THE RED HEIFER
by F. English
THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
by E. Jamieson
NOTES ON EXODUS 30
by G. S. Stock
STUDIES IN SOLOMON’S TEMPLE
by J. B. D. Page
THE HOLY SPIRIT—HIS WORK
by Dr. J. Boyd
GOD IS FAITHFUL
by E. Robinson
by F. ENGLISH
Numbers Chapter 19
I have been asked to put a few thoughts on paper concerning this wonderful provision that God made for His people passing through a wilderness where it was so easy to get defiled, but through God’s provision it was just as simple to obtain cleansing and so maintain fellowship with a Holy God. Indeed the provision was made and ready to hand before the defilement took place. Let us look at the provision made and then how it could be obtained.
We note it was a red heifer and “He Who knew no sin was made sin for us.” A man once took his little boy to see a regiment of soldiers, in America, who were wearing red tunics. The boy seeing this exclaimed: “Daddy, they are all white!” He was viewing them through red spectacles. Red, looked at through red, appears white.
Then it was not a bullock but a heifer. Where we read of the female in the Bible it speaks of subjection. The Lord Jesus came to earth to do the will of God and this was always before Him. The words He spake and the works He performed were always of the Father, and when He could say “It is finished” He had completely made an end of sin to God’s eternal pleasure. We see in man, from the beginning and especially in this our day, a rebellion against the will of God. Peter shows the great difference in the Christian and he uses the word “subject.” In 1 Peter 2 verse 13 the citizen is to be subject to governors, in Chap. 2 verse 18 the servant is to be subject to masters, in Chap. 3 verse 1 the wife is to be subject to her husband, and in Chap. 5 verse 5 the younger are to be subject to the elder; yea, all of them subject one to another. Surely His coming was not in vain.
The heifer was also one “upon which never came yoke.” The Saviour was always free from bondage to any man but in love He ministered unto man even to the extent of laying down His life. Paul followed Him closely and was able to say “If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10). Not only in what he preached but in where he preached. In Acts 16 verse 6 they “were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia” and in verse 7 “the Spirit suffered them not” to go into Bithynia. Are we losing our dependence on the Holy Spirit?
The sacrifice was to be slain outside the camp. It was an offering for sin. We find in Heb. 13:10-14 Christ was crucified in the same place. He shed His blood “outside” that ours might be the “inside” place, “within the veil.” We find two reasons why Christ suffered without the gate. Firstly, they put Him out as not worthy to die in their “Holy City.” Secondly, He went there of His own accord, thus showing that all that the “camp” of Israel stood for was defiled and He would offer the sacrifice “in a clean place.” The Christian was to go forth unto Him without the camp.” Then the heifer was burned to ashes, thus reminding us of the fearful fire of God’s wrath which was like the fire from above, consuming, as it were, His bones. The cedar wood: man in his greatness; the hyssop: man in his nothingness; and the scarlet: man in his glory; were cast into the burning. When Paul realised this truth he said “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The ashes were laid up in a clean place, applied to running water and kept for cleansing.
If a man “touched” a dead body or a bone or a grave, he became unclean. If he was in a tent where death entered, or a vessel was left uncovered, both were rendered unclean. How careful we should be as to what we fellowship with. If we visit in a house, a privilege in itself, but in some cases we need to be sure of “having the covering bound upon the vessel,” namely, our hearts. We are enjoined in 2 Cor. 6 verse 17 “Be ye separate … touch not the unclean thing.” We would gather from that, that the believer is to be separate from unbelieving persons and unclean things, and Paul has before him Heathendom and all its practices. In Heb. 13 he is thinking of Judaism and all it stands for, but in 2 Tim. 3 verses 1-5 he is thinking of Christendom. There we find every kind of evil committed and yet having “a form of godliness.” From such we are to “turn away.” We are thankful that so many have obeyed these commandments and gather simply “unto Him” but is it possible that our assemblies are being defiled by the very things we have fled from?
How thankful we are that God has made provision: the precious blood, which never loses its power, and the everlasting mercies of the Lord. But the unclean man must acknowledge his defilement and we must confess our sin so as to be forgiven and cleansed. David sinned, but when his sin was brought home to him by Nathan he confessed it immediately and acknowledged “I am the man.” Failure to do this will hold up the blessing. We know the result when he confessed, but what drastic results otherwise. The man was “cut off from among the congregation because he defiled the sanctuary of the Lord.” May we see that sin unconfessed, not only has an effect upon ourselves but mars the temple of God and invites the judgement of God, Who hath said “him shall God destroy” 1 Cor. 3 verses 16-17.
by EDWARD JAMIESON
Calvary will ever remain the crisis of the Christ, the place where the love of God stands in sharp contrast against the terrible hatred and wickedness of the human heart. Its results can never be fully appreciated neither can the phraseology of man express the joys and blessings of those who have sought refuge in that cross.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he aptly describes the manner in which these blessings can be experienced, namely by the recognition of the truth concerning the Church. (1 Cor. 12). Speaking of the Body with its multiplicity of members, the apostle proceeds to emphasise the need of development in order that blessing may be enjoyed mutually in the Lord.
God in His grace has endowed the Church with a richness in variety so that in the church of to-day we are members of one another, “fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16, RV.).
Let us observe then a number of principles related to the subject of the gifts of the Spirit.
According to Ephesians 4:8 these spiritual gifts are imparted to men, by God, a God-given endowment enabling the believer to serve within the framework of the body of Christ.
Looking retrospectively to the empty tomb the apostle describes for us in Ephesians 4:18 the triumphant procession of the Lord Jesus as He ascends up on high leading captivity captive. His truly was the path of a Victor returning from the conflict with hands full of blessing for His people. The bounty gained as a result of Calvary He now distributes amongst His people, in giving gifts to men, (“men” in the sense of male and female).
Beloved, let us never forget that God’s gifts to the Church are of immense value, having been provided at the cost of suffering. At length there came the moment appointed by the Father when the Lord Jesus should lay down the 1ife which no man could take from Him. In His dying He displayed His glory while in His resurrection and ascension He manifested His triumph over death, hell and the grave and now brings every believer into the enjoyment of this spiritual bounty in Christ. Nothing should bring greater delight to the heart of the child of God as the use of these spiritual gifts, sacredly, sincerely and humbly before God as the Giver.
Since they are divinely bestowed it follows that the possession of them is not in itself a sign of spirituality. A Christian unyielded to the Lord may possess great spiritual ability, while a Christian dedicated to the Lord may have relatively minor spiritual gifts. Nevertheless it is true that proper adjustment in the spiritual life is essential to proper exercise of the spiritual gift, but spirituality in itself does not bring spiritual gifts. How clearly the thought of God-given gift is explained in 1 Cor. 12:11 “dividing to every man severally as He will.”
Never in the history of the church was there a greater need for the exercise of Divinely bestowed gift as the day in which we live.
Take now with gladness the task he gives you, using that gift or gifts to bring honour and delight to His Name.
Scripture does not allow for the refrain “but I do not have a gift to develop, public speaking is not my ability, personal work is not my calling, pastoral care is not my sphere.” Let the Word of God give us the answer, “to each one is given a manifestation of the Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:7). Thus the Spirit who indwells every believer manifests Himself to them in a distinct way, to one as the gift of teaching, to another as the gift of exhortation, while to another as the gift of helps, etc. How has the Spirit manifested Himself to me?
When a Christian realises that he possess a God-given gift to enable him to serve within the structure of the body of Christ, he will use it to edification. My brother, my sister, some dear saint is waiting to be built up by means of the development of your gift; use it then to God’s glory. The absence from a meeting or the lack of fellowship in the work could hinder someone from receiving edification in the Lord. Let us be workers together for Him.
Tragic consequences result from the idea of some who contend that certain gifts are for personal gratification. As in the physical, the power of vision is not for the benefit of the eye but for the whole man, so in the spiritual, the gift of one member is for the benefit of all the body.
We must of necessity conclude, that if the Church is not being edified it is because gifts are not in use, or perhaps due to the fact that the member is not present to use it.
Gifts, as observed, are not a mark of spirituality but do accompany salvation, for as in the natural so in the spiritual. The powers of natural ability are resident in the new-born babe as the powers of spiritual gift are resident in the born-again believer. Therefore it is a matter of proper use and development of the gifts rather than additional gifts bestowed. One must also differentiate between spiritual gifts and natural ability. God does at times choose men and women who possess outstanding powers of leadership, personality and oratory, but these abilities are not always designed of God to be used in the spiritual sphere. Let us be clear on this point, that spiritual gifts pertain to the spiritual birth of Christians not to the natural birth of the individual. It is not an enlargement of the natural, but rather a bestowal of the spiritual.
Carefully reading 1 Corinthians 12 to 14 we will have noted the frequent occurrence of the idea of edification in the Lord. When God authoritatively directs His children to edify one another in love, He means it. While it is accepted that a positive ministry will yield positive results and a negative ministry produces negative results, there is the danger of overlooking the fact and allowing ourselves to become careless in the operation of spiritual gift amongst us as God’s people.
So much then for the subject of gifts being individually possessed. How does the Scripture outline them for us?
The question may be asked, “What are these spiritual gifts?” In three parts of the New Testament (Romans 12, 1Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4) reference is made to the subject with emphasis being laid on the defining of a number of the gifts of the Spirit. The careful reader of the Epistles together with the Acts of the Apostles will readily discern the two main groups into which these gifts can be divided. Those that were for temporary use and those that are permanent and in operation in the Church to-day.
We make excuses for our spiritual poverty, coldness and indifference by the plea that we are living in the last days, but let us remember that power is at our disposal. God has given to every man the ability to function as a member of the Body of Christ. Let us see to it, beloved that we are developing our gifts to the edification of the Church of Christ.
by GERALD S. STOCK (Redditch)
Vs. 34. We come now to what must surely be the climax of the thing. All has led to this, for this the tabernacle has been reared up, the people redeemed, the priests washed and anointed. Hearts that know the effect of the true anointing can draw near with this, but the oil had to come first, just as the principle of the Lord’s Table precedes that of the Lord’s Supper (1Cor. Chs. 10 and 11). Feed at the one and you are fit for the other, spend seven days at the one and you will appreciate so much more the few minutes spent at the other. Fellowship with the Father and the Son at the one, and no clumsy cumbersome rigmarole, either of ritual or ritual will be needed to enable us to share with one another His remembrance.
Vs. 34. Perhaps it would be true to say that we never get beyond this in the Old Testament. All that has gone before leads up to this; all that follows, goes away from it. It is to the Old Testament, what Ephesians 1 is to the New; what Ch. 8 is to the Romans, Ch. 17 to John’s Gospel, Ch. 11 to Hebrews, and so on. The holy anointing oil tells us of what is manifest manward, the incense of what is expressed God-ward. Again there are four principle ingredients, for what they speak of is what was expressed in a moral history, a life lived out on earth. Unmistakably, there is reference to each of the gospels, nor is great fancy needed. The information we have may be scant, but at least it is sufficient. For what goes up to God must be quite redolent of That which came down. He had nought else for us and He will have nought else from us. So he says “Take unto thee,” a suggestive expression, though some might think the language archaic. For only what we have truly taken unto ourselves can we render in real prayer and true worship to God. It is “Things I have made (mine) touching the King,” causing the heart to be “Inditing” — “boiling over” with a good matter.” The heart must be a furnace, the affections at white heat to produce that. The Newberry margin will give us all the information we need about these four gums, each extracted from the root of the plant.
Vs. 34. “Stacte” simply means to “drop” or “distil,” and points directly to the One Who “Came down from heaven,” the sent One of the Father. Every step He took on earth is taken in the strength of that, and in John’s gospel He is constantly taking account of Himself as Him “That cometh from above.” He speaks of “Where He was before.” In prayer He recalls “The glory I had alongside of Thee.” As He rises from supper He knows He came from God, and even on the cross, in John’s account, by the Spirit we have One who does not belong here but has things to do in the Father’s will before He will return to whence He was. There is hardly a chapter in John’s Gospel where there is not direct reference to this, and even there He still moves as One who does not belong here. Even His startled “judge” had to ask, “Whence art thou?” As in each gospel, He calls His own, He does so in harmony with what the Spirit has revealed Him to be; so in John it is “As the Father hath sent Me so send I you.” So now we move “as sons through grace,” no longer “of this world,” but as those who now belong to that place from which He came. Our walk in relation to the world, ever in opposition to the Father, will shew plainly how seriously we have accepted that call. We wait for “His Son from heaven,” the degree that affects us will effect our degree of holiness.
Vs. 34. “And onycha” which simply means “a lion,” no mystery here, to those who “Mark His toiling footsteps here amid the desert sands.” “Comely in going,” Prov. 30,30. A lion which is strongest among the beasts and turneth not away for any. That marks every step presented in the Spirit’s picture of Him in Matthew’s gospel. The first several chapters are engaged in presenting His credentials. Friend or foe are seen as in responsibility to Him, and all that either could do to distract Him from the path of His Father’s will could make Him say, “Even so, Father, for so it hath been well pleasing in Thy sight.” We adore Him for that, and long to be able to take up His attitude to trials and disappointments, instead of burning with resentment over every untoward thing in our lives.
Through this gospel He strides in Kingly dignity, undeterred by the onslaughts of His foes. He makes His cross the chariot of triumph over all His foes, and now in virtue of that, is enthroned on the right hand on high. Comely in going indeed, He tells His friends how all will be worked out for His glory, and ere He leaves them, as One to Whom all power is given, both in Heaven and on earth, gives them a commission, corresponding to His own, save that He is King in His own Kingdom and we are seen as subjects of that King, “in law” to Him, and promise of His presence given even unto the end of the age. Which age, (the age of the world’s rejection) will soon be over and He shall reign Whose right it is.
Vs. 34. “And galbanum,” or “Fat,” the fat was the excellency of the sacrifice reserved exclusively for God Himself. It tells of the absolute devotion of Christ to His Father, and especially in Mark’s gospel we see the ceaseless, untiring unhesitating energies of the perfect Servant of Jehovah. From the very first chapter this is evident, continuing through to the end when completing the work of redemption, He covers the very throne of God with eternal glory. He will bring all God’s great counsels to perfection, nor will He cease to serve until all that is done. No task too lowly, none too great, no rest for even that is interrupted. Gentiles too, benefit from that holy service and some are compelled to exclaim “He hath done all things well.” (Mark 7:37).
When to Golgotha they bring Him the stupefying drink, He refuses, for He will not shirk to bear the full weight of the task to be put upon Him; the task which none other could bear, but which burden He did bear and so at His expiring cry the Father rends the vail, signifying His absolute satisfaction with the work of His Perfect Servant. Thus in resurrection He sends His own servants out to serve as He had served, and is received up into heaven as One who had done His work well yet still working with His toiling ones below. His work is done, He comes again to be owned where once He was rejected.
“With pure frankincense it is white, we know little else about it, nor do we need to. It tells of the sweet fragrance that ever arose from that holy life, that marked the perfect Man of Luke’s Gospel. That fragrance filled the heart of the Father from cradle to grave—and beyond. It is fitting that incense rises in the very first chapter, in the second, angels are dispatched from the Throne to tell of His mind concerning Him. Immaculate in every moral beauty, we see, not just human perfection but divine holiness manifested in a human life. What came to light for God’s glory was always there, with us it has to be put there, and a long painful business it often is! Not so with Him; in youth it is “My Father’s things” He must be about, nor do we have to wait (as is the case with us), till He has been years in public service for full divine approval to be made of Him. It comes from the ravished heart of the Father who flings heaven’s windows wide to declare “In Whom is all my delight.” Thus the sheer fragrance of fellowship with God (and men in His will), goes up from end to end of Luke’s Gospel, and though He was not a priest on earth never did priest offer, without spot to God, that which was so acceptable. That which when loathsome sinners of a fallen race, come into the rich good of, it so affects them that foes become forgiven, foul ones fragrant, and there is joy for the heart of God, joy amongst angels, great joy on earth.
Vs. 34. “Of each shall there be a like weight,” for there were no outstanding features in His character, nothing is incongruous, we may be known by special features, but not Him; all is perfection, each of the spices blends its perfume to the other. For even His strongest words of denunciation are uttered to those with whom, “The power of the Lord was present to heal.” When we would blaze with anger at personal injustice, He prays for His foes; when we would stand unmoved at injustice done to others, the house of God despoiled, His fury leaves us aghast.
“After the art of the apothecary” and we know as John (3:34) and Peter (Acts 10:38) did Who that Holy Apothecary is. We may guard our words as we speak of One Divine Person moving Another, but one thing is certain, the pestle needed not to ground upon the mortar as that blessed One moves here below in the will of the Father and the energy of the Spirit. That same blessed One has to strive within us “Lusting to envy,” but never with Him. Always those things which pleased the Father, for His life was a perfume, His character a confection as ours is a concoction. But note “Salted together, pure and holy” for the positive energy of Divine holiness was ever with Him, resisting corruption. Ever active, it shewed in all His words and ways, friend and foe felt the strength of it. We are enjoined to “Have salt in yourselves,” with Him it was always there; our speech is to be seasoned “with salt,” His always was.
Vs. 37. “Beat some of it very small,” this personal, diligent exercise, making things “Touching the King” is not done in a few minutes before 11.00 on Lord’s Day morning. It is the constant deliberate exercise of the mind, with an ever clear conscience behind it, to allow the Holy Spirit to “Take of the things concerning Him” and reveal them to us. Worship and sin have but one thing in common, they are the two most expensive things in the universe. It took the death of Christ to secure the first for the Father, and to remove the latter from us, and in our experience, the terrible cost of sinning, in grief and spoilt lives is not assessable. The time it takes “to be holy,” is time we grudge to take, but well worth while when we do.
It is said of the most holy place in Heb. 9, 3. “Which had the golden censer” mentioned before the ark, for in Hebrews we are going in. Here it is connected with His meeting us. For as we have seen, the blood on the mercy seat and before it secures our forgiveness, but the incense secures more. It guarantees our acceptance, in all the sweet suitability for His presence that the Beloved One ever bore. “Accepted in the Beloved” is to those who are taught by His Spirit, an increasing blessedness which ever enhances and augments the fact of our being “Reconciled by His blood.”
Vs. 37. “Pure and holy, Vs. 35. “Unto you most holy” Vs. 36, “Unto thee holy for the Lord,” here. Each of these prohibitions have a vital lesson for us, they are not made for prohibition sake, and many a saint and company of saints, overlooked this one to their sorrow. We saw in the prohibition concerning the shekel, the fact that it must be “According to the shekel of the sanctuary,” no less, no more, that it is only in heaven and that by the Father’s heart can the true value of the blood be known. So here, the sweet, but solemn truth, is this that only the Father can truly appreciate the full worth of the Son shewn here, The Father only Thy blest Name Of Son can comprehend.
Nor will the Father permit adulation, or adoration of any servant of His. Those who engage in public service often grieve for the sheer ingratitude and calumny of those they selflessly seek to serve. But grievous though it is, it is safe, for this is the way the Master went, and when saints begin to idolise or flatter, He may have to remove. Nor must any but priests use it, even Kings were debarred, as Uzziah learned.
Speaking well of His Son is ever the short road to the Father’s heart, hence the bread and wine, which for a few brief moments we may use collectively, forgetting our sins and failings, our blessings, and even our salvation, we may call Him to remembrance and tell the Father what His holy ear will never tire of, the Son’s Glory.
by JOHN B. D. PAGE
THE TEMPLE FURNITURE
In the course of preparing vast quantities of materials for his project, David said to his son, Solomon, that the House of the Lord must be “exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries” (1Chron. 22:5). No doubt, this great edifice for the worship of God, which took the wisest of men seven years to build, was unequalled in magnificence, and probably there has been none to compare either before or since. For us, it is a foreshadowing of the incomparable glory of Christ and His Church, and such glory is not found in magnificent ecclesiastical buildings but in the true Church, a “spiritual house,” as seen in Christ.
Having completed our survey of this remarkable building, let us continue it in respect of the furniture, starting outside and going inside, which is apparently the order in Scripture.
No pieces of furniture were placed in either the Great Court or the Court of the Priests, the two outermost and larger courts.
The Brazen Altar:
It stood in the middle of the Inner Court, the smallest of the three courts (1Ki. 8:64, 2Chron. 7:7).
Its description is brief. According to 2Chron. 4:1, “he made an Altar of brass, 20 cubits the length thereof, and 20 cubits the breadth thereof, and 10 cubits the height thereof.” In length and breadth, it was about 40 ft., and in height about 20 ft.
At the dedication of the Temple, Solomon offered 22,000 oxen, and 120,000 sheep as peace offerings besides burnt offerings and meal offerings but, in spite of its enormous size, the Altar was “too little to receive” them (1Ki. 8:63f). The atoning work of Christ and its efficacy, of which this Altar and these sacrifices were a foreshadowing, is inestimable and incomprehensible by man.
The size and the only specified material used for this Altar, we will compare with the Holy of Holies, the innermost sanctuary of the Temple. The length and breadth of the Altar and those of the Holiest were the same, each measuring 20 cubits x 20 cubits. The Altar’s height of 10 cubits was half that of the Holiest and equal to that of the two massive cherubim of olive wood in the Holiest (1Ki. 6:23, to be considered later). The Altar was of brass, but both the Holy of Holies and the two cherubim with outstretched wings were overlaid with gold. Such a resemblance of sizes and dissimilarity of materials cannot be without anti-typical significance. If the brass of the Altar denotes the righteous demands of God, and if the gold of the inner Sanctuary signifies the glory of God then, prefigured by the similarity of the measurements, there is an equality between these attributes of God and likewise between all divine attributes, for God is no more righteous than He is glorious or glorious than He is righteous. The demands of the righteousness of God, owing to man’s sin, have been met by Christ’s atoning work, so that man, having been accounted righteous by faith in Christ, may behold the glory of God now with the eye of faith and ultimately face to face in the heavenly temple.
The Brazen Sea :
From the Brazen Altar in the middle of the Inner Court, we turn westwards facing the Temple and on the left of the Porch, that is, on the south s’de, there was a huge vessel called the “Brazen Sea.” (2Chron. 4:10).
This bowl-shaped “molten sea” measured “10 cubits from brim to brim,” 5 cubits in height, and 30 cubits in circumference, which means it was about 20 ft. in diameter, 10 ft. high, and 60 ft. in circumference. It was made of brass, and in thickness one handbreadth, which is about 9 ins.
Its brim was ornate, wrought with “knops” (i.e. buds) and “flowers of lilies.”
Underneath, there was a brass base consisting of twelve oxen, three looking northward, three westward, three southward, and three eastward, having their hinder parts inward.
Its total capacity was 3,000 baths, equal to 22,500 gallons, but apparently it was only two-thirds filled with water, which was 2,000 baths, equivalent to 15,000 gallons and it was “for the priests to wash in” (2Chron. 4:2-6, cp. 1Ki. 7:23-26).
This enormous “molten sea” points us undoubtedly to the holiness of God, which should characterize Christians. With the doctrine of holiness, there are both the negative and positive aspects. Negatively, we are told to be “not fashioned to this world” and also “not fashioning yourselves according to former lusts” (Rom. 12:2 RV, 1Pe. 1:14). “Fashion,” occurring only in these two NT references, lays stress upon the outward appearance. Therefore, we should not behave and appear as though there was no difference between believers and worldlings, but we should appear different in our conduct. Furthermore, “former lusts” should no longer govern our lives but we should make a complete break from such former ways of life. For positive holiness, Peter exhorts us, “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of living” (1Pe. 1:15 RV). Here, the pattern is God Himself Who is unquestionably holy and then the precept for us to be holy in all spheres of life. As He Who saved us is holy, so we the saved should be holy.
With the Brazen Sea before us, we see in the brass typically not only God’s requirement for holiness but also His judgement of sin, for sin is that inward bias which deflects us from the path of holiness, and with sin judged through the death of Christ we have the basis for holy living.
Then there was the vast quantity of water called a “sea.” Having been purged from the guilt of sin by the shed blood of Christ, which is the teaching of the Altar, we are often defiled by sin. For cleansing from sin’s defilement there is provision in the Word of God which has a cleansing effect like water, as expressed in Ephesians 5:26 concerning the Church, “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word.” Hence, the water of the Word is the means of maintaining a life of holiness.
The Brazen Sea was specifically “for the priests to wash in” for a ritualistic cleansing from defilement, as required by the Law, before they officiated in the Sanctuary. It is a salutary reminder that we, as “an holy priesthood,” need to be cleansed by the washing of water by the Word to offer our “spiritual sacrifices” in the presence of God. Sin’s defilement is offensive to an holy God, and as the priests were required to wash in the water of the Brazen Sea before entering the Temple for worship, so we need to be cleansed by the water of the Word before drawing near to God in worship and subsequently serving Him.
Still outside the Temple, we read in 2Chronicles 4:6 that Solomon “made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left,” which means there were five along the south side and five along the north side of the Temple.
Each of these Lavers stood on a base made of brass. The bases were 4 cubits square and 3 cubits high, having wheels of 1½ cubits diameter, and the bases were engraved with lions, oxen and cherubim. The Lavers, also of brass, were circular, 4 cubits in diameter, and each contained 40 baths, about 300 gallons, of water (1Ki. 7:27-39). Thus, the total capacity of the ten Lavers was about 3,000 gallons, which was about one fifth of the Brazen Sea.
The purpose of these ten Lavers was “to wash in them.
such things as they offered for the burnt offerings” (2 Chron. 4:6). The highest aspect of the Death of Christ is foreseen in the burnt offering and yet the inwards and the legs of the bullock to be offered upon the altar had first to be washed in water (Lev. 1:9). This requirement does not denote any sinfulness in the affections and conduct of Christ, symbolized respectively by the “inwards” and the “legs” of the beast offered, but it emphasizes that Christ was essentially pure, for “through the eternal Spirit (He) offered Himself without spot to God” (Heb. 9:14).
Looking at these ten Lavers and Brazen Altar together, we find that the under-lying requirement is holiness for our approach to, and worship of, God.
— to be continued . . .
by DR. JOHN BOYD
The Work of the Holy Spirit on behalf of Unbelievers.
The Lord Jesus foretold the advent and work of the Holy Spirit consequent upon His own ascension and session at the right hand of God (John 14:16). When the Spirit would come, He would carry on the work of salvation which the Lord had commenced; He would sanctify men and women (1Pet. 1:2), that is, set them apart for salvation; He would prepare them to obey God, in accepting the work of Christ in shedding His blood for our redemption; He would put them into a position to respond to the gospel, as the word “sanctify” suggests (1Cor. 7:14).
He will convict the world of three necessary truths (John 16:8-11). (1) of sin—that men are sinners, because they have not believed in Christ, who died to free them from sin’s punishment, (2) of righteousness—the righteousness of Christ, in finishing the work of redemption, which completion the Father has acknowledged by raising Jesus, and seating Him at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (3) of judgement— the judgement of Calvary, where Satan has been judged, and overcome by Christ, in whose victory we can confidently trust. Thus the Spirit, as the Paraclete, helps to salvation those who call upon Him. He often convicts of these things through the testimony to the world from believers, in whom He dwells. Let us see to it that we do not quench the Spirit in regard to these matters (1Thess. 5:19).
The Holy Spirit is the Agent in man’s regeneration, in his being bom again. The Lord Jesus Christ taught Nicodemus that none could enter into the Kingdom of God unless bom of the Spirit; He regenerates man, making him a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17RVm.); He maintains that new type of life, as He indwells those who are bom again (Tit. 3:5); by Him we live (Gal. 5:25); in Him we are sanctified and justified (1 Cor. 6:11); He unifies Jewish and Gentile believers in the Church, and enables them to live peaceably one with the other (Eph. 4:3).
The Work of the Holy Spirit on behalf of Believers
We shall look at the nature of this work apart from the efforts of the believers themselves. The Lord informed His disciples that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things pertaining to Christ, and bring to their minds His sayings when with them (John 14:26). This teaching and reminding are not to be confined to the apostles, but apply to us now; He would reveal all the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10), e.g., the mystery of the union of Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ—both now joined together as fellow-heirs of God, fellow-members of the body of Christ, and fellow-partakers of the promise (Eph. 3:5-6); He would reveal the things that Christ had taught His disciples concerning the future (John 16:13-15); He would bear witness concerning the application of Old Testament truth to the saints to-day (Heb. 10:15); He leads believers in their service for God, guiding as to what they should do (Acts 8:29); what they should say (1 Cor. 2:13); whither they might go to preach (Acts 16:6-7).
Again, in the New Testament, we can see something of the outcome of the Holy Spirit’s work for the saints apart from their own efforts—in the impartation of spiritual gifts, the ability to carry out different spiritual functions (Rom. 12:6-8, 1 Cor. 12:8-10,28 Eph. 4:11); in setting them apart for special activities, e.g., as missionaries (Acts 13:2), or as overseers (Acts 20:28); in enabling them, as ministers of the new covenant, to behold, and to reflect as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, and to be transformed into the same likeness, from one experience of this glory to another (2 Cor. 3:17-18).
The Work of the Holy Spirit in association with Believers
Let us look, first, at His possession by believers. After Pentecost the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the saints is different from what we have seen in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament before Pentecost. Then He came only on them for specific purposes, and on a temporary basis. Now He abides forever in the child of God. The Lord had promised that those who believed on Him would receive the Holy Spirit, after He Himself had been glorified (John 7:39). How the Spirit would be related to them the Lord taught in John 14:17. He would indwell them as a permanent guest. Whilst the Lord was with His disciples on earth the Spirit had been abiding with them, for in Christ He dwelt in all His fulness. After the Lord left them the Holy Spirit would come to abide in them. What this indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a believer really means is incomprehensible to us, for who can understand what it means for an infinite, Divine Person to dwell in the finite body of a saint.
The Spirit uses each of their individual bodies as a temple, and they must learn to keep these bodies holy, and fully devoted to Him (1 Cor. 6:19); He likewise makes the local assembly a holy temple of God (1 Cor. 3:17). ‘Temple’ here and in 1 Cor. 6:19 denotes the inner sanctuary, which men must venerate, and not defile; He is gradually building together the members of the Church, which is the body of Christ, into a habitation, a settled, permanent dwelling-place for God, for eternity (Eph. 2:22); He strengthens believers— by giving them power in the inner man, and the ability to testify of Christ (Acts 1:8, Eph. 3:16); He bears witness with their spirit, especially in giving them the assurance in their hearts that they are children of God (Rom. 8:16, Gal. 4:6).
The Holy Spirit’s work in association with believers is evidenced in His control of them—in helping them to do things, e.g., to prophesy; to see visions (Acts 2:17-18); to love, even as He poured out the love of God in their hearts (Rom. 5:5); to walk in God’s ways, and not after the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16); to wait expectantly for the Lord’s return (Gal. 5:5); to converse with others of kindred spirits; to make melody in their hearts; to have ever a thankful spirit for all God’s blessings (Eph. 5:18-19); to revel in the s^udy of the Word of God, and in prayer, thus fighting the good fight of faith, and preaching the gospel in power (Eph. 6:17, 1 Thess. 1:5). In their weakness, the inability to pray as they ought, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for them acceptably to God (Rom. 8:26-27).
The result of the Holy Spirit’s activity in believers is seen in a variety of ways, e.g., (a) He energises them in the employment of their spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12 11), (b) He produces fruit in their lives—the nine-fold graces of Gal. 5:22, graces giving evidence that they are children of God (Eph. 4:7), (c) He comforts sorrowing saints. In this respect the Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete, lit., One who is called towards the saint when he needs help (John 14:16, RVm.). This comfort He ministers by teaching; by reminding him of the words of Jesus (John 14:26); by bearing witness of Christ (John 15:26); by guiding into truth; by glorifying Christ (John 16:7, 13-14).
The Holy Spirit also works in special believers for specific purposes, e.g., the writing of the Holy Scriptures. No scriptural prophecy was the personal, underived work of the writers. They wrote as borne along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21).
The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Future
As to His activities in the immediate future, the Lord Jesus Christ intimated the Holy Spirit’s close assocation with Him in the transmission of His messages to each of the seven churches of Asia—possibly symbolic of the work of giving instruction to the churches of to-day (Rev. 2:7).
The Holy Spirit would encourage those who have lost loved ones, by assuring them of the eternal felicity and reward of faithful believers in the glory (Rev. 14.: 13).
The Spirit earnestly calls for the Lord Jesus Christ to come and manifest Himself in glory. As the Holy Spirit led the Lord into the wilderness to be tempted, so here He seeks His manifestation in glory (Rev. 22:17). The church, still on earth, joins with Him in this request; the Spirit causes her also to yearn for Christ’s return. He who has energised the believer’s witness on earth encourages his desire to bid the Lord welcome.
The resurrection of the sleeping saints at the Rapture will be the work of the Holy Spirit, who has indwelt them on earth. He will then quicken, give life to their mortal bodies (Ram. 8:11). The Spirit of life from God will also enter into the dead bodies of the two witnesses, lying in the streets of Jerusalem, slain for the testimony of God; they shall stand on their feet, and be called up to heaven (Rev. 11:11).
Following the Rapture of the saints there will come the revelation of the man of sin, in all his evil machinations against Israel, at the time of the Great Tribulation. The man of sin is at present active in the mystery of lawlessness. But the Spirit is seen as the great Restrainer of evil men in the world. He will hinder the manifestation of the man of sin, until that time when He permits him to arise out of the midst of the iniquity of the nations, in the revelation of his true colours (2 Thess. 2:6-7). This verse has nothing to do with the church being taken away—it has long been in the glory. Nor does the verse indicate that the Holy Spirit will be taken away; He, being God, is omnipresent. He is still seen on earth, even after the church is in the glory (Rev. 5:6).
In the Millennial regeneration, in the Day of the Lord, the Holy Spirit will have an important role to fulfil. He will be poured out upon all Israel; their sons and daughters will prophesy (Joel 2:28); God’s law will be in their hearts; they will need no teachers, for all will personally know the Lord, Jehovah, the God of Israel (Jer. 31:33-34); the animal creation will be at peace with one another (Isa. 11:6); the earth will bring forth plentifully (Ps. 72:16).
Little is told us concerning the functions of the Holy Spirit in the ages to come. Paul taught that God had given us the Holy Spirit now as an earnest, a pledge of the control He will exercise in our eternal bodies (2 Cor. 5:5). In some way He will likely continue the work in which He has been engaged in this dispensation. As we cannot understand the nature of our own occupation in heaven, so we cannot measure the work of the Spirit in the eternal ages.
by EDWARD ROBINSON
In Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians the apostle repeats his assurance to them of the faithfulness of God. His God, and ours, is a covenant-keeping God, worthy of our complete and utter confiding trust. In the Scriptures there are a number of instances of His Covenants, made both with individuals and also with His people collectively. In them God unreservedly commits Himself to carry out that to which He has given His bond. In passing we may notice also a remarkable covenant made between Abraham and Abimelech (Gen. 21:29-34) when the latter, coming with Phichol, captain of his host, pays testimony to Abraham saying “God is with thee in all that thou doest,” a tribute which recognises that the power of God is with him. Over against the power of the army of the Philistines, Abraham places seven ewe-lambs by themselves as witnesses in a controversy “that he had dug this well.” In these seven ewe-lambs there is doubtless a suggestion figuratively of “the meekness and gentleness of the Christ.” What a lesson to us of the spirit in which we may meet and win over even a potential opposer!
We are looking, however, at some of God’s covenants and it is a wonderful contemplation that God, in Himself entirely self-sufficient, should enter into covenant relationship with men of whom He is the Creator. The underlying reason, of course, is that He Who is Love desires the response of intelligent affection. Sometimes He is the sole party to a covenant, committing Himself to a course of action requiring no obligation on the part of another. This is the case in the first instance recorded in Scripture (Gen. 9) following the judgement of the flood and communicated to Noah. This remarkable covenant is made, not with Noah, but with the whole earth. It has stood already for thousands of years and has been made by a faithful Creator irrespective of the state of those who inhabit the earth, as it is said “sending rain upon the just and the unjust.” God sets His bow in the cloud that all may look upon this token of which He says “I will look upon it that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth” (9:15-17). Earlier, following Noah’s burnt offerings on the altar, “the Lord smelled a sweet savour of rest,” anticipative of His eternal rest in the finished work of His beloved Son on the cross of Calvary. He then says in His heart “While the earth remainest seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (8:20-22). To those who know the God Who has thus spoken and Who has spoken to us in His own Son, these are not merely history or natural phenomena, but are calculated to promote increase in the knowledge of God.
That God is prepared to enter into covenant with an individual is seen in that between Himself and Abraham in the matter of circumcision (Gen. 17). The spiritual application of this truth to Christians is elaborated on by Paul in the New Testament, “We are the circumcision who worship by the Spirit of God.” Again, “In Whom (Christ) also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands in the putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ (Col. 2:11). This truth in its spiritual application to the Christian is perhaps one of the least understood, or, consequently, practically worked out. The activities of the flesh in its grosser aspects are readily recognised, but the enemy of our souls is very successful in exploiting with great subtlety its more refined aspects. Human niceness is often more appreciated than righteousness and the truth of the word of God. Amalek typifies the flesh in its opposition to the Spirit and in dealing with its king, Agag, Samuel shows the only way in which to deal with it (see 1 Sam. 15:32, 33). “God will always have war with Amalek.” (Exod. 17:16).
There are two great covenants, the second, or “New” still future: both with the house of Israel and the house of Judah (see Heb. 8). The first, in which Moses represents the feature of authority and Aaron that of inside service (jointly typical of Christ), is formally prescribed and the specification and pattern laid down. The response of the people (Exod. 24:3) is “All that the Lord hath said will we do.” We know how sadly failure came in, manifesting the need for the New Covenant which had, of course, ever been in the mind of God. It is true that no formal covenant is made with the Church. Indeed it is quite unnecessary and inappropriate in the light of tfie peculiarly close and blessed relationship with God and with Christ as His body and His bride.
Nevertheless, in the inauguration of the Lord’s Supper in the Gospels and, more particularly, as committed from heaven to the apostle of the Gentiles, Paul, the application of the New Covenant to ourselves is clearly shown. In giving thanks for the cup the words of the Lord Jesus are quoted “This cup IS the New Covenant in My blood.” If in the loaf is expressed the personal love of Christ for His own (‘My body—for you’), so in the cup is brought to us the fullness of the love of God and His full committal to the Church, sealed in the precious blood of His beloved Son. The contrast between the Old Covenant and the New (Kainos—wholly different) is clearly set out (Heb. 8) and Christ is the Mediator of this new relationship, first in His sacrifice in death and now in His present Service as ‘Minister of the Sanctuary.’ It is not surprising that the Lord’s Supper continues to occupy a unique place in the hearts of God’s people and will continue to do so “until He come.”
FRUIT UNTO HOLINESS
- (Romans 6: v. 22)
- I’m only a little branch
- I live by a life not mine
- For the sap that flows through my branch so small
- Is the life of the heavenly vine.
- No power indeed have I
- The fruit of myself to bear
- But since I’m part of the living vine
- Its fruitfulness I share.
- I bask in the sun’s bright beams
- With sweetness filling my fruit
- Yet I own not the cluster hanging there
- They come from the living root.
- A life which is not my own
- But another life in me
- This is the message the branch would speak
- A message to me and thee.
- So simple, so deep so strong.
- That union with Him shall be
- His life shall for ever replace thine own
- And His love shall flow through thee.
- Then seek to abide in Him
- For the Father waits to see
- The fruit of His Passion at Calvary
- Fruit in you and me.
- Then John 15 would surely say
- You are the branch in me
- To show My Life to all around
- My Life that lives in thee.
- —A. E. Frost.
We all know the supreme need for God-sent characters in these times. Sinister assailants of no common sort threaten the cause and people of God on every side. There are principles and tendencies at work in modern society which, if unchecked, will ere long result in disaster and ruin. There is a breaking down of all barriers and the falling upon us of the great apostasy prophesied in Scripture. If ever the world needed God-born and God-sent characters, it is now.
- God give us men. The time demands
- Strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and willing hands.