ZWT - 1913 - R5152 thru R5372 / R5365 (353) - December 1, 1913
(Use your Browser's "Find" or "Search" option to search within this page)
VOL. XXXIV DECEMBER 1 No. 23
A. D. 1913--A. M. 6042
Dedication of "The Temple"........................354
A Race of Slaves..................................355
Present Master of Mankind.....................355
Principles of Good and Evil Eternal...........356
Little Ways of Doing Good to Others...............357
Kind Words and Smiles Potent for Good.........357
Character Likeness to the Lord....................359
Two Causes of Dissension......................359
Friction Minimized With Maturity..............359
Heights and Depths of Divine Law..................360
Perfection the Christian's Standard...........360
Editor at International Purity Congress...........361
Only God Can Grant Victory....................361
Satan, Sin and Death to Be Overthrown.........362
Jesus and the Children............................363
Seventy Ministers Ordained........................364
Will the Earth Be Burned?.........................365
Profitable Bible Study............................366
Some Interesting Letters..........................367
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N. Y., U. S. A.
Foreign Agencies:-British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, London, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.
---------- ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE. SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:-All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.
========== ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH AND DANISH EDITIONS. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
========== ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N. Y., POSTOFFICE. ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA.
::R5365 : page 354::
DEDICATION OF "THE TEMPLE"--NEW YORK CITY
The Contractors promise to have "The Temple" ready for our use on Sunday, December 7. The services for the opening day will be a little out of the ordinary. So far as the building is concerned it will be Dedication Day. As respects the Congregation it will be Thanksgiving Sunday. The program will include the entire day. The opening service will be at 10.30 a.m. The Pastor, Brother Russell, will give the address.
At 2 p.m. there will be a Symposium in which several Brethren of the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION will participate, the topic being "THANKFULNESS." Its various phases will be considered.
At 4 p.m. there will be a general Praise and Testimony Meeting.
At 8 p.m. the Pastor, Brother Russell, will give an address, closing what, we trust, will be a very pleasant and very profitable day of spiritual refreshment.
As it is anticipated that numbers of THE WATCH TOWER readers will want to be present at these services, coming from surrounding cities and villages, it is proposed that no public advertising be done, so that we may have plenty of room for comfort and fellowship. Of course, the Brooklyn Tabernacle will be closed for the entire day.
All WATCH TOWER readers and their interested friends are cordially invited to this house-warming. "Seats free and no collection."
When sending remittances please remember to make them payable to Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
BETHEL HYMNS FOR JANUARY
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. Hymns for January follow: (1) 151; (2) 217; (3) 165; (4) 144; (5) 299; (6) 133; (7) 14; (8) 26; (9) 20; (10) 24; (11) 8; (12) 6; (13) Vow; (14) 87; (15) 256; (16) 105; (17) 34; (18) 235; (19) 88; (20) 113; (21) 7; (22) 307; (23) 325; (24) 125; (25) 222; (26) 100; (27) 208; (28) 173; (29) 145; (30) 38; (31) 273.
::R5355 : page 355::
A RACE OF SLAVES
"For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under Sin."--`ROMANS 7:14`.
THE Apostle's statement that we are sold under Sin implies that we as a race are slaves. And so elsewhere it is expressed that mankind are slaves of Sin. (`Rom. 6:16,17`. Diaglott.) We look back to see when we became slaves and how this condition came about. We find that Adam sold himself and incidentally all his race. What price was paid by the purchaser? What did Adam get when he sold himself and all his posterity to become servants of Sin? We reply, He got his own will. He got his choice of fellowship with his wife for a time in the course of disobedience, thus rejecting God and His will, His Law. For this price, this self-gratification, this measure of joy, he sold himself to Sin and was cut off from being a son of God. Then he became a slave of Sin and, as a result, a slave of death.-- `Romans 5:12`.
Sin, the great monarch ruling the world, has enslaved the entire human family. None can escape this bondage, except in one way. Under this bondage of Sin they get disease, sorrow, disappointment, death. Death is the great climax of the wages of this great Monarch. And so we read, "The wages of Sin is death." "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together." (`Romans 6:23`; `8:22`.) They are all travailing in this slavery, which was pictured in the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt under Pharaoh. The whole world is in alienation from God, banished from His favor and from everlasting life.
God's promise was that He would provide a Ransom for the purchasing back of the slaves. He did this, in due time, by providing the Redeemer. Father Adam went into slavery of his own volition. His children--all mankind--were born slaves, born in sin and slavery, under the penalty of death. Christ appeared that He might redeem the one who sinned--that He might give a Ransom-price, a corresponding price--His own life for the life of Father Adam. All these slaves may then be set free; may attain absolute freedom, if they will. All whom the Son shall set free will be free indeed.
MAN'S RELEASE PICTURED IN TYPE
This release of the slaves from Sin and Death was pictured in the Law by the release of the fiftieth year Jubilee. When the Jubilee arrived, the only ones who
::R5356 : page 355::
remained in slavery were those who preferred to remain thus. (`Deut. 15:12-17`; `Lev. 25:39-41`.) So the thousand years of Christ's Reign--the Millennium--is to be the great Jubilee time, in which all the slaves are to be freed from slavery to Sin and the power of Satan, and are to be lifted up to freedom, if they will. But the legal setting free of the slaves will be one thing, and the getting back of their privileges will be quite another thing. Mankind will be judicially free--they will then all have been bought with a price--taken from the taskmaster, Sin, and put under the new Master, Christ Jesus, the great King of Glory.
Messiah's Reign will be one in which mankind will be uplifted. All things that were lost will be recovered during the thousand years. And all will be set free, except those who prefer the bondage--and these will ultimately go into the Second Death, extinction, never after to be awakened to have the privilege of attaining everlasting life, or being of the family of God.
THE PRESENT MASTER OF MANKIND
Sin became the possessor of our race, which came under his control--Sin being allegorically personified as a great monarch holding relentless sway over mankind. Satan is another name for Sin. As he was called by our Lord the father of lies, and "a murderer from the beginning" (`John 8:44`), he very properly stands as the representative of Sin, as the representative of all unrighteousness.
Jesus Christ laid down the Ransom-price for all, that mankind might, in due time, be redeemed from slavery to Sin. The Divine sentence upon Adam was death, and Sin was the agent, or channel, on account of which this condemnation came. Christ was "made sin for us" (`2 Cor. 5:21`); that is to say, He was treated as the sinner, and received the punishment that properly belonged to the sinner. This He did that He might free us from this great slavery. The Apostle Paul declares that ultimately the whole creation shall be set free from the slavery of Sin and Death and shall become sons of God. --`Rom. 8:20,21`.--Diaglott.
When Adam yielded to self-gratification he became subject to this death penalty. It was God who imposed the penalty--it was God's penalty that must be met. In order for Christ to meet this penalty upon Adam, it was necessary for Him to renounce all self-gratification and to become dead to self, that He might do the Father's will. And He gladly yielded Himself to God's will--all that is "written in the Book."
We who have come into covenant relationship with
::R5356 : page 356::
God, have come through Christ. Having become voluntary servants of the Lord Jesus Christ we are still in slavery; but it is slavery to Christ instead of slavery to Sin. The world are slaves of Sin and not of Christ. Before Christ will make us free from Sin, the Father requires that we shall give up our wills entirely to Him. This constitutes us slaves in the most absolute sense. The most absolute slavery is slavery of the will to another. Ours is such a slavery, but it is one that is beneficial. Whether we eat or drink or sleep or work--whatever we do--it is all to be done in harmony with the Lord's will and for His glory. Yes, ours is a most blessed slavery, and we would not become free from it for any consideration.
We see that unless we had this absolute submission of our wills to God, we could not be prepared for the glorious things to come, to be joint-heirs with our Redeemer in His glory, honor and immortality. We were, therefore, freed from the service of Sin that we might become the bond-servants of another, even Christ. And we recognize that in getting free from Sin, we are free indeed.--`John 8:36`.
It is true that we are still under a measure of bondage to Sin--in our bodies--as long as we live. But the Apostle urges, "Let not Sin...reign in your mortal body"--do not allow it to dominate you; refuse to obey Sin. (`Rom. 6:12`.) So then we are to exert ourselves. Whoever will not exert himself will remain a bond slave of Sin. We are to resist determinedly and persistently the attempts of the old master, Sin, to bring us again into captivity. We are to strive to maintain the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. (`Gal. 5:1`.) If we are half-hearted in this matter, we are only partially loyal, and shall fail to win the prize, unless we arouse ourselves. If we are fully loyal, His grace is sufficient, and He far more than compensates us for whatever of self-denial and sacrifice this loyalty may bring.
"THE SIN OF THE WORLD"
The sin of the world was Adam's sin. This original sin was disobedience, and this disobedience includes, not only the act by which Sin got possession of the world and has ever since held possession, but it includes everything incident to its penalty. So Jesus came into the world that He might take away "the sin of the world." (`John 1:29`.) And He made possible the release from Sin by laying down His life, giving His life a corresponding price for Adam's.
Sin obtained possession of Adam at the very moment that he sinned. He became the slave of Sin as soon as he obeyed Sin. Here are shown two great principles-- righteousness and sin. Sin presented the temptation and said, Take this course; and as soon as Adam yielded to the suggestion he became Sin's slave; and God gave him over to the penalty. So the Scriptures represent that God merely took His hands off when Adam became the voluntary servant of Sin.
PRINCIPLES OF GOOD AND EVIL ETERNAL
The great principles of good and evil have always been in existence, whether they have been in operation or not. Righteousness has always existed. There has always been a principle of righteousness, and there has always been a principle of unrighteousness. Since the creation of beings in God's image began, the wrong course has always been open. Satan might have taken that wrong course long before he did. Mankind will always be open to the privilege of sinning, if they choose. But God will so thoroughly teach what is the wages of Sin, that mankind and all created intelligences will learn that lesson fully. They will not take the wrong course --nor love it--they will know that it would be suicide. They will not choose the wrong, just as God would not choose the wrong. All will have learned to "love righteousness and hate iniquity."
But these two principles will continue to exist. As it is right to do one thing, it is wrong to do the opposite thing. God's just arrangement is that all who obey the principle of righteousness shall live everlastingly. Justice sees to it that any one who wanders from the right course pays the penalty. The sure consequence of sin will fall upon the sinner. This is a broad principle-- "the wages of Sin is death," and the wages of righteousness is everlasting life. Strictly speaking, however, everlasting life is a gift, no one could earn it: "The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
THE SELLING PRICE--THE PURCHASE PRICE
When Adam sinned, it was his life that he sold, and, as the Apostle Paul tells us, Adam was not overtaken unawares by this sin. He knew that the penalty was death if he should sin; hence when he ate the forbidden fruit he knew that he was selling his life. In other words, he gave his life for an apple--or rather for the woman for whom he ate the apple. Therefore, the self-gratification cost his life. He came wilfully under the penalty of death, into slavery to Sin as the result of eating that apple--for he knew the penalty. The selling price was, we see, an apple. The purchase price, the corresponding price, was the giving of human life.
The Divine Plan is like a great building which may be viewed from different angles. We could take various pictures other than those of purchase and sale. But to our mind this illustration fits and dovetails.
The Ransom is the foundation of this Plan. There is no other phase of the Divine Plan that is more accurately set forth in the Scriptures, and no phase that is more fought against--either openly or with subtlety-- than is the Ransom. The Ransom-price for Adam is to be paid to justice. Justice demanded that mankind be sentenced to death. Jesus Himself has met this demand. Justice says, Give me the price and mankind shall go free. Justice remains with its hands full all the time. It never lets go of its hold. The penalty stands until the price is paid.
Sin is not a person. It is only the principle of evil personified and is sometimes used as a synonym of Satan, who is a person. Man sold himself to Sin--Justice did not sell him. But Justice has recognized the transaction, the sale--so that under the condemnation, Sin can have dominion over man. But Divine Love stepped in and provided the purchase price for the sinner. All those sold under Sin shall be redeemed, or purchased back from Sin and Death. This transfer can be made only through Christ. He is the Purchaser and Mediator who will, in due time, lift all those who will out of the condemnation of Sin and Death, and put them into the realm of righteousness and life. And Justice will stand by and agree that Jesus shall be privileged to restore mankind to life, through the merit of His sacrifice.
"Hail to the Lord's Anointed,
Jehovah's blessed Son!
Hail, in the time appointed,
His Reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression,
To set the captives free,
To take away transgression,
And rule in equity."
::R5357 : page 357::
LITTLE WAYS OF DOING GOOD TO OTHERS
"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the Household of Faith."--`Gal. 6:10`.
THE Apostle's exhortation here is very comprehensive --to do good without limitation, whether it be in word or deed. Some can be more benefited by words than by any other service we could render them. One of the great needs of the world is more knowledge. And if any one can dispel the darkness of this ignorance and let in light, he will surely do great good. The implied thought of the Apostle, however, seems to be that the principles of right and wrong--good and evil--are to be discerned by the Lord's people. From our standpoint we should recognize what would be a good work and what would be an evil work. Many are not able to discern between what is good and what is evil. Those who do evil are, with very few exceptions, in more or less ignorance and blindness.
Saul of Tarsus, for instance, was doing an evil work when he was persecuting the Church. But he did not realize this. Hence, the best service to Saul of Tarsus, or any one else under like conditions, would be to open the eyes of his understanding.
SOME GOOD WORKS ENUMERATED
Clothing the needy, feeding the hungry, taking care of the imbecile, are all good works--doing good to the world of mankind. As we look out into the world, we see many efforts being made to do good. Some of these efforts are wisely directed, and some unwisely. But we are not commissioned to set the world straight. We are not to interfere with anybody. Others have a right to their judgment, as we have a right to ours. But if any one were doing an evil work, thinking it to be a good work, we would be quite right to endeavor to stop him, using such means as might seem appropriate and wise-- the law, or our own words, or the words of others. But even here we are to take heed lest we should be busybodying in other men's matters.
If we were to further enumerate some of the good works which ought to be done, we would say, to care for the blind, to organize or put into operation a method by which they might be enabled to read, or to get happiness; to care for the deaf and dumb would also be a very good work. As for slum work, we would not have much sympathy with a good deal of this, as reported. We should, however, be very much in sympathy with everything that aims for good--physical good, mental good, social good, good of any kind. There are, besides the foregoing, good arrangements provided for the sick, the incurable; such as hospitals, sanitariums, etc.
All who love their fellow men and have sympathy for those in distress should be in sympathy with efforts for the betterment of their condition, and neither manifest nor feel opposition to them. No child of God could feel in sympathy with anything evil. God is the Representative of everything that is good. Satan is the representative of everything that is evil and injurious. If we would be children of God we must be out of harmony with everything not in line with His original provision for man, and out of harmony with everything that is in support of Satan.
Some of the efforts along the line of social uplift are not at all bad. Their promoters may be working in an illogical way, a way that we feel sure is not in harmony with the Bible way; but nevertheless we have sympathy with the Socialists. They are trying to do good. But we have no sympathy with those who are trying to do evil, injury. We have faith in God--that He purposes to bring about a great change shortly; but we believe that no efforts of humanity can bring about this change. Then there is a way of doing good along intellectual lines, the lines of instruction. It is a good thing to teach children how to sew, how to cook, how to learn the mechanical arts that will make them useful. Our public school teachers are doing a good work, as they give instruction to the youth, and especially if they give the right understanding in regard to that which they teach, that which is in harmony with God's Word--the proper instruction.
SPECIAL WORK OF THE LORD'S PEOPLE
But there is a higher work than all these. And we are to give our life and time to this, which we see is the most valuable of all. This is the instruction given for all who have the ear to hear, respecting the Almighty, His will, His purposes, His plan; for these are associated with every affair of life. This instruction, to those who receive it, becomes the best aid to proper thinking, proper living, proper acting, for this is God's way. And this way becomes the way of all who are consecrated to do His will, to walk in Jesus' footsteps.
As, therefore, we come more and more in harmony with God's Plan, we perceive that no other work could be so grand as to make known to others God's character, God's Plan and God's will concerning us. As this has brought great blessing and sanctification to us, we should have the desire to take the Good Tidings to others, refreshing them as we have been refreshed, comforting them as we have been comforted.
In doing this work we resort to every lawful means. And this is called in the Scriptures, preaching the Gospel --whether it is done by the printed page or orally or by pictorial representations, it is proclaiming the Gospel-- that which will do the most good to all mankind. We labor under one difficulty in this respect; namely, that the world is not able to appreciate the Good Tidings, Satan having blinded their eyes, so that they cannot see the philosophy of God's Plan--it does not seem reasonable to them. Those in this condition are trying, as it were, to look around a corner, instead of coming to the corner and getting the right angle of vision. But whether people believe it or not, we believe preaching the Gospel to be the Lord's work and therefore the best. This does not hinder us, however, from having sympathy with others who are doing what they consider to be the best work, so long as the result is good. We should be in sympathy with everything that is in harmony with the Truth--in sympathy with everything the influence of which is beneficial to mankind.
So then the Apostle is calling to our minds in a general way the opportunity of doing good to all men. But some may require assistance which we cannot give. For instance, we could not give up preaching the Gospel and go into the slum work, for the slum work is not preaching the Gospel. A godly physician might, however, in connection with his practise do good, not only along lines physical and mental, but also along spiritual lines. So we have opportunities every day with the butcher, the baker, the ice man, etc., all of whom are fellow creatures; for God made all mankind of one blood. As the Apostle enjoins, we should seek to do them good, seek to make them better, happier, more comfortable.
KIND WORDS AND SMILES POTENT FOR GOOD
It might be argued that in order to do good most widely, one's efforts should be associated with using money for the purpose. It is true that money represents an accumulation of time. It takes time to produce money;
::R5357 : page 358::
therefore whoever gives a dollar to any cause, gives what represents so much time; whoever donates one thousand dollars gives that which represents so much time, for the money will purchase time, comforts, etc. But not many of the Lord's people have much money to use. And if they had much money, they would feel that this is a talent, and that it should be used chiefly for the Household of Faith, for the Lord's brethren.
Since, then, we cannot do much in a material way for men as we meet them in the walks of life, day by day, how can we do them good? One of the easiest ways is to look happy ourselves and thus inspire happiness in others. A person who goes about looking miserable is not likely to make others feel happy. But if we cannot always look very happy, let us look as happy as we can, and thus we will be doing good to a great many people whom we meet throughout the day. This we can do even if we have no money with which to help others. Look happy, and try thus to make them happy. And secondly, if we have no money, we can give a kind word, a smile, a pleasant tone, a little civility, wherever proper.
All such little courtesies of life are means of doing good, and may bring a ray of sunshine into the lives of a great many people, the majority of whom are unfavorably situated. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God does not yet shine into their hearts. They are dark within, gloomy, foreboding, fearful. They know not God! and what they know of their fellow men is a knowledge of selfishness. They feel that they must be on their guard lest every one cheat them and get the better of them. Now, if our look, our manner, our tone, would be helpful, comforting, assuring, to these, then we would be doing them good--more good than if we should scatter dollar bills all along our pathway. "Kind words shall never die"; and the expressions that go with them are some of the ways of doing good unto all men as we have opportunity.
We have a special work and therefore have not the opportunity to walk the streets and smile all the time. Our life-work is for the great King. But as we go about our work, we should drop a smile or a kind word--something along the line of doing "good unto all men." Our work is to be especially for the Household of Faith in the sense that while we may be doing missionary work, and going among those who are not of the Household of Faith, yet our motive in doing thus is the hope that there may be some of these who are already of the Faith Household, or some who will be amenable to the Message, and will wish to serve the Lord when they learn the way.
::R5358 : page 358::
And if we would desire to do good to them, how much more would we wish to encourage those who belong to the Lord, who have become members of His spiritual family!
THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH
These words--Household of Faith--are broad enough to include not only those who are fully in the way, but also those who have made more or less of an approach unto the Lord and the Truth. The very fact that any one is drawing near to the antitypical Tabernacle is a strong reason why we should wish to encourage him to press on. He has come a part of the way, even if he has not made a consecration.
In a strict sense, the Household of Faith, of course, includes only those who are consecrated. But the words of the Apostle justify us in believing that those who are considering the matter, counting the cost, would in a broad sense be counted as of the Household of Faith. And we are to give these special assistance--all in whom we see any prospect of consecration. Our constant desire and effort should be to point men directly or indirectly to the Lord. Thus we shall be showing "forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light."
We are to do these things as we have opportunity. This would include the thought of times and seasons and ways and means of doing good. So far as we are concerned we are to "be instant in season, out of season." We are not to consider our own inclinations, tastes, etc., but we would be obliged to consider the interests of others. A husband must specially regard the interests of his wife, and the wife the interests of her husband and children.
SPIRIT OF A SOUND MIND NECESSARY
We should be willing to serve anybody in any way as we have opportunity. And if there are many opportunities for service, we must choose between them, exercising the spirit of a sound mind, as to which would be the will of the Lord for us. The Lord's people should so order their lives as to get the best results--get the most good possible out of them. In choosing a means of livelihood, if there is a choice of five trades, one would study as to which would be the most lucrative, which would be the cleanest, which the most honorable, which require the most labor, etc. This would be from the natural standpoint. But from the Divine standpoint, the Christian's standpoint, the decisive question would be, In which of these avocations can I best serve the Lord? And this would mean, In which can I find the best opportunity for carrying out the good intentions of my heart as to the Lord's will respecting me?
If we have made some mistake in this respect and the Lord opens wide the door for us to enter in elsewhere, or if He makes our present place so tight that we cannot stay there, then let us arrange our affairs accordingly, in such a manner that we may have the most opportunities for doing "good unto all, especially to the Household of Faith."
There are some occupations which take us away from men, where we would have less opportunity of meeting people. No doubt it was the Lord's arrangement that Moses for a time should be away off in the land of Midian, keeping sheep for his father-in-law, Jethro. But as soon as the Lord was ready, He called Moses out and gave him a place of great opportunity and responsibility. No doubt that work in the wilderness was a place of great opportunity also; and doubtless before that, while in the schools of Egypt, he had great opportunity for learning lessons of experience.
So the Lord's people are to watch for their opportunities. And day by day they are to seek, so far as possible, to be doing good to others, and especially to those of the Lord's Household--giving these always the preference.
The Christian is to be ready to do good to all men at the expense of his own time and convenience, but he is to be ready to lay down his life for the brethren. He is to seek opportunities for laying down his life day after day, in the sense of giving his time to the communication of the Truth, or helping the Lord's brethren in any manner to put on the "whole armor of God," that they may stand in the evil day.
"The world would be a desolate place,
But for one here and there,
Whose heart with self hath not been filled,
Whose love for God hath not been killed,
Whose thankful praise hath not been stilled--
There's one such here and there.
"But oh! the grandeur of the work,
For this one here and there,
To join in lifting up our race,
To wipe away of sin each trace,
To make of earth a perfect place,
Put glory everywhere!"
::R5358 : page 359::
CHARACTER-LIKENESS TO THE LORD
"I pray for them...that they may be one,...that they may be made perfect in one,...that the world may know that Thou hast...loved them as Thou hast loved Me."--`John 17:9,20-23`.
THESE WORDS, we remember, were uttered by our Lord on the night of His betrayal, supposedly while on the way from the "upper room" where the Memorial was observed to the Garden of Gethsemane. The ones He evidently prayed for were the twelve Apostles, or rather the eleven, by this time; for in conjunction He says, "I have lost none of them, save the son of perdition." But the context shows that His prayer includes His faithful followers all the way down the Age. He says, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for all those who shall believe on Me through their word." He prayed that His followers might be one, even as He and His Father were one--the same kind of oneness, a oneness of mind.
This text is one of the best proofs that the Lord Jesus and the Father are not one in person. He could not have prayed for all of the Church to be one in person. It is a oneness of will, a full harmony of will, a oneness of purpose. The Lord said, "Not My will, but Thine be done." He thus came into full oneness, harmony with the Father--with the Father's will, the Father's Plan. It is not a mutual concession, where each gives up some of his rights in order to become one.
His first work for dealing with the world of mankind --before He would become the world's Savior and the Mediator of the New Covenant--was the election of the Church. This was the work which He had now begun, and He was committing to them the testimony. He desires that all the Church have a oneness of purpose, a oneness of will with His will. And we can see that this could be obtained only in the one way--by fully surrendering our will. And this, the Scriptures declare, is done by becoming dead.
TWO CAUSES OF DISSENSION
A man or woman is merely what his will is and what that will can make out of the body and its circumstances. And so at the very beginning of our discipleship, the first thing is to see that we are dead as respects our will, and alive toward the Lord Jesus Christ. All who do this He calls New Creatures. He grants them the Holy Spirit, that the new mind, the new will, may be theirs. In proportion as they obtain the new mind, the new will, in that same proportion will the oneness with one another exist.
That which causes dissension amongst the Lord's people is either a lack of loyalty or a lack of knowledge. If it is a lack of loyalty, they will gradually drift away. The Lord does not choose to force any of His family. He is choosing such as worship Him in spirit and in truth, such as are in every respect loyal. He has set aside for the purpose of selecting this class the entire Gospel Age. This work of selecting has been in progress for nearly nineteen centuries. And this company will be a Little Flock. They will, evidently, be a very select class. They are required to walk by faith, not by sight.
Not many have the loyalty to God and to righteousness to walk that way and to count the world as loss and dross--as nothing, with all its projects. As the disloyal ones leave the ranks, more and more the loyal ones will find themselves drawn together, and more and more of oneness will be found among those who are faithful. This would necessarily be true in every time and in every country. All who are thoroughly loyal would desire to do the Father's will, desire to lay down their lives in the Father's service. And this desire would make them one.
FRICTION MINIMIZED WITH MATURITY
The Lord speaks of their being perfected in one. As each individual member makes progress, he becomes more worthy to fill the place or use the opportunity provided for him. And thus the Body becomes more efficacious. But the thought that our Lord here expresses is rather that of completeness. He is referring to the end of the Age, when the work will be completed, perfected, when they will all be one. But the grand consummation will be effected by something which the Lord will Himself do.
::R5359 : page 359::
We find that, necessarily, because of the differences of our flesh, we cannot in everything see exactly alike. Now we can only see more or less obscurely.
At present we cannot see fully and completely. Consequently there will always be more or less friction, even amongst those who are fully consecrated to do the Father's will. This friction should become minimized, as we become mature. But we cannot see eye to eye until the glorious consummation, when we shall have experienced the resurrection change, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." We are to have our trial in these imperfect bodies. And those who show their loyalty in fighting against the world, the flesh and the Adversary, to the end, will be joint-heirs with Christ, sharers in His Kingdom, executors of the Divine Program for the blessing of the world of mankind.
AN ASTOUNDING STATEMENT
At the Epiphania, or bright shining, of the Lord's manifestation, God will have completed His present work of directing the Church, and the world will be informed that they are under a different Dispensation. When the world shall have come to understand the matter fully, they will know the truth of our Lord's words, in His last prayer with His disciples, that the Father loves the Church as He loves the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a very astounding statement. It shows that there is nothing selfish in our Lord. He did not say, "They will always be inferior to Me. They will never have the glory that I shall have."
On the contrary, the Lord Jesus knows that the Heavenly Father will exercise His Love along the lines of principle, character. And all who will be members of the same glorious company must have the same glorious character that our Lord had; that is to say, they must be loyal to the core. They must have demonstrated that they loved righteousness and hated iniquity. We read, "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows." (`Hebrews 1:9`.) So He was anointed to be the Head of the Church class. But the Church class are declared in this Scripture to be His associates--not of inferiority, but of common fellowship, being on one plane. And the world will then know that the Father loved the Church as He loved Jesus. We understand that the Church will be on the same plane with her Lord Jesus. Nevertheless, we are to keep in mind that God "made Him to be Head over all--God blessed forever!" The Church will never be on an equality of position with Christ.
This is very wonderful to us, that our Heavenly Father should love us as He loved Christ, that the Lord would love the jewel, in the mire or wherever it might be found! The Lord Jesus has been selecting these characters out of the mire of human sin. And those who prove to be of the "more than conqueror" class--loyal as
::R5359 : page 360::
the Lord Jesus was loyal--the Father will love as He loved the Lord Jesus, and will glorify them with His Son.
"'When thou passest through the waters,
I will be with thee!'
Sure and sweet and all-sufficient
Shall His presence be.
All God's billows overflowed Him
In th' great Atoning Day;
Now He only leads thee through them--
With thee all the way."
::R5359 : page 360::
THE HEIGHTS AND DEPTHS OF DIVINE LAW
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of the least of these commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven."--`MATTHEW 5:19`.
THERE is prevalent amongst Christian people quite an erroneous view respecting the Divine Law. It is generally considered that, because the Apostle said that we are not under the Law, but under grace, he meant that the Law is done away with. We believe that this thought is incorrect. Our Lord said that till Heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle of the Law should pass away till all be fulfilled. All written therein shall be accomplished.
The Divine Law has always been in existence. It was plainly expressed in Adam; the various parts of his organism were expressions of the Divine law. The Law of God was written in his heart. He was in full harmony with the Divine Mind, and therefore in full harmony with the Divine Law. But when sin came in, the Divine Law in his being was measurably obliterated. There is still some of the Divine Law in all who are appreciative of right and wrong, but not sufficient to make right living possible.
In God's dealing with the nation of Israel He gave them a Law. This Law, written in the Ten Commandments, is a brief summary of man's obligations--a text, as it were, from which many lessons might be drawn. In our knowledge of the Ten Commandments, we are still aware of what is God's Law. God never abrogated that Law. It is still in force upon the Jews, as also is the Law Covenant. But Gentiles never were under the Law Covenant.
God offered the Jews everlasting life if they would keep the Law. They were bound by the Law; hence the Apostle points out that they would need first to die to the Law Covenant before they could come into Christ, the Life-Giver. (`Rom. 7:4`.) This did not mean that they must die to the Law of God, but merely to the Law Covenant. It would mean to give up all hope of attaining everlasting life through keeping the Law Covenant.
The new hope into which Gentile Christians entered does not abrogate God's Law, nor does it release them from the obligations of His Law. But God has made a provision that notwithstanding our imperfection, our inability to keep the Law perfectly, He will accept us in Christ, our imperfections being covered by Christ's merit. Of these the Apostle said, "The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us, who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." We must needs be perfect beings to live up to the spirit of the Divine Law, it being the requirement for a perfect man.
PERFECTION THE CHRISTIAN'S STANDARD
This thought, then, is the key to our Lord's words in the text under consideration. He who would violate this Law of God, and teach others to do so, either by example or precept, should be considered as the least. And he that would keep the Law of God, and by example or precept help others to keep this Law, should be called greatest in the Church, the incipient Kingdom, the embryotic Kingdom. Those who would be of this Kingdom class must forsake father and mother and all things to take up their cross and follow Christ. In other words, Christ must be first. Amongst these followers of His there would be differences. Some through weaknesses of heredity, or what not, would be less faithful--others would be more faithful. Those who would keep the Divine Law most perfectly in heart and life would be most nearly copies of God's dear Son.
And so it is with us today. We esteem highly those most diligent in service, those most zealous. Those who walk somewhat disorderly, who are vacillating, we esteem less. We take notice of ignorance and weaknesses in the Church. We must sympathize with these; nevertheless, one who would not overcome his weaknesses would not be so highly esteemed in the Kingdom class as one who could, and who would, walk more closely in the Master's footsteps. In other words, we understand the Master to be teaching that the Gospel is not out of sympathy with the Jewish Law. He said, "Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." There is no lower standard than that of perfection. It would not do for the Lord to say, Be ye slightly like the Father, or, Be ye nearly like Him. He must present the perfect standard.
The Jew is striving for perfection, striving to get everlasting life. The Christian is striving for perfection, and expecting to get eternal life--not by perfectly keeping the Law, which he cannot do, but through the merit of Christ, which makes up for his deficiencies-- covers his blemishes.
THE OUTER SHELL OF DEEPER SENTIMENTS
The Divine Law is briefly summed up, not only in the Old Testament, but also by our Lord Himself in the words, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. And thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." (`Deut. 6:5`; `Lev. 19:18`; `Matt. 22:37-39`.) This is still more briefly summed up by the Apostle Paul: "Love is the fulfilling of the Law." (`Rom. 13:10`.) Love to God would lead us to do all those things which are inculcated in His Word; and love for our neighbor would lead us to fulfil all our obligations toward them, as inculcated.
If we come to apply the commands of the Law to ourselves as Christians, we can easily amplify them all. For instance, our Lord's definition of adultery is much more searching than the statement as contained in the tables of the Law. The New Testament definition of murder is much deeper than that commonly accepted. The Apostle John declared that to hate a brother is murder. God could see that there was murder in the heart of the hater of a brother. The All-Seeing Eye perceives if there is disloyalty present in any degree--or anything contrary to the Divine will. From this standpoint, then, we see that the Ten Commandments are but the outer shell, as it were, of deeper sentiments.
It was the custom of the Jews to do nothing whatsoever
::R5360 : page 361::
on the seventh day of the week. We presume that the significance of this commandment is, to the New Creature in Christ, that the rest of the seventh day typifies the perfect rest into which he has entered through Christ.
All New Creatures in Christ are to keep Sabbath every day. And so the Apostle says, "We who have believed do enter into rest"--have entered into rest. It is not that our muscles or our brains are necessarily resting, but that we have the rest of heart, the rest of mind, the peace of God which passeth all understanding. It is important that we maintain this peace at all times, and do not let anything come in which would interfere with it and take us out of harmony with God. If it does, we should consider that we have broken the Sabbath command.
The New Creature could not kill. It has no weapon except the Sword of the Spirit. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer. To cultivate a spirit of hatred would be a very serious matter. One who would do so should not be considered a true brother or sister in the Body of Christ, which is the Church.
::R5360 : page 361::
EDITOR AT THE INTERNATIONAL PURITY CONGRESS
A FEW weeks ago, Governor Glynn, of New York, appointed the Editor of THE WATCH TOWER a delegate to represent New York State at the seventh International Purity Congress, to convene in Minneapolis, Minn., November 7th to 12th.
We attended the Purity Congress and there met a number of noble men and women, who are fighting valiantly to stamp out the various forms of disease and vice which are vitiating mankind with alarming rapidity.
On Sunday, November 9th, we were appointed by the Purity Congress Arrangements Committee to speak at the Schubert Theatre, Minneapolis, under the auspices of the local class of the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION. The house was crowded. Our topic was, THE WAGES OF SIN AND THE REWARDS OF PURITY, from the text: "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord."-- `Romans 6:23`.
ONLY GOD CAN GRANT THE VICTORY
We did not enter into statistics to prove that sin is in the world and manifesting itself in many forms--in political corruption, physical corruption, or disease, moral corruption, or impurity, and their various ramifications. We endeavored to probe deeper, to show why human beings are born into the world with sinful propensities or tendencies. After finding the cause, the source of sin, we discussed the remedy, and pointed out why all good people should be united in their opposition to sin and in their endeavor to stamp it out; although experience has proved that none of the world's panaceas really cure.
Humanity must continually combat, only to find that sin, impurity, breaks out in other places or in other forms. It is like fighting fire or a plague. To cease fighting is to be overwhelmed. However, in the midst of the battle for purity, while convinced that eternal vigilance is necessary, and then only partially effectual, it is interesting to know that all on the side of purity are fighting on God's side, and that in His own time and way He will come to our rescue and grant a complete victory. So complete will be the victory that there will be no more sighing or crying or dying; no more sorrow or pain, because there will be no more sin, no more impurity. Heavenly conditions will have come to earth, which then will be a world-wide Paradise.--`Isaiah 35`.
We admitted that this view of the situation is the very reverse of the popular theory of Evolution. Thinking people are more and more coming to realize that the wonderful blessings of our day, material and intellectual, do not uphold the theory of the Survival of the Fittest, and of general progress, physically and intellectually. The trend is downward. Imbecility, insanity and moral degeneracy are on the increase, and especially manifest in the families of the rich and the educated. The progress of our day must be accredited to God, and should be considered as marking the inauguration of the New Era, Messiah's Kingdom, so long promised.
GOD IS NOT RESPONSIBLE
The Bible alone explains the present situation. It alone tells us why so many go astray. Children are born with evil, immoral instincts, against which themselves and society must continually war. In `Psalm 51:5` we read, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Here is the explanation. We inherit our tendency toward sin, and some inherit more of it than others. Few have realized the sacredness and responsibility of parentage. Few parents have realized how much they have to do with the moral and physical status of their children, not merely in the training of them after they are born, but in the qualities which are given to them at the time of their begetting and during the period of gestation.
Let none get the thought from what we have said that any child can be born perfect, either physically, mentally or morally. The seeds of sin and degeneracy were implanted further back than our immediate parents. As physical likeness persists from grandparent to grandchild, so do moral traits and tendencies, impurities of blood and of ideals. The Bible takes us away back to the first man and the first woman, tells the story of their disobedience to God, and explains to us that when Adam and Eve became sinners, they thus cut themselves off from fellowship with God and came under the sentence, "Dying, thou shalt die." Then started the downward trend, which has been increasing in momentum ever since.
God created man perfect, in His own image and likeness, the Bible assures us, and everywhere we see corroboration of this fact. In nearly every human being a certain amount of moral character still persists, notwithstanding the 6,000 years since the fall. In some more and in some less the Creator's character likeness is observable; but all are sinners, all come short of the glory of God--short of the Divine likeness originally granted to our race. God is not responsible; for as the Scriptures declare, all His work is perfect. (`Deuteronomy 32:4`.) He was fully justified in separating from Himself our disobedient first parents and sentencing them as unworthy of His favor and everlasting life, under the decree, "Dying, thou shalt die."
Ever since, the race has been under the reign of Sin and Death. More and more has sin gained control. And the natural tendency of all sin is death-ward. It has not been improper that mankind should seek through medicine and surgery and in every manner imaginable to relieve himself of the burdens of Sin and Death. The effort has developed noble characters in the world.
::R5360 : page 362::
The fight against Sin and Death is still being prosecuted. Nevertheless, our physicians realize that the mental and physical ailments of the race are increasing, multiplying; and that their study, knowledge and skill are unable to keep pace. Our Purity Congress assures us of the same things along the lines of immorality. We must not relax our efforts for an instant. Every good man and every good woman should be alert to counteract as wisely and forcefully as possible, the influence of this reign of Sin and Death. As we contemplate the work which is being done in this direction, we rejoice to see so noble an army battling for the general good. We admire all sincere laborers for reform in any direction.
IS NOT GOD INTERESTED?
As we realize our own deep interest in the welfare of humanity, it would seem strange if our Almighty Creator were not Himself interested in the race which He made and which He justly condemned to death. The Bible points out that God still loves the world; and that He has a great plan for human recovery from sin, sorrow and death. The perplexity of Christians in the past has arisen from not taking a sufficiently broad view of the Divine character and Plan. Once we wondered why God did not more particularly bless reformers and use His power for the overthrow of the vicious and the corrupting elements of society. But now the light of the Millennial Morning is dawning. The Bible explains why God has permitted the reign of Sin and Death; and the understanding of this mystery is a blessing.
The Bible teaching concerning the penalty of sin is not what was taught us in the creeds of the Dark Ages. The teachings of the Bible show that there is indeed a terrible penalty upon sin, but not the penalty of eternal
::R5361 : page 362::
torture, which we once supposed. The wages of sin is death; and everlasting life is a gift of God, to be bestowed only upon believers, through Christ. Hence the wicked cannot get everlasting life. "They shall perish;" "All the wicked will He destroy." But how many are really wicked? is the question. How many prefer sin to righteousness? How many would rather be right than wrong, were it not for the depraved tendency which prevails in themselves and the influence from others to which they are susceptible?
SATAN, SIN AND DEATH TO BE OVERTHROWN
With considerable elaboration of Scripture we pointed out that God loves His creatures deeply--not merely the Church, but the world. He loved mankind "while we were yet sinners." God is proceeding with a great Plan of Salvation, which will reach every member of the race and bring to each an opportunity of full recovery from sin and death--either in this life or in the next. To this end Christ died for all. Since Pentecost the work of God has been the calling, testing, proving of a select class, a very loyal and very faithful class, to be joint-heirs with Jesus in a glorious Kingdom of Righteousness. This Kingdom is to be established in the earth, and is not only to overthrow Satan, Sin and Death, but to restore to human perfection all who will prove willing and obedient, under the light and opportunity then to be granted.
In the meantime, the reign of Sin and Death has not been valueless. It has given most instructive lessons, both to angels and to men, respecting God's holiness and the reasonableness of His requirements. It has demonstrated that all of God's creatures must be holy, pure, in order to enjoy His blessings, which He provides for no others. Those who have some knowledge and appreciation of righteousness should be on the alert to serve righteousness, purity, Truth, in proportion as they perceive these and see the terrible results of sin and impurity. The whole world should know that only the earnest followers of Christ will gain the great prize of joint-heirship with Him in His Kingdom. Nevertheless, of the whole world it is true that "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
In other words, as any serve sin, and debauch themselves and others, they degrade themselves in proportion to their knowledge and wilfulness in the matter. And in proportion as any seek to live justly, purely, soberly, in that same degree do they benefit others, and prepare themselves for a more favorable condition in the Resurrection. Although all fall asleep in death, each will come forth in the great Day of Resurrection, which will last a thousand years. They will come forth in more or in less favorable conditions, with more or with less shame and contempt, to receive few or many stripes, or punishments, according as they knew or did not know the Master's will--the way of righteousness.
URGES DILIGENCE IN BIBLE STUDY
If the Bible story were more fully understood, its reasonableness would appeal to larger numbers, and its influence would be a blessing, physically, morally, in every way. Let us be diligent in Bible study, along unsectarian lines. Getting near to God means to come in touch with the power of God, which gives the victory over sin in the heart, and which will fit and prepare true Christians for the great work of the future when they will be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, their Lord, in that Kingdom which is to bless all mankind, and for which we pray: "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, even as it is done in Heaven."
In the meantime, those in preparation for the work of the future, and co-laboring with God in the work of grace in their own hearts at the present time, should be glad to participate according to their opportunities in all moral reforms of the present time, or at least sympathetically to uphold the hands of those who are engaged in these reforms; as, for instance, the International Purity Federation.
SEED-TIME AND HARVEST
We are sowing, ever sowing,
Something good or something ill
In the lives of those around us--
We are planting what we will.
Not a word we say falls fruitless,
Not a deed we do decays;
Every thought and word and action
Will be found in future days,
When perhaps the hand that sowed them
Shall itself have ceased to be;
Still the record of their being
Will live on eternally.
Grant, then, Lord of all the harvest,
That the seeds we daily sow
May refresh the hearts of others,
Spreading blessing as they grow.
May each thought and word and action
Be the growth of Christian love,
To be found in coming ages
In Thy garner-house above!
Treasured there, in Thine own keeping,
Just to prove our love was true;
For the motive gives the value
To the meanest thing we do.
::R5361 : page 363::
JESUS AND THE CHILDREN
--JANUARY 4.--`MARK 9:30-41`; `10:13-16`.--
"Gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another; for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble."--`1 Peter 5:5`. R.V.
THE Master knew that the time of His death drew near. He wished to break the information gently to His loving disciples. Therefore He passed hastily through Galilee, en route for Capernaum, as stated in our lesson, rather seeking to avoid the curious. He desired this opportunity for breaking to His disciples the news of His soon-to-be-completed sacrifice. While He had previously declared that none could touch him because His hour had not yet come, now He declared that He would be delivered up into the hands of men, and that they would kill Him, and on the third day He would rise from the dead.
But the disciples understood not and feared to ask explanation. They were only natural men; for none were begotten of the Holy Spirit until Pentecost. (`John 7:39`; `Acts 1:8`.) As Jews, they had the thought of the Messianic Kingdom uppermost in their minds. Jesus had authorized them to preach the Kingdom at hand, and had promised them a share in the Kingdom. Until now they were not ready for the further information that the Jewish nation would fail to accept Him, and that thus the Kingdom blessings would be put off for centuries.
The Apostles had heard Jesus utter so many "dark sayings" and parables that they were bewildered, and wondered what interpretation to give to these words about His death and resurrection. But their minds naturally drifted to the great hopes that were before them--that Jesus would soon be the King, and they would then be in honored positions as His associates in the Kingdom. They even went beyond this, and disputed amongst themselves as respects the honorable positions they would occupy and as to which would be greatest--the Lord's prime minister. So little did they understand the great trials and disappointments which were only a few days in advance!
Jesus gathered them about Him and inquired respecting their dispute; but they were ashamed to tell the topic. Then He gave them advice to the effect that the selfishly ambitious who would be seeking honor rather than service would be disappointed. In His Kingdom self-seekers would have the lowest place. As illustrating the matter He took a child and set him in their midst and said, "Whosoever shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me, and whosoever receiveth Me receiveth [not Me alone, but] Him that sent Me."
By this the Master sought to show His disciples that it was not their own greatness that was to be considered, but God's favor. The humblest one amongst them, if favored by God, would have a high position. They were to have the spirit of sympathy and of appreciation of the Divine work of grace in each other. They were to receive each other as representatives of Jesus; and more, as representatives of the Father. If they entertained such views of one another, surely they would be kind and gentle toward all, and would seek to be helpful--"in honor preferring one another."--`Romans 12:10`.
::R5362 : page 363::
BLESSING THE CHILDREN
The second part of our lesson recounts that the great Teacher was a lover of children even though, so far as the record shows, He did not generally give His time to them. When fond parents brought their children, desiring Him to bless them, the disciples, feeling that the Lord's time was too valuable to be thus used, rebuked them. But Jesus very earnestly directed that the children should be allowed to come. He took them up in His arms and put His hands upon them and blessed them, thus exhibiting His own sympathetic love and humility of heart. He could preach to one Samaritan woman by the well or take time to fondle children, notwithstanding the weight of the work that was upon Him and the fact that His course was nearly finished.
But as the subject of the Kingdom was uppermost in His teachings and in the minds of His disciples, He took another opportunity of teaching them a lesson. They had, perhaps, been feeling too sure that they would be members of the Kingdom class. They had not yet learned what crucial tests would be applied to those who would be counted worthy to sit with the Redeemer in His Messianic Throne of glory and to participate with Him in blessing all the families of the earth. He therefore said: "Permit the little children to come unto Me, for of such is the Kingdom of God."
We are not by these words to understand that the Master meant that His disciples, those whom He usually addressed in His discourses, would not be in the Kingdom, and that all in the Kingdom would be little children. Quite to the contrary. Little children will not be in the Kingdom at all. Only developed, tried, perfected characters will constitute the overcomers who will sit with the Master in His Throne.
The thought that the Lord would impress here, as elsewhere expressed, is that even His twelve Apostles would not be in the Kingdom unless they became childlike, teachable, plastic, trustful. The proper child, unspoiled by its elders, is disposed to be very trustful; and, until deceived, it is disposed to believe every word of the parent and to trust implicitly to the parent's wisdom and power. All who become children of God must reach this condition of heart as respects the Heavenly Father. Whoever does not attain this condition will not be fit for the Kingdom.
Impressing His subject still further, the Great Teacher said: "Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter therein." This expression clarified the subject. The followers of Jesus are not to be little children, but must be childlike, because only the childlike followers will ever participate in the Kingdom. The receiving of the Kingdom mentioned evidently means the receiving of the Message of the Kingdom; for manifestly none can receive a kingdom until the kingdom has come or has been offered.
Thus with the Jewish nation: The offer of the Kingdom came at the close of Jesus' ministry, when, after the manner of the kings of Israel, He rode into Jerusalem upon the ass, thus offering Himself as their King. The worldly scribes and Pharisees were too wise to receive Jesus, and plotted for His death. His disciples were as trustful as little children, and fully believed the Message of God's Word that there would be a Kingdom and the further Message that Jesus was the appointed King, who in due time would take His power and reign for the blessing of the world.
This was illustrated when Jesus sat upon the ass. The multitude, crying "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!" treated Him as the King. The disciples, fully acquiescing, as little children, doubted nothing. On the other hand, the "wise" scribes and Pharisees called out that the
::R5362 : page 364::
multitude must be stopped from thus shouting. They should be told that Jesus was not the Messiah, that they were deceived. But Jesus merely answered that what they witnessed had been foretold by the Prophet `Zechariah (9:9`) --that there must be a shout. And the Lord declared that if the people did not shout the stones would be obliged to cry out, in order that the prophecy might be fulfilled.--`Luke 19:40`.
It seems remarkable that, after all the Bible has said respecting Messiah's Kingdom and the work which it is to accomplish in the blessing of Israel and all the families of the earth, so few seem to believe the Message, so few seem to be willing to receive it as little children. The majority today, like the scribes and Pharisees of old, are too "wise" to believe in the possibility of the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom. They realize the need of the Kingdom, but they have certain theories of their own which blind them to the Truth.
Some mistakenly hold that the Kingdom of Christ was set up at Pentecost and that He has been reigning ever since, conquering the world. Alas, how unreasonable this seems, when we know that even under the most favorable conditions the heathen of the world double every century! How strange that some Christians have prayed so long that God's Kingdom would come and rule the world and put down the wicked and exalt the obedient, until finally the Divine will would be done on earth as completely as it is now done in Heaven--and yet all this without really, properly believing that the Kingdom which was offered to Israel, and which they refused, is evidently to be established--at the Second Coming of Jesus and the resurrection change of His Church!
Another large body of Christian brethren, Roman Catholics, hold still a different theory; namely, that Messiah's Thousand-Year-Reign began in the days of Pope Leo III, A.D. 800; and that He has reigned in the world ever since. This view holds that it was most necessary for Jesus to come a second time to establish His Kingdom; but that in the year 800 A. D., Jesus established His followers in kingly power, and made the Pope at Rome His representative and vice-gerent. The word vice-gerent, as we all know, signifies one who reigns instead of another. The claim is that Christ has been reigning for now eleven hundred and thirteen years, fully and officially represented by the Pope.
Neither of these views is satisfactory, and neither is Scriptural. Surely the conquest of the world has not been going on for the last eleven hundred years, as we might have hoped, if God's time had come for Messiah to take the long-promised Kingdom. Surely what St. Paul said of his day is true now also: "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not" --"the children of disobedience"--to hinder the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ!
The glorious Gospel of Christ is, "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself." His glorious Message further is that His Church shall sit with Him in His Throne, a Royal Priesthood; and that in His Day the righteous shall flourish and all the evil-doers shall be cut off in the Second Death. Well did the Apostle warn us not to depart from "the faith once delivered to the saints." Well were we told that many would depart from that faith, giving heed to spirits that would lead them astray and to doctrines of demons (`1 Timothy 4:1`), quite unlike the glorious, loving Gospel of God's Love, and His Mercy that endureth forever!
Our Golden Text assures us that the Church, now being called to sit with Christ in His Throne in due time, must be girded with humility, as servants one of another; for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble. Therefore only the humble will receive the great gift of the Kingdom honors and opportunities.
::R5362 : page 364::
SEVENTY MINISTERS ORDAINED
--JANUARY 11.--`LUKE 10:1-24`.--
"It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you."--`Matthew 10:20`.
MINISTERIAL ordination has for centuries been a bone of contention. Indirectly it has led to bloody persecutions in the past. Thank God! those days are gone, so far as the majority of Christians are concerned. And yet, because the masses do not clearly understand the subject of ordination, there is always danger of a recurrence of persecution along this line. Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, all, have shared in these persecutions based upon misconceptions of ministerial ordination--in times past they persecuted each other along these lines.
The claim was that none could be a preacher or teacher unless he had a special ordination; that for the unordained to preach or teach was a rebellion against Divine arrangement; and that all who followed his teaching or gave him support were heretics, and, as such, deserving of no sympathy, but rather of persecution.
Ordination does not relate to a ceremony, or form, as many suppose. It signifies an authorization, a commission to preach. The Baptists commission those who agree with their creed to preach it. The Presbyterians so commission their disciples, as do the Lutherans, Methodists, etc. Roman Catholics and Episcopalians claim an ordination from God--that all their bishops are successors to the Apostles and armed with Apostolic authority; hence that any not commissioned, or ordained, by their
::R5363 : page 364::
bishops have no right to preach, but are heretics. From their standpoint, all other Protestants are heretics, preaching without authority.
But the spirit of tolerance is growing; and within the last two years Episcopalians have lifted the embargo on other Protestants to the extent that an Episcopal minister may preach in the pulpit of another denomination, or a minister not ordained by the Episcopalians may be permitted to preach in their pulpits. But this is a very modern concession.
The right thought of ordination is presented in the Study for today. Jesus had already appointed twelve to be His special Apostles; and now He ordained, or appointed, seventy more, not to be Apostles, but to be general ministers or missionaries. There was no ceremony connected with their appointment, or ordination, so far as the record shows. Jesus simply sent them out, telling them what to say. Our Golden Text explains the matter saying, "It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you."
Strictly speaking, the Apostles had not yet received the Spirit of the Father directly. The Father's Spirit had been imparted to the Son, and it was the Son who shared that Spirit with those He sent out to preach in His name. The Father did not directly recognize, authorize or ordain any to preach the Gospel Message, until
::R5363 : page 365::
Pentecost. St. Peter there explains that the Holy Spirit shed forth upon the witnessing disciples was from the Father and by the Son.--`Acts 2:32,33`.
Elsewhere it is explained that the Holy Spirit was not given previously because Jesus had not been glorified. It was necessary for Jesus to suffer, and to ascend on High and to present His merit on behalf of His disciples, before the Heavenly Father recognized them as sons of the new order and gave them the begetting of the Holy Spirit, the unction from the Holy One, the authorization, or ordination, to be His ambassadors and representatives in the world and, if faithful, by and by to be associates with Jesus in the Heavenly Kingdom, which for a thousand years is to bless the earth and roll away the curse.
Only those whom God has ordained in the sense of giving them the Holy Spirit of sonship are in any wise commissioned, or authorized, to preach in the Lord's name. All the ceremonies on earth and all the hands of all the bishops cannot give authority to anybody to speak in the name of God. Our Lord Jesus did not begin His ministry until He had received God's ordination. At the time of His consecration and baptism the Holy Spirit came upon Him, anointing Him, consecrating Him, authorizing Him, to preach the good tidings to the meek, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to comfort those that mourn.--`Isaiah 61:1,2`.
The same Holy Spirit is authority for anybody who has received it to tell all that he understands respecting the Plan of God to all who have an ear to hear--especially to the meek, the broken-hearted, those who are feeling after God. While the Apostle Paul intimates that the female members of the Church are not to preach publicly, this does not interfere with the fact that all of them who have received the Holy Spirit have the anointing to preach and to teach according to the limitations and opportunities of their sex. And sometimes the private teaching is equally as effective as the more public.
The forty years which closed the Jewish Age, beginning with John the Baptist and ending A.D. 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem, was the Harvest period for typical Israel. It witnessed the gathering into the Gospel garner of all the true wheat and the entire setting aside of the remainder, the chaff, in a great time of trouble, symbolically called fire. The Lord, in `Matthew 13`, intimates that in the end of this Gospel Age there will be a similar Harvest. Many believe that it began in 1874 and will end in 1915.
All of the Lord's faithful ones at the close of the Jewish Age were to recognize the great privilege of being engaged in the Harvest work, and the same must be true now. The Lord's followers are compared to gentle, inoffensive lambs and sheep, while the selfish, unregenerate world He pictures as wolves. In the Jewish Harvest He would not have them beg their way from house to house, but inquire for the most worthy people in every village, and, if received, remain there until they had given their witness in that village. They were to depend wholly upon the Lord, and to make no attempt to provide for their needs. This was to be to them a lesson for their future benefit. Later, Jesus sent forth His disciples, telling them to provide for their wants to the best of their ability --implying that the first experience had been a special one, to give them confidence and reliance in the Divine Power that they represented.
The Master's Spirit was given to them in such measure that they were enabled to do as He did--to heal the sick, cast out devils, etc. We are not to understand that there is such an authorization of the Lord's people today. Conditions have changed. The healing of spiritual sickness, blindness and deafness, greater works than those, is the privilege of the Lord's people today.
The one Message of the disciples was that the Kingdom of God had come nigh. Whoever could be influenced would be influenced by that Message. God's Kingdom had been waited for by the Israelites for many centuries. But alas, when it was presented, only a comparatively small number of the Jews were ready to receive it! Thereafter the Kingdom offer was taken away from them, and has since been given throughout the whole world, gathering the elect class from every nation to be Messiah's Bride and Joint-heir, through whom shortly the Kingdom will be established in the earth and its blessings be bestowed far and near upon all of the race.
The Master referred to His preaching and mighty works in Capernaum, Bethsaida and Chorazin. These cities were figuratively said to have been exalted in point of privilege; and, as having rejected the Lord's favors, they would be cast down to the grave. Examples were given of Sodom and Tyre, both of which then were in ruins--brought down to Hades, down to the dust.
Our Lord intimates, however, that the trial, or testing, or judgment, which His preaching had given was not a finality--there would be a future judgment or trial. According to St. Paul the entire Millennial Age is to be a thousand-year Judgment Day, in which the whole world is to be brought to a knowledge of the Truth, to a full opportunity of coming to a knowledge of God. (`Acts 17:31`.) Nevertheless, those who heard Jesus unmoved had hardened their hearts, and would be correspondingly disadvantaged in the Judgment Day. Jesus put the matter very strongly when He implied that it would be tolerable for those people, but more tolerable for Sodom, because its sin had been against less light and privilege. See also `Ezekiel 16:48-63`.
Concluding, the Master assured His messengers that whoever heard them and despised them despised Him and the Father. This same thing is true undoubtedly of all whom the Lord has ordained and sent forth as ministers of the Gospel--the truly ordained.
::R5363 : page 365::
WILL THE EARTH BE BURNED?
WE are obliged to antagonize, not only the Second Adventist views, but the teachings of all the orthodox creeds of Christendom when we declare that according to the Bible our world is never to be burned up-- except in a figurative, symbolic sense. The Bible teaches that at the close of this Age a great trouble will be precipitated, which will destroy, consume or figuratively burn up, present institutions--ecclesiastical, religious and social. The raging fire will be anarchy; and its horrible result will be, according to the Bible, the ashes of present institutions.
For six thousand years the world has had its ups and downs, individually and nationally. Christianity has influenced some, and Churchianity has influenced more. The true Christianity has produced the true saints, who have followed in the Master's footsteps and, like Him, have been treated as the filth and offscouring of the earth --while they live--after death to be honored as saints and heroes. Churchianity has a form of godliness without its power. The form has in many respects helped
::R5363 : page 366::
along to influence and power in the world, leading often to the perpetration of horrible crimes in the name of Christ and His Church.
Now, as the Gospel Age is closing and the Messianic Age is dawning, the lifting of the curtain of the New Dispensation is producing wonderful results amongst men. Darkness, ignorance, superstition, are fleeing before the light of the New Day. The world is awakening because it is Morning. Human thought is quickened; and the wonderful inventions of our day--steam power and electricity --are carrying the thoughts of men to each other the world over. The printing press and the mail are potent factors in the awakening. Knowledge is filling the earth, as the Lord through His Prophets declared would be the case at this time.--`Isa. 11:9`; `Hab. 2:14`; `Dan. 12:4`.
But this knowledge is coming to people who at heart are unprepared for it. The hands of the ignorant and unlearned are stretched forth to grasp the throttle of power--political, social, religious and financial. Wrongs are recognized; but those who seek to remedy them will
::R5364 : page 366::
only make a bad matter worse. All must yet learn that the world's only hope is in God's provision--Messiah's Kingdom.
But before this lesson is learned, the spirit of discontent stirred up by knowledge will grasp the opportunities and gradually and ignorantly, unintentionally, will cause the great wreck of our present social, religious, political and financial institutions in "a Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation"--"no, nor ever shall be again."--`Daniel 12:1`; `Matthew 24:21`.
This great cataclysm of trouble, which all intelligent people perceive with more or less distinctness, is described in the Bible under various symbolic terms. Sometimes it is described as a whirlwind; at other times the description is that of a storm; again, of a great tidal wave--the sea (representing the masses) will swallow up the mountains (representing the kingdoms). (`Psalm 46:2,3`.) Again it is described as a fire, which will consume the whole earth. (`Zephaniah 1:18`; `3:8`.) Yet in each case there is connected with the symbol something to show that it is merely a symbol, and that the utter destruction of humanity is not meant. As, for instance, after describing the storm, the Lord through the Prophet declares that He will command the nations to be still and to recognize Him as God, and that the result will be a great calm. (`Psalm 46:8-10`.) In the case of the fire, we read that after it has consumed the whole earth (the social fabric), then the Lord will turn to the people a pure language, a pure Message, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord to serve Him with one consent.-- `Zephaniah 3:9`.
Evidently, the fire which will consume the earth must be a symbolic fire of trouble, consuming the symbolic earth, or social conditions, because the people still remain and are to receive the Lord's blessing. The pure Message that will then be given to the world will be in strong contrast with the confused messages of the contradictory creeds which for centuries have been given to the world, and which many of the world's thinking minds have been unable to appreciate or receive, and which have perplexed Christian minds.
Let us, therefore, take the Word of the Lord and reject the messages of all the creeds of Christendom. Let us not for a moment think that the literal earth is to be burned up at the Second Coming of Jesus; but, quite to the contrary, let us believe St. Peter's statement that at that time will begin "the Times of Restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets since the world began." (`Acts 3:19-21`.) Let us remember the declaration of Scripture that "the earth abideth forever." (`Ecclesiastes 1:4`); that "God Himself formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited." --`Isaiah 45:18`.
Let us remember that the world has never yet been inhabited. Vast territories have not yet been explored by man. Let us remember that God's promise respecting the earth is that, as Heaven is His Throne, so "the earth is His footstool," and He surely will make the place of His feet glorious. (`Isaiah 66:1`; `60:13`.) Messiah's Kingdom will not only uplift humanity, but will also bring blessings of perfection to the earth. Eden eventually will be world-wide. "The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose."
::R5364 : page 366::
PROFITABLE BIBLE STUDY
FROM A.D. 325, the date of the making of the first general Church creed, the Nicene Creed, down to the Reformation, a period of twelve hundred years, there was no Bible study except that which was done here and there in secret, for fear of persecution. The theory prevailed that the bishops were apostolic bishops, successors to the twelve Apostles of the Lamb; and that to ignore them and go back to the teachings of the New Testament was heretical, a crime.
Following those twelve hundred years of no Bible study came two or three hundred years in which, under compulsion, the bishops allowed the people to have the Bible, but forbade them to read it for themselves without the interpretations and explanations of the supposed-to-be apostolic successors. Thus Bible study was handicapped; for the people were given to understand that misunderstanding of the Bible would mean heresy, and that heresy would mean everlasting torture.
Only now are Bible students beginning to emerge from under the great cloud of false doctrine which for fifteen hundred years has misrepresented God and the Bible, putting darkness for light. Only now can Bible study be prosecuted in its true spirit, without the fear of man, which brings a snare. Only now is there general education, which permits of Bible study in this true sense. Only now have we the convenient Bible, cheap and in every home. Only now have we more leisure and opportunity for Bible study. Only now have we good light by which to study.
But alas! now that we are ready and fully equipped for Bible study, we are handicapped, trammeled by wrong doctrines which have become lodged and fastened in memory. Some of these came from the creeds, some of them from hymn books, some of them from preaching and some from tracts. As a result, we are filled with misunderstandings and inconsistencies which cause the Bible to appear to be self-contradictory. So much is this the case that it is counted a fashionable thing in our day for intelligent people to laugh at the Bible and to deny its Divine inspiration. But the Bible is consistent with itself, and is thoroughly opposed to the doctrines of the creeds. These facts, however, need to be thoroughly learned before we can have full confidence in the Bible and fully appreciate it. These blessings are the portion of the Lord's people more and more, especially during the last thirty-five years.
::R5364 : page 367::
THREE EXCELLENT HELPS TO BIBLE STUDY
Under all these circumstances the question of how to study the Bible so as to get its true meaning and avoid the errors of the past is a problem. Many Bible students believe that God has come to the rescue of His people in a time of need in providing helps for Bible students-- the six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES.
These volumes make no pretense of being Divinely inspired but, on the contrary, show from the Scriptures that no such Divine inspiration beyond the twelve Apostles was ever intended. They show, however, that it is in full harmony with the Bible to expect that, from time to time as necessity demanded, the Lord would raise up pastors and teachers for the assistance of the faithful in the study of the Scriptures--teachers who, without having plenary inspiration, would have, in a special manner, the guidance and blessing of the Holy Spirit, granted to all the Church. It is the belief of many that God has used the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES in the doing of such a teaching and pastoral work--guiding His people by pointing them to the Scriptures and suggesting interpretations which harmonize the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
The next question is, How can these helps for Bible study best be used by the Lord's people? That is a question which, in its last analysis, belongs to the individual Bible student or the classes of Bible students which desire to use them. There is no Divine command on the subject. Each individual and each class is at liberty to make use of whatever will be of assistance in the study of God's Word. In every case, however, it is to be remembered that no teacher, or book, takes the place of the Bible, but merely points to and expounds it as the Word of God.
Many thousands of the Lord's people have testified to great blessings received from the use of these Bible keys in their own individual private reading and study. Hundreds of Bible students' classes in all parts of the world are using them, and, they claim, with great profit. We recommend them to all. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has issued little booklets of questions on the different volumes of this series, and supplies them at very small cost. These are not generally necessary for individual study, but very helpful indeed in class study, because they pick the subject to pieces and stimulate the mind and memory in connection with the answers. The books are an assistance to the answers, supported by the Scriptures. These are styled Berean Bible Studies because it is the Bible that is being studied--not the question books nor the books that assist in giving the answers to the questions.
We have also suggested another style of Berean Bible Studies, provided in the back of a specially prepared Bible of the Common Version. These are topical studies, and a variety of citations of Scriptures bearing upon such subjects is furnished. These are helpful studies, but in our judgment not nearly so well adapted to the majority of Bible study classes as the first named, which are supplemented by the question books.
TWO METHODS CONTRASTED
Sometimes opponents seem to make light of these methods of Bible study, and tell us that in their Bible classes they take up a certain chapter in the Bible and have a general discussion on it. Our reply is that if they have gotten knowledge, light and truth in this way, it proves it to be a good method. If they, on the contrary, obtain no satisfactory results, but merely a wrangle and a variety of expressions, none of which are very satisfactory, then this would appear not so very advantageous a course to pursue.
::R5365 : page 367::
To decide the matter we suggest that a Bible study class which has been following the usual style of studying a chapter be brought in contest with a class which has been using our first described method of Berean Bible study. Let the two classes take up any Bible topic that may be suggested; and it will soon be ascertained that those who have been following our Berean Bible study plan know ten or twenty times as much about the Bible on every subject.
These STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES have not sought to follow any human creed or theory, but merely to bring together the various Scriptures on a subject and to find the harmonious view reflected from these various passages. The method has proved itself so satisfactory to those who have tried it, that they would not now think of using any other method of Bible study, considering that all other methods are of little value in comparison. Nevertheless, the matter is purely for the individual or the class to determine which is for its own best interests, which will serve its purpose best.
SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
OUR BELOVED PASTOR:--
Having felt for some little time the especial and peculiar blessing which the Vow brings to those who make it their own, we, a few of the young members of the __________, Canada, Ecclesia, at this time take extreme pleasure in signing our names and forwarding the record to you.
There is such entire satisfaction and rest of spirit to the New Creature in Christ Jesus who can make such an expression of complete immersion into His will as is expressed in the beautiful language and inner meaning of the Vow.
Our hearts are continually full of love and gratitude to the dear Heavenly Father, who has sent us a servant to give such wonderful and delightful "meat in due season" to the Feet members of this Mystical Body, part of which we live daily in the Blessed Hope of becoming.
Our hearts do verily burn within us as we talk over these "great and precious promises," and we are glad of the opportunity to add our names to the ever increasing list of those who are striving in every way to follow in His Steps, and who have taken the Vow.
Your co-laborers in the Master's service,
MY DEAR PASTOR AND BROTHER:--
Much Divine love and peace be thine throughout all eternity! I am writing to let you know that I have taken the Vow, and also to tell you of the many blessings which I have received and enjoyed as the results of your labors (as the dear Lord's honored Servant).
I have been in touch with the Present Truth for three years, but have declined to give my all to the Lord and to consecrate my entire life to Him until recently. Finally I realized that I was receiving the grace of God in vain. Now I am continually thanking and praising my dear Heavenly Father for His goodness and kindness toward me for opening my eyes of understanding to see Him and His wonderful Plan of Salvation.
Dear Brother, I am finding the morning Resolve a wonderful help to keep closer to the Lord. Praise His Holy Name! I sincerely ask your prayers that I may be more and more illuminated with this blessed Truth, and with the Holy Spirit, until I shall become one of the rays of the same great Fountain of light and Truth, with our dear Lord and all of the faithful in Him.
Now praying God to ever bless and keep you to the end of the way, and to grant you an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I remain,
Your Brother in the One Hope of our calling,
B. C. PALMER.--Okla.