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cerning it, we return to the Old Testament and listen to the prophet Zechariah. “ And in that day His feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east,” &c. (Zech. xiv. 4). So that now we see
Him again in person come as literally as when on the same Mount “ He lifted up His hands, and blessed them, and was parted from them,” but now as the Redeemer come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob,” that He may renew this His covenant with them, “ After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more (Jer. xxxi. 33, 34). Then upon "the third part brought through the fire" will He pour “ the spirit of grace and of supplications, and they shall look on Him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. And the land shall mourn, every family apart, the family of the house of David apart and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart and their wives apart-these twain representing Judah--the family of the house of Levi apart and their wives apart ; the family of the house of Simeon apart and their wives apart,”-these twain representing Ephraim—for thus both the houses of Israel, symbol. ised by two sticks in the hand of the prophet, shall become one in the hand of Jehovah. “ For in that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David for sin, and for separation from uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered, and I will cause the unclean spirit to pass out of the land” (Zech. xii. 10; xiii. 2).
Now shall the heart of Israel in turning again to the Lord have its veil taken away.
Now shall the blindness (margin, hardness) in part that has happened to Israel become removed, and “ His people shall be willing in the day of His power, in the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning : Israel shall have the dew of his youth; for now shall the Lord send the rod of His strength out of Zion” (Ps. cx.).
Now shall the natural branch be grafted into its own olive tree and become fruitful as never before, for now shall the prophecy by Joel become fulfilled, “ It shall come to pass afterward (i.e., in the last days) that I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions, and also upon the servants, and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My spirit. Be glad then ye children of Zion and rejoice in the Lord your God, for He hath given you a teacher of righteousness according to righteousness (see margin) and He shall cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain. And
ye shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you, and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in
the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and none else, and My people shall never be ashamed” (Joel ii. 23-29).
But this new age wherein there shall be one Lord, and His name One, and Himself manifested King of kings and Lord of lords, will not be at once a reign of peace, so that immediately “swords shall be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks;" for our conviction is that the 2nd Psalm will have a fulfilment such as it had not when quoted by the church in its infancy. (See Acts iv. 25, 26.) He did not then “speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure." But if now the Gentile nations should not readily submit to the new order of things wherein they will find the tables turned upon them by those they formerly oppressed and despised, some agency must be employed to accomplish it. For the purpose of Jehovah so long ago declared by His servant Moses must now be fulfilled. “ The Lord hath avouched thee to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised thee, to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour, that thou mayst be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as He hath spoken ” (Deut. xxvi. 18, 19). "And the Lord shall make thee the head and not the tail, and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath ” (Deut. xxviii. 13).
If then the kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us,” we shall find a meaning in the words, and a time for their fulfilment we have not yet seen.
“ Thou art my battle axe, and weapons of war, for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms, and with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider, and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider" (Jer. li. 20, 21). "And the Lord shall strike through kings in the day
“ of His wrath,” &c. (Ps. cx. 5, 6). And then Psalms xlvi., xlvii., and xlviii. shall have a meaning and intent they have never yet been known to have. Nor let us fail to observe that these immediately follow Psalm xlv. where, as the Bridegroom of his newly acquired bride, He girds His sword upon His thigh to ride forth prosperously in the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness. Thus shall it be seen that “ The Lord is a man of war” assuming the character of David in Psalm xlvi.; before, as the “King of Salem," He assumes the character of Solomon in Psalm lxxii.
But when at length-and we do not for a moment suppose that it will take long for the King of kings and Lord of lords to give His people the final victory over all their enemies, so that they shall be acknow. ledged the regal nation-He the Seed Royal of the house of David, and they the lineai descendants of their father Abraham, then shall the swords be beaten into plowshares and the spears into pruning-hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Then shall Isaiah lx., lxi., and lxii., with all their glowing eloquence of promise and prediction, become realised, The Gentiles shall come to her light, and kings to the brightness of her rising, the sons of strangers shall build up her walls, and kings shall minister to her. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve her shall perish, yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. Strangers shall stand and feed her
filocks and the sons of the alien shall be her plowmen and her vinedressers. "But ye shall be named the priests of the Lord, men shall call you the ministers of our God, ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves ” (Isa. lxi. 5, 6). “ In that day shall there be upon the bridles of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD, and the pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts, and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein : and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts” (Zech. xiv. 20, 21).
Now, however opposed this may be to the preconception of any of our readers, or the popular conception of the many, we shall not deem it sufficient that they assail our position only, but that they show us theirs side by side with ours, and so give the readers of the Rainbow the opportunity of comparing both with the Scriptures, which are the true test of us all. The thoughtless can, much to their own satisfaction, pull down and destroy another man's theory; but the thoughtful alone can construct a theory to the satisfaction of others. Hackney, London, E.
SPRING THOUGHTS. T the approach of the sweet season of spring, heralded by the singing
of birds and the appearing of flowers on the earth, while the trees stand ready to be clothed with leafy beauty, after a winter, to some of us so terribly severe, our hearts are gladdened. We feel that the common bounties of God's providence demand our gratitude. By common bounties, I mean those He sheds on the evil and on the good; on the evil, alas ! too often in vain, seeing they say to the Giver : “ Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways.” Let it not be 80 with the writer and the reader. In winter, as in spring, in prosperity as in adversity, in straits as in abundance, let us recognise His hand, and thankfully acknowledge “He doeth all things well.” How abundant and abundantly clear are the evidences, and the testimonies too, that “to all the Lord is good ; that “Bis tender mercies are over all His works." Are we not assured that not a sparrow falls to the ground without His notice ? that He provides food for the young ravens that cry? that He filleth all things living with plenteousness ? that the very hairs of our heads are all numbered? Can it be supposed that He regards with indifference the late lamentable sacrifice of twenty thousand human lives in England's mad war for a “scientific frontier," and of thrice twenty thousand camels and horses that perished ? Nay, verily. He “in whose hands is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind, takes cognisance, and marks with pitying eye both man and beast. And, surely, were it not for His restraining mercy, our earth, so frail through sin, else so fair and lovely, would become an anmitigated hell; for, indeed, all too truly has the poet of the Night Thoughts” said :
“Man is to man the sorest, sarest ill."
But we fall back on this, “ He doeth all things well.” True it is that, in His perfect wisdom, which is in harmony with His perfect goodness, He suffers us to receive the due reward of our errors and transgressions. Take a simple illustration. Wilfully or unguardedly, I eat and drink to excess day after day. By and by the inevitable law is brought to bear
Sooner or later I suffer bodily discomfort, bodily disorder; and 'tis well if I take warning in time, lest my disorder become chronic. But can I justly impute blame to the Almighty ? Am I not in mercy reminded that every transgression and disobedience must and will receive a due recompense of reward ? else, would not everything go hopelessly wrong with me? Should I not be in danger of going from bad to worse with a fatally smooth descent ? Rather be it mine to heed the warning, conscious that Divine wisdom cannot err, and mindful of the apostolic exhortation, “Be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is."
To this all-important end may I be an apt, attentive, and obedient learner in His school, who still teaches as never man taught. Then and thus will the promise be fulfilled in my experience, “ Whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell safely." I shall be graciously brought into His banqueting house, and His banner over me will be love. He will compass me about with songs of deliverance, and enable me to say with exulting and adoring joy, “ The winter is past, the flowers appear on the earth, and the time of the singing of birds is come.'
May it be so in His boundless and unfailing mercy who doeth all things well.
THOMSON SHARP. Eatington, Stratford-on-Avon.
AN INQUIRY INTO THE NATURE OF DEATH.
HE nature of death, its immediate consequences, and its total abolition
has gone hopelessly astray; owing, doubtless, to the adoption of the Platonic theory respecting the attributes of the human soul.
It is desirable, therefore, before considering these subjects to compare the Platonic theory with the Biblical revelation, and determine which of the two has the greater claim upon our confidence. Plato taught that man is a compound being, consisting of two parts—body and soul; the body gross, carnal, and perishable; the soul indivisible, immaterial, and immortal. He considered this immaterial soul to be essentially the man; complete in itself; independent of the body; retaining at death all the functions of the bodily organisation and capable of indefinite progress when liberated from its outward and inferior covering. This theory has unhappily been adopted by the Christian Church, and engrafted upon the Scripture scheme of redemption, to the no small injury of the entire range of Divine truth.
The Biblical explanation of this matter is, on the contrary, as follows: Man's nature is tripartite, consisting of body, soul, and spirit; the body and soul perishable; the spirit, irrespective of moral conditions, returning at death to God who gave it. “ Then shall the dust return to the
earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (Eccles. xii. 7).
The terms soul and spirit are never used synonymously or interchangeably in the sacred Scriptures ; and for this reason the two words express totally different ideas. The Biblical soul is a soul that can die. “ The soul (psuche, Sept.) that sinneth it shall die” (Ez. xviii. 4). " When thou shalt make his soul (psuche) an offering for sin ” (Isa. liii. 10). “The Good Shepherd giveth His life (psuche, soul) for the sheep (John x. 11). “ Thou wilt not leave my soul (psuche) in hell” (hades, the grave) (Acts ii. 27). These examples are sufficient to show that the Biblical soul has nothing in common with the Platonic or indestructible soul, or what in the present day is understood by this term. It is a sad fact that the public teaching of the day, the hymnology and the whole scope of religious literature perpetuate, an erroneous meaning of the word soul to the utter confusion of its Scriptural use.
In still further contrast with the Platonic theory the Scriptures declare that the essential characteristics of man are to be found in his corporeal organism, and not in his immaterial or spiritual nature. The possession of spirit is not a peculiar characteristic of man ; angels possess spirit, and for that matter so do the inferior creation, the brute beasts, &c. The graceful form, the erect bearing, the physical organisation—these constitute the man; which fact is demonstrated by direct Scripture statement and by the incarnation of Christ. " And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” (Gen. ii. 7). Redemption required that the Redeemer should become a man, and should take hold upon the seed of Abraham, and “ inasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and blood He also Himself likewise took part of the same (Heb. ii. 14). Consequently “Christ was made of a woman, made under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons
(Gal. iv. 4, 5). Had the Saviour taken the nature of angels he would have possessed spirit, but he would not have been a man. The incarnation of Christ supplies an irrefragable proof that the organised body is the essential constituent of the man.
Again. The spirit whilst in union with the body is the source of vitality and intelligence. “ The body without the spirit is dead” (James ii. 26). “What man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him?" (1 Cor. ii. 11). Nevertheless, there is notbing either in Scripture or in human experience to show that the spirit "unclothed " or " naked" (2 Cor. v. 3) is capable in a bodiless state of exercising any functions corresponding to those possessed by the living organised body. The bodily organism is the alone means by which the spirit can communicate with or receive impressions from the outer world, or indeed of producing any subjective ideas whatever. The cerebral functions are essential to thinking. Loss of any of the bodily functions, such as seeing, hearing, or thinking, cannot be supplemented or made good by any intrinsic power possessed by the spirit. Their loss is irremediable, and in case of death must be total and absolute. The beautiful artistic conceptions of the painter cannot be transferred to paper without the agency of matter-pencil, fingers, hands and arms, &c., and not only so, but the very conceptions themselves can have no exis