Featured Items Ritchie Christian Media

January 2005

From the editor: Bitterness
J Grant

The Lord’s Coming and Future Events (4)
Albert Leckie

Jacob’s Gift to the Ruler of all Egypt (1)
T Ratcliffe

Book Review

Words from the Cross (1)
C Jones

Ahithophel - Traitor or Man of Integrity?
C Cann

Question Box

Follow Me (3)
M Wilkie

Notebook: The Kings of Judah - Uzziah
J Grant

Whose faith follow: John T Dickson (1881-1968)
J G Hutchinson

The First Epistle of John (9)
S Whitmore

The Risen Lord
W Alexander

Into All The World: Portstewart Drive-in Gospel Outreach
S Moore

With Christ

The Lord’s Work & Workers

Notices

Question Box

Can you explain why some Scriptures from the Old Testament are changed when they are quoted in the New Testament; for example Psalm 40.6 and Hebrews 10.5 where "a body hast thou prepared me" is not in the Psalm?

In Hebrews 10.5 the words are taken from the Septuagint version of the Old Testament – a Greek translation. This is used in the epistle to the Hebrews. The Hebrew version and the Septuagint version do not always agree. The citation in Hebrews 10.5 is a paraphrase of the Hebrew and does not alter the sense of the Psalm. The Greek translators may have regarded the words "Mine ears" of Psalm 40.6 as a part put for the whole. The ears are the symbol of the obedience of Christ in receiving the will of God. The body was the vehicle in which His will was accomplished. The context teaches that there is only one sacrifice which answered to the will of God and which dealt with sin effectively as Old Testament animal sacrifices could not. This sacrifice is the once for all sacrifice of Christ. To confirm this the Hebrew writer cites from Psalm 40.6, which give the words of the Incarnate Christ as He came into the world.

The New Testament citations of the Old Testament are always significant. Sometimes words are omitted in the quotation (see the word "mountain" left out in Rom 10.15 in the citation from Is 52.7). Sometimes a verse is given an application that may not appear to relate specifically to the matter being dealt with in the context of the citation. Who would have thought of using what clearly refers to the nation of Israel, "I…called my son out of Egypt" (Hosea 11.1), to refer to the Lord Jesus? Yet this is applied to Christ in Matthew 2.15. Sometimes a verse is used to indicate a partial fulfilment of a prophecy (see Acts 2.16 & 17). Sometimes too, as the questioner says, a writer in the New Testament may make a change in the quotation. The usage and application of the Old Testament in the New Testament is a very rewarding study. It should be understood that the Holy Spirit who inspired the writers of the New Testament has the prerogative to use Old Testament passages in a way we may never have thought possible or applicable. This is the wonder of the inspired Word of God.

John J Stubbs

What happened to the body of Elijah after he was taken up into heaven (2 Kings 2.11)?

Death involves the separation of the spirit and soul from the body; the Scriptural pattern is that after a believer has died his body is laid in the grave.

However, Elijah did not die; the record in 2 Kings 2.11 clearly states that "Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven". There had been a time in his experience when Elijah fled from that wicked woman, Jezebel, and, depressed and despondent, "sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life" (1 Kings 19.4). But God Himself had decreed that His courageous, yet failing, servant would not die, as he longed to, in the solitude and obscurity of a wilderness, leaving this world as a broken disappointed man under a cloud of depression. The Lord’s chariot was ready to accompany him as he was borne up to heaven in the whirlwind.

More than three thousand years had passed since the following sentence had been pronounced against Adam and in him the human race: "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen 3.19), and thus far Enoch had been the only person who had been exempted from this: "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" (Gen 5.24); indeed "Enoch was translated that he should not see death" (Heb 11.5). Elijah was now to join Enoch as the only other Old Testament character to be taken directly to heaven, spirit, soul and body, without dying. Indeed Elijah departed as swiftly as he had appeared on the scene (1 Kings 17.1).

It is good to remind ourselves of the words of the Lord Jesus, "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (Jn 11.26), an intimation of the fact that "we which are alive and remain (i.e. unto the coming of the Lord) shall be caught up…in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1Thess 4.17). Surely we can join with the hymn-writer and say "The sky, not the grave, is our goal!".

David E West

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