(Continued from July issue.)
Willow Springs, N.C.
“She hath killed her beasts.” The provisions for one day in Solomon's household was thirty measures of fine flour, and three scores measures of meal. Then fat oxen out of the pastures and an hundred sheep, besides harts and roebucks and deer and fatted fowl. I Kings 4:22-23. Was all of this portion of God's sacred word, penned just to make history and to fill up space? Indeed no. For we are told that “whatsoever things were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Before this meal and flour was reduced to its present state, the grain must go through the upper and nether millstones, then kneaded together and baked in an hot oven. The blood must be drained out of the beast and fowls before they were prepared to feed the hungry of the household of Solomon. What can these beasts and fowls represent? Do they not portray in types and shadows, the suffering and death of the meek and lowly lamb of God who was delivered for our offences and was raised for our justification, and they more particularly point to the gospel day when we are blessed to sit down in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and partake of the heavenly feast, we too must be crucified with Christ (Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ.”) and die under God's just and holy law, and have part in his resurrection, before we can eat of the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood.
“She hath mingled her wine.” Wine is often spoken of to typify the gospel of Christ. (Songs of Solomon 7:9) The mingling of wine beautifully portrays the various gifts which God has placed in the church for the edification of the saints. “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.” 1 Cor. 12:4-5. And God has placed them in order, first the apostles then prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Eph. 4:12. One precious saint will often say, “I had rather hear Elder …. than any other preacher I ever heard.” Another one says, “I had rather hear Elder ….” What makes this difference? It is because his preaching is more suited to your experience. How discouraging it would be to the poor servants of God if all the household of faith were to center upon one servant and not one word of encouragement for the rest of us. But our God has so arranged it in his divine providence that each one shall receive his portion in due season, and get the flavor which is best suited to his or her taste.
“She hath also furnished her table.” The table which Solomon set was furnished with a great variety of foods with all the necessary vitamins to supply the body with health and strength, but would you suppose that all the food was good to the taste? My answer is no. My mother, when I was a small boy, often made me eat many things that I did not enjoy so well, but she knew it was good for my body. If I could have had my way I would have begun with the desserts and ended with desserts. I have often said that the children of God remind me of a family of little children seated around a table which was filled with coarser food and a dish of ice cream in the middle, and without the guiding hand of their mother they will almost invariably start on the ice cream and end on the ice cream. Why is this? The answer is because the cream is more delicious to the taste. But the good mother says you all must eat a reasonable supply of the coarser foods, then I will serve your dessert last. It may be that she has a suply of the better tasting food, but she knows that a well balanced diet makes a healthier child. So our God never questions you and me concerning the kind of food that we shall have. If we could have our way, we would live on love, joy, peace and happiness all the time. But ah! when he sees fit he gives us sorrow, trouble and afflictions. Now you can see that all the food that is listed on the menu is not good to the taste, but is it not good for the body? David said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I have kept the thy word.” Psalms 119:67. Now affliction was not good to his taste, but through this suffering he kept God's word. Can you read your own experience?
“She hath sent forth her maidens.” When we are invited to a banquet or feast do we not see the maidens serving the guests? No doubt, but what this was a wonderful sight for the Queen of Sheba to behold in the Temple of Solomon. Everyone serving in the place and order in which this Great King has placed them. Do you know of a more beautiful sight than to see the guests seated around and each humble servant of God handing out to the household of faith such things as the Master has supplied him with? The Lord said to Peter “Feed my lambs” and “Feed my sheep.” The Lord did not tell him to convert a goat into a sheep, but the words are simply this, “Feed my lambs” and “Feed my sheep.” John 21:15-16. Through the sufferings and death of Jesus under the law all the preparation was made for the servants (or maidens) to serve in the gospel day. “For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” John 6:55.
“She crieth upon the highest places of the city.” It will be noticed in the ninth chapter of Proverbs, fourteenth verse, that the foolish woman “sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,” but the woman who possesses wisdom, “she crieth upon the highest places of the city,” which is in keeping with the inspired prophet Isaiah. “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” Isaiah 35:8. What a comfort to the poor tempest tossed child of God, when the Holy Ghost applies the above words to your weary soul and you are lifted up and sometimes made to feel that you are in the way (Jesus). Abraham's servant said, “I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren.” Could he fall to reach the designated place since he was in the way? Jesus says, “I am the way.” “He putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them.”
“Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither.” How wonderful is the teaching of the Holy Ghost, though you feel to be weak in intellect, yet by degrees this great mystery is gradually opened up to your poor souls, that Christ Jesus dies for the ungodly. Though you may feel to be a fool, you shall not err therein. We have often heard it quoted “though fools, shall not enter therein,” but the scripture reads, “though fools, shall not err therein.” Isaiah 35:8. The reason that you cannot err therein, is because you are in Christ Jesus. Now we are led from law to gospel, and our eyes are opened to view the heavenly scene and receive some knowledge of the fact that he (Jesus) is made to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Then we can get a glimpse of the truth of the inspired apostle, that Jesus is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.
“As for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.” All of this was written for those who die under God's just and holy law, and their souls are raised up into newness of life. Then it is that the Holy Ghost reveals Jesus to them as their precious Saviour, for the inspired apostle Paul said that “no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” 1 Cor. 12:3. As the veil is gradually being lifted, and we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to get a glimpse through the lattice work and view the heavenly scene beyond, we are drawn nearer to our precious Saviour and can more readily understand that this same Jesus which Philip preached to the Eunuch was first manifested to us in the person of the Father; second, he was manifested to us in the person of the Son and third, he was manifested to us in the person of the Holy Ghost. John said, “for there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father the word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” Paul said, “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Col. 2:9. Now we can see that the Son is as old as the Father and the Father is as old as the Son, for John said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1-4. This same Jesus was Philip preached to the Eunuch has many names, some of which are recorded by the prophet Isaiah. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. The reader may inquire, how can this Jesus be both the Father and the Son? The term father means oldest, so in the first administration of the spirit in our experience, he is manifested to us in the person of the Father. The Father gives life, then arrests, convicts and condemns us through the administration of the law. Second, he (Jesus) comes to us in the person of the Son. The work of the Son is to fulfill the law and instruct his people and redeem them from under the curse of the law. Now when Jesus finished his work in the person of the Son, the son was crucified and was resurrected the third day, and after abiding here on earth forty days he ascended to the Father. The teaching and instruction which was given to his disciples by this Son Jesus was concealed in the law and revealed by him in the person of the Holy Ghost in the gospel. Before his crucifixion he said, “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:25-26. Do we not see a manifestation of this Son Jesus exhibited in the person of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost? “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4. May I ask this question, has there been any change in presenting the eternal truth of God from that day until this unless we are over-shadowed by the Holy Ghost and the Spirit gives us utterance? The Holy Ghost is the revealer of God's word. You may ask, what does the Holy Ghost reveal? Answer: the Holy Ghost reveals to the children of God the things which were spoken to them by the Son when he was under the law. When the Holy Ghost reveals these sacred truths to you, which is often done through and by his servants, you no doubt have said that I knew that, but I did not know that I did know it. Why is this? Answer: thee things were taught to you in your experience by the Son as a convicted sinner under the law, and the truth of this teaching is now revealed to you in the gospel day by the Holy Ghost. Therefore, Jesus said, the Holy Ghost will “bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Many of John's disciples came to the church at Ephesus, and Paul asked them if they had received the Holy Ghost, and they answered that we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost as they had only been baptized by John with the baptism of repentance. And when they heard the words of Paul, “They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” Acts 19:5-6.
In bringing my article to a close I will only mention a few thoughts in connection with the sixth verse of the ninth chapter of Proverbs: “Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.” In looking back through our past experience, as a convicted sinner, when we fled to the law for refuge, we can now see how foolish it was to try to justify ourselves by any works of righteousness which we can do, but, being poor blind mortals we cold not see the folly of this work system, nor could we comprehend the truths of the inspired word which was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, “But we are all as the unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6. Ah! how true to our experience, we have to be dispossessed of all of our legal good, under the law, and come to the end of our wits, and see the justice of our condemnation, under God's just and holy law, before we can know the true meaning of this sacred prophecy. The apostle Paul, in giving his testimony, which was directed by the Holy Ghost written to Titus, said, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” Titus 3:3. What a dark, rough and rugged route we had to travel before we could see the way of understanding. Our souls were enshrouded with darkness, and not one little ray of light could we see. We were like the children of Israel when they were oppressed by the hand of Pharaoh in Egypt, enshrouded with a darkness which could be felt, which also must have been the experience of the poor publican who could not so much as lift up his head, but smote upon his breast and stood afar off. He prayed and said, “God (he could not call then call him Father, I know this from my own experience) be merciful to me a sinner.” The scriptures tell us that he went down justified, rather than the Pharisee, who fasted twice a week, paid tithes of all he possessed and could not see himself a sinner before God. Inasmuch as Christ was delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification, we too, are crucified with him. Our souls are lifted up and the Holy Ghost reveals Jesus to us, and for the first time we are given a hope that he is our precious Saviour. May I say in my concluding remarks that this hope is so precious, that if it were possible you would not exchange it for all the gold and silver that this world affords. Now we can exclaim with the inspired apostle Paul, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20. Our eyes are now opened, our deaf ears are unstopped, and our heart is now prepared to receive the true instruction, that salvation is by grace, through faith, and that not of yourselves, but a gift of God. Is this not the way of understanding? Humbly submitted.
(Elder) T. Floyd Adams
Signs of the Times
Volume 114, No. 8