[This tract contains three links which should be opened. – Ed.]


"Because of Thy temple at Jerusalem Kings shall bring presents unto Thee" (Psa. 68: 29. R.V.)   "Now we beseech you, brethern, touching the coming [Gk. ‘presence’] of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him; to the end that ye be not quickly shaken from your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by epistle as from us, as that the day of our Lord is now present: let no man beguile you in any wise: for it will not be, except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God" (2 Thess. 2: 1-4).


"It is extraordinarily significant that the Government of Israel already plan to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.  The Evangelical Christian quotes from a writer in Palestine:- ‘There is even a Talmudic Seminary in Jerusalem where the rites of animal sacrifices are studied in great and earnest secrecy, in the hope that the Solomonic Temple will soon be rebuilt on its ancient site.  It can be said without exaggeration that if the orthodox party had their way the State of Israel would regress to the condition of life before the fall of Jerusalem in the first century, A.D.’ It is in this [rebuilt] Temple that the Antichrist will proclaim himself to be God." - DAWN No. 299, March 1949.


Ezekiel commenced his prophetic ministry in “the fifth year of the captivity of King Jehoiachin"(in some places called "Jeconiah").  The expression "the thirtieth year" in chapter 1, verse 1, is a little obscure, but probably refers to the thirtieth year of Ezekiel's life.  Ezekiel was a priest and if our supposition is correct then the Lord called him to the prophetic ministry at the same time as he would normally have entered upon his priestly office.  Whatever the meaning of this expression, however, the time referred to is rendered perfectly clear by the expression in verse 2 to which we have already referred.


Each of Ezekiel's thirteen prophecies are dated frorn the year of King Jehoiachin's captivity.  He prophesied in the fifth, sixth, seventh, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, twenty-fifth and twenty-seventh years from that event.  Only two prophecies in the book are placed out of chronological order - one in the tenth year and the other in the twenty-seventh.  The reason for this is obviously to bring all the prophecies relating to Egypt together.  The vision concerning the Temple and City was given, he says, "in the twenty-fifth year of our captivity ... the fourteenth year after the city was smitten."  This shows that Ezekiel was also taken captive with King Jehoiachin and thus was in captivity five years before his ministry began. Jehoiachin reigned only a few months, and Zedekiah, who succeeded him, being the last king, reigned eleven years; and fourteen plus eleven equals twenty-five.


What was the purpose of this last vision given to Ezekiel?  It has been said that the Lord intended to give Israel one more opportunity to return wholeheartedly to Himself, and that had they done so this new order of things would have been established forthwith in Jerusalem.  As, however, they did not return to Him, the promise of so glorious a Temple became null and void and the whole narrative therefore ceases to be of any practical interest.


Such a conclusion, however, is obviously ill-considered.  If the Lord had, at that time, brought Israel into the order of things portrayed by Ezekiel, then the whole of the Levitical law would have been rendered obsolete.  But there is not the slightest indication anywhere that this was intended until such law had found its completion in Christ. Indeed, as we shall hereafter show, the institutions of Ezekiel's Temple could find their proper place only in an age of grace.


A very cursory comparison between Ezekiel's Temple and the records of Ezra and Nehemiah will serve to show that it is clearly not Zerubbabel's Temple that is here described.


Some have suggested that the spiritual Temple of Christ's Church in its eternal glory is here set forth in the symbols of an earthly building and that nothing more is intended.  The wealth of detail, however, employed in the minute description of every part of the building precludes such an idea.  Certain parts of these chapters, such as the issuing of the living waters from under the threshold or the entrance into the House of the Glory of the Lord, have been taken by some and so spiritualized, perhaps with some profit to the hearers, but no man has yet ventured to spiritualize every detail of description and measurement found in the record of this vision.  It would be extremely, difficult, for example, without being highly fanciful, to find any spiritual counterpart to the division of the land among the tribes or the order in which the tribes appear in the land.  The same may be said of the numbers of arches, chambers aria pillars with their detailed measurements and many other such things.  And unless the whole description can be shown to be merely symbolic of spiritual things, it is manifestly improper so to regard some particular portions thereof just according to one's fancy.


To the honest and unbiased reader, the record given is the plain and simple description in great detail of a literal Temple, with a city in close proximity, yet to be built in a particular place in the Holy Land, to the north and south of which the tribes of Israel are to have equal inheritance in a manner entirely different front that which has obtained in the previous history of the nation.  The Temple moreover, is to be filled with the Glory of Jehovah, who is to have His Throne there, while holiness is to be the law of the House and abundance the characteristic of the Kingdom.


The Temple itself evidently stands upon the summit of a mountain, for the Lord said to Ezekiel, "Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold! this is the law of the house" (chapter xliii. 12).


"It shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ve, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law. and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more " (Isaiah 2: 2-4).


James Payne.


"‘The third Temple, as outlined by Ezekiel,’ says Mr. Menachin Beign,will assuredly be rebuilt in our own generation.’  Other Jewish speakers have said the same.


Solomon's sacred and historic worshipping place was one of the grandest structures ever raised by man.  It represented first a daring piece of engineering work and embodied all the skill and cunning of the craftsmen of those days.  Furthermore, its conception was only possible through the united enthusiasm of a whole nation.  Not least, it was reared in the comparatively short space of seven years.  It is doubtful if our leading contractors, with all their mechanical and labour-saving devices, would undertake to duplicate the feat in a like period." - H. J. SHIPSTONE, F.R.G.S.


Ezekiel’s vision of a restored Jewish nation and a rebuilt temple is significant when we recall what has happened to Palestine.  Since the country passed to the Jews, they have definitely announced their intention to build a temple in Jerusalem, and what is more, on the ORIGINAL SITE.  The original temple was reared in the comparatively short space of seven years.


Herod spent forty-six years in the building of his temple.  Over a century was spent in the erection of St. Peter’s in Rome, and nearly four and a half centuries were needed to complete the cathedral at Milan.  It took Sir Christopher Wren thirty-five years to build St. Paul’s Cathedral, and compared with the time expended upon other similar edifices it was a fairly rapid piece of work.


But before Solomon could erect his temple he had to prepare the site.  It adorns the rocky pinnacle of Mount Moriah, for Jerusalem is built on a series of hills.  It was necessary to construct a platform to carry the temple and its subsidiary buildings.  This stupendous base remains today.  It is some thirty-five acres in extent and was built in so substantial a manner that neither time nor the devastation of barbarian forces, nor even earthquake shocks, have been able to break it up.  Many of the stones of which it is composed are of massive proportions, some running to forty feet in length and weighing well over a hundred tons.  Engineers declare that the material used in filling in the valleys to create this necessary base is three times that requisitioned in building the Great Pyramid of Cheops.


With its outer buildings, which included the Judgment Hall, the King's Palace, the House of the Forest of Lebanon, the spacious courts for the worshippers, cloisters, accommodation for the army of priests, and stables and stalls for the beasts used in connection with the sacrifices, Solomon's temple, like that erected by Herod, covered the whole of the thirty-five acre platform.  The temple was not a single building, like a modern cathedral, but a system of concentric enclosures or courts, of which the temple proper, though the most splendid part of it, and lifted high above all the rest, was but a small part.  It was not only the first permanent worshipping place of the Israelites, but the first permanent edifice to be reared for the service of God.


Research would go to show that the total number of men called into requisition to erect this wonderful worshipping-place was no less than 180,000.  These men worked constantly for a period of three years.  Today with modern methods of construction and up to date labour-saving devices, the number of workers could be reduced.  But the cost would still be enormous.


Those authorities who have studied the subject declare that the cost of building a temple in the early 50’s would have been between $250,000,000 and $300,000,000.  This would be for a building after the pattern of that erected by Herod which was devoid of that lavish ornamentation of the precious metals which characterised Solomon's building.  The Temple itself, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, was overlaid with gold.  The great seven-branched candlestick was of gold, as was also the table for the shewbread, while the two cherubims which stood ten feet high, and also the ark were covered with this costly metal.  Then the gold and silver basins, measures and censers totalled 850,000.  It is computed that Solomon used in the building and ornamentation of the temple 13,000,000 pounds troy weight of gold and 130,000,000 pounds of silver.  That quantity of the precious metals would not be available today; and some idea of what the cost would be, may be gauged when we remember what value gold is quoted today per ounce.  Thus the gold alone used by Solomon represented an enormous value today!*


[* It is therefore unlikely that the Jews of today would attempt to rebuild the Temple at its original cost; but we need also to remember that there are Jews in the United States of such immense wealth as to make a more moderate building possible at any moment.]


The Jews declare that the temple will be built on its original site.  This great thirty-five-acre platform belongs to the Moslems.  To them it is no less sacred than Mecca and Medina, for it was from here that their prophet Mohammed is said to have made his miraculous journey to Heaven.  Two buildings stand upon the temple area today, that graceful structure the Dome of the Rock and the Mosque al-Aksa.  There is ample space for the erection of other structures. It may be possible now, or in the near future for Jew and Moslem to come to some arrangement by which the temple area is parcelled out between them. Thus the erection of a Hebrew temple is quite feasible.  Ezekiel's vision of a restored Jewish state and temple may not only be realised but become an accomplished fact sooner than we expect.


To open a plan of Ezekiel’s Temple by J. G. Wiles, L.R.I.B.A. : Click here






THE Dome of the Rock of Jerusalem is known also as the Mosque of Omar, and is second alone to the Kaaba at Mecca as a sacred shrine of the Moslem world.  It stands upon the reputed site of the Temple of Solomon, within the Al Haram al Shariff, on Mount Moriah.


The seventh century was a period of bloodshed for Jerusalem.  In 614 Chosroes II, King of Persia, captured Jerusalem, devastated many of the buildings and massacred a great number of the inhabitants.  Fifteen years later, the Persians were defeated by the Roman Emperor Heraclius, who entered Jersualem in triumph bringing with him "the holy cross " which had been carried off by Chosroes.  But, at the time, the Moslem religion was steadily gaining ground, and in 637, eight years after the triumph of Herachus, the Caliph Omar took the city after a siege of four months.  The Dome of the Rock was erected in 688 by the Amir Abd el, Malek, who called it the Mosque of Omar.  For four centuries thereafter the Mohammedans held the city, until it fell to the Crusaders under Godfrey of Bouillon, who made it the capital of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.  In 1187 it was again recaptured by Saladin the Great since which time, with two brief intervals, it has remained in Moslem hands.


The Dome of the Rock, is a regular octagon in shape, built within a circle 177 feet in diameter.  Its walls are decorated with Oriental ceramics placed there in the reign of the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.  Verses from the Koran are inscribed in the frieze below the dome.  Within is the Sacred Rock, regarded by the Mohammedans as the scene of Mohammed's ascent to heaven, and the Jews as that of the proposed sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham.  On this rock the Crusaders set up an altar.  The building stands on a platform about twelve feet in height, and is approached from four sides by flights of broad steps surmounted at the landing by graceful arcades.


It is probable that the passing of the Dome of the Rock out of the hands of the Moslems will be one of the marks of the ending of "the times of the Gentiles" (See Luke 21 : 24)


- The Good Samaritan, Madras.



This writing is found in A. L. Chitwood’s book, ‘Focus On The Middle East’, (p.p. 69-72):-


The existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East forms a contradiction in Islamic teaching.  Islam teaches that (1) “Allah” has predetermined all things, and (2) “Allah” is through with the Jews.


Judaism (along with the Christian faith) is looked upon by Moslems as an older religion whose people strayed from the true path of “Allah.”  Resultingly, God is through with the Jews (and Christians as well); and since “Allah” has predetermined all things, for the land of Palestine and the holy sites to once again come under Jewish control is looked upon by Moslems as theologically impossible.


This belief then usually gives rise to an unanswerable question: “How can a Jewish nation presently exist in the Middle East, especially in the land of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital?”


This is the land covenanted to Abraham and his posterity, which Moslems believe was to be inherited by Abraham’s descendants through Ishmael; and this is also the land which, for centuries, until modern times, had been under Islamic dominion and control – possessed by Moslems for “Allah,” but now possessed by the Jewish people.


Moslems attempt to answer the question about present Israeli dominion and control of this land, solving the problem for the moment, through simply refusing to recognize the existence of the nation of Israel. This is why the Moslem nations have such a difficult time when it comes to any type dealings with Israel.  Such dealings, in their eyes, are with a people who have no right to exist and who form a nation which, according to Islamic teaching, actually, can’t (and, consequently, doesn’t) exist.  This is one problem which Antichrist will have to solve in order to bring about his covenant of peace.


The actions of Arab delegates at the United Nations assembly provide a case in point to illustrate Moslem thinking about the existence of the nation of Israel.  When an Israeli delegate gets up to speak, the Arab delegates (Moslem delegates) either ignore him or get up and leave.  They do neither within a framework of what might be called bad manners.  Their actions are governed strictly by reasoning within the Moslem way of thinking: “The Israeli delegate is a nobody, representing nothing, so why listen to a nobody saying something about nothing?”


Any negotiations with Israel by Moslems are not normally done directly (as in the case of Anwar Sadat’s dealings with Menachhem Begin and others in Israel during the late ‘70’s).  Rather, such dealings are normally carried out through a third party.  And this is possibly the way Antichrist will enact peace between the Moslems and the Jews.


At the heart of the problem today is the Jewish occupation and control of the old city of Jerusalem, the third most holy place in the world for the followers of Islam.  The Arabs occupied and controlled this part of Jerusalem from the time of the inception of the Jewish state in 1948 until the Six-Day War of 1967, but the Israelis have occupied and controlled all of Jerusalem (the new and old sections) since that time.  And in 1980, the Israeli Kenesset passed a law declaring Jerusalem to be “eternal and indivisible.


It is the Temple Mount in the old city of Jerusalem which makes this city the third most holy place in the world for the followers of Islam.  This is the place Moslems believe Abraham offered Ishmael as a burnt offering (a corruption of Gen. 22), and this is the place where Moslems believe Mohammed bodily ascended to heaven and remained for a short time (he is buried in Medina).


The Temple Mount though is not sacred to just the Moslems.  It is sacred as well to the Jewish people.  And to them the Temple Mount is the most holy place in the world.  In the eyes of the Jewish people, there is nothing that can even remotely compare with the Temple Mount.  Moslems face toward Mecca when they pray, but religious Jews face toward the Temple Mount.  These Jews, facing toward this mount, pray for the coming of their Messiah and the rebuilding of their temple.


On the Temple Mount today there are two Moslem mosques: the Dome of the Rock (the Mosque of Omar, built in the seventh century over the cite where Moslems believe Abraham offered Ishmael and Mohammed ascended to heaven), and the Al Aksa Mosque (built at a later date).  And it is on this mount that a Jewish temple will stand in the immediate future.


The temple must be built on the exact spot where the previous two temples stood; and from the best calculations of those who have studied the matter over the years (such as Rabbi Goren, Chief Rabbi for the Israeli armed forces when the Jews captured the old city of Jerusalem in 1967), conclusions are that the Jewish temple, in order to stand on this exact spot, must be built exactly where the Dome of the Rock now stands.


How can this be brought to pass?  No one seems to know.  Rabbi Goren answers the question by simply saying, “It’s a big problem.”  But it is going to occur, and it will occur shortly after [or before] Antichrist establishes his covenant with “the many” in Israel.


For decades the Jews have been openly praying at the Wailing Wall for their temple to be rebuilt.  And the Moslems, knowing that the only place this temple can be rebuilt is where the Dome of the Rock now stands, have, over the years, expressed grave concern about the Jews praying after this fashion at this particular location.  Sometimes the matter breaks out into open, hostile actions, such as the much publicized outbreak of violence which occurred October 8, 1990 when several thousand Moslems moved toward the Temple Mount to attack Jews praying at the Wailing Wall.


Thus, at the centre of the Arab-Israeli dispute over the old city of Jerusalem is the Temple Mount.  Possession and control of this one piece of real estate is at the centre of the intractable problem which exists concerning the old city of Jerusalem as a whole. This is where the impasse is centred, which makes the Arab-Israeli dispute basically a religious problem.  And until this problem is resolved, very little in the overall dispute can change.


In one sense of the word though, it matters little what Moslems, Jews, or the nations at large do about the matter today, for, according to the Scriptures, during the first year of the Tribulation the Jews are going to build a temple on this mount (Dan. 8: 11-14).  The covenant (peace treaty) which Antichrist will establish between Israel and the Moslem nations will either have something directly to do with allowing Israel to rebuild her temple or it will provide conditions which will allow Israel to undertake this task apart from the actual terms of the covenant itself.


In either case, the covenant will be broken by Antichrist entering the temple on the Temple Mount, desecrating the temple, sitting in the Holy of Holies declaring himself to be “God,” and then destroying the temple (Dan. 9: 26; Matt. 24: 15; 2 Thess. 2: 3, 4).  The Moslem clerics will be exercising control over his military endeavours at this time; and, because of the importance of the Temple Mount to the Moslems and Jews alike, it will only be natural for a desecration and destruction of the Jewish temple to occupy a strategic part in Antichrist’s initial act of breaking his covenant.


Also, it is possible that the Jews gaining access to the Temple Mount to rebuild their temple will be the trigger-mechanism which brings Russia down into Israel during the first year of the Tribulation, seeking to help Moslem nations to the north and south of Israel do what the Moslems have been trying to do since May 14, 1948 – drive the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea and reclaim the land of Palestine for “Allah.”


After all, the temple must stand where the Dome of the Rock now stands, something unthinkable within the framework of the current status of events in the Middle East.  And any move by Israel toward the Temple Mount today, with a view to building a Jewish temple on the spot where the Dome of the Rock now stands, would bring the wrath of the Moslem world down upon Israel.


A few years ago, the head of the Supreme Moslem Council in Jerusalem stated concerning the matter.  The Moslems are prepared to die for this place [a statement actually referring to the Temple Mount as a whole].”  And certain Moslem nations during the Tribulation … may very well look upon the matter after a similar fashion when Israel sets about to rebuild her temple, with Russia taking advantage of the situation at that time through direct military intervention.


Daniel reveals that Israel will rebuild the temple during the same year that Ezekiel reveals Russia will come down to help the four Moslem nations destroy Israel – during the first year of the Tribulation.  The timing of both events is seemingly right for the events to be interrelated; but they may or may not.  Scripture is silent on this possible connection.”







[The following tract is based on the writings of D. M. PANTON.]


The rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem is delayed until God’s appointed time.  Dr. Timothy Richard asked a thoughtful heathen, a Chinese philanthropist, if he had read the New Testament.  "Three times," he answered. "And what impressed you most? " the Doctor asked.  Pausing, the Chinaman replied:- "I think the most wonderful thing to me in the whole Book is this, that it is possible for men to become temples of the ‘Holy Ghost."  The indwelling of the Godhead in the human is not only one of the profoundest of all mysteries, a dignity conferred on the human body quite inconceivable, but, in the deep-down root of it, it is the only solution, and the perfect solution, of all human problems.


The central aim of a temple, and its innermost shrine, are not, primarily, for worship, but for the residence of a god. Jehovah said to David:- "Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?" (2 Sam. 7: 5).  All the materials of the Temple were of ordinary wood and gold and brass: the solitary wonder that made it a unique building on earth was a fire-hearted cloud in the innermost Shrine: it was not the magnificence of the structure nor the costliness of the materials, nor the solemn ritual, that made the Temple so awful, but the actual presence of Deity.  So also, but with a far more moving emphasis, the wonder of the new temple is the same.  The poorest, meanest-clad, least-educated cud of God; the common members with which once we sinned; the weary limbs, the hungry bodies, the sleepless frames, the heart in the sick room almost too tired to beat:- "Your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost" (1 Cor. 6: 19).  For the Christian is made on the pattern of Christ.  "Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.  He spake of the temple of his body:” (John 2: 19).


Now the whole Temple foreshadowed the truth which the prophet Ezekiel had foretold. "I will put my Spirit within you” - not upon you, in miraculous gifts, or around you, in guarding power; but ‘WITHIN you,’ like the main-spring of a watch, or the dynamo of a motor - "and cause you" - in consequence of the indwelling - "to walk in my statutes, and do them" (Ezek. 36: 27).  Out of the indwelt soul the Most High launches the Amazon - or what in a sanctified life can be an Amazon - of active goodness: "it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2: 13).  For God does not (first of all) give us a model; nor does He begin by inculcating prohibitions and negations: He puts Himself into the human; He enters as the resident main-spring which keeps all the wheels, pivots, axles accomplishing the purpose for which the human was made.  "For we are a temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in them, and WALK in them" (2 Cor. 6: 16).  God not only dwells, but walks, in the believer whose life thus becomes (so far as he lets it) a transcript of the Divine.  It is the momentous, profound, eternal, and only principle on which God solves all problems in a fallen world.


So then the humblest believer is exalted to a dignity above earth's highest thrones.  For there is more of God manifest in a Christian than anywhere else in the world: a sanctified, obedient believer is the sole spot on earth in which He is resident.  And the body of the believer is as sacred to God as the Temple was.  "Mine eyes and my heart," He says, "shall be there perpetually" (1 Kings 9: 3).  And the potentiality of this truth is utterly incalculable. "We have not power enough," someone once said to Evan Roberts. "My brother," Mr. Roberts answered, "power is a Person, and we have got the Holy Ghost."  All holiness, all truth, all life, all power reside in the Holy Ghost; and The Holy Ghost resides in us: therefore all power is ours - dormant it may be, but latent - to be and to do all that God desires.  And the temple’s completion is as certain as its foundation.  Solomon began, and Solomon finished, the first Temple: of Zerubbabel God said:- his "hands have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it" (Zech. 4: 9): so Christ, starting the human temple in regeneration, will complete it in resurrection.*


[*Our Lord's words-"destroy this temple" (John 2: 19) - a temple which, in fact, was not even decomposed, prove afresh that God's action on the lost - "destroy both body and soul in hell” (Matt. 10: 28) - is no annihilation, but simply a putting out of use, a destruction of function.]


But no transcendent privilege is unattached to a corresponding gravity of responsibility, and a menace of misuse.  Therefore the Spirit adds :-"If any [regenerate believer] defileth the temple of God, him shall God defile *; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye" - and not unbelievers - "are" (1 Cor. 3: 17).  We believers who degrade our bodies are guilty of sacrilege ; and such sacrilege, with its unutterably solemn consequence, has been remarkably foreshadowed in the old Temple. The censers with which Korah and his associates - all people of God, all drinking of the Rock offered strange fire before Jehovah, so defiling the Sacred Courts, were beaten into plates to cover the Altar (Num. xvi. 38), as 'vessels of dishonour,' for ever marking the judgment of God.**  So Paul says:-" Some vessels [are] unto honour, and some unto dishonour: if a man therefore purge himself from these [sins], he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, meet for the master's use " (2 Tim. ii. 20).


[* It is the same word in both clauses: and it can hardly mean 'destroy,' for it is not possible to destroy what has already been destroyed; but it is very possible for that to be defiled with Divine degradation which has already been defiled by human sin. 

**Impurity of every kind, drug addiction, contraceptives, excess in wine or food - one of the most gifted evangelists we ever knew (a teetotaler) was wrecked by gluttony - all such are degradations of the body which, if un-abandoned, will bring bodily degradation at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Luke 12: 47); and the kindest thing we can do to each other is to state this truth quite plainly, and keep it steadily before the Church of God.]


Defiled is the temple, its beauty laid low;

On God's holy altar the embers faint glow:

By love yet rekindled, a flame may be fann'd;

O quench not the Spirit, the Lord is at hand!


So we get an instantaneous photograph of human need in the fearful picture of a godless temple. "Wouldest thou pray in the temple?" Augustine asks; "then pray within thyself; but first become a temple."  The natural man has no ‘Divine-spark’ within: he is the workmanship of God, and bears the imprint of His fingers; but, so far as indwelling Deity is concerned, he is a dark and empty shrine.  All deification of man is Antichrist's exact negative of the truth.*  "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His " (Rom. 8: 9): he is " WITHOUT GOD in the world" (Eph. 2: 12).


[* “Antichrist's theological system may he summed up in the three following theses: 1. There is no personal God without and above the Universe. 2. Man is himself his own god - the god of this world.  3. I am the representative of humanity; by worshipping me humanity worships itself " (Godet).]


It is the first massive foundation laid by our Lord on which He rears the entire superstructure of His revelation of God's mind:- "Except a man be begotten from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God; ye must be begotten FROM ABOVE (John 3: 3, 7).  A godless temple must meet a godless doom.


So we reach the grand climax.  "Your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost, which ye have" - not, as you have your human spirit, from your parents; but-"FROM GOD."*  All men are temple buildings, though empty; the structure for God's indwelling is already there and no preparation is needed for His entrance: all that is necessary is the invocation of the Shekinah Glory.  "Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord, and spread forth his hands, and said, Now therefore arise, O Lord God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength [Christ]: let thy priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation: O Lord God, turn not away the face of thine Anointed!  Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and the glory of the Lord FILLED THE HOUSE " (2 Chron. 6: 12, 41; 7: 1).**  It is one of the kindest, the most utterly wonderful of all the promises of Christ :- "If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the HOLY SPIRIT TO THEM THAT ASK HIM " (Luke 11:. 1).


[*That is, from the [Holy] Spirit of God, and none else.  The entrance of any other spirit into the human body (as in Spiritualistic mediumship) is the introduction of strange fire into the Temple, or such idolatrous icons as Ezekiel saw (8: 10) upon the Temple walls.

**Thus the invocation is full of Christ: for the Ark (a type of Christ) enters with the Shekinah; and He is directly referred to as 'Thy Anointed.'  No heart is saved except the heart in which the Lamb of God - the blood-sprinkled Mercy Seat - is enthroned.]


It is a tremendous truth.  In Carlisle, in Pennsylvania, on the death of a young Christian man, much loved in his home and college, a large concourse assembled at the funeral.  Finding the entry of the chapel blocked, his father, a well-known preacher, cried to the pall-bearers, "Young men, tread lightly! tread lightly ! ye bear the temple of the Holy Ghost."  These simple but startling words fell like an electric shock on the hearers, and a revival swept through the college and the town.*


[* In the temple of the body, the descent of the Shekinah Glory is manifestly the descent of the Spirit into the new-born individual in regeneration: in the collective temple of all the saints (Eph. 2: 21), the descent of the Shekinah is as manifestly the Spirit’s descent into the new-born Church at Pentecost, in miracle and inspiration.]




"And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which are afterward to be spoken; but Christ as a son, over his house; whose house are we, IF WE HOLD FAST OUR BOLDNESS AND THE GLORYING OF OUR HOPE FIRM UNTO THE END" (Heb. 3: 5, 6)




By  G. H. LANG.


[The following is taken from the author’s book, ‘The Epistle To The Hebrews,’ pp. 67-75, 196-201.]


 1. The House of God.


A house is a building where a person dwells and can be found.  God being spirit dwells in a spirit dwelling, and especially in and among living persons, manifesting Himself to and in their spirits, causing them to display His own glory, His holiness.  A material dwelling is not essential to such a dwelling of God on earth (Acts 7: 47-50).  Such a structure as tabernacle or temple is simply a condescension to man's limited ability to recognize God as at hand in spirit.  In the finally perfected conditions of heaven there will be no temple (Rev. 21: 22).


It was intended at the first that it should be thus with Israel.  "When Israel went forth out of Egypt ... Judah became His sanctuary, Israel His dominion" (Ps. 114: 1, 2).  The earthly building was but a visible exhibition of the existing spiritual reality, the presence of God: it did not create the latter but merely displayed it to the eye.


The church of God is now to be such a structure: "that thou mayest know how it behoves to behave in the house of God, [the] church of [the] living God, pillar and support of the truth." (1 Tim. 3: 15); i.e. it is the office of God's people, singly and unitedly, to exhibit and maintain before men the truth concerning God and His Son, and to demonstrate His presence among His people.  One instance of this dwelling of God with His church is that, when Christians are together, and their worship and teaching are ordered and energized by the Spirit of God, the unbeliever will be constrained to exclaim "God is among you indeed" (1 Cor. 14: 24, 25).  A severe test this of the actual spiritual state of a church.


This figure of a house is the first and chief figure to teach the privileges attaching to association with the Son of God; as He said: "On this the rock [the truth of His own Messiahship and Deity confessed] I will build My church" (Matt. 16: 18).  It was employed frequently by Christ and the apostles (Luke 12: 35-48; Matt. 24: 45-51; Eph. 2: 19-21; etc.).  It is a loss when this first and principal figure of a building is neglected and the figure of the "body" is overstressed, as if it expresses all truth as to relationship with Christ.


It is to be observed that "house" often merges into and means "household," the inhabitants rather than the structure.  Thus Nathan said to David, "Jehovah will make thee a house" (2 Sam. 7: 11); and so in Eph. 2 cited: "ye are of the household of God."  Over this household the Son of God is the sole Ruler (ver. 6).  In this sphere He alone holds rights direct from the Father of the family: all lesser authority (as, e.g. of elders) is derived from the Son, and is to be exercised strictly according to His directions, without variation caused by human opinion or preference (see Heb. 8: 5).  Here is one chief matter in which faithfulness is required from His servants, and far too seldom has it been found.  Man's desires and ideas have largely ousted the rule of the Son as Head over God's house, wronging Him and ruining the house.


Of old Moses acted for God in the capacity of chief servant, but Jesus acts as Son over the Father's household. Moses dealt with things then present as indications in advance of nobler things to follow (Heb. 3: 5): Christ has now introduced those higher and heavenly arrangements, and will duly bring them to eternal completion.  How blessed to be dutiful and faithful and to walk in this divine sphere, rather than to turn back to the earthly, imperfect, and transitory foreshadowings of it.  Yet Christendom has largely done this, by its resumption of the visible and fleshly in worship, and in the arrangements for what it calls God's house.  Stately edifices, elaborate ceremonies, splendid vestments, a caste of priests or ministers, altars, sacrifices, incense, music - what is all this but a lapse back from the heavenly and spiritual to the elements and weakness of the Mosaic and external which Christ abrogated (John 4: 19-24)?  It was against this that the Writer uttered his warnings and appeals: would that they had been generally heeded, and that the household had held fast to the Head of the house.


2. The Warnings.


Let us give most earnest attention to these.  They are four, based upon the conditions for sharing in 1. the house of God; 2. companionship with the Messiah; 3. for reaching Canaan; 4. for sharing in God's sabbath rest.


1. "Whose house are we IF" ( Heb. 3: 6).


(1) Judah God's Sanctuary.


Writing from the distance of many centuries the psalmist here cited could say that it was "when Israel went forth out of Egypt" that "Judah became His sanctuary."  Yet in the fact this was not so till a whole year after they left Egypt (Exod. 40: 17).  It was not till the first day in the second year that the tabernacle was reared up and God descended to dwell among them.  This is seen in three further particulars: (a) that to meet God Moses had to ascend the mount (Exod. 19: 20, etc.): (b) that the earlier tent, where Moses alone met God face to face, was beyond the limits of the camp (Exod. 33: 7-11).  These audiences were occasional, and the cloud, the sign of the presence of God, descended on those occasions.  (c) It was on the summit of Sinai that God said to Moses "Let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them" (Exod. 25: 8).


(2) Redemption and Baptism necessary but inadequate.


Thus redemption and baptism (of both of which Israel had partaken in type) do not of themselves assure the indwelling of God in a believer.  The first disciples were sincere believers in Christ, devoted to Him, and used in service, long before Pentecost.  Comp. also Acts 8: 4-17; 19: 1-6.  The case of Cornelius and his friends shows that the indwelling may take place at the very moment of first faith in Christ (Acts 10: 44-48); the other instances show that it may come later.  But until that indwelling at Pentecost the first Christians, though regenerate, were not yet a house unto God, and until an individual believer is so indwelled neither is he.


(3) Israel nearly missed this honour.


Israel only narrowly escaped the entire forfeiture of the dignity of becoming a house unto God.  Because of their sin in making the golden calf God said (Exod. 33: 2), "I will send an angel before thee ... for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiff-necked people; lest I consume thee in the way."  But Moses felt that no angel could afford him sufficient support for his heavy responsibilities, and he argued the case before God until the promise was given, "My presence shall go [i.e. in the midst of the people, see ver. 3], and I will give thee rest " (Exod. 33: 12-16), that is, while still carrying his load.


(4) Israel twice lost the honour.


God continued to dwell with Israel until they in their blindness and carnality trusted in the symbol of His local presence, the ark of the covenant, and not in Himself; whereupon, suffering them to take their own course,"He delivered His strength into captivity" by the Philistines, and "forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh" (1 Sam. 4; Ps. 78: 6o-62; Jer. 7: 1:2).  Thenceforth He was not in their midst, and consequently they ceased to be to Him a house.  It was so for just over a hundred years until He graciously descended in glory to Solomon's temple.  Here He dwelled until the wickedness of His people caused Him to abandon that house also and give it up to destruction by Nebuchadnezzar (Ezek. 10: 18, 19; 11: 23).  Never since has God dwelled among Israel or have they been His house, for the Glory did not return to the second temple.


(5) Applications to ourselves.


Thus the type shows that the indwelling of God may be withdrawn.  It had not been possible for the Chaldeans to destroy the temple while the God of glory was there.  It had not been possible for Satan to destroy the bodies of the wicked brethren at Corinth while the Spirit of God was indwelling them as His sanctuary (1 Cor. 5: 3-5; 11: 30). An assembly also may corporately forfeit the presence of the Lord and cease to be His sanctuary.  Thus the Lord declared Himself to be outside of the church at Laodicea (Rev. 3: 20).


Surely it cannot be fairly doubted that this corresponds to patent facts and explains them.  There are men once owned much by God as His servants, once so filled with His Spirit that men came into contact with God in them, but upon whom for long years "Ichabod" has  been plainly written, The glory is departed!  There are Sardian churches of whom it is sadly true that they have a name to live and are really dead (Rev. 3: 1).  But if they are dead then the Spirit of life cannot be in them.  It is spiritual folly to maintain a theory against facts.  Wisdom admits the facts and accepts the remedies (Rev. 3: 3, 18, 20).


Every believer might be indwelled by the Spirit of God, but not every believer is; every believer might know this indwelling to the end of life, but not every believer does.  And hence the powerful warning before us: "Whose house are we [emphatic] IF the boldness and the boasting of the hope [of sharing the glory of God; see Rom. 5: 2] steadfast unto the end we should hold fast."  The aorist subjunctive used kataschomen regards the holding fast as one continuous act completed at the end of each life, and the verb takes emphasis at the close of the sentence.  "If" with the subjunctive declares a condition.  Being to God as a dwelling place depends upon steadfastness of hope and of witness to that hope.  Similarly does Col. 1: 22, 23 lay down that our being "presented before" the Lord, "holy and without blemish and unreprovable," depends upon the same steadfastness: "if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the good tidings which ye heard."


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By the third century the hope of the gospel had been too generally abandoned, though they still professed the faith; they avowed salvation to come through Christ and His death, but had given up His return as the true hope of the Christian.  In consequence the many who named the Name readily accepted the proposal of the world to become the official State religion, and the presence and power of God in the churches that did so soon ceased.  Thenceforth it has been the minority that have confessed the hope and walked in Abraham's path as a stranger among the peoples, and always it has been among such that the spiritual glory of God has been displayed.


Israel and we may remain the people of God - they beloved still for the fathers' sake and we for Christ's sake - yet cease to be to God for a house, a dwelling place.  As we have seen, the tabernacle and temple are used in the New Testament as types of the believer and the church; but it is for us to benefit by the whole typical history, its course and conclusion, not only its glorious commencement, and to profit by its warnings as well as its comfort.


As regards the church of this age and its testimony, it began with Pentecost, it will end with apostasy (Matt. 24: 12; 11 Thess. 2: 1-3; 1 Tim. 4: 1-3).  The grave peril is that we may "fall from our own steadfastness" (2 Pet. 3: 17). Whether one will reach the glory and rule the nations depends upon whether he overcomes and keeps the Lord's works unto the end (Matt. 24: 13; Rev. 2.: 26).  Salvation from perdition is definitely without works (Rom. 4: 1-8), and to teach otherwise is to falsify the gospel: but equally definitely ruling with Christ depends on works, as Rev. 2: 26 states, and to teach otherwise is to falsify our hope, by putting it on a false basis.  Here it is fidelity that matters, in us as in Moses and in Christ.


2. Messiah's Companions. (Heb. 3: 14).


Moses had his personal attendant, Joshua.  David had the "king's friend," Hushai (1 Chron. 27: 33). Rehoboam had "the young men that were grown up with him, that stood before him" (2 Chron. 10: 8).  The Lord in His kingdom will have those who "walk about with Him in white," arrayed thus in white garments then because they overcame now in the battle with sin and did not defile their garments here (Rev. 3: 4, 5).  They are "the called and chosen and faithful" (Rev. 17: 14).  It is faithfulness that matters.


To the little band who, in spite of failings and failures, had gone through with their Teacher and Lord to the end, He said: “I come again, and will receive you unto Myself, that where I am [at any time] ye may be also" (John 14: 3).  He had said before: "If Me any one serve, Me let him follow; and where I am there shall also My servant be: if any one serve Me, him will the Father honour" (John 12: 26).  Complacency makes this to read, If any one believes on Christ as Saviour, he shall be with Christ and be honoured by the Father.  But the Lord said that companionship with Himself, and being honoured by the Father, results from serving and following.  And the context is that following Christ involves being a corn of wheat that dies to itself that it may live in others.  Therefore let the believer ask: Whose interests am I serving: Christ's or my own, Christ's or those of this world?  Whose maxims, whose example, whose ambitions and ends do I follow: those of Christ or of others?  In the nature of the case only one who does literally follow the steps of another can arrive where that other arrives.  Another path will lead to another place.


The summit of the Christian's true ambition is the immediate presence and continual company of the Son of God in glory.  The honour and the bliss of this is otherwise pictured as the mutual joy of bridegroom and bride.


He and I in that bright glory

One great joy shall share;

Mine to be for ever with Him,

His that I am there."


Elsewhere this dignity is set forth as sitting with the King on the royal dais at a banquet (Luke 22: 30), and again, as sharing His throne (Rev. 3: 21).  In all such relationships the dominant thought is that of sharing habitually the personal company of the Lord.  And this is the distinctive element in the word companions, i.e. being habitually in the company of one another; and it is equally the distinctive thought of the word thus translated metochos.


To his translation of Heb. 3: 1, where this word is found ("partakers of a heavenly calling"), Darby adds the note: "Here metochoi, who have been made, called to be, partakers of it.  They had been koinonoi of Israel's rights." These two words are indeed so similar in meaning as both to be rendered Partakers and Partners.  But one may be a "sleeping" partner, and never be seen at the business; but the metochoi would be habitually together conducting affairs in common.  The word is used in the LXX at Eccles. 4: 10, and Ps. 45: 7 before considered.


Too many Christians are content to have a share in the "common salvation," and show little desire or care to enjoy the company of the Lord or of their fellow-partners.  How shall such indifference here lead to intimacy there?  No; ch. 1: 9, using the same word, speaks of the Lord having companions; our present (verse 3: 14) declares that "companions [emphatic] of the Christ [the Messiah] we have become if at least [eanper] the beginning of the assurance unto the end steadfast we may hold."  We "have become" such companions as regards the calling and purpose of God, and we may enjoy this privilege already in heart fellowship with Christ: we shall become such in outward and visible and glorified reality IF we are steadfast unto the end of our course.  It is reaching well the end of the race that matters as to gaining the prize.  He who fails in staying power, and does not reach the goal, does not lose his life, but he does lose the prize.  It will be much to be in the kingdom of the saved: it will be far, far more to be a companion of the King.  Ponder this second IF!


Note on eanper, if.  It comes here and at 6: 3 only in the New Testament.  It is not found in LXX, but Grimm-Thayer here is wrong in stating it is not in the Old Testament Apocrypha.  It is in 2 Macc. 3: 38, and the passage distinctly shows its emphatic sense.  Heliodorous had been sent by the king of Syria to rob the temple at Jerusalem. Angels had appeared and flogged him nearly to death, his life being spared only at the intercession of the high priest.  Upon the king asking him who should next be sent on the errand he answered: "If thou hast any enemy or conspirator against the State, send him thither, and thou shalt receive him back well scourged, if he even escape with his life" (eanper kai diasotheie).


3. Reaching Canaan. "they were not able to enter in" (3: 19).


Nothing is clearer than that every redeemed Israelite that left Egypt had a right to enter Canaan.  The purpose and promise of God were universal to them as sons of Abraham.  Their title was beyond question.  Yet nothing is plainer than that of the 6oo,ooo adult men who left Egypt only two, Joshua and Caleb, did in fact enter Canaan.  The histories of this failure are narrated with significant fulness (Num. 13 and 14).  The grounds of failure and of success are stated with unmistakable distinctness.  The later references to it are striking and solemn. Ps. 95 impressed it upon Israel; Heb. 3 and 4 impress it upon us, and the detail use of the failure in 1 Cor. 10 emphasizes that the warning is as fully applicable to Gentile Christians as to converts from Judaism.


That Canaan must be won is as certain as that it may be lost.  That the promised power of God was adequate and available to enable them all to take possession was no guarantee that they would get possession.  In the cases of the few who did so the praise belonged to their God of grace  Who gave them the victory (Ps. 44: 3).  That the majority did not reach the land was, as we are here told, because of unbelief and disobedience.


What is the antitype of Canaan for the Christian?  Whatever it is will have three dominant features.  (1) It will be a gift of covenant grace, and therefore undeserved.  (2) It must be won by conflict.  No more is possessed than the warrior sets his foot upon (Josh. 1: 3).  (3) It may be lost by distrust of God and disobedience to His commands.


The two last particulars show that neither justification nor eternal life is in view, for these are described plainly as "free" gifts (Rom. 3: 24; 6: 23).  "Free" (dorean, charisma) means free of conditions, what is termed in law an absolute gift, as distinct from a conditional gift; a gift which therefore can neither be withdrawn by the donor nor forfeited by the receiver. [See Note A]


What, then, does Canaan represent to-day?  A careful examination of the records will show that the whole national history of Israel, from redemption in Egypt to Solomon, is one continuous type.  Parts of this type have been treated helpfully, especially the tabernacle; but it needs an Andrew Jukes to expound this subject as comprehensively, as spiritually, as profitably as in his Types of Genesis he dealt with the long history from Adam to Joseph.


Slavery in Egypt is Rom. 1 and 2: redemption by blood is Rom. 3 to 5: freedom from Egypt, by passing through the Red Sea, is Rom. 6, baptism into fellowship with Christ in His death and risen life: the wilderness is Rom. 7: the crossing the Jordan is Rom. 8: 1-17, experimental transference from being "in flesh" (the wilderness) to being "in spirit" (the land of promise), and thus becoming free from bondage and its fear, even as Israel lost the reproach of having been a slave race by being circumcised at Gilgal, at the entrance of the land.  This leads to Rom. 8: 15, 16, the joy of adoption and communion, so as to become heirs of the goodly land thus reached.  This in turn involves suffering with Christ (Rom. 8: 17, 18), as Israel in the land shared with Joshua the sufferings of the wars of possession.  The history of judges pictures the groaning and travailing of the church of God not yet perfected (Rom. 8: 22, 23), in which experiences there develop the still remaining weaknesses and failures of our mortal state, and in which the power of the hope of perfect possession and rest supports the godly (Rom. 8: 24, 25).


For the Christian this hope is to be realized at the "redemption of the body" (Rom. 8: 23).  Thus the sequence of thought has reached the second coming of our Lord.  Now His own final word as to that His advent is that He will come as "the root and offspring of David" (Rev. 22: 16); that is to say, that David in his rejection, hardships, and wars was a type of Christ now rejected and hidden, but whose public appearing will secure victory over Satan, with liberation for the earth, and glory for those who fought and suffered with Him.  Thus did David's return to public life free Palestine from the Philistine oppression and bring to glory in his kingdom the men who had shared his rejection.


But Rom. 8: 19-21 adds the material feature that at that revelation of our now absent Lord, with the many sons who by then will have been brought unto glory, there is to be a releasing of creation itself from its pains and groans. Previous prophecies had foretold this, as Ps. 72: 16; Isa. 11: 6-9; 30: 23-26; 55: 12, 13; etc.  In other words the period we have now reached in this line of thought is the millennial reign of Christ, the Prince of peace, the foreshadowing of which was the earlier part of Solomon's reign of peace and glory.  But failure marked the close of that period, and failure will mark the close of the Millennium (Rev. 20: 7-10); whereupon will follow a final judgment and final reconstruction of heaven and earth, a new and eternal order.


Thus Canaan as a type does not extend beyond the days of Solomon, and therefore is not a picture of things eternal, but of two things: (1) of the present era of spiritual conflict as in Joshua and Judges and in Eph. 6.  In this experience rich knowledge is gained of the power and goodness of God. but it is accompanied with groaning: but (2), and more fully, Canaan prefigured that millennial period, the era upon which hope is called to fix itself, even upon "the favour that is being brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1: 13).


Seeing that failure and sorrow marked Canaan through the whole past it cannot be a type of the eternal ages, for these will never be marred by failure.  It follows that it is the millennial glory which must be won and may be lost, won by faith that obeys, lost by distrust and disobedience.  To this there is no alternative except the forfeiture of eternal life and salvation entire, which meaning has been based upon our present chapters but which we think unscriptural.


Note A



The strength of the case for the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer is not always realized, and some of its grounds are not understood by all.




This security is involved in the nature of the justifying act of God.  To justify is the act of a judge when he declares that, having examined the charge brought against the accused, he finds him not guilty before the law.  The ground upon which God declares righteous the sinner who puts faith in Christ is that Christ as his Surety satisfied the demands of the law against the sinner.  The atoning death of Christ which satisfied the demands of the law is imputed to, or put to the credit of, the sinner who puts his reliance upon the Surety as having suffered on his behalf the highest penalty imposed by the law.  The actual offender is reckoned in Divine law to have expiated his offences by having died for them, because his Substitute died for them.  "I through the law died unto [out of reach of] the law.... I have been crucified with Christ" (Gal. 2: 19).


The question, therefore, as it concerns the sinner, is, for how many of his sins did Christ by His death accept responsibility and render satisfaction therefor?  If it was for those sins only which he had committed up to the time when he first placed his faith on Christ and was justified by that faith, then, as to his future from that hour, one of two features must characterize it, namely, either he must never sin again, or, if he sin even once, then he must suffer eternal death, since, in the case supposed, Christ did not bear these post-conversion sins and no atonement can ever avail in respect thereof, for Christ will not die again (Rom. 6: 9, 10; Heb. 7: 16).


In other words: in the case now postulated, sin after conversion must inevitably cancel salvation for most believers.*  For all these Christ might as well not have died for their pre-conversion sins because they will be eternally lost for their post-conversion sins.


[*An exception may be supposed possible in a case where death occurs immediately after conversion.]


As regards men who died before Christ died, and who had looked forward by faith to the coming Redeemer, all their sins of their whole life were past when he died for them.  As regards men who were alive when Christ died, some of their sins were past and some were future.  As regards those born since He died, and who have believed on Him, all their sins of their whole life were future when He died.  By what process or to what purpose could a division have been made by Divine counsel and the Surety have been made responsible for a part only of their sins?  In all of these cases if He did not accept and discharge the full legal penalty for all their sins then He did not provide salvation for any one: the whole stupendous transaction would be void and valueless.  But inasmuch as He did in fact satisfy the law of God in respect of the sins of the whole life of the one who relies on Him, therefore the acquittal by the judge of all the earth, that is to say, His declaration that the accused is not guilty before the law, sets him free from the eternal penalty due to the sins of his whole life.


Further, it is deeply important that (according, e.g. to the law of England) when a person has been tried for a crime and acquitted he cannot be again tried for the same offence or offences.  Fifty years ago there was a barrister famed for his success in defending criminals.  He relates that on one occasion he secured the acquittal of a man charged with murder, and afterwards did not cease to be sorry, for the culprit boasted, that, though his lawyer got him off, his was the hand that did the crime.  Yet the man was secure from the law as regards that offence because he had been tried and (wrongly) declared not guilty.


In like manner Christ declared that the one who believes God's message of salvation "cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life" (John 5: 24).  For him the door of the condemned cell has been opened and he has stepped out into life and liberty.  "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8. 1).  Who shall impeach again God's chosen ones, seeing that God Himself has declared them to be righteous in law? (Rom. 8: 33).  So long as the work of the cross retains its virtue before God, so long will the righteousness imputed to the believer stand, that is, both are eternal.


2. Temporal Penalties for the justified


Here enters the vast importance of the truth before urged, that the work of the cross delivers the believer from the eternal penalty of sin but not from any temporal punishments which may attach under the disciplinary government of the universe by God.  And these may prove severe and prolonged, though not eternal in the case of the justified. Various scriptures present this serious and balancing aspect.  For example:


(1) There is the private realm of the father and his family, wherein the children are chastised by the father.  This will be considered when we reach ch. 12 of our Epistle.  It is a manifestly different case from that of a criminal before a Court on trial for his life.


(2) There is the case of a king and his own household. It is set m our Lord's parables in Luke 19: 11-27 and Matt. 25: 14-30. The unfaithful servant was deprived of further service and prospects and was cast out of the house into the darkness of the night during the temporary festivities connected with the king’s return. He might even be severely scurged (Luke 12: 41-48). But these penalties were not the capital punishment inflicted upon the king’s enemies. That is stated in immediate contrast ; "Howbeit these mine enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me" (Luke 19: 27).


(3) There is a parallel instance in Matt. 18: 21-35 of the servant who refused mercy to his fellow servant though himself had received mercy from their lord.  In this case the master revoked his mercy and the remission of the debt, and commanded that the latter be exacted.  If this be applied to the unregenerate and eternity it will mean that the sinner can ultimately "pay all that is due" by his own sufferings; a way of salvation repugnant to Scripture and which would render needless the sufferings of the Redeemer.  But it is evident that this measure taken by the lord operated within the same restricted sphere of his personal household.  The teaching was an answer to the inquiry as to how often a brother ought to forgive a brother (ver. 21), and the application which Christ made of the instruction carries the same limit of the father and the family: "So shall also My heavenly Father do unto you, if ye forgive not every one his brother from your hearts" (ver. 3, 5).


None of such cases raises the matter of the legal status of the children or the family servants before the criminal courts.  This status remained unaffected by the disciplinary dealings of the father or the retributive measures of the master.  Christ gave no challenge to His own statement that the believer passes out of death into life and will not come into judgment as to that question (John 5: 24).  None of these servants lost his life by his carnality.


3. Types and Histories


These truths were made clear in the Old Testament by types and histories.


(1) The bringing of the appointed sin offering secured forgiveness: and “they [or he] shall be forgiven" (Lev. 4: 20, 26, 31, 35).  He who came repentant to the altar, where was offered the atoning lamb. "went down to his house justified" (Luke 18: 14).  From chs. 9 and 10 of our Epistle we have seen that that older justification was a foretaste of the perfect and eternal justification secured by Christ's eternal redemption.


(2) But more.  The bringing of a burnt offering in due form secured more than bare forgiveness, even the acceptance of the offerer himself: "that he may be accepted before Jehovah” (Lev. 1: 3).  His status was assured in the presence of God, "before Jehovah."  Granted that this was imperfect under the old covenant, yet it was real as far as it went, and it was typical of the perfect and eternal status acquired in Christ, "through Whom also we have had our access into this grace [this state of favour] wherein we stand" (Rom. 5: 2).


(3) From 1 Cor. 5: 7, "For our passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ," it is plain that the passover in Egypt was typical of Christ and His atoning blood.  In Egypt the Israelites, equally with the Egyptians, were under the sentence of death against sin.  The sprinkled blood delivered from that status as men condemned and who sheltered there-under, and set them free, through their baptism in the Red Sea into union with Moses (1 Cor. 10: 1, 2), to escape from the land of doom itself and to enter in the desert the pathway of faith in God.  There they were constituted a people, the people of Jehovah, a new status effected by redemption and faith.


Yet the more part of them did not live in conformity with this new standing and relationship and were overthrown in the desert.  Their faith broke down, and so "the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not" (Jude 5).  They forfeited bodily life and lost their prospects in the promised land, but God took care that not a single one of them got back to Egypt, not even though they set their faces to return there (Num. 14: 3, 4) . They died in the wilderness (Num. 14: 32; 1 Cor. 10: 5).  If even one of them had reached Egypt the type would have allowed that a redeemed person may get back to his original lost status; but the type inflexibly disallows this.  To this same effect is the Divine review of that period even in Isa. 63, especially verses 9-14.  They are described as His people, loved and redeemed, even though on account of their sins He had to fight against them.


(4) On the other hand, the types and histories show how severe may be the penalties of unbelief and disobedience, short of a resumption of the original alienation and unrelieved condemnation of men before God.  This has been sufficiently illustrated in the present treatise.


4. Eternal Life


The same conclusion is involved in the fact that the life infused into the believer by the new birth is eternal life; that is, it is not a created life, having beginning and capable of having end, but it is a sharing in the uncreated life of God Himself, the Eternal: "for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3: 16).  Thus the giving of this life secures that the recipient shall not perish, even as Christ said later of His sheep, "they shall never perish" (John 10: 28).


For even if the sheep wander from the fold, and must suffer much distress in the desert, yet the Good Shepherd will "go after that which is lost until He find it (Luke I5: 4).  The ultimate restoration of the backslidden believer is certain, even though his penalties be not suffered or his recovery be not accomplished in this life; for can it be doubted that many backslidden believers die without having been healed of their backsliding?  Such must, therefore, either be eternally lost (in which case the doctrine we are controverting must after all prove true), or their recovery must be effected after death, which implies that the Father's disciplinary dealings for their recovery are applied after death.


The chief statement on the subject needs, and will bear, strict examination.  Christ said (John 10: 27-30): (1) My sheep hear My voice, and (2) I know them, and (3) they follow Me: and (4) I give unto them eternal life; and (5) they shall never perish, and (6) no one shall snatch them out of My hand.  My Father (7) Who hath given them unto Me, (8) is greater than all, and (9) no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. (10) I and My Father are one.


It is difficult to conceive of any words more capable of creating the impression that the sheep of Christ are eternally secure from perishing.  They create the impression that the Speaker deliberately designed to create that impression, that it was indeed His precise intention.  But it may be urged that this is true only of the true sheep of Christ, and that one mark of these is that they know and hearken to the voice of the Shepherd and follow Him.  What if one of them ceases to hearken and to follow?  Does he not thereby cease to be one of Christ's sheep? and must not then his security from perishing lapse?


Let this be tested in a case that can be seen too often.  A sinner turns in faith unto Christ, and manifests the true tokens of being one of His sheep, by continuing for, say, twenty years to hearken and to follow.  Then, alas, he wanders from the fold and the Shepherd, and so ceases to exhibit the characteristics of Christ's sheep.  So now (if the argument in question is right) he does not possess the eternal life and shall perish.  It thus becomes evident that the life which he had during those twenty years was not in fact eternal, for it has ended so far as he is concerned, nor was he ever secure from perishing, for at last he is to perish.  In his case the magnificent assurances given by Christ were without value, nor had this person at any time any real right to comfort himself by them, seeing that ultimately they will be unfulfilled in his case.  So that during those twenty years he had eternal life, for Christ stated this of His sheep: yet his perishing at last will show that the life he then had was not eternal.  He was a sheep of Christ, because for long years he exhibited the true characteristics of a sheep: yet he was not a sheep of Christ, because finally he shall perish.  This reductio ad absurdum shows that the reasoning examined is false.


But let the Good Shepherd Himself solve this problem by the parable before quoted from Luke 15: 3-7.  It states the exact case above supposed.  A man has a hundred sheep.  One of them wanders.  Does it thereby cease to be a sheep? or cease to be the property of the Owner?  Nay, rather; when the Owner has recovered it does He not cry with joy "I have found My sheep which was lost"?  Even while it was lost it was still a sheep and it was still His, and He secured its restoration and safety.


It is to be noted that the teaching in Luke 15 applies properly to backsliders, not to the unregenerate, however suitably its lessons may be extended to such.  The sheep had been in the fold; the coin had been in the possession of the woman, the prodigal was the son of the father; and each was restored to its proper status, not set there for the first time.


5. Freely


One further consideration will suffice to establish our conclusion.  Of justification it is stated that the believer is “justified freely (dorean) by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus " (Rom, 3: 24); and of eternal life it is said that, while the "wages of sin is death ... the free gift (charisma) of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6: 23).  The righteousness and justification granted to the believer in Christ are likewise described by the same word: "the free gift (charisma) came of many offences unto justification" (Rom. 5: 16, 17).


Now every gift carries at least one condition precedent to its taking effect, namely, that it must be accepted; but having been accepted a free gift is necessarily free of conditions subsequent (such as, for example, the conduct of the receiver after reception of the gift), or it would be a conditional gift, not a free gift.  This is not said of any other gift of God save justification and eternal life.  The righteousness of this arises from the entire and eternal sufficiency of the redemption price which provides these gifts.  Therefore the minimum indispensable to salvation, even justification and eternal life, is granted to the receiver absolutely, whereas gifts to the saved are conditional upon conduct.  Because the unregenerate cannot work his urgent need is met by a free gift at the expense of the Giver: because, by the grace of the Spirit, the regenerate can do good works he is required to do them as the condition of further benefits.  This is demanded by both the Divine love and the Divine morality.  The free gift is unforfeitable, and cannot be withdrawn by the Giver; later gifts are forfeitable and must be "made sure" by diligence (2 Pet. 1: : 10).


It was Rom. 3: 24, "being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," which helped much to lift Bunyan out of the Slough of Despond, to set his feet upon the rock Assurance, and to put a new song into his mouth, even praise unto our God.  Of that text he says sweetly the words quoted before (p. 164):


Now was I as one awaked out of some troublesome sleep and dream, and listening to this heavenly sentence, I was as if I heard it thus expounded to me: Sinner, thou thinkest that because of thy Sins and Infirmities I cannot save thy soul; but behold my Son is by me, and upon him I look, and not on thee, and deal with thee according as I am pleased with him. (Grace Abounding, para. 258.)


Noble and arresting is his account of an earlier experience:


But one day, as I was passing in the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, Thy righteousness is in heaven; and methought withal, I saw, with the Eyes of my Soul, Jesus Christ at God's right hand.  There, I say, was my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was a-doing, God could not say of me, He wants [i.e. lacks] Righteousness, for that was just before him.  I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my Righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. (Ibid, para. 22g.)


Happy indeed is he who, as touching his status as righteous before God, sees Christ to be his all, for thus will he be assured that his judicial acceptance by God is necessarily as eternal as the righteousness of his Surety.


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