by J. C. R. Tambling
ENTERING THE HOLIEST
by R. Woodhouse Beales
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Dr. John Boyd
STUDIES IN SOLOMON’S TEMPLE
by J. B. D. Page
by H. C. Spence
NOTES ON EXODUS 30
by Gerald B. Stock
by J. C. R. TAMBLING
(Read Genesis 32:1-2, 2 Samuel 17:27-9, Song of Songs 6:19-13, Luke 15).
There are some place names in Scripture that we pass over easily, yet which are pregnant with truth. One such of these is Mahanaim. Its first mention occurs in Genesis 32, where Jacob so names the place where the angels of God met him. Jacob is a remarkable picture of the believer who has had to suffer on account of his worldliness—twenty years spent in Padan-aram, far from his home, cheated by Laban, and needing a reminder of the God of Bethel. Jacob’s history also seems to be an illustration of the career of the nation of Israel. They have been promised earthly blessing in the land of Canaan, under the Messiah, yet today we see them scattered, outside the promises, and in unbelief—“Lo-ammi”— “Not my people.” So with Jacob. He got the birthright and blessing, yet we see him in Genesis 28 as a fugitive, a stranger in the earth. Yet, cast out, he has the wonderful vision of the ladder set up to heaven, the angels ascending and descending on it. But it is not the angels who guide Jacob: the Lord says T am with thee, and will keep thee.” An exile in the earth, Jacob has heaven opened up to him. So with the Jews today. They are not yet being blessed in the earth, but as Hebrews 3: I (and compare Heb. 11:10,13-6; 12:22) would suggest, there are Jews coming into heavenly blessing, both in the Church, His body, and then, after the Church has gone, and before the setting up of the Millenial kingdom. Jacob has this testimony as he leaves the land of promise; he changes his pillow for a pillar, pouring oil over it. So, in our early days of conversion, we set up a testimony in our lives to the God Who saved us, in the power of the Spirit of God. We wonder, however, how much Jacob remembered of the Lord’s promises to him while he was with Laban: even so with us, the early testimony can be forgotten all too easily! However, the time of re-awakening came to him (Gen. 31:11-3) and Jacob sets off for home, to face Esau, and, as he expects, his anger.
But before he reaches Jordan, he comes to Mahanaim. The angels are not ascending to heaven here: rather, they meet him. It is Israel coming back to the land, not, as now in abject unbelief, but, as then, under the hand of God. The angels link Jacob with earthly blessing here, and provide him with a joyous prospect. Jacob calls the place Mahanaim— “Two hosts.” There is God’s host; whose is the other, Jacob? There can be no doubt that Jacob reckons his own band (see v. 7) as being equal to God’s host! He has not yet learned that the flesh profiteth nothing. He that believeth shall not make haste, but Jacob here veers from self-confidence to self-pity, makes feverish plans one moment, then casts himself on God’s mercy the next, that He might save him from Esau’s 400 men—a fitting number belonging to the man of the world! He fears to see Esau’s face (v. 20). Before the end of the chapter he sees Gods face and lives; he moves from seeing the angels of God, come to cheer and encourage, to see God Himself, and to become Israel, a prince with God.
All this is intensely interesting, dispensationally. There are comparisons that could be made with Luke 15, where the return of the Prodigal could illustrate the receiving back into favour of the repentant part of Israel—see the fear in both the Prodigal and Jacob, and the warm reception accorded by both the Father and Esau (see Gen. 33:4). The angels are there to show Jacob in his fear that “if God be for us, who can be against us,” but Jacob is slow to learn. He continues to trust in the arm of flesh, sidesteps Esau, and, after all, does not go back to Bethel. The man who lived as a pilgrim in a tent, as Hebrews 11 reminds us, settles in a house—a detail omitted, such is the grace of our God, in Hebrews.
If there are features of the remnant of Israel in Jacob, so there are in the Song of Songs, that lovely book which shows the Lord Jesus leading out Israel into deeper exercises towards Himself. (The interpretation belongs to Israel; the application is to us). The pattern of this book is fellowship (up to ch. 2 : 7), followed by a lapse and restoration (2:8— 3:5), fellowship again (up to 5:1) and then another lapse and restoration (5:2—6:3). As the Bride is restored, in ch. 6, the Beloved begins to speak about her as an overcomer (vvs. 4-9). The slight differences here from the way she is described in the opening verses of chapter 4 seem to be best explained by the fact that there is more maturity in her now —she has proved herself, has overcome. Then, in v. 10, another voice breaks in. “Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” Interested observers of the remnant of Israel ask this question, seeing in her the signs of the day, of the “morning without clouds,” the signs of the reflected glory of Christ (“fair as the moon”—the moon is associated with Israel—see the timing of the Feast of Trumpets, anticipate of Israel’s recall, compare Isaiah 27:13). There is authority there, as the mention of the sun would suggest, and power, as, in the name of their God, Israel have set up their banners. The question, “Who is she” is answered indirectly by the Beloved. He has come to find fruit in the earth—it is the dawn of the Millenial age— and “or ever I was aware, my soul set me among the chariots of my princely people” (R.V.) The margin gives “willing people,” and Psalm 110:3 must be read in this connection. Regathered, restored Israel will range themselves under God’s King in the day of His power. Here is a vision of the Millenial glory that explains the admiration felt in v. 10, and the observers say, “Return, return O Shulamite (the feminine form of the name Solomon), return, return, that we may look on thee.” To which she, self-effacingly, replies, “What will ye see in the Shulamite?”—“What is there about me?” Very different from Jacob’s attitude! They reply, “As it were the dance of two camps” (J.N.D.) or—MAHANAIM.
Regathered Israel are thus designated; it is Gen. 32 seen, in its dispensational aspect, from another viewpoint. What does the dance signify? Compare Exodus 15, 2 Samuel 6, and Jeremiah 31:3—“I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.” Israel sang when she came out of Egypt, so she will again, as Hosea says, when she is brought out of the wilderness, saying “My husband.” (Hosea 2:14-6). “Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness leaning on her Beloved?” asks the Song of Songs (ch. 8:5)—a passage that needs to be considered alongside Hosea 2. If ch. 6:13 corresponds to Gen. 32:2 in Israel’s history, the latter verse answers to ch. 32, 31: here is no leaning on the arm of flesh.
Mahanaim thus seems to suggest the place in which the joy of heaven, the joy of victory, dawns in upon the soul. How did David find it? Doubtless, Absalom sets before us some aspects of the Antichrist that John speaks of in his first Epistle (so does Saul). David is a complete type of the Lord Jesus: Peter will tell us he was a prophet; I have no doubt, from 2 Sam. 6:14,17,18; 24,25 that he acted as a priest, and of course, he was King. Nevertheless, in both books of Samuel, we see him as the King in rejection. He retreats as far as to Mahanaim. Ish-bosheth had reigned, briefly, from there (ch. 2:8), and David might be tempted to think upon his fate and be driven to despair. However, he finds refreshment, and comfort at Mahanaim. Look at the men who came out to meet him. In the first, Shobi, the son of Nahash of Rabbah, of the children of Ammon, we see what grace does for the man who, under the law, cannot enter the tabernacle of the congregation. His family may have spurned kindness (ch. 10:2), but grace wins him. Lovely picture of the drawing powers of grace! Machir, the son of Amiel had tended Mephibosheth (ch. 9:4), and thus also knew what grace could do. He came from Lo-debar, the place of no bread, but he still brought a rich provision with him! In Barzillai, the Gileadite, we see someone who separates himself from the enemy, who were in Gilead itself (v. 26). Here is faithfulness. So with us; when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, and our need is for loyalty to the Son in the time of His rejection.
Note the provision these men bring—fourteen things are mentioned; the number of completeness. There is everything for the dejected, or depressed, in Christ. David remains in Mahanaim. Mahanaim is in Gad, which means “A troop cometh.” What is thereby suggested is the strength Israel will gain under their greater-than-David. “Gad, a troop shall overcome him (and Absalom’s army was there), but he shall overcome at the last.” Gen. 49:19. A prophetic word, by Jacob, showing Israel’s future deliverance, foreshadowed in Samuel. “For by Thee I have run through a troop” said David (Psa. 18:29), in words that belong to the greater-than-Gad. The victory is secured, and David leaves Mahanaim for the Jordan, Gilgal and Jerusalem. It is another picture of the return of Israel, this time, under their Messiah. Mahanaim is the beginning of that nation’s restoration, and coming into privilege. There is joy and sustenance to be found at Mahanaim! We need to prove the reality of that in our experience—the reality of the richness that comes from the God Who, having not spared His own Son, but having freely given Him up for us all, will, with Him, freely give us all things.
The New Testament equivalent is Luke 15. As suggested, hints at the way the remnant will return, while the unbelieving nation remains outside. How will Israel come back to their God? As we did—from the far country. “In their affliction, they will seek Me early.” The remnant will get the Father’s kisses, the best robe—indicative of a firstborn place—the ring for the hand—a new relationship, and shoes for the feet (Luke 15); glorious contrast to the command on Sinai! (Ex. 3:5) Chapter 7 of the Song of Songs opens with the words “How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter.” The onlookers say that, as they observe the Bride’s (note her new title, derived from ch. 6:12) stately goings. Then there are the servants, who are obeying the Father in ministering to the heir of salvation. Is it fanciful to link them with the angel of v. 10? It is not the angels who rejoice—an error of the hymn-books—but God, Who calls them to witness His own joy. Then the elder brother comes in from the field (ominous word!) and hears—what? Music, and DANCING!
It is “the dance of Mahanaim” again. There is the joy of heaven over the repentant man, the backslider, the man who might have been overtaken, but is now an overcomer. Jacob, David and the Prodigal in different ways all illustrate the truth. Israel will yet learn the meaning of the two hosts when God takes her up again, and makes her a host for Himself. (See Zech. 9:14, Micah 5:7-9).
And the lesson for us? “Two hosts” speak of abundant testimony to the grace and the fulness that await us whatever the need, all secured by the victory of Calvary. Whether we are in Jacob’s position, perplexed and facing an uncertain future, or in David’s—depressed or persecuted, or in the Prodigal’s—with sin needing to be confessed and restoration effected,—we can be assured that God will provide us a true Mahanaim—a place where we can recognise, and delight in. His special provision for our souls. Knowing “The Lord’s Table” to be, not the supper, but the fulness of the spiritual refreshment God gives to us day by day, we can say, with J. G. Deck, in words inspired by Luke 15 :
- Clothed in garments of salvation,
- At Thy table is our place,
- We rejoice, and Thou rejoicest,
- In the riches of Thy grace.
- It is meet, we hear Thee saying,
- We should merry be and glad,
- I have found my long lost children,
- Now they live, who once were dead.
by R. WOODHOUSE BEALES (Ipswich)
The reader will not miss the thought in Exodus of the allusion to the laver and his foot nor to the fact that this was made of the looking glasses of the women. The same word of God which shews up our uncleanness and need of washing (footwashing, see John 13:10,) provides the essential water for this to be accomplished.
We are aware that some think this has to do with baptism and found their theory on the words of Ephesians 5, 26 “that He might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the Word” because it means here a spoken word which they think indicated words spoken to or by the one being baptised, but if the reader will follow up this word in the Greek in other places where it is used he will, we believe, arrive at the conclusion that it does not mean this at all. The Word of God is necessarily made known to us in words of God and the reader should look carefully at this before thus interpreting it. So the Word or revelation of God has been made known to us in the words which the Holy Spirit speaketh, expounding spiritual things by spiritual means. That is why it is so essential to stick close by the words of scripture as well as the ideas being conveyed.
So by blood (the altar) and water (the laver) we have been redeemed and sanctified and set apart for God and we need daily cleansing which is also supplied by our gracious God and available to us as we apply ourselves to the worship and service of God.
It may be helpful here to set out the furniture of the Holy places and tabernacle in the order given us in Exodus so that the reader can see more clearly the truth taught in these as we come from the presence of God to the altar and back again in figure. These are taken from Exodus 25 onwards. There are details which the reader can fill in and all of which are full of spiritual significance.
- TABLE OF SHEWBREAD
- Curtains and Coverings
- Boards and sockets
- Inner Vail
- Outer Vail
- BRAZEN ALTAR
- Garments and robes
- Consecration of priests
- Food of priests
- INCENSE ALTAR
- Atonement money
We cannot do better than to conclude with the valuable note by Dr. C. I. Scofield on John’s Gospel chapters 12 to 17 and in doing so would again point out that when one leaves the altar then we are on the way back to God and this is seen clearly in the fact that Ch. 13 is spoken to the multitude, after which the Lord is speaking to His own in the upper room.
“Chapters 12-17 are a progression according to the approach to God in the tabernacle types; Chapter 12, in which Christ speaks of His death, answering to the brazen altar of burnt offering, type of the cross. Passing from the altar toward the Holy of Holies, the laver is next reached (Exodus 30:17-21) answering to Chapter 13. With His associate priests, now purified, the High Priest approaches and enters the Holy Place in the high communion of Chapters 14-16. Entering alone the Holy of Holies (17:1) the High Priest intercedes. (Heb. 7:24-28). That intercession is not for the salvation, but the keeping and blessing of those for whom He prays. His death (assumed as accomplished in 17, 4) has saved them.” And we might add continues so to do.
So, in these wonderful types we have (a) in the Altar a a wonderful once for all redemption and (b) in the Laver a once for all New Birth, as is indicated for us in Ephesians 5, 25b – 27. Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it (a two fold action) that He might sanctify and cleanse it (another two fold action) with the washing of water by the Word, surely a reference to the initial cleansing and new life imparted, and finally that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church … (note, nothing necessary between these two actions).
These bring us therefore to the Altar and Laver. Then we have in John’s Gospel and the Revelation (same writer?) a reference to the furniture in the Holy Place. The Lampstand (Exodus 25, 37 and Revelation 4, 5) with Oil for the light referred to in Exodus 25, 6; and 27, 20. See Rev. 21,23, also the references in John’s Gospel repeatedly to the Light (throughout from ch. 1 to ch. 12).
Next the Bread, Exodus 25, 30, and 40, 23, with John 6, 32-58. Then the Censer and Incense, Exod. 25, 6; and 30, 1-27, and Rev. 8, 3-5 (associated with the prayers of the saints). The patient reader can pursue this much further if he will and find much more to interest and instruct him and draw forth worship and praise.
The Lord Jesus is seen in the scriptures in a threefold way and condition. Firstly in Incarnation the Eternal Son takes human form and becomes Man in order that He may offer His life for us, in death. Secondly In Resurrection the Son takes a risen body of manhood back to the Throne of God and is there glorified, and Thirdly in sending forth the Spirit He links redeemed men eternally with Himself, sharing His risen life now and eventually destined to share His Glory.
by DR. JOHN BOYD
In the New Testament the word ‘baptism’ is used seven times to express a relationship between the Holy Spirit and man. Concerning this relationship much misunderstanding has arisen. For a correct apprehension of the subject it is important to notice the Greek preposition used on each occasion. In all but one of these it is ‘en’, a preposition of which ‘the primary idea is rest in any place or thing.’ The exception is Mark 1:8, where the simple dative is used, without a preposition: though, even here, some editions of the Greek Testament insert ‘en’.
In the English Revised Version the preposition ‘in’ is given in all the seven mentions of the baptism, either in the text (1 Cor. 12:13), or in the margin. On those occasions where ‘in’ is inserted in the margin, ‘with’ is the translation found in the text. Possibly why ‘with’ has been so often used is that the conception of a baptism in anything, e.g., in water, would not be acceptable to translators who taught Infant Sprinkling.
Thus the Baptism is not ‘by’, nor ‘of’, nor ‘with’, but always ‘in’, the Holy Spirit. The acceptance of th:s fact is fundamental to our understanding of the subject. With this in mind let us look at the lessons taught about this baptism in each of these seven occasions.
John said that he baptised his disciples in (R.V.m.) water. But he reminded his hearers that a Mightier than he would baptise men in the Holy Spirit and fire. ‘Fire’ here may refer either to the nature of the descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3), or to the future judgement of the Son of Man, also a baptism. The former is the more likely, as one preposition ‘in’ governs both ‘the Holy Ghost’ and ‘fire.’
As to the baptism in the Holy Spirit, a mightier One coming after John would be the baptiser. This is the chief lesson of the passage. The baptism in the Holy Spirit would be something that only a mightier than John the Baptist could accomplish, even though John was the greatest born of women (Matt. 11:11). But note that the Holy Spirit is the element in which the baptism would take place. The Spirit is not the baptiser.
In the context of this mention of the baptism in the Spirit note that in v.5 John is seen as baptising men ‘in the river Jordan’. It is evident that John immersed his converts rot ‘with,’ but ‘in’, the river. Thus v. 8 should read, as R.V. margin, ‘I baptised you in water’, and the relevant preposition in the latter part of the verse should also be ‘in’.
In this, as in the two previous passages, we are taught that a Mightier One than John will be the Baptiser in the Spirit.
John the Baptist here identifies for us this Mightier One. When John had been sent to baptise in water his commission was to make manifest to Israel Him who would baptise in the Holy Spirit. He was told how to recognise Him, namely, by seeing the Spirit descending and remaining on Him. At the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan this sign was publicly seen. At this time the Lord was also acknowledged as Son— by God the Father (Mark 1:10-11). Thus Jesus, the Son of God, was the One who would baptise in the Spirit.
Just before His ascension the Lord reminded the apostles of the promise of the Father (John 14:26), and His own promise (John 15:26), to send the Holy Spirit to dwell in men. He showed that the fulfilment of these promises would correspond to what John the Baptist had designated as being baptised in the Holy Spirit. It would take place in a few days’ time—shortly after He had gone to the Father (John 16:7). That was also the verdict of Peter on the Day of Pentecost: thus he interpreted the events of that momentous day (Acts 2:33).
Following this baptism in the Spirit they would have power (v. 8), because then the Holy Spirit would come upon them in a new way. They would be empowered to witness more boldly for Christ—as the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ proceeds to demonstrate.
Peter affirmed that the descent of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:4 was the baptism in the Spirit promised by the Lord (Acts 1:5). These converts at Caesarea also shared in the blessing of what happened at Pentecost. This new experience at Caesarea is not called a ‘baptism in the Spirit.’ It was not a fresh sending of the Spirit from the Father; not another baptism; not another Pentecost. It was merely a ‘like gift’ to what the Jews had received on that day. It was but a continuation of the Holy Spirit’s work following His descent as described in Acts 2.
The Holy Spirit ‘fell’ on the Gentiles at Caesarea. The falling of the Spirit on men is the same as receiving the Spirit (Acts 8:16, 17). They received not a baptism, but the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, 15:8).
So to-day every believer receives the Holy Spirit at conversion (Gal. 3:2, 4:6, Eph. 1:13). But this individual experience is never in scripture called a baptism in the Spirit. It is variously described in the New Testament as ‘the Spirit falling upon them’ (Acts 8:16), ‘receiving the Spirit’ (Acts 8:17), ‘being indwelt by the Spirit’ (Rom. 8:9), ‘the anointing of the Spirit’ (2 Cor. 1:21), ‘the sealing of the Spirit’ (2 Cor. 1:22, Eph. 1:13), ‘the earnest of the Spirit’ (2 Cor. 1:22, Eph. 1:14).
The baptism in the Spirit is a term only applied to the one new thing that happened at Pentecost. It is reserved for the initial coming of the Holy Spirit from the Father—for the purpose of dwelling in men for the first time. This descent, and this alone, is called in Scripture the baptism in the Spirit. The sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (John 15:26) constituted the baptism in the Spirit. It has never been repeated.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13.
In v. 12 ‘the Christ’, that is, the universal church (v. 27)— all believers from Pentecost to the Rapture—is likened to a body. This is a different metaphor from that used in Eph. 1:22-23. There Christ is the Head, and the Church the body. Here the Church is the whole body, including the head, for some parts of the head are described as members of the body (v. 16). Here the Church is seen as the whole body permeated by Christ, who constituted it one organic unity at Pentecost, as v. 13 goes on to show. At that time, in one Spirit were all believers baptised into one body, irrespective of nationality, social status, or even time. The verb here rendered ‘were baptised’ is in the aorist tense. This indicates two things, (1) that in Paul’s time the baptism had taken place, (2) it was something that must be regarded as a single event. A similar construction is seen in v.18, ‘hath set’. The body, in the mind of God, was complete at Pentecost, even though many have been added to the Church ever since (Acts 2: 47).
Before the foundation of the world believers were chosen in Christ (Eph. 1:4); at Pentecost they were all incorporated as members into one body, ‘the Christ’ (1Cor. 12:12,18); at conversion they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9), and began to function as members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27).
The figure of a body impresses on us the fact of the completeness of the baptism—that it is something finished. When the Holy Spirit would teach us the gradual completion of the Church, in the daily addition of believers, He uses another figure, that of a building (Eph. 2:21). But a body is always looked on as without deficiency. Thus when the Lord Jesus sent the Holy Spirit from the Father, the baptism in the Spirit was a completed act. In that act ‘the Body’ was formed, and in it God saw the entire Church, including all believers from Pentecost to the Rapture.
It is incorrect to say that each believer is baptised into the Body at conversion. Where the figure of a body is used of the Church we do well to note what is written, and what is omitted. We never read of the believer being put into the body, nor being added to the body, nor becoming a member, upon believing. He is a member of it, and was constituted so at Pentecost. He begins to function as a member at conversion. But the baptism in the Spirit has reference only to the isolated act of the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It is not something for which the individual believer should now seek, or pray, or wait.
We see this illustrated by an Old Testament picture. When Adam sinned, all his posterity, even those as yet unborn, sinned also, for they were in the loins of Adam (Rom. 5:12 RSV). The verb ‘sinned’ in Rom. 5:12 is in the aorist tense, indicating that all his posterity had part in that one completed act in the past. At their birth they entered into the effects of Adam’s sin. So, too, the Spirit came at Pentecost, and all saints, including those not yet born naturally, and unregenerate spiritually, were then baptised into the one body. But each believer only enters into the effects and benefits of Pentecost as soon as he is bom again.
To sum up: ‘the Baptism in the Spirit’ is historic; unique; corporate; final.
by JOHN B. D. PAGE
Having thought about the lay-out, construction and finish of the Temple, we shall now look at the various entrances, starting from the inside and proceeding outwards.
The Dividing Doors:
The Holy Holies, or the Oracle, the innermost chamber of the Temple, was divided from the Holy Place by a pair of doors, as described in 1Kings 6:31f, “For the entering of the Oracle, he made doors of olive wood; the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall. The two doors, … he carved upon them carvings of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold . . .”
This pair of doors, being one fifth of the inside width of the Temple, was 4 cubits, about 8 ft. wide. Olive wood, used for this pair of doors, is naturally beautiful, and apparently Hosea (14:6) knew it! Of a regenerate Israel, the prophet says, “his beauty shall be as the olive tree,” and so olive wood is a symbol of beauty, not of human but divine origin. Thus, this pair of olive wood doors is emblematic of the Man Christ Jesus, Who is “fairer than the children of men” (Psa. 45:2), Whose natural beauty is not marred by sin and in His moral beauty He is “holy, guileless, undefiled” (Heb. 7:26, RV).
These two olive wood doors were carved with cherubim and palm trees with open flowers and overlaid with gold. A palm tree towers above all other vegetation in the desert, and so it may be said figuratively of our Lord as a Man, “Thy stature is like a palm tree” (S. of S. 7:7), for none was His equal in moral stature. The “open flowers,” not misshaped or withered but in their prime, imply that Christ had no physical default, for in Him there was no sin, and His Manhood was the acme of perfection. If the palm tree carvings point us to His personal supremacy, then the cherubim direct us to His official superiority, for as “the righteous Judge” there will be none to compare in that coming day.
This olive wood of these two doors was not seen, because it was overlaid with gold, a symbol of His present glory, reminding us that “though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more” (2Cor. 5:16).
Inside the Holiest, these doors were seen, but from the Holy Place, these two doors could not be seen, because they were concealed by the veil (to be considered later). During His life on earth, the veil of His flesh hid not only His glory but also the beauty of His Person, so that the Jews blinded by unbelief—and we were too in times past—saw in Christ “no beauty” (Isa. 53:2), and knew Him merely as “the carpenter’s son.”
“The veil of the temple was rent in twain” when Christ died upon the cross, and the priests standing nearby beheld presumably the pair of olive wood doors for the first time!
With the veil rent and our minds renewed, we now “see (Him) in His beauty” arrayed, as it were, like the high priest of old, with garments “for glory and for beauty” (Exo. 28:2). Of Israel, when the veil of unbelief is removed in a coming day, the prophet says, “thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty” (Isa. 33:17).
The pair of gold covered olive wood doors was not the only barrier dividing the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place, for there was also “the veil of blue, purple and crimson, and … cherubim thereon” (2Chron. 3:14), which was seen from only the Holy Place.
For an understanding of the Temple veil, we need to compare the Tabernacle where there was “a veil of blue, purple and scarlet, and fine twined linen … with cherubim” (Exo. 26:31), which is a type of Christ in His Manhood (Heb. 10:20). Whilst both veils were similar, they were different, but we shall omit the similarities and consider the differences.
“Scarlet,” the third colour of the Tabernacle veil, is translated “worm” in Psalm 22:6, “I am a worm, and no man.” This apparent contradiction is explained by the ancient custom of extracting a “scarlet” dye from a certain “worm” or insect. Thus “scarlet” and its connection with the “worm” directs us to Christ Jesus, Who “humbled Himself … even unto the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8). In the Temple veil, the third colour was “crimson” which is akin in Hebrew to the word “fruitful” in Isaiah 32:15. In these two colours, “scarlet” and “crimson,” there is the thought of death followed by fruitfulness, illustrated by a com of wheat which, if it falls into the ground and dies, brings forth much fruit (John 12:24). When applied to Christ, His death was not futile but fruitful through resurrection, as seen in Romans 4:25, “Jesus our Lord … was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification.”
Another interesting difference is in the linen of these two veils which is not apparent in English but it is found in the two different Hebrew words used. The “linen” of the Tabernacle veil signifies “white,” which points us to the sinlessness of Christ in the days of His humiliation. Turning to the Temple veil, the word “linen” means “white and glistening,” and this directs our attention to Christ now in exaltation, of which three of His disciples had a preview when His raiment was “white and glistening” as He was transfigured before them upon the mount (Luke 9:29).
The Temple Doors:
Whilst still in the Holy Place, we turn from the veil and move eastwards to the doors that open into the Porch. This pair of doors was wider than the other behind the veil, being “a fourth” of the inside width of the building, that is, 5 cubits wide, or about 10 ft. Each door consisted of “two leaves” and was “folding.” The two doors were made of “fir,” hung on “posts of olive wood,” and were carved with figures of cherubim and palm trees with open flowers and overlaid with gold (1Ki. 6:33-35).
These doors, like the others, direct us to Christ, and they are the same except for a different timber used. The “fir” wood, from which they were made, is a symbol of joy, for Isaiah (14:8) says, “the fir trees rejoice.” If, in thought for a moment, we may stand outside beside the Brazen Altar where the sacrifices were offered, then the Temple with its gold covered “fir” doors would be before us. It reminds us how Christ, “for the joy set before Him, endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2). The joy was not in suffering which He endured but beyond it. Having borne the anguish of the cross, Christ has entered the joy of the heavenly temple and is “set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
Having in mind, the principle of the joy that lies beyond suffering, Paul says concerning Christians “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).
The Doors of the Courts:
From the Holy Place, we pass through the gold covered “fir” doors into the Porch and thence into the Courts.
“He made the Court of the Priests, and the Great Court, and doors for the Court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass” (2Chron. 4:9).
No mention is made of the materials used for making the doors for the middle and outer courts, except the “brass” with which they were overlaid.
The silence of Scripture about the materials used for these Doors should not be ignored, because it focusses our attention upon the “brass” with which they were overlaid. In Scripture, “brass” is a symbol of God’s judgement of sin. Man’s approach to God is impeded by his sin, but provision is foreshadowed by these brass covered doors to the Courts. Christ, in His death upon the cross, has borne vicariously the judgement passed upon the sinner.
There is no mention of doors for the Inner Court where the Brazen Altar was located, for “he built the Inner Court with three rows of hewed stone and a row of cedar beams” (I Ki. 6:36). The entrances into this Court of the Altar were open, signifying anti typically that there is no barrier to the cross of Christ and that the sinner may at all times find the forgiveness of sins there.
—(to be continued)
by H. C. SPENCE
Truly there is no subject so glorious as Our Lord Jesus Christ and no theme so affecting to us as the consideration of Him as the Beloved Son of the Father.
We bow our hearts adoringly as we sing with the hymn writer :—
- “Thou art the everlasting Word,
- The Father’s only Son,
- God manifestly seen and heard,
- And heaven’s Beloved One.”
We delight to retrace His pathway as the Incarnate Word, His peerless worth, His perfect manhood, yet walking in the fullness of the Godhead. He was ever the Beloved Son, the Father’s constant joy.
The bosom of the Father was ever His abode where the Son of His love dwells in ceaseless embrace (John 1:18).
The Lord’s pathway of obedience to do the Father’s will marked Him out as the One of Whom Jehovah had spoken prophetically through the prophet Isaiah “Behold My Servant Whom I have chosen My Beloved in Whom my soul is well pleased” (Matt. 12:18).
Twice in Our Lord’s path the Father reveals the estimate of His Son. Firstly at His baptism “And a voice came from heaven which said ‘Thou art My Beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased’” (Luke 3:22), and the other occasion is on the holy mount where the Lord Jesus was transfigured before His disciples “And His face did shine as the sun and His raiment was white as the light. And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him.” Peter’s suggestion at this juncture “Let us make here three tabernacles, one for Thee, one for Moses and one for Elias.” Peter’s desire was not acceptable to the Father for the Son must not only have the first place but the pre-eminence “And behold a voice out of the clouds which said, ‘This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him’.” Thus the Beloved Son of the Father must have the only place.
We come to another passage where we have a very beautiful rendering in Mark chapter 12:1. “The Lord Jesus began to speak unto them by parables. ‘A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it out to husbandmen and went into a far country’.” We know the story how he sent servant after servant and they were stoned, wounded and sent away shamefully handled, “And again they sent another and him they killed and many others, beating some and killing some. Having yet therefore one son, his well beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying ‘They will reverence my son.’ They said among themselves, ‘This is the Heir, come let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard” (verses 1 to 8).
It cost the Father much to send His well Beloved Son. What pathos is found in these words the Father’s only well Beloved Son was slain, He was truly the Heir for we read in Hebrews chapter 1 concerning His Son that “The Father hath appointed Him Heir of all things” and He has not lost His inheritance for we are reminded in Psalm 2 “Thou art My Son this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me and I shall give Thee the nations for Thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession” (Psalm 2:7,8).
God the Father hath given His Son a bride for His own possession “And a multitude of those who have believed in Him have been accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6). The Lord is bringing many sons to glory and when His blood-bought bride is complete His heart’s desire will be fulfilled “Behold I and the children which God hath given Me” (Heb. 2:10 and 13).
In the Song of Solomon chapter 5 we have a lovely glimpse of the Bride and her lover, in verse 6 we have the Bride’s longing after her Beloved “I opened to my Beloved but my Beloved had withdrawn Himself and was gone, my soul faileth when He spake. I sought Him, but I could not find Him, I called Him but He gave me no answer.” She had through her slothfulness turned her Beloved away from the door. In verses 8 and 9 we have the conversation between the Bride and the daughters of Jerusalem. “What is thy Beloved more than another Beloved, that thou dost so charge us?” The answer to that challenge the Bride declares “My Beloved is white and ruddy the chiefest among ten thousand” and then she gives the enumerations of “Him Whom her soul loveth” verses 11 to 15. She fervently declares “Yea He is altogteher lovely. This is My Beloved and this is my friend” (verse 16).
We know that the Holy Spirit delights to set forth in type the glorious Bridegroom of our hearts and every child of God can adoringly say “My Beloved is mine and I am His.” (Ch. 2:16). “I am My Beloved’s and His desire is toward me” (ch. 7:10).
May our meditation be sweet and may our Beloved Lord become increasingly precious to us until we see Him face to face.
by GERALD S. STOCK (Redditch)
The “Principle spices” are four, the number which belongs to earth, and they each mark out graces and beauty that marked out the Man who alone, as led always by the Spirit, moved here for the Father’s pleasure. It must be four, for it had to be four chosen men, each with a special task, who would record for us that path of purest grace. Thus what the Holy Spirit brought to light for God’s glory in Him, it is intended that such features of that life presented here shall be reproduced in those who move before Him and engage in His worship. What God is saying to us is simply this, that our worship is to be the outcome of a life that is pleasing to Him.
One difference must be noted; what was seen in Him was always there, that of Him which may be seen to be of Him, has to be wrought in us by His Holy Spirit. This is John 15, the fruit of the Spirit. This has to touch everything in what answers for us to the tent of meeting—the assembly. Without that touch, there is nothing of God or for God in the thing. That is why the thing is so often a bind and a grind, an almost intolerable burden.
Vs. 24. The “Freely flowing myrrh,” is not the very fact that this comes first significant? It is, for we are to mark the path of the “Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” And “Five hundred shekels” twice as much as the other two sweet ingredients, and equal to the other bitter ingredient. For we are seeing what was seen, and seen to be, in that holy life. Bom in cattle stall, hunted in infancy, reared in poverty and obscurity. Hated, hounded, and misunderstood, even by His own; His enemies not content until they had secured for Him an agonising and shameful death.
Myrrh is the resin, flowing of itself from a small thorny tree, bitter, but most fragrant. This is surely “Luke’s portrait of Him. “A root out of a dry ground.” Yet as we ponder over Luke’s Gospel from the cradle to the grave, and after we savour the wonderful fragrance of His life, for much flows freely in Luke, joy on earth and in heaven at His birth, mercy and peace in many things not noticed by the others; it ends as it began, with great joy, praise and blessing to God. It is in Luke only we read “Until He find it,” His tears over Jerusalem, His awful agony in the garden, are both underlined in Luke. Luke alone records both His first words and His last, before He died, and in both the fragrant myrrh flows freely, for all the bitterness, for it is the “Father’s things” He ever is about.
Vs. 25. “Sweet cinnamon, half so much.” This was the inner bark, imported from far away, sweet and most fragrant. It tells of One, who, from a distant clime, moved here on this earth, displaying a glory not seen by unbelieving eyes. “We beheld” says John, but of His foes He had to say “Ye neither know Me nor my Father,” Jn. 8:19. Even some of His faithful followers failed to recognise the “inner bark.” “Have I been so long time with you and yet hast thou not known Me Philip? John 14:9.
John’s Gospel is a joy to the new convert and to the aged saint, who, the more he ponders over it, the more he realises how little he knows. Israel rejects Him in the very first chapter, “No beauty that we should desire Him,” but to those who receive Him, to them He discloses the glories of the “Father’s house” from which He has come.
“Half so much” for even in John’s Gospel we see that there was much less of joy than sorrow in that holy life. But a fragrance peculiar to John, is here; “The house was filled with the odour of the ointment,” even if some present d d not like it. There is no mount of transfiguration in John— for it is the inner bark we see. The prayer, the agony of the garden, the darkness and desolate cry find no place. No rent vail, no vail indeed at all, for He “Manifested forth His glory (2. Vs. 11) and ere He left them, promised One who would do just that to them when He had gone. Twice over in Ch. 17, He takes account of His own as those who “Are not of this world.”
Vs. 25. “Sweet calamus, two hundred and fifty shekels,” five is the predominant number here for five is the number of man’s responsibility, and we see one who moved in glad subjection to the Father—always. Whether the path was pleasure or pain it was “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight”.
It may well be the view that the Holy Spirit of God has given us through Matthew here. This is sometimes translated rod or reed. In Matthew man puts the latter into His hand in mockery, but the whole of the gospel is devoted to the presentation of Him Who alone is worthy to bear the rod. It was the very pith of the root of Calamus that was used here and in Matthew’s gospel we have a searching test of His competence, His credentials and His comeliness. The very genealogy at its beginning presents His credentials; visitors from afar greet Him as king. On his anointing He bears the test of the wilderness and goes forth triumphant to give Israel a foretaste of what will be theirs when He reigns. The terms of His rule are then stated, and Israel learns that they supersede the Law.
Human, demon, and natural forces are seen to be subject to Him and when they reject Him He presents His kingdom as it is now, in mystery, intelligible only to true faith. In a peculiar way it is Matthew who underlines responsibility to Him, Peter’s declaration; the wickedness of His foes; the relation of those around the cross, and even the conspiracy about His resurrection; also the great Commission, and in every way the Spirit says, “Behold your King.”
Vs. 25. Of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary.” As the half shekel, weighed only in the presence of God where alone “The precious blood of Christ” is truly valued. So in heaven alone, that life on earth, lived out to the Father’s entire pleasure can be really valued. For cassia means to “stoop” or “bow down,” and speaks unmistakably of servitude; an offensive word in modem speech, no doubt but the holy perfect servitude of God’s perfect Servant is something the Spirit loved to dwell on long before it commenced (Isaiah), and is displayed in sweet fulness in the gospel of Mark. There, in the very first chapter the healing powers of the celestial cassia are seen. No genealogy marks the page, for servants need none. The discourses are short and spare, for He is busy serving the needs of men in the will of God. Mark combines the truth of His very Lordship with His service, serving yet sovereign.
Mark too tells of His death underlining the weight of the load He had to bear. Thus the desolation of the three dark hours and the awful cry of dereliction are joined, for the “Why” has a special pathos here. In no uncertain terms He calls them into His own service upon resurrection, and when elevated to glory He is still seen wearing the holy garb of true service. “The Lord working with them,” He, who before them had worked the works of Him who sent Him.
“A compound, compounded after the art of the apotha-cary,” and there never was such as that holy life lived out here for God. Declared Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness. Rom. 1:4. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with Holy Spirit and power.” Acts 10.38. That holy Apothacary is still about the business of reproducing what was seen to be in our Lord Jesus, and in the measure He is permitted by yielded wills, presented bodies, and renewed minds we are fitted to touch the altar. For everything, including the priests, were anointed by this. The lesson is plain: God will have worship from hearts that are open to His Word, sensitive to His Holy Spirit and that every movement we make before Him must be made in the power and enabling of His Spirit. Even the “Ark of testimony” which, according to Ch. 25:22 is the very throne of God in the midst of His people, and today, in that which in His mind at least, answers to the tent of meeting, the gathering to His Name, in that, the rule of God can only be maintained in the power of the Spirit. Let the flesh intrude, there is breakdown and confusion, and what we are seeing before our eyes today, “Every man does that which is right in his own eyes.”
Vs. 31. This verse makes it clear that the principle taught in previous verses abides and that for every generation. Its principle will be seen, perfect and fulfilled in a scene where “Nought that defileth” can ever enter.
Vs. 32. This would tell us God’s mind about “Pseudo spirituality,” so much on the increase. Lack of the real, demands a substitute, even in spiritual things. Once the true work of His gracious Holy Spirit has been abandoned for emotional disturbance, noise and excitement, His Word goes by the board and He is robbed of the pleasure of His Son in us. Moral death takes place in the experience of any believer who seeks a substitute. However sincere, (and many of them are, more so than ourselves), such a one is cut off from the true ministry of the Spirit; the Bible becomes a book of texts instead of a textbook, the Laver is abandoned and strange fire bums.
- Lines written by Mr. Hawthorne Bailie, and which were submitted to Mr. G. Watters, many years ago.
- In a lovely rural district —Acts 2:42.
- Stands a little gospel hall;
- Where the Christians meet to worship
- Jesus Christ, Lord over all. —Rom. 9:8.
- Having learned from Holy Scripture
- How the early Church did meet; —Matt. 18:25.
- Gathered to the Lord their centre
- On the first day of the week.
- Meeting simply to remember
- All the work that Christ has done: —1 Cor. 11:23.
- On the cross and in the glory,
- Shew His death until He come.
- Other companies gather likewise,
- Expression of the Church of God: —Heb. 10:19.
- Having right as priests to enter
- Heaven, by Christ’s atoning blood.
- When they gather none presiding,
- Christ the Lord is in the midst:
- And the Holy Spirit, Who is Sovereign
- Freely uses whom He will. —1 Cor. 12:11-15.
- In each gathered out assembly
- There is room for all the gifts: —1 Cor. 12:14.
- Liberty—but no monopoly,
- Guided as the Head thinks fit.
- There is room for exhortation,
- Hymn or psalm as Spirit leads; —1 Cor. 14:3.
- All that leads to exaltation
- Of the Christ the Lamb of God.
- Bishops rule and priests do worship,
- Deacons serve the saints of God: —1 Tim. 3.
- Room for all that God has given,
- All controlled by Christ the Lord.
- May we then whose hearts are opened
- By the Lord surrender all; —Rom. 12:1.
- Give Him back the life we owe Him,
- Freely answer to His call.
- All our talents gladly give Him
- His, well done, will amply pay:
- For our Sacrifice accepted,
- On the coming, crowning day. —Matt. 25:13-23.