ZWT - 1910 - R4539 thru R4732 / R4562 (049) - February 1, 1910
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VOL. XXXI FEBRUARY 1 No. 3
A.D. 1910--A.M. 6038
The Great Priest Will Mediate..................... 51
Will Ancient Worthies Need a Mediator?........ 52
Passover Lamb and the World's Sin............. 53
The Second Adam and Eve........................... 54
The Prophet of Galilee............................ 54
The Teacher and the Lesson........................ 55
Perfect as Your Father Is Perfect................. 57
Hypocrisy a Foe to Godliness...................... 58
Forgiveness Versus Malice......................... 59
World's Mediator Our Advocate..................... 60
Following a Suggestion Successfully............... 61
Delivered From the Fowler......................... 61
Infidel Objection Answered........................ 61
Some Interesting Letters.......................... 62
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.
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THE MEMORIAL CELEBRATION
In the interest of readers in the uttermost parts of the earth, we note the fact that the time for the celebration of the Memorial Supper this year will be the evening of Friday, April 22, after six o'clock, which marks the beginning of the 14th day of the Month Nisan according to Jewish reckoning. That night corresponds to the one on which our Lord was betrayed. The following day corresponds to the date of his crucifixion, and Sunday, April 24, beginning at 6 P.M., on the
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23d, will be the first day of the Jewish Passover week.
We refer our readers to the Sixth Volume of the Scripture Studies, Chapter XI., entitled "The Passover of the New Creation." There we have endeavored to set forth this subject in detail. We hope that all of God's dear people who trust in the merit of the precious blood of Christ for justification will celebrate this Memorial of the great Sacrifice of our Lord. And let us not forget that it also memorializes the consecration to death of all the members of the Body of Christ. "If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him." "If we be dead with him, we shall also reign with him." "This cup is the New Testament in my blood.".."Drink ye all of it."--`Luke 22:20`; `I Cor. 11:25`; `Mark 10:38`.
BIBLE STUDY HELPS, CLOTH AND LEATHER
These are same as in the latest WATCH TOWER Bibles. Cloth, 50c; leather, $1.25.
FOUR SPECIAL SERVICES SUNDAYS--JAN. 16, 23, 30
AND FEB. 6--BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC
(Lafayette Avenue and St. Felix Street.)
CHURCH FEDERATION--COUNTING THE COST
Jan. 16, 3.00 p.m.--Topic: "What Congregationalists, Methodists and Presbyterians Must Surrender."
Jan. 23, 3.00 p.m.--Topic: "What Baptists, Disciples and Adventists Must Surrender."
Jan. 30, 3.00 p.m.--Topic: "What Episcopalians, Catholics and Lutherans Must Surrender."
Feb. 6, 3.00 p.m.--Topic: "The Church Militant's Surrender to the Church Triumphant."
Because of its large seating capacity, these will be held in the Academy of Music instead of the Brooklyn Tabernacle. However, a testimony meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m. each of these Sundays in the Tabernacle, and a plain luncheon will be served at noon, also in the evening at 6:00 p.m., preceding a question meeting at 7:30 p.m.
An opportunity for Baptism will be arranged for the evening of Jan. 23.
NORFOLK, VA., FEB. 13
WILMINGTON, N.C., FEB. 14
CHARLESTON, S.C., FEB. 15
SAVANNAH, GA., FEB. 16
JACKSONVILLE, FLA., FEB. 17
CUMBERLAND, MD., FEB. 27
BROOKLYN, N.Y., MARCH 6.
MID-WINTER SOUTHERN CONVENTION AT
TAMPA, FLA., FEB. 18-21
In response to requests for another Southern Convention, arrangements have been made for sessions to be held in Tampa during the time of the "Panama Canal Celebration."
The rates are favorable: From anywhere in the United States, one and one-third fare for the round trip, and from Florida points, one fare plus 75 cents for the round trip.
Reasonable rates for meals and lodging may be arranged for by addressing Mr. D. R. Akin, 2824 Elmore St., Tampa, Fla.
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THE GREAT PRIEST WILL MEDIATE
A PRIEST in the only true sense is a mediator between God and fallen creatures, to restore and establish harmony on a legal basis. I inquire then, Is not Jesus the Priest to the Church and would not this imply that he is the Church's Mediator, to restore and establish harmony on a legal basis?"
We answer, No. After we have become members of the Church we are New Creatures, to whom old things have passed away and all things have become new and against whom there is no condemnation. The New Creatures are not to be restored. It is not true that we were New Creatures at first and fell from that condition and are to be restored to it. We fell as human creatures, and as such we are never to be "restored to harmony with God on a legal basis." Such restitution God has provided for the world during the Millennium, but not for the Church. As New Creatures we are members of the Priest who is to thus restore the world--our Lord is the Head and we are his "members." The picture of the future is that of Melchisedec's--a priest upon his throne.
When we read, "Consider Jesus, the High Priest of our profession," the meaning is, the Chief Priest of our kind or order of priests. We are to consider him as our example, that, as his members, we may present our sacrifices as he, our Forerunner, presented him. As a priest in receiving us as members of his own Body, the Church, his attitude toward us would necessarily be as different as is the relationship into which we are received. Jesus received the Apostles on account of their faith and consecration before he died for their sins and before he "appeared in the presence of God for us" to make atonement for their sins and ours and to secure for them and for us the evidence of reconciliation to the Father--the holy Spirit begetting. He has appeared for all of the same class--not as Mediator, but as an Advocate applying his blood on our behalf because of our faith and obedience.
HE IS ADVOCATE FOR ALL WHO OBEY HIM
"I notice that you make a clear distinction between the Church and the world in the matter of sin-atonement--proving (I believe Scripturally), that our Lord has thus far made atonement to Justice only on behalf of consecrated believers, and that atonement will not be made for the sins of the world until the end of this Gospel Age, when the great Priest will present the merit of his ransom sacrifice on behalf of the world, as it is now appropriated to the Church: only that now it is granted to the Church as a basis for sacrifice unto death of the flesh and all of its earthly rights, whereas the appropriation of the future to the world will be unto life and actual restitution.
"I notice also your presentation that the drawing of the world will be during the Millennial Age, and by the great
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Messiah under the New Covenant arrangements and that the calling of believers during this Gospel Age is not by the Son but by the Father, and not under the New Covenant, but under the Abrahamic Covenant. I agree that the Scriptures you cite uphold your position.
"I note also your claim that those drawn by the Father during the Gospel Age are of a different character from the world in general and that this accounts for God's special dealing with them--their justification by faith and the offer to them of a share in the sacrifice of Messiah and a share in the glories of his Millennial Kingdom. But here I am somewhat perplexed and hence the following question.
"But how can we harmonize this presentation with the statement of the Apostle? After speaking of the world in general he seems to declare that we who have received Christ were once in the same ungodly condition. His words are, 'Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the Prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.' (`Eph. 2:2,3`.) If the world needs a Mediator why not also the Church?"
It is quite true that all of Adam's children shared in his fall and became "by nature children of wrath." Yet there is a difference amongst these "children of wrath." While they are all imperfect and unable to commend themselves to God by good works, so as to merit eternal life and Divine favor, nevertheless some of them have good hearts, good intentions, and secretly if not openly long for righteousness and fellowship Divine. As, for instance, St. Paul describes his condition as a Jew, and presumably the condition of other Jews, when he says: "With the mind I myself serve the Law of God....For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing." (`Rom. 7:25,18`.) His mind assented that the Divine requirement is "just and holy and good," and he desired to live up to that glorious standard and to be worthy of eternal life. But his flesh inherited imperfections, which hindered him from fulfilling the desires of his mind and keeping the Divine Law. Hence his cry, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this dead body?" He recognized his flesh as imperfect and under the Divine Law sentenced to death; but his mind was perfect, was loyal to God. If he could only get rid of the imperfect body and have a new body, then indeed he could and would live up to the Divine standard and gain eternal life according to the Law. Oh, who would deliver him?
Then he thanks God that deliverance from the sin-condemned body has been provided through Jesus Christ our Lord. This is a faithful illustration of all those who are now accepted by the Lord under this Gospel call as antitypical priests and Levites. We were all "children of wrath, even as others," outwardly, but having turned from sin, Christ was revealed to our eye of faith as our Redeemer and we accepted him and his cross by faith and were accepted by the Father. We were first of all drawn, influenced, by a
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desire for God and for his righteousness and a distaste for sin. In God's providence we were next directed to Jesus as the world's Redeemer and informed that, although the time for the world's salvation is not yet, we are in the time of the gathering of the elect Church as "his members," his Bride, and that if we desire forgiveness of sins and reconciliation towards God we should accept his terms and present our bodies living sacrifices, and receive the begetting of his Spirit, then be educated in the School of Christ and tested as to our loyalty to righteousness and afterward be received to glory and joint-heirship in the great Kingdom of Messiah, through which blessing, salvation, restitution is coming to all mankind.
The Scriptures do not teach that all of the "called" class were born in this condition of preferring righteousness to sin, born "feeling after God;" but they do intimate that not until we reach that position, whether old or young, were we ready properly to receive the gift of God--the forgiveness of sins and acceptance to probationary membership in the Body of Christ. These need no Mediatorial Kingdom to subdue them and gradually during a thousand years bring them to perfection and readiness to be introduced to the Father. The Father has made for them a special, peculiar arrangement of faith-justification as instead of actual-justification or restitution. As soon as they accept by faith the fact of their redemption and then sacrifice the redeemed rights to earthly life, that soon they are acceptable to God and acknowledged as his children by the holy Spirit which he imparts.
Before their justification on the basis of their sacrifice of earthly nature, they had the desire for righteousness pleasing to God, and when they accepted his arrangements through the merit of Christ they were instantly begotten as sons and needed no mediation, either before or after, but merely that their Redeemer, Elder Brother, Bridegroom in Glory, should act for them as their Advocate. "We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous," who appears for us and makes good out of his own merit for all of our unintentional imperfections and short-comings.-- `I John 2:1`.
ABRAHAM'S JUSTIFICATION AND OURS
"Abraham was justified by faith without a mediator, as you have pointed out. We, the Church, also, as you point out, are justified by faith and not by a covenant nor by a mediator. Yet evidently there is some difference, because Abraham had not the privileges which we enjoy. Kindly explain the difference between his justification and ours."
We answer that Abraham was justified by his faith to fellowship with God, and his faith would have justified him to complete restitution privileges, had he lived, under the privileges of the Millennium--or to faith-restitution with sacrificing privileges had he lived after instead of before our Lord died for our sins and provided justification to life for believers. The death of Christ is the basis of all reconciliation to God by actual restitution during the Millennium or by faith-restitution for sacrificing now. Faith so justified Abraham and the entire class of ancient worthies that, as soon as the antitypical Atonement Day shall have ended and the Millennial morning of blessing shall be ushered in under the New Covenant, those Ancient Worthies will come forth from the tomb perfect--justified--restored fully, right and in harmony with God. "They had this testimony, that they pleased God"--they were justified to perfect human conditions by their faith in the promises, but the basis of those promises was the sacrifice of Christ (Head and Body); hence they could not get the blessing promised to them until the completion of the sufferings of Christ, until the end of this Gospel Age, the close of this antitypical Day of Atonement. This is the Apostle's testimony, "God having provided some better thing for us (as members of the great Priest, Mediator and King) that they without us should not be made perfect." --`Heb. 11:40`.
We are favored in that we live since the ransom-sacrifice was laid down at Calvary, and since its merit was applied at Pentecost on behalf of the household of faith. On this account our justification by faith enables us, by God's grace, not only to have earthly, restitution rights reckoned to us, but also furnishes us the opportunity of sacrificing those earthly rights and thereby of participating in the sufferings of Christ and of the glories which shall follow.--`I Pet. 1:5-11`.
WILL THE ANCIENT WORTHIES NEED A MEDIATOR?
"I assent to the reasonableness of your position that there is a difference between the standing of the Church and the world in the sight of God--that we 'were children of wrath,' but, by God's grace, are such no longer, and that the world are still 'children of wrath.' I assent that 'the whole world lieth in the Wicked one' and that this is proof positive that they have not been 'reconciled to God,' and that the Redeemer has not applied his merit on their behalf. I assent that, only we who have escaped the condemnation that is still in the world are of the class for whom the great High Priest has already made propitiation--satisfaction. I agree that the satisfaction for the sins of the world and the inauguration of the New Covenant between God and Israel at the hands of the Mediator, the glorified Christ of many members, will come to pass after this sacrificing age shall have closed. I agree, also, that there was a difference between believers and unbelievers, even before the grace of God was applied to the former: that is to say, I agree that God's grace is applied to no one who is in a rebellious attitude of heart, but only to those who, either by birth or through trials and disciplines have come to the condition of contrition for sin and a desire for reconciliation to God.
"But here comes my question: I can see how such, desiring in their hearts reconciliation and affiliation would need no mediator; and I can see how the world of mankind in the Millennial Age will nearly all need a mediator's interference --chastisements and rewards, to bring them up to restitution. But will there not be some of mankind who will then at heart desire righteousness and fellowship with God, even as we now do? In other words, Does God during this Gospel Age find and draw and accept by the holy Spirit every individual of Adam's race desirous of turning from sin and having fellowship with God? Will there be some of this class living at the Second Advent or, like the Ancient Worthies, awakened from the dead? And if there will be some of this class, will Christ act as a Mediator for them, as well as for the rebellious? Or will Messiah be a Mediator
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for some and an Advocate for others, or how will it be?"
We reply: Your difficulty is that you think of a mediator as acting between God and the sinners as individuals. This is the wrong thought. Lay firm hold of the Scriptural proposition that a mediator has to do only with a covenant and that the Covenant deals with a nation or people and not with its individuals. God will not make New Covenants with each member of Adam's race and have Messiah mediate thousands of millions of covenants. The correct thought is very different. When the great High Priest shall have finished his offerings, first for his own members and house, and then for all the people, he will present the merit of his sacrifice on the world's behalf, redeeming the world (according to the original intention), as more than eighteen centuries ago he redeemed or bought the Church, the household of faith.
He will then be the owner of the world and prepared to deal with them and to effect restitution for as many of them as will obey him. (`Acts 3:23`.) As a means to this end, he will mediate for Israel the New Covenant, as a substitute for their old one, restoring that nation to the place of honor as the favored nation, Abraham's natural seed, through whom the blessings of redemption will extend to all nations. That New Covenant will not be made with rebellious sinners, however. God's Covenant will be with the Mediator for Israel, guaranteeing forgiveness and reconciliation to all of Abraham's natural seed who will exercise the faith and the obedience of Abraham. The work of the Mediator with Israel (and the world of mankind, who to be blest must become Israelites indeed) during the Millennium, will be their instruction, enlightenment and uplifting out of sin and death, out of ignorance and superstition, out of depravity and unbelief up to human perfection; so that, at the end of the
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Millennium, all of Abraham's seed, all of his faith and obedience, will have reached human perfection and be ready for the Mediator to deliver them over to the Father, that God may be all in all--the unwilling and rebellious, after due trial, being cut off during the Millennium in the Second Death.
In God's providence the Ancient Worthies already have demonstrated their loyalty to God and their worthiness to come forth unto a "better resurrection"--a resurrection to human perfection. This will be under the New Covenant arrangements and under the Mediator of that New Covenant. They will receive their blessing under it the same as the remainder of the world. The whole world can be regenerated only by the Second Adam. They can receive eternal life in no other way. With some this regeneration will result in a gradual work of restitution to perfection; but in the Ancient Worthies, because of previous developments in faith and obedience it will mean an instantaneous restitution. They, like the remainder of the world, receiving restitution life through the merit of Christ's death, are Scripturally styled the children of Christ and he their Father or Life-Giver. "He shall be called the Everlasting Father." (`Isa. 9:6`.) Thus we read, "Instead of thy fathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets) shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth."--`Psa. 45:16`.
Here, then, we see the order of the future, dating from the end of this Age and the completion of the Mediator Priest and King. Our Lord and his Church, the antitypical Isaac and his Bride, the antitypical Melchisedec, Priest upon his Throne, will inaugurate his reign of righteousness in the great time of trouble and shaking with which this Age will terminate. The Ancient Worthies, as the firstborn of his children, receiving the perfection of restitution and its privileges, will be made "princes in all the earth." To them and under their control will rally, first of all, the house of Israel and Judah, as they begin to see taking shape the earthly Kingdom for which they have so long waited. To these will gradually come restitution privileges--health and prosperity. The world, still weak and awe-struck, as the result of the time of trouble, will begin to take notice to Israel's rising again to national life, and will notice the blessings bestowed upon them. "Many people shall say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob: and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion (the spiritual Kingdom) shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem (the earthly Kingdom in the control of the 'princes')."--`Isa. 2:3`.
The Millennial blessings will be conferred only upon the willing and obedient, but the knowledge of righteousness, of Truth, will fill the whole earth. Both Jews and Gentiles will be required to approach the faith and obedience of Abraham and ultimately become "Israelites indeed in whom is no guile." Only such as shall be thus obedient will receive the full blessing of that time and attain perfection. All others will be cut off in the Second Death. The Law of the New Covenant will be the same perfect one that was the basis of the Mosaic Covenant. The difference will be that the Priest will be of a higher order--a kingly priest after the order of Melchizedec. He will have as a basis for forgiveness of sins and restitution the merit of his "better sacrifices" of this Gospel Age--this antitypical Day of Atonement.
As the ancient worthies will attain perfection immediately under the New Covenant and be granted a share in the Kingdom, similarly all, in proportion as they shall understand and come into accord with the Kingdom conditions, may proportionately to their sincerity and zeal make progress and the more quickly reach perfection. Perfected, they will be kings in the sense that Adam was a king endued with the powers of perfect manhood over beasts, fowl, fish, etc. (`Psa. 8:5-8`.) And these earthly kings shall become more or less associated with the "princes" in the dominion of earth --they shall bring their honor and glory into the New Jerusalem. --`Rev. 21:24,26`.
"THE CUP WHICH MY FATHER POURED"
"I have noted your reference to the communion cup which our Lord tendered to his disciples, saying, 'Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the New Testament (Covenant) shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you that I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom.'--`Matt. 26:27-29`.
"I note that you consider that our Lord referred to this same cup in `Matt. 20:22`, when he answered James and John that their only hope of sitting with him in his throne lay in their partaking of his cup and sharing in his baptism--into death. I wish to inquire whether or not this should be considered the uniform interpretation of the 'cup' in the Scriptures. In some places it had seemed to me to refer to joy, pleasure, rather than to suffering. For instance, in `Psalms 23:5` we read, 'My cup runneth over.' And again, in `Psalm 116:13`, 'I will take the cup of salvation.' Neither of these, it seems to me, apply to the cup of Christ's sufferings. Do they?"
Yes, we reply. The cup in each of these instances is the same. `Psalm 23` is a prophetic one which represents Christ and the Church--their experiences throughout this Gospel Age. Surely our Lord's cup of suffering overflowed. And surely it has been the same overflowing cup which he has presented to his faithful followers throughout this Age. It represents sorrows unto death. However, prophetically our Lord and his followers are represented as rejoicing in this cup of fellowship in the sufferings of Christ, because of the glorious results. Our Lord said respecting it, "I delight to do thy will, O God." And again, "The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it?"
In `Psalm 116:13` this cup of death is represented as a cup of salvation, because only thereby can our salvation and the world's be attained. Both Christ and his followers have rejoiced in their tribulations, not counting their lives dear unto them, that they might win the great prize. Notice the context: "I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord (for needed aid.) I will pay my vows unto the Lord...precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." The Vow of Christ and his members is faithfulness unto death--the drinking of the cup. The promised reward is the crown of glory in the Kingdom. This is represented as another cup of the future. Only those who join with the Master in drinking his "Cup of the New Testament" or New Covenant will share with him by participation in the cup of joy and glory, which the Father will pour for the faithful at the end of this Age--at the close of this antitypical Day of Atonement and its sacrifices.
THE PASSOVER LAMB AND THE WORLD'S SIN
"You have called attention to the fact that the passover lamb spared only the firstborn of the Israelites and that the antitypical meaning of this would be that our Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God which 'taketh away the sin of the world' would spare or pass over only the Church of the firstborn ones in this Gospel Age, the antitype of the passover night. This being true, how shall we understand John's statement that the Lamb of God taketh away the sins of the world?"
Our answer is that only the Church of the firstborn, the household of faith, the consecrated, are spared or passed over through Divine mercy, through the merit of Christ's sacrifice, during this Gospel Age. Nevertheless the divine plan does not end with the deliverance of "the Church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven" and who shall share with Christ in "his resurrection"--the first, or chief resurrection. The appropriation of the merit of Christ first to the Church is merely an incidental feature of the Divine Plan. Soon the Church shall have shared by the
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privilege now granted to believers of becoming dead with Christ to the earthly interests and alive as New Creatures by the first resurrection. Then the merit of the blood of Christ, the slain Lamb, will be applied to the world of mankind to legally "take away the sin of the world." When applied it will immediately satisfy Justice on the world's behalf and turn over the world to the Redeemer for restitution blessings. Then the Lamb of God and the Church, "the Bride, the Lamb's wife," will prosecute the work of actually taking away the sin of the world during the Millennium.
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THE SECOND ADAM AND EVE
SOME make the mistake of supposing the Scriptures to teach that when Adam sinned and God's condemnation passed upon him and all of his race, it was necessary for Jesus to become "the second Adam" as a perfect man that as the Second Adam he might give his life a ransom-price for the first Adam, thus redeeming him and incidentally all of his posterity.
On this foundation, which we will show to be thoroughly unscriptural, they proceed to say: THE WATCH TOWER and DAWN STUDIES must therefore be in error in claiming that our Lord applied the value of his sacrifice first to the Church and that afterward he will apply it to all the people. They argue that the application of the atoning blood must first have been for Adam and that the Church and all others merely share Adam's redemption.
The trouble with their position is that the foundation of it is wholly wrong and hence all built thereon is proportionately wrong and misleading.
Adam truly was the first man, but our Lord, as "the man Christ Jesus," was not the Second Adam, and did not do the work of the Second Adam. The first Adam was the father or life-giver to his race, Eve being associated in the generating; but the result was a dying race. The plan of God proposes that the Second Adam shall in relation to Adam take his place as the father or life-giver to a race of human beings who shall possess the earth and enjoy it. Not as Redeemer, but as father or life-giver to our race does our Lord correspond to Adam--as the Second Adam.
Our Lord is Scripturally referred to as already the Second Adam, not because he has already given life to Adam's race, but because he will do so in due time;--just as he was called the Savior when a babe--prophetically foretelling his future work.
Our Lord will be the Second Adam or second father or life-giver to Adam's race during the Millennium. He waits until the Church, his Bride, as the Second Eve, shall be with him in glory and honor and power in the Kingdom. Adam the first generated no children until first Eve had been taken from his side. The Second Adam will generate no children until the Church, the Second Eve, shall have been perfected and presented to him as his joint-heir and help-mate in the Kingdom and its work of regeneration.
Note our Lord's words on this point: The Apostles asked him What shall we have as a reward for leaving all and taking up our cross and following thee? (`Matt. 19:27,28`.) "Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration [time] when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Who can doubt from these plain words that the times of regeneration are the same which St. Peter styles the "times of restitution," the times or years of the Millennium, the times of "resurrection by judgment."--`Acts 3:19-21`; `John 5:29`. R.V.
Why does our Redeemer wait before beginning the regeneration of Adam's race, before assuming the office of father to Adam's children--the world in general?
There are several reasons:--
I. It is in the Divine order that he wait for the Bride promised by the Father, drawn by the Father, called by the Father and justified by the Father through the blood of Jesus. Not a single member of Adam's race (aside from the household of faith of this Gospel Age) will be regenerated or given perfect human life until after the "Bride of Christ" has been united to him at his second coming. Even of the Ancient Worthies it was written, "They without us shall not be made perfect."--`Heb. 11:39,40`.
II. The world could not be regenerated until the Redeemer first applies his merit, his ransom-price, "for all the people." And that cannot be done until the Church's deliverance; because that merit or ransom-price is now in use justifying by faith the specially "called" ones of this Gospel Age.
"THE SECOND MAN IS THE LORD"
These words of the Apostle amply explain the case: "The first man was of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. Like the earthy one [Adam] are [will be in the resurrection] the earthy ones. Like the heavenly One [Christ] are [will be in the resurrection] the heavenly ones" --the New Creation. "As we [the Church] have borne the image of the earthy one [Adam], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly One" [Christ]. "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a life-giving spirit."--`I Cor. 15:45-49`.
That our Redeemer is not our father or the giver of our spiritual life is evident both from reason and Scripture. Our Lord left his pre-human spirit-nature and its glory and all when he became a man; he did not give that spirit nature to us or to others, but merely was transferred or transformed to a lower nature (human) for the suffering of death. His earthly life rights, guaranteed by his obedience to God's Law, he gave to the Father without appropriating the merit to any until he applied them "on our behalf."
It was our Lord's human life and restitution rights which he applied "for us," giving us by faith those rights, as a loan, as it were; because he gave them to us only on condition that we would not keep those earthly rights, but would follow his example and sacrifice them, that God, under the same promise, might deal with us as with him--rewarding the sacrifice with the new, the spirit nature. Only by sacrificing can any now obtain eternal life. As our Lord said: He that saveth his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall save it--eternally.--`Luke 9:24`.
We lose our lives for Christ's sake in the sense that we sacrifice present interests and life itself in order that we may be members of the Christ--the world's Prophet, Priest, King, Mediator--his member, his Bride and joint-heir as the Seed of Abraham, the Second Adam through whom the world will soon have opportunity for regeneration on the earthly plane.
Thus our Lord as the giver of restitution life to the world by virtue of his own merit, the merit of his ransom sacrifice, will become "The Everlasting Father." Of even the Patriarchs it is written, "Instead of thy fathers [they] shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes over all the earth."--`Isa. 9:6`; `Psa. 45:16`.
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THE PROPHET OF GALILEE
--`MATTHEW 4:12-25`.--JANUARY 16.--
Golden Text:--"The people which sat in
darkness saw a great light."--`V. 16`.
PALESTINE at the First Advent consisted of four provinces. Judea was the principal one, with Samaria to the north and Perea to the east and Galilee further north, beyond Samaria. While Jesus preached in Judea and did some mighty works there and in Perea, his principal ministry was in Galilee; so much so that he and his disciples were known as Galileans. Although born in Bethlehem, he was reared in Nazareth, "that he might be called a Nazarene"--that he might not have the honor of the "City of David," but the odium of "a mean city." Compare `Luke 23:5,6,49,55`. Thus the vast majority of our Lord's miracles and teachings were to the Galileans. And his principal ministries in Judea were in connection with his annual visits to the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. As for Samaria, its people were Gentiles with an admixture of Jewish blood. Jesus warned his disciples not to preach in that province, saying, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (`Matt. 10:5,6`.) The Galileans, disesteemed by the Judeans as inferior members of their race, the expression, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" applied to all Galilee.
That the light of the Gospel should first shine in Galilee was intimated through Isaiah's prophecy, "The people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which sat in the region of the shadows of death a light sprang up."
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The prophet mentions the boundaries of Zebulon and Naphtali, two of the twelve tribes of Israel, on the Sea of Galilee. The word Galilee signifies circle; hence the prophecy implied that this land would be encircled by the Gentiles. And so it was; the Samaritans to its south cutting it off from Judea. Its people, thus separated from the great religious center of their day, were in greater darkness than their brethren, in the very shadow of the death-darkness that was upon the Gentiles. Nevertheless on this very account they were more amenable to the teachings of Jesus than were many of their more religious, more enlightened and more priest-ridden brethren of Judea.
The great light which flared forth in Capernaum, Bethsaida, Chorazin and Nazareth, the chief cities of Galilee, exalted these places to heaven figuratively, in the sense of bestowing so great honor and privilege upon them. But they were in turn cast down to hades, the grave, because they received not the message. (`Matt. 11:20-24`.) The light shined in darkness and blessed and gathered some, "the elect," and passed onward to bless and gather others, as it has continued to do throughout this Gospel Age. The time for the still greater enlightenment of the whole world is yet future. In the Millennial morning the Redeemer and his elect Church (`Malachi 4:2`) will shine forth as the Sun of Righteousness with healing in its beams for the enlightenment and blessing of Israel and the whole world of mankind--including the millions who have gone down to the darkness of hades, the grave.
THE KINGDOM IS AT HAND
The Galilean Jews, in close contact with the Gentiles, could readily see the need of the long-promised Kingdom of God, and they were more ready to give heed to it than the Judean-Jews. The latter, in contact with the showy formalism of the temple service and an earthly priest with gorgeous garments and a magnificent temple more grand than that of Solomon, were less inclined to hearken to the offer of a spiritual kingdom. To the latter the outward and showy prosperity of their system was a delusion and a snare which hindered them from seeing. Thus it has always been. The message of God's grace finds some of its most earnest friends amongst the poor and despised. Moreover Capernaum was more closely in touch with the Gentile world--its good and its evil--than was Jerusalem.
The Kingdom of Heaven was at hand in the sense that Jesus was present to make a formal tender of the Kingdom to Abraham's natural seed. When they rejected the King they rejected the Kingdom. He nevertheless blessed all who accepted him and as pre-intended and promised they became the nucleus of his spiritual Kingdom, to complete the number of which consecrated believers from the Gentiles have since been "called." In a word, God's arrangement is first to elect a spiritual class, a "Royal Priesthood," to be associated with Jesus in his Kingdom and then at the end of this age to establish that spiritual Kingdom in power and great glory and to bless Israel with the great light and opportunity, and through her to bless all the families of the earth.
Peter and Andrew, James and John, fishermen, were invited by the great Prophet to be his followers, to be associated with him in his work of calling the "elect" and, if faithful, subsequently to sit with him in his throne as part of the "elect." They left all to follow him. These were his terms, "If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." The Lord does not open the door of opportunity to all of his disciples throughout this Gospel Age to become prominent ministers of the Truth after this manner. Yet he accepts none as his disciples except those who forsake all to follow him. In their hearts they must give up all else. They have the spirit of discipleship and self-sacrifice, and would gladly forsake all actually if the door of opportunity opened to them.
The preaching of Jesus was that of his apostles also-- "the Gospel (good news) of the Kingdom." To his apostles he gave the same power over disease that he himself exercised --even to the casting out of demons. These miracles were merely to attract attention to the Prophet and his message. It was not the intention to heal all the sick, nor to awaken all the dead. But those miracles manifested forth beforehand the glorious blessings which the Kingdom, when established, will exercise amongst men.--`John 2:11`.
Thus the fame of Jesus spread. The sick were brought to him and healed, and amongst his followers were to be found devout men from every province of Palestine. Truly the benighted Galileans were blessed in the great light which shone in their midst. But it tested them as Truth, Light, always does. The few children of the light were manifested and separated from the children of the darkness, the children of disobedience. And similarly we of today, living in the great light now shining as an arc-light upon the Word of God, have increased responsibilities and are taking our stand either as children of Light and its advocates, or as children of darkness in opposing it.
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THE TEACHER AND THE LESSON
--`MATTHEW 5:1-16`.--JANUARY 23.--
Golden Text:--"Blessed are the pure in
heart; for they shall see God."--`V. 8`.
NEVER man spake like this man," said the common people, who heard him gladly. And this is the testimony of the humble-minded since. Not all have heard; not all can hear; but only, as the Scriptures declare, "He that hath an ear let him hear." The ear of faith is the special favor of God to those who are of a meek, honest heart, desiring Truth and righteousness. To such the Lord's words apply, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear." The masses see not, hear not, neither do they understand the grace of God, because, as St. Paul explains, Satan has blinded them through ignorance, superstition, etc.--`2 Cor. 4:4`.
How glad we should be to know that the report which once reached us, that the Bible teaches that all these sin-blinded ones are to suffer torment eternally, is untrue--that such is not the teaching of the Bible! How glad we should be for the assurances of the Bible that, after the gathering of the Elect Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as in heaven," then "all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears be unstopped," so that "the knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth" and enlighten every man. How glad we should be of the promise that in and through the Spiritual Seed of Abraham (Christ and the Church, `Gal. 3:29`), "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" with an opportunity of return to harmony with God, and of everlasting life!
Our study pictures Jesus surrounded by his disciples, teaching them, that in turn they might teach us and all who throughout this Gospel Age would have the hearing ear. The lessons of this sermon on the Mount are wonderful for their simplicity and sublimity. Our Lord's first message was, Repent and get ready for the Kingdom. To those who accepted that message he now gave additional blessed lessons.
(1) The pure in spirit, the humble of mind, the meek, the gentle, the teachable, these would be of the class acceptable to God as participators with Messiah in his Kingdom. Without such meekness they would not be prepared to learn of him, and not learning they would not be proper characters nor be prepared in due time to be the teachers of the World.
(2) They should not expect that becoming his disciples would lift them out of trials, difficulties, sorrows, tears, but, on the contrary, must learn that such experiences would be overruled for their good, would serve to test their faithfulness and trust, so that those who will be worthy of a place in the Kingdom might expect to pass through considerable sorrow and mourning. They were to understand that if they should gain the Kingdom through much tribulation, they would there find in its glories and blessings comforts and joys which would more than compensate for every tear and every sorrow endured as soldiers of the Cross and followers of the Lamb.
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(3) To be his disciples and to share with him in the Millennial Kingdom, they must be meek, gentle--not bold, grasping, ferocious, self-willed, getting the best of the earth and of everybody in it. Rather they must cultivate the spirit of meekness; they must learn not only not to fight and contend for the best of earthly things, but even to submit to injustice in the interest of the coming Kingdom and their opportunity to be its heralds and to exemplify the spirit of the Great King and of all who would be heirs of life eternal. These in the present time may lose houses and lands and the love of parents and children and friends, because of their loyalty to the words and doctrines of Jesus, but eventually they will have a great reward. They with their Lord will inherit the earth. All the earthly privileges, rights and blessings secured by our Lord through his sacrifice he will in the end of this Age share with his Church; and they with him, as kings and priests during the Millennium, will dispense to the world of mankind the earth and its bounties. More than this, the heavenly Kingdom which they will receive will be fully empowered to bring to pass all the restitution blessings promised by the mouth of all the holy prophets --restoring mankind to original perfection, plus knowledge, and bringing the whole earth to be again a Paradise of God and world-wide Eden.--`Acts 3:19-21`.
(4) Jesus would have his disciples understand that righteousness and Truth are scarce commodities at the present
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time amongst men--that the world is full of error and sin and unrighteousness. His disciples, by reason of enlightenment, will discern between good and evil, righteousness and sin. And they must so love Truth, righteousness, as to hunger and thirst for it. To such, spiritual food will be granted. Truth will be dispensed to them as "meat in due season." Nevertheless, because their longings infinite for righteousness are circumscribed by imperfections of the flesh in the present time, they will not attain full satisfaction until they shall experience their resurrection "change." "When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (`I Cor. 13:10`.) "I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness."--`Psa. 17:15`.
(5) The followers of Jesus who would share with him in his Kingdom will need to be very merciful. As the kings and priests of the Millennial Kingdom they will have to deal with the poor, groaning creation, uplifting the willing and obedient out of their sinful and degraded death condition-- up to righteousness, perfection, eternal life. Only the merciful of heart could be properly entrusted with such a work. (`I Cor. 6:2`.) This lesson, therefore, all the followers of Jesus must learn--to be merciful.
Their first lesson must be concerning their own imperfection and their own need of Divine mercy. This lesson needs to be continually impressed until it becomes a fixed element of character--loving-kindness. Hence our Lord's declaration, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses." Again he tells us to pray, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Consecrated believers, with all their past sins forgiven, unwillingly trespass against the perfect Law of God by word or thought or act daily, because they have the treasure of the new mind in the imperfect earthen vessel. These trespasses should be daily acknowledged and forgiveness asked for them through our great Redeemer-Advocate. But to impress upon us as a part of our character this essential element of mercy, the Lord declines to forgive our trespasses against his law, unless we exercise this spirit toward our fellow-men. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy," and thus be enabled to make their calling and election sure--to a place and a share with their Redeemer in his Kingdom.
(6) Those who will share the Kingdom with Jesus will be "changed" from human nature to spirit nature in the resurrection, and see God--see him who is invisible to human eyes. (`John 1:18`.) Only the "pure in heart" shall have this blessing. No man can help the fact that he was "born in sin and shapen in iniquity." (`Psa. 51:5`.) But God has graciously arranged that the merit of Christ's sacrifice shall compensate for the weaknesses and blemishes of the followers of Jesus. Hence, these will not be judged of the Lord according to the flesh and its blemishes, but will be judged according to the purity of the heart, the mind, the intention, the will. Nothing less than purity of will could be satisfactory to God. Any consent to sin, any sympathy with it or intentionally yielding to it would indicate heart impurity and, unless abandoned, would lead to Second Death.
(7) All who will be heirs with Jesus in his Millennial Kingdom will with him be called "sons of God," "sons of the Highest" under Jesus their Elder Brother. But only such can hold this title as attain that attitude of mind in which they "seek peace and pursue it"; and such to the extent of their opportunity would, therefore, rejoice, "to be peacemakers," not mischief-makers, not strife-breeders, not lawless, as the Apostle expresses it, but "subject to the powers that be," recognizing that God has all the power necessary for the subjection of the whole world, and that if he permits injustice and wrong, it will be for a time and for a purpose. We are not called upon now to rectify the affairs of the world, but to learn obedience and sacrifice and be prepared for sharing in the Kingdom rule of righteousness in God's "due time."
(8) Those who would inherit the Kingdom of heaven as joint-heirs with Jesus must love and serve righteousness to such an extent that a blind and unrighteous world will misunderstand them and persecute them on this account. By enduring such persecutions faithfully, calmly, rejoicingly, they attest to God that they possess characters which are copies of that of his Son our Lord.
(9) St. Peter tells us that if any man suffers as an evil-doer the penalty for his misdeeds, he should be ashamed, but if he suffers as a Christian for his fidelity to Christ and his doctrines, let him glorify God on this behalf--let him be thankful for the opportunity, for on all such rests the spirit of honor and the Spirit of God. The Galilean Prophet emphasized this same thought; as many spoke evil of him, the King, similarly many would speak evil of all who would seek to follow closely in his footsteps. As they reproached and reviled him, so would they do to his followers. As they spoke evil of him, so would they do of his followers. And all this he would have them receive as evidence or proof of their faithfulness and of God's acceptance of them. These trials would evidence that God found them worthy of shaping and polishing for his service, whereas others without such persecutions would have every reason to doubt that they were in preparation for the Kingdom. Such should rejoice and be very glad. They should realize that there will be different grades of honor and dignity in the Kingdom and that the more they suffer for righteousness sake, the higher and greater will be their reward.
(10) Christ's followers were to be "the salt of the earth" --exerting an influence and power amongst men of a preservative kind, delaying, if not arresting, degrading tendencies toward putrefaction and death. They should remember, however, that salt would be of no more value than sand if it were to lose its saltness.
(11) Jesus was the great light which came into the world, and his followers were to be lights or candles also. "As he was, so are we in this world"--light-bearers. The Church is not of the world. As Jesus said, "Ye are not of the world." Yet the Church is the light of the world. Each individual Christian should let his light shine before men, and the Church as a whole is to be like a city on a hill which cannot be hidden. As a lamp would do no good if covered with a bushel, but its light would become extinguished, so also with the Church individually and collectively. If light does not shine out it will soon die out. All that are in and of the household of faith should be able to see the shining of the spirit-light in every member of the true Church, "the Church, which is his Body." Individually and collectively the Church should let its light shine before men that many might see their good works, their likeness of character to the Lord, and glorify the Heavenly Father. Surely these are important lessons from the Great Teacher.
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PERFECT AS YOUR FATHER IS PERFECT
--`MATTHEW 5:19-36,38-48`.--JANUARY 30.--
Golden Text:--"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."--`V. 48`.
SINCE the Lord's followers have fallen flesh it is not possible for them to be perfect as God is perfect-- except in heart, in intention. But this good heart intention is not sufficient to prove us worthy of a share with Christ as his "elect" to the glories of his Kingdom. Our profession of pure heart and God-likeness must be tested. It must be demonstrated and developed to the point of fixity of character. It must stand tests of temptation. It must endure faithfulness under stress. Hence those accepted as disciples of Christ are required to be faithful under very trying circumstances.
The Jews had gradually lost sight of the Divine Law and had filled their minds with certain traditions which were more or less contrary to the Law. The Great Teacher, ignoring the Rabbis, might have been thought by some to be setting aside the Law, but he assured them, to the contrary, that he was merely setting aside human traditions and seeking to establish the Law and make it the more manifest. The people regarded the Scribes and Pharisees as very religious and holy. But Jesus assured them that they must have greater holiness or they would never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Tradition quoted the Law, "Thou shalt not kill," and then added, "Whosoever shall kill will be in danger of the judgment"--in danger of trial and punishment by the appointed judges. But Jesus taught a still more rigid application, namely, that anger against a brother (in the heart, unexpressed) would mean a murderous condition of mind, which would be reprehensible in God's sight, even though the murder might never be actually committed. More than this, he reprehended unkind remarks, as, rakah, signifying "blockhead," and "thou fool," as meaning still worse, a moral degenerate. Our Lord declared that such expressions indicated wrong conditions of heart, which might ultimately bring the individual before the Sanhedrin, or, possibly, eventually lead him on into the Second Death, symbolized by Gehenna.
Hell fire in this study is literally Gehenna fire. It refers
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to fires kept burning in the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) for the destruction of offal and the prevention of contagion. Into this fire the carcasses of malicious evil-doers might be thrown for destruction. It thus symbolized the Second Death. --`Rev. 20:14`.
According to the Galilean Prophet it would be useless for anyone to approach God's altar with a sacrificial gift while his heart contained any enmity against another. Hence any of Christ's disciples before offering a gift to the Lord should search their hearts and purge them from enmity, knowing that otherwise their sacrifices and praises would be vain.
The advice of `verses 25,26` is sound. If there is an obligation against us we should settle and discharge it as quickly as possible. It was an important lesson for all Jews to learn that their Law Covenant, which they supposed was their friend and assistant, was really their Adversary and condemned them all. Because of imperfection of flesh, they were unable to keep the Law and could not have its approval, and hence had its condemnation. The proper course for all who recognized this was to seek as good a settlement with the Law as possible, confessing their imperfection.
Those who heeded our Lord's advice, realized their imperfect condition and cried for help and found forgiveness in Jesus through his sacrifice. Thus, by faith, these were permitted to come into God's favor and blessing at Pentecost. But the Pharisees, hypocritically claiming to keep the Law perfectly, did not come to terms with it and confess their sins repentantly, and did not accept Jesus, and did not obtain the Pentecostal blessing. On the contrary all of that Jewish nation who rejected Jesus stumbled into prison nationally, and wrath came upon that people to the uttermost. And until all things written in the Law and the prophets concerning them shall be fulfilled, they shall not come out of that prison-house. They said, "His blood be upon us and upon our children," and they are held condemned of their Law. It will require all of the Millennial Age for them to profit by the opportunities of the Millennium, to rise up out of sin and death conditions. By the end of the Millennium through the Lord's grace they will have "paid the uttermost farthing" and then the willing and obedient shall get free. Every Jew who would get free from that Law obligation could have done so only by confessing his shortcomings and inability and by accepting a share in the sacrifice of Christ. Only the few agreed with the Law-adversary. --`John 1:12`.
"EYE FOR EYE--TOOTH FOR TOOTH"
The Mosaic Law laid down the Divine principle which the Judges of Israel were to follow, "an eye for an eye," the exaction of strict justice. The people had applied this to their individual relationships unwarrantedly, with the result that it cultivated hardness of heart, an exacting disposition, pitiless, merciless. Our Lord's teachings showed the error of this and pointed to the more excellent way--love. Although the Heavenly Father had made the Law, he had also prepared to show mercy and did show it in sending his Son into the world to be the Redeemer of sinners, that they might not perish, but have eternal life through obedience to the Savior. How much more proper was it that fellow-sufferers, both imperfect, should be lenient, tender-hearted toward each other. Mark the Lord's words, I say unto you that by requiring an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth, in exacting justice of your imperfect fellows, you are encouraging an improper spirit in your own hearts.
(1) If your enemy smite you on the cheek turn to him the other one--not literally, but in your heart, mentally. Do not retaliate in kind. That our Lord did not mean this literally, is demonstrated by the fact that when on trial he was smitten but did not ask to be smitten again. Figuratively he turned the other cheek, but not literally.
(2) If any man sue us at the Law and legally get possession of our property we are to feel no grudge against him, but are to render up willingly all that the Court might decree, more rather than less. We are to be law-abiding to the extreme.
(3) If conscripted for Government service after the manner of ancient times and compelled to carry a burden for a mile, the Lord's followers were not to be too close or exacting, but evidence their good will by doing a little more, rendering help for another mile if necessary or expedient, rather than grumble and shirk legal exactions.
(4) The Lord's followers are to cultivate generosity. As the Heavenly Father is always giving and never asking, so all his children should have this character-likeness, and be ready to give something to anyone in need. This need not necessarily mean extravagant gifts, nor all that the petitioner would desire. Judgment, discretion, is to be used. But the desire to give, to help, should by all means be cultivated in his own heart by every follower of Jesus. And from him who would borrow of them they should not turn away. They should, on the contrary, do good and lend, hoping for no similar favor in return. The Lord's people might not thus amass as much money as others, but they would be pleasing and honoring their Heavenly Father, and laying up treasure in heaven, and getting their own hearts into that condition which God could approve and bless in the Kingdom.
"BLESS THEM THAT CURSE YOU"
Tradition taught that neighbors should be loved and enemies be hated; but the Great Teacher said that enemies also should be loved and blessed, even though they returned persecution and injury. It was this new and high order of teaching which marked our Redeemer's utterances as different from all others.
The cultivation of this spirit of love for enemies, as well as for friends, would mark the followers of Jesus as children of God, as having the Heavenly Father's Spirit--disposition. He sends the sunshine on sinners and on saints. And the rain comes down for the just and for the unjust. It is difficult to estimate the amount of harm done to our minds by the traditions of the "Dark Ages" respecting God's intention to torment eternally his enemies--all except the elect. Thank God
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that we find that these teachings are not from his Book! They made our forefathers heretic-burners.
Admittedly love is a glorious quality and God-like quality. But if it extend only to those who love in return, how would it be worthy of any special reward? Do not the heathen, yea, all men, love after this fashion? And if we are courteous merely to those who are courteous to us, wherein are we superior to Gentiles and sinners?
The followers of Jesus, the pupils in his school, are to take the highest standard of excellence for their pattern,-- their loving Creator. They are to strive for perfection such as his. They are to attain it in their hearts, and, so far as possible, outwork it in every thought and word and deed of their fallen flesh.
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HYPOCRISY A FOE TO GODLINESS
--`MATT. 6:1-15`.--FEBRUARY 6.--
Golden Text:--"Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men to be seen of them."--`V. 1`.
PERHAPS no other sin was as roundly and thoroughly denounced by the Great Teacher as was the sin of hypocrisy. Its meanness is recognized and acknowledged, even by those who practice it. It is falsehood and deceit, the very opposites of righteousness and Truth. No matter what forms, ceremonies and garbs the hypocrite may wrap himself up in he cannot deceive God. Ere long he is sure to disclose his deformity to his fellow-men, also. So surely as one is dishonest, hypocritical, he is unworthy of the Truth--not one of the kind whom the Lord is now "drawing" and "calling" to membership in the Body of Christ, the elect Church. The hypocritical, therefore, cannot see the Truth, cannot comprehend it. They live on the plane of dishonesty and, in that sense of the word, are unrighteous or impure and unworthy of the Truth.
This does not signify, however, that all hypocrites are worthy of Second Death--extinction. It merely means that they are not worthy of a place with those now called to be joint-heirs with Christ in his Millennial Kingdom. Thank God, all that came down to us from the dark ages respecting eternal torment as the Divine provision for all who would not be of the little flock was falsehood--blasphemous misrepresentation of the God of Love and Justice. The Millennial Kingdom is for the very purpose of dealing with those who are hypocritical and otherwise degenerate. Under its restraints, corrections, rewards and punishments many of them "will learn righteousness," as the Scriptures assure us. (`Isa. 26:9`.) Only the finally incorrigible will be destroyed in the Second Death.
To-day's Study illustrates various forms of hypocrisy and condemns them all:
(1) The doing of righteous acts before men to be seen of them, while pretending to do these for righteousness' sake, to be in harmony with the Divine will. Such will have no reward from God, though they may or may not get the reward they seek, namely, human praise from those whom they deceive. The alms and other righteous acts which God would approve are the unostentatious--not done for human praise, but from principle, from love for God and his righteousness,
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and love or sympathy for fellow-men. So quietly should this be done that even those close to us in life might only by accident discover our unselfish generosity.
(2) Hypocrisy may take the form of religion--pretended piety, worship, praise, church attendance, "chief seats," the amen corner, etc. It delights in religious garbs which say ostentatiously, My coat or bonnet or collar or tie will tell you that I am specially holy. Praying in the streets has become unfashionable, except for our Salvation Army friends. We should not be understood to mean that all who dress peculiarly, who go to church, who pray in public, etc., are hypocritical! God forbid! Nor do we understand this to have been the teaching of the Son of God. He taught rather that these supposed manifestations of holiness might be used hypocritically. His warnings were not that we should undertake to correct those who are addicted to these condemned practices, but that we should see to it in our own hearts and lives, and all of our own religious sentiments, that they are sincere--to God and not to men. He who does such things for outward effect upon his fellow-men should know that his hypocrisy is distinctly known of the Lord, even when not recognized by his fellowmen. He should know that so far from receiving a blessing he goes the more deeply into Divine disfavor.
True prayer should be to the Lord--never to the public. Individual prayer is specially commended by our Lord. Family prayer is also Scripturally proper. Prayer in the Church is proper, because supposedly amongst those who constitute the family of the Lord--this is not public prayer in the proper sense of that term.
The prayers of God's people should be simple, earnest, heart-felt. They need not be long. Repetitions are useless. The Heavenly Father knoweth better than we what things we have need of. He waits to be gracious--waits to be asked for blessings. In so doing he cultivates in his people a proper spirit of appreciation of their needs and longing desires for the good things he is willing to give--to the intent that they may be blessings in the highest sense and degree.
THE SAMPLE PRAYER
What is generally styled "the model prayer" was given merely as an example. We are to pray after that manner, but not necessarily in those words. The order of the prayer is beautiful. How properly it opens by addressing "Our Father in heaven" and by expressing desire that the great name of God be hallowed, revered, honored, by all, and therefore by the petitioner also. It proceeds to express a desire that the Divine will may be accomplished on earth as in heaven and the confidence that this can come about only through the establishment of God's Kingdom--by Messiah's Millennial reign of righteousness, which will be enforced for the blessing and uplifting of mankind and the bringing of all the willing from sin and death conditions to life everlasting.
Thus the chief thing, the glory of God and the outworking of the Divine Plan, should be the most prominent things in our hearts as we approach the Throne of Grace. Then we may remember our own physical needs and ask for the bread of life. It is not for us to specify the spiritual or temporal food, but to petition the Giver of all good, in the spirit of submission to the Divine arrangements, whatever they may be.
We have not the wisdom which would warrant us in specifying, particularizing our wants; rather the proper spiritual child delights in the Father's will and providence in all things:
"Back of the loaf is the snowy flour
And back of the flour the mill;
And back of the mill is the wheat and shower
And the sun and the Father's will."
When told to pray, "Forgive us our trespasses," we are not to understand thereby Original Sin. That great transgression committed by our father Adam, which involved himself and all of his posterity in the sentence of death, cannot be forgiven upon request. For its cancellation God has already arranged--the death of Christ, "the Just for the unjust."
But we trespass through imperfection and temptation, contrary to our better intentions and wishes. These sins require acknowledgment and forgiveness. Divine mercy is pleased to remit the guilt of all unintentional sins and to reckon them as covered with the precious blood as part of Original Sin. The Lord waits to be thus gracious, but, desiring our blessing and development, he requires that we shall be similarly forgiving toward those with whom we have to do. "But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (`Matt. 6:15.`) What an incentive to sympathy, generosity and forgiveness is here!
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FORGIVENESS VERSUS MALICE
"Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."--`Eph. 4:32`.
A FORGIVING spirit is a part of the spirit of love, a part of God's Spirit, the holy Spirit or disposition-- the spirit of the truth--inculcated by God's Word. It is thus the opposite or contrary of the spirit of malice, which is a part of the evil spirit or disposition common among men in their fallen condition--the spirit or disposition of the world.
A forgiving spirit is kindred to the spirit of love, joy, peace, meekness, patience, brotherly-kindness, godliness. A malicious spirit is related to anger, back-biting, slander, wrath, jealousy, hatred and all the works of the (fallen) flesh and the devil.
Recognizing these two spirits in the light of God's Word, his people must surely desire and seek more and more to cultivate the forgiving disposition--a spirit of readiness or willingness to forgive, which would rather that the transgressor would penitently turn from his evil way to the way of righteousness, and which would take pleasure in receiving him back into fellowship again under such conditions.
However, on this as upon every question, extreme and unscriptural views are sometimes entertained. Some feel that the most extreme view conceivable must be the right one, because of their desire to get as far away as possible from the unforgiving or malicious spirit. In consequence, some are continually chiding themselves for not being able to forgive those who have not repented, who have not asked forgiveness nor brought forth fruits (evidences) indicating repentance.
This comes of the fall. Human judgments have become defective, so that it sometimes perplexes us to know how and where to draw the lines upon our own hearts and conduct. But here God comes to our rescue. He knows: his mind or judgment and not our own imperfect judgments, therefore, must be our guide or criterion; and his Word expresses to us his mind (spirit or disposition) on this and every subject. If we accept and use it, instead of our own imperfect judgments, we are said to have "the spirit of a sound mind."
Let us study and adopt as our own the spirit of God's sound mind on this subject of forgiveness, casting aside as erroneous whatever our own depraved judgments may have previously accepted. This will be following the instructions of the text at the head of this article, and we will learn to forgive even as God forgives.
(1) Our spirit or disposition to forgive any one should be of the heart, prompted by the spirit of love and brotherly kindness. It should not be a forgiveness forced out of us by importunity, nor by the appeals of many, nor by pity for the wrong doers' sufferings or sorrow. It should be there pent up in our hearts, ready to pour forth upon the offender as soon as he repents and gives reasonable evidence of his sincerity. God waits to be gracious, desires to pardon sinners; and such must be our attitude toward those who trespass against us. But God always waits for repentance, and never grants his pardon to those who are unrepentant, nor receives them into fellowship as friends.
True, he loved us while we were yet sinners (`John 3:16`; `Rom. 5:8`), and he does good even to the unthankful, giving sunshine and rain and food to all; but that is a pitying love, not a fellowship love, not a communing love: it is the sympathetic love of a benefactor. And we are to have this pity-love also, even to our enemies. We are to love our enemies, and do good to them that persecute us; but with us, as with God, this can be no more than pity-love: it cannot be fellowship-love, "for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" Nevertheless, while we can have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but must rather reprove them (`Eph. 5:11`), we can still have that benevolence of heart which would not permit even an enemy to perish with hunger. "Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him," etc. In so doing we are but imitating our Heavenly Father, who is merciful even to the unthankful and despiteful.
(2) God's readiness or quickness to forgive and receive into fellowship depends upon the amount of light and favor sinned against. To the ignorant, who know not of his character, he sends his children as ambassadors--evangelists, colporteurs, etc.--to tell them of his love and his willingness to forgive their sins through Christ. But in proportion as any have tasted of the good Word of God and been made partakers of the holy Spirit, etc., and have sinned wilfully against light and knowledge (`Heb. 6:4-6`; `10:26-31`), in that same proportion God is slow to forgive, and will not receive such back into fellowship, except they bring forth works proving their professed repentance to be sincere. And God assures us that there is a degree of wilful sin, against full light and ability, that he will never forgive--"There is a sin unto death; I do not say that ye shall pray for it."--`I John 5:16`.
In this, also, we should copy our Father in heaven. We should be very ready to forgive the blunders and errors of either natural or spiritual childhood, and to all the weak and inexperienced, even before they ask, we should manifest our willingness to forgive. And with all who trespass against us, our willingness to forgive should be proportionate to the ignorance and lack of wilfulness and malice on the part of the transgressor. Whenever malice, wilfulness and knowledge have been factors in the transgression, it is our duty to be proportionately slow to forgive and to require proportionately longer and stronger proofs of repentance.
But this is as far as we may go. Although we may be able to decide what would be a sin unto death against God (`I John 5:16`), we may not decide that any transgression against us is unforgivable; against us there are to be no unpardonable sins. Our imperfect knowledge, as well as our imperfect judgments, forbids such a decision. Hence our Lord said, "If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him." Peter said, "Lord how oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times, but, Until seventy times seven."--`Luke 17:3,4`; `Matt. 18:21,22`.
From these Scriptures it is evident that some of God's people make the mistake of forgiving transgressors before they repent. It is as much the Lord's command that we rebuke the transgressor, and that we do not forgive until he turns again and repents, as it is his command that we do forgive, from the heart, when he does turn and repent. And if he trespass seventy times seven times he should be rebuked as often (either by word or conduct or both), and should repent in words and turn in conduct just as often.
To require less than this is to disobey our Teacher's instructions and to do injury to the transgressor by giving him lax ideas as to his duty. A lack of strict justice, in this respect, on the part of God's people has often injured their children, whereas a proper exercise of justice with forgiveness on proper grounds would have helped those children the better to understand God's dealings, and would guard them against expecting his favor except upon full repentance; and also against tempting divine mercy by sinning against knowledge.
But while some need to correct their hearts and conduct as above, more, probably, need to guard against an unforgiving spirit. Such should remember that Christ Jesus by the grace of God tasted death for every man--paid the price of every man's natural or inherited imperfection--and consider that if God can accept that ransom-price as the full satisfaction for all except wilful sins or the wilful portions of sins, then we can and should do so also; and all who have God's spirit or disposition will hold wrong-doers responsible for only their wilful share in sins and be ready to forgive and pass over quickly whatever is of Adamic depravity and truly repented of and thereafter shunned.
Let such remember the words, "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"; and consider that we who accept our Lord Jesus' sacrifice, as being for the sins of the whole world, must also, if we would be faithful and just, forgive those who trespass against us, if they confess and repent, because Jesus paid all of their debts, to us as well as to God.
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Justice, therefore, demands of all who trust in the merit of Christ's sacrifice as the ground of their own forgiveness, that they recognize the same precious blood as the covering of all Adamic ignorance and weaknesses. And the Lord assures us that unless we forgive those who trespass against us (when they repent), neither will he forgive us when we repent.
Moreover, our forgiveness must be from the heart (`Matt. 18:35`) --not a lip forgiveness and a heart hatred. The forgiven one may be held at a distance for a time to prove the sincerity of his repentance; but just as soon as we have good cause to believe him sincere we must be prompt and hearty in our forgiveness--as a heart with a forgiving spirit or desire will always be glad to do. The length of time we may hold aloof from the erring one must be measured by our willingness to have our Heavenly Father hold aloof from us when we trespass against him: this is the Divine rule of the Lord's prayer. But, even then, although fully and heartily forgiven, we may not put such a one into a place of the same responsibility as the one from which he fell until we have seen a stronger and truer character developed in him. And this would not imply a lack of full forgiveness, but merely a proper caution--not only for our own protection, but also for the good of the one who transgressed and his protection from too strong a temptation of the same kind.
We find no mention in the Scriptures of forgiving on God's part without the requirement of repentance. The passage which reads, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (`Luke 23:34`), might be considered to refer to a pardon without repentance; but these words are not found in the oldest Greek MSS.--the Sinaitic and Vatican.
A passage frequently misunderstood is:
"If thou comest to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift and first go and be reconciled to [or make amends to] thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."--`Matt. 5:23,24`.
It should be noted that the one addressed is not the brother trespassed against, but the trespassing brother. He must leave the offering of his gift or prayer, until he has made amends to his brother for the wrong he is conscious of having done him, in word or deed. Not until then will his offering be acceptable to God.
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THE WORLD'S MEDIATOR OUR ADVOCATE
I HAVE noticed with interest the discrimination you make between a mediator and an advocate--that believers of this Gospel Age, called to be members of the Body of Christ, the Mediator, have an Advocate and need one; because, although as New Creatures they are accepted of God, nevertheless having the new nature in the imperfect "earthen vessel," they cannot deal directly with the Father; even as a good citizen, approved in an earthly court, is not permitted by law to approach the Court directly, but only through an Advocate or attorney. I appreciate this distinction. I see how incongruous it would be for us New Creatures to be under a mediator. And I agree that THE WATCH TOWER has rightly defined these distinctions; that our Lord Jesus is the Advocate for the Church and the Mediator for the world. I agree, too, that his Mediatorial Kingdom is not yet established --that it belongs to the Millennial Age. I agree, also, that while our Lord is now the Mediator of the New Covenant, he is thus spoken of prophetically, because this is the great work to which he was appointed and because by his death he has become a "surety" (`Heb. 7:22`) for the full carrying out of the Divine promise of a New Covenant of blessing for Israel and the world.
I note my difficulty. It seems to me that the Church, "the household of faith," needs no Mediator now, since we have become New Creatures; but did we not need a Mediator before we could become New Creatures? It seems to me that our Lord Jesus must have acted as Mediator for us, at least momentarily, while we accepted justification and made our consecration. If this is not the correct thought, please render me the necessary assistance out of my perplexity.
WE REPLY:--Your difficulty is merely one of terms and not one of facts. It is a fact that believers needed the application of the Lord's merit, the "ransom-price," to be applied on their behalf--as a covering for their human imperfections and a basis for their becoming joint-sacrificers with Christ. This fact which your mind has grasped thoroughly should never be relinquished. It is the foundation of all proper faith. But you have attached a wrong label or name to that fact and need to take it off, and instead to attach the Scriptural label or name. It is as our Advocate that our Lord justified us, and not as our Mediator, because the term Advocate applies to our Lord only as our representative before the Father, justified by faith in his blood and sanctified through our consecration to be dead with him, he appeared before the Father as our Advocate: we were accepted and begotten of the holy Spirit as New Creatures, his "members." Our Lord continues as our Advocate. He is not the world's Advocate.
As for the word Mediator, it is indeed a glorious name and title possessed by our Lord, but it is not the proper label or name to be associated with his service in our justification. It is not Scripturally applicable to the Church at all, except that we are associates with the Mediator of the New Covenant as "his members" in the sufferings of this present time, and as joint-heirs with him in the glorious prospects of the Millennium. It will help us greatly to remember that while the word mediator is very loosely used in general conversation to-day it is quite particularly and carefully and exclusively used in the Bible--only in connection with a Covenant. Messiah (Head and Body) is the Mediator of the New Covenant, as Moses was the Mediator of the Law Covenant. (`Acts 3:22,23`.) No other mediator than these is known in the Scriptures, whatever may be the usage of our language.
By what term, then, should we speak of our justification and of him whose sacrifice justifies the Church? We should use the Scriptural term redeemer. Jesus is the Church's Redeemer, for "He bought us with his own precious blood";
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"Ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things,...but with the precious blood of Christ." Our Lord will be the world's Mediator in due time. But he is as yet only the Church's Redeemer, as he is now only the Church's Advocate; because he has not yet made application of his merit on the world's behalf.
Are some surprised to note these clear Scriptural distinctions of terms? Let us reflect that the Lord has given us many blessed opportunities for the study of his Word not possessed by our forefathers. Hence we ought to see and appreciate more distinctly than they. We ought to be able to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" better than they. If some of our dear readers had the thought that they had studied the Scriptures so carefully that there could be nothing more to learn therefrom, let them confess that God's Book is wonderful, a mine of precious treasure. Its exactness in various features is marvelous. But this very exactness is proof of its Divine inspiration, as the ability to see this exactness is an evidence to us that we are guided by the holy Spirit which wrote the Book; even as it is written, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." The natural mind is disposed to reject, criticise and to call this "hair-splitting": It lacks in discrimination, or else is willing to turn and twist the Word of God to make it suit a theory. In either case there is blindness.
BROOKLYN BETHEL HYMNS FOR MARCH
After the close of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered: (1) 332; (2) 293; (3) 60; (4) 66; (5) 313; (6) 146; (7) 52; (8) 4; (9) 5; (10) 162; (11) 79; (12) 222; (13) 291; (14) 209; (15) 130; (16) 279; (17) 93; (18) 325; (19) 144; (20) 113; (21) 210; (22) 229; (23) 12; (24) 95; (25) 62; (26) 105; (27) 273; (28) 246; (29) 153; (30) 24; (31) 315.
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FOLLOWING A SUGGESTION SUCCESSFULLY
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I have just received a letter from a Sister in the South and thought that an extract from it would be interesting to you, and possibly offer a suggestion to other WATCH TOWER readers. The Sister writes:--
"In THE WATCH TOWER of November 1st the suggestion is offered that those who cannot sell DAWN-STUDIES regularly might 'do a good follow-up work by selling the HEAVENLY MANNA." After thinking prayerfully over the matter I decided, the Lord helping me, that I would make an effort along this line. I made the start to-day, working three hours and canvassing twenty people. The result was that I took orders for ten books and found two people already interested in the Truth, one-half of my time being spent with these friends, namely, two Sisters who have a Brother in the Truth in N.C. These Sisters have but recently moved to Columbia and were wondering if there were any people residing here of their Brother's faith. You may easily imagine how happy it made me to find these friends. One of them had been reading but recently and is becoming much interested.
"My motive at first in doing this work was to help our finances, which are low at present; nevertheless, down deep in my heart was a longing desire to do something to awaken the zeal which was in danger of being smothered by the daily trials to which I have been subjected of late; for really spiritual help and nourishment are what I stand in need of more than money. Accordingly, I prayed to the Lord that, if I had taken the right step, he would encourage me this first day, for it was just as hard for me to start out now as when I sold my first DAWN. I feel that he has indeed done so, for the meeting of those two interested ones was well worth the effort I had made."
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DELIVERED FROM THE FOWLER
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Please let me add my testimony to the many others sent you at this time. My feeble words cannot express my heart's joy, because of the great light that has come to me through the knowledge of "Present Truth."
The little tract from your pen that by accident fell into my hands many years ago accomplished its mission well. Under the Spirit's power God used that little messenger as an index-finger to point to the proof of its strange and new statements concerning the meaning of many things in the Bible. You said, prove everything by the Word of God. I did so, found your words to be truth then, and the eyes of my understanding were opened.
The key to the great storehouse of God's Truth was in my hand, and gradually, step by step, I have been guided by your Spirit-inspired pen, which has continually pointed to God's Word as the only proof test of its statements, until my heart has become established in the Truth, and each day I am becoming more and more free. More and more is the light shining, and with joyful anticipation, faith points a little farther on unto the perfect day.
May our Father still make you his blessed instrument to show forth his light upon his fast-revealing Truth, and still use your lips as his mouthpiece to guide those who otherwise could not understand. And may the ink-horn at your side never fail to supply the pen which will send the message of love and light to the thousands who cannot hear your voice, nor look upon your Spirit-illumined countenance. But it is not your work. Let God be praised for his wonderful work, which he has brought through his chosen servant and watchman, and may you still, as in the past, be sustained and comforted by him who will never leave, never forsake.--`Job 8:19,20`; `Ps. 84`, `19`; `Heb. 12:27`.
And may you be among those who cannot be shaken, but one to whom the verse--`Ps. 37:6`--will most fully apply, is my fervent prayer.
Nov. 17 was my 70th birthday anniversary, and how blessedly true is the text that is written in the HEAVENLY MANNA for that date. Faithful pastors and teachers, who have watched for my soul as they who must give an account. Surely I have been delivered from the subtle snare of the Fowler. Praise the Lord for his loving, unmerited kindness to me.
Yours in hope to anchor in the harbor,
MRS. M. A. SMITH.
DEAR SISTER SMITH:--
I have pleasure in acknowledging your kind letter of the 22nd inst., being deeply appreciative of the loving interest, sympathy and fellowship expressed in it.
Truly, in the wonderful Mystical Body of Christ, and of which by God's grace we are individually members, if one member suffer all suffer. Then, too, we are each built up by the means of the strength that each band, joint and ligament supplies, until we all come to the full stature of men in Christ. Our consolation is that the Lord knoweth them that are his, and that all things are working together for good to his elect ones. In our present trials let us take heed to ourselves that we ever remain in the faith, knowing that he who has called us is faithful, who will also do it.
Very sincerely your brother and co-laborer in the Kingdom,
C. T. RUSSELL.
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INFIDEL OBJECTION ANSWERED
The following was sent by Brother Fisher recently to a secular journal:-- MR. EDITOR, DEAR SIR:--
Infidels and unbelievers in the accuracy of the Bible love to prove that the grand old Book is wrong. Don't you think they would be benefited more by an equal amount of time and thought to prove it right?
For example, one of the favorite objections to the Bible is the longevity of the people before the Flood, under the favorable climatic conditions of those days and their nearness to the perfection of the first couple, created, as they were, "in the image and likeness of God."
It is solemnly affirmed by infidel scientists, both orally and in writing, that the only rational understanding of those long lives is that at that ancient day they reckoned time differently, calling a lunar month a year. Recently my attention was called to internal evidence in the account itself, which shows that our wise friends have got to find another reason.
If the antediluvians called a lunar month a year, then, of course, Adam, for example, lived 930 months, or about 80 years--an age that agrees with modern experience.
This seems rational, but the Sacred Record furnishes other data that involve a most irrational and absurd conclusion, if we are to act upon the lunar month theory.
It is that the antediluvians had children at an unbelievably tender age. Of Adam the record runs: "Adam lived one hundred and thirty years and begat a son." (`Gen. 5:3`.) According to the lunar month hypothesis he had his first baby at the tender age of eleven. Some of the other patriarchs were even more precocious; for example:--Seth, 9 years old; Enos, 7; Cainan, 6; Mahalaleel, 5; Jared, 13; Enoch, 5;
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Lamech, 15; Methuselah, 15; Noah, 41; Shem, 8; Arphaxad, 4; Salah, 2-1/2; Eber, 3-1/2; Peleg, 2-1/2; Terah, 6; Abraham, 7; Isaac, 5.
After this the modern era of ages is admittedly in force.
Now, then, where are the infidels and infidel higher critics going to begin to throw the account out? They cannot believe in the lunar month theory. The only thing left is to throw the whole thing out of court, which many have done. I think the account is true, and trustworthy as it stands. What do you think about it, Mr. Editor? Yours truly,
G. H. F.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
DEARLY BELOVED BROTHER IN THE LORD:--
May I ask you whether you understand that there is any time or circumstance under which, during the present time (`S.S. 1:2`--"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for thy love is better than wine"), "kisses of the mouth" can have any fuller meaning than full heart recognition of the exceeding great and precious promises and their application to one's self, and by heart appreciation thus to recognize the presence of our dearly loved espoused Bridegroom?
In other words, is there any time or circumstance when you understand that there could be any recognition of a personal presence? Or should we fear such experience as one of the many forms and ways Satan will take to "deceive, if possible, the very elect"? transforming himself into an angel of light. While a personal answer will be appreciated, from the experience I hear some are having, it seems as if an answer through THE TOWER, and that soon, may save some from a snare of the Adversary. With thanksgiving to God, I am,
Your brother by grace,
J. C. EDWARDS.
I am quite agreed that the figurative expressions of Solomon's Song should not be allowed to exercise fanciful impressions upon our minds. There would be great danger of putting one's self into a mental attitude which would be susceptible to adverse spirit influences--from the fallen angels. God has in these last times spoken to us by his Son in the record of his teaching and through his specially appointed apostles. Upon the exceeding great and precious promises which these set before us our hearts may freely feast. And in these we should find an abundance of spiritual nutriment, refreshment, and not invite or desire any physical or sensuous manifestations of our Heavenly Bridegroom's love and care. Thanks, dear Brother, for the kind words of loving cheer and sympathy. I am glad to note your firmness and clearness in the Truth.
Very truly your brother and servant in the Lord.
ALLEGHENY, PA., NOV. 25, 1909.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
In view of the flood of "Open Letters" by some ex-members of the New York Ecclesia, would it not be well to answer them in THE TOWER? Of course, your main article in the November 15 WATCH TOWER is a masterly reply to the Open Letter. Although not so declaring itself, the TOWER readers in general may not recognize it to be a response. And indeed I do not know whether you so intended it or not.
Its first exception to your (our) faith and teaching charges you with now presenting what the DAWN and TOWER do not teach--a subtle way of inferring that according to your presentation Jesus was not "a ransom for all" mankind. They misrepresent you as teaching that the Church is a part of the ransom price.
Truly no weapon formed against the Lord's cause will prosper. The Lord will take care of the ultimate results.
The opposition further infers that your teaching is the "abomination that maketh desolate." What will they do with Daniel's prophesy--"from the time of the abomination that maketh desolate, there shall be 1,335 days" (years)? Evidently they are prepared to set aside the Scripture Chronology as well as the Truth they were professed to love and serve.
Closing article I. they graciously accredit you as having been "helpful" to them in a study of the Divine Word, inferring, however, that they dug out of the Bible, truth not received from your instruction. Well do they know they never discovered Scripture knowledge on God's plan that did not emanate from the DAWN and TOWER presentations.
In their article II. do they not agree with you (with us) that Jesus is our Advocate, though they did not always do so? Or, do they profess to hold to the position that they are still enemies of God and God, at enmity with them, thus necessitating the constant service of a Mediator or go-between? Are they proud of this animosity? We rejoice that Jesus is our Advocate.
Article III. of the "Open Letter" has been thoroughly covered by your masterful reply in Nov. 15 WATCH TOWER. The opposing faction deals in isolated verses where you treat the subject in its entirety and you do so forcefully, logically, conclusively. Truly God is with you.
Article IV. starts out with a deliberate misstatement (to be charitable)--falsehood (to be exact). It declares that you "set forth the view that you alone are 'that servant' of `Matt. 24:45-47`; `Luke 12:42-44`;" whereas your claim re "that servant" was for THE WATCH TOWER.
According to the position taken by the advocates of the "Open Letter" no sister could possibly come in for a "special blessing" at the hands of our Lord. Rather a discouraging doctrine for the sisters, surely! It tends to make discrimination between the males and females of the faith, "once delivered to the saints." I wonder that all the sisters do not at once see the force of that argument.
Article V. of the "Open Letter" stands powerfully against the argument of the opposing faction. In it they admit that only 17 out of 300 Bible students in Brooklyn Tabernacle were in favor of a certain character of Bible study. Did they expect that the 300 should have given way to the 17? Or, do they hold that the 17 are smarter than the 300 and know best what the Lord approves?
Here let me remind you how the "Berean Bible Studies" started in Allegheny. I was appointed the leader. You merely suggested that I introduce this form of Bible study to the class. I did so, and after the seventh lesson you went on the platform and reminded the congregation that they now knew what the Berean Study is, as compared with Bible study in other ways. You told them of the favorable reports you had of the Berean Study, its increase of attendance, and that you now desired an expression from the Church as to its desire respecting future Bible Studies. Eleven hands were held up in favor of the Bible Study by books and chapters, four hands went up in favor of Bible Study by the selection of a verse or topic. Upwards of 250 hands were then extended in favor of the Berean method of study. I made note of all this at the time.
Now, dear Brother, I know not what method you pursued at the Brooklyn Tabernacle assembly, but am convinced that you did about the same as with the Allegheny congregation. The 17 objectors should at once have surrendered to the voice of God as expressed by the majority. It implied that God was pleased to have Berean Study, in which way every class studies systematically and has your assistance in arriving at conclusions. Only the wilful and heady would want to do otherwise.
[Seeing that some "Independents" were becoming confused, and manifesting an ungracious spirit, we recommended that for the next six months all meetings should be Berean Bible Studies, which had proven so helpful to many, and gave widest latitude for all and on almost every Bible topic. The vote was almost unanimous; about 300 in favor of Berean Studies, and 7 (not 17) against--by record.--EDITOR.]
Experience doubtless has taught us that, although people have had Bibles and studied them throughout the past, they have failed to get much good, but by studying in the Berean way they gain much knowledge of God's plan and principles of righteousness and know full well that the Berean studies are most helpful.
The opposing friends will have to get up a better argument than that set forth in their "Open Letter" if they shall deceive the Lord's little ones. Only those not really of us will be turned aside by their clamor and commotion on spiritual lines.
God help you, Brother, to stand fast in the true faith, the faith "once delivered to the saints." Nobly have you espoused God's truth to the hearing ones. If some presume to hurry along ahead of light as it becomes due they will be as much (if not more) in the dark than they who stay behind.
Continue to remember me at the throne of heavenly grace. Be not dismayed by the shafts of the enemy.
Your brother in Christ our Redeemer and Advocate.
J. A. BOHNET.
BEREAN STUDIES ON THE ATONEMENT
THE TEXT-BOOK USED FOR THIS COURSE
IS SCRIPTURE STUDIES, SERIES (V)*
Man for Whom Atonement Was Made.
How did the curse make necessary an atonement for sin-- a sin-offering?--SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Vol. V., Study XIV.
(1) What is implied in the statement of `Revelation 22:3`, "And there shall be no more curse"?
(2) Is it generally admitted that there is a curse or blight upon mankind and upon his earthly inheritance or home such as the Creator did not impose upon the holy angels? Is it more reasonable to suppose that this accursed condition resulted from an imperfection of the Creator's work or that it is a penalty for man's disobedience? Which theory is sustained by the Scriptures? Quote the Scriptures.
(3) Does any theory fit better to the facts as we know them than the presentation given us in the Bible on the subject of the curse, the cause of its infliction and the period of its continuance and the time and cause of its removal? P. 405.
(4) What is the ordinary theory respecting the curse and wherein is it wrong and contrary to the Bible teaching?
(5) Does the Scriptural account imply such a moral responsibility as should belong to a perfect man made in the image of his Creator or does it imply a low degree of moral perception akin to that of the brute? Give the philosophy of this subject. Pp. 406, 407.
(6) Does not the fact that Adam was placed on trial before the great Judge of the Universe imply that he was perfect and therefore fit for trial and responsible for his curse as a penalty for his sin? P. 407, last par.
Does God's proposal for the judgment of the Church during this Gospel Age necessitate an Advocate for each accepted son of God? And does the judgment of the world during the Millennial Age under a Mediator imply that they will be dealt with as a whole and not be introduced to the Father as sons until the end of the Millennium, when the Mediatorial office shall cease?
(7) Does not the provision that the Church now needs an Advocate and that a Mediator is being provided for the world's judgment day corroborate the thought that there is a curse or Divine condemnation upon every member of the human family through sin? P. 408, par. 1.
(8) Does this curse affect mankind physically only? Does it also affect his mentality and his morality? Give an explanation. Cite Scriptures. P. 408, last par.; P. 409.
(9) In what Scripture is the curse upon our race spoken of as the wrath of God? P. 410, par. 1.
(10) How long has this wrath been upon the race and how much longer will it continue? If it will come to an end, what will be the process? P. 410, par. 1.
(11) Is there also a special day of wrath mentioned in the Bible? In what sense is it particularly different from the remainder of the 6,000 years of Divine wrath and why? P. 410, par. 1.
(12) What distinction do the Scriptures draw between the Church and the world as respects this subject of wrath? Are Christians still "children of wrath"? Or did the wrath of God pass from them? If so, on what conditions. P. 410, par. 2.
(13) Do Christians experience trouble in the same degree as the world or have they offsetting circumstances and conditions which ameliorate their sorrows and distress and dis-ease? What is the process by which they get into this eased condition and free from the Divine "curse" or "wrath"? Quote and explain six Scriptures. P. 411, par. 1.
(14) What is God's verdict or curse against sin? If it is a death sentence, why does he delay the execution of it? P. 411, last par.
(15) What were the circumstances which brought on the curse and were there any ameliorating circumstances? P. 412, par. 1.
(16) Admitting that the penalty that God is executing against mankind is a just one, would it have been possible for him to deal with sin otherwise than as he did? P. 412, last par.
(17) Explain how God could have dealt with sin and sinners differently and state whether or not the Plan he is pursuing has special advantages over any other one. P. 413.
(18) Admitting that a more moderate course could have been pursued by the Almighty in dealing with sin, but that the Plan adopted was the wisest, shall we suppose that disadvantage shall be permitted to come to mankind in any sense or degree? P. 414, par. 1.
(19) Has God limited the operation of his grace to this Gospel Age or is there to be a further development during the Millennium? P. 414, par. 2.
(20) Of the Millennial conditions we read that "Every knee must bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God." Shall we understand this to mean that there obedience will be entirely compulsory? Or shall we understand that, while compulsory lessons will prevail for a time, nevertheless eventually the test will be along the line of heart, the human will--either for life everlasting or death eternal? Quote a Scripture relating to the Millennial Age which so teaches. P. 415, par. 1.
(21) Viewed as a whole, how does the Divine Plan appeal to us? As kind or unkind, just or unjust, loving or loveless? P. 415, par. 2; P. 416.
(22) In what sense did the nation of Israel have a Second Trial for life under their Law Covenant? P. 417, par. 1.
(23) Did Israel receive a blessing under the Law Covenant or an additional curse or sentence of death? And will their experiences prove permanently injurious to them? P. 417, par. 1.
(24) We read that Christ was made a curse for Israel, because it is written, "Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree." In what way did our Lord's death apply to Israelites differently from what it applied to the remainder of mankind? P. 417, par. 1.
(25) What is the necessity for reconciliation between God and man? And what does it secure to the reconciled? P. 417, par. 2.
(26) Give an explanation of the philosophy of the matter --of the fall, and the redemption, the Restitution and just how they are related. P. 417, par. 2.
(27) At what time did God's wisdom see man's condition and how did he provide the aid needed? And was there any other power which could have served his purpose or any other agency by which it could be accomplished? P. 418.
(28) What are the three parts of the Divine program as God is carrying it out? Explain these and associate them. P. 419.
(29) For what proportion of the human family has the Atonement been arranged? And who alone of humanity will fail to profit by its provisions? P. 419, last par.
(30) What is meant by the testimony, "In due time"? (`I Tim. 2:6`). And what may we expect as to the numbers of the saved? P. 420.
(31) What is meant by the Atonement between God and man? And what is necessary before it could be accomplished for any member of the human family? Explain the matter. P. 421.
(32) Was the penalty against sin a just one? And how may we judge of justice or injustice on the part of the great Creator, seeing that he is so great and we are so little? Contrast the penalty of sin from the Scriptural standpoint--the death penalty with the erroneous popular theory of eternal torment and explain the errors of the latter and the reasons of the former. P. 422, par. 1.
(33) How can the sacrifice of one be made the offset for the sins of many? P. 422, par. 2.
(34) Since none who received his life from father Adam had an unimpaired life we may see that none could ransom or redeem his brother or brethren. But could not a holy angel, free from condemnation, have laid down his life as the redemption price for man's life? If not, why not? P. 422, par. 3.
(35) If, then, a spirit being, in order to become man's redeemer, would need to exchange his nature for an earthly nature, upon what basis did the Father determine who might become man's redeemer and obtain the glorious reward proper for the service? P. 423.
(36) What priority of right did our Lord as the Logos or Word of God have over others in respect to this special opportunity to become man's redeemer? P. 424.
(37) Was it a spirit being that God offered or sacrificed for man's sin? P. 424, par. 2.
(38) Did our Lord's sin-offering begin when he, as a spirit being, the Logos, accepted the Divine proposition to become man's Redeemer, or when did the sin-offering begin and where did it end? Cite the Scriptures. P. 425, 426.
(39) When did our Lord's presentation of himself begin? And when was the corresponding price offered and accepted and the acceptance fully manifested? P. 426, last par.
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
THESE STUDIES ARE RECOMMENDED TO STUDENTS AS VERITABLE "BIBLE KEYS." PRICES ARE NET AND BARELY COVER COST OF PRODUCTION, WHEN DELIVERED BY COLPORTEURS THE COST AND PRICE ARE INCREASED.
SERIES I., The Plan of the Ages, gives an outline of the divine plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man's redemption and restitution: 386 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.).
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SERIES II., The Time is at Hand, treats of the manner and time of the Lord's second coming, considering the Bible Testimony on this subject: 370 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
SERIES III., Thy Kingdom Come, considers prophecies which mark events connected with the "Time of the End," the glorification of the Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; it also contains a chapter of the Great Pyramid, showing its corroboration of the dates and other teachings of the Bible: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
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