Matthew 23:37).

This is a very touching verse, as we see the Lord’s concern over His people. In Zephaniah chapter 3:8, He speaks of ‘with the fire of my jealousy’ see Deuteronomy 4:24, also Zephaniah 1:18 speaks of this jealousy. The judgements of God are a terrible thing. Many believers get the mistaken idea that the all consuming love of God is at the expense of the judgements of God. Verse 9 refers to a pure language in contrast to Isaiah 6:5. Paul also stresses the need for purity.

  • ‘Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever tings are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.’ (Philippians 4:8).

Some scholars say, ‘the reference to a pure language means, that one day that which was created in Genesis 11:9 was the confusion of languages, so the Lord will one day unify the nations under one language, when the worship of many gods shall yield to the pure service of Jehovah, when men shall, with one mind and one mouth glorify.’ – A.C. Jennings M.A.

‘The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth … ‘ (Zephaniah 3:13). What contrast to Micah 6:12.

As Dr. Jeremiah points out, in Zephaniah verses 18-20 of chapter 3, the statement ‘I will’ occurs six times and that the prophet concludes his prophecy with the words, ‘saith the LORD.’

In Zephaniah 3:17, four times we read ‘he will’, in verse 20 it states ‘ … for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth … .’

This nation of Israel which down through the ages, suffered persecution from nations of the earth, will one day be free. All the enemies of God’s people have always been defeated and will continue to be so until that day when the Lord returns to His people.

Alan Schofield

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THE BOOK ZECHARIAH

This prophecy is of great wealth in bringing to light the types and shadows of Christ in the Old Testament. Zechariah, more than any other prophet demonstrated this truth.

Much controversy surrounds the dating of chapters 9-14. This is dealt with in an exhaustive and thorough way by the Rev. W.H. Lowe M.A. in Dr. Ellicott’s bible commentary, the result being that the criticism is faulty and unreliable

It would appear that Zechariah like Ezekiel and Jeremiah combined the two great offices of prophet and priest, ‘The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest … ‘ (Ezekiel 1:3).

One of the best examples of combining two great offices is seen in Melchizedek, meaning ‘king of righteousness’. ‘And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all’ (Genesis 14:18-20 compare with Hebrews 7:1).

Referring to Christ, John 1:49 ‘ … thou art the King of Israel’. Also, ‘But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.’ (Hebrews 7:24).

In Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12 referring to the Messiah, Dr. Bullinger points out how the Lord is portrayed in this book and how the four gospels fulfill that portrayal.

Matthew – presents our Lord as ‘the King’. ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem, behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.’ (Zechariah 9:9).

Mark – The servant. ‘Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.’ (Zechariah 3:8).

Luke – The man. ‘And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD.’ (Zechariah 6:12).

John – God (Jehovah). ‘Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee’ Zechariah 14:1. ‘ … and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.’ (Zechariah 14:5).

We see the Lord as the Good Shepherd. ‘And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of His people … ‘ (Zechariah 9:16). ‘I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep’ (John 10:11).

Zechariah 9:11 speaks of ‘by the blood of thy covenant.’ ‘For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’ (Matthew 26:28, see also Hebrews 9:20-22).

  • ‘And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.’ (Zechariah 11:12). Thirty pieces of silver is the price of a foreign slave. ‘Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, what will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.’ (Matthew 26:14,15).

We realise from the prophecies in the Old Testament, how vital it is to see these many links with our Lord.

In Zechariah 14 we have a graphic account of our Lord’s return to the earth. ‘And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north and half of it toward the south.’ (Zechariah 14:6). Acts 1:10 and 11 will be the fulfillment of this prophecy. There can be no doubt that our Lord’s return will be to the Mount of Olives. The geography of that region will be radically changed.

A graphic account of the return of our Lord is clearly seen in Matthew. ‘And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.’ (Matthew 24:30,31).

The book of Jude records the following: ‘And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with the thousand of His angels.’ (Jude 14).

Dr. Bullinger points out that ‘saints’ (A.V.) here in Jude should read ‘angels’ which radically changes the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. See: http://www.bereanonline.org / http://www.levendwater.org

The Scriptures clearly teach that the return of our Lord brings judgement and cleansing.

Alan Schofield

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THE BOOK MALACHI

Malachi – the messenger of the Lord. What a privileged title to have, to be the Lord’s messenger is to be one who is reliable.

  • Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me … ‘ (Malachi 3:1).

John the Baptist is the one referred to here. We find in all four gospels that John is indeed a messenger of God preparing the way for our Lord Jesus Christ. See Matthew 3:1-3, Mark 1:1-8, Luke 1:13-17, John 1:6-8. What a testimony to this great servant of God was John the Baptist.

In Malachi we find that there are at least four practices which are dishonouring to the Lord.

a/. The corruption of the priesthood. – ‘And now O ye priests, this commandment is for you‘, Malachi 2:1. – ‘Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law‘, Malachi 2:9. – This has been a recurring problem. See Nehemiah 13:29.

b/. Alliance with strange wives. See Nehemiah 13:23-27 also Malachi 2:10-16.

One might ask why is this practice condemned in the Scriptures? There are several passages in the Old Testament where this is brought to the fore. The result of these practices led to the introduction of pagan worship. A prominent example of this is seen in the life of Solomon. Here was a man who was given a gift from God of great wealth and wisdom.

  • In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, ask what I shall give thee … give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great people? And the speech pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing … Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and understanding hearth; so that there is none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee … ‘, 1 Kings 3:5-14.

As we continue to read Solomon’s life, we realise that his heart was turned. ‘But king Solomon loved many strange women, … and he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.‘ (1 Kings 11:1-3).

What a lesson to us all, here was the wisest man that ever lived, received multitudes of blessings from the Lord, riches etc. Yet he turned away from God and embraced the pagan life. Oh, the power and influence of the old nature in man.

c/. The disobedience of this nation of Israel, led to some very plain speaking by Malachi.

A.M. Hodgkin points out that this led to the people giving an immediate response. Malachi 1:2, 6-7; 2:17; 3:7-8, 13-14. ‘A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? And if I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the LORD of hosts unto you. O, priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?‘ (Malachi 1:6).

We learn another lesson from this verse. One can stray far away from God’s truth, that the truth itself can be blurred. As Exodus 4:22 makes it clear that God was indeed their Father.

d/.

  • ‘Anyone or anything that spoils the image of Christ is to be condemned. The nation of Israel was doing exactly that at this time, ‘Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, the table of the LORD is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? …, (Malachi 1:7-8).

Rev. W.H. Lowe M.A. brings to our attention, the word ‘Bread’ means flesh in Arabic, and food generally in Hebrew.

The insistence in the Scriptures of the unblemished state of the Lord is stressed in Exodus 12:5, 29:1; Leviticus 22:19-24. It is heartbreaking to the believer to hear how the world regards Christ. [Jesjoea Masjiach] – http://www.hadderech.nl

We have the divine assurance that we worship a God who is unchangeable. ‘For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.’ (Malachi 3:6).

This theme runs through the whole of Scripture, both the Old and the New Testaments. What a blessing this is, to know we worship an unchangeable God, not a God who repeatedly changes his mind. See Numbers 23:19 and Psalm 102:27. This clearly shows that the God of the whole of Scripture is one and the same. ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever‘, (Hebrews 13:8).

In Malachi 3:16 we read of a book of remembrance. See also Psalm 56:8 and Daniel 7:10. It was the custom of Persian kings to have records written in a book of remembrance. This is seen in Esther 6:1 and Revelation 5:1-5.

To entertain the idea that God needs a book of remembrance to bring to mind various happenings is unworthy of the God we worship. If God has no beginning or ending and is not limited by time and space, why should He require written records to remember anything? Surely the present is always before Him. It is only human beings that are limited to time and space.

In Malachi 4:2 we read ‘Sun (fem) of righteousness’. Dr. Bullinger says, ‘It is connected with righteousness (fem) which Messiah the righteous one along can bring.’ http://amen.nl/artikel/1072/100e-sterfdag-bullinger-geen-religie-maar-christus?highlight=Bullinger%20

This prophecy ends with a day of judgement. ‘ … before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD‘, Malachi 4:5.

A.M. Hodgkin points out that the Old Testament closes with the word ‘curse’. The new Testament closes with a blessing, Revelation 22:21.

It has been an interesting exercise to see from the Old Testament the many types and shadows of our Lord in those writings, appreciating that only a fraction of those types we have looked at.

The hope is that many may have been stimulated to pursue for themselves the many types which have been missed in this series of articles.

Alan Schofield

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FULFILLMENT OF CHRIST FROM TYPE AND SHADOW FOUND IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

Having looked at Christ in type and shadow in the Old Testament, we now look at His earthly life in the four gospels, particularly from John’s gospel.

Many teach that there is a certain amount of copying, especially Mark copying some of his writings from Matthew’s gospel. Most of us are familiar with the fact that our Lord is presented in four different ways in these four gospels.

  • Matthew – presents our Lord as a king.
  • Mark – presents our Lord as a servant.
  • Luke – presents our Lord as a man.
  • John – presents our Lord as Jehovah.

Having seen these basic truths, enables us to appreciate our Lord’s work while on earth.

Most people have no problem with the first three gospels and what they teach regarding Christ. John is a very different story. We are not interested in the testimony of man, but what the Scriptures teach on this vital doctrine of The Deity of Christ. Immediately we see the status of the One of Whom this gospel is speaking. ‘And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.’ (John 1:14).

With the above statement in mind we turn to the first verse of this great gospel.

  • ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ (John 1:1).

We now come across a problem when we read in Genesis 1:1 ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’ Yet when we come to John 1:18 it reads ‘no man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.’ There is no contradiction here, it was at Bethlehem that He became flesh. We then read a staggering statement in John. ‘All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.’ (John 1:3).

This is repeated by Paul in his epistle to the Colossians. ‘For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (are held together).’ (Colossians 1:16-17).

To get some appreciation of these words, we only have to look up on a cloudless night and see the vastness of the heavens, then look through a microscope and see the amazing life forms which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Considering that ‘God is spirit … ‘ John 4:24, if God is a spirit, therefore He is unknowable to mankind. For God to fulfill His purposes for mankind and to eradicate sin which has spoiled creation, it necessitated coming in the flesh to correct that deficiency. The one who died must be sinless, otherwise he himself would need s Saviour. As only God is sinless, then it follows that Christ Himself must also be sinless, ‘And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.’ (1 Timothy 3:16).

One name He gave Himself was I AM and its significance is found in Exodus 3:14. Some argue that when Christ used this name (ego eimi) it merely meant He was expressing Himself, this borders on blasphemy and is not worthy of our time.

We are given a very interesting list of this title by A.M. Hodgkin from John’s gospel. It is as follows: John 4:25-26. ‘Jesus saith unto her, I (I AM) that speak unto thee am He.’ That meets our needs of a divine Saviour.

  • John 6:35. ‘ … I am the bread of life … ‘ Meets our soul – hunger.
  • John 8:12. ‘ … I am the light of the world … ‘ Meets our darkness.
  • John 10:7. ‘ … I am the door of the sheep … ‘ Meets our homelessness.
  • John 10:11. ‘ … I am the good shepherd … ‘Meets our helplessness.
  • John 11:25. ‘ … I am the resurrection and the life … ‘ Meets our death.
  • John 13:13. ‘ … Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am’. He meets our dependence.
  • John 14:6. ‘ … I am the way, the truth, and the life … ‘ He meets our need for salvation.
  • John 15:1. ‘ … I am the true vine … ‘ Meets our need of union with Himself..
  • John 18:5. ‘ … Jesus of Nazareth … I am he.’ He meets our need of a human Saviour who is also divine.

Looking back to John 5:18, it was His claim to be equal with God, that provoked the Jews to accuse Him of blasphemy, John 5:19–23.

The penalty for blasphemy was death by stoning. See Leviticus 24:16. This is further evidence of our Lord’s claim. See John 10:30. ‘I and my Father are one.’

The Levitical law is criticized by some as being too harsh. Let us just remind ourselves of what the Lord had to say on this subject.

  • ‘Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words’? (John 5:45-47).

Finally, after all the scriptural evidence that has been looked at, along with Thomas, we can say: ‘Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and My God.’ (John 20:28).

No longer doubting Thomas, but now he was totally convicted that He was the one Who was God manifest in the flesh.

Alan Schofield

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THE CONCLUSION

In the last article we saw how Christ in the four gospels fulfilled all that had been prophesied of Him in the Old Testament. This of course is only half the story, for we find that in the rest of the New Testament even more of the Truth is revealed in Christ.

We are all well aware of the work of the twelve disciples, especially of Peter starting in that wonderful chapter two of the Acts. Care must be taken when we interpret chapter two. In verse 5-11 we are given a list of those who were listening to Peter’s sermon. It is often believed that those foreigners which are mentioned include Gentiles. There is no evidence of this from what we read; ‘And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.’ (Acts 2:5).

These Jews were assembled from the Dispersion. Dr. Bullinger says in verse 5, ‘not sojourners for the Feast, but Jews of the dispersion who had taken up their abode at Jerusalem, perhaps because of the expectation of the Messiah’ cf Luke 2:38. Whatever the reason, these men heard Peter loud and clear in their own language (Gr. Dialektos) even in their own dialect. Every region has its own dialect, and we know from our own experience the difficulty we have on occasions to understand others. No such difficulty was encountered here. What a miracle that was in itself.

Peter had already been chosen by our Lord during the Lord’s earthly ministry. ‘And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And he said unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and follow him.’ (Matthew 4:18-20).

It was in resurrection glory that Christ chose Paul. ‘And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me? And the Lord said, I am Jesus [Yeshua] whom thou persecutes: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.’ (Acts 9:3-6).

Paul’s immediate response to his call to the ministry, was one of complete obedience, not what he wanted to do, but he put his life in the hands of the Lord.

It is principally these two great apostles, Peter and Paul that we need to consider. It is obvious that these two men were of different temperament, Peter was very impulsive, see Matthew 14:26-31; 26:30-35 and John 18:4-11. Their sphere of work was also different.

Peter’s commission was principally to the Jews and Paul was instructed to minister primarily to the Gentiles. ‘But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter.’ (Galatians 2:7).

There is plenty of scriptural evidence that Peter was reluctant to go to the Gentile. Acts 10:28 ‘And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; But God hath shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.’

It wasn’t a natural thing for a Jew to alienate himself from another Jew and embrace a Gentile. Here we see how God overruled the prejudice of Peter on this occasion to further His purposes. It is interesting as we study the Acts period, that Paul although the minister to the Gentile always went to the synagogue first, whenever he entered a town of a city. See Acts 18:4 and 6, just to give an examples. It was during this period in Paul’s ministry, that the apostle was able to perform miracles. His learning and energy was there for all to see. Paul’s training was under one of the finest teachers (Gamaliel) in Israel at that time. Acts 9:1-3 tells us something of Paul’s energy and dedication to what he believed to be right.

Paul’s courage is displayed in Galatians 2:11-12, challenging Peter about his behaviour. There was no such reluctance from Paul in fulfilling his commission to go to the Gentiles.

Acts opens with the ministry of Peter to the Jews, beginning at Jerusalem, Acts 2:1-5, and ends with Paul preaching to the Jews in Rome, Acts 28:14-29. Rome was the centre of the world at that time.

The Jews were given many opportunities to come to Christ [Messiah], with the preaching of these two apostles. The dominance of both Peter and Paul during the period of the Acts, is pointed out by Dr. Bullinger in the Companion Bible. http://www.levendwater.org

[Zie ook: HET BOEK HANDELINGEN / Hoite Slagter / http://www.everread.nl

There were seven addresses or speeches given by each apostle in this great book of Acts. The remaining four were given by James, Stephen, Gamaliel and Tertullus. When we get to Acts 28:28 the whole picture changes, no doubt the ministry of Peter and others continued, but from this point (Acts 13), it mainly concentrates on Paul’s ministry.

After Acts 28 we find an absence of miracles. In the Acts, Paul was able to perform miracles, e.g. raising the dead. ‘And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.’ (Acts 20:7-10).

Many other miracles were performed through Paul, for example see Acts 19:11-12. After Acts 28:28 there is an absence of miracles by the apostle Paul, in fact we find the apostle unable to cure both Epaphroditus and Timothy. ‘Yet I suppose it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.’ (Philippians 2:25-27). ‘Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.’ (1 Tim. 5:23).

Much more could be written regarding these changes, but I trust enough has been written to make us look further into these important doctrines. One book to be recommended is ‘Dispensational Truth’ by C.H. Welch, this book can be obtained from the Chapel of the Opened Book, 52 A Wilson Street, London EC2A 2ER. Other publications on these vital doctrines can be obtained from the above address. http://www.bereanonline.org

Alan Schofield

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BIBLE STUDY BOOKS:

Free Books by E.W. Bullinger !! / org/bullinger

http://fellowshipbiblechurchorlando.org/bullinger

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Nieuwe titelsUitgeverij Toetssteen:

http://www.toetssteen-boeken.nl

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INFO:

http://www.timesofisrael.com

http://www.israeltoday.nl

http://www.cidi.nl

http://www.likud.nl

http://franklinterhorst.nl

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MISSILE THREAT:

http://missilethreat.csis.org

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Dr. K.D. Goverts – Als God Zijn genade ontvouwt

Vervolg cursus: 14-9 / 26-10 / 30-11-2019

http://klaasgoverts.online/genade.html

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HAMMASJIACH BELIJDENDE JODEN:

http://www.hadderech.nl

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Bijbel studieblad AMEN:

http://www.amen.nl

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Gerard J.C. Plas

 Posted by at 16:00
Jul 232019
 
The Holy Scriptures

The philosopher and the sceptic say “What is Truth?” The believer who has tasted that the Lord is gracious replies: “God’s Word is truth”. Even the sceptic may agree to this proposition but would ask “Has God spoken?” and if so, where is it to be found? When we deal with what is called “natural religion” we shall discover that “day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge” (Ps. 19:2); but our quest is for something higher – a revelation of God Himself to man concerning Himself, His purpose and man’s failure; His grace and man’s response. This the Christian has discovered in that collection of writings called “The Scriptures”, of “The Bible”, and it is with a view to establishing their inspiration and consequent truth and authority that we devote this series of studies.

As these studies are intended to help the believer, we will not spend time attempting to prove that which has already been accepted. We trust that those who read these articles are already resting for eternal peace on the finished work of Christ.

  • “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master” (Matt. 10:24,25).

What therefore is viewed as “Scripture” by Christ, will be “Scripture” to His disciples. Here is His challenging statement:

  • “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believe Me, for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?” (John 5:46,47).

To adopt the attitude of the Higher Critic is to reject Christ. But there is something more.

  • “He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath One that judgeth Him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of Myself: but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak” (John 12:48,49).

It is evident therefore that to set aside the testimony of Christ, is to set aside the testimony of Him that sent Him, and to do so is to overthrow the faith, leaving all men without hope and without God in the world.

We now take our investigation a stage further. We consider in detail just how far the testimony of Christ extends.

  1. The Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:44). The O.T. as a whole. This is the ancient threefold division of the O.T. (Proofs and details come later under the heading: “The Canon of the O.T.”).
  2. Individual writers and prophets. The Saviour has definitely named and cited “Moses” (John 5:46,47); “Isaiah” (Luke 4:17-21); “Daniel” (Matt. 24:15,16); “Jonah” (Matt. 12:39-41); “David” (Luke 20:42). He has also cited as of God, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Samuel, Kings, Jonah, Daniel, Isaiah, Hosea, Jeremiah, and the Psalms.
  3. The Lord’s continual reference to the Scriptures. In the hour of temptation He relied upon it (Matt. 4 -“It is written”). At the opening of His public ministry He drew attention to its fulfillment (Luke 4:16-21). In the our of death, He was careful that the Scriptures should be fulfilled (John 19:28). His birth, His birthplace, His public ministry, His betrayal, the manner and accompaniments of His death, His resurrection, are all referred to Scripture as prophetic and as fulfilled.

While no man can be justified by his own works of law, the Lord made it clear that He honoured the Law and that it should be fulfilled (Matt. 5:17,18). The “jot” is the Hebrew “yod”, and equivalent to the Greek “iota”, and the English letter “i”. It is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Some Bibles print it over the section of Psalm 119 that commences with verse 173. The “title” is a small decoration added to certain letters, possibly as aids to memory.

  • “As by faith we gaze at the Cross, as we see indissolubly linked together the finished work of Calvary and the finished word of God, there we take our stand, and with heart and life declare that our Saviour’s Bible is our Bible, and His deep reverence for the written Scriptures, shall be our example, and that we shall look upon all adverse criticism or denial in the light of the cross, and see behind the pen of the critic the hand of the wicked one’.

By Charles H. Welch (no. 1) / The Berean Expositor, London.

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No. 2

The Inspiration and Canon of the Scriptures

“All Scripture is given by Inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16). The testimony of Christ settles for every believer the question of the Truth and Authority of the O.T. Scriptures. We know ask two questions and discover the answer to them:

  1. How were the Scriptures given?
  2. How did the Scriptures come?

The answers to these two questions appear in the writings of two men of God who knew that they were about to die for the sake of Christ and His Truth (2 Tim. 4:6,7; 2 Pet. 1:14). Here, if ever, we shall have unbiassed and unflinching testimony.

Paul. How was Scripture given? “By inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16)

Peter. How did Scripture come? “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21).

Paul’s testimony:

  • “From a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:15-17).

Two titles are given to the Scriptures:

  1. “Holy Scriptures” Hiera Grammata or “sacred letters”.
  2. “Scripture” Graphe or “writing”.

Grammata indicates a letter of the alphabet (Gal. 6:11); or a letter (Acts 28:21), and particularly the books known as the Holy Scriptures.

  • “How knoweth this man letters (grammata), having never learned?” (John 7:15).

Grammata looks to the component parts of writing; Graphe to the Scripture as a whole. Graphe is familiar to the English ear. Photography, geography, refer to some form of writing. Gegraptai “It is written”, refers in the Scriptures, not to any writings, but to THE writings par excellence “The Scriptures”.

The O.T. abounds in references to writing and to books. The foundation of our faith is a written testimony.

Inspiration. The words “given by Inspiration of God” are expressed by the one Greek word theopneustos. Theos – God. Pneo – to breathe.

Pneuma – spirit. The association of the word translated “inspiration” with “breathing” will be seen in such English words as pneumatic or pneumonia, as also the words “inspire”, “respire” and “perspire”.

Paul’s testimony therefore is that “all scripture”, namely that which was written, “is given by inspiration of God” or God-breathed. If that which was “written” was “breathed” by God, there could be no interval for the writer to give a vision of his own heart.

While the personality of the writer is stamped upon every page of Scripture, Moses differing from Isaiah, Peter from Paul, Matthew from John, yet each and all were instruments in the hand of their God.

  • “God at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (Heb. 1:1).

Peter’s testimony:

  • “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed in your hearts, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise” (2 Pet. 1:19).

Peter had had a sublime and unique experience. He had stood upon the Mount of Transfiguration. He had heard the voice from heaven. Yet he declares that we have something “more sure” than the sublimest experience. We have the “Word of prophecy”. The human element and agency is subservient; all is of God.

  • “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation, for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:20,21).

“Private Interpretation”, Private is idios “own”. “Interpretation” is epilusis and occurs nowhere else in Scripture. The word means “letting loose”, “breaking open”, “unfolding”. “Is” is here ginomai “to come into being”. Peter does not here speak of systems of interpretation, but of the trustworthiness of Scripture itself. “No prophecy of the Scriptures came into being of its own unfolding”. He then goes on to explain. “For prophecy was not brought (phero) at any time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake being borne along (phero) by the Holy Ghost”.

In Acts 27:15 and 17 we may see the force of this word phero. “We let her drive”, “strake sail and so were driven”. Just as the sailors were helpless in the grip of the storm, so the prophets had no control in the matter and moment of inspiration, although this did not blot out their personal style. The subject matter of the Scriptures demands revelation. The wisest are baffled in their attempt to solve the riddle of the universe, the nature and being of God the plan of the ages. The R.V. translated 2 Timothy 3:16 thus:

  • “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable”.

Did Paul intend Timothy to understand that “Some Scriptures are not inspired?” When translating 1 Timothy 4:4, another text by the same author, the R.V. keeps to the accepted rules of grammar, and so rule their peculiar translation of 2 Timothy 3:16 out of court.

  • “Every creature of God IS good, and nothing IS to be rejected”, etc.

Here, as in 2 Timothy 3:16 there is no verb “IS” in the original, it has to be supplied to make good English. Why did they not render 1 Timothy 4:4:

  • “Every creature of God, if it is good, is also nothing to be rejected”.

Why? Simply because it is foolish, false and a violation of Greek syntax. The Greek writers Chrysostom, Origen, Basil, Athanasius, who knew their own tongues, render 2 Timothy 3:16 as the A.V.

And God spake all these words

While Paul teaches us that all Scripture is “God-breathed” and Peter teaches us that “Holy men of God spake as they were borne along by the Holy Ghost”, there is no formal statement in Scripture as to the precise mode of inspiration. It does not follow moreover, that because all Scripture is “God-breathed”, that every writer was inspired in the same manner. Hebrews 1:1 assures us that “God spake” by the prophets, however “diverse” the “manner” of their inspiration may have been.

Leaving therefore the question of “how” unanswered, let us acquaint ourselves with the claims that the Scriptures themselves make to their Divine Authorship. “God spake” to Noah (Gen. 8:15) and to Moses (Exod. 33:9). A recurring phrase is “The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it”, or “Hear the Word of the Lord”. Again we read many times “The word of the Lord came” to one or another of the prophets. Further, there are specific statements to the effect that God put His words into the “mouths” of His prophets. Peter refers to this in Acts three times, once speaking of the “mouth” of “David”, and twice of “All His prophets”.

  • “It is very evident from this testimony that, whoever the individual speaker may have been, the mighty Moses, or the lowly Amos, the Royal Seer, or the runaway Jonah, the ungodly Balaam, or the wicked Caiaphas, it was God Who spoke, and it is His word that we hear”.

The Prophets were channels not originators.

  • “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken BY (hupo) the Lord THROUGH (dia) the prophets” (Matt. 1:22; 2:15).
  • “For thus it hath been written THROUGH (dia) the prophet” (Matt. 2:5).
  • “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken THROUGH (dia) the prophets” (Matt. 2:23; 13:35; 21:4).

In these references, the names of the prophets are not given, they are Isaiah, Hosea, Micah, A Psalm of Asaph, and Zechariah. These men lived at different times and were possessed of individual character, yet the same formula is used of them all.

In the following references the same preposition dia is used but the name of the prophets “Isaiah” and “Jeremiah” is given (Matt. 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 27:9).

The Apostle writing to the Corinthians said:

  • “Which things we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth” (1 Cor. 2:13).

To the Thessalonians he wrote:

  • “When ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13).

To the Ephesians he said:

  • “After that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” (Eph. 1:13).

To the Romans he wrote:

  • “The gospel of God, which He had promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures” (Rom. 1:1,2).

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No. 3

The Inspiration and Canon of the Scriptures

“Canon”. Both “canon” and “cannon” come from the same Greek word which primarily meant something “straight”, thus a “cane” or “reed” and so a “rule” (Gal. 6:16; Phil. 3:16). Three terms used in this connexion must be understood. They are genuine, authentic, and authoritative.

Genuine. A book is genuine if it was actually written by the person whose name it bears; or, if it be anonymous, it is genuine if it contains evidence that it was written at the time when it purports to have been written.

Authentic. A book is authentic if the matters of fact with which it deals actually occurred.

Authoritative. If any book of Scripture is either genuine or authentic or both, then it must necessarily be authoritative by its very nature.

Before the Christian era, the canon of the O.T. was fixed, “The Law, the Prophets and the Psalms” (Luke 24:44). To this we have many witnesses. One is Josephus, who lived during the time of Paul, and of whom Scalinger says he “deserves more credit then all the Greek and Roman writers put together”. Josephus says: “Nothing can be better attested than the writings authorised among us. In fact, they were never subject to any difference of opinion. It is therefore impossible to see among us, as among the Greeks, a vast multitude of books disagreeing with and combating one another.

We have only twenty-two, which comprehend all that has taken place among us and which we have just ground for believing. Although so many centuries have already passed away, no person has ever dared to add, or to take away, or transpose anything” (Critia Apion, Bk. 1 par. 8). Origen, Athanasius and Cyril give the same testimony.

Twenty-two books. In the English Bible there are 39 books. The difference is due to the fact that whereas we reckon the twelve Minor Prophets “twelve”; in the Hebrew they count as one. So also Ruth is reckoned with Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel reckon as one. We will set the O.T. books out according to the Hebrew canon.

The Law (Torah)

A Genesis. The Beginning. The nations and “the great nation”. B Exodus. Redemption. The nation formed and separated. C Leviticus. Worship. The nation trained “a kingdom of Priests”. B Numbers. Wandering. The nation’s failure – finally blessed. A Deuteronomy. The End. “The second time”. Ready to enter the land.

The Prophets (Nebi’im)

A Joshua. “The Lord of all the earth”. Joshua the leader. B Judges and Ruth. Forsaking and returning. Israel. C Samuel. Man’s king rejected. D Kings. Failure of kings of Israel and Judah. D Isaiah. Blessing only under God’s King, the Messiah. C Jeremiah and Lamentations. Human kings rejected. B Ezekiel. Forsaking and Returning. The Lord. A The minor Prophets. “The Lord of all the earth”. Joshua the High Priest.

The Psalms (Kethubim. The Writings).

A Psalms. Personal experience and future prophecy. B Proverbs. God’s moral government. C Job. “The end of the Lord”. Defeat of Satan. D Song of Solomon. A faithful woman. Read at Passover. E Ecclesiastes. Vanity under the sun. Read at Tabernacles. D Esther. A faithful woman. Read at Purim. C Daniel. The time of the end. Defeat of Antichrist. B Ezra and Nehemiah. Men who governed for God. A Chronicles. Past history and foreshadowed future.

Gaussen, in his book on the Canon, adduces sixteen facts. We give a summary here:

  1. Almost every crime is charged against Israel except one. They were never charged with the falsification of the sacred books. “To them were entrusted the oracles of God”.
  2. Christ said that they did not “believe” Moses, but that they “trusted” Moses who condemned them.
  3. The Apostles never accused Israel of unfaithfulness to their trust as custodians of the Holy Scriptures.
  4. Two witnesses of repute confirm this: Josephus and Philo. Both of them were learned men, both men of repute, both Pharisees, both of the line of Aaron.
  5. From the dawn of the Christian era, for nineteen centuries of rebellion, scattering and persecution, Israel has never relinquished the Scriptures.
  6. After thirty four centuries, the Jews from every quarter of the world receive only one canon. This identity of the copies of the Hebrew Scriptures is an astonishing phenomenon.
  7. In contrast stands the rapid deterioration of the many versions.
  8. While the Jews are divided into different and conflicting sects, all alike hold the canonical Scriptures.
  9. The law was placed in the Ark; death penalty was pronounced against the false prophet; the law was publicly read every seven years: the newly crowned king had to make a copy with his own hand.
  10. An unbroken chain of witnesses (the prophets) kept the canon alive.
  11. The calamities of the Jews: (1) Destruction of the Temple; this gave rise to “the synagogue in every city”. (2) Their signatures; this gives a check on the text. (3) Loss of their language; this led to the formation of the class called “Scribes”, the Targums (Chaldee paraphrases). (4) Oppression led to the Greek version known as the Septuagint. (5) The dispersion led to the Massorah, a collection of traditions, grammatical and other details relative to the sacred text, or called “The Fence of the Law”
  12. The miraculous preservation of the Jew is a pledge that his sacred Scriptures will be as faithfully preserved.
  13. No pressure or inducement could persuade the Jew to accept the Apocryphal books foisted upon the canon by Rome.
  14. “The Trent Catechism of the Orthodox Catholic Eastern Church” protests against including the Apocrypha.
  15. This was also the testimony of the whole Western Church until the Council of Trent.
  16. Neither the Septuagint nor the Latin versions could keep the Apocrypha out, but Israel did.

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No. 4

The Inspiration and Canon of the Scriptures

There are twenty-seven books in the N.T. canon, and Michaelis says that, in the case of the N.T., the testimony is much stronger that in the case of any other ancient writings, for the books of the N.T. were addressed to large societies in many distant parts of the world, in whose presence they were often read, and who acknowledged them as autographs of the writers themselves. Unlike other writings that have come down to us from antiquity, those of the N.T. were read over three-quarters of the known world, and an unbroken succession of writers, from the very age of the apostles to our own time, both friend and foe, make continual reference to them and give quotations from them.

Translations

Before the close of the second century, translations of the N.T. had been made. This would effectively prevent alterations, additions, or subtractions, for such a fraud would immediately become knows and exposed.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica, third edition, says:

  • “This argument is so strong, that, if we deny the authenticity of the N.T., we may with a thousand times greater propriety reject all the other writings in the world”.

A few facts

  1. It cannot be shown that any one doubted the authenticity of any book of the N.T. in the period when such books appeared.
  2. There is no record that would lead one to reject any such books as spurious.
  3. No great length of time elapsed after the dead of the writer before the N.T. was widely known.
  4. The books of the N.T. are actually mentioned by writers living at or near the same time as the Apostles.
  5. No facts are recorded of what actually happened after the deaths of the writers, apart, of course, from prophecy.

Some outstanding witnesses

Irenaeus, born A.D. 120, calls the books of the N.T. “The Rule of Truth”. Tertullian said of Marcion, the Gnostic, the he appeared to make use of “a complete document”. Clement of Alexandria exclaims against any other authority besides “the true evangelical canon”. Origen was zealous in maintaining the “Ecclesiastical Canon”, and recognized “Four Gospels only, which alone are received without controversy in the universal church spread over the whole earth”.

Athanasius speaks of three sort of books: (1) The canonical, those recognized at the present time. (2) The ecclesiastical, which were allowed to be read in assemblies. (3) The apocryphal, which had no place in the canon at all. Irenaeus (A.D. 120-202), educated under Polycarp who knew the Apostle John personally, Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-215), Tertullian (A.D. 155-230), are three men representing great areas, Greek, Coptic and Latin, who are witnesses that cannot be decried.

Irenaeus speaks of the four Gospels as “the gospel with the four faces”. He quotes the Acts over sixty times and shows the harmony of the Acts with Paul’s epistles. He cites 1 Corinthians over a hundred times, Romans over eighty times, Ephesians over thirty times, Galatians nearly twenty times, Colossians twenty times, 2 Corinthians eighteen times, Philippians eleven times, 1 Peter eleven times, 2 Thessalonians ten times, 1 Timothy five times, 2 Timothy four times, Titus thrice, 1 John thrice and 1 Thessalonians twice.

As it is impossible to quote books that do not exist, it is evident that all these books of the N.T. were well known early in the second century.

The testimony of enemies

Irenaeus wrote a book against Heresies. As an example let us take the heretic Valentine and his disciples. In order to uphold their peculiar fables about “Aeons” they quote or make use of the following books of the N.T.:

The Gospels – Matthew 5:13,14,18; 8:9; 10:21,34; 13:33; 20:1-16; 26:38,39,46. Mark 5:31. Luke 2:28,36,42; 3:17,23; 6:13; 7:8,35; 8:41; 9:37,38,60-62; 14:27; 15:4-8; 19:5. John 1:1-5,14; 12:37.

The Epistles – Romans 11:16,36. 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:6,14,15; 11:10; 15:8,48. Galatians 6:14. Ephesians 1:10; 3:21; 5:13,32. Colossians 1:16; 2:9; 3:11.

Twenty-one other heretics are named, and their mishandling of the N.T. exposed, but how could Irenaeus expose this mishandling if the N.T. books were not already in existence and of recognized authority?

Further witnesses

Barnabas, A.D. 71; Clement of Rome, A.D. 69-100; Hermas, A.D. 100; Ignatius, A.D. 107; Polycarp, A.D. 71-166. Dr. Lardner in his Credibility of the Gospel History, found allusions or quotations in these five early writers to every book of the N.T.

Catalogues

There are three ancient catalogues, written before the Council of Nice. The first goes back to about the time of the death of John. The second, to the beginning of the third century, the last to the beginning of the fourth. The first is derived from the ancient Syriac version of the N.T. called the Peshitto, or “Simple”. The second is supplied by Origen. The third by Eusebus in the third book of Ecclesiastical History.

The Peshitto version contains the whole of the N.T. except the Apocalypse, and the later epistles of Jude, Peter and John. The arrangement of the sacred books is as found in the N.T. today. The omitted books were written too late and at too great a distance for inclusion.

Origen catalogue

In a commentary alluding to the sounding of the trumpets and the walls of Jericho, Origen makes an allegorical use of the books of the N.T. and enumerates without exception the twenty-seven books of the Canon.

Eusebius

This historian divides the N.T. into two parts. The homologomena, “The Scriptures universally, unrestrictedly and uniformly recognized from the first as Divine by all churches or ecclesiastical witness”, and the Antilogomena, denotes books which, though recognized by most churches or ecclesiastical witness, were not recognized by all such. These are five in number: 2 Peter, James, Jude, 2 John and 3 John. “These though publicly read experience some opposition or were less quoted by ancient witness”.

The transmission and preservation of the Hebrew text

Some ancient authorities read. These words meet the student of Scripture both in Commentaries and the margin of the R.V. What do they involve? To appreciate their meaning we must be acquainted with the history of the Manuscripts, their transmission, their preservation, their differences and their combined testimony.

The transmission of the Hebrew text

Every book was of necessity written by hand, and the scribe was hedged about by scruples and directions, which even though to modern minds are petti-fogging, nevertheless preserved the text in a marvelous manner.

A synagogue scroll must be written on the skins of clean animals. The fastenings must be sinews taken from clean animals. Every skin must contain a fixed number of columns throughout the entire scroll. Each column must not be less than forty-eight or more than sixty lines. The breadth must consist of thirty letters. The whole copy must be first lined. If three words be written outside a line it is worthless. Black ink, prepared according to a definite recipe, must be used. Only an authentic copy must be used, and no deviation is permissible. Not the smallest word or letter may be written from memory. Between every consonant must be a hairs breadth. Between every word the breadth of a narrow consonant. Between every new section the breadth of nine consonants. Between every book three lines. The fifth book of Moses must terminate exactly with a line. The copyist must sit in full Jewish dress, wash his whole body, and not begin to write the name of God with a pen not newly dipped in ink. Should even the King address him, he must take no notice of him. Rolls not prepared according to these rules, must not be used in the synagogue, but must be buried or burned, or used as reading books in schools.

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No. 5

The Inspiration and Canon of the Scriptures

The Evidence of the Targums

Owing to the scrupulous care put into these Scrolls, no Hebrew manuscript was allowed to become badly worn before it was discarded; consequently until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls we did not possess Hebrew MSS earlier than the eighth century. We can go back to the Targums of Chaldee paraphrases to the time between Nehemia and Christ and eleven such Targums are known.

The Targum of Onkelos is described as “A very simple and literal translation of the Pentateuch, and … for that reason the more useful as evidence for the Hebrew text from which it was taken”. (Kenyon). Onkelos was the discipel of Hillel and Hillel was the grandfather of Gamaliel, at whose feet sat Saul the Pharisee.

The Talmud

This word is the equivalent to our word “doctrine”. The Talmud embodies all that had previously been written, in a series of rules, laws and institutions governing the civil and religious life of Israel. The Talmud consist of two parts: (1) the Mishna, “the text”; (2) the Gemara, “the completion”. Taken together with the Scriptures their testimony is final.

The Sopherim

The work of the Sopherim dates from the days of Nehemia and Ezra. Ezra himself was called a “Scribe” (Neh. 8:4), or one of the Sopherim. The custom of having an interpreter in the synagogue at the reading of the law is referred by the Gemara to Nehemia 8:8.

The Sopherim in effect produced an Authorized Version of the Hebrew Scriptures. The Rabbinical work named Kiddush says “The ancients were called Sopherim “numberers” because they numbered all the letters of the law; for they said that in Gachon “belly” (Lev. 11:42) is the middle letter of the whole book of the law”.

The Massorah

It was the business of the Massorites to preserve this version for all time. With the labour of the Massorites the final stage in the history of the Hebrew text is reached. Masar means “to deliver something into the hand of another”. It was a sacred trust. The Massorites had a twofold object:

  1. To preserve a perfect orthoepic standard (i.e. correct pronunciations) of the Hebrew tongue.
  2. To the reading of a correct or inviolate text of the Hebrew Scriptures.

To accomplish this task the Massorites:

(1) Collected all that could be found in the Talmud concerning the traditional vowel points and punctuations, and produced a text with a series of points indicating vowel sounds.

(2) As the Hebrew Bible at that time had neither chapter nor verse, the Massorites divided the several books into: parashiotts “greater sections”, sedarim “orders”, perakim “chapters” and pesikim “verses”.

(3) When the division was completed, the number of verses to each book was notified by a technical word. The middle vers, or clause, or the middle letter were registered, and the number of letters in each book counted.

(4) Notes, were made a places where words or letters appeared to have been altered, omitted or added, and the results of this prodigious labour were placed in the margins of the Scrolls.

(5) The Massorites, moreover, introduced a series of accents which were intended to answer four purposes: (a) To certify the meaning of words. (b) To indicate true syllables. (c) To regulate the cantillation (or chanting) of synagogue reading. (d) To show the emphasis of an expression.

The Massorah does not contain comment, and that scrupulous care, even to counting of letters, means that “not one jot or tittle” could be lost without knowledge. Consequently we have in our hands today the standard or Canonical Scriptures as they left the hands of Ezra over 2,360 years ago.

The versions and Manuscripts

(1) The Samaritan Pentateuch. This strictly speaking is not a version. It is written in ancient Hebrew, being the oldest Hebrew MSS in existence. The characteristics of the Samaritan Pentateuch point to the circumstances of 2 Kings 17:24-41 for its origin. The adoption of the square Hebrew letters of the Jews was partly because of their antipathy to the Samaritans. This MSS is a most valuable check upon the veracity of the existing Hebrew Books of the Law.

(2) The Septuagint. This version was made in Egypt by Alexandrian Jews, and it was in common use a century before Christ. At the time of Christ, Greek was the literary language of Israel, Aramaic the spoken language, and Hebrew the tongue of the Rabbis and Students. A large proportion of the O.T. quotations that are given in the N.T. are from the Septuagint (generally abbreviated to LXX).

When the Jews realized what a powerful instrument this version was to the Christians, they repudiated it and another was prepared by a certain Aquila. This is an exceeding literal rendering of the Hebrew, so much so as to be sometimes unintelligible. It is valuable, however, as it indicates clearly the Hebrew text he had before him. This version is dated A.D 150. Another version by a Christian named Theodotion was produced to off-set that of Aquila, but this version is very free in its rendering. Theodotion’s version of Daniel was so much better than that in the original Septuagint that it took its place. About A.D. 200 a version was prepared by Symmachus.

  • “The special feature of this translation is the literary skill and taste with which the Hebrew phrase of the original are rendered with good and idiomatic Greek” (Kenyon).

The Hexapla of Origen

(3) The great Alexandrian scholar Origen (A.D. 168-253), using these versions, produced his monumental work “The Hexapla” or the “Six-fold” version of O.T. Scripture.

As a result of the quickened interest in the LXX, three further editions appeared, one by Eusebius, one by Lucian and one by Hesychius.

Some Ancient Greek MSS

We have already seen that the oldest Hebrew MSS goes back no further than the eight century. The Greek Manuscripts fortunately go back much further, and of these the most important are:

Codex Sinaiticus (4th century). Indicated by the Hebrew letter Aleph.

Codex Alexandrinus (5th century). Indicated by the letter A.

Codex Vaticanus (4th century). Indicated by the letter B.

Codex Ephraemi (5th century). Indicated by the letter C.

The Cotton Genesis (5th century). Indicated by the letter D.

Some Ancient Versions in other languages

As the Gospel spread from Palestine, adjoining countries demanded the Scriptures in their own tongues. According we have:

The Syriac Version. Known as the Peshitto or “Simple” version. This was made about the second or third century after Christ. The copy in the British Museum was made in A.D. 464, and is the oldest copy of the Bible of which the exact date is known.

The Coptic Version. These were produced for use in Egypt. They are important as witnesses to the true text of the Greek N.T., and are of considerable help to the student of the LXX. The two most important are the one prepared for northern Egypt called the Memphitic, and the one prepared for southern Egypt, called the Thebaic, about the third century. Ethiopic, Armenian, Arabic, Georgian and Slavonic versions appeared.

The Latin Versions

These versions were demanded by the Roman provinces of Africa. They were defective and contained many pronunciations and defects of African translators. To remedy this a version called the Itala appeared in the second century.

Jerome. What Origen did for the Greek versions. Jerome did for the Latin. He prepared a translation of the O.T. in Latin direct from the original Hebrew, a work that occupied twenty years. This version became known as the Vulgate and was the Bible of the Roman Catholic church and of Europa until the Reformation. We shall devote a separate study to the Septuagint and to other ancient manuscript.

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No. 6

The Inspiration and Canon of the Scriptures

Further Notes of the MSS and the pedigree of the R.V.

The MSS of the Greek N.T. fall into two classes, uncials and cursives. Uncials (from a word meaning “inch”) are large capital letters with each letter formed separately; cursives (from a word meaning “running”) are smaller letters, written in a running hand and joined together.

Kenyon, Paterson-Smyth, Young’s Concordance, The Books and Parchments by F. Bruce, M.A., give plates that exhibit these two forms of writing.

The uncials are the more ancient of the two, the cursives not appearing until the ninth century. The chief uncials are three in number, the Sinaiticus, the Vaticanus, the Alexandrinus. The cursives MSS run into over 2,000.

Codex Vaticanus (fourth century). The reader should weigh very carefully any reading favoured by this most venerable MSS. Originally containing the complete Scriptures, it has suffered losses, and now commences at Genesis 46:28. Psalm 106-138 are missing also. The N.T. ends at Hebrew 9:4.

Codex Sinaiticus (fourth century). Discovered by Constantine Tischendorf in the Monastery of St. Catherine, Mt. Sinai. It passed into the Imperial Russian Library at St. Petersburg, and subsequently was purchased by the British Government. The MSS bears evidence of careful correction from some earlier MSS, and four different scribes were employed upon its original production. As the “corrections” so often agree with the text of the Codex Vaticanus, their united testimony must be considered of extreme weight. Much of the O.T. is missing owing to the ignorance of the monks who used some of the precious pages as fuel!

Codex Alexandrinus (fifth century). Like the Vaticanus this originally contained the complete Scriptures, but has suffered some losses in the course of time.

The material of which these ancient manuscripts are composed is parchment. This was not unknown in the days of the Apostles (2 Tim. 4:13), but papyrus was much more common (2 Joh. 12). The frail and brittle character of papyrus accounts for the lack of manuscripts of the opening century of the Christian era. Later, the process of preparing the skins of calves was improved, and the use of parchment or vellum became practically universal. The earlier MSS are characterized by the exceeding delicacy of the texture of the vellum used and is one of the evidences of the age of the manuscript. So much was vellum in demand, that earlier writing was erased or “blotted out”, and the new writing written across. In many cases however, the older writing can be deciphered. These manuscripts are known as codices rescripti or palimpsest.

The style of writing varied considerably in different periods, and provide very useful criteria as to the age of the manuscript. We have already mentioned the uncials and the cursives. While it is impossible in this study to exhibit to the eye the many details that go to make up this evidence, the student should be aware of their existence. We give two of such forms of evidence here. They are (1) The variations that occur in the construction of the letters of the alphabet, of which alpha, delta, theta, xi, pi and omega provide the clearest evidence. Upright square uncials are more ancient than those which are narrow, oblong or leaning. (2) The formation of dipthongs, the iota ascript, the aspirates, punctuation and various devices for abbreviation, play a considerable part in providing evidence of age.

Ancient versions in various languages

As no extant Greek MSS is earlier than the fourth century, the versions made in foreign tongues from originals now lost are of extreme value in arriving at the true text. We have already referred to the Peshitto, Egyptian and Latin Versions.

The Syriac Versions. The Peshitto. This language is distinct from Hebrew (Gen. 31:47 margin), and was spoken in Babylon and subsequently throughout Palestine [Israel]. The Philoxenian Syriac Version, is greatly inferior to the Peshitto both in accuracy and in style; it is however of great value to the textual critic.

The Curetonian Syriac. Dean Alford says of this version “perhaps the earliest and most important of all the versions”.

The Latin Versions. A branch of the Church existed in Rome many years before Paul visited this city (Rom. 15:23), and it is reasonable to suppose that among the earlier versions to be made would be one in Latin. Jerome and Augustine, together with the variations found in the old Latin manuscripts now in our possession, testify to “an original diversity of versions”. Jerome, in his Latin version of the O.T., is not founded on the old Latin which in its turn was made from the Greek Septuagint, but, Psalter excepted, was translated directly from the Hebrew. At length Jerome’s translation of the O.T., his Psalter and the N.T. as revised from the Old Latin took shape as the Latin Vulgate. The history of the Latin Vulgate is practically the history of the Church during the Middle Ages.

The History of the English Version

  1. The Paraphrase of Caedmon, written in Anglo-Saxon, A.D. 670.
  2. The Psalter of Aldhelm, A.D. 700. The first true translation in English.
  3. Bede. A.D. 674-735.
  4. The Gospels of the Tenth Century. The oldest MSS was written by Aelfric of Bath about A.D. 1000.
  5. The Old Testament of Aelfric. A.D. 990.
  6. Wycliff’s Translation. A.D. 1324-1384.
  7. Tyndale’s Bible. A.D. 1525.
  8. Coverdale’s Bible. A.D. 1535.
  9. Matthew’s Bible. A.D. 1537.
  10. The Great Bible. Time of Thomas Cromwell. A.D. 1539.
  11. The Geneva Bible. A.D. 1557-1560.
  12. The Bishop’s Bible. A.D. 1568.
  13. The Authorized Version. A.D. 1611.
  14. The Revised Version. A.D. 1885.

Such is the simple outline of our inheritance, its marvelous preservation and its widespread translation. Also its unanimity in all matters of faith and practice.

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No. 7

The Inspiration and Canon of the Scriptures

The Apocrypha

The word Apocrypha is probably derived from apokrupto “to hide”, although another derivation is suggestive, apo tes kruptes “away from the crypt, chest or ark” in which were deposited the sacred books of Israel. All writers use the term “to denote some kind of inferiority to the canonical Scriptures” (Churton).

  1. With the exception of Esdras, Judith, Tobit and 1st Maccabees, the Apocryphal books were written by Alexandrian Jews in Greek: “It is an historical fact that the Greek language was not known to the Jews until long after inspiration had ceased, and the canon of the O.T. was closed” (Home). Malachi 4:4-6 intimates that no prophet would arise until the forerunner of the Messiah, and the Jews called Malachi, “The seal of the prophets” in consequence. In order that the Apocryphal book of “Wisdom” should gain acceptance, the author adopted the name of Solomon. He betrays himself by quoting Isaiah, by revealing that Israel was subject to their enemies, and by borrowing expressions from the Grecian games.
  2. In marked contrast with the canonical Scriptures, no writer of the Apocrypha claims inspiration. The Son of Sirach in his prologue to Ecclesiasticus asks pardon for any failure in interpretation. In 1 Maccabees 4:46, 9:27 and 14:41 is an express admission that there was no prophet among them. The Apocrypha contains many fabulous statements, some unscriptural statements, and some serious doctrinal inaccuracies. Josephus says: “It is true, our history has been written since Artaxerxes, very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been a succession of prophets since that time” (Against Apion 1:8).
  3. There are evidences that a great literary activity sprang into being during the Apostle’s lifetime. (See Luke 1:1 and 2 Thessalonians 2:2). Some of these writings have been collected under the title “The Apocryphal New Testament”, and the best refutation of them is found in comparing them with the writings of the N.T.
  4. Supposed quotations of Apocrypha in N.T. The Apostle Paul speaks of “James and Jambres” in 2 Timothy 3:8, and it has been suggested that he quoted from the Targum of Jonathan. There is however reason to believe that this Targum was not in existence in the Apostle’s day, and the fact that Numenius, Artapanus and Pliny mention these names, makes it evident that it was a matter of common knowledge. Jude is supposed to have quoted from the Apocryphal prophecy of Enoch (Jude 9 and 14), but once again the passages are to be found loosely expressed in Rabbinical writings (see Surenhusius, 699-702). However, should Jude have actually quoted from an Apocryphal book, it would no more place that book in the canon, than Paul’s quotation from a heathen poet (Acts 17:28) would put Aratus among the prophets or Apostles.
  5. The Value of the Apocrypha. The Value of the Apocrypha is twofold. It supplies a link that unites the days of Malachi with the dawn of the Christian era and it uses the Koine Greek of the common people in which the N.T. was written. Unless therefore the N.T. writers were going to invent a new language, it would be impossible for them to avoid the phraseology of such popular religious writings.
  6. The Book of Wisdom and the Apostle Paul. To appreciate the extent of the influence of this Apocryphal book upon the mind and language of the Apostle Paul, a personal comparison of the book and epistles is imperative, as in many instances the influence though seen and felt defies quotations. The book of Wisdom is about the same size as the Epistle to the Romans, and there are many parallels between these two writings. For sake of space we will quote only from the book of Wisdom, leaving the student to read the corresponding passages of the Epistle. In Romans 1:19-23 the Apostle speaks of the heathen world and the evidences of the being and nature of God, that are made clear from creation. The thirteenth chapter of Wisdom contains the following: “Surely vain are all men by nature, who are ignorant of God, and could not out of the good things that are seen know Him that is; neither by considering the works did they acknowledge the workmaster” (1,2). “For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures, proportionally (anologos ‘by anology’) the Maker of them is seen” (5). Notice the echo of the word “invention” in Romans 1:30. “For the devising of idols was the beginning of fornication and the invention of them the corruption of life” (Wisdom 14:12). Other echoes in Romans 1 can be heard as we read: “They held them for gods, which even among the beasts of their enemies were despised” (12:24). “Shall feel a judgment worthy of God” (12:26). “Being corruptible, it was called a god” (14:8). “They thought not well of God” (14:30).

Again “Seeking God, and desirous to find Him” (Wisdom 13:6), is reminiscent of Acts 17:27 while “And winkest at the sins of men, because they should amend” (or with a view to repentance) (Wisdom 11:23) cannot be read without calling Acts 17:30 to mind.

Further where no actual word is similar, there is often a most evident parallelism of thought. Keep in mind 1 Corinthians 13 and read this on “Wisdom”: “For in her is an understanding spirit, Holy, one only, manifold, subtil, Lively, clear, undefiled, Plain, not subject to hurt, loving the thing that is good, quick, Which cannot be letted, ready to do good, kind to man, Steadfast, sure, free from care, Having all power, overseeing all things, And going through all understanding, pure, and most subtil of spirits” (Wisdom 7:22,23).

Again think of Hebrews 1:3 as you read: “For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, The unspotted mirror of the power of God” (Wisdom 7:26). “Wisdom” speaks of “A glorious Kingdom” and a “crown of beauty” which shall be the reward of the overcoming righteous (Wisdom 5:16). Without naming Enoch, “Wisdom” says: “He pleased God, and was beloved of Him; So that living among sinners he was translated” (Wisdom 4:10).

These are superficial gleanings. The deeper and richer correspondences wait upon the diligent reader of the originals.

No one with a love for freedom and a hatred of tyranny can read the books of the Maccabees unmoved. Coleridge said of the story of Judas Maccabeus that it was “inspiring enough to be inspired”. The Prayer Book of the Church of England orders the Apocrypha to be read in public, “For example of life and instruction of manners, but yet it doth not apply them to teach any doctrine”.

John Bunyan sought for more than a year “a text” which had helped him: “Look at the generations of old, and see; did ever any trust in the Lord, and was confounded?”

He found it at last in Ecclesiasticus 2:10. “The Song of the Three Children”, “Bel and the Dragon”, and “The History of Susannah” are additions to the book of Daniel. In the History of Delection, Dorothy Sayers included the two last books in her earliest examples. Shakespeare makes Shylock refer to “Susannah” when he said “A Daniel came to judgment”. Old Bibles often have the Apocrypha bound up with them.

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No. 8

The Inspiration and Canon of the Scriptures

The Witness of Archaeology

The Bible is its own witness. Proof of its truth comes with its study. Nevertheless it is a valuable asset to know and to be able to refer to the findings of the archaeologist as he brings to light records of the past.

We content ourselves in this chapter with a reference to some of the most outstanding evidences of Scripture accuracy which the spade of the archaeologist has brought to light, but nothing less than a personal and painstaking acquaintance both with material and with method can give a true sense of the conviction which these evidences convey.

Archaeological Evidence

(1) The Flood. A fact (Gen. 6-9).

One of “the most important historical documents of its kind” is the description given by Dr. Stephen Langdon to the prism catalogued W.B.444, a cuneiform tablet purchased by Mr. H. Weld-Blundell in Baghdad. It contains 379 lines of which we give the following: Line 1 – Rulership which from heaven descended. Line 2 – At Eriden rulership began. *** Line 39 – The Deluge came up. Line 40 – After the Deluge had come. Line 41 – The Rulership which descended from heaven. Line 42 – At Kish was the Rulership.

Dr. C.L. Woolley excavating at Ur of the Chaldees said that after going through strata of pottery and rubbish the diggers came to a bed of clean clay: “Uniform throughout, the texture of which showed that it had been laid there by water … the clean clay continued without change until it had attained a thickness of a little over eight feet, then as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped … the flood which deposited it must have been of a magnitude unparalleled in local history”.

Amraphel. A Fact (Gen. 14).

Chedorlaomer, and Arioch had been proved as historic persons, and the great Hammurabi has been proved to be the Amraphel of Genesis 14. In the British Museum stood the famous Code of Laws written for this King, many of which can be discovered in operation in the book of Genesis. Nearly ninety documents of Amraphel have been brought to light.

Abraham’s City. A Fact (Gen. 11:28).

Dr. C.L. Woolley has brought to light that Ur of the Chaldees was a city of great importance, inhabited by a highly civilized population, having schools, libraries, temples and well-built houses.

The Tower of Babel. A Fact (Gen. 11).

Nebuchadnezzar restored the tower of Borsippa, of which he has left a record. He says of this tower: “As it was ages before I built it anew; as it was in remote days I erected its pinnacle”.

The name given to these towers is Zikkurat (Zakor – to remember as in Zechariah) so in Genesis 11, “To make us a name”. The mound of ruins covers over 49,000 sq. ft. and is nearly 300 ft. high. It is made of “brick” burned throughly” united together by “slime” or “bitumen”.

Belshazzar. A Fact (Dan. 5).

His father’s prayer naming “Belshazzar, my first born son” is in the British Museum.

The Fall of Jericho. A Fact (Joshua 6).

Professor J. Garstang’s discoveries.

Moses in Egypt. A. Fact (Gen. and Exod).

The testimony of Dr. A.S. Yahuda, gives abundant proof that whoever wrote Genesis and Exodus knew Egypt throughly and personally. Then there are the Tell-el-Amarna tablets, mentioning cities named in Joshua and showing that the names El an Jehovah were in use.

The Moabite Stone confirms 2 Kings 1-3. Sennacherib’s Cylinder speaks of “Hezekiah” shut up “like a caged bird” in Jerusalem. The black Obelisk mentions “Jehu, the Son of Omri”. So far as N.T. Archaeology is concerned the following are important: (1) The taxation of Luke 2:1-3 is proved to be a fact. (2) Officials and events named by Luke are Facts: (a) Sergius Paulus. (b) The Town Clerk of Ephesus. (c) Politarchs and Asiarchs (Acts 17:6,8; 19:31). (d) The Famine in the days of Claudius. (e) Herod. His reign and death, and its bearing upon the date of the Acts.

Then there is the testimony of the Papyrus. Bishop Lightfoot wrote in 1863:

“If we could only recover letters that ordinary people wrote to each other without any thought of being literary, we should have the greatest possible help for the understanding of the language of the N.T. generally”.

This desire has been answered by the recovery from the sand of Egypt of heaps of papyrus, using the language of the people and of the N.T. and dating from round about the time of the Apostles.

In the ordinary course, questions can be set, knowing that the student has his Bible into which he may search to provide the answers. With archaeology the case is different. Most Bible students have some references, but the ground covered by the subject is vast. We accordingly give a list of some valuable books that should be consulted where possible.

  • The New Biblical Guide. Urquhart.
  • Ur of the Chaldees. Woolley.
  • The Bible and the Monuments. Boscawven.
  • Fresh Light from the Ancient Monuments. Sayce.
  • Syria and Egypt, the Tell-el-Amarna Tablets. Petrie.
  • Light from the Ancient East. Deissmann.
  • New Light on the New Testament. Deissmann.
  • The Bible and Ancient Manuscripts. Kenyon.
  • The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the N.T. Ramsay.
  • The New Archaeological Discoveries. Cobern.

By Charles H. Welch / Berean Expositor / London /

http://www.bereanonline.org

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The Completeness of Christ in the Old Testament Prophets, in Type and Shadow …

THE BOOK EZEKIEL

The purpose of this study is to get the background to this prophecy and point out one or two peculiarities and of course to see Christ in this prophecy. The name Ezekiel means ‘God is strong’. At the time that this prophecy was written, Israel were in captivity in Babylon and their situation was desperate for these people.

The meaning of this great prophets name, is a reminder to us all that no matter what life throws at us, we have a God who is able to bring us through all our difficulties.

Ezekiel 1:3 tells us that he was a priest. Like Jeremiah he was both priest and prophet. It als records his father’s name, Buzi.

Dr. F. Gardiner points out some very interesting facts regarding Ezekiel.

  1. The name of Ezekiel’s father, Buzi, is not mentioned again and nothing whatsoever is known of him.
  2. Although the prophet was in his youth when Jeremiah was prophesying and exercising considerable influence, neither prophet mentions each other in their writings.
  3. He is never mentioned in any other book of the Old Testament and his writings are never directly quoted in the New Testament.

Daniel and Ezekiel were living and working at the same time, Daniel never mentions him. On the other hand, Dr. Gardiner tells us, Ezekiel speaks of Daniel three times:-

  • ‘Though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job … ‘ (Ezek. 14:14).
  • ‘Though Noah, Daniel and Job … ‘ (Ezek. 14:20).
  • ‘Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee’ (Ezek. 28:3).

During their period of captivity in Babylon, the Jews in part refrained from their evil practices, but not entirely as Ezekiel 33:31-33 clearly shows.

The writings of Ezekiel are a mixture of simple terms easily understood, and very complex visions (Ezek. 1:10,13,16). These are just a random sample of the difficulties in understanding this prophecy. However, our purpose in this study is to see our Lord within these writings.

  • ‘And above the firmament that was above their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above it’. (Ezek. 1:26).

Surely the man mentioned upon ‘the throne’ is Christ.

In this book we see many similarities with the book of Revelation. A.M. Hodgkin says that there are over eighty points of reference between the two books. In Ezekiel 1, we see a reference to ‘the bow’.

  • ‘As the appearance of the bow that was in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake’. (Ezek. 1:28).

The rainbow contains an unconditional promise not only to His people, but to mankind; a promise which is still evident to this day and will remain so until the end of this age. This unconditional promise was given in the book of Genesis.

  • ‘And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth’ (Gen. 9:16).

We see here that the rainbow is first mentioned in Genesis and is mentioned again in the book of the Revelation. A wonderful testimony of the balance and truth in God’s Word, as the rainbow is seen at the beginning of creation in Genesis and still to be seen in Revelation, at the end of this age. (Greek aioon).

  • ‘And he that sat was to look upon like jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne … ‘ (Rev. 4:3).
  • ‘And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head … ‘ (Rev. 10:1).

In Ezekiel 2:1 we read ‘And said unto me, Son of man … ‘; this usually means just man; ‘He’ must be God who spoke to the prophet. The term ‘Son of man’ according to Dr.F. Gardiner, is never used in an address to a prophet except to Ezekiel and Daniel.

  • ‘So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision’ (Dan. 8:17).

In Ezekiel 2:3, Ezekiel, like his coming Messiah, was ‘ … sent to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation … ‘.

Our Lord remained silent to the plea of the woman of Canaan, in Matthew 15:22 and 23, the following verse gives the reason why:

  • ‘But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel’ (Matt. 15:24).

Reading our Lord’s reply to the woman, it seems at odds which the preaching of the church (ecclesia) today.

Again we read:

  • ‘These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’. (Matt. 10:5,6).

The reference to John 4:35 seems at variance with the above two references, but there is no contradiction here: a quote from the Companion Bible reads: ‘This does not refer to the present mission field, but to the then expectation of national repentance (on which the glorious harvest was conditional) by the proclamation of the kingdom.

Unfortunately much of the present day theology teaches Israel’s demise and that the church today has spiritualised the position of Israel. This is called ‘replacement theology’ and contradicts the promises given by God, which were unconditional, in the Old Testament. Like the One who was to follow, The Lord Himself, Ezekiel was sent to his own people:

  • ‘For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of a hard language, but to the house of Israel’ (Ezek. 3:5)

Coming to Ezekiel 24:24, we come across the phrase ‘Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign … ‘. The word sign or signs figures greatly in the history of this nation of Israel, for example, the eight signs of John’s gospel. Luke also speaks to Israel of a sign:

  • ‘And when the people were gathered thick together, He began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall the Son of man be to this generation’ (Luke 11:29,30).

The history of Israel is a true reflection of the human nature, we find the Old Nature is always alert to come to the surface and must be controlled by the New Nature.

This nation of Israel had blessings and promises beyond our imagination and yet from time to time disobeyed God. Many of us can say that about our own lives. It is a blessing in itself, as one reads, that the ultimate victory and blessings will be ours in Christ Jesus.

As Dr.F. Gardiner points out, Ezekiel 34 begins with the corrupt practices of the leaders of Israel:

  • ‘Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat and ye clothe you with wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock’ … (Ezek. 34:2,3).

So the chapter begins with a warning and ends with a blessing:

  • ‘And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. Thus shall they know that I their GOD am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the LORD GOD. Any ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the LORD GOD’ (Ezek. 34:29-31).

If we compare these words with those that we find in John’s gospel we can see that the words in Ezekiel are fulfilled in Christ:

  • ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep’ (John. 10:11).

Also, in verse 14 we read:

  • ‘I am the good shepherd and know my sheep, and am known of mine’ (John 10:14).

Once again the Old Testament, in this book of Ezekiel points to Christ. (Messiah)!

Alan Shofield

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THE BOOK DANIEL

Here we have a remarkable prophecy, by a remarkable prophet.

No words of criticism are written in Scripture about Daniel, he lived a faithful life in his service for God. Like Noah and Joseph before him, Daniel appears to have been faithful in all things. What a wonderful testimony.

In chapter three we have the first sight of Christ in this prophecy:

  • ‘Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God’ (Dan. 3:24:25).

Dr. Bullinger points out, there is no article in the last sentence, and therefore it should be read, ‘a son of God’.

Some early writers say it was Christs, certainly the following references show the angel of God with His people in the wilderness:

  • ‘And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel … ‘ (Exod. 14:19).
  • ‘Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee … ‘ (Exod. 32:34).
  • ‘And I will send an angel before thee … ‘ (Exod. 33:2).

However, the book of Isaiah clearly prophecies His presence to His people:

  • ‘When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee’ (Isa. 43:2).

Coming to Daniel chapter 5, we read of Belshazzar and his way of life. What a lesson to all who pursue their own ways and ignore God, not realizing their very existence lies in His infinite mercy to all:

  • ‘ … and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified’ (Dan. 5:23).

The sustainer of life is of course Christ. A wonderful type of Christ is seen here in the midst of all the debauchery that was going on.

In this chapter we have the death of Belshazzar, the manner of his death is unknown, apart from that we read in verse thirty:

  • ‘In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain’ (Dan. 5:30).

Chapter six is remarkable, it demonstrates to us all the faithfulness of Daniel and the way in which God supervisies and overrules those things regarding His Will and Purposes.

We see here the high position Daniel held in Babylon:

  • ‘It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first … then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm’ (Dan. 6:1-3).

Like Joseph before him, Daniel found favour with the king, and the king purposed to make Daniel the principal ruler over the land. Only Darius would be superior to him. The position of Daniel caused much jealousy and others sought their opportunity to disgrace him before the king. Their opportunity came when they got the king to agree that anyone who would, ‘ … ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions … ‘ (Dan. 6:7).

The king agreed to this petition and signed it. Once the edict was signed there was nothing anyone could do to alter it, including Darius himself. This unalterable will, which had been signed, reminds one of the Galatian will:

  • ‘Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or added thereto’ (Gal. 3:15).

The decree that had been signed by Darius forbad worship for thirty days, unless that worship was to the king. Daniel refused to worship the king.

As Christians we are all subjects to the laws of the land, but like Daniel, if these laws violate the laws of God, we are free to disobey them.

Looking at the principle that; when a law or a will is signed, it is valid for the period to which it refers, and is irreversible. What a comfort this is for the believer. Once we are saved, that salvation is for all time, not as some teach, that our salvation can be lost. At least one verse of Scripture comes to mind which will confirm this fact:

  • ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me: And I will give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand’ (John. 10:27,28).

This is a vital doctrine; and ensures one’s salvation.

Dr. Bullinger points out that Darius was also called Astyages, and more importantly, Ahasuerus, who was the husband of Esther, the Jewess. (Esther 1:1 and Esther 2:15-17).

This is another study in itself (see app. 57 in the Companion Bible). http://www.levendwater.org

When Daniel was put into the lions’ den, for not worshipping king Darius, we see a wonderful type of Christ. Daniel 6 records what happened next to Daniel.

  • ‘Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel’ (Dan. 6:16,17).

Was Darius convinced that God would deliver Daniel? See verse 16.

We see a wonderful parallel with our Lord. The Jewish authorities were convinced that the disciples would steal the body of Christ after His death, as Christ had predicted that He would rise again after three days. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone and setting a watch’ (Matt. 27:66).

No matter what man does, the purpose of God will be carried out. As we have already seen, Daniel was a remarkable man, with a remarkable prophecy. Reading the many complex chapters in this book, referring to the end times and the timing of these prophecies, is a matter of further study, but in the midst of the writings we get a glimpse of our Lord. In Daniel 9:23 we read ‘ … for thou art greatly beloved … ‘ this is referring to Daniel.

  • ‘Ant it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized of John in Jordan … And there came a voice from heaven saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ (Mark 1:9-11).

This shows the character and faithfulness of Daniel, he too was recognised as a man greatly beloved.

The Rev. H.Deane B.D. says of the above quotation from Daniel 9:23, ‘It implies that Daniel was worthy of this proof of God’s love.

Alan Schofield

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THE BOOK HOSEA

Hosea was the son of Beeri and from every indication he prophesied in the Northern Kingdom.

His personal life reflected the relationship between God and His people Israel. This was a time of disobedience, heartbreak and forgiveness.

His wife was Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, apparently her past full of infidelities.

The long prophecy of Hosea was one of sadness. The instructions God gave to Hosea are recorded at the beginning of the book.

  • ‘ … Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD’ (Hosea 1:2).

Gomer must not have been married beforehand, or she would have been put to death according to the law. She was obviously one who was living a life of licentiousness.

It is noteworthy that three children were born to Hosea and Gomer, there two sons and a daughter. The names were as follows:

‘Jezreel’ – The coming judgement, or God will sow. ‘Lo-ru-ha-mah’ Unloved or perhaps unpitied, can also mean not compassionated. ‘Lo-Ammi’ – Not my people (Prof. Whitehead).

Dr. Bullinger interprets this word Gomer as an idolatress. Dr. Campbell Morgan says: ‘Hosea was looking back at the end of his ministry. On reflection Hosea was commanded by God to marry Gomer and that God knew the possibilities in the heart of Gomer and of her future conduct, which was unfaithful, like Israel’s conduct with God‘.

This word whoredom or whore is used at least sixteen times in this book. Israel was likened to a wife to God. In Jeremiah 3:1,2 and Ezekiel 16:17-32 we get the words ’eminent place’, vv. 24 and 31. Eminent places – Brothels – Companion Bible.

The nation of Israel is likened to an unfaithful wife. Unfaithful – to deal treacherously, to deceive. In Hosea chapter 1 we read:

  • ‘So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son’ (Hosea 1:3).

‘Gomer’ – complete or perfect, but whether in extreme beauty or in wickedness of character is not easy to determine (Dr. W. H. Reynolds and Prof. Whitehouse).

‘Diblaim’ – a double cake of figs, symbolic of sensual pleasure (Companion Bible).

Without labouring the point, we can see the background of Gomer and her extreme behaviour. Hosea 1:3,4 promises the coming judgment of the house of Israel.

Hosea 1:10,11. This particular prophecy is quoted and referred to in the following. Romans 9:25,26 and 1 Peter 2:10. Reading these verses we see a time when Israel were rejected by God for their repeated disobedience, but this will only be for a time:

  • ‘Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy’ (1 Peter 2:10).

Hosea 3:4. This verse refers to Israel, ‘ … shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince … ‘. Although this is representative of the state of Israel at this time, it is also prophetic of our Lord.

In John 1 we read the following:

‘Nathaniel saith unto him, Whence knoweth thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathaniel answered and said unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel’ (John 1:48,49). ‘And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS’ (Rev. 19:16).

Isaiah gives us many titles of our Lord:

  • ‘ … and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, the mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6).

Just like Isaiah, Hosea gives our Lord these many titles which the Lord fulfills in the New Testament:

  • ‘Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins’ (Acts 5:31).

Hosea speaks of the resurrection, not only of themselves, but a reference to the coming Messiah. This is disputed by some scholars, saying it has no connection with the resurrection of Christ, but purely to the resurrection of the nation:

  • ‘After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight’ (Hosea 6:2).

Surely this wording must also refer to the resurrection of Christ, see 1 Corinthians 15:20.

To quote Dr. Bullinger – ‘Referring to the yet future resurrection of the new Israel, which will thus resemble the resurrection of Christ’.

The country of Egypt plays a very significant part in the purposes of God and we see from various references in the Scriptures the truth of that statement. Not only Joseph took refuge in Egypt, but our Lord Himself:

  • ‘When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night and departed into Egypt: … that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son’ (Matt. 2:14,15).

There are similarities how Egypt, especially through Joseph, was used to preserve the people of Israel. Joseph was the great type of Christ, ‘and Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt … ‘ (Gen. 41:46).

The high office Joseph rose to in Egypt enabled him to protect his people. It is interesting to read that Joseph was thirty years old at this time. Our Lord began his ministry about the same age:

  • ‘And Jesus himself began to about thirty years of age … ‘ (Luke 3:23).

Exodus bears record how God used Egypt to preserve His people:

  • ‘Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt’ (Exodus 12:40,41).

At the close of his book, Hosea records two very important truths:

  • ‘Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me’ (Hosea 13:4).
  • ‘And behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS’ (Saviour) (Luke 1:31).

The book of Acts records it in the following way:

  • ‘Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12).

The second great truth that Hosea records, is the final victory we have in Christ:

  • ‘I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction … ‘ (Hosea 13:14).

Hosea points us directly to the victory we have in Christ,

  • ‘ … Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ (1 Corinthians 15:54,55).

From all the heartache which Hosea experienced, with an unfaithful wife and the unfaithfulness of his nation to God, he could write these eternal truths in Christ.

How accurate and reliable is this precious word of God!

Alan Schofield

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INFO:

http://www.cidi.nl

http://www.likud.nl

http://www.israeltoday.nl

http://www.pillaroffire.nl

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Vereniging Messias Belijdende Joden:

http://www.hadderech.nl

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Na de nacht komt ook de dag

http://www.franklinterhorst.nl

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Dag Nieuws:

http://www.wimjongman.nl

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Lectuur voor Bijbelstudie:

http://www.everread.nl

http://www.levendwater.org

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The God of Israel will not allow an Arab State in Judea and Samaria

Eye to Eye – facing the consequences of Dividing Israel

https://vimeo.com/345474098

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Gerard J.C. Plas

 Posted by at 13:30
May 022019
 
White, its usage in the Apocalypse

The words of repentant David: ‘Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow’ (Psa. 51:7), have seized the mind, and entered into the preaching of the gospel during all times. In the book of Revelation, the only gospel that is preached (so far as the record goes) contains no reference to Christ, His finished work or to faith (Rev. 14:6,7) and if preached today would merit the anathema of Galatians 1:8. While righteousness appears in different forms (dikaios, dikaiosune, dikaioo and dikaioma), they refer either to judgment (Rev. 15:3,4; 16:5,7; 19:2), war (Rev. 19:11) or to the personal righteousness of saints (Rev. 19:8; 22:11).

The evangelical concept of justification by faith is nowhere seen of spoken of. In the article, THE REST OF THE DEAD, we have examined every reference to the phrase ‘the blood of the Lamb’, and to the shedding of blood generally, but out of all the references, the only one that speaks of deliverance from sin, is that of Revelation 1:5 and this is discussed in the article referred to above where its connection is not with the average sinner, but with the peculiar company, ‘kings and priests’, who play so important a part in the outworking of its prophetic import. Two quotations call for insertion in this article:

  • ‘They … made them WHITE in the blood of the Lamb’ (Rev. 7:14).
  • ‘They OVERCAME him by the blood of the Lamb’ (Rev. 12:11).

These passages are related. Those who wash their robes and make them WHITE are those who came out of great tribulation. Those who OVERCAME, do so by the same blood of the Lamb, and under enormous pressure. Both companies are martyrs. When this company is complete, it is likened to a Bride prepared for her Husband:

  • ‘And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints’ (Rev. 19:8).

The usage of the word translated ‘arrayed’ links the Bridal company with the overcomer, as will be seen from the following list of occurrences of periballo:

  • ‘He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment’.
  • ‘I counsel thee to buy of Me … white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed‘ (Justification is by faith, and cannot be ‘bought’).
  • ‘A great multitude … clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands’.
  • ‘What are these which are arrayed in white robes?’.
  • ‘She should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white’.
  • ‘And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood’ (Rev. 3:5,18; 7:913; 19:8,13).

In the days of the outpourings of the vials, a blessing is pronounced upon him that watched ‘and keepeth his garments (himation)’ (Rev. 16:15), a reference back to Revelation 3:5 and 18. The same Greek word himation is used of the overcoming King of kings, Revelation 19:16; and His vesture also was ‘dipped in blood’ even as were those of the suffering overcomers.

The evidence is accumulative and overwhelming, the the OVERCOMER is the key to the Revelation, and to the essential of the Millennium.

The word mostly translated ‘white’ in the Revelation is the Greek leukos, but in two references (Rev. 15:6 and 19:8), the word lampros, translated elsewhere by ‘gorgeous’, ‘bright’, ‘goodly’, ‘gay’, and ‘clear’ (Luk. 23:11; Acts 10:30; Jas. 2:2,3; Rev. 22:1). The usage of the word ‘white’ in the Revelation suggests a threefold subdivision:

  1. The Lord Himself.
  2. The Overcomers.
  3. Judgment.

(1) The Lord Himself.

First as King Priest. Then as King of kings (Rev. 1:14; 19:11). The three descriptions of the Transfiguration refer to the opening vision of Revelation 1:

  • ‘He was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light’ (Matt. 17:2).
  • ‘His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them’ (Mark 9:3).
  • ‘The fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering’ (Luke 9:29).

White as light, white as snow, white as lightning. Peter tells us that on that mountain he, with James and John, were eyewitnesses of His Majesty, and that the prophecy of the Second Coming was made even ‘more sure’. At that Second Coming, He Who is called Faithful and True is seen coming out of heaven seated upon a white horse and coming in righteousness to judge and make war. Any interpretation that evades, ignores or minimizes this express statement of Scripture must necessarily be rejected by all who love and believe the Word. These words, ‘judge and make war’ are expanded in Revelation 19:15, where we have such adjuncts of discipline and extreme severity as ‘a sharp sword’, ‘smite the nations’, ‘rule them with a rod of iron’, ‘tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God’. There is no exegetical necessity or justification in dividing Revelation 19:21 from Revelation 20:1. The dealing with the Beast and the false prophet, the slaying of the remnant, and the binding of Satan are all leading up to the Millennial reign, which, at its conclusion, finds enough insubordination to justify the terms, ‘Gog and Magog’, ‘the sand of the sea’, and destruction by ‘fire’ from God out of heaven. The white horse of Revelation 6:2 under the opening of the first seal, is Satan’s travesty of Christ. This rider is not followed by the armies of heaven, faithful and true, but by war, famine, pestilence, death, martyrdom and the wrath of the Lamb.

(2) The Overcomers

  • ‘To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it’ (Rev. 2:17).

The High Priest of Israël, who entered the Holiest of all once a year, never lifted the Mercy Seat or ate from the golden pot of manna that was hidden beneath it. These ‘priests’ of God and of Christ do. The white stone bears a ‘new name’ which is one of several references to a similar honour.

In Revelation 3:12, the overcomer is honoured by having the name of God, the name of the City, and a ‘new name’ written upon him. All this is a direct contrast with Mystery Babylon, that had her awful name written upon her forehead (Rev. 17:5) and in contrast with those who had ‘the name of the beast, or the number of his name’ (Rev. 13:17). Immediately following this awful branding come the words:

  • ‘Lo, a Lamb … with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads’ (Rev. 14:1).

Just as no one knew the name on the white stone, saving he that received it, so no man could learn the new song sung by this company, but such as had been ‘redeemed from the earth’. And lastly Revelation 2:17 links these overcomers with the Lord, in His Coming, for He too ‘had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself’ (Rev. 19:12). To the overcomer in Sardis, the Lord promised that ‘they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy’. ‘The same shall be clothed in white raiment’ (Rev. 3:4,5).

How it can possibly be congruous to add to such, ‘And I will not blot out his name out of the book of life’ is dealt with THE BOOK OF LIFE (Rev. 3:5; 20:12,15). We find that this links up Revelation 20:6, were ‘priests of God and of Christ’ are assured that ‘on such’ the second death hath no power, again a subject that has been discussed in the article referred to above. That this ‘white raiment’ (Rev. 3:5) is not a symbol of salvation by grace through faith, is manifest by the terms of the next reference:

  • ‘I counsel thee TO BUY of me … white raiment’ (Rev. 3:18).

The gold that is offered also is that which has been ‘tried in the fire’ which Peter associates with ‘manifold temptations’ but which will be found unto praise and honour ‘at the APOCALYPSE of Jesus Christ’ (1 Pet. 1:7). Moreover the purpose of Revelation 3:18 is expanded and explained in verse 19, ‘As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten’. In Revelation 6:11, ‘white robes’ were given to the martyrs who had been slain for the word of God, and for their testimony. This is a plain indication as to what ‘white robes’ and ‘white raiment’ symbolize in this Book. The fellowservants who were yet to suffer must include those described in Revelation 20:4. The wearers of the white robes in Revelation 7:13,14 are those that come out of great tribulation ‘and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’. No one can wash robes in blood to make them white.

These symbols of overcoming martyrdom, are linked with the Great Overcomer, ‘The Lamb as it had been slain’ (Rev. 5:5,6), and the words of Revelation 7:14 should never be used in an evangelical sense, or in a Gospel hymn; such usage is a negation of the terms of the Gospel, and a beclouding of the meaning of Revelation 7. In like manner, these overcomers are linked with ‘the’ armies of heaven which follow the Lamb upon ‘white horses’, who are also clothed in fine linen ‘white and clean’.

(3) Judgment and War

The vision of the Son of Man upon a white cloud, having in His hand a sharp sickle (Rev. 14:14) is no reference to a peaceful and happy harvesting of the redeemed. The grapes thus gathered were ‘cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God’ (Rev. 14:19).

Finally, the Throne of Judgment after the close of the Millennium, which is for ‘the rest’ of the dead who were not counted worthy to be numbered with the ‘first resurrection’, that throne is defined as being ‘white’, Revelation 20:11.

There are many references to a throne in the Revelation (thronos occurs 46 times), but no colour or description is given to forty-five of these references. The fact that the throne of Revelation 20:11 is defined as ‘white’ definitely links it with the ‘rest of the dead’ who failed to ‘overcome’.

Here again we pause. The testing of the employment of ‘white’ in the Apocalypse ranges with and supplements a great number of other features that testify with one voice, that the Millennium is pre-eminently the sphere in which the martyrs who suffer during the antichristian oppression will ‘live and reign with Christ a thousand years’.

All theories concerning the Millennium must line up with the positive teaching of the Apocalypse, all theories that ignore or belittle such testimony must be repudiated by all who love and honour the Scriptures as the Word of Truth. Revelation 20:1-10 is the only sure starting point for studying the meaning and character of the Millennial kingdom. Many prophecies, hitherto forced into that kingdom, may belong to the succeeding Day of God (2 Pet. 3:2) which is scarcely touched upon in the Apocalypse. What John said concerning the earthly ministry of the son of God in His gospel, namely:

  • ‘There are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written’ (John 21:25).

could be said of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. The Apocalyps is as much selected as were the eight signs of the gospel of John. The purpose of the Old Testament have a focus, a gathering point, and this is sufficiently definite to ensure that the student who observes their limits and the items that converge at the time of the end, will have a sufficient guide and chart to the outworking of prophecy, until faith merges into sight as the day dawns and shadows flee away.

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No. 14

THE BOOK OF LIFE (Rev. 3:5; 20:12,15)

If the book of life contains the names of the ‘elect’, the ‘redeemed’ and the ‘saved’, such passage as Romans 8:31-39 and John 10:28,29 preclude the idea that a believer can ever be ‘lost’. If the book of life refers to the gift of eternal life, it is a gratuitous promise to tell the ‘overcomer’ that ‘he’ will not have his name blotted out of that book; the possibility does not arise. In Revelation 13:8 and Revelation 17:8, the book of life is linked with the words, ‘from the foundation of the world’, and a reference to Luke 11:50,51 will associated this period with martyrdom, thus:

  • ‘That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel …’.

The book of life is the Lamb’s Book of Martyr’s. Paul speaks of the book of life once, not in Romans or Ephesians, but in the epistle of the ‘Prize’, namely Philippians. Epaphroditus had risked his life in service, and with ‘Clement’ and other fellowlabourers (not simply fellowbelievers) had their names in ‘the book of life’. The Lamb’s book of life may be limited to the calling that is in view in the Apocalypse, even as the Great White Throne may be ‘The Judgment seat of Christ’ for believers of that calling too. If the Lord could promise the overcomer that He would NOT blot his name out of the book of life, for the Lord does not trifle with His people, it must mean that those who failed to overcome did run that risk. And inasmuch as the gift of eternal life could not be at stake, then a prize, crown or reward must be in view.

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No. 15

WHY ‘THE SECOND DEATH?

The word translated ‘second’ in Revelation 2:11 and 20:6,14 is the Greek word deuteros, familiar to English readers in the word Deuteronomy, ‘The Second law’, derived from the LXX translation of Deuteronomy 17:18, ‘a repetition of the law’, deuteronomium. Now a ‘second death’ implies a first, and orthodox teaching is fairly unanimous that the first death implied by the term, is the natural death of all men. If, however, both the terms ‘second’ and the associated word ‘hurt’ have particular reference to overcoming or failing so to do, a fresh investigation is called for. Where there is suffering for Christ’s sake, where one ‘loves not his life unto death’, there will be a ‘tasting of death’ long before natural demise, even as there will be a ‘hurting’ of the second death, after natural decease, for some who evaded the suffering. Paul would have no difficulty here for he himself said, many years before his end came, ‘I die daily’, which he immediately connects with fighting with beasts at Ephesus (1 Cor. 15:31,32). He spoke of his own experiences as being ‘in deaths oft’ (2 Cor. 11:23), and summed these expressions up in 2 Corinthians 4:10-12:

  • ‘Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus … we … are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake … death worketh in us’.

The epistle of Jude uses the word deuteros in a suggestive way:

  • ‘The Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, AFTERWARD (deuteros) destroyed them that believed not’ (Jude 5).

We find this word adikeo (hurt) also is translated, ‘do wrong’, ‘suffer wrong’, ‘take wrong’ and in this rendering lies the answer to the difficulty:

  • ‘Servants obey … knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the REWARD of the inheritance … . But he that doeth WRONG shall receive for the WRONG which he hath done: And there is no respect of persons‘ (Col. 3:22-25).

Reward or Wrong! Reward or Hurt!

The inheritance itself is blessedly and eternally secure (Col. 1:12-14), the presentation ‘holy’, unblameable and unreproveable’ is likewise unalterable, but when we come to ‘service’ and ‘rewards’ we are on other grounds. Here is assessment of ‘works’, with the reminder that there is no respect of persons. The Great White Throne is one of the sessions of ‘The judgment seat of Christ’ where every man’s ‘work’ shall be tried by fire, where he will receive either a ‘reward’ of ‘suffer loss’ (1 Cor. 3:13-15), where every one shall receive the things done in the body, whether it be good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10). In the special case of these believers who succumb to the pressure of antichristian tyranny, to be ‘hurt’ of the second death will be to receive for the ‘wrong’ they have done, and to miss the reward.

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No. 16

THE IMPORT OF THE EXPRESSION ‘HURT’ OF THE SECOND DEATH

In Revelation 2:11 the overcomer, who was also a martyr (see verse 10) was not only assured of ‘the crown of life’, but that he would not be ‘hurt of the second death’. Now if the second death be the doom of the ungodly at the final judgment, what congruity is there between two such opposite statement:

  • Positively. You will receive the crown of life.
  • Negatively. You will not be hurt of the second death?

Let us investigate the purport of the strange word ‘hurt’. The Greek word thus translated is adikeo, and means, literally, ‘to be unjust’ and is so translated in Revelation 22:11:

  • ‘He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: And he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: And he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: And he that is holy, let him be holy still’.

Here we have two groups: unjust and filthy, righteous and holy, and these are immediately associated with ‘reward’, ‘to give every man according as his work shall be’ (Rev. 22:12). At first, this strange word ‘unjust’ makes the problem harder. Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid, for if so, says Paul, how shall He judge the world?

Adikeo is translated ‘hurt’ nine times in the book of the Revelation, the first occurrence being the phrase ‘hurt of the second death’, the last and balancing passage being ‘unjust’ in Revelation 22:11. By taking a wider canvass of the usage of adikeo, Caleb and Joshua are types of the overcomers, but those who murmured in the wilderness who fell, are types of believers who fail. They ALL were baptized unto Moses, they ALL ate the same spiritual meat, but with MANY of them God was not well pleased, and these things were an ensample to the Corinthian believer. Those who, in the day of the Beast, avoid ‘dying daily’, may be hurt of the ‘second’ or ‘after’ death as a consequence.

The overcomers, who not only ‘live’ but ‘reign’ with Christ during the Millennium, are said to be ‘priest of God and of Christ’ (Rev. 20:6). These overcomers were martyrs who withstood the dreadful pressure brought to bear upon them during the final years of antichristian persecution. The apostle makes a distinction between ‘living’ and ‘reigning’ in 2 Timothy 2:11-13, and establishes the essential difference between being made meet by grace to be partakers of the inheritance, and of attaining unto ‘the reward’ of the inheritance (Col. 1:12; 3:22-25). In like manner Romans 8:16-18 shows the difference that there is between children of God who are heirs, and children of God who are joint-heirs with Christ. The second company ‘suffer with Him’ that they may be also glorified together. This leads us to the one reference to the kingdom in Ephesians. It is prefaced by a dreadful list of sins, concluding with the words:

  • ‘For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God’ (Eph. 5:3-5).

This dreadful list could be compared with Revelation 22:15, were exclusion from the New Jerusalem, and consequently from the reign of ‘God and of Christ’ (Rev. 20:6) is the penalty. The parallel between these two passages, taken together with Colossians 1:12 and 3:22-25 and 2 Timothy 2:11-13, shows that in the kingdom of Christ and of God in Ephesians we are dealing not with the Church (ecclesia) as a whole, but with the overcomers in that company, a group who find much instruction in the experiences of Paul, as given in Philippians 3:10-14 where ‘the Prize’ of the high calling equates ‘the Reward’ of the inheritance and ‘the Crown’ of 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

The following extract from The Jew of Tarsus by Hugh J. Schonfield, may be of interest. ‘It is laid down in the Mishnah: “Captivity comes upon the world on account of idolatry, fornication and bloodshed“. And again, “whoso slandereth his neighbour commits sin as great as idolatry, fornication and murder”. Indeed so fundamental was the nature of these commandments that the rabbis in the stress of the times declared: “Any sins denounced by the Law may be committed by a man if his life is threatened, except the sins of idolatry, fornication and murder”. To the Jewish religious authorities, therefore, the three Laws were, “these compulsory things”, exactly what they were called in the Jerusalem letter (Acts 15:28). The Lord Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, also deals first with the same three Murder (Matt. 5:21), Adultery (Matt. 5:27), and Idolatry (Matt. 5:33) — the prohibition of oaths for a Jew being a ruling against idolatry in speech. In the Revelation (21:8; 22:15), “whoremongers, murderers and idolaters” are grouped together among those who are excluded from the ‘Tree of Life and the City of God’.

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No. 17

TTHE TIMES OF THE GENTILES, AND THE TREADING DOWN OF JERUSALEM

Let us first of all examine the term, ‘the treading down of Jerusalem’. The prophecy of the Second Coming is given in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Luke’s account adds a reference to the times of the Gentiles, a feature that the study of Luke’s gospel leads us to expect. One peculiar and outstanding character is given, the relationship that exists between the length of time allotted to Gentile dominion, and the treading down of Jerusalem by the selfsame Gentiles.

  • ‘And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled’ (Luke 21:24).

Immediately following these words, we are projected into the day of the Lord:

  • ‘And there shall be signs in the sun, and the moon, and in the stars; and upon earth distress of nations, with perplexity … the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And THEN shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory’ (Luke 21:25-27).

If the words ‘treading down’ accurately translate Luke’s intention, then there is proof that the times of the Gentiles coincide with the subjugation of Jerusalem, that both run together into the Coming of the Lord and the setting up of the Millennial kingdom, with no possible room for a period of blessing upon or through Israël until Israël is delivered. Jerusalem cannot be at the same time ‘trodden down’ and a centre of light and peace. We claim no ability to convince any who can believe two contradictory statements. We must and do leave them in the hands of God.

Where Luke 21 emphasizes the relationship of subjected Jerusalem to the times of the Gentiles, Matthew gives another yet parallel evidence:

  • ‘When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, STAND IN THE HOLY PLACE … flee’ (Matt. 24:15,16).

Matthew concentrates on the desecration of the holy place, Luke concentrates on the desecration of the city. Matthew takes us to the final seven years of Daniel’s prophecy, and the end of Gentile dominion, Luke points to the parallel subjugation of the city of Jerusalem. There is no discrepancy, both accounts meet the same point (see the article, THE CONVERGING LINES OF PROPHETIC TRUTH).

We now turn our attention to the term, ‘trodden down’, for if this should turn out to be an expression that means blessing, then we must accept the consequences. The Greek word so translated is pateo, and if we bow to the choice of words ‘which the Holy Ghost speaketh’, the matter will be an end.P

Pateo (We draw attention to the fact that we have exhibited every reference to the use of this word in the New Testament.

  • Luke 10:19 ‘Power to TREAD on serpents and scorpions’.
  • Luke 21:24 ‘Jerusalem shall be TRODDEN DOWN’.
  • Rev. 11:2 ‘The holy city shall they TREAD UNDER foot’.
  • Rev. 14:20 ‘The winepress was TRODDEN’.
  • Rev. 19:15 ‘He TREADETH the winepress … wrath’.

This testimony of usage admits of no debate. It has been argued, that inasmuch as Rome did not cover the same territory as that ruled over by Nebuchadnezzar, it cannot be considered as a legitimate successor, but this argument is self-destructive and invalid. First: Nebuchadnezzar was told that the kingdom that succeeded after him would be ‘inferior’ but this inferiority in no wise invalidated succession. Secondly: There is all the difference in the world between the dominion that God GAVE to Nebuchadnezzar, and what he actually ruled over, for if that be the criterion, Nebuchadnezzar himself would be ruled out, which is not only absurd, but contrary to truth (Dan. 2:38). Thirdly: The dominion given to Nebuchadnezzar is specified in Daniel 2:38, and reads:

  • ‘And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beast of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath He given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all’.

Neither Nebuchadnezzar nor any of his successors exercised this authority. Rome exercised dominion over tracts of earth that in all probability Nebuchadnezzar never heard of, so that if extent of territory be the standard, we could as well say that Rome has more right to a place than Babylon, which is absurd. Fourthly: At the time of the end GLOBAL war and dominion may well characterize Nebuchadnezzar’s last successor. The hint that Nebuchadnezzar came in the line of Adam and Noah opens up a vista of prophetic truth that we cannot pursue here, except that when Israël succeeds to the throne and Jerusalem is a praise in the earth, Paradise will, then and not till then, be restored. When the treading down of Jerusalem ends, then, and only then, will the words of Isaiah 60 become possible:

  • ‘Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee … the Gentiles shall come to thy light … the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls … thy gates shall be open continually … the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish … they shall call thee, The city of the LORD … and the DAYS OF THY MOURNING SHALL BE ENDED‘ (Isa. 60:1,3,10-12,14,20).

The treading down of Jerusalem continues right up to the Second Coming of Christ. The moment the Stone strikes the feet of the Gentile colossus, ‘the kingdoms of the world‘ will become the kingdom of the Lord, and of His Christ, when, ‘He shall reign for ever and ever‘ (Rev. 11:15).

Jerusalem is the key to much PROPHETIC TRUTH!

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No. 18

TO WHOM WAS THE APOCALYPSE WRITTEN?

One of the consequences of applying the great principle of interpretation called ‘Right Division’ is to establish the habit of reading the address on the envelope, before attempting to read or to interpret the letter enclosed. What harmful practices and erroneous doctrines have arisen by failing to read clearly and with understanding, the address on the envelope that encloses the epistle of James, for example.

  • ‘James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, TO THE TWELVE TRIBES WHICH ARE SCATTERED ABROAD’ (Jas. 1:1).

In like manner, what have we not missed, and what have we not read into the book of the Revelation, by failing to observe that it was written, in its entirety from first to last, to seven churches, and particularly to the overcomers in their midst.

  • ‘John to the SEVEN CHURCHES which are in Asia’ (Rev. 1:4).
  • ‘What thou SEEST, write in a BOOK, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia’ (Rev. 1:110.

At the close of the Revelation, these churches are still in sight.

  • ‘I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches’ (Rev. 22:16).

It is impossible at any time in history, for the words of verses 18 and 19 of chapter 22 to apply to anyone else than to those who actually lived through the days when it was possible for ‘the plagues that are written in this book’ to be endured. It is impossible to speak of any who shall have their part taken away from the Book of Life, out of the Holy City, and from the things ‘written in this Book’, and to forget that only they who have lived through those dreadful days could be thus deprived. All that follows the second and third chapter, is a record of what John saw, ‘what thou seest’, things which were ‘signified’ by an angel (Rev. 1:1). This angel has evidently been with John throughout the unfolding visions and signs, and meets us in the last chapter.

  • ‘I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things’ (Rev. 22:8).

The angel associates himself with those who keep the sayings of ‘this book’. He speaks of ‘the sayings of the prophecy of this book’, and of ‘the words of the prophecy of this book’, and ‘things … written in this book’ (Rev. 22:9,10,18,19). Quite apart therefore from any visible connections that lie on the surface, chapter 20, the Millennium, and the Great White Throne, from a part of the things testified to the churches, and when we realize that such items as ‘The Second Death’ and ‘The Book of Life’, so generally associated with the general judgment of the wicked dead of all time, form an integral part and an unbreakable link with the ‘overcomers’ in the seven churches, then we need make no apology for calling a halt to tradition, and asserting our right and responsibility to ‘search and see’ (Rev. 20:6,14,15; 21:8,27; 2:11 and 3:5).

John, who was inspired to assure the overcomer that he would not be ‘hurt of the second death’ in chapter 2, would not forget all about it when he came to speak of it again in chapters 20 and 21, and neither can, nor will, we do so. Everything that is recorded in chapters 4 to 22 is written to encourage the ‘overcomer’. Nothing extraneous is added, so that nothing is said of the Millennial kingdom but that the overcomers ‘live and reign with Christ’. We only gather incidentally that there were ‘saints’ on the earth and a ‘beloved city’. It has been left for prophetic students to attempt to fill the gap, and this is a legitimate employment, providing it does not obscure the supreme purpose with which the Apocalypse was written, namely the Revelation of Jesus Christ Himself, and the association with Him on the throne, of those who suffered and withstood anti-christian domination during the closing years of Gentile ascendancy.

The Greek verb nikao, ‘conquer’ or ‘overcome’ occurs a number of times, and is distributed under three headings:

(1) It speaks of the nature and the reward of this ‘overcoming’.

(a) ‘And they overcame him (i.e. the Accuser) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death’ (Rev. 12:11). This follows the sign in which the Man child is caught up to God and to His throne, who will ‘rule all nations with a rod of iron’ (Rev. 12:5; cf. 2:27; 19:15).

(b) ‘He that overcometh shall inherit all things (or these things)’ (Rev. 21:7). This takes us beyond the Millennium, beyond the Great White Throne, into the new heavens and the new earth which shows that the thousand years is but an episode in the reign of Christ which is unto the ages of the ages.

(2) It points to the One True Overcomer, Christ Himself.

‘Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed (nikao overcome) to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof’ (Rev. 5:5). John tells us that he beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne, he saw, not a lion, but a Lamb, and not only a Lamb, but One that had been slain. This embodies all that is contained in the expression ‘Him that overcometh’ or ‘they overcame by the blood of the Lamb’.

(3) Scripture is true; it does not hide from the overcomer that the struggle will be deadly, and for a while, he will appear to have been forsaken in the fight.

(a) The false Christ is seen going forth ‘conquering, and to conquer’ (Rev. 6:2).

(b) ‘The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them’ (Rev. 11:7). ‘And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them’ (Rev. 13:7).

The link between the overcomer and the seven churches with the closing scenes of the Revelation, may be set out as follows. It will be seen that the opening words of encouragement given in chapter 1 look to their fulfilment in chapter 20. Let us see this more clearly. First, the Saviour declares:

  • ‘I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore’ (Rev. 1:18).

This would put heart into those who, like the believer in the church of Smyrna, was exhorted and comforted by the words:

  • ‘Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life’ (Rev. 2:10).

The Saviour continued:

  • ‘And have the keys of hell and of death’ (Rev. 1:18).

In Revelation 20:14 we read that ‘death and hell’ were cast into the lake of fire. Now keys are ostensibly a means of ‘opening’ and ‘shutting’, and upon ‘opening’ the book and ‘loosing’ the seals, ‘Death and Hell’ ride forth as is revealed in Revelation 6:8. He that ‘opens and no man shuts’, can also ‘shut and no man open’ (Rev. 3:7), and this is a part of the encouragement given to the church at Philadelphia.

In Revelation 9:1 an angel has the key of the bottomless pit, and opens it. In Revelation 20:1 an angel has the key of the bottomless pit and shuts it, to loosen or open it after a little season. Consequently it is not the destruction of death and hades that is in view in Revelation 20:14, it is the turning of the key once more for a period, for there will be death right up to the very end of time, ‘For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet, the LAST enemy that shall be destroyed is DEATH’ (1 Cor. 15:25,26). Even in the new heavens and new earth there will be those who ‘die’ and ‘carcases’, ‘worms’ and ‘fire’ are still there as a warning (Isa. 65:17-20; 66:22-24). We must leave this aspect of the subject for a time, to consider the meaning of the term, ‘the second death’. If by the term ‘the second dead’ we mean ‘the final condemnation of all the wicked dead that have ever lived’, then the assurance given to the overcomer is gratuitous:

‘Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first (the former) resurrection: on such,

  1. The second death hath no power, but
  2. They shall be priest of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years’ (Rev. 20:6).

If condemnation in its wider sense were in view, the believer who may not be an ‘overcomer’ knows already that he will not come into condemnation but is passed from death unto life (John 5:24; Rom. 8:33,34,38,39). What congruity is there in the statement of Revelation 2:10,11 interpreted by traditional methods:

  • ‘Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life’, said the Saviour to the church of Smyrna, and then added words to the OVERCOMER only saying, ‘He that overcometh shall NOT BE HURT OF THE SECOND DEATH’ (Rev. 2:10,11).

Would it be a fair comment to say the believer who is faithful unto death, will receive a crown, but the overcomer just escapes hell and damnation by the skin of his teeth? That would be monstrous. In what conceivable way could the second death, as ordinarily construed, threaten those who were already priests of God and of Christ? The integrity of the Word is at stake, so let us with chastened hearts seek afresh the meaning and intention of these Scriptures.

The apostle Paul suffered death over and over again before the day of his departure arrived, as he has written:

  • ‘We had the sentence of death in ourselves’. ‘To the one we are a savour of death unto death’. ‘For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake’. ‘In deaths oft’. ‘I die daily’. ‘If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not’.

Immediately following the revelation that the follower of Christ must take up his cross, the Saviour said:

  • ‘There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. And after six days … (He) was transfigured before them’ (Matt. 16:28; 17:1,2).

Peter speaking of this vision says that ‘the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’ was confirmed to him ‘when we were with Him in the holy mount (2 Pet. 1:16-18). It will be difficult to represent the idea involved in these two phases or experiences of death, the one experimental and voluntary, the other inflicted and associated with loss of crown and reign; but we will attempt it.

A usage of the word deuteros ‘second’ in Jude 5 may help us here. ‘The Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not’. Here the word ‘afterward’ is the word deuteros ‘second’, and this is illuminating. The believer, who like Paul, or like the martyr of Revelation 2:10 can say ‘I die daily’, may be described as one whose sufferings were premature or anticipatory. One, who came ‘fearful and unbelieving’ (Rev. 21:8) would avoid this premature ‘dying’, but would be subjected to the searching fire of the ‘after death’, the ‘second death’.

It is alas too possible for the redeemed, delivered from their spiritual Egypt, to exhibit ‘an evil heart of unbelief’ (Heb. 3:12), to be ‘destroyed of the destroyer’ (1 Cor. 10:10) as Israël were, but this is a ‘chastening’ that is entirely removed from ‘condemnation’ (1 Cor. 11:32). Those who pass through the ordeal fire (1 Cor. 3:13) will either receive a reward or suffer loss. Their eternal salvation is not at stake. They will either endure ‘the fiery trial’ which will ‘try’ them (1 Pet. 4:12) and so be found unto praise and honour and glory at the revelation (apokalupsis) of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:7), or by betraying their trust, and denying their Lord (2 Tim. 2:12) will suffer loss in that day and be ‘hurt’ of the second death. The loss suffered by those called ‘the rest of the dead’ in Revelation 20:5 will be that they will not be raised from the dead until the thousand years’ reign is finished.

The second death is reserved for ‘the fearful and the unbelieving’, but on the overcomer this testing and searching second death has no power, neither can any overcomer be ‘hurt’ by it. The word translated ‘hurt’ is adikeo which originally meant injustice or doing anyone wrong (Matt. 20:13) and so ‘to hurt’ wether justly or unjustly. Adikeo is translated ‘hurt’ nine times in the Book of the Revelation, but in chapter 22:11 it is translated ‘unjust’. Now the problem which such a word raises is solved by its use in Colossians 3:25, but as this passage is so important for the light it sheds on the second death and its ‘hurt’ let us consider the matter with regard to the remote context of Colossians 1.

There can be no possible doubt concerning the eternal security of any believer who has been ‘made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light’ (Col. 1:12), yet Colossians 3:22-25 speaks of either receiving ‘the reward’ of this inheritance, or of ‘receiving wrong’ for the wrong that he has done; and we are reminded, in case we need it, that ‘there is no respect of persons’. We cannot plead that because we are members of the Body of Christ, this cannot apply to us. Colossians 1:12 is sheer, unadulterated grace, Colossians 3:22-25 is service with its consequences. Now the word translated ‘wrong’ twice over here, is adikeo, the ‘hurt’ associated with the second death, and the ‘unjust’ condition of those denominated in Revelation 22:11, where both the unjust and the filthy on the one hand, and the righteous and the holy on the other hand, are placed in expectation of Him Who says, ‘My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be’ (Rev. 22:12).

The Great White Throne is ‘The judgment seat of Christ’ where ‘works’ will be appraised (Rev. 2:2,9,13,19; 3:1,8,15) and where ‘every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad’. Such is the second death from which the overcomer is exempt but by which the fearful and the unbelieving will be ‘hurt’ when the judgment of works takes place. Christ has the keys of Death and Hell. None can shut but He. None can open but He, and in this consciousness we can safely abide.

In another study we have discussed the ‘Book of Life’ and referred among other passages to Philippians 4. This has been questioned, and an answer is demanded:

  • ‘If Paul did not feel sure that he had attained the prize and so had become an overcomer, with his name in the Book of Life, how did he know that “Clement” and other fellowlabourers had their names there?”

Suppose for argument’s sake the Book of Life refers to the saved, the record of the elect. How would Paul know that Clement’s name was there? Only by the evidence of his faith and works (see 1 Thess. 1:4-10). So he would see the self-sacrificing service of such as Epaphroditus and others, who for the work of Christ were nigh unto death, that their names were in the Book of Life even if it referred to the overcomer. Moreover, the problem goes further. Names must be ‘in’ a book before they can be expunged. These names could be ‘blotted out’. Now the name of Demas may have been in that book, for he is mentioned with a group of faithful workers who stood by the apostle even during his imprisonment. But, in the last epistle Paul has to write in contrast with the crown with which he was assured, that ‘Demas hath forsaken me’ and so Demas, failing to stand the strain, his name would be blotted out of the Book of Life.

If this interpretation is rejected, then we have but one alternative. We have to believe and teach that in spite of all the witness of the epistle to the Romans, a believer who had been redeemed, saved, justified, freed from condemnation, assured that nothing could either accuse or separate him, that in spite of all that grace had wrought, that such an one could be blotted out of the Book of Life, and so lost for ever! That we most certainly and entirely repudiate, but the reader should not evade the issue, one or other of these explanations must be accepted.

Now the promise is made to the overcomer, that his name would not be blotted out of the Book of Life (Rev. 3:5) which links it with the promise concerning exemption from the second death and with the overcomer in every instance.

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No. 19

A FEW NOTES ON THE MILLENNIUM

The following extract from The Berean Expositor, Vol. 21, pages 161-164, while it does not advance anything new or different from the Millennium Studies, of which it forms a part, may present the problem arising out of the relationship of the the Lord’s Day and the Day of God, the new heaven and new earth, The New Jerusalem and the goal of the ages, with some measure of elucidation and conciseness as to justify any repetition.

The problem of the New Jerusalem

Answers to Correspondents

  • ‘There is one thing I did not find anything upon, and that is “The problem of the New Jerusalem”. Is Revelation 21 and 22 all in the new creation? If so, and Death is abolished at the Great White Throne, why the tree of life? I have come to think that the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:9 and onward is on the present earth after the Millennium; and it reappears in the new earth, and that Revelation 21:5 – “Behold, I make all things new” – is the last point, future, of prophecy, and that the unveiling then goes back to before the Great White Throne … If anything has been written in extenso on this, I should be very glad to have the reference … I paused here, and referred again to the “Comprehensive Index” [Indices to The Berean Expositor, volumes 1 to 20, 1909 to 1930] you sent me, for which I thank you very much indeed. In Vol. 15, page 79, first complete paragraph, the very point is brought up’.

The above is an extract from an interesting letter received from a much-esteemed reader, and while a few words privately written would probably suffice in this case, we believe a more extended reply will be of service to the general reader. We have in mind two things:

  1. To deal with the actual problem.
  2. To draw attention to the Comprehensive Index to Volumes 1 to 20 of The Berean Expositor, and to assist the reader in its use, which some readers possess.

In the letter, partly quoted, it will be seen that the writer remembered the Index, whereby he has able to locate the paragraph in question in Vol. 15, pag. 79, which is as follows:

  • ‘There, in the renewed paradise, shall be the throne of God and of the Lamb, there His servants shall serve Him and see His face, bearing His name upon their foreheads. Basking in the light that the Lord God Himself shall give, they shall reign unto the ages of the ages. THIS IS THE FARTHEST POINT TO WHICH THE BOOK TAKES US IN THE OUTWORKING OF THE GREAT PURPOSE OF GOD. One by one the barriers are broken down. The last to go there is the temple with its priesthood. Paul places the topstone upon the edifice by revealing that when the reign of Christ has brought everthing into line and order, the goal of the ages will then be reached and God shall be all in all’.,

It will be gathered from this extract that we see in Revelation 21 to 22:5 ‘the farthest point to which the book of the Revelation takes us in the outworking of the purpose of the ages’, and moreover we render Revelation 22:5, ‘and they shall reign unto the ages of the ages’. Our suggestion to the interested reader is that he should explore this subject further, and in order to get what help there is available in The Berean Expositor, he should make good use of the Comprehensive Index. For example, the translation, ‘unto the ages of the ages’, is suggestive of much. We open the ‘Index of Subjects’, and under the heading, ‘Ages of ages’, are directed to Vol. 15, page 41, where we read:

  • ‘The expression “for the ages of the ages” (eis tous aionas ton aionon) occurs in the Book of the Revelation 13 times, and is distributed as follows:

‘For the ages of the ages’

A 1:6 The kingdom of priests ascribe glory and dominion to Christ.

B 1:18 Christ – Living for the ages of the ages.

C Worshippers of God (fourfold) a1 4:9. The living Creatures. b1 4:10. The twenty-four elders. a1 5:13. Every creature. b1 7:12. All the angels.

A 10:6. The mighty angel. The mystery of God finished.

B1 11:15. He shall reign.

C Worshippers of Satan (fourfold) a2 14:11. Smoke of torment. b2 15:7. The seven angels. a2 19:3. Smoke of torment. b2 20:10. The Devil Beast and False Prophet.

B2 22:5. They shall reign.

  • ‘The ages of the ages is the great converging point of all time. There the smoke ceases to ascend, there every enemy is subjected, there the reign of the saints reaches its goal, there in fact the Son Himself shall vacate His mediatorial throne, and having accomplished the purpose of the ages He shall: “Deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father … that God may be all in all”‘ (1 Cor. 15:24-28).

The reader will understand from the above, therefore, that any feature of promise or prophecy that falls within the ages of the ages must be before the great act of 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, and that Revelation 20:10 and 22:5 fall within the limits of the ages.

We now turn up the ‘Index of Scripture References’ and note that Revelation 20:4-6 is dealt with in Vol. 14, page 56. Nothing is actually listed in the Index concerning Revelation 20:1-3, but it is a simple thing to go back from page 56 to the preceding article. There on page 29 we read:

  • ‘The thousand years of Christ will not be the final and perfect kingdom; it will be preparatory‘.

In Vol. 14, page 56, we read:

  • ‘The Millennial reign is bounded at its two extremes by a series of events which indicate the peculiar character of that Kingdom’.

At the beginning – At the close

  1. Satan bound for 1,000 years. 1. Satan loosed when 1,000 years finished.
  2. Nations deceived no more until 1,000 years finish. 2. Nations deceived after 1,000 years finish.
  3. Thrones and judgment given to the saints. 3. The camp of the saints encompassed.
  4. The first resurrection. Priests of God and of Christ. 4. The resurrection of the rest of the dead.
  • ‘The Millennium ends exactly as every other dispensation has ended, i.e. in failure. This one fact enables us to see that instead of understanding this kingdom to be the beginning of the Lord’s work of power and glory, it is to be understood rather as the last of His dealings with men under delegated authority’.

A further reference to Revelation 20:4-6 is found in The Berean Expositor Vol. 14, page 97, which is reproduced here for the sake of those who do not have access to that volume:

Millennial Failure and Foreshadowing (Rev. 20:4-6).

When we think of the Millennium, we usually think of that condition of peace that is intimated in the words:

  • ‘The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock’ (Isa. 65:25).

It is a mistake however to assume that such is said to be the condition of things all over the earth at that time. Both Isaiah 65 and Isaiah 11 add these important words:

  • ‘They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain’.

‘In all My holy mountain’ is not the same in extent as all the earth, and this passage is one of many that indicate the peculiar position of Israël in the Millennium. Another passage of similar import is Isaiah 60:1,2:

  • ‘Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon THEE. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the EARTH, and gross darkness the PEOPLES, but the LORD shall arise upon THEE, and His glory shall be seen upon THEE’.

There is the greatest difference indicated between the nation of Israël and the nations during this kingdom:

  • ‘The sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee … The nation and the kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish: yea those nations shall be utterly wasted’ (Isa. 60:10-12).
  • ‘Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vine dressers. But ye shall be called the PRIESTS OF THE LORD; men shall call you the MINISTERS OF OUR GOD’ (Isa. 61:5,6).

Israël are here seen in their position as the royal priesthood, and the surrounding nations as their servants. It was one of the great duties of the priest to teach:

  • ‘For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge; and they should seek the law at his mouth’ (Mal. 2:7; see also Lev. 10:11).

and therefore when the Millennium kingdom is set up we find that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be set up as the head of the mountains, and to this centre all the nations shall ‘stream’ and shall say:

  • ‘Let us go up to the mountains of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of ZION shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from JERUSALEM’ (Isa. 2:3).

The R.V. margin of Psalm 72:10 reads:

  • ‘The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall render tribute’,

Turning to Isaiah 25 we may notice some further limitations that may at first surprise us. A feast is to be made unto all peoples, but it is to be held ‘in this mountain’ (verse 6). The veil that is cast over all the peoples and which is spread over all nations is to be done away, but once again it is ‘in this mountain’ (verse 7). In the same context we have these two opposite thoughts:

  • ‘He will swallow up death in victory’ (verse 8).
  • ‘Moab shall be trodden down, or threshed, even as straw is threshed under the wheels of the threshing cart’ (verse 10).

This threshing of Moab is connected with the mountain of the Lord, for it reads:

  • ‘For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and Moab shall be threshed, etc.’.

When the desert blossoms as the rose, when the eyes of the blind see, and the ears of the deaf hear, when the ransomed of the the Lord return to Zion, Isaiah 35, the same chapter, says:

  • ‘Behold, your God will come with vengeance’ (verse 4).

We must therefore be prepared to find the Millennium kingdom the execution of judgment. Not only so, but Scripture reveals that there will be sin in that kingdom, and death as a consequence; in other words, the king who shall reign will:

  • ‘Rule them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel’ (Psa. 2:9).

That is characteristic of Millennium rule is seen by comparing Revelation 2:27; 12:5 and 19:15:

  • ‘To him that overcometh … will I give power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessel of a potter shall they be broken to shivers; even as I received of My Father (Rev. 2:27).

Psalm 110, which speaks also of that day, reveals the Lord ruling in the midst of enemies, judging among the nations, and filling the places with death bodies! Strange symbols of peace!! The Oxford Gesenius renders vers 3:

  • ‘Thy people will be (all) voluntariness in the day of Thy host’.

In marked contrast with Israël will be the feigned and constrained obedience of the nations. The marginal reading of Psalm 18:44:

  • ‘The sons of the strangers shall yield feigned obedience unto Me’.

So again in Psalm 66:3 and 81:15. The character of this kingdom is moreover manifested by turning to the R.V. margin of Daniel 9:24 – ‘To restrain transgression’. This idea of restraint is seen in the fact that during this period Satan will be bound, but not destroyed. Psalm 21:1-13; 48:4-7; 66:7; 68:21; 72:9-14; and 97:1-7 seem to speak of that kingdom and the presence therein of evil-doers. Psalm 101:8 reads, ‘I will early destroy all the wicked of the land’. The word ‘early’ is rendered by Rotherham ‘morning by morning’ and indicates summary judgment upon offenders. Psalm 149 calls upon Israël to rejoice, and the children of Zion to be joyful in their king. The Psalm is evidently Millennium:

  • ‘Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edge sword in their hand. To execute vengeance upon the nations, and punishments upon the people. To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron. To execute upon them the judgment written, this honour have all His saints. Hallelujah’ (Psa. 149:6-9).

Here once again we see the ‘iron rod’ in action. It is evident from Zechariah 14:16-19 that throughout the Millennium, and not merely at the commencement, judgment will fall upon disobedience. The two last verses of Isaiah bring before us a dual picture – ‘all flesh’ shall come to worship before the Lord, and they shall also look upon the carcases of transgressors (presumably in the valley called Gehenna), and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh’. Death, if it occur, in the Millennium will be the direct result of personal sin. This seems to be the meaning of Isaiah 65:20. The A.V. reads thus:

  • ‘There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days, for the child shall die an hundred years old, but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed’.

Rotherham translates the passages:

  • ‘But a youth a hundred years old may die, yea, a sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed’,

the suggestion being that for one to die in that kingdom, even at the age of a hundred years, would be to die young, and that such a death would be the direct outcome of sin.

The Millennium kingdom is not the glorious reign of Christ that ushers in the consummation. The Millennium is rather man’s most favoured opportunity and most signal failure. The conditions are even more favourable than those of Eden in some respects. For here no outside tempter can enter, Satan being bound for the whole period, yet revolt spreads rapidly as soon as Satan is let loose.

The Millennium kingdom is Israël’s sphere of blessedness wherein all the promises related to them as a peculiar people to the Lord shall be fulfilled. The Millennium foreshadows the perfect kingdom. What will take place over the breadth of the earth after the Millennium takes place during the thousand years in Israël’s land only. One nation, Israël, shall be ‘born at a stroke’ (Isa. 66:8). One people, Israël, ‘shall be all righteous’ (Isa. 66:21), and the days of their mourning shall be ended. But the ends of the earth will slowly learn the lesson. A brighter and a better day succeeds the thousand-year reign of Christ and His people. The royal priesthood will have accomplished its purpose. Through this chosen ‘seed’ shall all the families of the earth have been blessed; many will join themselves to the Lord, and come under the promise:

  • ‘The sons of the stranger that join themselves to the Lord … even them will I bring to My holy mountain’ (Isa. 56:6,7),

for the Lord’s house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. The law at Sinai and the nation of Israël afterwards were under the delegated authority of angels, but the ‘world to come’ has not been submitted to angels, but to the saints, particularly those of ‘the seed of Abraham’ (Heb. 2), which embraces all those of like precious faith. This kingdom is the last manifestation of the failure of delegated rule.

The kingdom of the Son is marked by the subjection of all rule and authority. He shows Who is that blessed and only Potentate, and at the close of that rule and that rule alone, we reach perfection and the goal of the ages. All down the age has been heard the murmuring challenge of the sovereignty vested only in Christ. Israël failed to hold that sceptre; the Gentiles failed too. Adam in Eden, and man in the Millennium kingdom, equally fail. Every age and dispensation converges upon one thought, every knee shall bow at last to one Lord, every tongue will confess but one Name, Revelation 5 shall be repeated upon a grander scale:

  • ‘Who is worthy? … no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth … was found worthy …’ (verses 2-4).
  • ‘And they sung a new song, saying, “THOU art worthy“‘ (verse 9).

Under the heading ‘Revelation – all things new’ in the ‘Index of Subjects’, we find that 21:1 to 22:5 are referred to in Vol. 15, page 65. We accordingly turn up this reference and find the following subdivision:

  • ‘During the ages which span this section, the wondrous purposes of grace and redemption are worked out. The last act which pertains to this section is that of casting death and hades into the lake of fire. The Millennium is the day of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:10) and this followed by the day of God (2 Pet. 3:12).
  • ‘The subject “the new heaven and new earth” occupies chapters 21:1 to 22:5. First we have a brief statement occupying 21:1-5, then secondly we have an expansion of one aspect … .

The new creation and its heirs

A1 21:1-5 All things new.

A2 21:6 to 22:5. These things inherited.

  • ‘The first part of the subject is general – “all things”. The second part of the same subject is that which is peculiar to the overcomer – “he that overcometh shall inherit these things”. Five verses are sufficient to tell of the new heaven and new earth, which twenty-seven verses are taken up with the description of the inheritance of the overcomer.
  • ‘We look in vain in this chapter of Revelation for any further description of the new heaven and new earth. Immediately following the briefest of introductions John focuses upon one phase of this new world: ‘And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (21:2).
  • ‘At the close of this description (22:1-5) we reach Eden, paradise restored. It will be seen therefore that there are to be a series of steps ever back to “as it was in the beginning”.

(1) THE MILLENNIUM – Jerusalem on earth, a holy city. Special feature THE TEMPLE (Ezek. 40:47).

(2) THE NEW HEAVEN – Jerusalem the heavenly city. Special feature – THE TABERNACLE.

(3) THE NEW EARTH – Paradise. “The day of the age” (2 Pet. 3:18). Special feature THE TREE OF LIFE.

It will be observed from these various extracts that we see in Revelation 21:5 the last word, future, of prophecy as far as the Revelation is concerned, and that the new Jerusalem with which the Revelation is so concerned is rather in the nature of an inheritance, entered by the overcomer at the beginning of the Millennium while it is still in heaven, and enjoyed right through the succeeding day of God after it has descended out of heaven, up to the end of the ages of the ages, when the goal of redemption will be reached’.

The presence of the tree of life in Revelation 22:2 does not necessarily suppose the presence of death, any more that it did in the beginning (Gen. 2:9), but it reveals that it will still be a possibility. It indicates that the final step has been reached before the ‘end’, when the last enemy, death, shall be destroyed, which ‘end’ will bring about the last great correspondence of Scripture, and Genesis 1:1 will find its echo in the words ‘that God may be all in all’.

No. 20

THIS IS THE SUM

When the apostle reached about half way through the epistle to the Hebrews, he stopped at the end of chapter 7 to say:

  • ‘Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum’ (Heb. 8:1).

He had admitted earlier that there were some things to say concerning Melchisedec that were ‘hard to be understood’ (Heb. 5:11); in this case the difficulty was caused by the fact that his hearers were ‘dull of hearing’. In our case, the position must be reversed. We do not write, as he did, by inspiration of God, and we do not for the moment believe that our readers are in any way dull of hearing. We have endeavoured as grace is given to be careful to avoid ambiguity, to give chapter and verse, to demonstrate by fairly full quotation the interpretations suggested, and to avoid mere text quotation that ignores the context. Even so, we have no right to believe that everyone has followed in every detail so closely that a résumé would not be useful, as the same apostle said in another context, ‘to write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe’ (Phil. 3:1). Here then is a summary:

(1) There is no sacredness about the word Millennium. It simply means ‘a thousand’ and is used of that portion of the future reign of Christ that last 1,000 years.

(2) There is one portion of the Scriptures only that speaks positively concerning the Millennial reign, and that portion consisting of ten verses only, namely Revelation 20:1-10.

(3) While making this statement we by no means deny that such passages as Isaiah 11:6-9 do belong to this Millennial day, but if they do, they are seen to be such only by inference.

(4) We do not deny that there will be a Pre-Millennial kingdom, but we see that his will be the kingdom of the Beast of Revelation 13:18, and is foreshadowed by the reign of Saul before that of David.

(5) The outstanding features of the Millennium as revealed in Revelation 20:1-10 are as follows:

(a) The Devil will be shut up in the bottomless pit, and this together with Dan. 9:24, ‘finishes’. ‘To make an end’ indicates that evil will be ‘restrained’ throughout the period.

(b) The bottomless pit is in Greek abussos ‘the abyss’ and the LXX links this with ‘the deep’ of Genesis 1:2.

(c) The ‘overcomer’ who is addressed in Revelation 2 and 3 is the slender thread upon which the visions of the Apocalypse are threaded, and the ONLY ONES specifically mentioned in Revelation 20:1-10 are the martyrs under the Antichrist’s persecution, who ‘live and reign with Christ a thousand years’.

(d) The phrases ‘the rest of the dead’ and ‘the first resurrection’ compel us to see that the Great White Throne judgment that follows is the second half of one theme, and that this Great White Throne judgment is not the judgment of all the ungodly of all time. That does not enter into the book of the Revelation.

(e) At the close of the Millennium when the Satan is let loose for a little season, his deceiving words find ready response in ‘Gog and Magog’ who invest the camp of the saints in the beloved city, and are immediately destroyed with fire from heaven.

(6) As an echo, and perhaps a connection with Gog and Magog, we find that there will be ‘feigned obedience’ among some of the nations of the earth at that time.

(7) The Lord will rule with a ‘rod of iron’ and the emphasis on the word ‘iron’ cannot be ignored.

(8) When the Lord enters into His Kingdom He will rule in the midst of enemies.

(9) While full Millennium blessings will be enjoyed in Jerusalem the nations that surround that favoured city will slowly learn the way of peace.

(10) If the converging lines of prophecy are considered, no gap can be found in which Israël as a nation will be a blessing in the earth. This can only take placeafter their conversion at the Second Coming of the Lord.

(11) The day of the Lord is to be succeeded by the day of God, and care must be taken not to cram all future prophecy into the 1,000 years, leaving little or nothing for the day that follows.

(12) Other incidental features and arguments are to be found in the articles of this synopsis which will but supplement and support the main contention set out above. Until these can be Scripturally disposed of, we shall not feel under any obligation to occupy more space, but will gladly return to the main purpose of our ministry namely, the making known, as far as grace will enable, of the dispensation of the Mystery with all its blessings, privileges and responsibilities.

By Charles H. Welch – ‘Berean Expositor’ – London

THE CHAPEL OF THE OPENED BOOK

http://www.bereanonline.org

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De Hebreeuws taal:

Bronnen van Joodse wijsheid …

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Hebreeuws leren:

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ISRAEL PLATFORM:

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New: Decoding The Antichrist And The End Times / Mark Biltz

Mark Biltz, founder of El Shaddai Ministries in Washington State, is a well-known and popular commentator on the feasts of the Lord and has produced a series of DVD’s on the feasts that have gone around the world. He is also the author of Blood Moons and God’s Day Timer. His research and theories have earned him guest appearances on both radio and television as well as the coverts of magazines.

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Gerard J.C. Plas

 Posted by at 14:06
Apr 122019
 
RESURRECTION

The great fact of all facts proclaimed by God to sinful men is that Jesus Christ, Who was crucified on Calvary, “died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3,4). They who believe that proclamation receive the Salvation of the Lord. Those who refuse to believe that Christ rose from the dead, make the Son of God like unto those sinners whom He died to save. They make His death to be the death of a sinful man, for they declare that His body remained in the grave to see corruption. They make Him to be under the power of death; and thus they deny the whole basis of salvation. Whatever prospect there is for sinful human beings depends absolutely upon the sign of the prophet Jonas. If that be not a true sign, then there is no hope for man; then they which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished, and we who believe on Him are, of all men, the most miserable.

The prayer which Jonah uttered while in the belly of the great fish is one of the most remarkable passages of Scripture. Some of its striking features we purpose to point out later; but just now we would call attention to the words in which the utterance culminates – “Salvation is of the Lord”. When Jonah reached that conclusion, his deliverance was at hand, for then ‘the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited Jonah upon the dry land’.

Human beings are all come into the same situation in which Jonah found himself. They are swallowed up by a great monster; for “the whole world lieth in the Wicked One” (1 Jn. 5:10). Like Jonah, the offspring of Adam came into that desperate condition through departure from the Word of God. Like Jonah, they have no means of escape. Men are very clever; they have invented many devices for making the interior of the great sea monster a more agreeable place to pass their time in, but they have invented no ingenious contrivance, no mighty engine, no potent chemical combination, no code of morals, no elaborate religious system, whereby a single human being can escape from the dominion of sin and death. Truly, “Salvation is of THE LORD”. Man’s works, whether works of power or works of righteousness, are all in vain.

When, however, a sinner of Adam’s race realises that he has indeed departed from the way of God and fallen into the power of a mighty being whose helpless prey he is; and when he realises that human strength, human intelligence, and human goodness avail nothing for deliverance; when, in a word, he realises that “salvation is of the Lord”, then the hour of his deliverance is come. God “speaks” and a miracle like the new birth takes place. Thus Jonah became pre-eminently the type of all types, the type of the Divine Saviour, bringing the sinner up out of the depths of sin and darkness into the light, and liberty, and love, and joy, and service, and everything that pertains to “newness of life”. For Jonah was born again, born out of the water and of the Spirit.

Types of Resurrection in the Old Testament

The Old Testament contains many clear types of the Resurrection. Those types begin early in the sacred volume, and their frequent occurrence testifies strongly to the importance of the subject. God’s purpose manifested from the beginning was to have a people born from the dead.

In the first chapter of Genesis, we read that on the third day God brought up the earth from out of the waters in which it was buried. That was the first baptism, the first great figure of death, burial, and resurrection. On the third day God said, “Let the waters be gathered together in one place, and let the dry land appear”. And the earth immediately came forth into the light and air already prepared for it. Moreover, God spake again to the earth, and the earth became fruitful.

In like manner as God spake first to the waters, commanding them to release the earth, and then to the earth, commanding fruitfulness; so He spake first to the great fish, commanding it to release Jonah, and then to Jonah, commanding him to go preach in Nineveh. The lesson is the same.

Then we come to the ark of Noah, another great and clear type of Resurrection. For the apostle Peter tells us that the ark is like baptism, a figure of that which saves us by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 3:21).

The ark was delivered from the waters of death and judgment on the seventeenth day of the seventh month (Gen. 8:4); for on that day the ark “rested” on Mount Ararat. God reckons the date of that event to be important, for He caused it to be recorded. The importance of the date becomes evident when we associate it with another event, the Passover, which represented the death of Christ, and which occurred on the fourteenth day of the seventh month. Three days later He arose, on the date of the resting of the ark, the type of Resurrection. And then, after the deliverance of those who were in the ark, God spake to Noah, commanding fruitfulness. “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth”.

Reading on further in Genesis, we come to Abraham, brought out by the Word of the Lord from the idolatries of the heathen, himself “as good as dead”, and whom God commanded to be fruitful, saying, “I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly” (Gen. 17:3).

Further on we read of Isaac, a very clear type of resurrection from the dead, from whence, it is written, his father “received him in a figure” (Heb. 11:19). After Abraham and Isaac had gone three days‘ journey to the place appointed, God spake, delivering Isaac from death, saying, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him”. And through this man, raised as it were from the dead, God caused fruit to be produced, saying, “In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore” (Gen. 22:12-17).

Then we come to the case of Joseph, thrown into a pit and raised up again to be a prince and saviour even to those who cast him out. Joseph also was cast into prison and associated with two malefactors, one of whom was saved; and the third year Joseph was brought out of be the deliverer of the Gentiles and of his own people. Moreover, he called his second son Ephraim: “for”, he said, “God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Gen. 41:52).

Again, we read of the Israëlites delivered from Egypt at God’s command, baptised in the Red Sea, which they crossed on the third day (Ex. 14:21-22).

Again, we have the crossing of Jordan by the ark with all the people “after three days”. Thus, as it were by death and resurrection, the people of Jehovah entered the land promised to them (Josh. 3:2,17). And so we might go on, finding other types of the same great truth, foreshadowing that God’s way of deliverance for His people is by Resurrection. And there is no other way.

God’s Salvation: Life from the Dead

One of the leading truths to be learned from the Book of Jonah is that the salvation of God is Resurrection. God’s salvation is nothing less than bringing forth the sinner from out the dominion and power of death, and giving him new life in a new place. All human beings are, from the hour of birth under the power of death. This is a fact so palpable that none can deny it. “By one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men”. This is true equally of the man of high character and the man of low character, of the man who has done his best and the man who has done his worst. The greatest men, the wisest, the most intelligent, the most learned, the strongest and the best, are all under the dominion of death. Since all are in precisely the same condition by nature, all are in need of precisely the same salvation. For there is “no difference”. Saul of Tarsis, the man of blameless life, spent in pious works and religious exercise, stood in the same need of God’s salvation as the woman of Samaria, or the dying thief of Calvary. All alike need a Saviour – God, One who reverses the course of nature – bringing life out of death. For the course of nature, which is governed by sin, carries every man from life into death.

The salvation of God reverses the course of nature, bringing men out of death into life. This salvation may be described by the one word Resurrection, and that is the supreme lesson of the book of Jonah.

So the Gospel brings to light another fact, a fact that is not self-evident like the universal fact of death’s power over all men, but a fact known nevertheless to those who hear and believe the Word of God: “But now is Christ RISEN FROM THE DEAD and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since BY MAN came death, BY MAN came also the Resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20,21). Death came by one man, Adam: Resurrection came by one man, Jesus Christ.

There are many who seem to think that the place in which they find themselves – the world that lieth in the Wicked One – is a good enough place to be in. They admit that there are defects in it, that its advantages are most unequally distributed, that it contains much suffering and misery, and much crime and wickedness. But they hold the soothing doctrine that the world needs only a few improvements in its social and political arrangements to make it a comfortable and agreeable dwelling place for all human beings; and they hold also that men themselves possess the ability to devise and introduce all needed improvements. But this is not the testimony of the Word of God; it is the falsehood of that same “Wicked One” in whom the world lies, who is its “prince” and “god”, and “who has the power of death” (Heb. 2:9). It is not the testimony of the Spirit of truth, for He is come to “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jn. 16:8,11). It is no part of the mission of Christ to introduce social and political changes in the world, but to bring Resurrection as a way out. Jonah was not so foolish as to suppose that God’s salvation would make him a little more comfortable in the fish’s belly. He looked for deliverance out of it.

Let none be deceived as to this vital matter. The world over which death has absolute dominion is not a good place to be in; and the best possible news to those who are in such a place is the news of a way out. Hence the prominent fact of God’s “good news” is the Resurrection, and that is what is represented by the sign of the prophet Jonah.

Jesus and the Resurrection

But we do not dwell upon the many important lessons that may be traced in the little Book of Jonah, for we wish specially to look at the marvelous type it presents to us of the essence of “that Gospel which”, says the apostle Paul, “I preach among the Gentiles” (Gal. 2:2). That Gospel, the only Gospel of God preached for the obedience of faith among all nations, is concisely stated in Acts 17:18, as consisting of “Jesus and the Resurrection” – “Jesus”, the Foundation of God; and “Resurrection”, the seal of authentication which God has placed upon the Person and Work of His Son.

For we cannot too often or too earnestly proclaim in these days of departure from the faith that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the central fact of Christianity. That is the fact which God has commanded to be proclaimed throughout the world. The true messenger of God, the true prophet, the true evangelist, preaches a risen Christ. They preach the Son of God come in the flesh, crucified for sinners, and raised from the dead to the right hand of the Father. The Holy Spirit is come down from heaven to witness to the fact of the risen Christ.

After His Resurrection the Lord Jesus Himself opened the understanding of His disciples that they might understand the Scriptures; and this is the true He then impressed upon them: “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day”.

Yes, it “behoved” Him to suffer and to rise the third day. Why? Because “thus it is written”. To be “the Christ” He must needs fulfill all that was written of Him. Without the sufferings appointed to Him there would be no glory to follow, no salvation, no Saviour. For the Spirit of Christ in the prophets testified beforehand (to the bewilderment of the prophets themselves) of the sufferings belonging to Christ and of the glories that were to follow (1 Pet. 1:11).

In like manner, the apostle Paul, when he announced the Gospel, “opened” the Scriptures, and reasoned with his hearers out of the Scriptures, alleging “that Christ MUST NEEDS have sufferd and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, Whom I preach unto you IS CHRIST” (Acts 17:2,3).

There are two great links to the Apostle’s argument. The first is that the Christ of God must needs have suffered and risen again. Of this, the Scriptures supplied overwhelming proof. Anyone claiming to be “the Christ of the Scriptures” must needs make this claim good by dying and rising from the dead. Unless he died and rose again, he would not be the Christ of God, but an impostor, a false Christ.

The second link is “that this Jesus IS the Christ”. The proof of this is that in every detail down to the very last, “this Jesus” fulfilled the many things foretold of the Christ, and specially in regard to the predicted sufferings of Christ. And then, after having suffered according to the Scriptures, He appeared in Resurrection to the “witnesses” chosen of God to testify this mighty fact to all the world (Acts 2:32; 3:15; 5:31,32; 13:29,31)..

So, upon this great fact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christianity was founded. Through the foolishness of the preaching of that fact, sinners were converted, their sins forgiven, eternal life bestowed upon them, and they were gathered out from a dying world to a risen, living Saviour. For “with great power gave the Apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33).

From this we may learn how much is involved in the estimate which “modern scholarship” places upon the Book of Jonah, and in particular in the estimate placed upon the history of Jonah’s deliverance. And as we begin to realise what is at stake, we shall more clearly understand how much the Lord based upon the truth of the narrative. How shall they face Him, they who, in order to gain repute among men for superior intelligence or superior learning, have discredited the one incident of Old Testament history which Christ selected as the pedestal for the saving truth of His own resurrection from the dead?

Let us, then, increasingly thank God for the Book of Jonah.

Resurrection

And now comes the promise of resurrection:

  • “Yea, Thou hast brought up My life from corruption, O Lord, My God. When My soul fainted within Me, I remembered the Lord, and My prayer came in unto Thee, into Thine holy temple” (Jon. 2:6,7).

The Holy Spirit now puts into the lips of the prophet Jonah almost the same words found in the sixteenth Psalm: “Thou wilt not leave My soul in Hades, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show Me the path of life”. These words are quoted both by Peter (Acts 2:25,31) and by Paul (Acts 13:35), as containing the promise and prophecy of the resurrection of Christ. How exceedingly important, then, is the little Book of Jonah! What portion of the Old Testament scripture of equal length contains truth more vital to men who are in bondage and under the dominion of death?

In the few verses of chapter 2, we find, in words of wonderful depth and simplicity, the unutterable experiences of the Christ of God when accomplishing in mighty work of redemption. Here, as nowhere else in shadow, type, and prophecy, the anointed ear may hear the voice of the spirit of Christ, testifying beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow. For here we have the profoundest utterances of the Spirit gathered from various Psalms and Prophecies and condensed into a few sentences. But more than that, those sentences are put into the lips of a man actually undergoing an experience marvelously in correspondence with the experience of the Lord in His death, burial and resurrection.

In some scriptures we have death and resurrection in a figure. In others we have death and resurrection foretold in words. But in Jonah we have the mighty truth, which is the gospel of our salvation, given both in figure and in words. This wondrous combination occurs nowhere else (so far as the writer recalls) in Old Testament Scripture. It gives to the Book of Jonah a very special value, and indicates the reason why the Lord chose Jonah from among all the types, as pre-eminently figuring His own death and rising from among the dead.

Among all the varied experiences of men in this world, no man other than Jonah ever had such an experience as this. To be tossed into the sea for the express purpose of quieting its ragings and thus saving the imperiled lives of others; to be swallowed by a great fish; to be made alive and conscious in the fish’s belly after just three days; and to be brought up again the third day in safety and subsequently made a preacher to the Gentiles, constitute a history the like of which has befallen no other man. There it stood on the inspired page, seemingly only a tale of marvel, its significance utterly unknown to men, until the Son of God with a few words, illuminates it with Divine light, revealing in it treasurers of heavenly truth of incalculable value. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God”.

Examining the history of Jonah in the light of the words of Christ, we find in it the fullest and clearest of all types of His mighty work, whereby the redemption of sinners is accomplished and eternally secured. And not only so, but we also find the Spirit of Christ uttering through the lips of Jonah – the man of this unparalleled experience – words expressive of the experiences of Christ while suffering in our stead, in order that the sea might be calm unto us.

Where can language be found to voice the wonder that the believing heart must feel in coming upon such a revelation as this?

God has seen fit to give us this surpassingly wonderful prophecy and figure setting forth the sufferings of Christ when delivered up for our offences, and His rising again for our justification. Yet men of corrupt minds, though calling themselves by the Name of Christ, are showing to one another their superior wisdom and scholarship, as they vainly suppose, by casting doubt and even ridicule upon that Scripture, in which, as in none other, the Spirit of Christ has testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow; which things the angels desire to look into.

That “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” is clearly shown forth in the Book of Jonah. Let us, then, prize it and thank God for it. “Salvation is of the Lord”.

By P. Mauro / The Berean Expositor / April 2019 VOL> 70 No. 2*



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No. 9

THE THOUSAND GENERATIONS

It is only possible to speak of the Millennium, if we believe that the term, ‘a thousand years’ means what it says, and is to be taken literally. This being so, what are we to understand by the statement in Deuteronomium 7:9?

  • ‘The LORD thy God. He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments TO A THOUSAND GENERATIONS‘.

How are we to understand the language of David recorded in 1 Chronicles 16:15?

  • ‘Be ye mindful always of His covenant; the word which He commanded TO A THOUSAND GENERATIONS‘.

And yet once more, what did the Psalmist mean in Psalm 105:8?

  • ‘He hath remembered His covenant for ever, the word which He commanded TO A THOUSAND GENERATIONS‘.

The usage of the word ‘generation’ in the Scriptures falls into three groups or shades of meaning.

  1. The primary meaning is that of offspring. This is its meaning in the genealogies that abound in the Old Testament. In Hebrew ‘the book of the generations’ is sepher toledoth, and in the Greek, biblos geneseos (Gen. 5:1, LXX; Matt. 1:1).
  2. Arising out of this primary meaning comes a secondary sense, namely a period of time. This would not have been used rigidly, especially when we observe that the natural length of human life has changed since the days of the patriarchs. Herodotus, the Greek historian, says, ‘three generations of men make an hundred years’, and Clement of Alexandria citing Homer says, ‘two generations’ covers the period of ‘about sixty years old’. It will be remembered that our Saviour’s earthly life was just about a ‘generation’, He commencing His ministry at about 30 years of age (Luk. 3:23).
  3. The word subsequently came to indicate some specific characteristics such as ‘an adulterous and sinful generation’. When the three Old Testament writers quoted above speak of ‘a thousand generations’, they can mean nothing more or less than an exceedingly long period of time, not necessarily 33,000 years, but sufficiently long to overlap the Millennium to such an extent as to show that the thousand years’ reign is but the threshold to a period very much longer than the present history of man, multiplied several times. If this has even any element of truth in it, then the Day of God, which follows the Day of the Lord must be of great importance, and it is highly probable that many a passage of the Old Testament that has been indiscriminately labelled ‘Millennial’ belongs to this subsequent period. This will become at length the kingdom which the Son of God will deliver up to the Father, after all rule, authority and power have been put down (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Most certain it is that the Millennial kingdom as it is (Rev. 20:8-10) was not ready to be thus delivered up to the Father. The words, ‘For He must reign’ (1 Cor. 15:25) extend far beyond the limits of the thousand years, if it is to extend to the end of a thousand generations. One or two other terms should be examined while we have this question before us. What is meant by the words of Ephesians 3:21:

‘Eis pasas tas geneas tou aionos ton aionon. / Unto all the generations of the age of the ages’.

To what period of time, and to which part of the Divine purpose does Peter refer in 2 Peter 3:18, eis hemeran aionos, ‘unto (the) day (of the) age’? For one thing, we know that this reaches out to the extreme limits of the time period mentioned in 2 Peter 3:

  • (1) The Day of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:10), that ends in dissolution,
  • (2) The Day of God (2 Pet. 3:12), for which the believer is to look,
  • (3) The Day of the Age (2 Pet. 3:18) which appears to be the goal of all time.

In Isaiah 44:7 Israël are called ‘the ancient people’ which however is translated by some, including The Companion Bible, ‘the everlasting nation’. The Companion Bible note reads, ‘The nation of Israël is everlasting, like the covenant. The nations which oppressed Israël (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Rome) have passed away; but Israël remains, and when restored, will remain for ever. Note and compare the nine everlasting things in Isaiah:

  1. Covenant (55:3; 61:8; cf. note on Genesis 9:16);
  2. kindness (54:8);
  3. salvation (45:17);
  4. excellency; (60:15);
  5. joy (51:11);
  6. name (56:5);
  7. light (60:19,20);
  8. sign (55:13); and
  9. as the pledge of all, ‘the everlasting God’ (40:28; 63:12)’.

Providing that we realize that the Hebrew word olam and the Greek aion, means literally an age of undefined extend and not necessarily that which is eternal in the fullest sense, the repetition of this term as indicated in the quotation given above demands something more than a millennium of a thousand years to justify or exhaust. There are evident correspondencies between the earthly and the heavenly Jerusalem, which, while necessary to keep distinct, throw light upon several features.

The promise of Ezekiel 37:26-28 is echoed in Revelation 21:3:

  • ‘Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israël, when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore’.

The other blessed reference to the wiping away of all tears, is an echo of a prophecy of Isaiah:

  • ‘He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it’ (Isa. 25:8).

Again, the description of the city given in Ezekiel 48:30-35 with its twelve gates, each bearing te name of one of the twelve tribes of Israël, establishes another link between the restored Jerusalem which shall be on the earth, with the Heavenly City, which is to descend out of heaven after the Millennium has run its course:

  • ‘The nations (of them which are saved) shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it’ (Rev. 21:24).

In strong contrast with the constitution of the Church, ‘where there is neither Greek nor Jew’ (Col. 3:11) the distinction between Israël and the nations will be maintained throughout the whole period. It is not within our present intention or ability to attempt to fit Old Testament prophecies into (1) the Millennium or (2) into the succeeding Day of God, all we know is that many Scriptures hitherto labelled ‘Millennial’ have been so indicated without sufficient justification. Patient and accurate study is demanded of any who will attempt to extend the suggestions offered in this brief article; patient accumulation and tabulation of many prophecies that deal with the hopes and destiny of Israël will have to be made before it can be said with any degree of certainty, ‘there Israël’s kingdom ends’ and ‘this is Millennial’, but we can only express our conviction that Israël’s kingdom will continue until the day of which 1 Corinthians 15:28 speaks, when it will be swallowed up in ‘the perfect day’ (Prov. 4:18), ‘the day of the age’ (2 Pet. 3:18) when what we loosely call ‘eternity’ takes the place off time.

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No. 10

THE SEVENFOLD BLESSING OF REVELATION

While it must be admitted that there are passages, some of great length, in the Revelation that have as their burden, Woe, Judgment and Wrath, it is a joy to record the sevenfold Benediction that runs through the book, linking the opening chapter with the last, and taking its place with the seven seals, seven vials and seven trumpets which are such a feature of this book.

The Sevenfold Blessing

A a 1:1,3. The Angel – Read – Hear – Prophecy – Keep – Time at hand. b 14:11-13. Beast – Image – Mark – Dead – Works follow them.

B 16:13-15. Watch – Keep garments – Demons – Unclean.

C 19:9. Called – Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

A b 20:4-6. First Resurrection – Priests – Reign – Beast – Image. a 22:7,8. The Angel – Keep sayings – Prophecy – I come quickly.

B 22:14,15. Wash – Robes – Enter – Dogs – Sorcerers.

Regarding B 22:14,15 the Authorized Version reads, ‘do His commandments’ but the Revised Version reads, ‘washed their robes’. The Received Text reads, poiountes tas entolas autou, but the Critical Texts (endorses by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, and (Alford) read plunontes tas stolas auton, which superficially looks very like the text used by the Authorized Version, and is the probable cause of the rejected reading.

Certain features are brought into prominence by the disposition of these seven blessings which we must observe, but before doing so, let us note that there are two Greek words translated ‘blessed’, (1) eulogeo, (2) makarios. No. 1 is used in Ephesians 1:3 and No. 2 is used in Romans 4:7. Eulogeo in the form eulogia is the word translated ‘blessings’ in Ephesians 1:3 and occurs three times in the book of the Revelation, but only in ascriptions of praise to the Lamb (Rev. 5:12,13), and to God and the Lamb (Rev. 7:12).

Makarios in classical Greek was strictly an epithet of the gods, who are constantly called makares Theoi as opposed to mortal men. Hence when spoken of men, it indicated a high state of blessedness, and as it was thought that the gods granted no perfect happiness in this life, the term was applied especially to the dead who went to the islands of the blest. (Condensed from Liddell and Scott).

Ewing says in his Lexicon: Makarios/ia happy, blessed, opulent, rich. The gods: the departed residing in Elysium, the abode of the happy after death.

We do not incorporate pagan doctrine into the Scriptures when we use the language spoken by the pagans, but we cannot entirely disassociate usage from words, without destroying them altogether. We cannot avoid seeing a reference to this conception in the words of Revelation 14:13, ‘blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them’. These words have been incorporated in the Burial Service, but the pronouncement here refers to those who withstood all pressure to receive the mark of the beast or to render him worship. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. The words, ‘from henceforth’, aparti, prevent us from using this blessing of all believers who have fallen asleep, this blessing is dated as so much else is in the Apocalypse. It refers to the particular time of trouble envisaged in Revelation 14:9-12. These, we shall meet again, as overcomers, in Revelation 20:4. Aparti is translated ‘henceforth’ and ‘hereafter’ in Matthew 26:29,64.

Akoloutheo, ‘to follow’ in most of its occurrences, simply means to follow as one man follows another, but in one other occurrence in the Revelation it agrees with the usage in Revelation 14:13:

  • ‘Their works do follow them’ (Rev. 14:13).
  • ‘Her sins have reached unto heaven’ (Rev. 18:5).

Just as God will ‘remember’ and ‘reward’ the sins of Babylon, so He will ‘remember’ and ‘reward’ the martyrs who withstood her evil doctrines and pernicious practices even unto death. Again notice both passages are limited in their scope. Their ‘works’ were a matter of great concern, as we can see by reading Revelation 2 and 3, were the words, ‘I know thy works’ come seven times, or once for each church addressed. These ‘works’ come up for attention at the Great White Throne, (when ‘the rest’ of the dead who make up the one company of which the overcomers of Revelation 20:4 who live and reign for a thousand years are a part), whereas ‘the rest’ await the decision of the Great White Throne. The words, ‘that they may rest from their labours’ (Rev. 14:13) link these overcomers with those spoken of in chapter 6:

  • ‘And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled’ (Rev. 6:11).

Thus does this ‘blessing’ enforce the key position of the overcomers upon our attention. Balancing Revelation 14:13 is Revelation 20:6. In connection with those who die in the Lord, we have those who take part in the ‘first resurrection’. These are seen not only living but reigning, and specific reference is made to the Beast and his image. In the first reference, we learn that their works do follow them, i.e. for reward, in the second we see that award being enjoyed.

The pair of blessing (Rev. 16:15; 22:14) again focus our attention on the martyrs of this anti-christian period, the white robes and white garments being expressly used in connection with such overcomers. Right to the tree of life and entrance into the city is theirs, as distinct from the healing property of the leaves of the tree which is for ‘the nations’. Further, a distinction is made between those who enter into the city and those of the nations that walk in the light of it (Rev. 21:24-27 and 22:14,15).

The focal point, the central blessing, is that which rest upon those who are called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9). It is important to remember that those thus ‘called’ cannot be the wife, but refers to those who will have the honour to attend that great day of the Marriage of the Lamb. Those who were called, it will be remembered in Matthew 22:1-4, refused to come, even after the a second invitation had been sent them, and consequent upon the burning of the city, the call went outside the confines of Israël ‘and the wedding was furnished with guest’ (Matt. 22:10). The opening blessing (Rev. 1:3), and its echo in Revelation 22:7,8, stresses the prophetic character of this book, and moreover by its emphasis upon reading, hearing and keeping the sayings of this Prophecy, bears a testimony to the intensely practical purpose for which this and all other prophetic portions of the Scripture were written.

What God has blessed, let no man treat with indifference.

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No. 11

THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH (Rev. 21:1)

A New Approach and a Fresh Appraisal

We are well aware that the new heaven and earth comes after the Millennium, but it is so important to see this great epoch not only in its own light, but in relation that it holds with Israël, Jerusalem and Prophecy generally, that we will not allow a mere academic objection to prevent its inclusion in this series.

It is natural with the way in which the correspondences of Scripture are arranged, for the creation of Genesis 1:1 to be placed over against the creation of Revelation 21:1 as follows: C

  • Creation First Heaven and Earth – Gen. 1:1
  • Gen. 1:3 to Rev. 20:15 Present Adamic World – First Death and Second Death
  • Creation New Heaven and Earth – Rev. 21:1

If, however, the new heaven and the new earth represent ‘the last syllable of recorded time’ then they will constitute that perfect kingdom which the Son shall deliver up to God, even the Father, ‘that God may be in all in all’, and once again, there will be many students of Scripture who will believe that such is the case. We should expect if this be so, seeing that the apostle Paul had a ministry that went beyond the limits of the kingdom of Israël and the New Jerusalem, we should find him referring again and again to this great goal of the ages. As a matter of act, the only New Testament writers who speak of the new heaven and new earth, are Peter in his second epistle 3:10-13 and John in the book of Revelation.

True, Paul affirms that if any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17) and approaches the language of Revelation 21:4 when he says, ‘old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new’ (2 Cor. 5:17). In 2 Corinthians 12:2 he tells us he was ‘caught away (not “up”) to the third heaven’, which in verse 4 he refers to as ‘Paradise’, and this may refer to the new heavens of Revelation 21 and to the Paradise of Revelation 22. Again in Romans 8:19-22 he looks to a day when creation’s groan shall cease, but it remains true nevertheless, that only Peter and John actually use the term, ‘new heavens and new earth’.

All this time, of course, we have been speaking with the book shut. The moment we ‘open the book’ at Revelation 21:1 we are confronted with features and facts that give us pause. The new heaven and new earth take the place of ‘the first’ heaven and earth. The Companian Bible’s comment here is ‘first, or former, as verse 4’. ‘Former’ is the translation given in the Twentieth Century New Testament. This is the translation of the Greek word protos, by the Authorized Version itself in Revelation 21:4, ‘the former things are passed away’. When Luke wrote in Acts 1:1 of the Gospel he had already written, he said, ‘the former treatise have I made’ not ‘the first’. So also, the ‘first’ covenant and the ‘first’ tabernacle of Hebrews 8:13 and 9:8 speak of the ‘former’ of the two covenants or tabernacles under review. The tabernacle in the wilderness was not the ‘first’ that ever was, for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob dwelt in ‘tabernacles’ long before Moses was born. The ‘first’ covenant of Hebrews 8:13 was not the first that ever was, but the ‘former’ of two, the second’ covenant being more often called new’, just as we find the ‘second’ heaven and earth that the apostle had in mind in Revelation 21, is called ‘new’ likewise:

  • ‘And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away; and there was no more sea’ (Rev. 21:1).

We immediately start the inquiry, to what does the apostle refer, when he says ‘the former’, if he has in mind ‘the former of two’? He cannot refer to Genesis 1:1, for a secondary and lesser ‘heaven’ intervenes, and is called raqia, ‘an expansion’ (firmament, Authorized Version). The ‘former heaven and earth’ must be the reconstituted realm prepared, during the time covered by Genesis 1:3 to 2:3 for Adam. Isaiah describes this ‘heaven’ as having been stretched out as a curtain, and ‘as a tent to dwell in’ (Isa. 40:22).

The Hebrew word translated ‘tent’ is ohel, rendered frequently ‘tabernacle’, and this tabernacle was erected at the command of God, that He might ‘dwell’, Hebrew shaken (Exod. 25:8), in the ‘tabernacle’, Hebrew mishkan (Exod. 25:9). Because Abraham looked for the heavenly Jerusalem, he too was willing to dwell in a ‘tabernacle’, anticipating the purpose of the New Jerusalem, when the Millennium reign is over, for John follows his reference to the new heaven and the new earth by saying:

  • ‘And I … saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God’ (Rev. 21:2,3).

If this passage stood alone, we might wonder whether John had retraced his steps and after speaking of the new heaven and earth, left that, the ultimate goal of the ages, to return to the Millennium Jerusalem. This, however, cannot be allowed, as John is but echoing in connection with the heavenly city, what Isaiah long before had written concerning the earthly city. Isaiah 65, 66 and Revelation 21 form a threefold cord not easily broken by an antagonist, and not wished to be broken by any believer who holds the Scriptures in reverence.

Isaiah 65:17,18 places the newly-created heavens and earth over against the newly-created Jerusalem, thus:

A For, behold I create.

B New heavens and a new earth.

C Former not remembered. Glad news at mentioned of.

A That which I create.

B Jerusalem.

C A rejoicing. Her people a joy.

Both the new heaven and earth and Jerusalem are ‘created’ and so John speaks of the holy city as ‘New Jerusalem’, but only when it is seen or spoken of as ‘descending out of heaven from God’ (Rev. 3:12; 21:2).

The second reference by Isaiah to the new heavens and the new earth is in Isaiah 66:22:

  • ‘For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain’.

It is indubitable, and not open to question, that Scripture purposely associates Jerusalem, earthly and heavenly, with the new heaven and new earth. By admitting this, however, we admit much more. We return to these passages by Isaiah and John to establish the next point. Both Isaiah 65 and Revelation 21 assure us that:

  • ‘The voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying’ (Isa. 65:19).
  • ‘And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain’ (Rev. 21:4).
  • ‘The former troubles are forgotten’ (Isa. 65:16).
  • ‘The former shall not be remembered’ (Isa. .65:17).
  • ‘For the former things are passed away’ (Rev. 21:4).

Once again no further argument is necessary to establish this second feature, ‘no more’ death, sorrow, crying or pain. By admitting this, however, we must admit very much more. Upon continuing our reading of the passages in Isaiah, we discover the presence of ‘death’ and ‘sin’ and ‘curse’.

  • ‘No babe shall die there any more in infancy, nor any old man who has not lived out his years of life; he who dies youngest lives a hundred years; anyone dying under a hundred years must be accursed of God’ (Isa. 65:20, Moffatt).

In Isaiah 66 we have something even more terrible to contemplate as being in the newly-created heaven and earth,

  • ‘And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh’ (Isa. 66:24).

When we come to Revelation after the words already quoted from verse 4 ‘no more death’, we continue without break to the overcomer, verse 7, where reward is placed in contrast with:

  • ‘The fearful, and unbelieving, the abominable and others whose end is ‘the lake of fire which burneth with fire and brimstone’ (see Isa. 66:24 ‘the fire not quenched’) which is the second dead.

Those thus denominated are linked with the Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:14, ‘the lake of fire, the second dead’), which brings the Great White Throne, which is not seen until ‘the earth and heaven fled away’, into the new heaven and new earth of Revelation 21:1.

The second reference to this exclusion from the New Jerusalem tells us that such were not found ‘in the Lamb’s book of life’ (Rev. 21:27), which again links up with Revelation 20:15, ‘And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire’. It should be remembered that Gehenna was a possible alternative to the blessing of the meek that shall inherit the earth in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:5 and 22).

The word ‘abhorring’ in Isaiah 66:24 occurs but once more in the Scriptures, namely in Daniel 12:2 where it is translated ‘contempt’, and will be the fate of those not found ‘written in the book’ as in Revelation 20:15 and 21:27. During the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 we learn from Josephus that 110,000 of Israël perished, and that many were thrown over the walls into the gorge, and we know that Gehenna was situated in just such a place and into his fire and brimstone the carcases of criminals were thrown. What took place at the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 may foreshadow what will again take place in the last days.

Everything written in Revelation 21, Isaiah 65 and 66 presents us with an apparent contradiction. No death, yet carcases; no crying, yet carcases, premature death, no more curse, yet some being accursed. How can these things be?

The answer is awaiting us at the close of Isaiah 65. The millennium conditions are still there:

  • ‘The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock’ (Isa. 65:25).

The prophecy of Genesis 3:14 is ‘God said unto the serpent … and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life’, and at the selfsame time that the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, Isaiah 65 adds,

  • ‘Dust shall be the serpent’s meat’ (vs. 25).

To feed on ashes, to lick the dust, to be brought to dust, for the dust to be turned into brimstone (Psa. 72:9; Isa. 49:23), ‘to lick the dust like a serpent’ (Micah 7:17), are all recognized figures of speech, that are concentrated in one verse of Revelation, namely in Revelation 20:10:

  • ‘And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever’ (or unto the ages of the ages).

That this lake of fire, second death, torment, feeding on ashes, goes on beyond the Millennial kingdom into the new heaven and the new earth, is inescapable. The apparent contradiction however is solved by the closing sentence of Isaiah 65:25:

  • ‘They shall not hurt nor destroy IN ALL MY HOLY MOUNTAIN, saith the LORD’.

The holy mountain of the Lord is not the whole wide earth. Jerusalem will be newly created and a centre of light and truth surrounded by the rest of the earth, occupied by the nations that survive the decimation of the time of the end. Isaiah himself has told us what will take place:

  • ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all the nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall fo forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem’ (Isa. 2:2,3).

Zechariah tell us that every one that is ‘left’ of all the nations that come against Jerusalem shall be obliged to go year by year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And while there is envisaged the possibility of default and punishment upon some of the nations at that time, Israël will have become a kingdom of priests and the words associated with Aaron’s mitre will now upon the very bells of the horses. There will be no sorrow, no pain, no death ‘in all My holy mountain’ but there will be in the outlying lands of the nations, until the Son of God puts down all rule and all authority. We know that right through the period covered by the new heaven and new earth there will still be ‘death’ somewhere, for the very last enemy to be destroyed before ‘the end’ is death (1 Cor. 15:24-28).

Isaiah, who wrote the words just quoted from Isaiah 65:25, had previously written in chapter 11, and had added to them another term that helps to explain the difference between Jerusalem where there will be no death, and the rest of the earth that will be slowly and increasingly brought into this blessed condition:

  • ‘For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea’ (Isa. 11:9).

‘For’ is a logical connection. It links the restriction to the ‘holy mountain’ with the subsequent extension to the outside world. What ‘waters’ cover what ‘sea’? Ezekiel 47 will supply the answer. From the threshold of the Lord’s house, the prophet saw a mighty river flowing, upon the bank of which were very many trees. It was explained to the prophet that:

  • ‘These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed’ (Ezek. 47:8).

Verse 10, by speaking of En-gedi, reveals to us that ‘the sea’ that is ‘healed’ is ‘the Dead Sea’. What a picture of the healing centre Israël and Jerusalem are destined to be when the new heavens and the new earth, together with the new Jerusalem, shall at length fulfill their blessed purpose, and commence the healing of the nations which at long last will become that perfect kingdom which the Son of God can deliver up to the Father, that God may be all in all. We must therefore revise the diagram:

  • Gen. 1:1 The Beginning – Genesis 1:3 – The Former Heaven and Earth. The First or former Adam. Paradise lost – Gen. 3.
  • 1 Cor. 15:24-28 The End – Rev. 21, 22 – The New Heaven and Earth. The Second Man and the last Adam. Paradise restored – Rev. 22.

A Note on the Use of the Singular and Plural of the word ‘Heaven’

When we open the New Testament and read about ‘heaven’, we discover that in the gospel of Matthew, the Greek word ouranos occurs 84 times, and of this number, 58 occurrences employ the word in the plural and the remaining 26 use it in the singular. Of this latter number the Authorized Version translated the word ‘air’ three times, and ‘sky’ three times. In one verse the plural form and the singular are found together:

  • ‘The stars shall fall from the heaven (sing.), and the powers of the heavens (plur.) shall be shaken’ (Matt. 24:29).

Where the words, ’till heaven and earth pass’ and ‘heaven and earth shall pass’ (Matt. 5:18 and 24:35) the word ‘heaven’ is in the singular.

We make no pretence of having arrived at an understanding of these differences; such would necessitate a patent consideration of every one of these 84 references. We do observe however the following features, ‘the air’, ‘the sky’ and ‘the heaven’ that will pass away, are all in the singular in Matthew’s Gospel. When we turn to the book of the Revelation we note a complete reversal. Here the word ouranos occurs 54 times, and out of that number, one occurrence only is in the plural, namely Revelation 12:12, ‘rejoice, ye heavens’. We find, therefore, 53 occurrences of the word ‘heaven’ in the singular.

  • ‘It is heaven, in the singular that ‘fled away’ (Rev. 20:11).
  • ‘It is heaven, in the singular that is made ‘new’ (Rev.. 21:1).
  • ‘It is from heaven, in the singular that the New Jerusalem from God descends (Rev. 3:12; 21:2,10).

While therefore we acknowledge our limitations and will not build a doctrine upon the evidence we have assembled, what we have found and can examine, is seen to be in line with the thought that the whole book of the Revelation is limited in its scope, even as the new heaven takes the place, not of the heavens of Genesis 1:1 but of the firmament, the curtain stretched as a tent (Isa. 40:22) which passes away at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:11; 21:1).

Should the reader still entertain doubts as to the limits we have set to the new heavens and the new earth, let him ponder the closing verses of Isaiah 66, where in direct association with the new heavens and the new earth we read:

  • ‘And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched: and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh’ (Isa. 66:24).

Such a state of affairs does not coincide with generally accepted views on ‘The new heaven and the new earth’.

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No. 12

THE NATIONS AND THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS

We postponed an examination of the terms, ‘the nations’, the ‘camp of the saints’ and ‘the beloved city’ which are mentioned in the Millennial chapter (Rev. 20) until the present article. Psalm 72 is the prayer of David for his son Solomon, and in a fuller prophetic sense for His greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Among other features that David foresaw concerning this kingdom some refer to the nations, as distinct from his own people Israël. His dominion is to be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring their presents, the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea all kings shall fall down before Him: ALL NATIONS shall serve Him; ALL NATIONS shall call Him blessed.

As we have said already we can only include such a prophetic foreview in the Millennium by inference, but as it is directly connected with the kingdom of David’s Son, the inference appears to be justified. At some time God is to inherit ALL NATIONS (Psa. 82:8), and at some time ALL NATIONS shall come and worship before the Lord (Psa. 86:9). ALL NATIONS will one day ‘flow unto’ the house of the Lord, and He shall judge among the nations, so that nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor learn war any more (Isa. 2:1-4). In the day when the ‘lion shall eat straw like the ox’ an ensign shall be set up for the nations (Isa. 11:7-12). When the Lord of hosts shall REIGN in mount Zion, the moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed, for He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail spread over all nations, at the time when He will swallow up death in victory, and wipe away tears from off all faces (Isa. 24:23; 25:7,8). Similarly when the Redeemer comes to Zion, the words follow immediately:

  • ‘Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people … the Gentiles shall come to thy light … for the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish’ (Isa. 60:1-2).

When Israël can be likened to a Bridegroom and a Bride, the Lord will cause His praise to spring forth before ALL the NATIONS (Isa. 61:11). This will coincide with Israël becoming ‘Priests of the Lord’ (Isa. 61:6) and when Jerusalem shall be called Hephzi-bah, ‘My delight is in her’ (Isa. 62:4). ALL NATIONS and tongues shall come and see the glory of the Lord and the chapter that contains the promise, leads up to the ‘new heavens and the new earth’ (Isa. 66:22), which must be read together with Revelation 20 and 21.

At the close of the Revelation we read that the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of the heavenly Jerusalem and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honour into it, while the leaves of the tree of life shall be for the healing of the nations. ‘The nations’ are mentioned but twice in Revelation 20, and in both references are associated with the deception of Satan.

Nations are most evidently on the earth during the Millennium, but it is not the purpose of Revelation 20 to develop this aspect of the subject, the ONLY specific passage dealing with the Millennium does not enlarge upon their place in that kingdom. On the contrary, it reserve ALL references to ‘nations’ to the climax act of rebellion at the close, which discrimination must be accepted as a divine direction to our thought if we accept the inspiration of all Scripture.

The Camp of the Saints (Rev. 20:9)

When we read in Revelation 20:9 of ‘the camp of the saints’ most of us have conjured up a vision of peaceful, idyllic bliss, an extended ‘feast of Tabernacles’ with all the accompaniments of perfect peace. When, however, we put into practice that infallible rule of all true exegesis, speaking in words ‘which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual’, instead of investing the words of Scripture with the colourings of our own theories, the conception that the Millennial Kingdom is one of universal, unqualified peace is rudely shattered. The Greek word for camp (one of the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth) is parembole, and in six out of the ten occurrences it is translated ‘castle’ (Acts 21:34,37; 22:24; 23:10,16,32).

Here we have no peaceful, idyllic camp, but a castle, with ‘soldiers and centurions’, ‘captains and chains’ and all the associations of military preparedness and iron strength. The word occurs three times in Hebrews. One it is translated ‘armies’ and twice ‘camp’ (Heb. 11:34; 13:11,13). When we turn to the Septuagint we discover that this Greek word is used to translate, in the majority of cases, the Hebrew machaneh, which meets us for the first time in Genesis 32:2 where we read, ‘this is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim‘. Here the LXX uses the Greek word parembole. Parembole is also used by the LXX to translate the Hebrew machaneh (host) in Exodus 14:24, where the context is Pharaoh’s army, with its horses and chariots. The book of Numbers devotes several chapters to the formation of the camp of Israël, and the words of Numbers 1:3, ‘all that are able to go forth to war in Israël’ are repeated thirteen times over in that one chapter. This is ‘the camp’ of Israël, a warlike, disciplined company, with the Tabernacle and the ministering families in the midst (Num. 2:17).

‘Castle’, ‘camp’, ‘army’, these are the three words which translate parembole in the New Testament. The castle of the Romans, the army of aliens, the camp of the saints. The LXX uses the substantive parembole and the verb parembole in Exodus 14:9 of the Egyptian ‘army’ and of Israël’s ‘encamping’. The Levites were appointed to take charge over all the Tabernacle and its vessels, ‘and shall encamp round about the Tabernacle … And the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death’ (Num, 1:50,51). Special instructions were given in case of war, for the sounding of trumpets that, ‘when ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward’ (Num. 10:5-9). When Israël ‘pitched’ (paremballo) near Moab, Balak having seen what this ‘camp’ had done to the Amorites was sore afraid (Num. 22:1-3). In Psalm 27:3 David uses these words ‘camp’ and ‘host’, in correspondence with the rising up of ‘war’. Taking another great stride we find that the Minor Prophets still retain this warlike meaning:

  • ‘And the LORD shall utter His voice before His ARMY: for His CAMP is very great’ (Joel 2:11).

This, moreover, is in connection with signs in the heavens, that place it in ‘the day of the LORD’ (Joel 2:11). Amos also knew that a ‘camp’ could be associated with being ‘slain with the sword’ (Amos 4:10). Zechariah 14 speaks of the investment of Jerusalem ‘to battle’, and a plague is sent upon all the people that have fought against Jerusalem … in these TENTS (Zech. 14:11,12,15). From one end of the Old Testament to the other, and in seven out of the ten references in the New Testament, ‘the camp’ is associated with war, soldiers and armies. It is impossible to ignore this for the sake of supporting a ‘private interpretation’ when we come to the references in Revelation 20. The moment that we see that this is ‘so’, our vision is cleared and we are enabled to see something else, for true is one, and clarifying of one passage illuminates others. Gog and Magog, the nations deceived by the Devil at the close of the Millennium, have one object before them, not conquest of territory, but an attack upon the Holy things of God. The revolt in Psalm 2 has nothing to do with politics, diplomacy, territory or defence of liberty, it is definitely directed ‘against the LORD, and against His Anointed’. It is definitely directed against the ‘restraints’ we see will characterize the closing week of Daniel 9:

  • ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us’ (Psa. 2:3).

There is no idea at this stage that any kings had been literally ‘bound in fetters’ (Psa. 105:22; 149:8), the word translated ‘bands’ means also ‘to bind’ one’s soul by an oath (Num. 30:2), and in the language of the Gentile, it is translated ‘a decree’ made by a king (Dan. 6:7,8,9,10,11,12,13,15). Again, the ‘cords’ against which these rulers and kings revolted, is the Hebrew word aboth, used of the ‘wreathen’ work wich bound the breastplate upon the heart of Israël’s High Priest (Exod. 28:14,22,24,25). In Psalm 118:27 these ‘cords’ are used to bind the sacrifice to the horns of the altar. In Hosea 11:4 it is used in the delightful expression, ‘I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love’.

The revolt of Psalm 2 was the revolt against holiness. These kings are exhorted to serve the Lord with fear and to rejoice with trembling; to ‘kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and they perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little (Psa. 2:10-12). Look at the wars that are recorded in the Revelation and note the object of their hostility:

  • ‘These (i.e. the ten kings) shall make war with the LAMB’ (Rev. 17:14).
  • ‘There was war in heaven: Michael … and the dragon’ (Rev. 12:7).
  • ‘The dragon … went to make war with the remnant of her seed’ (Rev. 12:17).
  • ‘The beast … shall make war against them (i.e. the two witnesses)’ Rev. 11:7).
  • ‘It was given unto him (the Beast) to make war with the saints’ (Rev. 13:7).

And when Gog and Magog are gathered together ‘to battle’ or ‘to make war’ (same word), the objective is still one and the same, ‘the camp of the saints’, the ‘Holy city’ shall be trodden under foot for forty and two months (i.e. the three and a half years, the midst of the week of Daniel 9). The strange words of Revelation 22:11 present a solemn choice in that day, ‘He which is filthy … he that is holy’ for these are THE issues at stake, headed by the Lamb on the one hand and by the Dragon on the other. The immediate destruction by fire from heaven, and the devouring instantly of these enemies of Holiness, is but the climax of a series of such exhibitions of Divine wrath. We have already quoted the general statement, that any unauthorized person that drew near to the sacred Tabernacle was punished by death, but there are instances where this death came about by fire from heaven. The judgment of fire from heaven, and from the Lord, seems to be reserved in the Old Testament for sins of sacrilege, extreme wickedness of false worship. The judgment upon Nadab and Abihu is an example of sacrilege:

  • ‘And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them’ (Lev. 10:2).

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are set forth as an example suffering the vengeance of eternal fire (Jude 7).

The conflict between the prophets of Baal and the prophet Elijah illustrates the third class:

  • ‘Call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let Him be God’ (1 Kings 18:24).

An examination of Psalm 97 is illuminating in this context:

  1. ‘The LORD reigneth’.
  2. While the earth is called to rejoice.
  3. A fire goeth before Him, and burneth up His enemies round about Him. So there will be such enemies in the Millennium which will be set up at His coming.
  4. The hills will melt like wax at His Presence.
  5. This fiery judgment is related to the worship of graven images.
  6. The words of Psalm 97:7, ‘Worship Him, all ye gods’ and cited in Hebrew 1:6:

  • ‘And when He again bringeth in the firstborn into the world He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him’ (R.V.).

It should be noted that the ‘world’ here is the Greek oikoumene and this leads us to Hebrews 2:5:

  • ‘For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world (oikoumene) to come, whereof we speak’.

Here once again we reach the crucial point. The rebellion at the end of the Millennium, which is cut short by fire from heaven, is of the same character as those that have precede it, a definite, idolatrous rejection of the supremacy of ‘The Lamb’. The first example (Lev. 10:2) and the last (Rev. 20:9) are much alike in their wording:

  • Rev. 20:9. Pur apo tou theou … kai katephagen autous (Textus Receptus).
  • Lev. 10:2. (LXX) Pur para kuriou, kai katephagen autous.

The words, ‘the camp of the saints’ are followed by ‘and the beloved city’, but these two descriptions may refer to the same thing, the conjunction kai being sometimes translated ‘even’. ‘Even he is of the eight’ (Rev. 17:11). ‘Even as she rewarded you’ (Rev. 18:6). The ‘camp’ or ‘army’ of the saints would have defended the beloved city, even as the camp of Israël in the wilderness defended the Tabernacle and its holy vessels. Again we ask, if these things are so, then the Millennium is a period of blessing for Israël, but is by no means a period of universal peace. That comes in the succeding ‘Day of God’. (2 Pet. 3:12).

By Charles H. Welch – ‘The Berean Expositor’ – London

THE CHAPEL OF THE OPENED BOOK

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 Posted by at 10:25
Mar 112019
 

THE REST OF THE DEAD

We have seen from the testimony of Scripture itself that the only company of the redeemed for whom the Millennial reign is introduced into the pages of Holy Writ, is the overcomer. Revelation 20:1-10 is the only portion of Scripture that gives positive teaching concerning the Millennium; other Scriptures contain passages that may or do belong to that period, but all other companies of either saved or lost can only be introduced into this kingdom by inference.

The companies mentioned in Revelation 20:1-10 are the following:

  1. The martyrs who withstood the Beast and refused his image. They not only ‘live’ but ‘reign’ with Christ a thousand years.
  2. The ‘rest of the dead’ is another company, only mentioned in order to make it clear that they do not live again until the thousand years are finished.
  3. The overcomers of martyrs are called ‘priests of God and of Christ’.
  4. After the thousand years, ‘nations’ are revealed to have been living during that reign, and some of these nations lived ‘in the four quarters of the earth’.
  5. Inasmuch as the ‘camp of the saints’ and the ‘Beloved City’ could be compassed by these rebellious nations, they too must have been on the earth during the Millennium.

We consider the meaning and bearing of the martyred saints in section 17 of this series. We now round off the study by considering the remaining four items listed above, ‘the rest of the dead’. The Greek word translated ‘rest’ is loipos. ‘Peter and the rest of the apostles’ (Acts 2:37). This implies that Peter also was an apostle.

  • ‘The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded’ (Rom. 11:7).

Here the ‘election’ and ‘the rest’ both belong to Israël, as the opening of the verse shows. We could not say ‘the election’ (of Israël) and ‘the rest’ (of the Gentiles) without adding an explanatory clause. Loipos occurs in Revelation eight times, thus:

  • Rev. 2:24 – ‘Unto the rest in Thyatira’ not unto the rest of the seven churches, or the rest of the world.
  • 3:2 – ‘Strengthen the things which remain‘.
  • 8:13 – ‘By reason of the other voices’.
  • 9:20 – ‘The rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues’. Plainly not the rest of mankind as a whole’.
  • 11:13 – ‘The remnant were affrighted’.
  • 12:17 – ‘The remnant of her seed’.
  • 19:21 – ‘The remnant were slain’.
  • 20:5 – ‘The rest of the dead lived not again’.

This last reference which directs us to the judgment of the Great White Throne warns us that a special company is envisaged. It is composed of believers, who together with those who were martyred, formed one company, AND NO OTHERS are in view. The wicked dead of all ages will have their judgment, but that is not contemplated here. One company and one only are before us, and that company is divided into two portions: (1) the overcomers, (2) those who were not overcomers, or briefly ‘the rest’. The overcomers live and reign during the thousand years. ‘The rest’ do not live again until the Millennium is over. They do not forfeit ‘life’ necessarily, but they have lost the ‘crown’, a doctrine not confined to any one dispensation as 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; Philippians 3:11-14 and 2 Timothy 2:11-13 will show. This is the first resurrection; the ‘former’ of two, as we have seen earlier.

These overcomers are called ‘priest of God and of Christ’. There seems a need to discriminate once again between the restored nation, which will be a priestly nation on the earth, and this company of priests which exercise their priesthood in the Heavenly City. Let us see. At the foot of Mount Sinai, the whole nation were given the terms by which they could become ‘a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation’. Those terms none have ever kept; with those conditions no one has ever complied (Exod. 19:5,6). Isaiah, visualizing not the old covenant, but the ‘everlasting covenant’ (Isa. 61:8) looked down the age and beheld Israël restored, having the oil of joy instead of mourning, rebuilt and raised up and repaired (Isa. 61:3,4), and named ‘The Priest of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God … the seed which the LORD hath blessed’ (Isa. 61:6-9).

Just as the restored earthly Jerusalem will have a resemblance to the Heavenly City, with its foundations of sapphires, and its gates of agates (Isa. 54:11,12), so we find at the close of Isaiah 61 this restored priestly nation likened also to a bridegroom or to a bride. This must not lead us to confuse this company with the Bride of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7), for Isaiah 54:6-8 makes it clear that Israël as a ‘woman forsaken’ and a ‘wife of youth’ who had been refused, is in view, whereas the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, is not the nation of Israël, once divorced but now restored, but a company of overcomers whose seat of authority is not the earthly but the heavenly Jerusalem, a company that had never known divorcement. When we open the book of the Revelation the first company of the redeemed we meet with are those who say:

  • ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father’ (Rev. 1:5,6).

While all, whoever they may be, and whatever their calling, must have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, there seems some special reason why it should have been introduced here. The word ‘washed’ is the Greek lousanti, but the best texts read lusanti which means ‘loosed’. Again, redemption sets free, and employs a number of words derived from luo, ‘I loose’. Nevertheless the way in which the word luo is used in the book of the Revelation makes us suspect that something more is intended here in Revelation 1:5,6, than purely evangelical salvation. Let us assemble the occurrences of luo which are seven in number.

Luo in Revelation

  • Rev. 1:5 ‘Loosed us from our sins in His own blood’.
  • 5:2,5 ‘Loose the seals’. ‘Loose the seven seals’.
  • 9:14,15 ‘Loose the four angels’. ‘The four angels were loosed’.
  • 20:3,7 ‘He must be loosed’. ‘Satan shall be loosed’.

Haima, ‘blood’ occurs nineteen times in the Revelation. Four references are to the blood of the Lamb. Thirteen to blood shed or sent in judgment. The four that interest us at the moment are:

  • Rev. 1:5 ‘Loosed us from our sins in His own blood’.
  • 5:9,10 ‘Redeemed us to God … kings and priests’.
  • 7:14 ‘Washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’.
  • 12:11 ‘They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb’.

The references to blood that remain fall into two groups:

(1) The call for vengeance:

  • Rev. 6:10 ‘Avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth’.
  • 16:6 ‘For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy’.
  • ‘Drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus’.
  • 18:24 ‘… and in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth’.
  • 19:2 ‘Avenged the blood of His servants at her hand’.
  • 19:13 ‘He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood’.

(2) The Judgment by blood:

  • Rev. 6:12 ‘The moon became as blood’.
  • 8:7 ‘Hail and fire mingled with blood’.
  • 8:8 ‘Third part of the sea became blood’.
  • 11:6 ‘Power over waters to turn them to blood’.
  • 14:20 ‘Blood came out of the winepress’.
  • 16:3 ‘The sea … became as the blood of a dead man’.
  • 16:4 ‘Rivers and fountains … became blood’.
  • 16:6 ‘Thou hast given them blood to drink’.
  • 18:24 ‘And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth’.

The recording and the reading of this list is nauseating, but the facts that are recorded will be horrible beyond description. Here again we add one more of the many correspondences which these studies are making with the book of Genesis, namely the solemn words of Genesis 9:6:

  • ‘Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed’.

to which is added both the basic reason and another connection with the Revelation:

  • ‘For in the image of God made He man’.

It is a solemn thing to know that it is possible to ‘blaspheme’ our fellow men who are made in the ‘image’ of God (Titus 3:2 and Rev. 13:6). Idolatry violates that glory conferred upon man as well as the glory of God Himself:

  • ‘They … changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man … who changed the truth of God into a lie (or “exchanged the glory” for “THE LIE”), and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, Who is blessed for ever. Amen’ (Rom. 1:21-25).

This abandonment leads straight on with excessive abuse of the gift of sex, even as this same evil is seen to preponderate in the book of the Revelation. The worship of the Beast and of his IMAGE dethrones not only God, but man, and turns the whole direction of life toward ‘the lie’, Satan’s counterfeit. Because of this we read of ‘the wrath of God’ (Rom. 1:18).

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No. 3

WRATH

The word orge (translated ‘wrath’) occurs twelve times in Romans, and of these occurrences seven are found in the first great doctrinal division (Rom. 1:1 to 5:11). It is an important word, and seeing that it is placed in distinct relation to righteousness in Romans 1:17,18, it demands a prayerful study. We observe in the first place that ‘wrath’ is used in the outer portion of Romans only. The word is not used in Romans 5:12 to 8:39. The word ‘wrath’ is not used either of Adam or of man seen in Adam. Judgment, condemnation and death there are, but unaccompanied by wrath. There is no wrath either in connection with the lake of fire, or the great white throne in Revelation 20. All is calm, books are opened, everyone is dealt with in pure justice. Wrath, anger, indignation, fury, these words are of a different category.

Many times do we read that the wrath or the anger of the Lord was ‘kindled’, as in Exodus 4:14, or of wrath ‘waxing hot’, as in Exodus 22:24, or of His anger ‘smoking’ (Psa. 74:1), and of it being poured out in ‘fury’ (Isa. 42:25). The nature of the wrath of Romans 1:18, and of the day of wrath with which it is connected (Rom. 2:5), is discovered in the book of Revelation. Those upon whom this wrath is poured are the ‘nations’, and the time is the time of the dead that they should be judged and rewarded (Rev. 11:18; 19:15). This wrath falls particularly upon Babylon (Rev. 16:19), and in direct connection with its idolatry and uncleanness (Rev. 14:8-10), Babylon is in view in Romans 1:18-32. There we see that Satanic system in all its naked horror; there we see the domination of darkness and the lie. In this section we read of those who by their deeds are ‘worthy of death’, and who ‘have pleasure’ in deeds of evil (Rom. 1:32). This section therefore is connected with wrath.

There is much to be learned by comparing 1 and 2 Thessalonians with the passage in Romans:

  • ‘Wrath … revealed from heaven‘ (Rom. 1:18).
  • ‘The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven‘ (2 Thess. 1:7).
  • ‘When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God … They did not like to retain God in their knowledge’ (Rom. 1:21,28).
  • ‘In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God‘ (2 Thess. 1:8).
  • ‘They … have pleasure in them that do them’ (Rom. 1:32).
  • ‘They … had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (2 Thess. 2:12).
  • ‘They changed the truth of God into the lie‘ (Rom. 1:25).
  • ‘They received not … the truth … they … believe the lie‘ (2 Thess. 2:10,11).
  • ‘They changed the glory of … God into an image made like to … man‘ (Rom. 1:23).
  • Man of sin … shewing himself that he is God’ (2 Thess. 2:3,4).
  • Wrath … revealed … idolatry‘ (Rom. 1:18-25).
  • ‘Ye turned to God from idols … delivered … from the wrath to come’ (1 Thess. 1:9,10).
  • ‘God also gave them up to uncleanness‘ (Rom. 1:24).
  • ‘Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God’ (1 Thess. 4:5).

If we also bring together the parallels that we find in the book of the Revelation, we shall have a full reference to that Satanic system of iniquity commenced at Babel, dominating the nations of the earth from that time onward until judged at the Coming of the Lord in the day of wrath.

The reference in Romans 1:19,20 to the evidence of creation finds an echo in the Revelation.

So in the days when Babylon and its system shall be revived and in full power, the ‘everlasting gospel’ will be preached, which gospel is nothing more nor less than a proclamation of the Lord as Creator.

  • ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen’ (Rev. 14:7,8).

There is a slight alteration in the words translated ‘change’ in these verses in the Authorized Version of Romans 1. We have attempted to indicate the difference by using ‘change’ and ‘exchange’. First they changed the glory of God without actually giving up God altogether, but this soon led to the next step, for they exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and then worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator. It is not possible for God to take second place. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Into the third item we cannot go. The defiling character of idolatry may be gathered from its annals, and we do not feel that any good purpose would be served by elaborating this revolting subject here. At the same time we know only too well that human nature is not a whit better today than when it openly practised the sins condemned in Romans 1. We need faithfully to warn the rising generation, speaking very tenderly and lovingly, yet nevertheless plainly, for Babylonianism in all its forms is rising like a flood, and the book of the Revelation reveals Romans 1 in a superlative degree. We need not go so far into the future as the book of Revelation, however, for 2 Timothy 3:1-8 uses many of the words of Romans 1 to describe the perilous times at the close of this present dispensation. The sequence of the apostasy and its relation to the development of the mystery of iniquity otherwise called ‘the lie’, and the mystery of godliness, otherwise called ‘the truth’, can be traced through Paul’s epistles.

Taking the statement of Romans 1 we find them worked out in the other epistles.

A comparison of the list of sins in Romans 1 with that of 2 Timothy 3:1-7 will show how completely the parallel is recorded. The reader must supply further parallels by studying the intervening epistles.

(1) ‘As God’. ‘The creature more than the Creator’. — ‘That man of sin … as God‘ (2 Thess. 2:3-4).

(2) ‘The lie’. ‘The truth’. — ‘They received not the love of the truth … they … believe the lie‘ (2 Thess. 2:10-11).

(3) ‘Given up to an undiscerning mind’. — ‘God shall send them strong delusion’ (2 Thess. 2:11).

(4) ‘Pleasure in them that do them’. — ‘Had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (2 Thess. 2:12).

(5) ‘Neither were thankful’. — ‘God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth’ (1 Tim. 4:3,4),

Another feature that contributes to the build-up of the actual purpose that runs throughout the Revelation is the use of the title ‘Lamb’, arnion.

Apart from the one reference, John 21:15, ‘feed my lambs’, the remaining twenty-nine occurrences are all found in the Revelation. Although the first thought that comes into mind when we think of Christ as ‘The Lamb of God’ is the One Who takes away the sin of the world, no such association is made in the Revelation. We read of ‘the wrath of the Lamb’ and even of those who ‘drink of the wrath of God’ … in the presence of the Lamb’ (Rev. 6:16; 14:10). We read of ‘the throne of the Lamb’ and of ‘the marriage of the Lamb’ and ‘the book of life of the Lamb’ (Rev. 22:!; 19:7; 13:8). We read of those who overcome by ‘the blood of the Lamb’; of those who are ‘first-fruits’ unto God and to the Lamb, and of those who sing the song of Moses … and of the Lamb, with which the seven vials of wrath is associated (Rev. 12:11; 14:4; 15:3-8). The only time that redemption is associated with the Lamb is in Revelation 5:9 and 14:3,4. At the opening of the sealed book by ‘the Lamb that had been slain’ a new song was sung: ‘Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us (or them) to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us (or them) unto our God KINGS and PRIESTS: and we (they) SHALL REIGN on (over) THE EARTH’. Epi is translated ‘over’ in Revelation 2:26; 6:8; 13:7; 16:9 and 17:18. Another new song is recorded in Revelation 14:3,4 where once more redemption is found:

  • ‘The hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth … these were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruit unto God and to the Lamb’.

These are exclusive and exceptional, but they are the only ones ‘redeemed’ so far as this book is concerned. Redemption in the evangelical sense, as deliverance from sin and issuing in forgiveness, does not enter into the record. We come then once again to Revelation 20:6. These ‘priests of God and of Christ’ who ‘reign with Him’ are not an earthly priesthood, they are heavenly, and minister and reign from their exalted position in the Heavenly Jerusalem. Heaven has its ‘Temple’ (Rev. 11:19; 15:5,6,8), its ‘Ark’ (Rev. 11:19), its ‘Altar’ (Rev. 8:3), its ‘Incense’ (Rev. 8:3,4) and consequently has a heavenly priesthood. The ‘overcomer’, his suffering, his endurance, his deliverance and his reign as a priest with Christ in the heavenly Jerusalem, is the theme of the Apocalypse, and limits the use of the word ‘millennium’ so much that every passage from either the Old or New Testament which is labelled ‘Millennial’ by countless commentators, must be challenged lest by a zeal without knowledge we rob the Millennium of its distinctive character and are found entertaining instead a vision of our own hearts. The ‘nations’, the ‘camp’ and the ‘beloved city’ are of necessity on the earth during the Millennial reign, but have no such distinct place in it as do these overcomers. We must consider their place in another article. Meanwhile to any who may be disturbed or even angry, we still commend the Berean spirit, ‘search and see’, for you may never ‘see’ if you avoid the ‘search’.

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No. 4

THE LITTLE SEASON

After the thousand years during which the overcomers reign with Christ, Satan will be let loose from the abyss, and go out to ‘deceive’ once more. We already know that much that is found in Genesis finds its sequel in the Revelation. Here, maybe, is just another of those illuminating correspondences. We may often have wondered at the sudden entry of the ‘serpent’ into Genesis 3, with his great deception. If, as we have already seen, ‘the deep’ of Genesis 1:2 which is translated ‘the abyss’ or ‘bottomless pit’ by the Septuagint, if that ‘deep’ had been his prison, could he not have been loosed at the close of some definite period (and see the minute exactness of the time in Revelation 9:15) to test and try the newly created Adam? However, this is not our theme. What are we to understand by the ‘little season’? The word that should be translated ‘season’ is the Greek word kairos, whereas in Revelation 20:3 the word is chronos, ‘time’.

Kairos in Revelation

  • Rev. 1:3 ‘The time is at hand’.
  • 11:18 ‘The time of the dead’.
  • 12:12 ‘He hath but a short time’.
  • 12:14 ‘A time, and times, and half a time’.
  • 22:10 ‘The time is at hand’.

Two references stand out for consideration here:

  • ‘Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a SHORT TIME’ (Rev. 12:12).

In this chapter Satan is given his full title:

  • ‘The great dragon … that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth’ (Rev. 12:9).

‘The dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan’ shall be loosed out of prison when the thousand years are finished, and shall ‘go out to deceive the nations’ ‘for a little season’. He knew that he had ‘a short time’, he is let loose for ‘a little season’. The word used in Revelation 20:3 is chronos:

  • Rev. 2:21 ‘I gave her SPACE to repent’.
  • 6:11 ‘They should rest yet for a LITTLE SEASON’.
  • 10:6 ‘There should be TIME no longer’.
  • 20:3 ‘He must be loosed a LITTLE SEASON’.

These occurrences seem to explain one another. Thus, the word of the mighty angel, immediately preceding the voice of the seventh angel when the mystery of God should be finished, and the kingdom set up (Rev. 10:7;11:5) instead of declaring that ‘time’ should cease, which is contradicted by the references to time, days, nights, months and years that are found later in the book, to say nothing of the explicit statement, that there will be a kingdom lasting for a thousand years declares that there will be ‘space to repent’ no longer, and chapter 10 is immediately preceded by the words:

  • ‘Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, not of their fornication, nor of their thefts’ (Rev. 9:21).

Under the fifth seal, where the martyrs are told to rest for a little season, we find similar words to those used in Revelation 20:4. These were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. The white robes given to them link them with those that come out of ‘The Tribulation, the great one’. He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them, and the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them (Rev. 7:12-17). This tribulation is the same as that of Matthew 24:21,29 which is followed immediately by the coming of the Son of Man with power and great glory. This coming must be the same as that of Revelation 19. The reference to the throne shows that these overcomers are linked with the heavenly Jerusalem:

  • ‘A throne was set in heaven … in the midst of the throne … four beasts (living creatures) … in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb … the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it’ (i.e. the New Jerusalem) (Rev. 4:2,6,8; 5:6; 22:3).

The fact that the Devil will only be loosed a ‘little season’ shows how rapid will be the deception of the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth. These nations will have kept as far from the beloved city as possible, and by their attack upon the camp of the saints and of the beloved city they reveal their innate, though covert, animosity. This time there will be no further respite ‘fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them’ (Rev. 20:9). The fact that such a trial should be necessary after the thousand years, declares plainly that the Millennium was no more sinless and perfect and secure than was the garden of Eden in the beginning. Man, tried in the most advantageous conditions, yielded, and man after a thousand years when the Devil shall be under restraint, manifest that no delegated authority, or advantageous environment is enough to bring in that perfect kingdom which the Son will deliver up to God even the Father. That kingdom follows the Millennium, but it is not the purpose of the Apocalypse to do more than lead up to it, which it does in its two closing chapters.

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No. 5

THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM

In the epistle to the Galatians ‘Jerusalem’ is mentioned five times. Three of these occurrences refer to Jerusalem, the literal city on earth, to which Paul went to see Peter (Gal. 1:17,18; 2:1). In the allegory of Galatians 4, Sinai in Arabia answers to Jerusalem ‘which now is’, but those who form the unity expressed in Galatians 3:28,29 belong to ‘Jerusalem which is above’ (Gal. 4:26). There can be no doubt as to the intention of that word which translates ‘above’ the Greek ano. ‘Filled up to the brim‘ (John 2:7). ‘Beneath … above’ (John 8:23). ‘In heaven above … in earth beneath’ (Acts 2:19), are some examples. When we are exhorted to set our affection on things above, we are also told that such things are (1) not on the earth, and (2) they are where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Col. 3:1,2). Jerusalem which is above therefore is in contrast with the Jerusalem which is on the earth. It is not only heavenly in character, it is also heavenly in situation. When this city is mentioned in Revelation, it is called:

  • ‘New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God’ (Rev. 3:12).

This feature is repeated in chapter 21:2 and 10:

  • ‘And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven’.
  • ‘And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God’.

For the moment we leave the question as to when this city descends and consider the place that it occupies in the epistle to the Hebrews, the only other portion of the New Testament that speaks of it. This is found in Hebrews 12:22, where we read:

  • ‘But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem’.

This, as in Galatians 4, is in contrast with Mount Sinai. This city is moreover inhabited by an innumerable company of angels, and angels, while they visited the earth on missions of blessing or judgment, are designated as ‘the angels of heaven’ in the Scriptures. In Hebrews 11 we see how the vision of this city influenced Abraham, for it is written:

  • ‘These all died in faith … and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth … they seek a country … they desired a better country, that is, an heavenly … God … hath prepared for them a city’ (Heb. 11:13-16).

For this, Abraham was willing to be a tent dweller, ‘for he looked for a city which hath (the) foundations, whose builder and maker is God’ (Heb. 11:9,10). We learn from Isaiah that when God calls Israël to Himself as a woman forsaken, as a wife of youth, when refused, who for a little time had been under the cloud of wrath, and under the hiding of His face, He declares:

  • ‘I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones’ (Isa. 54:11,12).

Here, this city is seen to be an earthly reflection of the heavenly Jerusalem, but must not be confused with it. One feature alone shows that the two cities are distinct. The gates of the one are of carbuncles, the gates of the Heavenly Jerusalem were ‘every several gate of one pearl’ (Rev. 21:21), consequently there can be no confusing of these two cities, beautiful as they both will be. The city of Isaiah 54 may be invested by an enemy, and the promise that no weapon that is formed against it shall prosper (Isa. 54:15-17), but there is no thought in the Apocalyps that the Heavenly Jerusalem will ever be, or ever could be, thus threatened. The city that Abraham looked for cannot be the city of Isaiah 54, it must have been the city of Revelation 21 and 22. Some difficulty may be experienced by the reader when he reads the dimensions of the heavenly Jerusalem, given in Revelation 21:16:

  • ‘And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal’.

Commenting on this verse, and the problem that arises, Dr. Bullinger wrote in his Apocalypse, ‘In this case the city will be 1,500 miles high’, and referring to another system of measurement says, ‘Is 375 miles high easier to believe than 1,500?’ We know that great changes will take place, not only in the Holy Land but in the earth at large, and so a city of these vast proportions set in the centre of a world in which there was ‘no more sea’, need not be disproportionate. However, an article in ‘The Faith‘ suggested that the 12,000 furlongs refers to the area of the square base, and the square root of 12,000 is 109, which taking the stadium to be 582 feet (see Twentieth Century Dictionary) gives about 12 MILES for the length of one of the square sides. By comparing this with Ezekiel 48:35 the 18 thousand measures, or reeds of six cubits would give us, with 25 inches to a cubit, a circumference of 42.6 miles, which, divided by four, gives 10.6 miles for one side and so practically identical with the suggested measurement given above. This means, if it be true, that the Heavenly Jerusalem would descend and rest upon the basis formed by the restored Jerusalem on earth. A city twelve miles square is a reasonable proportion, and twelve miles in height could symbolize worldwide dominion, 12 denoting governmental perfection. However we are perfectly sure that when the day of fulfillment comes, there will be perfect harmony between the event and the prophetic record. Whatever the size of the city may be, it will fulfill perfectly the purpose for which it was prepared. It will be the jewelled centre of the new earth. We return now to the question, when will the New Jerusalem descend? When the New Jerusalem descends from heaven, there will be:

  • ‘no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: FOR THE FORMER THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY’ (Rev. 21:4).
  • ‘He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make ALL THINGS NEW’ (Rev. 21:5).

The arrangement of the material of Revelation 21:1-5 is as follows:

A 21:1. NEW Heaven and Earth.

B 21:1. FORMER – He Prote – Passed away.

C 21:1. NO MORE Sea (ref. to Gen. 1:2).

B 21:2. I SAW New Jerusalem.

B 21:3. I HEARD – Tabernacle.

C 21:4 NO MORE Death, sorrow, pain (ref. to Gen. 3).

B 21:4. FORMER – Ta Prota – Passed away.

A NEW All things.

The New Jerusalem which is also The Tabernacle, is unlike the tabernacle in the wilderness which was limited to Israël; this is now ‘with MEN’, anthropos. The Tabernacle, made after the pattern shown to Moses in the mount, in a wilderness, limited to Israël, and temporary as a tent, but forshadowed this bejewelled city when all families of the new earth shall ultimately be brought into blessing. The New Jerusalem evidently descends from heaven to rest upon the New Earth. During the Millennium therefore it must have been in the heavens. This raises another question. Do those who are destined to walk its golden streets, enter into their inheritance:

  1. At the commencement of the Millennium reign, or
  2. Do they have to wait until the 1,000 years are finished, if so
  3. Are they not raised from the dead until the 1,000 years are finished, or
  4. Where are they during that time?

The overcomer, among other things is to be made:

  1. A pillar in the temple of God.
  2. He is to have written upon him the name of God, and the name of the city of God, new Jerusalem, which cometh down of heaven from God.
  3. The overcomer begins his reign with Christ at the commencement of the 1,000 years (Rev. 20:4,5).

From other Scriptures we gather that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will sit down in the kingdom of heaven, and the reference to the ‘east and west’ shows that his refers to the earth (Matt. 8:11), yet Abraham looked for a heavenly, not an earthly, country or city, and God has prepared for him ‘a city’ (Heb. 11:16). We also learn that ‘In the generation’ the apostles shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israël, presumably on the earth, while all the time we read that the foundations of the heavenly city were made up of twelve precious stones, bearing the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14,19,20). Moreover, the gates are twelve and bear the names of the twelve tribes of Israël, yet the twelve tribes as such will inherit the land as Ezekiel 48 reveals, and not the heavenly city, for that is reserved for the overcomer. It is evident, therefore, that the overcomer will enter the New Jerusalem while it is still in heaven, and will reign and rule over the earth, with that city as the seat of authority, even as the Satanic counterfeit reigned over the people, multitudes, nations and tongues in the mock Pre-Millennial kingdom of the Beast.

When the Millennium closes, and the Day of God succeeds the Day of the Lord, the earth will then receive this resplendent city, and the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. What Jerusalem on the earth during the Millennium partly accomplished (for feigned obedience, and the rise of Gog and Magog indicate that the influence of Jerusalem was not universally complete) the Heavenly Jerusalem will accomplish. It is this kingdom which is envisaged in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 which will ultimately be delivered up to God, even the Father, and the goal of the ages be attained, and ‘eternity’ (for the want of better word) begins. This, however, lies beyond the limits of the Apocalypse.

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No. 6

THE EVE OF THE MILLENNIUM

The intense desire for peace on earth and good will toward men, which is one of the deepest yearnings of the individual, but which is so regularly frustrated by the clash of national interests, leads the mind of the believer to dwell on such a passage as Isaiah 2:4 with great joy, but seems to have made many turn a blind eye to such a passage as Joel 3:9,10. Let us place them together and consider their import:

  • ‘They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’ (Isa. 2:4).
  • ‘Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears’ (Joel 3:9,10).

The passage from Isaiah speaks of the Millennium day, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, but the passage in Joel deals with days that precede ‘the great and terrible day of the Lord’ (Joel 2:31). In both Joel 2:30,31 and 3:15 the sun shall be turned into darkness, showing that both chapters deal with the same period, namely the very eve of the Millennium. The special feature that calls for fuller consideration is this. The call to beat plowshares into swords, suggests that before this there had been a mock millennium, where the nations of the earth either by intimidation or deception, or both, had beaten their swords into plowshares, and concluded that war had ceased in the earth for ever. Many of those who read these lines have lived through the periods of war that were to ‘end wars’. They have heard of conferences for disarmament and hoped that they would succeed. Such yearnings are natural and right, but they may be ill-timed and, if so, doomed to failure.

Two words sum up the conditions aimed at, ‘Peace and Safety’. Yet we read that at the very time that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night, sudden destruction overtakes those whose slogan will be these very words, ‘Peace and Safety’, and they shall not escape (1 Thess. 5:2,3). This ‘Peace and Safety’ is therefore spurious, it is not of God, therefore it must be the false travesty of the Devil, there is no alternative. A false peace can destroy. (See: Daniel 8:25). At the rise of the world’s last dictator (Rev. 13) war will temporarily cease, not because of the conversion of all mankind by grace, but the paralysis of all nations by fear:

  • ‘Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? (Rev. 13:4).

The figure ‘beating swords into plowshares’ indicates a turn over to the more peaceful employment of labour and resources, which, for a time at least, will bring prosperity, ‘Peace and Safety’. It should be remembered that the chief aim of Satan is to dethroned the Son of God. He, Satan, must deplore that crime and degradation ever follow his efforts to rule this world. If he could have a Millennium without Christ it would suit his aim completely. After six thousand years of blood and misery, Satan will appear to have attained his goal, but the record reveals its utter failure, it lasts ‘one hour’ (Rev. 17:12; 18:10,17,19). Some light upon the extraordinary prosperity that shall characterize this pre-millennium travesty of Satan, is found in the description of Babylon’s merchandise:

  • ‘The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linnen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beats, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves (Gk. bodies), and souls of men’ (Rev. 18:12,13).

Here is a luxury trade, mingled with provision for idolatrous practices giving prominence to ‘costliness’ (Rev. 18:19), and including not only costly goods but ‘the bodies and souls of men’. A Pre-Millennium Kingdom in the absence of Christ is the dream and the goal of the Enemy of Truth. For a brief period he will obtain a superficial semblance to that goal, and then will himself be brought to an ignominious end ‘and never be any more’ (Ezek. 28:19).

Satan did not hesitate to attempt a bargain with the Son of God (Matt. 4:9) and what He, the Blessed One, refused, will prove the bait to catch the Man of Sin (John. 5:43). As a travesty of the mystery of godliness wherein ‘God was manifest in the flesh’ this Son of Perdition will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; ‘so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God’ (2 Thess. 2:4). To the end his activities are in the realm of religion and worship, but he, Satan, cannot prevent the crimes that are concomitant.

Worship, not wickedness, is ever in the mind of Satan, Preposterous as it sounds, ‘all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them’ were offered to the Son of God for ONE ACT OF WORSHIP (Matt. 4:9), so much does Satan seek it. The immediate effect of the rise of the Beast of Revelation 13 is the temporary attainment of his very same end:

  • ‘And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast … and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed … as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed’ (Rev. 13:4,12,15).

Here is a kingdom and worship which is universal, ‘all that dwell on the earth’. It will bring ‘Peace and Safety’ and a standard of living that can only be described as luxurious. War will have ceased. Swords will have been beaten into plowshares, so that at the end when war is again ‘prepared’ or as the word is literally ‘sanctified’ (Joel 3:9 margin), the nations of the earth who have lived in this Pre-Millennial travesty of the Truth, will have to start all over again to ‘beat’ their ‘plowshares into swords’. The reference in Joel 3 to the valley of Jehoshaphat (3:12) turns us back to a typical incident in Israël’s history as recorded in 2 Chronicles 20. Moab, Ammon and others came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Jehoshaphat, all Judah with their little ones, their wives and their children stood before the Lord in prayer. In answer to their petition a message was sent to them:

  • ‘Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s (2 Chron. 20:15).

There was no need to fight that battle, all that the people had to do was to set themselves or take their stations, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord:

  • ‘So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about’ (2 Chron. 20:30).

Jehoshaphat, like David, Solomon and the best of men, was in himself a failure (see: 2 Chron. 20:31-37) but the type still holds. Just as Edom said concerning Jerusalem, ‘Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof’ (Psa. 137:7), so will the nations at the time of the end. Indeed almost identical words have been reported in the Press recently. The Presence of Israël in the Devil’s millennium will prove a great disturbance to the false peace that for the time obtains and so all nations will be gathered against Jerusalem to battle, as in the day of Jehoshaphat, so they will gather again. ‘Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives’ (Zech. 14:3,4).

It is this war upon Jerusalem and Israël that necessitates beating plowshares back again to swords, and which end with the judgment of all the heathen in the ‘valley of decision’. In that day ‘Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah … but Judah shall DWELL FOR EVER, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: even I the LORD that dwelleth in Zion’ (Joel 3:18-21 margin). Here is proof that all the selfsame time that Israël are restored (Joel 3:1) the nations will be gathered unto this valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2), that at the selfsame time when Judah and Jerusalem are safe for ever, Egypt shall be a desolation. Yet after all this, Isaiah declares that:

  • ‘In that day shall Israël be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the LORD of Hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israël Mine inheritance’ (Isa. 19:24,25).

It is an axiom of all rational thought that ‘a thing cannot Be, and NOT BE at the same time’. ‘In that day’ includes too many opposite events to allow us to think of the Millennium as a period of unsullied glory and perfect peace from the beginning of the thousand years to the end. What does fit all that is said, is that Israël will be a nation ‘born at once’ (Isa. 66:8), whereas gross darkness will still envelop most of the nations. Nevertheless, light and truth shall radiate from Zion as a blessed centre, until at last the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. God’s ordination at the beginning was that ‘the evening and the morning’ should constitute a day. A thousand years in His sight are like a day that is past, and the Millennium day may conform to the same pattern.

The Millennium reign begins with an ‘evening’. When the Lord comes the second time to inaugurate that reign, He comes to MAKE WAR at the first (Rev. 19:11). There is not a word to warrant the idea that at stroke of the clock, the moment the thousand years commence, all will be peace. The Lord will reign in Zion in the midst of enemies. The nations will learn slowly the law of the Lord from Jerusalem, and only as the thousand years (the day of the Lord) come to their close, and the Day of God succeeds, when all delegated authority shall be under the feet of the Son of God, will that kingdom be at length perfected and ready for the day of the Age, the goal of all purpose and prophecy, that God may be all in all (1Cor. 15:28).

It is right for us to look eagerly for that blessed consummation, but it is also right to be on our guard, lest overeagerness should lay us open to the deception of the Devil, and we found pointing the Lord’s people to a travesty of truth, with all its accompanying misery and disillusionment. We make no claim to a complete understanding of the teaching of prophecy, but what we do claim to have done is to insist that all that is written, and not selected passages, is the only safe foundation upon which to build, whether for our individual salvation, or for a true appreciation of the Millennium reign or of the ultimate goal of the ages.

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No. 8

THE CONVERGING LINES OF PROPHETIC TRUTH

While it is true that a Prophet in the Scriptural record did minister to the immediate needs of his own time, the outstanding character of his office was the God-given ability to speak of things to come. Horne says of prophecy:

  • ‘It is a miracle of knowledge, a declaration, or description, or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to foresee, discern or conjecture, and it is the highest evidence that can be given of supernatural communion with the Deity, and of the truth of revelation’.

Bishop Hurd has written of Messianic prophecy:

  • ‘That prophecy is of a prodigious extent; that it commenced from the fall of man and reaches to the consummation of all things; that for many ages it was delivered darkly, to a few persons, and with large intervals from the date of one prophecy to that of another; but, at length, became more clear, more frequent, and was uniformly carried on in the line of one people, separated from the rest of the world, among other reasons assigned, for this principally, to be the repository of the divine oracles … even to the end of time, or, in St. John’s expression, to that period when the mystery of God shall be perfected‘ (Rev. 10:7).

When Peter wrote his second epistle, the testimony of prophecy was being discounted by scoffers who said, ‘where is the promise of His coming?’ This he countered by saying, ‘no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation’, or as Moffatt has it, ‘came by human impulse’ (2 Pet. 1:20). The Greek words are idias epiluseos, and generally speaking bear the translation given in the Authorized Version. But Peter does not appear to be dealing with how to interpret prophecy, but how prophecy came, for he continues:

  • ‘For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost’.

If we retain the rendering, ‘private interpretation’, its first meaning must be, that the prophecies found in the Scriptures are not the private solutions of the prophets of the enigmas confronting them, and secondly, that those of us who read and use those prophecies, must be on our guard, that no one ‘uses’ any prophecy merely as a bolster to support some preconceived theory, which alas has become the dreadful fate of many of these sublime utterances. The completely impersonal character of prophecy is moreover suggested by 1 Peter 1:10,11, where we learn that those prophets who spoke beforehand of salvation, afterwards searched their own writings to discover ‘what, or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify’.

One simple yet most valuable office of prophecy is to act as ‘a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn’ (2 Pet. 1:19). Another is that the ‘spirit of prophecy’ is ‘the testimony of Jesus’ (Rev. 19:10). Within bounds we believe we are not far wrong when we say, that the door of prophecy swings on two things (1) The Return of Christ and (2) The Return of Israël.

Associated with these two great issues is the history and destiny of two cities, Babylon and Jerusalem, and with these two cities, two kingdoms, namely the kingdom of the Beast, and the kingdom of the Lord. Before proceeding with our studies, the present moment seems to be the time to pause and consider this term ‘kingdom’. It has been maintained that our word government comes nearest to expressing the word basileia. First of all let us consider the classical usage of basileia as set out in Liddell and Scott, where we shall discover the way in which the ordinary Greek used the term:B

  • Basileia, a kingdom, dominion, hereditary monarchy opposed to turannis and secondly a diadem.
  • Basileion, a kingly dwelling, palace. The seat of empire, royal city, the royal treasury, a tiara, diadem.
  • Basileios, kingly, royal.
  • Basileus, a king, prince, lord. Frequently with collateral sense of captain or judge, later, and hereditary king, then the king’s son, prince or any one sharing in the government, and at Athens, the second of the nine archons. After the Persian war the king of Persia was called Basileus, so afterwards, the Roman Emperor.
  • Basileutos, under monarchical government.
  • Basileuo, to be king, to rule, to be made king, to rule over a people, to be governed or administered, to be of the king’s party.
  • Basilekos, royal, kingly, like a king, princely.

It will be seen that the primary meaning of all these allied words is king, kingly and kingdom, and this is how a Greek reading the New Testament would interpret them. The secondary meanings of rule or government, are the rule or government of such as are kings or kingly persons. If the word ‘government’ be a truer rendering than the word ‘kingdom’, it is somewhat strange to find that there are two Hebrew and two Greek words translated ‘government’, eleven Hebrew and five Greek words translated ‘governor’; one Chaldee word, and three different Hebrew words for ‘to govern’, and yet not one writer in Scripture uses the Hebrew word for king or kingdom! When we turn to the Hebrew word melek, we find it translated KING 2,518 times and ROYAL twice, while the corresponding Chaldee word is translated KING 164 times and ROYAL one, AND IN NO OTHER WAY.

When we examine the Hebrew melukah, malekuth, mamlakah and mamlakuth, we find that melukah is translated kingdom 18, king’s 2, royal 4; malekuth, empire 1, kingdom 49, realm 4, reign 21, royal 14; malekuth (Chaldee), kingdom 46, realm 3, reign 4, kingly 1; mamlakah, kingdom 108, reign 2, king’s 1, royal 4; mamlakuth, kingdom 8, reign 1 and these words are translated in no other way. Not once is ‘government’ ever used. We have not bordered to count these occurrences. The evidence is overwhelming, and the idea that all this can be set aside by a stroke of the pen, seems too monstrous to need refutation. The reader, who is not already predisposed to any particular theory, may wonder what the driving motive must be that so desperately needs a new translation .

This is not all, however. The words king and kingdom do not stand alone. They are most intimately associated with the insignia of royalty. Throne, Crown, Sceptre are continual adjuncts. Britain has a Government. The United States has a Government, but we have yet to hear of the President’s Coronation, that he occupies a throne, wields a sceptre, or is royal. We therefore most earnestly ask every reader to pause and reconsider should they have been carried away by the novel idea that is refuted by the entire range of Scripture and consider this, that such a translation actually robs the Saviour of HIS CROWN RIGHTS.

The Church (ekklesia) of the One Body is not a kingdom. But the Church (ekklesia) of the One Body has the honour to be translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:130. The corporation of the city of London or of Birmingham is a ‘body’, but that does not place these bodies outside the kingdom of Great Britain. Let us at least be logical. When Israël wanted to be like the nations they demanded a king. When God transferred earthly rule to Nebuchadnezzar, he transferred it to a king. When at last the Saviour returns, He returns ‘to reign’ and the words of Psalm 2 are definite, ‘Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion’. What conspiracy is this then that has seduced the Lord’s believing people to trifle with the crown rights of Him Who comes ‘to reign’ and to sit upon a ‘throne’? However much kingly rule has failed, God’s conception of rule is still as it always has been, a KINGDOM. The Saviour died with the title over His head, and that sacred Head was crowned, even in derision. When He comes He is seen wearing many crowns, He will be King of kings, and the kingdoms of this world will cease, while the kingdom of the Lord shall be established by God Himself.

If we have entertained the idea that there will be a premillennial kingdom WITHOUT THE PERSONAL PRESENCE OF THE KING we may be disposed to look with favour on the substituted word ‘government’, but we may be after all but acting in the spirit condemned by the Lord in no uncertain terms in Mark 7:9. Howe many of those who have rendered lip-service to the doctrine of inspiration, even to its individual words, and echoed that they were ‘convinced’ have taken the trouble to verify their references? What must be the attitude of mind when faced with the overwhelming evidence just tabulated, which desires the truth of God uncolored by theories of the best of men? To quote the words of the writer whose views we have contested, we too say with all our hearts, with just one necessary personal alteration:

  • ‘Real conviction concerning great truths can come only when we have made our own personal studies and come to our own independent conclusion. My own convictions that basileia means kingdom (“government” in our friend’s statement) are the result of my own studies in the Word. I be believe the reader will come to the same conclusion if he makes his own study of the subject”.

There speaks the true Berean; may the truth prevail. Returning to our introductory notes on Prophecy, we continue to assemble our key passage:

  • ‘When the Lord shall build up Zion He shall appear in His glory’.

A grand crisis is awaiting the world; but it is a Jewish crisis wherein the Holy One of Israël is to be placed in exaltation with His people:

  • ‘There are three great eras of visitation, wherein God has many times appointed a term to His controversy with mankind. The first was the deluge … the second is to be the coming of the Lord Jesus in the power of His dominion, when the Antichrist and those with him, will be destroyed … the last controversy is at the end of the millennium, when sentence is carried out upon the rebel nations of that period’ (T.L. Strange).

To observe and record these converging crises, will form a part of our immediate inquiry.

To attain to some fairly comprehensive understanding of the converging lines of prophecy will enable us to see with some measure of clarity the place that less pronounced and problematic portions occupy.

Ecclesiastes says:

  • ‘Better is the END of a thing than the beginning thereof’ (Eccles. 7:8).

Asaph attained to peace, and a solution of his problems, when he went within the sanctuary of God, for then he ‘understood their END’, and understanding the end of the wicked, he no longer envied them their transient exemption from ‘trouble’ (Psa. 73). Daniel was intensely interested to discover ‘the end’ of the things revealed to him:

  • ‘O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” (Dan. 12:8).

and speaks too of the ‘time of the end’. Let us pause, therefore, in our pursuit of the great goal of prophecy to consider more carefully the import of this phrase THE TIME OF THE END. Take, for example, this terrible statement of Ezekiel:

  • ‘Remove the mitre, and take off the crown: this shall be no more the same: exalt that which is low, and abase that which is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: this also shall be no more, until He come Whose right it is; and I will give it Him’ (Ezek. 21:26,27 R.V.).

‘Until He come’. This can refer to none but Christ Himself and His Second Coming. Until that takes place, chaos abides, neither Priest (mitre) nor King (crown) remains, and we are in the atmosphere of Hosea 3, Israël’s lo-ammi condition. If there is to be a kingdom in the absence of Christ, before the millennium, Ezekiel evidently had no knowledge of it. One can be excused if he fails to see the possibility of about 500 years of enlightenment anywhere in these two verses. There is no ambiguity about the word ‘until’ (Hebrew ad.). No interval can be permitted in such a sentence as, ‘Thou shalt eat bread till thou return unto the dust’, neither can one be interpolated here.

We find that Daniel was very concerned to know more about the fourth beast of chapter 7. We learn from the vision in that chapter the sequence of events up to the coming of the Son of Man with the clouds of heaven. They can be epitomized as follows:

  • (1) Four diverse beasts are to arise up from the sea.
  • (2) The description is that the: First is like a lion – Second is like a bear – Third is like a leopard – Fourth is indescribable.

Now it is obvious that the Beast from the sea in Revelation 13, is none other than this fourth beast of Daniel 7, and combines in itself the preceding symbols:

  • ‘And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat (throne), and great authority’ (Rev. 13:2).
  • (3) Thrones were set (cast down as cushions, not overthrown) and the Ancient of Days did sit, a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him, and …
  • (4) The beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame. In Revelation 19, at the Apocalypse of Christ, John says:
  • ‘The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped him image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone’ (Rev. 19:20).

By comparing these words with Revelation 13:12-15 we are in no doubt but that the Coming of Christ comes immediately after the reign of this anti-christian beast, namely, at the close of a period of forty-two months, of which more presently.

  • (5) This beast developed ten horns, and one in particular had ‘a mouth that spake very great things’:
  • ‘He shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High … and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time’ (Dan. 7:25).

In Revelation 13 we read:

  • ‘And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months … And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them’ (Rev. 13:5-7).

We have noted the period denominated forty and two months, and time, and times and the dividing of time. In Revelation 11:2,3 we have a similar period, here given as forty and two months and 1,260 days. In Revelation 12:6 this number of days is repeated, and equated in verse 14 with the cryptic enumeration, ‘for a time, and times, and half a time’. Now, this period of time is 3.5 years, and the peculiar mode of reckoning links these chapters once more with the book of Daniel namely in Daniel 7:25 and in 12:7. The prophecy of Daniel 9 speaks of a period of time as ‘the midst of the week’ (9:27), and if in this prophecy a week, or heptad, is a period of seven years, then here in Daniel 9:27 we reach the same period that we have found in Revelation 12 and 13 and so, by the other links, with Revelation 19.

The image that formed the basis of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s great prophecy of Gentile dominion extends to the time of the end.

Whatever difference of opinion there may be as to wether Rome was the fourth in the list, or wether, owing to the rejection of Christ, the fourth kingdom is the one at the end, does not for the moment alter the fact that the END of Gentile dominion, and the BEGINNING of the kingdom of God upon earth synchronize, there is no possible room for an interval of 5 MINUTES, let alone 500 YEARS between the impact of the Stone cut without hands and the filling of the whole earth. Here are the inspired words:

  • ‘Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. THEN was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces TOGETHER, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king …
  • ‘And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever’ (Dan. 2:34-36,44).

Another feature that demands attention is ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’ or ‘the great tribulation’; that too must find its place in the Divine scheme, and its Scriptural association must be noted:

  • ‘I will bring again the captivity of My people Israël and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it … Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them … And ye shall be My people, and I will be your God’ (Jer. 30:3,7-9,22).

The context of this time of Jacob’s trouble is the time when both Israël and Judah shall be saved ‘from the land of their captivity’ and they have the assurance, that ‘though I make a full end of all nations wither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished’ (Jer. 30:10,11). Jeremiah 30 reads straight on to Jeremiah 31 where the Lord announces the bringing in of the New Covenant and the return and settlement of Israël as a nation for ever. This time of tribulation is spoken of by Daniel:

  • ‘And at that time (not the connection with the preceding anti-christian events, with no interval possible) shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time (the time note repeated) thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever’ (Dan. 12:1-3).

The closing words of this reference are referred to by our Lord in Matthew 13:40-43 in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares:

  • ‘Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father’,

and link the days in which Heaven’s King was rejected, and when the ‘mystery’ form of the kingdom took the place of positive prophecy, with the days yet to come when the mystery of God shall be finished.

This unprecedented and unrepeated time of tribulation is referred to by the Saviour in Matthew 24, and is related by Him with epoch-making events:

  1. To the abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place as foretold by Daniel in Daniel 9:27 (Matt. 24:15).
  2. To the Second Coming of the Lord (Matt. 24:30).
  3. To the day when the tribes of the land (Zech. 12:12) shall mourn when they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
  4. This is the moment when Israël shall look on Him Whom they have pierced, and when a fountain shall be opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness, and when in all the land two parts shall be cut off and die, but the third shall be left and brought the refining fire, and will become once more ‘My people’ (Zech. 12:9,10; 13:1,8,9).
  5. This is the sunteleia, the harvest gathering at the end of the age, as foreshadowed in the feast of the ingathering in Exodus 23:16, where the LXX reads sunteleia, the word used in Matthew 24:3.

All these prophecies synchronize at the time of the End, the time when the Stone strikes the feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s image, when Gentile dominion is destroyed, and the kingdom that shall never pass away is set up.

We have to consider many other aspects of prophetic truth but as honest Bereans before God, and as desiring to know and believe all that God has spoken we must bear witness, but so far we cannot and dare not introduce any other kingdom than that of ‘the Beast’ before the Millennial Reign of Christ, and if because we see this, we are obliged as before God, to speak of this subject many times in this analysis, we do so because we desire to be ‘pure from the blood of all men’.

By Charles H. Welch ‘The Berean Expositor’ – London.

http://www.bereanonline.org

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Nieuws vanuit het Midden-Oosten:

http://www.israeltoday.nl

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Centrum Informatie Documentatie Israël:

http://www.cidi.nl

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LIKOED NEDERLAND:

http://www.likud.nl

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Studies vanuit de grondtalen / Hebreews en Grieks:

http://www.levendwater.org

http://www.everread.nl

http://www.bereanonline.org

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De Messiaans-Joodse identiteit in Nederland:

http://www.hadderech.nl

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JUDEA AND SAMARIA: Biblical Heartland

http://www.israelcnn.com

http://www.pjtn.org

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United States of America:

http://www.hannity.com

Mark Biltz / Shabbat viering / zie:

http://www.elshaddaiministries.us

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Gerard J.C. Plas

 Posted by at 22:24
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