This entry is part of 14 in the series article 84


The Bible Truth Review

Issue No. 13 (April 10, 1991)

In This Issue

“All the Frankincense.” by Charles H. Welch in The Berean Expositor circa 1912-13. This is a devotional based on Lev. 2:16.

“God: The Greatest Subject and Study in the Universe.” by Dr. Robert Acheson Hadden, published by Ewalt Memorial Bible School, Atascadero, CA.

“Helps by the Way. No. 8. The Greek Prepositions.” by Charles H. Welch in The Berean Expositor circa 1914-15. This time, the greek word en.

“Judging #4. Basis For Judgment.” by J. McEown in Bible Explorations, Vol. 1 No. 11, Nov. 1987

“The Parables. No. 8. The Scribe (or Householder).” by Charles H. Welch in The Berean Expositor circa 1914-15.

Subscription Information and Permission to Distribute by Leo Wierzbowski, editor of The Bible Truth Review.

“All the Frankincense.” by Charles H. Welch in The Berean Expositor circa 1912-13.

Many precious lessons for the child of God may be gathered by a prayerful study of the types of Leviticus, among them the fullness of blessing which may be discovered in the verse which contains our title –Lev. ii.16. Speaking of the Meal Offering, which exhibits the moral perfection of the Lord Jesus meeting our great lack of perfectness, the Lord said:-

“And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof.”

In this offering, as with all others which typified the one great offering of the Saviour, neither leaven nor honey were permitted, but in contrast to this the salt of the covenant and all the frankincense ascended up acceptably unto the Lord. In the beautiful language of the Old Testament, the word for frankincense is l’bonah — something white. What a picture of the believer being covered and accepted in all the fragrance of the name of the Lord Jesus. Something white! Nothing but that which is evil and defiled could the Lord see in any of us by ourselves, but, blessed be His name, just as the twelve loaves of shewbread were covered by the frankincense (Lev. xxiv.5-7), so the believer is covered by all the worthiness of the Son of God.

As we read the book of Numbers and see Israel continually failing, sinning, murmuring, rebelling, and remember all that is written concerning them, this blessed lesson of the covering frankincense is enforced when we read the inspired words of Balaam, “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel” (Num. xxiii.21). There is no other explanation of these remarkable words than the fact that this wayward people were God’s chosen ones, and that He viewed them in Christ. Truly “all the frankincense” is here. The sweet savour that ascended to God on behalf of Israel was but a type of the Father’s crowning mercy, as set forth in Eph. i.3-6, where sinners of the Gentiles, aliens, and enemies who believe are told upon the authority of God in the Word of His grace that they are “accepted in the Beloved.”

Brethren, can we not look up to Him at the right hand of God, and thankfully realize something of the meaning of the words

all the frankincense.

“God: The Greatest Subject and Study in the Universe.” by Dr. Robert Acheson Hadden, published by Ewalt Memorial Bible School, Atascadero, CA.

Question: Do believers possess incontrovertible, incontestable, irrefutable, invincible, infallible reasons for belief in the existence of God?

Affirmation: We present in the present and succeeding chart, nine irresistible arguments or reasons for credence and confidence concerning infinite Deity.

I. The Cosmological Argument

Definition: The term refers to the science or knowledge of the universe and relates to the origin, constitution, nature, laws, order, age, relation, correlation, magnitude, dimensions and interspaces of the heavens and the earth.

Declaration: The universe exists, an undeniable, incontrovertible fact. Marvelous in its construction, constitution, organization, dimension, correlation.

Derivation: From Whence? How originated — by creation or by chance? By an omnipotent first cause or by a chain of ordinary, fortuitous circumstances? How consist? Subsist? Correlate? Motivate?

The Disputation: Three distinct classes answer:

(1) The Skeptical: “All came by chance” — circumstances caused “a fortuitous concourse of atoms” to correlate without cause or creation. Denies divine contemplation, conception, calculation, counsel, choice, classification, coordination, control, care or culmination. An assumption: Illogical, unreasonable, absurd. An affirmation that breeds complications and confusion. A conjecture minus a solution.

(2) The Scientist: Asserts – the universe an actuality – wondrous field for research, the cosmos, the objective of constant, careful study by careful, scholarly men. Concerning scientists – two classes or schools: First class – – those who believe in creation by an omnipotent, intelligent first cause. Second class — those who are constantly constructing and changing their own conception or challenging and crushing the conclusions of others.

(3) The Scriptures: The Holy Scriptures ascribe creation to the counsel, capability and consummate wisdom, work and will of the Triune God. Compare Genesis 1:1; 1:2-2:3; Ps. 8:3-4; 19:1-2; 33:6; 104:30; Job 9:1-10; 38:1-41; Isa. 40:12-15; 25-31; Jno 1:1-2; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:15-17; Acts 4:24; 14:15; 15:18; Heb. 1:1-3; 11:1-3; Rev. 4:11; Job. 26:13; 33:4.

II. The Anthropological Argument

Definition: The term refers to the science or knowledge of man and relates to his origin, constitution, nature, being, capabilities, history.

Declaration: Man exists: A wonder being: The crown of creation: A marvelous universe in himself. The study of man carries the student into varied realms: Sphere of physiology, paleontology, psychology, philosophy, ethnology, history, science, religion: Concerns his origin, formation, intelligence, capacity, reason, will, volition, consciousness, conscience, nature, mental, moral and physical constitution.

Derivation: Whence? Where? How did man obtain his wondrous, unique being? How originate? A creation or an evolution?

Disputation: Three distinct classes answer:

(1) The Skeptical: Minus foundation, attestation or reason the skeptic irrationally accepts an unproven hypothesis: alleges: “Man an evolution.”

(2) The Scientist: Two schools of scientists exist:

(a) Pseudo-science: Always skeptically bent: Declares man an evolution and all theories contrary are foolish, fallacious fulminations of fundamentalists.

(b) Authentic science: Constantly searching for substantial confirmation or refutation of every theory.

(3) The Scriptures: The Holy Scriptures affirm that man is a creation and ascribe his origin to the counsel, cooperation and consummate power of the God-head. Compare: Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7, 5:2; Ps. 100:3, 139:1-18, 8:4-8; Acts 17:22-29; Matt. 19:4-6; 1 Cor. 11:7; Col. 1:15-17; Eph. 3:9.

III. The Teleological Argument

Definition: The term refers to perfection of design, order, unity, system, natural law: Everywhere apparent throughout the universe.

Declaration: There is order in the universe: Marvelous, mathematical precision and perfect design in the stars, tides, currents, trees, plants, particles of snow: Perfect order in the movement and coordination of suns, stars, planets, moons, nebulae, asteroids throughout the universe. The Animal, vegetable, mineral kingdoms proclaim varied but distinct perfect order: The instinct of creatures ( Cp. Prov. 6:6-8, 30:24-28; Job 12:7-10).

Derivation: Whence the design, order, harmony, the supernal system and symmetry in sky, sea, state, seasons and symphony of the universe?

Disputation: Three distinct classes answer:

(1) The Skeptical: “Nature is responsible.” — But what is nature? Whence? How?

(2) The Scientist: The thoughtful among scientists declare: Design predicates a designer, order, system; indicates and involves administration, rule, plan.

(3) The Scriptures: The Holy Scriptures ascribe the origin, ordination and continuation of order in the universe to the wisdom, power, dictum and sustentation to the Omnipotent God-head: Compare: 1 Cor. 14:33; Ps. 8:8; 77:19; 50:1-2; Isa. 43:16. Cp. Deut. 32:4; Prov. 18:30; Ps. 19:7; Acts 3:16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Eph. 4:13; James 1:25.

IV. The Ontonological Argument

Definition: The term refers to the origin and existence of the idea common in human minds concerning the personality, reality, existence and subsistence of an infinite being, Who possesses the attributes, perfections, and glories of a supernatural, supernal, supreme, sovereign divine entity.

Declaration: The conception or idea that an infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Being exists is prevalent among mankind.

Derivation: When? Where? How did the idea originate? It must have originated somewhere, sometime. So far as man observes and understands creatures, no other creature is religious: Animals do not praise, pray, worship God. Even fallen, finite man by nature cannot know or comprehend God, nevertheless possesses a consciousness that God is: Whence this consciousness? Redeemed men know this Being; oftentimes know Him intimately: Whence the idea, conception, realization?

Disputation: Three classes answer:

(1) The Skeptical: This class: incredulous, doubtful, suspicious. Doubts the existence, reality and personality of God. Incredulous concerning relation between God and man. But: Incredulity cannot successfully contradict a fact namely — The great idea exists in the human mind.

(2) The Scientist: As scientists, the solution of this problem is not within the domain of their search. However hundreds of devout scientists are known and numbered as devout believers in the God and Christ of the Bible.

(3) The Scriptures: The Holy Scriptures ascribe the impartation of the idea of God to the divine manifestation and revelation of God Himself to the sons of men. The divine Book testifies that God has drawn near and revealed Himself to finite man. Thus to myriads, God is not a mere fancy, vagary, notion, but a glorious reality, actuality, personality. Compare: Gen. 2:15- 17; 3:3,8-10; 5:24; 12:1-4; 17:1-8; Num. 12:1-8; John 12:48-50; Heb. 1:1-2; Gal. 1:11-12; Eph. 3:3-11; Rev. 1:1.

V. The Intuitional Argument

Definition: The term refers to the intuitional inward perception or apprehension of facts, knowledge, or truth without recourse, connection or relation to conscious attention, thought or reasoning processes in the operation of the human mind.

Declaration: The fact exists — Man possesses a strange perceptive faculty; knowledge that springs from an inherent, instinctive, intuitional endowment. The power to sense a fact, truth or thing without personal or particular information, instruction, contemplation or consideration concerning the theme or thing.

Derivation: Whence the possession of this marvelous, unique sensibility? What is the source? Its processes?

Disputation: Three classes answer:

(1) The Skeptical: The Skeptic believes in its existence; unable to understand or explain the phenomena; ascribes it to nature apart from divine endowment or enduement.

(2) The Scientist: The scientist admits the existence of the faculty; attributes its operation to the secret working of the sub-conscious mind.

(3) The Scriptures: The Scriptures reveal, attest and illustrate the fact that back of this supernal, supernatural gift to the sons of men — is God. Note: Luke 7:39 and compare verses 40-50; Mark 2:1-8; Matt. 9:4; Mark 5:33; John 21:12; Matt 27:19; 10:18-20.

VI. The Epistemological Argument

Definition: The term refers to the outward experimental perception of apprehension of facts, knowledge or truth acquired through imparted information or visualization, combined with power of perception, thought reason, logic, apprehension, volition and reception on the part of the human mind.

Declaration: The fact exists: Man possesses a second supernal faculty — power to perceive, receive, reason, impart knowledge; the ability to bring the realm of the universe within the range of perception and comprehension; apprehend the magnitude, number, interspaces, beauty and glory of the stars; to create, present and enjoy the masterpieces of music, art, drama; to listen to the gospel, the masterpiece of divine revelation and to apprehend its wonderful plan and power — this is knowledge indeed.

Derivation: Whence this power? Man alone possesses it; creatures do not possess this faculty. Whence the gift, power?

The Scriptures reveal the fact that this marvelous faculty was supernaturally imparted in the creation of man: Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7; Note: Gen. 2:19, an illustration of the great ability of Adam; Note Isa. 40:26-28; Compare Psa. 8:1-9. Note: Evident that the generations antecedent to the flood possessed knowledge to a superlative degree but forfeited the gift and possession: Rom. 1:18-25.

VII. The Aesthetic Argument

Definition: The term refers to the love, desire for and delight in the things that belong to the sphere of the beautiful. This includes the power of discernment, discrimination, appreciation and delectation in connection with the beautiful.

Declaration: The fact exists: The universe is beautiful, glorious. With the exception of the angelic realms, man alone possesses the faculty for the appreciation of the beautiful (Job 38:1-7). Man glories in the beauty of the heavens, the stars, the moon, the golden sunset; the mountains, plains, desert, ocean, the peaceful river, brook; the garden with its flowers and fragrance, the decorations of a building, church or home; the harmony of the mighty organ, the violin, chimes, the orchestra; voices in the Hallelujah Chorus.

Derivation: Creatures of the lower order in the animal realm entirely lack this faculty; may enjoy what they eat — do not enjoy what they see or hear. Man alone enjoys the beautiful. How did man come into possession of this faculty?

The Scriptures portray two great facts concerning the aesthetic sphere:

First: The Creator created all things beautiful: Gen. 1:31, 2:7-10; Ex. 28:2; Eccl. 3:11; Isa. 4:2.

Second: The Creator created within man the power for the enjoyment of the beautiful: Ps. 48:1-2; 27:4; 90:16-17.

VIII. The Experimental Argument

Definition: The term refers to the sphere of human experience; the possession of knowledge flowing out of circumstances, crises, currents and chapters in life wherein the hand of providence has been unquestionably, peculiarly and graciously manifest.

Declaration: The fact exists: Ten thousand volumes could be written attesting the providential dealings of God: Help in time of dire distress, sickness, sorrow, suffering, loneliness, burden, loss, unemployment, helplessness, despair, desperation. A cry to the unseen but real Christ has been followed by the breaking clouds, help, deliverance, supply, joy, peace, blessing, grace.

Derivation: How did deliverance come? Perhaps repeated a thousand times in one human life — three classes answer:

(1) The Skeptical: “Coincidence”, “chance” — to the thinking man the skeptics answer does not explain the wondrous phenomena of direct, definite, unique deliverance.

(2) The Scientist: Scientists generally believe in the providences of God; but science itself deals only with the realm of things material.

(3) The Scriptures: The Holy Scriptures abundantly attest the existence of One Who is deeply interested in human need and is also rich in divine supply: Psa. 107:1-43; 50:15; 103:1-17; 84:11; Phil. 4:6-7; 4:13; 4:19; Eph. 3:20-21.

IX. The Spiritual Argument

Definition: The term refers to the realm of the divine and the sphere of the spiritual. It involves the possession of a new spiritual nature, the consciousness of a vital relation to God; the privileges and enjoyment of divine knowledge, fellowship, expectation, intercession and vocation; the expressions of a new life in Christ.

Declaration: The fact exists: Myriads of men have been supernaturally transformed from sinful into spiritual, Spirit-filled sons and servants of God. This is incontrovertible, incontestable, irrefutable evidence of the work of a supernatural, omnipotent Being.

Derivation: Who is this Being? What is this Power? How is the change wrought?

(1) The Skeptical: The skeptic cannot explain the phenomena; asserts that the Bible is filled with mistakes and myths.

(2) The Scientist: Thousands of scholarly scientists believe in the Book, its Christ and His saving power.

(3) The Scriptures: The Holy Scriptures proclaim and present a nine-fold attest to the existence of God:

(a) The divine manifestation: The Holy Scriptures attest the fact that God has been manifested to men: Num. 12:7-8; Isa. 6:1; Gen. 17:1; Jno. 1:18; 14:4-9; 1 Jno. 1:1-3.

(b) The divine revelation: The Holy Scriptures attest the fact that God has made a divine revelation to men: Matt. 4:4; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21.

(c) The divine constitution: The Holy Scriptures attest the fact that God has bestowed a moral constitution upon men: Rom. 1:18-25; 2:14-15.

(d) The divine narration: The Holy Scriptures attest the fact that they bear the imprint of God: Isa. 55:10-11; Ps. 19:7-11; Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17.

(e) The divine prediction: The Holy Scriptures attest the fact that God spake and hundreds of prophecies have been fulfilled: 2 Pet. 1:19-21.

(f) The divine regeneration: The Holy Scriptures attest the fact that God has regenerated or created men anew: Eph. 6:17; Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:23.

(g) The divine apprehension: The Holy Scriptures attest the fact that God may be truly apprehended through the Word of God: Jno. 5:39; 5:24; 7:17; 1 Cor. 2:7-16.

(h) The divine perfection: The Holy Scriptures attest the fact that the purity, power and perfection of the Scriptures originated in God: Ps. 12:6; 19:8; 119:140; 30:5; 19:7; 18:30.

(i) The divine domination: The Holy Scriptures attest the fact of the power of the self-existent God; operating with omnipotent power through the medium of the infinite Word of God: Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12; Isa. 55:10-11; Jer. 23:29; Ps. 33:6; Heb. 11:3; Rom. 10:17.

“Helps by the Way. No. 8. The Greek Prepositions.” by Charles H. Welch in The Berean Expositor circa 1914-15.

En. — We have considered the prepositions eis (into), and ek (out of), and the preposition en (in) completes this set of three related particles.

The primary signification of en is the result of the action suggested by eis, and indicates the place of rest. The meaning of the preposition is modified according as the usage indicates place, time, agency, &c.

PLACE is the simplest significance, and is nearest in meaning to the primary idea of the word, as “In the heart of the earth” (Matt. xii. 40). Sometimes en may be rendered “on,” as Rev. iii. 21, “on the throne”; 2 Cor. iii. 3, “in tables of stone.” The idea of proximity or nearness is conveyed by this preposition. “At the right hand of God” (Rom. viii. 34); “on the right hand” (Heb. i. 3). Many times en is best translated by “among”; cf. I Cor. ii. 6, and Col. i. 27, “among the Gentiles …. Christ among you.”

TIME is indicated by this preposition, expressed in English sometimes by in (Matt. ii. 1), sometimes by on (“on a certain day,”) sometimes by at (“at His coming,” “at the last trump”), sometimes by within, e.g., John ii. 19. En ho indicates “in the time that,” and is well rendered by the English “while” (John v. 7; Mark ii. 19). Those who sinned “in law” (Rom. ii. 12) are considered as being within its sphere (place) during its time of operation (time). Among the more important usages of en are those indicating:-

AGENCY. — “through the prince of the demons” (Matt. ix. 34); “With what measure ye mete” (Matt. vii. 2); “Burn her with fire” (Rev. xvii. 16).

The use of en in the N.T. is sometimes equivalent to the Hebrew use of beth. Where the Greek authors would employ the Dative case alone to signify the cause or instrument, the New Testament writers followed the Hebrew, for example, Patnxomen en machaira(i), “Shall we smite with the sword” (Luke xxii. 49). Katapatesosin autous en tois posin auton, “Lest they trample them under their feet” (Matt. vii. 6). See also Rom. xv. 6; Luke i. 51; and Mark xiv. 1.

PRICE. — A further example of Hebraism is the use of en to denote the price of a thing (cf. Rev. v. 9 with I Chron. xxi. 24).

PARTNERSHIP. — “A man with an unclean spirit” (Mark v. 2). “Shall I come with (en) a rod, or in (en) a spirit of meekness” (I Cor. iv. 21),

There are many more examples of the figurative usage or secondary meaning of this preposition which the student is urged to search out for himself. There are also some suggestive combinations which will repay careful study, such as “At home” (2 Cor. v. 6), endemeo is literally, “among one’s own people.” “Glorious” ( Cor. iv. 10; Luke xiii. 17), endoxois is literally “in glory.” “To work effectually,” energeo is literally to “energize” or “inwork” (see Eph. ii. 2; iii. 20; 2 Thess. ii. 7). “To think on” (Matt. i. 20), enthumeomai is literally “to have in mind.” “Thoughts and intents” (Heb. iv. 12), enthumesis ennoia is literally “the things in the mind (passions, etc.), and in the mind” (understanding).

The reader can multiply examples and should tabulate his findings in such a way that they may be of service in after study.

“Judging #4. Basis For Judgment.” by J. McEown in Bible Explorations, Vol. 1 No. 11, Nov. 1987

Judgment making began for man when Adam and Eve took in the knowledge of good and evil. Thereafter he has had to discern between right and wrong, true and false, and he can be misled. The world, the flesh and the devil attempt to mislead him with half truths or mixtures of truth and lies. Man’s human mind is unable to know all things and judge perfectly as God does, but to any who will come to His Son, He gives a new mind, called the “mind of Christ.” Then he becomes able to understand the Holy Scriptures, which reveal God’s standard for judgments. He sees that God has never left His children helpless in decision making, but has provided His Word as a sure guide for each judgment they face.

In the garden, God’s spoken words to Adam and Eve were not to hem them in or keep them from pleasure, but were guides for their protection until they reached maturity. They turned away from His words and suffered loss.

Outside the garden, their sons Cain and Abel knew God’s directions and came to worship Him at His appointed time. Abel judged God’s requirement for entering His presence to be right and he brought a lamb to die for his sins. Cain decided God’s requirement was not necessary and brought what he judged was good. Cain suffered loss as men still do today if they try to come to God apart from His directives in His Word. “The Lamb of God Which taketh away the sin of the world,” (Jn 1:18) is the only Way, God has declared.

When the children of Israel had just escaped Egypt and before Sinai, Moses judged the People’s problems from morning until night. His authority for settlements was God’s standard. When they came, he said, “I judge between one and another and I do make them know the statutes of God and His laws.” So we see the spoken words of God were the basis for judgments even before His words were written.

The Lord showed that His Word was the truth tester when He answered John Baptist’s enquiry about whether or not He was the Christ. He sent John the message that the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, etc. In their Scriptures, the prophets had said this would be the work of the Christ when He came. John was left to God’s Word for his conclusion. And again we see this principle when the Lord said, “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (Jn 12:48)

The writer to the Hebrews said, “… the Word of God is quick, (alive) and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit.” (Heb 4:12). It divides what is soulish (humanistic) from that which is spiritual (supernatural). It separates what originates from man from that which originates from God. It is a “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” and it scrutinizes secret motives so that judgments are not made solely on outward acts.

For us, members of Christ’s church today, Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you,” as in a house (Col 3:16). Also, just before he spoke of the Lord’s judgment at the end of our day, he reminded us that all Scripture is God breathed and for our teaching, correction and righteousness. (II Ti 3:16) But for God’s approval, He said we must rightly divide the Scriptures. (II Ti 2:15). We must not mix up those instructions written for God’s earthly kingdom with those written to and for His church for the heavenlies. The question is, will we believe what God said and rightly divide His Word for His approval, or will we like Cain, ignore God’s direction and be ashamed at resurrection?

God has provided us with the basis for sound judgments. The last writings of Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, provide clear guidelines for our peace and safety now and for His approval in the future. Let us not be led away from His sure word.

“The Parables. No. 8. The Scribe (or Householder).” by Charles H. Welch in The Berean Expositor circa 1914-15.

This parable brings us to the last of the series in Matt. xiii., and like the first it does not commence with the formula, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto.”

The parable of the Sower dealt rather with the ministry of the word of the kingdom than with the kingdom itself, and the closing parable deals rather with the minister than the kingdom, the householder rather than the house. This parable is preceded by a question, “Have ye understood all these things?” and this question exactly corresponds (see structure, Vol. II., page 68, Vols. II./III., page 32) to the statement of the Lord concerning Israel as a nation, that they did not understand (Matt. xiii. 10-16). In answer to the question of the Lord as to whether they had understood all these things the disciples reply, “Yea, Lord,” and upon this basis the last parable is uttered. We must at once confess that the disciples have an advantage over us, for although we believe that by the grace of God the exposition of these parables in our pages has been in harmony with His Word, we could not presume to say that we understand all these things. There are many who are completely in error regarding these parables who do not blush to speak of “apostolic mistakes” whenever an action or word of an inspired apostle crosses their idea of the teaching of Scripture, but such would hardly dare to answer, as the apostles did, “Yea, Lord.” Let us first of all consider the words of the parable:-

“Wherefore (or for this reason) every scribe discipled into the kingdom of the heavens is like a man, an householder, who putteth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Matt. xiii. 52).

It will be seen by the opening word “wherefore” (or because of this) that the parable is connected with the claim of the disciples to have understood all things which were intended to give them a complete history of the progress of the kingdom of the heavens. This emphasis upon the word “understanding” not only contrasts the disciples with the nation, but leads us to consider other passages where a few amongst Israel will have understanding, particularly at the time of the end, when these parables will reach their fulfillment. Dan. xi. referring to the time of antichristian apostasy says in verses 33 and 35:-

“And they that understand among the people shall instruct many.”

“And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge and to make them white, even to the time of the end,”

and in Dan. xii. 3, 10:-

“And they that be wise (margin, teachers) shall shine as the brightness of the firmament.”

“Many shall be purified and made white and tried . . . the wise shall understand.”

The wise ones with understanding have relation to the time of the end, and particular reference to Israel and the kingdom. Hearing the word, and understanding it, is characteristic of the final and yet future sowing of the seed of the kingdom, as we have seen in Matt. xiii. 19, 23. This understanding is not necessarily connected with education or ability of mind, but rather that understanding which comes from a heart acquaintance with the word of God, and the Lord Himself. Thus the Psalmist could say, ” have more understanding than all my teachers; for Thy testimonies are my meditation” (Psa. cxix. 99). Those therefore who have such understanding are like a householder, and only such are here in question.

The word householder is oikodespotes, and occurs twelve times in the New Testament. Four times it is rendered “goodman of the house,” and once “goodman.” The first occurrence is in Matt. x. 25, and the last in Luke xxii. 11. It is bounded by the period covered by the gospel of the kingdom, and the number of its occurrences, viz., twelve, also links it with Israel and the kingdom. Such a scribe, such a householder, is said to be “discipled” into the kingdom of the heavens.

The word “instructed,” which we have rendered “discipled,” occurs four times in the N.T.., viz., Matt. xiii. 52; xxvii. 57; xxviii. 19; Acts xiv. 21, and is translated “instructed,” “disciple,” “teach.” The marginal readings of Matt. xxviii. 19 and Acts xiv. 21 suggest “make disciples.” Matt. xxviii. 19, 20 looks forward to a future ministry when the sent ones of the Lord shall “make nations disciples.” Matt. xxviii. says nothing about preaching the gospel, although many thus misquote it. It speaks of “discipling,” “baptizing,” and “teaching to observe” all things whatsoever the Lord Jesus had commanded them. They who will be fitted for this wonderful ministry are before us in this parable. Before they can disciple all nations they must have been “discipled into the kingdom” themselves; they must be learners. Further, the parable does not say “every one,” but “every scribe.” The scribe was one who had to do with the word of God, the grammateus. No ordinary scribe, however, is here in view. The teacher must also be the learner. The scribe must also be the disciple. He must have the wide range of prophetic view as given in these parables of the mysteries of the kingdom before he can be likened to a householder.

The Scribes in the day of Christ were as degenerate as their fellows the Pharisees, and against them, equally with the Pharisees, the Lord uttered His solemn woes. Speaking of the passage, “He taught them as one having authority, and not as the Scribes,” a learned writer (Dean Farrar) says:-

“The teaching of their Scribes was narrow, dogmatical, material; it was cold in manner, frivolous in matter, second-hand, and iterative in its very essence; with no freshness in it, no force, no fire; servile to all authority, opposed to all independence, at once erudite and foolish, at once contemptuous and mean; never passing a hair’s breadth beyond the carefully watched boundary line of commentary and precedent; full of balanced inference, and orthodox hesitancy, and impossible literalism, intricate with legal pettiness, and labyrinthine system, elevating mere memory above genius, and repetition above originality, concerned only about Priests and Pharisees, in Temple and Synagogue, or School or Sanhedrim, and mostly occupied with things infinitely little. It was not indeed wholly devoid of moral significance, nor is it impossible to find here and there among the debris of it a noble thought, but it was occupied a thousandfold more with Levitical minutiae about mint and anise and cummin, and the length of fringes and the breadth of phylacteries, and the washing of cups and platters, and the particular quarter of a second when new moons and Sabbath days begin.”

Such were the Scribes of the days of Christ, and were it not uncharitable one might almost say that they seem to still have a following to-day. The disciples of the Lord who heard His words, and noted how different His speech and teaching were, how utterly opposed to the Scribes His manner and matter, would understand the clause, “every Scribe who is discipled into the kingdom.” The word of God was at the finger tips of these Scribes, but it never entered their hearts. Those contemplated in the parable knew that unless their righteousness exceeded the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, they could not enter into the kingdom of the heavens.

A day is coming when not merely a few but a whole nation shall be righteous. This synchronizes with the fourth sowing of the first parable, the ministry under the new covenant, when the stony heart will be removed, and a heart of flesh given; when the law shall be written in the heart and not on tables of stone; when the Scribe will be worthy of the name, and when he too will teach “as one having authority,” because he also has “learned of Him.” Out of his treasure he will then bring things new and old. What these new and old things may be it is not for us to say with any definiteness. The contrast between the old and the new covenant, the old and new Jerusalem, the old and new heaven and earth will form mighty themes for the messengers of the Lord. It would appear in the parable that the extent of this ministry is to be limited by the word “householder,” while in Matt. xxviii. the wider sphere is the command to “disciple all nations.”

We trust that some little light has been thrown upon these important parables, and as we pursue the theme of their fulfillment in the Revelation, and of the times in which their final heading up — the harvest — is set, we shall have continual reason to see that these parables are what indeed the Lord said they were, “The mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens.”

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