Scripture Notes and Queries

 •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 8
"P. J. F."-(1.) What is meant by their "robes," in Rev. 7:1414And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14), and 22:14? (2.) What does washing their robes signify? (3.) 'Why are they said to do it, or to have done it, rather than having it done for them'
A. (1.) Their "robes" is a figure of speech to express that in which a man appears before God. (2.) Washing their robes signifies that they have cleansed them before God, by washing them in the blood of the Lamb. (3.) There is no special force in their having done it themselves. They have gone by faith and appropriated the value of the blood of Him by whom, and in virtue of which they have been washed. It is man's side, so to say-the subjective. You find in chapter i. 5, 6, the Lord's side, or objective, and most certainly in their case, as for all, it is done by Him, however faith may appropriate the action. But faith having done so, He counts in tender grace the action to the person who by faith laid hold of His work. All the sufferings were His, by which we are saved; yet He delights to say, " Thy faith hath saved thee"! Not, My blood hath saved thee; though that is blessedly true: but the faith in the sinner who read His heart, and trusted the love which He came to make known.
Q. 'What is the precise meaning of 2 Cor, iii. 12, 13; with particular reference to the latter part of v. 131 " Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: and not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.".
A. The Apostle having now the key to all God's ways then with Israel, in Christ, he can tell it all out with full freedom of speech, as one who had no vail on his face as Moses. All was now open and unvailed; all ambiguity was gone-the vail was off, and the whole truth out; while the vail was on the heart of the Jew.
They " could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished." For, when Moses came down from the mountain the second time, the skin of his face shone, reflecting the glory of the Lord, who had just revealed himself in long-suffering, mercy, and grace. But this had not removed the law with its exaction, and matters were thus made worse. For it was bad enough to have broken the pure law of God; but when its claim still remained, and the Lord had thus revealed Himself-the law's claims alongside the perfect goodness of the Lord made Matters worse if it was, broken; because it was now broken in the face of this revelation of goodness in Him who claimed it. Thus it was the law brought down the second time by Moses, whose face then shone with the goodness of the Lord, which is termed by Paul the " ministration of condemnation."
This glory the children of Israel shrank from, and could not look at; for they did not apprehend the mind of the Spirit in what was coming by Christ, and thus could not see to the end of that which is abolished, i.e., the whole Jewish system. "He taketh away the first that he may establish the second" (Heb. 10:99Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. (Hebrews 10:9)).
A. In 2 Sam. 24:99And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men. (2 Samuel 24:9), you have the "valiant men"- formed men of war, numbering 800,000, In 1 Chron. 21, you have the males generally, who were grown men, capable of drawing the sword; hut not designated the " valiant"- i.e., trained men of war.
In 2 Sam. 24 you find the males of Judah generally numbered at 500,000 men; but in 1 Chron. 21 470,000; they are specifically named, who "drew sword."
Most probably the standing legions given in detail in 2 Chron. 28:1-15, were not mentioned in 2 Sam.; they were very well known. Of these, there were 24,000 for each month, with probably not less than 1,000 officers to every 24,000 men. If this 25,000 be multiplied by twelve, as each legion had to serve for a month, it will amount to exactly 300,000, and if this be added to the 800,000 mentioned in 2 Sam., it will be exactly the 1,100,000 mentioned in 1 Chron.
The census of Israel, if this proposition be true, is plain enough. That of Judah not so much on the surface, but in the text giving quite enough to show, that males capable of drawing sword are noted specially in contradistinction to " men of Judah" merely.
A. The Septuagint, or Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures, which was translated some 200 years before Christ, is constantly quoted by the Lord and the apostles in the New Testament, and thus in measure authorized by Him. It gives in 2 Sam. 24 "three years," the same reading as 1 Chronicles.
Q. In 2 Sam. David is said to have given fifty shekels of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen, but 1 Chron. records that he paid Oman six hundred shekels of gold by weight.
A. The word " silver " in 2 Samuel (in the' Hebrew, Kehseph) is constantly used in the Old Testament for " money," just as the French use the word "argent" (silver), technically for "money." In 2 Sam. you probably have the value of what David gave; in 1 Chron. the "weight," as it states; the weight of the six hundred shekels of gold being in value equal to fifty shekels of money.
J. H. We have long had the practice amongst us, for those who take an interest in the affairs of the Assembly, to come together to confer and deliberate on things brought before them prior to submitting such things to the gathered Assembly. Some few altogether object to " brothers meeting." They say that everything should go before the Assembly without any preliminary meeting.
Experience has taught us that we have been preserved from trouble and sorrow by having had certain matters discussed by brothers alone before laying them before the Assembly.
Some insist on the presence of sisters at such preliminary meetings, or that they be set entirely aside by having every. thing done at the Lord's table after the breaking of bread.
Our desire is to be guided by the Word of God, and I shall feel obliged if you would favor me with your judgment on this question.
A. I believe your practice to be a right one, as to the gathering together of those who care for the Church of God, to look into cases of discipline, and of those seeking fellowship, cases of need, and the various matters in which godly care and oversight is needed.
In scripture I find that there was a body technically called the elderhood, or presbytery (πρεσβυτέριον), within the assembly. No doubt, in apostolic days, those composing this body may have been appointed by apostles, or their representatives; but still their was a recognized- body-not merely men or elders individually, who acted in concert; but a body so named. See 1 Tim. 4:1414Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (1 Timothy 4:14). Such a body was known amongst the Jews. See Luke 22:6666And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, (Luke 22:66). "The elderhood of the people," " The estate of the elders," Acts 22:55As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. (Acts 22:5); both having the same meaning as elderhood or presbytery, while, of course, differing in constitution.
I believe there is a great deal done by such meetings now, composed of those who have a care for the church, and who possess the confidence of the saints, and an aptitude for such care. Many cases, details of which would be hurtful if spoken of before the young, and females, have there been discussed before the Lord; the case carefully examined on all sides, and while no action of discipline or reception is taken, or could be, apart from the assembled saints, still the case is matured, and so brought forward, in a way that delicacy is not shocked, where such a case might exist. •
It may, turn out, too, that many a case need go no further; the 'personal rebuke of the "spiritual." The interference of the two or three may save all this, and save the Lord's name from reproach, as well as the Assembly from that most painful of all actions-the exercise of discipline and excision from its midst. Cases, too, of need, where that can be ministered to, with the quiet grace of the Lord, are saved from a parade and the like:
"Sisters" have nothing whatever to do with such meetings. They have their own place defined fully in scripture, and are not to exercise authority. But no action, I repeat, can be, taken by such a meeting apart from the assembled saints.
The cases are looked into, and the Assembly-having confidence in those who thus love the care of the Church-receive their testimony, and act upon their evidence and wisdom, and the matter, requiring only adequate testimony from two or three faithful witnesses as to the true bearings • of the case.
"I Can Do All Things."
Strong in this power of Thine, blest LORD,
I cross life's troubled sea,
I do not fear its waves or storms,
But fix my eye on Thee:
The winds may roar, the waters rage,
I soar above them all,
They can't o'erwhelm me with their might,
My soul has heard Thy call.
I dare not look at them alone,
My spirit soon would faint,
And then, my Savior, Thou would'st have
For child, a careworn saint;
But I can meet them all with Thee-
Oh! wondrous, ceaseless love!-
Look down on them from where Thou art,
For I'm " in Christ" above.
How glorious LORD, to walk with Thee,
In calm, and conscious strength,
From wave to wave, thro' wind and storm,
Till Home is reached at length.
Here in the body, yet not here,
My heart, my hopes, my love,
Thou'st snapped the chain which bound them fast,
They've soared, Thy worth to prove
They daily prove it, Blessed One,
In precious rest and joys;
My heart has got an object now;
Before, it clung to toys.;
Still to the end I shall endure,
Because Thou art, I am;
Yes, Thou art all, and I am naught;
Vast truth, Thy gift to man.
"I can do all things," for Thy strength
Is freely mine to use,
And if I do not live in it,
My life its power would lose.
Do not permit Thy feeble child
To seek to walk alone
Lest Thou be forced to let me fall,
That I Thy might may own.
When Thou dost come, then shall I see
The beauty of Thy face,
And wonder and adore, for all
The glories of Thy grace.
Then I shall bless Thee for the arm
I leant on here below,
And for the love, so great, so free,
Thou giv'st me now to know.