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THE GOSPEL IN LEVITICUS: The Feast of Tabernacles

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES

"Tell the Israelites to begin the Festival of Tabernacles on the fifth day after the Day of Atonement. This festival to the Lord will last for seven days." Leviticus 23:34


The Feast of Tabernacles closely follows the Atonement-day. It is a season of especial joy succeeding to especial grief. Highest delights wipe penitential tears away; and gladness loudly sings, where sighs so mournfully were heard.

This near connection teaches much. It is a picture of experience. It marks a path, which true believers often tread.

When is the Lord most precious to the soul? When are heart-raptures at their fullest tide? It is, when sins have been most keenly felt, and meek confession has most humbly wailed. Extraordinary beauty then shines from the cross. Then faith embraces it with stronger grasp, and fervent praises raise triumphant notes.

Morn is most welcome after stormy night. The rays most cheer, which gleam from a dark cloud. Peace is most peaceful after tossing doubts. The hope, which once was lowest, rears the strongest head. He most loves Christ who most discerns his need. The expiation-day, which ushers in the happy Tabernacle-feast, confirms these lessons.

The time of this celebration next claims notice. The date is, when all harvests are concluded. Not only barns are laden with their grain—not only toil throughout the fields has ceased—but vines, and palms, and olive-trees have added their full store. All that earth gives of plenty is received. The golden ears are reaped—the clustering grapes are plucked—the olive-boughs have yielded their supplies. Ingathering hands have brought their treasures home. The year's rich produce is all gained. This is the season for exuberant joy. Therefore God's word goes forth, 'Let Israel's sons now hasten to My courts.'

The lesson of this edict is most clear. When bounties multiply, more praise should sing. Reader, cultivate a thankful mind. Yours is an overflowing cup—yours should be ever-flowing thanks. Your daily table is spread with daily bread. With each day's light new blessings come. You merit not these gifts. Should not your life then be a Tabernacle-feast? Think well. No shame is like the debt of gratitude unpaid. No sacrilege is like the thankless robbery of God.

Peculiar rites are now ordained. All Israel's males are called from their accustomed homes. The shelter of their roofs must for a while be left. Booths are constructed from the boughs of trees. The olive and the pine—the myrtle and the palm—the willows of the brook—contribute spreading shade. These branches form an intertwined abode. And here throughout the feast the multitudes repose. They seem as pilgrims sojourning beneath the forest's arms. The city has become a foliaged tent.

Do any here enquire the significance of this singular decree? The word of God replies, "During the seven festival days, all of you who are Israelites by birth must live in shelters. This will remind each new generation of Israelites that their ancestors had to live in shelters when I rescued them from the land of Egypt. I, the Lord, am your God." Leviticus 23:42-43. This then is a reminding sign. It sets the past before the pondering eye. It calls the thoughts to intermix with bygone scenes. The population is thus made to live again the infant annals of its race. It here rehearses the marvels of the nation's birth.

Let us with them go back in wondering thought.

It was a solemn time, when God arose to rescue Israel's sons. With mighty arm He broke the tyrant's yoke. With mighty signs He led them through the deep. With beckoning hand He marked their march. With food from heaven He satisfied their needs. A trickling stream brought waters in their rear. With fearful majesty He re-published the glorious Law. He ordered a long train of Altar-rituals to shadow out redeeming grace. He framed peculiar codes to form their character—to discipline their minds—to seal them, as His chosen treasure. Such was the nursery of the favored tribes. Thus God came down to win them to Himself. What grace, what tenderness—what evidence of special favor! No nation ever saw the like. No family was ever thus espoused.

But through these wondrous days, they had no settled home. They wandered in a desert-waste. They dwelt in tents, as a wayfaring tribe. It is to fix these early dealings on their minds, that God constrains them year by year to sojourn in these verdant booths. Each circumstance around would re-awaken memory's delights. In happy converse they would trace and retrace their former mercies and their privileged estate. We are the people, whom the Lord has blessed. To us pertain "the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of God, and the promises." Rom. 9:4. Our fathers rested beneath shade like this, when first God called them to be His. The flame of faith would thus be fanned, and shadows of the past would add rich colors to their present joy.

Believer, here is instruction for your heart. You too should come apart, and take your seat beneath the branches of reviving thought. Contemplate the past. You once were in a desert state. There was a time, when God first visited your heart, and called you to His feet, and whispered words of love. Sweet was this manna to your happy lips—cool were these waters to your taste—and memory's wings should often fly back to these hours. Their record should be read, and read again. The grateful lips should often repeat, 'I once was dead, but now I live. I once was blind, but now I see. I had no refuge; now I dwell in God. I had no hope, now glory dazzles me around.' It is a rich Tabernacle-feast when faith reviews its infant converse with the Lord.

The booths, also, were a fragile shelter. They were not reared for durable continuance. A few brief hours raised them. A few brief days would see them cast aside. Here is a picture of life's little speck. What are these bodies, but tents of crumbling flesh? Today they live—tomorrow they lie low. Man breathes but to expire. The Word of truth exhausts similitudes to warn us of our brevity. Each rapid and most short-lived object shows that departure is at hand.

This is another lesson from booth-dwellings. Reader, you are a tenant of a falling shelter. Dream not of a long stay. In a few years at most, all the vast multitudes, who throng this earth, will have returned to kindred dust. This very day your tenement may fall. Live then with your loins girded, and your staff prepared to march. Act every act, as if your last. Speak every word, as if with dying breath. Move, as if moving to the judgment-seat. Flee every scene, where you would tremble to resign your life. Your tent is but a withering branch. You must soon leave it. Make sure your title to an everlasting home.

But there is deeper doctrine here. These lowly homes foreshow the tent of humble flesh, in which the Son of God scorned not to sojourn. They turn attention to Bethlehem's manger. Christ's perfect manhood is the fact, from which faith draws its deepest streams of peace. On this our rapturous eye should without ceasing dwell. The mighty God—Jehovah's fellow—indeed put on our flesh. He, who is far too bright for angel's gaze, has veiled His glories in a tenement of clay.

We must endure the penalty for our sin, either in person or by proxy. He takes our place. His Gospel is, 'My flock has sinned, and, as poor sinners, they are doomed to wrath; I come to earth to occupy their place, to bear their guilt, and to sustain their curse. Their life is forfeited—My life shall be the substitute. Just wrath demands their death—My death shall be presented in their stead.' Thus Jesus is a pilgrim in our lowly abode. Thus He responds to the main feature of the Tabernacle-feast.

Let us now mingle with the rites.

Throughout this Feast the Altar groaned with victims slain. Each animal was brought. Burnt offerings; grain offerings; sin offerings; drink offerings, scarcely found an end. Blood flowed in a full tide.

Reader, in joy's happiest flights redeeming blood must have a foremost place. No blessings speed but through a Savior's death. Christ is the pathway, along which mercies come. Sin chokes all other channels. Hence when praise sings, it looks towards the cross. The lips, which celebrate God's tender love, are touched with a live-coal from atonement's altar. None truly blessed, apart from Jesus's work.

The bulls in these offerings diminish gradually. It is not easy to assign the cause. The descending scale might show, that typifying rites were tending towards their close. Their end would come. The orb of day would soon arise. Then all mists melt into full light. So too faith's pleadings only last throughout the present time-state. Each hour brings consummation nearer. Then prayers and ordinances cease. Then Christ will shine in one unclouded blaze, and all eternity be one enraptured gaze.

But there were other ceremonies in these days. The joyful crowds come forth. Each hand uplifts a palm-tree branch, and waving high their verdant wands, they march around the Altar. As they move on, they raise triumphant songs, and send their loud Hosannas to the skies. The courts re-echo with a chorus of delight. While thus in thought we join this shouting throng, another congregation rises to our view. Behold a glowing scene. "After this I beheld, and lo! a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God, who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." Rev. 7:9-10.

Reader, this joy, these victory-shouts, this palm-waving ecstacy draws near. Shall you be one among the countless mass? Will your hands bear this conquering sign? It cannot be, if you are this world's slave. It cannot be, if your days toil for sin. It cannot be, except your heart be given to Christ—unless you are all cleansed in His all-cleansing blood—unless you make His wounds your life. They only, who are Christ's by faith, sing this Salvation's hymn.

Another service was adjoined. With golden vessel the priest approached Siloam's pool. He thence drew water, and outpoured it at the altar's base. This rite drew forth the loudest thrill of joy. The multitudes in swelling chorus sang again. They take the prophet's blessed words, "With joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation." Is. 12:3. Their spirits seemed to soar away from earth, and catch the rapture of the saints in light. If earthly shadows be thus glad, how will the heavenly realities exceed.

Reader, the eye of Jesus while on earth surveyed this scene. He witnessed and thus spoke, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John 7:37-38. Have these words come in power to your soul? Have you in truth drawn water from this saving fount? Mark—you are called. Christ graciously invites. He will not turn away. His word secures your welcome. Come, come, partake. The draught will give you life for evermore, and cause you to dispense the living stream. Come, and in spirit keep the Tabernacle-feast. Read not in vain the Savior's cry. Read not in vain this record of these festive days.

John 11:39-44

Come Forth

39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been [dead] four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up [his] eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.


Upon arriving at Lazarus' grave, Jesus commanded Martha to have the stone removed from the grave, but she objected. It is evident that she still did not believe that Jesus was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. She must have imagined that He only wanted to see His dear friend one last time.

It was a tradition that, once a grave had been sealed with the stone, it should not be opened again. In this case the body had been buried for four days and had begun to decay. The removal of the stone would expose the odor, dishonor the dead, and offend everyone present.

Jesus had to remind Martha of their earlier conversation in which He told her that, if she believed, she would see the glory of God revealed. That part of their conversation was not recorded, but Martha did confess that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of God. Therefore, she should not have doubted His intentions or His ability to raise Lazarus.

When the stone was removed, Jesus gave thanks to the Father for having heard His prayer concerning Lazarus. Then, He said that He never doubted the Father's faithfulness to Him, but said this prayer so that everyone would know the power and glory of God.

Then Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Lazarus, come forth." He needed neither magical incantations nor special rituals to bring Lazarus from the grave. The power and authority of His words were sufficient.

One day "...the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Nothing can stand in the way of God's power. He will call His people and we shall join Him just as Lazarus came forth to be with His Savior. In those days the bodies of the dead were wrapped with their hands at their sides, very much like the Egyptians did it. Yet, at Jesus' command, Lazarus was able to overcome the restrictions of the wrappings and come out of His grave.

Jesus performed this miracle after the body had begun to decay so that no one could doubt that Lazarus was truly dead. He performed it in front of His disciples, His friends, and His enemies. The Jews never denied the truth of what they had seen, but most did not believe in Him because they were blind to God's truths. Jesus performed this miracle so that the glory of God would be revealed to the people who were present and to each of us who read its account.

Doubting Him is not an option for us. We have all of the evidence necessary to know that He is the Son of God and has been given all power in heaven and on earth. James wrote, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:5-8)

Before The Throne:

Praise God for manifesting His power in ways that would give us indisputable evidence of His love for us and of His power over life and death. Trust all of your problems to Him and thank Him for hearing your prayers. Do not leave your prayer time with doubts still lingering in your mind. Pray until you have every confidence in Him. Rejoice in the knowledge that your prayers will be answered.

For Further Study:

(v.39)
** Take. Mr 16:3; ** Lord. Gen 3:19; 23:4; Psa 49:7,9,14; Act 2:27; 13:36; Phil 3:21;

(v.40) ** Said. 2Chr 20:20; Rom 4:17-25; ** see. John 1:14; 9:3; 12:41; Psa 63:2; 90:16; 2Cor 3:18; 4:6;

(v.41) ** And Jesus. John 12:28-30; 17:1; Psa 123:1; Luk 18:13; ** Father. Mt 11:25; Luk 10:21; Phil 4:6;

(v.42) ** I knew. John 8:29; 12:27,28; Mt 26:53; Heb 5:7; 7:25; ** but. John 12:29,30; ** that they. John 9:24-34; 10:37,38; 20:31; Mt 12:22-24; ** that thou. John 3:17; 6:38-40; 7:28,29; 8:16,42; 10:36; 17:8,21,25; Rom 8:3; Gal 4:4; 1John 4:9,10,14;

(v.43) ** Lazarus. 1Kgs 17:21,22; 2Kgs 4:33-36; Mr 4:41; Luk 7:14,15; Act 3:6,12; 9:34,40;

(v.44) ** he that. John 5:21,25; 10:30; Gen 1:3; 1Sam 2:6; Psa 33:9; Eze 37:3-10; Hos 13:14; Act 20:9-12; Phil 3:21; Rev 1:18; * Loose. Mr 5:43; Luk 7:15;

THE GOSPEL IN LEVITICUS: The Feast of Trumpets

THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS

"The Lord told Moses to give these instructions to the Israelites: "On the appointed day in early autumn, you are to celebrate a day of complete rest. All your work must stop on that day. You will call the people to a sacred assembly—the Festival of Trumpets—with loud blasts from a trumpet. You must do no regular work on that day. Instead, you are to present offerings to the Lord by fire." Leviticus 23:23-25


Israel's civil year was ushered in with animating notes. Trumpets welcomed the earliest light. Throughout the day the same clear voice resounded. A day-long cry aroused all ranks.

The Lord ordained this rite. It is a mine, then, full of teaching wealth. We see at once, that these long echoes were designed to awaken each slumbering mind. Is there not need? How many perish, because thought sleeps! Life is dreamed through. It is a careless passage down a rapid stream. Eyes are fast closed. Realities are never seen. It is rich mercy, then, to break these bands. Therefore at solemn seasons—and when each month commenced—but mainly when the new-year dawned, God bids the Trumpets to send forth this clang.

Reader, the theme shakes drowsiness away. Let all that is within us now take heed. Observe, these Trumpets sound the knell of a departed year. They dig the grave of days and months forever fled. They warn, that time once present, is now gone. The question follows, What is its record? What is the witness, which its pen engraves? Who can reply, without the sigh of shame?

There is no talent so misused, as time. Its golden moments offer space to trade for heaven—to seek God's face—to glorify His name. But this is not their one employ. Man rather seeks his own—his ease—his pleasure, and his gain. The dying saint often weeps his opportunities unused. The lost are lost, because life's course was not improved. Who can look back without a penitential tear?

The Trumpets tell of a new period's birth. God in His mercy gives a respite. Sinner, another day now dawns. You live. You yet may turn in penitence to God. You yet may gain heaven's bliss. You yet may flee the coming wrath. Say, can you doubt, or hesitate, or pause? The opportunity is in your hands. But, while you read, it flees. Oh! grasp it, use it. Turn it to salvation. May it now hear your inward cry, 'Jesus have mercy. Wash me from my every sin. Convert me to Yourself. Receive me to Your arms of love. Pluck me, as a brand, from hell!' The Trumpets warn, 'lose not another day.'

Child of God, your life too is prolonged. It is your only time to show your gratitude, and to work for Christ. Vast is your debt. He gave Himself—His life—His blood, for you. Will you not give this day—each day to Him? Vast is your privilege. You may do more for Him on earth, than all the angels, who surround the throne. Let no more sands fall through unused. Discern their worth. The night draws near. Next new-year's Trumpet may find your ears locked in the grave. Be wise. Thus the shrill Trumpets teach—Time was; time is; Repent; Amend.

Next they bring Sinai's mount to view. They had grand part in earth's most dreadful scene. It was a fearful day, when God descended to renew His Law. The air was one appalling crash. "When the voice of the Trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice." Ex. 19:19.

Reader, there is the deepest need, that man should often revisit Sinai. The Law is rarely read aright. Thick darkness hides its nature and its end. When truly seen, when truly heard, it cries, Behold the will of God—mark well, what all must be, who would see Him. Its terms are simple. Love—perfect love—in every movement of the soul, from earliest to latest breath. This do, and life is purchased; heaven is won. If you thus share His holiness, you may ascend His throne—the law presents no forbidding debt—the lips of Satan can prefer no hindering charge. But if you fail, then hope from self forever dies. The broken Law frowns terribly. It claims its payment. It utters its inexorable curse. Perfect obedience is its due. One breach makes it a foe forever.

Reader, heed then this Trumpet's voice. Obey and live. Transgress and die. You cannot stand the scrutiny. Your every moment is transgression. The curse cries loudly for your life. 'Bind him hand and foot—cast him into the quenchless lake,' is the Law's sure decree. See then the state of all, whose trust is in the Covenant of works. They lean upon a broken reed. They clasp a sinking plank. Their vessel leaks, and soon must sink. Their robe is nothing, but a filthy rag. Their best is sin. Their plea is false. Hence clear rejection stands before them. Their everlasting home must be outside. But outside heaven is within hell. Their never-ending cry must be, 'Undone—undone!' Thus the Law cries, 'Flee hence. No sinner finds a refuge here.' Happy they, who learn this lesson from the Trumpet's roar.

But there is sweeter music in this rite. The Trumpet is assuredly a Gospel-sign. The Prophets who saw most of Christ, thus sings, "The great Trumpet shall be blown." Is. 27:13. John witnesses, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a Trumpet."

Thus faith is led to keep a constant Trumpet-feast. The notes of grace always send melody from Zion's hill. They call attention to Salvation's scheme. The world indeed is lost through sin. Its inhabitants are a rebel-race. They follow only their own heart's desires. Vengeance might justly sweep all to the fathomless despair. But no. God sends His Son with healing on His wings. And now a tender voice, with Trumpet-clearness, cries, "a remedy is found! This is my beloved Son, hear Him."

Reader, come listen to these clarion notes.

Your sins need pardon. It is all prepared. His blood has mighty virtue to wash all away. Its worth is boundless, for it flows from a God-man. If all the sins, which ever were, or can be, centered on your soul, they vanish in this stream. No case exceeds its power. No vileness is too vile. No blackness is too black. Whoever will, let him wash, and he is whiter than the whitest snow. Sweet are these Trumpet-tidings.

You tremble at hell-pains. You hear of fire ever-burning—darkness ever dark—the worm, which never dies—the misery, which finds no ease. These are sin's wages. But Christ saves from all. His suffering death extracts the sting. The Jailer cannot touch—the dungeon cannot hold—the chains cannot detain. This is a precious note. It calls from agony's extremest pang.

You hear the Law's terrific threat. Its thunder peals above your head. But there is shelter in Christ's wounded side. They, who are nestled in that safe retreat, smile at its wrath. The curse exhausted is a blunted shaft. The edge is gone. It can inflict no wound. This sound is precious to a sin-crushed worm.

You hear of heaven, and its pure delights. It is the home of God. None are admitted, who have not suitable robes. You pant for the pure rest. But you possess no passport of your own. You have no clothing for the royal court. But look to Jesus. His hands have wrought a wedding-dress. He stretches out a righteousness divine. God's eye desires no more. Its beauty far outshines the sun. Its purity makes angels dark. Reader, believe, and it is yours. Sweet is this Gospel-note.

You look within. Your heart is vile. Who can turn back the current of these rushing lusts? Can there be power to cause old things to pass away, and all things to be new? Look up to Christ. He is an ocean full of sanctifying grace. He speaks the word—the mighty Spirit comes—iniquity recedes—pure holiness takes root—the newborn soul receives a newborn life. This is a happy Gospel-note.

But fears live long. There is no saint, who mourns not daily falls. The wounded conscience takes alarm, lest Christ provoked, should turn away. It would be so, If He were man. But He is God. Christ is not Christ, unless He be unchangeably the same. His word, also, is gone forth. "My sheep shall never perish." Thus faith has an imperishable strength. While it endures, the soul can never die, and it endures because its Giver is, "I am." "Because I live, you shall live also." This Trumpet has a cheering note.

But trials thicken—temptations threaten—and affliction's tide runs strong. Death, also, draws near, and shows a chilling form. But still take comfort. He, who is with you, has an arm of power—a heart of tenderness—and a voice of love. In deepest billows, He will hold you up. And the last wave will waft you safe to Canaan's shore. Thick blows may batter, but will not beat down. The last blow breaks the gates of flesh, and sets your happy spirit free. Christ is this sure and present help. Be thankful for this Trumpet-note.

Reader, there is no need in life—in death—in present or in future days—for which Christ is not all-sufficient support. Behold Him. He is life for the dead—sight for the blind—feet for the lame—strength for the weak—joy for the sad—cleansing for the filthy—freedom for the bound—clothing for the naked—purity for the unclean—redemption for the captive—a God without to save—a God within to cheer—a God above to bless—a God, who came in flesh to die—a God, who reigns in power to help—a God who comes in glory to receive.

Bring me your misery, and I will show you its relief in Christ. He loves, as God. He aids, as God. He saves, as God. God is not full, if there can be deficiency in Christ. But God is full, and all His fullness is in Christ for His beloved flock. Reader, this is a glorious Gospel-note.

Say, can you slight this Trumpet-call? Hark! yet again it calls you to the cross. Past disregard has not closed mercy's gate. Yet you may enter in. All joy and peace may yet be yours. The plank across the fearful gulf is not removed. Hope is not dead, while yet you hear the Gospel-cry.

But linger not. Another Trumpet is about to sound. The great white throne will soon be set. "The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel and with the Trumpet of God." 1 Thess. 4:16. The Trumpet will sound—the graves will open—all the dead will rise—among them you must take your place.

Oh! realize this solemn scene. The world would try to ignore the dread account. But it comes—it quickly comes—and you must bear your part. Is your plea ready? Can you appeal to Christ, that you are His? Can you establish evidence of a saving interest in all His work? Faith can. It humbly reasons with the Judge, 'I may not die, for You have died for me. My condemnation is long past, it fell at Calvary on You.' This plea is sure. I ask again, Is this plea yours? The Gospel-trumpet still offers it. The Judgment-trumpet will soon demand it.

These notes were sounded by the priests. Such was the office of the Tabernacle servants. You Ministers of Christ, this work has now fallen on you. The charge is solemn. If notes are muffled, ruin follows. Flocks may rush hellward, following pulpit voice. Your teaching should be clear, as liquid words from Jesus's lips. The faithful herald has no 'yes and no'. His teaching is no shifting line. He shows not Christ today, and hides Him on the morrow. He builds not with one hand, and with the other pulls all down. He frames not a joint covenant of grace and works. He tells of no conditions, but man's need—no plea for welcome, but a ruined state. Only one refuge is proclaimed. Only one name is magnified. There is but one foundation laid. None but Jesus. "Christ is all." They, who thus preach, call to the Trumpet-feast.

John 11:33-38

Jesus Wept

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? 38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.


As Mary lay at Jesus' feet in worship, He saw that she was weeping. Looking around at the Jews who accompanied her, He also saw that they were weeping. Although many of them were probably paid professional mourners, it was a very emotional moment, and Jesus "groaned in the spirit." His humanity was perhaps never more apparent as He struggled at that moment for self-control.

It was not Lazarus' death that troubled Jesus so much as the unnecessary suffering of the others because of their lack of faith. Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead and therefore would have no reason to mourn his loss. The Greek word, which our text translates as "groaned," is embrimaomai. The word literally means "to snort with anger like a horse, or to reprove severely, denoting violent agitation of mind."

Jesus groaned in the spirit and not by making any audible sound, which tells us that He restrained Himself from expressing His thoughts and feelings. He was upset because there was so little faith; He was upset because His friends suffered this emotional distress unnecessarily; and perhaps He was upset at the hypocrisy of the Jews who were there because they were paid to mourn. Jesus was troubled, agitated, stirred up emotionally.

Of course, Jesus knew where the body was buried, but He gave them the opportunity to show Him. Perhaps this was His way of renewing some semblance of hope in them. They said, "Lord, come and see," and Jesus wept.

Verse 35 is the shortest verse in the Bible, but it is far from the least important. It demonstrates Jesus' human compassion for His friends, Mary and Martha. His weeping was not a sign of weakness but one of love. "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." (Rom 12:15) He wept for the Jews as well, because He knew that they would not believe in Him, even after they had seen the miracle that He was about to perform.

The crowd did not understand His tears. They thought that He cried out of His love for Lazarus, when His tears were, in fact, shed for them.

As concerning their comments, I could say it no better than Adam Clarke who wrote, "Through the maliciousness of their hearts, these Jews considered the tears of Jesus as a proof of his weakness. We may suppose them to have spoken thus: 'If he loved him so well, why did he not heal him? And if he could have healed him, why did he not do it, seeing he testifies so much sorrow at his death? Let none hereafter vaunt the miracle of the blind man's cure; if he had been capable of doing that, he would not have permitted his friend to die.' Thus, will men reason, or rather madden, concerning the works and providence of God; till, by his farther miracles of mercy or judgment, he converts or confounds them."

Thus, with a holy indignation that we perhaps cannot understand, Jesus groaned again in the spirit as He approached the grave of His friend Lazarus.

Jesus has so much love for us that it is beyond our ability to fully understand Him. He suffers when we suffer, weeps when we weep, and is grieved by the smallness of our faith. How many of us stop to consider His feelings when we sin or when we worry unnecessarily because of our lack of faith? Remember that He will also rejoice with you when you rejoice for the victories that your faith can bring.

Before The Throne:

Ask His forgiveness for your lack of faith. Pray that He will forgive you for all of the times that you have grieved Him. Pray that He will strengthen your faith and bring victory into your life. "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (Rom 8:37) That is His promise. Praise Him for it.

For Further Study:

(v.33)
** the Jews. Rom 12:15; ** he groaned. John 12:27; Mr 3:5; 9:19; 14:33-35; Heb 4:15; 5:7,8; ** was troubled. Gne 43:30,31; 45:1-5;

(v.34) John 1:39; 20:2; Mt 28:6; Mr 15:47; 16:6;

(v.35) Gen 43:30; Job 30:25; Psa 35:13-15; 119:136; Isa 53:3; 63:9; Jer 9:1; 13:17; 14:17; Lam 1:16; Luk 19:11,41; Rom 9:2,3; Heb 2:16,17; 4:15;

(v.36) ** Behold. John 14:21-23; 21:15-17; 2Cor 8:8,9; Eph 5:2,25; 1John 3:1; 4:9,10; Rev 1:5;

(v.37) ** Could. John 9:6; Psa 78:19,20; Mt 27:40-42; Mr 15:32; Luk 23:35,39;

(v.38) ** groaning. Ezek 9:4; 21:6; Mr 8:12; ** It was. Gen 23:19; 49:29-31; Isa 22:16; Mt 27:60,66;

THE GOSPEL IN LEVITICUS: The Feast of Pentecost

THE FEAST OF PENTECOST

"Keep counting until the day after the seventh Sabbath, fifty days later, and bring an offering of new grain to the Lord. From wherever you live, bring two wave loaves of bread to be lifted up before the Lord as an offering. These loaves must be baked from three quarts of choice flour that contains yeast. They will be an offering to the Lord from the first-fruits of your crops." Leviticus 23:16-17


No sickle moved in Israel's land before the wave-loaves had been brought. God's bounteous hand must be revered, before man's taking hand may work. Such was the ordinance. This was more than due worship. It was pure delight. There is no joy like gratitude. They most enjoy, who most perceive and bless the Giver. Reader, your earthly comforts should give wings to praise. Your daily blessings should uplift to heaven.

But when this holy service is discharged, alacrity pervades the fields. With cheerful heart—with animated look—with rapid step, the crowding reapers hasten forth. A rich abundance meets them, at each turn. All is busy joy. No hand is idle. Every sinew strains. Toil is delight, when toil is hallowed by God's smile. Labor is sweet, when labor is God's call.

Reader, come gaze now on this harvest-scene. Mark, idleness has here no place. This is a picture of what life should be. Now is our in gathering-day. So soon as every morning dawns, the ascending thought should fly to God. It is the time to reap. The crops are ripe. The gates are open. God calls. Who now may loiter or sit still?

Will any ask, where is my field, and what my crop? Whenever the true prayer is breathed, "Lord, what will You have me to do?" a beckoning hand will show the appointed task. But let these pages give a general hint.

There are the waving treasures of the Word. The Scripture-field is ever ready—ever ripe. How many stalks invite the gathering hand? Each hour should bring some golden riches to the garner of the heart. Reader, what have you gained this day from the rich Bible-page?

Next, there are peculiar duties growing at each door. Not one should fall neglected to the ground. It is most true, that human doings wash no sin away. "By grace are you saved through faith, and that, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:8-9. Christ and His worth—Christ and His merits—are our full salvation. No labor adds to this full cup. But works are surest proof of faith. Happy the life, which gathers a plenteous store! O my soul, seek earnestly the praise, "She has done what she could." Mark 14:8. An empty hand proclaims a graceless heart.

The world, also, is a wide-spread plain—thick-set with never-dying souls. These call for the ingathering. They must be severed from their earthly ties. They must be brought into the Gospel-garner. Will not laborers labor? Here every grain is an eternity. What! shall they perish through neglect? Forbid it all, who feel for souls, and love the Lord, and glory in His triumphs.

The reaping means are many. Some may go forth and bear the hot day's toil. Some may urge others to the Godlike work. All can besiege the mercy-seat with prayer. These rapid thoughts suffice to show, that Christian life should be a constant striving in a harvest-field.

But harvest-season lasts not long. Its end comes on apace. Time is allowed; but it has narrow limits. In a few weeks the fields are cleared; the sheaves are all laid up; work is concluded, and silence takes the place of noisy toil.

Reader, so all your opportunities expire. Your moments wave a rapid wing. Their flight is speedy. The ebbing tide cannot be checked. Death will soon close the working door. What you would do must then be quickly done. Say, do your garners evidence industrious life? Has faith been active? Has love never flagged? Where are your signs, that diligence has diligently toiled? Woe to the man, whose day is not a reaping-day! No idler clears a harvest-field—no idler rests in heavenly rest.

The Jewish harvest ran through seven weeks. The fiftieth day, or Pentecost, then came. This was a solemn feast. Now Israel's sons return to meet their God. Before their crops were reaped, one sheaf alone was waved. But now their hands present a weightier gift. The grain is kneaded into two leavened loaves. These are devoutly brought, as a thank offering from their collected wealth.

Thus gratitude expands. Each mercy should sow seed of larger thanks. As goodness falls in swelling showers, so adoration should ascend in higher flame. Our life should be an ever-deepening praise.

O my soul, thus try your state. Each day comes laden with fresh tokens of your Father's grace. Each hour adds blessings to your store. Say, is each evening's song a richer tribute of expanded love? Is your wave-sheaf augmented to two loaves?

But other increase marked the Pentecostal feast. When the sheaf was waved, a single lamb was slain. But now the word goes forth, "Along with this bread, present seven one-year-old lambs with no physical defects, one bull, and two rams as burnt offerings to the Lord. These whole burnt offerings, together with the accompanying grain offerings and drink offerings, will be given to the Lord by fire and will be pleasing to him. Then you must offer one male goat as a sin offering and two one-year-old male lambs as a peace offering." Leviticus 23:18-19. The altar seems to groan beneath this pile. A sea of blood flows, as a deluge, round. Here is clear proof, that faith's most happy act is to present redeeming blood.

These increased victims tell faith's story. It has its infancy—its gradual growth, and its maturer age. Its feeblest utterance pleads a Savior's death. Its weakest effort clasps the cross. But as years glide, the death of Jesus becomes more prized—its need more felt—its value more discerned. The aged pilgrim finds at every turn greater necessity to plead the blood.

Believer, is such your ripening state? More and more should be the motto of your life. Higher and higher should be your heavenward flight. Deeper and deeper should be your stream of love. Brighter and brighter should be your flame of faith. Louder and louder should be your song of praise. Fuller and fuller should be your offering hand. Wider and wider should be your fields of work. Larger and larger should be the produce of your toil. We are not straitened in our giving God. His kingdom's rule is to give more grace. Jam. 4:6. And true grace ever grows.

Such are the lessons, which the solemn feast directly gives. But Pentecost is more than pious offering for plenteous blessing. It is connected with most glorious scenes. The day recalls a grand event. Its date is on the fiftieth morning from the Paschal-sabbath. Let thought revert to the first Paschal-feast, and Israel's rapid flight from Egypt. Through fifty days they journey onward, and then Sinai's heights are reached. Instantly, what marvels meet them! Amid displays of terror and dismay, the glorious Law re-issues. The date displays it, as Pentecostal edict.

True it is, that Scripture marks not the coincidence. No voice from heaven shows the connecting link. But the fact is sure, and lacks not meaning.

This truth lies on the surface. While God is blessed, as tender in His providential care, His moral excellence claims reverence. The Lord, who crowns our earth with fruitful beauty, is He, who sits on the pure throne of righteousness. One voice commands luxuriant seasons, and the moral law. Thus, Sinai's code, and earth's rich plenty, are as converging rays to show Jehovah's brightness. Goodness is holy. Holiness is good. A finished harvest, and the given Law, are celebrated on the same fiftieth day.

One significance of the law is here, also, graphically shown. At Pentecost, the sickle has laid low the produce of the fields. It has performed its slaying work. This leads the mind to contemplate the Law's effects. There is no instrument like this, to sever souls from earthly hopes. Many, who now rejoice in solid peace, bless God for His awakening Law. They slumbered long on pillars of delusion. They dreamed, that all was safe—that life was no polluted walk—that God looked on them with no angry frown—that death would land them on the shore of bliss; that heaven would surely be their home at last. Thus they were rooted in unstable ground. But when the Law applied its searching rule, then carnal confidence expired. It swept them quickly from all tottering props. It placed before them the pure mirror of God's will. This showed the startling image of their native vileness. They saw, that penitence could wash no sin away—that reformation left them still unclean—that stricter walk still fell short of God's demands—that there could be no hope for sinful man, in sinful self. The Law's keen scythe thus laid them in the dust.

You ministers of Christ, here is a mighty weapon for your use. Apply it fearlessly to every heart. It shakes the conscience. It tears veils away. It paves the way for Jesus to come in. You often mourn the apathy of men. They dread not death, nor hell. Careless they live. Careless they die. No anxious thought disturbs. No sense of sin alarms. How can this be? The case is clear. They never spiritually hear the Law's demands. They perish. You must give account. The reaper plies the sickle's point to gain the grain. You too must use the Law to burst the sinner's bands.

But Pentecost presents another view. True, on its earliest day the fiery Law went forth. But when God's purposes were fully ripe, a greater marvel signalized its end. Christ came, and died. Redemption's work was finished. Types vanished in His glorious light. Foreshadowing festivals waxed dim, and the last Pentecost arrived. On this same day, Jesus expands His hands, and pours the promised Spirit down. Cloven tongues of fire fall, and blaze on the Apostle's heads. New powers of speech proclaim His presence; and in all tongues the Gospel-truth is heard. A blessed harvest instantly is brought. The gifted heralds speak. They tell of Christ—His dying love—His resurrection-power. The present Spirit seals the word. Blind eyes are opened. Frozen feelings melt. Pride is laid low. Strong prejudice gives place. Hearts open. Jesus enters. And on that day about three thousand souls were added to the church. Acts 2:41. Thrice blessed Pentecost! The church presents her First-fruit loaves. The reaping time of souls is come; and heaven's garners swell with immortal produce.

Reader, learn then from Pentecost, that souls are the grain—the Spirit the Ingatherer. Without His aid no efforts prosper—no success ensues. His presence is the might of means. His hand alone unlocks the sin-bound heart. His voice alone can pierce the grave of sin. The Spirit's sword requires the Spirit's arm. He is the only chariot, in which truth rides to triumph. Without Him faith cannot live—nor Christ be seen. Without Him, preaching is an empty sound—and toil but beats the air.

Servants of Christ, would you be rich in harvests of saved souls? Then never strive in your own strength; and never speak or preach, but wrestling for this life-inspiring power. Seek more His help. Lean more upon His arm. Pray Him to give your every word. Pray Him to write it with His finger on the heart. Then will your ministry be a Pentecostal-day. Then when the end shall come, you will present your precious shocks to God—and wave your Pentecostal loaves—an evidence of good seed sown—of good work done.

John 11:28-32

To Worship and Adore

28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. 29 As soon as she heard [that], she arose quickly, and came unto him. 30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. 31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. 32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.


After Martha had confessed her faith in Jesus as the Christ and the Son of God, she went to find Mary her sister. It is likely that Jesus sent her, because she said that He had called for her.

It was unusual for either Martha or Mary to leave the house at this time, because it was the custom that the mourner did not leave the house during the first week. During that time many people would come as comforters and would stand around the mourner in rows with not less than ten persons in a row. So the house was filled with people when Martha told Mary that the Master had called for her and, although she did it secretly, it was difficult for Mary to leave without being noticed.

Mary broke tradition. Jesus' presence was more important to her than the customs of her people. She immediately arose and left the house to go find Him. He was waiting for her outside of the town where Martha had met Him.

There is never any doubt about how Mary thought of Jesus. He was called the Master, or teacher, by His disciples. It was a term of great respect, but Mary had more than a great respect for Him. She adored Him and worshiped Him. She came quickly and without hesitation and she greeted Jesus by falling at His feet to worship Him.

"Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died," she said, repeating Martha's earlier comment. She too knew the healing power of Jesus but did not fully understand His divine essence. Nevertheless, she worshiped Him.

Meanwhile, the Jewish visitors who had come to comfort the family thought that Mary had gone to the grave and they quickly followed her. What a site that must have been to see their friend Mary fall at the feet of their hated enemy and worship Him!

We can only admire the heart and the faith that Mary displayed through all of this. Thinking that her prayers for Jesus to come and heal her brother had not been answered, she continued to worship Him. Having lost her loved one, she worshiped Jesus. Although she knew that the Jews hated Jesus and wanted to kill Him, she was not ashamed of her adoration for Him.

It is so easy to worship inside the walls of the church where only believers are present and the crowd is moving us along. It is another thing entirely to worship Jesus in the streets before His enemies, at the office where we might be mocked, or at a public assembly where even His name cannot be mentioned.

How far does your faith extend? Is it a Sunday faith or an everyday faith... a secret faith or a public faith? Will you express your love for Him before His enemies? Will you break with tradition and go against society to come when He calls? Do you love Jesus Christ with all your heart, your soul, and your strength? Think about it, because He will accept nothing less.

Before The Throne:

Confess the weaknesses in your faith to God. Admit the many times when you have failed Him, when you have failed to express your love for Him in front of His enemies. Ask Him to forgive your sins of omission. Pray that your love for Him will grow and be like Mary's. Ask God to complete the work that He has begun in you so that you will be more useful to Him. Fall at His feet right now and worship Him. Tell Him how much you really do love Him.

For Further Study:

(v.28)
** and called. John 1:41,45; 21:7; Zec 3:10; Luk 10:38-42; 1Thes 4:17,18; 5:11; Heb 12:12; ** The Master. John 13:13; 20:16; ** come. John 10:3; Song 2:8-14; Mr 10:49;

(v.29) Psa 27:8; 119:59,60; Prov 15:23; 27:17; Song 3:1-4;

(v.31) ** She goeth. Gen 37:35; 2Sam 12:16-18; 1Cor 2:15;

(v.32) ** she fell. Luk 5:8; 8:41; 17:16; Rev 5:8,14; 22:8; ** if. John 4:49;

THE GOSPEL IN LEVITICUS: The Drink Offering

THE DRINK OFFERING

"You must also offer one quart of wine as a drink offering." Leviticus 23:13


What a changed scene would earth become, if every heart yielded its throne to Christ! His smile is life. His lips drop grace. His rule is purity and peace. To realize—I am the Lord's—the Lord is mine—is remedy for every care.

That there is true happiness in piety is among the lessons of the Tabernacle-rites. On most occasions wine is outpoured, within these courts; and a Drink offering completes the worship. This seems intended to express, that gladness thrills throughout the soul, which renders homage to a reconciled God.

Eternal Spirit, grant Your revealing rays, that so the Drink offering may shed enlivening savor round!

Reader, begin by viewing well the offering now brought. There is a cup produced. The contents of this are wine. Can faith hear this, and not fly swiftly to the last Paschal-feast? Oh! wondrous sight! The time is fully come for shadows to recede. The mighty substance brightly shines. He, to whom all types point, at this grand moment, takes a cup full of the juice of vine. Ponder His action—feast upon His words. He uplifts thanks, then gives the vessel to His little flock. "This is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Matt. 26:28.

At this hallowed feast we safely reach one eminence of truth. Wine is here chosen as a Gospel-sign. It henceforth bears divine inscription. It takes its place among the holiest symbols. "This is my blood." Our hands thus find a key, which opens the mystic treasure-house of the Drink offering. The vessel holds the choicest emblem of redeeming grace. We may no more behold it, without the prominent remembrance of blood.

Reader, mark the Drink offering now, and let deep reverence deepen. Its fluid shows that stream from Calvary, which is exceeding preciousness in heaven and earth. Jesus has blood, or else He is not man. Without it, He is no kinsman to our race. He must be man, if He will be man's surety. He must have blood, if He will verily be man. But He assumes it without ceasing to be God. His blood is man's, and yet divine. His blood is God's, and yet human. Mystery of grace! Angels marvel, while they view it. Saints in heaven record its power. Saints on earth plead it, and are saved. My soul, rejoice in it! Love, praise, and use it more. The wine within the cup touches at once these strings of thought.

Next, what is the offerer's act? More is here seen than a cup brought. It is poured out for a sweet savor unto the Lord. Num. 15:7

We thus advance to see Christ pouring forth the blood, which He adopts. Until it flows, remission is not bought. Heb. 9:22. But His blood is not withheld. See in the garden, how it falls in showers. Behold the sufferer on the cross. His brow—His hands—His feet—His side—His heart, weep as an open torrent. Oh! blessed proof of full atonement made! Without this sight the trembling heart can find no peace. But in these drops we read Salvation finished. The trickling stream sends forth its voice; the Son of God thus dies—a death divine is thus endured—the Lamb from all eternity ordained is thus vicariously slain.

Children of men, none perish, because Jesus bowed not the head. Myriads rush hell-ward trampling on His cross. Take heed. The blood is shed, that souls may live. But its neglect is all despair. The outpoured wine thus preaches the atoning death.

We now approach the peculiar instruction from this offerer's cup. Wine is the sign of gladness. It speaks of lively, happy feeling. It is not an unmeaning word, "Wine, which cheers God and man." Judges 9:13. Thus this one symbol connects blood and joy.

We now are led to the delights, which flow from the redeeming cross. It is expansive joy in heaven and earth.

In heaven—because it clears the way for grace to execute its plans. From all eternity, God willed to people heaven with exulting souls. Before man was, salvation was decreed. But mighty barriers interposed. How can they disappear? Sin sank a fathomless abyss. How can sin-fettered spirits pass to heaven? God's council-chamber heard conflicting claims. While mercy wept; stern justice frowned. Truth closed the door, which love would sincerely expand. But Jesus smooths each hindrance. He brings all attributes to one consent. God now beholds His chosen race complete in Christ, all ready for admission to His throne. His heart desires no more. His banished ones are all brought back. His loved ones are all fully saved. He sits a glorious Father, at a crowded table. Each seat is occupied. The chorus lacks no voice. This is the noble triumph of the cross. God is well pleased. The word is true. The Drink offering of redeeming blood cheers God.

And do not angels find their share of joy? Their tender hearts yearn tenderly for man. When but one sinner turns to God, there is loud swell in the celestial song. Luke 15:10. How must the praise roll on, when, one by one, a countless multitude flocks to the cross? This blessedness comes all through Christ. Without His death—without His work—Satan retains his sway. Angels might pity, but they could not help. If they should all consent to die, their suffering would leave man lost. But where they fail, Christ gloriously prevails. He saves fully—wholly—everlastingly—a world of souls. Deep is the rapture, then, when heaven's bright inhabitants shout, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain." O my soul, it will be sweet to hear that song. It will be sweeter to respond, 'Amen!' Thus Christ is heaven's delight.

The Drink offering next shows, that here is man's unfathomable flood of bliss. But where are words to testify the joy of faith? The Spirit pauses, and exclaims, "Unspeakable." 1 Pet. 1:8. What lips, then, will essay to speak it? It is far easier to count earth's flowers, than the rich jewel of this diadem. But gratitude will strive, where power must fail. God Himself is the believer's overflowing cup. The great Creator—the sovereign Lord of all—becomes the portion of the family of faith. At all times there is access to His smile. The weary head may always rest upon a loving breast. When the lips plead, My Father and my God—my God and Father—then the full heart can throb no happier throb.

Jesus is in this cup. He invites us to read all His heart. It is a volume of firm love. He loved before the worlds were made. He loves, when worlds have ceased to be. He loves so largely, that He gladly gives Himself. He loves so fervently, that heaven seems vacant, until the redeemed sit enthroned beside Him. The soul, assured of a saving interest in this love, is on a solid pedestal of joy.

The Holy Spirit is not absent. He is sent forth to bless. He finds the heart dead, cold, vile, profuse with nature's weeds. The eyes now open to discern self's filth, and to adore the beauties of the Lord. Faith springs to being, and bounds rapidly to Christ. It nestles in the willing arms. It washes in the streaming side. Each day now dawns a grand reality of bliss. Life is not life, unless thus Spirit-born, and Spirit-taught, and Spirit-led, and Spirit-fed.

Angels hover round. They count it honor to subserve God's blood-bought flock. They shelter with their ministering wings. They cease not guardian-service, until they escort the liberated spirit in its upward flight. Let them exult, who are surrounded by this host of God.

Heaven super-adds its prospects of delight. It is a purchased home. From all eternity it was prepared. Jesus still works to make each mansion suitable. As flesh and blood cannot inherit: so mortal mind cannot conceive the awaiting bliss. But there are thrones, and crowns, and robes of white, and palms of victory, and songs of triumph. There is the tree of life, and living fountains, and hidden manna, and no more going out. Faith holds the keys of glory's palace. Shall it not pour out the Drink offering of joy?

Providence contributes daily peace. To many eyes this is a misty whirl. All seems confusion, without aim, or cause, or significance. Such thought is vanity's fond dream. No sparrow falls without our Father's hand. Each incident acts out a wise decree. Prosperity awakens praise, and brings God nearer to the view. Adversity shows earth's poor emptiness, and self's dependence, and so deepens filial trust. Wealth gives ability to glorify the Giver. Constricted means endear the heavenly prize. Life is the season to gain grace. Death lands on the eternal shore. Thus all events sow seed of good. Such is faith's Drink offering cup. It holds all this—and more—much more.

Believer, your Gospel-right is joy like this. God opens wide the gate, and calls you to your heritage. No, He commands you to partake. Hark! it is His voice, "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice." Phil. 4:4. If then your head sinks down, when thus enjoined to lift it up, you scorn the Word, and wrong your soul.

The Drink offering was duly brought by Israel's sons. To have refused, would have been bold rebellion. Is it less evil to go mourning, when God invites to gladness? Would not the angels raise triumphant songs, if Gospel-hopes were placed within their reach? Would they be sad, if called to your estate?

But may not cases be, when joy hangs withered in the Christian hand? It is so, when erring steps stray from the Gospel-path. Joys are luxuriant flowers beside the way of life. But if forbidden ground is sought, the feet are pierced by thorns, and gathering clouds obscure the cheering light. If Satan gain advantage, through prayer checked, or means of grace forsaken, or evil thoughts retained, then gloom and darkness follow.

But there may be return. Child of God, if you have entered evil climate, marvel not, that flowers fade. But still give thanks, that yet you live to mourn. Utter the prayer—which never can go forth in vain—"Restore unto me, the joy of Your Salvation, and uphold me with Your free Spirit." Ps. 51:12.

Reader, you thus see the truth, that joys walk closely by the side of Christ. But they walk only there. We cannot breathe without the air. We cannot see without the light. Fruits ripen not without the sun. The soul is joyless, if it deserts joy's only home.

We see much misery, and hear sad moans. The cause is evident. Christ dwells not in the heart, and therefore sorrow holds it as his own. Learn, that all search for happiness is vain, except in Christ. Apart from Him, God gives it not. He then is a consuming fire. Heaven cannot grant it, for out of Christ there is no channel of conveyance. Some dig for it in the LAW'S mine. Nothing but curse can thence be brought. So, also, SELF is a stream, whence bitter waters flow. The WORLD allures to disappoint. Riches bring cares, and often stretch departing wings. Health, friends, and honors, drop the mask, and show a mocking skeleton.

Who can read this, and turn again to vain pursuits? You, who know Christ, and long to drive distress and anguish from our earth, the means are ready. Use them—use them. Diffuse the knowledge of Christ's saving name. Open a door, that God's word may have freer course. Enlarge the Missionary-band. Convey glad tidings to the lost at home—abroad. Let your one effort be to expel sorrow by admitting Christ.

John 11:23-27

I Believe!

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.


Martha had confessed that she knew God would do anything Jesus asked Him to do, implying that she wanted Him to raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus said, "Thy brother shall rise again."

Martha thought that He spoke of the resurrection of the last day. This is a typical response. We always say that we trust in God, but for some reason we do not expect to see Him do miracles in our lives. Martha believed in the resurrection but she did not expect Jesus to raise Lazarus right then, even though that is what she was hinting at.

The belief in the resurrection was controversial in those days. The Pharisees believed in it, but the Sadducees denied it. Jewish writings after the captivity are full of the doctrine of the resurrection which was to occur in the "day of consolation." Martha was apparently familiar with the doctrine and believed it.

"I am the resurrection, and the life." He was able to raise men from the dead without having to ask the Father. He has the power over life and death, and anyone who believes in Him has life, even though his body might appear to be dead.

To believe in Jesus is to have eternal life. He has made an earnest down payment for us by His own death and resurrection. Because He lives, we have hope and the evidence that our hope is not in vain. When He returns we shall all rise to be with Him and we will be changed to be like Him (1 John 3:2). And this promise is not only made to the Jews; it is made to everyone, to whosoever believeth (v.26).

The question that Jesus had for Martha is the same one that He has for each of us. "Do you believe?" It is little help for us to have such knowledge about the Messiah, if we do not believe in Him ourselves. More than intellectual understanding of His nature is required of us. We must believe enough that we are willing to put all of our trust in Him, to commit our lives to Him, and to be governed by Him.

Martha confessed that she believed, using the perfect indicative of the verb. "I have believed." Thus, she had always thought that He might be the Christ and the Son of God, but now His words confirmed her suspicions. Now she recognized that He was not just another prophet with heavenly influence. This was God in the flesh, who had come into the world for the salvation of mankind.

Martha was given hope for Lazarus and for herself. Jesus is the only hope that mankind has. As the wickedness of this world increases and we see death and destruction all around us, Jesus gives us the joy of knowing that there is something better waiting for us. His resurrection is our hope and our strength. In the words of Bill and Gloria Gaither:
"Because He lives I can face tomorrow;
Because He lives all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives."

Before The Throne:
How can we respond to such a message? Sing some Hymns to Him that express your faith and hope for the future. Lift Him up in praises and prayers of thanksgiving. If you want to be really responsive, go and tell someone about Jesus. That is the greatest form of worship.

For Further Study:

(v.24)
** I know. John 5:28,29; Psa 17:15; 49:14,15; Isa 25:8; 26:19; Eze 37:1-10; Dan 12:2,3; Hos 6:2; 13:14; Mt 22:23-32; Luk 14:14; Act 17:31,32; 23:6-9; 24:15; Heb 11:35;

(v.25) ** I am. John 5:21; 6:39,40,44; Rom 5:17-19; 8:11; 1Cor 15:20-26,43-57; 2Cor 4:14; Phil 3:10,20,21; 1Thes 4:14; Rev 20:5,10-15; 21:4; ** the life. John 1:4; 5:26; 6:35; 14:6,19; Psa 36:9; Isa 38:16; Act 3:15; Rom 8:2; Col 3:3,4; 1John 1:1,2; 5:11,12; Re 22:1,17; ** he that. John 3:36; Job 19:25-27; Isa 26:19; Luk 23:43; Rom 4:17; 8:10,11,38,39; 1Cor 15:18,29; 2Cor 5:1-8; Phil 1:23; 1Thes 4:14; Heb 11:13-16;

(v.26) ** whosoever. John 3:15-18; 4:14; 5:24; 6:50,54-58; 8:52,53; 10:28; Rom 8:13; 1John 5:10-12; ** Believest. John 9:35; 14:10; Mt 9:28; 26:53; Mr 9:23;

(v.27) ** Yea. John 1:49; 4:42; 6:69; 9:36-38; 20:28-31; Mt 16:16; Act 8:37; 1John 5:1; ** which. John 6:14; Mal 3:1; Mt 11:3; Luk 7:19,20; 1Tim 1:15,16; 1John 5:20;

THE GOSPEL IN LEVITICUS: The Sheaf of First Fruits

THE SHEAF OF THE FIRST-FRUITS

"When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first-fruits you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath." Leviticus 23:10-11


The book of nature is a fruitful study. That heart is dull indeed, which marks unmoved the varied beauties of recurring seasons. But they, who ascribe these lovely scenes to nature's course, pause at the threshold of delight. The infidel's cold creed can thus praise verdant and luxuriant charms. He only gleams real joy, who everywhere beholds the hand, the care, the love, the power, the truth, the wise decree of God.

My soul, bring God into your every view; and then the view is elevating rapture. Trace God in all the produce of the soil, and then the produce is a step towards heaven.

Our tender Father knows, that happiness thrives not, where He is hidden. Therefore in all His works He strives to fix attention on Himself. In feeding the body, He would show Himself unto the soul.

But goodness, as in nature's constant stream, may fail to impress. The regularity may rather lull than rouse. Hence in the case of harvest, a solemn rite is added to the Jewish code, to obviate the evil of indifference.

Reader, the teaching of this ordinance now claims your mind. Come listen to its voice. Mark well its apt solemnities. Receive its sanctifying moral.

When the season of the Paschal-feast returns, the appointed harvest tarries not. The early promise is fulfilled. Gen. 8:22. The firstlings of the grain are ripe. The fields of barley wave their golden heads.

But shall the gatherers now heedlessly collect their treasure? Shall thoughtless hands now bear the riches to the garner? Oh! no. The Altar must unlock the reaping gate. Hence the first ears are bound, as holy, into a holy Sheaf. The priest with reverence receives, and heaves it aloft towards heaven. He waves it to and fro. A victim is next slain, and then the happy reapers hasten to the crops. Such is the rite. God is thus sought. Then man begins the blessed toil.

Reader, survey this rite more closely. The harvest's first act adores the harvest's Lord. The first grains feed the altar. The first sickle cuts an offering for God. The lesson is plain. The thought of God should precede every work.

Let morning dawn with Him—to Him—for Him. Let prayer be the foundation-stone of each design. Nothing is well done, except begun in God. All is disorder, unless the First be first.

The priest uplifts the Sheaf on high. The First-fruits represent the entire produce of the fields. This is confession, that all earth's yielding is the property of God. Without His will no seed takes root—no blade appears—no stalk ascends—no grains mature. Man's toil and care may be employed, but all the power is divine. Where then is foolishness like his, who fondly dreams, that he is lord of lands? The richest hands hold nothing but a loan. Let that, then, which is God's, and only His, be wholly His.

The Sheaf is then waved to and fro. It floats from east to west—from north to south—as traversing the globe. This motion warns, that every spot, in every climate, is God's. His is an universal sway. In every land one sovereign owner reigns.

In this solemnity the offering is small. He, who might justly claim the whole, takes but one Sheaf. The large abundance remains for man's supply.

Thus, while a bounteous hand fills our garners; while valleys bend with corn; and clouds distill their fatness; the Giver makes His small demand. All must not be consumed on self. The poor need food. The shivering cry for clothing. The famine of the Word must be relieved. The heathen perish for the bread of life. Such are the claims on our First-fruits. Will any rush to copious crops, and grudgingly withhold God's Sheaf?

Reader, mark next, the Paschal sacrifice introduces the Wave-sheaf. A firstling of the flock, also, without blemish, accompanies the offering. A Gospel-truth here shows its light. The hand, which would bring gifts to God, must first be washed in the atoning stream. In every service God's eye looks for His Son's blood. If this be present, sure acceptance smiles. If this be absent, stern rejection frowns. The worldling's heart may throb a grateful throb. But it cannot approach in nature's filth. He must be cleansed, or he can gain no access. And nothing cleanses, but the blood of Christ. Cain would not live without some homage. But Cain despised the victim. He and his offering were cast out. Reader, let the sweet savor of the cross perfume your thanksgiving. Let this clear mark distinguish your thanks-giving. Then all your gifts, and all your life will mount, as welcome fragrance, to your God.

Already we have found rich teaching. But faith asks more. It has an eye, which ever searches for one object. It has a thirst, which Gospel-wells alone assuage. But here Christ's person quickly meets the seeking heart. The name of First-fruits—the day of offering—lead by straight paths to Him. The Spirit's voice is very clear. "Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the First-fruits of those who slept." "Christ the First-fruits; afterwards those who are Christ's, at His coming." 1 Cor. 15:20, 23. These First-fruits, then, distinctly picture Christ.

The day of offering next seals this truth. On the morning, which succeeds the Paschal Sabbath, the Sheaf is waved. On this same dawn Jesus arose, avowing himself the antitype. Faith, then, has solid ground, when here it chiefly sees the Lord.

Following this clue, let us now gaze on Jesus in this type. The Sheaf relates a tale of triumph. It brings back thought to a seed cast into the ground. To view, it was a dry and worthless husk. Earth's tomb then buried it. Mighty hindrances assailed it. The frost retained it with iron grasp, and many storms repressed it. At last it raised a living head. Here life gains victory over death.

Thus Christ descended to the grave. Life seemed to be extinct. Corruption threatened to devour its prey. The grave made fast its bars. But every foe is foiled. Death and hell yield. The tomb throws back its portal. The mighty conqueror strides forth alive. He shows himself to God—the First-fruits from the dead.

Believer, now in this Sheaf discern redemption finished by your rising Lord. It was an anxious moment, when the dying Jesus bowed His head. Justice had seized Him. To the prison He was dragged. In the conflict Satan was strong, while He expired. The anxious heart would anxiously enquire, will He now suffice to pay the countless debts of countless souls? He came—He died—to save; but may He not have failed? But before the question can be fully asked, behold, He rises; He lives; He comes forth again to God. All claims then must be satisfied; all enemies must be subdued. His resurrection manifests, that all hell's worst is now a broken reed.

Clap then the hands of joy. Raise high the voice of your ecstatic praise. Exult and glory in your waving Sheaf. The book of justice has no charge against you. The dying Lamb has washed the pages clean. Can the stern jailer now detain you? His scepter lies the shadow of a shade. Jesus, appearing on the third day, is full assurance of redemption finished, and Satan's empire spoiled.

Again behold the Sheaf. It stands alone—but it is not alone. It enters first, but a long train will surely follow. It is the earnest of the coming crop. It tells, that countless grains will soon succeed. Thus Christ is waved, the Head of His blood-purchased flock. His many members all gain life in His life, and triumph in His triumph. The Spirit sees this harvest, when He cries, God "has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Eph. 2:6.

Believer, this mystic-resurrection is long passed. When the Redeemer burst the bands, you rose arrayed in clothing of eternal life. God's eye beams on you, as brought back in Jesus to His home.

Know, also, that the reality is near. Doubt not. Death is to you a conquered foe. It will indeed approach. It will extend an icy hand. It will take down your tottering house. It will consign you to a narrow cell. It will call worms to do their work. Your body is sin-soiled; let it then be dissolved. But cast away all fears. Death's seeming triumph is a real defeat. It lays you low, that you may rise the higher. It wounds to heal. It weakens to give strength. It mars to bring in fresher beauty. The grave must part asunder. A clarion note will wake the sleeping clay. Those who are Christ's, will rise as portions of His body. But, oh! how changed! The crumbling dust will then shine brighter than the mid-day sun. Decay will bloom into unfading youth. The mortal will be robed in immortality. The fleshy clog will be all spirit.

Reader, our present thought cannot conceive such a state. But it is true, and it is near. The trumpet is prepared to sound. The Lord of life is at the door. Hear these sure tidings in the First-sheaf's voice, and glory in your resurrection-hopes.

But there is more than future rising—there is constant presentation here. This is one marvel of all the Bible-types; each form gives multiform instruction; each ray will split into a variety of color. So here a changing view reveals the never-failing work of Christ above. The great High-priest is ever standing before God. He there presents—not blood alone—He shows the Sheaf of First-fruits. He displays the many members, who compose His body. Upon His shoulders and His breast the names of all His Israel appear. He pleads, that they are gathered from the world. He offers them, as consecrated for His Father's use. If there is rapturous joy, it is when we look up, and see a Savior's hands waving our persons and our work to God. If, also, there is glorious prospect, it is the thought, that a great day is flying onward, when the whole mass shall really be reaped from earth's wide field, as holy as God—and fit for the eternal throne.

Another thought remains. They, who make boast of Gospel-joys, confirm their right by Gospel-signs. They, who are safe in Jesus's hands, display His mind. They, who rise in Him to a resurrection-state, rise with Him to a resurrection-walk. They move in this world, as "begotten with the word of truth, to be a kind of First-fruits of His creatures." James 1:18. They are no more their own. If God is theirs—they, also, are God's. They love and seek His glory. They wear His livery, and do His service. You who profess that you are First-fruits unto God, have you these First-fruit marks?

This offering sanctified the crop. "If the First-fruit be holy, the lump is also holy." Rom. 11:16. Thus the little handful of Christ's band leavens the mass of human race. Believer, see your calling. You are blessed above men, and you must be a blessing unto men. Your family, your friends, your country, the world, must be the better for your being. Your light must lighten—your salt must sprinkle savor—your grace must scatter grace.

Reader, are you these First-fruits unto God?

John 11:17-22

Limiting God

17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. 18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: 19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. 21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.


Upon His arrival at Bethany, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been buried for four days. It was the custom in those days to bury a person on the day of his death, but it was also customary to embalm the body; and this does not appear to have been done.

Bethany was only about two miles from Jerusalem, and Martha and Mary had many visitors from there. Among the visitors were many of the Jews, those who had recently attempted to stone Jesus to death. They came to comfort Martha and Mary but were a danger to their closest friend.

As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out of the village to meet Him. It is possible that she wanted to protect Him from encountering His enemies at her home. She also had a complaint. "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." She had enough faith to know that Jesus could have healed Lazarus, and her sister Mary would repeat exactly the same words to Him later (v.32). However, the two women did not have a sense of His divinity. To them, He was obviously a great and respected prophet, but not the Son of God.

They were not unlike many of us. They placed limits on His ability, limits that were defined by their own narrow understanding of the awesomeness of His person. They knew He could have healed Lazarus, if He had touched Him, but they did not understand that His powers were not limited by His location. Nor were His powers restricted to healing Lazarus from His illness. He could raise him from the dead, even after his body had begun to decompose, just as easily as He could heal him.

How do you restrict Him? Do you hold back from giving to your church or to those in need, because you are afraid that you won't have enough for yourself? Do you think that Jesus cannot provide for you or that He is unwilling to reward your faithfulness in giving? Where do you draw the line when it comes to living by faith?

Martha firmly believed that Jesus had a strong influence with God and that He could ask God for anything and would receive it. "Even now," she said, indicating that she believed He could pray for Lazarus' resurrection. At least that is what she seems to be implying without actually asking Him, but even that strong faith in Jesus limited Him to the status of a mere man.

Jesus frequently prayed to the Father, but that was out of love and respect for Him. Jesus said Himself that He could do nothing by Himself, but that was because He and His Father are one. Jesus did not need to pray to God, because He is God. All He needed to do was to speak the word, and Lazarus would rise from his grave.

"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18) He can stretch our finances like He multiplied the loaves and fishes; He can heal our illnesses, like He healed the blind man; He can protect us from harm, like He protected Himself from the crowd that wanted to stone Him; and He can do whatever else we ask from Him.

Sometimes Jesus asks us to do God sized things. If we shrink from our duty, we will never experience the awesome and infinite power that He is prepared to use. If we limit His ability to only those things that seem possible, we will never witness a miracle. Take a leap of faith. When Jesus calls you to do what you know is impossible, do it anyway, trusting in Him. Experience His awesome power and you will never be the same again.

Before The Throne:

Pray for the ability to trust in the limitless power of God. Ask Him what He wants you to do and go for it! Pray that every day in your life would be a day full of miracles. Praise Him for being the awesome God who has promised you all things for your inheritance. His promises are not limited by what you can imagine. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9)

For Further Study:

(v.17)
** four. John 2:19; Hos 6:2; Act 2:27-31;

(v.18) ** fifteen furlongs (about two miles). John 6:19; Luk 24:13; Rev 14:20; 21:16;

(v.19) ** to comfort. Gen 37:35; 2Sam 10:2; 1Chr 7:21,22; Job 2:11; 42:11; Eccl 7:2; Isa 51:19; Jer 16:5-7; Lam 1:2,9,16,21; 2:13; Rom 12:15; 2Cor 1:4; 1Thes 4:18; 5:11;

(v.20) ** as soon. Mt 25:1,6; Act 10:25; 28:15; 1Thes 4:17;

(v.21) n if. John 4:47-49; 1Kgs 17:18; Psa 78:19,41; Mt 9:18; Luk 7:6-10,13-15; Luk 8:49-55;

(v.22) ** that. John 9:31; Mr 9:23; Heb 11:17-19: ** God will give it thee. John 3:35; 5:22-27; 17:2; Psa 2:8; Mt 28:18;

THE GOSPEL IN LEVITICUS: The Sabbath

THE SABBATH

"Six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings." Leviticus. 23:3.


Leviticus enacts a train of rites. But their immediate purpose is brief and transient. Their life is short. They find an early grave. And now they teach, as records of a by-gone time—as text-books of the Church's infancy.

There is, however, a grand exception. In this code the Sabbath holds conspicuous place. But Gospel-beams have not obscured its light. It is no star, which waned before the orb of day. Far otherwise. It arose not as a ceremony among ceremonies. Sinai was not its birth-place. The wilderness was not its cradle. Therefore Calvary is not its tomb.

Reader, write this among undoubted truths. The Sabbath is as old as man. Adam's first day was hallowed rest.

The thought may here occur, why was Creation a six-days' work? Omnipotence requires no time. To will—to do—are one with God. Why was a gradual progress used? The reply is, God is wise love. Step succeeds step in forming worlds to sanctify our patient toil. God then announces, that He rests, to sanctify required rest.

Thus with high sanction, and benevolent intent, the Sabbath entered Eden by man's side. In its origin, it stands the firstborn of all ordinances. It is a portion of primary law. Its date precedes the date of sin. Away with the vain thought, that it is a short-lived flower of ritual field.

Reader, next mark how it endured. It flowed a blessing through the patriarchal age. That period was a foul hot-bed of iniquity. Rebellious hands were raised against God's will. Incessant blows were aimed at righteous law. But all this darkness failed to put out the Sabbath-light. Survey the chain from Adam until Noah. Adam received it. Intimations tell us, that Noah knew it. Therefore the intermediate links must have transmitted it. Eden received the seed. The ark upon the waters held the plant. Noah sends out the dove at intervals of seven days. Hence the conclusion is most sound, that antediluvian times observed the Sabbath-day. It lived, then, a long life before Judaic rites came in.

After the flood, there was extensive space before peculiar ordinances separated Israel's race. Noah and Moses are the extreme points of this line. The first, before the ark is left, recognizes, as has been seen, a weekly period. The latter taught, why manna fell not on the seventh day. Hear his clear testimony, "Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord." Ex. 16:23. This interval then dawns and closes with recognition of this day. The truth is thus confirmed. The Sabbath ever kept its unimpaired existence. Its stream rolled onward from the ark to Sinai's base. Again observe, its life is long, before Judaic rites come in.

Reader, advance to Sinai. A scene of more tremendous awe cannot be found. The thunder roars. The lightning glares. The mountain totters to its base. Appalling sights—appalling sounds—announce the present majesty of God. He comes to speak, as moral ruler of the world. The law, originally written on man's heart, is re-enacted amid prodigies of terrible display. Now mark what occupies the tables' central spot. It is the Sabbath-day. Thus God's own finger writes it, a portion of His unalterable will.

As such the golden ark within the veil received it. As such a curse attends its least infringement. Who now can turn from Sinai's fiery height, to pluck the Sabbath from its glorious place? It is no passing rite. It is the transcript of Jehovah's mind. It shines a jewel in the high crown of moral law.

When Prophets subsequently taught, did they remit its claims? Their lips denounce each violation, as a heinous sin. Their fervent eloquence repels intruders from the holy ground. They pull not down what God had raised so high. They cannot desecrate what God has permanently hallowed.

Next Jesus comes Himself. The mighty God instructs in human form. Are now the land-marks of this day removed? Is it laid open for promiscuous use. He has authority to bind or loose. As "Lord of the Sabbath," He is supreme. But He puts forth no abrogating power, when He states its purport to be the good of man. "The Sabbath was made for man." Mark 2:27. This is a mighty word. It looks backward, and forward. It seems to say, It always has been, for man always had need. It always shall be, for man will always need. Thus Jesus decks the Sabbath with undying freshness.

He finishes His work, and rises victor from the dead. Prefiguring ceremonies vanish. If the Sabbath's mission be fulfilled, it now will disappear. Is such the case? Far otherwise. A change indeed is made, but only to set the edifice on firmer base, and to bind it more closely to our living Head. The resurrection-day becomes the Christian rest. The same memorial records creation ended, and redemption finished. The same repose reminds of two completed works. The Lord's day tells of rest, when worlds were made—of rest, when souls were saved.

Next call Apostles to bear witness. They were most jealous of the Gospel-truth. With open mouth they warn, that the Judaic forms had fallen, as autumnal leaves. But no word from their lips—no thought in their pages—chases the Sabbath from our sight. Oh! no. They keep—they reverence—they commend it. As soon would they deny the Lord, as undervalue the Lord's day.

Reader, review now its position. It is God's first command. The Patriarchs kept it. Sinai preached it. The holy tables gave it central place. The holy Ark encased it. The Jewish church revered it. Prophets enforced it. Jesus upheld it. The Apostles sanctioned it. The Christian church throughout all time has prized it. The prophetic finger still points to it as a last-day blessing. Isa 66:23. Eternity waits to be an eternity of Sabbath.

What, if profane indifference would tread it down? Vain is the effort. It still must live. It has an innate life. The will, which made it, is divine. As in the ark, it rode triumphant over ungodly graves, so now it strides above ungodly foes. It must march on, until time is lost in one Sabbatic rest.

Reader, thus holy is the tree. Come sit awhile beneath its shade. Much precious fruit descends. It showers down rest upon a work-worn world.

Man's body is a wondrous fabric. Its various parts are exquisitely wrought. They are designed for toil. But toil brings strain. Rest must repair the waste. Rest must renew the vigor. Rest must bring oil to the wheels. The Sabbath day supplies it. "The seventh-day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God, in it you shall not do any work." Ex. 20:10.

Would man give this indulgence to himself? The love of gain—the reckless lust of profit—grudges each moment unemployed. It counts it to be miserable loss. Man would work self to early wreck, and drive self an early skeleton to dust.

Would man grant this repose to other men? Heartless taskmasters would lash their victims to a ceaseless mill. Work! work! would be the only cry. Work! work! until the enfeebled dying hands could no more move. If God's most positive command scarcely restrains, what would earth be, if left unchecked to human mercy? A dwindled race would fall as blighted buds. Incessant labor would be incessant woe.

Is renewed energy of body the fruit of seasonable rest? Let every tongue, then, bless the Sabbath's Lord.

But fleshy material is not the whole of man. There is that wondrous inner gift—the mind. There is the chamber, in which thought resides—the cradle, in which ideas are nursed. Here is our moving mainspring. These fibers are fine. Their edge soon loses point. To overwork them is to destroy. But overworked they will be, unless the Sabbath interpose its calm. Experience often shows the stream of thought run dry, because the seventh-day barrier has been broken down. This respite saves our noblest faculties from pre-mature decay. Let, then, each healthy intellect sing praises to the Sabbath's Lord.

But this day is more than resting-place for body and for mind. It brings refreshing nurture to the soul. It makes not a vacancy to leave it void. It shuts out the world only to make clear room for God. True it is, that the new-born heart lives habitually above. Its whole employ flows in a holy course. But when the Sabbath comes, God is not only mixed in every thought, but God and His work alone are present. The Scripture is the only Book. Things heavenly are the only converse. God's service is the one concern. This day, then, is the school of spiritual well-being. It keeps alive religion in the world. It checks the hand, which would expel devotion. Now countless multitudes learn the plague of a sin-fettered heart, and hear of Jesus, and turn from misery to joy—from Satan's chain to glorious liberty. These are the hours, when crowds rejoice in views of dying love—in deeper draughts of sanctifying grace—and in larger visions of the eternal weight of glory. Can there be one, who would divert these channels of pure joy? Vain man forbear! Earth, spoiled of Sabbaths, is a rapid road to hell.

The Sabbath serves a higher value yet. It is much more than outward health. It provides more than leisure to gain grace. Its name and use are emblems of Christ Jesus. As a mirror it reflects His work—His truth. It is a scroll, in which faith reads from age to age, the grandest lessons of redeeming love. What is the Sabbath? It is rest. What is Jesus? He is rest. God rests in Him. Souls rest in Him. Eternity is rest with Him.

God rests in Him. Each attribute here gains repose. Justice has claims. Each sin is debt, which must be paid. Jesus pays all; and justice is content. Truth finds in Him complete fulfillment of its every word—and asks no more. Holiness is more than satisfied; for every sin is washed from the redeemed, and all shine bright in righteousness divine. Mercy and love here trace a passage for their fullest exercise. Their arms embrace a family of ransomed souls. In Christ they sing an endless hymn, and enjoy an endless joy. No more is sought. God is well pleased. Christ is this Sabbath throughout heaven.

Souls rest in Him. When once the eyes are open to the realities of sin, the torpor of indifference ceases. "What must I do to be saved?" absorbs the man. Duties, and penitence, and ritual strictness, present no mountains, which the feet refuse to scale. But efforts like these remove no load of guilt. They guide to no peaceful haven of repose. The wearied soul becomes more weary. But when the Spirit leads the anxious trembler to the cross, then all disquietude is gone. Here is the needed rest. What more can be required? Jesus brings in one flood of peace. The search is over. All is obtained. Jesus is all for everlasting rest. The husks are left. Refreshing food is found. Faith ceases from all empty drudgery, to take up healthy toil for Him.

Heaven is one ocean of repose. No billow heaves. No storm affrights. No foe can enter. No change can cloud the calm expanse of the unruffled sky. But what is heaven, but to see Christ, as He is—to gaze forever on His unveiled beauty—to sit with Him—to realize, that never for one moment can there be absence from Salvation's home? Heaven is heaven, because it is an eternal Sabbath by the side of Jesus.

Reader, you see the varied blessings of this day. If every breath were praise, it could not adequately hymn the love, which gave it. Be wise; be wise; and let not Satan rob you of your treasure. He hates the ordinance. He hates its profitable use. He knows, that it stands high, a barrier to beat him back. By many wiles he strives to disfigure it, as a dull and gloomy check to joy. Be not deceived. Can it be dull to walk with God? Can it be gloom to hold communion with the center of delights? Oh! no. The Sabbath-breaker is the wretched man. His heart condemns him. His unhallowed merriment is gall. His foreboding mind sees pains and tortures, which no rest relieves. The holy Sabbath keeper lives with God—for God. Can happiness be more?

THE GOSPEL IN LEVITICUS: Holy Blood

HOLY BLOOD

"And I will turn against anyone, whether an Israelite or a foreigner living among you, who eats or drinks blood in any form. I will cut off such a person from the community, for the life of any creature is in its blood. I have given you the blood so you can make atonement for your sins. It is the blood, representing life, that brings you atonement." Leviticus 17:10-11


How solemn is this ordinance's voice! It speaks a stern command. It sets a rigid fence around all blood. No common use may touch. No lips may taste. It is laid up among God's holiest things. All reverence enshrines it. A dreadful sanctity excepts it from the food of man.

My soul, this is a consecrated spot. Approach it meekly and in prayer.

What, if offence occur? What, if the appetite profanely take? What, if rash hands shall bring it to the table? Then penalty frowns terribly. God's smile withdraws. His favor ceases. Wrath darkens. Excluding judgments follow. The rebel is cut off from among the people.

My soul, terrors frequent this spot. Approach it meekly and in prayer.

But why is blood thus sanctified? No slight design can frame a law so strict. There must be significance—wise as the author—great as the originating mind. It is so. For is not blood the Altar's food? Yes. There is its constant flow. It is the stream from the expiring victim. Blood reminds of death, as the desert of sin; and it bears witness, that remission is prepared. Thus it is linked with expiating grace. No eye should see it, without thought of the tremendous curse, and of a substituted sufferer.

Blood then is holy, because it points to Calvary's cross. Its instant language proclaims Christ. It shadows forth the wrath-sustaining death of God's co-equal Son. It introduces Jesus bleeding, that souls may live. Blood is full symbol of the redemption's price. It is clear emblem of the one atoning Lamb.

Thus the grand significance of its holiness appears. When an enlarged decree gave animals for food, the prohibition was annexed, "But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it." Genesis 9:4. So soon as meat was granted for the table, this sign of expiation (the blood) was reserved. From age to age, until the expected Jesus came, the same forbidding voice was heard, 'Touch not, taste not, the blood. It is devoted unto God. It is most holy unto Him. It pictures out redeeming suffering. It is atonement for the soul.'

Reader, the elders of faith's family were thus constrained to note this mark. No day could pass without remembrance of its hallowed end. We live in Gospel-day. The wondrous death is no more veiled in mystic types. We gaze with open eye upon the blood-stained cross. We can approach the fountain opened in a Savior's side. We may sit down beneath the trickling drops. We may there wash our every sin away. Shall we, thus privileged, fall short in reverence? Forbid it faith, forbid it love, forbid it every throb of every new-born heart.

Come, think for a few moments of the grand antitype—Christ's blood. Ponder its worth—its use—its mighty power—its unspeakable results. And may the Spirit reveal its glories in their fullest light.

Revere it, for He is great, who sheds. Enter the garden. Stand beside the cross. The sufferer seems a lowly man. Scorn and affliction mark Him, as their own. Man verily He is. If it were otherwise, He could possess no human blood. But is He only man? Oh! no. In that poor body Deity is encased. He is the mighty God. He is the grand Creator, sovereign Ruler of all worlds. Jehovah's plenitude of power is in His hand. Jehovah's every glory is His right. Jehovah's everlasting being is His age. Godhead is His property. Divinity is linked to all His sufferings in flesh, to all His doings in our stead. That blood, then, is the blood of God. Acts 20:28.

If it were less, O sinner, what could it avail for you? Your soul is justly sentenced to infinity of woe; because your sins have trampled on infinity of claims. If all the angels in man's form could die a myriad deaths, the pains would fall short of what you owe. Nothing but boundless substitution can release. Jesus is God, and He brings blood, which is essentially divine. Therefore it is enough.

Turn not your eyes from the grand dignity of Calvary's Lamb. This is the marrow of all Gospel-hope. This brings in merit. God cannot ask, or find, a greater or a worthier price. Oh! bless the Father for this appointed help. Bless Jesus for this all-sufficient aid. Here is an able Savior, for the blood flows in the channel of omnipotence.

From its grand worth turn to its efficacious work. But here all tongues of men and angels fail. It is a theme, which endless ages of incessant praise must leave untold. It is the ransom-price of all the saved. This multitude is vast. Their number baffles number. Each entered life the slave of Satan. Each was defiled with darkest stains of guilt. Each owed a countless debt to every attribute of God. But now behold them. Their robes are white. Not one speck spoils. Their penalties are paid. Not one claim can be found. Their chains have dropped. Each adversary's lips are mute. Whence is their freedom? Whence is their uttermost deliverance? Whence is their open passage to eternal bliss? Whence their loud song—their happy praise—their mansions in God's court? The blood has washed, and they are clean. The blood has saved, and they are saved.

It is the peace of all the sons of peace. There was a day when the awakened conscience tossed on the billows of acutest pain. The misery, and filth, and woe of sin were deeply felt. The thundering law denounced its curse. The wrath of God displayed avenging strength. Tormenting flames glared fierce and near. All heaven frowned. All hell seemed gaping at the feet. To live was piercing fear. To die was agony of despair.

But all these clouds have vanished. A bright and lovely morn has dawned. Whence issued forth these cheering rays? They all spring joyously from Jesus's blood. The Spirit led the trembler to the cross. He opened an enraptured eye to see the cleansing stream. He showed its reconciling worth. He gave a living power to the truth, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Is. 1:18. Faith heard, and washed, and left accusing guilt behind. Faith looked, and entered on the pastures of repose.

It is the fruitful source of sanctifying grace. He is the holiest man, whose tent is fixed beside this well of life. He most flees sin, whose eye is riveted upon the blood. Can he love that, which gave those wounds to Christ? Can he embrace the monster, which pierced Jesus's heart? It cannot be. The sight of Calvary slays the love of sin. The cross unmasks the hideous form, and kindles righteous hate.

O child of God, make this your study. For first, for last, for every thought, here is food. Let morning call you to this view—let mid-day find it your delight—let evening's hours close round it. Here is a depth, which you can never probe—a height, which you can never reach—a length and breadth, which you can never grasp. Angels here fix a prying gaze. They wonder. They adore. But they glean no advantage from it. To you it is Salvation's price. To you it is the gate of heaven. Then study it with intensest thought.

Need I add, love it. Heart's every fiber should here entwine. It is the proof, that God loves you, as His own Son—that Jesus loves you better than Himself. He is not spared that you may be redeemed. Let then this blood sit high on your affection's throne. Hold it tightly in your soul's embrace. Your warmest feelings should here cluster. That mind is rock, which is not melted by such flame.

Need I add, praise it? All lips commend the charms of beauty and heroic deeds. But what is as beauteous as grace leading Jesus to the Cross? Where is a noble act, like His surrender of Himself for you? It is the bright display of Godlike glory. It shows Jehovah on His highest throne. It has done that for you, which nothing but itself could do. My soul, my soul, praise Jesus's blood.

Need I add, use it? Use it. When? In every hour; for every hour may be hallowed by it. Use it, when temptation's darts are flying round. It is a sure defense. No hell-sent arrow ever pierced the blood-anointed shield. Use it, when you seek light from Scripture's page. Those lines are brightest, in which the blood is seen. Use it in prayer. It is the plea of pleas. It goes directly to the heart of God, and wins a blessing smile. Use it in sanctuary-services. That service is cast out, which is not perfumed from this fragrant field. Use it in all your holy work for God. It consecrates the motive, way, and end. Seed, sown in Jesus's blood, brings harvests to heaven's garner. Use it, when death draws near. The chilling waters then recede, and a bright passage opens to God's home. Use it, when seated upon glory's throne. You then need noble theme. This theme is nobly fit for God.

You ministers of Christ, if any read, lift high your voices to set forth this blood. Your office is to show Christ's saving power. But can Christ save, apart from His atoning blood? Christ and no cross, is an unmeaning tale. You doubtless long to win souls to salvation. Here is the magnet of attraction. Cast wide this net, and large will be your gain. You strive to lead a righteous flock in holy ways. But flames unkindled will not blaze. Motives must be supplied. The mightiest motive is grateful love resulting from Christ's dying love.

You cannot prosper, without the Spirit's aid. It is His province to apply the blood. If this be cast behind, your helper will depart. Here is safe teaching, which cannot mislead. Here is a truth, with triumph in its hands. If then you would add jewels to the Savior's crown—use this grand instrument. The blood can uplift from nature's filth. It can upraise to God's own throne.

Parents and teachers, you have anxious charge. The young drink earliest lessons by your side. You occupy the heart's first ground. The seed sown by you takes deep root. The color of your words will tinge the life. Your precepts perish not, when things earthly die. Think, shall your training be a link in glory's, or in perdition's, chain! It will be so, according as the blood is shown or hidden. All knowledge, without this, is splendid folly. He only, who knows this, is wisdom's son.

Reader, pause now, and look within. The blood is precious in God's sight. Its type profaned brought woe. What is their case, who scorn the grand reality? Think, then, what is its value to your heart? Can you reply, I prize it above price. It is my all. Ah! perhaps you hesitate. Its blessed sprinklings are not on your soul. Remember Israel's dwellings. The door-posts without blood were no exclusion to the messenger of wrath. The absent sign gave passage to destruction. But your destruction has not yet arrived. Awake! Awake! Flee to this only remedy for sin. How blessed will this hour be, if it finds you blood-marked—blood-washed—blood-saved! Almighty Father, grant it, for Christ's sake! Compassionate Redeemer, plead until hearts yield! Resistless Spirit, conquer by these feeble words!

John 11:11-16

Let Us Die With Him

11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. 16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.


Having waited two days before going to visit His sick friend Lazarus, Jesus told His disciples that their friend was asleep. By this, He meant that Lazarus was dead, but the disciples misunderstood Him.

It was common in the Jewish dialect to say that a dead person was asleep. Perhaps it expressed their belief in the immortality of the soul and it certainly eased the morbidity of death to describe it as a gentle rest.

The disciples understood Jesus to mean that Lazarus was literally asleep, so they answered, "If he sleep, he shall do well." Sound sleep was considered to be a good sign when someone was ill. It meant that the fever had broken, and that the person was able to rest more peacefully. There were a variety of common old sayings like, "Sleep is a remedy for every disease."

The disciples did not want Jesus to go to Bethany, because they feared for His safety, thus they assured Him that, if Lazarus slept well, he would be fine.

Jesus, however, said that He would go and awake Lazarus from His sleep. This is what might have caused the confusion in the minds of His disciples. They had forgotten that the purpose for Lazarus' sickness was that both the Father and the Son should be glorified through it (v.4). This would be one more opportunity for them to see Jesus demonstrate His divine omniscience and omnipotence so that they might believe.

Jesus knew without going to Bethany that Lazarus was dead. (The disciples did not question how He knew. They were getting used to His ability to know things that the ordinary man could not have known.) He also knew that He would raise Him from the dead.

The disciples had yet, however, to understand that Jesus was the omnipotent God who could raise the dead by merely speaking a word. For that reason Jesus was glad that He was not present to heal Lazarus before He died. This gave Him the opportunity to teach His disciples by demonstrating His divine powers.

As usual, Thomas had his doubts about all of this. It is not clear whether He intended to say, "Let us go that we may die with Lazarus." or "Let us go that we may die with Jesus." Either statement shows His concerns about whether Jesus would accomplish His mission. Thomas thought that Jesus' enemies would take Him and stone Him to death. Yet, with all of His doubts, he was willing to go and die for his Lord.

Our Savior is the omniscient and omnipotent God of heaven who has power over life and death. He has proven it, not only by raising Lazarus from the dead but by also arising from the dead himself. Why then do so many continue to doubt? Why do so many people walk in fear? Has He not also raised us from the dead and given us new life? Then, let us go and die for Him, denying ourselves and taking up our crosses each day, so that He might be glorified. As Christians, that is our calling.

Before The Throne:

How can I glorify you, Oh Lord? Show me the way and I will walk in it. Help me with my unbelief... with my doubts... with my fears. Send me where you want me to go. If it should be dangerous like Bethany was for Jesus, stay with me and protect me. I will trust in You.

For Further Study:

(v.11)
** he saith. John 3:29; 15:13-15; Ex 33:11; 2Chr 20:7; Isa 41:8; Jas 2:23; ** sleepeth. Deut 31:16; Dan 12:2; Mt 9:24; Mr 5:39; Act 7:60; 1Cor 15:18,51; 1Thes 4:14,15; 5:10; ** awake. John 5:25-29; Dan 12:2; 1Cor 15:34; Eph 5:14;

(v.14) ** plainly. John 10:24; 16:25,29

(v.15) ** for. John 12:30; 17:19; Gen 26:24; 39:5; Ps 105:14; Isa 54:15; 65:8; 2Cor 4:15; 2Tim 2:10; ** to. John 2:11; 14:10,11; 1John 5:13;

(v.16) ** Thomas. John 20:24-29; 21:2; Mt 10:3; Mr 3:18; Luk 6:15; ** Let. John 13:37; Mt 26:35; Luk 22:33;

THE GOSPEL IN LEVITICUS: The Scapegoat

THE SCAPEGOAT

"Aaron is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be sacrificed to the Lord and which one will be the scapegoat." Leviticus 16:8


There is great power in words. A written page imprints distinct ideas. But when the pencil adds its skill, then objects stand in bolder shape. Forms seem to live. The canvass almost moves. So too the tongue may ably express the wheels and works of a complex machine. But let a moving model play; then intricacies open out; obscurities are clear. The eye stamps every part upon the tablets of the mind.

Transfer these thoughts to Gospel truth. Doubtless each statement there is a clear stream; each doctrine is a cloudless sunbeam. The blindness, which discerns not, is the blindness of the lost. But when types pass in long and varied train; when living semblances appear; then deep impressions gain a deeper root.

Reader, such is the teaching of God's glorious book. All modes are used, to manifest Christ Jesus. To see Him is eternal life—to see Him not is ruin's lowest depths. Hence words state facts; and types are joined to words; and images bring in their help. The Bible is a lesson for each class of mental grade. It is a text-book for each mode of thought. Is proof required? Israel's Atonement-day most graphically gives it. What prophets sang; and what apostles preached and what the Savior did, here take a shape, and through the eye impress the soul. Faith looks, and at each moment sees a pictured Savior. Each sight gives being to some text.

On this day many victims died. The stream of blood flowed deep. Each holy altar and each holy place received the reconciling sign. This visible display attests, that death is the dread curse of sin. Each sacrifice proclaims, that substituted sufferings avail. Sounding this truth, they are as heralds, who precede the Lord. If such be not their mind, they only puzzle and perplex. But year by year these shadowy rites recurred. Their note was to predict. They were as morning stars of a far brighter sun. Effectual aid was not in their previous display. They now have vanished. The cross has dug their grave. Their need is past. Christ, their full truth, has once laid down His life. That once is all-sufficient for all the sins of all His happy flock. That once fills to the full the cup of satisfaction. That once seats all the ransomed on the high rock of everlasting pardon. Who then are as blind as they, who now renew the sacrifice—once and forever passed? A bloodless offering is an dreadful cheat. It robs the cross of its consummate glory. It pretends to re-enact what has been done forever. Mock repetition nullifies the finished work. Judaic rites are Christ foreshown. Romaic mass is Christ denied.

But in the service of the atoning day, one part stands singularly forth, and singularly asks survey. Two goats are brought for a sin offering. The priest receives them at the tabernacle door. Then lots are cast. Man's mind may not select. Some unseen hand takes one for death, and bids the other live as the Scapegoat.

Reader, this scene reveals the council of eternal love.—Before the worlds, God's will called Jesus to the saving work. Each portion of the scheme was pre-resolved. Each was consigned to His receiving hands. This truth is precious comfort. They, who feel sin, need much to win their trust. They will not grasp a straw. Without credentials, Christ seeks their heart in vain. But when the Father ushers in the Son—when His voice seals the chosen Lamb—then pyramids of doubt sink low. He, whom God sends, is able for God's work. This rock is raised by God. It is enough. It must stand firm. What sinner can ask more?

The sentenced goat then died. Now mark, my soul, the uses of its blood. With this the high-priest ventures within the mystic veil. The mercy-seat receives the drops. The holy tent is also strewn throughout. Seven times the golden altar's horns are touched.

How fearful, yet how comforting, this sight! There is an universal need. There is a co-extensive cure. Man cannot move, but sin moves with him. Man cannot move, where reconciliation cannot come. There is wide remedy for the wide malady. But further mark the Gospel of this blood-red scene. Blood is our purchase-price. Justice has claims. The law has dues. Our debts are countless. Every moment swells the amount. How can we buy our souls from wrath? Our best is only sin. But let all creditors bring forth their books. Christ sprinkles every page. The dreadful writing disappears. Let heaven suspend its scales. Sin's load is an exceeding weight. But here is blood divine. Therefore it out-weighs.

Blood is our peace. Sin seen in its true light—sin felt in its strong power—is misery's misery, and anguish more than scorpion's sting. The broken heart is one abode of woe. The wounded conscience writhes, and cannot rest. But when the Spirit shows the blood, all dread forebodings cease. It proves, that peace is signed in heaven. It waves an olive-branch throughout the soul. It places pardon in the happy hand.

The blood has a sin-killing power. Sin is a weed with many roots. They widely spread, and ever strive to rise. But touch them with the blood. Let the heart feel, that sin slew Christ, and nailed the God-man to the accursed tree. How can that now be loved, which pierced that brow, those hands—those feet—that side? A holy feeling shudders at the thought. It clasps the Savior, and treads down His foe.

The blood drives Satan back. There is no place impervious to his tread. There is no moment free from his approach. No palace, and no hut exclude. He has a key for every chamber—every pew. No busy hours are too full for him; no stillness is too still. Nothing can daunt him, but this blood. The messengers of wrath passed not the lintels marked from the paschal lamb. So when this ensign is displayed, temptation starts and flees.

The blood bars hell. Those cells cannot admit a Christ-washed soul. If it be possible, let such approach. The chains refuse to touch. The fires curl back abashed. The gnawing worm can find no prey. The jailor drops his keys. My soul, see to it, that this blood is yours. It is sure safeguard against hell-pains.

The blood removes the hindrances to heaven. Behold the countless multitudes before the throne. All nations, kindreds, people, and tongues swell the vast throng. But every robe is white, and every hand uplifts a palm. The question has been put, "Whence came they?" The answer tarried not. "They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." My soul, is not your one desire to join this company, and share their joy? See to it, that this blood is yours. No other cleansing can remove the heaven-expelling guilt.

The blood fills heaven with songs. The ransomed fall before the Lamb. This is the substance of their mighty song. "You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood." Angels swell the strain, "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain." My soul, is time fast bearing you to raise this chorus higher? It is so, if this blood is yours. They cannot sing above, who have not washed on earth.

But seek again the ritual scene. It changes. The other goat appears. With anxious eye the multitude intently gaze. It is a moment big with results. The high-priest comes. His outstretched hands are pressed upon its head. This gesture is token of transmitted guilt. He then tells out the fearful catalogue of Israel's sins. In sign the substitute receives the mass of sin. What a deep feeling would pervade the camp! How many lightened hearts would say, 'My burden leaves me. The Scape-goat takes it, and I am relieved.'

The laden victim is then led away. It is borne beyond the camp—beyond all sight—beyond the track of man—to the far borders of a desert wild. Released, it disappears in rocks and thickets of an untrod waste. Unseen, unknown, forgotten, it departs from mortal view. It is now buried in oblivion's land.

There is no brighter picture of the full pardon of all sin in Christ. Faith knows this Scapegoat well. Daily it uses the relief. It hides no sin. It cloaks no guilt. It tells out all upon the head of Christ. Thus have I done. Such is my wretched state. But I cast all on one, who waits to bear, and bears it far away. Christ hastens away with the accursed load, and God's all-searching eye can no more find.

Oh precious tidings! Oh heart-cheering truth. The spirit wills, that this full comfort should most largely flow, and hence by frequent testimony He confirms the truth. Is the east distant from the west? Can we move through the intervening space? As we advance the horizon still recedes. Infinite separation infinitely separates. Thus far our Scapegoat bears our guilt away. Ps. 103:12

Can we recover what the ocean buries? No line can reach to the unmeasured depths. It has sunk downward, never to arise. Deep waters hide it, and it must be hidden. Such is the grave of sin. Our Scapegoat drowns it in a fathomless abyss. The word is sure. "You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." Mic. 7:19.

Can that be seen, from which the eye is turned? Are objects visible, when the front shuns them? Our Scapegoat hides transgression in the distant rear. Is it not said, "You have cast all my sins behind Your back?" Is. 38:17.

Who has not seen a mass of blackening clouds? They threaten to wrap all the skies in one vast pall of night. But suddenly the rays of sun dart forth. The darkness melts—the sable mantle becomes thin—and soon, how soon the gathered mists are gone, and one clear robe of transparent blue decks the pure arch of heaven! Thus when Christ shines upon the mountains of our guilt, they vanish, and no sight can more behold. It is so. Hear the Spirit's voice, "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and as a cloud your sins." Is. 44:22.

The tender Shepherd seeks each straying sheep. He never rests, until all be found. But no search finds His people's sins. A land of infinite forgetfulness conceals them. Mark well the word, "In those days, and in that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none: and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found, for I will pardon the remnant I spare." Jer. 50:20.

The covenant of grace has precious articles. They are all wonder, wisdom, love. The Father plans them—the blood of Jesus seals—the Spirit is the witness. This code declares, "I will remember their sin no more." Jer. 31:34. The 'Scapegoat ordinance' confirms the truth. Heaven is holy work remembered—unholy deeds forgotten.

Believer, you need comfort. Drink deeply of this stream of joy. Live pondering this gospel type. Lie down in pastures of delight. Your sins, so many, vile, and hateful, pass to your Scapegoat, and so pass away. Faith thus transfers them. Christ thus removes them. God sees you in the glories of His Son, and thus sees no defect.

Reader, have your hands touched the Scapegoat's head? If not, your loathsome load remains. Christ, and Christ only can relieve. But Christ neglected is all sin retained. And sin retained is filth and shame. What if death find you so? What! Oh! learn not the reply in hell.

John 11:5-10

Walk in the Light

5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. 7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. 8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? 9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.


John wanted to make it clear to anyone who would read his gospel that Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. It was not an inconvenience to Him to be summoned when Lazarus was sick. He spent much time at their home and was always treated with a generous hospitality, suitable for someone very special.

Yet, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, He did not go immediately to see Him. Jesus was in Bethabara, also called Bethany beyond the Jordan, which was about thirty miles from the Bethany near Jerusalem where His friends lived. It was a full day's journey. Lazarus probably died right after the messenger was sent to Jesus. It took a day for the messenger to arrive; then, Jesus waited two more days; and it took another day for Him to travel to Bethany. Thus, Lazarus was dead for four days when Jesus arrived.

It should be evident to us that, when the Lord delays the answers to our prayers, He has not ceased to love us, nor has He abandoned us. It is often necessary for Him to delay our answer in order to give us more than we asked for or to teach us the patience to wait on Him. God would be glorified more by the resurrection of Lazarus than by merely healing Him of His fever. Lazarus would be a more effective witness and Mary and Martha would learn not to doubt the intentions of Christ.

When Jesus called His disciples to go with Him to Bethany, they feared for His safety. It had not been long since the people there wanted to stone Him to death and it was dangerous for Him to return. His answer to the disciples requires some thought in order to unravel its meaning.

"Are there not twelve hours in the day?" Every day has its preordained time. God gave us twelve hours of daylight in which to do our work safely. Likewise, each of us has an appointed time to live in which we should be busy doing the will of God.

"If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world." A traveler must use all of the daylight that is available to him. He will not cut his foot against a rock while he can still see his steps. Jesus had to use all of the time that He had on this earth to accomplish what God sent Him to do. As long as He walked in the daylight, in His appointed time, God's hand was protecting Him. The time of His death would soon come, and it would be too late to work the works of God.

Jesus is our example. We also have an appointed time, and no harm can come to us, if we use that time to serve our God. Many, however, walk in the darkness of night. They do not see Jesus' light leading them. They prefer to walk in the darkness of this world, and it is a dangerous journey laced with all sorts of stumbling blocks. "If a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him."

Are you walking in the light of day? Are you using the appointed time that God has allotted you to serve Him or are you living in the darkness of this world? Is the light of Jesus shining in your heart?

Before The Throne:

Pray for vision. Ask God to show you what needs to be done, what can be done, and where to start. Ask Him to shine the light of Jesus Christ within you. Pray that He will help you to get busy on your journey with Him. Confess your faith in Him to protect you until it is your appointed hour. Pray that He keeps you from stumbling. Commit yourself to using every available moment to glorify Him.

For Further Study:

(v.5)
** loved. John 15:9-13; 16:27; 17:26;

(v.6) ** he abode. Gen 22:14; 42:24; 43:29-31; 44:1-5; 45:1-5; Isa 30:18; 55:8,9; Mt 15:22-28;

(v.7) ** Let. John 10:40-42; Luk 9:51; Act 15:36; 20:22-24;

(v.8 ) ** the Jews. John 10:31,39; Ps 11:1-3; Mt 16:21-23; Act 21:12,13; ** and goest. Act 20:24;

(v.9) ** Are. John 9:4; Luk 13:31-33; ** he stumbleth not. John 12:35; Pr 3:23; Jer 31:9;

(v.10) Ps 27:2; Pr 4:18,19; Eccl 2:14; Jer 13:16; 20:11; 1John 2:10,11;