THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Dr. John Boyd
DANIEL THE PROPHET
by C. J. Atkins
THE HANDS OF THE LORD
by H. C. Spence
THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST
by Wm. Bunting
STUDIES IN SOLOMON’S TEMPLE
by J. B. D. Page
ENTERING THE HOLIEST
by R. W. Beales
THE HOLY SPIRIT
by DR, JOHN BOYD
The Deity of the Holy Spirit
Not only is the Holy Spirit a Person, He is One of the Persons of the Godhead; He is God (Acts 5:3,4). He is equal with God the Father, and God the Son— in power, in dignity, in glory, and in eternal Being (Heb. 9:14). Concerning His deity the scriptures have much to say. The Spirit of Jehovah, the name often given to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, is used synonymously with Jehovah (Judg. 3:10).
The New Testament writers, in quoting references about Jehovah in the Old Testament, frequently attribute them to the Holy Spirit. The message of Jehovah to Israel in Ps. 95:7-11 is called the saying of the Holy Ghost in Heb. 3:7-11. Again, the instructions of Jehovah to Moses concerning the entrance of the High Priest into the Holiest within the veil once a year (Lev. 16:2, 34) are described in Heb. 9:8 as the Holy Ghost signifying that the way into the Holiest had not then been made manifest.
The equality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and with the Son in the Godhead is asserted in the New Testament. The Lord, in speaking of the Spirit being sent from the Father, described Him as “another Comforter”, One of the Triune Godhead. In this same connection the Lord said that the Father and He would make their abode in any who would love Him and keep His word (John 14:23). This They would do in the Person of the Spirit. Compare also 1 Cor. 12, where the One who works all spiritual gifts in believers is called God in v. 6, and the Spirit in v. 11.
In the work of creation the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were all united. The word for “God” in Gen. 1:1 is in the plural number, which in Hebrew denotes more than two persons. The Triune Godhead created the heaven and the earth. The Father is undoubtedly seen in v. 1, the Spirit in v. 2, and the Son in John 1:3. In Heb. 9:14, the three Persons in the Godhead are intimately associated in the work of redemption—a cleansing by “the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God”. The resurrection of Christ is seen as the work of the Father (Eph. 1:20), of the Son (1 Cor. 15:4), and of the Spirit of holiness (Rom. 1:4). The Holy Ghost is included on equal status with the Father and the Son in the baptismal formula for believers in Matt. 28:19. These are baptised into one name, not separate names, as the use of one preposition “into” indicates. A similar equality is noticed in Paul’s benediction to the Corinthians in 2 Cor. 13:14.
The dignity of the Godhead belongs to the Holy Spirit, for the Lord emphasised the unpardonable nature of blasphemy against the Spirit (Mark 3:29). The Holy Spirit is possessed of all the attributes of Deity; He is Eternal in His Being (Heb. 9.: 14); He is Omniscient (1 Cor. 2:10-11); He is Omnipresent (Ps. 139:7); He is Omnipotent (1 Cor. 12:11); He can give Life (John 6:63), as also the Father and the Son (John 5:21).
May God then impress upon us the Greatness of the Person of the Holy Spirit, that we may realise the value of His work for us and in us; the Dignity of His Person, that we may accord to Him the reverence due to a Member of the Triune Godhead; the Nature of His Person, that we might live more and more unto the praise of the glory of His grace.
- Our blest Redeemer, ere He breathed
- His tender last farewell,
- A Guide, a Comforter bequeathed
- With us to dwell.
- And His that gentle voice we hear,
- Soft as the breath of even,
- That checks each fault, that calms each fear,
- And speaks of heaven.
DANIEL THE PROPHET
by the late C. J. ATKINS
Chapter Eleven (continued)
v.29,31. At the time appointed he shall return and come into the South; but it shall not be as in the former time,—for ships of Kittim shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved and shall return and have great indignation against the holy Covenant and shall do his pleasure. He shall even return and have regard unto them that forsake the holy Covenant.—They shall profane the sanctuary and take away the burnt offering, and they shall set up the abomination that maketh desolate.
During this time, the two brothers Ptolemy Philometor and Ptolemy Phiscon had become reconciled and agreed to a joint rule. Fearing another attack by Antiochus the two sent an embassy to Rome seeking help. Thus when God’s appointed time had come for dealing with Antiochus, when he marched against Egypt again with a large force the former victory was not repeated. The help of the Romans brought by galleys was sufficient to cause Antiochus to submit with great humiliation. With great asperity the Romans demanded an immediate withdrawal from Egypt. In impotent rage he returned to vent his mortification on Jerusalem. Many Jews had apostatised, abandoning the distinctive demands of the Mosaic law and these were befriended by Antiochus. He then published a decree that all in Palestine should conform to the Greek worship, that the temple in Jerusalem should be consecrated to Jupiter, and claimed for himself worship and honour as the embodiment of the god. His army murdered many faithful Jews, the temple was further polluted by sacrificing swine on the altar and sprinkling the blood over the holy place, copies of the Scriptures were destroyed and an idol set up upon the altar in the most holy place as previously foretold in ch. 8, v. 13 (168 B.C.)
v. 32-35. Such as do wickedly against the Covenant shall he pervert by flatteries; but the people that know their God shall be strong, and do exploits and they that be wise among the people shall instruct many, yet shall they fall by the sword—many days. They shall be holpen with a little help; but many shall join unto them with flatteries, it is yet for the time appointed.
Despite the continuing flatteries to the apostate Jews, there was a remnant who remained faithful to God, in spite of fearful torture, burnings, captivity and despoiling and death. These godly ones, trusting in the ever living God of their fathers, led by Mattathias and his five sons, including Judas, the Maccabees, continued valiant resistance in the hills and caves of Judea. In the midst of the anguish and darkness, there were still teachers who gave spiritual instruction to maintain the truth of God’s law and exhort patient trust in His faithful word. A little help was given to prolong the struggle as faithful ones flocked to the deserts and caves at successive oppressions. But though “exploits” included the recapture of the city of Jerusalem and the cleansing of the temple and the celebration of a feast of dedication, the resistance could not effect a permanent deliverance—“it is yet for the time appointed.”
Daniel was strengthened in order that he might hear and record what God would declare, ch. 10, v. 19. We can now review the record and see how the nations have been moved and the rulers have raged in craftiness whilst He “that made the earth and created man upon it” and commands all hosts of heaven, holds all things in His hand. He who says “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning—saying my counsels shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory” will soon fulfil his purposes. Isa. 45:12. 46:9,10,13. Would we be strengthened in times of affliction? It is still true that “they that know their God shall be strong.” Would we “instruct many?” then let us seek wisdom from Him who is the Wisdom of God even though we may see “some of them that be wise shall fall.” It is but the sifting that they might be refined, purified, made white, even to the time of the end. Ch. 11:32,33,35. Looking back over the two and a half Millenia since Daniel wrote we should be stimulated to look up expectantly as we see the day approaching.
Who is this King who in v. 36 is abruptly announced as one who shall “do according to his will.” In much he resembles the little horn of Daniel 7, but one point most certainly distinguishes him from either of the little horns, that is, the completely Jewish phrase “v. 37 the gods of his fathers.” These verses introduce a new character, one of the trinity of evil potentates dominating the last days. The “little horn” of Daniel 7 is the despotic ruler of the revived Western Empire; the “little horn” of Daniel 8 is the fierce invader, “the King of the North”—typified by Antiochus Epiphanes, but even more hateful than he was. This newly introduced one, rising from the Jewish people, is the one referred to in the New Testament as the Antichrist and in Revelation as the “Beast coming up out of the earth” Rev. 13:11. Daniel has been telling of the Gentile enemies of his people, but at this stage in the “time of the end” at the close of the period portrayed to Daniel as the 69th week, an apostate Jew exalts himself with Satanic power. The nature and activities of this evil one, the king of v. 36 (elsewhere called “the worthless shepherd” Zech. 11:15-17, the antichrist, the false prophet, Rev. 16,13. 19,20) are told in v. 36-39 and his end is given in Revelation Ch. 19, 20. v. 10. The Jewish people led by their rulers and priests cried out concerning the Lord Jesus their rejected Messiah “Away with Him,” Luke 19,14, fulfilling the word which the Lord had Himself foretold in parable “we will not have this man to reign over us.” They “denied the holy and righteous one and asked for a murderer to be granted” Acts 3.14. The Lord plainly told the Jews when He was in the temple “I am come in my Father’s Name, and ye receive me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” John 5.43. Warning them of this wilful king who at the time of the end will “exalt himself … and he shall prosper” v.36. The beloved apostle John also wrote of him “it is the last hour … Antichrist cometh … who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ. This is the Antichrist” 1 John 2. 18,22. We certainly live in days when there have arisen many “Antichrists.” Every false cult, from the first century gnostic heresy to present day theosophy, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Spiritism, and Humanism, is antichrist; “even now have there arisen many antichrists” 1 John 2.18. But this wilful king of whom Daniel wrote is “the Antichrist” whom Paul describes as “the Man of Sin … the Son of Perdition, He that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God” 2 Thess. 2:3,4. As we read of the appallingly evil ways of this wicked one, how we rejoice to read also of his limitations. “He shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that which is determined shall be done” v.36. Our eternal all powerful God is still seated in the heavens; though “the kings of the earth set themselves against the Lord … the Lord shall have them in derision” Psalm 2:2.4. “That which is determined shall be done.”
The prophet Isaiah gives a revelation of events in the heavens before the earth was prepared for man “how art thou fallen from heaven O Day star, Son of the morning … thou saidst in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mount of congregation … I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” Isa. 14:12-14. And John the apostle writes concerning this same one “the beast out of the earth” “the great Dragon … the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole World.’’ Rev. 12.9. “And the Dragon gave him (the beast out of the sea v. 1) his power and his throne, and great authority” Rev. 13, 2. “And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth … and he exerciseth all the authority of the first beast in his sight” Rev. 13. 11,12. Since this evil one, the man of sin is to exercise authority directly empowered by Satan, it is to be expected that he would evidence, the same characteristics, the fivefold “I will” told by Isaiah concerning the pride of the “son of the morning” is reproduced in the attitude of the son of Perdition, the wilful King. He “shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god; and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods; and he shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished.” Dan. 11, 36.
The wise man spoke truly when he said “when pride cometh then cometh shame;”—for “pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov. 11:2-16, 18. Surely as the Lord’s people we should remember how prone we are, even as the Lord’s redeemed people, to slip into such sin. James recognised this, as he, with his essentially practical forthrightness said “whence come wars and whence come fightings among you, come they not even of your passions that war in your members, … God resis-teth the proud but giveth grace to the humble, resist the devil.” James 4:1,6,7. It is not only in the world of unregenerate men that pride of heart brings distress and sorrow and confusion.
During the last of Daniel’s 70 weeks which will begin when the Church has been caught up to meet her Lord in the air, the covenant made between the mighty ruler of the Western Empire, the little horn of Daniel 7, the beast out of the sea of Rev. 13, and the majority of the of the people of Israel in Palestine will be in force. Under the protection of this Covenant, the temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem (2 Thes. 2:4) and the old system of worship restored. In this temple the proud king will exalt himself, exercising his Satanic authority to claim pre-eminence over every god and form of worship, insisting that he himself shall be worshipped “setting himself forth as God” 2 Thes. 2:4. He is evidently a Jew, yet he turns from “the god of his fathers,” and scorns the long expected Messiah “the Desire of Women” Dan. 11:37. For centuries devout virgins of Israel had yearned to be the chosen one, the virgin who should conceive “and bear a son and should call his name Immanuel” Isa. 7:14. and yet in the unbelief of the Nation, there was generally a failure to recognise that the favoured one had been chosen and “she brought forth her first born son” Luke 1:28. 2:7. Such will be the apostasy of the Nation at the time of the end, that though they restore a form of worship, they will be deceived by the Satanically controlled king, so that he shall not “regard any God, for he shall magnify himself above all.” Dan. 11:37. Though rejecting any God, the despotic king does give honour, for “in his place he shall honour the god of fortresses” the corresponding account given in Revelation 13, shows that he not only demands worship for himself, but being in league with the first beast coming up out of the sea, “he maketh the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first Beast.” Rev. 13:12. Therefore he makes an image of this beast “and it was given unto him to give breath to it, that the image of the beast should speak” Rev. 13:15. Furthermore the word “fortresses” or forces is interpreted as meaning hidden forces, that is the forces of spiritism. This agrees with the account of 2 Thes. 2:9. “He whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” Daniel shows that the mass of the people who acknowledge him will be rewarded Ch. 11:39 and John shows that “as many as should not worship the image of the beast, should be killed.” Rev. 13:15. When the image is erected in the holy place, in the midst of the week as shown in Dan. 9:27, the tiny remnant of faithful ones will recognise the sign foretold, “the abomination that maketh desolate set up,” Dan. 12:11 and will flee, knowing that the great tribulation is to begin. Matt. 24:15-22.
The king goes still further in his blasphemous usurpation of God’s authority as Dan. 11:39 foretells. “Whosoever acknowledgeth him, he will increase with glory, and shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for a price,” but their glory and their rewards, the payments they demand, will be of short duration. By the prophet Isaiah, God had said, “I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains, and My chosen shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there.” “Thy people shall inherit the land for ever.” “Behold the Lord God will come as a mighty one, … behold his reward is with him.” Isa. 65:9. 60:21 and 40:10. When the judgement is complete, this time of Jacob’s trouble, Israel’s true king will come forth with power to deliver his afflicted faithful ones, and he will reward them with their inheritance so long promised.
The last 6 verses of the chapter tell of the rapid movement of events leading to the culmination, when judgement shall fall. Whilst the evil king apportions the land, Immanuel’s land, to his admiring adherents, jealous eyes will watch in resentment and will cause an assault to be launched from opposite directions.” At the time of the end shall the king of the south contend with him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind … and shall overflow and pass through. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown” ch 11:40,41. Consistently throughout the visions the king of the south has referred to the ruler of Egypt, and the king of the north, the one spoken of in other prophecies as the “Assyrian” has referred to the one springing from the northern division of the Grecian Empire after its fourfold division as seen in ch. 8. In a furious assault, the king of the North will sweep through “the glorious land” and on southward to gain control over Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia gaining great treasure and wealth as plunder.
Though he overruns all the nations around Palestine and North Africa the lands which were peopled by Edom, Moab and Ammon, escape. These peoples, descendants of Esau, and the sons of Lot by his incest with his daughters after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, were persistent and cruel enemies of the children of Israel, throughout their history. It is God’s purpose that when “the Lord shall set his hand the second time to recover the remnant of his people” that the just judgement upon these kindred peoples should be meted out by Israel. “He shall set up an ensign for the nations and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth … and they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines on the West; . . . together they shall spoil the children of the east; they shall put their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them” Isa. 11:11,12,14.
Whilst venting his fury upon Egypt and North Africa, the king of the North will receive tidings of movements against him in Palestine and in the East. In the record of the fearful judgements as the seven angels with seven bowls pour out their bowls of the wrath of God, we read in Rev. 16:12 “the sixth poured out his bowl upon the river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way might be made ready for the kings that come from the sunrising.” This suggests that powers will also move from the far east toward Palestine. Thus all nations converge upon the holy land. “He shall go forth with great fury to destroy and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the sea and his glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end and none shall help him.” Dan. 11:44,45. In ch. 2 the vision revealed the stone cut out without hands, crushing the image of Gentile Empires, and Daniel also was told concerning his vision of the fourth beast “but the judgement shall sit, and they shall take away his dominions, to consume and to destroy it to the end” Ch. 7:26. And in ch. 8 “but he shall be broken without hand” v.25. Thus when all the might of Gentile dominion is gathered under the power of Satan’s hosts, then the day of the Lord will come. “Behold the day of the Lord cometh … for I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken … then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the East, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley … and the Lord my God shall come and all the holy ones with Thee … and it shall come to pass in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem and the Lord shall be king over the earth; in that day shall the Lord be one and His Name one.” Zech. 14:1-5, 8, 9.
THE HANDS OF THE LORD
by H. C. SPENCE
“I muse on the work of Thy hands” declared the Psalmist (Psa. 143:5). And so may we as we consider the hands of the Lord.
What various thoughts are revealed in the many portions of Holy Scripture to our minds as we meditate on the hands of the Lord. Firstly, there is the saving strength of His right hand. “Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear” (Isa. 59:1).
The Hand of Power. “Fear thou not for I am with thee, be not dismayed, for I am thy God, I will strengthen thee, yea I will help thee, yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness—for I, the Lord thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee Tear not I will help thee’” (Isa. 41:10, 13). How precious to realise that the mighty hand of the God of Jacob will hold our right hand. He is able to strengthen us in our weakness, and uphold us in our weariness and stumbling.
Then there is the Fashioning Hand. Job could say “Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about” (ch. 10:8). We are reminded in Jeremiah of the hand of the Divine potter (and the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter, so he made it again another vessel, as seemed to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?” saith the Lord. “Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in Mine hand. O house of Israel.” Jer. 18:4-6) Our God has His special design for each of us and He desires to mould us that we may be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). So it will be with His ancient people also in His gracious dealings with them.
The Hand that Plans. “And with full assurance of faith” we can say with the Psalmist “My times are in Thy hand” (Psa. 31:15). Times of joy and sorrow, temptations and difficulties ever proving His unfailing guidance and unceasing care—all planned by Him Who knows the end from the beginning. How blessed to know that He silently plans for His redeemed people!
We also remember His Guiding Hand. “So He fed them according to the integrity of His heart, and guided them by the skilfulness of His hands” (Psa. 78:72) Thus He leads us through the wilderness paths we have not known, yet known to Him in every detail. We can rest assured with the Psalmist that “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Thy hand lead me and Thy right hand shall hold me” (Psa. 139:9-10) Truly “All His saints are in Thy hand” (Deut. 33:3).
As well as His Guiding Hand, we have His Providing Hand. “The eyes of all wait upon thee and Thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing” (Psa. 145:15-16). How good it is to know that we have a God whose hand can and will provide for all men every day of their lives. This is particularly and wonderfully true of the child of God.
Let us rejoice that we are in the safest hands in the world — The Hand of Security. And rest assured in His Own precious promise “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow Me and I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29). A double assurance is given to us here of our eternal security.
Our Blessed Lord appeals to His disciples after His resurrection “Why are ye troubled? Why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My Feet that it is I Myself—And when He had thus spoken He showed them His hands and His feet” (Luke 24. 38-40). It was the sight of those pierced hands that caused Thomas to know that He was the risen Son of God and adoringly declare His Deity “My Lord and my God.” We also see the Lord of Glory as He ascended from earth to heaven pronouncing a blessing with uplifted pierced hands. The day will come when God’s ancient people “will look on Him Whom they pierced and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him, even so, Amen.” Thus we see our living, loving Lord at God’s right hand. “The Minister of the sanctuary” (Heb. 8:1-2). With joyful anticipation we can sing the words of the hymn writer
- “The Bride eyes not her garment,
- But her dear Bridegroom’s face,
- I will not gaze at glory
- But on the king of grace,
- Not at the crown He giveth,
- But on His Pierced Hand,
- The Lamb in all the glory
- Of Emmanuel’s Land.”
THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST
Notes from an Address by the late WILLIAM BUNTING
Romans 14:10; 1st Corinthians 4:11-18; (In v. 17 the word ‘destroy’ is the same as the word ‘defile’); 1Corinthians 4:1-5; 2Corinthians 5:9-10.
Our subject of which we have read is the judgement seat of Christ. We have seen during our meetings this week that the church will not pass through the Great Tribulation. That is Jacob’s trouble. The rapture of the church is imminent.
The very fact of the judgement seat of Christ teaches us this, that while it is a blessed thing to be a Christian it is also a serious thing to be a Christian. It is very serious when you think of the judgement seat of Christ. The judgement seat of Christ is not going to be a “tea party” or a “picnic” by any means. Oh no! When you come to the word of God you have at least two kinds of judgement. Judgement by men, the apostle speaks about that in 1st Cor. 4; and you have judgement by God. We want to think this evening about judgement by God. It is two-fold. God judges His people now, and God is going to judge His people in the future. Tonight we are going to think of that future judgement.
We must all appear, we must all be made manifest, before the judgement seat of Christ. The judgement seat is called the judgement seat of God, and it is called the judgement seat of Christ. The word judgement seat comes from the word “bema” and the bema was the raised platform upon which the judge or judges sat. It is to be distinguished from the word throne. It was a judicial seat, and the apostle uses it a number of times. There are a few very simple and elementary questions which I want to ask and answer particularly for those that are young in Christ.
Where will the judgement seat of Christ be? It will be in heaven. In Matthew’s gospel our Lord said “Great is your reward in heaven.” The saints will be rewarded in heaven. In Matt. 25 there will be a judgement on earth. That will be judgement of the living nations, which will take place before the millenial reign of Christ begins. The sheep—the goats—and there is another class spoken of by the Lord “as my brethren”—the Jewish missionaries which will proclaim the gospel.
Then there will be another judgement, and that is the judgement of the great white throne. It is well to distinguish between things that differ. The judgement of the great white throne will take place when time is ended. The great white throne will be erected not in heaven or earth, but it will be erected in space. God, who holds earth in space, will hold the great white throne in space, and at that judgement will be the wicked dead. At the judgement seat of Christ there will be the saved.
Another question that I want to ask is when this judgement will take place? and the answer is—it will take place immediately the saints are raptured. In Matt. 25 in the parable of the talents it was as soon as the man returned that he called his servants before him and renewed their talents. Revelation 22 “I come, and my reward is with me” the giving of the reward is closely associated with His coming. As soon as the Lord comes the judgement seat of Christ is going to be erected. The Lord will come, and when He comes and gives that shout, the resurrection of the saints will take place, and then the rapture of the saints will take place, and they which are alive upon earth. The next thing will be the review, and after that the reward. We are going to wear and enjoy this reward throughout eternity.
As I said, there is a very serious side to being a Christian. The judgement seat of Christ is not going to be a picnic. We ought to be thankful that there will be a judgement seat of Christ because everything is going to be put right there. Things here which are hidden, and we don’t understand, we are going to understand them there. If the differences between God’s people are never adjusted on earth, they will be put right at the judgement seat of Christ. Yet we should be thankful that it is so. The question arises, what will be judged?
The whole life of the believer will be judged. Let me say this, the purpose of that review will not be at all to determine my eternal destiny. I shall loose reward where I have failed and come short, but where my guilt as a sinner is concerned will not be brought against the believer at the judgement seat of Christ. The moment you accept the Lord Jesus as your Saviour you became God’s child and servant. When our account upon earth is closed let us remember that account is going to be disclosed, and our entire service is going to be reviewed.
The word of God mentions certain things specifically which will come under review in that day. Seven things.
Christian Ministry: 1st Cor. 4, Paul speaks of himself as a steward and it is required that a man be found faithful. When we stand at the judgement seat of Christ every brother that has handled the word of God in ministry is going to give an account of his stewardship. Have I been faithful in my ministry of God’s word. It is very easy to play to one party or another. The servant of God ought not to be a man pleaser. Well my ministry is going to be tested by Him. Did I minister His word in love? Did I minister His word prayerfully, faithfully, or did I mince matters in order that I might please and be popular? Our ministry of the word will pass under review in that day. May God sanctify to all His people that minister His word in the assembly that solemn thought.
What is the apostle thinking of in 1st Cor. 3? He is thinking of our work in connection with the assembly. And let me say here dear brethren, that God means that every man that is in an assembly ought to be an assembly man. Every brother ought to be an assembly man. We ought to have an interest in God’s assembly. If I believe that God’s assembly is right, then my interest in that assembly ought not to be divided, and I thank God today I have been in assembly fellowship 40 years and I thank God, and I don’t say it with any pride, that never once have I stood upon a sectarian platform. My work and your work in connection with the assembly is going to be tested in that day. What did you contribute to that assembly? What about the work in the assembly at …? When you come to the end of the chapter, remember that our work in connection with the assembly is going to be put to test. There is going to be a test of the quality of the materials which I put into the assembly. The quality of my workmanship will also be tested. “Of what sort it is” that is to say, the emphasis is not laid upon quantity but quality. It is quality that counts with God.
Wood, hay and stubble — something big to look at but worth very little when tested. Gold, silver and precious stones—if these are the things that I have built into the assembly then there will be a reward.
- Gold: Everything that is done for the glory of God.
- Silver: Everything that is done upon the basis of the redemptive work of Christ.
- Stones: These were the stones that adorned the building. They represent the fruits of the Spirit seen in my life.
Did I bring Christ-like character? Was I a peacemaker in the assembly? Did I help the saints. Did I retain confidence in my brethren and sisters in the assembly? It is the quality more than the quantity that counts.
There is a sense that in every man’s ministry there will be some wood, hay and stubble. One Christian will not have all wood and stubble and another have gold, silver and precious stones.
“If any man destroy the temple of God.” Here is a man who upsets the temple. He is a troubler in the temple. “Him shall I destroy.” To him that is awful solemn. I would rather go home to heaven tonight than live to be a destroyer of God’s temple. God help us every one.
Hebrews 13: There we have the work of the oversight that is going to be tested. The apostle writes in Hebrews 13 to the saints how they are to live “they watch for your souls, as they that must give account.” That surely is a weighty word. I am not an overseer myself, and I don’t have the difficulties and sorrows and sleepless nights, and it is not for me to preach to them, but there is the word. The work of an overseer is going to be tested, and it should make brethren very careful how they should act in overseeing meetings.
Luke 16: “Give an account of thy stewardship.” The stewardship is one of time and money. It is not the judgement seat of Christ in view, but nevertheless, there is the principal. It was a stewardship of time and money and surely it implies that I as a Christian will have to render an account of how I spent my time, and how I spent my money. Do some Christians ever think about this? How do I spend my time? Is it wasted away—time is precious. How do I spend my money? Think of that money that you spent. Do you know you are going to give an account for that money at the judgement seat of Christ? How are you going to look into the eyes of the Saviour and give an account of how you spent your money? Read the life of Hudson Taylor—The Growth of a Soul. How careful he was about his time, how conscientious he was about the little things in life, how concerned he was about spending his money. I think we have got away from that kind of living to a large extent.
Yes dear brethren, we shall have to give an account of our stewardship, of time and money.
Matthew 7: We learn, at least it is implied, that we shall have to give an account of how we have acted towards others. Our treatment to others is going to be tested and judged. Do I ignore them? Do 1 disregard their feelings? “With what measure ye meet it shall be measured to you again” Am I kind to others? Am I good to others? Our treatment to others is going to be tested in that day.
2 Thessalonians 5: “For we must all be made manifest before the judgement seat of Christ.” Not only shall we all stand or appear before the judgement seat, it is more than that, “we must all be made manifest.” What does that mean? We are going to be turned inside out. That is to say, our personal lives are going to be reviewed. My personal life, my private life, I appear right before my brethren, but every man has got a private life, and it is going to be laid bare at the judgement seat of Christ.
1 Corinthians 4: Our motives are going to be tested too. Not only what I did, but the motive that I had in mind in doing it.
- He is coming—oh! how solemn
- When the Judge’s voice is heard,
- And in His own light He shows us
- Every thought, and act, and word!
- Deeds of merit, as we thought them.
- He will show us were but sin;
- Little acts we had forgotten
- He will tell us were for Him.
When we come to the judgement seat of Christ let us remember there will be the “well done good and faithful servant” and everything I have put into life for God will be rewarded, only what has been put in down here will come out up there.
STUDIES IN SOLOMON’S TEMPLE
by JOHN B. D. PAGE
Facing east, the Temple stood in the midst of three Courts, and the only approach was through these Courts. There was an entrance in the middle of each boundary wall, except on the west side where there was none.
No mention is made of the size or shape of these Courts, but a solution may be found to the problem by noting that the size of Solomon’s Temple is the same as Ezekiel’s, yet to be built (1Ki. 6:2, Eze. 41:1-4), and so the Courts of Solomon’s were likely to have been the same as Ezekiel’s will be. The prophet describes in detail each Court, giving the measurements, and each will be square. Therefore, the Court sizes, given below, are taken from Ezekiel, as Thos. Newberry did.
Starting from outside and with the largest, there was first “the Great Court” (2Chron. 4:9) and, into this outermost court, all worshippers were free to enter. It was probably 500 cubits square.
Next, “the Court of the Priests,” proportionately smaller, probably 300 cubits square, and, as the name signifies, entry was restricted to the priests (2Chron. 4:9).
The third was “the Inner Court” (1Ki. 6:36) where the Brazen Altar stood, and it was likely to have been 100 cubits square.
What is the anti-typical significance of the Courts? The Great Court, into which all Israelis as the people of God had the right to enter, concerns our relationship with the Lord through regeneration. All believers have the right to enter and are found in the Great Court, because they are the Lord’s people.
The Court of the Priests, reserved for only the priests under the old economy, has to do with our priestly position before the Lord. In our position of believer-priests, from which none is barred, we have the privilege to enter the Court of the Priests, but some believers seem to remain in the Great Court and fail to exercise their priestly rights, particularly in worship on the Lord’s day morning.
In the Inner Court, the Brazen Altar was located but its position is important. If diagonals were drawn from the opposite corners of all three Courts, they would intersect at the centre of the Inner Court where the Brazen Altar was placed, for it was in “the middle of the court . . the brazen altar” stood (I Ki. 8:64). The Brazen Altar is a symbol of the cross, and its central position sets forth the centrality of the cross of Christ. The answer to the problem of our old nature is the cross. “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . (Gal. 6:14). By the emblems of bread and wine, we “shew the Lord’s death,” and in our worship Christ should be central. In ministry of the Word, Christ should be the theme. Not only in our assembly life, but in our personal lives, both at home and in business, Christ should be central. In all spheres of life, Jesus Christ should be “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36).
If for a moment, we may imagine ourselves standing in the midst of these three courts, we find that the Altar, not the Temple, was sited at the centre of the Inner Court, whilst westwards and off-centre the Temple stood. These respective positions of the Altar at the centre and the Temple off-centre indicate the positional relationship between Christ and His Church, for they show that Christ, as Lord of His Church, has the foremost position. Such positioning illustrates that Christ is the greater and the Church is the lesser, that “Christ is the Head of the Church, … (and) the Church is subject unto Christ” (Eph. 5:23f), and that equality between Christ and His Church is alien to Scripture.
This great edifice was located so that entry directly from outside was impossible but access was through the Courts which meant passing by the Brazen Altar. This reminds us of the words of Christ that “if any man enter in, he shall be saved,” by which He meant not the step but the state of salvation (John 10:9). It is important to ensure that all in assembly fellowship are saved.
Facing east, the Temple comprised “the Porch,” 10 cubits in depth and 20 cubits wide (I Ki. 6:3), from which the entrant passed through a pair of doors into the great edifice itself; first, “the Holy Place,” which measured 40 cubits long and 20 cubits wide (I Ki. 6:17) and then, passing through the veil and a pair of doors, “the Most Holy Place” or “the Oracle,” measuring 20 cubits long and 20 cubits wide (I Ki. 6:20, 2Chron. 3:8). These are inside measurements, and so the Temple inside, without the Porch, measured 60 cubits in length and 20 cubits in width (I Ki. 6:2, 2Chron. 3:5), and that is approximately 120 ft. x 40 ft. inside.
Outside, along both flanks of the Temple (i.e. the north and south sides), there were Side-chambers, which were three storeys high (I Ki. 6:5f,8,10). The lowest storey was 5 cubits wide, the middle 6 cubits, and the third 7 cubits, and so the width of each upper storey was one cubit greater than the one below. How was this possible structurally? As the two upper storeys were increased by one cubit each in width, so the thickness of the temple walls was reduced at the level of each upper storey by one cubit. In this way, the two side walls were stepped outside, and so “narrowed rests” were formed for the load-bearing beams of the two upper storeys, making it possible “that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the House” (v.6). The height of each storey was 5 cubits (v. 10). At the east end, access to the middle and third storeys was provided by “winding stairs” (v.8). Now we shall consider who used these Side-chambers.
Certain “Levites … lodged round about the House of God,” and so they lodged in the Side-chambers, because they were responsible for “the opening” of the Temple “every morning” besides having “charge of the ministering vessels” and “the vessels of the sanctuary” (1Chron. 9:26-29). They were “to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the House of the Lord, in the courts, and in the chambers.” Essentially, theirs was “the work of the service of the House of God” (1Chron. 23:28). Their work differentiated them from the priests. It was the privilege of the priests to enter the Temple for the worship of God, whilst it was the responsibility of the Levites to work in the courts and chambers assisting the priests. Briefly, the priests were worshippers, whilst the Levites were workers! To-day, as believer-priests we go in to worship God, and as believer-Levites we go out to do the work of God. The sphere of the Levites’ work was “in the Courts”—ours is outwards towards men. Also, it was “in the Chambers” which meant ascending the “winding stairs” to the upper storeys—our work is related to our upward progress in the knowledge and enjoyment of God.
To-day, believers are both priests and Levites, both worshippers and workers. Each week, we need to start with worship of the Lord and then work for the Lord, but there is a tendency to start with work, relegating worship to second place and reducing it to the minimum. How can we expect our work for the Lord to be blessed by Him? For our work to be effective, we must first worship!
(to be continued)
ENTERING THE HOLIEST
by R. WOODHOUSE BEALES
In this chapter we have the wonderful truth of Christ entering the Holiest in virtue of His own blood. In the next chapter we have the believer entering there on the same ground, not actually as in His case, but in spirit although finally we shall enter there in our glorified bodies but it is our privilege to enjoy this liberty here and now spiritually. This is all based upon His once-for-all offering of Himself without spot to God followed by His resurrection and ascension and enthronement on high (a subject not so often considered and spoken of as it should be), He having obtained an eternal redemption for us.
We will consider the verses in the above portion which apply to this, leaving out for the time being the references to the New Covenant (13-18 inclusive) and considering especially the references to the Old Testament passages and the three actions there described which bring into view the superior work of Christ, eternal in its character, and the results upon which the whole of our salvation rests.
It must be noted that these actions referred to are not those of Aaron the high priest, but of Moses the inaugurator and chief actor in these solemn yet blessed actions.
Before doing this however we should first study the supreme place and the most important, which Moses has in the purposes of God. It does appear, however, that in the first place it was God’s purpose to make Moses both high priest and “apostle” of His people but Moses appears to have failed at the beginning and end of his career, first of all in being reluctant to go back to Egypt and face Pharaoh and demand the freeing of Israel (see Exodus 4:1, and vv. 10-14) which caused God to be angry with him and then secondly Moses’ disobedience in the matter of striking the rock to obtain water. (Numbers 20; 7-12, see Deut 3, 24-27; 4, 21, 22; etc.). These were two failures in the matter of priestly activity and service. It will no doubt be objected that Moses having had no experience of suffering in Egypt could hardly be a sympathetic priest, though the record shews clearly that he had no lack in that direction, and also that as Lawgiver he could hardly be the one to conduct Israel into the land of promise, but these conjectures are not based upon such clear statements of fact as we have here adduced and may be but our opinions only. This we must leave to our readers to consider, and arrive at their own conclusions.
We must also point out that personally Aaron was a great failure in maintaining the holiness of God, first of all in the matter of making the golden calf and then in combining with Miriam his sister in challenging the special place which Moses had in Israel. (Exod. 32:2-33, and Numb. 12:1-15). It will be noted that in both of these Moses takes the place of the intercessor, a truly priestly function, even offering his own life that the people might be spared. How very wonderfully does he set forth the great antitypical priest on high.
It also appears to the writer that Moses unlike any other before or after could go into the Holiest at any time to commune and speak with God, which was not the case with Aaron who could only go in once every year on the Day of Atonement (several times on that day) nor was it with any other after Moses (such as Joshua) he therefore enjoyed a special relationship with God and a special place over Israel. See Exodus 25, 22; and 30, 6 and 36; Numbers 12, 7, 8; and see also Levit. 16, 2; by contrast. It is also Moses only who goes up into the mount with God, on several occasions staying there for 40 days, receiving instructions regarding the tabernacle and Israel. He had a special relationship and thus stands as a type of Christ in many ways.
It will be noted that there is another aspect of priesthood referred to in this epistle which draws a contrast, namely that of Melchizedek, which shews that the priesthood of Christ is (like that of Melchizedek) underived and intransmissible, an eternal priesthood, but that is not associated with sacrifice, blood-shedding or the tabernacle, so we have to return again and again to that of Aaron, underlining as it does the great sacrifice of Christ and His resurrection, ascension and glory.
Now there follows a wonderful trilogy based upon Exodus 24:6-8, setting forth the sprinkling of blood by Moses at or prior to the giving of the law, or when Israel accepted that law, associated as it was with burnt offering, peace offering and the appearing of the glory, but before the law had been broken and before the tabernacle had been constructed. The reader should read and ponder the meaning of this as here set forth and the words of Moses “This is the blood of the covenant which God hath enjoined unto you.”
It may seem difficult to fit in the various actions about this time, for the people had already said, before the whole of the law had been given to them “All that the Lord hath spoken will we do” Exod. 19:8; After this, Moses Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel had come up into the mount, they part way and Moses going further (Ex. 24:2 and 15) when again they had said “All that the Lord hath said will we do” vv. 3 and 7 before the whole of the law had been given (see v. 12) as yet there was but a book of the covenant and an altar and the people sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice, which seems to indicate that there was a coming and going between Moses and the people with intermediaries, young men of the children of Israel, as well as the seventy elders. This seems to have been all inaugural and before the sin of Aaron and the people when Moses went up again into the Mount.
The four leaders and the seventy elders saw the God of Israel further up the mount, and did eat and drink in His presence. What a wonderful and awe inspiring event in Israel’s history, though the people were quite unready for it, or for the law itself.
— (to be continued)
“Yea, He is altogether lovely”
- (Cant. 5:16).
- Earth Thou madest lovely
- Past all power of pen,
- Heav’n Thou dressed in wonders
- Past all mortal ken;
- But Thyself, O Saviour!
- Beauties so divine
- Angels ne’er could hymn them
- These, O Christ, are Thine!
- Here, how sweet to know Thee,
- Veiled, Thy beauty see!
- But how great our rapture
- On that day shall be,
- When, with heavenly vision,
- Gift of matchless grace,
- Crowned and throned in glory,
- We shall see Thy face!
- — E. M. Clarkson.