ZWT - 1909 - R4301 thru R4536 / R4363 (097) - April 1, 1909
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VOL. XXX APRIL 1 NO. 7
A.D. 1909--A.M. 6037
Views from the Watch Tower........................ 99
Combating Higher Criticism in Canada.......... 99
Alas! Too True!! (Illustrated)..................101
Unworthy of Everlasting Life......................101
Judge Yourselves Unworthy.....................102
"Mediator of the New Covenant"....................103
The Original Abrahamic Covenant...............103
Two Covenants Added...........................104
Abraham's Three Wives.........................105
Atonement not Mediation.......................106
Through Much Tribulation Enter the Kingdom........107
Be Ye Not Forgetful, Readers......................108
The Covenant of the Law.......................109
"Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant.......110
Berean Studies on the Atonement...................111
Address Business Communications and Remittances to
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA.
--OR TO-- BRITISH BRANCH, 24 EVERSHOLT ST., LONDON, N.W. GERMAN BRANCH, UNTERDORNER STRASSE, 76, BARMEN AUSTRALASIAN BRANCH, EQUITABLE BULDG., COLLINS ST., MELBOURNE PRICE $1.00 (4S.) A YEAR IN ADVANCE.
ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POSTOFFICE. ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA
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"THE OVERLAND MONTHLY"
This magazine, widely known on the Pacific coast, is running a series of special articles from Brother Russell's pen, entitled "The Divine Program." They began with February last.
We have a special clubbing arrangement with the magazine by which it and the WATCH TOWER both cost little more than the price of the magazine alone, namely $1.80. Orders at this rate should be sent to us. In Canada the cost would
be 60 cents per year additional for postage.
NEWSPAPERS PUBLISHING THE SERMONS WEEKLY
We are keeping the friends advised of newspapers in their vicinity publishing the sermons, so that they may patronize these if they desire. The reports that reach us indicate that the sermons are being excellently received. They are now published in more than a hundred journals regularly. Our friends have done much to encourage the newspapers by telling them of their appreciation of the service. Let the good work go on.
Anyone subscribing for these sermon papers and failing to receive them should promptly notify us as well as the publishers. Notify us also, please, if any week the sermons fail to appear.
POLISH TRACTS DELAYED
We have delayed the preparation of the Polish Tracts until we could ascertain exactly how many could be used judiciously. Word has been received from friends in various parts of many whom they suppose they can reach, and will reach, provided we supply them the tract papers free. We hope ere long to have our list complete and send forth the first number of the quarterly, possibly not until at our new address. Address hereafter, 13-17 Hicks St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
COMBATING HIGHER CRITICISM IN CANADA
A THEOLOGICAL storm has been raised in Canada along the lines of "Higher Criticism." This was started by Rev. George Jackson's address before the Y.M.C.A. of Toronto, on February 16th. The meeting was opened by the singing of "Coronation" and prayer, and then the reverend gentleman, greeted with applause, began an attack upon the Scriptures, entitled "The Early Narratives of Genesis," saying:--
"'The Early Narratives of Genesis' include in this interpretation, in this use of the phrase, the `first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis`. Perhaps I may say that this is really one of the course of monthly Sunday afternoon lectures which I have been giving to men in the Sherbourne St. church; and, inasmuch as this is only one of the course, it is so far incomplete. It is a kind of an illustration of the general attitude of mind toward the Old Testament, which, in the course of this address, I have been trying to explain to my people."
Rev. Jackson's people, "my people," are Methodists and the evidence is that they are following Rev. Jackson into infidelity as his sheep and are not giving attention to the voice of the true Shepherd; possibly because they have not heard his word sufficiently to know his voice and to realize that they should be his people, his sheep, if they would be properly guided to his heavenly fold.
From the stenographic report of Rev. Jackson's presentation he holds that the Bible is not of Divine inspiration; that its statements are not worthy of all acceptation, and that they are not sufficient "that the man of God should be thoroughly furnished to every good word and work."--`2 Tim. 3:17`.
Something of a storm was raised amongst the theologians of Toronto, but apparently not over the truth or falsity of Rev. Jackson's presentations, but rather over the fact that Rev. Dr. Carman, also a Methodist, who took the opposite position favored by the Bible, understood Rev. Jackson to charge him with taking his stand for the Bible, not honestly but through cowardice. When Rev. Jackson withdrew all imputation of cowardice the disturbance subsided. The newspapers noted the fact that many ministers endorsed Rev. George Jackson's position. Some of them, however, thought the controversy of little moment and that religion should be viewed from the practical and not the theoretical standpoint, and afterward called it a "theological tempest in a teapot." What cared this reverend gentleman whether Genesis be true or a lie--a Revelation from God or a work of monkey-men? He took the view that all thinking men were in the same boat in taking the biblical story of the creation of the world...not as correct history. In other words, they had so little faith in the inspiration of the Scriptures as to be unwilling to contend for the same and believed that their theologies would stand, even if the Scriptures should fall. Alas! we believe this to be only too true: that the majority of theological views contain so little of the Bible that its elimination would affect them but little. On the contrary, were they to lose the teachings of Plato and Aristotle respecting human immortality they would be sadly bereft indeed.
A LAYMAN TO THE RESCUE
In the midst of the commotion the Hon. S. H. Blake stepped forward to champion the Bible as a Divine Revelation "worthy of all acceptation and able to make us wise unto salvation." He has been investigating the matter and finds the colleges of Canada thoroughly given over to Higher Critical Views and teachings (the same being true of the United States and everywhere). The Hon. Blake, supposing these colleges to be blameworthy for the general alienation of ministers from the Bible as the Word of God, has been inquiring into the legality of their teaching theology at all and seems to find, to his own satisfaction at last, that they have no such authority; that the teaching of theology is by Canadian Law restricted to another class of colleges, not Universities. Alas! how rude will be the awakening of the Hon. Blake when he discovers that the theological colleges and seminaries are teaching precisely the same Higher Critical Infidelity--that all the preachers of all the denominations are being ruined as respects faith in the Bible as the Word of God! However, we greatly admire Hon. Blake's stand for the Bible as the Word of God and subjoin some of his arguments which he has presented in pamphlet form under the caption, "The teaching of Religious Knowledge in University Colleges Ultra Vires":
"***As the minds of an increased number of young men and women are turning to the mission field, there will no doubt be more students from year to year ready to take advantage of the opinions or instruction referred to. The theological colleges may for this reason look forward to many additional students.
"I believe that this is the cause of the increased interest in legitimate Bible study, which I hope may continue, notwithstanding persistent efforts made in and outside of our theological and other institutions to frustrate such study by seeking to make the Word of God of no effect by the ever-changing motions of a noisy class of men who take for their motto: 'Quantum est quoid scimus,' instead of the more lowly one--the mark of the truly learned, as he picks a pebble on the vast ocean of learning--'Quantum est quod nesimus.' It will be an evil day for our ministers, missionaries, and teachers, should God permit that what appears to be about the only sure standing ground left us in the world be shaken to its centre; that the statement, 'The Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever,' is proclaimed as an hallucination, and that being born of 'Incorruptible seed by the Word of God' is an old-fashioned delusion, to be rejected with as little compunction as if it were a heathen fable. If we pursue this process of disintegration so that the wonderful cohesive power of this Book shall cease, its author may well write over this wreck, 'They have sown the wind, they shall reap the whirlwind.'"
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HIS OWN CREED
"***I have never been in the least shaken in the simple creed as to the Bible given to me as a child over sixty-five years ago.
"(1) Nothing is more probable than that our Creator who is hereafter to be our Judge, should give to his creatures a revelation of his will concerning them, and lay down rules and regulations for the conduct of their life, for obedience to which they shall one day be answerable to him.
"(2) A book is found which purports to come from him, and which gives such a revelation. This Book, wherever found, and made the guide of life, has raised the individual and the people so using it to a position not reached by those ignorant of its contents or who refuse its guidance.
"(3) The God who created the universe and all the wonders therein found and preserves them in their places, could undoubtedly give with accuracy such a revelation and could preserve it to his people for the purpose intended without error.
"(4) No other book has ever been found purporting to be the Word of God, and which could answer the purposes above set forth.
"(5) 'When the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us...the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,' there was a well authenticated volume in existence to which 'the Light of the world' continually referred, saying: 'Search the Scriptures'; 'The Scriptures must be fulfilled'; 'The Scripture cannot be broken.' He ever referred to this Volume as the Word of God, as the infallible rule, test, and touchstone. He thus endorsed in the most unmistakable manner all the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God.
THE OPINION OF JOHN WESLEY
"I thankfully acknowledge the immense debt I am under to this simple presentation concerning our Bible, from which standpoint I have never been in the slightest degree moved by the ever-changing and never-to-be-relied-upon attacks of those who, not looking or asking for spiritual discernment, merely kiss the Book that they may endeavor to persuade people that their hostile attacks are made in the reverent spirit of investigation.
"Amidst the perpetual attacks made by the clergymen of our various churches, and especially by those in our theological colleges, upon the Bible, it is refreshing to turn to the writings of a well-known clergyman of the Church of England-- the Reverend John Wesley, whose use of the Bible wrought so marvelous a change in England at a period when it was nearly drifting to a revolution which might have paralleled that in France of the eighteenth century. He says in the third volume of his writings, page 504:
"'It would be excusable if these menders of the Bible would offer their hypotheses modestly. But one cannot excuse them when they not only obtrude their novel scheme with the utmost confidence, but even ridicule that scriptural one which always was, and is now, held by men of the greatest learning and piety in the world. Hereby they promote the cause of infidelity more effectually than either Hume or Voltaire.'
QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED
"***You have presented a strong appeal to me in your letter. Will you permit me to urge upon you the two following requests? The first is, Will you use your best endeavors, as chancellor of Victoria College, to place Toronto University and University College in their true position under the incorporating acts, by preventing in either of them, through a 'back door,' or by any other mode of entrance, teaching and examinations in 'religious knowledge,' or 'theological
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subjects'?****The second is, If the theological institutions in affiliation with the university insist on instruction in these subjects and on the lines above referred to, then in common fairness let the laymen, whose money is demanded to support such instruction, know exactly what is the teaching that is insisted upon. Let there be a meeting of these new lights, and insist upon a positive statement showing clearly:
"(a) What books of the Bible, in addition to Jonah, do they think should be eliminated as not being the inspired Word of God, to be accepted as such by their students;
"(b) What chapters in the other books of the Bible they consider should be treated in the same manner; what portions of the books are:
(c) Merely myths;
(d) What allegories;
(e) What poetical effusions, to be merely admired;
(f) In what way do they replace the story of the creation;
(g) Was there any Garden of Eden;
(h) Was there any Adam or Eve;
(i) Was there any Satan;
(j) Was there any sin;
(k) Was there any punishment for it;
(l) Was there any promise of a Saviour;
(m) Was there any deluge;
(n) Was there any Abraham;
(o) By what means is the ordinary reader to know what portions (if any) of this Book are to be taken as the absolute Word of God, to be accepted and acted upon at the peril of the reader, and when does the apparent Word of God pass into scientific subjects, unreliable history, poetical effusions, myths, allegories, parables, etc., which are withdrawn from the region of inspiration and are merely human utterances, to be dealt with as the reader pleases?
A SCIENTIFIC BIBLE
"****It would be a matter of very great relief to a large number of Christian men if the result of these investigations to which you refer were put into the concrete shape of a real Bible, showing what portions (if any) are the inspired Word of God, to be accepted as such, and putting as an appendix the errant human portion, including 'mistakes of Moses.' This would go far to settle the minds of many people and to prevent controversies."
A SUGGESTION TO MANY "TOWER" READERS
The following brought us many replies. Other friends in other cities and through other papers may do as well. This is commendable for its brevity and what it does not attempt to explain:
THE SCRIPTURES RE HADES
To the Editor: In reply to the letter by "A Sinner Saved by Grace" in The American recently I wish to thank our friend for calling our attention to the Scripture concordance on the several words--hell, pit, devil, second death, fire, brimstone, etc. I assure all American readers that we find on examination of the Scriptures upon these subjects that the word "hell" in the Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew word sheol, which occurs in all 65 times, and in every instance it refers to grave, pit, state of the dead--a state in which there is no consciousness or pain or knowledge or device of any kind.
Please note following texts: `Amos 9:2`; `Psalms 139:8`; `Psalms 16:10`; `6:5`; `49:14,15`; `89:49`; `115:17`; `Ezek. 32:27`; `Jonah 2:1,2`; `Gen. 37:35`; `42:38`; `Job 14:13`; `17:13`; `Eccl. 9:10`, etc. In the New Testament we find the word "hades" translated hell, and it is synonymous with "sheol" in the Old Testament. For proof texts see `Acts 13:35`. In regard to the devil we find `Heb. 2:14`; `Rom. 16:29`, etc., that he is to be destroyed. Consequently when we read in the symbolical book of Revelation that Satan and the beast and the false prophet are to be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, which is called the second death, we can be sure it is the same penalty that is everywhere in Scripture pronounced against all evil-doers. See `Rom. 6:23`; `5:12`; `Ezek. 18:4`; `Gen. 2:17`; `Psalms 49:12-16`; `Psalms 46:4`; `Psalms 6:5`; `Eccl. 9:5-10`; `3:19,20,22-29`; `Job 14:21`, etc.
I would advise all Bible students who are seeking for truth and a clear understanding of the Bible and God's plan of salvation with mankind to procure a free copy of a magazine which treats this subject thoroughly. Address Brooklyn Tabernacle, New York. A BIBLE STUDENT.
Baltimore, March 1, 1909.
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[In the top left quarter of this page there is an illustration of a "LIBERAL MINISTER" preaching from the "ADVANCED THEOLOGY PULPIT" with the following list of teachings printed on a scroll to the left:]
TAUGHT IN MANY SERMONS
"ALL RELIGIONS ARE GOOD."
"IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE
WHAT CHURCH YOU BELONG
TO, OR WHAT YOU BELIEVE
AS LONG AS YOU LIVE UP TO
"THE THEATRE IS AN UPLIFTING
(EXCEPT ON SUNDAYS)"
"THEATRE GOING, CARD PLAYING
NOVEL READING, DANCING ETC.
ARE NOT INCONSISTENT WITH
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE."
"DARWIN, SPENCER AND
HUXLEY WERE PROPHETS
NO LESS THAN MOSES."
"IF THE BIBLE DISAGREES
WITH "SCIENCE" DISCARD
[end of illustration]
ALAS, TOO TRUE!!
Whilst we deplore and condemn the prostitution of the ministry of the Gospel, and the apparent dishonesty of so many "ambassadors for Christ" falsely so-called, nevertheless, we are not without sympathy for the perverts. They have reached their present position gradually. First deceived by the "doctrines of devils," re immortality in torment, they gradually lost all faith in all creeds and in the Bible. But they needed bread and butter, and concluded that all the world is deluded and that they, as well as others, may serve to the world the delusions they desire.
Perhaps they even convince themselves that they can serve others better by promulgating error than preaching truth. Gradually their moral sense becomes benumbed until they practice deceit with a feeling that it is noble and ennobling.
How all who discern the Truth, the beauty of the Divine Word, should rejoice therein and handle it carefully, lest they lose the priceless jewel! Soon its value will be seen as never before--the day shall declare it.
With malice toward none and charity for all, let us, whose eyes of understanding are opened to the light of the Morning, be faithful to the Truth, whether men hear or forbear to hear.
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UNWORTHY OF EVERLASTING LIFE
--`ACTS 13:13-52`.--MAY 9.--
Golden Text:--"The Word of the Lord was published throughout all the region."--`V. 49`.
ALTHOUGH the missionary journey was only beginning, this lesson starts with the statement of what "Paul and his company did," whereas previously the narrative was respecting Barnabas and Paul. Barnabas was still the "Son of Consolation," still loved and approved of the Lord, but Paul was his "chosen vessel to bear his name to the Gentiles," and the special power of God upon him and through him promptly manifested itself. If, thereby, any spirit of jealousy awakened in the bosom of Barnabas, it was a great mistake. We trust that there was not--that he still realized that his special talent for Divine service was in being a "Son of Consolation"--now privileged to help, to encourage, to comfort St. Paul. To so do would be to properly recognize the Lord's oversight of his own work, and to rejoice to have his will done. Similar testings come to all of the Lord's brethren to this day--testings of humility, of brotherly love, of full submission to the Lord--of faith in his guidance of his own work. These testings are specially severe upon brethren of prominence in the Church. Hence the Apostle's exhortation, "Be not many of you teachers, brethren, knowing that the man (who is a teacher--in any failure) shall receive the greater condemnation." (`Jas. 3:1`.) Nor can we complain against the providence which thus tests us; rather we must concede the propriety of it; that those being selected for the glorious privileges of the future must fully demonstrate to the Lord humility and absolute loyalty to his will, even in our secret thoughts. Let us each apply the lesson, remembering the Apostle's words, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (`I Cor. 10:12`.) And again, "Humble yourselves, therefore, brethren, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." --`I Pet. 5:6`.
The same verse briefly states that John Mark departed from the missionaries, returning to his home at Jerusalem. What led him to this course is not stated. Faintness of heart, lack of faith, lack of courage--some arrows of the Adversary evidently smote him. This is evidenced by the fact that St. Paul was unwilling to accept him as a companion on a future missionary tour. Evidently he learned a valuable lesson, however, since we find that eventually he was restored to the Apostle's favor, as indicated by `Col. 4:10` and `2 Tim. 4:11`. While rejoicing in this recovery it is well that we resolve that such a course will not be ours, but that, as our Lord suggests, after having put our hands to the plow we will not look back, but press forward to the goal.
Another lesson is that those who are unfaithful under such conditions should not be received back again, just as though they had been faithful. Doubtless it was to Mark's everlasting advantage that St. Paul rebuked him and declined his further companionship for work until he had shown evidences of more developed character. The lesson of reconciliation is valuable, too. We should remember Gladstone's remark that "No man ever became great or good, except through many and great mistakes"; also Wayland's remark, "I saw a man last week who has not made a mistake for four thousand years. He is a mummy in the Egyptian Department of the British Museum. The only people who make no mistakes are dead people."
A NOTABLE SERMON BY A NOTABLE MAN
The next prominent stop of the missionaries was at Antioch of Pisidia, a great city, though not such a metropolis as the Antioch of our last lesson. (There were in all sixteen Antiochs.)
The first Sabbath day found Paul and Barnabas in a Jewish synagogue, according to their custom; because the Jews who had been waiting for the fulfilment of the Messianic prophecies were the best prepared soil for the Gospel message; at least so far as their heads were concerned. Entering with the others they took seats and, after prayers, listened to the reading of a portion of the Law, a selection from the prophets by the Elder of the congregation, styled the "angel
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of the synagogue." Then came the time for addresses by the rabbis or other learned persons. The officiating Rabbi recognized Paul and Barnabas as intelligent and cultured men and sent them word that they would be pleased to have them use the liberty of the synagogue, and give the people an address, if they felt so disposed. Then Paul stood up in his place, not going to the public stand. Saluting with his hand, St. Paul began his address, saying that he had something that should be heard by all Israelites and by others who reverenced God. He proceeded in a wonderful discourse, which in some particulars reminds us of Stephen's address--which St. Paul had doubtless heard and rejected. His argument was:--
(1) That God, having a great blessing to bestow upon mankind, had chosen the nation of Israel as a channel for the blessing; and that his care for that nation, ordering its affairs for centuries, was in line with this original purpose.
(2) He showed that, by and by, in that nation of Israel God had further indicated the choice of a special family through which the blessing should come. Messiah was to be the offspring of David. And "the sure mercies of David," to be accomplished in Messiah, would mean God's sure mercies to Israel as a nation, because Messiah would come to them as their King.
(3) Finally, after centuries of waiting, Messiah did come in this very line of descent--of the house of Israel-- of the family of David--Jesus of Nazareth.--`V. 23`.
(4) The Messiahship of Jesus had already been recognized to a considerable extent.--`Vs. 24-26`.
(5) The Jewish nation as a whole, however, represented by their rulers, heedless of the testimony of the prophets, and ignoring Jesus' manifest purity, had accomplished his death through the Romans.--`Vs. 27-29`.
(6) The Messiahship of Jesus was proven by his resurrection from the dead. This accorded with the prophecies of the Scriptures and was attested by numerous witnesses. (`Vs. 30-37`.) Note the absence of cant and rant in this discourse. Note the appeal to reason, the logic of the argument --fact upon fact, each in its proper place and order. However, the mere recitation of these facts might have accomplished little. The Apostle proceeded to draw from the facts a great lesson, most important to his hearers, namely, that
(7) All were sinners, and that Jesus, the Messiah, through his death, had become the Saviour of sinners. Whatever his future work, he was already doing work for all those who would hear the message and give hearty response.
Here is still the test of the right preaching of the Gospel. It must recognize sin and not claim, as Evolutionists do, that "If man fell at all he fell upward"; that instead of being condemned of God as a sinner, man is being approved of God for his evoluting endeavors and successes. The Gospel of Christ recognizes Original Sin and the fall from God's likeness, the need of a Ransom sacrifice, the fact that Christ is our Redeemer and that "by his stripes we are [to be] healed"; that through his death our reconciliation was made possible; and that reconciliation means the covering of the sins of the believer from God's sight now, his privilege of entering the School of Christ and being prepared for heavenly glory. The Apostle briefly showed how justification from sin and alienation from God has thus been made possible-- a justification far greater and more thorough than that which the Jews had enjoyed for centuries under their Law Covenant; for theirs was only for a year and the "Law made nothing perfect," while the blood of Jesus, applied on behalf of believers, is effective for all of the various kinds and degrees of sin traceable, directly or indirectly, to the original sin of Adam, under which condemnation passed upon all.
THE WARNINGS OF THE GOSPEL
Notice carefully that the Apostle did not say to his hearers that a rejection of his message would condemn them to eternal torment. Not a word of that. But he did quote them an Old Testament Scripture which said, "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you."--`Acts 13:41`.
Nor does the Apostle say that his quotation declares absolute hopelessness for the despisers when they perish. The prophecy merely states that God's Plan would be declared and that all who despised it would nevertheless wonder at it and would perish without availing themselves of the blessings of salvation. God knows, not we, how many of these despisers who wonder, while perishing, have sinned against a sufficiency of light to hinder them from ever having any further opportunity during the Millennium. The Apostle does assure us that "Satan, the god of this world, hath blinded the minds of them which believe not," and the Scriptures assure us that the time is nearing when Satan shall be "bound" and deceive the people no more. (`2 Cor. 4:4`.) The same Apostle assures us that when the New Covenant shall be sealed and its beneficent arrangement inaugurated, God "will have all men to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth."--`I Tim. 2:4`.
In the older manuscripts the `42nd verse` reads differently and indicates that the Apostles, after having delivered their address, did not stop (as was the usual custom) in the synagogues to hear and answer questions. Having delivered their message they preferred that it should take effect upon the hearts and that the discussion sure to follow might thus be delayed for a time. The people present, both Jews and proselytes, exhorted the Apostles that they might hear more of these things. One version implies that they desired this further information during the week; another, that they would expect it on the following Sabbath. In the synagogue there were quite a number who were devout, and, of course, a still larger number who were merely formalistic in their worship.
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The devout ones, as usual, were interested in the Truth. They followed the missionaries, who exhorted them "to continue in the grace of God," to realize that they had already been recipients of God's grace through the Law and the prophets and that they should go on and attain to the full fruition of their hopes, through the Lord's continued guidance, indicating that our Lord's advent and work were but a further part in the grace of God, in which they had already become sharers, and that to reject this would be to reject all the favors hitherto bestowed upon them.
ENVY, EVIL-SPEAKING, CONTENTION, BLASPHEMY
The next Sabbath there was a great concourse to hear the Apostles. Whether they spoke inside the synagogue or from its steps to people gathered in a broad plaza, we are not told. However, they had not proceeded far in their discourse until there were interruptions, contradictions, anger and blasphemy from some of the prominent Jews. Envy was at the bottom of all this. Their preaching had never drawn such crowds, and besides, the message given by these Apostles claimed to be something better than Judaism offered, something better than the Law and its sacrifices and feasts and fasts. Behold, how the Truth is a searcher of the heart! How it draws some and repels others! What a foe to Truth is the spirit of ambition, of jealousy, of envy! How it leads the natural man to anger, malice, hatred, strife, envy! And how the interests of the New Creature are endangered from this same quarter! How pertinent St. Paul's exhortation that all who name the name of Christ shall put off anger, malice and strife and works of the devil and be clothed with meekness, patience, love, if we would fight the good fight and gain the great prize!
The effect upon the missionaries was to embolden them. They had spoken most gently, avoiding everything to arouse prejudice and opposition; but now, when, in spite of all, the opposition arose and threatened the efficacy of the Truth, they must be bold. They must state plainly the facts. They must show the envious, evil-speakers just where they stood. The people in general, dominated by these leaders, needed also to be shown the line of Truth. Now the Apostle declared, "We have done our duty in giving you Jews the first opportunity to hear of this grace of God, but seeing that you thrust it from you and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, we turn to the Gentiles."
JUDGE YOURSELVES UNWORTHY
What a force there is in these words! God has so arranged matters during this Gospel Age that his Word of
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Truth and grace judges, tests, the honesty, the sincerity of those who profess to be his. It was not that the Apostle was judging their hearts and saying, You are not worthy of this message. The rejection of the message showed that the hearer was unworthy at heart. Each one who thus decided added to the count or list of those not worthy of eternal life under present conditions, under the present offer to faith and obedience. How many of them will have any further opportunity, and whether or not the further opportunity would avail them anything, is not for us to say. They are in the Lord's hands. Whatever he shall do for them will be entirely satisfactory to all who have the mind of Christ. We are sure of the
"Love Divine, all love excelling,"
and that it will give every member of Adam's race a full, impartial trial for life eternal, as a result of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
Similarly today some who hear the message reject it with anger and malice and hatred and strife. They little realize that they are passing judgment upon themselves and proving by their prejudicial course and lack of harmony with righteousness that they are not worthy of life everlasting. And alas! some who had tasted of the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come and been made partakers of the holy Spirit and been fellowshiped as disciples and fellow-heirs of the same Body--some of these, Judas-like, at times have withdrawn themselves in similar anger, hatred, malice, strife, bitterness, blasphemy, evil-speaking. Alas! we fear that their case is hopeless as respects a future trial.
We shall be glad for anything that God may have for them, but we are reminded of the words, "It is impossible to renew them again unto repentance," if they fall away from the Truth, after once having seen and enjoyed it. It is notable, too, that such, as a rule, lose all fear of Second Death. Their eyes of understanding on this, as well as on other features of the Plan, grow dim. Our sorrow for them would be unspeakably deep, were it not that we realize that "The Lord will judge his people" and that we are in the day of which he has foretold us--when the sifting and shaking and purging of his people is due to take place. When we realize that "he doeth all things well," and makes no mistakes, it convinces us that we might have greatly erred in the past respecting heart condition, or that changes of character can be speedily effected under the bite, the poison, the sting, of pride, envy, slander, etc.
Then the missionaries quoted from the prophecies the Lord's Word, to the effect that the light which was to first shine to Israel was also to be to the Gentiles, and that the salvation which was first offered to the covenanted people was yet to extend to the uttermost parts of the earth. How consoling! How satisfying! We are reminded that but very few realize the length and breadth of this great salvation through the only name; that it is yet to extend to every creature, even though it requires the Millennial Kingdom to bring this widespread knowledge and glorious opportunity.
When the Gentiles heard this they were glad and honored the Word of the Lord. "And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." This does not signify ordained of God to have eternal life, but literally so many of them as were of the class and character which God proposed should have eternal life--these believed. There is a good thought here which applies as a general principle, namely, under the Divine arrangement, the Truth and the believing of it, are so related that only those of a certain cast of mind can believe, under present conditions. This includes the thought that they must have a certain harmony with God and righteousness, and that they must submit their minds to the Lord, that they may be taught of him through the channels he may be pleased to use.
The result of these efforts was a widespread recognition of the Truth--of the message of God--"The Word of the Lord was spread abroad throughout all the region."
"On! Fear not, nor falter,
But give of your best;
It is all that an angel can do;
Leave the rest unto God; he is sure,
And he loves more your flags
When the powers of darkness have rent them to rags.
The law of the soul is eternal endeavor,
And bears the man onward and upward forever."
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"MEDIATOR OF THE NEW COVENANT"
"And to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel."--`Heb. 12:24`.
SOME dear brethren seem to have difficulty in harmonizing former and our more recent presentations on the subject of the New Covenant and its Mediator. They seem to get the thought that the latter presentations are contradictory to the previous ones, and that some radical change of sentiment is thus involved. On the contrary our views respecting the facts are in no sense or degree altered. We still believe and teach that Christ died for our sins, that without his redemption work there would be no remission of our sins, and in the future no remission of the sins of the world. We still claim that all the virtue, all the merit for sins, is in his personal sacrifice, finished at Calvary. What then is the change? Merely we now see that we have for years been using wrong terms when expressing right thoughts. For instance: We have spoken of Jesus as being the Church's Mediator, when we should have said that he is the Church's Redeemer and Advocate and the world's Mediator, because this latter is the Scriptural presentation. We have spoken of ourselves as being blessed by the terms of the New Covenant, whereas clearer light upon the subject shows us that it is Israel and the world that get God's blessing thus, and that the Church gets her blessing under most favorable portions of the original Abrahamic Covenant, symbolized by Sarah and not under the Law (or Hagar) Covenant nor under the New (Law) Covenant symbolized by Keturah.
THE ORIGINAL ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
The Apostle declares that God preached the Gospel in advance to Abraham, saying, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." (`Gen. 28:14`.) The Apostle shows that the original Abrahamic Covenant contained two parts, or two seeds, represented in the two statements, Thy seed shall be, (1) as the stars in heaven, and, (2) as the sands of the seashore. The first seed mentioned relates to Christ--Jesus, the Head, and the Church, his Body. The Apostle enunciates and emphasizes this in `Galatians 3:11,29`. Abraham's spiritual Seed, like the stars of heaven and the brightness of the firmament, is the channel through which the secondary seed will receive its blessing. The secondary seed of Abraham, likened to the sands of the seashore, represents
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all the families of the earth, which ultimately will come into harmony with God, during the Millennial Age. As Abraham typified God, the picture shows two classes of God's children, developed through Abraham--Christ and the Church on the spirit plane and the perfected Restitution Class of mankind on the earthly plane.
The Apostle refers to these two seeds, the one developed under Faith and the other under Law and works. The first, the spiritual Seed under the Abrahamic Covenant, is now in process of development during this Gospel Age. The second, the seed according to the flesh, the Restitution Class, is to be developed under the New Covenant and by its Mediator, according to Law and works and actual perfection and not reckoned by faith merely. Its type was the Law Covenant, which had Moses for its Mediator, but which brought nothing to perfection. The Apostle's words are, "Therefore it (the Abrahamic Covenant, covering the Church) is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the intent that the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the
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Law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all"--as Jehovah will be the Father of all the saved, not only of the Church Class, but also of the restituted world. As it is written, "I have made thee a father of many nations."--`Rom. 4:16,17`.
All the families of the earth, all the nations that will be blessed (to whom the blessing will become effective) will thereby become the children of God, whom Abraham prefigured. It is to be hoped, then, that we can all see that the original Covenant made with Abraham includes everything that God promised to give, both to the Church and, through the Church to such of the world as will receive the grace of God not in vain. Notice that no additional Covenants were necessary so far as the Divine determination is concerned --it was all in the original Abrahamic Covenant.
TWO COVENANTS ADDED
If the original Covenant contained the Divine Promise to the full, both for the Church and for all the families of the earth to be blessed through the Church during the Millennium, why did God arrange for two other Covenants, namely (1) the Law Covenant, instituted at Mt. Sinai with the nation of Israel, with Moses as its Mediator, and, (2) the New Covenant, which is to follow and is to bless Israel and the world? We answer that these two Covenants were added for the good and sufficient reason that they further elucidate the Divine Purpose, and, rightly understood, help us to appreciate the operation of Divine love and justice, past, present and to come.
(1) The Law Covenant. What was its object? The Scriptures answer that it was added to the Abrahamic Covenant to fill up the time until the promised Seed should come, to whom the original Covenant applied, and that this was necessary, because of sin, that the high Divine standard for the Seed might be shown. It is certainly a fact that the Law Covenant with the nation of Israel rendered this very service. It set up the standard which approved Jesus and condemned all others. It helped to develop the Jewish nation towards God and towards righteousness. It helped to fit and prepare them for the glorious "calling" of the Gospel, as it ultimately came to them, inviting them to the Divine favor and joint-heirship with Messiah in the glorious Millennial Kingdom, upon conditions of faithfulness and following in the footsteps of their Redeemer. It had a beneficial effect in that, under God's providences, the Jewish nation was the most advanced in righteousness of any nation of the world at the time of our Lord's first advent, so that amongst them several thousands were found fit for transfer from Moses to Christ. Furthermore the arrangements of the Law Covenant provided for certain typical transactions and for prophecies which have been very helpful to Spiritual Israel during this Gospel Age, illustrating to us in the types and shadows of the Law, and enunciating through the prophecies, various matters appertaining to the blessing of the Church during this Gospel Age and to the blessing of the world during the Millennium.
This conglomeration, this mixing, of the matters pertaining to two Ages in the types of the Law Covenant have confused things, to some minds. The Lord hides things from us so as to develop in us the necessity of searching for them. Thus the children of God grow stronger from the Truths, by reason of the difficulties they have in the mastication of them, even as it is with the natural food; those who thoroughly masticate obtain the better nourishment.
Thus we have clearly before our minds the thought that the Law Covenant "made nothing perfect" and added not a whit to the original Abrahamic Covenant, though it gave certain typical foreshadowings in connection with the general plan. That the Law Covenant was never intended to take the place of the original Covenant, is the Apostle's argument. He develops this at considerable length in `Galatians 4:21-31`. The Apostle addresses Christian believers who, while recognizing Christ as the original inheritor of the Abrahamic Covenant, felt that somehow or other they were still under the Law Covenant, very much as some of us for a time recognized Christ and the completeness of the Abrahamic Covenant, and yet somehow supposed, without Scriptural authority, that we additionally needed the New Covenant and were under it. We now see that the Church, the Body of Christ, is not under either the old Law Covenant, which came to an end, or under the New (Law) Covenant, which has not yet been even sealed.
What we Spiritual Israelites have is the superior portion of joint-heirship with Christ in the Original Covenant represented by Sarah, as the Apostle distinctly declares in `Galatians 3:29`, "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's Seed and heirs according to that promise."
The world is to get all of its blessings and favors of Restitution through the New (Law) Covenant, the second addition to the Original Covenant. This New (Law) Covenant has not yet been instituted, because the Mediator, who is to inaugurate it and to cause its blessings to reach to every member of the race during the Millennial Age, has not yet been completed. The New (Law) Covenant will be inaugurated in the end of this Gospel Age, and will embrace the entire period of the Millennial Age. This is the teaching of the Apostle in our text. Jesus our Redeemer and Head is its appointed Mediator, in the merit of his own sacrifice finished on Calvary. He could have sealed it and could have begun at once its operation, had not the Father "provided some better thing for us," his Church, his Bride whom God foreknew as his members. This is "the mystery," that the Gospel Age has been devoted to the development of the "body" of Messiah, the Mediator by sacrifice.
In `Hebrews 12th Chapter` St. Paul points us down to the end of this Age and to the inauguration of the New Age, under the New (Law) Covenant. He shows that its inauguration is typified in the inauguration of the old or typical Law Covenant. He draws the contrast between the two. When the Old Law Covenant was instituted, Moses came down from the mountain and set forth the tables of the Law and sprinkled them with the blood, sealing the Covenant in a sense, and then took of the blood and sprinkled all the people. This was typical of what is to occur shortly. The anti-typical Moses, The Christ (Jesus the Head, and the Church, the Body) will come down from the mount veiled, hidden, because mankind could not endure the glory of the shining presence.
The inauguration of the Law Covenant was accomplished in a typical time of trouble, a shaking of the mountain, the fearing and quaking of the people. The antitype of what occurred at Mt. Sinai will take place at Mt. Zion (the Millennial Kingdom of Christ) as soon as the "election" closes and the new age opens. The Great Mediator (Head and Body) veiled, hiding the glory of the spirit condition, will set forth the Law, and sprinkle it with his blood of the New (Law) Covenant--as Moses took of blood and sprinkled the (Old) Law Covenant in the type. The difference is that Moses sprinkled the tables of the Law with the blood of bulls and goats, but the antitypical Moses, the Mediator of the New (Law) Covenant, will (symbolically) sprinkle the Law with the antitypical blood of the better sacrifices (antitypes of the bullock and the goat)--"his own blood"--not only the precious blood of Jesus, but the blood of the sacrifices of all those whom he shall have accepted as "members of his Body." Then, as Moses sprinkled all the people at Mt. Sinai in the type, so in the antitype, on a larger scale, the Christ, Jesus and his members, will, during the Millennium, sprinkle all the people, that is bring all mankind to a knowledge of the Truth and to an appreciation of their privileges of full return to harmony with God and his Divine laws and regulations.
"SOME BETTER THING FOR US"
We hope that the Lord has blessed us with great plainness of speech in treating this subject, and that every reader can clearly discern that God's Covenant with Abraham primarily related to the Seed of promise and faith only, and was symbolized by Sarah, who bore the Seed. The Law Covenant, Hagar bore not the Seed, failing to perfect anything. The New (Law) Covenant costs the death of the Seed in order to pass the earthly rights back to natural Israel and through them to the world of mankind. And this so, not because God could not have done otherwise but because it pleased God to do it thus.
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Well did the Apostle declare that there is a "mystery" connected with the peculiar relationship of Christ and "the Church, which is his Body." So heavily clouded is this Mystery that the Jews could not see it at all, except the few who were Israelites indeed, and they not until after they had been imbued with the holy Spirit at Pentecost. Even then, as St. Paul pointed out, it was difficult for them to grasp the Mystery, that the Gentiles also were to be fellow-heirs with themselves in these special blessings that appertained to Messiah
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and the faithful few, the "very elect."
Whoever realizes that the Church is Joint-Heir with her Lord; that those who now suffer with him shall also reign with him by and by, should have no difficulty in seeing that the death of the Church, as the Apostle declares, "fills up that which is behind of the afflictions of The Christ," and that only those who thus have part in the afflictions of Christ will have a share in the glory that shall follow. We are at a loss for words to make this subject more plain than it is already stated in the Scriptures. What we each need is the enlightening of the eyes of our understanding, that will enable us to discern "the deep things of God." But the Scriptures assure us that these "deep things" of the "mystery" are only for the Spirit begotten.--`I Cor. 2:10,13`.
This holy Spirit is one of humility and faith and obedience of heart--and, so far as possible, of word and of deed also. We trust that the Vow is helping many to get into this attitude, where they will be the nearer to the Lord and thus have the more abundant favor and blessing and enlightenment. One thing to be borne in mind is that our sacrifices would be without merit or value; that it is only because our Redeemer adopts us as his members and imputes his merit to us and counts our sacrifices as a part of his own--only thus does any merit attach to anything that we may say or do or sacrifice.
Whoever sees the above clearly must see that during this Gospel Age the branches of the Vine have been in process of development and are a part of it; and that only as they bear the fruit of the Vine will they be retained as members thereof. This picture of the vintage of the Church, the One Vine--Christ--the crushing of all the grapes, and the gathering of all the wine, is a picture of the experiences of the whole Church.
Another picture of the same thing loses sight of the Vine, and represents our participation with the Lord by the Cup itself. Our Lord, after participating of the Cup, gave it to his disciples, urging that they drink all of it. That Cup of suffering and self-denial has come down to us during eighteen centuries, and is still with us. It is a prophetic Cup, representing all the sacrifices and all the sufferings of all the members of the Body of Christ, from the Head down to the humblest feet members.
The faithful of the past have participated and the Cup has now come to us, and the Master's voice still says, "Drink ye all of it." Soon the last drop of it will be drained and then the sufferings of the Church which is his body--the Body of Christ--will have been completed. Immediately, through the resurrection, the glorious "change" promised shall follow.
Of that Cup of suffering of which the Lord tasted and which he passed on to his followers, and members, he said, "This is the Cup of the New (Testament) Covenant shed for many for the remission of sins. Drink ye all of it." Participate ye all in it. It is not for the world to drink of that cup of the sufferings of Christ. That honor is reserved for his saints. They alone may participate with their Lord in his sufferings. If the blood of the New Covenant be participated in by all the faithful members of the Body of Christ, how could the New Covenant itself be sealed until the members of the Body had all participated? It would be impossible. Whoever sees clearly that which is a "mystery" to the world must see that the work of The Christ in the inauguration of the New Covenant could not begin until the perfecting of his own Body, which is the Church. And the first, the initial feature of the inauguration of the New Covenant, is its sealing with the blood, and all of his blood has not yet been shed.
This sealing of the New (Law) Covenant has nothing to do with the ransom nor with our justification. We are not justified by any Covenant, but by faith in the precious blood of Jesus. Who cannot see that nobody could be justified by faith under the New (Law) Covenant? The Law is not a "new" faith arrangement but a "new" work arrangement. The Old Law Covenant (of works) failed only because its mediator could not render the needed aid. The New Law Covenant (of works) will succeed because it has a "better Mediator," able to restore to perfection, and ability for perfect works, all who will.
ABRAHAM'S THREE WIVES
Abraham had three wives; Sarah, his original spouse; then later, Hagar, Sarah's maid, whom she urged upon him as a supposed assistance to God in the carrying out of the Covenant, after a long delay and waiting; and third, after Sarah's death, Abraham took Keturah to wife, and by her had many children, whereas by the primary wife and by the maid, but one each. The Apostle's language justifies us in considering this matter allegorical or typical. The holy Spirit, through St. Paul, tells us that Sarah represented the essence of the original Covenant and that Hagar represented the Law Covenant. He explains that the Jewish people were in bondage under their Law Covenant and therefore the antitypes of Ishmael, Hagar's son, and that these were cast out from Divine favor, even as Hagar and her son were cast off from Abraham's family by Divine instruction, and to make the type complete. The Apostle introduces this lesson to show us that the Covenant of Grace, under which the Gospel Church is developed, has nothing whatever to do with the Covenant of the Law; that the two were separate and distinct.
Hagar's child might indeed appear to be the child of Sarah for a time, but it was not; even as Sarah's child, Isaac, was in no sense Hagar's son. The Apostle's argument is, "So, then, brethren, we, as Isaac was, are the children of the promise"--the original Covenant, and not children of the Law Covenant. Similarly, we fancy, the Apostle, if writing today to those who claim to be under the New Covenant, represented in the type by Keturah, would tell them plainly, "You cannot be children of two covenants, children of two mothers." If you are children of the Keturah Covenant in any sense or degree, you cannot be the children of the Sarah Covenant; and if you are children of the Sarah Covenant, then in no sense or degree can you be the children of the Keturah Covenant, or New Covenant--which is not yet in existence.
"CHILDREN OF THE OATH"
The original Covenant with Abraham, typified by his wife Sarah, is the one which God bound with an oath, and which the Apostle describes in `Hebrews 6:13-20` and which he calls "the hope set before us in the Gospel" and our "anchor sure and steadfast within the veil." We, then, are the children of the oath of God, the children of "the promise." Our begetting promise, through Christ, to the New Nature, is wholly different from the promise by which the Jews were begotten, as the house of servants; and wholly different also from the promises by which restored Israel and all the families of the earth will be begotten to human nature through Restitution processes, as the children of the Keturah Covenant.
What is the difference between the promises by which we came into the family of God and the promise by which others may come into the family of God hereafter? We answer, the differences are very great indeed. God will not deal with the world directly during the Millennium. He has committed all things to his Son, and the Son, in harmony with the Divine program during this Gospel Age, has been accepting as his "members" such as the Father has "drawn" to him, granting them the spirit of adoption and thus bringing them into new spirit relationship. No such promises will prevail in the begetting of other children of God, the "other sheep which are not of this flock." These children of the oath, or children of the promise of God, are the special "little flock," to whom it is the Father's good pleasure to give the Kingdom, as the Master declares.
On what basis, different from that of the world, are these acceptable to God? We answer that the world will be accepted only when they reach actual perfection, under the processes of Restitution at the close of the Millennial Age. The
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Father will have no dealing with the world until, mankind being perfect at the end of the Millennium, Christ shall deliver up the Kingdom to the Father. Then men will fall into the hands of the living God; but be perfectly secure, because of their perfection, if they are at heart loyal to God and the principles of his Government.
Jesus Christ (and his Bride and Joint-Heir) will stand as "Mediator between God and men" during the Millennium. All of mankind's communications and relationship to God must come to them through Messiah, and all of God's dealing and relationship with mankind will be in and through the Messiah. How different from that is the dealing of God with the Church of this Age, "Abraham's Seed and heirs according to the promise." These are "drawn" by the Father, as Jesus declares, "No man can come unto me (now), except the Father which sent me draw him," and whoever cometh unto me, drawn by the Father, I will in no wise reject. (`John 6:44`.) Some of our Lord's followers were drawn to him of the Father before he had completed the sacrifice for sins at Calvary, and others have been drawn throughout the Gospel Age; as the Apostle declares, "Even so many as the Lord your God shall call." (`Acts 2:39`.) Here is a reversal of the Divine purpose. The Gospel Church, under the Abrahamic Covenant arrangement, are drawn to the Son by the Father, "Given unto him." The world in the next Age the Father will not draw, but the Lord Jesus will draw them to himself. "If I be exalted, I will draw all men unto me." And even after the Son draws them unto himself, he must as the Mediator keep them unto himself until he shall have instructed them, disciplined them, and made their knees to bow and their lips to confess, and taught them the necessary lessons and brought them back to all that was lost, before the Father will have anything to do with them--at the close of the Millennial Age.
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Who will say that the children of the free woman, the Sarah Covenant, have not a great advantage every way over the children of Keturah, and not only have they this more favorable reception of the Father, but they receive directly his begetting to the spirit plane; as we read, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (`I Pet. 1:3`.) These are his "elect." As the Apostle says, "Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren."--`Rom. 8:29`.
WHEREIN IS THE DIFFERENCE?
Why should God make such a difference in his dealings? Surely there is a logical reason connected with the matter, if we can but ascertain it. And surely it is true that "The Lord God doeth nothing but he revealeth it unto his servants." If all mankind had been at heart "Israelites indeed" there would have been no need of a mediator and a New Covenant--the Abrahamic Covenant would have been quite sufficient. It is because the world of mankind is estranged from God, rebellious against the Divine Law, and lovers of Sin, that the mediatorial work is a necessary one. The Great Mediator (Head and Members) after making "an atonement for the sins of all the people," at the close of this age, will take all the people in hand, and, by chastisements and corrections in righteousness, cause every knee to bow and every tongue to confess, in harmony with the Divine arrangement, or be cut off in the Second Death.
All men are sinners and all are children of wrath and under Divine sentence of death; but there are other respects in which all are not alike. Some hate the chains of Sin, wherein they are held, and long for freedom and for reconciliation to God, while others love the sin and are estranged from God. God is not in their thoughts. Here, then, we have the ground for the difference in God's dealings with the two classes. He takes note of those who are weary and heavy laden; these, feeling after God, if haply they might find him, he is pleased to "draw," during this Gospel Age, through the knowledge of the Truth, to Jesus, that at his hand they may be justified and become acceptable, if they will, as "members" of his Body, suffer with him now. Then they will reign with him by and by. The ungodly are not "drawn" or called in consecration with the High Calling of this Gospel Age, but left to be dealt with by their Redeemer, when he shall assume the Office of Mediator between God and men--the world.
But is it not Scripturally declared of believers that "We were enemies of God through wicked works"? And does not that place us on the same level with the world, in enmity against God? We answer, No, there is a difference. The worldly mass are enemies against God, not merely in respect to their works being imperfect, such as he cannot accept, but also and specially because their hearts are estranged from him. They love unrighteousness. Believers, on the contrary, although enemies through wicked works, are not enemies at heart, and God, who reads the heart, deals with them from that standpoint and leads them to Christ, that the merit of his sacrifice may offset the demerits of their sin and their imperfect or wicked works.
But does not the Apostle again say that we "were aliens and strangers and foreigners from the commonwealth of Israel"? Yes, we, who were Gentiles, were entirely separated and alienated from God, until Christ came, and we found access to Divine favor through him, whereas the Jew had a measure of Divine favor and opportunity for development, before Christ came. Three and one-half years after Christ's death, St. Paul says, the middle wall of partition or separation between Jews and Gentiles was taken down, so that, in God's providence, the honest-hearted Gentile was no more an alien and a foreigner to God than his Jewish neighbor.
ATONEMENT NOT MEDIATION
There is a difference between Atonement for Sin and mediation between God and the sinner. There are certain senses in which we might correctly say that the person who made atonement for the sins of another was his mediator, but this is not the Scriptural use of the word mediator. The Bible speaks of Christ as the Mediator of a Covenant, not as a Mediator for sins. However true it is that he mediated an atonement for the sins of the world, that is not a Scriptural form of statement. Believers, as well as all the remainder of the world, need to have an atonement made for our sins, as a basis for our reconciliation to the Father. But believers are under a Covenant which needs no mediator, as St. Paul distinctly points out. "A mediator is not of one." (`Gal. 3:20`.) That is to say, Where a Covenant has only one side to it, it does not have, nor require, a mediator. On the contrary, covenants which have conditions demand a mediator, as, for instance, Moses was the mediator of the Law Covenant, and Christ was the Mediator of the New Covenant. Under both of these covenants there is a conditional proposition --"If ye will do those things, I will do this thing. If ye will obey my laws and keep my statutes, I will bless you," etc.
Let us notice carefully why the original, or Sarah Covenant, "The mother of us all," needed no mediator. It was because in it God made no conditional promises. They were all unconditional to whoever would become The Seed. "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." There are no conditions in that promise, and hence, there would be nothing for a mediator to set straight. God himself undertook to choose who should constitute the Seed of Abraham. He chose our Lord Jesus to be the "Head over the Church, which is his Body," and he foreordained, and, in harmony with that foreordination, chose and called, throughout this Age, such as he desired might have the privilege of membership in that Seed of Abraham. There was no place for a mediator in connection with it, for God did his own selecting. As it is written, "Ye are God's workmanship." "The Father himself loveth you." "Whoever is drawn of the Father cometh unto me." "No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him."
TAKE ANOTHER GLANCE
Honest-hearted ones now "drawn" of the Father are, indeed, children of wrath, and hence, before they can be received of the Father as sons, he delivers them over to Christ, and Christ's acceptance of them, or justification by faith in his blood (not faith in a covenant) makes them ready to be returned again to the Father, if they still so will. It is to
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these justified ones that the Apostle says, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." If these needed to be made actually perfect they would need to be left in the hands of the Son for such restitution work as is his alone, and would be held over for the Millennium. But instead they are justified by faith. Their faith in Christ, in the merit of his sacrifice, attested by their repudiation of sin, "Is counted unto them for righteousness," Jesus applying his merit on their account. When, afterwards, these made full consecration of themselves to do the Father's will, even unto death, and when they were begotten of the holy Spirit as New Creatures, they became "members" of the Seed of Abraham, members of the Mediator of the New Covenant. Then they by faith passed to a new plane, where no sin or imperfection is imputed to them, so long as they fulfil their consecration Vow and "Walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit."-- `Rom. 8:1`.
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THROUGH MUCH TRIBULATION ENTER THE KINGDOM
--`ACTS 14:1-28`.--MAY 16.--
Golden Text:--"All the gods of the nations are idols; but the Lord made the heavens."--`Psa. 96:5`.
NOTWITHSTANDING the success which attended the message at Antioch in Pisidia, the spirit of the Adversary was aroused in the Jews, who stirred up devout and honorable women (Greek proselytes to the Jewish religion). They worked upon their prejudices, slandering the apostles and their work and their motives. These women in turn exercised influence with the chief men of the city, until finally the missionaries were expelled. Their next stop was at Iconium, about seventy-five miles southeast. Here again they first preached in the synagogue to the Jews, and a great multitude, both of the Jews and also of the Greeks (Jewish proselytes), believed. But again the unbelieving Jews worked upon the Gentile population by calumnies. Hence the apostles remained there a "long time," probably several months, because there were many converts needing instruction and because it was an excellent field of labor every way. Finally, however, the chief Jews of the synagogue and the Gentiles whom they influenced, formed a plot for the stoning of the missionaries and alleged blasphemers. Learning of this the apostles followed our Lord's injunction of `Matt. 10:23`, to flee from persecution. Their next stop was at Lystra, twenty miles further to the southeast.
How human nature repeats itself! As it was God's covenanted people--yea, and the chief of the synagogue who opposed the Gospel and maltreated its servants who sought merely to do them good--so all through the age the professed servants of God have been the persecutors of their brethren! And so it is today! The slanders, the misrepresentations, come not from the politicians and the worldly, but from the Lord's professed followers, some of them of large influence.
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It is still true that there are "perils amongst false brethren" and a Judas spirit is to be expected now, as well as then. How shall we receive these things? If they discourage us or turn us aside in fear, it would prove that we are not worthy of the Kingdom privileges and honors, which are to be granted only to those who come off, by the Lord's grace, "more than conquerors"; to those who willingly, gladly, take the spoiling of their goods, their good names, earthly reputation, etc., rather than prove disloyal to the Lord and his brethren. Nor must we render railing for railing, nor slander for slander. We must take maltreatment patiently.
NO SYNAGOGUE--BUT A MIRACLE
Lystra was the capital of what was called Wolfland. Its people were less civilized than in other places visited. Evidently there were few or no Jews there and no synagogue. The preaching to the people was in the forum.
While St. Paul was preaching he perceived amongst his auditors a man lame from birth, giving close attention and, perceiving that he had faith to cooperate with healing, he commanded him, "Stand upright on thy feet." The miracle astonished the people, who, in their amazement, began to speak to each other, no longer in the Greek language, but in the Laconian, which the missionaries did not understand, saying that these were gods in human form. The apostles evidently retired to their own dwelling apartments after the miracle and were astonished when, a little time afterward, the people came together to offer sacrifices to them, calling Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercury. The people had certain traditions about the gods coming down to earth as men and these doubtless led up to their remarkable treatment of the missionaries.
One of these tales was to the effect that Jupiter and Mercury once visited this very city of Laconia. The people took them to be vagrants and refused to entertain them, and ridiculed and maltreated them. At last two peasants received them into their hut with hospitality, giving them their best. In return the gods transformed their hut into a glorious temple, over which they were set as the chief ministers of earth, while their neighbors were overwhelmed in a flood. The statue of Jupiter stood before Lystra's gate, and it was supposed that this story was repeated annually in the hearing of the people. Thinking of Paul and Barnabas as later manifestations of these same gods, they determined that now was their opportunity to show them reverence and hospitality.
Now came a temptation to the missionaries--such temptations as in one form or another are apt to come to all who engage actively in Christian work. Would they receive the homage of the people and then, as gods, seek to instruct them respecting Christ as the true Son of God come from heaven, who had died for the world's redemption, etc., or would they stop the procedure forthwith? Such temptations are very forceful with many: "Let us do evil that good may follow." Similar temptations of the present time might be suggested. A minister might sail under false colors, under denominational name, which misrepresented his heart and which he misrepresented. He might seek thus to do God service and to advance the Truth, but would it be wise? Would it please God to have us thus do evil that good might follow? We think not. The Truth may be presented as kindly, sympathetically, harmoniously as possible, but it can never fight a good fight under a cloak of hypocrisy.
The same principle applies to others; the business man may put his light under a bushel for the sake of trade and with the promise to himself that he will use money gained in forwarding the Truth. But would such a course be acceptable to the Lord? We believe not. Some affect ignorance of the Truth or disdain for it, that they may retain social position, and persuade themselves that there are more than compensating advantages favorable to the Lord, the brethren and the Truth, in the course which they pursue. We believe that they prove themselves unworthy of a position in the "little flock" of overcomers. The principle is of broad application, and it is the principle each of the Lord's people should see, and fix clearly in his judgment, that he may guide himself accordingly.
HONESTY REWARDED WITH STONES
The missionaries ran in amongst the people, dissuading them from sacrifice and assuring them that they were ordinary men like themselves. They informed them that their very mission was to turn them from such works of ignorance and superstition and to indicate to them the true God, his true character, and his proper worship. They said to them, "We bring you good tidings, that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein." Wisdom from on high guided them to know that it would be useless to quote the Old Testament Scriptures to these people, who had no knowledge of them. They discoursed, therefore, what the people could understand and appreciate, and thus they set a grand example to all who should ever speak as messengers of the Lord. Much of the preaching is far over the heads of the hearers.
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They introduced to their attention the God who made the heaven, earth, sea and all the contents of these. They explained that although this great God was interested in his creatures always, yet hitherto he had permitted all the nations to walk in their own ways untaught, unrestrained. Nevertheless he did give them certain evidences of his constant care, in the sunshine and the rain, with the fruitage of earth and its seasons, thus providing mankind with food and occasion for gladness and appreciation of life.
Only a scrap of the discourse is given. We may suppose that the Apostle here, as elsewhere, proceeded to explain that the times of this ignorance of the past, which God had winked at or paid no attention to, were now ending; that a new phase or turn of his great Divine Plan had come. And now all men everywhere are admonished to repent, to turn from sin, to strive to come near to God in reverence and obedience, and to hope for eternal life in his provision. Doubtless he explained that the foundation for these hopes and these commands to repent were laid in the great fact that God had given his Son to be man's Redeemer, and by and by man's Restorer. No doubt he explained to them that every effort toward righteousness and Truth and godliness would have its reward, while every wilful sin would surely, at some time, have its punishment, either in the present age or in the age to come. No doubt also he showed the people that the Divine call of the present time is intended merely to call out of the world a "little flock" of saintly followers of Jesus to be his Bride in the Kingdom.
However, it was probably only a few days after this that some other Jews came to Lystra, zealous as Paul of Tarsus himself had been to oppose the message respecting the Nazarene. The benighted people, who one day were ready to do sacrifice to St. Paul as a god, shortly afterward, under the envious slanders stirred up by the Adversary, stoned him and then dragged him out of the city and left him to be devoured by beasts and birds. But evidently some disciples had been made, for as we read, "As the disciples stood around about him, he rose up, and came into the city; and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe." Such a man with such a spirit was necessarily a force wherever he went; a force for good, as he had once been a force for evil, because now the spirit which energized him was a consecrated one, a holy one. There is a lesson and example here for all of us which we must not miss. He wisely determined that it would be unwise to do more public work at Lystra, so long as the public mind was in such a ferment. To have done so would have been merely to bring needless persecution upon the disciples who, young in the faith, might not so well have been able to stand it.
DERBE, THEN HOMEWARD BOUND
Evidently some Divine power, some supernatural strength, was accorded the Apostle, else he never could have so quickly recovered after the stoning. The explanation is, first, St. Paul's own indomitable will, which mastered his body and made it his servant; and secondly, Divine cooperation assisting him so to do. And will it not be considerably so with us? Will not faith and courage and zeal and determination effect much as to our ability to stand and withstand the trials and difficulties of life? And will not the Lord's grace be sufficient for us? And whether he permit us to be smitten down with the literal stones or the symbolic arrows, the bitter words, is he not able to succor us, that we be not overwhelmed?
Apparently the preaching at Derbe resulted in making many disciples. Then the apostles turned their faces homeward --toward Antioch, the Ecclesia which sent them forth as its representatives. Seeking not merely return, but braving return by the same way as they went, they had the opportunity of meeting with the disciples at the various places and strengthening them and encouraging them in the good way, the "narrow way." Nor was there any deception in their preaching. They did not tell believers that shortly they would find themselves prospering in their business interests by becoming disciples of the Crucified One. They did not tell them that they would find Christianity the passage way into the social circles of the wealthy and refined. On the contrary, their message was in harmony with our Lord's words, "In the world ye shall have tribulation. These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace." (`John 16:33`.) Again, "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you;" (`I John 3:13`.) "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you, falsely, for my sake."--`Matt. 5:11`.
So we read that, as they journeyed, they "confirmed the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith and explaining to them that through much tribulation we must
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enter into the Kingdom of God"--that this is the Divine arrangement for the perfecting of our characters and for our testing as respects our fitness for joint-heirship with our Lord. Let us not forget, dear friends, that the present evil world (age) has not yet closed; that Satan is still its Prince, and that tribulation is still the cost of a place in the Throne! Expecting this, persecution will not disappoint us when we receive it. As with our Lord, we may find that "A man's foes shall be they of his own household"--his own people, his own nation.
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do and loads to life;
Shun not the struggle--face it; 'tis God's gift.
It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong;
How hard the battle goes, the day how long;
Faint not--fight on! Tomorrow comes the song."
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BE YE NOT FORGETFUL READERS
WE have been astonished at the peculiar statements made by some who should have known better-- respecting our recent presentations regarding the Covenants. They declare that we are now contradicting our former presentations, etc. As an answer to their absurd statements two of our readers have requested that we republish the below article, copied, verbatim, from our issue of March, 1880. We also suggest the rereading of "Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices," first published the same year. When we see those opposing "the Vow" becoming spiritually blind to things they have professed to see for years, it gives us more and more respect for that Vow. For, practically, every one opposed to the Covenants is opposed to "the Vow." We gave forth "the Vow" as a helpful resolution, little surmising that it would awaken such hostility as to create a schism, but evidently the Lord so intended.--`1 Cor. 11:19`. Following is the article referred to:--
THE THREE GREAT COVENANTS
A covenant is a ratified, unalterable agreement. God has made many covenants with man. (`Gen. 6:18`; `Jer. 33:20`, etc.) Three, however, stand out very prominently, as in them have been bound up all the best interests of mankind.
FIRST: The Covenant of God to Abraham. This covenant seems to comprehend and include a blessing on the natural fleshly descendants, as well as upon the higher, spiritual, Seed, "which Seed is Christ; and if ye be Christ's (body), then are ye Abraham's Seed and heirs according to (this) promise." If this thought be borne in mind, it will assist us in grasping the full meaning of this Covenant. The spiritual seed is called the "blessing seed" and "stars of heaven." It is prophesied that "They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever." (`Dan. 12:3`.) And Jesus calls himself "the bright and morning star." This thought seems to have had more weight and meaning with the ancients, who looked up to the stars with superstitious reverence, believing that they controlled the destinies both of nations and of men. So probably this portion of the covenant represented by stars signifies heavenly rulers--Christ and his Bride. The natural descendants are probably meant when mention is made of "a great nation" possessing "this land"--Canaan--said to be as
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the "sand of the sea." This represents an earthly people as plainly as the stars do the heavenly. Let us read the covenant and see that it contains these two elements, and recognizes both natural and spiritual Israel. (`Gen. 12:2,3`; `13:14-16`; `15:18`, and `22:16-18`). Paul assures us that "the seed" referred to in this covenant is Christ. (`Gal. 3:16`.) Fleshly Israel lost this, the cream or choicest part of the covenant--the spiritual. As Paul says (`Rom. 11:7`): "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it." But the losing of this better part does not cut them off entirely from having a part in that covenant. "For brethren, that you may not be conceited with yourselves" (thinking that all of God's favor and covenant are taken from them and given to you), "I wish you not to be ignorant of this secret: that hardness in some measure has happened to Israel till the fulness of the Gentiles may come in" (i.e., until the bride selected from the Gentiles has been completed). "And then all Israel will be saved, as it has been written, The Deliverer shall come out of Zion, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob," and "This is THE COVENANT WITH THEM FROM ME, when I shall take away their sins."--`Rom. 11:25` --"Diaglott."
Though for 1800 years they have been counted as enemies, and blinded to the gospel, yet they are still beloved for the fathers' sake; for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (`v. 29`); i.e., these earthly blessings are just as sure to them as our spiritual ones are to us, because God so promised or covenanted, and never changes. Thus, we see the breadth and grandeur of God's plan and arrangement-- how the natural seed was cast aside for the time that the spiritual might be developed, who, in their turn, are to be made the instruments for blessing the natural; when they shall obtain mercy through your mercy; when "The Deliverer shall come out of Zion (spiritual Israel--the church) and turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (fleshly Israel). When we see this, we see the fulness of this covenant to Abraham. It shows us what God meant when he promised that Abraham's seed should be mighty, possessing the gates of their enemies (the place of power and control), and be so far above others as to be able to "bless all the families of the earth." "O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways; for who hath known the mind of the Lord?"
THE COVENANT OF THE LAW
is the second covenant we wish to consider. It was unlike the Abrahamic, in that it was conditional and two-sided, i.e., it was made between God and Israel and by its arrangements God was bound to do certain things, if Israel did certain other things. The one with Abraham was unconditional. God said: "I will," etc.; and although that was the Abrahamic covenant, Abraham was in no way obligated. (Circumcision was instituted after the covenant.--`Rom. 4:10`. It was not Abraham's covenant, but God's entirely; and for this reason it had no mediator. (A mediator is one who stands between the parties to an agreement or contract, whose duty it is to see that both parties fulfil their parts of the covenant.) Instead, God sware by himself that he would keep his covenant. [See form of oath `Gen. 15:8-18` and `Jer. 34:18-20`.] "The Law," is called a covenant. [Compare `Gal. 3:17` and `4:24`.] It was ordained in the hands of a mediator (Moses, `Deut. 5:5`), which proves that it contained conditions for its fulfilment; for "a mediator is not of one" (`Gal. 3:20`), or, not necessary where there was only one party contracting, as in the case of the Abrahamic Covenant.
This (the Law) was not a part of the first covenant, neither was it made with the people of the world, but only with fleshly Israel--"And Moses called all Israel and said unto them: Hear O Israel...The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, BUT WITH US, even us who are all of us here alive this day." `Deut. 5:1-5`.
That the Ten Commandments, particularly, and the ceremonial law, incidentally, constituted this covenant, is clear from the reading of the remainder of this chapter. A difference between moral and ceremonial law is now recognized, but it is of men. God called them one--"The Law." This Law Covenant was seemingly designed as a blessing to Israel, yet really by coming under it they condemned themselves; for it is written "cursed [condemned] is every one that continueth not in all the words of the Law to do them." God never intended, therefore, that they should be benefited by this covenant since, "By the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified in his sight." What then was the object of this covenant? It had two objects: first, it demonstrated that the natural man as a fallen creature, could not live in harmony with God --could not do right or be righteous. And finally it was proved and illustrated that a perfect man could keep God's perfect law, when Jesus did keep it and thereby became heir legally as well as by grace, to all the provisions of both covenants.
SECONDLY: The Law "was appointed on account of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise related." (`Gal. 3:19`.) God knew the best time, and "in due time sent forth his Son." The law was introduced because the proper time had not come for the development of "the seed" referred to in the covenant to Abraham, and was intended to prevent Israel's becoming degraded like other nations, and to act as a restraint on their fleshly nature, and an educator of self-control, etc. It thus was a "schoolmaster," which, by showing them their own weakness, prepared them to receive Jesus Christ as their justifier from the things which the law condemned. (`Gal. 3:24`.) And it did this very work. By the time the seed was due, it had prepared some to receive Jesus.
THIRDLY: It was used as a type, not of the Abrahamic, but of the new covenant, to illustrate the operations and conditions of that covenant, as we shall soon see.
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"THE NEW COVENANT"
Is repeatedly mentioned in Scripture. It should not be misconstrued as being God's covenant with us--"the seed;" no, that was part of the Abrahamic covenant, and although in harmony with each other, they are not the same, nor is the "new covenant" made with the church at all. It does not come into operation until the spiritual seed as well as the fleshly children, have come into possession of what was promised them under the Abrahamic covenant.
It, like the law which was its shadow or type, is between God and fleshly men--the world. If, therefore, this covenant is between two parties (God and the world), there must be conditions binding upon both; hence there must be a mediator (as in the type) to stand responsible for the fulfilment of the conditions of both. Who, then, is to act as mediator of the new covenant? Let Paul answer: "Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant." [`Heb. 12:24`.] Yes, Jesus, our Head, is the one, and the only one, who can stand uncondemned before God's righteous law. In him God recognizes his holy Son, separate from sinners, and in Him humanity may, and soon will, recognize their Lord, now highly exalted, but once "the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, who, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man"; and "who is a faithful High Priest," able to sympathize. Only through him can the world ever be made at-one with God--His great work is at-one-ment. He will associate with Him in this work His tried and faithful bride. Now, what are the conditions of this new covenant? They are, as in its type, the law, do and live. God can never be a party to any covenant recognizing sin.
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Perfect righteousness ["Be ye perfect"] has always been the condition on which God recognizes or communes with any of His children. Christians in the present age, although not individually perfect, are reckoned so, being hid in Christ, and as members of His body are covered by His robes of righteousness. But in the coming time, the imputed righteousness of another will not avail, but "every man shall die for his own sin" [not the sin of Adam], or vice versa, live by his own righteousness [perfect obedience].
It may be asked, then: In what way will the new age under the new covenant differ from the Jewish age under the law covenant? If the conditions of life are obedience to God's perfect law, will it not result, as the law covenant did, in condemning all under it to death? We answer no, the difficulty then was, not with the law, but with man. Man, in his fallen, imperfect condition, could not keep "the law ordained to life." But the conditions of this new covenant on God's part are, that man shall be brought to a condition in which he can obey the perfect law, and always keep it in his heart, as it is written, "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah....This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my law in their inward part, and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people, for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." "In those days they shall no more say, the fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge, but every one shall die for his own iniquity." --`Jer. 31:31`.
"And in that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowl of heaven and with the creeping things of the ground and I will break the bow, and the sword, and the battle, out of the earth." (`Hos. 2:18`. See also `Jer. 32:37-41`, `Ezek. 37:26`.) We see clearly that the new covenant is yet future and also that a great change will be effected in the condition of Israel, who, under the Law previously, were unable to keep it. The trouble then was, "the fathers [Adam and his successors] had eaten the sour grape of sin, and the children's teeth were set on edge" so that they could not keep the Law of God; so the Day of Atonement is brought in [the Gospel Age] and during it, they, and all men, are redeemed from sin and the curse, through Jesus Christ, who, by the grace of God tasted death for every man. The man Christ Jesus, holy, harmless, separate from sinners, was made a curse for us, made sin [i.e., dealt with as the sinner] for us, [he] who knew no sin. And it is consequently after the gospel age when they are pardoned freely for Christ's sake, and restored to the condition of sinless perfect manhood, that the new covenant comes into force. And to this thought agree the words of Paul [`Rom. 11:27`]. "This is my [new] covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins."
The nations are to be blessed also under this new covenant, by becoming "daughters" to Israel. "I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy (old) covenant." --`Ezek. 16:61`.
We have seen that to every covenant to which there are obligations of two parties, there is a mediator, or one who stands between guaranteeing the fulfilment of its conditions. As under the covenant of the Law, Moses was the mediator, so is
"JESUS THE MEDIATOR OF THE NEW COVENANT"
And to him God looks for the fulfilment of the Law, and to him Israel and the world look for ability to comply with its conditions. Remember that we, the gospel church, do not come to Christ under the new covenant, neither under the "old" or Law covenant, but under a covenant older than either of these [`Gal. 3:17`], the Abrahamic covenant; as part of "The Seed." "If ye be Christ's [body], then are ye Abraham's Seed and heirs according to (that) promise."--`Gal. 3:29`.
As the typical or Law covenant [or "testament"--same Greek word;] was ratified or sealed by Moses its Mediator, with the blood of a bull and a goat annually, so the "new covenant" is sealed with the blood of "better sacrifices" [plural] which these represented, viz.: Christ--Head and body.
Moses took a bunch of hyssop and scarlet wool and therewith sprinkled of the ratifying blood mixed with water, both the book (type of the Law) and all the people. (See `Heb. 9:19`.) So with the New Covenant it must also be ratified with blood; and the mediator of the "New," gives his own blood (life,) both head and body, during this gospel day of sacrifice. And soon when the better sacrifices are complete, the people will be sprinkled with this cleansing blood and with the pure water of truth. It will sprinkle both book (law) and people, bringing the people into harmony with God and therefore into harmony with his Law. Their teeth will no longer be set on edge; no longer will they, when they would do good find evil present with them; for "All shall know the Lord from the least to the greatest," and "The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth."
Who will do the sprinkling after the sacrifices are complete? It was Moses in the type; it will be the Great Prophet and Mediator in the antitype--"A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people." (`Acts 3:22`.) This prophecy belongs to the "Times of restitution of all things," and is quoted by Peter as applicable there.
That prophet or teacher--"The Christ"--Head and body is now being "raised up" (to power) and soon the work of sprinkling and cleansing humanity begins; and the soul (person) who will not then obey and be cleansed shall be destroyed. In that age, the sinner a hundred years old will be cut off, though at that age he would be but "a child."-- `Isa. 65:20`.
ABRAHAM'S THREE WIVES
Let us briefly review these covenants as they are illustrated in a type or allegory. (`Gal. 4:22-31`.) Paul explained that Abraham's wife, Sarah, was a type of the covenant made with Abraham, referring to "The Seed." As years rolled by, and no child came, they began to look for a fulfilment in some other way, and Hagar takes the place of a wife and bears a son, who apparently is to be the heir. So the original promise of God meant Christ, but He was not born until "due time," and in the meantime "The Law" was given from Sinai, apparently taking the place of the covenant, and under the law covenant a fleshly seed was developed--fleshly Israel. But the Abrahamic covenant had not failed, and after the Hagar covenant had borne fleshly Israel (typified by Ishmael), the true seed of Abraham and heir is born, under the first (or Sarah) covenant; i.e., Christ Jesus and the members of His body--spiritual Israel.
This is as far as Paul carries the type, because speaking only of the two seeds, natural and spiritual, and the two covenants under which they come into existence. But as we find that God is to make "a new covenant," "after those days," we naturally inquire: Why was not this new covenant typified by a wife as well as the other two? And upon examination we find it was so illustrated. Turning to `Gen. 24:67`, we read how Isaac receives Rebecca into Sarah's tent, and she becomes his married wife, etc., illustrating how our heavenly bridegroom will receive His bride at the end of her journey,
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and bring her into, and associate her with Himself in the enjoyment of all things promised in the first (or Sarah) covenant. Then we read: "Then, again, Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah," illustrating, as plainly as a type can, the new covenant.
Each of the first two covenants, bore but one offspring: The first, the "heir of all things" (Isaac--the spiritual Israel), and the second, fleshly Israel, beloved for the Father's sake. But the New Covenant (Keturah) bears six sons, which, taken with the one of Hagar would be seven--a complete number--representing that all the fleshly children would be developed under the Hagar and Keturah or "Law" and "New" Covenants. The name Sarah means Princess, Hagar means flight or cast out, Keturah means incense or sweet; all of which are significant.
Oh, how our covenant--the Royal--looms up above all the others! Let us not forget that we must die with Jesus, if we would LIVE and share in the glorious work of sprinkling and cleansing the world in the next age. "That by means of death...they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."--`Heb. 9:15`.
BEREAN STUDIES ON THE ATONEMENT
THE TEXT-BOOK USED FOR THIS COURSE
IS SCRIPTURE STUDIES, SERIES V (E)*
Questions on Study V.--The Baptism Witness of the Spirit
(1) Why is the witness of the Spirit an important doctrine to the people of God? P. 226, par. 1.
(2) What is meant by "our spirit" in `Romans 8:16`,-- "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God?"
(3) Why should we consider the holy Spirit another God separate and distinct from the Father and Son, if we do not consider our spirit a separate person from ourselves?
(4) Is there danger of trusting too much to "feelings" and what is the remedy? P. 226.
(5) Quote some hymns in proof that doubt and distress prevail and show the real difficulty and the cure. P. 127.
(6) Explain the difference between Faith and Credulity. P. 228.
(7) How may we obtain the witness of the holy Spirit? P. 229.
(8) How may we be sure that we made the proper start in the heavenly way? And that we are still on it? And that we shall make our calling and election pure? P. 230.
(9) Is our "full assurance of faith" based upon our perfection, or what? P. 231.
(10) Are tribulations a witness of the holy Spirit to God's people? If so what testimony or "witness" do they bear? P. 232.
(11) Are the Lord's dealings with us all alike, or alike to all? If not, why not? P. 233.
(12) Why do some of God's children require more and others less disciplining?
(13) Are all chastenings evidences or witnesses of divine displeasure? If not, explain other reasons for them and services through them. P. 234.
(14) What prunings should we note and what results should we expect? P. 234, par. 2, 3.
(15) Quote several texts from the Bible, showing the Spirit's witness to us, and explain how these should be understood as witnesses and how they should influence our lives. P. 235.
(16) What did the experiences of our Lord Jesus witness respecting divine favor with him? Explain his sufferings as in full accord with the Spirit's witness and show how ours should correspond. P. 236.
(17) Would our Lord's witness of the Spirit have been the same had he taken a different course? Pp. 236, 237.
(18) Explain `1 John 5:4`, showing how it is a witness and to whom it applies. P. 237.
(19) Is our knowledge of holy things and of "things to come" a witness or testimony? If so, of what? P. 238.
(20) What should every Christian resolve re the witness of the Spirit? P. 239.
(21) Will the holy Spirit witness to the converts of the Millennial Age? If so will the witness be the same as to us or in what respects different? P. 239, par. 3.
(22) Explain the difference between a real witness of the Spirit and the unsatisfactory reliance upon "feelings"? P. 240.
(23) Why should those possessing the true "witness" rejoice and those not possessing it seek it? P. 241.
(24) What is it to be sanctified by the holy Spirit? And what are the needful steps to this end? P. 241.
(25) What did St. Paul mean by his prayer that God would sanctify his people "wholly"?
(26) Are there degrees of sanctification? and are these degrees easily attained? P. 243.
(27) Explain what is signified by the expression, "new creatures in Christ Jesus." P. 243, par. last.
(28) Is a filling of the holy Spirit attainable? If so, is it of sudden or of gradual attainment? P. 244.
(29) Could we be properly said to be filled with a spirit person? and could the same person fill many persons and still retain personality? In a word is personality divisible?
(30) What is the Apostle's illustration of our being filled with the holy Spirit? Show the application. P. 245.
(31) Can we be "filled with the holy Spirit" without conforming to the divine conditions? And can we thus conform unless we know the conditions? And can we know the conditions except by the study of God's Word and obedience thereto? P. 245, par. 2.
(32) Is the sealing of the Spirit the same thing as the witness of the Spirit?
(33) What is meant by the seal of the Spirit? When is it obtained? Suddenly or gradually? Pp. 246-248.
*Five years ago DAWN-STUDIES, VOL. V., was reset, and unfortunately the type was not exactly same size as before; and hence page for page they differ. The references given in these Berean Studies apply to the present edition, a copy of which postpaid will cost you but 30c. But keep your old edition, for unfortunately the new Bible Helps refer to its pages.
PUBLIC MINISTRIES OF THE TRUTH
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLE'S PULPIT
ASSOCIATION OF BROOKLYN, N.Y.
ONE-DAY LOCAL CONVENTIONS ADDRESSED BY THE
EDITOR OF THIS JOURNAL AS FOLLOWS:
PITTSBURG N.S. (Allegheny), PA., MARCH 28
Session for the public at 3 p.m. in Allegheny Carnegie Hall, Corner Ohio and Federal Sts. Visiting friends heartily welcomed. Baptismal services for those desiring same and notifying, at 10:30 a.m. Question meeting at 7:30 p.m., Bible House Chapel, 610 Arch street.
BROOKLYN, N.Y., APRIL 4
Discourse by Brother Russell at 3:00 p.m. Evening meeting for the interested at 7:30 o'clock, when the annual Memorial Supper will be celebrated. Visiting friends cordially welcomed.
All meetings will be held in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, Nos. 13-17 Hicks street. Convenient to all cars and ferries--close to the old bridge terminus.
BOSTON, MASS., APRIL 11
Morning and evening meetings in Faneuil Hall. Take surface cars from depots going through Dock Square. Local friends will be at stations to assist visiting friends. Meeting at 10:30 a.m. for Prayer, Praise and Testimony.
Afternoon session for the Public in Tremont Temple, Tremont street, between School and Bromfield streets, at 3:00 o'clock; subject, "Where are the Dead?"
Evening meeting for the interested at 7:30 o'clock. Arrangements have also been made for a meeting in Tremont Temple Building, on Saturday evening, for the benefit of those who may have to come to the city at that time. When purchasing railway tickets inquire for reduced rates, account of
Bible Students' Convention.
TOLEDO, OHIO, APRIL 18
BROOKLYN, N.Y., APRIL 25 and MAY 2
BROOKLYN TABERNACLE EVERY SUNDAY
Preaching at 3:00 p.m. Praise service at 7:00 p.m.; Berean Bible Study at 7:30 p.m. Convenient to New York via Subway, and Jersey City via P.R.R. Annex Ferry.
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.).
This volume has been published as a special issue of our journal-- at the extremely low price of 5c. a copy, in any quantity, postage included. (To foreign countries, 9c.) This enables people of slender purse to herald far and wide the good tidings in a most helpful form.
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.)
SERIES IV., "The Day of Vengeance," shows that the dissolution of the present order of things is in progress, and that all the panaceas offered are valueless to avert the predicted end. It marks in these events the fulfilment of prophecy, noting specially our Lord's great prophecy of `Matt. 24` and `Zech. 14:1-9`: 660 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.). India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
SERIES V., "The At-one-ment Between God and Man," treats an all-important subject--the hub, the center around which all the features of divine grace revolve. Its topic deserves the most careful and prayerful consideration on the part of all true Christians: 507 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
SERIES VI., "The New Creation," deals with the Creative Week (`Genesis 1` and `2`), and with the Church, God's "New Creation." It examines the personnel, organization, rites, ceremonies, obligations and hopes appertaining to those called and accepted as members of the Body under the Head: 740 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
The above prices include postage.
IN FULL LEATHER BINDING, gilt edges, the set (6 vols.) $3.00, (12s. 6d.), plus postage, 60c. (1s.).
Is also published in foreign languages as follows: German, six vols., in Swedish Vols. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6; in Dano-Norwegian, three vols.; in Greek, three vols.; in French, two vols.; Hollandish, Spanish, and Italian, one vol. each; bound in cloth, uniform with English edition, prices the same; in Polish, condensed edition, one vol., 10 cents.