Chapter 12

The Exclusiveness And Finality Of The Gospel

Epistle To The Hebrews

Our examination of the Scriptures brings us now to a very interesting section of the sacred writings, viz. those epistles addressed to the Jewish section of the early church. We have already shown ( in Acts ) that Paul presented the same message to both Jew and Gentile; the Gospel had destroyed all racial distinctions. But dispensationalism is blind to this evident truth, and once the word "Jewish" comes in, then look out for expository acrobatics. Hear, then, Dr. Scofield's introduction to this section. He says that these writings "differ in important aspects from Paul's epistles," and goes on: "The Jewish-Christian writings deal with the elementary things of the Gospel, while to Paul were given the revelations concerning the Church, her place in the counsels of God, and the calling and hope of the believer, as vitally united to Christ in one body." We are almost left speechless at this grotesque statement. One is inclined to wonder whether Dr. Scofield ever read the Hebrew epistle—to say nothing of the others. We scorn this fallacy of setting the writings of the N.T. in contrast one with the other; we see and feel the absolute, essential unity of the writers, both as to the subject and teaching. Further we reject utterly, totally and finally the foolish assertion of the "elementary" character of these epistles. Hebrews an elementary treatise? What next? Is the man serious, or indulging in an irreverent joke? We assert that in the Hebrews and Peter's epistles are the very same truths that fill the other writings. Salvation through the foreordained Lamb; the inexpressible Glory and eternal Deity of the Lord Jesus; the essential One-ness of Christ and His Brethren; the vital union of God with man through the New Covenant; the glory of the Church as the Holy Nation, the heavenly Jerusalem; these are just some of the truths dealt with.

In introducing the Hebrew epistle, Scofield is even more dogmatic in his blindness, stating "Church Truth does not appear." The reason for such an outrageous statement is seen when he states that the epistle deals with "the whole sphere of Christian profession…to warn and alarm a mere professor." Tied to his Brethren view of eternal security, the strong warning passages of Hebrews puzzle Dr. Scofield, so he saves his theory by the invention that "Church Truth" is not found in Hebrews. But, had he grasped the true purpose of Hebrews, viz. to shatter Jewish ideas that there was something else for that race other than the Gospel ( see succeeding pages for fuller exposition ), he would not have made such a blunder. But then had he seen the truth of the Hebrews message, it would have shattered his pre-millennialism ( which, after all, is a "Christianised" form of the Jewish delusion ). Caught on the horns of such a dilemma, Dr. Scofield gives us the notes above mentioned. We count them as worth less than nothing.

Church Truth does not appear? Then what, indeed, are the Atonement, the Ascension, the Holy Ghost and His miraculous Gifts, the Rest for the People of God, the Great Melchizedek Priesthood of the Lord Jesus, the Immutability of the Divine Counsel for the Heirs of Promise, the completeness and permanency of the New Covenant, the eternal sameness of the Lord Jesus, and a hundred other things? Are not these "Church Truths"? Or would Dr. Scofield class them as "Kingdom Truths"? The dispensationalist is tempted to speak of the "significant omissions" from Hebrews. "The Body" and "the Bride" are not mentioned—as if truth is dependent on using the identical word every time a doctrine is dealt with—surely, nothing more childish could be advanced. Dispensationalism would put the Holy Ghost in a verbal strait jacket as He seeks to inspire the sacred revelation.

But if the theorist is looking for "significant omissions", he can have his heart's desire here, BECAUSE THE MOST CONSPICUOUS FEATURE OF THIS EPISTLE, WRITTEN TO NATURAL ISRAELITES, IS THE COMPLETE ABSENCE OF ANY HINT OF A RESTORATION OF THE JEWISH RACE TO KINGLY FAVOUR WITH GOD, AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN EARTHLY KINGDOM AFTER THE CLOSE OF THIS AGE.

Many Jewish things are dealt with, but NOT A WORD is said that would lead us to infer that there will be a resumption of God's dealings with the Jewish race in a future age. In fact, the very opposite is declared. The great truth proclaimed is that the Jewish Law has been superseded by the Gospel; the earthly priesthood has given way to the heavenly one of the Lord Jesus; the Tabernacle and Temple were only shadows of Realities in heaven, and will never have place on earth again; the sacrifices have been forever done away in Christ's all-consummating Sacrifice; and the idea of a millennial-restoration of them is a dangerous delusion; the earthly Canaan has disappeared, and the heavenly country is the object of all true believers' hopes; Jerusalem and Zion have given way before their great anti-types; and the Covenant Promise are now being fulfilled in the glorious spiritual Kingdom which can never be moved.

This, if words are to have their plain meaning, is the unmistakable teaching of Hebrews, and we affirm that THIS HOLY EPISTLE IS AN INSURMOUNTABLE BARRIER IN THE PATH OF THE PRE-MILLENNIALIST AS HE TRIES TO PRESS TOWARDS HIS GOAL OF A LITERAL RESTORATION AND KINGDOM OF ISRAEL; whilst, to the dispensationalist, it is A TRUMPET BLAST THAT SHATTERS HIS ANTICHRISTIAN DREAM OF A RESTORATION OF THE CARNALITIES OF JUDAISTIC RELIGION IN A FUTURE "MILLENNIAL TEMPLE". This latter aspect of the theory is one that brands it as antagonistic to the central theme of the Gospel—the Finality of the Atonement. No more regrettable teaching has ever been coupled with the name of Evangelicalism, and no more powerful refutation of it has ever been penned than the very epistle we are now to consider.

Purpose Of The Epistle

It is written to the Jewish section of the first century Church. The difficulties created by this body are displayed in the Acts. Their chief fault was that they failed to apprehend clearly the absolute completeness of the Gospel. It needed, according to them, the addition of Moses. This epistle answers that delusion by showing the absolute exclusiveness of the Gospel. It is God's one, only, and complete provision for man; all that ever went before is swallowed up in it, and nothing can ever come after it. The key words are "better" and "perfect". The essential truth of the epistle is summed up in the magnificent statement:

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims ON THE EARTH…God having provided some better thing for us that they, without us, should not be made perfect." ( 11:13 and 40 )

Analysis. 

The theme of the exclusive completeness of the Gospel is demonstrated in six sections, as follows:

1. The Finality of the Person and work of Christ ( Chapters 1 and 2 ).

2. The final realisation, in the Gospel, of the two great O.T. types of the Rest for the people of God, viz. Canaan and the Sabbath ( Chapters 3 and 4 ).

3. The finality of the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus, inaugurating the everlasting King-priesthood after the order of Melchizedek ( 5:1—8:6 ).

4. The finality of God's Covenant relationship with His people through the operation of the New Covenant, secured by the death of the Redeemer ( 8:7 to end of chapter 10 ). 

5. The finality of the great Hope of the Messianic faith in the provisions of the Gospel. The Promised Land realised in Mount Zion, City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem ( 12:22 ), and the Kingdom promises fulfilled in "the Kingdom which cannot be moved" ( 12:28 ). Chapters 11 and 12.

6. The practical outworking of these truths. They lead the Christian "outside the camp" of literalistic aspirations and fix his hope on "the city to come" ( chapter 13 ).

Having seen the purpose and compass of the epistle, excluding the possibility of a future age of salvation for either Jew or Gentile, we proceed to examine some of its great passages in each section. Both in letter and spirit they are alien to any idea of an earthly millennium.

Section 1.

A. GOD'S FINAL VOICE. There can be no other meaning to the great opening statement:

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son." This verse declares two things:

A. THE VOICE OF GOD IN THE PROPHETS IS NOW CONSUMMATED IN THE GOSPEL.

B. THE AGE OF GOSPEL TESTIMONY IS THE FINAL PHASE OF GOD'S DEALINGS WITH MEN. "These last days". The whole tenor of this phrase is to impress the readers that these days of Gospel witness are the last days of God's redemptive work for man. Nothing but eternity follows.

C. THE SUPER-ANGELIC INHERITANCE. Verse 4 is arresting. It tells us that the One who was God ( the brightness of His Glory and the express. image of His Person ), after He had accomplished the work of redemption, obtained an inheritance more excellent than anything known by the angels. What is that inheritance? The rest of the chapter supplies the answer. At first, this portion seems rather strange—just a succession of disjointed statements; but closer consideration supplies the meaning. The writer quotes a succession of O.T. Scriptures. ( We regard this manner of quoting as being a strong testimony to the Pauline authorship. ) Now the important thing to note is that these Scriptures embrace some of the greatest "Kingdom" passages in the O.T. Look at them: Psalm 2 ( so often quoted in the N.T. ), Psalm 97, Psalm 102, Psalm 45, Psalm 110 and, to crown it all, 2 Samuel 7—THE GREAT ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE COVENANT WITH DAVID. What does this mean? We can see only one intelligent answer, viz. that the apostle is informing his readers ( as he did his hearers in Acts 13 ) that the inheritance the Lord Jesus received on His ascension to the Majesty on high, was nothing else but the everlasting Kingdom covenanted to David.

C. THE GREAT SALVATION. Hebrews 2:3. Following immediately on the Kingdom statements listed above, the apostle asks, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" The question was most pertinent. Probably these Jewish readers still clung to hopes of an earthly Israel Kingdom. They still looked for a literalistic fulfilment of O.T. prophecies. But the apostolic warning is trenchant. THE KINGDOM IS NOW; the promises are realised in the ascended Messiah; and, if this is not embraced, God has nothing else for them. So the great salvation God offers men is nothing less than entrance into this glorious Kingdom—joint-heirs with Messiah. And this is in conformity with the preaching of the Acts. In the great Kingdom-Covenant address at Antioch, Paul declared, "Men and brethren…to you is the word of THIS SALVATION sent." That is, salvation into the Messianic Kingdom Paul was proclaiming. And in the last chapter of the Acts we have Paul's ministry to the Jewish leaders in Rome. He expounded "the Kingdom of God, out of the law of Moses and the prophets." Then, when they rejected his preaching of the Kingdom, we have his arresting words: "Be it known unto you, therefore, that THE SALVATION OF GOD is sent unto the Gentiles" ( Acts 28:28 ). What perfect harmony in all the Scriptures; and how "great" is "this salvation" which comprises such an inheritance. The unanimity of the Scripture is emphasised further in verse 3, where the apostle asserts that this great Kingdom salvation "began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him". What nonsense this makes of dispensational ideas that the message of the apostles was different from the message of the Lord. Paul asserts they both preached the same thing—even this "great salvation". And, after all, the central declaration in "this great salvation" is John 3:16, which was uttered by our Lord at the beginning of His ministry, when, according to Scofield and his school, the King was declaring the news of the Kingdom. When will they jettison their spectacles and see the true Kingdom the Saviour preached?

We will not spend time over the rest of Hebrews 2, but here again we have the apostolic practice of quoting a succession of O.T. passages, and applying them to the Church. The reader might look them up, and see once more how the true principle of O.T. interpretation is established.

Section 2.

THE REST OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD. The theme of chapters 3 and 4, where we have brought before us the two great O.T. types of that Rest—Canaan and the Sabbath. Pre-millennialists are loud in their claims that the possession of Canaan ( according to O.T. covenants ) will yet be a literal fact. They also make much of the "Millennial Sabbath" that the earth will yet enjoy. But we cannot but be impressed that, when the apostle refers to these great features of O.T. experience, he makes no application of them to a future period on this earth. On the contrary, the whole tenor of these chapters indicates that BOTH THESE EXPERIENCES WERE TEMPORARY, AND WERE TO OBTAIN THEIR REALISATION IN THAT GREAT SALVATION WHICH SHOULD BRING THE PEOPLE OF GOD TO THEIR ETERNAL CANAAN OF REST, WHERE THEY WILL ENJOY THE SABBATH THAT SHALL NEVER END.

Note the following assertions of the apostle:

1. The same Gospel ( i.e.,…the message demanding faith ) was preached to O.T. people as well as New ( 4:2 ). This accords with Romans 10—faith was the essence of Mosaic teaching.

2. Verses 6 and 7, chapter 4, show that God's provision of rest for His People had been fulfilled in neither the Sabbath nor Canaan. The rest still "remained".

3. The rest for those who believe is both present and future. "We which have believed do enter into rest" ( 4:3 ) and "There remaineth therefore a rest to the People of God" ( 4:9 ). The N.T. presents both aspects of our salvation. 

4. Reverting back to chapter 3, note an extremely significant word in verse 6: "Messiah, as a Son over His own house; WHOSE HOUSE ARE WE." Clear, is it not? The Church is "Messiah's House". This accords with Ephesians 2, where, as already shown, Gentile believers are said to have been incorporated into the Commonwealth of Israel and the Holy Temple of the Lord. The phrase is also a powerful reminder of the announcement to King David: "The Lord telleth thee that He will make thee a house…He shall build a house for my name" ( 2 Samuel 7:11-13 ). This latter statement is followed by the words quoted in Hebrews 1, "I will be to Him a Father." The testimony is irresistible; Paul is making the strongest possible attestation that in Jesus Messiah the Throne Covenant with David is realised, and in the Church of Jew and Gentile is realised the building of the House of David. And this is exactly what the First Council stated in Acts 15. Perfect harmony.

Section 3.

We pass now to the third section of the Hebrew letter, and we are introduced to one of the most fascinating items of N.T. teaching—the Melchizedek priesthood of the Lord Jesus. It is another hammer blow smashing the "shamrock" of pre-millennialism.. First, we note to the reader that the phrase "a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec is recorded five times, with illuminating context. Here they are:—

1. 5:6. What a striking introduction to this subject, for here the great Melchizedek promise of Psalm 110 is quoted in conjunction with the great Throne Covenant Psalm—Psalm 2. We wonder what further evidence any intelligent person can desire to demonstrate that the great Kingdom declarations of the second Psalm are already fulfilled in the resurrection of Messiah? It is quoted again and again throughout the N.T., and every time it is applied to the present enthronement of Jesus Messiah, WITH NEVER A HINT THAT IT APPLIES TO A FUTURE REIGN ON THIS EARTH. How men can maintain belief in an earthly reign at an earthly Zion in the face of this is something I cannot fathom. Let such men cease from their criticism of tradition-blinded Romanists; to us, the two appear to have much in common. Take, for example, Dr. Scofield's comments on Psalm 2, "Thou art My Son, etc." This verse, he says, "refers to the establishment of the King upon Zion," meaning the alleged future millennial Zion; and, on the great declaration of Psalm 110, Scofield remarks that it "looks to the time when Christ will appear as the Rod of Jehovah's strength, the Deliverer out of Zion, and the conversion of Israel ( p. 655 ). This conversion of Israel is an obsession with dispensationalists; they see it everywhere. But the great apostle reveals no such "understanding" of these great psalms. It is evident he had been instructed in a completely different manner from Scofield, Darby & Co., because, writing to Jews, he states in the plainest possible words that BOTH THESE PSALMS—one about the Everlasting Kingship and the other about the Everlasting Priesthood—had ALREADY obtained their fulfilment in the Person of the resurrected Messiah. 

2. 5:10. This second quotation is in conjunction with the statement that the Lord Jesus had become the author of eternal salvation to them that obey Him. This, too, is conclusive. Pre-millennialists expatiate on the great manifestation of salvation that shall be seen in their millennium. It is an anti-Christian theory, crushed again by this word of the apostle, which shows it is NOW, DURING THE MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD OF THE LORD JESUS, that eternal salvation is offered.

3. 6:20. Of great significance is this quotation, for it follows a glorious passage in which the apostle presents to us the wonders of the Covenant with Abraham. The obvious meaning here, is that it is NOW, not in a future age, that our heavenly Melchizedek mediates the blessings of the promise made to Abraham and his people. 

4. 7:17. The context of this quotation points us to the old Law and priesthood, and the whole point of the argument is that that phase of God's dealings with men was purely temporary. It was "imperfect" and "carnal", and was to be everlastingly superseded by "another priest, made after the power of an endless life". And yet, in the face of this, evangelical men have dared to propound the anti-Christian nonsense of an earthly millennium which will witness the Divine recognition of a REVIVAL OF THE OLD LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD. It is difficult to write calmly when confronted with such monstrous perversion of N.T. truth.

5. 7:21. The last quotation of this phrase relates to the "unchangeable priesthood" of the Lord Jesus, whereby "He is able to save to the uttermost".

We propose now to deal more fully with the fascinating subject introduced to us in the remarkable figure of Melchizedek; and the first thing we point out is that the FIRST MENTION OF JERUSALEM IS IN CONNECTION WITH THIS MAN. How wonderful! Centuries before this city became the metropolis of earthly Israel, it was the centre of spiritual worship of the true God, in the dark ages of the post-flood era. Ponder this thought! Why, when Abram was called from heathen Ur, to be the inheritor of God's promises, was he brought to the land of Canaan? I suggest the answer is in the fact that here, in this land, in the city of Salem, reigned Melchizedek, "King of righteousness and King of Peace" ( Hebrews 7:2 ). To this man Abram came, to be confirmed and taught further in the knowledge of the God Who had called him. Of Melchizedek, Paul makes the mysterious affirmation, "made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually" ( 7:3 ). What can be the meaning of this profound statement, except that, in some remarkable way, Melchizedek was a manifestation of the Great Anointed King-Priest? I feel sure we have confirmation of this in one of the most remarkable utterances that fell from the lips of the Master: "Abraham rejoiced to see My day, AND HE SAW IT, and was glad" ( John 8:56 ). Surely, the strong suggestion in the combination of all these Scriptures is that this transcendent experience in the life of the patriarch occurred when he stood face to face with Melchizedek. It was here the true measure of God's promise to Abraham was made known to him, and lifted his soul to look, not for an earthly country, but "an heavenly", and the "city whose Builder and Maker is God".

Let us weigh, also, the events associated with this historic scene. We read in Genesis 14:8 that Melchizedek "brought forth bread and wine, for he was priest of the Most High God. And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the Most High God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand."

In contemplating this passage we feel a mixture of awe and sacred joy. The words seem to enshrine the fullness of divine revelation to Abram. The reader is no doubt aware of the remarkable factor in the N.T. that ascribes a spiritual knowledge and experience to Abraham far in advance of that which, on the surface, appears in the O.T. In fact, the experience is of entirely N.T. character. He saw Messiah's Day; he foresaw the resurrection ( Hebrews 11:9 ) he saw that the true Hope of the believer is the Heavenly city ( Hebrews 11:10-16 ); and he believed the saints would inherit the new earth ( Romans 4:13 ). Now the question arises, how did he become possessed of this vision and understanding of things which mark this age of grace? Surely, the evidence points clearly to his memorable meeting with the great proto-type of the Son of God. The bringing forth of the bread and wine, with the accompanying divine blessing suggest an inevitable application, for it was on the night when He engaged in His High Priestly prayer for the blessing of His followers, that our Lord also brought forth bread and wine. And when He did this, He assured His disciples that it was a witness to the inauguration of the great New Covenant. This Covenant, foretold by the prophets, and foreshadowed by the lesser covenants of former ages, was to embrace all that had been promised by God to His People; it was to bring blessing to all the tribes of earth, for, issuing from this Covenant He commanded them to preach "to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, repentance and remission of sins in His Name." The Great Day of Messiah had come, with blessing that should reach the whole world; AND JESUS MADE THE STARTLING AFFIRMATION THAT TWENTY CENTURIES BEFORE, ABRAHAM HAD SEEN THIS GLORIOUS DAY OF HIS POWER. Note, it was not just "Messiah" but "Messiah's DAY" that Abraham saw.

When did he see it? Surely, it was when the great Type of Messiah's King-Priesthood brought forth to Abraham the very same symbols as did Messiah when He instituted the Covenant. God had promised Abram His blessing ( Genesis 12:2 ) but now to Abram is made the revelation first, as to how that blessing will be realised, and secondly, the extent of it. For, in the symbols of the Covenant which Melchizedek produced, there was foreshadowed the sacrificial death of Messiah in order to seal the Covenant, whilst in the blessing pronounced by the King-priest, in the Name of the Possessor of Heaven and earth, Abram grasped the wonderful truth that he was to become the inheritor, not merely of a strip of country named Palestine, but of the whole world and the heavenly country. In other words, the new heaven and new earth, which the N.T. assures us is the only heritage God has for His People. This great line of truth is further opened up by Paul in the epistle to the Galatians, where he assures us the Gospel was preached to Abraham, and the whole magnificent scheme of divine blessing and heritage would be realised, not through the nation of the Jews, but through Christ the Spiritual Seed.

So it was here, in this meeting with the King of Salem, that Abram learned the great truths of divine covenant blessing through Messiah, upon all who partake of Abraham's faith ( Galatians 3:6-9; Romans 4:13-25 ). I press this truth upon the reader, because herein, in the very origination of those covenants that mark the O.T., we find the key to the question as to the true nature of the Covenant promises of God, and the identity of the Israel of God destined to inherit them. The truth is clear; the Covenants are for the seed of Abraham in Christ, and the sphere of fulfilment is not an earthly Canaan ( the carnal idea that veiled the minds of the Jews who murdered the Son of God, and sought to do the same with Paul ), but in the Canaan brought before us in the glorious full light of N.T. revelation.

But let us revert, for still clearer understanding, to the thought with which we opened this meditation on Melchizedek. We stated that here we have the first mention of Jerusalem. Long before that city ( or its Jewish counterpart ) became the earthly city of God, the city of the King-priest was the centre of true spiritual worship. BEFORE THERE WAS A LAW, A NATION OF ISRAEL OR ANY EARTHLY COVENANT, THERE WAS A SALEM WHERE MEN WORSHIPPED AND SERVED THE LIVING GOD UNDER THE RULE OF THE KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE. And we affirm that HERE IS THE JERUSALEM UPON WHICH THE HEART OF GOD IS SET, AND IN WHICH ALL HIS GREAT PROMISES AND PURPOSES WILL BE REALISED. When, centuries later, God brought the earthly Israel into the land of Canaan, it appears that the house of Melchizedek was no more. Had it been swept away in the deluge of Canaanitish iniquity? Did that land, in ancient times, witness a slaughter of God's People like the 13th Century slaughter of the Albigenses that blotted out the witness on the French slopes of the Alps? We do not know; but the blessing of Melchizedek had passed to Abraham and his seed, and in this spiritual remnant God continued to witness of His truth. So, when this nation, enshrining in its number the elect remnant, came into the land, they became centred at THE VERY CITY WHERE MELCHIZEDEK HAD BROUGHT BEFORE ABRAM THE SPIRITUAL NATURE OF THE COVENANT, AND THE UNIVERSAL AND ETERNAL CHARACTER OF THE BLESSING HIS SEED WERE TO INHERIT. Thus, this earthly Jerusalem was "the place where God chose to put His Name" because it represented the righteousness and peace of the Kingdom of Melchizedek, AND WOULD SERVE AS A TYPE OF THE REAL JERUSALEM, OVER WHICH THE GREATER MELCHIZEDEK WAS TO REIGN, viz. THE JERUSALEM WHICH IS FROM ABOVE.

And it is to this Jerusalem, the N.T. unerringly points us. Let the reader, especially those schooled in the carnal Jewish theories of dispensationalism, ask themselves the question, "Where, in the whole of the N.T., is to be found the slightest hint of a promise of restoration and unparalleled blessing for earthly Jerusalem, THE CITY STAINED WITH THE MOST COLOSSAL GUILT EVER LADED UPON ANY CITY ON THIS EARTH—THE MURDER OF GOD'S SON?"

Then in face of the overwhelmingly impressive silence of the N.T. let them ask again: "To which Jerusalem does the N.T. point as the Hope and Home of the redeemed, and the city in which the great purposes of God will be achieved?" Straight comes the answer from Paul: "Jerusalem which is from above, which is free, the mother of us all" ( Galatians 4:26 ). Straight comes the answer from Hebrews: "Ye are come to the City of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" ( 12:22 ). Straight comes the answer from John the Seer: "I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven…Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them" ( Revelation 21:2 ).

Why did God love the gates of Zion and the City of Jerusalem above all others? Let dispensationalists seek to answer this, with their carnal views of this bloodstained, idolatrous city. Was there ever anything in a literal city that the Almighty Spirit could love? The absurdity of such a materialistic idea should be apparent to any Biblical mind immediately. No! The love of Jehovah for Zion ante-dated the Jewish city by centuries at least; because, before ever there existed such a city, the Salem of God where Melchizedek reigned in righteousness and peace was the object of His eternal affection. Whether the Salem of Melchizedek was a literal city, or a fellowship of those who served the Living God under his reign, we know not; probably it was the latter, although it matters not. THE ALL-IMPORTANT FACT IS THAT THE EARTHLY JERUSALEM WAS BUT A TEMPORARY SYMBOL OF THE TRUE JERUSALEM WHEREIN THE REIGN OF GOD HAD BEEN KNOWN IN FORMER AGES, AND IN WHICH, AFTER THE PASSING OF THE EARTHLY CITY, THE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE OF GOD WERE TO BE ETERNALLY MANIFESTED UNDER THE REIGN OF THE GREATER MELCHIZEDEK. And we are assured by the writer to the Hebrews that this great phase of the Divine purpose toward man is NOW BEING WORKED OUT. THE GREAT MELCHIZEDEK IS ON HIS THRONE; and, coupled with the quotation from the second Psalm which speaks of David's throne, WE HAVE THE INVINCIBLE TEACHING OF THIS EPISTLE THAT THESE TWO THRONES ARE IDENTICAL.

Raised from the dead to the place of omnipotent power ( Matt. 28:18 ) where all principalities and dominions are subject to Him, the great Melchizedek-David, Jehovah-Jesus, reigns over the heavenly Jerusalem, administering the great Covenant which secures to all the true seed of Abraham the universal and eternal blessings promised to their father, and confirmed to him by the first Melchizedek. Then where, we ask, in the face of all this, is there any room for a return to the types, shadows and carnalities of that earthly system which, this same epistle assures us, are forever done away in Christ? Surely, dispensationalism and pre-millennialism are nothing else but a dismal dream—a Jewish nightmare—out of which we pray that sincere Christians shall awake, "and Christ shall give them light".

Section 4.

The New Covenant. In chapters 8, 9 and 10 we come to the heart-warming subject of the New Covenant. Dispensational hands have been laid upon this Sacred instrument in an endeavour to make it fit in with their Grand Jewry scheme of the End; but we are confident a brief perusal of the Holy Spirit's exposition of this Covenant, through the apostle, will shatter the theories of those who proclaim a Hope for natural Israel other than the true Hope of Israel preached by Paul. Before considering anything, we invite the reader to read through these three inspired chapters, and honestly ask himself what trace of teaching he can find there of a nationalistic or Jewish character. Where does the apostle MAKE THE SLIGHTEST SUGGESTION OF RELATING THIS COVENANT TO THE JEWISH NATION AND A FUTURE EARTHLY KINGDOM? The thought is utterly repugnant to every line in Hebrews 8, 9 and 10. The whole tone and spirit of the apostle's words are that the New Covenant and its blessings were secured completely by the death and resurrection of Messiah, AND NOT BY HIS SECOND ADVENT. It relates solely and entirely to the people who are redeemed by His Blood, and is eternally operative on their behalf, AND ON BEHALF OF NO ONE ELSE. Earthly possessions and racial heritage have absolutely no part in it.

Now consider the covenant, introduced to us by Jeremiah:

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers…which my covenant they brake" ( 31:31 ).

Thus, the New Covenant is set in direct contrast with the one made at Sinai. Consider the latter, made under the awe inspiring conditions that marked that great epoch in human history. It is recorded in Exodus 19. It was proposed by God through Moses, on the latter's first ascent of the Mount. The terms were: "If ye shall obey My voice indeed, and keep My Covenant, then ye shall be a PECULIAR TREASURE unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine. And ye shall be unto Me A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, AND A HOLY NATION" ( verses 5, 6 ). Notice, there was no promise of earthly territory. Moses then came down and presented the Covenant to the people, receiving the response, "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord." The terms of the contract being thus agreed, God then gives to Moses the words and judgments of the Covenant, chief of which were the Ten Commandments. Moses descends again, gives the Law to Israel, with the repeated response, "All the words which the Lord hath said, we will do" ( Exodus 24:3 ). The matter was then written, and sealed with the Blood of the Covenant, which was sprinkled on the people. THUS WAS INAUGURATED THE COVENANT BETWEEN GOD AND THE NATURAL SEED OF ABRAHAM, UNTIL THE COMING OF THE SPIRITUAL SEED ( CHRIST ), IN WHOM THE NEW COVENANT WOULD BE MADE, TO FULFIL THE PROMISES MADE TO ABRAHAM IN THEIR ETERNAL, HEAVENLY CHARACTER.

Now, reader, note the comments Scofield makes relative to these things; they serve to exhibit the twist that the dispensational outlook gives to so many great passages of Scripture. In his note on Genesis 12, he states: "For Abram and his descendants, it is evident that the Abrahamic Covenant made a great change. THEY BECAME DISTINCTIVELY THE HEIRS OF PROMISE. That Covenant is wholly gracious and unconditional The descendants of Abram had but to abide in the land to inherit every blessing. In Egypt they lost their blessings, but not their covenant. The dispensation of promise ended when Israel RASHLY ACCEPTED THE LAW. Grace had prepared a deliverer ( Moses ), provided a sacrifice for the guilty, and by Divine power brought them out of bondage; but at Sinai they exchanged grace for Law" ( R.B. p. 20 ).

Now this is a perfect specimen of dispensational "exposition", but it is shocking theology. It would be difficult to find such an accumulation of errors in so small a compass. This statement, early in the Scofield Bible, should be a warning to all of the delusions that fill its notes. Let us list the errors of this flagrant "de-theology". First, Scofield says that Abraham's natural seed became "distinctively the heirs of promise". How any Bible student can make such a statement in the face of Romans, Galatians and Hebrews is impossible to understand, for the repeated assertion of these writings is that "THEY WHICH ARE OF FAITH, THE SAME ARE THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM", and "IF YE BE CHRIST'S, THEN ARE YE ABRAHAM'S SEED—AND HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE" ( Galatians 3:7, 29 ).

Again, we get the amazing nonsense that "the descendants of Abram had but to abide in their land to inherit every blessing." So all the blessings promised to Abraham could have been inherited by his natural descendants if they had resided permanently in the land of Canaan! Was there ever such a preposterous misconception of the great divine plan for human redemption as this? The blessings promised to the Father of the Faithful ( so the N.T. tells us ) were that he should be "heir of the world" ( Romans 4:13 ), "the father of many nations", and the inheritor of "the heavenly country" ( Hebrews 11 ). And all those blessings we are assured, were to come, not through an earthly nation remaining in a small strip of territory, but through THE ADVENT OF THE GLORIOUS SEED OF ABRAHAM CHRIST JESUS.








The further statement of Scofield that "in Egypt they lost their blessings" is an effrontery to the plain words of Scripture. The Psalmist declares, "God sent a man before them, even Joseph" ( Psalm 105:17 ), whilst three times in four verses Joseph himself affirmed it was God who sent him down to Egypt ( Genesis. 45:5-8 ). And when old Jacob was fearful of going down to Egypt, God graciously appeared and counselled him, "Fear not to go down into Egypt" ( Genesis 46:3 ). Scofield endeavours to pervert the obvious implication of this verse by appending the note that this was God's permissive, not His directive will. This, of course, is Dr. Scofield's personal opinion, dictated by his theories; but it is out of accord with the whole spirit of Jehovah's words to the patriarch, for He deliberately prefaced His counsel to Jacob with the Divine imprimatur, "I am God, the God of thy father." Perhaps the crowning error of Scofield in the passage under consideration is that "the dispensation of promise ended when Israel RASHLY ACCEPTED the Law". What ground had he for stating that Israel's act was a rash one, with the implication that it would have been better for them not to have done so, and that God did not wish them to accept it? It is utterly absurd. It was God Who proposed the Law to the nation, WITH THE GREAT INDUCEMENT TO ITS ACCEPTANCE IN THE PROMISE THAT THEY SHOULD BE HIS PECULIAR TREASURE. We do not feel that the following words are too strong a condemnation of this gross misrepresentation of Scripture.

"It is the most aggravated impiety and irreverence to teach that God, having proposed to men a covenant, a Law, that they could act rashly in giving heed to His proposition and accepting it…The Mosaic Law was God's commands—was His Law, and had the Jews failed willingly to accept it, this would have been rebellion." ( Dr. Charles Rankin, quoted by Philip Mauro in "The Hope of Israel", p. 53 )

No, Israel did not act rashly, but came to a place of great possibility. This, however, was not realised, because at the first instance of testing, they violated the Covenant, and thereby FORFEITED ALL RIGHT TO THE BLESSING GOD HAD PROMISED UNDER IT. Because of this, God declared He would make a New Covenant with Israel; and THE CHANGED CHARACTER OF THIS COVENANT WAS CLEARLY INDICATED IN THE SPIRITUAL AND MORAL BLESSINGS THAT WOULD BE THE SUBSTANCE OF THE COVENANT—the laws of God written in the hearts and minds of men. All who had vision to see would discern that this New Covenant had nothing to do with nationality or earthly territory, but was to deal WITH THE UNIVERSAL PROBLEM OF SIN. And when at last, the Great Atoning Substitute arrived at the hour to which the purposes of God had moved, He proclaimed to His followers, as representatives of Israel and Judah, that His sacrificial Blood was the seal of the long-promised Covenant. Calvary, then, was the inauguration of this New Covenant, which is described in Hebrews 13:20 as "the everlasting Covenant". Let us note its man features.

1. WHEN EXECUTED. Clearly, it was at the Saviour's death.

2. WHEN OPERATIVE, AND BY WHOM ADMINISTERED. The passages in Hebrews under consideration are crystal clear. It is administered by the Lord Jesus NOW, IN HIS GREAT MELCHIZEDEK-DAVID OFFICE, AND HAS NO REFERENCE AT ALL TO HIS SECOND ADVENT. "NOW he hath obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much more also He is the Mediator of a better Covenant" ( 8:6 ).

3. WITH WHOM IT WAS MADE. The prophet had said, "with the House of Israel and the House of Judah," and the dispensationalists, holding on to their bald literalism, try to insist that this phrase demands another "making" of the Covenant with the earthly nation at the Second Advent. Our reply is simple. First, as already emphasised, the apostle gives no hint of such a cleaning to the prophet's words, and, once again, we prefer Paul to anyone else. Second, Paul quotes this very phrase in Hebrews 8; his exclusive application of the Covenant, including this phrase, to the work of Calvary, shows that he in no way understood the phrase in the far-fetched manner taught by the literalists. Thirdly, the apostles, on the night of the Lord's betrayal, were representatives of those houses according to the flesh; but they were more than that; they were of the "Remnant according to the Election of Grace", and, as such, representative of the true Israel of God, the nation to whom the Kingdom of God was to be given, according to our Lord's own words.

Israel and Judah were terms suggesting the division of the Kingdom; the New Covenant was to be made with a united people, made one by the great Mediator of the Covenant. That Kingdom, which can never be moved, was inaugurated by the Blood Covenant of its King. It is the "Kingdom of His dear Son," and all who are born into it comprise the spiritual Israel, and partake of the New Covenant. This is made clear in Hebrews 10:14-18, where we are told, "By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before, This is the Covenant I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them." Clearly, the meaning of those words is that the Israel and Judah with whom the Lord has made this New Covenant is comprised of those who are sanctified by the Blood of Christ.

4. THE BLESSINGS OF THE COVENANT. These are clearly stated to be "the forgiveness of sins and the knowledge of God". These are the present experience of believers. But dispensationalism cannot be satisfied with plain apostolic exposition, so Dr. Scofield asserts that the great blessing of this Covenant is that "it secures the perpetuity future blessing and conversion of Israel" ( p. 1297 ). It is simply marvellous the things Scofield could have taught Paul, had he had the opportunity. But, devoid of such instruction, the apostle never thought of any of those carnal Jewish interpretations of O.T. Covenants and Promise. To the apostle, the great mystery of Gentile salvation had been fully revealed, viz. that THEY WERE TO BECOME EQUAL MEMBERS WITH NATURAL BELIEVING ISRAELITES IN THE ISRAEL OF GOD. The Covenants of the O.T. had been swallowed up in the Everlasting Covenant sealed by Messiah's own blood. Hereby, the nation in whom the promises made to Abraham and David were to be fulfilled, had been constituted. And the apostle, conscious that this Israel-Gentile Kingdom was the consummation of the redemptive plan of God, had no thought of looking for another Kingdom which would replace this superb nation in a succeeding age.

The provision of the New Covenant was for "an eternal inheritance" ( 9:15 ), and it was THIS, and THIS ALONE, that absorbed the ministries of the men of the N.T. Of the theories of modern "Covenant expositors" they said nothing, and this silence, together with their whole positive testimony on the other side, should be sufficient to turn Christians from carnal theories. This New Covenant is the Everlasting Covenant which brings everlasting glory to God and His Christ ( Hebrews 13:20, 21 ), and it can never be superseded by another; neither can an old covenant, which was but a figure of the one to come, be revived. This former covenant has "vanished away" and all its attachments are gone forever, swallowed up in the heavenly, eternal realities of the Calvary Covenant. Under the old, there was a nation, a temple and a religion. The unquestionable affirmation of Hebrews is that they have gone—replaced by those things OF WHICH THEY WERE BUT A PATTERN. The nation has given way to "the holy nation", "the Kingdom which cannot be moved" ( 12:28 ); the temple has been replaced by the "holy temple in the Lord" ( Ephesians 2:21 ), such a company of believers now testifying, "Whose house are we" ( Hebrews 3:6 ); whilst the ceremonies of the Jewish religion have gone forever, replaced by the spiritual ministry of Christ and His People. We are convinced we are on unassailable N.T. ground when we assert that the idea of a return to the old is utterly repugnant; YET THIS IS THE CONTENTION OF MODERN DISPENSATIONALISM. In fact, it is an integral part of their scheme. And it is precisely here that we come face to face with ONE OF THE MOST REPULSIVE FEATURES OF THE SCHEME, for we are told that in this earthly millennium. THERE IS TO BE A REVIVAL, not only of the political and economic structure of literal Israel, BUT ALSO OF CARNAL RELIGION.

This matter is so important that we will give it consideration. It is, of course, based on the dispensational principle of interpreting O.T. prophecies literalistically ( or, carnally ); and, IF EVER THERE WAS A CONDEMNATION OF SUCH AN ANTIAPOSTOLIC METHOD OF INTERPRETATION, SURELY IT IS HERE. A SYSTEM OF INTERPRETATION THAT DEMANDS SUCH THEORIES AS A REVIVAL OF THE JEWISH CEREMONIAL RELIGION UNDER A PERSONAL REIGN OF CHRIST, CARRIES ITS OWN CONDEMNATION, AND BRANDS ITSELF AS FALSE, HERETICAL AND ANTI-CHRISTIAN.

Now the reader is undoubtedly aware that, amongst the prophecies of the O.T., there is a section that deals with the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem, and the restoration of the ceremonies and sacrifices of the earthly religion. We refer to Ezekiel, chapters 40-46, where we have a description of a vision given to the prophet fourteen years after the destruction of Solomon's Temple ( 40:1 ). It gives in detail the pattern of a Temple which he was "to show to the House of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern" ( 43:10 ). He was to "write it in their sight that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them" ( verse 11 ). Now, in keeping with their literalism, and their ideas of a future restored glory for earthly Israel, theorists locate this Temple as one yet to be built at Jerusalem for the millennial age. As Philip Mauro pertinently remarks, "The millennium becomes the convenient and promiscuous dumping place for all portions of Scripture which offer any difficulty." ( Hope of Israel, p. 114 ) Footnote 20 

Now we repudiate this fantastic interpretation as a dangerous and anti-Christian delusion, antagonistic to everything Paul teaches in Hebrews 9 and 10; yea, antagonistic to the very heart of the Gospel of Christ. Because, as a cursory glance will show, an essential part of Ezekiel's vision was the description of the animal sacrifices to be offered in this temple. They are listed and described in chapters 40, 42 and 43; and, we are told, sacrifices are to be offered once again in the dispensationalists' millennium. WE ENTER OUR LOUDEST PROTEST AGAINST THIS JUDAISTIC BETRAYAL OF THE GOSPEL. Every page of the N.T. is a trumpet blast against such an unholy idea. One simple question settles this matter: What ended the old system and abolished animal sacrifices in God's relationship with men? Was it the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies? No! It was the great sacrifice of Calvary. THAT wiped away all types FOREVER, and to teach that when that great victory is consummated at His Glorious Advent, God will honour a revival of the old Jewish types IS A DEGRADATION OF THE GOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AND AN INSULT TO THE DYING REDEEMER. However Christian teachers can possibly entertain such an idea is an unfathomable mystery; it demonstrates the amazing power a false pet theory can exercise over the minds, even of godly men. Let every dispensationalist who reads these lines, ponder the matter, and ask himself this question: "Can you honestly conceive of the Son of God, the King Eternal, reigning over His universal Kingdom, manifesting the mighty triumph of His Redeeming sufferings, yet presiding at services with smoking altars, human priests, and the blood of slaughtered animals poured out for cleansing from sin?"

We know of nothing more repulsive ever suggested in the name of Fundamentalism, and nothing more calculated to bring it into disrepute; it is fit only for a superstitious papist. The repeated affirmations of Hebrews that the old sacrifices were "figures of the true", "could not make perfect", and were only "until the time of reformation", "are taken away", and that God "had no pleasure in them", should forever destroy these Jewish legends of the Last Days.

Scofield, evidently uncomfortable over the business, endeavours to evade the implications of his theory by commenting thus on Ezekiel 43:19: "Doubtless these offerings will be memorial, looking back to the Cross as the offerings under the Old Covenant were anticipatory, looking forward to the Cross. In neither case have animal sacrifices power to put away sin" ( p. 890 ). This is desperately poor evasion—but no dispensationalist can think of anything better. There are two fatal objections. First, the passages themselves refute the idea they are "for a memorial", i.e., if one holds to bald literalism. They are definitely affirmed to be "sin offerings", "trespass offering", etc. The whole five Levitical offerings are detailed, and are stated to be for the purpose of cleansing of the house, and making reconciliation for the House of Israel ( 40:32; 42:13; 43:27; 45:17 ).

Second, is it intelligently and seriously put forward that the work of the Son of God on the Cross will need animal sacrifices to perpetuate its memory and meaning? Outrageous! All who have ever held or taught such a monstrous idea should hang their heads in shame and publicly repent. THIS IS A DOCTRINE OF A GOD WHO WALKS BACKWARDS! A God Who is worse than the apostate Jews who patched up their rent veil after Calvary's consummating Judgment. A God Who goes back on His Son's victorious cry, "It is finished!" But enough! This wretched teaching is the product of minds infatuated with Jewish traditions which, by an ingenious concoction of Jesuitry, had been injected into Protestant, evangelical thought in the 19th Century. We cast it back to its nether origin.

There is a further thought on this subject: If this daily slaughter of animas is to take place in this alleged "millennium", where is the wonderful dispensationalist picture of the glorious peace and tranquillity of the natural creation? We are constantly regaled with ecstatic word pictures of this Kingdom where "the lion and the lamb lie down together" ( actually, the Scripture says, 'the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb' ) and nothing shall hurt or destroy in all His holy mountain? But if the theorists are to be taken seriously, countless numbers of little lambs will not have the chance of cuddling up to a benevolent old Leo; Levitical priests will deprive them of that happy experience; and as for nothing hurting or destroying, the sacrifice of countless animals dispels that delightful anticipation. But how can there be this animal slaughter, if the "Whole creation is delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God"? No! We reject the abomination completely, and feel that every spiritual mind must do the same. With saintly Rutherford we believe

"The Lamb is all the Glory of Immanuel's Land."

Before leaving the subject, one further word may be needful. Speaking to a zealous and able advocate of dispensationalism, regarding these alleged millennial sacrifices, and presenting objections along the above line, the only answer received was, "Well, what interpretation can you give?" There is no doubt that honest dispensationalists are extremely worried over Ezekiel's Temple; it bristles with difficulties as far as their theories are concerned. As for the correct interpretation we are convinced the true picture can find only one logical realisation—viz. the eternal realities of the New Covenant. One thing is absolutely certain; the N.T. establishes without any doubt that the types of Tabernacle and Temple have gone forever, and all that they foreshadowed is unalterably realised in that "habitation of God, through the Spirit", the Church of His Redeemed People. The theologians of the N.T. know of no other Temple, and we reject the spurious interpreters who would seek to overthrow them. Consider just one particular of the vision that supports our position. In chapter 47, the prophet describes a unique feature of the Temple, viz. the waters that flowed therefrom. No other Temple had been marked by such a feature, and surely, the most reasonable understanding of the scene indicates a spiritual event. What is that event? We believe there is a N.T. Scripture to help in the understanding of the vision. Our Lord, on one occasion, made the great promise that those who came to Him and drank, should experience "rivers of living water" flowing from their being. He affirmed that this was "as the Scripture hath said" ( John 7:38 ). Now, as a matter of fact, there is no such statement in the O.T. How then can we regard our Lord's words as finding their basis in the ancient Scriptures? We believe there is a clear and logical answer, viz. that those O.T. Scriptures which speak of promised divine blessings under the symbol of waters, are not literal ( in the sense of referring to physical rivers at an earthly Jerusalem ), but are pictorial representations of the rivers of blessing that were to flow from the Church of Christ consequent upon the coming of the Holy Ghost. This is confirmed by the words of John following the above statement of our Lord: "This spake He of the Spirit which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given". Thus the Lord Jesus was already giving His disciples a guide as to the correct understanding of how the O.T. prophecies were to have their fulfilment—not in earthly, physical blessings to the Jewish people, but in heavenly spiritual blessings for the new Israel. And this undoubtedly applies to Ezekiel's vision. Let the dispensationalist indulge his fanciful imaginations of a future literal temple ( I wonder how many of them really do believe it ), we delight in that mighty river which burst from the Holy Temple on the Day of Pentecost, and now fills the world, having brought healing and life wherever it has gone.

It is of powerful interest to know that the above application of truth had a profound influence over the mind of a man who, by vast numbers of Christians, was regarded as the outstanding Bible teacher of his generation—Dr. G. Campbell Morgan. In his earlier ministry he had held dispensationalist views, but in later years abandoned them as unscriptural. In his excellent "Hope of Israel", Philip Mauro gives an exposition of Ezekiel's Temple in accordance with the non-millennial view. Pursuing the thought that the river from the Temple became a reality on the Day of Pentecost, Mauro then presents a powerful argument that the gathering of the disciples which experienced that visitation was held, not in "the upper room", but in one of the courts of the Temple. And so, within the precincts of the old Temple, there flowed forth from the New Temple, the Divine River. Mauro then records that, before he published this view he had come to believe, he decided to submit it to a competent teacher for his consideration. He sent it to Dr. Morgan, and received the reply that he ( Dr. Morgan ) had never before considered this, but now, having given it much thought, was convinced it was the true explanation of the Scripture. The writer of this work remembers the comments on daily readings that Dr. Morgan used to contribute to "The Christian" during the middle thirties, and how, when the reading was on Acts 2, the comment followed exactly the above line. This was years before the author came to see the truth of the spiritual nature of O.T. prophecy, but when that took place, memory recalled the words of Dr. Morgan. We would that every dispensationalist would give the same open-minded thought to this question as did this eminent bible teacher, because, without bitterness we state quite candidly that the greatest difficulty we have encountered when seeking to present our conviction of truth, is that of the closed mind, and traditional prejudice. Just at the time of writing this, the author had written to a leading Baptist evangelical minister, prominent in dispensational circles; I had listened to an address in which the whole gamut of futurism had been given, and had written to this preacher putting forward some interesting facts for his consideration. Included in these was the fact of Dr. Campbell Morgan's abandonment of these theories for the non-millennial view. The good man replied and ascribed Dr. Morgan's change of view to "his dotage". ( ? )

In a recent publication, "A new heaven and a new earth", by Archibald Hughes, there is quoted ( p. 123 ) a letter from Dr. Morgan to the Rev. H. T. Wright, Baptist pastor, Brunswick, Victoria, in which he stated: "I am convinced that all the promises made to Israel have found, are finding, and will find their perfect fulfilment in the Church. It is true that in the past, in my expositions, I gave a definite place to Israel in the purposes of God. I have now come to the conviction, as I have just said, that it is the new and spiritual Israel that is intended."

That hardly sounds like dotage! This letter was written in 1943, two years before Dr. Morgan's death. A gentleman with whom the writer of this work became friendly ( strangely enough, a leader of a Brethren assembly ) tells how he also received a letter from Dr. Morgan about the same time, expressing the same views. This gentleman, convinced of the error of Brethren eschatology, and seeing the truth of non-millennialism, had written to Dr. Morgan telling of his convictions.

Thus we conclude our treatment of the New Covenant. It is clear to us that if we accent THE EXCLUSIVE INTERPRETATION GIVEN BY CHRIST AND THE APOSTLES, pre-millennialist theories are impossible. The old is gone forever; the New abides in everlasting glory.

Section 5.

THE GREAT HOPE OF FAITH. Hebrews 11 and 12. We now come to one of the greatest chapters in the Bible—chapter 11. Together with chapter 12 it presents A NEW TESTAMENT INTERPRETATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT WHICH IS THE MOST POWERFUL CONDEMNATION OF THE PRE-MILLENNIAL METHOD OF INTERPRETATION THAT COULD POSSIBLY BE WRITTEN. The theme of this section is the Great Hope upon which the faith of the men of the old economy was fixed, with the clearest possible teaching that this Hope is REALISED IN THE GOSPEL AND ITS CONSUMMATION IS IN HEAVEN.

Let us begin with chapter 11, and we note that in this incomparable survey of the history of the Remnant, the writer, addressing natural Israelites, develops the history of the Remnant IN RELATION TO THE HERITAGE THAT WAS THEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE OF GOD. And the amazing thing is that he deliberately ignores the earthly Canaan and the earthly Jerusalem ( which are the perpetual theme-song of dispensationalists ) and utters not a word to support the modern theories of a revived earthly Kingdom of Israel—not a word. On the other hand, the whole burden of the chapter is the tremendous truth that the heritage upon which the hearts of the patriarchs were set, as a result of the divine promise, WAS NOTHING ELSE BUT THE HEAVENLY CANAAN WITH ITS SPIRITUAL POSSESSIONS. No man who believed in an earthly millennium could possibly have made the statements found in this chapter. We feel their import is irresistible. Consider first, verse 10—a dynamic verse:

"For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God." This follows the statement of verse 9, "heirs with him of the same promise". The meaning is inescapable; the patriarchs, living in that far-off age, had a clearer understanding of the fullness of the divine promise than the prophetic speculators of the 19th and 20th Centuries, because, as the verses teach, they understood that the HERITAGE OF THE EARTHLY CANAAN WAS ONLY A TEMPORARY AFFAIR, THE HEART OF THE PROMISED HERITAGE BEING THE ETERNAL CITY OF GOD. They were not looking for Canaan, even whilst they lived there—their eyes were on the heavenly Canaan. Relate this Scripture to the Kingdom passages of Matthew's Gospel, and the matter is settled beyond cavil. There, as we saw, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sit down in the Kingdom; the contextual evidence was conclusive that only the eternal age could fit the description. Now the matter is decisively settled, for Hebrews 11 leaves no escape from the conclusion that the Kingdom inherited by the patriarchs is nothing less than the eternal Land where all men of faith shall at last gather. Look at verse 13 onward:

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." What does this verse mean, if it does not teach that the ancient patriarchs had no concern with an earthly inheritance? Like N.T. Christians, they were "strangers and pilgrims on the earth". Why? The next verses answer as clear as daylight. "They that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country…they desire a better country, THAT IS, AN HEAVENLY, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; FOR HE HATH PREPARED FOR THEM A CITY."

Dare any dispensationalist dispute the unanswerable statements of the apostle? What country did they desire? The answer is, "the heavenly". What city is to be the centre of their heritage? Is it the earthly Jerusalem? Again the answer is clear, "God hath prepared for them a city."

An interesting practical demonstration of the reality of this heaven-centred faith is found in the early Church. The reader will be acquainted with the amazing outburst of divine benevolence amongst the first Christians, so that "as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them at the feet of the apostles" ( Acts 4:34-35 ). Now this was a remarkable thing. What Jew would sell his land? The Law forbade it: "The land shall not be sold for ever" ( Leviticus 25:23; see also Numbers 36:7 ). Naboth refused to sell his inheritance even to the king ( 1 Kings 21 ). Yet, here were these Jews selling the land they had inherited from their fathers. Why? In the light of Hebrews ( and the rest of the N.T. ) the answer is simple. They saw that the earthly heritage had passed away forever, and their inheritance was in "the heavenly country". ( An amusing sideline query prompts itself. One cannot but notice that many of the "Brethren" are well-to-do, with good earthly possessions. A friend of mine used to say they had a favourite text, 'Godliness is profitable unto all things.' I wonder does the dispensational earthly inheritance' theory bear any relationship to it? )

To get back to the chapter, we notice the concluding verses: "These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."

These two verses alone state two great truths which, of themselves, are sufficient to sweep away the shibboleth of pre-millennialism. First, whatever the saints of the O.T. received, IT WAS NOT THE PROMISE. Now, what did they receive? The answer of Scripture is emphatic, that Israel of old received every bit of the earthly possession that God intended them to have. We need to emphasise that, for dispensationalism, ever propounding theories in direct contradiction of the Scriptures, asserts that Israel has never received all the land God promised them, and therefore, the millennium is necessary for the fulfilment of the promise. Scofield says: "The nation has never yet taken the land under the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant, nor has it ever possessed the whole land" ( p. 250 ). This is utterly false. Hear the Scripture: "AND THE LORD GAVE UNTO ISRAEL ALL THE LAND WHICH HE SWARE UNTO THEIR FATHERS; AND THEY POSSESSED IT, AND DWELT THEREIN" ( Joshua 21:43 ). Reader, will you believe this clear, unequivocal statement of Scripture, or the perversion of Scofield? Consider again the assertion of Scripture: "And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms, from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt" ( 1 Kings 4:21 ). And again: "Blessed be the Lord that hath given rest unto His People Israel, ACCORDING TO ALL THAT HE PROMISED: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise" ( 1 Kings 8:56 ).

So then, Scripture asserts that Israel received all the earthly land God had promised. Now if that was so, what was it the faithful Remnant received not? The answer is plain; it was the eternal inheritance which is the possession of all the children of faith. This is "the better thing" God has provided for saints of both Old and New Testaments, and they will be "made perfect" together, when the Great Mediator of the New Covenant comes in glory to usher in the new heaven and earth. This "united perfection" of God's Israel is the second truth stated in the closing verses of Hebrews 11, and is the concerted testimony of the whole N.T.

This union of the saints is further emphasised in one of the most beautiful descriptions in the N.T. It is found in Hebrews 12:18-24, with added confirmation in the remaining verses of the chapter. Ponder these sublime words:

"For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, that burned with fire, nor unto blackness and darkness and tempest…But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the City of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. And to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the Blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel. "

This beautiful and instructive passage is, we submit, an epitome of the whole of the N.T. teaching on the subjects dealt with in this controversy. The theories of dispensationalism and pre-millennialism are a jangling cacophony compared with the matchless music of these words, and the truths they convey; a thoughtful reading of it must surely convince all of the true nature of the Church of Christ—its identity with the glorious promised Kingdom of O.T. prophecy, and the finality of the Second Advent, as brought out in the closing verses of the chapter.

The reader addressed by Paul is assured that he bears no relationship to the Old Covenant, but his place under the New has brought him to the blessings and glory of Zion, the City of the Living God. The clear meaning is that under the New Covenant are to be fulfilled the promises of blessing to Zion and Jerusalem. As the Old had given place to the New ( the carnal to the spiritual ), so the earthly had given place to the heavenly; and the Jerusalem of promise and glory was not the disobedient, murderous city of Palestine, but the Heavenly City, identified on earth with the Church of the Firstborn. And these blessings are being experienced NOW, through "Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant". And who is it that partakes of this glorious heritage? Emphatic indeed is the answer: it is those who "have come to Mount Zion", together with "the spirits of just men made perfect". This latter phrase can mean only one thing—the saints of the O.T. as represented by the list in Hebrews 11. So it is clear as words can make it, that the heritage of both Old and New Testament saints is the same, and is realised, not in some imaginary millennium, but here and now, some on earth and some in heaven. Soon, the perfect, everlasting union of these two groups will come, when He will finally shake heaven and earth. This great shaking began when the Lord came to earth; truly, heaven and earth were shaken then, and "the God of heaven set up His Kingdom which shall never be moved." The apostle tells us that this Kingdom is the possession of His People NOW ( verse 28 ). It has nothing at all to do with the Jewish race, nor a future age on this earth. According to dispensationalism, there are going to be innumerable shakings in the future. There will be "the first resurrection and the rapture", followed seven years later by the shaking of "the revelation", with the tremendous shaking of "the great tribulation" in between. Then, at least 1,000 years later, comes the final shaking. But Paul will have none of this guess-work. God's final shaking of the powers of this world is by the establishment of His Kingdom through the Gospel, and this will reach its consummation when "our God" becomes "a consuming fire" at the final Great Day. Again we point out the complete harmony of all N.T. writers on this theme. Witness is borne on every page to the truths for which we contend, whilst the opposing theories are nowhere to be found.

Having thus concluded our examination of the leading themes of the Hebrew epistle, we just return briefly to refer to three passages which merit a separate consideration. The first is

Hebrews 6:1-2:—"The principles of the doctrine of Christ…the resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment." Paul is here stating some of the primary truths of the Faith, and includes "the resurrection of the dead". Had Paul been a good dispensationalist he would have been careful ( as they are ) to state "resurrections", because a series of resurrections is an integral part of their scheme. But Paul's use of the singular, whilst not advanced as a conclusive proof, is nevertheless, strongly suggestive that in the eschatology of the apostle, there was only one resurrection. His following statement of "eternal judgment" is also interesting. Literally, it is "the judgment of the ages", with Weymouth rendering it "the Last Judgment". Surely, the strong implication is that the great resurrection of the dead ushers in the final, general judgment of mankind, whilst the silence of Paul as regards any millennial Kingdom to intervene between the resurrection and the Last Judgment is very impressive and more so when one realises that such silence characterises every statement made regarding the Last Things. Evidently, this alleged kingdom was not part of the primary doctrine of Christ as taught by the apostles; so we feel justified in taking Paul's statement just as it stands, acknowledging that in his mind the resurrection of the dead is followed by eternal judgment, wherein righteous and unrighteous will receive their due. The second statement we refer to is

Hebrews 9:26-28. "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after that the Judgment." The natural implication of these well-known words is that the next event for all humanity, following the crisis of death, is "the judgment". The statement breathes the spirit of a general resurrection to judgment. That no millennial kingdom is in the apostle's thought is evident from two other phrases in these verses. "But now, once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin." Weymouth gives it, "at the close of the ages", and all modern versions agree; even Scofield gives in the margin, "the consummation of the ages". Relating this to verse 28, where we read, "He shall appear the second time, without ( or, apart from ) sin," a clear conclusion is forced upon us. This Gospel Age, wherein the great Covenant Atonement is being administered, is the closing age of human sin. It brings the record of transgression and rebellion to a close. On the Cross, "He put away sin" ( note the significant phrase ), and, although it continues to manifest itself in the world that denies His triumph, there is coming a Day when that Great Triumph shall obtain universal manifestation; when the Son of God shall forever separate all sin from His Kingdom, and shall need to deal with it no longer. And when will that be? The pre-millennialist says, "At the close of the 1,000 years." But Paul shatters that miserable delusion by stating unequivocally that it is when He comes "for those who look for Him". So note closely the inescapable implications of these oft-quoted verses. There are presented to us three things: the Close of the Ages, the judgment, and the complete abolition of sin. And Paul affirms that all these scenes are enacted, not over a long period of time, but at the coming of the Lord. So once more we have the Coming of the Lord set before us, NOT JUST AS AN INCIDENT PREPARING THE WAY FOR UNPRECEDENTED SCENES OF DEVILRY ON THIS EARTH, FOLLOWED BY TIMES OF UNPARALLELED PHYSICAL BLESSING, BUT THE GREAT CONSUMMATING EVENT IN THE WHOLE STORY OF MANKIND IN THIS PRESENT WORLD. The third statement we draw attention to is

Hebrews 10:25-31. In these verses the Hebrews were exhorted "not to forsake the assembling of themselves together" and a powerful impetus was given to this call by the words, "and so much the more as ye see THE DAY approaching. " What Day? It is the common phrase of the N.T., carrying its obvious implication that there is ONE GREAT DAY in the future programme of God, not several as dispensationalists affirm. Let the reader note how Paul follows on to warn his readers of "the fearful judgment" and the "sore punishment", etc. that will be meted out in "the Day", when men "fall into the hands of the Living God". The connection is so obvious, the unbiased mind cannot miss it. It is the one Day, to which believers look forward as the Day of their Redemption, and in which unbelievers will experience the vengeance of God. Scofield seeks to evade the plain implication of the passage by separating it into two, and calling the latter ( the judgment section, from verse 26 ) a "Parenthesis". What a wonderful thing this "parenthesis" is in Scofield's hands; it affords a remedy for every scourge that threatens the body of dispensationalism. Does a passage link the blessing of the believer, and the doom of the unrighteous in THAT DAY? Then call the latter a parenthesis and the situation is saved. A fitting name for Scofield's production would be The Parenthesis Bible.

Thus we leave Hebrews. One note vibrates right through—the Great Salvation, the hope of the O.T. as well as the N.T., and THE ONLY HOPE THAT HAS EVER EXISTED IN THE PURPOSE AND PLAN OF GOD. It sounds out a constant warning to all, especially Jews, of cherishing a hope of any Kingdom, House or Heritage, other than the provision of the Gospel. Thus it stands as an inspired condemnation of the fundamental principles of pre-millennialism.

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