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"HE APPEARED IN ANOTHER FORM"

Summary of a Reading

Matthew 28:9,10; Mark 16:9 - 15; Luke 24:32 - 43; John 20:19 - 23

It would be helpful to draw attention to the word "form" in Mark, and from that to point out the character of each record of the manner of the Lord's appearing to the disciples after He rose from the dead. The expression "another form" is one which requires attention; it is peculiar to Mark. He has in view the state of the disciples. His narrative calls special attention to their unbelief; so that in telling us about the form, Mark simply says, "he appeared in another form to two of them as they went into the country". Revelation 1 and 2 enlarges on this comment. If the Lord's form is not natural, if the manner of His appearance to us is not normal, it denotes things are not right with us. The form seen in Patmos called attention to things that existed. The fact was that the assembly had left its first love, and His appearance was abnormal. It is a serious matter to find the Lord appearing in an abnormal way.

Mark's gospel calls special attention to the state of unbelief which underlay the movements of the disciples after His death. The Lord not only speaks to us when there is departure, but He changes His attitude, and you cannot say in what form He may appear. The state of unbelief was the necessity for that. Each of the addresses to the seven assemblies opened with the Lord in a position or aspect suitable to its state.

It is helpful to get the outline of the four evangelists' accounts. The normal account is found in John's gospel. Matthew's account is in keeping with his point of view, and the Lord intended to produce in the

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disciples a sense of His position in administration, hence He acts at a distance, maintains a royal dignity in His relations with them.

It is not the Lord's love which changes because He rejects what is unsuitable in us. The Lord's love never could change, but in faithfulness His attitude to us changes if He sees what is displeasing to Him. His dealings with the saints in the Revelation are abnormal. It is not "I myself" till the close, but He is in rather a disciplinary attitude. All, save in the address to Philadelphia, are other than normal.

A normal state is where love could have its free course. The Lord's supper had become clouded by human innovation, so that it had lost its identification. Now restored to us in its original simplicity, and in the measure in which saints are in keeping with it, we realise "It is I myself": the Lord Himself, that is the Man. In Luke the characteristics are, it is a real Man, with all a man's affections. When we apprehend the significance of the form in which the Lord presents Himself it results in our recovery; so the way in which he presents Himself to the assembly really brings about the state seen in the overcomer.

The Lord assumes a natural and normal attitude in speaking to Philadelphia. He only assumes an abnormal form in view of recovery. On one occasion in the Canticles He only puts His hand in at the door. The bride, having that suggestion made, can give a full outline of His Person. He is described by one who loves that Person. The Lord graciously acts in that way to bring us back, that the assembly's relations with Him should be resumed. Luke's account is normal as regards the Person - the Man: "It is I myself"; therefore it says in Luke, "they were glad". At the end of Revelation also it is "I, Jesus", a term which the assembly will understand. It is the Person. If recovery is to come in it is

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through the Person of Christ. His hand is active, it may be through discipline.

"Going into the country" seems so simple but really lies at the bottom of the assembly failure. It is taking up an earthly position instead of having their faces to Jerusalem. "Another form" is a different form, not a normal one. It is different from what He is in His own Person. As a matter of fact in Luke they did not even know Him. Song of Songs 5:3 - 6 shows a great test of affection. The sight of His hand puts her affections in motion. The two that went into the country had been treated similarly, only He goes all the way with them into the house; then being there, He breaks the loaf and they know Him. He does not tell them what to do; but what they did was to return in that same hour to the eleven, who were in a right position though unbelieving. The Lord said to the assembly at Philadelphia: "I will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth". (Revelation 3:10). They had returned to the city. In Nehemiah a premium had to be put on dwelling in Jerusalem. They cast lots, for the disposition was to go into the country. The assembly should have retained its place in the centre of divine thought and rule.

The city is an abstract idea now; it has no concrete form yet. It is a divine conception introduced to meet what man had brought in. God introduced the idea of the city to Abraham. Going into the country is connected with minding earthly things, and then eventually we see in Revelation the woes are poured out on those that dwell on the earth in contrast with heaven-dwellers. Because these two had had the light and had been with Jesus, their going into the country was a serious thing, showing they were not attached to the divine centre. In recovery they returned the same hour and find the eleven, and those

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that were with them. They were following righteousness now. They found "the eleven", who represented the authority of the Lord. It is a question of where one's heart is. They found the eleven; that is, they returned to the order set up by Christ in authority. In connecting Mark 16:13 with Luke, who gives more detail, we see the recovery was complete. The recovery was analogous to Philadelphia. It was recovery to the order that the Lord established, not partial, but complete. It is not complete unless brought back to the authority of Christ, that is the city. Paul completes the city, and he alone speaks of it formally as "Jerusalem above". Recovery is to God's centre, and where it is genuine we find an acknowledgment of the Lord's authority.

The city is the assembly, but it is not yet in heaven. The apostle says, "Jerusalem above", speaking abstractly as something which will exist, so it is a matter of light. The acknowledging of the Lord's authority is seen in their returning to the eleven. He had commissioned the eleven. We have not the eleven today, but we possess their writings which represent the authority of Christ. Where this authority is recognised we should soon find the right company. The principle in Acts 2:42 abides till the end, "The apostles' doctrine", because it is a question of their authority.

When He broke the bread, their eyes were opened. One sight of Him in the breaking of bread is enough. He was "known of them" through that. He took the place of 'House-father' at Emmaus, which recalled similar occasions with them as Head of a family. Prior to that He made their hearts burn on the way. The Lord drew near but in another form; He deliberately disguised Himself to get at their consciences, and used very strong language, saying, "O, fools". He made as if to go further to call out their affections. The state of unbelief is seen here

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In spite of the great privilege that the Lord has afforded us, we should ask ourselves, Is my heart believing or unbelieving? Am I governed by darkness or light? Our natural selfishness would dispense with exercise. In unbelief there is no exercise. In going into the country and sitting down in quietness there is no exercise. Unbelief is at the root of most of our troubles. The underlying state is that there is the selfishness of nature which would dispense with exercise.

In Ezra's day they cast lots as to who should dwell in Jerusalem. The converse is ordinarily the case, the city forming such an attraction for the young. In man's city the lust of the eye and the pride of life are ministered to, but in Nehemiah 11:1, Jerusalem is called the Holy City; it affords nothing for the flesh, the flesh has no hankering after the city of God. The area was as large as when David occupied it, but people all wanted to go into the country. The nobles dwelt there; these were men who had taken up their responsibilities. Resurrection men appear there in Matthew. It is the city of light and rule; there is only one Jerusalem. Flesh does not seek it, but the country.

In the question of recovery, what the Spirit does is to bring us back to the previous appreciation of Christ in the Supper, and this effects recovery. What Luke brings us to is real humanity, the spirits of just men made perfect. Jerusalem is peopled by those. In Jerusalem we see the kind of men who have taken character from Christ: they are of Him.

In John's gospel Mary's message placed them in a normal position after they are assembled. They are in a normal state, so John opens up our great spiritual privilege. The Lord is seen as the last Adam and the Head of a new race, the Son of God. They are now prepared for the unfoldings of the new Head. "But these are written that ye might believe". (John 20:31)

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John opens up to us the last Adam, a life-giving Spirit.

How wonderful to be shut in with Christ. He brought them into a new life as His brethren. We get the unfolding of what Christ is as the ascended One. In verses 19 and 21 "peace" repeated shows the thought of the Lord's heart for them; they are doubly fortified in peace.

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"IN THE MIDST"

Hebrews 2:12

It seems to me that we ought to seek to arrive at the truth of what the Lord had in His mind when He uttered these words. Did He take account of the assembly in the light of God's purpose, or did He also include in His mind the wilderness circumstances? My conviction is that the latter was not in the Lord's thought; but that He contemplated the saints as gathered around Him consequent on His death and resurrection, and so viewed as outside of wilderness conditions. To apprehend the thing in a concrete way, I think we have to go back to original conditions. We have to do this to rightly understand any assembly truth; and I would say that when the saints came together "in assembly", the Lord came to them and this was realised. The Spirit does not record, or give examples of the inward working of the assembly viewed in this exalted position after Pentecost. I think it is left to intelligent affection to find out. The scene after the Supper when they sang a hymn, is the closest analogy as to the singing, but this was before the Lord's death and resurrection; they were then on Jewish ground. Afterwards, the disciples would be regarded as His brethren before the Father, as now made known, but referring to Hebrews 2, it is well to remember, that it is not the unfolding of assembly truth, but primarily to show the humanity of our Lord. Therefore, it is not to determine when He sings, but shows that He sings in the midst of the assembly; it is a characteristic function, as also declaring the Father's name to His brethren.

It seems clear that the primary thought of the assembly is that those who form it should be together; and its distinctive privileges are thus enjoyed; this

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will be true literally when we are "caught up together". Much may be said of the wilderness as involving God's ways, but it is incidental. Though our wilderness condition cannot be ignored, yet I am sure it is not right to apply to us as "in the wilderness" what Scripture connects with us viewed as "in the land".

My conviction is that the Lord in using the precious words recorded in Hebrews 2:12, did not contemplate the saints as in the wilderness, or in incidental circumstances, but rather as gathered together as the glorious result of His death. Were one to take the assembly as viewed only in the light of this passage, we would think of it in no other circumstances than as surrounding Christ to "go no more out". That is, we should not think of the wilderness. I am therefore afraid that if we make the praise here to include what may ascend from individuals, as such, we lower its character. I believe it refers to the assembly as outside all here, and that it extends beyond the present period. Indeed it does not specially refer to any period. From another point of view, I believe the words "in the midst" in their ordinary force, mean that the saints are together.

November, 1913.

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THE BROTHERLY COVENANT

Hebrews 13:1; Deuteronomy 2:1 - 9; Amos 1:9

My thought is to speak a word about the relationship in which the Lord has set us as brethren, a term which is, thank God! now current among us, and the fact that it is current and appreciated shows, that there has been recovery amongst the people of God. The exercise is that what has been recovered may continue; not only the relationship, but that which belongs to it, that is, the love that is suited to it, brotherly love, and so I would wish to enlarge on the subject by the Lord's help, especially as found in the epistle to the Hebrews, which is not a formal, apostolic epistle, but one written on the ground, as one might say, of mutuality. The writer begins by saying, "God having spoken...... to the fathers in the prophets, at the end of these days has spoken to us". He is not assuming that he had any special official place, but having a message involving an exhortation, he delivered it on the ground of mutuality.

In writing his apostolic letters, Paul usually associated with himself a brother, and this is especially so in corrective letters. You will recall that in writing his first epistle to the Corinthians he associated with himself "Sosthenes the brother", and in the second letter, "the brother Timotheus"; that is, combined with his official position as an apostle, there was the brotherly representative. Those who have to do with military matters know how at the tribunals a military representative is there, representing the claim of the military authorities, and while, of course, this is very different from what a brother suggests, I name it as illustrating the idea of association in acting. Although Paul was a brother, he was also an apostle, and as an apostle he represented the authority of Christ; the authority

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of Christ was vested in him, as it had been in the twelve.

It is a point of great interest in the opening of the Acts to see how Peter on the day of Pentecost stood up in his official capacity as an apostle not associated with the hundred and twenty; that is, with the brethren as such, but with the eleven; "But, Peter standing up with the eleven", (Acts 2:14). They were the ones who had been commissioned to announce the glad tidings, and it is said of those who believed through Peter's testimony, that "they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship"(verse 42); they were brought into a new system which superseded that established by Moses. Instead of Moses' seat, it was Christ's seat, represented in the apostles; that was how matters stood at the beginning. When we come to Paul, we find that he is careful to associate with his authority the brotherly spirit. There was one linked with him in writing the letter to the Corinthians who had the heart of a brother; that would tone the letter, not that any modification was necessary, for Paul had the heart of a brother, but he would by this means assure the brethren to whom he was writing that what he wrote was not out of keeping with the spirit of a brother; so we read, "Paul, called apostle of Jesus Christ, by God's will, and Sosthenes the brother", (1 Corinthians 1:1).

You will find this principle of associating others with him common in the different epistles of Paul, but especially in the corrective ones, and it is worthy of special note that when he wrote to the Galatians he mentions not only one brother, but "all the brethren with me", (Galatians 1:2) It was not only the affections of the brethren, but their solemn judgment as to an error that was about to rob the people of God of their liberties. It is a serious thing when all the brethren, or the brethren generally, are of one mind about a matter. That which belongs to Christ, His

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rights, and the liberty of the saints were threatened and therefore the apostle associates with him in his letter to the Galatians "all the brethren". "Paul, apostle...... and all the brethren with me". I call attention to this, dear brethren, so that we may see how the spirit of the brother is to pervade everything in Christianity, from authority down to the relations in which we stand one toward another.

When we come to the epistle to the Hebrews, it is not the authority of the writer that is in view, but the mutuality that should mark the people of God. When I speak of mutuality, I speak of what we have in common in the way of possession. The early Christians began, according to Acts 2, with holding everything in common; "all things" were in common. The principle was so pronounced amongst them that even their material possessions were held in common. Paul distinguishes in that regard in 1 Timothy and elsewhere. In writing this epistle, the writer speaks of the spiritual things which Christians have in common, and they are very much greater, I need not remark, than material things, for they are enduring, and they become a binding element amongst the people of God. I suggest for your consideration expressions which recur frequently in this epistle, "we have" and "let us". We have things in common. It is not that he says, "do you", but "let us", and that leads on to what I may call in the language of Scripture, the "brotherly covenant".

I do not know whether you have noticed the expression, but it occurs in the scripture I have just read from Amos, "Tyre...... remembered not the brotherly covenant". The principle of covenant is very pronounced in the epistle to the Hebrews, and I think that this principle helps greatly in the formation of mutual relations and bonds; indeed, in this as in all else, we have to learn from God. According to Thessalonians, it is God who teaches us to love

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one another, ye "yourselves are taught of God to love one another", (1 Thessalonians 4:9) and so I believe that the brotherly covenant must be the outcome of what God is to us in Christ.

In this epistle you will find the thought of covenant alluded to in different connections. It is said of Jesus that He became Surety of a better covenant; that is, a better one than the first, and it is established on better promises. Let us not shelve these promises for a later day. They are for us in the principle of them, and so also is the "better covenant", (Hebrews 9:6) of which Jesus is Surety. Primarily it is consummated as regards the house of Israel and as regards the house of Judah, but Jesus is the Surety of it, and, moreover, it is later said, we have come to Jesus the Mediator of it, we have come to that Man; and in the last chapter of this epistle we read that the God of peace "brought again from among the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep in the power of the blood of the eternal covenant". (Hebrews 13:20) Note eternal covenant; that is to say, one which is never to be broken, for it is not dependent on us, it is effectuated through the blood of Jesus; it is dependent on God, for Jesus is brought again from the dead in the power of the blood of it, and He is the great Shepherd of the sheep. What a Shepherd for the sheep to be under the care of! We have to take account of the Lord in these various connections.

We have to know Jesus in every connection, and what a study for our hearts to contemplate Him in these varied ways. He is Surety of a better covenant, He is Mediator of a new covenant, He is the One who has made the covenant effective, and then He is the great Shepherd of the sheep whose blood sealed the covenant! How important to know Him too as the One who has come out of the grave in the power of the everlasting covenant! The covenant is a question of the love of God all through, what His

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love is to this people and what it provides. How every shepherd, as knowing the great Shepherd of the sheep would be concerned that the saints should not miss anything of that love! It is all to be brought to the sheep; they are to be nurtured in it. As Israel in the future will be brought up under the "apple tree", that is, under Christ as the. Mediator of the new covenant, so we now as Christians are brought up under the nurture of Christ, nourished in the love of God. We have to learn Christ in these relations, and as learning Him we come to apprehend the idea of covenant, and in this way we learn to maintain the brotherly covenant.

Now the assembly began with that, but all were not true to it. Tyrus is the figure of such; whatever the covenant relations may have been, Tyrus disregarded them, "and remembered not the brotherly covenant": His punishment on that account is, that "I will send a fire on the wall of Tyre". Am I aware of the fact that I am in relation to my brethren in a holy covenant? It is from God that I learn what the thing is. At what cost, beloved brethren, has God brought in the thought and made it effective for me in the Mediator! Think of what the life, of Jesus here upon earth was to God! He who grew up, as it is said, as a tender plant, He who was ever green for God, whom He regarded as His "only One", His Elect, in whom His soul delighted! It was that One whom God gave up. The life was in the blood, but what a life was the life of Jesus! God gave that up in order to make His thoughts effective for you and for me, and now, am I not to be according to that? If that precious life was surrendered by God, and that precious One brought up from the dead, in the power of the blood of the eternal covenant, as the great Shepherd of the sheep, what effect has that on me? What about my life? My life after the flesh is of no value surely; it is

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forfeited by sin. God's word to Adam was "dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return". (Genesis 4:19)

But then I am a Christian and a Christian is born of God; he is born of water and the Spirit, and made to live too in the power of the Spirit in the life of Christ; viewed thus he is not dust; there is in him something for God, something that abides. What am I to do now with that life? Paul tells us: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the compassions of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your intelligent service". (Romans 12:1) "The body is dead on account of sin, but the Spirit life on account of righteousness". (Romans 8:10) The body in itself is dust, but it is of great value now in that it is animated by the Spirit of God. See what a Christian is for God, what he is now as emancipated from sin, living in the Spirit; the Spirit being life! There is that which is to be for God. So the body is presented, not a dead sacrifice, but a living sacrifice. That is all the fruit and effect of what I see in God, made good to me in the death of Jesus, who was brought again from the dead in the power of the blood of the everlasting covenant. My life is to be thus devoted to God.

It is in that way I enter on the ground of the brotherly covenant. I have love in my heart. God has placed His love there, and what for? That we should be like Him; as David said, when established in his kingdom, "Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" (2 Samuel 9:1) It was a brotherly covenant, for Jonathan had made a covenant with David, "he loved him as he loved his own soul", (1 Samuel 18:3) and David in his lamentation over the death of Jonathan said: "thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women", (2 Samuel 1:26) and now he would show kindness to the house of Saul for Jonathan's sake. So with the sense of the love of God in my heart I look at the brethren, and I act

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to show the kindness of God, and the love of God for Christ's sake. That was what Christians were at the beginning, but, alas! as with Tyrus, the covenant has been broken; there have been those who have been untrue to the bond in which the Lord has set us. "For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not revoke its sentence", Jehovah said; the punishment is irrevocable. As the Lord says to Thyatira, "I gave her time that she should repent, and she will not repent". (Revelation 2:21) That is God's way; there has been the transgression; the brotherly covenant has been broken; and then the punishment is fixed. I only cite the case of Tyre as an instance.

The Lord has His eye on everything that is going on down here in the sphere in which His name is publicly owned; He walks "in the midst of the seven lamps". (Revelation 1:12) When He comes to Philadelphia He finds there the brotherly spirit. I have no doubt that the very name suggests it, and in it He has His place. I make bold to say that the Corner stone is in Philadelphia, for everything is for Christ; it is what is after Christ. He said, "thou hast kept my word"; and "thou hast kept the word of my patience". The promises to the overcomer are connected with what belongs to Christ, "the temple of my God...... the name of my God...... the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my new name". Such is what He offers to those who are marked by brotherly love.

Well now, in reading the passage in Deuteronomy, I wanted to show how God has respect to the rights of brethren. I have no doubt in my own mind that mount Seir refers to the place of the brethren. You will remember that it is said in this book that "there are eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea". (Deuteronomy 1:2) I believe it is true spiritually, that the way into privilege is via the

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brethren; in that sense Colossians precedes Ephesians, for finding the Christian circle leads on experimentally to the heavenly place. The other way is a long way round and involves much exercise, and that may be necessary, but the divinely short way is via mount Seir.

I do not refer to the passage for that reason, but, as I said, to call attention to the fact that God has respect to the rights of the brethren. You may say to me, I did not know we had any rights. If I claim any I am in a false position, but I must recognise that you have rights, and so the word here is "Command the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the border of your brethren the children of Esau, who dwell in Seir ... meddle not with them". I have, therefore, to respect the brethren: they have rights: if I regard them according to God, there are no people who have such rights as the brethren. In the first epistle to the Corinthians "all things" are said to be ours, and amongst them the servants, the ministers, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas. Must I meddle? must I interfere? In Christendom the thing is reversed; you hear of certain men speaking of their flocks, whereas the truth is that the minister belongs to the congregation. If the Lord has graciously supplied a means of help for His people at the present time, let us not meddle, yea; rather let us see to it that the saints get all there is for them; they need it.

Then it goes on to say, "I will not give you of their land". You may say, It refers to Esau; it does, but he is regarded here as representing the brethren, and there must be no interference; their land is given to them according to the counsel of God, and we must not take it away from them. You may say, There is very little in this brother or in that one; but remember this, the Lord is able to make him stand, and the ministry he has received

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from the Lord he is responsible for, and the Lord will hold him to account for it, and that ministry is the property of the brethren. Then the reason given why God will not give them of their land is "Because I have given mount Seir unto Esau as a possession", and further it adds, "Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink". I do not pursue the passage. I bring it forward in order that we may see that the brethren have divinely given rights, rights granted to them in the sovereignty of love, and no one must meddle with these. Let the Lord have a free hand in His own heritage. Paul could say, "I have planted; Apollos watered; but God has given the increase". (1 Corinthians 3:6)

And now, dear brethren, I have said to you what I had in my mind, and in conclusion I come back to that one verse, "Let brotherly love continue". (Hebrews 13:1) I believe that that one feature is to mark the last days. There was a wonderful beginning for Christianity, and I believe, morally, there is going to be a wonderful ending, and one of the best evidences of it is that the bride says "Come". The Spirit takes the lead in this, but the bride is with Him. It does not say, The Spirit and the bride shall say, Come, nor is it let them say, Come, but "the Spirit and the bride say, Come". (Revelation 22:17) It is characteristic. It marked the assembly at the very beginning, and the passage indicates clearly that it will mark her at the end. I believe, that as the conditions in the world become more marked by the features of Antichrist, the saints, as they are exercised to maintain separation from all that bears that character, will be led on more and more in unison with the Spirit to say, "Come, Lord Jesus".

I commend to you the brotherly covenant, the importance of being bound up in the mutual bonds of divine love, so as to be fortified against the

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covenants of the world; it is in this way that brotherly love is seen to work out, and we are exhorted to let it continue, and I am encouraged to believe it will. Scripture says "he that has endured to the end" (Matthew 10:22); it is not how one begins, it is how one finishes. If I have begun my Christian career in the enjoyment of the fellowship and the affections of the saints, let me keep there; the apostle says to the Thessalonians, "The Lord make you to increase, and abound in love one toward another", (1 Thessalonians 3:12) and this verse says, "Let brotherly love continue", let it abide. May God grant that in His grace it may be so with each one of us, and to this end bless His word.

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THE TESTIMONY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

John 1:6 - 10, 15, 19 - 37; John 3:25 - 30

In reading this passage I have in view what has been already before us. I am encouraged to turn to this narrative of our Lord's ministry, because I believe it is specially intended for the last days. It represents the reserve which the Lord had from the beginning, and by which He intended to meet conditions which should arise consequent upon the breakdown of that which was established by the apostles.

The writer, as you will observe, introduces John the baptist at the outset, and he introduces him in order to emphasise the excellencies which were peculiarly evident in him, as if to suggest to us that the witness in the last days is to be marked by these traits. I see this to be the design in introducing the Baptist in such an early stage of the narrative. Whilst carefully retaining him in his place as subordinate to Christ, yet he brings him in at the outset. John "was not that light". The writer almost says, Do not mistake him, he is very far short of Christ; but whilst I beg of you not to mistake him for Christ, take account of the peculiar traits which are emphasised in him, for I want them to appear in you.

"There was a man sent from [not by here, but from] God". He was sent from God. Now I suppose that the desire of every one that loves Christ is to serve Christ, and so the point here is as to where you come from in your service. John was sent from God. The force of the word is that he had been with God. Very little is given of John's early life after his infancy, but there can be no doubt that he lived with God. Had he not it could not be said that he was sent from God. Now God may take up any

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person to accomplish some act of government, as for instance, Cyrus. It could not be said of him, that he was sent from God. So the first great thing is to be with God. This is also one of the first great points emphasised about the Lord. "The Word was with God". The evangelist further states, "we have contemplated his glory, a glory as of an only begotten with a father". That is how the apostles contemplated Christ. Note, they contemplated His glory, it was not a passing observation, but an interested occupation of the mind.

So John is presented to us as "sent from God". Here I would impress upon you the importance of being with God. You will find that in the Lord's ministry He habitually withdrew from the crowd. To be a minister one has to be with God, not with the crowd, It is quite true that He came down to the level of men, and that is the negation of the clerical idea. The Lord spent the whole night in prayer before He chose the twelve. He fitted the men for service, as illustrated in the man whose hand was restored in Luke 6, and then He prayed. Afterwards He chose twelve and named them apostles. Then He came down and stood with them in the plain or "level place". With the apostles He came down to the level of men, as we may say, in order to bless them. As Paul says, "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some". (1 Corinthians 9:22)

Coming back to John, this is how he is represented to us. He was sent from God. We were dwelling on the assembly at Antioch this afternoon. It was marked by priestly exercises Godward. Paul and Barnabas were sent from that company; not by it, but from it. So that it is well to inquire when a man presents himself to minister, who he is, and whence he is. The Lord made a point of who He was, and whence He was. The sum total of John's witness is given in the verses I read. First he says, "He is

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preferred before me". Have I come to that in my soul, that another is preferred before me? Now that the Son of God has come, no one else can have the first place. And then the evangelist adds, "of his fulness have all we received". If we have not received of His fulness, we have not anything at all. So the Spirit of God turns aside to enlarge on His greatness. "Grace and truth subsists through Jesus Christ". They are perfectly blended in Him. "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him". Not was or shall be, but "who is in the bosom of the Father".

Now look at verse 19. "This is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem". John the baptist was not there. Christ was not there. He was "with the Father". They came to John and said, "Who art thou?" What a question! Let us just face it, beloved brethren. Have I a lineage to pride myself on? Here are the leaders of religion, giving John an opportunity to assert himself. What would the flesh do were it allowed to answer here? John was of the priestly family; he could have said: My father was a priest, and my mother a daughter of Aaron. But John was not governed by fleshly feelings. How ready we are to advertise! Simon Magnus was "giving out that he was some great one". This is an anti-Christian element. "The beast" will be marked by it in a pre-eminent way. Let us beware of advertising.

Now see how beautifully the Spirit of God presents the opposite in John. He "confessed and denied not". In Matthew and Luke the Lord defends John. Let us leave our reputation to Christ. He takes care of it, and we should have no reputation save what He commends and defends. You cannot say anything too bad as to what I am capable of as a

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man in the flesh, but if you look at me as a man in Christ, you cannot say anything too good, but, as I said, the Lord will take care of our reputation.

What was of God in the Baptist was tested in a remarkable way by the messengers sent from Jerusalem and by the questions they asked. As the questions proceeded, the test became more severe. He says, "I am not the Christ". Then they ask him, "Art thou Elias?" He could have said 'Yes' with a measure of truthfulness, for the Lord said concerning him, "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, who is to come". But John said "No"; he was not even Elias. The point here is, that you do not claim to be a special servant or vessel. Following this is the inquiry, "Art thou that prophet?" "No". The steadiness with which John maintained a true estimate of himself in this tempting interrogation is very striking. It is a model for all who would serve Christ today. But the temptation proceeds: "Who art thou?" "What sayest thou of thyself?" they further ask. He answers, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias". There is no assumption to new or special light. Why should we talk about new light when the sun is in the heavens? Christ is "that light"; as for John, he was just a voice, urging people to make a way for the Lord. So he says, "Make straight the way of the Lord". The Lord is coming in. You prepare for Him. That is the message. Get right with the Lord. That is the point. He is about to appear now.

Are we prepared for the Lord? If one might speak about "the way", in the Acts it is synonymous with fellowship. It was the way of the saints,, their manner, the new thing that Christ had brought in, that was evil spoken of; Acts 19:9. The great multitude have now turned aside from it. As Deborah

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said, "The highways were unoccupied and the travellers walked through byways". How many of us here are on the highway of God? The Lord is coming and He will recognise "the way". It is His way. Let us make it straight. It involves the fellowship of God's Son, and of His death. Let us look to our associations. Further, the "Day-star" arises in our hearts, so that we should take care of our hearts.

They asked John, "Why baptisest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?" They questioned him now about his work. First, they ask about himself, then about his work. John said, "I baptise with water". There is no claim to anything great; it was negative. That was the nature of his work. Most essential, indeed, in its significance, as we know, but for the moment it was water in contrast with the Spirit. But he points to the Man who is coming after. Look what He does! He baptises with the Holy Spirit. Christ is going to fill the world with positive blessing.

The questions of the Pharisees' messengers being answered, we have John's unsolicited testimony to Christ. From verse 29 it is "the next day". He is done with the Pharisees. This begins another day. It is the substance of John's witness in a positive way. He "seeth Jesus coming unto Him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world". What a testimony! How the mind is directed to Christ! He is coming unto John, coming in the way of righteousness. Baptism with us is the demand of a good conscience before God. It demands baptism. Strictly, no one is righteous until he is baptised. The Lord said, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness", (Matthew 3:16). The Lord would not leave one item of righteousness unfulfilled. He is the accomplisher of righteousness for He takes away the sin of the world. And then, "This is

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he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me". Then there is a further and separate testimony, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him". This was the evidence to John of the One who would baptise with the Holy Spirit. We have thus the accomplishment of righteousness in the death of Christ presented in John's witness, and also the great fact of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Christ is the sum-total of the testimony.

Then there is another part: "again the next day after". I wish now to dwell upon this fresh part of the Baptist's testimony. "John stood". He has done working now, we may say; he has introduced Christ, who is now to do everything. The One who is to fill the world with blessing is now on the scene. May the Lord give us to take our place and stand as a witness to this glorious Man! Two of John's disciples were with him. He looked upon Jesus as He walked. Jesus is not now walking to John. He is simply walking. Peter speaks of "his steps"; John is looking at Him as He walked. He says, "Behold the Lamb of God!" It is not Christ's work now, but His walk. John's word was like true ministry. True ministry directs the saints to Christ and not to the minister. The two were moved when John spoke. Ministry to the heart moves the saints. They heard John speak and followed Jesus.

Turn now to chapter 3: 25 - 30. John is now not only standing and looking at His walk, but standing and hearing the Lord Jesus. His heart is filled with joy. Our hearts should catch some of the joy which the Baptist had as he disappears, for we may say he disappears here. "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom ... rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled". He is now standing and hearing. In the first chapter he was standing

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and looking; in the third he is standing and hearing the Bridegroom. John the baptist came to discern the voice of the Bridegroom. Have you discerned the voice of the Bridegroom? If you hear that voice you merge into the bride. It is much greater to be of the bride than even to be an apostle. I dwell on it, for it involves the voice of Christ's love for the assembly. There has been the distinct voice of the Bridegroom in the ministry that has come to us in these last days. Matthew 25 speaks of a cry which calls attention to the Bridegroom, but then there is the positive ministry of Christ Himself, which contains the voice of the Bridegroom. He that "standeth and heareth". It means the closing of the ears to other sounds and voices. What does it mean to me? It is that I belong to that for which Christ as the Bridegroom is coming

So John says, "The friend of the bridegroom standeth and heareth". I beg of you to stand and hear the Bridegroom's voice; He is about to come for the bride, and He would appeal to her now. "for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready". (Revelation 19:7) John speaks of making straight the way of the Lord; for us this involves making ourselves ready. "To her it was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen". The granting suggests distinguishment. Such array is in keeping with her dignity. The best robe was put upon the prodigal. But I would appeal to each heart as to whether we are ready for Christ. John says, "this my joy is fulfilled". So he disappears. What a sunset! Truly a sunset suggests past glory, but John goes down in that way. His greatest, glory is as witness to the rising Sun. He is filled with joy, in the sense of the greatness of the One who is rising in the heavens, and who is to fill the universe. He is here now for faith; "for the Son of God has come", but presently for sight.

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CHRIST THE PATTERN IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD

Romans 8:29

Our brother has put a word into my month in the suggestion that an Ephesian saint is foreshadowed in Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 19:24 - 30. Ephesians presents to us the full answer to the gospel; that is, in the thought of full grown men. And it occurs to me, that at the end of the days of the period in which we live, it is the divine thought that there should be men such as Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth appeared, first, in the period when David was established in the kingdom, and again after he had gone through the period of rejection occasioned by the rebellion of Absalom. That is, Mephibosheth's love endured; it stood the test. Although, through his infirmity, he was unable to accompany David, as driven out of Jerusalem, his love was an abiding one. It was typically divine love, it never failed.

So now, I apprehend, the Lord is set to bring about men fully developed; as the apostle says, "In your minds be grown men", (1 Corinthians 14:20). Ephesians not only deals with the affections, but with the mind also. It is there we read of being "renewed in the spirit of your mind", and of "the spirit of wisdom and revelation" in the knowledge of God. That is something that is beyond what the physical creation would suggest. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead" (Romans 1:20); but Ephesians goes beyond this in that it suggests the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God. So that there is in that way, in the suggestion of our brother, a very practical thought, the reappearance in the last days of intelligent devotedness and love to Christ. In other words, God is bringing about

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now intelligent lovers of Christ. I have no doubt that in the middle ages, all the way down, there have been lovers of Christ. The addresses to the assemblies in Revelation 2 and 3 clearly indicate this. The Holy Spirit saw to it, that it was so, one may say. But one can scarcely assert that there have always been intelligent lovers of Christ; and so I would remind you that an Ephesian saint, characteristically, is an intelligent lover of Christ. Now if one is not a lover of Christ, one is doomed for a curse. Paul says, "If any one love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maran-atha". (1 Corinthians 16:22) A very solemn word, a warning which resounds throughout the period of the assembly to all non-lovers of Christ: "Anathema Maran-atha", That was Paul's judgment by the Spirit.

One looks into the heavens and sees the handiwork of God. I suppose one may be justified in saying that the idea of pattern did not appear in the formation of the physical system, which indeed, is, so to speak, but the scaffolding to the building. I feel assured that the remark is justifiable. Scaffolding wrought, indeed, with wonderful skill, but not more than that, for as the real structure, the spiritual structure, is completed, the scaffolding disappears. The putting into place of these marvellous bodies was truly wonderful, but I judge without pattern, and one may say that even Adam was not made by pattern. He was a "figure", truly, "of him that was to come", but the real pattern in the mind of God was Christ Himself and no other. When you come to the figurative representation of things in the heavens; that is the spiritual things, God said, "And look that thou make them after the pattern showed to thee in the mount". (Exodus 25:40) When you come to spiritual things, heavenly things, everything in made by pattern.

I have entered on a wide field. I can only just

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touch on it, but when you come to what is before God, that is to say, a spiritual order of things, everything must be on the principle of pattern; and not a made one: it is the Son, as our verse says, "that we should be conformed to the image of his Son". Wisdom, was present when the foundation of the earth was laid, but in regard to the foundation of the earth there is nothing said as to pattern. We do read, indeed, of "all his work which God created and made" (Genesis 2:3), but when we come to the spiritual order of things seen in type in Exodus, all must be made "after the pattern showed to thee in the mount". This is the Son, not a made pattern, as I said, but "the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us". (John 1:14) That is the pattern, and so God is working according to that. I feel if I can leave that impression with you, I have succeeded in my object. He is working on that pattern, and will not be diverted from it in the least measure, for the pattern stands. The four gospels present it to us. And so Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, says, "For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified". (1 Corinthians 2:2) It was his deliberate judgment formed as to how and what he should minister among them. So he says, as it were, 'I was true to the pattern in so far as it could be used among you'. He could not use the whole pattern on account of their state; but he was God's workman, and he laid the foundation as a "wise architect", and the foundation is Jesus Christ. He did not go beyond the foundation, but the foundation was according to the pattern.

Now the pattern really involves not only the form of the structure, but the material also. The specifications call not only for dimensions, but also material. Let us remember that. What God made the universe out of I cannot tell you, nor can anyone else. It was a creation, and faith accepts this. But God presented

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beforehand in Christ the material out of which the spiritual universe was to be made; or builded. As I said, the specifications, so to speak, not only required form, but also the material that should be used. Paul laid the foundation according to pattern and according to requirement as to material, and the material was "Jesus Christ"; the order of Man the gospels present to us. That is the foundation. Take heed first how you build, and then what you build; pattern and material, we must be careful about both. That is to say, if I do anything for God in the way of service, it must be according to Christ. It is of no value at all otherwise; indeed, God has to come in and destroy it by fire. Is there anything that I have done, or am doing, that the fire must destroy? God will not suffer bad material in this building, everything is tested by fire.

In the second epistle to the Corinthians the apostle says, "he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God". (2 Corinthians 5:5) What is the "thing?" "We have a building from God eternal in the heavens", (5: 1) the apostle says, referring to the spiritual body. Now what is that body like? It is like Christ. The body that is said to be a building of God, eternal in the heavens, is patterned after Christ. It is wonderful that I am to have a body like that. The Word became flesh and dwelt among men. In that blessed Man you see the divine idea. There is no other. He appeared in resurrection in a spiritual body of "flesh and bone". Christians have a house "not made with hands, eternal in the heavens". Our present bodies are bodies of humiliation, but they shall be raised spiritual bodies, in incorruption, glory and power; (1 Corinthians 15:42 - 44). God has wrought us for this, for this "selfsame thing", the apostle says, as he thinks of the building from God; for we are to have bodies like unto Christ's body of glory as in heaven. God has had a definite thought

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in His mind. He is working in us now, that when we appear in that body we shall be equal to it. The body and myself shall be wrought of God. As it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, so may it be said of us, "What hath God wrought?" He has brought a company who, both in regard of their spiritual state and in regard of their bodies, are patterned after Christ. That is what God shall have wrought then.

I have ventured on this line to show you in confirmation of what had been said, that God's work is now altogether on the line of pattern, and that pattern is the Son, so that the end stated is, "for whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son". The word "conformed" includes all we have been speaking of. God brings in discipline, allows things to occur in our circumstances, thus the conforming work goes on, and all to the end that we should be "conformed to the image of his Son". It includes all we have been dwelling upon - namely, the work of God.

The epistles to the Corinthians enlarge upon what God is and does for His people. Colossians is more what Christ is: Corinthians is God. So that "he that hath wrought us for this selfsame thing is God", and He has also given us the earnest of the Spirit, so that the working has in view the Son of God, that every saint should be conformed to the image of that blessed Man. So it is all on the principle of pattern. God would bring out at the end of the days a complete correspondence to the beginning, not in quantity, indeed, but in quality. It is the antidote to Antichrist, who is undoubtedly looming in the distance. The mystery of iniquity is working, and it is working to bring about a man that shall be set over against Christ; whereas the Spirit of God, on the other hand, is working to bring in Christ, subjectively, in the people of God, so that there should be

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in that way an antidote to Antichrist, a standard lifted against him. The conforming work of God brings about in us a likeness to Christ. The word "image" here is to be noted: that we should be "conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren". The design was not small. God has many before Him, and is working that they should all be like Christ, like the Son, so that He should be the Firstborn among them. Hence we have brought about a spiritual order of things.

The natural system is but the scaffolding to the spiritual, because it shall be certainly removed. The present heaven and present earth shall be consumed. They "shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat". But we "look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness", (2 Peter 3:10 - 13) "I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away", (Revelation 21:1). That is the spiritual order that shall remain, and everything there reflects what the Son is; "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature". (Colossians 1:15) How important is the work of God. If one looks at the handiwork of God; it is conforming them to the image of His Son.

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Pages 32 - 76. Readings in New York, 1918 - 1919

READINGS IN CORINTHIANS

CHAPTER 1

This letter is parallel with that to the saints at Rome, in the sense that it affords light as to how believers who have received the teaching of Romans are to be regulated collectively. Believers in Rome are addressed as "beloved of God called saints". Their ecclesiastical position is not in view whereas those at Corinth are written to as the "assembly of God" in that city. Generally speaking Romans corresponds with Exodus, and Corinthians with Numbers. We may say it treats of "the assembly in the wilderness". In Numbers Moses is spoken to by Jehovah as "in the wilderness of Sinai". What follows is light as to how the saints are to be regulated collectively as in the wilderness. Ephesians views the assembly in heaven. The assembly of God in Corinth answers to the wilderness. We have to pass through the wilderness on our way to heaven, but our being in the wilderness is by divine appointment for testimony. Leviticus speaks of the tabernacle of the congregation, but Numbers speaks of the tabernacle of witness. Stephen speaks of "the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness", (Acts 7:49).

The tabernacle did not suggest outward greatness or grandeur; it was comparatively insignificant externally, and this agrees with the apostle's remarks here about the Corinthians and himself. Emphasis is laid on the littleness of things from man's point of view. They were to consider their calling: not many wise or mighty after the flesh were called. The manner of the apostle's preaching, too, was not such as to inspire worldly interest or approval.

This epistle has a general as well as a local, bearing, and has a certain prophetic character, especially as

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introducing the Lord's supper. As intended to meet failure, being corrective, it affords peculiar help throughout the whole history of the assembly. The fleshly pretensions and laxities that developed at Corinth reappear, alas! continually, and hence the principles set out in this letter for correction and recovery are constantly applicable.

"Sosthenes the brother" is introduced at once in Paul's salutation. There is always great moral support in the brother. Brotherly sympathy is a great feature of Christianity. Paul valued it, and it goes through to the end. It specially marks the Philadelphian period. Revelation is marked by it. John, in writing to the seven assemblies, is their brother. Another brother, Timotheus, is associated with Paul in writing his second letter to the Corinthians. Writing to the Galatians, Paul associates with him all the brethren in his company. He was not alone in his exercises, far from it. The idea of a brother is more in evidence in the chapter before us, however, the brother being mentioned personally.

The first epistle gives the exterior of the structure, the second more the interior. The latter leads on to "a man in Christ". Paul had laid the foundation at Corinth as "a wise architect". His architecture was not of the Corinthian style; it was of a divine order. The foundation laid was Jesus Christ - an order of Man (blessed be His name) infinitely removed from that held in honour at Corinth. The foundation had the whole structure in view. It was not modelled after the fashion of the world: Christendom, alas! has come to this. Paul's architecture was heavenly.

"The testimony of the Christ" in verse 6, refers to what will be set forth in Him as anointed for God's pleasure. "The testimony of God" in chapter 2: 1, is more what God is as revealed in the gospel. Paul announced it humbly and unpretentiously, for it involved the order of Man that "the life of Jesus"

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bore witness to. "The Christ" is the anointed Man, in whom God sets forth all His thoughts; Jesus is the order of Man who is for God's pleasure. Those spoken of in Romans 3 as justified are "of the faith of Jesus". The testimony of God involves that men like Him are brought in for God, hence "good pleasure in men".

We may say that Romans is the testimony of God, Colossians and Ephesians the testimony of the Christ. 2 Timothy speaks of "the testimony of our Lord". (2 Timothy 2:8) Outwardly others have dominion over us, but there is One who is our Lord. Mary says,"My Lord". He is not yet wielding His authority outwardly, but His protection is nevertheless real, and known to be this in a spiritual way by those who have faith. The victory that marked Paul's path witnesses this fact. The testimony of our Lord is seen in power and endurance in suffering on the part of the Lord's people in this world.

We are called into the fellowship of God's Son; verse 9. The dignity and greatness of what we are called to is in view here. Later on in chapter 10, we have the fellowship of His death, and also in 2 Corinthians 13:14, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. It is of here, not with His Son. The character of the fellowship is referred to. How great our privilege is! The faithfulness of God, however, is the leading thought in verse 9. He had made no promises to the Gentiles, but now that they were taken into relationship with Him in grace, He was to be known to them as faithful. The second epistle enlarges on this subject. The first nine verses of our chapter are introductory, they show how richly the Corinthians were furnished.

In addressing "all that in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ", Paul does not add with a "pure heart" as in 2 Timothy 2:22. Every one who professed to be a Christian then was included;

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all were obligated, but 2 Timothy makes a difference. We are to walk here and to "follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart". Universality is emphasised here in 1 Corinthians 1, and the same Lord was recognised by all, He is "both theirs and ours".

While the Son is introduced in verse 9, the truth connected with Him as so regarded is not developed in this epistle. The apostle begins to exhort in verse 10 but it is "by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ". Authority was needed, and this is seen throughout, even in regard of the Lord's supper. Administration is in His name down here, this involves His absence.

The latter part of the chapter enlarges on what Christ is, as presented in the gospel. Wisdom is put before righteousness in verse 30. This is characteristic of the epistle, for local influences had to be met, and the dangers from human, that is, Greek wisdom were great. "Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who has been made to us, wisdom from God, and righteousness, and holiness, and redemption". This is objective; verse 24 is subjective more: it refers to the estimate each of the classes mentioned had formed of Christ. To the Jews He was an offence; to the nations, foolishness; but to the Christians He was "God's power and God's wisdom". Although three classes are mentioned in verses 23 and 24, there are, in the final analysis, really but two, "them that perish" and "us that are saved", verse 18.

CHAPTER 2

It will be noted that throughout this epistle God is made specially prominent, and what He is as in contrast to man. "Of him", says the apostle, "are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption". God had chosen certain ones in Corinth, generally from among those regarded as

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insignificant in this world, and had given them a status in His world; He had placed them in Christ, whom He had made to them everything that they needed as before Him. Thus man, whatever his culture, is shut out; the believer is independent of all worldly supplies, for God has furnished him with everything he needs, making Christ all to him.

Of course, God is before us in all the epistles, indeed, in all Scripture, but He is peculiarly so here, as compared, for instance, with Colossians, where Christ is emphasised more. God was to be known in His assembly through the order and holiness seen there in contrast to what man is as seen in this world. It was "the testimony of God" that Paul had announced at Corinth, and his preaching was in every way in keeping with this. He had determined to know nothing among the saints there, but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He was taken up with the order of Man that pleased God. The fact that such an One was crucified spoils all the glory of man in this world. The apostle's determination was in view of the general conditions at Corinth. Human education, social distinction, and the like had a great place in this Greek city, and the introduction of God, as presented in Jesus Christ crucified, in Paul's testimony, struck at the root of all this.

Paul was in full accord, in the manner of his ministry, with what he ministered. He avoided all that would appeal to the flesh, and his word was "in demonstration of the Spirit and of power", that the Corinthians' "faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God". These believers had thus a wonderful opportunity to start well; they had some eighteen months of Paul's work and manner of life. Not only did they have his doctrine but also the spirit and power in which he ministered; that was an immense advantage, which the saints at Rome did not have, when the

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epistle to them was written. The apostle, having weighed the peculiar influences of a city like Corinth judged that he would know nothing there but "Jesus Christ, and him crucified". Such knowledge is the only effective antidote to human pride. It is of all importance now as the sure fortification against the spirit of Antichrist which denies "Jesus Christ come in the flesh", 1 John 4:3.

Having spoken of the subject matter and character of his ministry at Corinth, the apostle touches on what he ministered elsewhere, by way of contrast. He spoke wisdom among the perfect, but not the wisdom of this world, but "the wisdom of God in a mystery". The Corinthians were carnal, "babes in Christ". They were Christians, being "in Christ" but had not gone on; they had not grown. Evidently they had not grown as they should have, even under the apostle's influence, for eighteen months should have taken them out of the babe state, which is passed for a much longer time in the spiritual, than it is in natural history. The Thessalonians got on better; they had the apostle a much shorter time.

The "babe" state among Christians is generally marked by undue recognition of gift or signal ability in others, which tends to partisanship. Compare chapter 1: 11 - 13. The blind man of Bethsaida in Mark 8 is an illustration; the Lord led him out of the town before He opened his eyes. In the town sin is concentrated, and hence the peculiar danger there for young Christians. The blind man, having his eyes opened, first saw men as trees walking; men would thus be unduly great in his estimation; this is always the danger, but afterwards he saw all men clearly.

One object in this epistle to the Corinthians is to teach the Lord's people how to form a right judgment of everything. We are to have a true estimate of every man and every thing; "he that is spiritual

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judgeth all things", as is said in our chapter. Among the perfect; that is, those whose moral senses were fully developed, the apostle spoke "the wisdom of God in a mystery". This suggests Colossians and Ephesians. In Colossians 2:3 all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are said to be hid in the mystery and in Ephesians 3:10 the "all-various wisdom" of God is spoken of as seen in the assembly.

The Corinthians were unable to take in such light, being but little beyond the natural man as to their practical state; their spiritual ability was very limited notwithstanding their great advantages. Although richly endowed with gift they made but poor use of it, and this was a sad discrepancy, but alas! constantly noticeable among the people of God. The Corinthians seem to have regarded gifts almost as playthings, things to adorn and distinguish them as men in this world, whereas they are precious endowments, by which, as given by Christ the Head, the assembly is to be edified and instructed.

Presently the wisdom of God shall be manifested in all its various workings, but now it is hidden; it is in mystery now, and is thus ministered to those who appreciate it and can understand it. It was "ordained before the world for our glory". Wonderful surety! The princes of the world knew nothing of it, or they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Jesus on earth was the expression of it. Wisdom is personified in Proverbs 8, but it took form in Christ when become Man. Luke presents it to us, especially in chapter 7, where wisdom shines in a remarkable way, and is there said to be "justified of all her children". Note the centurion and the woman in Simon's house.

A distinction has to be made between the revelation of God in Christ and the things revealed by the Spirit. "Things which eye has not seen and ear not heard" are revealed to us by the Spirit. They are prepared for those who love God. "The Spirit searches all

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things, even the depths of God". The astronomer searches the heavens with his telescope, but the Spirit searches the blessed depths of divine love and reveals the wonders that are there. They are for the Christian; things there are prepared for us. When God prepared the heavens wisdom was there; how much more was so in the preparation of our things! These things being spiritual and of God are altogether outside the range of the natural man; he is carnal and they are spiritual. Not valuing them, he does not receive them, and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But the believer, having the Holy Spirit, has the ability to know the things that are freely given to us of God. Further, normally, he has the mind of Christ; thus he is able to think as Christ does. In measure he judges, or takes account of men and things as Christ does

CHAPTER 3

Wisdom is more prominent in this epistle than righteousness, although, of course, the latter has its place. The fact that the order that should mark the house of God is in view explains this. There is great evidence of divine wisdom in the structure of the epistle. Wisdom is the handmaid of love, and love in peculiar fervency underlay what the apostle wrote. The Corinthians were his "beloved children", and the apostle's communications to them were in genuine fatherly affection, although largely taking the form of warning and admonition. Chapter 2 emphasises the spiritual, but the Corinthians, alas! were not spiritual. Although they had the Holy Spirit, they were but "babes in Christ". The subject of spirituality is brought forward so that the Corinthians might realise their poverty in this respect. Chapter 13 has the same bearing in regard of love. "The spiritual discerns all things, and he is

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discerned of no one". How great is the advantage he possesses! Normally the Christian has the mind of Christ; he has no puzzles. Although undiscerned by the worldlings about him, yet the spiritual man has no dark parts; he is transparent, and quite well understood by those who are like himself. The Lord in John 15, verses 26 and 27, distinguishes between the testimony of the twelve, as having been with Him from the beginning, and that of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 2 the Holy Spirit is the instrument of revelation, and He is also the power in the believer for understanding the things revealed. He is the Spirit which is of God. The twelve bore witness to Christ, as He was here, "all the words of this life"; the Holy Spirit, through Paul, brings in the heavenly things.

Although the Corinthians had the Holy Spirit, they were carnal; the apostle fed them, however, but this could not be with meat, but with milk. Their carnality was largely evidenced in partisanship; this usually appears in young or stunted Christians. In the world partisanship is legalised, and this is true in Christendom also, but it is a most baneful thing among the people of God. Scarcely anything is more hateful to a spiritual man than that he should be regarded as the leader of a party. It must have been very painful to Paul. The Corinthians walked "as men". To do this does not necessarily involve what is outwardly sinful. It works out in natural preferences and selections. It is quite natural for a man to like another of his own rank or education. National prejudices, too, come under this head. In a word, the principles that mark the world are here condemned as appearing among Christians. For a brother to accept the fealty of others in any sense, or to aim at being a recognised leader, is a serious matter; it can only serve the enemy's designs. It makes for division among the saints.

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Paul's careful judgment as to what he should present to the Corinthians is very striking; it was "Jesus Christ, and him crucified". The blessed character of that Man presented to them in Paul's ministry was calculated to lay a foundation in their souls, that would, if truly accepted, save them from the very evils they were allowing. The blind man of Mark 8 who had his eyes opened, first saw "men as trees, walking". He is a type of the Corinthians and, alas! of many at the present time; subsequently "he saw all things clearly". Following this in Mark 8 Peter confesses that Jesus was "the Christ". Normal progress is indicated in this. The Lord inquired of the disciples, "Whom do ye say that I am?" Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ of God". Here in 1 Corinthians 3, the question is, "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos?" They were ministering servants through whom the Corinthians had believed; but Jesus is "the Christ of God", the anointed Man, by whom God effects all that is in His heart.

There are two figures employed here, agricultural and architectural. As to the first, Paul had planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. Without the "increase", which is from God alone, the planting and the watering were useless, and so it ever is. This thought, as constantly before the mind of the servant, keeps him humble and dependent. The Corinthians were "God's husbandry" and "God's building". Husbandry gives the idea of life in its normal development and position; building would be in view of a sphere, where life is enjoyed. In Luke 15, the house is in view as the place of enjoyment. Paul was a wise master-builder and laid the foundation, and "another buildeth thereon". The reference is to a building just started; the symmetry and beauty of it are not yet apparent. There is not much to see yet, but much work to be done. The important consideration was as to how one would build, and

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what material he would use. "Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon"; "the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is". A very large number were employed by Solomon in building the temple, and many have been engaged in building the spiritual structure: hence the necessity for the apostle's instructions here.

Besides being God's husbandry and building the Corinthians were His temple. The truth of the temple is a great feature in Christianity. It is connected with the presence of the Spirit of God in the saints. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" In Ephesians and 1 Peter God's building is presented more concretely. In Peter the stones are said to be living, so that the material is prominent; the same is true of Matthew 16. The complete structure is in view in Ephesians and Christ is said to be the chief corner stone. In Him "all the building fitted together increases to a holy temple in the Lord". Divine communications are received in the temple; the blessed light of God in Christ as Man is diffused from it. The Psalmist speaks of inquiring in God's temple. Those who avail themselves of it have the mind of God about things. They are not in doubt, they know. It is wonderful how things become clear when they are considered in connection with the saints, as having the Spirit of God.

CHAPTERS 4, 5

The closing verses of chapter 3 enable us to see the relation between the congregation and the ministers. Paul, Apollos, and Cephas are said to belong to the Corinthians. "All things are yours", the apostle says,. "whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours". All the

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gifts are given to the assembly and for its up-building; so no one should assume to be in charge of "the flock"; he is the servant of the saints. That is what this passage teaches us. Of course, Paul was more than that, because he was a minister of Christ, and a steward of the mysteries of God. This shows the great place the assembly has, for all things belong to it; a fact that we forget. We may think that possessing a little bit of land adds to us as Christians. It does not, because "all things are yours". The saints as joint-heirs of Christ, are the heirs of all things. "Therefore let no man glory in men". Elsewhere we are enjoined to honour those who minister in the things of God, hence the importance of reading every part of Scripture in its context. Men here would be taken account of in a natural way, not as spiritual leaders. The Corinthians were making party leaders of local men. Christendom is divided up into parties as suggested here. One says he is of Paul, another of Apollos. Christendom is founded on that principle; and the thing is legalised, for denominations are accepted as right. It is a serious matter and condemned in this letter.

Although the gifts are for the assembly, each servant is responsible directly to the Lord as regards his ministry. He is not controlled by the congregation. Ordinarily, the pastor, so called, is owner of the flock, or the flock owns him. He is either, a paid servant, subservient to the wishes of the congregation, the congregation being his master; or, if he has sufficient moral weight, or mental power to sway all, he is lord over God's heritage. This epistle is the antidote to all that, because it states that Paul and Apollos and Cephas belong to all the saints, but the Lord's right to control and direct His servants is carefully guarded. "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God". In that way the

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servant is directly responsible to Christ; "to his own master he standeth or falleth".

Then later we have, "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge", 1 Corinthians 14:29. So the saints are regarded as in a position to judge as to a man's doctrine. It is remarkable in Antioch where the Spirit asserts Himself as supreme in the assembly. He says, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them", Acts 13. He did not simply say to Barnabas and Saul, 'You go to the Gentiles'. He told the saints to separate those two men, and then He sends them out as separated and as obtaining the fellowship of the saints, and after they had fulfilled their mission, they returned to Antioch. It says, "they sailed away to Antioch whence they had been committed to the grace of God for the work which they had fulfilled. And ... ... they related to them all that God had done with them", Acts 14:26, 27. The apostle had transferred the things of which he had been speaking to himself and to Apollos, that the Corinthians might learn in them not to think of men above what is written. The passage reads, "And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another". Although he used his own name and that of Apollos and Cephas, he really referred to certain local leaders. The brethren were being divided up into sects, each having his favourite teacher; so he brings in these great facts to show the folly of it. Now, if you follow what he says, about himself, you will see that he did not want to be a leader. It is a very poor thing to want to be a leader merely for the sake of being prominent. He goes on to say, "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if

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thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" Then, verses 9 - 13, "For I think that God had set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day".

What a remarkable description of the apostle's experience! He is seen as a very humble man in contrast to the leaders in Corinth who were really puffed up. So he says, "It is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea I judge not mine own self ... ... but he that judgeth me is the Lord". He leaves it all with the Lord. What an example for servants we have here! Men subject to like passions as we are; but they were so subject and self judged that they were content to be marked by what is outlined here. It has been said that we should be prepared to go to the wall. Paul evidently had gone to the wall as regards position in this world. Think of the word, Filth! "We are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things". Remarkable expression! This is the path the flesh would not tread. There were those in Corinth also who were treading quite a different path. They were reigning as kings, but they were reigning without the apostle. He was not indifferent to the way they regarded him, because in truth, they were not making him a leader, it was local men. Their estimation of Paul only indicated

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where they were spiritually. Spiritual Christians value spiritual men and spiritual ministry. So he says: "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus have I begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me".

Parentage, in a spiritual sense, is a very wonderful thought; it is more than simply giving light; Paul had begotten them in Christ Jesus through the gospel. The truth was, that although he was their spiritual father, they were not characteristically his children; they were not formed after him. Timothy was formed like him, he bore the character of Paul. "For this cause", he says, "I have sent to you Timotheus, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord". It is as if a man had a large family, and all were disobedient but one; he has one like himself, one true child. Paul says in effect, 'I have sent you Timotheus, my beloved child; he is just like myself, so that you may have a conception of what a child of mine should be'. Of Timothy Paul said to them, "who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every assembly".

Paul's character and teaching were the same everywhere. "I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you". That is fatherly affection. What was the trouble? These saints had a year and a half of instruction from Paul, more favoured than other saints and yet there was a poor result. It shows the incorrigibility of the flesh unless it is judged. Unless we judge the flesh we do not make headway. Timothy was a bright contrast to the Corinthians; he was faithful. He had a good mother, as well as a good father in Paul. I suppose the Corinthians were lacking in the maternal side. Timothy had a good mother and a good grandmother; 2 Timothy 1:5.

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Coming to the end of the chapter, we see how Paul would act if he came among them, how he would deal with those who were puffed up. He says, "But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power". Then he raises the question, "What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?" It was for them to decide how he should come. If they continued in their self-will, he would have to come with a rod. If the apostle Paul were to come now into Christendom, with all the authority vested in him by Christ, what a state of things he would find! What would he do? Suppose he came with a rod, which represented his authority, how serious it would be. It raises the question as to where I am in my soul and in my associations, whether I am in a position to which the rod would apply.

The next, chapter 5, shows what the rod signifies, It is the principle of the rod, because it involves Paul's authority as well as their responsibility. "For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed". Then he goes on to say; "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus". He must apply the rod in this particular case. The thing is too flagrant; it must be dealt with. If it is not dealt with the saints will become wholly leavened, and the apostle would not have that. It was a very salutary dealing because it preserved them. In a sense he puts his rod into their hands, for the formal act of excision would be theirs. It should take place when they were gathered together.

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CHAPTER 5

In our day apostolic authority is lacking, but this chapter teaches us that evil cannot be countenanced among the people of God, whatsoever our weakness. First he says: "Ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned". We can do that, we can mourn, we can be humbled about the thing.

Delivering to Satan was by apostolic authority. No one could assume to do that now. If we come together in repentance the Lord would come in. If we are exercised, and humbled, and mourn, the evil person would be taken away; that is, the Lord would act Himself and take away the wicked person from among the saints, or the Lord would help us to clear ourselves, for we cannot go on with sin The first great point to see is that the evil must be dealt with. That is most important. If we have not power to deal with the sin, we should be humbled about it; but we must never allow the idea that it can be left alone. Sin must be judged, and the guilty person, if he does not judge himself, must be refused. That is the ground we take in our souls.

Paul says, "When ye are gathered together, and my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ to deliver such an one unto Satan", etc.. This involves administrative prerogative in the assembly, augmented by the apostolic rod, only you have delivering to Satan, which, as far as I know, is limited to apostolic authority. The assembly does bind on earth, and what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, but delivering to Satan seems to be an apostolic prerogative. Paul speaks in 1 Timothy 1:20, of doing it himself without reference to the assembly. He puts the "ye" first here in verse 4 of our chapter. "The power of our Lord Jesus Christ" connects with the assembly. We have not the apostle's spirit now, but we have the Holy Spirit, and so

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"the power of our Lord Jesus Christ". They are distinct things. "The power of our Lord Jesus Christ" would be ever available to the assembly, but here the saints are augmented by Paul's authority, because the case was so serious.

It is hardly in keeping with our circumstances to assume the power to deliver to Satan now, although this passage remains as light. It is better to be humble and recognise that there are many Christians who are not walking in fellowship fully, and yet you cannot assume that they are wicked persons. The conditions in which we are today are different from those at Corinth. Sin must be dealt with, as we said; and this scripture shows the mind of God as to it. It is a question of how the discipline is to be executed; that is, whether now it should not be by an action of withdrawal from wickedness, or a wicked person as Paul indicates in 2 Timothy 2. Is not this the principle that should govern the saints now rather than formal excommunication; that is, "put away" which involves the assumption to have authority. Verses 4, 5, 7, and 13 involve assembly action, only verse 4 emphasises the power available to execute the discipline. "Taken away from among you", in verse 2, is not the same thing as "put away from among yourselves", in verse 13. The former would be the Lord's direct, or indirect, action; the latter the assembly's which as expressed in this passage involves authority for public administration.

While judging sin according to the holiness of God, even as at the beginning, and refusing to walk with a wicked person, it seems that humility in us in a day of brokenness would avoid assuming public authority now. Still, the person convicted of sin, which he has not judged and forsaken, must be told that he is unfit for Christian fellowship, and that the saints can no longer walk with him. Undoubtedly

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the Lord confirms such an attitude on the part of His people, and the effect in result will be the same as it was at Corinth. Indeed, the Lord's discipline goes on constantly with us according to the state of our hearts. If a man eats the Lord's supper, unjudged in his own soul, he comes under judgment from the Lord. The saints may not discern his state, because his outward demeanour may be quite correct, but his inward state being wrong the Lord deals with that. We must deal with overt acts. The Lord cuts an unjudged person off, as Paul says, "for this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep". It is an exercising thing to be made sick, because the Lord may be dealing with us. Some are cut off; that is, by death.

2 Timothy is, of course, quite in accord with the teaching here, but in it the Lord provides for the altered conditions in which the saints find themselves in the last days. To the Corinthians Paul said, "Do ye not judge them that are within?" That word "within" referred to the Christian profession then. The Christian profession comes under the eye of Christ, and God judges in it. You will find eventually that Christendom will be judged. The Corinthians should then have done it, but we cannot do it now. We judge Christendom in a way, but we have no power to change it. All you can do is to set yourself right in regard to what is unclean, and to walk with those who are clean. We know that when the Lord Jesus comes the thing will be dealt with. The addresses to the seven assemblies show what He thinks about things. At the same time, you enjoy the light of 1 Corinthians. In the last chapter of the Old Testament the word is, "Remember the law of Moses, my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments"; the whole law. The whole New Testament holds good in the truth of it now.. We have the light

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of it, only we are regarded as children of wisdom, and so able to act wisely. We do not act pretentiously; a few such as we are now cannot assume to act as the assembly did before the breakdown occurred. Yet as said already, we must not tolerate sin.

CHAPTER 11

The thought of headship is designedly brought in before the Lord's supper. The order that God has ordained in creation is seen first. We should observe that it is not husband and wife here; but simply man and woman. The teaching in this passage should work out in the assembly. It is not simply that one is head of his wife. Headship is in the man, and this is a denial of the modern theory of women's equality.

Every woman has a head in this sense. In principle she has a head in the man, whoever he may be. There is a difference between this teaching and that in Ephesians 5 where the truth of Christ and the assembly comes out. "I speak concerning Christ and the church". Here in 1 Corinthians 11, the assembly is not specially referred to, although the truth stated is really not seen elsewhere. It is the order that God has prescribed in the creation. "The head of every man is Christ; and the head of Christ is God". Public order is in view here, whereas in Ephesians it is more a question of affection and the subjection that goes with it. "Doth not even nature itself teach you?" would hardly fit Ephesians.

If a man does not avail himself of his Head he is disregardful of the order that God has set in creation. The injunction as to women having a covering on the head is very much neglected. What we have to deal with first of all is far more serious than that; it is the assumption that women are on an equality in every sense with men. It is, I believe, a feature

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of the final apostasy. If this great principle that God has set up in creation is denied in the world generally, it should be seen in the Lord's people. Indeed, it is among them only that we can hope to see it, but it will become manifest in the habitable world to come, because Christ will then be seen in that position, and the relative position of man in regard of woman shall be manifested. It is to be seen now in the way of testimony in the assembly of God, for this epistle insists on the order that is suitable to the house of God.

It is very important, that in the matter of prayer, which indicates dependence on God, this order should be recognised. So a man's head is to be uncovered and a woman's covered in praying, "because of the angels". "Praying or prophesying"; speaking to God or for God. "For man is not of woman, but woman of man. For also man was not created for the sake of the woman, but woman for the sake of the man. Therefore ought the woman to have authority on her head, on account of the angels". Then it says, "Does not even nature itself teach you?" You have the words created and nature, showing that it is a question of the order God has established for the working out of divine wisdom. When Christ was born the angels celebrated it saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good pleasure in men". (Luke 2:14) That was what they saw in view. This order here is bound up in the good pleasure, which must, necessarily, call for the order that God has prescribed.

The woman, being in the transgression failed to observe her head. If she had recognised Adam's headship she would have been saved. The enemy knew where to attack; he did not attack Adam directly, and we may say that at that time God was Adam's Head; he should have turned to God. He reversed the order involved in his position in

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listening to the woman. Although you would rather see the things itself without the sign; that is, the covering on the head, than the sign without the thing, yet, the sign is important. This epistle is full of details as to the order that God requires. He says, "Now I praise you, that in all things ye are mindful of me; and that as I have directed you, ye keep the directions". He makes that a matter of praise on their behalf, so that nothing is unimportant in that way.

I think Proverbs 8 suggests the primary thought. Wisdom was there at the beginning and her delights were with the sons of men. Even so Christ's administrative service would have in view the bringing about of such an order of things. The kingdom is to that end. That is what the angels had before them. They did not celebrate the kingdom, but that God would be glorified and have good pleasure in men, and the kingdom is to that end. Headship is a principle that shall remain, but lordship ceases, we may say, when Christ gives up the kingdom to the Father.

When Paul comes to speak of the assembly in verse 17, he begins with the Lord's supper. Love is to be the great ruling principle in the assembly, but, as formally together, the men have their heads uncovered and the women have theirs covered. The apostle is now entering on the great truth of the outward order of the assembly, and he shows the Corinthians at the outset that when ... ... they came together into one place, it was "not to eat the Lord's supper". It was a serious matter he was to bring up. He says, "I do not praise, namely, that ye come together, not for the better, but for the worse". This was a serious thing, so he would correct it. In the Lord's supper we are committed to fidelity to Christ. We should be intelligent as to what we are bound up with, for every time we eat the bread and drink the cup we commit

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ourselves to what it involves. On the other side it is most blessed, for it represents love; it is the great expression of Christ's love.

On our side the loaf involves a "brotherly covenant". Amos says, referring to Tyrus, that he "remembered not the brotherly covenant". (Amos 1:9) 1 Corinthians 10 is on that principle; "We being many, are one loaf, one body; for we all partake of that one loaf" (verse 17): but chapter 11 is what Christ is toward us. We are to be in accord with this, but as being one body we must be true to one another also. Chapter 10 refers to our walk outside; chapter 11 to our behaviour inside.. "So that whosoever shall eat the bread, or drink the cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty in respect of the body and of the blood of the Lord". Nothing can be more serious than sin in respect of that, as it says, "guilty in respect of the body and of the blood of the Lord". The body and the blood of Christ refer to the greatest possible evidence of His love to us, His death. Failure here brings in the direct discipline of the Lord. "Unworthily" refers to conduct when we are gathered to eat the Lord's supper. At Corinth the rich and poor ate separately, it was in an "unworthy manner" as the outcome of a bad state of soul. He says, "For each one in eating takes his own supper before others, and one is hungry and another drinks to excess".

"But let a man examine himself and so let him eat". This implies that we are to discern the state of our souls as we partake of the Lord's supper. "Let a man prove himself" refers to self-judgment before God. These chapters come home in increasing force to the saints in the closing days. Sin is becoming accentuated and is coming in in many varied forms; and Satan would overwhelm the saints through it. The Lord's supper is, in that way, a bulwark for us, for in it we are brought back to what is suitable to

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God, the death of Christ being the testimony to this.

In chapter 10 we have what refers to our public walk and associations, and in chapter 11 our state before God and the manner of our behaviour when we come together. We should judge ourselves at all times, but in a peculiar way as we partake of the Lord's supper. The Lord has His eye on every one of us, in a special way, I believe, as we are at the Supper. "On this account many among you are weak and infirm, and a good many are fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, so were we not judged. But being judged, we are disciplined of the Lord". That is not assembly discipline. It is what the Lord Himself does.

The Corinthians should have been able to adjust one another. We ought to know what is suitable, and if a brother is not taking part suitably when we come together, there ought to be grace to tell him so, things should not be allowed to pass. The Lord may act in discipline today, on the principle spoken of here, for if sin is not judged by us, the Lord will come in. Did He not act thus our state would be such that He could not go on with us. From 2 Corinthians 12:21 we learn that there was wickedness at Corinth that had not been judged even through the light ministered in the first epistle, but what they failed to do, the Lord was already doing, nothing is overlooked. If the apostle visited the Corinthians he would judge and bewail what they overlooked.

The great feature in the Lord's supper, as seen in this chapter, is the calling of the Lord to mind, it is a memorial to Christ for the affections of the saints. "Not distinguishing the body" refers to the body of Christ. If one does not see that it is His body in view, they are looking at the mere material things. The body of Christ is that in which the will of God was perfectly carried out. It is very

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serious to slight His body. Christian intelligence is supposed in this epistle. "I speak as to intelligent persons; do ye judge what I say?" Understanding is a great feature of Christianity. In the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, the seed which fell by the wayside did, in a measure, get into the man's heart, but he was not understanding it, so Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in his heart. The understanding grips the truth, and so it finds a fixed place in the heart; thus the enemy cannot take it away.

CHAPTER 12

The word "concerning" would suggest that there had been inquiry as to the subject. The whole epistle is largely built on reports and inquiries which had arisen from the untoward things that had come into the assembly. The early chapters especially indicate this. If a person spoke in spiritual energy the saints were to judge what that energy was, whether the Holy Spirit or some other spirit. There was a test given as to whether the man was speaking by the power of the Spirit of God, or by another spirit. Tests are helpful, although they may be negative in some instances. Saying, "Curse on Jesus", or anything that would involve that, anything that would be derogatory to Christ, however much energy and influence he might have, it would not be the Holy Spirit. There is an idea with some in Christendom that if there is spiritual manifestation it is something commendable, as though there was only one kind of spiritual manifestation; therefore, what is devilish shelters behind that state of things.

"No one can say, Lord Jesus, unless in the power of the Holy Spirit". In the epistle of John we are told to prove the spirits. "Every spirit which does not confess Jesus Christ come in flesh is not of God". (1 John 4:3) "Lord Jesus" would imply reality. It would be

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what one says from one's heart. The condition here spoken of would come about possibly through natural relationships, that is, households would be mixed, some still connected with demon worship, perhaps a sister or a brother, therefore, the solemnity of the warning. Christ is the test. The place He has as Man is the test. Satan will admit much in regard of Christ, but that He is Lord he will not admit, unless he is forced to. He will not admit it voluntarily. Thank God, he will be forced to. In a certain sense, it may take place now; but he will not admit the place that Christ has, as conveyed in the expression "Lord Jesus", voluntarily. Whereas, it is the expression that one who loves Christ uses. Paul says, "Remember the words of the Lord Jesus". They seem to be the expression used by one who loves and reveres Him. You will not find men generally employing the expression "Lord Jesus". The Holy Spirit would produce the love which would employ this expression.

There is a difference between Romans 10 and this confession. In Romans 10 it means that that Man is Lord. Here it is the expression of your love and reverence. It is not simply that the speaker is acknowledging Him as Lord; the way he refers to Him is in view. Having given the test whereby the saints would discern the spirits, he goes on to develop the unity that marks the operations of the Holy Spirit. We have mentioned; gifts, services and operations. First "the same Spirit"; secondly, "the same Lord;" and thirdly "the same God". It is a parallel passage with Ephesians, where it is said: "There is one body, and one Spirit ... ... one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father". This is also to show how unity marks all, whether it be the gifts, administrations, or operations. Variety in unity is what marks what is of God.

The Godhead is seen here, the Spirit, the Lord

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and the Father. In the wide circle embracing the government of the universe, there is not anything to jar with the smallest operation. The operations of the Persons in the Godhead have one end in view; it is unity in variety. God's operations are universal, including government; it is a great rest to the heart to know that He is working in everything and that all He is doing is in connection with His own great scheme. So government does not jar with what is being carried on by the Holy Spirit.

As regards specific gifts, as we may call them, God gives them according to this epistle, and Christ gives them according to Ephesians. Here the kind of gifts which the Spirit gives are stated: "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another diverse kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit dividing to every man severally as he will". The specific gifts are mentioned at the end of the chapter as "set in the assembly" not in the body. The gifts of the Spirit are just as enumerated here, and they may be found today. Of course, there would be modifications in regard of tongues, etc., but if the Holy Spirit is allowed His place there are those which are essential.

God's operations in the way of government would make room for the operations of the Spirit. Hence you pray for those in authority so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life. The operations of God in government are with a view to preserve what is of Himself there. Thus the gospel testimony goes out. Government restrains evil and limits it so that the gospel should be presented. Hence, Antichrist has not

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been allowed to develop and will not be while the gospel era continues. In some parts of the world today there is hardly any liberty for the testimony of God. A poor government is better than no government. So Paul enjoins prayer for the government in his day, and it was then when Nero was in power.

The body is introduced here to show the interdependence of the members. It is not that I must not say, but "cannot say". It says: "The eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee". Viewed spiritually we cannot do without each other. Every member should understand his place and responsibility and not altogether depend on the gifts. Christians, therefore, suffer untold loss because all are not walking in the truth. One who assumes he can get on independently shows he is not spiritual. The greatest member cannot do without that which is least. What the Spirit of God frowns upon is the spirit of independence. But "all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ". He cannot do without the least any more than we can do without the greatest; in fact, there are organs in the body which, perhaps, very few of us know about, but they are essential to its life. The least, as well as the greatest, has been placed there by divine wisdom and forethought. If we realised our membership one to another we would see to it that there should be no thought of separation that could be righteously avoided. So the discipline spoken of in chapter 5 is in order to save the man. The man must be preserved. When the tribe of Benjamin had been separated from for a righteous cause, as seen in Judges, the break in the unity was felt by the others, a brother was lost to them. They grieved over it and eventually they came to God about it, and God heard them and restored them their lost brother, and there was unity in Israel again.

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The gifts of the Spirit as enumerated here refer to what may have developed at Corinth or in any assembly at that time; but the specific gifts are set in the order of their relative importance. "God hath set certain in the assembly, first apostles", etc.. That refers to the whole assembly, not simply the assembly at Corinth.

It is a question of the organism when you come to the body. It is a different idea from the assembly; but brought in here in regard to independency. For instance, "If the foot say, Because I am not a hand I am not of the body". Why should it say that? That is the element of independency Then we have what we cannot say, that is the correction. A brother may say he can get along without another, but spiritually he cannot.

If gift has been given, the saints should recognise it. The recognition of gift is the recognition of the Spirit. A gift would carry weight. Those who refuse the gift would not get the good of it; but the man who has the gift develops in strength; although they may refuse, they lose, he does not. Generally, however, a man is more likely to suffer from over appreciation than from under appreciation.

In Corinth they underestimated Paul, but he points to themselves as a testimony to his apostolic gift. Some of them were defying him; but he says: "I will come to you shortly ... and will know, not the speech of them that are puffed up, but the power".

CHAPTERS 13, 14

The subject of gifts, or spiritual manifestations is dealt with in chapters 12, 13, and 14. Chapter 13 is to set things in their right relation. The subject is introduced in the beginning of chapter 12. "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant". The end in view is the building up of the assembly. The value of the gift is seen in this

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work of building up. Hence the importance of love introduced in chapter 13. Aside from the possession of love, the gift is valueless. So, having brought in at the end of chapter 12 how God had set certain gifts in the assembly, and giving the list of the gifts, he says: "But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way"! LOVE is the "more excellent way", and it is the normal possession of every Christian. Chapter 13 places in its own position of importance as compared with gifts. It is inconceivable that these gifts should exist aside from love, but they are treated as by themselves in their relative value.

If the assembly remained as it was at the beginning, the gifts of the Spirit would be unhindered; they would be developed in each local assembly undoubtedly. But the gifts enumerated in the closing verses of chapter 12 appeared in the assembly as a whole. "God has set certain in the assembly". That was not the local assembly at Corinth, but the assembly in its entirety as set up on earth. Love is distinguished here as the greatest thing, because it is what God is, and so it is that which abides. Love is what I am; gift is what I have.. If I have not love, I am nothing. A man's stature is not his gift but his love. In the house of God a man is to be measured by his love, not by the good address he may give to the saints, nor the good gospel he may preach, nor what he may possibly give away. We need to expand our idea of love. We sometimes think it is merely the expression of affection to one another; but viewed as we get it here it is something greater than that. Of course, it includes affection for one another; but it may even take the form of severe judgment, for everything that God does is the outcome of love. So it is love by itself that is treated here. It is not brotherly love exactly, but love by itself in the various ways in which it works

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out in Christians, as John's epistle teaches. Love had not really been known before the death of Christ. "Hereby we have known love, because he has laid down his life for us". There were individual expressions of love before; but love, as it is in God, was not really known until Christ died, and it is that love which is treated of here. The traits of it as described here came out perfectly in the Lord Himself when here on earth.

Everything that God does is in some way an expression of His love. All must be traced back to that, for that is the one thing He is said to be. Of course He is said to be light, but that is relative; He is essentially love and never anything else, so all that He does must necessarily be the result of that, hence, love, in the assembly as it is treated here, works out in the same way. All that is done in the assembly should be the outcome of that, even though it may be discipline. It covers righteousness and holiness if we contemplate it in its full meaning. So in the working of discipline righteousness and holiness are essential to the proper showing of love; only righteousness and holiness are to be regarded as attributes. Love is not so regarded, for it is essentially what God is.

It may be said that the lake of fire is the result of righteousness and not of love, but it is the outcome of love in God. The limitation of evil is entirely according to the love of God; that evil should he circumscribed and rendered ineffectual is surely a great mercy. In Revelation we have Satan cast into the bottomless pit, and shut up, and a seal put upon him for a thousand years. But after the thousand years, having been loosed out of his prison, he is cast into the lake of fire, where the beast and the false prophet are: and he has no power there, for he is not only circumscribed, but in an area in which the judgment of God is complete and final.

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Any one who knows what sin is is thankful for that. That helps us to have a better knowledge of what the death of Christ really was. Evil seems to be taken lightly, because we are not sufficiently acquainted with the nature of God as seen in the death of Christ. Evil is intolerable to divine love and must be disposed of in such wise that it is rendered ineffectual. It says: "The devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are", and subsequent to that: "Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire". That is wholly compatible with what God is - love; for God hates evil, and love in the believer hates evil also, because evil is destructive and demoralising. The more one comes in contact with sin the more relieved one is to know that God has such a means of disposing of it eventually.

The Spirit would carry us back to the death of Christ where it is all judged. The Holy Spirit appearing in Acts 2 in cloven tongues like as of fire brought in what God is against sin. There is always in the believer the means of judging and disallowing what is of the flesh. Here in 1 Corinthians 13 we have the qualities of love. "Love has long patience, is kind; love is not emulous of others; love is not insolent and rash, is not puffed up, does not behave in an unseemly manner, does not seek what is its own, is not quickly provoked, does not impute evil, does not rejoice at iniquity, but rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails". All these traits were to be seen in the life of Christ. It is love as seen in Christ or the saints that is in view here, it is not as it is expressed in God Himself exactly.

"The more excellent way" is love. If one is greater than his gift it saves him from being proud of his gift. Reciprocation of affection is greater than any satisfaction one may get in the exercise

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of one's gift. There is real joy in the exercise of one's gift in the power of the Spirit, but it is not equal to the joy we have together as brethren. Gift in the assembly would seem to be the means by which the avenues are opened, the food is suggested and brought in. The climax of all gift would be "the increase of the body to its self-building up in love". Ephesians 4:16. The gifts according to that chapter are for the edifying of the body of Christ; the body builds itself up in love. The gifts greatly add to it, but the organism is such that there is power for its self-building up; but if we despise the gifts from Christ we suffer loss. Christendom has lost sight of the organism, all there is made to depend on man to keep things going. The thought in this chapter is that love abides. Gifts, on the other hand, come to an end; that shows their relative value.

Chapter 14 treats of the gifts in exercise; the machinery, so to speak, is working. Chapter 13 is like the oil that enables it to go smoothly, so the greater part of the chapter is taken up with pointing out that the use of a sign gift may become a positive hindrance in a meeting, because it is not used intelligently. Paul speaks of the gift of tongues, as an illustration, to point out the danger of occupation with something which distinguishes you instead of your being concerned about what edifies. It would not apply to us today literally; but it would apply to any of us using what ability he may have for the sake of using it, without seeing that whatever one does in the assembly should be done with one end in view, and that is edification. What we are warned against here is precisely the thing which has brought in the outward ruin, that is, the prominence given to the individual. I am speaking broadly as to what has come to pass in the history of the assembly.

The Lord has helped in these days in raising up

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"helps" through the whole assembly instead of one in a given centre. The Lord seems to be working so that the whole assembly is benefited. It is not that it is different from the Lord's original way, but it is more emphasised. I think the original way in Christianity is expressed in Proverbs: "The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands". That is the public position, they have no king; they have One really, but He is not visible.

The principle of a meeting arranged for two or three to speak is supposed in this chapter, as stated in verses 26 to 33. What is to be noticed is, that you should have something. What caused the trouble in Corinth was not that they had something, but they were not regulated in the use of what they had. We are supposed to have material, for it says: "When ye come together, each of you has a psalm", etc.. We may not have all these things, but there is the principle of having something for the saints, and the point here is to be regulated, so that all should get the benefit of what each one has. It would not be right to prepare anything for the meeting for the Lord's supper; but it is quite right to have things for other meetings. I certainly would urge that each brother should cultivate having a well-filled storehouse. But then, "the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets". If one has something he can wait for a suitable opportunity to give it out, only let us be sure that what we have is from the Lord. The Lord's supper is to make everything of Christ among us so that as a result He is there as Head. It would, therefore, be out of place to have something prepared with the intention of delivering it.

Clearly what is before us is that by which we should be regulated, namely, intelligence or understanding. It is not simply that the Holy Spirit suggests to you and to me what each should do; I should be regulated by my spiritual understanding

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in what I do or say. So even though I have the thing, and have it clearly, yet I use my understanding as to whether that is the thing now. The apostle says: "I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray also with the understanding; I will sing with the spirit, but I will sing also with the understanding". He does not say the Holy Spirit for it is his own spirit, that he thought of. You often hear one say, 'The Holy Spirit prompted me and I had to do it'. But that is not how matters stand in the assembly. The point in this chapter is the intelligence in which things are done there. So the speaker's own spirit is really under control; he is not subject to a powerful impulse which he cannot avoid. "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets".

We have following on this a general principle: "Let it be two, or at the most three". It seems to me, that it is a merciful provision of God when the saints come together, that there is this general limitation to public ministry. Meetings should not be prolonged so as to become wearisome. This chapter has in view, not exactly what is pleasing to God though, of course, He is always in view, but the effects things have on the hearers. It says: "If therefore the whole assembly come together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and simple persons enter in, or unbelievers, will they not say ye are mad?" Then, "Tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers; but prophecy, not to unbelievers, but to those who believe". So in the assembly you are occupied with what is for believers. We have to get the principle of the things. We have not the gift of tongues now for it is hardly needed; but the point is that what we say in the assembly is for believers, for their edification. Even the giving of thanks to God may indirectly be for instruction. It has not that in view specially, but indirectly it has that effect. It is very edifying

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to hear a brother give thanks in power. It is a great thing to have liberty in addressing God if it be but in five words.

Paul says: "Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge". We are never supposed to be apart from exercise; we are either speaking or judging. Judging here is not criticising. The hearers should examine or prove what is ministered. This is the opposite to an indifferent or restless spirit, which, alas, is often seen. Judging is that you are interested in what is going on and forming an estimate of it. You are not ready to receive anything which is not of God. So the speaker is in that way in a position where he has to be careful and he is helped on that account. We have three things: edification, encouragement, and consolation.

CHAPTER 15

It is to be noted that resurrection is left for the end of this epistle. Whereas it is referred to immediately in the second epistle to the Corinthians in chapter 2, verse 9. This, no doubt, was because of the state of things at Corinth when the first letter was written. Here it is treated in its full bearing in regard of death as opposed to God, rather than involving the special privilege of Christians now, as in Colossians. It is a question of God's power which the existence of death challenged, and that we could not know anything beyond the grave, was also challenged. "How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" The apostle takes occasion to show how the moral universe must be established in resurrection. It is presented therefore in relation to the general testimony of God rather than showing the special position of Christians now. In Colossians it is: "ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead". (Colossians 2:12) But here it is a question of

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the testimony as Paul preached it in its full bearing. "But I make known to you, brethren, the glad tidings which I announced to you, which also ye received, in which also ye stand, by which also ye are saved ... ... unless indeed ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you, in the first place, what also I had received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he was raised the third day, according to the scriptures". I think it is well to see that he is dealing with the thing, as you might say, in its entirety. It is the subject itself being dealt with, although the effect should be that we are "Steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not vain in the Lord".

The burial of Christ, clears the ground entirely of the man who was offensive to God, in view of a new beginning for God; He having in grace taken the place of man according to the flesh. It reminds us of 2 Samuel 21 where all the bodies of the offenders had to be buried. It was after the burial that God was entreated for the land and was propitious. As if man has to learn what it says in the Psalms. "They die, and return to their dust". (Psalm 104:29) Speaking, I suppose, in irony of man's natural origin, he has to return to his dust, to the source of his being as regards his body, a very humbling thought. Christ has died vicariously, and was buried, and has submerged the offending man. "But now is Christ risen from the dead". It suggests Genesis 6, "The end of all flesh is come before me". All flesh was submerged. If He was buried, all flesh was removed from before the sight of God, nothing left of man according to the flesh. Crucifixion would be the character of His death which was public; but burial is putting wholly out of sight. Abraham said: "that I may bury my dead out of my sight". (Genesis 23:4) It is a remarkable statement.

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Though he loved Sarah, yet as dead she should be out of his sight. There is no revival of that kind of man so "God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him". It is a question now of resurrection.

Resurrection is not resuscitation. The triumph of God has been secured in a Man. The Man who comes out of death first is the Man who glorified God on earth. Resurrection involves that what comes up pleases God. The going down refers to what displeases, hence His burial is part of His vicarious work and the coming up is on account of what He is. "Christ the firstfruits" is the Man who glorified God on the earth. In Christ's resurrection something is introduced the like of which had never existed before. Lazarus, and the young man of Luke 7 and others were signs. They did not set forth the new order of man; they were brought back to the natural life. In Christ we see a Man invading the whole domain of death and bringing everything that Satan had plunged into it out of death, so that even the wicked dead will have to say to that Man. A Man will dispose of everything for God, both those who are of His order and the wicked.

A complete triumph for God has been secured in a Man. It is really a world out of death we come into It is well to take account of the fact that Christ had glorified God on earth before He died vicariously. His burial is the counterpart of His vicarious death. "Christ the firstfruits"; He begins the new order of things and all are brought up according to that, so the development of the teaching is; "As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly". Only "It is raised in incorruption ... ... it is raised in glory ... ... it is raised in power ... ... it is raised a spiritual body". All these are details emphasising the character of the resurrection; but the fulness of it is: "As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly". Thus we are made to correspond with

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Christ, "What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?" He came from heaven and went to heaven.

There is a connection here with Leviticus 23. There we have Christ the firstfruits; without that there could be no place for the feast of weeks; that is, Pentecost. The one necessarily depends on the other. The sheaf waved before Jehovah by the priest, refers to Christ out of death; and afterwards the "two wave loaves were offered". God virtually says, 'This is what I am going to populate My universe with'. Here we have "Afterward they that are Christ's at his coming". It is a question of kind, of order, the grain of wheat. The Lord felt death fully; He says prophetically in Psalm 102"take me not away in the midst of my days". This shows that His death was not from weakness, but that He died in the vigour of manhood; but, then, He felt it: "Take me not away in the midst of my days". It was a surrender. The "much fruit" from "the corn of wheat" would include all the redeemed. The full result of His death would be seen in all that are His.

When the Sadducees raised the question of the resurrection the Lord said, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God". Then He cites that passage in Exodus 3"I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living". The revelation God made to Abraham involved this, and then He made a covenant with him; namely, that of circumcision. The sign of circumcision in the body, typically involves the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit gives the certainty of resurrection. The Old Testament saints did not have that. Paul says, "For we are the circumcision which worship by the spirit of God, and boast in Christ Jesus, and do not trust in flesh",

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Philippians 3:3. The Holy Spirit is the power by which are raised, so that we already have the victory. It is not only that we shall have it; but we have it. "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory". The truth of resurrection is taken up here only with the saints. Paul does not refer to the wicked dead here. Resurrection, as it is dealt with here, carries with it a moral thought; it is not resuscitation. The wicked dead shall be brought back; but the principle of resurrection results in a new order of things, that which is of God.

The first burial in Scripture is in the light of resurrection. Abraham bought a field in which to bury Sarah. It was bought in the light of resurrection. Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph had that spot in view. It is interesting that Isaac, as typifying Christ risen, was introduced before burial is mentioned. First, we have in Genesis 17"I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect". Then Isaac is brought in on that principle of God's almightiness. Then he is raised from the dead; received back in a figure. There is the idea of a new order of things in Isaac. The man out of death comes into view, and then the burial of Sarah.

Death is looked at as an enemy as it affects the saints of God. It is a penalty in regard of the wicked. It was a penalty on man as having sinned. Viewed as a penalty it is not an enemy, it is God's servant; but as Satan uses it against the people of God it is an enemy. It is dealt with in this chapter in regard of those who are affected by the power and life of Christ. "For as in Adam all die, eyen so in Christ all shall be made alive". That brings in the idea of headship. It does not include the wicked dead. Even as in Luke 20:38 "for all live unto him" refers to those who had faith.

Resurrection is the annulling of death for us. When I am taken out of death it has no power over

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me; in fact, Colossians and Ephesians teach, that it has no power over us now; but it is annulled literally when we are taken out of the grave. An unconverted man is afraid to die; death is God's penalty on him. After the redeemed are taken out of death the wicked are still retained there; for them hades and death are a penalty. No one really understands death save those who have the Holy Spirit. Such understand the consequences of death, they see it first of all as a penalty. This chapter shows that the saints get the victory from that point of view. The wicked dead never get victory.

We have a figure in Goliath who had a sword, a figure of death, and he wielded it over the Israelites for forty days, typical of the period in which Satan held men in terror by death. David took it out of Goliath's hand and used it against him. Scripture teaches us that death is ours now; 1 Corinthians 3:22. But although Satan had the power of death, that power was annulled when Christ went into death. Satan could use it only as God permitted, as in Job's case he was not permitted to touch Job's life; Job 2:6. Satan has put many men to death; the martyrs witness to this.

The resurrection will apply to the wicked dead also. The Lord says, "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation", John 5:28, 29. But they are simply brought back to be consigned to what is called "the second death", the lake of fire. Death is ours now in the sense in which we can apply it against the flesh; besides, that too, it may be the means of our departing to be with Christ.

"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death". A condition of things will be brought to pass in

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which death will never have a footing again. Now, through faith, those "who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:15) are delivered. Primarily death was a penalty. God said, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die". (Genesis 2:17) So that it says: "death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression". (Romans 5:14) It is thus seen extending over the whole race of men; but in the Jordan it is seen in a condensed form as acting against God. It was an enemy, it was between the people of God and the land of promise. It is in connection with the land we see the full idea of the enemy and there it disappeared. The Red Sea did not disappear. Death remains on the earth today as it always did, emphasised sometimes more than at other times; but when you come to the Jordan the thing disappears, it is cut off out of sight; in fact, when the people came to the Jordan there was no water in it at all; that is what has come to pass for faith, so that we have the victory now. The nearer you get to death the more you realise it is so.

"All that are in the grave shall hear his voice, And shall come forth". (John 5:28,29) Individual identity will remain in the glorified state. The principle in regard to the condition of the man inwardly, applies to the outward; that is, the thing as to its character; for instance, now that we are born of God, we are inwardly "as is the heavenly". That refers to us as Christians already; but still we are known here on the earth as the same persons; there is no physical change; our identity remains. So, as regards the body, all that it shall be evidently comes out of heaven. "Raised in incorruption ... ... raised in glory ... ... raised in power ... ... raised a spiritual body". Nothing of that comes out of the earth, but from heaven; it is a question of the character of the thing. We shall

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be recognisable as the same person. It is not that the body is brought down and formed at that moment; it is changed by the power of God; but yet it will be "our house which is from heaven". (2 Corinthians 5:2)

If it were a matter of God creating a new set of bodies in heaven, that would not convey the idea; that would take us back to the original thought of creation. The idea in resurrection is power, it shows what God can do, and in it there is testimony to God's absolute triumph, not only in Christ but in the saints, Resulting from the working of divine power, the body of humiliation is transformed like unto Christ's glorious body, "according to the working of the power which he has even to subdue all things to himself", Philippians 3:21. The subduing is being effected now in a moral way in the souls of the saints and the consummation of that will be when we get our bodies of glory. Paul says, "But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body". God does it instantly. "We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye". (1 Corinthians 15:52) So you can understand the force of the word; "the exceeding greatness of his power".

The body in which we are raised could not be identical in a material sense, because it is spiritual in contrast to the natural; but identity involves that the same features are there, so that we are recognisable. The Lord after His resurrection said: "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see", (Luke 24:39) and yet it was a spiritual body. It is all set forth in the Lord. He is the pattern of what follows, only we must always guard what we say about the Lord going into death for He did not see corruption.

It is marvellous that God can do all this in a moment. "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye". The question as to what bodies Moses and

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Elias appeared in is solved by the knowledge of God. The knowledge of God is the solution of all these problems; the Lord met the Sadducees by saying: "Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?" (Mark 12:24) We cannot naturally understand how Enoch was translated that he should not see death, nor in what body he was taken to heaven; but the knowledge of God in one's soul sets us at rest about it. Moses and Elias were recognisable. As we grow old resurrection is more appreciated. You come to the top of a hill, so to speak, and then you are able to see over and down. It is an immense thing to apprehend the truth of resurrection. Of course, it should be seen at the outset, but I think it becomes greatly accentuated as we grow old. When the ark went into the Jordan it was two thousand cubits from the people; but the nearer they got to the river the more they perceived the effect of the Ark being there; they saw that the water had disappeared.

John 5 distinguishes between quickening and raising: "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will". If you take that in its application to us at the present time, as in Colossians, we are said to be "risen with him through faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead ... And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him". (Colossians 2:12, 13) Being raised with Christ through the faith of the operation of God gives you a new footing or status; quickening gives you the inward power viewed in the order in which they occur literally "at the end". In Ephesians 2 we have quickening and then raising up; this latter, however, goes further than resurrection.

Verses 20 - 28 come in parenthetically as showing the full bearing of resurrection and then the end:

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"When all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all". (1 Corinthians 15:28) That is what, I suppose, we may call the final, fixed order of things. The mediatorial kingdom of Christ is brought to an end so that God rests. He is all as the Object of the hearts of His creatures and in all as life.

The Spirit turning from speaking of the Lord as Christ to the Son in verse 28 brings out the workings of the divine Persons. It takes you back to John 5, where divine Persons are acting together: "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work". Now the Father has given all things into the hands of the Son, so it becomes a mediatorial system and He works until all is brought to God, when there is no disturbing element. Verse 35 introduces the question, "How are the dead raised up?" The apostle enlarges his answer so as to bring out the character of the body as it comes up, and then he says: "Behold, I show you a mystery"; he opens up the mystery of all this to the saints: "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump".

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Pages 77 - 157, "The Purpose of God in a Day of Small Things", Detroit, 1919 (Volume 39).

THE PURPOSE OF GOD IN A DAY OF SMALL THINGS

Zechariah 1

J.T. It helps to make clear the position here if we note that these two prophets laboured together on account of a certain condition at Jerusalem, recorded in the fourth and fifth chapters of Ezra.

"Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem, unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius; king of Persia", Ezra 4:23. "Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them, Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them", Ezra 5:1, 2.

If we get the situation clearly before us we will see the circumstances under which they laboured, and how they not only spoke the word of the Lord, but also helped in the building.

F.L. I suppose there might be a suggestion in that there were two. I was thinking of the two witnesses in the Revelation. It is rather interesting to see, if you compare Haggai with Zechariah, that Haggai speaks, then there is an interval and Zechariah speaks; then there is an interval and Haggai speaks; then there is an interval again and Zechariah speaks. That is, the one supports the testimony of the other.

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Compare Haggai 2:1; Zechariah 1:1; Haggai 2:10;. Zechariah 1:7.

J.T. Haggai in his messages, I think he received five, deals with the condition of the people, calling attention to the lethargy that had set in among them, in that they were dwelling in ceiled houses and the house of the Lord lay desolate. The first message creating a movement among them, there is a second one, and a third one; and then there is a fourth one on the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, and there is a fifth one on that same day. This fifth message, I think, lays the basis for Zechariah, because in the last message he speaks to Zerubbabel, who undoubtedly typifies the Lord Jesus in connection with the purposes of God.

Verse 20 of chapter 2 reads: "And again the word of the Lord came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen: and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and will make thee as a signet; for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts".

F.L. I thought Haggai concerns himself particularly with the house and the glory of the house in connection with Christ; while Zechariah seems to concern himself more with the city, and the land, and the nations, and so develops a great deal more than Haggai.

J.T. Yes, and Haggai calls attention to the day on which they began to move and take account of things with God. Now he wishes that they should

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note that day, for he says the blessing begins then. It says in chapter 2: 18, "Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider it. Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you".

An Israelite would value that day; he would go out occasionally to look at the different things to see how they were coming on. It would be a time of expectation from Jehovah from that point. The vine, and the fig tree, and pomegranate and olive had not as yet begun to bud, but now they were to watch for growth. That is, I suppose, the word of God moves us and we take account of His interests. We can find these four things in a spiritual sense developed; the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate and olive.

W.C.R. What is the spiritual significance of them?

J.T. Perhaps we had better turn to Judges 9:9: The olive tree says, "Should I leave my fatness; wherewith by me they honour God and man?" And the fig tree says, "Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit?" And the vine says, "Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man?" These three are there, that which honours God and man, that which cheers God and man, and the sweetness and good fruit. These are features that developed from that day, the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, and they are most essential things to have if we are set here in relation to the things of God. I suppose, the pomegranate would be typical of unity.

F.L. You get that from the garment of the high priest?

J.T. Yes. Those who come from the West Indies

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say the form of the fruit suggests it. Although I am not much acquainted with that, I think the spiritual use of it would be unity. A Christian would go out and see how these things developed, beginning with that day, the day he became exercised by the word of God coming home to him.

F.L. So the Lord, in the day when the terrific pressure of things was to bear in on the remnant, does not throw them upon outside signs or marks, but says, they were to look for the budding of the fig tree. That would be their sign. There is the evidence of a divine work, a divine work which is responsive to His touch from the heavens in the rain and sun. It is the evidence of a divine work that we are to look for. As you said, they were to go out and look for it.

J.T. The Lord had cursed the fig tree before He left, and I suppose the budding would be the indication of an incoming of life. So it is with us.

F.L. He had reversed all that now.

J.T. No one would seek to occupy Christians with themselves, but certainly a godly Jew under those circumstances would consider from that day onward and see how the things went. The blessing of God was seen in the fruitfulness of his garden.

J.B. Three of these fruits, omitting the olive, were mentioned in regard to what the spies brought back from the land, grapes, figs and pomegranates.

J.T. Yes. So that they are a sort of heavenly growth. That elevates the subject a bit, bringing in a heavenly thought. Now the second message to Haggai is very interesting in the sense that it is the counterpart of the first, being on the same day. It connects the soul with the purpose of God. That is, there is the fruit growing on the one hand; and then the purpose of God, my relation to Christ: all that He has in His mind in regard of Christ. I think Zechariah enlarges greatly on that. You

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have a definite person introduced here. Haggai leaves you with a definite person before your soul, a figurative person, Zerubbabel. He is left before the soul as Jehovah's signet, who is Christ, I suppose, suggesting that everything is, so to speak, to bear the impress of this Man.

F.L. It is evident there is a great expansion in Zechariah, and it seems to me that Haggai comes in on the moral line of recovery in connection with the house. Zechariah, as you said, takes up the purpose of God. It would help if you would give us an outline of what is in your mind in connection with Zechariah.

J.T. First of all, you have in the chapter read, the Gentile monarchies or powers, and their relation to Israel, Judah and Jerusalem. They had gone beyond the divine direction. They had done more than God had directed them to do and God is taking account of this. So the first chapter is the way that God takes account of the Gentile powers; they are met with these four "carpenters", remarkable kind of instruments to use to meet the influence or power of the Gentiles. The second chapter is God dwelling in Zion, and the "holy land". The expression "holy land" is found there: in Nehemiah it is the "holy city". And the third chapter, I think, is the kind of man that is to be in it. I do not know that we should go beyond that for the moment. That was what I especially had in view in suggesting this book. The message to Zerubbabel is very remarkable in that it comes in on the same day on which the saints are moved to look for fruit-bearing. We have the "fruit unto holiness", so to speak, but then Christ is the object of the purpose of God and that must be provided for in our souls. Here is the One who is Jehovah's signet, the One, I suppose, who is to stand for, to give character to everything, and our souls are to develop and progress on that line.

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So what Zechariah opens up to us is the city and the holy land.

F.L. I suppose at the end of the second chapter we come to a kind of climax. That is, things have been pursued to the point of the Lord finding His inheritance in the holy land and the city, and all flesh is called upon to be silent, for the Lord is raised up out of His holy habitation. Then at the end of the third chapter, you would say, we get another climax. That is, the millennial order of things; every man calls his neighbour under his vine and under his fig-tree. First we have God's portion, and then blessing for men in the world to come.

A.F.M. That would be a clear advance upon Haggai, where they go to see if they are flourishing. You can call your neighbour under the vine and fig trees now

J.T. Yes. The vine and fig-tree are already grown and have flourished.

A.F.M. Do you regard these two things as encouragement for us who have left the confusion of Babylon and are seeking to be here in connection with the recovered light of God? Is that what is in your mind?

J.T. That is what I had in mind. First, Haggai bringing in the light as to the house and leading the movement which God formally approves; and then the subsequent messages of Haggai, leading up to Zerubbabel, who is definitely set before the soul as he who is Jehovah's signet. I think that we are in that way set on the line of Colossians. Here is a man for God. And Zechariah, I think, opens up typically Ephesians to us.

G.W.H. Colossians gives you the Man.

J.T. Yes, He is definitely before the soul now. I suppose Romans is the budding, the principle of things in the soul. You go back to that. You have "fruit unto holiness". Then you get a Man, a

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definite object for the soul, in Colossians; and in Ephesians the full purpose of God, the sphere of it, and the order of Man that will be there.

W.H.F. You are speaking now in regard to the scripture before us, that it gives a sort of detail in regard to Colossians and Ephesians?

J.T. I think Romans is the spirit, or principle, of things in Christianity. That is, you have the principle of faith there, the budding. All is there. It is potential; that is, there are great possibilities. They are not all achieved yet, or accomplished, but they are all there potentially, so it becomes evident that Romans is the great fundamental epistle, as we have often observed. I refer to it now as that which treats of life in the Spirit, the secret of fruit-bearing. But Colossians is more than that. It is assumed that they have love for all the saints, which is a great evidence of the power of the Spirit in them. The Spirit is hardly mentioned in Colossians, His work is in evidence more. In Romans the Spirit is very prominent, but in Colossians it is the effect of the Spirit: the evidences of life are there, but there was a need of recognizing the Head. The Colossians were amiss on that line, and the Christ is brought in in His personal dignity as Head, which they were to hold. They were to hold the Head. He was the source of everything for them. There is nothing much said about the sphere of things in Colossians, because the point was to get Christ into their hearts in His position as Head. But when you come to Ephesians the sphere is introduced almost immediately. God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. It is where the thing is in Ephesians, and so we are raised up and made to sit down together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. So in the third chapter we have the length, breadth, and height and depth; it is a question of the domain or sphere of things.

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G.W.H. In Ephesians you "grow up into him in all things".

J.T. In all things Quite so.

W.H.F. I was wondering what bearing this would have upon us at present?

J.T. It seems to me, that it is of immense moment to us to have opened up the scope of the truth in that way. In the day of small things we are to have all the truth, although compatibility may not always be apparent: especially the truth which relates to the house of God. If we love the truth we want all the truth, because the truth is to be loved and every item of it must be held in our souls. It seems as if these prophets were used of God to bring in the great features of the truth that had been communicated in the Old Testament; the truth of the house of God and the land. The latter was given to them according to purpose.

W.H.F. All centred in Christ, and, as I understand it, in Old Testament scriptures you get certain details that help in regard to the New Testament.

J.T. Details that are not found in the New Testament, and hence the importance of the Old Testament and the understanding of it so as to fill out the truth in our souls.

R.L.C. In Galatians the apostle reminds those to whom he wrote of the blessing that once "ye spake of" There was the taking note of what God had given and which they had lost the sense of He reminds them of brighter days. They had lost the sense of it.

J.T. As Jehovah reminded Israel, through Jeremiah, of their brighter days. He says, "I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when ... ... Israel was holiness unto the Lord", Jeremiah 2:2, 3.

F.L. "When thou wentest after me", showing there had been that response. The prophet Zechariah

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is in a measure a condensation of the whole of the Old Testament. With Haggai and Malachi, it is the closing word of the Old Testament testimony, and brings it all up and connects it, typically, with Christ. Everything is summarised and brought up to a definite and ordered conclusion. We are established in those things now. So when He speaks to Nathaniel about sitting under the fig-tree we are supposed to understand the reference. And the same applies to many other references in the New Testament. This is especially evident in the book of Revelation.

J.T. They "searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so". This shows how Old Testament scriptures were regarded as confirmatory of what was presented in the gospel.

F.L. So when the Lord spoke to the disciples of being the True Vine, the significance of that is to be understood by seeing what the vine had been before.. The Lord does not repeat those things. He assumes that we know.

W.C.R. What were you going to say about the carpenters?

J.T. It is remarkable that it should be such that God should use to overthrow these great powers. It suggests to my mind that in meeting evil God is constructive as well as destructive. A military man destroys. Anyone who goes in the wake of an army knows what it does. Destruction is there. But a carpenter is not for destruction, but for construction, so that in casting out, or fraying the horns of the Gentiles, you have something built up for God. That was what marked the ministry of Christ and it was what marked the apostles' ministry, especially Paul. He has power for destruction, but he had power for construction, and that was what he delighted in.

A.F.M. Are these four horns the four great monarchies spoken of in Daniel?

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[

J.T. I think so. Indeed it is said so formally at the end of this chapter. "These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem".

J.B. When speaking of constructive work done by the carpenters, it would be to displace the horns by that which God would bring in and build up.

F.L. It is very remarkable and one would regard it with reverence, that when the Lord was here on earth, He was a carpenter. He was the Carpenter of Nazareth.

W.C.R. He said, "The Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them".

A.F.M. Why four carpenters?

J.T. I suppose the reference is to what is universal.

A.F.M. All other kingdoms are to be annulled and Christ's kingdom fill the whole earth. Compare Daniel 2:35, 44.

F.L. I suppose there is no doubt that four horns have reference to the four Gentile kingdoms. There was that adequate from the side of God to overthrow every one of those powers, until finally He reaches that which is eternally established.

J.T. Showing that the power God brought in to deal with this universal human power was commensurate, and more than that, "Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world". (1 John 4:4) That is, the Lord in His ministry met all this in principle in the power of the Spirit, and so did the apostles. Finally these powers, or what represents them at the end, shall be overthrown, their place taken by Christ's kingdom.

R.L.C. The Lord was displeased with two of His disciples when they demanded fire to come down from heaven. The point now is construction, not destruction.

J.B. It is very encouraging to notice in a day like Zechariah's, which answers to the present day, that we find these four carpenters who are indicative of the way by which God works to establish His thoughts.

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J.T. It seems to me that the great point for us to see is that our business is construction, to be building up. However small our work may be, it is part of that which is going to supersede all this that is going on.

A.F.M. Paul was regarded as a wise architect, and he gives a word to others to take heed how they build. It is on that line you are speaking, is it not?

J.T. Yes The Lord says, "On this rock I will build my assembly". So Paul lays a foundation, and others are to build on it. Christianity is marked by building or construction.

W.H.F. Christianity in its fulness begins with Paul. Paul was called out sovereignly, after Stephen's testimony. He was the chosen vessel to unfold the mystery of the assembly in connection with the counsel of God.

J.T. He was the "wise architect", and so laid the foundation. He had the whole plan of the building in his mind and it was to be indicated to those who could build with him.

F.L. In other words, if we did not have the ministry of Paul we should not have the full light of Christianity; up till his call God had been recognising Israel in His patient grace.

J.T. Things were in a transient sort of state. But the foundation Paul laid ignored Jewish privileges. The building or construction is such an important feature of the testimony, because we are not so many individuals simply. According to Romans we are taken up as individuals and set up before God; but even Romans laid the basis for unity. We are one body in Christ in Romans 12; not of Christ yet. We are not so many individuals acting in our individual capacity in relation to God. We have relations one to another, and without that you could not have the idea of construction. All has reference to the underlying fact that we are one body. The

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point for each is to see that he has part in the building; and not only that I am of the structure, but, in my measure, I am a constructor.

W.C.R. The word edify suggests that. It is continually presented in Scripture that we are to edify one another.

J.T. Quite. "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ". (Ephesians 4:7) He would have that in view in the gift He gives to each of us, so that as we have two or three together this principle of construction becomes immediately applicable. That with which God intended to meet the power of destruction is thus apparent. That is the testimony.

J.B. In verses 18 - 21 you get an encouraging contrast: "Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, four horns; And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. And the Lord showed me four carpenters".

J.T. Yes, "The Lord showed me". The Lord would have the prophet know the means and manner of dealing with the evil.

J.B. If we are exercised the Lord will show us not only that which is going to meet the power of evil and do away with it, but that by which He will establish everything that He has purposed.

J.T. That is the thought that for the moment should lay hold of our hearts. We are on the constructive line and if you have two or three it may become evident.

F.L. One who is really formed in his soul in the teaching of Romans is a finished stone, ready to be put in the building.

J.T. What you notice in connection with the truth of the epistle is that we are not said to be the body of Christ, but "one body in Christ", Romans 12: 5.

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It is our relation to one another that is in view there; the thought of the body of Christ is greater than that; it is for His display. Romans, in this respect, saves us from independency. Being one body in Christ,, all fleshly effort in the unity is precluded.

A.F.M. I was going to remark that just prior to that the believer is seen as presenting his own body, and then upon that comes the truth of our being one body in Christ. We could not be said to be that before presenting our individual bodies a living sacrifice.

J.T. Your will would be active unless you had presented your body to God.

W.C.R. I did not follow your point about being one body in Christ.

J.T. Romans 12 says, "For, as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office; thus we, being many, are one body in Christ, and each one members one of the other". The point I made was, that it is not the body of Christ in Romans. That is Colossians and Ephesians, but in Romans it is so many believers together in unity. Before you can speak of the body of Christ you must first recognise the unity that is proper and normal among brethren, and that is what Romans teaches. It is a question of our relation one to the other.

W.H.F. Does the body come in to correct independency?

J.T. It is brought in for that in Romans, I think.

W.H.F. But quite a different aspect from what you get in Ephesians.

F.L. And completely opposed to all in Christendom, where bodies are organised on human lines of organisation for different beneficial, uplifting and reform purposes.

J.T. It would be out of all reason to say, that

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all these bodies are "in Christ". Is Christ divided?

F.L. It is a great bond. Where are you to find unity now? You get it in Christ.

G.W.H. In order to build you would require wisdom.

J.T. I think so. To build effectively one must have clearly the architect's plans. In 1 Corinthians 3 the apostle says, "Let each see how he builds upon it". He had set the idea before them in Corinth, and now he says, "For other foundation can no man lay beside that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ". It is not Christ Jesus there, but Jesus Christ. It is that order of Man. He would not have any other, and so all the after-builders must see to it that the material used must be of this kind.

G.W.H. So in leading believers your exercise would be to present Christ in some light to meet them in their present need.

J.T. That is it. The order of Man you would be exercised about presenting would be Jesus Christ. Otherwise you could not bring in the constructive idea at all, because if you bring in what is in connection with any other man you have material that has to come under judgment.

W.H.F. Spurious material.

J.T. Exactly. It would be spurious, "wood, hay, stubble".

A.F.M. So it is important that the superstructure in the soul be of the same kind as the foundation.

J.T. Yes, and I think Romans is the great foundation epistle, because one reckons one's self dead to sin, and alive unto God in Christ Jesus. That is how you are alive, not in any other sense; all that is not in Christ Jesus is spurious.

W.H.F. Is it because we are weak on that side we have so often to turn to this epistle?

J.T. The Spirit of God seems to have to remind us of it always, but you see in this passage how much

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the purpose of God is before the mind of the Spirit. He says in the nineteenth verse: "these are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem"; these latter expressions involving God's purpose. And then it says: "These are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it" God has the land in His mind.

A.F.M. That introduces chapter two, the holy land, as you were saying.

J.T. Yes

W.C.R. The idea of the four horns was to scatter.

J.T. It says, "No man did lift up his head": the power was so absolute, that there was no resisting it.

R.L.C. When the mighty works of Jesus were taken note of they were offended in Him, because they said, "Is not this the carpenter's son?"(Matthew 13:55) They were offended in Him, because of His humble, lowly origin; but He was on right constructive lines.

F.L. These things are dependent really upon the prophet, and the priest, and the king; and Christ is the Prophet, and He is the Priest, and He is the King. I hope when we get on a little further in the book we shall be able to see how those functions are exercised by Christ in bringing about the establishment of the divine system, and bringing in the purpose of God.

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THE PURPOSE OF GOD IN A DAY OF SMALL THINGS

Zechariah 2

J.T. This "man with a measuring line" is very interesting. The thought of measurement is prominent in Scripture.

A.F.M. What does measuring generally suggest?

J.T. One thought in it is that God takes account of what may be in view, as, for instance, you "measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not", Revelation 11:1, 2. What is measured and what is not measured suggests, on the one hand, what God takes account of and is interested in, and, on the other hand, there may be profession which He does not take account of, what is not for the moment under His eye as of interest to Him; indeed it is to be given over for judgment.

A.F.M. He really measures what can be measured morally.

F.L. "Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein. For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about". The thought of measurement seems superseded by the thought of the Lord's personal environment and glory.

J.T. The introduction of measurement here is very significant. In Ezekiel measurements are given, and so in Revelation 21, but in Revelation 11, which I quoted a moment ago, and here, we have no definite measurements, only the thought of measurement.

J.B. Is this measurement in regard of future blessing or did it refer to their present condition?

J.T. I think here it is all in view of the counsel of God. It is a question of the sphere to which

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His counsel or purpose, applied, so it is the breadth and length only, as regards Jerusalem, but in Ephesians it is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height. Whilst in Ephesians we have not the measurements given, yet we are to know them; "that ye may know what". That seems to be a very great test as to spiritual power and apprehension.

F.L. Does not that in Ephesians bring in what is really impossible to earth, the depth and height. A fourth dimension in material things really does not exist. It seems to come in as we touch heavenly things. Does it not suggest that we are on a different line there?

J.T. Yes, that is very interesting. Ephesians shows we have to do with heavenly things, so that it may be said, "Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same who has also ascended up above all the heavens". (Ephesians 4:9, 10) The measurements are spiritual, and, although not given formally, they are to be known, and it seems as if it would be the greatest test you could get as to spiritual apprehension and power. "I bow my knees to the rather of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom every family in the heavens and on earth is named, in order that he may give you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power by his Spirit in the inner man; that the Christ may dwell, through faith, in your hearts, being rooted and founded in love, in order that ye may be fully able to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height. And to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge; that ye may be filled even to all the fulness of God", (Ephesians 3:14 - 19)

F.L. That is interesting as throwing light upon the heavenly. There is that which passes knowledge, yet we know it. Now we could not say that in

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connection with what is merely earthly. We are on lines here that are earthly, but in Ephesians there comes in that which is heavenly.

J.B. Is that your thought in the fourth dimension; "to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge"?

F.L. Yes. That connects with depth and height, as was just quoted. The dimensions are His descent and ascent, and what is involved in that is knowable, but yet it "passeth knowledge".

W.H.F. Would that take in the whole divine system, the breadth, length, depth and height?

J.T. The whole domain in which the divine glory is to be displayed.

W.H. Where Christ is to be displayed in time and eternity? Ephesians 3 makes it very clear that it is eternity, as well as time.

J.T. So it runs on in that passage: "to him be glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus unto all generations of the age of ages".

A.F.M. What about the standard? We have a standard of weight in Scripture; is there a standard of measurement

J.T. I think there is, and Ephesians applies there too. "The measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ". I suppose He is the measure.

A.F.M. I was thinking of the difference in Revelation, when the city was measured it was "according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel". (Revelation 21:17) Would that be a parallel thought?

J.T. I thought so.

F.L. In Revelation 21 the dimensions are taken from Christ.

J.T. But they are presented finitely, besides there are only three there, length, breadth and height.

J.B. A cubit is the measurement of a man's arm.

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J.T. I suppose the basis of all measurement is in some part of a man.

J.B. We say. foot because we measure by the foot; anciently they measured by the arm.

A.F.M. A span also.

W.H.F. The city spoken of in Revelation 21, in the beginning of the chapter is presented as the bride; the tabernacle in which God will dwell in the eternal state. John sees the holy city, descending from God, then it goes on to say, "I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men.". A divine statement in regard of the heavenly city, in view of the eternal state. Then further on in the same chapter John is taken to a high mountain and sees the same city coming down in relation to the millennial earth.

J.T. And there you get the measurement.

F.L. You do not get the measurement for the eternal thought, the tabernacle of God. I suppose the use of the term "tabernacle" is to give the simplest thought of dwelling possible. What it expresses is the magnitude of the thought that it is God dwelling. It is tabernacle, not temple or palace.

J.T. So "the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us". That was the simplest conceivable form. He became a Man amongst men, moved about in the most ordinary circumstances of life, yet God was dwelling there.

F.L. Yes, just so. If I speak of a palace or temple you at once get an idea of the greatness of the building, but a tabernacle is the simplest form of dwelling.. In the tabernacle in the wilderness the great thought is the ark, and in the tabernacle in Revelation 21 the great thought is God dwelling. The Word became flesh and so God was manifested in flesh.

J.T. "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we have contemplated his glory, a glory as

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of an only-begotten with a father), full of grace and truth". All there in the simplest and most humble form and circumstances. It is very touching that the glory of such a blessed, divine relationship should be related to His dwelling "among us".

W.H.F. All that was there when Christ was down here as Man?

J.T. Yes, quite so. So that evidently God's relations with men will be of the simplest form, and yet infinite in their import and blessedness.

J.B. Speaking of this measurement, the measure of Jerusalem, is that in answer to the fourteenth and sixteenth verses of the first chapter? The Lord says, "I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore thus saith the Lord, I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies". Now it is taken account of.

J.T. Yes, a man was to take the measurement, not an angel. Then further you have, "Run, speak to this young man". You have a man with a measuring line in his hand and the young man to be instructed. The young man here is suggestive.

A.F.M. Of what?

J.T. He is suggestive of living interest, freshness, and energy of youth, as in the things of God.

F.L. It is suggestive at the end. The young man is there, and in this present day the Lord has brought into view vitality in the young men.

J.T. And does it not show too, that where there is interest, as there evidently was in. Zechariah, you get light? See the message to the young man: "Speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein". What a message that would be to this young man, when things were very

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small, and in fact a lethargic state had settled down in Jerusalem Here is the mind of God as to what would be.

A.F.M. There was not a wall up, or gate, at that time, and very few people there actually, so, as you say, it would be very encouraging to him.

F.L. "For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her". He speaks that in connection with what was evidently a heap of ruins. This young man in that heap of ruins saw something; and there are young men in the present day who are brought under test and trial, and are passing through the furnace; they could abandon all that and strike out on another line, but they do not, and it is because the light that comes to them from God is that the thing, which is outwardly of no import, is really sustained of Himself and has got wonderful promise in it, and they go in for it.

W.C.R. The young man becomes constructive; certainly Zechariah was. See Ezra 5:1, 2.

J.T. In the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and these two prophets, it is the light of what shall be that is put before the eyes of those addressed. When they saw the foundation of the temple laid, the old men recalled what had been and wept. No doubt a right sentiment in a way, but it was the old who wept over what had been. The young ones, of course, could not recall what had been, but they are shown what shall be; that is, the latter glory of the house. It should exceed the former, and it seems to me that today the Holy Spirit is directing our hearts to what shall be. If it be a question of order, or commandments, or that which should govern us in our relations to one another here, of course it is what has been that is the test. Everything is tested by that which was from the beginning. There is no deviation in that regard, because the principles that governed

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at the first govern now, and will continue on to the end, but as regards what God can do and will do, there is something greater coming in, and that was what encouraged me about this book, that it opens up to us what shall be, so that our hearts may be at rest as to what is going on outwardly with the assembly or the world. This book, connected with what we get in the New Testament, opens up to us the mind and purpose of God. Of course we have the length and breadth here only, but we can easily supply the other, the height and depth, and its strengthens our hearts as regards what exists today.

W.H.F. It seems to me, that God would delight to lead us on to these things which He has in His own mind to bring to pass manifestly before the universe.

A.F.M. At the beginning of the revival eighty or ninety years ago, recovery was brought about through young men, was it not?

J.T. Yes Grey hairs are to be valued if found in the ways of righteousness, and the elders in Revelation suggest experience in the things of God; but energy for conflict and for testimony always seems to be found with the young. It is God's way. "Ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you". (1 John 2:14) It is a shame for the young men if it is not so, because it is the divine way.

D.R. In speaking of young men having an interest in what is of God in the midst of distressing conditions, would you say you get an example of it in the ease of Joshua, a young man who departed not from the tabernacle, and knew what was according to God when there was not much outwardly.

J.T. He was a remarkable illustration of what we have been speaking of; and we know there was development in him.

W.H.F. Should we not carry with us the freshness of youth all along the line, as we further develop in things?

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F.L. Moses is a good example. His "eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated", (Deuteronomy 34:7) and he carried his experience with him at 120 years of age. I have often said to the young men, 'You can know much more than I do and be deeper in things than I am, but I have one thing you have not; that is experience'. Now Moses seemed to carry both the experience, and energy, vitality and devotedness to the end.

W.H.F. I was thinking too of Jacob. He was the brightest of the whole of them, although his path was very zig-zag; he comes out brighter than any of them in the end, because he blesses the sons of Joseph while worshipping, leaning on the top of his staff. He had a bright finish, and I think the older ones of us ought to go in for that.

J.T. In making comparisons we should note, that there are no warnings in connection with the "fathers" in John's epistle. The young men are exhorted not to love the world. Although they were strong and the word of God was abiding in them, yet there was the danger of loving the world. And so with Timothy: "Flee also youthful lusts". (2 Timothy 2:22)

W.H.F. The "fathers" had tried the world no doubt. They had proven it by experience, which the young men had not and were therefore in danger of being attracted by it.

J.T. The light conveyed in this message should be very encouraging to the "young man", as it should be to us now. "Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein. For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her". We can perhaps add to that what He is giving to us now. It is open to us to know something about the wall and the presence of the Lord in the midst.

F.L. The term "in the midst" is one that the Lord evidently likes in connection with remnant

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times. It comes three times in this chapter. Then in Zephaniah 3"In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing". So in verse 12 of the same chapter: "I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord". These are expressions that one hardly finds used of the people at their best estate.

J.T. And this word particularly: "I ... ... will he the glory in the midst of her".

A.F.M. Do we have first the city developed, and re-established for God, and then the holy land? Is that what is in your mind?

J .T. Yes. First the city, I think, definitely taken account of, inhabited, dwelt in, protected. Then, that light being introduced, you have the thought of the gathering of all the people.

F.L. I would like to suggest that in that verse on which you have been dwelling that, in effect, it is the Lord restoring the shekinah. That is, the shekinah was taken up from out of the material temple and God could find no dwelling place there. Ezekiel sees it going away. Here it is seen replaced. He says, My glory shall dwell - "I ... ... will be the glory in the midst of her".

J.T. You get the fact of the glory being there, and the wall, then the appeal to all the people. "Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord. Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you; for he that toucheth you

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toucheth the apple of his eye". Now that is a remarkable message; it is an appeal to the scattered ones to come to the gathering centre; to come to God out of their different places of captivity.

J.B. Would the force of Zion here be the people of God's choice? Sometimes Zion is used for the city; sometimes for a principle; but here it would seem to be the people.

J.T. It would be the people, because it is "that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon". It would be the people taken account of in that way, in captivity. They say. "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" That would show they felt it.

A.F.M.. Would not this seventh verse be a strong appeal to people in systems today?

J.T. That is the application of it now. You see if you have the truth of the assembly revived, with all its bearings, the presence of the Lord and the protection of fellowship, then the following statement applies: "After the glory, hath he sent me unto the nations that made you a spoil; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye". Things are established, in principle at least, and now the invitation, or the appeal, that there should be an escape; and mark, it is "Escape Zion". It was for her to do, to deliver herself.

F.L. It is akin to what we get in the second of Revelation. That is, Thyatira, or Babylon, and the Lord makes an appeal to "the rest", or remnant, that is in that entanglement. He reaches His desired end in Philadelphia, where "in the midst" would apply.

W.C.R. You did not say anything about the "wall of fire".

J.T. That is clearly divine protection. I suppose the young man would feel that the walls were desolate,

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broken down. He would feel keenly the position, as any exercised brother does now, but instead of being depressed and dejected on account of that, the heart is encouraged by this light.

F.L. So Elisha asked the Lord to open the eyes of the young man to see the environment of the, hosts of the Lord around the prophet, and greater were those for Elisha than those against him.

J.T. That is what we need now, to see how things are going. The Lord is with His people and the assurance of that in your soul enables you to extend a word of appeal to the people of God in Babylon; and you clothe them with divine thoughts. If I meet a brother who is a Presbyterian, it is not the Presbyterian that is in my mind at all; I regard him according to God's thoughts about him. These people were deeply mixed up in Babylon, but they are clothed here with divine thoughts - "Zion". How different a Christian appears to you, whether an Episcopalian, a Methodist, or whatever he may be, when you regard him from the divine side; he is a brother to you. He belongs to Christ and you clothe him with the divine thought, and appeal to him in that light. Such an attitude will have a great effect on him if he is exercised.

G.W.H. He really belongs to Zion, so to speak, and you bring the light of the city to him.

A.F.M. How is it he does not come to the city

J.T. That, of course, would admit of inquiry as to the various influences holding Christians in these denominations.

A.F.M. So few are helped.

F.L. Think of the wonderful light that was given from God following upon the decree of Cyrus, but how many were influenced? Supposing Zechariah had gone back, as others did, to Babylon, and found a Jew on the streets of Babylon, and would say, Why are you not influenced by what God has done in

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opening the door for you to return to Jerusalem? His answer, unless God worked with him, would probably be: I have my business, my position, or something or other that interferes; but Zechariah would undoubtedly not confuse him with an Assyrian or Persian It may be comparatively easy to find many of the Lord's people, but when you come to influencing them, that is another matter.

W H F. The reason why men, even real Christians, are not affected is, to some extent, because we are so feeble in the power of the truth ourselves; we are so little livingly in touch with the Lord, that we are not able to approach others and ready to be used of the Lord in taking the precious from the vile, as we get m Jeremiah. The Lord says, "If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee but return not thou unto them", Jeremiah 15 19

J.T. One feels, that if one reallywere affected by the light we have, one would have more influence. I suppose we all have to admit that.

W.H.F. I have thought sometimes that really the deliverance of souls, and their coming out into the path of separation, is connected with the sovereignty of God. It must be the work of God that brings them cut of these things. It was the work of God with myself, I am sure of that.

J.T. But our responsibility remains, as you have indicated; and it is well to bear in mind that the ministry, or testimony, of any brother is not only for those with whom he may be immediately connected, but towards all; the bearing of service is towards all.

G.W.H. "Every man".

J.T. At any rate, I mean now in regard of

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deliverance, your service is toward "Zion", so to speak; that is, those that are of the assembly. You want them.

G.W.H. Whether a Christian is a Presbyterian or Methodist, you should have it before you to serve him, that he might be delivered. You wish to carry the light of God to that man.

F.L. But in a practical way (in reference to what our brother was saying), the wall of fire works two ways, While it is a protection for what is encircled in it, at the same time it works upon the flesh, and the flesh is not willing to pass through it; those that come within the protection of that fire have to come by the way of self judgment.

A.F.M. When Ezra left Babylon, there was quite a company with him. Both Ezra and Nehemiah are marked by prayer. I was thinking in that connection of what a lack of prayer there is for those outside. I, question whether we enter into the seriousness of the thing in that way, by presenting it to God. What do you think about that?

J.T. I am sure Paul in saying, "The Lord knoweth them that are his", (2 Timothy 2:19) was comforted. He had them all in his own heart. The second letter to Timothy shows how he had this one and that one in his heart. Although some turned away, as Demas, Paul had them all in his heart, so he instructs Timothy; "in meekness setting right those who oppose, if God perhaps may sometime give them repentance to acknowledgment of the truth, and that they may awake up out of the snare of the devil, who are taken by him, for his will", 2 Timothy 2:26. This is the attitude of the servant, and one in such an attitude is sure to be marked by prayer.

W.C.R. When things are recovered it is good to see that they are recovered on the original basis; that is, as to the largeness of it. When they return from the captivity of Babylon they set the wall up

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on its original foundation. It was large enough to embrace every one.

J.T. At that time the city was said to be large, but there were few people in it; but the word to faith here says, "Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein". This is what should be before us; it would be an incentive in our service. While things are small, we should always have before us what shall be, according to the sure purpose of God.

G.W.H. In reading the epistle to the Ephesians, do you read it in the light of the future?

J.T. Yes, it is written in the light of the future. That is what is in view. It gives the place of the assembly in the purpose of God, in the future; "For the administration of the fulness of times; to head up all things in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth", Ephesians 1:10. F.L. Very often we speak of Ephesians as though it only comprised the first three chapters, but there are three more. You have to read the first three in the light of the future, and get the bearing and influence of that light upon the present.

J.H. So you would have saints moved by the thoughts of God for them?

J.T. That is the thought, and this appeal to the scattered ones I think is very important now, because the trend amongst the saints is to narrowness of affection, whereas the Spirit of God would keep before us the whole number of the saints. "Deliver thyself O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon". We want the saints in all relations to be delivered and to be together.

J.H. "Walk about Zion, and go round about her; tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following", Psalm 48:12. We should consider the thing in perfection.

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J.T. I think so, and thus we can convey the light of it to the generation following.

J.B. This would be the full value of the prophetic word.

J.T. Quite. The messenger here really, I think, is Christ in spirit, because it says, "After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you". Then again in the eleventh verse: "thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee".

A.F.M. What is in your mind in making it a point in this chapter that we have the holy land? You have been dwelling a good deal upon Zion and Jerusalem. Is the land secured when the city is inhabited and God's glory is there?

J.T. Yes. The land is, of course, a larger thought than the city.

F.L. And "all flesh" is a wider thought still. It really suggests the circles you get in the twenty-second psalm. At the end of the second chapter here we reach a definite conclusion; God is risen up in His habitation. Then another end is reached at the end of chapter 3, the millennium reached by the people. The nations come in too, as seen in verse 11 of our chapter: "Many nations shall join themselves to Jehovah in that day, and shall be unto me for a people". Thus there is a correspondence with Psalm 22 where we see how all the circles of blessing are the result of the one great sacrifice of Christ.

J.T. All flesh is to be silent here. There are many voices now, but all the product of the flesh. In that day there shall be but one voice. "Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation". It also appears that the Lord was valued in the midst of His people. How every voice is hushed as God is known as "risen up out of his holy habitation". Compare 1 Corinthians 14.

J.B. It was in David's time that God chose

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Jerusalem, "the mount Zion, which he loved". Now he chooses Jerusalem again it says.

J.T. His choice is once for all. He has really never been diverted from it, from the standpoint of His purpose as to the earth: but now He is risen up (or perhaps "is awaked") in it. Choosing it here would refer to His return to Jerusalem in the future to accomplish His original thought. Jerusalem is desolate now, but presently God will awake there and speak, and rule there, so that all the nations shall be subdued and hushed.

J.B. He does not choose some other city on earth?

J.T. No, it is the same one as of old. It is "the city of the great King".

F.L. The consummation there is the same as we get in the fourteenth chapter, when the Lord's feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, and then it goes on to say, "At evening time it shall he light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem", and "The Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one". The climax is reached in the second chapter, and comes up again in the fourteenth chapter.

J.T. You have the singing here. "Sing aloud and rejoice, daughter of Zion; for behold, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah". First there is the deliverance, then the promise to dwell in the midst, and they are to sing on account of it.

F.L. What is your thought about the singing?

J.T. I suppose it is triumph. She has come to answer to the appeal, delivering herself. She did not sing in the place of their captivity, she could not, but now she may sing. Singing is the expression, I think, of complete deliverance.

F.L. All oppression, and burden, and captivity and want are gone, and there is liberty and freedom of spirit.

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THE PURPOSE OF GOD IN A DAY OF SMALL THINGS

Zechariah 3

J.T. There is presented to us here the man who is to occupy the sphere of God's purpose. The fact that it is Joshua that is brought forward would suggest that. It is man in the capacity of priest. "He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord".

A.F.M. Would Zerubbabel stand for a different idea from Joshua?

J.T. I think he stands for Christ more, as from God's side.

J.B. Zerubbabel was on the kingly line.

J.T. Yes. Priesthood seems to express the relation in which man is to be with God; the mediatorial system depends on priesthood. What we speak of as the eternal state of things is not so much in view in priesthood as that in which God would show how He can bring about recovery; and have man before Him according to His own nature, in His holy city and in His holy land. If the city is holy, and the land is holy, the man must be holy.

F.L. In these first four chapters we get God's resource and the instruments in which it is expressed; Zechariah the prophet; Joshua, the high priest; and Zerubbabel the ruler.

J.T. The prophet, priest, and king, we may say.

F.L. Yes, and it is wholly adequate to effectuate recovery, to carry things on and maintain them according to purpose.

A.F.M. Would Joshua here in the filthy garments represent the people's state?

J.T. Yes. If his garments were filthy all the others whom he represented would be. The chapter, I suppose, would show how God brings in an order

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of man that is to occupy the scene in suitability to Himself

J.B. "Like people, like priest". The priest is representative of the people.

J.T. I have no doubt that applies here. Joshua is a representative man certainly. The passage shows how one is cleansed and set up in dignity before God in priestly garments, through redemption.

A.F.M. How do you view the garments?

J.T. I think they would refer to the man's state before God.

A.F.M. In Isaiah we have "filthy rags"; that refers to man's righteousness.

J.T. "All our righteousnesses"; here we have official garments. I suppose the chapter comes in to show that man in his old state and circumstances, even a priesthood that God had owned, will not do for the order of things involved in the purpose of God. The filthy garments of Joshua are to be replaced by "festival-robes". Satan's attitude here reminds us of Eden: there he would rob God of man in innocency; here he would prevent God from cleansing man, and setting him up before Him in righteousness.

F.L. It is evident that to Satan this was a critical time; that which was connected with the testimony was weak, and he would prevent recovery.

J.T. It is in that connection we see how Satan discerns what God is doing, however insignificant it may be outwardly. He knew well what God was doing. If there, is only one righteous man, such as Job, on earth Satan considers him. He had not escaped his notice. I suppose it has a present application, that however small things may be in our account, Satan knows the value of them morally. He knows about them; he is doing all he can to offset the little spark and put it out. But then the Lord said to him, "The Lord that hath chosen

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Jerusalem rebuke thee". That is; God has His purpose. It is an immense thing to see that, what God is doing, however small outwardly, is connected with His purpose. This makes things large in our eyes, and we can count on God to defend what He is doing, and confound Satan.

E.H.T.. At times Satan personally comes in and nothing but the rebuke of God can overthrow him.

J.T. He is not here using a mediary, he comes himself. He comes to our meetings, and he watches over you lest your soul should progress. He is especially interested in those in whom the Spirit of God is, so as to resist the work of God in them. Hence the word, "the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee". We cannot rebuke Satan in that way. It belongs to God to do it. Even Michael did not do it, he said, "The Lord rebuke thee", Jude 9.

J.B. The object of Satan was the ruin of Joshua before God.

J.T. At any rate, that the work in Joshua should not proceed. He was as "a brand plucked out of the fire". But there is much more to be done in us than to pluck us out of the fire. We are to be set up in dignity before God and Satan hates the idea of man set up before God, as he hated Adam and Eve in the garden.

F.L. The thing of importance for us is to discern what God has chosen; if you go on with that you are secure. In the second chapter there is the precious light that God had chosen Jerusalem, that He would dwell in the midst of Zion. Now, if they would be right with Jerusalem and Zion there can be no question God will take care of what He has chosen. So that, while Joshua is at a low estate, representing what the people were in that way, yet he was connected with Jerusalem, and God would have him there according to Himself. The great

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thing is not so much the question of our individuality as that we are connected with what the Spirit of God is going on with and supporting, what God has chosen.

J.T. Quite. So our exercise is not only to have good meetings; we are labouring in the light of the purpose of God and the other is incidental. The point in whether we are being formed according to God's purpose. The subject of clothing is of great importance, because clothing is what characterises us. It refers to what God is doing by the Spirit, preparation in us to occupy the ground of His purpose. When you are fitted for it and in heaven, Satan can do nothing then, but what he will do is to prevent the work of God now.

G.W.H. Would this be Colossians

J.T. You have the idea of clothing in Romans and in Colossians, and you have it in Ephesians; in each there is the idea of putting on and putting off. In Romans, "put on the Lord Jesus Christ". In Colossians and Ephesians the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new.

G.W.H. I was thinking of, "I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you", Colossians 2:12.

J.T. The apostle was concerned about them, that they might be led into the mystery, and Satan was against that, hence the conflict. Romans 16:20 shows that Satan was active at Rome also. "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly". As yet he had not apparently been bruised under their feet. Evidently they had not reached in their souls the full result of Christ's victory. They were to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ". Now that is the point. It is more profession. That is the idea you have in your mind, and that is the ground you take publicly. Romans does not go as far as putting on the "new man", but in Colossians you have, "having put off the old man with his deeds,

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and having put on the new, renewed into full knowledge according to the image of him that has created him". (Colossians 3:10) And then you have a detailed description of the new man, which I think suggests the idea of clothes to be "put on".

J.B. The character of the new man being set forth in the clothes?

J.T. Yes. In Ephesians the old man is said to be corrupt; he is formally described as corrupt; And then, "having put on the new man", which he refers to as the truth as it is "in Jesus"; "if ye have heard him and been instructed in him, according as the truth is in Jesus; namely, your having put off ... ... . the old man ... ... and your having put on the new man, which according to God is created in truthful righteousness and holiness". It seems as if there you get the full conception of clothes; truth, righteousness, and holiness would qualify us for the new place, because it is holy.

F.L. That really connects with new creation "If any one be in Christ, there is a new creation". (2 Corinthians 5:17)

W.C.R. There is a side of responsibility in connection with the work of God in us that I wish to inquire about Philippians 2:13, says: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both the willing and the working according to his good pleasure". That seems to suggest responsibility as to salvation on our part.

J.T. That was in the absence of Paul, or in the absence of anyone who might have been a special help, you work it out yourself. I think it is collective. The Philippians were to work out their salvation in the absence of Paul, but then they are encouraged in the thought that God worked in them for the willing and doing of His good pleasure. That, I am sure, we are entitled to count upon, in that those who might help us are no longer with us. It brings in the thought of responsibility with each of us. Our

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collective salvation depends, in that way, on ourselves, but then God works in us. He works in us for the willing and doing of His good pleasure.

F.L. It is really the subjective answer to what you have just been quoting in Ephesians, to what is created in righteousness and holiness of truth. The saints thus formed can work out their own salvation, through God working in them.

A.F.M. Is that especially in view of the testimony? You are speaking of it as a collective thing, as if they were to navigate the vessel themselves.

J.T. Quite. What had been set up among them should be continued in a living way. Paul had laboured in a peculiar way in Philippi, and with excellent results and these results were to continue. Compare Acts 16. He had lived in their houses, and he would have communicated the mind of God to them as to the assembly, and it was for them to work out their own salvation in regard of all that. It is not simply that I am an isolated individual and do the best I can. No one who has love in his heart can be individual entirely; he includes all those he loves and desires to carry them with him. It was said to Paul in the ship-wreck, "God hath given thee all them that sail with thee", Acts 27:24. Evidently Paul wished it. The more you love the saints the more you pray for them, and the more you pray for them, the more you may count on God carrying them through.

W.C.R. Would working out your salvation with fear and trembling suggest that you are watchful lest anything hinder the work of God in you?

J.T. Yes. Fear and trembling is that you fear God in view of the capabilities of the flesh. You fear Satan working through the flesh.

J.H. The flesh is accountable for the "filthy garments", and these have to be taken away.

J.T. Yes. Then it says; "Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" That was Joshua. And

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then; "And Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the Angel. And he spoke and said unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from off him". Apparently that was done by others, by those who stood before him. Here it is not presented from the side of individual exercise, but rather from the side of what God does and what others do. It is from the divine side; it shows how God carries out His thoughts, notwithstanding Satan's opposition.

W.C.R. In the history of our souls, would this be the initial thing?

J.T. The result shown here typically may take a good while to reach with us; with some a longer time is needed than others, on account of spiritual slothfulness. Paul said, "What shall I do, Lord?" Acts 22:10. A good deal had to be done in a negative way, as well as in a positive way, and I suppose Ananias would correspond with those who stood before the Lord here. So the Lord says to Saul, "Go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do". He comes to Damascus and Ananias tells him what to do. "Arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name, of the Lord". I think this is on that line.

E.H.T. But does it not go a little further? Is it not preparatory to setting one in the purpose of God?

J.T. Certainly, but we have not gone that far. We are speaking here of taking off the filthy garments. "He spoke and said unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from off him". And then it says; "Unto him he said, See, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I clothe thee with festival-robes". God does that.

F.L. If we take account in the abstract of the priestly company as it is brought before God, when it is first brought into view in an individual; he is

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undone, he is clothed with filthy rags, and there comes in the work of those who are used of God to relieve us. That is, it comes in through the gospel and other ways. But from the outset God sees us as in His purpose, what we are to be as clothed in festival garments.

G.W.H. Would it be like Luke 15?

F.L. I suppose the element of Luke 15 would be in it. The parable in Matthew 22 suggests the idea; that is, the "wedding garment" is put on.

G.W.H. The prodigal's father said unto his servants. "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him".

J.T. Matthew is the wedding garment but Luke 15 the best one; the latter is intended to convey the superior thing involved in Christianity.

A.F.M. Does the "fair mitre" crown all this?

J.T. I suppose it suggests his dignity before God.

J.B. Who is the "I" in the fifth verse?

F.L. Does it suggest that the prophet now recognises the divine work in connection with the person, and he calls for the priestly dignity to be put upon his head?

J.B. Is the thought of holiness unto the Lord in the mitre?

J.T. I suppose it speaks of the dignity. The head is usually a member that is taken up to describe the dignity; oil is put upon the head.

F.L. It seems very suggestive that Zechariah should be the one to say it. He seems to claim him in that way, as though the prophet would say, He is a companion in the testimony and, May God crown him with all dignity and holiness.

J.T. So it says; "And they set the pure turban upon his head, and clothed him with garments; and the Angel of Jehovah stood by". This thought of standing by is remarkable in verses 5 - 7. There are those who are in intelligent sympathy with what is

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going on and are ready to be employed in the carrying out of the will of God.

A.F.M. What does the crown or mitre stand for in Christianity?

J.T. I think, as I remarked, it is dignity. One is dignified; one is lifted out of the littleness of the flesh, because all that is in the flesh is extremely little and adverse to the dignity in the things of God. I am referring to priestly head-dress in general; the mitre here, as in Exodus 28, would be peculiar to the high priest. The sons of Aaron had "bonnets". The spiritual greatness suggested in these things should lift us out of the littleness of the flesh; its greatest things are very little.

F.L. There is hardly a more wonderful word in all Scripture, as regards our blessing, than, "he is not ashamed to call them brethren". (Hebrews 2:11) That is, He, in all the prominence of His place in glory, is not ashamed to acknowledge the saints as His brethren. That is the idea in dignity; it is conferred dignity.

J.T. As we had it yesterday, "The glory which thou hast given me I have given them". (John 17:22)

G.W.H. But the service in Ephesians 4 fits you to correspond with this; "till we all come in the unity of the faith ... ... unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ". Our exercise should be that there should be a correspondence in us, in intelligence, with this dignity.

J.T.. Yes, quite. The spirit of the speaker here in Zechariah 3:5, would show a lovely disposition to see another honoured.

F.L. I was thinking of the unjealous spirit that welcomes him.

J.B. Does not the prophet recognise the full situation before him, and sees the garments to be taken away and the new garments given, and now he says, Set a fair mitre upon his head. That would complete it all.

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J.T. So there is the absence of jealousy in all this. Satan is marked by jealousy. He was jealous in Eden and is jealous here. He hates to see man set up by God. He is governed by jealousy against God. He cannot bear to see the man according to God and will do all in his power to prevent any and each of us from becoming that, a man according to God. So the beautiful spirit in this speaker is the opposite of that, and it surely should find an answer among us, that we rejoice with those that do rejoice. You rejoice in the honour God may put upon a brother. It does not detract from you. It rather adds to you. If we see each other according to the assembly, anything that is conferred upon another will not detract from you at all.

W.C.R. "Honour to whom honour" (Romans 13:7); that is the principle.

J.T. Quite, and you rejoice with those who rejoice. You are not jealous. I think it is very beautiful in the angels, how they gloried in the birth of Christ. God had come down, He had passed them by and became Man. He dignified man infinitely by becoming a Man, and yet the angels are there celebrating it, and a multitude of them, as if they were all represented.

A.F.M. Would not this expression, "And I said", mark the prophetic spirit always, whether in the Old or New Testament, perfect sympathy with what God is doing and aiding it, and if possible seeking to help it forward?

J.T. It is like the spirit of prophecy. It is the testimony of Jesus, of that kind of Man.

F.L. I was thinking of that in connection with the Revelation. John was the vessel of testimony in the way Zechariah was here. John looks upon the saints and says; "I John, who also am your brother and companion" (Revelation 1:9); that is, in the testimony he embraces them unjealously, as a brother and

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companion; and here Zechariah recognised the divine work, it seems to me. He welcomes him as his companion in the testimony. "I said, let them set a fair mitre upon his head".

W.C.R. You get the unjealous spirit in Moses, when he was told certain ones prophesied in the camp and he expressed a desire that they would all prophesy.

J.T. That is just it. The testimony filled his heart. You do not know when you will be taken away. The Lord might take you at any moment and you would rejoice to know, that there are others who can go on. You know the testimony has to go on. We have had Joshua's rags; now a changed Joshua, dignified Joshua. It only adds to us all. I think it is beautiful in the Canticles to see at the end the principle of this, and how the speaker pleads for the little sister. At the end the enmity between Ephraim and Judah will have gone, so she says, "What shall we do for our sister?" (Song of Songs 8:8), And then goes on to say what they were prepared to do for her. As a wall they would build a palace of silver upon her, and as a door would enclose her with boards of cedar.

J.H. We sometimes pray that men might be raised up to help the people of God. Is this the answer?

J.T. Zechariah and Haggai must have had remarkable exercises together as to the things that had crept in amongst the people of God. The work had stopped, the people were going to their own affairs, living in their own things, and the house of the Lord was lying desolate; Ezra 4 24. So doubtless the prophets had their own exercises, and this would be the answer to them.

A.F.M. The prophets were helping.

W.C.R. All had been seeking their own, not the things of God.

J.T. Quite so. In Joshua thus clothed what a vessel there was for the work!

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J.B. He is clothed first, all this honour and dignity put upon him, and then given the charge.

A.F.M. Would you mind helping us a little in regard to these angels? There are two in the previous chapter and one here. He seems to be identified with Jehovah. Is that so?

J.T. The high priest is said first of all to be standing before the Angel of Jehovah, and then it says again, in the third verse, that he stood before the Angel; and then again in the fifth verse the Angel of Jehovah stood by; and in the sixth verse the Angel of Jehovah protested unto Joshua. Generally he seems to be the representative of Jehovah. In the seventh verse the Angel insists on the obligation. "If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts; and I will give thee a place to walk among these that stand by". That is, he now would have that place. He would be among those that stand by.

A.F.M. Is that some special place?

J.T. Yes. Apparently, those who stand by would have God in their interests and affections. Any saint can be that, even if he has not a gift; but it would suggest one wholly in sympathy with God.

A.F.M. The seventh verse suggests several things. There are, "my ways", "my charge", "my house", "my courts".

J.T. This word of the Angel in verse seven shows how great the things are that we are called to. We are apt to think that they are very trivial, and that coming to a meeting, for instance, is a matter of very minor importance. Doubtless that was the spirit that marked these Israelites as the work lapsed; they were indifferent. People would remain at home rather than be concerned about the house of God, but then God would point out the dignity connected with His things. They are not small things.

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J.B. They have reference to His purpose in Christ.

J.T. Yes, and He is honouring you and He is honouring me, and us all, by connecting us with them, and this is what the Angel said to Joshua: "If thou wilt walk in my ways" (that is, God's ways) "and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts; and I will give thee a place to walk among these that stand by". God, however, reserves His own sovereignty and rights: "I will give thee". We must not belittle these things.

A.F.M. Would this correspond with the first epistle to Timothy?

J.T. A good deal. There is an opportunity offered here to "flourish in the courts of our God", Psalm 92:13. Timothy is like one spoken of in the Psalms.

A.F.M. "I will give thee a place to walk among these that stand by". He would be recognised and honoured as such.

J.T. "A place to walk among these that stand by". What company that is! You are no longer isolated. An isolated Christian has a great disadvantage. I mean, one who is isolated by reason of circumstances, he has access to God, but he cannot have this verse strictly. He cannot have a place to walk in amongst "these that stand by". It is very lovely to be walking amongst those that stand by in regard of what God is doing.

W.C.R. It is fellowship and all connected with it.

J.T. Yes. The newspapers are full of what is going on in the world and everybody is standing by to see what is happening. Everybody on earth I suppose is interested in what is going on now in outward things, but the thing to get hold of is that God is doing something and that is seen by faith. God's dispensation is in faith. God is carrying on a great work and there are those that are standing by

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and watching. Joshua gets a place to walk among them.

A.F.M. The word in the New Translation is, "I will give thee a place to walk [or "give thee goings"] among these that stand by".

W.C.R. Does that suggest a special place in the house of God for those qualified for it?

J.T. I think so. It suggests not only that we serve God there, but that we have companionship. The Lord spoke about going to the house of God in company, to take sweet counsel together with certain ones; Psalm 55:14.

G.W.H. In the next verse it speaks of his fellows, that sit before him.

J.T. "Thou and thy fellows". Joshua was formally taken account of as a high priest, clothed with a mitre. His fellows are men of portent, men to be wondered at; that is, they are signs. The application now is that anyone corresponding with this is a sign from God.

A.F.M. Living signs.

J.T. Men like these associates of Joshua, are a testimony on the part of God.

J.S. Sisters too may be that by their walk.

J.T. Like Anna. She stood by the house of God; that was her one object. The gospel of John is built up on signs, we may say. See John 20:30, 31. Now it goes on here, "Behold, I will bring forth my servant, The BRANCH" That is Christ. He is to be brought out.

A.F.M. So we have brought out here how we become proficient for the testimony, to answer in this thought of "The Branch".

J.T. You become a sign as to what God is going to bring out, you point to Him in your ways.

J.C. You are morally like Christ, by the Spirit.

J.T. Quite, that is a sign.

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W.C.R. Would the Branch suggest what is seen in those that are to be wondered at?

J.T. I think they point to Him. "For behold, I will bring forth my servant, The BRANCH". You connect the idea with the signs.

F.L. It is directly connected in Isaiah 8:18. "Behold, I, and the children whom the Lord hath given me, are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion". So the Lord, when He comes and takes up the apostles, He with them become the portents, signs and wonders.

E.H.T. Could there be anything greater in the present day than to be in any measure a sign to point to Him that God is going to bring out?

J.T. That is the point. People do not take account of it. Nevertheless God could say that sign was there to point to Christ.

W.C.R. So that wherever God sets up anything in a locality that is a sign there. It may be weak and feeble, but God has intended that to be a sign in that locality.

J.T. That is the thought. It is a sign pointing to "The Branch"; to the One who comes out in dependence on God, as the Lord was here. He came in His Father's name and turned to His Father in everything. The Antichrist comes in his own name. So the sign now is to the coming in of Christ, "The Branch". There are not wanting today, alas! signs of Antichrist's coming.

A.F.M. Would this be in the character of a shoot? It is not a tree.

J.T. I think it means dependence, a branch is dependent on something else.

J.B. So we are branches as depending on Him, as He would be a Branch depending on the Father.

J.T. He depended on God. He took that place as Man, and I suppose, as in the mediatorial system

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which this suggests, He is on the ground of dependence on God.

J.B. "My servant".

J.T. Yes.

E.H.T. Would it be right to say in the present day when everything is pointing to the man Satan is going to bring out, the Spirit of God is active to point out the Man that God is going to bring out?

J.T. Yes, that is the point. Then he goes on from the figure of a Branch to a stone. "The stone that I have laid before Joshua". The stone has seven eyes. The iniquity now is not only taken away from Joshua, but taken away from the land. "I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day".

A.F.M. What is the idea of this stone?

F.L. The thought is not exactly the foundation stone which, we may say, is covered, but rather a corner stone upon which there is writing. He is prominent in the building. They had stopped work on the building, now they come back to the foundation, and the stone is put on that, and there is the writing upon it, which identifies the mind of God with that Man who is brought into view.

J.T. Who has seven eyes; power, as you might say, of infinite perception.

F.L. Yes, we read the mind of God and all His thoughts of grace in connection with that Man who is established.

A.F.M. So the stone, in that sense, is the earnest of the whole structure.

F.L. The stone, if we take the illustration from a human building, is often descriptive of the mind and intent of the builder, rather a glorification of the builders. He puts upon that stone what is to be a memorial and a glorification of his purpose. Now I rather thought the writing was to express the mind of God in connection with that Man who is set forth in the stone. "The stone which the builders rejected", (1 Peter 2:7)

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becomes the head of the corner. It is not exactly foundation.

J.B. The chief comer stone.

E.H.T. Would there be any significance in bringing in the Man that God is pointing out, who is going to fill the whole universe?

J.T. Here the point is that it is laid before Joshua. Joshua being the great feature of the chapter. First you have the writing, engraving, and then perception. Although wanting perhaps in many things the world regards as wisdom, and instruction, and education, the seven eyes would indicate the power of perception. We judge all things. "He that is spiritual" Paul says, "judgeth all things". The seventh verse of chapter 4 reads: "Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou dost become a plain; and he shall bring forth the headstone with shoutings: Grace, grace unto it!"

F.L. There is another thought, that as this stone was before the high priest, the great mountain of Babylon was to be overthrown, and another stone should come forth. Zerubbabel "shall bring forth the headstone with shoutings: Grace, grace unto it!" It is the stone that is to take the place of the ruling power upon earth, but established as the throne of grace, I rather thought.

J.T. Yes, and then in connection with that you get a little further on the word of Jehovah, in the eighth verse of the fourth chapter; "And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; and his hands shall finish it; and thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? Yea, they shall rejoice, even those seven, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel; these are the eyes of Jehovah, which run to and fro in the whole earth".

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F.L. So that the laying of the foundation is now connected with the headstone. It is complete, and the stone brought into view overthrows the mighty mountain really, and what is substituted is the power of grace and that mind of God which does not despise the day of small things. How much we have to value that.

J.T. Yes indeed. The eyes in the stone before Joshua would, I suppose, refer to priestly discernment. That is, the Holy Spirit in the saints, then the eyes of the Lord Himself running to and fro, so that things are kept under the eye of God and under the eye of the saints, and there is a judgment about things according to God.

F.L. I suppose in the tenth verse we get a result that flows out from the bringing into view of "The Branch" and the "stone".

J.T. "In that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, shall ye invite every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig-tree". That would be the land.

A.F.M. There could not be that restfulness and peace suggested in the vine and fig-tree apart from lawlessness being removed.

J.T. So that the divine thought is to return to original simplicity, as in Eden. The idea of cities, long distances and commerce is out of sight. A man sitting under the vine invites his neighbour there.

J.B. The fulfilment of the law is no doubt involved in that way: "Love thy neighbour as thyself". (Leviticus 19:18)

E.H.T. What did you mean as to verse 10?

F.L. We get the millennium in that verse: a man invites his neighbour under his vine and under his fig-tree..

J.T. "An Israelite indeed" (John 1:47) under the fig-tree.

F.L. Yes, "in whom is no guile"; all shall be, in measure, like Christ then, in whose mouth there was no guile.

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THE PURPOSE OF GOD IN A DAY OF SMALL THINGS

Zechariah 6

J.T. There seems to be a division of the book at the end of the sixth chapter, and I thought it would perhaps furnish a good close for our series of readings, especially as it brings before us the priestly kingship of the Lord Jesus as set over against the empires of the world.

F.L. The empires of the world are shown in the chariots with the horses, and then there comes in the Melchizedek, or priest-and-king character. When Melchizedek first appears there was a confederacy of the powers; Abram overcomes, and then he, who was priest and king, comes in.

J.T. There were two groups of kings in the conflict and Abram overcomes, delivering his brother, and then the priest appears.

F.L.. Yes, so there are two groups here, towards the north and the south.

J.T. It might be well to make clear that both agencies are used of God. That is, the horses in this chapter are not regarded as powers against God, but are used in His service. The Gentile monarchies were subservient to God, but in the character of horses; that is, they have no hearts or consciences. They have to be controlled by external means, or pressure. On the other hand, the priest seen in the second half of the chapter sitting upon his throne is a man, and with a man's sensibilities and sympathies, and with a man's intelligence, so that the will of God is seen perfectly presented in him, in his kingdom.

F.T. The Gentile powers are viewed here as carrying out the disciplinary will of God, and His Spirit gets rest in necessary judgments being executed;

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but there is that restraining hand over the governing powers of the earth. Though they have neither conscience nor regard for God, in the true sense, yet God lets them go so far and then stops them; but His Spirit is quieted.

J.T. Yes, they suggest the means by which God preserves a measure of order and repression of evil, pending the setting up of His throne upon which the Lord Jesus shall rule.

W.C.R. It says the four chariots came out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.

J.T. Alluding, I think, to the judgment of God. They carry out the judgment of God.

W.C.R. What are the two mountains?

J.T. I suppose fulness of governmental power for the repression of evil in this world.

W.C.R. When the seals are opened you get different horses coming out there, the white, red and black, but there is a man riding the horses there. Is that any different?

J.T. Revelation 6 is more local. These are universal, beginning with the setting up of power in the hands of the Gentiles in Nebuchadnezzar. Revelation 6 is more limited, because it came in later and refers, I apprehend, to the course of things in western Europe, generally the Roman empire. But these are universal; they go into all directions.

A.F.M. Why are the nations different in the way of colours?

F.L. I suppose in the Revelation the colours are in accordance with the results that follow, or rather connected with them. That is, the white for conquest; the red for war; the black for famine; the pale for death. I suppose the colours here would be in connection with the characteristics of the empires.

J.T. I think the mountains of brass represent the power available in the government of God for the

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repression of evil in the world, so they continue on in that light, and we, as Christians, recognise that.

Romans 13 refers to the establishment of government by God.

F.L. How much we have to be thankful for in the regard of the governmental ways of God! That is, the very worst government there ever was on earth is better than no government. It has been our lot to be under what must be ranked as good governments; we should, therefore, pray for them with all the more liberty.

J.T. Quite; we see they are ordained of God, pending the introduction of the government that is altogether according to His own mind. The Christian in that way has an immense advantage because he sees why things are. The conditions on this earth would be intolerable aside from what these horses typify. Whether they are red, black, white or grisled, we recognise them as having come in from between the two mountains of brass. Being horses, they are without consciences or hearts, so we must not expect too much from them. Whatever does come through them in the way of good we owe it to God, who curbs and controls them by "bit and bridle", Psalm 32:9.

A.F.M. Is that why they are called "the four spirits of the heavens"?

J.T. Yes. It is remarkable that they are spoken of in that way, showing how they are of God from this point of view.

J.B. They come forth from "standing before the Lord of all the earth". The earth is in view.

J.T. Quite, and God's supremacy in it. He is Lord of all the earth; sovereign Ruler. The Lord, when rejected, according to Matthew's account, lifts up His eyes to His Father as the "Lord of heaven and earth", Matthew 11:25. There is a recognition of His sovereign rule. Christ, to whom the throne of

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the world belonged, according to the Father's appointment (Psalm 2) was present, but He accepts rejection and pursues His course as a Priest merely; He will reign as Priest at the end, according to our chapter, but He exercises the function of Priest, you might say, first.

Melchizedek in Genesis 14, shows how, in Christ, priesthood and kingship are combined. The two groups of kings, the one under Chedorlaomer, the other the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, were of course contending for their own rights on earth; they were not thinking of the will of God, but of themselves, yet God was controlling with the "bit and bridle". The Lord of heaven and earth has His universal rights. Abram understood this, and refused to take anything from the king of Sodom.

F.L. So Psalm 24 starts: "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof". We never surrender that. And the fourth chapter here states how they are the "eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth". Very well, these governing powers may exercise authority on the earth, but we never surrender the claim that "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof", and back of all, His eyes run to and fro through the whole earth in view of His people being here. But in the light of this chapter Christians should be in submission to the powers that be.

J.T. So that in the meanwhile we carry on, as the Lord did, priestly functions. The Father was the Lord of heaven and earth, and the Lord spoke about babes. The Father's things were revealed to babes. Whilst He maintained these Gentile powers and used them, yet He was now taking up a new thing, and the Lord pursues His own service in humility and obscurity; which indeed marks Christianity. The Gentile powers continue, but the priesthood of Christ is carried on and He is developing, as you

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might say; a company of priests, for they are seen here in the latter part of the chapter. He is developing that out of the babes. So the chapter opens up a very great deal in that way; I think our position is clearly defined as regards these horses. We leave them where the Lord has placed them, give thanks for them, pray for them, as Paul directs Timothy to do; but we pursue our own way in the exercise of priestly service. The reigning time will be here presently.

F.L. "Have quieted my spirit in the north country" is a remarkable expression.

J.T. You feel how great the need is today for something of this kind in the north country. There is no right minded person but recognises the dreadfulness of the conditions that arise in this world among men when ordered government is overthrown. Man's will is acting, and Satan behind it; and so personally you are thankful that God introduces and maintains government to restrain that and maintain order and peace. It says, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty". (1 Timothy 2:2) That is what we are concerned about.

F.L. In that way our spirits become quieted. We are confronted with circumstances that are full of anxiety; and yet in the light of what the Lord holds in reserve, behind all, we have quietness of spirit. It is not that we do not sympathise and feel, but we see the issue, we know the end. Here God's Spirit is quieted in that way.

J.T. Yes. We must not undervalue these horses. They are of great importance pending the public establishment of the throne of God. As it is said, "God ... ... hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained", Acts 17:30, 31. It will not be then by these horses, but "by that man whom he hath ordained". And as to this God has given

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assurance unto all in that He has raised Christ from the dead.

A.F.M. Do these horses extend to the present day? Do they refer to the four great monarchies and would you say we are in the presence of the last one, the Roman?

J.T. That is, those called "grisled and bay". "The strong go forth", it says in verse 7, "and seek to go that they may walk to and fro through the earth". That evidently is the Roman system, because it has branched out in all directions and is stronger really than any of the empires; and it continues, in the principle of it at least, until now.

A.F.M. I suppose the elements of the other three are there?

J.T. No doubt.

F.L. It is marked by peculiar power. It is weakened by the clay, and it is that which we have today. It was that under which the Lord was born; and under which we now are, and it will be restored to fuller power after we are gone.

J.T. Yes, the Lord ministered under it and recognised it, too.

F.L. "Render therefore unto Caesar". (Matthew 22:21)

E.H.T. Do the colours indicate certain conditions that existed at certain times?

J.T. I should say so. Red, for instance, would point to some distinctive feature of the first empire.

E.H.T. Then in the colours there must be an advance at the end as to evil. In view of that, the Lord comes in at the end and destroys all.

J.T. That is true as we see elsewhere, but the point here is, that they are employed by God for the government of the world, pending the establishment of Christ's kingdom, which latter is spoken of later in this chapter.

W.C.R. They are not exactly against what is of

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God now: the teaching of this passage would therefore apply at the present time.

J.T. Quite; they are not seen here as scattering Israel, Judah and Jerusalem, but in relation to the whole earth. It is the government of the earth here that we are under; they are under Christ, They are said to be "the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth".

A.F.M. But the position these chariots occupy will be taken up by the Lord when He comes.

J.T. Only He does not take up any of these horses. How delightful it will be for God the Father to have One to rule who is capable of entering into His mind and who is in every way to His pleasure! It is a Man, One who is subject to God; "The BRANCH" as He is called here. He is alluded to as "The BRANCH", growing up in His place. The Antichrist comes in his own name, but the Lord Jesus as here, as Man, was in dependence on God and moved according to His will.

J.B. "Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua, the son of Josedech, the high priest". What is the thought there of the silver and gold of which they made the crowns? In chapter 3 it is said a "fair mitre" was put upon his head.

J.T. The latter was the high priest's head dress, but now he has additional glory and the "crowns" would refer to kingly dignity. Of the Lord, it is said, "On his head were many crowns". (Revelation 19:12) He is to be "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS". No doubt each crown will have reference to some distinctive glory and rule.

F.L. When He comes and all His holy angels with Him, He shall sit upon the throne of His glory. It is not the perpetuation of anything that was here. I was thinking of how beautifully this scripture

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connects with Psalm 110; "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning; thou hast the dew of thy youth. The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head".

J.T. So that the kingdom is taken up by the Priest, as if God were to emphasise the fact that henceforth government is to be in the hands of one possessed of human sympathies and affections.

A.F.M. It is not Zerubbabel here; it is the Priest.

J.T. Yes, I think therefore it helps to connect it with the Lord's position as carrying on His ministry on earth. There was testimony to His kingly dignity, but He was rejected and slain. But God has raised Him from the dead, and now He carries on His priestly service in heaven; presently He will sit as a Priest on His throne.

A.F.M. Of course you distinguish between the character of the priesthood there and that which He carries on now. He is priest after the order of Melchizedek, but the character of His service now is not Melchizedek.

J.T. Not yet. The function is Aaronic, as we have often noticed, but the order is Melchizedek, who "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth

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a priest continually". (Hebrews 7:3) But as regards the manner of His service, it is Aaronic. That is, it is His service inside now. He is not yet in publicity, but nevertheless the service is priestly and it is carried on in all the sympathies of a Man; but then all these sympathies which we know, and which bring down such mercies and blessings now shall be seen in public rule presently. God having raised Him from the dead, "will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men", Acts 17:31. The assurance God gives of His estimate of Christ is in the resurrection; "in that he hath raised him from the dead"; and the testimony of that is now in the gospel.

F.L. The service of the sanctuary, the Aaronic priesthood, is what we know now.

E.H.T. "He shall grow up out of his place"? What significance has the place and the growing up out of it?

J.T. I think it refers to the Lord; His birth and humanity here on earth. That is, He is known, so to speak, locally. He accepted the circumstances into which He was born and grew up in dependence on God. He was a carpenter and despised as such, but the poor of the flock recognised Him; Zechariah 11:11.

A.F.M. Would that indicate the perfection of His own obedience? All others had left their places angels had departed, and men had departed, but here is a new order of Man come in, and He grows up in a certain sphere.

J.T. That is the idea. God appointed a way for Him. He brought Him in in the most humble circumstances; born in a manger and brought up in a poor family, He did not seek to alter anything. The word "BRANCH" here is from the same root as "grow up". "I was cast upon thee from the womb", Psalm 22:10. He was entirely dependent upon God.

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from the outset. Isaiah says, "He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him", Isaiah 53:2.

F.L. In Revelation 5, where it is a question of taking the throne of power and judgment, He is presented as the Root of David. This lays the foundation of all kingdom power and administration, but at the end, in Revelation 22, when He is speaking as the blessed Man, "I Jesus", He is presented as "the root and the offspring of David". That is, the Branch comes out of David, as Zechariah speaks of Him. I think as the Branch of David, He is the Offspring, and that is connected with the Man, Jesus, but the fifth of the Revelation is His greatness and glory as Redeemer, and so He is "the Root of David".

J.T. Yes. "Root" implies His deity, but it is very beautiful to think of Him born into these circumstances according to divine appointment, the Father's appointment, and He never raised His finger to alter them. He grew up where He was placed, and His beauty came under God's eye without His circumstances being altered at all. That is what pleases God. So in due time that Man is to rule.

J.B. At the end of Luke 2 when Jesus was twelve years old, it speaks of His going to Nazareth and being subject to His parents, and then it says that He "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man".

F.L. Psalm 110 is very beautiful in that connection; "thou hast the dew of thy youth". That is what came out in Him in that way.

J.T. He retains His youthfulness.

D.R. "He shall rule them" (the nations) "with a rod of iron". Would that have a connection with what comes before us here?

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J.T. That is involved also in the word to the overcomers in Thyatira (Revelation 2:26, 27). They should rule in that way, too. I suppose it refers to the power by which all evil is broken up, but as regards the Lord's rule, He has true sympathies and affections. The sway is moral. Of course he has power by Him to repress evil, a sinner one hundred years old shall be cut off, but generally speaking the millennium is moral sway. There shall be no need of armies or navies, or anything of that kind. It is moral sway. The character of the rule is priestly. It is a Priest upon His throne.

F.L. So everything comes to "the valley of decision", Joel 3:14. All is assembled into the valley of decision, and when the decision is made and all evil is separated from that which is in submission to the Lord; and the evil is dealt with and broken with a rod of iron, from henceforth everything is administered in grace and sympathy. What is the residue, is ruled in entire grace and sympathy.

J.T. Yes, that is it. The iron may always be there, but the allusion, I think, is to the shepherd's rod. He "shall shepherd all the nations with an iron rod", Revelation 12:5.

A.F.M. Would the introduction of the temple here, enforce the thought of the priesthood taking precedence of the kingdom? "He shall build the temple of the Lord: even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne". The temple comes in first.

J.T. The passage is very beautiful, as introducing the thought of the Man. He considers for God. "He shall build the temple of the Lord". When Jesus was here He found the temple corrupted and He used the scourge of small cords to cleanse it, and the word is, "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up". That is, He showed how He considered for

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God. He was concerned about the house of God, and now if the house of God is to be built, He builds it. "He shall build the temple of the Lord"; and then He bears the glory. That He can sustain the glory, refers to His personal greatness.

J.B. He says, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up". He is the one that builds it there.

A.F.M. Then will be fulfilled, the word, "The latter glory of this house shall be greater than of the former".

J.T. Quite. All this would be a word for the people in that day, for they were not building. There is always a local application of the truth. They were not doing this, and the point was that they should do it. If "The Branch" is to do these things, this is what Joshua should be doing.

E.H.T. In saying He sustains the glory, is it your thought that in building the temple, and sustaining it, the mind of God is always seen? Is that what you have in mind as to glory?

J.T. He sustains the glory. I suppose the ark is alluded to. The ark is referred to in this way. He "delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand", Psalm 78:61. Now that shall never happen again, because Christ sustains all that is for God.

F.L. What is your thought about "the counsel of peace shall be between them both"?

J.T. I suppose it is between God and Christ. Peace is the subject, it is the "counsel of peace". What a change from what we have now in the different national counsels!

F.L. And what a delusion is the assumption that it can be reached in any other way!

J.B. They slew the Prince of Peace, and the earth can never have peace until He comes back.

R.L.C. This all beautifully leads up to the

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remnant. One asked "What are those wounds in thine hands?", He received them in the house of His friends, but the poor of the flock that waited on Him knew that His word was the word of Jehovah; chapter 11: 11.

J.T. Yes, the next section, beginning with the seventh chapter, develops a good many subjects that lead up to the coming of the Lord, but the place Christ has in the purpose of God is the point up to the end of the sixth chapter. The purpose of God is to have this Ruler; to bring in peace and have Him on the throne. The hidden wisdom of God was there. It was all there in the lowly Jesus, but the princes of this world did not know it. They did not see the immense advantage to mankind that there was in that Man: all divine wisdom was there, but the princes of this world did not know it; "had they known it", says Paul, "they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8), but they did crucify Him and hence are deprived of all that wisdom. It is all reserved now for us.

A.F.M. Does the fourteenth verse show, that He is not alone in all this?

J.T. "The crowns shall be for Helem, and for Tobijah, and for Jedaiah, and for Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of Jehovah". It seems as if we have suggested there a royal priesthood. "Ye are ... ... a royal priesthood", Peter says. (1 Peter 2:9)

F.L. There is moral significance in all this that it was brought about by those who had come from Babylon. You have to come out from Babylon, the dominating system.

J.B. You refer to the tenth verse?

F.L. Yes, so to them is committed the taking up of the silver and gold for the crown for the pre-eminent one, and then they seem to come in in association with Him.

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J.T. In view of all this it is well worth while coming from Babylon.

A.F.M. It would also suggest suffering. Coming from Babylon involves that. And then you see the pre-eminent One crowned on account of His suffering.

F.L. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him". (Romans 8:17)

J.T. I suppose these crowned ones would be an allusion to the present priesthood of the saints, as a memorial in the temple? Peter in his epistles brings in the great gain that accrued to the Jewish remnant, and among the many things mentioned was this great fact, that they were a royal priesthood, and their service was to show forth the virtues of Him who had called them out of darkness into His marvellous light. Peter treats of God's government, which involved that those who received the Messiah were not set up in Jerusalem, according to the promises made to the fathers, but they have greater things, and, whilst the Gentile power continues ("Honour the king"), they are to carry on priestly functions, and thus show forth the praises of Him who had called them out of darkness.

F.L. I think we get an idea of this in the gospels. The Lord had those who were separated from the order of things under Himself, and now He says to them that they shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. It is very clear that He apportions thrones to them. It does not belong to them in a tribal way, because nine of the tribes were not there; and those gathered out of Judah, Benjamin and Levi are to sit on thrones of other tribes. It is the sovereign disposition of those that had come from Babylon, as it were, and who were associated with Him in government.

J.T. It says in the fifteenth verse; "And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord; and ye shall know that the Lord of

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hosts hath sent me into you". Those afar off shall be added showing how interest shall be increased.

F.L. Who are those?

J.T. I suppose the Gentiles shall work at it. The king of Tyre helped in Solomon's day. I suppose the Lord being over the nations, they shall be available to Him.

D.R. "Ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you", Zechariah 8:23.

F.L. It would seem to suggest the time in which the Lord takes up His rights in the earth as a whole; He gives a foothold around the temple to the nations, that they may feel that they have an attachment to that spot in connection with His person and His rule.

J.T. Yes, 1 Corinthians shows how at the present time Gentiles (Christians) have a part in it. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?" 1 Corinthians 3:16.

J.B. Of Solomon's temple it was said; "Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people", Isaiah 56:7. The temple was not confined in its influence, or the light that was there, to the house of Israel.

J.T. Solomon was really in the mind of God to be head of the nations, all nations should come. In fact this book shows that not only shall they come to build the temple, but to worship the Lord at Jerusalem and keep the feast of tabernacles there, showing how complete the result shall be; Zechariah 14.

J.B. God has an earthly centre, and that is the centre of the whole earth.

A.F.M. I suppose the building of that temple would be that the second chapter might be fulfilled, where God says, "Lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord".

J.T. That is the end in view. I suppose this

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chapter shows how the dwelling is prepared. A priest builds it, but those afar off builded it also.

F.L. The concentric circles come out after the Lord's suffering and death, as we get them in the twenty-second Psalm. It is very beautiful. "I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee". That is the first circle. "Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel". That is another circle Then "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's; and he is the governor among the nations". There you get the full result of redemption and it includes what we have here.

J.T. It is so refreshing to have these things before us, especially now; and to see how God moves to bring about His own designs, and the agencies that He uses in carrying them out.

G.W.H. Only one of the circles mentioned in Psalm 22 is in evidence now.

F.L. Yes, the second of Hebrews gives it to us, but hidden in the assembly is really the remnant, "the children which God hath given me", Hebrews 2:13. Then the other circles come into view after the assembly is translated.

J.B. You alluded before to the eighth chapter of Zechariah. At the end of that chapter there is a very blessed account of the coming day with regard to the nations, beginning at the eighteenth verse. We get the circles marked out very blessedly there it seems to me.

J.T. Yes, it says, in verse 20, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities; And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the

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Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you". A remarkable result!

A.F.M. You regard these chapters we have considered as reaching the highest point in the prophecy?

J.T. I think that the six chapters set out the great thought in the mind of the Spirit as to the purpose of God. Then the seventh chapter begins a new theme. It says, "And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius". It is another date.

A.F.M. I was referring to the earlier chapters that we have noticed during these meetings; they present the highest thought that we have in this prophecy. There would be nothing greater than what we have considered?

J.T. I think the sixth chapter is the completion of the main subject. Of course the others have their place too, and are important, but I think the end of the purpose of God is outlined in those six chapters, ending with the Priest on His throne. There is much that fills in in these following chapters. For instance, in the ninth chapter the Lord is seen coming in lowliness and grace. And then, as regards His priestly service, as I was remarking, I believe the service in the gospels might fit in here. Whilst these horses, the dominion of these powers endure, Christ is carrying on His priestly service. So the eleventh chapter shows us Christ engaged with the poor of the flock. That is what He is doing for the moment. With Israel the bond is broken; they are scattered, but He goes on with the service to the poor of the

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flock, feeding them, and they recognise that what He said was the word of Jehovah: Following that you have grace poured out upon the house of David, the house of Nathan. And then there is repentance, and in the thirteenth chapter it says: "A fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness". All these are details showing how the great result is brought about in them, and then, as I remarked, as regards the end of the book, it says; "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain". And then it says further, in the twentieth verse, "In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem, and in Judah, shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts; and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts".

F.L. We are something of travellers in these days; we come from New York, Council Bluffs, and the like, but here they come up from all parts of the earth every year to Jerusalem, to keep the feast of tabernacles. A brother once said to me, Where do you get these meetings in Scripture? I said, You get the spirit of them, I think, in the feasts of the Lord; the people were to come together under the impression of the goodness and blessing of God. You get the spirit of these meetings that we are now holding, and one is struck with the thought here

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that when they came up in their annual pilgrimage it was to celebrate the feast of tabernacles. It is very beautiful the way it is put.

J.T. And the feast of tabernacles suggests the simplicity of men dwelling together according to God. Families are to be near to each other.

A.F.M. There would be a little foreshadowing in that of the eternal state.

J.T. I think it is an indication of it, the simplicity in which men shall live and God with them.

J.B. The feast of tabernacles runs into the eighth day.

J.T. Yes.

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VESSEL OF MERCY, PREPARED FOR GLORY

Romans 9:23, 24; 2 Corinthians 8:23; Revelation 21:10, 11

I have in mind to speak about the saints as vessels of God's glory, and I have put these three passages together in order, by the Lord's help, to work this out, and first of all as regards the sovereignty of God in forming us.

The chapter in Romans from which I read speaks of God's sovereignty, and among other things Paul brings in this thought, that those whom God has called are vessels formed for glory; "vessels of mercy ... ... prepared for glory". Wonderful thought for us! God, having had us in mind at the outset before His works of old, has in time formed us. There was no clay out of which to form us when He predestined us, as we may say, for we were predestined before the world was, indeed, not only predestined but chosen in Christ before the world was. God, therefore, had us in His mind, and not only in His mind, but in His heart, for He chose us in love, "in the Beloved". He had Christ in His mind, Christ as Man. He had in mind that the Son should become Man, and, as Man, should be known as "an only begotten with a father", (John 1:14) and He had also in mind that there should be others. As it is said, "chosen us in him before the foundation of the world". (Ephesians 1:4) All that was purpose, a word that we do well to receive into our souls. The purpose was there long before the material, of which our natural bodies are formed, existed,

As regards Adam God took the dust of the ground and out of it formed the man. What handiwork, beloved friends, is seen there! The Potter! Nothing in all the realm of creation could be compared with the vessel thus formed. As one well instructed

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afterwards said, "Fearfully and wonderfully made", Psalm 139:14. The skill shown exceeds that shown in anything else. As we have often remarked, there was a divine consultation; "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness". (Genesis 1:26) We can well under-stand that divine skill would be called into action in view of the wonderful model, for man was to be made after the image of God, and in the likeness of God.

The vessel was thus formed, and so, as formed, God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became", it says, "a living soul". (Genesis 2:7) He became that. So that in Adam thus formed (the word "form" is used) and breathed into, we have a vessel divinely fitted. Now he was but a "figure", as we read in Romans 5, "of him that was to come". That is to say, he was the figure of Him who was to be the Head of a new race of men, and in connection with that I desired to just call attention to a passage in Isaiah, so that you may see how the thought runs in Scripture.

Isaiah speaks about One upon whom should hang all the glory of His Father's house; Isaiah 22:24. That is to say, the house of Israel. One could not predicate that of Adam, for had you hung anything on him down it would come with him. Indeed many things were hung on him, but he did not sustain them. Now of Christ it is said by the prophet, that upon Him should hang the glory of His Father's house. Indeed, as one might say, every divine thought introduced, involving glory, was hung on Christ. As we have had it today, "he shall bear the glory". So that the glory of His Father's house hangs on Christ.

But then, not only that, all small vessels, it says, hang upon Him. However tiny you may be, and there are degrees of size, all vessels are to hang on Christ. You say, I am a tiny vessel, easily filled, but if you are a vessel at all you must hang on

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Christ. Now is it so with you? However small you are, small vessels are said to hang on Him. Now is it so with your soul and mine? I refer to the spirit of dependence. If we are to be available as vessels we must be found, as it were, hanging there. I have no doubt that the reference to vessels in 2 Timothy 2 involves our hanging on the Lord. In a great house, it says, there are vessels of gold, wood and earth, vessels to honour and dishonour, but they are not said to hang on anything. They are in a great house.

A "great house" is a wide idea, but it says "If a man therefore purge himself from these" (vessels to dishonour - the last mentioned) "he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work". That is to say, I apprehend, that he has come to discover that he must hang on Christ. He names the name of the Lord Jesus, he calls upon that name. He is dependent on that Man. He draws all his strength from that Man. However small or great, to be available, to be sanctified, to be meet for the Master's use, he must hang on Christ. Naught else affords anything in the way of availability for God save that which is dependent upon Christ. There must be dependence on Christ. We must hang upon Him, so to speak.

Well now, the prophet says that all small vessels, and vessels of cups. That is to say, that series of vessels, different sizes no doubt, but all vessels of cups, drinking vessels as one might say, hang on the nail. One might enlarge on the idea of vessels for drinking purposes; there must, of course, be the water, but the water will be available if the vessel is. And then it says, "All the vessels of flagons", namely, vessels of a larger capacity in which the water is stored, preserved, all such vessels are hung on Christ.

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So that Adam being the figure of Him that was to come, Christ is the great Vessel, not indeed created, thank God! (I speak reverently of Him. ) No, "the Word became flesh". It was an act of His own. "The Word became flesh", says John, "and dwelt among us". (John 1:14) That is to say, He dwelt so as to be known. And then he says, "We have contemplated his glory, a glory as of an only begotten with a father, full of grace and truth". What a Person He was! As He was baptised having attained His full age, the age of thirty, full manhood, the heavens are opened on Him, and there is heaven's delight announced in this wonderful Person; and so the Holy Spirit comes into that Person, to bring within the range of man all that God is, the grace of God, for it is said, "Grace and truth subsists through Jesus Christ". All that God is, as available for the need of man here on earth, is found in Him. "Grace and truth subsists" (subsists - the verb is in the singular) showing it is one idea in the mind of God perfectly blended in Christ. It subsists through Jesus Christ, so that grace and truth go together, but they are all in that blessed Person. The Word became flesh and dwelt among men, placing Himself to be reached, as it were. He is there, He is among men. "Who went about", it is said, "doing good". (Acts 10:38) He went about. He sought out the need and met it, "Who went about doing good, ... ... for God was with him". The glory was there. Every divine thought involving glory was in Christ. Wonderful to contemplate! It is well to have the Lord ever in that way before us, for our souls to feed upon. The Person was so great that He sustained every divine thought. All was, so to speak; hung there.

But not only that, every other vessel that God had hung upon Him. That is, there should be an increase of the vessels, and so one after another comes to Christ and is formed by Him into a vessel, and then

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that vessel must learn to hang on Christ. The Lord says, "without me ye can do nothing". (John 15:5) He says, "if ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ash what ye will, and it shall be done unto you". (John 15:7) What a lesson there is for us in that. The expression of His mind ("my words") abiding in your heart, and you abiding in Him, everything comes to pass.

So one might enlarge on that; how in the gospel one vessel after another was formed, and all set up, all hanged on Christ and in perfect order. For instance in the Acts, in the first chapter and in the second chapter, how perfectly formed they were after the great Pattern. In the absence of Christ (mark you, it is in the absence of Christ that you are put to the test as to how much you are formed) they are left for ten days. After forty days He was received up into heaven and they are left by themselves in Jerusalem for ten days. That is, the period between His ascension and the descent of the Spirit. Now what are they going to do? Well, I think what they do qualifies them as vessels. They were acquainted with the Scriptures. They knew the scripture that governed the position at the moment. You may be assured that you can find yourself in no position that is not governed by Scripture. It is good for you to know that, for you to know the scripture that fits your circumstances. Hence the importance of knowing Scripture. The Lord appealed to the Jews, "Search the scriptures" (John 5:39) and if you search them you will find the scripture that applies to you.

Now Peter and those with him found out that, "his bishopric let another take". Judas must be replaced by another, and that other must be indicated by God. Hence they pray, they are dependent. They qualify in that way as vessels, and so the Holy Spirit comes, and what vessels they were as possessed by Him! They contained all the light that shines

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in the face of Jesus in heaven, it was brought into those vessels in the power of the Spirit of God. As Paul says later, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels". Although earthen, the treasure is there. The light of the assembly, of the glory of God in the face of Jesus, was in Paul's heart, in that vessel. And so in Peter, and so in John. And then in the second chapter the order in which the service is carried out shows how they had qualified. It says, that Peter stood up with the eleven. The Lord had ordered how the vessels were to be set and used. There were great and small ones. The eleven and Peter were twelve. They represented the authority of Christ. It does not say he stood up with the one hundred and twenty. They were there. They were the standers-by, as we speak. They were in sympathy and interested, but Peter and the eleven only stood up. Compare Zechariah 3:7. That was according to the pattern. The Lord had commissioned them. He had given them a place that was unique, and they accepted it, whereas the others did not assume it. It is well, dear brethren, for us to find our place in the house, in that sense, as vessels, to know the use the Lord is to make of us, whether we are to be a vessel of the cup series or the flagon series, or whatever it be. Find out from the Lord, and then there you hang, in dependence. In the faith of your soul there you hang until you are needed.

Well now, I take that passage in 2 Corinthians as illustrative in a marked degree of the idea that I am seeking to propound. The apostle says, "Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner" ("inquire" is not in the original, but it is implied) "and fellow-helper concerning you". That was that vessel. He was content to be subordinate. It is a very important thing to learn to be subordinate in the service, for in the ways of God there must be subordinates. What a thing it is, although serving subordinately, yet to

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havepartnership in this wonderful service, the service that the Lord is carrying on down here now. To have part in that! There are claims now, of course, no doubt right to put forth, which we have to respond to in the will of God, but let us see to it, dear brethren, that the claims of Christ are acknowledged. Nothing should interfere with that. I retain my responsibility as a vessel under all circumstances, and the Lord is carrying on His service and is graciously disposed to give me part in it, that I should be a partner in it, and I want to be known in that capacity. Paul wished that Titus should be known in that capacity. He says, "He is my partner and fellow-helper concerning you". He served with Paul concerning the Corinthians. That was Titus' employment. And now he says, "or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ". Remarkable passage! These brethren are not named. Their function for the moment was to carry certain money subscribed by the brethren for the benefit of need, or needy ones, elsewhere, and the apostle says, in effect, 'If anybody inquires about those men do not say to them that they are simply treasurers or custodians. No, they are ministers of the assemblies'; and then he adds "and the glory of Christ".

It is well to keep that in mind when you contribute to the box. What you put in it not the point. It is the spirit and motive, beloved brethren. I often recall the Lord's posthumous saying, as it has been called, recorded in Acts 20, "Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive". The glory is in the giving, and so as these assemblies gave, the money was entrusted to certain brothers, and so, as the apostle says, the service that they were performing in the capacity of ministers, representatives of the bounty of the saints, was to the glory of Christ. How exalted trivial things become when taken up in this

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way by the Spirit in relation to God and His service! The material gift of the saints to meet the need of others is regarded in this light, "the glory of Christ". It is the reflection of Christ.

I have often dwelt on the Lord placing Himself over against the treasury, as if He would say, I would love to see the reflection of My own giving disposition there. What did He give? This very chapter tells us; "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich", 2 Corinthians 8:9. What giving was that! What wealth He gave up in order that we might be enriched, and hence, as I was saying before, He gives us the idea of glory. It is in giving or sacrificing. So as the saints gave they were the glory of Christ. It was the expression of Christ. "It is more blessed to give than to receive". How it would enlarge our giving if we were conscious that the Lord was standing over against the treasury, and conscious that He was saying, 'I would like to see the reflection of My own giving disposition there'. Now that is what the box is. If you look upon it as that in which the glory of Christ shines how expanded the giving should be. As it says, "God loveth a cheerful giver", 2 Corinthians 9:7. Mark you! He looks at your conscience and looks at your heart as you give. He does not say He loves your gift, but you as giving it. He loves a cheerful giver.

Well now, in turning to the last scripture in Revelation 21:10, I wanted to show how the great idea of the vessel is carried forward. As we are sovereignly formed by the Potter "vessels of mercy" (signifying that we are taken up according to sovereign mercy) "prepared for glory", we become in the aggregate a great vessel for the shining out of the glory of God. No one of us could be that, I need not say. Christ only could be regarded as great enough to contain

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and set forth fully the glory of God. Indeed He is said to he the effulgence of the divine glory. That is what Christ is; and the assembly, being His body, is seen here as "having the glory of God".

The heavenly city, being formed of the saints, is taken account of in this chapter in Revelation, and I just wish to dwell upon it for the remainder of the time. It says in verse 10, which I read, "And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God".

I desire by the Lord's help to keep your interest so that you might see how in the aggregate we are to be the vessel of God's glory, as descending from God out of heaven. I have no doubt that the assembly may be viewed, and is viewed, in a retrospective way in this chapter. That is, she is looked upon as the wife; that character has marked her, viewed according to what she was as formed of the Spirit, throughout the long night of the Lord's absence. A wife is to be trusted. You will recall how the false wife described in Proverbs says, that her husband has gone a long way on a journey, and has taken a bag of money with him, and so she abandons herself to unfaithfulness in his absence. That is the false one. She was not a true vessel. She is utterly untrustworthy. She is not staunch. Now in the end of the book of Proverbs you have the true idea of the wife. She is virtuous. It is a most essential feature, we know in a practical way, to be virtuous. I have often endeavoured to define virtue and have put it this way, It is the power in your soul to say no to evil, and to say yes to good, as in fidelity to Christ. That is what I think virtue is, briefly. That is, you refuse all that involves unfaithfulness to Christ. You close the door on that. There is to be no admission in thought, or in ways, that involves unfaithfulness to Christ. The

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wife is, normally, to be trusted. And so the assembly (I am not referring to the great public body) in principle at least, has been confided in by Christ, and now the time of her display has come. She has held to what belonged to Him in the hour of His rejection, and now it says, "The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready", Revelation 19:7 That is, she is preparing now for the public nuptials and display.

You will all remember that there was no marriage ceremony between Isaac and Rebekah. There was nothing of display at all. The union was there, but all was of a private nature. She was a comfort to him. But now the hour of display has come, and so it says "his wife", not the one that is going to be His wife, but the wife, the one that is trusted. It is the one who has known His mind, who has been a comfort to Him. Romans itself teaches us that we are "married to another" already, and Ephesians and Colossians teach union with Christ, so that the wife relationship exists now. But I am dwelling for the moment on the point of faithfulness. The wife is to be trusted. Paul says, "Keep ... ... . the good deposit entrusted". (2 Timothy 1:14) But how keep it? "By the Holy Spirit". You cannot keep it any other way. You might write down, and subscribe to the "thirty-nine articles", the so-called fundamentals of Christianity, as many did in the Reformation, but that is not keeping by the Holy Spirit the good deposit entrusted. The truth is to be held in our souls in faithfulness. Is there anyone who does not love the truth? The absence of love of the truth brings sudden destruction presently; 2 Thessalonians 2:10. There may be certain features of the truth that are not directly applicable today, but everyone who loves it treasures it, and keeps it in the soul by the Holy Spirit. There is no other way to keep it. "Keep, by the Holy Spirit", he says, "the good

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deposit entrusted". You are faithful to Christ. You use the Spirit, speaking in that way, in order to conserve the truth. You are keen in regard to the truth. You must not let one iota of it go.

Now the wife, I apprehend, comparing the passage with Proverbs 31, holds to that. She loves the truth. The false one says, "I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow". She cares nothing for the truth. Do you think Rome cares anything for the truth? Nothing! Like Judas, she would sell not only the truth, she would sell the Lord; indeed, she has done so. We are told to "Buy the truth, and sell it not". (Proverbs 23:23) Judas sold the Lord. The true wife conserves the truth. As I said, she keeps by the Holy Spirit the good deposit entrusted.

And so now the time of the display, "The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints"; Revelation 19:8. That is, she had been marked by righteousnesses. The word is in the plural, and would include, I suppose, all the practical righteousnesses from Pentecost until the rapture. It is a record of all she had kept. Practical righteousness is a wonderful thing, you know, in the testimony. "If ye know that he is righteous", says John, "know that everyone who practises righteousness is begotten of him", 1 John 2:29. Practical righteousness now is, as it were, formed into a robe in which the wife is to be arrayed. It is her marriage trousseau!

"It was given to her". There is the principle of sovereignty in it. "It was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints". What I do or you do, as a vessel, as used of the Lord, shall all be seen there, and we will come out in our

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wedding garments, beloved, suitable for Christ, suitably arrayed to be presented to the Bridegroom, to the Lamb, the suffering One, for it us the suffering One. He is the suffering One now, but He has this wonderful city as His bride. And so the angel takes the prophet, for John is a prophet here, to a high mountain, as it says: "he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God".

Now this is the wife. John has to be taken up from earth to see her. One has to be withdrawn from the earth to the high mountain to see this, the assembly in this light. And so he says, "that great city, the holy Jerusalem". There have been many great cities, but there is only one holy one. This one is great and holy, so that, beloved brethren, if we look for greatness let us not look for it apart from holiness. To be great in this world is not to be holy, whereas to be great with God you must be holy. Greatness and holiness must go together. Hence the great city, holy Jerusalem, she is described as here, and she is seen as descending from heaven from God. How lovely to have before our souls the thought of being taken to God, taken up by the Lord Jesus, who descends, as it is said. He descends and we shall be caught up, as changed, to be together with Him, for ever. He takes us up and now we come out, as John says, He "showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God".

Well, that is what I have to say. He adds, "And her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal". That is, the assembly is the vessel of the divine glory, coming out in dignity and in liberty.

There is only just one word I would add to that, and that is the necessity now for clearness, for

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transparency As vessels we are to be transparent. There are in this book of Revelation several references to it. The first is the sea of glass. The victorious ones are said to stand on the sea of glass; all there is transparent. There is nothing hidden, no secret counsels. All is open. It is a lovely trait amongst us, as brethren, to have that transparency of glass; to be such vessels in that sense, that all that is done is open, no mixed motives, nor hidden ones. All is in the simplicity of love. As the apostle says, "By love serve one another". (Galatians 5:13) So that the city's light is clear as crystal. All is perfectly open there.

Well I hope what I have said may be a help to us, dear brethren, in view of what we have had, that we may see that we are taken up sovereignly, formed by the Potter, so to speak, "vessels of mercy, ... prepared for glory". (Romans 9:23) We are prepared; there shall be no disparity between us and the glory. We are fitted for the glory, and while down here in whatever we do there is to be a reflection of the glory of Christ and of God. If we are to be fitted and finally to come out as changed in regard of our bodies, having bodies of glory, as it is said, we shall be in the aggregate a great vessel. The city lieth four-square. She includes all, but she lies four-square, in every way formed after God so as to express Him universally in His nature, the shining out in the light most precious, the whole realm of creation shall bask in it. May God grant blessing to His word, to each of us.

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Pages 158 - 221, "Spiritual Food and Priestly Clothing", Glasgow, January, 1919 (Volume 40).

THE BREAD OF GOD

John 6:5 - 14, 25 - 71

J.T. I do not propose to go over this chapter, but I desire to call attention to the matter of food, the subject being necessarily of very great importance spiritually, as it is physically. This chapter presents it fully, and gives us the kind of food that we require to partake of in order to live. There is food that one has to partake of in order to serve, priests' food; but the food in John 6, is what is essential to life. The Lord, in raising Jairus' daughter, commanded that something should be given to her to eat, without specifying what it was. He left that to those responsible, which raises a question as to those who are in any sense "stewards" of the "manifold grace of God", 1 Peter 4:10. The faithful and wise servant provides food for the household, and in regard to the kind of food, he would be concerned as to whether those needing it were young, middle-aged, of old, and what work they had to do. This principle is illustrated in the apostle, who said, "I have fed you with milk and not with meat", 1 Corinthians 3:2. Under other circumstances he would supply other food. I would further remark, in order to make the subject clear, that in this chapter the Lord, it appears, gives the food direct to "the men" who "were set down". In the other gospels it is said to be given through the disciples, but verse 11, correctly reads; "And Jesus took the loaves, and having given thanks, distributed them to those that were sat down". The Lord provides that which is suited to His own. He gives us the Supper, and says: "Take, eat, this is my body", Matthew 26:26. Then, in Jerusalem, after He rose from the dead, He "ate

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before them". In His eating, though food is partaken of, yet it is not in order to live; it simply states, "He ate before them"; it was evidently for them to see. He was a real Man; and as such, ate before them. It was a thing to be noted. I just mention this as preliminary, so that the subject may be clearly before us.

A.F. Would you go over the points again?

J.T. The necessity for food, spiritually as well as physically, is obvious. The subject is older than Adam, for we have a reference in Scripture to angels' food. "Man did eat angels' food"; Psalm 78:25. Food becomes necessary for life. When Jairus' daughter was raised, the Lord commanded that something should be given her to eat, without saying what it was to be, or providing for her Himself. He did provide food for the disciples. He desired to eat the passover with them, but the passover, literally, was not to be continued. There was to be a new thing: "This is my body given for you". (Luke 22:19) The Lord's supper suggests food for us. At the passover, the Lord ate with the disciples; but in Jerusalem, when He rose, He ate before them. He inquired, "Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb", Luke 24:41, 42. Further, there was food for the priests, in connection with Jehovah's service; and then the exercise of the faithful and wise servant is, that there should be food for the household; something to eat and something to drink.

F.F. Does John provide both water and bread in a special way?

J.T. Yes. That is the point of this gospel. You have water in the fourth chapter, and meat or bread in the sixth.

F.F. He speaks of living water and living bread. This is significant.

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G.F.M. At the end of John's gospel you have not only life, but a good constitution

J.T. Saints come out, "ruddy and of a beautiful countenance". Gideon's brethren appeared healthy like himself like the "children of a king".

P.L. Barley loaves were food, and we read in Judges 7, that "a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian". It terrorised the enemy.

J.T. The. Midianites would have destroyed the food, but Gideon threshed wheat. The barley loaves were to overthrow the enemy, and really the issue of the present war has turned on food.

F.F. Food is needed so that there may be a constitution for the conflict.

J.T. If you can establish a blockade, that settles things in the long run..

F.F. John hides the food like Gideon.

J.T. He is a reserve man. That is a military principle, but one may be free to use those similes. The Lord did not tell Peter what He intended to do with John, though Peter was largely in His confidence. Peter looked up and saw John following, and said, "Lord, and what shall this man do?" The point is, what he is doing. "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me". (John 21:21, 22) It is a matter of reserve, the Lord would say, My reserve. The immediate action was following. John was a reserve man, and his gospel is of this character.

F.F. So that although this conversation was public, the thought of food for us is hidden.

J.T. Yes. John 21 is a mysterious one, but we can read through it now. The Lord Himself had food for the disciples on the other side; He had the reserve, showing that the disciples had been on wrong lines. As soon as they were diverted from divine principles as led by Peter and Thomas, they had nothing. Nakedness, night, and nothing, marked their position. The Lord had food and a fire of coals.

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Peter had said, "I go a-fishing". The others went with him; but they caught nothing.

J.H. The children of Judah in the palace of Babylon declined the king's meat; Daniel 1

J.T. That shows resolution. They were not to eat everything that was offered. A spiritual man has a palate, and exercises discernment in regard to what he eats. It suggests the need of being careful. The Lord in John 21 had the food, in spite of the waywardness of the disciples. John, at the end of this chapter, comes out as a reserve man; and the way he refers to Christ and the ministry of Christ, shows that there is no need of "rationing" in the divine system. "There are also many other things which Jesus did", he tells us, "the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written". (John 21:25) This has a reference to food for the mind, this being largely what is needed. The heart, too, has to be met, but it is noticeable that Peter should speak of "the pure mental milk of the word", 1 Peter 2:2. In the end of John 20 we get John's estimate of the ministry of Christ; it is so extensive in his eyes; it is infinite.

R.D. John has in view, "life in abundance"; there is plenty of sustenance.

G.N. There were twelve baskets over, as if each were to have one.

J.T. It is an administrative thought. All present were satisfied, and there was enough left for a further administration.

R.D. Was your thought as to John being the reserve man, that he comes in after the breakdown of what Paul takes account of, and brings in abundance of food?

J.T. Yes. I think that is very encouraging and helpful. There is no lack of food.

F.F. Does not John suggest that on our part it

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is a question of vision, as to whether we discern the food? Seeing has a large place in his gospel.

J.T. Yes, it is remarkable how he records things. He groups all under certain signs. The first is given us at Cana of Galilee where He "manifested forth his glory, and his disciples believed on him". He wrought the signs before His disciples, the point being that they should believe. "Many other signs", we are told in chapter 20, Jesus did before them. So the whole gospel is intended to make believers of His disciples, but believers who have plenty of resource, food and drink. Then the last chapter comes in as a warning, lest one turn aside. So that the things that John records are like signposts on the way, one pointing on, and then another, and each assuring you that you are in the right direction, until you come to the last, and this is a signpost of danger. There is great encouragement in it, however, for although there was failure, the Lord appears for recovery, with food prepared by Him. There was an immense haul of fishes too, and yet the net did not break. We have here what is dispensational, but the thought of food is carried through. Chapter 21 is solemn and searching, showing that all, as in the hands of the disciples, was hopelessly lost, were it not for the Lord's faithful watchfulness and provision.

G.N. How do you account for John having turned aside?

J.T. It was owing to the influence of Peter's leadership. A defection originates with one or two, and others fall into it without wishing to. Peter says, "I go a-fishing", and they go along with him.

R.D. Even John needed to watch the signs.

Ques. What about those who turned away from the Lord?

J.T. A passage like that has a voice to us today. The public benefits of Christianity are very great, and many are affected, but when you come to what

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is spiritual, then they are tested. Mark had turned aside, and he wrote his gospel as one who was recovered. John turned aside as regards food, but he failed to secure any, and he shows us the incident as a signpost.

P.L. We see the sovereignty of God as regards the distribution of food. He indicates where it is.

R.B. The Lord tests Philip as to whether he is aware of His resources.

J.T. It is humbling to find how little one believes!

Ques.. Is it not strong food in this chapter?

J.T. It is food for life here. "And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world". It is not priests' food exactly, it is "flesh for the life of the world", for the whole race of man.

J.M. Is there anything beyond, "he that eateth me, even he shall live by me"?

J.T. Not as regards life, but there is priests' food.

R.D. There is the old corn of the land. I thought you might help us as to John's way of presenting how that life is sustained, beginning at chapter 3.

J.T. I would specially note that the action of the Spirit in John 3 is to bring about the new birth of the individual. Not simply that something is done in him, but he is born anew, so that he is an entity to whom attaches, even before he knows redemption and gets the Spirit, responsibility to God. To such an one the love of God is presented, and provision made for his conscience in the brazen serpent. This chapter gives us the wilderness position. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up". One is contemplated as in a desert land, as to his soul, but the brazen serpent is there, and he needs that. Now in chapter 4, that same person is met in regard to thirst in his soul, and evidently thirst comes before

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hunger spiritually, and the Lord proposes to the woman that which would be an eternal source of supply, so that she should never thirst.

F.F. Her desire is met. Would you say it is a question of desire?

R.D. In principle, as to desire, she is satisfied.

J.T. Quite so. The thing is there; it had to be developed.

R.D. It becomes a question of recognising the Spirit, in order to get all the benefit.

P.L. She leaves her waterpot.

J.T. Romans gives what is potential. It is very much akin to this. It gives the possibility, what is there, but undeveloped. The well can be exploited to any extent.

R.D. The princes dig the well and sing to it in Numbers 21.

J.T. We want to know the value of the product.

G.N. The gift of the Spirit involves that we shall be glorified.

J.T. If yon are looking for water, or oil, or anything the earth yields of commercial value, you want to know the value of the product; according to its value it will be developed.

R.D. So that Paul in Romans 8, gives us to know the value of the Spirit, leading up to purpose.

J.T. Yes, the value of the Spirit, and how it renders one independent of the flesh.

R.D. In John 4 you get all that lies in the Spirit meeting the desire of the soul.

J.T. One might become rich in finding a certain spot that yields a certain commodity; all that remains is to exploit it.

F.F. "The water which I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into eternal life".

J.T. Yes, that is potential, the possibilities of it are stated.

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R.D. It is not only the fact of having the Spirit, but the use you make of it.

F.F. It is "living water".

J.T. The Lord might have said "the Spirit", but He does not. He spoke to the intelligence of the woman. The desire has to be met and gratified, so the figure of living water is employed. It suits the state of soul.

Ques. Has living water reference to thirst, and food, to the mind?

J.T. It is pretty much so. Chapter 7 says, "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water", referring to the lower affections, so to speak, but in chapter 4 for the moment, it is simply the thought of a fountain. In chapter 5 it is a question of the Lord's power. He says in chapter 4, "If thou knewest the gift of God and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water". He was so great and yet came so low; but in chapter 5 it is, "He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life". It is a question of His greatness. In each chapter He brings in what He is personally. In chapter 4 He descends to inspire confidence; in the fifth, He proves His power, so there is nothing we need fear, for His voice is to be heard. "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God". The domain of death, suggestive as it is, has to yield to Him; so that chapter 5 settles the question of what may be against us in the way of power. The sixth presents how one is sustained in life.

F.F. The Lord says, "he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever".

R.D. So that, beginning at chapter 3, what is in view is a spiritual person, not a spiritual constitution merely.

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J.T. Yes; a man.

P.L. So the man is born again.

J.T. Yes. The thought is, born from top to bottom, so to speak, not born a second time. From the very outset there has to be a spiritual foundation.

P.L. A new moral texture.

F.F. "He that comes to me shall never hunger, he that believes on me shall never thirst", chapter 6: 35. Is that the thought of the man?

J.T. Yes, one asks, hears, and comes; these come out in the fourth, fifth and sixth chapters. The drink in chapter 6 is His blood, meeting man as needing life; In chapter 7 you have another thought of the Spirit. It is a question of the dignity of Christ. "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink". It is as if to say, 'Whatever you may think of Me, any one may come to Me and drink'. He brings Himself forward on the last day of the feast as being in a position to give man drink, and such drink, that out of the inward parts of such an one living water should flow. You could hardly get a stronger statement of His greatness. "This spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive". It is not the Holy Spirit viewed as Comforter to the assembly, but as received by the believer.

W.H. Conditions were there to receive the Spirit.

J.T. It is not the objective side, but the Spirit received, and it goes on to say, "for the Holy Spirit was not yet, because that Jesus was not yet glorified".

P.L. The conditions that existed were the fruit of the ministry of Christ.

J.T. Yes, there was progress.

R.S. Is the believing confirmation, and preparatory to chapter 20?

J.T. It gives another side. There are several lines running through the chapter. Primarily the

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disciples should believe, but the teaching goes wider than the disciples. The question of new birth is universal. The real beginning, as regards the Christian, is in chapter 3. One must be born anew. It is not exactly something in me, but I am affected throughout by this action of God, so an individual is completely changed; new sensibilities and desires are the result, and only God can meet them.

P.L. Is thirst the result of new birth?

J.T. Yes.

W.W. You distinguish between the receiving of the Spirit, and the giving of the Spirit?

J.T. Well, God seals you by the Spirit, that is His work.

R.D. You emphasise the point, "they that believe on him", receive it. The saint is ready for it. The conditions necessary for the reception of the Spirit are seen in Acts 1.

J.T. Yes, only there it is more official. The apostles were to tarry at Jerusalem until endued with power from on high, and the power came, but at the same time it is the Spirit coming to all believers. We might note this, reception involves appreciation.

F.F. Such an one anticipates the great result in the feast of tabernacles.

J.T. You have heaven brought in in the flowing of living waters.

W.W. Are the activities of the Spirit more on the line of preparation before He is received?

J.T. It is the way things are presented. The Lord in chapter 4 says, "he would have given thee living water". In chapter 7 it is, "Come and drink", denoting state in the person and how he receives the Spirit.

R.D. A person who has been formed in the truth set out in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth chapters realises what it is to be filled in the inward parts, and this exceeds all.

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J.T. So, as our brother said, you get the glorification of the believer in chapter 7.

D.G. Is John 7 in advance of Ephesians 1?

J.T. Ephesians 1:13 is a statement of what occurs after one believes; whereas here you get what is characteristic of state, and then the flowing out in testimony. John 7 is a development.

R.B. The receiving is the result of desire. Luke tells us that the Father gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.

J.T. The Spirit is brought in there in connection with prayer. It is more on the side of giving;

G.N. It is not so much the thought of a single act, as the kind of person who receives the Spirit.

J.T. Yes. This gospel, as it develops, builds up the spiritual man. He who thirsts.

A.F. The Lord tested the disciples by means of the loaves and fishes.

J.T. "This he said to prove them". It is more the disciples who are in view, in John, and their education and formation. As chapter 20 puts it, "many other signs did Jesus in the presence of his disciples", but much comes out that is universal in its bearing.

A.F. What would food of this kind represent?

J.T. The sign is, the literal loaves multiplied and increased, pointing to the second part of the chapter. It signified that there was spiritual food. The Lord said, "Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you, for him hath God the Father sealed", John 6:26 and 27. That is what the sign pointed to.

R.D. So the whole subject involves appropriation, and calls for exercise.

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THE BREAD OF GOD - CONTINUED

John 6:26 - 71

J.T. The idea of eating and drinking, it may be remarked, is spoken of in the Word, as not only meeting the needs of the body physically, but as a means of enjoyment. We get the thought of feasting. In the tenth chapter of the first letter to the Corinthians where Exodus 32 is referred to, in connection with a "feast to Jehovah", eating and drinking are called idolatry; then, in chapter 15, the apostle reasons, that if there be no resurrection, men would simply eat and drink, and die to-morrow; thus showing how the terms are used as expressing enjoyment and satisfaction away from God. Whereas they are also used in the same sense, to denote enjoyment and satisfaction in the presence of God, as in Exodus 24, where the elders of Israel ate before God, having seen God, as we are told. He did not lay His hands on the elders, and they ate and drank, so their life was continued there. Then in the gospels we have several instances of feasting, in which eating and drinking form prominent features. I mention these things to show how Scripture connects what is of the world, as well as what is of God, with eating and drinking. Eating in the presence of God necessitates very great exercise.

R.F. In 1 Corinthians 10:7, it is said, "the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play". That is the opposite of exercise.

J.T. Yes; that was as away from God. In the absence of the mediator, Moses being on the mount, they sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. I suppose that is typical of Christendom now, where the mass of people have forgotten where Christ is, and go in for satisfaction of the flesh without Him. The Lord's supper provides an antidote to that,

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because it is instituted in order that we should not be without Him. It is for a remembrance of Him.

P.L. In Luke 15 there is feasting in the house.

J.T. It is the Father Himself who says, "Let us eat and be merry". It is His proposal.

F.F. Showing God's part in the joy occasioned by the recovery of the prodigal.

W.H. This chapter suggests an exercise to get food.

G.F.M. The sixth of John forms a contrast to the third of Genesis.

J.T. To Adam there was given a wide range of choice in regard to what he should eat. There was no restriction as to any food, save one tree in Paradise; and it was in this way that Satan took advantage, by suggesting that God was selfish in imposing that restriction. In regard to what was given as meat, we get herbs mentioned first, then fruit with seed. Before the flood men were evidently vegetarians. It does not appear that any animal food was eaten till after the flood.

J.H. The fish of the sea were included in Adam's dominion. Fish is available for food, in the chapter before us.

J.T. There was no life to be taken at that time, and animals were not given as meat before the flood.

J.H. Our brother's remark calls for a little attention, the contrast between Genesis 3 and John 6. In Genesis 3 you have man partaking of that which is forbidden; that is, one doing his own will.

G.F.M. The principle behind that which has been instilled into man, is ambition. Here, what God provides is in order that we should live, in the place where death reigns.

J.T. This is a food that dissipates ambition.

P.L. It is bread come down.

J.T. The Lord Jesus, instead of taking the place of equality with God, made Himself of no reputation.

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It is the antidote to what we find in Genesis 3; so the contrast is very marked.

R.D. That brought in death; this food is to sustain in life.

G.F.M. What is the point in "flesh" and "blood"?

J.T. Blood separated from flesh implies death. It could not be partaken of otherwise. Nothing strangled was to be partaken of, so the passage refers to Christ as dead, and further on you get Christ alive. First it is eating His flesh and drinking His blood, then eating Him.

R.D. What would this effect in you?

J.T. It would have a reducing, displacing effect. It is terrible that I have to come to this, that whatever I may be in the world, it is this kind of food I have to eat in order to live. It dissipates all kind of ambition and inflation.

R.D. Would it work through our affections?

J.T. Through the mind and affections. Light in itself does not suffice, though it enters through the mind. Here it is not the Lord's death vicariously that is contemplated, but death as ending the state in which man was in inflation and pretension.

G.F.M. The point in John 6 is, the necessity for eating. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you".

J.T. The world, and the Jews, had no life in themselves. The first world developed out of Genesis 3. The aspiration was that man should be as God and do his own will. All that has to be effaced, to be dissipated in me. How is it to come about? Not only by light, but I have to eat the food presented here, and assimilate it.

R.D. The Lord went down into death in order that we might have this food, when we think what it cost Him it touches the affections.

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P.L. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus". (Philippians 2:5)

G.N. What would be the difference between "eating" and "drinking"?

J.T. Eating is the more prominent feature, but drinking would answer to "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts", Romans 5:5. It is said, "We have all been made to drink into one Spirit", 1 Corinthians 12:13. It is not developed here, but you get a reference to it in the Lord's supper. Life belongs to God.

P.L. We drink the cup, which is the new covenant in Christ's blood.

J.T. The life of the Man who was the negation of Genesis 3 was for God; that life as given up is the testimony to the love of God. God abominates the life of the lawless man, but life is His. No blood was to be partaken of in the Old Testament. God is not claiming the life of the man that sinned, for that life was forfeited and of no value. The life God claimed was the life of Jesus. In the Old Testament there was an indication that there was a life which He cherished, and when it appears in Christ the testimony comes into evidence that it belongs to God. The blood of Christ, therefore, is a testimony to the love of God. Christ's body speaks of His own love for us; "this is my body which is for you". (Luke 22:19)

G.N. What is involved in the words "flesh" and "blood"?

J.T. The will of God in the flesh, and the love of God in the blood; these are two great elements on which we feed.

G.F.M. They are made available for us in the death of Christ.

J.T. I can partake of them now, but if so, I surrender my will. It is the negation of my will. Christ came to do God's will in the body prepared for Him, so when the Lord speaks of my "flesh",

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He refers to the condition He took in order to set forth the will of God in man, and that means the complete and absolute negation of myself I have to go.

R.D. I am to be sustained in life outside the scene of sin and lawlessness.

J.T. That is what it comes to. You are here for God's will. Blood expresses the love of God. The new covenant is in Christ's blood, but Christ was not the One making the covenant; it was God who made it. Christ is the Mediator of it.

G.F.M. You get in it the declaration of the love of God.

J.T. Yes. See what a generation is brought to pass by eating this food!

R.D. A generation living in the love of God.

J.T. So there is a complete reflection of Christ in that generation. The principle of the will of God is, to go down. "But what and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before". The idea of doing the will of God comes down from heaven. The idea of it is in heaven.

R.D. How would you connect that with "I will raise him up at the last day"?

J.T. It is the triumph of God. The saints go to the wall outwardly now. The last day is the final day; you get the final issue and analysis, and then only those who eat will be raised up.

P.L. Raised suggests the thought of complacency.

J.T. "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return", Genesis 3:19. That is because of lawlessness and it disappears, but raising up is the contrast to that. I reappear as having eaten this food.

R.D. The Lord says, "I will raise it up", in verse 39, as if He there speaking of all; in the three other cases, it is "raise him up".

J.T. The whole of those who believe is involved in "it", then each individual. He says, "of all

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that he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up".

R.B. A generation is brought about by individual appropriation.

J.T. Yes; the Father's will is, "that every one who sees the Son, and believes on him, should have life eternal" Firstly there is the thought of faith, and then of eating. The latter is more definite, as expressing appropriation of what is presented in Christ for men to feed on.

G.N. Has the eating of His flesh a negative result?

J.T. Yes, the negation of my will.

G.N. And the cup is positive.

J.T. Yes, the love of God in which we live is set forth in it. There is more, of course, in the body than what is negative, as Christ's personal love is in it too "We being many are one bread and one body". It brings about in the assembly a response to Christ, while the cup would produce love to God also.

G.F.M. It is not only the negation of my own will, but leads me to accept the will of God.

J.T. We need food to strengthen us, in order to set aside our own wills; they are strong, and this food gives me power.

A.N. What is the difference between John 6 and the Lord's supper?

J.T. The Lord's supper has not the world in view. It is brought down to narrower limits and clearly defined. God's part in it, and Christ's part, are more taken up. "This is my body". You get Christ's affection and interest which brings about assembly affection. "The new testament in my blood", corresponds with the Spirit shedding abroad the love of God in the heart.

R.D. The food of John 6 is in the world where sin and death are; it involves daily eating.

J.T. It goes on to the millennium. The Lord's supper contemplates the period of Christ's absence,

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and is not for life. It is for a remembrance. It is interesting to note that there are two sacraments in Christianity, as J.N.D. said. The first, baptism, introduces me into the wilderness; the second, the Lord's supper, sustains me there. The idea of food is necessarily there. "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup".

G.N. The Supper is the way out of the wilderness, too.

R.D. We are able to leave the wilderness and go into home conditions. So it is a supper.

J.T. There is food in it; it nourishes our souls in the love of God -and of Christ.

Rem. The Lord had a title to live.

J.T. He laid down His life. He had power to lay it down, as having received commandment from the Father.

G.N. What is the typical significance of the manna?

J.T. It is the life of Jesus, and affords us sustenance in a scene of contrariety. You find it wherever you go. As you go through this scene doing the will of God, you find Christ has been into every possible circumstance.

A.F. In the tenth chapter of first Corinthians the blood is mentioned first, then the body.

J.T. The tenth chapter gives the bearing of the Lord's supper on our every day walk, and the cup is mentioned first as expressing the love of God; then the bread, as setting forth the will of God. The tenth chapter is more a question of what God is.

R.D. Taking up the will of God, because of the portion you have in the love of God. It is the only way you could do it. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. Has not Romans 5 in view, that we are to traverse the wilderness? We are not to be ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.

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J.T. So you accept all that is involved in your baptism.

A.F. What is the thought in the new covenant?

J.T. In the first covenant, the proposal made to the people was that God was to be their God, and they, His people; "if ye obey". The new covenant is constituted as regards the house of Israel and Judah; they are still to be His people, and God their God, only the terms are different. Instead of obedience being demanded, the principle of obedience is put into their minds and hearts so that they are able to answer to God's requirements. God had exclaimed, "Oh! that there were such a heart in them that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always", Deuteronomy 5:29. The first covenant did not change their hearts and minds, whereas the new covenant does.

R.D. God now sheds abroad His love in the heart, so He reaches His primary thought.

J.G. The people accepted the obligations under the old covenant, but God undertakes to make good the new.

J.T. It is what God does, but it necessarily results in what they do, as He puts His laws in their minds and writes them in their hearts.

R.D. They obey; we should recognise that.

J.T. You could not think of the covenant without obedience. The whole point on the side of the people is obedience from the beginning. The moral system is founded on obedience.

R.D. "Unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ", 1 Peter 1:2.

G.N. What about the change of terms?

J.T. He puts a new heart into the people. He gives them a heart, this did not take place under the first covenant. The commandments were then written on tables of stone; for the new law is to be written on the heart.

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R.D. He does not ask us to obey, but we do obey from the heart. Christ is to be written on our hearts.

J.T. Yes, that is greater than the law. He says, in the mount of legislation, "I say to you". He adds to the law. So Christ written on the heart is greater than the commandments. He is the revealed will of God.

R.D. That is Christianity. It is a greater thing.

Rem. In Christ there is the complete disclosure of the mind and will of God.

R.S. The people are willing in the day of His power.

J.T. In the Psalms we get the expression, "Amen and Amen", at the end of the first three books, and at the end of the fourth, "let all the people say, Amen". They acquiesce in all that God does.

R.D. As having willing hearts.

P.L. We become firmly attached to the will of God.

G.N. The affections are gained, in Romans 6.

P.L. How does the cup come in in connection with the covenant?

J.T. The Lord says, it is the new testament in His blood. It is the blood of the Mediator. It gave God a means of expressing His love. God's love is told out, and it comes before us, so the thought of a covenant is in no sense foreign to Christianity, or contrary to it. It is developed in Christianity. Christ written in the heart is greater than what Israel will have. So we see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It is the effect of what God is in His nature. Christ is said to be the covenant.

A.F. "He also who eats me, shall live also on account of me", John 6:57.

A.N. Is the covenant made with Israel?

J.T. The first covenant was with Israel, and it is said of the new covenant, that it is "as regards the

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house of Israel and as regards the house of Juda". It expresses the disposition of God towards His people. Paul was a minister, not of letter, but of spirit, and the Lord is the Spirit; the Lord has brought in the love of God, and the presence of this gives character to Christianity. Excess marks everything that Christians have. The disposition of God towards us in Christ rises to the full height of our position. It qualifies us for our heavenly calling.

A.N. If we take account of the position Jew and Gentile respectively occupy, it makes a difference.

J.T. The Jew knew the law as actually under it; the Gentile was not, but knew enough of it to enable the apostle to write to them about it. The law, the apostle says, rules over a man as long as he lives. Then he cites the case of a woman, whose husband is dead, and who is free to be married to another. This thought he carries through to Christianity. "Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God", Romans 7:4. So the thought of a bond remains.

R.D. One could not enjoy deliverance without recognising the bond. You must recognise that you are free to be married to another.

J.T. The old bond is dissolved, and now you are free to be attached to another Man.

P.L. It is a bond of attachment.

J.T. Yes, a bond of affection. The apostle seizes the fact that the Roman Christians knew the law, and he carries forward the thought of it to the Christian assembly, showing that nothing is dropped. The reference is no doubt to Exodus 19, as the prophets formally state that the bond was entered into then. Now Christian believers are regarded as released from the legal thing, and brought into a new bond to Christ. F.E.R. used to say that you really

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do not get love proper to a husband and wife until the marriage contract is entered into. If we apply that to Christ and the individual, true conjugal affections are only known when the bond is recognised.

P.L. It preserves from idolatry.

J.T. The heart is closed to other claimants. The bond is between Christ and the individual.

R.D. The heart responds to Christ. "He that eateth me, even he shall live by me". How do we appropriate Him as food?

J.T. The thought of blood is dropped in that passage. It is Christ as He is; we eat Him and live by Him.

R.D. It is the thought of communion.

J.T. Firstly John says, "Unless ye shall have eaten the flesh of the Son of man and drunk his blood"; and then "He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood". The latter is continuous. In verse 57, which you quote, it says, "he also who eats me"; that is, you appropriate Christ as alive. As revived, the daughter of Jairus had to be sustained, something was to be given her to eat. We are to live by Christ. I learn what I am in His affections, and He is in mine, and it comes about by "eating" Him.

R.D. I become like Christ, and live in His affections.

R.B. We get in Malachi, "and did not he make one"? (Malachi 2:15)

J.T. God hates putting away. There is to be one wife, and one husband. The Lord said, "From the beginning it was not so". (Matthew 5:32) The thought is "one flesh".

F.F. At the close of this chapter the Lord says, "Will ye also go away" Peter replies, "Lord, to whom shall we go?" He was held in attachment.

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PRIESTLY SERVICE

2 Timothy 2:1, 2; Ezra 7:1 - 6, 10; Nehemiah 8:1 - 6, 8 - 18

In reading these scriptures I do not intend to go into detail, but I wish to speak a little of priesthood. I desire to point out how essential it is at the present time, if the testimony of Christ is to be preserved and continued; and I have for this reason read a passage in Paul's epistle to Timothy, which places Timothy in a position of trust, and, as so placed, he is necessarily regarded as a priest. Timothy had been in captivity, but was released. "Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty", Hebrews 13:23, There is, perhaps, more said of Timothy personally than of any other servant in the New Testament apart from the apostles. He receives remarkable mention in the Scriptures. He appears, as many of you know, at a period when he was greatly needed. Barnabas had failed Paul, and on the occasion of Paul's mission to Europe as recorded in Acts 16, Timothy appears. His genealogy is given spiritually; he was the son, it says, of a believing woman, not only of one who had believed, but of a woman characterised by faith; his mother was such. In the second letter to Timothy, the apostle reminds him of that, and also that his grandmother was one in whom unfeigned faith dwelt. Furthermore, the Spirit of God tells us of him, that he is designated by Paul as his true child in faith, his beloved child, so that he has spiritually, in that way, a very remarkable parentage. I would emphasise it, he had a believing mother, and a believing grandmother, and an apostle as a father spiritually; and as such he comes into a position of trust in the house of God. He is a custodian of the good deposit entrusted; that is to say, of the truth in regard to God and in regard to

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Christ. He is, as one may say, the trustee for. Paul's doctrine; Now, that is saying a good deal, but it is not saying more than Scripture predicates of this remarkable young man, for such he was yet, even when this second letter was written to him from Rome. I am not ignoring the fact that the Holy Spirit is the power to maintain things for God here, but I am speaking of the position that Scripture accords to this remarkable young man.

He is, as I remarked already, also referred to as a brother. The writer to the Hebrews does not speak of him as his son, but as a brother. "Know ye", he says, "that our brother Timothy is set at liberty". And so being free, he is now available, as one may say, in the service of the truth, and is constituted a trustee, so that he should pass on, what he had learned from Paul, to faithful men. Indeed, the passage is somewhat like the last will and testament of a man. Timothy is to administer; he is delegated by the apostle to entrust to faithful men what he himself had heard of Paul in the presence of many witnesses. You will understand I am not ignoring the fact that the Holy Spirit is here to maintain the truth. I am speaking for the moment of a servant. Timothy has to administer the truth, and he is to commit to faithful men what he had heard from. Paul.

Having said this about Timothy, I must press on to Ezra, hoping to refer to him again for a moment at the end. I want to show you how the Old Testament aids us in the understanding of the New. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah, in the Old Testament, fill a place similar to that of Paul's second epistle to Timothy in the New Testament. I wish to show how priesthood appears in these books; how it is, so to speak, true to itself in Ezra. I want to dwell on this, by the Lord's help. In the first instance, I have selected a passage in Ezra 7 which gives us his genealogy.

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It is as if the Spirit of God would set this man before us, as one unquestionably qualified to fill the office with which he was entrusted, and on which he was about to enter. At this juncture I would call your attention to one peculiarity in these books of Ezra and Nehemiah, that in them the principle of genealogy is emphasised. A genealogical register is set down as of the very greatest importance in these two books. Ezra, I apprehend, is the great genealogical chronicler of the Old Testament, and I would ask you to note that whilst he is the priest and his genealogy is incontrovertibly established, he is also said to be a scribe, and a ready one. Now in saying that he is a scribe, one would be careful to point out that he was in no sense a journalist; he was in no way occupied with the narration of the events of the time; he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given; he was efficient in that. I mention this in view of the great value of writing in our time.

It is a remarkable thing that in the second letter to Timothy, books are specially mentioned, and they were brought to Paul; he says, "especially the parchments". And so Ezra was a ready scribe in the law of the Lord. I would suggest that the conditions in his day required writing. The saints were scattered. They had not all returned to Jerusalem. And the true priest of God would concern himself about every saint of God. Let us not be narrow in our affections. It is essential to be narrow, in a sense, in our fellowship, as another has said, 'Keep our hearts large, but our feet in the narrow path'. In that relation I would remark that Ezra, in his wonderful prayer to Jehovah, when confessing the sins of the people, says, "there hath been favour from Jehovah our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place ... ... and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem". (Ezra 9:8, 9)

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These were what I might call the available things in his day. There was a remnant available, a nail in the holy place of God was available; and a wall about Jerusalem was available. But then all the saints of God were not available, but Ezra would embrace them all in his affections; so Paul says in writing his letter to Timothy, "The Lord knoweth them that are his". It may not be within our scope to test the genealogy of everybody, but the Lord knows everyone's genealogy. "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his". This is a great comfort. There are many, alas! who are not available to us, but there are those who are, and it is for us to value what is available, and to make the most of it. Those three things are available, according to Ezra's prayer. A remnant of the people of God; thank God for the few or for the many: the larger the number the better, provided they are genuinely the people of God. Then access to the holy place of God; and then, finally, a wall. These things are to be cherished. They are the available things at the present time. The question is, Am I using what is available? a remnant of the people of God, access to God, a nail in the holy place of God; a sure footing there through the blood of Jesus! As the writer to the Hebrews says: "Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh, and having an high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart", Hebrews 10:19 - 22. And then there is a wall in Jerusalem. It may be called exclusivism, but it is: a priestly feature. It is that which the priest delights in. It involves the security and the protection of the people of God from error or defilement. Fellowship is available within.

Now to return to Ezra's genealogy. He is a true

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son of Aaron as verses 1 to 5 of Ezra 7 show; there is no question about that. In saying that, I am not losing sight of the fact, that priesthood belongs to all believers; it involves being kindred to Christ. Now while your genealogy may be indisputably established, what about your heart? What about your resolve of heart? I will just read you again a verse from Ezra 7"for Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord". Now this is what Ezra did, he "prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments;" Ezra 7:10. I invite your attention to that word. How many of us are preparing our hearts to seek the law of the Lord? You understand what the law means for us here; it includes the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. It is the revealed will of God, and the revealed mind of God. We have to distinguish between these. The will of God is His commandment; the mind of God is His word. You must have both. There are those, it may be, who go in for the word, but forget the commandment; and those who go, in for the commandment and forget the word, but we need both. What about your resolve of heart as regards the law, the revealed will and mind of God?

Now, in referring to priesthood, I would introduce for a moment a thought in regard to the priests' garments and the priests' food. These are two important features. Scripture speaks of the food that is suitable for priesthood, and also the garments which the priests should wear. I cannot enlarge upon these two features of priesthood, as the time is short, but I would refer to them for a moment. Firstly, as to priestly food, in the book of Leviticus we are instructed as to the food which a priest should eat, He is to have a part in the sin-offering, and he is specially to feed on the meat-offering. In Ezra's confession we see the reality of a priest eating the

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sin-offering. I put these things before you. What is it that we eat? The general thought of eating and being clothed is, I suppose, as commonplace as any thought in the world; but on the other hand there are no more important considerations in the whole world than food and clothing. The Lord said, "these things do the nations of the world seek after", Luke 12:30. But, when you apply it spiritually, how great must be their importance! What about the food that you eat? As recovered, so to speak, as brought back to the light of the assembly, what about the sin-offering? If you look through Ezra 9, you will find that he accepted the awful condition of the people and confessed it, as having his part in it; he ate the sin-offering, in that sense.

It is a serious consideration as to the conditions in which we find ourselves. Am I attributing the ruin and the failure of the assembly to other people, or am I, as a true priest of God, eating the sin-offering, owning my share and part in the ruin? If I am to have a constitution that is suitable to priesthood, I must eat the sin-offering, and I must eat it in the holy place; that is, take it up in relation to the sanctuary of God; Leviticus 6:26. And then, if I am to be a man like Christ in the midst of my brethren, how is that to be brought about? I must eat the meat-offering; Leviticus 2:10. The food of the sin-offering marks me off as a man that judges sin. I judge sin in myself, I do not judge it in others alone, and I am marked by that judgment. It is not that I am attributing it to others, though I may be called upon to judge it in others, but I am to judge it as a priest. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted", Galatians 6:1. For this I must feed on the sin-offering, but further, if I am to move about in the midst of my brethren as a heavenly

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man, as Christ was here, how can that be brought about? I must eat the meat-offering. These are the two great features in the book of Leviticus in regard to the priests' food. I would commend this to your consideration as most essential at the present time. Am I eating priestly food? And, Am I wearing priestly garments? Food is for sustainment; garments are for warmth and appearance.

If you look at Nehemiah 7:70, you will find that he provided a great many priests' coats. That indicated that Nehemiah, in returning to Jerusalem, thought of the priests. He had in his mind how essential they should be to the recovery and the maintenance of the remnant in Jerusalem. And so, too, the Psalmist says, "Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness", Psalm 132:9. How about that clothing, dear brother? How about your associations, your business relations? Re-adjustment, to use a well-known term, applies constantly to the Christian. I have to revise my relations constantly. As I get a little bit more light, I have to make my relations fit in with that. Hence, if I am to be clothed with righteousness, I must be concerned and exercised about my relations in every circle and sphere, in my family, in my business, and in all my social connections. All these, and more besides, are involved in the idea of the clothes I wear. They must not be put on only for the meeting. I do not know of any scripture that speaks of a priest wearing the clothes of a common person. He was always marked off and distinguished by his priestly garments. They were to be clothed with garments "for glory and for beauty" as they came to serve in the inner sanctuary; but, generally, the priest was to be distinguished by wearing vestments made according to divine instructions. Having food and clothing, one is set up in spiritual independence. I use that word advisedly; I doubt very much if any one of us

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is of much value in the things of God unless he arrives at spiritual independence. I do not mean independence of God; but that one has found the means, and is now prepared to take up his service in connection with the house of God.

I just touch for a moment on Nehemiah 8, because in it we see the priest in the exercise of his functions in days of weakness. Firstly it says, "and all the people gathered themselves together as one man". I greatly love the assemblages of God's people, especially when they come together themselves. Note here, it is "the people gathered themselves together". This was not by a trumpet. In Numbers 10 the assembly was brought together by the blast of the trumpet. There, in figure, it was a question of the authority of Christ, and I MUST come. It is imperative. The claims of Christ demand it. But then there are opportunities which are left to ourselves, and our spirituality is tested as to whether we avail ourselves of them; and so here it says, "And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the watergate". That was a good place to assemble. There was a goodly company too, forty-two thousand came with an addition of about seven thousand servants and attendants. There would be therefore approximately fifty thousand people; Nehemiah 7:66, 67. I do not say that they were all there, but if I read the passage literally, they were, as chapter 8 verse 1 says. In other words, there was a large company in Jerusalem on that particular day, and the priest was available; they spoke to Ezra the scribe. The people wanted a priest, and so Ezra mounted the pulpit of wood, as it is called, and read the book of the law. It was a long meeting, a much longer meeting than any meeting we hold, it lasted from morning until mid-day.

I want you to note particularly, that this is the movement of the people; the people wanted it.

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God was working in them, and that is what one prays for, the work of God in His people. "And they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had commanded to Israel". What a state in the people! They wanted to hear the encouraging book of the law read, not only the law of Moses, but that which the Lord commanded for all His people. That is what they wanted. One has great encouragement in reading the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, as showing what may come about among the people of God through the exercise of one or two men. It goes on to say, "Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation, both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that was before the watergate, from the morning until mid-day, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law", Ezra 8:2, 3. That is a fine picture. It was an occasion in which the priest was available and he shines. I bring this before you, so that, in the exercise of your hearts, there may be a resolve to seek the law of God, and to teach the law of God to His people. These are resolves of heart that the Spirit of God would produce in us, and make effective in us.

I shall just run through the chapter for a moment. In verse 6 we read, "And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands; and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground". They were entirely at one with the worship of the priest. They had come together to hear the law, and now they are led in priestly energy to bless God. They commit themselves to the worship of God; and then it is recorded

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in verse 8, "So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading". I believe, that the Lord at this present time would emphasise the meaning of Scripture. We are not half alive to the treasures we have in the holy writings; what treasures lie in these blessed pages! The priests and the Levites gave the sense; that is what I would call general public ministry.

And then in verse 13 it says, "And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests and the Levites unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law". I apprehend that this is special. There are those, who, as priests and Levites, responsible persons, would come together in dependence upon the Lord and in recognition of the Spirit, in order to find out the word, the mind of God in the Scriptures. In beginning to search: they find something they had not expected. One has often met with brethren, over the Scriptures, and found unexpected things. It was no question of the needs of one's soul being met, or of light to relieve one's soul. No, it was like Mary sitting at the Lord's feet; she had no soul needs then; it says, she "sat at Jesus' feet and heard his word", (Luke 10:39) she was listening to what He was saying. So in Ezra's day these came together. "And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths". I believe that the Holy Spirit, at the present time, if the saints have the heart for it, would lead us into the very highest and most blessed thoughts of God. I take it that the feast of tabernacles represents that, in the Old Testament. It was the highest and most blessed privilege accorded to the people of God. It was one of the three great feasts of the Lord. In Ezra's time, those coming together on the second day, for

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special inquiry as to the words of the law, found this remarkable record, and they put into practice the privilege that was for Israel. So it says, "they kept the feast seven days", "and there was very great gladness". I have run over Ezra's service in this brief way, in order to show how, in recovery, priesthood reappears and becomes available to the people of God; and it brings to light the mind of God, and the privileges which He accords to His people. I have connected it with Timothy, because he is the typical servant for the last days, and his service was priestly. He is a brother set free, and one who, as I said, is made the custodian of the truth as delivered to him, as having learned it of Paul, and he was to commit it to faithful men.

Now, I would just make a remark about Paul. I believe that, from the time he was sent out, his ministry has been the test of the people of God. I am convinced of this. When Paul came to Europe, to Philippi, it is said that the Lord opened the heart of Lydia to attend to the things spoken by Paul. And I believe that is what the Spirit of God would do at the present time. He would open our hearts to the things spoken by Paul. Now, Timothy is mentioned for the first time, in that chapter, Acts 16, when Paul first visited Europe. He appears there, and he becomes a true companion, and child of Paul; so that he knew Paul's doctrine, his manner of life, and he learned things from Paul. Paul says, "The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also", 2 Timothy 2:2. I commend Paul's doctrine to you, and would take it home to myself, as the special feature for the time. There are those who have exercises about getting things from the Lord, but what are we doing with what we have received? The word is, "Hold that fast which thou hast", Revelation 3:11. That is the word

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for us. We have had wonderful things handed down to us. It is for us, in the spirit of priesthood, to treasure these things, and to pass them on to others, and pass them on without being tarnished by the mind of the flesh. May the Lord help us in this, There are just these few points which I would bring to your notice; the genealogy of the priest; the food; the clothing; the responsibility of the priest, and the trust with which he is entrusted of the Lord.

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THE BROTHER SET AT LIBERTY

Acts 4:23 - 37

I take the liberty of reading this scripture on account of the great encouragement which it affords the saints, especially under circumstances such as those in which we find ourselves. I refer to the measure of limitation imposed on a portion of the people of God. Along with this passage another came into my mind; that is, Hebrews 13:23, in which the writer says to the saints addressed, "Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty". It was a piece of encouraging information for the people of God at that time. The apostle does not state the nature of Timothy's bondage, nor by whose authority he was released; the fact that he was released sufficed. It is of great moment now that the brother should be set free. No doubt the enemy would limit a brother by whatever means possible, military or otherwise, whereas I apprehend the release of the brother is what has marked the last days. The Spirit of God has brought out the true relation of saints, first to Christ, and then to each other as brethren. Now, the enemy would limit the idea in the working of it, so the word in Hebrews seems to me to be forcible, "Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty". One would like to be assured of that.

No doubt, if we look around, we shall recognise that readjustment is a very serious consideration in the world at the present time, and I would observe that this is not limited to the world system; there must be readjustment all round, and it is for us now, in connection with that readjustment, to find our own company. The word company is one which has been emphasised of late, being used in a military sense, but there is only one Christian company in the true sense, there is no A or B company in

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Christianity. The scripture we have read tell us, that "they went to their own company"; the company is designated as "their own". It seems to me this word has a voice to us at the present moment, for if the word readjustment has any application to us, it has this, that one has definitely to find, in one's soul, his own company, and being free make that his resort, he goes thither.

Now, the apostles, arriving there, reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. It was a matter of common interest in the place of mutual communications. It is very beautiful to note the simplicity and mutuality that marked the people of God in those early days. If we refer to the two disciples going to Emmaus, we may recall how when they returned to Jerusalem, they found the eleven and those with them, and reported all that had taken place, the result being that their contribution occasioned satisfaction and joy. So here we find that "when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said: Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things, the kings of the earth stood up and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy servant Jesus; whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done", Acts 4:24 - 28.

The Spirit of God would have us to be engaged with what God is doing. What the world is doing, or shall do, is of very secondary importance to God. It is a question of what God is doing, and the more we think of that, the more satisfaction we shall find.

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God is acting governmentally on our behalf, and acting by the Spirit in the saints, so that it remains for each of us to discern what He is doing. We are not to be blind to what the enemy is doing. Self-judgment must be maintained, and readjustment must go on; it is a question of discerning where one is in regard to God.

As I said, the Spirit would suggest to us the importance of seeing what God is doing. Here, the company tell the Lord that He created heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is. They recognise His lordship, and then go on to speak of the attitude of the kings of the earth, and of the rulers, towards Him. The issue is, Christ; and they go on to say, "For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done". Whatever governors may do, it is what God's counsel predetermined. Things are entirely in the hands of God, and so far as they accord with His counsel, shall they be carried out. Then they continue, "grant unto thy servants that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy servant Jesus". That was their prayer, very short, but very comprehensive, and the answer to it is contained in verse 31: "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness". That is to say, God acted. He acted in answer to their prayer. The place was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.

It is encouraging for us to observe how things were at the beginning. There is no change in God. We may still reckon on His hand being stretched out for us, and further, as I remarked, it is recorded that "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit". What a company! We are not to be together for a good

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time merely, but in recognition of the lordship of Christ, so that we may have the realization of the Holy Spirit indwelling and actuating us, towards Christ and towards the brethren.

It is well to be reminded of how things are in the sight of God, and of how He acted to preserve and continue His testimony at the beginning, and later in the release of Timothy, whose service, as released, would be for the continuance of Paul's ministry. God is acting now for the release of the dear brethren so that we may serve Him to the end.

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ADMINISTRATION IN THE HANDS OF THE SON

John 3:35; John 4:14; John 6:27; John 21:20 - 25

Before speaking on what I have specially on my mind, I wish to call attention to John, the writer of this gospel, so I have read this passage in the last chapter. His writings have many peculiarities, as compared with other apostolic and evangelistic writings, for the New Testament, with the exception of the Apocalypse, which is a prophetic writing, may be classified under these two heads.

One thing which I think may he noted is that John brings in, in a special way, fatherly and brotherly interest. The Apocalypse is distinguished by the brotherly spirit. The gospel is the narrative of a loved one, a very touching ground on which to write. The Apocalypse is by the brother; that, too, has its own voice. The epistle is mainly the address of a father. In other words, John's writings may be grouped under these three heads, loved one, brother, and father. Now, in speaking of the brother which is perhaps the most prominent feature with us, in these last days, I would remark that the thought appears in the introduction of nearly all the collective epistles of Paul; Romans is an exception. He writes to the Romans as an apostle, and his concern is to make known the gospel; to declare, as he says, the gospel of God, to which he was separated. But in writing letters which involve discipline, he invariably connects the brother with him in his writing; that is to say, he blends apostolic authority with brotherly interest and sympathy. So, in his first letter to Corinth, he has Sosthenes, and in the second, Timothy; and if the things are exceptionally serious, as in Galatia, he says, "all the brethren with me". If all the brethren are joined in a judgment, it is a serious matter for those who are judged, and the matter was

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serious among the Galatians. I only remark these things so that you may have before you the manner in which the Scriptures were presented to the saints.

Returning to John, we learn from him, that it was he who wrote his gospel. He tells us in chapter 21: 24, that "This is the disciple". It is as much as to say, 'The Lord has designated me a reserve man, ad I want you to understand that what I have written is an evidence of the reserve'. It is, as it were, the Lord bringing up His reserves, and that in view of final and complete victory; let there be no mistake about that! It is not that these are all the reserves; this gospel is only part of what is infinite. We need have no fear as to the results of that in which we are engaged, though it is a warfare of the most strenuous nature, if we have faith. If we have not faith, John is entirely outside of our range. Have we any fear, if we have faith? None whatever, for John, after saying, "This is the disciple which testifieth of these things and wrote these things", immediately adds, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written". There is much more, John tells us, that he or others could write, if the Lord so ordered it, but it was not necessary, for all the reserves, so to speak, that were required had been brought up. "There are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one; the world itself could not contain the books that should be written". I suppose it is the conjecture of a loved one. We see thus that there is an infinitude behind this; the full account and amplification of the ministry of Christ would mean infinitude. How encouraging to realise that all this is, so to speak, in the rear, while all that is necessary has been brought forward! This gospel is not all

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that could be written, it is all that is needed. It is in view of the break-down of what was official, of what was set up under apostolic service and ministry. This gospel comes to those whom it may concern, to those who have faith, in order that they should be supported. If there should be only one such, he lacks nothing; that is the import of the gospel of John.

I would call attention to the fact that John enlarges on Christ's position as administrating the things of God. He brings Christ forward first of all, in chapter 3, as loved of the Father. You do not find a king appointing a prime minister because he loves him; that is hardly to be expected; administration in this world is not on the ground of affection. The more one considers what is going on in the world, the more hopeless the position is, as regards government, but in this passage, John 3:35, we are told that "The Father loves the Son". It is a very beautiful statement, and then it goes on, "and has given all things to be in his hand". That is to say, the Father loves the Son, and on the ground of that, you have administration given into the hand of the Son. The Father has given all things into His hand. What I would seek to show is that the administration of the Son is in order to bring in what God is. It is surely of all moment, in testimony, that what God is should be made apparent; so that, after stating that things are given into the hand of the Son, the evangelist goes on to say, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not (or is not subject to) the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him". Believing on the Person brings one into everlasting life. The emphasis is not on "he that believeth", but on "the Son". Anyone not subject, does not even see life, but wrath abides on him. That is how things stood after the testimony of the Son was presented in Paul. He

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announced Jesus as the Son of God, and those who were not subject to the Son, those who refused to submit, should not even see life, but the wrath of God would abide on them. It describes the Jewish position.

But then God must be made known, so the Son proceeds to make Him known. Hence the Lord, in speaking to the woman at the well says, "If thou knewest the gift of God and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water". It is a question of God; that is how matters stand in John 4. The Son would make God known, and God is known in the gift of the Holy Spirit, for it is what He gives.. He is known in my soul by what He gives to me. He is known objectively by what He gives for me, that is chapter 3, but then I am to know Him in what He gives to me. The point is, not exactly what I receive, it is what He gives. The giving is greater than the receiving, for it must be connected with the Giver; that is John 4. The gift is according to the Giver, not according to the receiver. We must never limit anything to our own capacity. In John 3:34, it says, "God giveth not the Spirit by measure". The principle is that the Spirit is given unlimitedly in Christianity. No one of us receives it in that way, but I worship God in the light of the gift. I worship God because of what He gives. Worship is brought in, in chapter 4, worship of the Father. The worship is of One who gives. What I receive enables me to worship, but the gift must be viewed in connection with the Giver. It must be taken into account objectively in regard to the Giver, not in regard to the receiver.

Now, John 6 speaks of the Son of man who administers. The Lord says in verse 27, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son

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of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the Father sealed". That is, Christ as Son of man, and so I apprehend that in chapter 6 the thought is to bring man in for God. It is the Son of man sealed, it is not loved here, although in chapter 3 the same Person is spoken of as loved. Here He is presented as sealed of the Father, so that we take account of the Lord as Man, as Son of man. I do not know if you have clearly in your minds, or if I, what is signified in the term used here: "The meat which endureth unto everlasting life". It is that which the Son of man; the sealed One of the Father, is to give.

If we refer to the book of Ezekiel, the point of it appears to be life. It presents to us the Son of man. Ezekiel is designated Son of man a great many times. He does not so designate himself, it is Jehovah who designates him in that way. In the beginning of his ministry he had a vision outside the limits of Israel, and he describes to us in the first chapter what he sees. He says, "Above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire". I do not dwell on what he says, but what I apprehend is, that it is a figure of Christ as Son of man. In the loins, or the seat of the affection, being referred to upward and downward, I believe you have all that man is for God in Christ, and all that God is for man in Christ. There is the working of affection, as one might say, upward and downward. Wonderful vision! There on the throne, in the brightest spot, there is a man.

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So, in John 6, He is sealed, as I apprehend, in order to bring in man for God in life. That is what the chapter presents to us, hence the administration in His hands is for life, that we might have food such as is requisite for life. In other words, the Son of man would have a human family after His own pattern. In Proverbs 8 it is said, that Wisdom's delights were in the habitable parts of God's earth, and in the sons of men. What kind of inhabitants were there?. In Hebrews 2 we are told, that God "has not subjected to angels the habitable world which is to come, of which we speak; but one has testified somewhere, saying, What is man that thou rememberest him, or Son of man that thou visitest him"? All is put under the Son of man, and He brings in the inhabit ants. He says in John 6:54, of the one who eats His flesh and drinks His blood, that He "will raise him up at the last day". Believers in Christ will appear in the last day on the earth. Daniel will be one who will stand in his lot in the last day. It is very blessed that one is to stand in one's lot where death occurs, where burial occurs; the Lord says; "I will raise him up at the last day". He will raise up Israel at the last day, according to Ezekiel. In other words, He is to be over the habitable earth, filled with inhabitants after His own pattern. He is heir, as Son of man, to everything that belonged to Adam, to Noah, to Abraham and to David; as to these last two He is said in Matthew to be Son of David, Son of Abraham. Everything that was designated in regard to these men falls to Christ as Son of man. Now, how does He effectuate these things? The Father seals Him and He brings in a human family patterned after Himself. I would commend to you that word patterned. I have remarked that in regard to the material world there is no pattern mentioned, but when you come to the figurative representation of things in the heavens, you must have it, and the

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pattern of everything is Christ. So that the Son of man is pattern of the whole human family. He brings in a population upon earth, and the inhabitants are all like himself. They are brought in and caused to live, according to this chapter, by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of man. I would commend to you the importance in these last days of those two points. The administration of the Son, as involving the introduction and maintenance here of what God is, in the gift of the Spirit, on the one hand; and on the other, the maintenance in us, by our eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of man, of what man is according to the thought of God. In no other way can you have a generation according to Christ, than by eating the food which the Son of man gives, which is His flesh given "for the life of the world".

May the Lord bless all we have heard today. There is a voice to us in regard to food, and in regard to the Administrator, the One through whom everything comes. The Spirit, as received from the Father, is given by the hand of Christ, and the food by which we enjoy eternal life also comes to us from the hand of Christ.

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HE SETTETH THE SOLITARY IN FAMILIES

Psalm 68:6

This verse has come before me since I came in, not being: what I purposed to read. In reading it, however, I intend to bring in other scriptures, but it came before me as suggestive of God's present activities. He "setteth the solitary in families". If one refers back to the history of the human family, it will be recalled that God had men before Him in this connection in families; the original trunk or tree, whence all the branches have sprung, being Noah, God has each branch under His eye. Subsequently they were divided into nations with different languages, but the divine thought was that there should be families. A family involves affection. It involves parental interest and affection, so that the family answers to what God is. A nation is the human idea. Although adopted by God in His ways, it nevertheless comes to an end. It is not eternal, whereas the family thought is; and so God is referred to in Ephesians 3 as "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom every family in the heavens and on earth is named". Thus we see that God is occupied with families, and a moment comes when He selects one family which has the first place with Him. Of old Israel had been a family, and was formed into a nation. It had the first place with God in the Old Testament system of nations; now the assembly has the place of the first family and will retain it, it will never lose priority in this way for "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance", Romans 11:29. The gifts and calling referring to the assembly, preceded the gifts and calling referring to Israel, for the assembly was in the mind of God before the foundation of the world, that it should be holy and without blame before Him in love, and He will not give up that thought. It is not dependent

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on anything that man may do, or may not do; it was a conception with God before the world was, so it remains in its place of priority. It is said, "glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus unto all generations of the age of ages", Ephesians 3:21. That is the assembly's place; it is according to divine purpose, and irrevocable. I just mention that to begin with.

Now, God is putting solitary ones into that family. In the previous verse to the one we read you will observe, that He is said to be a "father of the fatherless and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation"; that is what God is, in His holy habitation. I apprehend this in a spiritual sense, though I should be far from restricting it, or denying the comfort of it to any orphan, any one who, in a literal sense, was deprived of parents, or any one deprived of husband, or husband of wife; for Scripture contains comfort for all, as we read, "that we through comfort of the Scriptures might have hope", Romans 15:4. I apprehend, however, that the application is more to spiritual orphans, and those bereft of shelter spiritually; and if there is one such here, I would say, there is comfort in this word for you. God will be a Father to you and He will judge your cause, you need not have any anxiety. So if difficulties arise among the people of God, and if there are those who, in consequence, are denied the shelter and protection due to them, God is the Judge of all such in His holy habitation; and, as is said elsewhere, He is "greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints", Psalm 139:7. He is to be feared there. It is well to have that before us, the fear of God in His saints. Whilst He has revealed Himself in Christ, in love and grace and mercy, He is also said to be a consuming fire, and this is said, not of Israel's God, but of our God. "Our God is a consuming fire", Hebrews 12:29. There can be no change in God as to the manner in which He regards sin, He is

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the same as at Sinai. What He was then against sin when He gave His fiery law, He is now against it; yea! what He was against it at the cross, He is now; there is no change. He is the same, yesterday, today and for ever. There is no change, I repeat, in God as regards His attitude towards sin, hence we do well to remember, that "our God is a consuming fire", and we would not have it otherwise.

It is a comfort to know that there is a God armed with power to deal with sin, whether in you, or in me, or in any one else, hence it says, "Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear". These are wholesome words; they stand against any tendency to fleshly activity or presumption in the presence of God. He may take His own time to deal with sin, He reserves His sovereign right as regards that, but He leaves us in no uncertainty as to how He takes account of it. "The wrath of God", we are told, "is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness", Romans 1:18. Terrible words! God takes His own time in the execution of this sentence, but it discloses what He is against sin. He deals with it because its action against His people, and against His testimony. If a widow or an orphan is ill-treated, God acts for such, because He is Judge of the widow Hence we need have no anxiety as to our cause, for every morning His judgments come to light, and fail not

Well, He places, as I said, the solitary in families In regard to the present world, there can be no doubt that the government of God will bring to light all the families of Noah, for the streams, according to God's order, have not failed on account of man's will. Imperialism, man's will, may seem to disarrange the order of God; but a watchful eye-tracing the ways of God in the history of the world

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can take note of the original families of Noah coming to light; and they will come to light, as God has in mind to bless them. "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed", Genesis 12:3. They become nations, and in Galatians, God says they shall be blessed, and so they will be. But the family God has in His heart, the spiritual family, is being put together now, and He places the solitary there. It began at Pentecost, and I want to say a word as to the formation of it. For this purpose I would refer to Genesis 49, where we get the blessing of Jacob. When about to die, he gathers all his sons together, and says, "Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father". Then later, "All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them". I refer to this passage, as it aids us in seeing the formation of the family into which you and I have been put. As solitary ones, we have each been taken up and put in there by the Father, who names every family; and the formation of the family is seen typically in this passage. Jacob is here a type of Christ in a parental sense.

If you compare Jacob's blessing with that of Moses in Deuteronomy 33, you will observe that in the latter it is the "blessing wherewith Moses, the man of God, blessed the children of Israel before his death"; whereas the last words of Jacob, who is the father of the tribes, are parental. "Hearken unto Israel, your father", he says. It expresses to me what Christ was to His disciples. He could say to them, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer". (Luke 22:15) As Head of the family, He ate the passover, because every household ate it. It was a household affair. So you have in these last words, typically set forth, the parental interest of Christ in His disciples, and in the whole assembly, on the night of His betrayal. Let these

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words sink into our hearts, "Hearken unto Israel your father". It is an outline, as Jacob proceeds, of the history of his family; nothing is overlooked, evil is taken account of as well as good; but withal, fatherly interest and affection come out. So the disciples are left orphans, but left with such a testimony of parental interest, that all the elements which constitute a well-ordered family remain. Such it was at the beginning, but how is it now? Do these elements work out accurately and truly, so that no breach in the family exists? Alas! the prophetic utterances of Jacob disclose only too plainly the will of man at work, as it has been in the assembly outwardly. Nevertheless, the Lord's supper instituted on the occasion already referred to, is a testimony to that love and order which are essential, and requisite to the maintenance of a family suited to God.

Further, I would draw attention to the way in which the parental interest of Christ reflected itself in Paul. I am dwelling on these points in order to show how the family was formed. I would refer you to one or two passages, to indicate why I speak of Christ in the character of a parent. You get such a word as, "Child, thy sins are forgiven thee", (Mark 2:5) and again, "Daughter, go in peace". (Mark 5:34) Furthermore, we have the passage in Isaiah which says He is "the everlasting Father". (Isaiah 9:6) Becoming man, He has taken that place. David had to say, "Although my house be not so with God" 2 Samuel 23:5; and the departure of Judas showed how the will of man wrought, even in that blessed circle around Christ. Nevertheless, while the hand of the betrayer was on the table, the Lord introduced the elements, so to speak, that constituted a family. There were fatherly and brotherly interest and affection. John understood this, and throughout the whole of his writings he labours to maintain family affections, himself taking the place of father. "I write to you, children", he says. (1 John 2:12)

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Touching another point, you get the thought in Corinthians The apostle says, "for though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers", 1 Corinthians 4:15. They had only one father. Paul had begotten them through the gospel; he was their father in the faith; and the working of fatherly interest and affection is stated in the most formal way, in his letter to the Thessalonians. "Paul and Silvanus and Timotheus", he says, "unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father". (1 Thessalonians 1:1) This is one of the most remarkable expressions of Scripture, referring, as it does, to the tenderness of family affection God has for the saints. Paul had only spent three weeks in Thessalonica, as far as we know, teaching there on three successive sabbath days, whereas he had laboured eighteen months at Corinth, and three years at Ephesus. So the few days he spent among the Thessalonians were all the more remarkable in their results. They "consorted with" him, we are told in Acts 17:4. They not only got the blessing, but became allied with the apostle in his ministry. Could you conceive of anything greater than being loved of God the Father, and then being in Him. We speak of the earth being in the sun, but think of being in God the Father! "The church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father". What security there is in that!

Well, that is how Paul addresses the Thessalonians, and then he says, further down, "Ye became followers of us, and of the Lord". (1: 6) Followers of whom? "Ye know", Paul says to them, "what manner of men we were among you". Paul's walk and manner were after Christ. It comes home to me often, in any endeavour to serve the Lord's people, How much of Christ is seen? You cannot lead a soul beyond yourself, you are nothing more than a finger-post if you do. A finger-post never leads, though it may

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point the way. Many a man speaks what does not affect him, but if I am to speak as Paul did, it can only be in the measure in which I am formed after Christ. Anything else is but confusion. "It must needs be that offences come", the Lord says, "but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh", Matthew 18:7. Offences will come, but they will come in through those who are not after Christ. So Paul says, "Ye know what manner of men we were among you". (1: 5) He could refer to what the Thessalonians had seen in him when among them, and he adds, "Ye became followers of us and of the Lord". Think what a man the apostle was! Then he continued, "ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven". (1: 9, 10)

Now, he goes on to say in chapter 2, "We were like a nurse among you", and there was not only the skill of a nurse there, but the affections of a mother, as the nurse of her own child, Not only so, but he was also as a father among them. "Ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children". How is it, I would ask, with each of us, as regards our behaviour See what the apostle sets before us, not only what he preached and taught, but what he was, in the midst of the people of God, "how holily and justly, and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe". Did he cause any trouble, or create any confusion among them? Certainly not by his walk. "As ye know", he says, "how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children". So that he was among them in all the skill and affections of a nurse, and in the walk and behaviour that was befitting a father and now he can exhort them. And to what end? "That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory". He was,

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in that sense, to set up the Thessalonians as a family; and as such, God could set a solitary one among them.

Following that, he says, "Ye, brethren, became followers of the assemblies of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus". This is an additional thought. They became followers of the assemblies of God. In other words, they were Catholics. Do you understand that? The expression, assemblies of God, means that you become catholic; that is, you have come to recognise the universal order and behaviour suitable to the assembly of God. Nonconformity is absolutely contrary to the mind of God. Rome has the catholic idea, in a way, but no true idea of the assembly of God. Catholicity is right; there is only one assembly, and it is to be governed everywhere by the same principles. The Thessalonians had learned how to keep rank. It was said of old that the children of Issachar had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do (1 Chronicles 12:32), and all who came to Hebron to make David king knew how to keep rank. It is a great thing in any locality to have an understanding of the law of the house of God; this preserves from independency. "So ordain I", the apostle says, "in all the churches". All assemblies are to be governed by the same principles, hence if there is a solitary one in Judea, or elsewhere, he is set in the family of God.

Now, I pointed out, in the epistle to the Thessalonians, how that in the ministry of Paul, following that of the Lord Jesus, there were the elements of the family of God. "Ye became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus", he does not say the churches of the Jews. The Thessalonians did not become followers of the churches of the Jews, but of the churches of God, and these, in the aggregate, being governed by the

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same principles, were the family of God. Nothing is more important than that we should all understand the principles that govern the assembly of God, and that we should take our place in relation to it, bearing in mind that there is only one assembly. We are not meant to be different from other saints, but alike, as the divine thought is that we should all be formed according to the principles of the assembly of God; hence there should be the constant endeavour to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace", Ephesians 4:3. All the saints together, as alluded to in Thessalonians, are the family of God, as known here on earth; and order is to be established so that that family shall be preserved, but if we have not love, what is the value of outward form? To be maintaining form and order, without affection, is but a shell without substance. Let us therefore cherish the family, so that if there be any solitary one in Christendom, any soul who has no city of habitation, found there, he may find a place in the family of God.

I wonder if what I am saying finds a response in all our hearts? One would not like to speak beyond the intelligence of one's audience, so I am constrained to ask whether the word finds a response. You will recall how, in your soul's experience, you were found solitary, and God took you up, and placed you in the family. He set your roots in the soil of love. He rooted and grounded you in love. I would appeal to you, have you grown up in that? Or have you developed weeds which are becoming the occasion of sorrow to the people of God? It is a serious matter, and ought to be faced, as to whether I am developing the elements introduced by Christ, and carried on by His people, or not. Am I developing the elements introduced by Christ, and carried on by His people, or not. Am I developing these elements; am I promoting family affections in what

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I say to the saints? I believe the Lord would help us, so that there might be in localities the principle of the family of God, and thus the solitary ones might find a home. Without a family, there is no home. Stone walls do not make a home! You cannot have a home without a family, and the point with God, in establishing order, is that the family should be preserved, and every family is to be named of the Father.

Each family will receive its name according to the measure in which it answers to Christ. That is what I understand; for every family must bear Christ's name in some sense, as He is Head of all. The Father, as I said, names every family. There are things He does not do, He does not judge any one, but one thing He does, He names the families. The "family" corresponds to the Father's affections, it is what He delights in, and He names it according to the measure in which it corresponds to Christ, so one would seek the promotion of what Christ is among the people of God. Thus, if any one is attracted to those who seek to walk according to divine principles, it is the attraction of Christ that moves such an one. The city in Revelation 21, which is the assembly, comes down from heaven as having the glory of God, and the glory of God is the perfection of His nature in Christ.

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CHRIST AS GOD'S COVENANT

Isaiah 49:1 - 9, Luke 7:20 - 30, 36 - 50; Luke 10:38

I have read these verses as I want to say a word about covenant, not exactly the new covenant, but covenant in the principle of it as seen in Scripture In Hebrews the new covenant is referred to, which God will make with the house of Israel, and that covenant was not to be according to the first one, because it says they did not continue in it. It was made in the day when He "took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt", Hebrews 8:9. He had in that way caused them to realise the touch of deliverance, He had taken them by the hand, but He had also borne them on eagles' wings. They were held in Egypt; God had seen the affliction of His people, He had heard their cry, so He took them by the hand to lead them out. Having brought them out, He speaks of having borne them on eagles' wings, which involves more than leading. In eagles' wings we get power and swiftness. So He says, "I bare you on eagles' wings and brought you unto myself", Exodus 19:4. He then proposes to enter into covenant with them. The reason He brings in the new covenant later is because they did not continue in the first one. His thought was they should be a people to Himself, a peculiar treasure to Him, and that He should be their God, but they continued not in His covenant, so that He said, I must constitute a new one. The old was not continued in, so He must bring in a new one.

Now I want to show how God set about bringing to pass what was in His heart. We get more than once, in the prophet Isaiah, that God intended to set Christ for a covenant to His people. It is in this manner that God has made His mind known to us in Christianity, for in the Son of God are not

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only millennial blessings, but the blessings that are peculiar to Christianity. It does not say, that Christ will be a new covenant to the people, but a covenant; as if God would say, that there was no other way by which He could make fully known what was in His heart and mind. Saying these things through the prophets, or writing them on stones or parchment, suffices not. The Son of God must come, so that, as come, God has the means of making known His will, His word, or mind, and His heart.

Now Christ makes known the will of God, that is part of the truth that we ought always to have before us. There is the will of God, the mind of God, and the heart of God, and they all had to be made known. God had His will, we must always bear that in mind; He changes not. What He was, He is, and ever shall be. For instance, He commanded and it was done, that is His will. Then we are told, that "through faith we understand that the worlds were framed" (not by the will, but) "by the word of God", Hebrews 11:3. His skill is involved in His word. When the foundations of the earth were laid, it is said that wisdom was there; Proverbs 8:29. The foundations suggest not only the will of God, but the skill of God; they suggest architecture; wisdom was there, the mind of God was active in the formation of things. All the ornamentations and the regulations that the world suggests to us, speak, not only of the will of God, but of the word of God. Peter says, "By the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water". He says also that it is "reserved unto fire against the day of judgment", (2 Peter 3:5, 7)by the same word. All the mind of God is now perfectly expressed, for Christ being come involves this. He brought into the world the principle of the will of God, so that, having become Man, one of the first lessons He taught the disciples was that God's will must be done on earth.

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They were to pray for that, a prayer we should all remember.

The Lord is said to be the Word of God, He delighted in the will of God, but He was the Word of God. The name that will be written on His thigh, when He comes out as the divine Deliverer in the future, is the Word of God. Everything then will be perfectly arranged according to the thoughts of God; the nations will be grouped under Christ according to the Word of God. His name is called the Word of God. Then there is the heart of God. Who can tell out what is in the heart of God but the Son? It is not only God saying, "I love". In Deuteronomy 33:3, Moses says, "Yea, he loved the people". The giving of the law had nothing but love behind it, for God did love the people, but saying that, was not proving it. It required that the Son -should become man for the expression of the love. "Hereby we have known love", 1 John 3:16. How did the love come to light? By the Lord Jesus Christ giving Himself. He "laid down his life for us". If you read John's epistles you will conclude that love was never known before, so we can understand what that word signifies, "I have set thee for a covenant of the people". He was One who did not only speak of the love, but who was it. He expressed it, He testified to it. So that we have presented in the Son all that God is for man, and I have read the passage m Luke, that you may see how all that God is, is brought near to man, because it was all there, in Simon's house, in Christ.

Now I want to point out, how that man either shuts the door of his heart to it, or opens it. It is available to all; both are seen in Luke. The prophet Malachi said in chapter 3, "And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in". John the baptist was to come and announce the way

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of the Lord, and then the Lord Himself would suddenly come to His temple. Christ having become Man to be a covenant on the part of God, all that God is is brought near to man. Christ was anointed by the Spirit; He went about doing good; it was all brought near to man, whatever his position circumstances, or standing might be. Now the question was, Who would open or shut his heart to it? We read that the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves. All that God had counselled and presented to them they rejected or rendered null, as to themselves. How did they do it? By refusing to be baptised of John. That was how they did it. The publicans and harlots accepted it. How did they do it? By submitting to the baptism of John. The baptism of John involved what was brought near to man. It was brought as near to the Pharisees and lawyers as to the publicans and harlots, for God is no respecter of persons; it was available to all, but the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God; and the others, although having no religious place in the world, accepted what was presented to them.

Now the paragraph in which this is stated ends with the words, "Wisdom is justified of all her children", Luke 7:35. This really marks Christianity. Christianity is composed historically of wisdom's children, indeed there is no one in the assembly, strictly, but wisdom's children. The position is this, that they justify wisdom The publicans and the harlots justified wisdom. We are accustomed to speak of God justifying us, and that is quite right, of course, but here we have the idea of God being justified by us. God is justified in those who bow to His rights in Christ, who accept His judgment as testified in the death of His Son, by truly accepting baptism. This was seen at the beginning, as we learn from the Acts. There was obedience from the

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heart, as baptism was accepted by those who believed. God's proposal to man involves obedience, that I surrender my will for God's will; otherwise, how can I justify God? How important it is that God should be justified! It is not that we should set about to do it in a formal way; He is justified by those who accept His proposal in Christ, and this is evidenced publicly by the acceptance of baptism. Romans 6 teaches consistency of walk with the position you have taken up in baptism.

I want to show you in the following part of the chapter, and in Mary, how one person comes into the enjoyment and good of the benefits, while another, who has the same opportunity, refuses it. In these two chapters, Luke 7 and 10, the Lord enters into two houses, the one the house of a Pharisee, the other the house of Martha. I want to show how, in the first house, all I have been speaking about was presented. Think of the Lord, in His grace, accepting the invitation of a Pharisee! He knew perfectly what was in that man's heart, but He accepted his invitation, as if to say to him, Now is your opportunity. All that was of God, the counsels of God, the will of God, the mind of God, and the love of God, was there in Christ. What an opportunity for Simon! Is he equal to it? The woman saw it; overthrew the barriers that necessarily existed to her entering that house, and she finds herself at Christ's feet, the feet of that blessed Man. She availed herself of what was there for her. He was a covenant set there for the people. God brought Him there. He, in obedience, as God's servant, took that place. God had set Him there, and she availed herself of what was there. Just as God set the sun in the heavens, and every intelligent person looks up and gives God thanks for it. The Lord, indeed, refers to this. Such is God's beneficence; He set the sun there; He made the stars also.

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Now intelligent men look up and give God thanks, they open their windows to let in the light, and expand their lungs to draw in the air. So also God has set this blessed Man, who took the place of a servant, not in the heavens yet, but in the house of this Pharisee. He did not come like John the baptist, who lived in the wilderness, He came eating and drinking, the Friend of publicans and sinners. He had taken the place of a servant, and God had set Him there. Now this woman discerned His availability, and, in spite of all the existing barriers, she showed that, so far as she was concerned, she was not only prepared to benefit by all that was presented, but that she loved the Person in whom it came to her, so she washes His feet. She washes the feet of One who carried all that was in the heart of God to her. What a testimony! The Lord calls attention to the contrast between the Pharisee and the woman. "She loved much". He justified her; what she did justified God, hence the Lord justified her and sent her away in peace. God's grace was all there for both of them, for the Lord said, "When they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both". That was His attitude of mind. His attitude of mind towards Simon was the same as towards the woman, but she availed herself of what was there, and she loved. She responded to the covenant of God, she availed herself of it. I am not speaking of the new covenant, but the principle of covenant, that by which God makes known to us what is in His heart and mind. She was in the good of it, and she went away with the testimony that she loved much. How did she come to do that? John tells us: "We love him because he first loved us", 1 John 4:19. God had come forth in Christ, dealing with her sins; that was the principle of it; all her sins were forgiven, and as she was forgiven much, she loved much.

Now in Luke 10 the Lord is not in the house of a

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Pharisee, but in the house of Martha of Bethany, which we may regard as the house of a Christian. The Lord takes His place in such a house. Perhaps you are not accustomed to have the Lord in your house. In Acts the Lord opened the door of Lydia's heart, and then she opened her house. She attended to the things spoken to her by Paul, who as the vessel of the testimony, represented to her the light that had come to her soul. The Lord had the key of her heart, but He did not take the key of her door; He left that with her. The use she made of it testified to the effect of the opening of her heart. Faith is testified to by works. James says, "Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works". (James 2:18) Lydia proved her faith by her works, "If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord", she says, "come into my house, and abide there". The Lord comes into Martha's house.

"He entered into a certain village, and a certain woman, named Martha, received him into her house". He does not ask for the use of her house. He asked for the use of Peter's boat, and He takes the ass's colt as a matter of right, but that is not the case here. The Lord allows us the privilege of holding our houses for the advancement of His interests. She received Him into her house, and now, as in the house, He is going to open up the mind of God. In principle this is what marks the assembly, for the Spirit of God is here, and "the Spirit speaketh expressly", 1 Timothy 4. That speaking is in the house, there is teaching too, the word of God is there. I am persuaded that the Lord would not hold back anything from us in these last days. His thought is to unfold the whole mind of. God. Paul said to the Ephesians, "I have not shunned to declare unto you the counsel of God", Acts 20:27. He kept nothing back. In Corinth he could not say everything he wished to say, for they were as babes.

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There was no want of ministry but there was a want of receptiveness; so Paul says, "I have fed you with milk", 1 Corinthians 3:2. He could not open out to them the things of God, because of their state. The Lord would open up to us all the mind and counsels of God; the question is, therefore, whether we are Marthas or Marys, What was in the mind of the Lord was as much for Martha as for Mary. He was there to open up the mind of God. Mary's spirit was restful; she sat down at His feet and drank in what He said; Martha was cumbered about many things.

Who among us is not aware of the numbers of cares that fall on the housewife? we have to recognise this. Housewives have to be prayed for; but at that moment the Lord was there to express the mind of God, and when He is speaking, our wisdom is to listen; all else must subordinated. A great opportunity was given, therefore, in Martha's house, but her service hindered her from embracing it. Let us not despise our opportunities. The mind of God is being disclosed, and it is to be known now by the presence of the Spirit in the house. The Lord was there as much for Martha as for Mary, but Mary saw and seized the opportunity, so she is found sitting at Jesus' feet, and hearing His word. She "was listening to his word", not asking questions. The mark of this country is, asking questions. Every country has its own peculiar traits, and the trait that marks each country, whatever it be, is to be contended against by the saints. Things must not be swallowed down whole; that would be like the swine in the types; the swine is an unclean feeder, it does not chew the cud. We have to prove all things, but it is well to listen to what is being said, as we read, "Swift to hear, slow to speak", James 1:19. And we have to take heed how we hear. What is said of Mary is, that she was listening to what the

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Lord was saying. What thoughts would come to her as she sat there! To begin to question at such a moment would be to waste the time; it would be to shut off the stream of holy light that flowed out from God through the precious lips of Jesus. She would catch every word that came out of His mouth. As the Lord said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God", Matthew 4:4. Not one must be missed. Mary was listening to what the Lord was saying, and what He was saying was just as available to Martha as to Mary, only Martha did not avail herself of the opportunity. Is it not so now? The people of God are restless, cumbered with much service, yet all this is available for them as presented in Christ.

The Holy Spirit, being here, makes known to us all that is in Christ. Now there ought to be an answer to that. It is inconceivable that God should have a people on earth, unless they submit themselves to what He presents. To refuse to submit is what the Pharisees and lawyers did; they rejected the counsel of God against themselves. Then there is not only the presentation of all that God is in Christ, but the reproduction of it in the people of God; not now the law of God written in our minds, but Christ written there; the greater includes the lesser. So Christ written on the heart is greater than the law written there. The Spirit is writing Christ in legible characters in the hearts of God's people. The thought is, that there should be an answer in the assembly to what is presented in Christ. Christianity involves the correspondence in us of what is presented in Christ, and that is brought about by the writing of the Spirit of the living God. God's mind and heart are presented to all, and available to all, but only those who accept it get the benefit of it. I commend the word to you, especially in regard to the writing or Christ in our hearts.

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Pages 222 - 265 - "Genealogical Registry in a Day of Departure" Belfast, 1919 (Volume 41).

GENEALOGICAL REGISTRY IN A DAY OF DEPARTURE (1)

2 Timothy 1

J.T. In speaking of priesthood and genealogy I refer to what we get in Ezra and Nehemiah; each one had to establish his genealogy; and I thought this epistle would help us to see how these things are worked out now. There is mention made in Nehemiah of a certain number of priests' garments which were provided. Nehemiah himself provided a good number, suggestive of the hope that he had cherished, that there would be priests to wear them.

You observe, that as to Timothy the apostle remarks on his genealogy in a spiritual sense; the faith that dwelt in his mother and grandmother dwelt also in him; he is marked off in Scripture as of a spiritual generation. Of course, every Christian is, but it is remarkable about him that mention is made of his mother and grandmother, both of whom had faith. Paul was his spiritual father, so that his parentage in that way established his genealogy. Then the fact that he was entrusted with the testimony reminds us of priesthood, because that was the responsibility the priests had; they were in charge of the ark and the holy things, they were over the ministry. It seems obvious that these are details to be looked for, and absolutely essential now. If that which is of God is to be preserved and continued, there is the need of establishing our genealogy; and being priests, we are to wear priests' clothes.

Ques. In what way do you apply the thought of genealogy now?

J.T. It is to be shown that one is of Christ.

T.M.G. Of His order.

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J.T. Yes. You may have to wait till the coming of the Lord to be sure of this as to some.. In Nehemiah's day they had to wait until a Priest should arise with Urim and Thummim. There are those who are the Lord's that one would not know to be such; but there are those who prove their genealogy by separating from what is evil, and following that which is good.

J.McF. Has the genealogy to be proved before the priest is ready to minister?

J.T. Yes; before one can be recognised as qualified for that which is of God, one has to show that he is a true Christian.

T.M.G. That would be proved in separating from what is not according to God.

J.T. It resolves itself into the question, Are you going to qualify for what is of God?

Ques. Is Timothy looked at as the fruit of the apostle's labour, and as the fruit of his mother and grandmother, the subjective work?

J.T. Yes; under God, Paul's ministry and character formed him, so that he is often spoken of as Paul's child. You will remember that he appeared historically when Barnabas failed; and he is said to have been the son of a believing woman; his natural father, a Greek, is not called a believing man, so that he could not have added anything to Timothy spiritually. Paul became his spiritual father, and we is, I think, more said about Timothy in the epistles than about any other man except Paul himself. I am only remarking on the circumstances which the epistle is set in regard to these points.

Rem. It is said that he was well reported of by the brethren. Would that be an evidence of his genealogy?

J.T. Yes; the apostle associated him with the ministry in some of his letters; that to the Corinthians for example. He says, "the brother Timotheus", 2 Corinthians 1:1.

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Ques. Does it not say in regard to Timothy, "I have no one like-minded"?

J.T. Yes. "Who will care with genuine feeling how ye get on", Philippians 2:20. That was a very striking tribute to a servant.

Rem. It also goes to show what is necessary for the maintaining of the testimony here.

J.T. I think Paul's addresses to the assemblies help us in our relation to one another. He links others with himself. Paul represented the official authority, but he graciously and considerately brings in others who were marked by a brotherly spirit in writing to the saints.

Rem. Paul, although an apostle, valued the prayers of the brethren. "Brethren, pray for us", he said; 2 Thessalonians 3:1. What he was, in that way, gave moral weight to his authority. The brotherly spirit that he manifested would be a support to what he was officially.

J.T. Yes. It is very nice to see that Peter regards Paul as a beloved brother; being an able minister, he was also a beloved brother, 2 Peter 3:15.

Rem. That would bring in liberty among saints.

J.T. Yes. It says of Peter in Acts 2:14, that he stood up with the eleven, showing that at the outset the great object was to establish the authority of Christ. God had made Jesus both Lord and Christ, hence Moses is superseded. Peter stood up with the eleven, not then with the one hundred and twenty; and in verse 42 it says, "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine"; instead of Moses' it was the apostles'. The thought of the brother comes in later, and that is a feature that continues; it marked Paul's ministry. That is what is to be maintained so long as we are down here.

There can be nothing at all for God apart from the

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recognition of the authority of Christ. The enemy is always trying to substitute man's influence for Christ's, so that now the test is, "he that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me". Note that in associating Sosthenes and Timothy with himself in writing to the Corinthians the apostle says "the brother", showing that it is not simply that he was a Christian; of course, every Christian is a brother, but when you say the brother, it means the kind of man he is characteristically; he represented the spirit of Christ as taught in John 13. Joseph is a type of Christ in this respect. He went out to seek his brethren, and to befriend them, having the spirit of a brother in his heart; but, instead of finding a brotherly spirit, he found the spirit of murder; the spirit of a brother was not in them, but it was in him. In the final issue he reveals himself as their brother. Judah comes to judge himself and pleads for his father before Joseph, and he pleads for his brother Benjamin; so that the spirit of the brother is reached in the heads of the tribes, and when it is found there Joseph reveals himself to them. In that way Christ is typified by Joseph; He did the part of a brother to Israel, but they did not appreciate it. You have to learn the thing in Christ in the way in which He dealt with those whom He brought into relationship with himself.

W.K. If we impress upon each other the true -spirit of a brother we do good.

J.T. Yes; Timothy represents this in a marked way. I suppose it is true that Philadelphia suggests that that phase of the assembly is marked by that spirit.

W.K. It is much needed that this should be brought before us. The thought is to bind together in love; to have the same care for one another.

Rem.. In Hebrews 13 it says, "Let brotherly love continue".

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T.M.G. "A new commandment I give unto you that ye love one another as I have loved you",, John 13:34.

T.M.G. Does not everything in Christianity take its character from Christ?.

J.T. Christ is the pattern of everything for God.

W.K. So that, as to the question of love, brotherly love would permeate the saints, not mere human feeling. It would be the character of the love of Christ that would be seen.

Rem. A verse in Proverbs says, "A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city", Proverbs 18:19.

W.K. Brotherly affection is so tender that once it has been intruded upon it is hard to regain.

J.T. There is in the gospel the thought of what is presented to men on the part of God in Christ, and then what man is to be towards man is also presented in Christ; the latter is the brotherly spirit.

Rem. We must be right in that regard before we can take up priestly service.

J.T. The brother cares for the saints, like Timothy. A priest is to "minister unto me", as Jehovah said of Aaron and his sons in Exodus 28.

Ques. Would the clothes set forth the priestly character?

J.T. It is said, "Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness", Psalm 132:9. This would include one's dress in every relation. Righteousness must mark one always; whether it is in business, or in the family, one must be righteous. Then Jehovah says, "I will also clothe her priests with salvation". Thus one is free from the power of the enemy and every worldly principle and taint.

J.McF. Righteousness, faith, love, peace are spoken of later in this epistle. Would they answer to the clothing?

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J.T. I think so. There are several things mentioned in the chapter before, us, and they are all said to be "in Christ Jesus"; so the breakdown does not affect them; the believer can fall back on them.

T.M.G. It is a great mercy that it is so.

J.T. John's ministry is really parallel with this. His is a reserved ministry; we may say, John 21:22. "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" The Lord held back information regarding John. John says he had written some things, but the world could not contain what could be written; so that there is an infinite reserve.

T.M.G. I suppose that is what Mr. Darby had in his mind when he recommended the brethren to read John's writings.

J.T. John's ministry is specially for the last days. It presents what is beyond man's and Satan's power to damage. In John 21 the net does not break.

Rem. Timothy was to stir up the gift that was in him.

J.T. I suppose Timothy was neglectful in this respect. We are all apt to become neglectful. The great thing is to make the most use possible of what we have.

J.McF. What is said in verse 7 would lead us to think that he was rather timid. "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind".

J.T. It is a great thing to make use of what we have; to make the most of it; rekindle is the word. Rem. If there is the brotherly spirit it would help bring that out.

J.T. Yes; when Paul landed on the island of Melita, he put sticks on the fire; there was need of warmth, and Paul supplied it. The tendency in many of us is to shrink back. But "God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power and of love and of wise discretion".

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Ques. Would you say that Paul here is like the priest trimming the lamp?

J.T. Yes. Timothy had to see to it that he used what he had.

Rem. The thought of rekindling implies that there was something there.

J.T. Gift may become ineffective through carelessness or non-usage. "Say to Archippus", says the apostle, "Take heed to the ministry that thou hast received in the Lord that thou fulfil it", Colossians 4:17.

Rem. That is what happened in the history of the assemblies.

J.T. The gifts of the Spirit were set aside to give place to human ability and education. If one does not use what he has from God, room is made for fleshly ability.

Rem. Through the recovery of the truth room has been made for the Holy Spirit. There has been a rekindling.

J.M. There would be a good deal of encouragement in the recognition of what we have.

J.T. There is always a disposition to belittle what is available; were there dependence the Lord would supply local needs. The thing is to gather sticks, as Paul did on the island, and produce heat. The saints are very quick to recognise heat.

Timothy was Paul's beloved child, but what is said of him may be said of others who have gift from God. Of course, no one has gift now by the laying on of hands.

T.M.G. He is a pattern servant for the last days.

J.T. It says, "Have an outline of sound words, which words thou hast heard of me in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus". That is how the truth is to be held, and then it goes on to say, "Keep, by the Holy Spirit". The things of God are to be kept by the Holy Spirit which dwells in us.

J.M. I suppose that is the only way in which

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the truth can be maintained. It cannot be held if there is not the moral condition.

J.T. Having the doctrine is like a creed unless it is held in faith and love. I think faith connects our souls with God. It is unseen. Love is what can be seen.

Rem. "That good thing which was committed unto thee, keep by the Holy Spirit". Is that something special?

J.T. No doubt he had received something special. But the things of God are to be kept by the Holy Spirit, not by mental power or in a creed.

J.McF. Why is the tenth verse brought in?

J.T. Life and incorruptibility are in keeping with John's ministry. The annulling of death shows triumph, but what it brought to light was life and incorruptibility.

Ques. Would you connect "life and incorruptibility" with Aaron's rod that budded?

J.T. Yes. The priesthood is established in connection with life.

Rem. Would not life and incorruptibility be the two things necessary to carry on the testimony?

W.K. Everything had been corrupted, and nothing but the power and energy of life could preserve the servant. What you want is the actual power of life in the soul, and to be free from all the corruptions that are around.

Rem. "We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren", and there is no partiality

J.T. I think these things, life and incorruptibility, are what should mark us; they are the great preservative elements. The flesh works death and corruption, whereas the Spirit's activities are marked by life and incorruption.

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GENEALOGICAL REGISTRY IN A DAY OF DEPARTURE (2)

2 Timothy 2

J.T. The two thoughts that are prominently in mind are in Ezra and Nehemiah; namely, genealogy and priesthood. It seems to me that the analogy between Ezra and Nehemiah and 2 Timothy is very pronounced: the Scriptures which were written aforetime, being written for our learning, these two books should be specially studied in connection with the last days.

The thought of genealogy is very pronounced; that is, as to those who have professed to have returned from Babylon. They are required to show that they are genuine; and then that they are clothed in priestly garments. Nehemiah provided priests' clothes, showing that he had in his mind that there would be priests. I think Timothy answers to these ideas, his genealogy, his clothing, and his priesthood. As to the latter, he is entrusted with the testimony. It comes out specially in this chapter. It will be observed, that he is addressed in the first chapter as the apostle's "beloved child", and here as his "child". So that it is as of a certain spiritual generation that he is addressed in both.

Rem. He is marked out to carry on the testimony. How do we establish our genealogy?

J.T. First of all by separating from evil, and then by following what is good with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. One forms links of affection with the saints. The tabernacle was marked by links or hooks of gold, and a Christian proves that he is genuine by the fact that he establishes these links with the Lord's people in seeking to be among them. It is not simply being a professed believer, one ought to show that he values the saints

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by being with them, and thus forming links of affection with them, as I said.

Rem. It is not simply outward separation; it is that, but it is more. Did you say, that having love for the brethren would establish the links?

J.T. Yes; God's tabernacle was formed, after the people had come out of Egypt; the principle for us therefore is that there must be separation first, and then a recognition of what is of God as found among His people, who are following righteousness, faith, love, and peace. One is not only to be identified outwardly with them; definite links are to be formed. One is known as one of the brethren by brotherly love.

Rem. The apostle puts trust in Timothy, but he spoke of "all who are in Asia" having turned away from him.

J.T. Yes; Paul was now the test for all. He represented the truth, for he was set for the defence of it. He was in every way in keeping with it. So that such an one as that is a test as to whether there is true affection for Christ. Paul, being in such circumstances, as he was, in prison, for Christ, became a test. It is all well to be happy with each other in the meeting; it is love so far as it goes, but the test of the love is the reproach under which those are who are true to Christ in every way. Paul had become the test for the saints, being in great reproach. Onesiphorus is a contrast to those in Asia. He had often refreshed the apostle, and was not ashamed of his chain. Being in Rome, Onesiphorus had sought out the apostle, and found him. It may seem to us now that every Christian would gladly seek out the great apostle, but we little realise the reproach he was in.

Rem. So Timothy is told not to be "ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner".

J.T. "If we deny him, he also will deny us",

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2 Timothy 2:12. All goes on those lines in Timothy. God's things have come into great reproach. In many instances those who are seeking to walk in the truth are not known, in large cities especially, but if they were known they would be despised. In the eyes of the ordinary man of the world, our exercises and judgments are regarded as positively unfair, especially in reference to current events. The end of the first chapter is very searching, because it shows how on the one hand the mass of Christians, true Christians too, as the epistle to the Ephesians shows, may fall short when the test comes. They did not apostatise, nor give up any doctrine, but they simply turned away from Paul; he was the test, as we have said.

T.M.G. He had the truth, and was -faithful in maintaining it.

J.T. There was always a test for the people of God, and how we answer to it brings out the genuineness of our genealogy. The Lord in the sixth of John says, "Will ye also go away?" He had been speaking words that were spirit and life, and so there was a test. Many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him; so He says to the twelve, "Will ye also go away?" And Peter says, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast words of life eternal". They clung to Him as appreciating what He ministered.

J.McF. Referring again to priesthood, the way you are looking at it is, according to the book of Numbers: the priests had charge of the vessels of the tabernacle. It is not the thought of Leviticus, of approach to God?

J.T. No, it is more those that are responsible for the testimony. You have the idea of priesthood in the first chapter, and so here in the second: "The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses the same commit thou to faithful men,

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who shall be able to teach others also". Paul laid stress on what Timothy had heard from him, he, being the wise architect, not only had laid the foundation, but indicated the whole structure. John was not to be an architect, nor Peter, but John comes in to maintain the thing that Paul set up; the structure in the abstract is never to be surrendered although the outward appearance of it may be gone. "A wise architect" (1 Corinthians 3:10) is a remarkable expression, because the Corinthians were accustomed to architecture. Corinthian architecture is valued, and no doubt suggests the skill and wisdom of man. The divine system is formed according to wisdom, and the stress that Paul lays on what he said to Timothy, I think, proved that it is not to be surrendered; whatever change may have come over the saints through worldliness and other failure, the thing itself is not to be given up. Mr. Darby said "Cleave to Paul".

Ques. Will you say why this epistle is addressed to a young man?

J.T. Perhaps because there was no other. "I have no man like minded", Paul says to the Philippians; Philippians 2:20. I suppose Paul would have been very thankful if an older one were available. We have to be content with what is available. There were, however, certain deficiencies in Timothy, some of these attributable to his youthfulness.

Rem. Perhaps the older ones had not come on.

J.T. I do not think the Lord would pass by the older ones if they were available.

Ques. Would you not also say that it indicates that the testimony is to be carried on in freshness and vigour, which is the thought of the young man?

J.T. Generally speaking, the main burden of the work of God falls on the younger men. It is said of them, "ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you", 1 John 2:14.

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Rem. A man might be up in years, and yet he might be young as to his spirit and energy.

J.T. That is illustrated in Moses, but John addresses those who were literally young men. It is not said of the fathers that they were strong. It has to be remembered that older ones are not generally equal to the strain of active service. There is no doubt that in this instance it was a question of availability, and Timothy was the only available one, having the necessary qualifications, but how a young man needs to be guided! He is very apt to be governed by impulse in his youthful energy. So that this epistle is to guide him. In writing this epistle, Paul, in a way, answers to the service of Aaron's sons as set over the Levites; Numbers 4. "Thou, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus". He was not to be strong in natural energy, but in the "grace that is in Christ Jesus".

Ques. Would you say what that means?

J.T. It is that the soul is built up in grace; that one, through exercise and usage comes to rely on the grace of Christ in his walk and service, instead of natural strength and human attainments. The supply of the grace that is in Christ Jesus is inexhaustible. It must have been a great comfort to the apostle to have a child like Timothy.

Ques. What is the thought in enduring hardness?

J.T. I suppose we are all pretty well acquainted with military conditions now. This figure is much more readily taken in now than it would have been some years ago. You will only have to ask the young brothers, and they will tell you what military hardness is. It is painful to listen to what men have had to endure, but it is not any worse than what the Roman legions had to experience. Caesar's soldiers had to endure endless privations. I suppose one would have to consider Paul himself, to apprehend fully what this means in spiritual warfare.

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Ques. Would it refer to what is physical?

J.T. That is a small matter: still it is included, as we may gather from 2 Corinthians 11. An unconverted man could go through much of that; but hardness in spiritual warfare is a serious matter indeed! As identified with "the testimony of our Lord" we have to face the consequences, but the compensation is sweet. We are to be superior to the pressure through the grace of Christ; but at the same time, the hardness becomes the occasion of discipline, and this involves distinct gain.

W.K. "That he may please him who has enlisted him as a soldier". As soldiers we are to be wholly given up to the pleasure of the One who has enlisted us.

J.T. Yes; we have committed ourselves to the Lord for military service, and so we are now to be for His will and pleasure. We are not to be entangled with the affair's of this life.

Rem. A good soldier would stand a good deal in the way of rebuffs.

J.T. He is to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Rem. You were speaking last night of a sensitive brother. We should not be so easily offended if we were good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

J.T. We speak of the war being over; really it is not over, nor will it be over while we are here. Now therefore the question is, are we going to face a continuance of it? The hardships are all there, so it is "take thy share". It is not simply that they are forced on us; they are there for anyone who wishes for them. Take your share of them.

Rem. We need not look for things to become more easy. This epistle says they are becoming worse and worse.

Rem. It is all connected with another Man; as you were saying, He is the pattern.

Ques. Are not the sufferings supposed to be taken up voluntarily?

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J.T. It seems as if they are: the point is not to shirk them; they are there.

T.M.G. You do not turn aside because of the difficult conditions

J.T. "If a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned except he strive lawfully". Things have to be done lawfully. "If any man strive". Things have to be done according to rule.

Ques. What would that convey to you?

J.T. There is such a thing as rule governing service. Paul, for instance, would not enter on another man's line of things; he would go according to his own "measure", 2 Corinthians 10.

J.McF. Does it suggest that you are to strive

J.T. The point I think in it is that the thing has to be done lawfully. A man might be really superior in a contest, but if he were not governed by the rules of the game he would lose.

W.K. You cannot take short cuts: you cannot push other people out of the way.

J.McF. You cannot preach wherever you like, for example; you could not go into an unclean place.

J.T. You have to recognise others. If you go out to make a show, get large audiences, and go into an unclean place, that would be an illustration of unlawful enterprise. Romans 12 outlines the rules governing ministry. The principle of rule works two ways: it maintains order, and on the other hand, it curbs the will. It is to be another will than yours. You may govern your own house, or your business, but directly you come to the house of God the cherubim remind you that there is another will there; it is the will of God.

Ques. You mean as to Paul, that he would not go on another person's ground?

J.T. Yes, that is what he says, "another man's line of things".

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Rem. A brother should be dependent on the Lord as to where he should go, and then go with the fellowship of the saints.

J.T. We shall find there is work to be done, so that we do not need to interfere with each other. There is one other thing here, and that is, the thought of agriculture. "The husbandman must labour before partaking of the fruits"; he must labour to get the fruits. So it is not simply that you go to a meeting and get the things; if you do you are simply getting them without working. That is right from a divine side and on the side of those who can minister; but then one must labour in order to get fruit.

Ques. Would that suggest exercise of soul?

J.T. Yes, you must labour; you do not come to a meeting like this unexercised.

T.M.G. You must not say, 'I cannot dig'.

W.K. The object of these figures is to show how the character of the individual saint is formed, and what things are necessary to form that character at the present time. There are three distinct figures, each of which is necessary. You want the characteristics that have been described, submission to Christ; the recognition of the law or rule that governs the position; and labour.

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GENEALOGICAL REGISTRY IN A DAY OF DEPARTURE (3)

2 Timothy 2:7 - 18

J.T. This letter is specially intended to furnish us for the last days. Verse 7 introduces a matter of importance. What Paul says has to be thought over.

T.M.G. "Consider what I say".

Rem. Does that refer to all that follow or to the resurrection?

J.T. The epistle itself is specially in view, but I think it has reference to what Paul taught generally. Of course, every part of the Word is to be thought over, but evidently what Paul says is the final word, and the great binding feature of the whole of revelation; it has therefore to be specially before us.

T.M.G. All in Asia had turned away from him; he was a test, as we have been saying.

Rem. Paul seems to lay great stress on the intelligent appreciation of what he says.

J.T. Yes. As Timothy would think over it, the Lord would give him understanding. Divine things are not taken in by mental ability, but by understanding divinely given.

T.M.G. Timothy might think, but without the Lord giving him understanding it would not avail.

J.T. The Lord is brought in in this letter as supporting the testimony. It is the testimony of our Lord; so that this letter should be studied thoroughly in connection with every other Scripture intended for the servant.

Rem. It says in 1 Timothy 4:15, "Meditate upon these things". "Take heed unto the doctrine".

J.T. The reasons are given; it is "that thy profiting may appear to all", and, "in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and those that hear thee".

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Ques. What would be the great subject of Paul's teaching?

J.T. He had two ministries - the ministry of the gospel, and the ministry of the assembly. Of course, Peter and the eleven preached the gospel too. They were to preach it to all the nations, but they did not preach it strictly as a heavenly system. Paul began by preaching Christ as the Son of God; and then he taught that the assembly was Christ's body.

S.L. That, we may say, was the first lesson learned by the apostle and it characterised his ministry.

J.T. Yes. Paul announced Christ in Damascus as the Son of God. He tells us in Galatians 1:15, that God revealed His Son in him, and it was that he might "announce him". It is sonship and all that rests on that; the heavenly position and the assembly as the bride of Christ. The apprehension and the practice of Paul's doctrine in the last day involves the saints being heavenly; so that in the address to Philadelphia it says they are to be kept from the hour of trial that shall come upon all those that dwell on the earth. It does not say, 'I will take thee' out of it, but "I will keep thee" out of it. It is a question more of God's keeping power through faith, than actual translation.

T.M.G. It involves "the testimony of our Lord".

J.T. I think so; that is the tender plant that he would foster and protect in these last days.

T.M.G. The tendency is to gravitate towards the earth.

J.T. Anyone who is an earth-dweller is exposed to the hour of trial. The Lord says, "I will keep thee out of the hour of trial". It shows the faithfulness of Christ, and the power too that He is exercising on the behalf of the assembly.

T.M.G. He is a present Saviour. All the organisations in the world are to divert the mind of man from Him.

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J.T. The earth is in view in all the calculations of the philosophers. But the saints, as keeping the word of Christ's patience, are to be kept out of the hour of trial.

Rem. In Paul saying, "consider what I say", was there something fresh to be considered?

J.T. It is what Paul says. The Lord opened the heart of Lydia to attend to the things spoken by Paul; Acts 16.

Rem. It is really the heavenly line of things.

J.T. Timothy had learned of Paul before, and this was an additional word. What Paul said was to be considered and the Lord would give understanding.

T.M.G. "Thou hast fully known my doctrine", he says in chapter 3,

J.T. The man of God is to consider what Paul says.

J.M. That is what the enemy is ever against.

J.T. The Lord says, "he that keepeth my word". Paul's ministry would be included in Christ's word. "The Son of God" is the great feature with Paul. It was a light from heaven that shone around him at Damascus.

T.M.G. The tendency in Christendom today is to connect Christ with the earth, as we see in such books as, In His Steps.

J.T. What He was as a man here in relation to men.

Rem. "The Son of God" is what He was in another sphere altogether.

J.T. Then as to the principles that were to govern the assembly, one who is spiritual recognises that the things which Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians as stated in chapter 14: 37 are "the commandments of the Lord". The letters to the Corinthians in that way become the law of the house for Christians. Of course, Peter and John and James give us instruction, but the last word for the assembly is Paul's word.

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W.H.M. It is a great lack among the people of God generally that we do not ponder things enough.

J.T. The Scriptures are very far-reaching. I have no doubt that in Paul's writings the full bearing may not have been apparent then; the application of some features is, no doubt, clearer now, as the conditions in view have developed.

Rem. What was given out when everything was in order might have a different bearing when failure had come in.

J.T. The idea in Scripture is that each book or letter is a part of a whole, and all is divine. You can never limit what is inspired, hence the great importance of thinking over things.

Rem. The apostle could not do anything but minister; the understanding must come from the Lord.

J.T. Peter says that certain things Paul wrote were; hard to be understood. There are hidden teachings in these writings that only pondering would bring out.

Rem. Like Daniel, who understood by books.

Ques. Would it be right to say that the ministry of the assembly was not revealed until Paul's time?

J.T. Yes.

Rem. It needs a true spiritual state among the saints, before it can be made known or developed.

J.T. Paul did not make it known in its fulness, except to the Ephesians, as far as Scripture shows. The understanding of it is entirely dependent on "the spirit of wisdom and revelation", which God gives to us. According to Ephesians 3:14, Paul "bows his knees". I understand that to be the evidence of great exercise. He desired that the saints should be strengthened with the Father's spirit so as to be fully able to apprehend divine things.

Rem. It is understanding "in all things". Would

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not that have the effect of making us feel that we are dependent on the Lord for understanding in everything?

J.T. Yes, you are cast upon the Lord, and He will not fail; He will give understanding in all things.

Rem. The apprehension of Paul's ministry would give character to Timothy. He would be marked as supporting the truth by this.

J.T. Timothy was to remember "Jesus Christ raised from among the dead, of the seed of David", according to Paul's glad tidings.

T.M.G. The risen Man. That gave character to his glad tidings.

J.McF. The great thought is "raised from among the dead".

J.T. Yes, at the end of a path of faithfulness. He who carried out the will of God, met all kinds of opposition. That Man was raised. That is a great stay to the heart. We are in like circumstances, in measure.

J.McF. The moral import of that would affect us now. In our spirits we would be as those risen from amongst the dead through faith of the operation of God.

J.T. In resurrection all Christ's sufferings are over. We are to remember Him raised. This is an immense stay to the heart in suffering.

Ques. Why does he bring in here "the seed of David"?

J.T. I think it is because He inherited the promises to David. He was the Seed-royal, and this meant suffering; see Matthew 2. All that hangs on royalty, for Him meant reproach and suffering. The purple in the tabernacle referred to royalty. This means suffering now. Christ's kingly rights were witnessed to at the cross; instead of reigning, He died.

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W.H.M. Does it not imply also how He became a Man excellent in all His ways? "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day", Proverbs 4:8.

J.T. The other side of the truth of His Person, as seen in Romans 1, is, that He was "marked out Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness, by resurrection of the dead". That passage refers to the power He exercised Himself in regard to others; here in 2 Timothy 2, it is that He was raised by God.

T.M.G. The power was inherent in Him according to Romans.

Rem. It involved suffering, for the apostle.

J.T. Suffering is the order of the day, but then it culminates in resurrection; so the apostle immediately adds: "Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds".

Rem. That resurrection is the end of the path of suffering is not seen by the world, or those in it who persecute

J.T. But we do not want deliverance on any other principle.

J.R.W. You said that suffering is the order of the day; there is also rejoicing.

J.T. Suffering is to be accepted. All that will live godly have to suffer; but joy in the Spirit accompanies it! A most wonderful example of this was in Philippi, where Paul and Silas were cast into the inner prison. At midnight they "in praying were praising God, with singing". One thing led to another; the place, for the moment, was turned into a temple of God. And then, it says, "the prisoners listened to them". It was a wonderful scene. That is what God can do in these days.

Rem. The suffering precedes the joy.

J.T. Of course, you get the joy, but, in this respect the suffering brings it out.

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Ques. What did you mean when you said there is no deliverance except in resurrection?

J.T. That is the principle. It is said of some of the saints of old "Not accepting deliverance that they might obtain a better resurrection;" Hebrews 11:35. So that we do not look for man's help, we look for God's help. The Psalms show in a remarkable way how the "godly man" was delivered. God is allowing terrible things to happen so that the elect may be moved and "obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory". For this the apostle endured all things.

Ques. How can the elect be moved?

J.T. Many of the elect are mixed up with things in the world. Before the war there was great development, but God has come in to upset all that; so that no man can talk about human progress now. And those in whom God is working are convinced that their hopes are not to be set upon earthly things. This is surely a great advantage.

S.L. In preaching the gospel you have not to convince people now that the world is wicked - it is evident.

J.T. Like the lost piece of silver, if the dust is shaken up the piece is more readily found,

Rem. The elect spoken of here have not been saved as yet.

J.T. All still unsaved would be in view. Those that we know as saints are definitely called "the elect" in Colossians, but here all are included.

Ques. Is the thought of "eternal glory" in verse 10, to show the greatness of the salvation? A preacher would have a world-wide view in preaching, not only the elect?

J.T. Of course, God is very great, and He has every man before Him for blessing. Isaac, who is a type of Christ, blessed both Jacob and Esau, which suggests that blessing is for all.

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Rem; If the preacher has a sense of the grace of God, he would make the invitation universal.

J.T. God will have all men to he saved. You must preach what is in God's mind if you want to preach effectively.

Rem. In the first chapter of Colossians it says, "whom we announce, admonishing every man, and teaching every man, in all wisdom, to the end that we may present every man perfect in Christ".

J.T. Paul had a wide field before him there.

Rem. We need to have our hearts enlarged.

T.M.G. God has blessing in His heart for all; but the elect only will appreciate it, and so come into the salvation that is in Christ Jesus.

J.T. "The word is faithful; for if we have died with him we shall also live together". This is in line with what we have been dwelling upon, correspondence with Christ's position in suffering and glory. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him". Then it says, "If we deny him, he also will deny us". John Baptist "confessed and denied not", we read in John 1:20. He had a great opportunity to make much of himself, but he confessed and denied not; and then he went on to tell them of Christ, and confessed Him in His greatness. The great thing is - to confess Him now.

R.W.G. John confessed and denied not. The fact of confessing brought about that he denied not. If he had not confessed, he would have denied.

J.T. They sent to find out if John were the Christ, but he confessed and denied not.

W.H.M. John took a very low place as being only "a voice".

T.M.G. He said of Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease".

Ques. How do you understand the word, "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself"?

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J.T. I suppose that is a fresh thought to stay our hearts "He abideth faithful". Unfaithfulness is not quite so serious as denial. I think it is a stay to the heart, if there has been failure, that the Lord remains faithful. The denial referred to here is a characteristic attitude taken up either in teaching or in practice.

Ques. Has it not a present application?

J.T. Yes, He abides faithful.

Rem. The apostle had proved that; he could say, "The Lord stood by me".

J.T. I think that those who are acquainted with the history of things can easily testify that the Lord has always provided, so that there is no need for any discouragement.

T.M.G. We have often seen how He remains faithful.

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GENEALOGICAL REGISTRY IN A DAY OF DEPARTURE (4)

2 Timothy 2:15 - 26

J.T. It will be observed that the approval in view here in verse 15, is God's. "Study to show thyself approved unto God". The apostle had said, "Do I now seek to satisfy men or God?" Galatians 1:10.

W.H. Why do you draw attention to that?

J.T. Because the tendency in our hearts is to please men and not God.

Rem. I suppose it would involve divine support?

J.T. Yes, God supports those whom He approves. The word of truth has to be cut in a straight line.

T.M.G. What is the force of that?

J.T. I suppose it is to be carefully held in its own setting, so that it is not misapplied. A crooked line would show carelessness; one is not to he biased in one's interpretation or use of Scripture.

E.M. There may be an endeavour to avoid reproach in the use we make of Scripture by seeking to please men.

J.T. Yes, Timothy was to have an "outline of sound words", which words he had heard of Paul "in faith and love, which are in Christ Jesus". This would be an outline of Paul's doctrine, as we have been saying, held in faith and love instead of as a creed Here we have the word of truth, which suggests another line of thought. This is to be "cut in a straight line".

Rem. This is the truth as one whole.

J.T. We read of "the scripture of truth" in Daniel 10:21, but "the word of truth" is that which expresses it fully. It is important that every part of scripture should be first shown in its proper setting and then applied in ministry.

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T.M.G. Would you illustrate that for us?

J.T. If you take up the prophets and seek to use them, as you are entitled to, in ministry, it should be made clear, if not so already, what any given passage primarily signifies, before a present application is made. It has to be remembered, too, "that the scope of no prophecy of Scripture is had from its own particular interpretation, for prophecy was not ever uttered by the will of man, but holy men of God spake under the power of the Holy Spirit", 2 Peter 1:20, 21. It was revealed to the prophets that what they ministered they did not minister to themselves, but to us; 1 Peter 1:12. This second epistle to Timothy makes much of Scripture, which is one whole, and no passage should be used to nullify another. It is holy, and should be used in a priestly way; it should be used with spiritual intelligence.

J.M. It has been said that there are many interpretations of Scripture.

J.T. There is one interpretation in connection with the whole scope of Scripture. "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit". Each had his own part to write; but the Holy Spirit is the Author of all, and so there is one mind, behind the whole book. In Luke 24 the Lord Himself expounds from all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself; and He gives the intelligence as well, according to that chapter. He opened the understanding of the disciples that they should understand the Scriptures.

J.McG. This would save us from using one section of Scripture in disregard of the teaching of the others.

J.T. The types become of great value in ministry, and in reading for edification. The Scriptures afford

"comfort" as we see how they present Christ.

S.L. It was "the things concerning himself" he

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spoke of. I suppose that all Scripture speaks of Him.

J.T. He is the theme of all Scripture.

Ques. Why does it say in Romans 15:4 that "we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope"?

J.T. Because the Scriptures afford us many examples of patience. James says in chapter 5: 11, "Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy". The Scripture inspires hope in our hearts in that way.

T.M.G. They take you back to God.

J.T. Yes, the reference in verse 17, to these two men, Hymenaeus and Philetus, serves to bring out the great test for us in the last days, the great text upon which we act now, a kind of Magna Charta for the Christian in the last days. Satan would make it appear that there is no hope for the maintenance of the truth of the assembly nowadays.

This part of the epistle shows how the believer is always free; he need never be in bondage. Having drawn attention to the error, the apostle says that the foundation of God stands. That is the first great feature, and then the seal, which every believer should have, affords him a means of liberty. "The Lord knoweth them that are his" assures you of the welfare of all the saints. "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity", delivers you from the influence of evil.

W.H. It is a great comfort for the last time.

J.T. The Christian is always free; no combination of circumstances can limit you.

J.M. You can always withdraw from evil.

W.H.M. What would "the foundation of God" imply here.

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J.T. I think the point is, that it is God's foundation, which would, of course, be well known to Timothy, It is a sure foundation. Knowing God, we may be certain as to this. What is said here is that it stands. What is of God must stand; but then we are entitled to speak of it according to what it is. The Scriptures make that very plain. In Matthew 16 the foundation is, "the Son of the living God". It is the question of Christ's Person there. In 1 Corinthians 3, it is "Jesus Christ"; the kind of Man that is presented in the gospels.

Rein. In regard to this chapter, would you say that it takes the place of what we get in 1 Corinthians?

J.T. No; this puts you in a position to get the benefit of 1 Corinthians. That epistle gives the Lord's commandments, which were intended to govern the assembly in the exercise of its functions and responsibilities here on earth.

Ques. How would that stand in relation to the law of the house of God as seen in 1 Corinthians?

J.T. Before any question can arise as to discipline, we have to see how an individual is liberated from evil. Iniquity is a thing which may refer to a system, but then when you come down lower in the chapter, the "vessels" are persons; so that one has to have a judgment as to things, such as evil associations, and then one has to judge of persons, whether they are to honour or dishonour. You have to "withdraw" from iniquity, and "purge" yourself from vessels of dishonour. So that one in that way is clean, not only as to things, such as evil associations, but one is also clear of persons who are defiled. We have to distinguish between those who are personally defiled, in whom will is active, and those who are misled, and we have to withdraw from those who are dishonourable. Then, we have to "follow righteousness, faith, love, peace with them that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart". Of course, the question of

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discipline arises, but obviously the first thing is to be clear personally.

S.L. Do I understand you to say that in Corinthians it is "things", and here it is "persons"?

J.T. In 1 Corinthians 5 you have both things and persons. The leaven was a thing, but it is also said, "remove the wicked person from amongst yourselves".

Rem. The question on our minds is, Are we to act on the principle of 2 Timothy or on the principle of 1 Corinthians 5 in which latter the assembly was involved?

J.T. That, of course, raises an important question. It is clear that the principle of our position in these last days is seen in this epistle to Timothy. You cannot go outside of the great house, nor can you put anyone out of it. You will have to face this in 1 Corinthians 5:13, that yourselves there refers to the same company as "the assembly of God at Corinth", and this has now developed into what is termed here in 2 Timothy 2, the "great house". We are all in this, vessels to honour and vessels to dishonour alike. The truth is, that the public position those spoken of here as calling on the Lord out of a "pure heart" is a negative one, and this has to be maintained. It is founded on withdrawal from iniquity and from vessels to dishonour. I do not see that a public action taken, in purging ourselves from a wicked person, by those spoken of in verse 22 should be different from the action mentioned in verse 21. What it may be privately, as before God, is another matter. We have to continue "calling on the Lord out of a pure heart", as stated in this epistle.

Rem. There are many who call on the Lord; the question is, Do they do it out of a pure heart?

T.M.G. If they are even professing Christians they call upon the name of the Lord.

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E.M. If anyone calls on the name of the Lord, he has no right to be associated with iniquity.

J.T. That applies to the whole of Christendom, one who separates from evil has to find those who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.

Ques. How do you define calling on the Lord out of a pure heart?

J.T. It means that you cannot go on with what is impure. Your heart being purified by faith, you are to maintain this. The pure in heart see God; Matthew 5:8.

Rem. The believer is free in his pathway from evil associations, so that he can call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

J.T. The question would be, Is your heart right? Jehu said to Jehonadab, "Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart?" 2 Kings 10:15. Jehonadab answered, "It is", and Jehu took him up into the chariot. That is, I believe, like a challenge from the Lord to us at the present time.

Rem. That is the way we find ourselves together. It is serious when iniquity arises in such a company.

J.T. Here in 2 Timothy 2:22 we are to "follow righteousness". It is quite clear on that ground we cannot go on with evil. We grow if we are following righteousness.

T.M.G. "Holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, for ever", Psalm 93:5.

J.M. Do you attach any importance to the formula in 1 Corinthians 5, "Put away from among yourselves"?

J.T. It is well to consider it. If a formula is not strictly applicable it is better not to use it. I have known it to be said of a brother who was disciplined, that he was put outside of the assembly of God on earth! That sin has to be dealt with is unquestionable, otherwise we should not be following righteousness. The exercise is as to what is the most

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seemly thing to do publicly - seeing the assembly as a whole, has failed. 1 Corinthians 5 is the commandment of the Lord as to a wicked person when the saints in a locality could be addressed as the "assembly of God". The latter fact makes all the difference. Instead of purging out the leaven, as at Corinth, we have to purge ourselves by separation, or withdrawal, and I do not see that this should be deviated from, even by two or more; that is publicly. It is the principle of our position in the "great house". But, as I said, the evil must be dealt with, and dealt with according to God's holiness. There must not be any disregard, in principle, of the commandments of the Lord, for this is the test of our love for Him; John 14:21. We hold all in our souls, but we see that some are not applicable in the conditions in which we are. Compare Matthew 18:17, and 1 Corinthians 14:23 - 33.

S.L. If that point as to dealing with the sin is arrived at, we have no difficulty.

J.M. Mr. Darby would not break bread where godly Christians were refused.

J.T. Directly you break bread you have committed yourself to the position. The tenth chapter of 1 Corinthians is, so to speak, the law governing fellowship. Consistency with what you have committed yourself to, is insisted on there. All the light in 1 Corinthians has to be maintained of course, only that we have to be careful that in our public actions we do not ignore the ruin of what was designated at the beginning, "the assembly of God".

J.M. It has been suggested that if we cannot act on the ground of 1 Corinthians 5 we cannot have the Lord's supper.

J.T. The action enjoined in 1 Corinthians 5 involves the authority of "the assembly of God". It is administration, but the Lord's supper is not that.

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No one administers the Lord's supper. It is a memorial to those who love Christ. It is affection that takes it up. The breaking of bread is in the light and recognition of the whole assembly, but as partaking of the Supper we are not in the position of administration. We are calling the Lord to mind, and our eating the bread and drinking the cup announces the Lord's death till He comes.

E.H. There are three local gatherings in Belfast who wish to be for the Lord, to follow righteousness, faith, love and peace. We have to be real about this, and if we find something amongst us that is unsuitable what is to be done? Should it not be felt by all and brought before all in such a way that it might be rightly judged?

J.T. Oh, yes; we must have "the law of the house" before us. There can be only one assembly in the city, no matter how large the city may be, so that if we walk in the light of that, without pretence, we are in a position to act for God. When evil arises, an alarm must be sounded (Numbers 10) and the saints come together to have the facts laid before them, so that the consciences of all may be exercised as to it. Of course, everything has to be established on adequate testimony, and wisdom would leave all investigation and deliberation with the brothers, especially those older and more experienced; but before action can be taken according to God, the facts, as fully established, should be laid on the consciences of all. The evil having been thus dealt with, the Lord's support can be counted on as really as at the beginning, I believe, only the public action will be in the recognition of the sadly altered conditions in which the saints are, owing to the general failure.

Ques. What is the next thing?

J.T. The guilty person should be present and it should be announced formally that the sin exists

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and that it has not been judged before God, and therefore we can no longer walk with that person.

E.H. You would not allow him to break bread?

J.T. It is clear that he cannot break bread if the saints state that they can no longer walk with him, that he is unfit for Christian fellowship. I think it is most important that we should accept humbly the present condition of things. The assembly outwardly is in ruin, and it is a question of being humble before God and having His mind.

F.M. If what has been brought before us were carried out, and each one took the matter home to himself and herself, the Lord would give His support, but if it is simply a question of what we do it will have no moral effect.

J.T. The law governing these things is the special responsibility of the priest; compare Leviticus 6. It is for those who are spiritual, which all should be, to discern how it is to be applied. See also Malachi 2. The priest that offered the sin offering was to eat it, according to Leviticus 6:26; then it says that "all the males among the priests shall eat thereof". Then it is said to be "most holy". All this speaks very solemnly as to the need for spirituality and holiness in maintaining what is suitable to the house of God.

J.M. So that underlying the instructions given in this epistle there is priestly state.

J.T. If you are not in the priestly state there is hope of the law being carried out according to God.

S.L. There should be no vindictive spirit, because you have to take the whole weight upon yourself, as a priest.

Rem. A person thus dealt with cannot break bread until he is restored. In case he insisted on breaking bread, what then?

J.T. That would be a very extreme case. Faith

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does not reckon on that, faith reckons on the power of God.

J.M. We can count on the Lord's support as we keep His commandments.

J.T. The Lord looks for us to act becomingly, but if there is not the disposition and determination to deal with evil, the Lord is not with any company.

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I

GENEALOGICAL REGISTRY IN A DAY OF DEPARTURE (5)

2 Timothy 3 and 4

J.T. The third charter of this epistle sets before us the general condition of things in the sphere of profession. Although we may be separated according to the second chapter, our general bearing is towards the whole sphere of Christian profession. We are not limited in our exercises, in that way.

T.M.G. We should feel the general state of things, and at the same time seek to be right ourselves.

J.T. We have here pointed out the features of the profession in the last days. The apostle reminds Timothy that he was acquainted with his own doctrine and manner of life; this would be ever the model for him, and the test for general conduct; further, all that would live godly in Christ Jesus should suffer persecution.

Rem. We have to be right individually, first, to form a true judgment of what is around.

J.T. I think the second chapter would set Timothy right in relation to his associations; his path is marked out for him in this respect there. In the third chapter it is the man of God in relation to the whole sphere bearing Christ's name. Having pointed out all that should develop in the last days, the apostle speaks of his doctrine and conduct and of what sufferings happened to him. "What persecutions I endured; but out of them all the Lord delivered me". The example is seen in Paul, as regards the whole sphere of Christ's interests. Then he goes on to say "Abide in those things which thou hast learnt ... ... knowing of whom thou hast learned them". I think the chapter, in a general way, shows the position of the man of God in relation to the whole sphere of Christian profession.

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Rem. I suppose that would help one in approaching Christians with whom one is not immediately associated. You are not narrowed in your affections towards them.

J.T. It is well to recognise that all Christians in the different denominations are not to be regarded as unclean or dishonourable, and "the Lord knoweth them that are his".

J.R.W. The vessels represent persons, there are four classes; gold, silver, wood and earth.

J.T. It shows that there are differences. The point is that there are "some to honour and some to dishonour".

J.R.W. Would the wood and earth involve dishonour?

J.T. It is only a figure. The subject of vessels becomes very interesting in Scripture. Christians are "vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory", Romans 9:23. It speaks in Isaiah 22:23, of a "nail in a sure place", and all vessels great and small are hung on it. All vessels unto honour may be said to hang on Christ. Paul says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me", Philippians 4:13. It is the opposite of one's own will. Pharaoh was a vessel fitted for destruction, being governed by his own will.

Ques. At what point should you separate from a vessel of dishonour?

J.T. I think when he is governed by his own will, One should not regard any as a vessel to dishonour until it has been tested, so opportunity is given for submission to Christ. If that is not there, the vessel is disqualified, because it is a question either of will or of subjection.

Ques. Must it be a personal testing?

J.T. Take Matthew 18 as an example, where one has trespassed, and you seek to gain him. You are unable to do so, and you tell it to the assembly,

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but he does not hear the assembly, that is the final test there, then he is a vessel to dishonour. The point is that his will is working; he refuses to bow to the judgment of the assembly. That is how things are tested in the house of God, and that applies in principle to the second chapter of this epistle. It would be seen now in a man's recognition of the authority of Scripture and of the exercises of his brethren. If he is not subject you cannot go on with him Of course a man's will thus working would show itself in some evil doctrine or practice.

J.M. It is in the will that the evil lies.

T.M.G. He is not against you, but against the Lord, against the authority of the Lord.

J.T. When he refuses the Lord's authority, he may be regarded as a "heathen man and a publican". I believe that all will be put to the test, because God has brought in the order of His house, the principles that govern His house, and these become a test to every one in the sphere of profession. The test is there, but it is often ineffective, on account of the weakness of those who profess to walk in these principles.

Rem. You meet with it often. You can have sweet intercourse with professed Christians for a while, but when you introduce the truth there is often a refusal of it, and so you can go on no longer with them.

J.T. I remember speaking to a well-known man about fellowship. He said, I know it is there, but I will not touch it. He touched it afterwards, and became an opposer; of the principles that govern fellowship. When Israel were brought out of Egypt into the wilderness they were tested by the will of God. That was what God introduced. Further, He was to dwell among them, and as thus privileged, they were to be governed by certain laws. Leviticus and Numbers show the principles on which God

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tested His people, in this respect, in the wilderness. It was the will of God, as set forth in the principles that should govern His house; that became the test to Israel, so that Paul says "If any one thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual let him recognise the thing that I write to you, that it is the commandment of the Lord". 1 Corinthians 14:37. The Lord says, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me", John 14:21. In chapter 3 it is the man of God as in relation to the whole sphere of Christian profession, because Christ is in relation to all that; and the Scriptures are available for him, so that be should be fully furnished.

Ques. Do you put any limitation on that?

J.T. The man of God is concerned about everything that concerns God.

Ques. Can you apply it generally?

J.T. The man of God stands in relation to all that is of God. He stands for God in regard to the governing of the world. He comes specially into evidence in a crisis. When things are going wrong the man of God stands in the breach.

T.M.G. It is important that we should have these divine principles in our souls, so that we should be men of God.

J.M. It speaks here of the things that Timothy had learned. "Knowing", the apostle says, "of whom thou hast learned them".

E.M. When Paul spoke of his qualifications he was speaking by the Spirit, he was not boasting of himself. He says, "thou hast fully known my doctrine". He had a full estimate of what he had from God.

J.T. This is an inspired letter.

S.L. These two chapters show what marks the present day.

J.T. There is one great comfort in chapter 3, that in the same manner as Jannes and Jambres

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were checked, the leaders in evil today are limited; "they shall proceed no further, for their folly shall be manifest to all". That is a positive statement. Moses brought in life, but the opposers could not imitate. They had to confess that now it was "the finger of God". I think this may be said to be John's ministry. The finger of God is the power of life brought out in the Person of Christ, and continued in the Spirit now. You cannot deny life. It stands out as a testimony to God's power.

Rem. The solemn thing is that the opposition is often from those immediately connected with the testimony.

J.T. Whatever the opposition may be it is met by life; there is the evidence of life in those that hold the truth by the Holy Spirit, and that cannot be refuted.

Rem. What is of God is always recognized by the people of God.

J.T. So you have here that their folly shall be manifest to all men. You might convince yourself privately, but you have to consider all the people of God. They have to be convinced, and it has been well said: You may deceive some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but you cannot deceive all the people all the time. "Their folly shall be completely manifest to all".

T.M.G. It is an immense encouragement to count on God, to have faith in God.

J.T. And so the man of God sees God's hand in everything, even in the checking of evil in the government of the world at the present time. The mystery of evil is working, but is held in check.

Rem. And we ought to count on the faithfulness and power of God in regard to everything.

Rem. Paul's doctrine and spirit would be exemplified in the man of God.

J.T. Generally speaking, Paul's doctrine is the

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great test among the people of God, and it is a question as to who is supporting it. But there is "the manner of life" that goes with it, also the "purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience". Whatever you have from the Lord is for the people of God, and must not be used casually, for your own pleasure or for your personal interest. It is one of the assets that belong to the people of God. It says in Colossians 4:17, "take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord that thou fulfil it". One should hold nothing back from the people of God.

W.K. Mr. Stoney said that you are like a tree, to be plucked by others for their support and nourishment.

J.M. One is to be acceptable to the saints; the exhortations are to this end.

J.T. You see that with Paul himself. When the discussion arose with Barnabas regarding Mark, Paul was commended by the brethren as he proceeded to do the work of the Lord; Acts 15:40. He had the confidence of his brethren. The result of this was that the assemblies were confirmed.

Rem. That would be a double commendation of Paul's course.

J.T. It is wonderful how the saints generally appreciate the word of God; and how in time they come to recognize what is of God.

Rem. You attach importance to the judgment of the saints?

J.T. Yes, it is usually the mind of God. Alas; we have occasions of general departure, as noted in this epistle when all in Asia turned away from Paul.

E.M. "Proclaim the word", and "Do the work of an evangelist"; what is the difference.

J.T. The word is the expression of the mind of God, but the evangelist is here for souls; he seeks men. The gospel, rightly presented, will secure

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them for God. Timothy is not said to be an evangelist, he is enjoined to do the work of an evangelist. The work has to be done. You are not only to present the mind of God; you want to win souls. They are not only to be secured, but they are to be presented "perfect in Christ Jesus",. Colossians 1:28. We have a very solemn charge in the opening verses of chapter 4. The tendency is to let our hands hang down. Of course we should seek the Lord's guidance and help; but the work should be done.

Ques. What is the thought of His appearing and His kingdom?

J.T. The appearing of Christ is special, as compared with His kingdom. The latter will be a condition, marked by His rule, involving permanent blessing. The visitation of the King to a city or section of the realm would be special; whereas the kingdom, being permanently established, would be always enjoyed.

T.M.G. As regards service, the great thing is to be always ready.

J.T. Timothy was available. Paul had no other man like him. Timothy's ministry was all the more necessary, because Paul was being withdrawn. The great thing is that the work is carried on. Paul says, "I am now ready to be offered". Paul, being no longer available, Timothy must carry on the work, and then others after him. It is very interesting to note the different directions given to his beloved Timothy by the departing apostle. "Use diligence to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken" Then he mentions others, adding, "Luke alone is with me. Take Mark and bring him with thee, for he is serviceable to me for ministry". This chapter indicates the relative place of each of those mentioned, in regard to Paul.

Rem. He does not say that Demas had given up Christ.

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J.T. Oh, no. Demas was no longer linked with Paul, but he may have continued in active service.

Rem. He had forsaken Paul, but the Lord takes care that the ministry is carried on in a living way.

J.T. And the power of God is ever available for those who carry it on. As regards general opposition to the truth, and wickedness, it is said in chapter 3, "they shall proceed no further"; and here in chapter 4 "the Lord stood with me and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known". The Lord said, as it were, 'Paul is the servant of My choice, and I will not allow the enemy to deprive Me of him; I will accomplish all that I intended to accomplish through him'. Satan would either turn the saints away from Paul, or destroy him, but the Lord would have His way.

Rem. It is a very solemn thing to be on a line contrary to the Lord's mind. Paul says, "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge". (2 Timothy 4:16).

J.T. In forsaking him they were unfaithful, and God would hold them accountable. God knows how to make one feel his unfaithfulness; but the apostle's prayer is in keeping with the Spirit of Christ. The Lord asked His Father not to lay the sin of His death to the charge of the Jews.

Rem. Great reproach attached to the apostle, as representing the testimony.

J.T. Yes; his "first answer" was before the emperor, and he needed support then, but there was not a man to stand with him; he had to stand alone for the defence of the gospel.

Rem. So if the Lord is pleased to take up a vessel, He will not give him up, if he is faithful.

J.T. There is reproach connected with the testimony, but Paul says, "The Lord stood with me and strengthened me, that by me the preaching might

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be fully known". (2 Timothy 4:17). He was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. He was very near his end, but the Lord came in, so that by him the preaching was fully known amongst the nations. There is no failure in Paul's service suggested here. I think it is an immense thing to see that the Lord will not be diverted from any choice He makes. He will stand by those vessels and carry them through.

Ques. Why is Priscilla put before Aquila?

J.T. I suppose, because she was spiritual as well as Aquila. The Spirit of God makes no mistake in placing her first here. They laid down their own necks for Paul; Romans 16:4.

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KEPT FOR TRANSLATION

Revelation 3:7 - 13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 18

It would be admitted by all who are familiar with Scripture, that the truth of translation comes out first in connection with Enoch "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God", Hebrews 11. In his prophecy he does not speak of translation, but of the coming of the Lord, "Behold, the Lord has come amidst his holy myriads"; but the truth of translation is first introduced with him. I think, too, it is a principle in Scripture, that in the first introduction of a thought you get the main features connected with it, and these mark it right through. Scripture. So here one of the main features connected with translation is that God translates what pleases Him. Enoch had this "testimony, that he pleased God". I suggested reading these scriptures that our attention might be called to this thought, that pleasing God precedes translation,

So in Thessalonians, the saints are spoken of as those who walked so as to please God; but the apostle exhorts them that they should do this "more and more". The element of pleasing God is introduced at the beginning of the chapter, before he goes on to the thought of translation; and what is before one's mind is the desire that the Lord would bring about in the people of God what is for His pleasure, before He is about to translate the assembly.

If we look at the address to Philadelphia, we find the principle of being kept there. The Lord says, "I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation". The hour of tribulation is coming on those that dwell upon the earth, on the earth-dwellers, but the Lord

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says, "I will keep thee" from it. Through our exercise and the power of God working in us, and as having to do with God, we, are kept now. Translation is the power of the Lord working in the future, but we are being kept now. He says the hour of tribulation is coming, but I will keep thee out of it. So that we need not fear that the next dispensation will come upon us with all its tribulation. We are kept out of the moral elements of the tribulation now. It is not said I will take you out of it, but I will "keep thee" out of it. He keeps us from the moral elements of evil which call for the tribulation.

The moral elements are present now; they are taking form now. In the reconstruction of the world, the principle of covenant or agreement will predominate. Men see the great advantage to be gained from agreement, and that it should hold and not be broken at will, and they seek to reconstruct the world on that principle. Now God will meet that condition of things. He will see that His people are brought into an agreement, that they have a fellowship. The book of Revelation shows how the world's fellowship will work out under the beast; the principle of boycott will mark all, but we are fortified against that by what we are committed to in our baptism, and then by fellowship. There are things which we cannot do because of the terms of our fellowship. By the terms of our fellowship we are committed to God. That is right; certain things are laid down; God has His highways, as the Psalmist says, "in whose heart are the ways". We have the highways in our hearts; we cannot turn aside to byways. In that way the fellowship commits us to God, and then, too, we are committed to the fellowship of His Son and the fellowship of His death. That is our fortification against this phase of things.

The title of the Holy and the True under which the Lord presents Himself to Philadelphia shows what

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He was as committed to God. They are features in which He is known to us now. He is the Holy and the True; these things involve what is due to God; if we are committed to God it must be in holiness, it is what becomes His house. So, too, with what is true. Then as to power He has the "key of David"; that is a wonderful light in which to see Christ as the One who opens and no one shuts.

"Endurance" is walking so as to please God. In other words, it is abiding true to the terms of God's relations with us. He says, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience (my endurance) I also will keep thee". It is what Christ is to the assembly. In speaking to Philadelphia the Lord says "thee"; He is addressing the whole assembly; He includes in that expression all the saints, but it is the assembly in the abstract. The features He marks out in Philadelphia are seen in some, and He accredits it to the whole. The trials He mentions, the "little strength" and keeping the word of His patience and not denying His name are seen in some; and in that way He clothes the whole with what is seen.

A Philadelphian takes account of things in the light of this book; he sees that there are earth dwellers, those whose hearts and hopes are on the earth. Paul speaks of some of those and adds, of whom I "tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ". (Philippians 3:18). In contrast to that, the Philadelphian is with the Lord in his spirit; he is recovered to normal assembly relations and takes account of how things affect Christ and God. He endured; the Lord endured whatever came; He endured for God; He could say "the reproaches of them that reproached thee, fell on me". (Psalm 69:9). So, too, the Philadelphian endures for God; the patience that marks him is according to Christ, there is correspondence to Christ in the endurance. It is in this way that being for God's pleasure is arrived at

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practically, and as I said, this precedes translation. To be kept is in accord with the dispensation, we are "kept by the power of God".

What God is looking for today is that we should please Him. Christ is the pattern of everything with God. He has set forth His mind in Christ, and now He is looking for an answer to that in us The revival is to that end. 1 Thessalonians emphasises the need of increase; they were to abound yet more and more; the thing was to come to full fruition. There is to be brought to pass in the saints what is pleasurable to God in view of translation. The Lord speaks of incompleteness to Sardis. That was not pleasing to Him. They came short of what was set forth at the beginning. Christianity does not come short, it is full measure. Paul writing to the Corinthians, spoke of his measure reaching to them; he did not come short; he fulfilled his ministry. Christianity is full measure. There is no Yea and Amen in the Old Testament; you could not get that till you come to Christ, but in Him is Yea; there is the perfect answer to the mind of God. Now if He has undertaken things for God, all must surely come to pass. So revival brings us back to what was true at the beginning, not indeed in any outward or public way but in that God secures an answer to Christ under His eye.

The Lord does not say, 'I will take thee out ofthe hour of trial', but "I also will keep thee" that is the principle of the dispensation; "kept by the power of God", and there is correspondence to Christ in it. Enoch, before his translation had the witness that he pleased God, but it does not say when he got it. He tells us about the Lord; his testimony is as to the Lord coming, but in the secret of his soul he had the witness that he pleased God.

It is sorrowful to see that the assembly and the outward profession of Christianity have largely

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taken up a place on the earth today. It has been the tendency of things from very early days. We see it in the two going to Emmaus; they were going into the country; there was the tendency to earth-dwelling even there. In Mark we see it was the direction of their walk, "they walked and went into the country". Luke tells us they were going to their own home. It shows the tendency of our hearts. The overcomer is not promised anything on the earth; he is not an earth dweller; the promises have to do with the things which he cherishes. The rewards are just what he would desire, and the Lord knows it. People who live on the earth do not want these things.

There may be recovery. In the end of Luke we read of a man coming up out of the country, and the world puts the cross on that man. And such a man gets a posterity; in Mark he is referred to as the father of Alexander and Rufus. That is very suggestive. The crisis today is between what is earthly and what is heavenly. We have to ask ourselves whether we prefer what is heavenly to what is earthly. If we desire what is heavenly, we shall surely get it and we shall be taken to heaven. Of course, we go to heaven, because it is the purpose of God to have us there, but His power is exercised to bring about suitability for the place His purpose has given us. He brings in circumstances and certain things which will fortify us against the forces of evil.

Another thing seen in Enoch is endurance, continuance. He walked with God for three hundred years and he pleased God. In Genesis 5 you have a life-line; chapter 4 is collateral, but it is Cain's line; it begins in a murderer even though his life is preserved. It typifies the Jew, whose life is preserved, but he is a murderer. But chapter 5 is the line of Seth, and we see that on that line men live long lives before they die, and one of that line is even translated

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that he should not die at all. So now, immunity from death, and translation, is the testimony of the moment.

We are able to take account of God's saints as pleasing to Him; Enoch speaks of the holy myriads and that the Lord is among them. It is a serious matter to accuse the saints. The points given in 1 Thessalonians 4 are, first, your vessel is holy, and you do not despise any man, and you love the brethren, and we are to abound in the things we have; you do it more and more; you increase in love. It is the substance of Christianity; the character of it. In Romans you have the expression "much more" and in the gospels the Lord says, "to him that hath shall more be given". There is to be increase. Enoch moved in the region of family life, and it is in that connection that he walked and pleased God. When he begat Methuselah he began to walk with God, and he continued that walk three hundred years. We sometimes sing, "In spirit there already". When the Lord went up to heaven the hearts of His own went up with Him; their place henceforward was heaven. In Colossians we read that lie has "reconciled us through the body of his flesh, through death" (Colossians 1:22); and then in Ephesians, that He has reconciled both Jew and Gentile "in one body" (Ephesians 2:16); it is the body that is translated. That involves unity. It is delightful to the heart of God to see His people together in unity: He keeps that company.

The very name "Philadelphia" involves brotherly love; reconciliation understood brings about unity in affection. Then they have a little power, and an opened door is set before them, for they are pleasing to Christ. I think we -see the state of Ephesus in the elders weeping on Paul's neck: they loved him. Those were beautiful tears, and God took account of them; He put them into His bottle; they were lovely to Him. "First love" is rather the love of a

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wife for a husband, but here it is a question of brotherly love, "we are taught of God to love one another". The love at the end is the same in quality, though it is not the same in quantity. There is a remnant who are brought back to first love, and to such He says, "I have set before thee an opened door". We are not to be occupied with ourselves, but we can only acknowledge that God has wrought wonderfully. He has proposed great things for us, and He would bring us to see we are committed to the wonderful things He has proposed to us in Christ, by the terms of the fellowship we enjoy.

Baptism and the Lord's supper become the means by which He "keeps" us. If we look at the way Scripture presents baptism, it does not speak of the person who baptises us, but of the person baptised, and the deduction is that such an one is committed to Christ and to Christ's death; he yields his members to God; he is God's bondman.

In the Lord's supper you come on to the marital relation, we are become dead to the law by the body of Christ that we may be to Another, in order to bring forth fruit to God. Partaking: of the Lord's supper is my answer to that. I express my love to Christ. It is a very serious matter to take the Supper in any other way than as loving Christ. Paul says, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus, let him be Anathema Maran-atha". (1 Corinthians 16:22) I express in partaking of the Supper my love to God and to Christ. In baptism, though another commits me to Christ's death, yet all the consequences fall on me. The Lord's supper is my committal to the terms of the gospel. We are baptised to the full revelation of God, to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The teaching of 1 Corinthians 10 brings in the question of our consistency with all that.

I think we can all testify that from the time we committed ourselves to the Lord's supper we became

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more definite in our testimony to the death of Christ; we desired to be true to the terms of it; our consciences demanded it, and in that way we become fortified by the Supper. Primarily the Supper is a question of reciprocated affections; we drink into the love of Christ, and we express our love to Him, and it fortifies us against what is in the world.

When we first took the Supper, we were very sensitive as to what we committed ourselves to outside. So God looks for committal on our part to what He has called us to by the gospel; and in the bread we are committed to one another also, for we all eat of it. But it is the answer of affection to the Lord. No doubt the preservative power of it is of great moment to us at the present moment. If the Lord is going to take us to Himself, He would have every wrong link broken. As the apostle says, "Ye cannot partake of the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons". (1 Corinthians 10:21)

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THE BEGINNING AND END OF THE DISPENSATION OF FAITH

2 Timothy 1:8; Revelation 19:10; John 1:35, 36

I have it in view to consider the subject of how God would bring about at the end of the dispensation of faith that with which the dispensation began. I read from the epistle to Timothy, because that letter was written for the last days. It may be inquired, why such a young man should be taken up in this way; why not an older one? It is because he was the only available one; the great point is availability. Paul says, I have no man like Timothy, one who would care how the saints got on; there must be progress if we are to be here for the pleasure of God. So Timothy being the available one is made trustee of the great treasure; he is reminded that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind", 2 Timothy 1:7. "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord". The apostle speaks of our Lord.

Some of us have been made to feel the authority of the powers that be, and we must not despise government, for it is of God. The enemy is working at present to overthrow government. Whilst thrones fall and dynasties come to nought, Christians cherish their own Lord. The expression "our Lord" gives the suggestion of the seed royal which remains. You will all remember the spirit that came to light in Jezebel and Athaliah; the first was bent on the destruction of the prophets, the destruction of the word of God. This spirit is abroad today, and I earnestly beseech you to beware. Then we get Athaliah attempting to exterminate the seed royal. The contrast to this spirit we find in Obadiah, who "took an hundred prophets and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water".

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It is of great moment that the word be preserved, not only the Scriptures, through the providence of God these have been preserved to us, but the direct word from God that comes through the prophets among us must be preserved, as well as the principle of administration in the house of God; the Lord's word conveying to us His mind and His authority.

"My yoke is easy, and my burden is light", (Matthew 11:30) touches our hearts: how sweet just to turn to Him whom we regard as our own Lord. If discipline brings us to Him, how well worth while. If today we have been brought to a deeper apprehension of Christ as Ruler, we have indeed something for our hearts to contemplate. Mary says, "they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him". (John 20:13) Thank God they cannot do that we know where He is; and Peter, in Acts 2, tells the Jews where He is, "This Jesus hath God raised up whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear".

When the Lord was down here the link had been formed in their hearts with Him, so Peter says in his next address, "And he shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began". We know the link which binds us to Him, He is hid in our hearts, and as the Seed Royal is hid in the heavens.

I want now to speak to you of the testimony of our Lord. He has made good the thoughts of God for us, but I am speaking of Him now in the position of Administrator. Paul says, "we all, looking on the glory of the Lord, with unveiled face are transformed according to the same image from glory to glory

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even as by the Lord the Spirit", 2 Corinthians 3:18. It is a question of what God is. The testimony of the Christ refers to what He has accomplished in regard of the counsels of God, and there will be the shining out in the ages to come, and all will bring glory to God in the assembly, through the ages of ages.

Paul says in Ephesians 4, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called". Think of being detained in the prison at Rome for the Lord's service, that he might be a vessel used for the making known of God. So he says to Timothy: Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner. The point is, that he is His prisoner, the prisoner of the Lord. Do we know what it is to look into the face of the Lord and see what God is? "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty". Authority in liberty carries with it the love of God. Love always goes along with authority in Christianity, and authority is absolutely necessary to the Christian. As I look into the face of that blessed Man I see it radiant with the love of God, love is never out of accord with authority. Moses says of God that "He shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints; from his right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand ... ... And he was king in Jeshurun", Deuteronomy 33:2 - 5. Moses was king in Jeshurun; he had that place in the affections of God's people.

"Let your loins be girded about ... ... and ye like men who wait theirown Lord", Luke 12:35. There is nothing so attractive; the Lord ruling in the affections of His people, and as we look at Him we learn how to rule ourselves. I cannot understand a Christian who cannot rule himself. Christians are not a democracy; I beseech you to banish such a thought entirely and for ever. One learns to rule

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oneself as one beholds the face of Christ, and as you are taught to rule yourself you come under the lordship of Christ. He becomes King in your affections and there is no place for your own will; you are owning the authority of your Lord. That is what I understand by "the testimony of our Lord", what God is as made known to the assembly; God's love is made known in Christ. "The testimony of Jesus", Revelation 19:10. We are now engaged with a Man in respect of what He is before God, not ruling from God, but what He is to God. "The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus". This is the antidote to Antichrist.

In John's epistle there is much more addressed to the babes than there is to the young men and fathers. I think it would give us the position at the present time; there are many more in the babe state than young men and fathers, and the babes in Christ are exposed to the influence of the many Antichrists. May we drink deeply into the spirit of Christ in order that we may be fortified against these evil influences.

When you come to Jesus, you have come to a Man and one instinctively turns to Luke. Simeon came into the temple by the Spirit. There is no guarantee against anything apart from the Spirit. Simeon, by the Spirit, announces the mind of God in regard to the Child Jesus. Then in chapter 4, Jesus got into the synagogue, the local meeting house, and "when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me". Note the perfection of grace; Jesus stands up, reads and sits down. "And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth". Have Him before you in what He was as Man.

John brings in the walk of Christ. This afternoon we were looking at Thessalonians, and the word, "how ye ought to walk and to please God". John

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brings before us the pattern of how we ought to walk. John stands, and two of his disciples with him. We sit to listen, but we stand to look. Zacchaeus climbed to look, and it was well worth while climbing to see Jesus. "Looking on Jesus as he walked", John says, "Behold the Lamb of God". Now Jesus is walking, and I would ask you to look at His walk. God raises up ministers to call attention to His walk. John, "looking on Jesus as he walked, saith, Behold the Lamb of God! and the two disciples followed Jesus". There is movement, and I would call your attention to the walk of Jesus that you might follow Him. I must not set aside the truth of the cross in my walk. That ye might know "how ye ought to walk and to please God". Watch the manner and the dignity of His walk. John the baptist had claim to a great place in this world, but he refuses it all; he sends his disciples after Christ by his ministry, and I appeal to you tonight to follow that blessed One.

It will not be long before very strong claims will be put forward by a man, and we need to be fortified to withstand the claims of that man. The fortification is to have the testimony of Jesus in the heart. This is food for the priests; as we feed on that Man we are brought into the good of reconciliation, and to be here for the pleasure of God. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good pleasure in men".

We are together loving one another here for the pleasure of God and so preserved suitable for translation as the time for it draws near. Men patterned after Jesus are the ones who are ready for translation. Those holy courts above will be peopled by such. Beloved brethren, how important it is that we should pick our steps, follow in His steps, that we may be here as those who love His appearing.

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RECONCILIATION

Romans 8:27 - 29

I want to set before you, if I can, what has been on the minds of the brethren here in the way of exercise; that is, how God looks for results, and how He reaches them in us. These verses show how He reaches His purpose in us, and the result is reconciliation, that is, God's good pleasure in what He effects. As of old, when He began to operate on the earth and in the heavens, He expressed His satisfaction in what He did. He said things were very good; not yet that He was well pleased. There was a measure of satisfaction in what was there as His own handiwork, but the time of good pleasure in men was yet future. When the Son became Man the testimony of the heavenly host was, "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good pleasure in men". It is not only that He found it in Jesus, but the potentiality of the situation is what the angels celebrated. God had men before Him, and men in whom He should have good pleasure. Wisdom, speaking at the outset of God's operations, according to Proverbs 8, speaks of its own delights, "My delights were with the sons of men". Wisdom saw the sons and found delight in them; that is, men in that peculiar relation, not children of men, but sons; those who should in God's time come under the perfect influence of Christ. The habitable parts of the earth were of interest, and the sons of men there.

Now when the Son became Man the heavenly hosts, it is the collective idea, celebrated God's good pleasure in men. That was not apparent in Genesis 1 or 2, though we do get there a suggestion as regard the sabbath. God rested on the sabbath from His labours. God wrought one thing after another until He reached the sixth day, and then He rested from

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His labours. In Exodus 20 the sabbath is brought in as one of the commandments which Israel was to observe; but in chapter 31 we have a beautiful thought added, that God rested and was refreshed. The Spirit of God leaves those words "and was refreshed" until after Moses had been on the mount, during which time Jehovah was unfolding Christ to him typically. One thing after another is opened up and unfolded to Moses, all of which combined speak of Christ. These were patterns, God's heart being engaged, not with material things, but with Christ. He was engaged with the Man that was to come, so that He adds to the thought of the sabbath, as if to say, 'I have found My rest in this Man, not only My rest, but My refreshment too'. Sleep to the labouring man is sweet, but refreshment is an additional thought, and God finds that in Christ. In that way we have foreshadowed in the types the great truth of reconciliation in its highest form, that God not only rested in that Man, but there was all that followed, yea, all that preceded it too, the outgoings of the heart of One whose every thought was Godward.

When Jacob gathered his sons together to tell them what should befall them in the last days, he takes account of them as sons, but in all the varied workings of the flesh. Notwithstanding that, at the end of the prophecy he blessed the tribes, for God had a distinct blessing for each. But when you come to Moses, they are seen apart from failure. In Deuteronomy 33 you find no mention of failure; on the contrary you see the tribes as the product of the work of God. The brazen serpent had come in, setting aside in them that which spoke against Moses and against God. All that is dealt with on the cross. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness". (John 3:14) The old man is crucified, not simply removed. He is not let off easily. So the brazen serpent, followed by the springing well, is a type of

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the means by which Moses, the man of God, takes account of things from God's point of view. Regarding the tribes in the light of the purpose of God, it is said; "What has God wrought?" Everything must conform to His thoughts. God being what He is, and having come out in Christ, now has a Man who not only does all His pleasure, but who also secures all His pleasure. There is not only the Yea in Christ, but there is the Amen. The Amen is by the Spirit. So that the blessing of every tribe in Deuteronomy is an Amen. As you get in the Psalms, "Let all the people say, Amen". (Psalm 106:48) Amen means that the heart is entirely with God. There is complete agreement between the hearts of the people and the heart of God.

The covenant refers to what God is in Christ; reconciliation, to what man is in Christ. All is in Christ; that is the status. I am given my status before God first in Romans 6. I reckon myself dead unto sin and alive in Christ. Much more is needed, for we need income to support such an important position here on earth, so there is the work of God in the souls of His people to that end. Romans 8 begins, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus". That is light. These chapters are not dealing with our experiences, but the normal working out of the truth. There is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. They are beyond that, and then the apostle adds, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free". There is in that way in these chapters between Romans 5 and 8 the working out logically of the truth to the end, that God should reach His results in men down here. Romans is the wilderness; it is our position here. Sin is still here in all its force, but our old man is crucified, the Christian's old man. Look abroad in the world; there is no evidence of that there, but look at the people of God. One loves to look at their

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countenances, to look at them from the top of the rocks as Balaam did. The body of sin is destroyed in the saints of God, so that sin, as a principle in all its power, is broken by the crucifixion of our old man. God has dealt with it so that sin should not reign in us. So that in Romans we learn to reckon ourselves dead to sin. We are still in the presence of it as to fact, but we reckon ourselves dead to it. We are superior to it. That is a very practical thought. I have to do with it every day, but the attitude of my soul is that I am dead to it. We are not taken out of the world, but we are kept from the evil. Light is in the soul of the believer so that it enables him to take up the attitude as regards sin, of being dead to it, and alive to God. As far as Paul was concerned, he was in the fulness of it when he said he was beside himself to God, and he would live in that ecstasy all the time, but he thought of the saints and added, "whether we be sober it is for your cause". The light in my soul still enables me to take up that attitude. So that the believer is looked upon as superior to sin; he has the power in his soul.

In Colossians the principle is that he is dead from, not sin but from the elements of the world. He is dead from these things: his back is to them. He goes out of the world. He is looking at things above where Christ sitteth. "Ye are dead ..". It is the position of the believer as regards this world and its attractions. There is no motion in him. He is dead and gone as regards this world, but his life is hid with Christ in God. He has a life, but it is elsewhere. It is hidden. I am not dwelling on Colossians, but desire only to show how matters stand.

In Christ God has found an outlet for what He is, for His love. I do not know a better way of expressing it. He has made it available to us. God has not only found an outlet through the cross for His love,

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where it was expressed towards all, but an inlet. In writing to Titus he says, "After that the kindness and love of God ... appeared". (Titus 3:4) But then it has not only appeared, it has found an inlet into my heart and yours. I have often thought of Lydia. The Lord opened her heart to attend to the things spoken by Paul. The Lord had the key of her heart. There is a Man who has the means of opening human hearts. He opened Lydia's heart and for a definite purpose: to attend to the things spoken by Paul. Paul sets forth the full divine thoughts and facts, hence the great importance of opening our hearts to attend to the things, not only to listen. They must be attended to if we are to be in the sense of what God is. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us". (Romans 5:5) A wonderful operation that! It is all from the divine side. It is a divine act. He sheds the love abroad, so that a new thing has come to pass; the love of God is now in human hearts, not only in Christ. There are very great limitations in human hearts. We all readily admit that. How very tiny and how very irregular or deformed are things with many Christians. Certainly it is so in young Christians. Romans 8 presents things in their true position, in Christ Jesus. One rejoices in that, that all the love is there. It is in One great enough to contain it, so to speak. I see all the love of God vested in a Man.

Now the answer to what God is to me in Christ is what man is to God in Christ. God having given us a status in Christ, works effectually in His people, and will never give up in the least degree until He brings about in us that which He has purposed and shown in the pattern. These verses admit that we do not know how to pray as we ought. There is every comfort in it. It shows divine consideration, how God begins with us. There is what we do not know, and then there is what we do know. The

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Spirit of God acts in a very simple and considerate way. It is just as well we should acknowledge what we do not know and assert what we do. We do know that all things work together for good to those that love God. That is advanced knowledge in a certain way. In Thessalonians you find in chapter 2 the idea of a nurse with her own children, and then a father with the children, and then finally the word of God. Not, as Paul says, the word of man, but God's word, that works effectually in the believer, so that not only do I know God, but that, knowing Him, I am governed by His principles, as principles that operate universally. One is able to walk by himself now in relation to God. You are not disturbed by adverse circumstances. David could say, "Let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercies are great". "All things work together for good".

From that point in Romans 8 the Spirit of God develops the divine purpose, that those whom He has called He also has predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son. God is not going to leave us in an infantile state, for there must be development, and He may cause things to happen to accomplish His will. That will is that there should be a company conformed to the image of His Son. Every year adds to the dreadfulness of what man has become as left to himself in this world. We read, "God gave them up". (Romans 1:26) What a terrible thing! Christians are not left in that way. God has undertaken to accomplish something. He has set out the pattern in Christ, and there can be no deviation from that pattern. The work goes on to the end that all should be conformed to the pattern, the image of God's Son.

Well, God is working for results. I apprehend that the testimony of our Lord is that He brings about reconciliation. We are brought to God, according to His pattern.

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THE KINGDOM OF THE HEAVEN

Matthew 13:1 - 3, 18 - 23, 51, 52; Matthew 24:3; Matthew 28:2, 3

These scriptures show the circumstances under which the kingdom of heaven was introduced, especially in regard to the posture in which the Lord announces the word of the kingdom; He is sitting. In this connection I would point out how in this gospel the thought of sitting is made prominent. It is suggestive of serenity and deliberation. It is a thought that comes in at the present time in a very peculiar way, for we are confronted, at least the world is, with the unsettling of everything. Thrones and governments which seemed to have been firm, have collapsed, and others are likely to follow, occasioning a very real disturbance in the order of the world, and possibly in the minds of many of God's people. Now the gospel of Matthew comes in opportunely in the midst of these circumstances, for it deals with the kingdom of the heavens. I need not remind you that these occurrences on earth, affecting the powers that are on the earth, have no influence in heaven, and so in the Old Testament you have from the outset the idea of God sitting in supreme power as between the cherubim for instance, armed with power for the fulfilment of His will. In the Psalms too, God is regarded as sitting in the heavens, in such wise as not only to deal effectively with what passes on earth, but to hold all opposing elements in supreme derision, in solemn irony, as in the second Psalm. Later on in the book of Psalms He is seen in the same way, as in Psalm 29 we read of the voice of the Lord and what it does. Then David says, "The Lord sitteth upon the flood". God sits above them, and sustains the heart of faith. He sitteth King for ever. It is a wonderful thought for the heart amid the raging billows of human wrath. We must

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always remember amid human movements, that whatever men may have in their minds, Satan has only one thing in his mind, that is, to set aside what God has purposed in Christ. David goes on to say, "The Lord will give strength unto his people". It is a beautiful expression for us. "The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace". There is no setting aside of the divine blessing.

Now in coming to this passage we have this great subject opened up to us, the kingdom of the heavens. It is in that way most opportune at the present time, The book opens abruptly as, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham". There is no apology given by this evangelist as to why he writes, as is also the case with Mark. Luke and John both explain why they wrote. It is here the abrupt introduction by the Spirit of God of Him who is heir of David, of the seed royal, and also heir of the promises. He is the King. You will find, therefore, this posture of sitting emphasised, because, as I apprehend, it suggests the supremacy of dignity and power. The Lord Jesus sits in His dignity, on the ground of the power of which He was conscious, and so in deliberation announces the word of the kingdom. There is a great expression of this new and blessed thing, the kingdom of the heavens. In the angel's position at the close of the gospel, you see this in regard to the resurrection. He is here really in regard of Christ, for the regal position belongs to Christ, not to Caesar. The angel there is holding the position, pending the coming of Him who is the true King of kings and Lord of lords, and he holds it well. You may be sure, beloved friends that every position involving government at the present time is held well from this point of view. Things are kept under angelic supervision pending the coming in of Him

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who is King of kings and Lord of lords, to take up the empire. The Lord had been in the tomb. There is no suggestion that the angel had anything to do with the raising of Christ; that was the Father's work. There was the moving out of the Father in all His power to take the object of His affections out of that tomb. That was accomplished by the almightiness of God. The angel was not needed for that. Angels had ministered to the Lord in the wilderness, but not now; the Father raised Him. But the Roman seal had been affixed to that stone. The angel had to do with that. It was a political matter. So faith takes account of all political movements in that light. We may rest assured that angelic agency is at work and that nothing happens beyond the will of God. Angels are His mighty ministers, sent out to minister on account of those who shall be heirs of salvation. They deal with all these matters on account of us, that the people of God should be taken charge of. I recognise the will of God, His providences, and I recognise that His ministers are here for our good, not only for the subject in general, but "he is the minister of God to thee for good".

Now the angel rolled away the stone. That was an act of power, not only an act of physical power; it referred to the seal that was on it, and that seal signified the whole power of Rome. The angel rolled that away without a tremor. It was done in the open. God was showing His power, whatever Caesar might do, so that faith lifts up its head in that way. I apprehend salvation is the lifting up of the head. According to Zechariah 1:21, Satan would use the powers here so that no one dare lift up his head; but we may lift up our heads, because that angel represents the authority of God in Christ. See what it says about him: "his countenance was like lightning". That is not the grace side. Jesus is on the Father's throne, and as there His countenance

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reflects what God is in grace; it is not as yet like lightning. In Revelation His countenance is like the sun, and He has eyes like a flame of fire. All that refers to His government: now He is on the Father's throne; it is what God is in grace. There is nothing repellent about Him. But if I have to do with adverse power in this world, I lift up my head alongside that angel whose face is as lightning. It makes one restful. The angel is sitting on the stone that bore the seal of the empire. It is a position of defiance; who can touch him? Who can deal with lightning? It is not within human power to deal with lightning. In Matthew 24:3, He is sitting over against the temple, and He instructs the disciples as to the temple and as to everything. The Christian is privileged to know the Lord's mind about everything. All the light is communicated to them. We are not looking to the different governments of the world, but we see what is going on, and our privilege is to get light about all these matters. The disciples asked Him privately, and He opened up things to them. He opened up the whole course of the events till He comes. It is an immense thing to have that light in our souls.

Coming back to chapter 13, I want to show you with what deliberation He opens up the word of the kingdom. It is intensely interesting, as bringing out what Christ was here. I always feel encouraged to turn to Matthew 11 in times of pressure. The Lord had begun His ministry in chapter 5. He went up into a mountain, and sat down. He opened up one subject after another which referred to the government of the kingdom. He was the divine legislator. Then He comes down from the mount and proceeds with that wonderful ministry of grace, all referring to His relations with Israel, and at the end John the baptist is vindicated. Then He upbraids the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done;

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they were hardened and unbelieving. Then, at that time, Jesus rejoiced in spirit; it is most encouraging. "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes". He was perfectly thankful. There is no thought in His mind of defeat at all. Although all seems against Him, He turns to the Father, and recognises the Father as the sovereign Ruler of the heavens and the earth. He had to do with Him. Now that is the position for faith. The Father's pleasure was to hide these things from the wise and prudent. Is there anyone here who is wise and prudent in his own estimation? The Father hides these things from you; He reveals them to the babes. We must begin as babes in order to have the mind of God opened up to us, the things of God unfolded to us; we must begin there. Then He says, "All things are delivered unto me of my Father". The Father is the sovereign ruler of the heavens and the earth, and all things are delivered by Him into the hands of the Son. The Son is the centre of everything, He says, "Come unto me". That is the position. Then in the end of chapter 12, the babes are His brethren. "And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!" The Lord points to them. They are the ones who interest heaven now, as they interested Christ at that time. Then He explains what He means: "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister and mother". It is a question of the will of heaven. How could the Lord own any other than the one who did the will of heaven? He was here on account of that will; then how can He morally recognise any other relationship? There is no other. There must be a recognition of the supremacy of heaven, otherwise there is no relationship

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with Christ. It is in the doing of the will of His Father which is in heaven.

In these circumstances He unfolds to us and disseminates the word of the kingdom. It is a wonderful subject, for it is a question of the expression, the opening up of it for our understanding. I want to go back just to call attention to the Lord's position. He leaves the house. He had evidently been in the house, and He goes out by the seaside. He is moving with precision and deliberation. The crowds surround Him; that will not do, so He goes into a ship. There was a reason for it. The Lord is not going to open out these great subjects to a crowd without understanding. There are things that cannot be done. He could not do certain things because of the unbelief of the people. The Lord sits down in the ship; He has full control of the situation, and now He opens out the word. I dwell upon that so that we might see how He is supreme. We are so apt to get restless and discouraged. We are passing through extraordinary times in the history of the world. The Lord Jesus had gone through the principle of all this in His own spirit; He felt everything divinely. He was confronted with the whole power of evil, directed by a master hand against Him, and what marked Him was perfect and conscious supremacy in His spirit. He was above things, and being above them He proceeded with His mission without interruption. Now when He comes to this great subject, the word of the kingdom, He must unfold it under advantageous circumstances. These are points of importance at the present time. The Lord would have us to be restful about things, to be perfectly assured that all is well. There are no mishaps in the ways of God; He is working out what He has in His mind. If it be a question of revelation, there is no need to seek God. You need not tell people to seek the sun at mid-day; you can see it. God has

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come out in Christ as God's revelation; it is not a question of seeking Him diligently. God is seeking man in the gospel. But there are providential ways in which God hides Himself, and it is there you have to seek God. If you seek Him there you will find Him, and you will be rewarded. So that, when things come upon us which seem to be adverse, and we are tempted to say like Jacob, "all these things are against me", it is for us to seek out God in them. As Joseph said to his brethren later, "God did send me before you". (Genesis 45:7) So in the providential dealings of God, in the discipline that comes upon us, we are to seek God, and as we seek Him we find Him. He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. So the Lord is here in perfect restfulness. He would have us to be perfectly restful; things are not against us. God is in them, just as of old God put His bow in the cloud; you need not fear the cloud. There is no hindering God; He goes on day after day, and as knowing God we are perfectly restful.

Sitting in the boat, away from the multitude, He announces the word of the kingdom. I want to dwell for a moment on the word. In the other gospels, Mark and Luke, the good ground is marked by this, that one hears the word and keeps it. The point in Matthew is understanding it. No minister can give you an understanding; he can open up things, as the Lord helps, but the understanding is from God directly. There were those who had no root in themselves. If there is that which takes root, it is of God. Hence at every point you are thrown back in your exercises on the sovereign action of God. So the Lord said, "Have ye understood all these things?" It may be preaching or teaching, but all is unavailing without understanding, which comes from God. Do we understand? I often think that if God is speaking to us, He is looking into our hearts, searching our hearts, to see what the Holy Spirit is

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doing, or has done, He knows what is the mind of the Spirit. Take things to the Lord; the Lord will give you guidance. He looks for your part; your part is to understand, and to understand you have to come to Him.

I want to pass on to the scribe in verse 52. The blessed God has put all these things down for us. He has put men through the fire in order to discipline them and prepare them to write down these things; what for? That we may read and understand them. So the Lord says, "Have ye understood all these things?" They say unto Him, "Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old". There is the result. The Lord always works things out to a result. He brings in at the end what the result of all this is in the scribe. These things are written down for us, and the Lord brings forward this man as a model, as an incentive to every reader of this chapter, to show everyone what the scribe is. The idea is, that pending the return of the Lord and the establishing of His kingdom, there are scribes disciplined to the kingdom of heaven. They have the treasures. First, the new things. I am strongly impressed with the necessity of emphasising the New Testament, because it is directly from Christ in heaven to the assembly, in all the freshness and vigour of the Holy Spirit come down from heaven, setting forth what God is in Christ, what man is in Christ and what the assembly is. It is a wonderful book, but at the same time I have a distinct sense that the enemy would weaken in our minds the authority and power of the Old Testament. The Lord Himself said, "The scripture cannot be broken". (John 10:35) It stands invested with all the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. When I unfold the new, it is delightful to have a

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little of the old. In your house you have things modern and antique; not antiquated. A thing that is antiquated is a thing to be discarded. That which is old is ready to pass away. But when you come to an antique its value is enhanced; the older it is, the more valuable it is. So the wonderful touches of the Old Testament from the very outset in regard to the Lord Jesus Christ become more valuable as time goes on. They have stood the test of ages; they stand out brightly as pointing to Christ. The scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven understands these things, and brings them out. It is not good to keep things back; the more you give the more you get; the resources of God are so vast. He brings out things new and old. That is the result of being disciplined into the kingdom of heaven.

I wanted to show you that what Matthew presents to us is the stability and restfulness that are in Christ, how the word of the kingdom has come into our hearts and set us up in that way, and we have that which we can bring out of our treasure for the benefit of souls.

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UNITY

Ephesians 4:1 - 16

Summary of Reading

The epistle to the Ephesians, whilst presenting salvation, enlarges on the thought of the headstone. The thought of unity is found in Romans and Corinthians, but the unity of the Spirit and the unity of the faith are found here, They have a remarkable bearing in view of the conditions that have arisen, The saints are in a world that is in need of unity; they are apt to be drawn into that which is moving in the world. What fortifies us is to see what God has brought us into by our baptism, then in the fellowship of God's Son and fellowship with one another, leading to practical unity of the Spirit.

In Zechariah 4, we learn that he that builds the house should put on the headstone. The finishing is so interesting, because it is finished in the headstone. The Lord would bring us to that now, that we should have that bond of unity. We have two thoughts in connection with the headstone: one is that it binds, and the other that it is ornamental. It is the same general idea as the chief corner-stone. The foundation is firm, the firm foundation of God stands, as Paul says. The stones may not necessarily be very beautiful, but the point is firmness. What I think helps us in regard to this is that salvation is connected with the resurrection of Christ. It is a question of the power of God. He wrought in Christ when the whole power of evil was against Him at the cross, and He raised Christ from the dead. The whole power of the world was against God at the cross. The seal on the tomb was representative of the power of the world, but the angel sat on the stone signifying that all the power of the world combined could not interfere with the work of God.

A kindred thought is in Zechariah. The great

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mountain is the world power; it becomes a plain before Zerubbabel. God must deal with the political system. The angel sitting on the stone was a testimony that God could deal with it. No political condition can interfere with the work of God. We are apt to think that present conditions are so extraordinary that the work of God is hindered. Faith knows that it is not so. The power of evil was then at its height, and God wrought. It is said of us, that we are raised by faith of the operation of God that wrought in Christ. The foundation of God stands; it is firm.

This was exemplified in Paul, the prisoner of the Lord. He was detained for the accomplishment of the purposes of God. Ephesians 3 is a question of God's purpose, ending with "to him be glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus unto all generations of the age of ages". Christ held Paul as a prisoner. In Ephesians 4 it is the Lord that detained him; it is a striking suggestion of the supremacy of Christ. Instead of being at Jerusalem, where he wished to be, the Lord would have him in Rome. All these epistles emanate from the prison where he was held in Rome. This epistle brings out the supremacy of Christ. It does not speak of the world power like Romans; Romans recognises the world power. Ephesians only recognises the power of Christ, as superior to the powers of darkness. All the political powers of the day are subordinate to the administration of Christ for the furtherance of His own ends.

The last chapter of Matthew is in keeping with it. Matthew brings in the administration of the gospel. We are apt to look to the future when we think of the Lord's authority; that is, outside the assembly. Angels are said to be ministering servants. It does not say exactly of whom, but obviously it is of Christ in relation to the saints. "On account of those who shall be heirs of salvation". Their ministry may not

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be directed towards me; it may be in relation to the government of the country in which I am, but it is all on account of those who are heirs of salvation.

We can reckon on the angelic ministry; it is not the ministry of the Spirit, but it is a ministry that is under Christ, and He is using it now on account of the saints, so that the angel sitting on the stone signifies the supremacy of God, the superiority of God in regard to every other power. It tends to stay the heart in view of the upheavals that go on. Things occur that seem so disastrous in the world. It must have been a harrowing time for the powers of the world lately, but the Christian is restful, not indifferent, but restful. He sees that it turns out for the furtherance of the gospel. The administration of Christ will be carried out in spite of the opposition. The angels are governmental and providential in their service. They ministered to the Lord, but they are not limited to the individual ministry. In Acts 12 the angel takes care of Peter, and also deals with Herod; he smote Herod.

The world would not know that, but we do. He led Peter down the street and left him. Peter found his way after that. The angels had to attend to other things. He did not need to lead Peter up to the saints' door; he could find his way. The angel gives you food and clothing: that is all he will give you. He gives what is sufficient. Like an attendant ushering you into the drawing room; he leaves you at the door. That is all he has to do in regard to you. There are much higher privileges for you. The angels are here in that way as ministering spirits in regard of us, not occupying themselves with our highest privileges. In Acts 8 the angel takes Philip so far, and then the Spirit comes in. The angel speaks in verse 26, but the Spirit speaks in verse 29. Philip has come now to his spiritual service. All this is foundational, the power of God that wrought in

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Christ; that goes on. The ministry of angels deals with outward things that are against us.

We have instruction in the beginning of Ephesians 4 as to what should mark us in our relations to one another. Chapter 3 is the administration of the mystery, chapter 4 is the administration of the Lord. There is the unity of the Spirit and the unity of the faith. The first is, that there was unity in spiritual affection, and then they were united in the truth; they did not hold the truth in any partial way. The unity of the faith, assures that we are known as believing the same thing. It is not a written creed which we subscribe to, but that which is held in faith. There is a connection between Paul being the prisoner of the Lord and our walking as saints; they were to walk worthy of the calling wherewith they had been called, with all lowliness and meekness; that walk would be in accord with Paul's condition as a prisoner. He was suffering on account of the truth, as he says, "for which also I suffer". He was bound with chains on account of the truth.

The unity of the Spirit is the unity of spiritual affection. You might have unity in an outward sort of way, with those you specially like, but the Holy Spirit is impartial. The affections which He promotes are such as include all the saints. The way things have turned out in the world, where suffering has been the part of many, tends to bring home to us what the early Christians had to endure. Being simply a Christian and asserting your loyalty to Christ brings about peculiar suffering. It almost implies that one is unfit for the world. The condition of the apostle is becoming more appreciated now, showing the truth involved at the beginning is held by the saints and the affections that go with it are there. This has come home to me very distinctly lately. I believe it is intended that the present conditions should promote these affections. The

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Holy Spirit has produced affections that are universal.

In Thessalonians the apostle had been as a nurse with them; then he brings in the word of God, which works effectually in those who believe; and then through it they had become imitators of the assemblies of God in Judea; they became catholic through the word of God. They came to recognise the principles that governed the assembly elsewhere and imitated them. We come through the word into these affections. We are saved from nationalism by the Spirit. Spiritual affections are not to be limited to local interest; they are universal. The unity of the Spirit is the result of those affections which the Holy Spirit produces. The world is aiming at centralisation and unification, but the angels seem to be thwarting that. Binding the tares into bundles is the work of God. The enemy may suggest it, but it is really of God that men are prevented from forming a general confederacy; they will do it, but not till God lets them. But He is promoting this unity of the Spirit, unity of spiritual affections. It is the same in all countries, and unaffected by national feeling; it is a catholic idea.

Lowliness and meekness show how it comes about, but even with those, diligence is enforced. The doctrinal ground is that there is one body, one Spirit, and one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism. These are truths that apply everywhere. The unity of the faith is connected with intelligence as to the truth, but the unity of the Spirit is more connected with the affections. The fact of the Holy Spirit being here ensures the unity being here potentially, but what the apostle looks at more is the unity of spiritual affections. We are to keep it in the bond of peace. You have the Holy Spirit and I have the Holy Spirit, then what about the relationship that should exist between us? That makes it practical. We are brought back

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to original conditions. The effect of all this has been to put the saints where they were at the beginning to some extent. The difference between a true Christian and the world has become most pronounced. The reproach tends to drive us together and to give us a desire for the fellowship and the love that we find in the Christian circle. So you have a kind of headstone in that way. He who has laid the foundation finishes it. God turns the world upside down. Christianity is finality. There is no idea in it of coming short; the divine end is reached.

We have the additional thought of the administration of Christ in the gifts, so that we should arrive at these things; but it is very comforting to know that it will be finished; the Lord will do it. There is a working up to a correspondence with what was at the beginning, not in bulk, but in quality. The headstone is what Christ is in the affections and intelligence of the saints, according to what He is in His beauty. The Lord's supper is intended to bring about this result; it brings in Christ according to what He is for God and what He is to us. That is what is to be seen; that is to cover it; it is to be Christ. The things the Lord says to Philadelphia show that they had a great appreciation of Him personally. He says of the overcomer, "I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God". (Revelation 3:12) That is what the overcomer gets.

Mephibosheth is a type of an Ephesian Christian; all he wanted was that the king should come back. Let the servant have the land; he was thinking about the king That is what the Holy Spirit produces in our hearts Ziba did not love David; he only regarded him for the sake of the goods. Christ is regarded by many for the sake of the advantages He confers.

The unity of the faith is a very important point, because whilst we may talk about our affections, we may not be agreed the truth, and the Lord's desire

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is that we should be agreed in the truth. It is the system of truth that has come out in Christ, that has to be held in faith; it is not to be held in books. It is not what we have in books, not even the Bible, because when this was written the Bible was not all written. The dispensation of God is said to be in faith. In the Mosaic system the things were written down. Romans 10, says that the righteousness of the law was laid down in writing by Moses. That is not Christianity. We have holy writings, but Christ is the righteousness of faith. The doctrines of Christianity are in faith, and we have obeyed them from the heart; we have the outline of sound words in faith. This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. It refers to the system of truth which the apostles promulgated. The Jewish system fitted into the world system, whereas the Christian system does not fit into the world. It gets the victory over the world. The great thing for us is to have the outline of the truth, but not in books. The library will not do, however good it is. The gifts from Christ are in view of this; that the saints should arrive at the unity of the faith. If you depend on the library you are not a full-grown man. The truth must be effective in the soul. The thing is to be sure that you have it in faith. There will be no disagreements between us if things are held in that way. In Christendom things are put down in a book, The thirty-nine articles may contain the great doctrines of Christianity, but they are not in faith. He that cometh to God must believe that He is; that is your individual faith. In Jude the faith that we have is to be contended for. We are to be all holding the same thing; if we disagree there is something wrong. One does not like to be on the ground of mutual concessions; the thing is to have things in faith.

There is a difference in growth, in stature and in

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intelligence, and a brother may not have reached a very high standard, but what he has will fit in with what is more advanced. He and the brother who is more advanced may get on very well together. "Till we all come ... ... at the full grown man". It is the end to be attained. I have no doubt that at Ephesus there was something very near it. The Ephesians began with about twelve men; they all received the Spirit at the same time. The principle throughout Christianity is equality: what you lack I supply, and what I lack you supply. It is according to the measure of each part. The headstone binds, and it is ornamental. Paul as a wise architect had laid the foundation; so he says, Let every man take heed how; that refers to the plan; and what he builds, which refers to the material. You have the plan and the specifications before you. "Till we all come". I do not suppose anyone could take it all in. The heavenly city is the full result of all this; it is the measure of a man. You do not lower the standard because of the conditions.

Verse 14 would show the urgent need of what we have spoken of; because we see people carried away by everything that comes along. Systematised error is a dreadful thing. It is framed to deceive the people of God, whereas all that we have been looking at is to prevent it, and to build us up in love. We are to arrive at the knowledge of the Son of God. Paul says in Romans that Christ was "declared to be the Son of God with power ... ... by the resurrection from the dead". (Romans 1:4) He came out in that way in raising the dead, so that what is revealed is for us, His dignity and power. Such things bring to light that He is the Son of God. As Head He is Man, as Son of God He is presented in power and dignity, and for God's pleasure. I think Philadelphia answers to Ephesus, only, of course, it is limited. "A little power", instead of much power.

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ADMINISTRATION

Revelation 4:1 - 8; Matthew 28:9, 10, 16 - 20; Acts 1:1 - 5, 8

I desire to speak of the administration and dignity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and have put these scriptures together to show how the subject is presented by Matthew, and in the Acts by Luke. John is, as ever, the reserve man, the disciple whom Jesus reserved for the emergency that was foreknown to Him, hence we have with John in Revelation that which is in the way of reserve. He appears, not in the office of an apostle, but as a brother and a companion of suffering saints. In our days it is a matter of immense importance to have a brother such as John, and a companion, one who suffered in the kingdom and patience in Jesus; these two go together. In the light of the kingdom and in the enjoyment of its power, we can afford to be patient.

John was in Spirit on the Lord's day, and would have his face toward heaven, as we all, if we are spiritual, would desire to have on the first day of the week. He hears a voice behind him and says, "I turned back to see", not to hear; and having turned, he sees Christ, clothed with ample authority to enforce His will. In view of the working of man's will in the house of God, Christ is seen as furnished with the means of asserting His will; His countenance was like the sun shining in his power. John sees Him walking in the midst of the seven candlesticks, evidently hampered as regards the display of His affections, for He is girt with a golden girdle, but His will must prevail.

After this John is taken up to heaven and he sees a door opened in heaven. If we follow in John's way we shall see these opened doors, "I have set before thee an opened door", says the Lord to Philadelphia:

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a door that had been opened. John sees a door opened in heaven and hears a voice saying, "Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter". He is allowed to see a throne standing in the heavens. He had already seen the Judge walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. It is a very solemn thing to see the Lord moving about with eyes of flaming fire, seeing everything, and armed with power to enforce His will. Every-thing that has occurred in that which professes to be the house of God shall come under the special observation of Christ. In regard of the work of building, Paul says, "the fire shall try every man's work". (1 Corinthians 3:13) Not simply the whole structure, but every man's work shall be tried by itself, of what sort it is.

John sees a throne standing in heaven. We have come to a remarkable time in the history of this world. Thrones do not seem to stand, but this throne is said to stand. John sees it standing in the heavens, and One on it with ample power for the enforcement of the will of God in this creation. The creation of God is in view, not now the house of God, and this throne stands; it is far beyond the reach of democratic influences; it cannot be swept away with any democratic flood. John sees the One sitting there like a jasper and a sardine stone, and the rainbow is there. That is a beautiful touch. There is no rainbow round any human throne. The very best covenant a king can make depends on what he is, not only in his heart, but in regard to his ability. When we come to God's throne, the rainbow is there, a token of the covenant made ages before. There it stands, the bow that God set in the clouds. "It shall be a covenant between me and you and the beasts of the earth". (Genesis 9:13) God never forgets His covenant. He not only has the disposition, but He has the power to carry out His designs of love.

Now the idea of a covenant in Scripture is a

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much more extensive one than most of us are disposed to think. It is God's way of dealing with man. He graciously condescends to take account of us as we are. We are very limited. Paul, one of the very greatest of men, knew but in part and prophesied in part. God takes account of our limitations and expresses His disposition towards us in such a form that it can be taken into our minds and hearts. So we find the principle of a covenant from the beginning, both with Adam and Noah. When God sets His throne in the heavens, He is not forgetting the covenant He made with man on the earth. Let us not be forgetful of the full meaning of the signs that God gives to us.

In the Lord's supper we have a sign; the bread and the cup are tokens to our hearts of divine love. Let us not be forgetful of that. They speak to our hearts of the love which is in Christ Jesus. We are in the covenant of that blessed Man who is indeed a divine person. The cup presents to us the love that should govern the heart of every Christian. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, but it is all in Christ. God has given to us that which constantly reminds us of that, a sign for our hearts of what is in His heart. He has found an outlet for His love in the death of Christ, and an inlet for the same love into my heart by the Holy Spirit. The cup is the new covenant in Christ's blood. As intelligent creatures we look up to the rainbow and enjoy what God has engaged Himself to centuries ago. So we, in the power of the Spirit, can enjoy what God has given to us in Christ, the unlimited love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So in regard to the throne; there it is, the token of God's engagement in regard to His creation. It is our privilege to look on that bow and be assured that, although creation groans and travails in pain together until the present moment, yet its deliverance is

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nigh. This throne is the assurance to our hearts that God will intervene and secure the complete deliverance of the creation. "For thy pleasure they are and were created". (Revelation 4:11) God is going to have all for His pleasure. So the throne is to that end, that He may secure the complete emancipation of creation from the thraldom of Satan. That is what John sees in the throne.

Then the elders are there, also on thrones, for the One on the throne is surrounded by those who have intelligent sympathy. Alongside the elders were four living creatures. We see thus the manner of God's throne and of His administration. It is supported by elders, men of experience in the ways of God, now crowned and enthroned. Then the creatures themselves, the representatives of the whole creation, are there; they are living creatures. The creation has been brought under the power of sin and death, but these are living creatures; they are executors of the throne. The heads of the various families are to be the executors of this wonderful throne. They ascribe holiness to the One who sits on it, for it is the throne of God.

We have come to a period in which human thrones are simply crumbling; they are about to be swept away, but here is one that is set in the heavens. How encouraging for our hearts! In the book of Ezekiel, chapter 1, you have a parallel passage, and I want to call attention to the point the Spirit makes as regards Him who sits on the throne. He says "From the appearance of his loins upwards and the appearance of his loins downwards was as the appearance of fire ... ... as the bow that is in the cloud". It is Christ who sits on the throne, and the measurement is from the loins, upwards and downwards. I take that to refer to the affections of Christ as going out in sympathy to others. In John 7 from the inward parts of the believer flow out rivers of

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living water. So in connection with the bow we see the faithfulness of God to His creation in the blessed Man who is taken account of from the loins upward and downward; the sympathies of a man are on that almighty throne, and yet with power to carry out the will of God.

Now I turn to Matthew, who presents to us the administration of the gospel. I would dwell on the manner in which He sets up the means of administration for His disciples here, pending the establishment of the kingdom publicly. You will observe that all is given in administrative dignity in Matthew. He sends a message to His brethren. He owns them as His brethren, but He says; Tell them to go into Galilee. It is a dignified message from the Administrator to those who were to be associated with Him in a subordinate way in administration. If we are set up here in any way, there is to be a respectful recognition of the dignity of Christ as set over us. Matthew, in presenting the transfiguration, says His countenance was like the sun. That is the touch he gives us, which is in keeping with what he has in his mind. We must recognise the dignity of this great Person. All have to pay worshipful reverence to Him. In sending the message to His disciples, He tells them to go to Galilee, to a mountain, and they will see Him there. We have to learn that. It is not here the blessed enjoyment of privilege in the assembly. You go, and you see Him there. So it says, in Matthew 28:17, "when they saw him, they worshipped him". That was very suitable. The Lord would fortify our hearts against the present current of the world, which is seen in the way men speak evil of dignities, and seek to overthrow all that speaks of the authority of God. Here in Matthew 28 it is not worship in the assembly; it is the respectful regard that we have of Christ as set up in the place of authority; "but some doubted". Alas!

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if there is a doubt in our hearts. Let the Holy Spirit rebuke in our hearts every doubt in regard to Christ, in regard to His dignity and ability to enforce the will of God.

In verse 18 He speaks to them. It is the most wonderful speech that ever issued from a throne; for it was what you might call a speech from the throne. He summons His immediate associates, those He had selected to be with Him, and this is His speech: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth". Do we believe it? Let us not doubt; let us be sure of the power of the throne. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations". That is the commission. What joy it would have given to the heart of John and Peter and to all of them! The more they loved Him, the more it would be joy to their hearts to know that He had all power. "Go and baptise all nations". He does not raise the question whether the nations would accept baptism. The greatness of the power for it was too much to admit of any such thought at this moment, but no one with spiritual instincts would refuse such a baptism as this. It is to the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That is what we are baptised to. The Lord does not suggest that anyone would refuse. Only the will of man, blinded by the enemy, would refuse such a baptism. It is not the baptism of repentance; it is baptism to all that God is in Christ. "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you". After baptism comes the authority of God in our souls. Baptism is perfectly futile without that. If your baptism has not been accompanied by faith and by obedience from the heart to that form of teaching into which you have been instructed it is null and void. Israel were all baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, but with many of them God was not well pleased.

I only dwell now on the administrative side of

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baptism. They were to baptise all nations, and to teach them that the will of God must be done. We have here, in effect, the speech from the throne, the commission, and the teaching; that is to say, the law. We are brought into a system in which Christ administers, in which there is a law, the law of His commandments. When I say law, I do not wish to make you legal; but it is obvious that if we are to be in the fear of Christ there must be rule. In the tabernacle of old and in the temple when you entered there were cherubim in every direction. It is important for young Christians to bear that in mind. There is no room in the house of God for man's will. The things that God taught the apostles must be carried out. He said to them, "I am with you alway". How comforting that is. He says, as it were, You may be assured that in all your undertakings, as you are in the execution of my commission, I will support you. That is Matthew.

Now we come to Luke and I want to point out that the Lord Jesus, in commissioning the apostles, does everything by the Spirit; Acts 1:2. There is no mention of that in Matthew. I would call attention to the manner in which Luke introduces and develops this great subject of administration. He says, "after that he through the Holy Spirit had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen". Luke immediately introduces the leading characteristic of Christianity, the presence of the Holy Spirit. Matthew may go on to another dispensation, and does, but Luke is engaged with the special feature of Christianity. I mention this so that we might see how the Holy Spirit must be recognised in our souls in this great matter. In the carrying on of any little administration for Christ, it is to be in the power of the Spirit; all else is to be refused. Even the Lord Himself begins by commanding His apostles by the Holy Spirit.

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Then another feature that Luke presents is that Christ assembles with His disciples. It is one of the most remarkable expressions. Think of the Lord of glory assembling with men! Mark, it does not state that they assembled and He came, but He assembled with them. It is as if the king entered into parliament and took part in it in his own official dignity. Now it is in this remarkable connection that He says, I command you not to place yourselves in any position where you are not in the power of the Spirit. Take note of this. The Spirit is the Father's gift that involves Christianity. He assembled with them and commanded them that they should not leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came. He presses upon them that as He began by the Spirit to command them, they also must carry on their administration by the Spirit. These are features of the beginning, and if we want to get into Christianity, we must go back to the beginning. I would specially commend this to you; the position the Lord takes up as assembling with His disciples and the prominence He gives to the Holy Spirit, both in His own administration and in theirs, have come before me lately with very great power. If they are to be His witnesses, this must, and can only be, in the power of the Spirit.

I would point out another feature in a passage I have not read. In the end of Luke He is carried up to heaven from Bethany, and the disciples return to Jerusalem and go into the temple. Now in this narrative it states they returned from the mount called Olivet, and further that they went into the upper room at Jerusalem. We have all these features in Christianity. They went into the upper room not into the temple; the Holy Spirit's activities were in connection with the upper room. The Holy Spirit came upon them there. The eleven, the women, the mother of the Lord, were all abiding in that

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upper room; there they prayed, and were of one accord, and the Holy Spirit came upon them. These are the features that marked Christianity at the beginning and I believe the Lord would lead us back to them, especially to the recognition of the blessed Spirit of God which we have received.

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PRIESTHOOD AND THE APOSTLES

Luke 24:50 - 53; Acts 1:1 - 14

I want to speak, as shortly and precisely as possible, about the results for God of the ministry of Christ as presented in Luke, and to show in the second narrative by the same writer how this resulted in the apostles becoming the material for the assembly. Luke in his prefatory note says, that he writes methodically, in the order of moral sequence rather than historically. He has certain results in his mind, so he begins with the priesthood; that is the clue to his method. Zacharias is of the order of Aaron, and his wife is of the daughters of Aaron. Luke begins and ends with the priestly family; he begins with the Aaron of the Old Testament, and ends with the antitypical Aaron of the New, and His family, and all that lies between, dear brethren, is really tinged with the heavenly colour. Throughout the gospel the priestly spirit is seen. Without saying that Christ could be a priest in the official sense, which He could not be while on earth for He was of the tribe of Judah, yet He was a priest in sympathy with and in regard of, God and in priestly service in the way of relief and sympathy towards man.

I would draw attention to John's narrative by way of contrast. Luke tells us why he wrote, and so does John. Luke says that he wrote to Theophilus that he might have certainty as to the things wherein he had been instructed. Many had been instructed in the doctrines of Christianity, but they were not so sure about them, so he establishes us in the certainty of the things in which we have been instructed. John's reason for writing is that the saints might believe that Jesus is the Son of God; he seeks to lead the saints on to spiritual lines. John groups together certain miracles, which he calls signs, which

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he brings forward in order to call attention to something else. As a sign-post gains our attention to direct us to something outside itself so John uses signs, and the subjects of them, to direct the mind to the spiritual things that God wishes to teach the saints. These are greater than the mere relief of the body set forth in the signs, for, after all, even those that were raised from the dead necessarily died again later on. John tells us that God is a Spirit, and hence things must be developed on spiritual lines, and the believer being born of the Spirit is spiritual. "God is a Spirit, and they who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth". (John 4:23)

The great subject of priesthood runs through Luke, and is seen in praise to God and spiritual joy. We begin with Elisabeth, who is seen praising God. Mary is found praising God, also, Zacharias, and the Lord Jesus is seen praising God and rejoicing in spirit. Jesus is born at Bethlehem, and the message of His birth comes to the shepherds, tidings of great joy. Heaven comes into view, the heavenly host praising and saying, "Glory to God". It was intelligent worship. Not only was all that God sought for in us found by Him in Christ, but there was also secured "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good pleasure in men". (Luke 2:14)

Turning now from the birth of Christ to Him in the full height of His ministry, He sends out the seventy, and when they return more or less triumphant, He tells them not to rejoice in the devils being subject to them, but to rejoice rather that their names were written in heaven. He would encourage us not to rejoice in any outward victory the Lord may give; after any victory the servant has to return to Gilgal, the place of circumcision.

Luke's gospel is marked throughout by priestly grace, and at the end the Lord is seen leading His disciples outside the city to Bethany, and He blesses

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them. It, is a point of great moment that God is looking for a priestly state. Priesthood is not an attainment, but a calling; everyone who has the Spirit is a priest, but a priestly state is necessary in order to serve as a priest. The Lord left nothing undone that He had to do down here; all was finished; there was the formation of a priestly family here, and in principle that is the assembly. The apostle could instruct, but the Lord alone can give understanding in all things. "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire". (Revelation 3:18) The Lord would open up the depths of the Old Testament, and under His instruction we should be thoroughly furnished unto all good works; it was He who expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Then opened He their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures.

In the beginning of Acts we have the same company in their attitude manward rather than Godward, and being assembled together with them, He commands them; that company of despised Nazarenes had Him with them as Head, till they should receive the Spirit from heaven. In verse 6 it is simply they were come together, it is not a question of His commanding, but of their asking of Him; that is, it is a question of prayer. In the secret of our souls it is for us to apprehend Him in this light and be together in prayer. Christ leaves them here, the administrative company. There is a distinct spiritual significance attaching to mount Olivet which does not attach to Bethany; it was the retreat of Christ. In John 7:53, we read that all went to their own homes, but Jesus went to the mount of Olives; one has to know what it is to be solitary with the Lord. Olivet is the place of the Spirit, the place of heavenly association. They returned from there, not to the temple, for the Spirit leads them to the upper room. Christianity began at the upper room not at the temple. The appearance

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was insignificant outwardly, but the apostles of Christ were there and His authority was vested in them. We are brought into the company and the security of those in whom Christ has vested His authority.

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JACOB RETURNING TO BETHEL

Genesis 30:25; Genesis 32:1, 2, 24 - 31

I would like you to notice that the birth of Joseph evidently occasioned a desire to move on the part of Jacob, Joseph being a type of the Lord Jesus. As he came into Jacob's circumstances, Jacob says to Laban, "Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place"; that is, he felt that he was not then in his own place. This is an illustration of many believers at the present time, whose circumstances are not of divine appointment; who have sought after advantage in the world and gained it, but find themselves spiritually in precarious surroundings and even discomfort. No amount of cattle can make up for the loss of soul-satisfaction. Although Joseph was but a babe, it seems as if it came into Jacob's heart that his circumstances were incompatible with the presence of him who was a type of Christ. Is it not often so with us? We may pursue a course of worldly advantage until the Lord intrudes Himself, and then all is changed. Do you wish to move out of these circumstances that are incompatible with Christ? All that is not in keeping with Christ is detrimental to our soul's welfare.

Jacob was a true child of Abraham after the Spirit. You may ask, How can we test that? It is most important that every soul should be assured of his standing. There is a classification which goes on in the world, but there is a spiritual one which goes on all the time. It is for each one to be sure that he belongs to the household of faith. How are we to know? I will give you a test. I will show you from Jacob how one may determine his status in regard of God. Adam was commanded not to do something, but he did it; that man was marked out as wanting in obedience. Abraham was told by

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God to get out of his country, his kindred, and his father's house; and being commanded thus it is said he obeyed, although evidently there were no railroads, guide-posts, or maps; indeed, it says in Hebrews that "he went but not knowing whither he went". (Hebrews 11:8) Do not ask any questions when God's will is involved. Abraham OBEYED! Have you obeyed the divine command? This is the first principle of faith; indeed, faith is announced for obedience among the nations. The gospel is on the principle of FAITH; the principle of FAITH to FAITH.

To whom is the Holy Spirit given? To those who obey God. We must be obedient. It is said of Jacob he obeyed his father and mother; Genesis 28:7. I want to say a word especially to the very youngest here; the authority of God is vested for you in your, parents. It is a test to your faith as to whether you obey not merely your father but also your mother. The Lord was subject to His parents, not only His father but His mother. God has placed authority in those easiest to submit to, the ones who have affection for you. It is said of Jacob that he obeyed his father and mother; this is real evidence that he was a child of FAITH therefore, in what I have to say, I do not wish to detract from Jacob in any way, for he shines as a child of FAITH. Yet, while his parents told him to go to Padan-Aram for a wife, they did not tell him to stay there twenty years. They simply directed him to go and seek a wife, but he remained there many years. Is there not a hint to us in this, of many souls who begin with the obedience of faith, and then find interests in the world or in business, till they are choked with thorns and briars and make no spiritual headway. Jacob was held in circumstances not of faith, but of sight.

In order to meet this in Jacob God brings in Christ typically, and so after Joseph was born Jacob virtually says, 'This is not my place'. Oh! believer, the Lord

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has a place for you, and it is for you to go there. God gave Jacob a taste of that place before he went to Padan-Aram, and he never forgot it. Jacob had come to the place, and took of its stones for a pillow and lay down to sleep. "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it". There he was, as you may say, a poor lone man, lying on the earth, and yet all heaven is looking on and is interested in him. Jacob awakes out of sleep, and comes to a judgment about the place. God, as it were, let heaven down and surrounded Jacob with it at the outset of his spiritual career, and that impression never left him. God ever reverts to it, too.

Well, the thought comes into Jacob's heart, 'This is not my place'. It seems as if Joseph could not be associated with it. It suggests to us that lowly Man once laid in a manger, who entered into all human circumstances, sin apart. Can I be at home where He was a stranger? Jacob said to Laban, "Let me go to mine own place". But Jacob, alas! tarries in spite of his resolution until God speaks to him as recorded in Genesis 31:3. God Himself now says, as it were, to Jacob, 'Your resolve must be put into effect'. Beware, Christian, if you tarry in the world. God never gives a Christian up. I should not like you to think a believer could be lost; that is impossible. I would I could convey to you what God feels towards you. Someone else has said, that, even if you turn your back to Him He shines on it. The sun remains in heaven whatever I may do; my tiny movements do not alter the position of the sun, or reduce the heat or light of it. Jacob is an illustration in this way of what God is to the believer. When Jacob weakens in his resolve God appears and says, 'Jacob, what did you do at Beth-el?' He did not remind him that he said it was a dreadful

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place, and that he bargained with him there, but that he had set up a pillar and anointed it there. God refers to the spiritual act of Jacob. God would remind you of what is spiritual in your life, not the crooked things, but of course these must be judged; there must be self-judgment, though it is the reign of grace now; righteousness is going to reign in the millennium, but grace reigns through righteousness in this dispensation. The history of Jacob is a wonderful illustration of it.

Jacob was clever enough to know how to get gain. It is not that God is not interested in your temporal things. He will help you even in your business. God helped Jacob thus; the ringstraked, speckled and grisled cattle, all became his. But now Jacob must go to Beth-el: he must go to the house of God; it was time for movement. We may say, that we have our place in heaven for the future, but there is the house of God now. The gospel, we may say, is the presentation of God in Christ. He is God of the house of God. His rule is universal, but His love is told out in the house. He says to Jacob, "I am the God of Bethel". It is as if God says, 'Remember the night when the light was received in your soul; you did not appropriate the privileges it opened up to you, but turned to earthly things. You have been a long time in this way, now return to the place of blessing; go back to Beth-el'. How anyone who loves God can stay away from the circle of God's people I do not know. Love would say, 'I must be there'. If you love God you will also love His people- Psalm 26:8 says, "Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth". God says, as it were, Jacob, you must be there; He speaks in language which impels him to go. God encourages Jacob to go. What a God!

Now in Genesis 32:1 it says, "Jacob went on his

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way", the way of love and faith. Are you on that way? The chapter shows how the divine interest continues. The Lord appeared in a dream at Beth-el and Padan-Aram, but now angels of God meet him. As we take our way towards the house we need succour; even the Lord Himself was ministered to by angels. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14) Now Jacob was an heir; the angels of God ministered to him. I might enlarge on this. I would not deny that the angels might help us in our ordinary affairs, in our business. We may lose some advantages, but the angels make up for them; but they will not help you beyond the prosperity of your soul. If you get helped beyond the prosperity of your soul it is not the angels of God that help you then, but other agencies. When Jacob saw them, he said, "This is God's host"; not in the form of a question as at Bethel; now it is a definite statement. "And he called the name of that place Mahanaim"; that is, "two hosts"; the witness of God's interest is complete. Testimony is established in the mouths of two witnesses; but there were two hosts. God showed His intense interest. He helps us providentially; but God does not tempt anybody; He will not help you if it will damage you.

At the close of chapter 32 we get the end of this part of Jacob's education. He is not now with any one, but left alone, and his soul had to be adjusted with God. It says he was left alone; his cattle, and his wives and children had gone over the brook. It was a wonderful moment in his soul's history. Angels had appeared twenty years before, and now there wrestled a Man with him until the breaking of the day. Verses 24 - 29 we have read many times aid ministered from them, yet the passage is so full it always yields something for the soul. It is the supreme moment of Jacob's life; it is not an angel

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that is having to say to him now, he is face to face with a MAN. God draws near as a Man, with all His tender sympathies. An angel cannot express what God is; he may protect us from damage, but reveal the heart of God he cannot. God in a Man draws near as we are alone. Have you had secret exercises with God? There must be a secret transaction with God in Christ, or we shall never be fitted for the house of God. The wrestling went on "until the breaking of the day"; it is day now. Luke says, "The dayspring from on high has visited us" (Luke 1:78); that is Christ. Think of the light breaking in from that day! In a sense there is really no other. In the beginning God called the light day; on the fourth day He set a great luminary in the heavens; it was typically Christ. Again, according to Ezekiel, there was the appearance of a Man above the expanse, in the brightness and the glory there. The prophet speaks of "the appearance of his loins even upward, from the appearance of his loins even downward" (Ezekiel 1:27); in this, attention is called to the affections whether upward or downward. The Man in the brightest spot in the day has affection for me; He loves me. I would that the light of that day should stream into our souls.

Jacob wrestled with the Man until the breaking of the day. I fear the day has not dawned in the souls of many Christians. Have you passed in soul through the evening first and then the morning? Jacob had the evening first before he had the morning; that means self-judgment and self-denial; nothing enters into that day but what is of Christ. Then Jacob says, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me". How the Lord is pleased when we reach that point! He blessed Jacob there and gave him a new name. The name Jacob belonged to the old order, to those twenty years of crookedness and waywardness. A new spiritual era has dawned, and a new

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Man in it; we must have a status there. If you had all the titles that a king could give you, it would not add one bit to your title there. Only Christ can give you a status there. "Thy name is no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed".

That is the Christian; he has not yet reached the house, but he is on the way to it. Do not assume that you can come into fellowship with any natural advantages; there must be a new name. Israel means prince; "for as a prince hast thou power with God". If we could take all that in how ennobled we would be! One is found in fellowship not according to what he may be in this world, but according to what he is with God.

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Pages 322 - 354. "Priestly Energy and The House of God", Manchester, November and December, 1919. (Volume 42)

THE HOUSE OF GOD

Luke 14 21 - 23; Luke 15:22 - 24; Acts 10:44 - 48

I wanted to say a word about the house of God. The evangelist Luke presents it to us, for he speaks of it in connection with the reception of the Gentiles. In that way he has in view, as I apprehend, its relation to the gospel testimony. So in his gospel he speaks of the household, presenting the Lord's ministry in regard of it, in order to show how the Lord had the house of God in view, so that believers should graduate from their own houses into the house of God. Hence in the fourth chapter Luke speaks of Peter's wife's mother being taken with a great fever. The Lord stood over her and rebuked the fever; and it left her, and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. The Lord in that way introduced the principle of serving those in the household. In the fifth chapter you get the paralytic; he was evidently a man of small circumstances; the Lord sent him back into his house. He was therefore instructed how to bear things, how to carry things, instead of being carried by others. In that same chapter, Levi, who is the counterpart of the paralytic, made a great entertainment for the Lord, and had in his house publicans and sinners, such guests as were in keeping with the Lord's ministry of grace which Luke presents. So in chapter 10 the Lord enters into Martha's house and the point the Spirit makes in regard of that incident is that the house is the place where we acquire teaching; we become teachable. It is a very great feature in connection with Christianity. We must become teachable if we are to be taught. Whilst the teaching may be perfect, it must be made effective.

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So the Lord is speaking in the house, uttering divine thoughts, as He only could, for He was the Word. Martha was missing it, but Mary was gaining, for she was teachable, and appreciative of the word. I commend the tenth chapter to the young; it presents being teachable; you must be instructed. In the house of God the mind of God and the Spirit of God are to be set forth down here in the presence of men, and obviously those who compose it must be instructed in divine thoughts. The Lord, in His ministry according to Luke, led up to efficiency in those who were formed in the house of God. Now when you come to the thirteenth chapter, the Lord says to the Jews, "Your house is left unto you". The principle of it applies to the local meeting: we have to be on our guard, that we may not be left. It is hardly "desolate" in this chapter: it was left unto them. However much men might see, it was without God, without Christ. We must never force Him to say, "Your house". The Lord had said elsewhere, "My Father's house"; now He says, "Your house". They left God out. It is a serious matter to leave God out. How serious to have Him out of our individual things; but how much more serious to leave Him out in regard of His house! Hence He says, "Your house is left unto you".

The ostensible house in Jerusalem being left in man's hands, the Lord opens up in the next chapter the thought of God's house. He is in the house of a ruler; there is a man there with the dropsy, and the Lord heals him. If man's will has shut God out in the public government of the house, there is the grace of God in Christ. In these last days the Lord has been working with individuals, so as to make way for the truth of the house of God. We must not give up the truth, however letter we may have of the concrete thing. So the Lord comes in and restores the man; then He begins to touch certain principles which are I

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essential to our apprehension and enjoyment of the truth of the house. He marked those who chose out the chief rooms. We have to be careful about this. If the Lord gives you a prominent place, He will support you in it; but if you take it without His support you will be humbled, not only in the presence of the Lord, but in the presence of those that have been invited, in the presence of your brethren. Not that the Lord has any pleasure in humbling us publicly, but it is unavoidable. If the Lord has to say, "Come down", you have shame in the presence of the Lord and of the other guests.

So the Lord says in grace, Begin at the bottom; then you give. Him opportunity to exalt you, and He does that as you are fit for it. He loves to do it. He loves to take up the beggar from the dunghill; He ennobles him, so that he can sit among princes, in keeping with the princes; there is no discrepancy. He belongs to a kingdom of priests. But then let us listen to it. The Lord advises guests how to behave themselves. Now He says to the man who made the feast, I have a word for you. If you are acting in the way of hospitality; that is, like God, do not invite your rich neighbours, because they have the means of recompense. That is the principle of the world. The world always expects a return. That is not God's way. God's way is to invite those who have no means of return, according to His own great heart of love, without any expectation of return. He delights to do it. It is a great principle in the house for we are prone to bring in the principles of the world in the exercise of our hospitality, whereas if we have to do with the house of God, we must learn to do things as God does them. The Corinthians were disregarding this injunction; the rich sat by themselves, and the poor were despised.

A man sat there and listened to all these remarks, and he says, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in

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the kingdom of God". He says in effect, I should like to be where these principles rule. The world is all disorganised, particularly so now; so the man appreciated the thought of being where the will of God should prevail. He says, It would be blessed to eat bread there, to take one's food without anxiety or fear, conscious of the will of God being maintained in the kingdom of God. The Lord proceeds to open up this: "A certain man made a great supper". He answers the evident interest of the listener. He says, I will give you a conception of what really it is to eat bread in the kingdom of God. I need not remind you that the one who made the great supper is God. Think of how much that means! It brings to our attention God's celebration of accomplished righteousness: there could be no kingdom established apart from that. God having Christ in heaven, the parable supposes Christ having died and the Holy Spirit being here, God would intimate His desire. It necessitates not only the kingdom, but the house.

The Lord would say, It is not only that bread is to be eaten in the kingdom: it is to be eaten in the house, supported by the kingdom. We partake of the divinely provided food in the house. How blessed that is spiritually! I commend it to you, especially to the young. God has food, not only in His kingdom, but in His house. The kingdom is a wide conception: it is essential in regard to security and public order, but it does not delight affection; there is the parental affection and care of the house, so that the supper is in the house. I do not dwell on man's will in refusing it. The principle of refusal may appear in the believer: he may refuse to accept and appropriate all that is available spiritually. Many excuses were made: I just refer to them as indicative of man's will. We must be on our guard against this, natural feelings and the like. They stand in the way with many believers, hindering their enjoyment of the

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spiritual things that God has provided. "Then the master of the house being angry"; that is a serious word as applied to God. He was angry that men should despise such an opportunity. God celebrates the greatest possible thing, what Christ has accomplished for God's own glory, and man despises it. Now He says that the house must he filled, and it is filled, Thank God, nothing can stand in the way of that. The fulfilment of God's counsels cannot be prevented, so He uses a compelling power "Compel them to come in". God must have His house full He hates a void. Through Christ, God fills all things, and He fills His house with guests.

Now in Luke 15 I want to show you how the house is marked by merriment. There are those who think Christianity is dull; they do not seem to find the recompense that is there. The passage is so well known that it is difficult to speak about it to those present, but I want to show you how God is moved, how the blessed God Himself is capable of being moved. One might speak of the running, the father ran; but I would speak particularly of that peculiar action of his in falling on the neck of the prodigal. That shows the peculiar delight God had in the reception of the Gentiles. I read that passage in Acts 10 because it refers historically to what this parable teaches. I want to show you also the connection with the individual's household. I dwell on it because I am impressed with this, that God would use a Christian household to form us for His own house. So Cornelius was a pious man, a praying man, and one that feared God with all his house. Now that was a remarkable household. Cornelius was a man who did not yet know God revealed in Christ; he was not even a believer, had not had the gospel presented to him; and yet he was a devout man; he feared God, and his house feared God, and he prayed to God alway.

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Now it is remarkable that the Spirit of God should have found such a man among the Gentiles. We have instances of conversion, but this man was already converted; he was a devout man, feared God, and prayed. An angel of God comes to him. We can understand what the Gentiles were for he was a representative of them. We can understand, now that the veil is removed from the Gentile world, how God looked out, and His eye rested on that man. For as Paul says, "Is he not the God of the Gentiles? Yea, of the Gentiles also". Those that fear Him are accepted. So in this long chapter, we get the presentation of the gospel to this man and his friends. He sent for Peter, and Peter comes. How important that Cornelius should be prepared to listen. I would remark, dear friends, on the importance of being prepared to listen. Peter opens his mouth and presents the word to him; and it says, "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word".

I wonder if we are accustomed to hear. The Lord had said, in Luke 4, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears". It is one thing to have something fulfilled in your ears, and another to have it fulfilled in your heart. In Luke 4 they heard words such as had never been spoken before, gracious words; they were fulfilled in their ears, and yet in a moment they would have cast Him down the hill and destroyed Him. Such is the capability of man. We may hear with our ears and not understand with our hearts. So it says, "the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word". They had not only heard with their ears, but with their hearts. The Holy Spirit fell upon them. It is the same word as in Luke 15 where the father fell on the prodigal's neck. The Holy Spirit fell on them. It was God's delight in the returning prodigal. Do we take it in, that we of the Gentiles have been received in this

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blessed way, this magnanimous way, by the Spirit of God? As Paul says in Ephesians, "no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints". (Ephesians 2:19) That is a political thought; and then we have a part in the household of God. All that is following upon this blessed fact, for the Holy Spirit, according to Romans 5, carries into our hearts the love of God; He makes us to know that God loves us. Would that we had the consciousness of it we should become very different in many respects. It gives such superiority, the consciousness in one's heart of the love of God being there. The Holy Spirit fell upon them; it was an energetic action of the Spirit, taking possession of the returning Gentiles and incorporating them in the household. "As he fell on us at the beginning", Peter said. It was the same act, the same love, only He had a peculiar delight in the Gentile company. He saw the prodigal; He saw the Gentiles coming, and He meets them, the Holy Spirit falls upon them.

Now coming back to the fifteenth of Luke, we can understand what the feeling was. The prodigal is not said to be brought into the house; the servants were to bring the best robe out, without saying where it was. Now if you analyse the tenth of Acts, you will see how this comes into view in connection with the same thing. The great sheet was let down to Peter and taken up three times, and lastly it remained up. It meant that God was going to take His people into heaven, and that the Gentiles were brought into this flow of light. Peter had more light in his soul in the house of Cornelius than he had when he preached on the day of Pentecost; the light was greater. They all came in; there were no exceptions. It was a remarkable meeting; the word was preached in the light of heaven. The prodigal gets the best robe, the very best that God could give, conferred upon him; so it says, "Let us make merry"; it

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does not say, I will make merry. God would enlist the sympathy of all who were there. The elder brother was not sympathetic, but there were others who were; certainly the servant whom the elder brother spoke to was; he was quite sympathetic. What was going on? Do we know anything about it? Music and dancing. While it is in the light of heaven, Luke 15 is here on earth; it was in the hearing of the elder brother who was in the field; nevertheless the music and dancing were within his hearing. God graciously begged him to come in, but he had no sympathy. Have we sympathy and enjoyment in having part with what goes on? They began to be merry. The merriment has begun; do you think it has ended? I know it continues. What has been begun by the blessed God Himself continues. They began; it does not tell us who they were. So far as we know they were all in it except the elder brother. Alas for him! To remain outside is a reproach against God, and against those whom God has blessed.

Barzillai the Gileadite, who maintained David in his rejection, when the time came for David to return, was invited by David to return with him. Barzillai replied, 'I am too old; I have no taste for food'. Does that describe you? No taste for food? Then he says, 'I cannot appreciate singing men and singing women'. Poor Barzillai! He was a great man, but a very poor man in Jerusalem; he had no ability to enjoy it. David was going to live in Jerusalem, and he would have Barzillai too. Barzillai says, 'Chimham may go'. He did not disregard the thing, but he did not go. He did not enter into the divine sphere. He had no taste for food, for singing men or singing women. Have we the taste? How does it come about? We have to exercise our senses, taste, smell, hearing, feeling. I have to exercise all these in a spiritual way, otherwise

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I am lean and powerless for enjoyment. God would look for those who dwell in His house to be continually praising Him; the merriment is seen in those who are in the house. The prodigal is not said to be brought in because the house is composed of such as he. It is in such that God has delight. In Psalm 87 the singers as well as the players on instruments say, "All my springs are in thee". They find all their springs in that blessed sphere where the Holy Spirit is. They do not, as in the house, draw from any other source. The epistle to the Colossians is to exclude all other sources, for we are said to be filled full in Him. There is nothing outside of Christ; all our springs are in Him.

May God bless His word!

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THE TRANSITION PERIOD OF THE ASSEMBLY

Acts 11:19 - 30; Acts 13:1 - 3

We might consider the change from the conditions under which the assembly was in Jerusalem to what it became through Paul's ministry. After Saul was converted, much is made of the authority of the Lord, the way in which He protected and ordered things for the assembly, and then a large place is given to Peter's ministry, especially his visit to Caesarea and the circumstances connected therewith, all to show the great interest that God had in the Gentiles, so that they might have part in His house. What has to be noticed is the care with which God ordered things, lest there should be any feeling or breach, that the work of the Holy Spirit should co-ordinate with the twelve. Barnabas seems to come in as a sort of binding link between Jerusalem and the work of the Spirit at Antioch. We are told that he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith; a man without party prejudice or sectional feeling; a man who began his history as a son of consolation, and so served a good purpose in linking on the work at Antioch with Jerusalem, and bringing Saul, taking the place humbly, as it were, of an inferior, bringing in a man that he discerned to be suitable for the work that was opened up. "Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul; and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch".

Special attention is to be paid to the fact that Barnabas, having secured Saul, brings him to Antioch and they taught the crowd in the assembly. The use of the words "in the assembly" is significant, because it shows the manner of the teaching. One would gather that Barnabas and Paul, being there for a whole year, teaching in relation to the assembly,

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would bring in the truth of the assembly. Another feature is that the disciples were first called Christians there, as if to suggest that Barnabas and Paul brought forward the Christ, the anointed, not Jesus of Nazareth. Peter had been accustomed to emphasise "the name of Jesus of Nazareth". They were called Nazarenes. Philip preached Christ when in Samaria. Christians do not belong to a locality on earth, but to heaven. It would lead from localism to universalism. Christ is in heaven, and the bearing of that is universal. Jerusalem, of course, would fit in with Christ having come from the Jews. The woman of Samaria brought up the question of the difference between mount Gerizim and Jerusalem. The preaching of the Christ makes way for the truth of the house of God, which is a universal thought, neither national nor international, but outside all nations. The significance of the name coming in after the ministry of these two men at Antioch is worthy of note. All ministry now should have the effect of connecting saints with Christ and delivering them from localism and nationalism.

The "whole year" was a good period, a measured period, so that the ministry would have opportunity for effect. The teaching was in the assembly. The opening of the thirteenth chapter is linked up with this, the twelfth is a parenthesis. It shows that the assembly at Antioch afforded liberty for the Holy Spirit. First there was ministry, then liberty for the Holy Spirit to act sovereignly. These are the features that mark the assembly under Paul. I think love is the link that saves us from feeling arising; "Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim". It is bad to have envy, but it is bad to vex; in either case it is a work of the flesh, but envy is the more serious. At the end of the eleventh chapter you have the evidence of love. A famine is prophesied; they send out

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Barnabas in a spiritual way, and now he is sent back with Saul with the evidence of love. That was a sure guarantee against any feeling arising; it was the working of love. Paul says to the Philippians, "In the beginning of the gospel ... ... no assembly communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only". (Philippians 4:15) There seems to me to be a suggestion of mutuality in the communication, involving giving and receiving. One may be disposed to give, but it requires grace to receive too. The middle wall of partition had been broken down; they were reconciled in one body. It could not be effective unless there was this practical unity. If there is envy on the one side or vexing on the other, there is not that which is pleasing to God. The Lord intended to show that He was not limited to Jerusalem, but Jerusalem might become envious; hence the great care here. The man they sent was sent back again with the evidence of love, but Saul goes with him. Hence the link would be all the stronger. So too the work of God would be co-ordinated. The need in Judea became the occasion for the expression of love. It put to the test at Antioch the men that were well-to-do.

Comparing this passage with the one in 2 Corinthians, we can see what a portion the Lord had in it; they were messengers of the assembly, and were Christ's glory; God had His own portion in it. Concerning giving and receiving we are all put to the test. It says, "And they determined, according as any one of the disciples was well off, each of them to send ... ... which also they did". The determination was carried out. Titus was a fellow labourer, but the others were deputed messengers of the assembly. They were carrying the expression of love. It would be an additional link; things were working mutually. It seems to indicate great wisdom on God's part. We are so prone to become local, to attach too much

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importance to it, whereas the mind of God is that the work of the Holy Spirit is co-ordinated in the house. The Lord may move here today and there tomorrow, but it is all contributory to the well-being of the saints as a whole. Metropolitanism is contrary to the truth of the house of God. Up to this time the assembly at Jerusalem was recognised as the mother church; now emphasis is given to the assembly at Antioch. There was ministry to the Lord there, and then the Spirit is free to work upon the saints there to have fellowship in the apostolic mission that He was about to inaugurate and send out. The base for the moment was Antioch, but it is little heard of afterwards; the Spirit goes on to Corinth and Ephesus and other places. The point was to bring in the principle of universality connected with Christ in heaven. The great metropolis of Christendom, Rome, is in itself a local idea; it is a locality influencing a wider area. The great metropolis of Christendom is Babylon. God would show His great patience with Jerusalem, and it is shown here. Then in the fifteenth chapter you have it strengthened; when a matter of difficulty arose at Antioch, the Lord overruled it so that no objection arose, and it was settled according to God. National preference is ignored; that is the heavenly side.

The two epistles that specially develop the truth of the mystery, speak of love in those locally addressed, love to all saints. It is well to bear in mind that although there are perhaps only a few who are in the light of the assembly, the many are still to be regarded as of it, you never give them up in your affections. There is at present a great danger of going back to what earlier ministry delivered us from; that is, the setting up a kind of model of the assembly. We should never relinquish the saints, whatever their state or associations may be; they are of the assembly. We are to hold all the saints in

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our affections; the Lord never gives them up. You do not know them all, but the Lord knows them, and you are with Him about it. We come together in the light of the assembly, but if we are intelligent we do not assume to be a company based on the model of the assembly. You hold all the saints in your affections; you regret their absence; there are only certain ones available, and you go on with them but the others must not be forgotten. It keeps you in the truth of the house, otherwise you are on sectarian lines. If you speak of receiving into fellowship, you are apt to convey the thought of receiving into the company, a company that has an ecclesiastical status. I prefer what was said this morning, someone desires to break bread with us. It is one more available. The attitude of your soul towards all is that they might be with you. Breaking of bread is the expression of fellowship; in that way you keep right in your soul. It is the assembly you are occupied with. You are going on with all that are available, not assuming that you have all, because you have not got all.

You can only hold the Head for yourself, but you think of the members. "The head cannot say, I have no need of thee". That is what the members say, which is obviously wrong. The cannot there is moral; in the light of the body you cannot say this. The truth of the body held in the soul implies that we desire to have all the members, and we feel it if we have not. If we do not care for the members we do not care much for the Head. The house is for God, the body is for Christ. The body may be more limited in the working out of it. Every stone in the house is in the body. Luke 14 and 15, especially 15, help in regard to the house. The prodigal is not said to be brought into it; he is it in principle. When you come to the concrete idea, the house is the persons that are in it; "whose house are we".

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It is that which is before man, because the elder brother could hear the music and dancing.

Much is made of the Lord after the sin of Ananias and Sapphira; "believers were the more added to the Lord". So here; not only are they added, but they are exhorted to cleave to the Lord with purpose of heart. It is a question of the company continuing as a company. Acts 13:2, emphasises the fact that the assembly had been formed among the Gentiles. The Thessalonians became imitators of the assemblies in Judea, showing that they were still in view; but the Lord was leading on to a universal thought. Antioch is divinely addressed as an assembly, and had all the marks of an assembly. It answers to the thought of the assembly, that it should minister to Christ. Fasting is an evidence of great reality; when you have fasting, it shows that you are ready to give up what belongs to you legitimately for the sake of Christ. You might pass muster among Christians even without fasting. It was as if the Lord said, This is the company that I can identify Myself with wholly; they are with Me. It is the sovereign action of the Holy Spirit in sending out the apostles to the Gentiles, but associating those assemblies with Him in the act. There were other companies, of course. The teaching for a whole year is evidently at the bottom of this. The result of the ministry of Paul and Barnabas would be: I must be for Christ; these men are for Him. They became Christians. They went beyond the ordinary; the word had taken effect. If we are for Him, He can take us up and identify us with the work of God down here. "Having fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they let them go". It does not say they sent them away. They held them up to their time. The sympathy and confidence were very beautiful. The fifteenth of John says, the Holy Spirit should bear witness and that they should

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bear witness; it seems that this is connected with the Holy Spirit bearing witness. He is now acting sovereignly in the assembly, and always asserts Himself when there is any attempt to rule things from a locality. The mind of the Spirit is emphasised. The saints as a rule are right in their judgment, they get the mind of the Spirit. You can hardly define how it does come about, but it does come about; saints know what is right and what should be done. It is brought in here to establish the principle, that service is to be carried on in relation to the assembly which cannot be ignored in one's service. The fasting makes special room for the Spirit. "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting". (Matthew 17:21).

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REDEMPTION

Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18, 19

I want to say a little about redemption, and in mentioning the word one is reminded of the thought of purchase, which establishes a proprietary right. You will recall how Abraham, being in need of a burying-ground, purchased a field, and how in paying for it according to the currency of the times, he established a proprietary right over the field. The thought of currency is prominent today, especially with those who trade; men have become accustomed to consider the current value of things, of money, and it suggests to my mind the currency that passes with God; there is a currency that is valued in heaven. It is said of Abraham in Genesis 23:16, that he weighed out the price of the field according to his agreement, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. It was current with the one capable of valuing it; and so there is a currency that has value with God.

I refer to Abraham to illustrate what I have in my mind. In paying for the field he established a right over it. Not, indeed, that he needed the trees, or that he needed the field for cultivation: he needed it for one purpose only, and that was, for a burying-place. It suggests the Lord's proprietary rights over this earth. He has in it a burying-place, not that the Lord is ever seen or spoken of as burying anyone. We may say with Martha, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died". (John 11:21) He remained away in order that Lazarus should die. He did not hasten the funeral, and He did not attend the funeral. When He arrived at Bethany he had been dead four days. The Lord does not bury in that sense; nevertheless He owns the earth, and for the moment it is the burying-place of His dead. We may speak

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as believers in Christ of our dead. Those whom we love, who have fallen asleep, they are our dead, and we may speak with intelligence of His dead. With the others in a sense we have nothing to do, for the Lord says, "Let the dead bury their dead" (Luke 9:60); but we have to do with our own dead, and in the light of the death of Christ, we may use the field for them.

The Lord has established a right over the field which He recognises, which He maintains and asserts, for He has bought it with current money, and in that field His dead are laid. I have been speaking of the Lord not being at the death-bed, but I am not ignoring the fact that all who die in Christ are put to sleep through Him. That is an act of love. So it says, "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him". They are put to sleep through Jesus, and God brings them with Him. We have no anxiety in regard to our dead, for they are in the Lord's hands; but we have to bury them, and so the field is the burying-place of those that are Christ's. They will all be raised. Christ is the firstfruits, afterwards they that are Christ's, at His coming. He knows where they are He knows all the graves, and if He comes to a grave, He simply opens it and the body will come out of it alive. He said, "Lazarus, come forth".

I only speak of that because of the field. Another thing: the Lord is said to have died and risen again that He might rule over the dead and over the living. That gives Him a wonderful scope. He died to that end; He has rule over the dead. No earthly potentate has yet attempted to extend his rule there; no one ever yet ruled over the dead. The Lord spoke of not fearing those that kill the body, but He said "Fear him who has power to destroy body and soul in hell" (Matthew 10:28) Christ, and Christ only, rules over the dead and over the living; He has the keys of

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death and of hades. Think of the extent of the realm over which Christ exercises sway! What triumphs are His in those who believe! He will come and use the keys of death, and call forth those whom He regards as His own. We cannot say that of the wicked dead, although He rules over them; they will hear His voice, and it will be the voice of authority, an authority that none can dispute, even in the realm of death. His voice shall be heard throughout the silent domain of death. He utters His voice as the One who has been into death and risen again. Think of the terror involved if anyone here dies in his sins! He rules over you now in grace, for He is on a throne of grace; He exercises pure grace, and nothing else. He proposes to you the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Supposing that you refuse all and die in your sins; you will have to see Him; you shall hear His voice, the same voice that speaks now in the gospel from the Father's throne. It shall then be heard from the great white throne. In the synagogue at Nazareth His words were words of grace; that marks the gospel to the Gentiles to the end of this period but then the words are words of authority, the authority of Him who died and rose, and whose throne is white, repelling all that is contrary to God. The throne of grace is not repellent. It was said of Jesus, "This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them" (Luke 15:2); but then heaven and earth will flee away from before the face of Him that sits on the great white throne. What shall you say then? Nothing. Every mouth will be closed; everyone will be conscious of the righteousness of the verdict of the Judge; there shall not be one who is not convicted in his own conscience that the verdict is according to truth. We know that the judgment of God is according to truth. But He rules now over the

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living. One cannot employ language strong enough to emphasise the character of the rule of Christ. It is pure, unmitigated grace. There is nothing for a sinner but grace; grace reigns through righteousness. What a rule is the rule of Christ! He has authority to rule through redemption, and He is exercising that rule in grace. He said, "The Father judgeth no man", and so the Son sits on the Father's throne in order to emphasise, during this present period, that it is not a period of judgment: it is a period of grace. I do not believe even the Lord's people understand fully the throne of grace. Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may receive help in time of need. It is always there for you.

So the Lord is ruling over the living; He exercises His sway over all the races of mankind now. What they do in the way of forcing Him out is another matter; He holds to His position. Whatever men may do, they cannot alter His present position on the Father's throne. So during the entire acceptable year, it is the rule of grace, expressed in the most sympathetic way by His own words, "having nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both". (Luke 7:42) He can do that on the ground of His redemption work. He can take up that attitude in regard to any soul here. You admit that you have nothing to pay; He will frankly forgive, however heinous the crime, however crooked the path; the Lord meets all in grace because, and entirely because, He is on the Father's throne. He will not do anything to discredit that throne; He maintains the character of that throne. All judgment is in the hands of the Son of man, but for the moment He is on the Father's throne. So all are met and dealt with on the same principle.

So here: "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus". That is how I stand: justified freely, or gratuitously;

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that is, there is nothing in you to merit it; it is all the outcome of what God has wrought. And so it goes on to say, "whom God has set forth to be a mercy seat through faith in his blood"; that is, the mercy seat becomes effective. If you have never done so before, turn to God now in faith. The blood of Christ is current with God. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you". (Exodus 12:13) Think of God passing over you. He has passed over me, and many here; we know it in our souls. All was met in the death of Christ; the judgment was borne there. So the apostle says, "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ". Do we know that grace? Although He was rich beyond all computation, He became poor; not, indeed, poor in material things, but poor in condition, divested of all that in which men live down here. One may have this world's goods and be poor in that sense. Then on the cross the face of God was turned away from Him. He sought comforters in Gethsemane, and found none. How perfect His feelings. As the supreme moment drew near, His disciples were unequal to it. He was left in absolute isolation; we cannot emphasise that too much, absolute abandonment on the part of God. The majesty of God demanded it. God was dealing with sin according to the majesty of His throne; so the Lord says to God, "Thou art holy". He became poor, that we through His poverty might be enriched.

One looks round at the people of God, and one has to admit the practical poverty of the saints of God; and yet the Lord became poor to the very end that we should not be poor, that we should be rich, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom. Think of that, heirs of the kingdom that God has promised. The glad tidings of the unsearchable riches of the Christ are available to you and to me. I was speaking to some Christians lately on 1 Corinthians 14, and I

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was struck with the twenty-sixth verse: "Each of you hath ... ..". What have we, dear brethren, in the way of spiritual help? The Lord became poor that we might be rich, rich in faith, not only the faith that brings redemption and forgiveness into my soul, but the faith that gives me a position according to all that is in Christ. So in Ephesians, Paul says of Christ, "in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace". (Ephesians 1:7)

In Romans you are told where redemption is on God's side: redemption in Christ Jesus. It is there for the whole race of mankind. When you come to Ephesians it is from our side: "in whom we have redemption". Can you joy in that? It is not only now that I have it, but the One in whom I have it. I would not have it elsewhere. The more you apprehend what Christ is, the more you will say, I would not have anything outside of Christ. All must be there; God has set it there, and I have it there. Then I understand what it means for me: for me it means forgiveness. For Christ it means that He owns me. For me, it means that I have forgiveness according to the riches of His grace. One would love to be able to define just what that means: according to the riches of His grace. God not only forgives you according to your estimate of the death of Christ, but according to His own estimate of it. Do you know what it is to have redemption in Christ Jesus, and to have it there according to the riches of God's grace? Think of the wealth of grace expressed in the word riches! How it bows the heart when you come to ponder for a moment how God has acted for Himself and according to Himself in Christ, and that all His dealings with us are according to that. He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ. That is what God is to us in Christ. Not only does He bless us with every

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spiritual blessing, but it is in the best place and in Christ.

I now turn to Peter, who dwells on things according to their intrinsic value; he uses the word precious. If a man possesses a stone that is of great intrinsic value, he would employ that word. Peter deals with things, not so much in their largeness, as according to their intrinsic value. So he uses the word lamb. It is not a sheep, nor a goat; it is a diminutive word, speaking of what is precious. "Behold the lamb of God". (John 1:29) "With the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without spot or blemish". Peter wrote to Christians, and he says, You know the meaning of your redemption. He enforces holiness in saying this. I would just bring that home to every heart, as having to do with the things of this polluted world, to remember the cost of redemption; it is the precious blood of Christ. If He has purchased us at such a cost and with such precious currency, what is the end, but that we should be without blame and without spot? If the type of a lamb is employed, it speaks of the intrinsic value of the saints under God's eye. Our redemption price is the blood of Christ, the precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, and so the assembly is to be presented to Christ, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; altogether according to God.

May God bless His word!

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PRIESTLY ENERGY

Leviticus 8; Acts 16:25

When I thought of speaking this evening, this scripture in Leviticus came before my mind; and thinking it over, it occurred to me that it would be helpful to speak a little about the great subject of priesthood; not that one has the thought of speaking, in any way fully on such a great subject, but I would rather centre my remarks on the energy which I believe should mark those that are priests. When I say those that are priests, I am not excluding any saint on earth, for everyone who has the Holy Spirit and who is justified by the grace of God, is a priest. But one has to admit that there are those who are not in the exercise of their great functions. When the Spirit of God speaks, or rather when the saints themselves speak, in celebrating the Lord's triumph, they say, "who ... ... has made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father". (Revelation 1:6) They appreciate the great privilege that belongs to them; they speak of it appreciatively. It should read, not simply kings and priests, but a kingdom, priests, to His God - to Christ's God - and Father. Those who speak in this way in the opening of Revelation speak appreciatively; they are not only in the good of the kingdom, but are a kingdom; they are not in bondage to the elements of evil, and those who speak appreciatively of being priests to God are not asleep; they are exercising their great functions before God.

I want to speak of the energy of priesthood, but first of all I would say a little as to this chapter in Leviticus which presents the subject to us so fully and formally. It is a chapter by itself in the book, and it comes in, as those of us know who have studied Leviticus, after the law governing the offerings,

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as if the Spirit would imply that the saints who are accustomed in a spiritual way to present offerings to God will appreciate the great subject of priesthood presented by itself. If I am not accustomed to come into the tabernacle with my offerings, I shall not have much interest in the priests. I may hear of them and read of them; but to become acquainted with them one needs to come up with his offerings to the door of the court. There you will meet them. Directly you draw near, you will meet Aaron and his son.

You will observe that throughout the law governing the offerings, Aaron's sons figure more than Aaron does, so that drawing near with the offerings you become acquainted with Aaron's sons, and with Aaron himself, for he is there too. He is the great priest, as is said of Christ, "having a great priest over the house of God". (Hebrews 10:21) He is on our side, and as we draw near we see Him there for us. But we find, as we come often, so to speak; that is, as we habituate ourselves to the sanctuary court, that He is more than Priest for us; He is a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man. The more you apprehend Christ in that light, the more enlarged you become, and I do seek for enlargement in myself.

One has to admit the narrowness of the saints; as the apostle says, "Ye are not straitened in us, ye are straitened in your own affections". (2 Corinthians 6:12) So he says, "Be ye also enlarged". True enlargement is in the apprehension of Christ as He is; not only as Priest to us, but as Priest set down in heaven in regard to the whole realm of divine interests. There is nothing in the whole realm of divine interests that does not come under the providence of Christ; He is minister in regard of all, but particularly now in regard of the saints. He is concerned in regard of every saint on earth; well then, am I regarding

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them all? The more you apprehend that great place, the more you will seek to be like John leaning on the Lord's bosom. The nearer you get to the High Priest, the more you discover that all the saints are there, all are in His heart. Therefore, I must have them on my heart. It does not say all the sons of Aaron had a breastplate; only he had; but one can understand how the sons of Aaron would become accustomed to the names, as they saw their father with his robe; how they would become accustomed to the names inscribed on the breastplate. So the nearer you get to the Lord, the more the saints are in your heart; you think of them.

Now as you draw near with your offering, you are prepared for the eighth chapter. I commend that to you. I think the book of Leviticus is a book of the greatest importance. I am greatly afraid of the Old Testament becoming undervalued: we must be on our guard about that. I have been remarking about the householder bringing out of his treasure things new and old. The new and the old are in the treasure. The ministry of the new, throwing its light on all, enables you to value all the more the old things, for the old things spoke of Christ. The Holy Spirit was engaged with Christ when He wrote this chapter, and He wrote it for us. Have we a treasure? I apprehend that every Christian has in his heart a compartment so to speak, in which he ever preserves intact the things that he regards as his own birth-right. Do not tell me that you have them in the Bible; it is what you have in your soul that counts, hence the importance of being instructed in these things. Then you will bring forth the things new, bright, as it were, from heaven, brought down here by the Holy Spirit, but the old things are also bright, not in the least tarnished by age, but in all their original lustre, written down by the Spirit of God, speaking even as the new, about Christ.

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So this book speaks to our hearts as regards what offerings we bring as left to ourselves. In the book of Exodus it was laid upon the hearts of the people to bring certain things which wore necessary for the tabernacle; they were specified, and they were freewill offerings. The heart being moved Godward would bring the things that are requisite for God's dwelling-place. All the different materials were to be brought, and they were brought for God, till there was more than enough. That is the book of Exodus. All is set out according to God; there was nothing wanting. The book of Leviticus is the answer to God, the answer to the divine requirements. Christianity is full measure, everything consistent with the divine work. The book of Exodus is typical of the establishment of Christianity in the Person of Christ. There is nothing left; there is a treasure there, the perfection of the tabernacle. All was anointed with oil: all pervaded by the Spirit, and God comes in as well, so that the Lord fills the whole sphere. If we are able by the Spirit to transfer these material things to the spiritual sphere, it will be blessing to our souls. The book of Exodus is the triumph of God.

Now when you come to Leviticus, it is the truth presented from our side, and I may remark here as to a point of distinction as regards Numbers. Numbers contemplates the people's position, so it is said in Numbers, "And the Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt". (Numbers 1:1) The Spirit of God is occupied in Numbers with the public position, and the testimony, and the order of the camp in that position, hence you have military arrangements. It is the public position of the saints, God dwelling in their midst, and the order that marks them. It is in that book that

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Balaam is compelled to speak of the beauty and the order that marked the children of Israel.

Now Leviticus does not speak about that, because it is a question of man's approach to God, and geographical position has nothing to do with that; it is a spiritual conception. We have to be spiritual to understand any part of Scripture, but especially a book which contemplates our drawing near to God like Leviticus. You must not think of geographical position when it is a question of approach to God. The woman of Samaria said to the Lord, "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, but ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship". The Lord says, "... ... neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem";(John 4:20, 21) it is not a question of material geography. It is a question of spirituality, because God is a Spirit, and as we draw near to God we must divest our minds of materialism and geography and be according to the nature of God. Hence God explains throughout this book that He is holy, and if we approach His sanctuary we must be holy. "Be ye holy, for I am holy". (1 Peter 1:16) God is holy, and it must ever be a question of adjustment on our part to draw near to God. I do not wish to deter you: I wish to impress upon you the need of being holy; thus God would encourage you to draw near to Him. "Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest ... ... by a new and living way ... ..". (Hebrews 10:19) I commend these two words to you: the new way and the living way.

The leading systems of Christendom have gone back to the old way, which is discarded. There is no life in them, whereas Christianity involves a new way and a living way. Christ has dedicated this way for us through the veil; that is to say, His flesh. How precious that is; by dying He has opened up the new way, hence it says, Having a great Priest, let us draw near. How? With a true heart. God is

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concerned about your heart, "and with full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water". (verse 22) That is how the Christian is encouraged to draw near. The opening chapters of Leviticus speak of the priest drawing near, but with a heart full of Christ; and then if you do draw near you will want to know all about Christ. You say, He fills my heart, but God says, He will fill my universe. God is going to fill the universe with Christ. What a blessed fact that is to see, that the whole universe is going to be occupied and officiated in by One who has the sympathy and intelligence of a Priest. That is Leviticus 8.

So Moses is enjoined to bring Aaron and his sons, for they are viewed all together; you are to view them all together according to the dignity of their position in relation to the universe, for the tabernacle is a type of the universe in a spiritual sense, a representation of things in the heavens. These are material things, but in Hebrews it says a greater and more perfect tabernacle. The tabernacle is first anointed, then the Priest. That implied that this great spiritual system took form in the ministry of Christ; the Lord has brought into evidence the mind and thoughts of God. He has unfolded the divine thought; all these thoughts have been put together; they can he linked up with one another, but where? In the minds of God's people. The tabernacle was not reared up, strictly speaking, until the Holy Spirit came, but the thing itself was set forth in the life of the Lord. John says that if all the things that Jesus did were written, the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Do you think that any thought of Christ will be lost? I do not; they are too precious. If the hairs of my head are all numbered, every word that Christ uttered is precious to God, and nothing

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shall be lost; all these thoughts have been taken up by the Spirit and put together in the minds and affections of the people of God. All ministry is to that end, that what Christ has unfolded in His ministry should be brought into and kept in the hearts of God's people, so that the whole mind of God should come out in a concrete form. All these blessed thoughts were expressed in the ministry of Christ.

The heavens and the earth will pass away; the material things may go, but the word of Christ speaks of what is spiritual and eternal. In the eternal state the tabernacle of God shall be with men, in relation to all these wonderful things. The Lord speaks of Mary sitting at His feet; she was receiving into her soul these wonderful thoughts. The Holy Spirit set her up later in relation to all the love of Christ. The tabernacle is anointed in every part of it, and then it says that Aaron was anointed as well. How definitely it is stated in regard of Aaron: he is anointed here without blood; it speaks of the Lord's personal right. It is as if God said of Christ, now that He appears in baptism as identified with the repentant remnant, 'I have found One in whom is My delight', and God anoints Him in relation to all the divine thoughts, signifying that personally He was able to give effect to them and maintain them all, and for this He had no need to die. God could commit Himself formally and definitely to one Man only without dying, and that Man was Christ. The Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, and abode upon Him. In the consciousness of that anointing He says, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me". (Luke 4:18) He would be here a Priest in relation to all the divine thoughts.

In the second part of the chapter Aaron's sons are brought in, and with Aaron they are all presented to God, their hands filled with the excellence of Christ. That is how we come in before God. We

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often speak about being empty, but the divine thought is that we should be filled, filled with Christ. As typified in the realm of creation, the bullock is the very largest sin offering for Aaron and his sons, then you have the burnt offering, then the ram of consecration. The ram typified maturity. It was God's thought that His people, viewed as priests, should be mature spiritually. I am not saying that you are not a priest, but the question is, Have you maturity? Have I reached spiritual manhood? The great aim in ministry is to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. We are to be children in regard to evil, but grown men in our minds. So the priests come in, their hands filled with that which speaks of maturity in its excellence. The apostle said to the Corinthians, "I could not speak to you as to spiritual", and yet they had the Spirit. A babe cannot walk; priesthood involves maturity, being full-grown men, no longer babes. They were to remain at the door of the tabernacle day and night for seven days. Who but men could do that? People that take up the things of God with their heart are marked by constancy and endurance. Christianity calls for endurance. Look at the Lord Himself; when the sun was setting He was engaged in healing the sick; when it was day He was working; then you find Him all night in prayer to God. Look at the dignity of it. Think of being anointed along with Christ. How one would go in for it; sacrifice everything for it, for nothing can be compared with such service. I am not speaking of levitical service, but of priestly service, which comes first. This chapter deals with priestly service and shows the priest anointed to take up all the thoughts of God so his ear, hand, and foot are all brought under the power of the Spirit.

Now turn for a moment to Acts; I only want to show how perfectly the energy of priesthood is

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portrayed in Paul and Silas. It appeared in the most adverse circumstances conceivable. They were thrust into the inner prison by an experienced gaoler, who knew how to do these things, and their feet made fast in the stocks; nothing is omitted to make their position irksome beyond expression. Now we are not in such circumstances. It may be that one is called to suffer in measure, but not like this. It is a shame even to speak of one's trials when you think of Paul's, who followed so closely in his Master's steps. At midnight, at the hour when flesh would seek its rest, they prayed, and sang praises unto God. Out of weakness they waxed strong, for they were men of weakness, men whose feet were fast in the stocks; they prayed; that is a privilege of the Christian, to draw near to God. They were like their Master, who prayed in Gethsemane; they prayed, and in prayer sang praises unto God. The prison at Philippi was converted into a temple in which men turned to God in prayer and in praise. I mention it because it illustrates the energy of a priest. The prisoners were listening to them. What a changed prison it became; from the dull monotony of human suffering into a sphere of holy praise to God. That is priestly energy; it is a triumph over the most adverse circumstances.

Will anyone say that Christianity is not a triumph? Let us not concede the thought for a moment; it is a triumph. The presence of the Holy Spirit in men down here brings about an answer to the heart of God. Do we, like those spoken of in the Psalms, stand by night in the house of the Lord? I bring it forward because there is need at this time for spiritual energy. One has often spoken about the Levite as one having always to be in energy. The age of the priest is not given; the point with the priest is holiness and intelligence. What I said would prove that he has to be in spiritual energy Godward. Paul

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and Silas answer to that spiritually; they prayed and praised at midnight. Let us never give up the thought of prayer and praise. Is any afflicted? Let him pray. It is an outlet, an outlet to God.

May God bless His word to us, that we may have grace for spiritual things.

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Pages 355 - 398. "Spiritual Education", Belfast, July 1919. (Volume 43)

SPIRITUAL EDUCATION (1)

Acts 1

J.T. What I had in mind in suggesting this scripture was to call attention to the different communications the Lord had with His disciples before His death, and after His death and resurrection, before His ascension; these forty days were intended as educational. Before His death He instructed them largely as to outward conduct and service, but these forty days were largely to instruct them and impress them inwardly, so that they should be spiritual, and one might add, heavenly. The testimony was to be carried on and established, not only according to righteousness, but in the Spirit; that is, it was really to be outside the range of the natural man.

J.M. What took place before the Lord's death would be in the presence of opposition from the world, but afterwards He was not seen of the world.

J.T. Yes. "The world seeth me no more", John 14:19. He was outside the range of man. His disciples, although men in the flesh, were in touch with a Man out of death, which was a very wonderful thing. He showed Himself alive to them, in these forty days. He presented Himself living, so that on each occasion when He visited them, there would be an impression of a Man out of death; not a spirit, but a real Man.

Ques. You take it that the Lord saw His disciples each day of the forty days?

J.T. Well, during that period. We know from John 20 that He visited them on two successive first-days. He went in and out amongst them during that period, and I believe it was to form them in a

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spiritual way; not only to instruct them as to the way Christianity should be introduced, but also as to the spirit and character of it. They would take character themselves from what they saw in Him during these forty days.

Ques. "He breathed into them" - was that the same thought? John 20:22.

J.T. Yes, that is John's gospel. The records of the gospels, of course, show the thing in detail. All the four gospels are included, we may say, in the first few verses here; they enable us to apprehend what took place, and the apprehension of this establishes us in faith and spirituality

Rem. The gift of the Spirit was that they might retain and enjoy the impressions they had received during these forty days.

J.T. Luke, in this treatise is on the line of the Spirit. He has in view the dispensation in which the Holy Spirit is to be active; he enlarges on what the Spirit does. He presents to us that what the Lord did during the forty days was done by the Spirit; Acts 1:2. Each of the gospels gives a particular account in that connection. Matthew occupies us with the angel sitting on the stone, with a countenance like lightning, which was the assurance for faith that there is nothing to fear in the political world. Mark tells us about a young man in white garments; that is suggestive of the energy of life that should mark the testimony in a public way. Luke gives us two men clothed in bright raiment, which would be another feature. I suppose the scene was in accord with his gospel, that there should be men for God's pleasure. John gives us two angels in white sitting where the Lord had lain; he enlarges on the spiritual side. Luke sums them all up here, as we might say, to show that the apostles themselves, through whom the testimony has been given to us, were men who had been in contact with Christ for

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forty days after He rose; they were thus qualified for the ministry that was delivered to them, in a unique way.

W.H. All this indicates how the testimony is to be maintained.

J.T. Yes. Are we really believers? Are we formed by the wonderful things presented to us in Christ risen? In a word, are we spiritual? Being in the light of what is unseen, and being formed by it, a certain lustre is shed on all that we do publicly.

Rem. There is a defect if that is lacking.

J.T. The prominence given to the Holy Spirit here is noticeable. "Having, by the Holy Spirit, charged the apostles whom he had chosen".

Ques. Why is that said?

J.T. I think it is to impress us with the place the Spirit has in the dispensation. The apostles would in that way learn how the Holy Spirit would be employed in the establishment of Christianity. It is told here as in keeping with the divine object in this book.

Rem. The testimony was to be carried on in the power of the Spirit.

J.T. Yes, they should be in accord with what they saw in the Lord's service in this respect. This state of faith and spirituality is brought about, not by study only, but by intercourse with God and Christ; the soul learns it in quiet secretly. The forty days suggest an education carried on in an unseen way.

J.M. That is most important for us. The thought of secret intercourse with God, in order to be pleasurable to Him here, and effective in His service and testimony.

E.M. It involves our going in to God.

J.T. Yes, that is included. Going in to God must be in the appreciation of Christ. It does not in any sense refer to physical movement, it is spiritual.

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Rem. It is not merely a question of study; it is more. I suppose, it is intercourse with divine Persons. In that connection what is said is striking. "He presented Himself living, after He had suffered". That is a very strong statement, during these forty days "He presented himself living".

J.T. Everything that happened is not recorded, but there is enough recorded to establish our faith. The more you go in, the more you see what John meant when he said, "I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written", John 21:25.

Rem. The apostles were in touch with Christ after He rose from the dead. It is wonderful to know what it is to be in touch with Him on the other side of death.

J.T. That is the point. The Lord would move the affections. After we accept the gospel through faith, He would form us inwardly as to what is living. "To whom ... ... he presented himself living". It is a living Christ that we have to do with.

Ques. Why does it say "many proofs"?

J.T. I suppose it was important that Theophilus should know that there was enough evidence to authenticate infallibly what was stated as the truth. Christ was a real Man, and the same One who had died; one proof was that He ate before them. "Handle me and see", He said; Luke 24:39.

W.K. He was not only a living Man, but the same Man; One whom they could identify.

J.T. Although He was in a spiritual body, He was a real Man. He is a Man out of death in a spiritual state. It is very descriptive of the spiritual nature of what we are brought into. A real Man, in a condition described as flesh and bones, and yet He goes in and out amongst them, the doors being shut.

Rem. With regard to ourselves, it would be in

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intercourse with Christ, that we are formed after Him. The result is manifest in the individual.

Ques. Is that the way in which you are brought into correspondence with what the Lord was in His pathway here?

J.T. Yes. He was marked as being with the Father. There was that which was public and that which was private in Him. The apostle says, "we have contemplated his glory", John 1:14. This was not what was public, the apostles saw His glory as with the Father; His life, His joys were there.

Rem. And this was in view of the testimony.

J.T. Even in John 20, having breathed on them, He sent them out. It was important that they should have His Spirit, as representing Him in this world.

Rem. I suppose it was the only way the testimony could be sustained.

J.T. One point is the kind of spirit and manner in which people present the testimony. Stephen exemplifies this; "they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake"; his face was as the face of an angel; Acts 6. The apostles represented Christ officially, but Stephen represented Him specially according to His spirit and manner. Stephen, we may say, expressed Christ, and Christ expressed is Christianity. Stephen's conduct under persecution was a complete reflection of Christ. This is made prominent in the record.

Rem. What you say is very interesting, that the Lord was here in a spiritual body, giving a charge by the Spirit to His apostles.

J.T. It is not simply authority or doctrine, but the state in which He was, and the power in which He did it.

Rem. We can go a long way outwardly with Christianity, without being in contact with Christ.

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The lack of intercourse with Christ would account for the weakness among us.

J.T. It is intercourse with Christ that maintains things in spiritual power. We have much in the way of doctrine that is very important; right doctrine and right principles are surely of the utmost importance, but what will keep us going according to God, and what will mark us off as of Him, is this private intercourse with God and with Christ.

Rem. There will thus be freshness and life. In Paul's case a similar education is described in 2 Corinthians 12.

R.W.G. It does not mean that the education that went on before the Lord's death was in any way lessened. It was emphasised and made effective by His coming into contact with them after He rose.

J.T. Yes. I think it must have been a wonderful time for the apostles on that first day. We have four different accounts of it, but other things must have happened.

Rem. His presence effected a great change among them. They were "glad when they saw the Lord".

J.T. There were two occasions of joy in John 20"Jesus stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you". He wanted them to have joy in peace; therefore He said to them again, "Peace be unto you".

J.M. Having this peace and joy, they were ready to be sent forth.

J.T. In that way they represent Christ, "the Prince of Peace". It is a great thing to have peace in one's soul in contrast to the restlessness that is abroad now.

W.M. "My peace I give unto you", John 14:27. Even in the most trying circumstances there is peace.

Ques. What is the point in His referring to John's baptism and comparing it with the gift of the Spirit?

J.T. You refer to verse 5. It is contrast. In

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John's gospel, John Baptist brings in the fact that he baptised with water. John, being pressed to give account of himself, invariably refused to make much of himself; or what he was doing. He leaves it to Christ to give a testimony as to him, which the Lord did most touchingly; see Luke 7 24 - 28. He says, in effect, I am not doing much, I am only baptising with water, but the One who is coming will baptise with the Holy Spirit. He minimises his own service in the light of what Christ would do. When he saw Jesus coming to him he said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world", (John 1:29) as if he understood that He was going to die. He mentioned his own service in order to bring out the great work of Christ. The next day John has stopped working altogether, we may say; he stands with two of his disciples and looks on Jesus as He walked.

Ques. Would it bring into evidence the great power that was coming in?

J.T. Yes. "John truly baptised with water; but ye shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit". Throughout the early chapters particularly, of this book, emphasis is laid on the Holy Spirit.

W.K. It is interesting to note that it was not the disciples, but the apostles, who were "charged".

J.T. The Lord spent a whole night praying before He selected them. It says, "whom ... ... he named apostles", Luke 6:12, 13. Their authority is thus established. Here it is said, that He charged them by the Holy Spirit. Further, it is said, "and being assembled together with them". That is a remarkable statement. He was pleased to be among them. He identified Himself with them as assembling. We can understand the force of this in view of what He was inaugurating.

Ques. Would it not be another suggestion as to how things were to be in the new dispensation?

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J.T. That is how the Lord is maintaining things amongst His people now. He assembles with us, so to speak. I think Colossians comes in here. What are "philosophy and vain deceit", in the light of this wonderful position? In Matthew 28, the dignity and distance that mark Him as a royal Person are in evidence; He says, they should see Him in Galilee. There is not the same mutual intercourse that is suggested elsewhere. It is the dignity of the throne; He says, "All power is given unto me". (verse 18) Here in Acts 1:4, you have the thought of the assembly.

Rem. Here it is the thought of association.

J.T. Yes, and identification; you see Him as Head. The assembly is the place where things are settled;

the Lord seems to give assurance there.

W.K. He instructed them there not to begin to do anything until they got the ability from above. He exhorts them to wait for "the promise of the Father".

Rem. It would be a great thing if we fully recognised the Spirit here. We are on His side here the resurrection side.

J.T. That is important. The Lord would never again be on the ground on which He was before His death. The assembly is new ground.

Rem. It involves what is spiritual.

J.T. According to Colossians we are risen with Him "through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead", chapter 2: 12. This is the ground we take, in view of the power of Satan and death in this world.

Rem. The question the disciples asked with regard to Israel was quite outside what the Lord had before Him.

J.T. Yes, the sixth verse was their side, the fourth His side. They were not in keeping with the position. I think it suggests that we are all liable to be out of keeping with the new position. Introducing

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something lower; that is what it was. "Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" The fourth verse would not suggest this. There is no excuse for us if we take lower ground than what God accords to us.

Rem. They had opportunity to learn, because it was about the kingdom of God that the Lord had been speaking to them; and this would be the kingdom He was then inaugurating, not the kingdom of Israel.

J.T. He says, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons".

Rem. They had their minds on material things. He wanted to introduce them into what was entirely spiritual. For us, at the present moment, the same thing applies.

J.T. It is not that the assembly is made up of spirits; it was to be composed of men who were spiritual.

Rem. The Lord would have us pass over from what is material to what is spiritual.

J.T. He goes on to occupy them with the Spirit, saying, "ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you". Having said these things He was taken up, they being left with the great and blessed fact of the coming of the Holy Spirit pressed upon their minds. They were to be His witnesses in this power.

Rem. It was a grand position for them to be in, to be sent forth on such a mission. If we understood the great position in which the assembly stands, it would enlarge us.

J.T. The Roman system is local in its conception; the design being that a locality should dominate a wider area, the whole world indeed. Whereas the assembly is not local, it is universal. Its centre is in heaven, and the same principles were to govern it everywhere. The disciples here had not reached

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this, they were still local. In their minds they did riot extend beyond Israel. You will find that throughout the New Testament, the truth is intended to save us from localism. While maintaining local responsibility, we should have the whole assembly in view, arid love all the saints.

W.K. Rome works from the local to the universal, the assembly is the universal thought which can be applied locally

J.T. The Colossian and Ephesian saints had love to all the saints, they were universal in their affections. The Holy Spirit is here to help on these lines.

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SPIRITUAL EDUCATION (2)

Acts 1:9 - 26

J.T. The record of the Lord's ascension in Luke's gospel mentions that it occurred while He blessed His disciples; "while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven". Luke 24:51. Whereas here it is as He was speaking with them that He was taken up. He says, "Ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. And having said these things he was taken up". It is well to note that this narrative is in view of their responsibility. The gospel narrative shows that they were constituted priests; it says, they "returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God", Luke 24:52, 53. Here He is taken from them as having given directions. Thus, instead of going to the temple, they go to the upper room; that is, their movements are in keeping with the new position; they act in keeping with what had been set before them.

Ques. What do you understand by the upper room?

J.T. It indicates what was to mark Christianity; that is, it is not to be associated with outwardly great things; public buildings and the like. The Lord had instituted the Supper there, giving a suggestion as to how things were to be in His absence. They evidently took note, and acted accordingly.

J.M. Would you repeat what you said with regard to the difference between the education the apostles received from the Lord in His life and what we have here in connection with the forty days?

J.T. I would mention that the instruction during His life refers mainly to their public service, how

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they were to do things, and how they were to be supported in doing them. The forty days had in view their being educated inwardly with regard to what is spiritual. This is private. Henceforth the Lord was not seen of the world; "the world seeth me no more", He said; John 14:19. In the forty days He was seen of the disciples and known of them, "to whom also he showed himself alive".

Rem. And that remains for us.

J.T. That is what gives power to what we are outwardly. The mount of transfiguration comes nearest to the forty days, in the Lord's ministry before His death, but that does not prove the power of resurrection. It was not that He was risen there, but He was changed; "as he prayed the fashion of his countenance became different, and his raiment white and effulgent", Luke 9:29. The mount of transfiguration had reference to what He was personally; resurrection is the answer to what He undertook sacrificially. Note, it was as He prayed that He became different.

Ques. His death was a necessity if we were to pass into the spiritual sphere; is that the reason we have the Supper given to us?

J.T. Yes, we apprehend Him as presented in it, we pass into association with Him where He is.

Rem. The Lord gives us what is in itself material, as a memorial to draw us out to Himself in the place where He now is; so that in our affections we pass through death and enter into the spiritual sphere.

Ques. What is the thought in His showing Himself alive "after he had suffered"

J.T. It is an historical reference, of course; but it suggests how real His humanity was. He suffered in death; it was real suffering. He showed Himself alive after it.

Rem. Then He charged them by the Holy Spirit.

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J.T. And as the risen Man He was acting by the Holy Spirit. I suppose that is what characterises the service of Christ; He acted by the Holy Spirit, and this marks the whole of His mediatorial administration until all is brought into subjection to God. Then He Himself becomes subject, "that God may be all in all", 1 Corinthians 15:28. All will thus be spiritual in eternity. How important that we should apprehend Christ as He is as Man before God! It says, "As he is so are we in this world", 1 John 4:17. When they saw Him go up, according to our chapter, "they looked steadfastly toward heaven". It showed the place He had in their hearts.

Rem. They seem to have continued looking up. Would that have any application to us now?

J.T. Well, I think Colossians would encourage on these lines. "Set your affection on things above". (Colossians 3:2). The point here is that they were to occupy till He returned; they must accept that they were responsible witnesses. "Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven". And then it says, they returned "unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet". This narrative has in view the position that was to be occupied, and how it was to be occupied; they were to begin at Jerusalem; and instead of going to the temple they returned to Jerusalem from the mount of Olives. The mount of Olives has reference to the Spirit, I think. It was in connection with spiritual circumstances that He went up; and their course subsequently was governed by spiritual instincts. It says that when they were come into the city "they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter and James and John". They went where those were who represented the authority of Christ. They went there instead of going to the temple.

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J.M. It would be the outcome of the sensibilities they received from Christ.

J.T. Their movements in this chapter show how effective Christ's education had been with them.

Ques. You refer to the forty days?

,J.T. Yes.

J.M. Instinctively their place was outside the world, the Lord having gone to heaven.

J.T. They took account of what He did. In our own experience we find how we instinctively follow in the steps of one more spiritual, but how great the effect of this when we become acquainted with the Lord and make Him our model! This was the case with the disciples as presented to us here. Christ was Wisdom, and wisdom is justified in her children. He had directed that the Supper should be in the upper room, and after He rose He appeared to them there; they were evidently governed by the example He thus set for them. So that while, as far as the narrative goes, He did not tell them what to do, except to tarry in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came, yet they acted according to the example He had set. The Lord had charged and instructed His apostles, this involves His authority, but He also acted before them as a model, so that they might learn to act in wisdom; this involves His headship. It says here, "They went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren". That is apparently where they abode.

Rem. And the principle remains true. The result of this spiritual teaching would be that you abide

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there; you have to take up things here, of course, but the assembly is your home.

J.T. Yes, that is the point, your spiritual home is where the authority of Christ is recognised, and where the brethren are dwelling in unity. It was so at the beginning.

W.H. It is remarkable how intelligently they moved.

J.T. "These gave themselves all with one accord to continual prayer, with several women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren". It seems to me that in this we have a suggestion of Christianity. It shows how they had been formed by the Lord's example and ministry. They were the material for the new structure; and the way it acts on one's soul is that it raises the question whether I am of that material; and thus available for Christ.

Rem. When the Spirit came the apostles were led on in the line in which the Lord had helped them.

J.T. I suppose Peter is developing here according to what he was by the Father's revelation to him. The Lord says, "Thou art Peter", Matthew 16:18. He was designated by the Lord as a stone. I think that this chapter brings Peter into evidence as material for the assembly.

W.H. That special revelation constituted Peter a stone.

J.T. Yes, the revelation made to him by the Father; it was outside flesh and blood.

Rem. That governed his activities here, no doubt.

J.T. Yes, his ultimate course and service justified the Lord's pronouncement.

J.M. I suppose there is a special indication given by the Father to each of us that would help in regard to who Christ is; and this is a necessity in order to have intercourse with Christ, and a true apprehension of His Person.

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Ques. Do you imply that the thought of a special communication is applicable today?.

J.T. Only in principle. We are to be brought into what was revealed to Peter; the Father helps us to apprehend Christ in this way, and so the foundation is laid in our souls. Compare John 6 44.

J.M. One can see there is no fresh revelation, but there is what accords with it in one's soul. You see among the Lord's people those who have a true apprehension of who Christ is, and in that way material for the building is in evidence.

J.T. One who recognises Christ is assured as to everything. You see the Christ is the One who effects everything for God. You are not affected by political and national occurrences, because Christ is the One who effects everything. The woman in the fourth of John said, that when Christ comes, He will tell us all things; but we understand that He not only tells everything, He does everything for God, and knowing this, our souls become restful. "The Son of the living God", implies that we are to be living. The assembly is built on the testimony, known in the souls of those who form it, that Christ, being Son of the living God, has overthrown death and has brought in life and incorruptibility.

Rem. It is not a mere doctrine, you have life in the soul.

Ques. While there is no fresh revelation, can there still be fresh communications?

J.T. Yes, but not in the sense of revelation. The Father works in our souls in relation to Christ. Besides, the Spirit is always speaking to the assembly, either in the way of authoritative rebuke or in communications for guidance, edification and comfort.

Ques. How do you distinguish between what He says authoritatively, and what He communicates to the assembly on the privilege side?

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J.T. His authority is seen in the way in which His will is asserted, especially where things are going wrong. But Christ is Head to the assembly also, and so He guides and comforts her; there are communications on this line also.

E.M. The thought of headship is not authority.

J.T. No. It is very beautiful here to see, "Peter, standing up in the midst of the brethren". He is in perfect order; among the different ones mentioned: "several women, and Mary the mother of Jesus and ... ... his brethren". Notice, it is Peter standing up in the midst of the brethren, not with the eleven, as in the next chapter. Here he is one of the brethren; in the next chapter he stands up as an apostle. Here he stands up to convey the mind of God for the moment.

Rem. It is all in suitability spiritually. The Lord had shown the way.

J.T. In the next chapter he stands up with the eleven, although there were many besides the eleven. All are not called to preach and teach, but the twelve were, and so the eleven stand up with Peter when he preaches, but here he stands up in the midst of the brethren. The number of the names together was one hundred and twenty.

Ques. Does this still contemplate what you began with, the thought of the spiritual sphere?

J.T. Yes, it shows that these men were formed spiritually.

R.W.G. It is not only that they saw Him go up; they were still beholding Him, we may say.

J.T. Yes, their minds were on Him.

Rem. The Lord gives light and food amongst His people where these conditions are maintained.

J.T. A spiritual man knows what to do and also how to do it. The first epistle to the Corinthians mentions the absence of what we are speaking of amongst them. "I could not speak unto you as

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unto spiritual", the apostle says, "but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ", 1 Corinthians 3:1. The deep things of God could not, therefore, be unfolded to them.

Rem. It is remarkable that Peter stood up.

J.T. He was evidently in the leading position by moral qualification.

Ques. Why is the number 120 given?

J.T. I think it has reference to responsibility and administration, ten times twelve. As responsible I must do the needed thing, but as formed after God I do it bountifully. "God loveth a cheerful giver",

2 Corinthians 9:7.

J.M. That is practical Christianity.

W.K. You speak of giving, in view of what the twelve were chosen to give.

J.T. Peter says, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee", Acts 3:6. The apostles were to be liberal givers: "freely ye have received, freely give", the Lord said to them in sending them out; Matthew 10:8.

Rem. Paul was responsible, as sent out to preach and he preached according to the measure of the rule which God had distributed to him, 2 Corinthians 10:13. The measure of the holy city in Revelation 21 was twelve by twelve.

J .T. Responsibility is not needed there; all is perfect, though finite. The city is not only square, but a cube, indicating that although the administration is finite, it is in every way according to God. It has the glory of God. Nothing, in a way, reflects more what God is than giving. "If thou knewest the gift of God", John 4:10.

J.M. If we are to be like Him we must be givers.

J.T. He does not give His Spirit by measure. So, according to John 7, the Christian does not give by measure; "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water". In Ezekiel 47, the river was measured

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until it had become "waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over".

F.M. What a testimony that is in a selfish world where everyone is seeking his own gain!

J.T. And then it says, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over", Luke 6:28.

J.M. One feels the importance of this intercourse with Christ, so as to keep the spirit of all this, and that it may come out effectually.

J.T. Peter had been told nothing, as far as we know, with regard to the replacement of Judas. The Lord could easily have settled the matter by telling who it should be. The question is, is there to be preference shown? Is it to be the brother that I like best? Look at Peter's proposal: "Wherefore of these men which have companied (assembled) with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection", Acts 1:21, 22. It must be one who had assembled with the apostles during all the time in which the Lord Jesus had gone in and out amongst them; one who had seen His manner in the assembly, we may say.

Rem. There were present those who were qualified in that way. I think we trust too much to our memories sometimes. We might know the Scriptures, and yet be wanting in the impressions of Christ which they would convey.

J.T. I find it a help, in considering the gospels, to endeavour to see how the Lord acted in the various circumstances presented. The use of the word "assembled" here is very striking, but it suggests that the thought had already taken form in their minds.

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Ques. Have you any thought as to why there were two selected?

J.T. I suppose these two must have been eligible in a special way. The fact that they could not decide on either, but placed the matter before God, was a humble acknowledgment of their weakness and their dependence on Him. "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord", Proverbs 16:33.

W.K. We can apply it now in the things of the Lord. If we place humbly before Him whatever we may be in doubt about, He will make all clear.

J.T. There may be questions upon which we are unable to come to a decision; we may be slow to admit it, but if we place them before the Lord, He will make all plain for those who have eyes to see. The lot served to bring God in on this occasion; it was a divinely ordained method, according to the Old Testament. But of course we would not act upon it literally now, as the Holy Spirit is here. The great thing is to place things before God.

Rem. There was no partiality shown; the saints acted for God. The principle of the Lord's sovereignty was maintained.

J.T. Yes, all this shows how effectively the Lord had prepared the material for the assembly before He ascended to heaven.

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"MY BRETHREN"

John 20

J.T. We have been remarking that the forty days of the Lord's sojourn after He rose, and before He ascended, were employed in an educational way, so as to bring about a state of faith in His disciples. The narratives at the end of the gospels show, especially in Mark, that the Lord found in His disciples, after He rose from the dead, a state of marked unbelief. The Lord speaks of their "unbelief and hardness of heart" (Mark 16:14) so that the service He rendered during the forty days was to bring about deliverance from that state of unbelief; and bring them into a state of faith; the first chapter of Acts brings this to our notice. They are not seen in unbelief there, but as believing, and intelligent in what they do.

The dispensation in which we are is said to be a dispensation of faith, and if we are to be in the good of it, or if we are to be used to make it known to others, we must be possessed of faith. The Lord brought the disciples to this, as I have said, so that they should be the vessels in which the present dispensation should be introduced and established. The blessings God proposed were to be presented and maintained on the principle of faith, not of sight.

T.M.G. Before the Lord died and rose again they had not the Spirit.

J.T. Nor did they have the Spirit during the forty days after He rose.

Rem. The fact of His going in and out amongst them during these forty days would strengthen their faith.

J.T. He brought them over to His side; He found them in unbelief; they really made the

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messengers who witnessed the Lord's resurrection liars. The women that had seen Him alive came and told the apostles, and it seemed to them as an idle tale. Very serious! That is illustrative of what the natural heart is capable of; notwithstanding the most extraordinary advantages, even a Christian, if he does not judge the flesh, is liable to discredit the most precious truth. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in their different records show how the Lord met them in the way of reproof and correction; but the first of Acts emphasises the positive testimony brought in; "he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days". They were thus convinced, and brought into a state of faith.

J.R.K. There is a difference between a state of faith and merely believing on the Lord.

J.T. We can be disciples, and believe on Him up to a certain point; but we read in John: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that, believing, ye might have life through his name", John 20:30, 31. The point was, that His disciples should believe, they were to be brought into a state of faith; for the Lord was setting up a dispensation which was to be in faith.

Ques. What would you say is the force of that?

J.T. The point I believe is that the administration is to be through the house.

Rem. Christianity is in connection with a house that is, the saints viewed in this light. The Mosaic system was on the principle of sight.

J.T. Although the saints are visible, yet Christianity is a spiritual system, and can be administered and entered into only on the principle of faith. I have exercise that we might see how John brings

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in, not only faith and spirituality, but, also a heavenly-minded people. The Lord showed himself alive, meaning that things are now in life. It is another thing to know Him ascending, that shows Him in His own proper place, and we as brethren are linked up with Him there. John does mention facts showing unbelief in some, in a general way he occupies us with what is of God in the saints, in this chapter.

J.C.S. You come on to heavenly ground, the ascending One gives character to everything in that connection.

J.T. The saints should be heavenly minded; I think John shows that in this chapter.

Ques. What is it to be heavenly minded?

J.T. Well, the message sent through Mary was intended to effect it in the disciples. The Lord said to her, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God". By this message He places them in direct association with Himself as ascending; it is wonderful! A heavenly minded person is occupied with heavenly things; he is not an earth dweller.

J.R.K. People have to be established in a state of faith before they enter into the heavenly position.

J.T. I think Mary is brought forward because she represents the subjective side. She is marked by affection and by a measure of intelligence here, and what is there is emphasised, although it is defective.

Rem. The Lord says, "Touch me not"; this would bring about a state in her upon which he could operate.

J.T. Yes, He takes account of her attitude. Then when she receives light, she carries it immediately. In verse 2 she runs. She is an apt messenger. She had the light and she wished to communicate it;

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she does not keep it to herself. In verse 11, Mary wept, and stooping down, she comes into her place as a sister, she is mentioned as looking into the sepulchre after Peter and John. She remained at the tomb, and looking into it she "seeth two angels in white, sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her: woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them: Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him". In contrast to what is related in other gospels, she is not disconcerted, she is quite composed. She says: "They have taken away my Lord"; to Peter and John she says the Lord; and then, "having said these things she turned back". She finds the Lord.

J.R.K. You take Mary as a typical case as to the way in which the Lord leads on His people? Of course a brother may be marked by these things; it does not necessarily take a sister to illustrate the subjective side. It can be true in us all.

J.T. The Spirit of God selects her. She is beyond the specially responsible ones, in her affections. She is led on more quickly. She carried light quickly when she got it. There is a certain rebuke, in the facts recorded, for all those who have special advantages and have not profited by them.

J.C.S. There is a marked difference between Mary and the disciples. They believed and returned to their own home, but Mary did not; she felt evidently that there was nothing to solve the situation for her, but Christ.

J.T. I think too that she illustrates the importance of waiting; we must be patient in having to do with divine things. The opposite of this is the restlessness of the flesh.

R.W.G. We see the heavenly position here, in the Lord's words, "I ascend unto my Father, and

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your Father; and to my God, and your God". That was to set their minds on heaven.

J.T. That would be the immediate effect of it. That is the side the Spirit would emphasise now.

Rem. It does not follow that because we are Christians we are heavenly-minded. The Lord was educating and qualifying Mary to take her place in connection with Him as the heavenly One.

J.T. Yes, and it is the effect of the message on the mind that has faith, that we have to consider.

J.M. As it is received in faith, we know and maintain what comes in for our profit.

J.T. Mary is an example here of the state of soul that misses Christ, the orphan state. To her, Christ was "everything and in all". (Colossians 3:11) "They have taken away my Lord", she said.

W.M. He was everything to her; and she wanted Him.

J.T. She had instinctive intelligence in what she did.

Rem. It is to such an one that the Lord can make known His mind. "Go tell my brethren I ascend".

J.T. It was a great honour to be entrusted with such a message, and she carries it faithfully. In Luke, the two going to Emmaus who were shown by the Lord that He was risen, returned to Jerusalem, and communicated the result of their experience to the eleven and those with them. And then the Lord comes in; but He finds a mixed condition; they were terrified, and did not believe for joy. Circumstances hindered their faith, so that the Lord had to adjust them; but there is nothing like that here. This serves to confirm what we have said, that the spiritual side is in view, in John.

J.C.S. The message which Mary carried put them in right relation to Christ.

J.T. Yes, as the One that was ascending.

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Rem. The truth of the resurrection precedes this. Have we not the same line of things suggested in the epistles? You have the thought of faith in God, who raised Christ from the dead, in Romans; light as to heavenly things, in Colossians; and the heavenly position, in Ephesians.

J.T. This chapter corresponds with Ephesians.

T.M.G. It would be education for the heavenly position, in Ephesians.

J.T. You see the Lord coming in here; He causes joy. It is not a state of things such as Luke records. It says, Jesus came, "and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord". Then Jesus says again, "Peace be unto you". He seals the joy that they had with a second "Peace"; that is very blessed. It was in His mind that His presence should be the occasion of joy; therefore again He says, "Peace", as much as to say, 'You are to have peace in your joy' - "joy and peace in believing".

Ques. Is that connected with the Supper now?

J.T. Yes, quietly and patiently waiting on the Lord together, the Lord would fill our hearts with joy and peace in believing. The joy is not passing, it remains. He seals it with another "Peace".

J.R.K. The Lord attaches a great deal of importance to "peace".

J.T. He had in Himself a deep, divine peace, which was never disturbed by circumstances.

Rem. Even the joy may disturb the peace with us.

J.T. Joy and peace should ever be our portion. The presence of the Lord gives assurance, and peace and rest of heart. Peace, preserving our hearts from disturbance, as it does, enables us to retain the joy that the Lord's presence brings.

S.L. The general state of the disciples previous

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to this, would be like the two on the way to Emmaus.

Rem. Activity can, when we are together, become a form of disturbance.

Ques. What is your thought about waiting? Is it waiting on the Spirit?

J.T. It is waiting on the Lord as Head, when in the assembly.

Rem. I suppose we might wait too long.

J.T. Thus 1 Corinthians 14 comes in, because there we are governed by intelligence. "I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also". An unduly long pause when we come together is not an evidence of intelligence; there is something wanting.

J.M. You were speaking of the place Christ has in our affections, as Head.

J.T. Yes, when you come to the assembly, viewed spiritually, it is a question of His headship, so that you make room for that. In coming together for the Supper, we recognise the Lord, for it is the Lord's supper.

J.C.S. In connection with the Supper, we can see the force of coming early; there is thus a restful atmosphere, and this is needed to enable us to apprehend the Lord as He comes in as Head.

J.T. As He is known there is joy and then He imparts some impression, which gives character to what follows. There is a difference between "showing himself alive" and "manifesting" Himself. I think "manifesting" is connected with some particular feature of Himself; "showing himself alive" is in contrast to the dead state of things in Judaism, and now in Christendom. The Jewish sacrifices suggested death. Christ is the Son of the living God.

T.M.G. As alive He manifests Himself.

Rem. We recognise Him as alive, but there is more than this.

J.T. Yes. When you come to the assembly you

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have more than life and power, you have beauty and wisdom; all these things show the importance of waiting. The Bride in Song of Songs 5 had a manifestation, but it was only the Bridegroom's hand.

J.C.S. As the Lord presents Himself in a manifestation, the affections of the saints are moved.

J.T. There is the evidence of life, but there is the beauty of Christ there too.

J.M. The love of Christ is what is suggested to our hearts in the breaking of bread.

J.T. Yes, the Supper attests His love; but then we want a manifestation. He is Fairer than all the earth-born race. We want to "behold the beauty of the Lord", Psalm 27:4.

Rem. When you come to see that beauty, there is a state produced to which the Lord responds.

J.T. It is an immense thing to see the Lord as the heavenly Man.

J.R.K. "As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly", 1 Corinthians 15:48. The Lord might be before our souls and cause exercise, and yet we would miss the manifestations that we ought to have.

J.T. In the Song of Solomon, chapter 5, the Bride saw the Bridegroom's hand, but then she could describe His beauty. She had seen Him. The manifestations of Christ present to the saints what He is in beauty and dignity.

Rem. If there is an apprehension of His presence, it enraptures us.

J.T. "In his shadow have I rapture and sit down", Song of Solomon 2:3.

Ques. Do you think that there might be a good deal of exercise as to the Lord, and our position with Him, and yet we may not be in that rapturous state?

J.T. I suppose we know very little of rapture.

E.M. He says, "in the midst of the assembly will I sing thy praises", Hebrews 2:12. Is not the company

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affected by His presence so that He can lead them in praise?

J.T. Yes, and then the manifestations of Christ to us bring about bridal affections in the saints what Christ is personally, in His beauty and dignity, calls forth the admiring affections of our hearts.

J.C.S. Christ too, in the supremacy of His love, is before the soul, in such a way that it responds.

J.T. He came into the company here; and the more spiritual they were, the more wonderful the occasion would be to them. He had prepared them by the message sent. If they took it in, they would have the sense of their own qualification for such a visit.

J.R.K. There is before our hearts the general thought of what the Lord Jesus is, in His beauty and dignity. The result, I have seen lately, is a very exceptional kind of experience that the saints are permitted to have.

T.M.G. The Supper leads to all this:

"And we love Thee, blest Lord
E'en now, though feeble here;
Thy sorrow and Thy cross record,
What makes us know Thee near". (Hymn 270)

Ques. Do you think, that in a general way, as coming together, as we hold the light in our souls, it enhances the Lord to us, and it is then that He gives us fresh manifestations of Himself?

J.T. Yes; the light is for faith, and it prepares us for the manifestation. Hence how much depends on our faith! Now this message was for their faith it was something that they should receive in their souls, and every word should be taken account of. We get this principle, of light afforded before an action of the Lord, in verse 22: "And when he had said this he breathed on them, and saith unto them, receive ye the Holy Spirit". His action is following

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certain light; the light precedes the breathing, just as the light precedes the manifestation.

Rem. In John we have a pattern of the new beginning of the week.

J.T. Our individual lives are composed of days; one has to take up one's cross daily; one's individual path is day by day; but in regard to one's assembly life, it is, I believe, week by week.

Rem. So that we have a new beginning each week. We are accustomed to think that we have peace once for all, but this is a different thought.

J.T. There is "peace with God", but this goes beyond that. This is a peace of heart that we get from the Lord Himself as He is known in the midst.

Rem. Would it not be a wonderful beginning, if we really knew what the Lord's presence means?

J.T. "As my Father has sent me, even so send I you"; that is the position you are placed in; that is the light governing the position. Having said this "he breathed into them"; that fits you for the position. The great thing is to cultivate faith.

Rem. The breathing into the disciples was that they might be qualified to take up the new position.

J.T. That they might be here as sent by Christ as He was here as sent by the Father, He says, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit".

Rem. In His Spirit they would be here.

J.T. It is more than the Spirit as power.

T.M.G. It is the Spirit of that Man.

Ques. What would be the difference between that and the spirit of sonship?

J.T. Well, I think the Spirit sent into our hearts is because of family relationship; Galatians 4:6. It involves intelligent affections.

J.C.S. Christ is seen as the last Adam, in John 20. He is breathing into a generation who are to be the reflection of Himself.

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DO YOU BELIEVE?

John 16:31; 1 John 5:4, 5

It was on my mind to say a word about the greatness of what we profess to believe, and what is designated, and rightly so, by Christians as Christianity. I just wish to call attention to it, by the Lord's help, in a general way. The subject is great, but I venture to speak of it, for one is conscious in one's own experience, and in observing the Lord's people, that there is a very poor apprehension of the magnitude of Christianity. The place that human greatness has with us, among other things, proves that we are not alive to the magnitude of Christianity, and the place that we have before God in it.

I apprehend that the apostle John was specially qualified, and was assigned the task of writing about it, of presenting it in such a way that it should be impressed, in its true proportion, upon the hearts of the people of God. John writes his gospel in a peculiarly humble spirit; he avoids referring to himself, as having any official capacity, but as one whom Jesus loved. He is referred to in that way, one whom the Lord had, so to speak, kept in His quiver, a polished shaft for His use. The Lord had kept John, so to speak, hidden; and there is no safe hiding place for any of us except in the love of Christ. It is there that one is secure, and the more one knows the flesh and its capabilities, the more one desires to be there; for unless one is there one is exposed to the influences that govern this world. Hence the importance of being humbly hidden in the love of Christ. John was so in the good of the position that he could ask the Lord questions; he found out things from the Lord, so that he is the one of all others, who employs the words we know that is to say, he knew. He was not uncertain as to the things he ministered.

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John begins: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God", John 1:1. In this infinitely important statement the evangelist is calling attention to the Deity of Christ; but not only this, he is also calling attention to the fact that He was with God; for Christianity in its true power and moral bearing is marked as having originated with God. It is also added here, "the same was in the beginning with God". And then he goes on to say, "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John"; the one who is to bear witness to the Light has also been with God. Notice, it is "sent from", not by, God. But immediately the evangelist says, "he was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light". It was "that all men through him might believe". And then he goes on to say, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him", verse 18. It is not now what He was, or where He was, but where He is. The declaration is in One who is in the bosom of the Father; you will see therefore how the Spirit links up all with God. So John says further, "we have contemplated his glory, a glory as of an only begotten with a father". This glory was seen, contemplated, by the disciples as He dwelt among them. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us". He became flesh; a wonderful fact! He came so near that the disciples contemplated His glory; they had that opportunity and they seized it. What glory they saw in Him! He was full of grace and truth. He was seen thus as with the Father.

Christianity has come to light in that One, and John says in his epistle, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and

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bear witness, and show into you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us", 1 John 1:1, 2. The apostles, who were the instruments through whom this wonderful testimony has come to us, were themselves with the Father and with the Son. Their fellowship was with the Father and the Son. That is how John presents the truth to us; and it is to impress us with the fact that the One through whom Christianity has been effected, is a divine Person, and also that He was "with God", and "with the Father". The gospel makes much of Jesus having come from God, and that He was sent by God; the two things are to be kept distinct, and, where God wrought in the soul, this was recognised. Nicodemus says, "We know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him", John 3:2. And so it is, throughout the gospel.

John develops another point, which hangs on this. He presents to us the Lord, in the end of chapter 3, as the Son, into whose hand all things are given by the Father. He says, "The Father loveth the Son"; the Son is the object of the Father's love, and in this way He communicated to Him all things. Now, that would be administration in the hand of the Son; God gives all into His hand, hence the boundlessness of the gift that flows from this; that is to say, the living water. "God giveth not the Spirit by measure". That is a wonderful thought and it involves Christianity. How one feels the smallness of one's own faith and affections! In dispensing what we may have in the way of stewardship, we are to be governed by the manner of God's giving. The Lord says to the woman of Sychar, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee

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living water"; and that would become in her "a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life". That is limitless. One might see a fountain springing up into a lake, but it would be bounded; but everlasting life is unbounded; the water gushes up, it leads my soul, my affections, into a domain that is not bounded by time.

Then in chapter 7 this same water is received by the believer. What have I received? Chapter 4 is God's gift, chapter 7 is what I receive; that is to say, it refers to my capacity, for I only receive according to my capacity, but the capacity is not regarded as limited. Faith that is formed by the Spirit in the believer is in keeping with what is presented of God in Christ, so that "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water". That is a limitless thought, it does not say how many rivers. In the garden of Eden there were four, but in John 7 the number is not given, and it suggests to us the magnitude of what has come in; but mark, it is in the believer. "He that believeth on me", says the Lord. This is what I am coming to: first, whether one does believe at all; and secondly, what one believes. In John 7 it is the believer in Christ. If the Lord had said: 'Out of Me shall flow rivers', it would be more understandable, but it is said of one who believes on Him. What a Person Christ is! And see what the Christian is! "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water". Christianity subjectively is in keeping with what formed it objectively. Chapter 4 is objective; it is what God gives; chapter 7 is what those who have faith receive. Receiving is implied, of course, in chapter 4, but I am speaking of what is emphasised in both chapters. In the passage I read, the Lord says, "Do ye now believe"? It is a simple question; I listen to it, and I ask myself What do I believe? We use the word believe very freely and rightly, I

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suppose; but there are believers and believers in Scripture. The disciples were believers as a class, and yet it is said in this gospel, "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him", John 2:11. They were already believers as a class, but their belief was in a small measure; hence, "he manifested forth his glory"; obviously, that His disciples should believe on Him.

Now I want to say a word about chapter 13 of this gospel. The Lord saw the position; it says, "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God". He was conscious at that moment that He was going to the Father. Now, mark, it is not simply that He came out from God, but He also went to God. He was going out of the world to the Father. Jesus has gone out of the world, and I would remind everyone here that He is not in it; and He has not only gone out, but He has gone out of the world to the Father; that is, in His own personal dignity, as a Man. It involves the perfectness of His testimony and work, under the Father's eye. In this world there was not the slightest discrepancy in His service, He did always those things that pleased the Father, so He went out of the world to the Father. The idea is as to what is personal in His service, and so "having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end", John 13:1. That goes with the perfection of His manhood under God's eye. He went to the Father as the High Priest, for He had the saints in His heart. He did the Father's works, made the Father known, and then went to the Father. He returned to the One from whom He came. Christ is the "Yea" and the "Amen". He is the "Yea" coming down, and the "Amen" going up. He says, "I have glorified thee on the earth; I have completed

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the work which thou gavest me that I should do it; and now glorify me", John 17:4. It was due to Him, so He has gone to the Father.

Jesus came "from God", He was conscious of it, and in the consciousness of that infinite dignity, He lays aside His garments and washes the feet of His disciples. That is Christianity expressed; it is Christianity in the way in which it is to show itself among the brethren. Christianity is expressed in those who are dignified; let us not mistake that word. The Lord, knowing His dignity, not as Mary's Son now, but that He came from God, He lays aside His garments; in the greatness of His Person He is great enough to do the most menial things. That is Christianity, in this sense. It is only those who are great who can take the low place, and smallness publicly is a great thing in Christianity. It is only one who is consciously dignified that can serve others; the service does not detract from the greatness, it is part of it. This is one of the great features of the Christianity which we all profess to treasure.

The Lord says, in John 16, "Do ye now believe?" This is brought in, not exactly as questioning their faith, but rather as accepting what they said. Now, I want to read verse 27 of that chapter. "For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God". That is one thought, they believed that He came out from God. Then He says: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father". The Lord is there bringing home to His disciples the great facts attaching to His position here, as Man upon the earth: "I came forth from the Father". He is impressing it upon them, as He would bring it to our attention at this present moment, in order that we might believe. "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave

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the world, and go to the Father". That was for the disciples, and it is for us to understand, dear brethren. They answer, "Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God". They arrive at that by the plainness of His declaration. I would love to convey to every heart here, the plainness and force of these wondrous words from Christ. He leaves the world and goes back to the Father. Who is there that is lingering in the world, or that has hopes built up in connection with it? Jesus has left it. Let us accept that fact. He has left it, hence, all the hopes of those who love Him are with Him up there. Think of Him, coming into the world from the Father, and going out of the world to the Father. Jesus is with the Father; that is where He is now. I am not speaking of His official place, for that is not the thought John is presenting. He is presenting to us where Jesus is. He is with the Father, as having come into the world, and as having left it. They say, "Now we are sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God". Jesus answered them, "Do ye now believe"? As I said, it is not exactly questioning as to what they believed, but rather to confirm them in what they had said, as one would tonight, for we all take the ground of believing. One would impress upon everyone here the import of what he professes to believe; often we speak of divine things to one another and to God, but do we believe them? God knows what is going on in our hearts, whether we mean what we say or not. He searches the heart. If I look up and speak to God, He is looking into my heart, and searches it; hence the great importance of reality in what we say. Do we believe what we say? Is it

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light in our souls, and are we affected by it? Or, are we simply uttering forms of truth that we have heard others utter?

Christianity is a system of faith; and so I turn to John's epistle. He says, "this is the victory which has gotten the victory over the world, our faith", 1 John 5:4. No other system of religion has the victory over the world. Christianity is a system of faith in God, it is not simply my individual faith, but the doctrine or system of truth that Christianity involves, which is held in faith in the souls of God's people. With this in view, the Lord took great pains at the beginning to bring about in His people, in His disciples, a state of faith. In spite of what He had demonstrated before them in His ministry, they were still unbelieving when He died; they had hard hearts. During the forty days He laboured in order to bring about a state of faith in them, and He succeeded, blessed be His name! Hence, in sending down His Spirit, He sent it to a company that had faith. The Holy Spirit having come, the apostles set out a system of truth which they, and those who believed through their word, held in faith. It is said that those who believed "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine", Acts 2:42. There was in this way, so far, the "unity of faith", and what was thus brought about in the power of the Spirit, superseded the law. It was "the faith"; a blessed system of truth delivered by the Lord through His apostles in the power of the Spirit, and held by faith in the people of God. It was entirely outside of, and independent of the world. It was thus victory over the world.

The apostle Paul laboured that those from among the Gentiles that believed should be brought into the truth: "until we all arrive at the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, at the full-grown man, at the measure of the stature

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of the fulness of the Christ", Ephesians 4:13. That is the object in the gifts given by Christ as ascended, and so this faith, that is said to have gotten the victory over the world, is to be made good to you and me; the question is therefore, are we in it? Or, am I holding one thing, and you another? The principle in Christianity is unity. Do we hold the same thing and speak the same thing? It is true, alas! that differences arise; but this is not from the Holy Spirit in us, but from the flesh. If differences exist they are the outcome of the will; the Holy Spirit would dispense with that and bring us into the unity of the faith. There can be no greater falsification of the truth than to assume that it needs, in any way, the support of men, or the principles of the world. The faith is itself a victory over the world; it is indeed, we may say, founded on the condemnation of the world. The Holy Spirit is here to support the truth, and He supports it by maintaining it in the souls of God's people through faith. From the day of Pentecost until now it has been thus maintained, and it will be maintained until the end.

This brings in the individual side, hence John further says, "who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God"? 1 John 5:15. I have the greatest comfort in this, that the truth stands. The point for me is, am I going to stand with it? "We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth", 2 Corinthians 13:8. It stands like a rock against every assault. The question is therefore, am I standing with it? "Who is he that overcometh the world?" One overcomes the world in the knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God. Further statements in this chapter (1 John 5) amplify what I am saying, and help us as to the bearing of it. Mark the "we knows" of this chapter.

Finally he says: "We know that the Son of

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God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life". Have you got that? I ask the question as to whether each one has the understanding that Christ gives. He has given us an understanding, that we might know Him that is true. That brings in another thought, that we are to know the Lord as true. He never deviated one iota in His path. "He that is holy, He that is true", Revelation 3:7. And then it says, "we are in him that is true". That is our status. It is wonderful to think that we are taken account of as in Him that is true. It is a great power in the soul to retire into this. The passage further says, "This is the true God, and eternal life". He is thus before my soul as an object for my affections, and I worship Him. My status is, that I am in Him that is true; the understanding I have through Him enables me to see this. And, secondly, I see Him as the true God and eternal life.

The subject is very large, but I would go back to the question, "Do ye now believe?" The question is, What do the saints believe really? What you believe thus is what affects you.

May the Lord bless His word!

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CHRIST A SON AND GREAT PRIEST OVER THE HOUSE OF GOD

Hebrews 3:3 - 6, 21, 22

I wish to show, with the Lord's help, His relation to the house of God as Son over it, and then His relation to it as Priest. He must be apprehended in these two relations, in order that we may be intelligently in the house. He has given us intelligence, and He has also given us a faculty that we may become intelligent. He has given us an understanding. We possess an understanding given to us by the Son of God.

I should like to dwell on a few points presented by John in his gospel, in regard to Christ. He was with God. The Spirit of God says He was with God in the beginning. He was with God before the incarnation. Before anything was made He was with God. And He was also with God when things were made. Subsequently the apostle says, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (and we have contemplated his glory, a glory as of an only begotten with a Father), full of grace and truth", John 1:14. No one is for God in the house unless he is with God. To illustrate this I would refer to Moses. Moses went up into the mount to be with God. Aaron was left with the people. If we are simply with the people we shall err. Moses was with God and he was sustained of God.

Moses saw a pattern of the house of God; He saw a figurative representation of it, and he was with God in what he saw. As he was coming down, he had a beautiful thought about the Sabbath in his heart. The people were to observe it, because on that day God rested, and was refreshed. Moses had in his heart the wonderful light that God had given him with regard to Christ. Coming down from

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being with God he acts for God. If you are to act for God, you must act as having been with God. If you are only occupied with the people you will err. On the mount of transfiguration, Jesus is contemplated as an only One with the Father. Moses, on coming to the camp, finds an idolatrous state of things, because Aaron was with the people and not with God, and he knows what to do. If there is anything that tests a Christian as to whether he is with God, it is discipline in the house of God. In order to act for God and like God, we must be with God. We need to have a true estimate of things, as before God, if we are to act according to Him in His house. We must know Him that is true. This will keep us from partiality. Secondly, we must see that we are in Him that is true. John looks at things in the abstract. We must dismiss things pertaining to the flesh, and regard ourselves in the light of God's work in us. This is a great leverage in the soul of the believer, and helps him as to his place in the house of God. The One that is true, in whom I am, is God's Son Jesus Christ. It is not "Christ Jesus" here. It is the order of Man. That came out in testimony to God here. I am in that Man. He is the Son of God, and He is Jesus Christ. Objectively, He is the true God and eternal life to my soul. I apprehend Him thus, through the understanding which He gives. Thus I am enabled to appreciate His position as Son over the house of God.

In Revelation 1, we see the Lord in the dignity of a judge. John hears a voice behind him, and he turns to see the voice. John is evidently occupied with Christian privilege on the Lord's day, being in the Spirit; but he turns to see the voice, and he sees the Son of man clothed in judicial robes. These had reference to the change that had come about in that which once had the dignity and privilege of being the house of God. He says in all His addresses

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to the assemblies, "I know". Those who have authority in the government of this world know so little! He knows the conditions among the people of God. This is solemn to the conscience, that there is nothing hidden from Him. But it is encouraging to the heart, for He says, "know thy works". He takes account of everything there was for Himself in each assembly. But He also says, "I have somewhat against thee". In speaking to Thyatira He is the "Son of God", referring doubtless to His authority in the house, and His eyes are as a flame of fire, jealous eyes. Any movement towards idolatry is discerned and dealt with. But He does not execute His wrath till there is a fair trial. God will give every opportunity to disprove the imputation. We must act in this way towards each other. The Lord says, "I gave her (Jezebel) space to repent". But then, being in the house in the capacity of a Son, He is free in it as having built it. How interesting to think of Him building up the structure piece by piece! "He who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house". He is greater than the house in the measure that one who builds is greater than what he builds. Moses was over the house as a servant. Christ is not over the house as a servant. He is over it as Son. The house is thus in the liberty of sonship. He would instruct us as to all this, having given us this "understanding".

We often hear it asked, what is the house, of what does it consist? In Hebrews 3:6, we get the idea of the house; a company of men and women who "hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end". We are given the characteristics of the house, so that we may locate it. Of course. What is said is founded on the fact that those addressed were believers, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Christ is over the house as having built it and He is over it on behalf of God; that is, as Son

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He is over the house from the divine side. This is seen in Hebrews 3. In chapter 10 we get the idea of the Great Priest. The Great Priest is on our side. This should encourage our hearts. In the Great Priest we have sympathy. We need priestly sympathy. The sympathy of Christ in the house in some respects comes out through the saints; it is also to be known and enjoyed directly by each of us. One cannot help another according to God, unless one is a priest. I must never forget that I am a priest. A priest can take up things and deal with them according to God.

Aaron wore a beautiful breastplate of judgment. Only a priest can judge according to God. Judgment is an attribute of love. In the breastplate there were the Urim and the Thummim; Lights and Perfections. There is all the authority of God and all the light of God, but there is also all the sympathy and love of the Priest, divine love in man in perfection. Divine love never fails. If I have the light on one hand, I have the love and sympathy on the other. Love does not behave itself in an unseemly manner. Love does not think evil. It does not impute evil. Love is the greatest of all, it is perfection. All this is seen perfectly in the Great Priest. He brings in all the light, and at the same time there is perfection, love. There is sympathy. In the Great Priest we are assured of support and sympathy in drawing near to God.

This is what we find in the house, according to chapter 10. The Great Priest is over the house of God, therefore let us draw near. We get here all the furnishings for drawing near to God, and then we are exhorted to do so. Thus chapter 10 sets before us what Christ is over the house, as on our side chapter 3, what He is toward us from God's side. May we understand both!

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Pages 399 - 484 - "The House of God", Rochester, U.S.A. , 1919 (Volume 44).

THE HOUSE OF GOD (1)

Exodus 32:15 - 351; Exodus 33:1 - 11

F.L. The subject of the house of God has been suggested, especially in regard to the principle of separation, which the holiness proper to the house of God involves.

J.T. The first mention in Scripture of the house of God comes in in connection with Jacob in Genesis 28. It might be a help to refer to that chapter, and also to consider how the faithfulness of Moses manifested itself in the house, of whom Jehovah said "my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house", Numbers 12:7. Exodus 32 and 33 furnish us with the account of how he acted in the presence of sin.

R.S.S. That is very much in line with what has been the local exercise.

J.T. I suppose we have in Jacob, in figure, one who, although in the house of God, was unsuited to it as to his state. He said "How dreadful is this place", but he judged rightly that the place was the house of God and the gate of heaven.

R.S.S. What do you think he had in mind when he said, "this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven"?

J.T. I suppose it was the sense of the presence of God that impressed him.

R.S.S. Then the thought of the presence of God is connected with the house, His dwelling place.

J.T. Yes; and man being the object of interest in it is another thought that is maintained throughout in connection with it. The angels of God were ascending and descending on a ladder, but Jacob was the object in view.

F.L. This being the introduction of the thought

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of the house, are we not greatly helped in seeing that the features are moral? I mean that there was no company of people, nor was there any idea of a structure, of a tabernacle, or any such thing; it was a question of man in the presence of God and of access to heaven, and what is introduced in that way is maintained all through.

J.T. Yes.

G.W.H. Jacob had the sense of being unsuitable to the place.

J.T. Yes, but we see that on his return after the twenty years experience under the discipline of God, he recognised what was suitable. He realised that the house was holy, and hence that it was needful to make moral changes in his household; Genesis 35:2.

W.C.R. Being unaccustomed to the presence of God, would be the reason that he felt it to be a dreadful place. His state was not up to it.

J.T. Yes. We know he had faith and was an object of interest to God, yet he was not in accord with the house. He represents a great many, I fear. The twenty years that followed became the period of discipline, and when he finally returns; God says, "Arise, go up to Bethel", the place where God would appear to him. So he journeyed thence, having put away the strange gods that were among them. God in that way, I think, teaches us in the history of Jacob, that whilst we may have part in the house of God, it must be on God's terms and not on ours.

F.L. Showing that the house of God is never conformed to us, but we are to be brought into conformity to it.

H.G. Jacob had faith, but he was not suitable. It says, "Holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, for ever"; and one feels that the sense of exercise in regard to holiness is greatly lacking.

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J.T. God asserts His holiness, and therefore it is plain, that if we are to be in His house it must not be on our terms. It must be on His terms, as already said.

C.B. One fears that often we are so busily occupied with our own pursuits that it takes, not only twenty years of our sojourn here, but sometimes longer before we understand the house of God?

J.T. Yes, no doubt, but it is a great point to see that God would have us there on His terms; and so Jacob had to be crippled after the flesh, and typically to receive the Holy Spirit, having his name changed before he went there.

B.T.F. On what does our connection with the house of God depend? Is it receiving the Holy Spirit?

J.T. Yes; we must be there on God's terms, but then in order to be brought in according to His terms it is needful to have to do with God in our souls individually: so that Jacob, I believe, is the great model typically, because of the discipline he went through. Hence in returning after the twenty years God met him on the way and continued to show His deep interest in Jacob, but God's interest in us is one thing, and what is suitable to His house is another thing. So in Genesis 32, God cripples him after the flesh; "Jacob was left alone and there wrestled a man with him"; note it was a man that wrestled with him. Angels met him on the way but a man wrestled with him. It was God who wrestled with him, but God in man; so that the dealing is in that way between God and us, only God in Christ, and the flesh is crippled. I am not to be in the house of God on the ground of the flesh, but on the ground of being ennobled by the gift of the Holy Spirit. By receiving the Spirit, my name is changed and I receive power, so that I go into the house of God, in that way as a prince;

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for that was the significance of Jacob's new name, but then also as holy, and this latter question was raised, because of what followed, that dreadful experience at Shechem, when Jacob had descended to the level of the earth, building a house, and where his daughter got into such shame and disgrace; Genesis 34. All these things happening emphasise the necessity for holiness, for the house of God is holy.

W.C.R. Perhaps it would help us if you would open up a little how we arrive at holiness.

J.T. I think discipline is the great means whereby we come to it practically. God has in view, that we should be partakers of His holiness, and so discipline is brought in to that end. But the believer first learns righteousness; that is how he apprehends God first; and then it is righteousness unto holiness, but discipline helps us in arriving at it. I believe that when a man is converted he gets everything in principle; if it were possible to analyse his thoughts, it would be found that the germ of everything is there by which he should answer to God, but it takes a long time for these things to be developed and formed and the development is aided by the discipline of God, so that one arrives not only at the practice of righteousness, but also at the practice of holiness; of this latter it is said, "without which no man shall see the Lord". (Hebrews 12:14) We may hear about Him, but seeing the Lord depends on holiness.

G.W.H. Do you think we get gain from discipline until we recognise the interests of God?

J.T. Well, I think we come back through discipline to the original germ, so to speak, that is in our hearts as a result of the light. I apprehend that there is nothing new added. The light coming to a man at conversion contains normally all the germs to be developed.

G.W.H. So at the end of Jacob's twenty years

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of discipline his mind reverted back to the beginning.

J.T. That shows the gain of the discipline.

R.S.S. God reverted to it also, as we see in the chapter you have been quoting, Genesis 35, "God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress and was with me in the way which I went". You are thinking now of conversion, not exactly new birth, or would you include the two in what you are saying?

J.T. New birth is not conversion.

R.S.S. No, new birth is the sovereign work of God.

J.T. Paul was sent to the Gentiles to open their eyes that they might turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God; that light contains everything that is to be answered to.

G.W.H. Why should such a period intervene between Genesis 32 and 35?

J.T. It shows the danger, even after you receive the Spirit, of turning aside to earthly associations, I think. What would you say?

G.W.H. A painful moment had to be gone through in his history, the strange gods had to be put away, but evidently it was a very great gain in his soul.

J.T. It shows that recovery was complete. In this connection it may be said that where discipline is necessary in the house, those under discipline have to see that things must be on divine terms, not on theirs. If I am to be there it must be on God's terms.

W.C.R. That is righteousness and holiness?

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J.T. Yes.

W.C.R. It is possible, I suppose, to be righteous and yet not holy?

J.T. I think that is right, so God disciplines us that we might be holy.

W.C.R. The only way you can partake of it, I suppose, is by His own nature being formed in us.

J.T. And that goes on collaterally with the discipline.

W.C.R. The latter produces it?

J.T. Well, it aids it.

B.T.F. In comparing the history of the Old Testament saints with the history of the New Testament saints, they would not be the same, would they? That is, we find Old Testament saints falling into that which would not be expected from those who had the Spirit?

J.T. But then these things happened unto them for ensamples. One of the most dreadful mistakes that can be made today is to disparage the Old Testament. It is of the enemy, because if you get rid of the Old the next thing is you will get rid of the New. These things happened unto them as types, it says, and they are written for us, not for them, but for our admonition "upon whom the ends of the ages are come". (1 Corinthians 10:11) Hence the importance of paying attention to the Old Testament, and God does not repeat Himself. We are to learn from Jacob's history, and if we do not learn from it what is taught there, we do not learn it at all, because God has appointed that means of teaching us that particular lesson. It is most important then to pay attention to the instruction set down for us in these wonderful chapters of Genesis that we are considering, in order that we might be in the house of God according to His terms.

B.T.F. I see that, and I was just asking for a little further light.

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J.T. I was not making those remarks directly in answer to what you said, but in a general way, because it is so important that we should respect the authority of the Old Testament in these days, as the apostle said to Timothy, "Every scripture is divinely inspired, and profitable for doctrine". (2 Timothy 3:16).

H.G. In regard to your remark that at conversion we have the germ of everything, I was thinking that when we receive the Spirit there is that which in a certain sense is almost miraculous; there is the positive displacement in our souls for the moment of earth; heaven is transcendingly real, the flesh is inactive, and we are holy and distinctive, because we have received the Spirit. There is not very much formed subjectively, but we have to learn, in order to be here for God, that Christianity after all is heavenly, and we have to learn deliverance as regards the flesh, and the Holy Spirit forms us so that we grow experimentally and intelligently in relation to what the light presented to us.

A.N.W. Why is not the reception of the Spirit in this day so evident as in pentecostal days?

H.G. I was thinking of the conscious reception of the Spirit by the believer. Heaven is before that man. A man who is really converted does not think a thing about earth, heaven is everything to him. And, for the time at least his resolve is 'I will never sin again'. The flesh is abhorrent to him. He is holy. But then afterwards he has to learn; the truth has to be worked out experimentally; it has to be formed in the man's soul experimentally in order that he may be maintained in continuity along the line which he learned in a miraculous way in connection with the reception of the Spirit.

A.N.W. I mean, Simon could see that by the laying on of hands the Spirit was received; Acts 8. What did he see?

J.T. The effect was very patent. Of course, we

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speak of having the Holy Spirit now, and I have to take your word for it maybe, but at the beginning the change in a man consequent on the reception of the Spirit was very obvious. Still, the effect of the Holy Spirit being received is to be seen today, thank God!

W.B-t. It is very interesting to see in regard of Jacob at Bethel in Genesis 28, that he got up early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had made his pillow and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil on the top of it. It seems to denote the answer of the man to the light that he had received. I was thinking of this as an answer to what was said about the work of the Spirit in a believer at the time of his conversion.

J.T. And then in chapter 35 there is not only the oil poured on it, the recognition of the Spirit typically, but a drink offering is poured on it also, suggesting, I think, that Jacob was now in reconciliation. Twenty years before he was an object of interest to God, but now he is for God's pleasure. I suppose that is how we are to be in the house.

R.S.S. What is the significance of the drink offering?

J.T. I think it is for pleasure and satisfaction.

R.S.S. For God's satisfaction. David would not drink of the well of water at Bethlehem. He poured it out before the Lord.

J.T. It works out in this way; we are, as amongst the brethren, either the occasion of satisfaction to God and to them, or we are the occasion of grief. I think it is a very profitable and practical question to ask oneself which are we in the house of God.

H.G. Jacob really said in connection with making his pillow a pillar, 'You were for me, and now I am for You'. God considered for me as on that pillow, but in setting up that pillar there is the witness that

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I am for God. I think the pillar is the only right answer to God's interest in him.

J.T. The thing really finds an answer in our daily experience as walking together. According to Genesis 28 I am an object of interest to God and the saints as much as in chapter 35, although in the former case I am not giving pleasure or satisfaction, and the question is whether I am content with being an object of interest, claiming the care of God, or whether I am to be for His pleasure, ministering joy to God and His people. When the Lord came in, the disciples were glad. Well, that is pattern, and by it I learn that my presence should make the saints glad.

F.L. I take it in setting up his pillow as a pillar, and pouring the drink offering on it, that he for the moment went far beyond what was his actual state. It is something like the children of Israel in Exodus 15; their song was far in advance of their actual state. It was what was the result for the moment of all that went before, but it was not yet developed or worked out, as you said. Hard discipline followed we know in their wilderness history. It is encouraging in regard to ourselves that even when we are, it may be, away from the Lord the chastening that comes upon us is turned by the Lord to practical profit. So with Jacob, when finally a man wrestled with him he was prepared for spiritual advancement because of the work that had been done during the previous twenty years.

J.C.S. I was just thinking that perhaps one great feature in the house of God, in contrast to the kingdom, is that whilst the law of the kingdom is righteousness, the law of the house is holiness; what God purposes to do is to surround Himself with a company of people who have morally His own character, and He will not tolerate in His house any element that does not really fall into line with

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what He is. Would you suggest that there is a difference between being of the house of God, which every person who has the Spirit is, and coming in the experience of our souls into the blessedness of the place where God dwells, where He surrounds Himself with that which is perfectly agreeable to His heart and eye?

J.T. I think that is just the difference between Genesis 28 and 35. In Genesis 28, whilst Jacob recognises the house, that it is God's house, and sets up the pillar, pouring oil on it, yet he has himself before him in it: He made a bargain with God, but that is not for God's pleasure; that is not the kind of man that He looks for in His house. Therefore the discipline, the experience of the years when he served Laban, brings about the change, and I think the drink offering represents the advance he had made; he was now typically in reconciliation and hence suited to the house of God.

W.B-w. Had he got the Spirit typically in Genesis 28?

J.T. Well, I am not prepared to say that; the house of God is introduced there as a matter of light. I think chapter 32, where Jacob is at Peniel, is the point at which the Holy Spirit is recognised, in figure of course; his name is changed there.

W.B-w. So in chapter 28 you apprehend the house as a matter of light in the soul?

J.C.S. Another thought that would come into view in connection with the first introduction of the house would be that of intercommunication between heaven and earth, which Jacob lost in going down to Padan-aram. He was out of touch with heaven. Here, in chapter 35, he has come back in principle to the house of God, and is in the good of it and he gets heavenly communications.

J.T. Hence you get a full revelation. If you look at chapter 35, there is a full revelation made

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to Jacob. God appeared to him, revealing His name. In chapter 32 he had inquired after the name of the man who wrestled with him, but the name is not given, whereas in the later chapter "God said unto him, I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply". There He announces Himself formally as God Almighty, and I think it suggests the full privilege or blessedness of the house of God that His name was fully revealed there. The Lord says "I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it", (John 17:26) which latter He did when He said, "I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God". (John 20:17) I think Genesis 35 suggests the full blessedness of the house, and being there in accord with it.

R.S.S. So the house of God is the fruit of divine revelation, yet it is also competent to sustain that revelation. God brings about a moral answer to every quality that has been revealed in Christ, so His house comes into harmony with what He is as revealed.

J.T. It is said to be the "pillar and base of the truth". (1 Timothy 3:15)

R.S.S. We lay a good deal of stress on the thought that the house is the dwelling place of God, which is true, but is it not true also that God purposes that we should find our dwelling place there, that it should be the home of our spirits down here?

J.T. Quite so.

W.B-s. "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee", Psalm 84:4.

A.N.W. In connection with our brother's remark about the kingdom, what is the difference between being put right in connection with the kingdom and with the house. Discipline is connected with the house as I understand it?

J.T. But I suppose that discipline stands in

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relation to the kingdom too. Matthew 18 is, we may say, the law of the kingdom, and 1 Corinthians is the law of the house. The law of the kingdom involves your conduct towards a brother; the spirit of grace is to characterise you. You are to forgive him "until seventy times seven". (verse 22) The house involves holiness, and would be in view in the Father's discipline, "that we might be partakers of his holiness", Hebrews 12.

W.B-s. Prior to the section of Scripture we have read, in the earlier part of Exodus, the teaching is more in type setting forth the kingdom. God acts towards His people in grace, but in the section we read it is more in connection with the house.

J.T. Yes, and it is very interesting to see that a young man, Joshua, remains in the tabernacle, so to speak, permanently. He was Moses' minister. The house seems to be the sphere in which men are in immediate relation with God.

W.H.F. Would you call the house the inside, and the kingdom the outside?

J.T. The kingdom is more what you are publicly in your individual capacity.

B.T.F. Was your thought in connecting Moses with this that in the house there was the man who was pleasurable to God, and who has God's mind?

J.T. Yes, as a minister, but Jacob cannot be viewed in that way. He represents simply a believer having part in it, not exactly as ministering to God in it. But Moses is, as I have said, a minister, a servant in the house, and I was encouraged to suggest this, because he is referred to in Hebrews as one who is faithful in all God's house. Therefore he becomes an example for us. He stands alone for God when evil occurs; he is uncompromising, and the result is that the situation is saved, not only for God but for the people, because there is a place established for those who seek the Lord. Everyone

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who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle which Moses pitched. It does not say that he was told to pitch this tabernacle, and that shows all the more what a man of God he was. He knew what to do. I refer to the incident recorded in Exodus 33:7 - 10.

W.B-w. In Jacob is it more a state suitable, whereas in Moses it is a question of principles in the house?

J.T. And service in it.

W.B-w. Standing by right principles?

J.T. Yes, quite.

B.T.F. He was in perfect accord with God.

J.T. Yes, he had been with God, as has often been pointed out, and Aaron had been with the people. If we listen to what this, that, or the other one says in connection with discipline we are sure to be in error. It is in taking counsel with God, and then dealing with the thing according to His mind that we shall act for God in it.

W.B-s. It required redemption to be accomplished before the house could be set up. It is in Exodus that you get the formal habitation brought in.

J.T. Quite; "Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them". As has already been brought out, Genesis suggests principles, but when you come to Exodus, redemption being accomplished, you have the material and the structure, where God can dwell among them. He dwells with men in that in which He has pleasure. All is founded on redemption and the material of the structure is typically the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the effect of His work in the saints.

J.C.S. So that whilst redemption is the basis of the house, it requires more than that; there must be conditions suited to God's dwelling there.

J.T. You must have material and then the wisdom and skill of the architect to put it together;

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then the anointing. All that enters into the thought of God's dwelling.

G.W.H. Discipline in connection with the house has intelligence in view. It has been said in connection with Hebrews 12, that discipline was to the end that we might be prepared to receive divine communications through the discipline, or rather being exercised thereby, we get the mind of God and can act intelligently in the house.

J.C.S. Discipline in itself does not confer anything, but the object or purpose of it is that it might make room for something. You spoke of receiving everything in initial form. I thought discipline perhaps came in in order that it might help the development, and make room for that which God has in germ placed in our souls.

J.T. That is the point exactly, and I would suggest something there that might help. In Genesis 8 it is said that Noah sent a raven out of the ark, which did not return. Later, he sent forth a dove and it adds "from him"; and further it adds she returned to him into the ark, it does not say the raven was sent out from him. "He sent forth a dove from him ... ... and she returned to him into the ark ... ... then he put forth his hand and took her and pulled her in unto him in the ark". He sends her out the second time and she comes back with an olive leaf in her mouth as if to suggest that the overwhelming judgment of God had destroyed everything but that which was of the Spirit. The olive is undoubtedly a type of the fruit of the Spirit, and that remained, and was brought back to Noah into the ark. We see the same principle in the bush that burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed, and we may say that what is not consumed is connected with the house of God, that remains, it survives the judgment. And so the olive leaf, I think, refers to what is of the Spirit in the saints,

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and whatever may go over our souls, what remains is that which cannot be consumed, all else must go.

J.S. So discipline is the displacement of that which is of the flesh, to make room for the work of the Spirit.

A.N.W. So if the pitcher be broken it is to make room for the light.

F.L. The olive leaf is the evidence that what was brought back was divine and established in the root. That is, the leaf could not be brought back from anything not rooted and living, so it is in the perpetuity of life. I think that is very helpful, in connection with what you are bringing out, to see that there is one perpetual thought in regard of the house of God; that is, it really connects itself with purpose. In Exodus 25, God says, "that I may dwell among them", but that really is because it is an outflow of what was in His mind at the outset, from before the foundation of the world. So when we come to Revelation 21, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them. It is a thought connected with the purpose of God. In that light the house of God is a most marvellous thing.

J.T. The kingdom is mediatorial and for a purpose; it ceases, but essentially the house remains.

J.C.S. So God is building up today morally all that enters into the construction of His house, and that is eternal in its character.

J.S. It is remarkable that the dove returned with a leaf plucked off, not a floating leaf. This confirms the remark as to its living connection with the root.

J.C.S. Returning to Jacob again, following the course of discipline to which God had subjected him, I thought perhaps we get the purest answer when he changes his garments, signifying, I suppose the putting off of that man, of all his greatness, and humbled in the presence of the God that revealed Himself to him in relation to His house.

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THE HOUSE OF GOD (2)

Exodus 40:34 - 38

J.T. In continuation of what we have been saying together on a previous occasion as to the house of God, I might remark that not only is a suitable moral state necessary for it as seen in Jacob, but as Exodus teaches us, if God is to dwell with men, it must be in that which is built according to His own directions. It seems clear from chapter 15 that the people had it in mind that He should have a dwelling, and there is good authority for the ordinary version that they would build a habitation for Him, "he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation". In chapter 25 God proposes it Himself "Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them". Note He uses the word sanctuary. Thus God indicated clearly that if He were to dwell with men it must be in that which is wholly according to His own mind; that is, there must be nothing of man or of human wisdom. Besides this, what is to be especially noted is, that whilst we have all the instructions as to the building, yet the actual construction of it did not begin until after Moses had acted as is recorded in chapters 32 and 33, which we read this morning.

J.C.S. God had intimated His mind before that.

J.T. Yes, but the fact that the tabernacle is first pitched as separated from an evil scene is very significant. The man of God in that way emphasises the moral foundation of the system; it must be on the ground of separation from evil. That principle must be there.

F.L. The tabernacle which Moses pitched outside the camp was one that he in spiritual intelligence conceived would be suitable, and therefore the moral principles underlying what was given in the pattern

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on the mount were apprehended by the spiritual mind before it was actually formed.

J.T. That is what I was thinking, so that the principle of the judgment of evil marks the foundation of the system; I think this is what exercises our brethren here at the present time.

F.L. The whole thing suggests that spiritual intelligence acts on the first principles given us in Scripture. In Genesis 1 we get that God divided the light from the darkness, and really that principle governs everything in the divine sphere thereafter. I mean that what we get in these chapters 32 and 33 of this book is activity on that line, separating light from darkness.

J.T. Yes, and unrelenting judgment of the evil. It says, "Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord: even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day". It occurred to me that, whilst the principle of separation is there, there is also the principle of unmitigated judgment of evil. I believe that in separating from what is evil there should be a testimony to the fact that God's judgment is upon it.

B.T.F. Would that be the unsparing judgment in ourselves of associations that would be contrary to God's mind?

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J.T. Yes, and doing violence to those with whom we are associated also; we do violence to them too, to their sensibilities, and it is to be made clear that this has to be done because of the judgment of God being on the flesh and all its works.

B.T.F. Then I suppose it was that Israel as a whole had failed, and the tribe of Levi were faithful.

J.T. Yes, that is the point, and Levi is referred to later as having stood with Moses. He "said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor know his own children", Deuteronomy 33:9. He disregarded all natural feelings and sensibilities on account of the rights of God.

A.N.W. I suppose the point is, who is going to be your brother, companion, and neighbour under these new conditions. Every man is to slay his brother under the old conditions.

J.T. You do violence to those with whom you may have been associated in evil.

Rem. It is not a question of natural sensibilities, but the fact that you separate from evil under every circumstance.

J.T. Yes, but you want to make it clear to those from whom you do separate, why you are doing so; and that if they stay there they cannot escape the consequences.

W.C.R. What is the principle in the Levites separating themselves to Moses?

J.T. They proved themselves true. God takes account of that, as already pointed out.

H.G. They had used the sword wholly in defence of the flesh, but here a spiritual movement is indicated.

J.T. Instruments of cruelty were in their habitations (Genesis 49:5), but in this chapter the sword is not used as an instrument of cruelty, but of consecration. This is a most important point at the present time.

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J.C.S. Speaking of using a sword in regard to others, I suppose the moral qualification to use it in that way is that we have first used it in regard of ourselves; and there is no moral power or ability to wield the sword in regard of others unless it has been applied to ourselves first. Is that so?

J.T. Quite, but the sword now is the word of God. I suppose Mr. Darby wielded it with great power throughout the camp, from gate to gate, in the different articles he wrote, in which he refuted error. "The Righteousness of God" was one of these.

C.B. Do you get the same thought on the day of Pentecost when they cried, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37)

J.T. Well, yes, the whole camp has to be awakened. The thing has to be brought home to the camp by the "sword of the Spirit".

W.B-s. Isaiah 8 says, "to the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them". That is the test.

R.S.S. In connection with what our brother was saying as to using the sword against oneself first in Hebrews 4, it says, "The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do". So if it become a question in regard to oneself, it is a sharp two-edged sword. You apply it to yourself; and you do violence to yourself; to your affection (your "soul") and to your intelligence (your "spirit"). This has to be the first thing and that of which we are speaking would follow after.

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J.T. I think so. Ephesians 6 would answer more to what we have been considering, "And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God". That would be the weapon of a Levite; it is the wielding of that which has already been proven in his own soul; the power of it has been felt there and he wields it in regard to the souls of others.

G.W.H. I suppose, that if we use a sword against our brother we give him to understand why we do it?

J.T. Yes. The use of the word consecrate, which signifies to fill your hands, here, is striking, because it is connected with wielding the sword against their brother. In such case I apprehend one is agreeable to God, being filled with the spirit of judgment; the spirit of judgment against evil, as it is seen in Christ. He said, "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up". (John 2:17) He was the delight of God in this respect as in all others. In zeal for God's house He made the scourge of small cords and cleansed the temple. It was manifest to all why he did it. It is not only that I take sides with the Lord, but I consecrate myself by the use of the word.

B.T.F. Would you say the tribe of Levi had a very special position afterwards because they answered to the claim of God at this critical moment?

J.T. Yes, it undoubtedly enhances their position for their later function.

R.S.S. I do not think you finished what you began to say in regard to Mr. Darby.

J.T. I think he stands out as a Levite consecrating himself to the Lord upon his son and upon his brother, by the use of the word of God. He went from gate to gate of the whole camp; the whole of Christendom was moved because of the use he made of the word of God. The necessity for separation was made clear and all understood why the position was taken up; it was not a private one,

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as simply involving individual right or liberty, but the rights of God. It is our right if the Lord allow us to meet together as a few; but this is not enough; if, however, it be a question of evil it has to be made clear that it is a matter of God's rights. The sword must then he used, and it is felt when it is used as a witness of the judgment of God against that thing on account of which we have withdrawn.

F.L. I think your reference to Ephesians is important, because it seems to me that what had come in here while Moses was up in the mount was that the prince of the power of the air, he who was the ruler in connection with wickedness in high places, had introduced that which was native to the land of Canaan; that is, idolatry; he had brought it into the wilderness and he sought to overthrow the people there by that which was native to the land before they reached it, so that God would have to consume them, The principle that was involved was intensely vital.

J.T. Yes. Moses had come down from the mount with the testimony in his heart, of the universe that God had in His mind to establish, and the enemy anticipated him by corrupting the people so as to defeat the divine thought, and hence the faithfulness and energy of Moses are emphasised here. The position of the saints today may be said to correspond to this, because the church has become corrupted through the wiles of the devil, and even idolatry is found there; but the spirit of Moses, the spirit of faithfulness in the man of God in the house has brought about conditions in which God's thought are made practicable. The mind of God must have that in which to display itself and separation in us or by us affords to God a means of communicating His mind, of expressing his thoughts; the same principle of separation from evil holds good now and carries with it when acted on, the favour of

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receiving light from God, so that there really is no change. The pitching of the tabernacle outside the camp, however few may be connected with it, affords an opportunity to God of unfolding His thoughts, and this principle will, I apprehend, go on to the end; whilst there are those, however few, who are answering to this, there is that in which God can unfold His thoughts. We read that when Moses had pitched the tabernacle outside the camp, "The Lord talked with Moses" and spoke to him "face to face as a man speaketh unto his friend".

F.L. That is very important, and in connection with it one rather suspects that the reason Levi was perpetuated was due to this. The Levites appear with Ezra and Nehemiah and also in Malachi; they appear too when the Lord was on earth in Zacharias, and in Barnabas; he was said to be a Levite.

J.C.S. Would the action on the part of the children of Levi show moral qualification for priesthood?

J.T. I think it did. Of course Aaron was already selected but the reference to it in Deuteronomy 33 would show, I think, that God attached importance to their action, and He says later in Malachi "my covenant was with him of life and peace". (Malachi 2:5).

J.C.S. It is a divine principle that the moral always precedes the official. When God invests with the official He would impart a moral character equal to what He gives officially.

F.L. Would you not go further, that after the official is gone the moral is still found there?

J.C.S. That is how things work out, the moral is greater than the official.

R.S.S. I did not catch at the beginning of our meeting what was said in regard to Moses taking the tabernacle and pitching it outside the camp. I think something was said to the effect that the

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tabernacle proper had not then been made. What was it that was pitched outside?

J.T. It was remarked, that whilst in chapter 33 it was not the actual tabernacle which is referred to in chapter 40, yet the fact that he took the tabernacle and pitched it outside the camp showed that he had the idea in his heart from the mount and that the fact that it took place before the actual structure was reared up shows that the assembly, which in principle is the great moral tabernacle, is founded on the principle of separation from evil.

R.S.S. What is your thought as to the tent which was actually pitched outside?

J.T. Some special tent that he called "The tent of meeting". There God could meet with His people.

R.S.S. The divine thought then that the tabernacle sets forth, is a universe according to God and that should be found in our hearts now, and finding a place there, we shall act in accord with it. That is the moral effect that this light should produce on us.

J.T. You say virtually, 'This cannot be connected with a system leavened with evil'.

J.C.S. The tent that Moses pitched outside represented for the moment the light of God; and every one rallied to the point where divine light was secured.

J.T. Quite so; and then you have the communications; God as it were, commending the action. It is said, as we have already quoted, that the Lord spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend; that showed how God approved the action of His servant.

R.S.S. It was, I suppose, the greatest moment in the history of Moses. It says in regard to his death at the end of Deuteronomy, "And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face". (Deuteronomy 34:10).

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F.L. I would like to suggest that the position established by Moses in the tabernacle being pitched outside the camp was answered to after the death of Christ, when Israel lay under the fearful guilt of it; the disciples were all with one accord in one place, really outside the whole camp of Israel, to which the moral guilt of the death of Christ attached, and the Spirit of God came and identified Himself with them in that outside place, and baptised them into one body, which became the new element from henceforth so that really what we see on the day of Pentecost is very similar to what we see with Moses. It embraced all the moral element that remained after that fearful deed.

W.B-t. And it is very interesting in connection with that, that the number of men secured for God on the day of Pentecost is three thousand seeming to indicate that where the sword is turned against the natural affections which come in to hinder the Spirit that there is recompense, and one is abundantly compensated for it in the assembly. Is that right?

F.L. I should think so. There was that which answered spiritually to that which had gone under judgment of the flesh.

W.B-t. So what we may have lost in wielding the sword is given back to us in the assembly; three thousand men are found in the assembly on the day of Pentecost.

W.B-w. Does the rearing up of the actual tabernacle depend on what Moses did here?

J.T. I think so, because the idea of the assembly is that it is called out. Those who form it have judged that from which they have come, that which they have left. I think that is a principle that lies at the foundation of the assembly.

W.B-w. So we could not have chapter 40 without chapter 33.

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J.T. The sin of the people led to the development of a principle that fits in with the rearing of the structure. Thus God always triumphs over sin.

W.C.R. Why does he call it the "tabernacle of the congregation"?

J.T. God would meet with His people there. It was a meeting place. The "tabernacle of witness" is a different idea, it was that in which God sets forth His testimony. The tabernacle of the congregation is where He meets men and has communion with them.

A.N.W. In the anti-type there is nothing sectarian.

B.T.F. Hebrews 13 comes in in regard to that: "Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp".

J.T. It is a parallel passage to this: "Jesus, also that he might sanctify the people with his own blood suffered without the gate".

J.C.S. Then the glory and light of these divine communications of which you have been speaking are only available as we are morally apart from everything inconsistent with what God has revealed. So the principle of separation must be effective in our souls before these things are available for us.

H.G. In regard to the Lord Jesus Himself, who really was the tabernacle; "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14); all the light of God was in Him and every element out of which the tabernacle is made is simply the colour that Christ takes in the saints. So, where that is maintained in practical separation from what is not holy, the light is still here.

W.B-s. Hebrews 7, in speaking of the Lord Himself says; "who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners". That characterised Him. I was thinking in regard to the tabernacle of the congregation and the tabernacle of witness, the first is spoken of in the beginning of Leviticus, the other

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in Numbers. In Leviticus it is the tabernacle of the congregation, the Lord speaks to Moses out of that. Would you say that it is the thought of communion (the sacrifices, etc.) that Leviticus opens up; whereas in Numbers it is the testimony in the wilderness?

J.T. In Leviticus God is setting Himself in the tabernacle in order to be approached. There is a meeting place established, a very precious thought; whereas in Numbers it is not only the tabernacle, but the tabernacle in the wilderness. The word wilderness is not found in the opening verses of Leviticus. The point in Leviticus is not where the people are, but the circumstances under which God meets them. It is the simple fact that He does meet them; whereas in Numbers it is the outward position and the order suited to it. "The Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation"; it is also called the tabernacle of witness, when it is a question of what God sets forth publicly. In regard to the judgment of sin, that came to light in the death of Christ, but Luke in the opening of Acts enlarges on the positive side of things, so it is said, that for a period of forty days the Lord was seen of them, and that He showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs; and then it adds; "being assembled together with them". The latter is a beautiful touch! He laboured during these forty days, not now to press upon them the judgment of evil, but to acquaint them with what was spiritual, to instruct them and form them in a positive way in regard to the new system "speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God", and giving commandments through the Holy Spirit. That leads up to what is typified in chapter 40 of this book; in verse 33 it says, "So Moses finished the work". There must be that side. God's holy judgment of sin is all important, as we

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have been seeing, but it is not all; there must be the positive. In Acts 1 there is an outline of the material for the new system, and only of that, but of that material as in order, for formation had already begun. So the Lord is seen as assembled with them. The word assembled there is very suggestive.

F.L. There is another beautiful touch along that same line in 2 Thessalonians 2, where Paul in speaking, as it were to us in these last days, on the line of instruction and encouragement, says: "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him". It shows the thought is continuous; in Acts 1 we see it at the outset, and at the very close there is the same thought suggested; it is the assembling together unto Him. I think it is beautiful to see it in both connections.

J.T. The thought of assembling is very instructive in that way, because it is not merely that we meet together, but the principle of assembling is indicated. As assembled with them the Lord in effect says, 'Now I want to impress upon you that everything must be in the energy of the Spirit of God'. That is the next point to note; He "commanded them that they should ... ... . wait for the promise of the Father". He would indicate to them first what the assembly should be by the fact that He assembled with them: that is to say, He would show them by that act what the assembly involved; and then He says, you must wait for the Spirit; "ye shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit after now not many days"; in other words, everything in this new structure is to be in the energy of the Holy Spirit Then after He ascended from them, the disciple who saw Him ascend, returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet. According to the gospel narrative, Luke 24:50, 51, He ascended from Bethany, but according to the Acts He ascended

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from mount Olivet. Olivet, I think, is suggestive of the Spirit, and they returned from thence unto Jerusalem and went tip into an upper room; that is, they show that they have the mind of God in their hearts; that Christianity is not to be set up in connection with public building, or consecrated structures, but in an upper room; and it adds "where abode both Peter and James, and John", and all the others; they dwelt together. Then Peter stood up and spoke in the midst of the disciples, not as he did in the next chapter to arraign the public body with the murder of Christ, but as an oracle among the brethren, saying that one should be appointed to be witness with them of the resurrection. "It is necessary ... ... that of the men who have assembled with us us all the time in which the Lord Jesus came in an went out among us ... ... one of these should be a witness with us of his resurrection". The Scriptures too are appealed to as the authority, so two were appointed and the decision placed in the hands of the Lord, and the lot fell on Matthias. Thus you might say, the positive system was established, as the handiwork of Christ; it was His work. It is finished and now they are all together with one accord in one place in the upper room, and the Holy Spirit came from heaven with the sound of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. In that way I think we have before us the answer to the antitype of Exodus 40. On the day of Pentecost the saints were not only there, but they were there in such unity and order that the Holy Spirit could come in; God came and took up His abode there.

J.C.S. So the Lord really produces this wonderful system and attaches Himself to it, filling it with His glory; everything there is in divine order.

R.S.S. Exodus 40 closes with the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle. Do you think that what

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answers to that is the presence of the Holy Spirit here now?

J.T. Yes. The coming in of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was a most momentous occurrence. The Spirit carefully records the conditions that existed before it occurred. It says, "And when the day of Pentecost was now accomplishing, they were all together in one place. And there came suddenly a sound out of heaven as of a violent, impetuous blowing, and filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues, as of fire, and it sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gate to them to speak forth", Acts 2:1, 2.

H.G. Is that the same as the holy anointing oil with which Moses anointed the whole tabernacle?

J.T. Well, I suppose the Holy Spirit sitting on them would be that; but then the glory, the presence of God Himself has to be taken account of by itself. Ephesians 2 presents this great fact more formally; God dwelling here in the assembly in the Spirit.

H.G. The anointing would exclude everything that marked them naturally.

J.T. Yes, and they spoke of the wonderful works of God.

R.S.S. We have often heard precious ministry in connection with the conditions which existed at the time of the Lord's birth; you are now calling our attention to the conditions that existed on what we might call the birthday of Christianity.

J.C.S. The moral attributes of God were so fully answered to in the early chapters of Acts, and the effulgence of what He is shone forth so clearly that "of the rest durst no man join himself to them", Acts 5:13; and the same principle is perpetuated here today; although external conditions are different the principle is the same, is it not?

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J.T. I think we want to reach that point. It cannot be called recovery unless we have got back to first principles, and recognise that these principles are now applicable. The workable thing is the great point with God, and so in the recovery with Ezra and Nehemiah divine principles, in a limited way, of course, were seen to be practicable again.

B.T.F. What we get in the closing verses of Exodus is a type of the dwelling place of God being established on earth outside the systems of men.

J.C.S. Referring to your remark as to divine principles being workable, it was suggested at the beginning of the meeting that God laid down a cardinal principle in the opening chapter of Genesis, that light and darkness could not reside together. God re-establishes the same principle in connection with His people Israel, that these two elements cannot run on together, cannot mix. Then when you come down to the presence of the Lord Jesus on earth, we have the display of the same principle in its very highest conception. In Acts we have it again; and in 2 Timothy the principle is also maintained when things break down externally; and finally the lake of fire will be the abiding witness that light and darkness are eternally separated. Now I judge God is bringing about in the souls of His people today a moral answer to all this.

D.R. Do you not think we ought to be able to take account of ourselves together today as fruit of the revival of these first principles?

J.T. I think the great exercise now is that we should be together in a positive way, according to what we get indicated in Acts 1; that two or three of the assembly can assemble, not claiming to be the assembly surely, but nevertheless having the spirit and principles seen there; the Lord "being assembled with them". I apprehend He taught

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them how to assemble, and so today, having this light, it remains to us to assemble.

J.C.S. God has been pleased to bind up all His greatest and most precious thoughts there, and the assembly involves our being together to lay hold of the highest divine conceptions.

R.S.S. And so if two or three even are assembled as you speak of it now, and are in accord with what it involves, they have the Lord's presence with them.

J.T. I think that is it. He assembles with us. We do not claim any public position, of course; we cannot, but in a private way these things are available, and therefore during the forty days the Lord was upon earth after He was risen He was engaged, not so much in impressing on His disciples the judgment of sin, for that had all come out at the cross, but in building them up in that which was positive, in that which He was as risen from the dead. He manifested Himself to them week after week, I believe, to impress upon them the order of man that He was, or is now; thus the education of these forty days was intensely spiritual; for the Lord appeared to them in a spiritual way; He came in through closed doors, and stood in their midst. I believe it was a season of spiritual education They were taught how to look at things spiritually. The want of this is the great weakness now. I know it is so with myself. I feel how unspiritual I am; how little one is accustomed to dwell on spiritual things and to understand them.

W.B-t. There is such a thing as viewing the things of Christ as ordinary, and having no spiritual power in one's thoughts. The breaking of bread should lead to spirituality.

J.T. The Corinthians were evidently unacquainted with the spiritual, although they had the Spirit. The apostle has to describe a spiritual man to them.

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"He that is spiritual", he says, "judgeth all things, and yet he himself is judged of no man". And then in the next epistle he says; "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth). Such an one caught up to the third heaven". That implied that they did not know such a man as that. Such knowledge is outside the realm of natural sight and perception. Well, that was set before the Corinthians in order to move them out of the material and fleshly way of looking at things that marked them.

D.R. Referring to the spiritual education they received during the forty days, is it on that ground that Peter can say, "Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house"?

J.T. As to the real enjoyment of Christianity, it is spiritual. There is that which is external, but if I do not touch it spiritually I do not get the good of it.

A.N.W. It is remarkable that that period of spiritual education was before the Spirit was given.

J.T. But the Lord was here, and, although He says, "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have", yet He was in a spiritual condition; that is, a condition that was not bounded by natural laws. Before His death the Lord, one might say, speaking with the utmost care and reverence, came into the realm of natural laws, although there was a constant testimony that He was above them, for He made them, but in becoming man, He submitted to them in grace. He observed them, but at times His glory shone forth.

F.L. Walking on the water, for instance.

J.T. Nevertheless, coming into the realm of them He generally limited Himself to them, but after He rose from the dead, He took a condition outside of them, so we are told that when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, Jesus came

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and stood in the midst, and yet He was a real man. Now all that was intended to impress upon them that He was in a new condition altogether, and going in and out amongst them during the forty days would be calculated to impress that upon them, and would lead to a desire to join Him as He was. When they received the Spirit after He had gone up into heaven they entered into all this; they had part with Him in a spiritual way.

J.C.S. The spot where the assembling takes place, and where the Lord Jesus impresses us with the blessedness of what He is, is a sphere, I judge, where the sword has been laid aside. The company taking these things up have had to use the sword, I mean in the place of judging sin, but are brought in their spirits to a scene where they can dispense with the sword, where everything is morally in accord with what He is.

J.T. I think the foundation of the house is laid where the sword is sheathed. It was suspended over Jerusalem, but not over the threshing floor of Oman the Jebusite, David had offered up sacrifices there, and there the sword was sheathed, and David said, "this is the house of the Lord God", 1 Chronicles 21:26, 27; 22: 1.

J.C.S. The sword suggests what is destructive, Here we have what is constructive.

J.T. Quite so. During the forty days it is the building up of what is spiritual, so Peter says, "to whom coming as unto a living stone, ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house",

F.L. I was struck by what you were saying as to the Lord instructing them as to the assembly and what it embraced; the Lord Himself does things in accordance with principles which are divinely laid down. In Psalm 22 He says, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee"; and in Hebrews 2,

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"Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the assembly will I sing praise unto thee". That is a great principle, and the Lord during the forty days acted on it and He instructed His disciples according to it. Now it seems to me we never can reach the full height of privilege that there is in assembly unless we discern that the Lord always moves on that line; that He is in pre-eminence. Our assembling together is unto Him, and He acts, and governs, and instructs along those lines.

R.S.S. It was evident that the Lord had difficulty, if one might speak that way, in holding them on the lines that He was on, because He speaks to them about tarrying at Jerusalem until they should receive the promise of the Father, and then they at once say, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom unto Israel"? The Lord then says, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall he witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem ... ... and to the uttermost part of the earth". They did not apprehend the spiritual line upon which He was.

J.T. But He held them to what He had before Him.

G.W.H. Do you think that these we read of in Acts 1 were in the good of Ephesians 2:22, when they got the Spirit?

J.T. I think they were, although the full truth of the house had not yet been unfolded.

G.W.H. The Lord was seeking to impress upon them the kind of man He was, but do you not think He was impressing upon them what kind of men they were in order to assemble?

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J.T. I think He was instructing them that they were of Him. He held on to His line, and it says, "having said these things, he was taken up". Then it says of them, "they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called the mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey off. And when they were come in to the city, they went up to the upper chamber, where were staying both Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas, the brother of James". They showed by their action in returning to the city that they had profited by the instruction. It does not say He told them to go there, but the fact that they did go proves that they had gained by their spiritual education.

W.B-w. Is it not significant that the Lord Jesus during those forty days instructed them by the Spirit as a Man, "after that he through the Holy Spirit had given commandments unto the apostles"?

J.T. That is another point of importance. It would teach them how things were to be. It is not said of Him before, although He did teach and minister in the power of the Spirit during His lifetime, but it is emphasised here.

Ques. Is it not important to see that He led them out as far as to Bethany?

J.T. That is in keeping with Luke's gospel narrative.

Rem. I thought it indicated that Bethany was the scene of ascension.

,I .T. But he goes up from Olivet here.

W.B-t. A suggestion of the Spirit. I notice you have been strongly pressing upon us the Spirit of God through out the afternoon. So I believe what has come out in regard to the difference in the

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teaching of the Lord and His assembling with the disciples during the forty days is of the very utmost importance. They did not have power, but they had the Lord there with them, and later they got the power. It says, "ye shall receive power", and I think we want to realize that we have received power. The Lord today is at the right hand of God and we can only comprehend by the Spirit what it means to have a Man there.

W.C.R. I remember hearing it said that the Spirit in a sense did notdwell in every believer.

J.T. I think that is right too. Every believer has the Spirit, but dwelling means that there is nothing there to grieve or distress Him. I think the conditions of the dwelling are seen here, in that He sat upon each of them. Sitting on each meant that He was complacent there.

J.C.S. Where there is dwelling, building up is a simple matter. That is, the Spirit has come, and every person who has received the Spirit has received in initial form every quality found in Christ. These qualities have to be developed in us, and where the Spirit is restful I judge it is simple to go on with the construction of Christ morally in our souls.

J.T. The positive education of the saints in what the disciples were educated in during the forty days, is of the very last importance now, because although we may have right ground and public order, yet unless we are spiritual there is no real enjoyment of assembly privilege; nor is there any drink offering for God, because it is in those who are consciously accepted that God has His pleasure.

W.B-t. And you might add no real power.

J.T. No; no real power for testimony.

D.R. It is very important then that the Spirit should be ungrieved, and not quenched in our midst.

W.B-w. Where does the work of Aholiab and

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the wisehearted men come in in the construction of the tabernacle?

J.T. I think that is seen in those employed in the building now. Paul says, for instance, "As a wise architect I have laid a foundation". That wisdom was given to him by the Spirit, but he adds, "Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon"; that is, he led the way in the building and those who followed should build in accordance. It is well to take account of how other men do things, men who have spoken unto us the word of God, and who have departed to be with the Lord. Those who have known them have a great advantage, because they have learnt from them how the thing was done, and that is important.

W.H.F. The Lord was instructing them during the forty days as to their association with Him. He was risen from the dead and in a new condition of humanity, and He was instructing them that they were now of His order.

J.T. You can understand the feelings of the disciples after the first day of the week, when Thomas was giving expression to his materialism. What feelings they would have! I can understand them saying, 'Thomas, you have really missed it. If you had been here your soul would have experienced the blessedness of the presence of the Lord, a Man risen from the dead'. It is that which I feel we are all so defective in, spiritual apprehensions and sensibilities, and the lack of these inevitably leads to materialism.

W.H.F. I thought of it in connection with the message the Lord sent by Mary to the disciples, that He ascended to His Father and their Father; His God and their God; that was the communication to them, but now they were together and it was on different ground; they are associated with Him as if His order.

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J.C.S. You were speaking of the Lord coming in in a spiritual way, and the way He would impress souls. I judge there is nothing so edifying, nothing builds us up like the presence of Christ. The greatest gift on earth cannot effect in our souls what the presence of Christ can.

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THE HOUSE OF GOD (3)

Hebrews 3:1 - 6; Hebrews 10:19 - 22; 1 Chronicles 22:1 - 10

J.T. In continuing the subject of the house of God, we might on this occasion consider Christ in relation to it. I suppose the Lord is over the house as Son on God's side, and as Priest on our side. I thought the passage in Chronicles would help to set out the truth in this connection, because it introduces Solomon in a very peculiar way, and the reference to it in Hebrews 1 shows it was Christ who was in view. "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son". What marked Solomon was that he was a man of rest.

W.C.R. The house seems to suggest rest more than the tabernacle. The tabernacle was a question of movement. Is that your thought?

J.T. Yes, the house as built by Solomon suggests the end of God's ways having been reached.

F.L. I suppose we can always look for the moral side of things and always be sure of finding it. I was thinking the house was really to take character in a way from the man. David, as a man who had shed much blood, a man of warfare and strife, was not the one to put impress or character upon the house. It was the man of rest and the man who expresses peace.

J.T. That was what I thought we might be occupied with at this time, the character that Christ gives to it as Son.

F.L. Would you say that Moses could scarcely give character to the house being but a servant over it, while Christ, being the Son, really imparts the character to the house of God? I suppose that is the contrast here in Hebrews.

J.T. Yes, Christ is the Builder really, and it is,

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in a sense, His own house, while Moses was a servant in a house not his own.

J.C.S. So a Son over His house indicates really that the light shining in the house is to govern the house, and He as Builder of the house of God builds in the kind of material found in Himself morally.

J.T. Yes. The Son, being over it, imparts liberty to the house. Of course, it is to be observed that this passage in Hebrews 3 is not to introduce the subject of the house; the latter is really brought in incidentally. The main thought is to introduce the greatness of Christ, the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, but the reference to the house and Christ as Son over it helps greatly in the understanding of the truth of the house; it is built by the Son and He is over it in that character.

F.L. The suggestion of liberty at once raises the contrast with the tabernacle or temple, for Aaron could not have gone freely at all times in and out of the holiest. Now with regard to Christ evidently the liberty is established there. The Apostle and Priest belongs to the place and the liberty is in going "in and out", and so those who are of His order have the liberty of the place.

R.S.S. The opening of this epistle indicates the light into which God proposes to bring man; He surrounds Himself with men who are like Christ, and Christ being Son over God's house, the people of God are permitted to go right into the brightest spot, in contrast to an exclusive family set out in Aaron, who indeed did not have this liberty.

J.T. Yes, I think the connection in which Solomon stands to the house in the Old Testament affords great help as to it, because it is said of him at his birth that Jehovah loved him; 2 Samuel 12:24.

E.H.T. Is your thought that the principal characteristic of the house would be love?

J.T. Yes, it is not built by a military man. A

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military man would build from his own point of view, but of Solomon it is said in Proverbs 4:3, "I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother". He was brought up and nourished in parental affections. Not only did his father love him, but his mother loved him; that is, he was brought up in that atmosphere of affection, so in building a house he would be qualified to give expression to love, for the house is the family sphere, the sphere in which love is to be reciprocated. There is parental or descending love, as well as ascending love, and then too what you might say horizontal love, the love of the brethren. Solomon would be eminently fitted to take account of all these things and would prepare the house accordingly. He knew a father's love; he knew a mother's love.

C.B. It is only a man of peace who could take account of these things.

J.T. Also a man of love. He is beloved in the eyes of his father and his mother.

R.S.S. It says in connection with the birth of Solomon that Bathsheba "bare a son, and he (David) called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him. And he sent by the band of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord". The meaning of the word Jedidiah is, "Beloved of the Lord".

J.T. So "Solomon" is a man of rest, and "Jedidiah" is a loved one. Then the fact that Christ was in view gives this passage in 1 Chronicles, or the corresponding passage in 2 Samuel, a connection with Hebrews 1:5, "I will be to him a Father and he shall be to me a Son". That is the man that builds the house.

B.T.F. Would you say that Solomon anticipated the words of our Lord, when He said, "in my Father's house are many mansions"; so that in the building of the temple there was a foreshadowing of that?

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J.T. Yes, the answer to 1 Kings 6 is the Father's house; that is, the holiest and holy place could be thrown together; there is no veil in 1 Kings, neither is the altar in evidence. It is more a sphere for God to express His affections in and to surround Himself with those He loved, hence you have chambers and folding doors.

W.B-s. Is it the home life that fits a person to have any place in the house of God? I refer to one's government of his own house? Ruling his own house well qualifies him to have a place of service in God's house. In speaking of Solomon we have been saying his home life was of a certain character that qualified him for taking charge of the house of God.

J.T. He was qualified by the love of his father and the love of his mother. Solomon coming in, in place of the child taken away in judgment, constituted him all the more important in their eyes, and especially as he was marked out by Jehovah Himself by prophetic testimony as a loved one.

W.B-s. Timothy himself was a special vessel; it was to him Paul wrote in connection with the house and he was brought up under the influence of a believing mother.

J.T. He appears in the Acts after Barnabas had left Paul, and the whole of Acts 16, which tells us of Timothy's introduction into Paul's circle, treats of households. There is nothing said about the assembly at Philippi, but a great deal said about households and brethren, as if to suggest that Timothy was the product of home affections governed by faith; for we may have affections without the faith, and all such affections are not pure, but family affections governed by faith are pure and holy. So Timothy coming from a home, from a mother and a grandmother, who had faith, heads the subject in Acts 16, then Lydia follows and then the jailor. The subject is largely households.

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F.L. And then the brethren.

R.S.S. And why not the assembly? Why is it omitted?

J.T. I think the point was to show what is operative in the households of the brethren. It was the manner in which the truth of the gospel was introduced into Europe, into the western world. The ecclesiastical side is not prominent, but rather the family side.

F.L. And that continues, I suppose, through Thessalonica, Athens, etc., until Paul settles down for longer periods, first in Corinth and afterwards in Ephesus, and it is then what you may call assembly work. I mean it seems to follow on in that way.

J.T. Quite, the assembly comes then into evidence, but Philippi, being the gateway into Europe, spiritually, at least, is marked by family affection.

F.L. I am interested in the suggestions that have come out in regard to Moses and Solomon. Moses, as servant in God's house, receives the pattern of the tabernacle from heaven, but with regard to Solomon's house, Solomon seems to come more distinctively as representative of Christ, and therefore the pattern is not given from heaven, but it rather takes character from one of whom God says, "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son", and so the house is developed on the lines of which you have been speaking. It takes the impress of that Man. The house of God now takes the impress of Christ.

J.T. Yes, so you could scarcely think of the Son building by pattern. Pattern is for the workman. The Son is God Himself, as Hebrews shows.

F.L. I think it is very helpful to see that the house of God has the impress of the Man.

J.C.S. So with Solomon it was not the commandment of the Lord, as with Moses, and I judge in that way Christ knew entirely what was suitable to

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God and builds what is absolutely pleasurable to Him, transmitting His own moral qualities to it.

J.T. I think that is it. It was quite true that David received, by the Spirit, the pattern of the house, but there is nothing said about Solomon using a pattern. The record is what he did, and we can understand that what the Son does is according to the Father's mind, but He does it of Himself

R.S.S. "Upon this rock I will build my assembly". It is not exactly the house there, but it is the same thought.

J.T. Yes. "On this rock I will build my assembly". You are very conscious of the dignity of the Person doing it. He is not working as a fellow-workman; nor as an employed man, He is doing it of Himself.

R.S.S. And speaking of it as "my assembly" rather suggests the thought that it takes character from Him?

J.C.S. The house in Hebrews is purely a spiritual idea. In what way do you connect that with the thought of being qualified to take a place in that house, in the way of government, etc.?

J.T. I think 1 Timothy furnishes us with that instruction.

J.C.S. I was wondering whether Hebrews presents the house in relation to the pleasure of God: whereas in Timothy it is the house in its bearing toward men; and looking at it as viewed in the epistle to the Hebrews I do not think we can conceive the idea of disorder or discipline.

J.T. Well, it is introduced really incidentally in both instances in Hebrews; but the truth in regard of it is not worked out there. It is introduced incidentally in chapter 3 and again in chapter 10, "and having a great priest over the house of God", but the connection of the Lord with it in each case shows the character, first, what he is from God in it as Son, and then what He is from man's side as

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Priest. I do not think we get more than His relation to it in Hebrews. We would have to go elsewhere to find how it is worked out practically, but the fact that He is from God's side Son over it lends a wonderful lustre, and liberty and blessedness to it, because of what He is as Son in that relation. On the other hand, if I draw near to God it is an immense thing to know that we have a Great Priest there, One who is capable of sympathy, and thus able to support us in our souls in drawing near to God. The first, Hebrews 3, is what God is to us in the house, and so one would go to 1 Kings 6, as I said, for the enlargement of this thought, because it shows you that God would put Himself in touch with man by the folding doors, as if He would throw all together that there might be no distance or reserve; that all should be together happily and freely before God.

J.C.S. So that the house as builded by the Son would have more the interior in view, rather than the exterior, the interior suggesting rest and liberty.

J.T. Yes, whereas 2 Chronicles would perhaps correspond more with Hebrews 10 where you have a veil and an altar; that is, in approaching, God finds no room for the flesh, and we need all the things that are spoken of in that chapter: we have boldness for entering, and we have a great high Priest. The things are supplied and it is for us to avail ourselves of what is supplied in order to draw near. But chapter 3 suggests as I have said what the house is from God's side, and how He will display Himself in it.

J.C.S. John 8 says, "If the Son therefore shall make you free ye shall be free indeed". That is in the house, is it not.

J.T. Yes, quite.

F.L. In Matthew 17, when the question of the tribute was raised, the Lord expressed to Peter that the children are free; "then are the sons free".

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R.S.S. What is the difference between the house as we are speaking of it now and what we get in Hebrews 8, the sanctuary and the true tabernacle. You were alluding to Exodus 15, and there it speaks of both His holy habitation and the sanctuary. What is the distinction between these and also the thought of the tabernacle?

J.T. I think the idea of a sanctuary is that it is a sanctified place. It is a place in which God has surrounded Himself with that which excludes the flesh and sin in every way, "thy holy habitation" or "the abode of thy holiness" referred, I suppose, to the tabernacle, which is the pattern of things in the heavens, indeed of the universal system; and therefore it represents a different thought from the sanctuary. When you think of the sanctuary it is a question of where God is to be approached; that is, you must approach in accord with what He is, but when you think of the tabernacle it is not approach, but display, His coming out. Of course the tabernacle was the sanctuary; I refer to the thought in each only.

R.S.S. Yes, so the tabernacle and God's house would largely correspond.

J.T. Generally speaking, the thought of the sanctuary is, that it is a sanctified place, and then if you have to say to God in it you must be in accord with it.

C.B. We get to understand things there. Asaph said he understood the end of the wicked when he got into the sanctuary; Psalm 73:17.

J.C.S. Are there two ideas connected with the sanctuary? On one hand the way into the holiest was made manifest and there is boldness to go in, and on the other hand the sanctuary was the place of divine service, where the priests served at the golden altar.

J.T. I think the word sanctuary would take in

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the holy and the most holy place, but generally speaking it signifies a holy place, a sanctified place, and if we are to draw near to God in it we must be in accord with God. I think that is in view in chapter 10, so that if you think of the holiness of the place, then you have provision to meet that. Hence having boldness by the blood of Jesus and having a great priest, the worshipper is furnished in view of entering into the holiest. The thought of the sanctuary in chapter 8 is more general, referring to that in which Christ's ministry is exercised.

R.S.S. You find the Lord as Son over God's house contrasted with Moses, whereas when you come to the sanctuary, it is Aaron, is it not, that is in contrast?

J.T. Quite.

R.S.S. And Moses was rather on God's side manward, whereas Aaron, the high priest, was from man's side Godward.

B.T.F. Then there are two thoughts in what is before us: Christ as Builder and Christ as Priest.

J.T. Yes; in chapter 3 it is what He is from God's side, and in chapter 10 on our side, so, as has been remarked, Solomon is a type of Christ as Son as seen in chapter 3.

W.B-t. Would you say a little more about David being a military man, having part in the things carried out in Zion, where walls and bulwarks are spoken of and Solomon being a man of peace.

J.T. I think you can see how Solomon would work on lines of affection. He was not concerned so much in his reign about bulwarks and military array, although, of course, he had an army and all that, but the military side is in David. I am speaking of the spiritual thoughts presented. Solomon is free. What one sees is that to develop the truth of the assembly from tire side of privilege we have to be free from a sense of opposition and controversy.

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That is, "neither adversary nor evil occurrent". This is essential to the development of the truth of the house of God.

W.B-s. Would we get the thought in principle in Acts 9? It says, "Then had the churches rest ... ... . and were edified and walking in the fear of the Lord ... ... were multiplied".

J.T. That is how it works, but what you see in Christ is that He disposed of all enemies first in a military sense. He laid every opposing element low through His death; then during the forty days of His sojourn here after He arose He adjusted the disciples. He laboured during this period at the material in a positive way, with a view to the establishment of that in which affection should be active. Now in Acts 9, Saul championed opposition to this. Satan had again set up his opposition to Christ and Saul entered into every house; he invaded the spheres in which affection really would flow, and dragging out men and women, the believers, he committed them to prison. He would destroy the assembly; that is what the enemy would do. He would destroy the sphere of affection, and so he set out with the mission from Damascus, "breathing out", it says, "threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord". But the Lord met him. He is still Lord today. He still exercises, so to speak, the David service, but it is all with a view to preserving that in which love is. I believe that is the great point to get hold of. We must preserve that in which love is to be free, and the kingdom is for that. So throughout Acts 9 it is the Lord, and what He does. He meets Saul and brings him to the earth and in doing so He accomplished perhaps the most remarkable feat you can find in the annals of Scripture; He brought down the opposition, but in bringing it down He brought in a vessel of love He brought in a man of love, and so the first service

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Paul renders is to announce that Jesus is the Son of God. He is an object of affection: He is a Solomon. And so throughout the chapter the Lord has His way. Every opposition gives way before the Lord, and then, as our brother remarked, the assemblies had rest, and were edified and multiplied; but the Lord had done it, and I think it is well to see that; and to see that all discipline and all military effort is to preserve that in which love is to be free, that is to say, where God's love is free, and we can love one another freely. Now as the Spirit of God records the history of the testimony you will find that one thing after another happens until Paul acquires a dominant position, because Christ had found a man wholly in sympathy with His own heart. And so, as Barnabas and Saul set out on their mission, presently Saul is signalised by a miracle, and soon takes the lead. Elymas the sorcerer, who opposed the testimony is made blind for a season, representing, I suppose, the Jews. They are rendered blind for a season, and then we have a most remarkable expression in chapter 13: 13. "And having sailed from Paphos, Paul and his company came to Perga of Pamphylia; and John separated from them and returned to Jerusalem". It shows how the Spirit of God brought the apostle into prominence; and now it is not simply "their own company" but "Paul and his company"; that is the company now.

R.S.S. You spoke of his reaching a dominant position. He never sought it, however.

J.T. Before this is said of him, it is said, "Who also is called Paul". His name had been Saul. Paul I believe, means "little".

R.S.S. In the very same chapter.

J.T. Yes, so he is not seeking it, but he is such a qualified vessel for the house, for bringing in what is of God in Christ, as Son of God, that the Spirit

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of God is flee to give him this remarkable place; so it is "Paul and his company".

F.L. So spiritual shipwreck was in separating from that company. John Mark left them and departed for Jerusalem.

J.T. Quite so; he left that company.

F.L. And later Barnabas also left.

J.T. So the Spirit of God, throughout the history of the testimony from this point onward, seems to give Paul the leading place; and the Lord would not be diverted from His devoted servant. Paul says in 2 Timothy, referring to his standing before the emperor, "The Lord stood with me and strengthened me, that by me the preaching might be fully known". (2 Timothy 4:17).

The two thoughts that we have had before us then, in connection with Christian relation to the house of God in Hebrews 3 and 10, if rightly followed, lead in the first place to the making known of God in the house, and in the second place to our approaching Him there. In the former case you act like God, so that in discipline or in your dealings on the part of God you impress others with what is Godlike. God is thus displaying Himself in His house. In the latter case in our approaching Him the Lord is on our side as Priest; "great Priest over the house of God", and I suppose the word "great" there has to be distinguished from the word "high". It is that He is great in the way in which He can help us and enter into our exercises. As Great Priest He leads us to approach, and supports us in it, so that as there we are like Him. One is there in accord with the Great Priest and therefore not conscious of any disparity between oneself and God.

W.H.F. Do we get instruction in the holiest in regard of how we are to act in the house or for service in the house?

J.T. We do. We learn that from the Great Priest.

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W.H.F. Is the holiest for us a certain light in which Christ is presented to us?

J.T. I think so. It has often been commented on; that it is what Christ is as Man before God, the One by whom He accomplishes all His thoughts.

W.H.F. It has been said that we enter into the holiest individually and there we get instruction as to how we can act in the assembly. We carry the instruction into the assembly and communicate it or act on it, there. Do you go with that?

J.T. That is right, I think. I would like to get the thought of the Great Priest, and how one approaches, because so much depends on how we approach.

R.S.S. The expression "Great Priest" is not in the authorised version. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness for entering into the holy of holies by the blood of Jesus, the new and living way which he has dedicated for us through the veil, that is, his flesh and having a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart", Hebrews 10:19 - 22. It is the thought of the greatness of the Person you said?

J.T. Yes, of Christ as Man.

G.W.H. As Great Priest would He impress you as approaching, with being of Himself.

J.T. That is it, I think. He gives you the sense that there is no disparity between God and you, otherwise you would approach in the sense of your own littleness; but the Great Priest gives you the sense of the greatness of the line, of the order you belong to, and the nearer you get to God the more sensible you are that there is no disparity and you are made free. That is the point one would like to get clearly before us: "Having a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near".

W.B-s. As to the drawing near with our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies

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washed with pure water; what is the significance of that?

J.T. All these requisites should be present, so that there should be no hindrance in any way to believers drawing near to God. Referring again to chapter 3, the greatness of the Apostle and High Priest is first spoken of and then the thought is added as to the house and that the saints are that house, "Whose house are we"; that is, it is brought down to a concrete thing. In this passage the house is the full presentation, answering to the tabernacle, but he brings it down to a concrete reality, that the saints are that house for the moment, we are that house provisionally but it depends on continuance. "If we hold fast the boldness and the boast of hope firm to the end".

H.G. Would the thought of the great priest over the house of God suggest Christ and His ability to arrange everything finally in regard to God, and lead all the redeemed in to God, because, as you said, while the assembly is the provisional aspect of the house, I suppose it contemplates the whole universe. In that sense you get a wonderful conception of His ability

J.T. Yes, and that He is a Man. It is as Man He is Priest, although founded on His sonship; but the idea of a priest is that he is capable of sympathy, and I apprehend that gives you the sense of your greatness, because you do not approach to God in your littleness. You do not approach to God saying, 'God be merciful to us miserable sinners' but in your relation to the Priest.

A.N.W. That was what I meant in connection with boldness; our relation to Him as Son and Priest; see chapter 3: 6, 10, 19.

R.S.S. The consciousness that as Great Priest he is on our side greatly encourages one.

J.T. It does, and what has been remarked is

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very interesting as a general presentation of the truth of the Priest over the house of God, but chapter 10 is laying it upon the saint that he should approach; at least he should have no difficulties in doing so on account of everything necessary being furnished. The furnishings are brought forward and amongst them this great fact that there is a Great Priest and that we have Him; it is not simply that He is there, but we have Him there. He is there on our account, so you have sympathy.

F.L. What a wonderful father Aaron would have been in his own home circle if only he himself had risen to the light of his own priesthood and brought back into his home the light and the sympathy and the atmosphere of what that priesthood meant. He was the head of the family, he would have given them his own characteristics; but he was far from being up to all this, and two of his sons broke down. Now when we transfer this to Christ as the Great Priest over the house of God, the true Aaron and His sons, as sons with Him before the Father's face, we see truly a wonderful family.

J.T. Yes, and then in drawing near to God we are not simply taken "by the hand"; in bringing us out of the land of Egypt (the world) we are taken by the hand, that is, as you take a child, but it is not as little ones that we draw near to God. God's thought is that He should be approached by men, those fully developed, and Hebrews is in order to bring that about. The Hebrew Christians were going back to the babe state, but the apostle was aiming at "full-grown men", and so it says, "Let us draw near"; that is, you do it yourself, and lest you may have any difficulties, all these things are there, but then they are yours. It is not the Lord taking you by the hand and leading you in; He takes you by the hand to lead you out of the land of Egypt but you are led in by the heart and by the intelligence

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and all these requisites are furnished so that you may avail yourself of your privilege. But the point is that you draw near. God wants to see you coming. Hence it says, "The Father seeketh such to worship him"; that is, those who worship "in spirit and in truth". It is not simply a worshipping company, but individual worshippers. Each one has to come.

B.T.F. In Hebrews 10, are you drawing near for help in the hour of need?

J.T. No, it is drawing near to God simply; in Hebrews 4, it is that you might obtain help.

R.S.S. You are thinking of God.

J.T. So priestly function is in Christ as the Great Priest. I suppose it was the absence of this that disqualified Jacob from drawing near. He trembled. It was a "dreadful place" to him, but if our souls appropriate the blessedness of what God has placed in Christ as Great Priest over the house of God we shall not be afraid to draw near.

F.L. I think that is very helpful, and I am very much interested in what you say as to coming out of Egypt and coming into the land. In connection with coming out of Egypt God says, "I bare you on eagles' wings and brought you unto myself"; but when it comes to entrance into the land, the ark and the priests are very much in evidence, and every member of the congregation is set in relation to them. Everyone in the whole camp would have his own individual place and exercise. We get none of that in coming out of Egypt, and the difference I think is well worthy of our attention, because it is men who are spiritually developed who enter into the land.

H.G. Mr. Raven used to say that the man of strong affections was under an immense advantage in Christianity, because Christianity was a system of affections, and, although of a different order, he could understand the principle on which God worked.

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So I suppose, as you have been saying, it is immensely important how our spirits are maintained under the influence of Christ as Son, so as to be formed in divine affections, and that we might go in consciously in the life of that Man. He leads a people who are free in His own life, in sympathy and in affection, hence in Hebrews 10:16, in connection with the covenant, I notice their hearts are spoken of first. In chapter 8: 10, their mind is spoken of first. One has to be intelligent in regard of the way God has come out, but in chapter 10 the affection side is presented first.

W.B-t. And then coming out we provoke unto love and good works; chapter 10: 24.

A.N.W. Do we get the thought of being led in in Romans 8? "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God".

J.T. I do not think that is leading in; the reference there is to what took place after the brazen serpent. Previous to that they had been led by the tabernacle; as the tabernacle moved they moved, but you get no reference to that after Numbers 21. Typically then we are led by the Spirit, and after the Holy Spirit is recognised the objective guidance is not so prominent; it is the Holy Spirit, and being led by Him and that marks us off as sons. I think God is looking for Christians drawing near, and He misses them; He was missing the Hebrew Christians. They had been drawing near to God but they were giving it up and the apostle impresses upon them the importance of drawing near to God.

H.G. We get here the answer to God's original thought for the Hebrew. "Israel is my son, even my firstborn ... ... let my son go that he may serve me", Exodus 4:22, 23.

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THE HOUSE OF GOD (4)

1 Kings 6:23 - 36; 1 Timothy 3

J.T. Our subject is administration, or government, in connection with the house of God; the government that is seen there, which, of course, has in view His holiness. The element of rule or government is seen there, so I suggested the passage in Kings, because it shows, allied to that which would suggest the Spirit, the principle of government in the cherubims.

F.L. What would you say is suggestive of the Spirit?

J.T. The olive wood; that is, the house is spiritual; there is perhaps nothing so difficult with us as to get rid of material thoughts; and while there is that in the house of God which may be taken account of in a material way, the saints' bodies, yet it is essentially spiritual.

F.L. There are other woods, cedar and fir.

J.T. They are not so prominent here as the olive, but they of course have their meaning. The cedar would suggest the dignity of the order of man that is there; the fir may be probably something for the eye.

F.L. I had rather thought the fir was the suggestion of life, the fir tree is what we call evergreen. It seems to come in in that way in Hosea 14:8, "I am like a green fir tree".

J.T. There is constant evidence of life; that which is pleasant, or restful for the eye.

J.C.S. Then there are "half opened flowers"; flowers, as it were, bursting out in the energy of life. Moral beauty too, would you say?

J.T. Quite. It seems to indicate the energy of life producing that which is delightful to the eye and fragrant.

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W.C.R. Like Aaron's rod that budded.

J.T. Just so. That was the evidence of life.

F.L. That went on to bearing fruit also.

J.C.S. It budded, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

W.B-s. In Psalm 92 you get the palm tree mentioned. "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God". There it seems to connect fruit with the palm tree and longevity of life; "they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing".

J.T. The passage we have read serves to show the spiritual nature of the house of God, and allied with that the principle of government. I refer to the cherubims and the doors being made of olive wood and the walls and the doors being carved with figures of cherubims. The principle of government must never be absent, indeed I suppose it is never absent in anything that God has instituted: but the question is how it is carried out; whether it is with a rod, as Paul says, or by the influence of the word. The place the cherubims occupy in the house shows that what is in view is not so much the guarding