Faith in the Last Days - J. Thomas
8 - REPRESENTATIVE THINGS

THE acquisition of knowledge by mere verbal signs is tedious' and generally difficult. All kinds of teachers, from the teachers of babes to the dignified professors of the highest branches of philosophy and science, are so convinced of this, that where the case admits of it they endeavour to exemplify by representations addressed to the senses of their disciples. Thus the teacher of a child is not content with telling his pupil that H O U S E stands for house , but he demonstrates it by presenting him with the representation or picture of a house. This impresses the idea on the child's mind indelibly, so that whenever he sees the word house this representative word is immediately succeeded in his mind by the idea or image of the thing itself. The professor of mathematics points to his representative diagrams; the chemist to his experiments; and so forth, all of them for the common purpose of making more intelligible the precepts they inculcate.

Knowledge of all things gains access to the human mind by all the senses -- by seeing, by hearing, by tasting, smelling and feeling. If only one sense be engaged in the acquisition of it, it is not likely to be so quickly and comprehensively acquired as when two or more senses are employed. The prophets of Israel were sometimes made to see, hear, taste, smell, and feel in relation to one and the same subject before they were permitted to make known, or deliver their message to the rulers and people of the nation. This gave them a full assurance of knowledge which could not be made more certain, seeing that there remained no other avenue to their minds, no sixth sense to receive additional impressions.

It is manifest from the divine oracles that God teaches men as they teach one another, not by precept only, but by example, type, or representation also. This is apparent from the many visions seen by the prophets, who in describing what they saw delineate and paint it, as it were, on the minds of those that read their descriptions ; so that in this way the visions are transferred from their minds to them. Vision, however, is not the only representative mode of instruction exhibited in the sacred scriptures. The events of Israel's history, the leading men who figured in their several generations, the temple furniture, national festivals, and other institutions of their law are all representative things, that is, things' something God has declared shall be. The proof of this is contained in the following passages : thus it is written in 1 Cor. 10:6: "These things were our examples ( typoi , types) to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted". The things here referred, to were the overthrowings of the Israelites in the wilderness: because of the displeasure of God at the faithlessness and obduracy of their hearts, although He brought them safely through the tempestuous sea, fed them with "angels' food", (Ps. 78:25) and slaked their raging thirst with water from the flinty rock. The food, the drink, and the rock were styled "spiritual meat"; "spiritual drink", and the "spiritual rock", (1 Cor. 10:3,4) the spirituality of which they did not perceive. The word spiritual in this place is pneumatikon in the original text, and evidently means figuratively, typically, or representatively; for, says the apostle, "that Rock was", or represented, "the Christ" from whom rivers of living waters were to flow. The Rock in Horeb was indeed a beautiful and expressive emblem of the Lord Christ; for when Moses smote it Jehovah's [Yahweh's] representative stood upon the top of it, thereby connecting the Lord and the Rock as the sign and the thing signified. From the seventh to the tenth verses of this chapter the apostle cites various instances of the perverseness of Israel in the wilderness notwithstanding the goodness of God to them, and finishes his citations by declaring that "all these things happened unto them for ensamples", or types; "and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world", or ages of the Law, "are come".(1 Cor. 10:11) The deduction from which is that the gospel was preached to the generation of Israel that came out of Egypt, as well as to the generation contemporary with the apostles; but that it did not profit them because, although baptized unto Moses, they did not continue in the faith but turned back in their hearts to Egypt; so also the belief of the same gospel would be unprofitable to those who are baptized unto Christ, if they continue not in the faith, but commit sin even as they.

But these representative things, or "ensamples", do not find their full and complete significancy in the spiritualities pertaining to the believers of "the truth as it is in Jesus". (Eph. 4:21) They have a meaning which will appear only at the engrafting of Israel again into their own olive tree. The passage of the Red Sea and baptism of the Twelve Tribes into Moses is an historical event which has an individual and a national Signification. Thus as the national baptism into Moses released Israel after the flesh from their bondage to the Egyptian adversary, so an individual baptism into Christ releases the believers of the same gospel, or Israel after the spirit, from their moral bondage to the adversary, or sin incarnate in the flesh. But the national baptism into Moses also represents the future national baptism of the twelve Tribes into Jesus as the Christ and prophet like unto Moses, whom the Lord their God was to raise up unto them from among their tribes. They have sung the song of Moses, but they have yet to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb on the shores of the Egyptian, sea in celebration of their Second Exodus from the house of bondage. The man whose name is the Branch, even Jesus and not Moses, will be the king in Jeshurun who will divide its waters, and lead them in triumph to the eastern shore. Then will the nations rejoice with Israel; for the Lord will have avenged the blood of His servants, and have rendered vengeance to His adversaries, and have been merciful to His land, and to His people (Deut. 32:43).

The testimony which writes these things upon our hearts is found in nearly all the prophets; a quotation or two must therefore suffice in this place: let the reader consult the eleventh and twelfth chapters of Isaiah. There he will find that a branch is to grow out of Jesse's roots who is to judge the poor with righteousness, and to strike terror into the hearts of his adversaries, at a time when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. In that day of glory and intelligence, he is to stand as an ensign for Israel and the nations, around which they will all be gathered in one glorious dominion. The introduction of that day of rest is to be characterized by the assembling of the outcasts of Israel and the gathering together of the dispersed Judah from the four wings of the earth a second time. A return from Egypt is especially referred to in the eleventh and fifteenth verses, in the latter of which it is declared that "the Lord (that is, the Branch) shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian Sea (that is of the Red Sea); and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river (Nile), and shall smite it in the seven streams (or mouths), and make go over dry shod". This can only refer to the future, for there has been no second gathering of the Ten Tribes called Israel, or of the Two Tribes styled Judah, since the first gathering of the latter from the Babylonish Captivity. The Branch, whose name is the Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 23:5,6), is the ensign and the gatherer; for Jehovah [Yahweh] formed him from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob's tribes again to Him, and to restore the desolations of Israel (Isa. 49:5,6,8). He is Jehovah's [Yahweh's] servant, then, to do all these things, which are the exact antitype of what Moses effected, and therefore illustrated or represented by the redemption from Egypt; as it is written, "there shall be a highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left from Assyria, like as it was to Israel in the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt". (Isa. 11:16) The result of this second national redemption front civil and ecclesiastical bondage among the Gentiles will be the restoration of political harmony and concord among the Twelve Tribes, their national supremacy over the rest of the world, and their drawing water out of their own country's wells in safety, and therefore termed "the wells of salvation" (Isa. 12:3) in their song of joyful thanksgiving for the restoration of their land and kingdom by "the Repairer of the breach, the Restorer of the paths to dwell in" (Isa. 58:12).

Once more. The national probation in the wilderness of Egypt for forty years under Moses is also representative of the individual probation of believers subsequently to their baptism into Christ and of the national probation of the Twelve Tribes in the wilderness of the people previous to their being brought into the bond of the covenant, and into the land of Israel. That the Mosaic probation is representative of spiritual or individual probation appears from the apostle's reasoning in the third and fourth chapters of Hebrews. The exhortation in the ninety-fifth Psalm, which he quotes, he applies to the believers in Jesus, and to Israel at large, by connecting the two classes of the commonwealth together in his reasoning. The testimony in Ezekiel shows its applicability to the Twelve Tribes hereafter as well as to "the children of the promise" (Rom. 9:8) in the days of Paul. Let the reader consult that prophet [Ezekiel] in the twentieth chapter from the thirty-third to the thirty-eighth verse inclusive. He will there find that similar things are to be enacted over again as have already transpired in the days of Moses. Israel is to be brought out from the countries wherein they are scattered with a mighty display of divine power; they are to be brought into a wilderness, where, says the Lord, "I will plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you". The carcasses of the rebels are to fall there, so that although brought into the wilderness from their present houses of bondage they shall not enter, saith the Lord, into the land of Israel; in other words, "they shall not enter' into his rest" (Heb. 3:11) under Christ when he sits upon the throne of David in the land.

The twofold representative character of the "ensamples" supplied by the history, the typical history, of Israel in the flesh arises from the nature or constitution of things pertaining to the kingdom which is to be restored again to Israel, styled the kingdom of God and of Christ. There are two classes belonging to this kingdom the members of which must necessarily be proved before they can be admitted to its organization. Neither class can be dispensed with in this organization, yet both must previously "pass under the rod" (Ezek. 20:37) that the approved may be manifested. These two classes are "the children of the kingdom" (Matt 8:12) after the flesh, or the natural descendants of Abraham in the line of Isaac, and Jacob; and "the children of the kingdom" (Matt. 13:38) after the spirit, or those of Israel and the Gentiles who believe the promises, "the exceeding great and precious promises of God", (2 Pet. 1:4) and are therefore styled also "the children of the promise who are counted for the seed"(Rom. 9:8). Israelites according to the flesh are the natural born subjects of the kingdom, and therefore God's people in a political sense. The generation that came out of Egypt was proved and found to be unfit to occupy the land as the subjects of the kingdom and commonwealth under the first or Mosaic constitution. It was therefore destroyed in the wilderness, and their children of the next generation previously trained by Moses were planted in the land promised to the fathers. The descendants of this generation of the tribes of Jacob, now scattered among the Gentiles, are as unfit to occupy the land of Israel as the subjects under its new, or second, divine constitution or covenant, as their fathers were whose carcasses fell in the wilderness. Nevertheless, unfit as they may be they will not be condemned unproved should the kingdom be established contemporarily with the present generation. They will be made of necessity to pass under the rod that the turbulent and rebellious spirits among them may be purged out; for if they were permitted to occupy the land under Jesus as the "king of the Jews", they would prove as ungovernable and disloyal as their fathers who exposed him to ignominy upon the accursed tree.

But the generation of Israelites according to the flesh, which shall be approved as fit to occupy the land when the kingdom and throne of David are re- established, will not furnish inheritors of the thrones of David's house. These are taken out from Israel and the nations upon the principle of faith in the gospel of the kingdom perfected by good works. A son of David, such as Solomon or Hezekiah, cannot occupy the throne of David under the future constitution simply because he is David's son according to the flesh. The flesh profiteth nothing (John 6:63) in relation to the honour and glory, might and majesty, dignity and renown, of the kingdom. The throne must be occupied by that son of David who has been made perfect through sufferings, who though a son of God, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. Probation must precede the introduction of either class as elements of the kingdom, which though essentially dissimilar, yet pertain to one and the same institution, in the relation to one another of rulers and the ruled.

The King having passed through a probation of great suffering to the joy that yet awaits him, it is not to be supposed that those who are to rule with him shall enter into that joy without probation also. The co-rulers with Christ must be proved as well as he; for none can reign with him who do not suffer with him in some way or other. A tried and approved nation, and tried and approved rulers, will constitute the Kingdom of the Age to Come. The probation of these, that is, of the nation and of the rulers at different periods is represented by the things that happened to the nation and rulers under the law; the one constitution of things being typical of the other. Hence the twofold signification of the types.

The law of Moses constituted things which are remarkably representative of the realities of the age to come. These realities are styled the substance or body, of which the institutions of Moses are "the shadow"; (Heb. 8:5; 10:1; Col. 2:17) and because of this intimate relation between them he was strictly enjoined by Jehovah (Yahweh) to see that he made all things precisely according to the pattern he had showed him in the mount. Hence they are styled "the pattern of things in the heavens ", (Heb. 9:23) which things in the heavens will be manifested when the kingdom and throne of David are established by Jesus under the new constitution. The patterns are the representative things of the law, which constitute "the form of the knowledge and of the truth" (Rom. 2:20; Heb. 9:23).

Among the representative things pertaining to Israel under the law are certain men who are styled in the English version "men,wondered at", (Zec. 3:8) or as it reads in the margin, "men of sign"; (Zec. 3:8) that is, typical, or representative men -- men representing some other person than themselves. Joshua the son of Josedech and his companions are expressly set forth as typical men. So are Isaiah and his children. He said to Ahaz, "Behold I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwelleth in mount Zion". (Isa. 8:18) Paul quotes this in Hebrews and applies it to Jesus and his brethren, the children of God. Hence the prophet and his children, Shear-jashub and Maher-shalalhash-baz, were signs or types of Jesus and the saints who are appointed to perform wonders in Israel when the Lord returns to build up Zion.