Posts Tagged ‘Rightly Dividing’

Example 3 of the ‘Law of Progress’

November 27, 2018 Leave a comment

There is a steady advance observable in the respective purposes and scope of the four Gospels. Obviously, Matthew’s must come first, for its chief design is to present Christ as the Embodiment of the Old Testament promises and the Fulfiller of the prophecies there made concerning the Messiah. For much the same reason Mark’s comes second, for whereas in the former Christ is seen testing the old covenant people, here He is viewed as ministering to them. But Luke’s Gospel has a much wider scope, being far more Gentile in its character. In it Christ is contemplated in connection with the human race: the Son of man related to yet contrasted with the sons of men. John’s Gospel conducts us to much higher ground, for whereas in the first three He is depicted in human relationships (as the Son of Abraham, the Servant of God, and the perfect Man), here His Divine glory shines forth and we behold Him as the Son of God in relation to the family of God. This same principle is also exemplified in what is recorded in their closing chapters. Matthew takes us no farther than the resurrection of Christ; in Mark 16:19, mention is made of His ascension; in Luke 24:49, promise is given of the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost; while John’s Gospel ends with a reference to His second coming!

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Example 2 of this law of progress may be seen by tracing out the Messianic prophecies

November 20, 2018 Leave a comment

Another example of this law of progress may be seen by tracing out the Messianic prophecies and observing how there is “line upon line” until the picture is complete. The subject is too vast to deal with comprehensively here, but let us look at a single aspect of it, namely those which respect His birth. In Genesis 3:15, it was intimated that the destroyer of Satan would be a member of the human race—the woman’s seed. Genesis 9:27, revealed which of the three main divisions of the human race He would descend from: “He [God] shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” In Genesis 22:18, it was made known that He should be an Israelite— Abraham’s seed. 2 Samuel 7:12, 13, announced that He should be of the tribe of Judah—issuing from David. Isaiah 11:10, defined His ancestry yet more definitely: He would spring from the family of Jesse. Isaiah 49:1, predicted that He would be named, and by God Himself, before his birth, as indeed He was. While Micah 5:2, specified the very place where he would be bor —Bethlehem. Such examples as these not only demonstrate clearly the Divine inspiration of the Bible, but evidence that the canon of Scripture, as we now have it, has been superintended by God Himself, for its order is not so much chronological as logical.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Example 1 of the ‘Law of Progress’

November 13, 2018 Leave a comment

As we pointed out nearly forty years ago, the above-named principle is strikingly and blessedly illustrated in connection with the Lamb. In Genesis 22:8, the lamb is prophesied: “God will provide Himself a lamb.” In Exodus 12 the lamb is clearly typified, as “without blemish,” whose blood provided shelter from the destroying angel, and whose flesh was to be the food of God’s people. In Isaiah 53:7, the lamb is definitely personified: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter.” In John 1:29, we find the lamb identified, as pointing to Him, Christ’s forerunner announced “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” In 1 Peter 1:19, mention is made of Him as the lamb that was crucified: “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” In Revelation 5:6, we see the Lamb glorified, for the seer of Patmos was privileged to behold in heaven, standing, “a Lamb as it had been slain.” While in Revelation 22:1, we see the Lamb satisfied: “And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” With these we may link the progressive scope seen in the validity of Christ’s sacrifice. In Genesis 4:4, for the individual; in Exodus 12:3, for the “house” or family; in Leviticus 16:21, for the nation; in Ephesians 5:25, for the Church or the whole election of grace.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The Law of Progress

29. The law of progress. Since the Scriptures be the “word of life” (Philippians 2:16), they are “quick [living], and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). So far from being “a dead book” as the papists blasphemously assert, and a dead letter” as some Protestants have ignorantly averred, the Bible is instinct with the very life of its Author. This fact is plainly exemplified in the principle of growth which marks all its parts and itself as a whole. This can be tested and verified by any competent person who will take the trouble to read the Scriptures systematically, or trace out a subject from start to finish. As this be done, he will perceive that Truth is unfolded orderly and gradually, progressively and climactically: that there is presented to us first the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear. While the first mention of a thing intimates its scope and more or less anticipates what is to follow, the subsequent references amplify the same, each one making its own contribution to the whole, and thereby we obtain both a clearer and a fuller understanding of the same. The path of Truth is like that of the just: it “shineth more and more.”

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Many other illustrations of this law of first mention might be given, but the above are amply sufficient to exemplify its reality and value- They reveal how important it is to trace things back to their source

How indicative are the opening words of the Bible: “In the beginning God.” Here man is taught the first grand truth which he needs to know: that God is first and foremost, the Author of all things: the source and spring of all good. The first appearance of Satan in Scripture reveals to us his subtle character, the methods he employs, that God’s Word is the chief object of his assaults, and stamps him as the arch-liar. How the first recorded words of the Redeemer,

Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49),

summed up His mission and all His subsequent teaching, as well as intimated that such would be neither appreciated nor understood by men. Many other illustrations of this law of first mention might be given, but the above are amply sufficient to exemplify its reality and value. They reveal how important it is to trace things back to their source, and show that God has hung the key on the door for us to make use of. And they demonstrate the Divine authorship of the Bible, displaying as they do that the later books invariably employ terms and phrases with uniform significance and in perfect harmony with their initial mention. What proofs that He who knew the end from the beginning inspired holy men of old in the very words they selected and the use which they made of them.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The first reference to “lamb” in scripture

October 23, 2018 4 comments

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

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

October 16, 2018 4 comments

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