Scripture Queries and Answers

1918 160 Q. — Will you kindly give some explanation of the title "The Everlasting Father" given to Christ in Isa. 9:6?

A. — I cannot think that Coverdale, followed as he is by our A.V., has been happy in giving us "The everlastinge Father" for the Hebrew Abbee Gad. Nor indeed does the better rendering of most by "Father of eternity" appear to fall in with the requirements of the context which clearly has Christ's earthly kingdom in view, and not eternity.

If we compare the most ancient versions, we find that the Greek Septuagint reads, according to the Alexandrian and Sinaitic MSS., pater tou mellontos aionos; and the Latin Vulgate "pater futuri saeculi," i.e., "father of the age to come." And this is what appears to me the meaning of the original words before us.

The child born, the son given is "The Mighty God." To His people of old He was the "Wonderful" (Judges 13:18 margin), their "Counsellor" (Judges 20:18; Job 12:13; Isa. 11:2; Isa. 28:29, etc.), and the "Mighty God." So also in "the future age," the millennial age of blessedness for this now sin-stricken earth, will He, the "Mighty God" be known as the "Father" of that age — to establish it, to preserve it, to care for it, to be all that a father is to His people, and "the Governor among the nations." "In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth (Ps. 72:7). For He is the "Prince of Peace."

1918 191 Q. — Could you, through "THE BIBLE TREASURY," please give an explanation of Rom. 8?

Some believe that we have here contrasted the sinner dead in sins, and the believer looked at positionally; while others submit that we have the working of the two natures in the believer, the latter view being that vers. 4-13 are chiefly practical.

Please explain the "death" in ver. 6, and the "die" in ver. 13. T.H.

A. — The opening verses of Romans 8 apply the reasoning of the chapters preceding (5 – 7), with its result that there is then now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. We are no longer in Adam who fell, but in Christ risen, so that condemnation is ruled out of place.

For my sins Christ died, and believing on God who raised Him from the dead, I am justified. I have been born again, have received a new life, new desires which I never had before, and these desires I seek to carry out. But I find I have still an evil nature within me and this "sin" that dwelleth in me being more powerful than my resolves to do "good" makes me cry, "O wretched man that I am: who shall deliver me from this body of death?"

Romans 6 teaches that as many of us as were baptised unto Christ Jesus were baptised unto His death. He died to sin once, and I, having been buried with Him by baptism unto death, am called to reckon myself to be dead unto sin, that I should walk in newness of life. "Sin," my old master, had its erst dominion over me, but faith accepts the truth of the chapter, that my death with Christ has released me from sin's jurisdiction, and the Lord Jesus is now my Master. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). The "sin" that dwelleth in me is not gone, but it has been condemned in the cross of Christ (8:3), and it shall not have dominion over me. The Christian's responsibility is "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that ye should obey its lusts," nor yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. Being freed from this tyrant, we own our allegiance to righteousness, and have become servants to God.

As I have died to "sin," so also have I become dead to the law by the body of Christ, having died to that in which we were held (7:4, 6). The law being "holy and just and good" demanded a righteousness from man which it was unable to obtain in that it was weak through the flesh (for I am carnal, sold under sin). I own its force, and power to condemn, and my powerlessness to meet its requirements. The law is in no way abrogated. It still has its place. "We know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully, knowing this, that the law is not made for (or has its application to) a righteous man, but for lawless and disobedient," etc. (1 Tim. 1). I own its authority, and pass away from under it by the body of Christ (having died to it) that I should belong to another, even to Christ, risen from the dead, in order that I might bring forth fruit to God.

There is the conflict of the two natures just because they are existent in the believer, and one has to learn experimentally that the possession of divine life — my being born again — does not annihilate or cast out the old sinful nature within me. We cannot say, "We have no sin." In the Lord Jesus only was there "no sin." For if, as only the renewed man can say, I delight in the law of God after the inward man, I, nevertheless, see another law, or evil principle, in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity. I want then a deliverer, and this I have through Christ our Lord. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."

Chap. 8. brings in the possession of a new power, the indwelling Spirit. The carnal mind (the mind of the flesh) is always enmity and can never be subject to the law of God. "So then they that are in the flesh, cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." The law's demands are more than fulfilled in us who walk not after flesh but after Spirit.

In contrast with the powerlessness of the man in Rom. 7, we have in Gal. 5 the competency of the Christian as led of the Spirit which now indwells. Hence the exhortation, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the* flesh does lust against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye may not [not, "cannot "] do the thing that ye would" (vers. 16-18).

The "mind of the flesh" is death (ver. 6), whether of the believer or the unbeliever, and so is "living according to flesh" (ver. 13). We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. Gal. 6:7-8 warns us not to be deceived. "God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his own flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." This applies to the believer's walk as to the unbeliever's. And we must beware of seeking to dull the force of these warnings. We are to follow "holiness without which no one shall see the Lord." This is practical holiness, which I am to pursue (Heb. 12:14).

1919 208 Q. 1. — 1 John 1:7 — One has said that "walking in the light" is true of all believers because this epistle is positional in its application and we must seek elsewhere for what is practical; and also that "fellowship one with another" is not at all conditional.

But does not the word "if" imply a possibility of a believer not "walking in the light," and that" fellowship" is conditional on our doing so.

Q. 2. — Is walking according to the light an indication of walking in the light? T.H.

A. 1. — It is strange that any one should fail to see that the Epistle is strikingly practical. For even in this opening chapter, the apostle shows that it is not what one may "say," but what is the walk of the one so saying? "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." If we are brought to God we are brought to Him who is "light." At one time we were darkness, but now are we light in the Lord, and hence our walk is to be as of" children of light." As a christian I am brought into that fellowship which is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. What communion hath light with darkness? If I say that I have fellowship with Him and am walking in the darkness out of which every christian is brought (1 Peter 2:9. 10), my speech and my walk are in contradiction, and I do not the truth. I am not a christian at all. On the other hand if my walk is in the light, I have fellowship with every other whose walk is therein, because of the precious blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, which avails alike for every believer. This light of God into which I am brought, makes manifest, not my sins, but the value of that blood which cleanseth from every kind of sin. As the same writer says, "To Him that loveth us, washed us from our sins in His own blood … be glory, etc." It is not a constant action going on in the believer, as many evangelicals would make it out, but what the blood of Jesus does — it "cleanses," and this not partially, but "from every sin." And this is done once for all when I have believed the "word of truth, the gospel of your salvation." For the sins of the believer we have the advocacy of Christ on high with Him Who ever remains our "Father" (for our relationship as children beloved of God can never be broken, though not so our communion), and here on earth "the washing of water by the word" in the power of the Spirit to our consciences.

From this it will be seen that "walking in the light" is true of all believers, and so my responsibility is to walk according to this light in which the grace of God has brought me, and the fellowship here is not approbational (Rom. 16:17; Phil. 3:17) or ecclesiastical (1 Cor. 5; 2 Tim. 2:19), but according to 1 John 5:1. The "If" is not conditional, but consequential, e.g., Col. 3, "If ye then be risen," as the apostle had just shown them was the fact, "seek those things, etc." If you are a christian, let it be seen that you are one.

A. 2. Because I am in the light, and there is my walk necessarily (for I cannot any longer pretend I am in darkness if a believer at all), let the walk be consistent with this fact. If I am in a dark room, I may kick against things and be excusable because I am in darkness, but if the light is there and not the darkness, there can be no excuse if I do not walk according to the light which shows what is there.

1919 224 Q. 1. — Is it true that where "wine" is mentioned in connection with our Lord (e.g. Luke 5:37-39; Luke 22; John 2) in no case does He use the word "wine" as we understand it to mean "fermented juice of the grape," but that, on the contrary, in every case a word in the original is used showing the Lord to mean unfermented pure juice of the grape?

Q. 2. — Is the word used by the apostle Paul in his advice to Timothy (1 Tim. 5:23) the same in the original Greek as that used in connection with the marriage feast, or the institution of the Lord's Supper?

A. 1. — No, it is not true. There is but one word (oinos) used throughout the N.T. for "wine" and this, whether here or in the classical writings of antiquity in the general sense of "the fermented juice of the grape."

There is another word occurring once only (Acts 2:13) translated "new wine," but in all other cases the word "wine" in our English N.T. is represented in the original by the one word (oinos).

This "wine" at the cross (Matt. 27:34 Mark 15:23), mingled with gall, seems to have been a kind of vinegar (Matt. 27:48; Mark 15:36; Luke 23:36; John 19:29-30), of a stupefying kind.

At the supper the word "wine" does not appear but is spoken of by our Lord as "the fruit of the vine"; and in 1 Cor. 11. we find abuse of it gave rise to drunkenness, which could scarcely have been if the Corinthians were using the unfermented fruit of the vine on the occasion! Compare Eph. 5:18.

A. 2. — The answer is, Yes, and the same word in every case except as already pointed out in the institution of the supper, where it is (not "barley," "palm," or "lotus" wine) but specifically "the fruit of the vine", which "wine" properly is (cf. Gen. 9:20-21).

I add here where the word "wine" (oinos) occurs in the N.T.: Matt. 9:17; Matt. 27:34; Mark 2:22; Mark 15:23; Luke 1:15; Luke 5:37-38; Luke 7:33 Luke 10:34; John 2:3, 9, 10; John 4:46; Rom. 14:21; Eph. 5:18; 1 Tim. 3:8; 1 Tim. 5:23; Titus 2:3; Rev. 6, Rev. 14, Rev. 16–19.