By James H. Brookes
The History Books
"The Lord is salvation." Here begins the second division of the inspired writings, comprising twelve books, and closing with Esther. The corresponding book in the Kew Testament is the Epistle to the Ephesians. The Red Sea shows what we are separated from^ and answers to Rom. vi., vii.; the Jordan shows what we are separated unto^ and answers to Eph. i., ii., in the heavenlies now in Christ Jesus. It contains the history of about twenty-five years, and gives First, Jehovah's command and promise, i. Second, grace abounding, ii. Third, the Jordan crossed in the power of the ark, the reproach of Egypt rolled away, death to the flesh, the passover, and feeding upon the old corn of the land, before conflict began, iii.-v. Fourth, the conquest of the laud, vi.-xii. Fifth, the distribution of the land, xiii.-xxi. Sixth, separation of the two tribes and a half, portending evil, xxii. Seventh, Joshua's parting address, xxiii., xxiv. Jordan, according to Jerome, means "stream of judgment;" according to Augustine, "to come down;" but in either case it implies that death to self, through which every one must pass, in order to enter into present rest. The people could not enter the land until Moses was dead. It is not the law, but Joshua or Jesus, who leads through judgment, as we are linked to the blood- sprinkled mercy-seat.
This book gives the history of Israel's apostacy for about 300 years, and the corresponding scripture in the New Testament is the second epistle to the Ephesians, Rev. ii. 1-7; the seven churches in Asia answering in general to the seven stages of declension described in Judges. Things went from bad to worse with interventions of sovereign grace resembling modern "revivals," that in themselves are signs of weakness, because the church should always be revived. There were seven periods of captivity, extending through 131 years which God does not count in His chronology, as He takes note of time only when Israel are in His land, and seven prominent Deliverers raised up to break the yoke of oppression:
The last five chapters contain an appendix, showing the wretched condition of Israel, even while Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, was living, xx. 28.
Israel having proved unfaithful, the book of Ruth follows like a lovely picture presenting the calling of the Gentile Church, and the final restoration of God's ancient people after the marriage supper of the Lamb. The corresponding scriptures are Acts xv. 14-17; Rom. xi. 25-32. There are seven principal characters: Elimelech, "My God is King;" Naomi, "Pleasantness;" Mahlon, "Sickness, Infirmity;" Chilion, "Pining, Wasting;" Orpah, "A Fawn;" Ruth, ''Beauty," or as some say, "Satisfied;'' Boaz, "In him is strength." The book sets forth, First, Decision for Christ, i.; Second, Meeting with Christ, ii.; Third, Rest in Christ, iii. -, Fourth, Union with Christ, iv. Obed, born of Boaz and Ruth, means "Serving, or worshipping," and was in the line of Christ's human ancestry. Matt. i. 5.
After the call in type of the Church, we have in their proper order the six books of the kingdom; not seven, the divine perfect number, but six, the imperfect human number 5 for the failure of man as king is to be proved, following his failure as priest. Intimations of this period had been previously given, (Deut. xvii. 14-20), but in the purpose of God it succeeds the unfaithfulness of Israel in the place of privilege and responsibility, leading them to say, "Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations." The first book gives us man's choice of a king, type of the antichrist, and it admits the following divisions: First, the birth of Samuel, meaning "Asked for of God," the prophetic song of his mother; and the vileness of the priesthood, i., ii. Second, the ministry of the child-prophet, and the utter ruin of the priestly house, iii., iv. Third, the ark of the covenant among the Philistines, and the vindication of its holiness, v.— vii. Fourth, the election of Saul, meaning "asked for," and his rejection, viii:-xv. Fifth, the divine call of David, meaning *' Beloved," and his victory by faith, xvi., xvii. Sixth, the persecutions and sorrows of the Lord's anointed, xviii.-xxx. Seventh, the wretched death of Saul and of his sons, even of Jonathan, whose heart was true to David, but who adhered outwardly to the world, xxxi.
This book centers about God's King, and treats of the following general subjects: First, his reign in Hebron, meaning "Association or fellowship," for seven years and six months, and the establishment of his throne in Jerusalem, "Foundation of peace," when he was 37, i.-v. Second, he brings the ark to his capital, learns that God is able to take care of His own, and receives the promise of Christ as his successor, vi., vii. Third, his victories over all enemies, and his clemency to Mephibosheth, "out of his mouth, shame," of Lodebar, "without pasture, or no word," type of the sinner, who is a "dead dog," viii.-x. Fourth, God's grace exhibited in the forgiveness of his great sin, and God's righteousness manifested in government, which shows, "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," xi.-xxi. Fifth, an ode of triumph commemorating his deliverance out of the hands of all his enemies, and celebrating the glory of Christ, xxii. Sixth, Christ the only true King, predicted by the Holy Ghost, remembering and rewarding faithful service for His name, xxiii. Seventh, the site of the temple selected on the threshing floor of a Gentile, after the sin of pride and ambition, whereby our first parents fell, had been put away by sacrifice, xxiv.
This book sets forth typically Christ and His heavenly people. Hence the temple and its chambers are to be viewed here as the "Father's house "with its many mansions. No silver, atonement money, is mentioned in connection with the sacred vessels, although David prepared it for them, (1 Chron. xxviii. 14-17); but all is gold; neither is there any brazen altar nor vail mentioned 5 but seven times the king says in his prayer of dedication, "Hear thou in heaven, thy dwelling place." Historically considered, we have First, Solomon, whose name means "Peaceable," exercising judgment upon his enemies, and reigning in power, i.-iv. Second, the building and dedication of the temple, v.-viii. Third, his matchless wisdom and riches, when "all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon," ix., x. Fourth, his sad fall by the influence of "outlandish women," (Neh. xiii. 26), types of worldly churches, xi. Fifth, the division of the kingdom into the ten tribes, called Israel, and the two tribes, called Judah, xii. Sixth, the rapid spread of iniquity, especially in Israel, connected with the faithful testimony of Elijah, meaning '' My God is Jehovah," xiii.-xxi. Seventh, Judah joins affinity with Israel, leading long afterwards to deplorable results, xxii.
First, the ministry of Elisha, meaning "My God is salvation," as an illustrious type of our Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of abounding evils, i.-viii. Second, the ever-increasing prevalence of unbelief, idolatry, and shameful crimes, in Jehovah's land ix.-xvi. Third, the subjugation and removal by Assyria of the ten tribes, one hundred and thirty-four years before the overthrow of Judah, xvii. Fourth, the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem, typical of the deliverance to be wrought in the last days, xviii.--xx. Fifth, the son of Hezekiah, illustrating that while grace is not inherited, the flesh is transmitted, hastens the doom of Jerusalem, xxi. Sixth, the reign of Josiah gave "a little reviving," while the judgments were gathering, but he had to command the people to keep the passover, and to cause them in their stupid indifference to enter into covenant with God, xxii., xxiii. Seventh, the capture of the city of David by Nebuchadnezzar, the head of Gentile power, xxiv., xxv.
This book, with the next, is placed last in the Hebrew Canon, and was written after the captivity, (lii. 16-24; vi. 15). Commencing with Adam, it gives the connecting links in the history of the race, with special reference to the house of David, and David's greater Son. Christ being in the full view of the Holy Ghost, the sins of saints are not mentioned, as the sins of Old Testament saints are not mentioned in the New Testament, except where they bring out most clearly the wonders of pardoning grace. The special subject is David, and we have First, the genealogy of the tribes to the death of Saul, i.-x. Second, David's mighty men, and his coronation as king over all Israel, xi., xii. Third, David's removal of the ark, the promise of Christ, and the millennial song, xiii.-xvii. Fourth, David's wars and victories, xviii.--xx. Fifth, David's selection of the ground for the temple, that was associated with grace reigning through righteousness, sin being put away by sacrifice, when he was afraid to go to the tabernacle, xxi. Sixth, David's preparation for building the temple, the pattern of which, and the ordering of the Levites and Singers, were revealed to him by the Spirit, xxii.-xxvii. Seventh, David's last message and thanksgiving, leaving Solomon his son *' on the throne of the Lord," xxviii., xxix.
This book confines itself to the house of David, viewed rather in its religious than its political relations. Typically it sets forth the millennial reign of Christ on the earth, and hence we read of silver, atonement money, in connection with the temple, and also of the altar and the vail; and seven times in his prayer of dedication Solomon says, "Hear thou from heaven." Historically we have, First, the brilliant reign of Solomon, i.-ix. Second, Rehoboam's departure from the Lord, x.-xii. Third, victory crowning the arms of those who looked to Jehovah in simple faith, xiii.-xvi. Fourth, the suggestive lessons of Jehoshaphat's reign, showing the results of alliance with the world, and God's reclaiming mercy, xvii.-xx. Fifth, the inevitable consequences of affinity with a false religion, but for David's sake a lamp still shone in Jerusalem, xxi.--xxiii. Sixth, blessing attending kings who honored the Lord, but evil following Ahaz who walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, xxiv.-xxviii. Seventh, temporary revival under Hezekiah and Josiah, but speedy relapse until the captivity under the king of Babylon, xxix. -xxxvi.
This book covers a period of about eighty years, and is a pledge that a remnant will be restored to the worship of Jehovah in His land, at the end of the present age. First, the return of some fifty thousand of the people of Judah by the decree of Cyrus, under Joshua the high priest, and Zerubbabel the prince of the house of Judah, the building of the altar, and the laying of the foundation of the temple, i.--iii. Second, the refusal of the remnant to have fellowship with the mixed multitude, and the interruption of the work, iv. Third, the appearance of the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, and the completion of the temple, v., vi. Fourth, about sixty years later, the coming of Ezra, meaning "Help," and a small colony, by a decree of the king, vii., viii. Filth, separation from the people of the lands, and putting away strange wives, ix. x.
This book represents in type the restoration of civil government to the Jews, and their national supremacy, in the last days. First, the commission of Nehemiah, meaning "Consolation of the Lord," to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and the names of his helpers, i.-iii. Second, hindrances to the work, (1) ridicule, (2) open enmity, (3) leaders holding back, (4) worldly brethren, (5) offer of the world's friendship, (6) charge of treasonable designs, (7) false prophets, iv.--vi. Third, the people numbered, and the feast of tabernacles, type of millennial joy, observed as it had not been for a thousand years, vii., viii. Fourth, confession and covenant, ix., x. Fifth, gladness in the holy city, the sabbath kept, and separation from evil, xi.--xiii.
This book teaches in type the setting aside of the professing Gentile bride, and the elevation of the despised Jew, according to the sure word of Rom. xi. 19-29. The name of God is not mentioned, to show His watchful care over His ancient people, although in their present unbelief they may refuse to recognize His hand. First, the rejection of the Gentile queen, who refused to exhibit her beauty to the people and the princes, i. Second, the choice of Hadassah, meaning "Myrtle," afterwards changed to Esther, "A star," a poor Jewess, to sit upon the throne of earth's monarch, ii. Third, the rage of Haman of the cursed seed of Amalek, and the unchangeable decree to slay all the Jews, iii. Fourth, the wonder-working providence and grace of Jehovah interposing in their behalf, iv.--viii. Fifth, the deliverance of Israel, leaving a Jew next in authority to the king, who "laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea," ix., x.