Readings on Numbers: 2

Numbers; Genesis 50:10; John 20:23; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 2 Corinthians 10; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; Hebrews 12:22; James 5:15
Reading 2
WE will just notice the general division of the book. First, there is the numbering, and arranging of the people then, beginning with chapter 5, the holiness of God, the Nazarite, and the Levite; next, the preparing of the camp to go on with God; whilst in chapter 19 there is provision for failure by the way.
Ques. Should every Israelite have been a Nazarite?
I do not say that; taken as a whole, they were to be a people, for God. But we ought to be all Nazarites.
Ques. What is the difference, between one who is a Nazarite from birth, and one who is such by vow?
A Nazarite froth birth had a special calling, like Samson, in which, however, he failed, like others, whereas some have vows at will.
Ques. What is the vow?
The giving up of self to God. We have been bought at a price; and we are not our own; some may have a deeper sense of this, or they may have a special calling, as Paul, but still it is the case with every Christian. In the full unfailing sense of it, Christ was the only true Nazarite, and we have to walk as He walked; that is the great thing one has to look for among Christians.
Ques. What was the meaning for the Israelite of the vow being over?
He might drink wine then—the joy of this world. All the days of his separation he was not to drink any wine; i.e., mere human joy; nor might he touch a dead body, which was a sign of sin. If a man happened to die by him, all the past time was lost.
Ques. What was Paul's vow?
I do not know.
Ques. Can you always apply the actual circumstances of Israel to us?
The principle in them you can; but that is all. Paul did not let his hair grow and that is the opposite of a Nazarite. It was when the vow was over that the head was shorn.
Ques. Would a vow be at all in connection with their condition, but as under law, so that there was nothing permanent in it?
Not that I know of.
Ques. Is there not an amount of human power in making a vow?
Yes; so accordingly there is now no vow, but it is, "Swear not at all."
Ques. We often hear of persons making a vow?
Yes, but it is all wrong for a Christian.
Ques. But if he purposes in his heart?
Just so; but then it is, if the Lord will.
Ques. He might deny himself certain things for a purpose?
Yes; but I should not like to make a vow to do it. It is if the Lord will, we will go into such a city, and buy and sell and get gain.
Ques. Paul kept under his body?
Yes, but that was a constant thing, not a particular thing.
Ques. Did an Israelite ever accomplish it?
I do not know; some may have done so as a mere-outward thing. Only do not confound the type with the thing typified.
Ques. But a man under law fails altogether?
Yes, when he finds the law is spiritual, though externally he may say, "All these things have I kept from my youth up." But when the Lord talks to the young ruler about his money, he goes away sorrowful. It is separation in heart to God that answers to it now.
Ques. How do you explain Paul's words, "Touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless"?
That he was not a thief or murderer; but the moment the law came and said, "Thou shalt not lust," it was all over with him. The duties were there, whether towards God or towards man, only the law did not deal with sin in the flesh.
Ques. Would he have brought the sacrifice proper for every transgression?
No; I suppose he never broke the law in an outward sense. So with the young man, the Lord did not tell him that he had not kept the law. But when Paul took the principle of it, “Thou shalt not covet," i.e. not lust, it was all up with him because he was a man and did lust. To bring an offering would not be "blameless," it would be meeting the blame.
Ques. But that did not meet the whole thing in the ten commandments?
I beg your pardon, it did meet the whole thing until he came to the inward thing.
Ques. Zacharias was spoken of in the same way?
Yes, and his wife Elizabeth, too. Remember, sacrifices only met the outward relationship of man with God for the time being.
Ques. Does Nazariteship specially refer to saints now, like the Lord says, " I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom "?
Yes, that is its full character in its application to us, only we are a living sacrifice.
Ques. Do you see anything special in the priestly action introduced at the end of chapter 6?
If the sacrifice was offered to God, you must have a priest.
Ques. But I mean the last verses?
Well, that is the converse of it.
The Nazarite offered himself to God, and God put His name upon Israel, only it was as separated to God that He did so. God said, "And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them."
Ques. What did the apostle mean by "the Israel of God "?
It is in Galatians where they were bringing the saints under the law every way, but he so speaks of those whom he owned as consecrated to God.
J.B.S. I think I find the apostle refusing a great many thing besides on the ground of self-denial.
Explain then; what were they? He would not be a stumbling block to others.
J.B.S. I think a Nazarite is more self-denial.
But a Nazarite was consecrated to God.
J.B.S. But the greatest moral victory in a man walking here is self-denial. I do not mean any monkish spirit, but like as Paul says, “I keep under my body."
But the Nazarite in Numbers had not an object as a Christian has?
J.B.S. But the object brings in self-denial.
Self is the principle of sin, for it is self that shuts out God. But I am not my own; if I am my own, I am going to hell. So self denial is the principle of godliness, only it is founded on the grace that has brought us out of ruin. Selfishness began with Eve. All the scene was just enjoying God's mercies in her place, and then self came in. But now man is separated from God, he is his own god; Eve did not trust God to make her happy, but she set to work to try to make herself happy. There is only one power for us, and that is Christ, and now Christ is all to me.
Ques. What is the meaning of " Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy"?
Take it simply as it stands. I enjoyed my breakfast this morning, and I thanked God for it. A person may say he enjoys his food because he is hungry, that is eating like a pig eats; but if you thank God for it, it is another thing for then you enjoy it as given of God.
Ques. What is the connection of the next verse, " That they do good, that they be rich in good works "?
Well, he goes on to speak of other things, but it means that instead of trusting man, and self, and riches, I trust in the living God, from whom I receive everything; and it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer, instead of being eaten in a merely natural way from want; it is enjoyed with God.
Ques. And it is enjoyed in poverty as well, as in riches? Yes, only there is less temptation in poverty than in riches.
Ques. Does, " He shall be called, a Nazarene,", in Matt. 2:2323And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. (Matthew 2:23), refer to where our Lord was brought up, or, to His Nazariteship?
There are two words, "Nazarene " and "Nazarite." Nazarene refers to where He was brought up; there is no connection between the two, only they are a little mixed up in the English.
Ques. Was His Nazariteship broken through being made sin for us?
So far as He was concerned, there never was a time when He was so separated to God as when He was made sin: " Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my. life." He was a Nazarite from life as well as from wine.
Ques. Did Jehovah put His name upon them there, on the ground of their separation to Himself?
Yes, in a way; that is to say, taking the Nazarite as Israel in a certain sense.
Ques. Is there any parallel between this and Deut. 26, "I have not eaten thereof in my mourning "?
Yes, in principle there is. The Low had separated the people like ourselves; God separates us to Himself, but having the new, man and the Holy Ghost, I separate myself, to Him. We see that in Rom. 6 They had been slaves and are now set free. That is God's work. And to whom, then, are you going to give yourselves? Is it to sin, or is it to God? It was the priest's rod, not Moses' rod, that was henceforth to carry them through. There is all the difference between, "the" rod and "thy" rod.
Ques. Why the sacrifices at the end of the Nazarite's vow? Without sacrifices Nazariteship would, be nothing at all; there can be no blessing without the sacrifice of Christ, so they had to be, added to this consecration. The consecration was acceptable in virtue of the value of that which the sacrifices represented; they both went together.
Ques. Is there anything to learn from the "basket" that held the bread?
In Deuteronomy-26, we find the basket of the first-fruits of the land; it takes them all, I suppose.
In chapter 13, " The LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men,"etc., and in Deuteronomy; 22, Moses says " Ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us," etc. And Moses adds, "The saying pleased me well." The Lord sanctioned it, but still it was the working of unbelief. Instead of going on simply in faith; how often do we raise a cloud of questions in order to get a human estimate of a thing only to find out at last that the walls are up to heaven. Instead of doing the thing to be done, we are looking at all the questions and difficulties that can be raised. And thus it ended in their not going into the land at all.
Ques. Is not the tribe of Levi outside all this?
Ques. And were they not involved in despising the land?
I do not know that. 'But it was by the commandment of the Lord that Moses sent the spies. Despising the pleasant land, was when they wanted to go back into Egypt. However, they had the grapes of Eshcol, and the witness of the spies, but this gave the very things for unbelief to work upon. “They are stronger than we,” say the spies, but really their strength was departed from them. The cities were walled, and they saw the giants too, but when finally they reached Canaan, the wall were just as high, and the children of Anak were still there; not one of the difficulties of unbelief had been removed. Only, when they go forward with God, difficulty is no difficulty. But the moment this account came before them, the people got uneasy, the report cowed them. “The land ... eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants ... and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” Now in all this I find two things: it is an evil report of the land—there is nothing good in it—and then, God is quite left out, for had they thought of God, the question would have been this: Is God a grasshopper or not? Only Caleb says, “We are well able to overcome it,” and then, in chapter 14, Joshua and Caleb say, “If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us.” The spies had said at first that it was a land that surely “floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.” But in spite of this good report the moment they bring in a “nevertheless,” their faith fails and then they lose sight of everything.
Ques. God did not rebuke them for sending the spies?
No; but it was unbelief in the shape of human wisdom. And the point of the spies' answer was, " We be not able to go up against the people "-the grapes were sour (verse 31). They looked at the difficulties and then all was bad, though they had the grapes on their shoulders. Further, the whole congregation lifted up their voice, and cried, until they fairly turned for Egypt. It was now a positive giving up of the whole thing. Moses and Aaron rent their clothes, and it took Joshua and Caleb to bring in the Lord: "The people of the land... are bread for us," and "the LORD is with us: fear them not." That was real faith; but all the congregation bade stone them with stones-they would not listen to the testimony.
Ques. Was not this the despising of the pleasant land according to Psalm 106?
Well it was, though there is another case of it, too.
Ques. Is this the " gospel " in the beginning of Heb. 4? In principle it is.
Ques. People may go so far with you in truth until they come to the heavenly truth, and then they go back?
Yes; the truth that tests faith is always the truth that unbelief deals with. If a truth has become accredited, well. Or as at the Reformation, they glorified in justification by faith because it was against Rome. But if one speaks of ministry by the Spirit, and of the coming of the Lord, souls hesitate and refuse. I see this in Scripture, " The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me." The Jews boasted of having the true God, but the truth that the Father had sent the Son had come in and was testing them, and they would not have that, but stoned them that held it. People accept the Lord's coming as a doctrine that He will appear, but not as coming at any moment to take up the church. The rapture and the church are identified in Scripture, but the coming of the Lord is in the Old Testament, as well as in the New. Even in the Apostles' Creed we find the mere fact that the Lord will come to judge the quick and the dead. I remember when brethren were very much exercised about the truth of the rapture, some thinking it upset, " They that are Christ's at his coming." But what always comforts me is that the Lord takes care to wake up in time all the virgins, whether they have refused the rapture much or long. It is a truth that will sift Christians amazingly.
Ques. How large a company is, " They that are Christ's at his coming "?
They that are Christ's, but I do not know how many that will be.
Ques. There is no doubt as to the Old Testament saints being among them?
No, I have no doubt; and the elders in heaven would take them all in. Until the modern evangelical doctrine of an invisible church, nobody ever thought of the Old Testament saints being the church, or of the church as the same thing as Judaism.
Ques. Will all professors be aroused?
We are no judge of people. I believe many who call themselves Christians will turn out to be infidels. Mixture enough there is on every side; you will never do the Lord's work without finding the devil working against it.
Eph. 2 makes it impossible to mingle Jewish saints of the Old Testament with the church. The middle wall of partition separated them off, but now in Christ it is broken down. The Jew as such was bound not to accept the foundation of the church, i.e., he had to keep up the middle wall of partition and not let the Gentile in; but the principle of Christianity is that there is neither Jew nor Gentile, " for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." If the doctrine that Paul preached had been preached, say, in Hezekiah's time, it would have broken down Judaism altogether. The mixture that exists to-day is really the refusal of the truth of the church; it practically denies that there is any.
Ques. But do not such put the O.T. saints into the church after they have gone to heaven?
But that is monstrous, for it is telling me that what the Lord does here is not what He does there. And to say that God is going to give them a new place in heaven, without a single syllable of it in Scripture, is of man, not of God.
Ques. What is the city Abraham looked for?
We are the city, the New Jerusalem. If the church, the body of Christ, is in the Old Testament, then, on that showing, it is a body without a head; but it is clear enough from Eph. 1 that Christ, as raised from the dead, is given to be Head over all things to the church which is His body. And by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body; but the Holy Ghost was not yet, because that Jesus was not yet glorified. So whether we take Christ as Head or the Holy Ghost, as the power, we. have neither the one nor the other with the Old Testament saints.
Ques. If when Israel reached Kadesh-barnea, they had gone on in faith into the land, they would not have had any Jordan to cross. Is there not another point for us in connection with that?
It brings out much deeper truth; never -would they go up that mountain again, and they all perished in the "wilderness. The nation has to go round, and this brings out a fresh truth for us, namely, that we must cross the Jordan. And when the Jews themselves get their true blessing ultimately, it will also be founded on death and resurrection.
Ques. Did the Egyptians cross Jordan in Genesis 50?
It does not say so. They went to Atad, and Joseph went on to Canaan. “Beyond Jordan," can only be understood according as we take the standpoint of the writer. Verse 13 would show, I think, that Jacob's sons carried him and buried him in Machpelah. That was not Atad, nor did all the people of verse 9 go over. In verse 10, "beyond Jordan" would mean to the east of it, so that the sons of Jacob went Over, but not the Egyptians., In Num. 14, the place Moses takes before the Lord is truly beautiful. The Egyptians shall' hear it," and the nations will say, "Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness."
Ques. Would you connect Psa. 90 with this?
That Psalm applies to the last days; it opens Book 4; which is looking especially for the Lord's return. The next Psalm takes up the names of Jehovah, God of Israel, recognizing the most High, and so they get the blessing of Abraham from the Almighty.
Ques. What do, we learn from verse 22, of Num. 13': " Now Hebron was built seven years before 'Zoan in Egypt?
Well, I do not know that I have ever, got anything from it; it is, I suppose, just an incidental notice. I suppose Zoan was one of the places near which Israel was.
Ques. Hebron and the richest grapes figure the perfection of grace in the heavenlies. Zoan, where God's wonders were wrought, but not bowed to by the wisdom of this world's princes (Psa. 78:1212Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. (Psalm 78:12) and 43), is the place of Pharaoh's counselors, and they become fools (Isa. 19:11, 1311Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings? (Isaiah 19:11)
13The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof. (Isaiah 19:13)
). But Hebron was set up the perfection of time before the world's counselors had a place at all?
I dare say. The Lord says, in Num. 14:2020And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word: (Numbers 14:20), "I have pardoned according to thy word"; and He further tells Moses that those men shall not see the land, though all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. That will be the completion of everything. Three times is this “filling” mentioned: there in this passage, in Isa. 11:99They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9), and in Hab. 2:1414For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14); and each time it is connected with judgment.
Yes, “let," that is the desire, not the fact.
Ques. But is it judgment in Habakkuk?
Yes. "The people shall labor in the very fire," and so on, and the earth shall be "filled," not with grace but, "with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD," etc.
Ques. In Isaiah 40:55And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5), we read, "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together”?
Yes, and that will be in judgment in the future day. Isaiah 6 refers to the same thing.
Ques. Is it not millennial glory?
Yes, but the glory of the Lord does not appear until He executes judgment. Very beautiful is it to see Moses hide himself thus behind the glory of the Lord. And notice the administered forgiveness is not redemption forgiveness. It is so, even now in the church of God: “If he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him" (James 5:1515And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:15)); and Paul says to the Corinthians, "To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also." Absolute redemption forgiveness was never known historically in the church of God. The standing of the soul with God never had historical existence in the professing church, and now we find it dreaded more, than anything.
Ques. If one who has been "put away" is received again, is that the forgiveness you mean?
That is one form of it.
I think that there it is more what they were baptized to. An important, thing it is in its place, but redemption' forgiveness is the thing wanted. One finds constantly in people's souls the thought that all their sins are put away, up to the time of their conversion; but since? Ah! you will find they have really lost all. There is the difficulty as to what is to be done with the gap that has slipped down since. Ask any evangelical Christian if he understands that "the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins."
Ques. " Son, thy sins be forgiven thee," is that administered forgiveness?
I suppose so.
Ques. But such forgiveness did not meet the case in Num. 14?
Yes, it did.
Ques. But their carcases fell in the wilderness?
Just so, ultimately, but they were forgiven for the time being and they were allowed to go on. Present government also is very distinct from everlasting salvation. In Popery, they forgive the sins if they have not committed any, and when they have, they cannot. The trouble arises from looking at the Spirit's work in me, which has given me the consciousness of the sins I have committed. But when I look at the work of Christ, at the cross all my sins were future. People say it is a dangerous doctrine; but all I know is, that if it is not true, I shall be damned. It is confusing the Spirit's work in me with the work of Christ for me. But when full Popery came in, then they got absolution by the priest all cut and dried for a man. They bring in absolution because they have no knowledge of redemption. But now, knowing redemption, I learn to hate the sins more and more-all right. Evangelicals resprinkle with the blood of Christ; and I ask them, where do you get your doctrine in Scripture? It is not found there. In Hebrews 10:1414For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14), the real force of "forever" is, "in immutable continuity." We never find in Scripture that "we must offend," but, "we do offend."
Ques. In Galatians, the flesh lusteth against the Spirit? Yes, but it is "that ye may not do the things that ye would," i.e., the flesh labors to hinder.
Ques. Would you say more about "no more conscience of sins"?
Once purged, I go to God, and I cannot have the idea of His imputing my sins to me, for He has imputed them all to Christ. And that is the only right Christian state.
Ques. But might I not have that, and yet have an idea that something is not forgiven?
No. The constant Christian condition is this, while I hate myself for what I do that is wrong, and God in government may judge it too, yet, in going to God, I can never have sins on my mind as something to be imputed to me.
Ques. But you could not say your sins were all forgiven at the cross?
Certainly not, not one of them; no sins are ever forgiven before they are committed. But if, when away from God, I go to God, the Christ who bore my sins is there, and I cannot have the thought of God's imputing them to me while that Christ is sitting at His right hand, i.e., the One who, after having purged my sins, has sat down there.
Ques. But suppose I am out of communion?
That has nothing to do with imputation. You are first cleared as to imputation, and communion follows. Born of God, you have a holy nature, but you can have no proper state and feelings until you know you have everlasting forgiveness. If I still have an idea that sin can be imputed to me, I must connect it with my acceptance. There is all the difference between righteousness before God, and holiness in my ways. Righteousness takes up the question of the judicial character of God, and all was met at the cross; but if it is a question of holiness, I now hate sin for sin's own sake. I cannot get on that ground, if the question of righteousness is not settled. But that once settled, then I say, ' Look, I have gone and found my pleasure in the very thing that made Christ's agony on the cross.' And then communion is stopped. The iniquity of my sin is rather the crookedness and departure from God on my part. But I have the sense of no imputation; and now that I am saved I hate sin, as regards unholiness. If we are manifested to God now, there will be nothing to come out at the judgment seat.
There is a beautiful point in Num. 15:1, 21And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land of your habitations, which I give unto you, (Numbers 15:1‑2). After the conduct of the people in chapter 14, the Lord says to Moses, as a matter of course, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land of your habitations." God is not stopped, but looks forward still to the completion of the whole thing, because His purpose in grace is certain to be fulfilled.
Ques. What is " the gainsaying of Core "?
They resisted the authority of Moses, and pretended to the priesthood when they were only Levites. Then the rod, Aaron's rod, leads through the wilderness and nothing else does.
Ques., Num. 19 is more a sense of defilement than of fear of judgment?
Quite so, it is cleansing, not forgiveness. They were to kill the heifer, and sprinkle its blood seven times directly before the door of the tabernacle, of the congregation; because, I suppose, all the people were concerned in it. When Moses went in, it was to God inside, but the people would be gathered at the door.
Ques. Is not the red heifer, atonement?
It is a sacrifice for sin, but there is no re-application of blood by it at all.
Ques. Was there only one heifer killed?
If the ashes were all spent, they might kill another, but I do not know.
Then all was burnt together cedar wood, scarlet; and hyssop. But sin is an unclean thing, and he that gathered the ashes, and the priest, and he that burnt all, each one of them was unclean'; it was a question of cleanness, and uncleanness. And then comes a case the avoiding 'of which was almost impossible; namely, the touching of the dead body of a man.
Ques. Why was it a heifer and not a bullock?
It was' not of the complete character of the great day of atonement. And there is no altar here, and that clears the thought of standing being in question. It was Eleazar too; not Aaron.
Ques. Why a "grave"?
A grave implies anything dead.
Then comes the double cleansing on the third day, and on the seventh day.
Ques. What is the open vessel?
One that could be reached.
Ques. What does it mean now?
It shows that everything that came within the breath of sin was unclean.
Ques. What is the difference between this, and touching an unclean animal in Lev. 6?
It is much the same in principle, but this is on the journey, and so it is found in Numbers.
Ques. There is re-sprinkling here?
Yes, but of what?
Ques. Ashes?
And what did the ashes show but that the thing was all consumed when Christ died, and that there is no repetition of His death, or re-sprinkling with blood.
Ques. But you could not say that God had any complacency in the agony of Christ?
No, I should not. God had no pleasure in His being agonized, but He took pleasure in the effect of it; "It pleased the Lord to bruise him," and I should understand a person using such language, if he used it with a good intention. That dreadful agony of met all that God was. There is no objection, therefore, to the thought of God finding complacency in Christ all that time; the Lord smelled a sweet savor in the sacrifice itself.
Ques. Why was it Eleazar, and not Aaron who acted here?
Had it been Aaron, it would have showed that some link between the whole people and God had been lost, and that was not true; the nation stood as it was, but individual communion alone was touched.
Ques. It brings out the deepest view of [individual] sin in the Old Testament?
Yes, I think so.
When one is defiled, then one that is 'clean takes the' water and sprinkles upon him; it is the power of the Spirit of God and the word, bringing home to him what it had been to Christ to be consumed as Victim because of sin, but the sin had been consumed in Christ's work, so that no question of imputation arises.
Ques. Is the water, then, the written word?
There must be the full effect of the power of the Spirit of God by the word, which is certainly the use of running, i.e., living water. " Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." The Lord is speaking here, not of guilt, but of the contrast between unclean and clean.
Then there are two things: First, I must have that view of sin Which God has of it and which I could not get but by the death of Christ, and the power of the Spirit of God' it is that makes good to me, by that death, what sin is in the presence of such grace; and secondly, I get absolute clearness as to its having been put away out of God's sight so that I am in communion with Him. First, I have the sense in my conscience of what sin is in God's sight as manifested in the cross: 'it " became him... in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect, through sufferings"—that is what became God according to His nature. The cross has taken away my guilt, though that is not the thing here; but through the ashes of the death of Christ being brought home to my conscience and heart, I lay hold of that which makes me feel what a horrible thing sin is; but then I see, too, the other side of the question, and that is that all was burnt up in Christ's cross, and I am brought back into communion. This is a thoroughly deep work. A person is thus brought under the efficacy of the great day of atonement, that he may have communion with God. Sin is hateful to God, and he who touches it is unclean.
Ques. Would there, then, be a consciousness of this in dealing with cases of discipline?
Yes, where the word came home in the power of the Spirit of God.
Ques. Is it the same as John 13?
As to Christ's connection with it, I think it is.
Ques. You do not, then, allow pleading for that which is unavoidable?
When you come practically to deal with it, I do not know such a thing as unavoidable sin, though at any given moment, through my carelessness, sin may have become unavoidable.
Ques. But what about people in contact with business and all that?
I know nothing weaker than myself, and I know nothing stronger than the grace of God.
Ques. Is it possible for us to be in this world at all without being defiled?
Certainly, but if you ask me whether we are or no, that is another thing. " In many things we offend all."
Ques. But the whole world is defiled?
He will keep you in the secret of His presence from the strife of tongues.
Ques. In Rom. 7 sin is a necessity, but in Rom. 8 it is no necessity, because of the law of the Spirit of life?
Quite so.
Ques. Has the third day anything to do with a long delay?
No, I do not think so. I should not stop immediate confession, though there might be an acknowledgment of the outward fact, without a proper sense of its character.
Ques. Then such an one must know that he is defiled three days before he is sprinkled?
Yes. The Lord did not charge Peter with having denied Him, but He probed his self-confidence by asking him whether he loved Him more than did the other disciples.
Ques. Would "faithful ... to forgive" be the third day, and "to cleanse" be the seventh day?
No, it is cleansing here, and no question of forgiving at all.
Ques. How would anyone know that he has touched the dead thing?
That is the work of the Spirit of God, and there is danger that there may be no adequate sense of what makes impure.
Ques. The man would have a sense of the redemption and sufferings of Christ on the third day?
Ques. Has not all this a dispensational bearing on Israel in the future?
I do not doubt it has, because it is in the death of Christ that they have brought their great sin upon them. When they look on Him whom they have pierced, that will be the seventh day.
Ques. Does verse 13 have any application to an assembly of saints?
If one goes there unclean, he does defile the communion. It is most important for us all that we should measure what sin is in view of the cross.
Ques. But when we come together, do we not sometimes get washed by one another, without our knowing the circumstances?
That may happen, for God can apply the word, but that is not washing one another's feet, for that is active individual service. But, in John 13, the Lord is sitting with the disciples as their companion in the world, and there, knowing that the glory was His and that He was going to it, in the perfect holiness of His nature He says to Peter, " If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." I am going away, but I am not going to give you up, I must have you with me where I go, and dirty feet will not do for heaven.
Ques. Is that a present thing?
Of course it is. There will be no washing up there; we shall not have dirty feet in heaven, nor shall we want a conscience in heaven. On the other hand, if I do not get my feet washed down here, I shall soon be a nuisance and fall into some mischief or other.
Ques. There is no laver in heaven?
In Rev. 15, it is a sea of glass, but mingled with fire, for those who stand on it have gone through the tribulation to get there.