Middletown, N. Y., Feb., 1899.
ELDER F. A. Chick – Dear Brother In Christ: – I feel impressed, as I hope, of the Lord to write you a few lines. Not long since I was in company, and the subject of the travel of Israel from Egypt to Canaan, came up, and during the conversation some views were presented that were new to me. While those views may be entirely right, and I wholly wrong, yet some of the thoughts presented did not agree with my experience, and since that time my mind has been very much upon the subject, and so far I have not changed my view, which is the same as I have ever had since I received a hope. I have read and reread your editorial of October 23d, 1895. I hope that I have prayerfully considered the matter, and I have hoped for light. Please understand me: I do not wish to find fault with your editorial, or with the views of others, but, if I know my own heart, I do desire to know the truth, and if I am wrong I do want to be righted. In some parts of your editorial I agree with you exactly. Other parts I do not see clearly. You say Egypt sets forth the world. This is what I think, (under the law.) The idea with some is, that we are only under the law from Sinai to Jordan. That the salvation seen at the Red Sea, was only a separation from the world, and has nothing to do with, and neither is it a type of the salvation in Christ, when we in our experience come to the stand still place; hemmed in on all sides, and see death pressing upon us. In my view, we are there given to see Christ the only salvation. While I know that Moses was the leader of Israel from Egypt to Jordan, there are some things which I cannot understand. You say, in your editorial, that Moses was a representative of his brethren. This I believe. You say faith separated him from Egypt. This I also see. When faith came, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather, to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, (that is of Egypt, or the world.) Moses was in Egypt when faith came, and it seems to me that I was, too. What does Pharaoh’s daughter here represent! You say in your editorial, in one place, the Egyptians were their enemy, and in another that sin is our enemy. I agree with you here. Did not the same water that saved Noah, destroy all others who were enemies to God? Was not the salvation of Israel at the Red Sea, death to the Egyptians, their enemy? Is it not so with Christ our salvation? His death saved the elect, and forever sealed the fate of sin, our enemy, or Egypt, or the world. I do not mean to say that the people of God are free from sin while in the flesh, but it has dominion over them no longer. We find that Israel passed through the Red Sea by faith. (Heb. xi. 29.) After crossing, the travel in the wilderness began. In a few days the law was given them written upon tables of stone. After our deliverance from Egyptian bondage by faith, we also find a law given us, not on tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart. This law proves us, teaches us what we are by nature. We find that we cannot keep the law; yet though we live in disobedience day by day, God is faithful, our needs are supplied, and we are not forsaken of him who has called us out of darkness (or Egypt) into his marvelous light.
Some have said, the law followed them to the brink of Jordan, where they are no longer under Moses, but Joshua, representing Jesus, becomes their leader. Does not Joshua instruct them in the law of Moses, after entering the promised land! Does he not command them to keep it! Does he not circumcise them? Does not Paul in writing to the churches say, If ye be circumcised Christ shall profit for nothing! If they were under the same law after crossing Jordan, I cannot understand how Canaan can represent the church. Here is a mystery to me. I have never been able to see Canaan as the church, or heaven, as some understand. If none of the children of Israel could cross Jordan, except under the leadership of Joshua, What can we do with the spies who went over first? You I speak in one place of the Canaanites, as a nation, fighting for the possession of the land, and in another as the lusts of our flesh, fighting; experimentally I hope that I know something of this warfare. You say that Canaan is a type of that rest which all believers enter into through faith in Christ. Was it not a place of war to Israel? When we enter the church do we find it inhabited by enemies, except in our own body? Do we not find kindred and friends there who are glad to welcome us to the promised land, and to our rest and borne! Do we not find in that land a people who know, love and fear God?
Now please do not think that I have written to criticise your editorial, or the views of others. I have written simply for information, desiring to be instructed in the word of God. If, after reading this, you can see a difference between us, please write me a line, that I may know the difference. I may not understand your editorial fully, but I think that I do the views above mentioned. It appears to me that what happened to Israel naturally, also does to the people of God spiritually, from first to last.
This leaves us all well. My wife joins me in love to you and yours, and to the household of faith.
I am your brother, I hope,
H. C. KER.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 67, No. 7
April 1, 1899