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Vol. 2, No. 12
Dec., 1993

Adam Naming the Creatures

by Glenn Conjurske

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them, and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” (Gen. 2:18-20).

We cannot suppose this to be nothing more than a curious account of a few facts concerning man's primitive estate. It is doubtless here for a purpose, and it is in fact full of instruction for us, concerning both God and man.

First, concerning man. This naming of the beasts and the birds was no child's play, but a great work which required a very great intelligence----such intelligence, I will be bold to say, as is not to be found in the human race at the present day. Consider: for whose benefit did Adam name these creatures? Not for the animals' benefit. What care they----what know they----what they are called by the race of men? It is nothing to them whether they have one name, or another, or no name. For whose benefit, then, was this naming? Not for God's benefit. What need had God of this? He knew all the creatures which he had made, and needed no man to name them for him. We hear nothing of Adam naming the fishes, or any marine life, yet if he was naming the creatures for God's benefit, God must require a name for the fishes as well as the beasts and the birds. For whose benefit, then, did Adam name the creatures? Certainly, for man's, and he therefore named the beasts and the birds, who lived in his own element, and had nothing to say to the creatures in the sea. Man was the Lord of all of these creatures----for his benefit and use they were made----and for man to distinguish them they were named.

But this necessitates that man should remember the features and characteristics of every species, along with the name which he had assigned to it. If he was to forget the names a week later----yea, or ten years later----it would have been no more than a farce for him to name the animals at all. If there was to be any purpose in this naming, it was surely necessary that he should remember the names given. But this required an intelligence and a memory which have long since departed from the human race.

There are said to be two and a half million species on the earth today, but it is estimated that there have been 125 million. All these, of course, were alive in Adam's day. Not that all of them were birds and beasts, by any means, but still there were a prodigious number of them. Most of the species which originally inhabited the earth are now extinct, but even at the present day there are enough different birds and beasts nearly to stagger the imagination. There are said to be 3000 species of lizards alone, and we can scarcely suppose that Adam lumped everything from the chameleon to the crocodile together into one, and called it “lizard.”

Now to name every one of these creatures, and remember all of their names, indicates in Adam a vast intellectual superiority over the whole human race as it is today. Man is fallen. He is weakened and debased in all his powers of body, soul, and spirit. The evolutionists' dreams of the intellectual advancement of the human race have not a grain of truth in them. If you have any doubt of Adam's intellectual superiority, try this work yourself. Go to any large zoo. You will find there only a small fraction of the species now living on the earth, as the species now living on the earth are only a small fraction of those which lived in Adam's day. Your task will therefore be so much the easier than Adam's was. But go through such a zoo, and name them all. Give them descriptive names if that will help your memory, or whatever names you please. Then go back a week later, or a month later, and see how many of those names you can remember. In one month's time doubtless half of those animals would be as nameless as they were before you began. Not so in Adam's case. He named all of these thousands of creatures once, “and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”

You may suppose that Adam may have written down the names. Perhaps so, but this would have required a vast intelligence also. A mere list of names would have been absolutely without purpose. He must write them in such a way as to clearly identify which name belonged to which species. These animals were not confined in numbered cages, but freely traversing the earth and skies. If Adam were to write down their names to any purpose, he must write with every name a minute and exact description of the beast, such as would enable him to distinguish it from every other. The result would have been an encyclopedic scientific treatise in speciology.

But I proceed to more important matters. Adam's naming the creatures has something to say to us about God. For Adam to have named all of these creatures to any purpose must have required a great deal of time and observation, and in this God had a purpose beyond the mere naming of the animals. If that had been all, we might surely expect that God would have directed Adam to name the plants also, for these also were created for man, and surely there was as much reason for him to be able to distinguish the plants as the animals. But that could wait another time. The plants did not suit the present purpose of God. Plants have no communication with each other----no relationships with each other----no fellowship with each other, as animals do, and God had a purpose at the time then present to make Adam keenly to feel the fact that he had no fellowship----no companionship, such as all the animals had. The ultimate purpose of God was to bless man----to satisfy his soul with good things----to make his joy full and his cup to overflow. His naming of the birds and beasts was to prepare him for that blessing. For days and weeks he observed and studied these thousands of creatures, as the Lord caused them to come to him for their names. He watched them, one after another, the male and his female, or the mother and her young, playing together, feeding together, lying down together, gambolling off together, calling and speaking to each other, every species in its own language. The result of all of this must have been to make Adam feel very keenly alone. And God meant that he should feel this. God was about to give to him the crowning gift of his goodness----in comparison to which all the other delights of paradise were as nothing. He was about to give to him the complement of his own heart, that he might be ravished always with her love, through all his days. But first he made him to keenly feel his need of her.

Observe the exquisite beauty of the account. First the Lord observes, “It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him.” From this he proceeds, not to the creation of Eve, but to the naming of the beasts! Why this? Why then? Clearly, to give to Adam a deep sense of the fact that he was alone----to make him to feel his loneliness. And why that? Clearly to give him the greater capacity to appreciate and enjoy his Eve when at length he received her. This is the way of God, from that day to this. He does not give to us all of his blessings at once, but often denies and deprives us----not because he cares nothing for our needs, but precisely because he does care. He deprives and denies us to sharpen our appetite, to strengthen our desires, to augment our need----and all of this only to increase our capacity for happiness when his hand of bounty at length meets that need. Remember, God's purpose from the beginning was, “I will make him an help meet for him”----but first Adam must name the beasts. First he must be made to feel his need. It was God's purpose to fill and thrill his soul with the most exquisite happiness----but God would give him a greater happiness than he was then capable of. Adam, therefore, must wait for Eve, while God puts him through a course of discipline designed to increase his need, that he might have the greater fulfillment at the last.

This is the habitual way of God, and all of this is bound up in the word “PROMISE,” which figures so largely in the Scripture doctrine of faith. What is the purpose of a promise? Why does God ever promise anything at all to man? Why does he not immediately give the thing, instead of promising it? The promises of God exist only because God has a purpose to give to his people some blessing, but no intention to give it to them now. For the present he has determined that they must do without it, and patiently wait for it. When he purposed to make a help meet for Adam, he did not immediately do so. He plainly saw the man's need, and said “It is not good that the man should be alone.” He was not unconcerned about that need, but fully purposed to meet it. Yet he delayed, and instead of immediately meeting the need, he set Adam upon a course of discipline which would increase his need, or make him feel it more deeply. And this is one of the reasons why God delays to give to us his blessings. The longer the delay, the more we feel the need. The more we feel the need, the greater our capacity for appreciation and enjoyment when the need is finally met. Even the world has recognized the fact that the longer we must wait for our happiness, the greater will be that happiness when it is attained, and we find this expressed in the old proverb, “It is not good to be happy too young.” And herein we see the goodness of God, even in withholding from us the things which we need. And herein lies the essence of faith, in thus beholding his goodness through the mists and the darkness and the tears which we must endure while we languish with our needs unmet.

But how often does unbelief reign in such circumstances, instead of faith. When God withholds the good which we need, we doubt his goodness. We suppose he cares nothing for our need. We murmur against him. We doubt his love. We question his ways. And how many turn back in their hearts to Egypt, where, they suppose, their needs will be freely met. They cannot bear to live on manna and a promise of good things to come. If God does not plant their feet immediately in the land which flows with milk and honey, they will go back to Egypt. This is the way of unbelief. It was through unbelief that the Israelites fell in the wilderness. “We see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Heb. 3:19). This is clearly set forth in the fourteenth chapter of Numbers. The people murmur against Moses and Aaron (verse 2), and against the Lord (verses 27-29). They had no faith in his goodness towards them, nor in his purpose to do them good, but said, “Wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey?” (Verse 3). And the Lord must say of them, “How long will it be ere they believe me?” (Verse 11).

But the root of the problem lies in the fact that they cannot bear to be denied. They must have their desires. They must have their good things. Therefore they will either make a captain and return to Egypt (verse 4), or go up, against the commandment of the Lord, and take the land at once (verses 40-42). But to remain in the wilderness, denied the things which they crave----this they cannot bear. Thus it appears how deeply unbelief is rooted in lust, and self-indulgence, and impatience.

Faith, on the contrary, is the twin sister of patience, and the root of self-denial. Faith is content to “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7)----even while the wicked prosper all around us, and we are denied and deprived and down-trodden.

God knew that Adam needed his Eve----and yet God delayed to give her to him. God knew that it was not good for him to be alone----and yet God left him alone, for the time being. God knows what you need----and does he yet deprive you? Then “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” Then “Trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5). Yea, more, “Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (verse 4)----though it may not be today or tomorrow. He is purposed to give them to you, as much as ever he was to give Eve to Adam. He knows of the friend you need, or the wife, or the husband, or the child, and “it matters to him about you.” (I Pet. 5:7, Greek).

Now the God who thus cares for us has plainly spoken, and said, “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11). Yet as a matter of fact, he often does withhold good things from the best of his saints. Does this indicate the failure of his promise? Not in the least, for as we have pointed out before, the very essence of the word “promise” implies his present withholding of that which he fully intends to give at some future time.

We might dismiss the subject at this point, but I desire to go further. Not only does God often withhold from us what we need for a time, but sometimes, and for the same reasons, takes from us what we have already. So he did in Job's case, and not for any sin in Job. Now God may have a number of reasons for doing so, but one of those reasons is to increase our appreciation for those things, and so increase our enjoyment in the possession of them. There are numerous ancient proverbs which rehearse the fact that we ordinarily learn to value and appreciate things precisely as we are deprived of them. Among those proverbs are:

“The worth of a thing is known by the want of it.”

“Health is not valued till sickness comes.”

“He knows best what good is that has endured evil.”

“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.”

“Wealth is best known by want.”

Who among us could value our eyesight like the man who was born blind, and sat by the wayside begging? When the Lord gave to him the precious gift of sight, he had a capacity to appreciate and enjoy it such as none of us can have who have never been without it. Who among us can enjoy a friend, like the man who has languished for years without one? Who can feel the ecstasy of holding her new-born babe, as she who has languished for years without one? Who can value his liberty, like the man who has languished in prison? Adoniram Judson spent twenty-one months of suffering in a miserable prison, and afterwards could look back upon the ordeal without regret, for the capacity it gave him to enjoy his liberty. As his wife relates it, “One evening several persons at our house were repeating anecdotes of what different men in different ages had regarded as the highest type of sensuous enjoyment; that is, enjoyment derived from outward circumstances. `Pooh!' said Mr. Judson; `these men were not qualified to judge. I know of a much higher pleasure than that. What do you think of floating down the Irrawaddy, on a cool, moonlight night, with your wife by your side, and your baby in your arms, free----all free? But you cannot understand it either; it needs a twenty-one months' qualification; and I can never regret my twenty-one months of misery, when I recall that one delicious thrill. I think I have had a better appreciation of what heaven may be ever since.”

And Henry F. Lyte writes in the familiar hymn,

“Life with trials hard may press me:
Heaven will give me sweeter rest.”

For it is a plain fact that some of what the Lord has promised will never come to us in this life at all. We have an inheritance “incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away,” but it is “reserved in heaven” for us. We read, therefore, concerning some, (Hebrews 11:13),“These all died in faith, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES”----not in this life, that is. This is the way of faith, always. It patiently endures the present denials and afflictions, and trusts God for the “better thing” in the future, whether in this life, or the life to come. “Ye have heard,” says James, “of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11). The Lord may indeed delay to give us the desires of our hearts----and more, he may take them from us after we have them----but faith yet rests in the Lord, knowing that the end is not yet, and that the end will show the Lord to be very pitiful and of tender mercy. The eye of faith is always upon “the end of the Lord,” and it is no small part of faith to know that the end will be sweeter, the blessing more enjoyable, the happiness greater, the better thing more appreciated, the joy fuller, precisely because of the present delays and denials and sufferings.

In this we see clearly also the great difference between the ways of God and the ways of the devil. God saves the best wine till last. He denies and deprives us now, in order to make our pleasure the sweeter in the end. The devil does just the reverse. He offers the desires of our hearts free for the taking, gives the pleasures first, and the bitterness at the end. God preaches present self-denial. The devil preaches present self-indulgence. As William Cowper says, in one of the most beautiful hymns ever penned on faith,

“The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.”

Yes, and sweeter still the fruit. But the devil gives the sweet flower at the first, and the bitter fruit at the end. Thus the devil deceives the human race, as he did Eve at the beginning, by freely giving the good which God withholds----and lying about the bitter end which is to follow. And herein is the wickedness of unbelief. It is not a mere intellectual mistake, but a giving of confidence and allegiance to the devil and his ways, instead of to the God who has earned that confidence and allegiance. So did Eve in the garden, and so does the human race today. But faith holds fast to God in spite of all of his delays and denials, its eye always fixed upon “the end of the Lord,” fully persuaded of the blessing yet to come, and persuaded also that the coming blessing will be so much the greater and sweeter for the present denial.


The Crowned Elders

by Glenn Conjurske

One of the strongest proofs of the pretribulation rapture of the church is found in the crowned elders in heaven in the fourth and fifth chapters of Revelation, immediately following “the things which are” in chapters 2 and 3. These elders are made to say, according to the King James Version,

“Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:9-10).

Post-tribulationists, of course, have directed their strong batteries against these verses, perceiving how fatal they are to the post-tribulational system. Their most able advocate, Alexander Reese, quotes the verses as above, and then says,

“Certainly these words seem conclusive that here we have the redeemed. All this, however, is changed now. Both the R.V. and Amer. R.V., and every independent translation that has since appeared, have radically altered the reading and translation. The R.V. bids us read the song of the elders thus:----

They sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the earth.”

Thus I am forced at the outset to take up the question of the Greek text. I sincerely wish I could spare my readers this, but I cannot. The question is too important to be left alone, unless we are to be left to bow blindfolded before a few textual critics, who themselves have bowed blindfolded before a few ancient manuscripts. I take up the question willingly, therefore, and hope to lay it to rest----for the matter is easily enough settled, where prejudice does not reign. I shall do my best to make the subject both intelligible and interesting to my English reader.

I make one preliminary observation before entering upon the subject. The first thing which strikes us in this quotation from the R.V. is the incompetence of these translators before whose ipse dixit we are asked to bow. They mistranslate the Greek aorist by a simple past (according to the infatuation which reigned then, and still does), and follow a Greek text which has little support----and which involves them in the doctrinal falsity of the saints reigning before the judgement of the world.

But to the subject. Let me state at the outset that we are not dealing with one textual variation in this heavenly song, but three. Yet in each of them the evidence is so preponderating on one side as to leave no reason to doubt where the truth lies. The three variations are:

1.Some omit “us” in the phrase “redeemed us to God.”

2.Some read, “made them kings and priests,” opposed by others which read “made us kings and priests.”

3.Some read, “we shall reign,” opposed by others which read “they shall reign” (and some, “they reign,” the present tense differing from the future by the omission of the single letter “s” in the Greek).

Now, as said, in all of these three variants the textual evidence is preponderating on one side. Adhering to that proponderating evidence, we shall have this as the true text:

“Thou was slain, and hast redemed US to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and hast made THEM unto our God kings and priests, and THEY shall reign on the earth.” And not only is this the text which is best supported, but it is the actual text of the great majority of the manuscripts (and versions) in existence. And observe, the text as it thus stands provides an ample and obvious reason for the existence of the other readings. The text is difficult as it stands----yea, very difficult. “Thou hast redeemed US..., and made THEM...” invites change. The abrupt change from the first person (“us”) to the third person (“them”) almost cries aloud for alteration. That alteration has actually been made in many manuscripts----but (naturally enough) it has been made in two different ways. Some have obviated the difficulty by dropping hJma'" (“us”) in verse 9 (thus reading as the R.V.). Others have disposed of the difficulty by changing aujtouV" (“them”) to hJma'" (“us”), and changing the person of the verb from third to first, in verse 10, (thus reading as the King James Version). And yet “redeemed us..., and made them..., and they shall reign” remains the actual reading of the majority of manuscripts and versions on the earth, comparatively few scribes having yielded to the temptation to alter it. We shall look at the actual evidence for the text shortly, but first this:

The rough and difficult construction caused by the abrupt change from the first to the third person is not unexampled in Scripture. Another example of exactly the same thing occurs in Zech. 12:10, where we read, “They shall look unto ME whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for HIM.” Moreover (and what is of extreme interest to our inquiry) the Hebrew text there has suffered from the same sort of correction as has the Greek text in Rev. 5:9-10. C. H. H. Wright says of this, “The reading yla, `unto me,' is that of all the old versions and of the great majority of the MSS., and must be regarded as the original. The reading `unto him' wyla is doubtless a correction, as de Rossi has abundantly shown, and a most natural one, too, on account of the following wylu.”

But to the evidence, for which I rely on Hoskier. For omitting “us” in verse 9 we have one manuscript and one version. Hoskier gives the evidence for the omission thus:

----hJma'" A (perd. inter duas columnas) et aeth [contra rell. omn.].”

And that is all the evidence there is. Interpreted for my English reader, Codex A (Alexandrinus) and the Æthiopic version alone omit “us” in verse 9, “contra rell. omn.”----that is, “against all the rest” of the witnesses in the world. Codex A, of course, is not to be despised. It is one of the old uncial manuscripts to which the critics attach so much importance. For that we will not fault them, but the fact is, every one of these old uncials stand so often entirely alone, against all the other manuscripts in the world, (and of course, against each other), that they simply cannot be regarded when they stand alone, or almost so. Burgon well says on this point, “I am thoroughly convinced that no reading can be of real importance,----I mean, has a chance of being true,----which is witnessed to exclusively by a very few copies, whether uncial or cursive.” How much less, then, a reading which is witnessed by one manuscript only, as the omission of hJma'" is here.

But A is not the only old uncial which gives its testimony here. The celebrated Codex Sinaiticus (a) speaks also----and speaks for the insertion of hJma'"----speaks, that is, for the reading “thou hast redeemed us.” 'Tis strange that the critics here desert a for A, (for they generally give the greater weight to a). But perhaps not so strange----for in this place a stands with the great bulk of the cursive manuscripts, and with the Textus Receptus, while A stands against them. May I venture an opinion? If (as is more usual) A had stood with the common text, and a against it, the critics would have followed a, as they usually do. But regardless of that, the fact is, “us” in this verse has the support of almost every witness in the world, ancient and modern, uncial and cursive, versions and manuscripts, so that its absence from the various cirtical editions of the Greek New Testament can prove only one thing, namely, the prevailing infatuation which reigns in that field, and its determination to overturn the common Greek text. But the critics notwithstanding, I regard the reading “redeemed us” as established beyond question.

But on. The reading “made them kings and priests,” for “made us,” &c., is not so overwhelmingly supported as the former. Nevertheless, there are about four times as many manuscripts for “them” as there are for “us,” with aAB at their head. The versions, too, are generally for “them.” The support for “they shall reign” (rather than “we shall reign”) is just the same, being generally the same manuscripts as support “them” in the former clause. Though a substantial number of them read “reign” for “shall reign,” they all read “they.”

So much for the external textual evidence. If we consider the internal evidence, according to the canons of the critics, we shall come to the same result. One of those canons is to take the reading which accounts for the others. This so obviously applies here that nothing more need be said of it
----except only to point out that the intermediate reading, “hast redeemed us..., and made us kings and priests, and they...” &c., is not wholly unknown, and apparently we have also one manuscript which reads “redeemed us..., and made them..., and we shall reign.” Another canon prescribes that we take the more difficult reading. This also applies here, and with a witness. There could be no temptation for a scribe to alter a smooth and easy reading into a rough and difficult one. On the other hand, there was too much temptation in this verse to ease the harshness of a very difficult construction. But here the critics have abandoned their own canons, as well as their favorite a, probably under the more compelling temptation to abandon the common Greek text.

To conclude: “redeemed us” in verse 9 is so overwhelmingly supported by the manuscripts and versions as to leave no room to question its authenticity, the critics to the contrary notwithstanding. “Them” and “they” in verse 10 are not so overwhelmingly supported, but still the evidence is so preponderant on their side that there is little reason to question them. But whatever we read in verse 10, the incontestible presence of “us” in verse 9 establishes it as a certainty that the crowned elders are redeemed men.

But proceeding on the opposite assumption, Alexander Reese makes this remarkable statement: “They seem never to have known the experience of conflict, sin, pardon and victory.” To which I reply, If they have never known conflict and victory, why are they then crowned? Reese labors to make these elders angels. But where are angels ever called elders? They are called angels about 200 times in the New Testament, but never once elders. He cites “principalities, powers,” etc., which no one doubts----but this is not “elders.” He refers to “before his ancients gloriously” in Isaiah 24:23, identifying “ancients” and “elders,” but it is nothing to the purpose, for “his ancients” there are his resurrected saints, the same as the elders are here.

But further, we have a number of descriptions of angels in the Bible, and we never read of one who is crowned. The one like a son of man in 14:14 is not an angel, but Christ himself, the same as in 1:13----as is held by nearly all expositors of all persuasions, including Matthew Henry, Matthew Poole, John Gill, S. T. Bloomfield, Christopher Wordsworth, Henry Alford, Joseph A. Seiss, Henry B. Swete, William Kelly, B. W. Newton, William R. Newell, Philip Mauro, and Albertus Pieters. Seiss, I suppose, expresses the opinion of all when he says on the passage, “No one else is here to be thought of but our blessed Lord Jesus.”

We repeat our question, then, Why are these elders crowned? These crowns are not those of the monarch (diavdhma, which is used only thrice in Scripture, of Christ, and of antichrist and his confederates), but of the victor. This is the stevfano", the crown of victory, which is held before us in the New Testament as the reward to be given us in the day of Christ. To whom is the victors' crown given, but to the victors, or overcomers?----(for they are the same word in the Greek). So we read,

“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.”

(I Cor. 9:25).

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12).

And throughout the second and third chapters of Revelation (which without question concern the church) we have repeated promises to the overcomers. Among those promises we read, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10). And the exhortation, “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Rev. 3:11).

Step back, then, and survey this scene. Chapters two and three of Revelation hold out numerous promises of future reward to the overcomers. In those chapters we see them laboring in the midst of poverty, temptation, toils, and persecutions. But suddenly the scene changes. John has given his testimony concerning“the things which are,” and he is called up to be shown “the things which shall be after these things.” (Rev. 1:19 & 4:1, Greek). He is rapt away to heaven, and who does he see there, but those same overcomers----the redeemed from every kindred and tongue and people and nation----WITH THE VICTORS' CROWNS UPON THEIR HEADS! They have overcome, and have received their crowns.

The question immediately presents itself, when did they receive those crowns? To that question there can be but one answer: at the rapture of the church, at the coming of Christ.

Paul says, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me AT THAT DAY.” (II Tim. 4:6-8).

Peter says, “And WHEN THE CHIEF SHEPHERD SHALL APPEAR, ye shall receive a CROWN OF GLORY that fadeth not away.” (I Pet. 5:4).

Christ says, “And behold, I COME quickly, and my REWARD is WITH ME.” (Rev. 22:12).

There are myriads of redeemed men in heaven now, but NOT ONE OF THEM HAS RECEIVED HIS CROWN. Paul, in the passage just quoted, knew that he had finished his course, and that the time of his departure was at hand. He expected to depart immediately to be with Christ, BUT HE DID NOT EXPECT TO BE CROWNED. His crown he expected to receive “at that day”----in the resurrection, at the return of Christ.

Now then, the presence of redeemed men, singing the praises of their redeemer in heaven, and in full possession of their promised crowns, is PROOF CONCLUSIVE that CHRIST HAS COME. The rapture of the church has taken place already, and that before one seal is opened of the tribulation judgements.


D. L. Moody and Modernism

by Glenn Conjurske

That D. L. Moody was ever anything but a Fundamentalist in his doctrine none would dare affirm. But he was soft and careless in some of his associations. He never had any sympathy with modernism, but he associated with modernists, and in so doing left a horribly bad example to the church. His example does not seem to have been followed by his Fundamentalist associates, but it was followed by his sons, Will being soft towards modernists as his father was, and Paul being tinged with modernism himself. The Fundamentalist movement, of course, did not yet exist in Moody's day, and if we had been dependent upon Moody for it, it never would have existed. C. H. Spurgeon, the prototype of Fundamentalists, took his noble stand against modernism in 1887, four years before his own death, and twelve years before Moody's, but the movement did not develop until some years later, and Moody continued his own association with modernists until his end.

I suppose that personal friendship with certain modernists was the greatest factor in Moody's continued association with them. Many of those friendships no doubt began before the modernism of those friends was so plainly visible, but it continued in spite of their undisguised modernism. Fundamentalists, who hold to “the faith once delivered to the saints,” are not likely to change much in doctrine, but modernists, having no objective standards of truth, are always drifting from bad to worse. Henry Drummond, one of Moody's closest friends and co-workers from the time of his first British campaign, has this to say of the theological method of modernism:

“What faculty do I employ, then, in apprehending spiritual truth? What is the primary faculty of the new Evangelism if it is not the Reason? Leaving philosophical distinctions aside again, I think it is the IMAGINATION. Overlook the awkwardness of this mere word, and ask yourself if this is not the organ of your mind which gives you a vision of truth. The subject-matter of the new Evangelism must be largely the words of Christ, the circle of ideas of Christ in their harmony, and especially in their perspective. Sit down for a moment and hear Him speak. Take almost any of His words. To what faculty do they appeal? Almost without exception to the Imagination.”

It is possible that Drummond was not much of a modernist when Moody first took hold of him, but he certainly became one. Moody no doubt laid hold of him because of his personality, and his influence with young men, and was not careful about his doctrine. A close friendship developed, and after that, let Drummond's imagination take him where it would, Moody held on to him, over the remonstrance of the Fundamentalists. “No one will ever know,” says George Adam Smith (another modernist) how much Mr. Moody had to bear, even from those who worked with him, of reproach and abuse for his loyalty to Christians who differed from certain of his views; yet some of that injustice has already come before the public. He was bitterly blamed for the way he stuck to Drummond and for the invitations he gave to Drummond in 1893 to speak at Northfield. Now, this loyalty came not merely from his loving heart. It was the large, fair mind which prevailed over what he might well have felt was due to at least the earnest and good-tempered among the opponents of Drummond's teaching. He had never allowed the accent and proportion of Drummond's message, although so different from his own, to blind him to its essential Christianity. `I have never,' he said at the time when Drummond was most hotly attacked, `heard anything or read anything by Drummond with which I did not heartily agree----though I wish he would oftener speak of the Atonement.' It may not be known that, after the expostulations reached him against having Drummond at Northfield, he nevertheless invited his former lieutenant to join him in the evangelistic campaign which he conducted in Chicago during the time of the Exposition. Drummond would not go. `It was the first time he failed me,' said Moody. But Drummond's reason was his unwillingness to expose Moody to further attacks on his account.”

It may be that his friendship for Drummond actually did blind Moody to the essential un-Christianity of Drummond's theology. After all, it would be hard enough to find direct denials of the fundamentals of the faith in Drummond's utterances, but neither can we find any affirmations of them. Moody wished he would speak more of the atonement, but what is the atonement to the modernist's evolution of character? It is not the denial of the fundamentals of the faith which characterized the utterances of the early modernists, but the absence of them. Their failure to deny, what they nevertheless did not believe, was studied and deliberate. This has always been the way of modernism, and Drummond knew this serpentine wisdom as well as the rest of them. In an address to a Glasgow theological society on “The New Evangelism” (not intended for publication, as the publishers note tells us, and printed only after Drummond's death), he says, “A caution may be necessary. ... We can speak of these things broadly to one another here, but we cannot with too much delicacy insinuate them upon the Church.” This is always the way of “certain men crept in unawares.”

It was with good reason that the Fundamentalists opposed Moody's use of men like Drummond, and had it not been a man of Moody's stature who was at fault in the matter, their opposition would probably have been much stronger. But they saw so much of undeniable good in Moody that they probably gave him too much of the benefit of the doubt on this point. James H. Brookes----one of the staunchest stalwarts of Fundamentalism who ever breathed----wrote in November of 1893, “The evangelistic meetings, conducted by Mr. Moody during the whole period of the World's Fair have resulted in incalculable good. Hundreds of thousands have heard the pure gospel, not the poor stuff so often in these days substituted for the gospel, but the genuine, old fashioned doctrines of an inerrant Bible, a divine Redeemer, His atoning death upon the cross, regeneration by the Holy Ghost, salvation by grace, separation from the world, and the hope of the Lord's return. Mr. Moody has not asked any one to assist him, who is in the least tainted with the heresies now alas! so common; and those whose confidence in him may have been shaken by his past connection with Prof. Drummond, may well restore their trust and love for his unflinching fidelity in preaching the truth, and for his unswerving loyalty to our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Alas, what could Brookes have said if he had known that Moody actually had invited Drummond to assist him in this very campaign! And six years later he was still doing the same. Moody's modernistic son Paul relates, “That spring [1899], he was, as I have said, again in New Haven, on which occasion he met George Adam Smith and invited him to Northfield, much to the annoyance of some of his friends, who bothered more about orthodoxy than he did. To make matters worse from their standpoint he asked at the same time S. Parkes Cadman, whose fame was growing and who was entering upon that signally useful ministry which ended only a year ago. A great deal of comment was made on this move of my father's, but it influenced him not one whit.”

This is that George Adam Smith who was one of the editors of the infamous Polychrome Hebrew Bible, ----and Moody can hardly have been ignorant of this, for if he had overlooked it himself, surely some of his Fundamentalist associates would have pointed it out to him. Though Smith's portion (Deuteronomy) was not yet published at this date, his name had been published as the editor of it for years, nor could he have gained a place in the editorship of such a work without a thorough previous reputation as a thorough advocate of higher criticism.

George Adam Smith himself relates the circumstances of this invitation: “It was after he [Moody] had himself heard a representative [Smith] of the modern methods lecture on `The Hope Immortality in the Old Testament'----a subject which could not be discussed without some exposition of the new views----that he gave him an invitation to Northfield to speak, not, of course, upon criticism, but upon religious topics. `But,' it was urged, `I fear my views of the Bible are not in harmony with those taught at Northfield.' `Never mind,' said Moody, `come and say what you like”'----and this in spite of the fact that Moody had declared the platform at Northfield to be as follows: “The central idea of the Northfield Conference is Christian unity, and the invitation is to all denominations and to all wings of denominations; but it is understood that along with the idea of Christian unity goes the Bible as it stands.”

That Moody had no sympathy with modernism the modernists themselves bear witness. George Adam Smith wrote, “While at Northfield last summer I had several conversations with Mr. Moody on Old Testament criticism. He was frankly hostile.” And James H. Brookes (in 1897) cites the following from Moody himself, published in the New York Independent: “I have said that ministers of the Gospel who are cutting up the Bible in this way, denying Moses today and Isaiah tomorrow, and Daniel the next day, and Jonah the next, are doing the devil's work: and I stand by what I have said. I do not say they are devils; I do not say they are bad men; they may be good men, but that makes the results of their work all the worse. Do they think they will recommend the Bible to the finite and fallen reason of men by taking the supernatural out of it? They are doing just the opposite to that. They are emptying the churches and driving the young men of this generation into infidelity.” Yet such men Moody chose to assist him in his work.

But there is yet something on the positive side. Frances E. Willard worked with Moody in 1877, and says, “Everything went on smoothly until a Woman's Christian Temperance Union Convention was announced at Malden, and I was asked to speak there with Mrs. Livermore, then president of Massachusetts Woman's Christian Temperance Union. I agreed to go, and was again taken to task by Brother Moody, but this time on another ground. He held with earnestness that I ought not to appear on the same platform with one who denied the divinity of Christ. In this he was so earnest and so cogent, by reason of his deep convictions and his unrivaled knowledge of proof-passages, that I deferred to his judgment, partly from conviction and partly from a desire to keep the peace and go on with my good friend in his work; for I deem it one of the choicest seals of my calling that Dwight L. Moody should have invited me to cast in my little lot with his great one as an evangelist.”

But Miss Willard shortly afterwards changed her mind on the subject, and dissolved her connections with Moody. Of this she says, “My friends were grieved again, and many told me what many more told others, that I had once more made `the mistake of a life-time.' For myself I only knew that, liberal as he was toward me in all other things, tolerant of my ways and manners, generous in his views upon the woman question, devotedly conscientious and true, Brother Moody's Scripture interpretations concerning religious toleration were too literal for me; the jacket was too straight [sic]----I could not wear it.”

Now all of this may seem a little strange after seeing how determined Moody was to use modernists like Drummond and Smith. But it will be observed that the issue was a little different. Drummond and Smith denied the divinity of the Scriptures, while what Moody objected to was working with one who denied the divinity of Christ. There is really little practical difference, and a man or movement which denies (or redefines----for this is the way of modernism) the divine inspiration of the Scriptures cannot long hold any true doctrine of the divinity of Christ. The fact is, it is very probable that the new modernists with whom Moody worked were no more sound on the divinity of Christ than were the old Unitarians whom he rejected. But modernists are smooth and suave, and do not usually deal in direct denials, but with delicate insinuations. But whatever Moody was, he was not a deep thinker, and he likely did not see this----though he should have, and probably would have, had he not been blinded by the ties of personal friendship. J. Wilbur Chapman says, “D. L. Moody was heard to say again and again that he loved Henry Drummond.”

But we must conclude. That D. L. Moody was a good and great man none need question. But an old English proverb says, “Great men's faults are never small.” Moody was a great man, but in his association with modernists he had a great fault.


Mingled Seed

by James H. Brookes (1830-1897)

Our Lord Jesus Christ distinctly teaches that “the seed is the Word of God,” Luke viii.ll. So essential is this Word from first to last, that, without it, no spiritual life can be produced or nourished. It is said of all believers at all times, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” It is said to all believers at all times, “Desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby,” I Pet. i.23; ii.2. But it is most important to see to it that the word is sincere, that is, “without deceit, without guile, unadulterated,” and that it is “genuine, pure, incapable of decay,” or, in other words, that it is not mingled with man's worthless opinions. “We are not as many,” writes the apostle Paul, “which corrupt the word of God,” or “adulterate it as hucksters do wine for gain,” 2 Cor. ii.17.

The Holy Ghost is very particular in warning His people against the dangers of sowing mingled seed. “Thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee,” Lev. xix.19. “Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds; lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together,” Deut. xxii.9,10.

The spirit of these precepts is disregarded in the most open manner, and by those of whom better things were expected. As a mere illustration of sowing mingled seed, look at Dr. Lorimer's new book, “The People's Bible History.” He has the reputation of being an evangelical preacher, defending the inspiration of God's Word, and loving the old fashioned gospel, and yet he has associated with him in the production of this book Dr. Farrar, an infidel, Dr. Capen, a Universalist, Dr. Edward Everett Hale, a Unitarian, besides other objectionable writers.

Could he not have obtained as his assistants men sound in the faith? Did he not see that he was giving a quasi endorsement to anything these heretics have written? How can he with the least consistency say one word against Dr. Farrar's assaults upon the Bible, or the fatal errors of the Universalists, or the equally fatal errors of the Unitarians, when he has allied himself with these men in the preparation of a Bible history?

The other day there was received a book, written no doubt, by a sincere Christian young lady, and containing her musings and reflections in a sick chamber. The title page of the book had a verse from Shelley, an avowed atheist, a shameless adulterer, a man who drove his wife to suicide, and who dragged his paramour's young sister to become the victim of Byron's lust; while the body of the book was filled with quotations from Dr. Farrar, Prof. Dods, Prof. Drummond, and other men who do not know the first principles of the Gospel.

The same serious fault is often seen in evangelical newspapers. The editor will quote from George Eliot, for example, without a word of protest against her shameless character and conduct. They may claim that she has expressed herself prettily. But surely not more prettily than has been done by Mr. Ingersoll; and yet the former was as notorious an infidel as the latter, and not half so smart. The fact is, there is nothing in these quotations that may not be found expressed just as well in writings that have been put forth by men and women loyal to the truth.

Those who sow mingled seed, truth mixed with falsehood, little know the harm they are doing. They are putting the sanction of their approval upon men, who do not teach according to the Word, and commending their testimony. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrines of Christ, hath not God.” If we have the appearance of Charity, where the truth is not, we have given up Christ, and so have given up God. It is in fact denying our Lord, and saying that what is false is as good as what is true.

----The Truth, edited by James H. Brookes, vol. XXIII, 1897, pp. 76-77.

Chats from my Library
By Glenn Conjurske

James H. Brookes

James H. Brookes (1830-1897) was a Presbyterian pastor in the city of St. Louis. Unknown and unsung as he is, I regard him as the doctrinal father of American Fundamentalism. He was one of the most vocal opponents of modernism and modernists during his time----a time when many were tolerant of modernism, and many others drifting into it themselves. He was a dispensationalist, a staunch premillennialist, and just as staunch a pretribulationalist----at a time when the largest portion of the church was postmillennial. He was the foremost leader of the Bible conference movement in the last decades of the nineteenth century. His influence was not all good, for he held to a doctrine of salvation by faith only which was really antinomian. He was the spiritual mentor of C. I. Scofield in the early days of Scofield's Christian life. All of the above-mentioned doctrines Brookes impressed upon Scofield, and Scofield spread them broadcast through the church by means of his Reference Bible, and his Bible Correspondence Course. The emphasis on prayer and evangelism, which also characterized the early Fundamentalism, came from D. L. Moody, through R. A. Torrey, for Moody's greatest strength lay in a sphere where Brookes was weak. Brookes greatest strength lay where Moody was weakest, in his stand against modernism. Fortunately for the early Fundamentalism, the influence of both of these men contributed much to shape the movement. But in after years, the Moody-Torrey type largely gave way before the Brookes-Scofield type. The advent of John R. Rice, however, largely changed that, for he did a great deal to revive the Moody-Torrey type of Fundamentalism. Yet in the doctrine of the terms of salvation, Rice held strongly to the tenets of Brookes and Scofield, though the doctrines of Moody and Torrey were sounder.

But to return to Brookes. His books are not all of the same value----and some of them, indeed, have but little value, except as history. On salvation there are two, Life Through the Living One, a small book of 112 pages, and The Way Made Plain, which has 490 pages and a good index. These books set forth those doctrines of salvation commonly called “easy-believism.” Their statements and arguments are identical to those which may be found in Lewis Sperry Chafer's Systematic Theology. Brookes was Scofield's mentor, and Scofield was Chafer's.

On prophecy and dispensationalism there are three. First, a small book on the coming of Christ, entitled “Till He Come” (American Edition), or “I Am Coming” (English Edition). A larger book (554 pages, with indexes) on the same subject is entitled Maranatha. This contains nine chapters, comprising the central portion of the book, entitled “No Millennium till Christ Comes,” and in these he rises above himself, and waxes eloquent. Israel and the Church is a small book which contains some of the real marrow of dispensationalism, in setting forth the difference between Israel and the church.

In defense of the faith against the onslaughts of modernism, Brookes wrote Is the Bible Inspired?, Did Jesus Rise?, and several very small books in defense of the Bible, which were all bound together as The Bible Under Fire.

A couple of miscellaneous titles are Mystery of Suffering, which deals in a sane manner with the fact of human suffering, and May Christians Dance? I suppose the latter is a pamphlet, and is very scarce. I have never seen it. There is no doubt, however, that Brookes's answer to the title question is negative.

From 1875 till his death in 1897 he edited a monthly magazine called simply The Truth. The earliest volumes of this contain little depth, but we perceive an obvious advance in the editor when we turn to the later volumes. Like all periodicals, these are scarce, and I consider myself fortunate to possess about two thirds of the bound volumes, some of them incomplete. All of these I have gotten from Kregel's, over a period of twenty-five years.

There is no biography of Brookes, and what little is known of him must be gleaned from the pages of The Truth, especially the issue which appeared just after his death.


The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved

by Glenn Conjurske

When John wrote his gospel, he designed that his readers should know who he was, for, knowing that, they would know that his testimony was true. He clearly identified himself as the writer, saying, for example, “This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.” Yet he never identified himself by name. He only refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” and he thus identifies himself five times in his gospel.

We have two things to inquire concerning this expression, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” First, what exactly does it mean? and secondly, how is it that John could use such an expression to personally identify himself?

As to its meaning, there can be no doubt that it refers to a peculiar and special love, which Jesus had for John only, and for none of the other disciples. If it does not mean that, it means nothing at all. Note, it is not “the disciple who loved Jesus,” but “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Neither is it “a disciple whom Jesus loved,” but “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Of course, he loved all of the disciples, yet John was peculiarly “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” This was a designation which could be used of John only. If it be thought that the term expresses only the general love which Christ had for all the disciples, the expression is really meaningless, and certainly useless as an identification of the author of the book. This would be like saying, “the morning on which the sun rose”----when in fact the sun rises every morning. Or, “the lake which has the fish in it”----when in fact all the lakes have fish in them. If the expression means nothing except, “the disciple whom Jesus loved, as he loved all the disciples,” then it could not be used to identify one particular disciple, any more than “the lake which has the fish in it” could be used to identify any particular lake.

But we must next ask, how was it that John could use this expression to identify himself? If I say, “the drawer which has my blue-handled scissors in it,” people might open the drawers and see which one contained them. If I said, “the book which contains the genealogy of my grandmother,” folks might open the books to discover which book contains it. But if I say, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” no man is able to open the heart of Christ and examine it, to see which disciple had that peculiar place there. For this phrase to be of any purpose for the identification of the writer of the gospel, it was not enough that that peculiar love for John should dwell in the heart of Christ, but there must also be some outward, visible manifestation of it. And in fact there was such a visible manifestation of it. He had the place of intimacy with the Lord Jesus which none of the other disciples had, but which they could not fail to observe. We see it in the fact that John was “leaning on Jesus bosom” in John 13:23, which is the first place where he designates himself as the one whom Jesus loved. John was Jesus' best friend, and the other disciples could not fail to be aware of this. When John therefore designated himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” all who were familiar with the facts would immediately say, “That is John,” for the peculiar love which Jesus had for John could not fail to manifest itself in a special treatment of him. “Love and a cough cannot be hid,” as an old proverb says, and though this proverb speaks of romantic love, the same is true, though not so obviously so, of other loves as well. Certainly when two people are best friends, other people know it. John was Jesus' best friend----the one disciple whom he loved above all the others, and his special treatment of John made this obvious to them all.

Thus J. C. Ryle, on John 13:23: “Let it be noted that the general special love with which our Lord loved all His disciples, did not prevent His having a particular love for one individual. Why he specially loved John we are not told. Gifts certainly do not appear so much in John as grace. But it is worth noticing that love seems more the characteristic of John than of any disciple, and that in this he showed more of the mind of Christ. It is quite clear that special friendship for one individual is consistent with love for all.”

Matthew Henry on the same verse: “Of all the disciples John was most fit to ask, because he was the favourite, and sat next his Master....Observe, (1.) The particular kindness which Jesus had for him; he was known by this periphrasis, that he was the disciple whom Jesus loved. He loved them all (v. 1), but John was particularly dear to him.”

John Gill on the same verse: “Christ, as the son of God, and surety of his people, loved his true disciples, as he does all his elect, alike; not one more than the other; but as man, he had a particular affection for this disciple, and therefore admitted him near his person, and was very familiar with him.” On Gill's comments I must make a few remarks. First, I do not believe it is proper to make the distinction which he makes between Christ's divinity and his humanity. He is ONE PERSON, both God and man, and says of himself, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man WHICH IS IN HEAVEN.” (John 3:13). “The Son of MAN” is surely human, and was at that moment standing upon the earth, and yet could truly say that he was in heaven, for he is ONE PERSON, both God and man. He does not have two separate wills, or two separate sets of emotions, the one belonging to his deity, and the other to his humanity. He is one person, and all that he feels and does proceeds from that one indissoluble personality. If he gives to John a special love and a special place, it is as God and man that he does so. But I must affirm further that Gill's assertion that God loves all his people alike is pure assumption, with nothing that I know of in the Bible to support it, and I do not believe it is true. Nevertheless, Gill gives a clear testimony to the obvious fact that John received a special place and special treatment from Christ.

Adam Clarke writes on the same verse, “The person here mentioned was John, the writer of this history, who being more tenderly loved by Christ than the rest, had always that place at table which was nearest his Lord.”

Philip Doddridge thus expands the verse: “Now one of his disciples, namely John, whom Jesus loved with a peculiar tenderness and honoured with the most intimate friendship, sat next him at the table.”

But there is really no need to pile up testimonies in favor of a fact so obvious. But I have heard it taught that a leader in the church ought not to have any personal friends, and I have even heard it called SIN!! in a pastor if he shows a little more attention to one person than to another. Such doctrine, of course, is neither more nor less than the wounded pride of someone who feels slighted. Frankly, I have felt slighted sometimes myself. My feelings have been hurt also. I have felt the risings of jealousy also, to see the friendship which I craved given to another. But I have never dreamed of calling this sin, for folks do not owe their friendship to me. I have rather looked to God to make me worthy of the friendship I desired, and to give it to me from his hand. There may indeed be some sin in the matter, if one person is purposely slighted, and this is no doubt sometimes done even for the purpose of hurting that person's feelings. This is undoubtedly sinful, but to prefer the companionship and fellowship of one person before another----this is natural, and unavoidable, and there is no sin in it. And to act spontaneously in accordance with those natural feelings----there is no sin in this. If this is sin, then the Saviour was surely guilty of it. Some (like Calvin) insist that the distinction in our love and our treatment of particular persons is to be based solely upon spiritual considerations. I deny that, but it is immaterial. Whether the special love and the special treatment which Christ gave to John was based upon spiritual or natural considerations (or a combination of the two) is really beside the point. The fact remains that he did give him that special treatment.

But what of the hurt feelings, the hard feelings, the envious feelings, which such “favoritism” and “partiality” are likely to beget in others? As unfortunate as such things are, they are an inevitable part of the normal hurts and disappointments of life, of which we must all bear our share. But those feelings are sinful if they proceed anything beyond mere hurt and disappointment, to envy or bitterness. What if sister Sue is jealous because brother Peter is courting sister Jane instead of herself? Should Peter therefore marry them both, and treat them exactly alike? But mark, it is just as legitimate for Peter to have a friend as it is for him to have a wife. Yet to have a friend at all means of necessity to treat him differently than others are treated. This belongs to the nature of friendship, and an old proverb very truly says, “He that is a friend to all is a friend to none.” Jesus had friends, and he had a best friend, and in the very nature of friendship he was partial to that friend, and treated him differently than he treated others.

But though John had the chief place in the affections of the Lord, he was not the only one to whom Jesus was partial. He had numerous disciples throughout the land, but he did not give to them equal time or privileges. At one point we are told, “He called unto him his disciples, and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.” (Luke 6:13). This very act of choosing, which he did in the presence of all his disciples who were present, was likely to cause some hurt feelings and jealousy. How might you have felt, if you had been there, and had not been chosen? Yet the Lord did this nonetheless, for he wanted it clearly understood that these twelve had a special place. To have chosen them in private would not have answered his purpose so well.

But there is more. If this initial choosing was likely to cause some jealousy or hurt feelings, how much more his whole subsequent course. For “he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” (Mark 3:14). He did not divide himself equally among his disciples, but gave almost all of his time to these twelve. By many today this would be called “favoritism” and “partiality,” and no doubt it was----but it was right. To some others who sought to “be with him” he refused the privilege, and gave it to these twelve only. “He that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not.” (Mark 5:18-19).

It will be said that the Lord's actions in these matters were determined by spiritual purposes, and this may be so, but it is really beside the point. The sister who takes offense because the pastor shows more attention to another sister than he does to herself will not be any better pleased to be told it is because the other sister is more spiritual, or more useful in the cause of Christ. It may have been entirely for spiritual reasons that the Lord spent almost all of his time with these twelve, but this does not change the fact that he did so spend his time.

But further, among this inner circle of “the twelve” there was a smaller inner circle of three. It is hardly necessary to name them, for all who are familiar with the life of Christ know very well who they were, as surely as those who were familiar with his ways would have known that “the disciple whom Jesus loved” was John. The means by which everyone knows who belonged to the inner circle of three is the special treatment which they received from the Lord Jesus. So we read in Matthew 17:1-2, “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them.” It was the Lord's choice to admit these three only to the mount of transfiguration.

Again in the garden of his agony, “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.” (Matt. 26:36-37).

When he went to raise the daughter of Jairus, “he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John.” (Mark 5:37).

And inside this inner circle of the three, there was the one “best friend”----“the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

Let those whose hearts are taken up with jealousy and hurt feelings over such things begin to judge themselves, and cease to judge their brethren or theirshepherds, for such things are right, and such judgement is wrong. Shepherds need friendship as much as other human beings do, and the “Chief Shepherd” has left them an example which they may safely follow. John is not called “the disciple who loved Jesus,” but “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” This love was open and apparent, and there was no wrong in it.


The River and the Sea

by Glenn Conjurske

It is very common in hymnals to find the grace of God likened to an ocean, usually described as limitless, boundless, and so forth. But the language and imagery of Scripture is quite otherwise. The Bible never likens the grace of God to an ocean, but rather to a river, and there are good and obvious reasons for this.

The river is the proper figure of the love and grace and blessing of God, while the sea is not. Why so? Precisely because the grace of God is not boundless, but flows in a channel with well-defined bounds. His grace may be ever flowing, and ever increasing, but it is always bounded by his holiness, and never will go beyond those bounds.

Moreover, the ocean has no single source, but is rather the great end of a thousand different streams. In this respect also it is manifestly unsuitable as a figure of the grace of God. Further, because it is a great receptacle from a myriad of sources, it is a collection of impurity, and for that reason it cannot be a proper figure of the grace of God. In the Bible it is rather the figure of the Gentiles, the world, the corrupt masses of humanity. “The wicked are as the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up dirt and mire.” (Is. 57:20). It is from the sea that Daniel's four beasts arise, which represent the ungodly Gentile powers. (Dan. 7:2).

In contrast to this, the real beauty of the true Biblical figure of the grace of God is seen in the first verse of the last chapter of the Bible: “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Here is its single source, in the throne of God and the Lamb, its crystal purity, and of course, in the nature of the case, its bounds.

And mark, by insisting upon the fact that a river flows only within its own bounds, we lose nothing of the sufficiency which poets seeks to ascribe to the grace of God under the figure of an ocean. The sufficiency of grace is not in question, for it is not bounded by any arbitrary decree of God, but by the simple demands of holiness. God says, “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely,” (Rev. 21:7),and “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (22:17). The water of life is both sufficient and free, yet never a single drop shall flow to the wicked in torment, for the bounds of the river are righteousness and holiness.

Ezekiel saw the healing waters as a river, flowing out from the house of God, the same as in the Apocalypse (Ezekiel 47:1)----at the distance of a thousand cubits only to the ankles, but ever increasing, so that at two thousand cubits they were to the knees, at another thousand to the loins, and at another thousand a river to swim in, which he could not pass over. There was no question of sufficiency. Yet the river had a brink, or banks, which Ezekiel speaks of several times.

The contrast in the scriptural figures is plainly seen in Psalm 46:2-4, where we read, “We will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the depths of the sea: though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a RIVER, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God.” The sea is restless and raging, the emblem of the wicked, full of wrath, and without peace. When John saw the new heaven and the new earth, his only comment was, “there was no more sea”----but the RIVER shall flow on for ever, the fit emblem of the grace of him who is the eternal lover and the eternal giver, the eternal source of all blessing.


Index to Volume 2, 1993

Articles by the Editor

Adam Naming the Creatures............. 265

Bands and Cords (sermon)................. 73

Bible and the Teacher........................ 16

Books and the Bible (sermon).......... 206

Church and the World (sermon)........ 152

Church in the English Bible............. 241

Composite Character of KJV, Source of

its Excellence.............................. 85

Crowned Elders............................... 270

Doctrine of the Trinity in the

Book of Genesis......................... 250

Disciple Whom Jesus Loved............. 282

Denominationalism......................... 102

Eij" &Apanthsin............................... 53

Esau's Birthright............................... 25

Finney's Revival Work and Moral

Desolation................................. 113

Fiction............................................ 217

First John 5:7.................................. 198

First John 5:7 in Luther's Bible........ 234

Historical Lineage of King James

Version (chart)............................ 84

Holiness, without which no man shall

see the Lord............................... 157

How John the Baptist

Learned to Preach.......................... 1

Library Chats

C. H. Spurgeon.......................... 161

Charles G. Finney...................... 110

Charles Wesley.......................... 122

Corn in Egypt............................ 176

Dictionaries............................... 231

Gipsy Smith............................... 214

Histories of the English Bible......... 3

James H. Brookes...................... 281

My Card File Boxes..................... 39

Two Fannys................................. 67

Three Converted Jews................ 262

Tyndale and Coverdale................ 80

Making Ourselves Poor (sermon)...... .97

Marrow of Dispensationalism........... 145

May Christians Go Into Debt?............ 34

Missing Tears................................. 186

Moody and Modernism.................... 275

Ordained to Eternal Life.................. 128

Origin of Pretribulationism.................. 8

Parable of Laborers in Vineyard....... 236

Praying in the Name of Christ.......... 253

Prove All Things (sermon)................. 41

Rapture of the Church and Judgement

of the Ungodly........................... 150

River and the Sea............................ 286

Sins of Jeroboam............................. 121

Solitude.......................................... 193

Sorrow............................................ 166

Speaking Graves............................. 179

Tears of Esau.................................... 49

Temple of God in the

Great Tribulation....................... 258

Truth or Consequences (sermon)...... 224

What Manner of Time........................ 28

Why Did Noah Build the Ark?

(sermon).................................... 169

William Tyndale on Conditions of

Salvation..................................... 77

World Rulers (sermon).................... 134

Articles by Others

Any One Sin Persisted in Fatal to the

Soul, by Charles. G. Finney......... 57

Blow at the Root,

by John Wesley.......................... 140

Book and the Soul,

by C. H. Mackintosh.................. 165

Care for God's Fruit Trees

by Harry Ironside....................... 118

Dealing with the Faults of Others

by R. C. Chapman........................ 82

Displeasing Children (poem)

by Charles Wesley................. 127

Horrible Decree (poem)

by Charles Wesley..................... 124

Mingled Seed

by James H. Brookes.................. 279

Old Evangelism and New

by R. A. Torrey......................... 175

Who Shall Be Caught Up

by James H. Brookes.................... 14

Extracts & Miscellaneous

Faithful Preaching of James Axley..... 72

Final Victory of the Will of Man

by R. C. Trench........................... 53

Great Duty of Heavenly Contemplation

by Richard Baxter...................... 216

Josephus' Testimony to Christ............ 83

Love Chapter, from Tyndale's

First New Testament.................. 191

Praying for Children, Spurgeon.......... 96

Rays from The Lanterne of Li3t........ 221

Editorial Policies

Old articles are reprinted without alteration (except for corrections of printing errors), unless stated otherwise. The editor inserts articles by other writers if they are judged profitable for scriptural instruction or historical information, without endorsing everything in them. The editor's own views are to be taken from his own writings.