DANIEL THE PROPHET
by C. J. Atkins
STUDIES IN SOLOMON S TEMPLE
by J. B. D. Page
ENTERING THE HOLIEST
by R. Woodhouse Beales
THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Dr. John Boyd
LORDSHIP AND HEADSHIP
by Edward Robinson
by J. G. Good
NOTES ON EXODUS 30
by G. S. Stock
DANIEL THE PROPHET
by the late C. J. ATKINS
A Sealed Book – Till the time of the End. But the Wise shall Understand.
“At that time.” With ravaging powers from the north and south raging over the “glorious land.” and powers from the east also moving to gain controlling power. … then, at that time, events will also move in heaven, events which are described in Rev. 12. Following this statement with which this chapter in Revelation opens concerning the “great sign.” i.e. a panoramic picture of the birth of the Lord Jesus, the Seed of the woman, and His ascension to heaven to the throne, then is given the announcement of war in heaven. “Michael and his angels going forth to war with the dragon … and the great dragon was cast down to earth” Rev. 12:7,9. It was long ago predicted that of the people of Abraham should come the promised Seed through Whom all nations should be blessed, (Gen. 22:18). The prophet Micah gave precise detail of the place: “but thou Bethlehem Ephratah … out of thee shall one come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel.” and in this same passage the prophet shows that the travail is some event to come in a future period. “Therefore will He give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth” Micah 5:2,3. This agrees with the word of the prophet Isaiah “Before she travailed, she brought forth: before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child” Is. 66:7. Though the rulers and the nation of Israel as a whole rejected their king, the promised Seed of the woman, and in consequence “God gave them a spirit of stupor, ,eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear until this very day” Rom. 11:8, yet “they are beloved for the fathers sake” Rom. 1 i: 28 and therefore, when the period of time of Gentile domination which God is allowing comes to an end, then Israel shall be saved.
Periods of time of unspecified length elapse between events of Rev. 12:5 and 6. The woman is delivered of the Man Child, and though His life on earth is not described, the fact of His ascension to the throne is stated—“and her Child was caught up unto God. and unto His throne.” The period of His rule with a rod of iron, fulfilling Ps. 2:8,9, is yet to come, and so also is the time immediately preceding it described in Rev. 12, v. 6 and v. 14 which is to last for 34 years. “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God that there they may nourish her a thousand two hundred and three score days,” “And when the dragon saw he was cast down to the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the Man child. And there was given to the woman the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness unto her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” Rev. 12:6,13,14. Thus repeatedly this period of forty-two months, the time of Jacob’s trouble is described. It is that period marked in Dan. 9. as the second half of the 70th week, which immediately precedes the coming forth in glory of the “Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of His power in flaming fire rendering vengeance to them that obey not God.” 2 Thess. 1:7,8. The same Jehovah Who brought the nation out from the bondage of Egypt and said “I bare you on eagle’s wings and brought you to Myself” Ex. 19:4, will watch over them in this wilderness also “where she is nourished … from the face of the serpent.”
For this purpose the mighty angel Michael, “the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people” stood, that he might oppose the fury of Satan and’ his hosts when they were cast out of heaven. Knowing that the time is short, the Satanic powers crush and oppress the nation of Israel in this “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time . . Dan. 12:1. So Daniel is told “at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that is found written in the book.” There is no need for a literal book written with certain names, for the eternal almighty God knows every one of His elect, those who by faith could see beyond the symbols of the ancient worship such as in the tabernacle or the temple to discern the living and true God as their Saviour, or those who in this dispensation trust wholly and simply in the finished work of redemption at the cross. In every age God has, and will have, such a faithful remnant and it is such a remnant who “at that time—shall be delivered.”
There is considerable variation of opinion concerning the interpretation of v. 2 whether it relates to a literal resurrection or otherwise. It is evident from Rev. 20:5-6 that there are two stages of resurrection, first those who were faithful through the great tribulation, but the unbelievers and evil doers “the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished.” The resurrection of the justified ones is separate in time from that of unbelievers. It appears therefore that v. 2 of Dan. 12 refers to the national resurrection described by Ezekiel in his prophecy in ch. 37 in the vision of the valley of dry bones. “O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones: behold. I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live … Then He said unto me, son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel … I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, O My people: and 1 will bring you into the land of Israel. Ezek. 37:4,5,12. Similarly a comparable passage in Is. 26:12-19 evidently speaks of a national resurrection. Of restored Israel a faithful remnant will awake, “some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Dan. 12:2. Amongst this remnant will be certain gifted ones, called in the A.V. “they that understand (ch. 11:33) who will be able to open up the scriptures to show that the despised Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Of these the Lord spoke when He said “When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let him that readeth understand)” Matt. 24:15. These Jewish teachers under God’s guidance will show that the awful events of their time are those foretold by the prophets, and their witness will bring conviction to many, both Jew and Gentile. Their exhortations from the scripture of truth, calling for repentance and acknowledgement of sin will “turn many to righteousness,” from amongst all nations, so that at the end of the time of trouble, the great tribulation, “when the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then shall He sit on the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats … Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matt. 25:31,32,34.
This company will form the “great multitude which no man can number, out of every nation, and of all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes and palms in their hands; and they cry with a great voice, saying, “Salvation unto our God which sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb . . These are they which came out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Rev. 7; 9,10,14. With them will stand the great company of those sealed, the servants of God of the tribes of Israel, numerically symbolised as twelve thousand of every tribe, Rev. 7:3-8. This multitude will stand “before the throne of God and they will serve Him day and night in His temple” Rev. 7:15. This is the earthly kingdom, not to be confused with the Church which during this period is rejoicing with the Bridegroom in a heavenly kingdom. The Church is seen by the apostle John when he sees “a door opened in heaven … and four and twenty elders sitting arrayed in white garments and on their heads crowns of gold. Rev. 4:1,4.
How different are the concluding words of the book of Daniel and Revelation. The prophet is told in Ch. 12:4 to “shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end,” but the apostle John at the close of the revelation is told by the angelic messenger “seal not up the words of the prophecy of this book; for the time is at hand” Rev.22:10. Daniel looks on to the time of the end when “they that be wise … that turn many to righteousness” will take the revelations of the whole of the sacred writing, they will “run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” Dan. 12:3,4, that is as they compare scripture with scripture going through the revealed purposes of God in Christ they will then understand that which for so long puzzled Israel, that the suffering Servant of Jehovah is also the exalted and extolled servant. They will then understand that the God of their fathers “glorified His Servant Jesus Whom ye delivered up, and denied before the face of Pontius Pilate.” Then Israel will know that “Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead … He is the stone which was set at nought of you the builders, which was made the head of the corner.” Acts 3:13.14 and 4:10,11.
—(To be concluded)
STUDIES IN SOLOMON’S TEMPLE (6)
by JOHN B. D. PAGE
Of the project, the plan of which was revealed by the Lord to David and for which David had prepared without reserve. Solomon said, “the House, which I am about to build, shall be great and wonderful” (2Chron. 2:9, mgn). This was not a mere boast made by Solomon, as the detailed description of Scripture reveals but factual and, in spite of our faults and failings, the true Church, as beheld in Christ, is “great and wonderful.” Solomon’s Temple, considered anti-typically, is “a great … mystery concerning Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:32), which we will now consider further.
Having looked at the lay-out, we shall now consider the building structurally.
“And for the house (i.e. the Holy Place), he made windows of narrow lights” (I Ki. 6:4), which meant that the Holy Place, where the priests ministered, was lit by natural light besides artificial light from the lampstands.
In the Holy of Holies, the innermost sanctuary, there were no windows, because “the Lord said that He would dwell in thick darkness” (I Ki. 8:12), signifying there can be nothing of nature in the Presence of God, but only the supernatural light of His Glory.
According to 1Kings 6:7, “the House … was built of stone” and David prepared “marble stones in abundance” for it (1Chron. 29:2). The colours of marble are varied, and such colours are the result of impurities, but pure marble is white. The Hebrew here signifies ‘white marble’ (Newberry).
Of Him, Who is “the Chiefest of ten thousand,” we read that “His legs are as pillars of marble”—of white marble! S. of S. 5:15. Think of the purity of walk and conduct of the Lord Jesus in the days of His flesh! Such unblemished behaviour, which aroused hostility among His foes, provides a pattern for His followers.
Writing to Jewish believers and using temple imagery, Peter says that the Lord Jesus is as a “Living Stone” and
The two Pillars:
“Two pillars of brass,’’ round in shape and hollow within, stood in front and on either side of the Porch. Each pillar was 12 cubits in circumference and 18 cubits high, which included a base of a ^ cubit and a chapiter of 5 cubits in height. The two chapiters, placed on the top of the two pillars, were of beautiful ornamental work (1 Ki. 7:15-22, 2Chron. 3:15-17).
In Scripture, “pillars” symbolize strength, and they are used metaphorically of persons both individually and collectively. Jeremiah ministered in Judah during times of appalling moral and spiritual declension, whch was rife among both the political and religious leaders, besides the rank and file, but he was like “an iron pillar” withstanding their ruthless onslaughts (Jer. 1:18f). In Jeremiah, there is an example for us in these days of apostasy and moral declension.
Recalling a personal experience, Paul tells how “James, Cephas and John seemed to be pillars” in functioning responsibly as elders when they displayed spiritual perception concerning himself and Barnabas (Gal. 2:9). Of overseers, many ethical but one spiritual ability is required, “apt to teach,” and, being well versed in the Scriptures, a pillar-like stability should characterize them.
Not only the elders but also an assembly should act responsibly, for it is a “pillar … of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). To be a “pillar of the truth” means that we must imbibe the truth of Scripture by sound teaching then, as the occasion arises, we shall be a pillar for the truth, and so we shall be able to stand unitedly like a pillar in defence of the Truth Solomon called the right hand pillar “Jachin,” meaning “He shall establish” and the left one “Boaz” that is, “In it is strength” (2Chron. 3, 17, which reminds us that an assembly should be established by the Lord and in strength it should be as a “pillar of the Truth.”
What about the future? In the letters to the seven churches, the promises to the overcomer have an old Testament background ranging from Eden’s “tree of life” to King Solomon’s throne. In the sixth letter, alluding to Solomon’s Temple, the Lord promises, “him that overcometh will 1 make a pillar in the temple of My God” (Rev. 3:12). In such a way, the overcomer will be honoured in the heavenly temple.
— (To be continued)
ENTERING THE HOLIEST
by R. WOODHOUSE BEALES
The next reference in Hebrews 9 is the sprinkling (again by MOSES) of blood upon the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. Now it is difficult to discover from the record in the Old Testament precisely when this was as there is no clear reference to it as far as can be seen. Most of the occasions of sprinkling of blood in connection with the Tabernacle was upon the altar, so this may well be additional information not contained in the Old Testament and may be a reference to the inauguration of the priesthood and the references usually given are those in Exodus 29, 12 and 36, although this does not exactly fit the passage but it does bring to us a reminder of this inauguration which follows on well with the previous scripture reference.
There then followed the seven days when Aaron and his sons, after being called to the priesthood were shut in the tabernacle with God but not yet come out to enter upon their public service, which is given to us in Leviticus ch. 8 v. 33-36, but not in the Exodus account, until in 9. I onwards where the sacrifices for Israel are brought, see v. 15 onwards and this is followed by the blessing of the people by Aaron (v. 22) and by both Moses and Aaron (v. 23) and the glory of the Lord appearing to all the people, the manner and wording of this blessing not being given us here but in Numbers 6, 25-26. Now all this is most solemn and instructive but we would like to suggest, tentatively and for the consideration of the Lord’s people that this period of the 7 days when Aaron and his sons were shut in the tabernacle, may very well suggest to us the future calling away of the church to be with the Lord, before He emerges in glory and power, to bless Israel in a day to come. If so, it brings out the wonder and peculiar joy and blessedness of the hope of the church and her ministry on high before the Lord returns to Israel.
In the meantime we have reference to the third action in this portion, Christ entering heaven and appearing in the presence of God for us. (v. 24) In the next chapter we see that we are now able to enter (in spirit) having boldness so to do (10. 19) through the veil, (v. 20) with the exhortations based upon this fact and the emphasis upon faith, hope (v. 23 should read “hope”) and love, as we see the day (of His manifestation?) approaching. To return to ch. 9 we have the 3 appearings of Christ brought before us in the reverse order to which we have been considering, viz. He now appears (v. 24) He did appear to put away sin (v. 26) and He shall appear the second time (v. 28) unto salvation (a future one) and this finally will be to the world, but in the meantime we may go in and draw nigh which Israel as yet cannot do.
This initial entrance by Aaron and the sons, the priests, and the subsequent coming out to bless Israel was of course followed by a yearly entering by Aaron alone into the Holiest of all on the Day of Atonement, a remembrance thus being made of sins every year but we the church do not have to wait for Him to appear in order to enjoy the Divine presence as we are able to follow Him into that august presence and enjoy now our oneness with Him. Also the Holy Spirit has come out to us that we might know and enjoy these things and as He ministers to us an ascended and glorified Saviour, while Israel has to wait for Him to return later.
May writer and reader alike be able to enter spiritually into these wonderful truths, but meanwhile we should consider the verses we have overlooked viz. 9; 15-19 which bring to us the great Mediator of the Covenant. The first covenant was mediated to the people through Moses and then Aaron, as we have seen, but they were but types of Christ but we wish to point out that contrary to most commentators we question very much whether there is any reference here to the making of a will such as we are accustomed to, but which we suggest was unknown to an Israelite, where inheritances were entailed and passed from father to son (or even daughter, see Numbers 26:33 and 37 and 27:1, 7 and 36:2-11) otherwise the references to transgressions, (v. 15) and blood (vv. 18-20) would be meaningless as referring to ordinary wills, so that we must read v. 17 as “a covenant is of force over the dead (victim) otherwise it is of no force at all while the covenant victim liveth.” This makes these verses and this whole passage of meaning fitting to the main theme of the whole passage and not a kind of interruption of thought. The eternal inheritance is in view and God did not merely “will it” or promise it to the people but secured and ratified it with the sacrifice and blood of His own dear Son. This view fits the argument of the whole passage and makes it coherent and knit together. The Greek word which has been translated “testament” and “covenant” is the same in each case, so the thought is the same.
With further reference to the question of Testament and Covenant, we quote from W. E. Vine’s Dictionary of N.T. Words, “In covenant making the sacrifice of a victim was customary (Gen. 15, 10; Jer. 34, 18, 19). He who made a covenant did so at the cost of a life. While the terminology in Heb. 9:16, 17 has the appearance of . . making a will, there is excellent reason for adhering to the meaning “covenant-making.” The rendering “the death of the testator” would make Christ a Testator, which He was not. He did not die simply that the terms of a testamentary disposition might be fulfilled for the heirs. Here He Who is the “Mediator of a new covenant” (v. 15) is Himself the Victim whose death was necessary. The idea of making a will destroys the argument of v. 18. In spite of various advocacies of the idea of a will, the weight of evidence is confirmatory of what Hatch in “Essays in Biblical Greek” p.48 says: “There can be little doubt that the word (diatheke) must be invariably taken in this sense of “covenant” in the N.T. and especially in a book … so impregnated with the language of the Septua-gint as the epistle to the Hebrews … We may render somewhat literally thus: “For where a covenant is a death is necessary to be brought in of the one covenanting; for a covenant over dead ones (victims) is sure, since never has it force when the one covenanting lives” (Christ being specially in view) … To support his argument, proving the necessity of Christ’s death, the writer adduces the general law that he who makes a covenant does so at the expense of life” (Marcus Dodds). As we might expect we can find adequate illustration of this principle in the Old Testament. For example in 1 Kings 21 we have the express statement of Naboth concerning his vineyard which was part of his inheritance, verse 3 resting for its foundation upon the law of Moses (see Levit. 25:23-30 and Numbers 36:7—). Compare also the matter of Naomi and Ruth and Boaz, and the question of the daughters of Zelophehad, Numb. 1, to 11; and 36; 6, 7. It will be seen thereby that this was no question of “willing” inheritances or of making of wills at all. but was that which was permanent and of divine law.
When we turn back and examine ch. 8, vv. 7-13 we are reading there of the covenant with the house of Israel, with whom God will make a new covenant on far different terms from that of the Old, but one which is based upon God’s purpose for Israel in the future and not, be it noted one which is connected with sacrifices at all simply because the one and only sufficient sacrifice (of Christ) has been once for all made, and therefore it is no longer a two sided covenant at all but one which rests upon the purposes and promises of God and the finished work of His beloved Son.
(To be continued)
THE HOLY SPIRIT
by DR. JOHN BOYD
The Work of the Holy Spirit Before Pentecost
To understand and appreciate the Holy Spirit better we do well to search the Scriptures, to find out something about His work, in the past, and in His present activity, as the executive power of the Godhead. In this examination we find a distinct difference in His work before and after Pentecost, when He was sent by the Father to dwell in the people of God, at the request of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:16) —what is termed technically the ‘procession of the Spirit’ (John 15:26), or the Baptism in the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13).
The Holy Spirit’s Work apart from Man.
Let us look first at the work of the Spirit of God in the Old Testament, apart from His relationship to man. He is seen as the Agent who moved on the face of the waters at creation (Gen. I: 2), lit., He brooded over the waters, with the care that formed order out of chaos. He garnished the heavens, giving to them their beautiful brightness which we are wont to associate with them (Job 26:13).
He was engaged in the creation of man (Job 33:4), and of animals (Ps. 104:30). He has an interest, too, in the vegetable kingdom, for He turns a wilderness into a fruitful field (Is. 32:15), and blowing upon the grass, He causes it to wither (Is. 40:7). Thus was He one with the Father (Gen. 1:1), and with the Son (John 1:3) in the immense work of creation.
The Holy Spirit’s Work towards Man
The Holy Spirit is frequently seen at work, both in the Old and New Testaments, in His relationship with man First, Jet us consider His activities towards man without his co-operation. He is said to abide with men (Gen. 6:3, LXX) to rule and to control them, to keep them from going astray from God after fleshly things (RVm.); He would cease to do so after 120 years, that is, at the flood; He fights against men, as against Israel, who had rebelled, and grieved Him. Thus He became their enemy (Isa. 63:10).
The Holy Spirit’s Work through Man
But it was mainly by means of the Spirit taking possession of man that He is seen working in the Old Testament. This was not a permanent possession of the individuals concerned, but the Holy Spirit occasionally abode in special men for specific purposes. This is all in contrast to the role of the Holy Spirit in believers, in the New Testament after Pentecost, when He abode within them all for ever.
The method of the Spirit coming upon men in the Old Testament varied, mainly because of the nature of the work He was doing through them. The basic word to denote His coming on men is found in Judg. 3:10. It simply means ‘to come to pass.’ Here the Spirit of Jehovah came to be on Othniel—His presence on Othniel came into being. Sometimes the word used for coming upon a man indicates wrapping a garment round oneself, for example, when the Spirit clothed Himself with Gideon, to deliver Israel from the Midianites (Judg. 6:34, RVm.). The same word is employed when the Spirit came upon Amasai to convince David of his loyalty to the king (1 Chron. 12:18). A like figure of speech describes how the Spirit of God clothed Himself with Zechariah the priest, to protest against the idolatry of Judah (2 Chron. 24:20).
The Holy Spirit came mightily upon some men, that is, He forced them into service for Him, to perform great feats— upon Samson, enabling him to slay a lion (Judg. 14:6); upon Saul, giving him the ability to prophesy, with the company of prophets (1 Sam. 10:10); upon David, after Samuel had anointed him, to become a mighty king over Israel (1 Sam. 16:13).
The Spirit at times dwelt in chosen men, as in Joseph (Gen. 41:38), who was thus characterised by wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh. So, too, God declared to Moses that Joshua was ‘a man in whom is the Spirit/ and thus titted to succeed him as the leader of Israel (Num. 27:18). God gave the the Spirit to instruct Israel; this He did through the instrumentality of prophets, for He was in them (Neh. 9:20, 30).
Some men were said to be filled with the Spirit of God, as Bezaleel, so that in him were manifested wisdom, understanding, and knowledge in all manner of intricate work for the erection of the Tabernacle (Ex. 31:3). The Spirit of Christ was in the Old Testament prophets as they wrote the Scriptures, for the work was not of their own origination; they were borne along by the Spirit in their writing; afterwards they must needs look into what they had written—to learn its application, when it would be fulfilled, and for whom it was intended (l Pet. 1:10-12). (To be continued)
LORDSHIP AND HEADSHIP
by EDWARD ROBINSON
Truths which concern the Person of Christ are obviously of the first importance: when they also are concerned with His relationship with ourselves as Christians it becomes essential that we enter with understanding into our involvement. Our Lord’s titles and offices, each portraying some fresh facet of His many-sided moral glories afford an insight into both His deity and His unique perfection in Manhood. We read, for instance of His high priesthood. His mediator-ship between God and men and that He is Minister of the Sanctuary (or Holy places). Two of the most outstanding features of the Lord, however, are His Lordship and His Headship, the former particularly affecting us individually and the latter more generally concerned with the collective position, especially in relation to the Church.
The Lordship of Christ is a cardinal truth, the importance of which cannot be over emphasized. In its wider aspect it is universal in its application, the fullness of which will be seen in His millennial reign. It will then be complete and absolute, any manifestation of lawlessness meeting with summary judgement. But ‘we see not yet all things put under His feet’ and in the meantime our great concern is to yield ourselves fully to Him and to witness in our lives that Christ is supreme. Peter, after Pentecost (Acts 2) tells the men of Israel ‘God has made this same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ Again, speaking to Cornelius (ch. 10), he cannot refrain from adding (a parenthesis in the Scripture), ‘He is Lord of all.’ A Wayside Pulpit has proclaimed very challengingly if Christ is not Lord of all He is not Lord at all.’ Mary, the mother of Jesus, having the advantage of being with Him day by day, discerned the authority which marked Him and at the first recorded miracle by John adjures them ‘WHATSOEVER He saith unto you, do it.’ Linked with the thought of His lordship is that of full and complete subjection to the authority of the Word of the Lord, the Scriptures, especially in a day when this is diminishing, sadly sometimes in quite unexpected quarters.
The Headship of Christ may be considered under three headings :—
- In the order of creation. ‘The head of every man is Christ’ (1Cor. 11:3). This is the divine decree, unalterable and in no way invalidated by the fact that all as yet do not acknowledge His supremacy. His moral right to this is witnessed in the perfection of His incomparable pathway here in holy Manhood and is further incontestably manifested by His redemptive work, having died for all men. It is the mind of God that as Head of the creation, Christ should give character to all; heaven itself will be peopled with men made like unto Him. Adam, while historically before Him was but a figure of the Lord Jesus as is formally stated (Rom. 5:14), ‘who is the figure of Him that was to come.’
- Christ is the head of the church. His body (Eph. 1:22. Col. 1:18). The implications of this aspect of headship are far-reaching, extending in practice much beyond the bearing of an official title. There flows, for instance, from the head in heaven a continuous supply of refreshment and nourishment to the body here on earth, of which we may often be quite forgetful or not conscious. To be in the gain of Christ’s headship will make demands upon our spirituality and sensitiveness in a way His lordship does not, although this be pre-eminent in practical individual responsibility. It operates, of course, in assembly fellowship and service, exercising control and influence, directing the service. All this, if taken up as in vital touch with our risen Head, makes for a richness in worship and the service of God which no set of rules or ritualistic procedure could possibly provide. How important, then, that we should be found ‘holding the Head’ (put negatively in Col. 2:19) and that not merely doctrinally but as a practical reality.
- ‘Christ is the head of all principality and power’ (Col. 2:10). This is a stupendous statement, somewhat mysterious and its fullness probably beyond our finite comprehension. Principalities and powers are evidently of two (and opposite) kinds, both good and evil. The evil are amongst those who at the cross of Christ were ‘spoiled and made a show of openly’ (Col. 2:15). Again, they are adversaries against whom we wrestle, Satanic powers in heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). But this headship of Christ is in relation to angelic beings, far above whom Christ has been set in resurrection by God (Eph. 1:20, 21). How vast and comprehensive is His headship, covering every sphere of influence in the whole universe. It is summed up, perhaps, in the statement of the purpose of God, that ‘He might gather together (‘head up’) all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth’ (Eph. 1:10). True to character, John places it in the realm of divine love, ‘The Father loves the Son and has given ALL THINGS into His hand.’ (John 3:35).
by J. G. GOOD
The words of an aged servant to a young convert come to mind, on hearing of the young man’s Salvation he remarked “Live to prove it and watch your companions.’’ At conversion our eternal destiny was changed among the princes of God’s People. We in the words of the old hymn said “My old companions fare ye well.”
The word companion carries the thought of fellowship, partner, fellow traveller, and fellow worker. There are four references to this word, which are worthy of our consideration.
(a) Companions in Fear and Obedience. Psalm 119:63.
A ready and willing obedience should be the fruit of a godly fear, are these features readily recognised in the companions of our choice. Fear and obedience a two-fold cord of Truth which cannot be broken. If I fear, surely on my part there must be a desire to obey and run in the paths of His commandments.
Fear and obedience beautifully displayed in the life of Abraham.
- “By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.” Prov. 3-7. Abraham left the idolatry of Ur of the Chaldees and moved into the path of Faith.
- “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.” Psalm 25-14. “Shall I hide from my Friend Abraham that which I do.” Genesis 18-17.
- “Now 1 know that thou fearest God.” Genesis 22-12 Abraham was prepared to give his ALL.
Fear in the Sanctuary Psalm 89-7. Fear in our Sojourn 1 Peter 1-17. Fear in our Service Hebrews 12-28.
(b) Companions in Trial and Suffering. Hebrews 10:33.
Are we prepared to be identified with the despised and afflicted of God’s people, this was the choice of Moses (Heb. 11-25). The Hebrew Christians were going through a time of severe trial and persecution, taking joyfully the spoiling of their goods, yet having fellowship with the writer of this epistle in his sufferings (verse 34). They were suffering too from their fellow countrymen, because of their association with a despised and rejected Christ, hence the exhortation “Let us go forth unto Him outside the camp” (Heb. 13-3). Bearing His reproach, Affection for the Person of our absent soon coming Lord, this alone will keep us in the place of testimony, rejoicing in tribulation. “Call to remembrance the former days” verse 32, in the early morning experience of Christian life the joy of the Lord was so real that from the crucible of suffering there emerged Glory to God, suffering yielded the peaceable fruits of righteousness because all was acknowledged as coming from the ever loving, never erring Hand of our God.
- “Must I be carried to the skies,
- On flowery beds of ease,
- While others fought to win the prize.
- And sailed through bloody seas.’’
(c) Companions in the Lord’s Service. Philippians 2:25.
In Romans Ch. 16 Paul gives a list of Saints who assisted in the Lord’s service, in whose company he rejoiced. In Philippians 4-3 he speaks of women who laboured with him in the Gospel, how much have sisters contributed to the labours of God’s servants. The service of the sister may not be on a platform in a public way. but how important and special is the service of godly sisters in the local assembly, how much we owe to the prayers of such. Epaphroditus comes in for commendation, what descriptive phrases, “Brother in the Lord,” “Companion in labour,” “fellow-soldier and messenger.” Sometimes we are inclined to associate service with the itinerant Gospel preacher, the goal of the young Christian seems to be the platform, the distribution of the Gospel Tracts are not quite as popular, or standing by the door giving a word of welcome, or to visit the aged who are unable to attend the gatherings of the Lord’s people. I appeal to our young brethren be faithful to your local company, know what it is to labour in happy fellowship with your brethren and sisters, never let us forget that our first and foremost responsibility is our own local assembly. It is sad but true, in many places the Gospel testimony is borne by the faithful few, when the diary comes first, “AM I needed at home” is of secondary importance.
(d) Companions in Travel. Acts 19:29.
The missionary journeys of the apostle Paul, Philippi. Thessalonica, Macedonia, sailing to Troas. The passion for Christ in the heart of the apostle as he journeyed on in the service of his Lord and Master, in the company of fellow workers, how fruitful and pleasant such journeys must have been? Many and varied were the experiences of the apostle, as he journeyed on, hostility at Ephesus, happy fellowship in Troas, Breaking Bread with that little band of disciples, then the meeting with the overseers at Miletus, then on to Tyre, and a searching out of the disciples, Acts 21-4, and having found them, tarried there seven days. We live in a day of much travel, do we make it our business to seek out the disciples and have happy fellowship with them. Is it not often the case, that holidays are arranged with no thought about gathering with the Lord’s people. How sweet to travel on in the Lord’s service with those of kindred mind. Let us value Christian companionship, may we foster it, cherish it. rejoice in it, until travelling days are done.
NOTES ON EXODUS 30
by GERALD S. STOCK (Redditch)
Vs. 1. The first eleven verses of this chapter mark the end of the first section of God’s instructions for the building of His dwelling place. In that section, (from Ch. 25—30:11) God has given His people the inestimable privilege of building Him a dwelling place. He has also completely denied them the privilege of designing it, in any detail. That is the lesson of the section, and is as relevant, to that which answers to the tent of meeting—the local assembly today. Very few believers will accept that in our day, but God will not change His mind. His dwelling place must be of His design alone, and suitable to Him.
“Unto My Name” is in our use, a label applied, a phrase used for correspondence heading, or notice board identification. But that is no less than a tragic travesty of what that phrase implies. “Unto My Name” involves, in unmistakable terms, in the context in which it appears, conditions suited to that Name, which is the total expression of all that God is. He cannot, without forfeiting what He is, make His presence known otherwise.
In His presence in that future city—“Nought that defileth” shall ever enter. Why then do we imagine that the known presence of God can be realized and enjoyed on earth while we cling to that which defiles? That is why it is so tragic; we cling to defiling things, thereby forfeiting the real manifestation of God’s holy presence, and furthermore, robbing Him of that which He so greatly desires.
Vs. 1. This is last, but by no means least of the furniture of the tabernacle. The laver takes its own place. Before the details, we are given the purpose for its use, an order not taken with the rest. “Omnipotence hath servants everywhere” but not worshippers—those He has to seek, John 4:23. On the human side as we have already seen, true worship is “Very costly” John 12:3. In a perverted world “Worship” is merely ministering to the emotions of a religious animal, and is intended to “make him feel better.” This altar tells us how far removed from real worship that, or anything like it, is. Nothing but Christ, the Christ of God, will do for God—or us.
Again the actual dimensions are given in between the designation of the two materials. It has no base, but is nevertheless the highest piece of furniture in the tabernacle for it tells of the summit of all God’s desires for His people, as the rest of the chapter will shew. The wood is the same, and the pure gold, for in access or in worship there is “One mediator between God and men” 1 Tim. 2:5. Himself man, but in one co-mingled essence, beyond our understanding, truly God. Thus able to receive our worship, and knowing as God, what is suitable to God. perfects our praises and our prayers.
Again “A crown of gold round about” for on its top or “roof” is to burn the holy incense; what is true worship can only be produced and secured by a divine work. It will be available all the wilderness journey through, He who is both God and man will maintain that.
Vs. 6. And its position? “Before the vail that is by … the ark of the testimony where I will meet with thee.” That is, as near the ark as possible with only the vail between, there necessarily because;—“The Holy Ghost this signifying that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest.” Heb .9:8. We hardly know how precious the prayers and praises of His people are to Him. Daniel gives us a hint of this, angelic messengers are dispatched from the throne as soon as he begins to pray, and lions, fierce and hungry, have to wait while his prayers are answered. So this is near that “Where I will meet with thee,” for this is where we meet with Him. “Draw nigh to God and God will draw nigh to you.” Jam. 4:8.
In the book of the Revelation (Ch. 8:3) in Israel’s darkest hour, the Golden Altar is Before the throne and its fire fills the censer which is “Cast into the earth.” For there the church has been caught away and it is the “elect” the godly remnant who cry to God night and day for deliverance. Their prayers are received, as are ours now, by the only One competent to receive them, and alone able to “Give efficacy to the prayers” J.N.D.
Vs. 7. The burning of the incense is to coincide with the offering of the daily sacrifices, also, with the lighting and dressing of the lamps, connected here directly in our verse. Why? Because we should “Pray with the Spirit, … and pray with the understanding also.” “Praying in the Holy Spirit,” Jude 20, surely means that He should move them, indeed Rom. 8:26 leaves us in no doubt that without His gracious ministrations we know not—it needs divine light, how to pray as we ought; without His aid our prayers would be poor. So the light of the lamp tells of the work of the paraclete within; the priest at the altar of the paraclete above.
(To be continued)
NOTES BY THE COMMITTEE
- Though years and years roll on,
- His cov’nant shall endure;
- Though clouds and darkness hide His path,
- The promised grace is sure.
“He led them on safely, so that they feared not.”—Psalm 78:53
Another year has been added to those that are past. We can bless our God for His grace that has sustained us, and for His safe leading, so that we might not fear. Thus we can face the days of 1975 with increased dependence upon the faithfulness of our God We believe it is true that the Christian “is immortal until his work is done.” Moses, and others with him, continued to encourage and help, intercede for, and remain with the people of God for a journey of 38 years which any of them could have completed in 10 days! Their God gave the necessary grace and patience and strength for the journey, in which “HE LED” and “THEY FEARED NOT”, and their God is our God for ever and ever!
We feel it is the Lord’s will for us to continue this little service of issuing the magazine, bi-monthly, in 1975. He Who sees the need can give us the grace and means to meet it, so that we “fear not’’ the increasing costs of materials, wages and postal charges.
It is surely a testimony to the faithfulness of our God that each account due in 1974 could be met promptly. His grace produced that exercise of heart in His people in the assemblies or individually that their practical fellowship with us proved sufficient to meet our needs. To all these dear saints, thus exercised, we offer our warm-hearted thanks. The Lord will fully reward all such kindness shown us for His Name’s sake.
We also offer sincere thanks to our beloved brethren who contributed papers Only the lord can assess the time spent and the effort required in this written ministry. He, Himself, will surely reward this “labour of love.” It is most encouraging to notice the many expressions of appreciation received from our readers in various lands in the five Continents of earth that our magazine reaches.
The opportunity is also taken to thank our Editor, on behalf of our readers and ourselves for his valuable services, and to express the request of several readers that we may have more from his own pen, in the will of the Lord.
He Knows Best
- “That ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God!” — (Rom. 12:2).
- Whate’er my God ordains is right!
- His will is ever just;
- Howe’er He orders now my cause,
- I will be still and trust.
- He is my God!
- Though dark my road.
- He holds me that 1 shall not fall.
- Wherefore to Him 1 leave it all.
- Whate’er my God ordains is right!
- He never will deceive;
- He leads me by the proper path.
- And so to Him I cleave,
- And take content What He hath sent.
- His hand can turn my griefs away.
- And patiently I wait His day.
- —From “Lyra Germanica!’