10. Smaller Details

We might say we have used the telescope in sweeping over the vast epochs of God's

operations. We have passed, in our thought, from the Garden of Eden into the Paradise of God; from earth to heaven; from time to eternity. All has been found to be the revelation of the perfect mind of God. Indeed, the apostle closes the brief, prophetic section of the epistle to the Romans (Rom. 9 — 11) with what should ever be the moral effect upon us of dispensational study — a grand doxology: "Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counselor? or who hath first given to Him and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen."

As in nature the wonders of God's workmanship are seen in their perfection in the infinitesimal world as well as in the immensity of the starry universe, so too is it in His word. We can for the time resign our telescopic sweep of the prophetic heavens, and take up the microscope of faith and reverent study, and gaze into the minute worlds of grace, love, and truth, suggested in the present part of our work.

(1) Word Study

It is not our desire in the compass of this little book to consider to any special degree the requirements of the advanced student. It is rather our purpose to begin with beginners, and go on with them to the extent of acquirement possible to the ordinarily diligent reader and student, leaving what is beyond this for special handbooks.*

{*It is hoped eventually to prepare books of this character, both for the Hebrew of the Old Testament and Greek of the New, for which materials are being collected.}

At the outset we must give a word of warning as to putting this kind of study out of its place. While it is true that "in all labor there is profit," well directed labor is more profitable — "rightly dividing the word of truth." We think, therefore, that the place in which we have put the present chapter will indicate its relation to other subjects which have gone before.

By "word study," we mean the gathering together of certain words used throughout Scripture. For instance, in the chapter on Topical or Doctrinal Study, we have seen how a doctrine can be traced from the first intimations in the Old Testament to the full display in the New. Word study is an application of this thought in one of its branches.

We take up, for instance, the word "blood" in connection with sacrifice, suggesting at once our Lord's atoning sacrifice. With the aid of a concordance we find the first mention of the word in Exodus 12. Passing down the long list, we make a selection from the various references in the Pentateuch of a typical character, on to the frequent mention made of it in the Epistles, until we reach, in Revelation, the last mention of that blessed word. Let us resume our little note-book entries, and see what we can glean from the study of this word:
1. Ex. 12:7: "They shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses."
2. Ex. 12:13: "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you." The first mention of "blood" in connection with sacrifice and atonement.
3. The last mention of "blood" is Rev. 12:11. "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb." Two great monuments at the beginning and ending, of the doctrine of the blood which stands out so prominently throughout the word of God. The one tells of shelter from judgment; the other, of the power which overcomes the world.
4. The blood was sprinkled about the altar. Lev. 1:5.
5. The blood was put upon the horns of the altar of incense. Lev. 4:7.
6. Upon the horns of the altar of burnt-offering. Lev., 4:25.
7. Upon the mercy-seat. Lev. 16:14.

These passages all teach the same precious truth of atonement by substitution and shedding of blood. "Without shedding of blood is no remission." The place where the blood is put seems to suggest, in some cases, the measure of apprehension of its effects. Thus, in the case of a priest, it was put upon the altar of incense; but in the case of a ruler, upon the altar of burnt-offering. When, however, God would show the perfect acceptance of His people and His thought of the blood, it was put, as in the day of atonement, upon the very Throne of God itself.
8. John 19:34: "Forthwith came there out blood and water."
9. Acts 20:28: "The Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood."
10. Rom. 3:25: "A propitiation through faith in His blood." The propitiation is through faith, and is in or by His blood.
11. Rom. 5:9: "Justified by His blood."
12. Eph. 1:7: "Redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins."
13. Heb. 9:22: "Without shedding of blood is no remission."
14.Heb. 10:29: "The blood of the covenant."
15. Heb. 13:20: "The blood of the covenant."
16. 1 Peter 1:19: "Redeemed with the precious blood of Christ."
17. Rev. 1:5: "Washed us from our sins in His own blood." 1 John 1:7: "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."

No. 8 gives us the fact of the shedding of our Lord's own blood connected with the giving up of His life. This is evidently the use that is intended all through the New Testament when the blood of Christ is spoken of. It means His atoning death in fulfilment of all the types of the sacrifices, where the shedding of blood is constantly mentioned.

Nos. 9, 12 and 16 speak of the blood as the redemption price which was paid for the Church and for every believer, to deliver us from the guilt, as well as the power of sin.

Nos. 10 and 11 give us the ground of the believer's justification. He has access into the presence of God on the ground of the blood. See also Heb. 10:19 and Eph. 2:13. The work of our Lord thus furnishes a solid resting place and a perfect title to enter the presence of God.

No. 17 serves as a connection between the great truth of the value of the blood as the ground of forgiveness and the purifying effect of the Spirit's work. In both these scriptures, cleansing is by the blood. This must be, first of all, through forgiveness and putting away of sin; but God's work is never one-sided, and one part of it always includes the other; so that the precious fact of cleansing (being washed completely from the guilt, and, resulting from that, from the defilement of sin) is suggested in these two precious verses.

Nos. 14 and 15 show that the new covenant for Israel — the blessings of which are ministered to us also — has been sealed and rests upon the blood. Under the old covenant, the blood of goats and calves was used to sprinkle the people and the book; but it was not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. These only pointed to Christ. The old covenant, the law, which was thus sealed by the blood of animals, could make nothing perfect, and has waxen old (Heb. 8:13). The new covenant rests upon better promises, and these are made sure by that blood which is the seal of the everlasting covenant which never will be abrogated, because nothing can ever alter the value of the precious blood of Christ.

No. 13 we may put as a seal upon the whole, reminding us that in no way could our eternal blessing be secured, apart from the shedding of blood.

Similarly, the word "lamb" could be studied with profit. Without multiplying illustrations which would anticipate to a certain extent the work which we desire to suggest, we give a partial list of words which can be profitably studied in this way. The words are thrown together without any direct connection with each other.

Words in both OLD and NEW TESTAMENTS.
Believe — faith. Suffering — suffer.
Sin. Law.
Pray — prayer. Sanctuary — Holiest.
Forgive — forgiveness. Priest — priesthood.
Peace. King.
Wrath. Prophet.
Comfort. Obey — obedience.
Hope. Ungodly.
Love. World.
Joy — rejoice. Save — salvation.
Light. Redemption — Redeemer.
Truth. Mercy.
Creation — new creation. Heart. Sacrifice. Grace. Promise.

Words in NEW TESTAMENT only.
Adoption — sonship. Reconciliation.
Holy — saint. Righteousness — righteous.
Justify. New — newness.
Crucify — crucified. Raise — raised — risen.
Life. Eternal.
Death. Consider.
Glory. Come — coming.
Whosoever. All.
Bless — blessing. Repent — repentance.
Tempt — temptation. Works.
Kingdom of heaven. Kingdom of God.

But we need not multiply words. Abundance has been given from which the student can make judicious selections and prosecute a line of study which is both fascinating and profitable. Particularly is this the case when we apply the knowledge previously gained.

There are several advantages and several dangers connected with this kind of study which we will point out. Among the advantages, may be mentioned:
1st. An increasing knowledge of Scripture-truth, and an illustration of the unity of that truth underlying the entire word of God.
2nd. A variety of treatments of the same subject in different portions of the Scriptures.
3rd. The development of the faculty of selection and grouping.
4th. A directness and conciseness of statement helpful in analysis.
5th. A useful help in the topical or doctrinal study previously described.

Some of the dangers to be avoided are
1st. Too slavish a following of mere verbal resemblances, and a mechanical similarity not justified by the actual or original meaning. Thus, the word for "world" translates two different Greek words with quite distinct meanings. We read in an ordinary concordance as follows:
Matt. 13:22: "The care of this world."
Matt. 13:38: The field is the world."
Matt. 13:40: "In the end of this world."
2 Cor. 4:4: "The god of this world."
Gal. 1:4: "This present evil world."

If these words were taken as having identical meaning, we certainly would miss the thought in some of the passages. For instance, Matt. 13:38, "The field is the world" means the material world as inhabited by men. Matt. 13:40, "The end of the world" is really "the end of the age" — the dispensation or period which is to be closed at the appearing of the Lord.

Gal. 1:4, "This present evil world" is really "age," meaning the course of men away from God during the present time, and since the fall. If we did not distinguish these two words, our study would be misleading or at least confused.

Very many cases of a similar character could be given. We would say in general that the remedy for blunders of this kind is to have one of the concordances referred to in our list of Helpful Books. Here the meaning of the original will be a safeguard from many errors into which we would otherwise naturally fall.

2nd. Giving the identical meaning to the same word used by different writers. Inspiration has not destroyed individuality, though it makes use of it. We will find, therefore, that with certain writers there are words of frequent recurrence with a specific meaning, which perhaps in another writer has quite a different one.

Thus, the very word "world" used in many cases, as in Matthew, Mark and Luke, for the material world, without definite, moral distinction, in the Gospel of John seems to have a moral character answering considerably to the word aion or "age."
John 7:7: "The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth."
John 12:31: "Now is the judgment of this world."
John 14:17: "Whom the world cannot receive."
John 14:30: "The prince of this world."

Other uses of this word in John would give us its ordinary meaning, but these have evidently a moral character which should be noted in any grouping of our word studies.

The word "righteousness" has quite a different meaning, according to the subject spoken of.
Rom. 1:17: "The righteousness of God."
Rom. 9:30: "The righteousness which is of faith."
1 Cor. 1:30: "Christ … is made unto us … righteousness."
Gal. 5:5: "We wait for the hope of righteousness by faith."

Here, righteousness is imputed and is therefore not a personal attribute, but a standing which every believer has in Christ.

On the other hand:
1 John 2:29: "Every one that doeth righteousness."
1 Peter 2:24: "Being dead to sins should live unto righteousness,"
and many other passages, even in Paul's writings, speak of the practical life and personal character of the believer. The one, as can readily be seen, flows from the other but to confound them would blur the precious truth of justification by faith, and reduce to an unrecognizable mass what in Scripture is clear as noonday.

3d. Ignoring the great lines of demarcation indicated in the study of dispensational truth and the characteristic epoch of each writer.
Isa. 63:16: "Doubtless Thou art our Father."
Isa. 64:8: "O Lord, Thou art our Father."
Ps. 68:5: "A Father of the fatherless."
John 20:17: "I ascend unto My Father and your Father."
Rom. 8:15: "The Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
Col. 1:12: "Giving thanks unto the Father."

It would be a great mistake to apply to the Old Testament passages the same meaning as to those in the New. These latter show that new and blessed relationship which has been formed by the Holy Spirit, while for Israel they were a nation of sons; that is, in the place of outward nearness to God, but this must not be confounded with the present standing of believers.

This will suffice to put our readers on their guard. Many most profitable outlines for private use, Sunday-school work, or gospel and other addresses can be had in this way. We reserve the discussion of the book indispensable to the use of this line of study until we come to the entire subject of "Helps."

One general direction may be given in these word studies. Many words are of so frequent use that were we to attempt to include them all, the very abundance of the material would confuse any clearness of thought. A very good way is to copy down from our concordance those passages which strike us as furnishing added features to the general subject. We may have as many, we will say, as twelve references. These now can be classified and grouped together, forming perhaps four or five main divisions.

Let us illustrate with the word "Peace." We select from our concordance the following list of texts:
Job 22:21: "Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace."
Ps. 37:37: "The end of that man is peace."
Isa. 26:3: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee."
Isa. 48:18: "Then had thy peace been as a river."
Isa. 48:22: "There is no peace, saith the Lord unto the wicked."
Isa. 53:5: "The chastisement of our peace was upon Him."
Jer. 6:14: "Peace, peace, when there is no peace."
Luke 2:14: On earth peace, good will toward men."
John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you."
Rom. 3:17: "The way of peace have they not known."
Rom. 5:1: "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God."
Eph. 2:14: "He is our peace."
Eph. 2:17: "Came and preached peace to you which were afar off."
Col. 1:20: "Having made peace through the blood of His cross.

In a subject like this, we could easily multiply these references from the concordance, each of which strikes us as supplying some fresh thought as to peace.

We next seek to group them, giving them somewhat in their moral order.

The importance of the whole subject would be suggested by the passage in Job (Job 22:21), which would serve as an introduction.
1. As to the wicked:
a) No peace — Isa. 48:22.
b) False peace — Jer. 6:14.
c) Ignorance of true peace — Rom. 3:17.
2. The foundation of peace:
a) Peace made — Col. 1:20.
b) Peace provided — Isa. 53:5.
c) Peace preached — Luke 2:14; Eph. 2:17.
3. Peace possessed:
a) By faith — Rom. 5:1.
b) Christ Himself our Peace — Eph. 2:14.
4. Peace enjoyed:
a) Kept in Peace — Isa. 26:3.
b) Like a river — Isa. 48:18.
c) Christ's peace given to us — John 14; 27.*
5. Peace at the end. Ps. 37:37.

{*It will be noticed that we have peace spoken of in two ways here. "Peace I leave with you" seems to refer to what the Lord has accomplished by the sacrifice of Himself which is our portion. "My peace I give unto you" is the enjoyment of that which filled His own heart.}

Another interesting use of word studies is the gathering of the characteristic words found in a certain book. For instance, the phrase "These are the generations" occurs in the book of Genesis ten times, and gives us a certain characteristic of that book.
"As the Lord commanded Moses" occurs in Exodus with suggestive frequency.
"Holy" and kindred words give a key to the contents of Leviticus.
The book of Psalms has many characteristic words — "Selah," "according to Thy word," "enemies," "wait."
Proverbs invites a selection of many such words: "surety," "suretyship," "wisdom," "lying," "wicked," "slothful," "pride," "heart," "tongue," "feet," "lips," "eyes."
Similarly, Ecclesiastes: "vanity," "vexation," "under the sun."
Song of Solomon: "beloved," "spikenard," "spices," "charge."

Similarly, each of the Prophets doubtless will be found to have certain characteristic words which are prominent.

Coming to the New Testament, we find the same individuality in the different books.
The Kingdom of heaven" is the main phrase in Matthew.
"Immediately," "straightway," in Mark.
"Son of man," in Luke.
"Sent," "world," "Father," "abide," in John.
"Spirit" and kindred words in the book of Acts.
"Just," "justify," "righteous," "faith," "death," "dead," etc., in Romans.

And each of the epistles will be found to have certain words which are used with greater frequency according to their length than any other portion of the book.

For the purposes of comparison, a concordance of each separate book would have a value peculiarly its own. The writer has compiled a few concordances of this kind of the shorter epistles.

It is significant, for instance, that in Galatians the words "love," "holy," "holiness," are largely absent, while in Ephesians they are prominent. The reason is not far to seek. The law produces neither love nor holiness, and those who are occupied with it need not be surprised at its absence.

John's writings have verbal characteristics of their own in contrast to Paul's. Thus, where the latter speaks of "righteousness," John would speak of "life;" and "justification" in the one is paralleled by "new birth" in the other. "Child," or ' children," suggesting birth, is John's favorite expression, while "son," suggesting position, is Paul's. These words give the characteristic themes of the two writers, and furnish fresh evidence of the marvelous exactness and divine wisdom of the Spirit of God in the inspiration of Scripture.

As we go on with our word studies, our conviction of the verbal inspiration of the word of God will be deepened. We have but touched upon a vast field of research. Truly here, as in every department of the examination of this wonderful book, we can say: "There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed." Oh, for more courage, simplicity and diligence on the part of every individual child of God to enter into this good land and large, and possess himself of some of the treasures which lie upon its very surface its rugged hills inviting us to dig for iron and brass, and its apparently desolate wastes furnishing the occasion for fresh manna to be gathered!

2. Names, Their Use and Significance

The great frequency of names is apparent to the ordinary reader of Scripture. The Bible is a veritable biographical dictionary, historical thesaurus, and a geographical gazeteer. Names of persons and places abound everywhere. This in itself would show us that we cannot ignore their presence. A casual examination of Scripture, however, will show that many names, at least, have been given for specific reasons. Thus, the first names, Adam and Eve, Cain, Abel, Seth, have an evidently appropriate significance.
Adam is "made of the earth," as the word would suggest.
Eve, "living," was "the mother of all living."
Cain, "acquisition," speaks of the fond hope, so rudely disappointed, that he was the "gotten one," the promised woman's Seed.
Abel speaks of the "frailty" and brevity of his life.
Seth, "appointed," of the one appointed to fill his place.
Noah, "comfort," answers to his name.

When names have been changed, the reason has been given, a reason based upon their significance.

Thus, Abram, "great father," is changed to Abraham, "father of a multitude" — the change, as has been noted, effected by the addition of a single letter in the Hebrew, "he," the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; number five speaking, as we know, of God with man. How truly does God with man change the lonely individual into the father of a multitude.

It is noteworthy that Sarai's name is changed at the same time by the addition of the same letter, exemplifying the same great truth.
Isaac, "laughter," recalls the laughter of both his parents in view of his birth, and suggests that joy which the coming of the true Son brings.
Jacob, "heel-catcher," was rightly so named, as his poor "hairy" brother Esau declared; while Israel, "a prince of God," is a new name with special significance given to him.

So we might go on speaking of Judah and the other sons of Jacob; of Moses and his two sons; of Joshua, "Jehovah-Saviour," and the "wholehearted" Caleb; of Achan, "the troubler;" of Samuel, "asked of God;" of David, "the beloved;" and Solomon, "the peaceable."

Evidently, Scripture itself gives us abundant justification of our contention that the significance of the names in the Bible is not merely of etymological interest, but furnishes at once a key to its fuller interpretation.

Similarly, places and localities are suggestively named: Egypt, Mizraim, "double smallness" or "narrowness," suggesting the well known geographical characteristics of that country with but a fertile strip on either side its river Nile, and also indicating that this world is but a narrow place, hemmed in by the unknown desert of the past and the future, with a little strip of brightness in the present.
Babel, Babylon, speak of the "confusion" begun and perpetuated there.
Beersheba, "well of the oath;" Shechem, "shoulder;" Shalem, "peace;" Jerusalem, "possession of peace;" all have the meaning of their names either given or suggested in Scripture; sometimes indeed the reason for a name is given.
Zoar, "a little one," so called by Lot.
Beth-el, "house of God," because God there appeared to Jacob.
Mahanaim, "two camps," because there the Lord's host as well as Jacob's is seen.

But it is ever the manner of the word of God not only to give us instruction and explanations, but rather to furnish us with the key which will enable us to prosecute further our studies in the direction marked out by it. This is one of the proofs of the divine inspiration of the word of God, one of the marks of the love and care of Him who would at once satisfy, while He awakens the hunger for knowledge in His people.

We find, therefore, that our Lord in interpreting parables, gives sample explanations, and leaves the key with us to investigate further. "Know ye not this parable; how then will ye know all parables?"

The familiar use of Melchisedec in Hebrews 7 authorizes us to believe that names throughout the entire word of God can be similarly examined in a reverent spirit.

Melchisedec means, as we are told, "king of righteousness," and this is what characterizes him who is the type of our Lord who is both King and Priest and whose personal characteristic is righteousness — righteousness the girdle of His loins, and every claim of divine righteousness having been met by His perfect sacrifice of Himself. Thus, He is fully Melchisedec, "King of righteousness," "Priest of the most high God." He is also "King of Salem," suggesting not only Jerusalem, the literal city, but of "peace," which is "the work of righteousness." Thus as "King of peace," we see Him unchanging and ministering the fruits of His own work in righteousness.

Furthermore, the order is emphasized. He is first "King of righteousness;" after that, "King of peace." There can be no true reign or any peace until every demand of righteousness has first been met. This, as we have said, gives us a clue with which we can penetrate into the apparently meaningless array of words in genealogical catalogues or intricate lists of the cities, boundaries, etc., of the land. (See Joshua 15 — 21.)

"But," it will be asked, "do you mean that every name of every person in the Bible has a significance?" There can be but one answer to this. It certainly has a literal meaning which a careful study of the derivation of the word will supply, and what has been said will justify us in expressing the belief that every word has a spiritual significance which will require only care, faith, patience and diligence to ascertain.

We would say here, as has been remarked in other connections, that undue prominence must not be given to this department of Bible study. We shrink from the crude attempts at explanations of intricate or obscure passages given by those who are not well grounded in divine truth. Such efforts both cramp the one who attempts them and bring into reproach a very delightful, refreshing and important department of Bible knowledge. Let all things be kept in their proper place and proportion. We must not surfeit either ourselves or others with a mass of questionable matter, gleaned from partial study.

We might add just here, deferring to another place the full mention of it, that the whole subject of etymology, or significance of names, in the Hebrew, and especially in the Greek, is yet in its infant stage. The subject has been so long neglected, worked by so few, that the results, while so satisfactory in a large number of cases, are in many others uncertain.

Ere closing this, we might make an attempt to follow the leading of Scripture and see whether well ascertained meanings of names give any further clue to the interpretation of a passage.

Noah means, as we have seen, "rest" or "comfort." His father Lamech gave it in faith that the divine comfort would be given through him, a hope well founded. In Gen. 8:4, the ark rested, literally "Noahed," upon the mountains of Ararat. In the 21st verse of the same chapter, "the Lord smelled a sweet savor," literally "a savor of rest," or Noah. In each case, the root is the same, and shows how truly God answered the faith, seen in his name, by bestowing rest in the midst of a scene of desolation — declaring that the sacrifice was the basis of it.

Phinehas, "a mouth of brass" is singularly appropriate to him who was so unyieldingly faithful to God, and by his relentless judgment of sin secured an abiding priesthood for himself and family.

Eleazar, the son of Aaron, "my God is help," was the successor of his father — an evident type of Christ in resurrection — as Aaron the priest dies, Eleazar is clothed with his garments. This same name, clothed in the Greek of the New Testament, "Lazarus," is associated with the resurrection of the brother of Martha and Mary, as well as hinted at in the case of that beggar who was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom, for whom, therefore, opened a new life of blessedness.

These are but suggestions which can be abundantly multiplied, and we shall find with increasing knowledge of these details, we are being furnished with a network of truth which shows us how the word of God is a seamless robe woven from the top throughout, in which not a single thread is useless or disconnected from its place.

3. Numbers and Their Significance

We are already prepared to believe that if names have a special meaning, so also must numbers, and indeed everything else in God's precious word. We will therefore without any preamble see what Scripture has to say upon this subject; and here at the very threshold of our Bibles, we have a most manifest numerical order in the six days of creation followed by the seventh day of rest.

We have gone somewhat fully into this subject in another book, to which we must refer the reader.* The result of our investigation there gives us the following conclusion:

{*Handbook on the Pentateuch.}
One is the number of origin, creation, sufficiency, and so on. It is the fitting number of God and of the Father.
Two speaks of help and deliverance from evil. It is the number appropriate to the Son, the Saviour and Deliverer.
Three speaks of manifestation and of Him, the Holy Spirit, who is the unfolder of truth. "God is light" (that which manifests), and it is significant that light is composed of a threefold ray. "Three" also suggests resurrection,which is so closely connected with the manifestation of God and His power; also of the sanctuary where His presence is manifested.
Four is the earth number — of trial, weakness, and failure.
Five is the creation with another coming into it, and suggests in addition to other features, the incarnation of One who embraces in His own blessed person, God and man. It is also the number suggesting responsibility.
Six is the number of man's day, the limit of human labor and activity, and therefore of evil so constantly carried on in man's energy. It thus suggests divine restraint and victory over evil.
Seven is the rest number. It speaks of completeness, leaving nothing to be added or desired in that sense. It therefore completes the perfect series.
Eight, being a fresh beginning, is therefore the number of the new creation.
Nine is a multiple of three; it is its square, we may say an intensified three.
Ten is a double five, suggesting the two-fold measure of man's responsibility as seen in the two tables of the law, the obedience demanded Godward and manward.
Eleven seems to be one short of twelve.
Twelve is the great governmental, administrative number — the twelve tribes, twelve apostles, twelve gates, etc. It is the number of Israel's unity as seen in the twelve stones set up in Jordan, and the other twelve brought up and set up in a pillar on its banks the twelve stones in the altar of Elijah; the twelve loaves of showbread, etc.

Other numbers seem to be multiples, as "fourteen" is a double seven, as though manifesting the completeness suggested by that number. Thus, our Lord's genealogy in Matthew is divided into three sets (the number of full manifestation) of fourteen generations each, in which man is completely manifested and all is laid bare. It is only in the fulness of time that God thus sent forth His Son.

"Twenty," "forty" and other multiples of ten give us the characteristic of responsibility suggested by the ten in combination with the other number. Thus, "forty" speaks of full testing under responsibility; "eighty," the limit of human life — four score, responsibility doubled, tested, and the end," Yet is their strength labor and sorrow, for it is soon cut off and we fly away."

Numbers may be seen in various relations to each other, as the first four rules of Arithmetic show us. They may be added together, subtracted, multiplied or divided. We have illustrations of each of these uses of numbers, and no doubt a spiritual significance is attached to the process in each case. Joseph means "addition." At his birth, his mother said: "God shall add to me another son."

The early chapters of the book of Numbers show how the tribes were enumerated and added together in various camps. Addition suggests strength. "Two is better than one." Spiritually, it suggests the help afforded by increase. All growth is addition. The Lord "added" to the Church daily such as were being saved.

Just here we may guard against the too literal use of the concordance in such a connection as this. The familiar passage in 2nd Peter, "Add to your faith, virtue," etc. , is not really addition, but, if we may speak arithmetically, multiplication. It is, "Have in your faith, virtue"; that is, let your faith be characterized by courage; your courage by knowledge; your knowledge by self-control, etc.

Subtraction, the taking away, suggests in the same way a lessening and weakening. "If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life." The value of a piece of land was calculated by the number of years to the year of Jubilee. Thus, its full value was estimated on a fifty year basis. Every year nearer to the Jubilee subtracted so much from the value of the land.

Multiplication, as its name suggests, speaks of growth in a fuller way indeed than addition, which is simply an increase in one direction, whereas in multiplication each figure is laid hold of and increased as many times as indicated by the multiplier. For instance, "seven" is formed by the addition of four and three. Twelve is the multiplication of the same numbers. In "seven" we have that completeness which includes heaven and earth — we might say reverently, God and His creation; while in "twelve," the number prominent in the foundations and gates of the heavenly city, we have "four," the number of earth, of human weakness laid hold of and increased according to divine power.

Division is the opposite of multiplication, its very name suggesting separation. We know, alas, something of this in an evil sense, and yet even here there is a good side. God has divided the inheritance amongst His people; the word for "the rivers of water" in Ps. 1:3 is a derivative of the root, "to divide." Refreshment flows in where there is a cleaving asunder of what would hinder its entrance. Thus the very word of God which is "quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow," but opens the way for the stream of refreshing to enter into the inmost parts of the being.

Fractions are division in another form. They express the relation of two numbers to each other, indicating a division. They also speak of a proportionate part of a given whole. Thus, a shekel is twenty gerahs (Ex. 30:13), half of which was to be given by every man as a ransom for his soul. This gives us the familiar "ten," suggesting that redemption is commensurate with full responsibility Godward and manward. The atonement price, the blood of our blessed Lord, is a full satisfaction to God for man.

The ordinary measure was the ephah, one-tenth of which was an omer, the food of one man (Ex. 16:16, 36). In the meal-offering, the measure of fine flour which accompanied the burnt-offering was in proportion to the size and importance of the animal offered. Thus, for a lamb, one-tenth deal, that is one omer was given; for a ram, two-tenths, or one-fifth; while for a bullock, three-tenths, "three measures of fine flour," which speak of the fulness of Christ.

The fractions, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, we find in connection with the drink-offerings in Numbers 28 and 29. These too were in proportion to the size of the offering, as was the meal-offering. "One-fourth," the smallest number, may suggest a comparatively feeble measure the earth estimate of Christ; "one-third" intimates a fulness when once completed; while the "half" reminds us of the other half, or, as the Queen of Sheba said of the glories of Solomon, the half had not been told her; so we have never yet grasped the half of the glories and blessedness of our Lord.

This is a mere hint as to the wide field open for us in the study of numbers in Scripture. As has already been seen, when applied to the structure of the books in their groups or the subdivisions of individual ones, the numbers have a marked function in indicating the contents of the special portion to which they are attached.

4. Reference Work

It is to be regretted that most references of our ordinary Bibles are merely parallel passages, or so remotely connected with the subject that they fail to elucidate the text in a sufficiently helpful way. This, however, should not discourage us from making use of Bible references. Probably, as has already been suggested, each reader can make his own set of references,which will be doubly valuable; but it is well in reading the Old Testament to refer to the references to the New; and particularly in the New, to look up the passages which are there quoted. A number of Bibles in their "helps" give a list of the quotations of the Old Testament in the New, and these could easily be entered or indicated by marking them. It necessarily consumes a good deal of time to turn to references, and therefore we must not slavishly do this, but if we accustom ourselves to look up a few in our daily reading, we shall soon acquire a facility in this direction.

5. Memorizing the list of Bible Books.

It may be almost out of place to speak of memorizing the books of the Old and New Testaments in the order in which we find them in our Bibles. They should be so familiar to us that we should have no more difficulty in turning to one of the minor Prophets, Esther, the epistle of Jude, etc., than to any of the rest. It is also desirable to have a general idea of the length of all the various books as indicating, not exactly their importance, but the space which they occupy. Thus, the number of chapters in Haggai or Obadiah, Amos or Micah, will supply us with little pointers as to the place they occupy.

Most of these details should be taught the children at their homes. Many a happy season can be spent with them thus, and our own memories be refreshed as we hear them recite the list of the Bible books with perhaps the number of chapters in each, or engage in a competitive test in finding and reading a half-dozen references.

Speaking of the children, tender memories will arise of how we have sought to make the Bible a familiar and revered book to which they could turn, even for relaxation as well as instruction. The description of some familiar scene without mentioning names; the formation of anagrams such as "God is light" by asking the names of various Bible characters. In this way, Scripture or Bible books at least become familiar to the young, and God can use these things later on.

This by no means exhausts the various details and lines of Bible study which could be included under this general head. We would reiterate that God's precious word stands open for our minutest, most painstaking examination. "In all labor there is profit," and "Much increase is by the tillage of the poor;" so that we need not, because of our lack of education, want of time, habit of mind, or whatever it may be, hesitate to enter into such blessed work. The reward is great. Only let us seek to direct our activities into channels which will yield the surest and quickest results.

As in our food the diet for children, the delicate or the aged, is largely confined to simple and easily assimilated articles, leaving other things, however palatable and useful in their places, to those of stronger digestion, so it is in the spiritual realm. Thank God there is abundance of milk and honey in the land, and we can eat our bread without scarceness under the eye of our God which rests in love continually upon it.