ZWT - 1905 - R3479 thru R3687 / R3679 (369) - December 15, 1905
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VOL. XXVI. DECEMBER 15, 1905. No. 24
Tampa Convention and En Route.....................371
Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society's Annual
The Messenger of Jehovah..........................376
The Christ in the Flesh--the Elijah...........377
The Day of His Coming.........................378
"I the Lord Change Not".......................379
"Prove Me Now Herewith".......................380
Immanuel and His Dominion.........................380
Multiplication by Resurrection................381
How It will be Brought About..................382
Upon the Throne of David......................383
Public Ministries of the Truth....................370
LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS AND REMITTANCES
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, "BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
--OR TO-- BRITISH BRANCH--24 EVERSHOLT ST., LONDON, N.W. GERMAN BRANCH--MIRKER STR., 45, ELBERFELD. AUSTRALASIAN BRANCH--32 JOHNSTON ST., FITZROY, MELBOURNE.
PRICE, $1.00 (4S.) A YEAR IN ADVANCE, 5c (2-1/2d.) A COPY. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR AS FOLLOWS:--
Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER, will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
ENTERED AS SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POST OFFICE.
THIS JOURNAL IS PUBLISHED IN THE FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH, DANISH AND ITALIAN LANGUAGES. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
YOUNG'S AND STRONG'S CONCORDANCES.
There is a little "war" of prices at present, and so long as it lasts we can sell these valuable works at specially low prices, viz.: Young's, in cloth binding, at $4.00, plus postage, 55c. Strong's at $3.00, plus 65c postage. The latter is a wonderful bargain. We scarcely expect the prices to go lower.
THE PITTSBURGH DISPATCH.
Most of the subscriptions to the Pittsburgh Dispatch expired with November. Please note the date tag and let us know if you wish us to renew for you. We have a special clubbing arrangement by which we can supply this cosmopolitan newspaper for $3.00 per year, or just half price. This supersedes previous notices. The Dispatch proposes more space for Brother Russell's discourses every Monday hereafter.
APPLICATIONS FOR PILGRIM VISITS.
These visits are without charge. Those desiring them, however small the company are requested to answer as many as possible of the questions propounded in our issue of May 1 last. Pilgrims frequently pass right through places where, we afterwards learn, meetings would have been very much enjoyed. The service might have been rendered at practically no cost to the Society, and the friends were merely a little too timid about writing, thinking their request would have no attention because of the smallness of their numbers. Do not allow this to hinder you. Write at once, if you desire such meetings.
ALLEGHENY CHURCH MEETINGS.
Preaching and divine worship every Sunday afternoon in Bible House Chapel, No. 610 Arch St., at 3 p.m. At 7.30 p.m. Bible Study, preceded by Praise Service. The pastor, Brother Russell, is usually at home and the speaker on the first and third Sundays of each month, except as Convention Notices of next column may modify. On other dates brethren of ability will address the Church.
Cottage meetings for prayer and testimony on Wednesday evenings; and Dawn Circles for Bible study on Monday, Thursday and Friday evenings--various localities. These meetings are interesting, and spiritually profitable.
MEETINGS IN LONDON, ENGLAND.
Every Sunday at 3 p.m. a Bible Study, and at 6.30 p.m. preaching service, under the auspices of the Society, at 24 Eversholt St., N.W.
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TAMPA CONVENTION AND EN ROUTE.
WE had a most auspicious start: About twenty-five of the Allegheny friends surprised us by appearing at the station and, as our train departed, singing "God be with you till we meet again." Their zeal cheered us greatly.
En route to Richmond, Va., we accepted an invitation to speak at the funeral of a dear brother in the Truth at Lonaconing, Md., where the Methodist chapel was placed at our disposal. An audience of about 250 gave closest attention to our review of Death and its cause, and our hope of a resurrection of the dead by virtue of our Lord's great sacrifice, "the Just for the unjust"--"a ransom for all."
Richmond, Va., was reached on time, Washington brethren joining us en route. The One Day Convention was pronounced quite a success. It drew friends of the Truth to the number of about sixty for the afternoon session, and afforded us sweet privileges in public and private communion with these in things concerning the Kingdom and its ransom-founded hopes.
The evening session for the public had been well advertised by the dear friends, with the result that the large Masonic Temple was crowded, about 900 being present. Our discourse on "To Hell and Back" was listened to with deep attention, and we hope some day to learn of good impressions and some fruitage to our Master's praise.
Columbia, S.C., was our next stop. We had a prolonged visit and private talk of several hours with interested friends of Columbia and vicinity--mainly a question meeting; and in the evening a public session with about 225 present--excellent for the size of the city and the fact that it was on a week night.
Jacksonville, Florida, was our fourth stop. The "Christian Church" edifice was placed at our disposal and we had an enjoyable time with a good attendance for a week-day afternoon, about 200 being present. The evening session was informal and brief at the home of one of the brethren. A goodly number saw us to the depot--some of them likewise bound for
THE TAMPA CONVENTION.
At Tampa, Florida, the city officials secured for us free the principal auditorium of the city--The Casino. The dear friends had put forth every effort and the Convention was a great success--although, as we had anticipated the attendance of friends was much smaller than we usually have at our General Conventions. That district is but sparsely settled, and thus far has comparatively few of "this way." In the sessions of the three days Brothers Owens, Moffatt, Bundy and the Editor were the speakers.
Our largest meeting, the one publicly advertised, was held on Sunday afternoon when about 500 to 600 were present. Some good was done, we feel sure, especially to the household of faith--the lack of numbers being made up for by the zeal of those in attendance. The wind-up was a Love-Feast.
St. Petersburg, the health resort, lies just across the Tampa Bay, and although it was not on our list we yielded to the requests of friends from there and spent Monday with them--a conference of the interested, from the time of the boat's arrival until its departure--from 10.30 to 4.30, with a half-hour's intermission for a luncheon served in the G.A.R. Hall, in which our session was held. We pray that love and zeal and fruits of the Spirit in us all may result.
Atlanta, Ga., was our next appointment, but unfortunately our train was nearly two hours late at Jacksonville and missed connections there. We greatly regretted the misfortune, and trust that in some manner, as yet unknown to us, the disappointment of our dear friends at Atlanta may be overruled of the Lord to their profit.
Birmingham, Ala., was reached in due season. Friends met us at the depot and conducted us to a
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splendid dinner, after which we repaired to the place of meeting. About 300 were present, crowding the hall. We addressed them on the announced topic, "To Hell and Back." Excellent attention was given by the audience, which was a very intelligent one. The Lord alone knows the results. We trust that some now see the divine Word more clearly than before, and that in some hearts and minds the knowledge of the glory of God's character shines more brightly than previously.
The evening meeting was for the interested only and lasted until train time, almost all going with us to the train, where they joined in singing "God be with you till we meet again." Our visit to Birmingham will long be remembered with pleasure.
Nashville, Tenn., was reached the next morning. The Convention met in the principal hall of the city,
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Watkins' Hall. It was Thanksgiving Day, and that was the key-note of the opening session, which at first was a testimony meeting. Its closing hour was turned over to Bro. Russell, who rehearsed some of our special causes for thanksgiving.
The afternoon session was for the public and was well attended. The hall, seating nearly or quite 1000, was full, some standing, while some were unable to gain admittance. The friends surely labored hard for the gathering, and we know that they got part of their reward in seeing so many of their neighbors and friends present to hear the "good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people" in God's due time. The remainder of the reward waits for our Master's word--"Well done, good and faithful servants; enter into the joys of your Lord."
The evening meeting was for the interested only, the topic being, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear [reverence] him, and he will shew them his covenant." About a dozen of the dear friends accompanied us to the depot to exchange greetings, "Goodbye" and "God bless you."
Knoxville, Tenn., was our next stop. Our train arrived two hours later than schedule, but this did not prevent about a dozen dear brethren being at the depot to grasp our hand and bid us "Welcome to Knoxville!"
Soon we were at the Public Hall. About half an hour was spent as a testimony meeting; then we spoke for an hour or more on the freemasonry of the Bible, etc.
The afternoon session for the public drew an audience of about 300, some of whom expressed themselves as seeing more clearly than ever the goodness and justice of God--his severity in the weight of the curse and his mercy in providing through Jesus for its ultimate removal.
The evening meeting was held in the Park Street Christian Church: about 200 were present. Half an hour was devoted to the answering of questions, and then at 7.30 came the evening discourse on "The Oath-Bound Covenant." The service closed at nine o'clock, leaving time for us to reach our train bound for Allegheny. Ten brethren accompanied us to the depot, where we repeated our "goodbyes" and hopes for another meeting--soon or in the Kingdom. The attendance from suburban towns was good.
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WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY.
--DEC. 1, 1904, TO DEC. 1, 1905.--
STRICTLY speaking, according to the terms of our Society's charter, its membership consists only of those who have subscribed ten dollars or more at one time to its funds, each ten-dollar subscription representing one voting share. Such voting shares are regularly credited in the names of the donors. And the arrangements of "Good Hopes" for a year are such that those donations during the year amounting to ten dollars or more, though paid at different times, would be credited as though paid at once. In fact, therefore, our annual reports are for these regular members of the Society. However, we recognize all WATCH TOWER subscribers as being members of the Society in a general sense-- in the sense that they are interested in the work that is being carried on, and that they participate in it to the extent of the opportunities at their hand.
In the Lord's providences our talents vary, some having more, some less, of the money talent; others, who have comparatively little of this talent, possessing talents of time and opportunity for the circulation of the Truth. We are sure, therefore, that from the Lord's standpoint we may properly consider all who are truly his and walking in the light of Present Truth as being members of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY--associated and co-laboring financially and otherwise for the promulgation of the glorious message, with its light upon all the features of the divine plan--past, present and future. We are glad then to suppose that all of this class are deeply interested in every effort that is being put forth in the name of the Lord to serve his cause, and that all such at the closing of each year feel a deep interest in what our reports will show as respects the results of our cooperation.
These reports are not presented with a view to boast before the world or each other of what we are doing. The world really knows little about us and cares less, because, as the Master suggested, we are not of the world, even as he was not of the world. These annual reports are stimulating to ourselves, encouraging and helpful. Just so every business man likes to take an account of stock at the close of each year, and to ascertain just how much his business has increased or decreased, just what profits he has made or what losses he has sustained. He does not do this for the benefit of the public, but for his own satisfaction and for the guidance of his affairs during the new year.
YOUR INTEREST APPRECIATED
We make up our accounts to December first instead of January first, because it makes no real difference where the year begins and ends, and because this will give you all the desired information at the time that it will be most interesting and acceptable to you--at the customary time for all to make their good resolutions for the new year. Amongst the good resolutions and plans for every year we want to put first those which affect our own spiritual interests, and, secondly, those which have an influence upon the spiritual interests of others. And indeed these interests unite, because whoever would grow spiritually must not only feed but also exercise the strength and grace already received in the interests of others.
As the years roll by, and we realize that those engaged in the service have done practically all that they have been able to do, we incline to wonder if the succeeding year would show as good results. Yet each year, all the way back, seems to have shown constant increase of work in every direction. And from one standpoint this is certainly what we ought to expect; for even though the interested ones in previous years may have done all in their
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power to forward the cause, to serve the Truth, to glorify our Father and Savior, yet each either finds others freshly interested or becoming more deeply interested who should be and continually are seeking for opportunities whereby they also may serve the Truth. These rightly say to themselves, "It is the eleventh hour, and I must strive by all means to use my talents in whatever opportunities the Lord will permit me to find." These are coming nobly to the front in their departments of the service, and we frequently remark that some of the newly interested seem to grasp the Truth and to enter into its service with greater zeal than some who have possessed it for a longer time.
The explanation of this no doubt is in part that we are drawing nearer to the end of the harvest time, and that those whom the Lord is now admitting to a knowledge of Present Truth were already in training for it to some extent. Furthermore, they have a fresh blessing because of their recent reading of the DAWNS. In our experience some of the dear friends forget a great deal of what they have already read, and thus lose proportionately the zeal, the inspiration which they enjoyed at first, while the various features of Truth were more freshly in their memories. Our general advice to those who give evidence of becoming slack in their zeal, or weary in well doing, or faint by the way through manifold trials and discouragements, is that they read afresh the entire six volumes of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER SUBSCRIPTIONS
We estimate that the WATCH TOWER subscription list stands first as a barometer showing the general interests of the cause. Last year showed an increase of our list of about two thousand, our present list being about 22,000. We are glad that there is this increase, but it by no means satisfies us. We feel sure that if our list contained the names of all the interested ones the number would run up to 30,000 or more. We have done all we know how to do to secure the interest of the dear friends whom we have every reason to believe would be blessed by regular visits of the TOWER. Seemingly we must leave the matter in your hands. If you receive a benefit from the reading of the TOWER, you surely will feel interested in helping others to a share in the same blessings and comforts and assistances.
Of the 22,000 subscribers $12,128.00 were received last year. The other 10,000 represent some who advise us that they are of the Lord's poor, who cannot afford to pay for the paper; others who ask for it on credit, saying that they prefer to have it so rather than free, with the understanding that they will pay at some time in the future if ever their circumstances permit. Still others have said nothing about the matter, and as they are old-time subscribers we hold their names on our list for at least a year
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after the time paid for, fearing lest a discontinuance of the TOWER should result in an utter quenching of the evidently glimmering flame of their love and zeal for the cause. We could wish that they would at least write us yearly of their desire to have the paper continued.
The amount of money received on the WATCH TOWER account was sufficient to meet all of its expenses, and we are particularly satisfied with this, and reiterate here what we have previously said, namely, that we would like to have on our list the names of all interested in the harvest message, whether they are able to pay $1.00 a year for it or not. It is sent with the best of good will, not only to those who request it on credit, but also to those who ask for it free without hope of ever paying. We wish that every TOWER reader would consider himself a special agent for the paper, and assure all the interested of the facts here set forth, and urge upon them that they make request for the paper, either for the money or on credit or as the Lord's poor, that our list may be as nearly representative as possible of all who are in the Truth. These requests, remember, should be made yearly, and are necessary as a compliance with the United States postal laws.
DISTRIBUTION OF TRACTS
We place the tract distribution second amongst the evidences of the prosperity of the harvest work, not only because it represents a work that is being done amongst Christian people for the finding and garnering of the wheat of this Gospel age, but particularly because it represents the deep interest of those already enjoying the Truth, which leads to their activity in this branch of the service. We may be sure that those who contribute time and influence, as well as those who contribute money in the tract work, possess considerable of the evangel spirit--the missionary spirit--the spirit of love for God and for our fellows, who have not yet been blessed to the same degree as we in respect to the true light on the divine Word--the plan of the ages and the harvest work.
It means something that without fairs, suppers, or prizes, or the publication of names, money is sent us for this work. It means something, too, that voluntarily men and women, active in the affairs of life, set apart a portion of the week for tract distribution. That while endeavoring to be faithful in all the duties and obligations of the home and family, and while opposed by the spirit of the world in every sense of the word, these are willing to give up their time and influence to minister the Truth, in the hope of reaching the eyes and hearts of some who are the Lord's true followers--in the hope of communicating to them such a blessing as has already come to their own hearts by a clearer appreciation of the divine plan.
We are pleased that this year's reports show a marked increase in the number of tract pages circulated by you all. The figures are so large as to be beyond the comprehension of the majority of people--for this is so of all calculations running into millions. From the itemized statement you will see that the total distribution of tracts during the year amounted to 183,992,588 tract pages. Comparison shows that this is more than 56,000,000 in excess of last year's enormous output. It evidently means, either that a larger number of the dear friends have participated in this work, in which the Lord has seemed so greatly to bless the laborers, or else it means that those who have
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been laboring have been doing accomplishing greater work than hitherto.
We advise the dear friends in every quarter to engage in this "volunteer work" of distributing tracts systematically from house to house in every city in which there are lovers of the Present Truth. And we advise the extending of your efforts to adjacent cities and towns where there are none in the Present Truth to serve them. Our experience is that those who sacrifice something in this way to raise up the standard for the people, and let the light of Truth shine out to the glory of the Father, receive a great blessing in their own hearts, a strengthening and deepening of their own faith and love. There is no compensation except that which the Lord has promised. The Society merely provides the sample tracts free to all who will promise to faithfully circulate them, the only stipulation being that the person be a subscriber to ZION'S WATCH TOWER either for pay or on the free list. All WATCH TOWER subscribers are also subscribers to the Old Theology Quarterly, for the two club together for the price of $1.00 per year, and all subscribers are welcome to extra copies for use as samples in any quantity.
We are pleased to be able to inform you that for some reason we have had a much larger number of responses from the tract distribution than in any previous year. We are not certain how this should be accounted for. Possibly it is because the topics presented in the last distribution were more attractive, or possibly because the work of previous years has helped to awaken the minds of the people, and that now they are more ready to inquire for other reading matter. Or it may be the general trend of events in Christendom today--toward Higher Criticism, Infidelity, etc.-- is awakening larger numbers of the Lord's people to think for themselves, and to be ready and hungry for the spiritual food which through these tracts we endeavor to supply to them to excite their appetites for more. In any event you will rejoice with us that there have been much larger returns in inquiries for reading matter than have resulted from the tract distribution of any previous year.
THE VOLUMES OF DAWN CIRCULATED
All cannot be colporteurs, but amongst those who are continually becoming newly interested in the Present Truth a certain proportion are able and glad to engage in the colporteur service--in the circulating of the MILLENNIAL DAWN BIBLE STUDY series. And the increasing numbers of the colporteurs means an increasing number of books circulated. We should expect that the sales of DAWNS would be larger year by year, and this expectation has been fully verified, this year being no exception to the rule. The output last year exceeded all previous records, being over 254,000; but from the figures shown in the summary of this report you will see that we have exceeded last year's numbers considerably. We find that there is practically no limit to the number of books which we can publish, nor apparently any limit to the number that can be sold when the books are properly introduced to the public.
The question before us respecting next year's output is therefore narrowed down to the number of colporteurs willing to engage in the work and their efficiency in it. We do not recommend any to engage in it who have family obligations and responsibilities, but all who are of reasonably good address and who have only themselves to care for may certainly succeed in this work, and co-labor with the Lord in the gathering of the wheat of the present harvest as well as in the development of their own hearts and characters along spiritual lines. More depends upon the method of approaching people and presenting the works than is generally supposed. We have gotten out some new suggestions for colporteurs which are proving very helpful, not only to new beginners but also to many who have been long in the work. This is in line with the Master's suggestion that we should be "as wise as serpents and harmless as doves."
THE CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENT
This department alone seems to show unfavorably as compared with last year. Notwithstanding the larger number of letters from the disinterested our total receipts of letters were fewer than in 1904. This means that our friends have written to us less frequently. We trust that it does not signify coldness or loss of interest in the Truth and in the work. Indeed the foregoing reports all indicate that your interest in the Truth was never greater than now. We must, assume, therefore, that the fewer letters received imply either that you are becoming more settled, more established in the Truth, and have therefore less occasion for making inquiries respecting it, or that, seeing the general pressure of the work, you fear to encroach upon our time, or that you are learning better each year how to answer your own questions through the use of the DAWNS, TOWER references in the Wide Margin Bibles, and through the index at its back and the index in the back of each volume of the DAWN series.
Whatever be the cause for the decline in the number of letters received from you we are glad to bear testimony to the fact that the general tenor of the thousands of letters received indicates clearly, unmistakably, that a good work of grace is going on amongst the TOWER readers. The letters we received are not merely those indicating that curiosity in the Truth has been aroused or is growing or is being satisfied by the reading matter, but they indicate that the fruits and graces of the Spirit are being developed in your hearts, and that efforts are daily being put forth to these ends. Along this line are the majority of the requests that we remember them in prayer--not so much for temporal interests as for spiritual welfare and all the experiences and testings and developments which the wisdom and love of God sees necessary. We rejoice that this is so.
We can account more easily for the decreased number of the letters sent out: First, we were for a part of the year short of help in that department, and, second, we discontinued the sending of individual postal cards announcing the visits of the pilgrim brethren, and instead,
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during the past year and more, have been sending letters of advice to the elders of the churches or to those through whom the requests for pilgrim visits were made. Let us assure you afresh that we are always glad to have your letters, and glad to answer them as explicitly as possible. If sometimes the reply seems to be brief, merely references to DAWNS and TOWERS where you can find your questions answered at greater length, this is so not merely for the saving of time and our convenience but largely because it will be to your interest to find the full dissertations on the topic already in print, and also to your advantage to learn that nearly every question that may arise in your mind has an answer already provided, which may be found through the indexes in the back of the DAWN volumes and in the more general index in the back of the special Bibles published a few years ago.
In this connection we remark that we have abandoned the thought of getting out a new edition of the Wide Margin Bible with special references, and instead we hope to be able to announce sometime during the year a topical index with references to the Scriptures, DAWNS and TOWERS, and a Scriptural index showing where the various passages are treated or referred to in the DAWN volumes and in the WATCH TOWERS of the past ten years.
THE PILGRIM DEPARTMENT
The evidences multiply which prove that the Lord's guidance was with us in the establishment of the pilgrim department of the harvest work. The dear brethren engaged in this branch of the service are such as we believe have special fitness and qualifications for the work. Their visits to the little gatherings of the Lord's people in various parts are not only interesting and refreshing to both, but we believe very profitable. The meetings held by these pilgrims in no sense of the word interfere with the Bible studies and other meetings by which the little gatherings are locally progressing and developing, but coming not too frequently they are in the nature of special boons, special blessings, special refreshment and assistances to all. The dear friends often write us of how much they enjoy such visits, and of their desire that the stay of the pilgrim be increased, but as a rule we think it better that each little company of the Lord's people should learn how to help themselves, using the Bible studies, DAWN studies, etc., thus drawing out all the local talent possessed and using it generally.
They also tell us how much they appreciate the ministries of the pilgrims, and uniformly the testimony is that the last one is the best, the most helpful. The secret of the matter probably lies in the fact that month by month and year by year we are growing more and more in grace and knowledge of the Lord, and thus growing also in the ability to appreciate the Truth by whomsoever presented. It is the Truth that grows richer and better, and gradually we come to appreciate this fact, so that we can rejoice in and be refreshed by the water of life, whether it be sent to us by the Lord in a tin, earthen or silver vessel.
This pilgrim service is not in any sense of the word intended to be a bar or hindrance to individual efforts to serve the Truth on the part of any of the Lord's people anywhere who have a knowledge of the divine plan and are blessed with some talent in the clear presentation of it to others. We bid all such God speed, and wish them success in doing with their might what their hands find to do. We pray for them divine guidance. Since we cannot know particularly all of the dear friends in various quarters who are thus seeking to stir up their talents and to serve the Lord and his cause, it would not be appropriate for us to style them all pilgrims and to thus directly even give them the Society's endorsement. Whoever is announced as a preacher of the Truth by the Society must always be some one whose professions and character and doctrines are reasonably well known to us as thoroughly worthy of our recommendation. This does not imply that none others would be worthy, but does mean that the dear friends in various places where they meet with such will need to exercise a still greater degree of discrimination as respects their presentation of the divine plan. Not infrequently it is today as it was in olden times, when Aquila and Priscilla were able to instruct a public preacher, Apollos more particularly, in the way of the Lord.-- `Acts 18:25,26`.
For the foregoing reason, and because of the increasing numbers of the dear brethren in various parts who are seeking to use their talents and to serve the Lord in the giving of Chart lectures, etc., it is deemed best by the Society that henceforth none shall be announced as pilgrims under the Society's auspices except such as are giving their entire time to the pilgrim work, either as traveling pilgrims or in the office work at Allegheny, engaging in the pilgrim work on Sundays.
Pilgrim Work Summary
Total number "Pilgrims"........................... 25 " visits made................................. 1,639 " miles traveled in preaching tours........... 154,110 " public meetings held........................ 1,580 " parlor meetings held with the interested.... 3,159
NEWSPAPER HARVEST WORK
Three newspapers of considerable circulation have been publishing "Brother Russell's" sermons weekly during the past year, besides which the friends in convention cities have secured special insertions in their local dailies. These combined represent over 3,000,000 sermons sent broadcast; and under divine Providence some results are apparent: more we shall hope to learn of on the other side the vail.
We purpose a continuance of this and all the other departments of service as the Lord of the harvest may indicate to be his will by the opening or closing of the various doors of opportunity--financial and others. In our day the measure of opportunity for scattering the Truth is very nearly a question of the dollars at our disposal. We shall continue our course of making no appeals for money. The Lord can and will keep the throttle in his own hands and let on or diminish the financial steam as he wills, and as the interests of his "harvest work" demand. It is for him to stir the heart and loose purse strings and ours to
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serve faithfully as stewards in respect of whatever he entrusts to our care.
HARVESTING IN FOREIGN LANDS
This report includes practically all of the colporteur work and tract work in Great Britain and Australia, but it does not include the circulation of free tract matter in Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Italy. Some further statement of the work done in foreign countries may appear in a later issue.
While much encouraged with the work done on the continent of Europe, we are still inclined to believe that in the Lord's providence the vast majority of those who would be most susceptible to the influence of Present Truth have been gathered out of those parts to America, where they are receiving the message in many respects under more favorable conditions. Thus, for instance, although the work in Germany is comparatively slow and uphill, the numbers who are upon the WATCH TOWER list who are of German descent, as indicated by their names, would probably be one-third of the entire number. The same is apparently true of Ireland, where a comparatively small number are interested, while the representatives of this nationality on the TOWER list is very considerable.
SUMMARY OF THE YEAR'S OUTPUT
Total number of DAWNS sold at or below cost....... 254,083
(These were in various languages and all in cloth or leather bindings. DAWN I. in magazine form is included in the statement of TOWERS sent out.)
Booklets sold at cost............................. 28,606 Total number of tracts of various kinds sent out.. 5,324,000 Copies of English TOWERS sent out free,........... 318,492 These tracts and TOWERS represent (in the usual form of stating such matters) tract pages.......................183,992,588
These figures are far beyond the comprehension of the masses, but they signify an immense quantity. Under the Lord's blessing we trust seed has been planted which will bear much fruit to our Master's praise and to the profit of his true people.
The "Volunteer" work has been carefully done over a wide territory, and we are receiving more responses by mail than from any previous effort.
FINANCIAL SHOWING FOR 1905
The financial showing seems small when compared with the work accomplished. That the work we are doing is very economically managed even our bitterest enemies will admit. They are continually wondering "where all the money comes from." They know something about the large sums donated and legacies left to other tract societies, supported by Christendom's millions, yet know also that our tracts and publications are seen everywhere, while those of other societies are rarely met with. The Lord's blessing and guidance and your faithful cooperation are all we boast.
We are glad to be able to report that while the work as a whole has progressed, we have been enabled to reduce the deficit of last year by nearly one-half. We endeavored to cut the expenses more closely and to have a balance to the credit of the Fund, but always find it difficult to refrain from using the opportunities of serving the Truth which seem to offer. We hope to wipe out the deficit next year.
In this connection it is proper to remember that the dear friends during the past year have been putting forth more energy than ever before in connection with One-Day Conventions: the securing of choice auditoriums and the liberal advertising of these conventions means a considerable expenditure of time and money--of money which otherwise doubtless would appear in the Tract Fund receipts. This implies, therefore, that really the amount contributed to the propaganda of Present Truth during the past year was much in excess of donations of previous years.
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Deficit of 1904................................ $ 6,760.15
Pilgrim Expenses............................... 7,450.87
Publishing of matter circulated free--including
freights, postage, office expenses, etc....... 28,148.33
Foreign Mission expenditures................... 10,843.08
"Good Hopes"........................ $27,609.22
From Other Sources.................. 21,640.48
Deficit for 1905............................. $ 3,952.73
* * *
All things considered, dearly beloved colaborers in the spread of the "good tidings of great joy," we have great cause for rejoicing in the results of our united labors as reapers under the guidance of the great Chief Reaper. Ere long he will say, we trust to many of us, "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joys of your Lord. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things."
Let patient endurance work faithfully in us. A few more days or weeks or years and our trials and testings will be over and we shall see his face. Be sober, be vigilant, be zealous. The Lord and his mighty angels look on to see us finish our race with joy and to encourage and assist us, and to cause that all things shall work out for our preparation for the Kingdom.
"How light our trials then will seem,
How short our pilgrim way,
The life of earth a fitful dream,
Dispelled by dawning day."
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THE MESSENGER OF JEHOVAH.
--`MALACHI 3:1-12`.--DECEMBER 17.--
Golden Text:--"I will send my Messenger,
and he shall prepare the way before me."
MALACHI the prophet spoke for and represented Jehovah to the returned Israelites. His prophecy is supposed to have been written during the time of the absence of Nehemiah, the governor, at the court of the king of Persia. The interim of his absence is thought to have been one of religious declension, as the record shows a considerable stirring up and setting in order again after his return. Malachi's prophecy, therefore, may have served a double purpose--first to reprove and stimulate the people of that time, and secondly, and much more important, to give a general lesson applicable all the way down through the more than twenty centuries since. His prophecy is the last one of the canon of the Old Testament Scriptures, and closes with exhortations and promises respecting the coming of Messiah, for whom the Jewish people had at that time waited for more than fifteen centuries.
The Golden Text is the key to this lesson. The Messenger whom Jehovah would send is the Christ-- not alone the man Christ Jesus, who was pre-eminently the divine Messenger, but inclusively the whole Christ, the Church, the body, the under-associates, with Jesus
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the Head. As we have already pointed out, this Messenger appears in the two following capacities: First as the suffering one, the sacrificing one, and secondly as the anointed, glorified one, the King, the restorer. The work of suffering belongs to this Gospel age, the reign of glory belongs to the Millennial age. The suffering began with the consecration of our Lord and Master at the time of his baptism into death. The three and one-half years of his ministry were so much of his delivering himself into death or baptism into death, and that personal sacrifice was finished at Calvary. During this Gospel age, in harmony with the divine plan, our Redeemer has accepted a little flock from the world upon their renouncement of sin, their acceptance of him as their justification, and their consecration of their little all to his service, "to be dead with him that they might also live with him, to suffer with him that they might also reign with him."
Throughout this Gospel age this overcoming class, the Church, has been faithfully laying down, sacrificing, life and earthly prospects and interests because of their love for the Lord and for the principles of righteousness which he represents. Thus this entire Gospel age has been one of suffering. As stated by the Apostle, the prophets foretold the "sufferings of Christ and the glory which should follow." (`1 Pet. 1:11`.) The glory of this great Christ, Head and body, cannot be ushered in until all of its sufferings are at an end. Hence, as the Apostle urges, it is for us to appreciate the situation and understand our privilege to "suffer with him," or "to be dead with him," "to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ," to "present our bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, our reasonable service."--`2 Tim. 2:11,12`; `Col. 1:24`; `Rom. 12:1`.
THE CHRIST IN THE FLESH, THE ELIJAH.
As we have already pointed out,* Christ in the flesh, Head and body, is the antitypical Elijah, which does a work in the world preparing for and introductory to the reign of glory, of the same class, on the spirit plane as the Christ of glory, Head and body. The Messenger of Jehovah is the same, though under two different conditions: first in the flesh, in weakness, in ignominy, in sorrow and pain and dying, despised and rejected of men; second, in glory, crowned with all power in heaven and in earth, establishing righteousness and forcefully subduing and bringing into subjection to the divine will every creature and every thing, and triumphing so that finally, by the end of the Millennial age, this great Messenger--by the two parts of his service, first in suffering and second in glory--will accomplish all that the great Jehovah purposed respecting the race of mankind. By these two parts of his service this great and glorious Messenger will have prepared the way of Jehovah, will have made straight all the paths, all the arrangements, all the affairs for the establishment of the everlasting reign of the Kingdom of heaven.
This brings us down to the period mentioned by the Apostle respecting Christ: he must reign until he shall have put all things under his [Jehovah's] feet. Then the Son, the Christ, having put all things into subjection, will himself be subject to the Father, that the Father may be the all in all of the universe (`1 Cor. 15:28`), though the Father graciously and generously provides that his Messenger--whose loyalty will have been so thoroughly demonstrated both by the sufferings of the present time and the glories of the age to come--that this glorious anointed One shall forever be associated with him in the everlasting Kingdom, as it is written, "Let all the angels of God reverence him."-- `Heb. 1:6`.
"THE MASTER WHOM YE SEEK."
The word Lord in this second sentence is not in the Hebrew Jehovah, but signifies master, superior, teacher. Jehovah is represented as the speaker, who evidently refers to the Lord Jesus, assuring those who have the ear to hear and understand that the Messiah whom they seek shall suddenly come to his Temple. There is a difference between the significations of "quickly" and "suddenly." The Messiah did not quickly come to his Temple, for over two thousand years have elapsed since this prophecy was written, and the Temple itself ("which Temple ye are") is not yet complete, though the living stones for it have nearly all been chiseled and polished with the adversities of this Gospel age, and we are now living in the time when these living stones are being brought together on the other side of the veil. When the whole work shall have been completed, and the glory of the Lord shall fill the Temple, the prediction of this Scripture before us shall have its fulfilment. It will be a sudden matter in that the Jews, and others outside the Temple class, will be in such complete ignorance respecting the whole procedure that the results will be wholly unexpected, a time to them most sudden.
In a certain sense or degree, in a shadowy sense, Jesus at his first advent offered himself to the Jewish people--"he came to his own and his own received him not,"--and he said to them, "Your house is left unto you desolate." (`Matt. 23:38`.) That entrance into Jerusalem, riding on an ass, hailed by the people with palm branches as the King, the Messiah, the Son of David, and his entering into the Temple and scourging therefrom the money-changers and merchants, was indeed a sudden matter, wholly unexpected by the people of that time, and to a certain extent it fulfilled this prophecy, because that people on that occasion were typical of the great presentation of himself as the King, due now to be accomplished on a higher plane, on a plane of glory, Jesus the Head now presenting himself, not merely as the King of Israel, but as the King of the world --not merely as the man Christ Jesus, but as the glorified Christ with his glorified body, which is the Church.
THE OATH-BOUND COVENANT.
Our Lord Jesus was indeed the Messenger or Servant of the Covenant, the one through whom the Covenant would have its fulfilment. The Abrahamic Covenant, the Oath-Bound Covenant, is referred to. It is the hope of natural Israel and the hope of spiritual Israel, "which hope we have as an anchor to our souls, sure and steadfast, within the veil." (`Heb. 6:19`.)
The Messenger or Servant of that Covenant is the one through whom its provisions will be accomplished, namely, the seed of Abraham--"which seed is Christ." (`Gal. 3:16`.) Again, we see that this seed has its two developments, one in the flesh, in suffering ignominy, the other in the spirit, in power and great glory--the one to mediate the Covenant by offering the sacrifice of atonement, the other to execute the gracious provisions of that Covenant, made possible by the atoning sacrifice. The sufferings of Christ sealed or ratified this Covenant, and made it possible for him to be the Mediator of it, and to extend through that Covenant blessings to the
*See Millennial Dawn, Vol. II., Chap. viii.
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entire human family, who were under the curse and who are mentioned in the Covenant, "all the families of the earth."
Again we note that in the divine plan the "Church," the "saints," the "very elect," the "little flock," the "Bride," is associated by the Lord with both phases of this work, "in the sufferings of this present time and in the glories that shall follow." It requires the work of this entire Gospel age to seal the New Covenant. The New Covenant is to benefit and bless Israel after the flesh and all the families of the earth; its provisions are the forgiveness of sins, the renewing of a right heart in all those who desire to come into harmony with the Lord and a restitution to them of all that were lost through the original transgression and its curse. As a result of this operation of this New Covenant there shall be no more curse, and tears shall be wiped from off all faces, and there shall be no more sighing and no more dying and no more pain, for the former things shall have passed away.--`Rev. 21:4`.
JOINT-HEIRS WITH HIM.
The Church, the Bride of Christ, is made partaker reckonedly, by faith, of the benefits and blessings of that New Covenant; justification is reckoned as restitution, although not actually restored or perfected. The sins of the believer are covered and the consecrated ones are reckoned as new creatures, even though they still tabernacle in imperfect flesh. The acceptance of the Bride of Christ is not under the New Covenant but under the original Abrahamic Covenant, not to be part of those who will be blessed by the seed but to be associates and joint-heirs with Christ as members of the seed. This the Apostle distinctly points out, saying, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." (`Gal. 3:29`.) If we are heirs according to that Abrahamic promise it means that we are members of the seed class, and that our great mission is the blessing of all the families of the earth. A certain amount of this blessing comes to the families of the earth during the time of our sacrificing, namely, the reflected or refracted light of the glory of God enjoyed by us through his Spirit; but the great bulk of the blessing for Israel after the flesh, and for all the families of the earth, waits until the seed shall have been completed, until the change from a body of humiliation to a body of glory, until divested of the imperfections of the present and clothed upon with the glory, honor and immortality of the divine nature, to which we are heirs through our Lord Jesus.--`2 Pet. 1:4`.
"WHOM YE DELIGHT IN."
The Jews had exulted and delighted in the promise of the coming Messiah for centuries. They were delighting in this great promise and the hopes attached to it at the very time the Redeemer was in their midst and they knew him not and crucified him. They are still delighting in this promise of the Messiah--yea, the whole world has caught to a large extent the infection, and is hoping and waiting for "the Desire of all Nations" (`Haggai 2:7`) that then shall come, although they associate with the gracious hope and promise many misconceptions and gross error.
When Messiah's Kingdom shall be established, invisible to men--when its reign shall begin, after it shall have reached the point of putting down sin, after the great time of trouble shall have humbled mankind, after the reign of righteousness shall have been thoroughly established--it will prove to be the desire of all nations, the delight of all nations. The Lord knows just what the world wants, but the poor world at the present time is blind through sin, ignorance and superstition, misconceptions, etc., and must learn its lesson and thus be prepared for the blessing which the Lord is preparing for it.
"THE DAY OF HIS COMING."
"But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap, and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, and they shall offer unto the Lord offerings of righteousness."
Ah! there it is. The world is anxious for the blessing, but realizes not to what extent the inbred sin is incompatible with the reign of righteousness which it desires, and in which is the great blessing God has promised. Before the blessings come, the day of wrath, the "fire of God's jealousy," must pass upon the world. It is not to be a fire merely to destroy but specially to purify; it is not to be a literal fire but a symbolical fire, following which the Lord will turn to the people a pure language, a pure message, a clear declaration of the divine will and plan of salvation. (`Zeph. 3:8,9`.)
While this Messenger will serve the world as an instructor, as the antitype of Elijah, reproving sin and seeking to bring the world into harmony with God, and succeeding in finding only the Israelites indeed, there will come an end to this work when the little flock all have been found and when their purifying and chastisement will be over. The first work of the Messenger of the Covenant on the plane of glory will be a work of judgment--indeed the entire work of the Millennial age is to be a judging of the world in righteousness --punishing each sin promptly on its committal and rewarding every effort for righteousness promptly with blessings and favors. Under that reign of righteousness the whole world will have fullest opportunity for reconciliation with God, and those who will not accept the reconciliation will be utterly destroyed from amongst the people.--`Acts 3:23`.
"AS A REFINING FIRE."
The beginning of the judgment will be especially upon the sons of Levi. The Levites represented the household of faith, who have made a consecration of themselves to the Lord. A certain class of these Levites, termed in the Scriptures "more than conquerors," will constitute the Royal Priesthood, the body of Christ, while the remainder of it, called in the Scriptures "the great company, who wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb," will be dealt with first by the great Messenger of the Covenant, not with a view to their destruction or injury, but with a view to the destruction of the flesh, "that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (`1 Cor. 5:5`.)
We may even go further than this and understand that the living members of the Royal Priesthood will be subjected to fiery trials, as the Apostle points out. The fire of this day, he says, shall try each man's work of what sort it is, and shall prove which have built their faith with gold, silver and precious stones, and which have built with the wood, hay, stubble of profession and outward show and theories of men. (`1 Cor. 3:12`.) All of the gold class will be purified, the little flock; all of
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the silver class will be purified, the great company, to the intent that the offerings that they made to the Lord may be fully accepted of him, even as the Apostle exhorts us, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service." If it is our privilege to have some share in the fiery trials at the close of this age, and at the inauguration of the new dispensation, let us rejoice in whatever will bring us nearer to our Lord, in whatever will bring us closer into harmony with him and his service, purifying our hearts and arousing our faith and making us all that would be acceptable and pleasing in the sight of the Lord.
"AS IN THE DAYS OF OLD."
"Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old and in the former years." The fiery trials of the great time of trouble will thoroughly purge and purify all who are truly the Lord's people, all antitypical Israelites, and thenceforth they shall be fully in the Lord's favor and have his rich blessing, and only by wilful sins will they ever take themselves out of that blessed condition; but they may go on from grace to grace, from knowledge to knowledge, from opportunity to opportunity, from restitution to restitution, until at the end of the Millennial age they shall have attained to all the good things of the divine provision through this great Messenger of the Covenant.
In that time the Lord will come near in his judgments, they will be prompt, the people will learn distinctly and in a practical form what is pleasing and what is displeasing to the Lord; he will be a swift witness against every evil thing and rebuke it, and thus all shall be taught of the Lord, and the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth.
"I, THE LORD, CHANGE NOT."
The basis for all these hopes of Israel and others is in the fact that God is unchangeable; he has promised and he will not fail--yea, he has sworn to this Covenant and it is therefore an Oath-Bound Covenant, and as a result all the families of the earth shall be blessed. There can be no failure, no miscarriage of this plan, for God has pledged himself in word and in oath to its certainty. What a confidence this gives us! This was the Apostle's assurance as he thought of Israel after
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the flesh and how they were rejecting Jesus, and he wrote to us, "I would not, brethren, that ye be ignorant of this mystery, that blindness in part [temporarily] is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in [until the full number of the elect from the Gentiles shall have been completed, the divine predestination respecting the Church, the body of Christ]. Then all Israel shall be saved [recovered from the blindness into which they are now going--the blindness in which they have been for nearly nineteen centuries]." `Rom. 11:25`.
The Apostle quotes in proof of this the divine promise, assuring us that the gifts and callings of God are things that he will not repent of. (`Rom. 11:29`.) It is on this unchangeableness of the divine character that the Apostle predicates all of his hopes respecting the restoration of Israel to divine favor and blessing through the glorified Church, and in turn the blessing of all the families of the earth through natural Israel under the glorified Church. As the Apostle again says, Thus the fall of Israel becomes a channel for the enlightenment and blessing of the world.--`Rom. 11:12`.
A LOCAL APPLICATION.
Then follows a part of the prophecy which seemingly was applicable to fleshly Israel: the Lord reproves them, showing them that his course toward them as a people fully conformed to the engagements of their Covenant at Sinai. Had they remained faithful to him according to their agreement they might have had the great blessing even in Malachi's time. There is in this passage an exhortation for Israel to return to proper accord with the Lord, and to prove him that he would be as prompt and faithful in giving them blessings as he was prompt and faithful in giving them chastisements for their unfaithfulness. The Lord represents Israel as not being aware of their true condition, of not being aware of how they were failing to keep their Covenant. Their hearts had become so selfish, had been so stunted in development along all spiritual lines, that they apparently did not realize that they were merely praying to the Lord with their lips while their hearts were far from him. He points out to them that while keeping his ordinances in a certain outward and formalistic manner, they were not fulfilling the requirements of the Law as they should reasonably have understood them.
From the statement here made it would appear that, instead of coming to the Lord with the very best that they had as offerings to him and his cause, they were inclined to seek to perform the letter of the Law and to avoid its spirit; apparently they were ready to bring sacrifices and offerings, but the selfishness of their hearts and their lack of true appreciation of the Lord led them to proffer him the weak and the lame and the poor while they kept the better for their own use. The Lord urges upon them that they test him, prove him, and see whether or not he would grant them great blessings if they would but enter into the spirit of their consecration and offer unto the Lord the best of what they possessed.
A LESSON HERE FOR SPIRITUAL ISRAELITES.
Spiritual Israel, the Elijah class, the Lord's consecrated people still in the flesh and seeking to make their calling and election sure to the Kingdom glories, may gain a profitable lesson from these sharp criticisms of natural Israel. How is it with us? We as spiritual Israelites have vowed unto the Lord the first fruits, the very best, the very chiefest, the most valuable of all that we have and all that we are--of time, influence, talents, money, all. To what extent are we rendering unto the Lord our offerings and sacrifices in harmony with this our Covenant?
Is it not true respecting many spiritual Israelites that, instead of bringing the very best that they have to the Lord and to his service, they bring him merely the tail-ends, the imperfect things, offerings with which he is not well pleased. This is so in respect to all who use the best they have in self-gratification, in providing chiefly and best for their own natural conditions and appetites, honors, dignities, leaving for the Lord the remnants, the fag-ends of time, influence, reputation and money. Alas, we fear this is true of many Israelites to-day: they fail to grasp the thought that they have given their all to the Lord, and that what they have, therefore, is his, and that they are merely his stewards,
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pledged to him to use time, money, influence, all that he has committed to their care, as his and to his glory to the best of their knowledge and ability.
The argument which the Lord used to natural Israel was that, if they properly loved and respected him as their God, they would feel that they had nothing too good to offer to him and his service, and that it was a privilege on their part to be permitted to lay their little all at his feet, the very best that they had or could present. How much more true is this in respect to spiritual Israel, whose eyes of understanding have to some extent been opened, who are enabled to see the Lord from the new standpoint, to realize what great things he has done for us and what wonderful things he has proposed to give us if we show ourselves worthy of them by faithfulness to our Covenant obligations.
As our Lord pointed out to the Jews, he requires these things not because he is needy, for all the gold and silver and the cattle upon a thousand hills are his, but that he seeks in us evidences of our sincerity, our faithfulness in respect to our Covenant engagement when we pledged all that we possessed, houses, lands, father, mother, sisters, brothers, yea, life itself, to be all subjected to and laid at the feet of our Redeemer and Master, that we might at any cost, at any sacrifice, be permitted to render such service as he would accept, realizing the while that all that he would accept would be a reasonable service, and on our part it would be an offering far too small to be worthy of our King and our Creator.
"PROVE ME NOW HEREWITH."
The Lord's words to natural Israel should come to spiritual Israel with still greater force, "Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord." If any feel themselves poor, if any feel that spiritually they are lean, that they are not enjoying such fellowship with the Lord as they would desire, that they are unable to draw as closely to him as they would like, to all such the Lord says the fault is, You have neglected your covenant: here are my words, "Prove me," fulfil the terms of your Covenant, and see if I will not be faithful, and do for you exceedingly and abundantly more than you could have asked or thought.
It behooves us, dear friends, to look about us to note to what extent we have been faithful to our Covenant of sacrifice and to remember that it is not a sacrifice for a day or a year but, "even unto death." "Be ye faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." (`Rev. 2:10`.) A little while the trials will be over, but until that little while is past we are in the trial time, and it is proving us either worthy or unworthy of the glorious favors which we seek, the chief blessing, joint-heirship. If we appreciate it let us seek it in the Lord's way, let us see to what extent there are other things in our lives that we might render unto the Lord and which he will accept, not through the worthiness of the deeds or the sacrifices but through the merit of Christ. Let us see if the days and hours as they pass are spent in a consecrated manner; let us note to what extent moments and days are spent in some selfish manner, or wasted upon others beyond the reasonable requirements of duty as marked out in the divine Word. Let us see to what extent we perform our vows unto the Lord; let us take note of what of time or influence or money we are using in the divine service and what proportion this bears to the whole.
Of the Jews the Lord required a tenth, a "tithe." Of the spiritual Israelites he makes no positive requirements but leaves it for us, that by the degree of our sacrifices, according to our abilities, we may demonstrate the measure of our love. But who would say that one-tenth of time, influence and talent would be enough for the spiritual Israelite to render to the Lord for all his benefits? Surely all would agree that a fourth would be a very small measure indeed as compared with our true obligation. All should feel that the sacrifice is a whole burnt offering, a complete sacrifice of every item and element of our talents and powers and privileges; all should feel that he may keep for use upon himself and for use upon those dependent upon him only such measure as would seem to be necessary to decency and reasonable comfort and not for what might be termed luxury or waste. Those who accept the Lord's proposition heartily, and render to him their all to the extent of their ability, will find their leanness departing and their joy of heart increasing more and more.
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IMMANUEL AND HIS DOMINION.
--`ISAIAH 9:1-7`.--DECEMBER 24.--
Golden Text:--"Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins."--`Matt. 1:21`.
APPROPRIATELY the quarter's lessons culminate in a prophetic picture of "Israel's Hope," and the "Desire of all Nations," a picture of Messiah and his Millennial Kingdom. This lesson is especially appropriate also because of its date immediately preceding Christmas day, usually celebrated as the Memorial of Jesus' death. The story of Jesus' birth and whole life and death, and resurrection even,
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would be of comparatively slight importance if disconnected from the prophecies of his glorious Kingdom power and reign, under which all the families of the earth shall be blessed. It was in view of this grand consummation to be accomplished by the Kingdom that the angels sang at our Lord's birth of peace on earth and good will toward men, and proclaimed "good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people"-- "in due time."
We agree with Leeser's translation that the `first verse of the ninth chapter` should properly be the `last verse of chapter 8`--that the `second verse` of our lesson begins a new topic: with it, therefore, we begin our present subject.
"THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD IS JESUS."
"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." After the Hebrew idiom this statement pertaining to the future reads as though it related to something only in the past, just as in `verse 6` we read, "Unto us a child is born," whereas Jesus was not born at that time nor until several centuries later. The standpoint of the shining light is still future, the great light is not yet shining upon the people, they still dwell in the land of the shadow of death. The shadows of our demoralized, sinful, dying condition affect all of life's interests for
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the world of mankind. As the Apostle explains subsequently, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together, waiting." (`Rom. 8:22`.) The world is still waiting for this great Light, which the Scriptures promise shall in due time shine forth, "The Sun of righteousness with healing in its beams." (`Mal. 4:2`.) Our Lord refers to the same great event, still future, and assures us that when that Sun of righteousness shall shine forth it shall include not only himself but all of his faithful disciples, the ripened wheat of this Gospel age. He distinctly portrays this in the parable of the wheat and the tares, telling us that at the close of the age he would gather the wheat crop of this age into the garner--the heavenly state--and he adds, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear let him hear."--`Matt. 13:43`.
We are still in the time when darkness covers the earth [civilized society] and gross darkness the people [the heathen]. True, there is a measure of light in the world: True, also, that light emanated from our dear Redeemer, his words and his works, and still shines forth from all those who are truly his and whose hearts are illuminated by his promises and his spirit. But this is not the light of the world scattering all of earth's darkness and causing all to appreciate the glory of God. It is merely "the light that is in you," in believers; it is a light of faith, a light of hope, a light of love ignited in the hearts of the little flock, who shine as lighted candles in the world. Our Lord's light shone into a little corner of the world called Palestine, and from his lamp many followers have lighted their lamps. The Master's instruction is, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven," "Put not your light under a bushel but on a lampstand, that it may give light to all in the house." But he adds, "The darkness hateth the light because its deeds are evil and are made manifest thereby," "Marvel not if the world hate you; ye know that it hated me before it hated you." --`Matt. 5:15,16`; `John 3:20`.
That the True Light is not now shining, that the Sun of righteousness has not yet arisen with healing in his beams, is fully evidenced by the gross darkness of heathendom and by the lesser darkness of Christendom. In proportion as the true followers of Jesus have kept their lamps trimmed and burning, in that proportion a measure of enlightenment has spread throughout the world. But all this is merely the shining of light in the midst of darkness, and a light at the present time and under present conditions is wholly inadequate to dispel the night and to bring in the glorious day for which the whole creation groans and still waits. That glorious day cannot come until the Lord shall first have found the members of his body who together with himself are to constitute the Sun of righteousness. Meantime, as the Apostle declares, the god of this world blinds the minds of them that believe not, lest the glorious light of the goodness of God should shine into their hearts. --`2 Cor. 4:4`.
"A LANTERN TO MY FOOTSTEPS."
The prophet, speaking of the Church during this Gospel age appropriating the Word of God, the message of life eternal, the basis of our hopes and joys, declares, "Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, a lantern to my footsteps." (`Psa. 119:105`.) The need of this lamp is most evident. Those who have it not stumble on in the darkness: we who have the light of the divine Word are not in darkness even as others--"Ye are all the children of the light and of the day." (`1 Thess. 5:5`.) We belong to the new dispensation and our citizenship is in heaven. By faith we are dead to the world and live toward God, and are therefore counted as children of the light even in the present darkness; and the eyes of our understanding are enlightened by the hopes and gracious promises of the divine Word, while others rejecting this lamp are in corresponding darkness and ignorance.
The light, as the Apostle says, has shone into our hearts and that already through faith. If we look from the outward and natural standpoint of affairs, we would be as the remainder of the world. It is in proportion as we close our eyes to the things that are seen, and that we know by faith to be but temporary, and open the eyes of our understandings to the things unseen as yet and which are eternal, only in that proportion does the light by faith shine into our hearts. The glorious prospect is that soon the Church will be complete, soon the Sun of righteousness will shine and its rays will light to the uttermost parts of the earth, and that every child of Adam, sharer in his curse, shall ultimately be a sharer in Messiah's great work of blessing by being brought under the influence of that great Light which shall constitute the Millennial age a day of blessing and of glory and of knowledge of the Lord. "This is the True Light which [ultimately] lighteth every man that cometh into the world."--`John 1:9`.
The prophecy of this verse goes beyond the living of that time and assures us that the light will shine to those who are in the shadow of death--in the deadly shade, properly a title of hades--those who are in hades, in darkness. Upon every member of our race the light must shine, because Christ hath redeemed us once for all. As all of Adam's children were condemned before their birth, so all of them were redeemed, and the majority of them before their birth. They are as sure to get a blessing from Christ's redemptive work as they surely did share in the curse that came upon Father Adam.--`Rom. 5:12`.
MULTIPLICATION BY RESURRECTION.
"Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased their joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil." This, the revised version rendering, is evidently the correct one. Leeser's translation also agrees. The picture before us represents the world of mankind during the Millennial age, brought forth from the bondage of death, released from the Adamic curse, rejoicing as those who are dividing a spoil, sharing in something which is not theirs, something which has fallen to them. It will be just so: the blessings of the Millennial age will be distributed as divine bounty, the curse will be rolled away, the Sun of righteousness will shine for all with healing in his beams, bringing restitution to all, and none will escape the blessings except they wilfully refuse them and do despite to God's favor. The same is true now to those who receive God's mercy. It is a gift; they can do nothing for it; they are merely assured that they are forgiven. The difference is that now a very few have the eye to see and the ear to hear and the heart to appreciate God's mercy as it
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is told to us in the good tidings which can be understood only by the hearing of faith. By and by, after the selection of the elect class, the Church, sight and knowledge will largely take the place of faith. The world, then realizing the grace of God in Christ Jesus, forgiving their sins and providing them with life eternal if they will accept it, will generally rejoice to divide the great spoil, the great gift of God.
`Verse four` delineates the cause for the rejoicing: it will be because the great oppressor, Satan, will no longer have control; his yoke of sin, pain, sorrow and death, his rod and staff of affliction and slavery, will be broken and that forever, as the Lord explains, "That old serpent the devil, Satan, shall be bound for a thousand years that he shall deceive the nations no more until the thousand years be finished." (`Rev. 20:3`.) The victory over the great Adversary is not to be a slow and gradual one, not to be by missions or any power of ours, but the Lord himself shall interpose his power.
"AS IN THE DAY OF MIDIAN."
The day of Midian was the day of Gideon and his little band, when suddenly at the breaking of the pitchers and the blowing of the rams' horns the Lord overwhelmed the powerful hosts of the enemies of his people and granted them a great and miraculous deliverance. Gideon evidently prefigured our Lord Jesus, as Gideon's little band prefigured the little flock of Christ, the saints, the very elect. It was after the testing, the sifting, of this little company that the Lord granted the great deliverance. And thus it will be in the end of this age: as soon as the Gideon band, the Royal Priesthood under the captaincy of the glorified Christ, shall have given their message and let their feeble lights shine out, that the Lord will grant the great victory for truth and righteousness through a time of trouble which shall come upon the world but which will eventuate in a great blessing upon all people, the binding of Satan and the release of all the oppressed. We read of the grand consummation of the matter, the end of
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sin and trouble, in the figure of the `fifth verse`, which in the Leeser translation reads, "For all the weapons of the fighters in the battle's tumult and the garments rolled in blood shall be burned, become fuel for the fire." The interpretation of this is that all the weapons of Satan, all the accessories of sin and death, everything that pertained to this great conflict which for centuries has prevailed in the world between righteousness on the one hand and sin on the other, all these shall be utterly destroyed. The picture shows us the world cleansed of every evidence of opposition to the divine government and law of righteousness, and accords well with the statement, "All voices in heaven and earth and under the earth and in the sea heard I saying, Blessing and glory and honor and dominion and right and power unto him that sitteth on the throne and unto the Lamb." --`Rev. 5:13`.
HOW IT WILL BE BROUGHT ABOUT.
The word "for" with which the `sixth verse` opens signifies because: hence we read, "Because unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given." The because is an explanation of the process by which the foregoing gracious prophecy of blessing and release from the oppressor shall be accomplished. The Lord would draw the attention of all who had the hearing ear of faith to the fact that no such Kingdom of righteousness, no such enlightenment and blessing of the world could be possible until first Messiah should come. He would show also that Messiah would be born after the manner of mankind, and would nevertheless be the Son of the Living God. How beautiful, how simple is the entire statement from the standpoint of faith, yet how possible it is for the wisdom of this world to stumble over even such simple statements as these and to claim, as higher critics do, that this prophecy was wholly to the Jews of Isaiah's day and that the one of promise was King Hezekiah. Blessed are our eyes if they see and our ears if they hear the true meaning of this prophecy, and thus permit us to recognize in it the Messiah, the Sent of God, Immanuel, God with us, to be the great deliverer and to accomplish for us all the wonderful things which God has spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, confirming his promise made to Abraham, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
Continuing, the prophecy pictures the child grown to manhood and the government placed upon his shoulders--the responsibility falling upon him as a royal mantle from the heavenly Emperor, Jehovah. The prophecy steps over the earthly trials and sufferings of our Redeemer, the Head, and of the Church, his body, throughout this Gospel age; it ignores the names Beelzebub, prince of devils, man of sorrows, etc., and points us to the complete and glorified Messiah at his second advent, as viewed from the standpoint of Jehovah and from the standpoint from which ultimately the whole world shall recognize him, when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to him to the glory of the Father. "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God [or mighty Lord], Everlasting Father [or giver of everlasting life], the Prince of Peace."
HALLOWED BE THY NAME.
A name stands for or represents the character, disposition, or qualities or powers of an individual. Thus all these names, these titles given to our Lord, represent his majesty, dignity, power and glory of his work. Our Lord is already recognized by his true followers, who know him as the most wonderful Counsellor: no other counsel, no other teaching, is like his. The world in general has yet to learn this respecting him, but it will be generally known before the close of the Millennial age, for unto him every knee must bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God the Father. (`Phil. 2:10`.) If after they have confessed him the wonderful, wise Counsellor, Teacher, Guide, they then shall wilfully and deliberately ignore and reject his teaching and assistance and sin wilfully and intentionally, they must die the second death, "Be utterly destroyed from amongst the people. (`Acts 3:23`.) He is recognized now by his true followers as the Mighty Lord, the Mighty God-- not as the Father but as the Father's representative, voice, mouthpiece, the well-beloved Son whom he has clothed with glory, honor and immortality, and given all power in heaven and in earth necessary to the accomplishment of the great work entrusted to him, the fitness for which he demonstrated by his love and loyalty even unto death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus will be the Everlasting Father of the human race in the sense that Adam, their father, failed to give them life, and that our Lord Jesus redeemed Adam and
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all his possessions, and thus became the author of everlasting life to all who would obey him. This will include all of the human family, who will attain to everlasting life, except the Church class of this Gospel age, who are reckoned as specially adopted out of the world and begotten of the heavenly Father, as we read, "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten us." (`1 Pet. 1:3`.) These Spirit-begotten ones are separate and distinct, and are scripturally designated the New Creation, and are spoken of not as children of Christ but as brethren, in one figure, and as his Bride and joint-heirs in another. But to the world, Christ, the Head, and the Church, his body, will be the everlasting Father, the Father or Life-giver, through whom all who will may have everlasting life--life to all eternity by Jehovah's arrangement.
Another of his titles shall be the Prince of Peace. While his Kingdom will be introduced by the great time of trouble such as never was before, the trouble will not be of his producing. It will be the legitimate result of the wrong course of sin and selfishness fostered by the great oppressor, Satan. The Prince of Peace will put down, subdue, all enemies, all sin, all unrighteousness, all insubordination to the divine will. He will not fail nor be discouraged. Nothing shall hinder the accomplishment of this great mission entrusted to him by the Father. His love of peace shall not hinder him from dashing the nations to pieces as a potter's vessel, that righteousness may be established upon a firm and sure foundation.
"UPON THE THRONE OF DAVID."
The word David signifies beloved, and the kingdom entrusted to king David was God's Kingdom in a typical form, which was promised never to pass away. It was maintained by the Lord down to the time of Zedekiah, when we are told the crown and diadem of authority and power were removed to be overturned, overturned until he should come whose right it is. (`Ezek. 21:27`.) Our Lord in the flesh, as a descendant of David, was the legitimate heir to that crown of authority and dominion, that Kingdom of David which should have no end; but instead of establishing his Kingdom then, he declared, "My Kingdom is not of this world," not of this age, not of this present dispensation, and began the selection of the little flock who in the world to come or age to come will be his joint-heirs and associates in the Millennial Kingdom. This work of selecting the Church, the kings, rulers, princes, has since been in progress, and we have the assurance of the Lord's Word and character that it will reach a final and glorious consummation worthy of our God.
When Christ and the Church in glory shall reign over the earth, it will thus be the continuation or exaltation of the Kingdom of God which was begun in David and natural Israel. This greater David, this greater beloved one of the Father, full of grace and truth, will establish righteousness in the earth with judgment --with punishments for wrong-doing and rewards for right-doing. "The zeal of Jehovah of hosts shall perform this." Although the Millennial Kingdom will be under the direct supervision of our glorious Lord and his associated Church, yet behind will be the Father's power, communicated, delegated, granted. As the Apostle assures us, when it is said that all things will be put under subjection to Christ, it is manifest that Jehovah is excepted, for he it is that puts all things under him. Then shall the Son also be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God [the Father] may be all in all.--`1 Cor. 15:27,28`.
Immanuel's government, from the time of its beginning to the time it will be transferred to the Father, will be one continuous success; there will be no breaks or vicissitudes. "Of the increase of his government there will be no end." The discipline and order which he will establish will be on such a firm basis that day by day will see it more secure, until finally the consummation having been reached, the testings all being complete, the wilfully incorrigible having been destroyed, the dominion without ending will be passed to the Father. It was the Father's Kingdom from the time of David; it will be the Father's Kingdom under the control of Messiah during the period of subjugation and restitution, the Millennial age; and it will be the Father's Kingdom without end after it shall have been "delivered up to God, even the Father," and the assurance given is that the work of reconstruction will be so thoroughly carried out that never again will sin bring a curse upon the earth.
CALL HIS NAME JESUS.
Our Golden Text sums up the entire work of our Lord Jesus and indicates that it is all implied in the meaning of the name Jesus, Savior. We sometimes refer to our Lord as the Savior of sinners, and properly so, because we are all sinners through our share in the Adamic fall. We sometimes speak of him as the Savior of the world, and properly so, because the whole world was lost through Adam's disobedience, and the whole world was redeemed and is to have the glorious opportunity of reconciliation to the Father through their Redeemer. But it is also appropriate that we note the statement of this text, "He shall save his people from their sins." This statement, that only the Lord's people are to be saved from their sins, is in full agreement with the other statements that he is the Savior of sinners and the Savior of the world, because although his salvation must extend to and embrace every member of Adam's race, yet only those who when they know of the great salvation and of the opportunities accorded them accept the same and become his people--only they shall get the full salvation and be delivered completely from death, and attain to the life everlasting, which is the gift of God to all those who obey him, and to no others.
Let us each, while rejoicing in the glorious prospects of the world in the Millennial Kingdom time, and while hoping for a share in the Kingdom itself as our Master's joint-heirs, remember that we are still in the flesh and must still fight a good fight, war a good warfare against sin in its every form and particularly against its reign in our own flesh. We will never conquer completely every weakness and every imperfection of the flesh, and hence our hope for which we wait is our change to the new bodies which shall be ours as inheritors of the Lord's resurrection blessing. But meantime, in order to be accepted of the Father, in order to be acceptable with our Master and Lord and Redeemer, our hearts at least must show full loyalty to the principles of his righteousness and corresponding opposition to sin in its every form.