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The first reference to “lamb” in scripture

Most suggestive is the initial reference to the lamb. “And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7, 8). How blessed and significant to observe, in the first place, that this conversation was between a loving father and an only begotten son (Hebrews 11:17). Second, how remarkable to learn that the lamb would not be demanded from man, but supplied by God. Third, still more noteworthy are the words “God will provide Himself a lamb,” because it was for the meeting of His requirements, the satisfying of His claims. Fourth, the lamb was not here designed for food (for that was not the prime thought), but “for a burnt offering.” Fifth, it was a substitute for the child of promise, for, as verse 13 exhibits, “the ram” (a male lamb in the prime of its strength) was not only provided by God, but was also offered by Abraham “in the stead of his son”! How significant it is to discover that the word worship is mentioned for the first time in connection with this scene: “I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and will come again to you” (v. 5). Worship calls for separation from unbelievers, as Abraham left his two young men behind him; it is possible only on resurrection ground (“the third day” 5:4); and it consists of offering unto God our bes —our Isaac.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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In Genesis 15:6, we find the earliest mention of three of the most important words which are used in connection with the sinner’s salvation

In Genesis 15:6, we find the earliest mention of three of the most important words which are used in connection with the sinner’s salvation, and most significant and blessed is it to see them here joined together. “And he [Abraham] believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness.” What a remarkable anticipation was this of the fuller unfolding of the Gospel which is to be found in the Prophets and the New Testament! It records the response made by “the father of all them that believe” (Romans 4:11) to the amazing promise which Jehovah made to him: that, despite his being so old (almost one hundred years), he should not only beget a son, but ultimately have an innumerable seed, and that from the same should spring the Messiah. As Romans 4:19, 20, states,

he considered not his body now dead… he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.”

First, here we have the simplest definition of faith to be found in the Bible: “he believed in the Lord.” More literally, “he amened Jehovah”: that is to say, his heart gave the answering assurance “it shall be so.” In other words, by implicitly receiving the Divine testimony, he “set to his seal that God is true” (John 3:33). He realized that it was the word of Him “that cannot lie.”

Second, we here learn what was God’s gracious response to that childlike confidence which so honored Him: “He counted it to him for righteousness.” The word “counted” means accounted or placed to his credit; the same Hebrew word being translated “imputeth”’ Psalm 32:2: “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity”— charges it not against him. It is not the act of Abraham’s faith which is here referred to, but the glorious Object to which it looked, namely, his promised Seed and Son—his Savior.

Third, we are here taught how a believing sinner is legally constituted just before God. By nature he has no righteousness of his own, for so long as he be without Christ, his best performances are but as filthy rags in the sight of Divine holiness. Not only was Abraham destitute of righteousness, but he obtained it not by any efforts of his own: his faith was the sole means or instrument which linked him to a righteousness outside of himself. After citing his case, the apostle went on to say,

Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works” (Romans 4:6),

for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10).

Since the above treats of such a vital aspect of the Truth, we will link with it and consider briefly Deuteronomy 25:1.

“If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.”

That is the first occurrence of this important word, and its setting more than hints at its meaning.

First, justification is entirely a judicial matter, being the sentence of pronouncement of the Judge of all the earth.

Second, it is the opposite of condemnation, and when one is condemned in the law courts he is not made wicked, but adjudged guilty.

Third, he is regarded as “righteous,” that is the Law has nothing against him—because in the believer’s case all its requirements have been fully met by his Surety.

We may also consider in this connection, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever” (Exodus 14:13). How deeply significant is that first mention of “salvation,” containing as it does all the prime elements of our spiritual deliverance. It was the Lord’s salvation, in which they had no part or hand, yea, they had to cease from all activity in order to see the same. It consisted of a miraculous deliverance from death. It was a present thing, which they experienced that day. It was complete and eternal, for they would see their enemies again “no more for ever.”

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The first mention of “man’s heart” in scripture

THE first time that center of man’s moral nature—the heart—is mentioned in the Scriptures we have an infallible forecast of all later teaching thereon. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Remarkably full is the outline here furnished us. Observe first the words “and God saw,” intimating that He alone is fully conversant with this inward spring from which proceed the issues of life.

Second, that it is upon the same His eyes are fixed: “man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Third, that what is here said of man’s heart is explanatory of his wicked conduct: since the fount itself be foul, filthy must be the streams flowing therefrom.

Fourth, that man’s heart is now radically evil, and that continually, being “deceitful [the Hebrew word is rendered “crooked” in Isaiah 40:4, and “polluted” in Hosea 6:8]… and “desperately [incurably] wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9); out of which, as Christ declared, proceed all the abominations committed by fallen man (Mark 7:21-23).

Fifth, that the “heart” equals the whole of the inner man, for the marginal rendering of “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart” is “the purposes and desires,” and thus it is not only the seat of his thought, but that of his affections and will.

“And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth” (Genesis 6:6, 7).

This is the initial reference to repentance, and though its language be indeed metaphorical—for by a figure of speech (anthropopathia) the Lord ascribes to Himself human feelings—yet it contains all the essential elements thereof. First it is striking to find that this grace is here attributed not to the creature, but to the Creator, telling us that repentance originates not in one whose mind is enmity against God and whose heart is hard as a stone, but is a Divine gift (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25), wrought in him by the Holy Spirit. Second, that repentance has sin for its object. for it is the wickedness of men which is here said to make Jehovah repent. Third, its nature is clearly defined: as a change of mind (God’s repenting that He had made man) and a grief of heart. Fourth, that the genuineness of repentance is evidenced by reformation, or an alteration of conduct, a resolve to undo (as far as is humanly possible) that which is sorrowed over—seen in the Lord’s decision to destroy man from off the face of the earth.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The first mention of “blood” in scripture

And the Lord said unto Cain,

“What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10).

That is the first time that all-important word “blood” is mentioned in the Scriptures, and like all the initial occurrences of fundamental terms it well repays the most careful attention and meditation. Profoundly important is this reference, foreshadowing as it does some of the most essential and outstanding features of the atonement of Christ. Abel was a shepherd (Genesis 4:2) and was hated, though without cause, by his brother (1 John 3:12). He did not die a natural death, but met with a violent end: as the good Shepherd was crucified and slain by wicked hands (Acts 2:23). In the light of those facts, how deeply significant are the words “the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me.” That is the allimportant but inexpressibly blessed thing in connection with the blood of Christ: it is vocal Godwards! It is

“the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24),

for it satisfied every demand of God and procured inestimable blessing for His people. The next mention of “blood” is in Genesis 9:4, where we learn that life is in the blood. The third reference is Exodus 12:13, where it delivers from the avenging angel. Put the three together and we have a complete outline of all the subsequent teaching of Scripture upon the blood. They treat, respectively, of death, life, salvation.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The first prophecy

September 25, 2018 Leave a comment

The first prophecy recorded in Scripture supplies the key to the whole subject of Messianic prediction, furnishing a remarkable outline and forecast of all that was to follow. Said the Lord God to the serpent,

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

First, it is to be noted that those words were not addressed to Adam and Eve, implying that man was not the immediate party in the covenant of recovery; that it depended not upon anything of, by or from him. Second, that this Divine pronouncement was made after the fall, and from this point onwards prophecy is always consequent upon human failure, not coming in during the normal state of affairs, but only when ruin has begun and judgment is impending—the next prophecy was through Enoch (Jude 1:14, 15) just before the flood! In the prophecy of Genesis 3:15, it was revealed that all human hope was to center in a Coming One. It made known that the Coming One should be man, the woman’s “seed,” and therefore of supernatural birth. It announced that He would be the object of Satan’s enmity. It foretold that He should be temporarily humiliated— bruised in His heel. It also proclaimed His ultimate victory, for He should bruise the serpent’s head, and therefore must be more than man. It intimated the age-long strife there would be between the two seeds: the children of the Devil and those united unto Christ.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The law of first mention

September 18, 2018 Leave a comment

28. The law of first mention. Very frequently this is of great help in arriving at the meaning of a wor or expression. Since there be but one Speaker throughout the entire Word, and He knew from the beginning all that He was going to say, He has so ordered His utterances as to forecast from the outset whatever was to follow. Thus, by noting its setting and associations, the initial occurrence of anything in the Scriptures usually intimates to us how it subsequently will be employed. In other words, the earliest pronouncement of the Holy Spirit on a subject very frequently indicates, substantially, what is found in the later references thereto. This is of real assistance to the expositor, supplying him with a kind of key to what follows. So far as we are aware, attention was originally directed to this canon of exegesis by Lord Bacon (1600), and for more than forty years this writer has made use of the same, putting it to the test in scores of instances; and while he has found a few cases where the first mention of a term failed to intimate clearly its future scope, he has never met with one that was out of harmony therewith; and the vast majority of them were invaluable in serving to define their significance and scope. This will appear from the illustrations which follow.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Using the law of contrast

September 11, 2018 Leave a comment

Ere leaving this division of our subject, one other example of its importance and value. By making use of the law of contrast we are able decisively to determine the controversy which Socinians have raised upon that momentous verse, For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we [which were destitute of acceptable obedience] might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor-inthians 5:21). That is one of the profoundest and most comprehensive statements to be found in the Scriptures concerning the atonement, containing as it does a brief epitome of the whole plan of salvation. Enemies of the Gospel insist that the “made sin” ought to be translated “made a sin offering,” but such is entirely inadmissible, for in that case the antithesis would require us to render “that we might be made a righteous-offering of God in Him”—a manifest absurdity. The contrast which is here drawn fixes the exact meaning of the terms used. Believers are legally constituted righteous in Christ before God, and therefore the contrast demands that Christ was legally constituted sin—guilty in the eyes of God’s Law. The grand truth affirmed in this verse is the exchange of places with the counter imputations thereof: our sins were reckoned to the account of our Surety, rendering Him judicially guilty; His obedience is reckoned to our account, rendering us judicially righteous before God.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures