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Vol. 2, No. 11
Nov., 1993

The Church in the English Bible

by Glenn Conjurske

When William Tyndale first translated the New Testament into English, in 1525 or 1526, he did not use the word “church” at all, but always (with one exception) “congregation”----or, as it was then usually spelled “congregacion.” His one exception is in Rom. 16:5, where he has “grete all the company that is in their housse.” This exception he retained in the revision of 1534, but changed it to “congregation” in his last revision, so that the subsequent printings of his New Testament (of which there were many) read “congregation” throughout.

In this Tyndale was likely following the lead of Martin Luther, who never used the German Kirche (church) in his New Testament, but used Gemeine (congregation) in every instance where the Greek ejkklhsiva was used. As soon as Tyndale's New Testament was published it was attacked by the papists on numerous points, among which was its use of the word “congregation” instead of “church.” Tyndale begins his Answer Unto Sir Thomas More's Dialogue with a defense of himself on this point. He says:

“This word church hath divers significations. First it signifieth a place or house; whither christian people were wont in old time to resort at times convenient, for to hear the word of doctrine, the law of God, and the faith of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and how and what to pray, and whence to ask power and strength to live godly.”

Futher, “In another signification, it is abused and mistaken for a multitude of shaven, shorn, and oiled; which we now call the spirituality and clergy.”

Again, “It hath yet, or should have, another signification, little known among the common people now-a-days. That is to wit, it signifieth a congregation; a multitude or a company gathered together in one, of all degrees of people. As a man would say, `the church of London,' meaning not the spirituality only (as they will be called for their diligent serving of God in the spirit, and so sore eschewing to meddle with temporal matters), but the whole body of the city, of all kinds, conditions, and degrees: and `the church of Bristow,' all that pertain unto that town generally. And what congregation is meant, thou shalt alway understand by the matter that is entreated of, and by the circumstances thereof. And in this third signification is the church of God, or Christ, taken in the scripture; even for the whole multitude of all them that receive the name of Christ to believe in him, and not for the clergy only.”

Yet again, “Notwithstanding yet it is sometimes taken generally for all them that embrace the name of Christ, though their faiths be naught, or though they have no faith at all. And sometimes it is taken specially for the elect only; in whose hearts God hath written his law with his holy Spirit, and given them a feeling faith of the mercy that is in Christ Jesu our Lord.”

Once more, “Wherefore, inasmuch as the clergy (as the nature of those hard and indurate adamant stones is, to draw all to them) had appropriate unto themselved the term that of right is common unto all the whole congregation of them that believe in Christ; and with their false and subtle wiles had beguiled and mocked the people, and brought them into the ignorance of the word; making them understand by this word church nothing but the shaven flock of them that shore the whole world; therefore in the translation of the new Testament, where I found this word ecclesia, I interpreted it by this word congregation. Even therefore did I it, and not of any mischievous mind or purpose to stablish heresy as Master More untruly reporteth of me in his dialogue, where he raileth on the translation of the new Testament.

“And when M. More saith, that this word church is known well enough, I report me unto the consciences of all the land, whether he say truth or otherwise; or whether the lay-people understand by church the whole multitude of all that profess Christ, or the juggling spirits only.”

The sum of Tyndale's arguments is that “church” has several false meanings, as of the clergy only, or of a material building (which in later times George Fox and the Quakers refused to dignify with the name “church,” but called it a steeple-house)----but that it was little understood to mean the congregation of the saints. Therefore, when he contends that the word “church” has the sense of the whole congregation of Christians, he must immediately add, “or should have.”

Now the fact is, “congregation” actually answers to the Greek word ejkklhsiva, but “church” in its original signification does not. Though there is a little uncertainty surrounding the origin of the word “church,” William Fulke gives the following account of it: “For the etymology thereof is from the Greek word kuriakhV, which was used of Christians for the place of their holy meetings, signifying `the Lord's house;' therefore in the northern, which is the more ancient English speech, is called by contraction kyrke, more near to the sound of the Greek word.” This derivation is borne out, though not treated with absolute certainty, in a lengthy treatise on the word in The Oxford English Dictionary. Thus in its original sense the word “church” referred to a meeting-place, and does not mean the congregation or people of God----which is the only thing the Greek word ejkklhsiva can mean. Nevertheless, as Fulke also says, the word “church” was “usurped...to signify the congregation of Christians, by a metonymy of the place containing for the people contained.”

At any rate, in the controversy which followed the publication of Tyndale's New Testament, the papists clung to the word “church,” while the Reformers held to “congregation.” There was plenty of reason for this, on both sides. None of the early Protestant Bibles use the word “church” at all. Coverdale (1535) has always “congregacion.” Matthew (1537) has always “congregacion” or “congregacyon.” Coverdale's Latin-English New Testaments (1538) and Taverner's Bible (1539) have always “congregacion,” “congregation,” or “congregacyon.” The Great Bibles of 1539 and 1540 have always “congregacion” or “congregacyon.”

The first Protestant Bible ever to use the word “church” was actually the ultra-Protestant Geneva New Testament of 1557. It uses “churche” and “congregation” apparently without discrimination. It gives a decided preponderance to “churche,” however, using “congregation” only thirteen times, while “church” appears ninety-eight times. Moreover, the further we proceed through the New Testament, the less we find of “congregation,” and it is not used at all after First Corinthians, except only in “the congregation of the fyrst borne sonnes” in Heb. 12:23, and there, no doubt, because it was judged to refer to something other than the church of the New Testament. In the three references to the heathen mob in Acts 19, the Geneva New Testament has “assemble,” that is, “assembly.”

The Geneva Bible of 1560 swept the word “congregation” out altogether, and used “church” in every instance where ejkklhsiva was supposed to speak of the New Testament church, retaining “congregation” only in Heb. 12:23 and Acts 19.

Thus the fault, if fault it be, of thrusting out “congregation” for “church” clearly lies with the Geneva Bible. The blame, however, has been laid elsewhere. Mrs. H. C. Conant, in her history of the English Bible, faults Archbishop Parker and the Bishops' Bible for this, and attributes the change to unworthy motives. She writes:

“The uniform rendering of ecclesia by congregation, formed one of the characteristic features of the earlier versions, and was accounted of primary importance, as representing to the English mind the generic idea of visible Christianity as a community of equals. This was the point in Tyndale's version, against which Sir Thomas More directed his most powerful batteries. Coverdale, though allowing a false liberality to give a Popish tinge to his version in some other respects, never deviated in this from the Protestant principal. Cranmer, though his zeal for the Anglican church was not scrupulous in its choice of means, maintained this feature of the English Bible in unimpaired integrity. In the `authorized version,' as left by him and found by Archbishop Parker, ecclesia is rendered, in every instance without exception, `congregation.' It was therefore a very bold step, when the latter took the responsibility of a total change in this particular, by uniformly displacing `congregation,' and putting `church' in its stead. ... He knew well which was the Protestant and which the Romish ground in this debate. His choice of the latter needs no explanation, except that furnished by the character of the rejected word, as indicating the original democratic constitution of the Christian body. The time had now come, when Sir Thomas More's idea of The Church was to be realized in Protestant England; and the Primate saw, with Sir Thomas, that this could not be done so long as the true idea still lay on the face of the vernacular Bible. In this, the King James Revision followed that of the Bishops; and thus the word for which Tyndale had so earnestly contended, the word which had stood on the sacred page as an incorruptible witness against priestly usurpation, was thenceforward blotted from the English Scriptures. In this feature of the Bishops' Bible, we find a motive for the undertaking, not less strong than the opposition felt to the general influence of the Genevan version.”

But this is mistake all over. Mrs. Conant's first mistake is in her evident propensity to impute unworthy motives to the translators of the Bishops' Bible. Her second mistake evidently lay in consulting only the Geneva New Testament of 1557, instead of the Geneva Bible of 1560. She probably used Bagster's Hexapla, which contains only the 1557 Testament, but even so she did not consult it with much care. She says further, “The Genevan version used the words `church' and `congregation' interchangeably, and with about equal frequency. This variation from the practice of the previous versions, had perhaps some connection with the State-church element of the Presbyterianism of that time; but it at least respected the rights of the English reader, by giving, with the ecclesiastical term, the English term which clearly defined and explained it.” This is also erroneous, for thirteen to ninety-eight is not “with about equal frequency.” As for the Bishops' Bible, it actually gives more place to “congregation” than the Geneva Bible does, for the Bishops' Bible (the original of 1568, the revision of 1572, and the later printings) rather unaccountably retains “I wyll buylde my congregation” in Matt. 16:18, where the Geneva Bible has, as it always has, “Church.” (Mrs. Conant was aware of the fact that the Bishops' Bible retained “congregation” here, and postulates the controversy with the papists as the motive for it.)

As for the motive which she assigns to the Bishops' Bible for making the change from “congregation” to “church,” it can hardly have had anything to do with it, for the change was actually made by the ultra-Protestant Geneva Bible, eight years before the Bishops' Bible existed. The Bishops' Bible simply followed the Geneva in this particular, as it did in innumerable others. Nor do I believe the “State-church element” of Presbyterianism had anything to do with it.

The fact is, at the time of the Reformation, the word “church” was already an old landmark in the English language----somewhat misplaced, perhaps, but too well established to be turned out of its place. The Protestants could keep it out of the English Bible, but they could not thrust it out of the English language. The word “church” had already taken its place in the earliest translations from the Bible into English, the Anglo-Saxon Gospels, (èa Halgan Godspel on Englisc, that is, The Holy Gospel in English), translated from the Latin into Old English a thousand or more years ago. All four of the Anglo-Saxon versions published under the editorship of W. W. Skeat have some form of the word “church” in Matt. 16:18. At that time the word more nearly resembled the Greek kuriakhV, from which it is presumed to have come. The Rushworth gloss has “circae,” and the Lindisfarne gloss “cirice,” while the early Anglo-Saxon has “cyricean,” and the later Anglo-Saxon “chyrcan.” The “c” was always hard in the Anglo-Saxon, equivalent to our “k,” which was rarely used. Thus the relationship between “cyricean” and kuriakhV readily appears.

Since the gospels are the only part of the New Testament available in Anglo-Saxon, the only other passage available for comparison is Matt. 18:17. There the Rushworth gloss has “circan” both times, and the Lindisfarne gloss “cirice” and “cirica.” The Anglo-Saxon versions, however, have “geferrædene” (early) and “geferredene” (later), that is, “congregation.”

The Anglo-Saxon Psalters bear the same testimony. The Vespasian Psalter has “cirican” for the Latin ecclesia, but “gesomnunge” where the Latin has congregatio or synagoga. The Canterbury Psalter has “circeæn, ciercæn, circan,” etc., for ecclesia, but various other words for the other Latin words. It thus appears that the word “church” was the accepted equivalent for the Latin ecclesia a thousand years ago. Whether anybody attached a proper sense to it or not is another question.

Coming to the Middle-English period, we find the word “church” firmly established in the English Bible, both the Wycliffe Bible and the Latin-English Scripture portions of certain papists. Of the latter, the most interesting is A Fourteenth Century English Biblical Version, which is extant in manuscript, and was edited by Anna C. Paues and published by the Cambridge University Press in 1904. This contains large portions of the Acts and the Epistles. The English version almost always has “chirche” or “churche,” and often “holy chirche,” according to Roman Catholic usuage. In Acts 15, however, the translator ran into some doctrinal difficulty. In papists' usage, “holy church” designates the Roman hierarchy, but in Acts 15:4 we read of “the church AND the apostles and elders”----that is, by Catholic usage, the church and the church! There the translator was obliged to put “of êo congregacyone ande of êo apostuls ande êe eldars,” that is, “of the congregation and of the apostles and the elders.” The same difficulty appeared in verse 22, and the translator must put “vnto êo apostuls ande to êo elders, wiê all êo chirche (or congregacyone)”----“unto the apostles and to the elders, with all the church (or congregation).” Again in verse 41, where the Latin text has been tampered with, a clause about the apostles and elders being added, the translator is obliged to put “êo congregacyone of holy chirche.”

In a Middle-English manuscript version of Paul's epistles, edited by Margaret Joyce Powell, and published by the Early English Text Society in 1918, we find always (with one exception) “kyrke” in the singular, and “kyrkis, kyrkes, kyrkys” in the plural. “Kirk” is the northern form of “church,” and it has been used in Scotland until modern times.

In the Pepysian Gospel Harmony (dated about 1400), edited by Margery Goates, and published by the Early English Text Society in 1922, we find “my chirche” in Matt. 16:18, but in Matt. 18:17 the church is turned into the “prelate,” and we are told, “And al êat holy chirche wil juggen [judge] schal be stable and confermed.” “Holy chirche” is obviously meant to designate the prelates.

Turning from the papists to the Lollards of the Middle-English period, we still find the word “church” firmly entrenched. Both the earlier and the later Wycliffite New Testaments have almost invariably “chirche,” even of the lawless mob in Acts 19. (They both have “citees,” that is, “cities,” in Acts 14:23, and the later has “puple,” that is, “people,” in Acts 19:41.) A most interesting case presents itself in Rom. 16:5. The earlier Wycliffe Bible has “hir homeli chirche,” which the later version revises to “her meyneal chirche,” and adds in the margin, “that is, congregacioun of feithful men in her hows.” The Wycliffe Bible, which is generally very consistent and literal, also uses “chirch, chyrch, chirche” in the Old Testament for the Latin ecclesia.

Now there is only one reason why the word “church” was so consistently employed in these early renditions of the Bible into English, and that is that the word was already firmly established as part of the English language. It was in common use before the Bible was translated. The theological language of the times used it freely. It was used in its own proper sense, to denote a church building, it was used in its acquired sense, to denote the congregation of God, and it was used in the corruption of that acquired sense, to denote the Romish hierarchy. A wrong sense may have predominated in the minds of most of the people----a sense which does not correspond to the real meaning of the word in the Bible----yet the true sense remained also, as is seen in Wycliffe's note which equates the church with “the congregation of faithful men,” and in the occasional use of “congregacyone” or “meyne” in the Romish versions.

These early English versions did not establish the word “church” in the English language, but used it like any other word, precisely because it was already established there. After the appearance of the medieval English versions, the word of course continued to hold its place in ecclesiastical and theological English. Thus we find in a Lollard treatise written about the year 1400 (original in left column, modernized in right column):

But how euere we speken in diuerse names, or licknessis of êis holi chirche; êey techen nou3t ellis but êis oo name, êat is to seie êe congregacioun or gedering togidir of feiêful soulis/ êat lastingli kepen feiê & trouêe; in word & in dede to God & to man/ & reisen her lijf in siker hope of mercy & grace & blisse at her ende.

But however we speak in diverse names, or likenesses of this holy church, they teach nought else but this one name, that is to say, the congregation or gathering together of faithful souls that lastingly keep faith and truth; in word and in deed to God and to man, & raise their life in sure hope of mercy and grace and bliss at their end.

Thus it plainly appears that the word “church” at that time bore a sense which made it a true equivalent of the Greek ejkklhsiva. It was also still used to designate a building, as it is to this day. The same treatise tells us, under the heading, “What is êe material chirche,”

çe secounde chirche dyuerse from êis; is comyng togidder of good and yuel/ in a place êat is hal-owid; fer from worldli occupacioun/for êere sacramentis schullen be tretid; & Goddis law boêe radde & prechid/ Of êis chirche spekiê êe prophet Dauid; & seiê. Ps. lxvii. ... In chirchis bless 3e to êe Lord God. In êis place our graciouse God; heeriê oure preiers in special manere/ & bowiê his eere to hise seruauntis; in forme as he grauntid Salamon. III Re. ix/ II Paral. vii. ... Myn i3en seiê God shullen be open. & myn eeris schullen be lefte up; to êe preiour of him êat haê iustly preid in this place/ and êis is clepid a material place; for it is made bi mannes crafte/ of lyme of tymbre & of stone; wiê oêer necessarijs êat longen êerto. The second church, diverse from this, is the coming together of good and evil in a place that is hallowed, far from worldly occupation, for there the sacraments shall be treated, & God's law both read and preached. Of this church speaketh the prophet David, and saith, Ps. lxvii, `In churches bless ye to the Lord God.' In this place our gracious God heareth our prayers in a special manner, & boweth his ear to his servants, in form as he granted to Solomon, I Ki. ix, II Chron. vii, Mine eyes, saith God, shall be open, & mine ears shall be lift up, to the prayer of him that hath justly prayed in this place, and this is called a material place, for it is made by man's craft, of lime, of timber, and of stone, with other necessaries that belong thereto.

John Wycliffe also used the word in both senses, and says,

But here shulden men undirstonde êat êe chirche is taken on many maneres. First, for men êat shulen be saved, which Crist clepiê Abrams sones. After, for êe hous of liym and stoon, êat conteyneê such men. But here should men understand that the church is taken on many manners. First, for the men that shall be saved, which Christ calleth Abraham's sons. After, for the house of lime and stone, that containeth such men.

We may lament that this word of mixed true and false significations ever gained the place which it holds in the English tongue, but we cannot put it out. The Protestant Reformers could exclude the word from their Bibles, but they could not exclude it from their vocabularies. They could not exclude it from their theological language and literature, any more than Luther could exclude the German Kirche from his. It was too much a part of themselves, and of their mother tongue. Indeed, so much a part of their language was it, that though they excluded it from the text of their Bible, they did not always manage to exclude it from the margin. John Rogers, the editor of Matthew's Bible (1537), was the personal disciple of Tyndale, and the continuator of his work, yet on Matt. 16:18 he has a note saying, “I buylde my congregacion or churche.” It was no doubt such considerations that moved the translators of the Geneva Bible to reinstate the word in the English Bible. So at any rate it is explained by William Fulke, who says,

“Now to answer you, why ecclesia was first translated `congregation', and afterward `church'; the reason that moved the first translators, I think, was this: the word church of the common people at that time was used ambiguously, both for the assembly of the faithful, and for the place in which they assembled; for the avoiding of which ambiguity they translated ecclesia the congregation; and yet in their creed, and in the notes of their Bibles, in preaching and writing, they used the word church for the same: the later translators, seeing the people better instructed and able to discern, when they read in the scriptures, the people from the place of their meeting, used the word church in their translations, as they did in their preaching.”

This was not the work of bishop or archbishop, but of the puritan exiles at Geneva, during the bloody reign of Mary. And however the wisdom of it might be questioned, they did no more than reinstate in their Bibles a word which was firmly established in their writing, their preaching, their thinking, and their hearts. The change was begun in 1557, and completed in 1560, and whether this was wise or otherwise, I can see no reason to impute it to anything but proper motives.

The case may have been otherwise, however, with the King James Version. In that version the translators were under an injunction from the king to retain the “old ecclesiastical terms,” and the word “church” was specified in particular. It thus happens that the word “church” has the distinction of being the only word ever to be explicitly imposed upon the English Bible by royal authority. Nevertheless, had it not been so, it is extremely unlikely that King James' revisers would have used anything but the word “church,” with the example of both the Geneva and the Bishops' Bibles before them.

And though from an ideal point of view the word “congregation” is to be preferred, yet I cannot object to the presence of the word “church” in my Bible. It is in my hymn book also, and in my conversation, and in my writing and preaching and thinking, and in my heart, and it is much too late in the day to attempt to wrench it away. At this stage of the history of the church, it would be as unwise as it were impossible to change “the history of the church” into “the history of the congregation.”

The attempt has been made to exclude “church” from the English Bible----made for a quarter of a century by a whole generation of the best of Reformers, moved by the best of reasons. The attempt was unsuccessful.

It might have been tried for a longer period, but it is doubtful it would have met with any more success. If the word “church” had never been introduced into the English Bible in 1557, John Foxe would still have written his Acts and Monuments of the Christian Church----and “the church” would still have belonged to the warp and woof of the thought and language of “the church.”

The attempt was made again, by J. N. Darby, founder of the Plymouth Brethren. His New Translation does not use the word “church” at all, but has always “assembly.” Yet he could not root the word out of his heart and mind. The index to his thirty-four volumes of Collected Writings contains only thirteen entries (a third of a page) under “assembly,” while there are nearly five pages of entries under “church.” The Bible Treasury, edited by Darby's disciple William Kelly, and containing the writings of the “chief men among the Brethren,” has nearly three pages of listings under “church,” and only two thirds of a page under “assembly.” “Assembly” has no doubt gained a place in the hearts and the language of those who have been long associated with the Plymouth Brethren, but to the rest of the church, it remains a cold word, having none of the warm associations which belong to the word “church.” And even among the Brethren themselves, the word “assembly” has never been able to replace the word “church” in their thought and language, nor even to gain equality with it. I suggest that it was a blunder ever to introduce “assembly” at all. Even granting that the word “church” was not accurate or adequate, and that they ought to have sought to replace it, they would have found a much better substitute in the word “congregation”----a word already in common use in the church as a designation for the people of a local church, as distinct from its organization, its building, or whatever else the word “church” may imply. “Congregation” is also freely used to designate the people of God in the Old Testament. This is exactly the word which the Brethren really wanted, though somehow they missed it, and thrust the cold “assembly” into its place. There was no doubt too much of self-importance in their thinking----too much of departing from old landmarks under the sense that they alone were the possessors and restorers of the truth. Not that such feelings were altogether illegitimate----no, but they were allowed to grow too large, and dominate the movement, while the counterbalancing sense of appreciation for the heritage left to them by the men of God who had preceded them remained dwarfed and contracted; and in their zeal to deliver the church from the sway of the traditions of men, they removed some old landmarks which they ought to have allowed to stand.

One fact remains: the word “church” has been part of our mother tongue from its earliest traceable period, over a thousand years ago, and it is part of the minds and hearts of all English-speaking Christians. It is no great thing, then, that it should be part of our Bible, though “congregation” is certainly better from a merely technical standpoint. And if the word “church” had never appeared in the English Bible at all----or if it were to be banished from the English Bible from this day forward----

it would yet remain an integral part of both
the language and the heritage of

The Doctrine of the Trinity in the Book of Genesis

by Glenn Conjurske

To those who have eyes to see, the book of Genesis must be one of the most wonderful things in existence. It has been often remarked by others that every major doctrine of the Bible is found in germ form in the book of Genesis----and I may add, usually in the early chapters of the book of Genesis. And this in spite of the fact that Moses was certainly ignorant of many of those doctrines. The book is also full of the most beautiful types of “things to come,” though again, Moses was certainly ignorant of those things. He was equally ignorant of the fact that he was penning anything other than a historical account of things past. While Moses wrote a historical narrative of things past, the Spirit of God drew prophetic pictures of things to come. O, wonderful book! Where else shall we find, even in the Bible, a book which so evidently bears the impress of the hand of God?

But I have just examined the Polychrome Hebrew Bible, obtruded upon the world by the modernists about a century ago. The books are as elegantly printed as anything I have ever seen, as though the editors sensed that something was needed to make up for the emptiness of the contents. The Hebrew text is printed in various colors (too many of them to conveniently keep track of) to indicate the supposed sources of the narrative. Thus the entire eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of Genesis are red, except that 18:17-18 are purple, 18:19 green, and 19:26 blue. The entire twentieth chapter is blue, except that the last verse is purple, as is also the single word <?m (“thence”!!) in the first verse, and two words in verse 14 white. They see “editors” and “redactors” and “glossators” in every chapter, but they cannot see God. This may be likened to a man who stays a year under the kind roof of a hospitable and attentive friend, and sees goblins, ghouls, and ghosts in every corner, but never perceives the presence of his host. Was ever anyone so blind as a modernist?

But to those who have eyes to see I extend an invitation to look into the marvelous book, and find not only the hand of God, but the doctrine of God, in the doctrine of the Trinity. In Genesis 1:26 we find, “And God said, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness.” Cultists and Jews can deny the doctrine of the Trinity, but these words stand in their Bibles as well as ours. The New World Translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses (1961) has “us----our----our,” the same as other Bibles. All four of the Jewish translations which I possess read, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” These are the versions of Isaac Leeser (1853), the Jewish Publication Society (1917), I. M. Rubin (1928), and Alexander Harkavy (1936). Leeser's version is what might be called a compendium of Jewish scholarship, and was produced by him for the purpose of giving to English Jews a version which was not translated by men whose interpretation of the Bible was inimical to Judaism. Of that he says in his preface,

“In presenting this work to the public, the translator would merely remark, that it is not a new notion by which he was seized of late years which impelled him to the task, but a desire entertained for more than a quarter of a century, since the day he quitted school in his native land to come to this country, to present to his fellow-Israelites an English version, made by one of themselves, of the Holy Word of God. From early infancy he was made conscious how much persons differing from us in religious ideas make use of Scripture to assail Israel's hope and faith, by what he deems, in accordance with the well-settled opinions of sound critics, both Israelites and others, a perverted and hence erroneous rendering of the words of the original Bible. Therefore he always entertained the hope to be one day permitted to do for his fellow Hebrews who use the English as their vernacular, what had been done for the Germans by some of the most eminent minds whom the Almighty has endowed with the power of reanimating in us the almost expiring desire for critical inquiry into the sacred text. So much had been done by these, that the translator's labours were comparatively easy; since he had before him the best results of the studies of modern German Israelites.” He then cites a long list of Jewish scholars, ancient and modern, which he had used, and continues, “...he trusts that the foregoing catalogue of auxiliary works will prove that he has had at hand as good materials as can be obtained anywhere to do justice to his undertaking.” And further, “The translator is an Israelite in faith, in the full sense of the word: he believes in the Scriptures as they have been handed down to us; in the truth and authenticity of prophecies and their ultimate literal fulfilment. He has always studied the Scriptures to find a confirmation for his faith and hope; nevertheless, he asserts fearlessly, that in his going through this work, he has thrown aside all bias, discarded every preconceived opinion, and translated the text before him without regard to the result thence arising for his creed. But no perversion or forced rendering of any text was needed to bear out his opinions or those of Israelites in general.” Such was the man, and such was his translation. “An Israelite in faith,” of course, does not believe in the Trinity, yet by translating honestly the Hebrew text, his Bible must yet bear witness to it in the words, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Leeser, of course, must feel this, and so he adds a note on the word “us,” saying, “This phrase is employed here, as in other places, to express the purpose of the Deity to effect his will. This construction is called `the plural of majesty.”' To this I will only say that God ordinarily expresses his purpose to effect his will by saying, “I will,” in the singular number. But I wish Mr. Leeser had told us where those “other places” are, for they are of course more to our purpose than they are to his, being of no difficulty to us, as they are and must be to him. The only other one I am aware of is in Genesis 11:7, of which more in its place.

Concerning this “plural of majesty” Matthew Poole writes, “It is pretended that God here speaks after the manner of princes, in the plural number, who use to say, We will and require, or, It is our pleasure. But this is only the invention and practice of latter times, and no way agreeable to the simplicity, either of the first ages of the world, or of the Hebrew style. The kings of Israel used to speak of themselves in the singular number,

2 Sam. iii.28; 1 Chron. xxi.17; xxix.14; 2 Chron. ii.6. And so did the eastern monarchs too, yea, even in their decrees and orders, which now run in the plural number, as Ezra vi.8, I (Darius) make a decree; Ezra vii.21, I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree. Nor do I remember one example in Scripture to the contrary. It is therefore a rash and presumptuous attempt, without any warrant, to thrust the usages of modern style into the sacred Scripture. Besides, the Lord doth generally speak of himself in the singular number, some few places excepted, wherein the plural number is used for the signification of this mystery” ----of the Trinity.

Concerning this supposed “plural of majesty” I remark further, this is mere affectation in kings, and should we impute this to God? But further, to whom was God speaking when he said, “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness”? God alone was the Creator, and he made man “in HIS OWN IMAGE, in the IMAGE OF GOD created HE him: male and female created HE them.” (Gen. 1:27). HE is the sole Creator, and man is created in HIS sole image. So that even if we could grant this “plural of majesty,” it must yet remain that whomever he may have spoken TO when he said, “Let us,” he certainly spoke OF himself, when he said “our image” and “our likeness.”

But further, in Genesis 3:22 we read, “The Lord God said, Behold,the man is become as one of US, to know good and evil.” There is no question here of any purpose to effect his will, but a simple congnizance of a fact already accomplished. But we must observe further that God does not merely say “us” here, but “as ONE of US.” Of this another well says, “For though a king or governor may say us and we, there is certainly no figure of speech that will allow any single person to say, one of us, when he speaks of himself. It is a phrase that can have no meaning, unless there be more persons than one to chuse out of.”

And further, “The Jews are greatly perplexed with this passage. They endeavour to put it off, by telling us, God must here be understood to speak of himself and his council, or as they term it /yd tyb his house of judgment, made up of angels, &c. to which there needs no answer but that of the prophet, who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counsellor?

The force of this verse, of course, may be evaded in many ways, as everything in the Bible can be, if we have a mind to it. Concerning this the same writer says, on a similar passage, “And though others may have attempted to conceal such evidence as this under an heap of critical rubbish, yet if we are to come to no resolution till those who dislike the doctrine of a trinity have done disputing about the words that convey it, the day of judgement itself would find us undetermined.”

Further along in the book, in 11:7, the Lord says, “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language,” or, as it may be more literally translated, “Come, let us go down, and let us there confound” &c. We have here the twice repeated (in the Hebrew) “Let US.” And query, if this is nothing more than the “plural of majesty,” as unbelievers wish to tell us, to whom does God say “Come”? He is evidently speaking TO somebody, and says, “Come, let US go down.” And who was it that then went down to execute the judgement? Verse 8: “So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth.”

I turn to but one more thing, which is the type of the Trinity which we find in Abraham, his only-begotten son whom he offered up, and his servant, afterwards sent to procure a bride for his son----all of them masculine, by the way. There are but few types in the Bible of God the Father. Most of the types concern Christ and his work. But Abraham is an obvious and indisputable type of God the Father. I wish here only to call attention to his name. It was first of all Abram, and was changed by God to Abraham. Now “Abram” means “High Father.” “Abraham” means “Father of a multitude.” God was first the High Father, and afterwards became the Father of a multitude. He became the Father of a multitude only by creation and redemption, but he always was, in his own nature, the High Father, for he always had a Son. In this we see not only the doctrine of the Trinity, but also of the eternal Sonship of Christ.

Nevertheless, we do not pretend that these verses are of themselves a conclusive proof or a clear revelation of the doctrine of the Trinity. No: they are only the germ of the doctrine which was afterwards to be revealed. The doctrine was not then known to Moses or to the Jews, but it was surely known to God, who intended from the beginning to reveal it in its time, and so stamped its impress upon the very beginning of the book of beginnings----in germ form, 'tis true, in hints and pictures----but still indisputably there.


Praying In the Name of Christ

by Glenn Conjurske

The evangelical church of our day is as fast bound by the traditions of men as ever the Church of Rome was. The traditions may be different (though alas, many of them are the same), but the evangelical traditions have no more scriptural sanction than the Romanist traditions. Some of those traditions are obviously detrimental. Others may be seemingly harmless. Yet our safety is always in “holding fast the form of sound words” (II Tim. 1:13), as they are found in the Scriptures, and no departure from them may ever be assumed to be altogether harmless.

One of the most universal of evangelical traditions----though it is a modern one----is the saying of “In Jesus' Name” (or some similar phrase) as the closing of a prayer. A quarter of a century ago it became plain to me that much of what is commonly accepted and practiced among evangelicals has no sanction from the Scriptures, and at that point I took the Bible as my real and only authority, and let go the traditions. Among other things which I let go was this closing of my prayers with “In Jesus' Name,” for I saw no authority for this in the Bible. The prayers which are recorded in the Bible itself are not closed after this manner. Of course I am well aware that Christ has said, “Verily, verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23-24). But I do not believe that to pray in Christ's name means to say “In Christ's name,” and no doubt thousands of fleshly and sinful prayers have been presented to God professedly “in Jesus' name” which were not in his name at all. Of that more later.

But first, some will no doubt be ready to ask, What is wrong with it? To begin with, it generally contains such a display of spiritual ignorance and carelessness as Christians ought really to be ashamed of. Why, for example, do Christians almost universally say, “In Jesus' name,” after the manner of the modern Pentecostals? Surely if Paul were to use such a closing to his prayers, he would say, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Some have indeed varied the expression from “In Jesus name,” but usually with less of spiritual sense rather than more. How often have I heard Christians pray to the Father, and then close the prayer with “In thy name.” What is this, but praying to the Father in the Father's name?----and the case is not helped a bit if they say, “In thy blessed name,” or “In thy mighty name,” or “In thy precious name.” It is still praying to the Father in the Father's name----or rather, a mere mouthing of the words which tradition has taught them, without spiritual sense or thought.

Others actually pray to Christ rather than the Father, and close with “In thy name,” but there is less of spiritual sense in this than in the other. What Christ said in John 16:23 is, “In that day ye shall ask ME nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the FATHER in my name, HE will give it you.”

But the modern tradition is productive of a much greater evil than this mere confusion. The fact is, the great majority of evangelicals suppose that to pray in the name of Christ means nothing more than to repeat at the close of their prayers this verbal formula, which they use as a sort of magic charm, in hopes that it will secure the answer to their prayers. This meaningless ritual has displaced and replaced the reality. The repetition of the verbal formula has been substituted for actually praying in the name of Christ. With the ritual they are content, it never having entered their minds that there is anything more to praying in the name of the Son of God than glibly (yea, or solemnly) to repeat these few words at the close of their prayers. What it actually means to pray in the name of Christ they have never inquired----and never will, so long as this tradition holds sway over their minds.

It is worthy of observation that the same Bible which instructs us to pray in the name of Christ, instructs us also to pray “in the Holy Spirit”----yet no one dreams of closing their prayers with “We pray in the Holy Spirit.” Such a profession, indeed, might be more than their consciences would allow them to make. The same Bible also demands that we pray according to the will of God, yet no one dreams of closing their prayers with “We pray according to thy will.” Again, their consciences might not allow them to make such a profession----but then if they but understood what it means to pray in the name of Christ, they might not dare to make that profession either.

Now as said above, this tradition is a modern one. If we go back a century, to the recorded prayers of men like D. L. Moody and C. H. Spurgeon, we find no such custom reigning there, though we may find the seeds from which it grew. I find a reference to something similar more than two centuries ago, in the life of Sampson Staniforth, who says, “I asked a blessing, concluding as usual with `for the sake of Jesus Christ.”' It is a rare thing to find any actual prayers recorded from the men of those days, but I am able to give a hint from the sermons of George Whitefield, which were taken down in short hand just as he uttered them. He closes one sermon with, “Grant this, O Father, for Christ's sake; to whom, with thee and the blessed Spirit, be all honour and glory, now and for evermore. Amen.” But this, observe, is not merely the closing of a prayer, but the whole prayer.

A whole volume of Spurgeon's prayers have been published, containing twenty-six of his prayers, as he prayed them. His closing words are multifarious, and betray no such adherence to the custom which binds Christians today. I give a number of them (with page numbers in parentheses following):

“...so he begs to leave a broken prayer at the mercy seat with this at the foot of it: We ask in the name of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.” (6)

“Come, Lord Jesus, even so, come quickly. Amen and Amen.” (11)

“This is our prayer, and we crown it with this: Come, Lord Jesus,

come Lord and tarry not! Come in the fulness of Thy power and the splendour of Thy glory! Come quickly, even so come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.” (18)

“Come quickly, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen and amen.” (24)

“...and let the intercession be accepted of God, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.” (31)

“And now unto Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (37)

“Oh! that Thy kingdom might come, and Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, for Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.” (43)

“Father help us; bless us now for Jesu's sake. Amen.” (49)

“Glory be unto the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

Amen” (53)

“Make no tarrying, O Thou Son of Righteousness, but come forth speedily. We ask it for Thy name's sake. Amen.” (59)

“Lord hear, forgive, accept and bless, for Jesu's sake. Amen.” (65)

“Let the benediction of heaven descend on men, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (77)

“And wherever Thou has a people, may Jesus dwell with them and reveal Himself to His own, for Christ's sake, to whom be glory with the Father and with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.” (83)

“We ask it for Christ's sake. Amen.” (116)

“Let all tongues speak the name of Jesus and all men own Him as Lord and King. We ask it in His name. Amen.” (129)

“Father, glorify Thy Son that Thy Son may glorify Thee. Holy Spirit, do Thine office and take of these things of Christ and reveal them unto us. We gather up all our prayers in that salvation through the blood of the Lamb. Amen.” (134)

“We ask it for Jesus' sake. Amen.” (139)

The rest of them are generally of the same character and variety as these. He seems to have a preference for “Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus,” but the prayers published in this book are too few to base any generalization upon.

D. L. Moody's recorded prayers exhibit the same freedom from the tradition which binds the church today. One who knew him well and followed him closely speaks of “the words with which he closes his short direct prayers, `And Thou shalt have the praise and glory. Amen.”' This would seem to indicate that this was the habitual way in which he ended his prayers (without any reference to the name of Christ), but he was not bound to this, as the following examples will prove:

“While the infidels are mocking and scoffing and saying, `God cannot save the drunkards,' O God! make bare Thine arm and show them Thy strength; show them that God can save the lowest drunkards, and it will be to Thy great glory. Amen.”

“...and Christ will have all the praise and glory. Amen”

“...and Christ shall have the praise and the glory. Amen.”

“O God, hear our supplications here to-day, and answer our prayers; answer the many prayers that are going up to thee. Come Holy Spirit, in thy mighty power, and convict our hearts of sin, and melt them and turn them from darkness to light. Amen.”

“And thy name shall have the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

“...and thy name shall have the praise and the glory. Amen.”

“Grant us Thy blessing in all our work, and we will give all to the glory of Thy name through Jesus our Lord. Amen.”

“And now, may great grace be upon all men. Amen.”

“We ask it all in the name of Thy beloved Son. Amen.”

“And may Thy blessing rest on the songs we shall sing and the Gospel we shall preach. Amen.”

“We ask it all through the name of Immanuel Thy Son. Amen”

“We ask it all for Jesus sake. Amen”

“We shall never forget Thy goodness through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

“For thy name's sake. Amen.”

“We pray now for thy blessing to rest upon us as we go hence.” Amen.”

It appears that the closing words of Moody's prayers (and these examples might be multiplied almost without number) varied more than Spurgeon's did, but this may be only because so many more of Moody's prayers have been printed. Obviously neither of them were bound by the tradition which reigns today. They did sometimes use similar words, but this was evidently the expression of their own thoughts and feelings, and not the mere mouthing of words from habit and tradition.

How we got from that state of things to the present is unknown, though not hard to conjecture. Suffice it to say, the repetition of “In Jesus' Name,” or some similar formula, at the end of a prayer is now nearly as universal a tradition among evangelicals as it is to follow that formula with “Amen.” It is even a matter of conscience with many, so that they could not omit it without being convicted that they had done wrong. Here and there, however, the man may be found who has been liberated from it----probably because he has come to understand what it actually means to pray in the name of the Son of God. One such man was John R. Rice----surely one of the greatest men which the present generation has laid eyes upon. I heard him preach sixteen years ago. It was a meeting of preachers, and there were perhaps 200 of them present. When he preached----on prayer, of course----the auditorium resounded with a score or a hundred of “Amen's” after almost every sentence he uttered, but when in the course of his sermon he came to speak against the common ritual of saying “In Jesus' Name” at the close of our prayers, I alone said “Amen,” and the rest of the crowd was silent. I observed that Rice himself did not use the common formula in closing his prayers, but simply said “Amen.”

But we must inquire, if to pray in the name of Christ does not mean merely to profess his name by the repetition of a verbal formula, what does it mean? The following from R. A. Torrey is worth quoting:

“To pray then in the name of Christ is to pray on the ground, not of my credit, but His; to renounce the thought that I have any claims on God whatever, and approach Him on the ground of Christ's claims. Praying in the name of Christ is not merely adding the phrase “I ask these things in Jesus' name” to my prayer. I may put that phrase in my prayer and really be resting in my own merit all the time. On the other hand, I may omit that phrase but really be resting in the merit of Christ all the time.” This is all right as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough.

To pray in the name of Christ is not only to rely on his merit, but is to pray according to his purposes and for the sake of his cause. An employee may have permission to use the company name to buy materials on credit for the company's business, but as soon as he begins to use the company name for his own ends or projects, he is guilty of a crime. When I pray for the furtherance of the cause of Christ, I may legitimately pray under the authority of his name, but when his ends are not regarded, and I pray in the flesh for fleshly or worldly ends, it is a profanation of his name to use it as a magic charm with which to move God to answer me. God will no more regard this than he would if I prayed according to the will of the flesh, and closed my prayer with, “According to thy will.” It is a “vain repetition,” and God will no more be moved by it than he will by the vain repetitions of the heathen.


The Temple of God in the Great Tribulation

by Glenn Conjurske

“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (II Thes. 2:4). When the antichrist proclaims himself as God and demands the worship of the whole world, it will be “in the TEMPLE OF GOD” that he does so. If the man of sin were manifested today, where is that “temple of God” in which he would seat himself to “show himself that he is God”? It does not exist. There is no such “temple of God” on the earth today. The only temple of God which exists during the present dispensation is “a spiritual house,” built up of “living stones” (I Pet. 2:5). “Ye are God's building.” (I Cor. 3:9). “Ye are the temple of the living God.” (II Cor. 6:16). Thus at the outset of this inquiry we meet with the dispensational difference between Israel and the church. Israel had a temple. The church is a temple. Israel had a priesthood. The church is a priesthood.

Now the “temple of God” into which the antichrist shall come is certainly not the church of God. To suppose that it is will immediately involve us in difficulties, some of them insuperable. To begin with, this is a so-called spiritual interpretation, and it will oblige us to spiritualize everything involved, including the man of sin himself. This was the view of what is called “historic post-tribulationism”----a misnomer, for men who did not believe in a tribulation cannot fairly be called post-tribulationists. They were non-tribulationists. To them the temple of God was the church of God. The antichrist was the papacy. The “prince that shall come” was Christ, not antichrist. But even if we could grant that all of this spiritualizing of Scripture was admissible, yet we must insist that the “temple of God” in II Thes. 2:4 cannot be the church. First, the “temple of God” in this verse is the naov" of God----not the whole temple, but the sanctuary----not the whole building, but the holy place alone. This alone is designated as the naov". Now supposing this “spiritual” interpretation to be the true one. Suppose “the MAN of sin, the SON of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth HIMSELF above all that is called God or is worshipped, so that HE as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing HIMSELF that HE is God”----suppose this is no individual man at all, but the church of Rome, or the papacy. The temple of God must then of course be the church of the present dispensation. But could Paul----could the Spirit of God----be so careless as to represent the papacy as occupying the naov"----the holy place of the church? Surely if this is what had been meant, they----Paul and the Holy Spirit, I mean----would have said “the temple”----the iJerovn----the whole building, outer court and all, and not “the sanctuary.”

But more. Matthew 24 speaks of the same event, saying in verses 15 & 16, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, ...then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains.” If this is the church, and the abomination of desolation the papacy, what has Judæa to do with the subject? And why would he tell them to pray that their flight be not on the sabbath? The church has nothing more to do with the sabbath than it has with Judæa----John Calvin, John Knox, and John Wesley notwithstanding. The presence of the sabbath in this place is a sure indication of the change of dispensation which must take place before this scripture can be fulfilled. The “holy place” in Matt. 24:15 is not the church. Nothing of the kind. Daniel's vision of the seventy weeks (where alone he speaks of the abomination of desolation) concerns “thy people and thy holy city” (Dan. 9:24)----that is, the Jews and Jerusalem. “The holy place” of Matt. 24 is “the sanctuary” of II Thes. 2:4, and it is in Judæa. It is the holy place in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, and nothing other. Many post-tribulationists will grant this, without, however, apprehending the significance of it.

But again, we face the fact that at the present time there is no “temple of God” in Jerusalem----no “temple of God” into which the antichrist could intrude himself, were he to come to power today. To begin with, there is no Jewish temple at all today. The temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., and has never been rebuilt. The Jews are no doubt ready to build it, and will doubtless do so in short order when the times comes. But observe, if they were to build it now, and begin and finish in a day, it would not be the temple of God. So long as the church of God remains on the earth, the church of God is “the temple of God”----and there will be no other.

But to the proof of this. Let us stand back, and view the whole ground. So long as the Jewish economy was in force, it would have been simply preposterous to say to a mixed company of Jew and Gentile, “Ye are the temple of God.” Before such a thing could be, there must of necessity be a change of dispensation. Or, as Paul speaks in Heb. 7:12, “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” No company of “living stones” could have occupied the place of “the temple of God,” until that change of dispensation took place. Likewise, therefore (obviously) before the Jewish temple in Jerusalem can again be called “the temple of God,” there must of necessity be another change of dispensation. This, of course, ought to be expected by all who are “tribulationists” of any sort----by all, that is, who believe in a future literal fulfilment of Daniel's seventieth week. Those seventy weeks were determined upon Daniel's people and Daniel's holy city (Dan. 9:24), and have nothing to do with the church. It is no more intelligent to thrust the church into the seventieth week than it would have been impossible to thrust it into the first sixty-nine. The sixty-ninth week ended before the church began, and the church will end before the seventieth week begins.

To any who acknowledge the distinction between Israel and the church, the proof that the sixty-ninth week ended before the church began is simple and sure. “Unto the Messiah the prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks”----or sixty-nine weeks (Dan. 9:25). “And AFTER the threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off.” (Dan 9:26, Heb.). The sixty-ninth week, then, ended BEFORE the death of Christ, and so before the formation of the church, which is the “one new man,” made of Jew and Gentile, consequent upon the taking away of the law at the cross (Eph. 2). What then of the seventieth week? Either Messiah was cut off during the seventieth week (in which case the seventieth week must be “spiritualized”----though the first sixty-nine weeks were certainly literal), or else there is a break in time between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks, and the seventieth week remains yet to be fulfilled. But since all “tribulationists” take the latter position, I need not insist upon it. What I do insist upon, though, is that as there was of necessity a change of dispensation between the sixty-ninth week and the formation of the church, so there is also of necessity a change of dispensation between the completion of the church and the fulfillment of the seventieth week.

Now where is “the temple of God” in all of this? The sixty-ninth week ended, as we have shown, BEFORE the death of Christ. Sir Robert Anderson has demonstrated by minute calculations that the sixty-ninth week ended on the very day of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem----the very day in which Christ beheld the city, and wept over it, and said, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in THIS THY DAY, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are HID FROM THINE EYES.” (Luke 19:42). With proving Sir Robert's position I have nothing to do. It has never been disproved, and for my present purpose it will suffice to say that the most able champion of post-tribulationism, Alexander Reese, endorses it, calling Anderson's book (The Coming Prince) “one of the most brilliant, sane, and helpful works ever issued on unfulfilled prophecy,” and saying, “I think it was a true instinct that led Sir R. Anderson to choose our Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem as the day on which the prophecy `unto Messiah the prince' (Dan ix.25; Luke xix.37-8) and the sixty-nine weeks were fulfilled.”

Now what effect had this day upon “the temple of God”? Much every way! On the day of his triumphal entry (or the day following, if we assume Mark's account to be chronological rather than Matthew's), “Jesus went into the TEMPLE OF GOD, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple,” &c. (Matt. 21:12). But see the great change one or two days afterwards: “Behold YOUR house left unto YOU desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matt. 23:38-39). What was yesterday “the temple of God” is now “YOUR house,” and “left unto YOU”----by God, obviously----“desolate.” And this is immediately followed with, “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple” (Matt. 24:1)----surely a symbolic action in this place. And if the Jews build another temple today or tomorrow, it will not be “the temple of God.” God has his temple on the earth in the church of God, and he will not own another while the church remains.

Nevertheless, the very pronouncement of God's rejection of the Jews' temple contains an intimation of a future restoration: “Ye shall not see me until ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The blindness which has happened to Israel is only “UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Rom. 11:25). The church will be completed, and removed from the earth, and God will again own the Jewish temple as “the temple of God.” This we see in Rev. 11:1, which is the first time the Jewish temple is called “the temple of God” after Matt. 21:12. It says, “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod, and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the TEMPLE OF GOD, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” The measuring of the temple----the sanctuary, by the way, the same as in II Thes. 2:4, and the outer court is explicitly excluded in Rev. 11:2----the measuring of the temple signifies the Lord's owning of it once more as his.

When does this owning take place? Apparently as the first thing after the coming change of dispensation. For mark well, John has covered the ground of the tribulation once in Revelation chapters 6-10 (all but the final judgements which proceed from the seventh trumpet, and even that in anticipation, in 10:7), and as the last thing before this measuring of the temple he is told, “Thou must prophesy again.” (Rev. 10:11). He thereupon goes over the ground again, this time in a different manner, giving more place to the personages involved than to the events----and the first thing in this second prophecy is the measuring of the temple. This is before the testimony of the two witnesses, which occupies 1260 days, and corresponds (as I believe, with many others) to the first half of the seventieth week.

What then? Does this imply that this temple must be standing before the rapture of the church? Not at all, for we do not know for certain that the seventieth week must begin as soon as the church is removed from the earth. There was a short period of time after the sixty-ninth week ended before Messiah was cut off, and another short period before the church was formed. And a short period is all that will be necessarily required for the Jews to raise their temple. The Jehovah's Witnesses have reared hundreds of temples by volunteer labor----substantial buildings, too----in a few days' time. They built one in the town in which I live in just four days, just two months ago. The Jews may build their temple while the church remains, and they may not. One thing we may say with certainty is that, if they do, it will not be the temple of God so long as the church remains on earth. But when the church is taken up from the earth, God will again own that temple, and it will be “the temple of God” into which the antichrist will intrude to proclaim himself to be God. But between the present time and that time, there must of necessity be a change of dispensation. The temple then present will not be the church of God, but the temple of the Jews in Jerusalem. And of course, the saints then present will not be the church, but Israel and Jewish proselytes.

Chats from my Library
By Glenn Conjurske

Three Converted Jews

The three converted Jews of which I wish to speak are:

Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889),
Adolph Saphir (1831-1891),
David Baron (1855-1926).

The first two were converts of the Scottish mission to the Jews in Pesth (Budapest) in Hungary, and Baron was a convert of the Mildmay Mission to Jews founded by John Wilkinson. He was later son-in-law to Saphir.

Alfred Edersheim was converted in 1849 on this wise. He was a university student in Budapest, and his tutor a Jew. The tutor was obliged to leave town for six months to get a medical degree, and committed young Edersheim to one of the Scottish missionaries. The missionary asked the tutor how he could do so, knowing that he would try to make a Christian of him. The tutor replied that he knew no one else who would so conscientiously care for him.

“Before the winter was over, Edersheim was under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and had glorious views of the Divinity of Christ. Trusting in His one Sacrifice and filled with the peace of God, he gave himself up to be His servant in any way it might please God to direct him. The Jews were astonished. He opened a class to teach the students English, on the condition that the Bible should be their only lesson book.” He studied in Scotland, was then missionary to Jews in Romania, then a minister of the Scottish church, then of the Church of England, and finally gave himself entirely to literary labors. He is said to have been an eloquent preacher, whose ministry was blessed to the salvation of many. He was a learned man, particularly in Jewish lore.

His best known work is the large The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, in two volumes, which he wrote at Oxford at the close of his life. This has been often reprinted, and is one of the easiest works to find second hand. Similar in scope are a couple of single volumes entitled Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ, and The Temple: Its Ministry and Services as they were in the Time of Jesus Christ----having 342 and 414 pages respectively, and each with good indexes. Another substantial set covers the history of the Old Testament in seven small volumes. I am unable to give a title to the set, as my set has no title. Titles of the individual volumes (abbreviated) are: The World Before the Flood and the Patriarchs----The Exodus and Wilderness Wanderings----Israel under Joshua and the Judges----Israel under Samuel, Saul, and David----and three volumes of The History of Israel. I found this set at a book sale at a liberal church somewhere in Kansas or West Texas, and paid fifty cents a book for it. The volumes were not together, but scattered everywhere, so that I considered myself fortunate to find all seven of them. The seventh volume has a good index. Another title is Prophecy and History in Relation to the Messiah. I am unaware of any biography of him.

Adolph Saphir was converted through the same Scottish mission at Budapest, and his conversion was very remarkable. His father, Israel Saphir, was one of the most learned and respected Jews in Hungary. He was learning English, and attended the mission services for that purpose, taking young Adolph (aged 11) with him. In time both of them were inwardly convinced of the truth of Christianity, but said nothing about it. “One morning Adolph requested his father to allow him to ask the blessing at breakfast. On permission being given, he poured out an earnest, short prayer, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The consternation in the family, and shortly thereafter in the Jewish quarter, where they lived, was great.” The father of sixty-three years and the son of eleven were baptized and received into the church together.

Adolph was afterwards sent away to school, where he nearly lost his faith in God. He regained it, however, though I question whether he ever regained all that his education robbed him of. He also went to England, where he became a Presbyterian preacher. He was a popular and powerful preacher, and drew people of all denominations to his church. Presbyterianism, however failed to satisfy the longings for truth of some of them, and Saphir complained that many of his favorites left him to become Darbyites. Yet Sir Robert Anderson, fully committed to doctrines of the Brethren, yet tired of the weakness of the ministry among them, left the Brethren for Saphir's ministry.

A large Memoir of Adolph Saphir was written by Gavin Carlyle. It contains a large number of Saphir's letters, or parts of them, and is too detailed to be always interesting----yet many of those details are very interesting. From this book came the quotations given above, on Edersheim and Saphir.

Almost all of Saphir's books are addresses----edifying, but doubtless more diffuse than if he had written them. Titles are Christ and the Scriptures----Christ and the Church (on the great commsion)----Christ Crucified----The Lord's Prayer----Conversion----The Divine Unity of Scripture----Christ and Israel----Our Life-Day----The Hidden Life----and two volumes on The Epistle to the Hebrews. C. H. Spurgeon, in reviewing Saphir's Christ and the Scriptures in The Sword and the Trowel (1867, pg. 381), says, “We do not wonder that so many spiritual persons of all denominations attend the ministry of our friend at Greenwich, for if these discourses are specimens of his ordinary ministry, it is instructive indeed. There is far more depth, freshness, power, and teaching in this volume than in Mr. Saphir's former works, although those were exceedingly valuable.”

David Baron was born in Russia, and educated as a Rabbinical Jew, but was providentially transplanted to England. Young in life, the great burden of his sins lay heavy upon him, and he had no temple, no priest, no altar, no sacrifice, and no atonement. He had some contact with Christians, and began to read the New Testament, and gradually his hatred to the name of Christ was broken down. At length, against all of his Jewish prejudices, he went to God in the name of Christ, and found relief from the burden of his sins. He worked with the Mildmay Mission to Jews until 1893, when he and another founded The Hebrew Christian Testimony to Israel----a testimony of Jews to Jews.

Baron's testimony, as well as other biographical information, the history of the mission, and some of his writings are contained in David Baron and the Hebrew Christian Testimony to Israel. He is author of several large and substantial volumes, consisting largely of exposition of Old Testament scriptures, the most important of which is The Visions & Prophecies of Zechariah. Others are The History of Israel----Types, Psalms, and Prophecies----and The Ancient Scriptures and the Modern Jew. Smaller books are The Shepherd of Israel and His Scattered Flock----The Servant of Jehovah (Is. 53)----Jews and Jesus----The Jewish Problem and Its Solution----and The History of the Ten “Lost” Tribes. The purpose of this book is to prove that the Jews today are made up of all twelve tribes, and to refute the claims of Anglo-Israelism. It is an excellent book.

Baron was editor of The Scattered Nation, the “Quarterly Record of the Hebrew Christian Testimony to Israel.” This contains (among many other things) expositions of Scripture by Baron, and also his editorial notes, and journals of his work. Like almost all periodicals, this is extremely scarce, and all I have ever been able to find of it is one large volume, containing the years 1920 through 1923.

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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.