Scripture Notes and Queries

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
A.—I believe it applies to the Jews. The chapter gives you a complete history of Christ, replacing Israel on earth as Jehovah’s servant, from the womb of the Virgin to the throne of the kingdom. In ver. 4, 5, the Spirit of Christ makes the lament that He had spent His strength in vain, Israel would not be gathered by her Messiah! This brought forth those touching words (Matt. 23:3737O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37)), “How often would I have gathered thee,” &c., as the moment of His city’s rejection of her King drew forth those tears, which, though they came from human eyes, took their spring in the heart of God.
The answer of God comes to His plaint in the sixth and following verses. It was a light thing the gathering of Israel compared with the new and wondrous work He should accomplish—not now gathering a little nation, but shining forth as the light to the Gentiles, to make known God’s salvation to the ends of the earth. Strictly this is Christ here, yet to show how, when Christ is spoken of in the Old Testament, the Church is seen in Him, though not revealed then; Paul uses this passage in Acts 13:4747For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. (Acts 13:47), applying it to Christ’s members, and intelligently taking as a command what he had gathered from the spirit of the word. In ver. 7, He is there looked upon as a rejected Christ—despised of man, and abhorred of His own people; but kings and princes would yet worship Him, because of the faithfulness of Jehovah who would choose Him. In verses 8 and 10 He is given as a covenant to the people, i.e., Israel; to bring in the earthly blessing; to set free captive Israel— “Prisoners of hope”— Zech. 9:11,1211As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. 12Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; (Zechariah 9:11‑12)—and open the prison doors to those who are bound. Thus the true Shepherd of Israel feeds His now gathered flock which would hunger and thirst no more. How analogous is the language of Rev. 7:16,1716They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Revelation 7:16‑17), which the elder in heaven uses as to time who had come out of the great tribulation, and were marked and prepared for blessing below in the Millennial earth.
The prophecy of the chapter runs on to the gathering of the tribes of Israel from the north and west, and from the land of Sinim (China), and the judgment on their oppressors.
A. This word is found only here in the New Testament. He is speaking of members of the body set in the assembly. Those thus designated would be gifted to guide and direct the assembly, as a pilot does his ship in her dangers and difficulties. It might be by the word of wisdom, in the application of divine intelligence to those things through which she had to pass; or the word of knowledge, &c., as in verse 8. The thought is guidance rather than rule. The latter would be by office-bearers, i.e. elders. Here the thought is gifts, or spiritual manifestations in the body of Christ.
A. —The context decides the use of the word, and meaning of the sentence. In the latter “Jehovah,” moved at the touching intercession of Moses, “felt compassion for” the people who had merited His judgments.
In the former, “God” is not man that He should lie, or the Son of Man that He should repent. Here the meaning is simply as it stands. His unalterable counsels are as unchangeable as His own nature.
The word is similar in both cases, but bears the meanings given to it, and the context decides that which is most applicable. In the one case it is Jehovah in government, whose thought of cutting off part of the nation and making of Moses (the faithful remnant) a great nation (Ex. 32:1010Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. (Exodus 32:10)), is turned at the intercession of Moses. In the other it is God in purpose, which is unchangeable.
A. —John Baptist, in announcing Jehovah-Messiah to His people in Matthew’s gospel, brings His two advents together whether in grace or judgment. This was suited to His gospel’ because He has, as Messiah, to do with both. Luke 3:1616John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: (Luke 3:16) also speaks of the two great actions, because as Son of Man the character in which Luke presents Him, He has to do with judgment as well as grace and suffering. Mark 1:88I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. (Mark 1:8), and John 1:3333And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. (John 1:33), both omit that of “fire;” the former having to do with His then service on earth, and present service of grace with His servants-not with judgment. John only speaks of His baptizing with the Holy Ghost as connected with His revelation in grace of the Father. The thought, in presenting it so early in the gospels, is rather the person who was to do it, in contrast to His forerunner, who baptized with water unto repentance, &c. We know it was not accomplished until Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost with the Jews; and Acts 10, subsequently with the Gentiles. See Acts 1:66When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6), where only that of the Holy Ghost is named; not that of the fire of judgment, which will take place at His second advent, with the world. Also Acts 11:16,1616Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. (Acts 11:16)
16Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. (Acts 11:16)
, where the Gentiles are connected with this baptism. (See also 1 Cor. 12:1313For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13).)
A. —Epaphras’ prayer was the echo of the apostle’s, as one may say. (See chap. 2:9, and 2:1-3.) Paul had never seen the Colossians, but had heard of them through Epaphras. He could thank God as to what he had heard of them; (chap. 1:3, &c.,) but he could agonize in prayer for them, that they might know more of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; thus to walk worthy of the Lord. That they might know, too, the mystery of Christ and the Church; or, as he terms it here, “The mystery of God, wherein are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Conversion only was not sufficient in Paul’s mind, and Epaphras had learned this, and his prayer (chap. 4:12) took its tone from his lesson and from Paul.