Vol.'s 23&24 New Series June, 1962-August, 1963 No.'s 3, 4, 5, 6, 1, 3, 4

Part 1
Pairs of words are not uncommon in human speech. Where they occur in the Sacred Scriptures they always have features of special interest and significance for us; not only when they occur together, but also when found singly. Although the words sarx, flesh and haima, blood occur in the same context in the Greek Scriptures only ten times, the importance of these conjunctions is such that we can hardly avoid associating them together in our minds, and this association has spread into common language too. So in these studies we will first consider them separately and with associated words, and then together; to see what we can learn about this important, though rather neglected, aspect of the Greek Scriptures.

The usages of the word flesh are fairly evenly divided between those without the Article the and those with it. The former set can be grouped into thirteen forms, the latter into eleven. Five each of these two sets can be paired according as flesh is, or is not, preceded by the. These five pairs will have to be studied first, so that we can determine the precise meaning of the distinction between them involved in the presence or absence of the. This would be ever so much easier to apprehend were translators careful to make such distinctions in their renderings whenever that is possible. That is particularly the case with this word, for hardly anywhere would an accurate rendering showing the distinction go, against the English idiom.

Without the Article the, flesh occurs by itself thirteen times: that is to say provided its occurrences in the twelve other forms of the thirteen forms without the Article in which I have grouped them are, for the present, left out of account. For the purpose of this inquiry I am including the Genitive, of flesh and also to flesh, in flesh, etc., among what I have called "other forms," as this will facilitate the work. At first this may sound a little pedantic, but I think that when we come to examine these forms the careful discrimination will be found helpful and well worth while.

So we start with the occurrences of the word flesh quite alone. The first of these, John 1:14, reads "And the Word became flesh, and tabernacles among us, and we gaze at the glory of Him—glory as of Only-begotten from (the) Father, full of grace and truth."

Every other occurrence of the word flesh (used by itself, as explained above) is on the least exalted plane of thought in which the word is to be found. So we find in the next occurrence: "That which is begotten out of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:6). Then: "Not all flesh is the same flesh; but one, indeed, is of men, yet another flesh of beasts, yet another flesh of birds, yet another of fishes" (1. Cor. 15:39). Next: "Those going after flesh, in defiling lust" (2. Peter 2:10). Then: "Coming away after different flesh. . . howbeit, these also, dreamers, indeed are defiling flesh" (Jude 7, 8). Last: "Birds. . . eating flesh of kings and flesh of captains and flesh of strong ones and flesh of horses. . . and flesh of all. . . ." (Rev. 19:18).

It would be impossible to suggest more simply and yet forcefully the awe-inspiring condescension of the Word in choosing to become flesh. Yet this act of condescension towers like a mountain peak from which these other occurrences descend like steps into depths unimaginably terrible.

We proceed to the Genitive form of flesh, which occurs seven times. The first is, "nor yet out of will of flesh" (John 1:13). Then comes Rom. 8:3, which speaks of "God sending His own Son in likeness of flesh of sin." Next, 2. Cor. 7:1 : "We should be cleansing ourselves from every pollution of flesh and spirit." Then, Gal. 5:16: "You should under no circumstances be consummating lust of flesh." The context in Heb. 9:10 is rather different, for it points out the futility of "righteous standards for flesh" during "the present period." The meaning of 1. Peter 3:21 is somewhat similar, in that it declares the uselessness of baptism for "putting away filth of flesh." Lastly, 2. Peter 2:18, by speaking of "lusts of flesh" recalls and considerably amplifies Gal. 5:16. These two should be read together and carefully compared. As we shall presently discover, it is somewhat difficult to explain why substituting "the flesh" in these spoils the sense; yet on reflection one feels that it does. The word flesh without any the has in all of them something of the "feel" of an adjective. In John 1:13 a particular sort of "will" is in view, a will characterized by flesh. If English idiom did not forbid, one might say "flesh's will," Indeed, in the next, Rom. 8:3, some do choose the rendering "in likeness of sin's flesh." Unfortunately, it is not quite possible to say in Gal. 5:16, "flesh's lust" and in 1. Peter 3:21, "flesh's filth." It is rather easier to see in 2. Cor. 7:1 why we can hardly say "every pollution of the flesh and of the spirit"; for here we are not referring to any particular flesh or particular spirit, but to flesh and spirit in general.

The Dative, literally "to flesh," occurs five times. The first, Gal. 3:3, asks: "Are you so foolish? Undertaking as to spirit, are you now completing as to flesh?" One might render a little more freely by "as regards spirit" and by "as regards flesh." The next refers to Christ (1. Peter 3:18): "Being put to death, indeed, as to flesh, yet vivified as to spirit"; or, again, "as regards flesh."

The next three occurrences of flesh are two more of the Dative, leading us to in flesh, which we will consider presently. This passage reads: "Christ, then, having suffered for our sakes as to flesh, you also, the same in mind, arm yourselves (seeing that he who is suffering as to flesh has ceased from sins) to the end that, no longer as to lusts of men, but as to will of God the still remaining time in flesh you may spend your life" (1. Peter 4:1, 2). Lastly, 1. Peter 4:6 has: "judged, indeed, according to men as to flesh, yet (they) should be living according to God as to spirit." Again, in each of these it is permissible to read "as regards" rather than "as to." Observe that in three out of these four passages, flesh is contrasted with spirit.

The form in flesh occurs some twenty times. The one quoted just above, in 1. Peter 4:2, really explains itself: it plainly denotes one's actual existence as a being whose body is made of flesh. The first occurrence is in Rom. 2:28, which reads: "For not that which is apparent is (a) Jew nor yet that which is apparent in flesh (is) circumcision; but that which is hidden is (a) Jew, and circumcision is of heart, in spirit not letter." The next two are in Romans 8, which we will examine later on. 2. Cor. 10:3 speaks of "walking in flesh." Rotherham renders it: "For (though) in flesh walking, not according to flesh are we warring." This gives the sense admirably: we are walking as persons made of flesh, we are not warring in a manner according to flesh. Gal. 2:20 has the same force. Here I would follow King James' translators and insert life in order to accord better with English idiom, thus: "Now that (life) which I am now living in flesh." Or paraphrase like Rotherham: "while so far as I am now living in flesh." Gal. 6:12 has the same force: "to show a fair face in flesh." Eph. 2:11 has: "the Gentiles in flesh" and "being termed circumcision in flesh, hand-makeable" -the same force again. The last word means "capable of being made or done by hand." So also in Phil. 1:22, "to be living in flesh" and 3:3, "not in flesh having confidence"; and "in flesh having confidence" (the same, without not) twice in Phil. 3:4. Regrettably, the C.V. (Concordant Version) twice spoils the sense by adding the to each. It is to be hoped that such little mistakes will be eliminated in the new revision, for, small as they are, they are llevertheless serious blemishes put into God's Word unnecessarily. Surely there are enough corrupt translations already? Col. 2:1 says, literally, "the face of me in flesh"; 1. Tim. 3:16 has "manifested in flesh"; Philemon 16, "brother in flesh and in the Lord." Lastly, the three occurrences in John's Epistles are: "in flesh having come" (1. John 4:2, 3) and "coming in flesh" (2. John 7). All these bear the same testimony.

In John 3:6 we have in the same sentence what bridges for us the gap between the forms flesh and the flesh, as both occur together in it: "That which is begotten out of the flesh is flesh." Green's "Handbook to the Grammar of the Greek Testament" in his chapter on the Article (p. 194) cites this sentence among others as an example of the force of the Article. He points out that, as it stands, it means that "that which is begotten out of the flesh partakes of the character of flesh." But if there had been an Article before the second occurrence of flesh, it would have meant that "that which is begotten out of the flesh is the part of human nature so denominated"; in other words, that it is the whole flesh.

An even clearer example is supplied by Matt. 13:39, which reads, "the reapers are angels," that is to say, simply "angels," without any reference to the number of angels involved. If it had read "the reapers are the angels," it would have implied that the whole host of angels was involved. Even clearer is John 17:17: "Thy very own Word is truth." If John had said instead "the truth," his assertion would have meant that nothing else could be so described, that no other truth exists. "God is love" (1. John 4:8) is in the Greek "the God is love." If, instead, it had been written "the God is the love," it would have meant that the two are interchangeable, that "God and Love are identical, so that in fact, Love is God." Similarly in John 1:1, which reads literally "God was the Word," if the Article had been placed before "God" the statement would have meant that the two were identical, so that "the Word was the entire Godhead," as Green puts it.

Some will find these distinctions rather too subtle for them, but I trust they will read on, for the examples of the flesh about to be discussed will make the whole matter much plainer to them. Even if the meaning of these distinctions seems dim to us, we should nevertheless take every care to observe them, if only for the sake of others to whose minds they may be more clearly apparent. God has chosen to place these delicate and subtle distinctions in His Word. Even if they may seem to convey little meaning to us, they are His doing; so that even if we do not appreciate them, we honour Him (and in so doing honour ourselves) by observing them. I write "honour ourselves" deliberately; for it requires humility in us if we are to become able to honour God in this manner; and for us humility is the path to glory.

I suggest that it would greatly help the student to read again what has been said above regarding "flesh" before studying" the flesh" and to compare each form with each as he goes along.

The first occurrence of the flesh is in Matt. 26:41: "The spirit, indeed, is eager, yet the flesh infirm." Here, infirmity is characteristic of "the flesh" as such. The same applies to the parallel occurrence in Mark 14:38. John 3:6 we have considered. The occurrences in John 6:51-63 we will consider later with their full context in view; here we can look at them individually in some detail. So far, the flesh has been met with without any qualifying words attached; but in this passage we come to two variants. The first of them reads in the versions (correctly) My flesh, and occurs four times in John 6:51-63; but actually the Greek has it in two forms,
which we can show very literally thus: The distinction between the two forms now becomes obvious. The bread corresponds with the flesh. The masticating is in some sense the act of masticating the Son of Mankind Himself in His flesh. As noted above, this is only preliminary, and a full consideration of the meaning will be undertaken later on. For our immediate purpose, the point is that the bread and the masticating have to do, not just with flesh, but with the flesh of the Son of Mankind. The Jews had, in fact, asked (6:52) "How, then, is this one able to give his flesh to eat?" (literally, the flesh of him). This form occurs also in Acts. 2:31.

The form the flesh of Me also occurs in Acts 2:26 and Rom. 7:18; and of Me the flesh in Rom. 11:14. This last reads (very literally): "Now I am saying to you, to the Gentiles—inasmuch as, indeed, then, I am Gentiles' apostle—my dispensing I am glorifying, if somehow I should be provoking to jealousy of me the flesh and shall be saving some from among them." Here, as before in John 6:54 and 56, the emphasis is on of me. We can therefore paraphrase Paul's somewhat cryptic words thus: " ... if somehow I should be provoking those who share the same flesh with me to jealousy, and thus be saving some. . .." As Paul approaches the close of this section of Romans (Chaps. 9-11) he emphasizes the keynote he struck at the start of it, that so far as the flesh is concerned Israel are his brethren, his people. There is no such personal emphasis in Rom. 7:18 or, for that matter, in David's words quoted in Acts 2:26.

Similar forms occur elsewhere. These and "the flesh of you," that is "your flesh," in Rom. 6:19; James 5:3; "our flesh" (literally, the flesh of us) 2. Cor. 7:5; "our dying flesh" (2. Cor. 4:11); "His own flesh" (Eph. 5:29); "her flesh" (Rev. 17:16).

It is in Gal. 5:16-21 that we get the distinction between flesh and the flesh at its sharpest, and quotation of vv. 16 and 17 is well worth while: "Now, I am saying: by spirit be walking, and lust of flesh you should under no circumstances be consummating. For the flesh is lusting against the spirit, yet the spirit against the flesh. Now these are opposing one another. lest you should be doing what you want. Yet if by spirit you are letting yourself be led, you are not still under law. Now apparent is the work of the flesh, which, indeed, is adultery, prostitution, uncleanness. . . ."

"By spirit," "as to spirit" (literally "to spirit") is quite general; it is not the spirit of the person addressed, neither does "lust of flesh" apply to the particular person addressed, for here it is a kind of lust, that which is of flesh. But the following words apply to the particular person addressed: it is his spirit and his flesh that are opposed, just as the work of his produces adultery, etc. The verb generally rendered being led is in the Middle; so it means rather, permitting oneself to be led. This comes out clearly in the three occurrences of was led. The first, Luke 4:1, is Middle; the other two, Acts 8:32, 25:23 are Passive. These latter two are quite literally passive actions; suggests that the Lord Jesus consented voluntarily to being led. Similarly, "were led" in 1. Cor. 12:2 is Middle, so these Gentiles were led to idolatry of their own free will. Such little points of translation as these are always significant and often highly important; and no translation that ignores them can be really satisfactory. Another point to note here is the verb to be at the beginning of v. 19. The works or acts of the flesh are viewed by Paul as one in essence, so the Greek verb is singular. Consequently, I have ignored other translations which here have "works," and kept the verb singular.

Lastly, we have Gal. 5:24, which reads (extremely literally): "Now those of Christ Jesus the flesh crucify, together with the passions and the lusts: If we may be living as to spirit, as to spirit also let us be observing the fundamentals." Here it is not the general idea of flesh, passions and lusts that is in view, but the flesh, etc., of the person addressed. On the other hand, it is not the spirit of him that is in view, but the general idea of living and walking by spirit, as to spirit, or in a manner controlled by spirit. So we may paraphrase thus: "Now, they who are of Christ Jesus crucify the flesh, together with the passions and lusts accompanying it. If we may be living by spirit, by spirit also let us be observing the fundamentals." From this verse we should read right on to the other occurrence of this last expression, the fundamentals: "And as many as shall be observing the fundamentals by this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God." (Gal. 6:16). If the reader will go through these passages, moving the Definite Article about from word to word, he will soon get the "feel" of it and appreciate the subtle delicacy of the Greek.

Part 2
Turning to the Genitive, of the flesh, we find that it occurs some twenty times. The first three are in Romans 8, which we will examine presently (vv. 5, 6, 7); but it will be noted that the usage of the flesh is the same as before. Rom. 9:8 contrasts the children of the flesh with children of God, who are the children of the promise. Note the absence of the before the second occurrence of children. Children of God, any children of God, are the children of the promise—it makes no difference what particular children of God are in view. Rom. 13:14 says, literally: "and provision of the flesh be not making, unto lusts." It is the reader's own personal flesh that is in view. The same applies to 1. Cor. 5:5—it is not the destruction of flesh itself that is in view, but of the flesh of a particular person. In Gal. 4:13 we read of infirmity of the flesh, not flesh in general. Eph. 2:3 speaks of the lusts of the flesh and doing the behests of the flesh. Literally, Eph. 5:30 reads "out of the flesh of Him" and Col. 1:22, "yet now He reconciles in the body of the flesh of Him through the death of Him"—each being one particular body, flesh and death. Again literally, Col. 2:11 has, "with circumcision not hand-made, in the stripping off of the body of the flesh in the circumcision of the Christ." Col. 2:18 speaks of "the mind of the flesh" and v. 23 of "surfeiting of the flesh." Heb. 5 : 7 says literally, "in the days of the flesh of Him"; 9:13, "the cleanness of the flesh"; 12: 9, "fathers of the flesh of us," and 1. John 2:16, "the desire of the flesh." In addition, the preposition against puts the flesh into the Genitive in Gal. 5:17, 19; and through in Rom. 8:3 and Heb. 10:20.

To the flesh occurs six times. Rom. 7:25 reads literally, "Consequently, then, I myself, indeed, as to the mind am slaving to God's law, yet as to the flesh, to sin's law." Here again, it is the particular person's mind and flesh that are in view, but any law of God or of sin. Rom. 8 : 12 has "debtors we are not to the flesh"; 1. Cor. 7:28, "affliction as to the flesh"; 2. Cor. 12:7, "there was given to me splinter as to the flesh"; Gal. 5:13, "for incentive to the flesh"; Col. 2:5, "I am absent as to the flesh." Once more, some of these are deliberately over-literal, in order to show the construction of the Greek.

In the flesh occurs six times. Before examining these I would again urge the student to read through the remarks about in flesh and note how striking the contrast is. The form in the flesh first appears in Rom. 7:5, literally: "For, when we were in the flesh, the passions of the sins which were through the Law operated in our members unto the bringing forth of fruit to the death." That was the previous condition of Paul's readers, namely, in the flesh, under the control of the flesh. If he had instead said in flesh, it would have meant that they were no longer in flesh, but had passed into some other condition of body which would not be in flesh. Gal. 4:14 says "in my flesh," literally, "in the flesh of me." In Gal. 6:13 a less usual word, humetera, is used, literally: "that in the your-own flesh they should be boasting," that is, in the flesh that is actually your own. Read," that in your own flesh they should be boasting," or, as the Concordant Version, "in the flesh of yours." Eph.2:15 is literally, "the enmity in the flesh of Him" and Col. 1:24, "in the flesh of me." Obviously, in none of these would in flesh make good sense.

Phil. 1:24 has what is apparently an exception; but this is only because what is actually the more usual employment of the Article is occurring in this passage. For, as we have already seen, in v. 22 "in flesh" occurs; so in v. 24, to make the point that Paul is still on the same topic, he writes "in the flesh," thus making his meaning plain. It was necessary that he should be staying in the flesh that he was then living in.

A pair of usages of the flesh is peculiar to Galatians, in one of the most solemn warnings of all Scripture, Gal. 6:7, 8; that is, together, for the second of the pair is found once by itself elsewhere, in Rev. 19:21, in a very different sort of context. The passage reads: "Be not deceiving yourselves: God is not to be sneered at; for whatever a man may be sowing, this also shall he be reaping, seeing that he who is sowing unto his own flesh, out of the flesh shall be reaping corruption." The former of the pair is literally "the one sowing unto the flesh of self," the latter is simply "out of the flesh"; its other occurrence being: "And all the birds are satiated out of their flesh." There is an ominous link of thought between these in spite of the differences.

Next, we are due to study a very different form, kata sarka, according to flesh. This occurs twenty or twenty-one times and, in addition, the form according to the flesh occurs twice. There is a delicate distinction here, blurred, as so often, by the careless inaccuracy of most translators. The form in general was discussed in our Vol. 19, No.1 (Feb., 1957), pp. 37-39, but from a somewhat different standpoint, so it is as well to re-examine it here. Before proceeding, too, the reader might do well to study Mr. Alexander Thomson's very valuable paper "What is the Flesh?" in Vol. 21, pp. 112 and 181 (June and August, 1959). This, too, approaches the subject from a rather different standpoint and throws a strong light on it.

First we will examine the two occurrences of "according to the flesh." At once there arises the question: Why is this distinction made? The answer regarding the latter of the two seems fairly simple. Boasting according to flesh would mean boasting in the way those whose attitude of mind is according to flesh do boast, as distinct from the boasting of those who are not walking according to flesh but according to spirit, as in Rom. 8:1. But those who are walking according to spirit do not boast—even Paul's boasting, here spoken of, is a very different sort of thing to the ordinary sense of boasting, as he is careful to point out (2. Cor. 11:17). So what "boasting according to the flesh" must mean is boasting about their standing and accomplishments in the flesh, rather than boasting in a fleshly manner, even though that is what such boasting actually is. So we must read 2. Cor. 11:18 thus: "Since many are boasting according to the flesh, I also shall be boasting"; but it should be added, also, that there is some doubt about the correctness of the" the" here, though the evidence for its omission is not weighty, and would be easily explained by an unconscious recollection by some scribe of the five previous occurrences in this epistle without the Article. The other is John 8:15: "You according to the flesh are judging. I am not judging anyone." This is rather puzzling, but I think that it means judging in accord with fleshly standards, the standards of men whose minds and actions are ruled by the flesh, rather than actually judging in a fleshly manner. Yet we should not overlook the previous occurrence of the flesh, in John 6:63, which itself looks back to John 3:6 and 1:13 (for the intervening occurrences of the word refer to the Lord Jesus); so, in short, if we read these three occurrences of the word in sequence, the "the" in 6:63 becomes very significant, particularly in its contrast with His flesh. In fact, the occurrence in 2. Cor. 11:18 might well be regarded also as a reference back to a previous passage, here 2. Cor. 10:2, 3; and perhaps that is the most satisfactory explanation. I admit that the distinction here is very delicate and subtle; but in studying God's Word none of the distinctions He makes ought to be ignored by us, however fine they may seem. Problems such as this serve the valuable purpose of bringing home to us our own limitations and thus humbling us. Certainly, I would be glad of further light on this matter.

The occurrences of according to flesh can be grouped in two sets. One is adjectival in force, and occurs as follows: Acts 2:30 ". . . . out of fruit of his loin, according to flesh, to be going to raise the Christ to be seated on His throne." This Future Infinitive form is rare in the Greek Scriptures, and I think this way of rendering it here is probably the best. It must be added that some texts omit part of this passage. Yet we need only refer to the Concordant Version to see how awkward this omission makes it, for it becomes, literally, "out of fruit of the loin of him to be seated on the throne of him." To make any sort of sense at all, this has to be rendered, "out of the fruit of his loin to seat one on his throne." Ps. 132:11, to which this refers, is equally obscure; but it is hard to see why Peter should have maintained the obscurity, seeing that he immediately enlarges on the fulfilment of the prophecy. Here we must wait for fresh light.
Rom. 1:3 "His Son, Who comes out of David's seed, according to flesh; Who is being designated Son of God in power, according to spirit, of holiness, out of resurrection of dead ones."
Rom. 4:1 "Abraham, the forefather of us according to flesh."
Rom. 9:3 "the brothers of me, the kin of me according to flesh, . . . ."
Rom. 9:5 "and out of whom is the Christ, the according to flesh, the One Who is over all, God blessed unto the eons," Read here: "that is, according to flesh."
1. Cor. 10:18 "observe the Israel according to flesh."
Eph. 6:5 "Slaves, be obeying the masters according to flesh with fear and trembling."
Col. 3:22 "Slaves, be obedient according to all things, to the according to flesh masters."
Again, some of these renderings are far too literal for ordinary English, but are set out this way in order to show the order of the original Greek.

These eight explain themselves, and are different in character to the remaining thirteen, which are adverbial. The first five of the thirteen form groups of three and two at the start and the close of the highest concentration of the word sarx,flesh, in all Scripture, Rom. 8:1-13 (in vv. 1, 4, 5, 12, 13), in which the word itself occurs fourteen times; the next highest being John 6:51-63 (7 times). These two passages are startlingly different in character and scope. Each will be examined in due course in these papers.

The rest of the thirteen are (very literally):
1. Cor. 1:26 ". . . (there are) not many wise according to flesh, not many powerful."
2. Cor. 5:16 "So that WE,from now on, are acquainted with not one according to flesh." and" Yet, even if we have known Christ according to flesh, nevertheless now we are knowing no longer."
2. Cor. 10:2 "I am reckoning to be daring to any (who are) reckoning us as walking according to flesh."
2. Cor. 10:3 "For in flesh walking, not according to flesh are we warring; for the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly."
Gal. 4:23 "But the (one), indeed, out of the maid, according to flesh, has been begotten; yet the (one) out of the free (woman) through the promise."
Gal. 4:29 "But, even as then, the one according to flesh being begotten, persecutes the one according to spirit, thus also is it now."
Perhaps the first of these should have been reckoned with the previous set, but the point is not very important. What matters here is that in this sense what is according to flesh is at best inferior and at worst positively evil. This comes out very plainly when we turn to the first of the longer passages noted above.

ROMANS 8:1-13
This passage, rendered as literally as possible, reads: So rich and yet so luminously clear is all this that there is little one can say by way of elucidation or comment. The only way to understand it at all fully is to live with it, to let it sink into the mind till it becomes part of the inmost thoughts. Everything we have said so far about sarx,flesh, centres round and fulfils itself in this wonderful passage, and indeed, every thing that can be said. It is when we come to contemplate passages such as these that we can realize the folly of trying to slough off Paul's earlier epistles as obsolete" dispensationally." There is something rather pathetic in its intellectual poverty and incompetence about the mind that can dare to treat wonderful revelations like these as inferior things of im maturity. We need feel no surprise that those who have followed J. J. B. Coles into this blind alley of futility have done almost nothing of themselves during the intervening half-century to enlarge our understanding of the Sacred Scriptures. Having blinded their own eyes, they are prisoners in the maze Coles devised for them. For a decade now, the way out has been indicated; but the prisoners appear to have lost the power to see it and the will to find it.

A few details of the passage call for remark. In Rom. 8:2 the the before law is each time a clear reference back to Rom. 7:25: "with the mind I am slaving for God's law, yet with the flesh sin's law." Similarly, the article before death refers back to the death in 7:24 and death in 7:13. I am sure some must think me foolish for setting so much store by noting the presence or absence of the article; but studies such as these indicate very clearly how important it is.

The parenthesis in v. 3 presents a problem. The usual kind of rendering: "for what the law could not do" is far too free. The 1944 C.V. tries to get over the difficulty by reading: "For the impotence of the Law. . . and God sending. . ." This inserts and, which is not in the Greek. As I see the matter, the main sentence is: "The impotence of the Law. . . condemns the sin. . . ."; and there is an implied further sentence which we are intended to fill in somewhat as follows: "God sending His own Son. . . (makes possible) that the righteous standard of the Law may be fulfilled in us." G. L. Rogers takes the view that we should read the passage as saying that "God. . . condemns sin in the flesh." But is not this fact rather obvious, anyhow? And why drag in "the impotence of the Law," if this view is really what Paul meant? From Rom. 2:12 up to this point the word law has occurred no less than sixty-five times, so let us take another look at them. For our present purpose the salient ones are: Rom. 2:23, "through the transgression of the Law you are dishonouring God"; 2:25, "yet if you should be transgressor of law, that circumcision of yours uncircumcision has become"; 3:20, "for through law is full-knowledge of sin"; 4:15, "for the Law is producing wrath. Now where law is not, neither is transgression"; 5:13, "yet sin is not taken into account where no law exists"; 5:20, "yet law crept in that the falling-aside should be increasing"; 7:8, "for apart from law sin is dead"; and lastly 8:2 as rendered above. Is it not, then, perfectly reasonable for Paul to have added to this: "The impotence of the Law. . . condemns the sin in the flesh"? If so, then we get two reasons why the righteous-standard of the Law may be fulfilled in us: the condemnation of the sin in the flesh, and "God sending His own Son in likeness of sin's flesh and concerning sin." The former is negative. Because we accept in all its implications the fact of the impotence of the Law, we are not walking according to flesh. The latter is positive. God sending His own Son in likeness of sin's flesh and concerning sin, ensures that we can be walking according to spirit, and do so walk.

The more I reflect on this, the more convinced I am that this reading is the closest to the truth of the matter. Undeniably Paul is writing here in a very compressed style. Perhaps the reason is that if he had expanded his ideas fully, his readers might have failed to take them in as readily as he would have wished. It is easier to get a short compressed paragraph into the mind than a long diffuse statement. The paragraph may not be readily understandable as a wpole, but it can be seen as a whole and dissected. So here. Each strand can be picked out of the skein, so to speak, and examined by itself and in relation to its neighbours; then replaced, and another taken for examination-in fact, the method we are employing in this series of studies. But to achieve this, we must get as literal a translation as our language will allow. That is what I have attempted here. An interpretation which has to be based on a distortion of the original, however apparently necessary, cannot be the correct one.

The reading "frees me" in v. 2 has been the subject of controversy, as some Greek texts read "thee," which is hard to defend on any ground. I suggest that the "me" indicates that Paul is here answering the question he asks in Rom. 7:24. It is all too easy to be misled by chapter divisions. Here we ought to read straight on from Rom. 7:25 to 8:1, for to have a break here is to cut right across the argument.

A solemn warning which might well be read as a footnote to Rom. 8:1-14 is found in Gal. 6:7,8: "Do not go astray. God is not to be sneered at, for whatever a man may be sowing, this also shall he be reaping; seeing that he who is sowing unto his own flesh, out of the flesh shall be reaping corruption, yet he who is sowing unto the spirit, out of the spirit shall be reaping life eonian." This is too literal to be correct English; and except where it is necessary to indicate the exact Greek, as here, "unto" would be rendered by "for" and "out of" by "from." This is not as pedantic as it might seem at first sight; for the form apo tEs sarkos, from the flesh, is found in Jude 23. The form out of the flesh is found in one other place, Rev. 19:21. These three should be compared.

The form all flesh, literally every flesh, occurs four times in the Greek Scriptures and the negative, not all flesh, in some form six times. The first occurrence of the former is Luke 3:6: "and all flesh shall be viewing the saving-work of God." Then John 17:2 reads: "according as Thou givest to Him authority over all flesh." Acts 2:17: "and I shall bepouring out from My Spirit on all flesh." 1. Peter 1:24 : "All flesh is grass. . . ."

"Not all flesh" comes first in Matt. 24:22: "And if those days had not been shortened (literally, lopped) no flesh at all would be saved." Mark 13:20 is similar: "And except the Lord shortens (lops) the days, no flesh at all would be saved." Rom. 3:20 reads: "because by (literally, out of) works of law, no flesh shall be made righteous in His sight." In these, the negative is the absolute form ou; but in 1. Cor. 1:29 (alone of the set) the conditional negative mE is used: "so that no flesh at all should be boasting in God's sight." It does not seem possible to bring over this distinction into English, so we must simply note it. 1. Cor. 15:39 reads: "Not all flesh is the same flesh." Gal. 2:16 reads: "Seeing that by (literally, out of) works of law no flesh at all shall be made righteous."

As we look through these, one question forces itself on our notice: "Why flesh instead of man or human being?"

In eight of them, this substitution could be made without producing nonsense, but 1. Cor. 15:39 and 1. Peter 1:24 are exceptions, and give us the clue to the answer. It is really a matter of emphasis. In all the eight the point is that those concerned are viewed not only as persons but as persons of flesh: What is of soul and of spirit is deliberately put out of view as irrelevant to the context.

Another form in which the flesh side of humanity is particularly in view is one flesh, which occurs six times, in four passages: Matt. 19:5, 6; Mark 10:8; 1. Cor. 6:16; Eph. 5:31. The first two and the last are concerned with the sacredness of marriage, the third with the terrible sin of prostitution. These will be considered under the next heading, "Flesh and body."

Part 3.
By a natural transition of thought the matters discussed in ur previous issue bring us to considering the relation between sarx, flesh, and sOma, body. In the Greek Scriptures these wo words are associated within the same context in nine or erhaps ten places. The first is the passage we have already noted, Rom. 8:9-13. Here body occurs twice and bodies once. We can see why it appears here instead of flesh if we mentally substitute this word for body. Although in v. 13 this might not sound wrong, it certainly would in vv. 10 and 11. Moreover, the words flesh and death come into the same context only in v. 6 and Co1. 1:22, and, less closely in Rom. 7:5 and Heb. 2:14, 5:7. 1 Peter 3:18 speaks of Christ being put to death in flesh, but that is all. Nowhere do the Greek Scriptures speak of the death of the flesh.

The next association of the two words is I Cor. 6:16. The solemnity of this revelation and the warning it embodies is not always fully appreciated. The other references to "one body" are in Rom. 12:4, 5; 1 Cor. 10:17, 12:12 (three times) 12:13, 20; Eph. 2:16, 4:4; Col. 3:15. These set out the essential oneness of the church which is Christ's body; and set it out, first, in its relation to God's grace; second, in the communion of the body of Christ in the breaking of the bread in the Lord's Supper; third, in our unity in spirit and our interrelation with one another; fourth, in our function in the church; fifth, in our reconcilation in Christ Jesus to God through the Cross; sixth, in our sevenfold unity in being joint-body-people, and, seventh, in love, the tie of maturity, and peace. Yet over against all this wonderful revelation of the vastness of God's grace is the disclosure that there is an altogether other sort of "one body."

A more fearful exposure of the awfulness of sin is not to be imagined. On the one hand we have Paul's revelation that the saints who have received the Evangel committed to him are related to Christ Jesus their Lord in a way typified by that of a body to its head—the supreme manifestation of God's transcendent grace. On the other, his revelation that the fornicator who unites himself to the harlot is one body. One body also, a terrible parody of something so holy that we can only bow our heads in awe and love in contemplating its holiness.

Even so, there could be no such parody but for the fact that sin with the harlot is wholly of the flesh, whereas our relation to Christ Jesus as one body is wholly spiritual: "But he who unites himself to the Lord is one spirit." (1 Cor. 6:17). No wonder Paul adds: "Flee from prostitution!"

As I have already pointed out, all this is definitely associated with Paul's Evangel and with the present period during which it is in force. Only in the Evangel which was entrusted to him is the relation of the saint to Christ Jesus his Lord represented by the relation of a body to its head, only in his Evangel is the body of the saint temple of the Holy Spirit in him. All this belongs exclusively to Paul's Evangel and to no other, it exists while Paul's Evangel is in force, and at no other time. And it is particularly important to keep in mind that it is truth revealed in one of the epistles ot the 1 Corinthians; high and lofty spiritual truth all the more specially needed by those who are tempted to low and horrible fleshly sin. People who follow the teachers who despise the Corinthian Epistles do so at their great peril.

Israel's relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ is that of a bride to her bridegroom; close and intimate, but not the absolute oneness of that of a body to its head. A harlot's relationship can never be that of a bride, for the essence of that position is mutual love, and a harlot's is at best a very poor counterfeit. Thus, the harlot in Rev. 17 and 18 is Babylon the Great; yet that is a state of affairs which God will not permit to endure; and eventually Babylon is to be hurled down (18:21), so that the voice of bridegroom and bride is nevermore to be heard in her. Instead, after her destruction, the holy city, New Jerusalem, is seen made ready as bride adorned for her husband (21:2). Then she appears as the bride, the wife of the Lambkin (21:9). Finally, "the Spirit and the bride are saying, 'Come.'" (22:17).

This has, and can have, no relation of any sort with the body, as Eph. 5:22-23 makes very clear, in spite of the many stupid confusions injected into the passages on behalf of human traditions.

To begin with, the words numPhE, bride and numPhios, bridegroom are not used by the Apostle Paul anywhere. Neither are they used, anywhere at all, in the same context as sOma, body or ekklEsia, church. These facts alone should suffice for any reasonable person.

Yet, in spite of them, Paul's words are generally twisted to mean somehow that he regards "the church" as the bride of Christ. Such an interpretation is impossible. This is readily seen if we analyse what Paul actually says. First, the wives are addressed: " Wives, to their own husbands let them subject themselves as to the Lord; seeing that man is head of the woman even as the Chnst is Head of the church, and He is Saviour of the body." The idea of this is plain enough. Paul is writing of headship and of proper subjection to it. As Christ is Head of the church, so man is head of the woman. No more perfect analogy is conceivable. We should take note too that Paul does not tell the wives to subject themselves as to the Christ.

In v. 24 Paul pursues this theme of subjection. Then in v. 25 his mind changes over to the love aspect of his theme, moving from the husband's duty to his love: "Husbands, be loving your wives, according as the Christ also loves the church." As Christ loves the church, so husbands should love their wives. Again the analogy is perfect and perfectly explicit as it stands. From this Paul goes on to show how great and how extensive is Christ's love for His church (vv. 26, 27), and immediately (v. 28) he points the moral: "Thus ought the husbands also to be loving their own wives as their own bodies."

Here it is most important to note carefully what Paul is actually saying. The position of "thus" in the Greek original makes it very emphatic. Christ loves His body. Husbands should love their wives in just the same, way, "as their own bodies." And we must note, too, that Paul is careful not to say or imply" as their own flesh." A human being is made up of body, soul and spirit. His body comprises the whole of the material part of him. So a man cannot divide up his wife as regards his love for her: "He who is loving his own wife is loving himself."

Yet it is just at this point that Paul elects abruptly to refer to flesh, in explaining how it comes about that in loving his own wife a man is loving himself (vv. 29, 30): "For no one at any time hates his own flesh, but is nourishing and cherishing it, according as Christ also the church, seeing that we are members of His body." This change of subject would be very hard to explain were it not for v. 31: "For this cause, (a) man will be leaving his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." Here we could not say "one body," for that would be contrary to plain fact, but "one flesh." No one hates his own flesh, a man's wife has become one flesh with him, so it is a grievous thing for a man ever to hate his wife. Indeed, Paul closes his exhortation by emphasizing the duty of each one of his readers to be loving his own wife (v. 33). Meanwhile (v. 32) Paul has announced: "This secret is great." What secret? Not that a man should love hIS wife as his own flesh, for that was already revealed in Gen. 2:23, 24. We should be in no doubt, for Paul adds at once: "yet I am speaking with regard to Christ and with regard to the church." Christ loves His church as members of His body. Because our relation to Him is so close as that, His love for us so personal and so deep; we in our turn, if we are privileged to be husbands, should give our wives a similar close and deep and unchanging love.

One might well suppose that this would be so clear that no one could possibly misunderstand it; nevertheless, such is the perversity of mind engendered by sin, the prevailing fashion is to read Paul's words as if he had urged that because Christ loves His bride, men should similarly love their wives. Yet twice in the passage is the church described as "the body" (vv. 23 and 30), nowhere is it described as "bride" or "wife" of anyone at all, here or, indeed, anywhere alse. Nowhere does the official title Christ come in the same context as the word bride except in John 3:28, 29, where John the Baptist says explicitly, "I am not the Christ."

A curious kind of footnote to this is contained in a letter to the 10th December, 1960 issue of "The New Statesman," published in England. It quotes 1 Cor. 7:8, 9 as teaching that marriage is an inferior condition, then it collates this with Eph. 5:24 to produce what it has the audacity to describe as "a fair presentation" of the Apostle Paul's teaching about our bodies and about women, thus: "To want to marry is a failure of the will but, if you are weak and have to, do; and, if you do, love your wives as beings who are as much subject to you as the Church is subject to Christ." If this disgusting travestry is a "fair presentation," what would an unfair one be like? Yet some of the blame for this sort of thing rests squarely on those Christians who either cannot or will not understand what Paul is teaching here. By most Christians God's Secrets are still not being treated with the care which their supreme importance demands, and this secret of Christ and the Church suffers particularly in this respect. One reason is the traditional confusion regarding "the bride." Another is that this secret is not set out explicitly on the spot as the secret of Rom. 11:25-32 and Eph. 3:6-12 are. Another is that most expositors have allowed it to be overshadowed by the latter of these two. Yet in Eph. 3:6-12 "the church" is not mentioned till v. 10 and then only in a relatively, subordinate manner; whereas in the context of Eph. 5:32 the word occurs six times in nine verses. On the other hand, the word body which is found in Eph. 5:23, 28, 30 occurs in Eph. 2:16 and 4:14 but nowhere at all in between; and the word flesh is found in Eph. 5:29, 30, 31 but is not to be found between its occurrences in Eph. 2:15 and 5:29. Another point to notice is that body occurs as often in 1 Corinthians as in the rest of Paul's Epistles together. This epistle is essentially linked to the word body and it is in this epistle that the word ekklEsia, church most frequently occurs, though not in close contact with the other word. Yet one more reason for neglect of the Secret of Christ and the church is the influence of the "dispensational" theory that relegates 1 Corinthians and Ephesians to two different "dispensations." This is now finally discredited, but its ill effects persist; so many of us, often unconsciously, shut the eyes to the fact that this secret is based on I Corinthians 12. The words hen, one and sOma, body are associated in Rom. 12:4, 5; 1 Cor. 6:16; 10:17; 12:12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20; Eph. 2:16; 4:4; Col. 3:15. The words ekklEsia, church and sOma, body are associated in Eph. 1:22, 23; 5:23, 29, 30; Col. 1:18, 24. These groupings are carefully kept separate so that we should not fall into the snare of speaking of "one church," though many have nevertheless done so their great loss. I suggest that a careful study of the passages noted above will result in a greatly enhanced understanding of the Secret of Christ and the Church.

Not till Paul had disclosed the Secret of Eph. 3:6-12 did he reveal the nature of the great Secret of Eph. 5:32 and make plain that the earlier revelations about the one body, listed above, are an integral part of it. All this goes to show how essential are the earlier Church Epistles for any true understanding of the Prison Epistles and how foolish it is to attempt to cut them apart. Do let us be realistic about these things! Ephesians 3 says nothing about "one body," and Ephesians 5 nothing about "joint-body-people." The former is about what, in spirit, the Gentiles are to be through Paul's Evangel. The latter is about our membership of the body of which Christ is Head; and He is Head, too, of the ecclesia, the church, that called-out company which is His body (Eph. 1:22).

At first this may sound very confusing, but only because of the confusions about it which we have inherited and which I dealt with at considerable length in The Differentiator Vol. 22, No.3, pp. 106-111 (June, 1960). As then pointed out (p. 109), the language Paul uses when the words church and body come into the same context is extremely guarded, and (as we can now appreciate) never more so than in Eph. 5:22-31. Here he is most careful to avoid placing the words together in such a manner as to suggest any" body-church" or any "church-body." In fact, the nearest he comes to anything at all like that is in Eph. 1:22 and Col. 1:24. In these he says, respectively, "to the church, that which is His body" and "the body of Him, which is the church" (both renderings very literal) ; and the difference between these and, simply, "body-church" is so great that no one who is not a fool or entirely blind to distinctions in speech could fail to perceive it, once they trouble to read the words carefully.

In short, Eph. 5:22-31 contains a secret; so it is not to be penetrated by us apart from two conditions: first, the strictest attention to its terms and, in particular, careful attention to the way the words church and body are used; second, careful study of its antecedents, that is to say, the passages listed above in which the words one and body come within the same context, particularly those in the early Church Epistles. If the student will make it his business to carry out these two requirements, he will find this great secret revealing itself in his mind, not only as great and vital in its own way, but also as an entirely distinct thing in no manner to be confused with the secret of Eph. 3:6-12 or with the future glories of Israel as the Lambkin's bride.

If we reflect on this matter calmly and without prejudice, we cannot fail to see that something is wrong about speaking of "the Church of the One Body," considering that Scripture never uses such a phrase. Even more futile is it to read this phrase into Eph. 3:6-12, which has nothing to say about "one body." Any new reader indoctrinated with the views of Bullinger and C. H. Welch on the matter would probably be scandalized by this assertion: nevertheless, it is exactly true, as the concordance will demonstrate. This fact is underlined by the further fact that Eph. 3:6-12 does not speak of a "joint-body" either. As already pointed out in our pages, sussOma is an adjective, and accusative plural neuter; and therefore it must not be rendered as if it were a singular noun. The three "joint" words in Eph. 3:6 are all plural, and we are not entitled to render one as singular just to make it accord with our prejudices.

When I was a young man, one of the things that attracted me to the writtings of Dr. Bullinger and his followers was the high importance they attributed to the Secret of Eph. 3:6-12. Only many years after did I discover that it should not be regarded as dwarfing the other secrets to insignificance and even as swallowing them up, as Bullinger seemed to teach. Only quite recently has it dawned on me that the importance of Eph. 3:6-12, immense though it is, exists only within its two defining terms of reference, namely, "in spirit" and "the Gentiles"; and that the other secrets are of transcendent importance to us, too, but also only in their different contexts and terms of reference. Each is supreme truth within its own sphere, each a background truth outside it. The fact that one may appear as a mountain peak in its own context does not reduce the others to molehills in theirs. In other words, in this, as in all other matters, we need to maintain constantly the sense of proportion and balance, and to avoid the easy assumption that because one secret appears tremendously important to us, the others are unimportant and may safely be dismissed as of little account.

That is the mistake that Bullinger made, even in his fine early work, "The Church Epistles." On p. 149 of this book is a glaring example, where he actually contends that Eph. 5:32 is a reference to the secret disclosed in Eph. 3:6-12 and "is not for teaching, but only by way of illustration to enlorce the practical precept." This failure can now be seen as the inner weakness of his teaching that ultimately brought about his surrender to the new and strange ideas propounded by J. J. B. Coles. As always, loss of balance brings its own inevitable train of error. I can only pray now that, at last the secret which the Apostle Paul describes as "great" may be restored to its proper place in our thoughts.

Examination of 1 Cor. 6:16 and the matters it suggests has led us into an extensive disgression, but I believe a sufficiently important one to be well worth while.

The words flesh and body come into proximity in 1. Cor. 10:17, 18, but are not significantly associated there as they are in the next conjunction, in 1. Cor. 15:35-40, so I have not included the former passage in my enumeration. In this latter, quite short, passage, body occurs four times in the singular and twice in the plural, and flesh occurs four times. The distinction here is clear enough. Not only have human beings and animals different sorts of bodies, they have different sorts of flesh as well. Recent research into the chemical aspects of biology has furnished startling and deeply interesting confirmation of this.

The next conjunction is in 2. Cor. 4:10, 11. Here there is a very delicate contrast in the use of the two words
(very literally):

Dean Alford says of this antithesis that "flesh" in the latter part stengthens the contrast, "the flesh being the very pabulum of decay and corruption." He adds: "God exhibits DEATH in the living, that He may exhibit LIFE in the dying,"

The next approach of the two words, in Eph. 2:14-16, is not really a conjunction of them, as the occurrences do not appear related (but see later). In Eph. 5:30 (already examined) some texts add: "out of His flesh and out of His bones," but the relevance of these words is not apparent. In fact, they tend to make over-literal a relationship that is essentially figurative, that Christ's relation to us is like that of a head to its body. There is one certainly genuine coincidence of the words flesh and bones, in the reply of the Lord Jesus in Luke 24:39, which by contrast is very much to the point. The next approach of flesh and body (Phil. 1:20 and 24) is not very close, but it is within one context: "Now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death. .. Yet to be staying in the flesh is more necessary because of you."

In Colossians we have the last of these conjuctions of flesh and body, three in number, the first two being quite different to any other. Col. 1:21, 22 reads: "And you, being at one time estranged and enemies as to comprehension, in the works (that were) wicked; yet now He reconciles in the body of His flesh, through His death..." Here the literal rendering would be, "in the body of the flesh of Him." Lightfoot in his commentary suggests, rightly, I think, that this expression is intended to make plain beyond any possibility of doubt the distinction between "body" here and "body" in v. 18. He suggests too, that "flesh" in Eph. 2:14 is deliberately employed because it was necessary for "body" to be used in Eph. 2:16, and this may well be so; for, as already pointed out, the occurrences do not appear related. Col. 2:11 is similar, reading very literally: "in the stripping off of the body of the flesh in the circumcision of the Christ." The third, Co1. 2:18, contrasts "the mind of the flesh" with "the body" which is of Christ. Anything like an adequate treatment of these three passages would involve a study of the whole of this wonderful epistle; so for the present we must confine ourselves strictly to the matter in hand.

This brings us to to the conclusion of the first section of our study, the word flesh and we must now turn in our next instalment to another word associated with it, blood, which will be found very instructive also.

Part 4
Out of the ninety-eight or ninety-nine occurrences of the word haima, blood, in the Greek Scriptures, no less than forty-six are in expressions that are found only once. There are, in fact, some sixty-four different contexts altogether of the word, a remarkable contrast with the word charis, grace, which we were studying a little while ago, and a circumstance which makes a similar thorough examination very difficult. However most of the more important contexts, and some with groups of variants, occur several times; so there is quite a large amount to be learnt from them.

Naturally we start with the references to the Lord Jesus Christ. He Himself speaks of "My blood" seven times. Of these, the first three and the last refer directly to the institution of the Lord's Supper. These we will set out, with numbers in brackets which will be explained presently. The first, Matt. 26:27, 28, reads: "And (1) taking the cup and giving thanks, He gives (it) to them, saying, (2) 'Be drinking out of it, all, for this is My blood of the New Covenant, pouring out for the sake of many unto pardon of sins." Mark 14:23, 24 reads: "And (1) taking the cup, giving thanks, He gives (it) to them; (3) and they drink out of it, all of them. (4) And He said to them: 'This is My blood-that of the New Covenant, that pouring out on behalf of many.'" Luke 22:20 reads: "And (5) the cup, similarly, after the supper, saying: 'This the cup (is) the New Covenant in My blood, which on your behalf is pouring out.'" Last, 1. Cor. 11:25 reads: "And similarly the cup after the supper, saying, 'This the cup (is) the New Covenant in My blood.'"

It will be noticed at once that 1. Cor. 11:25 adds nothing in this respect to Luke 22:20, so for our present purpose, only, it may be ignored. I say "only," because we must not suppose that it is unimportant in itself. On the contrary, it is singled out as communicated direct by the Lord Jesus; so it is of the very highest importance, as we shall see presently. This leaves us with three accounts of the same event, and it is for us to piece them together. I have numbered the sections in what appears to me the order of occurrence. No.1 is practically identical in Matthew and Mark. Then follows No.2 (Matt.) and No.3 (Mark). No.4 (Mark) follows after the drinking. Then I suggest that No.5 (Luke) comes last of all. We can well suppose a pause between Nos. 3 and 4 and a further pause between Nos. 4 and 5.

But why is there this difference between No.4 and No.5? Two things should be observed before we can answer this. In Matthew's account, those participating are ordered to drink out of the cup, in Mark's they actually do drink, and both say it was "at their eating." But Luke's setting is very different; he says nothing about them drinking from the cup. The twelve were told to divide it among themselves before the Lord Jesus took and broke the bread and then "similarly, the cup also, after the supper, saying. . . ." Then follows rivalry among the disciples. The supper does not end with Matt. 26:29.

The point here, I think, is that we must be most careful to separate what Luke and Paul relate under No.5 after the supper from the actual Passover itself, "at their eating," which preceded it. The need for such caution is underlined by the fact that in 1. Corinthians 10 and 11 Paul refers to "the cup" eight times (more in these two chapters than in any other book of the Greek Scriptures), yet not one word is said by him therein about the Passover. Actually, he refers to this only once, in 1. Cor. 5:7, 8: "Clean out, then, the old leaven, that you may be a fresh kneading, according as you are unleavened; for our Passover also for our sakes was sacrificed—Christ—so that we may be keeping the festival; not with leaven, neither with leaven of evil and wickedness, but with unleavened (loaves) of sincerity and truth." On the other hand, what Paul says about the cup is altogether different. It is "the cup of the blessedness which we are blessing," and he asks: "Is it not communion of the blood of the Christ?" (1. Cor. 10:16). Then he immediately goes on to ask: "The bread which we are breaking: is it not communion of the body of the Christ? Seeing that one bread, one body we the many are, for we all of the one bread are partaking." Here is a plain link between the communion of the blood of the Christ and the one bread, one body.

The context of this is fleeing from idolatry, and idol sacrifices; and in v. 21 the cup of the Lord is contrasted with the cup of demons. The cup of the Lord is the cup of blessing. The word eulogia, blessing, is largely Pauline. Paul tells the Romans that he will be coming to them "in filling of Christ's blessing" (Rom. 15:29) and in Rom. 16:18 he warns them against the evil teachers who through their "compliments and blessing are deluding the hearts of the innocent." Later (Gal. 3:14) he speaks of the blessing of Abraham coming unto the Gentiles; and lastly (Eph. 1:3) comes the magnificent opening of the Prison Epistles ("in every spiritual blessing among the celestials"). Thus, for ourselves, Christ's blessing is all-embracing.

Not so the cup, except where we are concerned. And although it is for the cup of blessedness; yet even the five references to that in 1. Corinthians 11 have an undertone of judgment and discipline. Elsewhere this is very plain. James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, undertook to drink the cup which the Lord Jesus was about to be drinking (Matt. 20:20-23; Mark 10:35-40). James was the first of the Twelve to be martyred (Acts 12:2) and the only one whose martyrdom is recorded in the Greek Scriptures. There is a tradition that John lived to a great age; but whether he did, or whether he was martyred, we know not. Almost anything about that can be read into the cryptic close of his Gospel, the supposed late date of which is no more than a guess. It wa'i given to John to see in a vision the events leading up to the Lord's coming again; and perhaps the awe and terror of that vision was John's share of the cup. Yet what James and John had to suffer was as nothing compared to what awaited their Lord (Matt. 26:38-45; Mark 14:32-41; Luke 22:40-46). True, the first reference to a cup is in mercy (Matt. 10:42). The second and third occur in the Lord's denunciation of the Pharisees in Mark 7:6, 8. The fourth (Mark 9:41) is somewhat similar to the first. In the Apostle John's vision there are two cups. The cup of blessedness, rejected by the mass of mankind, has become the cup of God's indignation (Rev. 14:10) and the cup of the wine of His furious indignation (16:19). Set over against this is the substitute for the cup of blessedness: the harlot's golden cup, brimming with the abominations and the uncJeannesses of the prostitution of her and of the earth (Rev. 17:4; 18:6) which she gets in double measure with the fearful judgment that soon follows (18:7-20).

The passages in which blood and the notion of judgment come together are, significantly, in Revelation (6:10; 16:5, 6; 19:2). In the association in Acts 15:19, 20; 21:25, the judgment is of a different nature, being the decision of James and his associates.

The expression "the blood of the Lord" occurs in 1. Cor. 11:27 only, a passage that we have already discussed. The same applies to the first occurrence of "the blood of Christ" (1. Cor. 10:16). The next, Eph. 2:13, amplifies this; for the cup of blessedness is the communion of the blood of Christ and it is in this blood that we, who once were far off, are become near. That is all Paul has to say, but Hebrews relates it to the sin offerings of Leviticus 16 and Numbers 9 as doing permanently what they could do only temporarily. His blood cleanses the Hebrews' "conscience from dead works unto offering divine service to God living and true." Lastly, Peter describes it as "precious" (1. Peter 1:19). Just before, at the start of the epistle (1:2) Peter speaks of "sprinkling of Jesus Christ's blood." John (1. John 1:7) says that "the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, is cleansing us from every sin," the "His" referring to God. Some texts omit "Christ," but the evidence for this omission is not particularly strong. Should it be accepted, we fmd that the only other occurrence of " the blood of Jesus" (Heb. 10:19) is in quite a different sort of context.

We get, then, an overall idea of the blood of Jesus Christ deansing from sin, bringing us near, and cleansing the conscience from dead works.

References to "His blood" are found seven times, of which five use the actual expression and two have "through His own blood," Acts 20:28 and Heb. 9:12. These two are quite general, applicable to ourselves and to Israel in days to come, for they relate to the permanent consequences of the work of Christ on earth. We must never forget that there is but one Jesus, one Christ, one Lord; that His work for His people was for all His people, irrespective of the circumstance that covenant is now inoperative so that there are in present circumstances no covenant people, and that when present conditions cease His plans will once again work out through covenant.

The five are different. The first, Matt. 27:25, though altogether horrible as an event in history, nevertheless pointed to what was shortly to come to pass. The Gentile, Pilate, testified unwillingly to the Lord Jesus and tried to shirk the consequences of his surrender to the clamour of the Jews: "Innocent am I from the blood of this righteous one." Though he got every possible help from them in so far as they insisted on trying to take the guilt on themselves, he could not wash away the blood himself and atone for his cowardice. They, however, sealed their own doom which has been overtaking them ever since: "His blood be on us and on our children." The curse they invoked on themselves has worked and will work on and on, up to the point when they realize at last what they have done, and seek eonian redemption through His blood. Then, at last, it will be on them and on their children for blessing instead of doom.

Part 5
We now come to the point where we have to examine the sixth chapter of John's Gospel. This chapter is largely ignored among many of us and is almost universally misunderstood in the churches. It is, however, so important, and the next reference to His blood, found in John 6:13, is so startling; that before we can proceed we can hardly avoid stopping to study the chapter, even though this must mean a considerable digression.

Among some of us it has become a fashion to avoid John's Gospel as if it were something that does not concern us very much. Those who are inclined to think along such lines are, all too often, encouraged in this mistaken course by the overemphasis on this Gospel which is almost the badge of a certain section of traditionalists. Such people almost always seek to exalt John at the expense of Paul. Yet there is no reason why we should go to the opposite extreme and underrate the Apostle John merely because we value Paul at something more like his true worth. As with most other experiences in this earthly life, truth is to a considerable extent a matter of balance. It is wholly unbalanced to try to set one of God's Apostles against another. If anyone supposes he is gaining a better understanding of Paul by taking a line that involves disparagement of John, he simply demonstrates that he has no real understanding of Paul at all. The Apostle Paul's teaching is one unit; but it is a unit that is part of another unit, the Greek Scriptures; and one cannot be understood apart from the other, for they are interlocked.

The first thing to be noticed about John 6 is that it is primarily about artos, bread. It says more about bread than Acts and all the epistles together. Next, we find that though the accounts of the Lord's Supper in the first three Gospels start with the Lord Jesus taking bread, and we are told of it in each: "This is My body"; yet neither word appears again in the context. It is in 1. Corinthians 10 and 11 that the association of the ideas of "bread" and "body" is developed. In John 6 there is no reference to "body" at all. There must be some significance in this, and it is for us to find out what it is.

The chapter starts off with the fourth of the signs narrated by John, and this sign is concerned with bread. The word occurs twenty-one times in the chapter and yet only three other times in John's Gospel (13:18; 21:9, 13). This concentration of interest on one particular word in a passage isolated from all other references to that word ought to arrest our attention. Moreover, the other three Gospels contain parallel accounts of this event (Matt. 14:15-21; Mark 6:35 44; Luke 9:12-17), and although in each of them there are prior references to bread (Matthew 5 times, Mark 3 times, Luke 5 times), the references are very different in character, as consulting a concordance will show.

I suggest, then, that if we want to see John 6 as it is (and that is the way we ought to try to see all Scripture), we should first divest our minds of all preconceptions and approach the chapter as the disciples saw and heard what is narrated in it and as if we were entirely unaware of anything disclosed subsequently. Undeniably this is not an easy thing to accomplish; but it is the only practicable way to avoid error.

At the start the Lord Jesus tests Philip by asking him how much bread would be needed to feed the vast throng that had followed. As might be expected, Philip names a considerable sum of money required to pay for the amount of bread necessary. Andrew then draws attention to a lad who had five barley loaves and two fishes. The Lord Jesus then orders the disciples to make the throng recline, and we read: "Then Jesus took the loaves and, giving thanks, He distributes to those reclining. Likewise also of the fish, as much as they wanted." (v. 11). Afterwards twelve panniers are filled with the fragments left. This miracle makes an immense impression, and the Lord Jesus has to avoid the throng. Then follows the miracle of His walking on the sea; and then, at the request of the throng, which had followed Him, He gives. on the theme of the bread one of the great discourses that are so notable a feature of John's Gospel.

For our present purpose we may by-pass the earlier part of this discourse and move straight to its climax: "Verily, verily, I am saying to you, that he who is believing into Me has life eonian. I am the bread of the life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the Bread which out of the heaven is descending; that anyone of it may be eating, and may not be dying. I am the Bread, the living (Bread), which out of the heaven is descending. If anyone should be eating of this Bread, he shall be living into the eon. Now the very Bread which I shall be giving is My flesh, which I shall be giving for the sake of the life of the world" (John 6:47-51).

The Jews promptly took this literally and started to wrangle with one another about it. The word wrangle is used by Rotherham and, I think, conveys the meaning better than the more concordant fought. Then they asked: "How then can this one give to us his flesh to eat?" To this the Lord Jesus replied: "Verily, verily, I am saying to you: Except you should be eating the flesh of the Son of Mankind, and be drinking His blood, you are not having life eonian in yourselves."

At this point the Lord Jesus changes over to a different word, trOgO, chew or masticate. This word has an element of deliberate intention and effort beyond the mere taking-in of nourishment. So we find in vv. 54-58, rendered very literally indeed: "He who is chewing the flesh of Me and drinking the blood of Me is having life eonian, and I shall be raising him at the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who is chewing the flesh of Me and drinking the blood of Me in Me is remaining, and I in him. According as the living Father commissions Me, I, also, am living because of the Father; and he who is chewing Me, even he will be living because of Me. This is the Bread which descends out of the heaven. Not according as the fathers ate—and died: he who is chewing this bread will be living into the eon."

In endeavouring to elucidate this wonderful passage we have to keep two things clear in our minds: first, the words were addressed to "the throng" and "the Jews," but there was nothing specifically "dispensational" about them; second, the whole narrative occurs chronologically after the crisis of Matt. 13:14, 15 (actually, after Matthew 14), so we can expect to find in it things the true meaning of which was hidden from. those who would not believe (Matt. 13:10-17); and this comes out plainly in John 6:26, 30 and 31,36,41,52. Moreover, the passage is followed, as in Matthew 13, by a revelation to the disciples; but with a difference, for some left the Lord Jesus (v. 66) and He then named His betrayer.

This great revelation, then, is for the disciples of the Lord Jesus, for those who believe Him.

Yet I do not think there can be any objection to holding, nevertheless, that the revelation is primarily to His disciples in Israel; for that is the primary object of all the teaching ministry of the Lord Jesus in the Gospels. But there is every objection to earmarking it exclusively for them, as if it has no meaning and purpose for ourselves. If we, unlike most of the Lord's hearers, are people who are believing Him (vv. 35, 37, 47, 64), all this is for us, so far as this is applicable to our special circumstances as people who are not under covenant. Even this proviso hardly arises, for none of the issues associated with covenant and its sign appear in this passage at all, any more than they do in many other passages casually labelled as "dispensational" by people obsessed by such notions. How thoroughly blinded many of us have been by excessive preoccupation with "dispensationalism" is shown by the fact that few people realize that John 6:29 is the germ of the Apostle Paul's teaching about righteousness in Romans 1-4, as G. H. Pember pointed out as long ago as 1901 (The Church, the Churches and the Mysteries, p. 177).

Nevertheless, I would not be misunderstood here. I am not trying to make out that Paul's teaching was, or could have been, set out by the Lord Jesus as Paul did, but simply that it stands in the background, ready for development in due time when Paul was called to this ministry. This teaching is "dispensational" in one sense, in that it could not become explicit until circumstances had made possible the setting-out of the Evangel of the uncircumcision. In other words, it is not righteousness out of faith that is itself "dispensational," but the full and complete exposition of it that was entrusted to Paul.

Having thus cleared the ground, we may now proceed to the development of the theme of John 6. Let us first set down
the main points:
(a) The Lord Jesus is Himself the Bread of the life eonian.
(b) This very bread is His flesh.
(c) He is giving it "for the sake of the life of the world."
(d) "Except you should be eating the flesh of the Son of Mankind, and be drinking His blood, you are not having life eonian in yourselves."
(e) His flesh has to be "chewed," i.e., eaten as a purposeful and deliberate act.
(f) His flesh is true food, His blood is true drink.
(g) He who is chewing the flesh of Him and drinking the blood of Him is having life eonian.

Now what stands out plainly from all this is that the chewing and the drinking are not literal. Indeed, only the unbelieving Jews even entertained such a horrible idea; and not all of them, otherwise they would have had no occasion to wrangle with one another. The Lord Jesus leaves it to the spiritual intelligence of His hearers to interpret these sayings of His; but as few had any, only a few even of His disciples were prepared to understand. Even these were murmuring (John 6:61). So, in consequence, He discloses His meaning in plain and unmistakable terms: "Is this snaring you,? If then you should be beholding the Son of Mankind ascending where He was the former (time) . . .? The spirit is the vivifying (agent), the flesh is benefitting nothing: The declarations which I have spoken to you, (collectively) spirit is and life is. But there are, from among you, some who are not believing." This reads oddly in English, but it conveys, I believe, the meaning of the change from the plural in declarations the singular in spirit and life. The Lord's declarations must be regarded as one whole, one single entity.

For my part, I am not prepared to attempt to impose any limitations on these words by shutting out from them any of the disclosures made later by the Holy Spirit. Taken together, John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7 explicitly forbid any such notion. The two sets of declarations are distinct, so therefore we may not on any account be permitted to confuse them; but they are all the Lord's and must be treated as such.

The lesson from this passage, then, is that by a conscious and deliberate act of faith the believer on the Lord Jesus has, in spirit, to appropriate His Life to himself. This the Lord Jesus had, in a measure, already made possible, for the Word had already been made flesh and had already dwelt among His people Israel (John 1:14), but they had failed to gaze on His glory. Being carnal, fleshly, what was in spirit had meant nothing. What they had was flesh, and that was of no benefit to them.

There the matter stood, and had to stand, for the time being; until the declarations of the Lord Jesus could effectually become spirit and life, through the power of God's Spirit given to His people. But first His flesh had to be given up in His broken body and His blood poured out. Then, and then only, could the exhortations in John 6 have a practical working-out.

So now we have to gather together the threads and consider what is the relation of this discourse to the later revelation of the Lord's Supper; and we must start by keeping in mind that the latter had not yet been instituted, so the former cannot possibly be a reference to it. But the latter might turn out to be a reference to the former; and it is for us to find out whether this is so, and in what way.

The former has the word flesh six times, the latter not at all. The former has the word bread fourteen times, the latter four, one by itself at the start of each of the four accounts of the Lord's Supper. The former does not use the word cup at all, the four accounts together have it ten times. The former had blood four times, the latter four accounts together have it five times. Apart from the word blood this contrast is very noteworthy and should serve as a warning to be very cautious indeed about attempting to put the two together.

Why should we? Is it not very much better, and safer, to leave separate what God has separated?

Here we need to be very careful and also avoid separating what God has joined together; for, as we shall see presently and indeed have seen in the occurrences of the word blood, the separation of the two matters is only partial. The solution of the problem, therefore, must be that from one point of view the matters are entirely separate but from another they are closely associated.

Some writers appear to think that there is no account at all of the Lord's Supper in John's Gospel, and that John 6 is. intended to do instead. Here is where a pasted book setting out the Gospels in four columns is so helpful for the student; for it makes it easy to see at a glance what all four say. John gives no account of the actual institution of the Supper in John 13; instead, he describes the washing of the feet of the disciples. This description begins and ends with a reference to the Supper (vv. 2, 4 and v. 18). Which comes first, the washing of feet or the institution, is not absolutely certain, but probably the former. If we put the accounts together we see intertwined through them awareness of the coming betrayal; and it is this, in Luke 22:23 and John 13:22, that links up the sequence of the accounts. Much of all this is wholly foreign to John 6, but there are two points of contact. One is the Scripture (Ps. 41:9) quoted in John 13:18, in which we find again the verb trOgO and the word blood. But, this time, they are in an altogether different context. Judas was not chewing the Bread which descends out of the heaven. Instead, he was, while chewing ordinary bread, making ready to ensure that the Lord's flesh should be put to death and His blood poured out. The other point of contact is the betrayal, perceived by the Lord Jesus from the beginning.

Gathering all this together, with special reference to the seven "main points" set out some way back, we now see that the discourse in John 6 has its actual fulfilment in what took place after the Lord's Supper and continues to take place. It is a preview of the effects on God's People and ultimately on the world of this terrible drama. The institution of the Lord's Supper was threefold in scope: it was intended to be a perpetual reminder of the Lord's broken body, it was the announcing of the Lord's death till He should be coming, and it was the keeping in remembrance of the future New Covenant which, when it shall be concluded, will be the foretaste on earth of that life which God intends for the world. But John 6 gives us some idea of the spiritual realities that underlie these things; and moreover the heavenly realities as well; for no less than seven times are we told that the true Bread cometh down out of the heaven (John 6:32, 33, 38, 41, 50, 51, 58). In resurrection we are to be given a spiritual body, the life of God that has been re-formed in Christ Jesus. As Andrew Jukes says (The New Man, pp. 95, 96): "To support this new and heavenly life we need the self-same substance as that which formed and sustained the Lord, when in Himself for us He formed the 'new creature.' Thank God, as the babe in nature takes in its mother's flesh and blood, and grows thereby, without in the least knowing or understanding either what it takes in, or how this nourishment is communicated, so is it with us who are quickened with Christ's life and born of Him. We live by Him, whileyet we understand little or nothing of that on which we live, or how we are sustained by it. But it is Christ's flesh that feeds. or supports us: it is something of His very nature that we take in, through a real receiving and appropriating of His. substance. This flesh or substance is distinctively the 'flesh of the Son of Man.' . . . It speaks of man according to God's mind as he came forth from God, before that division entered, which is met and overcome by the glories pledged both to the Woman's and to Abraham's seed. . . This and nothing less is the flesh He gives, that so eating this flesh we may be built up again in the undivided image of the Son of Man."

In all this we view, as from a great height, the tremendous. sweep of God's purpose in the betrayal and death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. So vast is it that it refuses, absolutely, to be confined within what are generally described as "dispensational" ideas. None of it belongs exclusively to any one "economy." It is for all God's People, for all future time, till life has come to the whole world.

And yet it is all bound up with human treachery, the betrayal by Judas of his Master. Yes, and with the even. darker and deeper treachery of Satan, who inspired it. Here we approach, and should bow our heads before, the central Mystery of God's purposes for the Universe. For its nature is something that is not for us to understand completely in this earthly life but to accept in the deepest reverence as a glimpse of the fearful consequences of the choice which God made when He created the material Universe and thus created the means whereby His creatures could rebel against Him and by so doing produce the conditions that necessitated bringing His Son to the Cross.

Part 6
We now come to the third passage relating to the theme, the blood of Christ: 1. Cor. 10:14-22. This has features entirely different from the other two, 1. Cor. 11 and John 6, and yet points of contact so intimate that we cannot separate it from them in our studies. The three might fairly be compared with the three segments of a clover leaf.

The general subject here is idolatry; and in the first half of the discussion is linked to the "one body," in the second to Israel according to flesh. Yet the cup and the blood and the bread come prominently into it too, thus forcing us to relate it to our other two passages. Another feature in the passage fresh to our discussion is the word koinOnia, communion or fellowship, and its related word koinOnos, participant. Unfortunately, English idiom hardly permits us to use fellow for this word, though it might be desirable in an absolutely literal version, provided that a good paraphrase accompanied it. One or other of these two words occurs four times altogether in 1. Cor. 10:16-20, the only comparable passage being 1. John 1:3-7 with its four occurrences of fellowship. The Apostle Paul begins by exhorting the Corinthians to "be fleeing from the idolatry." The word the here indicates that he is writing about something to which he has already referred; but as this is the first occurrence of the word eidOlolatreia, idolatry (the other three being Gal. 5:20; Co1. 3:5; 1. Peter 4:3), he must have had in mind eidOlothuton, idol-sacrifices (1. Cor. 8:1, 4, 7, 10) and eidOlon, idol (1. Cor. 8:4, 7), especially as he goes on to refer to both words. These two chapters contain between them more than a third of all the references to idolatry in the Greek Scriptures.

Then Paul goes on to say: "The cup of the blessing, which we are blessing; is it not fellowship of the blood of the Christ? The bread which we are breaking; is it not fellowship of the body of the Christ? Seeing that one bread one body we, the many, are; for all of the one bread are partaking."

Why does the cup come first here instead of second as in all four descriptions of the Lord's Supper?

The answer appears to lie in the word one. The "one bread" is used to imply the "one body," whereas the cup implies no such unity. Therefore, though the cup is an essential part of the analogy, it lacks that vital association, implied in the bread, that characterizes the" one body." So, in vv. 14-17, the cup has to come first so as to leave the way clear for the development of the analogy of "one bread" and "one body."

However, this is not sufficient as it stands to cover the point that Paul is seeking to make; because, so far, there does not arise any question of idolatry. The cup and the bread are tokens of fellowship; but we are not to deduce that they involve sacrifices at the altar by those who partake in them. The doctrine that they do so is one of the major errors of those who call themselves "Catholics"; but it is not to be found in anything that Paul teaches. So he refers to the cup and the bread as the symbols of fellowship and of unity; but for the sacrificial side of his subject he has to go back to contemplation of Israel—and not the true Israel that has yet to come into existence under the New Covenant when in due time it shall be concluded, but to Israel according to flesh. "Are not those who are eating the sacrifices participants with the altar?" (v. 18). Certainly they are; and so Paul goes on to point out that we cannot partake of the idol sacrifices without also partaking of the idolatry for which they are intended; but he first repudiates the notion that the idol and the idol-sacrifice is anything. No. The reality is in fact, as he puts it: "that which the Gentiles are sacrificing, to demons, and not to God, are they sacrificing." So, "you cannot be drinking the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot be partaking of a table of the Lord and of a table of demons" (v. 21).

This is the single passage concerning the Lord's Supper in which the cup and the bread are related exclusively to the "one body."

Yet, even so, one thing strikes the reader most forcibly. While the fellowship of the bread is linked with the "one body" in the most definite way imaginable (v. 17), the fellowship of the cup has no such explicit linkage. We who are partakers of the cup are not "one cup" neither are we "one blood." Moreover, in v. 21 nothing is said about either the "bread" or the "body" of demons. Instead, Paul refers to the "cup" of demons and the "table" of demons. The former has already been considered. The word table, trapeza occurs fifteen times, but the occurrence here links up with two only, Luke 22:21 and 30, the first in connection with the hand of the Lord's betrayer and the second with His covenant with the Twelve that they will be eating and drinking at His table in His kingdom and will be seated on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The passage 1. Cor. 10:18-22 is linked to Israel at the start {"Observe Israel according to flesh"). As right through this chapter up to it, Israel is regarded in the first instance with a view to our admonition; though there is no doubt that, when our time here is done, all this will be with a view to Israel's admonition also.

Actually, the noun thusia, sacrifice occurs only once in this passage, in 1. Cor. 10:18: "Observe Israel according to flesh. Are not those eating the sacrifices participants with the altar?" Then, having made his point about participation, Paul turns to his theme regarding idolatry, and here he does not use the word thusia but eidOlothuton, idol-sacrifice. Just as those eating the true sacrifices of Judaism are in communion with the true altar, so those associating themselves with idol-sacrifices are in communion with the demons to whom the Gentiles are really offering them. So "you cannot be drinking the Lord's cup and a cup of demons"(v. 21). Thus, it is drinking of the cup that determines whether the person's communion with the Lord or with demons.

The word here rendered demon, daimonion, occurs chiefly in the Gospels, twelve times against once in Acts, five times in Paul's Epistles, once each in James and Revelation. It is a diminutive form of daimOn, occurring only five times, which I suggest would be better rendered devil. Four of the occurrences of demon are in 1. Cor. 10:20, 21. Although in five passages the words bread and demon come close together (Mark 3:20, 22; 7:26, 27; Luke 7:33; 9:1, 3; 11:11, 14) there is no such direct connection between them as there is between cup and demon.

From this we must draw the conclusion that the words wine, blood, cup and table possess some sort of association with idols and demons, but that the bread and the body have no such direct association.

Have we any clue to the significance of this? Turning again to 1. Cor. 10:18 we observe three other words: eating, sacrifice and altar. The Same word, eat, esthiO, is used both for the true sacrifices offered under the Law by Israel and the bread of the Lord's Supper; but it is not used in 1. Corinthians 8 to 11 in the context of the references to demons, neither is the other form of the idea of eating, phagO, but only the word PinO, drink. This bears out what has already been found, but throws no fresh light on it. So we have to turn to the words thusia, sacrifice, and thusiastErion, altar (sacrifice-place).

Words of this group come into the context of haima, blood, in seven passages. The first two, Matt. 23:35; Luke 11:51, refer to the murder of Zacharius and are irrelevant to our purpose. The same applies to Luke 13:1. As might be expected, it is in the Epistle to Hebrews that we come to what we are searching for. The first contact is found in Heb. 9:22-26, where blood and the sacrifices are emphatically associated together. The same association is found in Heb. 10:1-10 and 13:10-15, which we will examine closely presently. The last contact of all is Rev. 6:9, 10. In all four of these, sacrifice or altar are associated with blood, but in the second and third in Hebrews there is an association with the word sOma, body, also. Before we investigate them, we should note that nowhere is there any association of flesh with these words to do with sacrifice.

Heb. 10:1-10 sheds a startling light on this matter. So far as the sacrifice of animals is in view, it is the blood that matters; and this blood could at best do no more than cover sins, it could not put them away. But the sacrifice of Christ is not, actually in itself, regarded as of His blood. It is the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all. What is by His blood is the entrance of the holy places. And this idea is reinforced by Heb. 13:10-15. The blood of the animals was carried into the holy places, by the Chief Priest, for sin; the bodies were burnt up outside the camp: so Jesus, that He should be hallowing the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.

So the sacrifice of the animals is directly concerned with their blood. But it is by the sacrifice of Himself that the blood of Jesus Christ has its efficacy, and His blood is not the whole of His sacrifice, but only part. In this sense, it is His coming into the world and the consequences of His coming that constitutes His sacrifice of Himself.

Yet we must not reason from this that what matters is simply the Incarnation. That was but the start of His doing the will of God, the necessary and inevitable start, but the start and not the completion. Nor is the shedding of His blood the actual completion as is (so far as it goes) the shedding of the blood of the animal sacrifices. The simple truth is that the sacrifice of Christ is too great a thing in every way to be amenable to shutting up into various compartments of thought by such minds as ours. All we can do, and all we should attempt to do, is to note with care and precision what Scripture says about it in its various aspects, and to believe.

Very different is the position as regards the other matters we have been studying. Animal sacrifices and the blood involved in them are not only dim figures of the great Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, they are the reality and the only reality of the ineffectual offerings to demons. Therefore, people like the Corin thians, and we ourselves too if we are so foolish, are able to indulge at will in these sacrifices to demons, drink the cup of demons, and in fact worship them instead of God. But, if anyone does, he cannot drink the cup of the Lord. If we elect to partake of the table of demons, we cannot partake of the table of the Lord. We have thrown away the substance in favour of a distorted shadow.

On the other hand, there is no such parody of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ involved in the breaking of the bread. The cup represents fellowship in the blood of the sacrifice, but the bread represents fellowship of the body of the Christ, of Himself, not only of His soul, which is what the blood represents (Lev. 17:14).

Here is where confusion may easily arise if we fail to pay -careful attention to the actual wwords used. Heb. 10:10 speaks of the offering of "the body of Jesus Christ" and 1. Peter 2:24 says of Christ: "Who Himself bears our sins in His body on the tree"; and those are all the references to His body outside the Gospels and Paul's Epistles, there is nothing at all like what is found in 1. Corinthians 10-12 or Ephesians. The only passages in the Gospels that touch this theme at all are the references to the Lord's Supper. Matthew is very brief. One verse only, Matt. 26:26, contains all this Gpspel has to say on the theme: "Now at their eating, Jesus, taking the bread and blessing, breaks it, and giving to the disciples said: 'Take, eat, this is My body.'" Mark 14:22 adds nothing to this and omits "eat." For "blessing" Luke 22:19 has "giving thanks" and then the rather different reading" He breaks and gives it to them." He, also, omits "eat," but after "body" he adds "given for your sakes. Be doing this for the reminding of Me." Although Luke approaches more closely to Paul, there is nothing in any of the three accounts in the Gospels that touches in any way the idea of "fellowship of the body of Christ." Of doctrine concerning the Lord's body there is nothing whatever beyond the passages just quoted. What the Apostle Paul teaches is so completely shut out that it must be regarded as belonging to a different world of thought. So we can say as regards Israel that the Lord's body was given for their sakes, as is true for us all. In John 2:21 the Lord Jesus in foretelling His death and resurrection "said it concerning the temple of His body" and in John 19:38, 40; 20:12 are references to what ha.ppened to the body of Jesus after His death; but apart from these neither John, James, Peter nor Jude have a word to say about His body (except 1. Peter 2:24, noted above). So we are compelled to keep the Pauline doctrine of Christ's body completely insulated from all doctrine concerning Israel.

In view of this, we may well wonder whether anyone at all, apart from those who received Paul's Evangel, ever celebrated the Lord's Supper after His Ascension. The breaking of bread is recorded in Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7, 11; but it is very doubtful whether this can mean the Lord's Supper. The people called "Brethren" have always taken for granted that it does; but if they are right in so doing, it is exceedingly difficult to understand why Luke did not explicitly, identify the two expressions in one or other of his two accounts; and why there is no hint of ceremony or reference to the cup and the wine, the Lord's body and blood, His death and coming again, in any of these four verses. Indeed, the last of them almost, if not quite, precludes any idea of the Lord's Supper; for literally it says: "Now ascending and breaking the bread and tasting, besides conversing a considerable time till daybreak, so he came out." In fact, the whole story sounds utterly unlike any of the recorded accountsof the Lord's Supper. So it is arguable, then, that not until after the fulfilment of 1. Thess. 4:13-17 will any believing Israelites break the bread and drink the wine for the reminding of the Lord Jesus till He should be coming.

As to this last, the reader would do well to go over the occurrences of the verb come, erchomai, in the Greek Scriptures with particular reference to the future coming of the Lord Jesus. Outside the Gospels, Acts 1:11, 2:20, 3:19, a few places in Paul's Epistles, Heb. 10:37 and Jude 14 nothing is said about it except in the Revelation or Apocalypse. This last is, above all, the book about the Lord's coming. Even among Christians this subject evokes little interest, and outside their ranks practically none; but when the Apocalyptic prophecies show signs of starting to become history, then the Lord's coming will take its place as the great hope of His earthly people. Until then, His broken body and shed blood will mean little or nothing to them.

To us, members of Christ's body, both are full of poignant meaning, for everything we have depends on them. His coming is not, directly, our hope; for we have our destiny and hopes fixed on being snatched away into His presence many years before He will come back to this earth again. Yet indirectly it is our hope, not only because we long for Him to return and remedy this world's ills, but because the fulfilment of our very own hope is necessary before it will be possible for Him to come again and triumph over His enemies.

When, therefore, we show forth the Lord's death till He should be coming, we are, so to speak, aiming at a closer target for ourselves. We are showing it forth till He should snatch us away into His presence. Then we shall have done our. part in serving our purpose in His, plans so far as this earth is concerned. To change the figure, we shall drop the torch, for others to pick up till the goal of the Lord's long-promised coming is gained. These others will be Israel and those Gentiles who will be called by God's grace to perceive the truth and therefore become proselytes to share Israel's task and sufferings and hopes.

A paper is in preparation studying those passages referring to the "one body" more comprehensively (so far as I am: aware) than any yet undertaken. In the course of this paper, an unexpected problem presented itself: Why is the "one body" associated with "the cup" and "the bread" in 1. Cor. 10:16-17, having regard to the fact that the Lord's Supper is to continue "till He should be coming," that is to say, for a considerable time after we have been snatched away and therefore can no longer partake of the Supper on. this earth?

At first sight, that appears as an exceedingly formidable difficulty. Nevertheless, this is no more than an appearance, for the question points the way to the solution of another problem: Why is this somewhat oblique reference to the Lord's Supper so severed from the detailed setting-out of the Lord's Supper in the next chapter?

The answer is to be found by pondering on the remarkable opening words of 1. Cor. 10:18: "Observe the Israel accord ing to flesh." If the read will refer back at this point to VoL 23, p. 161, he will perceive that there is nothing quite like it anywhere else. Why did not Paul say simply: "Observe Israel?" The reason for the curious form of words is simply that, after we have been snatched away, true Israelites, those who are according to spirit, will have these Greek Scriptures. and be able to learn from them, and they will observe in their turn that Paul is here most carefully distinguishing himself and those to whom he is writing from Israel according to flesh. In short, what he is writing in 1. Cor. 10:14-17 is for those who are members of the one body, and for nobody else, The faithful Israel of those future days will for the Lord's Supper have what is laid down for them in Matthew 26 and Mark 14; they will not require to encroach on what is laid. down $pecifically for us in 1. Corinthians 10 or, for that matter; even on what is written in Luke 22 and 1. Corinthians 11. There is no need for anyone to be "dispensational" about it. All that anyone has to do is to accept whatever aspect of the Supper that is suitable for his own time. The severance of Chapters 10 and 11 is deliberately intended to protect 'all' parties from confusing what is their own with what belongs to others. The Lord's Supper is not only for members of the "one body," it is not only for faithful Israelites during the period after we have been snatched away until He should be coming to them—it is for ALL His people until then.

Part 7
Our very long digression, though necessary, has carried. us far from our starting point, to which we mnst now return. The next phrase requiring examination is dia tou haimatos, through the blood. The first occurrence is in Acts 20:28, in the Apostle Paul's parting speech to the elders of the church at Ephesus: "Take heed to yourselves and to the entire flocklet among which the Holy Spirit appointed you supervisors; to be shepherding the church of God which He procures throngh His own blood" (literally, "through the blood of the own"). God procures His called-out Company through His own blood. The only other certain occnrrence of the verb procure, peripoieomai, is in 1. Tim. 3:13, where the meaning is very clear. Some texts read it in Luke 17:33, but there is strong evidence, too, in favour of save, which Alford suggests has been taken from Luke 9:24. This is, I think, a case where we should keep an open mind; though I confess I am slightly biassed towards procure, as it conveys the meaning not only of saving the soul but also of working to ensure that the soul is to be safeguarded intact. This comes out in Heb. 10:39 with the corresponding noun peripoiEsis, very literally, "but of faith for procuring of soul." The other four occurrences of the noun are very interesting. The first, Eph. 1:13, 14, is literally: "in Whom, believing also, ye are sealed as to the spirit of the promise, the holy, which is earnest of the heirship of us, unto redeeming of procuring unto laud of the glory of Him." Paraphrased, this becomes: "in Whom, when believing also, you were sealed with the Spirit of the Promise, the Holy Spirit, Who is earnest of our inheritance, unto redemption of the acquisition, unto laud of His glory." Next is 1. Thess. 5:9: "seeing that God did not appoint us unto wrath, but unto procuring of salvation through our Lord, Jesus Christ." 2. Thess. 2:14 has, "unto procuring of glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ." Lastly, 1. Peter 2:9 has, "a people for procuring." In these last three "acquisition" reads better than "procuring" also, if we are prepared to sacrifice strict concordance.

The next occurrence of "through the blood" is, literally, "in Whom we are having the deliverance through the blood of Him" (Eph. 1:7). Some texts read the same in Co1. 1:14, but this is possibly an addition taken over from Eph. 1:7, though the form does appear in Co1. 1:20, "making peace through the blood of His cross." Next, Heb. 9:12 speaks of the approach of Christ, the High Priest: "nor yet through blood of goats and cattle, but through His own blood, He entered once for all into the Holies, eonian redemption finding." The last of all is Heb. 13:12: "Wherefore Jesus also, that He should be hallowing the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate."

There is a similar form that occurs once only, in Rev. 12:11: dia to haima, because of the blood. This is a different form, so it must have a different meaning. Here, it answers the question" Why?" whereas the other form, dia followed by a genitive, dia tou haimatos, answers the question "How?" On several occasions Mr. Alexander Thomson has pointed this out. As he says, "These holy ones conquer their accuser themselves, not with the help of the blood and their testimony, but because, long centuries agone, that blood was shed, and because they had testified." No more need be said!

"In the blood" occurs ten times. The first occurrence is in Matt. 23:30 and brings us sharply back to the second paragraph of Part 6 of this series of studies; for here we get another sort of koinOnos, participant, in the words attributed to the Pharisees: "If we were in the days of our fathers we would never be participants with them in the blood of the prophets." It is worth our while to look more closely at koinOnos, for no English word satisfactorily covers every occurrence in the original Greek. In three passages, 2. Cor. 8:23; Philemon 17; 1. Peter 5:1, it is singular and has the sense of partner or mate. We have already considered the occurrences in 1. Cor. 10:18, 20. In 2. Cor. 1:7 are participants with Paul's sufferings. In Heb. 10:33 the notion is a fellow or companion. 2. Peter 1:4 speaks of being participant in divine nature. Throughout, the idea is active participation, fellowship or companionship.

The second occurrence of "in the blood," Luke 22:20, is parallel with the fifth, 1. Cor. 11:25 (literally, in the blood of Me), and has been examined already. The third, Rom. 3:25, is very literally, "through faith in the of Him blood." This gives some emphasis: it is in His blood that our faith must be. The fourth, Rom. 5:9, reads literally, "being made righteous now in the blood of Him." The sixth, Eph. 2:13, reads: "Yet now, in Christ Jesus, you, who once were far off, were become near in the blood of the Christ." Here we can profitably turn to Vol. 23 (1961), pp. 178, 179, to the six occurrences of "in the flesh" in Paul's Epistles and compare them with these occurrences of "in the blood" in Paul's Epistles. Only one occurrence of the six refers to the Christ, Eph. 2:15; and this is in the immediate context of Eph. 2:13 and in complete contrast with it. We were become near in the blood of the Christ. Then Paul says, literally: "For He is the peace of us, the One making the both one, and the middle wall of the barrier loosing-the enmity in the flesh of Him-the law of the precepts in decrees abrogating, that the two He should be creating, in Himself, into one new humanity, making peace, . . .." So, in the flesh of Christ there is only enmity; but in the blood of the Christ there is the Propitiatory or Mercy Seat; there is our being made righteous; there is the cup of the New Covenant; and there is our nearness to God. In the blood of the Christ there is not only the great sweep of our blessings but of Israel's as well; while in His flesh there is nothing but the enmity between the two. This is something far outside and far above what is generally regarded as "dispensational."

Ephesians 2, however, looks exclusively at the side of the matter that is in being during present conditions, yet without denying the general truths connected with the blood of the Christ. The firm base on which Ephesians 2 rests is not the next chapter, as many expositors seem to think. Nothing can ever be founded on its superstructure; and to try to turn the epistle upside down to bring about such a feat is no better than folly. The basis of Ephesians 2 is nothing other than the earlier epistles of Paul, in particular, Romans first and then Galatians. On several occasions, the way Galatians leads up to Ephesians has been pointed out in these pages; and now is a good opportunity to develop the thesis a little further.

Up to Eph. 2:10 the basis of thought, doctrinally, is Romans, but splendidly developed until it becomes a blaze of glory, culminating in the thought of Christ Head over all to the church which is His body (Eph. 1:22, 23). Then Paul starts again from Romans 6 to 8, and developes the theme as it relates to the works demanded of us and their relation to faith and grace, again summing-up and splendidly crowning his earlier teaching (Eph. 2:1-10). Again he starts from what "you" once were (Eph. 2:11—compare 1:13, 15; 2:1, 2) and this time he specifies quite definitely what, in fact, "you" were, namely, "the Gentiles in flesh." Lest there should be any cause for misunderstanding, he explains through two rather long verses precisely what he has in mind When speaking of "the Gentiles in flesh."

This is a somewhat strange expression, and before examining the passage we would do well to consider the other passages where Gentiles and flesh come in proximity. The first is in Rom. 11:11-15. Here the subject is Israel's failure to encounter what she is seeking for (v. 7). In these five verses Paul speaks of Israel as "those of my flesh" and refers to them as "they," "them," or "their" no less than nine times as well, and speaks of the Gentiles four times. Incidentally, it is a sad reflection on the supposed faithfulness of the C.V. to the Original that in this short passage it unnecessarily adds the no less than seven times! That v. 11 is about the tripping and the offence of Israel is clear from the from the grammar, for them at the end of the verse is masculine in Greek, so cannot refer to the Gentiles. Thus we get the truth that Israel's offence is salvation to the Gentiles with a view to provoking Israel to jealousy of the Gentiles. Their offence is world's riches, their discomfiture is Gentiles' riches, Paul is Gentiles' apostle, their casting away is world-conciliation, tbyittaking back will be life from among dead ones and to this end Paul was endeavouring to provoke Israel, "those of my flesh" as he calls them, to jealousy.

The second occurrence of the two words in proximity is 1. Cor. 10:18-20 which we have already examined. The third, Gal. 1:16, will be considered later. The fifth, 1. Tim. 3:16 has little bearing on our present subject and the same applies to the sixth, 1. Peter 4:2, 3. The fourth, Gal. 2:15, 16, is rather remarkable, for here Paul is addressing Peter on equal terms, as both being "Jews by nature and not sinners out of Gentiles," and making the point with considerable emphasis that" out of works of law shall no flesh be made righteous." This passage serves by itself to put out of court finally any idea that" justification," that is, making right or putting right, is something that applies to believers of the Gentiles alone. Righteousness out of faith has held the field without rival ever since Abraham was made righteous in that way.

So we have to think of the Gentiles in flesh in terms of contrast with Israel according to flesh (1. Cor. 10:18), those of Paul's flesh, Jews by nature and not sinners out of Gentiles— and Eph. 2:11, 12 brings us to yet another contrast. The Gentiles in flesh are collectively termed "uncircumcision" by the individual termed "circumcision." Already we have discussed one remarkable expression unique to this passage; and here are two more, for in this place alone are these two words, without any Article, applied to persons. The reader will appreciate the point better after going through all the other occurrences of these words without the Article. Yet it is advisable not to attempt the task with the C.V., for it is highly discordant in this matter, as I pointed out long ago in our Vol. 15, p. 16. The best course is to look at the Greek in each passage listed in Wigram's Concordance and mark those that have "the" and those that omit it.

Even so, the most important point in this parenthesis in the second half of Eph. 2:11 (rightly separated in the C.V. from the rest) is the qualifying expression, "in flesh, hand-makeable." Here, at once, comes to mind another circumcision, not hand-makeable and very different in every respect (Col. 2:11). The force of this idea will be most clearly appreciated if the other five occurrences of cheiropoiEtoshand-makeable (Mark 14:58; Acts 7:48, 17:24; Heb. 9:11, 24) and the three occurrences of acheiropoiEtos—not hand-makeable (Mark 14:58; 2. Cor. 5:1; Col. 2:11), are studied. These two verses, Eph. 2:11, 12, are most definitely concerned with what is "in flesh." In vv. 3 and 11 flesh occurs four times in all and makes a most striking foil to the love and grace set out in vv. 4-10, just as this love and grace is a foil to the once lowly estate of the Gentiles in flesh set out in vv. 1, 2, 11, 12.

That lowly estate of the Gentiles in flesh has passed away, not because what is in flesh is in any better a position now than it was, but because of what has occurred in Christ Jesus. The enmity in Christ's flesh has been razed down. We are become near by the blood of Christ. And what is the aim of this? The creation of one new humanity (Eph. 2:15). This brings our thoughts back to v. 10. The argument pro ceeds in a beautifully logical sequence. The previous walk in offences and sins (vv. 2, 3), exaltation, not of works yet creation in Christ Jesus for good works (4-10), the former lowly estate in flesh (11, 12), creation of one new humanity in one body (13-18), God's family a holy temple with no longer any inferiority, and lastly the glorious Secret all these things. have made possible (3:6-12).

Now this does not exist suspended on a void, as it were, it is firmly based on the twin pillars of 2. Cor. 5:12-21 and Gal. 6:6-15. New creation is in each contrasted with what is according to flesh. Read consecutively, the three passages brilliantly illuminate one another, particularly if the reader goes on to Phil. 3:1-16; Col. 2:8-3:17. If those five are studied together there is little need to write more about Ephesians 2.

Yet there remains one matter that calls for our earnest consideration. The first two of these five passages are separated from the other three in a most determined way by the exponents of extreme "dispensational" theories. Anyone who reads through all five, as suggested above, will hardly need to be told how artificial such a separation is or how much is lost by trying to carry it out. The trouble with the so called "rightly dividing" or "correctly cutting" the Greek Scriptures on the lines of the various supposed "dispensations" is that in carrying out the operation it is so extremely difficult to avoid artificiality. The division just instanced is an outstanding example. Anyone who approaches the matter without prejudice can perceive without any doubt whatever that the five passages are interconnected and are not in any way at all incompatible with one another but, on the contrary, in entire unity of thought. Yet for these cutters that will not do at all! The so-called "Acts 28:28 frontier" demands their complete severance, so completely severed they must be, and that is that! Distinctions certainly do exist in the Greek Scriptures, but they are distinctions as God has decided, not as the fabricators of systems desire them to be. And there are two sorts of distinction that really matter: whether an individual is, or is not, of faith; whether an individual is, or is not, under covenant. The latter distinction is seen at times under another form: whether or not the individual's standing is according to flesh. And this is basically the form under consideration in the five passages.

Here I would urge all who can to refer back to our Vol. 15, this time to pp. 55-64; for what was written there is very much to the point in this study. The question which has absolute priority is whether the individual is, or is not, of faith, whether he does, or does not, believe God as faithful Abraham did. Until Abraham believed God, what he thought, said or did had no significance at all except for those people immediately associated with him. When Abraham believed God his faith was reckoned for righteousness (Rom. 4:9) and at once he became a person of cosmic significance. Immediately after telling of Abraham's faith, Paul asks a curious question: "How, then, is it reckoned: being in circumcision or in uncircumcision?" (v. 10). The answer he gives is the latter, and he makes the point all the more emphatic by speaking of "the faith, in uncircumcision, of our father Abraham" (v. 12). The deduction from this is obvious, yet few believe it and perhaps ever fewer want to believe it: faith that is reckoned for righteousness is possible only for those who are without, or make no claim to, covenant standing.

This must sound startling in the extreme, yet it is the plain teaching of Romans 1 to 4. The faith which to Abraham was reckoned for righteousness was faith absolutely independent of any other consideration. It existed before any question of any covenant such as Abraham's could arise. Only those who recognize that they possess no rights and privileges of their own can possess the faith and all the proceeds from it; and only such can go on (and then only if called by God to do so) to receive the sign and seal which shows that they are in covenant with God. That is the order of priority. The sign and seal are meaningless apart from the faith which alone can make them valid. And this sign and seal follow the faith only in the special circumstances permitted and defined by God—covenant. These circumstances exist for no more than a limited section of those who are of faith; the rest, ourselves, believe independently of the sign and seal; and the divinely appointed destiny for them is to go forward into blessings altogether independent of covenant blessings.

Here is where the five passages we are examining come into view. Once the faith exists independently of covenant, all issues connected in any way with covenant dwindle into insignificance. That is what the Apostle Paul is saying in 1. Cor. 7:18. In 2. Cor. 5:12-21 he goes much further. For covenant is something inseparably linked to what is of flesh, its sign and seal are in flesh; so when what is of flesh becomes obsolete, as it is now, knowing Christ according to flesh becomes obsolete as well. Gal. 6:15 takes the point still further, and the Prison Epistles to the ultimate conclusion. For us, all that is according to flesh is dead and buried. Instead, we have the spiritual reality, including, too, all the spiritual reality implied in covenant and its sign.

Under present conditions covenant and its sign are entirely out of the question. Why is this? Romans 2 and 3 supplies the answer, complete and convincing to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear. The only way of faith is the way Abraham believed—in uncircumcision. Moreover, that is true for all. "There is no distinction, for all sinned and are wanting of the glory of God." It is true for Jews, it is true for Gentiles. That is why what Paul is saying in 1. Cor. 7:18, etc., is true at the present time; and that is why now, once we have believed, what is according to flesh matters not at all.

Let us not, however, suppose that present conditions are permanent. After Abraham believed, God chose to make a covenant with him and to give him the sign and seal of covenant. After we all have believed, after the church which is Christ's body is united with its Head, God has promised that He will carry out His pronise to conclude His New Covenant with the houses of Israel and Judah. When that takes place, the passages we have quoted will no longer be true without qualification. They are, in fact, true only within the context of Paul's Evangel, which explicitly repudiates any standing according to flesh while it is in force; for the very name of the evangel which is to take its place, the Evangel of the circumcision, implies standing according to flesh. Yet there is no real contradiction in the Evangel itself, but only in the context within which it is operating; for when God concludes the New Covenant, what is according to flesh will be according to spirit as well. Because covenant has failed apart from faith, we must not deduce that covenant would fail when it resulted from faith. So far as Abraham himself was concerned, God's covenant with him did not fail, even though its complete success still lies in the future; for his own faithfulness could not guarantee that his covenant would not fail with His physical seed if they lacked his faith. The Old Covenant failed because Israel thought to base faith on it; and never attained to the faith that could have resulted in their keeping the covenant. This, indeed, is another way of stating the theme of Romans 10. Moreover, a permanent conflict between, or even incompatibility of, flesh and spirit would stultify God's purpose in creating both. Their present conflict is due simply to the special character of this present era.

Long ago, one of the "Plymouth Brethren," writing of the grace and the truth that came through Jesus Christ, said of it that "In the New Covenant you get the perfect setting forth of it in righteous power." That was a fine flash of insight! At pres~nt grace reigns, but truth does not. Grace reigns in holding off wrath. Presently grace will cease to reign and righteous judgment take its throne. When judgment has done its terrible work, the grace and the truth that came with Jesus Christ will reign in righteous power; but it will be in righteous power, and no longer a matter of pure grace so transcendent that men will not reckon men's offences to them. Such grace is, at present, the only alternative to un leashed wrath. In the days of the New Covenant God will be in unquestionable control; His grace and His truth will prevail and will brook no challenge from any source.

Commonly it is held that grace will vanish from the earth when the period of judgment is about to start; but no one seems to think it necessary to offer any proof from Scripture. Apparently the argument is that grace and judgment in wrath are incompatible. Yet, surely, it is fair to retort by asking how the 144,000 and the great multitude of Revelation 7 will come into being if God's grace is altogether withdrawn? However, the real point for our present discuss ion is another question: In the absence of grace how can the promised conclusion of the New Covenant come about? I cannot even imagine how those who believe that with our selves grace will be withdrawn can find an answer to the question—but that is their problem, not mine.

The foregoing discussion has apparently led us some distance from the subject that started it, the enmity in the flesh of Christ; but this appearance is a delusion because the subject cannot be examined apart from covenant, for by its very nature it involves covenant. This is because the separation of a particular covenant people necessitates a distinction between them and those outside the covenant, and the Old Covenant was marked by a distinction in flesh. The flesh being what it is, there could be no escape from enmity, both in those who had the distinction against those who had it not and in the latter against those specially favoured by God; and in the flesh of Christ this enmity reached its climax and crisis.

To resume: the seventh occurrence of the expression in the blood is in Heb. 10:19, which we will discuss presently. The eighth, Rev. 1:5, reads very literally: "To Him Who is loving us and looses us out ot the sins of us in the blood of Him. . . ." There is good textual evidence for "washes us from" instead of "looses us out of"; and in the present state of our knowledge it would be rash to attempt to decide between them. The ninth, Rev. 5:9, is very literally: "Seeing that Thou wast slain and dost buy us for God in the blood of Thine." The tenth, Rev. 7:14, is: "And they rinse their robes and they whiten them in the blood of the Lambkin." These three are in keeping with the highly figurative nature of this vision.

Heb. 10:19,20 should be considered with Eph. 2:13-15, on account not only of the striking contrast between them but of the light they shed on one another. It reads: "Having then, brethren, boldness for the entrance of the holy places in the blood of Jesus, by a recently slain and living way which He dedicates for us, through the curtain, that is, His flesh; and (having) a great Priest over the house of God. . . ."

The name "Jesus" occurs nine times in Hebrews, more often than in any other epistle, and it is worth while to pause and examine them. In the first, Heb. 2:9, we see the subjection of Jesus with a view to the glory to which it will lead. The second, 3:1, shows Jesus as worthy of more glory than Moses. The third, 4:14, shows Jesus, Son of God, as great Chief Priest. The fourth, 6:20, shows Him as the Forerunner, becoming Chief Priest after the order of Me1chisedek. In the fifth 7:22, He is Sponsor of a better covenant. The sixth is the passage we are considering. The seventh, 12:2, shows Him as Inaugurator and Maturer of the faith. The eighth, 12:24, shows Him as Mediator of a fresh covenant and the ninth, 13:12, shows Him hallowing the people through His own blood. So six of these are devoted to the glorious titles which Jesus, Who served and suffered, has won, two refer to His blood and one, the first, touches some of the glories revealed in Paul's Epistles. All this explains why" the blood" in Heb. 10:19 is "of Jesus" and in Eph. 2:13 "of Christ"; for the emphasis in Hebrews is continually on His former lowliness, His exaltation and His future triumph and on the fact that He is determined that His own people Israel are eventually to share His exaltation and triumph.

Eph. 2:14, 15 speaks of "the central wall of the barrier" which is defined, literally, as "the enmity in the flesh of Him." On the other hand, Heb. 10:20 defines the curtain as "of the flesh of Him." This word, katapetasma, curtian, occurs six times. The first three describe the curtain of the Temple being rent when the Lord Jesus died (Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). The other three are here and in Heb. 6:19; 9:3. The former of these two last tells us that "the Forerunner, Jesus" entered into the interior beyond the curtain for our sakes "becoming Chief Priest according to the order of Me1chisedek." This, we must bear in mind, is addressed to Hebrews, not ourselves. The latter is a description of the Tabernacle. But "the enmity in the flesh of Him" is something else: not the curtain, but a partition to keep out all who lacked the right of entry. Yet putting these ideas in juxtaposition enables us to go a step further. If the curtain represents His flesh, we can deduce that, in some sense at any rate, the partition is the enmity induced by the curtain, enmity which is in and of the flesh. The blood of Christ has" under present conditions, nullified what is of the flesh and, with it, the enmity in His flesh. For the present, what is of the flesh no longer matters any more.

This in turn means that, in Christ Jesus, the barriers made by what is of the flesh no longer have any effective existence. The Jew may think he still has superiority accord ing to flesh, but that is now a delusion. The name Israel is a badge of distinction according to flesh; so as, in Christ Jesus, such distinction no longer exists, no effective existence for Israel remains any longer. That is why, after Romans, Paul has so little to say about Israel and nothing at all to say of Israel as an entity in active existence now except only in 1. Cor. 10:18, where he bids his readers to "observe Israel according to flesh." In Romans 9 to 11 it is a different matter, for here Paul is taking into account the whole broad sweep of God's plans for Israel, with a view to the enlightenment of those to whom he is writing; but, even so, he says nothing to indicate that he regards Israel as an effective force in God's plans for the present time. Indeed, the same may be said of Hebrews, which alone of the remaining epistles names Israel (Heb. 8: 8, 10; 11:22).

Consequently, Paul names Israel in describing what the Gentiles once were; but when describing what they now are (Eph.2:13-22) he has nothing to say about Israel and mentions the name only once in the Prison Epistles (Phil. 3:5). What he does say is that, in Christ Jesus, Christ "makes both one. . . . that He should be creating the two, in Himself, into one new humanity, making peace, and should be reconciling the both in one body to God, through the cross, killing the enmity in it. And coming He evangelizes peace to you, those afar, and peace to those near; seeing that, through Him, we both have had the access in one spirit toward the Father." This does not say that Gentiles have become Israelites. What it says is perfectly plain: that in Christ Jesus the distinction has vanished. It has become utterly irrelevant. Israel has broken the Law, rejected and crucified the Messiah; so their circumcision has become un circumcision (Rom. 2:25) and therefore so far as righteousness is concerned, no distinction remains between them and the Gentiles. Israel, as Israel the people of the covenant, had come to a dead end. To receive Paul's Evangel they had to come to it on just the same footing as Gentiles, so that as far as the Evangel is concerned they had become Gentiles. That is why, reconciled in one body, all fleshly distinctions vanish. That is why, being created into one new humanity, all grounds for enmity vanish.

All this being established, Paul takes stock, as it were, before the next development of his theme in Ephesians 3, and relates the standing reached by the Ephesians and ourselves to that of other saints, those of Israel in the past, those of Israel in days to come under the New Covenant, and Gentiles in days far future. We are fellow-citizens of the saints and members of God's family.

There remains one passage, Heb. 13:20, 21. Here we have in blood without any the "the great Shepherd of the sheep in eonian-covenant blood." Apart from the accounts of the Lord's Supper, haima, blood, and diathEkE, covenant occur in proximity only in Hebrews, five times in all, of which this passage is one, the others being Heb. 9:13-17, 20; 10:29; 12:24. The word blood occurs 21 times in Hebrews to 19 in the other epistles and 19 in Revelation. This is not surprising as it is the epistle of sacrifice, thusia too, for the word occurs more often in it than in the whole of the rest of the Greek Scriptures.

The expression flesh and blood occurs in three places in the Greek Scriptures and blood and flesh in two. Of the former, the first is Matt. 16:17, in the reply of the Lord Jesus to Simon Peter's confession that He is the Christ. The second, 1. Cor. 15:15, asserts that "flesh and blood cannot inherit God's kingdom." In the third Paul speaks of his call to evangelize God's Son among the Gentiles (Gal. 1:16). The expression blood and flesh occurs in Eph. 6:12: "Not for us is the wrestling with blood and flesh." The other is Heb. 2:14: "Since, then, the little children have participated in blood and flesh, He also was very nigh in partaking of the same, that, through the death, He should be abolishing him who has the control of the death, that is, the Slanderer." Note here that "the death" refers back to v. 9.

So far, I am unable to suggest any convincing explanation of this difference of order, except perhaps that in the latter two it is the things of the soul that are chiefly in view, whereas in the three what is purely physical is largely the relevant consideration. Taking the whole five together, however, it would appear that the intention in each is to underline the contrast between what is purely of humanity and what is, in the first three and fifth, of God and, in the fourth, of the great spiritual powers among the celestials. In Gal. 1:16 this is not explicitly stated, but it is implied, for there could be no useful purpose in sojourning in the wilderness of Arabia except to gain personal communion with God for the purpose of spiritual preparation for the great commission He had called Paul to undertake. In the modem world there is far less opportunity for such withdrawal, yet something like its, equivalent is possible if the desire for it is sufficiently intense; and as for its desirability there surely can be no doubt. If Paul had to do it, lesser saints need it even more.

As I have finished for the present all I have to say about the subject of this series of papers, I would like to supplement the practical note by a personal one. Years ago, at a Moral Re-armament house-party, I was asked why I was doing no active work for God. I replied that, like Paul in Arabia, I was waiting quietly in preparation for orders for such work. At once I was informed that this was all wrong. I should rush into the fray, and by that alone could I expect to succeed. I replied that I was a professional soldier accustomed to receive and obey orders from above, and that until I received such orders my deliberate intention was to go on quietly cultivating my garden. "Yes," was the reply, "and while you are cultivating your own little garden the world is perishing around you!" This stung me to the retort, "If everyone were willing to cultivate his own little garden the world around would not be perishing!"

In old age, I am convinced that this is true. In due time my orders came, and because I had been content to wait for them I was ready to obey them. This has not proved easy, for the first task was to knock a popular idol off its pedestal; and the iconoclast can expect nothing but scorn and hatred from the worshippers of the idol. Yet it was well worth while, for in the site not cleared of rubbish it has been possible to do something towards rebuilding the temple of truth.

With a few exceptions we are all far too restless, we seem to have lost the will and the ability to leave the control of our lives to God; and, above all, we dread to follow Paul's example and await God's orders in the wilderness. Yet that is what the Lord Himself did, so it can hardly be wrong for us.

The End
R.B.W. Last updated 4.11.2005