Adam Naming the Creatures
by Glenn Conjurske
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone:
I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God
formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought
them unto Adam to see what he would call them, and whatsoever Adam called
every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names
to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field,
but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. (Gen. 2:18-20).
We cannot suppose this to be nothing more than a curious account of a
few facts concerning man's primitive estate. It is doubtless here for
a purpose, and it is in fact full of instruction for us, concerning both
God and man.
First, concerning man. This naming of the beasts and the birds was no
child's play, but a great work which required a very great intelligence
intelligence, I will be bold to say, as is not to be found in the human
race at the present day. Consider: for whose benefit did Adam name these
creatures? Not for the animals' benefit. What care they ----what know they ----what
they are called by the race of men? It is nothing to them whether they
have one name, or another, or no name. For whose benefit, then, was this
naming? Not for God's benefit. What need had God of this? He knew all
the creatures which he had made, and needed no man to name them for him.
We hear nothing of Adam naming the fishes, or any marine life, yet if
he was naming the creatures for God's benefit, God must require a name
for the fishes as well as the beasts and the birds. For whose benefit,
then, did Adam name the creatures? Certainly, for man's, and he therefore
named the beasts and the birds, who lived in his own element, and had
nothing to say to the creatures in the sea. Man was the Lord of all of
these creatures ----for his benefit and use they were made ----and for man
to distinguish them they were named.
But this necessitates that man should remember the features and characteristics
of every species, along with the name which he had assigned to it. If
he was to forget the names a week later
----yea, or ten years later ----it
would have been no more than a farce for him to name the animals at all.
If there was to be any purpose in this naming, it was surely necessary
that he should remember the names given. But this required an intelligence
and a memory which have long since departed from the human race.
There are said to be two and a half million species on the earth today,
but it is estimated that there have been 125 million. All these, of course,
were alive in Adam's day. Not that all of them were birds and beasts,
by any means, but still there were a prodigious number of them. Most of
the species which originally inhabited the earth are now extinct, but
even at the present day there are enough different birds and beasts nearly
to stagger the imagination. There are said to be 3000 species of lizards
alone, and we can scarcely suppose that Adam lumped everything from the
chameleon to the crocodile together into one, and called it lizard.
Now to name every one of these creatures, and remember all of their names,
indicates in Adam a vast intellectual superiority over the whole human
race as it is today. Man is fallen. He is weakened and debased in all
his powers of body, soul, and spirit. The evolutionists' dreams of the
intellectual advancement of the human race have not a grain of truth in
them. If you have any doubt of Adam's intellectual superiority, try this
work yourself. Go to any large zoo. You will find there only a small fraction
of the species now living on the earth, as the species now living on the
earth are only a small fraction of those which lived in Adam's day. Your
task will therefore be so much the easier than Adam's was. But go through
such a zoo, and name them all. Give them descriptive names if that will
help your memory, or whatever names you please. Then go back a week later,
or a month later, and see how many of those names you can remember. In
one month's time doubtless half of those animals would be as nameless
as they were before you began. Not so in Adam's case. He named all of
these thousands of creatures once, and whatsoever Adam called every
living creature, that was the name thereof.
You may suppose that Adam may have written down the names. Perhaps so,
but this would have required a vast intelligence also. A mere list of
names would have been absolutely without purpose. He must write them in
such a way as to clearly identify which name belonged to which species.
These animals were not confined in numbered cages, but freely traversing
the earth and skies. If Adam were to write down their names to any purpose,
he must write with every name a minute and exact description of the beast,
such as would enable him to distinguish it from every other. The result
would have been an encyclopedic scientific treatise in speciology.
But I proceed to more important matters. Adam's naming the creatures has
something to say to us about God. For Adam to have named all of these
creatures to any purpose must have required a great deal of time and observation,
and in this God had a purpose beyond the mere naming of the animals. If
that had been all, we might surely expect that God would have directed
Adam to name the plants also, for these also were created for man, and
surely there was as much reason for him to be able to distinguish the
plants as the animals. But that could wait another time. The plants did
not suit the present purpose of God. Plants have no communication with
----no relationships with each other ----no fellowship with each
other, as animals do, and God had a purpose at the time then present to
make Adam keenly to feel the fact that he had no fellowship ----no companionship,
such as all the animals had. The ultimate purpose of God was to bless
man ----to satisfy his soul with good things ----to make his joy full and
his cup to overflow. His naming of the birds and beasts was to prepare
him for that blessing. For days and weeks he observed and studied these
thousands of creatures, as the Lord caused them to come to him for their
names. He watched them, one after another, the male and his female, or
the mother and her young, playing together, feeding together, lying down
together, gambolling off together, calling and speaking to each other,
every species in its own language. The result of all of this must have
been to make Adam feel very keenly alone. And God meant that he should
feel this. God was about to give to him the crowning gift of his goodness ----in
comparison to which all the other delights of paradise were as nothing.
He was about to give to him the complement of his own heart, that he might
be ravished always with her love, through all his days. But first he made
him to keenly feel his need of her.
Observe the exquisite beauty of the account. First the Lord observes,
It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an help
meet for him. From this he proceeds, not to the creation of Eve, but
to the naming of the beasts! Why this? Why then? Clearly, to give to Adam
a deep sense of the fact that he was alone
----to make him to feel his
loneliness. And why that? Clearly to give him the greater capacity to
appreciate and enjoy his Eve when at length he received her. This is the
way of God, from that day to this. He does not give to us all of his blessings
at once, but often denies and deprives us ----not because he cares nothing
for our needs, but precisely because he does care. He deprives and denies
us to sharpen our appetite, to strengthen our desires, to augment our
need ----and all of this only to increase our capacity for happiness when
his hand of bounty at length meets that need. Remember, God's purpose
from the beginning was, I will make him an help meet for him ----but
first Adam must name the beasts. First he must be made to feel his need.
It was God's purpose to fill and thrill his soul with the most exquisite
happiness ----but God would give him a greater happiness than he was then
capable of. Adam, therefore, must wait for Eve, while God puts him through
a course of discipline designed to increase his need, that he might have
the greater fulfillment at the last.
This is the habitual way of God, and all of this is bound up in the word
PROMISE, which figures so largely in the Scripture doctrine of faith.
What is the purpose of a promise? Why does God ever promise anything at
all to man? Why does he not immediately give the thing, instead of promising
it? The promises of God exist only because God has a purpose to give to
his people some blessing, but no intention to give it to them now. For
the present he has determined that they must do without it, and patiently
wait for it. When he purposed to make a help meet for Adam, he did not
immediately do so. He plainly saw the man's need, and said It is not
good that the man should be alone. He was not unconcerned about that
need, but fully purposed to meet it. Yet he delayed, and instead of immediately
meeting the need, he set Adam upon a course of discipline which would
increase his need, or make him feel it more deeply. And this is one of
the reasons why God delays to give to us his blessings. The longer the
delay, the more we feel the need. The more we feel the need, the greater
our capacity for appreciation and enjoyment when the need is finally met.
Even the world has recognized the fact that the longer we must wait for
our happiness, the greater will be that happiness when it is attained,
and we find this expressed in the old proverb, It is not good to be
happy too young. And herein we see the goodness of God, even in withholding
from us the things which we need. And herein lies the essence of faith,
in thus beholding his goodness through the mists and the darkness and
the tears which we must endure while we languish with our needs unmet.
But how often does unbelief reign in such circumstances, instead of faith.
When God withholds the good which we need, we doubt his goodness. We suppose
he cares nothing for our need. We murmur against him. We doubt his love.
We question his ways. And how many turn back in their hearts to Egypt,
where, they suppose, their needs will be freely met. They cannot bear
to live on manna and a promise of good things to come. If God does not
plant their feet immediately in the land which flows with milk and honey,
they will go back to Egypt. This is the way of unbelief. It was through
unbelief that the Israelites fell in the wilderness. We see that they
could not enter in because of unbelief. (Heb. 3:19). This is clearly
set forth in the fourteenth chapter of Numbers. The people murmur against
Moses and Aaron (verse 2), and against the Lord (verses 27-29). They had
no faith in his goodness towards them, nor in his purpose to do them good,
but said, Wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall
by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? (Verse
3). And the Lord must say of them, How long will it be ere they believe
me? (Verse 11).
But the root of the problem lies in the fact that they cannot bear to
be denied. They must have their desires. They must have their good things.
Therefore they will either make a captain and return to Egypt (verse 4),
or go up, against the commandment of the Lord, and take the land at once
(verses 40-42). But to remain in the wilderness, denied the things which
----this they cannot bear. Thus it appears how deeply unbelief
is rooted in lust, and self-indulgence, and impatience.
Faith, on the contrary, is the twin sister of patience, and the root of
self-denial. Faith is content to Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently
for him (Psalm 37:7)
----even while the wicked prosper all around us,
and we are denied and deprived and down-trodden.
God knew that Adam needed his Eve
----and yet God delayed to give her to
him. God knew that it was not good for him to be alone ----and yet God
left him alone, for the time being. God knows what you need ----and does
he yet deprive you? Then Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.
Then Trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:5).
Yea, more, Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee
the desires of thine heart (verse 4) ----though it may not be today or
tomorrow. He is purposed to give them to you, as much as ever he was to
give Eve to Adam. He knows of the friend you need, or the wife, or the
husband, or the child, and it matters to him about you. (I Pet. 5:7,
Now the God who thus cares for us has plainly spoken, and said, No good
thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11).
Yet as a matter of fact, he often does withhold good things from the best
of his saints. Does this indicate the failure of his promise? Not in the
least, for as we have pointed out before, the very essence of the word
promise implies his present withholding of that which he fully intends
to give at some future time.
We might dismiss the subject at this point, but I desire to go further.
Not only does God often withhold from us what we need for a time, but
sometimes, and for the same reasons, takes from us what we have already.
So he did in Job's case, and not for any sin in Job. Now God may have
a number of reasons for doing so, but one of those reasons is to increase
our appreciation for those things, and so increase our enjoyment in the
possession of them. There are numerous ancient proverbs which rehearse
the fact that we ordinarily learn to value and appreciate things precisely
as we are deprived of them. Among those proverbs are:
The worth of a thing is known by the want of it.
Health is not valued till sickness comes.
He knows best what good is that has endured evil.
We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.
Wealth is best known by want.
Who among us could value our eyesight like the man who was born blind,
and sat by the wayside begging? When the Lord gave to him the precious
gift of sight, he had a capacity to appreciate and enjoy it such as none
of us can have who have never been without it. Who among us can enjoy
a friend, like the man who has languished for years without one? Who can
feel the ecstasy of holding her new-born babe, as she who has languished
for years without one? Who can value his liberty, like the man who has
languished in prison? Adoniram Judson spent twenty-one months of suffering
in a miserable prison, and afterwards could look back upon the ordeal
without regret, for the capacity it gave him to enjoy his liberty. As
his wife relates it, One evening several persons at our house were repeating
anecdotes of what different men in different ages had regarded as the
highest type of sensuous enjoyment; that is, enjoyment derived from outward
circumstances. `Pooh!' said Mr. Judson; `these men were not qualified
to judge. I know of a much higher pleasure than that. What do you think
of floating down the Irrawaddy, on a cool, moonlight night, with your
wife by your side, and your baby in your arms, free
----all free? But you
cannot understand it either; it needs a twenty-one months' qualification;
and I can never regret my twenty-one months of misery, when I recall that
one delicious thrill. I think I have had a better appreciation of what
heaven may be ever since.
And Henry F. Lyte writes in the familiar hymn,
Life with trials hard may press me:
Heaven will give me sweeter rest.
For it is a plain fact that some of what the Lord has promised will never
come to us in this life at all. We have an inheritance incorruptible,
and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, but it is reserved in heaven
for us. We read, therefore, concerning some, (Hebrews 11:13),These all
died in faith, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES
----not in this life,
that is. This is the way of faith, always. It patiently endures the present
denials and afflictions, and trusts God for the better thing in the
future, whether in this life, or the life to come. Ye have heard,
says James, of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord,
that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (James 5:11). The
Lord may indeed delay to give us the desires of our hearts ----and more,
he may take them from us after we have them ----but faith yet rests in
the Lord, knowing that the end is not yet, and that the end will show
the Lord to be very pitiful and of tender mercy. The eye of faith is always
upon the end of the Lord, and it is no small part of faith to know
that the end will be sweeter, the blessing more enjoyable, the happiness
greater, the better thing more appreciated, the joy fuller, precisely
because of the present delays and denials and sufferings.
In this we see clearly also the great difference between the ways of God
and the ways of the devil. God saves the best wine till last. He denies
and deprives us now, in order to make our pleasure the sweeter in the
end. The devil does just the reverse. He offers the desires of our hearts
free for the taking, gives the pleasures first, and the bitterness at
the end. God preaches present self-denial. The devil preaches present
self-indulgence. As William Cowper says, in one of the most beautiful
hymns ever penned on faith,
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Yes, and sweeter still the fruit. But the devil gives the sweet flower
at the first, and the bitter fruit at the end. Thus the devil deceives
the human race, as he did Eve at the beginning, by freely giving the good
which God withholds
----and lying about the bitter end which is to follow.
And herein is the wickedness of unbelief. It is not a mere intellectual
mistake, but a giving of confidence and allegiance to the devil and his
ways, instead of to the God who has earned that confidence and allegiance.
So did Eve in the garden, and so does the human race today. But faith
holds fast to God in spite of all of his delays and denials, its eye always
fixed upon the end of the Lord, fully persuaded of the blessing yet
to come, and persuaded also that the coming blessing will be so much the
greater and sweeter for the present denial.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -------
The Crowned Elders
by Glenn Conjurske
One of the strongest proofs of the pretribulation rapture of the church
is found in the crowned elders in heaven in the fourth and fifth chapters
of Revelation, immediately following the things which are in chapters
2 and 3. These elders are made to say, according to the King James Version,
Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof, for
thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every
kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and hast made us unto our
God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth. (Rev. 5:9-10).
Post-tribulationists, of course, have directed their strong batteries
against these verses, perceiving how fatal they are to the post-tribulational
system. Their most able advocate, Alexander Reese, quotes the verses as
above, and then says,
Certainly these words seem conclusive that here we have the redeemed.
All this, however, is changed now. Both the R.V. and Amer. R.V., and every
independent translation that has since appeared, have radically altered
the reading and translation. The R.V. bids us read the song of the elders
They sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to
open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and didst purchase unto God
with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation,
and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign
upon the earth.
Thus I am forced at the outset to take up the question of the Greek text.
I sincerely wish I could spare my readers this, but I cannot. The question
is too important to be left alone, unless we are to be left to bow blindfolded
before a few textual critics, who themselves have bowed blindfolded before
a few ancient manuscripts. I take up the question willingly, therefore,
and hope to lay it to rest
----for the matter is easily enough settled,
where prejudice does not reign. I shall do my best to make the subject
both intelligible and interesting to my English reader.
I make one preliminary observation before entering upon the subject. The
first thing which strikes us in this quotation from the R.V. is the incompetence
of these translators before whose ipse dixit we are asked to bow. They
mistranslate the Greek aorist by a simple past (according to the infatuation
which reigned then, and still does), and follow a Greek text which has
----and which involves them in the doctrinal falsity of
the saints reigning before the judgement of the world.
But to the subject. Let me state at the outset that we are not dealing
with one textual variation in this heavenly song, but three. Yet in each
of them the evidence is so preponderating on one side as to leave no reason
to doubt where the truth lies. The three variations are:
1.Some omit us in the phrase redeemed us to God.
2.Some read, made them kings and priests, opposed by others which
read made us kings and priests.
3.Some read, we shall reign, opposed by others which read they shall
reign (and some, they reign, the present tense differing from the
future by the omission of the single letter s in the Greek).
Now, as said, in all of these three variants the textual evidence is preponderating
on one side. Adhering to that proponderating evidence, we shall have this
as the true text:
Thou was slain, and hast redemed US to God by thy blood out of every
kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and hast made THEM unto our
God kings and priests, and THEY shall reign on the earth. And not only
is this the text which is best supported, but it is the actual text of
the great majority of the manuscripts (and versions) in existence. And
observe, the text as it thus stands provides an ample and obvious reason
for the existence of the other readings. The text is difficult as it stands
very difficult. Thou hast redeemed US..., and made THEM... invites
change. The abrupt change from the first person (us) to the third
person (them) almost cries aloud for alteration. That alteration has
actually been made in many manuscripts ----but (naturally enough) it has
been made in two different ways. Some have obviated the difficulty by
dropping hJma'" (us) in verse 9 (thus reading as the R.V.). Others
have disposed of the difficulty by changing aujtouV" (them) to
hJma'" (us), and changing the person of the verb from third to
first, in verse 10, (thus reading as the King James Version). And yet
redeemed us..., and made them..., and they shall reign remains the
actual reading of the majority of manuscripts and versions on the earth,
comparatively few scribes having yielded to the temptation to alter it.
We shall look at the actual evidence for the text shortly, but first this:
The rough and difficult construction caused by the abrupt change from
the first to the third person is not unexampled in Scripture. Another
example of exactly the same thing occurs in Zech. 12:10, where we read,
They shall look unto ME whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for
HIM. Moreover (and what is of extreme interest to our inquiry) the Hebrew
text there has suffered from the same sort of correction as has the Greek
text in Rev. 5:9-10. C. H. H. Wright says of this, The reading yla,
`unto me,' is that of all the old versions and of the great majority of
the MSS., and must be regarded as the original. The reading `unto him'
wyla is doubtless a correction, as de Rossi has abundantly shown, and
a most natural one, too, on account of the following wylu.
But to the evidence, for which I rely on Hoskier. For omitting us
in verse 9 we have one manuscript and one version. Hoskier gives the evidence
for the omission thus:
----hJma'" A (perd. inter duas columnas) et aeth [contra rell.
And that is all the evidence there is. Interpreted for my English reader,
Codex A (Alexandrinus) and the Æthiopic version alone omit us
in verse 9, contra rell. omn.
----that is, against all the rest
of the witnesses in the world. Codex A, of course, is not to be despised.
It is one of the old uncial manuscripts to which the critics attach so
much importance. For that we will not fault them, but the fact is, every
one of these old uncials stand so often entirely alone, against all the
other manuscripts in the world, (and of course, against each other), that
they simply cannot be regarded when they stand alone, or almost so. Burgon
well says on this point, I am thoroughly convinced that no reading can
be of real importance, ----I mean, has a chance of being true, ----which
is witnessed to exclusively by a very few copies, whether uncial or cursive.
How much less, then, a reading which is witnessed by one manuscript only,
as the omission of hJma'" is here.
But A is not the only old uncial which gives its testimony here. The celebrated
Codex Sinaiticus (a) speaks also
----and speaks for the insertion of hJma'" ----speaks,
that is, for the reading thou hast redeemed us. 'Tis strange that
the critics here desert a for A, (for they generally give the greater
weight to a). But perhaps not so strange ----for in this place a stands
with the great bulk of the cursive manuscripts, and with the Textus Receptus,
while A stands against them. May I venture an opinion? If (as is more
usual) A had stood with the common text, and a against it, the critics
would have followed a, as they usually do. But regardless of that, the
fact is, us in this verse has the support of almost every witness
in the world, ancient and modern, uncial and cursive, versions and manuscripts,
so that its absence from the various cirtical editions of the Greek New
Testament can prove only one thing, namely, the prevailing infatuation
which reigns in that field, and its determination to overturn the common
Greek text. But the critics notwithstanding, I regard the reading redeemed
us as established beyond question.
But on. The reading made them kings and priests, for made us,
&c., is not so overwhelmingly supported as the former. Nevertheless,
there are about four times as many manuscripts for them as there are
for us, with aAB at their head. The versions, too, are generally for
them. The support for they shall reign (rather than we shall
reign) is just the same, being generally the same manuscripts as support
them in the former clause. Though a substantial number of them read
reign for shall reign, they all read they.
So much for the external textual evidence. If we consider the internal
evidence, according to the canons of the critics, we shall come to the
same result. One of those canons is to take the reading which accounts
for the others. This so obviously applies here that nothing more need
be said of it
----except only to point out that the intermediate reading, hast redeemed
us..., and made us kings and priests, and they... &c., is not wholly
unknown, and apparently we have also one manuscript which reads redeemed
us..., and made them..., and we shall reign. Another canon prescribes
that we take the more difficult reading. This also applies here, and with
a witness. There could be no temptation for a scribe to alter a smooth
and easy reading into a rough and difficult one. On the other hand, there
was too much temptation in this verse to ease the harshness of a very
difficult construction. But here the critics have abandoned their own
canons, as well as their favorite a, probably under the more compelling
temptation to abandon the common Greek text.
To conclude: redeemed us in verse 9 is so overwhelmingly supported
by the manuscripts and versions as to leave no room to question its authenticity,
the critics to the contrary notwithstanding. Them and they in
verse 10 are not so overwhelmingly supported, but still the evidence is
so preponderant on their side that there is little reason to question
them. But whatever we read in verse 10, the incontestible presence of
us in verse 9 establishes it as a certainty that the crowned elders
are redeemed men.
But proceeding on the opposite assumption, Alexander Reese makes this
remarkable statement: They seem never to have known the experience of
conflict, sin, pardon and victory. To which I reply, If they have never
known conflict and victory, why are they then crowned? Reese labors to
make these elders angels. But where are angels ever called elders? They
are called angels about 200 times in the New Testament, but never once
elders. He cites principalities, powers, etc., which no one doubts
this is not elders. He refers to before his ancients gloriously
in Isaiah 24:23, identifying ancients and elders, but it is nothing
to the purpose, for his ancients there are his resurrected saints,
the same as the elders are here.
But further, we have a number of descriptions of angels in the Bible,
and we never read of one who is crowned. The one like a son of man in
14:14 is not an angel, but Christ himself, the same as in 1:13
held by nearly all expositors of all persuasions, including Matthew Henry,
Matthew Poole, John Gill, S. T. Bloomfield, Christopher Wordsworth, Henry
Alford, Joseph A. Seiss, Henry B. Swete, William Kelly, B. W. Newton,
William R. Newell, Philip Mauro, and Albertus Pieters. Seiss, I suppose,
expresses the opinion of all when he says on the passage, No one else
is here to be thought of but our blessed Lord Jesus.
We repeat our question, then, Why are these elders crowned? These crowns
are not those of the monarch (diavdhma, which is used only thrice in Scripture,
of Christ, and of antichrist and his confederates), but of the victor.
This is the stevfano", the crown of victory, which is held before
us in the New Testament as the reward to be given us in the day of Christ.
To whom is the victors' crown given, but to the victors, or overcomers?
they are the same word in the Greek). So we read,
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.
Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.
(I Cor. 9:25).
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he
shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them
that love him. (James 1:12).
And throughout the second and third chapters of Revelation (which without
question concern the church) we have repeated promises to the overcomers.
Among those promises we read, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will
give thee a crown of life. (Rev. 2:10). And the exhortation, Behold,
I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Step back, then, and survey this scene. Chapters two and three of Revelation
hold out numerous promises of future reward to the overcomers. In those
chapters we see them laboring in the midst of poverty, temptation, toils,
and persecutions. But suddenly the scene changes. John has given his testimony
concerningthe things which are, and he is called up to be shown the
things which shall be after these things. (Rev. 1:19 & 4:1, Greek).
He is rapt away to heaven, and who does he see there, but those same overcomers
redeemed from every kindred and tongue and people and nation ----WITH THE
VICTORS' CROWNS UPON THEIR HEADS! They have overcome, and have received
The question immediately presents itself, when did they receive those
crowns? To that question there can be but one answer: at the rapture of
the church, at the coming of Christ.
Paul says, For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure
is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have
kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me AT THAT DAY. (II
Peter says, And WHEN THE CHIEF SHEPHERD SHALL APPEAR, ye shall receive
a CROWN OF GLORY that fadeth not away. (I Pet. 5:4).
Christ says, And behold, I COME quickly, and my REWARD is WITH ME.
There are myriads of redeemed men in heaven now, but NOT ONE OF THEM HAS
RECEIVED HIS CROWN. Paul, in the passage just quoted, knew that he had
finished his course, and that the time of his departure was at hand. He
expected to depart immediately to be with Christ, BUT HE DID NOT EXPECT
TO BE CROWNED. His crown he expected to receive at that day
the resurrection, at the return of Christ.
Now then, the presence of redeemed men, singing the praises of their redeemer
in heaven, and in full possession of their promised crowns, is PROOF CONCLUSIVE
that CHRIST HAS COME. The rapture of the church has taken place already,
and that before one seal is opened of the tribulation judgements.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
D. L. Moody and Modernism
by Glenn Conjurske
That D. L. Moody was ever anything but a Fundamentalist in his doctrine
none would dare affirm. But he was soft and careless in some of his associations.
He never had any sympathy with modernism, but he associated with modernists,
and in so doing left a horribly bad example to the church. His example
does not seem to have been followed by his Fundamentalist associates,
but it was followed by his sons, Will being soft towards modernists as
his father was, and Paul being tinged with modernism himself. The Fundamentalist
movement, of course, did not yet exist in Moody's day, and if we had been
dependent upon Moody for it, it never would have existed. C. H. Spurgeon,
the prototype of Fundamentalists, took his noble stand against modernism
in 1887, four years before his own death, and twelve years before Moody's,
but the movement did not develop until some years later, and Moody continued
his own association with modernists until his end.
I suppose that personal friendship with certain modernists was the greatest
factor in Moody's continued association with them. Many of those friendships
no doubt began before the modernism of those friends was so plainly visible,
but it continued in spite of their undisguised modernism. Fundamentalists,
who hold to the faith once delivered to the saints, are not likely
to change much in doctrine, but modernists, having no objective standards
of truth, are always drifting from bad to worse. Henry Drummond, one of
Moody's closest friends and co-workers from the time of his first British
campaign, has this to say of the theological method of modernism:
What faculty do I employ, then, in apprehending spiritual truth? What
is the primary faculty of the new Evangelism if it is not the Reason?
Leaving philosophical distinctions aside again, I think it is the IMAGINATION.
Overlook the awkwardness of this mere word, and ask yourself if this is
not the organ of your mind which gives you a vision of truth. The subject-matter
of the new Evangelism must be largely the words of Christ, the circle
of ideas of Christ in their harmony, and especially in their perspective.
Sit down for a moment and hear Him speak. Take almost any of His words.
To what faculty do they appeal? Almost without exception to the Imagination.
It is possible that Drummond was not much of a modernist when Moody first
took hold of him, but he certainly became one. Moody no doubt laid hold
of him because of his personality, and his influence with young men, and
was not careful about his doctrine. A close friendship developed, and
after that, let Drummond's imagination take him where it would, Moody
held on to him, over the remonstrance of the Fundamentalists. No one
will ever know, says George Adam Smith (another modernist) how much
Mr. Moody had to bear, even from those who worked with him, of reproach
and abuse for his loyalty to Christians who differed from certain of his
views; yet some of that injustice has already come before the public.
He was bitterly blamed for the way he stuck to Drummond and for the invitations
he gave to Drummond in 1893 to speak at Northfield. Now, this loyalty
came not merely from his loving heart. It was the large, fair mind which
prevailed over what he might well have felt was due to at least the earnest
and good-tempered among the opponents of Drummond's teaching. He had never
allowed the accent and proportion of Drummond's message, although so different
from his own, to blind him to its essential Christianity. `I have never,'
he said at the time when Drummond was most hotly attacked, `heard anything
or read anything by Drummond with which I did not heartily agree
I wish he would oftener speak of the Atonement.' It may not be known that,
after the expostulations reached him against having Drummond at Northfield,
he nevertheless invited his former lieutenant to join him in the evangelistic
campaign which he conducted in Chicago during the time of the Exposition.
Drummond would not go. `It was the first time he failed me,' said Moody.
But Drummond's reason was his unwillingness to expose Moody to further
attacks on his account.
It may be that his friendship for Drummond actually did blind Moody to
the essential un-Christianity of Drummond's theology. After all, it would
be hard enough to find direct denials of the fundamentals of the faith
in Drummond's utterances, but neither can we find any affirmations of
them. Moody wished he would speak more of the atonement, but what is the
atonement to the modernist's evolution of character? It is not the denial
of the fundamentals of the faith which characterized the utterances of
the early modernists, but the absence of them. Their failure to deny,
what they nevertheless did not believe, was studied and deliberate. This
has always been the way of modernism, and Drummond knew this serpentine
wisdom as well as the rest of them. In an address to a Glasgow theological
society on The New Evangelism (not intended for publication, as the
publishers note tells us, and printed only after Drummond's death), he
says, A caution may be necessary. ... We can speak of these things broadly
to one another here, but we cannot with too much delicacy insinuate them
upon the Church. This is always the way of certain men crept in unawares.
It was with good reason that the Fundamentalists opposed Moody's use of
men like Drummond, and had it not been a man of Moody's stature who was
at fault in the matter, their opposition would probably have been much
stronger. But they saw so much of undeniable good in Moody that they probably
gave him too much of the benefit of the doubt on this point. James H.
----one of the staunchest stalwarts of Fundamentalism who ever
breathed ----wrote in November of 1893, The evangelistic meetings, conducted
by Mr. Moody during the whole period of the World's Fair have resulted
in incalculable good. Hundreds of thousands have heard the pure gospel,
not the poor stuff so often in these days substituted for the gospel,
but the genuine, old fashioned doctrines of an inerrant Bible, a divine
Redeemer, His atoning death upon the cross, regeneration by the Holy Ghost,
salvation by grace, separation from the world, and the hope of the Lord's
return. Mr. Moody has not asked any one to assist him, who is in the least
tainted with the heresies now alas! so common; and those whose confidence
in him may have been shaken by his past connection with Prof. Drummond,
may well restore their trust and love for his unflinching fidelity in
preaching the truth, and for his unswerving loyalty to our Lord Jesus
Alas, what could Brookes have said if he had known that Moody actually
had invited Drummond to assist him in this very campaign! And six years
later he was still doing the same. Moody's modernistic son Paul relates,
That spring , he was, as I have said, again in New Haven, on which
occasion he met George Adam Smith and invited him to Northfield, much
to the annoyance of some of his friends, who bothered more about orthodoxy
than he did. To make matters worse from their standpoint he asked at the
same time S. Parkes Cadman, whose fame was growing and who was entering
upon that signally useful ministry which ended only a year ago. A great
deal of comment was made on this move of my father's, but it influenced
him not one whit.
This is that George Adam Smith who was one of the editors of the infamous
Polychrome Hebrew Bible,
----and Moody can hardly have been ignorant of
this, for if he had overlooked it himself, surely some of his Fundamentalist
associates would have pointed it out to him. Though Smith's portion (Deuteronomy)
was not yet published at this date, his name had been published as the
editor of it for years, nor could he have gained a place in the editorship
of such a work without a thorough previous reputation as a thorough advocate
of higher criticism.
George Adam Smith himself relates the circumstances of this invitation:
It was after he [Moody] had himself heard a representative [Smith] of
the modern methods lecture on `The Hope Immortality in the Old Testament'
subject which could not be discussed without some exposition of the new
views ----that he gave him an invitation to Northfield to speak, not, of
course, upon criticism, but upon religious topics. `But,' it was urged,
`I fear my views of the Bible are not in harmony with those taught at
Northfield.' `Never mind,' said Moody, `come and say what you like' ----and
this in spite of the fact that Moody had declared the platform at Northfield
to be as follows: The central idea of the Northfield Conference is Christian
unity, and the invitation is to all denominations and to all wings of
denominations; but it is understood that along with the idea of Christian
unity goes the Bible as it stands.
That Moody had no sympathy with modernism the modernists themselves bear
witness. George Adam Smith wrote, While at Northfield last summer I
had several conversations with Mr. Moody on Old Testament criticism. He
was frankly hostile. And James H. Brookes (in 1897) cites the following
from Moody himself, published in the New York Independent: I have said
that ministers of the Gospel who are cutting up the Bible in this way,
denying Moses today and Isaiah tomorrow, and Daniel the next day, and
Jonah the next, are doing the devil's work: and I stand by what I have
said. I do not say they are devils; I do not say they are bad men; they
may be good men, but that makes the results of their work all the worse.
Do they think they will recommend the Bible to the finite and fallen reason
of men by taking the supernatural out of it? They are doing just the opposite
to that. They are emptying the churches and driving the young men of this
generation into infidelity. Yet such men Moody chose to assist him in
But there is yet something on the positive side. Frances E. Willard worked
with Moody in 1877, and says, Everything went on smoothly until a Woman's
Christian Temperance Union Convention was announced at Malden, and I was
asked to speak there with Mrs. Livermore, then president of Massachusetts
Woman's Christian Temperance Union. I agreed to go, and was again taken
to task by Brother Moody, but this time on another ground. He held with
earnestness that I ought not to appear on the same platform with one who
denied the divinity of Christ. In this he was so earnest and so cogent,
by reason of his deep convictions and his unrivaled knowledge of proof-passages,
that I deferred to his judgment, partly from conviction and partly from
a desire to keep the peace and go on with my good friend in his work;
for I deem it one of the choicest seals of my calling that Dwight L. Moody
should have invited me to cast in my little lot with his great one as
But Miss Willard shortly afterwards changed her mind on the subject, and
dissolved her connections with Moody. Of this she says, My friends were
grieved again, and many told me what many more told others, that I had
once more made `the mistake of a life-time.' For myself I only knew that,
liberal as he was toward me in all other things, tolerant of my ways and
manners, generous in his views upon the woman question, devotedly conscientious
and true, Brother Moody's Scripture interpretations concerning religious
toleration were too literal for me; the jacket was too straight [sic]
could not wear it.
Now all of this may seem a little strange after seeing how determined
Moody was to use modernists like Drummond and Smith. But it will be observed
that the issue was a little different. Drummond and Smith denied the divinity
of the Scriptures, while what Moody objected to was working with one who
denied the divinity of Christ. There is really little practical difference,
and a man or movement which denies (or redefines
----for this is the way
of modernism) the divine inspiration of the Scriptures cannot long hold
any true doctrine of the divinity of Christ. The fact is, it is very probable
that the new modernists with whom Moody worked were no more sound on the
divinity of Christ than were the old Unitarians whom he rejected. But
modernists are smooth and suave, and do not usually deal in direct denials,
but with delicate insinuations. But whatever Moody was, he was not a deep
thinker, and he likely did not see this ----though he should have, and
probably would have, had he not been blinded by the ties of personal friendship.
J. Wilbur Chapman says, D. L. Moody was heard to say again and again
that he loved Henry Drummond.
But we must conclude. That D. L. Moody was a good and great man none need
question. But an old English proverb says, Great men's faults are never
small. Moody was a great man, but in his association with modernists
he had a great fault.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -------
by James H. Brookes (1830-1897)
Our Lord Jesus Christ distinctly teaches that the seed is the Word
of God, Luke viii.ll. So essential is this Word from first to last,
that, without it, no spiritual life can be produced or nourished. It is
said of all believers at all times, Being born again, not of corruptible
seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth
for ever. It is said to all believers at all times, Desire the sincere
milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby, I Pet. i.23; ii.2. But it
is most important to see to it that the word is sincere, that is, without
deceit, without guile, unadulterated, and that it is genuine, pure,
incapable of decay, or, in other words, that it is not mingled with
man's worthless opinions. We are not as many, writes the apostle Paul,
which corrupt the word of God, or adulterate it as hucksters do
wine for gain, 2 Cor. ii.17.
The Holy Ghost is very particular in warning His people against the dangers
of sowing mingled seed. Thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed:
neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee,
Lev. xix.19. Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds; lest
the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard,
be defiled. Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together, Deut.
The spirit of these precepts is disregarded in the most open manner, and
by those of whom better things were expected. As a mere illustration of
sowing mingled seed, look at Dr. Lorimer's new book, The People's Bible
History. He has the reputation of being an evangelical preacher, defending
the inspiration of God's Word, and loving the old fashioned gospel, and
yet he has associated with him in the production of this book Dr. Farrar,
an infidel, Dr. Capen, a Universalist, Dr. Edward Everett Hale, a Unitarian,
besides other objectionable writers.
Could he not have obtained as his assistants men sound in the faith? Did
he not see that he was giving a quasi endorsement to anything these heretics
have written? How can he with the least consistency say one word against
Dr. Farrar's assaults upon the Bible, or the fatal errors of the Universalists,
or the equally fatal errors of the Unitarians, when he has allied himself
with these men in the preparation of a Bible history?
The other day there was received a book, written no doubt, by a sincere
Christian young lady, and containing her musings and reflections in a
sick chamber. The title page of the book had a verse from Shelley, an
avowed atheist, a shameless adulterer, a man who drove his wife to suicide,
and who dragged his paramour's young sister to become the victim of Byron's
lust; while the body of the book was filled with quotations from Dr. Farrar,
Prof. Dods, Prof. Drummond, and other men who do not know the first principles
of the Gospel.
The same serious fault is often seen in evangelical newspapers. The editor
will quote from George Eliot, for example, without a word of protest against
her shameless character and conduct. They may claim that she has expressed
herself prettily. But surely not more prettily than has been done by Mr.
Ingersoll; and yet the former was as notorious an infidel as the latter,
and not half so smart. The fact is, there is nothing in these quotations
that may not be found expressed just as well in writings that have been
put forth by men and women loyal to the truth.
Those who sow mingled seed, truth mixed with falsehood, little know the
harm they are doing. They are putting the sanction of their approval upon
men, who do not teach according to the Word, and commending their testimony.
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrines of Christ,
hath not God. If we have the appearance of Charity, where the truth
is not, we have given up Christ, and so have given up God. It is in fact
denying our Lord, and saying that what is false is as good as what is
----The Truth, edited by James H. Brookes, vol. XXIII, 1897, pp. 76-77.
Chats from my Library
By Glenn Conjurske
James H. Brookes
James H. Brookes (1830-1897) was a Presbyterian pastor in the city of
St. Louis. Unknown and unsung as he is, I regard him as the doctrinal
father of American Fundamentalism. He was one of the most vocal opponents
of modernism and modernists during his time
----a time when many were tolerant
of modernism, and many others drifting into it themselves. He was a dispensationalist,
a staunch premillennialist, and just as staunch a pretribulationalist ----at
a time when the largest portion of the church was postmillennial. He was
the foremost leader of the Bible conference movement in the last decades
of the nineteenth century. His influence was not all good, for he held
to a doctrine of salvation by faith only which was really antinomian.
He was the spiritual mentor of C. I. Scofield in the early days of Scofield's
Christian life. All of the above-mentioned doctrines Brookes impressed
upon Scofield, and Scofield spread them broadcast through the church by
means of his Reference Bible, and his Bible Correspondence Course. The
emphasis on prayer and evangelism, which also characterized the early
Fundamentalism, came from D. L. Moody, through R. A. Torrey, for Moody's
greatest strength lay in a sphere where Brookes was weak. Brookes greatest
strength lay where Moody was weakest, in his stand against modernism.
Fortunately for the early Fundamentalism, the influence of both of these
men contributed much to shape the movement. But in after years, the Moody-Torrey
type largely gave way before the Brookes-Scofield type. The advent of
John R. Rice, however, largely changed that, for he did a great deal to
revive the Moody-Torrey type of Fundamentalism. Yet in the doctrine of
the terms of salvation, Rice held strongly to the tenets of Brookes and
Scofield, though the doctrines of Moody and Torrey were sounder.
But to return to Brookes. His books are not all of the same value
some of them, indeed, have but little value, except as history. On salvation
there are two, Life Through the Living One, a small book of 112 pages,
and The Way Made Plain, which has 490 pages and a good index. These books
set forth those doctrines of salvation commonly called easy-believism.
Their statements and arguments are identical to those which may be found
in Lewis Sperry Chafer's Systematic Theology. Brookes was Scofield's mentor,
and Scofield was Chafer's.
On prophecy and dispensationalism there are three. First, a small book
on the coming of Christ, entitled Till He Come (American Edition),
or I Am Coming (English Edition). A larger book (554 pages, with indexes)
on the same subject is entitled Maranatha. This contains nine chapters,
comprising the central portion of the book, entitled No Millennium till
Christ Comes, and in these he rises above himself, and waxes eloquent.
Israel and the Church is a small book which contains some of the real
marrow of dispensationalism, in setting forth the difference between Israel
and the church.
In defense of the faith against the onslaughts of modernism, Brookes wrote
Is the Bible Inspired?, Did Jesus Rise?, and several very small books
in defense of the Bible, which were all bound together as The Bible Under
A couple of miscellaneous titles are Mystery of Suffering, which deals
in a sane manner with the fact of human suffering, and May Christians
Dance? I suppose the latter is a pamphlet, and is very scarce. I have
never seen it. There is no doubt, however, that Brookes's answer to the
title question is negative.
From 1875 till his death in 1897 he edited a monthly magazine called simply
The Truth. The earliest volumes of this contain little depth, but we perceive
an obvious advance in the editor when we turn to the later volumes. Like
all periodicals, these are scarce, and I consider myself fortunate to
possess about two thirds of the bound volumes, some of them incomplete.
All of these I have gotten from Kregel's, over a period of twenty-five
There is no biography of Brookes, and what little is known of him must
be gleaned from the pages of The Truth, especially the issue which appeared
just after his death.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -----
The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved
by Glenn Conjurske
When John wrote his gospel, he designed that his readers should know
who he was, for, knowing that, they would know that his testimony was
true. He clearly identified himself as the writer, saying, for example,
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these
things, and we know that his testimony is true. Yet he never identified
himself by name. He only refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus
loved, and he thus identifies himself five times in his gospel.
We have two things to inquire concerning this expression, the disciple
whom Jesus loved. First, what exactly does it mean? and secondly, how
is it that John could use such an expression to personally identify himself?
As to its meaning, there can be no doubt that it refers to a peculiar
and special love, which Jesus had for John only, and for none of the other
disciples. If it does not mean that, it means nothing at all. Note, it
is not the disciple who loved Jesus, but the disciple whom Jesus
loved. Neither is it a disciple whom Jesus loved, but the disciple
whom Jesus loved. Of course, he loved all of the disciples, yet John
was peculiarly the disciple whom Jesus loved. This was a designation
which could be used of John only. If it be thought that the term expresses
only the general love which Christ had for all the disciples, the expression
is really meaningless, and certainly useless as an identification of the
author of the book. This would be like saying, the morning on which
the sun rose
----when in fact the sun rises every morning. Or, the
lake which has the fish in it ----when in fact all the lakes have fish
in them. If the expression means nothing except, the disciple whom Jesus
loved, as he loved all the disciples, then it could not be used to identify
one particular disciple, any more than the lake which has the fish in
it could be used to identify any particular lake.
But we must next ask, how was it that John could use this expression to
identify himself? If I say, the drawer which has my blue-handled scissors
in it, people might open the drawers and see which one contained them.
If I said, the book which contains the genealogy of my grandmother,
folks might open the books to discover which book contains it. But if
I say, the disciple whom Jesus loved, no man is able to open the heart
of Christ and examine it, to see which disciple had that peculiar place
there. For this phrase to be of any purpose for the identification of
the writer of the gospel, it was not enough that that peculiar love for
John should dwell in the heart of Christ, but there must also be some
outward, visible manifestation of it. And in fact there was such a visible
manifestation of it. He had the place of intimacy with the Lord Jesus
which none of the other disciples had, but which they could not fail to
observe. We see it in the fact that John was leaning on Jesus bosom
in John 13:23, which is the first place where he designates himself as
the one whom Jesus loved. John was Jesus' best friend, and the other disciples
could not fail to be aware of this. When John therefore designated himself
as the disciple whom Jesus loved, all who were familiar with the facts
would immediately say, That is John, for the peculiar love which Jesus
had for John could not fail to manifest itself in a special treatment
of him. Love and a cough cannot be hid, as an old proverb says, and
though this proverb speaks of romantic love, the same is true, though
not so obviously so, of other loves as well. Certainly when two people
are best friends, other people know it. John was Jesus' best friend
one disciple whom he loved above all the others, and his special treatment
of John made this obvious to them all.
Thus J. C. Ryle, on John 13:23: Let it be noted that the general special
love with which our Lord loved all His disciples, did not prevent His
having a particular love for one individual. Why he specially loved John
we are not told. Gifts certainly do not appear so much in John as grace.
But it is worth noticing that love seems more the characteristic of John
than of any disciple, and that in this he showed more of the mind of Christ.
It is quite clear that special friendship for one individual is consistent
with love for all.
Matthew Henry on the same verse: Of all the disciples John was most
fit to ask, because he was the favourite, and sat next his Master....Observe,
(1.) The particular kindness which Jesus had for him; he was known by
this periphrasis, that he was the disciple whom Jesus loved. He loved
them all (v. 1), but John was particularly dear to him.
John Gill on the same verse: Christ, as the son of God, and surety of
his people, loved his true disciples, as he does all his elect, alike;
not one more than the other; but as man, he had a particular affection
for this disciple, and therefore admitted him near his person, and was
very familiar with him. On Gill's comments I must make a few remarks.
First, I do not believe it is proper to make the distinction which he
makes between Christ's divinity and his humanity. He is ONE PERSON, both
God and man, and says of himself, And no man hath ascended up to heaven,
but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man WHICH IS IN HEAVEN.
(John 3:13). The Son of MAN is surely human, and was at that moment
standing upon the earth, and yet could truly say that he was in heaven,
for he is ONE PERSON, both God and man. He does not have two separate
wills, or two separate sets of emotions, the one belonging to his deity,
and the other to his humanity. He is one person, and all that he feels
and does proceeds from that one indissoluble personality. If he gives
to John a special love and a special place, it is as God and man that
he does so. But I must affirm further that Gill's assertion that God loves
all his people alike is pure assumption, with nothing that I know of in
the Bible to support it, and I do not believe it is true. Nevertheless,
Gill gives a clear testimony to the obvious fact that John received a
special place and special treatment from Christ.
Adam Clarke writes on the same verse, The person here mentioned was
John, the writer of this history, who being more tenderly loved by Christ
than the rest, had always that place at table which was nearest his Lord.
Philip Doddridge thus expands the verse: Now one of his disciples, namely
John, whom Jesus loved with a peculiar tenderness and honoured with the
most intimate friendship, sat next him at the table.
But there is really no need to pile up testimonies in favor of a fact
so obvious. But I have heard it taught that a leader in the church ought
not to have any personal friends, and I have even heard it called SIN!!
in a pastor if he shows a little more attention to one person than to
another. Such doctrine, of course, is neither more nor less than the wounded
pride of someone who feels slighted. Frankly, I have felt slighted sometimes
myself. My feelings have been hurt also. I have felt the risings of jealousy
also, to see the friendship which I craved given to another. But I have
never dreamed of calling this sin, for folks do not owe their friendship
to me. I have rather looked to God to make me worthy of the friendship
I desired, and to give it to me from his hand. There may indeed be some
sin in the matter, if one person is purposely slighted, and this is no
doubt sometimes done even for the purpose of hurting that person's feelings.
This is undoubtedly sinful, but to prefer the companionship and fellowship
of one person before another
----this is natural, and unavoidable, and
there is no sin in it. And to act spontaneously in accordance with those
natural feelings ----there is no sin in this. If this is sin, then the
Saviour was surely guilty of it. Some (like Calvin) insist that the distinction
in our love and our treatment of particular persons is to be based solely
upon spiritual considerations. I deny that, but it is immaterial. Whether
the special love and the special treatment which Christ gave to John was
based upon spiritual or natural considerations (or a combination of the
two) is really beside the point. The fact remains that he did give him
that special treatment.
But what of the hurt feelings, the hard feelings, the envious feelings,
which such favoritism and partiality are likely to beget in others?
As unfortunate as such things are, they are an inevitable part of the
normal hurts and disappointments of life, of which we must all bear our
share. But those feelings are sinful if they proceed anything beyond mere
hurt and disappointment, to envy or bitterness. What if sister Sue is
jealous because brother Peter is courting sister Jane instead of herself?
Should Peter therefore marry them both, and treat them exactly alike?
But mark, it is just as legitimate for Peter to have a friend as it is
for him to have a wife. Yet to have a friend at all means of necessity
to treat him differently than others are treated. This belongs to the
nature of friendship, and an old proverb very truly says, He that is
a friend to all is a friend to none. Jesus had friends, and he had a
best friend, and in the very nature of friendship he was partial to that
friend, and treated him differently than he treated others.
But though John had the chief place in the affections of the Lord, he
was not the only one to whom Jesus was partial. He had numerous disciples
throughout the land, but he did not give to them equal time or privileges.
At one point we are told, He called unto him his disciples, and of them
he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles. (Luke 6:13). This very
act of choosing, which he did in the presence of all his disciples who
were present, was likely to cause some hurt feelings and jealousy. How
might you have felt, if you had been there, and had not been chosen? Yet
the Lord did this nonetheless, for he wanted it clearly understood that
these twelve had a special place. To have chosen them in private would
not have answered his purpose so well.
But there is more. If this initial choosing was likely to cause some jealousy
or hurt feelings, how much more his whole subsequent course. For he
ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send
them forth to preach. (Mark 3:14). He did not divide himself equally
among his disciples, but gave almost all of his time to these twelve.
By many today this would be called favoritism and partiality,
and no doubt it was
----but it was right. To some others who sought to
be with him he refused the privilege, and gave it to these twelve
only. He that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might
be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not. (Mark 5:18-19).
It will be said that the Lord's actions in these matters were determined
by spiritual purposes, and this may be so, but it is really beside the
point. The sister who takes offense because the pastor shows more attention
to another sister than he does to herself will not be any better pleased
to be told it is because the other sister is more spiritual, or more useful
in the cause of Christ. It may have been entirely for spiritual reasons
that the Lord spent almost all of his time with these twelve, but this
does not change the fact that he did so spend his time.
But further, among this inner circle of the twelve there was a smaller
inner circle of three. It is hardly necessary to name them, for all who
are familiar with the life of Christ know very well who they were, as
surely as those who were familiar with his ways would have known that
the disciple whom Jesus loved was John. The means by which everyone
knows who belonged to the inner circle of three is the special treatment
which they received from the Lord Jesus. So we read in Matthew 17:1-2,
And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother,
and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured
before them. It was the Lord's choice to admit these three only to the
mount of transfiguration.
Again in the garden of his agony, Then cometh Jesus with them unto a
place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while
I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee,
and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. (Matt. 26:36-37).
When he went to raise the daughter of Jairus, he suffered no man to
follow him, save Peter, and James, and John. (Mark 5:37).
And inside this inner circle of the three, there was the one best friend
disciple whom Jesus loved.
Let those whose hearts are taken up with jealousy and hurt feelings over
such things begin to judge themselves, and cease to judge their brethren
or theirshepherds, for such things are right, and such judgement is wrong.
Shepherds need friendship as much as other human beings do, and the Chief
Shepherd has left them an example which they may safely follow. John
is not called the disciple who loved Jesus, but the disciple whom
Jesus loved. This love was open and apparent, and there was no wrong
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The River and the Sea
by Glenn Conjurske
It is very common in hymnals to find the grace of God likened to an ocean,
usually described as limitless, boundless, and so forth. But the language
and imagery of Scripture is quite otherwise. The Bible never likens the
grace of God to an ocean, but rather to a river, and there are good and
obvious reasons for this.
The river is the proper figure of the love and grace and blessing of God,
while the sea is not. Why so? Precisely because the grace of God is not
boundless, but flows in a channel with well-defined bounds. His grace
may be ever flowing, and ever increasing, but it is always bounded by
his holiness, and never will go beyond those bounds.
Moreover, the ocean has no single source, but is rather the great end
of a thousand different streams. In this respect also it is manifestly
unsuitable as a figure of the grace of God. Further, because it is a great
receptacle from a myriad of sources, it is a collection of impurity, and
for that reason it cannot be a proper figure of the grace of God. In the
Bible it is rather the figure of the Gentiles, the world, the corrupt
masses of humanity. The wicked are as the troubled sea, when it cannot
rest, whose waters cast up dirt and mire. (Is. 57:20). It is from the
sea that Daniel's four beasts arise, which represent the ungodly Gentile
powers. (Dan. 7:2).
In contrast to this, the real beauty of the true Biblical figure of the
grace of God is seen in the first verse of the last chapter of the Bible:
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding
out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Here is its single source,
in the throne of God and the Lamb, its crystal purity, and of course,
in the nature of the case, its bounds.
And mark, by insisting upon the fact that a river flows only within its
own bounds, we lose nothing of the sufficiency which poets seeks to ascribe
to the grace of God under the figure of an ocean. The sufficiency of grace
is not in question, for it is not bounded by any arbitrary decree of God,
but by the simple demands of holiness. God says, I will give unto him
that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely, (Rev. 21:7),and
Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely (22:17). The
water of life is both sufficient and free, yet never a single drop shall
flow to the wicked in torment, for the bounds of the river are righteousness
Ezekiel saw the healing waters as a river, flowing out from the house
of God, the same as in the Apocalypse (Ezekiel 47:1)
----at the distance
of a thousand cubits only to the ankles, but ever increasing, so that
at two thousand cubits they were to the knees, at another thousand to
the loins, and at another thousand a river to swim in, which he could
not pass over. There was no question of sufficiency. Yet the river had
a brink, or banks, which Ezekiel speaks of several times.
The contrast in the scriptural figures is plainly seen in Psalm 46:2-4,
where we read, We will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though
the mountains be carried into the depths of the sea: though the waters
thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling
thereof. Selah. There is a RIVER, the streams whereof shall make glad
the city of God. The sea is restless and raging, the emblem of the wicked,
full of wrath, and without peace. When John saw the new heaven and the
new earth, his only comment was, there was no more sea
RIVER shall flow on for ever, the fit emblem of the grace of him who is
the eternal lover and the eternal giver, the eternal source of all blessing.
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Index to Volume 2, 1993
Articles by the Editor
Adam Naming the Creatures............. 265
Bands and Cords (sermon)................. 73
Bible and the Teacher........................ 16
Books and the Bible (sermon).......... 206
Church and the World (sermon)........ 152
Church in the English Bible............. 241
Composite Character of KJV, Source of
its Excellence.............................. 85
Crowned Elders............................... 270
Doctrine of the Trinity in the
Book of Genesis......................... 250
Disciple Whom Jesus Loved............. 282
Eij" &Apanthsin............................... 53
Esau's Birthright............................... 25
Finney's Revival Work and Moral
First John 5:7.................................. 198
First John 5:7 in Luther's Bible........ 234
Historical Lineage of King James
Version (chart)............................ 84
Holiness, without which no man shall
see the Lord............................... 157
How John the Baptist
Learned to Preach.......................... 1
C. H. Spurgeon.......................... 161
Charles G. Finney...................... 110
Charles Wesley.......................... 122
Corn in Egypt............................ 176
Gipsy Smith............................... 214
Histories of the English Bible......... 3
James H. Brookes...................... 281
My Card File Boxes..................... 39
Two Fannys................................. 67
Three Converted Jews................ 262
Tyndale and Coverdale................ 80
Making Ourselves Poor (sermon)...... .97
Marrow of Dispensationalism........... 145
May Christians Go Into Debt?............ 34
Missing Tears................................. 186
Moody and Modernism.................... 275
Ordained to Eternal Life.................. 128
Origin of Pretribulationism.................. 8
Parable of Laborers in Vineyard....... 236
Praying in the Name of Christ.......... 253
Prove All Things (sermon)................. 41
Rapture of the Church and Judgement
of the Ungodly........................... 150
River and the Sea............................ 286
Sins of Jeroboam............................. 121
Speaking Graves............................. 179
Tears of Esau.................................... 49
Temple of God in the
Great Tribulation....................... 258
Truth or Consequences (sermon)...... 224
What Manner of Time........................ 28
Why Did Noah Build the Ark?
William Tyndale on Conditions of
World Rulers (sermon).................... 134
Articles by Others
Any One Sin Persisted in Fatal to the
Soul, by Charles. G. Finney......... 57
Blow at the Root,
by John Wesley.......................... 140
Book and the Soul,
by C. H. Mackintosh.................. 165
Care for God's Fruit Trees
by Harry Ironside....................... 118
Dealing with the Faults of Others
by R. C. Chapman........................ 82
Displeasing Children (poem)
by Charles Wesley................. 127
Horrible Decree (poem)
by Charles Wesley..................... 124
by James H. Brookes.................. 279
Old Evangelism and New
by R. A. Torrey......................... 175
Who Shall Be Caught Up
by James H. Brookes.................... 14
Extracts & Miscellaneous
Faithful Preaching of James Axley..... 72
Final Victory of the Will of Man
by R. C. Trench........................... 53
Great Duty of Heavenly Contemplation
by Richard Baxter...................... 216
Josephus' Testimony to Christ............ 83
Love Chapter, from Tyndale's
First New Testament.................. 191
Praying for Children, Spurgeon.......... 96
Rays from The Lanterne of Li3t........ 221
Old articles are reprinted without alteration (except for corrections
of printing errors), unless stated otherwise. The editor inserts articles
by other writers if they are judged profitable for scriptural instruction
or historical information, without endorsing everything in them. The editor's
own views are to be taken from his own writings.