The Book of Judges
“The Great Tribulation Theory”
the late Wm. Hoste, B.A.
With Christ in the Nameless Place
“Salvation is of the Lord”
An Outline of the Four Gospels
By Wm. Bunting.
The book of Judges covers the history of Israel from the death of Joshua to the death of Samson, the thirteenth and last deliverer of this period. Chronologically; chapter 16 closes the narrative. Chapters 17 to 21 are an appendix, written to reveal the moral and spiritual state of the nation during the era of the Judges. These five chapters are comprised of two stories, one showing how the people failed in their worship of God (chaps. 17 and 18), the other, how they failed in their attitude towards their fellow Israelites (chaps. 19-21). That is to say, we are shown how grossly the first table of the law was violated in the former, and the second table of the law in the latter.
That these chapters belong chronologically to the earlier part of Judges can be proved in different ways. For example, the settlement of the Danites in the extreme north of the land, of ch. 18. 1, was actually begun in Jud. 1. 34 (cf. Jos. 19. 47). Again, the place named “Mahaneh-dan”, which was first given this name in ch. 18. 12, is mentioned in ch. 13. 25, where we are told that “the Spirit of the Lord began to move him (Samson) in Mahaneh-dan” (see R.V.). Further, Jonathan, the grandson of Israel’s great leader, Moses, is still alive in ch. 18. 30 (R.V.); and Aaron’s grandson, Phinehas, of Jos. 22. 13, is yet high priest in ch. 20. 28.
Then in the book of Ruth we have a third story, which according to ch. 1. 1, belongs to the same period. By way of contrast, however, the Holy Spirit here tells how one man amidst all the declension of those dark days, bore a bright testimony for God, and of how another Israelite who had sadly backslidden, was restored and made a blessing to others.
The opening verses of Judges are full of promise. They relate Israel’s conquests “after the death of Joshua”. Joshua had been a conspicuous personage in the nation for many years. He is first mentioned in Ex. 17 as the victorious commander against Amalek. He was with Moses in the Mount of Sinai, and was one of the two faithful spies who “wholly followed the Lord” (Num. 32. 11, 12). Upon the death of Moses the leadership of the nation was assigned to him. His life throughout was marked by deep piety, singleness of purpose, devotion to the Lord, and love for His people. Like his great ancestor, Joseph, whose remains he interred in Canaan, he attained the venerable age of 110 years, which according to the immemorial tradition in Bible lands filled to the brim the measure of what constituted earthly felicity. Now, however, Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, was gone to his rest.
Joshua was a much missed man in Israel, and it is to his lasting credit that he left the nation in a healthy, prosperous, spiritual condition. In Joshua 24, following his closing appeal (v. 15), the people in loving submission had renewed their pledge of loyalty to the Lord—a proof of the power for good which his influence had wielded upon them. It is a truly grand thing when a servant of God, whether at the end of his life’s work, or even of a temporary visit, leaves the saints in a happier and healthier spiritual state than he found them. Paul’s visits to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, of Acts 14. 22, “confirmed the souls of the disciples”, whereas the visit of certain other teachers to Antioch in the next chapter, and referred to in Gal. 2, confused the souls of the saints, and left them at sixes and sevens amongst themselves. What a pity that any brother’s influence should bear such unhappy fruit! Yet how often this has been the case.
We must also notice that in the elders that survived him, Joshua bequeathed a wealthy legacy to Israel. “The people”, we are told, “served the Lord … all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua” (Jud. 2. 7). These would be men who had learned from him the right ways of the Lord. They would be men of the Book, of wise, balanced judgment, and spiritual vision, who “knew what Israel ought to do”, men who walked in the fear of the Lord and whose past lives were above reproach. In this connection we think of Paul’s words to Timothy : “The things that thou hast learned of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” To have left such men to carry on the testimony speaks volumes for any leader.
It must also have been a comfort to the people after Joshua died, that for a time they still had the ministry of Eleazer, the high priest (Jos. 24. 33), and that when he was gathered to his fathers, his robes were passed on to his son, Phinehas. What a comfort it should be to us when those upon whom we leaned are called Home, as were the elders of Heb. 13. 7, that we have a Great High Priest, Who “because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood” (Heb. 7. 24), and never has to pass His robes to another. He is “the same, yesterday, to-day and forever” (Heb. 13. 8), and in “the power of an indissoluble life” succours and sustains His oft tried saints. Only when the desert sands are crossed and we see Him face to face shall we know how much we owe to His loving, gracious ministry for us upon the throne.
As already indicated, Judges opens with great promise. Israel here advanced from victory to victory in her holy warfare. We wish now to draw attention to some of the elements that contributed to her success, and to point out that we have in these
A PICTURE OF A HEALTHY ASSEMBLY
The first thing we notice is that the book begins with prayer, and that the prayer had to do with the conquest of Canaan, -which was in accordance with God’s expressed will for His people. “The children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first?” (v. 1). Is not this like what we find in the Acts, where we see the early Church advancing against the powers of darkness?
“Like a mighty army moves the Church of God”.
There, too, prayer took precedence and became a vital factor in the Church’s onward march. Indeed, prayer is mentioned some 28 times in the book. See especially chaps. 1. 14.; 2. 42; 4. 31. A healthy assembly, then, is strong and vigorous in prayer—it has well attended regular prayer meetings.
The next feature is the nation’s unity. It was “Israel”—a united people that prayed for guidance, and, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133. 1). In the early church there was no defection in the ranks of the saints. They were of one heart and of one soul. Six times in the Acts we read of their being together “with one accord”. No wonder they had power. “Unity is strength”. Let us therefore “endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4. 3).
Then notice that their prayer consisted of a question : “Who shall go up for us?” This choice mas left with God. He was owned as “Captain of the Lord’s host” (Jos. 5. 15), and was allowed to decide which tribe should open the campaign. We may well pause and ask, does our assembly leave the choice with God? Is it He who indicates who should lead our campaigns? It is surely significant that the name of our “Lord” is mentioned six times in the first ten verses of 1st Corinthians. Paul’s desire obviously was that in all matters of order and conduct, the church should own His Lordship—that His marching orders should be implicitly obeyed.
Now note what God’s choice was. “The Lord said, Judah shall go up” (v. 2). Judah was Israel’s strongest tribe numerically, and was destined to be the royal tribe. In the wilderness march, God’s order was “Judah . . . shall first set forth” (Num. 2. 9), and in the day of Israel’s future deliverance, “The Lord shall save the tents of Judah first” (Zech. 12. 7). So here in the
conquest of Canaan, His order is the same—Judah “first”. Now “Judah” means “Praise”. Praise was to lead the van. God would ever have us a happy, praising people. How much we have for which to praise Him! The prospering assembly will be a praising assembly.
- “Praise Him, praise Him, Jesus our blessed Redeemer;
- Sing ye saints, His wonderful love proclaim”.
In verse 3 Judah invited Simeon’s help. This was doubtless a sign of weakness, but it was weakness felt and owned. It ?s good when saints feel and honestly acknowledge their weakness. God never despises such. To help them indeed is His delight. “My strength”, He says, “is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12. 9). Have we as assemblies a sense of our weakness? Or do we feel that we are “rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing”? (Rev. 3. 17).
God did not frown upon Judah for soliciting “his brother’s” help. He appreciates His people’s desire for fellowship one with the other. Moses sought the aid of Aaron; and in this book, Barak asked the assistance of Deborah, and each of these yokes had God’s blessing upon it. So here Judah’s partnership with Simeon was mightily owned of the Lord. This partnership of tribes may serve as an illustration of the intercommunion of assemblies in the New Testament. In Acts 11, for example, the assembly at Jerusalem helped the assembly at Antioch in spiritual things; then before the chapter closes, the assembly at Antioch sent material aid to the assembly at Jerusalem. This surely is something very precious to God, and something we to-day should foster. It is greatly to be deplored when assembly becomes alienated from assembly. This in some cases has been caused by the introduction of innovations from Christendom; and in others, by failure to recognise the divine principle that each assembly is directly responsible to the Lord for its actions.
Now “Simeon” signifies “Hearing”. When Leah’s second son was born she said, “The Lord hath heard that I was hated . . . and she called his name Simeon” (Gen. 29. 33). This is faith— faith that God hears, and hears to answer and vindicate His own. “I knew”, said our Lord, “that thou hearest me” (Jo. 11. 42); “And”, declared John, “if we know that he heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 Jo. 5. 15). What confidence and comfort this thought imparts to those who have the care of an assembly! In these days of increasing difficulty, when problems unknown in a past generation press upon us, how precious it is to remember that He hears and understands, and waits to bestow the grace and wisdom we at times so sorely need!
Finally we notice that the first Israelite named in Judges is “Caleb” (v. 12), who was one of Judah’s most worthy sons. His name means “Whole-hearted”, and true to it, he “wholly followed the Lord”. His devotion knew no reserve. At 85 years of age he was still out and out to fight God’s battles. Whatever he did, whether killing giants, carrying grapes, or simply trusting God, he did it with all his heart, and the nation became imbued with the spirit of his ardour and zeal. Happy is the assembly that has leaders of the calibre of Caleb. Too often God’s work is done in a careless, half-hearted, and slovenly manner; but if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Therefore, beloved, “whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men” (Col. 3. 23, R.V.).
To recapitulate, then, the following are some of the marks of a healthy assembly, though they are not enumerated in quite the same order as we have just noticed them. A healthy assembly has godly elders. It feels and owns its human weakness. It avails itself of it he ministry of our Great High Priest. It acknowledges Christ as Lord. It prizes (the fellowship of other assemblies. It is marked by prayer9 praise, faith, unity, and whole-hearted devotion. It follows that an assembly bearing such distinctive features will rejoice in the reproach inseparably associated with its place “without the camp” (Heb. 13. 13) of the world’s religion. Where these virtues operate as a living, vital force,, God will be with His people, as “the Lord was with Judah”, in Judges 1. 19, and blessing will crown our every endeavour.
(To be continued)
By the late Wm. Hoste, B.A.
A MODERN FICTION
In 2nd Thessalonians we gather that the Thessalonians were called to pass through persecutions at the hand of man so severe in character that they could only suppose they were in the last days. Now, were “the Tribulation” Theory correct, it is easy to perceive the particular form of error they would have fallen into. They would have imagined “the Great Tribulation” was upon them, for this period is supposed by the Tribulationists to precede “the day of the Lord.” But what did they think? “The
day of the Lord is present” (2 Thess. 2. 2, R.V.). Why does the Apostle not put them right at once by quoting “the order of events” laid down by the Tribulation theorists, and remind them that they could not be in “the day of the Lord,” because the “Great Tribulation” and “the heavenly signs” had not yet taken place? Why does he not even refer to these two last-named events? Because he knew nothing of this modem fiction of a “day of the Lord” preceded by a Great Tribulation and heavenly signs. Now, it is true that the simple and direct way of correcting their error would have been to remind them that “the coming of the Lord” had not yet taken place, and that therefore “the day of the Lord”, which all are agreed must follow it, could not be in progress. But the Apostle does do this indirectly, by appealing in verse 1, to “the coming of the Lord and our gathering together unto Him,” as a motive for not being “soon shaken in mind” by the novel theory they had received; but, as in other places, guided by the Spirit, he not only wishes to correct their mistake, but to take advantage of it in order to bring out further light for the saints of God in all time.
He therefore starts with “the day of the Lord” (R.V.), and works backwards, and says, simply, you cannot be in the day of the Lord, for before that day can come there must be a great falling away, and the man of sin, borne along on the wave of apostasy, must be revealed. It is generally affirmed that “that which withholdeth” is the Church, and “He who withholdeth” is the Holy Spirit, but I am inclined to think that that which prevents the manifestation of the lawless one is not the Church, but God-appointed government. We see the breaking down of law and order going on around us to-day. The usual theory seems to suggest that the man of sin will be revealed directly the Church is taken away, which is not at all clear from Scripture, and also that one important function of the Church is a political one, namely, to curb anarchical movements. In any case the Spirit of God will not cease to work on the earth. If He did, then there could be no true testimony for God, and not one soul saved or sustained after the Church is gone. No, though His personal presence on the earth, which began at Pentecost, will be withdrawn, His Almighty working on the earth will perhaps never have been so marked as when Israel shall be restored in part to her position of witness for God on the earth.
TRUE ORDER OF EVENTS
The true order of events will therefore be :
- The rapture of the Church to meet her Lord in the air.
- The apostasy of Christendom.
- The revelation of the man of sin, and the beginning of the day of the Lord, which will include in its course :
- The Great Tribulation of three and a half years, going on to
- The signs in the heavens.
- The great notable day of the Lord, in other words, the coming of the Son of Man (as in Matthew 24; Revelation 19).
It is true that the revelation of Christ with His saints is often spoken of in connection with the Church as an incentive to faithfulness, because that appearing will be the moment of the manifestation of the saints in their position of reward, and their place in the kingdom; but it is none the less true that it is the coming of the Lord for His saints which is set before us in the epistles as the hope of the Church.
May we, then, be “WAITING FOR HIS SON FROM HEAVEN”, and have our hopes so fixed on Him, that we may purify ourselves, even as He is pure; “Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1. 12).
(This series of papers by our late esteemed brother, which has been slightly condensed, is now concluded).
JOHN 1. 39.
By F. Elliott, Lurgan.
JN John 1. 1 we have the Word with God, dwelling in eternal fellowship with God. In verse 14, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Our blessed Saviour in wondrous grace came and tabernacled amongst men. But our text discloses that believing souls have the honour of dwelling with Him, the Lord of Glory.
In chapter 4. 29, “Come, see,” is an invitation to experience the Saviour’s power. In chapter 21. 12, “Come and dine,” is an invitation to enjoy His provision. Here, “Come and see,” is an invitation to enter His presence. This little company, with the Lord in the midst, meeting in the nameless place, reminds us forcibly of a New Testament assembly—the two or three, gathered in simple fashion, as did the apostles and disciples in the Acts, owning only Christ as Lord, His Word as their sufficient guide, and the Holy Spirit as their Divine Energiser. We shall now consider
These two disciples met with Christ as a result of a Spirit-filled man’s testimony. In verse 36 John had said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” This cry of wonder, the outpouring of his heart, rather than a direct testimony to others, was heard by the two disciples and “they followed Jesus” (v. 37). Here we observe self-effacing ministry. John’s disciples left him and followed Jesus. A Spirit-filled man is certainly not a person who seeks glory for himself, by setting himself up as a leader of a party. Like John in his Third Epistle, verse 4, the spiritual man delights in seeing believers walking in the truth. We are not gathered to John the Baptist, nor Paul, who are dead, but to the living Son of God. Self-effacing ministry establishes a work for God. The faithful servant can then proceed to other regions, happy in the knowledge that the little company can carry on without a presiding minister or chairman.
Then it is Saint-uniting. At the formation of this gathering, the ministry of John was saint-uniting. The two disciples went in the one direction, they followed Jesus. The ministry did not part them, nor did it start them biting and devouring one another (Gal. 5. 15), but it produces in them one aim, to dwell with Christ, wherever that might be. How easy it is to divide Christians, wrecking the work of godly men of other days, by propagating our pet theories, or by compromising the truth of God to support some doubtful thing, thereby gaining popularity for ourselves (Gal. 6. 12-13). It is patent that gift is given by the risen Lord for the edification of His people and not their destruction, to knit them together and not to divide them.
Further, it is Christ-exalting. “Behold the Lamb of God.” Fix your eyes upon Christ. Look full in His wonderful face. John was fully occupied with the Son of God, and see how effective was the short sermon he preached—“they followed JESUS.” These two did not remain to wonder at the great knowledge John had, or the great man that he was, but “they followed Jesus.” The servant of the Lord fulfilled his mission, the responsibility then lay with the two disciples. Forth goes the Lord, like the pillar of cloud, leading His people away from that which spiritually is called Egypt. The Tabernacle of which we read in verse 14 is “without the camp,” and they followed Jesus.
The Lord saw them following. What joy it affords, that He sees us! (compare Malachi 3. 16). The world with its gaudy ritual will mock the simple gathering, but what does that matter, when the Lord is pleased to be in the midst of the two or three gathered as in Matthew 18. 20! Their following led to further unfoldings of His Person, His power and His provision.
The two disciples, having acted on the witness of John, heard the gracious invitation from the Lord Himself to “Come and see.” They entered the place, the name of which is here withheld, where the Lord dwelt. Inside was the happiness of Heaven, outside was the hostility of earth.
- The Place of His Rejection. The nation received Him not. The priests and levites, whose lips should have kept knowledge, knew Him not. John told them so in verse 26. Jerusalem did not know its Lord. Christ was outside this city, which was the very centre of religious activity. Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord?” The religious rulers of John 1 are charged with the very same ignorance, while professedly serving God. The glory and authority of Christ have been disowned. Those who would seek the Lord must go outside the camp (Ex. 33. 7). Like these disciples, OUR place is with Him in the nameless place, identified with Christ in the day of His rejection.
- The Place of the Few. We read of these two only dwelling with Him that day. What a contrast to the multitudes, coming and going, busy in the gorgeous ritual of the times. No great claims to social standing were entertained, they were only humble fishermen, but they were of the aristocracy of heaven. Numerically they were weak, but potentially the power was infinite, for the Lord was there. How easy to become discouraged, as we contemplate the small number in the assembly! But let us occupy our hearts with the wonderful Person who is in our midst, our blessed Lord and Saviour.
- The Place of His Supremacy. “Master,” said they. They willingly took the place of pupils. The Lord is Host and Teacher in the Nameless place. He invited them. They were before Him to hear His Word and to obey. We are not given their names at this point, the important thing is, that the Lord is in residence here. When Peter got occupied with Moses and Elijah, they were removed and the word was, “My Beloved Son, hear ye Him.” The will and power of man are of no account. What trouble would be avoided, if the schemes and plans that are at times concocted in homes, and passed as law in the assembly, were judged in this light. Let us ever remember that the nameless place is NOT the lawless place. He who has eyes as a flame of fire still walks in the midst of the golden lampstands.
- The Place of Tested Motives. The Lord asked them, “What seek ye?” There is nothing here for the flesh, only faith can thrive. Well might we inquire of our own hearts about the motives that prompt us. The Lord knows. Is it position? Is it vain glory? The two had the answer that counts, “Where dwellest THOU?” It was Christ they wanted.
- The Place of Conviction. “We have found the Messias.” They did not go forth to criticise one another, but to speak of the Lord in their midst. Such was the power of that season in His Presence, they could go out and speak with conviction, and blessing ensued. They abode with Him that day—a day typical of this present time of His rejection, when souls are being saved (vv. 41-42) and gathered to His Name—a day far spent, for it was the tenth hour. Till He comes it is our privilege, like them, to dwell with Him this day, in the nameless place.
- “Outside the Camp unto Thy dear Name,
- Lord, may I here be found;
- Weaned from the world, with its pomp and its fame;
- Resting on holy ground.
- Outside the Camp in Thy company till
- Earth’s little day be done.”
By John Glenville.
Conversions are always miraculous, albeit often enough circumstances might appear quite ordinary on the surface. The writer’s background, in a sense, knew two vital extremes. My father, although a gentleman (his father having the freedom of the City of London), had come upon “hard times,” so that one was brought up under the tender mercies of the Relieving Officer in London’s East End. As a family of three, for the first twelve years of my life, we occupied one unfurnished, oil-lamp lighted back room possessing no cooking facilities.
Now my father had been an actor stage manager of no mean accomplishments. He had played in all the major theatres of Great Britain and Ireland: his fellow-actors were men of the calibre of Sir Henry Irving and Sir Beerbohm Tree. Although in the course of his work he quite frequently drank alcohol into the small hours of the morning, he was a man of strict moral business principles, being business manager of Sadlers Wells for ten years.
As a boy I attended an elementary school (which incidentally produced many elements for the raging street gang warfare), and when, in the 1920s, the masters urged that I sat for a State scholarship, my father refused to permit me so to do, solely because he could not afford the necessary school uniform in the event of my success.
It was at this time in my boyhood days that the hand of the Lord was upon me to save me from certain death. Another boy and I raided a mulberry tree in a garden adjacent to a railway bridge which we negotiated with boylike ease. At the bottom of the garden ran the electrified lines of the District Railway. Sidney clambered on to the track and sat on the rail—wisely enough the unelectrified brake rail. I stood with both rubber-soled feet ignorantly balancing on the electric rail, the electric current surging up my body. Observing an oncoming train some few hundred yards along the line, we deemed it propitious to depart.
In those days there would “often come o’er me” a pathetic, frightened attitude akin to that of a rabbit in a snare, as I thought of the great eternity. This was especially so as I lay upon my bed at night. Strangely enough, the noisy rumbling of a late tram car hard by, would bring relief from the death-like silence.
A few days after my fourteenth birthday I left school. Father had a friend, an ardent playgoer, holding a fairly influential position in the City. Notwithstanding the fact that the firm by which he was employed only accepted apprentices from public or high schools, the Lord obviously overruled, as my father’s friend secured for me the requisite interview, and the entrance tests were passed. Like some Dickens’ character, as a raw boy of just fourteen summers I was duly apprenticed. Here I later came under the influence of a dear believer, a keen evangelical, who was made a great blessing to me.
As my father was one of the original members of the Actors’ Church Union, it followed automatically that I was in an Anglican community with a strong Roman bias. Never in my life had I attended a Gospel meeting. Indeed, the only part of a Gospel hymn that I had ever heard was sung by a quaint character on the seafront at Southend-on-Sea, where a day’s excursion had been spent. He was singing the chorus, “Something more than gold,” and as the coppers rained down at his feet, he cried, Cockneywise, “Not ha’pennies, guvnor!”
However, in that late summer of 1938, as the silvery fingers of London’s searchlights were already tentatively probing the night skies, so the finger of God, by the operating power of the Holy Spirit, was exploring the dark, labyrinthine avenues of my being. On August 28th of that year, therefore, having read Gospel literature, placed into my hands by the brother to whom allusion has been made, I knelt by my bedside as a guilty sinner, accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as my own personal Saviour and Lord. The Spirit of God had not only revealed to me that I was a vile, helpless and lost sinner, but also that Christ had died for the ungodly. What a transport of delight it was to realise that the Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me (Gal. 2. 20).
A complete and utter revolution had thus been effected in my life. Old things had passed away, and all things had become new. This volte-face was immediately evident. No longer did I wish to appear in amateur dramatics, in aid of some Anglican fund, but simply walked off the stage, never to return. My little Sunday School scholars, taught by their mothers to recite the “Hail Mary,” were enabled to hear from my lips the old, old story of a Saviour’s love. As you read these lines, dear unsaved one, remember that you tremble upon the brink of an undone eternity, that you hover on the precipice of a yawning, unquenchable, fiery, ever-burning hell. Be warned, have “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20. 21).
- “So he obeyed, and soon he found
- The half hath not been told,
- The blessing Jesus brought to him
- Was better far than gold.
By Harry Bell, Jarrow.
1. CHRIST AS SEEN IN MATTHEW
Matthew’s Gospel links together the Old Testament and New Testament. It contains more quotations from the Old Testament than any other Gospel.
The word, “Kingdom,” occurs 50 times in Matthew. The phrase, “Kingdom of Heaven,” is found 32 times in it, and never in the other Gospels. Christ is here seen as King.
There are three main portions in Matthew:
- Chaps. 5; 6; 7 —— The Kingdom as it should be.
- Chap. 13 —— The Kingdom as it is.
- Chaps. 24 and 25 —— The Kingdom as it will be.
An Outline of the Book:
- The Announcement of the King ——— Chaps. 1-4.
- The Approach of the King ——— Chaps. 5-12.
- The Absence of the King ——— Chaps. 13-20
- The Appearing of the King —— — Chaps. 21-25
- The Appointment of the King ——— Chaps. 26-28
2. CHRIST AS SEEN IN MARK
Christ, who is viewed as the King in Matthew, is here seen as the perfect Servant. In the opening verses of his Gospel, Mark makes a quotation from Isaiah about the Servant of Jehovah. Note too that both at the beginning and end of Mark, we have the Good News—the Gospel—which that Servant came to announce. It is interesting that while in the first chapter the Sun is seen setting (1.32), in the last chapter the Sun is seen rising (16. 2).
In keeping with Christ’s servant character here, no genealogy is given, and the word “Straightway” occurs frequently. While in Matthew God speaks about Him as His Beloved Son, in Mark the words are spoken to Him.
Mark presents the Servant in His solitude, in the desert, in chapters 1 and 6. Then we read of His “taking men apart” in chapters 7 and 8.
An Outline of the Book:
- The Sent Servant ———— Chaps. 1-4.
- The Sympathetic Servant —— Chaps. 5-9.
- The Suffering Servant ——— Chaps. 10-15
- The Sealed Servant ——— Chap. 16
3. CHRIST AS SEEN IN LUKE
In this Gospel Christ is presented as the perfect Man. Luke dwells particularly on the grace and goodness of our Lord, Who here feasts with men, see Chapters 5. 29; 7. 36; 11. 37 and 14. 1.
It is the Gospel of Justification:
- The wisdom of the just Ch.1.17.
- The people … and the publicans justified God Ch. 7.29.
- Wisdom is justified of all her children Ch. 7.35.
- This man went down … justified Ch. 18.14.
It is the Gospel of Widows:
- A Waiting Widow ————— Ch. 2. 36-38.
- A Weeping Widow ————— Ch. 7. 12.
- A Wailing Widow ————— Ch. 18. 1-8.
- A Willing Widow ————— Ch. 21. 1-4.
An Outline of the Book:
- The Lord’s Parenthood and Purity … Chs. 1-4.
- The Lord’s Preaching and Power … Chs. 5-9.
- The Lord’s Pathways and Parables … Chs. 10-19.
- The Lord’s Passion and Promise … Chs. 20-24.
4. CHRIST AS SEEN IN JOHN
The great subject here is the Deity of Christ. Being God,
There is no limit to His Knowledge.
- He knew all men ————— Ch. 2. 24.
- He knew all things ———— Ch. 21.17.
Certain things are absent in this Gospel:
- There is no Temptation, for “God cannot be tempted with evil” (James 1.13).
- There is no Transfiguration—His Glory was always manifest.
- There is no Garden agony—as the Divine Son He knew the Father’s will.
- There is no haste, for God is never in a hurry.
- No one carries His cross—as God He alone works.
In this Gospel there are wonderful character studies of men, because the Son of God knows the character of every one. Consider what is said of :
Philip—He always wished to see :
- He said, “Come and see” ———— Ch. 1. 46.
- He desired to see 200 pennyworth of bread Ch. 6. 7.
- He met the Greeks who wished “to see Jesus” Ch. 12. 20, 21.
- He asked to see “The Father” ——— Ch. 14. 8.
Andrew always brings people to the Lord:
- He brings Peter ————— Ch. 1. 40, 41.
- He brings the lad ————— Ch. 6. 8, 9.
- He brings the Greeks ———— Ch. 12. 22.
Judas sinks deeper and deeper into evil:
- He is a devil —————— Ch. 6. 70, 71.
- The Devil puts a thought into his heart — Ch. 13. 2.
- Satan enters into him ———— Ch. 13. 27.
- He is the son of perdition ———Ch. 17. 12.
An Outline of the Book :
- The Christ of Revelation ———— Chs. 1-4.
- The Christ of Refreshment ——— Chs. 5-9
- The Christ of Resurrection ——— Chs. 10-12
- The Christ of Relationship ———Chs. 13-20
Chapter 21 is the Divine Postscript giving the application of all that has gone before, in the words, “Lovest thou Me?”
In these sections we have four respective peaks, at each of which our Lord is worshipped.
The Four Peaks:
- In Ch. 4 He is worshipped by the Samaritan woman.
- In Ch. 9 He is worshipped by the blind man.
- In Ch. 12 He is worshipped by Mary.
- In Ch. 20 He is worshipped by Thomas.
Majesty! Misery! Mercy!
- O God, what Majesty is Thine,
- What dignity, revered, Divine;
- What Glories from Thy Person shine,
- What Holiness, Supreme, Benign.
- O God, what Misery was ours,
- Held fast by dark Satanic powers,
- Throughout sin’s long and dreary hours,
- Frequenting pleasure’s vapid bowers.
- O God, what Mercy Thou hast shown
- In sending Jesus to atone;
- To save us from Hell’s endless groan—
- Exalting us to Heaven’s Throne.
- Majestic Mercy full and free
- That saves us from dark misery;
- And destines us to live with Thee
- Throughout a long Eternity.
- (The late T. Baird)