Explore the Book Notes Part 1

Genesis through Esther

Pat Evert's notes and outline of the book by J. Sidlow Baxter

Pat sent this enormous contribution with these comments: "This was a great blessing to me in helping sort out what I believe after leaving the Assembly. This is a summary of Explore the Book by J. Sidlow Baxter. He gives wonderful insight into meaning, he explains many difficult things to understand, but mostly I appreciate his aid in showing the distinct contribution of each book of the Bible and how it fits into the message of the whole. "

Baxter comes from a standard conservative evangelical perspective. His complete overview of the Bible brings awareness and appreciation of the many over-arching themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Just even skimming through this overview gives a huge blessing to those who have been under ministry that slices and dices the Bible to over-emphasize pet themes, such as overcomer and pilgrim church ideas.

Part 2 - Job through Malachi
Part 3 - Intertestament Period and New Testament

Editor's apology for the formatting - the html software didn't pick up everything correctly from Pat's original.


Part 1 - Genesis through Esther

The Old Testament - Man's Continual Departure from God
HISTORICAL (17) EXPERIENCE (5) PROPHECY (17)

Basic Law (5) Inner Life-Heart Basic Prophecy (5)
Pre-Exile Records (9) Pre-Exile Prophets (9)
Post-Exile (3) Post-Exile (3)

The New Testament - God's Finished Work in Bringing Man to Himself
HISTORICAL (5) EXPERIENCE AND DOCTRINE (22)

Christ (4) Christian Church Epistles (9)
Church (1) Pastoral and Personal (4)
Hebrew Christian Epistles (9)

THE HISTORICAL BOOKS

Genesis - Destitution (through the sin of man)
Exodus - Deliverance (through the power of God)
Leviticus - Dedication (accepted through atonement)
Numbers - Direction (by the Divine guidance)
Deuteronomy - Destination (by the Divine faithfulness)

In Genesis we have RUIN through the sin of man. In Exodus we have REDEMPTION through the blood of the Lamb and the Spirit of power. In Leviticus we have COMMUNION on the ground of atonement. In Numbers we have DIRECTION during pilgrimage, by the overruling will of God. In Deuteronomy we have the double truth of renewed and completed INSTRUCTION, and the pilgrim people brought to the pre-determined DESTINATION. Is not this the order of the experience of the people of God in all ages? There is also an unmistakable 5x progressive revelation of God in His relationship with His people. In Genesis we see the SOVEREIGNTY of God in creation and election (in the choosing of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants; and in covenanting the land of Canaan to them as their predestined inheritance).

In Exodus we see the redeeming POWER of God in His deliverance of Israel from Egypt, "with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm." In Leviticus we see the HOLINESS of God in His insistence on the separation and sanctification of His redeemed people. In Numbers we see the GOODNESS and SEVERITY of God - severity toward the unbelieving generation which came up from Egypt but never entered the covenanted inheritance, and goodness toward their children, in providing, preserving and protecting, till Canaan was occupied. In Deuteronomy we see the FAITHFULNESS of God - faithful to His purpose, His promise, His people, in bringing the redeemed to the promised possession.

Pre-Exile and Post-Exile Records:
Joshua - Possession (Israel occupies the land)
Judges/Ruth - Declension (Israel betrays her trust)
I Samuel - Transition (Theocracy now a Monarchy)
II Samuel - Confirmation (Davidic throne confirmed)
I Kings - Disruption (break-away of ten tribes)
II Kings - Dispersion (both kingdoms into exile)
Chronicles - Retrospection (Adam down to the Exile)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Ezra - Restoration (Remnant returns to Judea)
Nehemiah - Reconstruction (Jerusalem wall rebuilt)
Esther - Preservation (of the NON-returned Jews)

From Genesis to Deuteronomy all have to do with Israel's PREPARATION for Canaan. The remaining 12 historical books have to do with Israel's OCCUPATION of Canaan. These 12 may be further divided into 9 and 3. The first 9 cover the pre-exile, the Davidic kingdom is still in the land; whereas the remaining 3 cover the post-exilic, "Remnant" is back in the land.

The 400 Year Periods of Israel's History:

THE POETICAL BOOKS

Job - Blessing through Suffering (self-life dies)
Psalms - Praise through Prayer (the new life in God)
Proverbs - Prudence through Precept (in Wisdom's school)
Ecclesiastes - Verity through Vanity (world cannot satisfy)
Song of Solomon - Bliss through Union (Christ fully satisfies)

These 5 books are EXPERIENTIAL. The 17 historical books are concerned with a NATION (the Hebrew race); the poetical books are concerned with INDIVIDUALS (the human heart). There is a spiritual progress in these poetic books. The book of Job speaks of THE DEATH OF THE SELF-LIFE. Through the fires of affliction and a new vision of God, Job is brought to the end of himself. He sees himself as God sees him. The self-life with all its self-goodness and self-reason and self-religion, etc. is laid bare and laid low. The man who at first is said to have been the best man on earth (1:8), is found at last on his face before God exclaiming, "I abhor myself in dust and ashes!" (42:6).

Next, in Psalms we see THE NEW LIFE IN GOD, expressing itself in praise and prayer, in adoration and supplication and intercession, in faith and hope and love, in fear and joy and sigh and song, and in every frame that godly hearts know.

In Proverbs we are in God's school, learning a HEAVENLY BUT PRACTICAL WISDOM FOR LIFE ON EARTH; while in Ecclesiastes we are taught not to set our affection on anything under the sun, but to LET OUR TREASURE BE ON HIGH. Finally, the Song of Songs completes the progress by symbolically expressing the SWEET INTIMACY OF COMMUNION WITH CHRIST IN ALL THE FULLNESS OF HIS LOVE.
This progress is also the necessary order in true Christian experience. That which the Song of Solomon represents can never be experienced until we experience the Book of Job. Death is peaceful enough, but dying is hard. The self-life never dies without a struggle, but the afterward makes rich compensation!

THE PROPHETICAL BOOKS

The first 5 books are known as the Major Prophets, and the 12 to follow are the so-called Minor Prophets. And the 12 may be still further divided into 9 and 3 which are pre-exilic and post-exilic. In the Major Prophets we find all the basic ethical features of the Old Testament prophecy and of Messianic prediction. In Isaiah the coming Messiah is seen both as the suffering Savior and as the ultimate Sovereign who reigns in world empire. In Jeremiah, where we have Jehovah's full case against Israel, He is the righteous "Branch" of David, and the ultimate restorer of the judged and dispersed people. In Ezekiel, looking beyond intermediate judgments, we see Him as the perfect Shepherd-King in whose glorious reign the ideal temple of the future is to be erected. In Daniel, who gives us the most particularized program of times and events in their successive order, we see the Messiah "cut off" without throne or kingdom, yet standing up at last as universal Emperor on the ruins of a crashed Gentile world-system. The 12 Minor Prophets conform to the general frame already formed for us in Isaiah through Daniel.

The prophets were a succession of messengers raised up for a special period - that of declension and apostasy. They were inspired of God to transmit a message of warning and entreaty before the stroke of Divine judgment laid the two Hebrew kingdoms low beneath the heel of their heathen captors. "Lamentations" marks Judah's actual plunge into the night of the Babylonian exile. There were many other unnamed prophets; there were also many more writings of the prophets not included in the inspired Scriptures.

The prophet is one who speaks in the place of another. He would make known the will of One above them, and express higher thoughts and purposes than his own, as one who is entrusted with direct authority from God to speak on His behalf. In the course of Israel's history we notice the rise of five distinct orders - Priests, Levites, Judges, Kings and Prophets. The office of the prophet was extraordinary rather than ordinary. As His ordinary servants and teachers, God appointed the priests and Levites. They taught what the Law enjoined, and they performed the sacred rites which it demanded. But, when Israel turned away from it - then appeared the prophet, to rouse, to excite, to warn the people, and to call them back to the real purport of their own institutions.

The New Testament

In the New Testament, every book of the Old Testament is quoted from, except Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs and Lamentations. Or, in another way, in the New Testament there are 260 chapters, of which 209 have references to the Old Testament, leaving only 51 chapters with no reference. Thus the Old and the New Testament are interwoven with the weave of constant reference, allusion, and quotation. And no single reference in the New contradicts the Old, or undermines its authority. They all accept its full authority and its Divine nature.

Historical & Foundational

The Acts of the Apostles covers a suspense period in which our Lord's return was contingent upon the reaction of Israel to the renewed offer of our Lord Jesus as Messiah-Savior-King. Had there been a national response, the Lord would have returned in kingdom glory without further postponement.

In the Old Testament there seems to be a sorting out of the true Israel as through a sieve - dividing the nation, captivity in exile, return of the remnant. In the New Testament there seems to be the reverse, that of a growing, spreading, multiplying and maturing of the body of Christ.

The Christian Church Epistles

Romans - Galatians = Christ and the Cross (Origin) {Faith}
Ephesians-Colossians = Christ and the Church (Identity) {Love}
Thessalonians = Christ and His Coming (Goal) {Hope}

Addressed to churches, the emphasis is the mystery of the Church which is Christ's body. It begins with its doctrinal treatise and ends with its apocalypse of the Lord Jesus as it relates to the Church. Paul in this section addresses seven churches (the number of completeness), as in Revelation. In this we have the complete embodiment of the Holy Spirit's teaching for us Christian believers for the present dispensation. They are in a three-fold order: 1) Doctrine, the norms of the subjects they deal with, 2) Reproof, referring to wrong conduct, and 3) Correction, referring to wrong doctrine.

Chronological Order

Romans - Doctrine I Thess. Corinth AD 52-53 2nd J.
Corinthians - Reproof 2 Thess. Corinth 53 "
Galatians - Correction I Cor. Ephesians 57 3rd J.
Ephesians - Doctrine 2 Cor. Macedonia 57 "
Philippians - Reproof Galatians Corinth 57-58 "
Colossians - Correction Romans Corinth 58 "
Thessalonians- Doctrine Colossians Rome 63
Ephesians Rome 63
Philipp. Rome 64

Book Christ Seen The Gospel In Christ Key Word
Romans Power of G. Its Message Justification Righteousness
I Cor. Wisdom of G. Its Ministry Sanctification Wisdom
2 Cor. Comfort of G. Its Ministers Consolation Comfort
Gal. Righteousness Its Mutilators Liberation Faith
Ephesian Riches of G. The Heavenlies Exaltation Blessed
Phil. Sufficiency The Earthlies Exultation Gain
Coloss. Fullness of G. Philosophies Completion Filled
I Thes. Promise Church's Future Translation Working
2 Thes. Reward The antichrist Compensation Waiting

The Pastoral Epistles

These Pastoral Epistles are so named and grouped because they are addressed to Christian pastors. They have a positional significance which should not be overlooked, fitting as they do, between the two cohesive main groups of New Testament epistles, i.e... the nine Christian Church Epistles and the nine Hebrew Christian Epistles. The ninefold groups noticeably differ from each other in viewpoint and emphasis. The Pastoral Epistles, coming between them, fulfill a meaningful function. As the book of the Acts marks the transition from the distinctive message of the Gospels to that of the Epistles, so these Pastoral Epistles, both by their nature and their position, mark the transition from the special doctrinal contribution of the Church Epistles to the new emphasis and aspects of the Hebrew Epistles.

If their is any part of the Bible which Christian MINISTERS should study it is that part which particularly addresses them, namely the Pastoral Epistles. They are known as such because they have to do with the organized church from the pastor's point of view, although they are full of instruction for ALL Christian believers. These Pastoral Epistles have a special interest in three ways: (1) in their subject-matter, (2) in their leading ideas, (3) in their positional significance

The Hebrew Christian Epistles

Addressed to Hebrew believers, and contain a Hebrew atmosphere - how the gospel effects the nation of Israel, and their divinely granted religion. It begins with its doctrinal treatise and ends with its apocalypse of the Lord as it relates to the nation Israel. At the beginning of the "Church Epistles" the Book of Romans shows us that salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ is the ONLY way. But in Hebrews we are shown that salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ is the BETTER way - there is a "better" Deliverer, even Jesus, and a "better" sacrifice, i.e. Calvary; and a "better" principle, i.e. faith.

Genesis & the Apocalypse

Genesis answers the question, "How did all begin?" In broad outline and majestic language Revelation answers the question, "How will all issue?" Mark the contrasts between the two books.

• We see in Genesis . . .in Adam; We see in Revelation . . .in Christ
• The first paradise closed; The new paradise is opened
• Dispossession through human sin; Repossession through Divine grace
• The curse imposed; The curse removed
• Access to the tree of life lost; Access to the tree of life regained
• The beginning of sorrow and death; No more death, neither sorrow
• A garden defilement entered into; A city nothing defiling shall enter
• Man's dominion broken; Man's dominion restored
• The evil triumph of the serpent; The ultimate triumph of the Lamb
• The walk of God w/man interrupted; The walk of God w/man resumed

The Garden in Genesis gives place to the City in Revelation, and the one man has become a race. In Genesis we see human sin in its beginnings, in Revelation we see it in its full and final developments, in the harlot, the false prophet, the beast and the dragon. In Genesis we see sin causing physical death on earth, in Revelation we see sin issuing in the dread darkness of the second death in the beyond. In Genesis we see the sentence passed on Satan, in Revelation we have the sentence executed. In Genesis we have the first promise of a coming Savior and salvation, in Revelation we see the promise in its final and glorious fulfillment. Genesis causes anticipation, Revelation effects realization. Genesis is the foundation stone of the Bible, Revelation is its capstone.

From the beginning of the world to its end, there is no place you can look and not see Jesus. He is everywhere. He is All in all. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
(Colossians1:17)

The central chapter of the Bible is Psalm 118, in between the shortest and the longest chapters in the Bible. There are 594 chapters before and after it. What is the central verse in the Bible? Psalm 118:8, “It is better to trust the LORD than to put confidence in man.” This is the center of God’s perfect will for our lives.


GENESIS: THE DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY - IN EVENTS & ELECTION

I. PRIMEVAL HISTORY:  FOUR OUTSTANDING EVENTS

The Creation - Divine Sovereignty in Physical Creation -
God's Eternal Priority
The Fall - Divine Sovereignty in Human Probation -
God's Moral Authority
The Flood - Divine Sovereignty in Historical Retribution -
God's Judicial Severity
Babel Crisis - Divine Sovereignty in Racial Distribution -
God's Governmental Supremacy

II. PATRIARCHAL HISTORY: FOUR OUTSTANDING PERSONS

Abraham - Divine Sovereignty in Election - Supernatural Call
Isaac - Divine Sovereignty in Election - Supernatural Birth
Jacob - Divine Sovereignty in Election - Supernatural Care
Joseph - Divine Sovereignty in Direction - Supernatural Control

Genesis gives us the origin and initial explanation of all that follows. Here we have in germ all that is later developed. From Adam to Abraham we see the course of degeneration: first in the individual Adam, then in the family-Cain and his descendants, then in the nations - the antediluvian civilization; and then persisting throughout the race, as such, at Babel. Then there comes a new departure, we see the process of regeneration operating: first in the individual-Abraham, Isaac, Jacob; then in the family-the sons of Jacob; then the nation-Israel; all with a view to the ultimate regeneration of the race. Running through it all we see the principle of Divine election. God chooses whom He will in sovereign grace. Then in the wonderful biography of Joseph, we see the sovereignty of God in direction - the overruling and infallible directing of all happenings, however seemingly contrary, to the predetermined end.

THE CREATION

How did it all begin? To accept this first verse of Scripture makes it easy to accept all lesser miracles to follow. The first verse simply states the fact of the original creation, and leaves it there, in the dateless past. Then verse 2 tells of a chaos which came later. And then the six days that follow describe the reformation of the earth with a view to its becoming the habitation of man. In man we see the crowning purpose of the whole. Man's liberty was to be conditioned by loyalty. Amid many provisions there was just one prohibition. This constituted the point of probation.

THE FALL

How did sin get in? The tempter could only tempt. There need not have been sin, and there was no need to yield. God had made it easy to resist such temptation. Adam and Eve had been forewarned. The command was plain. The warning was emphatic. Obedience was easy, for God had surrounded them with abundant satisfactions, and given them the most distinguished place in His earth creation. Adam's was a clear choice, it would seem, to be one with Eve in her fall. As for the results: Innocence was no longer. They experienced the first appearance of shame. He lost the pristine glory about his body, the original glory of unfallen man, in Eden; once bathed in the glory - light of that unsullied communion with God, their whole bodies must have shone. The faculty of conscience and with it came fear, Adam and his wife fled from God and tried to hide from Him. There had come about a spiritual alienation of man from God. The reign of spiritual death had set in.

THE FLOOD

The Flood is mentioned in such close connection with the fall so that we don't miss its significance, even though it occurred about 1600 years later. In Ch.3 we have the fall. In Ch.4 we have Cain and the Cain line - the sons of men. In Ch.5 we have Seth and the Seth line - the sons of God. In Ch.6 the two lines cross, with tragic moral results. In Ch.7 judgment falls - the flood. The separation of the two lines was vital. Their confusion was fatal, and divine intervention became unavoidable. The Divine insistence all the way through is that the spiritual seed come out and be separate. The 'sons of God' could not be fallen angels, for angels are sexless and therefore incapable either of sensuous experience or of sexual processes; nor are they capable of reproduction. The flood of Noah's day is different from the prehistoric flood of which our geologists speak (Ge.1:2;II Pet.3). Noah was the 10th from Adam in the Messianic line. Satan may do his worst, and man may sink to his lowest, and judgment may fall to the utmost; but the ultimate purpose of Jehovah cannot be thwarted.

THE BABEL DISPERSION

Marked restraints are now imposed. The duration of human life is greatly curtailed. The soil now takes more toil and gives less in return, and flesh is now included in man's diet. A restraint of fear towards man is put upon the beasts. A death penalty is put upon the slaying of man by man. Amid these restraints the faithfulness of God stands out in the sign of the rainbow; a Divine promise of hope for the future. But, yet another restraint was imposed, that of the confusion of tongues. The pluralizing of human language was a culminating restraint measure. It was precipitated by a human confederacy to establish a big racial center, with a high astral tower. Its wrongs lay in the fact that its builders were defying the Divine command to spread and replenish the earth. "Let us make us a name. Let us not be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. Let us rebel." And from this time on Babel, or Babylon, becomes the symbol-city of 'this present evil world,' energized as it is, by the arch-rebel Satan.

TYPE TEACHING IN GENESIS:

The one all-sufficient authority for Old Testament typology is the clear warrant of the New Testament. Studied with good sense and a careful eye to New Testament teaching, the typology of the Old Testament is a priceless treasure-mine. It argues superhuman wisdom and foreknowledge. No doctrine should be built upon a type or types independently of direct teaching elsewhere in Scripture. Types are meant to amplify and vivify doctrine, but not to originate it. They are illuminative but not foundational. For if they are types, then they are not originals, but representations of things other than themselves. Also, the parallelism between type and antitype should not be pressed to fanciful extremes. Types, it would seem, are not meant to be exact replicas of those things which they typify, but to enrich and illumine our understanding of the more essential features of the antitype.

SEVEN GREAT MEN OF GENESIS:

Adam is a type of the natural man, unregenerate human nature. If we want to know the awful capacities of evil which are within Adamic human nature, we only need to trace the Cain line with its records of godless culture, earthly-mindedness, vanity, violence and rebellion against God. If we would know what can come from the same human material when under the renewing and transforming power of Divine grace, we need to follow the line of the MEN OF FAITH.

1) Abel - The man of "spiritual desire, name means exhalation or vapor, speaking of higher regions. Cain was a tiller of the ground with earthly interests and holdings. Abel was a keeper of sheep, a tent-dwelling pilgrim, desiring something beyond. Abel, the man of spiritual aspiration, offers a sacrifice which is at once a confession of sin, and the expression of strong desire for fellowship with God on the ground of forgiveness through sacrifice and faith.

2) Enoch - The man of "spiritual choice." Enoch is forever immortalized as the man who walked with God. It was not God going Enoch's way, but Enoch going God's way. Behind this walk with God was Enoch's full and final 'choice' of God's will and way. His name means dedicated.

3) Noah - The man of "spiritual renewal." Noah's experience of being saved through water is a typical anticipation of regeneration, of which Christian baptism is the symbol (I Pet.3:21). In Ch.6 we see Noah still on the ground of the old world. In Ch.7 we see him separated from the old world, in the ark (Christ), and by the water (regeneration). And later we see him going forth into a new life in a new world - which speaks of newness of life through regeneration.

The post-flood patriachs, following the typifying of regeneration, in Noah, exhibit in a typical way, the qualities and characteristics of the regenerate life.
4) Abraham - The life of faith
5) Isaac - The life of sonship
6) Jacob - The life of service
7) Joseph - The life of suffering and glory
Note the progressive order.


EXODUS : THE DIVINE POWER IN REDEMPTION

I. THE EXODUS (1-18)
Projected (1-4)
Obstructed (5-11)
Effected (12-18)
II. THE LAW (19-24)
Moral Commandments (19-20)
Social Judgments (21-23)
Religious Ordinances (24+)
III. THE TABERNACLE (25-40)
Designed (25-31)
Delayed (32-34)
Completed (35-40)

It is here that we mark the transition of the Israelites from being merely a plurality of kindred tribes into one nation, Divinely adopted, constituted and conditioned, as such, at Sinai - a founding of the Israel theocracy. "Exodus" is the very fount and origin of the national life, law and organized religion of Israel. Here this nation is brought into a new freedom, government, worship and fellowship. The exodus from Egypt marks the birth of a nation. Its counterpart in the Gospel is seen when Moses and Elijah appear with Christ on the Mt. of transfiguration and they spoke of His 'Exodus,' when He should leave this world. He would also be a Leader, to take out nations from this house of bondage, into a new life, liberty and fellowship.

In Egypt the Lord performed a big-scale exposure of idolatry. Egypt at that time was probably the greatest kingdom on earth, and its gods were considered correspondingly great. When God was to bring out His people into their new life and intended national mission of restoring the knowledge of the one true God, He would at the same time, expose the falsity of all man-concocted deities (12:12). Egypt is a type of the world: (1) in its material wealth and power, (2) in its wisdom and false religion, (3) in its despotic prince, Pharaoh, who is a type of Satan, (4) in its organization on the principles of force, aggrandizement, ambition and pleasure, (5) in its persecution of the people of God, (6) in its overthrow by Divine judgment.

Supremely, the Exodus was an expression of the Divine power. This becomes the Old Testament unit of measure for God's power: (1) of judgment in miraculous plagues, (2) of grace in blood-marked dwellings, (3) of might in clearing a way through the sea, (4) of guidance in the pillar of cloud and of fire, (5) of provision in supplying food and drink, (6) of faithfulness to the Abrahamic covenant, (7) of condescension in the Tabernacle, where God dwelt with His people. Yet this Old Testament unit of measure is superseded by the greater manifestation of the Divine power in the resurrection (Exodus) of Christ. Like Exodus it is a marvel (1) of judgment in the judicial dealing of God with sin, at Calvary, and the overthrow of Satan and his hosts, (2) of grace in the exempting of the blood- sealed believer from judgment and punishment, on the ground of identification with the cross, (3) of might in the raising up of Christ from the dead and His exaltation as Prince and Savior far above all, (4) of guidance in the giving and ministry of the Holy Spirit, (5) of provision in the blessing of the believer with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, (6) of faithfulness in whom all the kindred of the earth are blessed, (7) of condescension in the abiding of the Holy Spirit within the believer, transforming the human personality into a 'temple of the Living God.'

Both the Exodus of Israel and the salvation of Christians were a mighty emancipation, one a physical and temporal deliverance opening up the way to an earthly Canaan; the other a spiritual and eternal deliverance opening up the way to Heaven. Both by the blood of a lamb slain, one the sheltering blood of many animals, the other that of the precious blood of Christ. Both were forever afterwards commemorated in a Passover feast, the one was national and therefore limited, the other universal with its characteristic word "whosoever."

THE LAW

The Mosaic Covenant is but a development in and of the Abrahamic Covenant. Canaan was to be possessed, and the nation still to be blessed, on the promise-and-faith basis. The reason why the Mosaic covenant brought under the curse of the law, instead of into fuller benediction, lay in the wrong reaction of the people themselves to it. From the first they seem to have shifted the emphasis from the faith-basis to that of acceptance on a works-basis. See their self-confident response at Sinai, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do." Why was the Law given? Israel has now been constituted a nation and a theocracy, it was now necessary to furnish a written and permanent standard of morality. (1) It provided a standard of righteousness, (2) It was to expose and identify sin, (3) It revealed the Divine holiness. When God gave the ten commandments, He also gave the ordinances which pointed to Christ, and showed the true ground of acceptance, through vicarious atonement, and by faith. But Israel as a nation, broke the law, violated the covenant, and fell foul to the high calling of God. Israel was to keep a Sabbath year every seventh year, and the Jubilee year every 50th, covenant signs between God and Israel. In them the land was to be rested, in grateful acknowledgment of the Divine ownership and goodness. It was because of Israel's unfaithfulness here that the 70 years of desolation came as a long Sabbath of judgment. The law is done away in Christ, in three ways: (1) The performing of the commandments as a condition of personal justification is emphatically and conclusively done away. The keeping of them is not OBLIGATORY to salvation, but the spontaneous result of salvation. (2) The performing of the ordinances of the law, as a way of acceptance with God, is now superseded, types and shadows of which Christ is the fulfillment. (3) The law as a dispensation, or method of Divine dealing, is also done away.

THE TABERNACLE

The tabernacle was completed and erected exactly one year after the Exodus. Its structure was in three parts each having its entrance, (1) the Outer Court with the gate, (2) the Holy Place with the door, (3) the Holy of Holies with the veil. The Holy of Holies was a cube of 10 cubits. The heavenly city is also described as a perfect cube. Thus we have a symbol of perfection, the infinite perfection of Israel's God, indicating also the glorious perfection of that city yet to be. Its purpose was to be a dwelling place for God among His people. "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.

Concerning the furniture: The brazen altar is intended to teach us, at the very threshold, the only way of approach for sinful man unto his holy God is through atoning sacrifice, a Sacrifice which is at the same time a confession of man's sin and a satisfaction to God. Next we come to the laver of brass, containing the water for the cleansing of those who ministered in the things of the sanctuary. This speaks of regeneration and spiritual renewal. Within the tabernacle we find the table of showbread which speaks of sustenance for the spiritual life. And on our left we see the seven-branched golden lampstand speaking of spiritual illumination. Before us is the golden altar of incense, fragrantly symbolizing acceptable supplication. Then, within the veil, we find the ark speaking of covenant relationship between God and His people, and upon it the blood-sprinkled, shekinah-lit mercy seat speaking of intercession in the very presence of God, and of the very life of God imparted.

Remarkable is the progress and perfection of these 7 pieces of furniture. There is a remarkable parallel in John's Gospel as though John were leading us, in exactly the same order as found in the Tabernacle. In Ch.1 we behold the Lamb of God, in Ch.3 he takes us to the laver, "Unless a man be born of water and the Spirit..." In Ch.4-6 he takes us to the table of showbread and we see that Christ is the Living Water and the Bread of Life. In Ch.8-9 the golden lampstand is likened to the Light of the world. In Ch.14-16 Jesus explains to us the altar of incense, offering up acceptable prayers in His name. Then in Ch.17 the Lord takes us within the veil and we are given a glimpse of His high priestly ministry of intercession for us in the presence of God. He is the ground of our access and acceptance by a new relationship (Jn.20:17). And in Ch.20:22 the very life of God is imparted to the blood-bought believer by the Holy Spirit.

The High Priest's garments were for glory and beauty. They are seven in number. First, in the ephod, the High Priest bears Israel's tribes collectively upon his shoulders. Then in the br

plate, he bears them individually upon his heart. Then, as he bears them thus before God, he bears all their imperfection, and completely covers it all up in his own glory and beauty, so that instead, God sees `Holiness to the Lord' shining from the High Priest's brow, and the people are accepted in him. "It shall be always upon HIS forehead, that THEY may be accepted." As Aaron was to bear the holy crown ALWAYS, so Christ bears it always for us, so that in Him WE become ALWAYS ACCEPTED.


LEVITICUS

THE DIVINE HOLINESS - FELLOWSHIP THROUGH SANCTIFICATION

I. THE GROUND OF FELLOWSHIP - SACRIFICE (1-18)
The Offerings (Absolution) 1-7
The Priesthood (Mediation) 8-10
The People (Purification) 11-16
The Altar (Reconciliation) 17
II. THE WALK OF FELLOWSHIP - SEPARATION (18-27)
Regulations concerning the People 18-20
Regulations concerning the Priests 21-22
Regulations concerning the Feasts 23-24
Regulations concerning the Land 25-27

Leviticus was written to show Israel how to live as a nation in fellowship with God, and thus to prepare the nation for the high service of mediating the redemption of God to all nations. Israel then, must be taught the holiness of God, and Leviticus reveals this in three ways, (1) in the sacrificial

tem, "without the shedding of blood there is no remission," pressing upon the conscience the seriousness of sin; (2) in the precepts of the law, the one divinely revealed standard for character and conduct; (3) in the penalties attached to the violations of the law. Involved in this revelation of Israel's holy God is the imperative insistence on Israel's separation from the other nations. God, who dwells among His people in fellowship with them speaks 'out of the Tabernacle' (1:1). The people therefore, are not addressed as sinners distanced from God, like those of the other nations, but as being already brought into a new relationship, even that of fellowship, on the ground of the blood - sealed covenant. The sacrifices in Leviticus do not mean to set forth how the people may BECOME redeemed (for their redemption has already been wrought through the paschal lamb of the Exodus. No, the Levitical sacrifices are prescribed in such wise as to set forth how the new relationship MAY BE MAINTAINED. With good reason Leviticus holds the central place among the five books of Moses, for with its doctrine of mediation through a priest, absolution through a sacrifice, and reconciliation at the altar, it is the very heart of the Pentateuch - and of the Gospel. Leviticus stands in the same relation to Exodus that the Epistles do to the Gospels. In the Gospels we are SET FREE, by the blood of the Lamb. In the Epistles we are indwelt by the Spirit of God. In the Gospels God speaks to us FROM WITHOUT, in the Epistles FROM WITHIN. In the Gospels we have the GROUND of fellowship - redemption, in the Epistles we have the WALK of fellowship with God - sanctification. These Levitical sacrifices are perhaps the most complete description of our Savior’s atoning work anywhere given to us. In the first seventeen chapters we are dealing with NON-MORAL regulations, whereas in the remaining ten we are dealing with regulations concerning MORALS. The first part has to do with WORSHIP, the second part has to do with PRACTICE. In the first part all relates to the Tabernacle, in the second all pertains to character and conduct. Part one shows the WAY TO GOD - by sacrifice; part two shows the WALK WITH GOD - by sanctification. The first part deals with CEREMONIAL and PHYSICAL defilement, the second part deals with MORAL and SPIRITUAL defilement. In the first part PURIFICATION is provided, in the second part PUNISHMENT is to be inflicted. The first part has to do with CLEANSING, the second has to do with CLEAN LIVING. In other words, part one shows the Godward FOUNDATION of fellowship, the second shows the manward CONDITION of fellowship. The first part says, "The blood cleanses us" and the second part says, "...if we walk in the light."

THE OFFERINGS:

The first three are sweet-savor offerings, voluntary; the other two non-sweet offerings, compulsory. The sweet-savor offerings typify Christ in His own meritorious perfections. The non-sweet savor offerings typify Christ as bearing the demerit of the sinner. The sweet-savor offerings speak rather of what the offering of Christ means to GOD; the non-sweet savor offerings speak rather of what the offering of Christ means to US. The BURNT offering typifies Christ's "offering Himself without spot to God." It foreshadows Christ on the cross, not so much bearing sin as ACCOMPLISHING THE WILL OF GOD. We are shown the perfection of Christ's OFFERING of Himself, as God sees it. The MEAL offering exhibits typically the perfect manhood of Christ. The emphasis here is on the LIFE which was offered. It sets forth the perfection of character which gave the offering its unspeakable value. The PEACE offering speaks of restored COMMUNION, resulting from the perfect satisfaction rendered in Christ. God is propitiated, man is reconciled, there is peace. As for the non-sweet savor offerings, the SIN offering typifies Christ as sin bearer, 'made sin for us,' while the TRESPASS offering speaks of sins (plural), and typifies Christ as Expiatory, making restitution for the injury caused by our wrong doing. The Levitical offerings certainly did not make atonement for sin in the theologically accepted sense of the word. They merely COVERED, or put away from judicial view, the sins of the O.T. believers, through the forbearance of God, until the one real atonement was effected on Calvary, which the Levitical sacrifices anticipated and prefigured.

THE PRIESTS:

If fellowship is to be maintained, there must not only be a SACRIFICE, but a PRIEST. The Lord Jesus is both in one, to His believing people, so that we have access to God by "a new and living way," a new way because it is the way of the CROSS, which speaks of the one final sacrifice for sin; and a living way because it is the way of the RESURRECTION, which speaks of the one ever-living Priest on high. Aaron is anointed (8:12) BEFORE the slaying of the sacrifice, his sons AFTER it, along with the sprinkling of the blood upon them (8:30). Aaron the High Priest, prefigures the Lord Jesus, while his sons typically anticipate the believer-priests of today. The sinless Lord Jesus needed no blood-sprinkling before receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit; and in Aaron's being anointed alone, before the blood shedding, we see a discriminating type-picture of the incarnate Son of God, who until He gave Himself on Calvary, stood absolutely alone. Without the blood-shedding, Aaron and his sons could not be together in the anointing.

THE PEOPLE:

They must be clean both inwardly and outwardly, both sanitarily clean and sacrificially cleansed. The purpose of the teaching of this section is to, “make a difference between the unclean and the clean" and "the priest shall make an atonement for you to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord." This section deals with clean foods (11), clean bodies(12-13), clean clothes (13), clean houses (14), clean contacts (15), and a clean nation (16).

THE ALTAR:

Five times, and with severe explicitness, the one Divinely ordained place of sacrifice is stipulated. There is one place, and only one, where God, in sovereign grace, has elected to meet with penitent sinners, and that is the cross - of which the altar at the door of the Tabernacle was a type. None other sacrifice! None other priest! None other altar! It is well to note that even the blood has no atoning value unless it be on the altar (17:11). It must be the blood; and it must be the one altar. Every offering was an execution of the sentence of the law upon a substitute for the offender, and every such offering pointed forward to that substitutional death of Messiah which alone vindicated the righteousness of God in passing over the sins of those who offered the typical sacrifices.

OUR WALK:

Mere POSITIONAL sanctification (as in part one) is not enough; there must be PRACTICAL sanctification (which is the purpose in part two). We have in Ch.18 sex prohibitions, Ch.19 general admonitions, and Ch.20 penal sanctions against offenders. Here God shows us His estimate on chaste sex relationships. There's nothing more vital to any people than the adequate safeguarding of matrimonial and family relationships.

THE PRIESTS:

As the tabernacle was a three-fold structure, so corresponded the nation (1) the congregation, (2) the priesthood, (3) the High Priest. And as the three parts of the Tabernacle became successively holier, so was it to be with the nation - Israel's sanctification was to reach its culminating expression in the High Priest. Every true believer is a priest by virtue of life-giving union with the Lord Jesus, and nothing can break that union where it really exists; but all Christians do not enjoy the same intimacy of fellowship, or exercise the same ministry within the veil! Union is one thing, communion is another. Life is one thing, ministry is another. Standing is one thing, state is another. Relationship is one thing, serving within the veil is another. What deformities and defilements debar many of us from that elevated walk and ministry which might be ours!

THE FEASTS:

There were 5 annual set seasons (mo'adim) shown in Ch.23.
1) The Feast of Passover v.5-14
2) The Feast of Pentecost v.15-22
3) The Blowing of Trumpets v.23-25
4) The Day of Atonement v.26-32
5) The Feast of Tabernacles v.33-44

Of these only 3 were really feasts (chaggim). The three great feasts of Israel were (1) the Feast of Passover, which included the Feast of Unleavened Bread, (2) the Feast of Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Firstfruits, and (3) the Feast of Tabernacles, also called the Feast of Ingathering. All five annual gatherings were special SABBATHS; and they were all times of holy CONVOCATION, or assembling together of the people for worship and joyous thanksgiving. The Sabbatical system of Israel was meant to be a 7-fold revolving cycle of seventh day, seventh month, seventh year, and a seven-times-seven of years. There seem to have been ten Sabbaths given, the five above, and:

6) The weekly Sabbath

7) The seventh day of Unleavened Bread
8) The eighth day of Feast of Tabernacles
9) The seventh year Sabbath
10) The Jubilee Sabbath

The purpose of all these set seasons was to acknowledge that all harvest and other blessings came from God; that each new month and year should be dedicated to Him. The unifying idea running through them is the recognition of Jehovah as the Source and Sustainer of His people's life. They are called the feasts OF THE LORD; but alas, in the New Testament times they'd deteriorated into feasts OF THE JEWS. The Passover was commemorative of Israel's deliverance from Egypt. The slaying of the lamb speaks of salvation, the feasting speaks of fellowship. The seven days of unleavened bread speaks of the daily walk of the redeemed, that they must be separate from evil, and be a holy people. The cessation from works speaks of resting in our acceptance with God through the ascending odor of the burnt offering. The Passover barley-sheaf marked the COMMENCEMENT of the grain harvest; the Pentecost wave-loaves marked its COMPLETION. The Passover wave-SHEAF was the grain as direct from God's harvest; the Pentecost wave-LOAVES were the grain as ready for man's food. Pentecost typifies God's people gathered by the Holy Spirit and presented before Him in connection with all the preciousness of Christ. The two wave-loaves were baked with leaven, that is, despite the presence of evil in the nature, there is acceptance and communion through the divinely provided sacrifice of Christ.

The next three 'set seasons' came within a few days of each other. Also they were separated by a wide gap from the earlier two feasts of the year. These observances of the seventh month look on to the time of Israel's regathering at the end of the present age. The blowing of the trumpets is in preparation of the two great events which followed in this seventh month, namely, the annual Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles, the completion of the harvest ingathering. The Lord Jesus, Israel's true High Priest, has entered into the heavenly sanctuary, with the blood of the one perfect sacrifice, but He is yet to come forth again to His people. At that time there shall be a penitent Israel. Then shall they look, in believing contrition, on Him whom they pierced, and they shall be saved. It will be then, also, that the type fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles will take place, and the glory of Israel's final ingathering. This feast lasted longer than any other and it was to be the year's supreme season of festive joy. It points us forward to that seventh millennium of history yet to be (Zech.14).

THE LAND:

The land is mentioned 30x in these three chapters. The two periodic Sabbaths of rest unto the land were to be an acknowledgment of the Divine proprietorship of the land, and of Israel's tenure on the ground of covenant relationship. They also were to serve as a check upon covetousness. Every seventh year the Hebrew must suspend effort after gain, and in the Jubilee all must go out free. These were meant to develop the people's faith in God. This was also to secure as far as possible the equal distribution of wealth, by preventing excessive accumulation of land or capital in the hands of a few while the mass should be in poverty. The key to the seventh-year Sabbath is the word REST. It was a rest (1) for the land, (2) from manual toil, (3) from debt. The key to the year of Jubilee is the word LIBERTY. It brought liberty (1) to the slave, (2) to property, (3) to the ground itself. The seventh year Sabbath of rest following the six years of toil, speaks of that seventh great thousand-year period yet to be which will be brought in by the second coming of Christ. The Jubilee speaks of that glorious condition of things FOLLOWING the millennial reign of Christ. After (the seventh) seventh day Sabbath of the old week and the old dispensation, the day of resurrection, of the outpoured Spirit, of a new order of things; so the Jubilee looks on to the new heaven and new earth yet to be, during which all rule and authority shall have been brought beneath Christ's feet, even death. That inheritance of the earth which was forfeited through sin, this glorious Jubilee of the ages shall bring back to us. The new Jerusalem descends from heaven, and the redeemed and glorified assume possession of the purchased inheritance (Ro.8:21).

The central figure in Leviticus is the High Priest. The central chapter is 16 - the annual Day of Atonement. The central theme is fellowship through sanctification. The central lesson is "you shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy." The word "holy" is used over 80x in Leviticus.


NUMBERS: THE DIVINE GOODNESS & SEVERITY

THE OLD GENERATION (SINAI TO KADESH) 1-14

The Numbering 1-4
The Instructing 5-9
The Journeying 10-14

THE TRANSITION ERA (IN THE WILDERNESS) 15-20

The Wandering

THE NEW GENERATION (KADESH TO MOAB) 21-36

The New Journeying 21-25
The New Numbering 26-27
The New Instructing 28-36

The Hebrew and Greek names for the book certainly give its gist, "in the wilderness" and "numbers." First the census is taken, with the primary object of determining Israel's military strength. Then the camp is strategically distributed with a view to facilitate orderly mobility.

Asher Dan Naphtali

Benjamin Issachar

Merarites

Moses
Ephraim Gershon. TABERNACLE Aaron Judah
Priests

Kohathites

Manasseh Zebulun


Gad Reuben Simeon

Numbers deals with two different generations of people - first with the generation that came up from Egypt but perished in the wilderness; and second, with the new generation that grew up in the wilderness and then entered Canaan. Coming between the two groups, and unmistakably marking them off, we have the wilderness "Wandering"- the period of transition during which the old generation died off and the new generation grew up. The twentieth chapter records the death of Aaron. Numbers 33:38 tells us that Aaron the priest "died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt." Thus the death of Aaron marked the lapse of forty years from the Exodus, and thirty-eight years from the beginning of the 'wandering'; and we know that 38 years completed the 'wandering.' Aaron's death is the most important time mark in the whole book of Numbers. The central message of the book is Romans 11:22, "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God." In the one case we see the awful inflexibility of the Divine justice. In the other case we see the unfailing faithfulness of God to His promise, His purpose and His people. The New Testament interprets the book of Numbers for us:

1) Behold the goodness and severity of God (Ro.11:22)
2) Let him that thinks he stands take heed... (I Co.10:12)
3) Take heed lest there be in you...unbelief (He.3:12)

THE OLD GENERATION:

Estimatedly two and a half million people were mobilized, and the quadrangular camp round about the Tabernacle was about twelve miles square. The primary purpose of this numbering was a military one. It gives us the man-power of the newly-formed nation. The Levite census, unlike the others, was to include all Levite males from a month old. God would count all the Levites as peculiarly His own instead of the firstborn from all the other tribes. Mark clearly the difference between the ministry of the Levites and that of the priests. The priests had to do with the ceremonial, sacrificial and spiritual ministries of the Tabernacle. The Levites had to do with the material of the Tabernacle itself - its erection, transportation, preservation and maintenance; such as the tending of animals for the sacrifices, and the preparing of incense. In the first few chapters we have the soldier, the priest, the Levite - warrior, worshipper, worker. Both warring and working were to center in fellowship with God - with the Tabernacle at the heart of the camp. In the consecration of the Levites, their cleansing was twofold, partly done UPON them and partly done BY them; even so in our cleansing, there is the Divine side and the human side. The cleansing done BY them was to "shave all their flesh, and wash their clothes" (8:7). There must be a detachment from all those habits and impurities of common life which cling to us as closely and easily as our clothes, and which seem as much a part of us as our very hair. Especially in our Christian service there must be the application of death to that which is merely natural and of the flesh by the bringing of the word of God to bear on heart and conscience. There must be the water - daily cleansing of our conduct in the teaching of the word; and there must be the razor - daily self-judgment and uncompromising disallowance of that which grows of the flesh.

The first four chapters have given us the outward formation of the camp. The next five deal with the inward condition of it. The key is 5:3,"That they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell." After the mobilization of the people for war (1-2), the appropriation of the Levites for service (3-4), and the instruction of the camp in holiness (5-8), comes the crowning lesson of fellowship and guidance (9-10:10). The people's pilgrimage Passover in Ch.9 was both retrospective and prospective. It was the memorial of a past deliverance, and it was the pledge of a prospective inheritance.

Similarly, to the Christian pilgrim today, the Lord's table is both a memorial and a pledge. As for the Divine guidance, it was unmistakable and infallible. Israel's many thousands were spared the confusion of being left to search out by themselves a doubtful course which might have brought them to disaster. They were to make no plans of their own. They were not to know the route for even one day ahead. When they camped they could not say how long they would be staying. When they marched they could not say how long they would be moving. To watch that guiding pillar was all they were required to do. On that guidance they were absolutely dependent; and following that guidance they were absolutely safe. If He guided Israel thus, how much more will He guide us who are, through grace, members of His body, one spirit with the Lord!

In the first ten chapters we see the camp of Israel at Sinai, marked by every preparation and provision for advance, for conquest and possession. At the very heart of the camp giving unity, strength and glory to it was the sanctuary, speaking of God as the center of His chosen people. Chapters 10-14 make sad reading. How strange to find Moses saying to Hobab his Midianite father in law, "Leave us not, I pray thee... that thou may be eyes to us!" How soon the temptation comes to look away from the guiding pillar of cloud and fire! Such is the weakness of the human heart; we profess to trust in God, and then look to man. Then after only three days' journey the people are complaining. Murmuring against God's providences leads on, bit by bit, to open rebellion. They murmur at the way God led them, and at the food God gave them. Soon Israel's highest leaders, Aaron and Miriam contentiously question Moses' leadership. Trace Israel's downward course in numbers from discontent to lust, despising the Lord, speaking against His servants, provoking, tempting, doubting God, rebellion, presumption, discouragement, striving and speaking against God, and at last gross whoredom and idolatry. The details of Israel's breakdown at Kadesh are well known. The ten saw with the eye of the flesh. The two saw with the eye of faith. Israel disbelieved, then rebelled, even bidding that Caleb and Joshua be stoned (14:10), and suggesting the appointment of a new leader who should take them all back to Egypt (14:4). The cutting irony is that Israel was but a stone's throw from the prize. Israel disobeyed. Judgment fell. Moses' touching intercession is heard for the nation; but the judgment of the 40 years' "wandering" is imposed (14:29-30). UNBELIEF DEFEATS THE UNBELIEVER.

THE WANDERING:

This needless, tragic delay of 38 years intervenes, and Numbers thus becomes distinguishingly THE BOOK OF ARRESTED PROGRESS. Within two years the people of Israel were at Kadesh-Barnea the gate of Canaan. Thirty-eight years later, there they were again, at the very same spot. Why? Well, there was the mixed multitude of pseudo-Israelites who were allowed to travel with them, and who were not really one at heart either with the people or with the project. At the Kadesh mutiny there was a collapse of organization. The people ceased to be pilgrims, and became nomads. During the "wanderings" there is no record of any concerted movings. It would rather seem that the Tabernacle abode throughout at Kadesh, and that roving, breakaway bands dispersed more or less widely into the surrounding region, recognizing Kadesh as a center, and regathering there toward the end of the long delay. There were not two comings to Kadesh - one at the beginning of the 38 years of wandering and the other at the end. There was only one coming recorded in the summary of Israel's movements given in Numbers 33, and similarly, in the review of the journeyings given in Deuteronomy 1 & 2. Also in Num.20:1 it says that the people "abode" in Kadesh, suggesting a long stay there (Deut.1:46). Kadesh, which means holy or sanctuary, may possibly have received its name because of the long stay of the Tabernacle there. The Hebrew word translated `shall wander' in 14:33 is literally ‘shall pasture.’ Going with the judgment is an implicit assurance that the Lord will shepherd them and provide for their needs. The generation which excommunicated itself at Kadesh had henceforth no heritage in Israel. Their lives were spared at the time, but their own professed wish that they had died in the wilderness was turned back on them (14:2,28); and another generation took their place before the history of the theocracy could be resumed. The Kadesh breakdown and the thirty-eight years' suspension may well speak to us of that still graver breakdown at Calvary and the present long suspense-period in Israel's history, during which God is calling out for Himself a spiritual people in Christ irrespective of nationality. Chapter 15 begins, "And the Lord spoke...When you come into the land..." We don't know how soon or how long after the Kadesh revolt these words are spoken, but it is striking that the first recorded word of God after Israel's turning from the land is a reference to their eventual entering it. Man's delay does not mean God's defeat. Greater than man's failure is God's faithfulness. In the 20th chapter we find significantly grouped together the death of Miriam, the sin of Moses, and the death of Aaron. Aaron's death is the event by comparison with 33:38 marks the end of the wandering. Thus Aaron, representative of the priesthood, could not lead Israel into the promised rest; nor could Miriam, representative of the prophets; nor could Moses, representative of the Law. This was reserved for Joshua, who in a unique way was a type of our heavenly Savior and Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Meribah rock-smiting incident is stamped with strong type-teaching. Moses was told simply to SPEAK to the rock, but he exasperatedly struck it twice with the rod. The Rock (Christ I Cor.10:4), having been once smitten (Ex.17:5) need not be smitten again. The striking of it again would imply, in type, that the one sacrifice was inadequate, thereby contradicting the finality and abiding efficacy of Calvary.

THE NEW GENERATION:

The old generation is no more. A new generation has arisen. First, there is JEHOVAH'S NEW RESPONSE TO ISRAEL. "The Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites" (21:3). During the wandering, there has been no such response. Rather the contrast is seen in Dt.1:44, "And the Amorites...chased you as bees do, and destroyed you...but the Lord would not hearken to your voice, nor give ear unto you." Second, here is ISRAEL'S NEW VICTORY. Hormah was the place of humiliating defeat at the beginning of the wandering (14:45). Now, at the end of the wandering, as Israel re-emerges into the light of the Divine purpose and favor, there is victory in the place of the old defeat. Also, there is the WELL OF SINGING (v.16-18). There is no record of any singing between this well of song and that which Israel had sung at the Red Sea. Have we found that just beneath the hard surface of life's most arid stretches there is that crystal stream following us from the Rock, and ready to gush forth at the voice of prayer and the song of faith. In the new numbering the total harmonizes with the whole story of Numbers. At the beginning of the forty years the number is roughly 600,000; and again at the end of the forty years. They are no further forward for the whole period. There is arrested progress even numerically.

Balaam is a walking paradox - a true and a false prophet both in one. He is a true prophet in that he knows the true God, has a real faith in Him, has real dealings with Him, receives real communications from Him, conveys real messages from Him. Yet he is a false prophet in that he also resorts to the use of magical arts, is called a soothsayer (Josh.13:22), and prostitutes his strange prophetic gift for base gain. The Spirit of Jehovah, whom Balaam is double-mindedly invoking, comes upon this man not because he is a worthy vehicle, but despite him, crushing his secret thought to curse Israel, and sovereignly overriding the stratagems of hypocrisy, so that he who in his heart would fain curse Israel for reward is actually made the mouthpiece of marvelous benedictions. Balaam himself seems to have been driven eventually to realize the futility of any endeavoring to circumvent the will of God, for in chapter 24:1 we are told that "when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments." Note the three New Testament references to Balaam. In II Pet.2:15 we read "the WAY of Balaam" which is the prostitution of a spiritual gift for base gain. In Jude 11 we read "the ERROR of Balaam" which is the secret idea that the will of God may be circumvented under the cover of an outward respect for His word. In Rev.2:14 we read "the DOCTRINE of Balaam" which is the counsel to ruin by seduction the people who cannot be cursed by permission (31:16).

The three main types in the Book of Numbers are the Smitten Rock (20:7-11;I Cor.10:4), the Brazen Serpent (21:4-9;Jn.3:14), the Cities of Refuge (35;Heb.6:18). Salvation by this serpent of brass was outside the Tabernacle, and apart from all ordinances, sacrifices and priestly ministrations. It was not Aaron the priest who had to erect the brass serpent, but Moses the layman. The Lord Jesus, according to Jewish law, was a layman, for He was neither of the family of Aaron nor of the tribe of Levi. So also were the apostles. The point is that the Tabernacle was the appointed means of access for those who were already in covenant relationship with God, and who were healed of the serpent venom.


DEUTERONOMY: THE DIVINE FAITHFULNESS

I. LOOKING BACKWARD (1-11)
Review of the Way since Sinai (1-3)
Review of the Law from Sinai (4-11)
II. LOOKING FORWARD (12-34)
Final Rules and Warnings to Israel before
Entering the Earthly Inherit. (12-30)
Final Words and Actions of Moses before
Entering the Heavenly Inherit. (31-34)

The Hebrew name `Haddebharim' means "The Words" and our own title Deuteronomy was taken from the Greek Septuagint `deuteros' (second) and `nomos' (law). In Deuteronomy we have a second giving of the Law, or rather a new expounding of it to the new generation of Israel who had grown up in the wilderness and were needing to have the Law repeated and expounded to them before their entering into Canaan. Deuteronomy is not the giving of a new law, but an explication of that which was already given. Deuteronomy is a book of TRANSITION. First, it marks the transition to a new GENERATION; for with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, and Moses himself, the old generation which came up from Egypt and was numbered at Sinai, had passed away, and a new generation had grown up. Second, it marks the transition to a new POSSESSION. The wilderness pilgrimage was to give place to the national occupancy of Canaan. Third, it marks the transition to a new EXPERIENCE, to a new life - houses instead of tents, settled habitation instead of wandering, and instead of the wilderness diet, the milk, honey, corn and wine of Canaan. Fourth, it marks the transition to a new REVELATION OF GOD - the revelation of His LOVE. From Genesis to Numbers the love of God is never spoken of. In Deuteronomy we have the wonderful words, "The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor chose you because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you" (7:7-8). There is a striking parallel between the Acts of the Apostles, the 5th book of the New Testament, and Deuteronomy, the 5th book of the Old. The Acts, like Deuteronomy marks a great transition. It marks the transition from the distinctive message of the gospels to that of the epistles. Like Deuteronomy, it marks the transition to a new GENERATION - a regeneration in Christ. Like Deuteronomy, it marks the transition to a new POSSESSION - a spiritual Canaan with "all blessings in the heavenlies in Christ." Like Deuteronomy, it marks the transition to a new EXPERIENCE - a new birth, a new life, a new dynamic in the Holy Spirit. Like Deuteronomy it marks the transition to a new REVELATION OF GOD - the revelation given in the Church epistles of "the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God," namely the CHURCH; so that now "there might be known, by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God" (Ef. 3:10). What is equally striking is that both Deuteronomy and Acts are books in which God gives His people a SECOND CHANCE. Before the new generation is committed to Joshua's charge, Moses at God's command, rehearses the Law to them. What is the book of the Acts? It is the second offer of the Kingdom of Heaven to the Jews, first at the capital, to those of the homeland, and then throughout the empire, to the Jews of the dispersion. The first eleven chapters are RETROSPECTIVE, and the remaining chapters are PROSPECTIVE. In view of the transition now upon them, they are to look backward and then forward, and to ponder both. The central message is the Divine faithfulness. In both parts of the book this is brought out in God's gracious, wise and righteous dealings with the nation in the past, and in His renewed pledges to the nation concerning the future. The basic FACT beneath all else is that which is declared in 4:4-5:

"Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy
soul, and with all thy might."

Jehovah is a plurality in unity. The word translated "our God" is ELOHENU, which is the plural ELOHIM (gods), with the first personal possessive plural suffix appended to it, causing it to become elohenu, that is "our Gods." The Hebrew word translated as "one" (echad) is a word which, strictly taken, expresses "one" in a collective sense. That is, it signifies not an absolute unity, but a compound unity. The Hebrew word for "one" in the sense of absolute unity (yacheed) is never used to express the unity of the Godhead. The name Jehovah occurs just the three times. Certainly the declaration clearly conveys that God is a plurality in unity; and it possibly suggests the Divine trinity. Israel's God, the only true God, is One, indivisible, and incommunicable, the absolute and infinite One, on whom all depend, whom all must ultimately obey, and who alone is the true Object of the creature's worship. To Jehovah, therefore, Israel's undivided devotion and love are due. The basic TRUTH laid down in Deuteronomy is:

"And He brought us out from thence, that He might bring us in,
to give us the land which He swore unto our fathers" (6:23).

As for the fact "He brought us out," we see the power of God. As for the purpose "that He might bring us in," we see the grace of God. As for the reason "He swore unto our fathers," we see the faithfulness of God. In the type teaching of Scripture, Canaan stands not so much for heaven, but for an experience of holiness and spiritual fullness realizable by Christians here and now, in this present life. "Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do it" (I Th.5:24). What we cannot attain by self-effort we may obtain in Christ. The basic REQUIREMENT which God makes of Israel is:

"And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee,
but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to
love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart
and with all thy soul; to keep the commandments of the Lord,
and His statutes..." (10:12-13).

The basic requirement is obedience, loving obedience, flowing from the grateful consciousness of covenant relationship and fellowship with this glorious and faithful God. Obedience is the key-note of almost every chapter. The word "do" occurs approximately 100 times.
It is important to understand that Israel entered Canaan under the conditions set forth in the Sinai covenant, which is not the last word between God and Israel. No, there is another covenant relationship between God and Israel which lies BEHIND, stands OUTSIDE and GOES BEYOND the Sinai covenant, a covenant to the which there is no end; that is the ABRAHAMIC covenant. Nothing can destroy this covenant, which was not only sealed with blood, but confirmed with a Divine oath. No, not even Israel's unfaithfulness can nullify it! It is an unconditional and everlasting covenant to Abraham and his posterity. Now Israel has never yet possessed Canaan under the unconditional Abrahamic covenant; the nation entered Canaan under the terms of the Sinai covenant, and we know the result. Nor has Israel ever possessed the WHOLE land as it was given to Abraham (Ge.15:18), but only the portion as it was assigned in connection with the Mosaic covenant (Nu.34:1-12). Because of the Abrahamic covenant, despite Israel's failure, God's covenant relationship with Israel continues. Notice that in each case the extreme penalty for violating the Sinai covenant is mentioned, namely the dispersion of Israel and the desolation of Canaan, there is an immediate follow-up reference to the Abrahamic covenant, showing that even when the Sinai covenant has exhausted itself in its final penal infliction on Israel, God can and will still be gracious to Israel on the ground of the earlier and greater Abrahamic covenant. Take for example Lev.26:33, Deut.4:27-31; 30:20. Nothing can nullify the Abahamic covenant; for Jehovah Himself accepts responsibility for the fulfillment of the whole. He undertakes for the people's part of the covenant as well as His own; for here in Deuteronomy 30:6 we read, "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live." See also Jer.31:31-34.

Note a certain basic DIFFERENCE between the old dispensation and the new. In the Old Testament the emphasis is upon a PLACE, whereas in the New the emphasis is upon a PERSON (Dt.12:10-14). This emphasis on a place gave focus to the religious life of the nation of Israel; it fostered the sense of national unity; it was suited to the nature of the old dispensation; and without doubt, it took deep hold on the thought of the people. To the old-time Hebrew, nearness to Jerusalem and to the Temple came to mean nearness to the special presence of God. The Gentiles, living in the lands beyond, were the "far off ones." See verses like Is.49:1; 57:19; Acts2:39; and Ep.2:17. In the New Testament, this localization of the Divine presence and of worship is gently but completely superseded. The emphasis is transferred from a PLACE to a PERSON. It is no longer a material temple and a locality, but a spiritual Presence having the attribute of universality. This transference of emphasis may be seen in our Lord's dealing with the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar. The woman said to Him: “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." The Lord said: "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you shall NEITHER IN THIS MOUNTAIN NOR YET AT JERUSALEM worship the Father; but the hour is coming, AND NOW IS, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." Then the woman said: "I know that Messiah comes, which is called Christ; when He is come He will tell us all things." The woman herself thus looked off from place to Person; and her words evoked the wonder-inspiring reply, "I AM who am speaking to thee." It is no longer God in a temple merely, but in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The same transition from place to Person is seen in Acts 8, in the account of the Ethiopian eunuch. The man had been to the right PLACE, Jerusalem; he had been for the right purpose, worship; he was reading the right book, the Scriptures; but he was returning unsatisfied. He needed a new emphasis - on the PERSON. God sent Phillip for this very reason. "Then Phillip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him JESUS."

The last utterance of our Lord before His ascension is a finally renewed emphasis on this change from place to Person: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age." The emphasis here upon the Person is THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE. There are two words used in the Greek, the one emphasizing "I" the other emphasizing the "am." It is the God-Man speaking. "I AM" - with you. See here His Divine omnipresence - He is with us always and everywhere. See here His Divine omnipotence - all power in heaven and on earth. See here His Divine omniscience - seeing the end from the beginning, and speaking of the consummation of the ages. The omnipresent Christ is with each of His blood-bought people. He delights to be with the poorest and humblest of us; and He will never leave us or forsake us, for He is with us to the end.

In chapters 27-30 we see that the Law is a ministration of condemnation and death (II Co.3:7,9). The Law, although in itself holy, can only administer a curse upon such as Adam's fallen sons, if they are placed under it, because of the perversity of their nature. First, on Mount Gerizim, the mount of blessing, no stones with the Law written on them are to be erected. Why? The mount could not have been the mount of blessing had the Law spoken from it. Second, although blessings were to be proclaimed from Mount Gerizim, where are they? The chapter gives no record of any such proclamation. There is a mercifully relieving feature however. Not only are there the great memorial stones of the Law erected on Mount Ebal; there is also an altar. As the Law testified to sin, so the sacrifices on that Mount Ebal altar testified to grace - to the provision of mercy, which lay within the Covenant, for the covering of guilt. Oh, well may we rejoice before the Lord our God at that altar! The old dispensation pronounces curse, yet is made to point to the new dispensation in Christ, which administers blessing. Under the old - curse; under the new - blessing. Thank God, the old has given place to the new!


JOSHUA : THE VICTORY OF FAITH

I. ENTERING THE LAND (1-5)
II. OVERCOMING THE LAND (6-12)
III. OCCUPYING THE LAND (13-24)

1. Joshua Charged - The Warrant of Faith
2. Jericho Spied - The Prudence of Faith
3. Jordan Crossed - The Crisis of Faith
4. Memorials Built - The Witness of Faith
5. Gilgal Occupied - The pruning of Faith
6. Fall of Jericho - Faith Triumphant
7. Sin of Achan - Faith Disabled
8. Sack of Ai - Faith Re-empowered
9. Guile of Gibeon - Faith Endangered
10-12.Rout of All Foes - Faith All Victorious
13-19.Division of Canaan - Faith Rewarded
20. Cities of Refuge - Faith Rewarded
21. Portion of Levites - Faith Preserved
22. Altar of Witness - Faith Unifying
23-24. Farewell of Joshua - Faith Continuing

The five books of Moses lead Israel UP TO Canaan, and Joshua compliments these by leading Israel INTO Canaan. The further 12 books cover Israel's history INSIDE Canaan. The book of Joshua covers a period of about 25 years. Entering, overcoming, occupying! The key thought or central message is clearly THE VICTORY OF FAITH. In this, the book of Joshua stands in sharp contrast to that of Numbers where we see the failure of unbelief - failure to enter (14:2-4), failure to overcome (14:44-45), failure to occupy (14:28-34). Spiritually interpreted, the exploits of Israel under Joshua proclaim the great New Testament truth, "This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith" (I Jn.5:4).

CANAAN AS A TYPE: If Jordan is death and Canaan Heaven, than it follows that the whole of the Christian life, right till the hour of death, corresponds to the wilderness through which the Hebrews tramped. Canaan was a place of conquest through conflict. There had been little fighting during the wilderness years, but as soon as Canaan was entered Israel must draw the sword. Enemies must be destroyed, Israel must fight. How then can Canaan typify the calm restfulness of the ultimate inheritance in heaven? Moreover, it was possible for Israel to be ejected from Canaan by powerful foes; which eventually happened. How then can this typify that heaven of uninterrupted felicity which is pledged to the justified in Christ? We are expressly taught, in Hebrews 3 & 4, what the typical meaning of Canaan really is. They make it quite clear that Canaan pictures the believer's PRESENT position and possession in Christ. It was ordained to pre-figure that spiritual Sabbath-keeping into which we may enter here and now. "We which have believed DO enter into that rest...For if Joshua had given them rest God would not have spoken afterward of another day (of rest). There REMAINS therefore a rest for the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest has himself also rested from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore GIVE DILIGENCE TO ENTER into that rest" (He.4:3,8-11).

Jordan does no typify death of the body and departure into the beyond, but that deeper union of our hearts with Christ in HIS death whereby we become completely separated unto Him, and introduced into "the FULLNESS of the blessing of the gospel of Christ." Canaan is that "breadth and length and depth and height" of the spiritual life in which we really "possess our possessions" in Christ. God has opened up to us in Christ a present experience of sanctification comparable to a fertile, fragrant, fruitful, sunbathed Canaan - a "land of corn and wine, a land flowing with milk and honey." The personality becomes controlled by the Holy Spirit (Ep.5:18), "I live, yet not I; Christ lives in me" (Ga.2:20). Perfect love fills the heart and casts out fear (I Jn.4:18). The soul is in Beulah Land (Is.62:4). There are three things that are outstandingly characteristic.

First, Canaan was Israel's promised REST. Itineracy was to give place to settled dwelling. Instead of the inhospitable wilderness there was to be a home where they should sit down, every man "under his vine and under his fig tree." The tired hands and blistered feet were to find refreshing contrast in the responsive yields of Canaan's fertile plains and valleys. The promised rest had been wonderfully prepared for their coming. They should not even need to build the cities and houses which they would need to live in, for they were to possess "great and goodly cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and wells dug which you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant" (Dt. 6:10-11); and here they should lie down in safety, none making them afraid (Lev.26:6).

Second, Canaan was the place of BOUNTY. This was the land flowing with milk and honey, a good and a large land (Ex3:8), a land of olives and vines, of firs and cedars, of rich fruits and harvests where an obedient people should eat to the full, where the threshing should reach unto the vintage and the vintage unto the sowing time (Lev.26:5). "The land where you are going into possess it is not as the land of Egypt from where you came out, where you sowed your seed and watered it with your foot as a garden of herbs; but the land where you go to possess it is a land of hills and valleys, that drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land which the Lord your God cares for, the eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year" (Dt.11:10-12).

Third, Canaan was the place of TRIUMPH. Were there enemies in Canaan? Yes, but they were a defeated foe before Israel ever struck the first blow, for God had said, "The Lord your God shall...cast out many nations before you, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you" (Dt.7:1). Israel was to remember what Jehovah had done `unto Pharaoh and unto all Egypt' and not be afraid. Five of them should chase a hundred, and none of their enemies should be able to stand before them. God was calling Israel not merely to conflict but to an assured VICTORY. Yes, to a faithful Israel Canaan was to be the place of triumph. Resting, abounding, triumphing - this is our rich inheritance in Christ; and it may be ours in actual experience.

There is a remarkable parallel between the Book of Joshua and the epistle to the Ephesians, which is distinctively the epistle of the "heavenly places in Christ." "The heavenlies," denotes the sphere of this higher and fuller life. It indicates a union of life and mind and will with the risen Christ, a union with Him in nature, relationships and purposes, a union with Him in death to sin and to the flesh and to the world, a union with Him in service and suffering and desire, a union with Him in His resurrection and ascension, which lifts the believer to a level where there is a fullness of light and love and power and spiritual understanding unknown to others. This is life on the highest plane. Yet this indeed is God's provision; this is our inheritance in Christ Jesus. Now in Joshua we see Israel entering and possessing the earthly inheritance given in Abraham. In Ephesians we see the Church entering and possessing the heavenly inheritance given in Christ. There is a five-fold parallel, marked by the five occurrences of that expression, "the heavenlies," in Ephesians.

1) EACH WAS THE PREDESTINED INHERITANCE OF A CHOSEN PEOPLE.
God had said to Abraham, "all the land which you see, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever" (Ge.13:15). And when He brought Israel up from Egypt He said, "The Lord shall bring you into the land ... which He swore unto your fathers to give you"(Ex.13:5). In Ephesians, we find that here we have the predestined inheritance of the Church, in Christ.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who
hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing IN THE HEAVENLIES
in Christ, according as He has CHOSEN US IN HIM before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before Him in love" (Ep.1:3-4).

Israel was blessed with all MATERIAL blessings in EARTHLY places in ABRAHAM. The Church is blessed with all SPIRITUAL blessings in HEAVENLY places, in CHRIST. Note also, that to enjoy this fullness of material blessings Israel must be IN THE LAND. Similarly, to enjoy the fullness of spiritual blessings in Christ we must be IN THE HEAVENLIES. The reason why we miss them is because we are not in the place where God bestows them.

2) EACH WAS OPENED UP BY A DIVINELY ORDAINED LEADER.
"Unto this people shall YOU divide for an inheritance the land which I swore unto their fathers to give them" (Jos.1:6); and "YOU shall cause them to inherit it" (Dt.31:7). Joshua was thus the appointed administrator of the Israelite settlement in Canaan(Jos.11:23). In Ephesians we find that the Church's inheritance is opened up by the Lord Jesus.

"That you may know...what is the exceeding greatness of His power
toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty
power which He brought about in Christ when He raised Him from
the dead, and set Him at His own right hand IN THE HEAVENLIES. . .
and gave Him to be the HEAD OVER ALL THINGS TO THE CHURCH" (Ep.1:18-22).

Thus is Joshua a beautiful type of Christ as the trustee and representative of His people. It is the ascended Savior who divides the goodly inheritance, and allots it to His believing people as by faith they plant their feet upon the promises.

3) EACH WAS A GIFT OF GRACE TO BE RECEIVED BY FAITH.
Canaan was given to Israel in Abraham, not in Moses the man of the Law. By the Law Israel could never have become entitled to Canaan. Moses was not even privileged to lead the people in. Nor can the Law ever lead US into God's promised rest for our souls in Christ. Hence, Moses must die, and Joshua must take His place; and Joshua must open up the inheritance (1:1-2).

"Even when we were dead in sins God made us alive together with
Christ (by GRACE are you saved); and has raised us up together,
and made us sit together IN THE HEAVENLIES in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches
of His GRACE in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
For by GRACE are you saved, through FAITH, and that not of
yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ef.2:5-8).

The Old Covenant rest-day was the SEVENTH. The New Covenant rest-day is the FIRST. Under the Old Covenant we must work the six days UP TO the rest. Under the New Covenant we work DOWN FROM it - from a perpetual rest already possessed in Christ.

4) EACH IS THE SPHERE OF A STRIKING DIVINE REVELATION.
Israel's entering and possessing of Canaan was intended to be a revelation of the true God to the nations of that day - "That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you might fear the Lord your God forever" (4:24). Israel's yet future regathering to Canaan will consummate that revelation, see Is.11:11-12; Jer.23:5-8. The Church is a wonderful revelation of God to the powers of the spirit-realm.

"That I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches
of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of
the mystery which from the beginning of the world has been hid
in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ, to the intent
that now UNTO THE PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS IN THE HEAVENLIES MIGHT BE MADE KNOWN BY THE CHURCH THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD" (Ep.3:8-10).

The consummating display of the Divine wisdom and purpose through the Church, to the spirit-powers in the heavenlies will be affected by the second coming of Christ, when the completed Church will be manifested with Christ in glory.

5) EACH IS DESCRIBED AS A SCENE OF CONFLICT.
In the earthly Canaan there were the giant sons of Anak, and cities walled up to heaven, and seven nations greater and mightier than Israel. They were exceedingly evil nations, and they had to be dispossessed and destroyed. God was with Israel; conflict was inevitable, but defeat was impossible, for there was an alliance invincible. So it is with that spiritual Canaan which is ours in the heavenlies.

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness IN
THE HEAVENLIES" (Ep.6:12).

Thank God as no power could withstand Joshua and Israel, so no power in the spirit-realm can withstand the power of Christ, for He has defeated Satan, and is now far above all principality and power and might and dominion (Ep.1:21). In Him victory is ours. In Him our prayer life may become a victorious spiritual warfare which shall be effectual to the pulling down of Satanic strongholds, the casting down of imaginations which oppose themselves to God, and the releasing of regenerating forces among men.

A BRIEF SUMMARY:

Chapter 3 gives us the crossing of Jordan, a major crisis of faith. To be `brought out' of Egypt was one thing, but it was another thing altogether to `go over this Jordan' and thus become committed, without possibility of retreat, to the struggle against the powers of Canaan in their seemingly impregnable fastnesses, with their chariots of iron, and their large armies among which were the renowned giants. To do this was to commit themselves to a course which had been condemned by ten out of the twelve spies. To the natural eye it was to hazard everything on the chance of battle, to have no retreat, and to run the risk of losing everything. That intense crisis of the soul in which we are forced to the supreme choice whether there shall be an utter once-for-all abandonment of ourselves to the will of God, so that henceforth God is absolutely first in the soul's love and life, or whether we shall take what seems to be the easier way. Chapter 5 gives us the occupying of Gilgal. Before ever the covenant people draw the sword against the foe, God draws the knife upon THEM. Even so with ourselves, that soul crisis of death and burial to selfism, of which Jordan is the type, must be perpetuated by that continuous denial of the flesh, of which circumcision speaks. Following Israel's circumcision at Gilgal comes the Passover feast, speaking of this new fellowship with God in the place of blessing (v.10).

In chapter 7 we see that secret compromise temporarily DISABLES faith. In all the 7 years' war we have the only loss, that of 36 Israelites. Notice the CENTRAL campaign (6-9), the SOUTHERN campaign (10), and the NORTHERN campaign (11). The most formidable coalitions were no match for the supernatural power which operated through Israel. The dividing of the land was by "casting lots before the Lord" (18:6). The same blend of impartiality and sovereignty is seen in the administration of spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit in the Church of Christ (I Co.12:4-11).

Notice an appearance of contradiction in verses 11:23 and 13:1 which say, "So Joshua TOOK THE WHOLE LAND, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses...There remains yet very much land TO BE POSSESSED." But these two verses are really complimentary. They are two aspects of the same situation, and it is the same with us. The decisive blow has been struck at sin and Satan and the powers of darkness by our heavenly Captain; and therefore the entire inheritance of "all blessings in the heavenlies in Christ" is ours. But we must now apply that victory, carrying it through the whole realm of our thought and life, and pressing it home to the last detail. Especially in our prayer life should there be a pressing forward in the power of this decisive victory. The distribution of the Levites (21) through the tribes is of obvious significance. They permeated the whole land with the hallowing influence of Shiloh. The teaching of the Law was a special prerogative of the Levites, who appear to have traveled through their apportioned districts. They caused the people to discern between the unclean and the clean, and in controversy stood to judge (Dt.33:10). The distribution of the Levites was the Lord's provision for the preservation of Israel's faith in the land. The gist of the closing chapters for a CONTINUING in the experience of the "fullness of blessing" there must be: 1) living close to the word of God, 2) consistent separation from all known wrong, and 3) cleaving to God with the best love of the heart.


JUDGES : THE BOOK OF DECLENSION

EXPLANATORY PROLOGUE 1-2
MAIN NARRATIVE 3-16
ILLUSTRATIVE EPILOGUE 17-21

APOSTASY SERVITUDE DELIVERER
3:5-8 To King of Mesopotamia 8 years Othniel 3:9-11
3:12-14 To King of Moab 18 years Ehud & Shamgar 3:15-31
4:1-3 To King of Canaan 20 years Deborah & Barak 4:4-5:31
6:1-10 To the Midianites 7 years Gideon 6:11-8:35
10:6-18 To Philistines, etc. 18 years Jephthah 11:1; 12:7
13:1 To Philistines 40 years Samson 13:2; 16:31

This book covers roughly the first 350 years of Israel's history in Canaan. This is the period of the Theocratic regime, in which Jehovah Himself is Israel's "King Invisible." The Judges here described were not a regular succession of governors, but occasional deliverers raised up by God, to rescue Israel from oppression, and to administer justice. Without assuming the state of royal authority, they acted for the time as vice-regents of Jehovah, the invisible King. The authorship of the book is not known, though Jewish tradition attributes it to Samuel. The moral character of the Israelites seems to have greatly deteriorated. The generation who were contemporaries with Joshua were both courageous and faithful, and free in a great measure from the weakness and obstinacy which had dishonored their fathers (2:7). Their first ardor had now somewhat cooled, and more than once they fell into a state of indifference which Joshua found it needful to rebuke. As each tribe received its portion, they became so engrossed in cultivating it, or so much fonder of ease than of war, that they grew unwilling to help the others possess their inheritance. Another generation arose. Living among idolaters, the Israelites copied their example, intermarried with them, and became contaminated with their abominations (2:13; 3:6).

The Judges whom God raised up were living object lessons by which God sought to preserve in Israel the understanding that faith in Jehovah, the only true God, was the one way of victory and well being. But the people responded so far as served the selfish end of the moment - the saving of their necks from bondage. They did not LOVE Jehovah one whit more for His painstaking patience; nor did they even take the lower level of serving Him from a sense of DUTY. Speaking generally, the God of their fathers was simply a convenient resort in time of extremity. When things were tolerably comfortable, barefaced betrayal of Jehovah was the order of the day. The people chafed under the disciplinary requirements of God's high calling to Israel through Abraham and Moses. They neglected the book of the Covenant, and turned quickly out of the way to indulge in the unclean and forbidden. From time to time, out of sheer pity for His humiliated and groaning people, God raised up these men, the Judges, whose exploits of deliverance - despite vulgarities and crudities in the character and behavior of the Judges themselves - were so manifestly miraculous interventions of Jehovah, in response to faith in Himself, that Israel was thereby forced to recognize Jehovah again as the one true God, and was thus encouraged to return to their first faith and love. Yet these gracious interventions had no durable effect; and Israel's early obstinacy developed into incurable obduracy. So much, alas, for Israel's first 350 years in Canaan! It is a pathetic anti-climax to the book of Joshua.

The central message of the book is "FAILURE THROUGH COMPROMISE." The exploits of the Judges teach the lesson that a return to the true faith brings renewed victory; yet in their very teaching of this they but accentuate the main, stark reality, that all the failure is due to COMPROMISE. It all began when the 9-1/2 tribes which settled in Canaan did not destroy or even drive out the Canaanite nations, as God had commanded. They suffered them to remain. The other 2-1/2 tribes, Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, had already sadly compromised in choosing to settle in Gilead, on the eastern side of the Jordan. Incomplete mastery of an evil at the outset always means constant trouble from it afterwards, and often defeat by it in the end. Then, having only partially mastered the Canaanites, Israel now makes leagues with them (2:2), a thing which God had prohibited. Then, having made league with them, Israel intermarries with them (3:6), another thing God has prohibited. Then, having mixed blood in marriage, Israel descends to their ways, bows to their idols, forsakes Jehovah, and serves Baal and Ashteroth (2:13; 3:6).

Mark well these stages - incomplete mastery, military leagues, intermarriage, idolatry and complete apostasy - followed by humiliating captivity (2:14). The judges who were mercifully raised up to recall and deliver Israel, stopped the rot for the moment, but it set in again worse than before as soon as the grave silenced each Judges voice. Read Judges 2:18-19. Let these words `Failure through Compromise' burn into our minds, and burn out any easy-going toleration of the unholy or questionable thing. We can never enjoy God's promised rest for long if we tolerate only partially crushed sins to continue with us. If we make league with questionable things because they seem harmless, we shall soon find ourselves wedded to the desires of the flesh again, and down from the heights to which God had lifted us.

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says
the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive
you, and will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and
daughters, says the Lord Almighty" (II Co.6:17-18).

Twelve Judges are successively spoken of. Of these, six stand out pre-eminently, because the whole story gathers round six successive apostasies and servitudes of Israel, and these six deliverer-judges. The six major apostasies are signalized, in each case, by the words, "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord," and in each case judgment falls, and servitude ensues. All these six servitudes of Israel are said to have been brought about by Jehovah Himself. Israel's servitudes were not just accidents. They were punishments. God may confer special privileges on certain persons and nations, but He is no respecter of persons in any sense of indulgence to favorites. God may give many privileges, but He never gives the privilege to sin. The six cycles are each set out in a four-fold order: SINNING, SUFFERING, SUPPLICATION, AND SALVATION. There are things in the moral realm which are indissolubly wedded. Sin and suffering always go together, they cannot be divorced. Oh that human hearts might be persuaded of this! It is also true that supplication and salvation are similarly joined. God will be entreated by a true supplication in which there is a putting away of the evil thing; and then He will show His salvation.

Gideon, the fifth Judge of Israel, is one of the outstanding heroes in Israel's early history. Yet we need to realize his heroism was not a product of his natural make-up, but the outcome of a transforming spiritual experience. When we first see Gideon he cuts a pathetic figure of unbelief (6:11-23). In his successive exclamations and lamentations we have the skeptical surprise of unbelief, then its uncertainty and questioning and its complaining and its false humility and its resourcelessness and its persistent doubtfulness and its seeking for signs. But now look at Gideon's transforming experience. In the first place he became CONVERTED. "Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah-Shalom" (v.26). When Gideon built that altar to Jehovah he turned his back on false gods and became a worshipper of the one true God. But Gideon went further, he became CONSECRATED. He yielded his own will to the will of God. To wreck Baal's altar was to run counter to the popular will, and to invite death. But Gideon did it. And how remarkable was the result! Gideon's father became converted too (v.28-32). Finally, Gideon became CONTROLLED, controlled by the Spirit of God. "The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon..." (v.34). He became at once a leader and a savior of his people.

JUDGES is a perfect picture of sin, in which we let our enemies live and destroy ourselves.


RUTH: THE LOVE THAT SUFFERS, REIGNS AT LAST

CH.1 - LOVE'S RESOLVE: RUTH'S NOBLE CHOICE
Ruth the faithful daughter cleaves
to Naomi in her sorrow.
CH.2 - LOVE'S RESPONSE: RUTH'S LOWLY SERVICE
Ruth the Moabitess gleaner responds
to Naomi's pressing need.
CH.3 - LOVE'S REQUEST: RUTH'S TENDER APPEAL
Ruth the virtuous suppliant appeals
to the chivalrous kinsman.
CH.4 - LOVE'S REWARD: RUTH'S MARITAL JOYS
Ruth the beloved wife and mother
joys in the blissful consummation.

The book opens with the words, “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled..." The story clearly belongs to the period covered by the book of Judges, a tragic period indeed. Such a lovely story we should least expect in such a setting. The general condition was one of moral deterioration, but amid the general degeneracy there were instances of noble love and godly chivalry and high ideal. It is a true story. The principle personages were ancestors of king David. That there was a Moabitish link in the chain of his genealogy must have been well known to the king, his household and most of the people of Israel.

This is one of the two books in Scripture which bear the names of women. Ruth is a young Gentile woman who is brought to live among Hebrews and marries a Hebrew husband in the line of royal David. Esther is a young Hebrew woman who is brought to live among Gentiles and marries a Gentile husband on the throne of a great empire. Ruth, however, is the only instance in the Bible in which a whole book is devoted to a woman. The book of Ruth is a love story; and one of its purposes is to extol virtuous love, and to show how it can overcome all alienations and prejudices. But it is not a love story of a romantic love between a young man and a young woman; it's the story of a woman's love for a woman, a young wife's passionate and devoted love for her mother-in-law. The three pivotal figures in the book are Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. Ruth is the heroine here, despite the fact that, unlike the other two, she is not of Israel. When we think of the jealous exclusiveness of the old-time Jews, it is remarkable to find this ungrudging portrayal of Moabitess Ruth as the focus of admiration. She is seen to excel even Israel's daughters; yet this occasions not the slightest resentment, but the admiration which it merits. That the grace and virtue of Moab's sweet-spirited daughter should have had such frank recognition speaks well for the author himself. The whole story is written in a spirit of charity. It bases itself on the truth which Christ has made the common property of the race, that in every nation a pure and unselfish love is acceptable to God. So far from asserting the exclusive privilege of the chosen people, it rather invites other races to come and put their trust under the wings of Jehovah, by showing that as soon as they trust in Him the privilege and blessings of Israel become theirs. Again, it is striking that this young Moabitess, Ruth, should not only have married so honorably in Israel, but have actually become the great- grandmother of David and one of the mothers in the line of which came Messiah. The other three - Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba, recall unworthy conduct; but virtuous Ruth redeems them. And what of Boaz? It was Boaz who took Gentile Ruth into the Davidic ancestry and the Messianic line; and as Ruth passes into that line she representatively takes all the Gentiles with her, so that now both Jews and Gentiles share common hope in the coming of Him who was to be "a Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the Glory of His people Israel.

LOVE'S RESOLVE:

Ruth has grown so to love Naomi that she is prepared to forgo everything for widowed Naomi's sake, and assures her that nought but death itself should part them (1:16-17). Naomi had just urged them to return to the shelter of their own parents homes. In the ancient Orient the position of unmarried women and young widows was perilous. The one place where they could find safety and respect was in the house of a husband. This alone was a woman's safe shelter from servitude, neglect or license. If they were to stay in Moab there was good prospect of their finding a husband's shelter; but there was no such prospect if they travel to Canaan, for the Hebrew sons are forbidden by their law to marry any aliens. Ruth, knowing the cost full well, she will gladly give up all, and suffer all, for Naomi!

LOVE'S RESPONSE:

Naomi is so destitute that she must allow Ruth to go even as a poverty-stricken gleaner among the roughish reapers, to fetch home at least some little for food. With beautiful self - forgetfulness Ruth goes to the fields, only too willing to make this somewhat humiliating yet honest effort after sustenance. Boaz is only too glad to extend special privileges and protection to her for the full duration of the harvest.

LOVE'S REQUEST:

Chapter 3 gives the crisis. An attachment has developed between Boaz and Ruth, yet the wealthy kinsman has not taken any practical step about it. Naomi detects the sadness that creeps over Ruth's tender spirit, and contrives a plan to find out what the intention of Boaz is, so as to bring things to a head. According to Hebrew custom and the Mosaic Law. "If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger; her husband's brother shall take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her. And it shall be that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel" (Deut.25:5-6).

Now when Naomi sent Ruth to Boaz, as described in this chapter, she was really appealing to him to honor this Israelite law, and thus, at the same time, give a husband's shelter to Ruth, and honor the name of Mahlon, her deceased Hebrew husband. Boaz clearly understood this, as his noble words show (10-13). Notice how both Ruth and Boaz use the word "kinsman."

Ruth, in creeping softly to the resting place of Boaz, and nestling under the corner of his long robe (v.7), was simply making a legal claim in the approved manner of the time. When Ruth said, "spread thy skirt over thine handmaid," Boaz fully understood the appeal of widowed Ruth for protection, as the casting of the outward garment over the bride's head was a customary ceremony at old-time eastern marriages, in token of the husbandly protection from then on given to the bride. Boaz wakes and finds Ruth present. For a moment he is taken back, but, on hearing Ruth's words, sympathetically appreciates the situation. His gracious reply (v.10-13), reveals both his own honorableness and that of Ruth. And now the two reasons are disclosed why he had not proposed wedlock to Ruth: (1) his considerable seniority in years, (2) his not being the NEAREST kinsman. It may be also that a third reason had been in the mind of Boaz, namely, that Naomi, the wife of Ruth's father-in-law, really had the prior claim on him; though now, by this very act of sending Ruth, Naomi had waived her claim in Ruth's favor.

LOVE'S REWARD:

So the nearest kinsman handed over his right to Boaz, publicly acknowledging this by the old-time custom of plucking off his shoe, and handing it to Boaz. To Boaz Ruth was far more precious than the land. As for Naomi, her joy was brimful. She became the babe's nurse - never did babe have tenderer nurse or sweeter mother; while the women of the place said, "Thy daughter-in-law, which loveth thee, is better to thee than seven sons." This precious little book of Ruth calls to us from the bygone, telling us that THE LOVE WHICH "SUFFERETH LONG AND IS KIND" NEVER FAILS OF ITS REWARD IN THE END.

TYPICAL ASPECTS

Israel as originally constituted in Canaan was a Theocracy. God was Israel's King. Israel was Elimelech (My God is King). Israel was married as it were to Naomi (Pleasantness, Favor, Blessing); and Israel's offspring were Mahlon (Song) and Chilion (Perfectness, Ornament). But under testing, Israel compromised and went astray, leaving their early allegiance to Jehovah. Elimelech died. No longer could Israel say with a perfect heart before the Lord, "My God is King." Mahlon and Chilion passed away too - the "song" of praise and the "ornament" of godliness died off; while eventually Naomi, the once "favored" and "pleasant" returns a sorry remnant, "empty" and "bitter," as in the days when the remnant returned under Ezra and Nehemiah.

But from the point of Naomi's return, Ruth (Comeliness) takes the prominent place; and Ruth is a type of the CHURCH. First we see the Ruth who gleans IN THE HARVEST FIELD, the alien, poor and destitute; having no part or lot in Israel, or in the covenant of promise, yet seeking refuge under the wings of Jehovah, God of Israel, and begging kindness at the hand of the gracious, wealthy Boaz. The name Boaz (In Him is Strength) is a type of Christ, the strong, the wealthy, the noble, the gracious, as he looks upon the Gentile Ruth with generous favor and with tender love toward her.

Second, we see Ruth AT THE THRESHING FLOOR, having no hope in anyone other than Boaz, risking everything, believing in his kindness, staking her all on his honor and his grace and his power to redeem; coming to him poor and friendless, yet loving him because he had first loved her; lying at his feet, praying the shelter of his name, asking the protection of his arm, seeking the provision which only his love could give; and finding in him more than hope had dared to expect.
Third, we see Ruth IN THE HOME OF BOAZ. She has been graciously received by redeemer-Boaz, becomes united to him as his wife, shares with him his life, his home, and all his wealth and joys.

In acting as redeemer Boaz must exhibit the three indispensable qualifications: (1) he must have the RIGHT to redeem, (2) the POWER to redeem, and (3) the WILL to redeem. Christ as our Kinsman-Redeemer has the right as our true Kinsman, and the power as the Son of God, and the gracious willingness. Nor has our heavenly Boaz merely redeemed for us the forfeited estate of Elimelech, He has made us His bride, to share forever with Him His life, His home, His wealth, and His eternal joys.

But who is that unnamed kinsman who would not redeem? I believe it to be the Law. The Law states, "An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even unto the tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord forever (Deut.23:3)." The Law is just, but it has no smile, no place, no welcome for alien Ruth. The unnamed kinsman would have paid the price for the estate of Elimelech if that were all there was to think about, but as soon as he heard that Ruth the Moabitess was involved he refused. And the LAW can do nothing for US as sinners and spiritual aliens to God. It cannot forgive. It cannot cleanse. It cannot renew or empower us. It can only condemn us. Thank God, the Moabite who is shut out by law is admitted by grace! And those very sinners against whom Mt. Sinai thunders, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die," may hear the gracious words from Mount Calvary, "He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into the judgment, but is passed from death unto life!"


I SAMUEL:

TRANSITION FROM THEOCRACY TO MONARCHY

SAMUEL: THE LAST OF THE JUDGES (1-7)
His Birth and His Youth (1-2)
His Call and His Office (3)
His Times and His Acts (4-7)
SAUL: THE FIRST OF THE KINGS (7-15)
His Appointment as King (8-10)
His Promising Beginning (11-12)
His Later Folly and Sin (12-15)
DAVID: THE ANOINTED SUCCESSOR (16-31)
His Anointing by Samuel (16)
His Service before Saul (16-20)
His Years as a Fugitive (21-30)

First Samuel is the book of the transition from the theocracy to the monarchy, covering a period of about 150 years. Its three main characters are Samuel, the last of the judges, Saul, the first of the kings, and David, the greatest of the kings. God had called Israel into a unique relationship with Himself; and God Himself was Israel's King invisible. Yet, as Samuel ages, and his sons prove perverse, the people make it the occasion to press for a human king. It was the way of human wisdom, not of faith in God. It was taking the lower level. It was a refusing of God's best, for the second best - and there is much difference between the two. Troubles increased through choosing the seemingly easier but lower way of human wisdom, in preference to God's way. The ministry of Samuel marks the institution of the monarchy and also the prophetic office. Samuel founded the SCHOOLS of the prophets, and originated the prophetic ORDER. In a very real sense, therefore, he is the first of the prophets (Acts 3:24; 13:20; Heb.11:32).

Scarcely had Moses and his generation passed before the people reverted to barbarism; and instead of realizing the grand ideal which their Law-giver had sketched for them, they sank lower and lower (as seen in Judges), until the nation seemed at the point of breaking up. The Philistines were fast reducing Israel to a subject nation. But just when it seemed that Israel must be crushed out, Samuel came. Samuel arrested the nations decay, built it up into an orderly and progressive kingdom, and planted it on the path which led it, though by an upward and tangled route, to its high destiny as teacher of the true God to mankind. Many a man who has wielded great influence in his lifetime has left nothing lasting. The means he employed for this internal growth of the nation was the founding of schools. These, besides raising Israel to a higher mental level, fostered the worship of Jehovah by teaching true ideas of the Divine nature. Schools were the urgent need, through which the whole mental state of Israel should be raised, and men trained for educated leadership. Samuel's Book of the Kingdom (I Sam.10:25) could have little influence on a Saul who could neither read nor write; and Saul became only too like what Samuel had feared. The government which Samuel sought to establish was that of kingly power in the hands of a layman, but acting in obedience to the written law of God. We begin to see what a great figure Samuel is. He initiated the first movement toward national education, and shaped the constitutional monarchy of the nation.

Note how the change-over came about from the Judges to the Kings. It was through the insistence of the people themselves. There are three things we ought to note about this demand for a king. (1) The OUTER REASON for it was the degeneracy of Samuel's sons. (2) The INNER MOTIVE was that the people might become like the other nations. (3) The DEEPER MEANING was that Israel had now rejected the theocracy, which was the most serious thing of all; and this is emphasized in the Divine response, "They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected ME, that I should not reign over them." Instead of being gratefully anxious to preserve the liberties and public rights which were theirs under the theocracy, they insisted on being ruled as the surrounding peoples were ruled.

Saul, the first king of Israel, is one of the most striking and tragic figures in the Old Testament. He began so assuringly, but declined so disappointingly, and ended so wretchedly. His life can be summed up in three main parts, (1) his early promise, (2) his later decline, (3) his final failure. In his beginning he was distinguished by a STRIKING PHYSICAL SUPERIORITY. He is described as a choice young man, and a goodly: there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he; from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people (9:2). Second, young Saul showed certain HIGHLY COMMENDABLE QUALITIES OF DISPOSITION. We note his modesty (9:21,10:22); his discreteness (10:27); his generous spirit (11:13); his dash and courage (11:6,11); his capacity for strong love (16:21); his energetic antagonism against evil (28:3). Third, there were SPECIAL EQUIPMENTS which God gave him when he became king. God gave him another heart so that he became another man (10:6,9) and the Spirit of God came upon him so that he prophesied (10:10). He also had the trusty counselor, the inspired Samuel at his side, and a spectacular military victory which set the new king high in the confidence of the people (11:12).

In his later decline we see IRREVERENT PRESUMPTION. Saul, in willful impatience, violated the priest's prerogative, and foolishly presumed to offer up with his own hand the pre-arranged sacrifices of the Lord. Next we see his RASH WILLFULNESS. He rushes his men off without Divine guidance and rashly imposes a death sentence on any man who should eat food that day, with the results that his men are too weak to follow up the victory and that his hunger-smitten men sin by eating flesh with the blood, and that Jonathan comes under the death sentence through ignorance. We also notice a blend of DISOBEDIENCE AND DECEIT. Paul is told to destroy utterly the vile Amalekites; but he spares the king and the best livestock. He slips blame for the booty on the people. He even pretends the booty is for sacrifice to Jehovah. Samuel's rebuke begins, "When thou wast little in thine own sight . . . " Alas, humility had now given place to arrogance. Samuel sees right through the sham to the real - "Wherefore didst thou not obey?. . . Thou hast rejected the word of Jehovah." From this point the decline is steep. The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul (16:14) and an evil spirit troubled him. He gives way to a petty jealousy until it becomes a fiendish malice against David. Thrice he tries to kill him, then he hunts him for months on end. He knows that in seeking to kill David he is actually fighting against God. He admits, "I know well that thou shalt surely be king"(24:20); yet, even after this, he resumes his dastardly pursuit. Well does Saul say of himself, "I have played the fool" (24:21).

In his final failure this giant wreck of a man who once enjoyed direct counsel from heaven now traffics with the underworld - witchcraft and suicide. Saul's two besetting sins were presumption and disobedience to God; and behind both these was impulsive, unsubdued SELF-WILL. The one vital condition for true fulfillment of life is obedience to the will of God. Saul was called to theocratic kingship, and so is each one of us. He was anointed of God to be the executor of a will higher than his own. He was to be the human and invisible vice-regent of Israel's Divine King, Jehovah. He could only truly rule the subjects beneath him to the extent in which he obeyed the Supreme King above him. We are meant to rule for God, so that our lives and personalities may fulfill His will and accomplish His purpose. When we obstinately rule independently of God our true kingship breaks down; we lose the true meaning and purpose of life. In greater or lesser degree we "play the fool." To let SELF get the upper hand in our life is to miss the best and court the worst. All of us who live for self in preference to the will of God are "playing the fool."


II SAMUEL: KING DAVID'S FORTY YEAR REIGN

I. DAVID'S TRIUMPHS (1-12)
King over Judah only, at Hebron 1-4
(Civil War Period - 7 Years)
King of all Israel at Jerusalem 5-12
(Conquest Period - 13 Years)
II. DAVID'S TROUBLES (13-24)
David's Troubles in his Family 13-18
(Amnon Sin to Absolom Revolt)
David's Troubles in the Nation 19-24
(Sheba Revolt to Pestilence)

Second Samuel is distinctly the book of David's reign. It opens with David's accession over Judah, immediately after Saul's death, and closes just before David's death. The book therefore covers a period of some forty years. David was the real founder of the monarchy, the reorganizer of Israel's religious worship, the preeminent hero, ruler and poet of his people. David's great sin, recorded in chapter 11, marks the sad divide, right in the middle of the book and right in the middle of David's forty year reign. Up to this point all goes triumphantly for David; but after this there are ugly knots and tangles, grievous blows and tragic trials. In the first part we sing David's triumphs, and in the second we mourn his troubles - triumph through faith, trouble through sin. This book emphasizes that all sin, whether in king or commoner, whether in high or low, whether in godly or the godless, certainly brings its bitter fruitage. Sin is the destroyer of prosperity. There is no sinning without suffering. This is especially true about the lust of the eye, and sexual sin, which was the point of David's breakdown. We should flee it as we would a viper. Let us like Job, "make a covenant with our eyes" not to look on that which is seductive, lest, weaker than we suppose ourselves to be, we should give way to sin, and thereby heap sharp thorns into our bosom.

David reigned at Hebron 7-1/2 years over Judah only, because the other tribes would not accept him as Saul's successor. God's choice of David was commonly known. Abner said, "as the Lord has sworn to David, even so I do to Him; to translate the kingdom from the house of Saul...for the Lord hath spoken to David, saying, `By the hand of My servant David I will save My people out of the hand of the Philistines and out of the hand of all their enemies"(3:9-10,17-18). David did not force himself to the throne. He knew that he had been appointed of God to the throne; and his experience of God during the discipline of the preceding few years had taught him to bide God's timing. Thus we see that the acknowledgment of David's right to the kingship rested on three things: (1) His human kinship - "we are thy bone and thy flesh," (2) His proven merit - "thou ledest out and broughtest in Israel," and (3) His Divine warrant - "the Lord said unto thee: thou shalt be captain over Israel." This speaks of Christ's right of kingship over our lives. He is our kinsman, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He is our Savior of proven merit, who espoused our cause and fought our foe, and brought us deliverance from the guilt and tyranny of sin. And He is king by Divine warrant, the Prince and Lord of His people, the One to whom is committed all administrative authority in heaven and earth. David, upon becoming king of a united Israel, transferred the seat of government to Jerusalem. Hebron, although a quite suitable capital while David's kingdom was confined to Judah, was too far south to become a metropolis for a kingdom uniting all the tribes. Jerusalem was a naturally strong position, which fact was also in David's mind, no doubt, when he chose to settle there.

Chapter 7 is one of the supremely great passages of the Bible, and one of the principle keys to the Divine plan of history.

"Also the Lord tells you that He will make you a house; and when
your days are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I
will set up your seed after you, and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the
throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall
be My Son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the
rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men; but My
mercy shall not depart from him as I took it from Saul, whom I
put away before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be
established forever before you: your throne shall be established
forever" (II Sam.7:11-16).

Here we have the DIVINE CONFIRMATION OF THE THRONE IN ISRAEL. Both Saul and David were Divinely selected and anointed, but now the throne of David is confirmed by Divine appointment. Secondly, here is the PREDICTED PERPETUITY OF THE DAVIDIC DYNASTY. Three things are made sure to David, (1) a house or posterity, (2) a throne or royal authority, (3) a kingdom or a sphere of rule; and then in verse 16 all three are secured to him "forever." And thirdly in this Davidic covenant is its MESSIANIC IMPLICATION. Obviously Solomon is first in view, but also looks on to its culmination in Him who, having already been to earth as Prophet, and having now ministered in the heavenly sanctuary as Priest, shall yet return in glory as David's greater Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords, of whose kingdom there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from then on forever. It is because this Davidic covenant finally envisages Christ that it is UNCONDITIONAL.

As in the Abrahamic covenant the promised "seed" was Isaac in the immediate sense, and Christ in the ultimate sense (Ga.3:16), so in the Davidic covenant the promised "son" is Solomon in the immediate sense and Christ in the ultimate. Notice that both covenants are unconditional; and their being so is due to this fact that they both find their final fulfillment in Christ, for there can be no failure on Christ's part. Also this Davidic covenant marks a FOURTH MAJOR DEVELOPMENT IN THE MESSIANIC PROPHECY. The first was made to Adam (Ge.3:15) where the 'seed of the woman' should crush the head of the serpent. The second was made to Abraham (Ge.22:18) for in `his seed' all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. The third was made through Jacob (Ge.49:18) "The scepter shall not depart `from Judah'... until Shiloh comes." The fourth is now made to David (II Sam.7). Notice the development.

In Adam - the promise is to the RACE in general
In Abraham - it is to one NATION in the race
In Jacob - it is to one TRIBE in the nation
In David - it is to one FAMILY in that tribe

David being a man of war could not typify Christ as Melchizedek, who is King of Peace: this glory was reserved for Solomon. David established the kingdom over which Solomon reigned. But Christ will be both David and Solomon. As David He will convert or conquer all foes and set up the kingdom on earth; and as Solomon, He will reign in everlasting peace.

Wherever David turns he is a victorious warrior, while at home he is an upright and constructive administrator. The secret behind David's successive conquests is (8:14) "And the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went." While the reason for Israel's internal consolidation is given in (8:15) "David executed judgment and justice unto all the people." David was a skillful general and a virtuous ruler. Think of the broken condition of Israel at David's accession and then remember that at his death he transmitted to Solomon a united empire extending from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates and from the Red Sea to the Lebanon. Besides this, the religious development of Israel received a quickening impulse from the piety of their beloved king and the influence of his sacred poetry.

David's great sin - it is not fair or honest to emphasize this blot on David's record so as to make it appear the biggest thing in his life. If it were not for the strict honesty of the Bible itself, this black episode could easily have been withheld from us. We must view his life as a whole, his faith and obedience toward God, his general uprightness and generous-heartedness, the high-principled conduct and ardent spiritual aspirings which largely characterize him throughout his career. David was a good man as the Scripture says, a man after God's own heart. In warfare, a general may lose a battle and yet win a campaign. Although one or several battles may be lost, and lost badly, the result of the campaign may be victory. This is true of men in a moral sense; and in the case of David, the full account of his life, supported by the noble testimony of his psalms, shows decisively that though there were defeats, and one outstandingly grievous fall, the final result is such as to justify the pronouncement that he was a man after God's own heart. As Augustine said, David's fall should put upon their guard all who have NOT fallen, and save from despair all those who HAVE fallen.

Some salient lessons are: (1) THE HONESTY AND FAITHFULNESS OF THE SCRIPTURES in recording such a dark incident. Had the writing of the Bible been left merely in human hands, it would have contained no such chapter. David's guilt is here exposed without the slightest effort to extenuate it, much less excuse it. (2) DAVID'S FALL OCCURRED WHEN HE WAS IN PROSPEROUS EASE. All his foes were crushed. The pressure of dangers that had kept him prayerful was now removed. We little realize what we owe to those seemingly hard circumstances from which we long to get free, but which are God's means of keeping us prayerful. Prosperity and ease are always perilous; and we are never so exposed to temptation as when we are idle. (3) DAVID'S SIN WAS A CULMINATION OF A PROCESS. As a rule, falls so violent as that of David do not occur without being preceded by a weakening process. David had given way to the flesh in accumulating many wives (v.5:13) a thing expressly forbidden to Israel's kings (Dt.17:17). David, by nature a man of strong passions, had indulged the flesh; and now the tragic culmination is reached. How we need to guard against the beginnings of sin! (4) DAVID'S SIN LED TO EVEN WORSE SIN. David, who had been shocked when Joab slew Abner, made Joab his accomplice in sin, and brought about the death of Uriah! Oh, the ugly chain that one sin can forge! If we do fall into sin, the one safe measure is confession and restitution. (5) DAVID'S SIN RESULTED IN YEARS OF SUFFERING. Incest, fratricide, rebellion, civil war, intrigue, revolt - all these are traceable to David's sin. What a sorry harvest sin brings! David's wrong was forgiven, but its consequences were not thereby obliterated: and the Divine sentence upon David, "Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house," furnishes the key to David's following history, which was as troubled and adverse as his earlier reign had been happy and successful.


I KINGS: THE BOOK OF THE DISRUPTION

I. THE GREAT FORTY YEARS REIGN OF KING SOLOMON (1-11)
Solomon's Accession and Early Acts 1-4
Solomon's Temple and Palace Built 5-8
Solomon's Meridian Fame and Glory 9-10
Solomon's Declension and Decease 11
II. THE FIRST EIGHTY YEARS OF THE TWO KINGDOMS (12-22)
Accession of Rehoboam: The Disruption 12
Judah Kings - Rehoboam to Jehoshaphat 13-22
Israel Kings - Jeroboam to Ahaziah 13-22
Ministry of Prophet Elijah to Israel 17-22

The splendors of Solomon's reign and the building of the temple forepicture the glory and the worship of Christ's coming kingdom upon the earth. This BOOK OF THE DISRUPTION records the division of the one united kingdom into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. In the northern kingdom (Israel) Samaria becomes the capital. In the southern kingdom (Judah) Jerusalem remains the capital. The central spiritual message of the book is `DISCONTINUANCE THROUGH DISOBEDIENCE.' "Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon: For as much as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee..." (11:11-13). Viewed historically, Solomon represents the peak period of Israel's prosperity as a kingdom. His reign marks the most splendid and affluent period of Hebrew history. He was the last of the kings to reign over a united Hebrew kingdom. It was through Solomon's own disobedience that the disruption took place. Considered personally, his super-normal wisdom made him a wonder to all the surrounding peoples. His prayer at the temple dedication reveals lofty spiritual capacity. His successful governmental administration bespeaks his more than ordinary mental power. But he never displayed such energetic devotion to God as that of David. Typically, he typifies Christ in His yet future reign on earth. David is the type of Christ's MILLENNIAL reign, that is, His reign on the earth for one thousand years, as David's greater Son, over the restored and regathered house of Israel. Solomon is the type of Christ's POST - MILLENNIAL reign, which Paul calls "the dispensation of the fullness of times," when Christ shall reign in that 'new Jerusalem' which comes down from God, out of heaven. Throughout Solomon's reign there was PEACE and REST. Not one war of internal disturbance broke the serenity of that forty years. Second, there was surpassing WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE. Third, there was WEALTH and GLORY - such as had exceeded all that had gone before. Fourth, there was FAME and HONOR, Solomon's name being the greatest in all the countries around Israel, and Israel being honored by all peoples. Fifth, there was JOY and SAFETY.

In the first part of the book there is the building of the wonderful temple at Jerusalem. In the second part there is the remarkable ministry of the prophet Elijah in the northern kingdom. The congregation never met WITHIN the temple, but offered worship TOWARDS it, as being the residence of Deity. It was a place for the Divine presence, and for the priests who ministered before it; and for no others. Think of David's enthusiastic provision for the temple which he himself would never see. May we have a like unselfishness toward those who are to follow us! God help us to leave our children the MORAL materials for the building of their lives as living temples! May we leave our children patterns which we have received from God; and may we leave them godly friends who will be wise and willing helpers of them when we ourselves have passed beyond! Solomon was very young when he came to the throne. His own word is that he was "but a little child" (3:7). Josephus says he was fifteen. Solomon's prayer for wisdom, in preference to wealth, power and length of days shows that the young king already possessed a marked degree of wisdom. In nothing is his early wisdom seen more clearly than that he should ask for MORE wisdom. Solomon's own words indicate that in asking for wisdom he did not mean SPIRITUAL wisdom - that insight in Divine things which comes only of regeneration and a close fellowship with God, that wisdom of which Paul speaks in the New Testament. No, in THAT kind of wisdom Solomon falls considerably behind his father David. But, he became supernaturally endowed with administrative discernment, sagacious judgment, intellectual grasp, aptitude for the acquisition of knowledge, a practical wisdom in the directing of affairs. This was indeed the wisdom of God in him. The account of Solomon's revenue and splendor is astonishing; he made silver to be as common as stones in Jerusalem. The visit of the Queen of Sheba has an interest all its own; and Solomon's generosity to her becomes a beautiful illustration of the Heavenly King's bounty to ourselves. "And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty" (10:13). As it says in Ephesians 3:20, "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us." Solomon was the richest king in all the earth, and his giving was such as corresponded with that! Philippians 4:19 says, "My God shall supply all your need according to HIS riches in glory in Christ Jesus." A greater than Solomon is here.

Alas the glory of the Solomonic period was short lived. The fault was Solomon's alone. "But king Solomon loved many strange women ... Solomon clave unto these in love... His wives turned away his heart after other gods... Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord... The Lord was angry with Solomon... The Lord said: I will surely rend the kingdom from thee." It was this infidelity of Solomon which precipitated the disruption into the two kingdoms. The wisest of all men had become the greatest of all fools, for he had sinned against light and privilege and promise such as had been given to no other man. How inferior is the greatest human wisdom to true piety. Solomon was a man of extraordinary ability, a botanist, zoologist, architect, poet, and moral philosopher; and yet a man who strangely lacked in strength of character. Moses had said that Israel's future kings should not multiply wealth, horses, or wives (Dt.17:14-20), but Solomon did all three.

Immediately following Solomon's death the Disruption takes place. The Scriptures locate the blame for the Disruption with Solomon. It is an awful yet true indictment of him to say that the whole after history of the Disruption, the gradual decline of power and influence, the corruption of morals, and at times the almost total forgetfulness of God, were only the necessary developments of those pernicious principles and practices introduced by Solomon. In the later years of Solomon's reign the extravagant expenses of the royal court had become such as to necessitate the levying of taxes which the people were ill able to yield. The stupid behavior and fatuous reply of Rehoboam, reveal his utter inability to measure such a situation. His senseless threat to outdo his father's severities toward his subjects was the last straw. In the two lines of kings, the eight kings who reigned over Israel, every one was EVIL. Of the four kings who reigned over Judah, the two who reigned the longest (covering 66 years out of 86) were GOOD kings.

The last six chapters of I Kings are occupied with the ministry of the prophet Elijah in the northern kingdom of the ten tribes. It is from this point the ministry of the prophets in the two Hebrew kingdoms becomes more prominently emphasized. He suddenly appears on the scene as the crisis-prophet, with thunder on his brow and tempest in his voice. He disappears just as suddenly, swept skywards in a chariot of fire. Between his first appearing and his final disappearing lies a succession of amazing miracles. Old Dr. Kitto remarks, "There were two sorts of prophets: prophets of deeds, and prophets of words. Of the former there has not been among men a greater than Elijah." So far as we know he wrote nothing.


II KINGS : THE BOOK OF THE DISPERSION

I. ANNALS OF ISRAEL, THE NORTHERN KINGDOM
This part contains the ministry of Elisha, and
concludes with the death of Jehu, Israel's 10th king.

II. ALTERNATING ANNALS OF BOTH KINGDOMS
This part runs up to the Assyrian captivity of Israel.
Jonah, Amos and Hosea prophesy at this time in Israel.

III. ANNALS OF JUDAH, THE SOUTHERN KINGDOM
This part ends with Judah's Babylonian captivity
by which time Obadiah, Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum,
Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Jeremiah had prophesied in
Judah.

This Second Book of Kings, which opens with the translation of Elijah to heaven, and closes with the transportation of the captive Jews to Babylon, is more tragic than all which have preceded it. In chapter 17 we see the 10 tribed northern kingdom (Israel) going into the Assyrian captivity, from which they have never since returned; while in chapter 25 we see Jerusalem sacked, the temple burnt, and the southern kingdom (Judah) going into the Babylonian captivity, from which only a remnant returned.

THE KINGS OF JUDAH & THE KINGS OF ISRAEL
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Rehoboam............ 17 Jeroboam............ 22
Abijah (Abijam)...... 3 Nadab.................. 2
* Asa..................... 41 Baasha................ 24
Elah...................... 2
Zimri............. 1 week
Omri................... 12
* Jehoshaphat......... 25 Ahab................... 22
Ahaziah................. 2
Jehoram............... 12
Jehoram................. 8 Jehu..................... 28
Ahaziah.................. 1
Athaliah.................. 6
Joash.................... 40 Jehoahaz.............. 17
Amaziah............... 29 Jehoash................ 16
Azariah(Uzziah).... 52 Jeroboam II.......... 41

INTERREGNUM...12
Zechariah.............1/2
Shallum........ 1 month
Menahem............. 10
Pekahiah................ 2

Jotham................. 16 Pekah............... 20
Ahaz.................... 16 Hoshea............... 9
* Hezekiah............. 29
Manasseh............ 55
Amon.................... 2
* Josiah................. 31
Jehoahaz....... 3 month
Jehoiakim............ 11 * Those kings which were good.
Jehoiachin..... 3 month
Zedekiah............. 11

The central message of this book is that `WILLFUL SIN BRINGS A WOEFUL END.' Sinning despite warning brings ruin without remedy. Inexcusable wrong brings inescapable wrath. The disruption, when united Israel split into two kingdoms, occurred in 975 B.C. The dispertion and ruin of both the Hebrew kingdoms takes place in II Kings. The 10 tribed northern kingdom into the Assyrian captivity happened in 721 B.C., and the southern kingdom into the Babylonian exile in 587 B.C. Note that 19 kings reigned over the northern kingdom, and the kingdom only lasted 250 years; whereas Judah had 20 kings and continued for some 390 years. The kings of Israel came from 7 different dynasties, whereas all the 20 kings of Judah were of one and the same dynasty - the Davidic. In the case of Judah's kings DAVID IS THE STANDARD ACCORDING TO WHICH THEIR CHARACTER IS ESTIMATED. Repeatedly we read, "His heart was not perfect with the Lord his God as the heart of David his father". Secondly, Scripture shows the faithfulness of God to the Davidic covenant (2 Sam.7), in THE PRESERVATION OF THE DAVIDIC LINE. Repeatedly the royal line was in peril of being extinguished, but God fulfilled His word to David. For example, when the kingdom of Judah fell, on account of its sinning, the faithfulness of God continued and the line was preserved; for although God had to say to the wicked king Jehoiachin (Jeconiah), "Write this man childless," and the line of David through Solomon failed, a subsidiary line had been preserved from David through Nathan, into which line the succession now ran. And even after the Babylonian captivity the line continues in Zerubbabel, and from him the genealogical record is preserved right down to the birth of Jesus Christ, David's Son and Lord, in whom the Davidic line is perpetuated for evermore. He and He alone will re-establish the Davidic throne.

THE PROPHET ELISHA:
Elisha's ministry is an extraordinary one. It is even more interspersed with miracles than was the fiery ministry of Elijah. The full list, including the strange miracle at Elisha's grave, totals twenty. How many others were done through Elisha without being recorded, we do not know. All Elisha's mighty acts were unmistakable and unanswerable evidences of the reality and sovereign power of Jehovah, Israel's true God, from whom the nation had now outrageously apostatized. God is meeting a critical situation by supernormal measures. Apostate and degenerate as the nation has become, a final bid shall be made, by special messengers and startling miraculous signs, to recall the sinning people to Jehovah and to the true faith of Israel. Even to the last, God will seek to turn His idolatry-infatuated people from their corruptions, and thus avert the culminating catastrophe of the Dispersion which must otherwise overtake them. Alas, the louder the warning and the clearer the sign, the deafer and blinder do the unwilling people become! Doubtless there was an overridden godly remnant; but the bulk of leaders and people were wedded to their idolatries and immoral ways.

Note THE CONTRAST BETWEEN ELIJAH AND ELISHA. Such a similarity is also found between John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus. It was announced by the angel Gabriel that John, as the Lord's forerunner, should "go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah" (Lk.1:17); and our Lord Himself later said of him, "This is Elijah which was to come" (Mt.11:14; 17:10-12). Elijah, like John the Baptist, came neither eating nor drinking, and was in the deserts, solitary and apart from men. Elisha, on the other hand, like our Lord Jesus, came eating and drinking and mingling freely among the people. There were no shaggy locks nor sheepskin mantle, and there was no being fed by ravens in the lonely grotto of Cherith, but a man normally shorn and clad, having a gentle and sociable presence. Instead of the fire, the storm, the sternness of judgment, there are healing acts and gentler words. In Elisha's recurring ministries beyond the bounds of Israel we seem to see a suggestion of Him who, besides being `the glory of His people, Israel,' was to be `a light to lighten the gentiles.' While again, notice the similarity of miracles between Elisha and the Lord's.

Also similar is THE MAIN EMPHASIS of their ministries. Elijah's ministry, like that in the preaching of John the Baptist, is the stern call to repentance, accompanied by the warning of impending judgment; but the main emphasis all through Elisha's ministry is that of resurrection and hope of new life, if only the people will respond. Note some of his miracles: the healing of the death-giving waters of Jericho so that they give life, the saving of the armies by miraculous water supply, the raising of the Shunamite's son from death to new life, the healing of the poisoned pottage, the multiplication of barley loaves, the healing of Naaman, by that symbolic baptism in Jordan, the swimming of the iron - a new overcoming life power, the man brought to life at Elisha's grave.

Take Elijah, Elisha and Jonah together. These three prophets came in quick succession during this last period before the dispersion of the northern kingdom. Such "signs" were given through these three prophets as had never been given before, with the purpose of arresting the nation. In the case of Elijah there is the raising up of the Zarephath widow's son from death to new life. Never had a dead person been brought back to life. The unheard of had happened. Yet that crowning miracle was repeated in the ministry of Elisha, in the raising of the Shunamite's son. Indeed, it was more than repeated. An even stranger thing happened; a dead man was suddenly quickened into life again through contact with Elisha's own corpse! But, most amazing of all, there next comes Jonah's experience of something even stranger - a resurrection not merely from bodily death, but from the belly of Sheol! Look at these three men again. Elisha dies and is buried, yet in his death gives life to another - as Christ through His death, gives life to those who come into union with Him. Jonah goes down into "hell" itself, yet is brought up that he should not see corruption - as Christ Himself was not left in Hades nor suffered to see corruption (Acts2:27). Elijah in ascending, cast down his mantle and a `double portion of his spirit' so that his follower on earth might do `greater works' than he himself had done - as Christ also, when He ascended up on high, poured forth the Spirit so that His followers might do the `greater works' of which He had spoken.

EVIL KINGS OF THE NORTHERN KINGDOM:
It is chronicled of every one of them that "he did evil" with the exception of Shallum, who reigned only one month. The standard according to which these ISRAEL kings are judged is the shameful reign of "JEROBOAM, the son of Nebat, WHO MADE ISRAEL TO SIN." Of Fifteen out of the eighteen kings who followed him it is said that he did evil after the example of this Jeroboam. The DISPERSION OF THE 10 TRIBES OCCURRED IN TWO STAGES. Some years before the final break-up of the kingdom, Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh, which occupied territory on the eastern side of Jordan, and which therefore first fell prey to the Assyrians (I Chr.5:25-26). They had compromised and are the first to go into captivity. The Assyrian king who carried away these tribes is called Tiglath-pileser (II K.15:29), and also Pul (I Chr.5:26). The deportation of the other tribes of the northern kingdom took place about 15 years after, about 721 B.C. by Shalmaneser IV. The whole population was carried off, never to see Samaria again. Then the Assyrians planted in their stead populations which were likewise carried from a far distance, placing Assyrian officials over them, leaving them with neither spirit nor means to revolt. Thus the land was inhabited by a mongrel mixture imported from afar. Israel had refused to accept the ennobling service of God, must now suffer and weep in degrading servitude to men (II Chr.12:8; Jer.24:5).

THE DOWNFALL OF JUDAH:
Could anything have given the sister kingdom graver cause for penitent reflection and amendment than what had then happened to the 10 tribes? The warnings uttered by Jehovah's faithful prophets had materialized with tragic exactness. Israel had over- presumed upon her covenant relationship with Jehovah, and He had now utterly cast her off.

There are three kings which call for special comment. Of HEZEKIAH it is said, "Since the days of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel, there was not the like in Jerusalem" and also, "He trusted in the Lord God of Israel so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him" (II Chr.30:26; II K.18:5). It seems clear that in good degree we owe to Hezekiah THE ARRANGEMENT AND TRANSMISSION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES. Clearly, his delight was in the word of Jehovah. Also, an extra 15 years were added to his life. It was in those additional years that Hezekiah's literary activities reached their high point. Judah's days were numbered. Only five more kings were to reign before the deportations to Babylon began, and four out of those five were to prove ungodly failures. The moment had certainly come for the bringing together and editing of the inspired Scriptures, with a view to their preservation and transmission; and who should be God's man for this purpose? Who was more suitable and willing than Hezekiah? Then there was MANASSEH. Was there ever an extremer contrast between father and son than that between Hezekiah and Manasseh? Sometimes the best of fathers have the worst of sons, and visa versa. What a grim enigma that the wickedest of all Judah's kings should be the longest reigning one! First we notice that Manasseh was carried captive to Babylon. Second, in captivity Manasseh repented and was forgiven of God. He thus becomes one of the most amazing instances of the pardoning love of God to extreme sinners. Third Manasseh was restored to Jerusalem, and made amends, as far as possible, for all the evil he had done. And lastly there's Josiah.

JOSIAH'S LEAD TO HIS PEOPLE DID NOT REALLY CHECK THE NATIONAL DOWNGRADE. The apparent `revival' consisted rather in outward measures taken by the king himself than in a hearty desire on the part of the people in general. There was much outward reform but no real inward return. Through prophet after prophet and providence after providence God had pleaded with His people, but they had repeatedly shown that they "WOULD not," until now, by that deadly process which ever operates in human nature, they had reached the point where they COULD not. Apostasy and idolatry had now become ingrained in the national character. Secondly, JOSIAH'S REIGN OCCURRED AT ONE OF THE MOST FATEFUL TURNING POINTS IN HISTORY. There were 1) the fall of the Assyrian empire, 2) the rise of the new Babylonian empire, 3) the formation of the Median empire and 4) the dissolution of the kingdom of Judah as an independent kingdom. In the days when Josiah carried out his reformation, the book of the Law was found. Mark the significance of this fact that it had to be found! Moreover, its teaching so astonished Josiah that he halted in the middle of his work to inquire from the prophetess Huldah. The people had so forgotten the law of their God that, when it was found, they were absolutely unfamiliar with it.

The Babylonian, Jehovah's avenger whose advent had been fore-announced through Isaiah over 100 years earlier, had now appeared. First, we call attention to the fact that THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM AND THE CAPTIVITY OF JUDAH ARE MOST EMPHATICALLY ASCRIBED TO THE SOVEREIGN HAND OF JEHOVAH (II K.24:3; II Chr.36:16-21). Second, THE DEPORTATION OF JUDAH'S PEOPLE WAS IN 3 STAGES.

1) Third year of Jehoiakim, Daniel taken to Babylon.
2) Eight years later Jehoiachin is replaced with Zedekiah by
Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar carries away 10,000 of the most
useful and better-class Jerusalemites (II K.24:8-16), and among
them were the priest and prophet (Ez.40:1).
3) The final deportation took place in 587 B.C. (11 years later)
It was precipitated by a futile rebellion on the part of Zedekiah.
The whole city, with its desecrated temple, its desolated palaces,
and its now deserted dwellings, was set on fire. A third of the
inhabitants died of famine, and of the plague that grew out of it
(Ez.5:12). Nearly all the remaining population were then carried
off into exile, only the poorest of the land being left
(II K.25:11-12).

Third, THE BABYLONIANS HAD WITHDRAWN FROM JERUSALEM THERE WAS A CONSPIRACY AMONG THE JEWS LEFT IN THE LAND, WHICH RESULTED IN A FURTHER FLIGHT OF JEWS FROM JUDEA INTO EGYPT. Forth, THE DATE ON WHICH THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM BEGAN IS ONE OF UTMOST SIGNIFICANCE.

This is the first time in these historical books that an event is thus dated to the very day. On that same day a special message about it was delivered from God to Ezekiel (II K.25:1; Ez.24:1-2). Besides this, the prophet Jeremiah marks the date with the same kind of particularity (Jer.52:4). The 25th chapter of Jeremiah predicts a 70 period of desolations on Jerusalem, and mentioned again by Daniel and Zechariah (Dan.9:1-2; Zec.1:12). Then Haggai declares:

"Consider, FROM THIS DAY onward: before one stone was placed on
another in the temple of the Lord, ...FROM THIS DAY onward,
from the 24TH DAY OF THE 9TH MONTH, from the day when the
temple of the Lord was founded, consider it... Yet from THIS DAY
on I will bless you" (Hag.2:15-19).

Fifth, JUDGMENT DID NOT FALL UPON THE CHOSEN PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THEIR EVILS, BUT SIGNALLY BECAUSE THEY HAD FOULED A SACRED COVENANT.
Conquered, captive, castaway - thus ends the story of Judah as an independent kingdom. There is always the double aspect to be kept in view - the human and the Divine. In the foreground, and in the immediate sense, is the human failure, as seen in the kings and the multitude. But on the Divine side there is the picture of ultimate triumph. The greatest prophet of the era writes of Jehovah, "HE shall not fail, nor be discouraged" (Is.42:4). When the throne on earth falls to pieces the throne in the heavens rides the storm. The Babylonian exile which came as a judgment on the Jews cured them forever of their idolatries, and strangely recovered to them their lost sense of Jehovah. The Law of Jehovah became exceedingly precious to them, and the true ideal of their nationhood began to be discerned again. They are still the chosen people. Scattered over the face of the earth, yet strangely one; ever persecuted, yet ever preserved; mixed in with all races, yet the most distinct people in the world.


I CHRONICLES: THE HOUSE OF JEHOVAH

I. ISRAEL'S MAIN GENEALOGIES (1-9)
Adam to Jacob (also Esau's line) (1)
Jacob to David (also Caleb line) (2)
David to Zedekiah (and Post-exile) (3)
Tribe Genealogies and Allotments (4-8)
Post-exile Resettlement (9)

II. DAVID'S REIGN AT JERUSALEM (10-29)
The Anointed of the Lord (10-12)
The Ark of the Lord (13-14)
The Covenant of the Lord (17-21)
The Temple of the Lord (22-29)
Death of King David (29:26-30)

Israel, besides being the repository of a special Divine revelation, was the possessor of wonderful Divine promises reaching to the unborn generations. The chronicler himself knew well enough that these genealogies reveal the selective process of Divine election right from Adam downwards, and that the covenant line of redemptive purpose was to culminate in the Messiah. Especially did the preservation of the trunk and main branches of Israel's family tree become vital after the Babylonian exile (when the Chronicles were written). Our chronicler's lists link the pre-exile with the post-exile period; for chapter 9:2-34 concerns the resettlement in Judea AFTER the exile. In one quick span, from Adam to Nehemiah, they give us the main genealogies of the Israelite nation. Here is a re- outlining of the story already told in the books of Samuel and the Kings, but from a different standpoint. In fact, it is this repetition, with its characteristic additions and omissions, that the viewpoint and significance of the Chronicles are perceived.

First, as to THE UNIFYING IDEA OR EMPHASIS, all unanimously note the prominence given to the TEMPLE and matters connected with it. MAJOR OMISSIONS: David's romantic adventures, his reign at Hebron, his grief over Saul and Jonathan, his sin against Bathsheba and Uriah, the revolt of Absalom. MAJOR ADDITIONS: David's abundant preparation of material in advance for the temple (22), his preparatory numbering and distributing of the Levites and the priests (23-24), his appointment and arrangement of singers and players and porters (25-26) - all in anticipation of the temple. This emphasis persists right through the Second Book of the Chronicles. Six out of the nine chapters given to Solomon's reign refer to the temple. Also, from chapter 10 on, which marks the disruption of the nation into two kingdoms, the northern 10 tribed kingdom is throughout ignored, as being founded upon apostasy from the nation's true worship as well as from the house of David. It is solely with Judah and Jerusalem that the Chronicles are concerned, because it is that kingdom and city which hold the TEMPLE. And not only do all the remaining chapters (10-36) confine themselves to Judah, but also to that viewpoint which subordinates all else to the interests of that holy religion of which the temple was the great symbol. For instance, the reigns of Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah are given prominence because of the religious reforms and temple restorations associated with them. In Kings only 3 verses are given to Hezekiah's reforms, as against 3 chapters in the Chronicles. Everywhere in the Chronicles the TEMPLE is emphasized as the vital center of the nation's true life; and even where the temple itself is not mentioned, it is obvious that the emphasis is always upon that RELIGION which the temple represents. Even the genealogies in the 1st nine chapters lead up to the allocation of the returned "Remnant" in Jerusalem and Judea necessary as a basis for the temple service, and the dues by which that service was to be supported.

The Chronicles were compiled AFTER THE BABYLONIAN EXILE, when the "Remnant" had returned from Babylon to Judea, under Ezra and Zerubbabel. The Chronicles were especially written for these repatriated Jews and their descendants who were to reconstitute the Jewish national life in the homeland. If we imagine ourselves back in Judea with that "Remnant," we soon realize that there is one great lack which forces itself upon the mind, namely, there is no king. That is the crucial fact to grasp and the first key to the Chronicles,

THE DAVIDIC THRONE IS GONE !

The people were returning, not to rebuild a throne, but a TEMPLE. Indeed, this was the reason for the edict of the Persian emperor Cyrus, for the "Remnant" to Jerusalem and Judea. Even before Nehemiah is sent to rebuild the city, Ezra and Zerubbabel are sent with the remnant to rebuild the TEMPLE. In any national reconstruction we must begin there - with the temple, that is with GOD. Now that the throne is gone, there remain 3 things more important than all else. 1) There was THE TEACHING OF THE PAST. The covenant people could now see where the processes of apostasy had brought them, and it was vital that they now learn unforgettingly the teaching of their nation's past. 2) There was THE PROPHETIC PROMISE OF THE FUTURE.

Although the Davidic throne was no longer among them, the Davidic LINE was; and of this line the Messiah was to come, who should lift the Davidic throne to unprecedented splendor, and consummate Jehovah's purpose in and through Israel, by bringing in a wonderful world-rule, with its center at Jerusalem. 3) There was THE PRESENCE OF JEHOVAH WITH THEM IN THE PRESENT. Cyrus giving his edict to rebuild the temple 200 years after Isaiah forenamed him (Is.44:28), Nebuchadnezzar's proclamation of his conversion to Jehovah (Dan.4), and Jeremiah's prophecies as to the exact duration of the servitude to Babylon (Jer.29:10) - all must have shown them beyond all doubt that Jehovah was with them in their return to Judea. It was most needful that the nation read its past, present and future from the Divine standpoint, and it was with this very thing in mind - to meet this need and attain this end that the Chronicles were compiled.

In view of the nation's unique calling and the Davidic covenant, it was most important to retain unimpaired the nation's principle genealogies; and these are carefully presented in the first 9 chapters. In view of the catastrophes which had occurred, it was important to recast the nation's history exclusively from a religious standpoint, at least from the beginning of the Davidic kingdom; and this we find in chapter 10 onwards. In view of the fact that the temple represents the holy religion which had come to Israel by special Divine revelation; and the fact that the temple was the supreme surviving link between the nation's great past, and its still greater prophesied future; this emphasizing of the temple we find all through the Chronicles.

The temple was now, above all things, 1) the symbol of the unity of the nation, the more so now that the earthly throne had disappeared; 2) the reminder of the nation's high calling and function; 3) the sign that Jehovah was still with His chosen people; 4) the focus of the true emphasis in the national life. It was in the light of that temple that all the past was to be read, and the present reconstructed, and the future anticipated. Hence the compiling of the Chronicles, with their sustained emphasis on the temple and the religious aspects of things. And hence the central purpose of the Chronicles, namely, to bring home afresh to the covenant people WHERE THE TRUE EMPHASIS IN ISRAEL'S NATIONAL LIFE LAY, to convince them as to WHERE THEIR FIRST DUTY AND THEIR ONLY TRUE SAFETY LAY, AND THEREBY TO CHALLENGE THE ELECT RACE TO A RENEWED CONSECRATION as the Divinely-appointed priest of the nations. From the pen of John Urquhart came, "Israel, unlike the other nations, has no destiny apart from God's service. This has been proved by these more than 18 centuries of what may be named national existence, but cannot be called national life. Israel has not existed, and cannot exist for itself. It is the Divinely-appointed priest of the nations. When it recognized its mission, it impressed and lead the nations. When it neglected it, it sank into insignificance. When it renounced it, Israel was bereft of fatherland and of spiritual perception and power. It wanders among the nations today in its blindness, disinherited, disrobed, and yet with ineffaceable marks of its priestly destiny.

Plainly the Chronicles are a compilation from earlier documents; about 14 of these are named (I Ch.29:29; II Ch.9:29, 12:15, 13:22, 20:34, 24:27, 26:22, 27:7, 32:32, 33:19). Chapters 6:15 and 9:1 date the books after the exile. The genealogy in 3:16-24 shows the same. The very last words of II Chronicles speaks of the edict of Cyrus. Who the compiler was is an unsettled question. The Talmud says Ezra. Samuel and Kings are more BIOGRAPHICAL; the Chronicles are more STATISTICAL. The former are more PERSONAL; the latter are more OFFICIAL. The former are more from the standpoint of the PROPHET; the latter are more from the standpoint of the PRIEST. The former give the history of the two kingdoms; whereas from the disruption onwards the Chronicles give only the history of JUDAH. In the former the emphasis is on the THRONE; in the latter its on the TEMPLE. In their total effect the books of Samuel and the Kings are an INDICTMENT of the nation, exposing its guilt; whereas the Chronicles are meant to be an INCITEMENT to the nation, encouraging new loyalty. In the Chronicles we come to a writing which does not carry us further forward (except for odd touches that reveal its post-exilic compilation), but goes back and reviews the whole story in order to derive and apply a vital lesson: THE NATION'S RESPONSE TO GOD IS THE DECISIVE FACTOR IN ITS HISTORY AND DESTINY. The Chronicles belong to the historical books and are the true link between the pre-exile and post-exile periods. They look back summarizingly over the throne period, and relate it to the throneless new period.

Chronicles - Retrospective
Ezra - Restoration
Nehemiah - Reconstruction
Esther - Preservation

In Chronicles the first-recorded outstanding public act of king David was the bringing of the ark of Jehovah to Jerusalem. David keenly sensed that the secret of the nation's blessing was Jehovah's presence in the midst. He at once plans to put the ark of Jehovah at the center of His people's life. It pleased God to choose out of the race one nation - Israel, then out of that nation one tribe - Judah, then out of that tribe one family - the house of David, and to make with that house a wonderful covenant (17). David was not allowed to build it, but he amply prepared for it - materials (22), Levites (23), singers, porters and officers (25-27), and a final charge in anticipation of it to Solomon and the nation (28-29). The subject of these Chronicles is THE HOUSE OF JEHOVAH. In the larger sense that house is the whole nation Israel; in a more centralized sense it is the house of David; in the center-most sense it is the temple.


II CHRONICLES: THE TEMPLE VERSUS THE THRONE

I. SOLOMON'S FORTY YEARS' REIGN (1-9)
Solomon's Early Establishment (1)
Solomon Rears the Temple (2-7)
Solomon in all his Glory (8-9)
Death of Solomon (9:29-31)

II. JUDAH'S HISTORY TO THE EXILE (10-36)
The Disruption of the Kingdom (10)
The Twenty Kings of Judah (11-36)
Deportation to Babylon (36:15-21)
Edict of Cyrus (36:22-23)

This is a tragic book with a glorious opening and a terrible ending. The promises of God concerning ultimate issues never have an "if" in them, because they find their final goal in CHRIST; but promises concerning the intermediate processes toward those issues often do have an "if" in them. Thus Solomon was promised wisdom, wealth and power, and he received them. He was promised length of days "if" he persevered in his walk with God (I K.3:14). This latter gift he forfeited, and died at 59.

And what a story after Solomon's death - from Rehoboam and the "Disruption" to Zedekiah and the "Dispersion"! In the preceding chronicles there have risen up before us a THRONE founded in a Divine covenant, and a TEMPLE made glorious by a Divine descent into it. The throne and the temple are meant to uphold and glorify each other; but a condition of apostasy develops, and goes from bad to worse despite occasional checks, in which the throne becomes the worst enemy of the temple, until a point is reached where one of the two must go, and as it cannot be the temple it must be the throne. Hence the exile and the suspension of the Davidic throne. The temple too is allowed to be burnt, for it had already profaned far more by Jewish sinning than it now could be by Babylonish burning; and a new temple must be built in the throneless new period after the exile. Running right through the story of these kings, with its occasional reforms and ever- worsening relapses, is the solemn, vital, urgent truth that A NATION'S RESPONSE TO GOD IS THE REALLY DETERMINING FACTOR IN ITS HISTORY AND DESTINY. This was especially true of Israel. "As long as Uzziah sought the Lord, God made him to prosper" (26:5); "Jotham became mighty because he prepared his ways before the Lord" (27:6). When king and people honored God there was prosperity, whereas whenever they behaved unfaithfully to Him there came adversity. The place we give to God is that which determines our prosperity or adversity, our history and our destiny. The abuse of high calling by low living always brings ruinous ending.

CHRONOLOGICAL GROUPING OF OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS

======================================================

PROPHETS OF ISRAEL, THE NORTHERN KINGDOM
Jonah B.C. 862-830
Amos 787
Hosea 785-725

PROPHETS OF JUDAH, THE SOUTHERN KINGDOM
Obadiah 887
Joel 800
Isaiah 760-698 - Israel goes into Assyrian captivity
Micah 750-710 (721 B.C.)
Nahum 713
Habakkuk 626
Zephaniah 630
Jeremiah 629-588
Lamentations - Judah goes into Babylonian captivity (587 B.C.)

PROPHETS DURING AND AFTER THE EXILE
Ezekiel 595-574
Daniel 607-534
Haggai 520 - The Remnant returns to Jerusalem and
Zechariah 520-518 Judea (536 B.C.)
Malachi 397


THE PROPHETS IN RELATION TO THE KINGS

Saul (40)
David (40) Samuel, Nathan, Gad, and Ahijah
Solomon (40)

Judah Israel

Rehoboam (17) Shemiah Jeroboam (22) Ahijah
Abijam (3) Nadab (2)
Asa (41) Azariah, Hanani Baasha (24) Jehu
Ela (2) "
Zimri (1wk) "
Jehoshaphat (25) Hanani Omri (12) "
Jehoram (8) Ahab (22) Elijah, Micaiah
Ahaziah (1) Obadiah ? Ahaziah (2) " "
Athaliah (6) Jehoram (12) " "
Joash (40) Joel ? Jehu (28) Elisha
Jehoahaz (17) "
Amaziah (29) Joash (16) " , Jonah, Amos
Azariah (52) Isaiah, Micah Jeroboam II (41) Hosea

(INTERREGNUM) (12) "
Jotham (16) " " Zechariah (.5) "
Shallum (1mo) "
Menahem (10) "
Pekahiah (2) "
Ahaz (16) " " Pekah (20) "
Hezekiah (29) " " Hoshea (9) "
Manasseh (55) Nahum
Amon (2) Zephaniah
Josiah (31) Habakkuk
Jehoahaz (3mo) Huldah
Jehoiakim (11) Jeremiah
Jehoiachin (3mo) "
Zedekiah (11) "


EZRA: THE BOOK OF RESTORATION

THE RETURN UNDER ZERRUBABEL 1-6 THE RETURN UNDER EZRA 7-10

The Decree of Cyrus 1:1-4 The Decree of Artaxerxes 7:1,11-26
The Leader, Zerrubabel 1:8,2:1 The Leader, Ezra the Scribe 7:1-10
Names and Number of Remnant 2 Names and Number of Company 8:1-20
Sacred Vessels and Gifts 1 & 2 Sacred Vessels and Gifts 7 & 8
The Coming to Jerusalem 3:1 The coming to Jerusalem 8:32
Prophet Ministry: Haggai, Zech. Intercessory Ministry: Ezra 9:1-15
Main Outcome - Temple Rebuilt 6 Main Outcome - People Separated 10

Ezra and Nehemiah deal with the "Remnant" which returned to Jerusalem and Judea, the book of Esther has to do with those who stayed on in the land of their captivity. The subject of the book of Ezra is THE RETURN OF THE REMNANT. The first half is about the rebuilding of the TEMPLE, and the second half the restoring of the WORSHIP. As to the size of the remnant it totaled approximately 50,000. Such a number out of the national total was merely a remnant. The Jews who had grown up in the Babylonian empire did not feel the same smarting sense of strangeness, humiliation, and resentment which their fathers had felt. Also the Jews fared much better under the more compassionate new government of the Persian rule. Thus when the providential opportunity came for repatriation, the bulk of the nation, to their shame, preferred their tolerable and perhaps even lucrative life under Persian rule, to which they had now become quite accommodated. The return came in two stages:

I. 1st year of Cyrus, Zerrubabel in 536 B.C. with 50,000
II. 7th year of Artaxerxes, Ezra the priest 456 B.C. with 2,000

Perhaps the central spiritual significance of the book may be best expressed in the words of Lamentations 3:32, "Though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion." God had not forgotten to be gracious, and there was a compassionate restoration made possible. The first six chapters of the book cover the first 20 years (approx.) after the return under Zerrubabel which leaves about 60 years gap between chapter 6 and 7. During the earlier years of this 60 year gap the critical events narrated in the book of Esther took place.

THE TWO LEADERS:

Zerrubabel, his personal name, means "descended from Babylon," which indicates that he was actually a child of the exile, born in Babylonia, or probably in the city of Babylon itself. He was directly in the royal line of David, being the great-grandson of king Jeconiah. The 3-fold glory that immortalized him is that he: 1) captained the remnant back to Judea, 2) laid the foundation of the new temple and 3) completed the erection of the new temple (3:8; 6:15; Zech.4:9).

Jewish tradition, via the Talmud, has made Ezra one of the most celebrated personages in all the history of his people. Five great works are attributed to him: 1) The founding of the "Great Synagogue" of learned Jewish scholars, 2) the settlement of the sacred canon or recognized list of authoritative Hebrew Scriptures, and its 3-fold arrangement of the Law, the Prophets and the Writings, 3) the change over of the Scriptures from the old Hebrew to the new, with its square Assyrian characters, 4) the compilation of the Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, 5) the institution of local synagogues. He was a priest of the line of Aaron, and "a ready scribe in the Law of Moses" which means that he was an expert instructor in the Scriptures.

DURATION OF THE EXILE:

The Exile in Babylonia lasted only 51 years, not 70. It began in 587 B.C. and ended with the decree of Cyrus, 536 B.C. In Jeremiah 29:10 it is correctly translated "FOR Babylon" rather than "AT Babylon." God did not say His people would be at Babylon for 70 years, but that there would be a 70 years' rule FOR Babylon. In this small book of Ezra no less than 7 different kings are mentioned, representing all three world empires. For instance, we must not think that the emperor Darius here is the king Darius of the book of Daniel, nor must we think that the Artaxerxes of chapter 4 is the Artaxerxes of chapter 7.

THE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE:

This period began in 745 B.C. with the able and cruel usurper-general, Pul, who took the reigning name of Tiglath-Pileser III, and it continued till Nineveh was finally destroyed, about 612-608 B.C., when Babylon took the lead. In 625 B.C. Babylon regained independence under Nabopolassar (Nebuchadnezzar's father) who reigned at Babylon till 606 B.C. Later the Medes and Babylonians made alliance and overthrew Nineveh about 608 B.C., which ended the Assyrian empire forever.

Tiglath-Pileser III (745-27) 2 K.15:19,29; 16:7,10; 2 Ch.5:26
Shalmaneser IV (727-22) 2 K.17:3; 18:9
Sargon (722-05) 2 K.18:11; Isa.20; 10:12,28-34
Sennacherib (705-681) 2 K.18-19; 2 Ch.32; Isa.36-37
Esar-haddon (681-68) 2 K.19:37; 2 Ch.33:11; Ezra4:2
Assur-bani-pal (668-26) Ezra 4:10 ("Asnapper")?

THE BABYLONIAN EMPIRE:

On the fall of Nineveh, the even more ancient city of Babylon laid her hands once more to the scepter of the nations. Her new lead began in 606 B.C. with the young and brilliant Nebuchadnezzar; yet it only lasted until 536 B.C., thus exactly fulfilling Jeremiah 29:10 During the latter 50 years of this time the Jews were captives in Babylonia.

Nebuchadnezzar (606-562)

Evil-Merodach, or Amil-Marduk (562-559) 2 K.25:27
Nergal-Sharezer, or Neriglissar (559-55) Jer.39:3,13
Labashi-Marduk, or Laborisoarchod (555)
Nabonidus, or Nabunahid (his viceroy was Belshazzar of Daniel 5

THE MEDIA-PERSIAN EMPIRE:

Then the Medes and the Persians became one empire, under Cyrus the Persian. Cyrus had a wonderful career of conquest. To quote the words of another, "In but 12 years, with his handful of Persians, he destroyed forever 3 great empires - Media, Lydia and Babylonia, conquered all of Asia, and secured to his race for two centuries the dominion of the world." The Persian empire lasted from 536 B.C. (1st year of Cyrus) until 330 B.C., when it was overthrown by Alexander the Great, and gave place to the Greek empire.

Cyrus the Great (536-29) Ezra 1, etc.; Isa.45

Cambyses (529-21) Ahasuerus of Ezra 4:6
Gaumata (pseudo-Smerdis) (7 months) Artaxerxes of Ezra 4:7
Darius I (Hystaspis) (521-486) Re-allowed Temple Ezra 5 & 6
Xerxes I (485-64) Ahasuerus of Esther
Artaxerxes I (Longimanus) (465-24) Ezra 7:1; Neh.2:1; 5:14
Xerxes II (424)
Darius II (424-04) Nehemiah 12:22?
Artaxerxes II (Mnemon) (404-359)
Artaxerxes III (Ochus) (359-38)
Darius III (Codomanus) (336-30) Nehemiah 12:22?

THE DECREE OF CYRUS:

"Jehovah, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah." The historian Josephus tells us that after Cyrus' conquest of Babylon, the new emperor was shown the remarkable prophecy of Isaiah 44:24-45:6, written two hundred years earlier, in which Cyrus is actually named in advance as the destined restorer of the Jews and rebuilder of the Temple. How wonderful is the Divine overruling! The Babylonian exile is overruled to the conversion of Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian emperor, and Cyrus the Persian emperor; moreover it cured the covenant people of their idolatry once for all, and by spreading the knowledge of the one true God throughout the nations of the ancient world.

The edict of Cyrus was to ALL Israel. Understandably, the chiefs of Judah and Benjamin responded, seeing that it was to Jerusalem and Judah that the Remnant was to return; but with these were "ALL whose spirit God had stirred" (1:5). Also in chapter 2:2 and 7:7 there were 12 leaders signifying twelve leaders of twelve tribes - and so "ALL Israel dwelt in their cities" (2:1, 70). Again, at the dedication of the new Temple the number of offerings were 12 he-goats, and 12 bullocks for ALL Israel. Nothing can be clearer than that the return was participated in by all the tribes, even though, understandably, Judah and Benjamin took the lead.

Who were the Nethinim? The Hebrew word means "the given ones" and it appears 17x in Ezra and Nehemiah and once in Chronicles. Ezra 8:20 calls them "the Nethinim whom David appointed for the service of the Levites." Maybe they were originally captive foreigners who had been given from time to time by the kings for the more menial work of the temple.

The Great Synagogue consisted of 120 members, the successors of the prophets, themselves in turn succeeded by the scribes prominent, individually, as teachers. Ezra was recognized as president. Their aim was to restore the crown, or glory of Israel. To this end they collected all the sacred writings and so completed the canon of the O.T. The canon of the Old Testament was largely settled by the men of the "Great Synagogue" which was called together in Nehemiah's time and continued periodically for over 100 years, until it gave place to the Sanhedrin. The Hebrew Scriptures were in 3 parts - the Law (TORAH), the Prophets (NEVEEIM), and the Writings (KETHUVIM). They also instituted the feast of Purim.

In Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther the Jewish months are referred to 35x. We ought to familiarize ourselves with the Jewish calendar. There are two Jewish years - sacred and civil. Originally the new year began in autumn, but from the Exodus the seventh month was made the first. The 12 months are lunar, and therefore every 3 years or so a 13th intercalary month was added to readjust the year with the sun.

MONTH SACRED CIVIL ENGLISH

Abib or Nisan 1st 7th Mar.-Apr.
Ziv or Ivar 2nd 8th Apr.-May
Sivan 3rd 9th May -June
Tammuz 4th 10th June-July
Ab 5th 11th July-Aug.
Elul 6th 12th Aug.-Sep.
Ethanim or Tisri 7th 1st Sep.-Oct.
Bul or Marchesvan 8th 2nd Oct.-Nov.
Chisleu 9th 3rd Nov.-Dec.
Tebeth 10th 4th Dec.-Jan.
Shebat 11th 5th Jan.-Feb.
Adar 12th 6th Feb.-Mar.

There are 6 steps to the restoration which correspond to that of a spiritual restoration in a believer's life.

1) Return to the land - Back to a right basis, God's grace (1-2).
2) Altar re-erected - Dedication renewed to God (3:1-6).
3) New Temple begun - Service and witness for God (3:8-13).
4) Adversaries obstruct - Faith under testing (4).
5) Prophets exhort - Need for God's Word (5:1-6,14).
6) Temple finished - Faith wins through (6:15-22).

THE GODWARD ASPECT: "Now in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, THAT THE WORD OF JEHOVAH BY THE MOUTH OF JEREMIAH MIGHT BE FULFILLED..." So the restoration of the Jews was in fulfillment of prophecy made 70 years earlier (Jer.25 & 29). Also Jer.28:1-6 says,

"This word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: Arise and
go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear
My words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and behold, he
did a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was
marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another
vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of
Jehovah came to me saying: O house of Israel, cannot I do with you
as this potter? Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so
are you in My hand, O house of Israel."

God is the potter, Israel is the clay and history is the wheel. "The vessel was marred" - that is the Israel story right from the Exodus to the Exile. "He made it again" - that is the story in Ezra and Nehemiah. The time had come when God was shaping a new vessel, though out of the same clay. This is the ultimate end in the Divine sovereignty. The final fact is not that the vessel was marred, but that it was made again. Man's idea and exercise of sovereignty is that if you have had your chance, and have failed, sovereignty treads you down and rejects you. The last word in GOD'S sovereignty is "He made it again."


NEHEMIAH : THE BOOK OF RECONSTRUCTION

THE RECONSTRUCTING OF THE WALL (1-6)

Nehemiah's Intercession 1:1-11
Nehemiah's Expedition 2:1-16
Nehemiah's Exhortation 2:17-20
The Rebuilding Attempted 3:1-32
The Rebuilding Obstructed 4-6:14
The Rebuilding Completed 6:15-19

THE REINSTRUCTING OF THE PEOPLE (7-13)

Re-registration of the Remnant 7
Re-inculcation of the Law 8
Re-consecration of the People 9-10
Re-population of the City 11
Re-dedication of the Walls 12
Re-extirpation of Abuses 13

Nehemiah is certainly the actual composer of much of the book, and probably the compiler of the whole (Ch.8-12 possibly written by another). The date Nehemiah completed the work would be about 430 B.C. Nehemiah's first trip to Jerusalem (2:1) was in 445 B.C. and his second trip (13:6) being in 432 B.C. Upon his first visit the restored Jewish remnant had then been back in Judea over ninety years. Princes, rulers, priests, Levites and people alike had largely intermarried with the surrounding idolatrous peoples, and although not themselves worshipping idols were thus conniving at idolatry and allowing its infiltration, to the jeopardizing of the rising generation. Unchecked, such a fusion of the remnant with the outnumbering Gentiles then in Palestine would have meant complete absorption and obliteration of them as a distinct people. And now, when Nehemiah came to Jerusalem 12 years after Ezra, circumstances were far from consoling. The walls and gates of Jerusalem were still in ruins. Some of the poorer were mortgaged off to their better-off fellow Jews (5:5. There had been laxity about Sabbath observance and other obligations.The spiritual message comes home to us with great force - there is no winning without working and warring. There is no opportunity without opposition. There is no "open door" set before us without there being many "adversaries" to obstruct our entering in (I Co.16:9). Whenever the saints say, "Let us arise and build," the enemy says, "Let us arise and oppose." There is no triumph without trouble. There is no victory without vigilance. There is a cross in the way to every crown that is worth wearing. So let us look at Nehemiah in three capacities:

NEHEMIAH THE CUPBEARER (1:1-2:10):

He was of the tribe of Judah (2:3) and reared in the exile. In his early manhood he became attached to the Persian court, where he rose to the lucrative position of royal cupbearer before Artaxerxes Longimanus and queen Damaspia, in the royal residence of Shushan. This was an office which was one of the most honorable and confidential at the court, and one of great influence. Nehemiah was the more poignant when his brother Hanani reported the fact that the citizens of Jerusalem had at that very time been suffering from the deceitful and treacherous peoples surrounding them. But Nehemiah was not his own master, and however difficult it might be to get INTO the Persian palace, when one did secure a position there it was even more difficult to get OUT - so he prayed.

NEHEMIAH THE WALL-BUILDER (2:11-6:19):

His plan, so it turns out was to sectionize the rebuilding among different work parties, all acting simultaneously, and each responsible for its own section of the wall. The reconstructing of the wall took just over seven weeks (6:15). Here Nehemiah demonstrates the blending of PRACTICAL ORGANIZING WITH INTENSE SPIRITUAL-MINDEDNESS. He set each of the 42 different work groups to work on that part of the walls which was nearest to where they lived (3:10,23,29,30). This gave them a special interest in the work. Our first obligation for Christ is always our own neighborhood. We find this blending of the practical with the spiritual all the way through the book. For example, "We made our prayer unto God, and set a watch against them day and night" (4:9). Nehemiah never let presumption displace precaution. Very easily our organizing can crowd out agonizing. There can be too much working before men and too little waiting before God; more and more motion, less and less unction.

Opposition from Without

1. Scorn (4:1-6)
2. Force (4:7-23)
3. Craft (6:1-19)
Hindrances from Within
1. Debris (4:10)
2. Fear (4:11-14)
3. Greed (5:1-13)

Their first opposition was SCORN - "What do these feeble Jews?" Well how did Nehemiah meet the scorn of Sanballat and Tobiah? He just kept on praying and kept on building. "Hear, O our God," he says; "for we are despised." And after his prayer he adds, "So we built the wall...for the people had a mind to work." That is the way to meet scorn - not by counter-scorn.

When taunts and sneers failed it took a more menacing form. Scorn gave place to FORCE. The opposition had now developed into a formidable alliance - Sanballat, Tobiah, Arabians, Ammonites and Ashdodites! What did Nehemiah and his company do? They did as before, they kept on praying, and kept on working; only now they had to join WATCHING with praying, and WARRING with working. "Every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon" (4:17).

When scorn and force had failed, Sanballat and Tobiah and their confederates resorted to CRAFT. First they tried pretense, "Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono" (6:1-4). Next they tried bluff (v.5-9). They said that a charge was being lodged with the emperor against Nehemiah and the Jews, to the effect that they were planning rebellion. Next, and worst of all, they managed to intrigue some of Nehemiah's own kinsmen, and thus employed treachery against him (v.10-14). They sought continually to unnerve and discourage Nehemiah through cliques of compromised brethren (v.17-19). Tobiah became both a son-in-law and an uncle to Israelite people; and there had grown up a clique in Jerusalem who let social and family ties with Tobiah override moral and spiritual duty.

Meanwhile, from within there was the problem of DEBRIS. "And Judah said: The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish, so that we are not able to build the wall!" There had needed to be a reduction of workmen, owing to the appointing of a guard against attack from outside (v.9), so that the remaining laborers removing the rubbish seemed near to exhaustion.

Then also there was FEAR. Jews from outlying districts brought repeated warning that a surprise attack was being planned by Nehemiah's enemies (v.11-12). This spread fear among the workers. It is instructive to see how Nehemiah turned the tables on this fear which had beset his men. First, they were to LOOK TO GOD instead of at circumstances. "Remember the Lord, great and terrible!" cries Nehemiah. Second, they were to REFLECT on the issues. "Fight for your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses." Everything was at stake. No mercy could be expected from the spiteful foe. Souls are at stake! Eternal destinies hang in the balance! And third, we must not forget our need of being ARMED TO FIGHT. Our weapons are: 1) the Bible, which is the sword of the Spirit; 2) prayer, which can avail to thwart error just as much as to save souls; 3) the continually-renewed infilling of the Holy Spirit.

Alas, there was a third hindrance from within, a plague of GREED. This came nearer to wrecking Nehemiah's project than all the stratagems of Sanballat and Tobiah, for it threatened inter-strife among Nehemiah's own men. See now how he dealt with this trouble. First, he challenged the offenders by prompt, even drastic action (v.7). Second, he appealed to them by his own example (v.8-11). Third, the offending party admitted their blame and made restitution (v.12-13). In each case the difficulty becomes more acute and deadly, but in each case the victory becomes more telling, until stone by stone, and day by day, despite all opposition from without and all hindrance from within, THE WALL IS COMPLETED!

NEHEMIAH THE GOVERNOR (7-13):

He tackled the problem of too scant population in Jerusalem (7:4). The lack of population is rectified by the casting of lots, to bring one in every ten from the Judean population to live INSIDE the now rebuilt capital. Later, in chapter 11 the people applaud them, for the transfer in many cases would mean, the quitting of possessions, exchange of riches for poverty, leaving a comfortable house for one half in ruins, giving up the life of a small-landed proprietor for that of an artisan or hired laborer. The census of the 11th chapter is that of the augmented population.

The treacherous high priest Eliashib, who consorts with Tobiah in chapter 13, is not mentioned in chapter 12 in the account of the dedication of the walls. Understandably he was in disfavor. The dedication of the wall was about 12 years after the completion of its rebuilding. As the dedication (12:27-47) really followed in point of time, the happenings recorded in chapter 13, it is really the climax of the book. There is a climax to each part of the book. The climax of part 1 "The rebuilding of the wall" is the COMPLETION of the wall, "So the wall was finished." The climax of part 2 "The reforming of the people" is the DEDICATION of the wall, at which "the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off." The signs of our times are that the return of Nehemiah's heavenly Antitype is rapidly nearing. Then will be the climax of all climaxes. The walls of Zion shall be built up forever, and "the joy of Jerusalem" shall again be "heard even afar off"!

Summary of Nehemiah as governor:

1. Augmentation of population of Jerusalem 11:1
2. Redemption of Jews sold into slavery among heathen 5:8
3. Abolition of borrowing on mortgage and of money-raising by selling children 5
4. Restoration of Sabbath and Sabbatical year observances10:31; 13:15-22
5. Annual levy of 1/3 shekel instituted toward temple services and fabric 10:32
6. System of wood supply for temple sacrifices 10:34
7. Profaning of the temple rectified and interdicted 13:4-9
8. Re-enforcement of tithe payment 10:37; 13:10-13
9. Divorce of all foreign wives and re-effecting of national separation 13:1-3, 23-28
10. Various regulations regarding city gates, etc. 13:19-22

His clear seeing, plain speaking, brave dealing and his God - honoring motive throughout, are a challenge and an inspiration. For we cannot forget that all his efforts to effect the various reforms were resisted by an influential group among the priests and nobles who were bent on secularism, were addicted to inter-marriage with the surrounding Gentile peoples, and in fact were quite willing for fusion with those other peoples. Any other man might have quailed at opposing the will of such a strong party, upheld as it was by the high priest himself, and supported by the neighboring princes. Yet Nehemiah resolutely set himself to "contend with the rulers" (13:11) and the "nobles" (v.17) on these urgent and sensitive issues; and he adorns with an abiding luster the great truth that one consecrated man and God are more than a match for all the powers and subterfuges of evil.
Nehemiah's ejaculatory prayers are eight in number. Undoubtedly, in this habit of ejaculatory prayer we have a principle key to the fine temper and sanctified drive and God-glorifying exploits of one of Israel's greatest figures. His ejaculatory prayers presuppose 3 things: 1) that God is SOVEREIGN every minute, 2) that God is PRESENT in every place, 3) that God REALLY HEARS AND ANSWERS EACH SUDDEN CALL.


ESTHER: THE BOOK OF PROVIDENTIAL PRESERVATION

CRISES ANTICIPATED 1 - 5 CRISES OVERRULED 6 - 10

Queen Vashti Deposed 1 Mordecai is Honored 6
Esther Becomes Queen 2 Haman is Executed 7
Haman Plots Massacre 3 The Jews are Avenged 8
Mordecai Pleads Help 4 Purim is Instituted 9
Esther Contrives Aid 5 Mordecai Made Premier 10

While Ezra and Nehemiah deal with the remnant of the people which returned to Judea, the book of Esther is concerned with those - the far greater number - who stayed on in the land of their captivity. Esther is a crisis book. It is a drama - not of fiction, but of genuine fact, and covers a period of some 12 years. The purpose of the book is to demonstrate the providential care of God over His people - PROVIDENTIAL PRESERVATION. "Providential" is distinct from what we call the "miraculous." We are meant to see providential overruling as distinct from supernatural intervening. The root meaning of providence is "foresight" which gives it an acquired meaning of ACTIVITY ARISING FROM FORESIGHT. Providence then, in its one absolute sense, is the Divine foreknowledge and the Divine activity which arises from it; and such providence implies that God wields absolute power over all the works of His hands. While there is no miracle recorded, the mighty miracle whereby a sovereign Deity so manipulates all non-miraculous events as to bring about a predetermined outcome; and this miracle is all the more miraculous just because it achieves the predetermined outcome without the need for using miracles! Israel's deliverance from Egypt was by miracles, but their deliverance from Babylonia was by providence.
It is this that explains why the name of God does not occur in the Book of Esther. Above all, we are meant to see, in the natural outworking of events, how, without violating human free will, and without interrupting the ordinary ongoing of human affairs, a hidden Power unsuspectedly but infallibly controls all things. The name "Jehovah" is secretly hidden four times in an acrostic form, and the name "Ehyeh" (I AM THAT I AM) once. In several ancient manuscripts the acrostic consonants which represent the name are written larger, to make them stand out (i.e.. JeHoVaH). There five occurrences are 1:20; 5:4; 5:13; 7:7; 7:5.

In the four acrostics which form the name of Jehovah, the four words forming the J H V H are in each case consecutive. Each of the four is spoken by a different person. In the first two cases the acrostic is formed by the INITIAL letters of the words; in the other two it is formed by the FINAL letters of the words. In the first and third acrostics, the letters spell the name BACKWARDS and the speakers are GENTILES; in the second and fourth, the letters spell the name FORWARDS and the speakers are HEBREWS. Lest we should think that God is left out of consideration, see the recognition of Him in these five acrostics, which, being themselves secretly hidden in the writing, are symbolic of God's secret working throughout the story. Yes, God is in the Book of Esther, not in so many syllables, but in events; not in miraculous interventions, but as guiding the wheels of providence; not in open communication, but as the unseen Power overruling all.

WHO WAS AHASUERUS?:

He is known to us in history outside the Bible as Xerxes, which is the Greek form of his Persian name. He reigned over the Persian empire from 485 to 465 B.C. This is the king who ordered a bridge to be built over the Hellespont, which was destroyed by a tempest, and then became so blindly enraged that he commanded 300 strokes of the scourge be inflicted upon the sea, and had the unhappy builders of the bridge beheaded. This is the king that was so enraptured at the loyalty of Pythius, the Lydian that he returned his gift worth 5 million dollars; yet shortly after being requested by this same Pythius to spare one of his sons, he furiously ordered he be cut into two pieces. This is the king who drowned the humiliation of his inglorious defeat in such a plunge of sensuality that he publicly offered a prize for the invention of some new indulgence. This is the king whose vast resources, and gigantic notions and imperious temper made the name of Persia to awe the ancient world. Ahasuerus was the fairest of personal beauty and stately bearing. But morally he was a mixture of passionate extremes. He is just the despot to dethrone queen Vashti for refusing to expose herself before his tipsy guests. He is just the one to consign a people like the Jews to be massacred, and then to swing over to the opposite extreme of sanctioning Jewish vengeance on thousands of his other subjects. The light and careless way in which Ahasuerus handed away to Haman the lives of millions of his industrious and useful subjects is deservedly branded as `perhaps the most shocking example of oriental despotism on record.'

TWO MAIN MOVEMENTS:

The crisis has been providentially anticipated, and is now overruled. The tables are turned. God's people are both saved and avenged. Threatened tragedy gives place to triumph, blessing, and a song of prosperity. This drama of providential preservation is in two movements. In chapters 1-5 we have CRISIS ANTICIPATED, while in chapters 6-10 we have CRISIS OVERRULED. Thus we see in this historic episode, that union of Divine PRE-vision and PRO-vision which constitutes providence. We see also, that this Book of Esther fills a unique and necessary place in the canon of the inspired Scriptures, as being distinctively THE BOOK OF PROVIDENTIAL PRESERVATION. We see still further, the central spiritual message of the book, namely, that amid the shadows God stands, keeping watch over His own. He may be out of sight; but they are never out of His sight. He may be invisible, but He is infallible. He may seem strangely silent, but He remains actively sovereign. The Lord was all along anticipating and preparing for the foreseen crisis: The feast of Ahasuerus and his indecent request, Vashti's valorous refusal and dethronement, the peril of the Jews headed up by Haman. Indeed the crisis had been anticipated years before ever Ahasuerus's feast ever took place, in the bestowment of an extraordinary feminine beauty upon Mordecai's cousin; and now, as a result of the vacancy created by Vashti's deposal, the matchless Esther is elected to be queen, so that she is in the place of influence when the critical moment comes, to avert the seemingly inescapable disaster, and to turn the tables on Israel's wicked enemies.

THE TURNING POINT:

With the opening of the 6th chapter comes the sudden new turn of events. The crisis which has been providentially anticipated is now amazingly overruled. With consummate skill, He that sitteth in the heavens turns the tables on the wicked, and delivers His own people. A few master strokes, and the whole situation is revolutionized. By such a banquet as she knew the king loved, Esther would make the more sure of his favor, and at the same time ensure the presence of Haman himself when she exposed his wicked plot. Haman would thus be tongue-tied. He would not be able to deny the truth of the accusation, nor would he dare to contradict the queen in the very presence of the king, nor would he get any opportunity of misrepresenting the matter to the king in the queen's absence. And then the postponement of the request to a second feast was God's timing. This allows Haman to build the gallows. Also that night the king cannot sleep, the night drags. He calls for the chronicles to be read to him. He hears how a plot against his own life was foiled through the timely action of Mordecai, and is surprised to find that Mordecai has not been rewarded. He resolves that Mordecai shall be rewarded without delay. Haman then comes for the earliest possible interview with the king, to obtain sanction for the hanging of Mordecai. The king asks Haman, "What shall be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?" Haman's proposal lays bear his unbounded conceit, his sickly thirst for the praise of men. Then he hears the king say, "Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as you have said, and even do so - to MORDECAI THE JEW"! What! - do this to Mordecai the Jew! Are Haman's ears mocking him? No; it is real enough; the king has spoken and must be obeyed! For a few age-long seconds he stands dumbfounded, before his royal master; then he slowly withdraws, with leaden footsteps, to exalt Mordecai in the very way which he, Haman himself, had so stupidly proposed. "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh."

HAMAN'S DOOM:

Chapter 7 tells of Esther's 2nd banquet to the king and Haman. It is a much changed Haman who now sits uneasily at the royal board. His mind is the more disturbed because his wise men and his wife Zeresh have said to him, "If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom you have begun to fall, you shall not prevail against him, but shall surely fall before him." Yet Haman little guesses how suddenly he is now to be precipitated to his miserable end. The king again asks what her special request is, and is amazed to learn that it is a plea FOR HER LIFE TO BE SPARED. The astonished Ahasuerus exclaims, "Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?" To which Esther replies, "The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman." Without delay, Haman is sent to his doom. Before another sunrise sheds its light over Shushan, the corpse of Haman dangles 50 cubits aloft, on the very gallows which he himself had caused to be made for Mordecai.

L A T E N T  T Y P E - T E A C H I N G

THE PERSIAN JEWS:

First of all, the PERSIAN JEWS AS A WHOLE are here used as a type of THE WORLDLY AMONG THE LORD'S PEOPLE. By the resolute non-reference to God or to anything religious we the more remarkably and definitely see it to have been INTENTIONAL. Jeremiah's prophecy which had been made before ever the captivity of the Jews had begun. Isaiah had actually spoken of Cyrus by name, as the coming restorer of Jerusalem, before ever Cyrus was born. Here then, was the voice of Jehovah to His people throughout the Persian empire. Cyrus had made the proclamation which permitted and exhorted all Jews to return to Judea. Here was the Divine recall of the Jews. There could be no mistaking it. It bore a supernatural seal. First the release had been predicted, and now it had been effected. Not a Jew ought to have remained in Persia. The people, without exception, should have flocked to Zion with thanksgiving. Yet the unhappy truth is that only a remnant returned. The majority did not find it convenient at that time to break away from their Persian connections. In truth they were selfishly indisposed to leave the plenty of Persia for the leanness of desolated Judea, even though that was the place of covenant blessing. They believed in Jehovah, and acknowledged Him as the one true God; but their hearts were set on the things of this world. Like many, they want to be numbered with the redeemed of the Lord; but they also want to enjoy the pleasures of the world for a season. God watched over those Persia-loving Jews, and remained faithful to them even though they had slighted Him. He had unmistakably demonstrated His providential care over them; YET HIS NAME MUST NOT BE ONCE MENTIONED IN THE ACCOUNT. Let the absence of God's name in this book burn this truth into our minds; God will not associate His name with the worldly among His professing people today, any more than He would associate it with those old time Jews in Persia.

These Persian Jews of Esther's time were also types in a dispensational and prophetic sense. They typically portrayed the history OF THE JEWISH RACE AS A WHOLE, right on to the end of the present dispensation, in which fact we see a still more meaningful reason why the name of God is omitted from the book of Esther. These Persian Jews are the types of their-countrymen who were afterwards to reject God's salvation in Christ, and who, scattered among the nations, were again and again to be threatened with destruction. God's name and theirs have not been bound together for 1900 years. He has watched over His rebellious people, and He watches over them still. Haman may plot their destruction, but he plots against his own life and all those with him.

HAMAN:

Haman is a type of THE MAN OF SIN in 6 ways.
1) Mark his NAME. Esther brands him as "Haman the wicked"; and it is a singular fact that the numerical value of the Hebrew letters which make up his title is 666, the number of the Antichrist (Rev.13:18).
2) See Haman's POWER. With meteoric rise he outranks all his fellows. The opening verses of chapter 3 tell us that his place was set up above all the princes of the realm, and a royal decree was issued that every knee should bow to him. Thus does he foreshadow the fearsome "beast" of Revelation 13.
3) Observe Haman's PRIDE. Hear him boast his glory and riches to Zeresh, and to his friends (5:11). See his conceited exasperation when Mordecai withholds obeisance (5:13). Hear him planning to ride the king's own horse, and being borne ostentatiously aloft amid the adulations of the people (6:7-9).
4) Mark Haman's HATE. Four times over he is designated as "the enemy of the Jews," and five times as the "Agagite" (Agag being the king of the Amalekites). The coming "man of sin" will be the latter-day Haman. He will be history's supreme Jew-hater.
5) Note Haman's PLOT. He makes Mordecai's conscientious resistance the occasion for a contemplated annihilation of the whole Jewish race. With specious guile he works toward this through his political power, so that the Jews are plunged into great sorrow and suffering (3-4). So yet will the coming Antichrist, the evil "prince" of Daniel 9, plunge the Jews into the "great tribulation" by a political betrayal (v.26-27).
6) See Haman's DOOM. While he is in power he is terrible; but he lasts only a few years; and his end is as sudden as it is ironic. One day he vaunts himself; the next he hangs by his own rope. Moreover, all his progeny perish with him. As Haman had ten sons who perished with him, so the final form of Gentile government, at the end of the present age, is to be that of "ten kings" who will reign for "one hour" through whom Antichrist works and who perish along with him (Dan.7; Rev.17).

ESTHER:

Esther may be taken as a type of the CHURCH.

First, she is so IN HER JEWISH ANTECEDENTS. She was the daughter of Jewish parents, but her parents were dead. Even so, the Church emerged from Jewish antecedents. The Savior Himself was a Jew. The Scriptures which prepared the way for the Church were Jewish. The first Christian community was Jewish. Yet, in its very emergence from Judaism, the Church carried with it the sign that its Jewish antecedents were now passed away. The Law was done away in Christ; the Mosaic economy was now dead.

Second, Esther typifies the Church in HER WOMANLY BEAUTY. God had given her a beauty which surpassed that of all others. The Church has the very beauty of Christ Himself. We become "the righteousness of God in Him," yet to be presented to Christ as His bride "a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing."

Third, she typifies the Church in HER EXALTATION. She becomes married to one whose title was "King of kings" - and although Ahasuerus, in his personal character, is far from typifying Christ, yet, in his position he may fitly speak to us of the Church's royal Bridegroom who, indeed is "THE King of kings, and Lord of lords."

Fourth, Esther typifies the Church in HER INTERCESSION. Esther went in to the king on the third day which speaks symbolically of resurrection, and of interceding in resurrection power. It was against the Law for Esther to thus go in before the king. The Law excluded her, yet she was accepted on the ground of pure grace, for the king beheld her wearing her royal apparel which he himself had given her (5:1). It was through Esther's intercession that deliverance came to the Jews. Will it not be through the intercession of the Church's believer-priests that deliverance comes to the Jews in their FINAL tribulation? Are not "the golden vials full of incense" said to be "the prayers of the saints" (Rev.5:8).

MORDECAI:

He may fitly represent to us THE FAITHFUL JEWISH REMNANT which will be preserved through the great tribulation, to enter the millennial kingdom. We see this in four ways:

First, IN HIS REFUSAL TO BOW TO HAMAN. His refusal was clearly because of his Jewish faith (3:4). He would not yield to man that which is due to God alone; even as the faithful Jewish remnant in the final tribulation will not bow to the beast nor receive his mark upon them.
Second, IN HIS BITTER MOURNING, FASTING AND WEEPING forepictures that preparation of penitence which will finally lead the Jews to "look upon Him whom they pierced," and own Him as their King.

Third, he typifies them IN HIS MARVELOUS DELIVERANCE. As he was delivered so will his brethren of the future be. The 7th chapter of Revelation shows us the sealing of the Jewish remnant before "the wrath of God" is poured upon the earth. They are sealed and saved.

Finally, Mordecai typifies these IN HIS WONDERFUL EXALTATION. The closing chapter of Esther shows him exalted above all his fellows, made the grand vizier of Persia, and next to the king and queen! Even so, through the faithful remnant will the Jews and Jerusalem take the supreme place among the nations in the coming kingdom of David's greater Son.


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