Bible Top 1000

The Gospel
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Much has been said about the power of the gospel. It's "the power of God unto salvation." By it, millions have been redeemed and cheered and comforted and inspired. Others have been warned in tones of thunder to awakened consciences. It's been the greatest civilizer known. But however great its power and influences, however wonderful its accomplishments, there are conditions under which, it's pitifully helpless, under which it can do nothing to help the perishing masses. We may take our Bible into a heathen land or to a race of another language, and though all its truth, its promises and warnings, its light and glory, are within its lids, yet it's dumb---It speaks not to them. They perish all around it. They remain in darkness, when light is there, heavenly, glorious light. Not a ray reaches them. It's helpless. It's voiceless; it speaks not to them its story of love. In our own home it may lie closed and silent. Visitors come and go, but it helps us not. Our children hear not its voice. Our neighbors receive not its counsel, warnings, nor promises. How helpless it is! Oh the many dumb Bibles in our land! If they only had tongues, what messages they would speak to the people! We have a tongue. Do we not often use it in a way that's of little profit either to us or to others? The Bible has no tongue to use. Let's lend it ours? Let's let it speak its message with our tongue? Must our neighbors be lost because our Bible has no voice? Let's let our Bible be no longer dumb. Let's give it a tongue. There's hearts all around us needing its truth. Will we speak for it? A silent and voiceless Bible---what can be more helpless?

Again, if a tongue were lent it and its message be spoken and repeated again and again, what can it do if it's not believed? It's the power of God in this world only to "them that believe." If we don't believe it, it can do us no good. It can't save or comfort or heal unless it's believed. Will we give it a believing heart? Unless we do, it's absolutely powerless to help us. Oh, how helpless is an unbelieved Bible!

The Tabernacle of David

James confirmed what Peter had said about God visiting the Gentiles, "to take out of them a people for his name." In verses 15-17 he quotes from the prophets: "And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things."

I am drawing attention to this passage for a reason: Scofield's notes on it begin with the following statement: "Dispensationally, this is the most important passage in the N.T. It gives the divine purpose for this age, and for the beginning of the next." Does it?

This is a perfect example of how "religious glasses" can cause someone to twist the meaning of scripture. In Scofield's mind, when James said, "after this" he meant after the church age. He thought of the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David as a future restoration of the Jews. Is that what James meant?

James was quoting the prophets to support what he had said. To make his quotation apply to the distant future makes it totally irrelevant to the discussion they were having! He was talking about Gentiles being saved right then! He said, "... to this agree the words of the prophets ...." How else can we understand his quotation of the prophets except that he was applying their words to that day?

The "after this" refers to a time that was yet future to the prophets, not to James. James was saying that what God was doing right then was the fulfillment. "After this" was then! The establishment of the church was the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David, David's tabernacle being a type of what was to come through Christ.

The result of this rebuilding was the outreach to the residue of the Gentiles -- exactly what the council was discussing! I have a lot more confidence in James' interpretation of the prophets than I have in Scofield's! James' interpretation was inspired of God. Where did Scofield's come from?

The interpretation by James is in perfect harmony with Peter's words in I Peter 1:10-12. The message of the prophets centered in "the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow."

The Silversmith

Some time ago, a few ladies met to read the scriptures. While reading the third chapter of Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse. "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." One lady's opinion was that it was intended to convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ. Then she proposed to visit a silversmith and report to her friends what he said on the subject. She went accordingly and without telling the objective of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he fully described to her.

"But sir," she said, "do you sit while the work of refining is going on?" "Oh, yes madam," replied the silversmith. "I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining is exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured." The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace. His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials don't come at random. The very hairs of our head are all numbered. As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back, and said he had something further to mention: that he only knows when the process of purifying is complete by seeing his own image reflected in the silver. Beautiful example! When Christ shall see His own image in His people, His work of purifying will be accomplished.