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
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
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
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
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
----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
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
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
----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
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
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
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.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen and amen. (24)
...and let the intercession be accepted of God, for Jesus Christ's sake.
And now unto Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be glory for ever and ever.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.