Answers to Correspondents

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 13
Manna — The Omer
Just as no house in Egypt was too big for the lamb — setting before us the sufficiency of Christ’s death to meet our lost and ruined and sinful condition — so no man’s eating was too great for an omer of manna (Ex. 16-18) i.e., the life of Jesus, what He is in Himself, as expressed in His life of dependence on earth, is sufficient to feed, sustain, and satisfy the greatest desires of the new life. That one omer was also laid up before the Lord, would signify that He is also all-sufficient for the satisfaction and delight of God (Ex. 16:3333And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations. (Exodus 16:33)).
Baptism
R.J.R. asks several questions as to Baptism. To these we offer reply as follows: —
The “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:55One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (Ephesians 4:5) is Christian baptism, and stands in connection with “one faith” and “one Lord.”
Israel was baptized in the cloud and in the sea to Moses (1 Cor. 10:22And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; (1 Corinthians 10:2)): Christians are baptized to Christ, who is the Antitype of what Moses was as the deliverer of God’s earthly people. Read Romans 6:22God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:2) and Gal. 3:2727For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27), where “into” should properly be read “unto”.
In the examples referred to (Acts 2:38; 10:48; 19:538Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. (Acts 10:48)
5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 19:5)
) the record does not assume to state the whole formula of words used on the occasion of each baptism, but singles out for attention that which was distinctive, that is, the name of the One who had just been rejected and crucified, but whom God had exalted, and in connection with whom alone was any place of refuge and safety opened out to the guilty and the lost.
As to the most correct formula to be used, the expressions found in the Acts are really involved in the words given in Matthew 28:1919Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19) (that scripture, be it noted, does not limit the formula used to only the words there given), but we think Scripture supposes that definite recognition in baptism of the Christian place in subjection to the Lord, which is so explicitly conveyed in the expressions used in Acts. This would mean baptism “unto the Lord Jesus Christ, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” We may remark that the closing verses of Matthew 28 do not contemplate the disciples in exactly the distinctively Christian relationship, but, in their scope, reach out so as to include evangelizing by the believing Jewish remnant in a coming day.
Ephesians 4:55One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (Ephesians 4:5) does not allude to baptism “with the Holy Ghost.” This latter must not be confounded with our individually receiving the Holy Spirit of promise, who comes to indwell each of those who have believed the gospel (Eph. 1:1313In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:13)).
Baptism by or with the Spirit (for it is the same word) was thus initiatory to the Church’s collective relationship to Christ as His Body. This is not repeated, and as we come individually to believe in Christ, and individually receive the Spirit, we find that we come into a wonderful collective relationship with Christ as His body, the assembly, which was formed long ago by baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Baptism by water on the other hand is entirely individual, and is initiatory to the Christian position as bearing Christ’s name; in it we each one become identified with the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ — “as many... as have been baptized into [or unto’] Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:2727For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27)).
T.M. — “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. — We do not think what is here said as to the Father refers to” His work in souls in Old Testament times. “In the first place “raising” the dead is not a work in the soul, and secondly, we do not think there is any point of time in the passage at all. The statements are characteristic. What is true of the Father, as to the essentially divine power here spoken of, is true also of the Son, who is co-equal with the Father, and exercises quickening power in respect of “whom He will,” albeit taking the place in manhood of a recipient, even as to that which belongs to Him in His own proper rights as a divine Person (see the connection of the statements in this verse with those in the two verses preceding).
Verbal Inspiration
R. — We do not see any difficulty as to “verbal inspiration” in the fact that in what seem to be identical addresses, Matthew should use the term “Kingdom of Heaven,” and Luke “Kingdom of God.”
During the three years that the Lord spent with His disciples, He must have instructed them, not only as to that character of the Kingdom which Matthew presents to us, but also in that which is peculiar to Luke. And as much of what the Lord said, and did, is not recorded at all, we judge that what seem to be identical utterances are not so.
When the Holy Spirit inspired these writers to pen their gospels, He controlled their thoughts, and brought to their minds just those words of the Lord, which are in perfect keeping with that presentation of Christ, which it was their part to portray. Thus all is in beautiful order, and divine inspiration is evidenced at every step.
NOTE. — The tune to Missionary Hymn published last month on page 70, is, as is there stated, No. 723 in the old editions of the Bristol Tune Book, but it should be added that in the new edition of that book the tune referred to is No. 742.