Among the multiplicity of published literature extant in the world in all its various hues and colors, the Bible stands apart, clear and distinct from all the rest. It is not, nor does it ever become, (as other books) “as a tale that is told,” but it is a constant and continuous testimony of the Savior of sinners. Who being revealed of God, enters into our conception and comprehension from a heavenly source, by divine light, which is the wisdom and knowledge of God. And this is how it stands apart from all other teaching. For all that we receive by sight or hearing comes through the teaching of men, or through our own natural research; therefore it is of earthly origin. While those to whom God reveals his beloved Son as their gracious Redeemer, are “born again from the dead,” “Not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” The Scriptures then have not arisen by any earthly means, but, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The Bible then is not a simple narrative of events in the history of the world, but in all its pages it presents salvation from death in sin (through the merits of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,) to all the chosen family of God; and it is written to God’s people alone, and even they cannot comprehend its hidden meaning, nor unearth its unending riches, nor solve its profound mysteries, through the natural understanding of the carnal mind, for that is enmity to God. But as they receive natural life from a natural birth, so from a spiritual birth they receive spiritual life, and from the spiritual life comes spiritual blessings in wisdom and knowledge of God, through the revelation of Jesus Christ, as the life and light of his people. The characters as set forth in the Bible are presented, not for the purpose of perpetuating in history the acts of men once prominent in the world; neither are they intended to emulate deeds of valor, or of greatness, but with one simple end in view, they present in type, in pattern and in shadow, the whole arrangement of God in salvation, as wrought out through the atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The acts of every character and all events point to him. As a scaffolding erected about a building, as a means by which the structure is reared, (not created) so all things and all events in this natural world work together for the upbuilding of the church of Christ. And just as all Bible teaching comes down to the earth (not out of the earth) through a revealed religion, so also the church of Christ, the city of God, the new Jerusalem, cometh down out of heaven from our God. This heavenly city is built upon the foundation of the characters presented in the Bible, (the prophets and the apostles) “Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.” While the salvation of God (through Jesus) is presented by each character, yet each one is a distinct type in itself, setting forth some particular phase of the work of grace, or in the emblem of him who came to do the will of his Father in the work designed for him, according to the wise counsel and pleasure of the Father. In the varied experiences of the saints of God, they behold Jesus in the relationship, by which they are delivered out of their distresses. Each day’s experience differs from the experience of every other day, because each day’s needs are special to that time. To-day we may be walking in the sunlight of God’s deliverance, having had returned unto us the joy of God’s salvation. We are happy in his love; we are comforted with much assurance in the Holy Ghost. Our cup runneth over. In such a happy condition what do we need today? It might appear that we are above and beyond the sense and reality of need. But such is never the case in the travel of God’s children. This day we need sustaining grace, for we need to be kept from falling into the same pit from whence we were just delivered. In every conceivable need which come to the pilgrims in Zion, Jesus presents himself to them as a God of succor in each need. “And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the Prince of Peace.” To those without hope, he comes as a God of hope, and to him in great tribulation as the God of peace. When we are weak and timid he walks with us as an elder Brother, and in the manifestation of our faith in public worship of him, he is the High Priest of our profession. When we contemplate our translation from the darkness of sin and death, to the light of gospel liberty, his name is “Wonderful,” for we wonder at the miracle of the power of electing grace. Do we need guidance in the way of truth? or to be shown the way of life more clearly? We enter into our closet, and shut the door, and we pray to the Father in secret. He is our wise “Counsellor,” and we are taught of him. Adam (the first character presented in the Bible) is declared to be “The figure of him that was to come.” This is the only true figure of Christ and his church. All other characters and events but foreshadow the mighty works embraced in the great atonement on Calvary. So the apostle declares, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the Unrigs, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year after year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” Both Cain and Abel were representative characters in the offerings which they offered. The offering of Cain was not acceptable, because in type it represented the works of the creature, which works are declared throughout all the Scriptures to avail nothing in the salvation of the people of God. Of this people John says, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” And Paul says: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” While on the other hand, the offering of Abel was acceptable, because it presented in type the shedding of blood, foreshadowing the sacrifice upon the cross, of which the apostle declares, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” It was therefore necessary that the pattern of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” As each garment which constitutes the apparel of man and woman is made after a pattern, and each separate garment is made after its own particular pattern, and the pattern must precede the garment, so also the garment of salvation, with which all the children of God are clothed, is made after the pattern of all that was portrayed in the characters and events as presented in the Scriptures. Moses was commanded thus, (as pertaining to all things that were to figure under the ceremonial law) “And look that thou make them after their pattern which was showed thee in the mount.” When we are favored by faith to behold Jesus as the way of salvation, and as the one great sacrifice (offered and approved of the heavenly Father) for the sins of all the people whom the Father had given him, we also behold the pattern, as shown us on the mount of God’s holiness, as wrought out in a night time experience under the law. On every page of the book of the record of our daily experience, we read by the light of faith all that which presents to our enlightened mind, both the pattern and its fulfillment. If we see a shadow, our eyes dwell not upon it, but we look for the substance, without which the shadow could not exist. Therefore has the Lord turned unto us a pure language, by which we are enabled to read the signs that are in the firmament of the new creation, and also by which we do lisp the name of the only begotten Son of God, in whose radiant countenance we behold his glory, and rejoice in it.
B. F. COULTER.
Philadelphia, Pa., Dec. 15, 1898.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 67. No. 2.
JANUARY 15, 1899.