The Unity of the Bible
|Author: Arthur Pink|
DispensationalismPLACING SCRIPTURE AGAINST SCRIPTURENOTE: I have cleaned up some old English, made references uniform, corrected typo's, added a descriptive title, defined paradox and pointed out its misuse as related to the Bible. Bible text is in italics without double quotes. Some other words plus titles are in italics. I have added bold type and color for emphasis.
A paradoxis "a statement that seems contradictory, unbelievable, or absurd but that may actually be true in fact" -
[Websters New World Dictionary - Second College edition, 1980].
There are NO paradoxes in the Bible. Anything proposed as such is the result of our ignorance OR our unwillingness to accept what the Bible teaches.
1CO 2:14, 15The natural man [the unsaved man] accepts not the things of the Spirit of God because they are foolishness to him and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually understood. But he who is spiritual understands all things, yet he himself is understood by no [natural] man. [aal].
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 to 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 Gods Word with his penknife[JER 36:23]. Instead of "opening" the Scriptures, they are twisted in closing the major part of them from Gods people today. They are just as much engaged in doing the Devils 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 liked.
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 agreement of the two Testaments, they are more concerned in their efforts to show the disagreement 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[EXO 21:24] and then quote against it, But I say to you, That you resist not evil: but whoever shall strike you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also [MAT 5:39], and then it is proudly asserted that those two passages can only be "reconciled" by allocating them to different peoples in different ages. With such superficial handling of Holy Writ thousands of gullible souls are deceived, and thousands more allow themselves to be bewildered.
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 - Pink]: truly "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 reconcileExodus 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 rules 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 rules 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 to 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.
Before 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 to you, 'Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you[MAT 5:44] He was not advancing a more advanced command than had ever been stated 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 you meet your enemys ox or his donkey ["donkeys and burros are domesticated asses" - Webster's New World Dictionary, second college edition - aal] wandering away, you shall surely bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of him who hates you down under his load, you shall not pass by leaving him with it, you shall surely help him. Again in Proverbs 25:21, we read, If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
The same God who bids us, Repay no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather refrain from wrath[ROM 12:17-19], also commanded His people in the Old Testament, You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord [LEV 19:18]; and therefore was David grateful to Abigail for persuading him from taking vengeance on Nabal: Blessed be you, who have kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with my own hand [1SA 25:33]. So far was the Old Testament from allowing any spirit of bitterness, malice or revenge that it expressly declared, Say not, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and He shall save you [PRO 20:22]. And again, Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles [PRO 24:17]. And again, Say not, I will do so to him as he has done to me: I will render to the man according to his work [PRO 24:29].
One more sample of the inexcusable ignorance betrayed by these Dispensationalists we quote from E. W. Bullingers How to Enjoy the Bible. On pages 108 and 110 he said under "Law and Grace":
[DEU 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 [ROM 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.
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 has commanded us
It is by such statements as these that "unstable souls" are deceived.
Is it not amazing that one so renowned for his scholarship 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 [ROM 4]. Under the Mosaic economy it was expressly announced that it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul [LEV 17:11]. David realized, If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, Oh Lord, who shall stand? [PSA 130:3]; and therefore did he confess, I will make mention of Your righteousness, even of Yours only [PSA 71:16].
By all means let the Word of Truth be rightly divided; not by parceling 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 a relationship of promise 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 does righteousness of 1st John 2:29.
The Old Testament saints were the subjects of the same everlasting promise, had the same blessed Gospel, were begotten unto the same heavenly heritage as the New Testament saints. From Abel onwards, God has dealt with sinners in sovereign grace, and according to the merits of Christs redemptive work which was retroactive in its value and efficacy[ROM 3:25; 1PE 1:19, 20]. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord [GEN 6:8]. That they were partakers of the same promised blessings as we are is clear from a comparison of 2nd Samuel 23:5, and Hebrews 13:20. The same Gospel was preached to Abraham [GAL 3:8], yes, unto the nation of Israel after they had received the Law [HEB 4:2], and therefore Abraham rejoiced to see Christs day and was glad [JOH 8:56]. Dying Jacob declared, I have waited for Your salvation, Oh Lord [GEN 49:18]. As Hebrews 11:16 states, the patriarchs desired a better country [than the land of Canaan, in which they lived], that is, a heavenly. Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaohs daughter ... considering the reproach for the sake of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt [HEB 11:24-26]. Job exclaimed, I know that my Redeemer lives ... in my flesh shall I see God [JOB 19:25, 26].
When Jehovah proclaimed His name to Moses, He revealed Himself as the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious[EXO 34:5-7]. When Aaron pronounced the benediction on the congregation, he was bidden to say, The Lord bless you, and keep you: the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: the Lord lift up His face upon you, and give you 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 about the Mosaic economy. God dealt in grace with Israel all through their long and checkered 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 kindness 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 [ISA 1:18]? In the days of Jehoahaz the Lord was gracious unto them [2KI 13:22-23]. They were invited to say to the Lord, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously [HOS 14:2]. Malachi told Israel: beseech God that He will be gracious unto us [MAL 1:9].
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[and others who make God's LOVE over rule all His other attributes - aal]. Hear the Psalmist as he declared, Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful [PSA 116:5]. Hear him again, as he bursts forth into adoring praise, Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases ... He has not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities [PSA 103:2, 3, 10]. Can Christians say more than that? No wonder David exclaimed, Whom have I in Heaven but You? And there is none upon Earth who I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fails: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever [PSA 73:25, 26]. If the question be asked, What, then, is the great distinction between the Mosaic and Christian eras? The answer is, Gods grace was then confirmed to one nation, but now it flows out to all nations.
What is true in the general holds in the particular.Not only were Gods 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 Lords portion is His people, Jacob is the lot of His inheritance [DEU 32:9]. Beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation [2TH 2:13]: I have loved you with an everlasting love [JER. 31:3]. In Whom we have redemption [EPH 1:7]: With Him is plenteous redemption [PSA 130:7]. That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him [2CO 5:21]: In the Lord have I righteousness and strength [ISA 45:24]. Who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings ... in Christ [EPH 1:3]: Men shall be blessed in Him [PSA 72:17]. The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleans us from all sin [1JO 1:7]: You are all fair, My love, there is no spot in you [SON 4:7].
Strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man[EPH 3:16]: In the day when I cried You answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul [PSA 138:3]. The Spirit of truth ... will guide you into all truth [JOH 16:13]: You gave also Your good Spirit to instruct them [NEH 9:20]. I know that in me (that is, in my flesh), dwells no good thing [ROM 7:18]: All our righteousness is as filthy rags [ISA 64:6]. I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims [1PE 2:11]: You are strangers and sojourners [LEV 25:23]. We walk by faith [2CO 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 [ZEC 10:12]. Neither shall any pluck them out of My hand [JOH 10:28]: All His saints are in His hand [DEU 33:3]. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit [JOH 15:5]: From Me is your fruit found [HOS 14:8]. He who has begun a good work in you will finish it [PHI 1:6]: The Lord will perfect that which concerns me [PSA 138:8]. Many other such harmonies might be added.
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This Page Last Updated: 08/21/03 A. Allison Lewisaalewis@christianbeliefs.org