Outlines of the Books of the Bible

Table of Contents

1. Bible, Biblia
2. Canon of Scripture
3. Hebrew Bible
4. Leviticus, Book of
5. Ruth, Book of
6. Chronicles, Books of the
7. Nehemiah, Book of
8. Esther, Book of
9. Job, Book of
10. Psalms, Book of
11. Proverbs, Book of
12. Ecclesiastes, Book of
13. Song of Solomon
14. Jeremiah, Book of
15. Lamentations of Jeremiah
16. Zephaniah, Prophecy of
17. Haggai
18. Zechariah, Prophecy of
19. Malachi
20. Matthew, Gospel by
21. Mark, Gospel by
22. Luke, Gospel of
23. John, the Gospel by
24. Acts of the Apostles
25. Romans, Epistle to the
26. Corinthians, Epistles to the
27. Galatians, Epistle to the
28. Ephesians, Epistle to the
29. Philippians, Epistle to the
30. Colossians, Epistle to the
31. Thessalonians, Epistles to the
32. Timothy, Epistles to
33. Titus, Epistle to
34. Philemon, Epistle to
35. Hebrews, Epistle to the
36. James, Epistle of
37. Peter, First Epistle of
38. Peter, Second Epistle of
39. John, First Epistle of
40. John, Second Epistle of
41. John, Third Epistle of
42. Jude, Epistle of
43. Revelation, The
44. Ezra, Book of
45. Genesis, Book of
46. Exodus, Book of
47. Numbers, Book Of
48. Deuteronomy, Book of
49. Joshua, Book of
50. Judges, Book of
51. Samuel, First Book of
52. Samuel, Second Book of
53. Kings, First and Second Book of
54. Isaiah, Book of
55. Ezekiel, Book of
56. Daniel, Book of
57. Hosea
58. Joel, Book of
59. Amos, Book Of
60. Obadiah, Book of
61. Jonah
62. Micah, Book of
63. Nahum
64. Habakkuk

Bible, Biblia

This name is from the Greek through the Latin, and signifies “The Books.” The whole is also called “The Scriptures,” and once “The Holy Scriptures,” that is, “the Sacred Writings,” distinguishing them from all others. The advent of the Lord Jesus, who was the great subject of the scriptures (John 5:39), and in whom as “Son” God spoke, after a silence of 400 years, naturally led to a division of the sacred writings into two parts, called the Old and New Testaments. The “Old Testament” is mentioned as being read in 2 Corinthians 3:14; but the term “New Testament,” as applied to the collection of books that commonly bear that title, does not occur in scripture. There was also a change in the language in which the various books of the two Testaments were written. The Old was written in Hebrew, except Ezra 4:8 to Ezra 6:18; Ezra 7:12-26; Jeremiah 10:11; Daniel 2:4 to Daniel 7:28: these portions being written in Chaldee or Aramaic. The books of the New Testament were written in Greek (without now taking into consideration whether the Gospel by Matthew was originally written in Aramaic). The glad tidings of salvation was for the whole world, and the language most extensively known at that time was chosen for its promulgation.
The Old Testament may be considered as dividing itself into
1. The Pentateuch, or five books of Moses.
2. The Historical Books, including Joshua to the end of Esther.
3. The Poetical Books, Job to the end of Song of Solomon.
4. The Prophetical Books, from Isaiah to Malachi.
The Jews divided the Old Testament into three parts.
1. The Law (Torah), the five books of Moses.
2. The Prophets (Nebiim), including Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve Minor Prophets.
3. The Writings (Kethubim, or Hagiographa, “holy writings”), including
a) the Psalms, Proverbs, Job;
b) Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther;
c) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 and 2 Chronicles.
The books are in this order in the Hebrew Bible. The above triple division is doubtless alluded to by the Lord, in Luke 24:44, “All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me” (compare Luke 24:27). “The Psalms” being the first book in the third part, may have been used as a title to express the whole of the division.
The Talmud and later Jewish writers reckon twenty-four books in the Old Testament To make out this number they count the two books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles as one book each; Ezra and Nehemiah as one; and the twelve Minor Prophets as one. The earlier Jews reckoned the books as 22, according to the letters in the alphabet: they united Ruth with Judges, and Lamentations with Jeremiah. But all such arrangements are arbitrary and fanciful.
The “oracles of God” were committed to Israel (Rom. 3:2), and they have been zealous defenders of the letter of the Old Testament For a long time it was thought that their great care and exactitude in copying had preserved the manuscripts from error; but it has been abundantly proved that those copyists erred, as all others have erred in this respect, and numerous errors have been discovered in the MSS, though many of them are seen at once to be mistakes of the pen, some doubtless caused through the similarity of the Hebrew letters, and are easily corrected. Other differences can be set right by the preponderance of evidence in the MSS themselves now that many of these have been collated.
Besides such variations there are other deviations from the common Hebrew text that profess to have some amount of authority. They are commonly called Keri and Chethib, (which see).
As to the text of the NEW TESTAMENT there is no particular copy that claims any authority, though the Received Text (Elzevir, 1624) was for a long time treated “as if an angel had compiled it,” as one expressed it. But the undue respect for that text has passed away, and every translator has to examine the evidence for and against every variation, in order to know what he shall translate.
He has before him:
1. many GREEK MANUSCRIPTS: some 40 being called Uncials because of being written all in capital letters (though some of this number are only portions or mere fragments), and are represented by capital letters, A, B, C, &c. They date from the fourth to the tenth century. There are also hundreds of Cursives (those written in a more running hand), for the most part of later date than the uncials, a few of which are of special value. They date from the tenth century to the fourteenth, and are represented by numerals.
2. ANCIENT VERSIONS, which show what was apparently in the Greek copies used for the versions: the Old Latin, often called Italic; the Vulgate; Syriac; Egyptian, called the Memphitic and the Thebaic; the Gothic; Armenian; and Æthiopic. These Versions date from the second to the sixth century.
3. THE FATHERS, which are useful as showing what was in the Greek copies from which they quoted: they date from the second century.
The variations in the Greek Manuscripts are very numerous, yet the Editors (men who have attempted to discover what God originally caused to be written)—though each formed his own plan as to which of the above witnesses he would examine—have come to the same judgment in the great majority of the variations. In such cases we are doubtless safe in leaving the commonly received text. In other places their conclusions differ, and in a few cases nearly all the Editors have been obliged to declare the reading as doubtful. Though this is to be deplored, for we should desire to ascertain in every instance the actual words which God caused to be written, yet it is a matter of deep thankfulness that the variations do not in the least affect any one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. These all stand forth in sublime and lucid grandeur as parts of the will of God Himself, notwithstanding all that men have done to obscure or nullify them.
The above must suffice as to the text of the Old and New Testaments. Under the name of each book will be found what are considered the leading thoughts therein, but a few words are now added as to the whole Bible.
It is “the word of God,” an unfolding of unseen things—a revelation of the nature of God morally, and the history, divinely penned, of man His creature, first as innocent, and then as fallen, with its consequences. It shows man’s responsibility and how man has been tested in various ways, each test resulting, alas, in his failure. It manifests that if man is to be saved and eternally blessed, it must be by a work done for him by another. This was graciously accomplished by the Son of God becoming a man and dying a sacrificial death on the cross, which glorified God and met the question of man’s responsibility.
The word reveals that there was a counsel respecting the second Man in eternity, it also reveals that when the mediatorial kingdom of the Lord Jesus as Son of Man has been finished, God will again in eternity become all in all. In the mean time, according to the eternal purpose of God, many are being brought to Himself through faith in the atoning death of the Lord Jesus, being quickened by the Spirit, and made new creatures in Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus is awaiting the time when He will come to fetch His saints, to carry out all God’s purposes, and to punish those that know not God, and who obey not the gospel.
The Bible also reveals the character of Satan since his fall, as being a liar and murderer; he is the great enemy of the Lord Jesus and of man, and he deceived our mother Eve. It also details the future eternal punishment of that wicked one with those who are obedient to him
The choice of Israel and the wonders wrought for their deliverance from Egypt, together with their history in the land of promise, their expulsion and captivity, and their future tribulation and blessing in the same land, occupy a large part of the Bible.
Christ in type, antitype, and prophecy, is the center of the whole Book: “All things were made by Him and for Him.” He is pointedly referred to in Genesis 3, and gives His parting word to His saints in the last chapter of the Revelation.
The New Testament brings out not only the history of redemption by the death of Christ, but gives the doctrine of the Church in its various aspects, showing that Christianity is an entirely new order of things—indeed a new creation. Those who form the church are instructed as to their true position in Christ, and their true position in the world, with details to guide them in every station of life. The Revelation gives the various phases of the church at that time (though prophetic of its condition to the end) with warnings of the evils that had already crept in. This is followed by the many and varied judgments that will fall upon Christendom and the world, reaching to the eternal state of the new heavens and the new earth.
This is but a brief and incomplete sketch of the contents of the Bible, for who can in few, or indeed, in many words describe that wonderful God-made Book? It is an inexhaustible mine: the more it is explored, the more is the finger of God manifest everywhere, and new treasures are revealed to the devout, calling forth their praise and adoration. See INSPIRATION.

Canon of Scripture

The word κανών signified a rod or rule by which things were tested. It is thus used by Paul in Galatians 6:16 and Philippians 3:16. As to the scriptures the expression refers to what books should be included: thus the “canon” of scripture is often spoken of, and the books are called “canonical” or “uncanonical.” Happily most Christians are not troubled with such questions. In christian simplicity they believe that in the Bible they have nothing but what God caused to be written, and that it contains all that He intended to form a part of His book. Still, as everything is now challenged it may be well to examine the subject a little.
In the first place, the Church of Rome boldly declared that it was only “the church” that could decide what books were canonical: as early as the Council of Carthage (about A.D. 400) lists of the books were made out, and at the Council of Trent they dogmatically settled what books constituted the scripture. They decided to include the books now known as the APOCRYPHA, as may be seen in the Latin Vulgate, which is the version used by that church. Now the scripture informs us that to the Jews were committed the oracles of God (Rom. 3:2), and as is well known they most carefully guarded the Old Testament scriptures for centuries before there was any Christian church. The books were written in the Jews’ language—the Hebrew—with which the Apocrypha never had a place. They were written in Greek, and were first added to the LXX. The above principle—that the scriptures require to be accredited by the church—is false. Surely God could make a revelation that would in no wise need to have the seal of a body of men placed upon it, be they ever so holy. But the Church of Rome was not holy, nor was it universal, so that even if the alleged principle were correct, that corrupt section of the church would be the last to be taken as an authoritative guide.
The New Testament has also had its perils. With the Greek MSS apocryphal books are found, parts of which were read in the churches in early days. Later on several of the Fathers of the church so called had their doubts respecting some of the Epistles. Even as late as the Reformers it was the same. Luther spoke disrespectfully of the Hebrews, James, Jude, and the Revelation, and set them apart at the end of his version. Calvin doubted the authenticity of James, 2 Peter, and Jude. In modern times many portions of books in the Old Testament and New Testament are being called in question. But the Bible needs not to be accredited by man. It carries its own credentials to the heart and conscience of the Christian in the power of the Holy Spirit. The natural man is not competent to judge of such a question. The Bible has the stamp of God upon it, and the more it is studied by the Christian the more perfect it is found to be—no part redundant, and no part lacking.

Hebrew Bible

As is well known the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, except the portions mentioned under ARAMAIC. Until the labors of Kennicott and De’ Rossi it was thought that there were no errors in the Hebrew manuscripts, but many differences were found. The variations however are for the most part trivial mistakes of the copyists, which do not materially affect the text. The examination of MSS goes to prove that the penmen must have exercised great care, some of the Hebrew letters being very similar.
It is now well established that the Hebrew language was originally written without vowel points. It is judged that the translation of the LXX must have been made from MSS without these points, and without any spaces between the words. There were no points to the Hebrew as late as the time of Jerome. Neither were they there when the Talmud was written (see TALMUD). For instance, it is questioned whether in Isaiah 54:13 it should be read “thy children” or “thy builders”—a question which the vowel points would have decided.
It is supposed they were introduced about the seventh century, though there may have been a few marks to doubtful words before that date.
While the Hebrew was a living language the vowel points were not needed. It is judged that the purity of its pronunciation began to fail during the Babylonian captivity. In the tenth century the vowel points were well known, and had been apparently in use some time. Comparatively lately some MSS of the Karaite Jews in the East have shown that there was another system of vocalization and accentuation very different from that found in the common Hebrew Bible. The synagogue rolls of the sacred books are still written without vowels and accents. There can be no doubt in studying Hebrew as a dead language the vowel points give great help and precision.
God has watched over His own book, and doubtless He helped the Jewish copyists; to the Jews “were committed the oracles of God” (Rom. 3:2). The various Readings in the Old Testament are mostly comprised in the KERI AND CHETHIB. For the order of the books see BIBLE.

Leviticus, Book of

The title of this Book was copied from the Septuagint; but why it was so called is not known, the Levites are but seldom mentioned in it. The Hebrew has simply the first word of the book for its title. The book is occupied with the way of approach to God, who is looked upon as dwelling in the holy of holies. The people having been redeemed from Egypt, and having received God’s covenant, and promised obedience thereto, are in relation with God, and come to Him as worshippers. They must approach in the way He directs and must be in a suited state to approach, which approach could only be accomplished through God’s appointed priests. The Epistle to the Hebrews takes up many of the same subjects for the Christian, but there they often stand in contrast to what is found here. This is especially the case in the veil which here shut in the holy of holies, where the high priest could enter only once a year, and then with blood; whereas now the veil is rent, God has come out, with grace to all, and every Christian has access to the presence of God. In Leviticus there was a continued remembrance of sins; but by the one sacrifice of Christ He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
The opening of the book shows that it is not merely an addition to the law given at Sinai: God spoke it to Moses “out of the tabernacle of the congregation,” except the last three chapters. He, as among the people, directs everything.
Leviticus 1-7 gives the sacrifices, all of which are needed to embrace the varied aspects of the death of Christ. The four principal offerings are given in this order: the burnt offering, the meat offering, the peace offering, and the sin offering: it begins with God’s side first, what Christ is to God; but in the consecrating of Aaron, the sin offering came first, Leviticus 8; and must be so when man’s need is in view. For the teaching of the sacrifices see OFFERINGS.
Leviticus 8-10 give the sanctification of Aaron and his sons (see AARON); and the failure of Nadab and Abihu.
Leviticus 11 distinguishes the clean and the unclean animals for food.
Leviticus 12-15 gives laws respecting purification of women; LEPROSY; and the uncleanness of men.
Leviticus 16 See ATONEMENT, DAY OF.
Leviticus 17-22 gives many instructions bearing upon holiness, and the avoidance of all uncleanness.
Leviticus 23. The feasts of Jehovah. See FEASTS.
Leviticus 24 gives divers laws: Israel’s position internally before God, and externally in the world.
Leviticus 25. The Sabbatical years and the year of Jubilee. See JUBILEE.
Leviticus 26. Threats and promises realized in the nation’s after history.
Leviticus 27. Concerning vows, and so forth.
The book ends with “These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.” This apparently embraces the last three chapters, for Leviticus 25 commences with “And the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinai,” in contrast to Leviticus 1, which was spoken to him out of the tabernacle. These three chapters refer more to what God is in government, than to what He is as the One to be worshipped, with which the previous part of the book is occupied, giving directions as to how alone He could be approached, together with injunctions as to many things that would be inconsistent in the worshippers of Jehovah.

Ruth, Book of

This book is of great interest, giving, when Israel was nationally very low, a vivid picture of individual piety, as well as of courtesies in which in those days God-fearing men in various conditions in rustic life were not deficient. Ruth was a Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, one of the sons of Elimelech and Naomi, who because of a famine in Israel had gone to sojourn in Moab. On the death of Elimelech and his sons, Naomi the widow returned to Bethlehem, accompanied by Ruth, who clave to her, declaring that Naomi’s God should be her God, and Naomi’s people should be her people.
In the time of barley harvest Ruth went to glean in the field of Boaz, a near kinsman of Elimelech and a rich man. Boaz observed and was gracious to her. She continued thus during the barley and wheat harvests. On the barley being winnowed, Boaz, after eating and drinking, lay down in a barn; and Ruth, instructed by Naomi, went and lay down at his feet. On his awaking, she declared that he was a near kinsman. He owned to this, but said there was one nearer than himself. On the circumstances being made known to the latter, and on his declining to redeem the inheritance, Boaz redeemed all that had belonged to Elimelech and his two sons, and took Ruth to be his wife. She bare a son named Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Ruth is mentioned in Matthew 1:5, and in her and in Rahab we have a Moabitess and a woman of Canaan in the genealogy of Christ. The genealogy reflects no honor on Israel after the flesh.
The Book of Ruth may be taken as having a prophetic force; Naomi may represent Israel separated by death from “God my king” (Elimelech), a widow and desolate among the Gentiles: Ruth, the remnant in which, on the ground of mercy, the nation will bear a son. Christ who as Israel’s kinsman has the right of redemption, will take their cause in hand and bring it to a glorious issue.

Chronicles, Books of the

Like the Gospel of John among the Gospels, so these books among the historical books of the Old Testament have a special character. John goes back to “the beginning,” when the Eternal Word was with God: the Chronicles go back to the beginning of man’s history: “Adam, Sheth, Enosh,” in order to develop that history in the chosen line of promise and grace. The peculiarities of the Chronicles have been a stumbling block to some of the learned critics. It is evident from 1 Chronicles 6:15 and 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 that they date after the captivity of Judah, the writer compiling the records of the chosen line according to grace—grace which restored them from their captivity. It may be asked, Why omit so many things found in the books of Samuel and the Kings? and why add events not in those early books? There is design in the differences, God being the author of them. One fact should help the elucidation, namely, that after the division of the kingdom, the history of Judah only is given. Therefore more is said of David, and of his preparations and pattern for the Temple, and the history of David’s line is traced, with which the mercies of God for Israel were connected in the aspect of grace and of the blessing and ways of God with that people.
Like Deuteronomy, the Chronicles rehearse and show blessing to be consequent on obedience. The history in Samuel and Kings is far more general, and gives the history of the nation to whom the testimony of God was confided in the midst of other nations.
It is not known who wrote the Chronicles, but this is of little consequence, seeing that it does not touch the question of their inspiration, which is strongly marked by the peculiar character of their contents. It is thought that they were written by Ezra, and it will be seen that the end of 2 Chronicles agrees with the beginning of Ezra. The learned say that there are also internal resemblances which make it very probable that they are by the same writer. This has been objected to on the ground of the genealogy in 1 Chronicles 3:1-24: it is contended that the number of generations after Zerubbabel in 1 Chronicles 3:19 is so large that the writer must have lived in the days of Alexander the Great, and therefore could not have been contemporary with Ezra. But there is a break in the genealogy in the middle of 1 Chronicles 3:21; “the sons of Hananiah; Pelatiah, and Jesaiah” closes one list; and what follows is a separate list, and may have run parallel with the other.
The Chronicles are by the Jews included in the Hagiographa, or “Sacred Books,” and are placed at the end of the Hebrew Bible. “They were regarded as a summary of sacred history.”

Nehemiah, Book of

This is the latest of the historical books of the Old Testament It commences with the twentieth year of Artaxerxes: this is an important date, because of “the seventy weeks” of Daniel 9, which run from the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. This commission was given to Nehemiah; the command to build the temple was given by Cyrus (Ezra 1:1). See SEVENTY WEEKS.
Nehemiah 1. Nehemiah had God’s interests at heart. He heard at Shushan the desolate state of Jerusalem, and he wept and mourned, and prayed. He occupied a post of honor at the court as the king’s cupbearer.
Nehemiah 2-3. Artaxerxes the king noticed Nehemiah’s sad countenance, and inquired the cause. On being informed, he graciously desired Nehemiah to express his wishes. Nehemiah, after prayer to God, asked to be sent to build Jerusalem, and that he might have timber for the purpose, and letters to the governors. All was granted, and an escort was deputed to accompany him.
On arriving at Jerusalem, Nehemiah was opposed by Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite, who were grieved that a man had come “to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.” But this only the more stirred up the energy of Nehemiah, and the work of rebuilding the wall proceeded.
Nehemiah 4. The enemies first mocked him, and then plotted with others to attack him. But being aware of it, he armed the people, and kept part of them ready to repel the attack; and those that worked had a sword as well as a trowel. With Nehemiah was a trumpeter to sound an alarm (compare Num. 10:9).
Nehemiah 5. Nehemiah also took up the cause of his distressed brethren. The poor had been compelled to mortgage their lands and vineyards to their richer brethren, who made them pay interest, which was contrary to the law. Nehemiah sharply rebuked the rich for this, and bound them by oath to release the persons and lands. He set them an example by feeding a hundred and fifty at his table, and by not taking any stipend as governor.
Nehemiah 6 is significant of the separate path necessary to be maintained by God’s people (Num. 23:9). Their enemies tried to entice Nehemiah to a conference on various pleas; but in faith he returned the noble answer, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” They pretended that he was building the city in order to revolt from the king of Persia, saying that he had appointed prophets to say of him at Jerusalem, “There is a king in Judah.” He denied the accusations: they had feigned them in their own hearts. He would not meet them. To add to his distress there were some in Jerusalem who had formed an alliance with Tobiah, and had correspondence with him, reporting the good deeds of Tobiah to him, and sending his words to Tobiah. They thus sought to put him in fear. His devotedness to God’s interests, and obedience to His word, saved him from all the wiles of the adversary. In fifty-two days the wall and gates were finished, and the enemies perceived that the work was wrought of God.
Nehemiah 7. Levites were appointed to their stations, and the charge of the city gates was given to Hanani brother to Nehemiah, and to Hananiah, ruler of the palace, or fortress. A register is given of those who had returned with Zerubbabel, amounting to 42,360, besides their servants. Oblations were then made by Nehemiah and all the people.
Nehemiah 8. In the seventh month they assembled as one man and kept the Feast of Trumpets. Then the law was read, and great pains were taken that the people should understand it. The people wept when they heard what the law enjoined; but the Levites instructed them rather to rejoice, for the day was holy, and the joy of the Lord was their strength. They were exhorted to eat and drink, and to send portions to those who had nothing. The Feast of Tabernacles was then kept, and in such a way as it had not been kept since the days of Joshua. They entered into the joys that belonged to “all Israel.”
Nehemiah 9-10. The people humbled themselves with fasting, and confessed their sins, separating themselves from all persons who were not of the seed of Israel. The word was read, and they worshipped. The Levites then made a solemn confession, recapitulating all the faithfulness and goodness of God towards their nation; acknowledging their sins against Him, and ending with their making a written covenant and calling upon the princes, Levites, and priests to seal it. A list is given of those who sealed, and the covenant itself is set forth, stating clearly what it was the people bound themselves by a curse and an oath to keep. They thus placed themselves again under law, not having yet learned their own weakness and utter inability to keep it. The priests and Levites were provided for, according to Numbers 18.
Nehemiah 11. The inhabitants of Jerusalem were few, and more were needed for its protection. Some volunteered to live there, and the people blessed them; lots were cast for others, one in ten being thus obtained.
Nehemiah 12 gives a list of the priests and Levites, and the joyful dedication of the wall of Jerusalem. Great sacrifices were offered and they rejoiced with their wives and children, for God had made them to rejoice, and the sounds of their rejoicing were heard afar off. Appointments were then made for the service of the temple.
Nehemiah 13. Apparently a period of time elapsed between Nehemiah 12 and Nehemiah 13. The words “on that day” refer to what follows in the verse. Nehemiah, after being twelve years at Jerusalem, had returned to Artaxerxes, in the thirty-second year of his reign, leaving, according to the end of Nehemiah 12, all things in due order in Jerusalem. How long he remained at the court is not stated, but after a certain time he obtained leave, and returned to Jerusalem, and he proceeds to relate what had taken place during his absence.
The law forbad that the Ammonite and Moabite should ever come into the congregation of the Lord (Deut. 23:3-4); and yet Eliashib the high priest, who was allied to Tobiah the Ammonite, had prepared a chamber in the temple for this man. The enemy of God had thus been received inside. Nehemiah turned out all the household stuff of Tobiah, cleansed the chamber, and restored it to its former use.
The service of the temple had been neglected; for the tithes had been withheld, so that the Levites had to go to their fields for support. The sabbath was also desecrated, work being done and things sold in Jerusalem. Nehemiah expostulated with them and caused the gates of the city to be kept shut on the sabbath day. The merchants then tarried outside the walls on the sabbath, but Nehemiah threatened them, and the evil ceased. It was also found that some had married heathen wives, and their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod and could not speak in the Jews’ language. Nehemiah cursed these men, and sharply rebuked, and chastised them. One of the grandsons of Eliashib having married the daughter of Sanballat, was cast out from the priesthood. (Josephus relates that he went to Samaria, where Sanballat built a temple on Gerizim, which became a refuge for apostate Jews.)
The book closes with the setting right, outwardly, of all these evils. Nothing more is said of the solemn covenant that had been sealed by so many. It had been altogether violated; and Nehemiah felt his loneliness. Again and again he says, “Remember me, O my God,” speaking of the good deeds he had done, and casting himself upon the greatness of God’s mercy.
The Book of Nehemiah gives the partial and outward re-establishment of some of the Jews in their own land. There was no throne of God, nor throne of David, and they were still subject to the Gentiles. The decree Lo-ammi was not removed; but they were restored to the land, ready for the manifestation of their Messiah, who would come seeking fruit, and ready in grace to bless them. The prophecy of Malachi followed this return, and shows the sad moral condition of the people, and the coming of Jehovah in judgment.
The spiritual value of this book, and of Ezra, is the setting forth of the principle that, in a day of ruin, a humble godly remnant represents the whole body, and receives mercy, and enjoys the best privileges of the dispensation, though at the same time being identified with, and suffering for the sins of the whole.
For events succeeding the time of Nehemiah see ANTIOCHUS.

Esther, Book of

In the article on ESTHER the principal events of the book are glanced at, but a few remarks are needed as to the object of the book. It has been a sad puzzle to Christians. It looks very much like a tale, they say; and how can it be inspired, they ask, without the name of God from beginning to end? How different is Mordecai from Ezra or Nehemiah, captives like him, but who were not content to spend their lives at the gate of a heathen’s palace when they had the opportunity of returning to Jerusalem.
That it is a true history is manifest. The great feast with which it opens is just such as a Persian monarch would celebrate with the nobles and princes of the various provinces. If Xerxes was the Ahasuerus of the book, as is generally supposed, it quite agrees with his character, that when elated with wine he should send for the queen; and, on her refusal to be thus exposed, to cast her aside, and seek another queen. The way this was accomplished was exactly Persian. The posts also, on horses, mules, camels, and young dromedaries, according to the nature of the country traversed—from India to Ethiopia—was also the method adopted.
The main teaching of the book is that God was watching over and caring for His ancient people during their captivity, altogether apart from their faithfulness to Him, or their desire to return to the land of promise. They were scattered over the entire kingdom, and it is not revealed what sort of lives they were living: the only two described in the book are Mordecai and Esther. God was their God, and they were His people, and, without His name being mentioned in the book, He was surely secretly watching over them, and making things work together for their protection. The king being unable to sleep on the very night when it was needed he should remember Mordecai is a signal example of His watchfulness. Esther and Mordecai may not have acted well in wishing a second day of vengeance, and in killing the sons of Haman, and petitioning to have them hanged on the gallows; how few can have power over their enemies without abusing it! The good behavior of the Jews forms no part of the book; they are cared for whether good or bad. God in His government would in due time set all that right. We have a good illustration of how God cared providentially for His earthly people, when they were under the Lo-ammi sentence, and He was unable to own them publicly as in relationship with Himself.
Historically Esther comes in between the beginning of Ezra and its close; that is, at the end of Ezra 6 the Artaxerxes of Ezra 4:7 being the pseudo-Smerdis; and the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7:1, being Artaxerxes Longimanus. The Ahasuerus of Esther (Xerxes) comes in between them. For a list of the kings see PERSIA.
There are several apocryphal additions to the book of Esther in the LXX and the Vulgate. The principal of these are
1. A preface containing Mordecai’s pedigree, his dream of what was about to happen, and his appointment to sit at the king’s gate.
2. In Esther 3 a copy of Artaxerxes’ decree against the Jews.
3. In Esther 4 a prayer of Mordecai, followed by a prayer of Esther, in which she excuses herself for being the wife of an uncircumcised king.
4. In Esther 8 a copy of the king’s letter for reversing the previous decree, in which Haman is called a Macedonian! and the statement made that he had been plotting to betray the kingdom of Persia to the Macedonians!
5. In Esther 10 Mordecai shows how his dream had been fulfilled, and gives glory to God. Some parts of these additions are declared to be “thorough Greek” in style, and the patchwork is very manifest elsewhere.

Job, Book of

All that is known of the history of Job is found in the book bearing his name. He lived in the land of Uz, which was probably named after Uz, or Huz (the Hebrew is the same), the son of Nahor, Abraham’s brother. Another link with that family is also found in that Elihu was the son of Barachel the Buzite, for Buz was the brother of Huz (Gen. 22:21). The land of Uz is supposed to be in the S.E. of Palestine toward Arabia Deserta. Job is called “the greatest of all the men of the east.” No date is given to the book, but there being no reference in it to the law, or to Israel, makes it probable that Job lived in patriarchal times, as the name Almighty, which was revealed to Abraham, was known to Job, his three friends, and Elihu. He is described as “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil”; yet he suffered the loss of all his property; his children were killed; and his body was grievously afflicted. The great problem of the book is, the government of God, not directly as with Israel, but providentially in a world into which sin and death had entered, and where Satan, if permitted of God, can exercise his antagonistic power. God’s dealings with men in government and chastening are for good; but this brings out another question, How can man be just with God?—a question answered only in the gospel.
Job’s three friends entirely misunderstood this government of God, asserting that he must have been doing evil or he would not have been thus dealt with. Job resented their judgment of him, and in justifying himself blamed God in His ways with him. The key to this part of the book is that Job was being tested: his heart was being searched that his true state might be brought out, and that he might learn to know God in His wisdom and power, and that His ways are in view of blessing to man.
The testing all came from God: it was He who introduced Job to the notice of Satan, in the wonderful vision of the unseen, where the “sons of God” presented themselves before God. Satan was ever ready to afflict man and to impute motives; but he was foiled. When all Job’s property and his sons and daughters were swept away, still he worshipped, saying the Lord who gave was the Lord who had taken away; and he blessed the name of the Lord. Then, when his body was full of sores, his wife was used of Satan to try and induce him to curse God; but he replied, “What! shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” “In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” Satan was defeated, and he is not again mentioned in the book.
Then come Job’s three friends, and though thus far he had not sinned with his lips, yet his friends bring out what was in his heart. Though they did not understand God’s government with him, and falsely accused him, they said many right things as to that government in other cases. In short, Eliphaz went upon personal experience. He said “I have seen they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same” (Job 4:8). Bildad is the voice of tradition and the authority of antiquity. He said, “Inquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers” (Job 8:8). Zophar exhibited law and religiousness. He said, “If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away....then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot” (Job 11:14-15).
All this led Job to assert his integrity as among men. He said to God, “Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand. Thine hands have made me, and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me” (Job 10:7-8). “I will maintain mine own ways before him.... behold now, I have ordered my cause: I know that I shall be justified” (Job 13:15, 18). Then, provoked by the suspicions and misjudgment of his friends, he falsely judged God, saying, “God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.” “Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.” “Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity” (Job 16:11; Job 19:7; Job 31:6). Yet, as before God, he owned, “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me”; and again, “If I wash myself with snow-water, and make my hands never so clean, yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch and mine own clothes shall abhor me” (Job 9:20-31). But the unsolved question in Job’s mind was, Why should God set his heart upon man? He so great, and man so fleeting and wretched: why would not God let him alone to fill out his day? For Job had the sense that it was God who was dealing with him, and that he was not suffering from ordinary providential causes. His friends could not explain it.
Elihu then came forward: he is a type of Christ as mediator, and spoke on God’s behalf. He said, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life I am according to thy wish in God’s stead” (Job 33:4-6). He showed that Job was not just in justifying himself rather than God. He spoke of God’s dealings with mankind; how He speaks to man, even in dreams, to give him instruction; and if there be an interpreter, one among a thousand, who can show him how his soul can stand in truth before God, he may be delivered from going down to the pit; for God has found a ransom. God chastises man to bring him into subjection, so that He may be favorable to him.
In Job 36 Elihu ascribes righteousness to his Maker, and assures Job that “He that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.” God despiseth not any, and He withdraweth not His eyes from the righteous; and if they are afflicted it is for their blessing. He closes with dwelling on the incomprehensible power of God.
God Himself then takes up the case of Job, and, by speaking of the acts of His own divine wisdom and power in nature, shows by contrast the utter insignificance of Job. As to the wisdom of God’s ways, would Job pretend to instruct Him? Job replied “I am vile,” and is silent. God continues to argue with him, “Wilt thou disannul My judgment? wilt thou condemn Me, that thou mayest be righteous?” And He again points to His power in nature. Job confesses that he had uttered what he understood not: things too wonderful for him, which he knew not. He said, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee: wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job had now learned the lesson God intended to teach him: he is in his proper place of nothingness before God. There God can take him up. In 1 Corinthians 1 Christ is seen to be the wisdom and power of God when man is brought to nothing by the cross. Job had seen God, and all was changed. God reproved Job’s friends: they had not spoken of Him what was right as Job had. They must take a sacrifice, and Job must pray for them: Job was God’s servant, and him God would accept. God blessed his latter end more than the beginning: he had great possessions, and seven sons and three daughters. He lived after his restoration 140 years.
Twice Job is mentioned along with Noah and Daniel in connection with “righteousness” when the state of Israel had become so iniquitous that if these three men had been there, even their righteousness would have delivered their own souls only, but would not have saved so much as a son or a daughter (Ezek. 14:14,20). Job is also held up as an example of endurance, and as showing what the end of the Lord is, that He is very pitiful, and of tender mercy (James 5:11).

Psalms, Book of

This book has been called the heart of the Bible. It expresses sentiments produced by the Spirit of Christ, whether of prayer, sorrow, confession, or praise, in the hearts of God’s people, in which the ways of God are developed, and become known, with their blessed issue, to the faithful. The book is distinctly prophetic in character, the period covered by the language of the Psalms extending from the rejection of Christ (Psa. 2; Acts 4:25-28) to the Hallelujahs consequent on the establishment of the kingdom. The writers do not merely relate what others did and felt, but expressed what was passing through their own souls. And yet their language is not simply what they felt, but that of the Spirit of Christ that spoke in them, as taking part in the afflictions, the griefs, and the joys of God’s people in every phase of their experience. This accounts for Christ being found throughout the Psalms: some refer exclusively to Him, as Psalm 22; in others (though the language is that of the remnant of His people), Christ takes His place with them, making their sufferings His sufferings, and their sorrows His sorrows. In no part of scripture is the inner life of the Lord Jesus disclosed as in the Psalms. The Psalms may be called “the manual of the earthly choir.” They commence with “Blessed is the man,” and end with “Praise ye Jehovah.” Man is blessed on earth, and Jehovah is praised from earth.
1 Chronicles 16 and 2 Samuel 22 are examples of the immediate occasions on which psalms were composed, and in the headings of the psalms other instances are mentioned; yet these things in no way hinder the Spirit of God from leading the psalmist to utter things that would be fully accomplished in Christ alone. David said, “The Spirit of Jehovah spake by me, and His word was in my tongue” (2 Sam. 23:1-2). Great pains have been taken sometimes to arrange the psalms in a supposed chronological order, but the effect of this is to spoil the whole, for God has Himself ordered their arrangement, and in many places the beauty of the order can be seen.
It must not be forgotten that the Old Testament prophets did not grasp what “the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify” (1 Peter 1:11). David’s experience could not have caused him to indite Psalm 22. But being a prophet, it was clearly the Spirit of Christ that was in him that furnished words which would be uttered by Christ on the cross. We have in it a plain instance of a prophetic psalm, and doubtless the spirit of prophecy runs through all.
If this is the main characteristic of the Psalms, they have an aspect entirely different from that in which the book is regarded by many, namely, as a book of Christian experience. The piety that the Psalms breathe is always edifying, and the deep confidence in God expressed in them under trial and sorrow has cheered the heart of God’s saints at all times. These holy experiences are to be preserved and cherished; but who has not felt the difficulty of calling on God to destroy his enemies? What Christian can take up as his own language such a sentence as “Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones” (Psa. 137:9). And how can such a sentence be spiritualized? But such appeals are intelligible in regard to a future day, when, apostasy being universal and opposition to God open and avowed, the destruction of His enemies is the only way of deliverance for His people.
Unless the difference of the spirit of the Psalms from that of Christianity be observed, the full light of redemption and of the place of the Christian in Christ is not seen, and the reader is apt to be detained in a legal state. His progress is hindered, and he does not understand the Psalms, nor enter into the gracious sympathies of Christ in their true application. When the attitude of the Jews at the time the Lord was here is remembered, and their bitter opposition to their Messiah, which exists to this day, light is thrown upon their feelings when, under tribulation, their eyes will be opened to see that it was indeed their Messiah that they crucified. Great too will be their persecution from without, from which God will deliver a remnant and bring them into blessing. Into all their sorrows Christ enters, and He suffers in sympathy with them. All these things, and the experiences through which they will pass, are found in the Psalms. But these experiences are not properly those of the Christian.
As the Psalms form a part of holy scripture, their true place and bearing must be seen before they can be rightly interpreted. The writers were not Christians, and could not express Christian experience; though their piety, their confidence in God, and the spirit of praise may often be the language of a Christian, and even put a Christian to shame. Christ must be looked for everywhere, either in what He personally passed through, or in His sympathy with His people Israel, which can only end in His bringing them into full blessing on earth, when He will be hailed as “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.”
The Book of Psalms is in the Hebrew divided into five books, each of which has its own prophetic characteristics. The more these are grasped, the clearer it becomes that God has watched over the order of the psalms. Each book ends with an ascription of praise or doxology.
BOOK 1 extends to the end of Psalm 41, and is occupied with the state of the Jewish remnant of the future (Judah), before they are driven out of Jerusalem (compare Matt. 24:16). Christ is largely identified with this. The book recalls much of the personal history of the Lord, when He was here, though the bearing of it is future. The light of resurrection dawns for the faithful in this book, Christ having gone through death into fullness of joy at God’s right hand (compare Rev. 6:11).
In Psalm 2 (and Psalm 1-2 may be said to be introductory to the whole) we have Christ rejected by Jew and Gentile, yet set as King in Zion, and declared to be the Son of God, having the earth for His possession, and judging His enemies, the nations. In a wider sense Psalm 1-8 are introductory; from Psalm 3-7 giving the principles that follow on the rejection of Christ in Psalm 1-2, and Psalm 8 giving His exaltation as Son of Man, ending with “O Jehovah our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth.” Psalm 16 brings in the personal excellence of Christ and His association with the “excellent in the earth.”
In some places the appropriateness of the sequence of the psalms, as already remarked, is very apparent, as for instance Psalm 22- 24. Psalm 22 pictures the sufferings of Christ in the accomplishing of redemption. In Psalm 23, in consequence of redemption being accomplished, the Lord becomes the Shepherd and takes care of the sheep. In Psalm 24 is celebrated the entry of the King of glory through the everlasting gates. In Psalm 40 there comes forth from God One divinely perfect—the true ark of the covenant—who was competent to bring into effect the will of God in all its extent; and at the same time able (by the offering of Himself) to take away the whole system of sacrifices, in which God had found no pleasure.
BOOK 2 embraces Psalm 42 to the end of Psalm 72. The remnant are here viewed as outside Jerusalem, and the city given up to wickedness; but Israel has to be brought back. In Book 1 the name of Jehovah is used all through, but now God is addressed as such: the faithful are cast more entirely on what God is in His own nature and character, when they can no longer approach where Jehovah has put His name: Antichrist prevails there. In Psalm 45 Messiah is introduced, and the remnant celebrate with gladness what God is for His people. Though resurrection may be dimly seen by the faithful in the circumstances of this book, yet what is before them is the restoration of Zion (Psa. 45-48 and Psa. 69:35). God shines out of Zion (Psa. 50:2). Psalm 69-71 speak of the humiliation of the remnant, and Christ with them: some of the verses clearly point to Christ personally, as in the reference to the gall and the vinegar (Psa. 69:21). At the close of this book the Psalmist in the doxology arrives at, “Let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.” To which he adds, “The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.”
Psalm 68 shows that God’s strength and excellency for Israel was of old in the heavens. The heavens are the seat both of blessing (Psa. 68:9,18) and of rule (Psa. 68:4,32-35). Hence Christ is seen as ascended up on high.
BOOK 3. contains Psalm 73 to the end of Psalm 89. It widens out to the restoration of Israel as a nation, whose general interests are in view. The sanctuary is prominent. The thought is not so much limited, as the previous books, to the Jewish remnant, though faithful ones are spoken of. In this book we have but one psalm with David’s name as writer. They are mostly “for, or of” Asaph and the sons of Korah—Levites. In Psalm 88 is the bitter cry of a soul expressive of being subject under a broken law to the wrath of God; and in Psalm 89 praise is rendered for Jehovah’s unchangeable covenant with David, extending to the Holy One of Israel as their King. It celebrates the sure mercies of David, though David’s house had utterly failed and was cast down.
BOOK 4 embraces Psalm 90 to the end of Psalm 106. It begins with a psalm of Moses. In this section the eternity of Elohim, Israel’s Adonai, is seen to have been at all times their dwelling place, as declared in the first verse. It is the answer to the end of Psalm 89 (compare also Psa. 102:23-28 with Psa. 139:44-45). In Psalm 91 Messiah takes His place with Israel; and in Psalm 94-100. Jehovah comes into the world to establish the kingdom in glory and divine order. It is the introduction of the First-begotten into the earth, announced by the cry of the remnant.
BOOK 5 contains Psalm 107 to the end of Psalm 150. This book gives the general results of the government of God. The restoration of Israel amid dangers and difficulties is alluded to; the exaltation of Messiah to God’s right hand till His enemies are made His footstool; God’s ways with Israel; their whole condition, and the principles on which they stand with God, His law being written in their hearts; ending with full and continued praise after the destruction of their enemies, in which they have part with God. For Songs of Degrees, see DEGREES.

Proverbs, Book of

In this book God has furnished, through the wisest of men, principles and precepts for the guidance and security of the believer in passing through the temptations to which he is exposed in an evil world. The admonitions speak in terms of affectionate warning “as to sons” (Heb. 12:5). Under symbolic terms, such as “the evil man” and “the strange woman,” the great forms of evil in the world, violent self-will, and corrupting folly, are laid bare in their course and end. Wisdom is shown as the alone guard against one or the other. Wisdom is presented, not as a faculty residing in man, but as an object to be diligently sought after and acquired. It is often personified, and is spoken of as lifting up her voice. In Proverbs 8, under the idea of wisdom, we have doubtless Christ presented as the resource that was with God from “the beginning of His way,” so that God could independently of man establish and bring into effect His thoughts of grace for men.
In detail the book refers to the world, showing what things are to be sought and what to be avoided, and evinces that in the government of God a man reaps according to what he sows, irrespective of the spiritual blessings of God in grace beyond and above this world. It maintains integrity in the earthly relationships of this life, which cannot be violated with impunity. The instruction rises altogether above mere human prudence and sagacity, for “the fear of the Lord is the beginning [or ‘principal part,’ margin] of knowledge.” We have in it the wisdom of God for the daily path of human life.
The book divides itself into two parts: the first nine chapters give general principles, and Proverbs 10 onwards are the proverbs themselves. This latter portion divides itself into three parts: Proverbs 10-24, the proverbs of Solomon; Proverbs 25-29, also the proverbs of Solomon, which were gathered by “the men of Hezekiah king of Judah.” Proverbs 30 gives the words of Agur; and Proverbs 31 the words of king Lemuel.
The Proverbs is a book of poetry. The proverbs vary in style: some are antithetical couplets, one being the opposite of the other, as “a wise son maketh a glad father; but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” Others are synthetical, the second sentence enforcing the first, as “The Lord hath made all things for himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” See POETRY.
In Proverbs 1 the purport of the proverbs is pointed out: it is that instruction in wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity might be received: the fear of the Lord is the starting point. Satan would of course oppose this, so warnings are at once given to avoid the enticings of sinners. Wisdom cries aloud and in the streets: her instructions are for all. Retribution is for such as refuse her call.
Proverbs 2 gives the results of following in the path of wisdom, whereas the wicked will be rooted out.
Proverbs 3 shows that it is the fear of God, and subjection to His word, that is the only true path in an evil world.
Proverbs 4 enforces the study of wisdom: it will surely bring into blessing. Evil must be avoided and be kept at a distance. The heart, the eye, and the feet must be watched.
Proverbs 5 warns a man against leaving the wife of his youth (the lawful connection) for the strange woman, which leads to utter demoralization.
Proverbs 6 enjoins one not to be surety for another. Wisdom is not slothful, violent, nor deceitful. There are seven things which are an abomination to the Lord. The strange woman is again pointed out to be avoided as fire; there is no ransom for adultery.
Proverbs 7 again shows the traps laid by the strange woman, which alas, are often too successful. Her house is the way to hell (Sheol).
Proverbs 8 proclaims that wisdom calls, and invites all to listen: it is valuable for all—kings, princes, rulers, judges. With wisdom are linked durable riches and righteousness: her fruit is better than gold. All God’s works in creation were carried out in wisdom. This introduces Christ as the wisdom of God, from Proverbs 8:22. He was there before the work of creation was begun. His delights were with the sons of men (Prov. 8:31), with which agrees the song of the heavenly host at the birth of the Lord Jesus: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward man” (Luke 2:14). Wisdom says, “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life.”
Proverbs 9. Wisdom is established: she has her house, her food, her bread, and her wine. Her maidens are sent forth with loving invitations to enter. Again the world has its counter attractions by the strange woman; but the dead are there, and her guests in the depths of Sheol.
Thus far are the general principles on which wisdom acts: in Proverbs 10 to the end are the proverbs themselves. They enter into details of dangers and how they are to be avoided, and show the path that wisdom leads into, and in which there is safety.
Proverbs 30 has a heading, “The words of Agur, the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal.” As these names are not known, it has been supposed that they are symbolical, and that Agur refers to Solomon. Whether this is so or not does not in any way affect the value of the proverbs in the chapter. There are six sets of four things:
Four generations that are evil (Prov. 30:11-14).
Four things that are insatiable (Prov. 30:15-16).
Four things that are inscrutable (Prov. 30:18-19).
Four things that are intolerable (Prov. 30:21-23).
Four things that are weak, yet wise (Prov. 30:24-28).
Four things that are very stately (Prov. 30:29-31).
Proverbs 31 Here are “the words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.” Who king Lemuel was is not known: this has caused some to suppose that Solomon is again alluded to. The first nine verses speak of the character of a king according to wisdom. The principal things are that his strength should not be given unto women, nor to strong drink, and that his mouth should be opened for those ready to perish, the poor, and the needy. The rest of the chapter is devoted to the description of a virtuous woman. She fills her house with good things, and brings prosperity to the household and honor to her husband. The king and the virtuous woman may in some respects be typical of Christ and the church.
Christians should study the Book of Proverbs, for (even when properly occupied with heavenly things, and the interests of Christ on earth) they are apt to overlook the need of wisdom from heaven to pass through this evil world, and to manage their affairs on earth in the fear of God.

Ecclesiastes, Book of

The first two or three verses give the subject of this book. “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?” This expression “under the sun” occurs no less than twenty-eight times in the twelve chapters, and gives the character of the book. It describes life “in Adam,” and seeks an answer to the questions, What is best for man? how should he spend his life to be happy on earth? The writer speaks as a human philosopher in his wanderings. Sometimes he gets near the truth, but at other times he is far removed from it. Hence some passages state man’s false conclusions: Compare for example, Eccl. 3:18-22; Eccl. 7:16-17; Eccl. 8:15. The direct divine teaching is contained in the last few verses of the book. The last two verses answer the searchings of Ecclesiastes 1:13 and Ecclesiastes 2:3.
Solomon, who is the writer, goes through his experience both of wisdom and of riches, of labor, and of all that his heart as a man could desire (and who can come after the king?); and records it by inspiration, so that when he proves it all to be but vanity and vexation of spirit it is not the mere utterance of a disappointed man, but divinely recorded conviction. The actions are characterized by being done “under the sun,” and without any thought of their being performed Godward. Man is not regarded as in direct relationship with God, though responsible to his Creator. The name of Jehovah does not once occur.
Ecclesiastes 1-2. “The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing,” therefore Solomon searched his heart (Eccl. 1:13,16; Eccl. 2:1,3) as to mirth, wine, wisdom, folly, and great works. His heart was in despair, and he concluded that there was nothing better than for a man to enjoy good in his labor and in the gifts of God.
Ecclesiastes 3. Man is shown that he is in a time state: there is a time for everything “under the heaven,” but only “a time.” God made everything beautiful in its time: He hath set “the age” in man’s heart (Eccl. 3:11). (The word rendered “world” in the AV in this verse is olam, often translated “ever” and “everlasting.” Some translate “he hath set eternity in their heart,” but the sense doubtless is that man’s heart can only naturally embrace the age characterized by time.) “No man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” God is working out His own end during this time state: man lives in time, but what God does shall be forever. God will judge the righteous and the wicked, but as far as man’s real knowledge extends he dies as the beast dies. This is only man’s conclusion drawn from beholding what takes place under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 4. Sorrow is expressed for the oppression and injustice that exist in a sinful world, with no effectual comfort and remedy. The poor, the rich, and the sluggard are spoken of, and the evil results of folly in private affairs (Eccl. 4:7-11), and in political life (Eccl. 4:13-16).
Ecclesiastes 5. Piety is brought in, and conduct in the house of God; caution as to vows, and a call to fear God. He is above every oppression on the earth, and takes knowledge of it all. In Ecclesiastes 5:9-17 agricultural life is contrasted with commercial life, with its anxieties and varying fortunes. Again the writer concludes that it is good and comely to eat and drink and enjoy the good that God gives.
Ecclesiastes 6. There is vanity in connection with having riches and not being able to enjoy them; respecting children, old age, and the wanderings of man’s desire: life is a shadow.
Ecclesiastes 7. Divers things are compared: the better things are a good name, sorrow, the rebuke of the wise, the end of a thing, and wisdom. The strange sight in Ecclesiastes 7:15 makes the writer try a middle course between righteousness and wickedness, still retaining a certain fear of God. But in that middle course he was wrong: wisdom was far from him. Wisdom has its difficulties, which man cannot solve. He learned that there is not a just man upon the earth that sinneth not: God made man upright, but they sought out many inventions.
Ecclesiastes 8. Kings should be respected: they are God’s ministers to repress evil. The sinner and the righteous are contrasted, and it is well with them that fear God; but the work of God, in His providential dealing, is mysterious and past finding out.
Ecclesiastes 9. Things happen alike to the righteous and the wicked: both die. Hence the writer wrongly advises a life of self-indulgence, for God appears indifferent to all that is done. A “poor wise man” delivered a city by his wisdom, but he was forgotten.
Ecclesiastes 10. Observations on wisdom and folly. Wisdom has its advantages for this life, both to the wise man himself and to others. It is not good for a land for its king to be a child and the princes incapable.
Ecclesiastes 11. Exhortations are given to cast “bread” and “sow seed” on all occasions and in all places: all will not be lost. The works of God cannot be fully known: the more that is known shows how much there is unknown. The wisest arrives as it were at a blank wall, beyond which all is unknown. The young man is advised to enjoy himself while he yet lives, but God will bring him into judgment for all.
Ecclesiastes 12. The Creator is to be remembered in the days of youth. Decrepitude and death are described: man is overtaken by death ere he has found out true wisdom. In Ecclesiastes 12:8 the gropings of the philosopher under the sun are over: he comes back to his starting point, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; all is vanity.” A distinct division follows. Sinful man should not expect happiness except in God. “The whole of man” (not his duty, but the one thing for man, the one principle of life), is to “fear God and keep his commandments.” God will bring every work into judgment.
Such is a slight sketch of the contents of the Book of Ecclesiastes. There is no question therein of grace or of redemption. It is the experience of a man, and he a king with wisdom and riches, respecting human life, with an attempt to solve all the anomalies that exist in the world, while viewing them “under the sun.” They can only be solved, or peacefully left unsolved, by the wisdom which cometh from above. It is only in the New Testament that we get “new creation,” that rises above the perplexities of fallen humanity, and reveals “eternal life” that is in God’s Son.
The Book of Ecclesiastes has been a great puzzle to many of the learned. They cannot understand how a king like Solomon could have had such an experience or have written such a book. They judge that it must have been written long after, as when the Jews were under the rule of the Persians, and that Solomon was only personated by the writer. It is plainly seen in their arguments that they overlook that which runs through the book, and which is the key to its being understood, namely, that all is viewed from man’s point of view, expressed as “under the sun.” When Solomon rises above this, as he does in the Proverbs, how different his experience, and the wisdom is divine. Then he speaks much of Jehovah, the name of relationship, which name, as said above, does not occur in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Song of Solomon

This is also called “the Song of Songs, or The Canticles,” though it is one poem, and not a collection of poems. The first verse states that it is by Solomon. The book stands alone, and has been variously interpreted. A favorite theory of German theologians and of many English is that it is literally a love story: that Solomon sought to draw away a lowly maiden from a shepherd, to whom she was betrothed; but to whom she remained faithful. That such a poem, with no higher teaching than this, should find a place in holy scripture, is impossible for the Christian who believes in inspiration to accept. With others it is held to represent “the pure love and mystical union and marriage of Christ and His church,” which will be seen to be the idea in the headings of the chapters in the AV. Passages in the New Testament that refer to the union of Christ and the church are referred to as bearing out this interpretation.
But a great deal of damage has been done to the right understanding of the Old Testament by supposing that wherever blessing is there spoken of, it must refer to the church. God has blessed and will bless others besides the church, especially His ancient people Israel. He uses also endearing terms to Israel. He says to her, “I will betroth thee unto Me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies.” This declaration is associated with a day when she will call Jehovah Ishi (that is, husband), and shall no more call Him Baali—that is, master (Hos. 2:16,19). This is doubtless the key to the Song of Solomon. This is the union spoken of, with which the words of affection, that pass between Christ as Jehovah and the remnant of Israel that will be brought into blessing, are in accord. The song is prophetic, but does not reach to Christ and the church, though, when its right interpretation is seen, the Christian can apply some of its language as his own to the same Lord, who will also be manifested as the Bridegroom of the church. There is however this important difference: in the Canticles the result is more in anticipation, while with the Christian there is present realization of relationship: in other words, more of desire than of satisfaction.
From the above it will be seen that the bride is not simply a person, but symbolic of the earthly Jerusalem and the remnant whose names are registered as connected with God’s foundation, embracing all the faithful of Israel, looked upon as “the daughters of Jerusalem,” which represents the whole nation. This agrees with the language in many parts: for instance, “Draw me, we will run after thee. The king hath brought me into his chambers; we will be glad....the upright [plural] love thee” (Song of Sol. 1:4). Further, it is helpful to see who is the speaker in the various parts of the Song. As far as the bridegroom and the bride are concerned this is pointed out by the gender in the Hebrew. It seems evident too that a company, usually called virgins, also take part in the Song. The heart of Jerusalem is now being turned to the One they once refused (compare Matt. 23:37).
Song of Solomon 1:2. BRIDE AND VIRGINS. They value the love of the bridegroom more than wine. The bride owns that she is dark, but she is comely: the rays of affliction have scorched her like the sun (compare Isa. 3:24). She has been keeping the vineyards of the nations, not her own.
Song of Solomon 1:8. BRIDEGROOM. He delights in her, and esteems her as the fairest among women.
Song of Solomon 1:12. BRIDE. The bridegroom is “the king:” her spikenard sends forth a perfume: (compare John 12:1-8).
Song of Solomon 1:15. BRIDEGROOM. He acknowledges her beauty (compare Ezek. 16:14).
Song of Solomon 1:16. BRIDE. She admires her Lord, and appreciates her relationship: she says, “our house.”
Song of Solomon 2:1. BRIDE. She is a rose of Sharon, and a lily of the valleys.
Song of Solomon 2:2. BRIDEGROOM. His loved one is as a lily among thorns.
Song of Solomon 2:3. BRIDE. She calls him “my beloved,” and charges the daughters of Jerusalem not to disturb her loved one until he please. “Behold he cometh:” she does not yet possess him.
Song of Solomon 2:10. BRIDEGROOM. He invites her to partake of the pleasant fruits. The foxes must be caught that spoil the tender fruit. The joy must be full.
Song of Solomon 2:16. BRIDE. She is conscious of the relationship. He is hers, and she is his.
Song of Solomon 3. BRIDE. She is alone and in darkness; she seeks her beloved, but does not find him. She questions the watchmen, and as soon as she passes them she finds him. King Solomon is described, his bed, his chariot, and so forth; it is he who will bring in peace.
Song of Solomon 4:1. BRIDEGROOM. He declares what she is in his sight. She is the garden of his delights. He calls upon the north and the south winds to cause the fragrance to come forth. (Some believe Song of Solomon 4:6 to be the language of the bride.)
Song of Solomon 4:16. BRIDE. She responds, “Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”
Song of Solomon 5:1. BRIDEGROOM. He has come into his garden and tasted its delights: he calls his friends to share his joys: (compare John 3:29).
Song of Solomon 5:2. BRIDE. She has slept, and he is outside.
Song of Solomon 5:2. BRIDEGROOM. He asks to be admitted: his locks are wet with the drops of the night.
Song of Solomon 5:3. BRIDE. She is slothful and makes excuses. When she opens the door she finds he is gone. She goes about the city in search of him, and is smitten and shamed. She charges the daughters of Jerusalem that if they find him they will tell him that she is “sick of love.” They ask her what her beloved is more than another. She declares that he is “the chiefest among ten thousand;” “yea, he is altogether lovely.”
Song of Solomon 6:1. The bride is asked where he is gone: they will seek him with her.
Song of Solomon 6:2. BRIDE. She says he is gone into his garden. She declares her confidence that she is her beloved’s, and her beloved is hers.
Song of Solomon 6:4. BRIDEGROOM. He describes her as beautiful and undefiled: she exceeds all; she is the only one of her mother.
When Israel is thus brought into blessing she will be, as the virgins say in verse 10, “terrible as an army with banners.”
Song of Solomon 6:11. BRIDEGROOM. He goes to look for the fruits, and before he is aware he is carried up on the chariots of Ammi-nadib, “my willing people:” (compare Psalm 110:3).
In Song of Solomon 6:13 the bride is called upon to return under the name of Shulamite, “peaceable” (the feminine of Shalom, from which is also Solomon); and in the Shulamite they see, as it were, the company of two armies, doubtless alluding to the union in a future day of Judah and Israel.
Song of Solomon 7:1. BRIDEGROOM. He now describes his beloved as what she is to him.
Song of Solomon 7:9. “And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine.”.... BRIDE (interposing). “That goeth down smoothly for my beloved, and stealeth over the lips of them that are asleep.” (New Testament)
Song of Solomon 7:10. BRIDE. The bride’s experience has advanced: she responds, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.” She invites him to come forth among the pleasant fruits—mutual enjoyment.
Song of Solomon 8:1. This is a recapitulation of the whole book. The bride speaks as if she was only longing after him.
Song of Solomon 8:5. The virgins ask who it is that comes up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved.
Song of Solomon 8:5. BRIDEGROOM. He raised her up under the apple tree (which the bridegroom is called in Song of Solomon 2:3). The remnant will be recovered under Christ under the new covenant.
Song of Solomon 8:6. BRIDE. She asks to be set as a seal upon his heart and upon his arm: his love and his power will be for her.
Song of Solomon 8:8. The virgins speak of their “little sister:” what shall be done for her? This is doubtless an allusion to the ten tribes, who did not have to do with Christ when on earth, and who will be dealt with differently from the two tribes; but will be brought into the land and blessed there.
Song of Solomon 8:9. BRIDE. If the little sister be a wall, she shall be built upon; if a door, she shall be enclosed; but the bride is a wall, and is grown to maturity. She has a vineyard of her own, but Solomon must have a vineyard, from which he will receive fruit: not like Israel of old, which yielded no fruit.
Song of Solomon 8:13. BRIDEGROOM. He desires to hear the voice of her that walks in the gardens.
Song of Solomon 8:14. BRIDE. She responds, and bids her beloved to come without delay.
The whole Song of Solomon has been otherwise divided into six parts, (Song of Sol. 1:1; Song of Sol. 2:8; Song of Sol. 3:6; Song of Sol. 5:2; Song of Sol. 6:13; and Song of Sol. 8:5).
It is worthy of remark that whereas the bridegroom describes the bride to herself, the bride describes the bridegroom, not to himself, but to others. This is surely becoming of her. He tells her plainly of her preciousness in his sight, and of the perfection he beholds in her. This calls forth her assurance, and she declares his preciousness in her eyes. As said above, the interpretation of the book is that it embraces the union of Christ and the Jewish remnant in a future day. But it is the same Christ that loves the church, and His love demands the deepest affection in return. He cares for her love, and in Revelation 2:4-5, reproaches the Ephesian assembly that they had left their first love.
As a matter of interest it may be added that in the Alexandrian copy of the LXX some of the above divisions are made, and the speaker pointed out. In the Codex Sinaiticus these intimations are much more numerous than in the Alexandrian copy.

Jeremiah, Book of

This prophecy commenced in the thirteenth year of Josiah, B.C. 629, and extended beyond the destruction of Jerusalem. The great captivity was in B.C. 599, when Zedekiah was left in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and Jerusalem was not destroyed until B.C. 588, eleven years after. Great efforts were made by the prophet to bring Zedekiah to the fear of the Lord. What especially marks the spirit of the prophet personally is sorrow. It was a grief to him to see Judah departing from Jehovah, and to be obliged to predict the judgment of God upon them, the people he loved; added to which he actually suffered from the hand of those whom he sought to help. A similar sorrow is seen in the Lord Jesus respecting Jerusalem, and in Paul respecting the church. In some instances Jeremiah’s parables were acted, so as the more forcibly to impress the careless people. The prophecies are not arranged chronologically, but there is doubtless a divine reason why that order is not followed. In the LXX the order of the chapters differs widely from that in the Hebrew and the AV, but it is not known what led to the difference. The LXX appears to have been made from a faulty copy, or the text was misunderstood by the translators, for there are many deviations from the Hebrew. The phrase “the Lord saith” is omitted sixty-four times, with other omissions—in all about one-eighth of the whole.
Jeremiah 1. Jeremiah is established in his office, to which he had been sanctified from his birth as prophet to the nations, Israel having been set in the midst of the Gentiles as the direct center of God’s government in the earth. He was in great fear, but was assured of God’s presence. He saw a rod of an almond tree (which is the first tree to blossom) signifying that God would hasten to perform what He said. The prophet also saw a seething pot, and its face towards the north, answering to Chaldea.
Jeremiah 2-6. This section is an appeal to Jerusalem with exhortations to repentance, and warnings as to what had befallen Israel. It was given in the days of Josiah, when there had been a reformation, but they had not turned to God with the whole heart: backsliding Israel had justified herself more than treacherous Judah (Jer. 3:6,11).
Jeremiah 7-10. This section is respecting the temple. The people boasted of possessing the temple, but there was insincerity and idolatry. Touching exhortations are made, and judgments declared.
Jeremiah 11-12. The responsibility of the people is pressed: they had entered into covenant with God, yet they had gone into idolatry, so that the Lord asks, “What hath My beloved [people] to do in Mine house?” Judgment must follow; but here and there future blessings are spoken of. There is deep grief that judgments are needed. Jeremiah 12:14 shows the prophet’s office against the nations—“mine evil neighbors.”
Jeremiah 13. The destruction of the pride of Jerusalem is foretold under the figure of a marred girdle which Jeremiah had buried, the great sorrow being that though as a girdle cleaves to the loins of a man, the Lord had caused all Israel to cleave to Him for His glory, yet they had left Him (compare Luke 19:41). (Some objectors consider it very improbable that Jeremiah would be told to go from Jerusalem to the Euphrates to hide the girdle, and then again to fetch it back. Some judge it to have been a vision only, and others that Ephrath (that is Bethlehem) is meant instead of the Euphrates. Jeremiah may however have gone but once, and it would have been a striking lesson of obedience to Jehovah to go such a long distance on such an errand.) The parable of the bottles of wine follows, with exhortations to repent of the abominations.
Jeremiah 14-15. A grievous famine occurred: the Lord would not be interceded with for them, yet Jeremiah takes up the sin of the people, and acknowledges it; but the answer (Jer. 15) is terrible. The false prophets were no excuse: they were utterly rejected. Jeremiah, though he loved the people, was hated by them. He had stood before the people for the Lord, who now identified him with the remnant. It should be well with them. Meanwhile Jehovah’s words were the joy of his heart. Jehovah would deliver him.
Jeremiah 16-17. The prophet is told to take no wife: the children of the place should only come to death (compare Matt. 12:46,50). God would drive them out of the land, but there was mercy in store for the future. The prophet was mocked by the people: he had to call them to the observance of the Sabbath.
Jeremiah 18-20. God was the potter and the people were the clay: He could do as He pleased with them, or with any nation—either pull down or build up; but they determined to walk after their own devices. He would fulfill His word concerning them. The people laid plots against Jeremiah: he was put in the stocks, and smitten by Pashur, upon whom a doom was denounced. Jeremiah bemoaned his lot.
Jeremiah 21-24. When Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem, Zedekiah sent to the prophet to know whether the Lord would appear for them. Jeremiah had to utter the dreadful news that God would Himself fight against them. To the people it was said that if they would surrender to the king of Babylon they should live; if not, they should die. They were exhorted to repentance, and the prophecies against Shallum, Jehoiakim, and Coniah are detailed. Woe to the shepherds, but there was a day of blessing coming, when the true Son of David, the righteous Branch and King, should reign and prosper. A lamentation was made against the false prophets. The people carried away with Jeconiah to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar are compared to good figs; but those left in the land under Zedekiah to bad ones.
Jeremiah 25. gives a summary of God’s judgments by Nebuchadnezzar, with a seventy years’ captivity for Judah: then Babylon and all the nations that surrounded Palestine should come under God’s judgments, but judgment begins with the city called by God’s name.
Jeremiah 26. In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah exhorted to repentance, but the priests and prophets demanded his death. The princes however protected him, and the elders reminded the people that Hezekiah did not put Micah to death. To this it was apparently responded that Jehoiakim had put the prophet Urijah to death. Ahikam however shielded Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 27. Most probably the name Jehoiakim in Jeremiah 27:1 should be Zedekiah; but it may be that the prophecy was given to Jeremiah in the days of Jehoiakim though not related till the days of Zedekiah. The king is exhorted to submit to the king of Babylon.
Jeremiah 28. Hananiah prophesies falsely, and is opposed by Jeremiah, who foretells his death.
Jeremiah 29. Jeremiah wrote to the captives in Babylon, urging them to make themselves homes there, and God would bring them back at the end of the seventy years. The false prophets are condemned.
Jeremiah 30-31. The captives should surely return; but these chapters apply to the future, and this restoration will be after the “time of Jacob’s trouble,” a tribulation such as has never been (Compare Matt. 24; Mark 13). The new covenant blessings concern both Judah and Israel. God will appear for them, and the restoration will be full and complete, with universal blessing.
Jeremiah 32-33. Jeremiah was put in prison by Zedekiah, but he bought a field in token of his assurance of the captives’ return. In Jeremiah 33 the prophecy goes on to the future, when the Lord Jesus will appear as the Branch of righteousness, and the successor of David (Jer. 33:15).
Jeremiah 34. All who had Hebrew bondservants had made a covenant with Zedekiah, and had set them free, but afterward they again made bondmen of them. This is denounced by Jeremiah and its punishment foretold.
Jeremiah 35. The faithfulness of the Rechabites is held up as a worthy example: God would bless them and their posterity.
Jeremiah 36. Jeremiah caused Baruch to write his prophecy against Jerusalem in a roll. On this being read to king Jehoiakim he burnt it, and sought to arrest the prophet and Baruch; but God hid them. Another roll was obtained and the prophecies rewritten.
Jeremiah 37-39. The taking of Jerusalem was at hand. Jeremiah was about to leave the city, but was arrested, beaten, and put into prison. Zedekiah gave him some relief; but on foretelling the fall of the city he was put into a dungeon, where he sank in the mire. He was delivered by Ebed-melech, an Ethiopian, on whom a blessing was pronounced. The city was taken. Zedekiah was captured by the Chaldeans; his sons were slain before his eyes, and he himself was blinded and taken to Babylon. Jeremiah was protected by Nebuchadnezzar.
Jeremiah 40-45. These chapters give the history of the remnant left in the land under Gedaliah, Jeremiah being with them. Gedaliah was murdered by Ishmael, sent by the king of the Ammonites, and the people were carried away. They were however rescued by Johanan, and Jeremiah was requested to inquire of God for them, the people promising obedience. God bade them abide in the land; but they, refusing to obey, went into Egypt, carrying Jeremiah with them. There they persistently practiced idolatry, though warned by Jeremiah. The end of Jeremiah is not recorded.
Jeremiah 46-51. Judgments are pronounced against the various nations that had been in contact with Israel. God had used some of them as His instruments; but their pride, malice, and cruelty had afterward to be punished. Judgments were to fall upon Egypt, the Philistines, Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, Damascus, Kedar, Elam, and Babylon. The prophecy against Babylon was written in a book, and given to Seraiah, “a quiet prince,” to carry to Babylon, to be read there; then he was to bind a stone to the book and cast it into the Euphrates. Babylon was to be desolate forever.
Babylon has a special place in the prophecy of Jeremiah: Israel and Judah had been unfaithful, and the government of the world was entrusted to Babylon; but Babylon failed and its destruction was the setting free of Judah to return to their land. This was a sort of type of the judgment of the last empire in a future day when Israel will be fully restored and blessed. This is foreshadowed in some places, as in Jeremiah 50:17-20, which speaks of both Judah and Israel being pardoned. Jeremiah 51 closes with “Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.”
Jeremiah 52. is historical and nearly the same as 2 Kings 24:18-25:30.
The prophet’s name occurs in the New Testament (Matt. 2:17; Matt. 16:14; Matt. 27:9) under the forms of JEREMIAS and JEREMY.

Lamentations of Jeremiah

This book shows the compassion and interest God has in the afflictions of His people, and that these are not lessened even when the afflictions have been brought about by Himself because of their sins. It is declared of the Lord that “in all their affliction He was afflicted” (Isa. 63:9); and this was seen when the Lord was on earth in His weeping over Jerusalem. Jeremiah had a like spirit and lamented over the calamities that had fallen upon his beloved people and their city Jerusalem. He appealed to the passersby: could they see such sorrow, caused by an affliction sent by Jehovah in His fierce wrath, and be unmoved by it? (Lam. 1:12). Then he adds that Jehovah in these dealings was righteous, for they had rebelled against His commandments.
Lamentations 3. The prophet details his personal sufferings: they were like the sympathetic sufferings of Christ spoken of elsewhere; but in Lamentations 3:22 the prophet remembers the mercies of Jehovah, and expresses his hope in Him. Because of His compassions they were not consumed; and it was good to wait and hope. Jehovah will not cast off forever, and He does not afflict willingly. The prophet then calls for repentance and a turning to Jehovah. He has confidence that God hears, and he asks for the destruction of their enemies.
Lamentations 4. Jeremiah as in the presence of Jehovah spreads out all the humiliating reverses that had fallen upon them, mentioning separately the Nazarites, the prophets, the priests, and the people; and then he foretells that God’s wrath should pass also unto Edom, who had doubtless rejoiced at the calamities of Jerusalem. He could add that the punishment of the daughter of Zion was accomplished, she should no more be carried away.
Lamentations 5. An affecting appeal is made to God. All had been confessed, and hope in God had been expressed; yet the afflictions pressed heavily upon the prophet. His last words are: “Turn thou us unto Thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old. But Thou hast utterly rejected us: Thou art very wroth against us.”
The composition of the Lamentations is uncommon. The first four chapters are arranged in alphabetical order and the chapters contain 22 verses each, the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, except that Lamentations 3 has 22 stanzas of three verses, making in all 66. In Lamentations 1, 2, and 4, verse 1 begins with A; verse 2 with B, and so on, as in some of the Psalms. In Lamentations 3 each verse in a stanza begins with the same letter, thus verses 1, 2, 3 begin with A; verses 4, 5, 6 with B, and so on to the end. The prayer in Lamentations 5 is not alphabetical. In the Hebrew Bible the “Lamentations” form a part of the Hagiographa (Holy Writings), and is placed between Ruth and Ecclesiastes. In the Jewish Liturgy this book was appointed to be repeated on the Fast of the ninth of Ab (fifth month), to commemorate the destruction of the city and the temple by the Chaldeans and also by the Romans.

Zephaniah, Prophecy of

The only personal detail given of this prophet is his ancestry for four generations: he was the son of Cushi, a descendant of Hizkiah. The date to the prophecy is “the days of Josiah” king of Judah, who reigned B.C. 641-610. The prophecy gives the judgment of God with respect to the testimony that was being borne when there was an outward reformation under a pious king who trembled at God’s law. The Spirit of God could read the hearts of the people, and could see what moral corruption was associated with the outward worship of God (compare Jer. 3:6-10). The prophet proclaims the judgments that must fall upon the land, and upon Judah and Jerusalem, though with grace to the faithful remnant at the end. Within four years of the close of Josiah’s reign Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar, the holy vessels carried away, and the captivity of Judah commenced.
Zephaniah 1. The prophecy opens with “I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith Jehovah.” God could see the followers of Baal still there, and the Chemarim (idolatrous priests, mentioned in 2 Kings 23:5 and Hos. 10:5, margin), and those who worshipped the host of heaven; and those that sware by Jehovah and by Malcham, or “their king,” that is, Baal (compare Jer. 49:1, margin). Judgment would surely overtake them, and their gold and silver should not deliver them in the great day of God’s wrath upon the whole land of Judah and Jerusalem. Maktesh in Zephaniah 1:11 is literally “of a mortar” or “hollow place” as in a rock (compare Judg. 15:19; Prov. 27:22), where the same Hebrew word occurs), probably signifying Jerusalem, where, as in a mortar, they would be pounded by their enemies.
Zephaniah 2. The people are addressed as a nation “without shame” (instead of “not desired”): they are called to seek Jehovah, if haply a remnant might be hidden in the day of His wrath. Then the various nations are denounced that had been hostile to the land and to God’s people. God had from time to time used some of them as the means whereby He punished His chosen people; but they had been filled with pride and had abused their power, therefore His judgments should surely fall upon them: the prophecy however looks on to the future great day of God’s wrath.
Zephaniah 3. Here Jerusalem, the filthy and polluted city, is treated of. The princes, judges, prophets, and priests were all corrupt. The nations of those mentioned in the previous chapter would be completely cut off; and then Jehovah says, Surely Judah will listen to Me! In the future, Jehovah, after punishing the nations, will turn to His people, and a remnant will be brought into blessing. Israel will then be called upon to sing. The King of Israel, even Jehovah, will be in her midst, and she shall have a name and a praise among all the people of the earth. Christ is not, as in other prophecies, introduced here as the Messiah, but as Jehovah. The “times of the Gentiles” and their four great kingdoms are passed over.


Scripture is silent as to the ancestors of this prophet. He stands as to date at the return from captivity, and his prophecy is mostly occupied with the house of the Lord, the temple at Jerusalem. About the year B.C. 535, by order of Cyrus, under God, the rebuilding of the temple had been begun; but in consequence of the opposition from without, and the Jews’ lack of faith as to the purpose of God in restoring them to their land, the building was staye—d. It had been lying for some fifteen years in that state when God caused Haggai to prophesy, and charge the Jews themselves with neglect of the house. God had been dealing with them in providence, withholding the fruits of the earth; but they understood it not, until the prophet bade them consider their ways. They had made excuses that the time had not yet come to build God’s house; but they were building their own houses. The prophet bade them fetch wood and build the house, and God would take pleasure in it, though it might appear as nothing in their eyes.
Zerubbabel and Joshua at once responded, and the work was commenced with energy and without permission from the heathen authorities. When asked by whose permission they were building the house, they nobly said, “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth.” Letters were sent to Babylon by the governors of the land, and then God so ordered it that formal permission was given to continue the building. By comparing Haggai 1:1 and Haggai 1:15 it will be seen that in twenty-four days the work was resumed.
Haggai 2. There was encouragement for them, and exhortations to be strong: Jehovah was with them. They were reminded of their deliverance from Egypt, and the prophecy then goes on to the future, when God’s purpose will be fully accomplished. God is going to shake the heavens and the earth: “the desire of all nations shall come”—doubtless referring to Christ in an objective sense. God will fill His house with glory. And then it is added (as it should read) “the latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former.” There have now been three buildings, if the one restored by Herod be counted as one, and there will be another built by the Jews in unbelief; and another, as described by Ezekiel: yet all are designated “this house,” as the first and second are called “this house” in Haggai 2:3 (compare Ezra 5:11). The latter glory will be when Christ, “the desire of all nations,” shall come to it, and in that place He will give peace.
Haggai 2:10-19 is a separate message from God, reminding the people how unclean they were, and every work of their hands; and how He had been dealing with them in discipline; yet they had not turned unto Him. But from the day of laying the foundation of Jehovah’s temple He would bless them.
Haggai 2:20-23 is still another message from God, and refers again to the future, when all nations will be shaken, and when God will take the true seed of David (here still called “Zerubbabel my servant”, a type of Christ as “the prince of the house of David”), and make Him as a signet. In contrast to the faithless Coniah, or Jeconiah, king of Judah (as a signet plucked from God’s right hand; compare Jer. 22:24), Christ is the signet on God’s right hand, to seal all His purposes touching the nations, and concerning His chosen people Israel.

Zechariah, Prophecy of

Nothing personal is revealed concerning the prophet except that he was the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet. The dates mentioned are the eighth and eleventh months of the second year, and the ninth month of the fourth year of Darius, answering to 519 and 517 B.C., (Zech. 1:1,7; Zech. 7:1). Haggai’s prophecy was in the second year of the same Persian king, so the two prophets were contemporary, and, according to Ezra 5:1 and Ezra 6:14, they both roused and encouraged the Jews to go on with the building of the temple. Zechariah’s prophecy is much occupied with the great Gentile kingdoms under which the Jews were placed: there is also much respecting Jerusalem, and it reaches on to the time of the Messiah and His rejection, and to the last days when Israel and Judah shall be blessed in the land.
Zechariah 1:1-6. The introduction calls upon the people to turn to the Lord: not to be like their fathers who refused to hearken to the warnings, but who, when God’s punishments had fallen upon them, had been forced to acknowledge the truth of the prophet’s words. The point of the chapter is that Jehovah had returned to Jerusalem with mercies, and God’s providential ordering of the nations would favor the building of the city.
The first vision is in Zechariah 1:7-17. A man, the angel of Jehovah, on a red horse (the horse is a symbol of the energy of God’s providential government in the earth) stands in the shade among the myrtle trees, and there were other horses, red, speckled, and white, as symbols of God’s agency in the government of the earth (compare Zech. 6:5). “The powers that be are ordained of God” and were used by Him. If the “red” horse signifies Persia (having the same color as the horse of the angel, possibly because Persia was at that time ruling and was favoring God’s people), doubtless the “speckled” and the “white” point to the two nations that were to succeed—the Greek and the Roman. All were under the control of God. Babylon is not seen here: it had received its punishment.
God was angry with the surrounding nations that were at ease when Israel was being punished. The seventy years of indignation (not here the seventy years’ captivity, though both periods partially synchronized) had then run their course, and a remnant of the Jews had been in grace restored, as seen in the book of Ezra; but that was only a few drops of the shower of blessing that was to descend upon them.
Zechariah 1:18-21 refer to the four kingdoms as horns, so fully prophesied of in Daniel—the Babylonian, the Median and Persian, the Greek, and the Roman. These nations, used as instruments of discipline upon God’s people, were to be subdued in due time by God’s “carpenters” or “artificers.” Notice that Judah and Israel are both mentioned in Zechariah 1:19.
Zechariah 2 concerns the city and the deliverance of God’s elect people, reaching on to the future. Jerusalem is to be measured with the end in view of its being enlarged and inhabited as towns without walls—without limits: Jehovah will be a wall of fire round it, and will be the glory in its midst (compare Isa. 49:19-20). “After the glory” of Jehovah has been manifested on the earth (Zech. 2:8), He will send to the nations and make a spoil of them that have spoiled Israel, whom He values as the apple of His eye (compare Deut. 32:10). Jehovah will dwell in the midst of His people, and many nations will be joined to the Lord: Jerusalem will be His earthly center. All flesh is to be silent before the Lord, Israel were to know that though He providentially ordered things in the earth, yet that the prophet—a figure of Messiah—was the sent one of Jehovah. It is perfectly clear that nothing answering to this has taken place since the captivity.
Zechariah 3. This chapter sets forth the sanctuary and active grace: in order however for Jerusalem to be thus blessed the people must be cleansed. They are represented in Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, Satan standing to resist him. God takes up the defense of His people: Satan is rebuked, the filthy garments are taken away, the iniquity is removed; Joshua is clothed with festive robes, and a pure tiara or diadem is set upon his head (compare Isa. 62:3). He then is in a position of responsibility: if he is faithful he shall judge Jehovah’s house, and have a place in His presence. The restored remnant is blessed, but left under responsibility till the time when Christ will make good God’s counsels in the last days. The rest of the chapter refers to those days.
In Zechariah 3:8 Joshua is typical of Christ as the branch (compare Isa. 11:1).
Zechariah 3:9. A stone is laid before him, also typical of Christ with the full divine intelligence for government (compare Zech. 4:10 and Rev. 5:6). The iniquity of the land will be taken away in one day, and each shall repose under his own vine and his own fig-tree. Peace shall reign.
Zechariah 4.
Zechariah 4:1-3 present symbolically the divine light and order of the future kingdom.
Zechariah 4:6-10 give the then state of the returned remnant, the Spirit with them, and the providential (not yet direct) government of God for them. Thus the prophet was to assure Zerubbabel that he would be able to finish the house that had been begun (Zech. 4:7): this was also typical of the future (compare Zech. 6:12).
Zechariah 4:11-14. The royalty and priesthood of Christ will maintain by the power of the Spirit (golden oil), a perfect display of God’s light and glory in connection with Israel. In principle this was to be seen in the remnant returned from Babylon. It will be also in the remnant of the last days (compare Rev. 11:4).
Zechariah 5.
Zechariah 5:1-4. A flying roll brings judgment (according to the holiness of God’s sanctuary, 20 x 10) upon the “land” (rather than the “earth”), and into the houses of those that sin against God (swearing falsely), and against their neighbor (stealing), that is, the mass of the Jews.
Zechariah 5:5-11. Their wicked and corrupt state is represented by a woman sitting in an ephah (one of the dry measures) upon which a weight of lead, as if to restrain her, is cast. Subsequently two women (emblematic of commercial covetousness) come forth (doubtless typical of twin forms of the development of evil), and carry it to the land of Shinar, where Babylon, the mother of idolatry, was built, there to build the ephah a house. It doubtless points to the apostasy of the Jews in the last days: its character is Babylonian (Rev. 18:4-5).
Zechariah 6.
Zechariah 6:1-8 introduce the administrative spirits of God’s providential government connected with the four Gentile empires as horses: the red (Babylon), the black (Medes and Persians), the white (Greek), and the grisled and bay (Roman), the latter probably having two horses because of the double character of its government, relics of which exist in various forms until revived again before the Lord comes to reign. (Some translate “strong,” as in the margin, instead of “bay,” (Zech. 6:3,7). The Hebrew is not the same as that translated “bay” in Zechariah 1:8 margin.) These are called “the four spirits of the heavens which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth” (Zech. 6:5), because during the time of the Gentiles these nations are the instruments of God’s providential governing power in the earth. The empires run on in some form, notwithstanding their failures, till God by Christ overrules, no longer providentially but in direct government. In Daniel 2:45 it is said that the Stone will break “in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold.” More detail as to these powers themselves, and what they accomplish, is given in Daniel. Zechariah 6:6 probably refers to the battle of Actium (B.C. 31, the date of the establishment of the Roman empire), and Zechariah 6:8 to the fall of Babylon.
Zechariah 6:9-15. Christ as the Branch is again introduced. He will build the temple of Jehovah, will sit upon His throne as ruler and priest. He will reign in His Melchisedec character of King and Priest. Apparently the three men mentioned in Zechariah 6:10 brought gold and silver on their return from captivity, of which crowns were made for Joshua; and these crowns were hung “for a memorial in the temple of Jehovah.” They should know that the prophet had been sent to them, but all depended on their obedience (Zech. 1:2-6).
Zechariah 7. From this chapter onward the prophecy has a distinct bearing upon the consciences of the people, the Messiah is introduced, and the consequences of His rejection. The people are challenged as to whether they had been sincere in their fasts during the seventy years: the fast “in the fifth month” was in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:8); and in the “seventh month” for the murder of Gedaliah (Jer. 41:1-2). God had scattered them for their sins and because of their refusal of the former prophets.
Zechariah 8. God however returns to Zion in grace and in such blessing as will be only fully realized in the millennium. Israel and Judah are both embraced in the blessing (Zech. 8:13). Their fast days should be turned into feasts: the fourth month doubtless refers to the time when Jerusalem was taken, and the tenth month to when the siege began (compare Jer. 52:4,6; and Zech. 7:5).
Zechariah 9-10. Here the “burden” is announced, God’s vengeance that will come upon the nations in order that Israel may have possession of Syria.
Zechariah 9:3-8 had a partial fulfillment by the instrumentality of Alexander the Great. Zion is called upon to rejoice, for Messiah her King cometh riding upon an ass. This passage is quoted in the Gospels but it is only cited there as far as was true at that time, omitting the judgments that are to be fulfilled when Christ comes again, and which will result in great prosperity and blessing: the harvest and the vintage shall make them flourish. This is continued in Zechariah 10, where again all Judah and Israel are included in the blessing. Hindrances shall be removed, and the pride of their enemies be brought down. They shall be strong in Jehovah and walk in His name.
Zechariah 11 treats of the rejection of the Messiah; its commencement is a great contrast to the end of Zechariah 10. Here the people are under Gentile rule. The whole flock (nation) is given over to slaughter, and Jehovah takes up their cause, for their own shepherds (scribes, elders, rulers, priests) did not pity them. He raises up the true Shepherd, who feeds the remnant (the poor of the flock).
The two staves represent His authority, as gathering all the nations unto Him (Gen. 49:10), and binding Judah and Israel together (Ezekiel 37:15-28). The stave BEAUTY is cut asunder, and He renounces His covenant with the nations—the peoples in Zechariah 11:10—(compare John 12:20-24). It is in Israel He will take possession. The faithless shepherds in Israel are cut off (compare Matt. 22:15-46), and the poor of the flock have intelligence as to what God is doing. The Messiah is valued at thirty pieces of silver, as related in the Gospels.
The other staff, BANDS, was then broken, and the reunion of Judah and Israel was for the time postponed. The true Shepherd having been refused, Jehovah speaks (Zech. 11:15-17) of the false shepherd, Antichrist, thus passing over unnoticed the whole of the present period, which makes it evident that the church is not alluded to in Zechariah (compare John 5:43).
Zechariah 12. Following the rejection of Christ and the acceptance of Antichrist, this chapter introduces the events concerning Jerusalem in the last days. The nations that molest God’s earthly people will find Jerusalem a burden that will crush them. Judah will see and acknowledge that the One they crucified was their true Messiah, and great sorrow will pierce their hearts (compare Zech. 12:11 with 2 Chron. 35:22-25). Each family will mourn apart and their wives apart: the king (David), the prophet (Nathan), and the priest (Levi), with whom is associated Shimei. Perhaps this should be Simeon as in the LXX, the Syriac, and the Arabic versions, as representing the most cruel (compare Gen. 49:7); or possibly Shimei, the enemy of David, as representing the basest of the people, may be referred to.
Zechariah 13:1-4. A fountain is opened and all is cleansed. All idols and false prophets are banished.
Zechariah 13:5. Christ’s was the humble place of a husbandman, a slave to man, and no humanly accredited prophet.
Zechariah 13:6. His rejection by “his own” is evidenced by the wounds in His hands, which He received when among His friends.
Zechariah 13:7. Jehovah owns Him as His Fellow, but His sword smote Him, and the sheep (the nation) were scattered, while the remnant were blessed (Matt. 26:31).
Zechariah 13:8-9. In the last days Judah will be brought into judgment, and a third part, after being refined in the fire, will be owned as God’s people, and they will own Jehovah as their God. Israel, as not having been immediately guilty of the death of their Messiah, will be dealt with differently (compare Ezek. 20:34-38).
Zechariah 14 announces the day of the Lord. All nations will be gathered by God against Jerusalem, the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and half the inhabitants go into captivity. Then Jehovah will go forth and fight against those nations. The feet of Jehovah-Jesus shall stand on Mount Olivet, from whence He ascended, and the mount will cleave in two, causing great fear.
The latter part of Zechariah 14:5 begins a sentence, Jehovah will come with all His saints.
Zechariah 14:6 is obscure (see margin), and the MSS differ: it may signify, “There shall not be light; the shining [or luminaries] shall be obscured.” The next verse shows that it will not be an ordinary day, but light will be at evening time.
Living waters will issue from Jerusalem, part going to the east sea, and part to the west sea; and there will be physical changes in the land. The enemies will be consumed, and Judah will share the spoil. Those of the nations who survive will go up to Jerusalem to worship the king, Jehovah of hosts, or, if they fail thus to worship, they will be punished. “Holiness to the Lord” will be on the bells of the horses, and all in Jerusalem will be sanctified. There will be no “Canaanite,” or trafficker, in God’s house, as there were when the Lord was on earth.
The whole prophecy concerns God’s earthly people, and is full of detail with respect to their punishment; their blessing; their Messiah, and their rejection of Him; also their future reception of Him, and His glory in their midst. It will be noticed that Jehovah, and their Messiah (in whatever way prefigured), are often spoken of as one and the same.


The last of the minor prophets. Nothing is recorded of the prophet’s personal history, he is named once only. He was prophet near the time of Nehemiah’s return to the land, and the prophecy reveals the moral condition of the people. The first chapter, while it shows their insensibility, shows also the sovereign love of Jehovah to them, a love on which His purpose depended. When charged with their sins, they asked wherein had they sinned. The answer is that they brought to the Lord that which was torn, the lame, and the sick, and had offered polluted bread upon Jehovah’s altar: in effect saying, “The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.” This brought judgment upon those who were insensible to what was due to the Lord. Yet Jehovah should be magnified beyond the border of Israel, and His name be great among the Gentiles.
Malachi 2. The priests who ought to have been guides to the people, are called to account. Judah had intimate fellowship with idolatry; had symbolically married the daughter of a strange god; and had associated this with the worship of Jehovah. Israel had also dealt treacherously with the wife of their youth: this was but the discovery of a treacherous principle in them. God hated putting away: notwithstanding all this, they were apathetic, and asked wherein had they wearied God.
Malachi 3 opens with the announcement of the Lord’s messenger, which was fulfilled in John the Baptist. But the first coming of the Lord is here connected with His second coming, when He will sit as a refiner, and will purge away the dross, and then shall the sons of Levi offer an offering in righteousness.
God challenged the returned Jews to be faithful to Him, and they should have such a blessing that they would not have room enough to contain it. When called upon to return to Jehovah they are still unconscious of their condition, and ask, “Wherein shall we return?” and “Wherein have we robbed Thee?” “What have we spoken so much against Thee?” They had said it was in vain to serve the Lord; they had called the proud happy; the wicked were built up, and they that tempted God were delivered.
Yet God’s purpose should stand: their land should be a delightsome land, and all nations should call them blessed. In the meantime the remnant are spoken of as those that feared the Lord and thought upon His name: they communed often one with another. God had a book of remembrance of such: they shall be remembered when the Lord of hosts makes up His jewels, and shall be spared when He comes in judgment.
Malachi 4. A day of great judgment is coming when the wicked shall be consumed. But to them that fear His name the Sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings (not the morning star here, as for the church). There will be judgment for the disobedient, as was indeed fully shown in the law at the beginning of the covenant with them.
But Elijah will come as Christ’s forerunner, to call them to repentance before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. John the Baptist would have fulfilled this mission had they received him; but, except a few, they did not, and therefore when asked if he was Elias, he said, No. He fulfilled the prophecy in the first clause of Malachi 3:1; but not that of Malachi 4:5-6: the people did not repent. Elijah will still come. There will be judgment first, but great blessing in the end to those that are spared.

Matthew, Gospel by

In this gospel Christ is more especially presented as the Messiah, the son of Abraham, and son of David. See GOSPELS. The genealogy here starts with Abraham, in contrast with that in Luke, which goes back to Adam because in that gospel the Lord is viewed as connected with man, that is, the seed of the woman. Here we read, He “shall save his people from their sins,” and in this gospel only is quoted the prophetic name IMMANUEL, “God with us.” Here only is the account given of the Magi inquiring for “the King of the Jews,” with the flight into Egypt, and the massacre of the infants. (The Magi did not come “when Jesus was born” (Matt. 2:1) but several months afterward. It is better translated “Jesus having been born.”) Christ is called out of Egypt, taking part thus in the history of Israel, God’s first-born son (Ex. 4:22). The Messiah being rejected, the remnant comes into weeping (Matt. 2:17-18).
Matthew 3-4. The remnant are separated by the preaching of John. Messiah takes His place with them in Jordan according to divine order. His Person is attested by a voice from heaven, and the full revelation of God in connection with the Son upon earth. Led of the Spirit, He overcomes Satan, and then calls the remnant around Himself.
In Matthew 5-7 the principles of Christ’s doctrine are unfolded largely, in contrast with that of “them of old time.” It goes to the springs of evil, and condemns the principles of violence and corruption; and the character of God Himself becomes the standard of practice for man here. The gate was strait and the way narrow which led to life, and there were but few (the remnant) who found it.
Matthew 8-9 present Jehovah’s servant, verifying Isaiah 53:1 and Psalm 103:3, and His service, ending with the typical raising up of Israel in the ruler’s daughter.
Christ goes on with His patient work of preaching the gospel of the kingdom, teaching in the synagogues, healing the sick, casting out demons, and exposing all the false pretensions that were in the leaders of the Jews.
In Matthew 10 Jesus takes the place of administrator, as Lord of the harvest, and sends out the twelve with a commission limited to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
In Matthew 11 Christ shows the superiority of the kingdom of heaven to the prophetic ministry, ending in John the Baptist; and of the revelation of the Father to His own mighty works, which had not produced repentance; and in Matthew 12 He breaks the special links which had been formed in His coming after the flesh.
In Matthew 13 Christ reveals Himself as the Sower, in which character He had all along been acting. He gives a series of parables showing the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. First, how “the word of the kingdom” was received, and the various obstacles in the world calculated to oppose and hinder its growth. Then, how, through the work of the enemy, false professors would spring up in the kingdom, and how evil principles would be introduced into it, which would work insidiously. The first four parables were spoken to the people—that of the tares being peculiar to this gospel. The Lord in explaining (in the house) the parable of the tares, speaks of the completion of the age, and of the judgment by which the Son of Man by angelic agency shall purge “out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity.” The last three parables were spoken to the disciples in private, and are peculiar to this gospel. They speak of the secret purpose of the kingdom. Christ buys the field in view of the treasure hidden there, and also buys the pearl of great price for its value in His eye. The gospel net gathers good and bad, but at the completion of the age a discriminating judgment will sever the “wicked from among the just.” See PARABLES.
Christ continues His work of grace notwithstanding His rejection by the rulers of Israel, and in Matthew 16 the truth of His person as Son of the living God having been confessed by Peter as the result of the Father’s revelation, He announces this as the foundation of the church which He will build, and against which the power of Hades shall not prevail. He gives to Peter the keys of “the kingdom of heaven” (an expression peculiar to Matthew, turning the eyes of the disciples to heaven as the source of light and authority, in contrast to a kingdom as from an earthly center, Zion, Rom. 11:26), and speaks of His own coming again in the glory of His Father, to give to every man his reward. The parables had dealt with the kingdom in mystery, but some who stood there should at once have a glimpse of the kingdom in glory, which was vouchsafed to them in seeing Jesus transfigured before them on the mount.
In Matthew18 the Lord furnishes instruction as to the order and ways of the kingdom, including the dealing with an offending brother, and again speaks of “the church,” and of its voice of authority, though it was then future; and adds the marvelous declaration as to where His presence would be vouchsafed, a place morally distant from the then existing temple and its priesthood: “Where two or three are gathered together unto My name, there am I in the midst of them.” The Lord proceeded in the parable of the King that would take account of His servants, to enforce the necessity of His disciples forgiving one another, as otherwise they would come under His Father’s hand. Farther on, the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard maintains the sovereignty of the Lord in dispensing His own things: both of these parables being peculiar to Matthew. The Lord forewarns His disciples of what awaited Him, and gives them instruction to follow His example (Matt. 20:27-28).
In Matthew 21 the Lord rode triumphantly as Zion’s king into Jerusalem, claiming His inheritance, accompanied by a great crowd, which cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” He cleansed the temple a second time, and put to silence the chief priests, the elders, and all who sought to entangle Him in His talk, enforcing, too, the responsibility of the husbandmen. Notwithstanding their opposition, He spoke of the certainty of the establishment of God’s purpose in the parable of the marriage of the King’s Son. He foretold the judgments that should fall upon Jerusalem. He would often have gathered them, but they would not. He left them with the solemn words, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:38-39).
In Matthew 24 the disciples asked three questions (Matt. 24:3). The Lord did not answer the question as to when the events predicted should take place, and His reply is a further prophecy. Matthew 24:4-44 are concerning Israel. Matthew 24:4-14 coincide with the first half of Daniel’s 70th week; and Matthew 24:15-28 with the last half of that week. Matthew 24:45-51 refer to Christians. This and the following chapter show the whole range and extent of what comes under the judgment of the Son of Man, both in His coming and sitting on His throne.
Matthew 25 is peculiar to Matthew: Matthew 25:1-30, the parables of the Ten Virgins and of the Talents, apply to professing Christians. Matthew 25:31-46 refer to the living Gentile nations who will be judged according to how they have treated the Jewish messengers, the brethren of Christ. See JUDGMENT, SESSIONAL.
The events of the trial, judgment, crucifixion, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus follow. The last scene with the apostles in this gospel is in Galilee, where Jesus had appointed to meet them, thus resuming connection with them as a Jewish remnant. He commissions them to teach all nations, adding, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age.” Compare “God with us” in Matthew 1:23. In a sense He remains with His own: hence the ascension is not here mentioned. Christ will be found again with Israel on earth, and then bless them and the Gentiles through them. The fact that Matthew was present at the ascension, and yet does not mention so important an event, is sufficient evidence that the evangelist had divine guidance as to what he should record: all such differences in the gospels are really by the inspiration of God, and are a profitable study.

Mark, Gospel by

Each Gospel has its peculiar characteristics, as may be seen under the heading GOSPELS. In Mark the Lord Jesus is more particularly in view as the Servant-Prophet, and “the gospel” or “glad tidings” has a prominent place. As with some of the prophets in the Old Testament we have no information as to their genealogy, so here we have no human genealogy of the Lord, as is given in Matthew and Luke. The narrative abruptly introduces “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” John the Baptist’s ministry is shortly described to pave the way for that of Christ, which He entered on after being baptized. There are no details here of the temptation: simply the fact stated that Jesus was tempted of Satan forty days, and was with the wild beasts, and the angels ministered unto Him. As soon as John was cast into prison the Lord began His unceasing work, taking up the testimony that the kingdom of God was at hand.
Mark 1-2. In the first two chapters are presented the various proofs which the Lord gave of His mission, which were as a testimony to the leaders in Israel.
In Mark 3 we see the break with the existing unbelieving generation, the calling of the apostles, and the consequent disowning of His kindred in the flesh.
Mark 4-5 give an epitome of His personal service, carrying us on to the raising up of Israel in the future, figuratively presented in the ruler’s daughter. This closes that view of the Lord’s personal service.
In Mark 6 the service of the apostles comes into view: the Lord begins to send them forth two and two. For Himself (Mark 7) He retired to the north-west into the district of Tyre and Sidon, and healed the daughter of the Syrophenician woman—His grace thus going out to the Gentiles. After returning through Decapolis, and (Mark 8) feeding the four thousand at Gennesaret, He went to the north-east, and (Mark 9) was transfigured before His three disciples; it was probably on Mount Hermon. From this time we find the Lord repeatedly bringing before His disciples the truth of His approaching death and resurrection, and the consequences flowing therefrom.
The visit of the Lord to Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles, and His discourses there, are not given in this gospel: nor the mission of the seventy: nor His visit to Jerusalem at the Feast of Dedication: nor the death and raising of Lazarus.
Mark 10 opens with the Lord on the other side of Jordan on His last visit to Jerusalem. On the way He tells His disciples again of the ill-treatment and death that awaited Him there; but James and John seek a grant from Him, that they might sit on His right hand and on His left in the glory. Sight is restored to blind Bartimaeus (who called Him “Son of David”) at Jericho, the city of the curse.
Mark 11. There followed the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The exclamations here do not speak of Him as king, but as of their “father David”; “Hosanna; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” Thus the Lord’s connection with Israel as Son of David is proclaimed in this gospel, which has been mostly occupied with His labors in Galilee of the Gentiles.
Of the discourses that followed the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem, the parables of the Two Sons and the Marriage of the King’s Son are not found in this gospel; nor the parables of the Ten Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and the Goats.
For the prophecies given in Mark 13 refer to MATTHEW 24.
The solemn events of the Lord’s agony in the garden, the trial, condemnation and crucifixion follow. Of the Lord’s utterances on the cross, His asking forgiveness for His murderers; His promise to the repentant thief; His commending His mother to John; His saying, “I thirst”; “It is finished”; and His commending His Spirit unto the Father, are not recorded here. His commission to the eleven was “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” Signs should follow them that believe. After the ascension, they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Thus the narrative closes with a commission, which is viewed as having been carried out by the apostles. Briefly the gospel may be said to present to us the personal service of Christ and of His apostles.
It is believed that in Mark’s gospel chronological order has been preserved more than in any other. What is peculiar to this gospel are the many details and personal touches. We see too how immediately that one thing was done the Lord was occupied with another, as a diligent and devoted servant. All praise to His holy name! For a list of the principal events in the gospel history see NEW TESTAMENT.

Luke, Gospel of

It has often been declared that this gospel was gathered by the writer from various sources, especially from the apostle Paul, because he was so much with that apostle. This was an early opinion: Irenaeus and Tertullian asserted that we have in Luke the gospel that Paul preached. Eusebius referred the words “according to my gospel” (2 Tim. 2:8) to the gospel of Luke; and Jerome agreed with this. Many modern writers repeat the same. In this theory there are two grave errors. The one is endeavoring to account for the Gospel of Luke by mere human agency, instead of recognizing that the writer was led and guided by the Holy Spirit. The other is ignoring the unique character of the gospel taught by Paul, which he declared he had received by the revelation of Jesus Christ, and which is called “the gospel of the glory of the Christ.” It associated the believer with Christ in the glory (2 Cor. 4:4).
On the other hand, it is evident that Luke’s presentation of the service of Christ on earth is in correspondence with the service of “the apostle of the Gentiles,” whose fellow-laborer and companion Luke was. Grace to man—“to the Jew first, and also to the Greek,” as Paul expresses it—is the key-note of Luke’s gospel.
The Gospel of Luke sets the Lord before us in the character of Son of Man, revealing God in delivering grace among men. Hence the present operation of grace and its effect are more referred to, and even the present time prophetically, not the substitution of other dispensations, as in Matthew, but of saving, heavenly grace. At first no doubt (and just because He is to be revealed as Man, and in grace to men), He is presented (in a prefatory part in which there is the most exquisite picture of the godly remnant) to Israel, to whom He had been promised, and in relationship with whom He came into this world; but afterward this gospel presents moral principles which apply to man generally whosoever he may be, while yet manifesting Christ, for the moment, in the midst of that people. This power of God in grace is displayed in various ways in its application to the wants of men.
After the transfiguration (Luke 9), which is recounted earlier, as to the contents of the gospel, than by the other evangelists, we find the judgment of those who rejected the Lord, and the heavenly character of the grace which, because it is grace, addresses itself to the nations, to sinners, without any particular reference to the Jews, overturning the legal principles according to which the latter pretended to be, and as to their external standing were originally called at Sinai to be, in connection with God. Unconditional promises to Abraham and prophetic confirmation of them, are another thing. They will be accomplished in grace and were to be laid hold of by faith.
After this (Luke 19-21), details are given as to that which should happen to the Jew according to the righteous government of God; and, at the end, the account of the death and resurrection of the Lord, accomplishing the work of redemption.
Luke morally sets aside the Jewish system and introduces the Son of Man as the Man before God, presenting Him as the One who is filled with all the fullness of God dwelling in Him bodily, as the Man before God, according to His own heart, and thus as Mediator between God and man, center of a moral system much more vast than that of Messiah among the Jews. While occupied with these new relations (ancient in fact as to the counsels of God), Luke nevertheless gives the facts belonging to the Lord’s connection with the Jews, owned in the pious remnant of that people, with much more development than the other evangelists, as well as the proofs of His mission to that people, in coming into the world— proofs which ought to have gained their attention, and fixed it upon the child who was born to them.
That which specially characterizes the narrative, and gives peculiar interest to this gospel, is that it sets forth what Christ is Himself. It is not His official glory, a relative position that He assumed; neither is it the revelation of His divine nature in itself; nor His mission as the great Prophet. It is Himself, as He was, a man on the earth—the Person one would have met every day had one lived at that time in Judaea or in Galilee.
A remark may be added as to the style of Luke. He often brings a mass of facts into one short general statement, and then expatiates at length on some isolated fact, where moral principles and grace are displayed. (Adapted from the Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, J.N. Darby)

John, the Gospel by

This Gospel is different in character from the other three, which are often called “the Synoptical Gospels,” because they each give a fuller account of events than is found in John. The gospel by John has often been judged to be supplementary to the others; but this is not a true view of it. It stands by itself, complete in itself. Each gospel has its own characteristic line: for this see under GOSPELS.
It is the gospel in which we have most distinctly the revelation of the Godhead. The Father is revealed in the Son in both words and works; and in the rejection of the Son the Father was rejected. And, consequent on the Son going back to the Father who had sent Him, the Holy Spirit was to be sent from the Father in His name. (See John 14-16).
In John, together with the state of man, is brought out the gift of eternal life, as if the Lord Jesus had been rejected and redemption had already been accomplished. Israel is viewed as reprobate throughout: the feasts are not spoken of as the feasts of Jehovah, but as “of the Jews,” and “the Jews” (those of Jerusalem and Judaea) are distinguished from “the people,” who may have been Galileans or visitors at the feasts from districts outside Judæa.
John 1. All the essential names of the Lord are brought out in this chapter. His essential Godhead before creation; He is the Creator; the true Light; the only-begotten of the Father (His eternal Sonship); He is the Incarnate, “the Word became flesh”; the Lamb of God; the Son of God; the Messiah; the king of Israel; and the Son of Man. The Jews, “his own,” received Him not; but to those who received Him He gave authority to become children of God. The Lord became a center for such, and
1. His dwelling place an abode for them;
2. He is the One to be followed down here;
3. He is the hope of Israel.
A glimpse of millennial glory is given in the declaration at the close of the chapter as to angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.
John 2 gives a type of millennial blessing in the marriage feast (Jesus being the source of the “good wine”—the best joy—when the wine of Israel had run out), and His divine right in cleansing the temple would be proved by His power in raising the temple of His body, by which, for the time, the material temple was set aside. John 2:23-25 belongs to John 3. The Lord discerns who are really His. The “third day” of John 2 probably refers to the millennial day: John’s testimony being the first (John 1:35); Christ’s ministry the second (John 1:43); and the millennium the third.
John 3. Man, such as he is by nature, and even under privilege needs a work of the Spirit in him for the apprehension of, or entrance into the kingdom of God. He must be born of water and of the Spirit: that which is born of the Spirit is spirit in contrast to flesh, and the water no doubt signifies the word morally (compare John 15:3; 1 Peter 1:23). This should have been known by a teacher of Israel from the prophetic announcement with regard to earthly blessing in Ezekiel 36:25. But the Lord proceeds to speak of heavenly things. Man, being a sinner, his whole status as in the flesh, whether Jew or Gentile, is regarded as judged and set aside in the lifting up of the Son of Man, the antitype of the brazen serpent, and life is found for man beyond death. This introduces the testimony of the love of God to the world, and His purpose for man in His giving His only begotten Son, namely, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. The love of God is not limited to the Jews.
A further and touching testimony is rendered to the Lord by John the Baptist, whose joy was fulfilled in hearing His voice, though he himself should be eclipsed. The last two verses are doubtless the words of the evangelist. The Son being presented, the issue would be either eternal life or the wrath of God.
John 4. Being obliged to withdraw through the jealousy of the Pharisees from Judæa, the Lord on His road to Galilee must needs pass through Samaria, where He meets with a poor empty-hearted woman— empty spite of all her efforts to find satisfaction in sin. To her He speaks of God being a giver, and that He Himself was ready to give her living water—water that should be in the one receiving it a fountain of water springing up into eternal life—doubtless that which is called in Romans 8 “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” a source of perennial satisfaction within. Connected with this the Father is revealed as seeking worshippers. At the close of the chapter the Lord restores a nobleman’s son who was at the point of death, typical of that which He was doing in Israel to sustain the faith of the godly remnant ready to perish.
John 5. The impotent man was enabled to carry that whereon he lay. The blessing which had resided in vain in the pool of Bethesda, so far as he was concerned, was now superseded by what was in the word of the Son of God. This miracle being performed on the Sabbath served to bring out His glory. “My Father worketh hitherto and I work.” The Father and the Son are one in the activity of grace. The Father does not judge; the Son quickens and judges. The one who hears His word, and believes on the Father who sent Him, has everlasting life, and will not enter into judgment—is passed, in fact, out of death into life. Those morally dead hear His voice now, and those who have heard shall live. Those in their graves shall also hear, and shall come forth, and there shall be a resurrection of life, and one of judgment. Life in this chapter is viewed in connection with the voice of the Lord as the Son. He brings the soul into the light of the Father. Apart from the testimony of John, there was the three-fold witness to His glory: His works, the Father, and the scriptures.
John 6. Five thousand men are fed by the power of the Lord. Struck by this sign of power the multitude, recognizing Him as the Prophet, would make Him king. But He retires to a mountain apart, typically in the place of Priest. The disciples meanwhile were on the sea amid darkness and storm. The Lord went to them, walking on the sea. All this would seem to have its application to Israel—the Lord being seen as Prophet, King, and Priest. He will bring them to their desired haven.
What follows has a present application. The Son of Man was the true bread from heaven, and the work of God was that people should believe on Him. There is a contrast here between the manna and the new and heavenly food; and life is presented from the point of view of man’s appropriation, rather than as the quickening power of the Son of God, as in John 6, “If any one shall have eaten of this bread he shall live forever.” But for this Christ must die—must give His flesh for the life of the world. “He that eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, has life eternal; and I will raise him up at the last day.” To appropriate His death is to accept death to all that in which the flesh lives morally, to find life in Him who is out of heaven, and who is gone back there. This puts everyone to the test.
John 7. The earthly blessing, of which the Feast of Tabernacles is typical, is deferred, owing to Christ’s rejection: even His brethren did not believe in Him. But the great day of the feast is the eighth, typical of the day of new creation and of eternal blessing; of this the Spirit is the earnest, as sent from a glorified Christ. On this day Jesus stood and cried, “If any one thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He that believes on Me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this he said concerning the Spirit, which they that believed on him were about to receive.” The Jews are left in dissension and darkness.
John 8-10. The Lord is now manifested as the Light, according to what is said of Him in John 1. Those who brought to Him a case of flagrant sin in the expectation of putting Him in a dilemma, were themselves convicted by the light of His word: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” They went out of His presence one by one, convicted by their own conscience. The testimony of His own word as the light of the world follows, and is definitely rejected by the Jews; and when He at length bears witness, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am,” they took up stones to cast at Him.
Passing through the midst of them the Lord went on His way, and in John 9 gives sight to a man born blind. Here the testimony is that of His work. The leaders of the Jews were themselves blind, and said of Jesus, “We know that this man is a sinner.” Being confounded at the poor man’s simple reasoning, they cast him out of the synagogue. Upon this Jesus reveals Himself to him as Son of God, and as such he worships Him. Cast out, he finds himself in the company of One whose glorious Person is thus made known. But the Jew is made blinder by the light that has come in.
Rejected both in word and work, the Lord is now revealed as the Shepherd of the sheep in John 10, which must be read in close connection with what precedes. If the Jews cast His disciples out of the synagogue, it was the Lord who led them out of the Jewish fold. For this He was the Shepherd, and the door of the sheep. No doubt His death is supposed here. By Him if any one entered in he should be saved, and find liberty and food, in contrast to the Jewish system in which these were not found. He is the good Shepherd, and gives His life for the sheep; and there is a reciprocal knowledge or an intimacy between Himself and the sheep who are of a new and heavenly order, as there is between the Father and Himself. Also there is no fold now, but one flock and one Shepherd: thus Jews and Gentiles are joined in one flock. Furthermore, He gives His sheep eternal life, and preserves them as given Him of the Father, on the absolute security of His own and His Father’s hand. The Jews seeking again to take Him, He departed beyond Jordan.
John 11. Here the glory of the Son of God is revealed, Jesus setting Himself forth to the faith of His own as the resurrection and the life. Lazarus is allowed to die, but it was for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. He embodies and expresses in His own person victory over death, and an entirely new order of life in man, which only the Son become man, and dying, could make available to us. In the resurrection of Lazarus this is set forth in pattern; but at the same time a crisis was reached as regards His testimony to the Jews, and He is now conspired against by the leaders of the people, who decide that it was expedient that one man should die for the nation. The high priest spoke this by inspiration, and the Spirit adds, “and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” All was now ready for the final act.
John 12. Mary, in communion with His own mind, anoints His body for His burial, and the house is filled with the odor of the ointment. The godly remnant at Bethany is distinguished by the place He had in their hearts, and Mary by her deep appreciation of His worth. A final testimony is given to the daughter of Zion as her king rode into Jerusalem, sitting on an ass’s colt, amid the acclamations of the crowd, who gave witness to His having raised Lazarus. The Pharisees for the moment were confounded.
His glory as Son of God having been displayed, and He being presented to Jerusalem as Son of David, certain Greeks now express a desire to see Jesus. These were Gentiles, and their petition serves to bring out yet another glory of the Lord Jesus. He is the Son of Man; and the hour was come that the Son of Man should be glorified. He could not take the kingdom, and bring in blessing either for Jews or Greeks without dying; and, while the kingdom glory would be deferred, He would Himself be glorified as Son of Man, and would, in dying as the grain of wheat, bring forth much fruit. But this was for another world—for life eternal; one’s life in this world must be hated, and a rejected Christ followed. We here see what the counsels of God are in regard to man being glorified in heaven, and how the death of the Son of Man would bring them about. But the world is now definitely judged and its prince cast out, and a lifted-up Son of Man becomes the attractive object and gathering point for faith. The chapter closes with the utter rejection of the Jews. Thenceforward the ministry of the Lord is in private with His own.
John 13-14. In John 13 the Lord washes the disciples’ feet, the hour having come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father; in view, that is, of this great fact. The point was to maintain them in moral suitability to the new place to which He was going, in which they should have part with Him. The action of the word (the water) would free them morally to enter into and enjoy communion with Him when gone to the Father. At the outset they had been washed or bathed all over (as in the consecration of the priests) and this was not to be repeated; but, to enjoy heavenly things, a continuous practical cleansing was necessary, signified by the washing of the feet alone. (See WASHING.) This gracious work is set forth as a pattern for the disciples to do to one another—to remove, that is, by the ministry of the word, all that hinders communion. They were to be suited as servants to represent the Lord in this world, and for this they must first be suited to Himself. To Judas however these things could not apply. Having received the sop at the hands of the blessed Lord, Judas went out immediately to betray Him; and it was night. The chapter shows the Lord’s knowledge of every form of evil to which His people could be exposed in this world.
In contrast to what is here discovered as to man, the Lord brings forward the glorification of the Son of Man, in whom the glory of God would first be secured. He should be immediately glorified. His disciples would be known as His by their love one to another, this being the new commandment given by the Lord. What the flesh is, even in a saint of God, is set forth in Peter’s sincere but self-confident assertion of faithfulness even to death. In view of all that man is, there was enough to appall the disciples in the prospect of Christ leaving them, but they were to believe in Jesus (John 14) as they believed in God; and hence their heart need not be troubled. He was going away to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house, and would come again to receive them to Himself. He was Himself the way, the truth, and the life—the revealer of and way to the Father—a divine Person, who could say, “I am in the Father and the Father in Me.” He was going to the Father, and whatever they should ask in the Son’s name the Father would do. And further, “If ye shall ask anything in My name I will do it.” This supposes that they would be in the knowledge of His interests during His absence. They were to keep His commandments, if they loved Him.
He would ask the Father, who would give them another Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who would remain with them forever: He would be in them. Furthermore, He would not leave them orphans, He would Himself come to them. The Comforter would teach them all things and bring to their remembrance what He had said to them. He left them peace, and gave them His own peace. If they loved Him they would rejoice that He was going to the Father. All this discourse, preparatory to His departure, was to fit the disciples to serve His interests when He should be gone from them.
John 15. The Lord in this chapter shows how He had taken the place of the vine, which Israel had been set to be by Jehovah (Psa. 80; Isa. 5), but in which it had utterly failed, so far as fruit was concerned. The Lord was the true Vine, and no fruit could be borne but as abiding in Him: as He said, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” The disciples were to abide in His love, keeping His commandments. He calls them friends, no longer bondsmen, for all things He had heard of His Father He had made known to them. But they were to love one another. The world would hate them because they were not of it: it had however hated Him first. But when the Comforter was come, the Spirit of truth, He should bear witness concerning the Lord, and the disciples would do so likewise, because they had been with Him from the beginning.
John 16. The Lord warns the disciples of the persecution they would meet with from the world. He was about to leave them; but this was for their advantage, because the Comforter would come to them in His stead. This great event would on the one hand have its bearing on the world; and on the other, on the disciples. To the world the Holy Spirit would bring demonstration of sin, righteousness, and judgment; while the disciples would be guided by Him into all the truth. He would glorify the Son, and show to them the things of the Father which were the Son’s. The Lord would be withdrawn from them for a little while by death, but they would see Him again, as indeed they did, a foretaste of what is yet to come in a still more blessed manner. They should thus have a joy which no one could take from them, in the knowledge and enjoyment of the new relationship with the Father, into which He was introducing them. The world however would rejoice at being rid of Him: terrible testimony to its state.
The disciples failed to apprehend the true import of the Lord’s discourse about the Father, in which He assured them of the Father’s love for them, by reason of which they might henceforward address themselves immediately to Him in the name of the Son, that is, in His interests, and be assured of their petitions. For the moment they would be scattered, and, but for the Father’s presence with Him, would leave Him alone. The Lord spoke these things to them that in Him they might have peace, whereas in the world they should have tribulation.
John 17. There follows a prayer to the Father, in which, in the most affecting manner, the Lord allows us to know His desires for His own according to the counsel of the Father. It is divided into three parts; the first, down to the end of John 17:5, having reference to His own glory, and the consequent glory of the Father; the second, to John 17:19, referring to the disciples then present—the eleven; the third, to those who should believe on Him through their word. Eternal life; the revelation of the Father’s name, and the relationship with Him in which the disciples were placed in consequence; their place in the world; their oneness in the present and in the future; glory with Christ, in which all who believe share; and the love of the Father to the Lord Jesus, into which His own are brought, are some of the subjects in this portion.
John 18. Jesus in the garden is betrayed by Judas. The agony of the Lord is not recorded here, which may be owing to His being seen in this gospel as Son of God; and those sent to arrest Him fall to the ground. He is arraigned before Caiaphas and before Pilate, to whom He confesses that He is a king. The Jews choose Barabbas.
John 19. Jesus is pronounced to be guiltless, but is condemned by Pilate, after being presented to the Jews as their king. They call for His crucifixion, declaring that they have “no king but Caesar.” On the cross He commits His mother to John. Jesus having fulfilled all, Himself delivers up His spirit. From His pierced side flow blood and water (compare 1 John 5:6-8).
John 20 records the resurrection of the blessed Lord and its result. Mary Magdalene, ignorant of the great event, but with the deepest affection for her Lord, came in the early morning of the first day of the week to the sepulcher. He was no longer there. She summoned Peter and John, who, running and looking into the sepulcher, took note of what they saw as evidence on which they believed. They then went home again. She, with less intelligence but more affection, lingered still. To her the Lord revealed Himself, and not suffering her to touch Him (no doubt as indicating that the relationship with His own was no longer of an earthly kind), He sent her with the surprising message to His disciples, “I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.” He put them in His own relationship as man before His Father and God. Then we have a picture of the assembly gathered in the truth of this relationship, in the midst of which He Himself took His place. He brought peace to them, assuring them that He was in very deed the same who had been pierced and nailed to the cross. He then gave them their commission: “As the Father sent Me forth, I also send you,” again pronouncing peace. Having said this, He breathed into them and said, “Receive [the] Holy Spirit.” This must not be confounded with Acts 2, in which the descent of the Holy Spirit is connected more with power. Here it corresponds with the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:2). Thomas, who saw and believed, represents the Jewish remnant in the latter day, who will believe when they see the Lord.
John 21. This is on the ground of the synoptic gospels, that is to say, is dispensational in its character—the draft of fishes is identified with the work of Christ in connection with earth. Led by Peter the disciples go fishing, but catch nothing. The Lord appears to them, and tells them to cast the net on the right side of the ship; and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. There is no breaking of the net here, and 153 great fishes are secured. They now recognize the Lord, and find a dinner ready prepared, of which they are invited to partake. All this points to a resumption of the Lord’s earthly association with His people Israel, whom He will use for an abundant ingathering of souls from among the sea of nations after the close of the present period.
After this we have the full restoration of Peter in a passage of most touching grace, and obscurely the relative portion and service of both Peter and John.
It is not surprising that a book, in which the divine glory of the Son of God is especially unfolded, should be concluded by the surmise of the apostle, that the world itself could not contain all that might be written of His doings.

Acts of the Apostles

The introduction to this book compared with the introduction to the gospel by Luke makes it plain that the two were written by the same person. The Acts ends with the two years’ imprisonment of the apostle Paul at Rome: it could not therefore have been written before the end of that time, and was probably written very soon afterward or it would have given the issue of Paul’s trial. This would place the date about A.D. 63.
The “Acts” forms a link between the Gospels and the Epistles, as the ascension of Christ formed a link between the Gospels and the Acts. It occupies a sort of transition time, for though the church was soon formed, the doctrine of the church was not made known until Paul’s epistles. The title, “Acts of the Apostles,” might have led us to expect a more general account of the labors of all the Twelve; but their mission in the ways of God is superseded by that of Paul, both as minister of the gospel of the glory of Christ, and of the church. A wise selection of the fruits of apostolic energy has been made, verifying some things stated in the Gospels, and forming an indispensable introduction to the Epistles.
After the ascension of the Lord, and the choosing an apostle to fill the place of Judas, the first great event recorded is the day of Pentecost. The Lord had said, “I will build my church,” (Matt. 16:18); and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is the answer to the question, when did the incorporation of the church begin? 1 Corinthians 12:13 proves that it was by the gift of the Holy Spirit, though, as it has been said, the doctrine of the church was not revealed till afterward.
Ananias was charged with lying to the Holy Spirit, by whom God was then dwelling in the church. Our Lord had promised that on His departure He would send them another Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to abide with and be in them. This also was fulfilled at Pentecost. Peter, Stephen and the other present at the same time were full of the Holy Spirit (compare Acts 4:31).
After this another call was made to Israel to receive Jesus as the Christ. They had killed the Prince of life, but God had raised Him from the dead, and now in mercy and on the ground of their ignorance one more appeal was made to them to repent and be converted that their sins might be blotted out, and that God might send again Jesus Christ who was then in heaven. The rulers however were grieved that they preached by Jesus the resurrection from among the dead, and commanded Peter and John not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. Stephen, being accused before the Sanhedrim, rehearsed the history of Israel from the beginning, and charged them with resisting the Holy Spirit, as their fathers had done. The indictment of Israel as man in the flesh, and the exposure of his enmity to God led to the final sin of rejecting the glorified Christ, expressed by the stoning of Stephen who, calling upon the Lord not to lay the sin to their charge, exemplified the life of Christ in his body.
This ends the first phase of the acts of the Holy Spirit, and clears the way for the going out of the gospel and the revelation of the truth of the church. The persecution that followed led to the spread of the gospel. Philip preached Christ to the Samaritans and many believed. Peter went from Jerusalem, laid his hands upon them and they received the Holy Spirit. Peter was then used at Caesarea in opening the door to the Gentiles (answering to his having the keys of the kingdom committed to him, Matt. 16:19), and they also received the Holy Spirit.
In the meantime Saul had been converted, and immediately preached that Jesus was the Son of God. The churches had rest, and walking in the fear of the Lord and comfort of the Holy Spirit, were multiplied (Acts 9:31). Herod Agrippa however soon began to persecute the church; he killed James the brother of John, and put Peter into prison, who was however miraculously delivered. Herod died a miserable death; and the word of God grew and multiplied (Acts 12). This ends the phase of the church’s history in connection with the remnant of Israel.
Antioch, instead of Jerusalem, now became a center of evangelization, independent of apostolic authority, yet without breaking the unity of the Spirit by forming a separate church. Barnabas and Saul are separated to the work by the Holy Spirit, and with John Mark take a missionary journey.
Certain persons from Judea insisting at Antioch that the Gentile converts must be circumcised or they could not be saved, the question was referred to the church at Jerusalem. In their decision they could say, “It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves ye shall do well. Fare ye well” (Acts 15:28-29).
Paul with Silas took a second missionary journey, extending to Europe and returned to Antioch (Acts 18:22). From thence Paul went a third journey. (For the particulars of these journeys and from whence Paul wrote some of his epistles, see the article PAUL.) It may be noted that while at Ephesus, because of the opposition of the Jews in the synagogues, Paul separated the disciples and they met in a building distinct from the synagogue, commencing a further development of the church’s history (Acts 19:9).
At the close of the third missionary journey Paul, led by deep spiritual affection for his nation, but forbidden by the Spirit in whose energy the ministry entrusted to him had hitherto been carried out, went up to Jerusalem, where he was arrested. The rest of the book details his trials and danger from the Jews; his journey to Rome, where he calls together the chief of the Jews, to whom he preaches Jesus. We read no more of any of his labors, and the Acts leaves him a prisoner.
The book embraces a period of about thirty years: the mystery of the church, and the gospel of the glory committed to Paul, as well as the state of the assemblies must be gathered from the Epistles. During the above period Paul wrote the two epistles to the Thessalonians, the two to the Corinthians, to the Galatians, Romans, Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, and Philippians.

Romans, Epistle to the

This may justly be called the fundamental epistle of Christian doctrine. Its value and importance are seen in that its doctrine lays in the soul a moral foundation by the presentation of God in qualities or attributes which the state of things existing in the world appears to call in question. Thus God is justified in the eyes of the believer, and this being the case, the purposes of His love are made known to him.
In looking at all that is around us in the world, everything appears to be out of order: the presence and domination of sin, a broken law, and the corrupt and violent will in man, all call in question the righteousness of God; while the scattering of God’s people Israel raises the question of His faithfulness to His promises.
Now in Christ all this finds its full and complete answer. The Son of God, by whom all were created, has Himself come in the likeness of sinful flesh, and, by offering Himself a sacrifice for sin, has completely vindicated God’s righteousness, while revealing His love. At the same time the man, or order of man, that has sinned against God has been judicially removed by His death from before the eye of God, so that God can present Himself to man in grace.
The moral perfection of the offerer of necessity brought in resurrection, in which all the pleasure of God’s grace in regard to man is set forth in righteousness; and Christ risen is the deliverer who is to come forth from Zion to turn away ungodliness from Jacob. Thus God’s faithfulness to His covenant is established in Zion. God is proved to be faithful and righteous: we have here the first elements of the knowledge of God.
But it may be desirable to open up the epistle a little in detail. After the introduction, in which the fact may be noticed that the glad tidings are said to be concerning God’s Son, a picture is given us of the moral condition of man in the world, whether heathen, philosopher, or Jew. In the heathen we see the unchecked development of sin (Rom. 1); in the philosopher the fact that light in itself does not control evil (Rom. 2); and in the Jew that law is proved to be powerless to bring about subjection to God, or to secure righteousness for man. The conclusion is that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God—all are proved to be justly under the sentence and judgment of death which God had imposed at the outset (Rom. 3).
In the latter part of Romans 3 we have the declaration of God’s righteousness, in regard of man’s state, in the blood of Christ, who on the cross took vicariously the place of man, and suffered what was due to man: God’s righteousness is thus witnessed to, both in respect of past forbearance and present grace; and His consequent attitude towards all men, without difference, is seen; while Romans 4 shows that the principle of justifying man, or accounting him righteous apart from works, had been conspicuous in regard to the men to whom in time past God had made promises, namely, Abraham and David. This was and is the pleasure of God, as now set forth in our Lord Jesus, who has been delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification. While God had Himself been glorified in Christ’s death, His pleasure as to man is set forth in Christ’s resurrection.
Romans 5 brings fully into view the dominion of grace established through our Lord Jesus Christ, and unfolds in detail the terms on which God is with those who have been justified in His grace, beginning with peace and going on to reconciliation, the love of God being shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost. The subject is brought to a conclusion at the close of the chapter by the unfolding of the position of Christ as the last Adam; and of the effects of His moral perfectness in not only removing all that had come in by the sin of the first man Adam, but, in bringing in the justification of life. The bearing of this is that, for God, but one typical Man subsists, and that what attaches to Him as such belongs to those who are morally of His line or order. This principle was true in Adam, and is now true in Christ. In Christ the question of good and evil has been solved; death has been annulled, and the blessing of eternal life brought into view.
The righteousness of God having been vindicated, and the truth brought out of what His mind is towards believers, the three following chapters take up the question of the state of the believer, and develop the divinely established way of deliverance for him from principles to which man’s soul is naturally in bondage; that thus he may be responsive to the love in which it has pleased God to make Himself known, and may be brought into the sense of being the object of God’s purpose.
There are three principles to which man is in bondage, namely, sin, the law, and the flesh; and a way has been opened by which the believer may be free from the control of each of these principles. As to sin, the dominating principle in the world (Rom. 6), the way of deliverance is indicated in baptism, in identification with the death of Christ; and freedom is found in realizing the truth of that which is set forth in baptism, that is, in reckoning ourselves dead indeed to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus. The knowledge which the soul has acquired of God in grace enables it to take this ground.
As regards law (Rom. 7), the bond, where it existed, has been dissolved in the death of Christ, so that Christ who is risen from the dead should be law to the believer; hence he lives by the faith of the Son of God who loved him and gave Himself for him.
As regards flesh, which is found to be hopelessly perverse, deliverance is in the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8). This is the power within the believer, and the consequences of it are momentous. It involves, in the consciousness of the believer’s soul, the transfer from one stock to another. He is not only transplanted, but grafted into Christ, so that he acquires all the nourishment and vigor of the new stock. Thus he is led into the consciousness of all that is involved in the Spirit that dwells within him; and is able more distinctly to accept the position of death to sin, and to appreciate the truth of Christ being law to him—and in the enjoyment of deliverance he has the consciousness by the Spirit of that to which God has called him, namely, to be conformed to the image of His Son, and the persuasion that nothing can separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We now arrive at another section of the epistle, which includes Romans 9-11, the object of which would appear to be to vindicate the faithfulness of God as to His promises to the fathers, in face of the fact of Israel having been set aside to make way for the church. It is shown that the principle of sovereignty lay underneath the whole of God’s dealings in regard to Israel, and was expressed in the way of election, and of rejection at critical points in their history, and that the position of Israel had been formed on this. A crucial test had come in by the presentation of Christ, and Israel had stumbled at the stumbling stone; and, while saving a remnant, God had in His sovereignty also called an election from the Gentiles, who had submitted to the righteousness of God which Israel had refused. In this connection the apostle vindicates his worldwide gospel.
God had not, however, given up finally His thought in regard to Israel, for even in the gospel to the Gentiles He had them ultimately in view. The nations had now by the gospel their opportunity, and if they failed to continue in the goodness of God, their defection would make the way for the resumption of God’s ways with Israel; and both Gentiles and Jews would manifestly come in on the ground of mercy. Thus God would be everything, and man nothing. This result calls forth the doxology at the close of Romans 11.
Thus we have in the epistle a full vindication of God, both as to righteousness and faithfulness.
The hortatory part of the epistle follows in Romans 12-15. The compassions of God are urged as an incentive to the believer to be here for the will of God. Transformed by the renewing of his mind, he is to be here in anticipation of another age. This is to be seen both in his service and, morally, in his character. His obligation is then shown in respect of the powers allowed of God in the world, and of man generally; and then in respect of the kingdom of God, by the influence of which he is to be ruled in his conduct toward those weak in the faith.
The apostle closes by a reference to the distinctiveness of his own service, carrying out his special mission to the Gentiles—and the expression of his purpose in due course to reach Rome.
The salutations at the close of the epistle are remarkable for the number of persons mentioned by name, and for the touches by which they are individually identified.
The epistle was written by Paul when at Corinth, about A.D. 58 (compare Acts 20:1-3). It is an exhaustive dissertation, and evinces the energy and wisdom of the Spirit of God in each point discussed. It is apposite that such an epistle should have been addressed to the saints at the then metropolis of the civilized world, not, however, that that metropolis should be in any way a center of the church of God. Paul had not introduced the gospel there, and there is no evidence that Peter did so. It may have been carried to that city by some who were converted at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.

Corinthians, Epistles to the

Some three years after Paul’s first visit to Corinth he heard that there were divisions among them (1 Cor. 1:11-12); that there was allowed evil in their midst (1 Cor. 5:1); and that there were some among them who said that there was no resurrection (1 Cor. 15:12).
These things, and the fact that he had received a letter of inquiry from them (1 Cor. 7:1) called forth the First Epistle. Its contents may in short be said to be the internal ordering of the church, with collateral subjects.
1 Corinthians. It must be noted that this epistle, though written to the church of God at Corinth is also addressed to “all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.” This accounts for the language employed in some places, all who make a profession being addressed in their responsibility to the Lord.
After the introduction the apostle at once enters upon the subject of, and condemns, the divisions among them. “Is Christ divided?” Paul would not be the head of one of their schools. When he came to them he preached Christ crucified, and determined, because they were boasting so much in man, to know nothing among them except that which expressed God’s judgment of the first man. Any glorying must be “in the Lord.” The wisdom of this world was nothing.
The revelation given to the apostles was not of man, but of God. By them it had been received, not by the spirit of man, but by the Spirit of God, and it was spoken in words taught by Him. Such a revelation could not be apprehended by the natural man; it was spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 3. The apostle could not speak unto them as unto spiritual but as to fleshly-minded Christians, who needed to be fed with the simplest food. He placed the ministry of himself and Apollos in its true light: they were fellow-laborers in God’s husbandry. Paul, as architect, had laid the foundation, which was Jesus Christ, and others were warned as to what they built thereon. The fire of judgment would try the work, and if it would not bear the testing it would all be burned up, and the workman would lose his reward. If any defiled the temple of God, as for instance, by denying foundation truth, he would be destroyed. The saints were the temple of God, and that temple was holy. None were to glory in men.
1 Corinthians 4. The apostles were stewards of the mysteries of God, not to be judicially examined by the Corinthians or of man’s day, but by the Lord. All the Lord’s servants being for the saints, they were not to set up this one or that as against another. The Corinthians were reigning as kings (as though the gospel were intended to make men prosperous in this world), while the apostles were in affliction and dishonor, yet rendering blessing for railing. As their father in Christ Paul entreats them to be his imitators.
1 Corinthians 5. This refers to the flagrant case of sin in their midst. Paul judged the case as present in spirit to deliver the guilty one to Satan; but they themselves must put away the wicked person.
1 Corinthians 6. Paul reproves them for their litigation before the world, and their defrauding one another. He exhorts them to holiness. Each one was a temple of the Holy Spirit, in distinction from 1 Corinthians 3:16, where collectively they were the temple of God.
1 Corinthians 7. The apostle answers their questions as to marriage. It was an institution of God, but Paul gave it as his judgment, for the time of distress (1 Cor. 7:26), that it was better when persons had the power to remain unmarried.
1 Corinthians 8. This refers to things offered to idols, a question which could only arise in the same way in a heathen country, though the principle of regarding the conscience of a weak brother is always true.
1 Corinthians 9. Paul asserts his apostleship, which some among them were setting at naught. He was made all things to all that he might save some. Christians were as runners in a race, each seeking to obtain a crown. He kept his body under subjection, lest he should be rejected, as the Israelites were, many of whom, he proceeds to show in the next chapter, had never reached Canaan.
1 Corinthians 10. The failings of Israel are dwelt upon, and held up as a warning to the Corinthians. Their fellowship with the death of Christ at the Lord’s table is introduced, showing that it signifies communion with the body and blood of Christ (as in the Peace Offering, in which part was burnt on the altar; part eaten by the priest; and part by the offerer): hence they could not also have communion with idolatry.
1 Corinthians 11. The fact of Christ being the head of every man, and man being the head of the woman, indicated that the head should be covered by the woman, and uncovered by the men, that the angels might not see God’s order in creation set aside in those who were of the house of God. The actual coming together of the assembly to eat the Lord’s supper is introduced, in connection with which great disorder had supervened. On this account, in the Lord’s dealings with them many were weak and sickly, and many had died. In 1 Corinthians 10 there is the responsibility of those who have fellowship with the Lord’s death, and in this chapter the privilege of remembering the Lord.
1 Corinthians 12. Spiritual manifestations are referred to. There were different gifts, but one Spirit; different administrations, but one Lord; different operations, but one God, who worketh all things in all. Then follows a list of the gifts. In the power of the Spirit believers are all baptized into one body, in which each has his appointed place. It is the living organization of the body on earth, as divinely ordered, that we have here.
1 Corinthians 13. The character and workings of love. It is the great mainspring of practical Christianity, the very nature of God, without which a person, however gifted, is nothing.
1 Corinthians 14. Here we get the practical working of the organization of 1 Corinthians 12 when actually in assembly, love being the spring, and the edification of the saints the result. All had been confusion at Corinth.
1 Corinthians 15. Speculations having arisen as to the resurrection, the subject is discussed. Resurrection is a fact essential in the gospel. Here the resurrection of the just is specially contemplated. Adam and Christ are the two heads. All under the first head die: all under the second shall be made alive. A mystery is revealed as to the dead being raised and the living being changed at the coming of Christ.
1 Corinthians 16. Speaks of the collection for the poor saints. Certain laborers are mentioned, and the salutations close the epistle.
2 Corinthians. Paul was exceedingly anxious as to the reception given to the First Epistle. He was at Troas, where there was a door open for the gospel, but he had no rest in his spirit because Titus had not reached him. He therefore proceeded to meet him in Macedonia. When Titus arrived, Paul was greatly consoled by the tidings that the First Epistle had been well received, and the wicked man had been put away.
In this Second Epistle he desires to comfort them with the consolation he had received from God. He had been in great danger (probably referring to the uproar at Ephesus, Acts 19), but the God of resurrection had delivered him He was still concerned for the spiritual well-being of the Corinthians, but refers to his own authority with tenderness. As the man who had been put away was repentant, Paul exhorts them to forgive and restore him.
2 Corinthians 3. Paul enters on the subject of his ministry, the authority of which had been much shaken by the devices of Satan at Corinth. Paul was a competent new covenant minister, as Moses had been of the old covenant. The contrast between the two ministries is now given. The one ministered death and condemnation, the other the Spirit (which quickens) and righteousness. There is no veil on the Lord’s face, and in result the privilege of Christians under this ministry is to behold the Lord’s glory (the delight of God resting in a man, all His attributes being glorified) without a veil, and to be changed into the same image from glory to glory.
2 Corinthians 4. Paul shows how the gospel of the glory of Christ was set forth in himself as the vessel of it, so that, if veiled, it was in those that were lost, not in him God had shone in his heart for the shining forth of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ. But the vessel was but an earthen one, nothing in itself, that the surpassing nature of the power might be of God. Paul always bore about in the body the dying of Jesus, and was always being delivered to death. The outcome of it was life in the Corinthians. He contrasts the temporal things with the eternal. He walked in view of the latter.
2 Corinthians 5. Enlarging on this subject he refers to the house from heaven with which the believer is to be clothed in the eternal state. He introduces the solemn truth of the judgment-seat of Christ, before which all must be manifested, and then passes on to the new creation, where all is of God. A man in Christ is already of this new creation. The ministry of reconciliation is then touched upon, showing the terms on which Christians are privileged to be with God, as the ministry of the new covenant had shown the terms on which God was with them. It is based on the One who knew no sin, having been made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 6. He shows how he and his fellow laborers commended themselves in everything as God’s ministers. His heart being enlarged towards the Corinthians, he entreats them to be wholly separated from the world and every pollution of the flesh and spirit, so that, as regards their testimony, the grace of God might not be received in vain.
2 Corinthians 7. Paul continues his appeal, setting forth all the deep exercises he had passed through as to them.
2 Corinthians 8-9. Contributions for the poor saints and exhortations to liberality.
2 Corinthians 10-12. The apostleship of Paul is maintained in contrast to the false teachers who were counteracting his influence at Corinth. He feared that there might be some among them who had sinned and had not repented.
2 Corinthians 13. Paul tells them to examine themselves; if they were Christians, was not that a proof that Christ had been speaking in Paul? A few exhortations follow, and the epistle closes without any being greeted by name.

Galatians, Epistle to the

The date when this Epistle was written has been disputed more than that of any of the others, some placing it early, and others later. The events seem best to agree thus: on Paul’s second missionary journey he went throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia (Acts 16:6). We learn from Galatians 4:13-15 that he had preached the gospel to them, and that they had received him as an angel and would have plucked out their eyes for him. This visit would have been about A.D. 51. Then about A.D. 54 Paul again visited them; all we read as to this journey is that he went over all the country of Galatia, strengthening, or confirming, all the disciples (Acts 18:23). They may, alas, have as readily received the Judaizing teachers, and when this came to the ears of Paul, he wrote this Epistle to them. He grieved that they were so soon diverted to another gospel which was not another. In 1 Corinthians 16:1 we read that Paul had instructed the churches in Galatia as to the collection for the poor. This was written to Corinth about A.D. 55. The collection is not mentioned in his Epistle to the Galatians, and as far as we know he did not visit them again. This has caused some to suppose that Paul wrote the Epistle to them after his first visit; and that he gave them the directions as to the collection on his second visit; but they may have been given by another letter or by a private messenger.
Galatians 1. After a brief opening, in which the intent of the Lord’s giving Himself for our sins is set forth, namely, to deliver us from this present age according to the will of God, the apostle proceeds directly to the point and marvels at the rapid departure of the Galatian converts from the gospel. In the strongest terms he denounces the efforts made to pervert them from the grace of Christ to other ground. Paul would have them know that his apostleship was not by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father; that the gospel he preached was by the revelation of Jesus Christ. The Jews’ religion, by which they were so attracted, had led him to be a bitter persecutor, but it had pleased God to reveal His Son in him that he might preach Him among the Gentiles. His commission and authority had come direct from on high, and had no connection with Jerusalem as a source. The saints in Judaea did but glorify God in him.
Galatians 2. Fourteen years after [his conversion] he went up to Jerusalem and communicated to those there the gospel he preached to the Gentiles. He utterly refused to submit to pressure from Judaizing brethren in the case of the Gentile convert Titus, and in result received the full fellowship of the three pillars—James, Cephas, and John—in regard to his ministry among the heathen. Subsequently, at Antioch, Paul had actually withstood Peter to the face as to the truth of the gospel, which Peter was fatally compromising from fear of the Jews. Peter’s conduct was wholly inconsistent. Peter and Paul had themselves left the law for justification, to find it alone on the principle of faith in Christ. Had Christ become the minister of sin in their doing this? If not, in going back to the law they built anew what they had destroyed, and were confessedly transgressors; for if right in leaving it for Christ, they were wrong in returning to it. For Paul, however, it was true that through law he had died to law, in order to live to God. With Christ he was crucified (was judicially dead); yet he lived, but no longer himself, for Christ lived in him, and his life as still in this world was by faith—the faith of the Son of God, a living object whose love filled his soul. Christ had died in vain if righteousness came by the law.
Galatians 3. The Galatians were as though bewitched. Had they received the Spirit on the principle of law or of faith? To this there could be but one answer. Having begun in the Spirit, were they now to be made perfect by the flesh? Faith was the principle on which Abraham, the head of promise and blessing, was reckoned righteous, and on which the Gentiles would, with believing Abraham, receive blessing, according to God’s promise to him. Those under law were under the curse; and on that ground none could be justified. Christ had borne the curse that Abraham’s blessing might come on the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, and that through faith they might receive the promise of the Spirit. The law, given four hundred and thirty years after the promise, could not set the latter aside, which was made not only to Abraham, but to his Seed, even to Christ. The law came in by the way till the Seed should come: it proved transgressions; it had been useful as a guard: it had been for those under it a tutor up to Christ. Now faith had come, such were no longer under a tutor; the Gentile believers were now God’s sons by faith in Christ Jesus. In Christ distinctions between Jew and Gentile disappeared: all were one, and the Gentile believers being of Christ were Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise.
Galatians 4. Though heirs, the Jews were, under law, in the condition of children under age, held in bondage under the elements of the world, with which indeed the law had to do. But now God had sent forth His Son, to redeem those under law, that believers might receive sonship. He had sent the Spirit of His Son into their hearts, giving the cry of relationship, “Abba, Father.” They were therefore no longer bondmen, but sons; and if sons, then heirs through God. Were the Gentile believers (formerly in heathen darkness, but now knowing God) going to turn back to the principles of law, which the apostle does not hesitate to call weak and beggarly elements? They observed days, and months, and times, and years, as though Christianity were a system for man in the flesh. But he reminds them of their former affection for him, and how they had received him as an angel of God. Was he now their enemy because he told them the truth? These Judaizing teachers had sown this discord in order that they might supplant the apostle in their affections. Spiritually he again travailed in birth with them till Christ should be formed in them. He knew not what to make of them. Let those who wanted to be under law listen to it. He then submits to them the allegory of Sarah and Hagar, in which the principles of law and faith in God’s promise are seen in conflict. The promise is secured in Isaac, that is, in Christ. Believers, as Isaac was, are children of promise, they are not children of the maidservant but of the free woman.
Galatians 5. He exhorts the Galatians to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ made free. If circumcised they were debtors to do the whole law, and were deprived of all profit from the Christ. They had in such case fallen from grace. Christians awaited the hope of righteousness, by the Spirit, on the principle of faith. For those in Christ faith wrought through love. The Galatians had run well, but who had now hindered them? The guilt of this mischief should be borne by the troubler, whoever he was. The scandal of the cross was done away if circumcision was preached, for it was rehabilitating the flesh. But love was the fulfillment of the law. The flesh and Spirit were in fact utterly opposed, but if led by the Spirit they were not under law. The works of the flesh are set forth in contrast to the fruit of the Spirit. Those that were of Christ had crucified the flesh with its lusts, the Spirit being the only power for christian walk.
Galatians 6. Some closing exhortations follow. The spiritual were to restore those taken in a fault, remembering what they were in themselves. They were to care for one another—to think nothing of themselves—to care for those who ministered to them in the word. He warns them of the consequences of sowing to the flesh, but in sowing to the Spirit they should reap eternal life. Let them do good then to all, but especially to the household of faith. He tells them he had written this letter with his own hand as evidence of his deep concern as to them. He once again refers to the mischief-makers in scathing terms. But the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ was his only boast, through whom the world was crucified unto him, and he to it. In Christ Jesus nothing availed but a new creation; and upon those who walked according to this rule peace and mercy are invoked. This Epistle, in which the grief of the apostle is mingled with indignation, is concluded by an affecting allusion to the sufferings he had endured in the maintenance of the truth which they were so lightly turning from: he bore in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus. There are none of the customary salutations.
The epistle is an example of the energy and rapidity of the apostle’s style, and of the spiritual power of his argument. We see him deeply moved by the baneful influence of the Judaisers in Galatia and at their success. Alas! it is what has extended everywhere throughout Christendom.

Ephesians, Epistle to the

Paul first visited Ephesus on his way from Corinth to Syria: he did not stay then, but left Priscilla and Aquila there, who were afterward joined by Apollos (Acts 18:18-24). Paul soon returned and stayed there two years. There was thus time for the saints to be grounded in the truth. The opposition was so great in the synagogue that Paul separated the disciples, and they met daily in the school of Tyrannus. The word grew mightily and prevailed (Acts 19:1-20).
In 1 Corinthians 15:32 Paul speaks of having fought with beasts at Ephesus, doubtless alluding to the strong opposition manifested towards him there by the Jews. In Acts 20:17-35 Paul exhorts the elders of Ephesus, as overseers, to feed the church of God. He warns them that grievous wolves would enter in, and some from among themselves would speak perverse things to draw away disciples after them. As their resource he commends them to God and the word of His grace. Following this was the Epistle he wrote to them during the two years he was a prisoner at Rome.
In 1 Timothy 1:3 Paul says he had besought Timothy to abide at Ephesus, and to exhort them to teach no other doctrine, and not to give heed to fables and endless genealogies. In 2 Timothy 1:15 there is the sad intelligence that “all they which are in Asia” (which must have included Ephesus) had “turned away from” Paul, doubtless signifying that they had given up the truth as taught by Paul, and settled down with a lower standard. In 2 Timothy 4:12 Tychicus had been sent to Ephesus. The great care and watchfulness with which Paul labored for their welfare is very manifest. In Revelation 2:1-7 we have the address to this church, in which much is said in their favor, though the solemn charge had also to be made that they had left their first love, and the warning is given that if they did not repent their candlestick would be removed.
The Epistle to the Ephesians is remarkable in setting forth the counsels of God with regard to His people as connected with Christ. It is from this standpoint that they are viewed, rather than that of their need as sinners, and how it has been met. This latter is developed in the Epistle to the Romans. The state of the Ephesian believers enabled them to receive a communication of such a nature as this Epistle, in which glorious unfoldings of the mind of God about His own are given in the greatest fullness.
The key note is struck in Ephesians 1:3, where God is blessed as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”—the God, when our Lord Jesus Christ is looked at as man; the Father, when He is viewed as Son of God. Christians are brought in Christ into these very relationships, as stated by the Lord Himself when risen from the dead, “Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.” It will be seen that the prayer at the close of Ephesians 1 is founded on the title “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,” while that in Ephesians 3 is on the title “Father.” The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed believers with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ. He has marked them out for adoption to Himself, that is, their being brought into the full position of sons in Christ Jesus, according to the good pleasure of His will. Brought into favor in the Beloved, they have in Him redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The mystery of God’s will is set forth—to head up all things, whether heavenly or earthly, in the Christ for the administration of the fullness of times. Jews and Gentiles are the subjects of salvation according to the purpose of God, believers from among both being sealed by the Holy Spirit, who is also the earnest of their inheritance—an inheritance which will be to the praise of God’s glory when everything is headed up in Christ.
The prayer at the close of Ephesians 1 is that the saints might have the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of the God of the Lord Jesus Christ: that they might know the hope of His calling, His inheritance in the saints, and the greatness of the power towards them which He wrought in raising Christ (a Man) from the dead, and setting Him at His right hand in the heavenly places (Compare Psalm 8). He being head over all things to the body, which is the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Ephesians 2. This same power had wrought toward the saints (as shown by the subject being continued without a break from Ephesians 1 to Ephesians 2), in that having been dead in sins they had been quickened with Christ; had been raised up together (Jew and Gentile), and made to sit down together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. There is a new creation in Christ by God as regards His people. The apostle would have the Gentile Christians contrast their present privileges with their former hopeless state. Jew and Gentile believers had access by one Spirit to the Father, while the latter were now fellow-citizens of the saints, and were of the household of God, being part of the holy temple He was building. They were also built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.
Ephesians 3. This chapter, in a parenthesis, unfolds the administration of the mystery, hid in God, but now revealed by the Spirit, namely, that the Gentiles should be joint heirs and a joint body and joint partakers of His promise in Christ Jesus. A mystery is that which is understood only by the initiated. In the public dealings of God with men this mystery had no place; it is connected (though administered upon earth) with Christ while hid in the heavens, and the saints united to Him there; by its administration would be made known to principalities and powers in heavenly places the all various wisdom of God. A prayer follows that the saints might be strengthened inwardly by the Spirit; that the Christ might dwell through faith in their hearts; that they might apprehend the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and might know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, so as to be filled unto all the fullness of God. Christ is here presented as the center of all the counsels of God, and His love is to be known in all its fullness by the hearts of His people.
Ephesians 4. The apostle applies what is given in the earlier part of the epistle, particularly at the close of Ephesians 2—the bringing together in one in a new and heavenly manner of those who on earthly ground had been at enmity. The saints were to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Gifts are alluded to as given by the Head, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all arrive at the unity of the faith, and the full knowledge of the Son of God, at the full grown man, and at the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ. Everything necessary for the body is derived from the Head. All is to grow up into Christ. Practical exhortations follow in Ephesians 4:17. The truth “in Jesus” is the having put off the old man and having put on the new: consequently all that characterized the old man must be put off, and what is of the new cultivated.
Ephesians 5-6. Believers are to be imitators of God as dear children. They are light in the Lord, and are to walk as children of light. They are to be filled with the Spirit. Earthly relationships are now referred to: wives, husbands, children, fathers, bondmen, masters. Each relationship is to be taken up as in the Lord. Blessed instruction as to the mystery of Christ and the church is given in connection with the word to wives and husbands.
In view of the nature of the spiritual conflict waged in heavenly places, Christians are exhorted to put on the panoply of God. Without this they cannot stand. The apostle asks the prayers of the saints that he might make known the mystery of the glad tidings with boldness; and closes this remarkable epistle with a benediction.
The “heavenlies” characterize the epistle (compare Eph. 1:3, 20; Eph. 2:6; Eph. 3:10; Eph. 6:12). In the Epistle to the Romans man is taken up as alive in his sins, and grace meets his need: in Ephesians it is God’s quickening power on behalf of those dead in sins, as displayed in raising Christ up from among the dead. In Colossians the saints are looked at as risen with Christ, but on earth with their hope in heaven: in the Ephesians the saints are seated in Christ in the heavenlies.

Philippians, Epistle to the

This epistle is of profound interest on account of certain marks in it, which connect the truth presented with a state of things much akin to that of the present day. The testimony is not viewed as opposed by the Jewish leaders, as in the beginning of the Acts, nor in conflict with Judaizing influences, as at Antioch; but as in contact with the world power (Rome), which was holding Paul, the vessel of it, in bondage.
Further, in Philippians 3 the Jews are viewed as utterly debased, and are spoken of as “the concision”; and in the same chapter many of those professedly Christian are described as “enemies of the cross of Christ,” serving their own desires, whose end is destruction.
Again, as regards the preaching of the gospel, though the apostle could rejoice in the fact of its being preached, he could find but little satisfaction in the motives that prompted activity in it. All this exhibits a state of things to which Christendom in our own day presents a striking analogy.
The immediate occasion of the epistle was the effect produced on the apostle by the practical expression which the Philippians had given to their fellowship with him in the gospel; and the object of his writing was that they might complete his joy in perfectly answering to God’s mind for them down here. This was in order that, in the complete abnegation of self, as to the state of their minds, by the death of Christ, they might by God’s power be manifest as a divine generation (children of God), occupying collectively the place which Christ had occupied in the world—lights in the world, holding forth the word of life. This is the proper place of the church in testimony here.
The second part of the epistle (Philippians 3 and 4) is intensely individual. In view of religious pretensions, in which men gloried, the apostle presents himself as the example of a man running a race. The course meant the distancing in spirit, at every step, all that which gave importance to him as a man after the flesh—all was in his account dross and dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. At the same time every step brought his soul more distinctly under the power of the calling above of God in Christ Jesus.
While encouraging saints to follow him, he exhorts them to walk in unity by the same rule, to mind the same thing. In contrast to many who were earthly-minded, he reminds them that their citizenship was in heaven, and they were expecting Christ as Savior from heaven completely to conform them to Himself.
Philippians 4 shows the apostle’s interest in, and consideration of individuals; his anxiety that saints should by prayer and supplication be kept in divine peace as to everything that might naturally occasion anxiety; and the moral superiority in which he himself was maintained through circumstances: the secret being his absolute confidence in the goodness of the God whom he had faith to appropriate as “my God.”
The epistle was written when Paul was a prisoner at Rome, and probably near the close of his imprisonment, about A.D. 62, when he was expecting to be released and again to visit the Philippian saints.

Colossians, Epistle to the

This is generally believed to have been written by Paul during his two years’ imprisonment at Rome (A.D. 61-2), notwithstanding that Meyer and other critics refer it to the imprisonment of Paul at Caesarea. The personal glory of Christ as head of the body, the church, is specially brought out. The hope before the saints is in heaven: they are viewed as risen, but not seated in the heavenlies in Christ, as in the Epistle to the Ephesians. The life of the new man is dwelt on, but the Holy Spirit is only once mentioned: “your love in the Spirit.”
After the salutation, and thanking God for what Paul had heard of their faith (for apparently he had not been to Colosse) he at once prays for them that they might be filled with the full knowledge of God’s will; might walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in all things; and might be strengthened with all power (Col. 1: 9-11). Then he gives thanks for what God had done for them, which is true of all Christians (Col. 1:12-14). The glories of Christ follow: as man, and as the Creator-God: He is head of the body, the church (Col. 1:15-19). All fullness was pleased to dwell in Him, and by Him, to reconcile all things to Himself (or itself), having made peace through the blood of His cross: the saints were already reconciled if they continued in the faith (which would prove their reality) (Col. 1:20-24). Paul had a double ministry: in the gospel (Col. 1:23); and in the church (Col. 1:25). His sufferings in his body filled up the (non-atoning) sufferings of Christ; and the revelation he had, concerning the mystery of the church, filled up the word of God (not as to time, for some portions were added afterward, but as to the circle of subjects). Paul labored to present every man perfect (that is, full grown) in Christ.
Colossians 2. Paul was deeply anxious for the welfare of the saints, that they might be rooted, built up, and established in the faith, lest they should be led astray by the philosophy of the world and the deceitful teaching of men, which would in no way minister Christ to them. In Him dwelt “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” and they were “complete in Him:” nothing must be allowed to come between them. In Christ they had the reality of the things signified in the ordinances of circumcision and baptism. They had died and were risen with Christ. The saints were warned in Colossians 2:16-17 against being entangled with the Jewish things; and with the occult philosophy of the fleshly mind of the Gentile: all of which was in contrast and in opposition to holding Christ as Head. Having died with Christ they were set free from all the ordinances of men. This has been called the negative side.
Colossians 3. This gives the positive side, being “risen with Christ.” Their mind was to be set on things above, as heavenly people walking on earth. When the Lord appeared they would appear with Him in glory. Christ was their life, and in consistency therewith they were to mortify—put to death—all that sprang from the motions of the flesh. A catalog of things is given which were to be practically put off, because the old man had been put off with his deeds. Then having put on the new man, a catalog of things is given which in consistency therewith were to be put on (the display of Christ, who is “in each one”); above all things was love. Peace was to rule their hearts, and the word of Christ to dwell in them; helping one another with their songs. Exhortations follow to wives, husbands, children, fathers, and servants. Practical Christianity should be manifest in every station of life.
Colossians 4. Exhortations to masters, and then to all. Tychicus and Onesimus would declare to them the affairs of Paul. Salutations follow. The epistle was to be read to the church of the Laodiceans, and some epistle coming to them from Laodicea was to be read at Colosse. (Perhaps the epistle to the Ephesians was being circulated from church to church.) A message to Archippus: the salutation by the hand of Paul, and a, request to remember his bonds close the epistle with “Grace be with you. Amen.”

Thessalonians, Epistles to the

Paul on his second missionary journey, accompanied by Silas, visited Thessalonica. The conversion of some Jews, of a great multitude of Greeks, and of many chief women led to an assembly being gathered there. Paul soon left them, hoping to revisit them within a short time, but Satan hindered him. Fearing as to their firmness under persecution, he sent Timothy to confirm and encourage them. He was cheered by the news which Timothy brought of their faith and love, and wrote the First Epistle from Corinth, about A.D. 52, and somewhere about a year after his visit to them (Acts 17:1-11). As to date it is the first of Paul’s Epistles.
1 Thessalonians. This is mainly occupied with the development and direction of living affections in the newly converted saints to whom Paul wrote. The coming of the Lord has a place of much importance in it, being mentioned in every chapter. The address is to “the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.” The apostle gives thanks in respect of their faith, love, and hope, which gave evidence of their election of God. Their faith God-ward had been noised abroad, indeed they were ensamples, or models, to all around. They had turned from idols to serve the living and true God; and they waited for His Son from heaven, even Jesus, their deliverer from coming wrath.
1 Thessalonians 2. The apostle reminds them that though persecuted at Philippi, he had nevertheless been bold to preach the gospel to them. He had been gentle with them as a nurse with her children, and willing to impart even his life also. He recalls how blamelessly he had walked before them, and that he had preached in such a way that they had received his testimony as the word of God, which wrought in them effectually so that they were in consequence persecuted by the heathen, as the saints in Judea had been by the Jews, who had killed the Lord Jesus. Greatly desiring to see them, Paul could assure the Thessalonian saints that they would be his joy and crown of boasting before the Lord Jesus at His coming. This is the second allusion in the epistle to this event, and goes further than that in 1 Thessalonians 1:10. Here the blessedness of the saints being gathered together is referred to.
1 Thessalonians 3. Paul, in his anxiety for them, had sent Timothy to confirm and encourage them, and was greatly relieved by the news which Timothy brought of their faith and love, saying “now we live if ye stand firm in the Lord.” He prays for them that their love might abound, and their hearts be kept unblamable in holiness before their God and Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus with all His saints. Here the “appearing” of the Lord is spoken of, when it will be shown who are unblamable. The affections of the saints one to another, and the holiness inseparable therefrom, are connected with the third mention of the Lord’s return, where it is noted that He comes with all His saints (compare 1 Thess. 1:10: 1 Thess. 2:19-20).
1 Thessalonians 4. Exhortations are given as to walk. Fornication (so common among the heathen) was especially to be guarded against. 1 Thessalonians 4:6 refers to the same subject as touching the wife of a brother. They were also to attend to their own business and to work, walking in good repute towards those without: a needed exhortation, as we see by 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 a difficulty is solved, into which the Thessalonians had fallen in regard to those of their number who had fallen asleep. The Lord’s return to reign was so truly part of their faith, that they thought that those who had died had lost the blessings of the kingdom, being ignorant of the details which are now given them by the word of the Lord. Here we learn that at the Lord’s coming, with an assembling shout, the dead in Christ shall rise first, and then, in company with those saints who are alive, they will be caught away in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, prior to coming with Him in glory. They were to encourage one another with those words.
It is this which is often called the Rapture, or catching away of the saints, and it is the proper hope of the church. Christ coming for His saints is distinct from His coming with His saints, as in 1 Thessalonians 3:13 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14. If 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 be read as a parenthesis, 1 Thessalonians 4:14, which speaks of God bringing with Jesus those who have slept through Him, is linked with 1 Thessalonians 5.
1 Thessalonians 5. The day of the Lord here spoken of, which is connected with judgment on man, is quite distinct from the Rapture. The language changes from “we” to “they” and “them.” The day of the Lord will come upon the world as a thief in the night, whereas the saints are of the day and sons of light. They are exhorted therefore to watch and be sober, and to put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. They were not called to wrath (compare 1 Thess. 1:10), but to obtain salvation whether alive or sleeping. Exhortations follow and greetings close the epistle.
2 Thessalonians. Silvanus, or Silas, being with Paul when this epistle was written, leads to the conclusion that it, as well as the First Epistle, was sent from Corinth during the eighteen months that Paul abode there, Acts 18:11; its date may be A.D. 52 or 53.
There is evidence in this epistle that the minds of the saints had been disturbed, apparently by a feigned letter or message from Paul, saying that the day of the Lord was present: this supposition may have been strengthened by the persecution they were passing through. Paul sets them right as to this. Christians often misinterpret this Second Epistle, and think that Paul was showing the Thessalonians that they were wrong in expecting the Lord. This mistake is made because the distinction is not seen between the Lord coming for His saints (which is the Christian’s proper hope, and is intended to give them the character of a waiting people), and the day of the Lord which is connected with judgment (compare Isa. 13:6-13; Joel 2; Amos 5:18-20). The Thessalonians were right in expecting the former, but were wrong in thinking that the day of the Lord was (not “at hand,” but) “present,” as 2 Thessalonians 2:2 should read, as may be seen by the translation of the same word (ἐνίστημι) in Romans 8:38 and 1 Corinthians 3:22.
After the introduction the apostle thanks God for the growth of their faith and love, but he does not add hope here, as in the First Epistle, for their hope had received a check. Their patience and faith in tribulation were a token that they were counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which they also suffered. God would punish those who troubled them. He will take vengeance on those who know not God, and on those who have not obeyed the gospel.
2 Thessalonians 2. The apostle proves that the day of Christ could not be present, because
1, the Lord had not come, and they had not been gathered to Him, as explained in the First Epistle; and
2, the Antichrist had not been revealed, the man of sin, the son of perdition: the one whom the Lord will, when He returns, consume “with the brightness of his coming.”
Though the Antichrist will be only a man, he will exalt himself against all that is called God, and will sit down in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God (compare Rev. 13:11-18, and Dan. 11:36-37). The mystery of lawlessness was already at work, but its full development was hindered, doubtless by the existing order of government and the presence of the Holy Spirit as a divine Person on the earth. When He is gone and the church with Him, the lawless one will be fully revealed as after the working of Satan, with miracles and wonders and unrighteous deceit in them that perish, who would not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved. “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Paul gives thanks for the Thessalonians, for God had chosen them to salvation. He prays that their hearts might be encouraged.
2 Thessalonians 3. The apostle asks for their prayers. He had confidence that the Lord would establish and keep them. They were to withdraw from every brother who walked disorderly, and did not obey the apostolic injunctions. He commands the disorderly to work, so as to eat their own bread. The apostle commends them to the Lord of peace to give them peace always by all means, and that He might be with them. The benediction closes the epistle.

Timothy, Epistles to

These epistles are generally believed to have been written by Paul after his two years’ imprisonment at Rome, recorded at the end of the Acts: the First Epistle during the time he was at liberty, and the Second Epistle when he was a prisoner a second time, and was looking for a speedy martyrdom. The First Epistle was probably written from Macedonia about A.D. 64, and the Second Epistle two years later.
First Timothy has the character of a charge to an apostolic delegate as to the maintenance of sound doctrine in the assembly, and as to the provision for the due care of saints. Hence we find the character of the men suitable for bishops and deacons. They must be such as maintained faith and piety. The epistle recognizes the church in its normal condition—the church of God in order—differing from the Second Epistle, in which the house is regarded as in disorder. The house of God stands in contrast to the Jewish temple, and God is presented in the character of a Savior-God with regard to man.
1 Timothy 1. After the benediction Paul states that Timothy had been besought to remain at Ephesus to enjoin some not to teach strange doctrine, nor give heed to fables and useless genealogies, which ministered questions rather than the dispensation of God, which was in faith. The end of what was enjoined was love out of
1, a pure heart;
2, a good conscience; and
3, unfeigned faith.
Instead of this some were seeking to be law-teachers. The law had its use, but applied, not to the righteous, but to the lawless and to the wicked of every kind, and to anything opposed to sound teaching, according to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which Paul had been entrusted, he who had formerly been the chief of sinners. His salvation was a delineation of the Lord’s longsuffering to all others. The mention of it calls forth a burst of praise from Paul. The charge in 1 Timothy 1:3-4 was committed to Timothy that he might carry on the work in Paul’s absence. Some had made shipwreck of faith, two of whom are named, and these had been delivered unto Satan (compare 1 Cor. 5:5), that they might learn not to blaspheme.
1 Timothy 2. Prayers were to be made for all men, that the saints might lead quiet and tranquil lives in all piety, in view of liberty for God’s testimony. God desires all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Here it is no question of God’s counsels, but of His attitude toward men in grace as the Savior-God (compare 2 Cor. 5:20). Christ is the one Mediator between God and men, and He gave His life a ransom for all, to be testified of in these days of grace. Paul had been appointed a herald, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. Hence he willed that men should pray, holding up holy hands; that women should adorn themselves modestly and with good works; they were to learn in silence, and not to teach or usurp authority over man. The original order in creation and the history of the fall are cited in support of these injunctions.
1 Timothy 3. The qualification of a bishop, or overseer, and of a deacon, or minister, are shown to be, not so much those of specific gift as of piety and good moral character. Paul hoped to go shortly to Timothy, but wrote these things that Timothy might know how one ought to behave himself in the house of God, which is
1, the assembly of the living God, and
2, the pillar and base of the truth—namely, that which is established to maintain the truth on the earth.
Confessedly the mystery of piety is great. God has been manifested in flesh; justified in the Spirit (in the power of Christ by the Holy Spirit: Compare Romans 1:4); has appeared to angels (they saw God in Christ); has been preached among the nations; has been believed on in the world; and has been received up into glory—an epitome of God’s ways in grace outside of all connected with promises to Israel, and in contrast to law.
1 Timothy 4. The Spirit foretells that in the latter times there would be apostasy, and that people would give their mind to the teaching of demons; practicing asceticism and false holiness. Timothy was to be a good minister of Jesus Christ in teaching the right use of things which God in His beneficence has given to man. The word is faithful and worthy of all acceptation. The living God is the Saviour (preserver, Matt. 5:45) of all men, and especially of those that believe. Timothy was to teach these things and to live them; and not to neglect the gift that was given him by prophecy (compare 1 Tim. 1:18) and with (not by here, compare 2 Tim. 1:6) the imposition of the hands of the elderhood.
1 Timothy 5. Paul gives personal instruction to Timothy as to carrying out his mission, especially as regards the treatment of elders and widows. He was to take a little wine because of his frequent ill-health.
1 Timothy 6. Instruction is given as to those under servitude (slaves), and their behavior towards their masters. The dangers of independence coming in in connection with those who desire to be rich, are pointed out; and Timothy, as a man of God, is exhorted to flee these things; to strive earnestly in the good conflict of faith; to lay hold on eternal life. He is again charged before God and before Jesus Christ, that he keep the command spotless until the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ: which the blessed and only ruler shall show in its own time, the King of kings and Lord of lords: who only hath immortality; dwelling in unapproachable light; whom no man hath seen or can see: to whom be honor and eternal might. Amen. We have here the inaccessible majesty of God in His essential being. In Revelation 19 the Lord Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords: here He, who will manifest the Lord Jesus as such, is so designated. Exhortations are added. A final word to Timothy and a benediction close the epistle.
Second Timothy. The fact that the apostle when writing this epistle was at the close of his ministry, gives it a peculiar interest. He reviews his service, and has to lament that all in Asia (that is, Asia Minor including Ephesus) had turned away from him. The house of God as a profession was in disorder, past recovery as a whole, and the apostle could but leave instructions to the servant how to act in such a state of things. This characterizes the epistle.
2 Timothy 1. After a salutation in which he desires mercy for Timothy, as well as grace and peace, Paul thanks God, whom he had served from his forefathers with pure (not always enlightened) conscience, having Timothy in unceasing remembrance in prayer, calling to mind his unfeigned faith and that of his maternal ancestors; and he desires that Timothy would rekindle the gift that he had received by the imposition of Paul’s hands, for God had given, not a spirit of cowardice, but of power, of love, and of a wise discretion. Timothy is exhorted not to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of Paul His prisoner.
God’s salvation and calling according to His purpose and grace in Christ Jesus before the ages of time, has been made manifest by the appearing of the Savior, who has annulled death, and brought life and incorruptibility to light by the gospel—a revelation which puts the soul beyond death and its power. Timothy is exhorted to hold fast the outline of sound words heard from Paul, and to keep by the Holy Spirit that deposit (of divine truth) committed to him. All Asia had turned away from Paul—not necessarily from profession of Christ, but from the practical bearing of His death and resurrection (compare 1 Tim. 1:3-4; Rev. 2-3).
2 Timothy 2. Timothy was to commit to faithful men what he had heard from Paul—provision is thus made for the transmission of the truth. Timothy was exhorted to endure hardness as a good soldier, illustration being given by the conduct pursued by those called to war, of such too as contend for mastery in the games, and of husbandmen. He is charged to remember Christ Jesus raised from the dead according to Paul’s gospel; the application of which truth called forth the opposition of man after the flesh. False doctrine, which would eat as a gangrene into the very vitals of Christianity, was abroad as to the resurrection, but the foundation of God stood sure, having this seal (God’s side) “The Lord knoweth them that are His;” and (man’s side) “Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord [as the Editors read here] depart from iniquity.” Evil alas! had arisen in the scene of christian profession, which is compared to a great house, in which are vessels to honor and to dishonor, and the path for the servant in such case is marked out, namely, to purge himself from the latter, to be a vessel fit for the Master’s use. Exhortations follow.
2 Timothy 3. It is foretold that in the last days there would be perilous or difficult times, arising from the introduction of counterfeits of the truth allied with priestcraft. Such wicked workings would be met only by the power of divine life in souls, and hence Paul alludes to his doctrine, his godly walk, and his sufferings, and adds, All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Evil men and seducers would advance in evil. Timothy was to abide in the things which he had learned, and been assured of, knowing of whom he had learned them (compare 2 Tim. 3:10); he had known the holy scriptures from a child. The important testimony is added that every scripture is divinely inspired, and is profitable for teaching, conviction, correction, instruction in righteousness (supplying what is needed for every time), that the man of God may be complete, fully fitted to every good work.
2 Timothy 4. Paul charges Timothy before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom, to fulfill his mission. (It is not here the coming of the Lord for His own, but His appearing and kingdom that are spoken of, in view of the responsibility of the saints.) It was the more needful for Timothy to fill up the measure of his ministry, for Paul was about to depart. He had finished his course, had fought the good fight, and kept the faith. The crown of righteousness was laid up for him, and for all them that love the appearing of Christ. (To love the appearing of Christ, the time of His glory, is characteristic of Christianity.)
Various details follow. Mark had been restored to the apostle’s confidence: (compare Acts 13:13; Acts 15:36-40). Paul requests Timothy to bring his cloak (before winter, 2 Tim. 4:21; the body is the Lord’s), the papyrus rolls, and especially the parchments. Paul had made his first defense before Nero, and all had forsaken him (he prays for them), but the Lord stood by and strengthened him Thus far he had been delivered out of the mouth of the lion, and was able still to make known the gospel. The Lord would preserve him from every evil work for His heavenly kingdom, to whom he gives glory. Salutations and the benediction close the epistle.

Titus, Epistle to

One of the Pastoral Epistles, so called because addressed to an individual servant of the Lord. It was apparently written after Paul’s first imprisonment at Rome (when otherwise could he have left Titus at Crete? Titus 1:5), and before his second imprisonment. From whence it was written is not known: its date may be about A.D. 64. The epistle urges the maintenance of good works and order in the church, and states the principles on which they are founded.
After the introductory salutation in which the counsels of God are referred to, and the acknowledging of truth which is according to piety, Paul states for what purpose he had left Titus at Crete:
1, to set in order things that were still left incomplete; and
2, to establish elders in every city, which elders are in Titus 1:7 called “bishops,” or overseers.
The qualifications for such an office are then given: no particular gift is essential, but blameless moral character is indispensable, and soundness in the faith. There were at Crete many deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped.
The Cretans had a bad reputation nationally, as appears from one of themselves who had said, “The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” (The quotation is from Epimenides, a poet of the sixth century B.C. His sayings were quoted as oracles, which may account for his being called a “prophet”) They were to be rebuked sharply that they might be sound in the faith. To the pure all things are pure, but nothing is pure to the defiled and unbelieving, the mind and conscience being defiled.
Titus 2. Titus was to speak things that became sound teaching, with exhortations suited to those of different ages, and to servants, himself being in all things a pattern of good works, and his teaching such as could not be condemned. Then follows a summary of Christianity as a practical power in man, by the teaching of grace. The grace of God that carries salvation for all has appeared, teaching how a Christian is to live, awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who died to redeem such from all lawlessness, and to purify to Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Titus 3. Titus was to teach subjection to worldly powers and obedience to every good work. They had been characterized by ungodliness, but the kindness and love of the Saviour-God having appeared, He according to His mercy had saved them by the washing of regeneration (the moral cleansing connected with the new order of things in Christianity, compare Matthew 19:28), and renewal of the Holy Spirit, which He had richly poured out upon them through Jesus Christ their Saviour (the “renewal” is more than new birth, it is the Spirit’s active energy in the believer), that, having been justified by His grace, they should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus was to insist on the maintenance of good works, but foolish questions were to be avoided. A heretic, after two admonitions, was to be abandoned: he was self-condemned. A few personal details are added, and the epistle closes with the benediction.

Philemon, Epistle to

Nothing is known of Philemon beyond what is found in this epistle, nor is it clear where he resided. The similarity of the salutations to those found in the Epistle to the Colossians, and the reference to Onesimus in that epistle, leads to the conclusion that Philemon dwelt somewhere in the direction of Colosse (probably at Laodicea, Archippus being mentioned in Colossians 4:17 and Philemon 1:1-2), and that both epistles were sent from Rome about A.D. 62. Though the assembly in the house of Philemon is mentioned in Philemon 1:2, the epistle is a personal one to Philemon and his wife.
Onesimus their slave had run away, and, having been converted under the ministry of Paul, he was sent back by the latter to his master. Paul does not ask for the freedom of Onesimus, but that he may now be received in grace as a brother, indeed, he received as the apostle’s “own bowels.” Paul does not assert apostolic authority, but entreats as the “prisoner” and “the aged.” Led by the Holy Spirit, the epistle is a gracious appeal, and difficulties are met in it in a matter requiring much delicacy. If the slave had robbed Philemon, Paul would repay it; but he reminds Philemon of how much he owed him, even his “own self besides.”
Some may be surprised that such an epistle should form part of the inspired word. But it is “profitable”; for fifteen hundred years slaves were extensively owned by Christians. Many may never have thought of seeking their conversion, or may have been prejudiced against it. A Boer in South Africa, though a Christian himself, once told a preacher that he was sure he might as well preach to the dogs as to his African servants. God saw the need of such an epistle. The slave had become “ a brother beloved.”

Hebrews, Epistle to the

This is the only Epistle attributed to Paul that does not bear his name. In all the oldest MSS his name does not occur, either at the beginning or at the end. Most of the early writers attribute it to Paul, though with some there were doubts respecting it. 2 Peter 3:15-16 seems to confirm the authorship of Paul, besides the internal evidences of it. The question as to who the writer was does not touch its inspiration: of this there can be no legitimate doubt. It may be that Paul’s name is withheld because he was so maligned by the Jews, many of whom were related to the very ones to whom he was writing, that they might not be prejudiced against the Epistle. Doubtless many to whom he was writing had heard the discourses of the Lord, and the Epistle was, as it were, a further discourse from God through Christ as His Apostle: “Hath spoken unto us in [His] Son.” Here Paul classes himself with the listeners.
It was written to Jews as persons already in relationship with God, but evinces that only those who received the Lord Jesus as Mediator were really in that relationship, and were “partakers of the heavenly calling.” It shows that they no longer needed the shadows of heavenly things, for in Christ Jesus the heavenly things themselves were to be possessed. Eternal things are spoken of to the displacement of those that were temporal. It is not properly speaking an Epistle addressed to an assembly, but a treatise, in which the heavenly glory of Christ is contrasted with earthly hopes.
The tender way in which the apostle deals with the consciences of the Jews still clinging to Judaism, stands in marked contrast to the severe manner in which he writes to the Galatians, who as Gentiles never should have placed themselves under law. The believing Hebrews needed to be detached from the earth and attached to Christ in heaven; but though association with Christ is touched on, union with Him is not taught in the epistle, nor is the believer’s relationship to God as Father brought out. The saints are viewed as in the wilderness on their way to the rest of God. In accordance with this the tabernacle is referred to, and not the temple, which belongs to the kingdom. As might be expected, the epistle contains many quotations from the Old Testament, but they are often cited by way of contrast rather than of comparison.
When and where the epistle was written is unknown: the temple service was still being carried on, and therefore it was written before A.D. 70 (Compare Heb. 8:4-5; Heb. 10:11; Heb. 13:10). It probably dates from A.D. 63 or 64.
The great subject of the Epistle to the Hebrews is approach to God, the basis of which is found in the blessed Person and work of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is viewed as the Apostle and High Priest, while His work is set forth, of such a nature as to give boldness to the believer to enter into the holiest by a new and living way inaugurated by Christ, who has died and risen, and entered as the great priest over God’s house. This entrance is the climax to which the epistle leads the believing Hebrews, in complete contrast to the system, which, though given of God, left the worshippers at a distance and the holiest inaccessible to man. They were to learn the incomparable superiority of that which had been brought in by God Himself through Christ, over all that had been given by Him through Moses, and that, though all was on the ground of faith, with present suffering, they were brought into better things: they had better promises, better hopes, and had privileges to which those who served the tabernacle had no right. But all turns on the glory of the person of the Lord Jesus.
In Hebrews 1. God has spoken in [the] Son. He is the Apostle in whom God speaks, one of the Persons of the Godhead—the exact expression of His substance. Again, when viewed as born on earth, begotten in time, He is still the Son; His Person is identified with His manhood. In this respect He inherits a more excellent name than the angels. He is worshipped by them. He is addressed as God. If, being man, He has companions, He is above them. He is the Creator. He is set at the right hand of God where no angel is ever placed.
Hebrews 2. Having thus presented the glorious Person as the One in whom God had spoken in these last days to His people, the inspired writer in Hebrews 2 parenthetically warns those who had believed, of the danger of slipping away from such a message, and of the impossibility of escape for those who neglected so great salvation, which had first been presented by the Lord Himself, and had been confirmed by those who had heard Him, to whom God also had borne testimony by various acts of power. The subject of the Person is then resumed. If God had been revealed in the Son become man, Man is also presented before God in this same blessed One, and this in answer to the quotation from Psalm 8, “What is man, that thou rememberest him? “ Jesus is the “Son of Man,” made indeed a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, but now crowned with glory and honor. Everything is to be placed in suitability to the mind and will of God through His death. But He is not alone in the purposes of God as to glory, He is the leader of many sons, destined to this fullness of blessing, and as leader He has reached the goal through suffering. Then is stated what is of the deepest interest, namely, that those who are sanctified—believers in Him—are all of one with the sanctifier Himself: they are His brethren, and form the company identified with Him, “Behold I and the children which God has given me.” He had partaken of flesh and blood and had died, that this might be brought about, having in his death annulled the devil, and broken the power of death for His own, who were now in liberty. He has taken up, not the cause of angels, but the seed of Abraham. It became Him in all things to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things relating to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. As such He is able to succor the tempted, having Himself suffered being tempted.
Hebrews 3-4. It will be noted that in Hebrews 1- 2 God is speaking to man, and man is presented to God in the same blessed Person. Accordingly in Hebrews 3-4 the Hebrews, as partakers of the heavenly calling, are invited to “consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus.” Compared with Moses, who had indeed been faithful as a servant in the house of God, Christ had been faithful.
But He was the builder of the house, and Son over it. “Whose house are we, if indeed we hold fast the boldness and the boast of hope firm to the end.” This “if” introduces a reference to the forty years wandering in the wilderness, the argument being that the Hebrews at that time were not able to enter the rest of God because of not hearkening to the word—because of unbelief. This is warning for the present time. The rest of God is what He has in view for His people. Let none seem to come short of it. The rest now is neither that of creation nor that of Canaan, but one still future, into which those enter who believe. Let all use diligence to enter into that rest, hearkening to the word, which is sharper than a two-edged sword and discovers the very motives of the heart. Returning from this digression on the “if,” the writer takes up again the thread from Hebrews 3:6: “Having therefore a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast the confession.” He is a High Priest able to sympathize in believers’ infirmities, having been tempted in all things as they are, apart from sin. They should approach the throne of grace therefore with boldness so as to receive mercy, and find grace for seasonable help. This aspect of the priesthood of Christ is for their relief from what would otherwise turn them out of the way.
In Hebrews 5-8 the subject of the priesthood of Christ is continued, with another digression in chapters 5 and 6 on the condition of the Hebrew saints, and warnings arising therefrom. High Priests among men, as Aaron, had their functions, but were called of God to the dignity. So Christ, addressed by God as His Son, is selected also by Him as High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. Witness is then borne to His perfect dependence and obedience in the days of His flesh, and that perfected as High Priest beyond death, He became, to all who obey Him, Author of eternal salvation. Of Him much had to be said, but the state of the Hebrews called for serious remark. They had made no progress in spiritual growth, but had become babes.
Hebrews 6. They are urged to leave the word of the beginning of the Christ, and to go on to what belonged to full growth. The hopelessness of apostasy is most solemnly set forth, but of those he is addressing, the writer is persuaded better things, and he presses them to follow those who through faith and long patience have inherited the promises. These promises were all on the ground of grace, and were secured to the heirs of promise by the word and the oath of God. They then have strong encouragement, and the hope set before them as an anchor of the soul entering within the veil—into the very presence of God, where Jesus has entered as the forerunner—a High Priest after the order of Melchisedec.
In Hebrews 7 some detail is given of Melchisedec. His titles are interpreted—king of righteousness and king of peace. The fact is noted that nothing is said of his father, mother, or genealogy; nothing of his birth or death; he is said to be assimilated to the Son of God, and abides a priest continually. The greatness of this personage is then dwelt on, as evidenced by Abraham’s conduct toward him, and he is shown to be superior to Levi. Further, if perfection had come in with Levi, why speak of another Priest of another order? Melchisedec is in fact the type of the priesthood of Christ, constituted after the power of an endless life. There was a setting aside of the Aaronic priesthood, because connected with the law which perfected nothing, and the bringing in of a better hope by which we draw nigh to God. The superiority of Christ’s priesthood is further evidenced by its being introduced by the swearing of an oath, and by its continuing forever. He then is able to save completely those who come to God by Him, always living to intercede for them.
The High Priest of Christians is the Son, holy, harmless, undefiled, and as man made higher than the heavens. He had no need as other priests to offer up sacrifices for His own sins; He has offered Himself once for all for the sins of the people.
In Hebrews 8, a summary is given, setting forth again the glory of our High Priest, where He is set, and what He is minister of; all is contrast to what, as Jews, they had in the old order. The ministry is more excellent: the covenant, of which He is Mediator, a better one, established on the footing of better promises. A new covenant had been spoken of in the prophets, not like the first, for it was on the principle of sovereign grace. The old covenant was ready to vanish away.
If Christ be such a Priest, He must have “somewhat to offer,” and in the following chapters the value of His offering is shown forth. This He did once when He offered up Himself.
In Hebrews 9-10:18, the contrast between the two covenants is further enlarged on. Certain features of the tabernacle arrangement are given with regard to the holy and most holy places. Into the first the priests went at all times, but into the second the high priest only once a year. The way into the holiest had not been manifest while the first tabernacle was standing, wherein gifts and sacrifices were offered, which could not give to those who brought them a perfect conscience. But Christ, in contrast to this, had, in connection with a heavenly tabernacle, entered in once into the holy of holies by His own blood, having found an eternal redemption. The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, was efficacious in complete contrast to the blood or ashes of the victim of old. The “called” ones now received the promise of eternal inheritance. All was established on the basis of death. The tabernacle was but a pattern of things in the heavens, which latter had to be purified with better sacrifices than those of bulls and goats. Christ had entered into heaven itself, to appear in the presence of God for us. His work had never to be repeated, like the yearly sacrifices of the high priests. He had once been manifested in the consummation of the ages for the putting away of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it was the lot of man to die and then to be judged, Christ had borne the sins of many, having borne the judgment due to them, and will appear to those who look for Him to salvation, having broken the power of death.
Of the great work of Christ, and of the good things to come which depended on that work, the law had only shadows, not the very image. The yearly sacrifices never perfected those who brought them; else they would have ceased to be offered by worshippers having no more conscience of sins; sins were in fact brought to mind every year, not put away forever. But there was One who, coming into the world, could speak of a body prepared for Him, in which He would accomplish the will of God. Sacrifice and offering and offering for sin were taken away, that the will of God might be accomplished by His Son in the prepared body. By this will believers in Christ were sanctified by His one offering. In contrast to the priests, who always stood, offering often the same sacrifices, with barren results as to the taking away of sins, He, having offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God, His rejection from earth being indicated by the words of the psalm, “from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.” The sanctified ones were now perfected in perpetuity. Their sins would never be remembered, the Holy Ghost being witness. There remaineth therefore no longer a sacrifice for sin.
Hebrews 10:19 gives immediate application of all this. We have boldness to enter into the holy of holies—the presence of God—by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, through the veil, that is, through His flesh. And we have a great Priest over the House of God. Let us then “approach with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, sprinkled as to our hearts from a wicked conscience, and washed as to our bodies with pure water.” This is the climax of the epistle. Other results follow. “Let us hold fast the confession of the hope,” and “let us consider one another to provoke to love and good works.” A second solemn warning is given as to the danger of apostasy. The Hebrews should remember how they had suffered for the truth’s sake, and should not now cast away their confidence which would have great recompense.
In Hebrews 11-12, on the question of faith “to soul salvation,” a most remarkable cloud of witnesses is marshalled, to give their testimony as it were to this great principle. Beginning with Abel and closing with Rahab, various individual characteristics of faith and its consequences are presented, while in Hebrews 11:32 is given a group of worthies, many not mentioned by name, who by faith triumphed in different ways through suffering, with regard to whom it is added “And these all, having obtained witness through faith, received not the promise, God having foreseen some better thing for us, that they should not be made perfect without us.” The application of this to the Hebrew believers is at once given, “Let us.... laying aside every weight and sin which so easily entangles us, run with endurance the race that lies before us, looking steadfastly on Jesus the leader and completer of faith.” He had reached the goal, the right hand of the throne of God, through suffering. Believers must resist to blood, if need be, wrestling against sin. Chastening after all is necessary, and a proof of God’s interest in them as sons. To those exercised by it, it would yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. The Hebrews were to encourage those who were feeble; but to watch lest any lacked the grace of God, and lest evil should come in amongst them.
A very striking contrast between the terror of law and the fullness of grace is now given, to which latter with all its blessings Christians were now come. Let them beware of refusing Him who now speaks from heaven. Everything would be shaken by Him, save the kingdom which He sets up, and which believers receive. Let them serve Him with reverence and godly fear.
Hebrews 13. A few exhortations follow as to love, hospitality, and the marriage bond. Believers should consider those in affliction, should beware of covetousness, and be content with their present circumstances, if only He is there with them. Leaders who had been faithful and had passed away were to be remembered and their faith followed. But Jesus Christ is the same in the past, present, and future. The Hebrews are warned against “divers and strange doctrines,” a systematic mixture of Judaism and Christianity. Referring to the great day of atonement, it is shown that the Christian’s altar was one of which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. The sacrifice on that day was wholly burnt outside the camp, Jesus had suffered outside the gate—outside the Jewish system which had rejected Him. Believers in Him must now go forth to Him, bearing His reproach. It is the final breach between Christianity and Judaism. Sacrifices of praise and of doing good should be rendered to God. Their guides were to be obeyed, for they watched over their souls. The writer commends the saints to the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, in the power of the blood of the everlasting covenant, that they might be perfect in every good work to do His will.
A word as to Timothy’s liberation, and mutual salutations bring this deeply important epistle to a close.

James, Epistle of

This was written to the twelve tribes which were in the dispersion, viewing them as still in relationship with God, though it was only the Jewish remnant, now become Christians, who professed the faith, which the Spirit gave, in the true Messiah. The moral measure of the life presented is the same as when the Lord was here among His disciples: it does not rise up to the position and principles of the church as found in Paul’s epistles. The believers being in the midst of the Israelites, some of whom merely professed faith in Christ, accounts for the apostle’s address to the mass and the warning to professors. The epistle belongs in character to the transitional time in the early part of the Acts, when the believers went on with the temple worship, before Paul’s testimony came in. In some Greek MSS this epistle follows the Acts, preceding Paul’s writings.
Referring to the various temptations into which saints fall, the apostle bids them count it all joy, inasmuch as the proving of faith works endurance. But this last must have her perfect work that they might be lacking in nothing. If wisdom be lacking, it should be sought in faith from God. The man who doubts will get nothing. The poor and the rich had both that in which they could glory; the one in his exaltation, the other in his humiliation, being able rightly to judge of that which is but for a moment. The crown of life is for him who endures trial—for those in fact who love God.
There is however temptation from within, which is not from God, and this results in sin and death. What is from God is good, for He is the Father of lights. He has begotten us by the word of truth as a kind of first-fruits of His creatures. Hence let everyone be swift to hear, but slow to speak, and slow to wrath: that is, swift to take in, but slow to give forth. The implanted word, received with meekness, is able to save the soul. But the believer must do it as well as hear it. If the tongue be unbridled, a man’s religion is vain. Pure religion before God and the Father is deeply practical both as regards human need and separation from the world.
James 2. The saints are warned against respect of persons in their meetings, the rich honored above the poor. Did not rich men oppress them and blaspheme Christ? If indeed they kept the royal law (to love their neighbor as themselves) they did well. But they transgressed it in respecting persons. They should speak and act as those that were to be judged by the law of liberty.
The apostle then speaks of the folly of saying one had faith apart from works. Where faith is alive there will be these latter. The question is viewed here from man’s standpoint: “Show me thy faith.” Paul views it from that of God, who reckons people who believe “righteous without works.” Both need to be apprehended.
James 3. The danger of being many teachers is now the theme. The tongue is a small member, but is capable of great effects, and must therefore be restrained. A man who does not offend in word is a “perfect man.” A wise man will show his works out of a good conversation with meekness of wisdom. This is in contrast to the mere self-constituted teacher. Heavenly wisdom leads to peace; but it is first pure; that is, God has His place in the soul; then peaceable, self has no place; while the outcome as regards others is that it is full of mercy and good fruits.
James 4. The evil of lust and the world is set in contrast to the action of the Spirit in us. Lowliness, submission to God, and resistance to the devil, are urged upon the believers. They are warned against speaking evil one of another, in doing which they judged the law, which inculcates loving one’s neighbor as oneself. None should exercise self-will; in going here or there the will of the Lord should be submitted to.
James 5. The unrighteousness, self-indulgence, and oppression of the rich are solemnly inveighed against, and they are reminded of the day of retribution. The brethren are exhorted to patience in view of the coming of the Lord, while they are warned against a spirit of mutual complaint, lest they themselves should be judged. The prophets are held forth as examples of suffering and patience. Those who endure are called blessed. The end of the Lord, to which saints in trial must look, shows Him to be very pitiful and of tender mercy. A warning follows against the evil of swearing. Prayer is the resource of the suffering; singing psalms that of the happy. Encouraging instructions are given in relation to cases of sickness. Forgiveness and healing are in the governmental dealings of God. The saints are exhorted to mutual confession and to prayer, the efficacy of which is then enlarged on.
The epistle closes somewhat abruptly with a short statement of the result achieved in the restoration of any who had erred from the truth; a soul is saved from death, and a multitude of sins are covered.
The epistle was doubtless written by James the son of Alphaeus; from whence it is not known, and its date is only conjectural, varying from A.D. 45 to 60. In the common versions it is called “the general, or catholic epistle,” probably meaning no more than that it is not addressed to any particular assembly; but the word “general” is not in any of the earlier Greek copies.

Peter, First Epistle of

This was addressed to believing Jews dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. It was apparently sent from Babylon on the Euphrates, where many Jews were located. There is nothing in the epistle itself that fixes its date: but it is generally dated A.D. 60 to 63. The teaching of the epistle is based upon a living hope by the resurrection of Christ, in contrast to the portion of the Jews on earth. Believers are contemplated as strangers and pilgrims, salvation being regarded in its completeness as future, soul salvation being the point of consequence in the present, in contrast to temporal deliverances. The thought of a “spiritual house” composed of living stones, in 1 Peter 2, connects the epistle with the revelation given to Peter in Matthew 16—as the reference to the Mount of Transfiguration in the second epistle brings before our minds the vision of the kingdom in Matthew 17, of which Peter was eye-witness.
The epistle may be briefly summed up as a gracious leading of Christians into the sense and reality of their spiritual privileges, but, at the same time, pressing on them the recognition of their being subjects of God’s moral government on earth. They were placed here between the time of Christ’s sufferings and the glories that were to follow. They called on God as Father; are viewed as redeemed and born again, and by the sincere milk of the word were to grow up to salvation, having tasted that the Lord is gracious.
And further, though suffering under the government of God, they had, in coming to Christ as the Living Stone (disallowed of men but chosen of God and precious), acquired in a spiritual way privileges which, after a carnal sort, the Jews had lost. They were built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood—were a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people. They had thus the means for the service of God and for testimony to man. The calling of Christians is herein fully brought out.
But with all these privileges, Christians had to remember that they had nothing in which to boast after the flesh. They were among the Gentiles as strangers and pilgrims, the subjects of God’s moral government, suffering for the state of Israel; and hence had to recognize those to whom God had entrusted honor and power here. But the eyes of the Lord were over the righteous, and His ears open to their prayers: the face of the Lord was against evil-doers. The general bearing of government was in favor of those who did good, and if they suffered for righteousness’ sake they were happy. The point of importance was that none of them should suffer as evil-doers.
It is remarkable that, in touching on duties connected with social relationships, the apostle addresses himself to husbands and wives and domestic servants (not slaves), and the peculiar delicacy of his reference to the conduct relatively of the two former classes is a marked feature of beauty in the epistle.
The peculiar character of this moment, in which judgment as the issue of God’s moral government is imminent, is marked by the reference to the time of Noah, whose testimony in preparing the ark was that of coming judgment; but at the same time of a way of salvation. Baptism has, in the case of Christians, much of the same character and import. Again, in 1 Peter 4 it is said that the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begin first at us, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
The epistle closes with special and touching admonitions to the elders and the younger, the former being especially exhorted to shepherd the flock of God. This is deeply interesting as coming from one who himself received the charge recorded in John 21.

Peter, Second Epistle of

The object of this epistle appears to be primarily the confirmation of the minds of Jewish believers in the certainty of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have in it the only record by an eye-witness of what took place on the Mount of Transfiguration. This vision made more sure the word of prophecy to which saints did well in taking heed, as to a light shining in a dark place, till the day dawned, and the day-star arose in their hearts.
But before the kingdom could be displayed, it was necessary that the corruption of Christianity, which had already set in, should be complete; and the course and climax of this corruption are vividly portrayed in 2 Peter 2. It originated in false teachers privily bringing in destructive heresies, denying the Lord that bought them. The development of this evil is viewed in the light of wickedness (rather than of apostasy, as in the Epistle of Jude), as that which is specially obnoxious to the government of God. While in Jude the gainsaying of Core is shown to be the culminating point of apostasy, here the incitement to abominable wickedness by Balaam is before the mind of the Spirit, indicating how corrupting the influence of those who held the place of “prophet” would become.
In the concluding part of the epistle (2 Peter 3) we have also the closing phase of unbelief (perhaps Jewish), namely, skepticism, built up on the assumed unchangeability of the creation, as to the coming of the day of the Lord. And this becomes the occasion of the apostle’s leading the minds of the saints beyond the thoughts of the kingdom to that which, resting on perfect moral foundations, is eternal and unchangeable. The day of the Lord was a means to an end, and would make way for the day of God, and the fulfillment of His promise of new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness would reside, and in view of which the existing heavens and earth would pass away. Saints, knowing these things before, were not to fall from their steadfastness, but to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

John, First Epistle of

This was doubtless written after the Epistles of Peter and Paul. Morally John’s writings have their place when the Church as a testimony had failed, and the “last time” had arrived. The three epistles come in between the Gospel of John and the Revelation. The real remedy for the evils spoken of is the coming in of the Lord as the faithful witness.
Near the end of the first century the error had arisen that Christ had no real body—had not come in flesh: this doctrine is condemned in this epistle. Others held that only the germ of Christianity could be found in existing teachings, and that development must be looked for (an error prevalent also in the present day), which was met by the apostle insisting on “that which was from the beginning”—the revelation of life in Christ Himself.
The leading truth of this epistle is that eternal life had come down from the Father in the person of Christ; and it was written that
1. The believer’s joy might be full, through being in communion with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ by means of inspired and apostolic revelation, He as Advocate maintaining the same.
2. That believers should not sin (1 John 2:1).
3. That believers might know that they have eternal life, which is in the Son (1 John 5:13). The epistle presents things largely in their own proper character, touching but little upon what is experimentally different therefrom, and thus contains tests of profession.
1 John 1 presents that which the apostles had heard, seen, contemplated, and handled of the Word of life in the person of the Son become man. It is that which was set forth in a Man. That which was with the Father, namely, the eternal life, was thus manifested to the apostles, who reported what they had seen and heard to the disciples, that they might have fellowship with them, and that their joy might be full. The apostles’ fellowship was with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. But it is in the light that it is enjoyed, where also Christian fellowship is known, and the blood of Christ is the foundation of all.
1 John 2. What is inconsistent and consistent with the light is then referred to, leading on to the unfolding of the advocacy of “Jesus Christ the righteous” with the Father, and its effects in case anyone sinned. The test of the knowledge of God is keeping His commandments, and the love of God is perfected in him who keeps His word. But this commandment of love is no new one; what is new is that which is true both in Him and in His disciples. They are in the light now, for God is fully revealed, and they are in the light of this revelation. He who hates his brother is in darkness. Different stages of growth in Christians are now spoken of, namely, fathers, young men, and babes. What is characteristic of each is presented, together with certain besetting dangers, against which young men and babes are warned. 1 John 2:12,28 speak of all Christians under the general term “little children.” It may be noticed that even the babes have the Holy Spirit—the unction from the Holy One.
1 John 3 gives the nature of the Christian’s place and blessings as given of the Father’s love, and the actual result of being born of God, both in the practice of righteousness and in loving one another. In these things the children of God are manifested; while in the practice of sin, and the hatred of their brother, the children of the devil are discerned. In John’s epistle people are viewed absolutely as either one thing or the other.
Jesus Christ is set forth as the perfect pattern both of righteousness and of love. He is here viewed as veritably God, and the One who came to undo the works of the devil, and He has “laid down his life for us.” He fully vindicated the rights of God, which sin had compromised, and He loved even unto death.
In fine, this chapter declares, on the one hand, what believers are before God, in present relationship, Christ Himself being the completion and measure of all their blessing; on the other hand, the test of it as regards men, Christ abiding in them that His character may come out in them. In the concluding verse the Spirit is introduced in connection with the conscious knowledge believers have that God abides in them. It is by Him they know it.
1 John 4 gives a test for distinguishing spirits, namely, the confession of Jesus Christ come in flesh, which could only be by the Spirit of God. There were those who, denying this great foundation of the faith, spoke as of the world, and who had the world’s approval. Christians are qualified to discriminate as to what is presented to them. Then it is shown that those towards whom God’s love is so great ought to love one another. The character of God morally, which had been seen in Christ, is now seen in those who are the objects of His love; they are identified even in this world with Christ as He is, from whom they derive everything in new creation. He who does not love, does not know God. It is in loving one another that believers come out before the world as the disciples of Christ. In this chapter it is said that we know “that we abide in Him” (1 John 4:13), not merely that He abides in us: (1 John 3:24).
1 John 5 gives a test whereby believers may know that they love God’s children, namely, when they love God and keep His commandments. Those born of God get the victory over the world—those, in fact, who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. The glory of His person eclipses all that naturally appeals to them, and they are thus delivered from the influence of the world. This leads the apostle to speak of eternal life, which he shows is not in the first man, but in God’s Son. “He that hath the Son hath life: he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” The water and the blood show that it involves clearance from all that is morally of the first man, and the Spirit proves it is in another Man. The Spirit is the “truth” here: but it is to bring believers into the conscious knowledge of eternal life, which is set forth objectively in the person of the Son of God. Christians are brought by the Spirit, through the application of death, into the present enjoyment of eternal life, and He leads their hearts into the heavenly things into which the Son of God, the Man Christ Jesus, has entered.
The epistle closes with a kind of summary of Christian knowledge from its particular point of view. Christians know first the nature of one begotten of God. Then they know that they are of God, and that the whole world lies in the wicked one—the difference morally between Christians and the world. Lastly, they know that the Son of God has come, and that He has given them an understanding to know Him, in whom God is perfectly revealed. They know moreover that they are in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who is the true God and eternal life. No other object should govern the heart. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”

John, Second Epistle of

This is addressed to “the elect lady,” but gives no intimation as to who she was. Some suppose the word kvpἰα to be a proper name, and read “To Kyria the elect.” She is warned against countenancing in any way those who brought not true doctrine as to Christ. Love is governed by truth, accompanied with obedience—in a word, Christ. Obedience would prove the apostle’s work to be real, and he would receive a full reward. As in the first epistle, “that which was from the beginning” is enforced, in opposition to any supposed development. It is an important principle that one bidding “God speed” to a false teacher, is partaker of his evil deeds.

John, Third Epistle of

This is addressed to “the beloved Gaius,” but whether he is the same person as either of those mentioned elsewhere is not known. Gaius is commended for receiving and helping on those that traveled about doing the Lord’s work; and Diotrephes is denounced for refusing to aid such, and for putting some out of the assembly. The spirit of clericalism was found thus early in the church. The apostle had no greater joy than to hear that his children were walking in the truth, which was ever precious to him. Demetrius is commended, and greetings sent to Gaius and to “the friends.”

Jude, Epistle of

Written by Jude the brother of James, and apparently the same person as the apostle JUDAS. The Epistle is addressed to “the called ones, beloved in God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ.” Apostasy had set in, and the saints are exhorted to contend for the faith divinely delivered. Ungodly ones had crept in, who abused the grace of God, and denied their only Master and Lord Jesus Christ.
Three instances are produced to show how apostasy had been punished:
1. Some of those saved out of Egypt were yet destroyed.
2. Fallen angels are kept in eternal chains for judgment.
3. Sodom and Gomorrha, which lie under the abiding effect of the judgment on them. Then the railers are put to shame by the conduct of Michael the archangel, who when rightly contending with Satan about the body of Moses did not rail against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke thee.”
Three stages of departure from the way of truth are mentioned, with a woe upon those who are found in them:
1. The way of Cain—man’s nature and will, and hatred of God’s people (compare 1 John 3:12).
2. The error of Balaam for reward—ecclesiastical corruption (compare Rev. 2:14).
3. The gainsaying of Core—opposition to the royalty and priesthood of Christ (compare Num. 16). Such were doubly dead, by nature and apostasy, and are reserved for eternal darkness.
Enoch prophesied of the judgment on the ungodly when the Lord comes with His holy myriads. See ENOCH. The saints had been warned against some who separated themselves, as being superior to others, whereas they were only natural men, and had not the Spirit. The saints were to build up themselves on their most holy faith; and by prayer in the Holy Spirit to keep themselves experimentally in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. They were to try to save others. The Epistle closes with a full ascription of praise to Him who is able to keep His saints from stumbling and set them with exultation blameless before His glory.

Revelation, The

This may be said to suitably follow the Catholic Epistles. In them the last times are in view, and evil is pointed out in connection with the church: then follows this prophecy, the first part of which concerns the church viewed as a lightbearer on earth: rejection awaits it as judgment awaits the world. The Revelation was given to Jesus Christ by God as sovereign ruler. It was signified to John, and he wrote what he saw and heard. It is not known when the book was written, nor by what emperor John was banished to the Isle of Patmos. Some judge that it was Claudius (A.D. 41-54), others Nero (A.D. 54-68), and others Domitian (A.D. 81-96): it is more generally attributed to the last named, and if so, the date of the book would be after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
There are fewer ancient manuscripts of the Revelation than of any other part of the New Testament, and some of those now known were not discovered till after the date of the AV; this makes the “various readings” now introduced very numerous, some of them being important.
The book evidently divides itself into three parts (Rev. 1:19):
1. “Things which thou hast seen”—found in Revelation 1.
2. “Things that are”—namely, the seven specified churches as then existing in Asia (Rev. 2-3).
3. “Things which shall be after these”—contained in Revelation 4 to the end. It is evident that “after these” refers to the removal of the entire church from earth, and not simply to the disappearance of the seven particular churches named. The whole of the Revelation was addressed to the seven churches (as representing the whole church), though each assembly had also a short address especially to itself.
Revelation 1. After the introduction, Christ is seen in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, which represent the seven churches as lightbearers. He was like unto the Son of Man, clothed, not for service, but for priestly judgment, with eyes like a flame of fire, and feet like brass glowing in a furnace: His countenance as the sun shining in its strength, and proceeding out of His mouth a sharp two-edged sword: nothing can escape His judgment. John, who, when Christ was on earth had leaned on His bosom, seeing Him now in so different an aspect, fell at His feet as dead. The Lord reassures him, telling him that He has the keys of Hades and of death. Christ has seven stars in His right hand, and the stars are the angels of the seven churches, that is, representative, as if the spirit of each church were personified.
Revelation 2-3 contains the addresses to the seven churches: the number seven is symbolical of completeness, and we may thus assume that these churches represented the whole; and, while actually existing at the time, are selected as showing the various features which become successively apparent in the church to the end: the end being made manifest by the presentation of the coming of the Lord to the last four churches. These seven addresses may be described as God’s view of the church in its various phases given prophetically.
In the varied conditions of the churches those who have ears are specially addressed, and overcomers are encouraged. An overcomer is one who has faith to surmount the special danger that exists in his day. To each address there are three parts:
1. The presentation of the Lord, which is different in each.
2. His judgment of the state of each assembly.
3. The promise to the overcomers.
1. EPHESUS. From the various mention of this church in the Acts and the Epistles, it is evident that its decline was gradual (compare Acts 20:29-30; 1 Cor. 15:32; 1 Tim. 1:3; 2 Tim. 1:15). The mark discerned by Christ was that it had left its first love. The loss of the true spring and power of devotedness and service characterizes the first declension in the church: no one may have observed it but the Lord, yet it is spoken of as a fall, and repentance is called for, or its candlestick would be removed from its place. Historically it represents the church after the departure of the wise masterbuilder.
2. SMYRNA. Nothing is said here in the way of disapproval; the church is in a time of persecution, and is encouraged by Christ in the midst of it. Persecution may be used to make manifest what is real, and to draw the soul nearer to the Lord. The saints are exhorted to be faithful unto death, and Christ would give them the crown of life. Historically this church represents the period of persecution that set in under Nero. The “ten days” of Revelation 2:10 may represent ten different persecutions, or refer to ten years’ duration of persecution under Diocletian. In any case it gives the idea of limitation.
3. PERGAMOS. We have here very distinct indications of the toleration of evil—first in the allowing those that held the teaching of Balaam, which led to corrupt commerce with the world, and then that there were also those that held the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, hateful to Christ. Historically this church probably represents the period when Christianity was adopted by the world power (“where Satan’s seat is”), which led to thousands becoming nominally Christians, and to the incorporation of heathen elements and institutions into the professing church. Satan had altered his tactics, and the dangers were peculiar, but the Lord looked for overcomers.
4. THYATIRA. The evil allowed in this church was systematic and controlling, as indicated by the name of the woman, Jezebel, who called herself “prophetess.” The result was moral fornication and idolatry; and children were begotten of the system. The attitude of the Lord is severe: His “eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet like fine brass.” A “rest,” or remnant, in this church is recognized and addressed: and the formula “he that hath an ear to hear “ occurs henceforth after the promise to the overcomer, indicating that from this point only those who overcome are expected to have an ear to hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. The kingdom is brought into view in the promise to the overcomer. Historically Thyatira represents that phase of the church’s history in which the influence of Rome had become predominant in its tyranny, worldliness, and corruption. It is not difficult to identify Jezebel with the great whore of Revelation 17-18.
5. SARDIS. One very emphatic sentence gives the character of this church: “Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” It was a name that should carry life, but was in Sardis identified with spiritual death. There had been escape from the corruptions of Rome, but the truth in its purifying power was lost. Yet there were a few who had not defiled their garments. The coming of the Lord “as a thief” reminds us of the character of His coming to the world as seen in 1 Thessalonians 5:2. Historically Sardis presents Protestantism, after it had lost spiritual power and become worldly and political.
6. PHILADELPHIA. There is nothing of evil charged to this church. Christ presents Himself as “He that is holy, He that is true,” and as having the key of administration; and He says, Thou “hast a little strength and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.... hast kept the word of My patience.” The Lord Himself has with them the prominent place, and the church is kept out of the hour of tribulation which is coming on the whole earth. The historical development of the church may be said to close with Thyatira; and Philadelphia represents in the latter times of the church’s history on earth faithfulness to the Lord Himself, on the part of those who are seeking to stand morally in the truth of the church.
7. LAODICEA. This church is characterized, not by any definite evil either of doctrine or practice, but by pride of acquirement and by self-sufficiency, accompanied with indifference to Christ. While boasting itself in being rich and in need of nothing, it was wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Man in his self-satisfaction is the main feature, and Christ is not appreciated. It represents the arrogance of rationalism and higher criticism in the latter days of the church on earth: Christ is outside but still appealing, knocking for admission to the individual heart.
Revelation 4. A different section of the book commences here: namely, “the things that shall be after these,” events that will occur after the church has ceased to occupy a place on earth as in Revelation 2-3. The “rapture” of the saints has evidently taken place between Revelation 3 and Revelation 4, for henceforth they are seen in heaven. The apostle is in the Spirit, and the scene is in heaven. John saw a throne that is in relation to the earth; and One sitting on the throne like a jasper and a sardine stone: it is God, but so presented as that He could be looked upon. And on “thrones” (not “seats”) sat twenty-four elders, the perfect number of the redeemed, sitting as kingly priests, with crowns on their heads. In the midst of the throne were four living creatures, symbolical of power, firmness, intelligence, and rapidity of execution of God’s government, when the throne is once taken (compare Ezek. 1). These celebrate Jehovah Elohim Shaddai thrice holy, and the elders worship their Lord and their God as Creator of all things.
Revelation 5 brings in another element, namely, the sealed book in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne. John, in answer to his weeping, is told that the Lion of the tribe of Judah has overcome to open the book of the counsels of God as to the earth. And when he looked he saw a Lamb as it had been slain, who has the seven spirits of God, and He takes the book. The four living creatures and the elders fall down, and the new song of redemption is sung. The angels declare the worthiness of the Lamb, without mentioning redemption. Then every creature in all the universe speaks out the worthiness of Him that sits upon the throne and of the Lamb forever and ever.
Revelation 6. The “book” spoken of in Revelation 5 had seven seals, which are opened consecutively. It is a book of God’s judgments, but revealed in symbols. Six of the seals are opened, but before the opening of the seventh seal a parenthetical chapter, Revelation 7, intervenes. It is noticeable that in the first six seals no allusion is made to angels. What are prominent are horses and their riders, which come forth successively at the call of the four living creatures. The horses may represent powers or forces on earth, and the riders, those who control or turn them to account.
First seal. A white horse and its rider with a bow, to whom a crown is given—imperial conquest.
Second seal. A red horse and its rider, who takes peace from the earth, and they shall kill one another—the scourge of civil war.
Third seal. A black horse and its rider with a balance—famine in the necessaries of life with its devastations, but a restraining “voice” in the midst of it.
Fourth seal. A pale horse and its rider, who kills with God’s sore plagues those on a fourth part of the earth: this may be a continent.
Fifth seal. Under the altar are seen the souls of the martyrs—especially those slain during the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week (compare Matt. 24:9).
Sixth seal. In the first four seals we have seen forces at work, but controlled; now there is a great earthquake, and the sun, moon, and stars are affected, indicating probably the apostasy, and the break up of the civil governments ordained of God. There is general dismay and the call for death, in the fear that the great day of the wrath of the Lamb has come; but these are but preliminary judgments.
Revelation 7. This is parenthetic, describing the sealing of a perfect number of the twelve tribes—the spared ones of Israel; they are sealed for preservation (compare Rom. 11:26). A great multitude out of all nations also stand before the throne, and ascribe salvation to God and to the Lamb. John is told that they have come out of the great tribulation—not, however, the same as Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7). They are evidently souls converted after the present dispensation of the church, and may not ever have known Christianity.
Revelation 8. The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpets, which have in them something of the nature of a final summons. The prayers of the saints, presented by an angel distinct from those having the seven trumpets, while fragrant before God, bring, as their consequence, judgments on the earth.
First trumpet. Human prosperity in the third part of the Roman empire is burnt up.
Second trumpet. A great mountain burning with fire is cast into the sea—some great earthly power influences the masses with direful effect, and commercial intercourse is affected (compare Jer. 51:25): it may correspond to the fall of Babylon in Revelation 17-18.
Third trumpet. A great star falls—some great power from above—and corrupts the moral sources.
Fourth trumpet. The governmental powers are disorganized and in darkness. A great eagle (as is now read by the editors, instead of “angel”), cries, “Woe, woe, woe” on those who make the earth their home. The scene of the judgments of this chapter is the West.
Revelation 9.
The Fifth trumpet. A star—one in power—falls from heaven: moral darkness and Satanic influence follow. There is feigned righteousness, but the actors are cruel, deceptive, and bitter. This judgment is directed against the Israelites that have not the seal of God.
Sixth trumpet. Forms of wickedness, led by Satan, hitherto held in check in the East, are let loose. The third part of men are killed by plagues. What is referred to is probably moral death. And those that are not killed do not repent of their deeds. The mention of the Euphrates shows that the judgments of this chapter arise from the East.
Revelation 10-11:13 is a parenthesis, before the seventh trumpet. A mighty angel, probably Christ from the description, plants his feet upon (that is, claims) the sea and earth, and cries with a great voice to which the thunders respond. He has an open book, evidently bringing us to known prophetic ground, and declares that “There shall be no longer delay” (as Revelation 10:6 should read). John eats the book as bidden, and while he finds it sweet to know what God has revealed, it is bitter to reflect on His judgments.
In Revelation 11 John is told to measure the temple and the altar and the worshippers, that is, all that is real. They are now taken account of; but not the court without, that is, Jewish profession—the external system. The holy city will be trodden under foot of the nations, 42 months, the latter half of Daniel’s seventieth week. God’s two witnesses prophesy 1,260 days (the same half week). It is now a question of Christ’s rights to the earth. The witnesses manifest His power, and smite the earth with plagues. The beast (the Roman power of Romans 17:8) kills the witnesses, and they lie unburied, but they are called up to heaven, and there is in the same hour a great upheaval on earth.
Revelation 11:14-18. The second woe is past, and the third woe cometh.
The Seventh trumpet. The world-kingdom of Jehovah and His Christ is come. The heavenly company give thanks to the Lord God Almighty who has taken His great power and has reigned. His wrath has come and the time of recompense. The general history of the book ends with Revelation 11:18. Certain details follow exhibiting the full ground for the final pouring out of wrath, the judgment of the great whore, and the coming of Christ to make war in righteousness. The time of judging the dead is announced here.
Revelation 12. Revelation 11:19 commences another division of the book, taking us back in thought to the birth of Christ, from which this development starts. The temple of God was opened in heaven, the ark of His covenant was seen there, and there were judgments on earth. A woman (Israel) is seen as a sign in heaven, and brings forth a man child (Christ), whom Satan seeks at once to devour, but the child is caught up to God and to His throne. The woman flees into the wilderness, and is nourished by God 1,260 days—last half-week of Daniel. There is war in heaven, and the devil is cast out, which causes great exultation in heaven. The devil casts a flood (people) after the woman, but it is swallowed up by the earthly organizations of men. He is angry with the woman and sets himself to make war with the pious remnant of her seed.
Revelation 13. The Roman empire is now seen as a beast, rising out of the sea, the unorganized mass of the Gentile people. This is the second element in the trinity of evil. It embraces ten kingdoms. One of its heads had been wounded to death; that is, in one epoch of its history it had been slain, but it lived again. The dragon gives to the beast his power and throne and great authority, and it continues 42 months —the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week. It blasphemes God, and the dwellers on earth worship it. In Revelation 13:11 another beast is seen to arise out of the earth (formed organization): it appears as a lamb, but speaks as a dragon. It deceives all the earth and assists the Roman power, working miracles in order that the image of the revived beast may be worshipped (compare 2 Thess. 2:3-10). This is the man of sin, the Antichrist. The number of the Roman beast is 666, the significance of which will be understood in that day. We have thus the trinity of evil arrayed against God and His Christ.
Revelation 14. This gives a view of what God is doing during the above evil transactions. The Lamb is seen on mount Zion, and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousand, who learn the heavenly song. There is then a succession of angels, one of whom flies in mid heaven, having the everlasting gospel for all nations, crying, “Fear God, and give glory to him:” for the hour of judgment has come. Another announces the fall of Babylon. A third warns against worshipping the beast or receiving his mark. A voice from heaven announces a blessing on the dead from that time, which is confirmed by the Spirit. One then, like the Son of Man, on a cloud, reaps the earth, the harvest of which is ripe. The vintage of the earth is gathered by another angel, and the winepress trodden, blood coming from it reaching to sixteen hundred furlongs, the extent of Palestine.
Revelation 15-16. These form another division of the book. Revelation 15 shows the blessedness of those victorious over the beast and his image and number, and recounts their song. It presents also the coming out of the seven angels from the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony, having the seven vials, or bowls, of the wrath of God. In Revelation 16 they are bidden to go forth and pour out the vials. This is evidently different from all that has gone before.
The first vial brings grievous miseries.
Second vial. Moral death is upon the sea—the people.
Third vial. This is poured out upon the rivers and fountains—channels and sources of influence and action.
Fourth vial. Poured upon the sun—supreme authority.
Fifth vial. Poured upon the throne of the beast, his kingdom becomes chaos.
Sixth vial. Poured upon the great river Euphrates, opening up the way for the eastern hordes. A trinity of evil spirits goes forth to gather the kings of the earth to the battle of the great day of Almighty God at Harmagedon—mount of Megiddo (compare Judg. 5).
Seventh vial. This is poured on the air. There is an unprecedented break up of communities, and fall of imperial centers; and great Babylon is remembered before God for wrath. Direct final judgments fall from God out of heaven, but produce only blasphemy on the part of men.
Revelation 17-18. A vision concerning the great harlot, which may be identified with Jezebel (in the address to Thyatira) and from the description given, may be recognized as the Romish Papal system, is brought under the notice of John by one of the angels of the seven last plagues. The woman is seen riding the beast (the revived Empire), but she is drunk with the blood of saints and martyrs of Jesus. In Revelation 17:8 the beast is described, after its period of non-existence, as reappearing in Satanic power. Seven kings, heads or forms of government, are spoken of, of which five were fallen, one existed, and one was still to come, remaining but a little while. The beast, the final form, is the eighth, but morally of the seven, and goes into destruction. See ROMAN EMPIRE. They make war with the Lamb, but He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and overcomes them. The use to which God turns the power of the last form of the Roman Empire is the destruction of the harlot. Revelation 18 gives the lamentations of various classes and orders over the fall of the great and splendid city, under the form of which the harlot is portrayed.
Revelation 19. There is joy in heaven because the judgment of the harlot is accomplished. Its day being over, the marriage of the Lamb is come and His wife is ready. In Revelation 19:11 to Revelation 20:3 is presented a vision of the Lord coming forth in warrior judgments. He is seated on a white horse, and His saints follow with Him. He comes to smite the nations. He is manifested as King of kings and Lord of lords. The Roman beast and the Antichrist are cast alive into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20. Satan is cast into the abyss (not into the lake of fire yet) for a thousand years. Thrones and judgment committed to those sitting on them and the “souls” of those martyred (compare Rev. 6:9-11), and of those killed during the time of the beast (compare Rev. 13:7, 15-17), are seen. Such are raised to life, and reign with Christ a thousand years. (See MILLENNIUM.) This is the first resurrection; but the rest of the dead—the wicked—are not raised until the thousand years are expired. After this, Satan is loosed for a little season and deceives the nations: they come up and compass the camp of the saints, but fire comes down and devours them. Satan is cast into the lake of fire. The dead stand before the great white throne to be judged according to their works. (See JUDGMENT, SESSIONAL.) Death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire. “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Revelation 21. Revelation 21:1-8 speaks of the eternal state, when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. The holy city, new Jerusalem, comes down from heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. The title “the Lamb,” and all dispensational names have disappeared: God is all in all. In Revelation 21:9 the narrative returns to furnish certain details connected with the kingdom. The bride is shown to John (as had been the harlot) by one of the angels that had the seven last plagues, in the glories that distinguish her as the seat of heavenly light and rule. The holy city comes down out of heaven from God. Her security is in her high wall and gates. On the gates are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel (compare Matt. 19:28). The work of the twelve apostles is recognized by their names in the foundation (compare Eph. 2:20). The city is resplendent with divine glory, and answers every requirement of righteousness. Its glory is reflected, as shown by the reference to precious stones. The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple: the glory of God lightens the city, and the Lamb is the light-bearer. No evil can enter there: only those written in the Lamb’s book of life. The throne of God and the Lamb is there, from which issues a river of life.
Revelation 22. In Revelation 22:1-5 the tree of life is seen in the city yielding its fruits and its leaves for the healing of the nations. The servants of the Lamb enjoy His presence, and reign forever and ever.
Revelation 22:6-21 are a conclusion to the book. The angel declares the truth of the prophecies. Jesus adds, “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” The sayings were not to be sealed, for the time was near (compare Dan. 12:4,9). When the testimony is closed, man’s state is unalterable. Christ is coming with His rewards, to render to everyone as his work shall be. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end—Jehovah. Those who have washed their robes, eat of the tree of life, and have right to enter by the gates into the city: the defiled and idolaters are outside.
The Lord closes the book, saying simply “I Jesus,” speaking personally rather than officially. The Spirit and the bride on their part say, “Come;” and he that heareth is invited also to say, Come; and there is then an appeal to him that is athirst and to whosoever will to take the water of life freely. A solemn warning is given as to maintaining the prophecy in its integrity and completeness. The last words of the Lord Himself are “Surely I come quickly.” To which John responds, “Amen, come, Lord Jesus.” The closing salutation is “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints.”
Courtesy of BibleTruthPublishers.com. Most likely this text has not been proofread. Any suggestions for spelling or punctuation corrections would be warmly received. Please email them to: BTPmail@bibletruthpublishers.com.

Ezra, Book of

This is an historical book which follows the second book of Chronicles. The last two verses of Chronicles are almost word for word like the opening of Ezra. God had charged Cyrus to build Him a house at Jerusalem. A proclamation was made by the king, and the Spirit of God stirred up the people to go, resulting in nearly 50,000 returning to Jerusalem. The king gave up the sacred vessels, of which there were 5,400. Zerubbabel was leader in the undertaking: his Persian or Chaldean name was Sheshbazzar.
Ezra 3. The altar was erected and sacrifices offered; but the foundation of the temple was not laid till the next year. On that occasion some of the aged men who had seen the magnificence of the former house wept, and others shouted for joy that the temple was being built.
Ezra 4. Some asked to have fellowship in the building: they called themselves “worshippers,” but God called them “adversaries.” The refusal of the leaders to accept their help stirred up their hatred and antagonism. Apparently the Jews, losing faith in God, and being harassed by their enemies, neglected the building of the temple before they were stopped by authority. The opposition extended from the days of Cyrus until the reign of Darius: (Ezra 4:5). Two kings intervened between Cyrus and Darius. Ahasuerus (Cambyses) succeeded Cyrus. A letter was written to him (Ezra 4:6), but no answer is recorded. Another was sent to Artaxerxes (Pseudo-Smerdis), and both the letter and the reply are recorded. A difficulty is presented in these, that the city only is mentioned, and nothing said of the temple. Apparently this was a ruse of the enemy (though Haggai 1 shows that the Jews were building their houses), for immediately the answer was obtained, the building of the temple was stopped, now by authority: (Ezra 4:23-24. Ezra 4:6-23 are a parenthesis).
Ezra 5-6. The prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah come in here. The Jews were charged with saying “The time is not come for the house of the Lord to be built,” whereas they were building their own houses. Their faith had failed; but it now revived and they re-commenced to build without permission; and when asked who commanded them to build the house of the Lord, they courageously answered, “We are the servants of the God of heaven.” Their trust was now in God, and He blessed them. Darius being appealed to, the records were searched and the decree of Cyrus was found. Darius commanded his rulers in Palestine not only to let the work of the house alone, but to aid it by contributing to the expenses out of the king’s revenues. He even asked prayer for himself and his sons. Thus, through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, under God, the house was built and dedicated; the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread were kept with joy; for “the Lord had made them joyful.”
Ezra 7-8. There is a long break, historically, of about sixty years, between Ezra 6 and Ezra 7, to which period the Book of Esther belongs if the general opinion is correct that the Ahasuerus of Esther was the king Xerxes. Ezra 7 records what occurred in the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus, and here Ezra, “a ready scribe in the law of Moses” appears for the first time, and is God’s agent for blessing: he is elsewhere spoken of as priest and scribe. Ezra made a request unto the king, and God so wrought upon his heart that he granted all that was asked, and was himself liberal in giving gold and silver for the service of the temple. The king also wrote a letter, stating what his will was, and that his treasurers in the land should help Ezra. Then follows a list of the chief men who went up from Babylon with Ezra, and the weights of the gold and silver that they carried with them. They had to cross the desert, and having spoken to the king of the power and goodness of God they would not ask of the king an escort. The good hand of God was upon them and all arrived safely.
Ezra 9-10. Ezra suffered deeply on finding that many even of the priests and princes had married “strange” wives. A list of many of those who had thus transgressed is given. They agreed to confess their sin, and to separate themselves from their heathen wives and the children born of them.
The Book of Ezra is occupied with the house of God, whereas Nehemiah is concerning the city of God, Jerusalem. Both books may be considered as one, as they are regarded by the Jews, and stand as the last of the historical books. They foreshadow how God will in the future cause Gentile kings to favor Israel, and give of their wealth to them. For a list of the kings mentioned see PERSIA.

Genesis, Book of

The title of this book in the Hebrew is Bereshith, from the first word “In the beginning.” Our title comes from the LXX, and signifies “the source or fount”—that is, of the present system of the heavens and earth as they now exist. Genesis contains all the great principles of God’s relationship with man, even to the bruising of Satan’s head, and in type the union of Christ and the church by a woman being “builded” out of a rib of Adam, and brought to the man. The creation is the first thing recorded; both the original creating out of nothing, and the ordering of the earth for man. See CREATION. Man in the image of God is created last, and all is declared to be “very good.” See ADAM.
A vast amount of learned labor has been lost in trying to account for the name of “God” in Genesis 1, and “Jehovah God” in Genesis 2, often ending with the conclusion that Moses must have had two or more earlier accounts of the creation before him—one called the Elohistic (which used the name of God) and the other the Jehovistic (which had Jehovah God), and that he copied first a piece of the one, and then a piece of the other. Surely this is a very unworthy conclusion to arrive at respecting the work of God by Moses! In Genesis 1 it is God as Creator; but in Genesis 2 He is in relationship with man, and this calls forth the name of Jehovah (as Jehovah was the name by which He was afterward especially known to Israel. See Exodus 6:2-3.) The theory of Moses having copied from various documents, is carried all through the Pentateuch, and with many it has issued in the very sad result of undermining the inspiration of scripture, and attributing to the Lord, when He speaks of Moses having written the law, the use of the common tradition though it was not true!
Sin soon came in, and man, after hiding himself from God, was under sentence of death, and was driven out of Eden lest he should eat of the tree of life and live forever in his sin. Then the way of approach for a sinner to God is revealed in Abel’s sacrifice, and the blindness and hardness caused by sin in that of Cain. Though sin and death reigned, God had His witnesses in Enoch and Noah: the former yields a type of the rapture of the heavenly saints, and the latter of the deliverance of the earthly saints through judgment. God made a covenant with Noah in the new earth. In Babel began the spirit of independence of God. Language was confounded and the people were scattered. In Nimrod commenced conquest and royal power still in independence of God. See ABEL, CAIN, ENOCH, NOAH.
A new dealing of God commences in the call of Abraham to leave his country and his kindred. Promise was introduced in him both as to his natural seed in Israel, and blessing to all nations through his seed, Christ. He is separated to God by circumcision. In Abraham and Lot we have types of the heavenly man having power over the world, and the earthly-minded one mixing with the world. Melchisedec is introduced as the type of the priesthood of Christ in the millennium as the “blessing” priest and king.
Respecting Isaac and Ishmael, the bondwoman and her son, type of the flesh under law, must be cast out, that Isaac the son of promise may inherit all (compare Gal. 4:22-31). But the son of promise must be offered up, and be received back as from the dead, then the covenant was established figuratively in resurrection. Isaac must not go to Mesopotamia, the country from whence the heirs of promise had been called out, therefore Abraham sent his steward to obtain a wife for his son—as the Holy Spirit is here now, gathering a bride for Christ. From Isaac spring Jacob and Esau: Jacob obtains his two wives Rachel and Leah, and with them and their maids he begets the heads of the twelve tribes, who are to possess the land as promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. After exercises with God, Jacob is called Israel.
In Joseph a new branch of the history commences: he is hated by his brethren and is sold to the Gentiles, but becomes their savior—an evident type of Christ in His sufferings and His glory. Joseph takes a Gentile wife in his rejection, as Christ takes a bride outside of Israel. Jacob blesses his twelve sons, dies, and is buried in Canaan; and Joseph, before he died, being sure that God would visit them and bring them out of the land, bade them carry up his bones from Egypt. See ABRAHAM, ISAAC, JACOB, JOSEPH.

Exodus, Book of

This book occupies the period from the death of Joseph to the setting up of the Tabernacle. Under the headings of ISRAEL IN EGYPT, the PLAGUES OF EGYPT, and the EXODUS these subjects are considered, which embrace the first fifteen chapters.
Exodus 16. After the song at the Red Sea the Israelites were led into the wilderness of Shur, and their faith was put to the test by the bitter waters of Marah; but they were afterward refreshed by the living waters and shelter at Elim: both are types of wilderness experience. Marah answers in the first place to the experience of 1 Peter 4:1; then, the cross being accepted, Romans 5:3-8 becomes the happy experience of the soul. This is followed by Elim—the ministry of grace. God gave them bread from heaven, typical of the heavenly grace in Christ, the bread of life, to sustain the believer in life to God, during the wilderness. The manna was to be gathered daily. He sent them also quails to eat.
Exodus 17. Moses smote the rock and there came water out of the rock—type of the Holy Spirit—and this was followed by conflict: they fought with Amalek (type of Satan seeking to act upon the weak flesh of the believer: Compare Deuteronomy 25:18. Power is not in the flesh, but in the Spirit): with Amalek there was to be continued conflict, because they touched the rights of God in His people.
Exodus 18. Jethro brought to Moses his wife and his two sons: sacrifices were offered by Jethro, a Gentile, who ate with Israel. Judges were appointed that there might be order and righteous judgment among the people: type of the millennium.
Exodus 19-24. Here there was a change: up to this all had been grace, but now the people were put under law, and not knowing themselves they said, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” The ten commandments and various laws followed until Exodus 24 when the covenant was ratified by blood and inaugurated. On it being read the people again said, “All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.” The people were sprinkled with blood, then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders ascended the mount; “they saw God, and did eat and drink.” They thus entered into relationship with God. The glory of Jehovah was like devouring fire.
Exodus 25-31. During these chapters Moses was in the mount: he remained there forty days, and received from God the pattern of the tabernacle, and all its accompaniments. See TABERNACLE.
Exodus 32. While Moses was in the mount the people, under the plea of not knowing what had become of Moses, requested Aaron to make them “gods to go before” them, and the golden calf was made. God threatened to destroy the people, but Moses pleaded for them, and asked God to remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When Moses saw the calf he broke the two tables of the law; the people had already broken the law. The calf was destroyed and the idolaters slain.
Exodus 33. God said He would send an angel, and not go Himself with Israel, for they were a stiff-necked people. Moses took the tabernacle and pitched it outside the camp, and those that sought the Lord went there to it (compare Heb. 13:12-13). (This “tent of meeting” was probably a provisional one, for the tabernacle had not been made.) Moses continued to plead for Israel, and became their mediator. All being ruined, God would now act in His sovereignty, and show mercy to whom He would—a sovereignty which extends mercy to Gentiles as well as Jews (compare Rom. 9:14-15). God promised to be gracious, so that now mercy was added to law.
Exodus 34. The two tables were renewed, but were to be placed in an ark (compare Deut. 10:1-3), and God proclaimed Himself as “Jehovah, Jehovah God”—His name with Israel, but adding the characteristics of mercy and holy government. Moses was again in the mount for forty days, and when he came down his face shone. The sabbath was again rehearsed before them, as the token of this fresh covenant of mercy and holy government; but mercy will in the end rejoice over judgment (Psa. 135:13-14; Psa. 136).
Exodus 35-40. The freewill offerings of the people were accepted for the tabernacle, and God gave skill to some for the work. The tabernacle was made and reared: the priests were sanctified and clothed, and all was finished. “Then the cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Moses was unable to enter the tent of the congregation because of the cloud. The cloud became their signal for movement: when it moved, they journeyed; and when it rested they abode in their tents. Thus the Israelites had God with them as Jehovah. How blessed would they have been, had they been able to keep the covenant under which God had put them, and which on their part they had promised to do, not, alas, knowing what their fallen nature really was: it was a trial of man under law.
In short, the Book of Exodus shows the redemption of the Israelites from slavery; their being brought into relationship with God, with a priesthood to maintain that relationship; and God leading and dwelling among them.

Numbers, Book Of

This is so-called because of the numbering of the Israelites, twice given in detail: Numbers 1 and Numbers 26. The book may be summarized under four divisions.
1. The arrangements for the departure of the people from Sinai (Num. 1-9).
2. The journey from Sinai to the borders of Canaan (Num. 10-14).
3. Laws and a few events during the thirty-eight years’ journeyings (Num. 15-19).
4. The events of the last year, with a list of all the halting places from Egypt (Num. 20-36).
As a whole the book may be said to give the service and walk of the people, their trials and testings under responsibility: typical of the spiritual service and walk of Christians now in the wilderness. In the Hebrew the title of the book is “In the Wilderness.”
Numbers 1-2. The book opens with the numbering of the people, and then the arrangement of the tribes around the tabernacle. Each tribe had an individual place and interest before the Lord: type of God’s saints being acknowledged and their place appointed in reference to His testimony. There were twelve tribes besides the Levites, who were reserved for the service of the tent of testimony, and would be located round the court. All were placed as appointed, and each was to pitch his tent near the standard to which he belonged. See CAMP.
Numbers 3. The Levites were to be offered to God in lieu of the firstborn, all of whom God took to Himself when He smote the firstborn of the Egyptians. As the number of the firstborn exceeded that of the Levites, the residue were redeemed: a type of the saints looked at as firstborn ones, and as redeemed, being wholly claimed as God’s, and given to Aaron (that is to Christ), to serve in God’s house, over which He is set as Lord. The Levites were arranged by their families, and the service of each was definitely assigned. The servant ever has his particular service from God, to be exercised under responsibility to the Lord, and he is in no way left to choose for himself as to his service.
Numbers 4 gives instruction as to the moving of the tabernacle and the care to be taken. When journeying the sacred things of the tabernacle in general were to be covered with skins, to preserve from defilement, over a covering of blue: typical of the heavenly character of the assembly as the vessel of the testimony of Christ in the wilderness, in separation from evil. The brazen altar was covered with purple; the table of shewbread was covered with scarlet (Israel’s glory), and the ark alone had blue on the outside (Christ exhibiting the heavenly).
In Numbers 5 laws are given as to the removing out of the camp all lepers, etc.; as to restitution in all cases of trespass; and as to the trial of jealousy (Israel in result became unfaithful in her relations with Jehovah).
Numbers 6. The law of the NAZARITES. This peculiar separation to Jehovah is followed by instructions to Aaron and his sons as to the manner of blessing the people, the words they were to use being given, closing with “They shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.” When unfaithfulness is complete, any witness of the position of God’s people can be maintained only through chosen vessels, in absolute separation to God from natural interests, proprieties of life, and human springs of joy. Such is the testimony of God at such a time. Samson and Samuel are examples.
Numbers 7. Here are given the offerings of the princes at the dedication of the tabernacle and of the altar, each tribe having its appointed day. When Moses entered into the tabernacle he heard “one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubim” (compare Ex. 29:42). He had access to the mercy-seat and received his directions from there, while the place of approach for the people was at the brazen altar.
Numbers 8-9. Instructions were given as to the lighting of the lamps. (The light of the glory of Jehovah was in Israel; Isaiah 60:1 shows that it will be made good in the kingdom.) The offering up of the Levites as a sacrifice (compare Rom. 15:16), and the age and time of their service are prescribed. Before Israel started on their journey from Sinai, they were to keep the passover, the memorial of their redemption from Egypt. Those that were ceremonially unclean were graciously provided for by being allowed to keep it on another day. Then instructions were given as to their movements, depending on the cloud that covered the tabernacle. They were to proceed only when the cloud moved, thus they were to be guided by Jehovah. Whether it were a day, or a month, or a year, that the cloud rested, they were to move only at the command of the Lord: a striking type of the guidance which God accords now.
This ends the first division of the book.
Numbers 10. Details are given as to the use of the silver trumpets for summoning the people, and the tribes commence their journey. This was on the twentieth day of the second month of the second year. They went three days’ journey. Moses begged of Hobab his father-in-law to go with them to be “instead of eyes;” but he refused. This was well; for they might have depended on him instead of upon God, who had provided the cloud of glory to guide them. The pillar of cloud was above, and the ark went before them. The Lord was invoked at starting: “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” And at resting: “Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel.”
Numbers 11. The people began their murmurings, and the fire of the Lord broke in among them. Then they despised the manna and turned back to the things of Egypt. Moses’ heart failed him; the burden was greater than he could bear, and he asked God to kill him. Then God bade him appoint seventy men, to be elders of the people, and officers over them, on whom He put of Moses’ spirit. God gave the people quails, but His anger was kindled and He smote them with a great slaughter.
Numbers 12. Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, the meekest of men; the Lord vindicated Moses and smote Miriam with leprosy, but at the intercession of Moses it was removed from her, though she was shut out of the camp seven days. It was sin against God in His apostle, and was a type of God’s people Israel, who, though occupying a privileged place, deny the rights of Christ to act in grace toward those who have no such place.
Numbers 13-14 detail the searching of the land by the spies, and the consequences of their want of faith. Forgetting God, and judging from their own standpoint, the spies (except Caleb and Joshua) gave an evil report of the land. The whole congregation exclaimed, “Would God that we had died in this wilderness,” and proposed to return into Egypt. At the intercession of Moses, God graciously said that He would pardon the people, but that all the earth should be filled with the glory of Jehovah. Their failure under responsibility was now completely manifested, and God decreed that all of twenty years old and upwards should die in the wilderness, save Caleb and Joshua, and that their little ones should be brought into the land. In further rebellion they said they would go up into the land, but they were smitten by the Amalekites and Canaanites. This is the beginning of their wandering in the wilderness.
Numbers 15-19—the third division of the book—show that God had in no way deviated from His purpose, and give some of the laws of the offerings when they should come into the land of their dwellings. See OFFERINGS. Then is recorded the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, that which is spoken of in the New Testament as the gainsaying of Core. It was the assumption of the priesthood by the Levites and rebellion against the anointing of God. See Korah.
By the budding of Aaron’s rod God bore witness as to whom He had chosen for the priesthood, and He gave instructions as to the responsibility and the portions of the priests and Levites; the people were not to draw nigh the tabernacle. See AARONIC PRIESTHOOD, and LEVITES. Then is given the law of the Red Heifer, a provision for defilement in the wilderness. See HEIFER.
Numbers 20 opens with the Israelites at Kadesh, the place from whence the spies had been sent thirty-eight years previously. Here Miriam dies and is buried. The people murmur against Moses because they have no water. He is told to speak to the rock, with the rod of priestly grace in his hand, but he smites the rock as with his own rod of judgment, and calls the people rebels: for this failure he is forbidden to lead the people into Canaan. The lawgiver did not rise to the grace of God. See MOSES. From here they had to make a long detour to the Akaba Gulf of the Red Sea because the Edomites would not suffer them to pass through their land. Aaron dies in Mount Hor, and is succeeded by Eleazar.
Numbers 21. Arad and the Canaanites are smitten. The further journeying led the people again to murmur, and God sent among them fiery serpents. On the prayer of the people for the removal of the serpents, Moses made by divine directions a SERPENT OF BRASS and put it on a pole, and whosoever looked (having been bitten) lived. After skirting the east of the land of Edom, the Israelites encountered the Amorites, who, refusing to let them pass, were smitten by Moses, and Heshbon was taken. The Israelites smote also Og the king of Bashan, and took his land.
Numbers 22-25 give the history of Balak hiring Balaam the prophet to curse Israel. In spite of Israel’s failure in walk, the Lord turned the attempt to curse them into the pronouncing of blessings. Balaam saw in his successive visions the elect people of God, and announced their sanctification (Num. 23:8-10); justification (Num. 23:19-24); acceptance and consequent blessing (Num. 24:5-9); the rise of a Star out of Jacob, and the destruction of the hereditary enemies of Israel (Num. 24:17-24). The evil advice of Balaam, however, led the children of Israel into sin by allying themselves with the daughters of Moab, and so falling into idolatry. The zeal of Phinehas, who in a signal case executed judgment, is commended of God.
Numbers 26-27. The people are again numbered, with a view to inheriting the land, but all the men of war included in the first numbering, save Caleb and Joshua, had died. Details are given as to the distribution of the inheritance. Moses, being told of his approaching death, pleads with God to appoint a leader for the people, and Joshua is put in that place.
Numbers 28-30. Directions are given as to the whole system of regularly instituted offerings, and as to ratification or otherwise of vows.
Numbers 31. The Midianites are smitten, among whom Balaam is slain: special directions are given as to the division of the spoil.
Numbers 32. Moses accedes to the request of the Reubenites and Gadites to have their possession on the east of the Jordan, provided in the first instance they go armed before their brethren over Jordan: type of Christians stopping short of the purpose of God in regard to them through refusing to accept death with Christ.
Numbers 33-36. The various stations are recorded at which the Israelites had halted in their journeyings. Details follow as to the borders of the promised land; the forty-eight cities for the Levites; and the cities of refuge. The book closes with instruction as to the inheritance of daughters, so that the position belonging to each tribe should remain as allotted; ending with the words, “These are the commandments and the judgments which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.” Here, close to the land, Moses rehearsed to them all their evil ways, but spoke with certainty of their possessing the land, and named those who should aid in dividing it. God was about to fulfill to the children of Israel His promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in grace, which abounded over all their sin, and has abounded toward His people ever since.
In conclusion, a few words may be added on the spiritual import of the Book of Numbers. It literally considers the children of Israel in two aspects: first, in view of the wilderness; and secondly, in view of possessing the promised land. The link between the two numberings is Caleb and Joshua, the representatives of faith. The book is the obverse of Exodus, in which we have the actings of God—His redemption of the people; His resources for them in the wilderness; the declaration of His will; and the setting up among them of the tabernacle—all this was God’s side. On the other hand, we have in Numbers the side of the people—they are taken into consideration, and hence their perversities and God’s chastisements are prominent. These lead, in their spiritual significance, to the conclusion that the means necessary to conduct a people through the wilderness are the water of purification (Numbers 19), and priestly ministration (Numbers 20): Christ in death and Christ risen; the red heifer, and the budding rod. This part closes in Numbers 20.
Then after the death of Aaron the high priest, which is the proper end of responsibility and its testing, we have a second part of the book, in which are seen the means by which the elect of God are brought to light, namely, the brazen serpent, and the springing well—the acceptance of the cross, and the power of the Spirit. In this part of Numbers there is but little reference to priesthood. We have following this the prophesies of Balaam, which speak of the elect people of God. The people are then numbered in view of possessing the land of promise, and Joshua succeeds Moses as leader. He is, what Moses was not, the type of a risen Christ.
In spiritual experiences the second part of the book runs concurrently with the first, for while in the type Israel did not come to the brazen serpent until they had been thirty-eight years in the wilderness, Christians begin their spiritual course with the cross, which is the antitype of the brazen serpent (John 3:14-15). The state of man in the flesh has been condemned in the cross, and the Christian begins in the Spirit; and in that way is able to appreciate the water of purification and priestly refreshment, while finding that no good dwells in the flesh.

Deuteronomy, Book of

The name signifies “The Second Law,” but this does not properly describe it, as the ten commandments and Jehovah’s name and His covenant made in Horeb are the basis of its instructions. Neither does “Repetition of the Law” give the right thought, because some parts of this book were not given before. It rehearses God’s covenant, relationship with Israel under new circumstances: they had come to the border of the promised land, and were just about to enter into its possession, not on the ground of faithfulness to the law, but according to the covenant made with the fathers (Deut. 9:4-5). Some things are added which could have had no application in the wilderness, even referring to their having a king.
The style of the book is different from those preceding it: a vast typical system is portrayed in the three preceding books, while in this the Spirit of God is occupied with the actual circumstances connected with their possession of the land of promise. Nearly all of Deuteronomy is what Moses rehearsed in the hearing of the people. Thus, “Moses began to declare this law” (Deut. 1:5). He called all Israel, and said unto them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments” (Deut. 5:1). The book may be otherwise divided into three parts, thus: Deuteronomy 1-11: Moses rehearses the way the Lord had led them, the covenant with them at Horeb, their disobedience, the resumption of God’s relationship with them on the ground of Moses’ mediation, and putting the law in the ark. Deuteronomy 12-29: various commandments are given with the results of obedience and disobedience fully stated. Deuteronomy 30-34: things to come, the song of Moses, and his blessing the tribes.
The fact is stated that from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir, unto Kadesh-barnea on the south border of the land, was only an eleven days’ journey, yet it had occupied them, going backwards and forwards, nearly forty years. Moses then reminded them of the burden and strife which fell on him consequent on their being so great a people, and of the system of government that had been appointed among them; also that it was themselves who were the instigators of sending the spies to search out the land. This appears to clash with Numbers 13:1-2, which says, “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men that they may search the land of Canaan.” The two passages show that the people proposed it; Moses consented (it pleased him well, he says here); and God commanded it. God’s first message was, “Go up and possess it”; but the people hesitated, and said they would send the spies (Deut. 1:21-23). Their rebellion and their wanderings were the result.
Deuteronomy 2-3. Moses continues their history after the many days of their wilderness wanderings. They had been told not to meddle with the Edomites—the descendants of Isaac through Esau; nor with the Moabites and Ammonites, for they were the descendants of Lot. Sihon the Amorite had been subdued. This was after they had traveled round to the east of the Dead Sea. Deuteronomy 10-12 and 20-23 should be read as parentheses: they are valuable historical notes. Og king of Bashan had been conquered and his cities taken, a pledge of the full victory which the Lord would give over the nations of Canaan. The two tribes and a half had had their portion assigned on the east of the Jordan. Moses should see the land, but was not to go over the Jordan, and Joshua was to be his successor.
Deuteronomy 4. Moses calls them to hearken to the commands he had given them, that they might live and go in and possess the land. The people must take heed unto themselves, that they make no similitude of Jehovah who had spoken to them, and so corrupt themselves.
Deuteronomy 5-6. The covenant at Horeb is rehearsed with exhortations to obedience, and the great truth pressed upon them of which they were the witnesses: “Jehovah our God is one Jehovah,” to whom every affection should flow.
Deuteronomy 7-8. The people are warned against making any covenant with the people of the land; for they themselves were a holy people. God had chosen them for a special people above all upon the face of the earth. They are reminded of all God’s goodness to them that they might not forget Him. He had humbled them and proved them, to do them good in their latter end.
Deuteronomy 9-11. Moses declares that God was not going to bring them into the land on account of their own righteousness or uprightness of heart; but because He would fulfill His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses plainly tells them “Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you”; and he rehearses their failings, and God’s goodness, and His securing His covenant in the ark.
Deuteronomy 12-13. The idolatrous altars and groves found in the land were to be destroyed. There was but one place to which all the sacrifices were to be brought, where Jehovah would put His name, and there only were the consecrated things to be eaten. They were not to inquire after the heathen gods, lest they should be ensnared thereby. Strong delusion is guarded against — if a prophet’s sign came to pass, it might be to prove them. They must not follow such a one into idolatry, nor were they to spare the nearest relative who would lead them away from worshipping Jehovah their God.
Deuteronomy 14-19. Many of the laws which were given in the former part of the Pentateuch are rehearsed. If they would have a king, he must be the one whom God would choose, and the king’s duties are detailed.
Deuteronomy 20. Instructions as to going to battle; what cities were to be spared, and what people were to be utterly destroyed.
Deuteronomy 21-25. Divers commandments are rehearsed before the people.
Deuteronomy 26. When they were brought into the land, and one came to worship, he was to confess “A Syrian ready to perish was my father.” Then the goodness of God was to be confessed in the redemption from Egypt, and bringing into the promised land, and they were to rejoice in every good thing God had given them. Then grace should flow out to the fatherless and the widows. Obedience should follow, and all defilement be avoided. Blessing should be asked for all Israel.
Deuteronomy 27. The law was to be written on great stones, and set up on mount Ebal, where also an altar of whole stones was to be reared for both burnt offerings and peace offerings. Here, too, certain tribes were to stand to pronounce the curses which follow. Other tribes were to stand on mount Gerizim to bless. The blessings however are omitted, as in fact the people were under the curse, being under the law, as the apostle shows in the epistle to the Galatians when dealing with the principle of law.
Deuteronomy 28. The people being under the government of God, the consequences of obedience or disobedience are presented in blessings or cursings, the latter being realized in the subsequent history of the people.
Deuteronomy 29-30. The solemn fact is stated that, spite of all the signs and miracles they had seen, yet the Lord had not given eyes to see, nor ears to hear, nor a heart to understand (compare John 3:2-3). They all on that day stood before the Lord their God, and He made the covenant with them. Deuteronomy 30:15 expresses it in few words—it was “life and good, death and evil.” The secret purpose of God is referred to, and when all was ruined under law, the principle of righteousness by faith is introduced.
Deuteronomy 31-32. The law was to be read to the people every seven years. To Joshua the “charge” was committed to bring the people into the land. Moses taught the people a song. It is partly prophetic, for their future is foretold. God would provoke them to jealousy by the Gentiles, as in Romans 10:19; but would finally bless them. Moses longed to go over Jordan and see the land; but it was forbidden him because he had transgressed. (Dispensationally Moses represents the law and that could not bring them into the promised land.)
Deuteronomy 33. Moses blesses the twelve tribes. When Jacob blessed them in Genesis 49 it was rather their prophetic history in the then future; here it is more their relationship with God in His government over them for blessing, when they will sit down at His feet and hear His words. Simeon is omitted; his portion was in the extreme south-west, near the desert; we read very little of this tribe, as if they were lost in the land. The number twelve was made up by the two sons of Joseph; however, we find that Simeon is among the twelve tribes sealed in Revelation 7 and in the future division of the land (Ezek. 48:25).
Deuteronomy 34. The death of Moses is related and that God buried him in an unknown place, so his tomb could not be worshipped as a holy spot. There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.
The Book of Deuteronomy is in a word characterized by exhortations to obedience by a people brought into God’s land. It is often quoted in the New Testament and the Lord three times quoted from it when tempted of the devil. It is cited as written by Moses (Rom. 10:19; 1 Cor. 9:9). The scripture thus fully refutes those who seek to attribute it to some unknown writer of a later date. Of course the last chapter is an exception: it may have been added by Joshua.

Joshua, Book of

This book gives the history of Israel in crossing the Jordan, their conquests over the nations, and the division of the land among the twelve tribes. It is typical of the believer’s entering, in the power of the Spirit, into the purpose of God, as quickened together with Christ; of his conflict with the spiritual powers of wickedness in the heavenlies; and of his enjoyment of the promises of God. Joshua was commissioned by God Himself. Courage and obedience, under God, would ensure success. He is exhorted to be strong and God would not fail him. Israel had a title to all that was promised to Abraham, but they would possess that whereon the soles of their feet trod, and thus it would become theirs. So the Christian must make his calling and election sure, entering into the possession of his heavenly privileges.
Joshua 2. The spies learned that the fear of Israel had fallen upon the people of the land, and the faith of Rahab saved her and her family. A Gentile gets a place in the promised possession by faith. See RAHAB.
Joshua 3-4. For the passage into the land see JORDAN.
Joshua 5. The first thing on entering the land was that the males must be circumcised: this was done at Gilgal, and the reproach of Egypt was rolled away. What answers to this with the Christian is found in Colossians 2:11—3:3-5: the renunciation of the life of flesh through Christ having been cut off on the cross; of those it can be said, “Ye are dead.... mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.” The Passover was also kept, a type of the peaceful remembrance by the believer of that death which has enabled him to enjoy the promise; and they ate of the old corn of the land (type of a heavenly Christ), and the manna ceased (compare 2 Cor. 5:16). This was all fitting them to take their place as the Lord’s host. Then Jehovah was manifested to Joshua as Captain of the host, with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua fell to the earth and worshipped.
Joshua 6-7. Jericho (type of the world antagonistic to the Lord’s rights ranged under Satan) was the first city taken, and the manner of its destruction showed plainly that power for conquest was really in Jehovah. God said the whole was accursed and must be destroyed, and a curse should rest upon the man who should rebuild the city. All was not however destroyed, for Achan had taken of the accursed things. Unconscious of this sin and confiding in their own strength, they attacked Ai in vain. The sin of Achan was accounted as a sin of the people: “Israel hath sinned,” God said; and there could be no power or blessing until the evil was put away (as in the action enjoined upon the church at Corinth).
Joshua 8. The evil being judged, Ai was destroyed, and in this case the cattle and spoil were taken. An altar was built unto Jehovah, and the law was written upon stones, the whole of it being read before all the congregation (compare Deut. 27:2-8). This shows the conditions on which they were to possess the land, namely, obedience to the word.
Joshua 9-10. When the kings in the south heard of the destruction of Jericho and Ai, they conspired together to oppose Israel. But the Gibeonites wrought deceitfully, saying they had come from very far. Type of the devices of Satan, against which the Christian is warned. Prayer was overlooked, and there was confidence in human wisdom. Five kings attacked Gibeon for making the league with Israel, but were totally defeated by Joshua, and the kings were hanged. To lengthen the day for conquest the sun and moon stood still, for it was Jehovah who fought for Israel. Thus the confederacy of the south was overthrown, and the country of the south was conquered, and Joshua returned to Gilgal. Type of the Christian abiding in the place of renunciation of self, and mortifying the deeds of the flesh in the power of resurrection.
Joshua 11-12. From Gilgal Joshua went again in strength against the confederacy of the north, being encouraged by Jehovah, and conquered everywhere, cutting off the Anakims from the mountains, and “so Joshua took the whole land according to all that the Lord said unto Moses.” The Gibeonites and their allies from three other cities (Josh. 9:17) were the only ones that made a league with Israel. The names then are given of the two kings conquered by Moses on the east of Jordan and thirty-one kings on the west smitten by Joshua.
Joshua 13. Joshua chapter 12 closes the first part of the book, which says that the whole land had been taken; but Joshua 13 opens with the statement that there remained “yet very much land to be possessed.” In one sense they had taken all from north to south, so that they could divide the land among the tribes; but all their enemies were not destroyed, and they did not really possess all the land promised unto Abraham. This is typical of the Christian having all things, and yet failing to enter into his full heavenly position. The tribe of Levi had a peculiar standing: “the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance”; and “the sacrifices of the Lord God of Israel made by fire” were their inheritance. These are a type of Christians as priests, who do not belong to earth, but to heaven. There were minor conquests in taking possession, and mention is made of Balaam the soothsayer being slain: God’s judgment had reached the wicked man.
Joshua 14-17. In dividing the land Caleb had a privileged portion. Of Joseph it was said, “Thou art a great people, and hast great power:” in Ephraim and Manasseh Joseph had two portions. The details are given as to the boundaries of the tribes.
Joshua 18-19. The tabernacle was set up at Shiloh, which was fairly central, 32° 3' N, and the allotment of the possessions of the tribes was made in Shiloh before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Type of the Christian getting his position from heaven. To Joshua was given an inheritance, Timnath-serah in mount Ephraim.
Joshua 20. Six cities of refuge were appointed to which the manslayer could flee, See REFUGE.
Joshua 21. Forty-eight cities were appointed for dwelling places for the Levites. Then it is repeated that “Jehovah gave unto Israel all the land which He sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.” They had rest, and not any good thing that Jehovah had promised failed them. Yet, as we have seen, there were parts that they had not made their own, and in which there dwelt those who were ready to seduce them on the one hand, and to oppress them on the other.
Joshua 22. The warriors of the two and a half tribes, who had crossed the Jordan to aid in the conquest of the land on the west, were dismissed to their possessions on the east of Jordan, with the blessing of Joshua. These tribes staying on the east led to difficulty. By the border of the Jordan they built a great altar “to see to”; which they afterward described as a witness that they had part in Jehovah. They were beginning to feel the consequences of having fallen short of God’s calling, and of taking lower ground. The tribes on the west feared that the altar had been built in separation from the worship of Jehovah, and sent princes with Phinehas the priest to protest against it, but on hearing the explanation given, they were satisfied that the tribes on the east were faithful in heart.
Joshua 23-24. In conclusion Joshua rehearses the dealings of the Lord with their ancestors, and the great things He had done for them. There were blessings for them if they were obedient; but curses if they forsook the Lord. The people, not knowing their own weakness, declared that they would serve the Lord. They thus still remained under law, their obedience being the condition of their living in peace, and being blessed by Jehovah. Thus a covenant was made with the people that day, a statute, and an ordinance in Shechem. A great stone was set up as a witness of the covenant. Joshua, the faithful servant of the Lord, died, being 110 years old. To this is added the testimony that “Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel.”

Judges, Book of

This book is occupied with the period from the death of Joshua to the time of Samuel. Joshua, the man of faith, before he died gave them good advice and solemn warnings. The people answered, “The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.” They had now, under the guidance and power of God, to work out their own salvation. They served the Lord as long as Joshua lived and the elders he had appointed, and then they forsook God, allied themselves by marriage with the Canaanites, and turned to idolatry. It is a vivid illustration of the history of the professing church, which, after the times of the apostles, rapidly became worldly, and had to be disciplined by God, though there have been revivals, as there were in the time of the Judges.
A long catalog had to be made of the districts from which the tribes did not drive out the Canaanites. Israel being thus unfaithful, making a league with the inhabitants, and regardless of their evil, the Lord let them remain to prove Israel: in like manner the world-bordering of the church has become a snare to it constantly. The Angel of the Lord was at Gilgal during the book of Joshua (to which place the Israelites should in spirit have constantly returned: it is the place of circumcision, that is, for the Christian, thorough separation from the first man); but now He came to Bochim, and reminded them that He had delivered them from Egypt, and had declared that He would never break His covenant with Israel; they were to make no league with the people of the land, but they had not obeyed His voice. The failure was now irretrievable. The people wept and sacrificed there.
Nevertheless they formed alliances with the Canaanites, and sacrificed to Baalim. Then they were oppressed by their enemies; but as often as they turned to the Lord, He raised up a judge who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors. Yet when the judge died, they returned again to their evil ways. This experience of evil doing—oppression, repentance, and deliverance—occurred again and again during a period of over three hundred years. (The action of the judges is considered under the name of each.)
Judges 17-21 are not in historical order, but are grouped together to show the inner life of the people.
Judges 17-18 disclose a sad attempt to mingle the worship of God with domestic idolatry, See MICAH No. 1.
Judges 19-21 show the moral character of the people, especially of Benjamin, who brought upon themselves severe punishment. When the other tribes saw the destruction they had made upon Benjamin they came to the house of God and wept, lamenting that one tribe was lacking in Israel; but no mention is made of their weeping over the sin that had brought it all about.
The book ends by repeating what it had said elsewhere: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” God would have been their king if they would have been His subjects.
The chronology of the book of Judges presents some difficulties. It is clear from various passages that the periods during which the judges ruled could not all have been consecutive. The 480 years from the Exodus to the fourth year of Solomon (1 Kings 6:1), necessarily shortens the period of the judges, and one passage in the book itself implies that two of the oppressions were going on at the same time, namely, that of the Philistines and of Ammon (Judg. 10:7). In Acts 13:20 the AV reads that God gave them judges about the space of 450 years until Samuel the prophet. This would not agree with the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1; but there is a different reading in Acts 13, which has been adopted by editors of the Greek Testament and in the RV irrespective of all questions of chronology. It reads “He divided to them their land by lot, about 450 years; and afterward He gave them judges”; thus the 450 years are not applied to the duration of the judges. This period may have been made up thus, reckoning from the birth of Isaac, because the promise was to the seed of Abraham, and Isaac was the child of promise.
Age of Isaac when Jacob was born, Gen. 25:26 60
Age of Jacob when he stood before Pharaoh 130
Age of Israel in Egypt 215
Age of Israel in the wilderness 40
Age to the division of the land 7
(about 450 years). 452 (sum of the above years)
The 480 years 1 Kings 6:1 have been arranged thus, though this may not be absolutely correct.
From the Exodus to the crossing of the Jordan 40
From the Jordan to the division of the land 7
Rest under Joshua and the Elders Judges 2:7 12
Oppression by the king of Mesopotamia Judges 3:8 8
Othniel judge Judges 3:11 40
Oppression by the Moabites Judges 3:14 18
Ehud and Shamgar Judges 3:30 80
Oppression by king Jabin Judges 4:3 20
Deborah and Barak Judges 5:31 40
Oppression by the Midianites Judges 6:1 7
Gideon Judges 8:28 40
Abimelech Judges 9:22 3
Tola Judges 10:2 23
Jair Judges 10:3 22
In the West. In the East.
Oppression by the Philistines, during which Samson was judge, and Samuel after Eli. Judges 13:1; 40 years Oppression by the Amonites, Judges 10:8 18
From the crossing of the Jordan to here is about 338 years—the 300 years in round numbers of Judges 11:26.
From Mizpeh (1 Sam. 7:12-13) to the anointing of Saul; 9 years Jephthah, Judges 12:7 6
Ibzan, Judges 12:9 7
Elon, Judges 12:11 10
Abdon, Judges 12:14 8
Saul (in the former part of which Samuel was judge) Acts 13:21 40
David 1 Kings 2:11 40
Solomon’s fourth year 1 Kings 6:1 3
The above totals 492 years
Deduct for parts of years being reckoned as full years -12

Samuel, First Book of

The personal history of Samuel is contained in this book: it opens with his birth. He was the son of Hannah and Elkanah, a descendant of Korah, of Ranathaim-zophim, of mount Ephraim. He was given by God in answer to the prayer of his mother, and was consecrated by her as a Nazarite from his birth, and “lent to the Lord” as long as he lived.
1 Samuel 2. The beautiful prayer, or song, of Hannah recognizes the sovereign grace of God that brings down pride, and exalts the poor and weak. Israel had been brought low in the time of the Judges, and needed to learn that all strength and exaltation must come from God. This prophetic song looks forward to the time when God shall judge the ends of the earth by His King and His Anointed (1 Sam. 2:10). The wickedness of the sons of Eli is then brought out, and Eli is solemnly warned by “a man of God.” Samuel had been growing and was in favor both with Jehovah and with men.
1 Samuel 3. The word of Jehovah was precious: there was no open vision: the priest had failed. God called Samuel, but he supposed it was Eli. On this being repeated three times, Eli instructed him, if he was called again, to say, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” He was called again, and said, “Speak; for thy servant heareth” (omitting as yet the word “Lord”). God now began to make revelations to Samuel. Because Eli did not restrain his sons, judgment should fall upon his house. When told of this, Eli answered, “It is the Lord: let Him do what seemeth Him good.” Samuel became God’s servant for the crisis: the Lord was with him, and none of his words fell to the ground. From Dan to Beersheba Samuel was recognized as the prophet of Jehovah.
1 Samuel 4. Israel was smitten before the Philistines; but instead of turning to the Lord and confessing their sins, they sent for the ark of the covenant, saying that it should save them, and made a great shout; but God was not in this act, the Israelites were smitten, including the two sons of Eli, and the ark was captured by the Philistines. When Eli heard the sad news he fell back and died. The wife of Phinehas also, in giving birth to a son, called his name Ichabod, “no glory,” and died.
1 Samuel 5-6 rehearse the judgments of God on the Philistines while the ark was in their possession, and the fall of their god Dagon. Also the return of the ark, and God’s judgment on the men of Beth-shemesh for looking into it.
1 Samuel 7. The ark was taken to Kirjath-jearim. After twenty years the people lamented after the Lord, and Samuel said they must put away their strange gods, and prepare their hearts to the Lord and serve Him only, and He would save them. They gathered at Mizpeh, poured out water before the Lord as a token of repentance (compare 2 Sam. 14:14), and confessed their sins. On the Philistines coming to attack them they begged Samuel to cry unto the Lord for them. He offered a sucking lamb as a burnt offering, thus recognizing the ground of the relationship between the people and God. The Philistines were subdued: God thundered upon them. They came no more to attack Israel, and the cities they had taken were restored. Samuel raised up a stone and called it EBEN-EZER, that is, “the stone of help.” Samuel went on circuit and judged all Israel. He resided at Ramah, and erected an altar there. The days of Samuel were exceptional: he was not a priest, but he offered sacrifices, and had this altar without either the tabernacle or the ark. He was the man of faith in those days, being owned of God as the upholder of His people.
1 Samuel 8. There is a change here. Samuel was growing old, and had appointed his two sons to be judges; but they took bribes and perverted judgment. The people, making this the excuse, begged Samuel to appoint them a king, that he might be their judge “like all the nations.” God had separated them from all the nations, and He bade Samuel tell them that in asking a king they were rejecting, not Samuel merely, but Himself; yet He told Samuel to listen to their request.
1 Samuel 9-10. God caused Saul the son of Kish providentially to go where Samuel was, and then pointed him out as the one to be anointed as king, that he might save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. On Samuel presenting him to them—a man taller than the rest of the people, and consequently approved according to man’s natural judgment—they shouted “God save the king.”
1 Samuel 11-12. On Nahash the Ammonite declaring that he would make a covenant with the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead only on the condition of thrusting out all their right eyes, to “lay it for a reproach upon all Israel,” Saul was stirred to action by the Spirit of God, and the Ammonites were slain. Samuel called the people to Gilgal (the place where the flesh had been judged), and Saul was made king before the Lord, and peace offerings were offered. Samuel solemnly appealed to the people, first as to his own integrity, and then as to God’s faithfulness, and to their own waywardness. A sign was given them; they were not to fear, but be faithful, and mercy would be the result.
1 Samuel 13. Saul is left without Samuel and is put to the test. He had been told that he was to go to Gilgal and wait there seven days for Samuel, for Samuel was the link between Saul and the Lord (1 Sam. 10:8). Saul tarried the seven days, and then, because the people were leaving him, he “forced himself,” as he says, and offered a burnt offering. Samuel came as soon as he had finished, and rebuked him for not keeping the commandment of the Lord, and announced that his kingdom should not continue. Samuel left him, and Philistine “spoilers” spread themselves in the land. The Israelites were in weakness, they had even to resort to the Philistines to sharpen their weapons.
1 Samuel 14. The Israelites were hiding themselves in caves. Jonathan, Saul’s son, was a man of faith: he had previously attacked the Philistines, and now, with his armor-bearer only, began again to smite them. God sent a great earthquake, and the Philistines smote one another. The Israelites also attacked them, and there would have been a greater victory had not Saul, in fleshly zeal, put all under a curse who should eat before the evening. Jonathan, who had not heard of this, tasted a little honey. When evening arrived the people hasted to kill and eat, and would have eaten with the blood had not Saul restrained them. He raised an altar unto God, and then inquired of God, and would have put Jonathan to death for eating the honey had not the people prevented it. Saul had all the outward forms of reverence for God, but he was not a man of faith; he called the Israelites Hebrews, missing the point of their relationship with God. Still God used him to subdue some of the enemies of Israel.
1 Samuel 15. Saul is now put to a final test. A message is sent him from God to go and utterly destroy Amalek. Saul however saved the best of the sheep and oxen under the plea of these being for sacrifice. Agag was also brought away alive. Yet Saul said he had obeyed the word of the Lord. Samuel uttered that important principle, “To obey is better than sacrifice,” telling Saul that God had rent the kingdom from him. Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord: he then finally left Saul.
1 Samuel 16 commences a new section in the book. Samuel was told by the Lord not to mourn for Saul: He had rejected him. Samuel was then sent to Bethlehem to anoint David. The Spirit of Jehovah came upon David from that day, but He departed from Saul, and an evil spirit troubled him. David, as a skilful player on the harp, was sent for by the king. Saul, a figure of the first man, having been tested and found wanting, the beloved one (David) is brought forward: he is announced as a type of Christ (compare Matt. 3).
1 Samuel 17-19. David must have left Saul, and we know not exactly what interval elapsed before David slew Goliath. His victory over the giant is a striking type of Christ’s victory over the power of Satan in the cross (Heb. 2). In returning triumphant, David is a type of the risen Christ; he must have the first place, even as Christ of the seed of David according to the flesh is declared Son of God with power by resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:2-4).
Saul set David over the men of war, but the praises of the women, “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands,” raised his envy, and he eyed him from that day and attempted to kill him. Having failed in this he sought to ensnare him by demanding, as a dowry for his daughter, a hundred foreskins of the Philistines. But the Lord prospered David everywhere and Michal became his wife.
Jonathan’s heart was knit to David, and he endeavored to divert his father from his murderous intentions. Michal also protected him and saved his life. David fled to Samuel, and on Saul sending messengers to take him, the Spirit of God was on the messengers and they prophesied. When this had taken place three times, Saul went himself, but the Spirit of God came upon him also, and he prophesied: David was saved.
1 Samuel 20-31. Nothing could teach Saul wisdom—to let God’s anointed one alone: it is thus that man cannot bear to be superseded by Christ. Then began the flight of David from the wrath of Saul, and Saul’s pursuit of him; the grace of David in twice saving the life of Saul when he had him in his power; the wickedness of Saul in slaying the priestly house of Ahimelech; the mistake of David in joining himself to the Philistines, from which the Lord delivered him; and his discipline in the destruction of Ziklag, and the carrying away of his two wives with the inhabitants, but in mercy all were recovered.
In the meantime Samuel had passed away, with the simple notice that he died, and all the Israelites gathered together and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah (1 Sam. 25:1). He was a faithful prophet of God (compare Jer. 15:1), though, alas! his house failed in his sons as judges.
When Saul approached his end, and could get no answer from God, he resorted to the witch at Endor: just as man, who has rejected Christ these 1,800 years, will at the close of this age, in the apostasy of Christendom, give himself up to Satan (Rev. 13). Samuel was raised, who foretold the speedy death of Saul and of his sons: see DIVINATION. A battle with the Philistines was fought on the next day, three of Saul’s sons were slain, and Saul, being sore wounded, fell on his sword, and was put to death by an Amalekite. The bodies of Saul and of his sons were hanged up on the wall of Beth-shan, but were rescued during the night by men of Jabesh-gilead, burnt, and the bones buried under a tree.
The First Book of Samuel shows a solemn change in the manifest relationship of Israel with God. Not only had the priest failed in the house of Eli, but the ark of the covenant, the symbol of Israel’s relationship with God, was in the hands of their enemies, this being permitted by God to bring things to an issue. He raised up a faithful prophet in Samuel, who also in a measure acted as priest, thus providing in grace a means of communication with his unfaithful people. Their demanding a king was virtually refusing God as their sovereign, though we know that according to the purpose of God there was to be a king as type of the Lord Jesus, King of Israel. The history of their first king shows that royalty, as everything else committed to man, was quickly followed by failure.

Samuel, Second Book of

This gives the definite establishment of David in the kingdom, with the history of the kingdom and his own personal history to near the close of his life. See DAVID.
2 Samuel 1-4. David lamented over the death of Saul, and did not seek to grasp the kingdom immediately. He committed his way unto the Lord, asked to which of the cities he should go, and was content to reign in Hebron seven years and six months, until God’s time was come for him to reign over the whole of the tribes.
Abner, Saul’s captain, made Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, king at Mahanaim; but he was not, as Saul had been, God’s anointed. There were wars between the two houses, but David does not appear in them; they were conducted by Joab and Abner. The house of David waxed stronger and stronger. Abner, taking affront at the rebuke of Ish-bosheth concerning Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, revolted to David; but as he had previously killed Asahel, Joab’s brother, in one of the wars, Joab treacherously slew him, doubtless as much out of jealousy as to avenge the death of his brother. Two of Saul’s captains then killed Ish-bosheth, and brought his head to David, but David only condemned them to lose their own lives for their wickedness. This was followed by the whole of the tribes anointing David as their king.
2 Samuel 5. David, now king of all Israel, went to reside at Jerusalem, where he took more wives and concubines, and children were born to him. Twice he signally defeated the Philistines.
2 Samuel 6-7 gives the bringing up of the ark of God to Jerusalem. Then David thought to have built a house for God; but this was not God’s will: God would build him a house, and his son should build a house for God. David prays and gives thanks.
2 Samuel 8-10. David subdued all the enemies of Israel, and executed judgment and justice unto all the people. He then graciously showed kindness to the house of Saul in the person of Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan: though lame on both his feet, he sat continually at the king’s table. Hanun, king of the Ammonites, by insulting the ambassadors sent to him in kindness by David, drew upon the Ammonites sore punishment, and upon the Syrians who went to their aid: a vivid illustration of the solemn fact that those who refuse grace will be dealt with in judgment.
2 Samuel 11-12 records the sad story of David’s sin respecting Bathsheba, and the way he brought about the death of her husband. He was rebuked by Nathan: he confessed his sin, and it was put away; but he had to bear the needed discipline.
2 Samuel 13-20. Disorders in David’s house are related: his son Amnon is killed. Absalom is obliged to go into exile, but returns unrepentant; his revolt follows, and David seeks safety in flight. The punishment foretold by Nathan had come to pass, but God had mercy on His anointed; the counsels of Ahithophel are turned to foolishness, and Absalom meets the end he deserved. David returns to Jerusalem. A smaller revolt by Sheba is crushed by his death. David is again established on the throne, and his officers in the kingdom are duly recorded: (See 2 Sam. 8:16,18).
2 Samuel 21-22. For three years God sent a famine, for He had a controversy with Saul’s house because Saul had slain the Gibeonites, to whom Israel had sworn protection. David sought to make reparation, and the Gibeonites asked that seven of the descendants of Saul should be given them, and they would hang them up before the Lord. Rizpah, the mother of some of them, defended the bodies day and night, until David buried them with the remains of Saul and his sons. And God was entreated for the land.
The Philistines again war with Israel, and now the descendants of the giants are slain by David’s valiant men. This is followed by a psalm of thanksgiving by David in which he celebrates what God had been for him in his necessities and dangers. Some of the expressions, as in many of the Psalms, will only be fully accomplished in the person of Christ Himself.
2 Samuel 23 gives “the last words of David,” wherein he exults in the infallibility of God’s covenant, notwithstanding the failure in his house. Then follows a list of David’s worthies, with their deeds of valor and devotedness. God also will have His valiant men; He will count them when He writeth up the people (Psa. 87:6).
2 Samuel 24. It is sad that the last public act of David should be one of sin, but it must be observed that the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and God punished their rebellion by allowing Satan to act upon the pride of David’s heart to number Israel (compare 1 Chron. 21:1). Even Joab could see that it was an error, and sought to divert the king from his purpose; but Satan succeeded, and the people were numbered. David then saw that he had sinned greatly, and confessed it to God, and asked Him to take away his iniquity. Three punishments were offered to David by the mouth of the prophet, and he chose to fall “into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great.” A pestilence swept off 70,000 men, but when the destroying angel came to Jerusalem his hand was stayed. David bought the threshing floor of Araunah and his oxen, erected an altar, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and the plague was stayed.
The Second Book of Samuel gives the reign of David. In his rejection and in his subduing all his enemies he is a manifest type of Christ. David’s sins are not hidden, but his heart always turned to God, and his faith was answered by grace and restoration, though for his good the governmental chastisement was not withheld.

Kings, First and Second Book of

These embrace a period of the history of Israel from B.C. 1015 to B.C. 562. They do not give the commencement of the kingdom under Saul, nor the history of David, but begin with the reign of Solomon. In the headings of these books the AV adds “Commonly called the ‘Third Book’ and ‘Fourth Book’ of the Kings” (copied probably from the LXX or the Vulgate, for this addition is not in the Hebrew), the two books of Samuel being the First and Second. The kingdom was at its height in the reign of Solomon, but because of his sin the kingdom was divided, and after many warnings from God through His prophets, to both Israel and Judah, both kingdoms were brought to a close, the people being carried away into captivity, and Jerusalem and the temple destroyed. See ISRAEL, JUDAH, and the various Kings. The books of the Kings differ from the books of the Chronicles in that the former treat of kingly power established by God in the nation of Israel (and, though it failed and apostatized, the will of God in its establishment will be carried out when Christ administers the government of God in power); whereas the Chronicles are principally occupied with the house of David, and God’s promises concerning it.
The chronology of the period of the kings can be fairly well ascertained if it is remembered that parts of years were always reckoned as full years. In most cases, when a king began to reign, it is stated what year it was of the king reigning in the other kingdom, and these cross references help to check both lists. The dates are approximately as follows. The names of the contemporary PROPHETS are also added.

Isaiah, Book of

Nothing more is known of the ancestors of Isaiah than that he was the son of Amoz. He prophesied in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, all kings of Judah. From the closing years of Uzziah to the death of Hezekiah would be from about B.C. 765 to 700, embracing a period of 65 years. The first verse says that the vision was concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Had due attention been paid to this, it would have prevented many things being ascribed in the headings of the chapters to the church, and the prophecy would have been the better understood. In few words the prophecy may be said to treat of the failures of the nation of Judah and the judgments upon it. Assyria is used as God’s rod to punish them, and is then destroyed. Judgments are pronounced against the nations around the promised land that had been enemies to God’s people. The Messiah is prophesied of and His rejection, and universal blessing is spoken of.
The following seven divisions are distinctly marked:
Isaiah 1-12. The sinful condition of the people as still in possession of the land: various pleadings and chastisements culminating in the Assyrian: the introduction of Immanuel: ends with a song.
Isaiah 13-27. Judgments on Babylon and the nations where Israel was captive and outcast: ends in deliverance from their outcast condition and worship at Jerusalem.
Isaiah 28-35. Five woes on unfaithful Israel: ends with deliverance from the Assyrian and the confederacy of nations, and the joy of the kingdom.
Isaiah 36-39. Historical, but typical: the way of blessing for Jerusalem and the house of David.
Isaiah 40-48. Controversy of God with Israel on account of idolatry. Cyrus (type of Christ) the deliverer.
Isaiah 49-57. Controversy of God with Israel on account of the rejected suffering Messiah.
Isaiah 58-66. Final results: the remnant delivered and blessed.
Isaiah 1-4. is introductory. The “sinful nation” was completely corrupt, and had been sorely chastised; there was no soundness from head to foot; though chastened, there was no contrition, and God’s judgments must still follow. There is also grace in store for the latter days: Zion will be a center of blessing, and a remnant will be saved.
Isaiah 5. Israel was God’s vineyard and the men of Judah His pleasant plant: the people were judged in view of the care God had bestowed on them, no remnant is mentioned (compare Matt. 21:33-41).
Isaiah 6. The people were unfit for their Messiah, but will be judged in view of His coming glory: a remnant is acknowledged.
Isaiah 7. Immanuel, Son of David, is introduced as a sign for faith, when unbelief was seeking a confederacy. The house of David after the flesh is judged: still there is hope. See IMMANUEL.
Isaiah 8-9:7. The Assyrians overrun the land, and the confederacy of nations is to be brought to naught. A remnant, “my brethren,” is attached to Immanuel, who is a stone of stumbling to the unbelieving nation, but a light amid the darkness until He is received in power and glory.
Isaiah 9:8-10. The national history is resumed from the end of Isaiah 5. Various judgments from the Lord are detailed until the last judgment by means of the Assyrian, who is used as a rod by God, and then is punished for his pride in the last days.
Isaiah 11. Messiah, the “Branch,” and His reign the source of millennial blessing.
Isaiah 12. Israel’s song of triumph in that day (compare with Exodus 15).
Isaiah 13-24. “Burdens” are pronounced. They are judgments on Babylon and the nations, especially on those who were in relationship with Israel. Moab, Damascus, “the land shadowing with wings which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia,” Egypt, “ the desert of the sea,” Dumah, Arabia, “the valley of vision” (Jerusalem), Tyre, “the earth [or land] made empty and waste, and turned upside down”; and finally the hosts on high and kings on the earth punished.
Isaiah 25-26. A song in which God’s intervention is celebrated, even to the swallowing up of death in victory.
Isaiah 27. The power of Satan, “leviathan, the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent” is destroyed, and worship established in Jerusalem.
Isaiah 28-35. Gives details of all that will happen to the Jews in the last days. They make a covenant with death and with hell, but their covenant will be disannulled. Security is in the Stone laid in Zion, all else will perish.
Isaiah 29. Judgments are pronounced against Jerusalem under the name of Ariel, “lion of God”; deliverance comes when at the last extremity, but a far worse judgment, a spirit of blindness, rests on the people. In the day of deliverance the remnant will come to understanding, the scorner being consumed.
Isaiah 30-31. They seek counsel of and trust in Egypt instead of in God.
Isaiah 32. Christ will reign in righteousness: desolation is followed by restoration.
Isaiah 33. The attack of a spoiler in the character of Gog (Ezek. 38), but the Lord, having filled Zion with judgment and righteousness, arises and the enemy is destroyed, and Zion is in peace.
Isaiah 34-35. Final judgment pronounced upon Idumaea and other nations (Compare Psalm 83); and the blessings that will succeed the judgment.
Isaiah 36-39. treat of Hezekiah and Sennacherib. Waiting upon the Lord is enforced. The deliverance wrought is figurative of the outward deliverance there will be from the Assyrian for Jerusalem and the house of David in the last days. Hezekiah’s personal history is appended to this, as figurative of the nation’s sense of the judgment of God upon them, leading to repentance and recovery, and inward or moral deliverance.
Isaiah 40-43. Begin another part of the book. The Messiah is but little introduced: it is rather a question of God and idols. There is comfort for those who have an opened ear. The Lord Jesus, Jehovah’s servant and His elect, shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
Isaiah 44. Jehovah reasons with Jacob and Jesurun (compare Deut. 32:15; Deut. 33:26-27): Israel, embracing the twelve tribes.
Isaiah 45-47. Cyrus is God’s servant, and He would subdue nations before him. God would keep open the two-leaved gates (of Babylon, which were left open in their festivity). The idols of Babylon could not save her: she should be brought to shame for her pride.
Isaiah 48. God pleads with Israel.
Isaiah 49-57. Introduces Christ, and shows the people’s guilt in respect to Him.
Isaiah 50:1-9. Israel had been as divorced, but Messiah had come to them suitably, to instruct them and take up their cause. Who would contend with Him?
Isaiah 50:10-51. The character of the remnant: they are owned as “my people” by the Lord God, and He will comfort and redeem them.
Isaiah 52:1-12. Zion is called to awake and put on her strength, the feet of messengers with glad tidings were beautiful.
Isaiah 52:13-53. These refer to the work of Christ in a fivefold way, including the atonement.
Isaiah 54-55. Jerusalem is called upon to sing: through the sure mercies of David there are blessings in store for her, and full free grace to everyone that thirsts.
Isaiah 56-57. Exhortations follow in view of the restoration of Israel; and those, even of Israel, are denounced that walk contrary to God’s will.
Isaiah 58-59. Indignation of the Spirit at the condition of Israel at the time the prophecy was uttered, but goes on to the end, when the Redeemer shall come to Zion.
Isaiah 60. The glory of Jerusalem in the times of blessing.
Isaiah 61-62. Christ, in the full grace of His person, is concerned in the blessing of Israel.
Isaiah 63-64. Christ returns from the judgments of Isaiah 34 with garments stained with the slaughter of His enemies; followed by the intercessions of the Spirit of prophecy.
Isaiah 65. God’s answer to those pleadings.
Isaiah 66. Judgments introducing the millennium, ending with these solemn words: “They shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”
This prophecy embraces a very large field. The condition of the people was sinful when the prophecy was written, and though God had long patience with it, yet the condition was such that judgment must be executed upon it unless there was true repentance. Judgment did follow, but the consummation of evil was not reached until their Messiah had come, and had been rejected; indeed Antichrist will yet be received. Judgment followed the rejection of their Messiah, but the great tribulation is yet to come.
Quotations from Isaiah in the New Testament (nearly forty in number) show that his words applied to the times, that then were; such as the condition of the people; the unprofitableness of the rites and ceremonies; and that grace to the Gentiles had been foretold. The climax of Israel’s sin, and of their judgment, and of God’s blessing are still future. Christ coming in humiliation is revealed in the prophet as well as His glory; indeed, all the ways of God in dealing with His people Israel, on to the end—though some subjects are expanded elsewhere-are to be found in this comprehensive prophecy: clearly it could only have been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Ezekiel, Book of

This prophecy comprehends all Israel. In it are given the governmental ways of God upon earth, of which Israel was the center (Deut. 32:8). Hence it does not mention the times of the Gentiles or the four monarchies, but passes on to the end, when the throne of government will again return to Jerusalem, instead of judging it. The book divides itself into distinct portions: the first extends to the end of Ezekiel 24. After the first chapter the testimony is against Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular. This part of the prophecy being given before the destruction of Jerusalem, that melancholy event naturally occupies a large place. The second portion is respecting God’s judgments on the nations that surrounded the promised land, and which had been more or less connected with Israel (Ezek. 25-32). The third portion is the judgment on Israel, and upon Gog and its allies in the future; and then the blessing of all Israel (Ezek. 33-39). The fourth portion is the future temple, its service, and the division of the land, ending with the joyful tidings that the name of the city will then be “The Lord is there” (Ezek. 40-48).
Ezekiel 1. We have here a wonderful vision of the government and providence of God on earth, but united with the throne in heaven. Compare the four living creatures with those described in Revelation 4:6-8.
Ezekiel 2-3. are preliminary. Ezekiel must speak, whether Israel will hear or not: he must eat (that is, accept in his own soul) the book of prophecy, and be faithful in warning the wicked.
Ezekiel 4-7. The destruction of Jerusalem. It was portrayed on a tile, and the prophet had to lie on his left side 390 days for Israel, and 40 days on his right side for Judah, to bear their iniquities—a day for a year. The 390 days were probably from the division of the kingdom in B.C. 975 till 588, the destruction of Jerusalem—388 entire years or nominally 390—“Israel,” as often, representing the ten tribes. It is not so manifest to what the 40 years for Judah refer: it was for the iniquity of Judah, and may refer to the reign of Manasseh before his captivity and reformation, for that is pointed out as the crowning sin of Judah, and for which they were sent into captivity (2 Kings 21:11-13).
Ezekiel 8. speaks of the idolatry that was in connection with the temple, though much of it was in secret and had to be dug out.
Ezekiel 9. The remnant who lament over the abominations are marked in their foreheads. It is well pleasing to God that any should mourn over the evil in connection with His name, even though they cannot rectify it.
Ezekiel 10-11. The cherubim act against Jerusalem. The rulers are condemned, but there is mercy and restoration for the pious remnant.
Ezekiel 12. The flight and captivity of Zedekiah are foretold.
Ezekiel 13. The false prophets in Jerusalem are judged. In all ages one must have the mind of God in order to escape the teaching of such.
Ezekiel 14-15. God’s judgments of Jerusalem and its people.
Ezekiel 16. The original state of Jerusalem as a cast-out infant, but loved and cherished by God. Her great sin is related, but there is mercy in the end.
Ezekiel 17-20. Instruction under various parables.
Ezekiel 21-24. The invasion and destruction of Jerusalem; during the relation of which the wife of Ezekiel, the desire of his eyes, died. He was not to mourn for the loss, and when the captives inquired of him what they were to learn from this, they were told that when God’s judgments fell upon the temple and upon their sons and daughters, they were not to mourn; but to pine away for their iniquities and in groaning one to another.
Ezekiel 25-32. The prophecies against the Gentile nations which surrounded Palestine, and which had at one time or another intercourse with Israel. The prophecies are against Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia. Against Tyre literally and as a type of its arts, in contrast to Israel as the people of God—a prophecy that stretches beyond history. In it is the remarkable description of an “anointed cherub,” giving the features of one who was at one time in a very exalted position; but who fell from his integrity and became the enemy of God; which is doubtless a description of Satan (Ezekiel 28:11-19). Ezekiel 28:20-26 are against Zidon. Ezekiel 29-32 are against Egypt, which is typical of the pride of nature, or the world of nature.
Ezekiel 33-36. Prophecies against Israel, to be followed by future restoration and blessing, and judgment on those who will oppress them. In Ezekiel 33-35 God reasons with His people. In Ezekiel 36 there is blessing for them.
Ezekiel 37. is restoration, under the vision of the valley of dry bones and the two sticks. It has been thought by many, because of the graves being opened, and the people being brought out of their graves, that this passage refers to the resurrection of the body; but the people are saying, before the graves are opened, “Our bones are dried and our hope is lost,” the exact feeling of many to this day. The resurrection is used as a figure of life being given to Israel, and also to Judah. The two nations are to be one, an exceeding great army, and they will be gathered into their own land. It need hardly be said that this cannot apply to those of Judah who returned under Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. It is still future, and will surely be accomplished.
Ezekiel 38-39. The restoration of Israel will be opposed. Gog and Magog will be the chief opponents. In Ezekiel 38:2, instead of “O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal,” the LXX reads, “O Gog...Rosh, prince of Mesoch and Thobal,” and so again in Ezekiel 39:1. This is held to be the true meaning and that Rosh refers to Russia, and that it will be the head of that nation that will be the chief enemy of Israel when they are brought back to their own land. The enemies will be destroyed, and Israel will be blessed.
Ezekiel 40-48. Refer to the future temple and the sacrifices, with the division of the land among the twelve tribes. As this prophecy was delivered many years before Zerubbabel and the exiles returned, it has been thought by some that the temple here spoken of refers to the temple which they built, though they might not have attempted to build according to the plan here laid down. But in Ezekiel the instructions for the temple follow the restoration of the twelve tribes, and the destruction of their opposing enemies. There was nothing approaching that in the return under Zerubbabel. Here too it is linked with dividing the whole land among the twelve tribes: it must therefore certainly be still future.
A difficulty has arisen in the minds of some with regard to the resumption of animal sacrifices. Whilst the efficacy of the blood of Christ must ever remain unimpaired before God, there are certainly differences in its application. Christians have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus: Jews, as such, have no such privilege. The most holy place will be again found in the temple, a comparative distance from God being maintained for man on earth, and the renewed sacrifices are consistent with this state of things. They must however have a commemorative character.
Besides the temple, for which full details are given; and besides the sacrifices and feasts (remarkable for the absence of the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Weeks), there is A PRINCE mentioned, and a portion of land allotted to him, together with the sacrifices he will offer. If these things are taken literally, all is plain and easy to be understood. Doubtless the prince will be a representative of the royal house of David. That there is deep moral import in the details is evident from Ezekiel 43:10-11, though there may be many physical changes in the land. A river is to flow from the sanctuary, and will have trees growing on its banks and will transform the Dead Sea into one full of life, with all manner of fish (compare Joel 3:18: Zech. 14:8). The whole of the land will be possessed and be divided into twelve portions (besides a holy portion for the sanctuary, the priests, the Levites, and the city, the temple not being built in the future Jerusalem: see TEMPLE, EZEKIEL’S, and accompanying map). The position of each tribe is duly stated. The condition of the city will be entirely changed from the ruin and wretchedness that now characterize it under the judgment of God; and the name of it from that day shall be “The Lord is there.”
The Book of Ezekiel is thus full of interest to the Christian as showing the great care God had for His people during their captivity, and the bright scene of future earthly blessing that is spread out before them. Some of the prophecies were literally fulfilled in times past: surely then the rest of the events foretold, which have not yet been fulfilled, are as certain as those which have. It is God who has spoken, and He it is who will bring it all to pass.

Daniel, Book of

This book holds a peculiar place among the prophecies: its subject is the “Times of the Gentiles.” It is not an appeal to Israelites, but is mostly taken up with prophecies concerning the Gentile powers. The times of Gentile domination had begun by Nebuchadnezzar taking Jerusalem and being called king of kings, to whom God had given a kingdom, and made him ruler over all the children of men. God’s personal dealings with this monarch are recorded and the kingdoms that would follow are revealed.
The book divides itself into two portions: the first six chapters give Daniel’s interaction with the great monarchs; and the latter six chapters the visions and revelations made to Daniel himself. For the personal history of the prophet see DANIEL. The prophetical aspect of the first division begins with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
Daniel 2. Under the figure of the Great Image are described the four Gentile empires that were to succeed each other, further particulars of which were afterward revealed to Daniel. It is plainly manifested that these empires would depreciate. The first is compared to gold, the second to silver, the third to brass, and the fourth to iron and clay which would not mingle together. It is noteworthy that, notwithstanding this declaration, the great effort of many in modern days is to endeavor to unite the iron and clay, and others strive to make the clay (the mass of the people) the ruling power. The fourth empire will be resuscitated, for the Lord Jesus at His first coming did not set up His kingdom—He was rejected; but during the future renewal of the Roman empire God will set up a kingdom that shall subdue all others. The “stone” is Christ who will break in pieces all that oppose, and will reign supreme. This prophecy presents the moral deterioration of Gentile power, until it is supplanted by the kingdom of God.
Daniel 3. It is here uniformity of religion, established by the king, not by God—the principle of Church and State. Nebuchadnezzar commanded all to worship the image he had set up; but three faithful ones refused to obey, and were thrown into the fiery furnace. The king had to learn that the God of the Jews was the Most High God, who was able to set him and all his powers at defiance. The king acknowledged God’s power and sent a proclamation to that effect throughout his kingdom; though his subsequent history proves that he was not humbled. In the last days the faithful Jews will be in the furnace of tribulation for not complying with the Imperial religion. They will be delivered, and God will be glorified by the nations (compare Rev. 13). Thus is seen that the first characteristic of Gentile supremacy is idolatry.
Daniel 4. The dream and the interpretation shows that Nebuchadnezzar himself was the great tree to be cut down, and the prophet exhorted him to renounce his sins and reform his ways, and peradventure the judgment might be postponed. But his pride was not subdued, for at the end of the year he boasted of the great city which he had built by the might of his power and for the honor of his majesty; but not a word about God. He was driven among the cattle for seven years. It is a solemn thing to have to do with the living God; but God had mercy on the king, his reason returned, and the kingdom was restored to him. Now he could say, “I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.” He had learned God’s lesson, and we hear of him no more. In the last days the Gentile rulers, after having used their power as “beasts,” will acknowledge God as the source of all authority, and be brought into blessing in connection with Israel. The second characteristic which marked Gentile rule is that, refusing to own God, it descends to the level of a beast.
Daniel 5. About twenty-five years later Belshazzar was reigning at Babylon. The monuments have revealed that he was son of Nabonadius, or Labynetus, and was reigning with his father. Nabonadius was defending the kingdom outside in the open country, and though defeated was not slain; his son was besieged inside, and was slain that night while holding a festival to the gods. This accounts for Belshazzar promising that Daniel should be the third ruler in the kingdom. Thus the monuments have now cleared away that which with respect to this king had seemed to make scripture and the historians discordant, for previously the name of Belshazzar had not been discovered. Daniel faithfully reminded Belshazzar of how God had dealt with his father (or rather his grandfather) Nebuchadnezzar for his pride; adding that though the king knew all this he had lifted up himself against the God of heaven, and had desecrated the vessels of God’s house by drinking wine in them to his gods, and foretells his destruction. Type of the judgment on the Gentile world at the coming of Christ (compare Rev. 18). The third characteristic of imperial power is, that it is infidel and profane.
Daniel 6. Darius the Mede had to learn the power of God, his own weakness, and the faithfulness of Daniel the servant of God. Daniel was saved from the lions, and the God of Daniel was proclaimed throughout the empire as the living God. Typically, Darius represents the last Gentile emperor, who will be worshipped; Daniel, the godly Jews who will be saved from the very jaws of destruction; his opposers, the future infidel accusers of God’s people. The fourth characteristic is self-exaltation.
Daniel 7. This begins the second part of the book. It gives the character of the Gentile kings, already noted in Daniel 4, as before God, and their conduct towards those who acknowledge God. The four empires prophesied of in Daniel 2 are here further described under the figure of “great beasts.” The lion is Chaldean; the bear, Medo-Persian; the leopard, Grecian (or Macedonian); and the fourth, which was like no living animal, Roman, distinguished as having ten horns (ten kings) (Dan. 7:24). Out of the last arises a little horn, a power which persecutes the saints for 3 1/2 years; but which is judged by the Ancient of Days, and the saints of the Most High, or rather of the high places, eventually take the kingdom. This power is doubtless the future Roman prince in the West, who will combine with Satan and the Antichrist, as in Revelation 13.
Daniel 8. The second and the third of the four empires are again prophesied of. Out of the third kingdom, the Grecian, after it was divided into four, arose a little horn, which magnified itself; and then follows the ceasing of the daily sacrifice at Jerusalem, “the pleasant land”; but in Daniel 8:11 and part of 12 there is a change from “it” to “he”; and in Daniel 8:17, 19 “the time of the end” is spoken of. Therefore, though the little horn refers to Antiochus Epiphanes (and though he caused the worship at Jerusalem to cease) a later and still future period is evidently referred to, and another king of Syria, who will stand against the Prince of princes, and shall be broken without hand (Dan. 8:25). Daniel 8:23-25 are distinctly future “in the latter time.” (In reference to the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14, see ANTIOCHUS)
Daniel 9. Daniel was a student of prophecy, and learned from Jeremiah that the desolations of Jerusalem were to last 70 years. These were almost accomplished, and Daniel confessed his sins and the sins of his people; he prayed for forgiveness, and for the sanctuary which was lying desolate; he begged God to hearken and do, to defer not for His own sake, because the city and the people were called by His name. While he was yet speaking Gabriel was sent with a communication, which embraced not only the re-building of Jerusalem in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, but the coming of the Messiah, and the action of a prince (head of the Roman power) in the last of the seventy weeks. See SEVENTY WEEKS.
Chapter 10. Daniel mourned three full weeks. This was in the third year of Cyrus; in the first year Cyrus had proclaimed that God had charged him to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:1). Some were elated at the small restoration in Ezra 1-3, but Daniel was still before God about His people, the previous chapter having revealed that 70 weeks (of years) would have to run on before blessing; Messiah would be rejected, etc. He did not go back to Jerusalem, but continued to mourn for God’s people and sought to understand the prophecies. One was sent to comfort Daniel, and he revealed the fact that unseen evil powers had delayed his coming the entire three weeks. The messenger said, “I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days....now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come” (Dan. 10:14, 20). This introduces Daniel 11-12 (Daniel 10-12 being one). God’s answer is a revelation extending from the days of Daniel to the final blessing of God’s people. The city and sanctuary are in view in Daniel 9, here the people.
Daniel 11. Daniel 11:1-35 is a history of the contests between the king of the north (Syria) and the king of the south (Egypt)—branches of the Grecian empire—often in the land of Palestine which lay between them. The prophecies are so definite that some critics have said they must have been written after the events. (The correspondence of history with the particulars given in this chapter will be found under ANTIOCHUS.) Daniel 11:21-35 refers to Antiochus Epiphanes, type of the king of the north, or Assyrian of the last days: Compare also Daniel 8.
Daniel 11:36-45. The Spirit here, as elsewhere, passes from the type to the fulfillment at the end of the days, leaping over the present interval. Daniel 11:36-39 is a parenthesis and refers to Antichrist as a king: he will be a Jew and not regard “the God of his fathers,” nor the Messiah as “the desire of women,” nor regard any known god; but will set himself up above all. Yet apparently he will honor the god of war (for which nations are getting ready).
Daniel 11:40-45. This is the final contest between a king of the North and a king of the South. The king of the North (elsewhere spoken of as “the Assyrian,” antitype of Epiphanes) succeeds and passes into “the glorious land,” and is generally victorious (but not against Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon: these are judged later by the instrumentality of Israel (Isa. 11:14). Like Sennacherib’s host of old, he will be smitten by the hand of God.
Daniel 12. This is the deliverance and blessing of the Jewish remnant. Michael, their champion in the heavenlies, stands up for them. There is to be a time of great trouble such as never was (compare Jer. 30:7; Matt. 24). Many of Israel that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake: some to millennial blessing, and some to judgment. This is not the resurrection of the dead, but a national rising of all Israel from among the Gentiles, like the rising from the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37: a remnant only will enter the kingdom. Daniel was told to seal up the book to the time of the end (compare Rev. 22:10). He heard one ask, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” The reply is “a time, times, and a half”—3 1/2 years, the last half-week of Daniel’s 70 weeks. Two other periods are given: 1290 days from the time of the daily sacrifice being taken away: this is 30 days beyond the 3 years. Then blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the 1335 days—full blessing. Daniel was told to go: he should stand in his lot at the end of the days.
Much of this remarkable prophecy stands alone, though it has many links that fit exactly with other prophecies. A general knowledge of prophecy wonderfully helps the understanding of any part of it, in this or in any other book. It is important to remember that Daniel’s prophecy embraces the “times of the Gentiles”—running on from the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar to the restoration of the Jews when ruled over by the Son of David. The present governments or states of Europe may be said to be the representatives of Gentile supremacy, but through the depreciation of the Roman empire by the mixture of the iron and clay. The Church and the Gospel have no place in Daniel.
The book is not all written in Hebrew: from Daniel 2:4 to the end of Daniel 8—namely, what concerns the Gentiles—is written in what is there called Syriac, or Aramaic-usually called Chaldee, the Gentiles’ tongue.


Nothing is related of the ancestors of the prophet Hosea (whose name is identical with Hoshea) except that he was the son of Beeri. He prophesied in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and of Jeroboam king of Israel. He is especially occupied with the moral condition of the people, principally of Israel, and the judgments that would follow. Israel is treated as in rebellion from the commencement. The prophecy divides itself thus: Hosea 1-3 gives God’s purposes respecting Israel; and in Hosea 4-14 the people are addressed: there are minor sub-divisions.
Hosea was to act a parable, by taking a “wife of whoredoms,” which may mean that the woman that he was to take would be unfaithful to him; but grace abounds over sin. Hosea’s wife was symbolical of Israel who had been unfaithful to Jehovah. He took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, who bore him a son, who, by the Lord’s direction, was called Jezreel (a place that had witnessed the judgments of God. 2 Kings 9:30-37). The prophet’s wife then bare a daughter, and her name was called Lo-ruhamah, “not having obtained mercy”; no more mercy was to be shown to Israel. Again Gomer bare a son, and called his name Lo-ammi, “not my people.” God would not acknowledge them as His. But a future blessing is at once announced to them, and those who had no claim to be God’s people should be called “sons of the living God.” Paul applies this to the Gentiles in Romans 9:26, as he does in verse 25 to the Jews (where Hosea is called OSEE).
Hosea 2. This introduces a remnant, the “brethren” and “sisters” of the prophet, those acted upon by the Spirit, to whom God’s message was Ammi, “my people”; and Ruhamah, “received in mercy.” They will plead with their mother—Israel in the mass—and tell her that she was not the wife of Jehovah. She must be dealt with in judgment, but the valley of Achor (where God’s anger was turned away, Joshua 7:26) should be a door of hope. She will be able to call Jehovah Ishi, “husband,” and not Baali, “master.” Those that had not obtained mercy will obtain mercy; and those that had been declared “not God’s people” would be able to say, “Thou art my God” (Compare 1 Pet. 2:10).
Hosea 3. This deals with the past, the present, and the future. Other details are given of their unfaithfulness and rejection. They should be many days without a king, or a sacrifice, or even an idol (as is the state of Israel in the present day); but they will afterward return, and seek Jehovah and their king, that is Christ.
Hosea 4. This commences the appeal to their consciences. The sins of the people are pointed out. Their prophets had failed, and the people were destroyed for lack of knowledge. The priests also had failed and it became “like people, like priest.” In Hosea 4:15 Judah is warned not to follow the evil example of Israel. In Hosea 4:17, as elsewhere, Israel is called Ephraim, that being the chief of the ten tribes.
Hosea 5. The priests, the people, and the king are addressed. They had all sinned, and had been rebuked, but had not returned to Jehovah. Ephraim, instead of turning to Jehovah in his sickness, had sought the Assyrian—a king who could not cure them.
Hosea 6-7. The prophet touchingly appeals to the people to return to Jehovah: it must be in reality, and not merely in outward forms. They had, like Adam (Hosea 6:7, instead of “men”), transgressed the covenant (compare Rom. 5:14). The people encouraged the king and princes in their wickedness: their weakness was manifest, for strangers had devoured them. They would not turn to the Most High.
Hosea 8. They are still threatened for their impiety. Israel had “made many altars to sin,” and had leaned upon Assyria, an arm of flesh. Judah had trusted to her fenced cities: judgment should fall upon both.
Hosea 9. This reveals a touching mixture of the prophet’s affection for the people, and the judgments he is compelled to utter against them. Various illustrations are used to enforce his words.
Hosea 10. Israel was an empty vine. They are reproached for their altars and the golden calves: they had sinned from the days of Gibeah (Compare Judg. 19:15-25).
Hosea 11. Israel had been called out of Egypt, but the fulfillment of this call was verified in the history of the Lord (Matt. 2:15). For their sin they should be as Admah and Zeboim (compare Deut. 29:23). Assyria should be the place of their captivity. Jehovah yearned over them and would not destroy them, for He is God, not man.
Hosea 12. The prophet enters into the detail of God’s moral relationship with Israel, in order that the force of their being rejected by Him may convict them of their sin. They were to study how God had dealt with Jacob. The prophet in this chapter, as also in Hosea 10:9, refers to the beginning of evil in the history of the people. Jacob’s character was reproduced in his descendants.
Hosea 13. Here again is found the conflict between the prophet’s affection for the people, and the punishment God was compelled to inflict. And here again, almost as soon as the punishment is pronounced, God’s thoughts of grace are uttered.
Hosea 14. This speaks of restoration. Iniquity is acknowledged and forgiveness asked. Assyria shall no more be appealed to, nor the work of their hands be called their God. Abundant blessing is then foretold. Ephraim will say, “What have I to do any more with idols?” God’s answer, “I have heard him and observed him.” Again Ephraim says, “I am like a green fir tree”; and the answer is, “From me is thy fruit found.” The prophecy ends with the declaration that the wise and the prudent will grasp the things revealed; “for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall therein.”
Thus the dealings of God with Israel and Judah are dealt with in Hosea more fully perhaps than in any other of the minor prophets. The learned look upon Hosea as the most difficult of the prophets to translate, its abrupt transitions being numerous and hard to understand, because of its dealing strictly with Jewish circumstances.

Joel, Book of

Of the minor Prophets, Joel is judged to be the earliest in connection with Judah, though there are no dates given in the prophecy itself. The key-note of the prophecy is “the day of Jehovah,” which is five times mentioned in connection with the future judgments, which will bring in the full blessing of Israel and the earth, when the Lord also will have His portion, a meat offering, and a drink offering for Himself.
Joel 1. The prophet takes occasion by the devastation wrought in his day by an army of insects to call the priests, the princes, and the people to a fast, and a solemn assembly in the house of the Lord, there to cry unto Jehovah. Then he adds, “Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.” Here it is destruction, open judgment, as in the day when God will judge the world in righteousness. The army of insects was but a precursor, but as a present thing, instead of joy and gladness being in the house of God, God was judging. The prophet said “is at hand”; but God’s longsuffering deferred its full execution, and defers it still.
Joel 2. The day of Jehovah is nigh at hand, and the trumpet is to sound an alarm of war (compare Num. 10:9). The army of insects is still alluded to, but it looks forward to the future, when God will bring His judgments upon the land. The army is His, and the camp is His: the day of Jehovah is great and very terrible. The people are called to repentance, to rend their hearts and not their garments, for God is merciful and gracious. The trumpet was to be blown in Zion for a solemn assembly (compare Num. 10:7). Priests and all are called to weep and pray. God will hear, and will destroy their enemies, especially the northern army (Joel 2:20, elsewhere alluded to as Assyria), and He will bring His people into great blessing. When they repent, the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon them and upon all flesh. This was quoted by Peter in Acts 2:16-21, but the nation did not then repent, it was only a remnant that turned to the Lord and entered into the blessing that God was bestowing—not outward and visible benefits as it will be in the future. There will also be signs in the heavens and in the earth before the great and terrible day of the Lord. There were some such omens, according to the historians, before the destruction of Jerusalem, so this passage, quoted in Acts 2, may have had a partial fulfillment then, though it remains to be fully verified in a future day.
Joel 3. This enters into the details of the last days as far as Judah and Jerusalem are concerned, the restoration of the ten tribes not being the subject here. The nations have oppressed God’s people in many ways, and sold them as slaves. God will requite this on their own heads. They are called to arm themselves, to bring all their mighty men, and to come unto the valley of Jehoshaphat, which is the valley of judgment, and there God will deal with them. In the valley of decision (or threshing) they will be cut to pieces. The enemies of God and of Judah being destroyed, there will be great blessing for His people, whom He had chastened in His love; but, cleansed and restored, He will dwell among them.

Amos, Book Of

Though Amos and Hosea were prophets at the same time, and both prophesied of the sins of Israel, there is much difference in the style of the two. Hosea is more fervent, stirred with righteous indignation at the sins of the people; whereas with Amos there is great calmness in declaring God’s judgments. Hosea’s prophecy is confined to the sins of Judah and Israel, whereas Amos tells of the judgments that should fall upon some of the surrounding nations that had molested Israel, especially upon those that retained any part of the land that had been promised to Abraham; and then he recounts the sins, not only of Judah to which he himself belonged, but also of Israel, indeed there is more concerning the latter than the former. In the heading we have the words, “The Lord will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem”; which are also in Joel 16; thus, as it were, taking up the theme where Joel leaves off.
In the first two chapters there are eight short denunciations of judgments, introduced by the words “for three transgressions and for four.” Three witnesses were adequate testimony; four is the cup running over, of which the four quarters of the earth can testify. The judgments are against
1. Syria under its chief city Damascus. 2. The Philistines under Gaza. 3. Tire. 4. Edom. 5. Ammon. 6. Moab. 7. Judah. 8. Israel.
Amos 3 speaks of both Judah and Israel, “the whole family,” thus counting it as one, though division had come in: then follows the momentous statement that this family was the only one God had known — had taken into relationship — therefore God would punish them for their iniquities: showing that responsibilities are measured by the privileges enjoyed. Though judgments would come there would be a remnant left, as when a shepherd recovers from a lion “two legs or a piece of an ear” — a small remnant indeed! (Amos 3:12).
Amos 4 is against Israel, and especially because they had oppressed the poor. God had brought minor judgments upon them, such as
1. Scarcity, “cleanness of teeth.”
2. Want of rain, which was sent on one city but not on another.
3. Blasting and mildew.
4. Pestilence and a stink, their young men being slain with the sword.
5. They were overthrown as Sodom and Gomorrah, some being saved as firebrands out of the burning. After each judgment is added the result, “Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord,” ending with “Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel....the Lord, the God of hosts is his name.”
Amos 5 Israel is still denounced, but is exhorted to seek the Lord. Some desired the day of the Lord, but that will be very dark and with judgment. Such was their wickedness that God hated and despised their assemblies and their offerings: indeed they had turned to idolatry.
Amos 6 denounces those that are at ease in Zion, living in luxury and pleasure, in a false self-confidence notwithstanding all the warnings that had been given.
Amos 7, Amos 8 and Amos 9 are visions, and their applications. Amos 7 exhibits the patience of Jehovah. The prophet interceded for Jacob, and Jehovah repented of the evil he was bringing on them; still judgment must follow. The declaration of the doom of the high places was distasteful to Amaziah the priest of the king’s false religion at Bethel, who was dwelling at ease. He bade Amos flee to Judah. But Amos replied that he had been no prophet, nor prophet’s son, but only a herdman, and Jehovah had sent him. Judgments should fall upon Amaziah and Israel should go into captivity. Amos 8 again denounces Israel especially for self-ease and oppression of the poor.
Amos 9. None could escape the eye and judgment of God. He would destroy them from off the face of the earth, but not utterly: a remnant should be saved (Amos 9:9). Amos 9:11-15 speak of restoration and blessing. The plowman shall overtake the reaper; the mountains shall drop wine. The captives shall return. God will plant them upon their land and they shall no more be pulled up. Promises still to be fulfilled, for no such things have yet been. May God hasten them in His own time!

Obadiah, Book of

There is nothing in this prophecy to fix its date. The whole of it relates to Edom or the Edomites. Edom (Esau) is characterized in scripture by his deadly hatred to his “brother Jacob” (Obad. 1:10). His pride is spoken of, exalting himself as the eagle, setting his nest in the firmament of heaven, and seeking his safety in the high caves of the rocks, which well answers to their habitations in Idumea.
Part of the prophecy may refer to the time when Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon. In Psalm 137:7-8, Edom is associated with Babylon as against Jerusalem. Obadiah 1:12-14 of the prophecy exactly describe the manner of a people like the Arabs when a city was captured. There are seven reproaches against them: they helped to pillage the place, stood in by-places to cut off any that escaped, and delivered them up to their enemies. These intimations of their assisting in the destruction of Jerusalem have led to the prophecy being usually dated B.C. 587, the year following the destruction.
The prophecy, however, probably looks onward to the last days, when Israel, restored to their land, will be attacked by Edom, and kindred nations (Psa. 83). Idumea will be their rendezvous, and the sword of the Lord will be filled with blood (Isa. 34:5-6). Obadiah depicts the Jews themselves as God’s instruments for the destruction of Esau; which agrees with Isaiah 11:14 and Daniel 11:41. “Upon mount Zion shall be deliverance....the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble” (Obad. 1:17-18). The destruction shall be complete: “every one of the mount of Esau” shall be cut off by slaughter; “there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau” (Obad. 1: 9,18). Their land shall be possessed by Israel, for God’s ways are retributive. The prophecy ends with “the kingdom shall be Jehovah’s.”


Son of Amittai and the prophet of Gath-hepher (in Galilee, compare John 7:52). His prophecy is in the main the history of himself. It shows that the prophet embodied in himself the testimony of God through Israel to the Gentiles (Compare Matt. 24:14), and also the important fact that God regards the contrition and turning from evil of a city or nation. Jonah was directed to go and cry against that great city Nineveh; but instead of obeying, he fled from the presence of the Lord. He himself tells us why he fled—he knew Jehovah was gracious: if he foretold the destruction of the city, and God spared it, he would lose his reputation (Jonah 4:2). It was the same with Israel: they could not bear grace being shown to the Gentiles (compare Acts 13:45; 1 Thess. 2:16). Jonah was God’s servant, but unfaithful: his unfaithfulness brought him into the depths of judgment, but he then embodied in his own person the truth of the testimony he proclaimed, and yet while proclaiming the judgment, he was unprepared for the extension of mercy to the Gentiles. God stopped him in his course, and though he slept, the sailors called him to account. After praying to their gods, they drew lots and the lot fell on Jonah. He had to confess he was fleeing from Jehovah, the God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land. Thus Jehovah was made known to those Gentile seamen. They cried unto Him not to lay the blood of Jonah upon them, and they cast him into the sea. They feared Jehovah exceedingly, offered a sacrifice to Him, and made vows. In like manner the obduracy of the Jews only opened the door wider for grace to go to the Gentiles.
Jonah 2. God prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah, for he was His servant. When in the depths he cried to Jehovah, “out of the belly of Sheol:” as the remnant of Israel will plead when they feel that the sentence of death is passed upon them. Salvation is of the Lord. Jonah was raised out of death, as the Lord was raised after being in the grave; and as Israel will arise out of the dust of the earth (compare Dan. 12:2).
Jonah 3. A second time Jonah receives his commission. God will not set His purpose aside because of the failure of His servant. Jonah now obeyed, and proclaimed “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” The king called for a fast, put on sackcloth, and ordered all to do the same, and even to clothe the beasts with sackcloth, and he commanded all to turn away from their evil ways. God saw that the repentance was real, and He turned from the destruction that was predicted. See NINEVEH.
Jonah 4. God’s clemency greatly displeased Jonah, and he was very angry; what would become of his reputation? In his prayer he repeated what he had at first said to himself about the grace of God. He asked God to take away his life: how could he be a prophet to such a God? Alas, he was filled with his own importance. As he watched to see what would become of the city, God prepared a gourd to give him shade from the heat of the sun, and he rejoiced over the gourd; but the next day it withered, and under the power of the sun and the east wind he fainted, and again asked to die. He said to God that he did well to be angry about the gourd, but God condescended to reason with him, saying that as Jonah had had pity on the gourd which cost him nothing; so God had had pity on Nineveh, a city with more than 60,000 inhabitants who knew not their right hand from their left, besides very much cattle.
We may hope that Jonah humbled himself before being used by the Spirit to write his own history—a history which shows what the heart of even a servant of God was, and the means employed by God to teach him. Jonah is once spoken of elsewhere as having prophesied of events which came to pass in the days of Jeroboam II. This places Jonah as one of the earliest of the Minor Prophets (2 Kings 14:25). He is called JONAS in the New Testament where a contrast is drawn between the Ninevites repenting at the preaching of Jonah, and the Jews not repenting though a greater than Jonah was then among them. Allusion is also made to Jonah being in the fish’s belly as a type of the Lord’s burial “in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:39-41; Matt. 16:4; Luke 11:29-32).

Micah, Book of

Nothing is known of the prophet personally. He prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and was thus contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea. His prophecy was concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. God spoke from His holy temple, and the prophet exclaimed, “Hear, all ye peoples.” He spoke to all people saying, “Hearken, O earth.” All the earth was involved in the judgments that God was going to bring upon His chosen people: a solemn consideration when the people of God, instead of being a testimony for Him, bring the judgments of God down on the world. The time has come that judgment must begin at the house of God. The prophecy seems to divide itself into three sections: the word “hear” introducing each: 1. Micah 1-2; 2. Micah 3-5; 3. Micah 6-7.
Micah 1-2. may be regarded as introductory. Judgments should fall upon Samaria, her wound was incurable; but they should also approach Judah and Jerusalem. The Assyrian is the special instrument of the judgments.
Micah 2. The prophet speaks of the moral state of the people that called for judgment. Schemes of violence were devised by them to gratify their covetousness. They had turned away from the testimony, and it should be taken from them. Micah 2:6 may be translated “Prophesy ye not, they prophesy. If they do not prophesy to these, the ignominy will not depart.” Their wickedness spared neither women nor children. There was a call to arise and depart, for the land of promise was polluted. Nevertheless, God does not renounce His purpose concerning Israel. He will gather them together for blessing in the last days. There shall be a “breaker” by whom He will remove all obstacles.
Micah 3. The princes and prophets are denounced because of their iniquity; but the prophet himself was full of power to declare the sin of Israel, consequently Zion should be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem should become heaps. This prophecy has been literally fulfilled.
Micah 4 turns to the blessing of the last days, when Mount Zion will have the first place, and many nations will approach the mountain of the Lord that they may learn His ways. The people will be judged in righteousness; and there will be peace, safety, and plenty. But before this there would be the loss of the royal power established in Zion, and their captivity in Babylon, but they should be redeemed. Eventually there would be many nations come against Zion, but the daughter of Zion should beat them to pieces, and consecrate their spoils to Jehovah, the Lord of the whole earth (compare Psa. 83, Isa. 17:12-14; Zech. 14:2).
Micah 5. Another subject and another Person are introduced before the final blessings of Israel can be brought to them, namely, the MESSIAH, “the judge of Israel,” whose goings forth had been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2 tells where Christ would be born, and this prophecy was referred to by the religious rulers when Herod inquired of them respecting His birth. If this verse be read as a parenthesis it will make the context clearer. Because the Judge of Israel was smitten on the cheek with a rod, therefore He gave them up until the time of bringing forth, when the remnant of His brethren should return unto the children of Israel; that is, they will no longer be added to the church as in Acts 2:27. “He shall stand and feed in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God; and they shall abide.”
The Assyrian will appear at the close, but only to be destroyed; for Jehovah will have renewed His connection with Israel. The remnant of Jacob will then be in power as a lion: horses and chariots will be destroyed, and all graven images and symbols of idolatry. God will execute such vengeance as will not previously have been heard of.
Micah 6 returns to the moral condition of the people, and the judgments that must follow. Jehovah pathetically appeals to His people. He recounts what He has done for them, and asks wherein He had wearied them. Let them testify against Him. He rehearses their sins, and the punishments that must follow.
Micah 7. The prophet takes the place of intercessor, and pleads with God for the people, lamenting their condition; but in faith he says, “I will look unto Jehovah; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.” Those who rejoiced at their tribulation shall be trodden down as mire. The city will be rebuilt and the people brought from far, to the amazement of the nations, who will be confounded to see them in power again. The prophet closes with expressions of faith in and adoration of the God that pardons. He has confidence that God will perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which He had sworn to their fathers from the days of old.


Nothing is known of the personal history of this prophet: he is called “the Elkoshite,” which is supposed to refer to a place named Elkosh in Galilee. There is no reference to dates in the prophecy, but it is generally placed at about B.C. 714, when Sennacherib invaded Judæa (2 Kings 18:13). The prophecy is against Nineveh, and foretells its destruction, though, like other prophecies, it has an application to the future, when “Assyria” will again be the open enemy of Israel.
The prophecy opens with the character of Jehovah in government. He is slow to anger, but He is jealous, and His revenge is furious. He is good, and a safe refuge in the day of trouble for those that trust in Him; but, as to His enemies, with an overflowing flood He will make an utter end of their place. Not only is the destruction of Nineveh foretold, but the Assyrian nation also should come to a full end.
One who had come out to oppress Israel, was a wicked counselor, who imagined evil, not only against Judah, but against Jehovah: he should be cut off. Compare the insulting language of Rab-shakeh, the general of the king of Assyria: at first he said that Jehovah had sent him, and then treated the God of Israel as no better than the heathen gods, who had not been able to protect their worshippers (2 Kings 18:25,32-33). But there was good news for Judah; God would break the yoke of Assyria off their necks. They might keep their solemn feasts. The enemy should no more pass through. What took place in Hezekiah’s day was but a type of the latter-day fulfillment of this chapter (compare Nah. 1:10; 2 Kings 19:35); and in this way we see the scope of prophecy and not simply the immediate events that gave rise to it.
Nahum 2 concerns the city of Nineveh directly. God had allowed Jacob to be disciplined and “emptied out;” but now Nineveh must be dealt with. It is exhorted to make good its defense, yet the gates of the rivers should be opened, and the palace should be dissolved. Here it is not the “gates of the city,” as when Babylon was taken, but “the gates of the rivers.” This may refer to the Tigris and the canals that watered the city. The overflowing river, it is said, caused a breach in the sun-dried brick walls.
“Huzzab shall be led away captive” (Nah. 2:7). This name is supposed by some to be symbolical of Nineveh, the one “established,” or “held to be impregnable,” as in the margin; others, however, believe it refers to the reigning queen, who should be led captive with her maids. The spoil which had been taken in many wars was great, but should now enrich others. The reference to the lions, and the strangling, and the filling the dens with ravin, possibly applied to the cruelties which the Assyrians inflicted on their prisoners, and which are depicted by themselves on their monuments. Truly, as said in Nahum 3, it was a “bloody city.” The following verses, as also Nahum 2:3-4, show that it was a warlike nation, ever seeking to enrich itself by the spoil of other nations, among which were Israel and Judah. It should not only be brought down, but should be made vile and a gazing-stock. Nahum 3:8-10 show that as “populous No” (the renowned Thebes, with its hundred gates), had been brought to naught (probably by Sargon, king of Assyria), so should Nineveh fall. The gates of the land should be left open for their enemies, and as the cankerworm, the locust, and the grasshopper destroy vegetation, so should be their desolation. Fire is spoken of several times, and the explorations that have been made at the ruins of Nineveh abundantly prove that fire did its destructive work. The denunciations close with, “There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?” The ruins show how complete and lasting was God’s judgment on the guilty city. See NINEVEH.


Nothing is said of the prophet’s ancestors, nor as to when he prophesied. He is generally placed in the time of Josiah or a little later: it was before the captivity of Judah, for that is foretold.
Habakkuk 1. The prophet exhibits the exercise of a heart full of sympathy towards the people of God. The evil among them greatly distressed him, and he cried mightily unto God. In Habakkuk 1:5-11 is God’s answer. He will raise up the Chaldeans, a “bitter and hasty nation,” to punish them. The character and violence of the Chaldeans are described.
In the verses from Habakkuk 1:12 to Habakkuk 2:1, the prophet pleads with God not to be unmindful that the Chaldeans were worse than Judah. He will watch for God’s answer.
In Habakkuk 2:2-20 is God’s reply. The prophet was told to write the vision so plainly that he who read it might run. The vision was for an appointed time, but it hasted to the end. The restless, grasping pride of the Chaldeans God would in due time judge; but meanwhile “the just shall live by his faith.” The rapacity of the Babylonian is spoken of, and then woes are pronounced against the oppressor, for his covetousness, his blood-shedding, his debauchery, and his idolatry.
In contrast to all this the announcement is made that “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the [bed of the] sea.” This looks forward to the millennium, passing over the partial return of the people in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The prophet is assured that “The Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Judgment on the Gentile rulers of God’s people will, at the time of the end, immediately precede and lead to the kingdom.
Habakkuk 3 is a prayer of the prophet. “Upon Shigionoth,” reads in the margin “according to variable songs or tunes,” which signification seems confirmed by the subscription, “To the chief singer on stringed instruments.” The prophet realizes the presence of God while he reviews His past dealings against Israel’s enemies, and sees in them the pledge of the future salvation. At the close, while faith has to wait for the blessing, he rejoices in God, saying, “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”