Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
THE GOSPEL-AGE NO-RANSOMISM SIFTING
Num. 11: 1-35.
FIVE SIFTINGS IN VARIOUS PERIODS. ANTECEDENTS OF THE GOSPEL-AGE NO-RANSOMISM SIFTING. CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN GOD AND CHRIST. THE SEVENTY. THE SIFTING PROPER.
UNDER the title, Calls-Siftings-Slaughter Weapons, in Vol. V, Chap. II, among other things, we treated on the siftings of the Gospel Harvest, basing our thought on 1 Cor.
10: 5-14. According to St. Paul's statement (vs. 6, 11), the siftings of the Jewish Harvest also are referred to in this passage. Of these we treated briefly in Studies, Vol. III, 404-410. We also stated in Vol. V, Chap. II that the five siftings 1 Cor. 10: 5-14 applied to five large siftings during the Gospel Age. Experience proves that the five siftings occurred during the Epiphany's small Miniature Gospel Age on a very small scale and that they have ready occurred on a somewhat larger scale in Epiphany's larger Miniature Gospel Age. These also appear in the Harvests of these Miniatures. We pointed out in P '33, 72-77 that in the Little Season there would be another application of these five siftings. And there seems to be good ground for believing that during the Millennium there will be still another application of them. If so, there will be at least eleven fulfillments of the five siftings referred to in 1 Cor. 10: 5-14. It is the Gospel-Age Harvest application the five types mentioned by St. Paul in 1 Cor. 10: 5-10 that we treated in Vol. V, Chap. II. St. Paul in this Scripture does not give us their Gospel-Age application for he there distinctly limits his application of the five pertinent types to the two Harvests. But in Heb. 3: 7—4: 3 St. Paul makes his Gospel-Age application Israel's wilderness typical siftings. It is true that there does not analyze these into their five component parts as in 1 Cor. 10: 5-7; rather he there sums them up as a whole without distributing them.
(2) In this section the Apostle speaks of the day of provocation in the wilderness, when the Israelites provoked God for 40 years by their unbelief and disobedience (vs. 16-19), for which God excluded them from the Canaan rest (vs. 10, 11, 17-19; 4: 2). He further shows that this period was a type of the today, the Gospel Age—"today if ye hear my voice [have done it with the faith and obedience of the high calling] harden not your hearts AS [antitypical of] in the day of provocation in the wilderness." Not only does the passage show that the Today, the Gospel Age, is antitypical of Israel's 40 years wilderness stay; but that the ye and the we of this section, Nominal and Real Spiritual Israel (vs. 7, 12-15; 4: 1-3) are antitypical of Nominal and Real Fleshly Israel in their wilderness experience (vs. 8-11, 16-19; 4: 2). Thus we see that without detailing these experiences into five separate siftings, as in 1 Cor. 10: 5-11, he bunches them in both type and antitype. And since in this section the Apostle by the term "Today" covers the entire Gospel Age including both of its Harvests; and since he in 1 Cor. 10: 514 points out five siftings as taking place during each reaping period, we are warranted in concluding that there are five siftings during the period between the Harvests, since in an emphatic sense that is the Gospel Age, as distinct from its Harvests.
(3) This conclusion is supported especially by three fulfilled facts: (1) In the smallest Miniature Gospel Age the period between its Harvests, as well as these Harvests, had five siftings on a very small scale. (2) In the smaller Miniature Gospel Age the five siftings have occurred. (3) The period of over 1800 years between the two Harvests had five epochs: Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia, in each of which there was on a large scale a sifting covering several centuries. These correspond in character and kind to the five siftings of the Harvests: No-Ransomism, Infidelism, Combinationism, Reformism and
Murmursome Contradictionism. These considerations prepare us to understand our subject. The Gospel-Age No-Ransomism Sifting, which, like the first of the Harvest's siftings, appropriately was the one that occurred in the first Church epoch between the Harvests, in the Smyrna period. This sifting, like its counterparts in the Harvests and in the Epiphany, is typed in Num. 11: 1-35, which, in this article, we will expound, type and antitype, with constant reference to its Gospel-Harvest counterpart, whose larger familiarity with our readers will make our interpretation of the Gospel-Age No-Ransomism easier for them to understand.
(4) This chapter does not only type the No-Ransomism siftings proper, but their antecedent events-those more or less causally connected with this sifting. This is true in all its applications. Indeed, minor siftings that immediately preceded and led up to the No-Ransomism Siftings is typed in vs. 1-3. As said above, we will in our expositions give the Gospel-Harvest application of this type to clarify its Gospel-Age applications, which is our special subject. "The people as murmurers were evil in the ears of Yaveh, etc.," (Imp. Ver.). These three verses type for the Gospel Harvest a sifting that set in at Passover, 1875, paralleled by Jesus' first cleansing of the temple (John 2: 13-25). Certain disgruntled Second Adventists were at that time sifted out from among the cleansed sanctuary class. These murmured because of their disappointment at Christ's not coming in the flesh in 1874. We recall that on account of Bro. Miller's beginning the 1290 and 1335 days 30 years before beginning the 1260 days, and that on account of his uncertainty as to whether to begin the 1260 days with the Ostrogoth's raising the siege of Rome, 538, or with the overthrow of their empire, 539, he first set 1843 for Christ's Second Advent in the flesh, which failing, he then set 1844 for that event. When after 1846 some of the sanctuary class got the right thought on the beginning of the
three sets of days, i.e., that they all began at the same time, but retained Bro. Miller's uncertainty as to whether they began in 538 or 539, they were not sure whether Oct., 1873, or 1874, was the date for our Lord's return.
(5) Accordingly, they first fixed it at Oct., 1873, which failing, they set it for Oct., 1874, expecting Him to come in the flesh. This failing, some Adventists, remembering the four Adventist disappointments, became disgruntled—they "were murmurers." They became quite disgusted; and as a result an agitation was made against time prophecy. The Lord was displeased with them (His anger was kindled, v. 1) and gave such up to this agitation (the fire of the Lord burnt among them, v. 1), which resulted in many, some new creatures, others justified, and still others unjustified campers (in the uttermost parts of the camp) as being more or less rejected by the Nominal people, giving up the Truth that they had on Chronology. Thus as the parallels of those whom Jesus at the first cleansing drove out of the temple and of those who disapproved of His pertinent course (John 2: 13-25), these were driven out of the sanctuary, court and camp, losing their previous standings as typed by these three places. These siftings caused distress among the more faithful who besought the Lord Jesus to stop this symbolic burning (v. 2). These are those who earnestly sought to find out the cause of the disappointment in the spirit of believers and not murmurers. Among these were Bros. Keith, Barbour, Paton, Mann, etc., to whom Bro. Russell later joined himself. Moses' praying (v. 2) to the Lord against the fire types our Lord Jesus' asking the Father to stop the sifting from injuring the non-murmurers. The Lord's answer came in giving the Truth-to some on the object and manner, to others on the time of our Lord's Return. This then stopped new ravages of the sifting. The people's calling the place Taberah (v. 3) types the Lord's people
recognizing the destructive effect of the sifting on the siftlings. The sifting as a means of destruction is to be understood as coming from the Lord permissively (2 Thes. 2: 9-12).
(6) As indicated above, the Gospel-Age No-Ransomism sifting occurred during the Smyrna period, which was from the end of the Jewish Harvest, 69 A. D., to Constantine's edict of toleration issued at Milan, 313, whereby the last great, the ten-years-long (Rev. 2: 10), persecution of Christians by Pagan Rome ended. The great No-Ransomism sifting of this period was preceded by a connected sifting antitypical of the experience described in vs. 1-3, just as we saw that the Gospel-Harvest No-Ransomism sifting antecedently was preceded by the one described above beginning at the Passover of 1875. And, true enough, it was very much like the one that antecedently preceded the Gospel-Harvest No-Ransomism sifting. The brethren in the Jewish Harvest hoped for the Lord's soon return to establish the Kingdom. This hope with the uncertainty on the time of the auspicious event let the brethren of those days stand open to deception on the subject, as we know that the Thessalonian brethren were thus deceived (2 Thes. 2: 1-9). Confounding the Second Advent overthrow of Christendom, which in His great prophecy. (Matt. 24: 1-44; Luke 21: 1-36), in some particulars He connected in an antitypical way with the overthrow of the Jewish state in the Romano-Jewish War, 66-73, many Christians, particularly Jewish Christians, expected the Kingdom to be established right after that war. The less sober among the brethren (those in the uttermost parts of the camp) allowed themselves to be aroused to more or less fanatical frenzies of uncontrollable enthusiasm over the prospects of a soon establishment of the Kingdom.
(7) Raised to the heights of expectancy, when their hopes failed to materialize, they fell from these heights to depths of disappointment and despondency. Nor did
some of these recover their equipoise, which others only with great difficulty succeeded in doing. The former, like their Gospel-Harvest like-spirited brethren, became greatly disgruntled and murmured unto the Lord's displeasure (v. 1). Some of these as Gentiles went back to Paganism; and some of these as Jews went back to Judaism, and some of them as Gentiles and Jews remained nominal Christians who gave up hoping for the Lord's return. There were agitations in which Jesus and the Apostles were accused of error on the matter of the Second Advent by those who ascribed their misunderstandings to these as their teachings; and of course those who submitted to such agitations as siftlings lost their standing before the Lord. Thus rejecting the Second Advent message and hope, these manifested that the fire of the Lord, the sifting error and consequent sifting, permissively coming from the Lord, burnt them. But the Lord's people who had maintained a more sober stand in these circumstances, though more or less disappointed, resisting the sifting errors and movement pleaded with our Lord for relief (v. 2), and by His intercession the Lord sent the needed Truth, i.e., that the events connected with Israel's disasters from 66 to 73 merely foreshadowed the trouble on the world accompanying the Second Advent (v. 2). This destroyed the sifting effects on those who stood (v. 2). Those, therefore, who stood in the sifting trial were by this clarification of the pertinent Truth led to recognize the experiences of the siftlings in the sifting as evidences of a destructive work upon such from the Lord (v. 3). This experience was a remote antecedent of the Gospel-Age No-Ransomism sifting, as is apparent.
(8) The nearer antecedents of the Gospel Harvest and the Gospel-Age No-Ransomism sifting are described in vs. 4-31. These were quite varied: some of them were more or less direct bridges leading the unworthy into the No-Ransomism sifting (vs. 4-10); and
others were helps that the Lord provided to safeguard the faithful (vs. 16, 17, 25-30); and intermingled among these were antitypical conversations on the part of God and Christ (vs. 10-23). The rock-bottom cause of all of the No-Ransomism siftings, and therefore of the Harvests', was weariness with the Lord's Truth (manna, v. 6) and desire for other food for heart and mind than the Lord's Word (vs. 4-6). Israel's mixed multitude, the riffraff, a word whose syllables end in a sound somewhat like the corresponding Hebrew word, asafsuf, consisted of people of various nations, which had been conquered by the Egyptians, and whose citizens, captured in expeditions of war and plunder, had been reduced to Egyptian slavery. When Israel as slaves were liberated by the humiliated Pharaoh and his Egyptian subjects, those non-Israelitish slaves went forth from slavery into freedom with them, the Egyptians being too greatly broken down to restrain these slaves from departing from their midst with the Israelites. These, accompanying Israel, naturally were the first to begin the outcries against the manna and for the foods of Egypt (v. 4). So in the Gospel Harvest many who were not real Spiritual Israelites first of all wearied of the Lord's Word (manna, v. 6) that they had been having as it was due (fell a lusting and said, Who will give us flesh? v. 4). And, as in the type, the spirit of these, like an unholy contagion, began to infect those who were real Spiritual Israelites, until like the others they, too, became weary of the Lord's Word as due and began to long for other food for heart and mind (the children of Israel also wept and said, Who will give us flesh to eat? v. 4). Certainly these showed bad taste in wearying of the good Word of God (Heb. 6: 5). This becomes manifest when we come to see what they began to long for, as typically set forth in v. 5: The nominal church and heathen creeds (fish), history (cucumbers), science (melons), philosophy (leeks), art (onions) and literature (garlic). The
further they proceeded the more degenerate became their tastes. Certainly this was true in the Harvest time, beginning just after the shaking of 1875, antecedent to the Harvest's No-Ransom sifting.
(9) This same thing was enacted on a larger scale shortly after the false Second Advent sifting which set in when the Kingdom was not established subsequent to the Jewish war of 66-73. As there was a literal mixed multitude that followed Israel out of Egyptian slavery, so there was an antitypical mixed multitude that associated itself with Spiritual Israel coming out of the slavery of sin and error. This was true of that part of Spiritual Israel that consisted of Jewish and of that part of Spiritual Israel that consisted of Gentile believers. Shortly after Pentecost, yea, even before, this antitypical mixed multitude began to make its appearance in antitypical Israel. The five Jewish-Harvest siftings each furnished a supply of these. This is readily discernible in four of these siftings, alluded to in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts. The fifth of these, like its counterpart in the Gospel Harvest, being on the largest scale of all five, must have manifested a goodly number of these among the Lord's people. Then, too, the result of the Jewish war and the subsequent false Second Advent sifting was to manifest from both the Jewish and Gentile world a still larger number belonging to this mixed multitude; so that toward the close of John's life he could with reason speak in his epistles of many false teachers and deceivers and forsakers of the real Truth and introducers of errors among the brethren as misleading many from the right way (1 John 2: 18, 19; 4: 1-3; 2 John 7; 3 John 9, 10). Of course, such were the first to weary of the heavenly Manna, and to long for the Jewish or heathen food for heart and mind, from which but shortly before they had been weaned.
(10) Their example and agitation ere long misled not a few who had been real Spiritual Israelites (v. 4).
These symbolically wearied of the heavenly Manna and, symbolically weeping grievously, longed for the flesh pots of symbolic Egypt, the present evil world. Accordingly, as they were Jews or Gentiles, they began to hanker after Jewish or pagan traditional religion (fish), Jewish or pagan history (cucumbers), Jewish or pagan science (melons), Jewish or pagan philosophy (leeks), Jewish or pagan art (onions), and Jewish or pagan literature (garlic); and for these beggarly elements they were willing to neglect, despise and abhor the good Word of God! A terrible deterioration in mental, moral and religious tastes is typed by the lusting of vs. 4-6. This is emphasized in the Hebrew where in v. 4 it reads "made themselves lust a lust." Like Lot's wife, they longed for the things left behind (we remember … which we ate freely in Egypt, v. 5). How ungrateful toward the Lord, who had given them angels' food (Ps. 78: 25), that they should by their thoughts, motives, words and acts have expressed contempt of it (there is nothing at all beside this manna before our eyes, v. 6). Their complaint, now our soul is dry (appetiteless as to the manna and listless, v. 6), received a terrible recompense; for it is written of them that though the Lord gave them their hearts' request, He sent leanness into their soul (Ps. 106: 15). Surely we who had been given the sumptuous repasts of the Parousia and Epiphany Truth should guard well our symbolic appetites, lest we, wearying of the finest of the heavenly Manna, draw down upon ourselves the evil of the antitypical lusters (1 Cor. 10: 6).
(11) Vs. 7-9 treat of the manna and the people's activities with it. V. 7 gives a brief description of the manna, which brings to our attention four qualities of the heavenly Manna. We understand that the manna Israel had as its food represents the Truth, God's Word. Or to put it in another form, Christ is our spiritual food, even as He Himself has interpreted the typical manna to represent Himself (John 6: 32-58).
Some might think that our first definition of the antitypical Manna contradicts our second definition of it; but a little thought will readily show their harmony. Jesus Himself tells us that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14: 6). How is this so? From the fact that the Bible is Christocentric. The whole Word, Plan, of God involves Him and revolves about Him, who of God is made to us now and to the world in the Millennium, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and deliverance (1 Cor. 1: 30). It is for this, among other reasons, that He is called the Word of Life and the Word of God (1 John 1: 1; Rev. 19: 13). Indeed, His prehuman title, the Logos, Word, among other things, is related to this thought, inasmuch as it presents Him to us as God's mouth (John 1: 1-3, 14), which is one of the Bible's titles (Ps. 45: 1; Is. 1: 20). Accordingly, the Truth is but a description of Him in His person, character, teachings, work and relations, as He is also its Revealer. Accordingly, the twofold definition above given of the antitypical Manna is correct.
(12) Above we said that four of the Truth's qualities are set forth typically in v. 7: "The manna was as coriander seed; and the color [appearance] thereof as the color of bdellium." Coriander seed is aromatic as to scent and is preservative as against corruption—the appreciableness and the salutariness of the Word of God are thereby brought out. The Truth, in the first place, is in its nature and in its effects appreciable. This is because it is Divinely inspired (1 Cor. 2: 4, 5, 13; Gal. 1: 11, 12; 1 Thes. 2: 13; 2 Tim. 3: 15-17; 1 Pet. 1: 10-12; 2 Pet. 1: 20, 21), pure (Ps. 12: 6; 119: 140; Prov. 30: 5), perfect and reliable (2 Sam. 22: 31; Ps. 19: 7, 9; 119: 128, 138, 151, 160; Prov. 22: 20, 21; Is. 25: 1; John 17: 17; Rev. 21: 5; 22: 6); effective (Is. 55: 10, 11; Jer. 22: 29; Heb. 4: 12), soul-satisfying (Job 23: 12; Ps. 19: 10; 119: 47, 72, 103; 1 Pet. 2: 2) and permanent (Ps. 119: 144, 152, Is. 40: 8; Luke 16: 17; 21: 33; 1 Pet. 1: 25). It is also, as typed by
the second quality of coriander seed, in its nature and effect salutary. This is because it makes wise unto salvation (Ps. 119: 98-100; 2 Tim. 3: 15; Mark 12: 24), it works the graces (Rom. 15: 4; 1 John 1: 4; John 20: 31; Rom. 10: 17; 2 Pet. 1: 4-7) and it saves (Rom. 1: 16; Jas. 1: 18, 21; 1 Pet. 1: 5-9). These are the qualities of the Truth as suggested by the manna being as coriander seed, which is a fine type.
(13) Bdellium, according to the best authorities, is among the clearest of the precious stones—the diamond. The qualities of the Truth typed by the color of the manna being like bdellium are clarity and brilliance. And certainly the Truth is when due clear and brilliant like a diamond. By this we are not to be understood to mean that the Bible is clear—purposely it was by God made the obscurest of books, as we have more than once emphasized in these columns (Is. 28: 9-13; Matt. 13: 11-15, 35). But the Truth as due is wonderfully clear to the saints (Col. 1: 27) and will be so to the world (Rev. 22: 1). This clarity is due to the reasonableness of God's thoughts (Is. 1: 18). Its brilliance makes it enlightening—it reflects light from the Lord. The following passages bring out the diamond qualities of the Truth: Ps. 19: 8; 119: 105, 130; Prov. 6: 23; 2 Pet. 1: 19; 1 John 2: 8; John 1: 9; Rev. 22: 1; Is. 30: 26; 29: 18, 25. Thus we see that by the manna being like coriander seed and diamond the Lord has brought to our attention four splendid qualities of the Truth. Let us note well the wisdom expressing itself in poetic form brought to our attention by God's use of these objects of nature to enforce spiritual lessons. Lusters wearied of this, desiring the beggarly elements of this present evil world in Jewish and pagan creeds, history, science, philosophy, art and literature.
(14) The Israelites' activities as to the manna type spiritual Israel's activities as to the Truth, whose mind and heart processes on the Lord's Word are typically set forth in
v. 8. Israelites' going about as to dealing
with the manna represents the antitypical Israelites' giving their attention to the Lord's Word privately and in fellowship by conversation and class study. The Israelites' gathering the manna types the Spiritual Israelites' getting an understanding of the meaning of the Truth. Their grinding it in mills or beating it in mortars types the analytical processes whereby one divides, subdivides, sub subdivides, etc., it into its main parts, which are doctrine, precept, promise, exhortation, prophecy, history and type, and into its smaller parts, i.e., as to the subjects coming under each of these general heads and as to the contents of each of these subjects. E.g., on the general division of the Truth's subject matter we might instance the subject of God as a subdivision of doctrine. The subject of God may be subdivided into the following parts: His being, His character, His teachings and His works. Each of these in turn may be sub subdivided, e.g., His being may be divided into its existence, its nature, its faculties, its attributes. Each of these in turn may then be divided, etc., etc., etc. This same process can be applied to any other doctrine or to any of the other main divisions of Truth thoughts given above. The Israelites' baking, or, as it might be rendered, boiling, it represents the Truth-proving processes, whereby by proofs from Scripture, reason and facts one demonstrates it as true to his own satisfaction. The Israelites' making cakes of the manna types the adapting of the Truth for fitness to one's heart appropriation unto character development and character correction for oneself and others, individually or in groups, as well as for one's development in doctrine and refutation (2 Tim. 3: 15, 17). His eating these cakes types such appropriations of the Lord's Truth to one's development in the Lord's Word, Spirit and work. We know that just these things were done in the Harvests, have been and are being done in the Epiphany, and they
were certainly done in the Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia periods of the Church.
(15) The taste (v. 8) of these cakes was like fresh oil. After people have tasted olive oil that is old and thus somewhat rancid, fresh oil tastes very good. This suggests the fine taste of the good Word of God. It tastes very good to the mind and heart, inasmuch as its abounding verity, harmony, reasonableness, beauty, sublimity, sufficiency and practicability satisfy both head and heart. O, how its "taste" enlightens, satisfies, delights and uplifts in the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit of it (oil) makes it taste so good to our Holy Spirit. So it has been throughout the whole Age from Jordan until now and will until the Epiphany is past be to real Spiritual Israelites. V. 9 tells us under what circumstances the manna fell: Upon the night's dew it fell. It did not fall directly upon the desert earth, which doubtless would have made it sandy and muddy, but upon the sand-and earth-covering dew. In Bible symbols the dew sometimes represents the Truth (Gen. 27: 28, 39; Deut. 32: 2; Judg. 6: 37-40; 1 Kings 17: 1; Ps. 110: 3, 133: 3) and sometimes God's providences (Prov. 19: 12; Is. 18: 4; Dan. 4: 15, 23, 25, 33; 5: 21). Both of these thoughts apply here. Upon Truth already had the Lord superimposes more Truth, adding line upon line, precept upon precept (Is. 28: 10, 13). The night-long falling of the manna upon the dew suggests the progressive development of the Truth (Prov. 4: 18), ever reminding us of the thought expressed in a hymn. "Still there's more to follow." This is also suggested by the manna's continuing to fall throughout Israel's wilderness journey, even as in the antitype from Jordan to the present the Truth as due came upon the Truth that had already been due among God's people, the antitypical camp. The advancing Truth does not set aside the Truth formerly received, as some deceivers teach. Those of us who during the Parousia watched this peculiarity of the Truth, its dueness, i.e.,
its coming as the needs, circumstances and experiences of God's people require, and who during the Epiphany are watching its dueness, know that this is a true principle in practice. The same peculiarity of the Truth was in evidence throughout all the five Church epochs between the Harvests (Ps. 23: 5; 81: 16; 100: 3; 103: 5).
(16) The same remarks hold with reference to the manna's falling upon the dew as symbolizing the providence' of God toward His people throughout the entire Age. The Truth as due came to God's people adapted to their varying providential needs, circumstances and experiences; for the Word of God was so framed by God that it is not only adapted to the needs of God's people in general, but it is also adapted to their individual needs amid their varying circumstances and experiences. This shows the practicability of God and of God's Truth. That God arranged His Word so as to be adaptable to the general needs of His people is apparent from Amos 3: 7: "Surely the Lord your God will do nothing [in the outworking of His plan] except He revealed it as His secret unto His servants the prophets." These acts are sometimes revealed in the prophecies and sometimes in the types of the Word, which detail all the unfoldings of God's plan as due. And that God adapted His Word to the particular needs of the individual members of His people in their varying circumstances and experiences is evident from many Scriptures (Gen. 49: 24; Ex. 23: 22; Deut. 10: 18; Ps. 23: 4; 34: 7, 10; 37: 25, 34; 40: 5; 44: 1-3; 68: 6; 105: 16-22; 146: 7-9; etc.). The manna's falling at night (v. 9) suggests that the Truth is due particularly in the nights of controversies for the Truth against error, in the nights of fighting against sin, selfishness and worldliness. It was due in the night of nominal Fleshly Israel in its Harvest, in the night from 1799 to 1954, in the night between the Harvests, in the Epiphany night, and in the individual Christian's night of affliction. Thus the advancing light rests upon, is
built upon the past-given Truth, and rests upon the providences of God's people in the sense of being adapted to their providences in their needs, circumstances and experiences (upon the dew). No wonder the Word, having such qualities and peculiarities as are typed in vs. 7-9, the Apostle Paul calls it the good Word of God (Heb. 6: 5). How great, therefore, must be in God's people the sin of distaste for that Word and turning from an appetite for it to an appetite for Jewish and pagan religious beliefs, history, science, philosophy, art and literature.
(17) Such dissatisfaction with the Truth and lusting after secular religion, history, science, philosophy, art and literature, came to our Lord's attention as the antitypical Moses (v. 10) in the Gospel Harvest. In each church of all denominations and in each ecclesia of the Parousia Truth people (throughout their families, v. 10) this dissatisfaction with the Truth and hankering after secular knowledge had one or more representative. Not only so, but this dissatisfaction and lusting were expressed publicly, often by the ministers and elders as the leaders in those churches and in Truth ecclesias (every man in the door of his tent). Accordingly, this was a very general happening. So widespread did it become that it had to receive the special cognizance of the Lord, who was greatly displeased thereat (the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, v. 10), knowing that one of His choice favors was despised and greatly inferior things were preferred to it by His people, since this betrayed their ingratitude, in appreciation and corruption. Moreover, this course of the people was by our Lord seen to be evil (evil in the eyes of Moses). We know that such things have happened in the Parousia and Epiphany times. But the same phenomenon occurred in the Smyrna period and continued to happen in the following four Church epochs, especially in the first three of these four. During the Smyrna period especially did our Lord note
both in the Jewish and in the Gentile section of the nominal and real people of God that there was increasingly among them dissatisfaction with, and weariness of the spiritual Manna that God provided for His people, and this lusting after Jewish and pagan religions, history, science, philosophy, art and literature. He saw it occurring in every ecclesia of both sections of His people in that period. He saw it occurring not only in a private way, but also in a public way, and that often expressed by the leaders themselves, whose influence over the others made these feelings all the more evil in their nature and effects. No wonder that God at such base ingratitude, in appreciation and corruption was greatly displeased; and no wonder our Lord recognized these things as evil.
(18) Moses, the overworked servant of God, makes plaint, not complaint, at this situation and His office as respects it (v. 11). To him as God's servant his situation as to this condition was an affliction (Why hast Thou afflicted Thy servant?). To Him it was not an expression of God's favor (Why have I not found favor in Thy sight?). To him it was as though an excessive burden was laid upon him (literally, for the laying of the burden of all the people upon me). We may be sure that in the antitype our Lord did not by words utter such a plaint to God. Rather we think His sense of an oppressive burden in view of the situation, and not His words, told God the antitypical plaint. For people in the antitypical attitude toward the Truth and toward secular things above described so to act toward His ministry was an affliction and an infliction to Him; for Him to have to supply such desires as the antitypical Israelites in all the antitypical applications had and expressed was indeed an intolerable burden to Him. It was not a favor of the Lord to Him that the conditions were so. This will become apparent when we remember that our Lord's Gospel-Age ministry has two features: (1) supervising the work of selecting,
developing and delivering the Church (1 Cor. 1: 30; Acts 15: 14); and (2) supervising the work of reproving the world for sin, righteousness and the coming judgment (John 16: 8-11). It did not belong to His mission to bear the burden of the second death class, nor of the unjustified, particularly those whose justification lapsed as such, a condition forced upon Him. And it certainly did not belong to His mission to provide the six secular forms of mental food for which the antitypical lusters hankered. Nor had God laid such a burden upon Him, except in a permissive sense, but certainly not in a positive sense. The burden had, so to speak, developed in the natural run of events, due to so many nominal people of God springing up among the real people of God, and due to some of the latter becoming wholly or partially unfaithful. These facts show us how our Lord's oppressed feelings under a burden that was not a part of His mission as the Leader of God's people spoke to the Father by the condition and not by word. Our Lord's plaint was for information; it was not a complaint even in feeling.
(19) But one may ask, Was not our Lord omniscient and therefore needed no information, having all knowledge? The Bible implies that He knows all things that He needs to know to carry out His vicegerency for God (Matt. 28: 18), which means that He knows everything about the physical universe so far created, and as much, at least, as is needed for operating matters connected with the process of creating new universes at and for their making. But for several reasons his knowledge, though, nearly omniscient, is short of omniscience. In the first place, God would deny Himself, which He morally cannot do (2 Tim. 2: 13), if He should make any creature His equal in any particular; for that would in that particular be surrendering His supremacy, a thing He will never do. In the second place, in types in which the Bible teaches that certain persons represent Him, e.g., Moses, Gideon,
etc., He is set forth as needing and asking for information after His exaltation. In the chapter that we are interpreting (vs. 11, 21, 22) and in other places (15: 32-36, particularly v. 32; etc.), in His glorified condition, Jesus is represented as needing information, which is implied in all the revelations made by God to Moses while the latter represents our Lord in His glorified condition. Thirdly, not only in types but in non-typical Scriptures this is shown, e.g., in Acts 1: 7 just before His ascension Jesus shows that at that time only the Father knew the time when the Kingdom would be restored to Israel, i.e., in great David's greater Son, just as before His death He did not know when the judgment day would come (Mark 13: 32).
(20) Fourthly, Jesus being in Is. 60: 20 called the glorified Church's Moon and the Father her Sun proves that Jesus will continually get new light from the Father and reflect it upon the Church, even as the natural moon continually gets its light from the natural sun, and then reflects its borrowed light upon the earth. Fifthly, there are hints scattered here and there in the Scriptures that while Jesus' knowledge after His ascension was greatly increased on all general and most detailed features of the plan, e.g., being given the revelations of the book of Revelation after His ascension (Rev. 1: 1), some details, especially on methods of procedure, are given to Him only just before they are due to be given to, or worked toward the Lord's people or others. We saw this typed by Boaz' eating (Ruth 3: 7) as representing Jesus' receiving certain new features of Truth on the Youthful Worthies, in the type of what should be done with the man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath (Num. 15: 32-36), etc. Sixthly, the covenant arrangements shown Moses in the Mountain, typing those shown Jesus partly shortly after His ascension and partly during His Second Advent, prove it. Seventh, antitypical Gideon's getting information in the antitypical Midianites' camp (Judg. 7: 9-15)
and Jesus' partaking of the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19: 9), which, among other things, means appropriating knowledge for His Millennial husbandship toward His Bride and His fatherhood of His Millennial children, with what is implied as to duties, etc., in these relations, prove that our Lord was not omniscient. This is suggested in the moon picture commented on above as an eternal condition, the moon constantly reflecting new light on the earth after receiving it from the sun. The principle contained in the passage, "all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you" (John 15: 15), will prove eternally true. The Father will eternally reveal new things to the Son, who will eternally make them known to the Church.
(21) Jesus knows progressively as much as a creature can know; and He is as great in physical, artistic, mental, moral and religious qualities as is possible for a creature to be; but is in all of these the Father's inferior (John 14: 28; 1 Cor. 15: 28). God would do what is impossible even for Him, ungod Himself, if He made even our Lord His equal in any particular; for that would be denying Himself (2 Tim. 2: 13), which He cannot do. If the matter of our Lord's inferiority to the Father in all things, hence also in knowledge, is kept in mind, it will not stumble us when, as in the case of the passage under consideration, and many others, our Lord in His glorified condition is represented as seeking information from the Father. As on the subject of human immortality on which its exponents cannot find even one Scripture to prove their view, the proponents of our Lord's omniscience cannot find even one inspired Scripture that teaches or implies it; for the Scriptures teach quite to the contrary. We, of course, do not say the above to our Lord's disparagement; for it is no disparagement of Him to hold with the Scriptures, that in all things the Father is greater than He. To over-exalt our Lord is
distasteful to Him, as it is distasteful to the Father to belittle our Lord, or to belittle the Father by over-exalting our Lord to equality with the Father in any detail. The passage in which Jesus says, "My Father is greater than I" (John 14: 28), is eternally true in all respects, hence in knowledge. The Truth on the subject is this: God is the Source of all true knowledge and He gives true knowledge to our Lord as is due for Him to receive it; and therefore the Latter is eternally dependent on the Father for new light, as it is due for Him to receive it from the Father. How evident is this principle is apparent when we note that in every application of this type, and there have been eight of them already fulfilled, Jesus asked for the pertinent information, as typed by Moses' questions.
(22) Moses' plaint (vs. 11-15) takes another form in v. 12. It will be recognized as just throughout. He did not have a mother's relation and consequent duties to the whole people (have I conceived all this people? v. 12). He did not have a father's relation and consequent duties to the whole people (have I begotten them?). This language is especially meaningful in the antitype, because the Bible attributes father functions to those brethren who have been used to bring justified ones into consecration and Spirit-begettal; for in this act they represent the Father directly (1 Cor. 4: 15; Phile. 10). Hence, as the two passages just cited show, they are spoken of as begetting such, and that in the sense just explained, as the Father's direct representatives in this act. Again, as we showed in detail in Vol. VI, Chap. VI, the Truth servants in their capacity of ministering the promises, their institutions, arrangements, elaborations, etc., to the brethren are the mother, who conceives (have I conceived?) the New Creature fetus. The language of Moses, therefore, types our Lord's state of mind over the oppressive burden that He was carrying as suggesting to the Father the following thought: Have I by the Truth fathered all who