This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Leviticus 14:21-32

"21 And if he be poor, and cannot get so much; then he shall take one lamb for a trespass offering to be waved, to make an atonement for him, and one tenth deal of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering, and a log of oil; 22 And two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, such as he is able to get; and the one shall be a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering. 23 And he shall bring them on the eighth day for his cleansing unto the priest, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, before the LORD. 24 And the priest shall take the lamb of the trespass offering, and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: 25 And he shall kill the lamb of the trespass offering, and the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot: 26 And the priest shall pour of the oil into the palm of his own left hand: 27 And the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the LORD: 28 And the priest shall put of the oil that is in his hand upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the place of the blood of the trespass offering: 29 And the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, to make an atonement for him before the LORD. 30 And he shall offer the one of the turtledoves, or of the young pigeons, such as he can get; 31 Even such as he is able to get, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, with the meat offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed before the LORD. 32 This is the law of him in whom is the plague of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get that which pertaineth to his cleansing." Leviticus 14:21-32 KJV.

21. Cannot get so much — Literally, if his hand reach not. Thus the divine requirement mercifully adjusts itself to human ability. “God never omitted the sacrifice; however poor was the worshipper, some degree or form of sacrifice he was bound to supply. This shows that the true sacrifice is in the spirit rather than in the offering which is made by the hand.” — Joseph Parker. See Leviticus 12:8, note. The reduced requirement diminishes the meat offering two thirds, and substitutes two doves for the two sheep which are used for the sin offering and the burnt offering. But the offerings which are more especially consecratory, typifying positive blessings, are not diminished, namely, the trespass offering and the anointing oil. This may teach, that while penitents may be pardoned when faith in Christ is very imperfect, by simply looking toward him, believers receive cleansing and the fulness of the Holy Spirit only when they exercise a perfect faith in the great atonement.


Do Not Be Anxious - Matthew 6:25-34

QUESTION: Explain "Take no thought for your life what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor for your body, what ye shall put on, take no thought for the morrow." (Matt. 6: 25-34).

ANSWER: The Revision is more exact: "Be not anxious." Perfect trust in God cannot dwell in the same heart with worry about the future. Where the great purpose of life is to promote the kingdom of God and to obtain the righteousness which he requires and bestows — if this is our chief good, the inferior good of material things will be added. For the Christian virtues are economic, promoting health, industry, frugality, a sufficiency, and often an overplus for Christian charities and Gospel missions.

Steele's Answers p. 150.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Leviticus 14:10-20 - The Cleansing of the Leper (Part 2)

"10 And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil. 11 And the priest that maketh him clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: 12 And the priest shall take one he lamb, and offer him for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: 13 And he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the holy place: for as the sin offering is the priest’s, so is the trespass offering: it is most holy: 14 And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot: 15 And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand: 16 And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the LORD: 17 And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering: 18 And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD. 19 And the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness; and afterward he shall kill the burnt offering: 20 And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the meat offering upon the altar: and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be clean." — Leviticus 14:10-20 KJV.

10. Eighth day — See Leviticus 9:1, note. Two lambs — The Hebrew term applies to young sheep till three years old. If it be of the first year the fact is expressly stated. Without blemish — See Leviticus 1:3, note. Three tenth deals — Three omers, about nine quarts: R.V., “three tenth parts of an ephah.” See Leviticus 23:13, note. Meat offering — See chap. ii, notes. One log of oil — The term “log” is transferred from the Hebrew. It contained the twelfth part of a hin, or six egg-shells=.833 of a pint. This olive oil was to be applied to the person of the cleansed leper. Whilst other requisites for the final cleansing varied, according to his ability, this was invariable, because of its typical significance — the unction of the Holy Ghost.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

A Common Christian Language

Jesus prays for his disciples: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21 NRSV)

The language of Christian feeling can never be successfully counterfeited. The language of the dry intellect, the language of the head, may be misunderstood. Hence wherever religion has consisted in theological dogmas alone, fierce strifes have arisen. But when the gospel has been addressed to men's hearts, and has been received by faith in its transforming power, the weapons of denominational warfare are cast away, and believers vie with one another in magnifying our common Saviour. Such, thank God, are the happy times upon which we have fallen. We live in a day when the Holy Spirit has come down upon the evangelical churches, and we now understand one another, because our hearts speak. In the eras of the warmest theological controversy this heart unison was not noticed amid the din and discord of clashing swords. Professor Shedd says that ‘Tried by the test of exact dogmatic statement there is a plain difference between the Arminian creed and that of the Calvinist; but tried by the test of practical piety and devout feeling, there is little difference between the character of John Wesley and John Calvin. The practical religious life is much more a product of the Holy Spirit than is the speculative construction of truth.' The advance of spirituality will be the advance of that unity for which Jesus prayed in his wonderful high-priestly prayer in the seventeenth of St. John. 

— Daniel Steele, Jesus Exultant (1899) Chapter 3.

Levitius 14:1-9 The Cleansing of the Leper (Part 1)

"1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: 3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper; 4 Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: 5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: 6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: 7 And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field. 8 And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days. 9 But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean." Leviticus 14:1-9 KJV. 

The first section of this chapter is addressed to Moses alone, and relates to the ritual for cleansing the leper and restoring to full communion with Israel. Verses 1-32. The second section, addressed to Moses and Aaron, describes the leprosy in a house, and prescribes the mode of its treatment. Verses 33-57.


Our position that the treatment of the leprosy was founded on ceremonial, rather than sanitary, grounds, is confirmed by the minute ritual required for the cleansing of the leper after he has been healed, together with the total absence of any medicinal prescriptions for his cure. By what natural means this was ever effected we are not informed in the Scriptures. The only cures which are detailed are miraculous, as Miriam, in answer to the prayer of Moses, Numbers 12:13-15; Naaman, at the command of Elisha, 2 Kings 5:14; and the instances of healing by Jesus Christ, Matthew 8:3; Luke 17:14. In his sermon to his indignant towns-men on the universality of the divine regards, Jesus gives two very valuable historical items: 1. That in the long and eventful life of Elisha not an Israelite leper was healed; and 2. That “many lepers were in Israel” at that time. Luke 4:27. We infer, therefore, that the perfect healing of the leprosy was a rare exertion of supernatural power, and that the cases provided for in this chapter are either instances of miraculous healing, or, more probably, cases in which the disease had reached the stage of complete whiteness, when the patient has become clean, (Leviticus 13:13, note,) and may be constructively called healed.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Baptism and Forgiveness

QUESTION: Was Saul of Tarsus already forgiven when Ananais said, "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins."?

ANSWER: Adult baptism is a symbol of a divine work already wrought. I would not knowingly baptize an unforgiven sinner, though our missionaries publicly baptize sincere inquirers intellectually convinced, so as to make his break with his former paganism complete. Saul was converted, in the proper sense of that word, when his will became submissive to Christ when he appeared to him, for he says, "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision." But, he did not receive the witness of the Spirit till Ananias laid his hands on him and he was filled with the Holy Ghost.

— From Steele's Answers pp. 16, 17.

Leviticus 13:47-59 & Concluding Notes (Part 4)

"47 The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woollen garment, or a linen garment; 48 Whether it be in the warp, or woof; of linen, or of woollen; whether in a skin, or in any thing made of skin; 49 And if the plague be greenish or reddish in the garment, or in the skin, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a plague of leprosy, and shall be shewed unto the priest: 50 And the priest shall look upon the plague, and shut up it that hath the plague seven days: 51 And he shall look on the plague on the seventh day: if the plague be spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in a skin, or in any work that is made of skin; the plague is a fretting leprosy; it is unclean. 52 He shall therefore burn that garment, whether warp or woof, in woollen or in linen, or any thing of skin, wherein the plague is: for it is a fretting leprosy; it shall be burnt in the fire. 53 And if the priest shall look, and, behold, the plague be not spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; 54 Then the priest shall command that they wash the thing wherein the plague is, and he shall shut it up seven days more: 55 And the priest shall look on the plague, after that it is washed: and, behold, if the plague have not changed his colour, and the plague be not spread; it is unclean; thou shalt burn it in the fire; it is fret inward, whether it be bare within or without. 56 And if the priest look, and, behold, the plague be somewhat dark after the washing of it; then he shall rend it out of the garment, or out of the skin, or out of the warp, or out of the woof: 57 And if it appear still in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a spreading plague: thou shalt burn that wherein the plague is with fire. 58 And the garment, either warp, or woof, or whatsoever thing of skin it be, which thou shalt wash, if the plague be departed from them, then it shall be washed the second time, and shall be clean. 59 This is the law of the plague of leprosy in a garment of woollen or linen, either in the warp, or woof, or any thing of skins, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it unclean." — Leviticus 13:47-59 KJV.


Moses proceeds to describe a leprous garment in the very words used to describe the leprosy in a man — plague or stroke of leprosy. This has moved the mirth of some and the wonder of others. For it is evident that the garments of the leper are not intended. 1.) The method of purifying these is described in Leviticus 14:8. 2.) The infection is described as visibly spreading in the garment. This is totally unlike “the garment spotted with the flesh.” 3.) It is subject to priestly inspection and condemnation before it is to be destroyed. 4.) No connexion of the leprous garment with a leprous wearer is hinted at. There must therefore be possible in garments something analogous to the loathsome leprosy in mankind. Here modern science comes to our aid in vindication of the accuracy of the Mosaic account. It is well known that there are some skin-diseases which originate in a genus of small spiders called acarus, embracing the mites and ticks, and other cutaneous disorders proceeding from a fungus. The analogy between the insect which frets the human skin and that which frets the garment is close enough for the proposes of the ceremonial law.

Friday, February 23, 2024

When Did Paul Experience the Witness of the Spirit?

QUESTION: When did Paul receive the witness of the Spirit of adoption?

ANSWER: The first mention of the Holy Spirit in relation to him is in Acts 9:17, where Ananias declares the purpose of his mission to Saul, "that thou might be filled, with the Holy Spirit." The first offices of the Spirit to a penitent sinner trusting in Christ is to impart spiritual life and to witness his adoption into the family of God and to begin his sanctification by infusing the love of Christ. These are the blessings Saul received in Damascus. Some think he then and there received a full-fledged Christian character including entire sanctification ensphered in perfect love. But it is far more probable that this was a subsequent experience. Doubtless he advanced gradually from childhood to youth and, then to manhood in Christ. Entire sanctification requires a stronger faith than a penitent sinner can exercise, and, moreover, it is a gift for which he feels no special need, while overwhelmed with guilty fear in view of his past sins. In Gal. 1:15, 16, he speaks of two experiences, (1) called through his (God's) grace, and (2) the inward revelation of the Son, not to be confounded with the outward revelation of Christ in the sky, which blinded his eyes. This inward revelation could be made only to the inner eye purged from the film of sin as in the sixth beatitude, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." In John 14:21 to those who already love Christ, and to them only, does he promise to manifest himself. Only these can receive this wonderful manifestation. Probably Saul, while studying his three years' course in theology in Arabia, under the tuition of the Paraclete, became capable of receiving this inward revelation.

Steele's Answers pp. 177, 178.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

A Translation Question

"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
— Hebrews 13:20, 21 King James Version.

QUESTION: Is it perfectly permissible in Heb. 13:20, 21, to so translate the Greek and punctuate it that the meaning will be that the clause "by the blood of the everlasting covenant" modifies "make you perfect," instead of "brought again from the dead"?

ANSWER: The erroneous order of clauses in the Authorized [King James] Version has suggested this question. The order in the Revision is that of the Greek, "Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of the everlasting covenant, even our Lord Jesus Christ, make you perfect," etc. Hence the suggested change would shock any Greek scholar.

— From Steele's Answers p. 16.

Leviticus 13:38-46 Leprosy (Part 3)

'38 If a man also or a woman have in the skin of their flesh bright spots, even white bright spots; 39 Then the priest shall look: and, behold, if the bright spots in the skin of their flesh be darkish white; it is a freckled spot that groweth in the skin; he is clean. 40 And the man whose hair is fallen off his head, he is bald; yet is he clean. 41 And he that hath his hair fallen off from the part of his head toward his face, he is forehead bald: yet is he clean. 42 And if there be in the bald head, or bald forehead, a white reddish sore; it is a leprosy sprung up in his bald head, or his bald forehead. 43 Then the priest shall look upon it: and, behold, if the rising of the sore be white reddish in his bald head, or in his bald forehead, as the leprosy appeareth in the skin of the flesh; 44 He is a leprous man, he is unclean: the priest shall pronounce him utterly unclean; his plague is in his head. 45 And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. 46 All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be." —  Leviticus 13:38-46 KJV.

39. A freckled spot — Hebrew, בֹּ֥הַק. In the R.V., “tetter.” This constitutes a new case, since these peculiar spots do not appear on the parts where the hair grows thick, but only on the neck and face. It is remarkable that the modern Arabs have a kind of leprosy in which some little spots show themselves here and there, called bohak, a word containing the same consonants as the Hebrew term which we are now considering. These spots gradually spread, continuing sometimes only about two months, and then gradually disappearing. They are not contagious nor hereditary, nor specially painful. The treatment of the bohak in verses 38 and 39 seems to be unnaturally sandwiched between the leprosy of the hairy head and that of the bald head. The sacred writers do not always observe that order of statement required by our canons of rhetoric.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Should Conscience Be Our Guide?

QUESTION: Define conscience and answer the question, Is it always to be our guide?

ANSWER: It is the faculty which discovers the moral quality of actions, and approves the right and condemns the wrong. On abstract questions its voice is always the same in all countries and in all generations, such as, Is it wrong to hate a benefactor, or punish innocence? These are questions relating to immutable morality. But most of the questions we meet with are not abstract and simple, but concrete and mixed, requiring the exercise of our fallible intellects, so that one may say that an act is right and another say it is wrong. That is the field of mutable morality. Hence the need of a well-trained  illuminated by a good knowledge of God's Word, especially of the New Testament. Such a conscience is our guide, not infallible in the field of practical life, except in the case of the Pope, if we believe that he is the divinely appointed organ of the Holy Spirit who cannot err. The best guide is a tender conscience very sensitive to moral distinctions, like a pair of scales so delicately poised as to weigh a hair. The worst is a seared conscience (1 Tim 4:2), which by being habitually disregarded has now lost its sensitiveness, as flesh cauterized till it has ceased to feel. Such a guide leads to the pit of woe. The only remedy is a supernatural change wrought by the Holy Spirit regenerating and sanctifying. A good conscience is a tender, moral sense, which approves our conduct, and a bad conscience is one that condemns.

— From Steele's Answers pp. 15,16.

Leviticus 13:18-37 Leprosy (Part 2)

"18 The flesh also, in which, even in the skin thereof, was a boil, and is healed, 19 And in the place of the boil there be a white rising, or a bright spot, white, and somewhat reddish, and it be shewed to the priest; 20 And if, when the priest seeth it, behold, it be in sight lower than the skin, and the hair thereof be turned white; the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a plague of leprosy broken out of the boil. 21 But if the priest look on it, and, behold, there be no white hairs therein, and if it be not lower than the skin, but be somewhat dark; then the priest shall shut him up seven days: 22 And if it spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a plague. 23 But if the bright spot stay in his place, and spread not, it is a burning boil; and the priest shall pronounce him clean. 24 Or if there be any flesh, in the skin whereof there is a hot burning, and the quick flesh that burneth have a white bright spot, somewhat reddish, or white; 25 Then the priest shall look upon it: and, behold, if the hair in the bright spot be turned white, and it be in sight deeper than the skin; it is a leprosy broken out of the burning: wherefore the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is the plague of leprosy. 26 But if the priest look on it, and, behold, there be no white hair in the bright spot, and it be no lower than the other skin, but be somewhat dark; then the priest shall shut him up seven days: 27 And the priest shall look upon him the seventh day: and if it be spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is the plague of leprosy. 28 And if the bright spot stay in his place, and spread not in the skin, but it be somewhat dark; it is a rising of the burning, and the priest shall pronounce him clean: for it is an inflammation of the burning. 29 If a man or woman have a plague upon the head or the beard; 30 Then the priest shall see the plague: and, behold, if it be in sight deeper than the skin; and there be in it a yellow thin hair; then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a dry scall, even a leprosy upon the head or beard. 31 And if the priest look on the plague of the scall, and, behold, it be not in sight deeper than the skin, and that there is no black hair in it; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague of the scall seven days: 32 And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the plague: and, behold, if the scall spread not, and there be in it no yellow hair, and the scall be not in sight deeper than the skin; 33 He shall be shaven, but the scall shall he not shave; and the priest shall shut up him that hath the scall seven days more: 34 And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the scall: and, behold, if the scall be not spread in the skin, nor be in sight deeper than the skin; then the priest shall pronounce him clean: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean. 35 But if the scall spread much in the skin after his cleansing; 36 Then the priest shall look on him: and, behold, if the scall be spread in the skin, the priest shall not seek for yellow hair; he is unclean. 37 But if the scall be in his sight at a stay, and that there is black hair grown up therein; the scall is healed, he is clean: and the priest shall pronounce him clean." —  Leviticus 13:18-37 KJV.

18. A boil — In the Hebrew of Deuteronomy 28:27, 35, the same word is found, and is translated in verse 35, “a sore blotch which cannot be healed.” Both Gesenius and Furst think that the ulcers of elephantiasis, or “the joint evil,” is here intended, which leave tender scars susceptible of the leprous eruption.

19. Somewhat reddish — The redness is that of the inflamed circumference of the blotch. The two symptoms of white hairs and manifest depth below the skin indicate leprosy.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

The Centrality of the Cross in Paul's Preaching

"For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." — 1 Cor. ii. 2

The character and career of St. Paul are an inspiration to every believer in Christ and a model to every one of his ministers. That character will never cease to be admired by all who are capable of emotions of moral sublimity. It will be a dark day for the Christian church when this heroic apostolic example will have no imitators. He declared that after a course of bloody persecution he obtained mercy that he might stand forth as a conspicuous specimen of the wonderful power and condescending mercy of God, and as a pattern of all long-suffering to them who should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting. We are justified in saying that Saul found pardoning grace that his course of labors and sufferings might be presented to every successive generation of Christian heralds as a model of all ministerial fidelity and devotion to his divine Master. His heroism is seen not only in his persistent surmounting of obstacles and dauntless courage to face foes thirsting for his blood, but also in the offensive doctrine to which he always gave prominence. He exalts and magnifies the most unpalatable truth of the gospel. He lifts up the bloody cross, awakening the anger of the Jew and the disgust of the Greek. To the one it was a stumbling-block and to the other foolishness. The Jew's worldly ideal of the Messiah was rudely shocked by the hammer that nailed the Nazarene to the tree. Even to this day he will not bow the knee to Jesus Christ because he says, in the words of a Hebrew college classmate, "I cannot worship a dead God." The cultured Greek, whose exquisite taste has given law to art, has his modern successors who are disgusted with a theology that has the blood of atonement as a cardinal element. Every audience before whom Paul "reasoned" was composed of Jews and Greeks whose prejudices were harshly assaulted, whose tastes were grossly offended by the very mention of the shameful cross as the instrument of blessing to mankind.

Leviticus 13:1-17 - Leprosy (Part 1)

"1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests: 3 And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh: and when the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight be deeper than the skin of his flesh, it is a plague of leprosy: and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean. 4 If the bright spot be white in the skin of his flesh, and in sight be not deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be not turned white; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague seven days: 5 And the priest shall look on him the seventh day: and, behold, if the plague in his sight be at a stay, and the plague spread not in the skin; then the priest shall shut him up seven days more: 6 And the priest shall look on him again the seventh day: and, behold, if the plague be somewhat dark, and the plague spread not in the skin, the priest shall pronounce him clean: it is but a scab: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean. 7 But if the scab spread much abroad in the skin, after that he hath been seen of the priest for his cleansing, he shall be seen of the priest again: 8 And if the priest see that, behold, the scab spreadeth in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a leprosy. 9 When the plague of leprosy is in a man, then he shall be brought unto the priest; 10 And the priest shall see him: and, behold, if the rising be white in the skin, and it have turned the hair white, and there be quick raw flesh in the rising; 11 It is an old leprosy in the skin of his flesh, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean, and shall not shut him up: for he is unclean. 12 And if a leprosy break out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy cover all the skin of him that hath the plague from his head even to his foot, wheresoever the priest looketh; 13 Then the priest shall consider: and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: it is all turned white: he is clean. 14 But when raw flesh appeareth in him, he shall be unclean. 15 And the priest shall see the raw flesh, and pronounce him to be unclean: for the raw flesh is unclean: it is a leprosy. 16 Or if the raw flesh turn again, and be changed unto white, he shall come unto the priest; 17 And the priest shall see him: and, behold, if the plague be turned into white; then the priest shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: he is clean." —  Leviticus 13:1-17 KJV.


2. The plague of leprosy — The word leprosy is of Greek origin, and literally signifies, the scaly disease. But the disease here treated of is evidently the so-called white leprosy, (Lepra Mosaica,) which is still found among the Arabs under the name of Baras. It is described by Trunsen as follows: “Very frequently, even for years before the actual outbreak of the disease itself, white, yellowish spots are seen lying deep in the skin, particularly on the genitals, face, forehead, or in the joints. They are without feeling, and sometimes cause the hair to assume the same colour as the spots. These spots afterwards pierce through the cellular tissue and reach the muscles and bones. The hair becomes white and woolly, and at length falls off; hard, gelatinous swellings are formed in the cellular tissue; the skin gets hard, rough, and seamy; lymph exudes from it, and forms large scabs, which fall off from time to time; and under these there are often offensive running sores. The nails then swell, curl up, and fall off; entropium (inversion of the eyelashes) is then formed, with bleeding gums; the nose is stopped up, and there is a considerable flow of saliva. The senses become dull, the patient gets weak and thin, wasting diarrhea sets in, and incessant thirst and burning terminate his sufferings.” There are three chief symptoms of this disease. (1.) A rising or swelling. (2.) A scab. (3.) A bright spot — This was of a white colour. These are described under six different circumstances, namely: 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Hope for Methodism (1896)

"Knowing exactly what I say, and taking the full responsibility of it, I repeat, we are the only Church in history, from the apostles' time till now, that has put forth as its very elemental thought the great pervading idea of the whole Book of God from the beginning to the end — the holiness of the human soul, heart, mind, and will. . . . It may be called fanaticism; but, dear friends, this is our mission. If we keep to that, the next century is ours; if we keep to that, the triumphs of the next century shall throw those of the past into the shade. . . . There is our mission; there is our glory; there is our power; and there shall be the ground of our triumph! God keep us true!"
— John McClintock, President of Drew Theological Seminary in a sermon preached in 1866.

I am not a pessimist nor a friend of pessimism; I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet; yet something like the burden of a prophet is laid upon me, constraining me to cry aloud to the Church of my father and mother — the Church in which I had my first and my second birth — the Church which nurtured me in her schools, and commissioned me to preach in her pulpits and to teach in her universities — a Church to which I owe a debt too large for me to pay. It is exceedingly painful to note in this Church the first and the second indication of spiritual decay. The first has long grieved me; it is the neglect of those vital truths which nourish a stalwart spiritual life. The silence of the pulpit these many years respecting the full heritage of the believer, which is nothing less than is expressed in the words of Dr. McClintock, "The holiness of the human soul, heart, mind, and will," has been broken at last by the voice of a son of the Church in the open and loud repudiation of that doctrine which is "the inmost essence" and "elemental thought" of Methodism. This is the second token of spiritual decay, the second milestone on the downward road to spiritual death. The fact that this voice sounds out through the very trumpet which was made for the heralding of the glorious evangel of Christian perfection greatly aggravates my sorrow. [This is a reference to a book written by James Mudge.] Yet I am not surprised. The Church that incorporates in itself so large a segment of worldliness will sooner or later reject every doctrine hostile to a love of the world. "Whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

Leviticus 12 - Purification After Childbirth

"1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. 3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. 5 But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days. 6 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: 7 Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. 8 And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean."  — Leviticus 12:1-8 KJV.


The code of ceremonial purity now advances from animals to persons, and sets forth the causes of their ceremonial defilement. These causes are suggestive of moral pollutions staining and disfiguring the soul. They arise from childbirth, leprosy, and certain secretions, to which is added, in Numbers 19:11-16, the pollution of touching a human corpse. There are other sources of sanitary impurity and moral defilement, the omission of which argues that those here prohibited are forbidden not for the promotion of cleanliness merely, or even for good morals, but to inculcate a higher symbolical meaning, and to lead the people up to the conception of spiritual purity. This chapter relates to women after childbirth.

2. She shall be unclean — It is a mystery that marriage, a sacrament of love, prefiguring the oneness of Christ and the Church, should attain its divinely appointed end only by entailing ceremonial impurity. But nothing more impressively teaches the depravity of the human race than the early announcement that both conception (Leviticus 15:16-18) and birth are inevitably attended by pollutions which imperatively demand purgation before the person of the parent can be acceptable to the holy Jehovah. This suggests the strong assertion of David respecting the moral corruption of his nature while in embryo, Psalm 51:5. When Richard Watson was asked for the strongest proof text of inherited depravity, or original sin, he quoted John 3:6. Seven days — This number of days makes the period of uncleanness the same length with the menstrual days of the separation. See Leviticus 15:19.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Concluding Notes on Leviticus 11


(1.) Health and Longevity of the Jews. — The more we study the law of Moses in its relation to health, and in its various provisions which long ago anticipated the sanitary science of our day, in its system of dietetics, in its convocations and feasts, in its purifications and its varied restrictions which touch the social life at every point — we shall be amazed at the wisdom manifested in that ancient law, as exhibited in its safeguards against vice, disorder, and disease.

From its initiatory rite, the seal of the covenant, which was in itself a protection against self-abuse and disease, down to the close of life, the Jewish law sedulously guarded the physical health of the people; and even the laws concerning the dead exhibit the same divine wisdom. Dr. Gibbon, a health officer of London, reports that the life of the Jew in London is, on an average, twice as long as the life of the Gentile. The medical officer of one of their large schools has remarked that Jewish children do not die in any thing like the same ratio as the children of the Gentiles. In the district of Whitechapel, the medical officer in his report states that on the north side of High Street, which is occupied by Jews, the average death-rate is twenty-seven per thousand; while on the south side, occupied by English and Irish, the average death-rate is forty-three per thousand.

Becoming Established in Holiness

In regard to the process of becoming established in holiness, I find this to be God's open secret — "to walk by the same rule and to mind the same thing." Phil. 3:16. The rule is, faith in Christ ever increasing in strength; the heart being fertilized with the elements of faith, a knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, the conscience being trained to avoid not merely sinful and doubtful acts, but also those whose moral quality is beyond the reach of all ethical rules, and known to be evil only by their effect in dimming the manifestation of Christ within. The rule of life, I find, must be sufficiently delicate to exclude those acts which bring the least blur over the spiritual eye. Heb. 5:14. If any act brings a veil of the thinnest gauze between me and the face of Christ I henceforth and forever give it a tremendous letting alone. As another indispensable to establishment in that perfect love which casts out all fear I have found the disposition to confess Christ in His uttermost salvation. As no man could long keep in his house sensitive guests of whom he was ashamed before his neighbors, so no man can long have the company of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the temple of his heart while ashamed of their presence or their purifying work. In this respect I follow no man's formula. The words which the Spirit of inspiration teaches in the Holy scriptures, though beclouded with misunderstandings and beslimed with fanaticism, are, after all, the most appropriate vehicle for the expression of the wonderful work of God in perfecting holiness in the human spirit, soul and body.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Leviticus 11:20-47 - Insects, Other Animals, and Creeping Things

"20 All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. 21 Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; 22 Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. 23 But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you. 24 And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even. 25 And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. 26 The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean. 27 And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even. 28 And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you. 29 These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind, 30 And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole. 31 These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even. 32 And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed. 33 And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it. 34 Of all meat which may be eaten, that on which such water cometh shall be unclean: and all drink that may be drunk in every such vessel shall be unclean. 35 And every thing whereupon any part of their carcase falleth shall be unclean; whether it be oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down: for they are unclean, and shall be unclean unto you. 36 Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean. 37 And if any part of their carcase fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it shall be clean. 38 But if any water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon, it shall be unclean unto you. 39 And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die; he that toucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even. 40 And he that eateth of the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. 41 And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten. 42 Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination. 43 Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby. 44 For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 45 For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. 46 This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: 47 To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten. " — Leviticus 11:20-47 KJV.


These, as a class, are all forbidden, with a few exceptions.

21. Legs above their feet — These are a pair of hind legs to spring with, in addition to the four for walking. The word above indicates the upward projection of these distinct springing legs, as seen in the grasshopper at rest. The prohibition of every creeping thing that flieth, Deuteronomy 14:19, is thus harmonized with this verse by Keil: “The edible locusts are passed over because it was not the intention of Moses to repeat every particular of the earlier laws in these addresses.” Deuteronomy is synoptical.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

The Transforming Power of God's Love

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." — I John 4:10-12 (NIV)

In Christ crucified we find the highest expression of God's love to sinful men. The most comprehensive sentence in the universe is comprised in three monosyllables, 'God is love.' Nature could not reveal this wonderful truth, men of the greatest wisdom and insight could not infer it from the physical world or from human history. There is too much suffering in the world to justify such an inference. It must be revealed by the Spirit of God, who searches the depths of His being. The Spirit inspired John to write the words 'God is love,' the demonstration of which he had contemplated at Golgotha.

Love is the only weapon that can conquer the rebellious will and transform the soul from sin to holiness. And divine love does this only when it awakens responsive love in the sinner's breast. If love alone could save sinners, every prodigal son who has a mother would be drawn immediately from his husks to his home a reformed man. As a parent's love alone cannot save the dissolute son or fallen daughter, so God's love alone, though deep as hell and wide as the world, can save no soul from the guilt and love of sin. But love that awakens love in return is a magnet that draws men from the lowest depths near the very gates of perdition up to the highest heaven. The sinner whom love cannot save God cannot save, for salvation is absolutely impossible without responsive love, the first throb of which is the first pulsation of spiritual life. He is born again, born from above, for, behold, he loveth.

Leviticus 11:9-20 - Fish and Birds

"9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. 10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: 11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. 12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. 13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, 14 And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; 15 Every raven after his kind; 16 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, 17 And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, 18 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, 19 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. 20  All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you" — Leviticus 11:9-20 KJV.


No species of fish are here mentioned; the possession of both fins and scales is the line of demarcation between the clean and the unclean. It excludes from the table of the Hebrew all the eel genera, or snake-like fishes, whose scales are very minute and slimy; all the genus silurus, the scaleless fishes found in the inland waters of Europe, all the amphibious saurians, like the alligators, being finless, and all shellfish, whether testaceous, as the oyster, or crustaceous, as the lobster, since they have neither scales nor fins. Numa forbade the Romans offering scaleless fishes in sacrifice. The modern Egyptians regard them as unwholesome.


In the case of fowls no general principle of classification is laid down, but twenty unclean species are specified. From an inspection of the list we discover that it is composed almost exclusively of birds of prey, never eaten by civilized man. Thus Mosaism did but sanction by legislative enactment that which the instinct of cultivated man has, in all ages, approved. The passerine birds, game and poultry groups, the duck tribe, and most of the waders, except only the herons and storks, were clean. It will be found that in the Authorized Version many of them have been translated erroneously. This results from the fact that they are found only in the catalogue given in Leviticus and repeated in Deuteronomy. Thus practically many of them are cases of only once mentioned terms. In these cases the translator must resort to the meaning of the radical form from which the term was derived, to its cognate in the kindred languages, to the most ancient versions, and to the opinions of the wisest Jewish rabbins. After all his care he may fall into a mistake which advancing scholarship and research may expose. Since birds, insects, and the smaller animals are quite permanent in their habitat, the studies of modern ornithologists and entomologists throw much light upon this subject. Unclean birds and insects which are now abundant in Palestine and the Sinaitic Peninsula would naturally find a place in the catalogue, while those not now found in those regions would be omitted. Of the twenty names in this catalogue of unclean birds nine are found only in the catalogues and seven are improperly rendered in the Authorized Version.

We can harmonize the twenty-one species named in Deuteronomy 14:12-18, “by assuming a slight error of transcription. The Hebrew daah and raah, vulture and glede, differ only in their initial letters דּ and ר . On this hypothesis, if we drop the superfluous daah (omitted in the Samaritan, the Septuagint, and several MSS.) rendered vulture, the discrepancy vanishes.” — Haley.

13. The eagle — The Hebrew נֶּ֙שֶׁר֙ here denotes a particular species of the falconidae, namely, the griffon or great vulture, as distinguished from other raptorial birds of the same genus. Four kinds of eagles have been observed in Palestine — the golden, the spotted, the imperial, and the ospray. The eagle is large, strong, swift, fierce, and rapacious. His cry is the terror of every wing. His eye is large, dark, and piercing; his sight keen and directly at the sun; his beak powerful and hooked; his wings are broad and powerful; and his claws long and sharp. The ossifrage — The English term signifies the bone-breaker, the Hebrew פֶּ֔רֶס, the breaker. This bird is spoken of only here and in the parallel passage Deuteronomy 14:12. His habits are indicated by his name, for not only does he push kids and lambs, and even men, off the rocks, but he takes the bones of animals denuded of their flesh by other birds of prey high up into the air, and lets them fall upon a stone to crack, and render more digestible for even his enormous powers of deglutition. “I have repeatedly watched a pair of Lammergeirs, which had an eyrie close to our camp, pass and repass in front of our tents for hours at a time, invariably dropping something upon a smooth ledge of rocks hard by. For several days we imagined that these were sticks they were carrying to their nest; for prompt as we were in endeavouring to reach the spot first, the birds swooped down like lightning and seized their quarry again. At length we caught a serpent writhing and dislocated, which we had taken for a stick, and found that our imagined stones were tortoises, which had to be dropped a dozen times before the shell was sufficiently shattered.” — Tristram. The ospray — The Hebrew עָזְנִיָּֽה׃. It is difficult to identify this bird. Some think that the fish-eating haliaeetus is intended, others, the melanaeetus, or black eagle of Aristotle; while other writers identify the ospray with the hatiaeetus albicilla, or white tailed sea-eagle. Tristram suggests that it is the very abundant circaetos gallicus, which feeds upon reptiles.

14. The vulture — The Hebrew דָּאָ֔ה is found only here. Since the parallel word in Deuteronomy 14:13 is דַּיָּ֖ה, milvius in the Vulgate, some Hebraists regard this as the black kite, but we are inclined to sustain the accuracy of the Authorized Version. The griffon vulture is universally distributed in all the mountainous and rocky districts of Palestine. Its favourite breeding places are between Jerusalem and Jericho and all around the Dead Sea. By a peculiar instinct it follows armies, vast numbers having congregated in the Crimea in the Russian war, although previously they had been rarely seen in that peninsula. Job 28:7, note.

The kite — Hebrew אַיָּ֖ה, translated vulture in Job 28:7, and kite in the only other passage, Deuteronomy 14:13. Of all the birds of prey this has the keenest vision. See reference in Job. Its habitat is near to cities, and its food is moles, rats, mice, frogs, the young of game birds, offal, and dead birds. Pigeons associate with him without harm. This bird was common in London in the seventeenth century.

15. Every raven — This bird derives his name in Hebrew from his blackness. It is allied to the crow, which is after his kind, only smaller. It abides in solitary valleys. Proverbs 30:17. Since it feeds on carrion it is very unclean.

16. The owl — This is the ostrich, literally, the daughter of the howl, from its doleful cry. It is correctly translated in Lamentations 4:3. It is the largest of all known birds, and the swiftest of all cursorial animals. To capture one costs the lives of two horses. Its strength and voracity are enormous. From its habits of indiscriminately gulping down almost anything, even glass or stone, it is obviously unclean. Its cry by night, Tristram says, resembles the hoarse lowing of an ox in pain; others compare it to the roar of the lion. The nighthawk — The Hebrew הַתַּחְמָ֖ס, found only in Deuteronomy 14:15 and Isaiah 34:11, cannot with certainty be identified. The conjectures are, that it is the male ostrich, the swallow, and the owl. As the Seventy and the Vulgate agree in the last named bird, and since it is very common, with Tristram we adopt it as the true rendering.

The cuckoo —
There is no authority for this translation. The שָּׁ֑חַף, leanness, is supposed to be a bird of the genus gull, probably the stormy petrel, commonly called Mother Carey’s chicken, which abounds in the Levant. The hawk — There are in Palestine several species of the falcon, most of which are summer visitors from the South. See Job 39:26. The smaller species are the kestrel and hobby. Of the larger kinds, the falco sacer is the most magnificent.

17. The little owl — Hebrew כּ֥וֹס. The Authorized Version is evidently correct, though Bochart argues that כּ֥וֹס means pouch, and hence that the pelican is intended. But Psalm 102:6 decides that it is an owl of some kind. The little owl, to which species Tristram assigns כּ֥וֹס, is by far the most abundant of all owls in Palestine. He is a grotesque and comical-looking little bird. The cormorant — Hebrew שָּׁלָ֖ךְ. Since it occurs only here and in the parallel passage, Deuteronomy 14:17, it is difficult to identify. The Seventy render it by καταρράκτην, the plunger, which Furst says is a species of pelican, which precipitates itself from high crags into the water after fish. The cormorant is, however, closely allied to the pelican, being of the same family group, so that our translators were not far astray. The common cormorant is very common on the coast, and comes up the Kishon, visiting also the Sea of Galilee.

The great owl —
Hebrew יַּנְשֽׁוּף. Aside from the two catalogues of unclean birds, it is named but once, in Isaiah 34:11, in the prophetic desolation of Edom. The Chaldee and Syriac are in favour of some kind of owl, but the Seventy and Vulgate have ἶβιν, Ibis religiosa, the sacred bird of Egypt. “But the passage in Isaiah plainly puts this interpretation out of the question, for the ibis is strictly a bird of the reedy marshes and mud flats, the very last to be thought of among the ruins of Petra.” It is doubtless the Egyptian eagle-owl, a large and noble-looking bird, that is signified in these passages, found in great numbers in the rock tombs of Petra. Tristram thinks that it is the Egyptian eagle owl.

18. The swan — Hebrew תִּנְשֶׁ֥מֶת. It is found only in the two catalogues. The Samaritan version sustains the Seventy in rendering it πορφυρίωνα, Vulgate, porphyrio ibis, the purple water-hen. Tristram thinks that these versions are right. Furst insists that it is an owl, perhaps the screech-owl; Onkelos, the horn-owl; the Jerusalem Targum favours the owl; the Syriac, the night owl, which is followed by Rashi and Kimchi. The weight of authority is for the owl of some species. It is not probable that the swan was sufficiently known to the Israelites to obtain a place in this list, nor is it an unclean bird.

The pelican —
It derives its Hebrew name, קָּאָ֖ת, from vomiting the shells and fish it has stored in its capacious pouch, to feed its young, or to enable it to fly when suddenly alarmed. It abides in the swamps of the desert and on the sea-shore. The gier eagle — Hebrew רָחָֽם. It occurs only in the catalogues, and is identical in reality as it is in name with the רָחָֽם of the Arabs, the Egyptian vulture, or Pharaoh’s hen, which, according to Tristram, is common in Palestine, and breeds prolifically in the valley of the Kedron. It is an efficient scavenger.

19. The stork — Its Hebrew name, חֲסִידָ֔ה, signifies kindness, of which it has been in all ages the type. The white stork is one of the largest and most conspicuous of land birds, with jet black wings and bright red beak and legs. It devours all kinds of offal. Both white and black storks abound in Palestine, arriving in the latter part of March, and, year after year and generation after generation, occupying the old nest. The heron — Hebrew אֲנָפָ֖ה. It occurs only in the two catalogues, and hence it is quite uncertain what bird or genus is intended, since the words after her kind are subjoined. The Hebrew radical signifies “to snort in anger.” Hence Furst says it is the parrot. The Arabic version renders it a kind of eagle; the Seventy call it the sandpiper. The swallow has been suggested. The point on which Hebraists agree is, that it is not the heron. Tristram insists that it is the heron. The lapwing — Hebrew, דּוּכִיפַ֖ת, mountain-cock. It is found only in the catalogues. The Sadducees believed it to be the common fowl, which they refused to eat.

Commentators generally agree with the Seventy and Vulgate that the hoopoe is intended, called by AEschylus “the bird of the rocks,” which answers well to the Hebrew name. Its appearance is so remarkable that it cannot fail to attract notice wherever seen. The Arabs have a superstitious regard for it, and use it in their charms. The bat — The Hebrew עֲטַלֵּֽף indicates a night-bird. Although in modern natural history the bat is not a bird, but a true quadruped or mammal, in Hebrew oph, “fowls,” literally a wing, might be applied to any winged creature. Many travellers have noticed the immense number of bats that are found in the East, especially in caverns and dilapidated idol temples.


Friday, February 2, 2024

Entire Sanctification

"But may the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit, soul and body, be preserved entire without blame, in the coming of the Lord Jesus." — 1 Thess. 5:23 (Ellicott's Translation).

So intent is the great Apostle on giving an adequate and explicit expression of his meaning, entire sanctification, that he uses a strong word found nowhere else in the New Testament — ὁλοτελής (holotelēs), wholly, rendered in the Vulgate per omnia — "in your collective powers and parts," marking more emphatically than any ordinary New Testament word the thoroughness and pervasive nature of the holiness prayed for. Luther has very happily translated it "durch und durch," through and through.

Then St. Paul has used another peculiar term, which is found in only one other place in the New Testament, in James 1:4, and gives it the position of an emphatic predicate: "May your spirit be preserved entire, your soul entire, and your body entire." He ordinarily employs the word τέλειος, "perfect," when he marks what has reached its proper end and maturity. But wishing to express a quantitative, and not qualitative, meaning, he employs a term signifying "entire in all its parts," "complete," lacking nothing.

Having in these strong and remarkable words indicated the thoroughness of the sanctification, Paul leaves us in no doubt as to the time, when he adds, "and preserve you without blame in the coming of the Lord Jesus." Through what period of time is the preservation to extend? Till the second advent of Christ. This period covers the lifetime of these Thessalonians, and the space between their death and resurrection. To say that the prayer refers to the latter period is to involve St. Paul in the papal heresy of praying for the dead. Therefore the preservation which is to follow the entire sanctification can refer only to the present life up to the hour of death. So plainly is this true, that no polemical writer has ventured to twist this passage into any other meaning.

The entire sanctification here supplicated is not only in this life, but the peculiar phraseology of the prayer implies that it is an instantaneous work. To the objection that the verb ἁγιάσαι, sanctify, can here only be understood of the gradual spread of the principle of holiness implanted in regeneration; even Olshausen insists that the emphasis laid on the "very God," or "the God of peace himself," "shows that something new is to follow," some vigorous interposition of the omnipotent arm of the Sanctifier. Besides this, the verb is in the aorist tense, denoting a single momentary act.

Before taking our leave of this wonderful Scripture we call attention to the fact, that it effectually refutes the Gnostic error respecting the inherent evil of matter. In the enumeration of the constituent elements of man which are to be sanctified wholly, and preserved each entire, we find "body," σωμα (soma), which is wholly material. St. Paul knew of nothing in man which was incapable of receiving the efficacy of the cleansing blood of Christ. And lest there should be any room for cavil, he specifies the ψυχη (phuxa), the lower or animal "soul," in which inhere those passions and desires possessed by man in common with the brutes. This border land between pure spirit on one side and gross matter on the other, lies open to the great Purifier as well as the higher element of spirit, πνεῦμα (pneuma), the designed receptacle or temple for the abode of God in man.

In the Epistle to the Hebrews the Apostle's closet door gets ajar again, and we hear these words breathed into the ear of God — so much like those just quoted as to indicate the same pleader: "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, that great Shepherd of the sheep, make you perfect in every good work to do his will." This must be before death, for good works must be in time. To be perfect in them is to exclude every evil work, that is, all sin.

— edited from Love Enthroned, Chapter 4.