Before turning to the
positive side of our present subject, it was necessary for us to expose
and denounce that teaching which insists that much in the Bible has no
immediate application unto us today. Such teaching is a reckless and
irreverent handling of the Word, which has produced the most evil
consequences in the hearts and lives of many--not the least of which is
the promotion of a pharisaical spirit of self-superiority. Consciously
or unconsciously, Dispensationalists are, in reality, repeating the sin
of Jehoiakim, who mutilated God's Word with his penknife (Jer. 36:23).
Instead of "opening the Scriptures," they are bent in closing the major
part of them from God's people today. They are just as much engaged in
doing the devil's work as are the Higher Critics, who, with their
dissecting knives, are wrongly "dividing the word of truth." They
are seeking to force a stone down the throats of those who are asking
for bread. These are indeed severe and solemn indictments, but not more
so than the case calls for. We are well aware that they will be
unacceptable unto some of our own readers; but medicine, though
sometimes necessary, is rarely palatable.
Instead of being engaged in
the unholy work of pitting one part of the Scriptures against another,
these men would be far better employed in showing the perfect unity of
the Bible and the blessed harmony which there is between all of its
teachings. But instead of demonstrating the concord of the two
Testaments, they are more concerned in their efforts to show the discord
which they say there is between that which pertained unto "the
Dispensation of Law" and that which obtains under "the Dispensation of
Grace," and in order to accomplish their evil design all sound
principles of exegesis are cast to the wind. As a sample of what we have
reference to, they cite "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand,
foot for foot" (Exodus 21:24) and then quote against it, "But I
say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on
thy right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matt. 5:39), and then
it is exultantly asserted that those two passages can only be
"reconciled" by allocating them to different peoples in different ages;
and with such superficial handling of Holy Writ thousands of gullible
souls are deceived, and thousands more allow themselves to be
If those who possess a
Scofield Bible turn to Exodus 21:24, they will see that in the
margin opposite to it the editor refers his readers to Leviticus 24:20;
Deuteronomy 19:21, and cf. Matthew 5:38-44; 1 Peter 2:19-21; upon which
this brief comment is made: "The provision in Exodus is law and
righteous; the New Testament passages, grace and merciful." How far Mr.
Scofield was consistent with himself may be seen by a reference to what
he states on page 989, at the beginning of the New Testament under the
Four Gospels, where he expressly affirms "The sermon on the mount is
law, not grace" [italics ours]: verily "the legs of the lame are
not equal." In his marginal note to Exodus 21:24, Mr. Scofield cites
Matthew 5:38-44, as "grace," whereas in his Introduction to the Four
Gospels he declares that Matthew 5-7 "is law, and not grace." Which of
those assertions did he wish his readers to believe?
Still the question may be
asked, How are you going to reconcile Exodus 21:24, with Matthew
5:38-44? Our answer is, There is nothing between them to "reconcile,"
for there is nothing in them which clashes. The former passage is one of
the statutes appointed for public magistrates to enforce, whereas
the latter one lays down rules for private individuals to live
by! Why do not these self-styled "rightly dividers" properly allocate
the Scriptures, distinguishing between the different classes to which
they are addressed? That Exodus 21:24, does contain statutes for public
magistrates to enforce is clearly established by comparing Scripture
with Scripture. In Deuteronomy 19:21, the same injunction is again
recorded, and if the reader turns back to verse 18 he will there read,
"And the judges shall make diligent inquisition," etc. It would
be real mercy unto the community if our judges today would set aside
their sickly sentimentality and deal with conscienceless and brutal
criminals in a manner which befits their deeds of violence--instead of
making a mockery of justice.
Ere leaving what has been
before us in the last three paragraphs, let it be pointed out that when
our blessed Lord added to Matthew 5:38, "But I say unto you, Love
your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you"
(verse 44) He was not advancing a more benign precept than had ever been
enunciated previously. No, the same gracious principle of conduct had
been enforced in the Old Testament. In Exodus 23:4, 5, Jehovah gave
commandment through Moses, "If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass
going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see
the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest
forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him." Again in
Proverbs 25:21, we read, "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to
eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink."
The same God who bids us,
"Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight
of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably
with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give
place unto wrath" (Romans 12:17-19), also commanded His people in
the Old Testament, "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge
against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself: I am the Lord" (Lev. 19:18); and therefore was David
grateful to Abigail for dissuading him from taking vengeance on Nabal:
"Blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed
blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand" (1 Samuel
25:33). So far was the Old Testament from allowing any spirit of
bitterness, malice or revenge that it expressly declared, "Say not
thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and He shall save
thee" (Prov. 20:22). And again, "Rejoice not when thine enemy
falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth"(Prov.
24:17). And again, "Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to
me: I will render to the man according to his work" (Prov. 24:29).
One more sample of the
excuseless ignorance betrayed by these Dispensationalists--we quote from
E. W. Bullinger's How to enjoy the bible. On pages 108 and 110 he
said under "Law and Grace": "For those who lived under the Law it could
rightly and truly be said, It shall be our righteousness, if we
observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He hath
commanded us (Deut. 6:25). But to those who live in this present
Dispensation of Grace it is as truly declared, By the deeds of the
law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight (Romans 3:20).
But this is the very opposite of Deuteronomy 6:25. What, then, are we to
say, or to do? Which of these two statements is true and which is false?
The answer is that neither is false. But both are true if we would
rightly divide the Word of Truth as to its dispensational truth and
teaching.... Two words distinguish the two dispensations: 'Do'
distinguished the former; 'Done' the latter. Then salvation depended
upon what man was to do, now it depends upon what Christ has done." It
is by such statements as these that "unstable souls" are
Is it not amazing that one
so renowned for his erudition and knowledge of the Scriptures should
make such manifestly absurd statements as the above? In pitting
Deuteronomy 6:25, against Romans 3:20, he might as well have argued that
fire is "the very opposite" of water. They are indeed contrary elements,
yet each has its own use in its proper place: the one to cook by, the
other for refreshment. Think of one who set up himself as a teacher of
preachers affirming that under the Mosaic economy "salvation depended on
what man was to do." Why, in that case, for fifteen hundred years not a
single Israelite had been saved. Had salvation then been obtainable by
human efforts, there had been no need for God to send His Son here!
Salvation has never been procurable by human merits, on the ground of
human performance. Abel obtained witness that he was righteous, because
he offered to God a slain lamb (Gen. 4:4; Heb. 11:4). Abraham was
justified by faith, and not by works (Romans 4). Under the Mosaic
economy it was expressly announced that "it is the blood that maketh
an atonement for the soul" (Lev. 17: 11). David realized, "If
Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, 0 Lord, who shall stand?"
(Psalm 130:3); and therefore did he confess, "I will make mention of
Thy righteousness, even of Thine only"(Psalm 71:16).
By all means let the Word of
Truth be "rightly divided"; not by parcelling it off to different
"dispensations," but by distinguishing between what is doctrinal and
what is practical, between that which pertains to the unsaved and that
which is predicated of the saved. Deuteronomy 6:25, is addressed not to
alien sinners, but to those who are in covenant relationship with the
Lord; whereas Romans 3:20, is a statement which applies to every member
of the human race. The one has to do with practical "righteousness" in
the daily walk, which is acceptable to God; the other is a doctrinal
declaration which asserts the impossibility of acceptance with God on
the ground of creature doings. The former relates to our conduct in this
life in connection with the Divine government; the latter concerns our
eternal standing before the Divine throne. Both passages are equally
applicable to Jews and Gentiles in all ages. "Our righteousness" in
Deuteronomy 6:25, is a practical righteousness in the sight of God. It
is the same aspect of righteousness as in "except your righteousness
exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees" of Matthew
5:20, the "righteous man" of James 5:16, and the "doeth righteousness"
of I John 2:29.
The Old Testament saints
were the subjects of the same everlasting covenant, had the same blessed
Gospel, were begotten unto the same celestial heritage as the New
Testament saints. From Abel onwards, God has dealt with sinners in
sovereign grace, and according to the merits of Christ's redemptive
work--which was retroactive in its value and efficacy (Romans 3:25; l
Peter l:19,20). "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Gen.
6:8). That they were partakers of the same covenant blessings as we are
is clear from a comparison of 2 Samuel 23:5, and Hebrews 13:20. The same
Gospel was preached unto Abraham (Gal. 3:8), yea, unto the nation of
Israel after they had received the Law (Heb. 4:2), and therefore Abraham
rejoiced to see Christ's day and was glad (John 8:56). Dying Jacob
declared, "I have waited for Thy salvation, 0 Lord" (Gen. 49:18).
As Hebrews 11:16, states, the patriarchs desired "a better country [than
the land of Canaan, in which they dwelt], that is, an heavenly." Moses
"refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter ... esteeming the
reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt" (Heb.
11:24-26). Job exclaimed, "I know that my Redeemer liveth . in my
flesh shall I see God" (19:25, 26).
When Jehovah proclaimed His
name unto Moses, He revealed Himself as "the Lord, the Lord God,
merciful and gracious" (Exodus 34:5-7). When Aaron pronounced the
benediction on the congregation, he was bidden to say, "The Lord
bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make His face shine upon thee, and
be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up the light of His countenance
upon thee, and give thee peace" (Num. 6:24-26). No greater and
grander blessings can be invoked today. Such a passage as that cannot
possibly be harmonized with the constricted concept which is entertained
and is being propagated by the Dispensationalists of the Mosaic economy.
God dealt in grace with Israel all through their long and chequered
history. Read through the book of Judges and observe how often He raised
up deliverers for them. Pass on to Kings and Chronicles and note His
longsuffering benignity in sending them prophet after prophet. Where in
the New Testament is there a word which, for pure grace, exceeds
"though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow"
(Isaiah 1: 18)? In the days of Jehoahaz "the Lord was gracious unto
them" (2 Kings 13:22-23). They were invited to say unto the Lord,
"Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously" (Hosea 14:2).
Malachi bade Israel "beseech God that He will be gracious unto us"
The conception which the
pious remnant of Israel had of the Divine character during the Mosaic
economy was radically different from the stern and forbidding
presentation made thereof by Dispensationalists. Hear the Psalmist as he
declared, "Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is
merciful" (16:5). Hear him again, as he bursts forth into adoring
praise, "Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases ... He
hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our
Can Christians say more than
that? No wonder David exclaimed, "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and
there is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee. My flesh and my
heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for
ever" (73:25, 26). If the question be asked, What, then, is the
great distinction between the Mosaic and Christian eras? the answer is,
God's grace was then confined to one nation, but now it flows out to all
What is true in the general
holds good in the particular. Not only were God's dealings with His
people during Old Testament times substantially the same as those with
His people now, but in detail too. There is no discord, but perfect
accord and concord between them. Note carefully the following
parallelisms. "His inheritance in the saints" (Eph. 1: 18):
"The Lord's portion is His people, Jacob is the lot of His inheritance"
(Deut. 32:9). <I<"BELOVED I salvation?< to you chosen beginning the from
hath God because Lord, of>(2 Thess. 2:13): "I have loved thee with an
everlasting love" (Jer. 31:3). "In whom we have redemption"
(Eph. 1:7): "With Him is plenteous redemption" (Psalm 130:7).
"That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor.
5:21): "In the Lord have I righteousness and strength" (Isaiah
45:24). "Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings...in
Christ" (Eph. 1:3): "Men shall be blessed in Him" (Psalm
72:17). "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin"
(1 John 1:7): "Thou art all fair, My love, there is no spot in thee"
"Strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man" (Eph.
3:16): "In the day when I cried Thou answeredst me, and
strengthenedst me with strength in my soul" (Psalm 138:3). "The
Spirit of truth... will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13):
"Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them" (Neh. 9:20).
"I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing"
(Romans 7:18): "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags"
(Isaiah 64:4). "I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims" (1 Peter
2:11): "Ye are strangers and sojourners" (Lev. 25:23). "We
walk by faith" (2 Cor. 5:7): "The just shall live by his faith"
(Hab. 2:4). "Strong in the Lord" (Eph. 6:10): "I will
strengthen them in the Lord" (Zech. 10: 12). "Neither shall any
pluck them out of My hand" (John 10:28): "All His saints are in
Thy hand" (Deut. 33:3). "He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the
same bringeth forth much fruit" (John 15:5): "From Me is thy
fruit found" (Hosea 14:8). "He which hath begun a good work in
you will finish it" (Phil. 1:6, margin): "The Lord will perfect
that which concerneth me" (Psalm 138:8). Innumerable other such
harmonies might be added.