Olde Paths &
Ancient Lndmrks

Christian Issues

Book Room

Tape Corner

Contact us


Vol. 3, No. 6
June, 1994

Moses and Samuel

by Glenn Conjurske

A Sermon Preached on April 3, 1988, recorded, transcribed, & revised.

[Note: the preacher was often in tears while preaching this sermon, and as the transcriber has noted the preacher's weeping in brackets, I have left those notations intact in revising the sermon for the press. ----editor.]

Jeremiah, chapter 15, and the first verse, says, “Then said the Lord unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.”

Our holy Father, we do pray that this morning we might feel something of the reality of your holiness. Oh we pray, God, that you will open to us the solemn meaning of this word of holy Scripture. Anoint my poor lips and tongue that I may speak your message as it ought to be spoken. Anoint my heart, Father. Give me liberty. Give me unction. May I speak your message out of a burning heart, and may your people receive it into burning hearts. Fill us all with your Holy Spirit, Father, as we look into your holy Scriptures. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

In the fifteenth chapter of Jeremiah, verse 1, God makes a solemn declaration concerning his people whom he had chosen to bear his name----to receive his oracles----to whom he had sent all of his prophets----in the midst of whom he dwelled----his own people whom he had chosen to be his peculiar treasure out of all the nations of the earth. He says, “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind [or, my soul, as the Hebrew has it] could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.” Now, if you turn back a little bit in this book of Jeremiah, in the end of the thirteenth chapter, the twenty-seventh verse, he says to Jerusalem, “I have seen thine adulteries and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! Wilt thou not be made clean? When shall it once be?” God tells Jeremiah in the eleventh verse of the fourteenth chapter, “Then said the Lord unto me, Pray not for this people for their good.” Obviously things are in a pretty bad state when God is telling Jeremiah, “Don't even pray for them.” Verse 12 of the fourteenth chapter: “When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.” Well, Jeremiah didn't obey God in this matter. God told him, “Don't pray for this people.” Jeremiah, as Moses had done before him, prayed anyway. Verse 19 of the fourteenth chapter. He says,

“Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul lothed Zion? Why hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? We looked for peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble! We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee. Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us. Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? Art thou not he, O Lord our God? Therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.” Thus Jeremiah prays, and God answers him and says, “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my soul could not be toward this people. Don't pray for them.”

But why Moses and Samuel? They lived centuries apart, but God here joins them together. And if you will look at the ninety-ninth psalm, you will see that God joins them together there also, in the sixth verse. He says, “Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered them.” Now, we're going to look at Moses and Samuel a little bit this morning and see some instances in which this was true. But it's a strange thing. God here singles out Moses and Samuel----Moses and Aaron and Samuel----and says they were his priests. They called upon his name. He answered them. But something has changed. The state of the people is different now. Once upon a time, Moses cried to God to spare the people when he was determined to consume them, and he listened to Moses. He answered him. Once upon a time, Samuel called upon God to deliver this people, and he listened to Samuel, and he delivered them. But when you come to the book of Jeremiah something has changed, and God says, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me for this people, my mind could not be toward them. Cast them away out of my sight.” Something has changed. The thing that has changed is the state of the people. Their state may have been exceeding bad before, but now it's desperate.

Now, we are going to look at this a little bit----look at who Moses and who Samuel were----and I want you to understand, God didn't say, There is no possible way that my mind could be toward this people. What he did say is, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, my mind could not be. Now, why do you suppose he singled out Moses and Samuel? Well, because of all of the men of God----all of the prophets of God----all of the intercessors for the people that had ever lived in the Old Testament, Moses and Samuel were two of the greatest, maybe the greatest. I'm not sure of that----perhaps Abraham was greater----but certainly Moses and Samuel were two of the greatest. And God says, If they stood before me, I wouldn't listen to them. In another place he says, “If Noah and Daniel and Job were in this city, they would deliver but their own souls by their righteousness. They would deliver neither son nor daughter, but only their own souls.” You know, when God delivered Lot out of Sodom, he let Lot take with him his daughters----would have let him take sons and sons-in-law, whoever would have gone with him. When God saved Noah from the flood, he let Noah take his whole family into the ark. But there comes a time when things have changed, and the wickedness is so great that God says, “If Noah and Daniel and Job were in this city, they would save only their own souls by their righteousness. I wouldn't even spare a son or a daughter.” [Preacher weeps.] Now I believe that things have come about to that place in the society that we live in. I don't believe that there's ever been a society on earth so wicked as western civilization is today, and what I'm saying in this is: it may take more than a Moses and a Samuel to do the work of God today.

There was a time when Moses and Samuel could stand before God, and plead for the people, and God heard them. God repented of what he said he was going to do to the people, and he didn't do it. He spared them in answer to the prayer of Moses or the prayer of Samuel. But he says, “Times have changed now.” He says, “Even if Moses and Samuel both were standing before me together, pleading for this people as they did in the days of old, I would not spare this people. Time was when Moses could stand before me alone, and I listened to him. I spared the people. Time was when Samuel could stand before me alone, and I listened, and I answered.” But he says, “If they both stood before me now, I would not listen. Cast this people out of my sight.” [More weeping.]

Now I want you to understand first of all who Moses and Samuel were. You can start with Numbers, chapter 12. Of all of the prophets, or priests, or intercessors, of the Old Testament, Moses was perhaps the greatest. Moses was the kind of a man who was in God's inside circle. He was a member of the privy council. He was on the inside track. When Moses spoke, God listened. Moses could go to God and speak for all the people, and God would listen to Moses. Moses was God's friend, and God explicitly establishes that fact very clearly here in the twelfth chapter of the book of Numbers. I'm going to read from verse 1: “And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married, for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was very meek, above all of the men which were upon the face of the earth. And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses and unto Aaron and unto Miriam.” By the way, let me just insert here, I believe because of Moses' meekness, he wasn't going to vindicate himself when they spoke against him. He would have just borne it and taken it on the chin. But God says, I'm going to speak for him. Middle of verse 4, “Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation, and they three came out, and the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forth, and he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all my house: with him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches, and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold. Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed.”

Now God says, If I have a hundred prophets, I'll speak to those prophets in a vision. I'll speak to those prophets in a trance, in a dream in the night. I'll speak in dark speeches and enigmas and similitudes. Not Moses. Moses is my friend. I'm going to speak to Moses face to face. Moses is going to see my form, and not just a vision in the night. He's going to see my form and hear my words mouth to mouth. Now when you come over to the book of Jeremiah, the fifteenth chapter, you understand what a state of things the people are in when God says, “If Moses stands before me, I won't listen.” This Moses, of whom God says----he's not like other prophets. I won't speak to him in visions and dreams. I'll speak to him mouth to mouth.

Now you can also turn back to the book of Exodus, the thirty-second chapter, where God says a similar thing about Moses. In verse 9, “The Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and behold it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them, and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against this people which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it forever. And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”

Exodus chapter 33 also, and this is in verse 11: “The Lord spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto his friend.” This is that Moses, and as we just read in the thirty-second chapter of Exodus, verses 9-14, Moses prayed for the people, and God spared them. Now you have to understand what the situation was when Moses prayed. Israel had been blessed as no other nation had ever been blessed in history, and no other people has ever been blessed since. They saw the visible manifestation of God's power and goodness day after day in the wilderness. They saw it in Egypt when God executed all of his judgements----brought all of his plagues upon the people of Egypt, and spared the Israelites, and delivered them out of bondage, and brought them out through the Red Sea, divided the waters one way and the other way so that they could walk through on dry ground, and the hosts of Pharaoh came and attempted to do the same thing, and were drowned in the Red Sea, and Israel saw them dead on the sea shore the next morning. And God rained manna from heaven upon them day after day, so that they could eat. God gave them water from the rock, so that they could drink. And God called Moses up into the burning mount and spoke. The voice of God they heard, saying, “I am the Lord thy God that brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. Thou shalt have no other gods before my face. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Thou shalt not bow down unto them nor worship them.” And when all of this had passed, and Moses went up into the mount for forty days to receive the pattern of the tabernacle, and to receive the tables of stone written with the finger of God, the people made a golden calf, and worshipped it. Understand, if ever there was a sin on earth that was inexcusable, it was that one. No other people on earth ever heard the voice of God speaking as thunder from heaven, saying, “I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt have no other gods before my face. Thou shalt make unto thee no graven image”----but they heard it----and just a few days later made a golden calf and bowed down to it and worshipped it. And so God comes down to Moses in the tenth verse of Exodus chapter 32, and he says the same thing that he said to Jeremiah: he says, “Don't pray for these people.” He says, “Let me alone. Let my wrath wax hot against them. There's absolutely no excuse.” He says, “Moses, don't pray for these people----just let me alone----let me do this----I'll consume them in a moment. I'll make of you a great nation.” Moses didn't listen to God. It's a strange thing. God gave Moses plain instructions here. He said, “Leave me alone: let me consume them.” Moses did not listen to God, but God listened to Moses. Moses didn't pay any attention to God's word, when he said “Let me alone,” but God paid attention to Moses' word, and he spared the people. It tells you in the fourteenth verse, “The Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”

Now as I said, if ever sin was inexcusable, evidently that one was, when they made that golden calf after hearing the voice of God from heaven commanding them to make unto them no graven image. They had disregarded and disobeyed the commandment of the Lord almost as soon as they heard it. But at that point Moses could still plead for the people, and God listened to Moses, and God spared the people. But things had changed by the time you come to the fifteenth chapter of the book of Jeremiah, and God says, “It won't do any good now if Moses pleads. [Weeping.] If Moses were standing before me pleading for this people, I wouldn't listen. Once upon a time I did. Once upon a time I said, Moses, don't pray for the people: just leave me alone----let me consume them. Moses disregarded my word, and he prayed for the people, and I spared them. But it won't do any good now. If Moses were standing here pleading for this people, I wouldn't listen to him. My mind couldn't be toward them if Moses were pleading for them. Cast them away out of my sight.”

And not only if Moses were pleading alone, but he says, If Samuel were there, too. Now let's look at Samuel. I Samuel, chapter 3, verse 19, says, “And Samuel grew and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.” Now very plainly what that's saying is this: when Samuel opened his mouth and spoke, whatever Samuel said, God ratified it in heaven. Whatever Samuel said on earth, God performed it in heaven. God didn't let any of Samuel's words fall to the ground. Whatever Samuel spoke, God did. Obviously, Samuel was a member of the privy council, too. He was on the inside track with God. In plain English, when Samuel spoke, God listened. Every word that he said. God did not allow any of Samuel's words to fall to the ground. So the Scripture says.

Now go over to the seventh chapter of I Samuel. Israel is in bondage to the Philistines. In verse 8, “The children of Israel said to Samuel, cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a sucking lamb and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord, and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel, and the Lord heard him. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel, but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them, and they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them until they came under Bethcar.” Now here's a plain case. You have a man who can pray and get an answer. He's a friend of God. When he speaks, God listens. When he speaks, God will not let his words fall to the ground. God ratifies it. God performs it, whatever Samuel says. Israel is in bondage to the Philistines for their sin. Samuel cries to the Lord for Israel. The army of the Philistines gathers together, and God thunders upon them from heaven, and smites them. But you come to the fifteenth chapter of Jeremiah, and things have changed. [Tears.] God says to Jeremiah, “Don't pray for this people.” Jeremiah prays anyway. God answers Jeremiah, and he says, “Jeremiah, if Moses and Samuel were standing here before me pleading for this people, my mind could not be towards them. Don't bother to pray. Cast them out of my sight.”

Now in Ezekiel 22:30 God says, “I sought for a man.” I sought for a man that could stand in the gap before me for the land----that could make up the hedge----that could plead for the land, that I might not pour out my judgements upon them. I didn't find a man. Therefore I've poured out mine indignation upon them. Now I believe that God is always looking for a man. I believe that God never delights to pour out judgement. The problem is, sometimes God doesn't find a man. Some cases are too desperate for the man that he can find. The case was desperate in the fifteenth chapter of Jeremiah. Jeremiah's prayers were of no avail. God says, “Not only that, Jeremiah----not only am I not going to listen to you, but if I had Moses and Samuel standing here before me, I wouldn't listen to them. Moses, who was my friend, to whom I spoke mouth to mouth and face to face, not like other prophets that I spoke to in dreams and visions. Moses, for whom I spared the people just because he asked me to. Moses----when I said, `Don't pray for the people,' and Moses said, `I'll pray anyway,' and God said, `Okay, then I'll spare them.' [Weeping.] And Samuel, none of whose words I would suffer to fall to the ground----if these two were standing here pleading for these people, I would not listen to them.” [Tears.]

God doesn't say the case is impossible. What he is saying is: it will take a greater man than Moses or a greater man than Samuel to move me at this point. The case is desperate.

Now let's bring this to where we are. We want to see revival. I believe God would like to bestow it, but God, as always, is looking for a man----for somebody that can stand in the gap before him and intercede----maybe for somebody that can preach with the power that's needed to persuade the souls of men to turn. But the case isn't like it used to be, and this is the thing that I want you to understand. The society in which we live today is so absolutely and utterly wicked, it is beyond anything that has ever been in the past, and we have certain things today that bind men in chains----chains of sin which they have made for themselves, may be, but still they're bound by them. I've often thought of what the great curses of modern society are. I think I'd put the radio first on the list, and next to that the television set. The television set may be in one way a greater curse than the radio, but the television doesn't go everywhere the radio goes. People never get away from the radio. And the theaters, and now more recently the VCR's, and pornography, and all of those forms of sinful pleasure which the people of our society are absolutely addicted to----none of those things existed a hundred years ago, and neither did snowmobiles, nor speedboats, nor computer games, nor a hundred other kinds of pleasure and material possessions which are available to everybody today. We've got a battle to fight that D. L. Moody never dreamed about. We've got a battle to fight that was wholly foreign to the wildest imaginations of John Wesley or George Whitefield. They didn't have the things to contend with that we have to contend with. And it may just be that God is saying, “You want revival? You want to see this people turn to God? Maybe so, maybe I'll do it. But I'm going to need a greater man than John Wesley or George Whitefield. I'm going to need a greater man than Spurgeon or Moody.” I'm not imagining this, now. I'm taking this by analogy from what we've seen in the Old Testament. There was a time when Moses could stand before God, and disregard God's words, and say, “I know, God, you told me to leave you alone. You told me not to pray, but I'm going to pray anyway,” and God regarded him, and God listened, and God spared the people. And there was a day when Samuel could stand before God and plead for the people, and God regarded his prayer and answered him. But there came a time, after they had sinned with a high hand against all the light of heaven for generations----despised God's prophets, and stoned and persecuted them, and despised his word and his altar and his temple, and sinned with a high hand against all the light that God had shed so abundantly upon them----then God said, “It wouldn't do any good for Moses to plead now. It wouldn't do any good for Samuel to plead now. And it wouldn't do any good for both of them to stand here together before me and plead. If they did, my mind could not be toward this people. Don't pray for them. Cast them out of my sight.”

Now I'll tell you one thing: I am absolutely convinced that we can do nothing to bring revival without the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God. We talk to men, talk to women, preach to them, preach the most solemn, awakening truths to them, put our finger upon their guilt, and it doesn't make any impression on them. Why not? [Weeping.] Because the Spirit of God isn't poured out. Now when the Spirit of God is poured out and begins to convict men of sin, just a little word from you or me would convict them. Or maybe not even a word. In the great awakenings and revivals of the past, when the Spirit of God was poured out, and brought conviction to men----not in a town or a state, but over whole continents----a mother would come into a prayer meeting in New York City, and pass up a little slip of paper that said, “Pray for my son. He's a rebel against God, and he's out at sea in a sailing vessel”----and whoever was in charge of the meeting would read the request for prayer, and people would pray for that son, and that very day he would be smitten down on the deck of that ship with conviction of sin. [Tears.] No human means, no visible means----the Spirit of God poured out. If we don't have that, we can't do anything, and it just may be that God is in heaven saying, “You aren't going to get it, either, unless you prove to be a greater man than Whitefield and Wesley were----unless your church is purer than their churches were, unless you people are more zealous and more devoted, more holy, than those people were----I'm not going to give you the power of my Spirit. You can plead for these wicked people in this society all you please, and I'm not going to listen to you, unless you are a greater man than I've seen yet.”

Now you may say, That sounds pretty discouraging. But let me tell you this: When I look back at the movements that God has blessed in the past, when I look at the men that he has used in the past, I'm not completely discouraged. I see some zeal and some devotedness that I think it might be pretty hard for us to equal, but I see a lot of weaknesses, too. When I look back for example, at the early Methodist church, the early Methodist societies, which God certainly used to bring revival all over the English-speaking world, and then some, I say, we can----we can equal what they had. I'm not saying we do, but I'm saying we can. They weren't perfect. They had a lot of weaknesses, doctrinal weaknesses, weaknesses in practice, things that they allowed in their midst which we don't need to allow in our midst. I say I believe we can be beyond what they were for the Lord's sake. I don't think we are. I don't think we're up to what they were in many things. But I think this: If we are going to be what they were, and if we're going to surpass what they were (and it may be that we will have to surpass what they were before God will listen to us and give us his power)

----if we are going to be and do beyond what they were and did, we're going to have to get serious about it. We're going to have to get totally committed to the cause of Christ, and as I've told you many times before, the things that stand in the way are just lukewarmness and self-indulgence. We're going to have to quit saying, “Oh, do I have to give up this?” and say instead, “If this is what it takes, I'll gladly give up this and ten times more!” And we're going to have to quit finding ways to adhere to the letter of scripture and still do our own thing. We're going to have to say instead, “I'm going to take the letter of this scripture, and I'm going to take the spirit of it, and I'm going to do everything I can think of doing to conform to it. I'm not going to say, `What can I hold on to for my sake?' but, `What can I give up for the Lord's sake and the sake of perishing souls?”' I'm not talking about being a fool or an ascetic, and giving up things for the sake of giving them up. I am talking about conforming to the Scriptures, and one of the first principles, you know, of scriptural discipleship is, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself.” That means quit doing what I want to do because I want to do it.

Deny myself. Take up my cross----that means die to myself, not just once for all in principle, but take up your cross daily and follow Christ. All the little things, of which I may think, Well, they're just little things, and they don't make any difference----it just may happen that once upon a time God may have said, “Well, if I can find a man that'll be faithful to me in the weightier matters of the law----in love and mercy and righteousness----a man who is devoted to my cause, a man who is zealous, I'll listen to him, I'll pour out my Spirit upon him: but the case is too desperate now----I want somebody that's faithful in every jot and tittle. I've got to have a bigger man than Moses and Samuel if I'm going to spare this people. I've got to have a greater man than both of them put together. Got to have somebody greater than Moody and Wesley and Finney and Spurgeon.”

You say, Well, I can't be. I might just as well give up. Now listen, it is not a question of giftedness. God is not looking for you to have Moody's or Wesley's spiritual gifts. He's looking for somebody that can stand in the gap before him for the land to intercede. You don't need a spiritual gift to intercede. You've got to be a spiritual person. You've got to have the inside track with God. If I may speak this way----you've got to be God's pet. You've got to be the man of whom God says, “When this man speaks, I'll listen. When this man speaks, I'll put my hands under. I won't let his words fall to the ground. I'll perform them; I'll confirm them; I'll ratify them.” Why, God? “Well, because this man bends over backwards to be faithful to me in eveything.” You know that's what God said about Moses. I want you to turn back to the twelfth chapter of the book of Numbers (which we read already), and I'll begin with verse 6: “Hear now my words: if there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all my house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches, and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold.” What was Moses' qualification? Not that he was a great man----not that he was eloquent in speech----not that he had great gifts and could do miracles. Moses had gifts and greatness that few men will ever have, but his first qualification was, “He is faithful in all my house.” Anybody can be faithful. You don't have to be great and gifted to be faithful. You have to deny yourself. You have to deny your own interests, as you know Moses did. When he could have been reigning in the palace with the king, and enjoying all the pleasures of sin, and holding in his hands all the treasures of Egypt, he turned his back on it all, and chose in its place to suffer affliction with the people of God, and to bear the reproach of Christ. God is looking for somebody that's faithful.

We need to be serious about being faithful in everything, because a strange thing about faithfulness is this: God says, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much. And he that is unfaithful in that which is least is unfaithful also in much.” We tend to divide things between essentials and non-essentials. We tend to say, Well, this is an important matter, this is one of the weightier matters of the law, so I'll do this, but this little thing over here is some outward little thing. It doesn't make any difference. You don't know that it doesn't make any difference. It may be that it might not have made any difference a hundred years ago, but you've got a harder battle to fight than they ever had a hundred years ago, and maybe it will be the thing that will make the difference today.

God is looking for a man, and I believe God is looking for a church. And I want to be that man, and I want this congregation to be that church.

I believe we can be by the grace of God.

Let's pray. Father, we thank you for your holy Scriptures, and oh God, we pray that you will burn this message into our souls and make it a part of us. Don't let us escape from it. Don't let us rationalize it away. And oh God, give us grace to take up our cross and die daily, to deny ourselves, and to serve you faithfully in all things at all times. Amen.


by Glenn Conjurske

An old proverb says, “If two men ride on a horse, one must ride behind.” If two men work together in a cause, one of them must stand in second place. Some men are made to lead, and some to follow. Nay, more: some men are chosen of God, and fitted by God, and called of God to lead, and others ordained to follow them. Now the fact is, there are always but few who are fitted to lead, and many whose place is to follow. But another fact is, it takes a special kind of grace to stand in second place, and all men, alas, do not have that grace. The spirit of pride and of independence is so strong in the human race, that there are many who cannot be content to follow the man whom God has placed at the head. Many there are who could fill the second place with great advantage if they would----many even who do fill the second place with advantage for a time, but eventually the pride of their hearts overcomes them, engendering offence and ill will, and they begin to speak against the authority and the character of their leader, and so forfeit the place which God had given to them, in association with the man whom he had chosen to lead.

Aaron was a man whom God had put in the second place. Moses was the man whom the Lord had chosen and prepared and called to stand in the first place, and Aaron had no call of God at all, except the call to aid and assist Moses. God called Moses at the burning bush, commissioned him to deliver Israel from Egypt, and put into his hands the power to accomplish the work. Aaron was as yet nothing, and had no call from God at all. He may have been a good brick-layer in Egypt, may even have been an elder in Israel----but to lead the hosts of Israel and deliver them from their bondage he had no ability, and certainly no call from God. But Moses objected that he was not eloquent----objected even to the point that the anger of the Lord was kindled against him. Yet the Lord in his anger did not therefore set aside Moses' call, and call Aaron in his stead. Nothing of the sort. Aaron was no way fit for such a call. What then? “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee, and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth, and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people, and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.” (Ex. 4:14-16).

This is all plain enough. The work of God was committed to Moses, even in spite of the Lord's anger against him. Aaron had no such place. Aaron had no call from God at all, except to be Moses' spokesman. The estimation in which God held these two men was very plain also. Aaron was to stand in the place of “a mouth.” Moses was to stand in the place of “God.” The Lord repeats the same again in Exodus 7:1. “And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” Moses was called to be God's prophet. Aaron was called to be Moses' prophet. Moses, by the word of God himself, was put in the place of God to both Aaron and Pharaoh. Aaron was given no such place, but only to be a prophet and a mouth to Moses. What folly and sin would have been avoided if Aaron had been content to keep the place which God had given him----and to let Moses alone in the place which God had given to him.

But to proceed. For a while we see Aaron standing in his right place, beside Moses the man of God, acting as Moses' prophet. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 8:5-6). Again, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And they did so, for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Eygpt.” (Ex. 8:16-17). Two things are evident in these Scriptures. The first is Aaron's subordinate place. When God speaks, he speaks to Moses. When God wishes to communicate his will to Aaron, he speaks to Moses, bidding Moses “Say unto Aaron.” Why did not God speak to Aaron himself, instead of saying to Moses, “Say unto Aaron”? Verily Moses was the man whom God had chosen and called, to whom he would communicate his will, and if Aaron was to have it at all, he must have it from Moses. When God said that he had put Moses in the place of God to Aaron, this was no idle word. All of this should have taught Aaron his true place of subordination to Moses.

The second thing which we see in these scriptures is that while Aaron stood in the place which God had given him, as Moses' prophet, a great sphere of usefulness and power was opened before him----a sphere which was his solely by his association with Moses, and of which he could have had nothing otherwise. Standing beside Moses, in subordination to Moses, Aaron could stretch forth his hand and bring forth frogs, or turn the dust of the land into lice. Standing beside Moses, he could cast down his rod, and turn it into a serpent. He possessed that power solely by virtue of his association with Moses, and would not have had a shadow of it otherwise. The power of God is with the man of God, as all history testifies. That power was given to Moses at the burning bush. It was never given to Aaron at all, except by his association with Moses. And thus it often happens that a man whom God allows to stand in second place, under a man of God, has his own power and usefulness greatly enlarged thereby. He thus becomes, in his association with the man of God, a power which he never could be on his own. This, too, ought to have taught Aaron to thankfully cling to the place which God had given to him under Moses.

But there is something more. Not only was Aaron's own power and usefulness completely dependent upon his association with Moses, but he was also able to contribute something to increase Moses' strength. Though Moses was chosen and called of God to do a great work for him, yet Moses was only flesh, heir to the weaknesses which are common to man. Though the work of the Lord depended upon him, yet he was sometimes unable to accomplish it. Hence his need for a man like Aaron, to hold up his weak hands.

All of this we see most beautifully in Exodus 17:9-13: “And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed, and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side, and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”

The first thing which is evident here is that the whole operation depended upon Moses. Though Joshua was in the field with an army of chosen men, yet the battle did not depend upon Joshua, nor upon his army, but entirely upon Moses on the hill above, with the rod of God in his hand. When Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed. When Moses let his hands down, Amalek prevailed. These are simple facts. If we ask the reason of them, the answer is simple enough. Moses was God's chosen instrument for the work, and therefore the work depended upon him. Moses was the man of God, and the power of God was with the man of God. God had given that power into the hands of Moses. “The rod of God” belonged to him----and the same rod, in the hands of another man would not have been “the rod of God” at all, but would have been as powerless as the rod of Elisha in the hands of Gehazi.

But the second thing which is evident here is that Moses was beset with the same weakness which belongs to the rest of the human race. The rod of God was in his hands, but his hands were weak. When he saw that all the battle depended upon himself, and saw the weakness of his own flesh, he might have cried out with Paul, “Who is sufficient for these things?” Moses' weakness, in the type before us, was merely physical, but Paul's was certainly deeper than that. It is the weakness of humanity, in a thousand forms----weakness of soul and spirit, as well as weakness of body. We are all subject to it. And because of that weakness, though the battle depended upon Moses alone, yet Moses alone was not sufficient for it. He needed Aaron and Hur to hold up his hands. And this is a divinely drawn picture, of surpassing beauty, of the proper place of men like Aaron, who are called of God to stand in second place, to be the stay and support of the man of God. Here we see Aaron at his best. Would God that he had always remained so!

But there is a third thing evident in this picture. Moses was the man upon whom the battle depended. He could not be replaced by another, but nothing actually depended upon Aaron. Hur was as good as Aaron was, to hold up Moses' hands----and so were ten thousand other men. The place, then, which Aaron had at Moses' side, was a place of great privilege for him. Ten thousand others could have held up Moses' hands as well as he, but the place was given to him----and given to him by God. These considerations ought to have kept him humble and grateful in the place which he had, but alas, they failed to do so, as we shall see.

Thus far we have seen that Aaron had no independent call from God. He was called only to be Moses' prophet----only to stand at Moses' side, and second him and support him. We have seen also what a great sphere of power and usefulness this call opened up to him, and what strength he could contribute even to Moses so long as he stood at his side. And beside all this, he had the great privilege of standing with Moses and bearing with him all the reproaches which a stiff-necked people cast upon him----for it was against Moses and Aaron that the people always murmured. This, I say, was a great privilege, and beyond that, an unspeakable benefit to Moses. Anyone who has been called upon to bear the kind of burdens which Moses bore, and to bear the deep reproach which Moses had to endure from this people, will readily understand what a precious thing it was to him to have another human being to stand with him and bear that reproach with him. But for this, his spirit might well have failed. But alas for poor, weak Aaron, ere long we shall see him adding to the reproach which Moses had to bear, instead of helping to bear it.

We have seen what a power for good Aaron could be while he stood under the eye and the shadow of Moses, but we must turn to see what a power for evil he became as soon as he acted without Moses. In Exodus 32:1-7 we read,

“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us, for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf, and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it, and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”

What a strange, what an awful thing we see here. The man who had stood beside Moses to speak the word of the Lord to Pharaoh, the man who had done the work of the Lord with great power and signs in the sight of all the people, the man who had given his strength to Moses, and held up his hands in the crucial time----here we see him making an idol for the people, and leading them in the pagan worship of it, even to the place that we are told, “Moses saw that the people were naked, for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies.” (Verse 25). How could such things be?

The first thing which we must observe is that for Aaron to have done anything at all on the present occasion was a complete abandonment of his divine call. Aaron was not called to lead the people, but only to be Moses' mouth. Aaron was not called to act without Moses, but only to be Moses' prophet. He had no call of God to act at all without Moses, and he had therefore no business whatsoever to do so----and here, indeed, he proves how utterly unfit he was for it. He belonged by his call from God under the eye and the shadow and the authority of Moses, and his whole course on the present occasion proves how desperately he needed to be in the place in which God had put him.

But observe further, though Aaron had no call of God to be or do anything apart from Moses, yet he had the capacity to do so. His association with Moses had given him that capacity. Apart from his association with Moses, he would have been nothing above the rest of the Israelites, but his place as Moses' prophet had exalted him in the eyes of all the people. He was thus given a position in which he could act without Moses, in Moses' absence, though it was an abuse and misuse of his place, and an abandonment of his divine call, to do so. And to what a depth does he immediately fall, as soon as he takes the place which God had given to him under Moses, and uses that place to act without Moses. In so acting he does nothing but sin, and causes the people to sin, and causes the destruction of many of them. It is true, Aaron did not initiate the sin. The people came to him, and asked it of him. But what excuse is that? What right has a man to abandon the call of God, to follow the call of the people? Aaron would no doubt have been as strenuous as anyone in insisting upon the fact that God had given the place of leadership to Moses, and that no man could take it from him----and yet as soon as the people look to him for it, he has pride and presumption enough immediately to take it into his own hands, and so to go on adding sin to sin----and all the while apparently so infatuated with himself, and so sure of his own ability and his own right to stand in Moses' place, that he failed altogether to consider the fact that he must soon reckon again with Moses, and with the God who had called Moses.

Now all of this ought to have very deeply humbled Aaron, and taught him never again to step out of the place to which God had called him----not as the leader of the people, but as the mouth of Moses. But Aaron must fall yet deeper, and not only act without Moses, but act against him. “And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married, for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not spoken also by us?” (Num. 12:1-2). The more deeply we consider the character of this opposition, the better it makes Moses look, and the worse it makes Miriam and Aaron look. “Married an Ethiopian woman”! Is this all they could find against Moses? Then he was a good man indeed! He was indeed, as God says of him in the seventh verse, “faithful in all mine house.” We may be sure of it, that if Aaron and Miriam had been able to find anything more serious than this against the man of God, they surely would have found it. As it was, they ought to have hid their heads for shame to bring such a frivolous charge against the man of God, to whom they owed so much. But when the spirit of opposition takes possession of people, any foolish and frivolous charge will serve their purpose. An old proverb says, “If you want a pretence to whip a dog, it is enough to say he eat up the frying pan.” Surely in their heart of hearts they must have felt how frivolous their charge was. Even if their passions against Moses were grown so great that they regarded his marrying of an Ethiopian woman as some grave sin, surely others who had no such prejudice could not have so regarded it----nay, not though Aaron had used all of his eloquence to prove the evil of it, and rehearsed a long list of the names of the good people who were offended at it. Therefore it is a virtual certainty that if God had not soon cut short the course of their opposition to Moses, they would soon have found more serious charges than this one. If God had not immediately called forth Aaron and Miriam to their deserved chastisement, we may suppose they would have gone on speaking against Moses, adding charge to charge and accusation to accusation, each one more grave than the last, until at length they would have condemned his whole character, and repudiated his divine call. To justify themselves----whether consciously or unconsciously, whether to themselves or to others----to justify themselves in their opposition to the man of God, they must more and more deeply condemn him. All of this I have seen with my own eyes----and in people who had been capable of much better things, if pride and presumption and passion had not taken possession of their souls.

Understand, the Ethiopian woman was not the real issue. Nay, it had nothing to do with the real issue. The real difficulty was heart opposition to Moses, and the root of it was the pride of Aaron and Miriam. This is almost always the case when people set themselves against a man of God, and whatever frivolous charges they may profess as the basis of their opposition, the real basis of it has a way of coming to the surface. In the first verse of Numbers 12 they speak against Moses because he had married an Ethiopian woman, but in the second verse they say, “Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not spoken also by us?” What had this to do with the Ethiopian woman? One thing, indeed, it did have to do with her: it did plainly prove that God was pleased to speak by Moses, in spite of the Ethiopian woman----and thus it left Aaron and Miriam without any excuse for bringing such a charge against him. But further than that, there was no connection. The Ethiopian woman would never have been mentioned----would never have been a source of irritation to them----if there had not been a deeper difficulty in their own hearts. The root of that difficulty was plainly pride. They did not like to stand always in second place to Moses----did not like to have always to submit to him----did not like always to receive the mind of God from him----did not like always to have to acknowledge his superiority. This is all transparent in their speaking: “Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not spoken also by us?”

But “the Lord heard it,” and called Aaron and Miriam forth publicly, “and he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold. Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed.” (Num. 12:6-9). What God here affirms is that though he may speak by Aaron and Miriam, he would not do so in the same way that he spoke by Moses. But Aaron had too much pride, and he had apparently forgotten that he was called only to be Moses' mouth. He had apparently forgotten all of those times when the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Say unto Aaron.” Moses had a place of superiority given to him by God himself, and the basis for that place was found in his character----the very thing which Miriam and Aaron had assailed. Moses, God says, “is faithful in all mine house”----the Ethiopian woman notwithstanding. Whatever the merits of that charge may have been, God did not regard it.

Now the fact is, there are but few men who can have such a place of superiority as God gave to Moses, and many therefore who must stand in a lower place. But alas, in age after age many of those who are called to the subordinate position fall into the sin of Aaron and Miriam. Men who would be little and have little apart from the man of God from whom they have received it, yet must set themselves in opposition to the superior man to whom they owe their own place, and it may be their own salvation. They must set themselves to stand against the man to whom God has made known his will, and from whom they have received it. This is a common failing of those who are called to stand in a subordinate place. Some, indeed, err on the other side, practically putting the man of God into the place of God himself, so that they cease to exercise their own conscience and their own judgement. The error on this side is a smaller one, and much more excusable than the other, for two reasons. In the first place, it is God himself who says of the man of God, “thou shalt be to him instead of God,” and “See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh,” or “I have made thee God to Pharaoh.” (Ex. 4:16 & 7:1). This, of course has nothing to do with receiving divine honors or worship. It refers solely to the authoritative communication of the will of God----but though it means no more than that, it certainly does mean that.

But in the second place, the exalting of a man of God too high is likely the fruit of holy passions, of love and humility and gratitude, not properly regulated, or corrupted by the admixture of laziness or lukewarmness,----but the despising and opposing of a man of God is the fruit of the evil passions of pride, self-will, and ill-will.

As for Aaron, I do not suppose that he initiated this opposition to Moses, any more than he did the making of the golden calf. He was no doubt led away by his sister's spirit, and her tongue. This, I suppose, is indicated in the fact that so much greater chastisement fell upon Miriam than upon Aaron. Upon him, only a public rebuke----upon her, leprosy. But though Aaron probably did not originate this opposition to Moses, he was apparently ready enough to fall in with it----and this no doubt because there were wrong passions allowed in his own soul, which opened the door to that temptation. If those passions----pride, ingratitude, and resentment----had been judged and resisted, and the contrary virtues pursued, Aaron would never have fallen as he did.

Love, humility, and gratitude are the things which must be cultivated by those who would fill the subordinate places with honor to themselves and blessing to others. These are three sister virtues, which aid and uphold each other. The weakness of any one of them works to weaken the others. Unfortunately, we cannot point to Aaron as an example of a man who filled the second place with honor. I may, however, give to the reader a beautiful example of this in the person of Charles Wesley. He stood his whole life in second place to his brother John, with no prospect of advancement or equality, and no desire for it. He recognized the superiority of his brother John, and rejoiced in it. When John was thought to be dying, in 1753, Charles wrote in his journal (Dec. 4, 1753), “I told the Society on Sunday night, that I neither could nor would stand in my brother's place; (if God took him to himself;) for I had neither a body, nor a mind, nor talents, nor grace for it.” This was sober thinking, of the sort that would have kept Aaron from his sin----but Aaron's pride thought otherwise. Charles Wesley's daughter gives the following further testimony concerning her father: “He always said his brother was formed to lead, and he to follow. No one ever more rejoiced in another's superiority, or was more willing to confess it.” It was love, gratitude, and humility which kept Charles Wesley in such a frame of mind. If those had failed, there is little doubt but that pride, jealousy, resentment, and presumption would have taken their place, and he would have sinned as Aaron did.

But to conclude, we must observe one further matter concerning Aaron. His failures of which we have spoken were the strongest proof of his need to keep his place under the eye and the shadow and the authority of Moses. He was not made of the right stuff to stand in the place of leadership. He was made to follow, not to lead. He had pride and presumption enough to assume Moses' place in Moses' absence, but he quickly and thoroughly proved how unfit he was to fill the place. When he made the golden calf, he may likely have thought he was leading the people, but he was doing no such thing. They were leading him. He was carried away by the prevailing discontent and restlessness of the people, as a ship is carried by the wind and the waves. If he had actually been fit to lead the people, he would have rebuked their presumption, but he was completely controlled by it. Moses would not have been so swayed, nor would Aaron if he had kept his place in Moses' shadow. It was God who had put him in that place, and it had been his wisdom to keep it.

Ï Stray Notes on the English Bible Ï

by the Editor

“There Went Virtue out of Him”

Three times in the gospels (Mark 5:30, Luke 6:19 & 8:46) we read that “virtue” went out of Christ. In each case the Greek word for “virtue” is v , which means “power.” “There went power out of him, and healed them all.” In all of the three places the rendering “virtue” is to be traced back to William Tyndale's first New Testament, of 1526, in which we read, at Luke 8:46 for example, “I perceave that vertue is gone out of me.” Outside of these three places Tyndale rarely so translates v , and yet in these places this rendering has stood untouched in all the subsequent revisions of the English Bible, up to the King James Version. Today the thought of virtue going out of one sounds strange to English ears, and most likely presents a wrong idea, but the translation is perfectly legitimate, for the original meaning of the word “virtue” is “power,” and especially divine or supernatural power. Richard Rolle (died 1349), in describing the nine (fictitious) orders of angels in the heavenly hierarchy, names as the lowest three, “Aungels, Archaungels, & Vertues”----that is, “powers,” as in “principalities and powers” in the English Bible.

Rolle also used the word as we use it today, as in the following: “Als Criste dose noght his lufe in a foule hert in syn, & bownden in wile lust of flesche, bot in a hert êat es fayre and clene in vertues.” That is, “As Christ does not [put] his love in a foul heart in sin, and bound in vile lust of [the] flesh, but in a heart that is fair and clean in virtues.”

“Virtue” is commonly used for “power” in the Wycliffe Bible (often after the Latin virtus). There we read (in the Later Version),

Psalm 68:34-36, “Lo! he schal 3yue to his vois êe vois of vertu, 3yue 3e glorie to God on Israel; his greet doyng and his vertu is in êe cloudis. God is wondirful in hise seyntis; God of Israel, he schal 3yue vertu, and strengthe to his puple.” “Vois of vertu” is “mighty voice” in our Bible, and in the other two instances where “vertu” appears here in Wycliffe's Bible, the King James Version has “strength.”

Psalm 89:10, “In êe arm of êi vertu êou hast scaterid thin enemyes.”

Psalm 147:5, “Oure Lord is greet, and his vertu is greet.”

Isaiah 50:2, “Whether myn hond is abreggid, and maad litil, that Y mai not a3enbie? ether vertu is not in me for to delyuere?” “A3enbie” is “again-buy,” that is, “buy back,” or “redeem.” “Abreggid” is “abridged,” or “shortened,” as our Bibles have it. “Virtue” of course is “power.”

Mathew 22:29 (Early Version), “3ee erren, neêer knowynge êe scripturis, neêer êe vertu of God.”

Luke 4:36, “in power and vertu he comaundiê to vnclene spiritis.”

Luke 21:26, “for vertues of heuenes schulen be mouyd” (“the powers of heaven shall be shaken”----KJV).

Acts 19:11, “And God dide vertues not smale bi êe hoond of Poul.”

I Thes. 1:5, “oure gospel was not at 3ou in word oneli, but also in vertu.”

Rev. 13:2, “and êe dragoun 3af his vertu and greet power to hym.”

In this last example, “vertu” is power, while “power” is authority. So in Luke 4:36 “power and vertu” is “authority and power.” In Acts 19:ll (and numerous other scriptures) “vertues” is “miracles,” which is literally “powers” in the Greek, as well as the Latin, from which Wycliffe translated. Tyndale almost always uses “miracles” for this, but in Mark 6:2 he employs the word “virtues” for miracles. There he has (italicized letters are contracted in the original), “From whens hath he these thinges? and what wysdom is this that is geven vnto him? and suche vertues that are wrought by his hondes?” “Virtues” stood here in the English Bible until 1560, when the Geneva Bible altered it to “great workes.” In 1568 the Bishops' Bible altered it to “myghtie workes,” which was followed by the King James Version.

Chats from my Library
By Glenn Conjurske

English Concordances

The first purpose of a concordance is merely to find the texts which you know are there, but don't know where. For this purpose Cruden's Concordance (the work of Alexander Cruden, first published in 1737, but revised and reprinted numerous times) has been the universal favorite. This was one of the first books I ever bought when a student at Bible school, and to this day it remains one of the most-used books in my library. Years of constant use wore out the spine ten or twelve years ago, and I re-covered it with leather.

Another concordance, however, has more recently come into competition, in my library, with Cruden's. This is The Comprehensive Concordance to the Holy Scriptures, by J. B. R. Walker. This claims to omit only non-essential words, and to contain 50,000 more references than Cruden's. It was first published in 1894, but, though it is certainly superior, in that it is much more likely to contain what we are looking for, to date it never seems to have offered any threat to the popularity of Cruden's. I suspect that this may be due primarily to poorer printing.

Both of the above are based entirely on the King James Version, with no reference to the Greek or Hebrew. Their primary use is as text-finders, and they may also serve for studying particular subjects. For the study of the meaning and usage of particular words they will be of little help, and may often mislead. For that purpose something is needed which takes into account the Hebrew and Greek originals. There are several of these:

Two are similar in scope and content, though different in arrangement. These are Analytical Concordance to the Bible, by Robert Young, and The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, by James Strong. Young's is not exhaustive, for it omits such words as “that,” “the,” “thee,” etc. But in this it can scarcely be regarded as inferior to Strong's, which lists references only for such words, in an appendix. Both of these list the English words according to the King James rendering, but give also the Hebrew and Greek originals. Under each particular English word Young's gives as many separate lists as there are Greek and Hebrew words underlying that English word, each list headed by the original word, with an English transliteration, and a brief definition. Strong's gives one complete list under each English word, with each entry followed by a number, from which number the original word may be found in the index. Young's also contains an index of the original words, transliterated into English characters, with full information concerning all of the different renderings of that word in the English version. Strong's also lists the various English renderings of each original word, but in a manner which is not so clear as Young's. Either of these concordances may be used to study any original word in all of its occurrences, excepting the insignificant words omitted by Young's, and listed by reference only in Strong's. Young's is probably better for this purpose, as its index is clearer.

Superior to either of these are The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament and The Englishman's Greek Concordance of the New Testament, both executed under the direction of George V. Wigram in the 1840's, and published by Samuel Bagster. They have since been reprinted by others. These list every occurrence of every original word (except a few particles), giving the English translation, but listed under the original words. Thus all the occurrences of any original word may be seen in one list, with its English renderings. The same information may be found in Strong's or Young's, but only by a round-about method, which will often require you to look in a dozen or more places to get it all. The Englishman's concordances are actually better adapted to those who know at least a little of the original languages, though they do contain indexes of the English renderings, which give the original words, and page numbers on which they may be found.

I have taken some pains to compare the first four of the above concordances, Cruden's, Walker's, Young's, and Strong's, all of whose listings are according to the English version. The results follow:

Under the common word “world,” Cruden's has 172 entries, some of them containing more than one occurrence, with parallel passages listed under one entry. Thus, a passage from the Old Testament which is quoted in the New Testament will not be found in its expected place in the New Testament book which contains it, but the New Testament occurrence will be listed under the entry in its place in the Old Testament. This disadvantage is true also of Walker's, though not of Strong's or Young's. Cruden's also has two entries under the plural “worlds,” and a notice to see “foundation.” The entries are subdivided into three lists, under “world,” “in or into the world,” and “this world.”

Walker's has 221 entries, many of them containing two or more occurrences, and subdivided into six separate lists, headed “world,” “world to come,” “in or into the world,” “inhabitants of the world,” “this world,” and “whole world,” with a notice to see “face of the world,” and “foundation of the world.” It will thus appear that Walker's is much more complete than Cruden's, but it should be observed that many verses not listed under one word in Cruden's will be found under some other prominent word in the verse. In John 15:19, for example, Walker's lists all five occurrences of “world,” while my edition of Cruden's lists only the first two. Two of the remaining three, however, will be found under “chosen” and “hateth.” The fifth, which stands in connection with none but small and insignificant words, does not appear in Cruden's at all, and this will also be found to be the case with many verses or clauses which contain none but small and insignificant words. In using Cruden's I long ago learned to look first under what I suppose to be the least common word in the verse. Walker's usually eliminates the necessity for such guessing.

Young's contains 271 entries, subdivided into 18 separate lists, each headed by a different Greek or Hebrew word.

Strong's contains 284 entries, all in one list. I believe the reason that Young's contains fewer entries is that it more often doubles up, giving two occurrences on one line, when the two fall close together in the same verse. Strong's does this also, but not as often. In the book of John, Strong's has 77 entries under “world,” while Young's has but 68. Yet they both give a complete listing, except that Young's omits both occurrences in John 17:16. This is no doubt an oversight, as Young's is designed to be complete.

The Englishman's concordances, of course, cannot be brought into this comparison, for everything in them is listed under the original words, without regard to the English renderings.

Mainly out of curiosity, I also checked to see how the different concordances handle words added by the translators, such as “cometh” in Psalm 75:6, and “belong,” “belongest,” “belongeth,” and “belonging,” in numerous places. Cruden's may or may not contain them, depending on whether or not they were judged important. Walker's has them, and so does Strong's, though with a blank space where the number designating the original word usually appears. They have no place in the Englishman's, nor in Young's, though Young's gives a partial listing of references only under “belong.”

Young's is superior to Strong's in the fact that it gives at a glance, on the same page as the entries, the original Greek and Hebrew of each of them. But Young's method of listing the English entries according to the original words creates some difficulty, since a Greek or Hebrew word is often translated by a phrase in English, and Young did not always list every word of the phrase, as Strong did. Thus the word “nay,” in “say me not nay,” or “not say thee nay,” in I Kings 2, is not listed in Young's at all. It will be found, however, under the word “say,” as “SAY nay, to.” Similarly, Young's contains no reference to “meet,” in “a help meet for him.” Strong's lists it, of course, but improperly references it to the Hebrew rz#u@ (“help”), as though “help meet” were one word, whereas “meet” comes from another Hebrew expression. Likewise, words such as “when” and “while,” when they form part of the rendering of a participle, are entirely omitted by Young's, while Strong's contains long lists of them, without indicating any Greek or Hebrew word.

Each of these concordances has its own strengths and weaknesses, as I have endeavored to point out. I use and appreciate all of them.

Henry Moorhouse & D. L. Moody

[Henry Moorhouse (1840-1880) belonged to the Open Brethren. He preached and gave “Bible readings” throughout England and America, visiting America six times. He was doubtless one-sided in his gospel preaching, but he preached the side which Moody lacked in his early years, and in such a way as to exercise a great influence over Moody. He has been called “the man who moved the man who moved the world” for his influence upon D. L. Moody. That influence is related by Moody himself in the following extract, from Moody's sermon on “Love.” ----editor.]

I remember when I was in Dublin, Ireland, in 1867, I met what they called “the Boy Preacher.” I had read in the papers about “the Boy Preacher,” but I did not know this was the one. He introduced himself to me and said he would like to come to Chicago and preach. I looked at him; he was a beardless boy; didn't look as if he was more than seventeen, and I said to myself, “He can't preach.” He wanted me to let him know what boat I was going on, he would like to go on the boat with me. Well, I thought he could not preach and did not let him know. I had not been in Chicago a great many weeks before I got a letter which said he had arrived in this country and that he would come to Chicago and preach for me if I wanted him. Well, I sat down and wrote a very cold letter----“If you come West, call on me.” I thought that would be the last I should hear of him. But I soon got another letter saying that he was still in this country and would come to Chicago and preach for me if I wanted him. I wrote again, if he happened to come West to drop in on me; and in the course of a few days I got a letter stating that next Thursday he would be in Chicago and would preach for me. Then what to do with him I did not know. I had made up my mind he could not preach. I was going to be out of town Thursday and Friday, and I told some of the officers or trustees of the church: “There is a man coming here Thursday and Friday who wants to preach. I don't know whether he can or not. You had better let him preach, and I will be back Saturday.”

They said there was a good deal of interest in the church, and they did not think they had better have him preach then, he was a stranger, and he might do more harm than good. “Well,” I said, “you had better try him. Let him preach two nights,” and they finally let him preach. When I got back Saturday morning I was anxious to know how he got on. The first thing I said to my wife when I got in the house was, “How is that young Irishman coming on?” I had met him in Dublin and took him to be an Irishman, but he happened to be an Englishman. “How do the people like him?” “They like him very much.” “Did you hear him?” “Yes.” “Well, did you like him?” “Yes, I liked him very much. He has preached two sermons from that text in the third chapter of John: `For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,' and,” she says,“I think you will like him, although he preaches a little different from what you do.” “How is that?” “Well he tells sinners God loves them.” “Well,” said I,“he is wrong.” She said, “I think you will agree with him when you hear him, because he backs up every thing he says with the word of God. You think if a man don't preach as you do he is wrong.” I went down that night to church and I noticed every one brought his Bible. “Now,” he said “my friends, if you will turn to the third chapter of John and the sixteenth verse, you will find my text.” He preached a most extraordinary sermon from that sixteenth verse. He did not divide the text into “secondly” and “thirdly” and “fourthly”----he just took the whole text, and then went through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation to prove that in all ages God loved the world; that He sent prophets and patriarchs and holy men to warn us, and sent His Son, and after they murdered Him He sent the Holy Ghost. I never knew up to that time that God loved us so much. This heart of mine began to thaw out, and I could not keep back the tears. It was like news from a far country. I just drank it in. The next night there was a great crowd, for the people like to hear that God loves them.

I tell you there is one thing that draws above every thing else in this world and that is love. A man that has no one to love him, no mother, no wife, no children, no brother, no sister, no one to love him, belongs to that class who commit suicide; he would go down here and jump in the lake.

Well, there was a great crowd Sunday night, and he said, “My friends, if you will turn in your Bibles to the third chapter of John and the sixteenth verse, you will find my text,” and he preached another extraordinary sermon from that wonderful verse, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And he went on proving it again from Genesis to Revelation. He could turn to almost any part of the Bible and prove it. Well, I thought that was better than the other one; he struck a higher chord than ever, and it was sweet to my soul to hear it. The next night, pretty hard to get out a crowd in Chicago on Monday night, but they came. The women left their washing, or if they had washed they came, and they brought their Bibles, and he said, “My friends, if you will turn to the sixteenth verse of the third chapter of John, you will find my text, and again he followed it out from Genesis to Revelations [sic] to prove that God loved us, and he just beat it down into our hearts, and I never have doubted it since. I used to preach that God was behind the sinner with a double edged sword ready to hew him down. I have got done with that, I preach now that God is behind him with love, and he is running away from the God of love.

Tuesday night came, and we thought surely he had exhausted that text and that he would take another, but he said, “If you will turn to the third chapter of John and the sixteenth verse, you will find my text.” And he preached the sixth sermon from that wonderful text and that night he struck a higher chord than ever. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have”----not going to have when you die, but have it right here, now----“eternal life.” By that time we began to believe it, the whole of us, and we never have doubted it since; and if a man gets up in that pulpit and utters that text there is a smile all over the church to-day. Although twelve years have rolled away; they never have forgotten it.

The seventh night came and he went into the pulpit. Every eye was upon him. All were anxious to know what he was going to preach about. He said, “My friends, I have been hunting all day for a new text, but I cannot find one as good as the old one; so we will go back to the third chapter of John and the sixteenth verse,” and he preached the seventh sermon from that wonderful text. “God so loved the world.” I remember the closing up of that sermon. Said he: “My friends, for a whole week I have been trying to tell you how much God loves you, but I cannot do it with this poor, stammering tongue.

“If I could borrow Jacob's ladder and climb up into heaven, and ask Gabriel, who stands in the presence of the Almighty, if he could tell me how much love the Father has for the world, all he could say would be, `God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”'

Since then I have been preaching the love of God, and I tell you, my friends, God loves you, and He does not want you to perish.

“Say unto them, as I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death, of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel!” Drunkard turn! Turn from your cups! Give them up to-night! Say, “By the grace of God, I will hurl them from me. I will live a sober life.” The God of love, will if need be, send legions of angels to help you to fight your way up into the kingdom of God. God has power enough. What we want is the power of God in our hearts. But we cannot have a God of love, a pure God, a holy God in a heart full of vice and crime and sin. We have got to forsake sin, and God will turn and have mercy upon us.

----The Great Redemption; or, Gospel Light under the Labors of Moody and Sankey; Chicago: The Century Book and Paper Co., 1889, pp. 262-266.


John Wesley on Gospel Preaching

An Indictment of Most of the Present-Day Gospel Preaching

By one of the Most Fruitful Evangelists of All Time

If we duly join faith and works in all our preaching, we shall not fail of a blessing. But of all preaching, what is usually called gospel preaching is the most useless, if not the most mischievous; a dull, yea or lively, harangue on the sufferings of Christ or salvation by faith without strongly inculcating holiness. I see more and more that this naturally tends to drive holiness out of the world.

----The Letters of John Wesley, edited by John Telford; London: the Epsworth Press, 1931, vol V, pg. 345.

Editorial Policies

Old articles are reprinted without alteration (except for corrections of printing errors), unless stated otherwise. The editor inserts such articles if they are judged to be 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.