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fhigham

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Reply with quote  #841 
Men counsel one another to “self-reliance” in the battle of life; but not so the Scriptures: their exhortation is, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” And again, “The children of Israel prevailed because they “relied on the Lord God.”—(2 Chron. 13:18.)

Men exhort one another to “self-help;” but the Bible says rather, “Happy is he who hath the God of Jacob for his help, and whose hope is in the Lord his God;” and again, “Bear ye one another’s burdens;” and again, “As ye have opportunity, do good unto all men.”

The Christadelphian  : Volume 13. c1876. (13:310).

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Oct 20  2Ch 12,13   Eze 46   Joh 13,14
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Reference to:
2Ch 12:9  So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made.

... Going back, then, for an example, to the shadow of things, we find that when the temple was finished and furnished by Solomon, he made, amongst other things, 300 shields of beaten gold, which he put in the house of the Forest of Lebanon (2 Chron. 9:16). These were not intended for war. Gold is not a suitable metal for such a purpose. They were, therefore, typical, I think, of the pure truth deposited with Israel, the only truth existent in the earth preserved in them, and not in any other nation. The fate of these shields is to be noticed. Only five years after Solomon did these symbols of the truth remain with Israel—(2 Chron. 12:9)—“Shishak, king of Egypt, took away the treasures of the House of the Lord, he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made.” What was the cause of this, that these sacred emblems should be lost to Israel? Ver. 1—“Because Rehoboam and all Israel forsook the law of the Lord.” Here is harmony. Israel having forsaken Jehovah, He also forsook them: these figures of His truth were lost to them for ever.
Having lost these golden shields of faith. Rehoboam makes abominable things of brass—base imitations, counterfeits that probably looked like the genuine article, but really comparatively valueless—his own device to cover the consequences of forsaking the Law of the Lord.

And thus the pure truth was carried into Egypt, and there it has been to this day. Those golden shields have never returned, the truth has been lost to Israel in Egyptian darkness—the shields of brass are still holding out their imposture—brass instead of gold—the thinking of the flesh hiding the truth of God.
Paul’s allusion to brass must conclude my remarks. He likens its sound to a man without the love of God; it is a noisy banging and clanging that advertises the nature of the performer.

The sound to be produced by us is not of sounding brass, but the melodious sound of the golden bells which were on the hem of Aaron’s robe—a music created by the commandment of God, and therefore pleasant to Him. Apart from this melody, Aaron dare not enter the Holy place—its absence was death. Let us bring forth this sound, that we also may be pleasant to Jehovah, and enter into the Holy place, and die not. Any other is but noise—sounding brass.

The Christadelphian  : Volume 19.  c1882. (19:348).

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Reference to:
Eze 46:16  Thus saith the Lord GOD; If the prince give a gift unto any of his sons, the inheritance thereof shall be his sons'; it shall be their possession by inheritance.
Eze 46:17  But if he give a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants, then it shall be his to the year of liberty; after it shall return to the prince: but his inheritance shall be his sons' for them.
Eze 46:18  Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be not scattered every man from his possession.

... While circumcision obliged Israel to keep the whole law, in which there was an annual remembrance of national offences, it gave them through that law only a tenant at will occupancy of the land of Canaan; and that not to the extent which pertains to its everlasting possession. This appears from the words of Moses, as it is written, “If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law, ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it”. (a) The condition of their tenancy was their good behaviour. If they served God according to the law of the land He had given, He would bless them in their basket and store; but if they served other gods, He would let in the worshippers of those gods upon them, and expel them from the country. Israel has rebelled; and therefore they are in dispersion, until the time appointed shall come to remember the covenant made with the fathers; and therefore to remember the land. (b)

The national tenancy of Canaan under the law being leasehold, no purchases of freehold estates could be made in the land. If Israel had been a freeholder, the case would have been different. But the land belonged to the Lord; and they had no more right to grant it away in parcels for ever, than the tenant under a twenty-one years’ lease has to cut up his holding into lots, and sell them to purchasers for ever. Israel were the Lord’s tenants; and the law said to them on the part of their Landlord, “The land shall not be sold for ever; for the land is mine, and ye are strangers and sojourners with me”; so that “in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land”. Hence, if poverty compelled a man to sell his farm, it was always redeemable by himself, or kin, according to certain conditions; but if neither could raise the money to redeem, the estate was not lost to the original owner; for though it remained in the hands of the purchaser, he was obliged to return it for nothing at the year of jubilee. (c) Even under the New Constitution, when the nation obtains everlasting possession, the servants of the Prince will have to surrender his territorial gifts at the year of liberty; while his sons will possess them for ever. (d)

The covenant of promise confers a more extensive holding of the country than the law of Moses. At no time of their occupation did Israel possess all the land from the Euphrates to the Nile, as promised in the covenant; and even if they had, such holding would not have been in the sense of the covenant, for they have not held possession according to the limits defined “for ever”. “All the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession” is the promise; but the indisputable fact is that Israel have only possessed a part of it for a limited and turbulent period. In Solomon’s days, when the nation was at its zenith under the law, the land was jointly possessed by Israel, the Tyrians, and the remains of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites, etc.; but when the age of the covenant arrives, Israel under Shiloh will possess it all; “and there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of Hosts.” (a)  ...

(a) Deut. 28:58, 63.
(b) Lev. 26:40–42.
(c) Lev. 25:23–28.
(d) Ezek. 46:16–18.
(a) 2 Chron. 8:7; Zech. 14:21.

 bro John Thomas,  Elpis Israel : An exposition of the Kingdom of God. With reference to the Time of the End and the Age to Come.

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Reference to:
Joh 13:26  Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
Joh 13:27  And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

... This was the final appeal.  He could do one of two things; repent or betray; but whatever the choice, now was the time to act. 

None around the table understood what the Lord meant by those words.  Even John, who had been told who the betrayer was, did not realize the extent of the betrayal.  The disciples thought that the Lord's words to Judas were a directive to him to buy something in preparation for the Passover about to take place, or, perhaps to give something to the poor.

Even Judas, misunderstanding the act of friendship extended to him by Jesus, did not realize that the Lord read the depths of his heart, and knew the extent of his infamy.

He saw this as a wonderful opportunity to excuse himself without anybody realizing what he was doing.  And so, "having received the sop" he went immediately out.

And John adds: "It was night."

This apostle went out into the blackness of night; but even so his heart was blacker!  He left the upper room and the presence of the Sun of Righteousness, entering into the darkness of a Jewish night that was typical of that about to fall upon the nation, and upon him personally.

What an opportunity had been his!  How much he was giving away!  What was he to receive?  He had received "the sop".  The Diaglott renders it as "the little piece," and it was a gesture of friendship; a "portion" offered as to a friend.  But it was, in effect, his reward for the gross betrayal he was about to commit.

He walked out into the night both literally and figuratively.  A night that brought for him utter despair, and a suicidal death; the blackness of oblivion, and the utter condemnation of the rejected.

How many have followed Judas into the night!

bro HP Mansfield, The Story of the Bible (vol 7, p269)

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Reference to:
Joh 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.


The Promise of Peace

In the upper room of Jerusalem, the apostles were isolated from the world without.  But they knew that the world was antagonistic to Christ, and would forcibly restrain him if it could.  Thus trouble surrounded them, and this disturbed them.  Nor did Christ's words pacify them, and consternation was shown on their faces.  So now he offered them peace; the peace of mind such as the world knows not, and which it is beyond the heart of man to conceive.  The word "peace", as used in the Bible, is an important one.  The Hebrew word is "shalom," and in Greek it is "eirene," and both come from roots signifying to be whole, complete, or united as one.  They thus describe harmonious relationships existing between two parties.  The world uses the word "peace" to describe the mere cessation of war; but Chrsit used it to define the harmony existing between parties where true fellowship or "oneness" exists.  It was that peace which he promised his disciples.

bro HP Mansfield, The Story of the Bible (vol 7, p290)
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #842 
John 15:12  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

The Commandment to Love
Love must be shown in action; we must love in deed and not merely in doctrine.  This demands the sacrifice of self-interest in obedience to Christ's commandments.  Where Christ's word is ignored, and his commandments set aside, there is no love.  A person may speak honeyed words of endearment toward another, and may even reveal acts of kindness, but that is not the love to which Christ referred, as he walked dauntlessly to the place where he knew the soldiers would arrest him.  True love is to reproduce in action one toward another, a measure of the self-sacrificing service that Christ revealed when he laid down his life for his friends.


bro HP Mansfield, The Story of the Bible (vol 7, p299)

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Oct 21  2Ch 14,15   Eze 47   Joh 15,16
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Reference to:
2Ch 14:11  And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.
2Ch 14:12  So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.

... Israel experienced the difference between God’s being with them and His not being with them, when they attempted to make war agaist the Amalekites contrary to the command of Moses after the report of the spies. It will be recollected that after hearing that report, they refused to invade the land, and became mutinous against Moses. They were then condemned to wander in the wilderness forty years, till the adult generation should die out of the congregation. On hearing this, they were filled with consternation, and clamorously offered to enter at once upon the work of invasion which they had declined. Moses would not give them permission: they persisted. “Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? But it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the Lord is not among you” (Num. 14:41). But they disregarded this, and issued from the camp in military array. “Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in the hill, and smote them and discomfited them, even unto Hormah” (verse 45). Had God been with them, the Amalekites would have quailed, and Israel would have stood firm to their work and gone forward victoriously: but, in God’s absence, the case was reversed. The natural agency in the one case and in the other was the same, but when God is “with” the agency employed that agency is supplemented with an invisible power of direction and efficiency that is lacking when God wills against it; and the agency, though feeble in itself, will be powerful against all odds. This, Asa, king of Judah, recognized when he said on the approach of the Ethiopian horde against Jerusalem: “Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many or with them that have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee. So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled” (2 Chronicles 14:11–12). On another occasion, later in his reign, Asa “relied on the king of Syria, and not on the Lord his God”, which evoked this interrogatory from the prophet sent to him: “Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him. Herein thou hast done foolishly; therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars” (16:7–9). This principle was recognized by Jonathan when he proposed to his armour-bearer a forlorn attempt against the Philistine garrison at Michmash: “It may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few” (1 Sam. 14:6). It was recognized by David when he went against Goliath: “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come unto thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand, … that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with the sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands” (1 Sam. 17:45–47). David gives frequent expression to the same principle in the Psalms: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God” (20:7). “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength” (33:16). “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (127:1).

There might be a tendency to conclude that, in such a view of matters, human agency is superfluous, and indeed displaced: and that the only thing left for a man to do is just to do nothing, but stand still and see what God will do. Such a view has, in fact, been acted on in many instances. It is a mistaken view altogether, as we have seen in previous chapters. It seems to result from one aspect of the matter; but we must not limit our view of any subject to one aspect of the matter. We must take all sides into account. The other side in this case is the revelation that in working with a man, God wills that man should do his part humbly, faithfully, and diligently, and that God’s part should come in as a supplement or addition to what man does. We might pause with profit to consider the admirable wisdom of a principle of action which, while making effectual results depend upon God, admits man to the pleasure of cooperation in the process by which they are worked out, and compels him to perform this advantage-yielding part. Our aim, however, is not so much to discuss the philosophy of God’s ways as to exhibit what they are.

bro Robert Roberts. The Ways of Providence (86).

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Reference to:
Eze 47:1  Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.
Eze 47:2  Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.


...When the marriage, or union, between the Sons of Zion and their King, as the Bridegroom, and the Holy Land as the virgin-bride, comes to pass, the country will become the Paradise of Yahweh, which his own right hand planted. Thus, the Spirit saith, “Yahweh shall comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the Garden of Yahweh; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody”—Isa. 51:3. “Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to Yahweh for a renown, for a memorial of the Olahm, which shall not be cut off”—Isa. 55:13. At that time, “I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water; I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shi,,ah tree, and the myrtle tree, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box together, that they (Israel) may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of Yahweh hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it”—Isa. 41:17–20.

Lastly upon this point Ezekiel’s testimony may be adduced; as, “Thus saith Adonai Yahweh; in the day that I shall have cleansed you, O Israel, from all your iniquities, I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the Garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities fenced, and inhabited. Then the nations that are left round about you shall know that I, Yahweh, build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I, Yahweh, have spoken it, and I will do it”—Ezek. 36:33.

When thus converted into Paradise, the same prophet tells us that there will be “a river that can not be passed over” by wading; and that it will be formed by a confluence of “waters springing out from under the threshold of the temple eastward, from it’s right side, at the south of the altar”—ch. 47:1–5. He then informs us that “on the bank of the river was a great wood, (both words in the singular number) on the one side and on the other. The waters issue from Mount Moriah down its south side, and flow on toward the east through a vast cleft in the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4, 8.) When they have passed this valley they divide into two rivers, the one flowing through the desert and emptying into the Dead Sea; and the other into the Mediterranean: both of them abundant and never failing streams.

The effect of the eastern river upon the Dead Sea will be to heal its waters. Both streams are healing waters; for the prophet says, that “It shall be, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the two rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither; for they (of the Dead Sea) shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. And it shall be, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engeddi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the Great Sea (or Mediterranean) exceeding many.

“And by the river on the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall come up every tree for food, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be exhausted; for its months it shall yield, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for food, and the leaf thereof for healing.”...

bro John Thomas,  Eureka  : An exposition of the Apocalypse. Volumes 1-5. (electronic ed.) (volpg.1.214).

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Reference to:
Joh 15:1  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Joh 15:2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Joh 15:3  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Joh 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

The True Vine

The apostles were used to regarding the vine as a notable symbol of the nation, but now the Lord applied the symbol to himself, claiming to be the "true" vine.  The word "alethine" signifies that which is "true, real or genuine" in contrast to the figurative, false or counterfeit.  Jesus thus claimed to be the true vine in contrast to the degenerate vine of Israel.  It is not Jewish blood, but faith, that gives life to the branches of the true vine.

As a plant, the vine is only good for fruit.  It is useless alike for wood, shade or beauty, for during most of the year, it is only an ugly, naked creeper.  Its function being fruit-bearing, therefore, those parts that do not bear fruit are cut away by the husbandman, in order that they may not drain the strength necessary fro the other branches to bear fruit.  For that reason, such as Judas had to be severed from the Christ vine.

But even branches that bear fruit, must be constantly pruned to increase the bearing,  or the quality, of the fruit.  Therefore, the apostles could expect to be "pruned," that their characters might be improved to the glory of Yahweh, the Husbandman.  ...

bro HP Mansfield, The Story of the Bible (vol 7, p296)

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Reference to:
John 16

John chapter sixteen completes the series of discourses to the apostles to prepare them for what awaited them in the future.  In it he warned of trouble to come.  To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and if the apostles had heeded the words of Christ more completely, they would not have been taken off their guard when the crisis came upon them.  Their failure to heed his words is a warning to us.  During his ministry the Lord spoke of conditions to be expected as his second coming, and we need to heed his teaching, lest we be taken unawares as were the apostles.

bro HP Mansfield, The Story of the Bible (vol 7, p304)
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #843 
Joh 17:26  And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

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Oct 22  2Ch 16,17   Eze 48   Joh 17,18
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Reference to:
John 17


Christ's Intercessory Prayer

This prayer was uttered in the darkness of the night as the Lord and he apostles walked the streets of Jerusalem, toward one of the gates of the city, most likely that on the east overlooking the brook Kidron.  John clearly indicates this, by recording the point of time when they left the upper room (John 14:31), and later when they left the outskirts of the city (John 18:1).  He shows that the conversation of John 15 and 16, and the prayer of ch. 17, took place after they left the room, but before they passed through the gate of the city to the precincts beyond.  They prayer was uttered aloud, so that the apostles heard it, and recalled it afterwards.  It was presented on the background of the tragic events about to take place, but in the knowledge of certain victory over the forces of sin (John 16:33).

As the high priest, on the Day of Atonement, made intercession for himself, his household, and the nation (Lev. 16:17), so, in this prayer, the Lord prayed for himself (vv. 1-5), for the apostles (vv. 6-19), and for the whole ecclesia (vv. 20-26).  All the petitions were made on the basis on his impending offering, so that the expressions of it were anticipatory.  He thus could pray: "Thou has given power" (John 17:2), though that power was not in reality conferred until he rose from the dead (Mat. 28:18).

The prayer is composed of three main sections:
1. A statement concerning the Lord's own ministry and its successful completion (vv. 1-5).
2. A petition seeking divine help for the apostles who were to represent him in the world (vv. 6-19).
3. A request for the union in love of the whole Ecclesia welded together as a unit with the Father and the Son (vv. 20-26).

Having proclaimed his confidence in certain victory (John 16:33), the Lord gave himself to prayer, seeking the help of the Father in the victory yet to be won.  "Father", he prayed, "the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."  As the Son glorified, or honoured the Father in his life, so Yahweh glorified His Son by raising him from the dead, and bestowing divine nature upon him.  This honoured Jesus by acknowledging his true status as Son of God, and gave diving endorsement to all that he had said and done during his lifetime.  Furthermore, his resurrection to life eternal testified to the benefits that accrue from sel-sacrificial obedience to the will of the Father.

In his prayer, the Lord cited Gen 1:26 as illustrating the extent of the triumph and conquest that had been won.  In that passage, God invited Adam to "have dominion" over all flesh.  The animal creation referred to was divided into clean and unclean species, which, in their typical counterpart, relate to Israel and the Gentiles.

A beautiful type emerges when Genesis ch. 1 is considered in that light.  It records that the end of the sixth day saw a man and a woman created "in the image of God," witnessed them united together as one in marriage, and hearing the proclamation that they were to exercise dominion over the lower creation.  This is the purpose that God has in store for His Son and the ecclesia, styled "the Bride the Lamb's wife," at the end of the sixth millennium from creation.  Made "equal unto the angels," they are to be united in a spiritual marriage, and are to exercise dominion over all mortal nations; antitypically, the lower creation (see Rev. 19:1-8). ...

What is Life Eternal?

Jesus said in his prayer" "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent."  These are deeply significant words; but often greatly misunderstood. Many interpret them because they are given in the present tense: "This IS life eternal."  On that basis it is claimed that life eternal is a present possession.  When it is pointed out that men die, "life eternal" is defined as a moral kind of life, manifested at present, and which forms the foundation of immortality in the Age to come.

However, when all the usages of "eternal life," or "everlasting life" (the same words in the Greek) as occurring in the Bible, are gathered together, it is obvious that the term relates to immortality, being divine nature. For example, Paul wrote that he was "in hope of eternal life" (Titus 1:2), and elsewhere claimed that "hope which is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why does he yet hope for?"  (Rom. 8:24-25).  Paul would not hope for something he already possessed, so it is obvious that he did not then have eternal life. He wrote that those who seek immortality, will receive eternal life (Rom. 2:7).

If eternal life is something we must yet receive, why did the Lord speak of it in the present tense, as though already obtained?  There are two reasons. Firstly, it is a Hebraism to speak in the past, or present, tense of something that is yet to be given, if the fact of it being granted is beyond all doubt.  Paul makes that point in Rom 4:17, where he writes: "God, who quickeneth the dead, calleth those things which be not as though they were."  Thus Jesus used the present tense in relation to life eternal because there is no doubt about it being granted to those who fulfil the requirements of God.

Secondly, such an expression can signify: "This (the correct understanding of the relationship of the Father to the Son) is the basis upon which eternal life will be granted."  A similar form of words is used in John 3:19: "This is condemnation..." What is meant is, This is the basis of condemnation.  Again, in John 6:29, "This is the work of God, that ye believe..."  Rather, this is the basis by which the work of God is performed, that ye believe.  Again: "His commandment is life eternal" (John 12:50).  This means that obedience to His commandment is the basis upon which life eternal will be granted.  Applying that usage in relation to Christ's prayer, we understand him to say: This is the basis upon which life eternal will be granted, that a man "might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ."  ...

Care for the Apostles

The Lord had manifested the divine Name unto the apostles (v. 6), by revealing the characteristics of his Father in action.  He was God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim 3:16), for Yahweh was the author of al ltha the Master thought, said and did.

Now he desired to be glorified in the apostles.  That would mean that he must become the author of their thoughts and actions.  He reminded the Father of how they had been separated from out of the world, and had been given the Word of Truth.  He prayed that divine strength might continue with them, to keep them in the Name that he had manifested unto them (vv. 6-11). As he was about to be taken from them they would need additional help, particularly in view of problems that they must face.

He plainly declared that he did not pray for the world (v 9) because the world was not worthy of such prayer. It had turned its back upon God, and was even then preparing to crucify the Son, and would manifest hatred toward his disciples. As Christ was not of the world, neither were they, but as they were appointed to carry on the work he commenced, they were in need of his intercession, and the strength of God, that they might glorify Him (1Cor 4:9-10; 2Cor 4:9-11; Gal 2:20).  ...

Christ's Prayer for the United Ecclesia

This prayer comprised the intimate outpourings of the Lord's heart to the Father.  The apostles heard the words as they followed him, but they did not understand them, for they were unprepared at that stage, for the deep truths that they expressed.  Having prayed for himself and also for this apostles, the Lord turned his thoughts to those who would embrace the Truth through the testimony of the apostles.  They, too, would need the divine help, and for them, for us, the Lord in his hour of need, prayed to the Father. ...

The Lord thus prayed that his completed ecclesia might be welded in one with himself and the Father, and that as the Father was manifested in him, so he would be revealed in those who believed on him through the testimony of the apostles.  That glorious unity, which will be revealed in its fullness in the Age to come, when the ecclesia will be glorified with the Lord, and be a testimony unto a world that hated or despised his disciples, that these wee loved of the Father as He loved His Son.  The Lord's prayer, moreover, reveals that his love for the ecclesia is so strong, that he ardently desires the time to come when he will be united with it.  It then will be able to personally behold, and share, the glory that the Father has granted the Son, a gory that has been reserved for both him and the ecclesia from the foundation of the world.  ...

bro HP Mansfield, The Story of the Bible (vol 7, pp. 314-320)
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #844 

The purpose of God in creating the world, and in bringing it to its present political constitution, by checking the full manifestation of the evil that exists, is that He may found a kingdom and empire which shall be literally ‘universal’ (Dan. 2:44; 7:14), and under the government of which all nations may be blessed (Gen. 7:3; Psa. 62:11). The Hebrew nation, established in the Holy Land, will be the kingdom (Exod. 19:5–6; Micah 4:6–8; 5:2; Ezek. 37:21–28); and all other nations the empire attached to that kingdom. The Jewish and other nations will constitute a family of nations, of which Israel will be the first-born; Abraham, the federal patriarch; and Christ, his seed, THE KING.

 

bro John Thomas. Comments from Brother Thomas. Logos Publications.

 

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Oct 25 • 2 Chronicles 21, 22 • Daniel 3 • Acts 1

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Reference to:

2Ch 21:12 And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,

 

... Elijah’s mantle fell from him as he went up: and Elijah himself becoming quickly invisible, Elisha picked up the fallen mantle, and after a due interval of reflection, started on his return journey to Jericho. The Jordan lay an obstacle in his way: but it could be no obstacle to a man on whom a double portion of the Spirit that had endowed Elijah rested. Laying hold of Elijah’s mantle in imitation of Elijah’s own action, he smote the Jordan as Elijah had done, and the river divided under the concussion of the force that had riven it before. Elisha passed safely over. There must have been something in Elisha’s appearance indicative of the fulfilment of his request that he might have a double portion of Elijah’s spirit; for “when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him.” Elijah was gone, and they recognised in Elisha his appointed successor.

 

But it seems as if they could not be quite sure that Elijah was quite gone—or finally gone. They thought his removal might be temporary, and that he might return and be found for the search. “Behold,” said they to Elisha, “there be with thy servants fifty strong men: let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of Yahweh hath taken him up and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley.” Elisha’s knowledge was more perfect than theirs. He knew Elijah was gone for good, and that he would be no more seen upon earth, till he should be sent again for the work of restoration, “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Mal. 4:5)—a work in which he was typified by John the Baptist, who went before Jesus to prepare his way “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17; Matt. 17:12–13). Elisha therefore forbade the sons of the prophets to search, but they were importunate, and urged him till shame led him to consent. “They sent, therefore, fifty men: and they sought three days and found him not.” And he has not been found since.

 

A writing came from him to Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, who was king in Jerusalem for some time after his departure (2 Chron. 21:12). If this was written after his removal, then this letter was an act of participation in affairs on earth performed in the new state and place to which the “chariots and horses of fire” introduced him. There would be no difficulty in this; for Elijah would be more cognisant (and not less), of what was going on in Israel after his removal to á state of sustenance by the spirit than while he was yet among them as a man sustained in the natural ways of the flesh. And as for writing, it is more easy for a man with the power of the spirit to write a letter or do anything else, than a man having only the abilities and resources of mortal nature. But possibly (though it is scarcely likely, in view of the retrospective bearing of the writing on a reign which had scarce begun at the date of his removal), the writing was written before his departure. ...

 

bro Robert Roberts. (1883; 2002). The Visible Hand of God (279–281).

 

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Reference to:

Dan 3:25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

 

Nature and Object of the Mosaic Miracles

 

THE WRAPPING of a bush in flame that did not consume it, was a miracle, but not what is popularly understood by a miracle. It was not a violation or setting aside of nature. It was simply a supplementing of nature, an intelligent application of nature’s powers, with a view to produce an unusual phenomenon: not more difficult to produce than the ordinary phenomenon of combustion, but requiring a specific discrimination as to the working of the elements to prevent combustion extending, as when a scientific professor, lecturing to a chemistry class, does the same thing in freezing water, or making it burn, or wrapping a substance in flame that does not consume it. The only difference lay in the superior power of the angelic operator (for it was an angel that appeared in the transaction; see Ex. 3:2)—an operator who could manipulate the elements by a volition which vitally controlled them, instead of having to resort to clumsy apparatus that produced but a very limited result on purely mechanical principles.

The object was to arrest the attention of Moses, and to arrest it in a way that would show him that God was working by the hand of an angel. This result was effectually accomplished. Moses turned aside to find out the meaning of this flaming mystery on the mountain side. He had approached near to the object of his curiosity, when from the midst of the bush he was called by name. Responding to the call, his eyes beheld another marvel. “The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of the bush.” Flame does not act on spirit-substance such as the angels are made of (for “He maketh his angels spirits”—Heb. 1. 7). Therefore an angel can. when circumstances call for it, appear in the midst of a flame without inconvenience, as in this case; or ascend in a flame of fire, as in the case of Manoah’s visitor (Judges 13:19, 20), or walk in the midst of a seven-times-heated fiery furnace, as on the plain of Dura, in the time of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 3:24, 25) when, in addition to the marvel of an angelic living form appearing in all composure in the white heat of a glowing furnace, three men cast into the same furnace were so mantled by the protective action of the Spirit of God as to be enabled to bear themselves in the same apparently dreadful situation, without so much as the singeing of a hair or the smell of fire passing on their clothes. ... (p 85-86)

 

... Thrown into the furnace, bound, they were not burnt, but presently appeared loose, and walking in the midst of the fire with a fourth companion, a godlike being, in whom Nebuchadnezzar recognised the angel of Yahweh (Dan. 3:28). The prodigy excited Nebuchadnezzar’s extremest surprise and admiration. He ordered the men to come forth, which they did, among the crowding courtiers of the King, who satisfied themselves by personal inspection that even the smell of fire had not passed upon them. Here again, there was nothing truly out of the way of reason. Even men can neutralise the action of fire for a certain length of time by various artificial contrivances. How much more easy for an angel, throwing a mantle of the spirit over these three men, to keep them unscathed in the midst of the roaring flame. The possibility of such an exercise of power in the abstract is beyond contradiction; its fitness and reasonableness in the circumstances is beyond the need of demonstration.

 

In such a miracle there is nothing puerile: nothing beyond the capability of a fully developed understanding to receive. This, indeed, is true of all the miracles recorded in the Bible. They are within the range of abstract possibility, as illustrated in actual experience in other forms, and they were all performed for purposes that were in the highest degree noble and good, and for purposes which could not have been achieved apart from their occurrence. (p 297-298)

 

bro Robert Roberts. (1883) The Visible Hand of God

 

*** Word definition: puerile = characteristic of a child

 

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Reference to:

Act 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

 

... The restoration of Israel is a most important feature in the divine economy. It is indispensable to the setting up of the Kingdom of God; for they are the kingdom, having been constituted such by the covenant of Sinai, as it is written, “Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation”.a The apostles understood this well enough, and so do all who understand the Gospel of the Kingdom. After his resurrection, Jesus conversed with them during forty days, “speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God”. This was certainly long enough, under the instruction of such a teacher, to enable them to understand the subject well. It took possession of their minds and hearts, and created in them a desire for its immediate establishment. Hence, they put the question to him, saying, “Lord, wilt thou AT THIS TIME restore AGAIN the kingdom to Israel?”b

It is evident from this, that they regarded Israel as having once possessed the kingdom, and expected the same Israel to possess it again. No other meaning can be put upon their words: for to restore a thing “again” to a party implies that they had once possessed it before. When Israel had the kingdom, they were ruled by Israelites, and not by Gentiles, for a foreigner could hold no office under their law. This was not the case in the days of the apostles, for they were ruled by the Roman Senate, and kings of its appointment. But it will not be so when the kingdom is restored to them again. The horns of the Gentiles will then be cast out of the land, and they will be ruled by “Israelites indeed” who will have become Jews by adoption; for no Jews or Gentiles after the flesh can have any part in the government of Israel and the Israelitish empire, which will embrace all nations, unless their Jewish citizenship is based upon a higher principle than natural birth. The flesh constitutes a Jew a subject of the kingdom, but confers on him no right to sit and rule upon the thrones of the house of David. This is reserved for Christ and his apostles, who “shall sit upon twelve thrones of his glory”; and for all other Jews and Gentiles who shall have become “Jews inwardly”, for whom the dominion under the whole heaven is decreed in the benevolence of God. ...

 

bro John Thomas, Elpis Israel : An exposition of the Kingdom of God (electronic ed.) (439). 
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #845 

Do Not Keep Back Part Of The Price

If the current of our mind is not CONTINUOUSLY in God, then our profession is hypocrisy, and our performance is sham. It is just a sometime thing. It is not solid and permanent and real. If we truly HAVE the Truth, it will possess us totally. It will be a continuous ringing in our minds and fire in our bones. Don't be a half ANYTHING -- and certainly not in things pertaining to God and eternity. Be total. Go all the way. Give it everything. In the other way lies frustration and unhappiness, and -- at last -- dreadful, inescapable remorse. Why jeopardize eternity with half-ways?

Search Me O God, bro Growcott


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Oct 28   2Ch 25   Dan 6   Acts 5,6
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Reference to:
2Ch 25:7  But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim.


... In the days of Amaziah, the eighth from Rehoboam, there was an instructive incident. The king set himself to strengthen his army. In carrying out this work, he not only made something like a general conscription of Judah, but “he hired also a hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel (the Ten Tribes) for a hundred talents of silver”. A prophet sought to deter him from this part of the enterprise. He said, “O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee”. What objection to the soldiers of the Ten Tribes? “The Lord is not with Israel—to wit, with all the children of Ephraim” (2 Chron. 25:7). But the king had paid the money for which the soldiers were to be hired. This was a great difficulty with the king, as it would be to most people: in fact it would be considered a fatal objection in any question of duty that might be raised. “What shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel?” The prophet’s answer was not a practical one as men think. “The Lord is able to give thee much more than this.” Did the king require a final argument? “If thou wilt go (with the Ten Tribe soldiers), do it: be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down.” Amaziah gave in to the force of this argument, which has a strong bearing on the whole question of the ways of providence.

There was a further illustration of the ways of providence in the latter days of Amaziah’s reign—an illustration not so creditable to him as the first recorded (2 Chron. 25). He had invaded and subdued Edom, and amongst the spoils brought home the gods of the country, which with extraordinary blindness “he set up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them and burned incense unto them”. A prophet was sent to him to expostulate against the madness, but the king repulsed the prophet, who said, “I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel”. A man’s unwisdom may be divinely supplemented and employed as an instrument of destruction. It was so at last with the whole house of Israel, upon whom God poured the spirit of slumber, and inspired with a frenzied perversity, which brought about their destruction at the hands of the Romans. So also on the Gentiles, He sent strong delusion that they might believe a lie, because they received not the truth in the love of it, when given to them by the ministration of the Spirit in the apostolic age (2 Thess. 2:10–12). Amaziah, on this principle, was moved to get up a military expedition against a neighbouring monarch. This neighbouring monarch endeavoured to dissuade him by sensible advice; but it is written, “Amaziah would not hear, for it came of God that he might deliver them (Judah) into the hands of their enemies, because they sought after the gods of Edom”. An unwise decision may be “of God”:the case of Amaziah proves it. When it is for punishment it is a terrible thing, for who so helpless as the man who is divinely impelled to his own destruction, and who thinks all the while that he is carrying out only his own masterful will? This view gives peculiar point to the exhortation of Peter, that we should “commit the keeping of our souls to God in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator”.  ...

bro Robert Roberts. The Ways of Providence (177).

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Reference to:
Dan 6:25  Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
Dan 6:26  I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.


THE KING’S NEW DECREE

In the face of such remarkable evidence of divine power, the king issued a new decree.  It proclaimed peace to his mighty empire on the basis of certain principles that he set before men (Dan 6:25-26), which he called upon them to recognize.  They were:

1. God lives, and therefore knows all that happens
2. God is supreme and men should fear and tremble before him
3. God has a purpose that is unchangeable
4. His kingdom shall last forever
5. His dominion shall be universal
6. He is a redeemer of His people
7. The evidences of His power are seen on all sides
8. He is a Saviour as was shown by the experience of Daniel

Where did the king obtain this knowledge of the God of Israel?  Undoubtedly from Daniel.  Long and earnest must have been the conversations that the prophet had with the king.

This wonderful act of faith on the part of the aged prophet has moved and inspired his brethren and sisters down through all ages.  The apostles saw it as typical of the experiences they faced.  They were not thrown into literal dens of lions, but they were surrounded by men who sought to harm them.  Paul wrote: “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion (2 Tim. 4:17).

He must have had Daniel’s example in mind.

Thus men of faith throughout the ages have stood where Daniel stood so long ago when his faith was tested, and he came forth triumphant.  They have dared to be Daniels, dared to stand alone, dared to have a purpose true, and dated to make it known.

And they too, and all of like precious faith, will be brought from the grave and given eternal life; that they might hear a royal decree so similar to the one proclaimed in the days of the prophet:  Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come; and worship Him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water” (Rev. 14:6-7).

bro HP Mansfield, The Story of the Bible (vol 4, p306-307)

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Reference to:
Act 5:14  And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
Act 6:7  And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.


... Jesus added something to the kingdom-promise. The question put by Peter related to what the twelve had done, who had “left all.” The question was “What shall we have?” Jesus answered the question in its ultimate sense first, and then makes an addition of a proximate bearing, something about “now in this time;” and that was this: “Every one that hath forsaken houses or brethren or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my name’s sake shall receive an hundredfold, now in this time houses and brethren and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions, and in the world to come eternal life.” Those who witnessed what came after the day of Pentecost saw the fulfilment of this. Houses and lands by the score were placed at the disposal of the apostles. Even “a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts vi. 7). Multitudes of fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, &c., were “added to the Lord” (Acts v. 14); and bestowing their property on them, clustered round the apostles with an ardour of affection rarely exhibited among men (Acts iv. 32–35). But this tide of favour was “with persecutions.” The authorities interposed and tried to stamp out the newborn faith. The effort was vain: “When they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they they might punish them because of the people, for all men glorified God for that which was done” (Acts iv. 21). Though futile, the persecutions continued without intermission. With the advance of time there came a great change, but still in the first instance, Christ’s words were fulfilled to the very letter.

bro Roberts,  Nazareth Revisted.  In harmony with the scriptures of Moses and the Prophets. (electronic ed.) (233).

------------------------------------------------

Reference to:
Act 5:31  Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.


... Now, the repentance which results from believing the gospel of the kingdom is not “sorrow for sin”; nor does it contain the least bitterness or remorse of feeling in it. The scripture word translated repentance is μετάνοια, and signifies a change of mind and purpose. When such a change takes place from believing the truth, it is a disposition and mode of thinking such as characterized Abraham, who is the model of the faith and temper which precedes justification in the name of the Lord. But a change of mind and purpose, however “evangelical”, is only granted for repentance in the name of Jesus Christ. That is to say, though a believer of the gospel of the kingdom might possess this state of mind and child-like disposition, he would not be regarded as in repentance any more than in Jesus until the name of Christ was named upon him according to “the law of faith”. It imports not how much a woman loves a man, she is not his wife, and therefore entitled to none of the benefits he is able to confer, until she puts on his name according to law. The name of Christ consummates everything. “Complete in him”; but out of him everything is imperfect. Faith is unfinished, and the change of mind and disposition is incomplete, until the believer of the gospel of the kingdom puts on the name of Christ. In the act of doing this, his faith is counted to him for righteousness, or remission of sins that are past; and his change of mind and disposition is granted to him for repentance.(a)

But a right to eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God is also imparted to the believer through the name of Christ. The life-giving efficacy of his name is derived from his resurrection as the first-fruits of them that sleep. Had Jesus not risen from the dead, men could not have obtained a right to eternal life through his name. This is the doctrine of the apostles and the prophets. An unrisen sacrifice is only a temporary propitiation for sin. This was the nature of the sacrifices under the Mosaic law. Hence the law had no vitality in it; “for if there had been a law given that could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” (b) But this was impossible. Moses was the mediator of the covenant from Sinai. He died, and the Lord buried him; but there was no testimony added of his resurrection: and though he byes (for he appeared to Jesus on the Mount), it was after the law came into force. The Mosaic law is, therefore, a minister only of death and cursing. But Jesus died and rose again, and lives for evermore. Hence, the gospel in his name, and the new code hereafter to be promulgated from Zion, are efficacious to the bestowal of a right to eternal life upon all who believe through his name.

While a believer is out of Christ, he is in his sins, and while he is in his sins he is under the sentence of death; for “the wages of sin is death”. As soon, however, as his sins axe forgiven through Christ’s name, in the act of forgiveness he passes from under the sentence of death; and as there is no middle, or neutral position, he comes under the sentence of life, and rejoices in hope of the kingdom of God. Thus Jesus Christ hath abolished death, and brought life and incorruptibility to light in the gospel of the kingdom.(c) There is no other way of obtaining them than through his name, and by a resurrection from the dead; or, if living at the setting up of the kingdom, by a change in the twinkling of an eye. Such is the doctrine of Christ as opposed to the vain philosophy of Plato. The Papist and Protestant admirers of this heathen speculator, contend for the hereditary immortality of an immaterial essence, innate in sinful flesh; while the Lord Jesus has made known that life and incorruptibility are attributes of the kingdom of God, which they only can obtain who are accounted worthy on gospel principles of inheriting it. In fine, incorruptible life is part of the reward of the righteous: and nowhere in the Bible is immortality predicated of, or promised to, men who die in their sins. Out of Christ, immortality there is none.

a. Acts 5:31; 11:18.
b. Gal. 3:21.
c. 2 Tim. 1:10.

bro Thomas, Elpis Israel : An exposition of the Kingdom of God. With reference to the Time of the End and the Age to Come. (electronic ed.) (316).


Fred Higham <fhigham@gmail.com>

Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 9:21 AM

To: Ted Mingham <tmingham@hotkey.net.au>

[Quoted text hidden]

 


Do Not Keep Back Part Of The Price

If the current of our mind is not CONTINUOUSLY in God, then our profession is hypocrisy, and our performance is sham. It is just a sometime thing. It is not solid and permanent and real. If we truly HAVE the Truth, it will possess us totally. It will be a continuous ringing in our minds and fire in our bones. Don't be a half ANYTHING -- and certainly not in things pertaining to God and eternity. Be total. Go all the way. Give it everything. In the other way lies frustration and unhappiness, and -- at last -- dreadful, inescapable remorse. Why jeopardize eternity with half-ways?

Search Me O God, bro Growcott


------------------------------------------------
2Ch 25   Dan 6   Acts 5,6
------------------------------------------------

Reference to:
Act 5:14  And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
Act 6:7  And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.


... Jesus added something to the kingdom-promise. The question put by Peter related to what the twelve had done, who had “left all.” The question was “What shall we have?” Jesus answered the question in its ultimate sense first, and then makes an addition of a proximate bearing, something about “now in this time;” and that was this: “Every one that hath forsaken houses or brethren or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my name’s sake shall receive an hundredfold, now in this time houses and brethren and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions, and in the world to come eternal life.” Those who witnessed what came after the day of Pentecost saw the fulfilment of this. Houses and lands by the score were placed at the disposal of the apostles. Even “a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts vi. 7). Multitudes of fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, &c., were “added to the Lord” (Acts v. 14); and bestowing their property on them, clustered round the apostles with an ardour of affection rarely exhibited among men (Acts iv. 32–35). But this tide of favour was “with persecutions.” The authorities interposed and tried to stamp out the newborn faith. The effort was vain: “When they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they they might punish them because of the people, for all men glorified God for that which was done” (Acts iv. 21). Though futile, the persecutions continued without intermission. With the advance of time there came a great change, but still in the first instance, Christ’s words were fulfilled to the very letter.

bro Roberts,  Nazareth Revisted.  In harmony with the scriptures of Moses and the Prophets. (electronic ed.) (233).

------------------------------------------------

Reference to:
Act 5:31  Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.


... Now, the repentance which results from believing the gospel of the kingdom is not “sorrow for sin”; nor does it contain the least bitterness or remorse of feeling in it. The scripture word translated repentance is μετάνοια, and signifies a change of mind and purpose. When such a change takes place from believing the truth, it is a disposition and mode of thinking such as characterized Abraham, who is the model of the faith and temper which precedes justification in the name of the Lord. But a change of mind and purpose, however “evangelical”, is only granted for repentance in the name of Jesus Christ. That is to say, though a believer of the gospel of the kingdom might possess this state of mind and child-like disposition, he would not be regarded as in repentance any more than in Jesus until the name of Christ was named upon him according to “the law of faith”. It imports not how much a woman loves a man, she is not his wife, and therefore entitled to none of the benefits he is able to confer, until she puts on his name according to law. The name of Christ consummates everything. “Complete in him”; but out of him everything is imperfect. Faith is unfinished, and the change of mind and disposition is incomplete, until the believer of the gospel of the kingdom puts on the name of Christ. In the act of doing this, his faith is counted to him for righteousness, or remission of sins that are past; and his change of mind and disposition is granted to him for repentance.(a)

But a right to eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God is also imparted to the believer through the name of Christ. The life-giving efficacy of his name is derived from his resurrection as the first-fruits of them that sleep. Had Jesus not risen from the dead, men could not have obtained a right to eternal life through his name. This is the doctrine of the apostles and the prophets. An unrisen sacrifice is only a temporary propitiation for sin. This was the nature of the sacrifices under the Mosaic law. Hence the law had no vitality in it; “for if there had been a law given that could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” (b) But this was impossible. Moses was the mediator of the covenant from Sinai. He died, and the Lord buried him; but there was no testimony added of his resurrection: and though he byes (for he appeared to Jesus on the Mount), it was after the law came into force. The Mosaic law is, therefore, a minister only of death and cursing. But Jesus died and rose again, and lives for evermore. Hence, the gospel in his name, and the new code hereafter to be promulgated from Zion, are efficacious to the bestowal of a right to eternal life upon all who believe through his name.

While a believer is out of Christ, he is in his sins, and while he is in his sins he is under the sentence of death; for “the wages of sin is death”. As soon, however, as his sins axe forgiven through Christ’s name, in the act of forgiveness he passes from under the sentence of death; and as there is no middle, or neutral position, he comes under the sentence of life, and rejoices in hope of the kingdom of God. Thus Jesus Christ hath abolished death, and brought life and incorruptibility to light in the gospel of the kingdom.(c) There is no other way of obtaining them than through his name, and by a resurrection from the dead; or, if living at the setting up of the kingdom, by a change in the twinkling of an eye. Such is the doctrine of Christ as opposed to the vain philosophy of Plato. The Papist and Protestant admirers of this heathen speculator, contend for the hereditary immortality of an immaterial essence, innate in sinful flesh; while the Lord Jesus has made known that life and incorruptibility are attributes of the kingdom of God, which they only can obtain who are accounted worthy on gospel principles of inheriting it. In fine, incorruptible life is part of the reward of the righteous: and nowhere in the Bible is immortality predicated of, or promised to, men who die in their sins. Out of Christ, immortality there is none.

a. Acts 5:31; 11:18.
b. Gal. 3:21.
c. 2 Tim. 1:10.

bro Thomas, Elpis Israel : An exposition of the Kingdom of God. With reference to the Time of the End and the Age to Come. (electronic ed.) (316).

fhigham

Registered:
Posts: 1,023
Reply with quote  #846 

Love -- The Incentive To Please God

Stick with it! Whatever it is that you want to do, stick with it! Don't just drift, and flutter, and complain. Discipline yourself to keep your mind and effort on the job in hand. That's the only way that anything has ever been accomplished. For this, you must have incentive: powerful driving incentive. The slave's incentive is the task master's lash. It keeps him very attentive to what he is doing. Natural incentives range from terror of that which is bad to strong desire for that which is pleasant and desirable. OUR incentive must rise higher than this. Our driving incentive, like a fire in our bones, must be intense love of and zeal for God, developed by long study and meditation upon His glorious Word and works.

Search Me O God, bro Growcott

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Oct 29   2Ch 26,27   Dan 7   Acts 7
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Reference to:
2Ch 26:5  And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.

THIS LIFE REWARDS

THERE are such things as this-life rewards (of both good and evil). Leaving out of account those of whom Jesus says that they do what they do, “that they may have glory of men,” and who, therefore, “have their reward” from mere human sources; there are, outside of these, undoubted cases of this-life rewards from God himself. In some instances this may be all the subjects of it will get; in others it may not The examples to be quoted are evidences of the existence of a principle, of probably far more extensive application than the instances recorded.

God under certain circumstances taxes Himself as it were with differing degrees of indebtedness or obligation to those who do anything for Him, or act a friendly, or kindly and hospitable part towards His chosen nation, or His believing people; and this whether the service come from “them that are within,” or “them that are without.” Or, varying the case a little, He sometimes blesses or prospers one for the sake of another—a God-fearing and righteous man, who the one may have taken into his service, or under his care and keeping. Foremost in this line of things may be mentioned the case of Nebuchadnezzar, to whom God gave Egypt as the reward of his “great service” against Tyre (Ezek. 29:18–20)—“I have given him,’ said God, “the land of Egypt for his labour, wherewith he wrought against it, because they wrought for me.” It was said to Abraham, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” (Gen. 12:2). This promise may be said to have had both an individual and a national fulfilment. It was Laban’s confession that Yahweh had blessed him for Jacob’s sake (Gen. 30:27). So with the Egyptian’s house, which Yahweh blessed for Joseph’s sake, yea saith the Scripture “the blessing of Yahweh was upon all that he had in the house and in the field” (Gen. 39:5). God dealt well with the (apparently Egyptian) midwives of the Hebrews in Egypt (Ex. 1:15–21) because they saved the new-born Hebrew males alive contrary to the decree of the king (“midwives of the Hebrews” is a corrected translation, Pirah and Shiprah being Egyptian names).

God also blessed the house of Obed-edom the Gittite, “because of the ark of God,” which he had received under his roof for the space of three months (2 Sam. 6:10–12). Again, God gave Caleb the land that he had trodden upon, because, as saith the Scripture, he had wholly followed Yahweh (Deut. 1:36). God also rewarded the zeal of Phineas, by making him and his seed the subjects of his “covenant of peace” (Num. 25:6–15). Israel again was not to abhor an Egyptian, because they had been a stranger in his land (Deut. 23:7). An Ammonite and a Moabite were not to be received into the congregation of Yahweh unto the tenth generation, because they did not meet Israel, in the event of their coming out of Egypt, with bread and water, and because they hired Baalam against them (Deut. 23:3, 4). Again, God says, concerning cerning the king of Babylon, “and now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon my servant: and the beasts of the field have I given to serve him” (Jer. 27:6). Nebuchadnezzar was God’s servant in the execution of his judgments upon the surrounding nations, and these lands were, as it were, his wages for work done for God, as in the case of Tyre. Again, it is said that God “repayeth them that hate him to their face” (Deut. 7:10); and again, that he that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that that which he hath given him will He pay him again” (Prov. 19:17).

It is also said of Uzziah that “as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper” (2 Chron. 26:5). Christ recognised the same principle, for, said he, “whosoever shall give a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward;” and on the other hand, says he, “whosoever shall offend ( orscandalise, as the original is) one of these little ones that believe on me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea” (Mark 9:41, 42). These statements of Christ, doubtless, contemplate future rewards more particularly, and those who stand related to them, on the ground of having received the apostolic message; but while comprehending, or referring more directly to the ultimate of things, they not unlikely include much that has to do with the present, and the “whosoever” circle of Adam’s race. This is implied in the words “when ye come into an house, salute it; and if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it be not worthy, let your peace return unto you” (Mat. 10:12, 13). Again, the crew and company on board the vessel, in which Paul sailed as prisoner to Rome, evidently owed their lives to the fact of an apostle being on board (Acts xxvii 23, 25). And so even in our day a faithful brother’s connection with a firm may be its salvation, or the hidden course of its prosperity, for the time being; or on the other hand, a friendly stranger acting a gracious part towards the truth, or the truth’s friends, at some opportune moment may find himself blessed in his deed. It is one of the many comforts of the truth to know that come weal or come woe, God has the most supreme control of all the forces of good and evil; and can at any time that it suits His purpose, and the requirements of the situation, open either the windows of heaven, or hedge our path round with thorns and pricking briars. However, as the apostle saith, “that all things (whether good or evil) work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 7:28.) This working together of a mixed state of suffering and patience, hope and waiting, infirmity and groaning, vanity and corruption (8:18–26), with final (and to some extent even present) results, is a view of the whole situation to which the truth stands related, at once yields comfort and tranquilizing reflections, whatever may be the circumstances of the hour.  ...

The Christadelphian  : Volume 26. 2001, c1889.  (26:155-156).

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Reference to:
Daniel 7


Developments and Judgments on the Little Horn of the West and its religious order

This chapter is the first in the prophetical exposition of Daniel's book.  In it the prophet records a dream-vision of four beasts that he received in the first year of Belshazzar.  Therefore, chronologically, the chapter goes back in point of time.  Daniel sees four beasts arising out of the Great Sea, each in turn striving for the mastery over its predecessor. In succession he sees a lion, a b ear, a leopard, and finally a terrible unnamed beast calculated to strike terror in the heart of any who view it.  As each beast conquers its predecessor it absorbs some of the characteristics of the one it overthrows.  Accordingly, the fourth beast  is diverse from all the others though incorporating elements of all those that went before.  It possesses ten horns, and in his dream Daniel sees three horns violently torn up and replaced by a single "little horn" which proceeds to dominate all the others.  This horn possesses eyes like a man and a mouth speaking great things.

The vision then dramatically changes. The prophet observes thrones of judgment placed in authoritative positions.  On these are seated Divine judges supervised by One described as the Ancient of Days.  Before these thrones stand an innumerable company of Divine personalities.  Their ability to "execute the judgments written" is manifested by "a fiery stream" that issues therefrom.  The fourth beast is entirely consumed by this fiery stream but an extension of life is granted the other beasts.

Once more the vision changes, and now the prophet sees one like the Son of Man ascend into heaven accompanied by the clouds of heaven to be presented to the Ancient of Days.  To this one is granted universal dominion and glory.

The vision ceases at this point leaving Daniel deeply concerned at his ignorance of its meaning.  But there are angels there to help him.  Daniel approaches the presiding angel to seek needed information.  He is given a brief answer that provides a key to the meaning of the dream (vv.16-18).  But hungry for more information Daniel requests a more detailed explanation of the fourth beast, its ten horns, and particularly the little seeing and speaking horn.  He has observed tht this "horn" for a period of time has waged war with the saints and has prevailed against them until the appearance of the Ancient of Days, and the outpouring of judgment, at which time, the saints possess the kingdom.

An answer is given Daniel (vv.23-27). It deeply concerns and troubles the prophet as he considers its meaning.  However, he does not ignore it because he cannot fully understand it, but ponders the matter in his heart.

The chapter is therefore divided into the following parts:

The Dream  (vv. 1-14)
In his dream Daniel sees four beasts answering to the four metals of the Image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in his dream.  The four beasts represent the same powers: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.  Nebuchadnezzar's dream showed what would "come to pass hereafter" as relating to the Gentile powers (Dan. 2:29).  In this dream, additional matters are revealed of great significance to the saints of the Most High, concerning the religious warfare of the ages.

Daniel's concern and 1st question  (vv.15-16)
Daniel is deeply concerned that he cannot understand the vision.  The worthies of old did not look upon the revelation of God with indifference, but with an earnest desire to understand its meaning.  They were emotionally moved when they failed to do so.  They make it a matter or urgent and fervent prayer.  John, like Daniel, earnestly desired to know the contents  of the sealed book, The Apocalypse, and wept copiously until it was unsealed and explained to him (Rev. 5:4)

The angel's initial explanation  (vv.17-18)
A general and brief outline of the Divine purpose as exhibited in history is granted the prophet.

Daniel's further inquiry of the 4th beast  (vv.19-22)
Daniel's attention is still rivetted upon the Fourth Beast.  The brief explanation he has received does not satisfy his craving for further information. He observes in more detail, and makes earnest enquiry as to the significance of certain of its features.  He is persistent in his request (see Matt: 7:7-10)

The second angelic explanation  (vv.23-27)
The supervising angel explains the vision to Daniel, setting out in order the various aspects of the Fourth Beast.

A final summary of Daniel's concern (v.28)

bro HP Mansfield, The Book of Daniel, Verse by Verse Exposition  (pp 144-145)

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Reference to:
Acts 7  -  Stephen


Our third reading (Acts 7.) shews us a brother accused, and replying to his accusers with a “mouth and wisdom,” which they were “not able to gainsay or resist” as Jesus promised. At first sight, it seems strange that the inculcation of the way of truth should lead to enmity. It only seems so to inexperience, and, therefore, to ignorance. Deadly opposition has been the uniform fortune of the truth in every age of the world. Therefore it must be a natural result of the forces at work. We find upon investigation it is so, and this may help us to accept our own share of this experience without undue dismay. The reason or the opposition to Stephen is more obvious than opposition sometimes is. The authorities in Jerusalem had condemned and (by the Romans) killed Jesus as a deceiver. The apostles in a variety of ways proved that he was the Christ. In this demonstration, Stephen took a leading part. He was an active controversialist. He entered the lists with the Alexandrian Jews who were in repute for superior acumen. They “could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spake,” so, as is usual in such cases, they resorted to calumny and false accusation. Under cover of this accusation, they were able to do what is now out of the power of the most malignant foe. They handed him over to “the power and authority” of the magistrates, who in Jerusalem were the priests and scribes. Arraigned before them, we find him delivering an argument which was too strong to be answered on the merits, and which they met by stopping their ears and marching him out to execution.

The question turned upon the murdered Jesus: was he or was he not the Christ? It was one of the Jewish arguments that he could not be the Christ, because he had been crucified. Had he been the Christ the nation would have accepted him; he would have delivered himself from the hands of his persecutors. Stephen’s answer fastens on Moses of whom these rulers made their boast. He reminds them of the circumstances connected with the appearance of Moses as the deliverer of Israel. Israel would have none of him. “Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?” was the question with which they first greeted his interpositions on their behalf; and Moses had to fly. Yet this Moses whom they refused was afterwards established and accepted as their leader and deliverer. Their rejection of Jesus was therefore no new thing. Nay, they had rejected all Jehovah’s servants age after age. “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?” exclaimed Stephen, “the prophets who shewed beforehand the coming of the Just One, of whom ye have now been the betrayers and murderers?” They made it an objection that Jesus was from among themselves instead of being, as they contended the Messiah would be, of an unknown origin. Stephen reminds them that Moses himself had told them that the Lord would raise them up a prophet like unto him from among themselves. And now that he had fulfilled his word, they had despised and rejected him. Concluding with fiery emphasis, Stephen said, “Ye do always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so also do ye.”

The argument was powerful; its effect was exasperating; its consequence to Stephen was fatal. It cost him his life, and he now sleeps in the dust. He will presently awake none the worse, but glad rather at having, even at the sacrifice of his life, born to Christ a testimony that has blazed before the eyes of men in all the dark ages since, through the inscription of his stirring speech on the page of inspiration. May we catch his spirit and emulate his example, and be found with him and his fellow heirs when the age of conflict is passed, and when there has been established in all the earth the rest that remains for the people of God.

Editor. (bro Roberts)

The Christadelphian  : Volume 23. 2001, c1886.  (23:262-263).


 

 
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #847 
A philosophy fixed on the human point of view is like a ship moored to a flower: it won’t hold. Philosophy fixed on God will endure for ever.

bro Robert Roberts, The Christadelphian  : Volume 24. 2001, c1887.  (24:73).

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Nov 8   Ezra 1,2   Hos 5   Acts 21,22
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Reference to:
Ezr 1:1  Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
Ezr 1:2  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.


... We follow the weary captives to Babylon and remain with them seventy years, and note further illustration of the ways of providence in the events that at the end of that time led to their return. This return had been promised. While they were at Babylon, a letter arrived to them from Jeremiah, dictated by the Creator of heaven and earth (a wonderful letter to receive): “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; Build ye houses and dwell in them, and plant gardens and eat the fruit of them … After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you in causing you to return to this place” (Jer. 29:4, 10). When the end of seventy years arrived, the way for return was opened, but by perfectly natural means. Babylon was overthrown by the Medes and Persians as had been predicted (Jer. 51:11). Cyrus came to the throne, whose part as the deliverer of Israel from Babylonish oppression, had also been foretold nearly three hundred years before by Isaiah (Isa. 44:28; 45:1–4). When Cyrus arrived at that position, he found Daniel prime minister of Babylon, and (acting with Darius) retained him in that high position. This Daniel was acquainted with the prophets and given to the study of them (Dan. 9:2). What more natural than that in his position of confidential adviser of the ruler, he should call his attention to what was written in the prophets concerning himself: “That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure; even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid … For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me” (Isa. 44:28; 45:4). It must be to this that Cyrus alludes in the proclamation he immediately issued: “The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth: and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (he is the God) which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:2, 3).

Here is an imperial edict due to a providential combination of circumstances designed to bring about the promised return of favour to Jerusalem after the seventy years’ captivity in Babylon. The edict had its effect. “Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:5). A large company went up to Judah, armed with imperial authority to levy assistance to the enterprise on the officers of state. They proceeded in a perfectly natural way. It was not accomplished all at once though it started so favourably. The reading of Ezra and Nehemiah will show that the Samaritan neighbours of the returned exiles became jealous of their proceedings and resorted to plots and intrigues to stop them—intrigues which, owing to the death of Cyrus, were successful for a while and apparently frustrated the execution of a divine purpose. The foundation laid by the decree of Cyrus could not, however, be finally overturned, and the work, after various hindrances and delays, went on and came to a prosperous finish years afterwards in the days of Nehemiah. The account of the work as contained in the two books mentioned, is an account of natural work to all outward appearance, yet a work confessedly divine in purpose and execution, and therefore not the least of the many scriptural illustrations of the ways of providence.  ...

bro Robert Roberts.  The Ways of Providence (189).

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Reference to:
Hos 5:8  Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin.
Hos 5:9  Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be.
Hos 5:10  The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.

RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN
By Dr. Thomas.

The passage in Jer. 31:15 to 17, referred to in Matt. 2:17, 18, reads thus—“Thus saith the Lord: A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, bitter weeping; Rachael weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the Lord: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for there is a reward for thy work, saith the Lord; and they shall return from the land of the enemy. And there is hope for thine end, saith the Lord, and thy children shall return to their own boundary.”

A voice was heard in Ramah. Ramah was one of those cities which were allotted by Joshua to the tribe of Benjamin on the frontier of this canton, and that of Ephraim. The word signifies an eminence. Sometimes it is put simply for a high place, and then signifies neither a city nor a village. In Ramah, or on the high places of Benjamin and Ephraim, was a voice to be heard—in the city of that name and all the region round about. This voice or cry was foretold by Isaiah as well as by Jeremiah. “Ramah,” says he, “is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled. Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim: cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth.”—(Isa. 10:29, 30.) Gallim and Anathoth, the latter the birthplace of Jeremiah, were cities of Benjamin. Referring to the same event, Hosea says: “Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah; cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin. Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke; among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be. The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound; therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.”—(Hos. 5:8–10.)

Hence, the voice to be heard was lamentation and bitter weeping, on account of the desolation and slaughter of Benjamin and Ephraim by the enemy, and their deportation into their destroyers’ land. The contexts of these references show that the predictions relate to the removal of the whole twelve tribes from their land by the Assyrian power. Benjamin stands for Judah and Jerusalem as well as for its own particular canton; for the kingdom of Judah included Benjamin, and Jerusalem was one of the cities that fell by lot to it when Joshua subdued the country. Ephraim represents the rest of the tribes or kingdom of Israel, as distinguished from that of Judah, inasmuch as Samaria, the seat of government, belonged to Ephraim and Manasseh.

The prophecy of this voice of lamentation in Ramah found its initiatory accomplishment when the overthrow of the twelve tribes was consummated by Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldean head of Assyria. Then captives of Judah’s kingdom were gathered together in Ramah, and with them Jeremiah the prophet, at the disposal of Nebuzaradon, the captain of the guard.—(Jer. 40:1.) The voice of lamentation ascending from these prisoners can better be conceived than described. The tender and delicate of the upper and wealthy classes of the state, whose children and relatives had been slain by the sword, and their palaces and mansions burned with fire, were there assembled, to be marched off by a barbarian soldiery into their enemy’s land.

The cry of that day was a loud, shrill and bitter lamentation, not confined to Ramah, but extending throughout the land from Beersheba to Laish or Dan. Jeremiah, though especially protected by the favour of God and the king, his servant, mingled in that lament for his country’s ruin. “How doth the city sit solitary,” he exclaims, “that was once full of people! As a widow is she become! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, tributary is she become! She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they are become her enemies. Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude; she dwelleth among the nations; she findeth no rest: all her pursuers overlook her between the straits. The ways of Zion do mourn because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh; her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness. Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the Lord hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children have gone into captivity before the enemy” (Lam. 1:1–5)—that is, “they were not.”

But, notwithstanding all that calamity, “there is hope for thine end: they shall come again from the land of the enemy—they shall return to their own border.”  ...

The Christadelphian  : Volume 12. 2001, c1875. (electronic ed.) (12:97-98).

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Reference to:
Act 21:4  And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

Disciples at Tyre

The opening phrase in v. 4 is better rendered: “And having found the disciples. . .“ It does not speak of brethren who were merely passing through the city. An ecclesia had been established at Tyre; Paul was aware of its existence and went searching for the brethren. The development of an ecclesia there is implied from Luke’s careful note in ch. 11:19, which indicates that the gospel had certainly been carried into this area. Arriving at Tyre, Paul realised that he would now easily arrive at Jerusalem within the required time. He therefore immediately sought out the brethren, that his time in this place might be spent profitably for the good of all, himself included. The statement in Hebrews, “not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” (ch. 10:25) does not only concern the necessary weekly convening of the Body for the purpose of partaking of the emblems, but should be seen in relation to daily life. There is great wisdom and benefit to be gained from making this course of action a rule for life. Believers are always much better off, and isolated somewhat from the temptations of the world, when they set out to seek the company of those who are like-minded rather than settling for the environment of the Gentile world. Thus seven profitable and enjoyable days were shared by all the brethren who were granted the privilege of fraternal and spiritual companionship. Paul may have seen a special need for spending these seven days at Tyre, with some particular value in his presence there, in view of the fact that he allowed only one day with the brethren at Ptolemais (v. 7). — J. U.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Verse by Verse Exposition (pp. 413) - bro HP Mansfield

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Reference to:
PAUL’S FINAL MESSAGE TO THE JEWS IN JERUSALEM — ACTS 21 TO 26

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO
PAUL ADDRESSES THE CROWDS IN JERUSALEM


Having returned to the capital, Paul is subjected to a violent attack by the Judaisers, but is rescued by the temple guard, and permitted to address his antagonists. He presents a very expressive argument, pointing to his background as a member of the Jewish scholarship, and recalling the means of his conversion to become a believer in the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth. It is the first of a number of addresses he is to give in the centre of Judaism and ultimately in the city of Rome — the centre of Gentilism. His address follows the former outline of Jewish history given by his one-time adversary, Stephen (Acts 7), and includes Paul’s testimony concerning his beliefs. His speech receives the same vitriolic response as was meted out to his Lord (Lk. 23:21), and to Stephen (Acts 7:57) — and like his forerunners, he refuses to capitulate. It is a lucid explanation of his understanding and hope, and contains powerful exhortations for believers of all times.

In his presentation, Paul lists [1] His early Judaism and education: vv. 1-3; [2] His persecution of the Christians: vv. 4-5; [3] His conversion to the Truth:
vv. 6-10; [4] The dramatic change: the Humbled Witness: vv. 11-16; [5] His return to Jerusalem: v. 17; [6] The command to preach to Gentiles: vv. 18-21.

As he brings his address to a climax, the mob reacts in violent aggression, so that the Chief Captain put him into custody to avoid the anger of the Jews, only to discover that his prisoner claims Roman citizenship. Paul is retained for further explanation before the Jewish Council. His speech brings before the audience a number of witnesses to confirm his standing: [1] Gamaliel, the teacher: v. 3; [2] the Jewish Rulers and the Sanhedrin: v. 5; [3] his Companions on the Road to Damascus: v. 9; [4] Ananias, the devout disciple. Verses 14-16 provide details additional to the account in ch. 9:1 7-1 8.

It is now about AD58; Paul is approximately 52 years old.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Verse by Verse Exposition (pp. 427-428) - bro HP Mansfield
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #848 
Psa 29:2  Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

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Nov 9  Ezra 3,4   Hos 6   Acts 23,24
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Reference to:
Ezra 3:9-13; 4:1-5


THINGS THAT AGREE

The parable of the net cast into the sea (Matt. 13:47), agrees with the saying that the apostles were “fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19); and these together agree with the symbolic waters of the Apocalypse, which represent “peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues” (Rev. 17:1, 5).

The fact that Nineveh was not overthrown in forty days, as Jonah said it would be (Jonah 3:4), agrees with the testimony that says “if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them” (Jer. 18:8).

Daniel’s “King of the north,” with his tabernacle (or royal tent) pitched between the seas (11:40, 45), is synonymous with Joel’s “northern army” (or king) with his face toward the east sea (or dead sea), and his hinder part toward the utmost sea (or Mediterranean) (Joel 2:20).

Joel’s “stink” and “ill savour” of the unburied “northern army” (2:20), agrees with Ezekiel’s description of the burial of Gog, on the east of the dead sea, the stench of which will “stop the noses of the passengers” (39:11)
Jude’s archangel, rebuking Satan, when disputing about the body of Moses (Jude 9), agrees with Zechariah (3:1, 2), where Satan, the angel, and the very words of the rebuke all occur; and these together agree with Ezra (3:9–13; 4:1–5), where we have Joshua (the Joshua of Zechariah) the high priest and Zerubbabel in conflict with the Samaritan adversaries of Judah and Benjamin. These Assyrian colonists of the depopulated country of the ten tribes, wanted to join themselves to the body politic of Moses, and so to unite with them in the re-building of the temple. This proposal for fellowship was declined by Zerubbabel and Joshua, who said to them, “ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God.” These adversaries are the same as the Sanballat and his colleagues of Nehemiah (2:4:5:6.) Sanballat was what Jude calls a “dignity” of the Persian power (Neh. 4:1, 2), hence being Satan in authority, it was not proper to speak evil of him.

Isaiah’s “world without end” (45:17) is synonymous with Mark’s “world to come” (10:30); Paul’s “Ages to come” (Eph. 2:7), and “day of Christ” (Phil. 1:6–10); Matthew’s “regeneration” (19:28), and “Kingdom come” (6:10); Peter’s “times of refreshing” and “restitution” (Acts 3:19–21); and John’s “thousand years” reign of Christ (Rev. 20:4–6).

Isaiah’s prophecy of the taking of Babylon by Cyrus (45:1–6), agrees with what is written about Cyrus in profane history; while what the same prophet says about Cyrus giving command for Jerusalem and the Temple to be built (44:24–28) agrees exactly with the history of the matter recorded by Ezra (chap. 1), and in the book of Chronicles (2 Chron. 36:22–23); to which what is said in Daniel (1. 10.) joins on.

The Christadelphian  : Volume 25. 2001, c1888.  (electronic ed.) (25:118).

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Reference to:
Hos 6:1  Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
Hos 6:2  After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

Hosea, who was the contemporary of Isaiah, and whose name, like his, means Salvation, Deliverance, likewise speaks of the times and circumstances of “the manifestation of the sons of God”. This was to be preceded by a long period of unfaithfulness of the Land and People of Israel, strikingly portrayed by the prophet’s “wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms” (ch. 1). God would “cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel” (a fact which Anglo-Israelism, or British-Israelism as it is now called, has scarcely sufficiently appreciated). Gomer’s daughter was divinely named Lo-ruhamah (not having obtained mercy), and her son Lo-ammi (not my people). Yet there was hope in Israel’s end, for “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God”.

This has both a national and individual application, with a mortal and immortal “adoption” pertaining thereto. As to the national, we see the resurrection and “regeneration” of the nation of Israel in these latter days “in the place” whence they were scattered. And “the Valley of Jezreel” in particular is celebrated in a recent illustrated pamphlet issued by the Keren-ha-yesod.

As to the individual application, both Paul and Peter quote Hosea’s prophecy with reference to the “Gentile” contingent called to God’s kingdom and glory. Thus Paul in Rom. 9:21–26, commenting on the work of the divine “Potter” with the human “clay”, says that He proposes to “make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath afore prepared unto glory, even us whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. As he saith also in Osee” … And he goes on to quote Hosea 1:9, 10. So also Peter (1 Pet. 2:10), addressing the “elect strangers” of Asia, etc., says, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of the darkness into his marvellous light. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” And, as contrasting the Lo-ammi and Lo-ruhamah estates of Israel of old with this destiny, and reminding his hearers of the conditions of unfaithfulness that brought about the scattering of Israel, he adds in exhortation: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”

Hosea said that “the children of Israel should abide many days without a king” but afterwards should “return and seek the Lord their God and David their King, and fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days” (3:4, 5). He even symbolically indicated the measure of time from his day to these, saying, “Come, let us return unto the Lord; for he hath torn and he will heal us; he hath smitten and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight” (6:1, 2).

There appears to be here a repetition of, or allusion to, “the sign of the prophet Jonas” (Jonah 1:17; 2 Kings 14:25; Matt. 12:39, 40). Messiah was to be “declared to be the son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4) “the third day”, without seeing corruption; and here was a prophetic promise of a national resurrection for Israel “the third day”. And in passing it may be said, as indicating the unity of the divine purpose and harmony of the figures of the Spirit of God in the Bible, that the latter day “witnesses” are in turn the subjects of a somewhat similar political resurrection as foretold in Rev. 11:1–13. But the scale of time varies of necessity as between the individual and national in these cases. In the case of Jesus the days were literal. In the case of Hosea’s prophecy they appear to be of “a thousand years” duration, in harmony with the allusion of the apostle who quoted Hosea’s prophecy (2 Pet. 3:8). Hosea, according to Usher’s chronology, prophesied about b.c. 780, which is now more than 2,700 years ago (more than two-and-a-half days). And we are actually witnessing a political resurrection of Israel “in the place” in this “third day”. It is an earnest of the resurrection of the dead and of “the manifestation of the sons of God”.
The Son of God himself quoted this chapter on more than one occasion (Matt. 9:9–13; 12:1–8). Not indeed with reference to the time element, but to the “goodness”, greater than that of “Ephraim”, or of the scribes and Pharisees, that should qualify for the resurrection to life eternal. “I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Jesus had “called” Matthew the publican and had accepted his hospitality, whereat the Pharisees were scandalised. But he said, “Go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” The Father, who spoke by the Spirit in Hosea to “Ephraim”, now spoke to “sinners” by Jesus, calling to repentance.
Again, when the Pharisees found fault with the disciples for plucking the corn on the sabbath, he asked them if they had not read what David did on the sabbath—ate the shew bread, and again quoted these words of the Spirit of God by Hosea, and even proclaimed himself “Lord of the sabbath”.

Thus Hosea’s prophecy naturally takes hold of the theophany in Jesus Christ that was some eight hundred years future from his day, and of that “manifestation of the sons of God” for which still we wait. Finally the prophetic message promises “ransom from the grave” such as that of which Jesus himself has been the subject. “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be thy plagues; O Grave, I will be thy destruction” (13:14).

bro C. C. Walker.  God Manifestation or Theophany (127). The Christadelphian.

------------------------------------------------

Reference to:
Act 23:12  And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.

Encouragement and Enmity

How tragically ironical.  Whilst Paul was receiving comfort and encouragement from the Lord, his fanatical Jewish opponents were plotting his cold-blooded murder.  Ignorance of the Truth and the purpose of God, or even lack of sound understanding, may lead to disastrous consequences.  The words of Isaiah may apply to this situation: “Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word;  Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed” Isaiah 66:5.   The words “Hear the Word of Yahweh” are directed as a comfort to those under pressure and facing affliction for the Truth’s sake.  Their persecutors, their own brethren, believed they were doing God a service by oppressing those who clearly and forthrightly upheld and proclaimed the Truth! “Let Yahweh be glorified,” said these betrayers of the Truth, deluding themselves that their cause was just.  The Lord warned his disciples that they might expect to receive this same treatment at the hands of their brethren: “A;; these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent me” (John 15:21).  The Lord proceeded to quote this passage from Isa. 66, when he told his brethren: “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service!” (John 16:2).  But for all such suffering at the hands of insidious betrayers, Isaiah had words of comfort for his true brethren: “He (Yahweh) shall appear to your joy…”  The promise is sure: God will appear as the vindicator of al who serve Him “in spirit and in truth”.  He will also deliver them from their foes and persecutors. 

Paul was now experiencing such solace and consolation, directly from the Lord himself. As for those who afflict and reject the faithful, “they shall be ashamed…”  They will be silenced and confounded in the day when the Great Judge will honor “them that are his.”  --- J.U.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Verse by Verse Exposition (pp. 442) 
fhigham

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Posts: 1,023
Reply with quote  #849 

When Paul parted with the Ephesian brethren at Miletus, he said, “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up.” Do we not find it so? The reading of the Bible is so up-building. It makes us feel so strong when we receive into the mind and heart the things it contains.

Vol. 27: The Christadelphian  : Volume 27. 2001, c1890.

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Nov 10  Ezra 5,6   Hos 7   Acts 25,26
------------------------------------------------

Reference to:
Ezr 5:5  But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter.


... A plausible appeal (from those outside the covenant): “Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto Him.” A faithful reply: “Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel.” A natural result: “Then the people of the land weakened the lands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building” (Ezra 4:2, 3, 4). How singularly suggestive are these facts of our experience in the erection of the antitypical temple. The children of the apostasy would join hands with us in the work, but we dare not allow them. They argue with us, but falsely, as did the enemies of Judah and Benjamin. Our faithful refusal evokes their hatred. They commence to annoy, malign, and hinder. But there is comfort to be derived from the Old Testament record. It is written that the eye of God was upon the elders of the Jews, that their enemies could not cause them to cease from building (5:5).

A blessed fact is this, divinely narrated out of love for us (Rom. 15:4). God beholds us and our opponents. He permits certain events, as in Israel’s case, and prevents others. Let us be calm and trustful, however much the Satan may slander, abuse, or misrepresent. Our work is the work of God, and withstand it none can. Let us not forget that God still unobservedly influences the affairs of man. In the days of Ezra, God providentially turned the hearts of the King of Assyria and of all his mighty princes for the benefit of His people (6:27, 7:28). May we not look to Him as occasion requires for similar favour? Let us remember Paul’s words: “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you always having sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). ...

The Christadelphian  : Volume 26. 2001, c1889.  (electronic ed.) (26:90).

------------------------------------------------

Reference to:
Hos 7:11  Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.

... The expression “as doves to their cotes” is very beautiful. The “homing instinct” of the pigeon tribe has always challenged the admiration of mankind, and from time immemorial the dove has stood as the symbol of purity and tenderness. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism in bodily form as a dove. Noah’s dove returned to him in the ark with the olive leaf token of the abating of the flood. In the day when God arises and His enemies are scattered, the redeemed are revealed as with “the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold” (Psa. 68:13). In Solomon’s Song the Bride is frequently referred to under the figure of a dove—the “dove in the clefts of the rock” (2:14). All the individual constituents of the Bride from the beginning yearn after Zion. All their “instincts” are Zionwards. God has put it in their hearts by the operation of a higher law than that which causes the pigeons to traverse unerringly hundreds of miles of land and sea to the ardently-desired “home.”

And even in the nation of Israel the same “instincts” are only in degree less intense. Poor mourning captives in foreign lands! Like “silly doves” they have lost their way meanwhile, and are taken in God’s net (Hos. 7:11, 12). But “they shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria, and I will place them in their houses, saith the Lord” (Hos. 11:11). That is why we see a Zionist movement among the Jews in these latter days.

bro Robert Roberts, e. a. (1907; 2002). The Ministry of the Prophets: Isaiah (703).

------------------------------------------------

Reference to:
Act 24:27  But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
Act 25:1  Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
Act 25:2  Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
Act 25:3  And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.


Willingly Blind

Two years had given the high priest (“the chief priests,” RV) and the chief of the Jews ample time to reconsider their position, and to dwell upon the unmerited hatred they had directed against Paul. It is evident that they had not consulted either the teaching of the Law as found in the writings of Moses — whom they allegedly exalted and honoured — nor had they dwelt upon the spirit of the Law, which dealt with such issues as this. These men were many in number. They were rich and influential. The accused man stood alone, an obscure person without power or influence.

Yet, this lonely man was not forsaken, for Yahweh was with him. As to his adversaries, Christ rightly defined them as “blind leaders of the blind.” A proverbial expression says “there are none so blind as those who do not wish to see.” The divine judgment which eventually overtook these men and their friends and families (circa AD7O) was dreadful and terrifying. Was God unjust in bringing such frightful punishment upon these guilty men, who defied the Living God by practicing “religion” only as it suited their own fleshly minds and wicked ambitions? The law they claimed to uphold condemned them:

“[Yahweh] keeps mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and that will by no means clear the guilty...” (Exo. 34:7). “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap...” (Gal. 6:7). — J.U.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Verse by Verse Exposition (pp. 461)

------------------------------------------------

Reference to:
Act 26:18  To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Act 26:19  Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:

The Inheritance of the Faithful — v. 18

In the Lord’s words addressed to Paul, as the apostle here recounts them to Agrippa, he specifically mentions that Paul was to preach “forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith What is this inheritance promised to the faithful? Nothing less than to become “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). Those who fully embrace the One True Apostolic Faith are “no longer servants, but sons; and if sons, then heirs of God (Gal. 4:7). Thus Peter says:

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises” (2Pet. 1:4), that is, “the promise made of God unto our fathers” (Acts 26:6).
Consider the plight of those who claim to be disciples of Christ, yet remain ignorant of the promises. Tragically, they remain without hope, for “we are saved by the hope” (Rom. 8:24)

the hope centered in the promises. Those who do not understand the terms and conditions of the Abrahamic covenant are bereft of “the hope.” It is vital that members of the one body of Christ never lose sight of the Israelitish nature of their hope, and retain a firm understanding of all that has been promised, together with an awareness of the responsibilities and obligations it places upon them. The Lord Jesus Christ’s clear reference here to the promises made to the fathers is of considerable importance, for this is the only “inheritance” promised to the saints. Saul’s obsession with the vindication of the Mosaic law was about to come to an end. He would now understand with profound clarity that “the promises” were “confirmed by God in Christ”; and therefore the law, which came “four hundred and thirty years after” the promises were made to Abraham could not “disannul” or make them “of none effect” (Gal. 3:16-17). Indeed, we are saved “by the hope” of the promises, alluded to here by the Lord in delivering his commission to Paul.

“I Was Not Disobedient” — v. 19

It appears from the way in which Paul’s character is revealed in Scripture that he was a most determined and dedicated man. Whatever he set his heart and mind upon, he committed himself totally and without reticence or uncertainty. He revealed no major weakness of character, either as a single-minded Pharisee or as a dedicated servant of Christ. The Greek here is even more expressive than conveyed in the AV. The significance of the verb is more clearly elucidated when rendered: “I did not become disobedient Paul is making it clear that, whereas he had previously “kicked against the pricks” in his battle against Christ, he did not even consider returning to his violent opposition to the Lord and his disciples, having seen the risen Christ in glory, and having heard his words. The realization that the crucified Christ had risen from the dead made an immediate and lasting impact upon Saul of Tarsus. From that moment he was a changed man. His only question was: “Lord! What wilt thou have me to do?” — J.U.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Verse by Verse Exposition (pp. 475)


Fred Higham <fhigham@gmail.com>

Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 9:16 AM

To: Ted Mingham <tmingham@hotkey.net.au>

[Quoted text hidden]


 

When Paul parted with the Ephesian brethren at Miletus, he said, “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up.” Do we not find it so? The reading of the Bible is so up-building. It makes us feel so strong when we receive into the mind and heart the things it contains.

Vol. 27: The Christadelphian  : Volume 27. 2001, c1890.

------------------------------------------------
 Acts 25,26
------------------------------------------------
Reference to:
Act 24:27  But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
Act 25:1  Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
Act 25:2  Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
Act 25:3  And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.


Willingly Blind

Two years had given the high priest (“the chief priests,” RV) and the chief of the Jews ample time to reconsider their position, and to dwell upon the unmerited hatred they had directed against Paul. It is evident that they had not consulted either the teaching of the Law as found in the writings of Moses — whom they allegedly exalted and honoured — nor had they dwelt upon the spirit of the Law, which dealt with such issues as this. These men were many in number. They were rich and influential. The accused man stood alone, an obscure person without power or influence.

Yet, this lonely man was not forsaken, for Yahweh was with him. As to his adversaries, Christ rightly defined them as “blind leaders of the blind.” A proverbial expression says “there are none so blind as those who do not wish to see.” The divine judgment which eventually overtook these men and their friends and families (circa AD7O) was dreadful and terrifying. Was God unjust in bringing such frightful punishment upon these guilty men, who defied the Living God by practicing “religion” only as it suited their own fleshly minds and wicked ambitions? The law they claimed to uphold condemned them:

“[Yahweh] keeps mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and that will by no means clear the guilty...” (Exo. 34:7). “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap...” (Gal. 6:7). — J.U.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Verse by Verse Exposition (pp. 461)

------------------------------------------------

Reference to:
Act 26:18  To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Act 26:19  Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:

The Inheritance of the Faithful — v. 18

In the Lord’s words addressed to Paul, as the apostle here recounts them to Agrippa, he specifically mentions that Paul was to preach “forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith What is this inheritance promised to the faithful? Nothing less than to become “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). Those who fully embrace the One True Apostolic Faith are “no longer servants, but sons; and if sons, then heirs of God (Gal. 4:7). Thus Peter says:

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises” (2Pet. 1:4), that is, “the promise made of God unto our fathers” (Acts 26:6).
Consider the plight of those who claim to be disciples of Christ, yet remain ignorant of the promises. Tragically, they remain without hope, for “we are saved by the hope” (Rom. 8:24)

the hope centered in the promises. Those who do not understand the terms and conditions of the Abrahamic covenant are bereft of “the hope.” It is vital that members of the one body of Christ never lose sight of the Israelitish nature of their hope, and retain a firm understanding of all that has been promised, together with an awareness of the responsibilities and obligations it places upon them. The Lord Jesus Christ’s clear reference here to the promises made to the fathers is of considerable importance, for this is the only “inheritance” promised to the saints. Saul’s obsession with the vindication of the Mosaic law was about to come to an end. He would now understand with profound clarity that “the promises” were “confirmed by God in Christ”; and therefore the law, which came “four hundred and thirty years after” the promises were made to Abraham could not “disannul” or make them “of none effect” (Gal. 3:16-17). Indeed, we are saved “by the hope” of the promises, alluded to here by the Lord in delivering his commission to Paul.

“I Was Not Disobedient” — v. 19

It appears from the way in which Paul’s character is revealed in Scripture that he was a most determined and dedicated man. Whatever he set his heart and mind upon, he committed himself totally and without reticence or uncertainty. He revealed no major weakness of character, either as a single-minded Pharisee or as a dedicated servant of Christ. The Greek here is even more expressive than conveyed in the AV. The significance of the verb is more clearly elucidated when rendered: “I did not become disobedient Paul is making it clear that, whereas he had previously “kicked against the pricks” in his battle against Christ, he did not even consider returning to his violent opposition to the Lord and his disciples, having seen the risen Christ in glory, and having heard his words. The realization that the crucified Christ had risen from the dead made an immediate and lasting impact upon Saul of Tarsus. From that moment he was a changed man. His only question was: “Lord! What wilt thou have me to do?” — J.U.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Verse by Verse Exposition (pp. 475)
fhigham

Registered:
Posts: 1,023
Reply with quote  #850 
Faith That Works By Love

Working for God is not enough, even though it is intense, compulsive and total. That indeed is important, but two other things are even more important: love of God, and holiness of life. There can be a dead work without love (though it may give a wonderful appearance of "life"). But there cannot be the true required Love without both Holiness and Work. "Faith that works by Love" is the golden key to life.

Search Me O God,  bro Growcott

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Nov 11   Ezra 7   Hos 8   Acts 27
------------------------------------------------

Reference to:
Ezra 7


The second return under Ezra, whose descent is given. A little over fifty years elapsed between chapters vii. and viii., during which Artaxerxes came to the throne. So only the Temple (not the city) had been rebuilt. ...

... Absolute authority was given to Ezra, the Priest, which caused great joy to the returning Jews, while Ezra himself praised God for His mercy.

The Christadelphian  : Volume 34. 2001, c1897 - (34:84)

------------------------------------------------

Reference to:
Ezr 7:12  Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.

THINGS NEW AND OLD FROM THE TREASURES OF THE SPIRIT
bro F. R. Shuttleworth.

Profane History.—I

The following is a list of the kings and other ruling personages of profane history referred to in the historic and prophetic Scriptures.

Egypt

Pharaoh I. Tegar Amachus (Gen. 12:10).
Pharaoh II. (Gen. 39. to 47.)—under whom Joseph was sold into Egypt—the Thusimaries of profane history.
Pharaoh III. (Gen. 1, 6).—The Rameses of profane history.
Pharaoh IV. (Ex. 1:1).—The “new king who knew not Joseph.”—The Salatis of history.
Pharaoh V. (Ex. 3. to 15.)—The Apachnees of history.
Pharaoh VI.—The Shishack of 1 Kings 14:25; 2 Chron. 12:7, 9: the Sesac or Sesonchis of history.
Pharaoh VII.—The So of 2 Kings 17:4.—Sebacon the Ethiopian of profane history.
Pharaoh VIII. Sethon the contemporary of Senacherib
Pharaoh IX.—The Pharaoh Necho of 2 Kings 23.; Jer. 46. and the Nechao of history.
Pharaoh X.—The Pharaoh Hophra of Jer. 45:30, and the Apries of Egyptian history.
The identity of the first four of these Pharaohs is less certain than the others.

Assyria and Babylon

Tiglash-Pileser (2 Kings 15:16.; 1 Chon. 5.; 2 Chron. 28.)—The Arbaces of profane history
Senacherib mentioned by Herodotus.
Esarhaddon (2 Kings 19.; Ez. 4.)—The Assardenus of history.
Baladan (Isa. 39:1).—The Belesis or Nabonassar of history.
Nebuchadnezzar.—Known by same name in history.
Merodach Baladan (Isa. 39:1).—The Mardoc Empadus of history.
Belshazzar (Dan. 5.)—The Nabonidus of history.
Darius the Medean (Dan. 5:31)—The Cyaxares II. of profane history.

Media and Persia

Ahasuerus I (Dan 9:1).—The Astyages of history.
Cyrus (Isaiah and Ezra).—Known by the same name in history.
Ahasuerus II. (Ezra 4:6).—First of the three kings, in Dan. 11:2, and the Cambyses of ancient history.
Artaxerxes I. (Ezra 4:7).—The Smerdis of history
Darius (Ezra, Hag., Zech.)—The Darius Hystaspes of history.
Xerxes (Dan. 11:2).—Not mentioned by name, but described as the “fourth” from Cyrus, the richest of all the Persian kings, and the invader of Greece; all of which is referable to the renowned Xerxes.
Ahasuerus III. (Esther).—The Artaxerxes Longimanus of Persian history. Dr. Thomas, vide Elpis Israel, p. 296.
Artaxerxes (Ezra 7.; Neh).—The Artaxerxes Longimanus of ancient history.
Darius II. (Neh 12:22).—The Darius Codamanus of history.

Greece

Alexander the Great.—The mighty king of Daniel 11:3.
Maccabean Heptade
Antiochus Theos, Ptolemy Philadelphus, Ptolemy Euergetes, Laodice, Seleucus Callincus. Seleucus Ceranus, Ptolemy Philopater, Ptolemy Epiphanes, Seleucus Philopater, Heliodorus, Ptolemy Philometer, Apollonius; all of which come into the exposition of Daniel 11. Vide Expos. Daniel, Eureka III.

Rome

Cæsar Agustus (Luke 2:1; Acts 25:21), Tiberias Cæsar (Luke 3.), Caius Cæsar Caligula, Claudius Cæsar (Acts 11:28), Tiberius Claudius Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, Domitan, Cocceius Nerva; in all constituting the Twelve Stars of Rev. 12:5. Vide Eureka III. N.T. history corresponds with the reigns of the first four of the foregoing.
Constantine.—The Man-Child of Rev. 12:5.
The Jews were more or less well treated under the administration of Thusimares and Ramesseos of Egypt; Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes of Persia, and Alexander the Great, of Greece, and also by Antiochus (III) the Great, Ptolemy Philadelphus, and Ptolemy Soter.

The Christadelphian  : Volume 17. 2001, c1880. (17:211-212)

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Reference to:
Hos 8:10  Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes.


... It would seem from the testimony of Malachi, who prophesied concerning the ten tribes, that while they are in the wilderness of the people they will be disciplined by the law of Moses as their national code, while things concerning Jesus will be propounded to them as matter of faith; for it is testified by Hosea that they shall be gathered, and “shall sorrow a little for the burden of the King of prince”,b The person with whom they will have more immediately to do in their Second Exodus is Elijah. There would seem to be a fitness in this. In the days of their fathers, when they forsook the Lord and abolished the law of Moses, Elijah was the person whose ministerial life was occupied in endeavouring to “restore all things”. Though he did much to vindicate the name and law of Jehovah, he was taken away in the midst of his labours. For what purpose? That he might at a future period resume his work and perfect it by restoring all things among the ten tribes according to the law of Moses, preparatory to their being planted in their land under a new covenant to be made with them there.c

But it may be objected that Elijah has come already, and that John the Baptist was he.d True, in a certain sense he was. John was Elijah to the House of Judah in the sense of his having come “in the spirit and power of Elijah”a But John was not the Elijah who talked with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration. The latter is Elijah to the house of Israel. The scribes taught that Elijah must precede Christ; which Jesus approved, saying, “Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things”. He said this after John was put to death. John did not restore all things; but Elijah will, and that too before the Lord Jesus makes himself known to the ten tribes, whom he will meet in Egypt.

The period of Israel’s probation drawing to a close, they will have advanced as far as Egypt on their return to Canaan, as it is written, “They shall return to Egypt.”b This is necessary, for it is written also in more senses than one, “Out of Egypt have I called my son”. As they are to be gathered from the west, north, and east they will have gone through the countries by a circuitous route to Egypt. They are to be gathered from Assyria, or the countries of Gogue’s dominion; but I have not yet discovered in the word the line of march they are to follow in arriving at Egypt. But that they are to be assembled there is certain; for it is written, “I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt”. This was spoken some two hundred years after the overthrow of Samaria; and it is indisputable that neither Israel nor Judah have been again brought out of Egypt to inhabit their land; the exodus from Egypt is therefore still in the future.

But in coming out of Egypt they will have to cross both the Nile and the Red Sea; and although their march hither will have been one of conquest, it will not have been unattended with defeat, because of their own rebelliousness. The hearts of their enemies will be hardened to their own destruction to the last conflict. The south will still be disposed to “keep back” Israel from their country. Therefore, leaving Egypt, “Ephraim shall pass through the sea of affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away.”c

The combined forces of Egypt and Assyria shall be broken as the hosts of Pharaoh, and the horse and his rider be drowned in the depths of the sea. For “the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make (Israel) go over dry shod … like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.“d

They will now sing the song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb, who will have given them such a mighty deliverance from all their enemies. Being now “the ransomed of the Lord, they shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads”. The prophet “like unto Moses”, mightier than Joshua, and “greater than Solomon”, will conduct them into the Holy Land, and, having delivered to them the New Covenant, will “settle them after their old estates”. Having “wrought with them for his own name’s sake”, and by them as his “battle-axe and weapons of war”, subdued the nations, and brought them to his holy mountain, he will “accept them there”, and “there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land,” as one nation and one kingdom under Shiloh “serve the Lord God”.a  ...

b. Hos. 8:10.
c. Mal. 4:4–6; Jer. 31:31.
d. Luke 1:17.
a. Luke 1:17.
b. Hos. 8:13.
c. Zech. 10:10, 11.
d. Isaiah 11:15, 16.
a. Ezek. 37:21, 28; 20:40; 34:22–31.

bro J Thomas, Elpis Israel : An exposition of the Kingdom of God. With reference to the Time of the End and the Age to Come. (electronic ed.) (451).

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Reference to:
CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

PAUL TAKES SHIP TO ROME

Having been released from imprisonment in Caesarea, Paul is now conveyed to the capital of the empire in order to appear before Caesar, in accordance with his appeal as a Roman citizen (ch. 25:11). He could not have anticipated the dramatic events which were to occur during the sea journey, although he had already suffered three shipwrecks not recorded (2Cor. 11:25). Nevertheless, he recognised that the overshadowing care of the Deity continued to protect him, and the mission to which he set himself would be accomplished.

Paul was about 54-56 years of age, and the year was probably the autumn of the year AD6O (ch. 28:11) to the spring of AD61.

Luke records the events in this chapter in great detail, including himself in the narrative (cp. “we” in ch. 2 7:1). He employs nautical terms and describes the experiences of the ship with such skill that the record has been acclaimed as accurate by navigators of the Mediterranean. In Acts 27 there appear words, mostly nautical, found nowhere else in the Greek Scriptures.

But why is this seafaring incident recorded? Of what value is it to our spiritual education? Because it demonstrates the remarkable faith of the apostle Paul, and the commitment with which he set his face to fulfil the terms of his apostleship (ch. 9:15). It is an amazing example of the calmness, confidence and patience of faith in the face of uncontrollable adverse forces, panic and despair. This is at least the fourth shipwreck Paul has experienced in preaching the gospel (2Cor. 11:25). In this instance even Luke seems to have capitulated to the circumstances, and acted according to human prudence and dismay (ch. 2 7:16, 19), whilst Paul, recognizing the conditions had gone beyond human control, accomplished by fervent prayer that which human prudence and ingenuity could not achieve. It is the Paul of the Epistles that is here revealed, providing a sterling example of endurance under actual conditions of extreme trial, of the attitude he exhorts in his letters. It reveals that he was no mere theorist, but a realist in his actions.

The example Paul provides is emphasised by the detail Luke supplies of the journey, and the desperate efforts of human precaution and skill that were vainly expended to secure the ship, when faith and trust in Yahweh were alone adequate. Yet Paul was physically sick at the time, and in great need of the help of others (ch. 27:3).

The chapter reveals of Paul’s attitude:
• It commended him to those “that are without” (vv. 3, 43. cp. Col. 4:5; Eph. 5:16).
• It demonstrated that he was a man of prudence, not tempting Providence (v. 10; 1Cor. 10:9).
• It revealed Paul’s faith which stood firm in the face of seemingly hopeless situations (vv. 20-22; 2Thes. 1:4; Heb. 11:6; 13:7).
• It shows that he was a man of intense and consistent prayer (v. 23; 1Thes. 5:17; 1Tim. 2:8).
• It indicates him to be a man of optimism and courage (vi’. 22, 25; Phil. 1:18; 2:17; 3:1; 4:4; Col. 1:24; 1Thes. 5:16; 1Cor. 16:13).
• It shows him to be a man of vigilance, recognizing that prayer is only efficacious if men use the means at hand to make it so (v. 31; 1Cor. 16:13; 1 Thes. 5:6).
• it demonstrates that Paul was a man of practical purpose (vv. 33-36; 1Tim. 4:4-8; 5:23).
• It indicates him as a man who prayed for others (v. 37; cp. 1Tim. 2:1, 4).
• It testifies that the Providence of Yahweh is revealed in the circumstances that enabled all to ultimately escape (vv. 31, 22; Phil. 1:12; Rom. 8:28).

Luke must have been deeply impressed with the example of Paul and in order to emphasise it, recorded all the circumstances of the voyage in detail.

The apostle was ultimately released from his bondage at Rome, and continued to minister for a brief time to the Brotherhood, until as recorded in 2 Timothy 4, he was returned to the capital in the reign of Nero, and lost his life in the purges against the Christians at the time.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Verse by Verse Exposition (pp. 480-481) 
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #851 
... Death or victory is the only alternative. There can be no peace in the world till one or other be suppressed. The “enmity” is the essential hostility betwixt sin and God’s law, which is the truth. Either truth must conquer sin, or sin must abolish the truth; but compromise there can be none. I have great faith in the power of truth, because I have faith in God. He is pledged to give it the victory; and though deceivers in church and state may triumph for the time, and tyrants “destroy the earth”, their end is certain and their destruction sure. ...

bro John Thomas,  Elpis Israel: An exposition of the Kingdom of God. With reference to the Time of the End and the Age to Come (p103-104)

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Nov 12   Ezra 8   Hos 9   Acts 28
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Reference to:
Ezra 8


Most of the names in this record are found also in chapter 2., and Neh. 10. No Levites among them (5:15). Only 74 mentioned (2:40), and these were singled out for priestly duties (3:8). It was entirely a matter of personal choice; they might remain in Babylon or go to Jerusalem (7:13). This choice also free for all men to-day in the spiritual sense.

Verse 15.—Ahava was both a town and a river, and is supposed to be the modern Hit, and the same place as Ivah, mentioned in Kings and by Isaiah. It lies about 80 miles N.W. of Babylon and may be easily found by drawing a line due east from Damascus.

Verse 17.—Casiphia’s identity is lost. We can only know that it was not far from Ahava. Here, God had provided the right man. This is always so in the history of God’s purpose. This can be pleasingly illustrated from Scripture.

Verse 22.—What the enemy was, we do not know, but the prayer and fasting and dependence on God were justified and the way was made clear (8:31). The opposition may have been from the fierce desert tribes who had no respect for the King’s warrant.

Verse 27.—A dram or daric was worth about 22 shillings, so the metallic value of each of these basins would be over fifty pounds to-day.

Verse 32.—Arrival at Jerusalem after four months travel. Offering of thanksgiving made, Ezra proceeds to the work of strengthening the people and setting in order the affairs of the city and temple.

The Christadelphian  : Volume 55. 2001, c1918.  (electronic ed.) (55:432).

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Reference to:
Hos 9:3  They shall not dwell in the LORD'S land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.

... The present Gentile nations are not more pleasing in Deity’s sight than were those connected with the early experience of Israel. Although the worship of idols, and the vile practices recorded in the writings of Moses are not now universally carried on, yet, in view of the additional light mankind has received, there are committed continually deeds equally unworthy. The present age, no less than ages in the past, may justly be described as one of utter disregard for God’s requirements. Our own country, superior as it may be to others, well exhibits the deplorable condition of humanity. Sin, ignorance, and wretchedness are manifest throughout the length and breadth of the land. Religion, or what is called religion, is a huge subterfuge—an egregious conglomeration of theories and customs of idolatrous times. Those who are under its influence abuse the ways of righteousness, and persecute the saints. Viewed from the standpoint of the Bible, all phases of society testify to the unhappy fact that sin reigns. The commercial world is corrupt to the core; selfishness, lying, deceit, and suspicion are its characteristics. Every right principle is sacrificed by it for the attainment of wealth. The political world is at its wit’s end to know how to legislate to cope with the evil that is everywhere rampant; justice is thwarted, oppression and crime prevail. Social life presents no fairer picture; there vice in its many forms thrives unchecked. Even its so-called innocent recreations are enervating and demoralising. Well may the appellation, “unclean,” be applied to such a state of things. To sum up the whole matter, there exists a universal hatred to God and to those who are striving to be God-like. Let the truth affect the selfish interests of any section of society, and revenge is the inevitable outcome. In view, therefore, of the fact that it is in the midst of such a Canaanitish people that we have to fulfil the time of our probation, let us profit by Israel’s unwise experience (Hos. 8:12; 9:3), and let us at all times labour hard to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Remembering the promise of Him who hath called us—“Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

The Christadelphian  : Volume 23. c1886.  (23:62-63).

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Reference to:
Act 28:1  And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.
Act 28:2  And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.


From Shipwreck to Rain and Cold

Out of a horrifying experience, two hundred and seventy-six men had been saved from a watery grave after abandoning ship. Struggling ashore in a desperate state they no doubt felt enormous relief, and perhaps some even offered up a form of recognition to the god they worshipped. It is not difficult to imagine the fervent thanks that would have ascended heavenward from the lips of Paul and Luke. Yet all these people, whatever their religious views might have been, if any, were given no immediate relief. Once ashore, they found that the weather was so inclement as to cause the men to become ever more dejected and discouraged. Would the majority of these men, pagans indeed, groaning with frustration, wonder why “the gods” continued to bring such comfortless burdens upon them? No doubt they felt that having undergone so much suffering and hardship for so long they were now entitled to some relief. But neither Paul nor Luke would have thought this way. Paul had himself told the brethren earlier: “We must through much pressure enter into the kingdom of God,” and therefore it is essential to “continue in the faith,” without wavering (Acts 14:22). Paul and Luke understood that throughout this journey they were under the hand of Providence, and therefore whatever befell them must be faced and accepted in faith. Like all Yahweh’s faithful saints, these two stalwarts of the Truth were aware that Deity permits trying and distressing circumstances to come upon His people that their faith might be tested and strengthened, for the honour and glory of His Name. —J.U.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Verse by Verse Exposition (p. 499)

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Reference to:

Act 28:6  Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

They Changed Their Minds

The kindness and hospitality of this “barbarous people” may have come as quite a surprise to Paul and Luke. Since there existed among such people a constant state of suspicion in regard to unexpected visits from strangers, their sympathy and generosity was unusual. But how quickly they changed! Seeing the serpent fasten itself to Paul’s hand, they promptly decided that he was a dangerous criminal, probably a murderer. Then they manifested a directly opposite attitude; for when they saw Paul shake off the reptile, none the worse for his experience, they determined that he must be a god! As kindly as these people were to Paul and the others, how clearly they demonstrate the fickleness of human nature unenlightened by the Word:

Ignorant, unstable, unsure, easily swayed, superficial. How blessed are men and women who have been educated in the truth of divine things, who are able to exercise the wisdom that is found only in the Word, and who are able to “judge righteous judgment” in the affairs of life (John 7:24). — J.U.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Verse by Verse Exposition (p 500) 
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #852 
The Inner Man

The character we are required to form that we may realize the “one hope of our calling” must be inspirited by the Truth. That is, the Law of the Lord must dwell in us, with the courageous determination to obey it, or live in conformity to it, and to contend earnestly for it. At all hazards, God must be in all our thoughts, and our actions must be shaped with a view to His approbation alone. How will this or that be approved by our Father in Heaven, and not what will the people or their leaders say, should be the only question permitted to stand up between our conceptions and the practice of them.

In short, “the grace of God that bringeth salvation” teaches us that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and Godly in the present world; looking for that blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works;” it charges “them that are rich in this world that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on to Eternal Life.”

Such are the things which constitute the character of the man whose religion is pure and undefiled, and who will be accepted when the Day Star shall illume the world.

Bro. J. Thomas.

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Nov 13    Ezra 9   Hos 10   Col 1
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Reference to:
Colossians


PAUL’S EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS

The City And Ecclesia Of Colosse

Colosse was a city of Phrygia, from which district some Jews journeyed to be present in Jerusalem, when the Truth was preached by the apostles on the Day of Pentecost. Later, Paul passed through the region on his second and third journeys (Acts 16:6; 18:23).

The pioneer of the ecclesia, however, appears to have been a man by name of Epaphras (Col. 1:7). He was a Gentile, a one-time pagan, for his name signifies Devoted to Aphrodite, the Venus of the Greeks. Having accepted Christ, he gave himself without stint to the proclamation of the Truth, finding his inspiration to do so from the apostle himself.
Paul had not visited the ecclesia (Col. 2:1), and therefore only knew the brethren by repute.

The Epistle

Paul designed it for public reading (Col. 4:16). It was the second time that he had written to the ecclesia (ch. 4:10), but the first epistle, being of lesser importance than this one, did not find place in the canon of Scripture. Epaphras, a member of the ecclesia (ch. 4:12), had arrived in Rome, where Paul was imprisoned (AD61-63) with news of the ecclesia (ch. 1:7), including information concerning a dangerous heresy that was making inroads. This was a form of “higher thought” philosophy (Col. 2:8), being an admixture of Greek and Jewish thought, putting forth high-sounding phrases of assumed superiority, the worship of angels as intermediaries between God and man (ch, 2:18), and demanding strict adherence of certain Jewish forms to the point of asceticism (Col. 2:16, 21). Meanwhile Epaphras was imprisoned (Philemon 23), and this letter (“Colossians”), with that circular letter entitled “To the Ephesians,” was written and sent by Tychicus and Onesimus (Col. 4:7-9; Eph. 6:21).

The apostle answered the problems by showing the fallacy of the new theories and warning against the pernicious influence of false doctrine (ch. 1:23). Whereas Judaism set forth the works of the Law as sufficient for justification, and Gnosticism advanced the concept that all matter is evil, the apostle drew attention to the person of Christ, as the head of the Ecclesia whom it should follow, the “image of the invisible God” “in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” This would not be true if all matter were evil, as the Gnostics taught. Moreover, by his offering, Christ has delivered believers from the curse of the Law, “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, nailing it to his cross.” This answered the concept of the Judaisers.

Being risen with Christ through baptism, it is necessary for believers to seek the things above where he is at God’s right hand. Their lives are hid with him. He is their life, and they will ultimately be manifested with him in glory (Col. 3:1-4). National distinctions are done away in him, and he is “all in all” (Col. 3:11). He is the giver of peace through the influence of his Word abiding within us (Col. 3:15-17). Therefore, he is to govern all natural relationships of believers, and everything is to be done heartily as unto him.

Thus the teachings of Judaism and Gnosticism were set aside and Christ elevated as the way of life to accept and follow. Notice how the whole epistle is summed up in Paul’s prayer on the behalf of the brethren of Colosse that they might be “filled with knowledge” and “walk worthily” (Col. 1:9-14). This provides an epitome of his exposition.


Theme

CHRIST: THE FULNESS OF GOD TO US
(COMPLETION)

Key Passages: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:8-12).

[1] INTRODUCTION — ch. 1:1-14
(a) Salutation vv. 1-2
(b) Thanksgiving for their faith and love vv. 3-8
(c) Prayer that they may have fulness of
knowledge and manifest a worthy walk vv. 9-14

[2] DOCTRINAL: “That you may be filled”— chs. 1:15 to 2:23
(a) Christ the fulness of God in the New Creation 1:15-18
(b) Christ the fulness of God in Redemption 1:19-23
(c) Christ the fulness of God in the Ecclesia 1:24 to 2:7
(d) Christ the fulness of God versus heresy 2:8-23

[3] PRACTICAL: “Seek those things above” — chs. 3:1 to 4:6
(a) The new life as manifested Individually 3:1-11
(b) The new life as manifested Ecclesially 3:12-17
(c) The new life as manifested Domestically 3:18-21
(d) The new life as manifested Professionally 3:22 to 4:1
(e) The new life as manifested Prayerfully 4:2-4
(f) The new life as manifested Socially 4:5-6

[4] PERSONAL: “That ye may know our estate” — ch. 4:7-18
(a) Commendation of Tychicus and Onesimus 4:7-9
(b) Salutations from various brethren 4: 10-14
(c) Instructions for the use of the Epistles 4:15-16
(d) Encouragement for Archippus 4:17
(e) Final greeting 4:18

The Story of The Bible - Vol 8 (p 437-439) bro HP Mansfield
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #853 

THE object of the Gospel, as apostolically promulgated in the first century, was to take out a people for the Lord’s use, in the age that he will inaugurate at his coming. The mode in which the taking out was effected, was by the preaching of the Gospel. Whoever believed this Gospel, and yielded obedience in baptism, was, by that belief and obedience, called to the kingdom and glory of God. But all the called are not to be chosen. The choice is to be made at the Lord’s return. The reason of the choice will be faithfulness in the chosen, exhibited during life, subsequent to their taking of the name of Christ in baptism. These things are all known to those who know the Truth.

 

bro Robert Roberts. (1989; 2002). The Ecclesial Guide (1). The Christadelphian.

 

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Nov 14    • Ezra 10 • Hosea 11 • Col 2

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Reference to:

Ezr 10:11  Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. 

 

Ezr 10:19  And they gave their hands that they would put away their wives; and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass. 

 

MARRIAGE OUT OF THE LORD

 

IS it right and wise? Is it right but unwise? Or, is it wrong as well as unwise? These are important questions to which everyone in Christ Jesus should be able to give a Scriptural answer. The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthians to condemn certain immoral practices, says, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid” (1 Cor. 6:15). After this interdict he reasons with them. And what is the basis of his reasoning? The first divine utterance concerning marriage:—“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). The Apostolic reasoner says, “What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh” (1 Cor. 6:16). Thus formication, adultery, &c., are condemned because husband and wife constitute “one flesh.” This divine truth is  the foundation for the Scriptural restrictions concerning the union of the sexes.

 

The apostle uses “harlot” in its natural sense; but the word has also a spiritual sense, and the principle he sets forth is as applicable to the one as to the other. His question in ver. 15 may, therefore, be paralelled by the following:—“Shall I take the members of Christ and make them the members of those who constitute the mother of harlots or her daughters?” The only permissible answer is, “God forbid.” Marriage with a member of the apostasy is, therefore, expressly forbidden. But all out of Christ are not members of the Roman harlot or her daughters. True; nevertheless what are they? However upright or moral they may be, from a human point of view, they form part of “the whole world,” which “lieth in wickedness” (1 Jno. 5:19), and are, therefore, in God’s sight wicked, or His “enemies” (Rom. 5:10). Can one who is a friend of God become “one flesh” with an enemy of God, and still retain God’s friendship? The apostle James substantially answers this question:—“Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (Jas. 4:4). In what way can friendship with an enemy of God be more positively manifested than by becoming, through the marriage tie, “one flesh?” It is a violation of the injunction to “glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20). The baptised believer has been bought with the precious blood of Christ, and his body has been constituted, through possession of the truth, “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (ver. 19). To unite that body with one who has not been bought with Christ’s blood is to defile it. And it is written, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:17).

 

What is the extent of the defilement arising out of a marriage between one in Christ and one out of Christ? Is it confined to the married believer? No; for he is but a member of the “one body.” In defiling himself who does he also defile? Before answering this question let us examine one feature of the Mosaic law. An Israelite who touched “the dead body of any man” was “unclean seven days,” and he was required to purify himself with the Water of Separation on the third day, in which case he became clean on the seventh day. If he neglected so to do, he did not become clean on the seventh day. (Num. 19:11, 12). What was the consequence of such disobedience? Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel, because the Water of Separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him” (verse 13). The same statement is repeated in verse 20. How does it affect the question of marriage out of the Lord? To answer this it is necessary to ask, What does a dead body typify? A living person “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). This is the condition of all out of Christ. To marry such an one, therefore, produces the same consequences as the touching of a dead body under the Mosaic law. That is, a brother defiles himself, and, if not purified, he defiles the antitypical tabernacle or temple of God. What is the process of purification? To acknowledge that he has sinned and to ask God for forgiveness through the blood of Christ. If he fails to do this what is the consequence? He continues to be defiled; “his uncleanness is yet upon him.” What is the effect of such obduracy upon the antitypical temple of God? The whole ecclesia of which he is a member is defiled thereby. Is an ecclesia powerless to cleanse itself from such a defilement? To answer affirmatively is to place a community of believers in a more impotent position than is each individual believer. This cannot be; if there be provision for a wrong-doer to purify himself there must be also provision for those whom he defiles to be purified. What is that provision? Not the same as in the case of the individual offender; that is to say, not by acknowledgment of the wrong and petition for forgiveness. The first step is to remonstrate with the one who has been guilty of an act of defilement. This should be done in the spirit of Matt. 18:15, to gain him or convince him of his offence. If he hears and acknowledges his violation of God’s law, the action of the ecclesia is at an end. But if he refuses such acknowledgment, what is the next step? That expressed in this apostolic injunction:—“Now we command you brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly and not after the tradition which ye received of us” (2 Thess. 3:6). To “walk disorderly” is to openly violate Divine commands. Marriage out of the Lord is such a violation. Therefore the ecclesia defiled by this offence is under an obligation to withdraw from the guilty brother or sister who does not acknowledge the wrong-doing. If the ecclesia fails to adopt this course it partakes of the guilt of the offender, and, as a consequence, will suffer divine judgment either in this state or in the day of retribution.

 

Marriage with the Gentile was explicitly forbidden to Israel, and the defiling effect of such an act on the whole nation was fully recognised by Ezra and Nehemiah. When Ezra heard that “the holy seed had mingled themselves with the people of those lands,” he rent his garments, plucked off his hair, and “sat astonied until the evening sacrifice” (Ezra 9:2–4). At the time of the evening sacrifice he, as the head of the remnant in the land, prayed to God. In his prayer he said, “Our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens” (ver. 6); “Should we . . . join in affinity with the people of those abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping” (ver. 14); “Behold, we are before thee in our trespasses; for we cannot stand before thee because of this” (ver. 15). Did Ezra’s prayer end the matter? By no means. He counselled the delinquents to “make confession unto the Lord God,” and to “separate themselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives” (chap. 10:11). This they agreed to do. The chapter closes with a long list of those who “gave their hands that they would put away their wives; and, being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass” (ver. 19). By this means the transgressors, and the community of which they formed a part, were purged of their defilement.

 

To what extent is this process of purification applicable to Israel after the spirit? In principle, the whole of it, except the putting away of wives. Why is this not necessary? Because God has forbidden married believers to “put away” their unbelieving partners (1 Cor. 7:10, 11). The injunction is given to those who embrace the Truth after marriage; but the object of it is applicable also to those who, after baptism, commit the sin of marrying out of the Lord. The reason is this: “What knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” (ver. 16). What is essential towards effecting the conversion of an unbelieving husband or wife? To act strictly in harmony with the requirements of God’s word. And if the marriage has taken place subsequent to baptism, the first step is clearly to do that which is now parallel to the offering up of animal sacrifice by Israelites under the law, viz., to acknowledge the offence, and ask forgiveness through the sacrifice of Christ. When this has been done the offending believer and the ecclesia of which he forms a part are both purified from their defilement.

 

At the close of 1 Cor. 7. chapter, the Apostle says, “The wife is bound by the law as long as the husband liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord” (verse 39). The position occupied by the last four words is very suggestive. It conveys the impression that this restriction was not then conveyed to the Corinthians for the first time, and that it was given now by way of reminder. The opening sentence of the chapter shows that the relations between the sexes had been the subject of inquiry by the Corinthians:—“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me” (verse 1). Among these “things” it would appear that the Apostle had been asked what a believing husband or wife was to do with an unbelieving partner. What could give rise to such an inquiry? Not permission to marry anyone; it could only arise out of an injunction to marry within the limits of the brotherhood. Such a command must, therefore, have been previously given, either orally or in writing, to the Corinthian ecclesia.

 

Subsequently, in giving advice to the unmarried to remain as they were, “for the present distress (verse 26), the Apostle points out the danger of the married state; “he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife” (verse 33); and “she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband” (verse 34). This warning is uttered on the basis of marriage in the Lord; and a knowledge of human nature confirms its need. If this be a danger attending marriage between two baptised believers, how immeasurably greater must it be between a believer and an unbeliever! How then could the inspired Apostle sanction marriage out of the Lord? In the case of a widow he explicitly forbids it. Does this imply that it is permissible for a spinster? Quite the reverse. A widow’s previous married life must have been with either a believer or an unbeliever; if with a believer she would have experienced something of the benefit of husband and wife being of one mind in regard to religion; if with an unbeliever she would have realised the reverse. And yet, notwithstanding this experience, the Apostle deems it necessary to remind her of the restriction imposed by her union with Christ that if she married again it must be “only in the Lord.” Such a reminder being necessary for one who has had experience of the married state, how much more necessary for one who has not. And is it less so for the believing widower or bachelor? The restriction and the reminder are as necessary in the one case as in the other. The fact that the reminder in 1 Cor. 7:39 refers only to one class arises from the circumstance that the apostle is in this passage writing only about widows. But the Divine truth previously repeated by him that husband and wife are “one flesh,” is quite sufficient to cover all cases of marriage after baptism.

 

Having reminded the widow of her limitation in regard to marriage, the apostle gives his advice, “But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment; and I think also that I have the Spirit of God” (ver. 40). The latter clause, it has been suggested, throws doubt on the restriction of verse 39. This is a mistake. The apostle’s statement means that his advice, as well as the prohibition, is in accordance with the mind of the Spirit. But does not the expression, “I think,” imply doubt on the part of the apostle? Not at all. This will be seen by referring to a few other passages in the New Testament where the same Greek word occurs thus:—“Ye search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life” (Jno. 5:39); “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). In these instances the words “think” and “thinketh” express confidence, not doubt. The same word is rendered seemed, but even then it does not express uncertainty:—“When James, Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars” (Gal. 2:9); “Whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have” (Luke 8:18). The latter passage may at first convey the idea of appearance rather than reality; but further examination will show this idea to be a mistake. The same truth is expressed in Matthew, Mark and Luke, but in words which show that the thing possessed is a reality:—“He that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath” (Mark 4:25). Thus “seemeth to have” is equivalent to the word “hath.”

 

On these grounds the suggestion that the Apostle was in doubt about speaking the mind of the spirit must be dismissed. But even if he were in doubt the statement would apply, not to the command in verse 39, but to the advice in verse 40.

 

In the second letter to the Corinthians the Apostle gives the injunction, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14). The context indicates that the believers at Corinth had associated themselves with some of the ceremonies in the idolatrous temples; hence the questions, “What concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” Also the command, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.” But although the injunction about unequal yoking originated in improper religious association, it lays down a principle which is applicable to other circumstances. And what yoking is there, after union with Christ, which takes precedence of the marriage yoke? Every other yoke can be severed; but marriage can only be terminated by the cause specified in Matt. 5:32, or by death. God promises to dwell in a believer, but not in an unbeliever. The basis for the fulfilment of the promise is, “Be ye separate” “Touch not the unclean.” How, then, can God dwell in a believer who contaminates himself by becoming “one flesh” with an unbeliever? And how can an ecclesia which practically condones such a defilement receive the Divine blessing?

 

To enable an ecclesia to deal in a Scriptural way with any such defiling act it would be well for it to have a rule embodying the course of procedure to which attention has been called. The following is suggested as meeting the case:—That marriage out of the Lord by one in Christ is an offence against the law of God; that a marriage of this kind defiles the whole ecclesia, and, in order to take away such defilement it is necessary for the guilty brother or sister to acknowledge their marriage to be contrary to God’s law, or, in the absence of such acknowledgment, for the ecclesia to withdraw from his or her fellowship.

 

The advantage of having this matter embodied in a rule is two-fold. It settles the question irrespective of any individual case and the personal sympathies likely to arise out of it, and it makes clear to those who have not yet entered the married state what are the restrictions under which they can alone do so. This is of the greatest moment when it is remembered that a considerable portion of those who put on Christ by baptism are young in years or free from the marriage yoke. The subject should be brought before the notice of such at the time of their examination so that they may clearly understand this feature of the obligation imposed by their espousal to Christ.

 

The Christadelphian : Volume 30. 1893 (electronic ed.) (264–267). 

 

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Reference to:

Hos 11:11  They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.

 

... The expression “as doves to their cotes” is very beautiful. The “homing instinct” of the pigeon tribe has always challenged the admiration of mankind, and from time immemorial the dove has stood as the symbol of purity and tenderness. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism in bodily form as a dove. Noah’s dove returned to him in the ark with the olive leaf token of the abating of the flood. In the day when God arises and His enemies are scattered, the redeemed are revealed as with “the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold” (Psa. 68:13). In Solomon’s Song the Bride is frequently referred to under the figure of a dove—the “dove in the clefts of the rock” (2:14). All the individual constituents of the Bride from the beginning yearn after Zion. All their “instincts” are Zionwards. God has put it in their hearts by the operation of a higher law than that which causes the pigeons to traverse unerringly hundreds of miles of land and sea to the ardently-desired “home.”

 

And even in the nation of Israel the same “instincts” are only in degree less intense. Poor mourning captives in foreign lands! Like “silly doves” they have lost their way meanwhile, and are taken in God’s net (Hos. 7:11, 12). But “they shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria, and I will place them in their houses, saith the Lord” (Hos. 11:11). That is why we see a Zionist movement among the Jews in these latter days. ... 

 

bro Robert Roberts and bro C C Walker. (1907). The Ministry of the Prophets: Isaiah (703–704). 

 

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Reference to:

Hos 11:1  When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. 

 

THE MESSIAHSHIP REVEALED IN MOSES AND THE PROPHETS

 

The Messiahship is the office, employment and condition of the personage whose advent into the world was predicted by the prophets of the Hebrew people. These prophets inform us, that he was to be,

 

1. The Seed of the Woman, and by implication therefore not of Man—Gen. 3:15.

2. Enmity was to subsist between Him and the Serpent’s seed.

3. His heel was to be bruised by the Serpent.

4. He was to descend from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David, Solomon, and Zerubbabel;—Gen. 17:19, 21; 21:12; 25:23; Mal. 1:2; Gen. 49:8–10; 1 Chron. 17:11–14; 28:2–9; Hag. 2:21–23; Zach. 4:10.

5. He was to be born of a virgin of their line—Isai. 7:14.

6. He was to be called out of Egypt—Hos. 11:1.

7. He was to shine forth in Galilee—Isai. 9:1, 2.

8. He was to be a prophet like unto Moses, who delivered the twelve tribes out of Egypt, divided the Red Sea, gave them the law, built the tabernacle, fed them with bread from heaven, mediated between them and God, and into whom they were baptized in the cloud and in the sea—Deut. 18:15–19.

9. He was to be the Eternal Spirit manifested in flesh—Exod. 3:13–15; 6:3; Deut. 6:4; 28:58; Isai. 9:6; 40:3; Jer. 23:5, 6.

10. This Spirit-Manifestation was to be anointed, or “made Christ;” and to be a preacher of the glad tidings of the Kingdom promised in the prophetic writings—Isai. 61:1.

11. He was afterwards to proclaim the Day of Vengeance—ver. 2.

12. He was to be a sufferer even unto death, that sin might be condemned in his flesh, and a covering for the sins of his brethren be provided—Isai. 53:5, 6, 8, 10–12; Dan. 9:26.

13. He was to be primarily rejected by Israel—Isai. 8:13, 14; to rise from the dead, and to ascend to the right hand of power—Psal. 16; 110:1.

14. He was to be afterwards received by the whole nation with joy—Psal. 110:3; Isai. 65:17–25; 25:9.

15. Though of the tribe of Judah, Messiah the Prince, was to be High Priest of the Hebrew nation instead of the descendants of Aaron; and this was to be in the Olahm, or “latter end” of Israel—Psal. 110:4; Ezek. 46:2–10; 44:9–14.

16. Messiah the Prince though Son of David, was to sit and rule upon his throne as a Priest upon his throne, and to bear the Glory, or antitypical shekinah—Zech. 6:13; which change of the priesthood necessitated a change of the Mosaic Law.

17. Messiah the Prince was to sit upon the throne of his father David, after he had restored it from a state of ruin—Isai. 9:6, 7; Amos 9:11–15; Ezek. 21:27; 37:21–25; Jer. 3:17, 18; 33:15–26: Isai. 24:23.

18. Messiah the Prince was to add his hand a Second Time to redeem the remnant of the Hebrew nation, after the manner of their redemption out of Egypt by Moses—Isai. 11:10–16; Mic. 7:15–20.

19. Having stood up for Israel (Dan. 12:1) and executed the service of causing the tribes of Jacob to possess their desolated country anon transformed into Paradise (Isai. 51:3; Ezek. 36:35) Messiah the Prince was to enlighten the nations at large, and be the Eternal Spirit’s Jesua, or salvation to the end of the earth—Isai. 49:5–8.

20. He was to raise the prisoners of death in connection with a special use of the blood of the Covenant—Isai 49:8–10; 42:6, 7; Zech. 9:9–11; 12:10; Dan. 12:2.

21. Having raised the dead, and inaugurated the work of setting up the Kingdom in the restoring of the twelve tribes, Messiah the Prince was to conquer the world of nations as a Man of War; and as the result, to establish peace and good-will on every side—Isai. 2:4; Mic. 4:3; 5:2–6; Exod. 15:3; Zech. 2:11; 14:3.

22. As the result of his conquest, Messiah the Prince was to be King in Jerusalem, having imperial dominion over the whole earth—Zech. 14:9, 17; Psal. 2:6–9.

 

These twenty-two items, all taken, or condensed, exclusively from the Old Testament, which Scotto-Campbellism desecrates by reducing to the level of “a shadow,” or “old Jewish almanac,” constitute a Messiahship which nowhere stands out in Mr. Walter Scott’s “Great Demonstration;” nor in any of the writings of “the glorious spirits” his speculations and their own policy have evoked. The twenty-two are a Christology discoursed by Moses and the Prophets. It is that doctrine concerning a coming Messiah, in hope of whom they endured reproach by the mouths of the several scoffing generations in which they lived. It was a Christianity ridiculed at the court of Egypt; and for which one of its learned and mighty men cast in his lot with the slaves of the Egyptian brick-yards: for, by full assurance of these hoped-for things not seen as yet, styled by Paul “faith,” “Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of the Christ greater wealth than treasures in Egypt; for he looked off earnestly to the reward. By faith, he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured as seeing the invisible one”—the Christ.

 

Here, then, is a Messiahship which Mr. Scott and his 200,000 brethren repudiate, or are ignorant of. They would be highly indignant if a pious professor of “orthodoxy” were to accuse them of believing in a Christ who was to conquer the world as “a Man of War;” and to reign upon the earth the imperial chief of mankind; and mediating their worship as High Priest upon David’s throne in Jerusalem restored. The Messiahship they believe in is  THE CHRISTSHIP OF THE LAODICEAN APOSTACY

 

bro John Thomas,  Vol. 10: Herald of the kingdom and age to come (97–98). New York.

 

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Reference to:

Col 2:14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 

 

... The method adopted by the Father for removing the evil which ensued in consequence of Adam’s transgression illustrates His righteousness and unchangeableness. Without abrogating the law of sin and death, the bestowal of the Mosaic law opened the way for the removal of its effects because its precepts brought a curse on Jesus, who fulfilled obedience to its minutest details. In obedience to that law he freely offered himself as a sacrifice, and thus came under its curse, “for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13). Since the law cursed a righteous man, its abolition was justifiable.

 

He hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross. (Col. 2:14).

 

Sin being crucified in Jesus, “Who obeyed the law and made it honourable”;

 

God raised him up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. (Acts 2:24).

 

Thus was introduced another law, viz.:

 

The righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all that believe. (Rom. 3:22).

 

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

 

To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus (ibid. verses 24–25).

 

In this we have the most remarkable illustration of the way in which one law may be neutralized by another, after the example of the law of the Medes and the Persians. Mordecai was not permitted to alter the edict given under the King’s Seal for the destruction of the Jews, but another edict permitting them to defend themselves brought to nought the evil designs of the enemy. Similarly, “a law” in our members which leads to sin and death is neutralised and its ultimate effects removed in Jesus and in those who are redeemed in Jesus Anointed.  ...

 

bro Henry Sulley,  The Temple of Ezekiel's Prophecy (electronic ed.) (120). 
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Nov 15    • Neh 1, 2 • Hosea 12 • Col 3, 4

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Neh 1, 2

Here is an imperial edict due to a providential combination of circumstances designed to bring about the promised return of favour to Jerusalem after the seventy years’ captivity in Babylon. The edict had its effect. “Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin and the priests of the Levites with all them whose spirit God had raised to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.”—(Ezra 1:5.) A large company went up to Judah armed with imperial authority, to levy assistance to the enterprise on the officers of state. They proceeded in a perfectly natural way. It was not accomplished all at once though it started so distinctly. The reading of Ezra and Nehemiah will show that the Samaritan neighbours of the returned exiles became jealous of their proceedings and resorted to plots and intrigues to stop them—intrigues which, owing to the death of Cyrus, were successful for a while and apparently frustrated the execution of a divine purpose. The foundation laid by the decree of Cyrus, could not, however, be finally overturned, and the work, after various hindrances and delays, went on and came to a prosperous finish years afterwards in the days of Nehemiah. The account of the work as contained in the two books mentioned, is the account of a natural work to all outward appearance, yet a work confessedly divine in purpose and execution, and therefore not the least of the many scriptural illustrations of the ways of Providence.

 

This particular illustration is of special interest at the present time when the day has once more arrived for the divine favour to Zion. It helps us to read aright the various movements we see in progress with this tendency. What if these movements are all apparently natural? The lesson of the past will enable us to recognize the hand of God in events of proximately human conception. The Turkish firman in 1856, allowing Jews to acquire possession of the soil in Palestine, removed one barrier of many ages duration. The exhaustion of the Ottoman Empire has loosened the Turkish hold on Syria, which is now ready to drop into British hands, as appointed. The Anglo-Turkish convention has laid the foundation of the British right of protectorate and reform in these regions. A vigorous anti-Turkish government has come to power in England, whose first act has been to invite the European powers to insist on the Turkish performance of the obligations undertaken under that instrument and the Treaty of Berlin, at the peril of the continuance of the already nearly dead empire of Turkey. Concurrently with these tendencies, it is impossible the attentive observer can fail to note the activity of various schemes for the regeneration of the Holy Land by agricultural colonization and railway building, &c. All things combine to tell us that the hour is hastening when the great latter-day re-building of the tabernacle of David will commence. The re-builder is Jesus, who has promised to return for the work.—(Matt. 19:28; Acts 3:19–22). This is outside what is understood as the ways of Providence. Nevertheless it is the glorious consummation to which many ways of Providence are leading up, with no uncertain significance.                           Ways of Providence

Editor.

The Christadelphian : Volume 17 Bd. 17. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1880, S. 17:302-303

 

 

The seventy weeks have become plain from the course of events. They did not begin in Daniel’s day; for though in the very year of his death the proclamation of Cyrus was issued, authorising and inviting all Jews to “go up” to the land, “the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” did not come forth with effect till the twentieth of Artaxerxes, nearly seventy years after.—(See Neh. 2.) In that year, “the wall of Jerusalem was still broken down and the gates thereof burnt with fire.”—(Neh. 2:3) The date of the decree by the hand of Nehemiah was B.C. 456: the year of Christ’s death A.D. 34—total 490. Consequently the “weeks” of the vision were weeks of years: 7 × 70 = 490. The cup of Israel’s abomination was filled up by the crucifixion of Christ, and in retribution thereof, the Romans were divinely employed to “destroy the city and the sanctuary:” and to the end of the war, desolations prevailed, as “determined.” These desolations have prevailed until now; but the time of “the consummation” has arrived, and they are beginning to abate. “That which is determined” is being “poured out upon the desolator.” The desolator in the current epoch, is the Turk, and the sixth vial has been poured upon him with the effect of consuming and destroying his dominion and preparing the way of the kings of the east. This is the process now going on before our eyes: the desolator drying up, and the way opening for Israel’s restoration. The process may appear slow, but it is unmistakable, and not really slow when estimated at the rate of historic progress. The effect of “the end of the vision” is very different from the effect of the beginning of it. At the beginning of it, there was a long prospect of darkness and downtreading which made Daniel dejected and cast down; at the end of it the prospect of the sunrise is calculated to make us feel in the mood expressed in Solomon’s song, “Lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear upon the earth: the time of the singing of birds is come and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. The fig tree putteth forth her good figs and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one—and come away.” Thus will the Lord address His Bride on His arrival at the soon-coming end of the present dismal night. We sing with truth:

Long hath the night of sorrow reigned,

The dawn shall bring us light,

God shall appear and we shall rise

With gladness in His sight.

Yet a little longer, and He that shall come will come. He will not always tarry. Only for the appointed time will He leave the earth unillumined and uncomforted by His presence. He will say to us in due time as he would say now if He might but speak, “Be of good cheer!” “Though ye have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.

 

We have need of comfort: for the night is dark and cold and prolonged, and the voices of snarling wolves fill the air. There is abundance of comfort for us in the holy oracles: but with our weakness we often fail to get the full benefit. Let us never despair but ever renew the conflict while the necessity lasts. The assembling of ourselves together helps us. In this attitude of obedience, God may have compassion upon us and help us still further in the wondrous ways open to Him with whom all things are possible.

Editor.

The Christadelphian : Volume 17 Bd. 17. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1880, S. 17:547-548

 

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Nov 16    • Neh 3 • Hosea 13 • 1 Thess 1, 2

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"What do these feeble Jews?…Will they fortify themselves?

Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of

rubbish which are burned?"—Neh. 4:2

 CHAPTER 3 describes the rebuilding of the wall—

"Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren and the priests and they builded the sheep gate, and they sanctified it."

The sheep gate entered into the Temple area, on the north-east corner of the city, so named because it was through here that the animals were brought for sacrificethe sheep gate—the way of sacrifice. The whole undertaking was begun by sanctifying the work unto God, seeking His help and blessing. And when the wall was completed, the whole was dedicated to God with praise and thanksgiving.

This high priest Eliashib was the grandson of the high priest Joshua, who had come back earlier with Zerubbabel. Though he entered into the wall-building, he appears to have been no friend of Nehemiah's, but rather of Tobiah and Sanballat.

Though he was high priest, he is not mentioned as taking any part in the reforms and activities by which Nehemiah endeavored to stir up the people and bring them back to God.

*           *          *

THIS BUILDING again of the old ruins of the wall which had been broken down for 150 years was a tremendous undertaking. There are several interesting points about it.

In this work Nehemiah was typical of Christ, the great wall-builder, and also of every faithful laborer in every age who endeavors to build up and strengthen the Holy City's wall of defense and separation from the world.

When the wall is broken down, nothing can prosper. Things just go from bad to worse.

The first point we notice is that each man built the part nearest his own house. This is an important principle.

*          *          *

It is recorded in v. 5 that the nobles of Tekoa—

" ... put not their necks to the work of their Lord."

Paul tells us that all these things were written for examples for us, and they are examples in more ways than one. Among other things they are examples of the fact that all is recorded for good or for ill. If we are related to the purpose of God (and we believe we are), then all our activi­ties are being recorded. Let it not be recorded of any of us that we "put not our necks to the work of the Lord."

That applies to us all, for listening is just as important as speaking. All is the work of the Lord, whether it bethe meetings, or just our private contacts together. Let us all put all the effort and enthusiasm we can into everything we do, as unto the Lord!

The nobles of Tekoa put not their necks to the work, and it is forever recorded against them, but we find later in the chapter that the common people of Tekoa finished their own part early and then went somewhere else and buillt up an extra portion.

*          *          *

WE READ in v. 20 that Baruch the son of Zabbai earn­estly repaired his portion. As some are singled out for their lack of zeal, so here is one mentioned for special zeal. There was a lot of earnest work, or they never could have gotten the wall up in 52 days in the face of such obstacles, but here was a real extremist—aman who gave himself to the uttermost. As Paul says of some in his day—

"To their power—yea, and beyond their power—they were willing of themselves."

But all did not go as smoothly as we may imagine from the brief outline in chapter 3. Chapters 4, 5 and 6 give us more detail of the difficulties they encountered (4:1)—

"But it came to pass that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews."

The enemy first tried ridicule to dishearten and divide the laborers—

"What do these feeble Jews?" (v. 2).

How strikingly this is paralleled in Israel today—

      "Will they fortify themselves?"

"Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?"

Ridicule has always been the cheap weapon of the ignor­ant majority. It is a powerful weapon in these days of weakness, if faith and vision are not strong.

*          *          *

"Hear, O our God, for we are despised, turn their re­proach upon their own head, give them for a prey in the land of captivity."

Are these words in the spirit of Christ? They are pro­phetic and symbolic utterances of the Spirit. We would get the sense better if we read them as prophetic—"Thou shalt give them for a prey."

The children of God do not desire the death of the wicked any more than God does, but they do fervently desire the triumph of righteousness, the vindication of faith and patience, and the complete crushing and destruction of the evil power of sin and death. Those who presumptuously chose the way of sin must bedestroyed together with sin.

The ridicule failed. Nehemiah records (v. 6)—

"So we built the wall—for the people had a mind to work."

What a comforting expression! What wonders can be accomplished for the Truth when this is the case!—

"The people had a mindto work."

But the enemy pressed harder, and went from ridicule to conspiracy. And the circle of adversaries broadens as the work advances (v. 7)—

"Sanballat (the Samaritans), and Tobiah (the Am­monites), and the Arabians, and the Ashdodites…conspired all of them together to fight against Jerusalem."

"Nevertheless," records Nehemiah—

"We made our prayer, and set a watch."

Here again is combined, in a God-pleasing way—faith and works—dependence on God coupled with intense personal effort.

Verse 10 introduces a disturbing aspect—the most dis­couraging obstacle Nehemiah had to face—

"Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish, so that we are not able to build the wall."

Nothing more quickly undermines a group than the presence of faithless cowardice and fear. We can do our cause no greater harm than to spread this fatal infection—

"Our strength is decayed—the task is too great."

But Nehemiah exhorts them to courage with the stirring watchword (v. 14)—

"Remember the Lord"

—in your weakness and disappointments, keep the POWER OF THE LORD before your mind!

Thereafter they worked with a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other. In v. 19, Nehemiah says to them—

"The work is great and large, and we are separated on the wall, one far from another."

How true that is of our position today! And how im­portant that we do as they did and keep in close contact for mutual encouragement and defense!

And Nehemiah commanded that all the workers should remain inside the city during the night, for their own protection and for the mutual defense of the city. We are reminded of the instruction at the time of the passing over of the avenging angel in Egypt—

"None of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning."

Any wandering outside of the separating and protecting  walls is danger and disobedience.

"So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing" (v. 23).

Complete dedication and devotion, day and night watchfulness and readiness—but still they did not neglect their owncleanliness and purification. It is so easy, in the midst of intense and energetic labor for the Truth, to forget that our principal responsibility is our own personalcharacter and conduct and self control—ourprincipal battle is alwaysagainst our own uncleanness, our own enemy within.

 

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