Question Book / Qb199 - D Thru F
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DANTE AND DORE--Who They Were. ::Q199:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--Who were Dante, and Dore, and when did they live?
ANSWER.--Dante was a great poet, but as to the exact date of his birth and death I do not know--it was some centuries ago. Dore was a great Catholic artist who lived nearly a hundred years ago. They were both very prominent Catholics, and no doubt very honest.
DARKNESS--Cast Into Outer Darkness. ::Q199:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--Please explain `Matt. 8:12`, "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." "And then said the King to the servants, 'bind him hand and foot and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth'." What does this mean?
ANSWER.--We will treat these two texts together, as they are very much alike. We answer, it is not like purgatory, because purgatory is full of fire, and it could not be very dark there. This is outer darkness, and purgatory is inner light, and inner fire, is it not? It could not be the hell-fire of our Protestant view, either, because the hell-fire of our Protestant view is very light and bright, and hot. It would not he outer darkness, it would be inner light, wouldn't it? Sure it would. We have been forgetting what we were doing when we read our Bibles. What does it mean? It means this. The Lord is here not speaking about the world at all; he is speaking about his church, and those who are faithful will be in the light, in the light of knowledge, in the light of understanding, in the light of appreciation of God's plan. As the Scriptures declare, none of the wicked shall understand; the wise shall understand. As the Scriptures again say, "The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence him, and he will show them his covenant." They will be in the light, and they are called in the Bible, children of the light. Now the Lord in these parables is speaking of some who in the end of the age, not being faithful to their privileges and opportunities, will be rejected from the light, will be cast into outer darkness. Where is the outer darkness? Why, the outer darkness is everywhere. There is a lot of it in heathendom, and there is plenty of it here in Portland; and if any of us who are God's people do not walk carefully, circumspectly, and in harmony with his Word, we will not continue to be children of the light, nor continue to be favored by the Lord with further light on his Word, but will be cast out of this favored condition, bound hand and foot in the sense that we will not be able to control ourselves; it would not be optional with us whether we stand in the light or not, because the Lord would force such a one out of the light; he would not be allowed to stay in the light at all.
DAVID--Man After God's Heart. ::Q199:3:: QUESTION (1909)--3--In what sense was David a man after God's own heart?
ANSWER.--Well, I can see a great many ways in which David was not a man after God's own heart, but in what sense was he? I answer, in this sense: In spite of all his weaknesses and imperfections, his heart was full of loyalty and faith toward God, and his desire was at all times to do
God's service. With his mind he served the law of God, as the Apostle Paul says. We know that David made some very serious, very grievous mistakes, and he bitterly repented. It was in the sense that he still loved God and strove continually to attain to God's ideals. You and I, dear friends, want to have the same disposition; not that we are like David, however. No two of us are alike; we are all different. Loyalty to God, faith in God, and a disposition to serve Him is what will please God. You and I must remember that we possess advantages over David; he lived under a different dispensation, a member of the House of Servants, and not of the House of Sons. We, on the contrary, have much advantage everywhere because we are of the new dispensation, begotten of the Spirit, and have the mind of Christ. We should be still more after God's own heart, and we should have still higher standards than David had or practiced.
DEACONESSES--Election of. ::Q200:1:: QUESTION (1912)--1--Do you recommend the election and apointment of deaconesses under any circumstances? If so, please state under what circumstances?
ANSWER.--We have no deaconesses at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, at the present time, but we have had previously and thought some good was served by having them. There is no use in having servants, unless there is something for them to do, nor unless the persons are fitted for that work. The word Deaconess signifies a female servant. In the event of sickness amongst the sisters of a class it might be necessary for somebody to go and help and care for them. Or some in distress need to be visited and the brethren may not find time that they could give to that work. Sisters could render such services whether chosen Deaconesses or not. It is not contrary to the Lord's Word to elect Deaconesses. If a class finds that it has need of such servants there seems to be full authority in the Scriptures for electing them, but they should be very carefully selected that they would represent the Church fairly and favorably as to moderation in their judgment, in their demeanor and dress, marked examples of the Spirit of the Lord amongst the Sisters, and who fittingly represent the general interests of the Church in any work they might be called upon to do.
DEAD--Rest Lived Not Again Until the Thousand Years. ::Q200:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--What answer would you give if asked about the text of Scripture which says, "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished?"
ANSWER.--I did not read that question just as it was written. I would explain the verse and say that in God's view of matters, Adam was alive when he was in harmony with God, and that Adam's dying began immediately when he was thrust out of Eden under the divine sentence--"dying, thou shalt die;" that he was dying for 930 years; and, similarly, when the reverse process shall begin, instead of dying for 930 years, he will be getting more alive for 930 years; for the entire period of Messiah's reign the world will be getting more alive, and more alive, and more alive, but they will not be alive until they are perfect. And in one sense of the word we might say they will not be alive until Christ as the
mediator shall turn them over to the Father and he shall have tested them respecting their worthiness or unworthiness of life eternal. Then I might or might not, according to the person and the circumstance, say that this verse is not in the original manuscript, or oldest manuscript; but that so far as we know, it is an interpolation. But it is just as well not refer too frequently to interpolations, because people have an idea somehow that you are trying to dodge something and where the passage fits in so well as this does with very many others I would not make any explanation except merely how they will be getting life and not be fully alive until the end of the thousand years.
DEATH--Sinners Dying at the Age of 100 Years. ::Q201:1:: QUESTION (1907)--1--Will the incorgible live more than one hundred years, or will they die at a hundred years of age?
ANSWER.--Our understanding of that statement of Isaiah's testimony is that, the sinner at that time, if he is a willful, deliberate opposer of God and his Kingdom, will not be suffered to live more than one hundred years. It does not guarantee that he must live a hundred years, but he must die at a hundred years. He may die sooner than a hundred years if sufficiently willful and disobedient, but he may prolong his life even if in a measure disobedient for one hundred years, but no longer.
DEATH--The Destiny of Infants. ::Q201:2:: QUESTION (1907)--2--In God's Plan, what provision is made for the infants and children who die before the years of discretion? Are they confined to the earthly Kingdom?
ANSWER.--I answer, dear friends, there is no way to the Heavenly Kingdom, except by being born again. Can children be born again? Can children be begotten of the Holy Spirit? If they could not be begotten of the Holy Spirit, they could not be born of the Holy Spirit; so you see, the whole matter is a very simple one. The child belongs to the earth; it belongs to Adam and his race; it is a member of his race. If God wished it to have had the opportunities of the elect, He would have allowed it to live and come to a knowledge of the truth, and thus to justification, sanctification and begetting of the spirit. But you see when the Lord allowed the child to die in infancy, it was not one of those whom He intended should be favored with a knowledge of this High Calling, and that is a large proportion of the race. Now, what will be their position? They will come forth as they went down, of the earth earthy. But some one will say, "If I belong to the spirit class, and of those who have part in either the Little Flock of the Great Company on the spirit plane, what chance would I have to care for my little ones?" Well, my dear brothers and sisters, do you not suppose your little ones will still be under supervision, as if you were an earthly parent? Do you not suppose that those heavenly ones, who are Kings and Priests with Jesus, and have all power in heaven and earth, will have power to take care of their little ones on earth? And there will be many who will be glad to take care of your little ones, they are serving those who have gone before, and who belong to the Priesthood class.
To our understanding, the coming back of these from the tomb will be in the same condition in which they died, without any particular change, and the little ones, therefore, will come back to much more favorable conditions than at the present time in the world.
DEATH--Overcoming the Horror of. ::Q202:1:: QUESTION (1907)--1--How may we overcome the horror of death?
ANSWER.--I answer, dear friends, that God never intended that death should be a pleasant thing for us, and the wiser you are, the less you will like death, of itself; it will have more horror for you. The way to overcoming it is by full submission of our minds to the Lord. There are some things that we will never like all our lives. You might take a dose of very bitter medicine, and without making very many faces either, if you made up your mind that it was the right and proper thing to do. You would say, Well, I am going to do it, and you do it; but if you allow yourself to go over it and look at it too long, and try to swallow it two or three times, you will get pretty sick of the matter. The right way to do is to say, it is the Lord's arrangement, and it is a part of my covenant to lay down my life in the Lord's service, even unto death; so Lord, I give the whole matter to you, I have taken the whole matter out of my hands entirely and I am reckoning myself dead now, so Lord I will leave the whole matter for you to bury me and for you to raise me up. The whole thing is in your hands. After you commit your way to the Lord, it will taste and feel far less bitter. While death and the dying processes are not to be rejoiced in, yet you are to realize the Lord's providential care, and that He is able to keep that which we have committed unto Him, and we should not sorrow as those who have no hope. We might sorrow some for death, but not as others, because we have the blessed hope; and the stronger your faith grows the less dread you will have of death; and the stronger your knowledge of your consecration becomes, the stronger your faith will be.
DEATH--Impossible Because Like Unto the Angels. ::Q202:1:: QUESTION (l907)--2--Please explain `Luke 20:35,36`: "But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God being the children of the resurrection." Please explain the clause, "They can die no more, because they are like the angels."
ANSWER.--This is the Common Version translation, which is preferred in this case. We do not prefer the Common Version every time, but we prefer it as a rule, to any other version which we know.
There are some passages upon which the Diaglott translation, and some upon which the Revised Version gives us more light, but taken as a whole, we like the Common Version. And the Common Version says, they are like unto the angels, neither can they die any more, and that is the way I think it is intended to be read and understood. My understanding is, this is applicable both to the Church and to the
world. It is applicable to the Church first, because it is to be dealt with first It is applicable to the Church in this way, that when the time comes for our change, and we have had our resurrection change, the first resurrection, the resurrection to glory, honor and immortality, that will make us children of the resurrection in a special sense, more than any others, because this is the highest and everything else in the nature of a resurrection would necessarily be subservient to this which is the highest and most wonderful of all the resurrections God had purposed. There is one resurrection of the Church, and another of the ancient Worthies, to perfection and then, as we saw last night, there is a resurrection to judgment for the world, by which they will gradually come into harmony with the Lord. But now, we will apply this first to the Church. When we have been changed and are spirit beings, we will not die any more; if we have immortality we cannot die any more. And we would be like the angels, for the angels do not marry; and so, in this respect, the Little Flock in the resurrection will not be male and female. While spoken of as the Bride of Christ, we are not to get the thought that they are feminine, but rather it is only a picture which represents the beautiful relationship between the Bridegroom and the Bride. And, again, we have the thought of Christ as the Head over the Body, and we as members of the Body,--another beautiful picture. You know all of this represents our Lord as being the chief. Angels are not male and female, and in speaking of them we would not use those terms; we would prefer not to speak of them as either, because they are without sex. That is easy enough as respects the Church.
Now as to the world. When by the end of the Millennial Age the world shall have come up, up, up, out of degradation and sin, and got back to the place where Adam was originally, then all necessity for the male and female condition in order for the propagation of the race having ceased, they will be like unto the angels in that respect. Originally Adam was not male or female, but God separated woman from his side, and made our race male and female; but after God's whole purpose has been served, and Christ has taken the place of that one man, and has redeemed all that came out of him, then the sex distinction, having served its purpose, will cease. Our understanding is that then the race will be like unto the angels in that respect. And neither will they die any more; they will be perfect. So when the race is brought back to perfection, and after all have been tested at the end of the Millennial age, as many as love righteousness will have everlasting life, and the balance will be destroyed from amongst the people. God is pleased that the righteous shall live forever and enjoy all of His blessings throughout eternity.
DEATH--Re Animals in Millennial Age. ::Q203:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--Will the lower animals die in the next age.
ANSWER.--I understand that they will, that the promise of eternal life was never made to any earthly creature except man, and to man because he is in the image of God, because he is the lord of earth. I understand that all the lower animals will continue to die all through the Millennial Age just as they did in the past. Brother Wesley was mistaken when he said that the creature itself shall be delivered. Brother Wesley missed the point,
he got to thinking of dogs, and cats and horses.
God made them as brute beasts. They live their little span of life and they die, but in the case of man, we see how God has redeemed him from destruction because he is so much better than the brute. I have often thought it strange that a man who could sympathize with the brute creation could ever believe that God would consign millions of human beings to eternal torment.
DEATH--Condition After. ::Q204:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--What is the state and condition of man after death?
ANSWER.--After his death he is dead. He is waiting for God's time when He will, through Christ, bring him forth from the dead, and all who have gone down, not that he is conscious of it any more than you and I when we fall asleep at night. The world knows nothing in the interim. Their sons are brought low and they know it not, and they are honored and they perceive it not of them. There is neither wisdom, nor knowledge, nor device in the grave (sheol) whither thou goest.
DEATH--Expression In Death. ::Q204:2:: QUESTION (1909)--2--How do you account for the smile on the face of people who go into the state of unconsciousness?
ANSWER.--I do not account for it at all; you can have a smile at any time. A certain professor made examination of a number of death-bed scenes regarding the facial expression, etc. Some faces expressed joy, some pain, but the great majority gave no sign at all. It is no proof of anything; because when people die, they have their organs specially quickened. Some people who have a fever have their minds very much stimulated and will tell you of visions, etc. We are not following cunningly devised fables, but are following the Word of God. Some of the best of the world die without smiling. I will tell you of one who died without a smile; His name is Jesus.
DEATH--Spiritual Death. ::Q204:3:: QUESTION (1909)--3--What about a spiritual death?
ANSWER.--The only death the Bible speaks of is a human death. The scriptural declaration is that God gave Adam a trial at the beginning, but when he failed, he failed for you and for me. If anyone is to have an opportunity for eternal life, it must be through a second chance, because the first chance was lost through Adam. The second chance begins with the Church because we have a hearing ear.
DEATH--Re Adamic--Births After Time of Trouble. ::Q204:4:: QUESTION (1909)--4--When will Adamic death cease? Will there be births after the time of trouble?
ANSWER.--My understanding is this, dear friends: That the time of trouble will, so to speak, paralyze the whole world, and that is the time mentioned in the 46th Psalm, where the Lord, after speaking of this time of trouble, says He will break the bow and cut the spear asunder and say, Be still and know that I am God. That is the first great lesson that the world
will learn--"Be still!" They have been running hither and thither and learning about evolution and everything but the Lord's Word. They should have learned this lesson long ago that, "The reverence of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom," and to know that He is God. They will have to take a little time to get still. God does not wait for them to recover, but begins the new order of things. The Ancient Worthies appear and Israel under the New Covenant arrangements, and when they are established the other nations will see their blessings and prosperity under God's supervision, and will see that they have the Ancient Worthies, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, etc., and they will say, "Let us go up to the mountain of the kingdom of the Lord." See how He is teaching the Jews, "He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths, for the law shall go forth from Mount Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem," and "the desire of all nations shall come." They will begin to see that this is what they have always desired. God's government, peace, prosperity, to enjoy life, etc. They will see that the only way for them to get God's blessing will be by coming in under the New Covenant arrangements through Israel. If they do not, God will not recognize them, and as the prophet says, There shall come no rain upon them. Is that literal rain, or in the sense of blessing? Perhaps both. The Lord is going to use all the powers and forces of nature to give lessons and instructions, and He will call for the corn to increase, and for the wilderness to blossom as the rose. The whole earth will he at the command of the Lord, and everyone that doeth righteousness shall he blessed, and he that does not shall be punished, and then the whole world will learn that righteousness pays. Some people now do not think it pays to be honest, but they will then, for they will be blessed, and any out of harmony with God will receive some kind of chastisement that they may all be brought to God and be lifted up out of their death conditions.
When will Adamic death cease? It will be going on in these fallen natures. God's blessing will come as a result of the New Covenant, and only those who are under the New Covenant will get God's blessing; it will begin with Israel, and then as the other nations see the blessings of Israel and realize that the blessings come because of their relationship with God, they, too, will want the blessings and will want to come under the New Covenant arrangements.
How soon after the time of trouble? It will depend upon how soon those nations come to a knowledge of God, for there will be no way of getting life except through the Son--that is the rule now, and will be then--"He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son shall not see life."
Will there he births after the time of trouble?
I understand that things will go on in a natural way. First of all, those under the New Covenant arrangement, after they begin to line up, will have higher aspirations and nobler qualities of mind, and births will be fewer and fewer, so that at the end of the Millennial Age, births will entirely cease, and there will gradually be a change in the human family corresponding to the change in the beginning, only in the opposite way, when God separated Mother Eve from Adam's side. Our understanding is that the whole human family will be as Adam was before the separation. It will
not mean that the sisters will be blotted out, but that they will take on the other qualities, and men will take on the more gentle qualities. The perfect life will represent the gentler qualities as well as the stronger qualities, so that both men and women of the Millennial Age will be perfect, as Adam was before Eve was brought forth.
DEATH--Dying the Adamic After Time of Trouble. ::Q206:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--Will any one die the Adamic death after the time of trouble?
ANSWER.--Yes, I think they will; that is to say, the Gospel age coming to an end, and the new dispensation beginning, it will be the beginning of the opportunity of the world to step out of the Adamic death into restitution life. But the world will not generally believe at first; it will take a little time before this knowledge will come to them. It will not be done like a flash. It will begin with Israel, according to the Scriptures, and as the Israelites come to a realization of the new dispensation, and as the ancient worthies will come back to them--Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc., and all the prophets--when they shall appear amongst men as perfect samples of mankind, and as the princes of the Lord in all the earth to represent the glorious Messiah amongst men, the Jews will be the first to recognize the matter and respond, and then the blessings of restitution, life, and strength will gradually come to them. And as all the other nations begin to see this, they will want some of these blessings. So, you remember how the prophet expresses it. He says, "The law shall go forth from Zion"--that is, the Messiah, Jesus and the church in glory--"and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." That will be after Israel is in favor with God. "Many nations shall come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord's house, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." They will see how the Jews begin to walk in the Lord's paths, and see the blessings he will give them, and these will say, "Would not the Lord be pleased to give us Gentiles something too, if we would walk in his ways?" And God will be just as willing to give blessings to all the nations. He has merely arranged that the blessings shall come first to Israel and shall proceed to all nations. That is just what the Jews have been expecting in all the centuries in the past. There is nothing in the Jewish law or prophecies that has led the Jews to expect to be in the heavenly or spiritual class.
All the blessings that they ever expected, or that God ever promised were earthly blessings; and they will get these very blessings.
DEATH--Re Body to Dust and Spirit to God. ::Q206:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--`Eccl. 12:7`, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God, who gave it."
ANSWER.--First of all, what is meant by the spirit? We answer that the word spirit in the Hebrew is ruach; it signifies the breath, the breath of life. When God formed man, we read he breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives--plural, the breath that is common to all lives. In other words, man has the same kind of breath exactly that a horse has. The difference between man and brute is not that a man has a different kind of breath, or spirit, but that he has
a different kind of a body and the difference between human bodies we can readily see. Here is a man with one shaped head, and another man with another shaped head. Bring in a phrenologist and he will describe the two men to you very accurately just by the shape of their heads; he will not describe the difference between the men by the breath; the breath will determine nothing, the body will determine the whole matter. Imagine a man with a dog's head on, and the phrenologist will tell you that the man will think exactly as the dog thinks; and the more like a dog's head it is shaped, the more his reasoning will be after the line of the dog's reasoning, because a man does not reason with his feet--or ought not to--but he reasons with his head, and according to the shape of his head his reasoning is bound to be. So when God gave life, or breath, to the dog, the dog lived, and begat other dogs and they lived. When God gave life to man, man lived. We read, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life--that breath that is common to all lives, and man became a living soul, a living being. And so man then reproduced his own kind, and you and I are children of the first man. He has handed down that spark of life, that breath of life, from his day down to where we are today, and you have part of that same breath of life that God gave originally in a spark to father Adam. He has now renewed the spark, he has not given a fresh spark to anybody. Man came under the sentence of death and that meant that the spark of life would go up. When Adam died, the breath that God had given to him, what became of it then? The body returned to dust, and what became of his life, his right to live, his breath? He no longer had any control of that, it was back in God's hands. And his son had a little bit of it, and as soon as he died he had no further claim on it, it was back in God's hands. So with all of us from Adam down; as we die we give up all our rights to life. None of us could say, I have a right to live, and I have something I have lost and may get back again. If you ever get back life at all, my dear brother, it must be through the Life-giver. We have all lost everything once through the first Adam's disobedience, and the only way to get life again will be through the great Life-giver; and God has appointed that Jesus shall be the great Life-giver. The church is now getting life under the special terms of the high calling of this age, but in the next age Jesus will be the great everlasting Father. As the prophet Isaiah expresses it, "He shall be called the Everlasting Father." It does not mean that he will be called Jehovah. Oh, no, the word "father" means life-giver, and he will be the life-giver to the world of mankind, the giver of everlasting life to the world of mankind in contrast with father Adam who merely gave temporary life, subject to various mutations and death. Christ will be great life-giver to all the world of mankind to give everlasting life to all on the terms of loyal obedience to God and the principles of righteousness. So all through the millennial age Christ will be regenerating the world. They were generated once by father Adam and did not get a sufficiency of life, having lost it through the condemnation. Christ, by reason of his purchasing the world by his own precious life, became the rightful owner of mankind, and he purposes to become the Father, or life-giver, or generator, of the world.
And the church is to be associated with him in this work; as the first man Adam had a wife, Eve, who was associated with him in the first work of generating the world of mankind, so with the second Adam is to have associated with him a wife, a bride, in the regeneration of the world. I remind you of Jesus' words to the disciples. Saint Peter was talking about various matters, and Jesus was telling how everyone would have a reward who would follow him, and Peter said, "Lord, we have left all to follow thee; what, therefore, shall we have?" Jesus said to him and the other apostles, "He that has followed me--you who have been faithfully following me, in the regeneration--and when will the regeneration be? Not yet. The regeneration will be the thousand years of Messiah's reign--"Ye that have followed me, in the regeneration time shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." I have put in the word "time" so you will see how it should be understood. And the blessing will proceed from Israel to all the families of the earth.
DEATH--Is it Universal?
::Q208:3:: QUESTION (1911)--1--Regarding death, do all die? `John 8:51` says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my sayings he shall never see death."
ANSWER.--Death to a man, death in the absolute sense, would mean destruction. That is to say, the first death would have been just the same as the second death, absolute annihilation, had God not kindly, graciously, made an arrangement for redemption from the first death--the Adamic death. Having redeemed all from the Adamic death, God does not speak of death in the absolute sense, but as Jesus said, and the Word of God generally gives the thought, they sleep. Jesus said respecting Lazarus, our friend Lazarus sleepeth. There is to be an awakening in the morning of the resurrection; he is not really dead in the sense of being annihilated, or destroyed, having perished; God's arrangement for him from the very beginning was, that through redemption and by the resurrection of the dead, he should have an opportunity of everlasting life if he would keep the Lord's Word. When Jesus was speaking to the disciples, and they said, "If Lazarus is sleeping he is doing well," then said Jesus unto them plainly, "Lazarus is dead," but he only used that plain expression in order to come down to their method of speaking of death. In his own way of speaking of death, Lazarus had merely fallen asleep; he was not dead, the condition of death being that of destruction, just the same as when a dog is dead. Now the death of a man and the death of a dog would have left the two creatures in exactly the same condition had God not arranged that man should be redeemed from death, while he made no provision for redeeming a dog, nor for any future life for a dog. Therefore Jesus said, "If any man keep my sayings he shall not see death;" he may fall asleep, but he will be sure to be awakened, and if then he shall keep the Word of the Lord, and be obedient to the directions of the same, he shall have everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
DEATH--Those Who Die in Wickedness. ::Q208:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--What becomes of the people who die in their wickedness, never having come to a knowledge of the Lord?
ANSWER.--Well, my dear friends, what is it for one to die in his wickedness? Who is it that does not die in his wickedness? Is there anybody in the whole world that is righteous? Do not the Scriptures say there is none righteous, no not one? Taking that, then, as the basis, we say that the only ones who now are brought into harmony with God, and who may thus be said to be saved now when they die, are this small class who have come to a knowledge of God, to an understanding of the divine favor and privilege, and who have made a full consecration of themselves to the Lord, and been begotten of the Lord's Holy Sprit to a newness of life. They have passed from death unto life and if they abide they are in a different condition from all the rest of the world. But all the rest of the world is in a dying condition, as they always have been.
Now what constitutes wickedness? It is not merely that element of wickedness which is in you, because you are born with that. We were born in sin, we were shapen in iniquity. In sin did our mothers conceive us. It is not wicked to be born that way, is it? You were born in an imperfect condition, but the term wickedness as generally used applies to viciousness on the part of the individual, something willful and obdurate in the person's own character and disposition, some fighting against God, fighting against truth, and fighting against righteousness. That would be wickedness. If any man comes into relationship with Christ now, and the eyes of his understanding are opened, and if then he becomes a wicked man, turning from the Lord into sin, as the Apostle Peter says, "Like a dog to his vomit, or like a sow to wallowing again in the mire of sin," any such person, the Scriptures say, will have no further favor from God, and his death will be the second death from which there will be no recovery of any kind, at any time, by any means. He will be dead in the same sense as a brute beast that perisheth, as Saint Peter says. Now that only applies to the class that comes to the Lord now and has the hearing ear, the seeing eye, and begetting of the Spirit; it does not apply to anybody else. What about the world of mankind? Well, during the Millennial Age, during the Messianic Period, when the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth and all mankind will have an opportunity of fully coming back into harmony with God, any who then love wickedness, love sin, and hate righteousness--and more than that, any who do not love righteousness and hate sin--will be accounted worthy of dying the second death. There will be no further opportunity for them of any kind. So that God's standard for eternal life is righteousness and perfection, and nothing else. Whether that righteousness that is obtained in the present time through faith, and by reckoned imputation of Christ's merit, or whether it be the actual righteousness which the world may attain to during the thousand years of Christ's reign, by gradually raising them up out of their defilement and imperfection, either may--whoever sins against such a righteousness is a willful sinner, a malicious sinner, and will die the second death.
DEATH--When Will Adamic Cease? ::Q209:1:: QUESTION (l9l2)--1--How long will people continue to die the Adamic death after the great time of trouble?
ANSWER.--Some will continue to die for quite a little time.
I do not just exactly know how long. The way in which this matter will come about will be this: When the Kingdom will be established the first ones to appreciate that Kingdom will be the Ancient Worthies. They will he in full accord with God and will be brought forth from the tomb in a perfect condition. They will be fully admonished and instructed respecting all the things belonging to the Kingdom. I do not know just how long they will be among men. We shall have to suppose that the Ancient Worthies will require a little time to understand and appreciate things. They will not, however, be handicapped by the imperfections we have. They will, therefore, require only a comparatively short time to understand things. In the Time of Trouble, "the time of Jacob's trouble," "he shall be saved out of it." There will be a great deal of mourning, but the whole world will be in a tender-hearted condition, and the Jews will be especially ready to accept the Lord, and they will grasp the situation very quickly and they will constitute the nucleus of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom will be Israelitish for some time, but the first nation to come into line will have great peace and joy and favor far above that enjoyed by other nations, and they will not be long in beginning to see what it is that which is called the Kingdom of God. As these nations see the blessings on the Jewish nation, they will cry: "Come, let us go to the Mountain of the Lord now; He will teach us of His way." For all those who come into full harmony with God through that New Covenant then in operation for all the Adamic conditions will begin to pass away. They will begin to recover from sickness and will gain perfection of health and strength. Life everlasting will begin to come to them in the favored conditions. There is only the one way by which they can come into these favored conditions, and that is that they will have to become "Israelites." All the blessings of the New Covenant are for the children of Abraham. He is the Father of all the Faithful and so when they become faithful to God they virtually become the children of Abraham. Abraham's family will keep on growing to the end of the thousand years and then they will be "as the sands of the sea" in number. Those refusing to come into line with that family will be destroyed in the Second Death. All must be "Children of Abraham," and that means that they must all become "Children of God." Death will continue to operate in all the world except in those who are this nucleus of the Kingdom, and these blessings will ultimately extend from that nucleus under the terms and conditions that will then prevail among men on this earth.
DEATH--Who are Dead in `Isaiah 26:14`. ::Q210:1:: QUESTION (1912)--1--Kindly explain `Isa. 26:14`: "They are dead; they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise; therefore hast Thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish."
ANSWER.--There are some who think that this text refers to mankind and they then try to use this text to overthrow other texts. We should not go trying to overthrow one text by another. We should rather be for trying to bring all the texts of Scripture into full harmony with each other and with the whole. Here is a text which seems to conflict with
the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. Look at the text for a moment. We find here a very special description of the class here specified. This description applies to the "Giants" of the present day in the world. This refers to the great giant trusts and corporations that have a wonderful power and they are all coming together. It does not matter how strong they seem to be at the present time, they shall come down. They shall die. They shall perish. They shall never rise again when once they have perished. These are the class to whom this text does refer.
DEATH--The Dictionary Definition. ::Q211:1:: QUESTION (1912-Z)--1--Is there any difference between "Death" and "Annihilation"?
ANSWER.--The Standard Dictionary, our best authority on such matters, gives the following definition of Annihilate: (1) To put out of existence; destroy absolutely; reduce to nothing. (2) To destroy the identity of. Its synonym is, Exterminate, i.e., destroy entirely. Words are only vehicles for conveying thought, and much depends upon the vehicle which best expresses your meaning in the question. The spark of animal energy which God supplied to Adam and which he, in turn, dispensed to his offspring, but which was forfeited for him and for his posterity by his act of disobedience, passes at death from the individual as absolutely as it does from a brute beast. The word "life," however, as used in a large number of instances, does not stand merely for the spark of animal energy, but is a synonym for soul or being.
In God's purpose or arrangement this being has not in death become extinct, exterminated, annihilated; for he has provided for it a future. There is, however, no sentient being in the sense of consciousness, or knowledge, or appreciation of pain or of joy, or any other experience. But the Divine Creator, who first gave being, has declared that in the case of Adam and his children it is His purpose to provide a Redeemer, through whom all may be restored as completely as before they came under the death sentence.
The world, who do not recognize God or His power, and who have no knowledge of the promise of resurrection through the merit of Christ's redemptive work, might properly enough speak of one in death as being extinct, as a dead animal. This is the standpoint of the agnostic. But by believers, instructed of God respecting His purpose in Christ and in the resurrection of the dead eventually, and in the opportunity of eternal life to every one, this matter is to be viewed from the same standpoint from which our Lord viewed it when He said, "He is not a God of the dead but of the living; for all live [or are alive] unto Him" (Luke 20:38); or as the Apostle Paul stated when he spoke of "God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were" (`Rom. 4:17`); that is, God purposes their awakening, and speaks of the present condition of Adamic death as merely a suspension of life, and not as annihilation, extermination, extinction.
You probably have already in your library a little volume entitled The Divine Plan of the Ages--fourth million now on the press. This will give you a much fuller answer to your question than our limited space will allow in this column.
DEATH--We Die Daily by Laying Down Our Lives. ::Q212:1:: QUESTION (1912-Z)--1--What is the Apostle's thought in the statement, "So, then, death worketh in us, but life in you"?--`2 Cor. 4:12`.
ANSWER.--We understand St. Paul to refer to the tribulations which he and his companions were experiencing as they journeyed about in the interests of the Truth. These persecutions, difficulties, trials by the way, were evidences that God was accepting their sacrifice. Thus their death was going on, as elsewhere he says, "We die daily." In this statement he expressed the object, or motive, that prompted him and his companions to act. What they did was done, not in a perfunctory manner, because they had a general mission, but from a heart motive and in harmony with the Divine will, that they might bring spiritual blessings to the Church.
The early Church perceived that the Apostles were very active in the service of the Truth; and St. Paul explained that their motive was an unselfish one. He exhorted the Church not to please themselves, but to lay down their lives for one another, as he and his companions were doing, as ensamples to the flock. All who are members of the Royal Priesthood are laying down their lives in the service. We are thus "building one another up in the most holy faith," until we are come to the New Jerusalem!--the glorious Kingdom of the great Anointed One, the great Prophet, Priest and King, of whose profession Jesus is the great High Priest!
Our Lord declared, "I come to do Thy will, O God"; "I delight to do Thy will." (`Heb. 10:9`; `Psa. 40:8`.) This was a part of the Divine will, that He should lay down His life, finish His sacrifice, that He might ultimately give it on behalf of Adam and all of his race.
DEATH--Adamic or Sacrificial. ::Q212:2:: QUESTION (l9l3-Z)--2--Suppose that one of God's consecrated saints should die by some convulsion of nature--flood, fire, etc.--would such a death be sacrificial, or would it be Adamic?
ANSWER.--A consecrated child of God could not die the Adamic death. His death would either be the sacrificial death or the Second Death. If when he died he were a consecrated child of God, his death would be merely a completion of the consecration which he had previously made. Our lives are made holy and acceptable by the great High Priest, in whatever form death may come. But if in the meantime this consecrated child of God should turn away from Him, then it would be the Second Death. If he sin wilfully, deliberately, he commits the "sin unto death."-- `1 John 5:16`.
DEATH--Fear of Dead. ::Q212:3:: QUESTION (1913)--3--Will the fear of the second death be apparent to the human family when perfected in the ages to come, or will it be possible for sin to be practiced?
ANSWER.--Our understanding is that the Lord intends that there will be no sin practiced after the destruction of Satan at the close of the Millennial Age. It will mean absolutely the end of sin and absolutely the end of death--at least so far as humanity and the earth are concerned. But God, before bringing things to that climax and deciding who
may have everlasting life, intends to have such a searching investigation that He will have demonstrated whether or no they will have any love for sin whatever: any who have any love for sin may have all the sin they want and all the penalty they want and God does not want them. He wants those who love righteousness and hate iniquity; the blessings are only for that class. All those whose sins are discovered will be punished with the second death, so that this guarantees that no one will live beyond that time except those in full accord with God, and therefore, without fear of second death.
DEATH--Adamic, After Establishment of Kingdom. ::Q213:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--Will there be any further dying of the Adamic death after Messiah's Kingdom shall be established in the earth?
ANSWER.--I think something is dependent upon the weight of meaning we give to the expression "established in the earth." To my understanding the Kingdom will be a little time in being established. It will take time for its establishment, because, as I understand the matter, He intends to establish the Kingdom as people are ready to receive it. There will be plenty of people when the moment shall come when Messiah shall dominate the world and establish His Kingdom; there will be thousands and tens of thousands who will have no knowledge of the fact at all, and it will probably take some little while for the knowledge to reach them, weeks, months, perhaps years--I do not know that I should say years, but a considerable length of time--and apparently, as I read the Scriptures, this will be done in an orderly way. There will he a certain class ready to receive the Master and the Kingdom; there will be, for instance, the Ancient Worthies for one class and certain other persons who have come to a knowledge of the Lord who are in sympathy with the Kingdom and with these there will be the Jews, the willing Jews, and many of them will just be in a condition of readiness to fall in line, saying, Here are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets and they tell us the Kingdom is established and we will fall in line; if Messiah's kingdom is come, we will seek to be in harmony with it. As the blessing will come upon them, the restriction making them better and better, and a blessing upon their harvest, and all the good things upon them, the other will say, Why, these Jews have got it all and they will say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and He will teach us of His ways," as well as the Jews; for, "the Law shall go forth from Mount Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" and it shall go to the ends of the earth. But the blessings of Harvest, and so forth, that the Scriptures indicate, may take some time to convince them; one bad harvest may not convince them. Perhaps when they have had two or three, they will say, These Jews say that the reason of their prosperity is that they have back some of their prophets, resurrected from the dead, but it is foolishness. But as the time passes and the blessings still continue they will say, Foolishness or not, they are getting on first rate anyway. Later on people will reason more clearly when it affects their lives, and will come into harmony and he represented as Israelites; they will all come to be Israelites, the seed of Abraham, for Abraham's seed is to fill all the earth, and everybody that does not become of Abraham's seed will he one of those who suffer
the second death. And so I think it will be a gradual work; I do not know whether it will take ten years or more, but I should be inclined to think that five years will be a long time. And we believe that during that time death will be working in the world; people will be dying just the same as now, from weakness and disease, and that only with those who will come into harmony will the dying process and weakness begin to pass away, and that others will still be dying Adamic death; there will be no difference between the death they die and that which their grandfathers died. All death that comes as a result of sin is Adamic death when ever it comes, so if it came centuries apart it is still Adamic death. The Lord's promise is to any of those who get away from sin; then they may live; but if they like sin best they will die, it would signify second death for them because it would mean that they would fall out of line with the Kingdom, and yet, even, these are given a hundred years, you remember, in which they may be trespassers and yet not acknowledged worthy of the second death.
DEATH--Was Our Lord's Sacrificial? ::Q214:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--Was our Lord's death a sacrificial one solely or did God need to impute sin to Him that He might die?
ANSWER.--We understand that our Lord's death was purely a sacrificial one. We find no Scriptures that say the Father imputed sin to Him; we can see no reason why such an imputation of sin should be made. It was not the Father who killed Him; it was not the Father who said He was a sinner. It was the Roman governor who said He was a sinner; it was the Jews who declared against Him first and urged the governor to fulfill their demands; all this condemnation came from the Jews, no condemnation from God. In God's sight He was then and always holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and the Scriptures show that if He had been anything else He would not have been acceptable for God's altar; to suppose that God would have imputed sin to Him would show that He would have no place on God's altar, for nothing defiled was permitted to come to God's altar. We sometimes say that our sins were imputed to Him and His righteousness is imputed to us, and there is a measure of truth in such a statement and a measure of correctness in such a thought. That is to say, we see how His righteousness was imputed to us; that is very plain; He imputes or grants the Church His merit or righteousness in view of the sacrifice He has made, and we can see also that what is meant by the thought that our sins were imputed to Him; by His own consent He took the place of the sinner, He offered Himself up to God "a sacrifice well pleasing." He offered Himself a sacrifice as typified by Aaron offering the bullock; the bullock was not blemished, but a perfect one. As the Priest, He slayed the bullock, and as the Priest He offered it afterwards to God. As a matter of fact, He has not yet offered it to God for the world, not yet. More than 1800 years have passed. The priest merely took the blood of the bullock and went into the Holy and then the Most Holy and there sprinkled the blood only on behalf of himself and his house, his body and the household of faith; the little flock class, the priestly class represented in his body, the under priests and household of faith representing the
Great Company class; only for these did he sprinkle the blood. The sins of the world were not imputed to Him in any sense, nor have they yet been. When He has finished the sacrificing of the Church which is His body, He will present us to the Father; that will be at the end of the age when the Church have been offered with Him and then He will present the full merit of His sacrifice in behalf of the sins of all the people, all the world of mankind. That will be the time when the world's sins will be canceled, but at the present time He is giving us His righteousness and our sins are being put upon Him. He never did any sin, but has merely so far imputed His righteousness to the Church, and will, by and by, to the world.
DEATH--Seeking and not Finding it. ::Q215:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--In those days men shall seek death and shall not find it; and shall desire to die and death shall flee from them. (`Rev. 9:6`.) Please explain.
ANSWER.--The book of Revelation is a symbolic book, and I believe it cannot be rightly understood except as a whole. We would not be prepared this evening to explain it as a whole; therefore we believe it will be best to leave this little portion for future explanation.
DEATH--Re New Covenant. ::Q215:2:: QUESTION (1913)--2--If the new Age is soon to begin, as stated by you this afternoon, will it be necessary for every man to die in order to gain that new life; or will it be possible to receive the benefits of the new covenant and not die at all?
ANSWER.--We understand the Scriptures to teach that when the Kingdom of Messiah is inaugurated it will be in the midst of a time of trouble. Undoubtedly if it is to be the greatest trouble the world has ever had, as the Scriptures declare, it will be a serious time. We imagine many people will lose their lives. If they lose their lives they will need to have a resurrection from the dead. A great many will pass over from the present to the New Age, and the kingdom being established, they will not need to die. They may raise up more and more to perfection and finally get everlasting life without ever going into the tomb.
But I think of another part. Someone may say, "Has not the sentence of death passed upon the whole human family, and would that not mean that they must go down to death?" They are all in death; you are in death. Every one is born under the sentence of death. It is not necessary that those whose reprieve comes in should go the whole length in order to be awakened. Let us illustrate the matter. Suppose all in this audience had been brought under the sentence of imprisonment for life; instead of the prison of death it is the prison of Springfield. Suppose the patrol wagon came and took away a load to prison, and came after another, and another, but there are some still remaining here. Suppose the Governor, or Mayor, or someone having authority, granted a reprieve and set aside this sentence. Would it be necessary for us to go to prison and come out again? The reprieve would cover that. So some have already gone down into the prison of death, others are on their sick beds and on the way, while some of us still have a measure of health and strength. When the new covenant is established it will not
be necessary for such as are living to go down into the prison.
DEATH--Must all Humanity Enter the Tomb? ::Q216:1:: QUESTION (1915)--1--Please give Scripture for, the thought that some of the human family now living may not have to go down into death.
ANSWER.--I would say that the question is put in the wrong way. If the questioner thinks that all the l,600,000,000 now living should give some proof that they will all die, it isn't necessary. Properly, it seems that they would not all die; for the natural conclusion would be that as the Prince of Darkness has the power of death, and he is to be brought under control very soon, is to be bound, and as the Life-Giver who has died on behalf of the world is to set up His Kingdom, and that Kingdom is all-powerful, and its King opposed to death, death will cease when the Kingdom has taken control. The new King will not only be opposed to people who have already died remaining dead, but will be opposed to the death of any who will then have been legally redeemed. This will include every member of the race of Adam.
We have given an illustration in Studies in the Scriptures which covers this point. But you know we need to study those Studies in the Scriptures over and over. There the illustration is like this: Suppose that we as a whole company gathered together were placed under arrest, that some officer of the Government would come to the door and say, "I have an unpleasant announcement: You are all under arrest." And then suppose that they would have a wagon outside and would begin to take us to the lockup. After taking the first load, they would return and take another wagon-load, and then another and another. Then suppose that while the wagon was on the way to the station and while others were standing here awaiting their turn, some one went to see the authorities, and they would say, "There is some mistake about this, but there is so much of a payment to be made." "Very well, I will give you the check." Then the chief officer would say, "Stop this matter of arrest at once." So the proper officers go out and execute the command. They meet the wagon and say, "You need not take these people any further they are not under arrest. Let them go!" Then he come up to the building where the remainder are awaiting their incarceration and says, "You are all now free." Then he hastens to the jail and liberates those who had been imprisoned, giving them the message of freedom.
Now those who had been taken to prison and those who had not been taken had all been under sentence. But when the claim was adjusted no more need enter the prison. So it is with the results of our Lord's death. It will not only set free those who have gone down into the great prison-house of death, but will stop the proceedings against those waiting to go into this prison-house. This is implied in the Scriptures. For example, see `Zep. 3:8,9`; `Rev. 14:6,7`.
DEATH--Will All Go into Death. ::Q216:2:: QUESTION (1908)--2--Will the restitution class living when the Church is sealed go into death, or will restitution commence with them at once?
ANSWER.--I understand that with the closing of this age, --or rather I wish to say that the Church will be completed with the close of this age, and at that time a great time of trouble will come in upon the world in which a great many people will lose their lives--a time of trouble which is pictured in the Scriptures by the trouble that came on the Jews at the end of their age when so many thousand people of Israel perished at the siege of Jerusalem. That is given as a type in the Scriptures as the end of this age and the perishing of a great many here. Likewise the French Revolution is held up in the book of Revelation as a picture of the time that is coming in the end of this age. So what we expect will be a little short period of anarchy, and the Church will be taken before that anarchy begins. It will be completed, as our Lord said. The world will fear looking for those things that are coming on the earth, but, he said, "Watch that ye may be accounted worthy to escape those things coming on the world." The Church will have certain things coming on it, and it will include a great many trials and persecutions, and perhaps a great deal of suffering in various ways, in the end of this age; but they will all have passed beyond the vail before this anarchistic trouble will have come on the world. And in the coming of this trouble on the world a great many lives will be lost; but still there will be a great many people left out of the sixteen hundred millions of the world's population. We would not expect that nearly half would die. By no means, but without attempting to guess as to the proportionate number, there will be a good many of them undoubtedly left at that time, and it will be to those that the Lord's first message will come, and the establishment of his kingdom. The Scriptures teach us it will begin with the Jews. They will be the first to be favored in that restitution time. God's favor will come first to them through the Ancient Worthies, and then through them afterwards to all the nations, kindreds and tongues. And thus all living nations will have a blessing from the Lord, and their blessing would come in the very beginning of the dawn of the Millennial age; they will have this first, or primary, blessing, and as they fall in line with the kingdom order of things, righteousness will begin to be established in the earth; and as mankind comes into harmony all of this will be established to some extent before any are awakened from the tomb. Now I imagine part of this question would be, Do they not all have to go down into the tomb? Must not every member of Adam's race, since the penalty was death, go down into the tomb? No, I answer; it is not necessary to the divine will. From God's standpoint the whole world is a dead world, as Jesus said, you remember. There was a certain young man who said, Lord, after my father's death I will come and be one of your disciples. While the old gentleman lives I think I had better stay with him, but after he is dead I will become one of your disciples. Jesus answered and said unto him, Let the dead bury the dead, but go thou and preach the gospel. Which is to say, that the whole world is dead from God's standpoint.
Sickness, death, has passed upon all mankind, and from God's standpoint none of them have life nor a right to life. Again, you remember that the Lord Jesus said, "He
that hath the Son bath life and he that hath not the Son bath not life." The whole world, then, that have not Christ have not life. Christ is the Life giver and whoever has Christ gets life. So then, the whole world is a dead world already. Now, then, with the beginning of the Millennial age, the Lord who has bought the whole world with his precious blood will begin the work of restoring things and blessing the world, uplifting it, and as the world gets this uplift it will help them out of their dying condition. For instance, when the world of mankind that have gone down into death shall all come forth, they will not come forth to life. You remember the Scriptures say that only the first resurrection class come forth to life. So our Lord says, "They that have done good." Those that have pleased the Father, those who have his approval, shall come forth unto the resurrection of life, the others come forth to a resurrection by judgments--a gradual raising up out of death, a thousand-year day in which, under the judgments of the Millennial kingdom, they will be lifted up, up, up, out of their degradation and sin, out of dying, and brought to the full perfection of life. You see Adam had life when God formed him, but when be committed sin he came under the sentence of death, "Dying thou shalt die." The dying began right away. He was thrust out of the garden of Eden. He began to be a dying man; he could not be a living man, and a dying man both. Perfection of life began to go the moment he was thrust out of the garden. After the sentence of death it took 930 years before he was absolutely dead. So with the world in the matter of restitution; the awakening from the tomb will not be giving them life; life is the perfection; it will be bringing them forth in the still imperfect condition, without life. But they will be lifted up higher and higher out of degradation, mental, moral and physical, into which they have been plunged through sin. So not until the end of the Millennial age will the world of mankind be free from death. And that is what the Scriptures say again, The last enemy death, shall he destroyed. And that is speaking of Christ's Millennial kingdom, because it is right in that connection. In 1 Cor. 15th chapter the Apostle shows that He must reign until he shall have put down all authority, and all insubordination, and the last enemy, the last foe to God, and to righteousness, and to man, will he death. And so it will take the whole thousand years to put down death, because it will take the whole thousand years to bring man out of death. So long as death has any hold on mankind, death is not destroyed. It will take all of that thousand years to destroy death and release mankind.
Someone may say, "Brother Russell, You have not said anything about anyone dying the second death." No, but it is true. The Scriptures tell that there will be some who, with all the favor of God, will reject the counsel of God and fail to attain that life, fail to be raised out of it; not fail because there is any limitation of God's plan, not because God had not made any provision for them, not because the precious blood of Christ was not sufficient for them, not because the opportunities of the Millennial age were insufficient. No, but merely because of their refusal to accept God's favor under these blessed and favorable conditions of the Millennium. God has given to every human being a will
for himself, and he does not propose to coerce any man's will, but on the contrary he seeketh such to worship him as worship in spirit and truth. And if any will not worship him in spirit and in truth, let him die the death. God does not propose to give eternal life to any except those who desire eternal life and who love the terms upon which be offers it,--the terms of obedience and loyalty to God,--and we all say, Amen. We are glad God has determined that not a rebel soul shall live. So when the end of the Millennial age shall have come, and Jesus shall turn over the world to the Father, he will be able to turn it over perfect, because in the meantime he will destroy all those in the second death who refuse to go forward and refuse to be obedient to the laws of his kingdom. You remember the prophecy how that a sinner shall die a hundred years old. He shall be cut off because of his refusal to fall in line with the rules of the kingdom. You remember the Apostle Peter's statement in the 3rd chapter of Acts when he says, pointing down to Christ's Millennial kingdom: Verily Moses said unto the fathers, a prophet, a great teacher, prophet, priest and king, shall God raise up from amongst your brethren, like unto me. As Moses was the great leader of Israel so here is to be a greater than Moses, the antitype; and it says that the soul that shall not obey that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from amongst the people. Thank God he will not be tormented! No, God will destroy all the wicked,-- "All the wicked will he destroy." That is a righteous, just penalty for those who refuse God's favor and his righteous, reasonable, loving terms.
Brother Harrison: Will you please give us a word or two additional on a few points on that subject? I understood you to say that they who would come forth to a resurrection of life would include those only who have part in the first resurrection. Does it not also include the Ancient Worthies, who died in faith, and, second, may we expect the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies during the time of anarchy, or immediately at the close of that period?
ANSWER.--I agree. This statement of our Lord in `John 5:29`, "They that have done good [shall come forth] unto the resurrection of life," includes more than the first resurrection. You see the word "first" in one sense is used in order of time-- first in order of time. Now that will be first in order of time there specified, but the word in the original strictly means first in order of quality--first-class resurrection. The Lord does not say that all of those shall come forth to the first-class resurrection. Another Scripture says, "Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first [that is in the first-class] resurrection; they shall be priests unto God and to Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." That is the little flock, you see. Now when our Lord mentions the matter, he does not divide this first resurrection, or this resurrection of those that have done good; he does not tell us about the different parts but he lumps together all who belong to the resurrection of those who have done good. They shall all come forth to life, resurrection. Now it includes, therefore, not merely the little flock which constitutes the church, the bride of Christ, but it includes also the great company, because they have done good. They made their consecration, and though they were not loyal enough
according to the Scriptures, to be counted worthy of a share in the throne with the Lord, and be priests of that royal priestly class, and he joint heirs with him, yet the testings brought upon them eventually proves that they are loyal to God, even at the cost of their lives, so that they did good; they come off conquerors, as is shown in Revelation where that class is pictured. We read about the little flock of a hundred and forty-four thousand, and then we read of a great company whose number no man knows, out of every people, and kindred, and nation and tongue. Who are these? These are they who come up out of great tribulation. The little flock came through great tribulation. Without tribulation ye shall not enter the kingdom. Then who are these? This is a special tribulation class for a special reason, and so we read that eventually they will be granted palm branches. They are not granted crowns. Crowns belong to the little flock, but palm branches belong to the great company, because they represent victory. The great company gain a victory because the Scriptures say they are conquerors. But the little flock are what? More than conquerors. The great company will all be conquerors; they must all conquer or they will die the second death. Everyone who comes under the Spirit's power during this gospel age is bound to come off a conqueror, or else die the second death; there is nothing else to it. There are two classes, then, that have done good; the little flock, more than conquerors, and the great company, conquerors. And then there are the Ancient Worthies, who are those mentioned in Paul's letter to the Hebrews, where he explains how some of them were found faithful, and endured hardness, and he goes on to tell about them, saying that they had this testimony that they pleased God. You see that shows they will be of that class our Lord mentioned. He there says that they have done good. On what basis? Faith and obedience. They are, then, in the resurrection class. It includes really three classes, but our Lord mentions them as one, "They that have done good [shall come forth] unto a resurrection of life." These three classes will come forth unto life on three different planes-- three different resurrections in that sense of the word. First will be the Saints who will come forth to the plane of the divine nature; secondly, will be the Great Company who will come forth on the plane of the spirit nature, like unto that of the angels; and, thirdly, the Ancient Worthies who will come forth on the human plane as men. Why should all of those come forth unto life and perfection? They stood their trial and in their trial they had the testimony that they came off conquerors, pleased God, therefore God is going to give them life. The gift of God is eternal life. The gift of God is eternal life in a special application to the Church; this eternal life is the divine nature. The eternal life to the Great Company is as spirit beings on the angelic plane. The gift of God, eternal life, will be restitution for the Ancient Worthies--perfection of human nature. They were never called to anything more. Then you remember the Apostle says, God having provided some better thing for us than for them, that they without us should not be made perfect. How wonderful the Scriptures fit together! But what about the rest of mankind? They will come forth to be tried. You remember this word "judgment" signifies "trial." The
world will not be on trial until the due time comes. Some of you perhaps have been in court and know that one case is on for trial, and all the cases were not on at once, were they? No. Here is one case that is on trial, and the other cases could not come on until that one was tried. Now, God is putting on trial first of all the Church; the Church is on trial during this Gospel age. After the Church's trial is over those who get the mark of pleasing God will be ushered into the glories of the Lord's blessing through the resurrection change, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Their trial is then past, as our Lord pictures in the parable of the nobleman who went into a far country to receive a kingdom for himself, etc.
DEATH--Sacrificial Or Real. ::Q221:1:: QUESTION (1916)--1--"Blessed in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints", `Psa 16:15`. Does this mean daily dying the sacrificial death, or the real death of a saint?
ANSWER.--We need not quarrel over that text at all. Everything pertaining to the saint is precious to the Lord. At the time of consecration, that is precious in His sight. It was precious in His sight when Jesus, the first Saint, did this. The Father caused the Holy Spirit to come upon Jesus at that time, and the Voice declared Him to be the Son of God. At every other step we may have the divine favor and blessing, because everything pertaining to the saint is precious in the sight of the Lord. Consecration, dying daily and finally actual death-- they are all precious to the Father. He is going to give all such that great reward. Precious therefore must they be in his sight.
DEBTS--Owing Others. ::Q221:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--Please explain, "Owe no man anything but love."
ANSWER.--Well, that is pretty nearly as plain as I could state it myself.
DEEDS--Records to Property in Millennial Age. ::Q221:3:: QUESTION (1909)--3--Will earthly records to deeds to property be recognized at all in the Millennial Age after the time of trouble?
ANSWER.--It is very difficult for us to determine to what extent a title-deed to property will have value after the time of trouble, because we do not know to what extent the records will be destroyed. It is very difficult to speak about a matter which is so obscure, and of which there is no record in the Scriptures. Our supposition is that after the introduction of the Millennial Age matters will go in much the same way as before, but the world will be in a paralyzed condition, all beaten and sore, because of the great trouble. Our Lord spoke of this through the Prophet, saying, "Be still and know that I am God." That will be the first lesson for the world to learn. It will be a severe but a very valuable lesson for the outside nations. We understand that death will continue to reign in a measure and that the only place that life and restitution will be manifest in the world will be in the lives of the nation of Israel under the New Covenant. It will still be true and always be true that, "He that hath the Son hath life, but he that hath not the Son hath not life." The heathen nations that do not fall in line with the Heavenly Kingdom will be barred to the special
blessings that are coming under the New Covenant to the Covenanted people of Israel.
As the other nations see the blessings that are coming to the nation of Israel, they will all want to have a share and this is what will lead them to say, "Let us go up to the house of the Lord and he will lead us in his paths."
As to the value then of a title-deed, after the time of trouble, I think it is too indefinite a question to discuss. I would say this, however, that the man who owned the property would have as much right as any one else.
DEMONS--Time for Judging. ::Q222:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--"And behold they cried out, saying, 'what have w to do with thee Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come to torment us before the time?'" What time?
ANSWER.--This, dear friends, you remember was the language of the demons. When the Lord was casting out some of these demons at the first advent, and he commanded them to come out of the man and they objected; they seemed to think they were still within the limits of their time. Haven't we got a right to continue under these conditions? Haven't you come too soon? Are you going to torment us before the time? Well, I would suggest this: The word torment there does not have exactly the same thought that our word torment would have. It would mean, "do us distress;" just the same as in a landlord's warranty, a landlord is said to put a tenant in distress for his rent. That is to say, he will put him out of the premises for failure to pay his rent, and that is the thought that is here. Have you come to distress us, or put us out before the time? But, anyway, whatever the fallen spirits might say would not be good theology with any good Christian. We are not building our theology on what the demons say. We want what Jesus, and the apostles, and prophets, say. What the demons say would not count anything with me.
It reminds me of a gentleman who was once arguing a point with me, and he quoted a Scripture, and it was quite to his side, and I said, "Where is that?" And we turned to the place, and I found then why it was peculiar. It was in Job. It was what the devil said. "Now," I said, "Brother, you are quoting me what the devil said." And he had no more to say. So here, what these demons said is worthy of no further consideration.
DEPOSIT--Where Shown in Old Testament. ::Q222:2:: QUESTION (1916)--2--Is the deposit of the ransom price shown anywhere in the types and shadows or teachings of the Old Testament?
ANSWER.--I do not think of anything in the Old Testament that teaches the deposit of the ransom. The ransom in this particular sense of the word is not a word used in the Old Testament. Only one case, "No man can give to God a ransom for his brother." It is a New Testament thought brought to our attention under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and representing a very deep teaching of God's Word,
DEPOSIT--In Whose Name and Credit. ::Q222:3:: QUESTION (1916)--3--In whose name and to whose credit is this deposit?
ANSWER.--In the name and credit of the one human man I deposit it. Same as if you put $1,000 in the bank, it is in your name. Jesus did not give this to any one else. He deposited it in the hands of the Father. "I commit." No change, no transfer. Not that I commit this in your care for Father Adam or the world. I simply deposit it in your care and keeping. My spirit--that is shown there by the word"my."
DEPOSIT--Meaning of. ::Q223:1:: QUESTION (1916)--1--Give the meaning of the word deposit, please.
ANSWER.--The word deposit signifies the word deposit. Put $1,000 in a bank, a deposit; you would get a little book and it would show a credit there. Your deposit does not show that you gave it to the banker. It was in his keeping for you had placed it in his care and it was yours to check out, when you pleased. Jesus deposits the ransom when he said in his dying moments, Father, in thy hands I commend, commit, I give over my spirit. The spirit of human life. Give it over to the Father's hands, not to the devil. The devil has nothing to do with mankind. Jesus had a right to his life. He had kept the Divine Law, being holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners and fully doing the Father's will. He had a life right unforfeited in any sense of the word, and this he deposited. "Father into thy hands I commit my spirit of life." And it is still in the Father's hands; Jesus never took it away. But did he not take it away when he was resurrected from the dead? No, the Father gave him a reward of a still higher form of life. "Put to death in the flesh, but quickened or made alive in the Spirit" on the Divine plane. This spirit life which he had in the resurrection was a reward for obedience; no bearing on his other life at all. He still has right to the earthly, but he has no use for it. He has a higher and better life, but the other is at his disposal.
DEPOSIT--When Made. ::Q223:2:: QUESTION (1916)--2--Did Jesus make his deposit at the time of his death, or at the river Jordon?
ANSWER.--I would say he did not make his deposit at the time of his consecration at Jordon. My view of it would be that Jesus made a covenant with the Father that he would keep the Divine law and do everything he found written in the book, all the things represented in the types and shadows, and this was the arrangement of the Father, and that by doing all these things fully, by keeping the Law he had a right to life and by sacrificing his right to that, he had become heir to the promises of glory, honor and immortality, and it was when he was giving up his life entirely: "Father into thy hands I commit my spirit."
DEPOSIT--Its Value. ::Q223:3:: QUESTION (1916)--3--What is the real merit, or credit, or price, on deposit?
ANSWER.--The thing that is on deposit is merely the value of a perfect man's life. No more, no less. That was the ransom on deposit. The corresponding price, that which Adam had forfeited. Of course that life includes the right to fellowship with God, earthly home and all the things
that God had given to man originally. Psalm 8. What is man? "Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels--thou hast put all things under his feet." And it includes all those rights, and when Jesus laid down his life right he was laying down as much as any man ever had or could have. A right to everything Adam had as a perfect man. All this was placed in the Father's hands, in the hands of the Divine justice.
DEPOSIT--Value Through Jesus. ::Q224:1:: QUESTION (1916)--1--Why is the value of the deposit through the glorified Jesus?
ANSWER.--In that it is the basis of the great work. The first part of the work is the bringing many sons to glory, and that same ransom sacrifice in the hands of justice will be the price which will make the ransom of the whole world from death, and give the glorified mediator, head and body the right to step in, and for 1,000 years exercise mercy toward mankind, helping them up from their fallen position, to all that was lost in Eden.
DEPOSIT--New Testament Teaching On. ::Q224:2:: QUESTION (1916)--2--What New Testament Scriptures clearly teach the acceptance of the deposit of the ransom price?
ANSWER.--The general teaching of the New Testament is that Jesus has something in the hands of Divine justice which is the basis of all reconciliation with the Father. The one that directly tells us, he not only gave himself a ransom, but when he died he said "Into thy hands I commit my spirit. I leave it with you." Many scriptures show how this is made applicable. We read of the application of the merit. It implies there is some merit there. Figuratively referred to, how could we receive the robe of righteousness unless there was a merit?
DESTRUCTION--As Natural Brute Beasts. ::Q224:3:: QUESTION (1907)--3--Please explain the text that speaks of some persons as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed.
ANSWER.--The Apostle is speaking of some who are to suffer destruction at the hands of the Lord, and he says as wild beasts they are taken and destroyed. You do not think it any harm to destroy a lion. Why? Because he is ferocious and apt to do some harm. If it were a dove flying about and harmless, I would say, do not touch it, but let it go. Or if it were some bird of beautiful plumage flying about and doing no harm, but only uttering some beautiful trill of voice, I would say, do not touch the bird. Why should we destroy the life of any such innocent and beautiful creature? But if it were a lion or a tiger, and the whole village or city was in distress because of it, and it was going to do some harm, we would say that we had better destroy it. Every policeman, under such circumstances, is authorized to draw his revolver and to shoot immediately. It is only fit for destruction; and is not a proper thing to let go at liberty. So, the Lord has this view with respecting a certain class He is going to destroy in the second death. They are not fit for life; that is the reason they will be destroyed. They are no more fit for life than the brute beasts are fit to live. Just as it is proper to destroy a corrupt person who has injured others, and to cut off his
opportunity of perpetuating evil, so it would be to destroy a brute beast. And God purposes that all the wicked will He destroy--those who have had full knowledge, and have been helped in every way that God, Christ and the Ancient Worthies will be able to help them--after they have had all of that, if they are still, at heart, antagonistic to righteousness, and if they still love iniquity, let them die as brute beasts. But it would not be right to torment them. It is not right to torment brute beasts. Who would say that God or man had a right to torment even brute beasts, or human creatures? But it is right to destroy beasts and it is right for God to destroy those who will ultimately be like brute beasts, in that they would be injurious to others.
DEVIL--Final Abode. ::Q225:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--What will be the final abode and end of the devil and his angels?
ANSWER.--I do not think they will have any final abode. They belong to the wicked, and all the wicked will God destroy; not only the wicked human, but also the wicked spirit beings. Eternal life is the gift of God, and he will not allow that to go to those who will not use it in harmony with himself. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life.
DEVIL--Re Symbols of Revelation. ::Q225:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever." "And the smoke of their torment ascended up forever and ever, and they have no rest day and night which worship the beast and his image."
ANSWER.--These passages are taken from Revelation, and the book of Revelation is a symbolical book; that is exactly what it purports to be. We read that Jesus sent his angel and signified or made signs of certain things, and those signs, or symbols, have been with us and have been examined for 1,800 years. Now we will not undertake at this time to investigate the entire book of Revelation, but content ourselves briefly by saying, first, that all teachers will admit that no doctrine should be based wholly on a text of Scripture found in Revelation, if it does not have some foundation in other parts of the Word of God; no one may build a doctrine merely upon a passage of Scripture which has only Revelation for its basis, because that being a symbolical book, nearly all the statements in it are symbolical. Now in this case you will notice the reference to the beast and false prophet--one beast and one false prophet. Who is that beast? Have you seen that beast? Do you know anything about that beast? Do you know anything about that false prophet? Now, you see, unless I would take time to go into the matter and discuss what the beast symbolizes, and what the false prophet symbolizes, it would not be proper to discuss what is meant by this, and what happened to them. The beast is a symbol of a great system, but time will not permit us to go into a discussion of the subject. I believe it represents a great system of religion that is now in the world. And the false prophet I understand represents another system of religion--not a man, not men, but a system; and that system.
is to be destroyed; and that system is to have torment, and it is to collapse--not the people. You will find something on this subject in the little pamphlet we gave away last night.
DIVES--Meaning of. ::Q226:1:: QUESTION (1905)--1--What does the word "Dives" come from?
ANSWER.--It signifies "rich man," as Lazarus signifies "poor."
DIVINITY--Does Pastor Russell Deny Christ's? ::Q226:2:: QUESTION (1913)--2--Do you deny the divinity of Christ?
ANSWER.--By no means, dear friends. It is a very remarkable thing that there are some who seem to greatly misunderstand what we have to say. You will find in this city and in every great city I suppose scores who will deny that Jesus ever had a virgin mother; scores who will deny that He had any prior existence. No one says anything about their denying the divinity of Jesus. I do not accuse them. Do we not claim that Jehovah was His Father? Do we not deny that Joseph was His Father? We certainly do claim the divinity of Christ; that the divine Father was His Father; that He was begotten and specially born of a virgin, and therefore, was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." Do we claim he was the Heavenly Father when a man? No, we do not claim He was His own father. That would not be Scriptural. If anyone thinks He was His own father, and His own son, he does not know what he is talking about.
As to what He is now. We believe He is divine now. The Bible says so. "Him hath God exalted and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth." Already the angels are bowing to Him, and by and by every knee on earth will bow. Moreover, Saint Peter says the church is begotten to the divine nature. While it does not say Jesus is a partaker of the divine nature, we understand him to teach that thought.
DIVISIONS--The Unruly and Confused. ::Q226:3:: QUESTION (1910)--3--In `Rom. 16:17`, we are told to mark those which cause divisions and avoid them. What rules will enable us to distinguish between such and those who are simply confused, or who are unable to quickly see some further point of truth.? What shall our course with those of the latter class be if unusually earnest about expressing themselves regarding their differences?
ANSWER.--I would say that would he a matter of judgment, that you should use your own judgment, asking the Lord for guidance, that you might deal wisely with all the brethren, and always kindly and lovingly.
The marking of those who cause divisions, I would understand the Apostle to mean, that if any spoke differently from us, that we should not take issue with him and put him out. That would be a harsh interpretation. The Apostle means that if they are those who are of a contentious disposition after having an opportunity to be heard, and then continually knocking and work to make a split, then they should be avoided. When he says, avoid them, I do not understand that we should avoid them as wild
beasts, nor as those who necessarily are in opposition, but as those to whom we would not wish to express ourselves so fully and freely as to those who are in closer harmony. For instance, we are not permitted to avoid anyone and to denounce him as being a brother because of some difference of opinion over some passage of Scripture. There is the one procedure for disfellowshipping one who has been considered a member of the body of Christ, only one method, namely; go to him alone. If unable to have the right understanding of the matter take two or three others. If still unable to get into harmony, etc., it may then be told to the church, through its proper channels. It would be wise, in taking two or three others, that you take two or three elders of the church, for they would be very suitable ones to take along. If he refuses to hear these, then it may be brought to the attention of the church, and only in that way and by the voice of the whole company of God's people who might be meeting together, only by their vote in the matter could anyone be disfellowshipped as a brother. From amongst those whom you recognize as brethren there are some with whom you have more intimate fellowship than others, and to whom you show special attention, not on account of education, or social standing, or wealth, but because of their relationship to the Lord; and if you find then one who is causing division, do not give him so much of your fellowship; just be a little more cool toward him than if he were fully in fellowship and not causing divisions. The Apostle does not say to have nothing to do with him, and to brand him as a heretic. Avoid helping such a person to an office, or anything that would specially help him along, if you see him in an unsafe position. Don't push him away, but be ready to help him, and not injure him, I think is the Apostle's thought.
DOGS--Dogs in Your Neighborhood. ::Q227:1:: QUESTION (1905)--1--Please explain the three clauses of `Phil. 3:2`. "Beware of dogs, beware of evil doers, beware of the concision."
ANSWER.--Who are the dogs? Well, let each look around in his own neighborhood and see if he can find any that have the characteristics of dogs, snapping and barking at you. It does not mean literal dogs, but figurative dogs. If you find any, don't rub them the wrong way.
The evil doers mean, any evil doers; we have neither part nor lot with darkness. Do not have your fellowship with those who are injuring others, for if the time came they would do you an injury. Seek the company and fellowship of those that love righteousness. Put a premium upon that which is good, just and noble.
The concision in the apostle's day signified those who were in opposition to circumcision. Circumcision was a certain sign. Ours is the heart, the cutting away from our affections that which would be injurious. We are not Jews according to the flesh, but we have a circumcision of the heart.
DOMINION OF EARTH--Whose Right. ::Q227:2:: QUESTION (1908)--2--Did Jesus have the right to the dominion of the earth before He made his consecration, as Adam had before he sinned, and did Jesus sacrifice this right in order to give it back to man?
ANSWER.--In one sense of the word that might be true.
That is to say, because He was perfect, and because He was the only man in the world who was perfect, He therefore would have certain rights that other men would not have; but remember, He had to be tried first to see whether He was perfect before it would he delivered to Him. Adam had it delivered to him, and then he was tried to see whether he might keep it or not; he failed under the trial, and therefore lost the dominion of life as well as everything else. But in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ, His trial came first and He was tried before the dominion was given to Him, and in the trial He proved faithful, and His faithfulness was demonstrated by His entire life, and finishing His life at Calvary. So that by that time, by the sacrifice of Himself, He proved His loyalty to God and the right to be the representative of God, the Man Christ Jesus, who now had in this general way the right to be the heir of all things; this He had the right to, by reason of this demonstration of His loyalty to God, as we read in the prophecy, "Unto thee shall it come, O, thou prince of the flock, even the first dominion." The original dominion in Adam came to Jesus, the Prince of the flock, by reason of His faithfulness and obedience to the Father unto death. By consecration of Himself He gave up this. He was both winning and laying down at the same time; He was winning by obedience to the Law of Israel the right to the dominion of earth, and by the sacrifice of Himself He was laying it down so that He would have the right to give it to Adam and His race. He was doing two things at the same time. It was both an obedience to the Law and the sacrifice of Himself. These two things were simultaneous, and these two things were finished at Calvary. So He has dominion, and as soon as He shall have gathered out the Church, His Bride, He proposes to give that dominion to mankind, to the race of Adam, of whom He is to be the Father, the life-giver, and all who will accept life from Him may have it. All through the Millennial Age they will know that life is obtainable by obedience to Him, that He is the only one who has the right to give it, and that is the reason He is called the Everlasting Father, or the Father of Everlasting Life. He will give everlasting life to those who will be His children. In other words, having bought Adam and his race He is going to adopt as His children all who were children of Adam.
Brother Harrison: In what relation shall we consider that text which says, "So long as he is a child, he differeth nothing from a servant?" Does that apply there?
Brother Russell: I would not think so. I think that is another line of thought altogether. The Apostle is there speaking to the Jews, and the reason why a Jew could not have any privileges as a child of God was because they were under tutors, etc. Although God favored them, they were treated the same as the rest of the world in other respects; they were not set free from the Law, but as soon as the House of Sons began then Christ made us free from that Law that we should no longer be of the House of Servants, but now might come into the House of Sons. You could apply it, of course, to Christ; that so long as He was a member of the House of Servants He was under the Law. Then Christ as a Son, though He were a Son, so long as He had not reached this demonstration He was treated the same
as the House of Servants. He was under the Law the same as all Jews were under the Law.
DOOR CLOSED--Harvest Past, Summer Ended. ::Q229:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--"The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved." To whom does this apply?
ANSWER.--I understand that this would seem to apply to a class who would realize that the Bride has been taken and that they are left; such as is described in Revelation, 19th chapter, when the great company is pictured at the time of the fall of Babylon. They are delivered at the time of Babylon's fall, "Let us be glad and rejoice, for the marriage of the Lamb is come (has taken place), and his wife hath made herself ready (and we are left, and disappointed, but nevertheless), let us rejoice, for we see God's plan." That is the time when the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not among the class saved, but we are left, and we are the servant class instead of the Bride. Then a message comes to that class and he that sitteth on the throne sends the message. They were invited to the marriage supper; they were invited to come in and partake of the festivities as mentioned in Psalm 45.
DOOR--Probably Not Yet Closed. ::Q229:2:: QUESTION (1915-Z)--2--Would there be any prospect for one who consecrates at this time to be of the "Bride" class, or has the Call now ceased?
ANSWER.--We make a distinction between the end of the Public Call and the shutting of the door. We understand that the public Call ended when a sufficient number had been invited and had accepted the invitation--in 1881. But of these invited and accepted ones there was still to be a testing. Only those enduring loyally to the end will be finally counted in as victors. Others, not proving wholly loyal to their Covenant in their daily lives, will in time be dropped from the list, which would mean that they had not been running faithfully. This would continually make vacancies to be filled. But such a filling of vacancies would not require a new Call, but merely a permission for one to enter as one went out.
Our thought is that a large number of those who consecrated prior to 1881 failed to "make good." It is our thought that you are still in time to make your consecration, with every reason for hoping that you may make your calling and election sure by zealous faithfulness in sacrificing earthly interests in favor of the Heavenly.
In any event, the most reasonable thing for any of us to do would be to give ourselves wholly to the Lord, just as soon as we realize our imperfection and the Lord's sufficiency. We should be glad to have Him as our Care-taker, regardless of what reward He would give. We should be sure that so great and so generous a King as God would give good gifts to all who are His. In other words, after the Little Flock is completed, the Lord will be glad to bless in some other manner others who have the spirit of obedience and sacrifice.
DOOR--Shutting of the. ::Q229:3:: QUESTION (1908)--3--Is the door shut while some are in
the flesh enduring further testing or is the door shut after the last member of the body is changed?
ANSWER.--You remember the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. The Lord tells us that all of these are virgins. That parable does not take in the world. It only takes in those who were looking for the bridegroom. It leaves out the virgin class--those who were preparing for the wedding: all others of mankind. And this parable of the wise and foolish virgins shows that amongst those who were looking for the Bridegroom, and who were expecting Him, and who were hoping to go into the wedding, there are two classes, the wise ones and the foolish ones; and that the wise ones will be able at that time to discern the fact; will be able to hear the knock of the Bridegroom, and will be awakened by the knock. They will understand that the Bridegroom has come, and they will have oil in their lamps; they will not be in darkness that that day shall overtake them as a thief; they will go forward with this light of knowledge, and follow the Lord in this time, and they will go in with Him to the wedding. As I understand it, this parable is in process of fulfillment now, and many have already gone into the wedding, and others are hoping that they may make such progress in the same way that they will also get into the wedding. Mark you, any time before we go in there is a chance to fall, a chance to turn aside and become a foolish virgin, and give an opportunity for someone who was not a wise virgin to get in amongst those wise virgins, and take his place there. The parable is a progressive one. One might fall out from this number and become foolish, or another one who was foolish might come in and be wise at any time before he gets into the marriage. But eventually when the last elect one shall have gone in, no one else can get in; that is the end of it. When the last one shall have been tested, and perfected, and gone in, the door must be shut, because there is only to be a hundred and forty-four thousand of that class, or whatever the number is, if anyone is disposed to dispute the number and think that it is symbolical. I do not know that it is a literal number; I am inclined to think it is. But no matter whether it is literal or figurative, there is a limited number, a positive number which God has predetermined shall constitute the elect class, and it is for you and me to make our calling and election sure by getting into that elect class. There is a limited number of crowns; "Take heed that no man take thy crown." If there has been a crown set apart for you, and if you have been selected as the one to whom the Lord is pleased to give it, then hold on, do not get foolish, and get out of the ranks, but go on; don't let your oil run low; see that you keep faithful unto the end and you shall have the crown; but if you prove unfaithful, that crown is not yours any longer, and someone will be allowed to take your place. The crown is to be occupied. The door will not shut until the last one is in, because the full number must be there; the door will shut immediately when the last one goes in, because there will not be one in there more than that number. The same thing is pictured in another place where he represents Jesus the Head of the Church which is His body, and we are members in particular of the body of Christ, and that these different members of the body are all complete. You remember the Apostle says, You cannot say
to the foot, I have no need of you, and to the hand, I have no need of you, etc.; for every part of the body is necessary. In this way the Lord pictures the completeness of His body. In the type no man could serve as a high priest if he had an extra finger or an extra toe, or if he lacked a finger or a toe. Why? Because the high priest in type was a picture of this glorified and perfect church, which will not have one more or one less than the exact number necessary to complete the body.
EARTH--Re Abiding Forever. ::Q231:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--How shall we understand the earth to abide forever? In `Rev. 21:1`, we read, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away and there was no more sea."
ANSWER.--We answer that according to the Bible there have already been two worlds, and the third one is coming, and this earth has been the scene of all these. As, for instance, the Apostle speaks of the world that was before the flood, of the present evil world, because sin is now reigning, and of the world to come wherein dwelleth righteousness. This does not signify three earths, but three different orders or conditions of things in the earth. The condition of things which preceded the flood was different from the present order of things. That condition of things before the flood, 1656 years, was under the ministration of angels; during the present time, from the flood down to the coming of Christ, at his second advent, the world is left in the hands of mankind, and Satan, the prince of this world, taking advantage of men, taking advantage of their ignorance and superstitious fears, has become prince of this world without any divine authority, because he works in the hearts of the children of disobedience, and the children of disobedience are much more numerous than the children of obedience; therefore it is the present evil world. The new dispensation, or new order of things that God will introduce at the second coming of Christ, is spoken of as the new heaven and the new earth, in this same symbolical way. But it will be the same physical earth, the same rocks, the same matter will be here, the sky we now have will be here just the same as before the flood. One world has passed, and another world or dispensation has come, and a new world or dispensation is about to be ushered in. The new one will be different from either of the others, because Christ will be the prince of that world, the prince of peace, and the government of that dispensation will be altogether righteous. He who sits on the throne says, "I will make all things new." They will all be made new, dear friends.
Again, in the Scripture symbolical language we have this to notice, that the heavens are used symbolically as representing the ecclesiastical or spiritual powers. For instance, the heavens of the present time in this symbolic language of the Bible are the religious systems of the present time, while the heavens of the future age will be the church in glory. The earth at the present time is the present social order of things, society as at present organized on the basis of selfishness; and the mountains represent the kingdoms of this world, and the rivers represent the truth, and the seas represent the masses
of mankind who are unstable, restless. And the Lord pictures a change in this respect, that all of these things are to made over new--a new order of society under the domination of Messiah, and there will be no more sea in the sense that there will be no more people who are in that restless, dissatisfied condition. To him every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess. This present order of things will pass away and give way to the new order of things. This word "World" is translated from three different Greek words, and our comprehension of this word has been correspondingly rather confused.
EARTH--Was it Perfect Before Adam Fell. ::Q232:1:: QUESTION (l9l3)--l--Was the earth perfect before Adam fell.? And what does it mean that God saw that it was good?
ANSWER.--The Lord, having brought the earth to the condition which was pleasing to Him, said, "It is good," it is all right, and the condition was, we understand, one in which there was one corner of the earth, a little space called the Garden of Eden, which was brought to full perfection. We may suppose that our Heavenly Father, if He had so chosen, could have made the whole earth the Garden of Eden, but it would not be like God to make the whole earth like the Garden of Eden and then curse it. We understand, therefore, that merely the Garden was prepared for man, and that the rest of the earth was very good in God's sight, because that was the condition in which God intended it to be. God did not want to make the whole earth like the Garden, and ask one man to attend to it. He could not have meant the whole earth to be kept dressed, but He said to this one man, "Be fruitful, bring forth children, multiply your children, fill the earth, an earth full of children, and subdue the earth;" that is to say: It is not in a subjected condition except the Garden of Eden, but as your children increase in number, and you need some more land, go out and take in that much more. As Adam's family grew larger, they would take in a corresponding amount of land, and thus would be subduing the earth, and they would not have more than they could attend to at any one time.
EDEN--Location of Garden. ::Q232:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--Where was the Garden of Eden? Have they ever found a place where a river parted and came into four heads?
ANSWER.--They do claim there is such a place over near Macedonia; I have never seen it. I do not know how well the claim is founded. But if there is such a place, it has survived the ravages of the flood in a very remarkable way. I would not expect any traces of the Garden of Eden if I believed in the flood, and I do believe in the flood. I do not think it would leave any more signs of the Garden of Eden than it would of any other garden.
ELDERS--Re Authority in Church. ::Q232:3:: QUESTION (1909)--3--Is an elder elected merely to do the bidding of the Eecclesia, and act as a moderator in the meetings, or has he greater responsibility?
ANSWER.--Authority cannot be greater than the giver of the authority. In other words, if the Church confers upon
an elder his responsibility by electing him, the Church had the responsibility at first or it could not have given it to the elder, and the elder therefore should assume the authority so far as the congregation will allow. If his conscience will not allow him to do certain things, then it would seem to be the proper thing to tell the congregation his attitude of mind and to say that, if they wished, they could ask for his resignation and he would gladly give it. The elder is not to violate his conscience to serve the congregation, and the congregation is not to violate its conscience in having the elder serve them. The elder shall serve the Church, according to its wishes, up to the point where his conscience objects.
I might say further that the Scriptures say that the Holy Spirit makes the elder the overseer through the stretching forth of the hands; thus it is applied to the Ecclesia and operates through them first.
ELDERS--Holding Meeting to Discuss lnterests of the Class. ::Q233:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--Do the Scriptures favor and do you think it would be wise for the elders of each class, or different classes, to meet together for conference respecting the interest of the classes they represent?
ANSWER.--I think that the Scriptures do favor that, and I think that is advisable. That is the very case we have before our minds this evening, when the Apostle Paul called the elders of the Church at Ephesus. He called them together as a company of elders to confer respecting the interests of the Church. He, as an elder, or as a pastor, had charge, and was there communing with them respecting the interests of the Church. If it were wrong for the elders to meet together concerning the matter, it would have been wrong for the Apostle Paul to have held such a meeting, in my judgment; and I think we do well to consider that a safe criterion to go by and that it would be well for the elders to come together to consider the interests of the Church. But let me guard you on a point there. I think it would be injurious if the elders were to come together in the sense of determining or proposing to run the Church. That is another matter, you see. To come together to think about the interests of the Church, etc., and then to undertake to run the Church, are two different things. Suppose the elders were to meet, and they thought of something that would be good for the Church, in their judgment. I think that unless it was a matter specially entrusted to them by vote of the congregation and fully understood--if it was any new proposition about which there might be any doubt or question whatever it would be the right and the proper course for these elders to submit the matter to the congregation with a recommendation, saying, We, in considering the interests of the congregation, have such a thought in mind, and now we submit it to you and would ask your vote on it. That is the safe plan. I have found that some of the very best brethren, with the very best of intentions, and with very good suggestions, in attempting to put them into operation without conferring with the class, have run against the hair, so to speak--just as when you try to stroke a dog against the hair it goes rough, and the dog does not like it. So the congregation does not like it because it seems like ruling them,
and doing something that they had not specially authorized. My thought is that it is always wise if you are going to stroke a dog, to stroke him the direction the hair grows. And so if you are going to deal with a congregation, remember that human nature runs in a certain line and try to keep in that line and not ruffle it up any more than is necessary. Every member of the Church has human nature; he has a mortal body, and has more or less combativeness in it, more or less desire not to be overridden; you will find that all those who are in the truth are especially large along this line. They must have some force of character or else they never could be overcomers. And this very quality that makes them what they are and has helped them out of Babylon, is the very quality that will be wanting to have a little spar, and sometimes a little battle, but if we say, Now then this is something new, this has not been voted on, and we feel sure they will all want it, but let us submit it to the congregation with our recommendation--then you have the congregation going with you.
ELDER--Work of Presiding Elder. ::Q234:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--What is the work of a presiding elder?
ANSWER.--The work of a presiding elder is not defined in the Bible. No such thing as a presiding elder is mentioned in the Scriptures.
ELDERS--Non Election Re Disqualification Elsewhere. ::Q234:2:: QUESTION (1914)--2--In a case a brother who had been an acceptable elder of a class for many years because of a difficulty in the class failed of election--would that necessarily unfit him for giving lessons in neighboring classes where known--if these classes chose to invite him, saying his lessons were helpful? Would he be unfitted for extension work? Would certain members of his home class be justified in using their influence to prevent such service, providing he was not proven unsound in doctrine?
ANSWER.--The elder having failed of election in the class which he had been serving would not be disqualified for service in other places, if the friends there, using their best judgment, thought he was a fit person to serve them as an elder. Every one is entitled to use their judgment. Suppose the class who rejected this brother did so for the reason of unsoundness in moral character or teaching. Then I think it would be quite within the brotherly privilege and duty of this class to call the matter to the attention of the other class who elected him. If they elected him, the first class might send word, "We wish to advise you as brethren, that there is such a matter against him and we thought it our duty to inform you on the matter."
As for the class extension work, it would be improper for anybody to serve the class in extension work if not an elder, because the class sends out, in co-operation with the Society, only those who are elders. If not, the Society does not desire to co-operate in their going forth in this manner. If, however, he went to the other class and they chose him as elder and they chose to send him out in the class extension work, that is their business and his. Or if he chooses to go without responsibility to the class or the society, that is his
business. He is working on his own responsibility. God has given us that right. And if he has the talent of means and also of speaking, and wishes to use these, we believe he has a perfect right to do so. He would have the call if he has been begotten of the Holy Spirit. "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature."
ELDERS--Why Should Elders be Carefully Chosen? ::Q235:1:: QUESTION (1916-Z)--1--Why should elders be carefully chosen?
ANSWER.--Because the spirit of service should be the spirit, not only of the Pilgrims, or the Elders of the Church of Christ, but the spirit of every member of it; for in a large sense each one of us is privileged to be a minister, or servant, in writing the Message of God's grace in the hearts of others.
But let us not forget that we shall not know how to write in the hearts of others what we have not already had written in our own hearts. Hense the propriety of great caution in the choosing of Elders--to find those who already have the writing of the Lord in their hearts, and who therefore will be competent assistants, under the Holy Spirit's guidance, for the writing of the Lord's character-likeness in the hearts of the younger brethren.
And what is the Message, what is the Epistle, that is written in our hearts by the Holy Spirit through various agencies? Is it the knowledge of chronology? Is it the unraveling of types and shadows? Is it the cracking of hard theological nuts in respect to differently understood passages of Scripture? Is it the knowledge of the history of the Jews, the history of the world, the history of the Church? Is it the understanding and appreciation of the different Covenants, past, present, and to come? No, it is none of these. And thus with these characteristics of the Master deeply engraved upon our hearts, we shall be granted an abundant entrance "into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."-- `2 Pet 1:8,11`.
All of these subjects have more or less of value, and are more or less used of the Lord in connection with this writing that is to be done in the hearts of His people. But writing the Epistle of Christ is different--the writing, the tracing of the character-likeness of the Master in the hearts of His people--His meekness, His gentleness, His patience, His long-suffering, His brotherly kindness, His love, His joy, His peace.
We might have all knowledge respecting chronology and history, might be able to quote every text in the Bible, and to cite it, too; and yet not have the Epistle of Christ written in our hearts. It is the Epistle of which the Apostle Peter says, "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren [idle, inactive] nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ;" for knowledge will have its place.
ELECTION--Women Teachers in the Church. ::Q235:2:: QUESTION (1905)--2--Please inform me if women are elected as leader's in the Allegheny Church? If not, why not? It has been said that such are elected.
ANSWER.--No, that is not the case, there are no sisters elected in the Allegheny Church. The Lord did not elect
sisters as apostles or as the seventy, and Jesus loved the sisters. He loved Martha and Mary, as well as Lazarus, their brother. The Lord never appointed the sisters as speakers in the church, and we have no authority to speak differently. I always think the Lord's plan is the best. By the time I begin to doubt the Lord's ability to run the church here I would doubt his ability to run heaven. It is for us to walk in His path, not to get a path of our own and ask the Lord to walk in our path.
ELECTION--Re Chairman. ::Q236:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--Is there any Scriptural reason against the election of a chairman of the elders in an Ecclesia, where there are from three to seven elders, and quite an amount of business to be handled at times?
ANSWER.--No. In fact, order is demanded. Unless the Church has indicated which should be the chairman, it is preferable that the elders themselves should choose the chairman.
ELECTION--Scriptural Qualifications. ::Q236:2:: QUESTION (1909)--2--Give the Scriptural qualifications for the election of Elders and Deacons.
ANSWER.--See the Sixth Volume, which has more than forty pages on that subject. I think it would be well for the leader to call attention to the matter a month before election, and suggest the reading of the matter in the Sixth Volume so that all might have the matter fully in mind.
ELECTION--Number of Elders to be Elected. ::Q236:3:: QUESTION (1910)--3--As a class, we are trying to elect according to the sixth volume of Millennial Dawn, but we could not all understand it alike. It seemed in one place that all who were suitable for elders should be elected, and then in another place that it was to elect elders according to the size of the eccelesia; and we got up a disagreement, and wrote you on the subject and you did not seem to understand why the trouble came up. That was the trouble, that some understood that, say there was a half dozen who were equally suitable for elders, we might elect all, and that if the class only numbered a dozen or two, we should only elect according to the class we had. For instance, if we had ten, we could elect one; if we had twenty-five we might elect two, and so on.
ANSWER.--How about this matter of electing elders? Should all of those who have qualifications for an elder be elected, or only, say, about ten per cent of the number? Say if the class numbered fifty, ten per cent would be five, and if there were one hundred, ten per cent would he ten? My answer would be this: To my understanding, all of those who manifest the qualifications for an elder would properly be elected elders. So that if in a class of six they were all equally qualified to serve as elders, I would elect the whole six, and then as they would take turns in service it would give an opportunity also to go out and hold meetings elsewhere. God bless them--the more elders there are the better! But I think it is quite doubtful if out of a class of six they would find six that were well suited to be the elders but if there were six and all of them had qualifications for service I would be willing for all to serve. I understand it is God's will that everyone anointed of the holy Spirit is
anointed to teach. You remember the way it reads in the prophecy of our Lord Jesus--The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the good tidings to the meek. Now whoever receives the Holy Spirit has an anointing from the Father to teach. That is what the anointing is for. That is his authority to teach. That is his ordination, if you please, to teach. Then if he has a good voice that is something; if he has a good memory that is another thing; if he has other things that are harmonious with these, all of them go together, and he is authorized to teach in proportion to his talent. Now in case of a sister, there are limitations. A sister may not teach publicly, but a sister has many other ways of teaching. She has plenty of opportunities of helping along and preaching the good tidings. We can all preach by our daily lives--not only those who occupy the platform have the opportunity of preaching, for we are all preachers--and are all preaching I hope.
Someone asked me one time, How many preachers have you amongst you? I said We have about twenty odd thousand. "My goodness!" he said. I said, brother I do not want to misinform you. To my understanding, all of the Lord's people are anointed to preach. Sometimes we preach publicly and sometimes privately. Sometimes we just preach to one person and sometimes to a congregation of two hundred, and sometimes to a congregation of ten thousand.
ELECTION--The Lord's Will Expressed. ::Q237:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--We understand in election of officers the eccelesia expresses the voice of the Lord. After we have elected a brother to serve us as an elder, and we afterwards find out he does not prove what we thought he was, do we understand that it is a mistake of the class, or a mistake of the Lord.?
ANSWER.--It is not necessary to think it would be a mistake of either. It would seem to imply that the class had not exercised a sufficiency of care. They should have known better before they elected anybody to be an elder. The Apostle says not to elect a novice. You have no right to elect a novice. If you do, it serves you right. Perhaps you will get a good lesson from having a novice in for a while, and if the friends in that class have done something of that kind, perhaps it will be profitable in the end and they will learn to be more careful the next time. Now for the Lord to allow them to get a lesson in that way is not proving that the Lord did not know better, but he has allowed them to suffer for not following his directions but electing a novice. A novice is one who is new at the matter, and if he was new at the matter they should have known about it, because they should have known what he was before they voted for him.
ELECTION--Re Appointing Chair-Woman. ::Q237:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--When an election is being held, and an elder wished to put somebody in the chair for the purpose of carrying on an election, would it be proper to put a sister in the chair for that purpose.?
ANSWER.--I do not think I would be inclined to do so, unless it was a case where there was some misunderstanding in the class, where the brother or brothers would be unacceptable. It would only be under some very peculiar
circumstance that I would favor asking a sister to act as the chairman of such a meeting. I would not say there would never be such a case, but I would think it would be an exceptional one.
ELECTION--Re Both Consecrated and Justified Voting? ::Q238:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--In the election in the eccelesia, should it at all times be understood that only the consecrated believers should vote, or should justified believers also vote?
ANSWER.--We said just a few moments ago, that we think it should be definitely stated before the vote is taken that only the consecrated are entitled to a vote at all times on any Church question, because none others are members of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. If the congregation ever wish to ask some question about where the meeting shall be held, that would be a different matter. There would be a question, and you would say, We are thinking about moving from this meeting place to another meeting place, and we will ask all the friends--not merely the consecrated, because all are interested in that--we will ask all the whole household of faith to express themselves as to time and place. But on any question like electing servants of the Church, or any such matter as that, it would be for the consecrated only.
ELECTION--Re Colporteurs Voting. ::Q238:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--How about colporteurs who are in town for a short time, ie, if they meet with the class should they vote?
ANSWER.--I should think that if he had no knowledge of the condition of the class, that he would be wiser to say, Brethren, I have not sufficient knowledge here to justify me in offering my vote, therefore I think I will decline. But if the colporteur had been there a few days, or a few weeks, as the case might be, and expected to be there for some more weeks or months, I should think he was as much entitled to a vote as anybody else. He is not debarred by reason of being a colporteur, but rather it would be something in his favor. He is one who is showing his consecration by the devotion of his life.
ELECTION--Re Visiting Brethren Voting. ::Q238:3:: QUESTION (1910)--3--As to the qualification of the voters, you stated one who is consecrated had a vote. How about those visiting an ecclesia? Does a certain amount of time, or a declaration that they intend to remain, tend to qualify them?
ANSWER.--Our thought would be that it would be proper enough in calling for the vote to say that all of God's consecrated people here present tonight--or whatever time it was--who have the expectation of meeting with this class are earnestly invited to vote, and it is hoped that any who do not intend to meet with some degree of regularity with the congregation will not vote, and that any who are not fully consecrated will not vote, because this seems to be the will of the Lord in the matter. It is to be an expression of the Church at a certain place and the Church at that place is the number who are consecrated. The fact that a brother or sister had only recently come to live in the city, in my judgment, make no difference, because we are
all one in Christ, whether we live in Jamestown, or Brooklyn, or Pittsburgh, or New Orleans, or some other place.
ELECTION--Attitude of Elders Not Approved. ::Q239:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--I would like to ask in case of a brother who had been elected an elder and who had been found fault with, if it would not be a wise plan at the end of his time, to decline re-election?
ANSWER.--I believe if I were in that position, I would do about this way. I should think out some other brother in the congregation and I would nominate him; but if I were nominated, then I would say, Now, brethren, I have served you to the best of my ability and I know I have come short of pleasing you, and I want you to know I did the best I could for you, but I did not please you, I know, for several of you told me I did not, and I tried to improve on it all I could, but apparently I did not improve enough, because you still found fault--at least some of you did. And I am not finding fault with you--I presume the fault is with myself. I am sure I am not all I would like to be, and I cannot serve you as I would like to serve you, and so I think it would probably be better for you to take my advice. I have nominated brother so and so, and I advise that you elect him for a period of time--three months, or six months, or whatever you choose--and perhaps he can please us all better. I assure you I will try to support him and do all in my power to uphold his hands. I would earnestly try to get the other brother elected, but if, in spite of everything they said, No, we are going to elect you, even if we did find fault with you, I would say to them, perhaps I cannot do any better the next time than I did the last; the responsibility is with you, because I am telling you I am doing the best I can now. So do not feel hard at me if I do not please you all. I would tell them squarely and they would know where to find me, but if they chose me by anything like a large majority, say ninety per cent or so of the congregation preferring me, why I would count that the voice of the Lord, and would say, I must not decline now. I certainly would not decline in any offensive way and say. No, you found fault with me and I won't have it now. That would be wrong, I think. We do not want to have that spirit. We would want to think the brother, no doubt, had good reason to find fault (supposing this to be so); I am sure that none of us are so nearly perfect they would not have room to find fault, occasionally, any way, and if they do find fault let us bear it and try to get good out of it and be humble about the matter, and perhaps that will keep us from getting heady and falling over.
ELECTION--Re Nominations. ::Q239:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--In the election of elders would it be your thought that it would be proper for one of the present acting elders to make a nomination instead of one of the class making the nomination?
ANSWER.--I would understand that when the period of time for which he was elected elder has expired, he is not an elder any longer, therefore he is just as much one of the class and could make a nomination just the same as anybody else, for he is the same as any of the others. He does not hold over. And I want to say right here that I think it a very unwise proposition for anyone who has been an elder
to occupy the chair and to hold the election if it is possible to have it otherwise.
It is always desirable, if possible, to ask some intelligent brother to act as chairman who will be perfectly fair and honest, and one who perhaps would not have, or would not likely be considered to have, the qualifications for an elder. And thus anyone would be saved from any imputation of having favored himself, and the congregation would be saved from having to vote against the man who was nominated and who was right before them in the church, and he would be saved the embarrassment of putting the vote in his own case and also the embarrassment, if not elected, of seeing the majority against him and saying so. It might not always be possible, but if possible, I think it desirable to have somebody else other than the one who is likely to be nominated as an elder in the chair.
ELECTION--Electing by Ballot. ::Q240:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--Would it lead to greater harmony to elect elders by ballot without nominations at all, and let those who had the majority of the votes be so elected?
ANSWER.--Well, our opinion would be perhaps a little bit confused. I could say something in favor of either way, but the thing I do think of is, that the Lord did not arrange it that way; the Lord arranged it through the stretching forth of the hand. I admit it may be an easier way sometimes to just ballot, say nothing, and let nobody know how you voted, but is it wise to depart from the way the Lord has directed? If the class decided to vote by ballot, it is not my business to over- ride the class, and even if I gave them the advice and they did not wish to take it, it is still not my business to overrule the class. I am not to be like the juryman who said the other eleven jurors were very stubborn. So it is not for us to feel that the other were all stubborn because they would not think as we do; having expressed ourselves, let us leave it to the judgment and vote of the class, and leave that result with the Lord and if they find they made a mistake they will know it the next time and be more careful; they will learn a lesson; and if we did wisely we will learn a lesson, but I believe, brethren, I would always use my influence in favor of the method that seems to be outlined in the Scripture and it has this to be said in its advantage, that it teaches the class to have a kind of moral courage. Will I hold out my hand in favor of some person that I do not believe is suitable for that office, simply because he is a relative of mine? No, to my God I must be true.
ELECTION--Discussing Nominees. ::Q240:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--Where a brother is nominated for Elder, how much should we be inclined to discuss him before the election? Where should we draw the line?
ANSWER.--I would hardly think it would he proper to give much discussion to those who are candidates for service in the Church. The Apostle, you remember, gives suggestions that if we bite and devour one another we might be consumed one of another. Should you stand my brother up before the congregation, and find fault with the way he parts his hair or with the color of his clothes, and the number of children he has in his family, and one thing and
another, you might find plenty to discuss, and by the time you had him thoroughly overhauled and curry-combed it might be your turn. So the whole class might have an experience of that kind, but it would not be very profitable. Now my thought would be this: that it is not necessary to have very much discussion of the characters of the brethren, because the suggestion is that each one in voting for a brother for any service in the Church should have some knowledge of him, and if he has not the knowledge by personal acquaintance, then he should guide himself by the judgment of another brother. As, for instance, if I had come recently into a class of say, a dozen, and I had only become partially acquainted with the friends in that class, and I did not know anything against any of them, but knew something in favor of all of them, and suppose that the time came for election, and I noticed one or two brethren whom I saw to be very clear and very straightforward and that I had a great deal of confidence in, and if this brother made the nomination of another brother, and I had not a particular acquaintance with that brother, but simply did not know anything against him, I think I would feel justified in voting for him, because this brother who nominated him apparently knew something in his favor. If I had acquaintance with the brother who nominated him, I would thus be having a second-hand acquaintance with the one who was nominated. I hope I make myself clear. Now I believe, without special discussion of anybody's character, it should be understood before the vote is taken that each person who is going to exercise the power of voting is first of all a believer in the Lord, and has turned from sin and made a full consecration of himself, that only that class are to vote and those voting are to seek to vote as they believe the Lord would have them vote, and not otherwise. I believe that would be all that would be necessary, that a sufficient weight or responsibility would rest upon them so they would not likely vote irreverently for somebody they know nothing about, but they would seek to be guided by the judgment or counsel of others whom they had reason to believe or know. And if a mistake apparently was made, if apparently the wrong person were elected, what then? Well, I would conclude that the wrong thing had been done. I think the proper thing would be to think that a lesson was going to be taught the class of greater care in whom they should elect, and if therefore they did rashly in making a selection that would be a good lesson for them, and the next time when the matter of election would come up perhaps they would learn to be more careful, and perhaps the Lord's will would be that just such a lesson should be learned by that class to make them more careful. In any event, I would cast the weight of my influence in any class against any such thing as tearing any of the Lord's people to pieces. I have known some cases in which brethren perhaps had things that could really be said against them and yet perhaps these things belonged to an early period of their lives and they were entirely changed from the time these things were true of them and therefore my thought would be that that might be so in other cases, and I would cast my influence against any such ripping and tearing amongst the Lord's sheep. I would think it would cultivate the spirit
of the wolf in the sheep and therefore should be discouraged. If, however, a brother who was prominent in the congregation were asked by the others, What do you think about this nomination? or if he thought it proper to in any way give an intimation, it would not be improper for him to say, My dear brethren, the nomination you have heard and I have been asked to give some advice, and all that I will say on the subject is, that I think it would be God's will that I should vote thus and so. That puts him straight, and that will carry to some extent with those with whom he has influence and if he has no influence it ought not to carry.
ELECTION--Record of Those Not Voting. ::Q242:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--Should we keep any account of those who fail to vote?
ANSWER.--Well, my own practice is to try to set the matter so fully before the vote is taken that every one present will feel that he and she has responsibility--a responsibility to vote for or against the candidate; that if one has a sufficiency of knowledge to permit of a vote, or is of the consecrated class, intending to meet with the congregation, he has a responsibility to vote; that it is not merely optional whether he will vote or not, but it is his duty to express himself thus. I think if that is emphasized in advance of taking the vote and all the dear friends can see the responsibility, very few will be inclined then to shirk. It needs to be stated beforehand very plainly.
ELECTION--Following Apostolic Custom of Electing Seven. ::Q242:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--In appointing elders for an ecclesia, should we not follow the apostolic Pattern, and appoint seven? If not, why not?
ANSWER.--I know of no apostolic pattern of appointing seven. If there is any pattern of that kind, I would be one of those most pleased to find out all about it. I remember about the apostle appointing seven deacons. I never heard anything about seven elders; it is news to me. Besides, if we are thinking about deacons it would have no bearing, because they elected such deacons as were considered necessary under the circumstances. Suppose there was a congregation that only had about six in it; how could they appoint seven elders and seven deacons then? The Lord says that a church may be as small as two or three--"where two or three are met in my name, I will be in their midst." You have our views on this subject more particularly set forth in the sixth volume of Scripture Studies.
ELECTION--Qualified Except Not Immersed. ::Q242:3:: QUESTION (1911)--3--If a brother were qualified according to the New Testament to be chosen an elder, but had not been immersed by anyone, would that, in your understanding, be a sufficient reason or cause for not appointing such a brother as an elder?
ANSWER.--It would be. Not that we think water baptism is essential in the sense our Baptist friends would say--not that we think it is anything more than a symbol, but the brother who had not yet been able to see so simple a symbol as baptism, must be blind on that point, anyway, and if blind on one point, how many more might he be
blind on? I would wait until he would begin to see on that point before I would put him in to teach anybody else, who, perhaps, had seen more than he already. Understand, we do not make water baptism a test of brotherhood at all, and such a brother not having been immersed, should be made welcome, according to our understanding at the Lord's table, or as a brother in the Lord in every sense of the word; but it is one thing to recognize one as a brother of the Lord, and a member of the body in every way, and another thing to recognize him as competent to teach. My opinion is that one competent to teach is one that has already seen one of the simplest points in the New Testament, that the Lord and the apostles all practiced water immersion in symbol of the real immersion--consecration.
ELECTION--Any Time. No Special Date. ::Q243:1:: QUESTION (1911)--l--What is your opinion in regard to placing a brother of ability on a program for a discourse on special occasions, providing he has not been elected an elder, and yet has the spiritual requirements, some earthly circumstance having hindered his election?
ANSWER.--Well, I should think it would be very easy to have him elected if the class thought well. Make a proposition of it and take a vote; that would settle it very quickly. He could be elected any time. It is not necessary to elect an elder at a certain, particular date. He could be elected in the middle of the year or the next month after, or any time, if it is found to be necessary, and if the class considers he is a suitable person. I should think it would be very well in such a case as this to have the matter brought to the attention of the class, consider it for a month or so, and on a certain Sunday ask the class to vote on the question. That would be giving them full opportunity, and if they voted, then the vote would decide.
ELECTION--Serving Without Appointment. ::Q243:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--We read some place that no brother should assume public duties in the church as leader, teacher, representative, etc., without an election , even though assured that there is no question respecting his acceptability. And also it is made positive in other places the same thing. Now in the face of this, is it not wrong for our elders of the ecclesia to meet separate from the nineteen deacons and separate from the church and appoint a deacon, or a teacher, or representative of the ecclesia to the position which the Lord says must be occupied by a regular ordained elder?
ANSWER.--In considering this question we should remember the Apostle's words and also the Scriptural illustration given. We have the case of Saint Stephen, you remember who was a chosen Deacon in the church as recorded in the Book of Acts, and Saint Stephen got a good chance to preach and he did not say, "Now Brother I was not chosen an elder, and therefore I cannot say anything here" but he went right ahead and preached, and the Lord blessed him a great deal, and he had a fine time--and got stoned to death. And he got the good mark of being the first Christian martyr next to his Lord. Then let us remember what the Apostle again says--I will read a little between the lines here--he says that one who is a deacon and serves his
position well and shows humility in his service, purchases to himself a good degree. That is to say, a good degree of liberty and of privilege, and of opportunity. In other words, the congregation should notice, when voting with respect to those who shall serve as elders, those whom they have previously selected as deacons, and see how careful they were, and how faithful they were, because if they were not faithful as deacons in doing some secular part of the work, there would be no reason to expect they would be properly faithful as elders. That they would be purchasing to themselves a good degree of preferment, and honor in the church by their faithfulness as deacons is the thought of the Apostle. My thought is that in the early church the arrangement was that deacons would be a class who would be gradually making more progress toward eldership, and a more prominent service of the truth, in the manner that the deacons primarily would be chosen for some other kind of service, but they would be there as a sort of reserve supply, so that if there were an elder short for any service there would be a deacon, and a proper committee would look over the deacons and say, "Suppose we try that brother with such a meeting tonight"; and then another time this committee might say, "Suppose we try that other deacon for the meeting tonight"; we have need of someone for the night, try him." Thus they would be trying them to see to what extent they would have ability. Otherwise the deacons would have very little opportunity for ever attaining to anything or for manifesting any ability they might possess in respect to the service of the church. Anything therefore that is written in the Scripture Studies was not intended to be in conflict with that thought, for that is the thought we have always entertained, and which we believe to be the Scriptural one, and which is practiced in Brooklyn and other places.
I am not sure that I understand the brother's point well, but this would be a further answer, perhaps more in comportment with his thought. I would not think it would be a proper thing that if the congregation choose just four or five as elders that these four or five men should then come in and select another one from amongst the deacons and make him practically an elder. I would not think that to be their province. If the church wanted that brother for an elder, and regular servant in that capacity, it would be their duty to say so. If the elders find they had not a sufficient supply, they might very properly at another meeting of the church inquire whether the church would be pleased to elect another elder, as there was need, apparently, for another; but if it were only a temporary need, and if it were understood with the congregation that they wished the elders to select from time to time deacons from here or there who seemed to be showing some ability to fill a temporary necessity I would think it a very proper thing; but not for him to he put in as an elder when the congregation did not put him in as an elder.
ELECTION--Voting Over Again. ::Q244:1:: QUESTION (from the audience) (1911)--1--In case a person should receive within two or three votes of the seventy-five per cent, would it be wise to vote a second time on the person so as to bring the votes up to the number required to elect him?
ANSWER.--I would think there would be no objection to that or even making it unanimous. What we want to get at is not merely some little catch matter, but to get the sentiment of the class and to have the full expression of the mind of the class. Anything that is merely a friction arrangement should be avoided as much as possible. If a class decided they would make a seventy-five per cent rule in their election, that would not be binding for another election, but it might be merely binding for that one time. If they choose the next time to have the same seventy-five per cent rule, and if someone came very near having it, but not quite, and it was moved to reconsider this vote and take it again, and it was found then to be larger than the amount decided upon, the class has a perfect right to regulate the matter as it pleases.
ELECTION--Re Jury Rule. ::Q245:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--In the sixth volume of Scripture Studies we read that majority is not sufficient, but the jury rule should prevail in the choosing of elders in the church. Now if so, is not that the wisest course to pursue in electing deacons? We read there that the same order shall prevail in the choosing of both elders and deacons.
ANSWER.--In this matter we were not seeking to lay down a law; we would have no right to make a law; we were merely offering a suggestion of what we believed would be a wise course for the church. For instance, in a class if a bare majority were allowed to dictate the policy, there might be a very large minority, nearly as large in number as the majority, that would be wholly dissatisfied; and a majority of but one, for instance, might rule such a class in a very arbitrary way; and our suggestion was that a class should try to arrange by its voting and should so select elders as, if possible, to please and satisfy everyone in the class. Therefore, as far as possible, the mere majority rule should be ignored and as far as possible the so-called jury rule should obtain--not that we would say it must be a jury rule--but that as far as possible a unanimity of sentiment in the class should be obtained. It is not always possible to get the whole class to think just the same on the subject of who should he deacon or elder in a congregation, but whatever rule is observed would be equally appropriate to observe in respect to deacons as in respect to the elders. Whoever is elected for any service, the congregation should see to it that as far as possible they yield little points to each other where no principle is involved, so as to try to have everybody satisfied and pleased in those who will be the servants of the congregation.
ELECTION--Absent Member Voting by Letter. ::Q245:2:: QUESTION (l9l2)--2--Where Elders are elected by stretching forth the hand--nominations having taken place two Sundays previous, would it be permissible where two or three members of the class are not able to be present, to send their vote by letter to the chairman?
ANSWER.--There is nothing objectionable in it. In politics there is a party spirit trying to take advantage of the other party. It is not so with you, however. When you meet to have an election of Elders you want every brother and sister to have the fullest opportunity of expression. You are not merely willing but you want them every
one, to give expression of themselves. We do not want to have their own opinion merely, but we want to find out what is the Divine will for the Ecclesia. Let us all express what we think to be God's will in the matter. I see no objection to those who are absent sending their proxy or vote to the chairman of the meeting. If you are present you can give your vote for whomsoever you care, but it would be no proxy for you to give another brother or sister power to vote for you as he or she thought best. That is my opinion in this matter.
ELECTION--Foreign Brethren for English Meetings. ::Q246:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--Do you advise electing a foreign brother, German or Swedish, who speaks the English language imperfectly, for a public speaker?
ANSWER.--I would advise, if there be enough in the class of that foreign language to constitute a class, that such a speaker would be a preferable one, and might very properly be elected. As, for instance, in the Brooklyn congregation as an illustration, we have a French brother who is very well qualified to lead a class in French. We have an Italian brother who is well qualified to lead a class in Italian. We have a Swedish brother, also. Not that these friends do not understand something of English, but they prefer their own tongue a little bit; they would rather have somebody who is familiar with their own tongue. We think that is very proper. So with the colored brethren; we have colored classes-- different nationalities. It is remarkable how many different kinds there are in that congregation.
ELECTION--Re Non Qualified. ::Q246:2:: QUESTION (1913)--2--Where one does not seem to be competent to fill the qualifications of an elder would you advise not electing elders and electing Pastor Russell as elder?
ANSWER.--Such questions are rather delicate ones to discuss, and it is hard to know just what is best to advise. My advice in general is that the friends act as wisely and discreetly as possible. I think one difficulty has been and perhaps still is that the Lord's people do not realize fully the will of the Lord in such a matter. They get the impression that the Apostle in laying down the qualifications of an elder in writing to Timothy and Titus is laying down hard and fast rules, and that every elder must come up to the very highest notch in all of those requirements. Now such would be a perfect man, a very good elder surely, no doubt about that. And so would all other Christians if they could come up to all the Apostle writes there. You say, Why did the Apostle make such definite statements if he really did not mean to be understood in the absolute essence of all that? We answer, He was stating the matter just the same as Jesus did on another occasion when He said to all the church, Be ye like unto your Father which is in Heaven. Now, are you like your Father in Heaven? Well, you say, I am trying to be. Very well, my dear brother, that is right. Well, are you like your Father? You are in some respects--you are in your mind. Well, are you in all the words and actions and thoughts? No, I am not like the Father in everything, but I am trying to get more and more of the character-likeness of God. Good. Now just so the Apostle here holds up before the church the standard
of an elder; that is what an elder should be. When you are thinking of elders, look at that, and have that in mind when you are measuring the brethren that are available, and those who do not to some extent have these qualifications would not be fit at all, and then select to the best of your ability. If we wait until we get perfect elders we will never have any elders at all. So I would not say either that Brother Russell would make a perfect elder, nor any other person. But I believe there might be cases in which the conditions would be such that it might be better not to elect anybody for a time to be elder. There are such cases, but I think they ought to be very rare. I would hope so. It is one of those cases that are very difficult to advise in. There are so many things that bear on the subject, and each little class and each member of the class must be as wise as possible, as thoughtful and considerate as possible, loyal to God and the principles of righteousness as much as possible, and pray and seek to follow the Divine leading. And then if a whole class, or a goodly majority of the class, decide on a certain course, do not feel as though the class might vote, but your will must be done, but say, "Well, all right, the class has voted, and it was fairly stated; I stated my opinion, and they do not think the same as I, and I am not the one to coerce the class; I am in the minority and I will be subject to the others in the class, and I will co-operate with them, not work against them to show that what I said was the right way, and if it did not go my way it would be all wrong. No, I must be in harmony with God and must do to the best of my ability now with whatever the class has decided on, co-operating to the best of my ability to permit peace and righteousness and forward the cause of the truth, and be a peacemaker." Do not forget that. All of God's people want to learn that Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God." And remember that necessarily all of the Lord's people in order to be overcomers will have more or less of the combative disposition; you could not be an overcomer without a little of it. You will have to be combative enough to overcome the world, and peacemaker enough not to fight with the brethren. Do not fight with the brethren any more than you can help, but be just as kind, sympathetic and helpful to them as you can be.
ELECTION--Who Are to Vote? ::Q247:1:: QUESTION (l9l3-Z)--1--Who are entitled to vote in the church?
ANSWER.--It should always be remembered that none are to vote except those professing full consecration, manifested by the usual symbol--immersion in water. Such as have not symbolized their consecration are not to be disowned as brethren, but should be considered so immature as not to be competent to express an opinion in respect to who would be qualified to serve the Church, and, of course, would not be qualified to be servants themselves.
ELECTION--Choosing Elders and Deacons. ::Q247:2:: QUESTION (1913-Z)--2--Should a bare majority rule in our elections?
ANSWER.--Numerous inquiries have come to us indicating that some of the brethren have difficulty in applying the
suggestions given in Vol. VI, on the subject of election of servants for the Classes--elders and deacons.
It was not our thought there to lay down an invariable rule on the subject. The Bible gives none, and no one else has a right to establish such a rule. Our suggestion was that wherever possible the election should be unanimous, and unless seventy-five per cent of the Class, or more, favored a brother's election, it would be rather unwise for him to accept the office--the service. We did not by this mean that a minority of twenty-five or thirty per cent should be encouraged to obstruct the Class and hinder an election.
Strictly speaking, a majority of one in a Class would decide any matter except as love might come in to urge a consideration of the sentiments of others. If, for instance, a Class numbered one hundred, fifty-one of these would have a right to decide respecting who should be the servants of the Church, and the other forty-nine should very quietly acquiesce, recognizing the fact that they constitute only a minority, and should loyally strive to support the will of the majority.
Only the spirit of love and the best interests of all in the Class suggests more than fifty-one per cent. Love should strive for a unanimous vote. But how might this he obtained we will offer a suggestion.
Suppose that in a Class of one hundred six Elders were considered necessary for the service. A, B, C, D, E, F would represent available candidates of more or less ability. A might have a hundred votes; B, ninety; C, eighty; D, seventy; E, sixty; F, fifty. Under a strict voting on the lines of preference only two would be selected on a ninety per cent basis; but our thought would be that the entire six might be unanimously elected, if they were on the average as good material as the Class possessed, and if nothing were known derogatory to their moral characters.
It is a mistake to think that the standards established by St. Paul are to be taken literally, for no one would be found fully up to all the requirements. The Apostle has stated what the ideal Elder would be. Each voter should have this ideal before his mind in thinking of the will of the Lord; but the Class is not to be left without an Elder unless there are serious blemishes.
Our Lord similarly set a perfect standard before us when He said, "Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." (`Matt. 5:48`.) Who is perfect in the sense that God is perfect? "There is none righteous; no, not one." (`Rom. 3:10`.) The Master evidently meant that we should not measure ourselves by a low standard, but by the perfect standard, that thus we would be assisting ourselves up to the grandest ideals in respect to our own lives and characters and in respect to those chosen to be Elders and ensamples to the Flock.
ELECTION--Proxy Voting. ::Q248:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--When a consecrated brother of the church is absent on account of sickness from meeting when an elder is to be elected, can he write them his choice of an elder, or vote by proxy?
ANSWER.--There is nothing in the Bible says he can, and there is nothing in the Bible that says he cannot. What
are you going to do? Leave it to the class. Let the class decide.
ELECTION--Percentage to Elect. ::Q249:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--In a church election are we to understand that such rules as the class may adopt governing the percentage of vote required to elect shall apply to the vote on the candidate for deacon as well?
ANSWER.--Surely. The arrangement of the Bible in respect to the government of affairs of the church throws all the responsibility upon the congregation. I do not mean the congregation in a general sense, but the church, the gathering which is the Body of Christ; namely, the consecrated ones. The Lord has not given definite rules to govern every feature, so that leaves the responsibility to the whole church to seek to build up in the most holy faith, using the Word of the Lord, and the example and illustrations of the Scripture. If the Lord has left the matter so simply and plainly in the hands of his people, it would be entirely wrong for you or I to attempt to divert it into the hands of some individual or clergy class. There is no authority for that in the Bible. It is very natural that people might fail just the way governments fail. For instance, certain governments feel they can govern certain islands better than the people there can govern themselves. So it is very likely that if the people would submit to it, a certain class called clergy would arrogate to themselves power, lay down laws and rule. But this is simply because the congregation does not know that the Lord has put the power in its hands, and never authorized any clergy class at any time. The Lord himself was to be the Master--all ye are brethren. There should be no distinction amongst the brethren, except that distinction be recognized by the class as a company of the Lord's people, and if they shall choose certain persons for elders, the responsibility is with the class. The individuals comprising the class are, therefore, to use all the more judgment and discretion, and to remember that they are voting and acting for the Lord in the matter. In the 6th Volume of Scripture Studies we have attempted to point out what the Scriptures lay down respecting the proper mode of order in the church--not by way of law, but by way of suggestion, because the decision of the class respecting its own leadership, etc., is the final decision in the matter. We have suggested certain things about percentages; not that anything in the Scriptures say anything about percentages, but in an ordinary meeting of worldly people they might have, for instance, a vote taken on a question and a majority of one would decide; and suppose the congregation numbered 100, and 51 would decide, and the other 49 would be left practically without representation; our thought is, that is not the spirit of the Lord. The spirit of the Lord would be that the whole church should feel a oneness of interest. But suppose that the 51 who would constitute the majority would say, "Well, this is our wish, we would like to see Brother So-and-so an elder, we think he is best qualified, but here are 49 of our brethren that we will pay no attention to their wishes whatever." That would not be the spirit of love. We suggest, therefore, there should be an endeavor made not only to suit the 51, but also the 49 who are in the minority; not merely each one doing as he
wishes, but trying to be considerate of one another, esteeming one another, having an interest in one another. Suppose in a congregation of 100 it is decided a certain number might he found eligible to the position of deacons. As one of the congregation I might have very positive ideas that Brothers A, B and C were much better qualified than Brothers D, E and F, and I would have a right to vote for those three; and then if some one else thought well of D, E and F, I would say to myself, Well, this other brother would like these others. Do I really know anything against them? And if I knew nothing against them, then because so many of the other brethren like them is the best kind of a reason I would like to see them have them. If I were going to be an elder I would very much rather be one that would represent the whole congregation than one who had been elected by a mere majority. I would like to have the whole congregation pleased, satisfied, contented in their minds. I would be willing to put myself in their places. The Golden Rule requires that I do to the minority as I would wish the minority to do to me. If I were in the minority and they were in the majority, how would I like them to consider me? I would like to have some show, too. Then we ought to be equally as generous as the others. This would not mean we would be lax or careless, respecting any really important matter. If it was a bad man, or unconsecrated man, or a man who was in some way totally unfit for eldership, then I would withstand him face to face, and would say right out, I cannot vote for Brother So-and-so for certain reasons. Now I would try my very best to avoid giving reasons, but if it became necessary to give the reasons I would do so in as kindly a way as I could, and I would try previously to have the confidence of all my brothers and sisters to such a degree that they would know I would not say a word unkindly, or speak a word of evil about any brother; that it would be an absolute necessity to even take a position of opposing a brother--a duty toward God and toward the church. When we get that confidence in each other we will have all the more power and weight in whatever we would say.
ELECTION--Closing Nominations. ::Q250:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--In appointing an elder to lead a certain class study, is it proper after the nomination of one to move that the nominations be closed without giving time for further nominations? This, of course, applying to a class where three or more brethren are serving as elders?
ANSWER.--There are what are termed parliamentary rules. That is to say, rules such as apply to the action of a body like the House of Parlament; and these rules are used in connection with Congress and also little meetings and large meetings. They are very good rules, not to be objected to in a general way. They are generally very wise and considerate rules for fairness in a general way. At the same time the Lord's people, as they are to go beyond mere justice and administer according to love, and to know that love is the fulfilling of the law, and more than merely the right and justice of the matter, in this matter of election and rules for meetings should not hold each other too strictly to merely the letter of the law which might apply in a public assembly of another kind. Their sympathetic bond
of love should be such that they would like to please all. Suppose this were a meeting and we were going to elect some elders here. Suppose I knew some here had a great deal of esteem for Brother A, and some for Brother B, and some for Brother C, and some for Brother D, and for my own preference I would say, Now out of all these I believe I prefer Brothers A and C; I do not think so much of Brothers B and D. I might say, I will nominate Brothers A and C, and move the nominations close. So some of those who are more timid would not have a chance to vote. Would that be loving? No. Love is our rule, and love gets in ahead of all the parliamentary rules in the world. Love says, I want that brother over there, and that sister over there, and all the brothers and sisters, to have a good and fair show and to have their voice in this matter. I do not want to take from them rights that belong to them under the Lord's arrangement. I might be of sharper practice, more experience, and twist them all up, but that would not he a proper elder brother's place on my part, to get the younger brethren all mixed up so their will would not be done, and they would vote for something and they didn't know they were doing it that way, and then be dissatisfied afterwards and say, If I had understood that matter right I would have done differently. That is not a satisfactory meeting at all. The kind of meeting for election of elders of a class would be a meeting in which everything would be done so openly and fairly that everybody's rights would be considered and everybody would feel happy and contented with the results. Well, we all had our chance, and if the thing was not done as I thought was the preferable way, it was done in a good way anyhow, because everybody had a fair part--not an effort to tear each other to pieces. I do not think that is what we should do. If you do not know him, and nobody vouches for him that you do know, you had better not vote at all. If there is somebody present that you have great confidence in and he vouches for this brother, and says, I nominate that brother, then you should say, The fact that Brother Russell nominated Brother "W" means that he knows him or he would not have nominated him. I do not know Brother "W," but the fact that Brother Russell nominated him and Brother Hirsh seconded it, and I know them, therefore I know that Brother "W" is all right. We have a right, you see, to lean to a certain extent upon our knowledge that is indirect. We might not be well acquainted with Brother "NW" and know all about his affairs well enough to vote for him unless there is something to indicate for us. But if someone would vouch for him, it would be the same as in a bank. If you go in a bank and your name is Smith, they would say, "We do not know you, Mr. Smith, at this bank; and we are not to pay any checks unless we know the parties. Do you know Mr. Hirsh?"
"Yes, he will vouch for me."
"Mr. Hirsh, do you vouch for Mr. Smith?"
"Oh, yes, that is Mr. Smith, I will vouch for him; I will guarantee that is all straight."
The bank then says, "All right, Mr. Smith, Mr. Hirsh says he knows you and so we are acquainted."
The same way in a class. Somebody vouches for Brother
Smith, and then you say, I know persons who will vouch for him. That means you ought never to nominate a person you do not know; never nominate merely because somebody says Smith. Do not be silly and say Smith or Brown just because somebody else says so. Know what you are doing or do not do it.
Another thing: When we have such an election of elders, suppose I say, "I like Brother A and Brother C and to my mind these two brethren are very much superior to the other brethren, and I would really think the class would be better served if we only had Brothers A and C, and if we do not have Brothers B and D at all." I might try to force that, I might take advantage and wheedle them out of their vote. But that would not be right. On the contrary I should say, "Now I know quite a good many like Brother B very well, and some others like Brother D very well, I do not think either of these brethren have as good qualifications as Brothers A and C, but some others do like them and claim they get profit from them, and I do not know anything against their characters, and since others get a blessing from their service, I am glad they should serve." I would be pleased to nominate any and all of them, knowing them to be men of good, reputable character. It would not prove I thought them better ones, but I would rather nominate the ones I preferred, and if the others were nominated and there is any lack of someone to second the nomination I would say, "I will second Brothers B and D also." Why? They are not your preference. No, but I know they are the preference of some of the other brethren, and I want all the class to be served. I would not want them merely to have the ones I thought better, but some of the ones they thought better. I ought to have love enough for all the brethren that I would want them all to be pleased, and not merely to please myself. That is the spirit that ought to be in every church and in every election, and I think there would be less confusion.
Suppose there are some others who would like to have someone else. Suppose some were nominated that I thought quite unsuitable; I would feel afraid some might vote for them. I would say, "Now, dear friends there is Brother 'W' that is nominated. I do not wish to have a word to say against him, or pose as an enemy of his, but in my judgment I thought it better we should not have him as one of the elders. Therefore I will state while the motion is under discussion that I am not going to vote for him. Now, Brother W', I am not opposing you in any way except as I ought to oppose you when I think you would be better not serving as an elder." I would be perfectly frank with him and would not say a word against him, and say, "I oppose him because he owes several bills downtown, and they know him all over town as a man that runs bills, and he is a disgrace to our class." I do not need to talk about Brother "W" at all. I would just say, "I cannot vote for Brother W' as an elder, and I would like to not see him an elder; I believe the Lord's cause would be better served otherwise." We do not need to tear one another to pieces. It might or might not be true about Brother "W" owing bills all over town. Perhaps if we would ask him, he might be able to give some good excuse.
ELECTION--Of Elders who do not attend Meetings. ::Q253:1:: QUESTION (l913)--1--What do you think about a class leader who never attends a week-day afternoon meeting, nor all the night meetings, even when a pilgrim brother is present?
ANSWER.--I would think perhaps he could not get out to the afternoon meeting because he had work of some kind. I would think, though, that a brother who had been elected elder who would only come to a meeting where he was to speak had better be left out until he would come to the meeting all the time. If he did not come to the meeting except when he was going to speak I would think that would indicate he was not qualified for eldership, it would indicate to my mind that he did not wish to be taught, did not wish to hear anyone else, but merely wished to hear himself talk, and thought he was above the rest of the class. "All ye are brethren." Whenever one gets to thinking he is not one of the brethren, that he ought to come only when he is to speak, then I am afraid for that brother. For his own sake I think it better not to elect him. We would not want to help a brother do something that would keep him out of the Kingdom. We are to consider the brother, and his interests, as well as the class and its interests.
ELECTION--Is it Wrong Not to Vote, When Perplexed? ::Q253:2:: QUESTION (1914)--2--A sister, perplexed and grieved in regard to affairs in the class attended the election meeting, but took no part in the voting. Those whom she WOULD have voted for were elected. Was this wrong? Was it a sin?
ANSWER.--I suppose the sister used her best judgment so we may know it was not a sin. You are never wrong in following your conscience, even though it might lead you astray. You would be doing the right thing to follow your conscience at any cost. So God would not hold anybody responsible for sin, who had done the best he or she knew how. Dismiss it.
ELECTION--Proper Servants of the Church. ::Q253:3:: QUESTION (1915)--3--.A man of high social standing became interested in the Truth, but did not consecrate. Through the influence of a well-to-do sister, and her husband, who is no longer in the Truth this man was elected our Class Leader. They rejected another brother because he was not so intelligent. This influence in our Class is too often felt and the ordering of our Class is not according to the Sixth Volume of Scripture Studies. What would you advise?
ANSWER.--We think, dear friends, that the Sixth Volume is in full accord with the Bible. If you believe it is in harmony with the Bible, then it will be your duty to carry out those suggestions as fully as they represent the Word of God. In my judgment it would surely not be the right order of things to elect a person to any office, either as Elder or deacon, where there would be any teaching responsibility whatever, who had not professed full consecration to the Lord. He would not be a member of the Church of Christ at all, and therefore could not hold any oversight in the Church; and to put him into such office would be
contrary to the spirit of the Word and be a wrong thing for the Class. What should they do at the next election? They should not vote for this man.
I do not know to whom reference is made, but if I were the person myself it would make no difference. I would think they should not elect me under such conditions no matter how much influence I had. Suppose it should disrupt the Class to choose another Elder. Then let it disrupt the Class. I do not mean by that that we should be careless as to the disruption of the Class, and careless of others' feelings; but after the matter has been fully set before the Class, those who do see the right course should stand for the fact that no one should serve in any capacity except one who is professedly a child of God; and no one should vote for any except those who are fully consecrated. If this cannot be made the voice of the Church, then those who are faithful should withdraw, and I think, according to the Bible arrangement, they would have a greater blessing.
ELECTION--Re the Vow. ::Q254:1:: QUESTION (l9l5-Z)--l--Should any one be chosen as a servant of the Church who has not taken the special Vow which so many of us have found very helpful, and which has been recommended to all?
ANSWER.--We cannot make this simple Vow a test of brotherhood; for, even though we believe that the Lord has especially brought it forth at this time and that to a certain extent He intends it to serve as a test amongst the consecrated, nevertheless the Bible does not authorize us to make this a test of brotherhood. It is a matter of judgment rather than of Divine direction, just as the candidate's misuse of the English language, or uncouthness of manner might properly enough be taken into consideration, although not mentioned in the Bible amongst the qualifications for eldership.
It would rejoice us greatly to know that all the dear Elders and Deacons amongst the Lord's people everywhere could see eye to eye with respect to the reasonableness of the Vow, and its harmony with the Divine Word and with our consecration Vow, to which it is, as it were, a blue fringe, or border and finish. One can scarcely refrain from wondering what objection any Christian brother or sister could have to that Vow. To some of us it seems as though it would imply either something wrong as respects their heart intentions or something defective in their reasoning faculties. However, we are not competent to judge so closely. The Master said, "Judge not."
Our thought is that in selecting Elders or Deacons a preference might well be given to those who have taken the Vow and who see eye to eye on this subject. Nevertheless, if the brethren who are competent to lead Classes are acceptable in every other way and are not opposers of the Vow, they might be chosen. This would be especially true of those who declare that they are living up to all the requirements of the Vow to the best of their ability, and merely decline to take it because of fear that somehow or other the taking of this simple Vow might injure them while helping others. We may not understand the processes of their reasoning nor the attitude of their hearts, but we
may under such circumstances pass over what we cannot understand nor appreciate.
ELECTION--Rules for Selection of Elders and Deacons. ::Q255:1:: QUESTION (l9l5-Z)--l--What are the rules for the selection of Elders and Deacons?
ANSWER.--Numerous inquiries have come to us indicating that some of the brethren have difficulty in applying the suggestions given in Vol. VI. on the subject of election of servants for the Classes.
It was not our thought there to lay down an invariable rule on the subject. The Bible gives none, and no one else has a right to establish such a rule. Our suggestion was that whenever possible the election should be unanimous, and unless seventy-five per cent of the Class, or more, favored a brother's election, it would be rather unwise for him to accept the office--the service. We did not by this mean that a minority of twenty-five or thirty per cent should be encouraged to obstruct the Class and hinder an election.
Strictly speaking, a majority of one in a Class would decide any matter except as love might come in to urge a consideration of the sentiments of others. If for instance, a Class numbered one hundred, fifty-one would have a right to decide respecting who should be the servants of the Church, and the other forty-nine should very quietly acquiesce, recognizing the fact that they constitute only a minority, and should loyally strive to support the will of the majority.
Only the spirit of love and the best interests of all in the Class suggests more than fifty-one per cent. Love should strive for a unanimous vote. But how might this be obtained? We will offer a suggestion.
Suppose that in a Class of one hundred, six Elders were considered as necessary for the service. A, B, C, D, E, F, would represent available candidates of more or less ability. A might have a hundred votes; B, ninety; C, eighty; D, seventy; E, sixty; F, fifty. Under a strict voting on the lines of preference only two would be selected on a ninety per cent basis; but our thought would be that the entire six might be unanimously elected, if they were on the average as good material as the Class possessed, and if nothing were known derogatory to their moral character.
It is a mistake to think that the standards established by St. Paul are to be taken literally, for no one would be found fully up to all the requirements. The Apostle has stated what the ideal Elder would be. Each voter should have this ideal before his mind in thinking of the will of the Lord; but the Class is not to be left without an Elder unless there are serious blemishes.
Our Lord similarly set a perfect example before us when He said, "Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." (`Matt. 5:48`.) Who is perfect in the sense that God is perfect? "There is none righteous; no, not one." (`Rom. 3:10`.) The Master evidently meant that we should not measure ourselves by a low standard, but by the perfect standard, that thus we would be assisting ourselves up to the grandest ideals in respect to our own lives and characters and in respect to those chosen to be Elders and examples to the Flock.
Be it always remembered that none are to vote except those professing full consecration, manifested by the usual symbol-- immersion in water. Such as have not symbolized their consecration, are not to be disowned as brethren, but should be considered so immature as not to be competent to express an opinion in respect to who would be qualified to serve the Church, and, of course, would not be qualified to be servants themselves.
ELECTION--Choosing Elders From Other Classes. ::Q256:1:: QUESTION (1916)--l--Where there is sufficient available material in the class, is it for the best interest of the class to choose its elders from brethren of other classes?
ANSWER.--Where there is sufficient material in the class, it would not seem to be wise for the class to go outside to choose other elders. I think that goes without saying. But who is to determine whether there is sufficient material in the class? The class must decide that for themselves. Who is to say that they have sufficient material in the class? The class must decide that--not Brother Russell, nor anyone else. If the class thinks that it has no qualified elders, then let it go outside. If it does have a number of qualified elders, then let them use what God has provided and encourage the brethren at home.
ELECTION--Regarding Percentage. ::Q256:2:: QUESTION (1916)--2--In a certain Tower, whose date I cannot remember, you suggested a method of election wherein all the nominees receiving at least a 50 per cent nominating vote should be unanimously elected. In a class where there is considerable difficulty and friction, would it be better to adopt this method, or to insist on a 75 per cent vote on each nominee for election as an elder?
ANSWER.--We should remember, first of all, that Bible does not tell us what shall be done. That being so, it is really a matter of judgment to find out what would be the most advantageous way for doing this. It is a matter of judgment as to what would be the best way. Mine might not be as good as yours. When I offer any suggestions in the Watch Tower on any subject like this, it is merely my opinion. Brother Russell has no wish to give commands, or to be a dictator in any sense of the word. He merely endeavors to give his opinion in such matters--about which the Bible does not speak. If the class knows some better way than I do, then that will be satisfactory to me. God's will is to be expressed by the class, and anyone that gets rid of the will of the class will make a mistake and will not have the approval of the Lord. I have known those who would bring in some kind of wire-pulling, and thus the interests of the class would be interfered with for the time being; that is certainly not right. We should not try to go beyond what the Lord has arranged. The Lord would not be pleased with anything of that kind. We must be honest with God and with the brethren, and help all the brethren to get the right thought, as follows: Now, it is none of my business whether I am chosen as an elder or not. Let the class do what it thinks best. If they choose me, I will try to serve them as best I can, but, if they do not choose me, then I will try to serve them as best I can anyway. If we have such a spirit, the class will surely see it in due time. The Lord sees
it all the time, and if you are right with God, it matters not how you stand with others. If you say we will have 80 or 75 per cent, or what not, there is nothing to regulate the percentage--nothing in the Bible. We would suggest that the desire in voting to please all the brethren in the class and to have an election that would be satisfactory to all, so far as you conscientiously could, would even be better than pleasing 75 or 80 per cent. There should be proper consideration for every one in the class, and yet each one, of course, should do what he considers to be right. Should it be figured out beforehand that all would not be entirely pleased, and the majority therefore should carry out their thoughts without any regard for the thoughts of the minority, surely that would not be right. If you think that a certain brother should be an elder and I see nothing wrong with the brother, the fact that you want him would be a reason for me to vote for him unless I knew something in his character that would disqualify him, in which event I would think it to be against the Lord's will to vote for him. I could not vote for him for a certain reason. (I am merely expressing my opinion in voting.) I would like our election to be unanimous, if possible, but, for a certain reason I cannot give him my vote. He ought to feel kindly about it, and shouls say: I admire yout honesty and candidness; I will try to bring myself up to a higher standard. This would seem to be the right thought: to do the right and hope it may please the whole class; and yet, to do the right whether it please them or not. Not, however, in any independent spirit, but with the generous spirit of giving due consideration to the thoughts of each and everyone. I have known cases in which the 85 per cent rule was established, and the will of the class was not really done. How so? If 85 per cent were obtained why would that not be the will of the class? Because the 15 per cent might decide to be obstreperous and determine not to let the 85 per cent have their desire. The minority tried to rule the majority, and would not submit. However, the majority is all that should be required to determine the will of the class; 51 per cent would be the majority. If 85 per cent be required, it is a concession on the part of the majority to please the minority. Fifty-one per cent could say we will have our decision, we will have our way, but that would be ignoring the others and might cause a division. It would not be a wise or kind thing to do. The majority ought to think of the minority, and say we would like to have the 100 per cent, so as to include every person, if possible, but for the majority to knuckle down to the minority so that the minority might obstruct the work of the class and make it difficult, because the majority were willing to say 85 per cent, and then state, we will do what we can to hinder this 85 per cent, would mean that they had adopted the method of filibustering used in politics for the purpose of blocking the purpose of those in the ascendancy. This, in the case to which we refer, was altogether wrong. We want to get the right focus on these matters. In Brooklyn and New York we hardly ever have anything but an unanimous vote--hardly ever--because we are agreed that we want to do everything we know to assist in the work. If anyone wants to have a certain brother as elder or deacon, we would be glad to have him. I believe this is the
mind of the classes nearly everywhere, but sometimes we get our minds twisted. When the minority say, you can't do anything unless you have 85 per cent, I would favor a change and make it 51 per cent, and then let the 51 per cent be as kind to the others as possible, but let the others know that we will not permit any method to obstruct the work of the Lord. God wants the majority of the class to rule the class and to determine its course, but the Lord also wants the majority to be very kind towards the minority, but, if they can be of one mind that would he better still.
ELEVENTH HOUR--Its Illustration. ::Q258:1:: QUESTION (1911)--l--Please explain the eleventh hour parable mentioned in Matthew 20.
ANSWER.--This parable is given to illustrate something that will occur toward the end of this age. The parable goes on to tell that there were various calls at various times for laborers in the vineyard. Now, some might say that this call for laborers in the vineyard began way back in the days of Jesus and the apostles, and that these various calls belong to various periods of the Gospel age, and we would see no argument against that; that seems sound enough. Others again would claim that this sending forth of laborers in the vineyard was not at the beginning of the age, because the Lord and the apostles planted the vine and attended to it in the beginning, and this call of the laborers in the vineyard was in the harvest time, at the end of the age, when the fruit was ripe and when they were to go in and gather, and receive wages for gathering the clusters. This interpretation also has some reasonable qualities. In any event, the eleventh hour represents the very closing time of this Gospel age, and the presentation is that at that time some will be standing waiting for an opportunity to enter into the harvest work--the reaping work, the vineyard work, and that some who would be in a proper condition of mind and heart would be acceptable there to do harvest work, even though the harvest work was nearly finished, As, for instance, today, someone would perhaps say, "Well, Brother Russell, I suppose that the harvest work is nearly over, and that if I would want to go out into the harvest field it would hardly be worth while now, would it?" Well, I would say that if I were in your place, my dear brother, even though it be as it were in the eleventh hour I would go at once to the Lord and say--if it were possible for me to arrange my affairs so--"Lord here is so much time I can properly give to you and the service of the harvest work. I entreat that I may be sent into the harvest, that I may be one of those who will get a special blessing by virtue of association with the reapers, and that order of service."
There are some things about this parable that are not so easy of interpretation; we might give some guesses and they might be all wrong; we do not like to give any guesses that might be wrong. As to what the penny will be, and who the servant will be that gets the penny, and as to what it will mean that someone will murmur and say they are not satisfied with the penny, and say they should have had more, I do not know. I am not sure. Perhaps we will see more clearly by and by; but we do believe this: that none of our murmuring will be beyond the vail; that therefore, the giving of the penny and the murmuring, whatever it shall signify,
will be something that will yet be in the church before we pass beyond the vail. I do not think that any of those who murmur are going to have any pennies in the sense of eternal life and immortality. The Lord is not going to have any murmurers in his bride class; if I understand it right, they will all be so thankful they will appreciate the fact they have got more than they deserve, and so glad to get what the Lord will give.
ELIJAH CLASS--Vs. Elisha. ::Q259:1:: QUESTION (1907)--l--How may we distinguish the Elisha class from the Elijah class?
ANSWER.--We have pointed out that Elijah was very distinctly a type of the overcoming Church. But as for Elisha, we have no positive proof in the Scriptures that he was a type at all. Some might infer that he was a type, and others might infer that he was not, but since the matter is one of doubt, it behooves us not to fasten very much weight to it.
ELIJAH--A Typical Character. ::Q259:2:: QUESTION (1909)--2--How about Elijah?
ANSWER.--Well, Elijah was a typical character, for the Scriptures say he was. The transfiguration of Elijah was a picture or vision of the change of the Church at the end of this age, and the carrying away of Elijah in a whirlwind, and chariot of fire, represents the Church's experiences, in which we will pass beyond the vail--a whirlwind of trouble and fiery trials. Again you remember John the Baptist, who was beheaded. So far as life is concerned, we remember that God buried Moses, and so I presume God likewise buried Elijah. So far as the Jews were concerned he was taken up into heaven, and they saw him no more. But the Apostle says, "They all died in faith." We presume he afterwards died and was buried like other men.
ELIJAH--Re Moses on Mount. ::Q259:3:: QUESTION (1909)--3--Is it not a fact that Elijah was glorified with Moses on the Mount?
ANSWER.--We answer, No. The record is that Moses died and was buried. It is not, therefore, in the authority for anybody to say that Moses did not die and was not buried, and he cannot have life or knowledge until after the Church shall have first received her resurrection, because Moses was of the household of servants, and they without us cannot be made perfect.
Well, what about Moses and Elijah appearing upon the Mount of Transfiguration? Well, I was not there, but I had a representative, a reporter present, right on the spot, and he told us of the matter. What did he tell us? We read that, as they came down from the Mount, Jesus talking to His disciples--and He knew all about it, you and I do not--told them that they had seen a vision, saying: "See that ye tell the vision to no man until after the Son of Man is risen from the dead." And similarly John, who was there on the Mount, afterwards described it in the book of Revelation, the book of visions. He tells us of this beast and that beast, with heads, horns, etc., and of the woman sitting on the throne, etc. Did he see these actually? He said, I saw, and I saw, and I heard and I saw--and he saw them all in vision, because those beasts never pranced around at all. God could have had a menagerie there but it
was not necessary. John tells us in the opening chapter that these were visions, saying that these were signified--made known by signs, and as He saw in visions there, so He saw in vision on the Mount.
There was another on the Mount who gave us his testimony. "You remember," Peter said, "we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father, honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice, which came from heaven, we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount." That was what the vision was to illustrate. Moses represented the class living, on the earth, if you please, for he was the mediator or representative of Israel, and he would very properly represent them in that tableau. Elijah was there used to illustrate the Church. Christ is the Head of the antitypical Elijah, and you and I are members of the Body of that antitypical Elijah, and that great Prophet is the one that God is raising up from among the people, and this Elijah will be the one in the Millennial Age to restore all.
ELISHA--Composed of Whom? ::Q260:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--Who will compose the Elisha class?
ANSWER.--In the first place we do not know that there is to be an Elisha class, because the Bible doesn't say strictly that there will be. Do we infer it? Yes. Upon what basis? Because there is an Elijah class and the Scriptures imply that there is an Elisha class referred to by our Lord and mentioned in Revelation. Elisha was one who joined himself to Elijah toward the close of the ministry of Elijah--joined himself as a servant and got a great blessing finally. If we shall suppose he is a type of a class then he would be a type of two classes. First, of the great company because the mantle of Elijah fell to him, which would seem to imply that the power or work of Elijah would fall upon the Elisha class, after the Elijah class is taken away. The only thing that Elisha did with the mantle was that he went to the river Jordan, smote the waters and passed over. It would simply mean that the Elisha class would pass through death in much the same way as the Elijah class--Jordan representing death. After passing the Jordan he began to do a certain revolutionary work. This would not represent the great company but would seem to represent another class--the work of the Ancient Worthies which they will begin and carry on during the Millennial Age. We believe the Scriptures show that the Ancient Worthies will eventually be on the same plane as the Great Company and will have the same glory.
ENEMIES--Love Your Own. ::Q260:2:: QUESTION (l905)--2--Who are the enemies that we are to love?
ANSWER.--Your enemies. You need not love my enemies. I will do that myself.
ENEMY--Last to be Destroyed. ::Q260:3:: QUESTION (1911)--3--It says the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. How would that be, the Adamic death, or how?
ANSWER.--The last enemy that shall be destroyed--what does that mean? That means that death, which is an enemy, will be destroyed. Now the second death is not an enemy to God, nor an enemy to any who are in harmony with God. The second death will be for the destruction of those who cannot be reconciled to God. Instead of being an injury, it will be a blessing to the whole creation; but the Adamic death is an enemy. It has been an enemy, because all down through the age, people have been suffering under the Adamic death who really, if they had had the opportunity, knowledge, etc., would have liked to serve God and be in harmony with him. Adam himself, no doubt, if after he had sinned, would have been glad if God had said, "Well now, Adam, I will give you another trial; go back into Eden; but if you do it again it will be the second death and that will be the end of it." Of course he would have been glad of that.
ENOCH--Where Taken? ::Q261:1:: QUESTION (1908)--1--By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, etc. Is it known whether he was taken from this earth and what class does he typify?
ANSWER.--I answer that all we know about Enoch is stated, first of all, in Genesis, and, secondly, in the Apostle's statement in Hebrews, and, thirdly, in the statement of Jude, that Enoch prophesied of the coming of the Lord, saying, the Lord cometh with myriads of His holy ones. But in Genesis, it is stated that he was not found, he was missed, for God took him; and the Apostle in Hebrews tells us that he was translated, taken away--lifted over, is the thought, from one state or place to another; he was translated that he should not see or experience death. Not that he should not see it with his eyes, but that he should not see it in the sense of experiencing death. He did no doubt see death with his eyes for there was death in the world at that time, but he did not experience death; he was translated so that he might not experience death. This then leads us to understand that Enoch did not die. Now the Scriptures are silent as to what God did with him or where he took him, and that leaves us, therefore, without any basis or any positive statement as to where he is. We can state as to where he is NOT. We can state that he is not in heaven; because our Lord said that "no man hath ascended up to heaven, save he that came down from heaven." Therefore Enoch did not go to heaven in that sense of the word. Where did he go? Why, the Lord may have taken him to some other planet for all I know. I don't know; it would be merely a guess. I merely take the Word of the Lord as it reads, that he was translated so that he should not see death and that he did not die. The Apostle makes that clear later on in the same chapter. He says, "All these died in faith," yet evidently he understands that he previously had made an exception of Enoch and therefore he would not be included with the others. Where he is God only knows; I do not; no one else knows. So you and I and all the rest are on a par. We have such confidence in the Word of God, however, that we believe Enoch lives somewhere and that in God's due time we will find out why he was made an exception in this manner.
Now, is he a type? He may be. We are not told that he is a type and therefore it would be rash for us to say
he was a type. We are not inspired to say this is a type, and this is not a type. If we could find anything in the Scriptures to say Enoch was a type, then we would be justified in saying he was a type. But anything in the Scriptures not specified to be a type we do well to be careful how we turn it into a type and make something out of it that might trouble us. There is one statement respecting this that gives a suggestion, a bare suggestion, that be was a type and that is a statement to the effect that Enoch was seventh from Adam. There the "seventh from Adam" is made prominent--seven, of the seventh generation. Now there is just a bare chance of building a little bit of speculation upon that. I call it by its plain name--"speculation." Since seven is always in the Scriptures recognized as a perfect number and indicative of perfection, we might understand that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, would represent that perfect man--the perfection of man, or man in his future state when he will be perfect and when he will not die. And in this sense of the word, Enoch may be considered as representative of that class of mankind which in the future will be in harmony with God and have eternal life--the ones who will be brought to perfection during the Millennial Age.
ENOCH--Translated, When, Where, Why? ::Q262:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--Enoch was translated. What did it mean? What did it represent?
ANSWER.--The Bible does not explain; I will not do so either. I do not know.
ETERNAL--Applied to the Sodomites. ::Q262:2:: QUESTION (1907)--2--In Jude 7, referring to the Sodomites, does the word "eternal" properly qualify fire, or vengeance, or suffering, for example?
ANSWER.--I would answer, it qualifies fire--eternal fire; suffering the vengeance of eternal fire; that is the way the translation gives it. I think it is all right. What kind of eternal fire was it? Did it keep on burning there, and if you could go to where Sodom was would you see it burning now? No. Well what kind of an eternal fire was it? It was a fire whose effects were eternal; it was not a fire that merely burned a little while and then went out, but it burned until it burned everything up. And so, when the Lord is going to destroy the wicked, He will destroy them with an eternal fire, that is, a fire that will be complete, and finish the work. It will not be destruction for a little while from which they will be recovered, but it will be the vengeance of utter, complete destruction. In your talk every day, if you will only think about it, you use a great many figures of speech. Every person who can talk uses a great many figures of speech; and in olden times, they seem to have used these more than we do today. They made all languages in pictures. Some of the very old languages were all pictures, and all the spelling even was in pictures. Some of those old hieroglyphics that have been found in Egypt and elsewhere are all pictures. So our words are all pictures.
ETERNAL LIFE--Now, Actually or Reckoned? ::Q262:3::QUESTION (l906)--3--Do consecrated believers have an eternal life now, or only a reckoned one? If a reckoned one, explain `John 5:24`, which says: "He that heareth my
word, and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life."
ANSWER.--This is a very similar question, as you will perceive, to the previous one, and would be answerable in the same way. It is more to get the right thought than to dispute as to which would be the best way of stating that truth. Both ways of stating the thought are really right. You may say that we have eternal life now, and proceed to prove it in this way: That the Lord has promised eternal life to them that love him, and God's word is sure, and since he has promised it, speaking by faith from that standpoint of God's promise, I could say, Yes I have eternal life. And yet it is very much like the matter I have sometimes illustrated by a check. Suppose you had handed me, or I had somewhere received a check, and that check were in my pocket. Suppose that check was for one hundred dollars, and that was the only money I had, and some one should come up and say, "Have you any money, Brother Russell?" You see I could say yes or no, because a check is not money, but I have a check that is worth money. Just so God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. That is a plain statement. That is the record, he has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. And when He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. So you see we have eternal life in the same sense that we have the check in our pocket. It is worth all it calls for, yet it is not the life itself. As far as the life itself is concerned, that is the salvation to be brought unto us at the revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
EUPHRATES--Re Second Death. ::Q263:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--"And the fourth river is Euphrates." Does this river represent the second death in this verse?
ANSWER.--Not that I know of.
EVE--Ransom of. ::Q263:2::QUESTION (1910)--2--If it will not take too long, please explain the ransom of Eve?
ANSWER.--It won't take very long. Eve belonged to Adam, just the same as all of Adam's race belonged to Adam. God gave Eve to Adam after he took her from Adam. It is very easy to see, then, dear friends, that if Christ redeemed Adam and all that Adam had, he redeemed Eve.
EVE--Re All in Adam. ::Q263:3:: QUESTION (1910)--3--"For as in Adam all die"--are we to understand this means Mother Eve?
ANSWER.--Yes, I answer we understand this includes mother Eve; she was in Adam in the sense that she was a part of Adam's family; that the whole thing was centered in Adam ; that God arranged it so, and that Adam's sin brought the death condition. If Adam had sinned and mother Eve had not sinned, of course it would be hardly proper for us to offer a suggestion, but my thought would be that if Adam had sinned he would have been put out of the Garden, and she would have been put out with him, as he was the representative of the race, and his transgression would mean the transgression by the twain; that she would be held as being a party with him in the transgression.
EVE--Her Standing with God. ::Q264:1:: QUESTION (l9l5-Z)--l--What standing did Eve have with God?
ANSWER.--Mother Eve had no standing with God except as a part of the body of Adam, for she was taken from his side. We understand that this represents that the Church has no standing with God of herself, that to produce her required the sacrifice of Jesus her Lord. In other words, she came from His side. The Second Adam is the Heavenly Lord--the First-born from the dead, the Justifier, the Life-giver to the world. During this Gospel Age, God has been selecting the Church to be the Bride of Christ, and she has been in process of development. As the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, she may be considered to be the second Eve; and her work is to be during the incoming Age, the mothering or caring for the race of Adam, begotten again by "the Lord from Heaven," the Second Adam.--`1 Cor. 15:45-47`.
The whole picture shows us that the responsibility of the fall was in Adam. St. Paul points out that Mother Eve was the one who was deceived and was first in the transgression, but also points out that it was through Adam's disobedience that sin entered the world; and thus death passed upon all men, "for all have sinned" (`Rom. 5:l2`)--showing the effect of Adam's fall upon his offspring, through heredity. As "the wages of sin is death," and as the sin that brought the death was Adam's sin and not Eve's sin, it follows that the Redemption-price would be that which corresponds to Adam, and not that which corresponds to Eve.
THE BODY OF SACRIFICE
When we read, "A body hast Thou prepared Me," as a sacrifice, we are not to understand this to mean the Church, the Body of Christ, prepared for sacrifice. The body prepared for sacrifice was the human body of Jesus. It was prepared in the sense that it was provided Him miraculously and was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. Jesus alone had such a body prepared for Him. The Church had no such body.
Our Lord Jesus was ordained of God a Priest after the Order of Melchizedek; but sacrificially He was the anti-type of Aaron, and was first to offer up Himself, and subsequently to accept His disciples, justify them through His sacrifice, and then constitute them members, or parts, of His own sacrifice. It is evident that in the type only the high priest was ordained to offer up the sin-offering of the Day of Atonement. None of the under priests had such a right. So none of the antitypical under priests, the followers of Christ, are competent to offer up themselves. All that we can do is to present ourselves unto death. He accepts us, imputes His merit to us, and counts us members of His fleshly Body; and then by His Holy Spirit, through Christ, God operates in us "to will and to do His good pleasure," which is to carry out the work of self-sacrifice even unto death. But all this while the Church is not sacrificed as was the High Priest, nor presented to the Father in our name. The Father's dealing is only with our Advocate, and we are accepted merely because we are His.
All this is shown in the Atonement Day type of the sin-offering. The high priest offered the bullock first, as
his own sacrifice--representing himself individually. Then the high priest, not the under priests, afterwards offered the Lord's goat--one goat, not many goats. This goat was offered, not as a sacrifice of the under priests, but as the sacrifice of the high priest. So in the antitype. Our consecration is acceptable to the Father only because of the merit of Jesus imputed to us as His members when He adopts us as a part of His own flesh.
EVIL--Some Evils of Man's Fallen Condition. ::Q265:1:: QUESTION (1915)--1--If all life is from God, how can you explain disease germs, pests, etc.?
ANSWER.--There could be no life except from the great Life-Giver and His arrangements. The conditions as we have them in the world today are not the arrangements that God had in Eden. When He created man in His own image, He made everything favorable for him, and Eden was a place in which there were no pests. There is not a word in the Bible about Adam having been bitten by mosquitos. So with other pests--no weeds there. The weeds were a part of the curse, you see, and all these things are said to be permitted of the Lord now for man's good, no doubt--"for thy sake," in thy interest. We can see very readily, my dear brethren, that all these various difficulties of the present time are tending to carry out the great curse of death, and make them realize what it is to be out of fellowship with God, out from under His protecting care. The world is not now under God's protection, whereas man was originally under His especial care. We are to understand, therefore, that as Messiah's Kingdom shall take control of the world, all these various pests of every kind will be removed. All that is undesirable will be swept away
Now as to where these pests come from: I am not able to give a full, definite answer, but will give some suggestions. There was a condition of things prevailing before the great Flood that was changed after the Flood. You see the illustration in the Photo-Drama of Creation: Take the case of Noah's intoxication. Before the Flood grapes had never fermented. Climatic conditions had been very different because of earth's enveloping canopy. Therefore Noah, not realizing that such a change had taken place, though the juice of the grape had a pungent flavor, was made drunk. There had been no such condition as this before the great Deluge. Noah was overtaken by something that he did not understand. Now alcoholic fermentation and acidity came through the new atmospheric conditions, and produced this effect upon the juice of the grape. Certain conditions of the weather or the atmosphere affect your own flesh, as, for instance: If you have a wound in your flesh, under certain conditions the tendency will be to fester, and that will bring forth poisonous life-germs.
Satan and the other fallen angels may be permitted some power in creating pests and disease germs. See our Spiritism pamphlet, p.79, and also `Exod. 8:6,7`. I presume that many of the diseases that we have today did not exist before the Deluge. And surely there were no pests nor disease germs in Eden. I do not know how the Lord will overcome all these things, but we believe that all Satanic power will soon be taken away, and we have confidence that whatever is injurious the Lord will destroy.
FAITH--Exercise of By the World in the Millennial Age. ::Q266:1:: QUESTION (1907)--1--In what respect will faith be required of the world in the Millennial Age?
ANSWER.--Well, it is very difficult to explain that, because there are so many different ideas as to what faith is. Now, if you are referring to faith as meaning a belief in the things that you do not see, and the things that you do not know, and the things that God has merely revealed to us in His Word, that kind of faith will he very limited indeed in the Millennial Age. Why? Because everything will be made so clear and manifest that it will not belong to faith, but it will then be sight. It is faith now because God is choosing a peculiar people, and He is testing those who have the hearing ear and the eye of faith, who can walk by faith and not by sight. And so He represents that we are walking in the narrow way, and the light is on our pathway, and by and by, instead of having a pathway that is dark, and merely lighted as we take these steps, the Son of Righteousness will arise with healing in His beams. A man will not need to carry a lantern when the sun-light is shining. Just now, the lantern of God's Word, and the carrying of it, represents our faith coming from it, but they will not need that in the Millennial Age, because knowledge will be everywhere, and instead of faith, knowledge will be required, and it will be possible for people to come to know all about God and about His plan. Is knowledge better than faith? Yes, indeed. Wouldn't you want absolute knowledge if you could get it? Yes, indeed. But you are now walking by faith, are you not? Yes. God says that is the way He wants us to do now, and He does not furnish any more than that now. He gives us enough knowledge to have a basis for our faith and does not give us anything stronger than would be a basis for faith.
FAITH--Gift of God. ::Q266:2:: QUESTION (1910-Z)--2--Is faith the gift of God?
ANSWER.--"By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." The Apostle seems to intimate that grace is God's favor: in fact, the word "grace" has the signification of gift, or that which is favor. Our salvation is of Divine favor--not of any necessity on God's part, not because Justice required it, not because anyone could have demanded it from him, but it is his own merciful, gracious provision, and this salvation in our case is through faith. And the faith is not of ourselves, as a matter of course. Hence we think that when the Apostle says "it is not of ourselves," he must refer to faith. However, faith, in a very important sense, is of the individual; we are urged to ''have faith unto God." One cannot have faith for another. The individual must exercise his own faith in God; and yet in this text we are told that our faith is of God.
In what sense could this be of God? We answer that it is of God in the sense that every good and every perfect gift comes down from the Father. Our faith must have a foundation, must have a basis. We must have knowledge of a matter in order to have faith in it. We have knowledge of God, and this knowledge which is
granted us as a grace or favor brings us to the place where we are enabled to exercise the faith. The faith in a great measure rests upon the knowledge. The knowledge reveals God's character; the Divine Revelation makes known to us certain facts respecting God's purposes, and we see the purposes thus outlined to be in harmony with the character of God, and this enables one to believe the promises; and believing them, we are enabled to act upon them; and this is faith.
So, then, our faith, while it is of ourselves in the sense that we must exercise it, is of God in the sense that he supplies the necessary elements from which that faith is to be compounded.
FAITH--Discerning the Lord's Will. ::Q267:1:: QUESTION (1912)--1--I cannot always discern the Lord's will under all circumstances. (Pastor Russell, neither can anybody else.) Is this an indication of something wrong in my heart condition?
ANSWER.--No. The Lord does not wish us to walk by sight and have no difficulty in discerning His will. He wishes to put the matter in such a way that there will be a test of our obedience and perseverance--we are to walk by faith and not by sight. How?
I will tell you how to do it. Every day, of course, and in all particular matters, I try to take everything to the Lord, I would not wish to undertake anything, without seeking to know the Lord's will respecting it. But, I am not always able to know the Lord's will. I have no miraculous insight to know God's will. My judgment is not sufficient, I am not to tax my mind that way, it is out of the power of my mind. I will leave it to the Lord. If He wishes me to go this way or that way, He can direct the course. So, my mind and heart are satisfied, if, at the beginning of the day, I say, Lord, here am I; I thank Thee for the privilege of another day and what I hope will be full of opportunities for serving the Truth and the brethren. I ask you to direct all of my thoughts, words and conduct, that I may serve Thee. Then I go forth and use my best judgment. If the Lord wants to lead me in one way or another, that is His part, not my part. I have solicited His guidance. My eye is alert to know and to do His will at any cost. I rest easy in this yoke, knowing that God is able and willing to overrule all things for His glory and for my profit.
When a child I noticed that some people had a certain way of going to the Lord with their affairs. They would open their Bibles at random, and whatever verse their thumb happened to be next they would say was the Lord's message and they would follow it, too. That was not for me to find fault with. It seemed remarkable to what texts they would sometimes open and they should have such remarkable answers to prayers. But, I said, Lord I am really afraid, and if it pleases You, I would rather be directed by my judgment than by this method, for my mind does not seem capable of accepting it. The Lord seems to have taken me at that prayer. I do seek the Lord's guidance in studying the Word, taking all of the verses, trying to find the principles of God's dealings and teachings on every subject. There is surely a reason why right is right in every matter, and I desire to know it. I desire to know the reason why
God wishes a matter this way or that way--not that I doubt His wisdom, but so that I may enter into the spirit of the Divine regulations. I have much more happiness than I would otherwise have. Could I know whether God, the devil or chance would open the Bible for me in that other way? I much prefer and believe it the Bible's teaching that I commit all to God, ask Him to guide my judgment and reason and then go out and use that judgment and reason the best I know how. The Lord may allow me to use my judgment in some way that afterward appeared not the best; but if so, He may use it to bring some great blessing or instruction anyway. Our judgment, of course, means our understanding of our Father's Word and of His providential leadings. Thus doing we know that all things shall work together for our good.
FALLEN MEN--Cannot Covenant With Jehovah. ::Q268:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--You say fallen man cannot enter into a covenant with God. Upon what basis did God make a covenant with Israel? Would such restriction apply to Moses, he being fallen also?
ANSWER.--Moses was imperfect, because the Bible tells us there is none perfect, no not one. When we say God could not make a covenant with fallen man, the thought is not that He could not, but He would not. It would be a useless matter to make a covenant with fallen man, because they could not keep it. In the case of Israel, God said I am going to bless the seed of Abraham, and you, the natural heirs of Abraham. Would you like to have Me take you to be My people? Then if you would, if you think so I will give you a chance to try it. I will give you a law, and if you can keep that law I will agree that by virtue of keeping it you are perfect, and if perfect you will be able to go on keeping it and live forever, but if you fail you will die. So there was a tentative agreement, a provisional agreement. God had a right to do that. Not that Moses was perfect. God said if you would like to try I will treat you as though you were perfect. I will give you sacrifices to represent the true sacrifices, and these offered year by year will cover you typically; you will be counted as though you were righteous for one year and in that year you may show Me how you can keep My law. If you can keep the law I will fix all the rest.
FALLING AWAY--After Once Enlightened. ::Q268:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--If any fall away, who were once enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, will their failure to receive the crown lead to the second death? Or is there a chance that a place may be found for them among the Great Company?
ANSWER.--I do not think that anyone is competent to answer that question. It is beyond our depth. We ought to fear to pass judgment on anyone who gives evidence of still having love for God or for righteousness. We do not mean that we might not fear for some, as the Apostle says we should fear, and that we should strive to pull them out of the fire--pull them out of places of temptations, and trials, and strive to recover them from the snare of the adversary. That fear is proper enough, but for us to decide that such a one has been given up of the Lord, and that
he has been sentenced to the second death, is not ours to judge, and we do well to seek to avoid passing judgment upon others.
FAMINE--Application of `Amos 8:11,12`. ::Q269:1:: QUESTION (1909)--l--"Behold the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it." Please explain and apply these words.
ANSWER.--Well, these words in the first place were written especially to the Jews, and there was quite a period of time when they were without a prophet or teacher and a great many Jews were seeking the Lord but were so blinded that they could not see Him as the Lord, and as represented in the parable where the rich man begged for the cup of water. They are kept in that condition that the mighty works of God might be fulfilled. The nation of Israel itself is a most wonderful thing. To think that there are some who are of the seed and stock of Abraham still in the world is a most wonderful thing; all other nations are mixed up. But the Jews have an independent nature, so that God could show in His dealings with them what He would do later. How long they shall thirst and hunger I do not know.
I must tell you that I have recently had some experiences with the Jews. I bought a coat not a great while ago, and the man who sold it to me was a Jew, and after I purchased it, he said, "I read your sermons every Monday morning and I am pleased with them, I have been reading them for over a year."
Later on, I met a gentleman on the street in Pittsburgh; he was a Hebrew, and he said, "Mr. Russell, I keep track of you, I read your sermons in the paper."
The Jews are hungering and nibbling around the edge, but they will have to wait a little longer.
FAMINE--May Have Two Applications. ::Q269:2:: QUESTION (1912-Z)--2--"For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water." (`Isa. 3:1`.) What does this mean?
ANSWER.--There was a famine which came upon Judea. The people did not have enough to eat or to drink. They are still in very much the condition of Ishmael at the time when Hagar laid him down to die. During the Gospel Age the poor Jews have been famishing. They have been without any communication whatever with God.
The same Prophet, from whose inspired writings the above text is taken, tells us of another class whose "bread shall be given them, whose water shall be sure." (`Isa. 33:16`.) They will be well cared for, well protected, and will have both bread and water. This text may have applied to the Jews at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and may apply to any Jews and others who, since that time, have put their trust in the Lord and to whom He has supplied what was needed for the strengthening of their lives. As we look about us today we find many of nominal Israel
hungry, thirsty. They endeavor to make themselves think that they are well fed; and the majority of them do not realize that they are poor and naked and unfed and blind. In the meantime the Church of Christ is in the protected place. Everything is working together for good to them. Their bread and water is sure. "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly"; "the meek will He guide in judgment; the meek will He teach His way."
FATHER--The Heavenly Father's Care of His Children. ::Q270:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--Kindly explain `Matt. 18:10`: "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones: for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."
ANSWER.--I presume that the conditions beyond the vail are so different from the conditions this side the vail that it is difficult to explain the conditions there. Our Lord said to Nicodemus, if I tell you of earthly things and you do not understand, how will you understand if I tell you of heavenly things? He did not tell him much about heavenly things.
In this I would understand the thought suggested to be that when we pray to our heavenly Father we are to realize His careful attention to all the affairs of the weakest and most ignorant of His children. If they are His, that means that His providential care is over every one of them.
The suggestion that His angels do always behold His face, is that He is always ready to receive their messages. He is ever ready to hear, to give attention, and it pertains to every one of His little ones. On this Scripture has been built the thought that each individual child of God has an individual guardian angel, which specially takes care of him. Now I say that is a theory, and I do not know that it is right, but whether it is a living spirit being that interposes for us and guards us, or whether influences or powers of God, it makes no difference to you or to me, because whatever God is pleased to use to protect us, what difference does it make to us, so long as we are assured that we have protection and that we have communion with Him?
FEAR--What Kind Does Love Cast Out. ::Q270:2:: QUESTION (19l2)--2--"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." What fear is here referred to, and how does perfect love cast out fear?
ANSWER.--Fear is a quality of the mind that is begotten generally of uncertainty. There are certain things which we ought to fear, and certain things that we need not fear. The Adversary would seem to take advantage of our fallen condition, the condition of sin, and cause us to fear our heavenly Father; because whoever we fear we keep away from. We all realize that by nature we are sinners, and that there must be some penalty for sin. We seem to know this instinctively and naturally have a fear. We are told, You are a sinner, You are a sinner and there is a penalty for sin. A fear comes--of what kind and how severe will the penalty be? Satan would try to give us, through his various theories, a dread or fear of God, and of torture. He pictures before our imperfect minds a God unjust, over-severe in His dealings with sin and the sinner.
As we come, gradually, to a clearer knowledge of God and His principles for the regulation of His universe, we have that fear cast out. Instead we have a love for God, and realize that He has a love for us. We love Him, and in proportion as we realize that He loves the world and has made provision for us and the world. By and by, when we get to the place where we love God perfectly, all fear is cast out.
But this knowledge and love would not cast out the fear of displeasing God; because that is a proper reverence, and that is never to be cast out. The more reverential love we have, the more of that fear we will have--who would not fear to offend a brother or neighbor whom he loved and appreciated. This is the same principle that exists, more or less, between father and children, husband and wife. The wife who would fear her husband would not be in as happy a condition as if there were perfect love, and vice versa; also with children. Yet each should the more fear to wound or offend the other.
FEAR--Is it Wrong to Fear Death? ::Q271:1:: QUESTION (1915)--l--Does it denote a lack of faith, or is one in a condition not pleasing to Jehovah, when we look forward to death fearfully?
ANSWER.--We are to remember that our physical condition has much to do with our feelings, and one might be in such a nervous condition that a trifling noise would affect the nerves. Perhaps you have been in the condition that even a slight thing would jar your nerves and make you very uncomfortable. You can see that some persons might thus have a great fear. But that super-sensitive condition would not prove that they were not true children of God. So I do not know that we should think it an evil or a sin for some to have a fear of death. Some people naturally have more fear and dread of death than others. The organ of vitativeness--love of life--is much stronger in some than in others.
Some even who have been taught the doctrine of eternal torment seem to have little fear of death. We read the accounts of the soldiers of Europe going down to the trenches, where fully half of them may never come back alive, and yet they go down there with a great deal of courage, apparently fearless of death. I do not quite understand it. I would think that the natural condition of mankind would be to fear death. We find that this was true of our Lord Jesus. He had a fear and dread of death, and this lasted until He had a message from God to the effect that He was acceptable and would have a resurrection.
When He came down to His last night on earth, the night on which he was betrayed and apprehended, you remember that in the Garden of Gethsemane He began to be very sorrowful. He became very, very sad and heavy-hearted, thinking, "Now tomorrow I am to be crucified. It looks, too, as though I am to suffer as an evil-doer. I would be glad if that need not be. It is a terrible thing to die under any conditions, but it is an awful thing, after living a righteous life, to die as a blasphemer against God! O, if it might be possible that this part may pass away from Me!" Then the thought came, "Perhaps I deserve that experience; perhaps I have committed some sin. I do not know anything I have done that is wrong, but perhaps I have transgressed in
some manner. If so, I will have no future life!" The thought was terrible to one who knew the perfection of life before He came into the world and who had a full understanding of the possibility of the future glory, honor and immortality.
And so we read of Jesus that "in the days of His flesh when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, He was heard in that which He feared" (`Heb. 5:7`). He did not pray to be saved from dying; for He had consecrated His life unto death; but to be saved out of death, by a resurrection; And He was heard. The Father sent Him some message or assurance that was strengthening to Him, that gave Him to understand that He was fully acceptable. The passage concerning the appearing of the angel to our Lord is not contained in the oldest Greek Manuscripts; but the Scripture cited from Hebrews proves that the Father in some manner heard His petition. As soon as the fear of annihilation was removed, the Master was the calmest and most courageous of all. His quietness of soul returned when He once had the assurance that He was pleasing to the Father.
Now I believe that when we have a fear of death we should seek the Father in prayer, should seek the assurance that we have the Father's approval. The Bible enables us to know when we are acceptable children of God, and as Christians we should seek to drive away our fears, giving heed to God's Word, having it before our minds and considering the precious promises concerning the Lord's love and care and sustaining grace in every time of need. I believe that as we do this we will find in our hearts more and more a loyalty and a willingness at any sacrifice to walk in the footsteps of Jesus unto the end. And we can say, "I will not fear; God has promised that "all things shall work together for good" to me. Why should I fear? What or whom shall I fear? I will fear nothing, "for Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me." `Rom. 8:28`; `Psalm 23:4`.
FEDERATION--When Established. ::Q272:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--When will the Federation of the churches be an established fact, in 1911 or 1913, and become the false prophet?
ANSWER.--I do not know. How could I? I am not a prophet. The very most I try to do, dear friends, is to interpret prophecy, and I know of no prophecy which gives a clue to the question.
So far as my expectation was concerned, I thought it would be years ago. I am surprised that it has been so slow. When I first called attention to the matter, none of the churches were thinking of it, but way back in 1880 we saw it clearly in the Scriptures, and we were naturally inclined to think things would come more rapidly than they do. It has been slowly developing, however, and it is right here now. If it had developed more rapidly, something else would have gone wrong. It is for you and me to learn to trust the Lord to manage his part, and for us to try to manage our part. It is all coming around, dear friends, and will be here at the proper time, but whether next year or two years after that, I would not begin to say.
I might remark in this connection that to a certain extent this recognition has already been given; viz.: that two years ago the Episcopal church rescinded that feature of their church creed which barred other ministers from speaking from the Episcopal platform. It used to be the case that if any other minister occupied the Episcopal pulpit, it would practically have to be fumigated. Our Episcopal friends now think this is foolish, so they have abandoned that feature as a step toward the union. They have practically recognized all other denominations today, by allowing them to speak from their pulpits.
FEDERATION--In Jesus' Day. ::Q273:1:: QUESTION (1910-Z)--1--Why were the Pharisees and Sadducees of our Lord's day the leaders of religion?
ANSWER.--They had formed a trust or federation, so to speak, and rarely made an attack upon each other, although their doctrines were directly opposed. The Pharisees acknowledged God and the prophets and the Law, and believed in a future life by a resurrection from the dead, and believed in a coming Messiah to exalt their nation and through it to bless the world. The Sadducees believed nothing of the kind--they were agnostics, Higher Critics. They were making the best of the present life, doubting any future existence. The Pharisees opposed Jesus because He did not acknowledge them but criticized them and showed the hypocricies of their claims to be perfect and holy in the keeping of the Law, and reproved them for their lack of sympathy with the poor and less pretentious.
The Sadducees opposed Jesus because, from their stand point of unbelief, he was a fraud. But even as a fraud they would not have bothered themselves to oppose him, only that they perceived that he was gaining an influence with the people--an influence which they feared might, sooner or later, lead to some disturbance of the peace and unfavorably influence the conduct of the Roman Empire towards the Jews. So, while the Sadducees and Pharisees both opposed Jesus, their opposition was for different reasons.
The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the crying of the multitude, ''Hosanna to the Son of David,"the Messiah! awakened envy in the minds of the Pharisees. But in the Sadducees it produced a fear that the common people should become so aroused as to involve their nation in some strife with the Empire. The Pharisees strove to turn away the sympathy of the people from the Great Teacher, and, to this end sought to catch Him in his words by putting the question, "IS IT LAWFUL TO GIVE TRIBUTE?"
They reasoned that if Jesus would say, It is not lawful, they would have little difficulty in having him arrested as a leader of sedition and thus compel Pilate to put him to death. They reasoned further that if Jesus should answer that it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar he would thereby alienate the sympathy of the multitude, which cried "Hosanna!" after him; for the Jews held, almost superstitiously, the idea that they, as God's Kingdom, must not pay tithes to any earthly Kingdom--that it would be irreverent to do so, excepting under compulsion. We notice how artfully they endeavored to ensnare the Master by complimenting him upon his truthfulness, saying, "Master, we know that thou art true!" Not only so, but they sought to impress
upon him their appreciation of him as a Teacher--that he would teach the light, the Truth, at any cost. And so they said, "Thou teachest the way of God in truth!" And further, they fortified their position by saying, "We know that thou regardest not the person of men!"
These treacherous compliments were intended to ensnare him, but he promptly answered, "Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?" Why do you veil your base designs under guise of speaking for the Truth? "Show me the tribute money." This was, literally, the census coin in which the tax was to be paid. They handed him a denarius, the usual wage for the day laborer, corresponding in value to about seventeen of our cents. Jesus asked, "Whose is this image and superscription?" They answered, "Caesar's." Jesus replied, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars and unto God the things that are God's." No wonder the wily Pharisees were troubled to know how to catch him in his words! On the contrary, they were caught; for all of their complimentary remarks stood to his credit in the minds of the common people.
FIGHT--Fought the Good Fight. ::Q274:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--(`2 Tim. 4:6,7,8`.) "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." At what time in the Christian's experience should he be able to give such a testimony?
ANSWER.--Well, I think, dear friends, we should be able to give a good testimony from the time we reach what we sometimes call the mark. When we speak of the mark we are merely speaking of the mark of character, which is that which the law of God places as the smallest condition which would be acceptable to Him, and the least He will accept of you or me or anybody, now or in the Millennial Age, which is, "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy mind and heart and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself." When you have reached that mark you may properly say you have reached the mark of perfect love. Nothing less than this will do.
You may not have reached this in your body because your body is imperfect. This is a mark of the heart. The Jews under the Law Covenant were obliged to come up to that mark in the flesh, but we who are spiritual Israelites are required to come up to that law in our minds and hearts. If you find that you have blemishes in your flesh you are to ask the Lord to forgive you, but your heart must always be perfect. Like the needle of a compass, if you swerve, then like the needle when released, it comes back to the pole; so your heart must always be loyal. So regard your neighbor that you would love him as yourself, would do good to him as you would have him do good to you; do justly, generously, righteously to your neighbor. It might be that through some temptation you might not do just as you would wish to be treated, but just as soon as you find out that you have treated him in any manner that was not right it would be your duty to make amends not only to him
but to God, for you have injured him to this extent. In the Millennial Age a person will be required to act perfectly, but at this time, during the Gospel Age, the Lord has made a higher requirement for the Church, which is that we should love the brethren as He loved us, that we should lay down our lives for them. Christ has made this requirement upon all who would be His disciples. They must love their enemies also to the extent of being ready to do good to anybody. As soon as you find in your heart that you have that perfect law of love, then you are at the mark of perfect love and in that condition, if you should die, you would have every reason to think that you would be acceptable to God. He may not take you as soon as you reach that condition, for He may leave you here to do good to others and to be tried and tested yourself. But when you are in that condition of heart and mind and someone should say that your life is in jeopardy, you could say, I have reached the mark of perfect love and I am ready to be offered.
This reminds me of a Welsh brother who had a long walk home from meeting one night and on the way met a highway robber who demanded his money or his life, and he replied, Take my life, take my life, I have no money. The robber turned and ran; he was afraid of being near a man who was ready to die. I hope your heart condition and my heart condition is such that if at this very minute something would occur to demand your life that you would be able to say, "I am ready to be offered." I should be very pleased if the Lord should want me now to pass beyond the vail. We should live in that condition of heart every day and hour, and should not be satisfied with any thing short of that.
FINANCIAL AID--Limit to Indigent Brethren. ::Q275:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--How far should we go in extending financial aid to the indigent brethren? What would be the limit?
ANSWER.--Well, do not go beyond what you have got. That is the first limit. For instance, a brother in distress has money loaned to him which he does not repay: should we assist him again when he owes us for past favors?
Well, first, the fact that he has been unable to pay, and unable to make good past favors, would not necessarily constitute a ground of objection, because you have had past favors from the Lord and you have not been able to pay, and if he stopped giving you any more it would be pretty hard on you, wouldn't it? However, dear friends, in the matter of giving to the poor brethren, or to anybody, it is an occasion for the exercise of judgment and prayer. To give unwisely might be to encourage somebody in a wrong course, and to give wisely might be the means of helping someone to see a proper course. If you have any advice to give anybody, it is usually pretty good to put it in the "sandwich" form, and to give the advice when you are giving the mony, rather than when you are refusing the money. Put the advice in with the money, suggesting, kindly, to the brother or sister. Now I do not like to criticise you, my brother, but it would seem to me that you might do this or you might do that; I am going to help you to such an extent, but I hope you will do thus and so with it, because I feel as though I
am a steward over whatever I possess, and that I ought to use it as I feel would be to the Lord's pleasement, and not merely because you would get it. But we are not to forget what St. James says, that if we should see a brother or sister suffering want, it would be an un-Christian course on our part to refuse aid, no matter if they have been foolish in some respects in the past. Perhaps they were not born with as level heads as you have been. But it is true the majority of people do not have level heads on the use of money. That is my experience-- I am in trouble with people all the time. Perhaps my head was made too tight and stingy, I don't know. But I believe it would be entirely wrong for us to permit anyone that we recognize as truly a brother in the Lord to suffer lack of the necessaries of life. Now, how many of the luxuries should be added to that is another question. I have known instances in which I thought the friends had perhaps undertaken to do for some persons more than would have been, in my judgment, the wise course; but I said to myself, it is none of your business, mind your own business, and let them attend to their matters; and perhaps the Lord will be better pleased with their course than with yours. We live in a day, you know, when things are considered necessary that would not have been considered necessary a short time ago. We all have more comforts and blessings temporally than our grandfathers had, I am sure, and these blessings become almost necessities to people--or at least with some. Really a person can live on very little when it comes down to necessity. Potatoes are always cheap; so is salt; so are oats; and really the absolute necessities of life do not cost a great deal. We are to consider matters in as broad a light as we please, and we are to remember in our day civilization has adopted methods for dealing with people that it did not adopt in times past, and I think very good methods. Instead of having the blind beggars sitting by the roadside, as in our Lord's day, civilization says, No, let us take these blind beggars, and put them comfortably in a nice home where they won't have to beg, where they will not have to sit in the sun all day, where they will not have to be without proper nourishment and care; let us put them in a nice suitable asylum. If I were in their place, I believe I would prefer to go to some institution of that kind that had been specially prepared for me, rather than to sit out on the curbstone or any other place to solicit alms. However, this is a matter which each one must decide for himself. The broad principles of the Lord's teaching is, that we should not see anybody go hungry, whether friend or foe. If thine enemy hunger, feed him, and if he is naked, give him something to cover his nakedness. But that does not mean you should give him your best robe, or anything of that kind.
FINGER--Significance of Sprinkling the Blood with His Finger. ::Q276:1:: QUESTION (l907)--1--`Lev. 16:14`:"And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward." Is there any special typical significance attaching to the finger of the High Priest?
ANSWER.--I do not think of any special significance in this word "finger" as it is used. It would be more convenient to sprinkle with his finger than with his whole hand. There may be some force or significance to the word "finger,"
but I never thought of it. If any of you think of it, I would be pleased to have you mention it to me.
FINISHED--Not the Divine Plan. ::Q277:1:: QUESTION (1912)--1--When on Calvary our Lord said, "It is finished!" to what did He refer as being completed?
ANSWER.--This did not mean that our Lord had finished all the work of the Divine Plan, for both the work of calling out the Bride aud presenting her blameless and the work of the Millennial Age were yet future. Our Lord had come into the world to do a work of personal sacrifice. When He was thirty years of age, He presented Himself in consecration at Jordan. During the three and a half years of His ministry He continued to offer Himself; and this course, figuratively, became a sweet incense ascending before God beyond the veil. This work was one which could not be accomplished in a day. It required three and a half years. To this He referred when He said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" (`Luke 12:50`.) He was anxiously awaiting its completion, which was reached at Calvary.
FIRE--The Significance of Coals from the Altar. ::Q277:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--What is signified by the priest's taking coals from the altar and using the same for the offering of the incense in the Holy?
ANSWER --We see that the fire used in all three of these different places represented our Lord's dying, or death process. The fire outside the Camp represented the destructive influences which came against him and caused his death, as viewed from the world's standpoint. The fire in the Court represented the same destructive influences came against him and caused his death, as viewed from the standpoint of believers. To those outside the Camp the burning of the flesh and hide and hoofs and horns had a very evil odor, bad odor. To those that were inside the Court the burning of the fat--it was practically all fat in the sin-offering that was offered on the altar at this time--represented that which is not a bad odor, as the burning of fat does not give off a bad odor when burned under proper conditions and circumstances, as it is almost pure carbon. As has already been suggested, the fat could represent the love and zeal which would characterize the sacrifice. In a lean animal there is very little fat; in a fat animal there is much fat to be put on the altar and correspondingly could augment the zeal, the flame, with which it would burn. But entirely aside from the burning of the fat and of the animal outside the Camp is the fact that fire was used to start the flame of sacred love and self-sacrifice.
The coals of fire upon the altar, that which caused the burning of the fat, would not seem to represent anything that our Lord had or did, but rather experiences from the ordinary affairs of life. Wood doubtless was used upon the altar, as we read in some places, and the glowing embers from this fire upon the altar were taken inside the vail to constitute the basis of the offering on the Golden Altar, the offering of the incense. This shows, therefore, that the fire was of the same kind in all three of these pictures-- wood-fire that that burned the animal outside; wood-fire that burned the fat in the Court; and wood-fire or coals of fire, that burned the incense upon the Golden Altar.
What does fire here represent? We answer that, as usual, fire represents destructive influences. Was there anything peculiar about these destructive influences that would mark them as separate and distinct from many other destructive influences. Our thought is that the fact that they are connected with the altar and were typified by the fire which burned only on the altar, implies that they were destructive influences which were connected with the sacrificing; not the destructive influences which might come against mankind in general, as disease, or war, or famine, or pestilence, or from some other such general source of fire, trouble, destruction, but rather here a sacrificial fire, sacrificial influence, something connected with what was being offered; therefore such adverse influences as would be of the Father's appointment and for the very purpose of accomplishing this test or sacrifice; as our Lord expressed it, using another figure: "The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it?" It was not the Jews that poured that cup for him, it was not the Pharisees that poured that cup; it was not the Romans; it was not the people nor the hypocrites; it was not the scribes that poured that cup; but it was the Father who provided the cup.
We would understand, then, that all these coals of fire represent those classes of circumstances and conditions which the Father provides for the very purpose of proving the character and the loyalty and the genuineness of our devotion. Carrying the coals into the Holy would thus seem to identify those two altars as expressing to us in symbol or type that the spirit of devotion which believers see consuming the sacrifice that is voluntarily offered to the Lord and which, while in line, in harmony with righteousness, is not commanded by the Divine law, is the sacrificing principle which is so acceptable in God's sight. It was in harmony with this, therefore, that our Lord offered up himself, in the sense of crumbling the incense upon the fiery coals. Thus day by day he laid down his life, allowed himself to come in contact with these experiences, which served to destroy his earthly nature and sent forth a sweet fragrance to God. It was not any and every tribulation, as before intimated, but simply those which the Father had provided and were connected with his sacrificial experience.
FIRST-BORNS--Church Typified by. ::Q278:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--Whom do the first-borns of Egypt typify?
ANSWER.--The first-borns of Egypt represent the Church of the First Born, as the Apostle calls our attention to the matter--the Church of The Firstborn whose names are written in Heaven. Now the Church of the First-born includes two classes, the Little Flock class, the Bride class and the Great Company class--the virgins, her companions. How could they all be in the Church of the First-born? Because this First-born Church is the first fruits unto God of His creatures; it represents all of those begotten of the Holy Spirit during this present time. Everyone now begotten is the first fruit as compared to the world, because the world is to be regenerated by and during Messiah's Kingdom, and all of those who now believe and accept God's terms and receive the begetting of the Holy Spirit, their birth must take place before the world's work can begin. So we are
all the little flock and the great company; namely, all of those who come unto the Father through Christ, all who were accepted, all who are begotten of the Spirit belong to this one Church of the First-born. Then there are the two classes, some more than conquerors, and some merely conquerors, but they are all the one church. Just so in the type, the first-borns of Israel were represented by the whole tribe of Levi; the whole tribe was consecrated to God, but out of that tribe was selected the Royal, priestly company, that they should especially minister and have special nearness to God--special service to God. But the whole tribe was a holy tribe, they were all dedicated, and the whole tribe of Levi typified the Church of the First-borns.
FLESH--Eating Jesus' Flesh. ::Q279:1:: QUESTION (19l3)--1--Please explain `John 6:53`, "Then Jesus said unto them, verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood ye have no life in you."
ANSWER.--We have just one moment, and it is quite a short time for so large a text. Briefly stated we understand that the Lord was addressing here His disciples and that He was there speaking to the class who are to have life in themselves, inherent life, immortality, and that only these who would eat of His flesh, that is, partake of His justification and also drink of His cup, that is, share His sacrifice, only those who would do this would have light in them, and be of the class who would have immortal life and secure the glory and honor as well as the immortality. This refers merely to the Church; the world are not to drink of the cup of the Son of Man; it is given only to the Church. The world will indeed eat of the flesh in the sense that they will be justified and eat of the merit of His sacrifice, and the bread from above will be the food for the world, but none will drink of the cup, except those who drink during this Gospel Age. The Master gave it to His disciples and said, "Drink ye all of it." There will not be any of it left.
FLOOD--Questioning Jehovah's Methods. ::Q279:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--Why did God not drown the remaining eight and start over again with a fresh pair?
ANSWER.--I think that question had better be asked of the Almighty. I will tell you, my friends, the person who approaches the Bible in this fighting way is not likely to get any blessing. I know from experience, for I had my experience in fighting with the Bible, trying to make it foolish; but that book is not foolish, and all the wise people of the world have not proven it foolish. If we had plenty of time we could go into all these questions very much in detail, and the questioner would seem more foolish than the book.
FLOOD--Belief in. ::Q279:3:: QUESTION (1911)--3--Do you believe in the deluge?
ANSWER.--Yes, I believe in the deluge.
FORBIDDING OTHERS--Why Forbid God's Service? ::Q279:4:: QUESTION (l910-Z)--4--Why did the disciples forbid the man whom they found casting out devils? Why did they not allow him to go on and do the best he could in casting them out? What was the ground of their objection?.
ANSWER.--Evidently the Apostles when sent forth had very similar sentiments to those which prevail today. Our
Catholic friends, for instance, would say, You do not have the Apostolic ordination; therefore, you cannot preach. You cannot serve in any religious capacity. Our Episcopalian friends would seem to say, No, you did not have the holy hands of the Episcopal Bishop laid upon you.
A little disposition of the same nature is manifested by nearly all of the denominations--What authority have you? So the disciples, finding a man who was casting out devils in Jesus' name, said, What authority have you to cast out devils? Jesus did not send you out as one of the twelve; he did not send you out as one of the seventy. You have no business in this work.
Our Lord's answer to them showed that they were laboring under a mistaken view. While they were specially commissioned to perform miracles, yet if anyone else could do the same things, it was not their province to hinder or object in any sense of the word, but rather they should have taken the broad, sympathetic view, and said, My dear friend, I see you are casting out devils. You are doing a good work. We are glad you can cast them out because of all the poor people you can relieve. The fact that you have not followed with us indicates that you do not know our Master, and we should be glad to have you come and get acquainted with him, too.
And so, we think, it should be with us. Whenever we find anyone doing a good work, helping the world in any sense of the word, whether it be by keeping a mission or helping the heathen or helping a newsboy, or by some other work, to oppose sin or relieve suffering, we should be sympathetic to the extent that we see they have good hearts, good intentions, good desires. Instead of working against them or hindering them in any manner, we should speak an encouraging word and endeavor to lead them to fuller light. This does not mean that we should follow with them and leave our special commission of teaching the Truth which the Lord has given us, but that we should not object to the Lord's using various agencies for accomplishing his work. We should not think that we alone have the privilege of engaging in his work; that we have patent rights on his work, and can hinder others from doing what they may be able to do and take pleasure in doing.
FOREKNOWLEDGE. ::Q280:1:: QUESTION (1913)--l--Does God's Word anywhere say that God knows at the time of anybody's consecration that the one consecrating would not be faithful?
ANSWER.--There is nothing in the Bible to indicate anything of that kind.
FORGIVENESS--How Comprehensive. ::Q280:2:: QUESTION (1912-Z)--2--"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (`1 John 1:9`.) How comprehensive is the word "all" here used?
ANSWER.--Except sin against the Holy Spirit (`Matt. 12:31,32`), all manner of sin amongst the sons of men shall be forgiven, either in this Age or in the Age to come. The Holy Spirit here denotes a light, an intelligence, respecting God's purpose. Whoever wilfully and intelligently would sin against Jesus, would be guilty of
blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. But if he blaspheme the name of Jesus, being deceived in some way, then the sin is not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and may be forgiven. In the case of the Church, these forgivable sins will be forgiven through the Advocate, who has appeared for us in the Heavenly Court and can restore us to favor with the Father, unless we sin against full light and knowledge. To do this would be to take ourselves out of His hands.
But there might be a sin partly wilful--a sin in which both superstition or weakness and a certain amount of wilfulness had a part. As to how this would be possible we answer that there is a difference between the forgiveness of the moral obliquity and the sin. For instance, a child has committed some trespass and the parent says, "I will punish you for what you have done." There might be two parts of the punishment, one corporal punishment, the other the displeasure of the parent.
With some children the latter part of the punishment, the cloud between the child and parent, would be unbearable. Then the parent might say, "Since you tell me that you are sorry and that you will never do it again, I forgive you. But I told you that there would be a penalty attaching to disobedience. I will make the penalty as light as would seem best in my judgment, but you must still bear punishment." And that which would be proper for an earthly parent we may consider might be done by the Heavenly Father.
In the case of the Prophet David: he committed two very serious, grievous sins--one in respect to Uriah and Uriah's wife, and the other in respect to Uriah's death. But we remember with what perseverance David pleaded with the Lord; and though the Lord indicated His forgiveness, yet there must be a punishment. David's child died.--`2 Sam. 12:15-22`.
Again, Satan provoked David to number Israel, contrary to the command of the Lord: God was displeased and smote Israel. Again David repented and prayed earnestly for forgiveness. The Lord offered him three things, one of which be must choose as the punishment for his sin. "Thus," said the Lord, "Choose thee either three years' famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, or else three days the sword of the Lord, even the pestilence in the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel." (`1 Chron. 21:10-14`.) Realizing his own weakness, David, in humility declined to make a choice. The three days' pestilence was sent upon Israel, and there fell seventy thousand men; but in the meantime before the punishment reached David, he had received the Lord's forgiveness for his sin.
So with the sins of the Lord's people. If there is more or less of ignorance, then the punishment is in proportion to the amount of wilfulness. Temptations come to us and to all mankind. Christ died for man's sin, from which He freely absoves the whole human family--the Church now, and the world in their day of trial.
FREE GRACE--Re Any Taking Up Cross to Follow Jesus. ::Q281:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--If "free grace" is not in the Gospel
age, why did Jesus say, "If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me?"
ANSWER.--Jesus said, "If any man will be my disciple." He was inviting a special class. The Gospel at the present time is good tidings, the very best tidings that could come to the elect class that is being called out. God is not forcing anybody, He is merely inviting them. When Jesus said, "Let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me," which is the narrow way, he was inviting whoever wanted to be his disciple, his follower, to walk in this narrow way, and said, "Where I am, there will that disciple be." Jesus, you remember, took up his cross, he laid aside every weight and faithfully laid down his life, and the Father raised him up to glory, honor and immortality. And so, Jesus said that any of us coming along who desired to do these things might do so, but no man can do them unless he first hear them. "No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him," said Jesus. You see the drawing is of God, and through his word. Those of mankind who have no ear to hear, or who never hear the message, are not drawn, they are not called; not any more than if there were twenty people outside the door there, and I went to the door and suppose that of the twenty, ten were deaf, and I shouted aloud, "Every one of you that will come in I will give a ten dollar bill!" How many did I call? Only those that had the ear. The other men that had no ear, that were deaf, were not called. It would be foolish for me to say they were all called. Only those that had the ear were called. Now, as a matter of fact not one-half of the people have an ear to hear. There are various things which fill the ears of mankind. With some it is pleasure; with some, money; with some, weakness of the flesh, etc., everything else than the voice of God. But the voice of God is inviting a little flock to walk with God and be joint-heirs with Christ, associated with him in his glorious kingdom.
The Jews, you know, are a very intelligent people, the very highest at that time in religious attainment. No other nation was so well advanced. The law that God had given them for several hundred years had brought the Jewish people up to a very high development, and I should not wonder if there are more Jews proportionately in the little flock than of any other class. But now they got the first call--to the Jew first--so in the next age, then comes the restitution, and it is the Jew first. The Scriptures clearly intimate that the blessings will come to the Jews immediately after this Gospel age ends; that the blessings from Messiah will come first to natural Israel, all that God promised them. He never promised Israel spiritual things. If you will read all through the Bible from Genesis to Malachi, you will see God never made a suggestion to the Jew of anything of a heavenly kind. To the contrary, the blessings promised to them were all earthly. For instance, after telling about the renewed earth, after Messiah's reign would commence, God said through the prophet, "Ye shall build houses and inhabit them, and shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them, and you shall long enjoy the work of your hands." These are earthly blessings, and do not belong to us at all. They belong to the restitution times when the blessings of the Lord will be to all mankind, beginning with the Jew and extending to all nations and kindreds and tongues.
FRUIT--Jehovah and Garden of Eden. ::Q283:1:: QUESTION (1905)--1--Did Jehovah taste of the fruits of the garden when he beheld that they were good?
ANSWER.--That is too deep for me. I will not tell what the Lord did; the Bible does not.