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fhigham

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Reply with quote  #61 
Wisdom
Wisdom is something we do not naturally possess —something we must have for salvation. Something we can never naturally possess.
Wisdom is divine education, spiritual training, the learning, absorbing and practicing of eternal truth. It is a full-time occupation, a life-time job.
Wisdom is spiritual-mindedness. In his beautiful discourse on divine wisdom at the beginning of 1st Corinthians, Paul says
"The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
"But he that is spiritual discerneth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man" (1 Cor. 2:14-15).
Wisdom is knowing and doing that which is for the best living in harmony with eternal facts. The Bible says all others are fools.
Wisdom is wanting to stand right out in the bright light of the Spirit's revelation and thoroughly examine ourselves within and without by it; then striving to eliminate all that is out of harmony with God, and develop what pleases Him.
Wisdom is the examining of every act and activity and asking, has this any eternal value? Does it help in the way of life? Could I be doing something more profitable, more spiritually beneficial, more pleasing to God? Something that would bring me into closer relationship to God? Something more mature, less juvenile?    GVG
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #62 

Joshua 22:5  But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

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Num 10   Pro 6     Luk 20
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Reference to:Num 10:10  Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.

Jewish Luni-Solar Years

From a work written by Sir Isaac Newton, and probably the only copy in the United States, we select for the Herald of the Kingdom the following remarks on the Jewish Luni-Solar Years.

“The ancient solar years of the Eastern nations consisted of twelve months, and every month of thirty days; and hence came the division of a circle into 360 degrees. This year seems to be used by Moses in his history of the Flood, and by John in the Apocalypse, where ‘a time, times and half a time, ’ 42 months and 1260 days, are put equipollent. But in reckoning by many of these years together, an account is to be kept of the odd days which were added to the end of these years. For the Egyptians added five days to the end of this year; and so did the Chaldeans long before the times of Daniel, as appears by the era of Nabonassar: and the Persian Magi used the same year of 355 days, till the empire of the Arabians. The ancient Greeks also used the same solar year of twelve equal months, or 360 days; but every other year added an intercalary month, consisting of 10 and 11 days alternately.

The year of the Jews, even from their coming out of Egypt, was Luni-solar. It was solar, for the harvest always followed the Passover, and the fruits of the land were always gathered before the Feast of Tabernacles, Lev. 22. But the months were lunar, for the people were commanded by Moses in the beginning of every month to blow with trumpets, and offer burnt offerings with their drink offerings, Numb. 10:10; 28:11, 54; and this solemnity was kept on the new moons, Psal. 81:3–5; 1 Chron. 23:31. These months were called by Moses the first, second, third, fourth month, &c.; and the first month was also called Abib, the second Zif, the seventh Ethanim, the eighth Bul, Exod. 12:4; 1 Kings 6:37, 38; 8:2. But in the Babylonian captivity the Jews used the names of the Chaldean months, and by those names understood the months of their own year; so that the Jewish months then lost their old names and are now called by those of the Chaldeans.
The Jews began their civil year from the autumnal equinox, and their sacred year from the vernal; and the first day of the first month was on the visible new moon, which was nearest the equinox.

Whether Daniel used the Chaldean or Jewish year is not very material, the difference being but six hours in a year, and four months in 480 years. But I take his months to be Jewish; first, because Daniel was a Jew, and the Jews even by their names of the Chaldean months, understood the months of their own year: secondly, because this prophecy (of the Seventy Weeks) is grounded on Jeremiah’s concerning the 70 years of captivity and therefore must be understood of the same sort of years with the seventy; and these were Jewish, since that prophecy was given Judea before the captivity and lastly, because Daniel reckons by weeks of years, which is a way of reckoning peculiar to the Jewish years. For as their days ran by sevens, and the last day of every seven was a Sabbath; so their years ran by sevens, and the last year of every seven was a Sabbathical year, and seven such weeks of years made a Jubilee.”

bro John Thomas, (n.d.). Herald of the kingdom and age to come (7:261). New York.
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Reference to Pro 6:23  For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

... The law of sin and death is hereditary, and derived from the federal sinner of the race; but the law of the mind is an intellectual and moral acquisition. The law of sin pervades every particle of the flesh; but in the thinking flesh it reigns especially in the propensities. In the savage, it is the only law to which he is subject; so that with his flesh, he serves only the law of sin and death. This is to him “the light within”; which is best illustrated by the darkness of Egypt, which might be felt. It was this internal light which illuminated “the princes of the world, who crucified the Lord of glory”. It shined forth in the philosophy of Plato, and in the logic of Aristotle, who walked in it while “dwelling in the land of the shadow of death”[a] and it is “the light within” all babes who are born of blood, of the will of the flesh, and of man under the constitution of sin, in all countries of the world.

Now, the scripture saith, “The commandment of God is a lamp; and his law is light”;[b] so that the prophet says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”.[c] And to this agrees the saying of the apostle, that the sure word of prophecy is “a light that shineth in a dark place”.[d] Now, Isaiah testifies, that the Word is made up of God’s law and testimony, and that those who do not speak according to it, have no light in them.[e] This is the reason that the savage has no light in him; because he is intensely ignorant of the law of God. Light does not emanate from within; for sin, blood, and flesh can give out none. It can only reflect it after the fashion of a mirror. The light is not in the mirror; but its surface is so constituted that when light falls upon it, it can throw it back, or reflect it, according to the law of light, that the images of objects are seen on the surface, whence the light proceeding from the objects is last reflected to the eye. Neither is light innate in the heart. This is simply a tablet; a polished tablet, or mirror, in some; but a tarnished, rusty tablet in others. It is called “the fleshy tablet of the heart”. It was polished in the beginning, when God formed man after His likeness; but sin, “the god of this world”, hath so tarnished it that there are but few who reflect His similitude.

No; it is a mere conceit of the fleshly mind that man is born into the world with the light within; which requires only to be cherished to be sufficient to guide him in the right way. God only is the source of light; He is the glorious illuminator of the moral universe; and He transmits His enlightening radiance through the medium, sometimes of angels, sometimes of prophets, and at others through that of His Son and the apostles, by His all-pervading Spirit. Hence it is that the scripture saith, “God is light”, whose truth “enlightens the eyes”. But what is the truth? It is “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ”, who is the polished incorruptible fleshly mirror, which reflects the Image of God—an image, at present, but obscurely impressed upon the fleshy tablets of our hearts; because we know only in part, perceiving things by the eye of faith, until hope shall disappear in the possession of the prize.

God, then, is the source of light; the gospel of the kingdom in the name of Jesus is the light; and Christ is the medium through which it shines; hence he is styled the Sun of Righteousness; also, “the true, light, which enlighteneth every man, that cometh into the world”; “a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel”. Now, the enlightening of every man is thus explained by the apostle: “God”, saith he, “who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, is he who hath shined into our (the saints’) hearts, with the illumination of the knowledge (πρὸς φωτισμὸν τη̂ς γνώσεως) of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”.[a] But “every man” is not enlightened by this glorious knowledge; for to some it is hid. The tablets of their hearts are so corroded and encrusted with opaque and sordid matter that they are destitute of all reflecting power. Light will not shine in a black surface. Hence, saith the apostle, “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of the world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine into them”.[b] He darkens the tablets of their hearts by “the care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches”;[c] and thus prevents them from opening their ears to hear the words of eternal life. ...

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. (electronic ed.) (137). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.

a. Isaiah 9:2.
b. Prov. 6:23.
c. Psalm 119:105.
d. 2 Pet. 1:19.
e. Isaiah 8:20.
a. 2 Cor. 4:6.
b. 2 Cor. 4:3, 4.
c. Matt. 13:22.


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Reference to:Luke 20:35—“They who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage”

On the strength of this it is contended that the unworthy will not come out of the grave at the time the worthy come forth to “obtain that world.” The argument is based on a misconstruction of the verse.

“The resurrection from the dead” is something more than the act of rising from the grave. “Resurrection” involves the act of rising from the dust, but comprehends more than this in many parts of the New Testament. For instance, the Sadducees asked Jesus, “In the Resurrection, whose wife shall she be (Mat. 22:28)—that is, in the state to which the dead shall rise. Again, how would the question read if construed, “whose wife shall she be in the act of rising from the grave?” Again, “in the Resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Mat. 22:30)—that is, in the state to which the dead rise. Again, “they that have done good (shall come forth) unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of condemnation”—that is, one class come out of the grave to one resurrection-state, and the other to another resurrection-state.

It is testified that Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 17:18). This could not mean that Paul simply preached the act of rising from the grave. The mere act of rising from the grave is not necessarily a good thing. Lazarus and the son of the widow of Nain rose from the grave, but not to the resurrection (state) preached by Paul. They merely received a renewal of mortal life. The wicked of a certain class will rise from the grave, but the act of rising will not be to them a gladsome event, but the contrary; they would prefer to be left in the oblivion of the tomb. Everything depends upon the state to which the rising from the grave is the introduction. Paul preached the resurrection-state of incorruption and immortality. To this state, the dead have to rise. The mere act of rising is not the resurrection. It is involved in it; it is a part, but as employed in the Scriptures, it requires the state after coming out of the grave to be added, before the idea expressed by the word resurrection is complete.

Another illustration of this is to be found in a passage on which the opponents of this idea rely: “I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years were finished. This (what?—the state of things that John witnessed—the reigning of the accepted for a thousand years) is the First Resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–5).

There is no mention of the act of coming out of the grave. John merely sees certain persons who had been dead, occupying a certain position with Christ: and, describing the scene as a whole, he calls it The First Resurrection. Evidently the word resurrection cannot here be restricted to the act of rising from the grave. Many will have a part in this “first resurrection” who will never go into the grave at all, viz., “those who are alive and remain.” “Resurrection” here broadly covers a state and a time to which the persons seen are introduced by rising from the death-state, whether in that state they are below the sod, or walking above it in mortality. But both living and dead will have to appear before the judgment seat, before they take the position in which John saw them, and when they appear at the judgment seat they will have companions whom they will never see again, for to some, Christ will “say unto them in that day, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mat. 7:22–23). Such will be “ashamed before him at his coming” (1John 2:28; Dan. 12:2).

bro John Thomas. (1866; 2002). Catechesis (21). Logos Publishers.

fhigham

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Reply with quote  #63 
“Write them upon the table of thy heart”

There remains one sense in which we must all be writers. “My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart” (Proverbs 7:1–3). Only then can any of us possibly become like the One we come to remember, of whom it was written:

“Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”

 The Christadelphian  : Volume 130 Bd. 130. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1993, S. 130:443
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #64 
Proverbs 8 is a beautiful exhortation by Wisdom herself, personified as the ever present hand-maiden of God in all His works. It would well repay daily reading and meditation.

She freely offers to men ALL peace, ALL happiness, ALL well-being, ALL joy.
She crieth everywhere, seeking men's attention, seeking to turn them from death to life, and from sorrow to joy, from natural poverty to true spiritual wealth.

Why must wisdom and life cry in vain, while all the world flocks after folly and emptiness and death?

What a sad commentary on mankind! Are we so foolish as to join in these meaningless, juvenile pursuits of entertainment, pleasures, acquiring of wealth, and constant childish time-wasting play rushing headlong to the eternal oblivion of the grave?

Let us be men in understanding, and recognize the true divine, eternal values of life.    GVG
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #65 
Wisdom

In every scriptural subject, we are finally led to the same point. All points forward and finds its fulfillment in one man the only REAL man the only COMPLETE man that ever lived the embodiment and perfect fulfillment of the divine wisdom of the ages. Isaiah declares (11:2)

"The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord."

Here are "The seven spirits" the seven-fold Spirit of the Deity before the throne

The spirit of the Lord, of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of might, of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord.

The seven pillars of Wisdom's temple all the aspects of Wisdom understanding, counsel, knowledge, the fear of the Lord and might.

And Paul says, in the chapters in Corinthians on wisdom to which we have referred (1 Cor. 1:30)

"Christ Jesus is of God made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption."

Here is the true life-giving Wisdom before which all the wisdom of the world stands as naked foolishness.

"Wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."

Christ is our wisdom, and our wisdom is Christ

"In him, and through him, and because of him, are all things" (Rom. 11:36).

"In him," declared Paul to the Colossians (2:3) "Are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

Let us therefore live in him and for him grow up into him in the wisdom of God through the Word, for "Wisdom is the principal thing."    GVG
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #66 

Proverbs 11:1
1 A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

In Solomon’s declaration, that ‘a false balance is an abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is His delight’ (11:1); and again, ‘Divers weights and divers measures, both of them are an abomination to the Lord’ (20:10, 23), the very words are taken from Lev. 19:36, and Deut. 25:13. The expression, ‘abomination to the Lord,’ is particularly to be observed. It occurs again 15:8, 26, and is taken from the Pentateuch (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Deut. 7:26; 12:31, &c.) Again, the words, ‘He that walketh a talebearer revealeth secrets’ (11:13, 20:19), are taken from Lev. 19:16, ‘Thou shalt not walk a talebearer among thy people,’ and do not occur elsewhere, except Jer. 6:28, and 9:3. Again, in Prov. 11:26, we have the verb Shabar (שבר) used in the sense ‘to sell corn.’ In this sense it occurs in no book written before Proverbs, except in the Pentateuch, and there it is found frequently, both in Genesis and Deuteronomy. But here in Proverbs, the words, ‘Blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth,’ contain a beautiful allusion to the blessing of Joseph, that great seller of corn.—(Gen. 49:26.) Again, 17:15, ‘He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are an abomination to the Lord,’ is the very language of the Pentateuch.—(Exod. 23:7, and Deut. 25:1.) Again, 20:20, ‘He that curseth father or mother,’ are the very words of Exod. 21:17. Again, 20:25, ‘It is a share to a man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make inquiry,’ is a plain reference to Deut. 23:21, ‘When thou vowest a vow, thou shalt not be slow to pay it,’ and to the numerous laws (Lev. 27:9, 10, 14, 21) which forbid the alienation of any thing consecrated to the Lord.

 The Christadelphian  : Volume 15 Bd. 15. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1878, S. 15:365
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #67 

Reference to: Galatians 1 and 2
         
By Love Serve One Another
By G.V. Growcott

We are reading together Paul's epistle to the Galatians. It is a very interesting epistle. Indeed, all the epistles are interesting, but it may be thought that Galatians is not interesting because it deals with a problem that we are very unlikely to be concerned with -- whether we should keep the Law of Moses.

But this error, which it was written to combat, is merely the primary background for an interesting record concerning Paul himself, and a beautiful, positive exposition that goes far beyond the problem itself.

The Galatians were in south-central Asia Minor, the turning around point of Paul's first missionary journey, including the cities of Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. Actually, Derbe was only 125 miles from Paul's original home of Tarsus, on the main east-west Roman road, but there was a mountain range in between, and not much general intercourse.

The date of the epistle, and its time-position in relation to Paul's travels, is not certain, but it appears to be early, and some consider it his first epistle. It was certainly after his first visit to them (Acts 14), and seems to be before the Jerusalem council (Acts 15), though this is not certain. If it was, it would be during the "long time" at Antioch of Acts 14:28.

It has six chapters, and is divided into three clear parts: chapters 1-2: Paul's establishment of his direct divine "call" and "authority" completely independent of the apostles of Jerusalem, but in full "harmony" and "agreement" with them; chapters 3-4: expository, the relation of the Law of Moses to the Abrahamic promises and the dispensation of grace and faith; chapters 5-6: exhortation, the total life of complete 'transformation" and "dedication" and "purity" and "love" and "self-sacrifice" and "service" that must follow our redemption in Christ, or else faith is only a hypocritical, still-born abortion.

These three sections necessarily run into each other a little, and overlap, but the general distinction is quite clear.

Unlike his other epistles, when he has a warm personal greeting, and words of commendation, even when he has a message of censure, Paul here starts right out with the burden of his reproof:
"Paul, an apostle, not FROM men, nor even THROUGH men" (1:1).

That was the issue; that was what they questioned, and that is what the first two chapters establish. He was in no sense a messenger from the other apostles, nor even had he obtained any of his instruction and understanding through them. Both his "call" and his "doctrine" were direct from Christ himself and God. It is vital that he establish this, for clearly the Judaizers who pretended to represent the Jerusalem apostles, were endeavoring to undermine it.

Then, after the briefest of greetings, and a basic statement of his proposition that deliverance comes "from" and "through" Christ alone, and specifically through Christ's death for sin, according to the will of God, he plunges right into his sharp rebuke (v. 6):
"I MARVEL that ye are so soon removed from him that called you -- that is, God -- into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel."

The Galatians had turned from God, from the grace of Christ, and from the Gospel of salvation. They would not, of course, "recognize" or "admit" this, but Paul leaves no middle ground. He cuts the issue sharp and clear from the very beginning: it's this or that: they are opposite extremes: it can't be both.

This is what we must do in our presentation of the Truth. There are those who want to emphasize all points of agreement first, and then work up to the differences. This is confusing. The scriptural way is to point out the great, broad dividing line between Truth and error -- the "major," "basic" differences that one must choose between at the outset -- then fill in the details.

Then come those thundering words twice repeated, which are so often, and rightly, quoted to introduce our lectures:

"If we -- or any man- or an angel from heaven -- preach any other gospel, let him be accursed" (vs. 8-9).
What vehemence! Where is the "gentle," "diplomatic," "conciliatory," "brotherly" Paul? He shows up later in the epistle, in the proper place, after he has lifted up the fallen banner of Truth among them, "high" and "bright" and "uncompromising"; but this is the time for "very," "very" plain speaking.

Then, beginning at verse 11, to the end of chapter 2, he demonstrates that the gospel he preached came directly and independently and in its entirety to him from God through Christ, and that he had learned nothing second hand through any man on earth.

He had a thorough knowledge of the scriptures from his youth. He was exceeding zealous, and "profited" or "advanced" (Revised Version) beyond his contemporaries (v. 14). He must have pondered many things.
Then Christ struck him down with a personal appearance on the way to Damascus, and the announcement that he whom Paul was persecuting was the one who fulfilled the whole Old Testament revelation.

Paul had three days of darkness and fasting for intense self-searching and meditation, rearranging his entire mental picture.

There is an indication that Ananias gave him only pre-baptismal instruction.

It was simply a reception of his sight, and a filling with the Holy Spirit, and immediately he arose and was baptized (Acts 9:18).

"And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues" (Acts 9:20).
His account here, in Galatians 1:16-17, is:
"Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood, neither went to the apostles at Jerusalem but went into Arabia" (to be entirely alone).

The "immediately" would indicate that this directly followed his public announcing in the synagogues of Damascus his new found belief in Christ.

Where he went in "Arabia"; or how long he stayed, or under what conditions he lived, we are not told. The whole impression we get is that it was for a "direct," "detailed," "personal revelation from Christ, and his mental adjustment to this tremendous revolution in his life. It could have been in the desert near Damascus, or it could well have been at Sinai where other wonderful revelations had been received.

Then he returned to Damascus (v. 17) and preached so energetically that the disciples had to suddenly and secretly send him away to save his life from the aroused antagonism of the orthodox Jews (Acts 9:23-25).
This verse 18 of chapter 1, was three years after his conversion, and it was not until now that he had any contact with the apostles, and then only for fifteen days.

His purpose in going to Jerusalem was to make the personal acquaintance of Peter. That's what the word translated "see," historeo (history), means, information, verse 18. This would be very fitting, both from a personal point of view of interest and friendship, and also for the unity of the Truth. Paul was obviously becoming more prominent, and he was prophetically and announcedly destined to become much more prominent still, as the specific "apostle to the Gentiles." Jerusalem was the headquarters of the work of the Truth, and the headquarters of the apostles whom Christ had previously appointed to preside over the dissemination of that Truth. It was virtually essential that he and they meet in fellowship to symbolize and cement this unity.

Again, Paul on this visit preached at Jerusalem so energetically that he aroused bitter and violent opposition, and had, as at Damascus, to be sent away to save his life (Acts 9:26-30).

For eleven more years he preached independently, first in the region around his home of Tarsus, and later -- after Barnabas had fetched him from there (Acts 11:21-26) -- at Antioch, which was growing into the major center of the Truth after Jerusalem.


Chapter 2:1-10 discusses another visit, eleven years after the first, and fourteen years from his conversion.

There has always been a question whether this was the famine visit of Acts 11:30, or the Council visit of Acts 15. There are good arguments for both, and good answers to each argument, making either possible.

The answer is not vital, and it is easy to over-spend attention and energy on questions that can never be positively determined. We will probably find ourselves alternating from one view to another as we weigh the arguments. However, it seems simplest and most natural to take it that this was his second visit to Jerusalem, and that he is not skipping over one to the third. He is explaining his total independence from the apostles, and the reasons and circumstances of his Jerusalem visit.

The epistle itself, too, seems to fit better before the Acts 15 Jerusalem council which officially and publicly determined the Gentiles' freedom from the Mosaic Law. But this is not conclusive, because the Judaizers' argument might now be, not that this Law was absolutely necessary, but that it was a holier and higher way for a special standing with God.

We know that even after the Jerusalem Council, the Judaizers did continue to plague the Body, and finally corrupted It into the Catholic Church.

Paul says (ch. 2, v. 2) that on this visit he privately explained to the leading apostles the Gospel he preached "lest he had run in vain"; not that he sought their advice or approval, but that they should all present a united front against the Judaizers, and not allow them to set one against the other, to the destruction of Paul's work.

He says the apostles at Jerusalem added nothing to him (v. 6), made no addition or adjustment to his knowledge or his gospel, and gave him the right hand of fellowship in, and blessing upon, his work (v. 9).
He also says (vs. 3-5), that some "false brethren" applied pressure to have his companion, the Gentile Titus, circumcised, but that he resolutely refused, obviously with the full knowledge and agreement of the apostles.

The second half of chapter 2, verse 11 on, is the case of his rebuking Peter at Antioch. Peter was clearly the most prominent of the Apostles. He had been chosen to open the gates of the Kingdom to both Jew and Gentile. He had received the vision of the unclean animals, and he had eaten with the Gentile Cornelius, many years earlier.

At first, at Antioch, he did the same, eating freely with the Gentile believers; but when some Judaizers came from James (but not necessarily with James' approval of their views), Peter withdrew from eating with the Gentiles. Following his example, so did all the other Jews, including even Barnabas.

Doubtless it was love and kindness. Doubtless the motive was good. Doubtless they did not want to offend the Judaizing Jews who had not yet come to see the picture clearly. Quite likely they explained this to the Gentile believers, that the Jerusalem Jewish believers were not ready for this, and it was not a time to force an issue and cause a division -- that the strong must bear with the weak, and not do anything to cause a brother to stumble.

But Paul could see the issue more clearly, and recognized that this was a crisis that had to be resolutely faced and decisively dealt with, if the unity of the Truth was to survive. Properly handled, it was a passive incident. Neglected, It could be a permanent detour in the Truth's advance.

An unchallenged victory for the Judaizers at Antioch, the then center of Jewish-Gentile unity and freedom in Christ, could have set a radiating pattern of disruption and turmoil, and division between Jew and Gentile.
Paul's address to Peter starts In verse 14; where it ends is not clear. It was a public rebuke, and doubtless on the occasion, Paul went beyond the specific rebuke to Peter to a general address to all present on the basic principles -- which were not necessary for Peter himself, for he knew and accepted and practiced them. So the rest of the chapter will sum up what Paul said on the occasion, and also converges back Into Paul's message to the Galatians.

He sums up the basic principle in verses 19-20:
"I through the Law am dead to the Law" or, more literally and generally:
"I through law am dead to law ... I am crucifted with Christ ... I died ... I live again under an entirely new principle ... yet it is not I but Christ that lives in me, and I in Christ ... I am wholly absorbed in Christ ... my entire life and being are in the faith of Christ who loved me and gave himself for me."

He had gone far beyond law. He had grown up out of law. He had left it behind like the necessary, unexplained, mechanical disciplines of early childhood. He had grown up to love and devotion where the will of the loved is infinitely greater incentive and restraint from the most rigid of compulsory legal requirements. "The law," he said to Timothy, "is not for the righteous, but for the lawless and disobedient" (1 Tim. 1:9).

We must develop far beyond the elementary kindergarten lessons of compulsory law to intense, personal love of Christ and God and righteousness and the beauty of holiness--

"I delight to do Thy will, O God!"

But unless this complete absorption into Christ -- this complete and driving devotion and dedication to drawing ever closer and closer to God and to perfection -- unless it truly takes over and transforms our life, then the Judaizers were right after all by casting off the pure and holy bonds of law, we have just opened the door to all the indulgences and deceptiveness of the flesh.

fhigham

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Reference to: Num 17:8

And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

 ...But the rebellion was not yet at an end. In a fictitious narrative, such a visitation as that just described would certainly have been represented as a complete settlement of the discontent of the people. But in a record of facts, we have the characteristics of human nature veraciously illustrated. While the destruction of the princes had cowed the people and sent them to their tents, a night’s rest gave a new turn to their rebellious thoughts. They could not deny what their eyes had seen—the destruction of a formidable body of influential rebels; but now they refused the reasonable lesson of the fact, and gave a colour to it in harmony with their own feelings: “Ye have killed the people of the Lord.” They could not deny the killing; but instead of accepting it as God’s act, they imputed it to the power of Moses and Aaron, and made it only a new reason for discontent. Their insubordination was incorrigible. They were inclined to re-open the question so dreadfully settled on the previous day. “They gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord.” Again the clouds gathered threateningly. Again they were dispersed by miraculous interposition. The glory of Yahweh again shone from the tabernacle: Moses and Aaron, making hasty obeisance in the presence of the glory, were adjured to get away from the midst of the congregation that they might be destroyed. Moses, in the promptitude of faithful and earnest fear, enjoined on Aaron the making of an immediate atonement for the congreation, in accordance with Yahweh’s own previous appointments, declaring to Aaron, “There is wrath gone out from Yahweh: the plague is begun.” Aaron, with kindled censer, ran into the midst of the congregation, and made an atonement, as commanded. He found the plague making dreadful ravages. He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stayed, but not till 14,700 persons had fallen victims.

 The concluding incident of this terrible episode ranks prominently among the exhibitions of the visible hand of God. The miraculous budding of Aaron’s rod was no frivolous or wizard feat, such as it is apt to appear when mentioned as an isolated fact. It was a reasonable measure adopted for an earnest purpose. The object is thus stated: “I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel.” To accomplish this Moses was directed as follows: “Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod, according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes, according to the house of their fathers, twelve rods: write thou every man’s name upon his rod … And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation, before the testimony where I will meet with you. And it shall come to pass that the man’s rod whom I shall choose shall blossom.” The rods were accordingly collected and laid up in the tabernacle; and next day, the rods being brought out, it was found that “the rod of Aaron, for the house of Levi, was budded, and brought forth buds and bloomed blossoms and yielded almonds” (Num. 17:8). And Moses brought out all the rods from before the Lord unto all the children of Israel” (there were no concealments or demands for “confidence” in the measures that established the authority of Moses) “and they looked and took every man his rod,” except Aaron, whose budded rod was ordered to be laid up in the tabernacle, and “kept for a token against the rebels.”

The people had no answer to such demonstration of the divine choice of Levi for the service of the priesthood. But they were not pacified. They retired into the caverns of a silent and gloomy discontent, muttering, “Behold, we die; we perish; we all perish. Whosoever cometh anything near unto the tabernacle of the Lord shall die.” Yahweh might then and there have righteously annihilated the incorrigible murmurers at a stroke; but He had patience with them for the sake of His ultimate purpose, which would have been hindered by their destruction. “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger; and for my praise will I refrain for thee that I cut thee not off;” an explanation admitting us to this consoling reflection, that the prosperity of godless men is only a part of the necessary programme of the divine work upon earth; and, with comforting firmness, commanding “patience”! ...

bro Robert Roberts. (1883) The Visible Hand of God (179). Logos Publications.

Reference to: Gal 3:1


O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

Different Kinds of Wheat

But, to return to the similitude of the fields fresh and green. On the supposition that the seed sown were all wheat, and that it had all sprung forth, and made a very fair show to the eye; nevertheless, agriculturists know well that much of what has sprung forth will, from various causes, perish; to use the phraseology of Paul, that, to very many of the plants, the Deity will not give bodies bearing seed. So also will it be in the resurrection of the saints. Many sinners become saints by “the obedience of faith,” and run well for a time. The obedience of faith constitutes them “wheat.” After a time, however, they are often bewitched, and tire of obeying the truth (Gal. 3:1). Hence, their vitality or vigour is impaired, and they become wheat of a shrivelled and feeble constitution. Their characters become sicklied over with the pale cast of scepticism, indifference, apathy, and conformity to the world and its practices. Thus “they walk after the flesh,” and are “in the flesh,” which is regarded by the Deity as “sowing to the flesh,” the penalty of which is death.

Now, according to the constitution of the wheat sown, is its ability, when sprouted, to resist the influences which cause to perish. So with the saints of the Sardian type, who have a name that they live, but are dead. The pallor of death is upon their characters, so that when bodies come forth from sheol, those of them upon which are enstamped, or flashed, these sickly, death-stricken characters, are conscious of being identical with the “bewitched” of a former state. “Boldness in the day of judgment” does not pertain to such. The influences which cause to perish will be too strong for them, for the account they will give of themselves will be truthful then, if they eschewed the truth before; and this will overwhelm them in shame and condemnation. They will be “wheat turned to cheat” to which is never given the wheat-body bearing seed. The divine sentence will be against them; so that an incorruptible and living house from heaven will be withheld, and they will perish in the corruption of the sprout-body in returning to the dust from whence it came.

Tertullian, who became a Christian about eighty-five years after the reception of the Apocalypse by the apostle John, that is, about AD185, in writing upon the resurrection, says: “He who raises the dead to life will raise the body in its perfect integrity. This is part of the change which the body will undergo at the resurrection; for though the dead will be raised in the flesh, yet they who attain to the resurrection of happiness will pass into the angelic state and put on the vesture of immortality, according to the declaration of the apostle Paul, that ‘this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality;’ and again, that ‘our vile bodies will be changed that they may be fashioned like unto the glorious body of Christ’.”

bro John Thomas. (1866; 2002). Anastasis (41–42).

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Reference to: Gal 4:24

Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

... The first matter in which providence is markedly visible in the history of Jacob concerns his relations with his twin brother Esau. These are, in many points, peculiar, and deserve attentive consideration. Before the children were born, God told Rebekah (Gen. 25:23) that they were the beginning of “two manner of people”, and that the elder would serve the younger. As it turned out, Esau was the first born, and therefore the elder. According to the law of primogeniture (which has been in force from the earliest antiquity, though not in its monstrous Gentile form, which dismisses the others without a portion), Esau was entitled to priority in rank and inheritance; but this natural order was set aside in the intimation that the elder would serve the younger. Of the domestic incidents in the lives of the patriarchs, Paul says: “which things are an allegory” (Gal. 4:24); that is, they bear the impress of the general plan on which God is working out the redemption of the world. An analogy runs through all. The plan, roughly stated, is this: “first, that which is natural; afterward, that which is spiritual”. Adam first, Christ second: “And the elder shall serve the younger”; for Christ (the younger in point of appearance on the scene) is to have the dominion, and the “old man” will come into subjection. But there is a moral analogy inside that of the chronology. Esau had the priority of birth, but he was not the sort of man with whom the covenant could be established. When it was ordained, before the birth of the children, that the elder should serve the younger, respect was had to what they would turn out to be when they grew to be men, which was known to God; for, “known unto God are all His works from the beginning”. God made choice of Jacob in preference to Esau, because Jacob was more suitable to the spiritual objects contemplated in the election. True, it is, as Paul says in his comments on the case (Rom. 9:11), it was “that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth”. Nevertheless, this purpose operates in harmony with God’s moral attributes. He does not choose an Abraham to act the part of a Pharaoh, nor a John to stand in the place of a Judas. Esau turned out to be a purely natural man, delighting in the objects and exercises of nature, without reference to nature’s Constitutor; while Jacob had a lively recognition of God. “The boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents” (Gen. 25:27). This plain man, dwelling in tents, turned out a worshipper of God; while the out-of-door pursuer of the prey was only a lawless lover of nature. Though the two were the subjects of prophetic appointment, it was not without a reason that it was afterwards written: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:13). ...

bro Robert Roberts. The Ways of Providence (32–34). The Christadelphian.

fhigham

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Reply with quote  #69 

Reference to: Galatians 3-6
         
By Love Serve One Another
By G.V. Growcott

Chapters 3 and 4 are the doctrinal arguments against the present application of the Law of Moses -- that it was a secondary, temporary arrangement added much later to the basic plan of salvation through faith; that it was, 1) To expose sin; 2) convict all of sin; 3) show to all the impossibility of anyone earning life; 4) to foreshadow and typify and lead up to Christ; 5) that it was the mere elementary, passing impotent shadow of which Christ is the glorious, all-powerful, eternal reality.

To return to the Law of Moses is not, as the Judaizers claimed, a higher step of holiness, but a falling right back down from the things of the Spirit which transforms the heart , to the things that merely regulate the flesh.

The doctrinal argument continues to verse 12 of chapter 5.

"I would they were even cut off which trouble you."

-- a verse that most modern commentators give an absurd and crude meaning, which the NEB even coarsely inserts into its text as if it were the Word of God.

* * *

The exhortation begins (v. 13 of ch. 5) --
"Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty: only use not liberty for an occasion to the fiesh, but BY LOVE SERVE ONE ANOTHER."

Liberty is a tremendous responsibility. Like matured adults, we have been turned loose from the detailed and mechanical restraints of law. We have been told by God:
"This is what I desire. This is what will please me. If you love me, this is what you will work to do, and you will never feel that you have ever been able to do enough: you will always yearn to do more and better. You will have no interest in worldly rubbish."

The obligations of love are infinitely greater and deeper than the obligations of law. Just as the responsibilities and duties of adulthood are greater than those of childhood.

"For all the Law is fulfilled in one word: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (v. 14).
Whoever attains to this divine ideal of loving others as themselves? -- of taking on all the joys and burdens of others, and sharing everything we hope with them without restraint?

But this is the ideal to which we must constantly strive to bring ourselves. Anything short of this is ugly, fleshly smallness and selfishness of heart and mind.

"But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another" (v. 15).

This in the Truth should be absolutely unthinkable. IS IT? We may be a long way from reaching the pinnacle of the ideal, but if we haven't gotten far beyond this, we haven't even begun.

"This I say, then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shalt not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (v. 16).

Man is a very strange contraption. He is like a pair of scales. One side or the other can very easily go up or down. And when it goes down It can very easily go very far down. But he can also attain very high.

"Walk in the Spirit, and ye shalt not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

It is the only way. We must give ourselves wholly to the Spirit of the Word. We can choose -- we can choose what we throw onto the scales. We can choose the guidance of the Spirit as revealed in the Word of Life, or we can choose the guidance of the thoughts and desires of the flesh.

No one can plead inability. We can do whatever we want to do, if we want it badly enough, and will seek the help and guidance in the right place.

We can "walk in the Spirit." If we couldn't, we would not be told to do so. God does not mock us, any more than He lets us mock Him. Of course we cannot reach perfection. Of course we shall repeatedly stumble, and have to try again. But the basic portion of our life can be purity and love and kindness and service and holiness and spiritual-mindedness, if we really want it to be.

"The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh... so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (v. 17).

The flesh is always there, and always strong. We shall never accomplish fully what we desire in love to do for God. But in interpreting these words, let us remember that Paul falls within their description. He could say "Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ." He could say "God is witness how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you" (1 Thess. 2:10). But still he would be the first to recognize that, having done his utmost, he himself came under this description:
"Ye cannot do the things that ye would,"

In the rest of the chapter, he lists the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit. Among the works of the flesh are some terrible things that hopefully none of us would ever dream of. But also there are some other terrible things that, sadly we do not always realize are so terrible in God's sight, but to Him they may be the most terrible, because they violate and profane and tread underfoot the very essence of love for one another, which is the basic principle of the law of life:

"Variance, hatred, wrath, strife, envying, and such like."

"They which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God" (vs. 20-21).

But (vs. 22-24) -- "ARE WE CHRIST'S?"

fhigham

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Reply with quote  #70 

Making Mention Of You In Our Prayers (Eph. 1:16)

We have a great and continuing duty to our brethren and sisters, and that is the duty of fervent prayer for them -- not meaninglessly by habit and rote as a group, but thoughtfully and individually, one by one, entering into the joys and sorrows of each. Paul said to several ecclesias--

"We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers."

And his greetings show personal remembrance and care for individuals as such. His mind was ALWAYS filled with the things of God and of God's people. Until we have achieved the same "mind of Christ," we are not fully on the Way of Life.

Search Me O God, bro. Growcott

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Num 20,21    Pro 15        Eph 1,2
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Reference to: Num 21:6  And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

1. Seraphim Identical with Cherubim

In Isa. 6:2, these cherubic symbols are styled seraphim. “I saw the Adonai,” saith he, “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Seraphs stood near to it.… And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, Yahweh Tz’vaoth (He who shall be hosts): the whole earth (shall be) full of his glory.” There is no obscurity about the etymology of seraph. It signifies burning, fiery, deadly. The fiery serpents sent among the people (Numb. 21:6) are styled by Moses seraphim. By the saints, the seraphim and cherubim of Messiah’s throne, the whole earth is to be filled with his glory. Being incarnations of Spirit, they will be more than a match for all the powers of the world. They will cast down their thrones, overthrow Babylon, waste the land of Assyria, reap the harvest of the earth, tread the winepress of wrath, and as a stream of devouring fire destroy the body of Daniel’s fourth polity with their burning flame.

bro John Thomas,  Eureka  : An exposition of the Apocalypse. Volumes 1-5. (electronic ed.) (volpg.2.54).

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Reference to Pro 15:8  The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight....

“And there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand” Prayer, then, is indicated by the presence of the golden censer in the Holiest of all. It is on this basis that mercy is dispensed: “the cloud of the incense” was to “cover the mercy-seat”—“that he (Aaron) die not”. For a prayerless man there is no mercy.

But the incense had to be of the sort prescribed: prayer in harmony with the truth alone is acceptable. Prayer bawled out presumptuously in the utterance of things that are not true, and in the making of requests that are inconsistent with the revealed purposes of God—(as illustrated in the popular devotions, whether in the gross and vulgar excitement of Salvation Army knee-drill, or the refined whisperings of an educated and paganized State or Nonconformist theology)—is not the sweet incense of the sanctuary, but the rank compound of heathenish art.

And the right incense had to be “beaten small”—not offered in lumps. Some people neglect God in daily habit, and seem to think they can make up for lost time by being specially religious at certain times. This must be as odious to God as intermittent friendship would be unsatisfactory to man. The will of God is that we “pray always” (Luke 18); “in everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18), be exercised in His fear all the day long (Prov. 23:17).

The incense had to be vaporized by fire taken off the altar. The use of other fire brought death, as we have seen. There is a deep import in this. The altar is Christ (Heb. 13:10)—the fire, his sufferings. The prayer of a sinner offered in his own name, or in the name of Mahomet, or in neglect or slight of the Christ-name, is a prayer that will not be as the sweet-smelling incense, but as the pungent and offensive smoke in the nostrils, with which God compares certain people (Isa. 65:5).

The employment of incense to symbolize prayer is a proof that prayer is a source of pleasure to God—provided the conditions are right. That the prayer of the wicked should be abomination (Prov. 28:9) seems easy to understand; but that “the great and the terrible God who made heaven and earth” should find pleasure in the feeble recognitions of mortal man, however sincere, is a revelation which we require. It is a revelation which we have received, “The prayer of the upright is his delight” (Prov. 15:8). We could not have imagined it possible that so small a circumstance in the universe could have yielded satisfaction to the stupendous Being upholding all by the word of His power. Jesus took pains to put us on our guard against making too little of the small because of the largeness of the great. A sparrow falls not without Him. Ye are of more value than the sparrows; the hairs of your head are numbered. He that seeth in secret shall openly reward the man who prays in secret. Such are some of his sayings. It remains that the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much by reason of the pleasure it affords the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth.  ...

bro Roberts,  The Law of Moses. As a rule of National and indivdual life. (electronic ed.). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.

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Reference to:
Eph 2:1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Eph 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)
Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The Period of Quickening Perfects the “Raising”

The consummation of the judgment of Christ’s house indicates the epoch of the third and last stage of the raising process. This crisis is the quickening, by which resurrection is perfected. The analogy is found in nature, from which its divine Creator selects many processes and principles, which He employs as figures to illustrate His teaching in the Word. Thus, in regard to corporeal regeneration, in the process of developing an immortal being from the dust of sheol, the terms expressive of the stages of what may be styled the spiritual gestation are conformed to the phenomena pertaining to the natural. The same fact obtains in relation to moral regeneration, which must precede in probation, the corporeal in the resurrection state. In the moral process “the New Man” is “begotten,” or conceived, when the sinner perceives “the truth as it is in Jesus”; and he is “quickened” unto a new and independent life, when the truth works in him to will and to do the good pleasure of Deity.

If he stop short of the quickening in moral or in corporeal gestation, he is a mere abortion; but, if in the moral, the process is matured in a “faith that works by love and purifies the heart,” the immersed believer is addressed in these words, to wit: “and you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins … He hath quickened you together with Christ” (Eph. 2:1, 5). It will be perceived by the thoughtful, that there is necessarily a marked interval between the moral conception and the quickening of the dead in sin. An unquickened intelligent sinner is a theorist—a speculator in divine thoughts, which have no moral influence over him; while a quickened sinner has become circumcised of heart and ears, “the workmanship of Deity,” “created by knowledge after his own image” (Eph. 2:10; Col 3:10).

The moral gestatory order of development, I have said, is in strict conformity with the law of nature. According to this, quickening usually occurs about eighteen weeks after conception. During this interval, the bearer has no direct consciousness of the embryo forming within; but when quickening occurs, the attention is strongly excited. Now, the English law recognizes the cause of the phenomenon of quickening to be, the acquisition of a life by which the foetus might live independent of its bearer. This idea is probably correct, and certainly exact enough to illustrate the phenomena of the moral and corporeal generation of “the new man which, after Deity, is created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:24). The matrix of this new being is “the heart” of the sinner. “The word of the kingdom” is the incorruptible seed sown into his heart. For some time, he has no direct consciousness that a new creature is forming within him. In process of time, however, his attention is strongly excited, and he perceives that he carries within him new ideas, aspirations, and feelings, to which, before he began to read and study the Word, he was an entire stranger. These are a new creation; and, if they do not prove abortive, will ultimate in the development of the incorruptible and immortal man: for this new corporeal being is originally quickened by the Truth, or spirit-and-life Word, in the heart of the Old Man (John 6:63). “It is the spirit that quickeneth, and the words which I speak unto you, spirit is and life is”—πνευμα εστιν καιζον εστιν: pneuma esti kai zon estin. This is true, whether the quickening be moral or corporeal; in the former case, the quickening power is in divine ideas, of which “the words” are the signs; while in the latter the quickening power is what philosophers would term electrical.

bro John Thomas. (1866; 2002). Anastasis (18). Logos Publishers.
 
Compiled by Bro Len Naglieri

fhigham

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Reply with quote  #71 

Commit Thy Works Unto Yahweh, And Thy Thoughts Shall Be Established (Prov. 16:3)
 
Keep your mind on God, and keep busy at something useful and profitable for others. You will then always be happy and at peace. You'll have no time for fancied offenses, or self-pity, or criticism of others, or catering to your own lusts and desires. Wasted time or self-indulgent time is unfaithful stewardship and self-destruction. God has set it up that way, and it is wisdom, and we are very foolish to think we can outwit Him, and find happiness and satisfaction any other way.

Search Me O God, bro. Growcott

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Num 22,23    Pro 16        Eph 3,4
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Reference to: Num 23:24  Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.

10. The Birds of Prey

“The One Angel shouted with a loud voice saying to all the fowls flying in midheaven, Come hither, and assemble together for the banquet of the powerful Deity, that ye may eat the flesh of kings”.

The proclamation of good news in midheaven by the Saints (and there is none else to do it) is not only to warn the nations of what is about to break forth upon them, but so to operate upon the scattered Israelites, as to make them willing to acknowledge Jesus as David’s Son and Lord, and to place themselves at his disposal; so that whatever he, as the Prophet like unto Moses, may command to be done, they will readily and zealously obey under the direction, orders, and superintendence of those of his Brethren he may appoint. The saints will have, not only to make proclamation, but to consummate such a military organization as will make Israelites and the “mixed multitude” who accept their proclamation, bodies of efficient soldiers in all the countries where such may be found. The means developing this result will be “a noise,” and “a shaking,” whereby the very dried bones of Israel shall come together, bone to bone, and flesh and sinews shall come upon them, and they shall live politically, and stand upon their feet an exceeding great army (Ezek. 37).

This standing up of Israel upon their feet is the political resurrection predicted by Balaam, and recorded by Moses in Numbers 23:24, saying, “Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion; he shall not lie down until he eat the prey, and drink the blood of the slain. His King shall be higher than Agag (or Gog), and his kingdom shall be exalted. Ail brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath, as it were, the strength of an unicorn; He shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows” (ch. 24:7, 8).

bro John Thomas,  Eureka  : An exposition of the Apocalypse. Volumes 1-5. (electronic ed.) (volpg.5.313). West Beach, South Australia: Logos Publication.

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Reference to: Pro 16:7  When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

... “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Thus saith God to every faithful brother and sister. The statement is of inestimable worth for God does not exaggerate. What a sense of security does it bring—a peace of mind which the wicked know nothing of. It is gratifying to have the assistance and protection of mortal man. But to be under the guidance and care of the controller of the Universe!—of Him who can turn a man’s heart whithersoever He will (Prov. 21:1, —who can make even our enemies to be at peace with us (Prov. 16:7, )! Unfathomable comfort our privilege contains. We should strive to reach a fuller realisation of it. There is much to make us dull and insensible to it. God appears to be far, far away, and we are apt to imagine that He is uninterested in and uncognisant of our puny affairs. Bad trade and unhealthy climate confront us, and the thought arises, are not we and the alien equally effected by these evils, and is not God, therefore, excluded from our affairs? To grapple with these fleshly, lying suggestions, we require to be of quick, spiritual understanding. This quickness can only be attained by a daily study of the Oracles of God. Such a study will produce that full assurance of faith which will enable us to wield an “it is written” to our own satisfaction, even if not to the conviction of our adversaries. ...

The Christadelphian  : Volume 24. 2001, c1887. The Christadelphian, volume 24. (electronic ed.) (24:487-488).

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Reference to: Eph 4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

... Let us take a glance in another direction. It would really seem, from the numerous apostolic exhortations to the duty of mutual edification, that this was intended to occupy a very prominent place in the ministrations of the disciples. See 1 Thess. 5:11; Heb. 3:13; 10:24, 25. While this duty was becoming at all times, as the disciples might find fitting occasion in their private intercourse, the last passage named places it beyond a doubt that the public assembly was equally appropriate for this friendly interchange of good service, seeing that the apostle connects it so closely with the duty of “not forsaking the assembling of themselves together.”

We find, then, two very distinct modes of edifying the church co-existing in the days of the apostles, namely, the tutorial and the mutual. The question arises here—Have we any means of ascertaining the exact relation which the one sustained to the other? and whether or not they were both designed to be permanent? Let us see.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians there is a very pointed reference to this subject in a passage where the apostle evidently treats this question in relation to the permanency of the agency whereby the church was to be edified. The apostle had been reminding the Ephesian church of their being a mixture of Jews and Gentiles, and of the latter having become fellow-citizens with those saints of the stock of Israel who had walked in the steps of Abraham’s faith; and as they were now associated with Jewish believers in Jesus, who had reconciled both to God in one body by the cross, and were thus made fellow-heirs, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel, he proceeds, in chap. 4., to exhort them to walk worthy of this calling wherewith they had been called, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The apostle enforces this advice by reminding them of the one body and the one spirit, of their being called in one hope of their calling, and of there being one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. He then alludes to the fact that along with this unity of the spirit, there was diversity of gifts. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; that we henceforth be no more children,” &c.

We have here, then, the end proposed, and the means by which it is sought to be effected. The end is defined to be the growing up of the individual disciples in faith, knowledge, and love, from the condition of moral and intellectual infancy to the stature of full-grown men, even to that standard presented in the perfect character of Jesus himself, who is the Head. Assuming that the apostle is treating of this process as extending indefinitely beyond the generation then existing, let us next inquire as to the working of the agency by which he expects it to be brought about. Notice first, then, that the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, are appointed, according to verse 12, as pointed in our Bibles, for three separate things—1st, The perfecting of the saints—2d, The work of the ministry—3d, The edifying of the body of Christ. By removing the comma at the end of the first clause (which we are entitled to do as points were not in use when Paul wrote), it will appear that those gifted persons were appointed for only two objects—1st, The perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry—2d, The edifying of the body of Christ. Reading the passage, then, without altering or transposing a single word, its plain teaching is to the effect that the primary and direct duty of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, in the church, was the perfecting, fitting, or training the general body of the saints for the work of the ministry, with the view of qualifying them for that work of mutual edification by which the grand end in view was to be brought about. Of course, in the exercise of their proper tutorial functions, the apostles, prophets, &c., would not be precluded from helping on the general edification of the church, but would rather find the two objects directly promotive of each other.   ...

bro John Thomas, Herald of the kingdom and age to come (10:127-128). New York.

Compiled by Bro Len Naglieri

fhigham

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Reply with quote  #72 

Proverbs 17:1-5

1 Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife. 2 A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren. 3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts. 4 A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue. 5 Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.

Reference to: Eph 5:8
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light

Zec 14:7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.

... In Zech. 14:7, the saints who come in with Yahweh Elohim are styled yekaroth, the splendid shining or glorious ones. The word is used of stones, gems, and stars. Their splendor constitutes them Urim. They are the gems and stars through which the brightness of the Spirit enlightens the nations of the earth, when Jesus and his Brethren inherit all things. This reference to the Urim is very remarkable, and in the English Version very imperfectly translated. As it stands in verses 6 and 7, no sense can be made of it. It may be seen by the margin, which deepens the obscurity of the text, that “the authorities” do not know what to do with it. There is no obscurity, however, in the original to one whose mind is not darkened with clerical traditions, and who understands the glory, to which the saints are called in the gospel of their salvation. The passage should read thus: “Yahweh my Elohim (He who shall be my Mighty Ones, or righteous governors) shall come in, all the saints with thee. And it shall be in that day there shall be no brightness, the splendid drawing in. And it shall be one day that shall be made known by Yahweh; not day nor night, but it shall be in time of evening there shall be brightness,” or Ur. From this we learn, that when the Lamb and 144,000 enter upon their work of judgment at eventide, they will not “shine as the brightness of the firmament and as the stars” (Dan. 12:3) they will not be manifested as Urim; but, though capable of so doing, they will draw in their brightness, and appear as men: but, when the judgment is over, and the kingdom established, and the time is come for them to rest from their labors, then they will no longer draw in their splendor, but “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt. 13:43); not in the “day” of Jerusalem under the law; nor in the “night” of her widowhood, “not day nor night;” but at eventide, which begins the seventh, or great sabbatic day.

In the present state, the believers, who are constitutionally in the Christ-Ephod, and therefore citizens of the Foursquare Polity which decorates it, are Urim, and addressed as such by Paul in Phil. 2:15, in the words, “in a crooked and perverse generation, ye, the sons of the Deity, shine as lights,” or Urim, “in the world:” and in Eph. 5:8, “ye were formerly darkness, but now light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” Being in the Lord, they are the lights and precious stones of his breastplate—the Urim and Thummim of his Ephod. They became such by the law and the testimony dwelling in them richly. This gives them their polish, and enables them to “shine as lights.” Where the law and the testimony are not in the understanding, there is no light there. In such only darkness reigns; and while this continues, they can be neither Urim nor Thummim, nor in Christ.
It was because of the darkness, or “strong delusion Deity had sent” the apocalyptic twelve Tribes of Israel, “that they should believe a lie; and all be damned who believed not the truth”—sent by him as a punishment upon them for not continuing in the love of the truth he had given: because of this, he commissioned the sealers to make proclamation among them, that, if there were any disposed to return to first principles, they might be “sealed” with these principles “in their foreheads;” and thus polished and filled in, might shine as the Apocalyptic Urim and Thummim—as the Lights and Fulness of the Body of Christ. ...

bro John Thomas, Eureka : An exposition of the Apocalypse (electronic ed.).

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Reference to:Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

19. What are the characteristics of the spiritual body?
ANS. It is incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and immortal “flesh and bones” (1Cor. 15:42–43: Luke 24:39; Eph. 5:30).

20. What is IMMORTALITY?
ANS. Incorruptible body in living action; or life manifested through an incorruptible body. The Deity, who is the life, is the only being in the universe who has it underived from any thing exterior to Himself (1 Tim. 6:16).

bro John Thomas. (1866; 2002). Catechesis (8–9).

Compiled by Bro Len Naglieri

fhigham

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Proverbs 18:8

When conversation consists of small gossip and items of news concerning the doings of others—a kind of talk in which the truth is often so marred by careless inaccuracy or so distorted by exaggeration as to be more mischievous than positive falsehood—and when to this is added the discussion of some scandal which happens to be going the rounds—then it is certain that those engaged therein have not yet fully learned to govern their tongues by the precepts of the Word of God; from which we learn that “The words of a talebearer are as wounds” (Prov. 18:8), and that, if a man seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, his religion is vain (Jas. 1:26). The unwise use of speech, then, being so evil in its effects, surely it is fitting and necessary that we should sincerely pray in the words of David: “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips” (Psa. 141:3).

There are two errors of the tongue into which humanity is prone to fall. One is flattery; and the other, backbiting. These two things, although so unlike, are both the fruits of an unbridled tongue, and the mouth given to flattery easily goes to the other extreme. So that we need not be surprised if those who are too liberal with words of praise to him who at the moment is admired, should, if at any time they are offended, be equally ready with unkind sayings. Flattery is a fault of which one may easily be guilty through over-eagerness to say something kind and appreciative; while backbiting sometimes arises from angry resentment of something which has hurt the feelings; and sometimes is the sign of an indwelling spirit of envy.
 
The Christadelphian  : Volume 70 Bd. 70. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1933, S.
70:67-69


Backbiting a Sin

A BROTHER who 'talks reproachfully of his brethren' is a backbiter, and those who countenance him partake his sin. But do not be distressed by it (Ec. 3:16-17; 5:8). Backbiters and their fellow-sinners have been current ever since the Spirit of God expressed its displeasure at such things. There is a 'needs be.' How else are good men to be tried in the virtue of patience under evil speaking? (1 Pt. 2:20).

God has a work for the Shimeis sometimes (2 Sm.16:5-12). Doubtless it is a work of wickedness so far as they are concerned, and God brings His punishment on their heads in due time (1 Kgs. 2:43-46). But it is a something for men of God to submit to meekly in the hour of darkness, like David.          —June, 1892

 

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Phillipians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

God sets before us many living models in the suffering of affliction. Habakkuk to wit. Let us consider his attitude towards evil. “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Job exhibited a similar mind: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” And Paul many times delivered himself of similar sentiments. “I have learned,” said the apostle, “in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Let us not be either discouraged or overturned by evil. Let us diligently keep before our minds the fact that God is the Author of it, and that, largely by its means, He is accomplishing His beneficent and glorious scheme for the salvation of our sinful and perishing race—a scheme which, when consummated, will amaze us, and evoke from us praise and gratitude for evermore. Let us make Paul’s verdict as to evil, our verdict. Let us learn to say with him that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” and that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

 The Christadelphian  : Volume 50 Bd. 50. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1913, S. 50:57
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Reference to: John 1:51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

... The idea of the angels visiting the garden of Eden places the Edenic chapter of the Divine work on earth on a par with all its subsequent recorded phases. We have the angels visiting Abraham (Gen. 18); Lot (Gen. 19); Moses (Ex. 3); Israel (Josh. 2); Gideon (Jud. 6:11); Manoah (Jud. 13:3), etc. etc., in all which cases their utterances are attributed directly to God as in Gen. 3 The same harmony is to be seen in the prominence of the angelic service in the work of Christ, at his birth (Luke 2:9–13), his temptation (Mark 1:13), his crucifixion (Luke 22:43), his resurrection (Matt. 28:2), his ascension (Acts 1:10), and his coming again (Matt. 16:27). A final harmony is furnished in Christ’s allusion to the intimate relation of the angels to the day of his completed work on earth, “Ye shall see angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man” (John 1. 51).

The appearance and speech of angelic visitors can only be called miraculous by those who have not been privileged to experience the fact—a description as yet applicable to the whole of the present generation. In its own sphere, it is as much a natural occurrence as anything else. The angels live as much as we do, and more; for we are only haft alive and rapidly tending to dissolution. They live a higher life than we do; for it is written, “Thou hast made man a little lower than the angels” (Heb. 2:6–7). They are already incorruptible, immortal, powerful, and glorious, which we only hope to become on attaining equality with them (Luke 20:36; I Cor. 15:49). But though thus immeasurably higher than human nature, they are not less real. They can be handled (Gen. 32:24–32: Hos. 12:4) and seen (2 Sam. 24:17) and fed (Gen. 18:8) and talked with (Zech. 1:9). They have powers of locomotion by the Spirit, which we have not in the present state: but this does not argue miraculous independence of the laws of nature according to the popular conception. It shows higher power. They have a command of nature which we have not; but this not through any separation from nature, but through an intimate relation to its powers by their affinity with the primary power in which and by which it exists and from which it has received its constitution. The angels being alive and powerful, their appearance is not a prodigy or a miracle in the vulgar sense, but merely a supremely interesting fact, not as yet within the experience of any now living, it is true, but a fact of the past as credibly testified as any astronomical phenomenon and much more decidedly confirmed. The recurrence of the fact is an imminent contingency; for the evidence is strong that Christ is near, and when he comes he is attended with a multitude of the angelic host. ...

bro Robert Roberts. (1883; 2002). The Visible Hand of God (27-28)

... The whole situation in Eden required the visible hand of God. The veiled hand—the indirect guidance—would not have been adapted to a time when there was but as yet a single individual, and he in harmony with the Superior Will which had given him being. The ways of Providence were for after times, when men had multiplied, and sin had introduced that confession out of which the Divine wisdom purposes the evolution of order, and the highest good. The veiled hand belongs to times of evil only. When the ministry of reconciliation—(“to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them”) shall have accomplished its object, there will be no need for God to hide Himself from the inhabitants of the earth. His power and wisdom are now manifest, for they cannot be concealed; but His existence and His love have to be laboriously discerned. He has withdrawn the open manifestation of Himself, both from Israel and the Gentiles; but on the day that He has appointed—on the day when His earth family is complete and His will paramount everywhere under the sun, there will be an end to concealment. This is one of the great and precious promises—that we shall know as we are known (1 Cor. 13:12)—that heaven will be open—(John 1:51): that the tabernacle of God will be with men, and His servants shall serve Him. and they shall see His face, and there shall be no night there (Rev. 21:3; 22:5), that God will be all in all (1 Cor. 15:28).

bro Robert Roberts. (1883; 2002). The Visible Hand of God (38–39).

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