MEDITATIONS ON THE OFFERINGS
by John M. Cowan
THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS
by R. W. Beales
by R. McPike
THE CAVE OF ADULLAM
by John Ritchie
SIX DAYS BEFORE THE PASSOVER
by B. Smith
SPHERE AND SERVICE OF WOMEN
by A. G. Clarke
HOW I WAS CALLED TO SERVE THE LORD IN SOUTH EAST ASIA
by W. P. W. McVey
BRIEF MEDITATIONS ON THE OFFERINGS
by JOHN M. COWAN, Motherwell.
THE TRESPASS OFFERING
We should like to bring these brief meditations on the offerings to a close with a short survey of the Trespass Offering.
While the Sin Offering and the Trespass Offering are distinctly different, there seems to be a great difficulty in seeking to specify the exact degree of difference. As one reads the Divine record in relation to the offerings, there are quite a number of differences between the offering for sin and that for trespass. In the Sin Offering, the person who sins is the prominent thought, coupled with his nearness and responsibility to God. In the Trespass Offering, it is more the wrong which has been done and the effect this has had upon those who have been wronged. In the Sin Offering, the offering is a graduated one and, while there is a graduation in some of the other offerings, the scale of graduation is greatest with the Sin Offering; with the Trespass Offering, there is no graduation at all. With the Sin Offering, the blood played a most important part and was variously applied. The bulk of the blood, however, was poured out at the foundation of the altar, while, in the case of the Trespass Offering, it was sprinkled round about upon the altar.
These are a few of the distinct differences between the Sin Offering and the Trespass Offering and should help us in our consideration of the typical import of each.
The blood in connection with the offerings was the most important part of the offering and the application of the blood, as it was variously applied, has a most suggestive appeal. “For the life of the flesh, it is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement by means of the soul” (Lev. 17:11).
We have already made reference to the variety of designations of the blood as it is found in the New Testament Scriptures, and would again suggest that these differing designations be most carefully considered, as one endeavours to gather the relationship of the typical with that of the true. Alongside of that we would also suggest that the repeated statement “He gave Himself” should also be considered.
In Gal. 1:3:4 it is our Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself; in Gal. 2:20 it is the Son of God who gave Himself; in Eph. 5:2:25 it is Christ; in 1 Timothy 2:6 it is Christ Jesus and in Titus 2:13-14 it is our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ who gave Himself. These are all “Certain” sounds from the trumpet and none without their due signification.
We know that in each of these occasions specified, it is our Blessed Lord in relation to His work on Calvary’s Cross which is being considered, yet, such is the accuracy of the Spirit of God that, when He makes distinctions, they are worthy of being distinguished.
In connection then with the Sin Offering and the Trespass Offering, we feel that, in order to get the good of each, they must be distinguished. They are, of course, marked out most clearly by the words, “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying” (Lev. 5:14). This is the phrase which is constantly used in these typical portions when a further revelation is being made, so that we can appreciate that which we are now about to consider as an aspect of the Cross work which is different in degree from the one that has gone before.
The Blood of the Sin Offering has the foundations of the altar in view, while the Blood of the Trespass Offering has the scope of the altar in view. Sin is fundamental and “if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do”—consequently the fundamental side of things has to be secured first. Trespass, while vital, is not so much that which has affected the foundations, as that which has disturbed relationships—thus the difference in the application of the Blood.
It has been suggested that, in the Sin Offering, we see sin as a root, while in the Trespass Offering it is “sin” as a fruit. There is no doubt that, when this is considered in the New Testament Scriptures, “sin” is always distinguished from “sins”. Yet, while this is true, it is very evident that this is not the full content of the difference of the two offerings.
It is not just what we are that is in question in the Sin Offering, but also that which we have done. It may have been done as the outcome of ignorance, nevertheless it is sin and as such it must be accounted for with God.
On the other hand, in the Trespass Offering, while ignorance might be seen in certain circumstances, the thought of waywardness and wilfulness is the prominent one. Sin seems to carry the idea of “missing the mark” while with trespass it is more the thought of overstepping a boundary that has been fixed. The individual who has trespassed has also sinned, but the person who sins has not always trespassed. While one could trespass against God, yet the prominent thought in trespassing seems to be against one’s neighbour—although in doing so, one has also sinned against God. There is the possibility that the main difference between the Sin Offering and the Trespass Offering might be this: When acts of sin as such are committed, it is against God alone, but when it is an act of trespass, while it could be against God alone, it is more often a trespass against my neighbour. This seems to be the manner in which the Trespass Offering is set out in Lev. 5:15 to 6:7, where certain specific acts of trespass are cited with the kind of offering which meets the need. In the Sin Offering there are a variety of ways in which my acts of sin can be accounted for, but in the Trespass Offering there is one alone. Reparation and restitution come out very prominently in the Trespass Offering, and not only has the guilt of trespass to be accounted for, but restoration in full has to be made with a fifth part added thereto.
(To be continued)
NOTES ON THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS
by R. WOODHOUSE BEALES, Ipswich.
THE WORTHIES OF FAITH (continued)
There is also a very remarkable new light shed upon the faith of these worthies which we should hardly have gathered from the divine record in Genesis and Exodus. Where we should have said there was failure God says there was faith, which He alone could see. What encouragement for us. Possibly of course failure gave place to faith.
In the case of Sarah her laughter at the idea of having a son in her old age was of doubt and scepticism, for the Lord rebuked her at the time yet here we are told, “Through faith ... she received strength to conceive seed ... because she judged Him faithful who had promised”. After the rebuke did disbelief turn to faith?
In v. 20 we are told that “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come”. The record would have given us a very different view and conclusion. We would have said that scheming Jacob obtained the blessing through deception, but let us note that when the time came Isaac must have realised his mistake in preferring the firstborn, and that he would if left to himself have thwarted the purposes of God, for he says, “yea, and he shall be blessed” (Gen. 27:33). Had he not heard of the word of the Lord to Rebekah, “The elder shall serve the younger”? (Gen. 25:23) and had he set his will before the will of God, so that now his faith can be spoken of as being the only thing worth recording?
Paget Wilkes also points out that nothing is mentioned of the varied episodes in the life of Jacob, that tumultuous and sometimes dangerous life he lived, but only of his bright faith in the end, blessing the sons of Joseph and worshipping. What a clear eye he now had, not only of the real meaning of the past but also of the future. (See Gen. 49). And not only so, but the true character of his sons and their prophetic future.
The same writer also points out that similarly the only thing said of Joseph was his mention of the departure of Israel out of Egypt and the disposal of his bones. He sees in such things a proof of divine inspiration for he says if left to man’s wisdom anything but this would have been recorded (his trials and humiliation in Egypt, then his sudden exaltation and later magnificence) but this shows that nothing of Egypt had a place in Joseph’s heart, there was to be no magnificent burial such as his father had been given, no ostentatious sepulchre and perhaps pyramid for him in Egypt, but he looked forward to the Exodus and would even then not be left behind. The land of promise was to be his portion.
Joseph had hastened to his father on hearing that his end was near; he desired the blessing for his half Gentile sons. Would they be omitted? Whereas the other brothers had to be called by Jacob to his side. But Joseph had long before won the blessing and portion of the birthright, the double portion (see 1Chron. 5:1-2), whereas through sin the brother who was legally the firstborn lost it, and is that not the lesson of Hebrews?
Moses also we are told did not in fleeing from Egypt fear the wrath of the king, yet it would appear to us that that is just what he did fear, but God looked into his heart and saw again “Faith” and a settled purpose—“he endured as seeing Him who is invisible”.
As to the typology seen in the life of Moses, again we quote: “The life of Moses, like that of Joseph, is full of dramatic episodes and like his also, was a wonderful type of Christ. The parallel is extraordinary. Pharaoh sent word to slay the children at the time of his birth; Herod did the same in the Saviour’s day. Moses was hid by his parents; so too was Christ. Moses was told to return, for they were dead that sought his life; these very words were used too of Christ. Moses wrought miracles in Egypt; Christ in the Promised Land. Moses fed the multitudes in the wilderness; so too did Christ. Moses fasted forty days in the wilderness; so also Christ. Moses commissioned twelve men; Christ did the same. Moses appointed seventy to help him; Christ did likewise. Moses received the law on Sinai and gave it to the people; Christ received the laws of the Kingdom on the mount and gave them to us. Moses was an advocate with God; so is Christ for us (or for men). Moses died on Mount Nebo; Christ on mount Calvary. The devil disputed with Michael about the body of Moses; the devil’s children did the same with the risen body of the Saviour”. To which we might add that at one time the men of Israel rejected Moses (Acts 7); so also was Christ rejected in His day. Moses said of Israel at one time, “They be almost ready to stone me”; the people of Christ’s day “took up stones wherewith to stone Him”. Moses instituted the first Passover; Christ the last Pass-over. Moses wrote on two tables of stone (the second time); Christ wrote words (of condemnation?) on the pavement of the Temple. And many others could be added. Also the same, and even more, could be said of the incidents in the life of Joseph. Only two words given to David. Any ordinary writer would have given him much more.
(To be continued)
ELIJAH—MAN OF GOD AND PROPHET OF FIRE
by ROBERT McPIKE
Scripture to read—1Kings 19:15-21. (Continued)
While Elijah lived that lonely austere and individual life only visiting the haunts of men when duty and the command of God demanded it, Elisha on the other hand was to frequent the tabernacles of his brethren, as one of themselves, so that he would be available to them at all times. So he gathers his family and friends together, to share the joy of sacrifice that leads to complete surrender to the will of God.
He kills the oxen he had been ploughing with and all associated with them, and saying, perhaps the words of the motto of a famous Missionary Society, as he stands between the plough and the Altar. “Ready for either— Service or Sacrifice”. No tears are shed at this banquet and like Matthew of a later day who left the Tax Office at the call of the Saviour, gives a feast to celebrate the occasion. This probably would be his last link with them, ere entering into the office to which he had been called.
If the call should come to us, to leave all in complete surrender to the Lord’s will, what would be our reaction? Would we obey with the same alacrity as Elisha? Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, “He that forsaketh not all that he hath, cannot be my disciple”. The glittering prizes of commercial success, the posts of honour, and administration, so plentiful in the lap of the world to-day must be given up. The worshipping at the shrine of mammon must be forsaken, and all that would make us fetish, and idolatrous in heart rudely thrust aside. “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing, go ye out from the midst of her, be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord”. (Isa. 52:11). No object must rival Him in our hearts. “Jesus Christ is Lord”.
However dear to him were Elisha’s family and friends, he leaves them all and went after Elijah and ministered unto him. Seven long years were necessary to preparation for his mighty work, even though it meant among many things, “pouring water on Elijah’s hands” (2 Kings 3:11), menial work indeed, but these lessons on humility and serving others were not lost upon him.
SOME IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS.
As we ponder Elisha’s call, some foundational principles emerge:
1. While Elijah seemed indispensable to Israel at that time, the Lord saw fit to lay him aside, and raise up another man, whose manner, training and ministry was entirely of a different character. No man, or method, is indispensable to the Lord in the furthering of His Divine purpose. Let each of us who may have entertained such ideas consider the history of the past, and be wiser after that consideration. “He may lay aside His workmen, but His work will still go on”. Moses may lead to the border of the land, but it is Joshua who approved of God, is given the signal honour of leading them to their inheritance. David may spend a life time gathering the wealth for Jehovah’s temple, but it is his son, Solomon, who builds the monumental structure for the glory of God. The principle is embodied in the words of Paul to Timothy, “Commit thou the same to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also”. (2nd Timothy 2:2). The Risen Lord raises up to-day as He has ever done “Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, for the work of the ministry, for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11). The great Head of the Church supplies the need at the right moment by the right man, so that the saying is true, “One soweth, and another reapeth”. What has been sown by one servant, will be quickened in growth by another, until harvest is reached, when “He that soweth, and he that reapeth may rejoice together”.
2. God would teach us that He will call men, who are faithful in the ordinary duties of life. The division of the secular and spiritual duties of life has no warrant from Holy Scripture. “If we have been unfaithful in the unrighteous mammon can you wonder that the true riches have not been committed to us”. Moses was called from watching Jethro’s flock to shepherd the people of God across the desert. Peter was called from the fishing boat, to fish for men in another sea, so Elisha was called from the Plough, from turning up the soil of earth, to ploughing up the hearts of men and sowing seeds of Divine grace in their hearts.
What contrasts there are in Elijah and Elisha, yet both men diverse in their ministry are necessary to the carrying out of the Divine purpose.
THE CAVE Of ADULLAM
by the late JOHN RITCHIE
Read 1 Samuel 22:1-3:2 Samuel 23:8-21.
THE CHARACTER AND ACTS OF SAUL
We have seen the steps that led to the choice of Saul, let us see now the man himself and his deeds. They wanted one to go before them, and do what God had previously done for them, and they got their desire. “From his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people” (1Sam. 9:2). One for the carnal eye to look on, and for the carnal heart to trust. He was just to their taste, and they “shouted” at his coronation (10:24), as they had done when the ark was brought to the battlefield (4.5). Anything pompous will please the revolted heart, anything but God. An orator, or gifted man, whether he knows God or not, will do, if only his appearance is prepossessing and his gifts of a high order. But how powerless is all this to do work for God. Saul finds himself confronted by Goliath and unable to cope with him (17:11). He cannot count on God like David; he cannot deliver Israel. So much for the man who was to fight their battles. Nor is this all. He makes laws to hinder men of God from working with God, and threatens with death any who break them in serving Him (14:44-45). He slays the Lord’s priests (22:18), disobeys His prophets (15:11), and persecutes His king (23:28). He forces himself to do what he knows to be wrong, to please the people and keep them from scattering from him (13:11-12) the one day, and positively breaks the plain commandment of the Lord under a pretence of devotion (15:9-22) the next. He will make commandments and bind them on others—while he breaks himself with ease the commandments of God. Such was Saul, and such his followers. Still they get a following, nay more, the bulk of Israel are with them. Although rejected by God, they still hold the orthodox place, and lord it over the heritage of the Lord. Saul fleeced Israel of their vineyards and oliveyards, and made the people themselves his serfs. He claimed the tenth which was Jehovah’s portion (8:11-17). This is ever the way of clerical rule; it robs God of His portion, and His people of their liberty. It seeks to hinder the exercise of such teaching, worship, and rule—the antitypes of the prophet, priest and king—as are of God. It makes the laity, or people, its serfs. They groan under it, yet continue to support it. But Saul falls and none can help him. David would not hasten his end although once and again he could, but the Lord in His own time did it. Sad to think that some like Jonathan who were men of faith, and had done God’s work in days gone by, should fall beside him, supporting him, and associated with him to the last, although they knew of another path. And cleaving to the worst and most apostate sects may be found the people of the Lord, yea, some who have had their quiet hours with David, and personally love him, but either lack the courage or the will to leave the palaces of Saul and the splendour of his court, for a place with the Lord’s Anointed in the cave, the place of his rejection.
We have looked at Saul, the man of the people’s choice, his character, his acts, his rejection by God, and his final fall. His Antitype will yet be seen on earth in the person of “the Antichrist”—the wilful king, the lawless one, who will persecute the saints, and claim God’s place among them in the latter day. Even now his spirit and principles are at work and struggling for the mastery, not only in the world, but in what professes to be the Church.
“Even now are there many Antichrists” (1 John 2:18), usurping Christ’s place and bringing His people into bondage to their traditions. Clerical rule in its many and various grades'—expresses in minature what Saul was, and what Antichrist will be. It may manifest itself in various forms at different periods, sometimes persecuting openly, sometimes caressing fondly, as Saul with David, but it is always against Christ and a usurper of His authority and rule among His people.
GOD’S ANOINTED KING
Briefly now let us look at David (Beloved) the “man after God’s heart” (13:14), who “fulfilled all His will” (Acts 13:22). So far as the human eye could see, there was little to attract or to commend him as the chosen ruler of Israel. He was personally but a youth and ruddy (17:42), the youngest of his father’s house: considered of so little importance by his father that he was not called to the sacrifice (16:5-11), but left to keep a few sheep in the wilderness (17:28). In the eyes of Saul he was an unknown stripling (17:56), and in the eyes of Goliath disdained. His very own brothers were jealous of him and charged him with pride and naughtiness of heart (17:28), although that was far from the truth. His own estimate of himself was as low as any, for he described himself as a flea (24:14) and a partridge hunted on the mountains. Yet he was the man of Jehovah’s choice, and Samuel was commanded to anoint him captain over His people Israel, in the midst of all his brethren (16:13). He was disciplined and educated in the school of God, as all God’s chosen servants are. Away in the lonely deserts he had learned to trust a present God, and proved His power in delivering him from the paws oi tne non and tne bear (17:37), and when the time had come for him to come forth from the desert, and present himself to Israel, his first act was to go forth trusting in the living God to meet Goliath in the valley of Elah. Yet notwithstanding all this, there was little place found for David, and little recognition offered him in Israel. His very graces raised the enmity and wrath of Saul (18:8:29), and once and again he sought his life (18:11). David although anointed king of Israel was denied his rightful place on the throne, and soon his place of service in the kingdom was taken from him also. He became a wanderer and an exile in the very land over which he had the title to reign, and he willingly accepted the place of rejection. He would not hasten the downfall of Saul, or fight his way to the throne. He waits God’s time, and meanwhile seeks a place in which he may tarry until God turns the kingdom to him. Such was David’s position when he entered the Cave of Adullam. He took his place there as God’s anointed but Israel’s rejected King, conscious of his calling, but willing to wait God’s time to receive the kingdom.
I need hardly say that David here is the type of Him who “was a rod of the stem of Jesse” (Isa. 11:1)—Christ the King of Israel. He was born in Bethlehem the City of David, to find an Edomite usurper on the throne. He was presented to Israel in due time as Messiah their King, but only to be rejected and crucified. Now raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God, He has received from the Father a new dignity, and been invested with a new authority—even that of “Head over all, to the Church” (Eph. 1:22). His glory as King of Israel, and King of kings and Lord of lords, is meanwhile hid as to its public manifestation, although it will yet appear; but in the interval, the period of His rejection by Israel, He has received from God the Headship of the Church now being gathered out from all the nations through the preaching of the gospel. And He has, as Son of God, been placed in authority over God’s house on earth (Heb. 3:6. R.V.) to rule and legislate, to supply its ministers (Eph. 4:7-12), to institute its ordinances (1 Cor. 11:23), and to judge its condition (Rev. 1:12-20).
For a time, in early days, He was allowed His place; His people owned Him “Lord,” and kept His Word. Traditions and creeds had no place then; His authority was owned and His word obeyed. By-and-bye decline began, and divers and strange doctrines and practices spread themselves abroad. Clerisy sprang up, and now after a growth of eighteeen centuries has assumed large dimensions. In short, the Lord’s authority as Supreme Ruler in His Church, and His Word as a final appeal on everything, has been rejected by the mass of His professing people, and man with his creeds and articles has been allowed to usurp the place of Christ. In these last days, Christ is in rejection both in the world and in the Church—or in the language of our chapter, David is in Adullam and Saul is on the throne.
(To be continued)
SIX DAYS BEFORE THE PASSOVER
by BRYAN SMITH, Edinburgh.
IT was God who created this vast universe we learn at the 1 opening of the inspired scriptures, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). That the earth became what it was not originally created is cited in v. 2, “And the earth was without form and void and darkness covered the face of the deep”. On such a scene of disorder and emptiness the Spirit of God brooded. On such a scene the spoken word of God was heard. “Let there be light: and there was light” (Gen. 1:3). Not the creation of light but the diffusion of it.
Of the years between the original creation of v. 1 and the overflowing with water of the world that then perished of v. 2 we know nothing. Nor can any alive tell us, for the determining of time as we know it in days, months and years did not begin until Gen. 1:5: “And the evening and the morning were the first day”. To a succession of days, separately marked out, are we drawn from Gen. 1:5 to Gen. 2:3. Each day carries us on to the next until the sixth day when man is created in the image of God and dominion given to him. All anticipates man. His need of a help, suited for him, is met and all is declared very good. “And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Gen. 1:31). On the seventh day, God rested, satisfied with the work He had done in making the heavens and the earth which are now.
Of the presence on earth of the Son of God, who as the Word was in the beginning, who was with God and who was God, the apostle John arrests our attention in his gospel. It was the Son who created all things. (Col. 1:16; -Heb. 1:10; John 1:3). It was He who became a man. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) fuil of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Like the original earth, man had fallen and darkness covered the soul. But the Spirit of God descended, abiding upon the Son. The word of God was being heard, the Father was being told out. (John 1:18). Light was shining in the person of the Son. Souls were responding to a Divine work, enabled to contemplate His glory in the enjoyment of a settled, eternal relationship with the Father and the Son. “In Him was life” (John 1:4).
The events of six days in forming this present creation and setting man at the head with his bride we have recorded in Genesis 1 and 2. The events of six days of new creation, wrought out by the Son of God and established in Himself as the Son of man, we have recorded in the close of the Lord’s life on earth. His last week.
On the seventh day, we read in Genesis 2, God rested from His work, perfectly satisfied with it. The seventh day He blessed and sanctified. However, throughout the book of Genesis none are instructed as to behaviour on that day or reminded of its significance. But in the book of Exodus it is otherwise. Israel, on the basis of the pass-over lamb, are delivered from Egyptian oppression and brought as a nation into covenant relationship with Jehovah. They are reminded of the seventh day. The sabbath they are to keep. Of redemption by blood did their history typify. Of a Divine work then future did it speak. As God rested at the close of His work in Genesis 2 even so did He rest in the work of His Son in John 19:30. It was the day before the sabbath. (John 19:31). The injunctions of that day then terminated. God invites us now to rest where He rests. To the six days’ work we now turn, of its correspondence with the narrative in Genesis we would notice.
“Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany” (John 12:1). By the passover we understand here the whole duration of the appointed season of Jehovah, which lasted for seven days beginning with the passover sabbath. The passover week began on the fifteenth day of Nissan while the passover lamb was slain on the fourteenth day of Nissan. (John 19:31; Mark 14:1). By respecting the evening and morning calculation of days— from sunset to sunset—the Lord’s body was taken down from the cross before the commencement of the Jewish sabbath, our Friday evening, Saturday. Six days before is therefore Saturday evening, Sunday. On the next day, Monday, our Lord came to Jerusalem. Hence, on our Thursday evening, He ate the passover with His disciples and, on the same day (Friday), was sacrificed for us.
Situated near to Jerusalem, the Lord enters at Bethany a house where He is most welcome. “There they made Him a supper”. He is treated as an honoured guest. To them He is all. Light is shining. And if God divided the light from the darkness in Genesis 1, a company is found in Bethany who have an appreciation of Him and who have no regard to the commandment of the chief priests and the Pharisees. (John 11:57). Mary anoints His feet and wipes them with her hair. In John 13, the Lord washes the disciples’ feet and wipes them with a towel. His action had meaning. Alas, it spoke of defilement contracted in their walk and of their cleansing from that defilement. But in John 12 His feet are anointed, those blessed feet that had walked for God’s glory, without sin, in a defiling scene. Mary wipes His feet with her hair. It was given her for a veil. She was hidden, while the glory of that Man brightly shone, the sweetness of the savour rising to His Father, who alone could estimate perfectly His worth. “And the house was filled with the odour of the ointment” (John 12:3). A company who had no regard to the commandment of the chief priests and the Pharisees we have said, but Judas Iscariot now speaks, as he begins to show where His affections lay, as he seeks to suppress the spiritual exercise of Mary. Questioned by him, she does not break her silence, the Lord speaks for her. “Let her alone; against the day of Mv burying hath she kept this” (John 12:7). His death was before Him, and before the week was ended He had died, and His precious body was laid in Joseph’s new tomb.
The second day heralded His entry into Jerusalem. “On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet Him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” (John 12:12:13). He was Israel’s King. He came to Jerusalem the city of the great King. He entered it as became Him—in the fulfilment of scripture. “And Jesus, when He had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written: Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt” (John 12:14:15).
In Genesis 1, the second day marked simply the division of the waters. A firmament or expanse God made. The atmospheric heavens with its constant, beneficient, effects upon earth. The waters above were separated from the waters beneath by this expanse, which God called heaven. (Gen. 1:8). Christ was from above. “Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world” (John 8:23). He was Heaven’s King. Prosperity for Israel can only come through Him. Millennial blessing for the earth, the rule or kingdom of the heavens, comes when He comes in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matt. 24:30).
With the multitude, perhaps the feast of tabernacles was in their mind for they took branches of palm trees. (See Lev. 23:40). With the Lord, the feast of the pass-over was before Him. Of the one it was said, “And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days” (Lev. 23:40). Of the other we read, “And with bitter herbs they shall eat it” (Ex. 12:8). The passover is the first appointed season, the tabernacles the last. The Lord had not forgotten this even if the multitude had. Descending the slopes of Olivet, the Lord enters Jerusalem with acclaim. The prophecy of Zechariah had only partial fulfilment as the narratives are careful to sustain. He entered Jerusalem as the true Son of David and moved at once to the temple, later to retire that night to Bethany. The condition of the house bespoke the condition of the people. “And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when He had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, He went out unto Bethany with the twelve” (Mark 11:11). The second day’s sun had set. On this day, the tenth day of Nisan, the congregation of Israel were to take unto themselves every man a lamb (Ex. 12:3), and to keep it up until the fourteenth day when the whole assembly were to kill it in the evening. (Ex. 12:6). How few saw in Him, whose blood alone could shelter from judgment, the true Lamb without blemish.
(To be continued)
SPHERE AND SERVICE OF WOMEN
by A. G. CLARKE
To gather the mind of God on this subject it is well to consider first woman’s origin.
CREATION ORDER, Gen. 1:27-28:2:18-25. In His eternal counsels God ever had before Him the glory of His beloved Son. This included provision of a consort wholly suited by grace to be for ever in joyful fellowship with Him as the Christ, a fit vehicle for the display of divine wisdom in time and divine grace in eternity, Eph. 3:10-11:2:7. God’s order in creation is to be viewed in the light of this planned union of Christ and the Church, Eph. 3:10-11:5:32a; Col. 1:26-27. In relation to God she was “created”, Gen. 1.27; in relation to man she was “made” (lit. builded) from his side, Gen. 2:22. When considered in its context verse 20 is of profound import. God took evident delight in His creature-man’s exercise of divinely bestowed wisdom in naming beast and bird, but there was a deeper purpose in the act. It was clearly demonstrated that Adam’s being was of an entirely different order and that among all other creatures that passed before him there was no true counterpart “answering” to him. The words “was not found” suggest an unsuccessful quest. It would seem that the Creator in gracious consultation with Adam, showed, him that a suited consort could come only from his own. body. The implication is that man’s willing response as a free agent was to offer himself for the operation necessary to produce his bride. Not only is greater force thus, added to verses 23-24, but it answers more closely to the wonderful antitype of Christ and the Church, Eph. 5:25-32. It is surely evident that God never intended woman to be in the place of independence. Her position, however,, is not one of inferiority but of unique dignity as representing the Church’s relationship to Christ, a dignity to be worthily sustained according to the divine arrangement; cp. Prov. 31:31:10-31. Without the woman man is incomplete and the divine purposes for him frustrated, 1 Cor. 11.3. The whole context of this verse to v. 12 repays careful study.
The Fall did not alter the relative position of man and woman but the effects upon the latter are stated in Gen. 3:16. These were suffering in childbirth and subjection to husband. Headship had been vested in the man before, but now subjection on the part of the woman was a matter of command rather than of a spontaneous attitude. Modern teaching and practice have largely nullified God’s order, resulting in much of the confusion to be observed in present-day society, 1 Cor. 11:3.
Matrimony is according to the Creator’s arrangement, Gen. 2:24, and was endorsed by our Lord, Matt. 19:3-6; John 2:1-2; compare Heb. 13:4 and the implied rebuke against forbidding it, 1 Tim. 4:3. Divorce was never intended by God and modern practice in regard to this is another cause of the deplorable state into which society has drifted in these days. Scripture teaching on the subject will be found in Matt. 5:31-32:19:7-12; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18; Rom. 7:1-3:1 Cor. 7 and elsewhere. During periods of special distress such as open persecution of the Church of God, it may be expedient for the time being to refrain from or postpone marriage in order to minimize dangers and difficulties, 1 Cor. 7:26-31. Then there are cases in which servants of the Lord will suffer less distraction by remaining free from family ties as, for example, those doing pioneer missionary work in more or less unexplored territories, 1 Cor. 7:32-35; Matt. 19:12. The apostle Paul was probably such a one, 1 Cor. 9:5 with 7:8. Marriage involves definite commitments and the N.T. by giving precepts and recording examples instructs in the respective duties of husband and wife, 1 Cor. 7; Eph. 5:22-23; Col. 3:18-19:1 Peter 3:1-7. In proper subjection to her husband the Christian woman should be an example to the world instead of an imitator of it.
The Home is woman’s special sphere of activity. 1 Tim 5:14 speaks of her as the “house-ruler”. This does not mean, of course that she is head of the family. Her aim is to make the house into a home, and this can be done only where love prevails. She is to be a “husband-lover” and “children-lover” (so the Greek), discreet, chaste, good (that is, “beautiful” in character though she may not possess good looks) and a “home-worker”, Titus 2:4-5. Income is mostly the husband’s earning but much of the responsibility for expenditure devolves upon the wife, who, as another has said, “has to decide between necessities and luxuries with conveniences in a middle place!” The training of children, especially in their younger years, lies chiefly with the mother. This is a great privilege and a solemn duty on no account to be neglected. Lack of well-ordered homes is, perhaps, the greatest cause of juvenile delinquency so prevalent to-day.
(To be continued)
HOW I WAS CALLED TO SERVE THE LORD IN SOUTH EAST ASIA
by W. P. W. McVEY
When I first trusted Christ as a boy at High School the thought of serving God had little or no place in my mind. The world had certainly lost much of its charm and new horizons had opened out before my eyes, but at that time I was more occupied with the blessings of my own salvation than with the need of others. Baptism about six months later brought added joy to my heart and drew forth fresh resolves to follow the Lord, but even then the practical implications of identification and union with Christ were but vaguely understood. I had still to learn that my young life had been completely mortgaged by the blood of Christ and that the greatest sacrifice I could make for Him was but a “reasonable service”. It was only after a remarkable escape in a shooting incident that I realised how God wanted to use me in His service.
When I left home for work I soon made friends with Christians in the Belfast area who found their delight in the Lord and His service. The joy of those early days still lives in my soul. It was then that I had a dawning awareness of the Lord’s hand upon me for service in a more extended sphere. There was still no serious thought of abandoning my secular employment, much less of going abroad; indeed, with World War 2 raging at the time, going to South East Asia of all places was clearly out of the question. However, the Japanese invasion of the Far East did have the effect of making me pray in a special way about missionaries and local Christians throughout that part of the world.
When I eventually did step out into full-time service it was only after much prayer and exercise of heart before the Lord. George Muller has written somewhere about knowing the mind of God through the inner calm that fills the breast when one continues to pray according to His will, the peace of God thus arbitrating in the heart and indicating the path of His choice. This was certainly so in my case though my convictions were deepened in other ways as well. Once, for example, when about to embark on a series of meetings, I asked the Lord to confirm His call by saving ten souls and that number did in fact confess Christ. The climax came during a missionary conference in London when the Lord answered my prayer for definite guidance through a message on the three men at the end of Luke chapter 9. I saw myself clearly in the second of these men as it was pointed out that he alone had received a call—the other two were merely volunteers—but was holding back. That night the peremptory words of Christ, “Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God”, fell on my ears like a thunderbolt from Heaven.
I had no doubt now about the Lord’s call but I was still uncertain about my future field of service. However, for the next three years I found open doors in the homelands. Our days were full and the Lord gave blessing in various places. But the Far East still beckoned and I found myself writing to missionaries and collecting facts and figures about that area. I was continually rebuked by the thought that our missionary effort was so weak in Asia as a whole although this continent accounts for more than half the population of the world. It seemed to me that the East, which is so often given the place of precedence in scripture (e.g. Luke 13:29), had been criminally neglected. Once again I had great peace of heart as I brought the matter before the Lord in prayer and much assurance of guidance as I read the scriptures.
Outwardly, however, South East Asia was a most uninviting area at that time. The Communists had taken over China and were driving missionaries from that country. Serious Communist insurrections had broken out in Burma, Malaya, Indonesia and the Philippines and events in Indo-China were setting the stage for the present conflict in Vietnam. Yet I had such definite conviction of the Lord’s guidance that I decided to write to the Oriental School of Languages in London to enquire about language studies and was overjoyed to learn that I could enrol for a course that had just been arranged at the request of the War and Colonial Offices. A few months later I sailed for Singapore believing that I was indeed sent of God and rejoicing in a promise He had given me from the book of Isaiah: “I will bring thy seed from the East”.
By the time this appears in print it will be some 21 years since I forsook my secular calling and went forth in the work of the Lord. I do bless God for His goodness over the years and for calling me to preach Christ among the heathen. What I have seen of the staggering need all over South East Asia has confirmed the call of God to my heart again and again, and I am indeed amazed that so few have gone forth from the assemblies in the homelands to some part of this vast area to settle among the people, learn their language and tell them of the Saviour's love. It is no exaggeration to say that 50 new missionaries could be placed throughout South East Asia in such a way that no two would be within 100 miles of each other. Not much danger of personality clashes! May some who read these lines be stirred to action.
Scripture teaches, and experience agrees, that the Lord calls His servants, not once, but many times in the course of their lives. “The Lord shall guide thee continually'’ is the promise of Isaiah 58.11. About two years ago my wife and I stood once again at the crossroads with regard to guidance. We were in Australia with our younger daughter so ill that we could not contemplate another move, and the expiry date for our permit to re-enter Malaysia was already in sight. Did the Lord want to redirect us? Did He wish us to settle in Australia where we could see an evident need in several places? Or was He making it impossible for us to return to Malaysia so that He might send us to some other part of the mission field? We could not tell. Our prayers were unanswered, time was running out and our daughter was not improving. I decided therefore that after some meetings in Longreach, Queensland, I would do no more preaching for the time being, rather return home to help with the family and wait on the Lord for a fresh call. The answer came sooner than expected. I was just about to board the plane for the homeward journey when I learned by phone that the Lord had taken our little girl to Himself that very morning. Thus amidst our tears we saw our path made clear again and so decided to go forth once more, “assuredly gathering” that the Lord had given us a fresh commission to return to Malaysia and preach Christ among the people of South East Asia.
CHRIST—OUR ALL IN ALL
- We thank Thee, Lord, for weary days
- When desert wells were dry,
- And first we knew what depth of need
- Thy love could satisfy.
- Days when beneath the desert sun,
- Along the toilsome road,
- O’er roughest ways we walked with One,
- That One the Son of God.
- We thank Thee for the rest in Him
- The weary only know—
- The perfect, wondrous sympathy
- We needs must learn below.
- The sweet companionship of One
- Who once the desert trod;
- The glorious fellowship with One.
- Upon the Throne of God.
- The joy no desolation here
- Can reach, or cloud, or dim,
- The present Lord, the Living God,
- And we alone with Him.
- We know Him as we could not know,
- Through Heaven’s golden years;
- We there shall see His glorious face,
- But Mary saw His tears.
- The touch that heals the broken heart
- Is never felt above;
- The angels know His blessedness,
- His way-worn saints His love.
- When in the Glory, and the Rest,
- We joyfully adore.
- Remembering the desert way
- We yet shall praise Him more.