Notes and comments - Volume 1, page 4British Association for the Advancement of Science, Belfast, 1874.
Notes and comments - Volume 1, page 136In the end of note on chapter 22, this is still equally true.
Notes and comments - Volume 1, page 166We being creatures, must be set apart to something.
Notes and comments - Volume 1, page 174“High,” is *ano* the calling is “up above”).
Notes and comments - Volume 1, page 209Particle put to mark direct object.
Notes and comments - Volume 1, page 243But this is Philippians. In Colossians we shall appear -- all is here what is meanwhile -- is hid.
Notes and comments - Volume 1, page 244When were the twelve stones put into Jordan?
Notes and comments - Volume 1, page 265See Birk’s Treatise on Inspiration. He is afraid of rationalists in combating them.
Notes and comments - Volume 1, page 271This is right, but not sufficiently explicit. “Free” is ambiguous -- I am always free as regards external forcing; but conscience recognises an obligation, and, save Atheism, also obligation to divine authority. In either case, choice or will becomes simply sin. I admit the difference of conscience and authority, but, in either case, will is simply evil, rather choice, for it denies the obligation. I am free, but not free to choose, save as free from compulsion.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 12This is very obscure, but very important for the understanding of Christ’s offering of Himself and work; the main point is the difference between the *yak’riv* and the sacrificial work, obscured by the word ‘offering’ in the English version.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 43I am partly indebted for a suggestion in this last.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 55The question with Israel was, Could they come? Nor was the question fully solved -- into His presence they could not; His presence, the Tabernacle, claimed sacrifices. His presence with us, as noted by others, is by the Holy Ghost where Man, consequent on the purgation of sins, is Himself on the throne -- the veil rent.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 56In John’s Gospel, forgiveness of sins does not come in.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 71Participle of *na-chah* (to smite).
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 79John 5 gives plainly this position of the Lord, chapter 6 is more distinctly as man, still He comes down and goes up again.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 103In the Hebrew.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 107*Pomerion* or *pomoerium*, a space void of buildings within and without the wall of the city.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 129In Colossians even “in Christ” has a more practical character, not place but standing, “Ye are complete in him”; otherwise it is wholly “Christ in us.” In Galatians even Christ in us is “life,” not “Christ in us.”
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 141This, however, is an argument used with Christians on the ground of the spiritual intelligence they possessed. The baptism merely brought them professedly associated with Christ’s death; hence they were to reckon themselves dead to sin. But crucified *with* Christ is not spoken of as “I am crucified,” only it involved it when faith was real.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 146It will be seen I have applied *en o*, @Colossians 2: 12, to baptism. No doubt there is *en auto ... en o*, as the main subject of the sentence, but the two *sun* seems a stronger connection, and *sun ... erz o*, seems a forced construction, and *en lo baptismati* seems to run together.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 150See previous remarks, but it requires further research.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 164To say all one wills, is not to say all one can.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 174The Life of the Lord Jesus Christ: a complete critical examination of the origin, contents, and connection of The Gospels. Translated from the German of J. P. Lange, D.D., professor of Divinity in the University of Bonn. Edited with additional notes by the Rev. Marcus Dods, A.M., 4 volumes. Edinburgh: J. and J. Clark, 38, George Street. 1872.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 175This translation is all astray here.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 176The translation here is wholly untrustworthy.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 190“We can represent to ourselves Christ’s agency which changed water into wine in successive stages. From the history of somnambulism, it is known that in the high degrees of magnetic *rapport*, all the sensations and tastes of the magnetiser are repeated in the person who is psychically affected by him. Now at Cana there was no circle of magnetised persons assembled round the Lord, but a circle of souls whom His presence had raised to ecstasy in their festivity. What therefore in the department of magnetism may appear as a fact, might here recur with intensified power, and in a more vitalised form (as, for example, the constrained morbid clairvoyance of the somnambulist in the free healthy clairvoyance of the prophet). When therefore Christ calls forth in Himself the intuition (*Anshauung*) of wine with fresh creative power, when Christ drinks good wine, the others drink it also by means of the psychical connection. But the company that surrounds the Lord is not a mere circle of passive receptive beings. His companions are by faith brought into active harmony with Him. As the branches do not merely receive the sap which the vine conveys to them, but form the wine out of it and with it, so these festive guests, at the moment of their union with the Lord, infused all their plastic life power in order to complete the change. This is the first stage of the immediate operation of Christ. But the second goes into the elements of the beverage which they enjoy. And here we would call to mind the taste of magnetised water, only to indicate again how, in a higher life circle, the same phenomenon may be repeated in a higher key.” -- Pages 446 - 447.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 197*Hachmoni*” is “wise” or “a wise man.”
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 250Rather “mixed” -- “suspended.”
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 262“History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe.” By W. E. H. Leckey, M.A. 2 volumes: third edition. London: Longmans Green and Co., 1866.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 279Reply to a lecture entitled “Who is Christ; India asks -- Who is Christ?” delivered by Baboo K. C. Sen, on April 9th, 1879, in the Town Hall, Calcutta, before the Bishop of Calcutta; reported in the *Indian Mirror* (special edition), Calcutta, April 14th, 1879.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 282Or substance.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 292“Made the purification of our sins.”
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 313Sir W. Hamilton, for example.
Notes and comments - Volume 2, page 315I find Reid makes this distinction.
Notes and comments - Volume 3, page 3It may perhaps be noticed that some of these notes on the Psalms are very similar to those given in a paper entitled “Heads of Psalms.” The footnote to that paper sufficiently explains the reason for passing it over as not really representing the author’s thoughts. The present notes are taken chiefly from his Hebrew Bible, and are consecutive, and evidently in one special line of thought. To these have been added some notes found in his English Bible, and in one or two notebooks only. There is nothing that is not manifestly in Mr. Darby’s own handwriting, and the MS. bears no trace whatever of additions by another hand. In the present “Notes” therefore nothing has been omitted, and nothing interpolated.
Notes and comments - Volume 3, page 41It is “me” in the text, and “us” in the Rabbinical reading (*kri*).
Notes and comments - Volume 3, page 105Rather “beauty.”
Notes and comments - Volume 3, page 144Add one to the numbers of all these verses for the Hebrew.
Notes and comments - Volume 3, page 149Sign of the causative species in verbs.
Notes and comments - Volume 3, page 203It may be, however, more general, as in Sinai, though they shall be *M’shar tav* (His ministers).
Notes and comments - Volume 3, page 294Translated “World.”
Notes and Jottings, page 8See note in Darby Translation *in loco*.
Notes and Jottings, page 18See the Darby Translation *in loco*.
Notes and Jottings, page 28Henry James Prince (1811-1899) founder of the Agapemonites, a small sect.
Notes and Jottings, page 309See Darby Translation *in loco*.
Notes and Jottings, page 310See Darby Translation *in loco*.
Notes and Jottings, page 313See note in Darby Translation *in loco*.
Notes and Jottings, page 326See Darby Translation *in loco*.
Notes and Jottings, page 330"The Law", includes the five books of Moses; under "the Prophets", are Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings -- the "former prophets"; and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel. Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai Zechariah, Malachi -- the "later prophets". Under the "Psalms", the Kethubim or Hagiographa ("holy writings"), are the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles.
Notes and Jottings, page 344"It is the last time" (John 2: 18): "Not exactly the last days, but the season which had the final character that belonged to the dealings of God with this world". (See "Synopsis" *in loco*.)
Notes and Jottings, page 369See "Letters of J.N.D.", Volume 3, pages 340 - 1
Notes and Jottings, page 402This should read, Philistia. See Darby Translation *in loco*.
Notes and Jottings, page 410Compare Numbers 26: 7, 18, and 34.
Notes and Jottings, page 415See Darby Translation *in loco*.
Notes and Jottings, page 451That is to say, not a gathering of saints walking in the light of the Church, and that God can therefore own as such. See as to this, "Letters of J.N.D." Volume 3, page 49.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 2I confine myself more especially to the lower creation where man was placed. There are fallen angels, and the created heavens are defiled through sin. But angels were a distinct creation, and present to c310elebrate with joy the creation as we view it, and as it is viewed in Genesis 1, after the first verse, as a scene with which man has to do. Still as responsible and creatures, where not preserved of God, they were liable to fall, and in fact did fall. But they were a distinct creation. Hence we have them not in the creation recounted in Genesis.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 4This is morally of the greatest depth and fulness. We have man in absolute evil, hatred against God manifested in goodness; Satan in all his power over all Adam's children; man in perfection, Christ, in love to His Father, and perfect obedience; God in righteousness against sin, and in love to the sinner; and all this in the very place of sin where man was. Hence all founded on it is immutably stable. A risen Christ is, as to the human state in itself, the result of this, man in a new eternal condition, beyond sin, death, Satan's power and judgment.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 9Nothing can be more marked than the distinction of man-of that being in whom the purposes of God also were to be fulfilled; His delights were with the sons of men, His good pleasure in (not merely good will towards) men proved by His blessed Son becoming a man. Here no doubt it is the responsible man, but the difference from all other creatures is marked as strongly as possible. The sixth day's creation finishes with the usual formula, "And God saw that it was good" (chap. 1: 25), before man is spoken of. Then comes a solemn consultation to give him a special place, and the image and likeness of God are introduced by God as that after which He creates him. And it is repeated, "so God created man in his own image." I must say, to make a mere animal of him is monstrous and slights this passage, the emphatic declaration of God. As an order of being, he is evidently the counterpart of the ways of God, though this be only fully accomplished in Christ according to Psalm 8 which just brings this out: compare Romans 5: 14 and Hebrews 2.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 10That is Jehovah Elohim, a personal name as well as Godhead. It was important too that Israel should know that their God was the original Creator of all. Still it is only used when special ways and connection with man are introduced. The distinction of Jehovistic and Elohistic documents is the merest child's play, and flows from entire ignorance of the ways and mind of God. There is always a reason for one or the other. Elohim is simply God; Jehovah is the acting governing person in time though self-existing, who abides ever the same and having to do with others, who is, and was, and is to come.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 11[a] In Eden the two principles were there, obedience and life; man failed, incurred death, and was excluded from life there. The law did not treat man as lost, though it proves him so, but takes up the two principles and makes life dependent on obedience. Christ takes the consequence of failure for us on the cross, and is the source of divine life to us, and that in a new resurrection state.
[b] The difference between priesthood and advocacy will be treated in its place in John and Hebrews. I only remark here that priesthood refers to help and access to God, advocacy to failure.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 13He made fig leaves to cover his nakedness as to human shame, but when God came in he was as naked as ever. 'I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, and went and hid myself, for I was naked.' The fig leaves were man's covering. God clothed them with skins which were had through death.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 15[a] The cherubim I believe always to represent judicial government and power.
[b] Whatever Eve's own condition as believing promise, what she says at the birth of Cain was the expression of the thought that the fulfilment of promise was in nature, which could not be. Sin was there and death, and the judgment of the hope of promise connected with nature come in. "I have gotten a man from Jehovah" was faith in promise, but expectation of the accomplishment of promise in nature. And Cain had to go out from the presence of Jehovah.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 16Nod is "vagabond." God had made him Nod; and he settles himself, calls "the land after his own name," or at least his son's name, as an inheritance, and embellishes his city with arts and the delights of music-a remarkable picture.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 18[a] Covenant, when used in connection with the Lord, is always, it seems to me, some order established by God and announced to man, according to the terms of which He enters into relationship with man, or according to which man is to approach Him.
[b] There are three characters of sin -- violence, falsehood and corruption. The two first are directly ascribed to Satan; alas, man follows him in them, the third is more properly man's. All three are noticed in Colossians 3: 5-9. In fact we get these three characters at the close -- the false prophet, the beast, and Babylon.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 20[a] The idea of a building high enough to escape the flood is an idea of which there is not the smallest trace in this passage. It was the pride of man seeking a centre and a name without God, and coalescing together. The rise of imperial power and dominion came after this, in which individual will and energy gained the ascendency. They are two phases of human effort without God.
[b] Pentecost was a beautiful testimony: God rose there above the confusion and judgment, and found, even in its effects, the means of getting near the heart of man; so that grace overruled judgment, even when it was not exercised in the power which regenerates the world.
[c] All in chapter 9 is simply Elohim, God, till we get to verse 26, where it is Jehovah, the God of Shem.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 21This is a striking fact in the character of the history of man after the flood. We get the full plain statement of what he become.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 24Sacrifice may be called an institution of God perhaps, but it was individual. There was no establishment of a people who were God's upon earth.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 25This last promise is repeated only in chapter 22, during Abraham's history, and then to the seed alone; the promise of his posterity and of the land to him and to his seed is often repeated. It is to this promise given to Abram in chapter 12 and confirmed to the seed in chapter 26, that the apostle refers in Galatians. The earthly seed, on the contrary, was to be numerous. The translation of Galatians 3: 16, should be, "now to Abraham were the promises made, and to his seed." And in the following verse, not in Christ but to Christ. He was the seed of promise.]
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 26There may be a certain typical reference to Israel while in the world and away from God. But these things happened unto them for ensamples (tupoi) and are written for our admonition on whom the ends of the world are come. Abraham was away from his altar at Bethel.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 29[a] This closes the general history of these great elements of God's ways. Heavenly things are, no doubt, out of sight, save we look behind the scene, where Abram's faith went. Still the path of faith, the snare of the world, the moral victory of unselfish faith, which has God and His promises for its portion, and its actual final victory, and God's possession of heaven and earth under the Melchisedec priesthood of Christ, Priest on His throne, are fully brought out, and the whole scene completed This makes chapters 12-14 a section by itself.
[b] The declaration of God in the beginning of chapter 15, is in connection with Abram's refusing to take anything from the world, as related in the end of chapter 14.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 30Chapter 15 stands by itself, between the general principles already treated of and the historical account which follows, but which, though historical, gives great leading principles which, with the exception of Isaac, apply to Israel and the earth. It is the unconditional promise as to Israel, the land, and the covenant. In the subsequent chapters, however, we find the promised seed.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 32In chapter 12 it is the path of faith, though with failing, that failing the not owning the separated relationship of God's people (the church) to the heir of the world. Then chapters 13, 14 the believer in a worldly place taken as his portion, the victory of the separated ones, the faith which would not take a shoe-latchet. Chapter 15 the revelation of a numerous seed and Israel's place. Chapter 16 the attempt to have the promise in flesh -- Hagar. See Galatians.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 33[a] I read verse 12 thus: "And father of circumcision [that is, of true separation to God, such as God owns], not only to those of the circumcision, but to those who walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised." That is, God recognises them (believers from among the Gentiles) as being truly circumcised.
[b]That is, the Seed, but who is withal Jehovah, the First and the Last.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 37This distinct confirmation to (not in) the seed, is what the apostle refers to as the one seed, that is Christ. The general promises as to Israel were of a seed as the stars of heaven for number. This is the confirmation to the one seed, when risen, of the promise given in chapter 12.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 40Though the subjects in general follow, chapter 25 is not in historical sequence. The "then" has no real force. It is a general gathering up of the different families of Abraham. Isaac was heir of his possessions, he gave gifts to his concubines' sons and sent them away. Then we have his death, and his two well-known sons, but Ishmael, the son after the flesh, first; but Isaac and then Jacob carry on the divine history.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 42In general, Abraham is the root of all promise and the picture of the life of faith: Isaac, of the heavenly man, who receives the church; and Jacob, of Israel, heir of the promises according to the flesh.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 43Christ is the object in John; the ladder is merely to connect the scene.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 47This is the subject of Romans 11: 28-33. In verse 31 read "even so have these not now believed in your mercy that they also might be objects of mercy." They had forfeited the promises, and take them now on no higher ground than a Gentile; that is, pure mercy.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 49Joseph is so characterised in Deuteronomy also.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 52Hebrews 11: 24-26. This is often the case with God's children, faithful in their principles and desires, they have not done with self and its energies; indeed this is always the case till self is utterly judged and known and, so to speak, replaced by Christ, and doing simply God's will. But the world is always stronger than the Christian's energy in the flesh.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 53As a figure he came to his own and they rejected him; see lower down. Stephen notices this morally (Acts 7); and so Christ is separated from His brethren in the world till He returns in power.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 55Compare Matthew 5 and John 17. His millennial name is Most High. See the interesting connection of three of these names in Psalm 91. That of Father is not found in the psalms: the Son has revealed it. The other three connect themselves with the earth and the government of the world., Father puts us in the place of sons with God, in the same relationship with God in which Christ Himself is, and, when the time comes, to be like Him and to be heirs of God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 56Note in Hebrews 11 it is not the divine gift of Christ for us, but the coming in faith by Him to God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 57In Colossians 3 we find God's judgment of him in whom Christ (compare Rom. 8: 10); in Romans 6 faith reckons it so: in 2 Corinthians 4 it is practically realised. And God proves the faith, but to confirm the soul in it. See 2 Corinthians 1 and 4.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 58Note here the expression, "When I see the blood, I will pass over." It is not said, when you see it, but when I see it. The soul of an awakened person often rests, not on its own righteousness, but on the way in which it sees the blood. Now, precious as it is to have the heart deeply impressed with it, this is not the ground of peace. Peace is founded on God's seeing it. He cannot fail to estimate it at its full and perfect value as putting away sin. It is He that abhors and has been offended by sin; He sees the value of the blood as putting it away. It may be said, But must I not have faith in its value? This is faith in it value, seeing that God looks at it as putting away sin; your value for it looks at it as a question of the measure of your feelings. Faith looks at God's thoughts.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 59[a] As a figure this may be looked at as final judgment according to the estimate of sin in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus; for the people were brought to God, and the evil enemies come under death and judgment which, as accomplished in Christ, save us. But as the secret of God's dealings experimentally known in our souls, it has another sense; it begins the desert journey, though that has its full character only from Sinai. The path in the wilderness forming no part of the counsels, but only of the ways of God; it may as to redemption be dropped but then Jordan and the Red Sea coalesce. The Red Sea is Christ's death and resurrection for us; Jordan our death and resurrection with Him, but here we have got into what is experimental.
[b] There is further a difference between the passover and the great day of atonement. Here the blood met the eye of God passing through the land in judgment. On the great day of atonement it purified His habitation from our defilements, and, we can say, opened up the way to God's throne and presence; gave us boldness to enter into the holiest by a new and living way. In the passover was added, as it had the character of first deliverance and forgiveness, the bitter herbs of judgment of sin in ourselves, and feeding on the slain Lamb, with loins girded and shoes on our feet, to leave the place of sin and judgment from which as the consequence of sin we had been fully sheltered.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 60Jordan adds our death with Christ, and, as to our state subjectively, our resurrection with Him -- analogous to the forty days He passed on earth. To this the teaching of Colossians answers. Hence heaven is in hope. Romans 3: 20 to 5: 11 gives Christ's death for sins, and resurrection for our justification; thence to the end of chapter 8, death to sin. Sin in the flesh is not forgiven, but condemned (Rom. 8: 3); but we as having died are not in the flesh at all, we are alive unto God through, or rather in, Jesus Christ. This takes us no farther than the wilderness, though passing through it as alive to God in Christ. In Romans we are not risen with Christ. That involves, as a consequence, our being identified with Him where He is; and so, by the Holy Ghost when we are sealed, union. In Colossians we are risen with Him, but not in heavenly places. Colossians treats of life, with a hope laid up for us in heavenly places; not at all of the Holy Ghost. In Ephesians 2 we are risen with Him and sitting in heavenly places in Him, and then begins the conflict with spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, and testimony according to what is heavenly; so far this is Jordan and Canaan, and here the sealing and gift of the Holy Ghost is fully spoken of, and our relationship with the Father and with Christ, as sons, and as body and bride. Only Ephesians begins with our being dead in sins, so that it is a new creation; it is not death to sin. The blood-shedding, however, in one respect, has a more glorious character. God is glorified in it, though by crossing Jordan we are experimentally placed higher. That too is the fruit of the blood-shedding, in which there is not only the bearing of sins to meet our responsibility, but a glorifying of God, so as to bring us withal into God's glory with Him, which is beyond all questions of responsibility.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 61This is a solemn warning; for the worldlings, who call themselves Christians, do take the ground of judgment to come, and the need of righteousness, but not according to God. The Christian goes through it in Christ, knowing himself otherwise lost and hopeless; the worldling in his own strength, and is swallowed up. Israel saw the Red Sea in its strength, and thought escape was hopeless: so an awakened conscience, death and judgment. But Christ has died and borne judgment for us, and we are secured and delivered by what we dreaded in itself. The worldling, seeing this, adopts the truth in his own strength, as if there were no danger, and is lost in his false confidence.
[b] In itself, it is Christ's death and resurrection. But that is not only meeting the holiness of God's nature, which is the blood-shedding, but entering into the whole power of evil that was against us and making it null. Hence, though it be not our realising death and resurrection so as to be in heavenly places, we are owned as having died in Him, and He our life, so that we have left our old standing altogether. In Colossians, we are risen with Him; in Ephesians, also sitting in Him in heavenly places. Colossians is the risen man still on earth, the subjective state, what refers to heaven but is not there, as Christ Himself for forty days -- Jordan crossed, but not Canaan taken possession of.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 62It is practically important to see that the wilderness is no part of God's purpose; of His ways, a most important part. They were brought to God by redemption -- Christ's death and resurrection -- but not in Canaan. The thief went straight to Paradise with Christ. He has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. See Exodus 3, 6 and 15, where there is no question of the wilderness; see on the other hand, Deuteronomy 8, where it is reviewed when through it. For the difference of our spiritual judgment of ourselves, and God's judgment of us, see Deuteronomy 9 and Numbers 23: 21.
[b] The wilderness formed no part of the counsel of God as we have seen, and the song does not refer to it, to its sorrows or its joys, nor the provision for it. That, as far as revealed here, belongs to the book of Numbers.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 63[a] See page 61.
[b] Exodus 29: 46.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 64The Lord adopted this number in His two closing missions of the disciples to Israel.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 66It is important for us to see that our standing before God does not rest on promise, but on accomplished redemption. All that concerned that and the basis of our assurance of faith is accomplished promise. Glory is in hope.
[b] Death was the penal sanction, as it was also, because such, the delivering power in grace.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 67Hence in Hebrews you never have the Father and our relationship with Him, nor with Christ, and, in what is there found there is more contrast than comparison.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 68We see the glory unveiled in the face of Jesus Christ and approach boldly, because the glory in His face is the proof of redemption and the perfect putting away of our sins, for He who bore them has them not on Him in the glory.
[b] We are apt to consider the cross simply in respect of our sins. In coming to God it is the only right, the only possible way. But when, at peace with God, we weigh what it is, we shall find every moral question brought to an issue there; man in absolute wickedness, that is, rejecting God in goodness with scorn and hatred; Satan's full and universal power over him; Man in perfectness in Christ -- absolute obedience and absolute love to the Father; God in righteousness against sin in the highest way ("it became Him"), and infinite love to the sinner; all is brought out on the cross in Christ, and all to our blessing, and so that we should be in glory with Him, and like Him, as the fruit of the travail of His soul -- a blessed portion.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 69This was the result of the failure of the priesthood, in the person of Nadab and Abihu, which, as everything placed under man's responsibility (and all, save of course actual redemption, has been so) was immediate. So in the case of Adam, Noah, the law, here the priesthood, Solomon son of David, Nebuchadnezzar, and so, as Paul testifies, the church.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 70[a] But not, I think, separate from holiness, for it was in the holiest, and could not be if God was there as His dwelling, and not taking merely duty as the measure of what was accepted. But, while God Himself was to be approached who is holy, it was a throne, and judicial, and so righteous in character. Holiness is the character of a nature delighting in purity, and which repels evil. Righteousness Judges it with authority. It was not merely man's responsibility, but what God was.
[b] The first is the essence of creature perfection, adding the place of Son. The second, the actual responsibility of man's place measured by that place.
[c] Only now, as already noticed, there is another relationship entered into with the Father. This is relationship, not nature, though of course that nature is necessarily involved in it. Hence, but only after His resurrection, Christ says, I go to my Father and your Father, my God and your God. There is that with God according to the character here spoken of, but there is that with the Father in the relationship and liberty in which Christ Himself is, and into which we are adopted. This difference of nature and relationship is strikingly brought out in John's writings -- grace, and what the divine nature makes necessary. See John 4 as to worshippers, and 1 John 1. The Father could not be revealed but by the Son. But also the veil was rent in the cross, and we are before God in divine righteousness according to what He is as such. In the full character of this as to both, we are in Him. Elsewhere I have touched on the difference of the sense of relationship with God as sons, and the knowledge of the Father as such, personally revealed in the Son. The first is Paul's ground, and he seldom goes beyond it; the latter, John's. The epistle to the Hebrews gives direct access to God in the holiest, but the Father is not found in it.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 71[a] Hence there was still an unrent veil.
[b] The communications of the Old Testament, and all that belongs to the law come directly from God, but do not belong to a system which gives direct access to Him.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 72This is true; but, in its typical (or perhaps I should say spiritual) application, not in the letter, but in the spirit, there was another important element of truth in it. It was the place where God was approached not where He dealt with man's responsibility as man. This was at the brazen altar, the place of sacrifice, the first thing met, when man had to come as a sinner, when consequently what man ought to be was in question, what he ought to be for God surely, still what man ought to be as man. In coming to the mercy-seat in the holiest of all, what God is was in question. Man has to be meet for God's own presence, then, in the holiest. And in truth the rest was only testing man. He was not innocent in Paradise, and as a sinner could not come to God, according to what God is, being a sinner. It is only through the rent veil in a heavenly Paradise he can have to say to Him; though on the ground of the work then accomplished He will have an earthly people also, in whose heart the law will be written.
[b] Therefore it is that, in another sense, we have twelve apostles attached to the Lord in the flesh, and seven churches for Him who has the seven Spirits of God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 73We may add Christians: "whose house are we." The body is never the subject in Hebrews: we are pilgrims here walking by faith. Nor is the Father.
[b] If we examine the details more closely, it will be found that in the tent and veil there was no gold, but there were cherubim; in the ephod gold, but no cherubim; in the hangings before the holy place neither Within, in both holy place and holy of holies, all was gold. So Christ as man (and the veil we know was His flesh) had the judicial authority and will have it as man, not only in government, but in final divine judgment; but He was man, and walked as man; within all was divine The priesthood in its Aaronic character could not have the cherubim that is judicial authority in heaven, but His presence there is identified with divine righteousness. As He appeared outside down here all was perfect grace, but in outward appearance He took neither.
[c] When fully depicted, the cherubim shewed the powers of creation and God's attributes as displayed in the throne, in the four heads of the earthly creation: man, cattle, wild beasts, and birds; intelligence, stability, power, and rapidity of judgment. Man had made gods and idols of them; they formed the throne on which God sat.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 74This is drawn from the occasions on which the ram was used in the sacrifices.
[b] This would be the grace of Christianity, the seeking and saving what is lost. The figures of the tabernacle have to say to our coming to God, not to His coming to us. This is proper to Christianity. Hebrews takes up the figures we are speaking of, only with the changes introduced by Christianity even in these.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 75Here we must remark that while final judgment refers to, and is measured by, out responsibility, forgiveness cannot be separated from our entrance into the presence of God (though in experience there may be progress as to this), because it is by a work of Christ in which the veil was rent and God fully revealed. This the great day of atonement shewed, for there the blood was brought in to God, and yet it was for sins, but sins as defiling God's presence, as well as their being all carried away. But at the brazen altar there was both the love that gave and the value of the sacrifice, so that divine favour and complacency were brought in; "therefore doth my Father love me." Here sin-offerings and burnt offerings were offered, but they both referred to acceptance, negatively and positively, not simply to the holiness of God as the blood on the day of atonement. We have redemption by His blood, the forgiveness of sins, but according to the riches of His grace.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 76It is interesting to know that the word burn is not at all the same in Hebrew for the sacrifice for sin, and for the burnt-offering: in the case of the latter, it is the same as for the burning of incense. I add here a word upon the sacrifices. In the sacrifice for sin burned outside the camp, God came out of His place to punish, to take vengeance for sin. Christ has put Himself in our place, has borne our sins, and died to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. In the sacrifice for sin His blood was shed, our sins washed away. But this blood, infinitely precious, has been carried by the high priest inside the holiest, and put upon the mercy-seat; and thus the sure foundation of all our relationship with God has been laid; since, as to him that comes, sin exists no longer in the sight of God. But it is not only that God has fully reached sin in judgment in the death of Christ, but the work which Christ has accomplished has been perfectly agreeable to God. "I have glorified thee on the earth." God was glorified in Him; and God owed it, in justice to Christ, to glorify Him with His own self. The very being of God, in righteousness and in love, had been fully glorified (publicly before the universe) though the eye of faith alone is open to see it, and hence it was the part of this very righteousness to place Christ in a position that corresponded to the work. The love of the Father towards Him surely did not turn from this. Thus it was not only that the holiness which takes vengeance on sin, had already dealt with that sin in the death of Jesus, and had nothing more to do as to the putting of it away, but (for him who knows that in his Adam-nature there is no resource, and still less in the law) there is, by grace, through the faith of Jesus, the righteousness of God Himself, a justifying righteousness -- not merely the putting away of sins, but the positive value of all that Christ has done as glorifying God in this. We are accepted in the Beloved. God must raise Christ in consideration of that which He had done, and place Him at His right hand; and we are cleared from our sins according to the perfectness of God, between whom and Christ alone this work was accomplished, and, He being entered in as man in virtue of that work, since He has carried His blood there, we also -- objects of that work -- are in virtue of it accepted as He is. Thus then the sinner, believing in God, draws near to the brazen altar where the sacrifice is offered (the way being open to him by the blood), and (now we can add, the veil being rent) draws near unto God manifested in holiness, but according to the sweet-smelling savour of the sacrifice of Christ, an expression inapplicable to the sacrifice for sin burnt outside the camp (there He was made sin), according to all the sweet-smelling savour of the devotedness and obedience of Christ upon the cross, that is to say, unto death.
Notice that, besides this, the priests draw near as priests, and even into the holy place. But of this more hereafter.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 77For the full manifestation of it, in His personal and free manifestation down here, the glorifying of man (Christ) according to divine righteousness was needed, but this would take us out of our present subject. I must again recall that we have only the shadow, not the very image of the things. What is in the text refers to man under God's government down here as vessel of the Spirit. The priesthood supposes man in weakness here, and Christ, another Person for us on high.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 78See note, page 73.
[b] This was all of blue under the ephod; I suppose what was essentially heavenly, not the display of purity and graces in man.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 79The priesthood in Hebrews is not for sins, save once in chapter 2 to make propitiation, because they are all put away, and we have no more conscience of them; it is for grace to help that we may not sin.
[b] Compare 1 John 2: 29, 3: 1-3, where remark how the Spirit passes from Godhead to manhood and manhood to Godhead in one person, according to the relationship spoken of. This is very beautiful, and makes us know what the new nature in us is, which flows from and is through the Holy Ghost, capable of appreciating Him. He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one. So practically in detail: we all beholding with unveiled face the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image (2 Cor. 3), and actually we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is, and he that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself as He is pure.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 80The great day of atonement met the guilt.
[b] We must remember that all this is not children with a Father, but man drawing near to God, only with Christ there for us. We are seen on earth (not in heavenly places), and He appearing in the presence of God for us, securing our place according to God (only for us the veil is rent, a very great difference); yet we are here on earth with a heavenly calling. Compare Hebrews. There note, the priesthood, as now exercised on high, is not for committed sins, but for grace to help in time of need that we may not sin. The sins are borne and put away once and for ever as the basis of priesthood. See chapters 9, 10 and 8: 1, and 1: 3 Advocacy with the Father applies when we have to restore communion. Compare John 13 and Numbers 19.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 81Dispensationally all was dark; God not revealed, the veil not rent; but I speak in the text of what was figured in the high priest's dress.]
[b] The colours were blue, purple, and scarlet; heavenly, royal, and earthly glory. These, while belonging to Christ personally, were hidden when He went in, will be displayed when He comes out. We ought to display them characteristically, but as connected with a rejected Christ down here, bringing in the cross as the way to the crown.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 82Our relationship with God is more immediate, the veil being rent. Still our High Priest is there for us, only set down on the right hand of God. The name of Father does not come in here.
[b] Their use is referred to going into the holy place before Jehovah when expressly spoken of, except the golden plate on the mitre or turban (chapter 28: 29, 30, 35); and for the golden plate, see verse 38. This characteristic use was forbidden: see Leviticus 16.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 83We must always remember that we have only the shadow of good things to come. The great principles of the heavenly scenes are depicted, but not the change by the rending of the veil through which we enter ourselves boldly into the holiest, Christ being in glory at the right hand of God, and that through an eternal redemption. Also, as noticed already, the Son not being come, the Father's name and relationship does not come in.
[b] Aaron is always united to his sons in such types, for Christ cannot be separated from His own or they would become nought. But he had been anointed personally without blood, a thing that has been verified in Christ's history. He was anointed while on earth; His disciples after His death. He received the Spirit for the church in a new way (Acts 2: 33), when He was risen from among the dead in the power of the blood of the eternal covenant: for it is according to the efficacy of that blood in behalf of His people, that He has been raised as their Head. In Christ's anointing on earth the Holy Ghost was witness to Christ's own personal righteousness and sonship; in ours He is the witness of our being clean through His blood, the righteousness of God in Him, and sons by adoption.
[c] Aaron is first simply anointed with the anointing oil poured upon his head (chapter 29: 7). Then the sons are brought, and the ram of consecration brought, and some of its blood put upon Aaron's ear, and then on the tip of the ear of his sons, their right thumb and the great toe of the right foot. It might be supposed that it was only on Aaron's ear, but comparing with Leviticus 8: 23 it would seem that "their," in verse 20 here, includes Aaron. The great principle is our association with the blessed Lord; but He was obedient unto death, and no act or walk needed to be purified. The great principle for us is, that nothing should pass into the thought, no act be done, nothing occur in our walk which is not according to the perfection of consecration in Christ's sacrifice: we have its value upon us as to imputation, but here it is consecration, for both are in His blood.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 85He dwells in us both individually and collectively by the Holy Ghost, Christ being gone up on high as man; so that the body of the sealed saint is a temple, and we are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit. The last runs out now to all Christendom.]
[b] The places were seen; but not our entrance into them, with all the rent veil brings with it.
[c] It was the washing of water by the word, the purification of the worshipper (first, of the heart) to constitute him one by being born again of the word. But this was not the laver. The priests had their bodies washed first to be such, but it is not said this was in the laver. There they washed their hands and their feet, when they had come into priestly service by the sacrifices, being already washed as to their bodies. That is, they were priests already when they washed their hands and feet in the laver; their bodies had been washed, and the consecrating sacrifices offered; and then in respect of practice, according to the purity of divine life by the Spirit, there was the washing through the word, and especially if they had failed (compare John 13). For communion requires not only acceptance but purification. Without this the presence of God acts on the conscience, not in giving communion, but in shewing the defilement. Christ, even as a man, was pure by nature, and He kept Himself by the words of God's lips. With us, this purity is received from Him; and we must also use the word to purify ourselves. The idea and measure of the purity are the same for Christ and for us: "he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked" -- "to purify himself, even as he is pure." For the ordinary relationship of the people, looked at as worshippers, it was the red heifer (Numbers 19); its ashes, which typified this purification on failure, were put into running water; that is, the Holy Spirit applied, by the word, to the heart and conscience, the sufferings of Christ for sin to purify man; sufferings which could have all their moral and purifying power, since the ashes of separation shewed forth that sin had been consumed in the sacrifice of Christ Himself for sin, as to imputation, by the fire of the judgment of God. The blood of the heifer had been sprinkled seven times before the door of the tabernacle -- the place where, we have just seen, God met the people; but to worship and serve there must be the actual purification according to the standard of Christ: at least as far as realised, so that the conscience be not bad. This being in His presence, and the judgment of failure, is the means of progress also. Note, the rules as to the red heifer, shew that however it came (for there were cases viewed merely humanly which were inevitable, but, they shew that however it came), God could not have impurity in His presence.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 87The tabernacle had a double character. It was the manifestation of the heavenly things, and a provision for a sinful people to be brought near again to God there. It is interesting to consider the tabernacle under another aspect; for, as a pattern of heavenly things, it is of the highest interest. First, it signifies the heavens themselves; for Christ is not entered into the tabernacle, but into heaven itself. In a certain sense, even the universe is the house of God; but, moreover, the unity of the church as a heavenly building is presented by it: we are His house, the tabernacle of God in Spirit. These two meanings are closely connected in the beginning of Hebrews 3 -- Christ, God, has built all things, and we are His house. He fills all in all, but He dwells in the church; it is a concentric circle, although quite different in its nature. Compare the prayer in Ephesians 1, which also connects these two things under the headship of Christ, and still more distinctly in Ephesians 3; Ephesians 1 being headship, not dwelling, though the relationship be the same. Compare Ephesians 4: 4-6, though there it is in the form of Spirit, Lord, and God, that is, not simply dwelling in. What most fully answers is the prayer of Ephesians 3, where, note, "height," &c., is not of the love, but of the whole scene of God's glory, we being at the centre to look out into it all, because Christ, who is the centre, dwells in us. In another point of view, the person and the fulness of Christ Himself are there; for God was in Him, and thus the rending of the veil is applied by the apostle to the flesh of Christ, or, if you please, the veil itself; "through the veil, that is to say, his flesh." It is evident that the dwelling place of God is the central idea of these things, just as a man lives in his house, in his property, &c.
[b] This is a universal principle, where the full restoration of Israel is in question. Solomon, Nehemiah, and Daniel only go back to Moses; an important remark as to the fulfilment of God's ways toward Israel.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 89Hence it is that this revelation of God, though the character proclaimed be so abundant in goodness, is called by the apostle (2 Cor. 3) the ministration of death and condemnation. For if the people were still under the law, the more gracious God was, the more guilty they were.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 90He anticipates by faith, jealous of God's glory, the tabernacle which was to be set up according to the thoughts and commandments of God, which he had seen in communion with Jehovah. That was indeed the principal thing; but it was without the camp, and a sort of disorder in the eyes of men, and was without the ornaments and the forms commanded of God in the tabernacle, and there was not one express word of God for it to be done. Nevertheless, the presence of God was there, and the main thing for faith was there; that is, a tent where God was seen, and where He might be sought, even in a manner in which faith was more manifest than when the tabernacle was regularly set up. Then the pillar came down as a blessed testimony to the faith of Moses.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 91And Moses really represents Christ here, not Christ outside the camp.
[b] This is the place we have in spirit, but it is sometimes hard to connect the two.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 92We know this ourselves; my sinfulness in itself would be the reason for God's giving me up. But now I am in grace, I can plead it with God as a reason, blessed be His name, for His going with me; never should I overcome and get safe across the wilderness, if He was not with me. Surely the flesh is there. But it is wondrous grace. Nothing shews more clearly the difference between justifying forgiveness, and governmental mercy, than this part of Israel's history. God forgives, but does not clear the guilty -- atonement was not made: no doubt, even in possibility of government all was based on it.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 94Thus Christ was in reserve, though at the same time fore-ordained, even from eternity. He was only manifested as the true propitiation when the law had been presented, and man had failed under it. Its only existence now is, as giving great recognised principles of the righteousness required from man (in its highest elements we may add from the creature) but hidden and buried in Him who gives His character to the throne of God. But it was necessary to break or hide those tables (terrible to man) of the perfect but inflexible law of God. God will write them on the heart of once disobedient Israel in the latter day.
[b] The little that was said to Moses in the covenant was prohibitory of all association with the nations strangers to Jehovah, and the establishment of links with Him, consecration to Him in everything as redeemed, absence of leaven, and I think the prohibition of what was devilishly against nature. What was of nature as of God, was not to be violated There was redemption, as the key to all connected with the judgment of evil, but also the firstfruits of nature were to be consecrated to God, and the relationship of nature not violated.
[c] Here, however, is seen the excellency of the Lord Jesus, who in all things must have the pre-eminence Moses, naturally far off, is separated from his natural state, in order to draw near unto God. Christ was naturally near there, and more than near; He separates Himself from nature to meet the adversary on the behalf of man.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 95It had the character of claim on them coming with the law from above, and thus they could not see the prefigurement of Christ, when it came out either (see 2 Cor. 3). The whole position is of all importance. On the ground of law, that is, man's responsibility, all being gone, God retreated into His own sovereignty (Moses pleading as to Israel God's unconditional promises), and Israel were placed under the governmental name and dealings of God as they are to this day, only having since rejected Christ and promise and grace.
[b] The sabbath is always found whenever there is any principle whatever of relationship established between the people and God; it is the result proposed in every relation between God and His people, that they enter into His rest. It is to be noted that, while the people are distinctly put under law, the principle of the second tables was law after present forgiveness and mercy. This is exactly the ground Christians want to be upon now -- to bring in law after grace and mercy. But this it is Paul calls the ministration of death and condemnation. For, the first time he went up, his face did not shine; and it is to that the apostle refers in 2 Corinthians 3.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 97This is the character in which God puts Himself thus into relationship. Consequently most of the directions given suppose those to whom they apply to stand already in the relation of a people recognised of Him as His people. But the people being really without, and the tabernacle presenting the position in which God was putting Himself in order to be approached, the instructions which are given in cases supposing the people or the individuals to be thus placed, furnish those who are without with the means of drawing near to God, when they are in that position, though no previous relationship have existed. It is very important to observe this: it is the basis of the reasoning of the apostle, in Romans 3, for the admission of the Gentiles and so of any sinner whomsoever. It is true, nevertheless, that most of the directions apply to those who are already in proximity with the throne. Besides, all, in spite of themselves, have to do with it, although they do not approach it, and especially now that, as a testimony of grace, the blood is on the mercy-seat, and the revelation and testimony of glory without a veil, the result of grace and redemption, gone out. The conditions of relationship with the throne that God establishes, where He condescends to be approached by His creatures, are presented, which includes the details of those He sustains with His people.
The reader will remember, as regards our drawing nigh to God, the position of the Christian is entirely changed from that of the Jew. Then (Heb. 9) the way into the holiest was not made manifest, and no one, not even the priests, could go into the presence of God within the veil; and the services were a remembrance of sins. Now, the work of Christ being accomplished, the veil is rent. It is not a people in a certain relationship with God yet always remaining without, drawing near to the altar, or, at best, some to the altar of incense. It is full grace going out to the world; and then, redemption being accomplished, and believers righteous before God, their having all perfect boldness to enter the holiest. Hence, our subject is not the character of approach, but the figures of the means by which we approach, in order to have communion with God. I need hardly add, the Father's love does not come in question. It was a throne of judgment which was in the sanctuary, and who could approach that?
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 99My impression is that the tabernacle is the expression of the millennial state of things, save as to royalty, with which the temple is connected -- the throne of God, in the holiest. I do not see that the veil will then be rent for those on earth, though all be founded on the sacrifice of Christ; but the high priest will go at all tunes into the holy place, and then in his robes of glory and beauty. The shew-bread and the seven-branched candlestick represent thus Israel in connection with Christ, as manifesting government, and light in the world, but in the place of priesthood with God. For us the veil is rent, and we enter with boldness into the holiest.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 100For prophecy is a thing apart.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 101As to acceptance, the Christian has no more conscience of sins; but the Israelite had never learnt this; and hence, as we have seen, his way of approaching served, as to the means, to portray the sinner's first coming to God. The import of Christ's sacrifice is often too little seen. Man must come as a sinner, and about and owning his sins. He cannot come truly otherwise, but when entered in peace into God's presence, feeble as we may be, we view it from God's side, and daily see more of the reality and value of this great fact which stands alone in the history of eternity, and on which all and eternal blessing is immutably founded. Every point and power of good and evil was there brought to an issue; the absolute enmity of man's heart against God revealed in grace; Satan's complete power over men; man (Christ) perfect in obedience and love to His Father in the very place needed when He was made sin; God perfect in justice against sin (it became Him), and perfect in love to the sinner. And this being accomplished, the perfect ground was laid in justice, and in what was accomplished and immutable, for the display of God's love and God's counsels, in what morally could not change.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 102It is to be remarked that we read of no positive sin-offerings before the law. The clothing of Adam may suppose it, and Genesis 4: 7 may be taken to speak of it, but they are not professedly offered; burnt-offerings frequently. These suppose sin and death, and no coming to God but by sacrifice and death, and reconciliation through it. But the sacrifice is viewed in the perfect self-offering of Christ, so that God should be perfectly glorified in that which was infinitely precious in His sight, and all He was, righteousness, love, majesty, truth, purpose, all glorified in Christ's death so that He could freely act in His grace. Sin is supposed in it, and perfectness of self-sacrifice to God there where it was; but God glorified rather than individuals' sins borne. Hence worship according to the sweet savour of it is involved in it. A man far departed from God, as such I cannot come to God at all but on this ground, and it will remain valid for eternity and secure all things: the new heaven and earth are secured as the dwelling-place of righteousness by it. But my actual sins being put away is another thing. In one, the whole relationship of man, indeed of all things with God, is in question; in the other, my personal sins. Hence all acceptable sacrifice was of the former kind: sacrifices for sins when the relationship of a people with God was established, where every act referred to His actual presence.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 103In these cases the burning was outside the camp. It was the same as to the scape-goat, which immediately connected itself with the rest of the work.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 104The burnt-offerings as such were brought voluntarily; still, it seems clear that this is not the sense of the Hebrew word "ratzon" here, but for his acceptance, to be in divine favour. It remains, just the same doctrinally true that Christ, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 105This is a signal instance that the order set up in the wilderness was not the image, but only a shadow of good things to come; for the veil unrent forbad entrance, the rent veil gives us, through the cross, full boldness to go in. So that in relationship to God there was contrast.
[b] The number seven is the number of perfection, and twelve also, as may be seen in many passages of scripture: the former, of absolute completeness in good or evil; the latter, of completeness in human administration.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 106The door of the tabernacle of the congregation is not simply the veil of the holy place, but the court where they entered from without. The altar of burnt-offering was at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
[b] It does not appear that the washing of the priests for their consecration was at the laver; that was according to what was within when they had got there. But it is always the word, which is figured by the water.
[c] In the first edition, I had added here the "renewing of the Holy Ghost," referring to Titus 3. But though the Holy Ghost surely renews the heart continually, yet I doubt the justice of the application of this passage here. The renewing seems more absolute there, anakainoseos. I might have simply left it out, perhaps, but that I would call the attention of the reader to the fact that "regeneration" is not the same word as being "born again." It is paliggenesia, not anagenneesis. It is only found again, to denote the millennium, in Matthew 19. It is in its import, the "washing of water," or being "born of water," not the reception of life by the Spirit. Water is a change of condition of what exists, not in itself receiving of life, which is being "born of the Spirit." it is the anakainosis.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 108That is, it was not yet the priest's part. It may be translated, "one was to kill him." It was completing the offering, not presenting its blood in a priestly way.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 109Much deep instruction is connected with this, but its development belongs to the New Testament. See Romans 12 and 6, and 1 Peter.
[b] Water thus used as a figure signifies the word in the present power of the Holy Ghost.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 110Literally, "justified." You cannot accuse a dead man of sin. And note, it is not "sins" here, but "sin."
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 114And this for a double reason: He came to meet our case, and we were in sin, and the basis of all must be blood-shedding in virtue of what God is, and His obedience all through must have this perfect character -- unto death. Hence, too, there was no eating it. Sin being there, it was according to what God is, and wholly to God. Sin was before Him and He glorified as to it.
[b] Thus the holocaust gives what the sinful man's state according to God's glory needed; the meat-offering, the sinless perfect man in the power of the Spirit of God in obedience; for His life was obedience in love.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 115In John, the divine displayed in man, specially comes out. Hence Gospel attracts the heart, while it offends infidelity.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 120Judgment in the last day is according to works, but by the state of sin we were wholly alienated from God and lost.
[b] We never have any excuse for any sin of act or thought, because Christ's grace is sufficient for us, and God is faithful not to suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able to bear. It may be that at a given moment we may not have power, but then there has been neglect.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 121This was in various forms, but all bringing out the two principles noticed. First, the great general truth: fine flour, oil poured on it, and frankincense; baken in the oven, cakes mingled, or wafers anointed, with oil -- of course unleavened; if in a pan, flour unleavened mingled with oil; if in the frying-pan, fine flour with oil. Thus in all forms in which Christ could be looked at as Man, there was absence of sin; His human nature formed in the power and character of, and anointed also with, the Holy Ghost. For we may consider His human nature, as such in itself: oil is poured on it. I may see it tried to the uttermost: it is still purity, and the grace and expression of the Holy Ghost, in its inward nature, in it. I may see it displayed before men, and it is in Holy Ghost power. We may see both together in essential, in inward, reality of character, in public walk, in every part (as presented to God) of that nature which was perfect and formed by Holy Ghost power: absence of all evil, and the Holy Ghost's power is manifested in it. So, when broken into pieces, every part of it was anointed with oil, to shew that if Christ's life were, so to speak, taken to pieces, every detail and element of it was in the perfectness of, and characterised by, the Holy Ghost.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 122The two first temptations (Matt. 4) were the wiles of the enemy. In the last he is openly Satan.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 125In the first case in which this happens, after saying it, He goes down immediately with His disciples, and His mother John 2: 12), and brethren. He could be in the midst of all that influences man naturally, yet separate from it because He was inwardly perfect. All the gospels, and personally John 19: 26, shew these natural relations formed of God fully owned.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 128This was what was properly signified by salt. So every sacrifice is seasoned with salt. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt. It is what gives a divine taste, a witness of God to everything.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 129Though the perfect offering for sin is the basis of all; we should not without it have the thing to have communion in, and this point was carefully guarded in the type of the peace-offering -- it could not be acceptably eaten but in connection with what was offered to God (see chapter 7). Only it is communion in the joy of the common salvation, not special priestly delight in what Christ was for God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 130The exceptions to this rule are sin-offerings of the day of atonement, and the red heifer, which confirm the great principle, or fortify a peculiar portion of it. The sprinkling of the blood was always the priest's work.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 131Life belonged to God. He only could give it. Hence, when allowed to be taken in Noah's time, the blood was reserved. There was, of course, no eating connected with death before the fall (unless the warning not to bring it in), nor allowedly before Noah. Hence, as life belonged to God, death had come in by sin, and there could be no eating of what involved death, no nourishment by it, unless the life (the blood) was offered to God. This being done, man could have his living nourishment through it. It was indeed his salvation through faith.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 132Offering has a double character distinguished in Greek by prosphero and anaphero, in Hebrew by Hikrib and Hiktir. Christ offered Himself without spot through the eternal Spirit to God; but, having done so, God laid the iniquity on Him, made Him to be sin for us, and He was offered up on the cross as an actual sacrifice.
[b] This expression, in a measure, brings in the meat-offering.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 134It may be well to remark that the peace-offering supposes fellowship in worship, though many principles are individually applicable.
[b] We may add of Jesus with the Father, and that in connection even with His laying down His life, but this is not our direct subject here (see John 10: 17). But there, note, it is not done as for sinners, but for God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 139Only we must always remember that in Christ it has been done once for all. We have only a shadow of good things to come, and in certain points, as in this, contrast -- a contrast fully developed in Hebrews 10. In Hebrews, however, it is not restoration after failure, but perfecting for ever, in the conscience, which takes the place of repeated sacrifice. The restoration of communion on failure is found in 1 John 2:1, 2, founded on the righteous One being before God for us, and the propitiation made.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 141There is one case only where it is, Leviticus 4: 31.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 143There are points in the New Testament it may be well to notice here. The Hebrews views the Christian as walking down here in weakness and trial, but as perfected for ever by the work of Christ, no more conscience of sins, and the priesthood is exercised not to restore communion, but to find mercy and grace to help. 1 John speaks of communion with the Father and Son. This is interrupted by any sin, and Christ is our Advocate with the Father to restore it. The Hebrews is occupied with access to God within the veil, the conscience being perfect, and we enter with boldness, hence failure and restoration are not in question. The Father is not spoken of. In John, as I have said, it is communion and the actual state of the soul is in question. And it is so true that it is the standing in Hebrews, that if one falls away, restoration is impossible. In the tabernacle there was no going within the veil. No such standing was revealed, and priesthood and communion as far as enjoyed were mingled together, the Father unknown.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 147It does not exactly appear whether the goat for the people (chapter 9: 3) was burnt without the camp. It is said in chapter 10: 16 that it was burnt, and that its blood was not brought into the holy place for sin, so that they ought to have eaten it. So that if it was burnt outside the camp it was an error; the bullock for Aaron was, though the blood was not carried within the veil. Of the goat it is merely said, "offered it for sin, as the first," (chapter 9: 15). Aaron's sacrifice seems to shew that the character of Christ's priesthood does not bring Israel into fellowship with what is within the veil, though Christ may have suffered on the cross for them. The blood was put on the altar in the court. The sons should have eaten that for the people, as for a particular fault of a people already in relationship with God. They are the offerings after the consecration of Aaron, not those of his consecration. Then there was naturally no offering for the people there. Now his hands were filled. The reader may remark, as regards the remnant of Israel (the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are on Mount Sion with the Lamb, the Sufferer in Israel, now King there), that they are on earth, but they learn the song sung in heaven, though they are not there to sing it.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 149Connected with this was the weakness of fallen nature (compare Gen. 1: 2). All that belonged even to weakness of nature, being the effect of sin, rendered unclean under the law. This is also true spiritually. All this was the result of some manifestation or other of the life that was in the flesh. It was so with the leper; raw flesh rendered unclean, as well as any other case where this life (which had become unclean, and had been as set aside and under judgment through sin), manifested itself externally, even though weakness alone were the cause of its manifestation.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 150This difference is important; it is that between the work in us which makes a sin a judged thing in us, judged by us, and the work of Christ which supposing that, puts us in a condition for relationship with God.
[b] It was the high priest who did it, but it was not a properly priestly act. That is, it was not one going between individuals or even the people and God, but representing them as such in his own person: as Christ, His people on the cross.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 151When it was a question of consecrating those who were recognised as to their persons (the priests), they were first washed, and the sacrifice of Christ, viewed under every aspect, was the measure of their relation with God in every way, and the basis of their communion in its inward efficacy upon the soul. But here, the sinner being viewed in his sin outside the camp, it was necessary first to lay the basis for the possibility of intercourse with God. This was done in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Then, being washed (the efficacious operation of the Spirit by the word), he can be in relationship.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 153Note here how very distinctly the ground of introduction into the new christian place is stated in its completeness. Culpability is fully met, guilt removed, cleansing by blood as to all committed sins perfect, and the Holy Ghost given, giving competency for all that was to follow. The man stood, to apply the figure, personally on christian ground. The sin-offering and the burnt-offering go further, hence only the trespass-offering is used to introduce the leper and have him anointed.
[b] The fact of anointing the person comes after the trespass-offering. But this circumstance is of moment as shewing that it is Christ, in what He was in Person intrinsically -- not the display of power, so as to say, "If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come amongst you," but what He was in all His blessed life in perfectness to God and in love. This is what we feed on. Note here that what is said in verse 18 does not mean, I apprehend, that the oil in itself made an atonement, but the trespass-offering, for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. But it is not the less true that the man was not there until he had been anointed with the oil; nor is a man in heart and conscience before God till he have received the Holy Ghost, though the ground and measure of all be the blood with which he is sprinkled. It is the same in verse 29. See what follows.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 154This difference is important, and shews how the working of sin may be stopped, and the desires and will set right, and in a certain sense the affections, but the conscience not yet be restored; communion consequently not yet re-established, nor the blessed confidence and affections founded on it.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 157See John 13: 31, 32, and 17: 1, 4. And this entitles man to glory, does not merely justify him.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 159The camp is an earthly religious relationship with God outside the sanctuary, and established on earth with priests between men and God. This the Jews were; they cast Christ out of it; and it is now utterly rejected.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 162The difference of 1 John 2 is this: there communion is in question, and Christ is our Advocate with the Father. Sin interrupts that communion, but the advocacy is founded on righteousness and propitiation. In Hebrews it is approach to God which is in question, and for this we are perfected for ever, have boldness to enter into the holiest. Sin is not thus in question, but mercy and grace to help in time of need.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 164I do not speak of responsibility or mercy here.
[b] I add, to give the intelligence of this expression, that the word translated "feast" signifies an appointed or definite time, and which returned consequently at the revolution of the year. The series of the feasts embraced the whole year, inasmuch as they returned regularly each consecutive year. This shews too the difference of the sabbath, God's rest -- only here of creation; and, I may add, of the new moon -- figure I doubt not of Israel's restoration. The great new moon was in the seventh month.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 165The idea of these feasts is God gathering the people around Himself as a holy convocation. The solemn feasts were, then, the gathering of God's people around Him, and in detail the ways of God in gathering them thus. Hence the distinction made in this chapter. It is evident that the sabbath, the rest of God, will be the great gathering of the people of God around Him, as the centre of peace and blessing. So that the sabbath is truly a solemn feast, a holy convocation; but? also, it is evidently apart and distinct from the means and the operations which gathered the people. Hence we find it mentioned at the beginning, and reckoned amongst the solemn feasts; then the Spirit of God begins afresh (ver. 4) and gives the solemn feasts, as embracing all the ways of God in the gathering of His people, leaving out the sabbath. In reckoning the feasts, the passover and the feast of unleavened bread may be considered as one, for both were at the same time, and treated together; or, looking upon the sabbath as separate, they may be estimated as two feasts. Both these things are found in the word.
[b] It is well to observe, in passing, that this formula gives, in the whole Pentateuch, the true division of the subjects. Sometimes the directions are addressed to Aaron, which supposes some internal relations based on the existence of priesthood -- sometimes to Moses and Aaron; and in that case they are not purely communications and commandments to establish relations, but also directions for the exercise of functions thus established. Consequently we have in Leviticus 10, for the first time I think, "Jehovah spake unto Aaron"; -- chapter 11 to "Moses and Aaron"; because that, whilst it treats of commandments and ordinances given for the first time, it is also a question of the discernment consequent upon relations existing between God and the people, and in which the exercise of the priesthood came in. These general principles will assist in apprehending the nature of the communications made by God to His people (see chapter 13). Chapter 14, as far as verse 32, consists of ordinances to settle simply what priesthood must do; verse 33, priestly discernment is again in exercise.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 166I shall here add a few words on the subject of the sabbath, submitting them to the spiritual thoughts of my brethren. It is well to be subject to the word. First, the participation in God's rest is what distinguishes His people -- their distinctive privilege. The heart of the believer holds that fast, whatever may be the sign that God has given of it (Heb. 4). God had established it at the beginning; but there is no appearance that man ever enjoyed in fact any share in it. He did not work in the creation, nor was he set to labour or toil in the garden of Eden; he was to dress and keep it, indeed, but he had nothing to do but continually to enjoy However the day was hallowed from the beginning. Afterwards the sabbath was given as a memorial of the deliverance out of Egypt (Deut. 5: 15), and the prophets specially insist on that point -- that the sabbath was given as a sign of God's covenant (Ezek. 20; Ex. 31: 13). It was plain that it was but the earnest of the word, "My presence shall go, and I will give thee rest" (Ex. 31: 13; 33: 14; Leviticus 19: 30). It is a sign that the people are sanctified to God (Ezek. 20: 12, 13-16, 20; Neh. 9: 14: compare Isa. 56: 2-6; 58: 13; Jer. 17: 22; Lam. 1: 7; 2: 6; Ezek. 22: 8; 23: 38; 44: 24). Besides these passages, we see that, whenever God gives any new principle or form of relation with Himself, the sabbath is added: thus in grace to Israel (Ex. 16: 23); as law (Ex. 20: 10). See also, besides the verse we are occupied with, Exodus 31: 13, 14; 34: 21; when they are restored afresh by the patience of God through mediation (chapter 35: 2), and in the new covenant of Deuteronomy already quoted in the passage.
These remarks shew us what was the radical and essential importance of the sabbath, as the thought of God and the sign of the relation between His people and Himself, though, being only a sign, a solemnity, and not in itself a moral commandment; for the thing signified the association with God in His rest, and is of the highest order of truth in connecting the heart with God. But if that be of the utmost importance, it is of an equal and even higher importance to remember that the covenant between God and the Jewish people is entirely set aside for us, and that the sign of this covenant does not belong to us, although God's rest be yet quite as precious to us, and even more so; that our rest is not in this creation -- a rest of which the seventh day was the sign; and moreover (which is more important still) that the Lord Jesus is Lord of the sabbath, a remark of all importance as to His Person, and null if He was to do nothing with regard to the sabbath; and that, as a fact, He has omitted all mention of it in the sermon on the mount, where He has given such a precious summary of the fundamental principles suited to the kingdom, with the addition of the name of the Father and the fact of a suffering Messiah, and the revelation of the heavenly reward, making a whole of the principles of His kingdom, and that He uniformly thwarted the thoughts of the Jews on this point; a circumstance which the evangelists (that is, the Holy Ghost) have been careful to record. The sabbath itself Jesus passed in a state of death, a terrible sign of the position of the Jews as to their covenant -- for us, of the birth of much better things.
It has been tried, with much trouble, to prove that the seventh day was in fact the first. A single remark demolishes the whole edifice thus reared; it is, that the word of God calls this last the first in contrast with the seventh. What is, then, the first day? It is for us the day of all days -- the day of the resurrection of Jesus, by which we are begotten again unto a lively hope, which is the source of all our joy, our salvation, and that which characterises our life. Thus we shall find the rest of God in the resurrection. Morally, in this world, we begin our spiritual life by the rest, instead of finding it at the end of our labours. Our rest is in the new creation; we are the beginning, after Christ, who is the Head of it, of that new dispensation.
It is clear, then, that the rest of God cannot, in our case, be connected with the sign of the rest of creation here below. Have we any authority in the New Testament for distinguishing the first day of the week from the others? For my part, I do not doubt it. It is certain we have not commandments like those of the old law; they would be quite contrary to the spirit of the gospel of grace. But the Spirit of God has marked out, in divers manners, the first day of the week, though that day is not made binding upon us in a way contrary to the nature of the economy. The Lord, being raised on that day according to His promise, appears in the midst of His disciples gathered according to His word: the week following He does the same. In the Acts the first day of the week is marked as the day on which they gathered together to break bread.
In 1 Corinthians 16 Christians are exhorted to lay by of what they had earned, each first day of the week. In Revelation it is positively called the Lord's day, that is, designated in a direct manner by a distinctive name by the Holy Spirit. I am well aware that it has been sought to persuade us that John speaks of being in spirit in the millennium. But there are two fatal objections to that interpretation. First, the Greek says quite another thing, and uses the same word that is used for the Lord's supper, lordly or dominical -- the dominical supper, the dominical day. Who can doubt as to the meaning of such an expression, or, consequently, can fail to admit that the first day of the week was distinguished from others (as the Lord's supper was distinguished from other suppers), not as an imposed sabbath, but as a privileged day? But the reasoning to prove it refers to the millennium is founded on a totally false idea, in that only a minimum portion of the Revelation speaks of the millennium. The book is about the things which precede it, and in the place where the expression is found, there is decidedly no mention whatever of it, but of the existing churches, whatever withal might be their prophetic character; so that, if we hold to the word of God, we are forced to say that the first day of the week is distinguished in the word of God as being the Lord's day. We are also bound to say, if we desire to maintain the authority of the Son of man, that He is superior to the sabbath -- "Lord of the sabbath"; so that in maintaining for us the authority of the Jewish sabbath as such, we are in danger of denying the authority, the dignity, and the rights of the Lord Jesus Himself, and of re-establishing the old covenant, of which it was the appointed sign, of seeking rest as the result of labour under the law. The more the true importance of the sabbath, the seventh day, is felt, the more we shall feel the importance of the consideration that it is no longer the seventh, but the first day which has privileges for us. Let us take care, on the other hand, because we are no longer under law but under grace, not to weaken the thought not only of man's rest but of God's -- a governing thought in the whole of the revelation of His relationships with man. The final rest for us is rest from spiritual labours in the midst of evil, not merely from sin; a rest which we, as fellow-labourers, shall enjoy with Him who has said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work."
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 168There are three points which we may notice here as to this. First in Colossians 3 God counts us dead with Christ (in Col. also risen); in Romans 6 we reckon ourselves dead to sin, and alive not in Adam, but through Him; in 2 Corinthians 4 it is practically carried out; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our flesh. Ephesians is on different ground: we are not such as have died to sin, but were dead in sins, and then a wholly new creation. Sovereign grace had put us into Christ with the same power that raised Christ from the grave to the throne of God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 173I take this to be the covenant of Exodus 6, not the law. It connected itself directly with the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, adding the name of Jehovah, and taking up the people under that name.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 176I speak always of the church here in its individual members as indicating the class of persons.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 179I say the walk of the Christian, applying it to our consciences; but the expression is imperfect, for the subject seems to me to embrace the life of Christ Himself upon earth, and even, in some respects, His life in the time to come, but always upon earth. They shew the relationship between the manifestation of life here below, the forms and the characters it assumes, and the sources of life in the manifestation of God in Christ: a subject of the deepest interest. The badgers' skins, and the circumstances with which this book is occupied, still suppose the walk to be in the wilderness. It is only when we abstract, as to these circumstances, that we see the manifestation of things to come. Thus faith, that of the thief on the cross for example, saw, in Christ's suffering, the King, though all was hidden. I have therefore alluded to it without fear. I only present the idea contained in the type, without unfolding all the consequences of it.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 180It is the idea which has been suggested to me by the examination of all the passages in the word where scarlet is mentioned. Saul adorned the maidens of Israel with scarlet and other delights. Babylon is clothed with scarlet. The colour of the beast is scarlet. Scarlet was cast into the fire when the leper, and he who was defiled by a dead body, were purified. Scarlet is a very brilliant colour.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 181The comparison of Psalms 19, 20, 21, 22 is, under this point of view, most interesting. Psalm 19 contains testimonies of the creation and the law; Psalm 20 presents Messiah suffering, but externally, so that man can take an interest in Him; Psalm 21 Messiah exalted, and, as a consequence, vengeance striking His enemies who had rejected Him; Psalm 22 His sufferings as forsaken by God Himself. This is the expression of Christ alone, whilst in Psalms 20, 21 the Jewish remnant were speaking of His outward sufferings. There is no vengeance in connection with those sufferings consequent on His being forsaken of God, for it was expiation; there is nothing but blessing, which the mouth of the Saviour announces, and to which He Himself responded by praising in the midst of His saints. This blessing will extend to the ends of the earth during the millennium.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 182The laver is not among the things to which these commands relate. The reason for this omission is apparent from the explanation we have just given of these figures, and confirms this explanation. The laver did not represent a manifestation of God, the efficacy of which is reproduced in the christian life, or in the glory of Christ; but a means for the purification of man. These directions here, only summarily entered on seem to me, if entered into with spiritual intelligence, full of the deepest import and interest.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 184Looked at as a professing whole, or as an individual who makes profession, there may be the discovery that there is nothing real; as the case has been in Israel according to the flesh and will be also in the professing church. They have been unfaithful to their husband.
[b] It is a striking fact that in no one case did His disciples understand what He said when He expressed what was in His heart. This was utter isolation.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 185The difference of these two phases of the Nazarite character of Christ in His life and in His death is not so great as might appear. He was ever separated from human joy as from all evil -- there was no honey as there was no leaven, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief as passing in holy love through a world of sinners -- His love driven back, and thus Himself straitened and pent up: the atonement opened its sluices. He is now, in fact, outwardly made separate from sinners. The early rejection of His mother's claim in John has its natural place in John, because in that Gospel He stands from the beginning apart in own Person, and the Jews are a rejected people.
[b] 1 Corinthians 11: 10.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 187These are the three things to which the cross is applied in the Epistle to the Galatians.
[b] It is not here his own conscience repurified as to guilt. That is never done. All through here it is not redemption, but the walk of a professing people who have to say to God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 188Not of course that there was any evil nature in Him to deny as there is in us, but in will and nature where there was no evil; as "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" which I take only as an example. On the cross when all was finished, He carefully owned her. Honey could not be in a sacrifice any more than leaven.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 189Note, chapters 5, 6 give the cleansing of the camp in every way from impurity and wrong, and the consecration of the Nazarite to God, and the blessing. Then comes the free-will-offering. Purity of the camp and personal separation to God -- holiness in its twofold character, negative cleansing, and positive consecration to God. Then the freewill-offering. The putting of the name follows the cleansing and consecration.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 190The introduction of this type at this place shews how much the order of the types, and their introduction in such or such a place, refers to the things typified and to their moral order.
[b] The leper was washed, not merely sprinkled. He was outside the camp, wholly unclean before God. It was cleansing, not consecration; he had been, before the washing, brought under the blood-sprinkling -- the full abiding efficacy of Christ's work in itself. Then he was washed with water, cleansed personally in the power of the Spirit and word, according to that water that came out of Christ's side. His clothes or outward demeanour were even cleansed too, and all that could harbour defilement removed. Here it was the consecration of those who, in an ordinary sense were clean and within. The sprinkling was a sign calling to remembrance consecration according to Christ's death, what was fit for the sanctuary, bringing them into that conscious separation to God's service; and so their clothes, their outward demeanour, were washed. It was all of the same nature -- the water -- but with the leper it was the body of sin destroyed, cleansing from it so as not to serve it. Here it was consecration too.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 191They served from 25 to 50, the first five years a kind of noviciate, as after 50 they ministered, but were not charged with the service.
[b] In Israel this unity was simply that of a people redeemed together to the enjoyment of a common portion, not a body as the church.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 192Yet those who had only wilderness character were not in a condition to keep it. None born there were circumcised till they came to Gilgal across the Jordan.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 194Remark here the difference even in the blessed apostle's faith, comparing chapter 11: 12 here and Galatians 4: 19: see also 2 Corinthians 11: 28. It is possible that this failure of Moses under the pressure of the weight of the people, giving occasion to the prophesying in the camp, was the occasion also of the rising up of Miriam and Aaron against him. At any rate God maintained the authority of His servant, who, as to himself, held his ground by unfeigned meekness, and leaving all that concerned himself to God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 195See Deuteronomy 1: 20-23.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 198It is ecclesiastical evil; but as regards the rebellion, the evil went farther. It was the pretension of ministry to be priesthood. That is the evil pointed out by Moses, though Core brought others near also (vers. 8-10).
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 199There is no question here of union with Christ (it was yet the hidden mystery), nor even of being sons; it is the passage of pilgrims through the wilderness. In this character we are viewed as apart from Christ, as in Hebrews. I add here that we get a difference between priesthood and advocacy (Heb. and John). In Hebrews it is priesthood for mercy, and grace to help in time of need; advocacy is to restore communion when we have sinned.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 200That is grace; righteous judgment could destroy, but not bring through; grace alone can.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 205This is the character of the Epistle to the Hebrews: perfectness through Christ's offering as to conscience; but going through the wilderness, and so constant dependence but infallible faithfulness in Him on whom we depend. The mediatorial character of this is priesthood, consequent upon our sins being put away.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 206With his death the wilderness history closes. Provision for defilement on the way had been given. Moses clings to law, and does not avail himself of Aaron's rod (priesthood grace), and on this footing cannot take the people into the land. We have this order in this transition period: provision for defilement on the way (chapter 19); the priesthood given up, and so no entrance into the land; then the perpetual hatred of the elder brother, the outward fleshly descendant of the risen man in relentless opposition to the called people. Aaron dies, and wilderness grace closes; the power of Satan overcome, and through weariness (their own fault and want of faith) the deadliness of sin comes in, and the great remedy; Arad's power being resisted is destroyed. But from chapter 21: 4, it is the state of the soul, the heart gone back to Egypt; Christ (the manna) is despised. The power of the enemy when they were faithful was nothing. Unfaithfulness, murmuring against God, brings them into the sting of death. If they despise the bread of life, they get the fatal sting of death in judgment. There was healing by the look of faith on Christ lifted up for us. This is not priesthood for the journey, but an absolute remedy for death by sin. It is in general what God is for the people outside wilderness care. Then the refreshings of the Spirit and word -- the digged well. We have, further, victorious power over all their enemies, though outside Jordan and uncircumcised. It is God for His people in spite of their imperfect state; closing with their full justification, character, and blessing as in God's mind.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 208It is of the highest interest to see the special character of this prophecy.
It is God who, of His own will, interferes to take the part of His people against the enemy, and that even without their knowing it, or asking for it. It is not, as almost all prophecies are, an appeal to the conscience of the people, accompanied by promises calculated to sustain the faith of the remnant in the midst of the gainsayers. The people know nothing about it; they are perhaps still murmuring in their tents (so beautiful in the eyes of him who had the vision of the Almighty) against the ways of God with them. It is God declaring His own thoughts and confounding the malice of Satan, the enemy He has to do with. That is the reason why this prophecy is so complete; presenting to us, in spirit, our whole portion (literally it is that of Israel, as in the fourth prophecy is evident), separation, justification, beauty in the eyes of God (all that corresponds with the presence of the Spirit of God), and the crown of glory in the coming of the Star of Jacob, of Christ Himself, in glory.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 220After Genesis and the earlier chapters of Exodus, there is very little of which the object is historical in the previous books of Moses. And even in Genesis and the beginning of Exodus principles and types are the most important aspect of what is related. As to the history of Israel the apostle tells us this expressly in 1 Corinthians 10: 11. And this appreciation of the character of these books greatly aids us in understanding them. There is no proof that one sacrifice was offered possibly the fixed ones were; but Amos, quoted by Stephen, would say the contrary. Those born in the wilderness were not circumcised, and could not rightly keep the passover.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 223It is interesting to put together the second and third verses. For an eleven days' journey Israel took forty years. Alas! how often is it thus with us, owing to our unfaithfulness.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 224See particularly verses 2-4; 15, 16.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 225It is important to keep this in mind. Israel was the rod in God's hand to get rid of intolerable evil. Therefore also they were not to spare.
[b] The terms in which this is expressed present a perfectly beautiful contrast between the carefulness of man in seeking for blessing, and the grace from above.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 226It is generally explained that there was a double tithe; that is, that this does not refer to the regular tithe paid to the Levites, as ordered in the other places in the law, and that the Levitical tithes remained as they were according to the previous prescriptions of the law; and it is to be remarked they were to be locally paid to the Levites, not where Jehovah had placed His name. Two years they carried the different offerings to the place chosen of Jehovah, and ate and rejoiced, but the third, invited the Levite and the poor at home. Tobit 1: 7 gives us historically all these different tithes and offerings; only it appears that, the ten tribes being in rebellion and apostasy, pious people carried the Levitical tithes to Jerusalem. Amos 4: 4 shews. there was some special habit of tithing every third year, then at Bethel. At any rate what characterises Deuteronomy is their enjoying God's goodness together, and making the poor enjoy it with them, Levites and strangers; while priests, though named, are on these points wholly ignored (see chapter 12: 6, 7, 11, 12, 17, 18; 14: 22-28). The priests' portion is in chapter 18: 3, 4. But firstlings and firstfruits in chapter 12 are not the same word; nor is chapter 14: 23. But the whole tone of Deuteronomy is fellowship and enjoyment only before the Lord, not priestly or altar service.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 228Egypt signifies properly the flesh, but that involves sin and Satan.
[b] This we have seen was part of Deuteronomic worship.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 229This also characterises Deuteronomic worship.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 230But it is to be remarked here, that in the account of tabernacles in this chapter, there is no reference to an eighth day as elsewhere. All refers properly to Israel placed in the land in present responsibility, but with promise of yet better things under the new covenant. To us it is anticipatively the eighth day, that great day of the feast. See John 7 where we get what to us is now in the place of the feast, connected with the glory of a rejected, but exalted, Christ -- the outflowing fulness of the Holy Ghost.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 232See note in chapters referred to; they were second tithes, not Levitical ones. The people never paid tithes to the priests; but to the Levites at home, they to the priests. The tithes of the third year (not Levitical) were eaten at home. We have nothing of Levitical tithes in Deuteronomy.
[b] Firstborn males. See notes to chapters 12, 14.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 233The word translated "an offering" (that is, corban) comes from a word which means "to draw near," and, in the form Hiphil (causative active form), "to bring near."
[b] This very important difference characterises the book. It is no question how near we can get to the holiest, to God Himself, but communion in the enjoyment of all the fruits of His promise in His presence and in the spirit of grace. It is not wilderness connection with God, a yet deeper principle of connection with Him.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 237The Egyptians were merely that in which Israel was held naturally. The Amalekites were positive active enemies against them when the redeemed people of God. One was really man, though fallen man without God -- I honour all men; the other, the positive direct power of the enemy.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 238These two characters on worship, the wilderness worshipper's approach to Jehovah, and the enjoyment of promises in the land, are not separated for Christians as they are in these books, because we have entered into, and are in, the holiest, in heavenly places, and the things we enjoy are the things that are there. It is all one, though we shall reign over a subject inheritance, but our undefiled inheritance is there where we are entered. This is a blessed truth. It is with, not from. We have from; but we joy in God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 241This expression does not contemplate the conduct, but the principle on which we stand before God. Those who are of faith are linked with faithful Abraham; those that are of the works of the law are under the curse, for the law saith, "Cursed," etc.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 247No doubt the fall of this man of God was the effect of his previous state, for he was a man. Trial, when we are not going on well, is chastening, but needful chastening, and a blessing in result. Therefore, at the same time that it is a blessing, it is said, "Lead us not into temptation."
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 249The former is the teaching of the Ephesians, the second, of the Colossians. In the former, dead in sin, he is raised up and set in Christ in heavenly places. It is a new creation. In the latter, he has died to sin and is risen, with Christ, and his affections are to be set on heavenly things. In this last epistle he is viewed also as dead in sins and quickened together with Christ, but not as sitting in heavenly places.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 251Their typical revelations in these books, which though interwoven with the history are their real subject, are invaluable to us; only the special privileges of Christians and of the assembly of God, in sovereign grace, are not communicated.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 256Idle curiosity inquires what this thorn in the flesh could be. It matters little to us what it was. There might be a different thorn for each case in which God saw fit to send one. It would be always something suited to humble him who needed it. It is enough for our spiritual instruction to know by the word, that as to Paul it was an infirmity which tended to make him personally contemptible in his preaching (see Gal. 4: 14; 2 Cor. 10: 10). The object of God, in such a trial, as meeting the danger, is so evident to every spiritual mind, that it were useless to dwell upon it.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 259It is important first to see Jesus alone in life and in death: there we have the thing itself in its perfection. It is equally important then to know that God sees us as having been there, that it expresses our place; that God sees us in Him, and that it is our place before God. But then there is also our taking that place, by the Spirit, in faith and in fact. The former was the Red Sea; as to death, it was Christ's death; Jordan, our entering into death with Him. The Red Sea was deliverance from Egypt; Jordan, entrance into Canaan subjectively; that is, a state suited to it in spirit, not possession of it, as Christ when risen -- for us, by faith only of course as yet, as risen with Him. sitting in heavenly places is an entirely distinct thing, and on distinct ground; an absolute work of God. The Red Sea was the condemning of sin in the flesh, in Christ in death for sin; and so deliverance, when known by faith. But this is Jordan. Only Jordan goes further, for it brings us, as risen with Him, into the state which makes us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. The people followed the ark in going through Jordan, the ark remaining there in its power against death till all were passed.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 260This supposes being really born again (see Rom. 8: 29, 30). The wilderness journey after Sinai supposes this christian position taken, but individual reality tested. To this all the "if s" of the New Testament apply; that is, to the Christian on the road to the promised land, but with a certain promise of being kept to the end, if faith is there (1 Cor 1: 8, 9; John 10: 28). It is dependence, but on the fidelity of God There is no "if" as to redemption, nor as to our present place in Christ, when once we are sealed.
[b] To this the Epistle to the Romans answers.
[c] To this Ephesians answers; only Ephesians has nothing to do with our death to sin. It is, as to this question, simply God's act, taking us when dead in sin and placing us in Christ on high. Colossians is partially both, life here in resurrection, but it does not set us in heavenly places, only in our affections there. By heavenly life I mean living in spirit in heavenly places. Actually Christ was divinely there; we as united to Him by the Holy Ghost.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 261This is not mere communication of life, as by the Son of God, but passing as a moral being out of one condition into another, out of Egypt into Canaan; for that is it, the wilderness being dropped as another thing The Red Sea and Jordan in this aspect coalesce.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 264And that in much fuller glory, according to His counsels before the world was, and in the Second Man.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 265The word "broken" is wrongly introduced in the common text. It was after He had given up His spirit to the Father, in full strength, that the blood was shed through the soldier's spear. He laid down His life of Himself.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 266Colossians 3 is God's declaration of our position; Romans 6 exhortation to take it up in faith; 2 Corinthians 4 carrying it out in practice in the inner man (Col. 3: 5-17).
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 267We have three steps in this process: God's judgement, "Ye are dead"; the recognition of it by faith, "Reckon yourselves dead"; and the carrying it out in practice, "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus."
[b] The Epistle to the Romans gives, in the desert, faith's estimate of the position which Christ's death has given to us, of death to sin and life to God in this world, as involved in our being saved by His death into which we were baptised, but our resurrection which takes us out of the desert, is Colossians and Jordan.
[c] Thus far the Colossians.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 268Thus far, also, the Colossians; but we are not viewed there as dead in sins, but as having lived in them, now dead and risen.
[b] This is Ephesian teaching. And this is God's sovereign act of power which has taken us when dead in sins and put us into Christ.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 271Christ's state (only that He was actually raised) between His resurrection and ascension helps to understand it. He belonged evidently to heaven, not to this world, though He was not in heaven.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 272Let us remark, also, that christian simplicity and sincerity, the practical holiness of the christian life, the unleavened bread which was eaten on the morrow after the passover, is a heavenly thing. Nothing on this side Jordan can be this. It is of the growth of that land; therefore it is connected with Jesus, and peace through His death as a thing previous.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 274I say, in heavenly things, because the heart is sensible of good qualities in the creature. The Lord loved the rich young man when He had heard his replies. But when a rejected and ascended Lord is to be followed, the will always sets itself either for or against. Faith knows this; it knows too the rights of God, and it maintains them.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 275It is noticeable that she, like Ruth, the stranger, is in the line of the Lord's royal genealogy (Matt. 1: 5).
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 280It the more appears that this was not a concerted signal, but that the action had the meaning which I have here assigned to it, because Joshua drew not his hand back till they had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai; and this does not agree with the idea of a mere signal.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 287So called, I doubt not, because they were samples of that power which will entirely subdue the enemy when Christ shall appear.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 289It is a striking fact in man's history that the first thing that he has always done when God has set up something of His own on the earth has been to spoil it. Man himself eats the forbidden fruit; Noah gets drunk; Aaron's sons offer strange fire; Israel makes the golden calf; Solomon falls into idolatry; Nebuchadnezzar sets up his idol and persecutes. God's patience has gone on dealing with souls, all through, in spite of it.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 294Not the elevation of Abrahamic promises, but the manifestation of redeeming power in Jehovah in favour of Israel. Something like Moses, to whom Jehovah had said, "thy people," but who ever said, "Thy people." So Gideon cannot separate himself from all Israel -- God's people. "Jehovah is with thee," said the angel. "If Jehovah be with us," says Gideon, "why then is all this befallen us?" But this is an immensely important principle of faith and its activities. Note, too, what was passing in the heart of faith was the ground Jehovah took in testimony (ver. 8), only adding the charge of disobedience.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 296We observe a similar feeling in Eliezer (Gen. 24: 27). It is very interesting to notice the different circumstances in which altars have been built to Jehovah. I will name a few passages: Genesis 8: 20; 12: 7; compare 13: 4; see 21: 33; 22: 9; 26: 25; 33: 20; 35: 7. We may also remark Exodus 24: 4; Joshua 8: 30; and here Judges 6. It appears even that Gideon built two altars; the one for himself in worship, and the other by command as a testimony. 1 Samuel 7: 17; 14: 35; 1 Kings 18: 32. We may add 2 Samuel 24: 25; Ezra 3: 2.
[b] It is instructive to observe here the difference between the exercises of heart which are the result of faith, and the answer of God to the wants and difficulties which are caused by those exercises. In verse 13 we have the expression of these exercises in a soul under the weight of the same oppression as his brethren, but who feels it thus because his faith in the Lord was real. Then we have the answer which produces peace, and, with peace, worship. It is the same, when, after having suffered death, the risen Jesus reveals Himself to His disciples with the same words that God uses here, and lays down the foundation of the church gathered together in worship. In Luke 7 we find the same experiences in the woman who was a sinner. She believed in the person of Jesus. His grace had made Him her all; but she did not know yet that one like her was pardoned and saved, and might go in peace. This assurance was the answer given to her faith. Now this answer is what the gospel proclaims to every believer. The Holy Ghost proclaims Jesus. This produces conviction of sin. The knowledge of God in Christ, and of ourselves, casts down (for sin is there, and we are in bondage, sold under sin); but it produces conflict, perhaps anguish. Often the soul struggles against sin, and cannot gain the mastery; it cannot get beyond a certain point (the greater number of the sermons from which it expects light go no farther); but the gospel proclaims God's own resources for bringing it out of this state. "Peace be unto thee," "thy sins are forgiven." "Thy faith" (for she has faith), says Christ to the poor sinful woman, "hath saved thee." This was what she knew not yet. Compare Acts 2: 37, 38.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 305In this union, when it takes place between the world and true Christians, or those at least who profess the truth the world always rules; when, on the contrary, it is with the hierarchy that the world is connected, it is then a superstitious hierarchy that rules, for this is necessary in order to restrain the will of man by religious bonds adapted to the flesh.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 309There was something of this, though in a very different form and manner, in Jonathan. His faith was not perfect. He held the world with one hand and David with the other, though the excuse of natural relationship might be there.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 310As to the professing church it is somewhat different, because the saints are taken away to glory, and the rest, being apostate, are judged; but the fact of judgment on the world is identical.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 312Compare Micah 5: 3, last part.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 317I refer here to that of His believing people.
[b] There is a shade of difference between the priesthood and the advocacy of Christ. The priesthood is in Christ appearing in the presence of God for us; but this as to our place before God is perfection. It does not therefore refer to sin in its daily exercise, but mercy and grace to help in time of need. We enter boldly into the holiest. Advocacy refers to our sinning, because the question, where it is spoken of (1 John 2: 2), is communion, and this is wholly interrupted by sin.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 320Joshua, on the contrary, went in and out under the direction of Eleazar, who inquired of God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 321Observe the contrast between this case and that of Achan, although there was sin in the latter. The sin was confessed and judged in detail, although the people were chastised.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 322Read "seventy men," see New Translation
[b] Compare Psalms 78: 60, 61; 132. The ark is in connection with Sion, the seat of kingly grace. Solomon only, as the man of peace, could build the house.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 323That is to say, a burnt-offering. This is remarkable. It was not sacrifice for sin, but sacrifice which recognised the relationship existing between the people and God. Christ only, as we have seen elsewhere, is the true burnt-offering.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 324The God who had said to him in the day of his trouble, when driven out from before his enemy, that He would not forsake him.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 325Accordingly it was the Spirit of prophecy, the Spirit which acted in blessing, which indicated the presence of God, and that to which Saul should have recourse, even though (yea, because) the hill of God, the public seat of His authority in Israel, was in the hands of the enemies of the true people of God. This scene pictured the whole state of Israel.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 331See the same proofs of faith in David, when he went out against Goliath.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 332This is the more remarkable, because the Spirit calls those who were with Saul and Jonathan Israelites. This gives special force to the word "Hebrews," wherever it is found. God does not refuse the name of Israelite to the most timorous of the people (chapter 13: 6), but He refuses it to those who join the Philistines. The idea was lost of the connection between the people and God. It was a nation like any other.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 335This unintelligent use of the Psalms, however, has tended to keep pious souls down below their privileges as Christians. A child's place with the Father is never found in any of the Psalms, nor the spiritual feelings generated by the consciousness of the relationship. The word may be used as a comparison, but the relationship is never recognised, and could not be.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 339See chapter 23: 16, 17. But what Jonathan proposed there could not be; that is, connection between the old system in the flesh and God's grace and purpose. Jonathan, though loving David, walked with the old, which God was going to judge.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 343In fact, when the priesthood had been judged, nothing remained for faith, which apprehended the mind of God, except the prophet Samuel and the king given by God, David. Abigail understands this. The assembly should think as God Himself thinks, in spite of existing circumstances. Abigail thinks nothing of Saul. Samuel is dead; David is now everything to her. "The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of heaven is preached, and every man presseth into it." Where were the high priests and all their company? Nevertheless the Lord submitted to them as to an ordinance, as David did to Saul.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 344She takes a much more humble place than Jonathan did, and one which, even at the time, acknowledged David much more fully. It is not a friend like Jonathan; it is a submissive soul which, in spirit, gives David his place according to God, taking her own place before him. It is exactly that which distinguishes the spirit of the assembly -- of the true Christian.
In Jonathan we see the remnant under the Jewish aspect. But Abigail enters into the spirit of God's purposes respecting David, although he was now in distress; and David, who, while thoroughly submissive, can act according to the faith that owns him, hears her voice, and accepts her person.
Let us mark the features of Abigail's faith. All rests upon her appreciation of David (it is this which forms a Christian's judgment -- in every respect he appreciates Christ); his title as owned of God; his personal perfection; and that which belonged to him according to the counsels of God. She thinks of him according to all the good which God has spoken of him; she sees him fighting God's battles, where others only see a rebel against Saul; and all this from her heart. She judges Nabal, and looks upon him as already judged of God on account of this, for with her everything is judged according to its connection with David is. 26); a judgment which God accomplishes ten days later, although Nabal was at peace in his own house, and David an exile and outcast Nevertheless the relation of Abigail to Nabal is recognised until God executes judgment. She judges Saul. He is but a man, because, to her faith, David is king. All her desire is that David may remember her Jonathan says, when he goes out to David, "I shall be next unto thee" and David abides in the wood, while Jonathan returns to his house In the order of things which God had judged (a judgment that faith recognised) he remains with his family and shares its ruin. This is important to a Christian. For instance, he respects, in so far as based on God's authority, official Christianity -- which, in the world, is the religion of God while God bears with it -- and does not stand up against it. As to faith and personal walk, this Christianity is nothing at all just as Saul was only a man to Abigail's faith.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 352Joab was evidently clever and enterprising: but it is remarkable that he is not named among those who distinguished themselves by brilliant exploits, when individual faith had to fight for God's glory When it is a question of being chief and captain, a place which David had held till then, Joab immediately comes forward.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 353It is evident, from many Old Testament prophecies, that it will be the same when Christ returns to the earth. And yet at that period, if man exalts himself, it will be but for sudden destruction.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 354I say "relationship," because, in fact, the ark of the covenant was the outward link, the sign of the formal relationship between God and Israel. This gives much importance to the circumstance we are considering. The loss of the ark had been, on the contrary, the Ichabod of the people.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 355The construction of the sentence (Heb. 12: 22) makes it more easy to distinguish the different parts of which it is composed. The word "and" separates them: Zion -- the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem -- the angels, the general assembly -- the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven -- God the judge of all, etc.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 357We may compare Exodus 15: 2 in the English Version, though the translation is questionable. But see Exodus 29: 46.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 358This is not mentioned in Samuel; because it is David as the type of the Lord, whom the Spirit sets before us here.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 359For the high priest (after the strange fire offered on the day of their consecration) it seems, never wore the garments of glory and beauty in the most holy place He only went in in white garments on the day of atonement.
[b] This priesthood He (Christ) exercises now. The glorious garments He will come out in. He is personally already crowned with glory and honour, but the all things are not put under Him; nor has He taken His Melchisedec throne, which indeed will be on earth. He is on His Father's throne, while His fellow heirs are being gathered.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 360Psalm 2 shews us the King set upon the holy hill of Zion, the Son of God begotten in time (a distinct thing from His relationship as Son, one with the Father before the world was -- a doctrine taught in John 1, Hebrews 1, Colossians 1, and elsewhere -- yet I do not believe one could be without the other, though the "therefore" of Luke 1: 35 shews it to be a distinct thing, and His Sonship in this place is also a truth of the greatest importance), owned as such by Jehovah, and the kings of the earth charged to submit to Him. Psalm 8 speaks of Him as the Son of man to whom all things are subjected according to the eternal purposes of God. In Psalm 110 He who had been despised and rejected, being seated at the right hand of God, is to rule in the midst of His enemies.
Compare Psalms 24 and 102. In the first, He is acknowledged as Jehovah of hosts, the King of glory, after having conquered His enemies: in the second, as the Creator Himself.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 361The translation is very questionable; it was however God's thought. See Exodus 29: 46.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 362Compare Psalm 18: 43, where the righteous suffering Christ (under the figure of David) is the source of all blessings for Israel from Egypt to the end.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 367However, in yielding to the Gibeonites, David did not consult Jehovah as to what he should do. We see the government of God as to Saul's house, and Saul's act towards those he had wronged; but though in its general character righteous and upright, had he consulted Jehovah, some happier way of being righteous might have been found.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 372This is the universal order of God's ways: to set up blessing first under the responsibility of man, to be accomplished afterwards according to His counsels by His power and grace. And it is to be noted that the first thing man has always done is to fail. Thus Adam, thus Noah, thus under law, thus the priesthood, thus as here the royalty under law, so Nebuchadnezzar where it was absolute, so, I add, the church. Already in the apostles' days all sought their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. God continues His own dealings in grace in spite of this, all through, besides His government according to responsibility in the public body in this world, but a government full of patience and grace.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 373It is to David also, and not to Solomon, that God communicated the plan of the temple. Solomon, in glory, performs these things, and possesses the requisite discernment for executing justice and judgment, but it is in David that intelligence displays itself. In fact if Christ, reigning in glory, exercises just judgment, He is already wisdom, and, indeed, it is in His connection with the assembly in the present time of grace, that the communication of the purposes of God, and the intelligence of His ways, are found.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 374Consider here Revelation 14: 1, and Hebrews 12: 22.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 375The position of Solomon is morally worthy of attention He loves Jehovah; he walks in the statutes of David; but he does not cleave to the ark which David had placed in Zion; he offers sacrifices in the high places. How often Christians, who do not walk outwardly in sin, do not seek in Christ the secret of His will according to the revelation He has made of Himself while hidden! For us the temple is not built. We may draw nigh to the ark -- Christ rejected and gone up on high; or to the brazen altar and the high places, for this altar is confounded with them.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 376He drew nigh to it, under the influence of granted blessings, to render thanks to God (ver. 15).
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 378It is to this, I doubt not, that the Lord alludes, when He says, "In my Father's house are many dwellings" -- at any rate, to the fact that other priests besides the high priest dwell there.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 379The word in Hebrew is "towards the house," which is used as a preposition for inwards; but here, being at the bottom of the most holy place, "towards the house "was outwards.
I anticipate the Chronicles here a little. This circumstance of their looking outwards, which is not brought in here by the Holy Ghost, refers to the aspect of this history given in the Chronicles, that is, to the glorious reign of the Son of David. Here, the typical character of the heavenly house and glory being the object, the veil is not seen, nor the circumstance as to the cherubim which gave its character to the governmental blessing of the earth. Both are in Chronicles. Here, while the veil is not mentioned, in its place are folding doors. I make this allusion to that which is written in the Chronicles, in order to give a general idea of the whole, and to link the two accounts together.
I will give here something more definite, as to the contents of chapters 6 and 7 of the book that occupies us.
There are three parts in this description: the temple itself; the different houses of cedar; and, lastly, the brazen vessels.
1. The temple. The idea which it presents has been already pointed out. It is the dwelling-place, the house of God: there are chambers all around; but it is the house of God. Within, all is gold. Nothing is said about the veil. Dwelling, not drawing near, is the idea. But there are folding doors which open.
2. After this comes the royal connection of Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter with the world without, but with a view to the glory and elevation of this position. It is not the dwelling-place of God, but the royal position of the king, the judge, and of his bride. It is Christ in His glorious administration. All is solidity, magnificence, and grandeur, within and without.
3. Then comes the manifestation, according to the power of the Spirit of God, and in a glorious manner, of all that belonged to His reign here below. All was of brass, the pillars and the sea. Nothing is said of the altar, because drawing near to God is not the question; but the manifestation of God in Christ who reigns in sight of the world -- divine righteousness in respect of man's responsibility, not of approach to God Himself.
Thus we behold the dwelling-place of God where all is gold, the glory of divine righteousness; the house as the dwelling of the king, and the porch of judgment: the house of his bride. It is the sovereign glory of Christ in manifestation according to the dispensation of glory; and then the development, in this world, by the power of the Spirit, of what Christ is, of what God Himself is. There is no mention of silver -- the type of the immutable stedfastness of God's purposes and ways in the wilderness. It is gold; the house of cedar; brass.
In the description given by the Book of Chronicles there are an altar and a veil, because there the positive administration of the things and circumstances of the true Solomon's reign is much more the question; the state of things which will in fact exist upon earth, rather than the abstract idea, and the type of that which is manifested of God Himself, as well as of the king's glory; and this, whether in the dwelling-place of God, or on the earth, as the sphere where He will unfold that which He is according to the Spirit.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 388Let us remark here that this book gives us, as a solemn and positive declaration of the prophet's, that which we know from James's testimony to have been an answer to the prayer of a man like ourselves. This is the history of all true spiritual energy. It appears to man as a simple action, accompanied with more or less demonstration on God's part, and as a proof of the authority and spiritual power of the man who performs it; and so it is. But at the same time, in fact, all these things flow from the energy of divine life, and from communion with God; they are its expression and its fruit, but in power exercised on God's part. Compare Christ's words. at the tomb of Lazarus.
It is profitable to examine such cases when presented to us in the word.
There are others also which have two aspects. Historically the mission of the spies was according to the will of God; it was nevertheless, as to its origin, the fruit of the people's unbelief, an unbelief which soon manifested its effects. Paul's journey to Jerusalem, related in Acts 15, is apparently the same which he mentions in Galatians 2, but we find in the latter elements and motives which are not spoken of at all in the Acts.
[b] Elijah had said "but at my word," yet the rain is given when God is glorified; for Elijah was, as a witness, the witness of the government of Jehovah, of Jehovah the God of Israel, despised by Israel. Hence the truth and reality of Jehovah's authority and the principles of His government were both displayed.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 389This reference to the sovereign rights and exercise of power of God in grace, out of the limits of Israel, is frequent and full of interest; and here, as followed by the renewed blessing of Israel, looked at as composed of the whole twelve tribes, is very striking. It will be remembered that Jesus refers to it in the Gospel of Luke, which is the witness of this great principle, and causes thereby the anger of the Jews. Pride sinks the lowest and worst when it clothes itself with a religious form.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 390We see here how far the energy of the outward life of faith may continue to exist, while the inward life grows weak. It was at the moment of the most striking testimony to the presence of God in the midst of the rebellious people, and when Elijah had just caused all the prophets of Baal amongst them to be slain by the people's own hands, that his faith entirely fails at a mere threat from Jezebel. His life was not inwardly sustained by this faith in proportion to the outward testimony. His testimony excites the enemy in a way for which his personal faith was not prepared. This is a solemn lesson. The still small voice (which, unknown to him, was still heard among the people) had not perhaps its due influence upon his own heart, where the fire and manifestations had held too much place. Thus he did not know himself the grace which was still in exercise towards the people; he could not love them for the sake of the seven thousand faithful ones as God loved them, nor hope as charity hopes. Alas! what are we, even when so near God! And his complaint when he came to God, for a person so blessed, has a sad deal of self in it. I have been zealous, he says, and they have cast down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets; just when he had cast down Baal's and killed all his prophets; and then, I am left alone. It is a humbling testimony.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 391It was different too from Moses who, with God, interceded for the people, setting himself aside.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 394Nevertheless the worship of Baal had not ceased.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 398This consideration makes Elijah's position pretty evident. We have seen that prophecy was the means of maintaining God's relationship with Israel, in a sovereign manner, when the ark had been taken and the priesthood was fallen. Prophecy still holds this place in the presence of royalty in a state of failure, which, instead of maintaining the people in relationship with God, causes them to depart from Him. While presenting their true King to the people according to Zechariah's prophecy, Christ filled also this prophetic office according to the word of Moses, only in a manner quite peculiar. It must be remembered that, in comparing Elijah and Elisha with the Lord, Christ is looked at in this character. This gives a very important position to the function of prophecy. (Compare Hosea 12: 13).
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 399It is this grace, which Elijah had not properly understood; that was the only means by which God could maintain His relationship with the people; so that a return to Horeb could only put an end to the relation itself as standing on Sinai ground, and especially to the ministry of Elijah which took no higher position. Nevertheless God wrought for the revelation of all this.
[b] Reflection will shew us that all this is a moral history of the life of Christ, save that Christ is what He makes us to be. But this is everywhere true. Still it was experimentally realised in Him. He had not to be circumcised; still it was the circumcision of Christ. See following note. So the high priest was washed as well as the priests. Though absolutely obedient in nature and will, He learned obedience.
[c] This, as we have seen in the Book of Joshua, was in Canaan after the passage of Jordan, as the circumcision of Christ (that is, His separation from evil which, always true in His Person, was externally made good in His death) has a true heavenly character, and to us is by being risen, and in heavenly places.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 400See Amos 4: 4, Hosea 9: 15, and many other passages in the prophets. This is a very striking fact, just as the cross now is a matter of constant idolatry. The memorial of good, of the denial and death of flesh too, is to flesh the power of evil. Oh, what is man!
[b] See Genesis 28: 13-15. Here too one of the calves was set up; the place of special blessing again made the place of idolatry.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 402And of course towards Israel also.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 403This is the reason why Paul (Acts 13: 3, 5) quotes these words, "I will give you the sure mercies of David," in proof of the resurrection of Christ, "no more to return to corruption." Death rendered blessing possible with respect to a rebellious people, and resurrection gave complete stability to the conferred blessing; this was secured. Compare Isaiah 55 where grace towards Israel and the nations, through a risen Saviour, is gloriously proclaimed.
[b] Compare Isaiah 32: 15-18.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 406It may be doubted whether what is said in verse 33 be not the words of Elisha.
[b] It seems to me that Gehazi stands here in a grievous position. Smitten by the hand of God, because his heart clung to earth, even in the presence of Jehovah's mighty and long-suffering testimony, he is now a parasite in the king's court, relating the wonderful things in which he no longer took part. This poor world grows weary enough of itself to lead it to take some pleasure in hearing anything spoken of that has reality and power. Provided that it does not reach the conscience, they will listen to it for their amusement, taking credit to themselves perhaps for an enlarged and a liberal mind, which is not enslaved by that which they can yet recognise philosophically in its place. But that is a sad position, which makes it evident that formerly we were connected with a testimony, whilst now we only relate its marvels at court. Nevertheless God makes use of it; and it does not follow that there was no truth in Gehazi. But to rise in the world, and entertain the world with the mighty works of God, is to fall very deeply.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 407In this respect Elijah and Elisha form but one prophet, with the difference that has been pointed out. Elisha was a "prophet in his room," an expression not used with regard to prophets in general. In fact it is Christ risen who will execute, or cause to be executed judgments of God upon apostate Israel (see Psalms 20, 21).
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 408During the time that Ahab, stirred up by Jezebel, as well as his family and sons are the instruments of Israel's apostasy and corruption God sends the testimony of Elijah and Elisha. This is, in the main (after Solomon), the subject of the two Books of Kings. The fall of the house of David, brought on by its alliance with Israel, or by the example of their kings, is related in the end of the book, where we find also the connections of the Assyrians with the people of God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 409To understand all this part of the history which we are considering, the prophets Hosea and Amos must be read, and Isaiah 7 and 8 (compare Hosea 5: 13; 8: 4; 11: 5; Amos 5: 27; and also is, 26; Hosea 13: 10, 11); but, to understand well God's dealings, the whole of these prophecies should be read. I have only quoted the passages which mark the connection with the history; but the internal condition of the people is much more seen in the prophets than even in the books which instruct us as to their public history.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 410We shall see, farther on, that which characterised Josiah.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 413See Jeremiah 3: 10. This passage teaches us how seldom the heart, which is what God judges, corresponds with the semblance of zeal for Him and for His glory, which appears on the surface, when, moved by the Spirit of God, a man of faith presents himself to promote His glory. See also under Hezekiah's reign the condition of the people and God's judgment -- Isaiah 22.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 414As a figure, this is an important principle; for Egypt is the state of nature, out of which the assembly is brought; Babylon is the corruption and worldliness into which she falls.
[b] How sorrowful is this part of the history, in which the only question is, whether Egypt or Babylon is to possess the land of God's people, the land of promise! It being no longer a doubtful point whether Israel shall continue to possess it, it must become a prey to one or the other of these hostile and unbelieving powers.
Alas! Israel was unbelieving with more light than the others, who did but take advantage of the position and the strength which the unbelief of Israel gave them, and acknowledged in them.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 415This filled up the measure of sin. We shall draw the reader's attention to this when considering the prophecy of Ezekiel, who dwells upon it. By making use of an oath in Jehovah's name in the hope of preventing revolt, Nebuchadnezzar shewed more respect for that name than Zedekiah did, who despised such an oath. God permitted thus final evidence of iniquity. Zedekiah might have remained a spreading vine of low stature. One who was above all, alone knew how to render to Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 417It is well to remark here, that in all these genealogies, when a family has been established in a place, the name of the place is often used for that of the family; that the descendants, through several generations, are named together as children of the head of the race (compare chapter 4: 1 with the commencement of chap 2); and that, without having been named before, the eminent man of a family is taken to begin a genealogy anew (chapter 8: 29, 33).
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 419David having built the city from Millo round about, Joab repaired the rest of the city. We may observe that Shammah the Harorite is not mentioned here. Perhaps it is Shammah in chapter 11: 27: but this is doubtful (see 2 Samuel 23: 25). It may also be observed that the exploits of these mighty men consisted especially of victories over the Philistines, the enemies by whom Saul, who had been raised up for the purpose of destroying them, was overcome. Whatever may have been their subsequent achievements, it was there they learnt to conquer, and that they acquired the reputation which procured them a place in the archives of God.
It is well that the reader should remember the connection between this whole history, and the establishment of the power of Christ, the Son of David, on the earth.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 422It is to be observed, that, although this had its origin in the guilty forgetfulness of David, it nevertheless gave occasion through grace to his being set in his true position for the regulation and appointment of all that concerned the Levites' service. It is always thus with regard to faith, for the purposes of God are fulfilled in favour of it. Man in his zeal may depart from the will of God, and God will chasten him, but only to bring him into more honour, by setting him more completely in the position which God has purposed, and in the understanding of His ways, according to which He will magnify His servant.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 423Thus in the wilderness, it was Israel journeying, who were seeking their rest, who were to find enemies on their way, and whose faith recognised these enemies as the enemies of Jehovah; or Israel carefully surrounding the token of the presence of their God, when He gave a temporary rest unto His people.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 424Expressed in these words, He has "delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand" (Psalm 78).
[b] Compare Psalm 132: 11, 12, the two principles already pointed out in the thoughts on the Books of Kings.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 425"Peoples" (Psalm 96: 10) is *Ammim*; habitually used in the Psalms I think for "peoples" ("people" A.V.), associated with "the people;" that is, Israel, 1 Chron. 16: 36. See however 1 Chron. 16: 26; at any rate, they are not treated as heathen. In "Judge the peoples" (Psalm 96: 10) "judge" is deen (as in Psalm 7: 8), referring to controversies and litigation. Shaphat "judge" (Psalm 96: 13, twice) is more general judicial authority. "Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth" comes before the heavens and earth rejoicing in Psalm 96, but after in 1 Chron. 16.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 426Psalm 100 could not have been used here, because before that Psalm Jehovah had already been celebrated as sitting between the cherubim (99: 1); while the act of placing the ark in Zion was only an anticipation. It is Psalm 96, therefore, which is quoted. It is the presence of Christ on Mount Zion to fulfil the promises in power, before reigning in peace, which explains all these allusions, as well as some Psalms, which seem to speak of a return from captivity, and a rebuilding of Jerusalem, while praying at the same time for the accomplishment of this return. In some the celebration of the blessing is in spirit, and the cry for blessing the fact preceding the accomplishment of it.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 427This petition proves the prophetic character of the psalm, and shews that it reaches onward to the latter times of Israel.
[b] See Matthew 24: 31 (although it is there in connection with His coming from heaven), and Psalm 126.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 428This translation here is more than doubtful, but Exodus 29: 46 is quite clear as to the purpose of God.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 429When Israel was a slave, God became his Redeemer; when he dwelt in tents, God abode in one also; when in conflict, God presented Himself as Captain of Jehovah's host; when settled in peace, God establishes Himself in the house of His glory. The interval was the probation of His people on earth. God abode in the tent, and even His ark is taken. He interposes in grace for deliverance.
Christ also, since we were born of woman, is born of a woman; since His people were under the law, He is born under the law; now that He will have a heavenly people, He is on high for us; when He comes in glory, we shall come with Him, and reign when He reigns, but in these last we are with Him.
[b] The latter part of verse 14 in 2 Samuel 7 is omitted.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 430It is beautiful to see, in this affecting prayer, how David's heart is full of that which God is in this matter. "There is none like thee"; and, if he speaks of the blessing upon His people, Israel is not that which the people are, but "the only nation in the earth whom God went to redeem to himself, that they might be his own people, to make himself a name of greatness and terribleness." "Let thy name be magnified for ever." This is the proper effect of faith.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 431It is interesting to see the order unfolded here in the establishment of the relations of sovereign grace: first of all, the heart of God and His sovereign grace in election, suspending the execution of the deserved and pronounced judgment (ver. 15); next, the revelation of this judgment, a revelation which produces humiliation before God and a full confession of sin before His face. David, and the elders of Israel, clothed in sackcloth, fall upon their faces, and David presents himself as the guilty one. Then, instruction comes from God, as to that which must be done to cause the pestilence judicially and definitively to cease, namely, the sacrifice in Ornan's threshing-floor. God accepts the sacrifice, sending fire to consume it, and then He commands the angel to sheathe his sword. And sovereign grace, thus carried out in righteousness through sacrifice, becomes the means of Israel's approach to their God, and establishes the place of their access to Him. The tabernacle, a testimony to the conditions under which the people had failed, offered, as we have seen, no resource in such a case. On the contrary, it occasioned fear. He was afraid to go to Gibeon. Nothing would do but the definitive intervention of God according to His own grace (the circumstance of the sin, on the king's own part, leaving no room for any other means). The whole system and principle of the tabernacle as a legal institution is set aside, and the worship of Israel founded on grace, by sacrifice coming in where all, even the king as responsible, had failed. Such was Israel's position for him who understood it.
[b] And even historically quite opposed; for it is the king's own sin that has brought chastisement on the people. Christ, however, made the sin His own. Nevertheless, this shews us how everything depended now on the throne. It is not the priest who brings in the remedy. David intercedes and David offers. The fact that the king, in whom the promises were, had sinned, made sovereign grace necessary.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 432This difference between Israel's deliverance from their enemies, and the sense of their own sin before God, in the last day, is found in the psalms of degrees: see Psalm 130.
[b] Observe too here, how sin gives occasion to the bringing out of the counsels of God, though the responsibility was also met in what did so. So the cross. Compare Titus 1: 2, 3, and 2 Timothy 1: 9, 10; Ephesians 3; Colossians 1.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 433Heman himself, apparently, was inspired also. Several psalms are ascribed to him, as well as to Asaph.
[b] At any rate the probably probationary period of four years is not mentioned David ordains the age by his own authority.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 436But the connection is not with the ark in Zion He goes, historically, where the people are.
[b] Such is the meaning of the name of Boaz.
[c] Naomi means "my pleasant one."
[d] In the Authorised Version it is inwards. It is literally towards the house, which, generally, would mean inwards; but, as the cherubim were at the very bottom of the house, looking towards the house was really outwards.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 437This stability consists, apparently, in two things -- God shall establish it, and then in Him is strength. These are the two sources of the stability of Christ's kingdom. This is the meaning of the words Jachin and Boaz, the names of the pillars before the temple.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 438It does not appear however that they made booths with the branches of trees. Since Joshua, this had not been done until the days of Nehemiah. At the time which we are considering, joy and prosperity had made them a little neglectful of the word.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 442Elijah had been taken up to heaven some time before the writing reached its destination. Being a prophecy, there is nothing which makes any difficulty in believing that this writing, like any other prophecy, was left by Elijah to be used at the suitable time. It was a function which, according to the ways of God, naturally belonged to him as a witness against the iniquity of Ahab.
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 444We find consequently, that Isaiah, after exposing the evil and the consequent judgment, immediately introduces the promises of latter-day blessing and of the Messiah. In the first chapters he sets forth the state of the people, as well as the blessing of the last days. The house of David is not judged till chapter 7, and it is there that the Messiah, the Son of the virgin, is brought in as the resource, and the means of deliverance and grace according to the counsels of God. The rest of this prophet's writings gives us the whole history of the people, according to the thoughts of God, and that of the nations, in connection with Israel, until the accomplishment, at the end of the age, of full blessing in Christ, with the judgment of Israel's sin in respect of Jehovah (Isaiah 40-48), and in respect of Christ (Isaiah 49-57).
Synopsis of Genesis - 2 Chronicles, page 446Observe here that, when God blesses and there is faithfulness, the instruments whom He employs in His service partake of the glory that is connected with the blessing. Their names are inscribed in the record of God's dealings.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 2The coming of Christ did not change this. The restoration of the remnant gave occasion to the presentation of Christ to the people according to the promises; but His rejection left their house desolate to see Him no more till their repentance in the last days. Meanwhile, during His lifetime on earth, not only have we, in Luke, the epoch divinely dated by the reigns of Gentile rulers, but, pressed on the point, the Lord refers to their position and baffles their hypocrisy, which would have profited by what was the fruit and wages of their own sin to put Him in an inextricable difficulty, by telling them to give to Caesar what was Caesar's, and to God what was God's. Meanwhile deeper and more blessed counsels were accomplished.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 4This was the month in which the blowing of trumpets took place -- a figure of the restoration of Israel in the last days.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 5See Acts 2 and 4.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 10Only for 'were' in verse 9, we must read 'are.'
[b] I say "now," because, till Samuel's time, Israel was called to be blessed in obedience under priesthood, God being their King. But after David's time in view of Christ, the nation became the seat of God's power in righteousness, so far as it enjoyed the blessing.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 14The feast of tabernacles was the celebration of their rest and possession of the land after passing through the wilderness. The booths marked that they had been under tents as pilgrims.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 16And where faith was not, and they had inwardly departed from God, their legal exactitude without grace in the heart became narrowness of heart and hypocrisy. Scrupulousness is not uprightness.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 22And these pass into what Christ's were in His humiliation and sufferings, and thus become prophecies of His sufferings, but in the form of His feelings under them, and this of infinite price to us.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 23And note here Psalm 14, which he quotes as proof of sin in the Jew, and Isaiah 59, both end in deliverance in Jerusalem by power. In Romans it is met by present justification by blood.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 24It will much help the reader as to the character of this book and Ecclesiastes to remark, that in Proverbs the name Jehovah is always employed, save in chapter 25: 2, where it is "Elohim," and "her God," chapter 2: 17. But this is not an exception: that is, it is recognised relationship with the revealed God of Israel. Whereas in Ecclesiastes Jehovah is never found. It is always Elohim, the abstract name of God without any idea of relationship: God as such in contrast with man and every creature, and man having to find out experimentally his we place and happiness as such, without special revealed relationship with God. In Job the editor, if I may so speak, or historian who gives the dialogues, always uses Jehovah; but in the body of the book Job, unless at any late once as to the government of God (chap. 12: 9), and Elihu constantly, use the name of Almighty, the Abrahamic name of God, or simply God. The friends generally use God, or particularly Eliphaz the Almighty, sometimes it is only, He. Zophar, I think, uses no name. The dialogue is characterised by God or Almighty.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 29This is a very important point. God can bless in a direct manner with the light of His grace, when the soul is brought into its true place, to what it really is in His sight. Then, whatever its state may be, He can bless it, in respect of that state, with increased light and grace. If I have got far from Him, and careless in walk, when I have the consciousness how far I am, He can fully and directly bless. But the soul must be brought into the recognition of its state, or there would be no real blessing; I should not see God in unison with it. For its sensible state did not answer to its real state in God's sight.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 30In this case it may be a first conviction of sin, or the knowledge of self where self has never been really judged, as was Job's case.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 35This so distinctly characterises the Psalms that there are very few indeed even of those which are prophetic of Christ, where the remnant is not found. In the second book they are not, because that element is distinctly presented as the primary subject in the first: the connection being moral through His entering into their sorrows in grace, this is easily understood. And it is necessary to remember this, to account for various passages in which they come in, though partly applicable to, or used by; Christ. See pp. 46, 47, 48, 50, and 51.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 37It is in the point of death that the sufferings of Christ, whether for righteousness' sake, and that which He underwent to be able to sympathise with them when they suffer under the government of God, on the one hand, or atonement on the other-the latter prefigured in the burnt and sin-offering (compare Heb. 9), the former the expression and testing of perfectness in the meat-offering-meet. Christ suffered onward up to death. Then He also made atonement for sin. Some of the remnant may suffer unto death, as faithful under the trials of this government; but then, like Christ, they will obtain a better resurrection Of course, the atoning part is exclusively His.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 38I here use Israel as contrasted with the Assembly and Gentiles We shall see Judah distinguished from Israel when we enter into details.
[b] Compare Isaiah 48: 22; 57: 21.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 39Hence the intimacy of feeling and peculiar interest of the Psalms. They are the beating of the heart of Him, the history of whose circumstances, the embodying of whose life, in relationship with God and man, whose external presentation, in a word, and all God's ways in respect of it, are found in the rest of scripture.
[b] Compare 1 Peter 1: 11.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 40The state of the prodigal till he met his Father-the state of every soul, where the God who is light and love has been revealed in Christ; but redemption-work, and acceptance in Him are not known-there is confidence, but not peace.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 44I think it will be found that the first two books are somewhat distinguishable from the last three. The first two are more Christ personally among the Jews; the last three, more national and historical. And so Psalm 72, the last part of the first two books, closes with the Solomon reign.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 48Hence it is too that in the Romans we find experiences, because the soul is brought through the process which brings it into liberty; while in the Ephesians we find no experiences, because man is seen first dead in sins; and then united to Christ exalted to God's right hand. The Epistle to the Philippians gives us, almost exclusively, proper christian experience.
[b] Union belongs to the assembly's position alone, and is by the baptism of the Holy Ghost. By one Spirit we are all baptised into one body. He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit. Union in scripture is not attributed simply to life. (Compare John 14: 20.)
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 52Psalm 8, while it is the great result, is a mighty change in the position of Christ according to the counsels of God, which forms the basis of all that follows. It is referred to in John 1, in contrast with what Nathanael says, which refers to Psalm 2. It is found in Luke 9 and parallel passages, and quoted in Ephesians 1, 1 Corinthians 15, and unfolded in Hebrews 2. In the close also of John's Gospel, we have the three characters noticed on which these psalms are founded. God vindicates in testimony His rejected Son. He raises Lazarus, and the Son of God is glorified thereby. He rides into Jerusalem as king of Israel. Then the Greeks come up, and He says, The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified; but thus, to take this place in God's purpose, He must suffer and die. In chapter 13 consequently He begins His heavenly place. Psalms 1, 2 are in fact an introduction to the whole book. For His glory as Son of man, though prophesied of here when entered into is another sphere of glory. Still He is owned as such, as He ever called Himself such down here.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 53But they are viewed as in the last days with the judgment at hand.
[b] 1 Peter makes the same distinction, chapter 3: 14; 4: 14.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 54More specifically in the Jews. The remnant of the Jews are spared and pass through the tribulation when two-thirds are cut off in the land (Zech. 13). The judgment of the ten tribes is outside the land, and the rebels do not enter into it (Ezek. 20). Israel is the general term of promise as applied to the nation.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 55The Lord, but not the word LORD which represents generally Jehovah in the English version; but that which gives the Lord as an official relative title.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 58See Matthew 17: 24-27, already when here below. This may seem in a measure anticipation: still, He revealed the Father's name to them.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 59Leviticus 9: 22-24 strikingly shews this. The acceptance of the sacrifice by God was not manifested till Moses and Aaron had come out after going in (v. 24)-Christ as priest and king. Then the people worship, but Aaron blessed from the offering before. We know by the Holy Ghost come out that the offering has been accepted, while the priest is yet within the veil. And hence the full value of divine righteousness.
[b] I do not mean by this that none of the psalms do. We know this is not so, as Psalm 22 notably shews; nor that no sentence is found in psalms which are not wholly of Him which does express feelings He had. I have referred to several in the course of these notes and stated the principle of their application already; but I here speak of the psalms I am treating of (Psalms 3-7).
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 60The littleness of man compared with the creation on high, gives occasion to the revelation of God's counsels in man.
[b] Compare John 1: 49-51.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 62Not once did they understand what He said to them.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 65Psalm 3: 6.
[b] Psalm 3: 8 (here "thy people," the same practically).
[c] Psalm 2: 8. The Hebrew references are to the verses in Hebrew.
[d] Psalm 7: 7.
[e] Psalm 7: 8.
[f] These names are not without importance. One is the abiding name of God in Israel, His memorial for ever; the other, the millennial name of God introduced by the judgments spoken of in the psalm. Compare Psalm 91 and Genesis 14: 19, 20.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 66Ammim, v. 11. Leummim, v. 8.
[b] Here in the plural. The difference is sometimes important, because, as Paul says, there is that wicked one.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 67Had not liked to retain God in their knowledge.
[b] In Revelation 4 are found the characters of the seraphim as well as of the cherubim, as prefacing, I believe, the judgments there, as characterised as being according to the holy nature of God as well as governmental. It is true the application of Isaiah 6, where alone the seraphim are found, is to a governmental judgment, because grace preserved a remnant. But the incompatibility of Jehovah and uncleanness with man in himself-is what the prophet sees.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 72The quotation in Hebrews 2 is literally from the LXX of Isaiah 8.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 75Compare as to a special aspect of this, John 12: 23, 24; and the Lord's consequent place, in chapters 11, 12, 13, as we have seen, had given testimony to His place according to Psalm 2. See note on Psalm 8.
[b] Thus, becoming man, and through glorifying God in His work as man, He has also title under God's gift over all flesh.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 76This is the passage quoted in Hebrews 2-"I will put my trust in him."
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 87The more we study the cross, the more we shall see that every question of good and evil was brought to an issue, and the immutable basis laid for perfect blessing according to what God is in righteousness and grace and majesty too, for the new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. We come by the blessed testimony that it meets all our wants; but in contemplating it at peace, we see man in absolute sin, hating and rejecting God in grace and goodness; Satan's full power-the disciples fled in fear, and all the world else in his power against Christ; man in absolute goodness loving the Father and obedient, glorifying God in the very place of sin where it was needed, and at all cost; we see God in perfect righteousness against sin as nowhere else, and perfect love to the sinner. Innocence was conditional blessing. This is completed in perfectness, and its value can never change. It is everlasting righteousness. Hence the blessing of the new heavens and new earth is immutable. We have had an innocent Eden; a sinful world; and shall have, besides the reign of righteousness, new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 88And this is known by the Holy Ghost sent down when He had ascended on high. The new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness will be the full result, while it is the manifestation of the just ground of unbelieving man's final condemnation.
[b] Christ in His lifetime uses naturally the term Father; on the cross, at the close of the hours of darkness, "my God, my God" (in dying, Father, and so before in Gethsemane); after His resurrection, Father and God: one, in His personal relationship and the Father's delight; the other; in divine righteousness, bringing us into it.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 98The only possible sense it could have as to Him was the deliverance of His soul at that moment as a fact, from the curse He bore for us, in which He had perfectly glorified God as to our sins, and as made sin for us. But the Lord does not use it. But though He had as a fact yet to die, its bitterness and sting were past.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 100What thief would, if hung, revile another thief hung by his side? But the condemned thief did so to Christ.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 105Although the dry tree be in the full sense lifeless Israel, yet, as the remnant, so long rejecters of Jesus being the Messiah, are mixed up with the nation, they go through the sorrows in heart and spirit which come upon the nation, though not its final judgment from God. For them Christ had done that; He died for the nation. But all short of that they go through, and feel in bitter sorrow and anguish, in some sort, more than before the judgment comes, because they feel the sin that is bringing it. Hence it was that Christ, who did know the cause and looked forward to the judgment which He did go through (undergoing the oppression without apparent deliverance, for His hour was come to be reckoned with the transgressors), could enter fully into their case. Though He entered into it in love, yet the righteousness which threatened Israel was before Him.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 122If the title be right, David was not yet king de facto, and the Spirit of Christ in him spoke anticipatively of the title of the anointed one; but evidently in view of another epoch. Note too here all Israel is in view of the desires of faith, though no deliverance even of the Jews be yet accomplished.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 124Compare Daniel 12: 3 and Isaiah 53: 11; not "justify many," but turn to righteousness, and bear, etc
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 125For Christ and for the new man, the world is a desert, without anything in it to refresh the soul. But divine favour being better than life, we can praise while we live; our soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness. The saint is not in the sanctuary, but has seen God in it. His desire is after God Himself. Christ could literally say this. "He hath seen the Father": we have seen Him in Him.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 127The force of the word is much disputed; its sense, I suppose, is evident. It is used for the stables of sheep or cattle.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 131Further, as already remarked, in no case is the assumption of sins or their confession, on the head of the victim, the act of expiation. It is the assumption of that which had to be expiated.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 135This, if noticed, makes many psalms easy to understand, which would otherwise be difficult; because sorrow and distress follow after the confidence, but it is really what the spirit passed through in reaching it.
[b] This supposes, of course, truth in the inward parts, conversion.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 149Some, as Venema, translate, "because of my casting away or down" instead of "from my youth." Rosenmüller gives both. Compare Psalm 129.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 150Compare the connection and remarkable contrast with John 15.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 156Christ, however deeply feeling what was before Him, was just the opposite of this struggling of will, being perfect in subjection (John 12 and Gethsemane). Peter would have resisted, but Christ took the cup as His Father's will.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 158This in Isaiah 30: 32, where the grounded staff, that is the decreed rod, was to pass, it was with tabrets and harps.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 160Note, there is no bringing in of 'me' in connection with indignation and wrath, as in Psalm 22, though Christ realises it in spirit. But personally He is lifted up and cast down. It is a key which opens up much in the psalms.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 163The difference of a reference to the promises to Abraham, and those to Moses, the blessings of which depended on the faithfulness of the people, is a marked feature in all the renewals of mercy to the people and the faith that referred to one or the other.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 175I do not refer here to Daniel 9 but to Daniel 8.
[b] A hill is used as a symbol of exalted strength, a high hill as the hill of Bashan. This is the Lord's hill.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 178The three principles of government had been brought out in Israel. First, direct responsibility to God under priesthood. That had failed under Eli, and that was Ichabod. It was over with Israel on the ground of their own responsibility. Then God intervened by a prophet. That He could still do; it was a sovereign act. But that failed; so did royalty as set up by the people. Then we have royalty as power in grace, as it will be in Christ, and the lost ark brought back. This is what we have in this psalm.
[b] This is one of the two places where life for evermore, life eternal, is spoken of in the Old Testament; the other is Daniel 12; both as accomplished in the time of blessing to come. In the New Testament, I need not say, it is fully revealed in Christ, and he that believes in Him has everlasting life.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 183Compare Psalm 8, grace's view of it, and Job's impatience (chap. 7: 17, 18) against discipline, God's taking notice of men's ways in government.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 187I have left "Lord" here as an expression of general application, but Jehovah is always His name in Israel, and that of government, save in a few cases where Adonai (Lord, in the proper appellative use of it) is employed. But it is to be noted that Jehovah is used in Proverbs, because it is authoritatively instructive in known relationship; never in Ecclesiastes, where it is God in contrast with man, having his own experience as such on earth. "God" abstractedly is only once used in Proverbs (25: 2). We have "her God" in chapter 2: 17.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 189So He became a man, and the unjealous testimony of the angels on His birth is, glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good pleasure in men. Man would not have Him, and the special relationship of His risen place as man with God, "my Father and your Father, my God and your God," and that of the assembly was formed, but His delight was in that race; for the time it was not peace on earth but division, but even after the millennium the tabernacle of God will be with men, where we have both the special relationship and the general blessing.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 192See the note to Proverbs, page 187.
[b] Peter's epistles, after laying the foundation of redemption and being born again, are occupied with the degree in which what was immediate (in promise) among the Jews is applicable now. The first epistle, its application to saints; the second, to the world and the wicked here below: hence he goes on to the new heavens and the new earth.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 199Lit. "nor awaken love till it please," see New Translation.
[b] So Naomi, and Revelation 12.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 208The character of this prophet in other respects will be considered hereafter.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 211Note here, the two great dealings of God with the conscience to convict it of sin exemplified in these two chapters. First, the state of blessing in which God had first set the person judged, and his departure from it (so man in his innocence); and second, the meeting of the Lord in glory. Are we in a state to do so?
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 212This is largely brought out in the Gospel of Matthew. The passage itself is quoted in Hebrews 2. What is spoken of in Isaiah 8: 13-18 is in fact the gospel history breaking in upon the scene. Peter quotes verse 14; Paul (Rom. 9) the stumbling stone; Matthew quotes chap. 9: 1, 2 for Christ's apparition in Galilee.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 213This term "servant" is a kind of key to this whole prophecy: first Israel, then in chapter 49 the Lord takes Israel's place, at the end the remnant. But of this more hereafter.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 214The dial of Ahaz in this prophet may be thought an exception, but Ahaz was really departed from God. It is also noteworthy that the apostles never wrought miracles for their own comfort. Trophimus have I left at Miletus sick. Epaphroditus "was sick nigh unto death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but on me also."
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 216A more exact translation throws much light on this prophecy. Nevertheless there shall still be in it a tenth, and it shall return and shall be to be consumed, as the oak and the teil tree, which being cut down have still the trunk [or the rooted stump]; thus the holy seed shall be their stock" (chap. 1: 9). That is, the remnant itself will undergo Judgment and consumption at the time of their return; but there shall be a holy seed, from which life will spring as from a tree cut down.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 218The beginning of verse 17 is the passage quoted in Hebrews 2, along with verse 18, to prove the humanity of the Lord and His connection with the remnant.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 220The seventy weeks, or 490 years, include the great gap which has already lasted more than 1800 years-these coming in between the end of the 483rd and the end of the 490th-only that Christians know that half the 70th week was really fulfilled in Christ's ministry; therefore we get a half week in Daniel 7 and in the Revelation.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 221Besides the fact of the captivity of God's people, Babylon has a very important position with respect to God's dealings. Until Nebuchadnezzar received power, the government of God, while centred in Israel (with respect to whom He had set the bounds of the peoples), took cognizance of the nations as dispersed at Babel. He allowed them indeed to follow their own ways; but before Him every nation had an individual existence. The throne once taken from Jerusalem, from whence God governed the world with a view to His chosen people, the world is given up to the dominion of a single throne, which stands therefore before God as holding the sceptre of it. Three other powers followed in succession, the last of which was in existence when Christ came, but the tune of its judgment was not yet come. These four empires form the times of the Gentiles. God will resume His government, and again judge the nations in view of Israel; and Babylon, or the one universal empire, will be set aside in its rebel and apostate condition. But, while it lasts, the empire has its own peculiar and absolute position before God. Jerusalem, punished for its idolatry by the Babylonish captivity (subjection to idols) and the transfer of the throne from Jerusalem to the Gentiles, is so far owned in the remnant under the Gentiles that God in the prophetic books takes account of it, though not as then His people, till the second grand sin was perpetrated, the rejection of Christ But this even was in the prophet when they were in captivity. Still they were partially preserved to present Christ the Lord to them, after that set aside till sovereign grace comes on them in the last week, for faith the latter half. Time begins to count again when that is come.
[b] A proof that the prophecy relates to the last days, for of old the Assyrian fell before Babylon, being conquered by it. It is to be remarked that the Assyrian, not the beast nor Antichrist, is the subject of this prophecy. Under the Assyrian Judah was not "Lo-ammi," nor is he in this prophecy. In Babylon Judah was captive, and "Lo-ammi" written on the people. Hence we must not look for the beast. The Assyrian is the main enemy here.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 222The rivers of Cush, Nile and Euphrates.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 225Note, you have here all the results then of this judgment of God and what is connected with it. The saints are raised, the power of evil cast down from the heavens, the rebuke of Israel taken away, and the veil of the covering taken off the face of all peoples.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 226I apprehend "the earth" is a more contracted sphere than "the world," the distinction especially lying in this, that it is the sphere in which the revealed ways and government of God have been brought before men. When this has been the case with the whole world, it becomes the earth. The word "earth" is used for the land of Israel and for the earth in the sense explained, and for the whole earth as a scene ordered of God. Hence, when the scene with which God has already dealt is judged, then it is that the wide world at large will learn righteousness; not, though it ought to have been carried there, while the present system of grace prevails.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 227They insolently say they have made a covenant with the power of evil, so that, when the scourge came, it would not come nigh them. Impossible to conceive a more open defiance of God and His judgments. Historically they will have done it in uniting with the man of sin, the Antichrist, whose coming is after the power of Satan; but here it is said in defiance of God.
[b] This expression is used elsewhere also, as in Daniel, as a kind of technical formula for the Lord's dealings in the last day-the finishing of the work and cutting it short in righteousness. He judges completely, fills it up, but cuts it short for the sparing of the remnant, the elect.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 229Compare also Psalm 83 and Obadiah.
[b] See the next note further on.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 230It will be remarked that, though there is the fullest discovery of Israel's sin, yet these chapters are the expression of grace and sovereign goodness, and a remnant preserved; not the responsibility of the nation and judgment.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 231That is, earthly judgments.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 233So, I doubt not, in Matthew, "I have called my Son out of Egypt." Christ replaces the first Adam before God, though blessing in that new position many of his children. He takes the place of Israel also, though blessing the remnant and making it the nation.
[b] It is affecting to remark how in both pleadings, as to idolatry, and as to the rejection of Christ, the love and faithfulness of Jehovah and its consequences are introduced before the pleadings of the Spirit of God with the people for their failure in these very points; the resulting blessing before the human evil, God before man. It was so in the counsels of God before the world: the full declaration of the blessing comes afterwards.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 234These verses in Romans 8 should be divided thus. "It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, etc.; who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" In His love He has gone through everything that could make us imagine it possible. They have become the proofs of His love. Moreover it is the love of God: creation cannot separate us from His.
I add a brief synoptical view of all these chapters, to aid in seizing them as a whole. Chapters 40-48 treat the question of idolatry between God and Israel; 49-57 that of Christ. Chapter 49 gives an orderly view of the purposes and ways of God as to Israel and the Messiah. God will be glorified in Israel (v. 1-3). Then Christ has laboured in vain; yet His work is with God. 1st, He will be glorified in the eyes of Jehovah. 2ndly, It is a light thing, the restoration of the preserved of Israel. He is salvation to the ends of the earth. 3rdly, Heard in an acceptable time, He is set as a covenant of the people. Zion is restored. In chapter 50 Israel is divorced, because when Jehovah came, there was no man. He had come as man in humiliation in order to perfect sympathy with man in sorrow. Given up to shame, God justifies Him (v. 5-9). This, that is, Christ's justification, is the church's, as we have seen; in verses 10, 11 we have the Jewish remnant of the church. Chapter 50 gives us Christ's sufferings from man; in 53 it is atonement. Chapter 49 gives the glory resulting from Christ's taking the place of Israel, the fruit of His labour; chapter 50 the consequence of His rejection by Israel, yet in grace as to the yet unrevealed church and the remnant which is positively spoken of; chapter 49 has more to do with the government of God.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 239The difference between this and gospel knowledge as made by Paul (1 Cor. 2) is striking, often quoted for just the contrary. These things, he says, have not entered into man's heart, but God has revealed them unto us (Christians) by His Spirit; so at the end of the chapter, "but we have the mind of Christ.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 240Hence, when the Lord enters into Jerusalem as Jehovah Messiah, it is said (Luke 19: 38) "peace in heaven."
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 244In chapter 27 "Jehoiakim" should be "Zedekiah" (see verse 12 and chapter 28: 1).
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 245Compare Matthew 26 where this is brought out in the most striking way. It is very precious to see both this perfect result in Christ and at the same time all that He felt in His heart as man, both as sensible to circumstances without and so deeply exercised within. Perfect exercises within produce perfect quietness in walk without, for in both God is fully brought in. If we avoid the full dealing with the matter with God, the heart cannot act for Him as if all were disposed of: and that is peace in action. Yet how precious to see the reality of Christ's human nature in all the intimate exercises of His spirit.
[b] There is something analogous in Jonah. But there the circumstances of the prophet are an episode, and are not connected with the testimony he bore, unless by the single principle of grace.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 249Righteousness characterises the saint as well as love, and has its place where there are adversaries to that love and to the blessing of the loved people. It is the Spirit of prophecy, not the gospel, no doubt because prophecy is connected with the government of God, not with His present dealings in sovereign grace. Hence in the Revelation vengeance is called for by the saints.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 250We see at the same time the unchangeable love of God for His people, and the bond of His faithfulness which cannot be broken. He calls the nations, that surround the inheritance He had given to His people, His neighbours. We see also the setting aside of all that national system of which He had made Israel the centre, and which falls when Israel, the keystone of the arch, is taken away (v. 14). Afterwards, these nations are re-established, as well as Israel, and blessed if they acknowledge the God of Israel. The Lord Christ will re-unite the two things-the universal headship of man, and the union of nations round Israel as a centre-in His Person. He will be the one Man to whom the whole dominion is given; and Israel, as well as the various nations with their kings, shall be re-established, each in his own land and his own heritage (as before the time of Nebuchadnezzar), with the exception of Edom, Damascus, Hazor, and Babylon herself; that is to say, those nations which occupy Israel's territory, and Babylon which had absorbed and taken the place of all the others, and which must disappear by the judgment of God to give them their place again. (Compare chapter 46 and the following chapters.)
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 257In either case the judgment does not appear to me to go farther than the oppression of the nations by the king of the Gentiles, who is raised up in place of the throne of God in Jerusalem, and his own destruction at the end of his wicked career.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 258The destruction of Babylon had a peculiar importance; first, because it was substituted by God Himself in place of His throne at Jerusalem; secondly, because it was the only Gentile power directly set up by Him, though all power be from Him. The others replaced Babylon providentially. Hence, at the destruction of Babylon, Jerusalem is restored (however partially it shews the principle), and the power which judges Babylon is the setter up of God's people again in the holy city. Babylon-its setting up, its rule, and its destruction-involved the whole of the direct dealings of God with the Gentiles, and with His people in power. All the rest came in merely as a prolonging by the bye.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 263God's ways in this are remarkable. He had broken the oath of Jehovah, and he is judged as profane. It was mainly through the influence of others (for he was disposed to listen to Jeremiah), and therefore mercy is extended to him
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 264See preceding note.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 271I add, "if we go on to the cross," because, though Christ may have felt much of it in His sorrow as He approached the cross, there are expressions which apply to Him only as suffering there. The direct proper application is to the remnant, as is the case with the Psalms, and to Jeremiah in particular.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 272We have here a principle of the deepest interest, and most instructive. I will follow it out with a little more detail. The principles are in the text. Jehovah smiting His own altar and all the holy things, having been set up by Himself in the midst of His people as marking them as His and the formal link with them as their God, their destruction which broke that formal link, as far as God's own ordinances went, put an end to the connection; and this, as one of that people and living in that bond, had been the deepest distress to the true-hearted Jeremiah; but while this, because they were of God, pressed upon his heart, it led him, when he had got to the depth of the feeling, to the Jehovah whose ordinances they were; Jehovah known in his heart takes then the place of the ordinances which bound the people to Him, and his soul is drawn out in confidence to Him who was within and beyond all those links. He feels and speaks from the place of affliction, but his soul is humbled in him when personally thus in intercourse with Jehovah, and so has hope. And this is a sure and immovable anchor of faith when God our Father is truly known (see v. 22-26). He is brought quite low and subdued in spirit, but Jehovah is before his soul and known, though he must wait for Him (v. 27-30), but Jehovah rises up before him. He does not afflict willingly; and now he turns in greater calmness of spirit to try his own ways (v. 39-42). Yet he looks fully at all the sorrow (v. 42-49). But now Jehovah is in his heart, and the "till" (v. 50), the full assurance of which flows from His very nature, for personally, when at the lowest, he had called and Jehovah had drawn near to him, and pleaded the cause of his soul, and he looks for Jehovah's judgment on his relentless and causeless enemies. No doubt the call for judgment is characteristic of Jehovah's relationship with Israel. Still, there will be such on all the open enemies of the Lord.
[b] In all this the spirit of these passages is wonderfully in accordance with that of the Psalms, as indeed is very natural. The way in which Christ entered into it is spoken of in what is said on the Book of Psalms. Christ passed, in grace, through all exercises as to it in perfectness-Jeremiah and the remnant, that they might be perfected in their own state and feeling as to it. See what follows in the text.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 278Wise infidels, always petty in their conceptions because they know not God, have seen in the winged human-headed bulls and lions of Nineveh the origin of Ezekiel's vision. They betray themselves. They do not see or know Him who sat above them. I do not doubt a moment that these images represented the same thing essentially as the cherubim; but these poor pagans, misled by Satan, like these infidels in their wisdom, worshipped what was below the firmament. In Ezekiel's vision they were merely symbolic attributes, and He who was worshipped was above the firmament. It is just the difference in this respect between idolatry and the revelation of God.
[b] I mean merely in the limits of the empire of the Chaldeans. It was by the river Chebar, which was more to the north-west.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 279This distinction is always carefully maintained, based on Psalms 2 and 8. (Compare Nathanael, John 1.)
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 282It is thus that I understand this passage. We should imagine, from our translation, that it was some of the hairs that were cast into the fire. But in the Hebrew the pronoun is in the singular, and it is masculine as well as feminine.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 285Jeremiah's exhortations will be remembered-to submit themselves to Nebuchadnezzar, and even to quit the city and go forth unto him.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 288It is important to remark that it is temporal judgment in death which is spoken of here. The question treated of is the allegation of Israel that they, according to the principle laid down in Exodus, were suffering for their fathers' sins. The prophet declares that this principle is not that on which God will act with them, that the soul or life of every one belonged to God, one as another, and that in judgment He would deal with each for his own sins, not the son for the father's; and then proceeds to lay down the principles on which He would deal in mercy and judgment; but the judgments are temporal judgments, and the death physical death in this world. If the wicked turned from his ways, he would live and not die-not be cut off for the sins he repented of; so of the wicked, he shall surely die, his blood shall be upon him. So the soul that sinneth, it shall die. It is not the father, nor the son because of a father's sins; the soul or person himself that sins shall die, each for his own. The emphasis is on "it."
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 294We may see, chapter 31: 8, 9, 16, that this is a description of the kings of the earth, at least before Nebuchadnezzar, who first substituted one sole dominion given by God, for the many kings of the nations recognised by God as the result of Babel, and in the centre of which His people were placed, to make the government of God known through their means.
The special relation of Tyre with Israel added something to the position of the merchant city, and gave room also for the use made here of the history of its king as a type or figure of the prince of this world.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 295Observe that this takes place in the creature. In the case of Aaron, the type of Christ as priest, it exists in the absolute perfection of grace, which presents us to God according to His perfection in the light. It is afterwards seen in the glory as the foundation of the city, the bride, the Lamb's wife, in the Revelation. That is, these stones present the fruit of perfect light-what God is in His nature shining in and through the creature, in creation, grace, and glory.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 297It will be remembered that with Nebuchadnezzar God set aside the order He had previously established in the world, revealed in Deuteronomy 32 (namely, of nations and peoples arranged around Israel as a centre). He owns Israel no longer as His people. Thus order then falls of itself, and Babel of old, the place of dispersion, becomes the centre of one absorbing empire. In connection with the fact that Israel is no longer owned as a people, being judged as such, God addresses Himself to individual conscience in the midst of the nation. But this was the judgment of the nations, and the call of a remnant. And this is why the prophecy reaches in its full bearing to the final judgment of the earth, when that judgment and call are to be fully accomplished. God consequently Himself delivers and saves His people, judging between sheep and sheep, and executing wrath against all those who have trodden them under foot. The judgment of the one absorbing empire does not form part of the prophecies of Ezekiel (this is found in Daniel), save so far as every oppressor and evil shepherd is judged (chap. 34). The connection of this empire with Israel in the last days will not be immediate. It will politically favour the Jews who do not own the Lord. What I here notice forms the key of the prophecy. Ezekiel speaks from the midst of Israel captive, and does not occupy himself with Judah, owned by itself in the land under the power of the Gentiles.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 300The thirty-third chapter having stated the great principles of God's dealings in the last days, namely, individual condition before God, chapter 34 exhibits the conduct of their leaders: Jehovah judges the latter as having misled and oppressed His people; He discerns Himself "between cattle and cattle." Then in chapter 35 Edom is judged (compare Isaiah 34). Here, in general, it is the effect, relating to all Israel ("these two countries"). In chapter 36 is the moral renewing of all Israel, that they may judge their ways; in chapter 37, the restoration of the people, as quickened by God in national resurrection; and at last (chaps. 38 and 39) the judgment of the enemies of the people thus restored in peace, or rather, of the enemy (that is, Gog). All these things are connected with the relationship between Jehovah and His people Although He gives David as king, yet the Messiah is not named as having had relations with the people; for in fact this was only true of Judah. It is a general picture of the last days in their great results and their events, everything having its place in reference to all Israel, without giving a history of details.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 308When I say "borrowed," it is not that the Spirit of God has not given us an original image in the Apocalypse: one has but to read it to be convinced of the contrary. But Old Testament imagery is constantly employed in the descriptions there given-only in such a manner as to apply it to heavenly things, a circumstance that makes it much easier to understand the book by helping us to enter into its real character through its analogy with the Old Testament.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 318David's throne had been characterised by power in obedience, the king having to write out a copy of the law and observe it; Nebuchadnezzar's throne is one of absolute power, man supreme in the exercise of his own will-the twofold way of testing man in the place of authority.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 319The seed of David will not be in captivity at Babylon when God takes His place as the God of the earth.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 324This translation is almost universally considered to be correct.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 326There are four names of relationship which God has taken with men: Almighty (Gen. 17) with the patriarchs; Jehovah with Israel (Ex. 6); Father, with Christians (John 17); and Most High, in the millennium (Gen. 14) and here in Daniel. Compare Psalm go. The name of Father makes a difference in the whole position, associating us with Christ, the Son in whom He is revealed. John's Gospel specially brings out this.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 329Brought about by the rejection of the Messiah.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 330This appears to me to be the case, because events that took place under the successors of Seleucus, the first king of the north, have served as a type, or partial and anticipative fulfilment, of that which will happen in the, last days. In chapter 11 and here, there is a description of, or a strong allusion to, that which Antiochus Epiphanes did. The eleventh chapter relates it, I think, historically. The object of God in the prophecy is found in the events of the last days; and this is all that is given in the interpretation.
It is well to observe, that no interpretation of a parable or obscure prophecy, either in the Old or New Testament, is simply an interpretation. It adds that which reveals by the result the meaning of the ways of God, or facts described in what is obscure, either by outward judgments which justify the spiritual judgment of His people when faith only would discern God's mind, or by some new features that give the true import of the events for the saints. Actual judgment makes openly plain what spiritual judgment alone discerned before, and thus is an interpretation. But other circumstances may be added in order to show the mind of God in the matter. In a word, it is God who communicates to His people that which gives its true value to that which precedes, or who directs them in their thoughts as to what has been said, by the revelation of His judgments. It is this which practically confirms them in His thoughts.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 332I have questioned a little whether the host of heaven may not mean the powers of the earth (the Jews only taking their place in it because they ought to be under the government of God, and are so to the spirit of prophecy). I do not reject this idea; but it appears certain that the Spirit has the Jews especially in view (see v. 13). Verse 24 might lead us to believe that He destroys others beside the Jews. Christ, exalted to the right hand of God, is the head of all power. But He is especially the head of the Jews. If any would even apply the title "Prince of princes" to this supremacy, the analogy of the word would justify the application. The connection between the host and the sanctuary in verse 13, appears to me to shew, that the Spirit had those Jews especially in view who surround the place of the throne of Jehovah.
[b] There is no doubt that the text says, that the sacrifice is taken away from the Prince of the host. The question still remains, by whom? The Keri (which is generally, I believe, the best authority when there are variations in the Hebrew) reads, "was taken from him," without saying by whom; the Ketib, "he took away from him," which ascribes it to the little horn.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 333In the Hebrew there is a difference of gender. He who magnifies himself (v. 11) is masculine; while at the end of verse 12, the word, "it cast down," is feminine, agreeing with horn, which in Hebrew is a feminine noun.
[b] The vision speaks particularly of the Seleucidae, or Asiatic successors of Alexander; and their acts, I doubt not, particularly those of Antiochus Epiphanes, are referred to in the vision, though verse 11 and the first half of 12, as noticed, are distinct. Thus the 2300 evenings and mornings are not necessarily applicable to anything beyond the acts of the Seleucidae, and verse 26 confirms this. The interpretation (v. 23-25) applies only to the latter days. The sanctuary is not spoken of, but the destroying the "people of the saints" (the Jews), and standing up against the Prince of princes. In verse 26 read, "and thou, shut up the vision," not "wherefore."
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 334Chapter 7 gives the power or horn of the west; chapter 8 that of the east; chapter 9 gives the state of Jerusalem under the power of the west; chapter 10, 11 the state under the powers of the east, including the wilful king.
[b] The first half of the twelfth, closing with the word, "transgression," forms indeed part of this parenthesis. The 2300 days refer thus to the historical times. All we have of them, in the interpretation which unfolds what is yet to come, is that the vision is true. The parenthesis is from "Yea" (v. 11) to "transgression" in verse 12, connected with "he," not with "it."
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 336The word "many" has an article prefixed to it in the Hebrew. The same thing is the case in other parts of Daniel, to which we shall draw the reader's attention, and which clearly prove that the mass of the people are in question-"the many." The same form of phrase is found in Greek. 2 Cor. 2: 6; 9: 2.
[b] We may observe that the Lord only speaks expressly of the last half-week, of the time of tribulation which follows the setting up of the idol that maketh desolate in the holy place. Some have thought that there would be only this half-week to come, Christ having been cut off in the midst of the week. Others have thought that the seventieth week had entirely elapsed before the Lord's death, but that it is not reckoned, Jesus having been rejected, and that this week is found again at the time of the Jews' connection with the wicked one. What the passage tells us is this: first, the prince, the head that is of the Roman empire, in the latter days makes a covenant referring to one whole week; on the other hand, the Lord speaks of the last half of the week as being to take place immediately before His coming, as the time of unequalled tribulation that precedes it. If this were all, the foregoing history of the prince to come, who makes a covenant, would fall into the general history of the state of things. The question whether one or two half-weeks remain to be fulfilled, and in what way, during the manifestation of the power of evil, I reserve (as to its full development) for the book of Revelation; remarking only that Messiah is cut off after the end of 69 weeks. We know from the New Testament that His ministry lasted just half the week. Of this clearly the prince or Jews, with whom he makes alliance, would make no account. The interpretation of this passage is clear; the covenant for a week with the prince to come, as if 69 weeks alone were run out, Messiah and His cutting off being ignored, and a half-week of utter oppression because of idols, till the consummation decreed.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 337This is an expression constantly used for the last judgments that shall fall upon the Jews (see Isaiah 10: 22; 28: 22). The second verse of this last chapter compares the desolator to a flood, as in verse 26 of the chapter we are considering. The attentive reader will observe that these passages refer also to the events of the last days. Remark also the covenant in Isaiah 28: 15 &18.
Some doubts might be thrown upon the translation "the desolate"; some render it "the desolator," and "until the destruction that is decreed there shall be poured [judgment] upon the desolator," or rather, "until the destruction decreed shall be poured upon the desolator." To any one that is not very familiar with the word, this seems to end the sentence better; but it appears to me that those who are conversant with the whole contents of the Bible and with its phraseology will allow that the reading I have given is its truer meaning. The import of the prophecy is the same in either case. The one translation says that the desolation shall continue until the end of judgment, fore-ordained by God; the other, that it shall not cease until the destruction of the desolator, which comes to the same thing. The translation I have given appears to me more exact, more in accordance with the word. Our English translation reads "desolate," giving "desolator" in the margin. But the word has not the same form as that which is translated "desolator" in other places where the meaning is certain. The previous clause I have rendered "on account of the protection of idols." The word is literally "wing"-upon, or on the account of, the wing of abominations. And we know that the word wing is habitually employed for protection.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 338The power of the Gentiles existing at the same time. We know from scripture that the restoration of Jerusalem took place under the reign of the Gentiles, as well as the whole course of the sixty-nine weeks which have assuredly passed away. The seventy have all the same character in this respect. It is only at the end of the seventy that pardon is granted. Whoever may be the instrument of establishing the covenant the fourth beast will be at that time the ruling power of the Gentiles, to whom God has committed authority. It is very important, if we would understand the seventy weeks, to remark this state of things-the Jews restored, the city rebuilt, but the Gentiles still occupying the throne of the world. The seventy weeks have their course only under these conditions. It must be well understood that it is the people of Daniel who are meant, and his city, which are to be re-established in their former favour with God. The longsuffering of God still now waits. The Gentile power has already failed in faithfulness; Babylon has been overthrown; by means of intercession, the Jews provisionally restored, and the temple rebuilt. The seventy weeks had very nearly elapsed when Christ came. If the Jews, and Jerusalem in that her day, had repented, all was ready for her re-establishment in glory. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob could have been raised up, as Lazarus had been. But she knew not the day of her visitation, and the fulfilling of the seventy weeks, as well as the blessing that should follow, had necessarily to be postponed. Through grace we know that God had yet more excellent thoughts and purposes, and that man's state was such that this could not have been, as the event proved. Accordingly all is here announced beforehand. (Compare Isaiah 49: 4-6.)
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 340It may be remarked that in both cases the revelation given to Daniel, as to his people, is in reply to his exercises of heart in intercession or fasting; the revelations in chapters 7, 8 as to the western or eastern destroying powers are not. They are given when God pleases. These were in the time of Belshazzar; the two former, after Babylon was taken The Jews were then really in a new position till Christ was rejected, and then the great forsaking came, when time does not count till they are in their own land, and God begins to deal with them again. Then, after the display of their unbelief in receiving the power of evil and in idolatry the last grand tribulation comes, and then judgment in the Person of the Lord from heaven.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 341The intervention of these in favour of the young king of Egypt, whom Antiochus Epiphanes had conquered, led to his going back and raging against the Jews, profaning the temple, and forbidding Jewish worship.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 342Compare Isaiah 30: 33 (reading "for the king also") and 57: 9. He has the tide of "the king" in the eyes of the Jews-a title which of right belongs only to Jesus, the true Messiah and King of Israel.
[b] This is the regular meaning of the Hebrew.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 343I have thought it possible that this computation may arise from this. An intercalary month to the 1260 days, or three years and a half, and then 45 days, if the years were ecclesiastical years, would bring up to the feast of tabernacles: but I offer no judgment on it. At any rate, the statement is clear that then the sanctuary of God will be cleansed in Jerusalem.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 344We may compare Psalms 74 and 83, which confirm the idea that there will be a destruction in Jerusalem, as well as the compelled cessation of the daily sacrifice accomplished in a religious way by the prince who is to come, the Roman of chapter 9, who will be among the Jews, and who had professed himself to be their friend.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 349I desire to add here, in a note, something more detailed and precise to that which I said on the subject of prophecy at the beginning of Isaiah. Prophecy is the intervention of God's sovereign grace in testimony, in order to maintain His relationship with His people when they have failed in their responsibility to God in the position they held, so that their relationship with God in this position has been broken; and before God has established any new relationship by His own power in grace. The subjects of prophecy are, consequently, the following:-
The dealings of God in government upon the earth, in the midst of Israel; the moral details of the conduct of the people which led to their ruin; God's intervention at the end in grace by the Messiah to establish His people in assured blessing by God's own power, according to His purpose.
Two things are connected with these leading subjects: the judgment of the nations, which was necessary for the establishment of Israel in their own land; and the rejection of Christ by the Jews at His first coming into this world.
Finally, Israel had been the centre and keystone of the system that was established after the judgment upon Noah's descendants for their pride at Babel. In this system the throne and temple of God at Jerusalem were:-the one, the seat of divine authority over all nations; and the other, the place where they should go up to worship Him who dwelt between the cherubim. Israel having failed in that obedience which was the condition of their blessing and the bond of the whole order recognised by God in the earth, another system of human supremacy is set up in the person of Nebuchadnezzar. Prophecy treats, therefore, of this unitary system also, and of its relationship with the people of God on the earth.
Guilty of rebellion against God, and associated with Israel in the rejection of Christ, and at the close rising in revolt against Him, this power is associated with the Jews in the judgment, as being united with them in evil.
What has been here said evidently applies to Old Testament prophecy with which we are here occupied. But this raises the question of the difference of New Testament prophecy. The assembly is not the scene of the earthly government of God, but sitting in heavenly places: hence prophecy cannot be the direct action of the Spirit on its present state, as it was in Israel. The communications are direct from the Father and from the Lord according to the relationship in which it stands to them, just as prophecy was with the Jews. But the Spirit can look forward in the assembly to the time when the decay of the outward system will prepare the way for the introduction of the direct government of God again in the Person of Christ. This in general we find in the Apocalypse, from the beginning of the assembly's declension until it is rejected, and then in the world. Hence we have also the prophecies which announce the decay and ruin of the assembly after the departure of the apostles, as in 1 Timothy 4: 1; 2 Timothy 3 and 2 Thessalonians 2. The decay itself is spoken of in the Epistles of John, Jude, and 2 Peter. Another subject belongs to this and introduces prophecy into the Lord's mouth, with which James connects itself, but does not concern the assembly properly speaking-the connection of Christ as minister of the circumcision with the Jewish people, as in Matthew 24 and parallel passages in Mark and Luke, and even Matthew 10 from v. 15 to the end, where the portion of the residue in their service in Israel is traced on to the Lord's coming. So that in the moral ruin of the assembly on earth, and the history of the residue, we have the connecting links of these days and Christ's mission to Israel, with His coming in the last days.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 351The reign of Jotham was as to some part, possibly the most of it, coincident with that of Uzziah, who was put aside as a leper.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 353We may observe that it is not said, "they shall be my people" (an expression less suitable to Gentiles), but "the sons of the living God"; which is precisely the privilege bestowed by grace on those who are brought to know the Lord since the resurrection of Christ.
[b] This is the meaning of "Jezreel": or, more exactly, "God will sow."
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 357It should be read, "But they, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant." Adam, in Hebrew, is a proper name and a generic name; but the latter generally with the article, The Adam, as in Genesis 1: 27. It is to this passage Paul refers in Romans 5: 14.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 365Verses 28, 29 are a short independent prophecy, and so are the verses from 30 to the end of the chapter, and still more so. Verses 28, 29 promise the outpouring of the Holy Spirit consequent on the repentance of the nation, which was also accompanied by temporal blessings. The repentance is the point of departure for both. So the partial fulfilment of Acts 2 was on those who repented, though the temporal blessings could not come on the nation. Thus, though there was that which was analogous in the destruction of Jerusalem already accomplished, signs and wonders will come before the great and notable day of Jehovah yet to come. The blood of the new covenant was shed and all things ready; but the nation would not repent and could not get the blessing. The remnant got the spiritual part of it with all flesh; the Jews will, all, when they say, "Blessed be he that cometh in the name of Jehovah." The Holy Spirit, who foresaw all this, has ordered accordingly the structure of the prophecy.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 366This is an entirely distinct prophecy, which goes by itself, preceding the day of Jehovah, as indeed is clearly stated, which day ushers in the blessing previously spoken of. The order in the last days will be repentance, deliverance by the day of Jehovah, temporal blessing, the Holy Ghost. Before the day of Jehovah signs will take place. This last stands therefore necessarily apart, as the calling on the name of Jehovah of course precedes the deliverance.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 368As to this mission we have only the general statement of Mark, that they went everywhere (Mark 16: 20). In verse 15 they are told to go into all the world. In Matthew 28 they are told in Galilee to disciple all nations-all the Gentiles-but this is another mission. As regards the passage in Mark, the reader will remark that the questioned passage, from verse 9, begins with Jerusalem and the ascension, as in Luke; in verse 7, they are told to go into Galilee, as in Matthew. These are distinct missions. In point of fact, wherever they went, the mission to the Gentiles (Gal. 2) was given up to Paul and Barnabas, who had already been on it. So far, the Matthew commission dropped. Mark's is individual, and a question of salvation; Matthew's is not. Luke's is carried out by the apostles, as the speeches shew throughout the Acts, only the Gentile part was given up to Paul.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 373Though some take it as moral evil which would lead Jehovah to interfere-then shall Jehovah do nothing.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 376This passage is quoted by the apostle James in Acts 15. Here (in Amos) it is quite clear that it applies to the last days, and it has sometimes been attempted to apply it to the same period in Acts also, laying stress on the words, "After this." But I am persuaded that those who do so have not rightly apprehended the meaning of the apostle's argument. He quotes this passage for one expression alone, without dwelling on the remainder; and this is the reason, I doubt not, that he is satisfied with the translation of the Septuagint. This expression is, "All the Gentiles upon whom my name is called." The question was, whether Gentiles could be received without becoming Jews. After having affirmed this principle, he shews that the prophets agreed with his declaration. He does not speak at all of the fulfilment of the prophecy; he only shews that the prophets sanction the principle, that Gentiles should bear the name of Jehovah-"All the Gentiles upon whom my name is called." There would then be such. God knew all His works from the beginning of the world, whatever might be the time of their manifestation.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 384Hence, also, we may add, it is connected with resurrection in its accomplishment. This indeed, has a deeper cause-the state of man by nature; but this was brought out, in dispensation, by the failure of the Jews in connection with Christ after the flesh.
[b] See Isaiah 66; Ezekiel 36: 36; 37: 28; 39: 7, 22; Zechariah 2: 11; 14; and a multitude of other passages.
[c] See Psalm 9: 15, 16; 83: 18; and all the Psalms at the end of the book.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 389Verse 6 is exceedingly obscure. I doubt that the Authorised Version is correct: 'take shame' is to be ashamed. The Hebrew has hardly this sense. It is literally, Prophesy (Drop) not. They prophesy. They shall not prophesy to them; it shall not depart shame (literally shames). That is, I suppose, Shame shall not depart. Chapter 3: 7 explains it perhaps.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 394This character is one of the most touching features of the prophetic office. "If," said Jeremiah, "he be a prophet, let him make intercession to Jehovah, that that which is left may not go to Babylon." "He is a prophet," said God to Abimelech, in speaking of Abraham, "and he will pray for thee." In the Psalms also it is written," There is no prophet left-none to say, How long?"-that is to say, none who knew how to reckon upon the faithfulness of Jehovah their God, and, knowing that it was only a chastisement, plead with Him for His people (compare Isaiah 6). The Spirit of God declares judgment indeed on God's part, but, because God loved the people, becomes a Spirit of intercession in the prophet for the people. With us the same thing is developed in a rather different, but more blessed and perfect manner. Intelligence of the will of God enters more into it: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." And all are prophets in this (1 John 5: 16).
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 396This is ever true, and of immense importance. God never holds the guilty for innocent. It is contrary to His nature. It would not be the truth. He may put away sin, and receive the cleansed sinner; but He cannot act as if it did not exist when it does, nor be indifferent to it while He remains Himself. He may for good chastise, and to shew His government (that is, deal with sin in this respect); or He may have it entirely put away and blotted out, according to the exigencies of His own nature and glory, which is salvation for us; and both are true. But He cannot leave it anywhere as not existing or indifferent.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 397If not, the thought is, though the Assyrians be prosperous and safe in full prosperity, yet (as Sennacherib) when they come into Judah they shall be cut down, and then (as in Isaiah 10) Israel's deliverance should be final.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 399Sad effect of pride, which, unknown to itself, is the parent of weakness! Man cannot sustain himself; and the pride which rejects the true God must and does make one for itself, or adopts what its fathers have made, for pride cannot stand in the presence of the supreme God. Man makes a god: this, too, is pride. But he cannot do without one; and after all, the natural heart is the slave of that which it cannot do without.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 400To Habakkuk of course Jehovah; to us the Father is revealed in the Son, and so one Lord, Jesus Christ.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 407This is a very clear testimony, when it is that the nations of the earth learn righteousness.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 410This actually happened (see Ezra 4: 24): but it is evident that, in consequence of the spirit of unbelief working in them, its effect was to discourage them entirely, so that they made no effort to recommence their work, saying, "The time is not come that Jehovah's house should be built." It was only the testimony of the Spirit by the prophet that aroused them from their moral torpor.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 412Diodati's Italian version, which is considered very accurate, agrees with the English. De Wette renders it, "The precious things." But it is not what is very generally used for mere costly things, though the same root. This is Chemdath, that Chamudoth. The difficulty is that "shall come" is in the plural. Perhaps this is De Wette's motive for saying "things," taking Chemdath, as "vahu" comes first, as a description of the things that come. The Italian has la scelta verra, the chosen object (the choice one) of the nations shall come.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 413If not, and the sense is to be governed by the following verse, it would refer to the desirable things of the Gentiles, which would glorify the house; but I prefer what is in the text.
[b] It is remarkable that in Luke, when Christ rides into Jerusalem, it is said: "Peace in heaven" (Luke 19: 38). For it is indeed, when Satan is cast down thence after the final war with the heavenly powers, that blessing upon earth can be really established. Up to then it has been always corrupted and spoiled by the power of evil, or spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. Then that will be for ever over. Satan may come up on earth if permitted, as an adversary, but his heavenly power as spiritual wickedness is for ever over. The prince of the power of the air is gone, his place was found no more in heaven.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 422'Adon.' Chap. 4: 14; 6: 5.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 428The worthless shepherd (v. 17), I suppose, is the same. He deserts the Jews, and identifies himself with the Gentile power when the Jewish worship is put down. He is "a thing of nought," as Jer. 14: 14.
Synopsis of Ezra - Malachi, page 434It is, note distinctly, Jehovah's.
[b] See the lovely picture of this in the first two chapters of Luke's Gospel, before he begins the general subject of it. Only then the Saviour was rejected, and the remnant passed into the assembly, the deliverance of Israel being deferred to the coming of the Lord in power. Here it is looked at as the remnant in Israel connected with that deliverance.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 4See Titus 1: 2; 2 Timothy 1: 9, 10, and compare Proverbs 8: 22-31, specially 30, 31, and Romans 16: 25, 26 (reading "prophetic scriptures"), Ephesians 3:5, 10, Colossians 1: 26. Under the law God never came out, and man could not go in. In Christianity God is come out, and man is gone in; and these things are of the essence of both. Before there was promise. These are characteristic relations.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 6It must be clearly understood that I speak here of the truth revealed in the New Testament. Its communication, in this revelation, became gradually more clear, the Holy Ghost having been given after the Lord was glorified. The apostle could say, when speaking of the nature of God Himself, "Which thing is true in him [Christ] and in you, because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth." It is a Christ who is the wisdom of God. In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. All the fulness was pleased to dwell in Him. He sanctified Himself that we might be sanctified through the truth. The Holy Ghost, having taken the things of Christ and revealed them unto the apostles, led them into all truth. Now all things that the Father hath are Christ's: therefore He has said that the Holy Ghost should take of His, and should shew it unto them.
This being the case, the question of a subsequent development is judged. Is there anything more than "the fulness of the Godhead"? anything more than "all that the Father hath"? anything clearer than the "true light"? But it is this which is revealed. If one thinks of man whose ideas originate in himself, as the spider spins a web out of its own substance, development may no doubt be spoken of; but if the question is the revelation of Christ, by the gift of the true light already come, Christ does not increase. And, assuredly, we shall find nothing good outside "all that the Father hath given him." This is what we possess by revelation. The development inherent in the communication of truth to man, belongs to his capacity of reception (in this there is progress for each one of us), and to the manifestation of Christ, from the time of John the Baptist unto His full revelation by the Holy Ghost-a revelation which we possess in the New Testament. No tradition can add to the revelation of that which Christ is. No development can give us one new truth with respect to His fulness. But this is everything. It is thus that the lofty pretensions of man are brought to nothing.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 7The statements of 1 Corinthians 2 are very striking as to this, and in these days of all importance. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (that was the Old Testament state), "but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit"; that is revelation. "Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth," that is the communication of them, inspiration. Thirdly, "They are spiritually discerned": that is the reception of them. The revelation, the inspired testimony, and the receiving them by the grace and power of the Spirit only, are all distinctly affirmed.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 9It is God come in grace in the midst of evil-grace adapted to man in it. It reveals God as nought else does, but is adapted to man however evil he may be, yea as evil. So that while it gives what is purely heavenly and divine, it does it, and so much the more as it is so adapted, in meeting the evil here. This, though it reveals God as He will be known in heaven, is, as to the fact of its operation, unknown in an earthly or heavenly paradise-good in the midst of evil. The angels desire to look into it. Further it is sovereignty, grace, and wisdom, what simple good cannot be, though leading into it in its highest form.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 12In some German Bibles, as well as in several Roman Catholic editions, and in many manuscripts, the order is different. For the proposed object this difference is of no importance. Every one knows that the arrangement of the books has nothing to do with the revelation
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 13In order to be clearly understood, I should perhaps except His relationship with the assembly-a subject which we find in the Epistles; but I do not include, in the expression "His personal glory," this very precious part of the doctrine of Christ. With the exception of the fact that He would build a church on the earth, it is only by the Holy Ghost sent down after His ascension that He made known to the apostles and prophets this priceless mystery.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 15The act of creation, when not spoken of God generally, but distinguishing the Persons in Deity, is always ascribed to the Son or the Spirit.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 16It is solemn but instructive to remark that in everything God has set up, the first thing man has done has been to ruin it. Man himself first of all. Then Noah, the new head of the world, he got drunk. Then the golden calf when the law was given, the priesthood offering strange fire the first day. Solomon turning to idolatry and ruining the kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar making the golden image and persecuting the servants of the true God. God went on in grace, but the system was fallen. So I doubt not with the church. All will be made good more gloriously in the second Adam.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 18This was from resurrection in Galilee; not from heaven and glory, that was near Damascus.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 19It is written, "For he shall save his people," thus plainly shewing the title of Jehovah contained in the word Jesus or Jehoshua. For Israel was the people of the Lord, that is, of Jehovah.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 20The wider relationship is more distinctively given in the Gospel of Luke, where His genealogy is traced up to Adam; but here the title of Son of man is specially appropriate.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 21The star does not lead the wise men from their own country to Judea. It pleased God to present this testimony to Herod and to the leaders of the people. Having been directed by the word (the meaning of which was declared by the chief priests and scribes themselves, and according to which Herod sent them to Bethlehem), they again see the star which they had seen in their own country, which conducts them to the house. Their visit also took place some time after the birth of Jesus. No doubt they first saw the star at the time of His birth. Herod makes his calculations according to the moment of the star's appearance, which he had carefully ascertained from the lips of the wise men. Their journey must have occupied some time. The birth of Jesus is related in chapter 1. The first verse of chapter 2 should be read, Now Jesus having been born"; it speaks of a time already past.
I would also remark here that the Old Testament prophecies are quoted in three ways, which must not be confounded:-"that it might be fulfilled", "so that it was fulfilled"; and, "then was fulfilled." In the first case it is the object of the prophecy; Matthew 1:22, 23 is an instance. In the second it is an accomplishment contained in the scope of the prophecy, but not the sole and complete thought of the Holy Ghost; Matthew 2: 23 may serve as an example. In the third it is simply a fact which corresponds with the quotation, which in its spirit applies to it, without being its positive object-chapter 2: 17, for instance I am not aware that the first two are distinguished in our English translation. Where the sense may require it, I shall hope to point out the difference.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 22In verse 5 Christ assumes this title of Servant. The same substitution of Christ for Israel is found in John 15. Israel had been the vine brought out of Egypt. Christ is the true Vine.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 23This expression is found only in Matthew, as specially occupied with dispensations, and the dealings of God with the Jews. "The kingdom of God" is the generic term. "The kingdom of heaven" is the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of God as specially taking this character of heavenly government; we shall find it (farther on) separated into the kingdom of our Father, and the kingdom of the Son of man.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 24And we must remember that, besides the special promises to, and calling, of Israel as God's earthly people, that people were just man viewed in his responsibility to God under the fullest culture that God could give him. Up to the flood there was testimony but no dispensational dealings, or institutions of God. After it, in the new world, human government, calling and promise in Abraham, law, Messiah, God come in grace, everything God could do, and that in perfect patience, was done, and in vain as to good in flesh; and now Israel was being set aside as in the flesh, and the flesh judged, the fig-tree cursed as fruitless, and God's man, the second Adam, He in whom blessing was by redemption, introduced into the world. In the first three Gospels, as we have seen, we have Christ presented to man to be received; in John, man is set aside and Israel, and God's sovereign ways in grace and resurrection brought in.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 8It is the same thing as to the sense of our nothingness. He made Himself nothing, and in the consciousness of our nothingness we find ourselves with Him, and at the same time are filled with His fulness. Even when we fall, it is not until we are brought to know ourselves as we really are that we find Jesus raising us up again.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 29In the beginning of Ezekiel, it is said indeed that the heavens were opened; but this was only in vision, as the prophet himself explains. In that instance it was the manifestation of God in judgment.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 30This is true also of us when we are in that relationship by grace.
[b] It is all a mistake to make Christ the ladder. He, as Jacob was, is the object of their service and ministry.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 35We need confidence to have courage to obey; but true confidence is found in the path of obedience. Satan could use the word in guile, but not turn Christ the Lord from it. He still uses it as the adequate divine weapon, and Satan still has no reply. To have forbidden obedience would have been to shew himself Satan. As regards the place in which the Lord was dispensationally, we may remark the Lord always quotes from Deuteronomy.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 37There must be no other motive for action than the will of God, which, for man, is always to be found in the word; because, in that case, when Satan tempts us to act, as he always does, by some other motive, this motive is seen to be opposed to the word which is in the heart, and to the motive which governs the heart, and is therefore judged as being opposed to it. It is written, "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." This is the reason why it is so often important, when we are in doubt, to ask ourselves by what motive we are influenced.
[b] A careful examination of the Pentateuch will shew that, though needed historical facts are stated, yet the contents of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers are essentially typical. The tabernacle was made according to the pattern shewn in the mount-the pattern of heavenly things; and not only the ceremonial ordinances, but the historical facts, as the apostle distinctly states, happened unto them for types, and are written for our instruction. Deuteronomy gives directions for their conduct in the land; but the three books named, even where there are historical facts, are typical in their object. I do not know if one sacrifice was offered after they were instituted, unless perhaps the official ones (see Acts 7: 42).
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 39And we may remark here, that He leaves the Jews and Jerusalem, as already remarked, and His natural place, so to speak, what gave Him His name, Nazareth, and takes His prophetic place. The casting of John into prison was significant of His own rejection. John was His forerunner in it, as in his mission, of the Lord. See chapter 17: 12. The testimony of Jesus is the same as that of John the Baptist.
[b] It is striking that the whole ministry of the Lord is recounted in one verse (23). All the subsequent statements are facts, having a special moral import, shewing what was passing amongst the people in grace onward to His rejection, not a proper consecutive history. It stamps the character of Matthew very clearly.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 40In the text I have given a division which may assist in a practical application of the sermon on the Mount. With respect to the subjects contained in it, it might perhaps, though the difference is not very great, be still better divided thus:-
Chapter 5: 1-16 contains the complete picture of the character and position of the remnant who received His instructions-their position, as it should be, according to the mind of God. This is complete in itself.
Verses 17-48 establish the authority of the law, which should have regulated the conduct of the faithful until the introduction of the kingdom; the law which they ought to have fulfilled, as well as the words of the prophets, in order that they (the remnant) should be placed on this new ground; and the despisal of which would exclude whoever was guilty of it from the kingdom; for Christ is speaking, not as in the kingdom, but as announcing it as near to come. But, while thus establishing the authority of the law, He takes up the two great elements of evil, treated of only in outward acts in the law, violence and corruption, and judges the evil in the heart (22, 28), and at all cost to get rid of it and every occasion of it, thus shewing what was to be the conduct of His disciples, and their state of soul-that which was to characterise them as such. The Lord then takes up certain things borne with by God in Israel, and ordered according to what they could bear. Thus was now brought into the light of a true moral estimate, divorce-marriage being the divinely given basis of all human relationships-and swearing or vowing, the action of man's will in relationship to God; then patience of evil, and fulness of grace, His own blessed character, and carrying with it the moral title to what was His living place-sons of their Father who was in heaven. Instead of weakening that which God required under the law, He would not only have it observed until its fulfilment, but that His disciples should be perfect even as their Father in heaven was perfect. This adds the revelation of the Father, to the moral walk and state which suited the character of sons as it was revealed in Christ.
Chapter 6. We have the motives, the object, which should govern the heart in doing good deeds, in living a religious life. Their eye should be on their Father. This is individual.
Chapter 7. This chapter is essentially occupied with the intercourse that would be suitable between His own people and others-not to judge their brethren and to beware of the profane. He then exhorts them to confidence in asking their Father for what they needed, and instructs them to act towards others with the same grace that they would wish shewn to themselves. This is founded on the knowledge of the goodness of the Father. Finally, He exhorts them to the energy that will enter in at the strait gate, and choose the way of God, cost what it may (for many would like to enter into the kingdom, but not by that gate); and He warns them with respect to those who would seek to deceive them by pretending to have the word of God. It is not only our own hearts that we have to fear, and positive evil, when we would follow the Lord, but also the devices of the enemy and his agents. But their fruits will betray them.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 41It is important however to remark that there is no general spiritualisation of the law, as is often stated. The two great principles of immorality amongst men are treated of (violence and corrupt lust), to which are added voluntary oaths. In these the exigencies of the law and what Christ required are contrasted.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 42We must always remember that, while dispensationally Israel has great importance, as the centre of God's government of this world, morally Israel was just man where all the ways and dealings of God had been carried out so as to bring to light what he was. The Gentile was man left to himself as regards. God's special ways, and so unrevealed. Christ was a light, to reveal the Gentiles, Luke 2:32.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 43The characters pronounced blessed may be briefly noted. They suppose evil in the world, and amongst God's people. The first is not seeking great things for self, but accepting a despised place in a scene contrary to God. Hence mourning characterises them there, and meekness, a will not lifting up itself against God, or to maintain its position or right. Then positive good in desire, for it is not yet found; hungering hence and thirsting after it, such is the inward state and activity of the mind. Then grace towards others. Then purity of heart, the absence of what would shut out God; and, what is always connected with it, peacefulness and peace-making. I think there is moral progress in the verses, one leading to the next as an effect of it. The two last are the consequences of maintaining a good conscience and connection with Christ in a world of evil. There are two principles of suffering, as in 1 Peter, for righteousness' and Christ's sake.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 45Those who are put to death will go up to heaven, as Matthew 5: 12 testifies, and the Apocalypse also. The others, who are thus conformed to Christ, as a suffering Jew, will be with Him on Mount Sion; they will learn the song which is sung in heaven, and will follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth (on earth). We may also remark here, that in the beatitudes there is the promise of the earth to the meek, which will be literally fulfilled in the last days. In verse 12 a reward in heaven is promised to those who suffer for Christ, true for us now, and in some sort for those who shall be slain for His sake in the last days, who will have their place in heaven, although they were a part of the Jewish remnant and not the assembly. The same are found in Daniel 7: only, remark, it is the times and laws which are delivered into the beast's hands, not the saints.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 46That is, the Father's. Compare Matthew 13: 43.
[b] The law is the perfect rule for a child of Adam, the rule or measure of what he ought to be, but not of the manifestation of God in grace as Christ was, who in this is our pattern-a just call to love God and walk in the fulfilment of duty in relationship, but not an imitating of God, walking in love, as Christ has loved us and given Himself for us.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 47The miracles of Christ had a peculiar character. They were not merely acts of power, but all of them of the power of God visiting this world in goodness. The power of God had been often shewn specially, from Moses, but often in judgment. But Christ's were all the deliverance of men from the evil consequences sin had brought in. There was one exception, the cursing the fig tree, but this was a judicial sentence on Israel, that is, man under the old covenant when there was great appearance but no fruit.
[b] I subjoin here some notes, made since this was written, as throwing, I think, light on the structure of this Gospel. Matthew 51 gives the character required for entrance into the kingdom, the character which was to mark the accepted remnant, Jehovah being now in the way with the nation to judgment. Chapters 8, 9 give the other side-grace and goodness come in, God manifest, His character and actings, that new thing which could not be put into the old bottles-still goodness in power, but rejected, the Son of man (not Messiah) who had not where to lay His head. Chapter 8 gives present intervention in temporal goodness with power. Hence, as goodness, it goes beyond Israel, as it deals in grace with what was excluded from God's camp in Israel. It includes power over all Satan's power and sickness and the elements, and that in taking the burden on Himself, but in conscious rejection. Chapter 8: 17-20 leads us to Isaiah 53: 3, 4, and the state of things calling for the wholly following Him, giving up all. This leads to the sad testimony that, if divine power expels Satan's, the divine presence manifest in it is insupportable to the world. The swine figure Israel thereupon. Chapter 9 furnishes the religious side of His presence in grace, forgiveness, and the testimony that Jehovah was there according to Psalm 103, but there to call sinners, not the righteous; and this was especially what could not suit the old bottles. Finally, this chapter practically, save the patience of goodness, closes the history. He came to save Israel's life. It was really death when He came: only, wherever there was faith in the midst of the surrounding crowd, there was healing. The Pharisees shew the blasphemy of the leaders: only the patience of grace still subsists, carried out towards Israel in chapter 10, but all found to be of no avail in chapter 11. The Son was revealing the Father, and this abides and gives rest. Chapter 12 develops fully the judgment and rejection of Israel. Chapter 13 brings Christ as a sower, not seeking fruit in His vineyard, and the actual form of the kingdom of heaven.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 48One who touched a leper became himself unclean, but the blessed One did come thus close to man, but removed the defilement without contracting it. The leper knew His power, but was not sure of His goodness. "I will" declared it, but with a title which God only has to
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 54For then Satan will be bound and man delivered by the power of Christ. And there were partial deliverances of the kind.
[b] There is a division of the Lord's discourse at verse 15. Up to that it is the then present mission. From verse 16 we have more general reflections on their mission, looked at as a whole in the midst of Israel on to the end. Evidently it goes beyond their then present mission and supposes the coming of the Holy Ghost. The mission by which the church is called as such is a distinct thing. This applies only to Israel they were forbidden to go to Gentiles. This necessarily closed with the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish nation, but it is to be renewed at the end, till the Son of man be come. There was a testimony to the Gentiles only, as brought before them as judges, as Paul was, and that part of his history even on to Rome in Acts, was amidst Jews. The latter part, from verse 16, has less to do with the gospel of the kingdom.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 55Observe here the expression "Son of man." This is the character in which (according to Dan. 7) the Lord will come, in a power and glory much greater than that of His manifestation as Messiah, the Son of David, and which will be displayed in a much wider sphere. As the Son of man, He is the heir of all that God destines for man (see Heb. 2: 6-8, and 1 Cor. 15:27). He must, in consequence, seeing what man's condition is, suffer in order to possess this inheritance. He was there as the Messiah, but He must be received in His true character, Emmanuel; and the Jews must thus be tested morally. He will not have the kingdom on carnal principles. Rejected as Messiah, as Emmanuel, He postpones the period of those events which will close the ministry of His disciples with respect to Israel, unto His coming as the Son of man. Meantime God has brought out other things that had been hidden from the foundation of the world, the true glory of Jesus the Son of God, His heavenly glory as man and the church united to Him in heaven. The Judgment of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the nation, have suspended the ministry which had begun at the moment of which the evangelist here speaks. That which has filled up the interval since then is not the subject here of the Lord's discourse, which refers solely to the ministry that had the Jews for its object. The counsels of God with respect to the church, in connection with the glory of Jesus at the right hand of God, we shall find spoken of elsewhere.
Luke will give us in more detail that which concerns the Son of man In Matthew the Holy Ghost occupies us with the rejection of Emmanuel.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 58His sending to Jesus shews full confidence in His word as a prophet but ignorance as to His Person; and this is what is brought out here in its full light.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 59This is not God's assembly; but the rights of the King as manifested in glory being established, the foundation being laid, Christians are in the kingdom and the patience of Jesus Christ, who is glorified but hidden in God. They share the destiny of the King, and will share His glory when He reigns.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 66Take notice of this expression. We see the manner in which the Holy Ghost passes on from the time then present to the Jews, which would soon end, to the time when the Messiah would set up His kingdom, their "world [age] to come." We have a position outside all this, during the suspension of the public establishment of the kingdom. The apostles even did but preach or announce it; they did not establish it. Their miracles were "the powers of the age to come" (compare 1 Peter 1: 11-13). This, as we shall see by-and-by, is of great importance. Thus also with regard to the new covenant, of which Paul was the minister; and yet he did not establish it with Judah and Israel.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 68Compare Mark 4: 33, 34. It was adapted to all if they had ears to hear, but was darkness to the wilful.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 69Remark here, that chapter 12 having brought before us the judgment of the Jewish people, we have now the kingdom as It is in the absence of the king, chapter 13; the assembly as built by Christ, chapter 16; and the kingdom in glory, chapter 17.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 71It is a solemn thought that the first act of man has been to spoil what God has set up good. So with Adam, so with Noah, so with the law, so with the priesthood of Aaron, so with the son of David, so even Nebuchadnezzar, so the church. In Paul's days all sought their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. All is made good, better, and stable in the Messiah.
[b] I speak here of those who will have been His servants on earth during His absence. For angels are also His servants, as well as the saints of the age to come.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 73Manifestly it was not in the church that the Lord began to sow: it did not then exist. But He distinguishes Israel here from the world, and speaks of the latter. He looked for fruit in Israel; He sows in the world, because Israel after all His culture brought forth no fruit.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 74Not merely the instant that terminates it, but the acts that accomplish the purpose of God in terminating it.
[b] Remark too here that the kingdom of heaven is parcelled out into two parts, the kingdom of the Son of man, and the kingdom of our Father: the objects of judgment in what is subjected to Christ, and a place like His before the Father for sons.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 78In all symbolical prophecies and parables, the explanation goes beyond the parable and adds facts; because the judgment executed publicly testifies of that which in the time of the parable can only be discerned spiritually. This latter may be spiritually understood. The result is, judgment will publicly declare it, so that we are always to go beyond the parable in the explanation. Judgment explains publicly what is only understood spiritually before, and brings in a new order of things (compare Dan. 7).
[b] The chapters which follow are striking in their character. Christ's Person as the Jehovah of Psalm 132 is brought out, but Israel sent away, the disciples left alone, while He prays on high. He returns, rejoins the disciples, and the Gadarene world owns Him. Then we have in chapter 15 the full moral description of the ground on which Israel stood actually, and ought to stand, but carried much farther out into what man's heart is; and then what God is, revealed in grace to faith, even if in a Gentile. Historically He still owns Israel, but in divine perfection, and now in human administrative power; and then (chap. 16) the church is brought in prophetically; and in chapter 17 the kingdom of glory in vision. In chapter 16 they are forbidden to say He is the Christ. This is over.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 88The study of the Psalms will have made us understand that this is the connection with the establishment of the Jewish remnant in blessing in the last days.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 89The passage (chap. 16: 18) should be read, "And I also say unto thee."
[b] It is important here to distinguish the church which Christ builds, not yet finished, but which He Himself builds, and that which is, as a manifested whole in the world, built up in responsibility by man. In Ephesians 2: 20, 21 and 1 Peter 2: 4, 5, we have this divine building growing and built up. No mention of man's work is found in either passage; it is a divine one. In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul is a wise master builder; others may build in wood, hay and stubble. The confusion of these has been the basis of Popery and other corruptions found in what is called the church. His church, looked at in its reality, is a divine work which Christ accomplishes and which abides.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 90Remark here what I have spoken of elsewhere-there are no keys of or to the church or assembly. Peter had the keys of administration in the kingdom. But the idea of keys in connection with the church, or the power of the keys in the church, is a pure fallacy. There are none such at all. The church is built; men do not build with keys, and it is Christ (not Peter) who builds it. Further, the acts thus sanctioned were acts of administration down here. Heaven puts its sanction on them, but they did not relate to heaven, but to earthly administration of the kingdom.
Further, it is to be remarked that what is conferred here is individual and personal. It was a name and authority conferred on Simon, son of Jonas.
Some further remarks here may help us to understand more fully the bearing of these chapters. In the parable of the sower (chap. 13) the Person of the Lord is not brought forward, only that it is sowing, not reaping. In the first similitude of the kingdom He is Son of man, and the field is the world. He is quite out of Judaism. In chapter 14 we have the state of things from John's rejection, to the time the Lord is owned on His return where He had been rejected. In chapter 15 is the moral controversy, and God in grace in Himself as above evil. On this I dwell no further. But in chapter 16 we have the Person of the Son of God, the living God, and hereon the assembly, and Christ the builder; in chapter 17 the kingdom with the Son of man coming in glory. The keys (however heaven sanctioned Simon's use of them) were, as we have seen, of the kingdom of heaven (not of the assembly); and that, the parable of the tares shews, was to be corrupted and spoiled, and this irremediably. Christ builds the church, not Peter. Compare 1 Peter 2: 4, 5.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 92In the Epistle of Peter we continually find these same thoughts-the words, "living hope," "living stone"-applied to Christ, and afterwards to Christians. And again, in accordance with our present subject, salvation through life in Christ, the Son of the living God, we find "receiving the end of our faith, even the salvation of [our] souls." We may read all the verses by which the apostle introduces his instructions.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 95We have seen that Peter went beyond this. Christ is here seen as the Son born on the earth in time, not as the Son from eternity in the bosom of the Father. Peter, without the full revelation of this last truth, sees Him to be the Son according to the power of divine life in His own Person, upon which the assembly consequently could be built. But here we are to consider that which belongs to the kingdom.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 97Peter, taught of the Holy Ghost, calls it "the excellent glory."
[b] It was not in connection with the divine validity of their testimony, that Moses and Elias disappear. There could not be a stronger confirmation of it, as indeed Peter says, than this scene. But not only they were not the subjects of God's testimony as Christ was, but their testimony did not refer nor their exhortations reach to the heavenly things which were now to be revealed in association with the Son from heaven. Even John the Baptist makes this difference (John 3: 13, 31-34). Hence as there set forth, the Son of man must be lifted up. So here, the Lord charges the disciples not to say He was the Messiah, for the Son of man must suffer. It was the turning-point of the Lord's life and ministry, and the coming glory of the kingdom shewn to the disciples, but then He must suffer (see John 12: 27). The Jewish history was closed in chapter 12, indeed in chapter 11, and the ground of the change laid John and He both rejected, perfect submission, then all things delivered unto Him of His Father, and He revealing the Father (compare John 13, 14). But Matthew 13-apart from Judaism, He begins with what He brought, not looking for fruit in man.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 99Hence also John Baptist rejects the application of Malachi 4: 5, 6, to himself; while Isaiah 40 and Malachi 3: 1 are applied to him in Luke 1: 76; 7: 27.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 101See previous note.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 103Both these epistles, after stating redemption by the precious blood of Christ and being born of the incorruptible seed of the word, treat of the government of God; the first, its application to His own, preserving them, the second, to the wicked and the world, going on thus to the elements melting with fervent heat, and the new heavens and the new earth.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 104The Lord here distinguishes a believing little one. In the other verses, He speaks of a little child, making its character, as such, a model of that of the Christian in this world.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 105As doctrine, the sinful condition of the child, and its need of the sacrifice of Christ, are clearly expressed here. He does not say, "Seek," as to them. The employing the parable of the lost sheep is striking here.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 106It is important to call to mind here, that-while the Holy Ghost is personally fully recognised in Matthew, as in the birth of the Lord, and (chapter 10) as acting and speaking in the disciples in their service, as a divine Person, as it is ever from Him alone we can act rightly-the coming of the Holy Ghost, in the order of divine dispensation, forms no part of the teaching of this gospel, though recognised as a fact in chapter 10. The view of Christ in Matthew closes with His resurrection, and the Jewish body are sent out from Galilee as an accepted body to the world to evangelise the Gentiles, and He declares He will be with them to the end of the age. So here He is in the midst of two or three gathered to His name. The church here is not the body by the baptism of the Holy Ghost; it is not the house where the Holy Ghost dwells on earth; but where the two or three meet to His name, there Christ is. Now I do not doubt that all good from life on, and the word of life, comes from the Spirit, but this is another thing, and the assembly here is not the body, nor the house, through the coming down of the Holy Ghost. This was a subsequent teaching and revelation, and remains blessedly true; but it is Christ in the midst of those assembled to His name Even in chapter 16 it is He builds, but that is another thing. Of course it is spiritually He is present.
[b] It is very striking to find here, that the only succession in the office of binding and loosing which Heaven sanctions is that of two or three assembled in Christ's name.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 107This giving up, and the formal opening into the intermediate heavenly place connected with the Son of man in glory are in Acts 7, where Stephen recites their history from Abraham, the first called as root of promise, to that day.
[b] The connection is here traced between the new thing and nature, as God had originally formed it, passing over the law as something merely come between. It was a new power, because evil had come in, but it recognised God's creation, while proving the state of the heart, not yielding to its weakness. Sin has corrupted what God created good. The power of the Spirit of God, given to us through redemption, raises man and his path wholly out of the whole condition of flesh, introduces a new divine power by which he walks in this world, after the example of Christ. But with this there is the fullest sanction of what God Himself originally established. It is good, though there may be what is better. The way the law is passed over to go back to God's original institution, where spiritual power did not take the heart wholly out of the whole scene, though walking in it, is very striking. In marriage, the child, the character of the young man, what is of God and lovely in nature is recognised of the Lord. But the state of man's heart is searched out. This does not depend on character but motive, and is fully tested by Christ (there is an entire dispensational change, for riches were promised to a faithful Jew), and a rejected Christ-the path to heaven-everything, and the test of everything, that is of the heart of man.
God made man upright with certain family relationships. Sin has wholly corrupted this old or first creation of man. The coming of the Holy Ghost has brought in a power which lifts, in the second Man, out of the old creation into the new, and gives us heavenly things-only not yet as to the vessel, the body; but it cannot disown or condemn what God created in the beginning. That is impossible. In the beginning God made them. When we come to heavenly condition, all this, though not the fruits of its exercises in grace, disappears. If a man in the power of the Holy Ghost has the gift to do it, and be entirely heavenly, so much the better; but it is entirely evil to condemn or speak against the relationships which God originally created, or diminish or detract from the authority which God has connected with them. If a man can live wholly above and out of them all, to serve Christ, it is all well; but it is rare and exceptional.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 110Indeed, reward is in scripture always an encouragement to those who are in sorrow and suffering by having from higher motives entered into God's way. So Moses; so even Christ, whose motive in perfect love we know, yet for the joy set before Him endured the cross despising the shame. He was the Leader and Completer in the path of faith.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 111Observe the way in which the sons of Zebedee and their mother come to seek the highest place, at the moment when the Lord was preparing unreservedly to take the very lowest. Alas! we see so much of the same spirit. The effect was to bring out how absolutely He had stripped Himself of everything. These are the principles of the heavenly kingdom: perfect self-renunciation, to be contented in thorough devotedness; this is the fruit of love that seeketh not her own-the yieldingness that flows from the absence of self-seeking; submission when despised; meekness and lowliness of heart. The spirit of service to others is that which love produces at the same time as the humility which is satisfied with this place. The Lord fulfilled this even unto death, giving His life as a ransom for many.
[b] The case of the blind man at Jericho is, in all the first three Gospels, the commencement of the final circumstances of Christ's life which led on to the cross, the general contents and teachings of each being closed. Hence He is addressed as Son of David, being the last presentation of Himself as such to them, God's testimony being given to Him as such.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 112This Psalm is peculiarly prophetic of the time of His future reception, and is often cited in connection with it.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 114This throwing back on conscience is often the wisest answer, when the will is perverse.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 115Contempt and violence are the two forms of the rejection of the testimony of God, and of the true witness. They hate the one and love the other, or cleave to the one and despise the other.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 118Observe here, that from chapter 21: 28 to the end, we have the responsibility of the nation looked at as in possession of their original privileges, according to which they ought to have borne fruit. Not having done so, another is put in their place. This was not the cause of the judgment which was, and yet is in a more terrible way to be, executed on Jerusalem, and which even then accomplished the destruction of the city. The death of Jesus, the last of those who had been sent to look for fruit, brings judgment on His murderers (Matt. 21: 33-41). The destruction of Jerusalem is the consequence of the rejection of the testimony to the kingdom sent to call them in grace. In the first case, the judgment was upon the husbandmen-the scribes, and chief priests, and leaders of the people. The judgment executed on account of the rejection of the testimony to the kingdom goes much farther (see chap. 22: 7). Some despise the message, others ill-treat the messengers; and, grace being thus rejected, the city is burned up, and its inhabitants cut off. Compare chap. 23: 36, and see the historical prophecy in Luke 21. The distinction is maintained in all three gospels.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 121In fact, this position of Israel, and the testimony connected with it, were interrupted by the destruction of Jerusalem; and this is the reason why that event presents itself to the mind in connection with this prophecy, of which it is certainly not the fulfilment. The Lord is not yet come, neither the great tribulation; but the state of things to which the Lord alludes, to the end of verse 14, was violently and judicially interrupted, by the destruction of Jerusalem, so that in this point of view there is a connection.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 122The gospel of the kingdom was confined to Israel in chapter 10 and here this, though no subject of the teaching, is the subject supposed up to verse 14, but there is no formal distinction made: the mission in chapter 28 is to the Gentiles; but then there is nothing of the kingdom but rather the contrary, though Christ be only risen, but all power given to Him in heaven and earth.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 126There is no possible ground for applying this parable to what is called the general judgment, an expression indeed wholly unscriptural. First, there are three parties, not merely two-goats, sheep, and brethren; then, it is the judgment of the Gentiles only; and, further, the ground of judgment is wholly inapplicable to the great mass even of these last. The ground of judgment is the way these brethren have been received. Now none have been sent at all to the vast majority of the Gentiles in long ages. The time of this ignorance God winked at, and another ground of judgment as to them is given in the beginning of Romans. Christians and Jews have been already treated of in chapter 24 and the previous part of chapter 25. It is just those whom the Lord finds on earth when He comes, and who will be judged according to their treatment of the messengers He has sent.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 129How solemn the testimony given here to the effect of the assembly's losing the present expectation of the Lord's return! What causes the professing church to run into hierarchical oppression and worldliness, so as to be cut off in the end as hypocrites, is saying in the heart, My lord delayeth his coming-giving up the present expectation. That has been the source of the ruin. The true christian position was lost as soon as they began to put off the Lord's coming; and they are treated, note, though in this state, as the responsible servant.
[b] The servant in chapter 24 is collective responsibility.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 130The word rather signifies torches. With them they had, or should have had, oil in vessels to feed the flame.
[b] And note here, the waking up is by the cry; it wakes up all. There IS enough to rouse all professors to needed activity; but the effect of this is to put them to the test, and separate them. It was not the time of getting oil or supplies of grace to those already professors; conversion is not the subject of the parable. The question of getting oil is only I doubt now, to shew it was not the time of doing so.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 132In that of the talents in Matthew, we get indeed the ruling over many things, the kingdom, but it is more full through the expression, Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord; and the blessing is conferred on all alike who were faithful in service, great or small.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 133So in the churches in Revelation, He takes existing churches, though I doubt not it is a complete history of the church.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 136It was not in Martha's house that this scene took place, but that of Simon the leper: Martha served and Lazarus sat at meat. This makes the intelligent act of Mary more entirely personal.
[b] No instance is found of the disciples ever understanding what Jesus said to them.
[c] Christ meets the heart of the poor woman in the city which was a sinner, and told God's mind out there, and told it to her. He meets Mary's heart here, and justifies and satisfies her affection, and gave the divine estimate of what she did. He met Mary Magdalene's heart at the sepulchre, to whom the world was emptiness if He was not there, and tells God's mind in its highest forms of blessing. Such is the effect of attachment to Christ.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 137The enmity of the chiefs of Israel was known to the disciples-"Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee, and goest thou thither again?" And afterwards by Thomas-a gracious testimony to the love of one who afterwards shewed his unbelief as to Jesus' resurrection-"let us go that we may die with him." Mary's heart doubtless felt this enmity, and as it grew, her attachment to the Lord grew with it.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 138Judas's heart was the spring of this evil, but the other disciples, not occupied with Christ, fall into the snare.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 139"New" is not anew, but in an entirely new way.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 141It is wonderful to see the Lord in the full agony of the anticipated cup, only as yet presenting it to His Father, not drinking the cup; yet turning to the disciples and speaking to them in calm grace as if in Galilee, and turning back to the dreadful conflict of spirit Himself exactly for what was before His soul. In Matthew He is victim, I add, and every aggravation, with no alleviating circumstance, is here what His soul meets.
[b] I purpose speaking on the Lord's sufferings when studying the Gospel of Luke, where they are described more in detail; because it is as Son of man that He is there especially presented.
[c] Remark here in so solemn and crucial a moment, the place that the Lord gives to the scriptures: that thus it must be, for it was there (v. 54). They are the word of God.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 142I think it will be found, on comparing the Gospels, that the Lord was examined at Caiaphas's over night, when Peter denies Him, and that they met formally again in the morning, and, asking the blessed Lord, received from Himself the confession on which they led Him to Pilate. Over night it was only the active leaders. In the morning there was a formal assembling of the Sanhedrim.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 144Strange to say, this means son of Abba, as if Satan was mocking them with the name.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 145We find in Matthew, specially collected, the dishonour done to the Lord and the insults offered Him, and with Mark the forsaking of God.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 146The glory of Christ in ascension, and as Lord of all, does not come within the scope of Matthew historically.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 147The part that women take in all this history is very instructive, especially to them. The activity of public service, that which may be called "work," belongs naturally to men (all that appertains to what is generally termed ministry), although women share a very precious activity in private. But there is another side of christian life which is particularly theirs; and that is personal and loving devotedness to Christ. It is a woman, who anointed the Lord while the disciples murmured; women, who were at the cross, when all except John had forsaken Him; women, who came to the sepulchre, and who were sent to announce the truth to the apostles who had gone after all to their own home; women, who ministered to the Lord's need. And indeed this goes farther. Devotedness in service is perhaps the part of man; but the instinct of affection, that which enters more intimately into Christ's position, and is thus more immediately in connection with His sentiments, in closer communion with the sufferings of His heart-this is the part of woman: assuredly a happy part. The activity of service for Christ puts man a little out of this position, at least if the Christian is not watchful. Everything has however its place. I speak of that which is characteristic; for there are women who have served much, and men who have felt much. Note also here, what I believe I have remarked, that this clinging of heart to Jesus is the position where the communications of true knowledge are received. The first full gospel is announced to the poor woman that was a sinner who washed His feet, the embalming for His death to Mary, our highest position to Mary Magdalene, the communion Peter desired to John who was in His bosom. And here the women have a large share.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 148That is, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and mother of James and Joses, constantly spoken of as "the other Mary." In John 19: 25, Mary the wife of Cleophas has been taken as in apposition with His mother's sister. But this is simply a mistake. It is another person. There were four-three Marys and His mother's sister.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 149But I apprehend the Lord Jesus had left the tomb before the stone was rolled away; that was for mortal eyes.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 153[a] This rapidity characterises Mark, as does the word "immediately."
[b] It is the fact in itself which is given here, as also in Matthew. Luke's account will give occasion to enter more into detail as to the call of the disciples. From John the Baptist's days they had been more or less associated with the Lord-at least these had.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 156We must distinguish between governmental forgiveness, and absolute pardon of sins. Only, such as man is, there could not have been the former without the latter. But till Christ was rejected and had died this was not fully brought out.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 157One cannot but see how the old system, based on what man ought to be for God, is being set aside for what God is for man. But, the former having been established by God, nothing but the words and works of Jesus would have justified the Jews in giving it up. As it was, it was clearly opposition and hatred to the full revelation of Him who had ordained the other. Compare John 15: 22, 24.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 158This is the secret of all the history of Jesus, Son of David. All the promises being in Him for the Jews, the servant of every want too and every sorrow, yet being God and God manifested in Him, man could not bear it. The mind of the flesh is enmity against God.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 167It may be remarked that seven is the highest prime, that is indivisible, number; twelve, the most divisible there is.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 168Spittle, in connection with the sanctity of the Rabbis, was highly esteemed by the Jews in this respect; but here its efficacy is connected with the Person of Him who used it.
[b] We have nothing here of the church, nor of the keys of the kingdom These depend on what is not introduced here as a part of Peter's confession-the Son of the living God. We have the glory of the kingdom coming in power, in contrast with the rejected Christ the prophet-servant in Israel.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 170The entrance into the cloud does not form part of the revelation here. We find it in Luke. The cloud for Israel was the place where God dwelt; it was (Matt. 17) a bright cloud.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 174Some have difficulty in reconciling this with: "Forbid him not, he that is not with me is against me." But they coalesce when the main point is seen; Christ was a divine criterion of man's state, and brought things to an issue. The world was wholly, absolutely, against Him. If a man was not, there was no middle state, he was for Him. But things being brought to an issue, if a man was not for Him, he was of the world, and so against Him.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 177He does not ask, What must I do to be saved? He assumed that by the law he was to get life.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 179This went beyond even the disciples' connection with the Jews, and in principle admitted the Gentiles.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 181From the transfiguration until His rights as Son of David are in question, it is the cross that is presented. Prophet and preacher until then, that ministry ended with the transfiguration, in which His future glory shone in this world upon the cross that was to close His service here below. But before He reached the cross, He presented Himself as King. Matthew begins with the King, but Mark is essentially the Prophet.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 182I have already noticed that the blind man of Jericho is, in all the first three Gospels, the point where the history of the last dealings of Christ with the Jews and His final sufferings begin, His general ministry and service being closed.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 183That is man under the old covenant, flesh under divine requirement, and no fruit to grow on it for ever.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 188There is something very beautiful and touching in this inquiry Their hearts were solemnized, and Jesus' words have all the weight of a divine testimony in their hearts. They had not a thought of betraying Him, save Judas; but His word was surely true, their souls owned it, and there was distrust of themselves in presence of Christ's words. No boasting certainty that they would not, but a bowing of heart before the solemn and terrible words of Jesus. Judas avoided the question, but afterwards, not to seem to be but as the rest, asks it, only to be personally marked out by the Lord, a sure relief to the rest (Matt. 26: 25).
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 197That is, as to the contents of the Gospel. In the ninth chapter His last journey up to Jerusalem begins; and thence on to the latter part of the eighteenth, where (v. 31) His going up to that city is noticed, the evangelist gives mainly a series of moral instructions, and the ways of God in grace now coming in. In verse 35 of chapter 18 we have the blind man of Jericho already noticed as the commencement of His last visit to Jerusalem.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 198The union of motive and inspiration, which infidels have endeavoured to set in opposition to each other, is found in every page of the word. Moreover the two things are only incompatible to the narrow mind of those who are unacquainted with the ways of God. Cannot God impart motives, and through these motives engage a man to undertake some task, and then direct him, perfectly and absolutely, in all that he does? Even if it were a human thought (which I do not at all believe), if God approved of it, could not He watch over its execution so that the result should be entirely according to His will?
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 201The expressions, "found favour" and "highly favoured" have not at all the same meaning. Personally she had found favour, so that she was not to fear: but God had sovereignly bestowed on her this grace, this immense favour, of being the mother of the Lord. In this she was the object of God's sovereign favour.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 209I have no doubt that the only right translation of this passage is, "The census itself was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria." The Holy Ghost notes this circumstance to shew that, when once the purpose of God was accomplished, the decree was not historically carried out till afterwards. A great deal of learning has been spent on what I believe to be simple and clear in the text.
[b] That is to say, as an infant. He did not appear, like the first Adam, coming out, in His perfection, from the hand of God. He is born of a woman, the Son of man, which Adam was not.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 210"All the people" (not, as in the Authorised Version, "all people").
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 211This quotation leads to a glorious apprehension, both of what was then doing, and of our blessing. The special interest of God is in the sons of men; wisdom (Christ is the wisdom of God) daily Jehovah's delight, rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth, before creation, so that it was counsel, and His delight in the sons of men. His incarnation is the full proof of this. In Matthew we have our Lord, when He takes His place with the remnant as this is, fully revealed, and it is in the Son's taking this place as man and being anointed of the Holy Ghost, that the whole Trinity is fully revealed. This is a wonderful unfolding of God's ways.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 212This is the same word as when it is said of Christ, "In whom I am well pleased." It is beautiful to see the unjealous celebration, by these holy beings, of the advancement of another race to this exalted place by the incarnation of the Word. It was God's glory, and that sufficed them. This is very beautiful.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 221He took it in and with the godly remnant, in the act which distinguished them from the unrepentant, but was the right place of the people, the first act of spiritual life. The remnant with John is the true Jew taking his true place with God. This Christ goes with them in.
[b] Remark here, Christ has no object in heaven to fix His attention on, as Stephen; He is the object of heaven. So He was to Stephen by the Holy Ghost, when heaven was open to the saint. His Person is always clearly evident, even when He puts His people in the same place with Himself or connects Himself with them. See on this Matthew.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 222I do not speak here of the union of the church with Christ in heaven, but His taking His place with the remnant, who come to God through grace, led by the efficacy of His word, and by the power of the Spirit This is the reason I apprehend that we find all the people baptised, and then Jesus comes and is associated with them.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 225And here note, as anointed with the Holy Ghost and led by Him He goes to be tempted, and returns in the power of it. None was lost, and this power was as much shewn in the apparently negative result of overcoming, as in the miraculous manifestation of power afterwards on men.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 227If a man touched a leper, he was unclean. But here grace works, and Jesus undefilable touches the leper (God in grace, undefilable, but a man touching the defiled thing to cleanse it).
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 228The call of Peter is more general in this respect, that it is connected with the Person of Christ. Nevertheless, although he was a fisher of men (a word used evidently in contrast with the fishes he was occupied with), he exercised his ministry more particularly with regard to Israel. But it was power in the Person of Christ that governed his heart; so that it was fundamentally, the new thing, but as yet in its connection with Israel, while extending beyond them. It is at the end of chapter 7 and in chapter 8 that we enter on ground beyond the narrow limits of Israel.
[b] Compare Job 33, 36 and James 5: 14, 15-the first outside dispensations, and James under Christianity. In Israel, it is the Lord Himself in sovereign grace.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 230Christ, born under the law, was subject to them; but that is a different thing. Here it is a divine power acting in grace.
[b] But here also the Lord, in giving the reasons why the disciples did not follow the ordinances, and the institutions, of John and of the Pharisees, connects them with the two principles already pointed out-His position in the midst of Israel, and the power of grace which went beyond its limits. The Messiah, Jehovah Himself, was among them, in this grace (in spite of their failure under the law, in spite of their subjection to the Gentiles) according to which Jehovah named Himself "I am the Lord that healeth thee." At least, He was there in the supremacy of grace for faith. Those therefore who owned Him as the Messiah, the husband of Israel, could they fast while He was with them? He would leave them: without doubt that would be their time to fast. Moreover, secondly, it is always impossible. He could not adapt the new cloth of Christianity to the old garment of Judaism, in its nature incapable of receiving its energy, or adapting itself to grace, worn out withal as a dispensation by sin, and under which Israel was, in judgment, made subject to the Gentiles. Besides, the power of the Spirit of God in grace could not be restricted to the ordinances of the law. It would destroy them by its very strength. The call of Levi violated, and most openly, all the prejudices of the Jews. Their own fellow-countrymen were the instruments of their masters' extortion, and reminded them in the most painful manner of their subjection to the Gentiles. But the Lord was there in grace to seek sinners. That which the Holy Ghost sets before us is the presence of the Lord, and the rights which are necessarily attached to His Person and to His sovereign grace, which had come into Israel, but necessarily went beyond its limits (setting aside, consequently, the legal system which could not receive the new thing). This is the key to all these narratives. Thus, also, in that which follows respecting the sabbath, the one case shews the supremacy which His glorious Person gave Him over that which was the sign of the covenant itself; and the other, that the goodness of God cannot abdicate its rights and its nature. He would do good even on a sabbath-day.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 232This is an important point. A part in the rest of God is the distinctive privilege of saints-of God's people. Man had it not at the fall, still God's rest remained the special portion of His people. He did not get it under the law. But every distinct institution under the law is accompanied by an enforcement of the sabbath, the formal expression of the rest of the first Adam, and this Israel will enjoy at the end of this world's history. Till then, as the Lord said so blessedly, My Father worketh hitherto and I work. For us, the day of rest is not the seventh day, the end of this world's week; but the first day, the day after the sabbath, the beginning of a new week, a new creation, the day of Christ's resurrection, the commencement of a new state for man, for the accomplishment of which all creation round us waits, only we are before God in Spirit as Christ is. Hence the Sabbath, the seventh day, the rest of the first creation on human and legal ground, is always treated with rejection in the New Testament, though not set aside till judgment came, but as an ordinance it died with Christ in the grave, where He passed it-only it was made for man as a mercy. The Lord's day is our day, and precious external earnest of the heavenly rest.
[b] I may remark here that, where chronological order is followed in Luke, it is the same as in Mark and that of the events, not as in Matthew put together to bring out the object of the Gospel; only he occasionally introduces a circumstance which may have happened at another time illustrative of the subject historically related. But in chapter 9 Luke arrives at the last journey up to Jerusalem (v. 51), and, from this on, a series of moral instruction follows to chapter 18: 31, chiefly, if not all, during the period of this journey, but which for the most part has little to say to dates.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 234Properly 'a level place' on the mountain.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 236This however does not speak of nature intrinsically, for in Christ was no sin. Nor has the word used for "perfect" that sense. It is one completely thoroughly instructed, formed completely by the teaching of his master He will be like him, as his master, in all in which he was formed by him. Christ was the perfection; we grow up unto Him in all things unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (see Col. 1: 28).
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 237We have seen this to be precisely the subject of the Holy Ghost in our Gospel.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 239To explain the expression, "Her sins are forgiven, for she loved much," we must distinguish between grace revealed in the Person of Jesus, and the pardon He announced to those whom the grace had reached. The Lord is able to make this pardon known. He reveals it to the poor woman. But it was that which she had seen in Jesus Himself, which, by grace, melted her heart and produced the love she had to Him-the seeing what He was for sinners like herself. She thinks only of Him: He has taken possession of her heart so as to shut out other influences. Hearing that He is there, she goes into the house of this proud man, without thinking of anything but the fact that Jesus is there. His presence answered, or prevented, every question. She saw what He was for a sinner, and that the most wretched and disgraced found a resource in Him; she felt her sins in the way that this perfect grace, which opens the heart and wins confidence, causes them to be felt; and she loved much. Grace in Christ had produced its effect. She loved because of His love. This is the reason that the Lord says, "Her sins are forgiven, because she loved much." It was not that her love was meritorious for this, but that God revealed the glorious fact that the sins-be they ever so numerous and abominable-of one whose heart was turned to God were fully pardoned. There are many whose hearts are turned to God, and who love Jesus, that do not know this. Jesus pronounces on their case with authority-sends them away in peace. It is a revelation-and answer-to the wants and affections produced in the heart made penitent by grace revealed in the Person of Christ.
If God manifests Himself in this world, and with such love, He must needs set aside in the heart every other consideration. And thus, without being aware of it, this poor woman was the only one who acted suitably in those circumstances; for she appreciated the all-importance of the One who was there. A Saviour-God being present, of what importance was Simon and his house? Jesus caused all else to be forgotten. Let us remember this.
The beginning of man's fall was loss of confidence in God, by the seducing suggestion of Satan that God had kept back what would make man like God. Confidence in God lost, man seeks, in the exercise of his own will, to make himself happy: lusts, sin, transgression follow. Christ is God in infinite love, winning back the confidence of man's heart to God. Removal of guilt, and power to live to God, are another thing, and found in their own place through Christ, as pardon comes in its place here. But the poor woman, through grace, had felt that there was one heart she could trust, if none else; but that was God's.
God is light and God is love. These are the two essential names of God, and in every true case of conversion both are found. In the cross they meet; sin is brought fully into the light, but in that by which love is fully known. So in the heart light reveals sin, that is God as light does, but the light is there by perfect love. The God who shews the sins is there in perfect love to do it. Christ was this in this world. Revealing Himself, He must be both; so Christ was love in the world, but the light of it. So in the heart. The love through grace gives confidence, and thus the light is gladly let in, and in the confidence in the love, and seeing self in the light, the heart has wholly met God's heart: so with this poor woman. This is where the heart of man and God always and alone meet. The Pharisee had neither. Pitch dark, neither love nor light were there. He had God manifest in the flesh in his house and saw nothing-only settled that He was not a prophet. It is a wondrous scene to see these three hearts. Man's as such resting on false human righteousness, God's, and the poor sinner's-fully meeting it as God did hers. Who was the child of wisdom? for it is a commentary on that expression.
And note, though Christ had said nothing of it, but bowed to the slight, yet He was not insensible to the neglect which had not met Him with the common courtesies of life. To Simon He was a poor preacher, whose pretensions he could judge, certainly not a prophet; for the poor woman, God in love, and bringing her heart into unison with His as to her sins and as to herself, for love was trusted in. Note, too, this clinging to Jesus is where true light is found: here the fruitful revelation of the gospel; to Mary Magdalene, as to the highest privilege of saints.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 242It is exceedingly interesting to see the distinct place of the disciples and the women. Nor, as said above, have the women a bad place. We find them again at the cross and the sepulchre when-at any rate save John-the disciples had fled, or, even if called by the women to the sepulchre, gone home! when they saw He was raised.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 246Observe also here, that it is not only in the case of acts of power, or in that of testimony to the glory of His Person in answer to His prayer, that these prayers are offered. His conversation with the disciples respecting the change in the dispensations of God (in which He speaks of His sufferings, and forbids them to make Him known as the Christ) is introduced by His prayer when He was in a desert place with them. That His people were to be given up for a time occupied His heart as much as the glory. Moreover, He pours out His heart to God, whatever may be the subject that occupies Him according to the ways of God.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 247It is the display of the kingdom, not of the church in heavenly places. I suppose the words "they entered" must refer to Moses and Elias. But the cloud overshadowed the disciples. Yet it carries us beyond that display. The word "overshadowed" is the same as that used by the LXX for the cloud coming and filling the tabernacle. We learn from Matthew it was a bright cloud. It was the Shekinah of glory which had been with Israel in the wilderness-I may say the Father's house. His voice came from it. Into this they entered. It is this in Luke that makes the disciples afraid. God had talked with Moses out of it; but here they enter into it. Thus, besides the kingdom, there is the proper dwelling-place of the saints. This is found in Luke only. We have the kingdom, Moses and Elias in the same glory with the Son, and others in flesh on the earth, but the heavenly sojourn of the saints also.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 248Note too that if Jesus takes up the disciples to see the glory of the kingdom, and the entrance of the saints into the excellent glory where the Father was, He came down also and met the crowd of this world and the power of Satan where we have to walk.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 249These three passages point out, each in succession, a more subtle selfishness less easily detected by man: gross personal selfishness, corporate selfishness, and the selfishness that clothes itself with the appearance of zeal for the Lord, but which is not likeness to Him.
[b] Observe that, when the will of man acts, he does not feel the difficulties, but he is not qualified for the work. When there is a true call, the hindrances are felt.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 251In verse 25 of this chapter, as well as in chapter 13: 34, we have examples of the moral order in Luke, of which we have spoken (p. 232). The testimonies of the Lord are perfectly in place. They are of infinite assistance in understanding the whole connection of the passage, and their position here throws great light on their own meaning. Historical order is not the question here. The position taken by Israel-by the disciples-by all, through the rejection of Christ, is the subject of which the Holy Ghost treats. These passages relate to it, and shew very plainly the condition of the people who had been visited by Jesus, their true character, the counsels of God in bringing in the heavenly things through the fall of Israel, and the connection between the rejection of Christ and the introduction of the heavenly things, and of eternal life, and of the soul.
Nevertheless the law was not broken. In fact its place was taken by grace, which, outside the law, did that which could not be done through the law. We shall see this in going on with our chapter.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 253It is to be remarked, that the Lord never used the word eternal life in speaking of the effect of obedience. "The gift of God is eternal life." If they had been obedient, that life might have been endless; but in fact and truth, now that sin had entered, obedience was not the way to have eternal life, and the Lord does not so state it.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 255The desire to have a form of prayer given by the Lord has led to a corruption of the text here, recognised by all who have seriously inquired into it (the object being to conform the prayer here to that given in Matthew). It runs thus: "Father, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, give us each day our needed bread, and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us, and lead us not into temptation."
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 258Observe here, that the heart follows the treasure. It is not, as men say, where your heart is, your treasure is-my heart is not in it; but "where your treasure is, there win your heart be also."
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 259Here we have the heavenly portion of those who wait for the Lord during His absence. It is the character of the we disciple in his heavenly aspect, as service in his place on earth.
Observe also that the Lord was a servant down here. According to John 13 He becomes a servant on ascending to heaven, an Advocate, to wash our feet. In this place He makes Himself a servant for our blessing in heaven. In Exodus 21, if the servant who had fulfilled his service did not wish to go out free, he was brought to the judges, and was fastened to the door by an awl which bored his ear in token of perpetual bondage. Jesus had perfectly accomplished His service to His Father at the end of His life on earth. In Psalm 40 His "ears were digged" (that is, a body prepared, which is the position of obedience: compare Philippians 2). This is the incarnation. Now His service was finished in His life on earth as man, but He loved us too much-He loved His Father too much in the character of servant-to give it up; and at His death His ear, according to Exodus 21, was bored, and He became servant for ever-a man for ever-now to wash our feet; hereafter in heaven, when He shall take us to Himself according to the passage we are considering. What a glorious picture of the love of Christ.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 261It is blessed to see here how, let evil in man be what it may, it after all leads to the accomplishment of the counsels of His grace. The unbelief of man drove back divine love into the heart of Christ, unweakened surely, but unable to flow forth and express itself; but its full effect on the cross made it flow forth unhindered, in grace that reigns through righteousness, to the vilest. It is a singularly interesting and blessed passage.
[b] Let us here, in a note, sum up the contents of these two chapters, that we may better understand the instruction they contain. In the first (12) the Lord speaks, in order to detach the thoughts of all from this world-to the disciples, by directing them to Him who had power over the soul as well as the body, and encouraging them with the knowledge of their Father's faithful care, and His purposes to give them the kingdom; meanwhile they were to be strangers and pilgrims, without anxiety as to all that happened around them-to the multitude, by shewing them that the most prosperous man could not secure one day of life. But He adds something positive. His disciples were to expect Him from day to day, constantly. Not only should heaven be their portion, but there they should possess all things. They shall sit at meat, and He Will Himself serve them. This is the heavenly portion of the church at the Lord's return. In service until He comes-service that requires incessant watchfulness; it will then be His turn to serve them. We next have their inheritance, and the judgment of the professing church and of the world. His teaching produced division, instead of establishing the kingdom in power. But He must die. This leads to another subject-the present judgment of the Jews. They were on the road, with God, towards judgment (chap. 13). The government of God would not manifest itself by distinguishing the wicked in Israel through partial judgments. All should perish, unless they repented. The Lord was cultivating the fig-tree for the final year; if the people of God did not bring forth fruit, it spoilt His garden. To make a pretence of the law in opposition to a God present with them (even He who had given them the law) was hypocrisy. The kingdom was not to be established by the manifestation on earth of the King's power. It should grow from a little seed until it became an immense system of power in the earth, and a doctrine which, as a system, should penetrate the whole mass. On inquiry being made whether the remnant was numerous, He insists upon entrance by the narrow gate of conversion, and of faith in Himself; for many would seek to enter into the kingdom and not be able: when once the Master of the house had risen up and shut the door (that is, Christ being rejected of Israel), in vain should they say that He had been in their cities. Workers of iniquity should not enter into the kingdom. The Lord is speaking here entirely of the Jews. They shall see the patriarchs, the prophets-Gentiles even from all parts-in the kingdom, and themselves outside. Nevertheless the accomplishment of the rejection of Christ did not depend on the will of man, of the false king who sought, by the Pharisees' account, to get rid of Him. The purposes of God, and alas! the iniquity of man, were fulfilled together. Jerusalem was to fill up the measure of her iniquity. It could not be that a prophet should perish except at Jerusalem. But then the putting man to the proof in his responsibility closes in the rejection of Jesus. He speaks, in touching and magnificent language, as Jehovah Himself. How many times this God of goodness would have gathered the children of Zion under His wings, and they would not! As far as depended on the will of man, it was complete separation and desolation. And in fact it was so. All was over now for Israel with Jehovah, but not for Jehovah with Israel. It was the prophet's part to reckon on the faithfulness of his God and-assured that this could not fail, and that, if judgments came, it would only be for a time-to say, "How long?" (Isaiah 6: 11; Psalm 79: 5). Distress is complete when there is no faith, no one to say, "How long?" (Psalm 74: 9). But here the great Prophet Himself is rejected. Nevertheless asserting His rights of grace, as Jehovah, He declares to them, unasked, the end of their desolation. "Ye shall not see me until ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." This sudden manifestation of the rights of His divinity, and of His divinity itself, in grace, when as to their responsibility all was lost in spite of His gracious culture, is surpassingly beautiful. It is God Himself who appears at the end of all His dealings. We see from this recapitulation that chapter 12 gives us the heavenly portion of the church, heaven, and the life to come; chapter 13 adding to it (with verses 54-59 of chapter 17) the government of Israel and of the earth, with the outward form of that which should replace it here below.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 264Chapters 15 and 16 present the sovereign energy of grace, its fruits, and its consequences, in contrast with all apparent earthly blessing, and God's government on earth in Israel, and the old covenant. The fourteenth, before entering on that full revelation, shews us the place to be taken in such a world as this, in view of the distributive justice of God, of the judgment He will execute when He comes. Self-exaltation in this world leads to humiliation. Self-humiliation-taking the lowest place according to what we are, on the one side, and, on the other, to act in love-leads to exaltation on the part of Him who judges morally. After this we have set before us, the responsibility that flows from the presentation of grace; and that which it costs in a world like this. In a word, sin existing there, to exalt oneself is ministering to it; it is selfishness, and the love of the world in which it unfolds itself. One sinks morally. It is being far from God morally. When love acts, It is representing God to the men of this world. Nevertheless it is at the cost of all things that we become His disciples.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 268See page 240.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 274The case of the blind man at Jericho is, as already noted, the beginning (in all the synoptical Gospels) of the last events of Christ's life.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 275In Luke the coming to Jericho is stated as a general fact, in contrast with His general journey which is in view from chapter 9: 51. In point of fact it was on going out of Jericho He saw the blind man. The general fact is all we have here, to give the whole history, Zacchaeus and all, Its moral place.
[b] I doubt not that Zacchaeus sets before Jesus that which he did habitually, before the Lord came to him. Nevertheless salvation came that day to his house.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 282There are elements of the profoundest interest which appear in comparing this Gospel with others in this place; and elements which bring out the character of this Gospel in the most striking way. In Gethsemane we have the Lord's conflict brought out more fully in Luke than anywhere; but on the cross we have His superiority to the sufferings He was in. There is no expression of them: He is above them. It is not, as in John, the divine side of the picture. There in Gethsemane we have no agony, but when He names Himself, they go backward and fall to the ground. On the cross, no "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" but He delivers up His own spirit to God. This is not so in Luke. In Gethsemane we have the Man of sorrows, a man feeling in all its depths what was before Him, and looking to His Father. "Being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly." On the cross we have One who as man has bowed to His Father's will, and is in the calmness of One who, in whatever sorrow and suffering, is above it all. He tells the weeping women to weep for themselves, not for Him, the green tree, for judgment was coming. He prays for those who were crucifying Him; He speaks peace and heavenly joy to the poor thief who was converted; He was going into Paradise before the kingdom came. The same is seen specially in the fact of His death. It is not, as in John, He gave up His spirit; but, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." He trusts His spirit in death, as a man who knows and believes in God His Father, to Him whom He thus knew. In Matthew we have the forsaking of God and His sense of it. This character of the Gospel, revealing Christ distinctively as perfect Man, and the perfect Man, is full of the deepest interest. He passed through His sorrows with God, and then in perfect peacefulness was above them all; His trust in His Father perfect, even in death-a path not trodden by man hitherto, and never to be trodden by the saints. If Jordan overflowed all its banks at the time of harvest, the ark in the depths of it made it a passage dryshod into the inheritance of God's people.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 284It is most striking to see how Christ met, according to divine perfectness, every circumstance He was in. They only drew out the perfectness. He felt them all, was governed by none, but met them always Himself. This which was always true was wonderfully shewn here. He prays with the fullest sense of what was coming upon Him-the cup He had to drink-turns and warns them, and gently rebukes and excuses Peter, as if walking in Galilee, the flesh was weak; and then returns into yet deeper agony with His Father. Grace suited Him with Peter, agony in the presence of God; and He was grace with Peter-in agony at the thought of the cup.
[b] The word "hereafter," in the Authorised Version, should be "henceforth." That is, from this hour they would see Him no longer in humiliation, but as Son of man in power.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 285This wilful guilt of the Jews is strongly brought out in John's Gospel also, that is, their national guilt. Pilate treats them with contempt; and there it is they say, "We have no king but Caesar."
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 289Nothing can be more touching than the way in which He cultivates their confidence as that One they had known, the man, still a true man (though with a spiritual body) as He had been before! Handle me and see that it is I myself. Blessed be God, for ever a man, the same who has been known in living love in the midst of our weakness.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 293Psalm 22 is His appeal to God from the violence and wickedness of man to find Himself there forsaken and only sin in His sight, but perfect there. Christ suffered all from man-hostility, unrighteousness, desertion, denial, betrayal, and then, as trusting in god, forsaking. But what a spectacle, the one righteous Man who did put His trust in Him to have to declare, at the end of His life, openly to all, He was forsaken of God!
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 295The form of expression in Greek is very strong, as identifying completely the life with the light of men, as co-extensive propositions.
[b] It is not here my object to develop the manner in which the word meets the errors of the human mind; but, in fact, as it reveals truth on God's part, it also replies, in a remarkable way, to all the mistaken thoughts of man. With respect to the Lord's Person, the first verses of the chapter bear witness to it. Here the error, which made of the principle of darkness a second god in equal conflict with the good Creator, is refuted by the simple testimony that the life was the light, and the darkness a moral condition, without power, and negative, in the midst of which this life was manifested in light. If we have the truth itself, we have no need to be acquainted with error. The voice of the Good Shepherd known, we are sure that none other is of Him. But, in fact, the possession of the truth, as revealed in the scripture, is an answer to all the errors into which man has fallen, innumerable as they are.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 296Sons in Paul's writings is the place Christians have in connection with God into which Christ has brought them by redemption, that is, His own relative place with God according to His counsels. Children is that they are of the Father's family. (Both are found in Romans 8: 14-16, and the force of both may there be seen. We cry Father, so are children, but by the Spirit we take up the place of grown up sons with Christ before God.) Up to the end of verse 13, we have abstractedly what Christ intrinsically was and from eternity, and what man was-darkness. This first to the end of verse 5. Then God's dealings John's place and service; then the Light came, came into the world He had made, and it did not know Him, to His own, the Jews, and they would not have Him. But there were those, born of God, who had authority to take the place of children, a new race.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 297It is indeed the source of all blessing; but the condition of man was such, that without His death no one would have had any part in the blessing. Unless the corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 298Indeed it told what man ought to be, not what man or anything actually was, and this is properly truth.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 299It will be observed that the chapter is thus divided: 1-18 (this part is subdivided into 1-5, 6-13, 14-18), 19-28, 29-34 (sub-divided into 29-31, 32-34), 35 to the end. These last verses are subdivided into 35-42, and 42 to the end. That is, first, what Christ is abstractedly and intrinsically-John's testimony to Him as light; when come, what He is personally in the world-John, only forerunner of Jehovah, witness of Christ's excellency; the work of Christ (Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, He baptises with the Holy Ghost, and is Son of God); John gathers to Him; He gathers to Himself. This goes on till the upright remnant of Israel own Him Son of God, King of Israel; then He takes the larger character of Son of Man.
All the personal characters of Christ, so to speak, are found here and His work, but not His relative characters, not Christ, not Priest, not Head of the assembly His body; but Word, Son of God, Lamb of God, Baptiser with the Holy Ghost; and, according to Psalm 2, Son of God, King of Israel; and Son of man, according to Psalm 8, whom the angels serve; God withal, life, and the light of men.
[b] The strictly abstract statement ends in verse 5, and goes by itself. The reception of Christ as come into the world as light introduces John. We are no longer in what is strictly abstract; though not developing the object-what the Word became-it is historical as to the reception of the light, and thus shews what man was, and what he is by grace as born of God, in respect of the object.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 300As the flood, law, grace. There was a paradise of innocence, then a world of sin, by-and-by a kingdom of righteousness, finally a world (new heavens and new earth) wherein dwelleth righteousness. But it is everlasting righteousness, and founded on that work of the Lamb of God which can never lose its value. It is an immutable state of things. The church or assembly is something above and apart from all this, though revealed in it.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 301Note, it is not on his public testimony, but on the expression of his heart addressed to no one, which they heard.
[b] A principle of the deepest interest to us, as the effect of grace. In receiving Jesus we receive all that He is; notwithstanding that at the moment we may only perceive in Him that which is the least exalted part of His glory.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 302These verses 38 and 43 take in the two characters in which we have to do with Christ. He receives them and they abide with Him, and He calls upon them to follow Him. We have no world where we can abide, no centre in it which gathers round itself those rightly disposed by grace. No prophet, no servant of God could. Christ is the one centre of gathering in the world. Then following supposes that we are not in God's rest. In Eden no following was called for. In heaven there will be none. It is perfect joy and rest where we are. In Christ we have a divine object, giving us a clear path through a world in which we cannot rest with God, for sin is there.
[b] Not "hereafter.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 303Except what concerns the assembly and Israel. Here, He is not High Priest, He is not Head of the body, He is not revealed as the Christ. John does not give what shews man in heaven, but God in man on earth-not what is heavenly as gone up, but what is divine here. Israel is looked on all through as rejected. The disciples own Him as the Christ, but He is not so proclaimed.
[b] Here He is seen as the Son of God in this world; in verse 14, He is in the glory of an only Son with His Father; and verse 18, He is so in the bosom of His Father.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 304Remark here, that Jesus accepts the place of that centre round which souls are to be gathered-a very important principle. None else could hold this place. It was a divine one. The world was all wrong, without God, and a new gathering out of it was to be made round Him. Next, He furnishes the path in which man was to walk-"Follow me." Adam in paradise needed no path. Christ gives a divinely ordered one, in a world where of itself there could not be a right one, for its whole condition was the fruit of sin. Thirdly, He reveals man in His Person as the glorious Head over all, whom the highest creatures serve.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 305Observe, that the state of man is here manifested fully and thoroughly. Supposing him to be outwardly righteous according to the law, and to believe in Jesus according to sincere natural convictions, he clothes himself with this, in order to hide from himself what he really is. He does not know himself at all. What he is remains untouched. And he is a sinner. But this leads us to another observation. There are two great principles from Paradise itself-responsibility and life. Man can never disentangle them, till he learns that he is lost, and that no good exists in him. Then he is glad to know that there is a source of life and pardon outside himself. It is this which is shewn us here. There must be a new life; Jesus does not instruct a nature which is only sin. These two principles run through scripture in a remarkable way: first, as stated, in Paradise, responsibility and life in power. Man took of one tree, failing in responsibility, and forfeited life. The law gave the measure of responsibility when good and evil were known, and promised life on the ground of doing what it required, satisfying responsibility. Christ comes, meets the need of man's failure in responsibility, and is, and gives, eternal life. Thus, and thus only, can the question be met, and the two principles reconciled.
Moreover two things are presented in Him to reveal God. He knows man, and all men. What a knowledge in this world! A prophet knows that which is revealed to him; he has, in that case, divine knowledge. But Jesus knows all men in an absolute way. He is God. But when once He has introduced life in grace, He speaks of another thing; He speaks that which He knows, and testifies that which He has seen. Now He knows God His Father in heaven. He is the Son of man who is in heaven. He knows man divinely; but He knows God and all His glory divinely also.
What a magnificent picture, or, rather should I say, revelation, of that which He is for us! For it is here as man that He tells us this; and also, in order that we may enter into it and enjoy it, He becomes the sacrifice for sin according to the eternal love of God His Father.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 307That is, as it was then come. They saw the carpenter's Son. In glory, of course, every eye on earth shall see it.
[b] Observe here that baptism, instead of being the sign of the gift of life, is the sign of death. We are baptised to His death. In coming up out of the water, we begin a new life in resurrection (all that belonged to the natural man being reckoned to be dead in Christ, and passed away for ever). "Ye are dead"; and "he that is dead is freed [justified] from sin." But we live also and have a good conscience by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thus Peter compares baptism to the deluge, through which Noah was saved, but which destroyed the old world, that had, as it were, a new life when it emerged from the flood.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 309On the cross, Christ is not on the earth, but lifted up from it, rejected ignominiously by man, but withal through this presented as a victim on the altar to God.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 311The question presents itself naturally, where John's testimony closes and the evangelist's begins. The last two verses, I apprehend, are the evangelist's.
[b] Observe here, that the Lord-while not concealing (v. 11-13) the character of His testimony, as indeed He could not-speaks of the necessity of His death, and of the love of God. John speaks of the glory of His Person. Jesus magnifies His Father by submitting to the necessity which the condition of men imposed on Him, if He would bring them into a new relationship with God. "God," said He, "hath so loved." John magnifies Jesus. All is perfect and in place. There are four points in that which is said with regard to Jesus: His supremacy; His testimony-this is the Baptist's testimony to Him. What follows (v. 35, 36)-His having all things given to Him by the Father who loved Him, life everlasting in contrast with the wrath that is the portion of the unbeliever from God-is rather the new revelation; the purpose of God giving all things to Him, and His being Himself eternal life come down from heaven, is that of John the evangelist.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 313Note, too, here, that it is not as with Israel in the wilderness that there was water from the smitten rock to drink. Here the promise is of a well of water springing up unto everlasting life in ourselves.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 316It will be found in John's writings that, when responsibility is spoken of, God is the word used; when grace to us, the Father and the Son. When indeed it is goodness (God's character in Christ) towards the world, then God is spoken of.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 321Christ brings the strength with Him which the law requires in man himself to profit by it.
[b] The Sabbath is introduced, whatever new institution or arrangement is established under the law. And in truth, a part in the rest of God is, in certain aspects, the highest of our privileges (see Heb. 4). The Sabbath was the close of the first or this creation, and will be so when fulfilled. Our rest is in the new one, and that not in the first man's creation state but risen, Christ the second Man being its beginning and head. Hence the first day of the week.
[b] God's Sabbath is a Sabbath of love and holiness.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 323Remark how full the bearing of this is. If they do not come into judgment to settle their state, as man would put it, they are shewn to be wholly dead in sin. Grace in Christ does not contemplate an uncertain state which judgment will determine. It gives life and secures from judgment. But while He judges as Son of man according to the deeds done in the body, He shews us here that all were dead in sin to begin with.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 326The direct application of this is to the remnant; but then, as hinted in the text, we, as to our path on earth, are, so to speak, the continuation of that remnant, and Christ is on high for us, while we are on the waves below. The subsequent part of the chapter, of the bread of life, is properly for us. The world, not Israel, is in question. Indeed though Christ is Aaron within the veil for Israel, while He is there the saints have properly their heavenly character.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 327In John, the Jews are always distinguished from the multitude. They are the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea. It would, perhaps, be easier to understand this Gospel, if the words were rendered "those of Judea," which is the true sense.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 329This truth is of vast importance as regards the sacramental question. Sacraments are declared by the Puseyite school to be the continuation of the incarnation. This is in every respect error, and, in truth, a denial of the faith. Both sacraments signify death. We are baptised to Christ's death; and the Lord's supper is confessedly emblematic of His death. I say "denial of the faith"; because, as the Lord shews, if they do not eat His flesh and blood, they have no life in them. As incarnate Christ is alone. His presence in flesh on earth shewed that God and sinful men could not be united. His presence as man in the world resulted in His rejection-proved the impossibility of union or fruit on that ground. Redemption must come in, His blood be shed, Himself lifted up from the earth, and so draw men to Him: death must come in, or He abode alone. They could not eat the bread unless they ate the flesh and drank the blood. A meat-offering without a bloody offering was null, or rather a Cain offering. Further, the Lord's supper presents a dead Christ, and a dead Christ only-the blood apart from the body. No such Christ exists; and therefore transubstantiation and consubstantiation and all such thoughts are a blundering fable. We are united to a glorified Christ by the Holy Ghost; and we celebrate that most precious death upon which all our blessing is founded, through which we got there. We do it in remembrance of Him, and in our hearts feed on Him, so given, and shedding His blood.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 330Abiding imports constancy of dependence, confidence, and living by the life in which Christ lives. "Dwelling" and "abiding," though the word be changed in English, are the same in the original: so in chapter 15 and elsewhere.
[b] It may be well to note that in the Greek in this passage, in verses 51 and 53, eating is in the aorist tense-whosoever has done so. In verses 54, 56 and 57, it is the present tense-a present continuous action.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 331The harvest is discriminating judgment, there are tares and wheat. The winepress is the destructive judgment of vengeance. In the former there will be two in one bed, one taken and another left, but the winepress is simple wrath, as Isaiah 63. So in Revelation 14.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 333This glory, however, is only supposed, not taught. He cannot be at the feast of tabernacles, Israel's rest, nor shew Himself, as He will then, to the world; but gives the Holy Ghost instead. This we know supposes His present position, just referred to in chapter 6.
[b] The doctrine of chapter 9 continues to the 30th verse of chapter 10.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 338Chapter 8 is practically chapter 1: 5; only that there is, besides that, enmity, hostility against Him who was light.
[b] This distinction of grace and responsibility (in connection with the names Father and Son, and God) has been already noticed. See page 316.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 342Love and obedience are the governing principles of divine life. This is unfolded in the First Epistle of John as to ourselves. Another mark of it in the creature is dependence, and this was fully manifested in Jesus as man.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 343See note on next page.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 344The words catcheth and pluck in verses 12, 28 and 29 are the same in the original.
[b] It is very striking to see the Lord in the lowliness of obedient service, allowing evil to have its full way in man's failure (death) and Satan's power, till His Father's will called Him to meet it. Then no danger hinders, and then He is the resurrection and the life in personal presence and power, and then giving Himself-being such, up to death for us.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 345Christ took human life in grace and sinless; and as alive in this life He took sin upon Him. Sin belongs, so to speak, to this life in which Christ knew no sin, but was made sin for us. But He dies-He quits this life. He is dead to sin; He has done with sin in having done with the life to which sin belonged, not in Him indeed but in us, and alive in which He was made sin for us. Raised up again by the power of God, He lives in a new condition, into which sin cannot enter, being left behind with the life that He left. Faith brings us into it by grace.
It has been pretended that these thoughts affect the divine and eternal life which was in Christ. But this is all idle and evil cavil. Even in an unconverted sinner, dying or laying down life has nothing to do with ceasing to exist as to the life of the man within. All live to God, and divine life in Christ never could cease or be changed. He never laid that down, but in the power of that, laid down His life as He possessed it here as man, to take it up in an entirely new way in resurrection beyond the grave. The cavil is a very evil cavil. In this edition I have changed nothing in this note, but have added a few words in the hope that it may be clear to all. The doctrine itself is vital truth. In the text I have erased or altered a part for another reason, namely, that there was confusion between the divine power of life in Christ, and God's raising Him viewed as a dead man from the grave. Both are true and blessedly so, but they are different and were here confounded together. In Ephesians Christ as man is raised by God. In John it is the divine and quickening power in Himself.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 346Resurrection has a double character: divine power, which He could exercise and did exercise as to Himself (chap. 2:19), and here as to Lazarus, both the proof of divine sonship; and the deliverance of a dead man from his state of death. Thus God raised Christ from the dead, so here Christ raises Lazarus. In Christ's resurrection both were united in His own Person. Here, of course, they were separate. But Christ has life in Himself and that in divine power. But He laid down His life in grace. We are quickened together with Him in Ephesians 2. But it seems avoided saying, He was quickened, when speaking of Him alone in chapter 1.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 347The cavil I have referred to in the note to page 345 sanctions (most unwittingly, I gladly admit) the pestiferous doctrine of annihilation, as if laying down life, or death, that is the end of natural life, were ceasing to exist. I notice it, because this form of evil doctrine is one very current now. It subverts the whole substance of Christianity.
[b] Observe the sense which the apostle had of the power of this life, when he says, "That mortality might be swallowed up of life." Consider, in this point of view, the first five chapters of 2 Corinthians.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 350I speak only of the power needed to produce this effect; for in truth, the sinful condition of man, whether Jew or Gentile, required expiation; and there would have been no saints to call out from among the dead, if the grace of God had not acted by virtue, and in view, of that expiation. I speak merely of the power that dwelt in the Person of Christ, that overcame all the power of death, which could do nothing against the Son of God. But man's condition, which made the death of Christ necessary, was only demonstrated by His rejection, which proved that all means were unavailing to bring back man, as he was, to God.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 351In this Gospel the occasion of the assembling of the crowd to meet and to accompany Jesus, was the raising of Lazarus-the testimony to His being Son of God.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 352Greeks properly speaking: not Hellenists, that is, Jews who spoke the Greek language, and belonged to foreign countries, being of the dispersion.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 354Resurrection follows the condition of Christ. Lazarus was raised while Christ was living here in the flesh, and Lazarus is raised to life in the flesh. When Christ in glory raises us, He will raise us in glory. And even now that Christ is hid in God, our life is hid with Him there.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 356It is not blood here. That assuredly there must be. He came not by water only, but by water and blood; but here the washing is in every respect that of water. The washing from sins in His own blood is never repeated at all in any way. Christ must have suffered often in that case. See Hebrews 9 and 10. In respect of imputation, there is no more conscience of sins.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 357The Lord in becoming a man took on Him the form of a servant (Phil. 2). This He never gives up. It might have been thought so when He went into glory, but He is shewing here that it is not so. He is now as in Exodus 21 saying, I love my master, I love my wife, I love my children; I will not go out free; and becoming a servant for ever, even if He could have had twelve legions of angels. Here He is a servant to wash their feet, defiled in passing through this world. In Luke 12 we see that He keeps the place of service in glory. It is a sweet thought that even there He ministers heaven's best blessedness to our happiness.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 358On the other hand, Peter died for the Lord. John was left to care for the assembly: it does not appear that he became a martyr.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 367Note, this is individual, not the union of the members of the body with Christ; nor is union indeed an exact term for it. We are in Him. This is more than union, but not the same thing. It is nature and life, and position in it, our place in that nature and life. When He was on earth, and they had not the Holy Ghost, they should have known that He was in the Father and the Father in Him. When He was in heaven, and they had the Holy Ghost, they would know they were in Him and He in them.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 371This is blessedly true in every respect, except of course essential Godhead and oneness with the Father: in this He remains divinely alone. But all He has as man, and as Son in manhood, He introduces into, "My Father and your Father, my God and your God." His peace, His joy, the words the Father gave to Him, He has given to us; the glory given to Him He has given to us; with the love wherewith the Father has loved Him we are loved. The counsels of God were not merely to meet our responsibility as children of Adam, but before the world to put us into the same position with the second Adam, His own Son. And Christ's work has made that to be righteousness.
[b] Chapter 14 gives to us the Son's personal relationship with the Father, and our place in Him who is in it, known by the Holy Ghost given. In chapter 15 we have His place and standing on earth, the true Vine, and then His state of glory as exalted and sending the Comforter to reveal that.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 373Compare, for this substitution of Christ for Israel, Isaiah 49. He began Israel over again in blessing, as He did man.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 375There are the three exhortations: Abide in me; If ye abide in Me and My words abide in you ye shall ask what ye will; Abide in My love.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 376Some have thought that this means the joy of Christ in the faithful walk of a disciple: I do not think so. It is the joy He had down here, just as He left us His own peace, and will give us His own glory.
[b] He does not say "loveth me," but "hath loved me"; that is, He does not speak merely of the eternal love of the Father for the Son, but of the Father's love displayed towards Him in His humanity here on earth.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 377By choosing them and setting them apart to enjoy together this relationship with Him outside the world, He had put them in a position of which mutual love was the natural consequence; and, in fact, the sense of this position and love go together.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 378Remark, that His word and His works are here again referred to.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 380Observe here the practical development, with respect to life, of this most deeply interesting subject, in 1 John 1 and 2. The eternal life which was with the Father had been manifested (for in Him, in the Son, was life, He was also the Word of life, and God was light. Compare John 1). They were to keep His commandments (chap. 2: 3-5). It was an old commandment which they had had from the beginning-that is, from Jesus on earth, from Him whom their hands had handled. But now this commandment was true in Him and in them: that is to say, this life of love (of which these commandments were the expression) as well as that of righteousness reproduced itself in them, by virtue of their union with Him, through the Holy Ghost, according to John 14: 20. They also abode in Jesus (1 John 2: 6). In John 1 we find the Son who is in the bosom of the Father, who declares Him. He reveals Him as He has thus known Him-as that which the Father was to Himself. And He has brought this love (of which He was the object) down into the bosom of humanity, and placed it in the heart of His disciples (see chapter 17: 26); and this is known now in perfection by God dwelling in us, and His love being perfect in us, while we dwell in brotherly love (1 John 4: 12; compare John 1: 18). The manifestation of our having been thus loved will consist in our appearing in the same glory as Christ (chap. 17: 22, 23). Christ manifests this love by coming from the Father. His commandments teach it us; the life which we have in Him reproduces it. His precepts give form to this life, and guide it through the ways of the flesh, and the temptations in the midst of which He, without sin, lived by this life. The Holy Ghost is its strength, as being the mighty and living link with Him, and He by whom we are consciously in Him and He in us. (Union, as the body to the Head, is another thing, which is never the subject of John's teaching.) Of His fulness we receive grace upon grace. Therefore it is that we ought to walk as He walked (not to be what He was); for we ought not to walk in the flesh, although it is in us and was not in Him.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 383Man is judged for what he has done; he is lost by what he is.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 389The more we examine the Gospel of John, the more we shall see One who speaks and acts as a divine Person-one with the Father-alone could do, but yet always as One who had taken the place of a servant, and takes nothing to Himself, but receives all from His Father. "I have glorified thee": "now glorify me." What language of equality of nature and love! but He does not say, And now I will glorify myself. He has taken the place of man to receive all, though it be a glory He had with the Father before the world was. This is of exquisite beauty. I add, it was out of this the enemy sought to seduce Him, in vain, in the wilderness.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 394There are three unities spoken of. First of the disciples, "as we are," unity by the power of one Spirit in thought, purpose, mind, service, the Holy Ghost making them all one, their path in common, the expression of His mind and power, and of nothing else. Then, of those who should believe through their means, unity in communion with the Father and the Son, "one in us"-still by the Holy Ghost but, as brought into that, as already said above, as in 1 John 1: 3. Then unity in glory, "perfect in one," in manifestation and descending revelation, the Father in the Son, and the Son in all of them. The second was for the world's believing, the third for its knowing. The two first were literally accomplished according to the terms in which they are expressed. How far believers are departed from them since need not be said.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 395This answers to Moses and Elias entering into the cloud, besides their display in the same glory as Christ, standing on the mountain.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 399It is said that their Jewish traditions forbade their putting any one to death during the great feasts. It is possible that this may have influenced the Jews; but however that might be, the purposes of God were thus accomplished. At other times the Jews were not so prompt in submitting to the Roman exigencies that deprived them of the right of life and death.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 403This is the force of the expression; which is quite different from the word translated expired. We learn from Luke 23: 46 that He did this when He had said, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." But in John, the Holy Ghost is setting forth even His death as the result of a voluntary act, giving up His spirit, and not saying to whom He committed (as man with absolute and perfect faith) His human spirit, His soul, in dying. It is His divine competency that is here shewn, and not His trust in His Father. The word is never used in this way but in this passage as to Christ, in either the New Testament or the LXX.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 405"Seven demons." This represents the complete possession of this poor woman by the unclean spirits to whom she was a prey. It is the expression of the real state of the Jewish people.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 406It is impossible to me, in giving great principles for the help of those who seek to understand the word, to develop all that is so deeply touching and interesting in this twentieth chapter, on which I have often pondered with (through grace) an ever-growing interest. This revelation of the Lord to the poor woman who could not do without her Saviour, has a touching beauty, which every detail enhances. But there is one point of view to which I cannot but call the reader's attention. There are four conditions of soul presented here which, taken together, are very instructive, and each in the case of a believer:-
1st. John and Peter, who see and believe, are really believers; but they do not see in Christ the only centre of all the thoughts of God, for His glory, for the world, for souls. Neither is He so for their affections, although they are believers. Having found that He was risen, they do without Him. Mary, who did not know this, who was even culpably ignorant, could nevertheless not do without Jesus. She must possess Himself. Peter and John go to their home; this is the centre of their interests. They believe indeed, but self and home suffice them.
2nd. Thomas believes, and acknowledges with true orthodox faith, on incontestable proofs, that Jesus is his Lord and his God. He truly believes for himself. He has not the communications of the efficacy of the Lord's work, and of the relationship with His Father into which Jesus brings His own, the assembly. He has peace perhaps, but he has missed all the revelation of the assembly's position. How many souls-saved souls even-are there in these two conditions!
3rd. Mary Magdalene is ignorant in the extreme. She does not know that Christ is risen. She has so little right sense of His being Lord and God, that she thinks some one might have taken away His body. But Christ is her all, the need of her soul, the only desire of her heart. Without Him she has no home, no Lord, no anything. Now to this need Jesus answers; it indicates the work of the Holy Ghost. He calls His sheep by her name, shews Himself to her first of all, teaches her that His presence was not now to be a Jewish bodily return to earth, that He must ascend to His Father, that the disciples were now His brethren, and that they were placed in the same position as Himself with His God and His Father-as Himself, the risen Man, ascended to His God and Father. All the glory of the new individual position is opened to her.
4th. This gathers the disciples together. Jesus then brings them the peace which He has made, and they have the full joy of a present Saviour who brings it them. He makes this peace (possessed by them in virtue of His work and His victory) their starting-point, sends them as the Father had sent Him, and imparts to them the Holy Ghost as the breath and power of life, that they may be able to bear that peace to others.
These are the communications of the efficacy of His work, as He had given to Mary that of the relationship to the Father which resulted from it. The whole is the answer to Mary's attachment to Christ, or what resulted from it. If through grace there is affection, the answer will assuredly be granted. It is the truth which flows from the work of Christ. No other state than that which Christ here presents is in accordance with what He has done, and with the Father's love. He cannot, by His work, place us in any other.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 408Compare Romans 4-8 and Colossians 2 and 3. Resurrection was the power of life which brought them out of the dominion of sin, that had its end in death, and that was condemned in the death of Jesus, and they dead to it, but not condemned by it, sin having been condemned in His death. This is a question, not of guilt, but of state. Our guilt, blessed be God, was put away too. But here we die with Christ, and resurrection presents us (Romans, as quoted, unfolds the side of death; Colossians adds resurrection. Romans is death to sin, Colossians to the world) living before God in a life in which Jesus-and we by Him-appeared in His presence according to the perfection of divine righteousness. But this supposed His work also.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 414Thus we have in the ministerial life, and in the teaching, of Peter and John, the whole religious earthly history from the beginning to the end; commencing with the Jews in continuation of the relations of Christ with them, traversing the whole christian epoch, and finding itself again, after the close of the earthly history of the assembly, on the ground of God's relationship to the world (comprising the Jewish remnant) in view of the introduction of the First-born into the world (the last glorious event terminating the history which began with His rejection).
Paul is on very different ground. He sees the assembly, as the body of Christ, united to Him in heaven.
Synopsis of Matthew - John, page 415John presents the Father manifested in the Son, God declared by the Son in the bosom of the Father, and that withal as eternal life-God to us, and life. Paul is employed to reveal our presentation to God in Him. Though each alludes in passing to the other point, one is characterised by the presentation of God to us, and eternal life given, the other, by our presentation to God.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 1It is a sorrowful but instructive thing to see, in the last division of the book, how the spiritual energy of a Paul closes, as to its effect in work, in the shadow of a prison. Yet we see the wisdom of God in it. The boasted apostolicism of Rome never had an apostle but as a prisoner; and Christianity, as the Epistle to the Romans testifies, was already planted there.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 2The mission given in Luke 24 is the one fulfilled both in Peter's and Paul's discourses in the Acts, but especially in chapters 2 and 13, not that of Matthew 28 which, indeed, was only to Gentiles. Luke's was on His ascension from Bethany, Matthew's in resurrection from Galilee, where He had sought the poor of the flock (compare Matt. 4: 15).
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 3In this sense it is not a continuation of Christ's mission on the earth, continued in the Matthew mission from Galilee.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 4The rationalistic notion that it was a kind of excited gibberish, just as the unbelieving Jews thought, is absurd beyond conception. Think of Paul's thanking God that he spoke more kinds of gibberish than they all, and God giving a gift for interpreting gibberish!
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 5The testimony is in terms which, applying to Jews there and scattered abroad, yet opened the door to the Gentiles in the sovereignty of God-"all that are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call." God is still the God of man; but He calls whom He pleases.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 7This is the force of "those that were to be saved," v. 47.
[b] God never dwelt with man but on the ground of redemption, not with Adam nor Abraham. Compare Exodus 29: 46.
[c] It is striking to see the counsels of God and their accomplishment in grace, as far as they were now being fulfilled, so clearly distinguished from the responsibility of those with whom God was dealing. In chapter 2 Peter says, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." God was gathering, according to His own knowledge of what was coming. In chapter 3 he says, "God hath sent him to bless you in turning every one of you away from his iniquities." So He had, and patience still waited, though God acted in present grace according to the result known to Himself: 80 in Jeremiah often. Had they repented, God would surely have turned from judgment, as stated also in Jeremiah.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 8Not "when." There is no pretence for so translating it.
[b] This refers to the time of His life on the earth, though on His intercession there was a renewal of the mercy in testimony to a glorified Christ, who would return on their repentance.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 15He is the expression of the power of the Holy Ghost witnessing to Christ glorified, who had been now thus presented to Israel, who had already rejected Him in humiliation. From the fall to the flood, man, though not left without witness, was otherwise left to himself. There were no special ways and institutions of God. The result was the flood, to cleanse, so to speak, the earth from its horrible pollution and violence. In the new world God began to deal with man. Government was set up in Noah. But in Abraham one was, by electing grace, called out, and God's promises given to him when the world had turned to demons. This began the history of God's people, but the question of righteousness was not raised. This the law did, claiming it from man. Then prophets came in patient grace. Then, the last appeal of God for fruits, and testimony of grace, the Son was sent. He was now rejected, and on His intercession the Holy Ghost had witnessed to His glory by Peter (Acts 3) for their repentance, and now dealt with them as to it by Stephen.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 16Observe, too, here, that however long the patience of God had lasted, repentance not being its result, the first sin, the first departure from God, bears its penalty at the end.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 18The Holy Ghost opens heaven to our view, and enables us to contemplate that which is found there; and forms us on earth according to the character of Jesus. As to the change that took place in the progress of God's dealings, it appears to me that it was the realisation by the Spirit of the effect of the veil being rent. Jesus is seen still standing; because, until the rejection by Israel of the testimony of the Holy Ghost, He did not definitely sit down, waiting for the judgment of His enemies. Rather He remained, in the position of High Priest, standing; the believer with Him on high by the Spirit, and the soul having thus far joined Him there in heaven; for now, by the blood of Christ, by that new and living way, it could enter within the veil. On the other hand, the Jews having done the same thing with regard to the testimony of the Holy Ghost that they did with regard to Jesus, having (so to speak) in Stephen sent a messenger after Him to say, "We will not have this man to reign over us," Christ definitively takes His place, seated in heaven, until He shall judge the enemies who would not that He should reign over them. It is in this last position that He is viewed in the Epistle to the Hebrews; in which consequently they are exhorted to come out of the camp of Israel, following after the victim whose blood had been carried into the sanctuary; thus anticipating the judgment, which fell upon Jerusalem intermediately by means of the Romans, in order to set the nation aside, as it will be finally executed by Jesus Himself. The position of Stephen therefore resembles that of Jesus, the testimony being that of the Spirit to Jesus glorified. This makes the great principle of the Epistle to the Hebrews very plain.
The doctrine of the church, announced by Paul after the revelation made to him on his way to Damascus, goes further than this; that is, it declares the union of Christians with Jesus in heaven, and not merely their entrance into the holy place through the rent veil, where the priest might only go in previously, behind the veil which hid God from the people.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 19We may remark here, that the sanctuary, so to speak, is open to all believers. The veil indeed was rent by the death of Christ, but the grace of God was still acting towards the Jews, as such, and proposed to them the return of Jesus to the earth; that is to say, outside the veil, in the event of their repentance, so that the blessing would then have been upon the earth-the times of refreshing by the coming of Christ, which the prophets had announced. But now it is no longer a Messiah, the Son of David, but a Son of man in heaven; and, by the Holy Ghost here below, an opened heaven is seen and known, and the great High Priest (standing as yet) at the right hand of God is not hidden behind a veil. All is open to the believer; the glory, and He who has entered into it for His people. And this, it appears to me, is the reason why He is seen standing. He had not definitely taken His place as seated (in perpetuity) on the heavenly throne, until the testimony of the Holy Ghost to Israel of His exaltation had been definitively rejected on earth. The free testimony of the Spirit which is developed, here and afterwards, is highly interesting, without touching apostolic authority in its place, as we shall see. As to the Jews, till the High Priest comes out, they cannot know that His work is accepted for the nation; as, in the day of atonement, they had to wait till he came out that they might know it. But for us the Holy Ghost is come out while He is within, and we know it.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 21This is no wise prevents the manifestation of the sovereign wisdom of God. The development of the doctrine of the assembly in its oneness, and as the body of Christ, was but so much the more perfect and unmixed, as we find it taught by Paul; who was called outside of Judaism by the revelation of a heavenly Christ. Neither do these ways of sovereign wisdom in God make any change at all in the responsibility of man. The outward unity of the assembly was also preserved by this means, by the connection kept up between the other places and Jerusalem, until the work among the Gentiles outside Judaism made these connections extremely difficult and precarious. This, however, rendered the grace and the wisdom of God but so much the more apparent.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 27This was, it would appear, later, but is noticed here to put him, so to speak, in his place among Christians.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 29If we examine closely the scriptures in its statements and facts, we shall find, I think, as to detail, that it is faith in the work of Jesus for the remission of sins which is sealed.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 30There is a question of the reading in chapter 9: 31, which does not however affect the general thought, that a local assembly, distinct from Jerusalem, composed primarily of Gentiles, was now formed.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 32The acting of the Spirit is always independent; but here I mean to express that it was outside the authority of the apostles. This authority is not the source of that which is done; nor does that which is done refer itself to it.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 34I do not know if the change of name pointed out on this occasion-the meaning of which has excited the curiosity of etymologists-is not simply an alteration by which its Jewish form was lost, in order to assume a Roman or Gentile aspect.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 35In Pisidia.
[b] Both, as we have seen, follow (in the main) the commission in Luke 24.
[c] Here Paul is placed before Barnabas; in the former chapter, Barnabas has the first place.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 45We see however, in the case of Lydda and Saron, what is more analogous to the introduction of a people. They heard of the miracle done to Aeneas; and the town and neighbourhood turned to the Lord. Saron is a district along the coast.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 49Literally whether the Holy Ghost was. The expression, which is the same as in John 7, is a very striking testimony to the distinctness and importance of the Holy Ghost's presence down here on earth. It is called "the Holy Ghost," though we all know He had ever been. But what is called the Holy Ghost, that is, His presence down here-this had never been.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 51Honorary magistrates from among the notables, who presided over the celebration of religious festivals.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 52It may perhaps interest the reader and help him to understand this part of the New Testament history, if I point out the time at which Paul wrote some of his epistles. He wrote the First to the Corinthians from Ephesus, and sent it by Titus. Timothy he sent by way of Macedonia. The latter might perhaps go into Greece; "If he come," the apostle says to the Corinthians. Then came the tumult, and just at this moment, or about the same time, his life was endangered; he did not even suppose that he should save it. He had purposed going by Greece into Macedonia, and then returning to Greece; but the state Corinth was in prevented it, and he went first into Macedonia. On his way he goes to Troas, but does not stay there; in Macedonia he is much exercised in mind, and has no rest, because Titus had not brought him tidings of the Corinthians. There, however, Titus found him, and the apostle was comforted in his trouble by the good news of the return of the Corinthians to a right mind. Upon this he writes the second letter to them, and, after having visited the assemblies, he pursues his journey to Corinth, whence he wrote his epistle to the Romans. I only speak here of that which relates to thus part of the apostle's history, and throws light upon his labours.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 54The reader must distinguish between the Lord's sufferings for sin from God in righteousness, and those which He endured from sinful men for righteousness' sake. We partake in the latter, while Christ has saved us from the former, in which there is no question at all of participation, but of His substitution for us when we have deserved the condemnation due to sin.
[b] See Ephesians 5: 24.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 56If Paul was ever set free and returned to these parts (not necessarily to Ephesus) as Philippians and Philemon and perhaps 2 Timothy would lead us to suppose, we have no scriptural account of it.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 61And this circumstance is worthy of note, that it was Christ's declaration that he should go to the Gentiles; to which we may add that this at the time was accompanied by the declaration, "Get thee quickly out of Jerusalem, for they will not receive thy testimony concerning Me." So that what declared his testimony was of no avail in Jerusalem was the occasion of his being seized. On Christ's word and his own shewing, his apostolic service was not there but elsewhere.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 62Mark 16: 20 is the only passage which may be supposed to allude to what would fulfil it; and even not so as such, for that and Colossians 1: 6 refer to all the world, and are founded on ascension, not a mission to the Gentiles only founded on resurrection.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 71It is hardly to be read "almost." Relieving himself, Agrippa says, "You'll soon be making a Christian of me," covering his feelings, as I have said, by a slighting speech. But I have no doubt his mind was greatly wrought upon.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 76In Romans in their personal position, in Ephesians in the corporate.
[b] The word "regeneration" is not applied in scripture to our being born again; it is a change of position in us connected with our having died with Him and resurrection. It is found twice; once in Matthew 19 it is Christ's coming kingdom; and in Titus it is the washing of baptism, as typically bringing out of the old Adam state and into the christian, but distinguished from the renewing of the Holy Ghost.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 78Paul's writings present man to God in and through Christ. John's Gospel presents God to man in Christ; the Epistles unfold divine life in Christ communicated to the believer; though Paul of course speaks of life, and John of man as in Christ before God. We must add for John's Gospel the coming of the Comforter. The reader will remark also that John's Gospel presents to us the new thing taking the place of Judaism, especially from chapter 4. Election runs all through it, very strongly expressed. The synoptical Gospels present Christ to the Jews, to man, to be received; but the world and the Jews are judged in John 1: 10, 11. From that, our grace and the elect remnant, the sheep alone, are recognised, and the Jews treated as reprobate.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 82After the introduction till the end of chapter 3 we find the evil, and the remedy which God has granted in the blood of Jesus Christ: and afterwards, in chapter 4, the resurrection of Christ (after being delivered for our offences) for our justification, and thus peace with God, our present standing in favour, and hope of glory, with all its blessed consequences in the love of God. Abraham and David, the great roots of promise, confirmed this principle of grace and justification without works. This part closes with chapter 5: 11, which divides the epistle into two distinct parts, as to its main doctrine of justification, and our standing before God. Of this farther on.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 83This, while the subject is sin in the flesh and death to it, involves the question of law-the means of discovering it when its spirituality is known.
[b] See what has just been said on the division at chapter 5: 11, and the fuller development of the division of the epistle farther on.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 84The heart and the conscience are both brought in. Law can shew man's guilt, and even, when spiritually known, man's ruined state, to the conscience; a sense of need proves that the heart also is brought into action.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 86This puts us, since it is for us, in connection with a holiness (as does the revelation of righteousness farther on, but there more openly) which implies connection with God as He is in Himself fully revealed-not like the Jews outside the veil.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 87It is not said "by His resurrection," but "by resurrection" abstractly. His own was the great proof, but that of every man is a proof likewise.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 88The reader must take notice that, in verses 1 and 7, it is not "called to be an apostle," nor "called to be saints," but apostle by call, saints by call. They were the thing declared, and they were so by the call of God. A Jew was not holy by call; he was born holy, relatively to the Gentiles. These were the called of Jesus Christ; but they were not simply called to be holy, they were so by call.
[b] The Epistle to Philemon might appear at first sight to be an exception; but it confirms this remark, for it will be seen that the assembly in his house is included in the wish. This makes the address of Jude the more remarkable. There is however a question of a various reading in Titus 1: 4.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 93How strikingly this also brings out what so breaks everywhere through the doctrine of this epistle that everything is according to its reality before God, God being revealed through Christ and the cross. All must take its true character and result according to what He was. Note moreover that the terms suppose gospel knowledge-"seek for glory, honour, and incorruptibility." These are known by Christianity.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 94Note here a very important principle, that there are positive advantages of position, where there is no intrinsic change. Compare chapter 11: 17, and 1 Corinthians 10.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 95Chapter 3: 21 reverts in fact to chapter 1: 17; what comes between is the demonstration of the ground of chapter 1: 18, which made the righteousness of verse 17 imperatively necessary.
[b] Remark here how, God being revealed, sin is measured by the glory of God. We are so used to read this that we overlook its force. How strange to say, "and come short of the glory of God!" Man might say, Why, of course we have; but, morally speaking, this has been revealed, and if one cannot stand before it, according to it, we cannot subsist before God at all. Of course it is not of His essential glory-all creatures are short of that, of course-but of that which was fitting for, according to, could stand in, His presence. If we cannot stand there, fitly "walk in the light as God is in the light," we cannot be with God at all. There is no veil now.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 96To shew how complete is this instruction of Paul's, I give here a summary of its elements. In itself it is the righteousness of God, without law, the law and the prophets bearing witness to it: as to its application, the righteousness of God by faith in Christ Jesus unto all, and upon all them that believe. Christ is proposed as the propitiatory by faith in His blood, to shew forth this righteousness by the remission of past sins (of the Abrahams, etc.) according to the forbearance of God; but to shew it forth in the present time, in order that He may be just, and justify those who believe in Jesus.
[b] See here again how God is brought out in Himself. Compare Matthew 15: 19-28.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 97The law is the perfect rule of right and wrong for every child of Adam in itself, though only given to the Jews. But it was not arbitrary. It took up all the relationships in which men stood, gave a perfect rule as to them, and the sanction of God's authority to them, with a penal sanction. But now we have something much higher, not what man ought to be, but God Himself glorified.
[b] Hence those who put Christians under law do not maintain its authority; for they hold them exempt from its curse, though they break it.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 99The careful reader of Paul's epistles must attend to the use of this word "for." In very many cases it does not express an inference, but turns to some collateral subject which, in the apostle's mind, would lead to the same conclusion, or some deeper general principle, which lay at the groundwork of the argument, enlarging the sphere of vision in things connected with it.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 100Lit. "apart from law," which had nothing to do with it.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 101Not that the body of course is yet renewed.
[b] I reject entirely the interpretation "because we have been justified." It is not the force of the Greek, and by excluding faith from our being justified contradicts the beginning of chapter 5.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 103The word is emphatic in the original, His own love, v. 8.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 105The word "imputed" in this passage (chap. 5: 13) is not the same as righteousness imputed, or faith imputed for righteousness. It means an act (or sum) put to the account of another, not esteeming the person to be such or such.
[b] This is a quotation from Hosea 6: 7 according to its true sense, which accuses Israel of having done the same thing as Adam. "But they, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant."
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 106The same distinction, with the same difference in the preposition, is found in connection with the righteousness of God, when the apostle speaks of the efficacy of the blood: only he points out who the many are, because the object of faith is presented rather than the efficacy of the work, although this is supposed, chapter 3: 22 "righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ towards all and upon all those who believe"; unto all, and upon all believers. So here it was by one offence "towards all," and then the many connected with Christ are constituted righteous by His obedience.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 107Not sin. Sin was already there; the law made each of its motions a positive offence.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 108This does not refer simply to bearing our sins: that is the subject of the first part of the epistle. The condition in which we were, as a whole race, was that of fallen sinful Adam. Christ the sinless One came and stood for us and God's glory substitutively; that is, as a sacrifice in that place, He was made sin, underwent the forsaking of God, and, glorifying God, died in and to the place, to the whole condition of being, in which we were, and in which, as made sin, He stood for us before God. This work, though done as and for man, I doubt not, goes farther than our salvation. He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. He takes away, as God's Lamb, the sin of the world. His sacrifice is the basis of the condition of that new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 109Note, we are not here viewed as risen with Christ; the believer being always viewed here, as I have said, as being on the earth, though alive in Christ and justified, it is used as a ground for practice and walk here.
[b] Indeed Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were all engaged in the resurrection of Christ. He raised the temple of His body in three days, was quickened by the Spirit, and raised by the glory of the Father.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 110To which we may add in full effect the end of the third. Details are found elsewhere.
[b] The word is "justified." And here we see distinctly the important difference between sin and sins: you cannot charge a dead man with sin. He has no perverse will, no evil lusts. He may have committed many sins while alive, he may or may not be justified from them. But you cannot accuse him of sin. And, as we have seen, from chapter 5: 12, we are treating of sin-of man's state-not of sins.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 111This is a wonderful expression. As to faithfulness His life was spent for God, He lived to God. But now His life knows nothing but God.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 112Note here, the Epistle to the Romans does not go on to say we are risen with Christ. That leads on necessarily to union, and is Ephesian ground. Only we must remark that death and resurrection never go on to the heavenly state; they are the subjective experimental state. In Ephesians, when dead in sins, we are taken, quickened, and put into Christ, as Christ was raised and put into glory above the heavens: simply God's work. Here it is individual: we are alive in Him. We shall have part in His resurrection, walking in newness of life. It is personal and practical: man, as we have seen, alive on earth.
[b] Compare Exodus 33: 13.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 113It is not, note, an appeal to sinners as sometimes used, but to those already set free.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 114It is thus, I doubt not, that this passage should be read. My reader may perhaps find "the law being dead." The expression, "dead to that wherein we were held," alludes to verse 4, where it is said, "ye died to the law." Christ under the law died under its curse. To be in the flesh is to live under the responsibility of a man in his natural life-a child of fallen Adam. In that life (unless it is lawless) the law is the rule of human righteousness. We must not confound the flesh being in the Christian with a man being in the flesh. The principle of the old life is still there, but it is in no way the principle of his relationship to God. When I am in the flesh, it is the principle of my relationship with God; but, its will being sinful, it is impossible that I should please God. I may seek for righteousness in it-it will be on the ground of law. But the Christian is dead by Christ to all that state of things-does not live of that life; his life is in Christ, and he has received the Holy Ghost. The flesh is no longer the principle of his relationship with God; on that ground he has owned himself lost. Elsewhere we learn that he is in Christ on the ground upon which Christ is before God. The Holy Ghost, as we shall see, places him there in power by faith, Christ being his life.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 115He does not say here by the Spirit, because he has not yet spoken of the gift of the Holy Ghost in virtue of the work of Christ. He only speaks of the manner, the character, of the service rendered.
[b] It will be remembered that all through this part of the epistle (that is, from chapter 5: 12) we have to do with sin, not with sins.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 116Sin and death are correlative. The law is introduced in order to make manifest through the offence what they both are. The apostle first asks, "Is the law sin?" since its result was death to man. God forbid! but it gave the knowledge of sin, and wrote death upon the soul through judgment, man being a sinner. The second question is, "The law being thus good in itself, has it become death to me?" No. It is sin which (in order that it might appear in all its enormity) has slain me, using the law as a means, in my conscience. It found in man's condition the means of perverting this good thing, and making it death to him.
[b] There is also conflict, when the Holy Ghost dwells in us. Galatians 5 speaks of this. "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit," etc. But then we are not under the law, as the apostle goes on to say, "If ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law." Here the person spoken of is under the law: everything is in connection with the law. The law is spiritual; we consent to the law, we delight in the law. Neither Christ nor the Spirit is mentioned until the question of deliverance comes in.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 119This gives the key to this-alas! because souls are not free-much spoken-of passage. It is not the present experience of any one, but a delivered person describing the state of an undelivered one. An undelivered person could not speak exactly thus, because he is uneasy as to the result for himself. A man in a morass does not quietly describe how a man sinks into it, because he fears to sink and stay there; when he is out, he describes how a man sinks there. The end of Romans 7 is a man out of the morass shewing in peace the principle and manner in which one sinks in it. All this part of the epistle is more complicated than what precedes chapter 5: 12, because our own experience is in conflict with what faith teaches us to say. If through grace I am forgiven and justified, there is no contradiction in my experience. It is what God has done for me outside myself. My debt is paid. But if I am to say, I am dead to sin, my experience contradicts it. Hence we have no rest in this respect, till we give up self or flesh as wholly bad and irremediable, and learn that, consequent on redemption, we are not in the flesh at all. Compare chapters 7 and 8.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 120The last verse of chapter 7 speaks of the abstract mind and character of the opposed natures; one the mind, however, and purpose of heart in the renewed man; the other, the fact of flesh being there, one "I myself," the other "my flesh." So the "I" is right; only it is not considered under the law or the contrary.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 123The reader will understand that Jesus could take this position and be made sin, precisely because He was Himself absolutely exempt in every way from it. The power of resurrection in Christ dead was the power of holiness in Christ living. It was also the power of that love which He displayed while living, and which we know in perfection in His death. He was the just object of divine delight.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 125Abstracting the flesh, the life by which we live is in fact Christ. He is our life, and, as to life, what we are before God is that by which we live here. Our life is hid with Christ in God, and Christ is our life down here. And therefore it is that John-who had displayed Christ as being this life-can say, "he that is born of God cannot sin, because he is born of God." It is the same Christ in us and in heaven. Practically this life is developed in the midst of the opposition of the flesh. Our weakness-guilty weakness-comes in, and it is quite another thing.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 127Note here, we are said to be in Christ in the beginning of the chapter, and in the Spirit here: so to have the Spirit of Christ, and then "if Christ be in you"; because it is by the Spirit we are in Christ. He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit (compare John 14). And this gives its true character to our life and place before God. In Christ and Christ in us constitutes, in many places in scripture, the christian position, known too by the Holy Ghost dwelling in us (compare John 14).
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 129Observe here, that Jesus is the personal name of Christ. Christ though it became so, is properly a name of position and office-the Anointed. He who raised up the Christ will quicken the bodies of those connected with Him.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 131Though ever walking as Son down here of course, and that not merely when publicly entering on His ministry and proclaimed such, as we know from what happened in the temple when He was about twelve years old. Indeed we are sons before we receive the Spirit of adoption. It is because we are sons the Spirit of the Son is sent into our hearts (Gal. 4). But Christ, entering into the full place of glory as man, according to the purpose of God through His work, received (Acts 2) the Spirit so as to confer it on us and associate us with Him there.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 132We shall see, farther on, that the Epistle to the Colossians speaks only of life: the Ephesians, of the Holy Ghost.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 134In this how much more perfect (all in Him was absolute) was the sympathy of Christ! For though capable of sympathy as truly a man, He was not linked in His own state with the fallen creation, as we are. He felt for it, a true man, but as man born of the Holy Ghost; we as above the flesh and by faith not in it, still in fact are linked with it in the earthen vessel we are in.
[b] "The will of" should not be inserted here.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 135Here read in the text, "but we know." "We know not what to ask for as we ought, but we do know that everything works together for our good."
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 137Read, "I have wished." Moses, in his anguish, had said, "Blot me out of thy book." Paul had not been behind him in his love.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 146Verse 31 should be translated, "Even so these [the Jews] have now been unbelieving with regard to your mercy, in order that they should receive mercy" (or that they should be the objects of mercy)-"your mercy," that is to say, the grace in Christ which extended to the Gentiles. Thus the Jews were the objects of mercy, having forfeited all right to enjoy the effect of the promise. God would not fail to fulfil it. He bestows it on them in mercy at the end, when He has brought in the fulness of the Gentiles.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 157This statement is the more remarkable, as he had a special revelation as to the Lord's supper. But that ordinance has reference to the unity of the body, which was specially the testimony of the apostle. The twelve were sent to baptise the nations (Matt. 28).
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 158Take notice here, that Paul does not say he would know nothing but the cross, as some persons-and even Christians-wrongly apply it. He would know nothing but Christ in contrast with philosophy among these Pagans, and Christ in the most humbled form, in order to overturn the pride of man. He goes on to inform us, that among those who were initiated into Christianity he taught wisdom, but it was the wisdom of God, revealed by Him who searches the deep things of God Himself. It is a very grievous abuse that is often made of this passage (incorrectly quoted besides).
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 159The passage is often quoted to shew the things are so great one cannot know them. Whereas it is a quotation from Isaiah to shew that what could not then be known (when the evil was there, and man was dealt with according to what he was) is now revealed, now that man is in glory in the Person of Christ, and the Holy Ghost come down to shew us what is there. Christianity is not Judaism.
[b] I have no doubt that this is the meaning of the passage. The means were of the same nature as the thing for which they were employed (v. 13).
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 160Remark here, the very important instruction as to the assembly viewed as God's building. In Matthew 16 we have Christ's building, and Satan's power cannot prevail against it. This building will go on till complete at the end. Hence in 1 Peter 2 and Ephesians 2 we have no workman, and the stones come, and the building grows. It is Christ's own work: He builds, and the building is not yet complete. Here it is God's building; but there is a builder, and man's responsibility comes in. There is a wise master-builder, or it may be those who build with wood, hay, and stubble-yea, even those who corrupt. In Ephesians 2 there is also a present building, but it is the fact viewed abstractedly. Here the responsibility is formally stated. The confusion of Christ's building (not yet finished) and man's building, the applying the promise made to one to the other which rests on man's responsibility and is a present building on earth, is one grand source of Popish and Puseyite errors. Against Christ's work nothing can prevail. Man may build with wood and hay and stubble, and his work be destroyed, as it will.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 162"The Spirit joins also its help to our weakness," Rom. 8: 26.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 164The apostle (1 Tim. 1: 20) exercises this power alone as to certain blasphemers. It is power, not mere duty, and it is important clearly to distinguish the two: though the apostle here did it in and with the gathered assembly, yet he says, "I have judged already to deliver such an one to Satan. In verse 13 we have the positive duty of the assembly without the question of special power.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 167Note here, we have formally distinguished, what infidels of the modern school have sought to confound, spiritual thoughts as a man, and inspiration. The apostle gives his thoughts and judgment as a spiritual man, his mind animated and guided by the Spirit, and contrasts it with inspiration and what the Lord said. How wonderfully the Lord has provided in scripture for everything! Compare verse 25.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 173It is here the apostle comes to the inner circle of the body of Christ, the true assembly of God united together by the Holy Ghost, of which the Lord's supper is the expression.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 174In 1 Timothy 2: 11-15 the moral effect of the circumstances of the fall is introduced, as giving the woman her true place in the assembly with regard to man.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 175We are not as yet come to the order in the assembly. That commences with verse 17.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 176The first chapter of Genesis gives us man in his place in creation as from God the Creator; the second, his own relationship with Jehovah God, where he was placed in connection with Him, and the woman's with himself.
[b] This connects itself too with the fact that it is the expression of the unity of the body-truth specially committed to the apostle. On the other hand, he was not sent to baptise. That was mere admission to the house already formed, and to which the apostle had been admitted like others.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 177The best MSS. omit "broken"; but it is the memorial of Christ slain, and His precious blood poured out.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 181We have seen this with regard to the supper, in chapter 10: 17. Here, chapter 12: 13, we see it with regard to the Holy Ghost.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 182It is a very striking truth that God's dwelling with men is the fruit of redemption. He did not dwell with Adam innocent; He could walk in the garden, but did not dwell there. He did not dwell with Abraham.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 195Christ could say, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up," for He who dwells in the temple is God. It is also said that He was raised up by the Spirit, and at the same time by the glory of the Father. But here He is viewed as man who has undergone death; and God intervenes, that He may not remain in it, because here the object is, not to shew forth the glory of the Lord's Person, but to prove our resurrection, since He, a dead man, has been raised. By man came death; by man, resurrection. While demonstrating that He was the Lord from heaven, the apostle always speaks here of the Man Christ.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 201But, remark, mortality in the New Testament is never applied to anything but the body, and that exclusively and emphatically, "this mortal" and the like. The separate existence of the soul, as not dying with the body, is taught plainly enough in scripture, and not merely for the Christian (as to whom it is evident, for we are with Christ) but for all, as in Luke 20: 38; 12: 4, 5, and the end of chapter 16.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 202It is a striking collateral proof of the completeness of our redemption, and the impossibility of our coming into judgment, that we are raised in glory. We are glorified before we arrive before the judgment seat. Christ will have come and changed our vile body and fashioned it like His glorious body.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 204It is not that as Son of God He could not quicken at all times, as indeed He did. But in order to our partaking with Him, all this was needed and accomplished, and here He is looked at as Himself risen from the dead, the heavenly Man. Thus also it is founded in divine righteousness.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 213The beginning of this Epistle presents the experimental power of that which is doctrinally taught in Romans 5: 12 to chap. 8, and is extremely instructive in this respect. It is not so much Colossians and Ephesians; the practical fruit of the doctrine there is the display of God's own character. However we have in a measure what is taught in Colossians carried out.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 223See chapter 3: 11.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 225Or rather, "putting to death."
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 227This "we know" is in fact a technical expression for the portion of Christians, known to them as such. "We know that the law is spiritual," "we know that the Son of God is come," and so on.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 236The truth is, the judgment-seat is what most brings out our assurance before God; for as He is, so are we in this world; and it is when Christ shall appear we shall be like Him.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 238It should be observed that, in verse 20, the word "you" ought to be omitted. It was the way in which the apostle fulfilled his ministry to the world.
[b] The passage is a quotation from Isaiah 49: 8, which speaks of the blessing that should be brought to the Gentiles when Christ was rejected by the Jews, but through Christ's work and by the resurrection.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 240What a blessed state is that of a man, who, when he is taken out of himself and a state of calm reflection, is entirely absorbed with, or turned towards, God, and, when he does think soberly and calculates, is occupied in love in seeking the good of his brethren, the members of Christ: who is either rapt up into the contemplation of God and communion with Him, or filled with Him, so as to think only of others in love!
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 241The reader may remark that the passage sets two things before us: that God is present in the assembly of those who are separated from the world, and walks among them, as He did in the case of Israel in the wilderness when they had come out of Egypt; and that the individuals who compose the assembly enter into the relationship of sons and daughters.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 243Greatness of heart does not readily talk about feelings, because it thinks of others, not of itself. But it is not afraid, when occasion arises, to do so; because it thinks of others, and has a depth of purpose in its affections, which is behind all this movement of them. And Christianity gives greatness of heart. And besides, from its nature, it is confiding, and this wins, and gives unsought, influence this greatness of heart does not seek, for it is unselfish. His true relationship for their good the apostle did maintain.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 252This chapter is altogether a striking one. We have Christians in the highest and lowest conditions; in the third heaven, and in actual low sin. In the first, a man in Christ (true in position, if not in vision, of us all), the apostle glories, and we are right to glory-that is a man in Christ. As to what he is in himself he has to be brought to utter nothingness. But neither the glorying in the man in Christ, nor his being made nothing of in flesh, is power: the latter is the path to it; but then, being nothing, Christ's power is with him, rests on him, and here he has power in service, the man in Christ his own place-Christ in, or His power on, the man, his strength to serve. So that we have the highest apprehension of the Spirit, the lowest failure in flesh, and the way of power in making nothing of the latter, Christ's power being thereon with us, practical power while in the body. But there will be the sense of weakness, the want of proportion between what we are as to the earthen vessel, and what is ministered and enjoyed. It is not merely what is evil but the earthen vessel in which the treasure is.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 257Not "of men" what calls itself the clergy would freely admit, but not "by man" they cannot. It strikes at the root of their existence as such. They boast its descent from man, but (it is remarkable enough) none from Paul, the true minister of the assembly, and, where most insisted on, from Peter, the apostle of the circumcision. Peter was not the apostle to the Gentiles at all, and, as far as we know, never went to them.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 261It is practically important to remark that worldliness or any allowance of what is not of God, by a godly man, gives the weight of his godliness to the evil he allows.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 264Christ had also borne his sins; but this is not the subject here spoken of; it is the dominion of the law over him while living on earth.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 266We must read, "It is to Abraham that the promise was made, and to his seed": not, "to Abraham and to his seed." The promises relating to the temporal blessings of Israel were made to Abraham and to his seed, with the addition that this seed should be as the stars in multitude. But here Paul is not speaking of the promises made to the Jews, but of the blessing granted to the Gentiles. And the promise of blessing for the Gentiles was made to Abraham alone, without mentioning his seed (Gen. 12), and, as the apostle says here, it was confirmed to his seed-without naming Abraham (chap. 22)-in the alone person of Isaac, the type of the Lord Jesus offered up in sacrifice and raised from the dead, as Isaac was in a figure. Thus the promise was confirmed, not in Christ, but to Christ the true seed of Abraham. It is on this fact, that the promises were confirmed to Christ, that the whole argument of the apostle depends. The importance of the typical fact, that it is after the figurative sacrifice and resurrection of Isaac that the promise was confirmed to the latter, is evident. Doubtless that which realised this figure secured thus the promise to David; but at the same time the middle wall of partition was broken down, the blessing can flow to the Gentiles-and, let us add, to the Jews also-by virtue of the expiation made by Christ; the believer, made the righteousness of God in Him, can be sealed with the Holy Ghost who had been promised. When once the import of Genesis 12 and 22 has been apprehended, in that which relates to the promises of blessing made to the Gentiles, one sees most clearly the foundation on which the apostle's argument rests.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 278It is not "so that ye cannot," but "in order that ye might not."
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 283The word translated "faithful" might be rendered "believers." It is used as a term of superscription both here and in the epistle to the Colossians. We must remember that the apostle was now in prison, and that Christianity had been established for some years, and was exposed to all kinds of attack. To say that one was a believer as at the beginning, was to say that he was faithful. The word then does not merely express that they believed, nor that each individual walked faithfully, but that the apostle addressed himself to those who by grace faithfully maintained the faith they had received.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 293It will be a grand spectacle, as the result of the ways of God, to see all things united in perfect peace and union under the authority of man, of the second Adam, the Son of God; ourselves associated with Him in the same glory with Himself, His companions in the heavenly glory, as the objects of the eternal counsels of God. I do not enlarge here upon this scene, because the chapter we are considering directs our attention to the communications of the counsels of God respecting it, and not to the scene itself. The eternal state, in which God is all in all, is again another thing. The administration of the fulness of tunes is the result of the ways of God in government; the eternal state, that of the perfection of His nature. We, even in the government, are brought in as sons according to His nature. Wonderful privilege!
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 297Compare chapter 4: 9, 10: and this introduction of redemption, and the place Christ has taken as Redeemer, as filling all in all, is full of interest.
[b] It is this power which, raising the saints with Christ from the death of sin, and uniting them to Him the head, forms their relationship to Him as His body. The first part of the chapter gave our individual relationship to the Father, in that Christ is the firstborn among many brethren. Here we come to corporate relationship to Christ, the last and risen man. Up to the second part of the prayer we have the counsels of God. From the latter part we have the operations of power to accomplish them. And it is here our union with Christ first comes in, which, though God's counsels as to it are revealed, yet spiritually is wrought now, as seen in chapter 5.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 298Take especial notice here, that, in the Ephesians, the Spirit does not describe the life of the old man in sin. God and His own work are everything. Man is viewed as dead in his sins; that which is produced is therefore entirely of God, a new creation on His part. A man who lives in sin must die, must judge himself, must repent, by grace be cleansed; that is, he is dealt with as a living man. Here man is without any movement of spiritual life: God does everything; He quickens and raises up. It is a new creation.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 299Faith, when taught by the word, always goes back to this: judgment refers to deeds done in the body. But we were dead in sins-no living movement of the heart towards God. We do not (John 5) come into judgment, but are passed from death unto life.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 300Here it is a wholly new creation, and the new estate is looked at simply in itself. We were dead towards God in our old one. Man is not looked at here as alive in sins and responsible, but as entirely dead in them, and created again: hence in this part of the epistle we have no forgiveness, no justification. The man is not looked at as a living responsible man. In Colossians we are risen with Christ, but "having forgiven you all trespasses" which Christ had borne in coming down into death. Here, too, we have not the old man, and death brought into it, though both walk and the old man are recognised as facts, though not in connection with resurrection. In Colossians we have; even when "dead in your sins" is spoken of, it is added, "and the uncircumcision of your flesh," for it is dead towards God. The epistle to the Romans looks at responsible man in the world; hence you have fully justification, death to sin, and no resurrection with Christ. The man is a living man here, though justified, and alive in Christ.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 301It is not merely life communicated (that we had in Romans), but a totally new place and standing which we have taken, life having the character of resurrection out of a state of death in sins. And here we are not viewed as quickened by Christ, but quickened with Him. He is the raised and glorified man.
[b] In Colossians the saints are only seen risen with Christ, with a hope laid up for them in heaven, and are called to set their affections on things above, where Christ and their life with Him are hid. Moreover their resurrection with Christ is only an administrative one for this world in baptism, in connection with faith in the power which raised Christ. We have no union of Jews and Gentiles in Him as risen and in heavenly places. Indeed in Colossians, Gentiles only are before the mind of the apostle.
[c] I am quite aware of what critics have to say here as to gender; but it is equally true as to grace, and to say, "by grace . . . and that not of yourselves," is simply nonsense; but by faith might be supposed to be of ourselves, though grace cannot. Therefore the Spirit of God adds, "and that [not it] not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." That is, the believing is God's gift, not of ourselves. And this is confirmed by what follows, "not of works." But the object of the apostle is to shew that the whole thing was of grace and of God-God's workmanship-a new creation. So far, grace and faith and all go together.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 302Not that God does not recognise the relationships He had originally formed-He does fully when we are in them; but the measure of the new creation is another thing.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 303It is exceedingly important in these days to see the difference between this progressive building, never complete till all believers who are to form Christ's body are gathered in, and the present temple of God on earth. In the former Christ is the builder. He carries it on without fail, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. This is not yet complete nor viewed as a whole till built. Hence in the Epistles we never find a builder in this case: in Peter, "unto whom coming as to a living stone, ye also as living stones are built up"; so here, in Ephesians, it grows to a holy temple in the Lord. But, besides this, the present manifested professing body is looked at as a whole on earth; and man is looked at as building. "Ye are God's building" (1 Cor. 3). "I, as a wise masterbuilder, have laid the foundation: let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon." Man's responsibility comes in, and the work is the subject of judgment. It is the attributing to this the privileges of the body, and of that which Christ builds, that has produced popery and all that is akin to it. The corrupt thing which is to come under judgment is falsely clothed with the security of Christ's work. Here in Ephesians 2 we find not only the progressive and surely constructed work, but the present building together as a fact in the blessing of it, without reference to human responsibility in building.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 304Chapter 2 speaks indeed of the body (v. 16); but the introduction of the house is a new element and requires some development. Although the work which is accomplished in the creation of the members who are to compose the body is all of God, it is accomplished on earth. The counsels of God have in view, first individuals, to place them near Himself, such as He would have them; then, having exalted Christ above every name now or hereafter, gives Him to be head of the body, formed of individuals united to Christ in heaven over all things. They will be perfect according to their Head. But the work on earth, if it gathers together the new-born, gathers them together on the earth. Now that which answers here below to the presence of Christ in heaven is the presence of the Holy Ghost on earth. The individual believer is indeed the temple of God, but in this chapter it is the whole body of Christians formed on earth that is spoken of; they become the house, the dwelling-place, of God on the earth. Wonderful and solemn truth. Immense privilege and source of blessing; but equally great responsibility.
It will be observed that, in speaking of the body of Christ, we speak of the fruit of God's eternal purpose and own operation; and, although the Spirit may apply this name to the assembly of God on earth, as accounted to be composed of real members of Christ, nevertheless the body of Christ, as formed by the quickening power of God according to His eternal purpose, is composed of persons united to the Head as real members. The house of God, as now set up on earth, is the fruit of a work of God, here entrusted to men, not the proper object of His counsels (though the city in Revelation in a measure answers to it). In so far as it is the work of God, it is evident that this house is composed of those who are truly called of God, and so God set it up, and as it is spoken of here (compare Acts 2: 47). But we must not confound the practical result of this work, accomplished in the hands of men, and under their responsibility (1 Cor. 3), with the object of the counsels of God. A true member of Christ can no one be without being really united to the Head, neither a true stone in the house; but the house can be the dwelling-place of God, although that which is not a true stone may enter into its construction. But it is impossible that one not born of God should be a member of the body of Christ. See the preceding note.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 307This appears to me to be the true word, and not "the fellowship."
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 308Christ is the centre of all the display of divine glory, but He thus dwells in our hearts so as to set them, so to speak, in this centre, and make them look out thence on all the glory displayed. Here we might lose ourselves; but he brings them back to the well-known love of Christ, yet not as anything narrower, for He is God, and it passes knowledge, so that we are filled up to all the fulness of God.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 310This fully distinguishes the prayer of chapter I and this. There the calling and inheritance were in the sure purpose of God, and his prayer is that they may know them, and the power that brought them there. Here it is what is in us, and he prays that it may exist, and that as present power in the church.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 312To recapitulate, there is, first, one body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling; second, one Lord, with whom are connected one faith and one baptism; third, one God and Father of all, who is above all things, everywhere, and in all Christians. Moreover, while insisting upon these three great relationships in which all Christians are placed, as being in their nature the foundations of unity, and the motives of its maintenance, these relationships extend successively in breadth. The direct relationship applies properly to the same persons; but the character of Him who is the basis of the relationship enlarges the idea connected with it. With regard to the Spirit, His presence unites the body-is the bond between all the members of the body: none but the members of the body-and they, as such-are seen here. The Lord has wider claims. In this relationship it is not the members of the body that are spoken of; there is one faith and one baptism, one profession in the world: there could not be two. But although the persons who are in this outward relationship may stand also in the other relationships and be members of the body, yet the relationship here is one of individual profession; it is not a thing which cannot exist at all except in reality (one is a member of Christ's body, or one is not). God is the Father of these same members, as being His children, but He who maintains this relationship is necessarily and always above all things-personally above all things, but divinely everywhere.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 316The descent into the lower parts of the earth is viewed as from His place as man on earth; not His coming down from heaven to be a man. It is Christ who descended.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 319Verse 11 gives special and permanent gifts; verse 16, what every joint supplies in its place. Both have their place in the forming and growth of the body.
[b] I have already noticed, that contrast of the new state and the old characterises the Ephesians more than Colossians, where we find more development of life.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 320In Colossians we have "renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created us."
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 321There is a sense in which God is, morally, the measure of other beings-a consideration that brings out the immense privilege of the child of God. It is the effect of grace, in that, being born of Him and partaking of His nature, the child of God is called to be the imitator of God, to be perfect as His Father is perfect. He who loves is born of God, and knows God, for God is love. He makes us partakers of His holiness, consequently we are called to be imitators of God, as His dear children. This shews the immense privileges of grace. It is the love of God in the midst of evil, and which, superior to all evil, walks in holiness, and rejoices also together, in a divine way, in the unity of the same joys and the same sentiments. Therefore Christ says (John 17), "as we are," and "in us."
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 324It is useful to note here the difference of Romans 12: 1, 2, and this epistle. The Romans, we have seen, contemplates a living man on earth; hence he is to give his body up as a living sacrifice-alive in Christ, he is to yield his members up wholly to God. Here the saints are seen as sitting in heavenly places already, and they are to come out in testimony of God's character before men, walking as Christ did in love, and light.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 325We should read "fruit of the light," not "fruit of the Spirit."
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 327It is well to notice here this character of love-love in an established relationship. The word of God is more exact than is generally thought in its expressions; because the expression has its origin in the thing itself. It is not said that Christ loved the world-He has no relationship with the world as it is. It is said that God so loved the world; this is what He is towards it in His own goodness. It is not said that God loved the assembly. The proper relationship of the assembly as such is with Christ, her heavenly Bridegroom. The Father loves us, we are His dear children. God, in this character, loves us. Thus Jehovah loves Israel. On the other hand, all the tenderness and faithfulness that belong to the relationship in which Christ stands are our portion in Him, as well as all that the name of Father means on its side also.
[b] It is specially the devotedness of His love; He gives and gives Himself.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 328When I say (here and above) that the love of Christ is its source, it is not as if the love of the Father and the counsels of God had not their place in it. I speak of the blessing applied and carried out in the relationship presented in this passage; and this relationship exists with Christ. Nevertheless it is the same divine love.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 337Still what we have to overcome are the wiles of the devil. His power over us is broken. He may rouse the world in persecution and be a roaring lion; but as regards personal temptations, if we resist the devil he flees from us; he knows he has met Christ, and Christ has overcome. But his wiles are ever there.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 339Girding the loins is a common figure of scripture for a mind and heart kept in godly order as in God's presence by the word of God.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 342Prayer is founded on the immense privilege of having common interests with God both as to ourselves and as to all that are His, yea, even as to Christ's glory. Wondrous thought! unspeakable grace!
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 345Read in verse 7 as in the margin, "because ye have me in your hearts."
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 347We shall find the whole tenor of a life which was the expression of the power of the Spirit of God brought out in it. It marks this, that sin, or the flesh as working evilly in us, is not mentioned in the epistle. It gives the forms and features of the life of Christ; for if we live in the Spirit, we should walk in the Spirit. We shall find the graciousness of christian life (chap. 2), the energy of christian life (chap. 3), and its superiority to all circumstances (chap. 4). The first more opens the apostle's heart as to his actual circumstances and feelings, as was natural. Exhortation begins with chapter 2. Still even in chapter 1 we find the apostle entirely superior to circumstances in the power of spiritual life.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 348In the first edition I had taken this as the effect of the apostle's imprisonment in arousing the faith of those inactive when he was active. And this would be the sense of the English translation and is a true principle. But it seems that the force of the words is "rather got confidence as to my bonds." They were in danger of being ashamed of him, as if he were a malefactor.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 350There is blessed faith in this. But then a man must have made the work his life. "To me to live is Christ." If so, if the work prospers, he prospers; if Christ is glorified, he is content, even if the Lord has laid him aside.
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 355Observe also, that it is not with regard to that which He suffered, as the effect of His submission to the will of God in the position which He took, that Christ is here presented as our pattern. It is in His voluntary humiliation, the fact that in love He took the last-the lowest-place, that we are called to follow Him. Love serves, love humbles itself-readily takes the meanest position (meanest according to the pride of man) in order to serve, and delights in it. Christ acted from love; He chose to serve. Christ chose to take the low place-He who was able to humble Himself-and we?
Synopsis of Acts - Philippians, page 365Not, of course, as to being at the right hand of God-this was personal.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 1How painful it is to see this beloved church taken afterwards as an example of the first love being lost! But all tends to the end.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 2The name of Timotheus is not found in the address to the saints at Ephesus.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 5It is one of the deceits of the heart that, when we really know God's will quite well, we go to ask advice of one no more spiritual then ourselves.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 6There are three measures given of the Christian's walk in this form: worthy of God who has called us to His own kingdom and glory; worthy of the Lord, here; and worthy of the vocation with which we are called, that is, the Holy Ghost dwelling in the church, Ephesians 2; developed as it is in the end of chapter 3.
[b] The antecedent is, I think, here the Lord; but the Lord and God are greatly merged in one thought.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 7Take especial notice here, that it is not said "will make us meet," as a thing yet to be done, and in which we make progress.
[b] We shall also see, further on, that the starting-point is somewhat different, and, though Ephesian ground is partially referred to, brings in man as he is found living in sin, and less absolutely to God, who finds him already dead in sins, and creates him according to His own counsels. But of this hereafter. Further, in Ephesians 1: 6 our place is full grace in Christ; in Colossians 1 it is present actual deliverance from the power of darkness and translation into the kingdom of the Son of His love-not grace or favour in the Beloved.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 8This belongs to the principle mentioned above. In Ephesians, all is seen from the point of view of God's eternal counsels before evil existed, the good which He purposed in Himself, although redemption was necessary when evil had come in, and the glory of God Himself and the basis of our glory in the accomplishment of them, was made good in it. In Colossians man in evil is the object of grace.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 10One of these pre-eminences depends on His divine rights as Creator, the other on His work and on the power displayed in His humanity in the act of resurrection. He holds all as man and all by divine power; but in some sort it may be said that one part of His glory depends on His divinity, the other on His victory as man.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 12Indeed added to the four as supplementary.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 14When the Christian is viewed as in Christ, there is no "if": we are in Him. When he is viewed as a pilgrim here, we are on the road to actual glory, and have to reach the goal, and here "if" comes in, and danger, and the need of being kept. But then we have the fullest assurance that we shall be kept and never perish, and be confirmed to the end, and the good work completed. Thus dependence on God is maintained in the saved, and confidence in His faithfulness.
[b] Note here how clear and full the statement is: verse 14, redemption and forgiveness; verse 21, reconciliation with God; verse 13, deliverance and introduction into the kingdom; verse 12, we are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. All this we have, and so are called to walk worthy of the Lord.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 15It is not a question here as to the dates of the books, but of the circle of subjects. The law, the kingdom, the Person of Christ, redemption and the ways of God, had already been brought out; the doctrine of the assembly was then to be revealed, in order to make the communications of God complete as to their subjects.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 17I have already remarked that the Gentiles are especially in view in the Colossians, not the union of Jew and Gentile in one.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 20There were some very beautiful legends, embracing partial truths, in the Gnostic system; but they had lost God and truth, and reality of conscience before God.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 21These expressions relate to the double character of Christ already set before us in chapter 1. They shew us what we have in Christ in a positive way, as that which follows applies it to everything here below which would prevent our enjoying it. In Christ is the fulness of the Godhead, the object of our delight, in whom we possess all things. We have also in Him a position above all creation, in the perfection which has placed Christ there. We are completed in Him who is the Head of all principality and of all power. As regards the phraseology, the change of a word, to one not however better in itself, shews the mind of the apostle. In Him dwelleth all the completeness of the Godhead bodily; and we are complete in Him.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 22Some do not connect "risen" with baptism. If so, I apprehend the passage must be read thus: "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism; in whom also ye are risen together [meaning with Christ] through faith," etc. Baptism clearly signifies death, and it is not the baptising but the coming out of the water which can be applied to resurrection. The giving of life is in no way the sense of baptism even as a figure, but leaving the life of Adam by death (the death of Christ) and entrance through that gate into a wholly new place and position.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 25These applications flow from chapter 2: 11, 12: It is to be remarked that Romans from chapter 5: 12 treats of death to sin, in which man (as child of Adam) was alive. In Ephesians man is reckoned as dead in sins as towards God. Colossians takes up both: chapter 2: 11, 12 follows them out, adding resurrection with Christ. Verse 13 follows Ephesian doctrine. Chapters 2: 20, 3: 1, follow on chapter 2: 11, 12, and we have the putting off of the old and putting on of the new man.
[b] Although this word has the appearance of learning and of not being scriptural, this is not the case. Science, falsely so called, of which the apostle speaks elsewhere, is in Greek "gnosis," whence this presumptuous and corrupting philosophy was called "Gnosticism," and its votaries "Gnostics." It plays an immense part in the history of the church, with which I have nothing to do here. But its principles are frequently found in the New Testament, brought forward by the apostles in order to combat them. The Jews had largely fallen into the notion of a mediatorial work of angels, though not in the form exactly of Gnostic philosophy.
[c] This was working in the apostle's days; Paul withstood it in the energy of the Holy Ghost. After his departure that power was gone. The historical church never had the two great fundamental principles of Christianity, perfection in Christ ("by one offering he hath perfected for ever"), and the presence and leading power of the Holy Ghost down here. These were supplanted by sacraments and the clergy.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 30Hence we have no justification in Ephesians. It treats of a new creation.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 31This difference is of deep interest, and brings out the character of the epistle to the Ephesians in a remarkable way-an epistle in which everything is influenced by the high point of view taken by the Spirit, and flows from the original and eternal counsels of God, and from His operation to bring those counsels to perfection-the settled purposes of His own heart. He desires to have-He creates-something in order to shew forth the immense riches of His grace. He has taken the dead and the lost: but they are only the objects of His operations, suited to make these manifest on account of their own condition. He does not work upon the nature of man, because it is contrary to His own, in order to destroy this contrariety. He quickens from the dead, and creates. In Colossians the death of the old man is spoken of, which it was necessary to take into consideration. God be praised, we are entitled to view it as already dead, because Christ has died for us.
I may add here to that which I have said of the Holy Ghost, that, when the apostle speaks in Colossians of the power of hope in us, he does not mention the earnest of the Spirit. It is still Christ in us, the hope of glory. Throughout it is Christ, and Christ as life.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 32With this difference between the actings of the Spirit, and the existence of the new life, is connected the liberty of the soul. When we are born of God, we have necessarily a taste for holiness; love acts in us; we take pleasure in the righteousness of God. But, by virtue of these sentiments, although my heart appreciates love in God, and this love attracts me and inspires me with a measure of confidence, yet my conscience condemns me, I feel that I am not that which I love. I am under the law, and uncertain of my relationship with God. When I have learnt the value of Christ's blood, that He is my righteousness. the Holy Ghost dwelling and acting in me gives me the sense of my relationship with God. I have the consciousness of it in my soul, and the Holy Ghost bears witness of it. There is liberty.
[b] It is a very different thing from dying to sin. This supposes evil in the thing that dies (save of course in the case of Christ who did it for those who had); whereas putting to death is an act of power in that which is good-the new man.
[c] These three form the whole character of evil in man: generally, violence and corruption, the last taking the twofold form of lust and falsehood. So, before the flood, the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. Falsehood is Satan's form of corruption, and violence also characterises him. The Lord declares him to be a liar and a murderer (John 8: 44). Man adds the lust because of flesh.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 33Note here the difference of the corresponding phrase in Ephesians. There the Christian is created after God in righteousness and true holiness. Here it is the new apprehensions of the divine life which knows God. It is our state, not God's creative act. Not that this contradicts the Ephesian view; on the contrary, "renewed here is another word from Ephesians. It is that which is wholly new, never was there before. In Ephesians "renewed" is what is kept fresh and new.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 34Remark here how patience and graciousness and longsuffering characterise the Christian. It is remarkable how this is the case everywhere. So must it be in a world like this. So was it in Christ. So in 1 Corinthians 13 the traits of charity are all subjective and of this character. Not that that is a definition of charity, but it is characteristic of it. Where these traits are wanting, charity is.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 35It is simpler to put the stop after "one another," and only a comma before "teaching."
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 46They are found oftener in Paul's writings than is thought; as 1 Thessalonians 5: 8, and Colossians 1: 4, 5. In 2 Thessalonians 1: 3 we have faith and love, but he has to clear up their thoughts as to hope.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 51Compare Proverbs 8: 30, 31 and Luke 2: 14, where read, "good pleasure in men." It is beautiful to see the angels unjealously celebrating it. Love downwards in grace is great according to the misery and unworthiness of the object; upwards as the affection of the soul according to the worthiness; see both in Christ, Ephesians 5: 2. In both in Christ self is wholly given up. He gave, not sought, Himself. The law takes self as measure as to the neighbour, and supposes him on the same footing. There is no love downwards.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 52Weight and glory are the same word in Hebrew.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 61It is well here to recall that, though Christ is Son over God's house, as Lord He is not Lord over the assembly but over individuals. Besides this, He is in a general sense Lord of all. But His action towards individuals ministers to the well-being of the assembly.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 62It is very striking how holiness here, and manifestation in glory, are brought together as one thing in scripture, only the veil drawn aside when the glory is there. Even Christ was declared Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by resurrection. We beholding the glory with unveiled face are changed into the same image from glory to glory. So here; we are to walk in love, to be unblamable in holiness. We should have said here; but no, the veil is drawn at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. In Ephesians 5 He washes us with the word, to present us a glorious body without spot to Himself.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 65"in the matter," v. 6, in the Greek, is a euphemism for "these things."
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 66It has been thought that the apostle speaks here of those who had died for His name's sake as martyrs. It may have been so in consequence of the persecutions, but "through Jesus" would be a singular way of expressing it; dia (through) with a genitive is used for a state of things, a condition that we are in, that characterises us. Being in Christ, their removal was but falling asleep, not dying. They had this position by means of Jesus, not for His name's sake. (Compare, however, 2 Cor. 4: 14).
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 67In order that we may all return-be brought back with Him-together.
[b] Compare 2 Corinthians 5: 1, etc. We have already remarked as a fact that this passage is a new distinct revelation. But the bearing of this fact appears here and proves that it has much importance. The Christian's life is so connected with the day (that is to say, with the power of the life of light of which Christ lives), and Christ who is already in glory is so truly the believer's life, that he has no other thought than to pass into it by this power of Christ's, which will transform him (see 2 Cor. 5: 4). It required a new and accessory revelation to explain that which was wanting to the intelligence of the Thessalonians, how the dead saints should not lose their part in it. The same power would be applied to their dead bodies as to the mortal bodies of the living saints, and all would be caught up together. But the victory over death was already gained, and Christ, according to the power of resurrection, being already the believer's life, it was but natural, according to that power, that he should pass without dying into the fulness of life with Christ. This was so much the natural thought of faith that it required an express, and as I have said, an accessory revelation to explain how the dead should have their part in it. To us now it presents no difficulty. It is the other side of this truth which we lack, which belongs to a much more lively faith, and which realises much more the power of the life of Christ and His victory over death. No doubt the Thessalonians should have considered that Christ had died and risen again, and not have allowed the abundant power of their joy in realising their own portion in Christ to hide from them the certainty of the portion of those who slept in Him But we see (and God allowed it that we might see) how the life which they possessed was connected with the position of the Head triumphant over death. The apostle does not weaken this faith and hope, but he adds (that they may be comforted by the thought) that the triumph of Christ would have the same power over the sleeping as over the living saints; and that God would bring back the former as well as the latter with Jesus in glory, having caught them up together as their common portion to be for ever with Him.
To us also God gives this truth, this revelation of His power. He has permitted thousands to fall asleep, because (blessed be His name!) He had other thousands to call in; but the life of Christ has not lost its power, nor the truth its certainty. We as living ones wait for Him because He is our life. We shall see Him in resurrection, if haply we die before He comes to seek us; and the time draws near.
Observe, also, that this revelation gives another direction to the hope of the Thessalonians, because it distinguishes with much precision between our departure hence to join the Lord in the air, and our return to the earth with Him. Nor this only; but it shews the first to be the principal thing for Christians, while at the same time confirming and elucidating the other point. I question whether the Thessalonians would not better have understood this return with Christ than our departure hence all together to rejoin Him. Even at their conversion they had been brought to wait for Jesus from heaven. From the first the great and essential principle was established in their hearts-the Person of Christ was the object of their hearts' expectation, and they were separated thereby from the world.
Perhaps they had some vague idea that they were to appear with Him in glory, but how it was to be accomplished they knew not. They were to be ready at any moment for His coming, and He and they were to be glorified together before the universe. This they knew. It is a summary of the truth.
Now the apostle develops more than one point here in connection with this general truth. 1st, they would be with Christ at His coming. This, I think, is but a happy application of a truth which they already possessed, giving a little more precision to one of its precious details. At the end of chapter 3 we have the truth plainly stated (although it was still indistinct in their hearts, since they thought the dead in Christ would be deprived of it) that all the saints should come with Jesus-an essential point as to the character of our relationship to Him. So that Jesus was expected-the saints should be together with Jesus at the time of His coming-all the saints should come with Him. This fixed and gave precision to their ideas on a point already more or less known. 2nd, That which follows is a new revelation on the occasion of their mistake with regard to those who slept. They thought indeed that the Christians who were ready should be glorified with Christ when He came back to this world; but the dead-were they ready? They were not present to share the glorious manifestation of Christ on the earth. For, I doubt not, the vague idea that possessed the mind of the Thessalonians was this: Jesus would return to this world, and they who were waiting for Him would share His glorious manifestation on the earth. Now the apostle declares that the dead saints were in the same position as Jesus who had died. God had not left Him in the grave; nor would He those who had, like Him, been there. God would also bring them with Him when He should return in glory to this earth. But this was not all. The coming of Christ in glory to the earth was not the principal thing. The dead in Christ should be raised, and then, with the living, should go to meet the Lord in the air, before His manifestation, and return with Him to the earth in glory; and thus should they be ever with the Lord. This was the principal thing, the Christian's portion; namely, to dwell eternally with Christ and in heaven. The portion of the faithful was on high-was Christ Himself, although they would appear with Him in the glory. For this world it would then be the judgment.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 76Hence there is the opposite to weariness in the heavenly enjoyment of God; because He who is the infinite object of enjoyment is the infinite source and strength of capacity to enjoy, though we enjoy as recipient creatures.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 82Perhaps too in connection with their recent deliverance from idols to the one true God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 85In the first epistle he says he needed not to speak of them, seeing that the world itself recounted everywhere the principles by which they were governed. We shall see a similar difference all through. It is no longer the same fresh energy of life.
[b] See Romans 8: 38; 1 Corinthians 3: 22; where the Greek is translated "present," in contrast with "things to come."
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 89"as God" is to be left out before "sitteth," in chapter 2: 4.
[b] In 1 John 2 we find the double character of the Antichrist as regards Christianity and Judaism. He denies the Father and the Son, rejects Christianity; he denies that Jesus is the Christ, which is Jewish unbelief. His power is the working of Satan, as we find here. As man he sets up to be God. So that his impiousness is manifested in every way. As the question is more upon the earth, it is the God of the earth, the Man withal from heaven, who judges him.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 90Note this point. All was ready and complete in the apostle's time, only restrained. So Christ was ready to judge. Only the patience of God waits, in the accepted time.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 91The principle of this may be widely at work individually, as in 1 John 2 it had begun, but the open public manifestation was to come. Jude gives the creeping in to produce corruption; John, the going out which characterises the Antichrist.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 93We may remark that the apostasy develops itself under the three forms in which man has been in relationship with God; Nature-it is the man of sin unrestrained, who exalts himself; Judaism-he sits as God in the temple of God; Christianity-it is to this that the term apostasy is directly applied in the passage before us.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 94Only the word for "miracle" or "power" is plural in Acts 2.
[b] I only allude here to the connection between the renunciation of Christianity and the development of apostate Judaism, which are linked together in the rejection of the true Christ, and the denial of the Father and the Son-features given in 1 John as characteristic of the Antichrist. But I am persuaded that the more we examine the word, the more we shall see (perhaps with surprise) that this fact is confirmed. Moreover the turning back to Judaism, and the tendency to idolatry by the introduction of other mediators and patrons, and the losing sight of our union with the Head, and thus of the perfection and deliverance from the law which are ours in Christ, have, at all times, characterised the mystery of iniquity and the principle of apostasy. The apostle had incessantly to combat this. That of which we spoke above is but its full manifestation.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 95This is the culminating point in his character as an apostate who has renounced grace. The ninth and following verses develop his positive and deceitful activity by which he seeks to win men. This explains the mixture (which, moreover, generally exists) of atheism in will, and superstition.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 96I do not say that his first appearance will be the apostasy of Judaism; I do not think it will be. He will present himself to them as being the Christ, but according to the hopes and passions of the Jews. But afterwards it will be an apostasy even from Judaism, as had partially been the case in the days of the Maccabees-a fact which the Spirit uses in Daniel 11, as a figure precursive of the time of Antichrist. He is from his first appearance an unbeliever and the enemy of God, an apostate as to the assembly, and denying that Jesus is the Christ.
We are taught positively by John, that the rejection of Christianity and Jewish unbelief are united in the Antichrist.
It appears that apostasy with regard to Christianity and Jewish unbelief are connected and go together; and afterwards Jewish apostasy and open rebellion against God, which, causing the cry of the remnant, brings in the Lord, and all is ended. Now the apostle (chap. 2: 3, 4) presents the complete picture of man's iniquity, developed when apostasy from the grace of the gospel had taken place (he exalts himself even to the making himself God), without touching the Jewish side or the manifested power of Satan. These verses shew us the man of sin is the result of the apostasy which will break out in the midst of Christendom. Verse 9 begins to teach us in addition, that the coming of this wicked one is also in immediate connection with a mighty display of the energy of Satan, who deceives by means of marvellous works and a strong delusion to which God gives men up, and of which we have spoken in the text. It is man and Satan here, with enough to shew its connection with Judaism in the last days (even as the mystery of iniquity was linked with Judaism in the days of the apostle), although it is not the occasion of giving the details of the Jewish development of the evil. We must look for these details elsewhere, where they are in their place, as in Daniel. The Apocalypse and 1 John furnish us with the means of connecting them: we do but allude here to this connection.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 100Not here, specially, that any one is under it, or that it is a rule of life for a people of God, but a rule of right and wrong to demonstrate evil to any conscience. In verse 5 we have the end of the commission of the gospel on the other hand, partaking of the divine nature-love and holiness, acting up to responsibility, a good conscience and the heart fully devoted to God, receiving His word and trusting Him.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 101There is, however, some question as to the reading in Titus.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 105We must not confound this act of power with discipline, which is the act of the assembly and its formal duty. In 1 Corinthians 5 the apostle joins the assembly to himself in this act of power, but he delivered with the power of Christ. The duty of the assembly is stated there in verse 13. As to the saints' or assembly's part, when God has exercised discipline, see 1 John 5: 16; James 5: 14, 15.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 109So it would read in English, but I see no reason why it should not apply to the elders' (bishop's) wives. It runs really thus, "In like manner [the] deacons . . . . In like manner [the] wives."
[b] Some translate this word, "ready to learn."
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 111But the assembly does not teach. Teachers teach the assembly, but by faithfulness in holding fast the truth taught, it sustains it in the world.
[b] Thus, in order to judge what the assembly is, we must know and be able to distinguish the truth and the living God. It is this which the apostle says with regard to the individual, "the Spirit is truth." These are the cardinal points with regard to unbelief and faith, the truth and the Spirit; and the word of God is the truth.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 115Compare Matthew 10: 29.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 119In Revelation 19 He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Here He who is so manifests Him. So in Daniel 7. The Son of man is brought to the Ancient of days, but in the same chapter the Ancient of days comes.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 123It is indeed the basis of the exhortation of verse 6. When the faith of so many is giving way, he turns to the personal confidence which his heart had in Timothy, nourished up through grace by the atmosphere he had lived in.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 130Hence also it is said (1 John 5), "The Spirit is truth."
[b] This is true as regards guilt. But God, being perfectly revealed, and that in grace as the Father and the Son, our apprehension of the ruin in which we are, goes deeper far than the sense of guilt as the breach of previously existing relationships. We were guilty according to our place as men. But we were without God in the world, and (when God is known) this is awful. The beginning of Romans treats the question of guilt; Ephesians 2, the state we were in; John 5: 24 briefly resumes grace as to both. The relationship now is an entirely new one, founded on purpose, redemption, and our being children of God.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 133The doctrines or dogmas of scripture have their importance and their adaptation to the simplest soul in this, that they are facts, and so objects of faith, not notions. Thus Christ is God, Christ is man, the Holy Ghost is a Person, and the like, are facts for faith, realised in the simplest soul.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 138Read "The husbandman must labour before partaking."-2 Tim. 2: 6.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 140This, while a profound source of comfort, is a proof of decline; for men ought to know who are the Lord's too. It is not, "The Lord added daily to the assembly such as should be saved."
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 145We get the difference of the state of things in this case also. It is not all Christians who will be persecuted, but all who will live godly in Christ Jesus.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 148This too is the real sense of Romans 16: 26, where we should read "by prophetic writings."
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 158Compare Proverbs 8: 30, 31, and Luke 2: 14, and Psalm 40: 6-8, "hast thou opened" being really, "thou hast dug ears for me"-that is, prepared a body, the place of obedience, or a servant (Phil. 2); so translated by LXX, and accepted in Hebrews as just.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 164In Greek it is the word philanthropy, which is here used in speaking of God; and which moreover has much greater force than the English word, because phil is an especial affection for anything, a friendship.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 165The Greek word here used is not being born again. It is used, besides this passage, only in the end of Matthew 19 for the millennium. The renewing of the Holy Ghost is a distinct thing from the regeneration. This last is a change of one state of things to another.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 167Here, as everywhere, the responsibility of man and God's saving grace, by which purpose also is accomplished, are clearly distinguished.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 171It seems to me, from the way in which the apostle speaks, that he even thought Onesimus would be an instrument of God in the assembly, useful in the Lord's service. He would have retained him to minister to himself in the bonds of the gospel; but he respects his connection with Philemon. It was also much better for the soul of Onesimus that he should submit himself where he had done wrong; and if he was to be free, that he should receive his freedom from the love of Philemon.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 174It will be found, I think, that in Hebrews the exercise of the heavenly priesthood is not applied to the case of a fall into sin. It is for mercy and grace to help in time of need. Its subject is access to God, having the High Priest on high; and this we always have. The conscience is always perfect (chaps. 9 and 10) as to imputation and thus going to God. In 1 John, where communion is spoken of, which is interrupted by sin, we have an advocate with the Father if any man sin-this also founded on perfect righteousness and propitiation in Him. The priesthood of Christ reconciles a perfect heavenly standing with God, with a weak condition on earth ever liable to failure-gives comfort and dependence in the path through the desert.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 175He sanctifies the people with His own blood. They count the blood of the covenant wherewith they were sanctified an unholy thing. There is no inward sanctifying operation of the Spirit spoken of in Hebrews, though there are exhortations to the pursuit of holiness.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 178We shall see that, while shewing at the outset that the Subject of his discourse had seated Himself at the right hand of God, he speaks also of the communications of the Lord when on earth. But even here it is in contrast with Moses and the angels, as far more excellent. All has in view the deliverance of the believing Jews from Judaism.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 181A particular interpretation has, by some, been given to the word translated "worlds"; but it is certain that the word is used by the LB (that is, in the Hellenistic or scriptural Greek) for the physical worlds.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 182The Greek verb has here a peculiar form, which gives it a reflective sense, causing the thing done to return into the doer, throwing back the glory of the thing done upon the one who did it.
[b] See Psalm 68: 17, Acts 7: 53; Galatians 3: 19.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 186The words translated, "Thou art the same," (Atta Hu) are by many learned Hebraists taken-at least Hu-as a name of God. At any rate, as unchangeably the same, it amounts to it. The not failing years are endless duration when become a man.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 188Compare the answer of Christ to Nathanael at the end of John 1; also Matthew 17 and Luke 9, where the disciples are forbidden to announce Him as the Christ, and He declares He is about to suffer as Son of man, but shews them the coming glory.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 190This however in relationship with God. They did not represent nor make known the Father as He did. Also, while we are brought into the same glory with Christ and the same relationship with the Father, the personal glory of Christ as Son is always carefully secured. It has been justly remarked to the same purpose by another, that He never says "our" Father with the disciples. He tells them to say "our," but says "my and your," and it is much more precious.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 193Four distinct grounds may be noticed in the chapter for the humiliation of Jesus: it became God-there was His glory; the destruction of Satan's power; reconciliation or really propitiation by His death; and capacity for sympathy in priesthood.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 201The connection between the word addressed to man and God Himself is very remarkable here.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 206The sonship of Christ however, here below, cannot be separated from His eternal sonship, for this lends its character to the relationship in which He stands as Son on earth in time. The passage in the text refers to verses 5 and 8, compared with 6 and 10 of chapter 5. Compare also the beginning of John 17.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 207I do not think "afresh" ought to be inserted: the emphasis is on doing it for himself.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 208So in Matthew 13 some with joy receive it, but there was no root.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 214We have also, at the end of the epistle, the expression "the blood of the everlasting covenant." "Covenant" he uses, I doubt not (as the word "law" also is used), because it was commonly employed as the condition of relationship with God, and "eternal" is characteristic of the Hebrews. There have been, and will be, covenants in time and for the earth; but we have eternal conditions of relationship with God, of which the blood of Christ is the expression and security, founded in everlasting grace, and righteousness as well as grace, by that precious blood, in which all the character and all the purpose of God has been made good and glorified, as well as our sins been put away.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 217The reader will remark how anxiously, so to speak, the epistle here attaches the epithet "eternal" to everything. It was not a temporary or earthly ground of relationship with God, but an eternal one; so of redemption; so of inheritance. Corresponding to this, as to the work on earth, it is once for all. It is not unimportant to notice this as to the nature of the work. Hence the epithet attached even to the Spirit.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 219For in Christ we are the righteousness of God. His blood cleanses us on God's part. Jesus wrought out the purification of sins by Himself, and glorified God in so doing.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 220It is all-important thoroughly to understand, that it is into the presence of God that we enter; and that, at all times, and by virtue of a sacrifice and of blood which never lose their value. The worshipper, under the former tabernacle, did not come into the presence of God; he stayed outside the unrent veil. He sinned-a sacrifice was offered: he sinned again-a sacrifice was offered. Now the veil is rent. We are always in the presence of God without a veil. Happen what may, He always sees us-sees us in His presence-according to the efficacy of Christ's perfect sacrifice. We are there now, by virtue of a perfect sacrifice, offered for the putting away of sin, according to the divine glory, and which has perfectly accomplished the purification of sins. I should not be in the presence of God in the sanctuary, if I had not been purified according to the purity of God, and by God. It was this which brought me there. And this sacrifice and this blood can never lose their value. Through them I am therefore perfect for ever in the presence of God; I was brought into it by them.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 221The work in virtue of which all sin is finally put away out of God's sight-abolished-is accomplished, the question of good and evil is come to a final issue on the cross, and God perfectly glorified when sin was before Him; the result will not be finally accomplished till the new heavens and the new earth. But our sins having been borne by Christ on the cross, He rises, atonement being made, an eternal testimony that they are gone for ever, and that by faith we are now justified and have peace. We must not confound these two things, our sins being put away, and the perfectly glorifying God in respect of sin, when Christ was made sin, the results of which are not yet accomplished. As regards the sinful nature, it is still in us; but Christ having died, its condemnation took place then, but, that being in death, we reckon ourselves dead to it, and no condemnation for us.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 222Some think that these two verses are not a parenthesis speaking of a testament, but a continuation of the argument on the covenant, taking the Greek word to mean, not the testator, but the sacrifice, which put a seal, more solemn than an oath, on the obligation of observing the covenant. It is a very delicate Greek question, on which I do not here enter. But I cannot say they have convinced me.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 223And He must have repeatedly suffered, for there must be reality in putting away sin.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 224The more we examine the cross from God's side of it, the more we shall see this: man's enmity against God, and against God come in goodness, was absolutely displayed; Satan's power in evil over man too; man's perfectness in love to the Father and obedience to Him; God's majesty and righteousness against sin, and love to sinners, all He is; all good and evil perfectly brought to an issue, and that in the place of sin, that is, in Christ made sin for us. When sin was as such before His face in the sinless One where it was needed and God perfectly glorified, and indeed the Son of man too, morally the whole thing was settled, and we know it: the actual results are not yet produced.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 225The judgment, which will fall upon the wicked, is not sin. Much more also is involved in the work and position of Christ, even heavenly glory with God: but it is not our subject here.
[b] It is of moment to see the difference between verses 26 and 28. Sin had to be put away abstractedly out of God's sight, and hence He had to be perfectly glorified in respect of it, in that place where sin was before Him. Christ was made sin-appeared to abolish it out of God's sight. Besides this, our sins (guilt) were in question, and Christ bore them in His own body on the tree. The sins are borne, and Christ has them no more. They are gone as guilt before God for ever. The work for the abolition of sin in God's sight is done, and God owns it as done, having glorified Jesus who has glorified Him as to it when made sin. So that for God the thing is settled, and faith recognises this, but the result is not produced. The work is before God in all its value, but the sin still exists in the believer and in the world. Faith owns both, knows that in God's sight it is done, and rests as God does in it, but the believer knows that sin is still, de facto, there and in him: only he has a title to reckon himself dead to it-that sin in the flesh is condemned, but in the sacrifice for sin, so that there is none for him. The putting away is not accomplished, but what does it is; so that God recognises it, and so does faith, and stands perfectly clear before God as to sin and sins. He that is dead (and we are, as having died with Christ) is justified from sin. Our sins have all been borne. The difficulty partly arises from "sin" being used for a particular act, and also abstractedly. In the word "sins" there is no such ambiguity. A sacrifice for sin may apply to a particular fault. Sin entered into the world is another idea. This ambiguity has produced the confusion.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 227The word "many" has a double bearing here, negative and positive. It could not be said "all," or all would be saved. On the other hand the word many generalises the work, so that it is not the Jews only who are its object.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 229It is not the same word as to "bore," or thrust through, in Exodus 21 nor as "open" in Isaiah 50. The one (digged) is to prepare for obedience, the other would be to bind to it for ever, and to subject to the obedience when due. Exodus 21 intimates the blessed truth that, when He had fulfilled His personal service on earth, He would not abandon either His assembly or His people. He is ever God, but ever man, the humbled man, the glorified and reigning man, the subject man, In the joy of eternal perfection.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 230As throughout the epistle, the Messiah is the subject. In the psalm it is the Messiah who speaks, that is, the Anointed here below. He expresses His patience and faithfulness in the position which He had taken, addressing Jehovah as His God; and He tells us that He took this place willingly, according to the eternal counsels respecting His own Person. For the Person is not changed. But He speaks in the psalm according to the position of obedience which He had taken, saying always, I and me, in speaking of what took place before His incarnation.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 232Remark, also, here not only the substitution of the reality for the ceremonial figures of the law, but the difference of principle. The law required for righteousness that man should do the will of God, and rightly. That was human righteousness. Here Christ undertakes to do it, and has accomplished it in the offering up of Himself. His so doing the will of God is the basis of our relationship with God, and it is done, and we are accepted. As born of God our delight is to do God's will, but it is in love and newness of nature, not in order to be accepted.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 233It speaks of this last in the exhortations, chapter 12: 14. But in the doctrine of the epistle, "sanctification" is not used in the practical sense of what is wrought in us.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 234The word translated here "for ever" is not the same word that is used for eternally. It has the sense of continuously, without interruption He does not rise up or stand. He is ever seated, His work being finished. He will indeed rise up at the end to come and fetch us, and to judge the world, even as this same passage tells us.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 237There is a difference in detail here; but it does not affect my present subject. The High Priest has to do with our access to God; the Advocate with our communion with the Father and His government of us as children. The epistle to the Hebrews treats of the ground of access and shews us to be perfected for ever; and the priestly intercession does not apply to sins in that respect. It brings mercy and grace to help in time of need here, but we are perfected for ever before God. But communion is necessarily interrupted by the least sin or idle thought-yea, really had been, practically if not judicially, before the idle thought was there. Here the advocacy of John comes in: "If any man sin," and the soul is restored. But there is never imputation to the believer.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 245Indeed all that are spared for the world to come. Their state is expressed in the end of Revelation 7, as that of the Jews in the first verses of chapter 14.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 246In general we may say that verses 8-22 are faith resting assured on the promise, the patience of faith: verse 23 to the end, faith resting on God for the activities and difficulties faith leads to, the energy of faith.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 248Observe that in these cases we find the rights of Christ in resurrection; the judgment of nature, and the blessing of faith, through grace; the inheritance of all things heavenly and earthly by Christ; and Israel's future return to their own land.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 251Stand still, says Moses, and see the salvation of Jehovah.
[b] Crossing the Jordan represents the believer being set at liberty, and intelligently entering by faith into the heavenlies; it is conscious death and resurrection with Christ. The Red Sea is the power of redemption by Christ.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 253It is not insensibility to them, but, when they are felt to be there, looking from them to Christ. This is the secret of faith. "Be careful for nothing" need not have been said, if nothing had been there calculated to awaken care. Abraham considered not his body now dead.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 255"Father of spirits" is simply in contrast with "fathers of our flesh."
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 257The word here translated "assembly" was that of all the states of Greece; that of the "firstborn" is the word for the assembly of citizens of any particular state.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 260It is only spoken of in chapter 8: 34, and an allusion in chapter 10: 6.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 262The word "everlasting" is specific, in the epistle to the Hebrews, in contrast with a system which was passing away. It speaks of eternal redemption, eternal inheritance, the eternal Spirit even.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 273Compare 1 Thessalonians 4: 8, where the Spirit takes the place of the law here.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 276It is well to remember that this is carried out in respect of the governing ways of God, and thus under the title of Lord-a place which Christ specially holds, though here the term is used generally. Compare verse 11, and the general Jewish reference of the passage. To us we have one God the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ. He is become Lord and Christ, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 278I add "on earth" here, because the assembly, as built by Jesus Himself and not yet finished, is spoken of in chapter 2, where the living stones come to Christ.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 280The doctrine of the gathering together of the saints to Jesus in the air, when they go to meet Him, forms no part of Peter's teaching, any more than does that of the assembly on earth with which it is connected. He speaks of the manifestation of the saints in glory, because he is occupied with the ways of God towards the earth, although he is so in connection with Christianity.
[b] See 2 Thessalonians 1: 9, 10.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 286In this passage, so to speak (as in this alone), Peter meets the doctrine of the assembly, and that under the character of a building, not of a body or a bride; that which Christ built, not what was united to Him So Paul also presents it to us in Ephesians 2: 20, 21. In this view, though going on on earth, it is Christ's work and a continuing process; no human instrumentality is referred to: I will build, says Christ; it grows, says Paul; living stones come, says Peter. This must not be confounded with the building into which men may build wood and hay and stubble, as the same thing; though the outward thing which God set up good, left to man's responsibility, as ever, was soon corrupted. Individuals are built up by grace, and it grows into a holy temple. All this refers to Matthew 16. The responsibility of human service in this respect is found in 1 Corinthians 3, and the assembly is there given in another point of view. The body is another thing altogether; the doctrine is taught in Ephesians 1-4; 1 Corinthians 12, and other passages.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 291An allusion, I suppose, to the last verse of Psalm 119. The apostle constantly puts the christian Jews on the ground of the blessed remnant, only making it a soul salvation.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 296It is not, as in the Authorised Version, "yet without sin," true as that may be, but "sin apart." We are tempted, being led away by our own lusts. Christ had all our difficulties, all our temptations, on the way, but had nothing in Himself which could lead Him wrong-far surely from it-nothing which answered to the temptation.
[b] Peter rests on the effect; Paul, as ever, goes to the root, Romans 6.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 304This passage may be translated "of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ," and perhaps ought to be so rendered since it speaks of the faithfulness of God to His promise. The epistle to the Hebrews dwells also on the fact that Jesus is Jehovah.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 310In Luke 9 the higher part of the blessing is brought before us. They feared when they entered into the cloud. God had talked with Moses from the cloud face to face, but here they enter into it. The heavenly and eternal character, what is perpetual as moral, is much more brought out in Luke.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 311Compare Luke 12, where the joy within the house is connected with watching; the inheritance with service.
[b] This is the construction of the sentence: "We have also the prophetic word confirmed, in giving heed to which ye do well (as to a light shining in a dark place), until the day shall dawn, and the morning star arise, in your hearts."
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 317And this is morally very important; while it is in Him, not in myself, that I rejoice and delight.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 319The life has been manifested. Therefore we have no longer to seek for it, to grope after it in the darkness, to explore at random the indefinite, or the obscurity of our own hearts, in order to find it, to labour fruitlessly under the law, in order to obtain it. We behold it: it is revealed, it is here, in Jesus Christ. He who possesses Christ possesses that life.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 320It will be found that, when grace to us is spoken of in John's writings, he speaks of the Father and the Son; when the nature of God or our responsibility, he says God. John 3 and 1 John 4 may seem exceptions, but are not. It is what God is as such, not personal action and relationship in grace.
[b] He who had seen Him had seen the Father; but here the apostle speaks of a message and the revelation of His nature.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 322It is not said "has" nor "will." It does not refer to time, but to its efficacy. As I might say such a medicine cures the ague. It is its efficacy.
[b] When speaking of sin, the apostle speaks in the present tense, "we have"; when speaking of sinning, he speaks in the past. He does not take for granted we are going on doing it. It has been a question whether the apostle speaks of first coming to the Lord, or subsequent failures. I answer, he speaks in an abstract and absolute way: confession brings through grace, forgiveness. If it is our first coming to God, it is forgiveness; it is in the full and absolute sense. I am forgiven with God: He remembers my sins no more. If it is subsequent failure, honesty of heart always confesses, then it is forgiveness as regards the government of God, and the present condition and relationship of my soul with Him. But the apostle, as everywhere, speaks absolutely and of the principle.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 324Here the subject is communion, and hence actual failure is spoken of; in the Hebrews, we have seen, it is access to God and we are "perfected for ever," and priesthood is for mercy and help, not for sins, save the great act of atonement.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 326Fundamentally they are not different. This is affirmed in verse 7: "The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning." One might say with perfect truth that the commandment is the word of Christ; but I question if it could be said that the word is the commandment. And this makes one conscious of the difference. The contrast of verses 4 and 5 is remarkable, and has its source in the possession, and the intelligent and complete consciousness of the possession, of the divine life, according to the word, or its non-possession. He who says, I know Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; for this truth is only that which the word reveals. And if we live of the nature of which the word of Christ is the expression, and thus by the word know Him, we obey that word. In another aspect, if we are in possession of this life, partakers of the divine nature, the love of God is in us; we have the commandments of Christ, His word, the perfect love of God, a walk according to the walk of Christ, the communication of the life of Christ so that the commandment is true in Him and in us, the walk in the light, the love of our brother. How rich a chain of blessing! The pretensions here spoken of are-to know Christ, to abide in Him, to be in the light. The proof that the first pretension is justified is obedience. Then, if we abide in Christ (which we know by keeping His word), we ought to walk as He walked. That the last pretension is a true one is proved by love to our brother. In the second, the walk is maintained at all the height of the walk of Christ, as our duty: but this walk is not presented as a proof that we abide in Him, that we keep His word. Observe that it is not said, "We know that we believe"-this is not the question here; but, "We know that we are in Him."
Let me add here, that the apostle never uses these proofs, as they are so commonly used, to say, "hereby we doubt." It is quite certain from verses 12, 13, that he treats them as all forgiven or he would not have written, and as having the Spirit of adoption-even the youngest and feeblest. Others sought to make them doubt; and he writes that their hearts might be assured before God, that they might not be seduced into doubting, as if they had not a full Christ and a full Christianity-eternal life. It was the means of keeping and holding fast assurance when they had it, when they might have been shaken, not of obtaining it. They were forgiven, they were sons. When others would make them doubt, he writes that they may be fully assured that they have no reason to doubt.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 327This, I doubt not, is the true meaning of John 8: 25. "In the principle of my nature, in my being, that which I am saying to you." That which He said was essentially and completely that which He was. That which He was is that which He said. Now it is this life which is imparted to us; but it was the love of God among men and in man. And this life being our life, and the word of Christ giving us the knowledge of it, and this word being kept, His love is realised in us in all its extent.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 328The force of the word is "the darkness is passing and the true light already shines." There is much darkness yet in the world. As to the light, it has actually shone.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 329The reader may compare here, with much instruction, what is said in Ephesians 4: 17 to 5: 12, where these two names of God, the only ones used to reveal His nature, are also used to shew our path and the true character of the Christian; only according to that which the Holy Ghost gives by Paul-the counsels and work of God in Christ. In John it is more the nature.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 335I have noticed, farther on, the striking way in which God and Christ are spoken of as one Being or Person, not as doctrine as to the two natures, but Christ is before the apostle's mind, and He is spoken of in the same sentence, now as God, now as appearing as man. Thus in chapter 2: 28 He comes. In verse 29 the righteous man is born of Him, and we are children of God. But the world did not know Him. Now it is Christ on earth. Chapter 3: 2 we are children of God, but in the same verse He appears and we are like Him. But what makes this yet more wonderful is that we are identified with Him too. We are called children because that is His title and relationship. The world does not know us, for it did not know Him. We know we shall be like Him when He appears. We are given the same place here and there. (Compare chap. 5: 20).
[b] See previous note.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 336John uses habitually the word "children," not "sons," as the more distinctly expressing that we are of the same family. We are as Christ before God and in the world, and so will be when He appears.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 337In Romans 2: 12, the word is used in contrast with law-breaking, or sinning under law. That is, the Greek word here used for what is translated "transgression of the law" is that used for sinning without law, in contrast with sinning under law, and being judged by it. I do not dissemble that this changing what is a definition of sin is a very serious thing,
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 340Here dwelling in Him comes first, because it is practical realisation in an obedient heart. His dwelling in us is then pursued apart as known by the Spirit given to us, to guard against being misled by evil spirits. In chapter 4: 7, he resumes the indwelling in connection with the love of God.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 345Note, it is not "was." It is never said in scripture, He left the Father's bosom; but "the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father." As so knowing God, He reveals Him on earth.
[b] This gives us too, in their highest character and subject, the difference between the gospel and epistle.
[c] The only expression in the word that has some resemblance to it is "the church of the Thessalonians, which is in God the Father." This is addressed to a numerous corporation in quite another sense.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 347Righteousness and holiness suppose reference to other things; thus, evil to be known, rejection of evil, and judgment. Love, though exercised towards others, is what He is in Himself. The other essential name that God bears is "light." We are said to be "light in the Lord" as partakers of the divine nature; not love, which is, though the divine nature, sovereign in grace. We cannot therefore be said to be love. (See Eph. 4, 5).
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 349It is striking to see that he does not say, We ought to love Him because He first loved us; but we love Him. We cannot know and enjoy love to us without loving. The sense of love to us is always love. It is not known and valued without its being there. My sense of love in another is love to him. We aught to love the brethren, because it is not their love to us which is the spring of it, though it may nourish it in this way. But we love God because He first loved us.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 353Even the orderly reception of the Holy Ghost was so (see Acts 2: 38).
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 356I have already noticed this passage as being a kind of key to the way we really know God, and dwell in Him. It speaks of God as Him we know, in whom we are, explaining it by saying, that it is in His Son Jesus Christ our Lord; only here, as follows in the text, it is truth and not love.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 368This was morally true from Acts 3, where the Jewish leaders refuse the testimony to a glorified Christ who would return, as they had rejected a humbled One. Acts 7, by the mouth of Stephen, closes God's dealings with them in testimony, and the heavenly gathering begins, his spirit being received on high. The destruction of Jerusalem closed Jewish history judicially.
[b] Paul, of course, is in no way noticed. For him the assembly belonged to heaven-was the body of Christ, the house of God. He was a builder.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 369And hence in particular assemblies, which of course could be judged and removed. There is another point of divine wisdom here. Though we have, I doubt not, the whole history of the assembly to its end in this world, it is given in facts then present, so that there should be no putting off the coming of the Lord. So, in the parables, the virgins who go to sleep are the same that wake up; the servants that receive the talents are the same found on the Lord's return, though we know ages have passed and death come in.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 370Note this immensely important principle: the church judged by the word, not the church a judge; and the individual Christian called to give heed to this judgment. The church (I use the word designedly here as used to claim this authority) cannot be an authority when the Lord calls me, if I have ears to hear, to hear and receive the judgment pronounced by Him on it. I judge its state by the words of the Spirit, am bound to do so: it cannot be an authority therefore on the Lord's behalf over me in that state. Discipline is not in question here, but the church as wielding authority.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 372There are moral reasons from the contents. We shall see, farther on, that the structure of the book fully confirms this.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 373We shall find the same thing at the close when the prophecy is ended. Here what He has been to the saints and has done: there what He is for the future. See chapter 22: 17.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 3751 Timothy 6: 15.
[b] Revelation 19: 16.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 377Except in some parts of the world, those called bishops are always bishops of a city, shewing historically that dioceses are a subsequent arrangement. Angels were not chief officers of the synagogue.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 388His character too was for judgment among the assemblies and the assembly on earth; not His own bride, but the outward body here on earth.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 391For the judgment at the end, though governmental, closing earth's history, was not merely so (cherubic), but according to God's holiness and nature (seraphic), particularly as in Isaiah 6, a known God in Israel.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 393That is, "having" does not apply to elders only.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 394It is very possible that the plural "righteousnesses" is a Hebraism for righteousness. It is a common case in moral things. At any rate it is of the saints.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 402Where the throne is set for judgment, it is characterised only by what proceeds directly from God. There are no earthquakes and hail; here there are.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 403I do not continue to put the voice as Christ's. The application to Him is too questionable.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 404We are not to be surprised, therefore, if the beast at the end had only local empire, though originally God had given universal empire to the beasts: how widely exercised we know.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 412It is important to remark that formal religion, which rests on ancient claims as established, and which is left behind as to the truth by others who have received it, is the regular habitual instigator of persecution, though others may be the persecutors. So it was with the Jews, so in the universal history of the world. It always becomes false as regards truth, though it may retain some and important truths. The truths which test the heart and its obedience are not there.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 416So it was as to His Person and service. No one knew the Son but the Father. It was the secret of His rejection. He was that, and so necessarily such in the world. But the world under Satan's influence would not have that. In His humiliation His divine glory was maintained in the unsounded depths of His Person. Now He is revealed in glory; but there ever remained what none could search or penetrate into-His own Person and nature. His revealed name was the Word of God. As revealing God in grace or power so as to make Him known, we know Him. But His Person as Son always remains unsearchable. His name is written, so that we know it is unknowable-not unknown but unknowable. But He made good now the character and requirements of God in respect of men-what they ought to be with God, and what God was to them in their natural relationship, revealed in respect of their responsibility. Judgment refers to these, and to ourselves.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 417This too He does alone; not that the saints may not be with Him as His cortege, so to speak, but the execution of judgment is His. In Isaiah it is only said that of the people none were with Him. In sessional judgment, judgment is given to them.
[b] I have already stated that the harvest is discriminative judgment: there is wheat for the garner. The wine-press is vengeance, righteous vengeance.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 418It may be noted here that, according to the true reading, the living and reigning is certainly resurrection. "The rest of the dead lived not until," etc.; so that it is clearly used here for resurrection, as the following words confirm: "This is the first resurrection."
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 419Thus purpose and man's responsibility are never confounded, but, from the two trees of the garden on, are in juxtaposition; life brought into connection with responsibility in the law, responsibility being put first, and thus proof given that man cannot stand before God; but the question is solved only in Christ, who bore our sins, died for us to sin, and is life. Counsels and promise of life in Christ come first, then responsibility in the creature on earth, then grace making good counsels, in righteousness, through the cross.
Synopsis of Colossians - Revelation, page 426The true reading here is "tree," not "book"; but the book of life is not life, nor is our being written there final, though a prima facie register, unless indeed written there before the foundation of the world: but, even so, it is not the same thing as the possession of life.
[b] Compare the place of the bright cloud in Luke 9. There it is the Father's voice