ZWT - 1916 - R5821 thru R6024 / R5876 (097) - April 1, 1916
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VOL. XXXVII. APRIL 1 NO. 7
A.D. 1916--A.M. 6044
How are We Sanctified? . . . . . 99
How to Enter Heavenly Race . . . 99
Sanctified Through the Truth . . 100
Quietness in the Midst of Storms . . 101
Affliction No Proof of God's Disfavor 102
Kept in Perfect Peace . . . . . 102
St. Peter and Cornelius . . . . . 103
End of Israel's "Seventy Weeks" . . 103
The Only True Gospel. . . . . 104
Judgment of Quick and Dead . . . 104
The Risen Christ . . . . . . 105
The Scriptures Logical . . . . 106
Order in the Resurrection . . . 106
The Ransom-Price and Its Application . 107
Interesting Items . . . . . . 110
Strong Delusions Urge on the War . 110
Turkish Promises Trusted . . . 111
Interesting Letters . . . . . . 111
Drama Turning Point of Life . . . 111
Seed Sowed in Good Ground . . . 111
MEMORIAL ANNIVERSARY APRIL 16TH
After six o'clock p.m. on the above date, thousands of Bible Students all over the world will meet to celebrate the most important event of history--the death of Jesus, the World's Redeemer.
All should properly approach the Lord's Table with clean hearts and clean hands--with consciences purged by faith in the merit of the cleansing blood. Our own best endeavors to attain purity need supplementing with our Savior's merit.
Let us remember that in partaking of the emblems of our Lord's broken body and shed blood, we not only confess Him but profess to be His followers, His imitators--laying down our lives for the brethren.
The New York City congregation will assemble at The Temple at 7:30 p.m. All trusting in the precious blood will be welcome.
When ordering books, etc., please consult November 1st WATCH TOWER for price.
TWO DUTCH BOOKLETS
We have a small quantity of small Dutch Booklets:
(1) "What Say The Scriptures Concerning Our Lord's Return--His Parousia, Epiphania and Apokalupsis?"
(2) "The Hope of Israel in The Divine Plan."
Five Cents each, postpaid.
RE VOLUNTEER MATTER
Some brethren write us that they are mailing four copies of B.S.M. to certain Voters' Lists, etc. We fear that this is wasting valuable ammunition, for Voters' Lists in many communities are not very desirable--and it would seem unwise to risk the waste of four numbers. Other dear friends have followed a similar course in their house-to-house distribution --putting several papers together. We cannot approve this method, either, dear Brethren. In our judgment there is quite enough interesting matter in each number of the B.S.M. to make one number of it sufficient for one distribution. It is for this reason that we issue Volunteer matter at intervals--and not several numbers together. We believe that those Classes which circulate the Volunteer numbers as they are issued, and one copy at a time, do the best work, as well as the most economical work. We request that all do this; we decline to send assorted lots for general distribution.
We do recommend, however, that each Class keep on hand at its central meeting place a variety of the B.S.M., so that all the members of the Class can have access to these, should special numbers be desired for special individuals. Some of the numbers are not suitable for general circulation, but very important to have for special individuals--as, for instance, numbers treating with the Seventh Day Adventist doctrine, with Christian Science, Theosophy, Higher Criticism and Evolution. Similarly, a few copies of B.S.M. in foreign languages would be appropriate.
We merely seek, dear friends, the largest amount of good as the result of our mutual endeavors to serve the King and His Truth-hungry people. We hope that our readers will see the matter as we see it. Be sure, always, of our desire to cooperate in every form of service that commends itself to us as reasonable and economical.
BETHEL HYMNS FOR MAY
After the close of the hymn the Bethel family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for May follow: (1) 83; (2) 8; (3) 259; (4) 12; (5) 267; (6) 303; (7) 7; (8) 235; (9) 197; (10) 105; (11) 204; (12) 199; (13) 47; (14) 9; (15) 321; (16) 120; (17) 18; (18) 73; (19) 325; (20) 78; (21) 79; (22) 263; (23) 305; (24) 114; (25) 307; (26) 28; (27) 19; (28) 22; (29) 240; (30) 40; (31) 214.
All cheques, drafts, money orders, etc., should be made out to WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. There are no exceptions to this rule.
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HOW ARE WE SANCTIFIED?
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification."--`1 Thessalonians 4:3`.
THE words of our text are addressed only to the saints of God, as are all the Apostolic Epistles. In respect to His people, this is God's will, His desire, His design--even their sanctification, their full setting apart from the world to Himself and His service. This is not God's will in the sense that He has determined that certain ones shall be sanctified; but it is His will that there shall be such a class; and it rests with each of the called whether or not he shall belong to this class.
God has a great work to be accomplished, and hence He has a very particular reason for the selection of such a class. If we would be of this number when completed, we must make our calling and election sure by full compliance with the terms and conditions of the call, and this even unto death. We should bear in mind that the Lord is now selecting, electing, a sanctified class for a very special position, a very special work--First, for a thousand years they are to be associated with the Lord Jesus Christ in the regeneration of the whole world, including all who have lived since the time of Adam--for their uplift from sin and death to the heights of human perfection, from which Adam fell; and then they are to reign with Christ their Head and be associated with Him in all His future work throughout eternity. This is why it is called a High Calling, a Heavenly Calling.
So the will of God referred to in this text is not the will of God concerning the world in the Ages to follow the present Age, nor is it His will concerning angels. It is His will for the Church, called to be the Bride of Christ, members of His Body. This great Call was never issued before this Age, nor will it ever be issued after its close. There can be but one Bride of Christ; and when this class shall have been completed, no addition to their number will ever be made. This Class have heard of the present grace of God offered through Christ and have accepted its terms and entered the race for the "Prize."
The Apostle in our text is practically saying, Here we are as Christians, the called of God. Now, what is the one thing God would have us do? Would He have us keep a seventh day? Would He have us abstain from eating meat? Would He have us adopt some certain forms or idiosyncrasies? No. The will of God is our sanctification. There is a certain difference between the words sanctification and consecration, though they are sometimes used almost interchangeably. The word consecrate has the thought of surrender. Consecration is a definite step, taken at a certain moment. It is the yielding up of the will and of all to God. Whoever has not thus definitely surrendered his will, himself, to the Lord, has never made a real consecration. We believe that there is no step more necessary to be seen clearly by God's professed people than this one, and none more necessary to be made
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plain to others. The word sanctification not only has in it the thought of this definite and complete consecration at the beginning, but also takes in the entire process of transformation of character and preparation for the Kingdom. It progresses throughout the Christian course until the character is fully developed and ripened, and it must then be maintained until the end of the way.
HOW TO ENTER THE HEAVENLY RACE
Many professed Christians do not see the initial step of full consecration as essential to one who would be a follower of Christ. In our conversation with people many tell us that they have been trying for years to be children of God, that they have been for years seeking to do God's will and live a holy life. We try always to get these down to the particular point: Have you begun right? Have you been trying to run the Christian race on the outside or on the inside? Then they ask us what we mean. And we tell them that the matter is like a race-course, where there is a certain prize offered, with certain definite rules and regulations. The person who is to run in the race must be entered in the regular way. The contract must be made and signed. The man must agree to all the conditions. Then he will be entered as a contestant, and must run on the prescribed track and for the goal.
Now another, who had failed to make this contract and to enter the race in the prescribed manner, might run around and around on the outside of the track. He might run as fast and as well as those on the inside. He might boastingly say, "I can beat any one running on that track!" But would he gain the prize? Assuredly not. He would be only amusing himself or wasting his breath and his strength. The real race was run on that track. He had failed to meet the prescribed conditions, and all his running would be in vain so far as gaining the prize was concerned. And so it is with one who endeavors to live a Christian life without first having carefully learned and met the conditions and terms required in order to become a real disciple of Christ, and be recognized of the Father as His child.
We believe that this is the trouble with many who call themselves Christians. Many who talk with us express good desires and all that, but we pin them right down to
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the point: "Have you made a full consecration to God?" We had a case of this kind only recently--a gentleman who has now called upon us twice. In our conversation at his last visit we said, "Well, you remember what we spoke about when you were here before." He replied that he had been praying. We then told him that he had no right to pray, that he could not properly pray until he had an Advocate with the Father; for the Father does not hear sinners. We said, "You cannot pray until you have surrendered your will to God. And all access to the Father must be through the Advocate. 'No man cometh to the Father, but by Me.' There is a definite way. It is not that you can go in your way and I in mine. All the terms of discipleship are laid down by the Lord Himself. 'If any man will be My disciple,' said the Lord Jesus, 'let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.' Unless we take this step of denying ourselves, yielding up ourselves to the Lord, we may do a variety of things-- go to Church, etc., etc., and yet not be Christians. We are not Christians until we have accepted Jesus as our Redeemer, and made a consecration to God through Christ."
TWO PARTS TO SANCTIFICATION
In one Scripture we read, "Sanctify yourselves, and I will sanctify you." This means, Set yourselves apart to God, and He will set you apart. We have a part in this work and God has a part. If we make a full consecration, God will consecrate us; He will accept us and set us apart for Himself. He gives us the indication of this acceptance in the begetting of His Holy Spirit. Such soon begin to realize that they have a new mind, a new disposition, a new heart. It is of this class that the Apostle Paul is speaking in our text. "This is the will of God" concerning you, "even your sanctification"--you who have consecrated yourselves to Him and whom He has accepted and consecrated, has set apart for His service.
The acceptance of us by the Father is only the beginning of the sanctifying work. And it is His will that this work should continue and progress in us, to its full completion. This sanctifying work should affect our minds, our hands, our eyes, our ears, our tongues--our all--that we may be fully used of the Lord. It is the will that is given up at first, and the will, of course, includes the service of our mortal body.
But this body has natural tendencies of its own. The giving up of the will means that the individual will seek to bring every thought, word and act into subjection to the will of God. It is one thing for the will to be made holy, and another thing to bring the mind and the body fully into line with this holiness of the will. The will is present with us, but how to perform is the problem. Not only are our wills to maintain this sanctified state, but we are to broaden our appreciation of the Lord's will for us, and thus have more and more of the spirit of sacrifice.
SANCTIFIED THROUGH THE TRUTH
Now what powers, what spiritual forces, are there that will aid us in this work of sanctification? Our Lord Jesus, in His last prayer to the Father before His death, prayed, "Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth." (`John 17:17`.) Here He gives us the key as to how this work of sanctification will proceed. The one who consecrates himself to God will not at first have a full knowledge of himself or of sin. He is only a babe at the beginning. But he is to be helped onward by the power of the revealed Word, by the Message of Truth. How will this Message sanctify? The Apostle Paul answers that thus God works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure. He gives us in His Word exceeding great and precious promises. He gives us counsel and admonition. And as these enter our heart and impress themselves upon us, through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, we are constrained to work out in ourselves the peaceable, precious fruits of righteousness and holiness.
We realize that by faithfully walking in the narrow way which our Master walked, we shall be pleasing to our God and shall receive an exceeding great reward, even joint-heirship with Christ to "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for us who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." (`1 Peter 1:4,5`.) Thus we see how very important is the Word of Truth in this sanctifying process, whether we receive this Truth from the reading of the Bible or from a hymn or from the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES or however. Whatever impresses upon our hearts the Word of God and increases our measure of the Holy Spirit is a part of that which does the sanctifying work.
THE METHOD OF SANCTIFICATION
There is another text which tells us how we are to be sanctified. It declares that by God's will "we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (`Hebrews 10:10`.) The Apostle's thought here is that we were not sanctified in the beginning, but "were children of wrath, even as others." We could not sanctify ourselves; and the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, the sacrifice of His untainted life for us, was the basis whereby we might become God's sanctified people. No amount of consecration could have made us the people of God unless, first of all, the foundation for this should be made in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice opened the way. His merit cleansed us and made us acceptable to Jehovah.
Again, we read that we are of the Elect, "through sanctification of the Spirit." (`1 Peter 1:2`.) When we present ourselves in consecration, we are next accepted and begotten of the Spirit. This acceptance and begetting sets us apart; it inducts us into the Body of the Anointed. The spirit of the Truth inspires us and guides us in the Heavenly way. It first showed us that we were sinners needing a Savior. Next it showed us how to present ourselves to God. And after we had taken the steps thus shown, and were accepted as sons of God, it led us on step by step into the fulness of the stature of men in Christ. Thus the Spirit, through the Word, brings about our complete sanctification.
We are told again that it is "the blood of the Covenant wherewith we are sanctified." (`Hebrews 10:29`.) How is this? God has made a great Covenant with the Church. It was first made with the Head of this Church, and then with those who are to constitute His Body. It is a Covenant of Sacrifice. Jehovah said, prophetically through the Psalmist, "Gather My saints [My holy ones, My sanctified ones] together unto Me; those who have made a Covenant with Me by sacrifice." (`Psalm 50:5`.) The way to come into this class thus called and gathered is to accept the terms laid down by Jehovah Himself. No one comes into this class except by the blood of the Covenant.
When our Lord Jesus entered into a Covenant with the Father, it was by the consecration of Himself at baptism. This consecration was carried out and finished in His death on Calvary. There the shedding of His blood --the sacrifice of His life--was finished. There was no other way to fulfil His Covenant. It was necessary that He do all this that He might enter into His own glory as well as be the Savior of the world. And we who have become His Body members must make this same Covenant with the Father. We are to drink with Him His Cup of
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suffering and death. We are to lay down our lives as He laid His down. Our blood is to be shed, our human lives are to be sacrificed, with His. There is no virtue in our blood other than it is made acceptable by the imputation of Christ's merit. But by this imputation, we, as members of His Body, share in His sacrifice. So our death is like His, a sacrificial death; and our blood is counted in as His blood. Thus by partaking in the blood of the Covenant, the blood of the sacrificial Covenant, the blood which is to seal the New Covenant, we are sanctified. This laying down of our lives is a gradual work, in its actual carrying out, as was that of our Lord's. It is the work of sanctification, progressing until its completion in death.
So it is true that we are sanctified through the Truth, which becomes illuminated to us through the Holy Spirit. The offering of the body of Jesus opened the way to this sanctification. And our Covenant of Sacrifice gives us a participation in the "blood of the Covenant," and this means our full sanctification unto death. Whoever does not share in the drinking of Christ's Cup, in His sacrificial death, will have no part in the Kingdom. The world will have a share in the eating of the Bread that came down from Heaven; but to be members of Christ's Body of sacrifice it is necessary that we also drink of His blood, and share with Him in His death. We are to be conformed unto His death that we may share in His resurrection, the First (Chief) Resurrection. The world are to have no part in the drinking of the Cup. The blood of the Covenant wherewith we (the Church) are sanctified is to seal the New Covenant for the whole world. It is not sealed as yet; for the sacrificing is not yet completed. The Law Covenant was a type of the New Covenant, soon to be inaugurated. The Law Covenant was sealed by the blood of the typical bullock and goat. So the New Covenant will be sealed by the blood of the "better sacrifices."
SPRINKLING OF BLOOD, TYPE AND ANTITYPE
This is all an unmerited favor to the goat class. As in the type, when the Law Covenant was instituted, Moses took the blood of bullocks and goats, and sprinkled first the book of the Law, thus typically satisfying God's Justice, and then sprinkled "all the people," so in the antitype, the blood of the antitypical bullock and goat sprinkle first the Law, satisfying Justice on behalf of the entire world; and then the blood sprinkles "all the people," the whole world, who are dead in Adam. This will mean the Restitution, to be gradually attained by the world in the incoming Age as the result of the Ransom-sacrifice and its application on their behalf. This will be accomplished by the Millennial Reign of The Christ, Head and Body.
It may be asked, Why were there many bullocks and goats offered in the type, when there is only one bullock and one goat in the antitype? Why the difference? We reply, There is no difference. It was merely the duplication of the bullock and goat in the type. But why? Because it required much more blood than one bullock and one goat would supply, to sprinkle all Israel. But there is no difference in the thought. It typified the work of the one bullock and the one goat in antitype.
It is a marvelous privilege to be of this Lord's goat class, the sanctified in Christ Jesus, who are to share with Him in His sufferings of the present time and then to reign with Him throughout eternal ages of glory. Let us prove to God our appreciation of this glorious calling, by faithfulness even unto death.
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QUIETNESS IN THE MIDST OF STORMS
"When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?"--`Job 34:29`.
ELIHU, the speaker of these words, was a young man who lived in Job's day--supposedly in the time of Abraham. He was one of the four friends of Job who called upon him in his adversity to comfort him. Being the youngest of all, he hesitated to speak as freely as did the other three friends of Job. He had heard them speak, and had discerned where they had made mistakes.
The fact that certain words are recorded in the Bible does not necessarily mean that they are inspired of God or even that they are true. We remember having in our youth a discussion with some one who finally quoted us a passage of Scripture which seemed to be in conflict with all the other Scriptures. We said, "If that is Scripture, we would like to know it." Our opponent looked it up and found that it read, "And the Devil said," so and so. Surely there is no reason to believe that the Devil is inspired--no reason to believe that the Devil's words are inspired.
These words spoken by Elihu were as wise as any spoken by Job's comforters--probably wiser; but they were surely human wisdom, so far as we can discern. When Elihu put this question, "When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?" he was seeking to draw a line in this criticism of Job, being averse to an extreme position, yet agreeing neither with Job nor his other friends. Job's three friends had been arguing that he must have done some very wicked deeds, and that as a result his camels and his cattle were destroyed--in fact all of his property, everything he possessed, as well as his children. He had lost all his ten children and lost also the affection of his wife. And these comforters were trying to have him admit that he had committed some great crime and that God was angry with him. Still Job insisted that he had been doing his very best--not that he claimed to be perfect, but he had been striving to live a godly life, a just and honorable life.
ELIHU'S SOUND REASONING
So when Job had gotten through with his argument and his three friends had gotten through with theirs, Elihu said (we paraphrase), "Job, you admit that you are in trouble. Now if God had given you quietness, who could make you trouble? He has surely purposed that this trouble come upon you."
Elihu defended God. He claimed that the Lord had evidently designed that Job should not have peace and prosperity longer; otherwise these adversities could not have come upon him. Whatever was the reason for it, Job's calamity evidently was not accidental. There must have been a Divine hand in the matter. Even if Satan had sent all these difficulties and trials, he could not have done so unless God had permitted it. No one could have thwarted the Divine arrangement and will. Elihu contended with Job that the Lord had the right and the power to decide, that Job had not. He showed distinctly the Power and the rightful authority of God to order in all the affairs of life, and incidentally showed that Job was more righteous than all his associates; that while he was a sinner, yet not on this account was he being afflicted.
We may profitably get a thought from this discourse given by Elihu. Here is a process of reasoning used by a man away back in the past--about the time that the Evolutionists tell us man was a monkey. Pretty sound reasoning for a monkey! Many of our college presidents would do no better today. It is sound logic.
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AFFLICTION NO PROOF OF GOD'S DISFAVOR
We also see that Job was not a great sinner. On the contrary, we have every reason to believe that he was a true Prophet of God, a true servant of God. He was one whom the Bible tells us God especially loved. This is shown in `Ezekiel 14:19,20`. "If I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out My fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast, though Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness." Again, the Apostle says, "Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy."--`James 5:11`.
It is quite true that Job's trouble could not have come upon him if God had not permitted it. If God had wished him to have quietness, no one could have made him trouble. But He permitted trial to come to test His servant, just as He permits trouble to come upon His Church, and as He permitted it to come upon His well-beloved Son. He permitted that men should do all manner of evil against His Son--should scoff at Him, should spit upon Him, should smite Him, should scourge Him, and finally crucify Him. The Lord has not always given quietness in these cases, but often trouble.
The lesson of the text for those who have put themselves in God's care, is that no one can make them trouble without Divine permission. The Lord tells us that during this Gospel Age He will make all things work together for good to His children, and that He will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able to bear, (`1 Corinthians 10:13`.) In our Lord's case it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him, to allow suffering and death to come upon Him. (`Isaiah 53:10`.) It pleased God to adopt this Plan for the recovery of the world, because it best illustrates His Justice, His Wisdom, His Love and His Power. It also resulted in great honor and glory to our Lord Jesus.
As concerns the Lord's people, there might be certain matters relating to dispensational changes that could best be accomplished through severe trials coming upon them. Then, additionally, God wishes certain trials to come upon His people because He desires them to trust Him where they cannot trace Him. He wishes them to have unwavering
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faith in Him. The children of God, then, can take these words of our text in a very different way from that originally suggested to Job by Elihu. We may truly say, "When God giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?" We recognize that there is a certain quietness and rest of heart that all the Lord's saints may enjoy. We realize this even when He permits severe trouble.
The Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews says, "We who have believed do enter into rest." We enter into rest by coming into the attitude where we can believe, where we can and do exercise entire trust in God. Sometimes outward difficulties are helpful in overcoming a wrong spirit. The Lord's people are not discouraged by the things that would utterly crush out the vitality and the courage of others. They get the wrong spirit pounded out of them; but it is the hand of love that administers the blows, and the Lord knows just how many and how severe ones are needed.
KEPT IN PERFECT PEACE
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee." (`Isaiah 26:3`.) This thought is very precious to us as New Creatures. "The peace of God which passeth all understanding," is to rule and keep our minds and hearts. (`Philippians 4:7`.) We are to count the things of the present life as not worthy of comparison with the glories of eternity. And so the Apostle says, "For our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (`2 Corinthians 4:17,18`.) When our minds are stayed on the Lord, and we take the proper view of our experiences, we can sing with the poet:
"No storm can shake our inmost calm,
While to this Refuge clinging."
We have peace, no matter what the outward conditions may be. The trials and the difficulties of life come to the Lord's people commingled with joys--the rain and storm, then the sunshine. They enjoy all righteous pleasures that are in harmony with their consecration. They learn to cultivate patience in trial, knowing that patience works out experience, and experience works out more and more that hope which maketh not ashamed.--`Romans 5:3-5`.
So, then, it is to the Christian that our text brings the assurance that when God gives quietness, none can make trouble. They "shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake," said the Master, but then we are to "rejoice and be exceeding glad." "Let not your heart be troubled." (`Matthew 5:11`; `John 14:1`.) We think our text very precious when viewed from our standpoint.
TROUBLE NECESSARY TO OUR PROVING
Our Heavenly Father designs that various kinds of trouble shall come upon us, that these may develop and prove our characters. It is a part of the Divine Plan to permit us to have experiences of affliction. (`Psalm 119:67,71,75`; `34:19,20`.) So when we see God's people in trouble or trial today we are not to say that God is against them. We are each to demonstrate our willingness to suffer according to His will, and often to suffer unjustly. Our Lord set us an example of cheerful, patient submission to God's will. We are to walk in His footsteps. And we have the example of the Apostles, when trials and difficulties and persecutions came upon them; and the example of other saints all down the Age.
Trouble is not necessarily a sign of the disfavor of God. On the contrary, we know that "many are the afflictions of the righteous," and that "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." The Truth will cost them something. Faithfulness to the Lord will cost them much. As the Apostle says, "If ye be without chastisement [discipline, training], then are ye bastards and not sons." (`Hebrews 2:8`.) If God gives peace of heart, who can upset the one who is thus in harmony with God, in whom this peace of heart is ruling? This, then, is the greatest blessing of all. And He grants this peace to those who are faithfully striving to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. We have a Refuge which none but His own can know. No harm can reach us within this Shelter; no storm can shake us from our moorings, for we are securely anchored to the Rock of Ages. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to the called according to His Purpose." (`Romans 8:28`.) And as Job's after blessings far outweighed his brief trials, so it will be with the Lord's saints today.
"What though my joys and comfort die!
The Lord, my Savior, liveth;
What though the darkness gather round!
Songs in the night He giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that Refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of Heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?"
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ST. PETER AND CORNELIUS
--APRIL 16.--`ACTS 10:1-16,24-48`.--
CORNELIUS, THE FIRST GENTILE CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY --BEGINNING OF A NEW DISPENSATION--EXPIRATION OF ISRAEL'S "SEVENTY WEEKS" OF EXCLUSIVE FAVOR-- ST. PETER'S VISION--"MIDDLE WALL OF PARTITION" BROKEN DOWN--THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THE GENTILES-- "WORDS WHEREBY THOU SHALT BE SAVED."
There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him,"--`Romans 10:12`.
CORNELIUS, the Roman centurion, was evidently converted to God and righteousness years prior to the incident which forms today's Study. Although he was a worshiper of the true God, a benevolent almsgiver, and although his love of righteousness and his consistent life were recognized amongst those with whom he had to do, yet something was necessary before he could be accepted of God in the proper sense of the word. There is a lesson here for those who imagine that a reverence of God and morality is all that is necessary to Divine acceptance. As Cornelius had these qualities in large measure for some time before his acceptance, the Lord's dealing with him may well be a guide for all who desire to approach Him in covenant relationship.
Although devout, as we have seen, Cornelius was not a Jew; and he realized that he was outside of the pale of Divine favor. Still he prayed to God. While we are not told for what he prayed, yet in harmony with the records we may readily suppose that he prayed for enlightenment respecting the Divine character and Plan, and for a closer approach and realization of Divine favor and acceptance.
Perhaps Cornelius had heard of Jesus of Nazareth, and was perplexed on this very subject. Perhaps this perplexity led him to the earnest prayers which the Lord saw fit to answer in a miraculous manner, sending an angel to assure the centurion that his prayers and his alms were appreciated of the Lord as memorials of his piety. The angel intimated that something further than prayers and good deeds was necessary. But the additional things the angel was not commissioned to tell. Cornelius needed to know of the Lord Jesus from the true standpoint. He must exercise faith in our Lord as his Redeemer, before the memorials of his piety would count for anything with God or bring him into the desired relationship and under the Divine favor.
The angel instructed Cornelius to send for the Apostle Peter, and also informed him that certain words which St. Peter would tell him were of importance--essential to his further progress in knowledge and in faith, and through these into Divine favor. The centurion's readiness of mind is shown by the promptness of his obedience. He not only prayed, but prepared to cooperate with God in the answering of his own prayer.
The three persons sent to bring St. Peter down to Caesarea, all of whom feared God, give us good evidence that this Gentile, who was feeling after God and striving to the best of his ability to please and honor Him, had not been hiding his light under a bushel. It had shone out not only before his family and his servants, but before the soldiers under his control. This is the kind of man whom God delights to acknowledge, whatever may be his nationality or the color of his skin; and all such are recognized of the Lord and favored above others with light and truth--ever since the close of Natural Israel's special favor. There is a lesson here that some of the Lord's people need. It is that they should let the light of the Truth shine through them upon all with whom they come into contact; that the spirit of devotion should pervade every family, every household, including the servants.
Evidently Cornelius was full of faith in the Lord. He did not wait to see whether St. Peter would come. He knew that the Apostle would come. He had faith in the Lord's promises through the angel. Accordingly he gathered together his friends, his relatives and his household --those upon whom he had been exercising an influence. Apparently they were like himself--earnestly desirous of learning all that they could concerning the way of life--the way of reconciliation and harmony with God. as well as all the principles which He represents.
END OF ISRAEL'S "SEVENTY WEEKS"
Meantime St. Peter, with all the prejudice belonging to the Jews for centuries, needed to be prepared to receive this first out-and-out Gentile brought into the Church. This was done by means of a vision. On the following day the Apostle, with six brethren from Joppa, went down to the centurion's home--"doubting nothing"; for evidently the Lord was leading him in the matter. Of all the disciples, St. Peter was the best one to be chosen for this work; first, because of his impetuous disposition and his zeal to follow the Lord's directions quickly and heartily; second, because, he being the oldest of the Apostles, and in many respects the most influential, his course would have the greater weight with the others.
It is difficult for us to conceive the prejudice which the Jews had entertained for centuries against any thought that the Gentiles might become fellow-heirs with them in the Abrahamic Promise. They considered it a settled matter that God's favor had been set apart to their nation; and that it could not possibly go outside of that nation to others, in the sense of making those others equally acceptable to God. These views were based upon three facts; first, God's Promise to Abraham, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed"; second, the Israelites were not permitted to have general dealings with the Gentiles or to intermarry with them; third, added to all this, the Jewish rulers had to some extent exaggerated these differences.
But now a new dispensation had come. The "seventy weeks" of favor to Natural Israel had expired; and the Lord began to extend His favor beyond the Jews--as we have already seen, to the Ethiopian eunuch. According to Divine prophecy, these "seventy weeks," or 490 years, had been specifically set aside as a period of favor to the Jewish nation. It had been foretold that at the beginning of the last seven years, "week," of that period Messiah would come; and that in the exact middle of those seven years Messiah would be cut off in death, not for His own sins, but for the sins of the people. It had been foretold that the prophecy would be marked by the anointing of "the most holy" at Pentecost; and that the end of the seventieth week would also be marked as the termination of God's exclusive favor to Israel. It was so marked by the sending of the Gospel Message to Cornelius and by his begetting of the Holy Spirit, after he had believed the Message.--`Daniel 9:22-27`.
"WORDS WHEREBY THOU SHALT BE SAVED"
When St. Peter arrived at the home of Cornelius, the centurion recognized him as God's appointed servant for bringing this Message to him; and he prostrated himself at the Apostle's feet in worship. Instead of looking down upon the Jew, and instead of thinking of himself as a representative of the greatest government in the world,
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Cornelius was filled with the spirit of humility. The fact that his visitor represented the Lord called forth from him some of the same feelings that were filling his heart in respect to the Lord Himself--feelings of reverence.
But if Cornelius was noble and humble, the Apostle Peter showed himself to be no less noble and loyal to God; for at once he began to lift up the centurion, saying, "Stand up; I myself also am a man." St. Peter commends himself to our hearts by this noble course, by this refusal to receive unauthorized homage. He saved himself also from a great deal of trial by thus promptly disowning supernatural honor and authority, by recognizing his true position--that he was only a broken and emptied vessel, distinguished only because the Lord had been pleased to fill him with the Holy Spirit and to use him as a vessel of mercy and truth.
Not many today are disposed to offer worship to fellow creatures; and not many--except high dignitaries of the nominal churches, such as popes and prelates--consent to receive worship. But all such have a rebuke in the course of St. Peter on this occasion. In our day there is little danger, perhaps, that any of the brethren would receive too much honor of men; for the spirit of our time is running in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, wherever a spirit of worship is manifest, it becomes the duty of the brother to whom it is offered to refuse it and to point to the Lord as the real Benefactor of us all--the One from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, by whatever channels He may be pleased to use.
Entering the house and finding a congregation of earnest, God-fearing Gentiles assembled, St. Peter asked the pointed question, "For what intent have ye sent for me?" Cornelius then related something of his past experience, his desire for fellowship with God, his endeavor to live in a manner pleasing to God, the vision that he had received, and now the Apostle's arrival in response to that vision, and his own expectancy that he was about to hear what had been promised him--"words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved."--`Acts 11:14`.
Cornelius was not saved by his almsgiving, not saved by his prayers, nor yet by the Message which St. Peter delivered. But the Apostle's Message--"words"--explaining matters, enabled Cornelius and his household to grasp by faith the great redemption which is in Christ Jesus-- and thus to be saved. Saved at once from alienation from God, and from condemnation as sinners, they received a foretaste of the complete salvation to be granted unto them at the Second Coming of our Lord.
THE ONLY TRUE GOSPEL
We note with keen interest the Apostle's preaching, that we may clearly discern the life-giving Message which he brought and from which Cornelius and his associates derived their saving faith. St. Peter's discourse was the same Gospel Message which he had delivered repeatedly before. The theme was Jesus and the sacrifice for sins which He accomplished when He died on the cross. It was the Message of the hope of a resurrection from the dead through Christ Jesus, as attested by His resurrection by the mighty Power of God. It was the Message that, our risen Lord having appeared in the presence of God for the Church, the Father is now pleased to accept sinners on condition of faith, reverence, and obedience to righteousness according to ability.
St. Peter's discourse was "the old, old Story," which to many has become tedious and distasteful, but which to every soul in the right attitude is the Father's Message of forgiveness of sins and of reconciliation through the death of His Son. There is no other Gospel; and those who present another message are not, in their service, ambassadors for God, messengers and mouthpieces of His Holy Spirit.--`Galatians 1:6-12`.
The Apostle Paul tells us that "It pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save them which believe." (`1 Corinthians 1:21-25`.) That is, it pleased God to adopt this method of declaring the Truth respecting His Plan of redemption and to accept and justify those who would believe and accept this testimony. Today the testimony may reach through letters, tracts or books, or through oral preaching. It matters not in what manner the true Message is delivered and received; but invariably the Message goes through the human channel, and not through angels nor by the operation of the Holy Spirit aside from human agents.
We are to bear in mind these lessons of God's methods and are to apply them in connection with the affairs of life. We are not to expect the Lord to move upon or instruct our friends or kindred or neighbors, but are to remember that He has conferred this honor upon His Royal Priesthood. Accordingly we are to be not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord--serving the Truth in any and every manner open to us.
THE JUDGMENT OF QUICK AND DEAD
After telling the Message itself, St. Peter explained to Cornelius that Jesus had commanded His Apostles to testify to the people that it is He who was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead. The coming judgment, or trial, of the world is an important part of the Gospel Message, and is not to be neglected in the preaching of the Gospel.
What advantage could accrue to the world through Christ's death if there were no future judgment or trial for them? All were judged once in the person of Adam; and his condemnation passed upon all. (`Romans 5:12`; `1 Corinthians 15:22`.) The world needs no further judgment along the lines of the Adamic transgression and its weaknesses. The judgment for that transgression was complete, and nothing could be added. The Judge was Jehovah Himself; the sentence was death.
But now the Gospel includes the fact that Christ is to be the Judge of the world. This signifies that a new trial for life is to be accorded to Adam and his race. This fact of itself implies a release from the original death sentence, a redemption from Adam's sentence, and an individual trial to determine which members of the redeemed race will be accounted worthy of life everlasting. Yes; this is the "good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people"--even though the Adversary has deluded the vast majority into thinking to the contrary-- that no new trial such as Adam had at first is to be granted to the whole world, bought with the precious blood of Christ.
All are witnesses that this trial could not have begun before Jesus became the Judge. Hence none of those who had died during the four thousand years preceding His earthly ministry could have been judged by Him. None of them could have been on trial for life eternal. All should likewise be aware of the fact that the world in general has not been on trial since our Redeemer was appointed Judge, and that it is not on trial today; that, on the contrary, the great mass of the world neither knows the Judge nor understands the Law, nor has any conception of the requirements necessary to life everlasting.
This agrees exactly with St. Peter's statement under consideration and also with that of St. Paul, "God hath appointed a Day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained."
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(`Acts 17:31`.) As the Apostle indicates, that Day was still future in his time; and it is still future. From other Scriptures we learn that this Day is the Millennial Day --"a Day with the Lord, a thousand years." The only judgment--trial--since our Lord's resurrection has been to the Church, to determine the question of life or death eternal. The Church, as Spiritual Israel, has had much advantage every way over the remainder of mankind; for during this Gospel Age this class are being "called of God according to His purpose"--that the more than overcomers may be joint-heirs with Jesus in His future work of judging the world.--`2 Peter 3:7,8`; `1 Cor. 6:2`.
THE GOSPEL TO THE GENTILES
Cornelius and his devout associates had been waiting for just such a Message of Divine grace; and as the words fell from the Apostle's lips, they were quickly and gladly appropriated in the hearts of his hearers, who were by this time accepting Jesus with the same fulness of appreciation as St. Peter himself. Their hearts being thus in the right condition before God, it would have been appropriate for the Apostle to say to them, "Now, brethren, your proper course will be to be baptized into Jesus by a water baptism, symbolizing your full consecration to be dead with Him, as His faithful followers."
But St. Peter was not ready to make such a step, we may be sure. He was surprised that God was willing that the Gentiles should even know about the wonderful provisions of salvation in Jesus, which of itself would be a blessing. But he was not yet prepared to expect that the Gentiles would be received of the Lord on practically the same terms and with exactly the same manifestations of Divine favor as were the Jews. To make good his insufficiency of knowledge along this line--and as a lesson to him also--the Holy Spirit was given to Cornelius and his companions without the laying on of hands--in the same manner that it was bestowed upon the assembly in Jerusalem at Pentecost.
St. Peter quickly learned the lesson; and undoubtedly his readiness to learn it was in large measure due to his humility and sincerity of heart, the fulness of his consecration to the Lord and his desire that the Divine will should be done in every particular. The Apostle and his companions from Joppa--"they of the circumcision"-- were astonished at God's favor upon the Gentiles. Yet they were not envious. They were glad to welcome as cleansed, as brothers, all whom the Lord indicated that He had received into His fellowship.
The result of this outpouring of the Spirit was a grand testimony meeting. The record is that they "magnified God," praising Him, rejoicing in their acceptance, etc. Then St. Peter drew their attention to the symbolical baptism and the propriety of observing it. We are not given his argument on the subject. Possibly he explained that in thus publicly symbolizing their consecration to the Lord they would be strengthening their own faith, buttressing their own determination to live and die the Lord's. Possibly, too, he showed them the beautiful significance of the water immersion as a symbol of death and burial with Christ and of a resurrection to newness of life in the present time, and to a newness of life in perfect bodies at the Second Advent of our Lord.
The Apostle then called for an expression from those present--especially from the brethren who accompanied him from Joppa--to know whether any objection could be thought of to show why these dear brethren should not be admitted to every blessing and arrangement which God had provided for His faithful ones--irrespective of their being Gentiles by birth. They had believed in God, had given evidence of their consecration and their good works, even before they knew of the Lord and His glorious Plan; and now they had been accepted of God, who had manifested His acceptance by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them. No objection being offered, St. Peter directed that they should be baptized in the name of our Lord. He had been sent to teach them, and he delivered his Message with no uncertain sound.
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THE RISEN CHRIST
--APRIL 23.--`1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-28`.--
RANSOM AND RESTITUTION TWIN DOCTRINES--JESUS' RESURRECTION ATTESTED BY MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS--TODAY'S STUDY IN IRRECONCILABLE CONFLICT WITH CURRENT THEOLOGY--THE TIME OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE--THE WORK OF THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM BRIEFLY OUTLINED--SUBJECTION OF EVERY OPPOSING POWER.
"Now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the First-fruits of them that are asleep."--`Verse 20`. R.V.
TODAY'S Study calls attention to the great importance of the doctrine of the Resurrection, presenting it as the twin of the other great doctrine which the Apostle sets forth "first of all"--"how that Christ DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the Scriptures." To this fundamental doctrine of the Ransom that of the Resurrection stands related as effect to cause.
So important is this doctrine in the estimation of the inspired Apostle that he emphatically declares that, if it be not true, then there is no hope for any one beyond the present life, the preaching of the Gospel is in vain, those who preach it are false witnesses, the faith of Christians is vain and their hope delusive. Moreover, he urges that their life of sacrifice, in view of the resurrection and its rewards, merely robs them of what little enjoyment and advantage they might have in this present life, which is all they would ever have; and that those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished--if Christ be not risen from the dead.
Such indeed would be our sad plight if there be no resurrection. If this, which Christ died to secure, is not guaranteed to us, to be realized in due time, we are yet in our sins and under the death penalty without one ray of hope. Moreover, if there be no resurrection, although our Lord Jesus Christ died to secure it, then God is not fulfilling His part of the contract.
While `verses 12-19` declares the importance of this twin doctrine of the Ransom--the Resurrection--`Verses 20-26` emphasize its truthfulness. The resurrection of Christ, attested by many infallible proofs (`Verses 5-8`; `Acts 1:3`), is the guarantee that those whom He redeemed by His precious blood shall have not only an awakening from death, but an opportunity to attain a complete resurrection to all the blessings and favors lost in the Adamic fall. This is the assurance which God gave to all men that the Ransom for the sins of the whole world given at Calvary was acceptable, a full satisfaction of the claims of Justice against the race of mankind, so that now He can be just, and yet the Justifier of all that believe in Jesus.--`Acts 17:31`; `Romans 3:26`.
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In `Verse 20` let Christians observe what the various creeds of Christendom ignore, and what is in direct antagonism to their teachings; namely, that the risen Christ was "the First-fruits of them that slept"--that our Lord was the first to experience a resurrection in the full sense of the term, the first to experience a resurrection to perfection and everlasting life. True, some before Him were temporarily awakened, again to relapse into death; for example, Lazarus, Jairus' daughter, the son of the widow of Nain, the Shunammite's son, etc. But these were only partial illustrations of resurrection, to assure men of the Divine Power to accomplish it fully in God's due time.
THE SCRIPTURES LOGICAL
Mark the logic of these facts: If Christ was the first to be resurrected from the dead, no one was resurrected before Him; and if, as shown in the preceding verses, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished, except they be restored to life by a resurrection; and if those who die in Christ "sleep in Jesus" until His Second Coming, it is plain that none of them went to Heaven when they died. They were dead, they slept in Jesus, they rested in hope; and they must remain so until the time appointed for their resurrection--at the Second Advent of Christ, when "all those that sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him."--`1 Thess. 4:14`; `John 5:28,29`.
"David hath not ascended into the Heavens." Daniel must wait, and he shall stand in his lot "at the end of the days." Abraham must wait his time for the possession of the Promised Land, of which he has never yet owned so much as to set his foot upon. Job must tarry until the wrath of this "evil day" be overpast. St. Paul, and with him all those that love the Lord's appearing, must await the fulness of time when the reward of their faithfulness will be due.--`Acts 2:34`; `Daniel 12:13`; `Acts 7:5`; `Job 14:12-15,21`; `2 Timothy 4:8`.
All this Scripture teaching is in perfect accord. But it is in irreconcilable conflict with the current theology of so-called Christendom, in whose theories, logically considered, there is no place whatever for the doctrine of the resurrection. If a man goes to Heaven when he dies, and is glad "to shuffle off this mortal coil" which some call his prison, although he loves it, cherishes it, and stays in it as long as possible--why in the name of reason should he hope for a reunion with his body? The whole position is illogical, unscriptural, untenable.
`Verse 21` antagonizes the current theology with equal force. It declares that since by man came death, by man --"the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a Ransom for all"--comes also the resurrection of the dead. Current theology says that our redemption is secured by the sacrifice of a God, not a man. But the Scriptures are very explicit in pointing out an exact equivalent, a human substitute for the human head of our race, whose redemption secures that of his posterity, on precisely the same principle that his fall and condemnation entailed sin and death upon them.--`1 Timothy 2:5,6`; `John 1:14`.
ORDER IN THE RESURRECTION
In consequence of the sacrifice of Himself--His flesh, His humanity--our Lord has been highly exalted, even to the Divine nature. It was after His resurrection that He said, "All power in Heaven and earth is given unto Me." When "the Man Christ Jesus" gave up His humanity, He gave it up forever. Consequently, when He was raised from the dead, His existence was in a new nature, that the abundant power of the Divine nature given Him might be exercised in actually reclaiming from sin and death those whom He had legally rescued by His own death.-- `Philippians 2:8-11`; `Matthew 28:18`; `John 6:51`.
`Verses 22,23` show that all who are Christ's--by faith in His sacrifice--are to receive the benefits of His death in full resurrection to the perfection of life forfeited in Eden. The order of resurrection is to be "Christ the First-fruits," which includes Jesus the Head and the Church His Body--"the First Resurrection." (`Revelation 20:6`.) Then follows the resurrection of all that are Christ's during His presence--Greek parousia, presence-- not coming. The time of His presence is the entire thousand years of His Reign. During that period "all that are in their graves [good and bad, just and unjust] shall hear His voice and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment"--Greek krisis, judgment, not condemnation.--`John 5:28,29`.
The former class enter immediately upon their reward of full resurrection--human perfection; while the latter class awake to a judgment, or trial for life everlasting. This it will be their privilege to attain if they become Christ's by fully submitting themselves to His discipline and control. Otherwise, their trial will be cut short at a hundred years; and they will die the Second Death, from which there is no recovery.--`Isaiah 65:20`.
No one out of Christ will be made alive, fully resurrected, though all will experience the awakening from death, which is the first step in the resurrection process, and a trial to prove their worthiness or unworthiness of the fulness of resurrection, which is actual perfection and everlasting life. "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."--`1 John 5:12`; `John 3:36`.
THE WORK OF THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM
`Verses 24,25` assure us of the victory of Christ, and show us in what that victory will consist--the complete subjection of every opposing power and authority, and the putting of all enemies under His feet, whether those enemies be evil conditions, evil principles, evil powers or evil individuals. He will banish all evil conditions by first permitting a great Time of Trouble (`Daniel 12:1`) and then by causing perfect conditions to supplant them. He will forever banish evil principles by flooding the world with His light and truth and by effectually renewing a right spirit in the hearts of all the willing and obedient. He will completely overcome every opposing power by the exercise of His own Almighty Power for their complete and final overthrow. He will put down every opposing individual by cutting such off in the Second Death, from which there shall be no recovery.
"He must reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet." The time of that reign is limited to a thousand years. (`Revelation 20:6`.) At the expiration of that period all in opposition to righteousness, and the Devil who deceived them and led them, are to be cast into the Lake of Fire, which is the Second Death. (`Revelation 20:7-15`.) "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." This is not the Second Death, into which the opposers of God have been cast; else the language would be contradictory. It is the Adamic death, which Christ came to destroy by liberating all its subjects. To accomplish this work will require the entire Messianic Reign-- a thousand years.
"Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing!"
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THE RANSOM-PRICE AND ITS APPLICATION
THE doctrine of the RANSOM as related to God's Plan of Salvation is the very center --the hub from which as spokes all other doctrines radiate to the circumference of the Plan. It is hoped that the answers given below may prove illuminating and helpful:
Question 1.--Give a brief definition of the word RANSOM.
Answer.--A Ransom is the amount or consideration paid for the release of a person or property, captured or detained.
Question 2.--Give brief definition of the word MERIT.
Answer.--Merit is (1) that which deserves consideration, reward, or esteem; (2) value, reward or recompense deserved or received, as at school.
Question 3.--Give brief definition of LEGAL TENDER.
Answer.--Legal Tender is that currency or money which the law authorizes a debtor to offer in payment of a debt and requires a creditor to receive. In other words, that which the government or law approves as a medium of exchange.
Question 4.--What is the meaning of the words TO PAY or PAID?
Answer.--To Pay means to discharge a debt, to give an equivalent for, to fulfil. The word Paid would signify that such a debt had been discharged; was fulfilled; that the proper equivalent had been turned over.
Question 5.--Give brief definition of the word DEPOSIT.
Answer.--A Deposit is anything deposited; something committed to the care of another.
Question 6.--What is the difference in the meaning of the terms PAID, APPLIED and DEPOSIT?
Answer.--There is quite a difference in the meaning of these words. When the word paid is used, it signifies that the thing applied to an obligation is sufficient; when the word applied is used, it signifies that a financial obligation has been met, directly or indirectly; when the word Deposit is used, it signifies that something has been left in the care of another which has not yet been appropriated, or applied.
Question 7.--Define briefly the term SIN-OFFERING.
Answer.--The term Sin-Offering signifies an offering made on account of sin, as an offset to sin, as a satisfaction for the sin.
Question 8.--What is meant by the term MERIT OF CHRIST JESUS?
Answer.--We might speak of the Merit of Christ Jesus from various viewpoints; as, for instance, the merit of His having become the Man Jesus, in the sense of its indicating His loyalty to God and His obedience to the Divine Program; or we might speak of His merit as a man--that He made a meritorious delivery of that which He had, of that which was right, just and lawful. But when we speak of the Merit of Christ Jesus with respect to His making atonement for the sin of the world, we have in view another matter entirely; namely, that a contract existed between the Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, by which the Lord was to become a human being and then to give up His human nature, permitting His life to be taken from Him as a man, thus signifying His loyalty and obedience to the Father's will, complete obedience unto death, even the death of the cross.
When we speak of the Merit of Jesus Christ, we understand that, on account of that Merit which He had, and which the Father recognized when He raised the Son from the dead, our Lord was rewarded, not merely by being taken back to the spirit plane, but by being "highly exalted" to the Divine nature. This Merit of Jesus, then, which God rewarded, left Him a certain amount of substance
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or blessing which He might bestow upon others; namely, His right to human life, which He had not forfeited by sin, nor by any other procedure. This right to human life, which we speak of as a merit to the credit of Jesus, the Bible informs us is ultimately to be appropriated by the Lord Jesus Christ, in full harmony with the Father's Plan, for the cancellation of the "sins of the whole world" (`1 John 2:2`.)--the sins of Adam and all of his race, who died in Him. That Merit is already our Lord's, and is subject to His disposal at the proper time, set by the Father.
Question 9.--Give a brief definition of the word ATONEMENT.
Answer.--The word Atonement signifies the making at-one, the bringing back into harmony persons or things not in full accord. As applied to the human family, it would signify that, Adam and his race having been disobedient to the Divine arrangement, and having come under Divine displeasure and condemnation, this condemnation, by Divine arrangement, is to be done away with, and mankind are to be brought back into harmony with God--to be at-one with Him again--as many of them as are willing and will accept the Divine terms. The arrangement by which this is to be accomplished is what we term the work of the Atonement; and this work of Atonement was the work begun by our Lord Jesus Christ at His First Advent, continued since, and to be completed at and during His Second Advent. In a word, then, the Atonement in the fullest sense of the word begins with the Church and will not be completed until its provisions shall have been extended to all the members of the human family, bringing all the willing and obedient back into full harmony with Jehovah.
Question 10.--Could a perfect human being pay the Ransom-price?
Answer.--No! A perfect man could not pay the Ransom-price, unless by some Divine arrangement, contract, agreement. If, for instance, there had been a perfect human being in the world, he could not have become the Redeemer of Father Adam, except as a privilege by Divine arrangement. It would be for the Divine Court to determine whether or not one could be accepted for another. In the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, by Divine arrangement He became suitable to be the Ransom-price--a perfect man--and then, in fulfilment of the Divine Program, He gave Himself; and because of this arrangement He was acceptable.
Question 11.--How was the Ransom-price provided?
Answer.--God Himself provided the Ransom; and it "taketh away the sin of the world." Only by Divine provision would the ransoming of man have been possible.
Question 12.--Where was the Ransom-price provided?
Answer.--In the Divine Purpose, the Ransom-price was provided from the foundation of the world; for the Scriptures assure us that our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Divine Purpose, was the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. (`Revelation 13:8`.) In a secondary sense, the Ransom-price was provided when the contract was made between Jehovah God and His honored Logos. In another sense of the word, the Ransom-price was not provided until the Logos had been made flesh and had reached full human perfection at 30 years of age.
It was then possible for our Lord to serve, in harmony with God's arrangement, as a Ransom-price, and to give Himself a Ransom-price. But He did not give Himself
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to be this Ransom-price until He entered into the Covenant with God, symbolizing by baptism the full consecration of His life even unto death. Yet it was not a completed thing then, for there were conditions associated with it. While His will was there given up, and was so recognized by the Father, nevertheless it remained for Him, day by day and hour by hour, to show His full surrender. His sacrifice was completed when He died on Calvary, crying, "It is finished!" He had finished the laying down of the Ransom-price; that is to say, He had fully provided the Ransom-price. We are to recognize a difference, however, between providing the Ransom-price, and giving, or appropriating, or delivering it. It was merely provided at the time when Jesus died; it was not yet given, in the sense of being applied for man's delivery from death.
Question 13.--Who provided the Ransom-price?
Answer.--Jehovah God, primarily, in that He was the One who made the arrangement; without His arrangement the Ransom would not have been possible. In a secondary sense, Jesus Himself provided it, in that He gave Himself; He had full control of His own course at the time He made His consecration. His will was not coerced.
Question 14.--In the type, where did the sin-offering begin, and where did it end?
Answer.--The animal to be the sin-offering was selected and brought to the door of the Tabernacle for this purpose; but it became the sin-offering the moment when the high priest laid his hands upon it and slew it. The sin-offering, according to the type, was composed of two parts--a bullock and a goat. The slaying of the bullock did not finish the sin-offering; for in the Divine Purpose and arrangement, the great High Priest, Jesus, was to offer two sacrifices--the Lord's goat class as well as the antitypical bullock. The goat in the type, we understand, represented the followers of Jesus, as the bullock represented Jesus Himself. In the type, therefore, the killing of the sin-offering was not ended until the goat of the sin-offering was slain. There it was that the sin-offering in the sense of sacrifice was finished. There was to be no more sacrificing. But the word sin-offering has a still broader meaning than this. It included in the type also the presentation of the blood of these animals to Jehovah God, as shown by the high priest's taking first the blood of the bullock, and afterwards the blood of the Lord's goat, into the Most Holy, and sprinkling the blood upon the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat eastward. When this had been accomplished, the sin-offering was ended.
Question 15.--In the antitype, where did the offering for sin begin?
Answer.--In the antitype, the offering for sin began when Jesus presented Himself at Jordan in compliance with the arrangement already entered into with the Father. There, according to the statement of the Apostle, our Lord gave Himself, surrendered Himself, made Himself an offering for sin. He has continued the work during this Gospel Age, offering up those who accept His merit and who voluntarily become His footstep followers, surrendering their wills to Him. He offers these as a part of His own sacrifice.
After Jesus had finished offering His own personal sacrifice, He ascended up on High, and there made a presentation of His sacrificial merit to the Heavenly Father on behalf of the Church class, as symbolized by the sprinkling of the blood of the bullock in the Most Holy of the Tabernacle, for the high priest and his house. Subsequently continuing the sacrificing, in His followers, He will ultimately finish the work of sacrifice when the last member of the Body of Christ shall have tasted death and shall have passed beyond the veil. Then it will remain for the High Priest to complete this matter by offering the Sin-offering "for all the people," by presenting the merit of the "better sacrifices" to Jehovah God, the actual merit being in Jesus alone.
Question 16.--Was the Ransom paid at Calvary?
Answer.--We have already covered this point, showing that the Ransom was laid down at Calvary, and later placed in the hands of Justice, but not paid over in the sense of completing the contract--that being reserved for a future time. The Ransom was laid down at the cross, when Jesus cried, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit"--My life! Thus Jesus, so to speak, made a deposit of the Ransom-price without definitely applying it.
Question 17.--Was the Ransom paid when Jesus ascended into Heaven?
Answer.--No! The reasons for this already stated.
Question 18.--Has the Ransom-price been paid yet?
Answer.--No! For reasons already given; and we will say additionally, that the Ransom-price is not to be fully paid until after the Church has been entirely glorified and with Her Lord. Then it will be paid on behalf of the whole world, securing the release of the whole world from death, and the cancellation of Adamic condemnation.
Question 19.--What did Jesus do with the Ransom-price when He ascended into Heaven?
Answer.--He had already placed it in the hands of Justice as a deposit. The human life-right, the price, still was at His command. His next step was to embargo, or mortgage it, by imputing a share of it to His Church--yet undeveloped.
Question 20.--Did Jesus satisfy Justice when He ascended into Heaven?
Answer.--Justice is always satisfied. Justice never lets go until it has an equivalent. Justice was satisfied, for instance, when Adam was condemned to death on account of transgression. Justice has been satisfied all along in holding Adam and his race for that sin. Justice is satisfied now to allow the Church to pass under the present conditions, because a deposit is in the hands of Justice fully equivalent to the requirements of the Church, and more. Justice will not be satisfied to release mankind until the Ransom-price shall have been fully paid over into the hands of Justice. This will be after the Church is completed and glorified.
Question 21.--When and how is Justice satisfied?
Answer.--This question is answered in reply to the twentieth question.
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Question 22.--How can any one be a joint-sacrifice with Christ, if Justice was not fully reconciled by Jesus Christ when He ascended into Heaven?
Answer.--As stated in answer to question 20, a Deposit was made of sufficient merit to satisfy for the sins of the whole world; and on the strength of this Deposit, Justice was perfectly reconciled to the releasing of these members of the race who came into a special covenant-relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, who made a Covenant by Sacrifice.
Question 23.--Which takes place first, Justification or Consecration, and why?
Answer.--It depends upon the meaning attached to the word consecration. The Bible recognizes consecration from two different viewpoints; first, the consecration of the individual; and second, the making of this consecration valid by the Lord Jesus Christ, and its acceptance by the Father. The consecration of the individual to do the Lord's will, the full surrender of his own will, as typified
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by the tying of the goat to the door of the Tabernacle, precedes justification. But the second step is this: namely, that it is necessary for our Lord Jesus Christ to become the Advocate for those who desire to become members of the Royal Priesthood, before they can be acceptable to the Father. Hence, their justification by the Lord Jesus Christ, who imputes of His merit to them, follows their consecration of themselves and is immediately followed by the Heavenly Father's act of consecrating these, in the sense of accepting them as consecrated persons and giving them all the rights and privileges included in this covenant arrangement.
Question 24.--Is it Merit or Righteousness that is imputed to the one who is justified by faith?
Answer.--We would here need to qualify the expression, "justified by faith," because in Bible usage this term has two different significations. We read, for instance, that Abraham was justified by faith, but surely not in the sense that the Church is justified by faith! Abraham was justified to fellowship with God, to receive the Promise, to know about certain things that God purposes in the future, and to demonstrate his loyalty to God under a Divine standard. But he was not justified to eternal life. He was not justified in the sense that he could be invited to present his body a living sacrifice and become a redeemer for Adam, or in any sense a meritorious sacrifice for another. No one could be thus justified by faith until after the death of Jesus, until His imputation of His merit after He ascended up on High and appeared "in the presence of God for us"--the Church.
Question 25.--If Merit is imputed, who imputes it? If Righteousness is imputed, by whom is it imputed?
Answer.--Our Lord Jesus imputes His own Merit to His own followers under the conditions of their covenant of full consecration; but this imputation is with the full sanction of and in cooperation with Divine Justice--not otherwise. This imputation of Merit to the imperfect one desiring to be the follower of Jesus may be expressed as an imputation of Righteousness to such a one on the part of Divine Justice, on the part of the Heavenly Father; as we read, "It is God that justifieth."--`Romans 8:33`.
Question 26.--What is meant by the terms "right to live" and "life-rights?" And what is the difference between these terms?
Answer.--A person might have a right to live by being in harmony with God; for God has ordained that all of His intelligent creatures may continue to live if they live in harmony with His Divine Law and its requirements. A right to live, therefore, was the privilege of Father Adam in the beginning. He had a right to life and he would not have forfeited that right had he not sinned. Jesus also possessed a right to live. Not only before He came into the world, but also after He became the Man Jesus, He had a right to life. It was because of this right that He would be able to lay down His life sacrificially on behalf of Adam and his race. After He had made His consecration at baptism, He no longer had the right to live as a man; for He had given up that right to live. But having been begotten by the Holy Spirit, He had a right to life as a New Creature, spiritually begotten, unless He should make failure by violating some Divine Law or by violating His own contract, or covenant. The world of mankind will have the right to live after the Millennial Age, after they shall have reached perfection, shall have been delivered over to the Father and He shall have accepted them. They will then have the same right to life that Father Adam had at first, before he sinned.
"Life-rights." This term we may use in different ways. Applying it to the Lord Jesus Christ as having life-rights, for instance, we may say, while He had consecrated His life as a man, He had done nothing really to forfeit that life. He had agreed to lay it down; it was rightfully His; else He would not have had the right to use it again for others. He maintained the right because of His personal righteousness. Therefore He still possessed a right to human life, because this life which He was permitting to be taken, He had not forfeited. He still has the life-rights of a human being, although He has no need of human life or life-rights now for Himself, since He has something so much better, and since He could not use two lives at the same time. He has Divine life-rights; but He still maintains his human life-rights; and these He is about to dispose of, to give as a Ransom-price, as a full offset for Adam and all that was lost through him.
Question 27.--What is sacrificed by one who is begotten of the Spirit to membership in the Body of Christ?
Answer.--In one sense of the word, no one does any sacrificing except the great High Priest. What we do is to consecrate our wills, and present our bodies that they may be living sacrifices, that the great High Priest may make sacrifices of them. It should be easily discerned that merely killing an animal is not sacrificing it. The Jews killed thousands of animals for food, just as we do today; but these animals were not sacrificed by merely being killed. No sacrifice can be offered except by an arrangement with God; and He has arranged that sacrificing must be done by a priest. The priest that sacrificed under the Jewish Law was the high priest, the others being his assistants, and taking his place in case of death. The High Priest was the one who typified Jesus; and Jesus alone is the One who is able to offer up the antitypical sacrifices. All that the followers of Jesus do, therefore, is to present themselves.
This presentation in the type was pictured by the goat's being tied at the door of the Tabernacle. In other words, this class devote, set apart, consecrate themselves as human beings. It is after Jesus lays hold of this individual, accepts his consecration, imputes His own merit, and offers him to the Father, that the Father's acceptance is manifested through the Son, the great High Priest, by the begetting of the Holy Spirit. Thenceforth such an one is a member of the Body of Christ, and his name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, from which it will not be blotted out if he maintains his faithfulness.
Question 28.--Briefly define the difference between Ransom and Sin-offering.
Answer.--The term "sin-offering" specifically refers to the fact that the thing, or life (or lives) is presented to God as an offering, and on account of sin. A sin-offering implies a ransom, but not specifically, not positively. It is an offering for sin, but might not necessarily mean a full, satisfactory offering; and yet the fact that a sin-offering is acceptable to God would imply that such offering was a full, complete offset, or satisfaction. The word Ransom as used in the New Testament, has in it not only the thought of an offering on account of something that was wrong, but additionally it specifies that the offering corresponds fully and exactly, for the meaning of the word Ransom as applied to Jesus, is a corresponding price.
Question 29.--Does the Church participate in the Ransom and in the Sin-offering, and why?
Answer.--In considering this question we must view the Church from two sides. If we think of the Church in connection with the presentation of their bodies living sacrifices to God, we would say that they are not participators
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in the Ransom, for they have nothing that they could give as a share in the Ransom--they are imperfect. If we view the question from the other standpoint--that the Church are spirit beings and as spirit beings are members of the Body of Christ, one with Him who is their Head--they would as members of The Christ share with Him in everything He does, just as the hand shares with the head; for the human body is the figure that the Bible gives us, in speaking of The Christ. The Merit by which the Ransom-price is effective with God was in Jesus alone. It was that merit which we did not possess when we presented ourselves to God in consecration. But when we were accepted by Jesus as disciples, He imputed His own merit to us, and made us part of His own sacrifice. He was at the same time making us part of that which He is to give to God for the sins of the whole world, at the close of this Age when the Church, His Body, is complete and glorified together with Him.
We are to remember, however, that none of the human remains; for at the time we were made members of the Body of Christ we had become dead as human beings, by the surrender of our wills. Because we are New Creatures, old things have passed away and all things have become new. (`2 Corinthians 5:17`.) We are to remember, also, that it is not the spiritual Body of Christ that is sacrificed, even as it was not the spiritual Head
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that was sacrificed. The Sin-offering was the flesh. And it was Jesus' flesh that constituted the Ransom--not our flesh. But now that this Ransom-price has been placed in the hands of Justice as a deposit, whose title is possessed by Jesus, we are joint-sharers with Him in this possession by reason of our relationship to Him and our interest in everything that He possesses. Thus the Church becomes a sharer in this Ransom-price, because as His Bride we are His joint-heirs; and we are to be associated with Him in giving to the world the benefits of that Ransom-price.
We do not make the Sin-offering any more than we do the ransoming. We are merely accepted by the High Priest. This acceptance is shown in His sacrificing of us as human beings after He has imputed to us His merit. And in this presentation at the end we shall share as New Creatures. It is not the offering of anything the New Creature has in itself; but the New Creature having participated with Jesus in the crucifying of the flesh, each of these will be associated with Him also when the merit is presented to the Father.
Question 30.--If Jesus paid the Ransom-price when He ascended into Heaven, could He have become the Advocate of the Church? And if so, how?
Answer.--If Jesus had paid over and fully disposed of the Ransom-price when He ascended up on High, it would immediately, if accepted, have taken effect for Adam and his race; and such of the race as were living at that time, or have lived since, would have been on trial again, individually, and would have been liable to death because of their imperfection, not being able to cope with the situation unless Jesus had established His Millennial Kingdom and had immediately begun to provide all the necessary assistance through the New Covenant arrangement. But as for the Church, there would have been no provision for the Church, and no opportunity for giving the Church anything special, since those who are of the Church were members of the human family. The Ransom having been paid over, this would have settled all the obligations against mankind, and would have left no room for the Church class to be dealt with in any different manner from the rest of the world. They would not have had any need of an Advocate, and, of course, would not have had one.
Question 31.--When will the Ransom-price be fully paid and disposed of finally?
Answer.--The Ransom-price will be fully paid and fully disposed of after the Church shall have passed beyond the veil, and when the great High Priest, Head and Body (the Church then being the glorified Body of the great High Priest), shall seal the New Covenant and put it into effective operation on behalf of Adam and all his race. The Ransoming will then be finished. The Atonement work will not be finished at that time, however; it will include the work of the Millennial Age, in bringing mankind (all who will) up out of sin and degradation into full at-one-ment and harmony with God. But the Ransom-price must be fully paid over to Jehovah and accepted by Him before this New Covenant can go into effect, and before human Restitution can properly begin. Man's recovery from death is a part of the Ransom work.--`Hosea 13:14`.
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STRONG DELUSIONS URGE ON THE WAR
All the nations now at war seem possessed of the thought that they are fighting God's battles and that He is leading them on to sure and great victory. We quote the following from The Record of Christian Work:--
"The leading Church weekly of Germany, the Allg. Luth. Evang. Kirchen Zeitung, prints a parallel between the experiences of the German nation in 1914-1915 and our Lord's passion, which recalls the pathological misuse of religious symbols, etc., in French decadent literature.
"The article opens with the words of a Kempis, 'No one feels the sufferings of Christ so deeply as he who has passed through similar sufferings.' Germany is the suffering servant who must bear the sins of many, for it is very clear that we fight for the continuance of genuine Christianity. As Israel was the earlier type of Christ, so Germany is the succeeding one. On the other hand, all the figures of the Savior's tragical trial and death-day reappear in the present world conflict. The types are so clear that no one can mistake the resemblance. The Czar plays the sad role of Pilate acting against better knowledge and conscience, surrendering the innocent in anxious fear lest he lose his own power. Serbia is Barabbas, who has committed murder. Vain and frivolous France recalls the picture of Herod Antipas. Autocratic, orthodox Russia and atheist, republican France are made friends, as were the two rulers of Christ's day. The active agent in Christ's passion was the Sanhedrin. The evangelical story repeatedly affirms that it sought Jesus' death out of envy. Is there aught else save envy which has made England the driving force in the war upon Germany?'
"The writer then indulges in characteristic flings at 'England's Sabbath-keeping, mission fanaticism, and general Pharisaism. The power of the Sanhedrin was exerted over the Jews of the dispersion, as England's is over her over-seas colonies.' In the United States, the writer sees 'Judas, the great betrayer,' and quotes the words of `Ezekiel 22:12`, 'They have taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion.' The thirty pieces of silver have become thirty milliards. The false witnesses are 'the international press and telegraph agencies.' 'The students and musicians who warmed themselves at German Universities and Conservatories, and who now deny Germany, figure as Peter. Also the poor little Waldensian Church to which, it seems, German Protestants formerly made contributions.
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" 'The penitent thief who redeemed a bad past by a good deed in his last hours and who suffered the same sorrow as the Lord is the type of the Turkish people who now put to shame the Christianity of Europe'--'apart from the Germans,' the writer is careful to explain.
"The publication of this paragraph in cold type in a Christian paper in the period of the worst excesses which Turkish anti-Christian fanaticism has ever perpetrated gives a pretty good measure of the moral and intellectual aberration into which German Christianity has fallen. There are other parallels, some trivial, where Sven Hedin is compared with the centurion at the Cross; others blasphemous, in which the dry period preceding the last German harvest is related to the 'I thirst' of Christ."
TURKISH PROMISES TRUSTED
The Sentimental, a Jewish weekly (Chicago), says:
"The return of Turkish authority in the Balkans must be welcomed as a result of the war. The sentimental love of nationality cannot be encouraged when the fact of nationality imperils the peace of Europe and the world. The Turk has shown that he is a friend of peace and humanity and only the intolerance of Christianity and the cupidity of the adjoining kingdoms make him appear "terribly" otherwise. The German haters, of course, will point to Turkey's recent announcement of equal rights to Jews as inspired by Germany for effect and as resembling the liberal grants of the Czar, but the fact of the matter is that the Turkish government is not the Russian government, for nothing is more certain than that a pledge with Mohammedans is sacred, however the Greek Orthodox conscience may construe its own promises. We would rather deal with the Turk than with any other power except our own free nation. But if anything else is certain, it is the Kaiser's sincerity in preaching equal rights for our people, where at present these are denied them. But even if it be granted that the concession is inspired solely by the average statecraft ethics, both by Turkey and by Germany, the move must add momentum to the advance of the liberal spirit, so that when peace is discussed, the opponents of equal rights for our people will themselves realize that in urging the status quo for their Jewish subjects they are flying in the face of the moral judgment and the enlightened will of Europe and civilization, and must therefore yield. If this definite result comes out of the war, all the sufferings of our brethren and even of the millions sacrificed by the war's ravages will have been offered for a moral gain worth even more."
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DRAMA WAS TURNING-POINT OF HIS LIFE
DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--
Some months ago we were curious to know what was meant by PASTOR RUSSELL'S PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, having seen placards to the effect that this DRAMA would pay a visit to our city. The only way to satisfy our search for knowledge was to go and see. And now I am writing to tell you--God bless you--that that first visit to your DRAMA was the turning-point of my life; or, I should say, the turning-point in my knowledge of the Bible, for I have always tried to do right and had never ill used my life.
I can see clearly now that the Bible was written in symbols, to be explained "in due time." Indeed, dear Pastor, I believe I could almost preach a sermon since studying your teaching! It is wonderful how clear your STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES are!
We attended the whole of the DRAMA, going twice to see Parts III. and IV., and we would love to see it all again. Some time after the DRAMA a Colporteur visited us, and mother purchased the six volumes of STUDIES and subscribed for THE WATCH TOWER. I can truly say that every spare moment I have is wisely spent. I think your idea of the Great Pyramid is perfect. Of your sermons I especially like THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON, and would like more of them for distribution.
I marvel at the clear way in which you explain a difficult text! When reading my Bible, directly I find numberless difficult verses; I look them up in your STUDIES, and when I close my book I find myself thanking you, all these miles away, for helping me, for otherwise I should be "lost" in both senses of the word!
And now, dear Pastor, I find myself confronted with a problem in which I feel sure you will help me. As you know, we shall have compulsory military service; I am seventeen years of age, and if the trouble be not over by the time I reach my nineteenth year, I feel that I would rather be shot as a "traitor" than to disobey God's command. Is there any way in which we can defend our loved ones without murder? I am greatly perplexed and anxious to do what is right. I shall follow your advice, so great is my belief that God is using you to enlighten those who are willing to learn. Hoping I have not interrupted too long, I am
Yours in Jesus, TALBOT B. ELSTON.--England.
We rejoice to know that the Truth is thus being spread in every direction, and that the Lord is using the consecrated talents of His servants everywhere for the sealing of His saints in their foreheads--intellectually.--`Revelation 7:1-3`.
We are glad to note that you are in full agreement with what we said recently in THE WATCH TOWER to the effect that God's consecrated people can have no interest in the war. If there be any excuse for violence and bloodshed anywhere, it would be in the actual defense of the home. The Bible, however, does not lay down laws for the world, but merely for God's consecrated people. To these the Master's own example and words would seem to teach that although they may invoke every legal protection, barricade their homes, etc., against the enemy, such saints would not be disposed to take the lives of others--even in self-defense. And yet we confess that this would be a very serious test upon nearly all of them.--THE EDITOR.
SEED SOWED IN GOOD GROUND
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
We can wait no longer to tell you how glad and thankful we are to be privileged to address you as above. We received the knowledge of the Truth and made our consecration about three months ago. We are especially thankful to be accepted by our dear Redeemer.
Living in an isolated place we have purchased an automobile and have commenced distributing THE BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY among the farmers in this district. Prior to this we had been witnessing, loaning volumes, etc., and soon began to feel opposition stirring. We sent letters of withdrawal to the minister of the Methodist church which had been our home, then we rented a hall, asking one of the Toronto brethren to speak, which he did and we had an attendance of over one hundred adults, nine of whom handed in their names for more literature.
We are happy to be able to report that one dear sister has come into the Truth and has consecrated, as a result of our work. Needless to say, the local ministers are very bitter against us, having tried in every way to prevent our meeting above mentioned; but the owner of the hall attended the meeting, bought the six volumes and assures us we can have the hall when we wish.
Our former pastor continues his persecution, but the Lord has been with us, keeping us meek in spirit. We had met none of the Truth brethren until your recent visit to Toronto, when we went ninety miles to hear your sermon. We eagerly drank in your words, for our hearts were starved for fellowship with the brethren. We wish you to record our names as having taken the Vow. We are endeavoring to live according to its requirements, considering it a help, as we do also the HEAVENLY MANNA book.
We enclose an order for tracts for distribution, also a "mite" toward the good work. We love you very much, dear brother, as our Pastor, and pray daily that the dear Lord continue to bless your efforts in His Cause. We will be grateful for an interest in your prayers on our behalf. If you can spare time to write us a few words we can scarcely tell you how much they will be appreciated.
Faithfully your brother and sister in Christ,
GEO. C. and LAURA M. FORTHERGILL.--Ont.
International Bible Students Association Classes STUDIES AND LECTURES BY MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION