THE SCARLET LINE

“And she bound the scarlet line in the window.” Joshua ii, 21.

There is no greater evidence of the changeless perfection and predestination of Israel’s God than his “declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done.” Isaiah xlvi, 10. The testimony given in the travel of Israel from days of old tells the story of the Cross; revealing the wonderful fullness of Redemption. Spies had been sent from the encampment of Israel to view the promised land. They were certainly not sent on a mission system; nor yet on the Means order of proclaiming from the house top; but were sent secretly. Joshua ii, 1.

“And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.” How they became acquainted with Rahab can be explained in like manner with an explanation of how the Queen of Sheba became acquainted with Solomon; of how the prophet found the widow of Sarepta; of how Philip became acquainted with the Eunuch (Acts viii, 26-39;) of how the lame man became acquainted with Peter at the Beautiful gate of the temple, (Acts iii, 2-11;) and when these questions are successfully answered, the fact will be clearly established, that we became acquainted with the church by the revelation of Jesus Christ. But these two spies found Rahab, “and lodged there;” her house affording them ample protection, as she had surely seen their divine order and mission. She says of them, “I know that the LORD hath given you the land.” We may well inquire how she knew it; and can as well answer that it gives us evidence that we can rest salvation in the hands of him who has declared; “No man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is save the Son, and he to whom the Son wilt reveal Him.”

The writer to the Hebrews fully answers our question; “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies.” Hebrews xi, 31. It was the faith given her of God that enabled her to see the divine character of the spies, and the mission of Israel; and she besought the lives of herself and family. “And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window, which thou didts let us down by; and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household home unto thee. And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless; and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him. And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed; AND SHE BOUND THE SCARLET LINE IN THE WINDOW.”

The scarlet line which was here the salvation of the Jew (this line which thou didst let us down by,) was also the salvation of the Gentile (Rahab and her household;) and it was effectual for we are told when Jericho was destroyed that the “young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel.” We have here a figure which certainly does not represent a mission system. The two spies were not publishing abroad their mission; and it is said she saw it by faith. She saw this upon the same principle that a child of God sees the church to day – the God-given principle of faith. What folly to suppose that we must give the worldling an opportunity to attend our meetings, our solemn gatherings, in order to perpetuate our organizations. This is the very essence of the Means doctrine, and entirely ignores the only way by which one can see the church – the revelation of Jesus Christ. Rahab saw by faith the people of God. She saw Israel as the servant of Abraham saw the bride of Isaac (a figure of the Church) by the well in Mesopotamia (Genesis xxiv, 13-25;) and which led him to acknowledge, “I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my Master’s brethren.”

Such an idea as we have exposed ignores the positive declaration of high heaven; “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” It ignores the declaration of God by the prophet; “I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; “Even every one that is called by my name.” Isaiah xliii, 6,7. “And gathered them out of the land, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.” Psalm Cvii, 3. Jesus says; “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew viii, 11. Such testimony forever settles the question of human means in propagating the doctrine of gospel grace, or adding to the gospel church. What have we to do in assisting the work? About as much as Hager (Genesis xvi,) had to do in fulfilling the promise of God. And our effort will always as hers, produce a “mocking Ishmaelite.” Genesis xxi, 9.

But to return more closely to the figure under discussion. We have noticed the effectual salvation wrought out in the type; the secure refuge which the house of Rahab afforded to whom she gave shelter; and the ensign of that salvation – the scarlet thread. Here is assuredly a figure of the atoning blood of Christ; which is effectual in the salvation of all his chosen family. “And she bound the scarlet line in the window.” The Banner of her hope; the ensign of her salvation was an unknown and unnoticed sign to the Jerochites, or any other worldly-ites who might have gazed with curious eyes upon it. It floated there by night or by day; and none but the chosen Israel of God could have interpreted its meaning. So we can well say, “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” 2 Corinthians iv, 3. “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 1 John iii, 1. The apostle tells us; “The blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from sin.” The scarlet line or thread was but a different form of the same testimony which had been made manifest from of old, by faith given of God to his own peculiar people. It was in line with the offering made by Abel of the firstlings of the flock; and of the offering made by Abel of the firstlings of the flock; and of the offerings of the patriarchs in which there was of necessity the shedding of blood; and this scarlet line ran down through all the ages in which the legal dispensation stood;

“As blood, fresh blood;
As constant as the day,
Was on its altar split.”

But we might well inquire in this dark and terrible day; and in this vain, ignorant, conceited, and sin-cursed age; can we see the scarlet thread?

The testimony is that Rahab bound it to her window. She secured it in such a manner that wind and storm could not tear it from the window of her home. The certain binding of this scarlet line represents a system secure in the eternal purpose of God, which conflict or trial cannot overthrow; but which must stand to all eternity.

“There’s not an if to foul the stream,
Or peradventure there.”

Typical place indeed that it should fly from the window! She could look out upon the marching columns of Israel, and read in their advance her own complete and final deliverance; as they could read the ensign of her hope, the emblem of her faith. But we return to our inquiry. From what church organization today can we see the scarlet banner fly? What organization (house) today affords a safe refuge, and floats the ensign of faith. It would be vain to look for such an ensign in the ranks of the great whore of Babylon, the proud, haughty, ignorant, and conceited Catholic church with its enslaved multitudes of all nations and kindred; its vile and accursed abominations. Nor can we expect to see the ensign of faith from the window of any one of her numerous progeny. But we must look to a Baptist organization; and dismissing al shade of new School-ism, and every other ism, except Old School Baptist exclusivism; we ask among what order of professed Old School Baptist is the scarlet line recognized; the doctrine and order of the Cross of Christ maintained?

We might pause a moment and inquire what is the atonement (at-one-ment) of Christ so clearly represented in the scarlet line? Is it not based upon the one and inseparable life of the head and body (church) the existence of both head and body in one inseparable, eternal, vital, and actual life-union from and in all eternity; so that the life of the head is the life of the body; and the death of the body is the death of the head in such a manner that the apostle could truthfully say; “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Corinthians v, 14, 15. We ask among what order of Old School Baptist is this truth maintained? Was not this atonement the direct result of the eternal decree of God which ordained the fall of Adam, as well as all incidents and events leading up to, or leading therefrom; as it is written, “For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis ii, 17. Here we have the spirit of unerring prophecy foretelling the fall; and that by one man sin should enter into the world; and “so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans v, 12. That through the fall of Adam and in the entrance of sin, a way should be opened up for the revelation of Christ as the Saviour of sinners; “that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans v, 21. And this testimony embraces the fact that the eternal, and absolute predestination of God decreed the fall of Adam, and all the dispensations of his providence in time, for the lifting on high of the Lord Jesus Christ; and the revelation of the vast wonders of redeeming love. We ask among what order of Old School Baptist is this truth maintained? And what shall we say more; of the doctrine of the Spirit Birth of Adoption, of the Resurrection of the dead, and the Final Judgment; where are these vital principles held and boldly preached?

Leaving the doctrine let us come to the order: First of all the exclusivism thrown around the Church of Christ. We are commanded to “Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill.” Psalm xcix, 9. “His foundation is in the holy mountains.” Psalm Lxxxvii, 1. The word holy here, we understand to mean separate. It is used in the singular in the first quotation referring we suppose to the church in her collective identity; and in the plural in the next instance, referring to the different branches of the one and indivisible church. But in either case she is holy to the LORD; “the holy city, new Jerusalem.” Revelation xxi, 2. She came “down from the God out of heaven.” If this be her lofty origin, she is assuredly not of this world. She is not assisted by its means, fostered by its atmosphere, helped by its multitudes; but moves forever separate and apart from all these upon “The way of holiness” (Isaiah xxxv, 8) upon which these can never come. We ask among what order of Old School Baptist is this truth maintained? And what shall we say of the church in her visible march today as she moves onward and upward upon “the path of the just;” as new issues come before us; new developments of antichrist are made manifest. As the world, the flesh, and the devil crowd about her gates for entrance; and allure her from the strait and narrow way (Matthew vii, 14) “which leadeth unto life.” Where is the denomination today that comes out boldly and fearlessly against all the beggarly institutions of men and other work-mongering schemes that are prostituted under the guise of being instituted by Christ or the Apostles? Where we ask? We listen in vain for an answer among all religious orders, save the sect everywhere spoken against. Acts xxviii, 22. We trace by faith the testimony of Truth stamped upon the wonderful work of creation as in “the beginning God created the heaven and the earth … and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” As light shines over the deep wonders of creation, we see “the scarlet line,” the figure of the atonement of Christ, in the declaration; And God made “the fruit tree (the vine) yielding fruit … and, behold, it was very good.” Here is a similar figure to that found in Isaiah Lxv, 8; “As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not, FOR A BLESSING IS IN IT.” And it is the figure of that which the apostle enjoins upon us, “The cup is the new testament in my blood; this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” 1 Cor. Xi, 25.

As we write, faith (we trust) carries us back to the days of old; and we behold again the marching columns of Israel upon the plains of Jericho, glittering in the sunlight of heaven; and the ark of the covenant borne in divine order with the wings of the cherubims o’er shadowing. What a splendid array! We hear the shout of triumph sound over the heaven-inspiring scene; for it is the dawn of a wonderful epoch in the travel of Israel, “a morning without clouds.” 2 Samuel xxiii, 4. And from the window of Rahab’s house floats the scarlet emblem of faith, known only to those whom God had given to know the mystery of redeeming love.

And now beloved brethren and companions “in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ;” may we be enabled by grace divine to heed the solemn admonition given to Israel in reference to the idolatrous worship of the nations which they dispossessed: “Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them.” “Thou shalt not take the silver or gold (upon their idols) … lest thou be snared therein.” Deuteronomy xii, 30. Deuteronomy vii, 25. May we be kept by power divine in this dark and evil day “unspotted (James i, 27) from the world.”

And “Unto him that is able to keep you (us) from falling, and present you (us) faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever, Amen. Jude 24, 25.

Elder W.M. Smoot
Occoquan, VA
March, 1909