ZWT - 1911 - R4733 thru R4942 / R4939 (449) - December 15, 1911
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VOL. XXXII DECEMBER 15 No. 24
A.D. 1911--A.M. 6040
Facts and Figures Helpful.....................451
1912--Views from The Watch Tower..................454
The Outlook is Promising......................455
What Recent Events Foreshadow.................455
The Editor's British Tour.........................456
Preparing for the Kingdom.........................457
The Very Greatest Prophet.........................458
A Savior--A Life-Giver............................459
The Hallelujah Chorus.........................460
Consecration in the Temple........................460
"Set for the Fall and Rising Again of
Many in Israel..............................461
What We are to Expect.............................461
In Everything Give Thanks (Poem)..................462
Berean Questions in Scripture Studies.............462
Index to 1911 Watch Tower.........................464
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.
Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE. SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the Studies, etc.
ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH AND DANISH EDITIONS. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., POSTOFFICE ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA
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A SPECIAL JANUARY NUMBER
The Pastor Russell Lecture Bureau is the style of a newspaper syndicate which handles Brother Russell's weekly sermons. This syndicate felt a deep interest in the world tour and published a pamphlet descriptive of said tour and containing sketches of Brother Russell's younger days, gleaned from an article in the National Encyclopedia of American Biography, Vol. XII. Several WATCH TOWER readers saw the pamphlet, which is about the size of THE WATCH TOWER, and they urged that it be made a part of the January 1st issue. We have adopted the suggestion, believing that the pamphlet would be interesting to all of our readers. The value will be enhanced by the printing of the outside cover of that issue in colors, thus making that page suitable for framing, if desired.
Additionally, on another of the cover pages, we purpose a reproduction of a new and very popular picture of our Lord and His Apostles passing through a wheat-field, Jesus and Peter in conversation, John following, then James, Matthew the Levite and others. We are sure that this picture will be greatly prized by every WATCH TOWER reader. To avoid the marks of folding, we purpose that they shall be rolled and suggest to you great care in cutting the wrapper, lest the picture be injured. It is quite a work of art and probably could not be purchased in any art store for less than fifty cents.
We trust that our subscribers will be as interested in the receiving of the January number as we feel interested in preparing it for them.
YOUR CHURCH CONNECTION REPORTS
In our issue of October 1 we suggested an appropriate answer for such as might inquire respecting our Church connections. It is important that we state ourselves truthfully and explicitly that we be not misunderstood--that our good be not evil-spoken of. Many were greatly pleased with our suggestions, yet they prefer not to cut the item from their WATCH TOWER and inquire if we cannot provide this same matter neatly gotten up in card form.
The suggestion seems a good one and we have followed it, only that we have put the entire matter on one side of the card and on the back of the card the synopsis of faith found at the top of this page--as to what the Scriptures teach. We believe that these cards will be very desirable to the friends. We are able to provide them at a very small price, postpaid, namely 20c. per 100.
EXTRA TOWERS FOR BEREAN CLASSES
Some are inquiring, "Could a lower price be made on THE WATCH TOWER if sent to Berean Classes in addition to those which the same persons subscribe for and get individually? The thought is to have THE WATCH TOWER at our Class Meeting for use in connection with the Berean Studies."
We are pleased with this suggestion, but would not wish it to interfere in any way with the subscription standing in your own names. We specially like to have upon our lists the names of all who are interested in Present Truth--the Harvest Message. For such Berean Classes we will supply THE WATCH TOWER at half-price.
BETHEL HYMNS FOR JANUARY
After the close of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for January follow: (1) 34; (2) 320; (3) 300; (4) 130; (5) 12; (6) 103; (7) 32; (8) 112; (9) 333; (10) 279; (11) 73; (12) 259; (13) Vow; (14) 177; (15) 229; (16) 16; (17) 301; (18) 70; (19) 135; (20) 325; (21) 191; (22) 87; (23) 109; (24) 127; (25) 96; (26) 291; (27) 307; (28) 313; (29) 213; (30) 91; (31) 260.
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WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
DEC. 1ST, 1910--DEC. 1ST, 1911.
SWIFTLY SPEED the years--another has gone! But none too swiftly do they fly when we reflect that they bring us nearer and nearer to our goal--"the hope set before us in the Gospel"--"the Kingdom of God's dear Son," in which with all the faithful of this Age we hope to share, as members of "the Bride, the Lamb's Wife," associated with Him in His Throne. Yet, while rejoicing in the nearness of the Kingdom, another thought presents itself--are we ready for it--have we the graces of the Holy Spirit shed abroad in our hearts? Have we the fruits of the spirit well ripened in our characters? The greater our faith the more earnest should be our zeal in the race for the prize set before us. If by God's grace we discern with clear vision the goal of glory, honor and immortality, in association with our Redeemer in the glorious work of His Messianic Kingdom of a thousand years, what manner of persons ought we to be in "all holy living and godliness" while awaiting that consummation!
We are glad to be able to report from our vantage point on THE WATCH TOWER that a deep work of grace is in progress amongst the readers of this journal. We know this from the thousands of letters which come to us, as well as through the reports of the Pilgrim brethren and from our own personal contact with you at conventions, etc. Apparently there has been quite a clearing of the spiritual atmosphere within the past two years; some whom we loved walk no more with us, yet, strange to say, their places have been more than filled; and many who have come recently into the light of "present truth" give evidence that for a considerable time they have been in the school of Christ and learned of Him. In the light of "present truth" some of these have made such remarkable progress as to startle and abash others who have enjoyed the light of the Divine Plan much longer.
The general effect is stimulating; many are realizing the force of what we have long pointed out, namely, that while the Divine requirement is not knowledge but grace, nevertheless, in Divine providence, the two go hand in hand today, the one sealing the heart and the other the intellect. The daily Manna text and comments are proving helpful in many homes. Many are joining with the Bethel Family daily in the use of the same hymn of praise and in the reading of the Vow. The numbers who have informed us that they have taken the Vow is now close upon 10,000. What a wonderful prayer circle--these each remembering the others throughout the world. The Berean Studies with the printed questions are stimulating thought and are helping Bible students to consider deep subjects far more than would printed answers. The little classes everywhere are finding that they thus make much better progress than ever before in the mastication of spiritual food. Increasing numbers are following the suggestions offered by one of our correspondents--that the reading of eight pages per day permits the reading of the SCRIPTURE STUDIES series of six volumes in a year. Great blessing is reported; truths are kept freshly in mind which otherwise would be forgotten or lost. The daily touch with the Scriptures and their gracious promises is strengthening and assists in repelling the spirit of the world and in entertaining the holy spirit of the truth.
But while this personal work is indispensable, class work is progressing also. More and more it is being realized that while the Church is indeed commissioned to let her light shine before men as a witness--to reprove sin and to attract those who are feeling after God--yet this is not her only work nor the most important. The Bride is to make herself ready, the various members are to build one another up under the Headship of Jesus. And more and more is it seen that the Divine Plan interweaves for our highest welfare.
Thus while we let our light shine before men, and additionally seek to build one another up in the most holy faith we are by both of these good works developing ourselves personally in the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. Thus personal character-building leads us to "forget not the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, but so much the more as we see the day drawing on."
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Similarly, it leads to volunteering or free-tract distribution, to class extension work and to a personal work amongst our neighbors and friends, in the sale or the loaning of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. So many and so diversified are the opportunities of service that every consecrated child of God may have a share in the blessed Harvest work, however few his talents or opportunities. And the zeal for this work to a considerable extent marks our love for the Lord and our appreciation of our invitation to be associated with Him in the conquest of the great Enemies, Sin, Satan, Error. Faint-hearted fighting against these implies a lack of love for the Lord, the Truth and the brethren--a lack which must be made up if we would be counted in amongst the "more than conquerors" who will share the Messianic Throne.
FACTS AND FIGURES HELPFUL
While we are confident that you will rejoice as you read our estimate of the spiritual growth of Bible Students
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with whom you are so closely in touch, we are sure that you will appreciate the corroborative testimony of the facts and figures of our annual report. And while you read with pleasure of the considerable work accomplished by our Society through its Office, through its Pilgrims, Colporteurs, and by tons of free literature, etc., do not forget your own share in this great harvest work. Do not forget the thousands of patient, earnest, self-denying laborers whose zeal has been shown to the Lord, to us and to their neighbors by their faithful circulation of the free literature, and also by the providing of the money wherewith the entire campaign under God's providence has been carried on.
Sometimes our carefulness and economy in connection with all the details of the work have been reflected upon as parsimonious, as a greater degree of economy than the Lord would approve. But we reply that Divine economy is everywhere shown--nothing goes to waste. Every leaf, every flower and every blade of grass, as well as every animal, dying, produces a fertilizer or nourishment for others. And when our Redeemer multiplied the loaves and fishes into an abundance for thousands, He was economical enough to direct that the broken fragments should be collected, that nothing be lost. Frugality is a new lesson to some of the Lord's people, but love will teach it. A desire to do good to others will prompt not only economy, but self-denial. Many of our readers have surmised that the growing donations to the Tract Fund for the spread of the Truth implies that there are many rich amongst the donors. This is a mistake. It is with us as the Lord declared it would be amongst His faithful, "not many rich."
We are glad of the opportunities afforded by these earnest reapers to show all the dear friends who have contributed to the funds how carefully these have been handled--how much work has been accomplished--so much more than usual in religious or other enterprises. The secret is the love, the zeal of all the workers. Without this no such results would be possible. We believe that the Lord guided from the very beginning--that no financial inducements should be extended to anybody connected with the work--that none should have more than comfortable necessities--"things decent." The love of money lies close to every evil, and money lovers find nothing to attract them in our Society's arrangements for any part of the world.
LETTERS RECEIVED AND DISPATCHED
The importance of the Correspondence Department may be judged to some extent by the report below of mail received and mail dispatched. We take this opportunity to assure our readers that their letters are always very welcome--including those which seem to require no special answers except THE WATCH TOWER articles twice a month. Ordinary letters please direct invariably to the Society to insure prompt attention. Occasional changes in the Office force might otherwise delay replies. Of course, with the considerable development of the work in recent years, the Editor has been obliged to give less and less time to the correspondence. Nevertheless, if you so desire, important doctrinal or business questions may still be addressed to the Editor. Such letters will be handled by brethren specially deputed to act as his private secretaries. With these as with the Editor, communications will be confidential. If the questions require, the secretary would communicate with the Editor before sending a reply. But remember, please, to address all general and business communications to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society--to the Brooklyn, London or Melbourne address, as may be most convenient to you. Where the business relates specially to Colporteuring, you may add, "Colporteur Department;" where it relates specially to Pilgrim service, you may add "Pilgrim Department," and where it relates specially to Class Extension work, you may add "Class Extension."
Total letters received 1911--Brooklyn........128,712
Total letters dispatched 1911--Brooklyn......221,789
"WATCH TOWER" SUBSCRIPTIONS
We watch THE WATCH TOWER subscription list with keen interest, considering it our very best index to the general growth of the work, because all who become truly, deeply interested in "present truth" we assume will want to be on THE WATCH TOWER list--that they may keep in touch with the work as well as with the Truth. Especially have we reason to expect this because we continually keep before our readers the fact that we are glad to have their names there whether they are able to pay their subscription or not. All who ask for THE WATCH TOWER may have it on credit and will not be held responsible if they never pay, or they may have it sent to them free if they will request it as the "Lord's poor"--for whom we have a specially contributed fund.
We have felt considerable disappointment that our list has grown so slowly--that even now it is not much above the thirty thousand mark. True, sometimes the one paper supplies several of the interested, but we would rather that each one have a copy himself, even though the additional copy be on the free list. Specially would we like to have the names of all fully consecrated Bible students on THE WATCH TOWER list. For various reasons we incline to think that our list should be at least double what it is.
However, we must not forget that long ago, before the government made more stringent rules respecting newspaper subscriptions, we had names upon our list from whom we had heard nothing for years. New postal regulations required that addresses be dropped unless subscriptions be renewed, either for money or on credit. We encouraged the Students everywhere to do what they could to help forward this branch of the service because we believe that a stimulating and helpful influence is exercised by the twice a month visits of our journal.
THE COLPORTEUR DEPARTMENT
We have a grand little army of Colporteurs, numbering about six hundred faithful bearers of the cross, enduring hardness as good soldiers. Although more than half a million volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES went into the hands of the public during last year, and although this is a phenomenal sale for such books, we nevertheless are not quite satisfied. We hope that 1912 will show a considerable increase. To facilitate this the books are now appearing in a new style of binding--still more attractive than formerly. And now the sets are put up in paper boxes, making them very attractive. Besides, the prices have been made uniform for all volumes, and the Colporteurs, sharpshooters and classes ordering twenty volumes at a time will be supplied any volume, in any language, at sixteen cents net. Some who cannot give all of their time to colporteuring can give two or three half days of each week. Application to the Office will bring to you helpful suggestions along the lines of this work which God has so greatly blessed in connection with the harvesting of the "wheat."
The total volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES circulated in 1911 was 538,783.
I.B.S.A. BIBLE STUDY CLASS EXTENSION
During this year our Society recommended a class extension work on the part of classes possessed of more talent for public work than they required. Any brethren
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who are thought by the class to be worthy, on Scriptural lines of selection, as Elders, whose talents could be spared, they were encouraged to send forth to start new classes in surrounding villages or wards, as opportunity might offer. Full particulars were sent to the classes telling upon what terms the Society would be glad to co-operate in this work by furnishing free literature for the public announcements of these meetings, and occasionally by rendering some assistance, financially. The subjoined report shows that little financial assistance was called for--the dear friends gladly and enthusiastically took hold of the service. We hope that the results may be a blessing to some truth hungry. Although this work has been under way but a few months, the following reports received are very encouraging.
Number of meetings reported................. 3,049 Attendance at meetings...................... 97,898 Number of copies "Everybody's Paper"
circulated.................................1,111,238 Reported cost of the above..................$6,927.21 Amount supplied by the Society.............. 1,116.34 "Everybody's Paper" supplied by the Society Free
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We encourage the dear brethren possessed of ability for public speaking to engage in this Class Extension Work rather than to visit and attempt to preach to other classes. This latter work we believe can better be done by the regular "Pilgrims" sent by the Society in every direction in response to requests. It may be urged that the Pilgrim visits are not very frequent, and we reply that we believe this is all the better for the classes. It gives them an opportunity to serve themselves through the Berean Studies published in THE TOWER. This stimulates thought more than does preaching. Besides it tends to throw responsibility upon each little class and thus to draw out or develop whatever talent for leadership it may possess. Class Extension work is evangelistic and the plan which it outlines and which is being followed is bringing good results and apparently has the Divine blessing.
We have noticed with regret that some of the dear Colporteurs have left their special work to engage in the Class Extension Work. We are sure they meant well, but not so sure that they are doing wisely. The Class Extension is excellent for those classes which have more talent for public speaking than they need--brethren who cannot engage in the Colporteuring. For those who have time for Colporteuring we still recommend that branch of the service as the very best and most useful. All of our meetings anyway will be without results, except as we get the STUDIES into the hands of the interested, and get them to read. One brother and sister, besides Colporteuring, usually leave a Class of Bible Students in every town or city they serve. They note evidences of interest and call back and "water" the seed sown.
HARVEST WORK IN NEWSPAPERDOM
Many of our readers appreciate, as we do, the publication of our weekly sermons by the secular press. This is effected by a newspaper syndicate. The prosperity and success of the syndicate depends upon getting sermons into numerous papers and keeping them there. We supply the sermons to the syndicate free, but, additionally, the one thousand papers which it supplies should have every encouragement our readers can give them. The number of American papers and their circulation is practically the same as a year ago, but the number of British papers publishing the sermons has greatly increased--to about three hundred. The syndicate estimates that thus our sermons go weekly to over ten million readers. This is little short of a miracle. Never before have sermons reached one-fourth this circulation. We are not to deceive ourselves into supposing that this number read the sermons, nor that all readers are converted to the Truth. We have, however, good evidence showing that gradually superstition, ignorance and the errors of the Dark Ages expressed in our creeds are giving way before the light now shining from God's Word. It is our privilege to let our light shine before men, witnessing to the Truth whether they hear or whether they forbear to hear.
A GREAT VOLUNTEER WORK
This year's figures on the Volunteer Work are astounding. To those who understand what tract distribution is these figures speak of an immense amount of work--carrying the Gospel into millions of homes of all denominations of Christendom, in all parts of the world, to which all other efforts put together are as nothing in comparison with our figures, yet they include great institutions with powerful financial backing. There is a difference, for which there is a reason. And we know what the reason is! Ours is the true Gospel of God's Love and Mercy, not only for the elect Church but also in due time for the non-elect world. Ours is the Gospel of which we are not ashamed, and this cannot be said of the other messages of bad tidings of great misery which are mis-named the Gospel, for the word Gospel signifies good tidings. We hope that every reader scanning these figures may have the consolation of thinking--I was a volunteer! I shared in this work! My labors are represented in the grand totals! Well has someone said that to love means to serve--to serve the Lord, the Truth, the brethren.
TRACT DISTRIBUTION FOR 1911 IN U.S. AND CANADA
(includes EVERYBODY'S PAPER and PEOPLES PULPIT) DEC. 1, 1910--NOV. 1, 1911.
In the English language (copies)......... 22,308,582
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 356,101,756 In the Swedish language (copies)......... 92,500
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 1,480,000 In the German language (copies).......... 25,700
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 422,400 In the Polish language (copies).......... 189,500
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 3,032,000 In the Greek language (copies)........... 109,200
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 1,747,200 In the Italian language (copies)......... 53,500
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 856,000 In the Hollandish language (copies)...... 11,750
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 124,000 In the Hungarian language (copies)....... 7,000
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 224,000 In the Spanish language (copies)......... 19,750
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 316,000 In the Finnish language (copies)......... 16,500
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 264,000 In the Norwegian language (copies)....... 1,000
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 16,000 In the French language (copies).......... 2,000
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 20,800 In the Syrian language (copies).......... 1,300
(equaling in usual tract pages)......... 20,800
---------- Grand total of tracts.................... 22,838,282
Grand total in tract pages.............. 364,624,956
THE YEAR'S FINANCIAL SUMMARY
The cost of foregoing work, including all the
expenses of the Office and of the Bethel
Home maintenance, was....................$140,729.51 Last year's deficit....................... 11,901.94
ADDITIONAL EXPENDITURES IN OTHER LANDS:
British Branch............................ $23,401.87 Germany and Holland....................... 4,098.81 Australasia............................... 2,046.40 India..................................... 1,366.25 South Africa.............................. 904.71 Sweden.................................... 3,462.65 Jamaica................................... 3,004.42 Greece.................................... 240.00
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Crete..................................... 50.50 Syria..................................... 69.34 Egypt..................................... 115.84 Cuba...................................... 5.00 Hungary................................... 115.25 France, Italy and Switzerland............. 137.67
Grand total............................. $191,650.16
Receipts from "Good Hopes" and other
Deficiency or shortage............... $ 22,415.93
We doubt not this indebtedness will soon be cancelled; nevertheless the fact that it is nearly double the shortage of last year cautions us that we must to some extent put on the "brakes"; for it is our judgment of the Lord's will that we spend money only as it is supplied under His Providence.
PUBLIC PREACHING OF THE TRUTH
During the year a very successful work has been accomplished by the brethren of the Peoples Pulpit Association. Every one of them participated and some other laborers were from time to time pressed into service as the work seemed to require and as the funds seemed to permit. Altogether fifty-eight participated in these public ministries, setting forth the teachings of the Divine Word. Some of these brethren labor during the week in the Correspondence Department and otherwise in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, and attend to public preaching on Sunday only, or chiefly.
About an equal number have traveled through the length and breadth of the United States and Canada, holding meetings, both public and semi-public--the latter in connection with Classes of the International Bible Students Association. These are routed from the Office here and all of their expenses are provided. They average meetings twice a day every day in the week. Without flattery we can say for them that they are able to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" and that they are thoroughly furnished for their work of helping God's people to an understanding of His Message. They make weekly reports covering every meeting held and are entirely free from family and business cares, and thus are able to say, with St. Paul, "This one thing I do"--the preaching of "the good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people."
We encourage our readers everywhere to co-operate with these dear brethren, whose entire lives are given to the Lord and His service. All classes who are prepared to supply places for meeting and to provide for the entertainment of the speaker are requested to write to us if they desire such services for the New Year, giving particulars
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re the numbers usually attending the Class Meetings and whether any public meetings would be undertaken. Those unable to provide for the speaker at any of their homes should also mention that fact.
While our Society urges upon the brethren strict economy it nevertheless desires them to be suitably dressed for their profession as ministers and representatives of the Lord and His Message. As for their entertainment it is expected or desired merely that it be clean and wholesome --nothing elaborate or costly.
The totals below testify to the zeal of these dear brethren and the efficiency and economy of the arrangements under which the Society regulates this branch of the Harvest Work. We are sure that all of our readers, as members of the Society, will greatly rejoice in the work in this direction which they have been able to achieve during the last twelve months:
Total number of ministers engaged............. 58
" " " cities and towns visited...... 4,735
" " " public meetings............... 3,780
Semi-public meetings held..................... 8,333
Total number in attendance....................168,904
" miles traveled..........................470,702
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1912--VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER--1912
WHO CAN TELL what experiences lie just before us within the portals of the New Year! Ah! 'tis better so; 'tis better that the future is open to our Lord alone, and that we by faith should trust Him for life's blessings and for a measure of the peace which passeth all understanding and which the world can neither give nor take away. It is better, too, that the trials, the difficulties, the sharp stones and thorns of the narrow way we tread are seen alone by our gracious Care-taker who has promised His faithful that all things shall be so overruled as to outwork for their highest welfare.
"My times are in Thy hand; my God, I wish them there."
But while rejoicing that God knows, not we, what lies before us of joy or pain, we may profitably retrospect the past year and begin the new one with good resolutions. Indeed, the custom of merchants to take an account of stock and to map out their business energies at the beginning of each new year is evidently a wise one which may be adapted to our still more important spiritual interests and activities.
Looking back upon the activities of 1911, we are surprised at their magnitude, and amazed that the apparently wise expenditure of so much money has not produced greater results as respects the number of those who have publicly acknowledged the opening of the eyes of their understanding. One would think that our wonderful message of the grace of God shining out as an electric searchlight would have aroused much more interest than we see manifested. One would suppose that so reasonable and gracious and Bible-harmonious a message, so widely delivered in this our wonderful day of intelligence and increasing liberty from superstition, would have aroused the world to a far greater degree than is manifest.
One lesson taught us by this retrospect is a fresh reminder that only he that hath an ear to hear can hear; and that the number with hearing ears at the present time must be comparatively small. Another lesson is that our work must be more particularly in the interest of those who believe --the workers. The wonderful opportunities presented to these for serving the Truth at the cost of self-sacrifice serves to prove their zeal, their loyalty and love for God, the brethren and the Truth. A third lesson is that the present very widespread circulation of the Truth into every nook and corner of civilization implies a general "rounding up," to the intent that not one saint in all the world shall fail to come into contact with "present truth," which, if he be an Israelite indeed, without guile, must surely prove attractive to him and thus draw him to the feast of fat things which some of us have been enjoying for years. Remember the words of the Master, "Wheresoever the carcass is there will the eagles be gathered together."--`Matt. 24:28`.
Year after year the swing and impetus of the work has
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increased until, as the report for 1911 shows, our Society is spending nearly $500 per day for the heralding of the Good Tidings of Great Joy. True, that sum is little compared with the estimation of the value of the Truth to our own hearts, and therefore its value to others with whom we would desire to share our great blessings of the knowledge of Divine Grace. True, our shortage of a year ago, as we predicted, was made up by the third of January; but, as the report shows, since then our expenditures have exceeded the income, leaving a much heavier deficit than ever before. We have no doubt whatever that the deficit will be wiped out; but the increase in the amount warns us that we must curtail expenses--that we are moving too rapidly. This was our Society's decision long ago: that it would work on a cash basis and avoid any danger of insolvency.
Some months ago we realized that we were going behind, and we began to put on the brakes. But the momentum was so great and the opportunities for the service of the Truth so many, that it has been difficult to know just when, where and how much to curtail most wisely in the interest of the cause we serve. The Colporteur work is self-sustaining, except for foreign editions and "bad debts," when some of the dear Colporteurs, through no fault of their own, fail to make ends meet. Neither can we think of curtailing the Pilgrim service--so valuable has it appeared to be. Our curtailment evidently must be along the lines of the supply of free literature, and we must withdraw our offer to assist in "Class Extension," except in the providing of free literature--until we get evened up and see that the expenditures do not exceed the income. Meantime let our watchword be "faithfulness," not only in energy but in frugality. If any have literature laid by, unused, let it be brought forward; and let all orders for free literature be for no more than can and will be used faithfully and judiciously. Perhaps this is a lesson which the Lord would have us learn.
THE OUTLOOK IS PROMISING
Never has the outlook been more promising than at the opening of 1912 A.D. More than twelve hundred newspapers, whose combined circulation is probably twelve million copies, are carrying the Truth to reading, thinking people, especially in country districts. City papers are too crowded for sermons; and if they were published, the readers would not appreciate them. But the Colporteurs are reaching the people in the cities. The increased attractiveness of the books, the increased wisdom of the Colporteurs in presenting them, the increased intelligence of the people and the growing evidence that we are in the midst of a change of Dispensation--these are all very favorable to the Colporteur work; and some of the dear brethren and sisters engaged in this work are not only greatly blessed themselves, but are making their work more efficient by calling back on the interested and watering the seed sown, and starting classes of Berean students. Many are having excellent success in selling the entire six volumes with one year's subscription to THE WATCH TOWER, all for $2.65, the ordinary price for one volume on theology.
There are good evidences both in Great Britain and America that 1912 may be our very best year yet, so far as the Colporteur work is concerned; and for the volunteering, order all the free literature you can wisely use. If we find it necessary we will cut down the quantity sent you, but not otherwise! Let us hope that 1912 will not fall short of 1911 in the circulation of free literature.
WHAT RECENT EVENTS FORESHADOW
The confession of the McNamara brothers has made a profound impression on the social world. For several years they have been under the pay of $1,000 per month to dynamite bridges and buildings with a view to the intimidation of capitalists and the assistance of trades-unionism. It is claimed that no less than twenty serious dynamite explosions have been accomplished through them--some say sixty. The most serious of the lot was the damage done to the Los Angeles Times building, in connection with which twenty-one persons lost their lives. It was hard to believe that members of our race could be so depraved and still harder to believe what trades-unionists claimed, namely, that the explosions have been caused by capitalists in order to incite the public mind against trades-unionism. Now we have the truth in the confession of the McNamaras and the implication of various prominent labor leaders.
The shock to moral sense is tremendous and is sure to cause a reactionary sentiment against all trades-unionism and socialism.
The results we anticipate are the drawing closer together than ever of capitalism and of all law-and-order people. This will mean a practical union of Church and State. Everybody not in sympathy with lawlessness will
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be expected and ultimately required to identify himself with the politico-religious arrangement thus inaugurated. Those who for any reason attempt to stand free and to oppose Churchianity will doubtless be seriously misunderstood and make themselves liable to hatred and persecution. Thus the readers of this publication, although the most staunch defenders of Law and Order and the most pronounced opposers of everything like anarchy, may yet find themselves branded as opponents to law and order --just as Jesus was crucified between two thieves.
WHAT OUR POSITION SHOULD BE
The exhortation of the moment is loyalty to God and to the Truth, but great moderation and love and wisdom in every expression respecting the same. Nevertheless, even at the risk of being misunderstood, the true message of the Kingdom must be proclaimed by those who would be esteemed of the Lord good soldiers of the Cross and Ambassadors for God. But let us not forget the Master's words, "Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves."
The results of the combination will be powerful restraints upon everything supposed to effect the present social order and the ultimate results will be that this weighting down of the safety-valve will bring the great explosion of anarchy a little later on, very much as described in the volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, explanatory of the Divine prophecies that our Age will end with "a Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation," and that this will usher in the glorious Kingdom of Messiah.
The experience of our British friends in connection with the dock-workers' strike and the railway men's strike of last September was good. They had read of strikes elsewhere, but seemed not to dream of their possibility in Britain. The general stagnation of business for a few days opened their eyes to the fact that, prolonged a little while, it would mean starvation to thousands--so dependent are we today upon modern methods of food and fuel distribution. The British people seem to realize that a mighty struggle between capital and labor is not far distant. The working people are boasting that they realize their strength as never before, and that the next strike will be much more severe than was this one. Capitalists are saying, "It must be settled once and for all who is master; and next time we will resort to severer measures." This determination on both sides is what will make the crisis the more severe when it comes. Both sides will be shouting,
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No quarter! No surrender! The next demonstration may be in Germany or in America.
The proper course for us is to keep close to the Lord, maintaining an attitude of humility and justice toward all --always counseling peace, never strife. Half a loaf is better than no bread. The worst government is better than anarchy. To those who expect strikes, etc., we suggest the advisability, where financially practical, of keeping a full supply of coal and of such staples as oatmeal, dried beans, etc.
However, our special concern should be to abide under the shadow of the Almighty, by abiding in His love and hence under the assurance that all shall work for our good. Then with hearts full of faith and rejoicing that the day of redemption draweth nigh, let us use our every opportunity for promoting peace and consolation amongst those of the world with whom we are in contact. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." As the time of trouble closes in, the "foolish virgin" class are to get the oil, the light; and we should be on the alert to assist them. Many of the worldly also will then be amenable to the Truth who are now deaf to it. Perhaps 1912 A.D. may be one of our most successful years for witnessing. In the meantime let us never forget that our main responsibility is in connection with our own covenant with the Lord--a covenant of sacrifice--whereby we are to make our calling and election sure. "They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."--`Malachi 3:17`.
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THE EDITOR'S BRITISH TOUR--PART 2
THE ATTENDANCE at the meeting held in the Royal Albert Hall was estimated at three thousand--excellent, indeed, for a mid-week religious service in an Auditorium not very conveniently located for the general public. We had an excellent hearing on the topic, "Two Heavens and Two Hells." Amongst those who spoke to us after the meeting was a Methodist brother, who thanked God for what he had heard, saying that he accepted the message fully, and that previously he had been in danger of drifting into infidelity. Another remarked that he came in an unbeliever and departed with faith both in God and His Book. We thanked God and took courage.
The London Tabernacle was the center of our activities in the world's metropolis. We delivered thirteen public addresses there; the attendance and interest were excellent. On one or two occasions the Tabernacle was overcrowded; even with extra chairs some stood. We hope that the dear friends of London and vicinity were as much encouraged and spiritually strengthened as we were.
In our previous report of our visit to Scotland, we overlooked mention of the meeting at Motherwell Town Hall, which was attended by a thousand. Our Scotch brethren are very enthusiastic in their love of the Truth and in its service. We were most hospitably entertained, and brought back greetings to the Bible Students of America and everywhere.
THE GOOD TIDINGS IN WALES
We visited two of the principal Welsh cities and gave two addresses in each. At Cardiff the public address was in Park Hall. About fifteen hundred gave most earnest attention to what we had to say respecting "The Great Hereafter." About the same number were present at the public meeting in Swansea at Albert Hall.
The Welsh friends are a little diffident, but evidently warm-hearted and very keen in their love of the Truth and in their service of it. They worked hard for both of these meetings. The Truth is making good progress in Wales, and the brethren are much encouraged.
HOW THE ENGLISH HEARD
We visited eleven English cities--outside of London. In almost all of these at least two meetings were held-- one specially advertised to the public. These gatherings of the Bible Students were well attended, and in many cases were really little conventions of five, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty and forty, who attended from surrounding cities and towns. How we enjoyed their fellowship, their earnestness, and how we noted their zeal for the Truth and the earnest endeavors put forth to make the meetings a success! And they were very successful.
In our previous report we mentioned four English cities visited; now we record others:--
At Reading at the Town Hall about a thousand were present--intelligent, attentive, sympathetic hearers. At Oxford the Corn Exchange was crowded to its capacity, seven hundred, and closest attention was accorded our message. At Newport we addressed the public in Phillips' Memorial Hall. The audience was estimated at above a thousand. They gave the same close attention and showed the same keen interest in the argument that was noted in preceding meetings. So also it was with the audience at Kittering, where Victoria Hall was filled--about seven hundred. Next came Nottingham. We spoke in Mechanics' Hall to an audience estimated at twelve hundred. We had various manifestations of deep interest and sympathy here also. In Sheffield the public service was at Albert Hall. It was well filled; the audience, approximately eighteen hundred, gave us undivided attention and evidenced much interest. At Leicester we addressed the public in Corn Exchange. Nearly a thousand were present, and from the sympathetic looks and occasional applause we feel sure that many of our hearers caught views of the Hereafter which will help them in future days in their battle against infidelity, doubt, fear, the world, the flesh and the Devil.
On Friday, Nov. 17, at the London Tabernacle, our visit concluded. We bade the friends goodby, exhorting them to be of good courage and be faithful unto death. We spoke from the Apostle's words, which indicate that although our lives and message are an odor of death unto death to those who are in darkness, they are an odor of life unto life to the children of light, and to God a sweet odor in the Anointed One. Although the meeting was not advertised about eight hundred were present. The next day about thirty met us again at the railway platform, where we took the boat train.
Surely we were greatly privileged of the Lord in connection with this British visit. The Lord alone knows to what extent it has stimulated and encouraged the faithful, or enlightened some of His faithful who previously sat in darkness. We leave the results with Him, thankful for the privilege of knowing the Truth and for the joy of being permitted to serve Him in this or in any manner. We felt, and endeavored everywhere to impress upon the dear friends the thought that the Truth is not ours; that it is God's, and therefore belongs to all who are His, and that it is a great privilege to be His ambassadors and
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mouthpieces in making it known to all who have hearing ears. Hence we properly ascribe all the glory to Him, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, our Father in Heaven, and to Him through whom these gifts come to us, namely, our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus.
A summary of our tour shows twenty-four cities visited, fifty-five public meetings held, forty-four thousand hearers and over a million papers and pamphlets distributed free. The dear friends in every place displayed great energy and devotion in connection with the meetings, arrangements and announcements.
Our homeward journey was uneventful. The ocean voyage furnishes excellent opportunity for our literary work.
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PREPARING FOR THE KINGDOM
--`LUKE 1:5-23`.--JANUARY 7.--
"Without faith it is impossible
to please God."--`Hebrews 11:6`.
OUR BEREAN STUDY course for the year has been mapped out by the International Committee. It constitutes a very thorough investigation of our Lord's earthly life, from His birth to His ascension. Today's study very appropriately calls for investigation of God's dealings and promises up to the birth of John the Baptist, the Redeemer's forerunner and herald.
Four thousand years before the birth of Jesus, God declared that the Seed of the woman would bruise the Serpent's head. This dark saying we now see signifies that sin with all its work of havoc in the world is to be offset and destroyed in due time and that the power of God to this end will operate through a wonderful Son of the disobedient Eve. Centuries passed with no sign of a fulfilment of this promise. Our race became more degraded and lapsed more and more into unbelief. Then Enoch was born, of the line of Seth. "He walked with God" and was used as a Divine mouthpiece to give a further prophecy, saying, "Behold, the Lord cometh with myriads of His holy ones, to execute judgment (justice) in the earth."--`Jude 14,15`.
Another thousand years elapsed before God made any further suggestion of His benevolent intention of giving the world a fresh trial or judgment. Then to Abraham, the friend of God, He made known more fully still the hope of the world--the Gospel. God declared to Abraham His intention to bless all the families of the earth, and secondly, that this blessing upon mankind would come to them through Abraham's posterity: "In thee and in thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."-- `Gen. 12:3`.
This statement to Abraham, St. Paul pronounces the first Gospel message, because the other statements were so vague as not to make certain human recovery. Sin and the Serpent might have been destroyed without the seed of the woman being specially blessed, and the judging of mankind mentioned by Saint Enoch implied, but did not positively say, that human blessing would result. The message to Abraham, however, was explicit--"All the families of the earth shall be blessed." See `Gal. 3:8`.
St. Paul reminds us that God not only declared His coming blessing, but that He made oath to the same. God's oath was not necessary to Abraham. He confidently believed; but, as St. Paul said, the oath was for our sake. The fulfilment of the promise would be so long deferred that we, who are so specially interested in it, might have feared some change in the Divine Program. St. Paul assures us that the oath was in order that, "by two immutable things (God's Word and God's oath), we might have strong consolation (we, the Church), who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us (in 'the good tidings', the promise), which hope we have as an anchor to our souls, sure and steadfast, within the veil, whither our Forerunner has for us entered." (`Hebrews 6:18-20`.) We see, then, by the Apostle's words, that the Abrahamic promise or Covenant has not yet been fulfilled --it is still an anchor for our faith.
SEEKING ABRAHAM'S SEED
Ishmael was not the heir of the promise, but Isaac was; Esau was not, but Jacob was. Finally, all of Jacob's family were accepted as Abraham's seed, and in due time they were all baptized into Moses in the sea and the cloud and became heirs of the promise, on condition that they would keep the Law given at Mt. Sinai. Obedience to the requirements of that Law would give them eternal life, and forthwith the approved ones would be God's agents in fulfilling the promise--in "blessing all the families of the earth."
But, imperfect like all the remainder of our race under the death sentence, the Israelites were unable to keep the perfect Law of God; hence they all died, like the remainder of the race--because they were sinners. As Jesus said, none of you keepeth the Law; as St. Paul said, "By the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified in God's sight." Nevertheless, the endeavor of the Jews to obey their Law brought a great blessing upon them; though some were hypocritical and said prayers, not from the heart, others were "Israelites indeed in whom was no guile."
The heart-loyalty of the "Israelites indeed" God appreciated, and they were granted the privilege at Pentecost of stepping from the house of Moses, as faithful servants, into the house of Christ, as faithful sons. (`Heb. 2:5,6`.) "To as many as received Him (Jesus), to these gave He liberty to become sons of God." (`John 1:12`.) They were accepted into this sonship after Jesus had laid down His life sacrificially, had been raised from the dead to the divine nature, and had ascended far above angels, principalities and powers to God's right hand of favor and had appeared as the Advocate for all "Israelites indeed," all willing to walk in His steps.
OTHER GRACIOUS PROMISES
All of God's promises were to Abraham and his seed (his natural seed primarily). Consequently all through the Jewish Age, while they as a people were trying to commend themselves as worthy to be the Seed of Abraham, by endeavoring to keep the Law, God spoke to them prophetically. He informed them that it was His intention ultimately to make a New Covenant with them, still better than the one which Moses mediated. Under that New Covenant He would take away their sins and iniquities; but He did not tell them how these would be cancelled; that they would be cancelled through the merit of "better sacrifices" than those which they offered through the Law year by year.
God assured them that this New Covenant would have a Mediator who would be higher than Moses. Of that Mediator Moses prophesied, saying, "A Prophet shall the
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Lord your God raise up unto you from amongst your brethren, like unto me (I am a type of Him); Him shall ye hear in all things--and whosoever will not obey that Prophet shall be destroyed." (`Acts 3:23`.) That greater Mediator would be the One by whom they would be really helped up to a place where they could keep the Divine Law perfectly and be used of God in blessing all the earth. --`Jer. 31:31`.
How the Israelites longed thereafter for the New Covenant with the better Mediator, whom they styled Messiah, or the Anointed of God! Hearken again to God's message respecting this glorious Messiah, the Mediator of the New Covenant; He says, "Behold, I send you the Messenger of the Covenant, whom you delight in (the One whom you have been so long praying for, the One through whose assistance you will be enabled to keep My Law and to become My agents in the instruction and blessing of the world); but who may abide the day of His coming and who shall stand when He appeareth, for He is like fuller's soap and a refiner's fire? And He shall sit to refine the sons of Levi that they may offer an acceptable sacrifice."--`Malachi 3:1-3`.
Thus the Israelites had the precious promise respecting the coming of the Messiah--and not only so, but intimations that there would be special trials and difficulties on those living at that time. Naturally every mother amongst the Israelites longed for the birth of a son, hoping that she might be honored as the parent of the Seed of the woman, who would bruise the Serpent's head--the great One of Abraham's seed through whom, by some unknown arrangement or process, a great blessing would come upon the sons of Levi, upon Israel and through these upon all the nations of the earth.
These promises led up to and culminated in the birth of John the Baptist, the incidents of which constitute the study of today. He was not to be Messiah, but His herald. He was not born of a miraculous conception of the Holy Spirit and without human father, but He was announced by a special messenger of God, as our lesson most beautifully tells. If Zacharias' faith was tested, it was found strong and was assisted by his nine-months' experience of dumbness. Thus did God prepare the way before sending His only begotten Son to be man's Redeemer.
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THE VERY GREATEST PROPHET
--`LUKE 1:57-80`--JANUARY 14.--
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He hath visited and redeemed His people."--`V. 68`.
OF JOHN THE BAPTIST Jesus declared, "Verily I say unto you, of those born of women there hath not risen a greater Prophet than John the Baptist; and yet I say unto you that the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he." (`Luke 7:28`.) These words are valuable as showing us that John was the last of the Prophets announcing the coming of Messiah and the beginning of the great work of selecting from amongst sinners a loyal class, to be associates with the Redeemer in His Messianic Kingdom and glory. John could not be of the Kingdom class. His grand work terminated before the Redeemer's sacrifice was finished-- before Pentecostal blessings came accepting some as joint-heirs with Christ in His Kingdom. John himself seemed to understand this, for he declared, "He that hath the Bride is the Bridegroom," but I am the Bridegroom's friend and rejoice to hear His voice.--`John 3:29`.
JOHN--"THE FAVOR OF GOD"
In harmony with the message of the Angel Gabriel, John the Baptist was born. On his eighth day he was circumcised and named. The family relatives urged the name of his father, but the father and mother named him John, and immediately Zacharias' dumbness departed. His faith had been helped. He had triumphed over all doubts and manifested this by giving the name mentioned by Gabriel. The name John has a beautiful signification--"The favor of God."
As a man John was peculiar in that he had no other aim or object in life than to be God's messenger--to proclaim His Anointed One and to prepare the people for the trying experiences and character-test which Malachi had declared would come with the revealment of Messiah, who would "sit as a Refiner, to purify the sons of Levi, that they might offer to God an acceptable sacrifice." So it was that John in his ministry declared, "The Kingdom of God is at hand." Believe the good news. Repent, reform. Get ready for a share in that Kingdom.
The trials came in a way not expected. Messiah was not born an heir to earthly wealth or name or fame, and His experiences as well as His teachings were different from any that the Doctors of the Law had anticipated. The opposition of sinners and Jesus' opposition to the errors and hypocrisies of His time produced a burning which had a refining effect upon some and made of them antitypical Levites, consecrated people, many of whom became antitypical priests, presenting their bodies living sacrifices, walking in the footsteps of the Redeemer.
THE PROPHECY OF ZACHARIAS
St. Peter distinctly tells us respecting the Old Testament Prophets, that "Holy men of old spake and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." He intimates that frequently they uttered deeper and broader truths than they themselves comprehended--truths which only the future would fully reveal. This is true of the prophecy of Zacharias, in this lesson. `Verses 68-70` constitute the first division of this prophecy; praise to God, the Fountain of every good and perfect gift, comes first. To Him all honor and praise are to be given for the fulfilment of His gracious promises of old, "for He hath visited and brought redemption to His people; He hath raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David," in harmony with the promises. Here, after the usual manner of prophecies, the thing about to be accomplished is spoken of as though it had been done.
As John the Baptist was born but six months before Jesus, it follows that the begetting of Jesus had already taken place at the time of this prophecy. The Holy Spirit spoke of the things begun, but not yet accomplished, as though finished: "He hath visited and brought redemption for His people." This word redemption applies not only to the redeeming work accomplished by Jesus in the consecration of His life at baptism and down to the completion of His sacrifice at Calvary, but it is comprehensive enough to take in the entire work of reclaiming humanity.
A small section of our race, the "elect," is being reclaimed during this Gospel Age; but the Scriptures assure us that the Messianic reign of a thousand years will all be for the purpose of redeeming or bringing back from the power of sin and death Adam and so many of his children as shall be willing to accept the Divine favor, when
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brought to their knowledge. The import, therefore, of this first strophe or section of the poetic prophecy is, The Lord be praised that the time has come beginning the great blessing which He long ago promised.
DELIVERANCE FROM ENEMIES
The second section or strophe of this prophetic poem runs from `verse 71 to 75`. It relates to the deliverance of God's people from the power of their enemies. One important thought here is that none but God's people will ever be delivered from the enemies here referred to. However, there have been many in the past, as there are at present, enemies through wicked works--not because of intentional wickedness, but because blinded by the god of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, the weaknesses of their fallen flesh, etc.
During Messiah's reign of a thousand years, when all the blind eyes will be opened and all the deaf ears will be unstopped, and when the knowledge of the glory of God's character will be clearly revealed and the horribleness of sin be fully manifested--then many, now led captive by Satan at his will, will bow the knee to Emmanuel and confess to the glory of God. In other words, as Jesus said, His consecrated followers are His "little flock" of the present time. But during His glorious reign He will gather another flock. As He said, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold--them also I must bring, that there may be one fold and one Shepherd."--`John 10:16`.
"One fold and one Shepherd" does not signify that all of the sheep will be of the same nature. On the contrary, the Apostle tells us that God's Plan is ultimately to "gather together under one Head (Shepherd) all things, both in heaven and in earth." (`Ephesians 1:10`.) Of these "all things" the Church, the Bride, will be chief, on the plane of divine nature. The Great Company, cherubim and angels will follow in order, and redeemed and restored mankind in human perfection will be the lowest order in the Divine fold.
St. Paul tells us about the enemies from whom ultimately all of God's people shall be delivered. Satan is an enemy. He shall be bound for a thousand years and ultimately shall be destroyed. Sin is an enemy, which will be stamped out in its various phases during Messiah's Kingdom. And we read, "The last enemy that shall be
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destroyed is death"--and with it will go the tomb. Adamic death will be no more. None will be under its power. The resurrection power will release all. Only those who sin wilfully, deliberately, will die the Second Death, which is not an enemy.
THE PREPARATORY WORK
The third section or strophe of this prophetic poem tells us of a work to be accomplished before the grand consummation of the destruction of all enemies and the lifting up of all accounted worthy to be sons of God. This is recorded in `verses 76-79`. It tells how John the Baptist would be the forerunner of the Lord's special Servant, Jesus, to pave the way for His great work. That great work would be to give the knowledge of salvation to thousands who were already God's people, to show them the "high calling" of this present Age. Thus in God's tender mercy the Church sees and is enlightened by the "Morning Star" or "Day Star" before the Sun of Righteousness arises to scatter the darkness of mankind during Messiah's reign. This lesser light of the present time shines into the hearts of believers with sanctifying power and sets them afire with zeal for the Truth. They in turn shine forth upon those who are sitting in the shadow of death. This "Day Star" guides the feet of the saints in the way of peace, even while still in the time of trouble and before the New Dispensation is ushered in.
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A SAVIOR--A LIFE-GIVER
--`LUKE 2:1-20`--JANUARY 21.--
"For unto you is born this day in the city of
David a Savior, which is Christ, the Lord."
TODAY'S STUDY is a most interesting one, relating to the birth of Jesus. The Scriptures are most careful to point out to us that He was not begotten after the usual manner --that He had no earthly father, but was begotten by the Holy Spirit. The necessity for this is manifest. The father is the life-giver, the mother is the nourisher of the offspring. If Jesus had received His life from a human father it would have been tainted, impaired, under condemnation of death, as is that of all others. This would have frustrated any work on His part as the world's Redeemer, because no imperfect man could have redeemed a perfect one, as the Psalmist declares--`Psa. 49:7`.
In order for Jesus to be able to give His life a redemption price for Father Adam's life (and for the life of his race, forfeited by disobedience), it was necessary that He be perfect, sinless; as we read, "He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." And again, "A body hast Thou prepared Me," for the suffering of death.
It is not enough, then, that we recognize Jesus as good, well-intentioned in mind. We must see in Him human perfection, sufficient as a sacrifice to offset the forfeited life of the first perfect man, Adam. And we must see also that He was begotten from above--that the holy spark of life in Him as the babe was a transferred life-principle from a pre-existent condition, mentioned by our Lord when He prayed, "Glorify Thou Me with the glory that I had with Thee before the world was." St. Paul explains to us that "He was rich and for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich."
FOR OUR SAKES HE BECAME POOR
Few babes in all Judea or in all the world were born in a more humble place than Jesus. Joseph and Mary had gone to their native city, Bethlehem, for tax registration, under the imperial edict. The little city was crowded with others on similar errand. And so it came that Jesus was born in a cattle stall, where Joseph and Mary had been compelled to lodge for the night. Ah! we cannot wonder that it is difficult for many to understand why our Heavenly Father sent forth His Son for our redemption under such ignominious conditions! Only those who have the spirit of the Divine Plan, through the begetting of the Holy Spirit, can see the wherefore.
FEAR NOT!--GOOD TIDINGS--GREAT JOY--ALL PEOPLE
The Message of the angels was surely an inspired one, fully in harmony with God's promise to Abraham--only an enlarged statement of the same--the same "all people" to be blessed--and it was still good tidings and it still meant great joy; but now, two thousand years later, the Message pointed out the very Individual through whom the good tidings would have fulfilment--the Babe of Bethlehem.
The angelic announcement, "Fear not," is interesting. All humanity realize that they are sinners and naturally have forebodings. They find it difficult to believe that
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God is really gracious and loving. The gods of the heathen nations are ferocious, unloving and unlovable. But the God of all Grace, the Father of Mercies, is a God of Love, who delights to use His Divine power for the blessing and uplifting of His erring children. Therefore He was peculiar in sending the Message of "good tidings of great joy unto all people," as well as in sending His Only Begotten Son at great cost to be man's Redeemer--that He might be just and still be the Justifier of those who believe.-- `Rom. 3:26`.
The Message declared that a Savior had been born-- the Anointed, the Lord. He was to be the antitypical Moses, the antitypical Aaron, the antitypical Melchisedec, the antitypical David. In addition to the qualities pictured in these various typical characters, He was, also, the Son of the Highest. He was to be the Savior--the Deliverer --the Mediator of the New Covenant, so long looked for, hoped for, prayed for.
There is a special force or meaning in this word Savior --it signifies life-giver. The Syriac version is the one in which Savior is translated life-giver; and Syriac was, likely, the language spoken by Jesus and others of Palestine at that time. And is there not a special fitness or appropriateness in this name life-giver? What had man lost and what would he wish to have back? The Scriptures answer that Adam lost life and came under the penalty, "Dying, thou shalt die." He did not lose heaven, for he never possessed it. He lost earthly life, an Eden home, human perfection. And Jesus declared that He "came to seek and to recover that which was lost."--`Matt. 18:11`.
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Hence, as we have seen, He was provided with a perfect, human life, that "He by the grace of God might taste death for every man," and that by thus suffering, the Just for the unjust, the penalty of the sinner, He might become the purchaser or the Redeemer of Adam and all his race, with a full right to restore to perfect life and to all that was lost as many as would receive it at His hand--thankfully. Throughout His entire Messianic reign of a thousand years He will be the world's Life-Giver, raising the willing and obedient up out of sin and death conditions to perfection and everlasting life and earthly, human blessings.
But our Lord also does a work for the Church, the "elect," His bride and joint-heir in the Kingdom, and this blessing to the Church begins before the setting up of His Kingdom. The Church "are by nature children of wrath even as others," but they are not to be restored to what was lost. The offer to them is that they shall become copies of the Redeemer and lay down their lives, walking in His footsteps, and that He will make up for all their deficiencies and that thus the Father of Mercies will bring them like their Lord to the divine nature, will assist them in making their "calling and election sure" to the heavenly state which God has promised them, for "if we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him; if we die with Him, we shall also live with Him."--`2 Tim. 2:11,12`.
THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS
In `verse 14` we have a kind of Hallelujah chorus or angelic response to the Message of the angel already given. A heavenly host sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." How grand! How inspiring! But we see not yet this glorious condition achieved. The proper glory to God is not yet rendered on earth as it is in heaven. Nor does peace yet wave her banner, even over so-called Christendom.
What is the matter? Ah, said the Apostle, that is a secret, a mystery, hidden from past Ages and Dispensations! The mystery is that God not only intends to have Jesus for His Anointed One, to rule and bless the world, but He has foreordained also a company of footstep followers to be with Him and share His work, and this entire Gospel Age has been devoted to the work of selecting this class, variously called the Body of Christ and the "espoused virgin," which eventually, at the Second Coming of the Lord, is to become "the Bride, the Lamb's Wife" and joint-heir.
It is for this that the Apostle declares that the whole creation groans and travails in pain until now--waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God--the revelation of Jesus and His Bride in the glory of the Kingdom for the blessing of natural Israel and all the families of the earth with knowledge and assistance, that the willing and obedient may be recovered to the image and likeness of God and to everlasting life.
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CONSECRATION IN THE TEMPLE
--`LUKE 2:22-39`.--JANUARY 28.--
"For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people."--`Vs. 30,31`.
WHEN JESUS was forty days old, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem and presented Him in consecration in the Temple. This was in accordance with the custom which related specially to the first-born in each family. Although the first-born of the entire nation were passed over at the deliverance from Egypt, they had been exchanged for the one tribe of Levi, which had been specially devoted to God's service; nevertheless, the same principle was exemplified in respect to the first-born of each mother. It was to be devoted specially to God and His service.
The significance of this we see when we remember that the elect Church, being gathered during this Gospel Age, is styled the Church of the First-borns. Again, St. James tells us that we are "a kind of first-fruits unto God of His creatures." The clear intimation of all this is that after the Church shall have been gathered to heavenly glory by the power of the First Resurrection, the Kingdom then to be established will bring blessings to all the families of the earth, giving them also the opportunity of becoming sons of God, on the earthly plane, by restitution processes.--`Acts 3:19-21`.
Incidentally we remark that it is the custom of some parents to make a formal consecration of their children to God in the presence of believers. The influence upon the children cannot be other than beneficial, as in future days they shall look back and realize the parental care and love and devotion thus manifested in the giving of the very best they possessed to the Lord (the fruit of their bodies). Doubtless very many children will thus experience a beneficial influence upon their minds as respects their own consecration to their Creator.
Furthermore, we believe that the parents who thus give their best to the Lord are really bringing to themselves great blessings. Trials and difficulties are sure to come, but in all of these their children belong to God. And if they can pray, Thy will be done, then they may have a peace and receive a joy in the Spirit which others cannot know. Of course, this does not take the place of the child's personal consecration when it reaches the age of discretion and judgment, but we believe that the blessed influence will be helpful to the child in mature years, assisting
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to a right decision for God, for Truth and for righteousness.
At the time of the consecration ceremony at the Temple, an aged Prophet came forward and took the babe Jesus in his arms and praised God. The record is that in some manner God had revealed to him that the accomplishment of the gracious promises made to Abraham was nigh, and that he should not die until he had seen the Deliverer of Israel. By some power Divine this aged Prophet recognized Jesus, and, after saying, "Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation"--the way in which Thy salvation shall come to Israel and to all the families of the earth--he proceeded to say, "which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all people--the Light of the world and the Glory of Thy people Israel."
"SET FOR THE FALL AND RISING AGAIN OF MANY IN
Simeon, addressing Mary, declared prophetically that the Child was "set for the fall and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign [mark or standard], which shall be spoken against, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." How wonderful a prophecy! It reminds us of the words of St. Paul, that our Lord is "a stone of stumbling and rock of offence" to many in Israel, that many stumbled, being disappointed. And St. Paul told also of the rising again of many who stumbled. He declares, "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it and the rest were blinded" --stumbled--turned aside from Divine favor. (`Rom. 11:7`.) Nevertheless he assures us that as soon as "the elect," the Church of Christ, shall have been completed, by the power of the First Resurrection, then Divine favor shall return to natural Israel, through Elect Spiritual Israel: "They shall obtain mercy through your mercy." --`Romans 11:25-33`.
Not a sufficient number of "Israelites indeed" were found to complete the foreordained elect, and hence the invitation went beyond Abraham's natural seed to gather during this Gospel Age the saintly of every nation, people, kindred and tongue. These must all be found before the blessings shall go to Israel and to the remainder of our race, offering to them restitution and human perfection.
A saintly woman, Anna, a Prophetess, over a century old, resided in Jerusalem and in the precincts of the Temple courts. She, also, moved by the Holy Spirit, recognized the Babe and gave praise to God and mentioned the matter to the saintly ones who were waiting for the fulfilment of the Abrahamic promise--"for the consolation of Israel."
If the seeing of Jesus as a babe was worthy of praise and thanks, still more was it a cause of gratitude to God for those who beheld Him at the age of thirty, consecrating Himself a living sacrifice even unto death, and who realized that He had been begotten again by the Holy Spirit to be a New Creature, of the divine nature. Those who saw the Master's faithfulness in performing the sacrifice of His consecration during the three and a half years of His ministry beheld still more for which to give God praise. And when He had finished His course at Calvary and was raised from the dead the third day, and forty days later ascended up on high where He was before, happy were they who recognized that further development of the Divine Plan for man's salvation--the blessing of all the families of the earth.
Still more blessed were those who at Pentecost received the Holy Spirit as a begetting power and those who since have received the same, evidencing that they are the children of God, and, "if children, then heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ" their Lord to the great inheritance--to the oath-bound promise made to Abraham, that through them all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
THE FALL AND RISING AGAIN
The entire nation of Israel stumbled over Jesus, failing to recognize Him as the Sent of God--except the comparatively few who became His disciples--probably ten or fifteen thousand, according to the records. Of the nation in general the Prophet Isaiah declared, "They shall fall backward and be snared and taken." St. Paul, quoting Isaiah's prophecy, proceeds to show the recovery of Israel to Divine favor as soon as the elect class of this Gospel Age shall have been completed from amongst all nations. Then will come the time for Israel's rising again to Divine favor.--`Isa. 8:15`; `Rom. 11:9-11`.
Continuing his argument, St. Paul assures us that blindness happened to Israel, not permanently, but merely for a time, until the full number of the "elect" from the Gentiles should come in. He declares that then all Israel shall be saved from their stumbling. This is the very "rising again" referred to in our lesson. St. Paul declares that this is God's Covenant with natural Israel and that their sins shall be taken away and they shall obtain mercy, through the Church's mercy. In other words, when the Church shall be glorified in the First Resurrection, Divine blessing shall proceed forthwith to Israel and shall then extend to all the families of the earth. God hath concluded them all in unbelief that He might have mercy upon all.--See `Romans 11:25-32`.
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WHAT WE ARE TO EXPECT
WHILE IT MAY BE difficult to clearly prognosticate the future in respect to God's "times and seasons" relating to the Church and her glorification, the world's time of trouble and the New Epoch of "joy for all people," we may surely expect all the time and increasingly tribulations: "Marvel not if the world hate you; ye know that it hated me before it hated you; if ye were of the world, the world would love its own"; "I have chosen you out of the world" and ordained you.
How should these attacks be received? may be a question with some. Our answer is, With patient endurance and without bitterness of heart, but with sympathy, recognizing that "they know not what they do." The Lord's people must never retaliate, must never render railing for railing, accusation for provocation, blow for blow, but must ever keep in memory the example of the Lord and the Apostles.
This, however, does not mean that the Lord's people may not use means provided by law for their defense, when it seems wise for them to do so. Jesus protested against being stoned in violation of the Law. St. Paul defended himself in court before Felix, as well as upon other occasions. He became the plaintiff and aggressor in his dispute with the Jews when he appealed his case to Rome. Similarly we, if persecuted contrary to the law under which we live, are at liberty to appeal our case before the courts, but not at liberty to take matters into our own hands to judge and punish our enemies.
When the Apostle reproved some of the early Church for going to law with each other, the stress of his argument
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was that brethren should adjudicate their own troubles amongst themselves and not go to law before unbelievers --not ask unbelievers to judge between Christians. This has no bearing upon our dealing with unbelievers, who can be dealt with only through the public courts. If nominal Christians should set up the claim that they are believers, the answer then would be that in the same sense the courts are courts of believers and that, therefore, the action before them would not be before unbelievers.
We must expect that the opposition of the world, the flesh and the Devil will increase in virulence. Thus our faith in the Lord and in each other--our meekness, gentleness, patient endurance, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love--will be in the crucible for refining. And the experiences, properly received, may be reckoned amongst the "all things" guaranteed to work together for good to all those who love the Lord, to the called according to his purpose.--`Rom. 8:28`.
"In the furnace God may prove thee,
Thence to bring thee forth more bright,
But will never cease to love thee;
Thou art precious in His sight."
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IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS
Dear Lord, with sorrow, I confession make That while with joy I suffer for Thy sake, Yet in the cares with which my days abound, Where I should smile, I fear I often frown. In days gone by I've murmured o'er and o'er, And unkind words have left me feeling sore; Those whom I come in contact with each day, Disturb me oft by things they do and say.
And thoughtless actions have left such a sting I could not find it in my heart to sing. Lord, I'll be honest with myself and Thee, I have not been as sweet as I should be. And I have said, "Too hard the wind doth blow, Too hot the day, too much rain or snow," And tho' at times I've checked the hasty word, Still, in my heart rebellious murmurs stirred.
And I have thought that I could grow in grace Much better, were I in another's place. Lord, to this whole long list I guilty plead; And I am grieved o'er it, I am indeed; And I am come to make a Vow to Thee, That in the coming year, whate'er shall be My portion, trials, cares, vexations, pain, Dear Lord, I will not murmur nor complain.
And I will say when I arise each morn, This day my Lord wants me to overcome, "In everything give thanks," this is His Word; And I will school my heart to sweet accord. I'll thank Him for the sun, and for the rain; I'll thank Him for the sorrow and the pain; And in the things which try my patience so I'll thank Him that I have a chance to show
How Sweet and Kind and Loving I can be, How much His Holy Spirit dwells in me. Dear Lord, I'll trust Thee tho' I do not know Why I should walk the path I'm called to go. I'll give Thee thanks whatever be the way Which Thou shalt lead me in from day to day; Relying on Thy grace to see me through, Lord, this is what I've promised Thee to do.
REBECCA FAIR DONEY.
BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES
Series VI., Study VII., The Law of the New Creation.
(1) What does the giving of a law imply on the part of the recipient? Why are penalties attached to a law? P. 349, par. 1, first 6 lines.
(2) How do we reason with respect to a law having been given Adam? And what was the sin of Eden? P. 349, par. 1, sixth to fourteenth line.
(3) What did the just sentence upon Adam imply with respect to his knowledge? And what did the absence of a Mediator evidence? P. 349, par. 1, fifteenth line to end.
(4) How was the Divine Law written in the perfect organism of Adam and Eve? And why were they without excuse for their sin? P. 350.
(5) What is the condition of mankind today as respects the original Divine likeness? P. 351, par. 1, first half.
(6) How can we account for the more or less crude conceptions of right and wrong among even the most depraved of the heathen? P. 351, par. 1, last half.
(7) What two kinds of laws prevail among mankind? P. 351, par. 2.
(8) How does this correspond with the Divine Law? P. 351, par. 3; P. 352, par. 1.
(9) Why was it impossible for God to give the fallen race a Law of life? P. 352, par. 2.
(10) Where is the first intimation of an atonement and consequent release from the "prison house" recorded? and how fulfilled? P. 353, par. 1.
(11) To whom were still clearer promises stated as respects the blessing of the world, and what did this signify? P. 353, par. 2.
(12) Why did God place a special Law upon the Israelites? Why were the mediation of Moses and the typical sacrifices for sins necessary, and what does this teach with respect to the Law in Eden? P. 354, par. 1.
(13) Who was the only Jew who ever perfectly kept the Mosaic Law, and what double purpose did the Law Covenant serve? P. 354, par. 2.
(14) Although Jesus fulfilled it, what is the position of natural Israel with respect to the Law Covenant? P. 355, par. 1.
(15) What two forms of Divine Law were operative previous to the first advent? and what two classes were subject to these laws? P. 356, par. 1.
(16) Give a brief Scriptural summary of the Sinaitic Law, and who only kept this statement of the Divine Law? P. 356, par. 2.
(17) How did Jesus keep and fulfil the Sinaitic Law? P. 356, par. 3, first half.
(18) Was it love to God or love for His neighbor that required Jesus' self-sacrifice? P. 356, par. 3, last half.
(19) What two things were accomplished by Jesus' death? P. 357, par. 1, first eight lines.
(20) Make a distinction between these two things effected by Jesus' death. P. 357, par. 1.
(21) Has the New Covenant, suretied by Christ's blood, gone into effect? P. 358, par. 1.
(22) Define the purpose and operation of the New Covenant as respects fleshly Israel and the world of mankind. P. 358, par. 2.
THE LAW OF THE NEW COVENANT.
(23) What is the Law of the New Covenant? Does it differ from the original Divine standard? P. 359, par. 1.
(24) What is meant by re-writing the Law of God in the hearts of men? P. 359, par. 2.