Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
VOL. XIX. MAY 1, 1898. No. 9.
Our New Prophetic Chart...........................130
Views from the Watch Tower........................131
War, Horrible War, is upon Us
An Answer to the Queen Regent
of Spain, etc..............................132
"Let Him that Thinketh he Standeth
The Marriage Feast................................136
The Duty of Watchfulness..........................139
The Day of Judgment...............................141
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY,
"BIBLE HOUSE," 56-60 ARCH STREET, ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR IN ADVANCE. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:
Those of the
who, by reason of old age or accident, or other adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list constantly.
OUR NEW PROPHETIC CHART.
WE STILL procure and supply ($1.50 including expressage) the handsome, 5 ft. long Chart of the Ages, similar to the one in the front of MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. I., for parlor and hall meetings. But now we have something entirely new which every WATCH TOWER reader will want for personal and family use.
It is 34 inches long, on extra heavy coated paper, with metal mountings top and bottom and hangers. It gives the outlines of the ages and dispensations, and underneath the same, and to a scale, it shows the various lines of prophecy presented in MILLENNIAL DAWN volumes, also an illustration of the "days of creation" as set forth in the WATCH TOWER some years ago, and promised again in some future volume of the DAWN series.
The chart is too complex to be described briefly. Suffice it to say, If you are deeply interested in present truth, as presented in the TOWER and DAWN, you will surely want one of these charts for your sitting room or study wall. We have made the price 25 cents each, including postage, which will bring it within the reach of almost all. But that the poorest may enjoy it and be helped by it, we will send it
to all such on our list who drop us a postal card stating the fact and requesting the chart free,
during the month of May, 1898.
For the suggestion of such a chart, no less than for the drawing of this one, we all are indebted to our dear Brother U. G. Lee, whose service was rendered free to the Lord and his people. Wherever possible, let several unite in
one order, to one address,
as thus the risk of damage will be decreased.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
WAR, horrible war, is upon us. The match is ignited, the combustible passions are being enkindled, and who can tell how great a fire may result; --how destructive, how costly in blood and treasure? It is lamentable indeed that such horrors should be practically unavoidable; yes, really incidentals to our civilization. Except for a great advance in civilization, the present war would not be waged.
League wars, where nations fought for each other because of treaty covenants (hoping for similar favors in return) have been known; religious wars for the aid of co-religionists have been known; race wars, where bonds of blood led one nation to fight for another, have been known; wars of jealousy and pride have been known; wars for freedom have been frequent; wars for conquest and plunder have been many: but never before, so far as we are informed, has there ever been a war like the present one--a benevolent war; a war for the oppressed; a war for the poor and starving; a war for a different race, of a different tongue and of a different religion; a war for a people who can never repay --neither in money, influence, trade nor otherwise. The masses of the people of these United States are far enough from being saints; far enough from having perfect love rule their every thought and word and deed; far enough from fully conquering inborn selfishness; but for them as a people, and for their British cousins, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has done far more than for any other peoples in the world. If it has not given them love, it has given them the sheen or reflection of love--"the milk of human kindness," sympathy.
Spain cries, Robbers! Thieves! Hypocrites! You want to steal my possessions and merely make a pretense of sympathy for my rebels! All Europe shouts the same, denouncing the war as perfidious, a disgrace to modern civilization--national piracy, national highway robbery.
And no doubt these charges are honestly made; that is, they are believed to be true; they reflect the real judgment of Spain and of Europe. Controlled only by motives of pride and selfishness themselves, they cannot conceive of others being influenced by so much nobler motives. And in the United States quite a minority who have no conscientious scruples against war complain bitterly, because "It won't pay." Verily, if the parable of Dives and Lazarus were to be adapted to present times and affairs between nations, it would be incomplete, unless the dogs ate Lazarus, while Dives would refuse all succor because Lazarus could not pay him for it.
If the suggestion of generous motives on the part of the United States should be even glimmeringly seen by Europeans, it would be repulsed; because it would be a reflection upon United Europe's conduct of a year ago in the matter of poor Armenia--united to them by ties of blood and religion, as against him whom they term "the unspeakable Turk." Nor will anyone acquainted with the spirit of the Americans doubt that, had they lived where Austria lives, or where Russia lives, much more than a cup of cold water would have been promptly extended to poor Armenia.
We did not advocate the war. We cannot take part in it; for we are aliens. We belong to the Loyal Legion of the Great King, whose Kingdom is not of this age, and whose soldiers must not fight with carnal weapons. But we want to be able to appreciate the motives of our fellow-creatures when they are noble and good, as in this instance. We should sympathize with every effort for righteousness and the uplift of humanity, even tho we can render our service only to
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our Captain in the warfare which we esteem to be still more important than any other.
Where the matter will end, none but the great King, the Captain of our salvation, knows. Peace may suddenly be ushered in by some suggestion of compromise, or the war with its frightful horrors may continue for months or even years--our expectation is that it
be very prolonged. We do not consider it any part of the final struggle. The following clipping from the
will be interesting:--
"JUST A POSSIBILITY."
"Not that they love Spain more, but the United States less, the sympathies of the European countries are generally with Spain in the present crisis, and there is little reason to doubt that if they could have secured the cooperation of Great Britain the evidence of such sympathy would have found stronger manifestation ere this than in the weak and well nigh meaningless joint note presented to this government a few weeks ago by their ministers at Washington. By reason of the blood relationship between the rulers of Austria and Spain the sympathy referred to has been less concealed in Austria than in other European countries. One Austrian, prominent in scholastic and political matters in that country, is quoted as saying that 'the sympathies of Europe for Spain don't express admiration for her colonial administration, but are rather the instinctive expressions of the presentment that the victory of America will be the beginning of the Americanizing of European institutions.' It is further complained that 'already the republics of America have fallen under the influence of the United States.' In view of the issues involved in these and kindred arguments, surprise is manifested, not to say impatience and disgust, that Great Britain should seem disposed to take its place with the United States in what might develop into a world alignment of the forces of militarism and royalty on the one hand and of republican institutions on the other. It is not approval of Spain nor fear of territorial conquests by the United States that causes now the poorly concealed European sympathy for Spain, but fear of a greater working in the old world of the leaven of republics. Tho it may not be, and probably will not be, it is nevertheless possible that the impending hostilities may widen into a greater conflict than war between Spain and the United States."
The opposition here noted seems to grow daily, rather than to diminish. Not only do the monarchies of Europe begrudge the Great Republic its successes and prosperity, but the Mexicans and peoples of the Central and South American republics are jealous. They fear that we may eventually develop a rapacity and land hunger similar to that of the great nations of Europe, and that then they would be swallowed up. Moreover, they were mostly settled by Spaniards and their cousins, the Portuguese; and tho they fought and won their independence as the United States did from Great Britain, yet they still feel the ties of blood and of language and of religion. Stranger things have happened, than that they should lend their aid to the Mother country, if they saw her being worsted. They know little of love or sympathy for the oppressed: they do know pride; and it is already leading to subscriptions of money for Spain.
Moreover, the comments of the newspapers of Great Britain favorable to the United States, suggesting that the British could never stand idly by and see the United States crushed, and advocating an offensive and defensive treaty between the countries, laid great stress upon the ties of Anglo-Saxon blood between the nations. And this has stirred the
of the Latin races, especially the French, and their journals now announce that France could never lie passive and see Spain crushed--for they are of the same blood and of the same religion. And the latest news is that the French fleet is being put into readiness for action.
How comforting and heart assuring to be able to look by faith to our Lord and Master and to realize that he is at the helm; not only to supervise particularly the affairs and interests of his consecrated saints, but also in a more general way to guide the nations and their affairs so as to humble them all and dash them all in pieces as a potter's vessel in the great time of trouble by which his better Kingdom will be introduced. The more the billows near us roll, the more let us hold to our anchorage within the vail.
"Faith has dropped her anchor, found her rest."
AN ANSWER TO THE QUEEN REGENT OF SPAIN.
Royalty is no longer above criticism even in Spain. The spirit of liberty there finds ability to reason and to note the selfishness of rulers. In proof we quote a comment on the queen's recent speech before the Cortes, urging the retention of Cuba as a part of her son's patrimony, at any cost. It is from the Madrid newspaper,
"On reading the words of your majesty we cannot hide from our queen the fact that they fill us with profound sadness. Your majesty says nothing of the employment that has been given our 200,000 sons hurried away from productive work in order to fight for the fatherland, and the king, his majesty; and makes no mention of the 2,000,000 pesetas, earned by the sweat of our brow, which we contributed to preserve intact our honor. You say nothing about the matter in which gold and blood have changed places, nor how the gold and blood are to be regained. We can understand, madam, that in your august heart a large place is occupied by your son, our king, but for a similar reason, your majesty will understand that in our soul there predominates a deep anxiety for our 200,000 sons, your subjects. Your majesty speaks to us only of what is yours. It constitutes an enthusiastic hymn to motherly love. Athwart this speech, madam, we see a mother bending over a cradle, but we seek in vain for a queen bending over a tomb, which appears
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to open to receive an ill-starred nation. Still, with that nobility of soul that has enabled us to bestow a name and character upon Spain, we receive your request and have no objection to protect the throne of yourself and the king, in remembrance of that other king, your consort, whose memory, as we have noted with much pain, was not mentioned yesterday from your august lips. But now let us speak of ourselves, because if we perish will not ruin overtake your son? If we be dishonored by ignominious defeat, will not your throne be soiled by the mud in which we are buried?"
Would that we could see such loyalty to the true King and Kingdom by the Spaniards and all nations. No Christian heart can do otherwise than sympathize with these sorrowing people who prefer to bury all their sons and all their wealth, rather than mortify and bury their pride.
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"LET HIM THAT THINKETH HE STANDETH TAKE HEED."
"All these things happened unto them for ensamples [types]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."--`1 Cor. 10:11,12`.
IN THE `ten preceding verses`, the Apostle has pointed out that, as Israel after the flesh was a type of spiritual Israel, so the various evidences of divine favor toward them were types of the greater favor of God bestowed upon his Church in the Gospel age-- spiritual Israel.
As the consecrated people of God are now baptized into Christ, the Mediator of the new Covenant, the appointed leader of the Lord's people,--their wills immersed into his will, their personal identity lost sight of in their identity as members of the body of Christ (beautifully illustrated in symbol in water baptism), so this was typified in the immersion of all the Israelites, when they passed through the Red Sea, with the waters rising on either side as a wall and with the waters of the cloud overhead: they were all thus baptized, buried, unto Moses, in the cloud and in the sea. They all recognized him as the leader upon whom depended their deliverance from Egypt and their finding of the promised land.
So also our spiritual food, the bread which cometh down from heaven--Christ and his word of truth, the gospel of his salvation, were typified in Israel's case by the manna which fell for them daily, and was for a long time their only sustenance. As we require the spiritual food continually, as our daily bread, to give us strength for the journey of life toward the heavenly Kingdom, so fleshly Israel had need of the manna, provided for their strengthening in their way to the typical Kingdom. As the truth and the spirit of the truth must be sought daily by us, if we would enjoy its benefits, and as it is found in small particles, here a little and there a little, and as it requires searching for and pains-taking labor to gather our daily portion of grace and heavenly food and experience in spiritual things, by searching the Scriptures, etc., so this also was typified in natural Israel's experience. They could not gather a stock of manna for the future. It was their daily bread, daily sought. Nor did they find it in large pieces and without difficulty. On the contrary, those who would be fed must pains-takingly gather up its small pieces, and with diligence. Thus "they did all eat of the same spiritual food"--or rather, they did all eat of the food which had a spiritual significance.
As the Lord's consecrated people now have the refreshment of his grace all along the journey of life, and whenever weary and thirsty may come to the Lord for refreshment, and whenever needing purification, may come to the washing of the water through the Word of him who died for us,--so this spiritual truth was typified to fleshly Israel. When in their journeyings they famished for water and cried unto Moses, and Moses cried unto the Lord for them, relief was granted through the smiting of the rock, which typified the smiting of Christ at the hands of the Law, as our atonement sacrifice, our redemption price. As the grace which flows to us through Christ comes as a result of his being smitten for us, his death on our behalf, so the waters flowed to Israel as a result of the smiting of the typical rock. It was dry before the smiting--the waters gushed forth after the smiting. And not only did they drink of the waters freely at that time, but the waters formed a brook which went with them for a long time in their subsequent journey through the wilderness. Thus they did all drink of the same spiritual drink--of the drink which had a spiritual significance, for they drank of the rock which was typical or had a spiritual significance, the waters of which went with them, and that rock was Christ in type, and that water represented the grace of God in Christ.
Having thus established the identity of fleshly Israel's experiences with the experiences and favors of spiritual Israel, the Apostle is ready to enforce from these a lesson. He would have us note that not only God's favors were typical, but that Israel's conduct with respect to these favors was typical of the conduct of nominal spiritual Israel in respect to the realities, the antitypes. "With many of them God was not well pleased:" this implies that he will not be well pleased with many in the nominal spiritual Israel.
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Again, many of the typical people, "were overthrown in the wilderness:" so the proper inference is that many of nominal spiritual Israel will be overthrown in the wilderness and fail to reach the antitypical Canaan. For "these things were our figures, examples,--to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted." The thought seems to be that in their experiences God gave us a lesson, or illustration, of what results would come to us if we received his mercies and favors in an improper manner. They were object lessons in wrongdoing, and God's treatment of the wrongdoers was intended to instruct us in respect to what would happen to us if we, blessed with the antitypical favors, should misuse them, and desire or lust after the former things, the sinful things which we left when we quitted the world (typified by Egypt) to follow Christ (typified by Moses).
The Apostle then itemizes some of the notable mistakes made by typical Israelites, and suggests that the temptations of spiritual Israel are along the same lines, only on a higher plane--that their experiences and temptations were typical of the temptations which we must expect to endure, and which he urges us to overcome.
(1) Idolatry. He points out how Israel was exposed to idolatrous influences and yielded to them, leaving it for us to apply the lesson to ourselves, and to find what idols are most alluring to spiritual Israelites. Alas! we find that idolatry is very common amongst the nominal spiritual Israelites. Idolatry is the inordinate or undue respect, homage, reverence, or devotion paid to any person, system or thing,--aside from the Lord. Judged by this standard, how many are idolaters! Some idolize money, wealth: they are so devoted to it, so enslaved to it, that they can scarcely think of anything else; they bend all their energies to its service, even at the cost of dwarfing their moral and intellectual powers, and at the cost of health, and sometimes even the loss of name and fame are risked by the devotees of this idol. This is one of the oldest as well as one of the most reverenced of all the idols of Christendom.
Another idol is Self: reverence paid to this idol is known as selfishness. Its worship has a very ignoble and debasing effect upon its worshipers. It is worshiped under various forms and name--pride, selfish ambition, self-esteem, boastfulness, love of show, tyranny, unreasonable self-will, self-ease regardless of others, gratification of passions, gluttony, drunkenness. After all these things do the Gentiles seek; but true Israelites are supposed to have left or put off all these, when they left Egypt, the world, to become followers of God as dear children, no longer to worship at the shrine of self, but to worship God and to more and more seek and strive after the spirit of his holiness-- Love.
Another idol much worshipped is Denominationalism: this form of idolatry had become so popular in nominal spiritual Israel that anyone who does not worship at some of its many shrines is regarded as almost a heathen. One of the principal shrines is Roman Catholicism; another, Greek Catholicism; another, Methodism; another, Pan-Presbyterianism--indeed, there are so many of these shrines that we cannot take time to enumerate them. Suffice it to say that those which do not count their worshippers by millions, count them at least by thousands and hundreds of thousands.
This is one of the most dangerous idolatries of all. Its influence upon many is most insidious, for it has a "form of godliness"--it closely resembles the true worship of deity but is delusive and ensnaring in the extreme. Whoever becomes a fervent devotee at these shrines is apt to bind himself hand and foot, and in doing so often thinks, mistakenly, that he does God service. The true Israelite should awake to the fact that there is but one proper object of devotion--to whom his consecrations should be made, and his every power of service rendered--God only.
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(2) He points out that with them the sin of fornication was prevalent and caused many of them to fall--24,000, as is recorded in `Num. 25:1-9`. As the food they ate typified something higher, as the water they drank typified something better, as the idolatry they practiced found its parallel in more subtle besetments to Spiritual Israel, so their fornication foreshadowed a fornication on a higher plane, and along more subtle lines. While deprecating this sin in the form in which Israel transgressed, we are glad to believe that it is far from being a common or general sin in Spiritual Israel to-day, even as the lower forms of idolatry, the worshiping of the golden calf, etc., are not common to-day, indeed, never practiced amongst those who profess to be of Spiritual Israel. The temptation before Spiritual Israel, which was illustrated by fornication in fleshly Israel, is of a more insidious kind, and we are frequently warned against it, in the book of Revelation. (See `Rev. 2:21`; `14:8`; `17:2,4,5`; `18:3`; `19:2`.) The use of the word in these cases cited seems to imply as its higher meaning or symbolical significance any illicit fellowship with the world, on the part of those who have betrothed themselves to be God's consecrated people: in other words, fellowship in spirit with those who have not the spirit of the Lord, but the spirit of the world. To how large an extent is this improper course, this sinful fellowship, indulged in by the professed Church of Christ! Are not the worldly not only invited but almost pressed into foremost positions in the nominal Church, while those who are
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faithful to the Lord and who stand aloof from and rebuke worldly aims and methods, are disesteemed as being fanatical and peculiar people? How many will
through this cause!
(3) "Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted [their leader Moses], and were destroyed of serpents." The reference here evidently is to `Num. 21:4-9`, which relates how the Israelites rebelled against God's leading at the hand of Moses, and relented that they had started in the wilderness journey for Canaan, and spoke against the manna--desiring the leeks, onions and fleshpots of Egypt, and in consequence were bitten by fiery serpents, so that many of them died. This would seem to represent a tendency or temptation to Spiritual Israelites to lose their appreciation for spiritual things, for the bread of divine truth, and a hungering instead after the pleasures, ambitions, etc., of the world; a rebellion against the providential leadings of the Lord, which are intended not only to bring them ultimately to Canaan, but meanwhile to discipline and fit them and prepare them to enjoy its blessings everlastingly. Such an evil condition, such a yielding to worldly appetites and desires on the part of any, will surely expose them to the bite of the great serpent of sin, whose poison will effectually destroy in them the spiritual life. Any who have already been bitten by such worldly ambitions and desires, are by this lesson taught to look away speedily from themselves to the Crucified One, if they would have life--if they would recover from the bite of the serpent.
at him who was made a sin offering for us, him who knew no sin of his own, and behold how he who was rich for our sakes became poor, and how he left honor and riches of glory to become our deliverer and to bring us to the heavenly Canaan, they will have such a lesson in humility, and submission to divine providence, and in waiting for the exaltation and glory which God hath in reservation for them that love him, that they will recover from the bite of the serpent. Nevertheless, many in Spiritual Israel have been thus bitten who never recover, because they keep looking upon the serpents and keep under the influence of the evil, instead of looking away to him who is the author and by and by will be the finisher of our faith.
(4) "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer." The reference here seems to be to the account given in `Num. 16` of a conspiracy on the part of certain leaders of the people, two hundred fifty, "famous in the congregation," who resented the leadership of Moses and declared themselves equally competent, and better qualified, to do the work of leading Israel and ministering to them in holy things. The result of this conspiracy was (1) that the conspirators were destroyed (`vss. 28-35`), and (2) that many of the people of Israel, being in sympathy with the conspirators, were offended and blamed Moses for having caused the death of the conspirators; in consequence of which the Lord visited upon them the plague; they were "destroyed of the destroyer," and nearly 15,000 perished (`vss. 41-49`). The lesson of this example, written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the age have come, seems to be (1) that we are to expect
leadings of divine
in connection with the journey of Spiritual Israel. We are not to regard the matter of the Christian progress of the past eighteen centuries as being merely of human leadership, nor to think, therefore, that human leaders could to-day take hold of Israel's affairs and right matters and bring in the Millennium, as the higher critics, social reformers and religious politicians of our day propose to do. The Lord, the antitype of Moses, is still at the helm, still guiding; nor will he permit the matter to be taken out of his hands. Altho Canaan has not been reached as yet, and altho the journey has been a long and tedious one, with numerous trials and besetments, nevertheless, it has been accomplishing what God designed in the way of valuable lessons and experiences which his people could not do without, and yet be prepared for the inheritance promised. We are to draw from this ensample, also, the lesson that the Lord is at the helm in respect to the very smallest affairs which affect his Zion, that "he setteth up and he pulleth down," and that whosoever attempts to place himself in position in the Church, is violating the divine arrangement, as it is written, "Now God hath set the various members of the body as it hath pleased him." Whosoever, therefore, shall conspire in any manner to overthrow the divine arrangement, will be summarily dealt with by the antitypical Moses. Moreover, all who sympathize with those whom the Lord shall overthrow will be in danger also of dying the second death, because of being murmurers against the Lord and lacking of sympathy with his arrangements or providences.
Based upon these examples from the past, the Apostle urges us, the Gospel Church, each individual Israelite, to be on guard lest we should fall from the Lord's favor and fail to enter Canaan, after the manner of the examples herein set before us, and which the Lord provided for this very reason. It is the common thought, especially with those who are in most danger, that they cannot fall, that they are secure, just as some of the transgressors, herein mentioned, boasted that they were God's holy people, saying, "All the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them." (`Num. 16:3`). Boastfulness is not a sign of piety, but rather the reverse. Meekness
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and humility, a realization of our own littleness and of the Lord's greatness, is the most favorable condition for those who would keep faithfully on the pilgrim way and reach the Canaan of promise. Thus the Apostle stated it respecting himself, saying, "When I am weak, then I am strong." It is when we realize our own weakness that we realize also our dependence upon the Lord and are willing to be guided of him in his way. Hence, the Apostle in this lesson specially exhorts that those who feel that they are standing, who feel strong, who feel that they are in no danger, shall take special heed to the examples hereinbefore presented, lest they fall.
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THE MARRIAGE FEAST.
--MAY 8.--`MATT. 22:1-14`.--
"Come; for all things are now ready."--`Luke 14:17`.
A CAREFUL scrutiny of this parable, as found in Matthew's record, shows it to be in full accord with the similar parable recorded in `Luke (14:16-24`), tho they differ somewhat in minor details. It is therefore wise to study the two records in unison.
Both records show three distinct calls to the marriage supper, or rather three divisions or parts to the one call which gathers the guests. There can be no difference of opinion respecting what the parable signifies: the thought brought to our attention is the same which pervades the Scripture throughout, namely, that God is selecting from among mankind a peculiar people, a little flock, to be joint-heirs with Christ Jesus, their Lord, in his Kingdom and in all the gracious work of that Kingdom, and symbolized as a "chaste virgin" who enters into a covenant of betrothal to the King's Son, her Redeemer and Lord, in harmony with which ultimately the great marriage shall take place, and the virgin become "the Bride, the Lamb's wife."
This thought was enunciated by John the Baptist who, in introducing our Lord, presented him as the Bridegroom, saying: "He that hath the Bride is the Bridegroom, but the friend of the Bridegroom, when he heareth the Bridegroom's voice, rejoiceth greatly; this my joy, therefore, is fulfilled." John heard the Bridegroom and rejoiced, tho he was not invited to become one of the Bride class. The Lord had specially called Israel as his peculiar people, and had made ready his arrangements by which the
invitation to be
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the Bride of Christ was extended to the people of that nation. This invitation was given at our Lord's first advent, during the three and a half years of his ministry. His message, sent throughout all the land of Israel, was, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand; repent and believe the good tidings." This is the invitation mentioned in the third verse of our lesson, which was not heeded by Israel as a people. Following this, as we saw in our last lesson, their "house," or nation, was left desolate, Messiah was slain, etc.
But our Lord did not abandon the people of that nation, when he rejected the nation as a whole; and hence at his resurrection, in directing his apostles no longer to confine their efforts to Israel, but to preach the gospel to every creature, he added, "beginning at Jerusalem." And we know that for a number of years following the crucifixion, the gospel message went again to Israel, under the power and blessing of the holy spirit, operating upon the apostles. Speaking of this, the Apostle Paul said to some of the Jews, "It was necessary that the Gospel should be preached first to you."--`Acts 13:46`.
This was the
call to the marriage, recorded in `verse 4`. It says, "Tell them which
-- previously bidden, and who had during the three and a half years of our Lord's ministry refused to come. Moreover, now the servants were commissioned to tell them that "the oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things ready." This comprehensive statement of readiness could not be made in the first invitation, before our Lord's death; for he himself, in his own sacrifice for sin, was the bullock that was killed, and it is the eating of his flesh, given for the life of the world, that is to bring eternal life to as many as receive him.*
To the first call none seem to have responded, save the servants only who bore the message. To the second call some responded, tho only a remnant, as is shown by `Luke's account (vss. 21,22`). Moreover, the second call is shown to have been not to the righteous and prominent ones among the Jews, but to the morally and mentally poor, blind, and maimed--not to the Temple class of Israel, the leaders of religious thought, the Scribes and Pharisees, but to the poor, found in the streets and lanes of that city or kingdom. This second message found a considerable number of this apparently inferior and unsuitable class, and gathered them for the wedding, where they were made presentable under the provided "wedding garments." Respecting the gathering, under this call, notice the record found in `Acts 2:41,47` and `4:4`--three thousand were found willing in one day and five thousand subsequently. Nevertheless, as the Apostle Paul clearly shows, these Israelites who received the message of grace after the day of Pentecost, under this second call of the parable, were but a
as compared with the whole of Israel
--signification of the fatted bullock of the sin offering, page 34.
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--but a part as compared to the entire number predestinated to be the number of the elect Church, the Bride of Christ.
In proof of his assertion that only a remnant of Israel was acceptable to God, Paul quotes Isaiah, the prophet, saying, "Isaiah also crieth concerning Israel, Tho the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a
shall be saved." (`Rom. 9:27`.) Paul proceeds to show that "the fall of them was the riches of the world," and that in consequence of their not completing the elect number, not providing the full complement of guests to the great marriage feast, therefore the invitation was extended beyond them to the Gentiles. He points out that God spared not the natural branches of the olive tree, but broke off the unfit ones, and during this age has been grafting Gentiles into the places formerly reserved for Israelites according to the flesh, in connection with the root and fatness of the great divine promises to Abraham's Seed.--`Rom. 11`.
It was after the remnant had been gathered out from the "streets and lanes," and after the great and influential of that nation had rejected the divine invitation to the marriage feast, and had imprisoned the King's messengers, the apostles, and had slain some of them (See `Acts 8:1-4`; `12:1-3`, etc.), that God sent his judgments against that city or government, and utterly destroyed it, in a great time of trouble, referred to in `verse 7` of this lesson. John the Baptist, speaking of that trouble, likened it in parable to "fire," whose work was to burn up the chaff of that nation. This was the baptism of fire which came upon them, in contradistinction to the baptism of the holy spirit, which came upon the Israelites indeed, who accepted the invitation to the marriage feast. (`Matt. 3:11`.) It was respecting this fire and wrath that John said to the scribes and Pharisees who came to his baptism, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (`Matt. 3:7`; `Luke 3:7`.) Concerning this same destruction of these rejectors of the divine favor, the Apostle Paul wrote, saying that they "killed the righteous, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved;--to fill up their sins alway: for WRATH IS COME
upon them to the uttermost."
--`1 Thess. 2:15,16`.
Thus the way was left open for the
division of the call to the marriage feast (the call of the Gentiles) by reason of an insufficient number of worthy ones being found amongst those which were originally bidden--the Jews, the natural seed of Abraham. This third call, mentioned in `verse 9` of our lesson, and in `Luke 14:23`, is in both the accounts designated as a call in "the highways"--among the nations, the Gentiles, outside the city of the parable, which represents Israel. This call among the Gentiles has progressed for now more than eighteen centuries and, according to various lines of testimony in the Lord's Word, it has about accomplished the purpose intended, namely, the filling up of the elect, predetermined number which shall constitute the joint-heirs in the Kingdom, by becoming the Bride, the Lamb's wife.
Both evangelists state that a sufficient number will be found; and Matthew declares that "both good and bad" were amongst those found willing to participate in the feast. His description reminds us of another of our Lord's parables, illustrative of the same point, namely, the parable of the net which, being cast into the sea, caught fish, both good and bad,--suitable and unsuitable. The separation of the fish, gathering some into baskets for use, and casting the remainder back into the sea, implies a choice, a discrimination on the Lord's part, as between the numbers who eventually would profess to be of his Kingdom class and seek to share the feast, and those whom the Lord will esteem worthy, according to certain conditions and tests of character.
This part of the parable brings us down unquestionably to the close of the Gospel age; because the Gospel age is for the very purpose of calling those who shall participate in the marriage feast. If, therefore, it be true that we are in the end of this Gospel age, it implies that a sufficient number of worthy guests have been found, or, to reverse the proposition, If a sufficient number of worthy guests have now been found, it proves that we are in the close of this age. And just at this point the parable introduces another feature --for it was after the wedding
had been furnished
with a proper number of guests, that "the King came in" and began the inspection of the guests. This, we have elsewhere shown, marks the date April, 1878.* At that point of time therefore, we believe, on the strength of the testimony of the Scriptures, our Lord assumed the office of King, which he since holds, and will continue to exercise until he shall have overthrown present institutions, falsely called Christian institutions, dashing them "in pieces as a potter's vessel," in a great time of trouble symbolically spoken of as a time of "fire" and of overflowing "floods," and eventually reigning in righteousness for a thousand years, during which all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
This date, at which the Bridegroom takes his kingly authority and power, marks a special feature of dealing in connection with his consecrated Church-- the class gathered to the feast. The first part of the King's business, in the establishment of his Kingdom,
*MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. III., page 197.
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is, as we have seen, the judgment of the nations, and the Apostle Peter assures us that "judgment must
at the house of God." This judgment of the house of God, the consecrated Church, is shown in the parable by the statement that the King
or examined the guests. Among them he found worthy ones, evidently, and also unworthy ones which, in the parable, are represented by one man--a leader or representative of the class.
The unworthiness of this guest is represented in his lack of a wedding garment, hence it is important for us to ascertain the significance of such a garment. Secular history shows that the custom of that time amongst the Jews was that when any notable person made a feast of this kind, he provided for the occasion an outer robe or covering, for each guest, so that however different the guests might be in respect to their circumstances, wealth or apparel, on this occasion, while at the feast, as guests of one host, they were on a common level; for the wedding garments were alike, probably of white linen embroidered. The significance is readily seen. The Lord's people, gathered from every nation and people and tongue, are dissimilar in their intellectual, moral, physical and financial conditions, but when they have accepted the Lord Jesus, the redemption in his blood provided and an invitation to the wedding, they are reckoned as "new creatures in Christ Jesus," and all on a common footing--the robe of Christ's righteousness
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making up for the deficiencies of each one, so that there is no difference as respects previous situation or condition, bond or free, male or female, they are all one in Christ Jesus.--`Gal. 3:28`.
The class represented as without this wedding garment of Christ's righteousness is, therefore, very evidently a class which denies the necessity, value or merit of the great atoning sacrifice accomplished for us at Calvary,--denies totally any necessity for a covering for their sins--attempting to appear at the feast in the filthy rags of self-righteousness.
The appropriateness of the illustration is still further heightened by the knowledge that it was the custom of that day, not only to provide these garments, but to insist that each guest who would enter to the feast should first have on the wedding garment. Just so it is one of the explicit terms or conditions of the call to the great feast that God has prepared, that all who will come to it must first accept by faith the redemption which is in Christ Jesus our Lord--otherwise they can gain no admission. It follows, therefore, logically, that the guest found without a wedding garment must have taken off the wedding garment after he had entered as one of the guests, since he would not have been admitted without it. We can readily see the application of this in the Church. While none could have access to the grace of God in Christ without first accepting by faith the merit of his sacrifice as the ransom price for their sins, yet after having entered the grace of God, we find so many who do despite not only to the King who made the marriage feast, but also to the King's Son who has just assumed the office of King, by rejecting the robe of his righteousness, while attempting to enjoy the benefits of his grace.
Where may we look for this class? We answer, we may look for them in amongst the others, who still retain the wedding garment; and, as we should expect, it is especially since 1878 that the various no-ransom doctrines have come to the front,--"denying that the Lord
them." And these theories, in derogation of the ransom, seem to have a special fascination for certain classes: (1) For a class which is anxious to appear more independent in thought, and to be known as critics and advanced thinkers. (2) They have fascination for a class whose consecration is lax, or partial only, and who like to take a broad view and to claim universal salvation, partly because they realize that they are not walking in the narrow way of self-sacrifice.
At all events, such a class is to be expected at the present time, and such a class we find quite numerous; some of them openly scoffing at the thought that a ransom was necessary or was given, others tacitly acknowledging the ransom, but in heart and in life denying it: ignoring the logical consequences, and propriety of participation with the Lord in the sufferings of this present time.
The parable shows that at this juncture the
of the guests has been gathered, and are in the house of their host. We may imagine the provision for their entertainment, the reception room, its brilliant illumination, etc., and these correspond in our case, to the blessings enjoyed by the
of the consecrated Church now. With us, too, the light has been turned on (since 1874); we are enjoying many of the blessings provided by our host, the Lord, and we have before us the menu describing to some extent "the things which God hath in reservation for them that love him." We can even occasionally see some of the preparations for the great feast progressing, and it is from such favorable conditions, into the ignorance, uncertainty and "outer darkness" of the world, that all who do not have on the wedding garment shall be thrust or forced.
It was in 1878 that the importance of the wedding garment was particularly drawn to our attention, and since that time there has been continual evidence before us of the binding and going into outer darkness of such as have taken off the wedding garment. Of course, it is not a literal binding: it is accomplished by the presentation
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of the truth, in contradistinction to the error; the influence of the truth being the binding or restraining influence circumventing the error, on this subject. It is the duty of all who see the truth on the subject of the ransom to be thoroughly loyal to the King, and to thus assist in binding, restraining with the truth, any whom they find exercising influence to the contrary. It is our experience that all who lose respect for and trust in the merit of the precious blood of Christ as the redemption price of the world, go
into the outer darkness of the world in respect to the divine plan, etc.
In the parable it is said that in the outer darkness there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is generally understood to mean "eternal torment," "hell-fire," altho those who offer such an interpretation seem to entirely ignore the fact that outer darkness and inner fire would be opposites of thought: wherever there is fire, the darkness is absent; where darkness prevails, fire is absent. Moreover, they claim that people will be shut up
hell, whereas in the parable the place or condition is an outside place. None of the conditions favor the ordinary interpretation, tho all favor the interpretation which we are giving. The wailing and gnashing of teeth among those of the outer darkness of the world and of the nominal church has not yet commenced; but, as the parable states it, by and by,
"there shall be
weeping and gnashing of teeth." And those who are now ejected from the light and from all participation in the joys and blessings of the present time will have their portion, their share in the great time of trouble coming upon the whole world, which is thus signified, "a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation." None then living shall escape that trouble, except the little flock, the Kingdom class, the Bride class, to whom the Lord said, "Watch ye, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all those things coming upon the world."
Our Lord sums up the significance of this parable, as meaning that "Many are called but few are chosen." How true! Not all have been called to this marriage feast. Hundreds of millions never heard a word about it all through these eighteen centuries, and hundreds of millions are living to-day without the slightest knowledge of it, and none of these can in any sense of the word be reckoned among the "called." Nevertheless,
have been called--all of the Jewish nation who had ears to hear the message were called, because they, by divine arrangement, were a covenanted people, to whom the first call belonged; but only a few of them were chosen. And so, during the offer of the Gospel to the Gentiles, it has gone to a comparatively small proportion of the whole Gentile world; nevertheless, it has reached millions during these eighteen centuries. The calling has extended to hundreds of millions of Christendom to-day, and a considerable portion of these, we may reasonably suppose, have ears to hear; nevertheless, they very generally choose to ignore the call: the vast majority find other attractions and ambitions--worldly and church power, wealth, influence, pleasure, ease, etc. Comparatively few therefore, care to accept the invitation. And finally, of those who have accepted, the Lord makes choice and separates and rejects all who do not accept the invitation and all its privileges as a grace, a favor. The others constitute the little flock, addressed by our Lord, saying, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom."
The inquiry naturally and properly arises: If the wedding was furnished with guests when the King came in--April, 1878--how can there be any room for others to come in now? We answer, that there would be no room for any to enter now, were it not for the inspection which is in progress, and the casting out of those who were not worthy. For each one of those cast out of the light and the privileges of the feast, there is an opening, an opportunity for another to take his place and to take the crown that was reserved for him.--See `Rev. 3:11`.
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THE DUTY OF WATCHFULNESS.
--MAY 15.--`MATT. 24:42-51`.--
"Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."--`Matt. 24:42`.
THIS injunction followed our Lord's great prophecy of the events of the Gospel age, recorded in `Matt. 24` and `Luke 17` and `21`. It is not an exhortation to watch the sky in hope of seeing our Lord's second coming, as some seem to understand it. On the contrary, our Lord had just explained that
the days of"
his second presence the world in general would be eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, and
know not of his
He had told them that in the time of his presence his people would be gathered from the field, the mill and the bed, to the food of present truth which he would supply; and that if at that time anyone should say to them, Lo here! or Lo there! Lo, he is in the secret chambers, or in the desert, they should
believe it not,
nor seek to see him thus, because the signs or evidences of his presence would not be secret ones, but would be manifest to all, as is the light of the morning sun.*
*See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., Chap. 5, and VOL. IV., Chap. 12.
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It is proper, also, to call attention to the fact that nothing whatever in the text, nor in the context, has the slightest reference to watching for death; such a statement is only justified by the fact that very many are inclined to give this very unreasonable meaning to the Master's words. Death is not our Lord, but, on the contrary, the great enemy--the "last enemy that shall be destroyed."--`1 Cor. 15:26`.
We are to watch the signs of the times, so carefully delineated by our Lord in the prophecy which precedes this exhortation to watchfulness. The tendency of the world, the flesh and the devil is to absorb our time, thought, interest and affections in worldly affairs, eating, drinking, marrying, building, planting, business, pleasure, sectarianism, and cunningly devised fables. Our Lord presents to us, as an
to these prevailing influences, first of all the thought that he is coming a second time, to receive us unto himself, to associate us with him in his Kingdom, and to employ us then in the great work of blessing all the families of the earth: secondly, by the prophetic delineation of the conditions that would prevail in the interim of our waiting he sought to divert our thoughts from the worldly conditions, and to give us therein something which would help to hold and fix our thoughts and affections and interests on higher things, and thus help to hold our interest and to have us always ready. It is thoroughly absurd, however, to claim that the multitudinous
of our Lord's prophecy are to be studiously ignored by the watchers. Such as give no heed to the "more sure word of prophecy" are not watching and will not know.
Hence, we conclude that the meaning of this exhortation, "Watch therefore," is that the Lord's people should be keeping note of the fact of his coming, and of the various incidents of the interim; not knowing how rapidly they might culminate, might ever live in the attitude of expectancy, and of readiness for his presence. This would imply, not readiness in a literal ascension robe, but readiness in a figurative ascension robe, namely, such a condition of heart and life as would be in readiness to welcome the Lord, and his scrutiny of our hearts and conduct; and efforts to copy his character and to serve his cause every moment. The tendency of things of the earth is to lull us to sleep along the lines of self-control and spiritual activity in the Lord's service, and Watching signifies to keep awake, to be on the alert, to be energetic. Those who have tried it can attest, that nothing is more helpful to wakefulness and energy in the Lord's service than the thought of his coming, and the examination of the prophecies which were given us with the very object of having us know something about the time of his coming, so that we should not be in darkness with the world, nor be overtaken by the day of the Lord as by a thief, unawares, as it will overtake the whole world.
This significance of the injunction to watchfulness is borne out by the subsequent exhortation in the form of a parable. Our Lord represents the world of mankind as a household, whose head or chief is the "Prince of this world," Satan, whose house is to be broken up in the great time of trouble with which this age shall end and the new age be introduced. If the world were aware of the time of the Lord's coming, and of the great dispensational changes then due, it would order its affairs differently, even tho its heart were not different from at present; hence it is that these things are spoken of in parables and "dark sayings," that worldly people may hear and not understand, and see and not believe at the present time, and so the day of the Lord will come upon them as a thief in the night, and as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape it. But ye, brethren,--all the faithful in Christ Jesus, who wait for his Kingdom and watch thereunto and seek to be prepared for it--ye will not be left in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Watch! Not that you may be deceived and know no more about the matter than the world which does not watch, but watch so that when the time does come you may know of it.--Compare `1 Thess. 5:1-9`.
`Luke says (12:41`) that Peter inquired whether or not this necessity for watching was applicable to the apostles merely, or to all? Our Lord's answer is in the nature of a question, which implies that during this Gospel age it would be his method to make use of certain agents or agencies in the presentation of dispensational truth. He inquires, Who then, at that time--at the time of the second presence of the Lord --is the faithful and prudent servant whom his master has placed over his household to give them food in due season? Who will it be? Whoever will occupy that position, happy will it be for him, if the Master, on coming, shall find him thus employed--diligent in his service of the household, dispensing meat in due season to the household of faith. If that servant shall continue faithful during the trials of the day of the presence, he will be continued at his post of service, and used as a channel for the dissemination of all the riches of grace and truth which will continue to be due to the household of faith. But should he lose his faith in the Master's presence, become arrogant and tyrannical to his fellow-servants, and intemperate in his words and deeds, the Master will be present nevertheless [his loss of faith in the presence will not change the fact], and he will be cut off from the office of steward, and separated from the household of faith entirely, and will
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have his portion with the hypocrites,--altho he was not one of the hypocrites but an unfaithful servant.
To have his portion with the hypocrites implies that he will share with them the great time of trouble which will follow the gathering together of the Lord's elect--the time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation, represented by the expression, "wailing and gnashing of teeth."--`Matt. 24:51`; `13:42`.
This answer to Peter's question, while it gives a particular prophecy respecting the Lord's dealing in the end of this age, gives also a suggestive hint to all who might be special servants or fellow-servants, that the greater and more important their service, the greater will be their responsibility to the Master.
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THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.
MAY 22.--`MATT. 25:31-46`.
"He shall reward every man according to his works."--`Matt. 16:27`.
MOST of our Lord's parables or illustrations represent some phase of the Kingdom of Heaven--the Church--either in its present embryotic and preparatory condition, or in its future majesty. For instance, the parable of the wheat and the tares shows the sowing of the good seed, the gospel of the Kingdom, by our Lord, and the development of that seed in the Church; the sowing amongst it of the false doctrines by the adversary, and the development from it of the false professors in the Church; the harvest time at the end of the age, followed by the burning of the tares--the destruction of the counterfeits as such, and the gathering of the wheat into the garner,-- which, our Lord explained, was an illustration of the glorification of the Church in Kingdom majesty: "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their father." But in the parable before us we have no such illustration of the Kingdom--the Kingdom of Heaven is not likened to, nor illustrated by, the matters presented in this parable. Quite to the contrary of this, it is a lesson or description of the matters which will transpire
the Kingdom of Heaven has been developed in this age, and after it has been glorified at the end of this age.
This is shown by `verse 31`, which distinctly states the time of its applicability:
the Son of Man shall come in his glory." We are to remember, in this connection, that the first event of the second advent is not the manifestation of glory, but the thief-like gathering (unknown to the world) of the elect "little flock," the "chaste virgin," to the Bridegroom, and her exaltation to the position of "the Bride, the Lamb's wife, filled with the glory of God." The revelation of our Lord's glory is not another coming, but another step or development during the same coming or
(parousia). "When he shall appear in glory, we also shall appear with him," explains the Apostle (`Col. 3:4`), and this view agrees with the Apostle's other statement that, as the wife is the glory of the husband, so the Church is the glory of Christ. Consequently, our Lord could not appear in his glory, according to his own arrangement as expressed through his own mouthpieces, until first he had associated the Bride with himself.
Hence, the scene of this parable is not a judgment scene respecting the Church, because before this scene begins, those who shall be accounted worthy of a share in the Kingdom shall be with the Lord in the throne of his glory, according to the promise, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne;" "To him that overcometh will I give power over the nations." The judgment scene here presented is the world's judgment, in which the Church shall share only as judges, as the Apostle explains, "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?"-- `1 Cor. 6:2`.
In full harmony with this is the statement of `verse 32`,
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that it is the nations of earth then gathered to judgment before the throne of glory--the great white throne of justice and impartiality--that are here pictured to us. But the day of the world's judgment is not such a day as it has been generally represented. It will not be a twenty-four hour day, but a larger day, a thousand years, for "a day with the Lord is as a thousand years" (`2 Pet. 3:8`): it is the long-promised Millennial day, in which the overcomers of this age shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years, and as kings and priests unto God shall bless the world by a righteous judgment.--`Rev. 5:9,10`; `20:4`.
This brings us to the thought that this great judgment day, so far from being merely a day of general damnation, is really the great blessing, the great boon, secured for the world by the death of Christ. Originally, through Adam's transgression, the entire race was under sentence of death, justly; and there was no need for anything further of future judgment or sentence, for the original sentence, "Dying thou shalt die," in its execution had utterly destroyed mankind, without hope. But when divine mercy provided the great "ransom for all," another judgment was thus provided; that is to say, another trial for life. The first judgment or trial for life in Eden had resulted disastrously to Adam and all his race, but the penalties of that judgment being borne by our Redeemer in
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his own body on the tree, Adam and his posterity are to be granted another trial, another opportunity to see whether or not, with their added experience, they would choose righteousness, and thereby choose the accompanying gift of God--eternal life; or whether they would choose sin and the accompanying penalty of sin--death; which, in this case, would be the Second Death; the penalty of failure under the second opportunity or trial.
God not only appointed the great redemption for sin, of which our Redeemer was the willing central figure, but he also appointed that the Redeemer should be the one through whom the blessings of the ransom --the second trial--should come to all: as it is written, "God hath appointed a day [the Millennial age, the seventh day, the seventh thousand-year period of earth's history] in which he [God] will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained [Jesus Christ]." And not only so, but having predestinated the adoption of a little flock to joint-heirship with Jesus in the Millennial Kingdom and its glory, its service and its judgment of the world, God has, during this Gospel age, preceding the day of judgment, granted a special, earlier trial to the Church.
The trial of the Church during this Gospel age is along lines considerably different from those which will be applied to the trial of the world in the next age. For instance, mankind in general shall be tried or judged according to their
during the Millennial age, as shown in this lesson, and in the Golden Text, and in `Rev. 20:12`; but the Church of this age is not judged according to its works, which could not be perfect because of the infirmities of the flesh, "for we have this treasure [the new nature] in earthen vessels." We are judged according to our
"This is the victory that overcometh the world [during this age, while the world is under the Prince of this world, Satan, and in antagonism to righteousness and the righteous], even your faith."
True, faith without works would be dead, and we are to show our faith by our works; but we are not to be judged by the imperfect works which are the utmost of our ability, but to be judged by our faith, which is reckoned unto us for righteousness--as full perfection: for, "The righteousness of the law [of God's demands] is [reckonedly] fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit."-- `Rom. 8:4`.
The great work of the Millennial age is briefly comprehended in the statement of `verse 33`, "He shall set his sheep on his right hand [position of favor] and the goats on his left." The wayward, wilful goat is chosen as a symbol to represent depraved humanity, while the docile sheep fitly represents those who are fully subjected to the Lord's will in every particular. Other scriptures show us that this division of mankind into two classes, the willing and obedient separated from the unwilling and disobedient, will be very gradually accomplished, with much patience, and with every opportunity for the sheep character to be developed by the whole world. For instance, speaking of that new dispensation and the patient and generous trial of mankind there to be granted by the Redeemer-Judge, the Prophet Isaiah shows that while all will be obliged to refrain from doing injury to others, for "nothing shall hurt or destroy in all my holy Kingdom," yet liberty to make progress, or not to make progress, under those favorable conditions will be left to each individual: and that those who refuse to make progress will die a hundred years old (the Second Death) because of having failed to benefit by the opportunities granted to them; altho then they will be but children--for they might live, by even outward conformity and progress, to the end of the day of judgment, till the close of the Millennium.-- `Isa. 65:17-20`.
The culminating scenes, marking the close of the Millennial age, are set forth in `verses 34-46`, tho in the reverse order to that given by the same Teacher in `Rev. 20:7-10, and 11-15`. The account in Revelation seems to indicate that the goat class will be dealt with first: a certain test, a deception by Satan, will manifest those who have the goatlike disposition of wilfulness still remaining in their hearts after they have enjoyed all the blessings of the "times of restitution." Those whose hearts are not completely won by the instruction and favorable opportunity for coming to a knowledge of God's goodness and wisdom and grace, will be destroyed with Satan, in the Second Death. Then will be ushered in the grand perfections of the eternal state, in which there shall be no more dying, no more crying, no more pain, because the former things--sin, and those who have unconsecrated dispositions disposed to sin, will be no more.
The reward to the righteous will then be in order, and they will be introduced to the Father by the Son, blameless and irreprovable in love. These will have been perfected through the processes of the restitution. They will be perfect men, in the image of God as was Adam, but with their knowledge of God infinitely enlarged by the experiences through which they will have passed. This is the delivering up of the Kingdom to God, even the Father--the cessation of the Millennial Kingdom, mentioned by the Apostle Paul. (`1 Cor. 15:24-28`.) Mankind will no longer need a mediator, but will then be able to stand in their own righteousness, as Adam could stand in his own righteousness before he transgressed.
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The mediatorial Millennial Kingdom of Christ and the Church, having accomplished its purpose, and being withdrawn, the dominion of the renewed earth will be handed over to the rule of its redeemed and restored rulers--humanity. Thenceforth man shall again be king of the earth, subject to the Great King, Jehovah, in whose "everlasting Kingdom" Christ and the Church will thereafter be associated. We may reasonably suppose that even perfect men will require some form of government, and that it will be a representative government, since every member of that human family will be perfect, and therefore equally a king with each other member. Such a government would be nothing more nor less than a republic, in which each individual is a sovereign, and one of their number is chosen as their servant or President.
This transfer of the earth's control to the renewed race is briefly represented in our Lord's words, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." It should be distinctly noted that this is a totally different kingdom from the one promised to the saints of this Gospel age, which is a joint-heirship with Christ in his Kingdom during the Millennial age, terminating, so far as the earth is concerned, at the close of the Millennium. The spiritual class and Kingdom was foreordained "from [BEFORE] the foundation of the world:" the earthly kingdom is here described as "prepared for you [restored and worthy humanity]
the foundation of the world." The earthly kingdom relates to the earth; and the foundation or preparation of the earth, which is its basis.
The character of the judgment is intimated, rather than described, in the words addressed to the approved and to the condemned. The reward is for good
indicative of sympathy, love, compassion; the punishment is for the neglect of good works, thus intimating the absence of good motives, tender, loving sentiments. Thus it appears, that those who will ultimately be accounted worthy of the Second Death will not be murderers, thieves, and liars, in the present-day acceptance of those terms, but those who lack evidences of the possession of the holy spirit whose fruits are meekness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness-- Love.
Our Lord's words summed up mean approval to those only who have at heart the disposition of love; and that such only will be adjudged worthy of eternal life. All who shall not attain to that graciousness of character, God-like-ness, will be rejected as unworthy of eternal life, and will die the Second Death. All who have not the spirit of love are "accursed," under that law of the New Covenant. Satan and all who (after the full opportunities of the Millennial age) still have to any degree his disposition or spirit of selfishness, lovelessness, will be accounted worthy of the Second Death, called, in `verse 46`, "everlasting punishment," in `verse 41`, "everlasting fire," and in `Rev. 20:10,14,15`, "the lake of fire;"--and there explained to be "the Second Death;"--"everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." The wages or punishment of sin being death, the hopelessness
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of any rescue or further redemption from death, makes that death an everlasting punishment.
For a further explanation of `verse 46` and of other similar texts, see
What Say the Scriptures about Hell?
--ten cents, 50 cents per dozen,--this office.
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THE LORD'S SUPPER.--MAY 29.--`MATT. 26:17-30`.
For this lesson, please see article in our issue of March 1, "The Memorial Supper."
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"THE MILLENNIAL DAWN CHRISTIANS."
"In the city of Birmingham [Ala.] there are several persons now working who call themselves 'Non-Sectarian Christians.' They have espoused the doctrines as promulgated in MILLENNIAL DAWN. I desire now not to speak specially of their doctrines, which seem to me to be mostly theories, but of their methods of spending time.
"They have worked this city from house to house, selling MILLENNIAL DAWN and circulating other brief literature. They talk their religion every chance, and preach on Sunday. They call themselves 'Colporteurs.' They have put over two thousand copies of their books in this city. Their books are in cheap binding. Most all of our literature [Christian Denomination] is too expensive. These books are being read. How I wish 2,000 copies of some of our books could be placed here!
"These young men live very economically. Four of them rent a room, use their own cheap cots, and cook their own victuals. They told me their meals averaged three and five-sevenths cents each.
"Now, why cannot we disseminate our literature and the Bible doctrine, as we understand it, in this way? The fact is, I fear, we have stagnated on methods, and God is gradually hinting to us that, if we do not get to moving forward, he will give us a back seat.
"It will not help the cause for you to become anxious as to my joining the Mormons or Age to Come Folks. The best
of propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ in its ancient purity, simplicity and power is what I am seeking, it makes no difference who is using it. This subject must be agitated."
The Gospel Messenger.
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[There are three ways in which devotion and self-sacrifice may be induced, (1) by vainglory; (2) by superstition; (3) by a knowledge of the Truth in a consecrated heart. The first has plenty of illustrations in business and politics; the second plenty in heathenism and Roman Catholicism; the last is the energizing power in the Colporteur brethren, whose devotion is noted. Error is surrounded by the glitter and tinsel of public approval; it is backed by wealth and immense influence, yet it must provide its ministers with titles and honors and every comfort to secure their service. Those who receive the Truth into good and honest hearts cannot restrain themselves. They must tell the good tidings to others. Compare the message now going forth and the one which went forth at the First Advent, and then compare the effects of both, and you have the secret.--EDITOR.]
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Words cannot express the joy I feel after perusing the wonderful truths of MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOLS. I., II., and III. Oh! how I love the Word of God--the Bible--and its Author more and more, ever since the Lord through one of his messengers directed my attention to one of those little tracts which I found in the library case of the Railroad Y.M.C.A., when I went to look for some good book to read. That little tract, The Wages of Sin, led me to look at others that were there, until I had read them all; and I was so pleased to see they were just as the Scriptures teach. What a flood of light came in upon some heretofore dark and difficult passages of Scripture! In fact, after I had gotten through reading MILLENNIAL DAWN, which I sent for at the earliest opportunity, the Bible had indeed become a new book to me, and God's plan so different from what I had always believed; and the beauty of it all is, I had not the slightest doubt from the beginning but that it is really and truly our heavenly Father's plan.
Sixteen months ago I was converted from Roman Catholicism to Protestantism, at a series of meetings held here. Before that I was very much pronounced against Protestantism, as I of course believed that the Catholic Church was the true Church, and the others only rotten branches of the same. In my young days I was an altar boy and was very devout, and indeed, my parents thought I would choose to be a priest, but after going through the Catholic school, I drifted into the printing office and became a compositor, and nearly ever since have followed that vocation.
Altho I had read a great deal, especially Romish papers and books, I never was aware that that church was such a blood-thirsty tyrant, and that she was the author and instigator of so many fiendish outrages. In fact, I did not know that she ever persecuted. Catholics are generally ignorant of this fact. They seem to think that all the persecution was on the other side. They are cautioned about reading "profane" history, as they call it;
all history that is not authorized by their church. Up to the time when I was consecrated I never read the Bible, but had only a glimmering knowledge of some of its sayings and parables. I believed firmly that Peter was the first Pope and that he lived in Rome, and that the Church was founded upon him and not upon the truth he uttered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
I am anxious to spread the glad tidings everywhere, as I am now nearly every day telling them to some one. Some think I am backsliding, while others believe the good news. I would like to know what arrangements can be made as to the sale of these valuable books. Of course, I never sold books, but I am greatly impressed that they would sell, especially to the right parties. I am anxious to put them as rapidly as possible into the hands of the brethren, along with the WATCH TOWER. I would like to engage in the work. Hoping to hear from you at your earliest opportunity,
Yours in Christ, JAMES S. O'ROURKE.
[This brother has since received DAWN, VOL. IV., and entered the Colporteur work; and the Lord is still blessing him and blessing his efforts to the good of others.--EDITOR.]
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--The light that has come to me through the DAWNS and WATCH TOWER is such that I feel it is both a duty and a pleasure to write to you. The four volumes of DAWN have been read again during the last eight months, and a larger portion of God's Word has thus been studied with a degree of understanding and enjoyment that was never before possible to me.
My prayer now is that I may be shown the work that the Lord has
for me to do
and that strength and courage may be given me to do it. I dare not presume to be a teacher, having so much yet to learn, but I try to let no opportunity pass of calling attention to the DAWNS, TOWERS, etc., and have given away some copies, and hope to be able to do more in this line.
I am peculiarly hindered from meeting with the few who have "come out" for the purpose of serving God in the liberty and in the light of present truth. I hope that the hindrance may be overcome, and that I may enjoy the fellowship of those who are striving to serve God in spirit and in truth. May their number increase, both here and elsewhere. With the fervent wish that God will prosper you in the work you are doing, I close, leaving unsaid many things that I would like to say, for fear of taking time that might be more usefully spent.
Yours in the Lord's work, C. H. FULLER.
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MY DEAR BROTHER:--You remember my speaking of an old German here whom I found just before starting for Allegheny, who was so loyal to the Bible and to Jesus? Well, I called on him the other day. I do not know that I ever found a happier man. He had found a "new Bible" and a "new God," and he said, "Why didn't I know this before?" He had read the DAWNS once and almost a second time; says he has been trying to serve Christ for 72 years through much trial, even the threatening of death at the hands of his own brother for leaving the church, and now he says he has learned more about the Bible the last few weeks than during all the rest of his life. Such is the testimony for the truth in honest humble, loyal hearts everywhere. Praise the Father for his Truth!
Your brother in Christ, W. E. VANAMBURGH.