OUR CROWN IN JEOPARDY
D. M. PANTON, M. A.
Israel in the Wilderness, says Paul, are
a type, real and actual, of us. "In these things
they became FIGURES OF US: these things happened unto them by way of figure"
(1 Cor. 10: 6, 11).
Their experiences God has selected, not as exceptional, but as permanent
revelations of His character: all human experiences, ours as theirs, must flow
out of the one unalterable character of God. Moreover God so wrought, and
so wrote, purposely for the Church. "In
these things they became figures of us, to the intent that we should not
lust, as they also lusted": "these
things were written for our admonition." The
inspired record exists to prove the parallel: God so wrought, that we might
know His character; He so wrote, that we might know it for ever. Moreover
the parallel points specifically to the acts of judgement. "They were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these
things" - the repeated overthrows - "were our examples." The judgments are
embedded in the Word as in rock for ever, that the Wilderness should become the
kindergarten of the Church. To deny the parallel is to overthrow inspiration: to ignore the
parallel is to silence the Scripture: to admit the parallel is to disclose a
momentous peril to the believer in
apostle lays down, in figure, the ample bedrock of our own spiritual standing.
"Our fathers were all under the cloud"
- redeemed by the blood of the Lamb - "and all
passed through the sea" - separated from a godless world -
"and were all baptised unto Moses in the
cloud and in the sea" - a people buried to sin - "and did all eat the same spiritual meat" -
at the Lord's Table - "and did all drink
the same spiritual drink" - the Spirit from the smitten Lord -
"for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed
them: and the rock was Christ." Standing in grace could
hardly be stated, in so few words, more exhaustively: if privilege could
render immune, Israel
was beyond fall. Now observe the startling and studied
contrast. "Howbeit with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown
in the wilderness." All under - all through
- all immersed - all eating - all drinking; MOST
OVERTHROWN. For "they which run in
a race all run, but one
receiveth the prize." All - two millions: most - two
millions minus two¹ :
"wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth
take heed lest he fall." Luke 12: 47, 48. Rom. 11: 17-22.
sharp dilemma impales us on its one horn or on the other. Overthrown Israel are
a type, either of the believer's eternal destruction or of his forfeited
reward: if it is not lost glory, it is lost life. But
the passage itself decides. "Know ye not
that they which run in a race all run, but one receiveth THE PRIZE?
Even so run, that ye may attain... For * (*See R. V.
and Critical Editions) I would not, brethren, have you
ignorant, how that our fathers," so privileged, "were overthrown." God never put us under
the Blood to withdraw us from its effeacy (Rom. 8: 1; John 10: 27-29; Rom. 11: 29; Heb. 9: 12):
neither has He ever presented the Prize as an
irrevocable gift. What is the imperiled
prize? "They do it to receive a corruptible crown;
but we an incorruptible. I therefore ... buffet my body, and bring it
into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself"
- even Paul - "should be rejected
[for the crown]." As fivefold was the privilege and fivefold the
overthrow, so even the best saints need cautioning against the worst sins. 1 Cor. 6: 9. Heb. 4: 11.
"He is not crowned, except he have contended lawfully" (2 Tim. 2: 5). Jas. 1: 12. Rev.
3: 11. The badge, the title, the proof of possession for the Millennial Kingdom
is the Crown; and "the Kingdom of Heaven
has no entrance fee, but its subscription is - all that a man hath."
Phil. 3: 8-14. The blessed reality
of the election of God can prove no shelter for the sins of the elect:
remember Moses. Col.
the command abides: Matt. 6: 33. "Take heed" - never presume: "God is faithful" - never despair. Every
escape out of temptation is a straight path into the coming Glory. "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above
that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape,
that ye may be able to endure it." God offers prizes in
order that we may win them: His heart yearns for our entry into the Kingdom.
worthy of God, who is calling you
into His own kingdom and glory" (1Thess.
2: 12). The entrance lies in the worthy walk. Matt. 7: 21. If our hearts linger in Egypt, our graves will be dug in the wilderness:
if our hearts dwell in Canaan, we shall
follow in person. Col. 3:
1-4. Rev. 2: 26. "Now THESE THINGS HAPPENED UNTO THEM BY WAY OF EXAMPLE; AND
THEY WERE WRITTEN FOR OUR
ADMONITION, UPON WHOM THE ENDS OF THE AGES ARE COME."
1. That is, "every
one of you [with the exception of Caleb and
Joshua] twenty years old or more who was
counted in the census," (Num. 14: