King's Business - 1947-01

words, “the cleft of the rock.” They take us back in t h o ug h t to the smitten rock in the wilderness journey of Israel. The people were thirsty, and murmured against Moses and against God. Then Jehovah told Moses to smite the rock on Mount Horeb. This he did, and water gushed forth to quench the thirst of the multitude. Paul, writing many centuries later, said that Israel “drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4). He was “smitten of God, and afflicted” for a sin-sick world—that all who drink of th e life-giving stream which flows from Calvary might see “the light of the knowl­ edge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). This is the lesson of the c o m i n g Re­ deemer that God was teaching Israel in the wilderness. The Lord Jesus is, in very truth, eternal God. When He was on earth, certain disciples saw glimpses of His glory, as on the mount of trans­ figuration and after His resurrection; but during most of His earthly min­ istry He was.the self-humbled One. When we get to Heaven, we shall see the glory of the Triune God, there forever to be like Him, for “we shall see him as he is,” the One “alto­ gether lovely.” And in Christ Jesus, our Lord, “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). Please explain Isaiah 45:7, “ I make peace, dnd create evil.” Is God the author of evil, as this text suggests f Isaiah is not speaking of moral evil. The Hebrew word for “evil” (to quote Dr. Scofield) is “translated ‘sorrow,’ ‘wretchedness,’ ‘adversity,’ ‘afflictions,’ ‘calamities.’ but never translated ‘sin.’ God created evil only in the sense that He made sorrow and wretchedness to be the sure fruits of sin.” James 1:13 distinctly says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” Jeremiah used the word as Isaiah did, often warning a wayward people of the consequences of their sin. Take, for example, Jeremiah 42:10:

How are we to harmonize Exodus S^:10 with John 1:18T Exodus 24:9, 10 reads, in part: "Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel” ; while John 1:18 tells us: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [or revealed] him.” A Careful reading of the thirty- third chapter of Exodus will throw a great deal of light on your ques­ tion. Here Moses was asking God to reveal Himself—to show Himself;- and God said, in verse 20, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live.” That is the point you have in John 1:18. No man hath seen the face of God, except as it was revealed in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ when He became man. The human face could not stand it. To have the glory of God manifested would be death to our human nature; and our Lord laid aside His glory—not His deity— when He was born in Bethlehem, later to take it again when He went back to the Father. (See John 17:5). Yet we find recorded in Exodus 33:21, 22: “And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” There is no place to see the glory of the Lord like the cleft of the rock. If you want to see the glory of the Lord, hide yourself at Calvary. There you can sing the song of redemption: “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.” The expression “back parts” may be translated “His receding glory,” or “the departing of the Lord.” God passed by and took His hand away, so that Moses saw the receding ef­ fect of the glory of God that had passed by him. That is all he saw. No man with eyes such as we have can look upon the face of God and live. But let us think further of the

"If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you.” Jeremiah was addressing the back­ slidden people of Judah. They had gone away into idolatry, and the prophet was warning t h e m of the chastening hand of the Lord. In this connection he foretold the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, and the Bab­ ylonian captivity, as God’s method of chastening His people. It is not, therefore, moral evil that Isaiah and Jeremiah had in mind. God is holy, and cannot be tempted with evil. "Neither tempteth he any man” ! What is “ the second death” ? There are several references in the book of Revelation to “the second death.” They tell us that it is “the lake of fire.” (See Rev. 2:11; 20;6, 14). The te.-m is used in the sense of eternal punishment, separation from God, remorse, suffering, and sorrow; not in the sense of physical death, as the whole body of Scripture makes plain. You must bear in mind that death, in the Bible, never means cessation of existence. It means separation. The prodigal son was separated from his father and from his father’s house. Consequently, the father said, “This my son was dead, and is alive again” (Luke 15:24). The father did not mean that his son had ceased to exist, but tfiat he was separated from him, and in the far country. Paul has the same thought in mind in Ephesians 2:1, where h e says, “You hath he quickened, who were dead in tresspasses and sins.” Before their conversion these Ephesians were “dead” because they were alienated from God and afar off. Physical death also means separa­ tion of the spirit from the body. “The body without the spirit is dead” (Jas. 2:26). All these things need to be borne in mind because of the teaching of the Russellltes and other annihila- tionists, who claim that death means absolute non-existence. The “second death” of Revelation is separation of both body and spirit from God. Pag* 17

JA N U A R Y , 1947

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