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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament
Hebrews 10

 

 

Verses 1-25

ARGUMENT 11

LAW AND GOSPEL.

1. “Law” here means the bloody ritual of Sinai, instituted to serve as a schoolmaster (Galatians 3:24) to bring us to Christ. The innumerable bloody rites, which under the Gospel have been reduced to the simple eucharist, emblematized the work of Christ, while the vast and copious ablutions, typifying the work of the Spirit, have been simplified into the initiatory rite of water baptism. “For the Law having the shadow of good things to come and not the precise form of the things.” From this statement we see the folly of all sticklerism on Church ordinances. It is simple nonsense, since as we here see the precise form has not been revealed. The ordinance is the “shadow” of the great spiritual reality. A shadow is a very indefinite thing. It may be infinitely less or greater than the substance, owing to the position of the luminary, or it may have a very different shape, as there is nothing definite nor arbitrary about it. Hence we see the unscriptural folly of the vast dogmatism on water baptism, which has so long constituted the battlefield among the sects. In the first place, it is nothing but a “shadow” and utterly unsubstantial. In the second place, it is not definitely revealed as to form or quantity. This is divine wisdom, as specification would only augment the ecclesiastical tendency to idolatry, which has already wrecked millions of souls. Again, the “shadow” is no part of the substance and not at all essential to its existence. Hence the ordinances are no part of Christianity, nor at all essential to salvation.

They are only shadows representing spiritual realities. Multiplied millions of superficial professors have taken the “shadow” for the substance, starved to death, and made their bed in hell. No wonder, when they have so many preachers unconverted and utterly ignorant of spiritual, and at the same time egotistical and bombastic in collegiate learning, standing in the pulpit and doing their utmost to persuade the people that these empty shadows constitute the alpha and omega of the Christian religion. The Gospel is no ritualism, morality, philanthropy nor churchism. It is all spirituality. Paul, in Romans 1:16, gives a positive, lexical definition of Gospel, i.e., “The power [Greek, dynamite] of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” When the sinner believes convicting truth, then the dynamite of the Holy Ghost convicts him. When the penitent believes converting truth, then the dynamite of conversion strikes him. And when the Christian believes the great Bible truth of original sin surviving in the regenerate, then the dynamite of conviction for sanctification strikes in. When the consecrated Christian believes sanctifying truth then the dynamite of sanctification blows all the inbred sin out of his heart. It is sad to contemplate thousands in the pulpits and the pews utterly ignorant of the very definition of the Gospel they vainly think they preach and the religion they hypocritically profess. No wonder Jesus says the saved are few. The great popular churches, both papal and Protestant, have gone back into the fogs of Mosaic legalism. “Are not able to make the comers thereunto perfect.” Heaven is a perfect world. Hence all hope of heaven, founded on God’s word, utterly and eternally breaks down without perfection. The great trouble with all of this legalistic religion is that it is only a shadow, destitute of the substance, which is spiritual salvation.

2. “Since they would have ceased being offered because the worshipers, having been once purified, would have had no more conscience of sins.” It is a significant fact this day that no worshipers in all the world ever g rid of the “conscience of sins” except the “holiness people.” The simple truth of the matter is, they are groping along amid the shadows and burdens of the Law dispensation, seeking salvation not by the free, glorious, omnipotent grace of God in Christ, witnessed by the Holy Ghost, but by the works of the Law. It is wonderful with what rapidity the great Protestant churches are annually adding to their ecclesiastical codes more and more laws, thus burdening their necks with still more yokes, though they are unable to bear what they have. The effect of all this is to crowd God out, increase the reign of that legal bondage which is already intolerable, thus drifting farther from God and spirituality. The extent to which the intolerable legalism in the churches is multiplying infidels and alienating the multitudes from Christianity is simply fearful. They come and try the so-called Christian religion, find nothing in it but a yoke of bondage, give it up in disgust, turn infidels, make the most of this world and plunge into hell.

3, 4. If the Mosaic ritual, one hundred times so operose as the Gospel ritual, had no power to take away sins, away with the silly sophistry that simple church joining and water baptism will take away sin. It is nonsense in the extreme.

5-7. We learn from these verses that the body of Christ is the only ransom for the sins of the world. When Solomon dedicated the temple he sacrificed twenty-two thousand oxen and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. All this immense sacrifice had no power to take away sins. It is only adumbratory of the great Antitype bleeding on the Cross of Calvary.

Water baptism and the eucharist are surviving symbolisms on the same line, the latter representing Christ and the former the Holy Ghost. How utterly silly, preposterous and nonsensical to impute salvation to these minified shadows! The imputation of saving efficacy to church ordinances is downright idolatry. Their utility is simply to teach us the work of Christ and the Holy Ghost, without which the soul is irretrievably lost.

9. “He taketh away the first that He may establish the second.” God has taken away the Law dispensation that He may establish that of the Gospel, i.e., the pure spirituality of salvation by grace. It is deplorable with this statement before our eyes to see the Church of the present day crowded full of legalisms, if possible eclipsing the Mosaic dispensation, competing with each other in the multiplication of institutions and laws, the fearful trend of which is to idolatry and infidelity. No wonder they fight the holiness movement, which is really the only advocate of pure, Bible, spiritual religion on the globe. While the Law has nothing but conviction, and is utterly destitute of salvation, the justified Christian is in a mixed experience. The new creation created in his heart by the Holy Ghost by regeneration is under grace, but the man of sin conquered and hound in regeneration is still under the law. Hence the crucifixion of Adam the first is the only full and final deliverance from legal bondage. When a child learns its alphabet it passes on to spelling and reading; forever leaving the alphabet as a study, though carrying it on, he still uses it as an instrument in spelling and reading. Likewise in sanctification, we pass on from the plain of justification up to the beautiful highlands of entire sanctification, above the line of fog, malaria and mosquitoes, where the Sun of Righteousness shines night and day, the flowers never fade and the fruits never fail, though we still hold the justification plain in our spiritual conquest. If defeated and forced to retreat, we could drop back, recuperate our shattered forces and give the devil another fight on the justification plain.

10. “By whose will we have been sanctified once by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, and have it yet better than ever.” In this verse Apollos and his comrades certainly give us a grand testimony to their sanctification. In my translation the latter clause is given by way of circumlocution in order to translate fully the Greek perfect tense. Like the English perfect it conveys an action complete in past time, developing a state which continues down to the present. But unlike the English which gives the emphasis to the past the Greek lays it on the present. Hence the necessity of adding the latter clause by circumlocution, i.e., have it yet better than ever. So when you want a clear and unequivocal inspired testimony to entire sanctification received instantaneously and retained with augmented brilliancy, unction and glory, read Apollos (Hebrews 10:10).

11. Here the Holy Ghost again affirms the frequently repeated declaration of the utter incompetency of the Mosaic ritual to take away sins. Since it was a thousand times so magnitudinous as the simple Gospel ritual, which is homogeneous with it and a simple survival of it, how ridiculously foolish to impute salvation to the latter, which is the damnable heresy of the present age. Millions of people in the churches are humbugged with the senseless sophistry that water baptism and other church rites take away their sins. Momentous will be the responsibility of the blind preachers who thus deceive them, when they all stand before the great white throne.

12, 13. “But Himself having offered up one sacrifice for sin, forever sat down on the right hand of God, waiting till His enemies may finally be made His footstool.” Here the Holy Ghost, by His clear and unequivocal affirmation, forever settles the sin problem. The sacrifice of our Savior’s body is the only possible vicarious offering, to which all the world are invited to come and be saved. Not only did Jesus once for all settle the sin problem when He died on the cross, but He completely triumphed over the devil, who the last six thousand years has been doing his utmost to establish his diabolical claim to this world. Jesus not only bought and paid for all the human souls and bodies, from fallen Adam down to the remotest generation, but he bought and paid for this world itself, with its meteorological environments, all of which had been so polluted by sin as to absolutely necessitate their complete sanctification and renovation. Having bought and paid for this whole world, with its population and environments, the Father crowned Him Mediatorial King at His right hand, significant of His perfect satisfaction of the redemption which Jesus wrought on the cross. Pursuant to His acceptance of the Son’s perfect mediatorial work, the Father said to Him,

“Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Daniel 8.

and John in Revelation 16:19, vividly describe the awful premilennial judgments, when the Father shall come down and verify this promise to His Son, shaking from His throne every usurper, political or ecclesiastical, and thus preparing the way for the Son to ride down on the millennial throne of His glory, to take possession of the world which He purchased by His blood, Satan being finally ejected and incarcerated in the dungeons of hell.

14. “For by one offering He forever perfected the sanctified.” The connection of this wonderful verse by the causative conjugation with the preceding promise ratifies the glowing anticipations of the crowns and kingdoms awaiting the sanctified members of the bridehood in the millennial triumphs. Oh, the unutterable gracious possibilities emanating from the one offering which Jesus made on the cross, i.e., full and complete justification, glorious and thorough sanctification and eternal promotion to thrones, crowns and scepters in the coming kingdom.

15. “And the Holy Spirit doth witness this to us.” Well does Richard Watson, the great Methodist theologian, testify that the Holy Spirit doth witness to the work of entire sanctification separate and distinct from justification, quite as clearly as He doth witness to our regeneration. At the present day we have great preachers proclaiming through the church papers that no one can have the witness of sanctification distinct from regeneration. I still prefer to keep company with the Bible and the old Methodists. The only conclusion deducible from such a statement is that the man who makes that statement has never been sanctified and, consequently, has no witness to the experience. This verse settles forever the testimony of the Holy Ghost witnessing to our sanctification.

16, 17. Here we have again the beautiful statement of the Holy Ghost, how God peculiarizes the sanctified by putting his laws in their hearts and writing them on their minds, so they have nothing to do but read God’s will in their minds and hearts each fleeting moment. Thus God not only reveals to them their whole duty every minute, but gives them all the grace they need to perform it. Roman Catholic priests and carnal preachers want the people to be dependent on them for leadership. Hence they fight sanctification with desperation, because it takes the people out of their hands and turns them over to God. The sanctified preacher does not want any popular following. He only wants the people to follow Jesus, himself happily disencumbered of burden and responsibility. This human following of the unsanctified has developed the sectarian ecclesiasticisms now belting the globe, and enthroned Satan the god of the world.

18. “Where there is removal of these there is no more offering for sin.”

The unsanctified are forever repeating their offering for sins like the priests and people of the old dispensation, because sin is always there; like Banquo’s ghost, it will not down. Hence they never get rid of the painful consciousness of its presence. Not so in the glorious experience of entire sanctification, when sin is utterly eradicated and forever exterminated. Therefore the worshiper, consciously and gloriously delivered from the sin principle, his conscience, though intensely acute and completely quickened by the Holy Spirit, is no longer contaminated by the slightest taint of sin, and he goes on singing, “They are all taken away!”

19-25. The unsanctified preachers and church members, staggering under the galling yoke of legal bondage, groping along in the dispensation of Moses three thousand years behind the age, are shocked and almost hysterical at the boldness of the sanctified. Here we are exhorted to exercise this boldness; meanwhile the most plausible reasons are given, i.e. (Hebrews 10:20), when Christ expired on the cross, God with His own hand rent the veil from top to bottom, forever opening the Holy of Holies to every Christian on the globe. The temple veil emblematized the body of Christ, which hid the Omnipotent Savior dwelling in that body from the eyes of the world. The divine presence abode in the sanctum sanctorum, hidden by the intervening veil from the worshipers in the temple. When the great Antitype was lacerated by the Roman spear God did rend the type from top to bottom; so there is nothing to do but push it aside with the hand of faith and walk into the Holy of Holies.

21. “Truly, having a great High Priest over the family of God.” “House” throughout the Bible generally means family. Every Christian belongs to the family of God. The poorest and the meanest of God’s children enjoy the intercessions of this great High Priest, who has actually swept every difficulty out of the way, leaving no possible defalcation nor conceivable reason why all of God’s children should not walk unhesitatingly into the sanctum sanctorum and there abide forever.

22. “Let us draw nigh with a true heart with full assurance, having been sprinkled as to our hearts from an evil conscience.” Here the Holy Spirit exhorts us to draw nigh. A “true heart” is a heart sincere and entirely consecrated to God. “In full assurance of faith,” i.e., faith in God’s promises, without the shadow of doubt. You can not be sanctified and have anything to do with the devil. Sin and doubt are Siamese twins, and belong to the devil. You must not only eternally abnegate all sin, but turn over to the devil every shadow of doubt, along with every vestige of sin. This done, the Holy Spirit instantly sprinkles the blood on your conscience, utterly expurgating all evil, and sanctifying you wholly.

22. “Having been washed as to our body with purifying water.” This is simple allusion to the Jewish custom of sprinkling the water purification on the subject of ceremonial defilement. Hence it means the sanctification of your body simultaneously with your soul. Of course, your body is completely turned over to God fully consecrated and sanctified to His service and occupancy forever. The efforts of certain sticklers on water theology to make an argument for immersion out of this are nonsensical in the extreme. The very fact here stated that the heart is sanctified by the sprinkling of the Savior’s blood, involves the conclusion that the body is purified by the affusion of water, in symbolic reference to the Jewish catharisms which were always performed by sprinkling.

24. “Let us know one another into a paroxysm of divine love and good works.” This is certainly exceedingly wholesome exhortation. The Holy Ghost importunes all Christians in this paragraph to get sanctified wholly soul and body, unhesitatingly, and then to compete with each other in actual earthquake shocks of pure Holy Ghost religion and good works, i.e., go ahead and do your best to excel all your comrades in the love of God coming in cataracts into your own heart and flowing out in good works in behalf of others.

25. Here the Spirit exhorts us never to give up going to meeting, since the Lord is coming soon. We should be on the constant outlook for our glorious King to ride down on a cloud. Blessed for me and for you if we are standing before the people preaching the glorious gospel when our King cometh!


Verses 26-31

ARGUMENT 12

ADMONITORY OF HOPELESS COLLAPSE.

26... “Perfect knowledge of the truth.” The Greek here is epignoosi, which means sanctification, whereas gnoosis is regeneration.

27. This verse is alarming in the extreme, setting forth the hopeless doom of the apostate.

28, 29. Here the doom of the apostate far transcends that of the malefactor under the law of Moses whose penalty was death, “having trodden under foot the Son of God and counted the blood of the covenant with which He was sanctified common, and insulted the Spirit of grace.”

30, 31. These verses set forth the appalling doom of the hopeless apostate having fallen into the hands of an infinitely just and holy God, with no Christ to intercede for him. This paragraph, and Hebrews 10:26-31, vividly describes the hopeless doom of the Palestinian Christian who repudiates Christ and apostatizes to Judaism. The rank and file of the Jewish church, with their pastors and official members, unfortunately rejected Christ, endorsed His crucifixion as a malefactor, plunged into idolatry and hastened to their awful doom of destruction and slavery under the invasion of the Roman armies which followed the writing of this letter in a few years. A most powerful combination of social, ecclesiastical and consanguineous influences were brought to bear on the Palestinian Christians to lead them into this awful apostasy with their Jewish brethren. Where your English says, “counted the blood of Christ an unholy thing,” the Greek says “common.” Whereas, the Palestinian Christians had trusted the blood of Jesus to sanctify them, their brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, influential friends and relatives, church-members and pastors, ridiculed them, certifying that Jesus was nothing but a sinner like other men, and that instead of His blood possessing saving virtue, it was nothing but common blood, like that which dropped down from the wounds of the two thieves on either side of Him, and that it was the silliest chimera to think that the blood of Jesus could wash away their sins. Now see the meaning of this paragraph. Here are the sanctified Palestinian Christians, trusting the blood of Jesus to cleanse them from all unrighteousness and keep them clean. Now suppose they yielded to the clamorous criticisms and terrible persecutions of their Jewish brethren, and gave up the Christhood of Jesus, acquiescing in the popular verdict of the Jewish Church, that He was nothing but a wicked impostor, utterly powerless to save, and that His blood was simply crimson blood like that of any other man. You see how in the very nature of the case there is no possibility of their salvation, since they have rejected the only Savior of the world. In their attitude there is nothing for them but hopeless damnation, since there is “no other sacrifice for sin.” Doubtless you see the application of this awful paragraph to the Hebrew Christians who utterly reject Christ and conclude, with their Jewish comrades, that He is an impostor. But how does it apply to the Apostolic Christians of the present day? Precisely as it applied to the fallen Hebrews. If we repudiate the Christhood of Jesus, recognizing Him as an impostor, and His blood nothing but “common” human blood, utterly destitute of all saving efficacy, we are certainly at the end of our row, hopelessly doomed to damnation, “since there is no longer a sacrifice for sins,” as we have rejected the only one God ever made. You see from this Scripture how utterly inconsistent it is to conclude that an ordinary backslider out of the sanctified experience can never be reclaimed and sanctified. If such au one repudiate the Christhood of Jesus, and then turn infidel, of course there is no reclamation. But did you ever know a case of the kind? I never did. Backsliders, as a rule, believe in the Christhood of Jesus as much as they ever did. They have simply inadvertently fallen away through unwatchfulness. In an evil hour Satan has dropped his lasso around head, hand or foot, or perhaps the whole body, and dragged them away into sin. Since they have not rejected the Christhood of Jesus, nor counted His blood “common,” they still have access to the mercy-seat, through the intercession of the blessed atoning Savior, who pleads for them at God’s right hand. The conclusion that an apostate from the sanctified experience who still believes in the Christhood of Jesus can not be restored to sanctification and eternally saved in heaven, is in no way deducible from this paragraph. If you will let it alone where the Holy Ghost has put it you will have no trouble with it.


Verses 32-37

ARGUMENT 13

GOD’S PREACHERS, THEATRICIANS.

32, 33. “Remember the former days, in which shining you endured a great fight of affliction both being theatrical actors, in reproaches and tribulations, and being the companions of those thus exposed.” Where the English says “gazing-stock,” the Greek is theaizomenoi i.e., theatrical actors are constituting a theatrical stage. I dictate these pages in San Francisco, Cal., during the morning; meanwhile I preach afternoon and night in the Peniel Mission. attending the church services as an auditor on Sunday mornings. Last Sunday, at 11 A.M., I attended service in a large edifice with an audience of about two hundred and an eloquent sermon, setting forth the optimistic views of the age, assuring us that the world was fast growing better in every respect. While he preached to two hundred in an auditorium competent to seat two thousand, I was reliably informed that a theater within two squares, at the same time, had an audience of three thousand. The pastor complained of the absence of his members, stating that one hundred had utterly skedaddled away, leaving neither trace nor track. In the afternoon of the same day the audience of our sanctification meeting was packed and overflowing. In this vast wicked metropolis of the great Pacific, churches are decimated and theaters crowded. We have the solution in the testimony of Apollos, given in this paragraph, i.e., that the gospel meetings in the apostolic age affected the people just like a free theater. Our holiness camp meetings are thronged with countless multitudes, meanwhile those held on unspiritual lines are very meagerly attended. They while away a whole week with a handful of people, waiting for Sunday to come and bring out the picnic crowd. When fiery baptisms copiously fl on the people, flooding them with rhapsody, casting out all the dumb devils and giving all the ready utterance of the Spirit, a lively sensation and thrilling enthusiasm characterize the meeting, affecting the unspiritual rabble just like a theater. The theater is the devil’s great meeting, running vigorously the encircling year. We can only compete with the devil’s theory by the Lord’s theory, i.e., red-hot Holy Ghost religion, characterized by lightning convictions, sky-blue conversions, sun- burst sanctifications, and showers of blessings rain down from heaven on the saints of God. In no other way can we possibly compete with the devil’s theater, saloon and race-track. The churches are everywhere fighting the holiness movement, meanwhile it is their only antidote for spiritual death and numerical decimation.


Verse 34

34. “For truly you suffered along with the prisoners and received with joy the confiscation of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an abiding possession.” Not only did the Jews turn on the poor Nazarenes a most implacable persecution into bonds, imprisonment and martyrdom, but they drove them from their homes, confiscating their property because of their religion. Here we see how they shouted over their persecutors when they drove them away from their homes, because their spiritual eyes were on their heavenly home, which will never grow old, he sold, nor burned down.


Verse 35

35. “Therefore cast not away your confidence which hath great recompense of reward.” Reader, be sure you obey this command. Come what may, never let go your hold on God, never in the least relax your grip on faith. Though Satan uptrip you a thousand times, hold on to Jesus amid all, with the pertinacity of a drowning man.


Verse 36-37

36, 37. Here Apollos fervently exhorts us to indefatigable patience in view of the Lord’s near coming. The apostolical were on the constant outlook for Jesus to ride down on the throne of His glory and set up His millennial kingdom. All this would have been fulfilled had not the Church yielded to Satan in the fatal apostasy, which brought on the dark ages, i.e., the devil’s millennium, instead of God’s.


Verse 38

ARGUMENT 14

FAITH AND THE WITNRSS OF THE SPIRIT.

38, 39. “But my righteous man shall live by faith.” Among all the spiritual graces constituting the economy of salvation, faith constitutes the climax and bears the palm. It is really the grand human hemisphere, while grace is the divine counterpart, constituting the globe of salvation. While radical and thorough repentance is indispensable to put the sinner on believing ground for justification, it is equally true that complete and bottom-rock consecration is the sine qua non indispensable to put the Christian on believing ground for entire sanctification. In repentance, the sinner gives up all of his bad things to the devil where they belong, and leaves sin and Satan forever. In consecration, the Christian gives up all of his good things to God to be used for His glory forever. Thus the sinner is freely justified by the grace of God in Christ, received and appropriated by faith. It is equally true that the Christian is freely and fully sanctified by the grace of God in Christ received by faith. During the dark ages, Satan succeeded in utterly eviscerating the Gospel and leaving nothing but the bony skeleton, all spiritual truth having been eliminated out of the pulpit. God used Martin Luther to restore the great fundamental doctrine of justification by faith, independently of all priestly manipulations and absolutions. While Luther was in Rome agonizing for the satisfaction of his longing heart, through priestcraft and papistical benefactions, while climbing up and down the stone stairway of Pilate on his bare knees, punishing his body for the good of his soul, he heard a voice from heaven, “The just shall live by faith.” Obedient to the heavenly voice he comes down, leaves Rome, returns to Germany, and begins to preach justification by faith alone like a messenger from heaven. While Luther’s preaching was shaking all Germany, the Pope wrote to his bishop in that country, “Why do you not stop that man’s mouth with gold?” The bishop having done his best to bribe Luther, wrote back to the Pope, “The German beast does not love gold.” When the Pope sent his bull of excommunication to Wittenberg, which meant the burning of Luther, behold, Luther kindles a fire on the public square and burns the Pope’s bull. When summoned to the city of Worms to stand before the Pope and his grave hierarchy and answer charges for heresy, involving martyrdom, and importuned by friends not to go, he responded: “I will enter Worms if there are as many devils in the city as tiles on the roofs.” There he boldly defended the truth amid the thunders of the Vatican and the lightnings of martyrdom; and amid the popular uproar which broke up the council, his enemies aimed to seize him for the faggot and flame. Fortunately, his friends get hold of him, carry him far away to an old ruined castle on the summit of a lofty mountain. There in a deep subterranean dungeon, having incarcerated him they kept him a prisoner a whole year; meanwhile he thinks he is in the hands of his enemies, but, behold, they are his friends, preserving his life till the seeds of truth, which he has sown in Germany, can spring up and bring forth the glorious harvest of the Protestant Church, in open defiance of the Papal hierarchy. One hundred years later God used Wesley and his compeers to restore to the Church the long-lost doctrine of entire sanctification. Wesley frequently certified that this was his only doctrine, the great despositum committed to the Methodists to propagate throughout the world. It is the glory of the present holiness movement to restore to the Church the great Bible doctrines of divine healing, woman’s ministry, the Lord’s second coming, and the millennial reign.

1. “Faith is the realization of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is the glorious summary grace which makes real unseen creations, worlds, entities, felicities and eternities. The faith by which a sinner is justified and a Christian sanctified, is but an act put forth by the full volition of the human spirit; meanwhile the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire which follows, develops the substantiality of faith, i.e., erects the glorious experimental superstructure.

2. “For by it the elders received the witness of the Spirit.” The phrase “good report” is certainly a very unintelligent translation of this beautiful Greek word, emartureetheesan, which is the passive verb from martyr, which is a pure Greek word and means witness; hence the simple statement of the Holy Ghost is that the patriarchs, prophets and saints of the old dispensation enjoyed the witness of the Spirit, like we do, and that they received it through faith. Oh, how few church members enjoy the witness of the Spirit, even to their regeneration, to say nothing about sanctification Most assuredly it is a demonstration that their faith is deficient. Where your faith is all right, the Holy Spirit always does His work, invariably witnessing to the same. Hence, if you have not the witness of the Spirit, re-examine your consecration, go down to bottom- rock and take on another Benjamin’s mess of faith.

3. “... That which is seen was not made from things which do appear.” The man of faith has no trouble to believe that God created this world and all other worlds out of nothing at all. It is only the poor, dreary, caviling skeptic and the bankrupt infidel that needs the science of evolution to lielp him out on the problem of creation.

4. This verse not only affirms the faith of Abel, but certifies that he had the witness of the Spirit. Abel plunged beneath the crimson flood of the Savior’s blood, emblematized his bleeding lamb, four thousand years before the great Antitype bled on Calvary. Cain was a very religious man, the patriarch of the great antediluvian and-holiness church, a fac simile of the bloodless popular churches which belt the globe this day, and hasten to the swift destruction of the great Tribulation, typified by Noah’s flood, which swept away the antediluvian millions with all their churchisms. Seth was the successor of Abel on the holiness line, perpetuating the testimony of the cleansing blood, symbolized in all their sacrifices by the bleeding lamb, typical of the innocent Savior. About one hundred and fifty years before the flood the holiness people, designated the “sons of God,” unfortunately united in matrimony with the “daughters of men,” i.e., the Lord’s people entered into matrimonial alliances with the people of this wicked world. This proved fatal to the antediluvian church, which was soon engulfed in the world-wide vortex of the anti-holiness ecclesiasticism founded by Cain. Therefore, God took up the only surviving family in the ark, leaving a godless world to grapple with the devouring flood. The old Methodists never intermarried with the wicked, neither did the members of the Apostolic Church. This universal phenomenon at the present day lifts the flood-gate and pours the wicked world into the church, drowning out every spark of spiritual fire and expediting the awful doom of the oncoming Tribulation, when Babylon shall go down in a dismal night of blood; meanwhile the cloud emblematized by Noah’s ark will descend and deliver the Lord’s true people.

5. Here we have the inspired affirmation that Enoch, having enjoyed the sanctified experience for three hundred years, was translated to heaven by faith. Let us all learn this lesson and govern ourselves accordingly. Just as we are regenerated by faith and sanctified by faith, so are we translated by faith. Hence the pertinency that all of God’s saints should live in the constant exercise of translating faith, as we know not at what moment our Lord will ride down and translate the true members of His bridehood. As Enoch was translated by faith, so shall we be. Just as we live in the constant expectancy of our Lord to come and translate us, so we ought to live in the perpetual exercise of faith for tratislation.

6. “... That He is and that He becomes a rewarder to them who seek him out,” i.e., seek Him till they find Him. The Greek here is ekzeetousin. Zeeteoo means seek, and ek means out. Hence the Holy Ghost says that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him out, i.e., seek Him till they find Him. Hence you see that you’re to seek the Lord by the job, and not by the hour nor the day. That job is to find Him, amid the clear attestations of the Holy Spirit. Hence you must never conclude that you are justified or sanctified till you actually find the Lord in the experience of those graces.

7. This is the beautiful testimony of the Holy Ghost in reference to Noah. Just as he believed God, built the ark, rode above the devouring flood and a dying world, and became the heir of this world after the flood, so the Lord’s true people, who now hear His warning voice, get sanctified wholly, robed and ready to enter the cloud when the Lord descends, will rise above the destructive storms of premilennial judgment, emblematized by Noah’s flood and destined to engulf this wicked world; will descend with Jesus when He shall ride down on the throne of His millennial glory, and become the heirs of this world under the triumphant coming kingdom.

8. When God called Abraham out of the land of Chaldea to become a pilgrim and sojourner in the earth he went out not knowing whither he went. Abraham is the father of the faithful, and illustrates; the pilgrimage of all God’s true people, led by the Spirit, knowing not whither they go. The Divine leadership is always in the present tense, and seldom adumbrates the future.

9. When Abraham came out of Mesopotamia, he sojourned in Canaan four hundred years before the conquest of Joshua.

10. Though God made Abraham rich in herds and flocks and silver and gold, he refused to dwell in a house, lest it might detract his affections from his house in heaven. When I was in the Holy Land, in 1895, I visited the Plain of Mamre, where the patriarch abode in his tent when our Lord, accompanied by the two angels, visited him, announcing the conception of Isaac and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is certainly very unwise on the part of God’s people to erect costly mansions, since they certainly wield a potent influence in the centralization of the affections on earthly things. We would all do well to emulate the example of Father Abraham dwelling in a tent, with his gold and silver, herds and flocks consecrated to God.

11. Paul, in Galatians 4, elucidates regeneration from the birth of Isaac by the supernatural intervention of the Holy Ghost, while Ishmael, the patriarch of carnal religion, was born by natural generation. Here we have the bold antithesis between the worldly and the spiritual Church. The former, like Ishmael, originates from human manipulation, and the latter, like Isaac, from the supernatural intervention of the Holy Ghost.

12. The wonderful fulfillment of this prophecy is reserved for the millennial reign, “when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.” When the bright day of Eden passed into eclipse under the black wing of Satan, a dismal night of six thousand years supervened, during which the saved are only here and there a traveler, recognized by Inspiration as the “first fruits,” adumbratory of the grand oncoming millennial harvest, when Satan and his myrmidons will be cast out of the earth and the glory of holiness envelope the world.

13... “Not receiving the promises.” By way of pre-eminence among the thirty-two thousand promises of God to His people, those focalizing in the incarnation of Christ are called “the promises” by way of conspicuity and emphasis, as they truly absorb and eclipse all others. Before the expulsion of humanity out of paradise, Jehovah preached to them the first gospel sermon, culminating in that grand Messianic promise, “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head,” thus spanning the cloudy canopy of the fallen world with the rainbow of infallible promise, that a Son should rise from the unfortunate twain, destined to conquer the devil, regain paradise and restore a fallen world. So vivid were their hopeful anticipations of the glorious restoration, that Mother Eve saluted her first- born son as the Lord’s Messiah, exclaiming in her enthusiasm, “I have brought forth the man Jehovah.” [English, “I have gotten a man from the Lord.”] O, how her heart was crushed when Cain; instead of proving himself the world’s Redeemer, turned out to be a murderer. Fondly and lovingly was Christ anticipated by the antediluvian saints. The post- diluvian ages revived the same glowing expectancy, which accumulated new luster while the Messianic prophets flooded the Old Testament with their vivid predictions of the coming Shiloh, until every Jewish damsel dared to hope for ‘e honored maternity of her Lord.

14-16. In harmony with the Greek significance of the divine ecclesia, i.e., the called out of the world, God’s ancient people always and everywhere distinctly maintained their pilgrim character, ignoring their identity with this wicked world and testifying that they were pilgrims and strangers upon the earth, seeking a city beyond the stars, whose Builder and Maker is God. O, what a contrast with the worldly churchisms of the present day! If the holiness people would verify their claims to real saintship, they must not be indifferent to their pilgrim attitude toward the world. When we settle down, entering into worldly identities and secular alliances, we forfeit our testimony, lose our power and cease to bear in our foreheads the marks of true saintship.

17-19. In the Old Testament account of this transaction it says, “God tempted Abraham.” It should read as in this passage, “God tested Abraham.” Well does James (1:13) say, “God can not be tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man.” This notable trial of Abraham’s faith pours a flood of light on the saints of all ages who “walk in the steps of Abraham,” the father of the faithful. The great dogma of infidelity of ages has been the antagonism of reason to revelation. No doubt but Abraham was a man of extraordinary natural intelligence, far transcending the skeptical wiseacres of modern times. Fortunately, unlike the infidels. he had sense enough t. know he was a fool. Paul (1 Corinthians 3) assures us that if any man would be wise he must first become a fool, i.e., the first lesson we learn in the curriculum of true wisdom is that we are fools. Abraham had learned that lesson which gloriously fortified him against the suicidal mistake of exercising his puny ratiocination against the divine ipse dixit. God had repeatedly assured Abraham that Isaac was to be the progenitor of Christ, the Savior of the world. He now positively orders Abraham to offer Isaac for a burnt offering on the summit of Moriah. The pinnacle rock of Moriah, on which Abraham offered Isaac, is now enclosed in the great Mosque of Omar, which occupies the site of Solomon’s temple. The Mohammedan Arabs claim that Abraham offered Ishmael instead of Isaac, as he is their ancestor, and they do their utmost to steal all the promises from the Jews and the Christians. Despite the flat and irreconcilable contradiction, i.e., that Isaac was to be the progenitor of Christ and that Abraham should offer him for a burnt-offering on Mount Moriah, the stalwart faith of the patriarch wavered not.

19. “Considering that God was able to raise Him -from the dead; whence He received Him even in a panorama.” From this Scripture we see how Abraham in the reconcilement of the contradictory promise and commandment of God, now soliloquizes: “God has repeatedly assured me that my son Isaac is to be the progenitor of Christ, the Savior of the world. He now commands me to offer him for a sacrifice on the pinnacle of Mount Moriah, and burn him into ashes. I know God makes no mistakes and He is able to raise us from the dead. Therefore I shall obey his commandment, offer my son on Mt. Moriah, see him burn into ashes, stand by till God raises him up from his ashes, restores him to my bosom flooded with new life, to return with me, greet his loving mother and relate to her his wonderful experience.” Thus, confident that Isaac will return home with him, he declines to tell the mother the momentous ordeal through which lie is to pass. By the time he reaches Moriah, on the third day, he has fully expounded the matter to Isaac, who is a bright young man of twenty-five years, and so thrilled with heavenly enthusiasm under the preaching of his father that he willingly and gladly carries the wood for his own cremation, bounding with delight at the privilege of dying for God and sweeping into new life. The momentous crisis arises. God takes the will for the deed, cuts the word short in righteousness, and spares the life of Isaac. So vividly had Abraham seen in panorama his son go out in cremation, rise from his own ashes and return with him to his expectant mother, that he exultantly embraces and covers him with kisses as risen from the dead. Let us all learn from this lesson to obey God in the darkness as well as in the light. The truly sanctified always have light within, but frequently providential darkness without. Job ran into a long, dark, providential tunnel, but inward spiritual light enabled him to shout all the way through it. Be not surprised when you run into a providential tunnel, dark as midnight. Be sure you keep your seat, and you will make good time through the tunnel.

20. We observe here that the spirit of prophecy, as well as salvation, is by faith.

21. The wonderful blessings which dying Jacob pronounced on his children, sweeping down the prophetical ages to the end of time, are found in the last chapter of Genesis.

22. Through faith the spirit of prophecy came on Joseph in Egypt, revealing to him the return of his people to the land of Canaan; meanwhile he administered to them his solemn obligation to carry out his body with them and bury him in the promised land. Having carefully preserved his remains one hundred and fifty years during their bondage, they carried them during their perigrinations forty years in the wilderness, finally to sepulture them at Shechem in the land of Canaan. History says the body of Joseph, deposited in a stone coffin on a wagon drawn by twelve oxen, headed the procession during all their long and weary marches, giving it quite the aspect of a funeral train.

23. “... Because they saw that he was a beautiful child.” Wonderful is the biography of Moses, whom God honored above all men on the face of earth. He was more than a prophet: he was a mediator with whom God condescended to talk face to face. His wonderful life of one hundred and twenty years, forty at the court of Egypt, forty with the flocks of Jethro, and the last forty in the leadership of Israel and the legislatorship of the world, is without a parallel in six thousand years. He was born amid that perilous period when Pharaoh’s soldiers were ransacking the land of Goshen with orders to murder every male Hebrew infant. The beautiful and majestic face of the babe inspired the hearts of his parents with the hope of his snrvival and eminent usefulness. When they are no longer able to conceal him from the royal guards, in an ark of bulrushes, thoroughly cemented and waterproof, they commit him to the placid waves of the beautiful Nile. Miriam, seven years his senior, wends along the bank, keeping her eagle eye on the ark containing her beloved little brother. It pauses in an eddy where the queen enjoys her ablution at day dawn. Recognizing it, she orders her maidens to bring and let her see what is in it. His beauty and majesty win her admiration; meanwhile his pitiful cry breaks her sympathetic heart. History says the reigning prince had recently fallen upon an Ethiopian battlefield, leaving the queen without all heir to succeed her in the kingdom. In her enthusiasm to retain and transmit the crown, won by his beauty and moved by her sympathy for the little foundling, she conceives the bold design of his adoption, feigns maternity, banishes the only two maidens who were cognizant of the fact, through the instrumentality of his little sister employs his own mother to serve as royal nurse, bringing the family to the royal palace and employing Amram to superintend the royal gardens. Thus Moses is reared amid all the luxuries, pomp, splendor and culture of the only organized monarchy on the face of the earth; being educated “in all the arts, science and wisdom of the Egyptians, he was mighty in word and deed,” i.e., endued with the highest literary culture and excelling in military tactics. At that time Ethiopia was second only to Egypt in military power, being her only competitor for the throne of the world. During the long and bloody wars between the two nations, Moses arose to eminence as a military chieftain, repeatedly defeating the Ethiopian armies, finally laying siege to Thebes, their magnificent capital. Amid the terrible conflict, the beautiful daughter of the Ethiopian king, from the palace watch-towers, sees Moses, is charmed and won by the beauty and majesty of his person and the gallantry of his achievements. Therefore, sending him love messages, she proposes to maneuver the opening of the gates on condition that he shall receive her hand in wedlock. Thus, as we learn in the Pentateuch, “Moses married an Ethiopian woman.” Of course she had passed away before he wedded Zipporah in the land of Midian.

24-26. These verses relate the wonderful choice of Moses. Why did he refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, i.e., the king of Egypt? During the childhood and youth of Moses at the court of Egypt he is the admiration of the aristocracy and the nobility for the beauty of his person, the brilliancy of his intellect and his wonderful proficiency in every ramification of learning and of wisdom. They flatter themselves that he will prove the brightest and most glorious king in all the history of Egypt. Having reached majority he not only commanded the Egyptian armies, but relieved his royal mother of the more weighty administrative responsibilities. Finally at the age of thirty-five his queen mother proposed to have him crowned king. Against this he remonstrated: “My beloved mother, so long as you live your head shall wear the crown. Assuredly, I am your humble servant, and will cheerfully bear all the burdens of administration, relieving you as really as if I were king.” Knowing that if the Egyptians ever find that Moses is a Hebrew, they will never permit him to reign, she is afraid that if she died before his coronation something will turn up and the cherished scheme of her life, i.e., her succession by her adopted son, will prove a failure. Finally, Moses yields to her importunities and acquiesces in coronation. He is now committed to the priests and magicians, to carry him through the long and tedious vigils, incantations and ceremonies preparatory and disciplinary preliminary to his public coronation. Amid the prolixity of these preparatory and disciplinary preliminaries, he sees a vision of the scenes transpiring in his infancy passing before him, i.e., the babe rescued from destruction, committed to the Nile, taken out of the water and adopted by the queen. Thus, in a vision, his Hebrew origin is revealed to him. Leaving the preparatory vigils he hastens to the palace, falls down at the feet of his royal mother, divulges the secret of his Hebrew origin and forever abdicates all claim to the kingdom. It is said the queen, now venerable with years, sank under the disappointment in the coronation of her adopted son, and died of a broken heart, at once succeeded by the nearest Egyptian in the blood royal. Meanwhile Moses hastens away to the land of Goshen, identifies himself with his servile consanguinity, espouses the cause of the downtrodden Hebrew, proceeds to the execution of magisterial justice, fully anticipating a general revolt of all Israel rallied under the insurgent banner. In this he was sadly disappointed. They had been in slavery two hundred and fifteen years, and the spirit of liberty was dead.

27. There is now nothing left for Moses but precipitate flight for life. Since his powerful conversion in the preceding vision, in which history says the God of Israel appeared to him, during his coronation vigils, revealing to him his Hebrew origin, his faith has never faltered. “Therefore he went out, as seeing the Invisible One.” Having descended from the throne of royal regent, he becomes a penniless fugitive in the land of Midian, weds Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, a patriarchal priest belonging to a Noachian dispensation, becomes a shepherd in the wilds of Mt. Sinai, studies forty years in God’s theological college, and is gloriously sanctified at the burning bush.

28. He now returns to Egypt radically and intrinsically revolutionized by the sanctifying fire, which had utterly consumed the great military chieftain, who, forty years previously, had sought to deliver Israel vi et armis. No longer the belligerent warrior, he is now a meek and lowly fire- baptized preacher of the Gospel, at the court of Pharaoh as well as the brick kilns and mortar yards. The ten terrible plagues directed by Jehovah against Egyptian idolatry culminate in the death of the first born in all the land of Egypt. Meanwhile Israel enjoys a glorious deliverance through the blood of the slain lamb, typical of the sinner’s ransom through the blood that crimsoned Calvary.

29. The Red Sea emblematizes our actual sins; Egypt, Satan’s kingdom; Pharaoh, the Devil; and Moses, Christ. After weary marches, behold Israel is confronted by the deep rolling sea, environed by mountains, by mountains impassable, and hotly pursued by Pharaoh’s bloodthirsty warriors, ready to tear them to pieces and drag them back into slavery. The last hope takes its flight, and despair seizes them. This is precisely the attitude of the sinner. He never will surrender and cry to God so long as he hopes in church rites, priestly absolution or his own good works. In the moment of desperation, Moses commands them to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” A mighty roaring wind over the Red Sea symbolized a cyclone revival. Meanwhile Moses smites the sea with his rod so furiously as if he would divide it by physical violence. Behold the waters recede, and a vast calm intervenes. They now follow their shouting leader through the sea, forever leaving the land of bondage and cruel Pharaoh. Thus the sinner in his utter desperation is met by some heroic altar worker who smites the sea of his countless sins with the rod of God’s infallible promise, leaps into the breach with a shout of victory, inspiring the desponding penitent with his heroic faith. He leads the van, and the mourner follows with a shout of victory into the kingdom of God, forever leaving sin and the devil. The drowning of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea beautifully symbolizes the utter destruction of our sins, when in true repentance we at once and forever leave the devil and his kingdom.

30. Old Jericho stood in full view of the Jordan ford, fifteen miles toward sunset, on the beautiful Jordan bottom, overshadowed by the mountain of temptation, where Jesus fought and conquered the devil. The successor of Sodom and Gomorrah, twenty miles up the Jordan Valley, Jericho was the great stronghold and metropolis of the Amorites. The impregnable walls of this redoubtable citadel tumbled down amid the uproarious shouts of Israel, having marched around them seven days. This beautifully illustrates the victories of the Canaan life. After you reach the land flowing with milk and honey, Satan will confront you with many a Jericho. But, remember, you can shout them all down. You have nothing to do but shout and Jesus will whip the devil and give you victory on every battlefield. Remember, this is not the shout of feeling but of faith. Almost any coward could have shouted after he saw the walls fall down and the city in their hands. But it took flint and steel to shout when there was no sign of victory — before a solitary stone had moved or tower tottered. That was a significant shout, for the walls are still down. I saw them and rode around them in 1895.

31. “By faith Rahab the tavern-keeper perished not with those that believe not, receiving the spies with peace.” The Hebrew word zanah simply means a woman keeping a public house, without discrimination as to her moral character. Unfortunately they were generally bad, hence the translation “harlot.” Rahab was a Christian. She had faith, espoused the cause of Israel, became the wife of an Israelitish man by the name of Salmon, and was honored with the maternity of our Lord.

32. Here Apollos condenses and abbreviates the faith roll. Of course all these stand unimpeached, shining out as paragon saints. The cases of Gideon and Barak pass unchallenged along with David, Samuel and the prophets; but not so with Samson and Jephtha, whose Christian characters are somewhat impeached, though evidently unjustly, or their names would not appear in the catalogue of God’s sainted heroes. Samson, the last of the illustrious line of holiness evangelists sent in divine mercy to apostatizing Israel, who having reached the ultima thule of that fatal backsliding which culminated in their Babylonian captivity, was a Nazarite, i.e., a holiness leader wearing his symbolic locks, indicative of his holy vows. His wonderful supernatural strength, emblematizes the divine power of a holy experience and life. Doubtless this was the reason why carnal Israel was utterly blind to her opportunities. Under the leadership of Samson they might not only have defeated their enemies, but conquered the world. Samson never had an army to help him. His people all forsook him; yet, single-handed and alone, he fought and defeated great armies of Philistine giants. Instead of his people rallying round him and utilizing such a leader as the world never saw before nor since, they only betrayed him to his enemies. Samson was a grand prototype of the present holiness movement. If a man is gloriously sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost so as to qualify him pre-eminently for the leadership of the Church, he is the very man they repudiate, outlaw and decapitate, a sad memento of the mournful fact that we’re living in the last stage of religious apostasy, while awful retribution heaves in view. Did not Samson stop at a bad house at Gaza (Judges 16)? That stigma in his Christian character disappears when instead of reading “harlot,” we simply read it “female tavern- keeper.” The sad fall of Samson under the temptations of the beautiful Delilah in the lovely valley of Sorek, is a solemn warning to all the holiness people. How have the mighty fallen! We should all remember that we are never out of reach of temptation till we pass the pearly portals and shout within the jasper walls. This dark page in Samson’s biography is gloriously relieved by his happy reclamation and triumphant death. He died certainly flooded with the power of the Holy Ghost. Oh, that you and I may die like Samson, inundated with victory. Jephtha’s case is still darker, as it is generally supposed that he killed his only child. It is strange that this conclusion ever received popular credence, as it is utterly without foundation in the Word of God. Read Judges 11. It says the daughter “bewailed her virginity,” “knew no man,” and after her father had performed his vow relative to her, the daughters of Israel went periodically to converse with her (Hebrew, see margin). There is not an intimation that he slew her, but simply devoted her to the Lord in a life of celibacy, i.e., made her a holiness evangelist, with the understanding that she was to forego matrimony and live single for the glory of God. This was regarded by a Jew as exceedingly calamitous, because every damsel was hoping for the honor of her Lord’s maternity. Again, she was Jephtha’s only child. Therefore her celibacy meant the forfeiture of his inheritance in Israel.

34. These verses describe the bloody martyrdom and heroic adventures of the Old Testament saints and impute it all to their faith.

35. God raised the dead, through the instrumentality of His prophets, especially Elijah and Elisha. God’s saints were tortured in all sorts of ways. It is said that Isaiah, the prophet, was sawn in twain. All these terrible sufferings did they endure that they might obtain a better resurrection.

 


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Bibliography Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/hebrews-10.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, June 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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