ZWT - 1901 - R2748 thru R2928 / R2830 (193) - June 15, 1901
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VOL. XXII. JUNE 15, 1901. No. 12.
Views From the Watch Tower........................195
Presbyterian Creed Revision...................195
Religious Federation and Trusts...............196
What Leading Jews Say About
In the Paradise of God............................198
The New Jerusalem and Glorified
God the Creator of all Things.....................203
What Self-Styled Bible Evolutionists
Public Ministries of the Truth....................208
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ABOUT TEACHERS' BIBLES.
We no longer have Bagster Bible No. 8706. We commend instead the Holman edition, which contains not only excellent Bible Study helps, but also eighty (80) photo-engravings, illustrating Palestine and the Orient in a most truthful manner-- enabling accurate conceptions. These pictures are well worth one dollar. The type is Bourgeois of good size. Price in French seal, divinity circuit, $1.35; in Persian morocco, silk sewed, $2.35. Postage 25 cents extra.
However, before deciding about this, or any other Bible, see our remarks respecting wide-margin Bibles, under the head of "Bible Markings Commended," last issue.
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PRESBYTERIAN CREED REVISION.
THE General Assembly of the Church of the Presbyterians, whose names are written on earth, (compare `Heb. 12:23`), has again been forced to discuss its creed in response to the general clamor of its people, who want to be told whether or not they still believe it; or whether or not they may do just a little thinking for themselves.
When the Assembly convened in Philadelphia, Pa., its committee reported:--a majority favoring some sort of an amendment or revision, and a minority favoring no revision, no change. The Assembly sided with the majority, and the discussion pro and con showed considerable warmth at times.
Rev. D. S. Kennedy was the bravest of the brave in defending the creed which has so nauseated the tender-hearted, and so severely tried their faith's unreason. He repudiated the statement that "ministers of the gospel and elders in the church do not believe the oath of ordination they have taken." He challenged any man on the floor to dispute his statement! And, strange (?) to say, not one of the Assembly was willing to sacrifice himself by admitting himself to be a violator of his conscience and of his oath of consecration; --by admitting that he neither believed the Westminster Confession, nor taught it.
Judge J. K. Ewing took the same stand against all revision, saying:--
"I protest against changing the Confession for the sake of popularity; for as the church goes up in popularity, it usually goes down in spirituality. When the church flirts with this idea it falls into a ditch. You will never convert the world by popularizing the doctrine of the church. The Confession in its present form is popular enough for me."
But the majority, without, perhaps, being more conscientious, were less brave. If their consciences could have a little relief they wanted it. It was at this time, after several days of discussion, that Rev. Moffat, D.D., brought order out of confusion, and a rainbow in the Assembly's clouds by some skilful word-strategy. He is reported to have said:--
"What is this whole matter about? Is it revision? There is no revision before this Assembly. I don't know what I am, a revisionist, or an anti-revisionist, for revision is not before us at all. This majority report only asks for more time and authority. Probably revision will be before us next year; if it is, then the speech Dr. Kennedy made this morning will be right in place. How do these men know that a new creed will be the outcome of the adoption of the majority report? I admire their imagination, but I do not admire their exegetical ability.
"I will guarantee that if there is any heresy in the report they bring in next year, the Assembly of 1902 will burn the whole document. This new creed proposed is to sustain the same relation to the Confession of Faith that the Shorter Catechism sustains to the Larger Catechism. The Westminster divines maintained that the Shorter Catechism was better suited to the wants of the common people than the larger one, then why be afraid to go on with this subject? The whole thing is under proper ecclesiastical supervision. The presbyteries asked for it. The last Assembly discussed it and appointed the committee and they have done their work well. I am sorry to see men belittle this work. One hundred and fifty presbyteries asked for some change. What would be your attitude if that number asked for the dismissal of the whole subject?
"I claim it is not wise for this Assembly to disregard the voice of the church in this matter, and we should hesitate long before we say to them, Be still. Preachers who come to the General Assembly ought to practice what they preach. I have sympathy with the common people, and they are demanding some changes. Theologians can get along with the creed as it is; but the common people cannot, and I only
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want our belief stated so they can understand it, and when it is thus stated, and not till then, will all denominations say: 'Why, they believe just what we do!'
"The saddest declaration I have ever heard was: 'We simply cannot tell the world what we believe.' This is not true. Adopt the majority report and we will then get a statement of what we believe, and all the world will believe it.'
"Tremendous applause followed the address."
The dis-ease affecting Presbyterianism, the Assembly would have us think a very peculiar one. They wish their Christian neighbors and friends to think that the Westminster Confession of Faith, framed shortly after emergence from the superstitions of the "dark ages," is an infallible statement of the truth, and therefore unalterable, unchangeable. Neither their own nor other hands must shatter their idol. Neither will they admit that it has an ugly and a repulsive look, and if not broken up and burned should at least be veiled from public view. The resolution which now comforts and rejoices the Assembly and the large and intelligent, but blindly stubborn body of Presbyterians, is that their idol shall not be harmed, nor covered nor veiled;--it will be merely set back in the rear, so as not to be so conspicuous to outsiders and new beginners, and it will be represented at the front door by a more lovable-looking, a more angelic idol.
In other words, Doctor Moffat tells the world and the mass of Presbyterians and the vast majority of the Assembly, that the Westminster Confession is so "deep" that few but himself can really understand and interpret it. He assures them that what appears to them to be black is really the purest of white, and that men of sufficient ability to demonstrate this to the Christian world, have been put upon the committee which is to report such a modernized explanation of the Westminster Confession. No wonder there was applause at such a suggestion;--that the idol need not be destroyed nor even maimed. Moreover, it was not merely the idol that they cared for, but more especially themselves, the priests of that idol; for whatever would discredit it, would discredit them. If it were proven faulty, fallible, the same would be true of them; for had they not sworn themselves and each other to the reliability of this idol? And if they now were to admit error, falsehood, misrepresentation of the divine character and Word and plan, who would receive their testimony as infallible hereafter? Would there not be great danger that some of the best of the "sheep" would cease to follow traditions of men and seek instead the voice of the Good Shepherd Jesus and his leading into the green pastures and by the still waters of his Word?
Later Dr. Moffat put his thought into the following words which were adopted as a part of the Assembly's instructions to its committee, which has a year in which to fix up the substitute idol and see how lovely it can be made, and yet bear some faint traces of family likeness to its still to live parent, the Westminster Confession, to which it will bear the relationship of representative, but not of substitute. The resolution follows:--
"We recommend that this committee be instructed to prepare and submit to the next General Assembly for such disposition as may be judged to be wise, a brief statement of the reformed faith, in untechnical terms, the said statement to be prepared with a view to its being employed to give information and a better understanding of our doctrinal beliefs, and not with a view to its becoming a substitute or an alternative of our Confession of Faith."
FAMISHING FOR THE BREAD OF LIFE.
Some who are awaking are crying out for bread --the bread of truth, instead of the stones of error offered by the various creeds. The Rev. T. Chalmers voiced the sentiments of an increasing number, when, not long since, he said:--
"We cannot resist the inevitable. The creed of Calvinism is like a coat which is becoming too small for the rapid growth of human thought. With every movement of the arms it will be sure to rip somewhere, unless we refrain from all vigorous exercise. We do not want any coat which binds us so tightly that we cannot act with freedom. It is folly to attempt to keep pace with the ripping of the coat by a little sewing here and there. It is too small, and no amount of sewing and patching will help it any. It may have a good deal of good material which may be kept and still used, but the system of Calvinism, as a system, has done its service for humanity. We don't want systems any more. We want liberty and truth and love and righteousness. We want more of Christ and less of creed. We want still to grow--to grow until we come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto the perfect man, unto the fulness of the measure of the stature of Christ."
RELIGIOUS FEDERATIONS AND TRUSTS.
Long ago we pointed out that combination would be the order of the churches and the world for the new century;--that these will be the great giants of the end of this age, and make necessary the symbolic fire which will destroy present systems, corresponding to the giants, whose wisdom and super-ability and tyranny preceded the literal destruction of the first order of things (kosmos) by a flood of literal waters. The financial giants of Christendom are growing rapidly --beyond the wildest dream of the world's financiers --in every part of Christendom. It must be near the time for the religious combines to begin. Indeed, the leaders in finance are closely related to, and in many instances the real manipulators of, the nominal
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church machinery. Money moves Christendom to a degree that the masses are not aware of. And who can doubt that the spirit of federation, or "confederacy" as the Scriptures designate it, is growing in all directions; and that financial successes will encourage religious combines. It is not long since the Disciple denomination passed the following resolution:--
"The national congress of the Disciples of Christ, lately held at Lexington, appointed a committee of seven to take charge of a movement in behalf of an international confederation of religious denominations. According to this scheme, the different religious bodies are to retain their own creeds, but will be auxiliary to an international congress and will affiliate with all other churches on a common platform. The ultimate aim is to create one international church. This movement is the first of its kind in America, and is in line with the widespread tendency to church federation and church unity, and with the rapidly growing spirit of internationalism in literature, social reform, and art."
Now the Literary Digest has the following to say under the caption:--
WILL BRITISH CONGREGATIONALISTS AND BAPTISTS
"The movement toward church union and federation, evident of late in nearly every part of Christendom, has been particularly noticeable in Great Britain during the past year. Closely following the organic union of the Free and United Presbyterian churches of Scotland and the proposed union of all evangelical bodies in that kingdom, has come the first joint assembly of the Congregational and Baptist churches of England. Both these bodies are strongly Congregational in church polity and Calvinistic in theology; and there seems to be every reason to believe that their corporate union is only a question of a comparatively short time. Indeed, Mr. Alfred Dawson, English editor of The Congregationalist, speaks of that union as a consummation 'sure to take place.' The rapprochement which has been going on for a long period, this year culminated in two joint sessions of these bodies, which Mr. Dawson pronounces 'the most wonderful series of religious gatherings' he has ever attended. He writes (The Congregationalist, May 11):
"'There were two joint assemblies: on Tuesday, April 23, when Dr. Parker presided and Dr. McLaren delivered his address as president of the Baptist Union; and on the following Thursday, when the positions were reversed, Dr. McLaren presiding and Dr. Parker delivering his address as chairman of the Congregational Union. The experiment was in every way a success; perfect harmony and the warmest fraternal feeling prevailed throughout, and not one single jar-note was struck....
"'Reverting to the paramount question of Baptist and Congregational union, the committee of the latter body frankly remarked in their annual report: "Neither of the joint assemblies can meet without the idea occurring to many minds that a permanent union of Baptists and Congregationalists should not be an impossible dream." Certainly many of the leaders and rank and file on both sides do not so regard it.'"
WHAT LEADING JEWS SAY ABOUT JESUS.
The views of Jewish notables respecting Jesus have been secured, and here we give extracts from some of them:
Dr. Isadore Singer, editor of the Jewish Encyclopaedia, says:
"I regard Jesus of Nazareth as a Jew of the Jews, one whom all Jewish people are learning to love. His teaching has been an immense service to the world in bringing Israel's God to the knowledge of hundreds of millions of mankind.
"The great change in Jewish thought concerning Jesus of Nazareth I can not better illustrate than by this fact: When I was a boy, had my father, who was a very pious man, heard the name of Jesus uttered from the pulpit of our synagog, he and every other man in the congregation would have left the building, and the rabbi would have been dismissed at once. Now, it is not strange, in many synagogs, to hear sermons preached eulogistic of this Jesus, and nobody thinks of protesting--in fact, we are all glad to claim Jesus as one of our people."
Dr. Max Nordau, wrote,--
"Jesus is soul of our soul, as he is flesh of our flesh. Who, then, could think of excluding him from the people of Israel? St. Peter will remain the only Jew who said of the son of David, 'I know not the man.' If the Jews up to the present time have not publicly rendered homage to the sublime moral beauty of the figure of Jesus, it is because their tormentors have always persecuted, tortured, assassinated them in his name. The Jews have drawn their conclusions from the disciples as to the Master, which was a wrong, a wrong pardonable in the eternal victims of the implacable, cruel hatred of those who call themselves Christians. Every time that a Jew mounted to the sources and contemplated Christ alone, without his pretended faithful, he cried, with tenderness and admiration: 'Putting aside the Messianic mission, this man is ours. He honors our race and we claim him as we claim the Gospels--flowers of Jewish literature, and only Jewish.'"
Prof. Emil G. Hirsch, of Chicago University:
"The Jews of every shade of religious belief do not regard Jesus in the light of Paul's theology. But the gospel Jesus, the Jesus who teaches so superbly the principles of Jewish ethics, is revered by all the liberal expounders of Judaism. His words are studied; the New Testament forms a part of Jewish literature. Among the great preceptors that have worded the truths of which Judaism is the historical guardian, none, in our estimation and esteem, takes precedence of the rabbi of Nazareth. To impute to us suspicious sentiments concerning him does us gross injustice. We know him to be among our greatest and purest."
Dr. Kaufman Kohler, a rabbi of New York City, says:
"He was a bold religious and social reformer, eager to regenerate Judaism. True, a large number of sayings were attributed to the dead master by his disciples which had been current in the schools. Still,
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the charm of true originality is felt in these utterances of his when the great realities of life, when the idea of Sabbath, the principle of purity, the value of a human soul, of woman, even of the abject sinner, are touched upon. None can read these parables and verdicts of the Nazarene and not be thrilled with the joy of a truth unspelled before. There is wonderful music in the voice which stays an angry crowd, saying, 'Let him that is without sin cast the first stone!'-- that speaks the words, 'Be like children, and you are not far from the kingdom of God!'
"The Jew of today beholds in Jesus an inspiring ideal of matchless beauty. While he lacks the element of stern justice expressed so forcibly in the law and in the Old Testament characters, the firmness of self-assertion so necessary to the full development of manhood, all those social qualities which build up the home and society, industry and worldly progress, he is the unique exponent of the principle of redeeming love. His name as helper of the poor, as sympathizing friend of the fallen, as brother of every fellow sufferer, as lover of man and redeemer of woman, has become the inspiration, the symbol, and the watchword for the world's greatest achievements in the field of benevolence. While continuing the work of the synagog, the Christian Church, with the larger means at her disposal created those institutions of charity and redeeming love that accomplished wondrous things. The very sign of the cross has lent a new meaning, a holier pathos to suffering, sickness and sin, so as to offer new practical solutions for the great problems of evil which fill the human heart with new joys of self-sacrificing love.
"All this modern Judaism gladly acknowledges, reclaiming Jesus as one of its greatest sons. But it denies that one single man, or one church, however broad, holds the key to many-sided truth. It waits for the time when all life's deepest mysteries will have been spelled and to the ideals of sage and saint that of the seeker of all that is good, beautiful and true, will have been joined; when Jew and Gentile, synagog and church, will merge into the church universal, into the great city of humanity whose name is 'God is there.'"
"THEY SHALL LOOK UPON ME WHOM THEY HAVE
PIERCED AND THEY SHALL MOURN FOR
Quite evidently the way is preparing for the fulfilment of this Scripture in the near future. If a few of the Jewish "common people" are already "looking unto Jesus," despite the opposition of their leaders and the violent persecution, and generally disinheritance, sure to follow the acknowledgement of him, what may we not expect soon--when the changed sentiments of their leaders begin to be widely understood.
Let us not forget, however, that every such evidence of the return of divine favor to fleshly Israel-- every evidence that their blindness begins to pass away--is an equally sure evidence and proof that the Gospel age is closing, and that its mission (the selection of spiritual Israel) is nearly accomplished, that the time in which we may make our calling and election sure is gradually closing.--`Rom. 11:25`.
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IN THE PARADISE OF GOD.
--`REV. 21:1-7,22-27`.--JUNE 23.--
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be my son."
PARADISE, the garden of God, was applicable as a name to the Garden of Eden, in which our first parents resided while they were still in harmony with God, before their disobedience; and the same term is Scripturally applied as a name to the new earth when restitution blessings shall, during our Lord's second presence (the Millennium), be brought to perfection as the fit abode of those who, under divine favor, shall then prove worthy of life everlasting. It was to this paradise that the Apostle Paul was in vision "caught away" when given a glimpse of various features of the divine plan, not then due to be understood by the Church in general --"things not lawful to be uttered." (`2 Cor. 12:4`.) John the Revelator was similarly caught away in vision, and shown some of these wonders of the Paradise epoch; but only in symbols, which he was permitted to report, and which have been comparatively misapprehended until now, in the Lord's due time, the holy spirit is guiding his people into the truth on this subject, as well as others, because it is now nigh at hand, and "meat in due season" for the "household."
Our Lord refers to this paradise in language which identifies it with the first paradise of Eden, saying, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God." (`Rev. 2:7`.) It will be remembered that all the trees in Eden were trees of life, but that the one in the midst of the garden was then a forbidden tree, the disobedient eating of which brought death on Adam and his race. That tree in the midst of paradise was called the tree of knowledge, and our Lord's promise is that the overcomers of this present age shall have full liberty to partake of that tree of knowledge, and under most blessed and satisfactory conditions, when the knowledge will be of benefit to them under divine approval, and not bring a curse. It is this same paradise of the future on this earth that our Lord referred to when addressing the penitent thief, he said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee this day, Thou shalt be with me in paradise."
This Paradise, we recall, is elsewhere referred to
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by the Apostles as "the third heaven"--"a new heavens and a new earth." (`2 Cor. 12:2`; `2 Pet. 3:13`.) They are not referring to new worlds, nor to heavens ranged one above another, as many have supposed, but, as already shown,* what is termed the first heavens and earth or order of things, passed away at the flood; and that the heavens and earth "which are now," the present order of things, are reserved of God to pass away with a great fire of trouble, revolution, etc., which shall utterly destroy them--the present spiritual powers and the present earthly or social arrangements. "Nevertheless, we according to his promise look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." This will be the third heavens, and third earth, or the new heavens, and new earth, which will differ from the present condition of things in that it will be righteous, whereas the present is unrighteous, imperfect. The "new heavens" will consist of the new spiritual ruling powers of the future, Christ and the glorified Church, as the present heavens consist of the nominal religious systems, which, claiming Christ for their Head, in a very large degree bow to Antichrist, the god of this world, the prince of this world, "who now worketh in [through] the children of disobedience," and who is captivating and blinding the whole world with the exception of the few, the eyes of whose understanding have been opened, who are under special blessing and leading, and are taught of God,--the "little flock," "heirs of the Kingdom."--`Eph. 2:2`; `2 Cor. 4:4`.
It is to this new heavens and new earth condition, this paradise, that our lesson introduces us. As the "new heavens" does not mean a new place of God's throne, and a new throne of God, but new conditions, and signify the spiritual power and control of Christ and his Church in glory, so the "new earth" does not mean another planet, but a new social order on this planet. The declaration is that the former heavens and former earth (which are now) will then have passed away and be no more. All present institutions are to utterly perish in the great time of trouble with which this age is very shortly to end. "And there shall be no more sea." As we have already seen, the sea is a symbol for the masses of people in a restless and unstable anarchistic condition, just as the land represents the social order, and as the mountains represent the kingdoms of the present time. As there is no reference to the physical earth and physical heavens being destroyed, so there is no reference to the physical sea being obliterated. The symbol signifies that under the new arrangement, under the control of the new heavens or spiritual powers, the reconstructed social order will be so satisfactory, so complete, so thorough, that there will be no more sea-class, no more restless people, no more dissatisfaction, no more anarchists; everything will be reduced to law and order; and law and order will under the new regime secure justice to every creature, obliterating the differences of wealth and power as they now exist.
THE NEW JERUSALEM.
In the symbolism of Scripture a city represents a government; as for instance, symbolic Babylon is denominated "that great city [government] which ruleth over the kings of the earth." The New Jerusalem, as a symbol, represents the new spiritual government of the Millennial age. It is not earth-born, it is not reared by men, but, as here pictured, it descends from God out of heaven--it is spiritual in every sense of the word--of God and not of men. It is for this kingdom, this government, that our Lord taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come--thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." The declaration that the city is adorned as a bride for her husband implies its grandeur and beauty and perfection, as a bride's adornment on such an occasion is particular and elaborate to the last degree. But additionally to this it reminds us that in the government of the future, the judges of the world are the saints, now being selected through faithfulness in trial and tribulation, and that these are frequently called the Bride, the Lamb's wife and joint-heir in the Kingdom. The Revelator elsewhere strikingly bring this thought to our attention: the angel calls to him, "Come hither, and I will show thee the Bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God."--`Verses 9-11`.
We are not to think of this holy city as being composed of literal stones, coming down through the air; we are to remember, on the contrary, that the saints of this present time are "living stones," as the Apostle Peter explains. (`1 Pet. 2:4-7`.) This glorious city will not be visible to the natural eye--neither Christ nor the saints in glory can be seen of men; only those "changed" from human to spiritual nature see these matters in the full; but the whole world will be quickly made aware of the fact that a new government has been instituted,--a government of righteousness, and with all power, and that thereafter whosoever doeth righteousness shall be blessed, and whosoever doeth evil shall be punished.
THE GLORIFIED TEMPLE.
The `third verse` of our lesson associates this city with the other figure of a symbolic Temple, which the
*MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. I., pp. 66-70,318.
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Lord is now preparing, of which the saints will constitute the "living stones" and "pillars;" for it is declared that the tabernacle (dwelling) of God shall be with men in this city (government or kingdom). God will dwell in this glorious city or government--it will be his Temple, and the world of mankind will approach God in it to receive the divine blessings, as Israel approached the typical Tabernacle and the Temple in their typical religious services. Thus God, represented in his Church (the Christ, Head and body) will dwell with men (the world of mankind during the Millennial age) and they shall be his people;--all mankind will be treated from the standpoint of reconciliation, the propitiation price for the sins of the whole world (`1 John 2:2`) having been paid at Calvary, and the due time having then come for the manifestation of divine favor, all peoples shall be treated as the Lord's people; none of them shall be treated as aliens, strangers, foreigners from God and his promises and his blessings.
While the Millennial Kingdom will be the Kingdom of God's dear Son, it will also be the Kingdom of God, because God's dear Son and his joint-heir, the Church, will be in absolute accord with the Father, and all that shall be done under their control will fully and completely represent the divine will respecting men. Nevertheless, it will be a separate Kingdom from that of the remainder of the universe, as the Apostle Paul indicates. (`1 Cor. 15:24,25,28`.) "He must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet....And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also be subject to him that did put all things under him....Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father,"--at the close of the Millennial reign.
Since God is the Author of all the blessings of redemption and restitution, and since every good and every perfect gift cometh down from our Father in heaven, it is with appropriateness that the record declares
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that "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes"--from the eyes of mankind. Tho it will be Christ and the Church who will be doing it, nevertheless, the Heavenly Father will be recognized as the first cause, the fountain of every blessing. The wiping away of tears implies a gradual work, such as we see will be the process of that glorious time. Man will not be exempt from every weakness and trial and difficulty at the beginning, but if he will conform to the laws of the Kingdom, all cause for distress will gradually pass away, as restitution blessings will lift him out of death into perfect life. "They that hear [obey] that prophet [teacher, the Christ, Head and body] shall live; but it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hear that prophet [not render hearty obedience to his requirements] will be cut off from amongst the people [in the Second Death]."-- `Acts 3:23`.
Other Scriptures show us that the work of the Kingdom will begin with those who remain over at the time of its establishment, and that these, under condemnation of death, will at once be blessed with the knowledge and opportunities provided through the ransom, and if they accept these they will immediately be released from condemnation, that they may at once go on and upward on the way of holiness, toward perfection; and subsequently those who "sleep in the dust of the earth" shall come forth to more or less of shame and lasting contempt, as they begin to realize their mental and physical decrepitude, the results of their depravity. Nevertheless, these also, under the blessings of the Kingdom, may make progress up to perfection, losing their sin-blights, and simultaneously losing the "shame and contempt,"--whose lasting will be only so long as their cause continues. Thus these may progress in the way of righteousness, so that only those who sin wilfully shall die, and then each for his own sins only, and not the father for the son's sins, nor the son for the father's sins.--`Jer. 31:29,30`; `Dan. 12:2`.
The whole work of the Millennial age is summed up in few words, and we are brought to its culmination in the declaration, "There shall be no more death; neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away." What a glorious sun-burst of blessing is in these words! What a grand fulfilment will be there of the Apostle's declaration respecting "times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began!" This declaration, however, applies to the very end of the Millennial age, and not in full to any previous time in that age, for other accounts show us unmistakably that there will be imperfections and chastisements and stripes throughout the age, while mankind is being lifted up; or as our Lord expressed it, the raising up of mankind throughout the Millennial age, step by step, will be a "resurrection by judgment," chastisements, disciplines. (`John 5:28,29`.) And even at the close of that age we are shown, in another pen-picture of that time, that there will be a severe trial and testing to demonstrate to what extent the enforced obedience of that age shall have rightly affected the hearts of those who experience its blessings, so that their love will be for righteousness, and that they will hate iniquity. (`Rev. 20:7,8`.) All who in that final test shall manifest that his heart contains anything aside from full loyalty to the Lord and the principles
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of righteousness will have his part in the Second Death.
"BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW."
The `fifth verse` of our lesson comprehensively grasps the entire Millennial age; our Lord Jesus, then in the throne of earth's dominion, declaring, "Behold, I make all things new." This expression does not relate merely to rocks and trees, etc., but to the great work which our Lord undertook; viz., the regeneration of humanity--of so many of Adam's race as would, under favorable conditions of knowledge, experience and assistance, develop characters in full accord with the divine will. The end of the Millennial age will see the work completed;--all the wicked destroyed, all who will not hear the voice of that prophet, teacher, governor, cut off from amongst the people in the Second Death, and all the willing and obedient made new, brought to the complete perfection contemplated in the original divine plan.
John was to write this matter, because the testimony is true, is faithful, as is the one who has promised. This asseveration of faithfulness and truthfulness implies what we see to be the case; viz., that present conditions seem so contrary to all this grand restitution outcome that it cannot be fully believed and trusted by any except those who have learned to walk with the Lord, and in their weakness to lean upon his might,--to trust to his power to accomplish all the exceeding great and precious things which he has promised. To all others these things will appear untrue, and God will appear unfaithful, and the matters which we are here discussing will seem "idle tales," as fables and golden fancies: but to us who believe these promises are precious, and he from whom we receive them is precious, correspondingly as we know him and trust him.--`1 Pet. 2:7`.
The one enthroned (the Christ) declares at the conclusion of the Millennial age, "It is done;" my great contract is accomplished; "I am the Alpha and the Omega [the A and the Z], the beginning and the end." It was the Father's good pleasure that the Blessed One, the Only Begotten of the Father, should accomplish the entire program of redemption and restitution; and that incidentally, by his obedience in the things which he suffered that he should prove himself worthy to be forever the associate and representative of the Father, through whom and by whom all things should continue, as he was the one through whom all things were made that were made. It is this one who, during the Millennial age, will extend to all the willing and obedient the water of life, everlasting life-- the privilege of perpetual existence. But they must thirst for it, must desire it; and this desire must be manifest in obedience to the terms, the laws, upon which it will be supplied freely. Our Lord declared to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life," and that anyone believing him, trusting him, tho he were dead, yet should he live,--attain to perfect life, escaping from death conditions, until at the close of the Millennium he shall have life in the full, unrestricted sense. And he who thus liveth (attains to life) and still believeth, trusteth in the Life-giver, and is obedient to his directions, shall never die.
Our Lord adds, "He that overcometh shall inherit these things, and I will be to him a God, and he shall be to me a son." Those addressed are not the Bride class, selected during the Gospel age, but the sheep class of `Matt. 25`,--such of mankind as during the Millennial age become the Lord's sheep and obey his voice. To these at the end of the Millennial age, in harmony with the Father's plan, he says, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." They are not invited to inherit the Kingdom prepared for us, in joint-heirship with the Lord, the heavenly Kingdom. But they shall inherit the earth, the purchased possession --they shall come back into all the good estate of father Adam, which he lost for himself and his children through disobedience, but which Jesus redeemed with his own precious blood, and will restore at the close of the Millennium to all the children of Adam who shall have accepted his gracious favors and been regenerated by him, and thus become his sons, and he their God--their "father."--`Isa. 9:6`.
THE HEAVENLY CITY RESPLENDENT.
Here our lesson turns to a consideration of the city, the glorified Church, the kingdom class, who, during the Millennial age, will be "kings and priests unto God, and reign upon the earth," "a thousand years." (`Rev. 5:10`; `20:4`.) This City class, the glorified Church, it is declared will have no need of the sun or the moon. Nothing in this statement indicates that the world will not have and need both sunlight and moonlight during the Millennial age, and subsequently, "as long as the sun and moon endure." (`Psa. 72:5`.) And while it will be true that the Church, as spirit beings, will not have need of literal sunlight and literal moonlight, nevertheless, this is not the thought. The sun and the moon here are symbolical, as in `Chapter 12:1`; the sun signifies the light of this Gospel age; the moon signifies the typically reflected light of the Gospel in the Law and the prophets of the previous dispensation. The glorified Church will have no need of the light which in the present time she so much enjoys through the Word and spirit, and the Law and the prophets. She will have, instead of these, a much more excellent glory,
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to which the Apostle refers when he says, "Now [with all the light, privileges and opportunities which we enjoy, both as respects the representations of God through the Law and the prophets, and through the instructions and leadings of the spirit in the present] we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face; now we know in part; then we shall know even as we are known."--`1 Cor. 13:12`.
The Church, the Temple of God, will be so filled with all the fulness of God, when made like unto the glorious Lord, that nothing could add to their blessing of knowledge and divine favor;--will be so filled with the glory of God that from her, as from the Sun of Righteousness, shall proceed the light of the glory of God, which shall heal and bless the world during the Millennial age. This is the Sun of Righteousness to which our Lord referred in `Matt. 13:43`, "Then shall
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the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father"--our Lord Jesus, the Head of the Church, of course being included. The same Sun of Righteousness is mentioned by the Prophet, saying, "The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his beams." (`Mal. 4:2`.) Nevertheless, while so filled with the Lord's glory we are not to lose sight of the fact which the Apostle impresses upon us, saying that Christ is the Head of the Church, even as the Father is the Head of Christ Jesus. Hence the Lord Almighty and the Lamb will always be an inner Temple in this great Temple, which God has provided for the world's blessing during restitution times.-- `Verse 22`.
When this Sun of Righteousness shall shine forth, its blessings of healing, refreshment and life, mental, moral and physical, upon the world of mankind, the nations shall walk in the light of it. (The words "of them that are saved" are not in old MSS. Indeed, it is because they are not saved that they need this special light during the Millennial age, in order to their enlightenment, their salvation, their restitution.) "And the kings of the earth do bring their glory into it." (The words, "and honor" are not found in old MSS.) The expressions "nations" and "kings" are not to be understood as signifying that the world of mankind during the Millennial age will be divided into nationalities and kingdoms as at present: the word "nations" here signifies peoples, and is intended to show that all peoples, and not merely the people of Israel, will be thus favored under God's Kingdom. The word "kings" represents those princes or chief ones of the earth who, during the Millennial age, will be the chief representatives of the heavenly, spiritual, invisible Kingdom of Christ. These princes, as we have already seen, will be Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the faithful prophets of the previous dispensation, who, loving God before the call to the Kingdom and to the Bride class, cannot be of it, but because of their faithfulness will be the princes whom the Lord will establish in all the earth--first making them perfect individuals, and qualifying them for their office, as a reward for their faithfulness to God in the dark times in which they lived--their manifestation of love for righteousness and trust in the Omnipotent One.
The bringing of their glory into the city, the Kingdom, signifies their acknowledgment of this heavenly Kingdom, their rendering of tribute of praise, thanks, worship and obedience to it as God's agency. And this rendering of glory to the Kingdom will continue throughout the entire Millennial age, as the princes throughout the earth will make known to the people that not in their own names or authority do they rule and execute judgment and establish righteousness, but in the name and as the ministers and representatives of the glorified Christ. The result will be that all the people will ascribe honor and praise and majesty and glory to the Lord's Anointed, through whom their redemption and restitution was and is being accomplished; and this is indicated in `verse 26`.
Then, in consideration of the fact that this book of symbols, while relating to the future, is addressed to God's consecrated elect Church in the present time, and in view of the fact that this message would be communicated to and more or less understood by those who would seek to make their calling and election sure to a part in the glorious city, the `27th verse` is added, declaring that "In nowise shall there enter into it anything common, or he that doeth abomination and falsehood--but only they who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life." The Lamb's Book of Life we must understand to include those, and only those, who attain to position of joint-heirship with Christ, whose names are written in heaven during this age, and who are faithful to their covenant. What a glorious incentive we have here to faithfulness! What a warning against the slightest sympathy with anything unclean, untrue, or in anywise contrary to the divine standard of holiness! If we appreciate the glorious things of the divine provision for the Church and for the world, these promises and offers will have their influence upon us, and under their influence we are expected to keep our garments unspotted from the world; to be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; to hate every contamination of the flesh upon our robe of righteousness; and to seek immediately in prayer for the removal of any spot or wrinkle or any such thing from our wedding garment,--that thus we may abide in the Lord's love, and in the due time be "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light."
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GOD THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS.
--`GEN. 1:26`; `2:3`.--JULY 7.--
"In the beginning God created the
heavens and the earth."--`Gen. 1:1`.
GENESIS, as a word, signifies creation, beginning, --the act, process or mode of producing or originating. The Bible points out Jehovah God as the great first cause of all things. It addresses its counsels and promises only to those who recognize their Creator with the eyes of their understanding, and declares that those who do not recognize this great first cause, God, are so degraded, have their intellects so perverted, that they are non compos mentis--fools. (`Psa. 14:1`.) It further declares that God will not in the present age deal with any who are so depraved; but that "He that cometh unto God [acceptably] must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."--`Heb. 11:6`.
Amongst those who acknowledge a Creator there has come to be a wide difference of opinion respecting his Word and his work. Some accept the Bible testimony as a divine revelation, relying upon it accordingly. Others, with a larger amount of self-confidence, deny that the Bible is God-inspired, go to the rocks and study them,--forming their conclusions in harmony with their findings. Both acknowledge God and that his power and wisdom are manifest in his creation, yet the latter, leaning more and more to their own understanding (`Prov. 3:5`), tend to question the personality of God, and seek, if possible, to prove that there are what they term "Laws of Nature" in operation now which have been in operation from time immemorial, and they query whether or not these laws must of necessity have had an author. They see life in its various manifestations, and admit intelligence, but claim that this intelligence was attained through a process of evolution,--attained without a Creator, as evolutions from inert matter. In other words, they have been seeking for some time to see whether or not in their theory a God is absolutely necessary, with a view to dropping him entirely from their theories, if possible.
However, the learned, worldly-wise, do not generally reach that "fool" condition; for the majority admitting that while they could reason out all manner of changes as respects conditions, admit that they cannot produce a satisfactory theory of the origin of matter, nor of the origin of the first spark of life, nor of the origin of the first gleam of intelligence. Hence scientists as a class still admit that there must be some kind of a God, but the Scriptures assure us that, looking in the wrong direction, they fail to see the real God, fail to discern his real character and plan. "The world by wisdom knows not God."--`1 Cor. 1:21`.
While the leaders amongst natural men are searching for God and for truth in the rocks and in the sands, the children of God, begotten by his spirit, are seeking the wisdom that cometh from above, and are finding and knowing him whom to know is life eternal. Yea, and more than this, the "spirit of a sound mind" which they receive, and the guidance of the holy spirit, enable them to see "the deep things of God," in those things which were written aforetime for their admonition--in the holy writings which by divine arrangement have been gathered and cemented together, and which are known to us as the Bible--the Book of all books. In thus doubting their own wisdom and the ability of themselves and others to master the deep subject of creation and the divine will and plan associated with it, these whom the world counts unwise are really wise, in that they look to the Lord for their instruction respecting these things; they manifest a faith which is pleasing to him, and put themselves into a position of heart in which they may be "all taught of God," and thus know things which the natural man cannot know--thus seeing and appreciating things which "eye hath not seen, neither hath ear heard, neither hath entered into the hearts of [natural] men, ...but which God hath revealed unto us by his spirit; for the spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."--`1 Cor. 2:9,10`.
"Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain."
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We are not meaning to say that God has given great revelations respecting the earth and its creation; yet while admitting that the things that are revealed to God's people by his spirit pertain chiefly to the things that are to come, we hold, nevertheless, that in respect to the things that are past, the creation, etc., the Word of God is sufficient, that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work.--`2 Tim. 3:17`.
THE ADVERSARY'S OPPORTUNITY.
The opportunities afforded by this lesson in various Sunday Schools and Bible classes of the civilized world are sure to be taken advantage of by many ministers, superintendents and teachers to introduce the unscriptural views which they have for some time past been imbibing from various quarters, especially from the colleges and seminaries of Christendom, respecting what is known as the Evolution Theory of Creation. It is the taking theory--the theory which commends itself to the natural mind--the theory which will seem to best fit all the facts of history in the judgment of those who look at the question from the outside,
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not from the inside;--from the natural standpoint and not from the standpoint of the spiritual new creature, instructed by the inner light of the "golden candlestick." However, we are to remember that the light which the priests enjoyed in the "holy places made with hands" represented the enlightenment of the holy spirit; which is granted during this Gospel age, only to the consecrated "royal priesthood." And as this light in the "Holy," could not be seen by those outside, we must not be surprised that the "natural man receiveth not the things [the light, the instruction] of the spirit of God, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned."--`1 Cor. 2:14`.
For centuries natural men have looked to the teachings of the Church, the Bible, for instruction; because in the "dark" time practically no other course of information was open to them. But now, in the dawn of the "morning," when light is becoming more general on every subject, the natural man is not only disposed to repudiate many of the teachings of priestcraft and superstition which he had received as truths, but additionally he is disposed to doubt that there is, and always has been, a truth-centre to Christianity;-- around which, we admit, there were heavy incrustations of error and darkness which have to a very large degree misrepresented the truth to the world in general.
We are now come to the time when the battle of books which has waged during the past half century amongst professors and school-men is reaching the masses of the people. The leaven of doubt as respects the whole Bible, and Genesis in particular, is gradually permeating the entire mass of Christendom; and its progress will be increasingly rapid because it is already accepted by the learned; and the ignorant who are now being approached will feel that they can safely follow, blindly, these blind guides who are preaching "another Gospel," of which the atoning sacrifice of Christ is not the centre.
WHAT SELF-STYLED "BIBLE EVOLUTIONISTS" CLAIM.
We well know that many Christian people who have adopted the Evolution Theory will dispute the foregoing statement, because of the source from which they have accepted it, and because of the insidious form in which they received it, and because they are not thoroughly furnished in a knowledge of the Scriptures, and because they have not reasoned the matter out--have not had their "senses exercised by reason of use" on this subject. (`Heb. 5:14`.) Their argument is: "We do not dispute the Scriptures, nor is it necessary so to do, in accepting the Evolution Theory. If asked to explain their position they would say: We still believe in God, a personal intelligent God, and have no sympathy with those who attempt to claim or to prove that life and intelligence could come spontaneously and without a Creator's power; we merely hold that our God, as Creator, produced the world gradually, and not in six twenty-four-hour days; we claim also that the creation of the fish, birds, beasts and man were gradual evolutions, but nevertheless under divine supervision, and during long periods. We claim that the monkey and the ape were not direct creations, but sharers in this evolution; and that in due time the evolutionary process which God started reached the point where a new and higher type of creature was evolved from the ape, a type having some degree of moral sense, that was man. We Bible-Evolutionists claim, that in this first gleam of moral sense was man's image or likeness to his Creator; and that during the past six thousand years this moral sense has been growing, expanding, developing, until by the grace of God the race has reached its present high altitudes of intelligence,--moral, spiritual, intellectual.
"We claim further that under divine providence the reasonable thing to expect is that this evolutionary process will continue throughout ages to come, perhaps forever, etc. We do not deny the Bible nor the Lord nor the apostles, altho we certainly do give less weight to their teachings than we formerly did;--being now inclined to believe that Jesus and the disciples either withheld some of the truth in their teaching, or else that they shared with mankind in general the lower planes of thought and less intelligence of their day; that they are to be respected for their good intentions and valuable service, but not to be regarded as competent to teach us who live under the more favored circumstances and enlightenment of this twentieth century civilization, taught by such lights as Prof. Briggs, Mrs. Eddy, Prof. Haupt, Darwin, Huxley, Tyndale, Spencer, et al."
In the foregoing we have given what we believe to be as fair a statement as could be made of the views of the great mass of intelligent people, especially of the educated class. And what does it mean? To us it means infidelity--a total denial of the divine Word and plan of God. And we will show why.
"IF THEY SPEAK NOT ACCORDING TO THIS WORD IT IS
BECAUSE THERE IS NO LIGHT IN THEM."
If the above theory be true, the Bible theory must be false; but if the Bible be true, the above theory must be false. We hold that the Scripture teaching as a whole is in violent conflict with the foregoing in nearly every point. The Genesis account of man's creation, in the image and likeness of God, is quite distinctly different from its account of the creation of the lower animals, and must necessarily mean something much higher than evolutionists admit;--it declares a direct creation. The words "image" and "likeness"
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signify a great deal more than a mere first glimmer of moral sense. To us these words signify a likeness of mental conception, a harmony of sentiment-- that man was, in the flesh, a copy of his Creator, who is a spirit--that he was not a brute with a mere glimmer of intelligence. Nor could we imagine how such a being but one remove from the brute could be justly placed on trial for life, eternal life, so that by one act of disobedience he could be justly sentenced to death; nor could we see how such a being could with any propriety be said to fall, without losing the little spark of intelligence possessed, and becoming again a mere brute. The fact that the fallen man was possessed of such character and qualities as possessed by various of the patriarchs before as well as after the flood, as described in this very book of Genesis, proves conclusively either that the monkeyman and his posterity fell upward at a very rapid rate indeed, and not in any sense of the word downward and into sin and death, or else it disproves totally the Evolution Theory, on this subject.
On the contrary, all the Scriptures declare that man is fallen; that he has forfeited his Creator's favor and blessing, and the original grant of life everlasting; and teach us that this "condemnation" upon the first man and his posterity has been inflicted ever since; and that the "wrath of God" as manifested in the sentence of death has been upon the race as a "curse;" and that the only means of removing this "curse" or sentence, and recovering the lost man to the original position of harmony with God and to the right to eternal life, was through the redemption in Christ Jesus. The message of Jesus and the apostles was along this line; viz., that the promise of God that the race should be succored from its fallen condition by a Savior and a great one, able to save unto the uttermost--able to recover out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay of sin and death, and that he made this recovery possible by giving the ransom price, his own sacrifice, and that as a result of the sacrifice he was to be the great King who, during a future age, the Millennium, would exercise divine power and authority, binding Satan and all the evil influences at present operating upon mankind and holding it in subjection to the curse of sin and death, would be removed, hindered, while the great King Immanuel should lift up and bless the race under restitution processes, bringing all the then willing back to the Paradise lost, and to all the favors that were lost,--even fellowship with God, the divine likeness and the everlasting life.
These two theories are so antagonistic that there cannot possibly be any sympathy or cooperation between them. If one is true the other is false, and for our part we say, Let God be true, tho it prove every professed scientist a liar! (`Rom. 3:4`.) This Evolution Theory of science comes properly under the criticism of the Apostle when he speaks of "science falsely so-called," which contradicts the divine Word, and sets
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it at naught, preferring the traditions of men and the light of human intelligence rather than the light of divine revelation. Yet, as above stated, we must not be surprised at this great trial and testing of faith, which is to prove all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth. (`Rev. 3:10`.) We must not be surprised at the stumbling of those who have failed to use the opportunity granted, of coming into a condition of heart-consecration to the Lord, and begetting of his spirit, and entrance into the "holy place,"--into the light of the golden candlestick: we must not be surprised if these now reject and repudiate the true light which they see not. Indeed, to our understanding we are in the very testing time which is to prove the saints, and ultimately to reprove the world and bring to naught its wisdom.
Let us not be misunderstood: We agree that the Scriptures do not teach that the earth and all its creatures were created in six twenty-four hour days. There is nothing said in Genesis respecting the length of these periods called "days," but we have clearly set before us the fact that the term "day" is properly applied in Scripture to various periods. (`Luke 1:80`; `John 8:56`; `Phil. 2:16`.) Our Golden Text, rightly understood, indicates that the work of the six days mentioned in Genesis was a work of ordering and filling the earth, rather than a work of creating; for it plainly declares that the creation of the earth was "in the beginning"-- that it "was" before the matters and affairs described subsequently, but in a chaotic condition. In harmony with this again is the statement, "Now the earth was without form and void." (`Verse 2`.) This was before the six creative days began, whatever their length; they merely set the earth in order and supplied it with living creatures.
Neither do we insist that anything in the narrative necessarily involves the thought that the creation of the lower animals, fish, fowl and beasts, was in the same manner as the creation of man; rather, since their creation is merely mentioned in a general way, the inference might be drawn that God used certain (possibly evolutionary) processes in their development up to the point where they reached fixity of class, nature, genera. But we do insist that the Scriptures specifically mention man as a direct creation of God, and not as an evolution. We insist that this particularity of statement respecting man's creation is not without significance, and that the special preparation for his reception in a Paradise of God was in full accord with his high rank as an earthly human son of
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the Highest, an image and likeness of his heavenly Creator. We do insist that the story of the fall as told in Genesis and throughout the prophets and psalms, and as particularly enunciated in the New Testament, must be held to implicitly by those who hold to the Word of God at all. We must insist that unless there was a fall, Christ died in vain, for if the Evolution Theory be true then there were no sinners to be redeemed and restored.--`Acts 3:19-23`.
We stand, on the contrary, with those who have, by the grace of God, attained a knowledge of God's Word, and who see in it Christ the Savior of mankind, and his cross the centre, the fulcrum upon which the entire work of salvation moves, by which alone the race can be lifted out of its present degraded condition, and brought back through divine processes of redemption and restitution to the glorious condition of God-likeness in a new Paradise of God, a new heavens and a new earth, from which sin shall eventually be blotted out, and in which righteousness shall prevail. These Scriptural presentations are the best possible answer to the doubts and queries of the scientists. But these clear views of the divine plan can be had only by those whose eyes of understanding have been opened, and into whose hearts the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord has shined. As respects all others, moral and immoral, good and bad, we must surely expect that they will fall away in this time of sifting. "Who shall be able to stand?" Only those who have availed themselves of the mercy of God and who have come into covenant relationship with him;--and they only as they maintain the spirit of their consecration, and grow in grace, knowledge and love toward God and men.
"MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM."
Our lesson specially deals with the creation of man. `Verse 26` tells us of the purpose of God in advance, and we would render it, "Let us make mankind in our image, and after our likeness let them have dominion over the fish of the sea," etc., making the word "image" to apply to the character-likeness of God, in which man was created, and the word "likeness" to refer to the dominion;--that mankind should have dominion over the creatures of earth, even as God has dominion over all things. In a word, man was intended to be the king of the earth, the lord of the earth; and it was to this end that he was crowned with the glory and honor and majesty of the divine image,--in the moral and intellectual features of his being, a flesh image of his invisible spirit Creator. It is to this high exaltation of man, as God's representative in the earth, that the Prophet speaks, saying, "What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands." (`Psa. 8:4-8`.) So far from being only a little removed above the beast, this scripture declares that man was created in the very highest position of earthly creatures, but a little removed in intelligence, etc., from the angelic hosts. What we shall subsequently see respecting the fall of man from this grand position and the necessity of his redemption before he could be restored to it, is in perfect accord with the declarations respecting the glory and honor of the image in which he was created.
`Verse 27` declares that that which God purposed was accomplished, and that this glory and honor in its full, complete sense, was not represented by one of the sexes alone, but by them both unitedly. This holy, happy pair had the blessing, the favor of God, and, contrary to the views of many, their fruitfulness was not the result of sin and the fall, but, as here distinctly declared, was in the intention of the Almighty respecting them before their disobedience and condemnation to death. The fact that God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth," contradicts the unscriptural thought that the propagation of children was in any sense or degree a transgression, or the transgression on account of which the "curse" came upon our first parents, and upon all through them. The Lord's people are not to be wise above what is written, nor to permit idle speculations to twist and warp their minds; but, on the contrary, are to rightly divide the word of truth.
The word "replenish" in our common version, is manifestly incorrect, as the word implies that the earth had once been filled, and was now, for some reason, empty and to be replenished or refilled. A more correct rendering would be, "Fill the earth." It is in harmony with this original instruction, we understand, that when the earth has been filled with a population, the procreative powers will be eliminated, and eventually the race be composed of perfect units, such as Adam was originally, before being divided into two persons for the purpose of companionship, procreation, and the preservation of the race as one, and under one headship. As we have already shown, it is our thought that in that perfecting or unifying process every male being will take on the elements and qualities of the mind and of the heart now peculiarly emphasized in the female; and every female will take on those elements of mind and heart now peculiarly manifest in the male; and yet we should here guard ourselves lest we should think of either the coarseness or the frailties of the fallen race (male and female) being in any
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sense of the word a part or feature of the perfect earthly creatures of the future. We should also bear in mind that the Church, now being selected from the world, will have no part in this restitution process, but will become, as the Scriptures declare, members of a new creation, a new order of beings--spiritual-- not only superhuman, but also "far above angels, principalities and powers."
The vegetarian idea respecting what would constitute the proper food for the perfect man is clearly set forth in `verse 29`, the Lord declaring that he had given his creatures the herbage and fruitage of the earth for their meat--their food. It was not until after the flood, and the peculiar changes of conditions resulting therefrom (which we cannot here take time and space to discuss) that the Lord specially sanctioned the eating of animal food. (`Gen. 9:1-4`.) We understand the reason to have been that the conditions were so changed as not only to shorten human longevity but to greatly impair human strength, making necessary the nerve strength obtainable from animal food. Since animal food was thus sanctioned by the Lord it behooves the Lord's people not to become erratic and dictatorial upon this question of vegetarianism, nor to condemn those who find, or think they find, that animal food is necessary to the maintenance of their physical strength: on the other hand, let them remember that whatever was originally intended, and whatever may be the order of things in the Millennial age, there is no Scriptural sanction for condemning the eating of animal food in the present time. Whoever, therefore, advocates it, let him take heed that he does not make another gospel of it, and permit time and thought and voice and energy to be thus estranged from the service of the gospel truths committed to us
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by our Lord; let such, on the contrary, remember that our Lord ate meat and fish, both before and after his crucifixion, and that the apostles ate meat, and that in no sense of the word was the eating of it condemned or evil spoken of; and that none of the Lord's people today have any higher authorities or examples than these. And let those who eat meat not mock those who eat "vegetable only," believing this course to be more healthful for them.
The fact that for beast and for fowl the Lord originally provided the same vegetarian diet, is in perfect accord with some of the prophetic statements which seem to imply that under the new conditions of the Kingdom even the lower animals will return to vegetable diet, when "The lion shall eat grass like the ox," and when "Nothing shall hurt or destroy in all God's holy mountain [kingdom]." (`Isa. 11:6,7`; `65:25`.) Thus we learn that the animals which at present are carnivorous (flesh-eaters) are not now in their original condition, but have been sharers with mankind in the results of the catastrophe which came upon our earth in the flood; likewise that they will be sharers with man, their king, in the great uplift which will come to him and to all nature when God's Kingdom, in the hands of the Sons of God, shall be established, and shall bless the groaning creation.--`Rom. 8:19-22`.
All that God did was in full accord with what he had purposed, and in his sight was very good; but we cannot think that man and the general conditions of the world today are in God's sight "very good," but, according to his own declaration, very bad--sin has marred all; and, as the Apostle expresses it, nothing is very good in God's sight now. "There is none righteous, no, not one." This is another testimony, therefore, to the effect that the fall of man was decidedly downward, and that the Evolution Theory of a gradual and persistent rise is a fallacy.*
The creation of man was just in the close of the sixth day or epoch. It was the crowning feature of creation, and finished it. Having finished his creative work God blessed the seventh day (or epoch) and set it apart, and rested therein from any further creative work--foreknowing, however, that during this seventh day, which has lasted from then until now (and will last yet another thousand years), sin would enter through disobedience, and his sentence of death be executed against Adam and his race, and the whole creation be caused to groan; knowing also that while he would thenceforth withhold his creative power, he would provide for the necessities of the fallen race, in the person of Jesus, "a Savior and a great one," who, by giving the ransom-price for man's sin, would become his Redeemer, his Lord, and thus obtain the right and the power to rescue him from death, and to lift up all the willing and obedient by restitution processes to all that was lost in Eden.
This seventh day, in which God has rested, to the intent that Christ may accomplish the great work of redemption, reconciliation and restitution has already lasted six thousand years, and altho this time has been an evil time under the reign of sin and death, the Redeemer is, according to the divine program, shortly to take unto himself his great power and reign for a thousand years, until he shall complete the work of restitution of the willing and obedient, and finally shall deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father, that God may be the all-in-all throughout eternity.+-- `Heb. 4:4-10`.
QUARTERLY REVIEW.--JUNE 30.
Golden Text.--"God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power."-- `1 Cor. 6:14`.
*See The Bible versus the Evolution Theory, price 5c. Sample copy free on application at this office.
+Further reading matter upon the subject of the Sabbath free to the interested.