Archive for the ‘Hermeneutics’ Category

In not a few instances the Scriptures possess both a literal and a mystical force: Example 7

1 CORINTHIANS 10:1-4, furnishes another illustration of what we are here treating; to wit, the spiritual content of many passages in God’s Word. “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” As a matter of fact, historically, Divinely recorded, they partook of material food and drank of water which flowed from a literal rock; yet three times over the apostle declared that the same were spiritual. In so doing Paul was not merely intimating that there was a close analogy between God’s dealings with the Hebrews of old and with His saints today: rather was he insisting that the wilderness experiences of Israel after the flesh adumbrated the soul experiences of Israel after the spirit. It is not only that the Divine institutions under Judaism possessed a symbolical and typical significance, but that Christians enter into the spiritual substance of which they were but the shadows. Christ is our altar (Hebrews 13:10), our passover (1 Corinthians 5:7), our high priest (Hebrews 4:14). In Him we are spiritually circumcised (Colossians 2:11).

“But ye are come unto mount Sion” (Hebrews 12:22)

is also to be understood spiritually, and not literally. That should be quite obvious, yet, because of the gross and carnal ideas of modern Dispensationalists, there is need for us to labor the point. That is one of the many passages where the blessings and privileges of the new covenant are expressed in language taken from the old, the antitype being presented under the phraseology of the type.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

In not a few instances the Scriptures possess both a literal and a mystical force: Example 6

Psalm 89 supplies us with a further illustration of the principle we are here treating, and a very striking and important one it is. Historically it looks back to what is recorded in 2 Samuel 7:4-17, namely, the covenant which the Lord made with David; yet none with anointed eyes can read that Psalm without quickly perceiving that a greater than the son of Jesse is there in view, namely his Savior. In the light of Isaiah 42:1,

“I have made a covenant with My Chosen, I have sworn unto David My Servant” (Psalm 89:3),

it is quite clear that the spiritual reference is to that covenant of grace which God made with the Mediator before the foundation of the world; compare “Then thou spakest in vision to Thy Holy One” (v. 19). This is further confirmed in what immediately follow: “Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations” (v. 4), which is not true of the historical David. As Spurgeon remarked, “David must always have a seed, and truly this is fulfilled in Jesus beyond his hopes. What a seed David has in the multitude which have sprung from Him who was both his Son and his Lord! The Son of David is the great Progenitor, the last Adam, the everlasting Father; He sees His seed, and in them beholds of the travail of His soul. David’s dynasty never decays, but on the contrary, is evermore consolidated by the great Architect of heaven and earth. Jesus is a King as well as a Progenitor, and His throne is ever being built up.” As we read through this Psalm, verse after verse obliges us to look beyond the literal to the spiritual, until the climax is reached in verse 27, where God says of the antitypical David, “I will make Him My Firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.”

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

In not a few instances the Scriptures possess both a literal and a mystical force: Example 5

The eighth Psalm supplies us with another example of a passage of Scripture having a double purport a natural and also a spiritual. The principal scope of that psalm, as its opening and closing verses show, is to magnify the Creator—by extolling the wondrous works of His hands. As David beheld the beauties and marvels of the heavens, he had such a sense of his own nothingness that he exclaimed, “What is man [enosh—frail, puny man], that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man [a diminution of “man”], that Thou visitest him?” Then his wonderment deepened as he went on to say, “For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet.” Therein we behold both the sovereignty and the abounding grace of God, in so highly elevating one so lowly. This filled the Psalmist with amazement and awe, that God should have placed all mundane creatures in subjection unto man rather than unto angels (Genesis 1:28). Therein we behold the goodness of God to mankind, and the high favor conferred upon them. But that by no means exhausts the scope and sense of those verses.

Psalm 8:4-6, is quoted by the apostle in Hebrews 2:6-8, where he was proving from Scripture the immeasurable superiority of Christ over angels. He was indeed for a little while (during the season of His humiliation) made lower than they, but after He had triumphantly concluded the work given Him to do, God exalted Him far above them. Thus, what was spoken indefinitely of “man” by David, Paul makes a definite and spiritual application of unto Christ, for after saying “we see not yet all things put under Him,” he at once added “but we see Jesus,” which signifies that we see accomplished in Him the terms of that ancient oracle. All room for doubt on that score is removed by Paul’s next words, “who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor.” That Psalm 8 is a Messianic one is further seen by the passages cited from it in Matthew 21:16; 1 Corinthians 15:27, which unquestionably applies to the Lord Jesus. The language used by David, then, was far more than a natural outburst of admiration of God’s works in creation, namely a spiritual ecstasy as he was granted an insight into the mystery of grace, the kingdom of Christ, and the love of the Father unto the person of the Mediator.

But the ravishment of David’s spirit was excited by something more than what has just been pointed out: the “man” whom he contemplated was the “new man,” the “perfect man” of Ephesians 2:15, and 4:13—that spiritual Man of which Christ is the Head. David’s utterance had respect, ultimately, not only unto Christ personal, but unto Christ mystical, for the Redeemer shares with His redeemed the spoils of His victory and admits them to a participation in His reward. They are His “joint-heirs” (Romans 8:17), and it is their glorification which Psalm 8:5, 6, had in final view. Even now the angels are in a position of subordination to them (Hebrews 1:14) and in a coming day the redeemed shall be “crowned with glory and honor.” “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me on My throne” (Revelation 3:21, and cf. 21:7). The exaltation of Christ is the guarantee of the Christian’s, for He entered heaven as the firstfruits—the earnest of the coming harvest. Oh, what a prospect is there here for faith to lay hold of and hope to enjoy now! If it were more real to us, if we were more engaged in looking away from the present to the future, we should be filled with wonderment and praise, and the petty trials and troubles of this life would affect us much less than they do.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

In not a few instances the Scriptures possess both a literal and a mystical force: Example 4

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber.” Just as the sun in the early morning throws back the curtains of his pavilion, issuing forth to disperse the sombreness of night, so in the Gospel Christ appears as a Bridegroom, removing the darkness of unregeneracy from His people, to be loved and admired by all who believe. “And rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race,” fully assured of His triumph (Revelation 6:2). “His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it.” In Micah 5:2, we are told that Christ’s “going forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity” (margin). Those goings forth were, first, in that everlasting covenant which is ordered in all things and sure, wherein He promised “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God.” Second, in the announcements of prophecy, when, from Genesis 3:15, onwards, the curtains were thrown back wider and wider, for the person of the Messiah to appear in increasing distinctness, until in Isaiah 53 He stood forth fully revealed. Third, in the travels of the Gospel from one side of the earth to the other, which will continue until His yet grander appearing. When He shines into a soul “there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” This interpretation is confirmed by verse 7: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.”

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

In not a few instances the Scriptures possess both a literal and a mystical force: Example 3

The propriety of the apostle’s spiritual interpretation of Psalm 19:4, is at once apparent, and it supplies us with an invaluable key for the opening of what immediately follows. In the light of Messianic predictions it is quite clear that what is said in verses 5 and 6 is to be understood, ultimately, of Christ Himself, for in Malachi 4:2, He is expressly called “the Sun of righteousness,” who should “arise with healing in His wings.” As the sun is a celestial body, so the Savior is not a product of the earth (John 8:23), but is “the Lord from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47). Thus the Psalmist went on to say, “In them [the heavens] hath He set a tabernacle for the sun.” Attention is focused upon the central luminary in the firmament, all the lesser ones being as it were lost sight of. So it is in the Gospel: one central Object alone is set forth and magnified therein. As the heavens, particularly the sun, exhibit the natural glory of God, so the Gospel, in its revelation of the Son, makes manifest the moral glory of God. Most appropriately is the Gospel likened to a “tabernacle” or tent (rather than a fixed temple), for as Israel’s of old, so it both contains and yet veils Christ’s glory, and is designed to move freely from place to place, rather than be stationary.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

In not a few instances the Scriptures possess both a literal and a mystical force: Example 2

Ministers of Christ are designated “stars” (Daniel 12:3; Revelation 1:20), for as the stars illumine all parts of the earth, so evangelical messengers scatter the rays of light and truth upon the darkness of an ungodly world. And as there is no speech or language where the voice of the celestial stars is not heard, for they are so many tongues proclaiming the glory of their Maker, so the ministers of Christ have, at different periods of history, heralded God’s good news in every human tongue. On the day of Pentecost men of many nations heard God’s servants speak in their own tongues the wonderful works of God, so that even then the line of the apostles’ testimony “went through all the earth” (Acts 2:9-11, and cf. Colossians 1:5, 6, 23).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

In not a few instances the Scriptures possess both a literal and a mystical force: Example 1

The first six verses of Psalm 19 contain a sublime description of the perfections of God as they are displayed in the material creation, especially in the heavenly bodies; yet it is quite evident that the apostle Paul also regarded what is there said of the sun and stars as their being Divinely designed emblems of the kingdom of grace. For in Romans 10:4-17, we find that he had before him the universal publication of the Gospel, and that in verse 18 he quoted from Psalm 19:

“But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures