Brief Notes on Scripture

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Numbers 18:8-138And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever. 9This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons. 10In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee. 11And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it. 12All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the Lord, them have I given thee. 13And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the Lord, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it. (Numbers 18:8‑13); Luke 15:1, 18-241Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. (Luke 15:1)
18I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. (Luke 15:18‑24)
; John 1:1-41In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1‑4). In type, in parable, and in clearest declaration we have brought before us God's thought of Christ, not only as the way to the Father, but as the sustainer, the food, the source of joy to us when brought there.
In the beginning the word to Pharaoh was: “Thus saith Jehovah God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness” (Ex. 5:11And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. (Exodus 5:1)). Moses' call was different to that of Abraham; the latter was called out from his kindred, etc., but he never had to face the prince of this world in the same way as Moses had. In type Moses had to go straight to Satan, not only that God's people should be delivered from his power, but also that they should hold a feast to Him; to be merry with Him; but it could not be in Egypt. A three days' journey in the wilderness must precede, signifying, we might say, death and resurrection. Then follows the glorious gospel story. The first thing that stands in the way, of their salvation is their sins. The Israelites were no better than the Egyptians. From Ezek. 20 we learn that they were worse, and God is no respecter of persons: judgment must fall on all alike. But His love provides a way which prevents their sins from being a hindrance—the blood of the Lamb “What! my sins no hindrance?” No; if under the shelter of that blood; but there is more than that. In their blood-sprinkled houses they could feed on the roast lamb, whose blood was their protection; but that was not the feast in the desert. There was no joy, no making merry in Egypt—it was not a feast to Jehovah!
The next thing was the power of the enemy. Are you afraid to meet that in the worst form, the power of death? Israel went through it in figure; they crossed the sea in safety, in security, “by crystal walls protected”; saw their enemies dead on the shore. But what followed? According to Psa. 106: “Then believed they his words; they sang his praise. They soon forgat his works” (vers. 12, 13). What could be a better song than they sung then? “Truly they were a delivered people if any were,” someone may say, and so they were. But their joy was only temporary, they soon forgot. Yet they were brought to God. “I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself” (Ex. 19:44Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. (Exodus 19:4)); but they had to learn deeper lessons at Horeb. And have we learned them? Are we satisfied with positional blessing? Is that all, indeed? After they had chosen the law, and the blood had been sprinkled on the book and all the people, Moses goes up to receive that which figured how their relationship could be maintained—the tabernacle, priesthood, ordinances, etc.
The prodigal son brought back from the far country was in conscious relationship when his father's kiss was on his cheek, when the best robe was on him too (not only reconciled, but clothed, decked in all the beauty of Christ). And was not that enough? God says no; there is more. That fatted calf, that had been long before the father's eye, must be enjoyed by both. “Let us eat and be merry.” Here we see how the parable exceeds the Old Testament type in the revelation of the love of the father's real warm embrace; yet the full truth as now revealed since Christ's death and resurrection transcends both.
The apostle John, who in his Gospel had said, speaking of the Word made flesh, “We beheld (or, contemplated) his glory,” now in his Epistle repeats “which we have looked upon,” or contemplated. Thus had he communion in the enjoyment of the Savior, and now writes: “that ye also may have communion with us” (the apostles), and “that your joy may be full.” Is not this to be wisely merry? And Peter, too, how wonderfully he speaks of joy! In the midst of tribulations, persecutions, heaviness, he says, “wherein ye greatly rejoice"; but when he speaks of the Person, “whom not having seen ye love,” he says, “Ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” The first is connected with the hope of the inheritance which, however blessed, is beneath us; the latter with a Person infinitely above us.
Going back to the type, Aaron and the priestly family (twice, at least, we are distinctly told we are a holy priesthood) were to feed on that given to God—the most holy things. And there is averse there which is a puzzle to many (Num. 18:1010In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee. (Numbers 18:10)): “In the most holy place shalt thou eat it.” We who now believe are brought so nigh (nearer we could not be) into “the holiest” (Heb. 10:1919Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, (Hebrews 10:19)), to feast on that which delights God. The oil beaten, the wine pressed, the wheat bruised—all speak of Christ.
And note, other people, other Israelites were gathering in that harvest—there is a double aspect. It was the “best” of that which was gathered that the priests were to eat. The apostle Paul says to Philemon: “The acknowledging of every good thing which is in you” (ver. 6). Do we see any good thing in a brother or sister? “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if any virtue, and if any praise, think on these things.” Not on the bad things. We are not to go with saints going wrong, but may we indeed rejoice in all that is the fruit of the Spirit in them!
John 7:37-39; 13:13-1537In 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. 38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37‑39)
13Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. 15For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. (John 13:13‑15)
, Eph. 3:14-2114For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14‑21). In the preceding remarks we were presenting, not a gospel address in which we might look at the Lord Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life” (“no man cometh unto the Father but by me”), but Himself as the food of the believer now brought to God. So now we may continue our subject by the light of the scriptures immediately before us.
We have already seen how in the Old Testament type the priests were not only brought to God and suitably clothed for that place, but they were fed, abundantly fed. In Luke 15 the father did not say “Let us be merry” until he had said, “Let us eat.” Now we may consider not only that on which we are to feed, but the abundance of it—enough and to spare. Right through, God's purpose has been (as He said to Abraham) “I will bless thee and make thee a blessing.”
What have we then in these scriptures? John 7 opens with the Feast of tabernacles. There were seven Jewish feasts of the year; as to three of which, Jehovah said they were to gather round Himself. He was to be their center. The Feast of tabernacles was the last of the feasts, and in it we have two things; firstly, millennial blessing, corn and wine, the types of earthly good, and, secondly, dwelling in booths, all together, rich and poor, meeting on one common platform. It was a scene of fullest earthly joy. We do not read of it being kept till the days of Solomon, when the people were dismissed “glad and merry in heart” (2 Chron. 7:88Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt. (2 Chronicles 7:8)). There was full earthly joy and happiness, and religious happiness also, infinitely more than all the “P.S.A.'s” rolled into one could ever effect. But earthly happiness is not heaven. Men see just the opposite of this now—massacres, murders, cancers, operations. What is the root of all these? Philanthropy may cut off the branches and seek to alleviate the symptoms, but it is only like the man who tried his hand on the thorns and thistles, ignoring the cause of, them all. Abel was wiser—he covered the root with the blood of a victim.
“In the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus (who had not sanctioned the feast, His time of display not being yet come) stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he concerning the Spirit which they that believe on him were about to receive” when He was glorified (John 7:37-3937In 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. 38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37‑39)). Yet meanwhile did He give the fountain of water springing up into everlasting life to those who had received Him. That woman, out of whom He had cast seven demons, says at first, “They have taken away the Lord.” Anyone might say that, but when the angels question her she says, “They have taken away MY Lord.” Can we all say so? So Paul said “Christ Jesus MY Lord,” as before, Thomas had also said, “My Lord and my God.” So, again, the woman of Samaria, receiving the living water, could not but testify of Him to her neighbors, “Come, see a man... is not this the Christ?” John 6 gives us the incarnate Christ as the “living bread which came down from heaven,” the Giver of life, of which a man must “have eaten,” to “live forever.” But there is also the constant eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood, i. e., Himself in death, the death of the cross, if we are to abide in Him and He in us (vers. 54-56). In fine, Himself in His life, death and ascension. It is a perversion of the scripture to make this chapter speak of the Lord's supper, for eating of it can never give life. The next chapter (7) points to Him glorified and the Holy Ghost given. See also chap. 17, “Now, O Father, glorify thou me along with (not from) thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” He was one with the Father, Jehovah's Fellow, His Son, and He is glorified along with the Father, sharing the same glory and affection as in the past ages. As man, too, is He glorified, and the glory given Him He gives us.
If in John 7 we have the streams flowing out in this barren empty world (a noisy one, I grant, but a drum is that; open it and see what causes it, it is empty), in chap. 13 I am in company with my fellow Christians. How am I to treat them? As Christ treats me. Perfect in Him before the Father, I am yet likely to be defiled outside. I need cleansing. Oh, what a story, a Christian's is, of feet washing! After the first week or so of newborn joy, do things get dim and the joy fade away? Is it not because the Lord was not sought for to sustain and keep right? But see how He intervenes and washes the feet and brings the wanderer back! And this is how I am to act towards my fellow Christians, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet.”
Now for a brief word on Eph. 3 In the first chapter of this Epistle we find God's purpose, predestinating, choosing, receiving us into favor in the Beloved. Then I am told that all things are to be put under Him as Head— “Head over all things to the church.” The church is to share His glory with Him, to reign with Him. Yes, that is all very sweet, but do you say, I cannot see why God should tell us all this? Why? Because you form part of that church—you are going to reign with Him And before reigning comes obedience. We must learn to obey before we can rule. You are told what is coming in order that now you may have no will but His. “To Him be glory in the church in Christ Jesus throughout all ages” —not merely the future ones, but the present. If there is but one other with me (in this state of confusion), I am responsible to glorify Him in the church, to own Him as Head, and carry out His word. It is the affections that He wants, “that Christ may dwell in your heart” —the will and the heart both subject to Him. Thus, whether in the world among our fellow believers, or in the church, may we be not only “blessed,” but “a blessing!”