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Volume 29 - Page 118 of 208 Index | Zoom | |
None Other Things.
"Saying none other things than those which the Prophets
and Moses did say should come" (Acts 26: 22).
The heavenly country and calling.
pp. 26 - 28
When the Apostle uttered the words which form the title of this series, it would of
course have been possible for an extreme literalist to have attempted to show that, unless
the Apostle had confined himself entirely to a literal quotation of the actual words of
Moses and the Prophets without adding any words of his own, his statement was not true.
We can hardly believe, however, that anyone would, in fact, have adopted such an
extreme attitude. If such a view were legitimate, Paul's "one word" of Acts 28: 25
would be open to criticism, for the quotation which constitutes this "one word" is made
up of 55 "words" in the Greek, and 70 "words" in the English. Many more such
examples could be given, but we fear that the average reader would grow impatient, and
feel that we were wasting time. We have an object, however, in view, and that is to show
that, even though Paul's utterances were not simply quotations, and even though some of
his teaching does not appear upon the surface of the O.T. Scriptures, the language of the
Prayer Book is applicable here, when it speaks of the doctrine of Holy Scripture "and
whatsoever may be proved thereby".
In the N.T. we learn that Abraham not only received the land of Canaan as an
inheritance, but that he also looked for a "better country, that is, an heavenly". Although
the New Jerusalem is never mentioned in the O.T. Scriptures, it is nevertheless true that
this "city which hath foundations" constituted a real and blessed hope in O.T. times.
When we read such verses as Heb. 11: 9, 10, 13-16, we may feel at first that here at least
the Apostle is saying something more than "the Prophets and Moses did say should
come". Let us observe, however, exactly what is written in this chapter (Heb. 11:).
We know, from the record of Genesis, that Abraham "believed" and had "faith". The
nature of faith is not enlarged upon by Moses and the Prophets to the extent that it is so
treated in the N.T., and the reason is fairly obvious. To teach that Abraham's faith was
"the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" is certainly an
expansion of the O.T. account, but it is not an addition. How shall we intelligently
interpret the fact that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were willing to be tent-dwellers in the
very land of promise, dying in full faith without possessing more than a burial ground in
the land, unless we believe that they knew that the promise upon which they rested
demanded the resurrection of the dead for its fulfillment and enjoyment? Paul himself
tells us that "they that say such things, declare plainly" (Heb. 9: 14 A.V.), or "make it
manifest" (R.V.). While we may have to admit that some of the deductions tabulated in
Heb. 11: 9, 10, 13-16, were not so "manifest" to us, our own poorness of insight is surely
not the standard whereby we must judge the Apostle. From the recorded attitude of