Scripture Notes.

I.

Luke 9:50; Luke 11:23.

An examination of these scriptures will show at once that not only is there no contradiction between them, but also that they are in perfect harmony. In the first case John had told the Lord that when they saw a man casting out devils in His name, they had forbidden him, because, as he said, "he followeth not with us." The answer was, "Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us." That is, in the Lord's conflict with Satan every one, though not taking the ground of being His disciple, who was working with the same end in view (for the man in question was casting out demons in the Lord's name) was really on the Lord's side. He might be defective as to confession and walk, but as long as he was not against the Lord in His warfare with the power of the enemy, he was really for Him. An illustration may be drawn from the attitude of Paul, when in prison, towards those who, from different motives, were preaching the gospel. (Phil. 1.) In every way, the apostle said, Christ was preached, and hence he rejoiced. In like manner John and the disciples should have rejoiced when they saw this man casting out demons in the name of Christ, for though in a wrong place, he was really doing Christ's work, and was thus, whatever his own state, "for Christ." The second case is very different. Here the enemies of Christ charge Him with casting out devils through Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. The Lord convicted His adversaries of their wickedness, and warned them of the consequences of their attitude; and then it was that He said, "He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." When it was a question - and this was the question raised - between Christ and Satan, no neutrality could be permitted. To stand aloof then was to side with the enemy; and not to gather, not to gather positively to Him, was to scatter. So now, whenever Satan appears on the scene in opposition to Christ, whatever the way in which he may show himself, if there be not an open confession of Christ, if any even remain silent, the work of the enemy is done, and such are against Christ, because they are not with Him. Take one example from Scripture. When Moses confronted the golden calf in the camp of Israel, and cried, "Who is on the Lord's side?" all who did not respond to his challenge, even though they had not fallen into idolatry, were against Jehovah. (Compare Judges 5:23.) E. D.

II.

Hebrews 9:11, 12.

Attention to the context, as all confess, is necessary in order to determine the exact force and significance of many scriptures. This is especially the case with the one before us; and we cannot but think, in view of recent discussions, that had this been remembered much confusion and error of statement would have been avoided. In many quarters, in former as well as in later controversies, it has been assumed that this scripture states that Christ "entered" by His own blood into the heavenly sanctuary; and thereon the question has been raised, Did He make propitiation in heaven? or did He present His blood there before God? It is needful therefore to ascertain whether this assumption is correct. Let the reader carefully note the language employed: "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle . . . neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once into the holy place," etc. The point is whether the words "by His own blood" are connected with "being come" in verse 11, or with "entered," in verse 12. A careful examination shows, in our judgment, that "being come," and not "entered," governs the words "by His own blood." Another, referring to the phrase, says, "dia [that is, "by"] here is, I doubt not at all, characteristic of His coming. He came in that way, His coming being in the power of and characterized by these things; not the place through or the means by which," that is, the greater and more perfect tabernacle is not the place through which, nor His blood the means by which, He came, but His coming, according to the quotation made, was characterized by these things. This interpretation is entirely supported by another scripture: "This is He that cane by water and blood." (1 John 5:6.) And the addition the apostle makes goes far to explain it; for he proceeds, "Not by water only, but by water and blood" - the "by" in this case being another preposition signifying oftentimes "in the power of." The truth then is, and this is the important point, that Christ came as having to do with the heavenly sanctuary and with His own blood; and keeping this in mind, it will be at once perceived that the passage cannot be used in any way to support the theory of propitiation after death. On the other hand, the teaching of the whole epistle is entirely opposed to any such thought. Again and again everything is made to depend upon the offering up of Himself (Heb. 7:27), the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once (Heb. 10:10), one offering (Heb. 10:14), etc., expressions which relate, and are confined to, what was done on the cross, and which teach unmistakably that it was there the work of atonement was for ever completed. In every age Satan has assailed the cross of Christ, not only by open antagonism, but also by the subtle pretext of explaining more fully the work of Christ. It behoves us therefore to be watchful, and to maintain the simple teaching of the word of God, that it was on the cross alone the work of atonement was wrought out; for it was there that God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, and it was there that Christ suffered for sin, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God, as well as there that His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree. It is only a consequence of these remarks to add, that the translation, "He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption," must be insisted upon and maintained.

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Nothing but knowing the place Christ had in the world will enable me to overcome the world in my heart. There is no possibility of getting on with God, unless the world is given up, and the heart is satisfied with Christ. Christ must be everything.

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Until I have learned that Christ is everything, and that I am nothing, I never know my true place, whether in the world or in the assembly.