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32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
An exposition of Moses and the Prophets set their heart on fire-a fire which continues to burn so long as the believing mind retains, or "keeps in memory," and dwells upon the things of the Spirit revealed to them...
... Setting the heart on fire by a narrative of facts unconnected with the scriptural exhibition of the glory that shall follow, is impossible, being contrary to the nature of the human mind as God has constituted it. Cleopas was well acquainted with all the sufferings of Jesus, for he had witnessed them; yet did his Lord address him as a "Fool, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken." He "trusted that it had been he who should have redeemed Israel."
The baptism of Jesus in suffering produced no glowing of his heart so long as he perceived no prospect of redemption for the nation through Jesus. His heart was perplexed. The disciples of Jesus looked to him as Yahweh's representative, by whom "He would put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalt them of low degree," when he would "fill the hungry with good things, and send the rich empty away;" and "help his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spake to their fathers, to Abraham and his seed for ever."
The father of John the Baptist expressed their hope in Christ when he said, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, ... . . for he hath raised up a Horn of Salvation for us (Israel) in the house of his servant David, ... that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand (power) of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life."
But when Cleopas and the rest saw only the triumph of the Serpent power over the Woman's seed, there was no burning of the heart, no "joy unspeakable and full of glory" through the crucified Nazarene. He had cast down no thrones of the mighty; he had failed to help Israel, who was still in the hand of the enemy; he had not accomplished the things promised to Abraham and his Seed; those of low degree were still in degradation, hungering after the good things denied to the rich; and he himself was to all appearance overcome. He had "drunk of the brook by the way," and had not as yet "lifted up the head," or been exalted. Could he be the king "of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write?"
To set the heart on fire we must have a comprehensive view of "all that the prophets have spoken" concerning Christ. The want of this was the weakness of Cleopas, and the cause of ours. Jesus strengthened him by showing that Moses and the prophets taught that the Christ's path to glory was through suffering. The connection between suffering and glory was the point illustrated in the conversation. Had the Christ not suffered, Yahweh's holy covenant confirmed to Abraham would have remained without force; and so no right to blessings, spiritual or political, by individuals or nations, could have been obtained.
No exaltation without trial is a principle of the divine economy which cannot be evaded by those who would attain to glory. The disciples were slow of heart to perceive this until it was so strikingly illustrated in the sufferings of Christ. These were great, but greater still the glory which absorbs the less. Paul thought nothing of them, esteeming them as mere light afflictions that were but for a moment; because they worked out for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. In this, he followed Jesus; and exhorts us to do the same in imitating him.
But, if we would be exalted to this indomitability of mind, we must familiarize ourselves with "the glory to be revealed." This will make us invincible. The darts of the enemy will fall ineffective from our shield; and though "a spectacle by reproaches," we shall be strengthened by the might of truth, which is God's power, in the inner man, to obtain the crown of righteousness at last. Jesus "opened to them the Scriptures," that they might obtain a view of the glory to which they had been called. How inestimable a blessing is the Bible open to the understanding!
Gold and silver cannot purchase it; therefore the world is destitute of it: to the wise and learned it is sealed. Money cannot repay our debt of obligation to him who opens to us the book. Cleopas and his companion could not have recompensed Jesus for setting their hearts on fire; for the understanding of "the word of the kingdom" is life, and honour, and glory for evermore.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June 1854
39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
What stronger proof can we need of the substantial and tangible nature of the Spiritual body? It is the animal body purified, not evaporated into gas, or vapour.
It is a bloodless body; for in the case of Jesus He had poured out His blood upon the cross. The life of the animal body is in the blood; but not so that of the Spiritual body: the life of this resides in that mighty power which suspends "the earth upon nothing," and is diffused through the immensity of space.
When the Lord Jesus said, "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have," He did not mean to say that a spiritual body had not; but a Spirit such as they thought they saw. "They supposed they had seen a spirit." In the received reading the same word, pneuma, is used here as in the text which speaks of Jesus as "the Lord the Spirit;" but, evidently, not in the same sense. Indeed, the reading in Griesbach's edition of the original text is clearly the correct one.
The word rendered spirit is properly fantasma, a phantom or mere optical illusion; and not pneuma, spirit. When Jesus walked upon the sea both Matthew (Matt. 14:26) and Mark j (Mark 6:49) make use of the same phrase as Luke, and say that the disciples when they saw Him, "supposed they had seen a spirit, and they cried out for fear." In both these places the word is phantasma, and not pneuma.
Having affirmed that man stands related to two kinds of body, the apostle gives us to understand, that in the arrangements of God the spiritual system of things is elaborated out of the animal, and not the animal out of the spiritual. The natural world is the raw material, as it were of the spiritual; the bricks and mortar, so to speak, of the mansion which is to endure for ever. In relation to human nature, two men are presented as its types in the two phases it is to assume.
These Paul styles "the First Adam," and "the Last Adam," or "the first man," and "the second man." The former, he terms "earthly;" because he came from the ground, and goes thither again, and, the latter, "the Lord from heaven;" because, being "known no more after the flesh," He is expected from heaven as the place of His final manifestation in "the body of His glory." Then, says John, we shall be like Him."
If, therefore, we have been successful in depicting the Lord as He is now, while seated at the right hand of God; namely, an incorruptible, honourable, powerful, living person, substantial and tangible, shining as the sun, and able to eat and drink, and to display all mental and other phenomena in perfection: if the reader be able, to comprehend such an "Image of the invisible God," he can understand what they are to be, who are accounted worthy to inherit His kingdom. Therefore, says Paul, "as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (1 Cor. 15:49), or, Lord from heaven.
This corporeal change of those, who have first been morally "renewed by knowledge after the image of Him that hath created them" (Col. 3:10) -- from "sinful flesh" into spirit, is an absolute necessity, before they can inherit the kingdom of God... "That which is corruptible cannot inherit incorruptibility," says the apostle. This is the reason why animal men must die, or be transformed. Our animal nature is corruptible; but the kingdom of God is indestructible, as the prophet testifies, saying, "it shall never be destroyed, nor left to other people; but shall stand for ever" (Dan. 2:44).
Because, therefore, of the nature of this kingdom, "flesh and blood can not inherit it;" and hence the necessity of a man being "born of the spirit," or "he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5-6; 1 Cor. 15:50). He must be "changed into spirit," put on incorruptibility and immortality of body, or he will be physically incapable of retaining the honour, glory, and power of the kingdom for ever, or even for a thousand years.
Elpis Israel 1.2.
42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
43 And he took it, and did eat before them.
We know that spirit-being can eat, as shown by the angels and the Lord Jesus after resurrection (Gen. 19:1-3; Luke 24:39-43), but we know nothing of how the food is utilised when taken into spirit-organisation. Nevertheless, we may safely draw certain conclusions.
There will be no corruption or corruptibility in the process of digestion, because of the power of the organisation. It is a law of physiology now that the assimilation of food is proportionate to the power of the organisation. Weak bodily machinery performs the process very imperfectly and passes much nutritive aliment unappropriated.
In healthy, powerful organisations, the proportion of rejected matter is much smaller. We should be justified in reasoning how small it must be in an immortal organisation, upon the analogy of this natural principle. But may we not go a step further: nay, must we not go a step further, and say, there will be no residuum at all in the digestive operations of the spirit-body, but that every atom will be consumed in the spirit-combustion at work in the body of every glorified saint?
All substances are spirit at the base, and it is probable--shall we not say inevitable--that a spirit-body has the power of assimilating spirit to spirit without natural residue? If so, there is this pleasing thought before us in the prospect of immortality, that while food may not be--cannot be--necessary for the sustenance of life in the spirit-body as it is in the natural body, yet pleasure and refreshment will be found in the partaking of food and its re-conversion into spirit without any remnant of corruption such as belongs to the present body of our dishonour?
Law of Moses Ch 31
45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
The apostles who listened to the discourses of Jesus remembered little, and understood less; but the Eternal Spirit, who discoursed through Jesus, remedied this defect by afterwards bringing all things to their remembrance, opening their understandings and guiding them into all the truth (Luke 24:45; John 14:26; 16:13).
In this operation, their consciousness of what Jesus really taught, was stamped or written upon the fleshy tablets of their hearts. What they had forgotten and did not understand, was not lost. It was retained in the Spirit's, in the Father's own mind, Who afterwards photographed in their foreheads what he had said.
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Three things were to be preached in the name of Jesus Christ to them who believed in the promises made of God to the fathers, These were first, repentance; secondly, remission of sins; and third, eternal life (Luke 24:44-47; John 20:31). To preach the kingdom in the name of Jesus Christ was to expound the things concerning it; and to offer them to all who would become the subjects of repentance and remission of sins in his name. Neither "flesh and blood," nor "sinners," can inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15:50).
These are fixed principles. But, why not? Because "the kingdom shall not be left to other people," and because those, who inherit it are to possess it for ever. Now "flesh and blood" is mortal; how then can mortality inherit immortality? It is a physical impossibility. In other words, a man who only lives seventy years, cannot hold office for a thousand years; he must be made deathless before he can retain it for ever.
Again, it is a moral impossibility for sinners to possess the kingdom, because the law of the kingdom is that "he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." It is the inheritance of saints, to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Two things are therefore indispensable before Jew or Gentile can inherit the kingdom -- first, a moral purification; and secondly, a physical, or corporeal, purification. The first is compassed in obeying the truth; the last, by a resurrection unto life.
Elpis Israel 2.5.