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QUARTERLY REVIEW.—SEPTEMBER 28
Thou shalt remember the Lord thy God.—Deut. 8:18.
A very profitable review of this quarter’s lessons may be found in Deuteronomy, 8th chapter. There Moses, himself, summarizes the experiences of Israel’s humiliations, and bases upon them great and important lessons respecting their future. He shows that the lessons properly learned and applied, will bring lasting blessings, riches and divine favor; and these to be rightly enjoyed and really profitable, must continually draw their hearts to God in thankfulness and in acknowledgment of his providential care and guidance. Any neglect of such recognition of divine favor would be sure to lead to pride, and thus more and more toward sin and farther and farther away from the Lord, and ultimately to the cutting off of the supply of blessings because of separation from their fountain.
All of this lesson may well be applied to spiritual Israel. As the poet has expressed it,
„My highest place is lying low
At my Redeemer’s feet.”
The more we come into possession of the spiritual blessings which the Lord has promised us, and which we have accepted by faith, the more need we will have of humility; and our humility will be proportionate to our appreciation of divine goodness and our thankfulness therefor. The grateful, thankful heart may go on from grace to grace, from strength to strength, from knowledge to knowledge, from attainment to attainment; but if gratitude begins to wane and our advantages are accepted either as matters of our own attainment or of good luck, in that same proportion we will find ourselves growing cold spiritually, and with unthankfulness will come unholiness, spiritual self-conceit and pride, and all of this will lead to spiritual dearth, and if persisted in to spiritual death.
„Give me a thankful heart, from every murmur free,
A heart which always feels thy blood, so freely shed for
Although the entire Pentateuch—the five books of Moses—was designated the law of Moses, the Book of Deuteronomy was in Joshua’s day particularly the book of the Law, it being rather a summary of the teachings of the other four books. However, we are not to confine the thought of the Lord’s words simply to the Pentateuch, but are rather to remember that „every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” is a part of the divine law which we, as the antitypical Joshua are to reverence, to study and, to the extent that we are able, obey. We have already seen that the divine law in this sense speaks more than simply forms and ceremonies and justice, to us, spiritual Israelites; we see that speaking through Jesus Christ, our Lord, God has in our later times spoken mercy and peace and reconciliation and love and adoption into his family. As the antitype of Joshua, our Lord Jesus declares, as represented through the Prophet, „I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart,” and thus it must be with all those who shall be ultimately acceptable as members of Christ’s body, the glorified Church, the Royal Priesthood; they, each and all to be of that company, must be in this respect copies of God’s dear Son—they must all have the divine law in their hearts, in their wills, in their intentions, and so far as possible each must see to it that this divine law is obeyed in all the affairs of life. As Jesus was to have his success in proportion to his obedience to the divine law, so we will make our calling and election sure in proportion as we shall strive to come into conformity with the regulations of the divine law which has come to us, the sum and substance of which, as our Master declared, is that we love the Lord our God with all our mind, being and strength; and love our neighbor as ourselves. In proportion as we do these things, we shall have „good success”. Not good success as respects earthly prosperity perhaps, earthly fame and name, but good success as respects our real object in life, the attainment of the prize of the high-calling set before us in the gospel, the attainment of joint-heirship with our Master in the Kingdom. And nothing can more thoroughly stimulate us and encourage us in this direction than absolute faith, confidence in the Lord. To battle with the world, the flesh and devil requires more strength than we possess; we need the courage coming to us from the divine assurance given to Joshua, „Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
The time had come for entering the promised land and Joshua, full of the proper courage, gave the necessary instructions—that the people should prepare victuals for three days during which they would be marshalled as an army and be in process of crossing over Jordan into the promised land. When we remember that our Lord Jesus declared that his flesh which he would give for the life of the world is
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the bread which comes down from heaven, and when we remember that the preparation of this bread meant the death of our Lord Jesus, and not only so but his resurrection as a spirit being, and when we remember further that he was in this state of death or preparation, for parts of three days and that he arose on the third day, it gives us the suggestion that quite probably the Lord meant a lesson for us spiritual Israelites in connection with those three days of preparing of victuals as mentioned in our lesson. Our Lord seems to have referred to three larger days also on several occasions; as, for instance, when he said, „I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected,” we understand him to have included with himself his Church, and that he spoke respecting large, or thousand year days. He was living in the beginning of the fifth thousand; this would be the first of the three days, then followed the sixth thousand year day, the second, and the third would be the seventh thousand. During the first two of these days the Lord and his Church have done cures, cures of sin, binding up the broken hearted and assisting whoever was willing to a measure of newness of life, and in general doing good to all men as opportunity has been afforded, and on the third day, that is in the seventh great day, or the Millennium, early in the Millennial morning, he shall be perfected, the entire body of Christ complete, and then the great work of restitution will begin. Again the same three days are referred to, and the temple is mentioned as a figure or illustration; our Lord’s words were, „Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up”; the writer adds, „But he spake of the temple of his body.” (John 2:19-21.) The Apostle assures us that
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the Church is the temple of God, and that it is the body of Christ under Jesus its Head. Various agencies have been in antagonism with the Church, Head and body for the two days mentioned, the fifth thousand year period and the sixth thousand year period, and it still continues while we are in the beginning of the seventh period; but the Lord’s promise is that now shortly the temple, the Church, his body, shall be complete and he will raise it up, raise it from ruin, raise it to the perfection and glory of the Millennial Kingdom. It is in harmony with this that we may recognize the Church with her Lord as being a part of the bread which God is preparing. Our Lord Jesus was the bread which came down from heaven, and we have partaken of him, of his merit, and have been thereby transformed; and we, as the Apostle declares, have become part of the one loaf, the one bread, and we also, as part of the one bread, are being broken with our Lord, and thus indirectly this preparation of the Church and her association with her Lord are represented in the three days victualling which is provided for the world of mankind, and necessary to them before they can pass over Jordan and enter into the Millennial Canaan.
— September 15, 1902 —