J. G. Bellett.
from Miscellaneous Papers
(R. L. Allan)
In John 3 the Lord speaks of earthly and heavenly things. (Ver. 12.) He puts the doctrine of the new birth among the earthly things, but quite owns that without it there is no entrance for any soul into God's kingdom at all, whether in its earthly or heavenly places. But still that doctrine was earthly, inasmuch as it was common, in this way, to all, and not needed only for the heavenly people.
There are, however, heavenly things in distinction from earthly, and He speaks of Himself as the prophet or revealer of such (ver. 13), in which character John also speaks of Him, contrasting Him with the former prophets of Israel.
He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth; he that cometh from heaven is above all, and what he hath seen and heard that he testifieth." (Ver. 31, 32.)
In this way, both the Lord and the Baptist, in this chapter, distinguish between things earthly and heavenly, and speak of Jesus as the great distinct prophet of the things heavenly. So that we are by this prepared for two conclusions, that in the old prophets we must expect to find earthly things, and in the teaching of Jesus to His apostles, heavenly things. There may be notices of the heavenly things scattered, or shining, through the prophets — there may be also; notices of earthly or Jewish hopes and calling in the apostles — but the main purpose of the Spirit by the prophets is to tell of the earth's interests, and the main purpose of the same Spirit by the apostles is to tell of the Church's heavenly interests.
Moses was the type of our Lord as our prophet, or the prophet of heavenly things. (See Deut. 18: 15; Deut. 34: 10.) He was distinguished from the ordinary prophets. For God speaks to them by visions and dreams, but to Moses "face to face," or apparently. Moses had access to all God's house. His place was in the holiest, as well as in the courts of the tabernacle. (Num. 12)
So the Son. He has access to all that is of God, according to Moses who was His type. He has fellowship with God Himself, being the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person. And He has fellowship with Him in all His works and counsels, His ways which were before the world and His ways which will be after the world, His ways in all ages or dispensations or worlds, His ways in providence or in upholding of all things, and His thoughts and counsels at the two extreme points, the cross of Calvary, when He purged our sins, and the right hand of highest majesty, where He is now sitting down. (Heb. 1: 1-3.)
Thus as Moses had access to all God's house and was spoken to "face to face," so the Son is in the fullest and deepest intimacies with all of God, His glory, His person, His counsels, and ways, and works at all times and in all places.
And our interests flow from this, in contrast with the interests of the fathers. For the fathers were spoken to by the prophets, by those who had but visions and dreams. We are now spoken to by the Son, by Him who sees face to face, who has access to all that is of God. And this lets us into heavenly things as well as earthly. This discloses the holiest to our view as well as the courts, because our prophet is there, while the prophets of the fathers were more in the distance, in the place of visions and dreams.