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    June 26, 1884

    2 Samuel 6:1-12” The Signs of the Times, 10, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    NOTES ON THE INTERNATIONAL LESSON.
    JULY 13 - 2 Samuel 6:1-12.

    “Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.” Verse 1. The sixth chapter records two great victories gained by the army of David,-one over the Jebusites, and one over the Philistines. Now he once more assembles the chief of his men, but for another purpose. The ark of God was to be brought to the capital of the kingdom.SITI June 26, 1884, page 390.1

    In order to understand this chapter, it is necessary to go back in the history of the Jews about a hundred years. In the fourth chapter of first Samuel we have the account of a great battle between the Israelites and the Philistines, in which the Israelites were conquered, and the ark, on which they had depended for safety, was captured. At that time God showed the people that the mere possession of the tables of the law would afford them no protection when they were trampling upon the law itself; that to have the thing from which God was accustomed to manifest himself, was a vain thing unless he himself was enshrined in their hearts.SITI June 26, 1884, page 390.2

    From this overthrow the Israelites did not recover for many years. The possession of the ark, however, proved disastrous to the Philistines, as we learn from 1 Samuel 5 and 6. God showed them that the things pertaining to his worship must not be handled irreverently. They were glad to purchase rest from the afflictions which he sent upon them, by returning the ark. When it arrived at Beth-shemesh, the man of that place were smitten, because they presumed to look into the sacred chest, and they sent to the citizens of Kirjath -jearim, requesting them to come and get it. Here it remained until the time of the present lesson. The reader will notice, by the margin of 2 Samuel 6:2, that “Baale of Judah,” from which David sent to bring the ark, is but another name for Kirjath-jearim.SITI June 26, 1884, page 390.3

    “To bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.” Verse 2. The margin of this verse gives the more literal rendering, and the one that makes sense: “To bring up the ark of God, at which the name, even the name of the Lord of hosts, was called upon.” “That dwelleth between the cherubim.” In Exodus 25:10-22, we have a full description of this ark, and the object for which it was used; there we find the statement that God would commune with the people from between the cherubim that were upon the mercy-seat-the cover of the ark.SITI June 26, 1884, page 390.4

    “And they set the ark of God upon a new cart.” Verse 3. This was contrary to the instructions given by the Lord. How the ark was to be borne by the staves (see Exodus 25:12-14); the sons of Kohath were appointed to carry it and the other holy vessels, but even they were not to touch or look upon any of them. See Numbers 4:4-15. In no case was the ark to be placed upon a wagon. Numbers 7:7-9.SITI June 26, 1884, page 390.5

    “And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.” Verse 5. As Dr. Clarke says, this place should be corrected from the parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 13:8. There it is said that they played with all their might, on harps, etc., and that makes good sense. The Hebrew letters of the two passages are nearly identical, which doubtless accounts for the difference. The Septuagint has in this place the reading as in 1 Chronicles 13:8, with might.SITI June 26, 1884, page 390.6

    “And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.” Verses 6, 7. In this we have and other illustration of how God, regards his work and worship. It may seem to some that Uzzah’s punishment was too severe for so small an act, but such judgment comes from setting up our standard instead of God’s. How do we know that Uzzah’s error was a small one? From the punishment that followed we would suppose that God regarded it as a great sin. Indeed, we must so regarded unless we are willing to admit that God was unjust. God is just to; the punishments which he inflicts are always proportionate to the sin committed; therefore Uzzah’s error must have been a grievous one. The whole proceeding was irregular, but Uzzah, in presuming to lay hands on the sacred ark; overstepped all bounds. Had not that swift punishment been meted out to him, the worship of God would have been degraded, as a common affair, and reverence for sacred things would have entirely died out among the people.SITI June 26, 1884, page 390.7

    What was it that made that little box of wood and gold so sacred? Why was it to be approached with such awe and reverence, and only by persons duly set apart for that purpose? It was because it contained a copy of the law of God. That which God declares to be his own righteousness-a transcript of his own character-was inclosed in that ark. That law is the foundation of the government of God; it is that by which the loyalty of all creatures is tested. When men lose their reverence for that, they lose their reverence for God’s Government, and for God himself. It was on this account that God had given such specific directions concerning the ark.SITI June 26, 1884, page 391.1

    How do we know what is right and what is wrong? It is evident that it is only by being told. And what warrant have we for calling any violation of one of God’s commands a little sin? Do we not by so doing become judges of God? The lesson to be learned from this circumstance is that to disregard any one of God’s requirements is a heinous sin; that sin of any kind is exceedingly displeasing to God. Familiarity with sin hardens us; we learn to excuse it, and our standard lowered to correspond with existing circumstances. But God is sinless, and the more sin there is committed the more odious it becomes to him. If we, then, desire to do what is right, and thus displease God, it is evident that we must in all cases accept the standard of right and wrong which God gives. Our feelings are no criterion whatever, for that which we look upon as trivial, may be regarded by God is a terrible sin.SITI June 26, 1884, page 391.2

    It is by his law that God reveals his will. Two texts will prove this. “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea by law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8. Here we find that to have the law of God in the heart, is to cheerfully do all his will. Again Paul says: “Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law.” Romans 2:17, 18. Here we learn that those who know the will of God are those who are instructed out of the law. But God does not change; we have his word for this. His will concerning man is just the same now as it ever was. This being the case, it follows that his law is always the same. And so it is. Christ said: “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:17. And what has this to do with the lesson? Simply this: “If God regarded it as so terrible an offense merely to touch the receptacle which contained his law, how much to look upon those who dare to trample upon the law itself? The pope of Rome has impiously presumed to change the law, especially that portion which enjoins the observance of the seventh day of the week, and millions of people have accepted his act. It is considered all right to labor upon the day which God sanctified, because “everybody does so.” But the Lord says: “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.” We are to make God’s law, and not our feelings, or the practice of the multitude, our standard of right and wrong. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily [as in the case of Uzzah], therefore the heart of the sons of man is fully set in them to do evil.” Ecclesiastes 8:11. But judgment, though long delayed, is sure to come, and when it does, it will be according to righteousness, or, in other words, according to the law of God. E. J. W.SITI June 26, 1884, page 391.3

    “Nature of the Law” The Signs of the Times, 10, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Last week we considered Christ’s words, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments,” and found that the law of God-the ten commandments spoken on Mount Sinai-are the commandments referred to. In harmony with this, we have the words of Christ through the beloved disciple: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14. We now want to examine this law, in order to learn its character.SITI June 26, 1884, page 392.1

    First we quote the words of David: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Psalm 19:7. A perfect law, if kept, will form a perfect character. If a man has a perfect character, he is a perfect man, and that is all that God requires of any of us; all that he can require of any one. Paul also adds his testimony to that of David, and says that “the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Romans 7:12. And this also agrees with the words of Nehemiah, that the Lord, on Mount Sinai, gave “true laws [laws of truth, margin], good statutes and commandments.”SITI June 26, 1884, page 392.2

    This idea of the perfection of the ten commandments is more fully expressed by David in Psalm 119:172: “My tongue shall speak of thy word; for all thy commandments our righteousness.” They are not simply good; they are righteousness itself. We remember that Moses said of these commandments, “they shall be in thine heart,” and that we should talk of them at all times. But it is as true of a man now as when Solomon wrote, that “as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7. Therefore if a man continuously meditates upon a law that is perfect righteousness, he can but become righteous.SITI June 26, 1884, page 392.3

    David says that the commandments are righteousness, but the Lord, through the prophet Isaiah, gives us a still deeper insight into their perfection: “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” Isaiah 51:6.SITI June 26, 1884, page 392.4

    If any reader fails to connect this verse with Psalm 119:172, and thus learn what the righteousness that shall not be abolished is, he can satisfy himself that is the law of God, by reading the next verse: “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law.” Isaiah 51:7. Now that we see that the commandments are God’s righteousness, it needs no argument to convince us that they cannot be abolished. Abolish the righteousness of God! It would be equivalent to abolishing God himself. The thing is an impossibility.SITI June 26, 1884, page 392.5

    It is not, however, the fact that God’s law cannot be abolished, that we wish to call your especial attention, but that it is God’s righteousness. God is all righteousness-perfection-and therefore the law must be a transcript of his character. God wanted man to be like himself, righteous, but how could poor, fallen man know what righteousness is? He must needs have a perfect guide to direct his actions. God could not associate with man, and thus teach them what is righteousness, for they could not stand even his voice, much less the sight of his person. So he wrote out a description of his character, in words suited to the comprehension of human beings, and committed it to us. Christ tells us that the ten commandments hang from the great principle of love, and God is love. By studying them and obeying them we become like them, or what is the same thing, like God. We write this with all reverence. We would not be understood that any human being can approach the perfection of God in any particular; but God himself says, “Be ye holy, for I am holy;” and Christ says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. We are to become sinless and pure, and even then God in his goodness will be infinitely above us.SITI June 26, 1884, page 392.6

    But some one may say, “I do not see anything about the ten commandments worthy to be called a transcript of God’s character. It seems like degrading God to say that they are his righteousness.” That simply shows that you have not meditated upon them sufficiently to become acquainted with them. Paul says that the law is spiritual, and spiritual things are only spiritually discerned. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him.” We see beauty only in that which we love; and Paul says that the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. But when the carnal mind has been subdued, and the man has yielded to the requirement of the law, he can exclaim with Paul, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man;” Romans 7:22; or with David, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97.SITI June 26, 1884, page 392.7

    The better acquainted we become with God’s law, the greater it appears to us. David thought much on the law, and he said, “I have seen an end of all perfection; but thy commandment is exceeding brought.” Psalm 119:96. It is so broad that it covers every act that any rational creature can perform, and every thought that the mind of man can conceive. For Bible proof of this we read: “For the word of God 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, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. There is no sin either of word, deed, or thought, which the law of God will not search out and condemn. How necessary, then, that we may make it our constant study. As we do not wish to cherish sin, and thus fail of eternal life, we must understand in all cases just what sin is; and to this end let as never cease to pray with the psalmist: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” E. J. W.SITI June 26, 1884, page 392.8

    “‘The Seventh Day Is the Sabbath’” The Signs of the Times, 10, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A card lately received from Mendocino County, Cal., informs us that the writer was somewhat disturbed by reading what the SIGNS has to say on the Sabbath question, but that after searching the Scriptures, and reading Baptist publications (especially the latter), he is satisfied that we are wrong. The writer also promises to send us papers containing a sermon on the subject of the Sabbath, which he wishes us to read with care, looking up the references, and thinks that it will convince us of our error.SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.1

    The papers have come, and prove to be copies of the Tennessee Baptist, the sermon being by Dr. E. Daniel, a Presbyterian minister, of Memphis, Tenn. We thank our unknown friend for his kindly interest in our welfare, but we are obliged to say that after reading this sermon we are not convinced that we are wrong. The little tract, “Seven Reasons for Sunday-keeping Examined,” published at this office, takes up all the Scripture texts referred to in the article, and many more. There are, however, in the sermon, some good things, which serve to counterbalance the errors. We quote a few of them:-SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.2

    “The Sabbath was not for the Mosaic or Jewish dispensation only, because the Sabbath law was not originally given to Moses; but the institution runs parallel with the history of the human race from the beginning of time. Proof of this proposition is found in the Old Testament, of course. At the end of the week of creation, God bless the seventh day and sanctified it. Marriage and the Sabbath are the two divinely ordained institutions which we can trace backward to Eden..... At the gathering of manna we read, ‘To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord. Bake that ye will bake to-day, and seethe that ye will seeth, and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning? And Moses said, ‘Eat that to-day; for to-day is a Sabbath to the Lord. They shall be gathered it, but on the seventh, which is the Sabbath, there shall be none.’ Let it be remembered that this gathering of the manna here referred to was before the Israelites had come to Mount Sinai, and consequently before the typical law was given. How, then, can the Sabbath be of merely a positive and ceremonial nature, to be abrogated as a part of the ceremonial law, when we find its origin in Eden, traces of its observance through all the patriarchal dispensations, and indisputable evidence of its existence before the Israelites had ever received their ceremonial law? Is not the conclusion irresistible, that it was given originally to the whole race in Eden, and as it did not begin with the Sinaitic positive enactments, so it did not end with them at the coming of Christ?”SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.3

    That is good, and now besides that we want to place one more quotation from the same sermon:-SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.4

    “The Sabbath, in its essence, as already defined, is not a part of the ceremonial law, because it is found in the heart of the moral law. It is one of the ten commandments. It belongs to the great decalogue. Whoever may sweep away one of those grand moral precepts, binding all men, as men, Jew or Gentile alike, may sweep away them all. But these words are written on the rock, and while time endures, they shall abide.”SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.5

    The reader may ask, If the Dr. believes that which he has written, as quoted above, how can he agree for first-day observance? We will let him speak:-SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.6

    “The substance of the Sabbath may be defined as this: The setting apart of one day in seven for purposes of rest and of religious worship. This is substantially all that is to be included as essential in a definition of the Sabbath. All else concerning it, as, for example, which day is to be observed, is a matter of positive enactments, and maybe changed, and has been changed.”SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.7

    Here we disagree with him, no more so than he does with himself. He has said above that the Sabbath originated in Eden, together with marriage. In the record of creation what do we read? That God blessed the Sabbath institution? Not at all, “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.” Genesis 2:3. It was the day that was sanctified and blest.SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.8

    Again we come to the gathering of the manna. The Doctor says that this was before the typical, ceremonial law was given. Very good. Now what does Moses say? “To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath;” “on the seventh, which is the Sabbath, there shall be none.” Here we find that the day is the proper thing; yet it is claimed that the matter of which day is to be observed is ceremonial. We submit to the intelligent reader that if the typical law was not yet given, then there can be nothing typical about the day.SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.9

    Once more; it is said that the Sabbath cannot be done away, like ceremonial ordinances, because is a part of the Decalogue,-enshrined in the heart of the moral law. We agree. Now let us read a portion of the commandment. “Remember the Sabbath-day [literally, the day of the Sabbath], to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; IN IT thou shalt not do any work.” Here we find the day of the Sabbath clearly specified in the moral law. If the Sabbath is not ceremonial, but as enduring as the rock, because it is found in the heart of the moral law, then the day of the Sabbath must be unchangeable, because that is found there also. Nay, more; if the keeping of a definite day be not necessary to the observance of the true Sabbath,-if that part of the commandment is ceremonial, and has been changed,-then we have no moral precept for Sabbath observance at all; for that being taken out, nothing is left. Will our friends please try to read the fourth commandment, leaving out that part which refers to a definite day? They would have to omit the first clause, for that says, “Remember the Sabbath day.” The next clause would likewise have to be omitted, for the words, “six days shalt thou labor,” are simply introductory to the definite statement that “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” The next two words, “in it,” clearly show that something definite has been mentioned; they must therefore be dropped. The whole of the latter part of the commandment is simply historical and explanatory, telling why God gave such a precepts. Leaving out, then, all of the commandment which enjoins the observance of a specified day, we have this much left: “Thou shalt not do any work.” This would be indefinite enough for anybody.SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.10

    Let us try this “indefinite” argument on the first commandment. The Lord says: “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” Why may we not say: “Man is a worshiping being; he must have some object of adoration. This commandment recognizes that fact, in providing a deity. The act of reverential worship is all that is essential; all else, as, for example, the specific object to be worshiped, is a matter of positive enactments, and maybe changed.” This reasoning is exactly parallel to that which we so often hear concerning the fourth commandment; yet the man who should act upon it would be called a heathen. Now will someone tell us the exact difference between ignoring the Creator entirely by setting up some god in his stead, and refusing obedience to plainly worded commandments, and especially that one of all the rest by which we recognize his creative power? The Saviour says, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Let everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord remember that Christ and the Father are one, and then consider that question as addressed directly to him. It will do to meditate upon.SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.11

    E. J. W.SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.12

    “The Foundation of Spiritualism” The Signs of the Times, 10, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Mr. Savage, a Unitarian minister of Boston, preached a sermon a short time ago on “Immortality from the Stand-point of the Modern World,” in which he took occasion to speak of Spiritualism as follows:-SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.13

    “There is nothing in it out of accord with the faith of those who already believe in continued existence. That our friends, if they still live and love us, should want us to know it, is only what we should expect.”SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.14

    That this statement is true, we do not see how anybody can deny. And this is why we do not regard it as a matter of indifference how we believe concerning the state of the dead. We say that no one who believes that man is conscious in death-that his thoughts instead of perishing with his breath goes forth (Psalm 146:4), are more clear and active than ever, has any warrant whatever that he will not become a Spiritualist. Let us see. Spiritualism, pure and simple, is a belief that the spirits of the departed may communicate with their living friends, and may even appear to them. The mass of mankind believe that the essential part of man never dies, but that what is called death simply releases it from its prison house. They believe that it is in Heaven, and conscious of what is passing in this world. Indeed, we have heard more than one “orthodox,” minister preach that the spirits of our departed friends hover around us and protect and comfort us by their influence.SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.15

    Now we ask, What is lacking to make such ones real Spiritualists? Nothing, but to see and converse with one bearing every feature of a departed friend, having the same tone of voice, and who can recall incidents known only to that dead friend. This has been done to a certain extent, and will be done on a vastly more extended scale.SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.16

    “But how would you account for such a thing?” We read that Satan is able to transform himself into an angel of light, and this being so, it does not surprise us to hear of his personating a human being. The Bible warns us against wonders that will deceive, if it were possible, the very elect, pointing out that which we have said, that a large portion of the world is in danger of being drawn into Spiritualism. The “elect” will not be deceived simply because they are grounded on Bible truth. So long as a man takes the Bible as it reads on the subject of the state of the dead, he cannot become a Spiritualist. When he holds to the popular theory, he has no safeguard against that terrible delusion. E. J. W.SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.17

    “A Want Not Gratified” The Signs of the Times, 10, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In an article in the Christian at Work, on “Baptism and the ‘Teaching,’” by Rev. F. Oxnard, we find the following:-SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.18

    “We are perfectly willing to concede that there is no authority in the New Testament for infant baptism. We would like to bring immersionists to admit that there is no authority for the exclusive use of immersion in baptism. We suggest, therefore, that to insist that the word used in the Septuagint for immerse must always be thus used in a Christian ordinance, is open to very reasonable and grave objections, and is not in accordance with the ultimate authority, the New Testament. To insist that a word from classic Greek, used to express a non-sacred act, and similar words in the New Testament, used to express a sacred act, have always the same meaning, is to allow authors who lived hundreds of years before the Christian era to settle the mode of baptism.”SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.19

    We admire the frankness of the author, as manifested in the above quotation. That the New Testament contains no authority for infant baptism there can be no doubt. Few theologians claim that it does. We have no doubt, moreover, that he, in common with many others, “would like to bring immersionists to admit that there is no authority for the exclusive use of immersion for baptism; but we can assure him that he can never do it unless he brings to bear some more weighty argument than that contained in his “suggestion.” He claims that to insist that words from classic Greek must have the same meaning when used in the New Testament, is to allow heathen authors to settle the mode of baptism. By this, the reader will clearly see that it is admitted that if we should give them the same signification, immersion would be a settled fact. That is the words as used by classical authors, signifying immersion.SITI June 26, 1884, page 393.20

    Now is it true that if they are used in the New Testament in the same sense, those authors have determined the meaning of the Christian ordinance? By no means. Christ determined that himself. How? By using in the Christian commission, a term which was in common use, and universally understood to mean immersion. He determined what the ceremony should be, and then described it in language which his hearers could understand. It was for this reason that he was not obliged to make a lengthy explanation as to what he meant by baptism; the name carried the idea. If he had coined a new word to express the act, or if he had used the same word, with a different meaning from that which it ordinarily had, it would have been necessary to define it, so that his followers might not be misled; but this he did not do. Therefore we must insist that the word in the New Testament has the same meaning that it does anywhere else. And there is no more reason for saying that this allows authors who lived hundred of years before the Christian era to settle the mode of baptism, than there is for saying that they settle the mode of celebrating Christ’s sacrifice, because Christ, in instituting the Lord’s Supper, used the same words for eating and drinking that had been used by them to denote these acts. E. J. W.SITI June 26, 1884, page 394.1

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