ZWT - 1909 - R4301 thru R4536 / R4310 (017) - January 15, 1909
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VOL. XXX JANUARY 15 NO. 2
A.D. 1909--A.M. 6037
The Nashville Convention.......................... 19
Removal of the Society's Headquarters............. 19
Brother Russell Re-elected Pastor............. 19
Greater Works Shall Ye Do......................... 20
The Emmanuel Movement......................... 20
Reports for 1908 from the Foreign Branches........ 22
Turning the World Upside Down..................... 24
We Cannot but Speak the Things................ 25
Brotherhood in the Anointed One................... 25
Satan Filled Thy Heart........................ 26
The Three Great Covenants......................... 27
I. Grace--II. Law--III. Works................. 27
The Oath-Bound Covenant Sure.................. 28
Abraham's Two Seeds........................... 29
The Blood of the Everlasting Covenant......... 30
We expected that we had placed a large order for these calendars, when we ordered five thousand, but we had not much more than one-half enough. We cabled another order and hope to be able to fill all orders by February 1st. They are beautiful, very cheap, and much appreciated.
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THE NEW BIBLES WITH HELPS
We did our best to fill all orders for the new Bibles by Christmas time, and believe that we got them all filled before the New Year opened. Any order not yet filled kindly report to us at once, giving date, and put full particulars respecting number, price and the form in which the money was sent. So far as we have heard, the dear friends are delighted with
A TRACT FOR SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS
Order as many of these as you can use judiciously, one for each of your S.D.A. friends and neighbors. It will do them good and prepare them for the light on other subjects.
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TRACTS, ENVELOPES, WITHDRAWAL LETTERS, ETC.
Any of these you may wish to order soon, please order at once, so that we need not pack, ship and unpack them. Besides, our moving will interrupt shipments for about two weeks.
If you ordered Bibles or tracts and did not get them by mail inquire at the express office for them.
HYMNS OF DAWN WITHOUT MUSIC
We will shortly have a very cheap edition of our "Hymns" without music for Conventions, etc.
Some time ago when recommending that we sing the same "Hymns of Dawn" (`Phil. 3:16`), we remarked about the cost of the preparation, copyrights, etc. Inadvertently our words seemed to include the 5c "Songs"; but of course we did not mean that they had cost you much or us anything, for they were not our publication. We no longer handle "Songs."
BALANCES TO THE TRACT FUND
We have concluded that any balance of money after filling orders shall be placed in the Tract Fund unless you otherwise direct.
THE POLISH TRACTS ARE NOT READY
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RENEWALS OF "DISPATCH" AND "WORLD"
We have arranged for Dispatch subscriptions covering Monday issue only at a very special rate, clubbed with the WATCH TOWER, both for $1.50. If you have already sent in your TOWER subscription, you may still avail yourself of this privilege by remitting the difference. We have made a similar arrangement with the Toronto World, for the benefit of our Canadian friends.
OTHER PAPERS at same price are: Cincinnati Enquirer, Ft. Wayne News, Chattanooga News and The Atlanta Journal.
LETTERS TO NEWSPAPER EDITORS
Friends writing should mention their interest in the "People's Pulpit Sermons" or the "Brooklyn Tabernacle Sermons" or "Pastor Russell's Sermons," and not so state themselves as though any and all sermons interested them. Brother Russell prefers that his name be less and less used. Hence some sixty papers are publishing them without his name. Others prefer to use his name and no objection is offered so long as the improper title Reverend is not used.
SEPARATE BIBLE HELPS
These are ready in the leather-bound India-paper edition, price $1.25 postpaid. But we advise the Bible and Helps. The cheaper editions of the Helps on cheaper paper are not ready yet.
A BARGAIN WHILE THEY LAST
We remind you of the two beautiful motto-cards by our own designers: (1) Sister Seibert's "In Due Time" with the Chestnut bough; and (2) Sister Darlington's Restitution design. We have a large lot of these, and rather than move them to Brooklyn, we will sacrifice them at but little more than custom's duty and freight and express charges, as follows:
2 of each (4) for 25 cents, postpaid.
10 of each (20) for $1.00, postpaid.
100 of each (200) for $6.00, collect.
OUR ADDRESS STILL THE SAME
It will take considerable time to get our arrangements perfected and stuff removed to Brooklyn. Address us at Allegheny, as usual, until contrary notice appears in these columns.
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THE NASHVILLE CONVENTION
AS WE expected, quite a number of the dear friends who attended the Nashville Convention, declared at its conclusion that it was the very best of all. So long as we are growing in grace, it must be true that a meeting of those of like precious faith for the discussion of our Father's Word must bring blessings increasingly precious as we increase in grace and knowledge. This being so, each day, each month, each year should be our best, our happiest, the one of our closest fellowship with the Lord. Blessed are those who, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, are thus progressing from grace to grace, from glory to glory, and preparing for the final "change," when they shall see his face and hear the Master's "Well done."
The Convention was a success. We had not expected more than one hundred in attendance, but found three hundred to three hundred and fifty. Pilgrim Wise served as chairman, and, with Pilgrims Sullivan, Rutherford, Johnson, Harrison, W. H. Bundy, F. H. Robison, J. A. Parker and C. T. Russell, shared in the addresses of the first four days. On Tuesday, December 29, thirty symbolized their consecration by water baptism, and that same evening we had our love feast, which, as usual, is a most delightful occasion. Following this a number were obliged to leave, but a larger number remained and had a delightful season of fellowship the next day, a large number of brethren being heard from in a symposium of Love.
There were about one hundred Colporteurs in attendance, and a splendid, representative company they were.
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REMOVAL OF THE SOCIETY'S HEADQUARTERS
QUITE keenly do the dear friends of the Allegheny-Pittsburg Church seem to feel the near departure of the Bible House family; yet, philosophically, they have agreed with us that the Lord is abundantly able to care for the interests of his people everywhere, and quite likely he is giving them, in this experience, a special blessing, throwing upon them a greater weight of responsibility in spiritual matters.
On the Wednesday night before Christmas, wholly without our knowledge, they had prepared for a special union meeting in the Bible House Chapel, and requested Brother Russell to come in and say a few words. On his arrival an appointed speaker, in well chosen terms, expressed the love of the Congregation for their Pastor and informed us that, desiring to make a tangible expression of their love, they had selected a fine velvet rug, a fine mahogany desk, a handsome chair, besides a small table and letter-holder. The offering for these gifts had far exceeded the expectations, so that $138 remained, which they requested should be also used in some manner in connection with the outfitting of Brother Russell's Study in the new Brooklyn home. We accepted these tokens of love with heartfelt appreciation, and told the dear friends that only our conviction that the removal is in the Lord's provision and implies a forward step in his work, would enable us to leave cheerfully the numerous loved ones with whom we had been associated for more than thirty years, as Pastor of the Congregation.
BROTHER RUSSELL RE-ELECTED PASTOR
Two Sundays in advance announcement was made that on the last night of the year 1908 a general meeting would be held, at which the Congregation would expect to elect those who would serve it during the ensuing year. The Bible House Chapel was crowded, though it had been expressly stipulated that only those professing full consecration were invited. A solemn hush was upon the audience while Brother Russell briefly narrated some of the incidents connected with his Pastorate of the Congregation for more than thirty years. He mentioned by name some of those present who had been faithful supporters of the Truth during all of that period. Still larger numbers dated their affiliation with the Truth for twenty, fifteen, ten, five, and then down to one year. He remarked that he had not done for them, either collectively or individually, all that he would have liked to do, but assured them that he had served their interests in every manner to the best of his ability. He further declared that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, he had never done injury to any of them--in deed, in word, or in thought. In vacating the pulpit it caused him great gratification that these things were so. In concluding he requested that, if there were any present who felt that in any sense or degree, at any time or place, he had ever done them injury, in act or word, he hoped they would speak out, that he might know about it, and have opportunity for apology. There being no response to the invitation, he assured them that, not only had he not injured them in word or act, but even in his thoughts they were cherished, loved, yearned for and prayed for.
Before leaving the platform, Brother Russell remarked that Pilgrim Brother Rutherford was present and would doubtless make an excellent Chairman for the business meeting called for the election of the Church's servants for 1909. He said that, unless some objection were made, it would be considered that Brother Rutherford was unanimously approved as Chairman of the session. Silence gives consent, so Brother Rutherford stepped to the platform, Brother Russell stepping down and taking his seat with the friends.
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A vote of thanks for the Pastor and Elders who had served during the year was proposed, seconded and passed unanimously. The object of the meeting was stated by the Chairman, and a motion was declared to be in order. Brother Dr. Spill at once arose and proposed that Brother Russell be reelected Pastor of the congregation for the year 1909. He urged that, even though rarely present with the Ecclesia, his election as Pastor would insure to the Church, possibly, a still greater watch care and make him more free to give advice in its affairs and interests. He declared that many congregations were in the habit of thus electing Brother Russell as Pastor, not only as an expression of their love and confidence, but also as an assurance to
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him of their desire for his special oversight of their interests, and with a view to making him feel the more at home with them at any time he could be present. Several brethren seconded the motion. Brother Russell arose, thanked the mover and seconders, but assured the dear friends that they would always have his love, best wishes and assistance everyway irrespective of his election, as suggested. He wished them to understand that he could not hope to be with them frequently in the future. He was glad even that for nearly two years he had addressed them only once a month, or less frequently, because it made the coming separation easier for all concerned. He did not wish anyone to vote on the motion with the thought that it would bring him to Pittsburg often, for he must attend to the interests of the general work. He remarked also that he could not think of accepting such an election, unless it were practically unanimous. The vote was taken and declared to be unanimously carried.
At Brother Russell's suggestion the Bible House family declined to vote at this election, because, not expecting to remain long, it would not be appropriate for them to express a choice. Chairman Rutherford remarked this and then added that, since the local congregation voted unanimously, there could be no objection now to taking another vote which would include the Bible House family, and show their love also for Brother Russell. The motion was put and carried unanimously, the Bible House family voting.
Following the custom of previous years, Brother Russell suggested the names of some who he believed would make faithful servants of the Church-- Elders, Deacons and Deaconesses. He remarked that these were mere suggestions, any or all of them subject to rejection. He would not even nominate them, but merely suggested and left the congregation to make its own nominations. Brother Russell's suggestions were nominated and chosen--unanimously elected by the congregation. Altogether the occasion was an enjoyable one. Following the election a prayer, praise and testimony meeting was opened which lasted until after mid-night. Some of the dear friends remarked afterwards on the earnestness and unction of this Watch Night meeting.
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GREATER WORKS SHALL YE DO
--`ACTS 3:1-16`.--JANUARY 24.--
Golden Text:--"His name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see
and know."--`Acts 3:16`.
OUR lesson tells of one of the prominent miracles granted of the Lord at the beginning of this age. Peter and John were God's instruments in effecting an instantaneous faith cure. A man deformed from birth and unable to walk was made whole. The only power exercised was the power of faith on the part of the apostles, for the man healed, so far as we know, had no knowledge of Jesus, nor that the apostles were his representatives. Nor should we understand the apostolic command, "Look upon us," to mean the exercise by them of any hypnotic influence. Quite to the contrary, the power by which they healed was the same by which their Master had performed healings during the three and a half years of his ministry. The testimony in a nutshell is, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, that give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk, and he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up; and immediately his feet and ankle-bones received strength."--`Acts 3:7`.
THE DESIRE FOR HEALING
Perhaps there was never a time in the world's history when humanity manifested more desire for physical healing than today. Nor can we blame the poor, groaning creation for desiring relief. It is with regret, however, that we note that our Lord's comment to the 5,000 whom he fed miraculously with bread and fish is still considerably applicable. He told them that they sought him because they had eaten of the free luncheon and not because of their love of the truths which he was preaching. He also told them to "Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you, for him hath the Father sealed."--`John 6:27`.
So today we could wish that the hungry and thirsty were for the real relief which God hath provided and which all of us need--relief from sin and death. In a word, we could wish that there were a greater appreciation of soul sickness from sin and that there is but the one Good Physician, who is able to heal this malady and through whose ministry we may be healed. Note the fact that some of the strong delusions are supported by their claim to relieve physical pain. This is the claim of Spiritism--that disease can be relieved through mediumistic powers, under another's control. It is the claim of the Mormons that they can heal diseases miraculously. This is the claim of Christian Science, Mind Cure, Faith Cure people, Divine Healers, etc. Some of these names are used merely as a cover and pretense, while by others they are used with full faith that they are of some supernatural origin. The attitude of the public seems to be Give us healing. Give us relief from our aches and pains. If it is of God, we are glad. If it is of the Adversary, as you claim, we still take it, even though we know it to be in opposition to the Divine will.
Such great inroads have been made in the churches of all denominations by these mind cures, hypnotic cures, that ministers of all denominations are perplexed what to do. The dominant idea with many of them is-- our organization must be maintained at any cost. As a business man would purchase any kind of goods that would sell, so must the churches, they think, supply to the public whatever it demands; otherwise the congregation would diminish, the minister's salary would not be collected, and the whole denomination would fall to pieces. The ministers, therefore, feel that for self-preservation, and for the preservation of the organization they represent, they must meet the public demand, just as a theater manager feels that he must meet the public demand.
THE EMMANUEL MOVEMENT
At this opportune moment, when ministers are in perplexity and congregations are demanding physical healing, and particularly implying that they will not serve a God who will permit them to have afflictions and to be touched with a feeling of the infirmities of the race, the Emmanuel movement steps to the front. At one bound it has leaped into general favor, because it avoids much of the absurdity of Christian Science, which implies that there is no sickness, no pain, no death. The Emmanuel movement acknowledges the ills and seeks to relieve them and, in this respect, is
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certainly on advanced ground. Started in Boston, after more than a year's success, it is being laid before the ministers of all denominations. Books are published instructing them how they may establish these physical healings, instituted in connection with churches of all denominations. Special classes have been organized in various colleges for the purpose of instructing those studying for the ministry how to perform these cures. The matter has gone forward with remarkable speed. How great will be its proportions within a few years is difficult to say. We have no pleasure in merely fault-finding. Did we consider these various healings as innocent, not to say divine, as some suppose them to be, we would be either cooperating with them, or, at least, saying nothing against them, even as we decline to discuss the various schools of medicine, believing that each represents more or less skill helpful to humanity.
But in these various cures for physical ailments now being promoted throughout Christendom, we see a great and a serious danger. Seeing this, it is our duty to raise a general voice to those who have an ear to hear the message. Our protest is that these are none such miracles as were wrought by our Lord and his apostles. True, there is a measure of similarity, just as some of the electric arc lights of our day closely resemble the sunlight. To our understanding, many of those identified with the various schemes of mind healing, faith healing, Christian Science, Hypnotism, etc., are well-meaning, thoroughly conscientious; and thoroughly deluded. To our understanding their cures are not by divine power, but by that of the Adversary, whom the Lord is permitting to use these means of attracting the Lord's people and the world away from the spiritual things and their necessity; also from the spiritual healing. We are well aware that in thus writing we are putting ourselves on the unpopular side, yet our duty is to the Lord and to the Truth and to those who have ears to hear and who desire to hear the message of the Lord.
HYPNOTISM TINCTURES ALL DECEPTION
Do not misunderstand us. We do not dispute that cures are accomplished, nor that some of the proceedings and theories are legitimate enough. What we do claim is that the Truth and rationality connected with these systems are the sugar-coating which covers the poison. The poison connected with all of them is the poison of the Adversary, the power of the fallen angels exercised in its most subtle form, namely, mental suggestion --hypnotism. This rational sugar-coating consists in the extending of kindly sympathy to the bereaved: in the recognition of the fact that fear is one of the most potent causes of human trouble and that
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faith in the Lord, or in a devil, for that matter, has the effect of resting the mind, relieving the nervous tension, and thus facilitating the eradication of pain. The doctrine of "Peace, troubled soul!" is certainly a good and wise one, particularly when based upon a Scriptural faith in Jesus as our ever-present help in every hour of need and when it promotes loyalty and obedience to him. This spirit of restfulness and "peace with God," if built upon false doctrines and erroneous suggestions and hypnotic influences, but hinders the soul from a proper approach to the Life-Giver and opens the way for the attacks of the Adversary.
As Christian Science and Mind Cure pervert reason and thus destroy the power of reasoning logically, so Hypnotism undermines the will, weakens it, and prepares the way for further intrusions from the fallen spirits. To our understanding, Christendom is thus permitting an undermining of faith and will power, and is preparing for the great day of trouble with which this age will in a few years close--a trouble which will result largely from the intrusion of the evil spirits into human affairs, through the entanglement of human wills, weakened by Hypnotism. We warn all to be on guard against these modern miracle-workers and we call attention to the fact that their operation is entirely different from anything recorded in the Scriptures.
THE CHURCH'S MIRACULOUS ESTABLISHMENT
There is a reason for the miracles wrought by our Lord and his disciples. They were for the establishment of the Church--as a testimony to the Lord. Without them Christianity would not have grown as rapidly as it did. These miracles ceased as the Church secured an established footing. The miraculous gifts of the spirit, healing, etc., were supplanted by the spiritual gifts, or fruitage of holy living. As the Apostle declares, Whether there be miraculous tongues, they shall cease, and so with all the other gifts, including healing. The physical healing was supplanted by the spiritual healing. Thus our Lord's words were fulfilled, "Greater works than these shall ye do, because I go to my Father." What intelligent Christian who has experienced the opening of the eyes of his understanding will dispute the fact that he has received a far more valuable gift than that of the opening of his natural eyes? Who that is deaf, but has the ears of his understanding opened to spiritual matters, would not claim that he had a greater blessing than a restoration of physical healing? Who that has eaten of the Bread that came down from heaven and received spiritual strength, does not realize that his blessing is far beyond that enjoyed by those whom Jesus fed with the five barley loaves and the three small fishes?
Who that has realized the healing of the soul does not realize that the healing of his heart affections is of much more value to him than the healing of any earthly disease? Who that was born in sin and shapen in iniquity and who has realized the forgiveness of his sins and has received grace whereby he may walk in the footsteps of Jesus, does not appreciate this as a greater miracle than the one recorded in our lesson? Ah! but some will say, "Let us have both the spiritual and the physical healing. Did not Jesus give both, and should not we expect both?"
We reply that Jesus did not give both, but merely the physical. Not until he had finished his sacrifice and had ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God for us, could any of us receive of the holy Spirit. And not until then could any understand the spiritual things, the deep things of God. It is for this reason that our Lord's sermons were generally limited to earthly things. He said, "If I have told you of earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?" (`John 3:12`.) Again he said, "I have many things yet to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come." (`John 16:12,13`.) The Apostle tells us that "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned....But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit."--`I Cor. 2:14,10`.
OUR LORD'S MOUTHPIECES
It is for this reason that we find some of the most helpful spiritual instructions in the writings of the apostles, without which we should not be able to get so large a measure of spiritual nutriment from our Lord's utterances, which were in parables and dark sayings, thus reserved for the future use of the saints.
Under the picture of the Church at Laodicea, the Lord pictures to us the last stage of the Gospel Church. He represents it as saying, "I am rich, increased in goods, and have need of nothing." Nominal Christendom has been disposed to boast of its riches in scholarship and property and intelligence and influence, and its high moral standing. The one thing it has coveted is the healing power, and now it is grasping this, to its further injury, to the increase of its pride and boastfulness and to the bringing of itself still more fully under the powers of darkness.
Notice how different is the Lord's view of the Laodicean Church, from that which it entertains of
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itself. He says, "Thou knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked; I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and eye-salve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see."--`Rev. 3:17,18`.
It is for us to take the Lord's viewpoint, to see what constitutes the true riches, the true source of happiness and joy in the Lord. It is for us to have our eyes opened, and not to be deceived by our Great Adversary in this time. We remember our Lord's very words on this subject; his intimation that at his second advent many would boast of their work and power of healing, saying, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works?" (`Matt. 7:22`.) But our Lord said to such, I do not know you. I do not recognize you. You have no authority to make yourselves my disciples.
Let us remember, dear friends, that the Lord's blessings upon the apostles were not in the nature of preservation from sickness or calamity, but the reverse. We have records of several of the prominent brethren of the Church, but no records of any of them being miraculous healers. The healings which were done were performed for signs for those about. We have records of disasters permitted to come upon our Lord and upon the apostles and upon the Church of that time--hatred of the world, thwarting of their plans, cruel mockings, stripes, in perils of shipwreck, in perils among false brethren, hungering, thirsting, etc. If God manifested his favor thus to our Lord and the most influential members of his Church and their associates, what shall we choose for ourselves? If we allow the Lord to choose our portion for us, he doubtless will give us similar experiences in this time, and glory, honor and immortality by and by. If we attempt to choose our own way, the Adversary will try to delude us and we may be relieved of some physical pains or difficulties, which might have been for our eternal welfare. Let us choose the better part, pray for the spiritual things and labor for them, and accept, as respects our earthly affairs, whatsoever our Father sees best!
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REPORTS FOR 1908 FROM THE FOREIGN BRANCHES OF THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
THE prosperity of the "Good Tidings" in Great Britain is fully attested by the figures given below. With the removal of our office to Brooklyn, London will be about as near to us as San Francisco. The reduced rate of postage between the two countries will also tend to centralize the work. We wish we could tell the dear friends of Great Britain and everywhere the world around how much we love all who are truly the Lord's and who give evidence of their control by his Spirit. Surely we feel that oceans cannot separate us from one another's love, nor make us feel less interest than if we lived in one city. While our love is the same for brethren of all languages, nevertheless we feel able to understand and sympathize most fully with those of our own tongue. In a very broad and very deep sense, therefore, Great Britain, Canada and the United States are one country. National prejudices and customs and superstitions may influence us variously, according to the flesh; but the more fully we understand our Father's Word, and come into fellowship with its spirit, the more will every barrier and every cause of misunderstanding vanish and enable us to see eye to eye.
The Lord has blessed the Truth in Great Britain during 1908 greatly, and it is our belief that there, as well as in America, the next two years will be marked with marvelous progress in the overthrow of error, in the deliverance of God's people from its chains, in the spread of the light of the knowledge of God amongst his saints.
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We have promised that, if possible, next Spring we will visit Germany and Scandinavia on a "flying trip," and we purpose also, if possible, to arrange for a Three-Days' Convention in London. If we can accomplish these purposes, we will endeavor to have the London date May 29-31 (Whitsuntide Holidays), with special excursion rates.
WORK DONE IN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND
SUMMARY OF THE WORK
DAWN-STUDIES and MANNAS circulated................ 46,079
Tracts free (stated in pages).....................63,884,400
Letters received.................................. 9,915
" sent out.................................. 8,872
REPORT OF THE GERMAN BRANCH
The Truth still progresses slowly in Germany, it seems to us, considering the amount of energy and money expended there. This, however, does not imply that the Germans are less deeply interested in the Truth than the English, Scotch, Irish and others. On the contrary, at our conventions and by the names of the lists, we discern that the brethren of German descent hold, perhaps, as prominent a place as any others. The fact of the matter seems to be that conditions in Germany have driven out from thence to the United States many of that nationality who are most susceptible to the influences of the Truth, leaving many behind proportionately less of this kind. However, who can estimate in money value the worth of the Truth, even to one child of God? From this standpoint we feel greatly encouraged at the progress the Truth has made there. Let us seek to estimate the value of the Truth. Let us say to ourselves, "What price would purchase it from me? For what sum of money would I be willing to be placed back again in the darkness of creedal systems, ignorance of God and his Plan?" By this standard the progress of the Work is great, in proportion to the cost:
SUMMARY OF THE WORK
DAWNS, Cloth, Vol. 1.............................. 3,685
DAWNS, Cloth, other volumes....................... 1,978
DAWNS, Vol. 1, TOWER form......................... 1,800
Total number of copies............................ 7,463
Regular issue of German TOWERS used in Europe..... 27,900
Extra sample copies of the TOWER sent out......... 78,900
Total number of TOWERS............................ 106,800
Tracts used in Europe............................. 3,506,400
Total free literature, Tract pages................39,009,000
Letters and cards received during the year........ 4,096
Letters sent out during the year.................. 1,815
THE WORK IN SWEDEN
Our representative in Sweden writes:--
When we look back on the year behind us our hearts become filled with the most deep and humble gratitude and thankfulness to our loving heavenly Father for his overruling care for our good. We have indeed seen the most evident proofs that the Lord himself is the Leader of his Harvest work, and that he makes
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all things--yea, even our mistakes--to serve his purposes and the interests of his cause. Glory and praise be to his holy name! We have not, of course, such large figures to show in our reports from this little land as you receive from the more important parts of the field, but yet we are very thankful for the results we, by the Lord's grace, have seen of our united efforts here, and pray that his blessing may continually rest upon the Harvest work everywhere until all of it is done, and that we then may hear his "Well done."
During the year past we have had the joy of seeing some of God's dear children, from the most Northern to the Southern part of the country, receive the Harvest message, and several of those are already in active service to bring the glad tidings to others. Amongst these is also one dear brother who, for the sake of the Truth, gave up his place as a minister in the Baptist Church a few months ago. Here in Orebro our little company has increased by nearly fifty brethren and sisters during the year. The leaders and preachers in the different sects preach against us and warn their people against "MILLENNII DAGNING," but still the good Shepherd's voice is heard by his sheep, and they abandon Babylon, following the voice of him that speaketh from heaven.
We have also very good reasons for believing that the work of grace generally has progressed considerably in the hearts and lives of the friends of the Truth in Sweden. The spiritual appetite, the hunger and thirst for the "meat in due season" is great, and love toward the Lord and to you, his servant, and to all the children of God, is growing rapidly amongst us, as the eyes of our understanding get more and more opened. About the zeal and interest in the service and spreading of the Truth the following figures will show:
SUMMARY OF THE WORK
Work accomplished through the Swedish Branch, from Dec. 1, 1907, until Dec. 1, 1908
Copies of DAWN Volumes............................ 5,201 Various booklets, About Hell, Tabernacle Shadows, etc. 6,288
----- Total............................................. 11,489
Number of subscribers on Swedish ZION'S VAKT-TORN. 1,368 Old sets Swedish TOWER, cloth-bound and unbound... 209 Bibles sold....................................... 60 Volunteer Tracts and sample TOWERS................ 309,689 Expressed in usual form of Tract pages............ 4,512,624 Number of Meetings held........................... 556 Number of miles traveled in preaching tours....... 16,167 Letters and cards received........................ 1,829 Letters and cards sent out........................ 1,281 Total number of various sendings, by mail and by railroad, sent out from this office.............. 11,159
FINANCIAL SUMMARY, 1908
Pilgrim, Convention and other meetings........................... kr. 2,338.06 $ 623.48 For translation, printing, printing paper, etc......................... 6,225.86 1,660.23 Freight and postage................. 1,310.95 349.59 Office expenses, rent, light, heat, etc. 3,212.87 856.77
-------- -------- Total............................... kr.13,087.74 $3,490.07
Voluntary Donations to Tract Fund... kr. 5,050.62 $1,346.83 Swedish TOWER subscriptions......... 1,880.43 501.45 Books sold, etc..................... 5,813.29 1,550.22
-------- -------- Total............................... kr.12,744.34 $3,398.50 Deficit, 1908....................... 343.40 91.57
--------- -------- Total............................... kr.13,087.74 $3,490.07
REPORT OF THE JAMAICA BRANCH FOR 1908
The Society's representative writes:--
All our efforts during the past twelve months have been signally blessed of the Lord, and we are pleased to report an increase in all branches of the work.
Our joy is not confined to the expansion in the various departments of the Harvest work under our supervision, but we also rejoice to note that the friends within the range of our observation are growing in the knowledge and spirit of the Truth.
Chief among the things that have ministered to this end, we cite to you the Pilgrim service, in which eight brethren gave either the whole or a part of their time.
Numerous letters which we have received from time to time assure us of the blessings that the friends have derived from these visits. It seems to us to be the Lord's will that this service should not only be continued, but that it should be extended wherever possible. We are continually praying for the Lord's blessing upon those already in this service, and we are daily asking our heavenly Father to supply us with more efficient laborers for this branch of the Harvest work.
The number of those newly interested in the Truth is growing very rapidly. Especially is this true in Kingston, where the seating capacity of our present meeting hall is often overtaxed.
The general convention held recently at Annotto Bay was the largest ever held under the auspices of the Society in Jamaica. About 350 brethren and friends were in attendance and were greatly blessed by partaking of the spiritual feast which the Lord spread before us.
Our TOWER list for the year shows very little increase. We have reported the names of quite a number of new subscribers, but the gain in this way has been almost offset by the new postal regulations, which compelled us to drop many names from our lists. The erasures of these names has resulted favorably, however, for it has shown us just who the truly interested ones are, besides saving us the postage for mailing TOWERS to those who do not appreciate them.
We start the new year with bright prospects before us, and we pledge our faithful services to the Lord and to the Society, to do with our might whatever our hands may find to do in laying down our lives for the brethren.
We pray for you and ask your prayers on our behalf, that we may remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, even unto death.
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We have also received a report of the work done in the Panama Canal Zone. Bro. Isaiah Richards has put out about one thousand volumes during the year. There are also a few interested friends in Colon with whom he meets from time to time.
SUMMARY OF THE WORK
Number of Pilgrims................................ 8 Number of Pilgrim visits.......................... 48 Number of Public Meetings held.................... 34 Number of Private Meetings held................... 472 Number of Miles traveled.......................... 6,687
Number of Regular Colporteurs..................... 26
Total output of DAWN-STUDIES...................... 4,272 Total output of Booklets.......................... 2,949
----- Total............................................. 7,221
Total amount of Tracts distributed..58,305, or 932,880 pages
Letters, etc., received........................... 1,476 Letters, etc., sent out........................... 1,311
----- Total............................................. 2,787
L s. d. Pilgrim Service................................. 312 18 5 Freight, etc.................................... 21 11 7-1/2 Sundries, current expenses, &c.................. 207 1 9-1/2
--- -- ----- Total Expense................................... 541 11 10 Voluntary Contributions......................... 138 5 9-1/2
--- -- ----- Deficit for 1908................................L403 6 1/2
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THE MESSAGE IN HEATHENDOM
We regret that our report as respects our effort made in China and Japan reads failure.
In India the Society has four devoted representatives whose influence is considerably circumscribed by the fact that they are soldiers in the British army. But they and we are thankful that the Truth reached them and that they are, as Colporteurs, etc., doing what lies in their power to lift up the Divine standard. We have no report from them respecting the work done the last year.
We are glad to be able to report some progress in South Africa. The Lord's blessing has attended the work there to a considerable degree, as reported by Brother Booth. There are now three Dutch preachers interested, who are delivering the message with considerable freedom to about eight congregations. And there are three black brethren who are preaching the Truth to the natives. One of these has gone northward about two thousand miles to his home region to carry the message. This brother, although young, speaks several of the native languages, and writes the English quite fluently. The latest report from him is very encouraging. The natives seem to have open ears for the Good Tidings of Great Joy, the message of Restitution. They seem also, to some extent, to grasp the heavenly calling.
Altogether we are quite pleased with the work thus far accomplished in Africa. Some thirty-four partook of the Memorial Supper last year in Cape Town vicinity, and it is expected that over one hundred will participate next Spring. And, apparently, from the reports, the light of Truth is spreading in every direction, and with considerable power. A consignment of Dutch DAWNS has had just about time to reach South Africa, and we may expect a still more favorable report next year, we trust.
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TURNING THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN
--`ACTS 4:5-20`.--JANUARY 31.--
Golden Text:--"They were all filled with the holy Spirit, and they spake the words of God with
THE healing of the lame man was not a mental healing, not a faith cure, but a bona-fide miracle, straightening the ankle-bones and giving to the ligaments strength never before possessed. The miracle served to advertise the new Faith. A great crowd gathered from all parts to the temple. Pharisees, doctors of divinity and Sadducees, teaching their respective theories to inquiring crowds, were left without auditors. All attention was given to the cripple and to the two men who had effected his cure. The Apostle sees the opportunity to preach Christ, the Messiah, and to explain that it was he who had been cruelly crucified. Apparently the preaching and the discussion went on for about two hours, when it was interrupted by the arrest of the apostles, St. Peter and St. John. They were placed under guard for the night, because it was too late for the meeting of the Sanhedrin or Law, which by jurisdiction could try a case only in day time. Who were the accusers? Surely not the man who was healed, nor the common people who witnessed the miracle and gave God glory! Who then? Alas! it was the professedly most religious, most holy, most pious teachers of the people who, beholding what would thus draw away from their own teachings, were angry at the apostles, the more so that it was charged against them publicly that they had really crucified the Messiah a few weeks before.
Alas! for the perversity of human nature. But has it not been always so--that the persecutors of the Truth have been those who had greatest reason to be its servants? Our lesson opens with the account of the trial of the apostles before the Sanhedrin Court. Caiaphas, the very one who condemned Jesus, was present, as were other ecclesiastics. If the apostles wondered that the Lord had permitted them to be stopped in their preaching and be imprisoned for the night, they probably saw when they were before the Sanhedrin the good reason for it all. God thus provided that the most learned, the most influential, red-handed with the blood of Jesus, should be brought face to face with the truth of the same. As the apostles answered the questions propounded, these clerics must have perceived that the Spirit of Christ in his followers was still able, not only to perform miracles, but to endow those humble fishermen with eloquence and courage to fully defend their position and voice the Truth.
Let us learn this lesson--to look through all of life's experiences for the accomplishment of the Divine purposes. When we become discouraged with trials or difficulties, yet know that we are faithfully serving the Lord and in line with the teachings of his Word, we should have faith to believe that the end of his dealings with us will fully justify every trial and difficulty between.
"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform."
"BY WHAT POWER--IN WHAT NAME?"
There was no disputing the fact that the lame man, known for years to all the frequenters of the temple, had been healed. He had been seen jumping, walking and praising God. By their questions these clerics would give the inference that they believed the curing work had been accomplished by Satanic power. The trial was evidently to be conducted along this line--to prove the apostles emissaries of Satan. But the blessing upon St. Peter was in full harmony with the promise that when he would be called upon to stand before magistrates and princes, language would be given him. From his lips poured forth such a stream of argument as quite overwhelmed his questioners. He told them in whose name his miracles had been performed--in the name of the one whom they had crucified some months before. He told them in the name of whose power he had wrought the miracles, namely, the power of God.
He properly made no apologies for his Master, nor for his having been numbered with the wicked. He charged straight home the responsibility of his death upon them, and then quoted them from the prophecies, "This is the stone which was set at naught by the builders, which is become the head of the corner." (`Acts 4:11`.) Neither was there salvation in any other than the one that they had crucified as a criminal. Astounding boldness, courage, ability! No wonder we read that they marveled at the boldness and the courage of these apostles, who they perceived were unlearned and ignorant men! No wonder that they took knowledge that these had been with Jesus and learned of him!
The same principle still holds good. Whoever the Lord may use as his mouthpiece will be endowed with corresponding ability to render the service for which the Lord has called, if he abide faithful, as did the apostles. We need not fear the attitude of the opponents, whether in high or low positions, if we are the Lord's, devoted to his cause. "He who is for us is more than all they that be against us." Why should we not have courage? Notice, nevertheless, that while the Apostle manifested such courage in speaking of the Truth, there was nothing proud, domineering or boastful or slanderous in his utterances. He told the Truth in a simple manner. Let our course be similar.
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They soon stopped the speaker. They were not anxious to have matters thoroughly opened up. They had heard enough. They stood them aside until they had conferred. What they were afraid of was the spreading of the thing. It was not with them a question of right or wrong, of truth or falsity, of God or Satan, but the matter of the spread of religious views which would nullify their influence.
Their conclusion was that they could find no fault with the matter, but that they would threaten the apostles and try to restrain them with fear, so that the New Doctrines might not spread and upset their system and lower their dignity in the honor of Messiah, and weaken the power of the nation. They seemed to fear what has already come to pass, namely, that the religion of Jesus would excel Judaism in numbers and in influence. How remarkable was the influence of Jesus and of his twelve apostles! That spirit of Jesus which they discerned in the apostles reminds us of the poet's verse:--
A Persian fable says: One day
A wanderer found a lump of clay;
So redolent of sweet perfume,
Its odors scented all the room.
"What art thou?" was his quick demand,
"Art thou some gem from Samarcand,
Or spikenard, in this rude disguise,
Or other costly merchandise?"
"Nay, I am but a lump of clay."
"Then, whence this wondrous perfume--Say!"
"Friend, if the secret I disclose,
I have been dwelling with the rose."
Sweet parable! And will not those
Who love to dwell with Sharon's Rose,
Distil sweet orders all around,
Though low and mean themselves be found?
Dear Lord, abide with us, that we
May draw our perfume fresh from thee.
Of this thing we may be sure, that, however many of the Lord's people are by nature "chiefly the mean things of this world and the things that are naught," nevertheless if they become copies of God's dear Son, they will lose the meanness from their hearts and instead will be partakers of his grace, his spirit, his holiness.
"WE CANNOT BUT SPEAK THE THINGS"
When recalled before the Sanhedrin and told that the decision was that they should be discharged, but that they should be cautioned, warned, threatened, that they should not preach any more in the name of Jesus, the apostles modestly, courteously, but very boldly said, Whether your attack be right or not, we must follow our own conscience; "We cannot but speak the things we have heard." How very proper this reply! Yet how much courage it must have required for men without any education and without much wisdom to have to stand before magistrates and those of high estate! Why could they not refrain from preaching! Why would not the apostle's words apply to them, "Be subject to the powers that be." The answer is that while we are to be subject to earthly powers, as respects earthly things, we have a still higher responsibility in respect to the spiritual, the heavenly things. Our heavenly Father prepared the way for the Gospel by the sending of his Son. And our Lord said to his apostles, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature."--`Mark 16:15`.
So long, therefore, as the apostles could reasonably, properly find hearers for their Master's Word, they preached it. And so it must be with us. We must not be intimidated. While obedient to the powers that be respecting every earthly way, we, like the apostles, cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. To keep the message secret, to put our light under a bushel, would mean our own failure to progress, the dwarfing of our New Nature, and ultimately disobedience to our Master; and obedience to earthly powers along this line would mean to us failure as respects a place with Jesus in his throne. It is overcomers whom the Lord is now seeking! There could be no overcoming if there were no trials, and tests, and character development.
Let us, then, while obedient to every earthly law and regulation, feel perfectly free to do the Lord's will in every matter, even the smallest, even to the extent of bringing upon ourselves the disapprobation of the world and the worldly, even though it bring us stripes, imprisonment. We have not the crown yet, but the cross, and whatever will help us to take it up and bear it faithfully will be a cause for thanksgiving.
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BROTHERHOOD IN THE ANOINTED ONE
--`ACTS 4:32`; `5:11`.--FEBRUARY 7.--
Golden Text:--"Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but they that deal truly are his delight."--`Prov. 12:22`.
THIS lesson brings before our minds in sharp contrast a true and a false brotherhood in the Church. A shining example of the true was Barnabas, while Ananias and Sapphira were conspicuous illustrations of the false. The five hundred brethren who had become believers during our Lord's ministry, and who were thus prepared in advance for the Pentecostal blessing, were added to abundantly by the thousands converted on the day of Pentecost. As a whole, they were a very choice class. Only the children of the light, "Israelites indeed," stood loyally with the Redeemer during his trials and revilings. And a similar class of "Israelites indeed" proved amenable to the lessons and demonstrations and preaching of Pentecost Day. These were devout men, out of all the country around Judea, who were visiting Jerusalem at the time, attending a religious festival, in compliance with the demands of the Law.
"SATAN CAME ALSO"
With such a flood of popularity as came to the Church at Pentecost, it was only to be expected that some would be carried in by the excitement and the miracles and the favor of the Lord who were not "Israelites indeed." But the latter evidently were few comparatively. Amongst the true, there was the fervor, the love, the fellowship of kindred minds. They realized themselves children of God, and brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of each other. The experience was a new one, and the holy Spirit ruling in their hearts their sympathies flowed together in one common stream. Were some of them poor or crippled, lowly or sad, the others took delight in ministering to their comfort. They were brethren in the fullest, deepest sense. How blessed this relationship none can really know, except those who have experienced it.
How few have experienced this mutual love in this our day! The mixture of the spirit of worldliness has so diluted the spirit of the Master in the hearts of the majority that true, brotherly love is but little understood. Nowhere probably in the world is the spirit of the brotherhood of the early Church more manifest today than amongst the gathering of the WATCH TOWER readers, in general conventions, or in lesser gatherings. It is beautiful indeed, heart-refreshing, to note the loving interest manifested one toward another. It evidences our return to the simplicity which is in Christ, and to the fellowship of his Spirit. Let us be glad for this. Let us cultivate this proper spirit, that the love of God and the love of the brethren may be more and more shed abroad in our hearts.
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COMMUNISM IN THE EARLY CHURCH
Selfishness is buried under love; or rather, temporarily, it is filled, for selfishness is the spirit of the world and of the Adversary, while love is the Spirit of God, the holy Spirit. We are not supposing that in their fervency and in their comparative ignorance of their own weaknesses and of the weaknesses of each other, the early followers of the Lord started the Communistic arrangement. Putting all their property and wealth together, they shared it as each had need. The lesson ultimately was a good one: (1) It showed both them and us what should, by right, be the spirit of all who love the Lord and are begotten by his holy Spirit to the New Nature, as members of the Body of Christ, his brethren, God's people. All of the poor in heart should still feel longings for such a condition of mutual helpfulness. However, this lesson learned, another was needed, namely, that the Lord's people, with the best of intentions in their hearts, are so differently organized physically--fallen in such different directions--that it is not practical, not feasible, for them to attempt to live together along Communistic lines. While giving each other credit for purity of heart and honesty of motives, the Lord's people learn that in their flesh dwelleth no perfection, and, likewise, none in the flesh of their brethren. Hence, with the same love in our hearts, the one for the other, we have learned that it is better to allow each other full freedom and full responsibility as respects the management of earthly affairs, and that this is the condition in which each can be happiest, and in which each can make greatest progress and learn best the needed lessons of preparation for the Millennial Kingdom and its services.
The early Church learned this lesson speedily. Its Communism did not last long. First of all the apostles found that, notwithstanding the confidence of
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the Church in them as spiritual and able ministers of the Gospel, and specially sent of the Lord, there were murmurings against them, because some thought that their interests were not so well served from the general fund as those of others. This led to the giving over of the management to the deacons, and ultimately the entire project fell to pieces. It taught a lesson profitable to the Lord's Church from that same to the present time. That lesson is that it is possible to have Communism in heaven, or on earth amongst perfect men, but not feasible to have it amongst those who are imperfect, and whose tastes and appetites, experiences, etc., are diverse. This is our answer to the dear friends who occasionally urge the expediency of Socialistic and Communistic arrangements at the present time.
We assure them, first, that the project is not feasible, because, however sympathetic and loyal our hearts are one to the other, our mortal bodies and their tastes cannot be kept in full harmony. And discord becomes the more serious, the more close the contact and unlimited the time. Furthermore, as the Lord raised up the great persecution which scattered the Church and its Communism and sent them everywhere as solitary witnesses for the Truth, so, we believe, it will be here. The Lord wills that his people shall be scattered throughout the world, in order that they may the better let their lights shine in the midst of the earthly darkness, bearing witness to the Truth.
BARNABAS--SON OF CONSOLATION
The description given us in the lesson beautifully illustrates the spirit of full consecration to the Lord-- a full love and generosity towards all the brethren and a full confidence in the apostles as the Lord's representatives. Their wealth was brought and laid at the apostles' feet. Amongst others who did thus was Joseph, the uncle of John Mark, supposedly a member of a wealthy family, residing in the Mount of Olives, in the house the garden of which was our Lord's Gethsemane. He now had become an earnest follower of the Nazarene. He sold a field which he possessed and brought the proceeds to the apostles' feet. He was evidently a man of great sympathy and beautiful character, as is evidenced by the surname given him in the early Church, namely Barnabas. The word signifies, "Son of a consoling message," or, more briefly, "Son of consolation." Thank God the same spirit is yet to be found amongst his people. Some of them are sons and some of them are daughters of consolation, especially to his other sons and daughters--sympathetic, loving, kind, helpful.
Barnabas was a Levite, and hence was trained with a view to the work of a teacher, instructor amongst his people. Tradition has it that he became acquainted with Saul of Tarsus in the Gamaliel school. However, the bonds of union between the two, which subsequently took them forth as messengers of the good tidings, was not the earthly tie, but the spiritual one. So with us. The more we possess of the spirit of holiness, devotion to God, to righteousness, the spirit of love and devotion to the brethren, the more may we be sons of consolation, pouring forth upon all with whom we have contact the unction from the "Holy One," the anointing, the perfume of love.
Barnabas is set before us in the lesson as a sample of the spirit of proper fellowship and brotherhood in the early Church, and the consolation resulting. Let it be so with us. Let us each strive to be worthy of this name--Barnabas--in our home relationship, and especially in the Church of Christ. Let us see to it that we are not strife-breeders, but peacemakers. Let us remember the words of inspiration, "Mark them that cause divisions amongst you, and avoid them"--reprove them by avoiding them. Show them that you do not sympathize with such a strifeful, unholy spirit. We are not to smite them, nor to speak evil of them, nor to revile them in turn again, but simply to give our attention and smiles and cheering words to others, to such as manifest more of the Lord's Spirit. To those who can be helped at all, such a course will be very helpful, far more so than fellowshiping with them, which might, indeed, encourage them to feel that they had the approval of the pure in heart and noble in mind. We are to distinguish between such an avoidance and such a fellowship and the appointment to honorable positions in the Church as one thing, and the still different matter of disfellowshiping and cutting off from the Body of Christ, the Church. The latter can be properly done only according to the rules prescribed by our Master in `Matt. 18:15-17`.
"SATAN FILLED THY HEART"
Now we come to the other side of the lesson. In Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, we have an illustration of a deceitful, hypocritical spirit, displeasing to God, and to all the right-minded of his children. These desired and appreciated the general spirit of the Church, and wished to share in it, but wished to keep back a part of the price. As St. Peter pointed out they had a perfect right to do this, and might have kept it all, but they had no right to lie about it, to pretend that they were making a full consecration of everything, when the case was otherwise. Therein consisted their fault. They might indeed have deceived their fellow-creatures of the Church, but they could not deceive the Lord. St. Peter, under the power of the holy Spirit, and possessing the gift of discerning the spirits, was made acquainted with the situation, and, acting under Divine guidance, he reproved them in the name of the Lord, and the result was their death, as recorded.
Although we are not of those who believe that they went to eternal torment, it might seem to us strange that the Lord's providence would not grant them instruction on the subject, rather than permit their destruction. We may safely assume that the imposing of a summary death sentence upon them was with a view of giving a general lesson to the Church, not only of that day, but ever since. It would not at all surprise
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us if Ananias and Sapphira would have some portion of God's Great Plan in the future, when they may learn the error of their course and mend their way and learn righteousness. It would appear as though they had share with the Church in the various blessings thus far enjoyed. We doubt, however, if they were spirit-begotten ones, and hence amenable to the Second Death. However, we may be sure that when all the secrets are unfolded, the wisdom, love, justice and power of our God, in connection with this and every other obscure dealing of his, will be made fully manifest.
The lesson brought great fear to the whole Church; not the fear which has torment, not the fear which comes from lack of faith, but the proper kind of fear, the fear of reverence, the fear of trifling, of offending our gracious Father and Lord, from whom we have already received so many blessings and from whom we are expecting to receive the crowning blessings of glory, honor and immortality. This was the fear to which the Apostle referred, admonishing that we should all have, saying, "Let us fear, lest a promise being made us of entering into his rest, any should seem to come short of it."
Our Golden Text points us to God's abomination of lying lips and his delight in the Truth. The principle of Truth is honesty, and it effects not only our words, but all of the conduct of life; yea, and also our thoughts. Hypocrisy is deceit of action. To deceive another is lying in one of its most unworthy forms. And, as the mainspring of life is in the heart, and "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," and the conduct of life is arranged, we may see that a deceitful heart and a deceitful mind are most dangerous things in the world. How jealously, therefore, God's people should guard their thoughts--in respect to God, in respect to the world, in respect to every word and act, to the intent that no injustice is permitted, no falsehood is recognized. Such are the pure in heart. Such are the saints. Such will see God and be joint-heirs with their Lord. How diligently, then, we should watch our hearts, our thoughts, that they be honest, true, truthful, in every sense and particular!
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THE THREE GREAT COVENANTS
CHRISTENDOM in general recognizes only two Covenants, the Old or Law Covenant, with Moses as its mediator, and the New Covenant, with Christ as its Mediator. Christendom may be said to know nothing whatever about the Abrahamic Covenant. When rarely they recognize the Abrahamic Covenant at all, or enter it into their calculations, they identify it with the New Covenant. We all inherited this general line of thought through Sunday-School sermons, commentaries, etc. It is not strange, therefore, that we all had this confused conception of this subject. Gradually, as a part of the light due to the Church in the end of this age, we got to see that there are three Covenants, instead of two, as we first supposed. We got to see that the Abrahamic Covenant, the original one, is the grandest and best of the three, and that from it the other two proceeded. This light upon the Divine purpose we began to set forth in the WATCH TOWER in 1880, and later elaborated the same thought in the Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices. In the latter we set forth that these Covenants are represented in the garments of the High Priest, in the ephod of two parts, with its shoulder-clasps and jeweled breast plate. However, we did not discern so sharply as we now do the clear-cut distinctions between those three Covenants. And is not this
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in full accord with the Lord's general dealing with us and with all people throughout the age? Is it not his proposition that the "Path of the just shall shine more and more unto the perfect day"? We believe that it is.
GROWING IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE
What we now see still more distinctly it is our duty and privilege to lay before the Household of Faith. We remind you, however, that as it took some of us quite a while to get a proper focus upon the Abrahamic Covenant, it may now take some of us a considerable time to still further differentiate between the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant. Remember also that a clear understanding of every detail of God's Plan, while desirable, is not necessarily essential to our blessing thereunder. For instance, we believed in the precious blood of Christ and were justified thereby freely from all things, when we did not at all understand the philosophy of the Atonement--even as the majority of Christian people do not understand it now. The increasing knowledge did not bring increasing justification, but it did bring increased appreciation and love and devotion and opportunity for greater harmony with the Divine purposes better understood.
I.--GRACE. II.--LAW. III.--WORKS
St. Paul pointed out to us most distinctly that the original Covenant made with an oath to Abraham was in every way the superior one and that it, being a one-sided Covenant, an unconditional promise, has no mediator. St. Paul tells us that the Law Covenant was "added" to the Abrahamic Covenant in God's dealing with the nation of Israel. It is called a Law Covenant because the benefits of that Covenant were offered only to those who would keep the Law in all its requirements--inviolate. He calls it the Hagar Covenant, because it was a bondage and because its offspring, the Jewish nation, could not inherit the promised blessings and privileges. He tells us that it made nothing perfect, brought nothing to perfection. Although faith had a place and the grace of God had some manifestation towards Israel, yet neither faith nor grace affected their Covenant, which was hard and fast and demanded obedience to the works of the Law--"He that doeth these things shall live by them." Since none could do perfectly, that Covenant of works brought only condemnation of their imperfect works. It had a mediator, Moses, but he was unable to accomplish anything for the people, because of their imperfection through heredity. We properly call this the Law Covenant.
The Apostle points that as Hagar's child was born before Isaac, who represented The Christ, Head and Body, "The New Creation," so the nation of Israel, Moses and all the people baptized into him in the sea and in the cloud, "The house of servants," would be developed before Spiritual Israel, the New Creation--Christ and all the members of the house of sons of spirit-begetting.
As the Covenant of Grace (Sarah) existed before the Law Covenant was added to it, so it continued to exist after the Law Covenant was set aside as a Covenant, its prize of life eternal having been won by "the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a Ransom for all." So, then, the Covenant of Grace (Sarah), which preceded the Law Covenant (Hagar) four hundred and thirty years, continued alive during the whole period of the Law Covenant, but without children, and then brought forth the Head of the Seed, Jesus. The Law Covenant was then cast aside--"Cast out the bond-woman and her son; for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman"--The Christ, the Heir of the original promise, now being developed. From the Scriptural standpoint the Resurrection is the birth; as, for instance, our Lord is the "First-Born from the dead, the First-Born amongst many brethren," and "his brethren," "his members," "his Bride" (three different names for the "elect" Church), must all be brought forth from the dead, all be "changed" to spirit condition before the Seed of Abraham will be complete.
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"IF YE BE CHRIST'S, THEN ARE YE ABRAHAM'S SEED
AND HEIRS."--`GAL. 3:29`
This is the Mystery--the selection of the Church as the Bride of Christ during this Gospel Age, to be sharers with their Redeemer in the sufferings of this present time, and also in the glory that shall follow. Hence the Apostle was very solicitous that he might have share in "His Resurrection," The Christ Resurrection, "The First Resurrection." Not until that "First Resurrection" is finished will the Seed of the Sarah Covenant be fully born. This is quite in accord with the prophetic statement, "Shall I bring to the birth (deliver the Head), and not cause to come forth (the Body)." (`Isa. 66:9`.) The intimation is that so surely as Jesus, the Head of the Body, was brought forth in the Resurrection, born from the dead, so surely will all the members of his Body share with him his glorious "change" from mortality to immortality, from earthly to heavenly nature.
What about the Jews under the Law (Hagar) Covenant? Were they on that account cut off from the very privileges and blessings which they so desired--of being Abraham's Seed and heirs according to the promise? We answer, Yes. The Apostle shows that the children of the bond-woman could not be heirs with the children of the free-woman. How, then, did the apostles and others, who were of Israel according to the flesh, come into relationship with Christ and the Sarah Covenant (of grace)? The Apostle tells us that as a human marriage is dissolved by the death of one of the parties, so those of the Jews who could recognize by faith that Christ's death had fulfilled the terms of the Law Covenant could realize that that Covenant was dead, and hence, that they were freed from it and could become married to another--united to Christ. On the contrary any Jew who does not recognize that Christ, by his death, has "made an end of the Law, nailing it to his cross," and who still continues to believe in that Covenant, is as firmly bound thereby as though the Covenant were still alive; just as a woman whose husband was really dead, but she thought him alive, could not conscientiously marry another.
"WHEN I SHALL TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS"
The Apostle explains that all of that nation who lacked proper faith in Christ were cast off, "blinded," not forever, but until the completion of the House of Sons, the New Creation, the spirit members of the spiritual Body of spiritual Israel--The Christ. Ah! but, says one, if they be cast off, "blinded," until the elect Church is complete, then they can have no part in it; and, being under the conditions of the Hagar (Law) Covenant, will they not be in an unsatisfactory state, under a New Covenant? And according to this evidence, did not God rather deceive the nation of Israel, when he entered into the Law Covenant with them at Sinai, knowing that they could not keep it, and could not get life under it, and yet permitting them, so supposing, to put themselves under that bondage? Are not the Lord's ways just and equal?
Yes, we answer, and the full scope of the Divine purpose when seen is glorious in its harmony. The difficulty in the past has been that we have seen as through an obscured glass, and not face to face. Now we perceive that God intends to recognize two seeds of Abraham, the one heavenly, like unto the stars of heaven; the other earthly, like unto the sands of the seashore. The attempt of the Law Covenant to bring forth the natural seed first was abortive--a failure. First must come the spiritual Christ, Head and Body, partaker of the divine nature, heir of all things. Then God's favor will return to natural Israel. But since the Law Covenant completed its purpose and was demonstrated to be unavailable for them, because of the weaknesses of the flesh, God purposes to make with that nation, and with that nation alone, a New Covenant. Not a single statement of Scripture identifies the New Covenant with the Gentiles. On the contrary, it is Israel's New Covenant given to displace the Old or Law Covenant. Let us note well that the great mass of the early Church were Hebrews and that the Apostle's references to the New Covenant are almost exclusively in his epistle to the Hebrews. One exception is in `Rom. 11:27`, where the Apostle, although addressing Christians of Gentile birth, tells them that natural Israel was cast off for their sakes, but is still beloved for the fathers' sake, and is again to have Divine favor, under a special Covenant. The other (`2 Cor. 3:6`) refers to the royal priesthood as able (qualified) servants of the New Covenant--dying with Christ for its sealing.--`Mal. 3:1`.
The more closely we investigate the New Covenant, the more we must be convinced of this fact--that it belongs to Israel alone, including the two nations into which they divided at the death of Solomon--Israel and Judah. Note the statement of the Prophet, "Behold the days will come, saith the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the Covenant [the Law Covenant] which I made with them when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt." The Apostle, endeavoring to prove to the Jews that they could gain nothing under the Law Covenant, points out this prophecy, and tells them that the fact that God speaks of this as a New Covenant implies that a preceding [Law] Covenant had become old, valueless, and was preparing to pass away--"In that he saith, a New Covenant, he hath made the first old; now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."--`Heb. 8:13`.
THE OATH-BOUND COVENANT SURE--`HEB. 6:17-20`
The New Covenant is to take the place of the old and unsatisfactory one. There were two old Covenants, the Grace, or Sarah Covenant, and the Law, or Hagar Covenant. Which did the Apostle mean had grown old, valueless, and would pass away and give place to the New Covenant? Surely there can be no doubt or misunderstanding on this point.
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He meant the Law Covenant, for he says so. He did not mean the original Grace or Sarah Covenant, for he points out that our claim to relationship to God is under that original Covenant, as members of the Body of Christ, members of the Bride of Christ, Joint-Heirs with him. Our Lord Jesus, by his obedience, became heir of all, heir of the original Covenant and heir also of the Law Covenant. Of the people there was none with him, neither Jews nor Gentiles. But by the grace of God there was provision made, as we have seen, that any Jew, seeing that the Law Covenant was dead, nailed to the cross, might become betrothed to Christ. They did not need to wait for the New Covenant, the provisions of which apply only to those on the earthly plane. Instead, by a faith justification and a consecration unto death, they were counted worthy of begetting to the new nature--betrothal to Christ. And similarly Gentiles, favored of God by the hearing ear and seeing eye of faith, were subsequently privileged to go through the same process, except that they did not need to reckon themselves dead to the Law Covenant, because they never were under it. Otherwise, recognizing Christ's death as the blood of the original Covenant, typified by Abraham's offering up his son, these also were reckoned justified and, presenting their justified bodies to the Lord as sacrifices, they were begotten of the same holy Spirit as the Jews, to be fellow-members of the same Body--the Body of Christ.
We come now to the other part of the question: What provision has God made for those Jews who bound themselves under the Law Covenant, from Moses' day down to the first advent; and for those who since then have not discerned the death of the Law Covenant and who will not be made aware of it until after the spiritual Seed shall have been completed and glorified? If they have not lost all share and privileges in connection with God's special mercies, where do they come in? We answer that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and others before
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the Law Covenant were not bound by it, yet were not in the fullest sense justified to life until the Abrahamic Covenant had been established at Calvary. Their faith, then, entitled them to a share in the merits of that sacrifice. Likewise throughout the period of the Law Covenant, before it was annulled at the cross, there were Ancient Worthies who lived above the masses of their time, and who, although bound by the Law, had above it a living faith in the original Oath-Bound (Sarah) Covenant of Grace. These in the Divine records were entitled to their share of that grace, as soon as the merit of Calvary's sacrifice had been presented on behalf of believers, when Jesus "ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God on our behalf." Although they lived while the Law Covenant was alive, they foresaw its death and trusted not in it, but in the superior Covenant of Grace. Hence these in due time will come forth to a life resurrection, not because of their relationship to the Law Covenant, under which they lived, nor because of their relationship to the New Covenant, of which some of them knew nothing, but because of their relationship to and faith in the original (Sarah) Covenant of Grace.
Thus the Scriptures account for the faithful ones of the past under the Covenant of Grace. But what now shall we say respecting those earthly Israelites, who lived not on that higher plane of faith, but of whom the Apostle says, "Our twelve tribes instantly serving God day and night hope to come" unto this promise. (`Acts 26:7`.) Were they all deceived? Will they get those special blessings?
GOD'S GIFTS AND CALLINGS SURE.--`ROM. 11:29-32`
Nay, we answer, the gifts and calling of God are things not to be repented of. He who knew the end from the beginning knew exactly what Israel would be and do, and was not disappointed, and all of the plans and promises to that nation were made from the standpoint of this knowledge. Although the chief feature of the Sarah Covenant was secured by our Lord Jesus as a trophy of his victory over sin and death, and although he laid down his human nature completely to this end, nevertheless the Divine arrangement is such that the blood of Christ, the merit of his sacrifice of earthly things, must accrue to the benefit of the natural seed of Abraham, because it all goes to seal the New Covenant, which belongs exclusively to fleshly Israel. The opportunity granted to both the Jews and Gentiles to become Joint-Heirs with the Redeemer was based upon their offering themselves to him in sacrifice, and his acceptance of their offerings as his own--his sacrificing them throughout this age as his own flesh--and God's acceptance of them as New Creatures, begotten of the Spirit, as brethren of Christ, or the betrothed of Christ, or members of his Body. Only by thus sharing with our Lord, drinking his cup, being baptized into his baptism of death, surrendering all into his hand, can we have fellowship with him in his sufferings; and his death (including ours) seals the New Covenant in his blood, of which he said, "Drink ye all of it." In his cup we are partakers, joint-sacrificers.--`1 Cor. 10:16`.
Thus while natural Israel had been counted enemies for our sakes, for the Gospel's sake, our only opportunity for gaining the great prize is in connection with the sealing of a New Covenant between God and Israel. How beautifully the features of the Divine program balance! Their loss was our gain, and our gain through sacrifice becomes their gain; and, altogether, the Lord will be glorified!
As already shown, the New Covenant will not be sealed, ratified, until the sacrifices of The Christ shall have been finished. And the finishing of these sacrifices closes the work of this great Day of Sacrifice and Atonement. With the second presentation of the blood of Atonement in the Most Holy, at the end of this age, the New Covenant with Israel will be sealed, and the blessing of the Lord will begin to Israel, "For this is my Covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins."--`Rom. 11:27`.
ABRAHAM'S TWO SEEDS
Not only did the original promise indicate two seeds of Abraham--one as the stars of heaven, and the other as the sands of the sea--but St. Paul elaborates this thought, saying of the promise, "It is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the Law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (including you who are Romans); as it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations." We have seen how Abraham, as a type of God, is the father of the spiritual Seed and how through Christ, by the provision of the New Covenant, the Jewish nation, dead under the Law Covenant, is to be regenerated by The Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant; and that this regeneration will commence at the close of this Gospel Age and the opening of the Millennial Age. But these are only two--"the (Church) holy nation," and the (Jewish) chosen nation. How do all nations come in? It will not do to say the Body of Christ, the Bride class, fulfils this prophecy, because, although they were taken out of the nations, they are not all nations, and do not even represent all nations. Each first died to his earthly estate and nationality, before he was begotten of the holy Spirit to be a member of the holy nation, the New Creation.
The Scriptures distinctly show that Christ and his Church, spirit beings, must constitute the Kingdom class, but they also show that the Ancient Worthies, and through them the nation of Israel under the New Covenant, will become the representatives of the heavenly Kingdom amongst men. It will be with these that the blessing of the Lord in the Millennial morning will begin. Thus we read of Jacob's trouble, that he shall be saved out of it and that the Lord will restore their judges as at the first, and their law-givers as at the beginning--the Ancient Worthies resurrected on the earthly plane. (`Jer. 30:7`; `Zech. 12:7`.) The New Covenant will be the Law Covenant over again, only that it will have the better Mediator--The Christ, Head and Body, who will be able to make allowances for the imperfections of Israel's heredity. The sins of the past will all be forgiven, their physical blemishes waiting for restitution. They will be dealt with according to what they are, allowances being made in each individual case, and each will be required to heed the voice of the antitypical Moses. "And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not heed that Prophet, shall be utterly destroyed from amongst the people."--`Acts 3:23`.
HOPE FOR THE MANY NATIONS
Since God's favors are thus marked out for the heavenly and the earthly Seeds of Abraham--the earthly through the heavenly--it follows that the blessing of the other nations will come about through their affiliation with these. In other words, we may understand that the Divine Government established in Israel in the hands of the Ancient Worthies will be the center of Divine favor, and the people of other nationalities must come to this center for their supplies of truth and grace. Thus the Prophet represents the matter, saying, "Many nations shall go and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain (Kingdom) of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the Law shall go forth from Mount Zion (the spiritual Kingdom) and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem (the center of the earthly Kingdom)."--`Micah 4:2`.
As thus all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues shall be brought gradually to an appreciation of the Divine Plan; they shall all be blessed with Restitution privileges and opportunities and with an enlightenment from the rays of the Sun of Righteousness, which then through the appointed channels will be flooding all the earth. Thus will the original Covenant
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have its amplified fulfilment; first, in The Christ, the spiritual Israel; secondly, under the New Covenant with Israel after the flesh; and through these bless all the families of the earth, so that all the willing and obedient may gradually attain to the standards of the children of God and be possessed of the "liberties of the sons of God"--freedom from sin, sorrow, pain and death. As the old Law Covenant was with Israel only, so the New (Law) Covenant will be with Israel only. Other nations will share it by becoming Israelites, "Proselytes of the gate," not under the old but under the New Covenant. (`Ezek. 16:60,61`.) "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear."
"Know your calling." Let us who have accepted the Divine call in Christ bear in mind that, according to the Apostle's declaration, we are the children of the Sarah Covenant. We are the Bride of Isaac, and his Joint-Heirs, of whom it is written, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's Seed and heirs according to the promise." Our only relationship to the New Covenant is that the Father drew us to Jesus and Jesus covered us with his robe of righteousness and thus made it possible for us to be called to joint-fellowship with himself in the "better sacrifices," participation in the "cup" of suffering and death--"the blood of the New Covenant"-- for the sealing of the New Covenant for Israel, under which all the families of the earth will get a blessing. Thus in the divine purpose our Lord's death or blood justified the Church and (with the Church's) will seal the New Covenant for Israel and through Israel will become effective to all of Adam's race. "As all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive--every man in his own order."
The Church comes into Christ as his Members or Body or Bride. Israel will come into The Christ family as children. "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children." And this same privilege shall extend to all--to become regenerated "in the regeneration" when we shall sit with him on his throne.
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Both the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant are Scripturally styled "The Everlasting Covenant," in contrast with the Law Covenant, which passed away, a failure because of its "unprofitableness." (`Heb. 7:18`.) The one is perpetuated in the other, even as the spiritual Seed (spiritual Israel) will rule and bless through the earthly Seed (fleshly Israel). Note the Scripture testimony that the original Grace (or Sarah) Covenant is everlasting. (`Gen. 17:7,13,19`; `2 Sam. 23:5`; `Psa. 105:8-10`.) Note other Scriptures which apply the same term prophetically to the New Covenant. (`Jer. 32:40`; `31:31,32`; `Ezk. 16:60`.) Note carefully the context in each instance, that the reference is to the Millennium.
THE BLOOD OF THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
The blood of the Everlasting Covenant is the "blood of Jesus," his sacrifice, through the merit of which believers are now "justified by faith" under the Grace or Sarah Covenant (not by the New Covenant which does not yet exist and which is to be made only with Israel). And the blood or sacrifice of Jesus is "the blood of the New Covenant," yet to be established with Fleshly Israel, just the same only that by the Father's good pleasure Jesus is now accepting the "little flock" as his members and counting their sacrifice or blood as a part of his own.
Note how this is set forth in `Isaiah 55:1-3`. Here believers of this Gospel Age are described as those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Under the Father's drawing they come to Jesus now. They are not of those who, blind and deaf under Satan's power, love darkness rather than light and will need the Kingdom regulations and corrections to make them bow and confess, under the New Covenant arrangement with Israel and indirectly with all nations.
To these hungry, thirsty, seeing, hearing, believers the Lord offers the "fatness" or cream of the Everlasting Covenant, saying, Obey and your soul shall live and I will give unto you the sure or promised mercies of David. David means beloved and is another name for the Redeemer, the antitypical King of Israel by Divine appointment.
This prophecy evidently, therefore, is the prophecy of the call of this Gospel Age to share with Jesus the glory, honor and immortality of the Kingdom. Note the context, "A nation that thou knowest not shalt thou call, and a nation that knew thee not shall run unto thee." (`V. 5`.) Unquestionably this is the Church--Spiritual Israel, "a holy nation," a peculiar people, chosen out of all nations to the heavenly Kingdom of the Millennium.
Note the description of Christ Jesus and his "Body" in `Isaiah 42:1-7`. Note that Messiah is "given" for [sacrificed in the interest of] a Covenant to the people (Israel) and for a light to the nations or heathen, to enable them all to come in that light under the blessings of Israel's New Covenant.
Come now to `Hebrews 13:20`, "Now the God of peace who brought again from the dead the Great Shepherd of the sheep (Jesus), through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant make you perfect." Does this refer to our justification from Adamic guilt and reconciliation to God? Not at all. The Father will have nothing to do with us (except to "draw" us to Jesus for justification and consecration) until after our justification. Then his mighty power which brought our Great Shepherd from the tomb to glory and immortality begins to mightily "work in us to will and to do his good pleasure." (`Phil. 2:13`.) If we abide in his love he will perfect us as New Creatures by the privileges granted us of sharing in the sufferings of Christ--participating in the shedding of the blood of the Everlasting Covenant, which as the New Covenant will bring blessings to Israel and then to the world. The Greek word here rendered "perfect you" signifies "knit you together," that is, make you completely one with the Shepherd as his "members" both in sufferings and in glory to follow.
Note also that in `Hebrews 10:29` it is the blood of the Covenant that sanctified and not the blood that justified that, sinned against, merits the Second Death. We were justified by faith in the blood of Jesus. We were sanctified by our consecration to drink of his cup--the blood of the New Covenant. Only those who have gone on to this second degree and presented themselves as sacrificers (`Romans 12:1`) and have been accepted or sanctified by the begetting of the holy Spirit, as members of the "Body" of Christ and sons of the Highest, can commit the sin unto death. "If any man [thus presented and sanctified] draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who draw back unto perdition"--Second Death.--`Heb. 10:39`.
Let us now briefly refer to all the Scriptures which mention the New Covenant, that we may note their full harmony with the foregoing. We have already examined the one statement connected with our text and see that it applies to the closing of this age--a shaking of the nations and everything out of harmony with God, preparatory to the establishment of the Kingdom, as the foundation of the New Covenant blessings to the world during the Millennium. There are just eight other texts in the New Testament which refer to the New Covenant:
(1) "For this cause he is made Mediator of a better Covenant [not better than the Grace or Sarah Covenant, but better than the Law Covenant], which was established upon better promises." (`Heb. 8:6`.) Our Lord Jesus had already begun the work necessary to his fulfilling this office of Mediator of the New Covenant. He had laid the foundation, but he had not yet accepted to himself all the members the Father intended and foreknew and predestinated. We notice from the context that the contrast still is between the Law
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Covenant and its Mediator Moses, and the New Covenant, superior because of its better Mediator, the Messiah. Moses could offer only imperfect sacrifices, but Christ, by antitypical sacrifices of the bullock and goat (himself and his Body), makes satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, and prepares to mediate the New Covenant, which God has promised shall be his channel for blessing Israel and the world.
(2) In the succeeding `verse (8`) the Apostle supports his argument by a quotation from the Old Testament promise to Israel of a New Covenant, saying, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." Clearly this does not refer to Spiritual Israel.
(3) Neither does the next reference to the New Covenant, which is a part of the same quotation from `Jer. 31:31`, refer to Spiritual Israel--"Not according to the Covenant that I made with their fathers...For this is the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."--`Heb. 8:8-10`.
The days referred to in the above are "after" the days of this Gospel Age. The Apostle goes on to say, "And they shall not teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for all shall know me from the least to the greatest, and I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." This is a description of what will take place during the Millennium, and not a description of what we see about us today. God has not yet put his laws into the hearts of the house of Israel, and they are not his people, as he states they will be at the proper time in the end of this age when the New Covenant becomes operative. Compare `Acts 15:15`.
(4) "In that he saith, a New Covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." Notice that the Apostle is not saying one word about the New Covenant being for the Church of Christ. His readers understood very well that they came
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in under the Sarah Covenant. But certain Judaizing teachers insisted that they must be under the Hagar Covenant, as well as under the Sarah Covenant. And this is what the Apostle is disputing. He is making clear that the (Hagar) Law Covenant would not continue, but perish, and that, in God's due time, he would provide a New Covenant to take its place with Israel.
(5) It was necessary that Jews be redeemed from the "dead works" of the old Law Covenant and that a New one be made for them by Christ--Head and members. The old one was sealed by the blood of bulls and goats, but the New one by "better sacrifices." Antitypically the blood of the bullock has been offered, and soon that of the goat will be presented.--`Heb. 9:14-23`.
(6) "This is the Covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now, where remission of sins is, there is no more offering for sin." (`Heb. 10:16-18`.) The Apostle is arguing along general lines. He would have his hearers understand that when an acceptable sacrifice has been offered to God for sins, the transaction is a closed one, and the sacrifice needs no repetition. He shows that this will be so in the future for the world. When the "better sacrifices," sealing the New Covenant, shall have been offered to God by our Redeemer, and accepted by him, it will mean the cancellation of all condemnation. On the strength of this work for the future the Apostle urges that we, the Body of Christ, whose sins have been atoned for by our Lord, the first sacrifice of the Day of Atonement (in the type the bullock), may count that our sins are completely cancelled, and will be remembered against us no more. "For by one offering he (Christ) hath perfected forever them that are sanctified": all justified by faith, who proceed to full consecration and sanctification. If numbered amongst the sanctified, we may know that our sins are completely obliterated from the Divine record, so far as justice is concerned, and that we have entered upon a new record as New Creatures and will be held accountable only for trespasses against our covenant to the Lord, our vow--by which we became members of the Christ, the Seed of Abraham, and heirs of the great (Sarah) Covenant of Grace.
(7) "For this is my Covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the elect, they are beloved for the fathers' sake." (`Rom. 11:27,28`.) There is no room to doubt that the Apostle here is referring to Israel's Covenant, the New Covenant, which God will make with them after this Gospel Day. The Apostle says the Covenant will be made when, or at the time that the Lord will "take away their sins." That time has not yet come. Israel is still under Divine condemnation, though we are now privileged to speak comfortably unto them and to assure them that the time for their deliverance is nigh, the time when the Mediator of the New Covenant will have taken on the last members of the spirit Body, the Gospel Church, "changed" by the power of the First Resurrection; the time when he will mediate that New Covenant, satisfy the demands of Divine justice on behalf of the world, as he already has satisfied it on behalf of the Church. Then he will become, as previously intended and declared, the great Mediator of the New Covenant between God and mankind in general--the Church being the exception, under the Covenant of Grace. Then will he begin his Millennial Kingdom: "For he must reign until he shall have put all enemies under his feet, and the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Then all who drank of his "cup," the blood [sacrifice] of the New Covenant, as members of the Spiritual Seed, will reign with him.--`Gal. 3:29`.
(8) "But ye are approached unto Mt. Zion,...to the New Jerusalem,...to the general assembly and Church of the Firstborns,...and to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant and to the blood of sprinkling." (`Heb. 12:24`.) Here spiritual Israel is pictured as an army marching and the things at the farther end are seen and to be reached. Jesus reached the end of the way long ago, but the Church of Firstborns is not there yet. Jesus is the Mediator, but he has accepted the Church as his Bride, his Body, and waits for her arrival. The picture shows that the New Law Covenant will be established as the old Law Covenant was, only on a higher plane and through a greater Mediator and by better sacrifices.--`Acts 3:23`.
Not one of these references to the New Covenant makes the slightest suggestion that it is applicable to the Church. A reference to the original prophecy from which the Apostle quotes shows that it could not apply to the Church, for we there read that the Lord "will take away their stony hearts out of their flesh, and give them an heart of flesh." This is exactly the Restitution Work which will begin with Israel and extend to all the families of the earth, but it is not at all the work of this Gospel Age, which is far higher. The Lord does not give the "little flock" hearts of flesh, but, justified by faith, allows them to sacrifice the flesh, and begets them to a new nature, the glorious Seed of Abraham, through which all the families of the earth shall be blessed, by the inauguration of the New Covenant, sealed, made operative by the merit of the blood of Christ.
PUBLIC MINISTRIES OF THE TRUTH
BIBLE STUDENTS' SOUTHERN CONVENTION
JACKSONVILLE, FLA., FEBRUARY 12-16, 1909
Ask for receipt on "Certificate Plan" when purchasing your one-way ticket; account Bible Students' Convention.
All sessions will be held in Board of Trade Auditorium on Main street.
Lodging at 50 cents and up, per night; meals, 25 cents and up.
The surrounding territory and immediately adjacent states are expected to furnish most of the attendance, though some from more distant parts will be present also.
Pilgrim brethren will be present, including also Brother Russell.
Come all who can, and let those who cannot join us there in person join in spirit and in prayers, and thus participate in the showers of refreshing which the Lord will surely pour upon us.
ONE-DAY LOCAL CONVENTIONS ADDRESSED BY THE EDITOR OF THIS JOURNAL AS FOLLOWS:
CLEVELAND, OHIO, JANUARY 24
Morning session for Rally, Praise and Testimony at 10:30 in Pythian Temple, Huron Road, near Prospect Avenue and W. 9th Street; Euclid, Cedar and Central, Denison cars pass this hall.
Afternoon meeting for Public at 3:00 o'clock, in the Hippodrome. Subject, "Where are the Dead?"
Evening meeting for the interested in Pythian Temple at 7:30 o'clock, preceded by a half-hour's song service.
Friends from outside are cordially invited to participate. Any finding it necessary to spend the night in Cleveland will be gladly entertained. Address communications to Bro. Wm. Koch, 6909 Cedar Ave.
BROOKLYN, N.Y., JAN. 31 and FEB. 7
Morning session for Prayer, Praise and Testimony at 11:00 o'clock. Discourse by Brother Russell at 3:00 p.m. Evening meeting for the interested at 7:30 o'clock. This will be a Question Meeting. Visiting friends cordially welcomed.
This program for both dates. All meetings will be held in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, No. 13-17 Hicks street. Convenient to all cars and ferries--close to the old bridge terminus.
BROOKLYN, N.Y., FEBRUARY 21
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STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
"MILLENNIAL DAWN" THESE STUDIES ARE RECOMMENDED TO STUDENTS AS VERITABLE "BIBLE KEYS" PRICES ARE NET AND BARELY COVER COST OF PRODUCTION, WHEN DELIVERED BY COLPORTEURS THE COST AND PRICE ARE INCREASED.
SERIES I., The Plan of the Ages, gives an outline of the divine plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man's redemption and restitution: 386 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.). India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.).
This volume has been published as a special issue of our journal-- at the extremely low price of 5c a copy, in any quantity, postage included. (To foreign countries, 9c.) This enables people of slender purse to herald far and wide the good tidings in a most helpful form.
SERIES II., The Time is at Hand, treats of the manner and time of the Lord's second coming, considering the Bible Testimony on this subject: 370 pages, in embossed cloth 25c. (1s. 1/2d.). India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
SERIES III., Thy Kingdom Come, considers prophecies which mark events connected with the "time of the End," the glorification of the Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; it also contains a chapter on the Great Pyramid, showing its corroboration of the dates and other teachings of the Bible: 384 pages, in embossed cloth 25c (1s 1/2d.). India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.).
SERIES IV. The Day of Vengeance, shows that the dissolution of the present order if things is in progress, and that all the panaceas offered are valueless to avert the predicted end. It marks in these events the fulfilment of prophecy, noting specially our Lord's great prophecy of `Matt. 24`, and `Zech. 14:1-9`: 660 pages, in embossed cloth 30c. (1s. 3d.). India paper edition, 85c (3s. 6-1/2d.)
SERIES V., The At-one-ment Between God and Man, treats an all-important subject--the hub, the center around which all the features of divine grace revolve. Its topic deserves the most careful and prayerful consideration on the part of all true Christians: 507 pages, in embossed cloth 30c. (1s. 3d.). India paper edition, 85c (3s. 6-1/2d.)
SERIES VI., The New Creation, deals with the Creative Week, `Genesis 1 and 2`, and with the Church, God's "New Creation." It examines the personnel, organization, rites, ceremonies, obligations and hopes appertaining to those called and accepted as members of the body under the Head: 740 pages, in embossed cloth 30c. (1s. 3d.). India paper edition, 85c (3s. 6-1/2d.)
The above prices include postage.
IN FULL LEATHER BINDING, gilt edges, the set (6 vols.) $3.00, (12s. 6d.), plus postage 60c (1s.).
MILLENNIAL DAWN is published in foreign languages as follows: in German, five vols., in Swedish, Vols. 1, 2, 3 and 5; in Dano-Norwegian, three vols., in French, two vols.; in Italian, one vol.; in Greek, two vols.; bound in cloth, uniform with English edition, prices the same.
The volumes in English are bound in two styles, MILLENNIAL DAWN in green cloth binding and SCRIPTURE STUDIES in maroon cloth. Specify which you desire.