by D. M. Panton

Chapter Eight


Paul now immediately reinforces, with a momentous and supreme type, God’s dual truth thus foreshadowed again and again from the very dawn of Redemption. Israel in the Wilderness, says Paul, are a type, real and actual, of us. "In these things they became FIGURES OF US: these things happened unto them by way of figure" (1 Cor. 10:6,11). Their experiences God has selected, not as exceptional, but as permanent, revelations of His character: all human experiences, ours as theirs, must flow out of the one unalterable character of God. Moreover God so wrought, and so wrote, purposely for the Church. "In these things they became figures of us, to the intent that we should not lust, as they also lusted": "these things were written for our admonition." The inspired record exists to prove the parallel: God so wrought, that we might know His character; He so wrote, that we might know it forever. Moreover the parallel points specifically to the acts of judgment. "They were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things" - the repeated overthrows - " were our examples." The judgments are embedded in the Word as in rock forever, that the Wilderness should become the kindergarten of the Church. To deny the parallel is to overthrow inspiration: to ignore the parallel is to silence the Scripture: to admit the parallel is to disclose a momentous peril to the believer in Christ.

The apostle lays down, in figure, the ample bedrock of our own spiritual standing. "Our fathers were all under the cloud" - redeemed by the blood of the Lamb - "and all passed through the sea" - separated from a godless world - "and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea" - a people buried to sin - "and did all eat the same spiritual meat" - at the Lord’s Table - "and did all drink the same spiritual drink" - the Spirit from the smitten Lord - " for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ." Standing in grace could hardly be stated, in so few words, more exhaustively: if privilege could render immune, Israel was beyond fall. Now observe the startling and studied contrast. "Howbeit with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness." All under — all< through — all immersed — all eating — all drinking: MOST OVERTHROWN. For "they which run in a race all run but one receiveth the prize." All — all Israel: most — all Israel minus two: "wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall[6]."

God’s sharp dilemma impales us on its one horn or on the other. Overthrown Israel is a type, either of the believer’s eternal destruction, or of his forfeited reward: if it is not lost glory, it is lost life. But the passage itself decides. "Know ye not that they which run in a race all run, but one receiveth THE PRIZE? Even so run, that ye may attain...For[7] I would not, brethren, have you ignorant, how that our fathers," so privileged, "were overthrown." It is a prize, not the gift of eternal life, which is in peril. God never put us under the Blood to withdraw us from its blessed efficacy (Rom. 8:1; John 10:27-29; Rom. 11:29; Heb. 9:12): neither has He ever presented the Prize as an irrevocable gift. As fivefold was the privilege and fivefold the overthrow, so even the best saints need cautioning against the worst sins. "He is not crowned, except he have contended lawfully" (2 Tim. 2:5). The blessed reality of the election of God can prove no shelter for the sins of the elect: remember Moses[8]. "Now THESE THINGS HAPPENED UNTO THEM BY WAY OF EXAMPLE; AND THEY WERE WRITTEN FOR OUR ADMONITION, UPON WHOM THE ENDS OF THE AGES ARE COME." Dean Farrar tells us that Queen Victoria was once speaking with her chaplain—probably himself—on the Second Coming. "How I wish," she said, "the LORD would come in my life-time!" "Why, your Majesty?" he asked. "Because," she replied with quivering lips, "I should so love to lay my crown at His feet." According solely to our achievements in sanctified service will be the glory that we shall cast at His feet in that day.

Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ

[6] The fourfold (Luke 13:24) inheritance of the Kingdom is remarkably embodied in two living – Caleb and Joshua, and two Jacob (Gen. 49:29) and Joseph (Josh. 24:32), whose bones were carried into the Land.

[7] See R. V. and Critical Editions.

[8] In another aspect of his typical life Moses, in his unique burial and appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration fourteen hundred years later – for, with all the prophets (Luke 13:28), he is as personally sure of the Kingdom as earlier he was typically among the excluded – stood forth on the Mount the solitary representative of dead saints; for he was “faithful in all His [God’s, Nub. 12:7] house AS A SERVANT” (Heb. 3:5)

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13, NASB)