ZWT - 1904 - R3294 thru R3460 / R3474 (369) - December 15, 1904

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page 369


DECEMBER 15, 1904.

No. 24.



Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society’s

Annual Report.................................371
Brief Reports from Some of the Branches.......374
The Life and Light of Men.....................376
He was the True Light.......................378
Jews Not Sons of God..........................379
Witnessing for Jesus..........................380
John Not the Elijah...........................381
Water Baptism vs. Holy Spirit Baptism.........381
This is the Son of God.......................382

page 370





Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER, will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.






R3474 : page 370



The year’s contract with the Gazette having expired the Pittsburg Dispatch has taken up the publication of the Discourses for an indefinite period with the agreement to refund to us pro rata of money paid on subscriptions should they be discontinued.

The Dispatch ranks as Pittsburg’s “best” paper and sells at 2c per copy or $6.00 per year. We have made a clubbing arrangement by which a year’s subscription to the WATCH TOWER and to Solon Journal and any four volumes of DAWN will all be included in the $6.00, which price the Dispatch will not permit to be broken. This extraordinary combination is made possible only by the willingness of the Dispatch to cooperate in the spread of our Society’s work.

Where the Dispatch agencies are established the issues desired can be readily obtained through them. The Dispatch refuses to mail papers to towns where they would interfere with agents already located.



In our last issue we erred in regard to the price of the Solon Journal. It is not $2 per year, but $1. Arrangements are effected by which all WATCH TOWER subscriptions will, on the clubbing plan, include a four months subscription to the Solon Journal, or it and the WATCH TOWER together will cost you $1.50 for the entire year. See our last issue, pages 354 and 360.


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—ANNUAL REPORT.—DEC. 1, 1903, TO DEC. 1, 1904.—

YEAR by year the Lord’s work through our Society seems to be increased, and with joy we recognize it and tell it to each other. It is so great a privilege to be associated with our wonderful Redeemer-Lord in the harvesting period of this Gospel age. And every now and then we see the Chief Reaper’s personal care over the work—turning aside and making void some of our well intentioned efforts to serve him, and guiding and giving success in another direction. Such experiences are not disappointments in the proper sense of that word—rather they are causes for fresh rejoicing, because we desire the Lord’s will, not our own; and because they give fresh evidences that we are not fighting our own battles merely but his; and because they give added assurance that he will continue to guide us and his work to the glorious victory foretold by all the holy prophets.

The year past has not been free from disappointments and heart-aches and testings of faith, perseverance and patience; but now it is gone and we may well rejoice that it finds us a year nearer to the Kingdom glories, and by faith we already sing with the poet:

“How light our trials then will seem

How short our pilgrim way!”

The reports we are rendering will surprise many of you, in that they show but 1,024 increase in the output of DAWNS, and that the subscription list of this journal, ZION’S WATCH TOWER, instead of increasing greatly as we had so confidently expected, has not much more than maintained itself at the 20,000 mark of last year; and that our expenses have exceeded our receipts quite considerably.

On the other hand, however, you will be surprised to note the tremendous circulation of free literature, tracts, etc., distributed—so greatly in excess of all our past records, and so greatly beyond any other tract work ever done by any or all peoples or societies. And when you scan the expense columns we are sure you will be amazed at the low cost of all this work.

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The Lord seems to bless the consecrated dollars as of old he blessed the loaves and fishes.


We are publishing 25,000 copies of our journal regularly now, and this leaves about 5,000 copies for surplus, samples, etc. This, counting two readers for each paper, represents a considerable number, but it is not enough—we ought to have double this number. Experience teaches us that, in these busy times, those who do not receive the TOWER every two weeks to stir up their pure minds, are apt to become “overcharged” with the cares of this life, and lose their interest,—fail to make progress.

We must look to the dear friends of the Truth, everywhere, to effect the increase in the TOWER’S circulation, and thus to do something to deepen and fix the interest of those they love and desire to see well established and well developed spiritually.

What can and will you do, dear brethren and sisters, to push forward this part of the work? This, like every other part of the service, is a great privilege and will bring to you a great blessing. Inquire of the brethren and sisters and friends of the Truth, whether or not they are regularly on the TOWER lists. Tell them of its worth to you and remind them that if too poor to pay they are perfectly welcome to it free. We want that the TOWER list shall be nearly as possible a list of all “the sanctified in Christ Jesus”—the Lord’s jewels. This is your part of the work! Do it faithfully and let us have a better report next year. In sending in new subscribers’ names for 1905, number them when writing to us—say, This is my first, or second or fifth, as the case may be.


We have had a great increase in the number of Colporteurs during this year. We now have about 300, but to our surprise the number of DAWNS sent out is not much greater than reported last year. Some of the new laborers have excellent success, too, and all seem very earnest, very loyal to the Lord, to his Word and to his brethren whom they seek to serve and to deliver from the thraldom of Babylon’s errors. Let us hope for still greater things in the year before us. Some of these dear Colporteurs have merely learned

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how to do the work recently, and will doubtless have greater results to show soon.


This feature of the work shows a great increase over all previous records. We have been cheered and comforted many times by your letters telling us of your love and zeal and efforts and triumphs and failures, etc. And we in turn have endeavored to encourage and strengthen you, with, we trust, some good results, of which we shall know more fully when we reach the Kingdom and have plenty of time to talk matters over and recount present blessings and crosses.

During the year we received letters and postal cards to the number of 52,065, and sent out 50,254. No small labor is represented in these figures, viewed from the earthly side; but when compared with our debt to the Lord it is nothing—very small interest; we can never pay the principal. As we can do nothing for the Lord direct we are glad to pay the interest to his Brethren in this and other ways.


More and more we perceive the Lord’s leading in connection with this branch of the harvest work. The supply of funds more or less regulates its extensiveness, and the Lord’s program seems to be to have the Pilgrims encourage his people without taking from each little gathering the responsibility of its own affairs. In other words, it preserves the order of meetings usual in the primitive Church, as described in I Corinthians, twelfth chapter, and does not foster the idea of regular preaching and paid ministry common today. The little companies, thrown upon their own resources, are getting more and more free from the entanglements of Babylon, which exercise one man on every occasion and force all others to idleness as listeners.

The “Berean Bible Studies,” outlined on the third and fourth pages of the WATCH TOWER BIBLES, bring all to the point of careful thought on the subjects discussed, and all who do think on the divine plan grow stronger and stronger in the Faith. The Lord’s plans are always the best, and blessed are those who most carefully follow them. If WATCH TOWER readers were numerous enough to form large congregations and then were to adopt Babylonian methods it would mean great spiritual loss. Each should to the extent of his ability take some part in some of the meetings of “the household of faith.”

The Pilgrim visits are far better, therefore, than if protracted stays were made. They can assist and encourage without relieving the friends from personal responsibilities which are properly theirs and to their advantage. Excellent reports have come in respecting this branch of the service. We will continue it and add to it as divine Providence seems to direct and make possible.

Our records show that twenty-seven brethren took part in the Pilgrim service during the year. This record includes Brother C. T. Russell’s travels, etc. Over 140,000 miles were covered, sixteen hundred and ninety-five public services and twenty-six hundred and twenty-three parlor meetings were held.

We consider this an excellent showing of a great work which the Lord is directing. As the friends generally know, these ministries are wholly free—not one penny of collections having been solicited. The Lord supplies the workers and the means for the work. We have only the one general fund—the Tract Fund—supplied by voluntary contributions and used for the various departments and services according to our judgment of their needs and usefulness, as the Lord gives us wisdom.

The total cost of this service was $6,837.86. The “miracle” of so great service for so proportionately small a sum is partly explained by the fact that some of these “Pilgrims” not only served without compensation, but actually paid their own traveling expenses—donating the same to the Tract Fund. None of them receive more than their “expenses”—this in a very few cases including small allowances for dependent families. But all other things being equal we give a preference to the “free”—the unmarried.


This is our Foreign Missions account. The labor for the Truth amongst benighted Christian brethren in Europe and Australia and Jamaica is certainly a better work than any we could have done among the heathen; and surely the results, though not great, are superior to any we could have hoped for amongst the degraded of heathendom. As in the beginning of the Gospel age the apostles went to the Jews and most intelligent and most religiously inclined with the message of divine mercy, so the same course should still be pursued.

We have put forth a great effort in foreign fields during the past year, and have spent $16,354.00 in connection with it, we hope and trust under divine guidance and approval. What the fruitage or harvest will be the Lord alone knows. We trust that to you and the dear colaboring friends abroad, and to us, the Lord may ultimately say in connection with this and our other services, ‘Well done, good and faithful servants, enter ye into the joys of your Lord. Ye have been faithful over a few dollars and talents; I will make you rulers over larger opportunities in my Kingdom.” About one-third of the above sum is represented in DAWNS still on hand at the foreign branch depots.

The largest expenditure was made in Germany, amongst whose people over a million tracts and sample German TOWERS have been circulated free. No great results should be looked for immediately; but we are getting into touch with some of the Truth-hungry who “have an ear to hear.”

In the French and Italian languages, too, many thousands of tract-papers were circulated free, besides work being done by Colporteurs. Some fruit is showing; yet faith in the Lord is constantly necessary or we should be discouraged. Our confidence is that “The Lord knoweth them that are his;” and that he desires us thus to sound the great trumpet of Jubilee from one end to the other of the nominal “heavens.”—Matt. 24:31.

The Swedish and Danish friends have joined also in the free circulation of the Truth through the use of sample copies of the Danish and Swedish TOWERS. Some excellent heads of “wheat” are ripening there.

The British Branch received from us tracts to the value of $2,739.82, and did a splendid Volunteering work. This branch is growing and bids fair ere long

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to be self-sustaining. The Lord has many true children there and we are gradually finding them through the various channels in active use;—colporteuring DAWNS, tracts, preaching and TOWERS.

The Australian branch is our latest foreign work on a considerable scale. In money and printed matter it received during the past year $3,453.75 out of the total mentioned above. We trust that it will soon get so under way as to be nearly self-sustaining. Several of our American Colporteurs (among the best) have gone to Australia at their own expense,—to endeavor to give the work there a good start.

Jamaica was the center of a good work during the past year. The interested are nearly all blacks, and Brother Browne (colored) has apparently been doing excellent service there; not so much in awakening new interest as in crystalizing and rightly directing and deepening that already started.

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Total number of DAWNS sold at cost,.....
These were of various languages and volumes
and all in cloth binding. DAWN I. in
magazine form is included in statement of
Booklets sold at cost,............................

Copies of English WATCH TOWER
sent out free,......

Tracts of various kinds sent out,................ 4,589,300
These tracts and TOWERS represent in tract
pages, the usual form for stating such

These figures are really astounding, far beyond any tract distribution ever before accomplished. May the Lord’s blessing go with these messages of his love and mercy to their readers, and abide also upon all of you, dear readers, who joined in their circulation, either by distribution or by financial assistance in their preparation.

The dear friends in every quarter entered into the “Volunteer work” with great zeal during the past year, and experienced divine blessings accordingly, we believe. As examples of the four Churches most actively engaged we note the following:

Boston Church had 84 workers engaged and served Boston and 28 adjacent towns with tracts. Total tracts, 84,431.

Washington Church had 46 workers and served 33 towns adjacent. Total tracts, 64,876.

Chicago Church did much more Volunteer work than ever before, distributing 73,000; but we have no report as to the number of laborers who engaged. All, we are sure, received rich blessings.

Allegheny Church made a wonderful record this year—over 304,960. These, however, were not all distributed in the usual manner: a thorough distribution in this and adjacent cities used about 100,000 and the remainder were sent out by mail, some sending in the addressed wrappers and some wrapping them. About fifty participated and much pleasure and profit resulted.

So far as heard from there is a fervent zeal to begin afresh next spring, as soon as new Volunteer matter is ready.


Many will read a Gospel message from a newspaper who would not so readily hearken to the message from other quarters. Some of these are “disgusted” Christians, confused by the jargon of Babylon. Some are worldlings, whose parents were Christians, and who have never seen anything attractive in the so-called Gospel they have heard preached. During the past year the Lord has opened a door to many of these through the publication in the secular press of “Brother Russell’s” discourses. Millions of sermons have thus been scattered far and near; and some at least have done good. If the Lord wills we shall be glad to see this “door” keep open, or even open still wider. The dear friends in various quarters were prompt to encourage the journals which thus published the “meat in due season,” by purchasing extra copies and circulating them amongst their acquaintance.


Naturally the outlay for so great a work has been considerable; and it will be seen that we have miscalculated to some extent and spent more than we received. Some who sent us “Good Hopes” for the year have written us of their inability to do as they desired. We of course reminded them that their “Good Hopes” were merely suggestions of what they hoped and would have liked to do; but that God accepted the good intentions and so do we: and that they must not grieve as if this meant the breaking of a pledge, for it was nothing of the kind. This has occurred before, but never for so large an amount. We must guard our expenditures during the coming year, for our Lord’s commands prohibit our going into debt, except, as in the present instance, temporarily.


Surplus on hand, Dec. 1, 1903,....................$
Receipts from “Good Hopes”.....................
“ Tract Fund from other sources,...........



For “Pilgrim” expenses,........................
$ 6,837.86
“ Publishing matter circulated free—tracts,

“ Foreign Missions account, on which there
may be some later returns,.......................

Deficit,—receipts less than expenditures,.. $ 6,760.15

* * *

Praising God for his mercies, we have started on our new fiscal year with good courage and a realization that never before have we had so many evidences that the crisis of Babylon is approaching—that the division between “wheat” and “tares” was never more marked, and that very soon the harvest work will witness a great impetus from the repellant force of “higher criticism” or scholastic infidelity. The fields are white for harvest and laborers shall receive abundant wages, not only in the life to come but also in the joys of the Lord in the present time. Be of good courage, dear brethren—our Lord’s reign will soon be due, and if faithful we shall share his glory, honor and immortality.

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Sale of Cloth and Leather DAWNS,............. 23,640
“ Paper DAWNS,...........................……... 1,364
“ TOWER DAWNS,...........................….... 3,844

Sale of Booklets,.................................

Tracts circulated free,—pages,..................24,169,200
Letters and cards received,....................... 4,282
“ “ sent out,.......................



It is again my privilege to send you a report of the work of the British Branch so far as the circulation of the various publications and the receipts and expenditures of the Tract Fund are concerned.

We are pleased in being able to say that the work of the past year has been one of continued progress. The circulation of the DAWNS has increased quite considerably. We report increase of 4,000. Last year the increase was 3,000, the year previous 2,000; so that not only is increase going on, it is growing proportionately. Besides these sales we have sent out about 5,000 of the special DAWNS in TOWER form. Then the booklets are increased in numbers, though at a rather slower rate. Most of this work was the result of the labors of the Colporteurs, and we thank the Lord for their zeal in the harvest field. This service has hitherto been confined to a few zealous ones who have held on to the privilege of serving the Lord and his people, but during this year some others commenced the work, to their own joy and to that of those to whom they have been privileged to minister. However, from one cause or another, the total number of active workers has not been greatly increased. Some of these who have been in the work for a time are now resting; we hope to see them back soon. There is still a large portion of this country untouched with the harvest message, and the inquiries which come in tell us that there are yet many waiting for the Truth. We continue to pray that “the Lord of the harvest will send more laborers into his vineyard.”

The Volunteer work has gone on well, though the number of tracts delivered this year is less than last. However, as the tracts are double the size, there has been much more reading matter distributed, as well as much more weight. The tracts are bringing in evidences of the distribution. The TOWER list continues to grow, as you will have noticed: however, it does not grow as fast as your very liberal terms would lead us to expect; the friends do not appear to appreciate fully the offers which have been made—free to the Lord’s poor.

The receipts of the Tract Fund are less this year, by a considerable item; but as last year’s were made large by two special donations and as there is this year an increase of the average, there is even in this a cause of satisfaction.

You will be glad to know that Wales is now getting its share of the harvest blessing: several colporteurs have been working in South Wales, and they find the books sell there readily. In Ireland, too, the Truth spreads: the dear brethren in Dublin continue to scatter the message of love, with much joy to themselves. Scotland still keeps in the vanguard, though most of its towns are now well colporteured. Since writing my last report we have lost the fellowship of some dear brethren, gone to be with the Lord; but the knowledge that they are with him helps to enforce the fact that the time for the establishment of the Kingdom draws very near. We pray that we may be faithful to the end, that we also may hear him say, “Well done.”

I am sure the British friends would think this report incomplete if I did not make mention of their love to you, and of their desire that you may find it convenient to come to this country again very soon, and the sooner the better; and so, dear brother, please take this from them and from me, and do your best to come.

About seven years ago there were only about three or four regular meetings held in this country—now there are over forty in England, Scotland and Ireland.

I trust that the record of the work accomplished, and the signs that much is waiting to be done, will prove the needful stimulus to us all to “do” with our might what

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our hands find to do.

Praying the Lord’s blessing upon all his people, including you, and all the colaborers, I am, dear brother,

Yours affectionately, in him,



Sale of DAWNS cloth bound,........................ 3,479
“ “ in TOWER form,...................... 5,600
“ Booklets,................................. 3,471
Tracts and TOWERS distributed free, stated in tract
pages, and not included in general report,.......

Letters and cards received,....................... 1,355
“ sent out..................................



I have the pleasure of handing you herewith a report of the work here during the year past. It has seemed a short but eventful year, and we are grateful to the Lord for all his sustaining grace. We feel that without him we could have done nothing—nothing that would have been worth mentioning. As it is, though well aware of weakness and inabilities, we may mention with pleasure evidences of some fruit of labors. We feel confident that the Society’s sacrifices on behalf of the household of faith of the German tongue are not in vain, neither will the witness to the German nation be without avail. Evidences have reached us within the last two weeks showing that weapons prepared against the Truth are rapidly increasing. At least a dozen different papers have issued articles against the DAWNS and TOWERS: some repeatedly. The latest step is taken by the national church authorities in publishing leaflets of a warning, and causing them to be scattered abroad. Of course, these “weapons” of misrepresentation, etc., will not prosper against the Truth and the “very elect,” but they are prejudicing a great many so that they will not prove “our gospel” (the old gospel)—whether the things said about it are true or false. But we are not dismayed, “whether they hear or whether they forbear,” the witness being given as the Lord directed, “in every city,” “in all nations.”

However, encouraging features of the work are not wanting. The German TOWER is now being sent to from five to six hundred regular subscribers in Europe, many of whom are quite zealous in spreading the good news, though most of them are poor and cannot, as they would like to do, support the work financially. But these “brethren” are learning to appreciate more and more the fact that the Lord, the Head of the one body, is fulfilling his good pleasure toward them through some of the “stronger members” of the same “body.” They think with gratitude of those “brethren” whom the Lord has made “rich” in faith and love and “good works,”—good works in the laying down of their lives and giving of their substance to “do good, specially to the household of faith.” But these younger members in the knowledge of

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Present Truth need also your prayers—yea, we feel that your prayers are with us.

In several places Bible Study meetings are now regularly held where the number of those deeply interested in the DAWNS is gradually increasing. I might mention fifty to sixty in Barmen and Elberfeld, thirty to forty in Konigsberg, thirty to forty in Wermelskirchen, twenty to twenty-five in Weidenau, etc. Having very few Colporteurs and Volunteers to start with, the progress made with the spread of the good message was naturally slow. But within the last three weeks, since we have been sending the Volunteer TOWERS to newspaper lists, the inquiries for further reading are coming in quite encouragingly. I doubt not that, the Lord willing, another year of faithful effort to gather the elect will be well rewarded with “gathering fruit unto eternal life.”

Germany is well supplied with false teachers of great influence and popularity, who are “shaking” the powers of ecclesiastical “heavens” of all denominations. This fact seems to make it timely indeed that the Lord should send his message to bear up the “feet” members who are in danger of falling into doubt, infidelity or other snare of the devil. We know of some who have already been so helped. Are these not also our “brethren,” for whom we should lay down our lives?

Our assurance is in the Word of the Lord: “Your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

With much love, your brother,




I have the honor to hand you herewith the report of the Tract Fund receipts and expenditures for the Australasian Branch of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY for the period beginning Feb. 10, 1904 (when our first consignment of DAWNS, etc., arrived) and ending Oct. 31, 1904, being eight and one-half months.


L. s. d.
Freight and postage...............................

77 15 6
Pilgrim work......................................

19 16 11
Rent, gas and other expense,......................
42 11 3

140 3 8
Receipts from Australasia.........................
19 6 11
Deficit, supplied by the Home Office........
120 16 9

Report of Literature Circulated.

Copies of DAWN and TOWER DAWN.......

“ Booklets................................


Tracts sent free..................................

These represent tract pages....................... 5,108,800
Letters and cards received........................ 1,135
“ “ sent............................



The work of harvest, as we have the privilege of being associated with it in Australasia, though not large, has shown considerable to encourage. For example, the TOWER list in this state of Victoria has increased eighteen-fold during the period covered by our report, and we have reason to believe that most of these are intelligently and deeply interested, some of the names representing more than one interested person. Fresh interest is continually coming to light, not only here but in all parts of the commonwealth and New Zealand.

Hundreds of TOWER-DAWNS are being read from North Queensland to Southern Tasmania, and from the west coast of Australia to the east coast of New Zealand, with highly gratifying results in respect of interest taken and activity developed by those who have read. The influence of these TOWER-DAWNS will be making itself felt for some time to come.

Another encouragement has been afforded by a brother resident in this state. He donated L.10 to the Tract Fund, requesting that it be used to pay postage on packets of tracts to be sent to addresses in Victoria. For this sum we can post 4,800 packets; part of them have been sent.

The Spirit is moving on the face of the waters, and there may be accessions to the Colporteur ranks from our Australasian brethren and sisters, besides the courageous souls coming from America.

In response to invitations, I made a Pilgrim tour of about 4,500 miles. The brethren in South Australia and Western Australia made us heartily welcome. Interesting meetings were held almost every evening, with double duty on Sundays, and we were cordially invited to come again, which we hope we may do in the course of the next twelvemonth.

The volunteer work is going on in the largest cities of this part of the world, also in some of the smaller towns. And there has been a considerable demand for other tracts, all of which is indicated in the report of literature distributed. If these were to be charged against the Tract Fund of the Australian Branch, as might appropriately be done, our deficit would be much larger than it is.

In Melbourne some hundreds of DAWNS and a good many thousands of tracts have been put into circulation. These are having an effect, as is to be expected. Some few souls are being drawn to the Truth; they hear the Lord’s voice and recognize it, as the sheep do that of their Shepherd. Public warnings have been given against the DAWN literature. The Universalists decry it, because they consider it too narrow; others object that it is too broad. What are we to do? “I am in the place where I am demanded of conscience to speak the Truth, and therefore the Truth I speak, impugn it whoso list.” Oh, may our “speech be with grace, seasoned with salt;” may we be able clearly and meekly to give a reason for the hope that is in us; may we be workmen that need not to be ashamed, “rightly dividing the Word of Truth!”

An incident which occurred not long ago will interest you. Of itself, it was a small matter; yet it illustrates perfectly the spirit which now possesses some who professedly serve the Lord. A minister came to secure Vol. I and booklet about hell for a friend. He himself had been reading it and agreed with much of the teaching. To the writer he said, “Doesn’t the author err in associating the eternal torment doctrine so closely with the ministers? Very few believe it now.” Said I, “Mr. Russell is aware that very many ministers disbelieve that doctrine and avoid teaching it; the point is that under those circumstances they allow their congregations to believe it without

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trying to teach them otherwise.” Said he, “Perhaps it is as well that the people believe it.” I was so astonished at hearing such a sentiment actually expressed in living words that it took me some moments to recover. Then I said, “That won’t do; if the doctrine be true, it should be preached by all means; if it be false, it is too awful a misrepresentation of God to allow the people to remain under.” He came down, so to speak, and saying, by way of excuse, “Perhaps the ministers wish to be sure of their ground,” he departed. Is it surprising, in view of such things as this, that the Lord has spewed out the Laodicean

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(present) state of the nominal church, and that he has deprived them of the honor of declaring his Truth as it becomes due?

Public meetings are now being held regularly in Melbourne in the interest of the Truth. Excellent attention has been given to the opening series of Chart Talks, and we believe genuine interest is being aroused, notwithstanding the opposition.

Discouragements there have been, both locally and in connection with the work at large; but they are behind, and we need not trouble you with details. Let us class them with the “light afflictions.” The Lord has been very good to us and we are thankful for his great mercies. Our thanks are due our Australasian friends who have put their shoulders to the wheel. A continued interest in your prayers, and those of the saints generally, is earnestly solicited.

Your servant in Him,


Special reports from Danish Swedish, French and Italian depots not received in time for this report.


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—JOHN 1:1-18.—JANUARY 1.—

“In him was life; and that life

was the light of men.”—Verse 4.

OUR lesson is an epitomized statement of the entire plan of God in most comprehensive form, reaching from long before the creation of the earth down into the future to the grand consummation of the divine plan at the close of the Millennial age. The subject is wide enough, deep enough, high enough to furnish food for thought for a score of lessons. In considering it as a whole, therefore, we can touch only briefly on its various points at this time.

“In the beginning”: These same words introduce us to the Bible as the record of the world’s creation in the book of Genesis, but here the reference is to a beginning long before the creation of this earth. At the beginning mentioned in Genesis, Job tells us that the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy. There were then at that time angelic beings, sons of God, previously in existence, who rejoiced at this further manifestation of divine power in the creation of this world. There must have been a beginning, so far as they were concerned, long before. It is to this original beginning that our text refers, a beginning before the angels were created. To what beginning, then, could it refer—a beginning of what? We answer that it was not the beginning of the divine being, for respecting the heavenly Father, Jehovah, the Almighty, we have the distinct statement that from everlasting to everlasting he is God—he had no beginning. Hence the beginning mentioned in our text refers neither to man, nor to angels, nor to the Father: it does refer to the “beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14), a name or title given to the only begotten of the Father, who subsequently became our Redeemer and Lord, Jesus. With this thought in mind all is clear: the Apostle’s explanation has settled the matter.

This original or beginning or first creation of God in our text is called the Word of God—the Logos. History tells us that in olden times it was customary to regard the person of the king as too sacred to be seen by the common people except on special occasions, and that when certain great laws or edicts were to be announced it was customary for the king to be screened by a lattice from the gaze of the multitude assembled, while before the lattice stood a person who enjoyed the king’s favor and confidence and who became his representative and was called the king’s word, because he spoke in a loud, audible tone the commands and directions of the king, who communicated with him in a low voice from beyond the lattice work. This illustration gives us a clue to the use of the Word as one of the titles of the only begotten Son of God. It suggests to us what the Scriptures variously declare, namely—that all of the Father’s dealings with all others of his creatures are done indirectly through the Son, his mouthpiece, his Word, his representative.


In the beginning the Word was alone with the Father, the Apostle declares. But the whole matter is still more clearly seen when we take the literal reading of the Greek, because in it the Greek article appears before the word rendered God, which would make the translation into English properly read, “And the Word was with the God.” Here we see most clearly and beautifully the close relationship existing in the very remote past between the heavenly Father and the heavenly Son, between the Almighty God and his only begotten Son, in whom centered all the divine purposes and through whom he was pleased to manifest every feature of the divine power and glory.

The next statement, “And the Word was God,” is not to be understood as contradicting the statements previously and elsewhere made, but the distinction is considerably lost in the translation. We explain, therefore, that here the Greek article does not appear before the word translated God, and hence the thought in the statement is a God, as in contrast with the previous statement, the God. Thus understood the passage would properly read, “The Word was with the God and the Word was a God.” Ah, now we have it clearly! The word god signifies mighty one, and in the Scriptures is used not only respecting the Father but also respecting the Son, also in reference to the angels, and in one instance when referring to men, influential men—the seventy elders of Israel whom Moses appointed or designated elohim, that is gods, mighty ones. The thought in our text, then, is that the Word of God, the Only Begotten of the Father, the beginning of the creation of God, was created on a nobler and higher plane of being, endued with grand qualities, so that he was in very fact a god—not the Father, not the God, not Jehovah, but “The Son of the Highest.” The Apostle Paul clearly sets forth this matter, saying, “To us [Christians] there is one God the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ.”—I Cor. 8:6.

The second verse reiterates and thus emphasizes the statement that the Word, which was a God, was in the beginning (before the creation of others) with the God. If anyone were in danger of misunderstanding the statement of the first verse that the

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Word was a God, if in any danger of thinking of this as signifying that the Word was the God, the second verse would correct the error by showing that the Word as a God was with the God, and that therefore they were two and not one in person.

The third verse is a grand, comprehensive statement, which gives us a glimpse of the great honor and dignity of the Son of God, “the Only Begotten” of the Father, the “beginning of the creation of God.” “All things were made by him,” by the Word—angels, worlds, mankind—all things: “Without him was not one thing made that was made.” How grandly, how gloriously, the dignity and honor and position of our great Lord looms up before us as we think of how highly the Father honored him, even before he came into the world, even before he manifested his obedience to the Father’s will even unto death.



—2 COR. 15:27; EPH. 4:5,6.—

We are not from this statement to get the inference that the Son was superior to the Father, that the Father had created nothing previously because of lack of ability to create, but that the Father was pleased thus to recognize, honor and use this particular channel in his great work. The Apostle sets the whole matter straight, saying, “To us there is one God of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things.” This explains the matter. The power all resided in the Father—everything is of him, from him, through the Son, by the Son as his honored instrument and representative, “that all men may honor the Son even as they honor the Father also.” (John 5:23.) It will be noticed from this last quotation as well as in all the other statements here examined that there is no suggestion whatever that the Father is the Son and that the Son is his own Father, but quite to the contrary—that there are two persons, both Gods, both Creators, but the one the superior, the other his honored representative in glory and in power.

Verse four transports our thought from the glorious Only Begotten, the Word of Jehovah, creating angels, worlds and man, to his work as man’s Redeemer—present among men. Elsewhere we get the particulars of how he who was rich became poor for our sakes; how the Only Begotten, the Word, left the glory of the Father to carry out the Father’s great and wonderful and loving plan of salvation toward man. Briefly the Apostle assures us that when Jesus was amongst men “in him was life.” There is a great force and meaning in this expression when we understand it. When our Lord was amongst men he was the only man who had life in him. Father Adam once had life, but he lost it through disobedience in Eden, and instead the curse, the sentence of death, rested upon him and was inherited by all of his children, so that not a man in all the world of Adam’s race had life—except this Son of man of whom John was writing. Of all others the Apostle Paul wrote, “By one man’s disobedience sin entered into the world, and death as a result of sin; and thus death passed upon all men, for all are sinners.” (Rom. 5:12.) Our Lord’s words respecting those about him were, “Let the dead bury their dead.” True, not all were dead in the sense of having lost every spark of life, but all were more than nine-tenths dead and the other tenth fast ebbing away. But in him, in this Only Begotten of the Father when amongst men, there was life, absolute life, perfect life, because his life had not come from Adam through an earthly father but was directly transferred from his prehuman state or condition to the womb of Mary. Thus born he was indeed partaker of a human organization but without any impairment of his life rights; hence, as the Scriptures declare, he was holy, harmless, separate from sinners—separate and distinct from all the race of Adam, peculiarly different because of his different begetting.


Needless to say light is here used in a figurative sense: it signifies hope, intelligence, instruction. Our Lord’s life as the “man Christ Jesus,” his holiness of heart, his full obedience to the Father’s will, his loyalty to every principle of righteousness, his manifestation of divine character, no less than the words of instruction that he spoke as never man spake—all these attest that indeed he was a great light amongst men—a light which ever since has been shining, not only through his recorded discourses and instructions but also through the lives of his disciples, and that in proportion as they were and are truly his.

“And the light shined in darkness; and the darkness appreciated it not.” How true! not only of the Jews of his own day, but how true still in respect to the world in general. How few grasp, comprehend, appreciate the light of divine truth and grace which shone out through the words and deeds of the man Christ Jesus. True, we are informed that about four hundred million, nearly one-fourth of the world’s population, are named by his name—Christians,—yet how impossible it would be to close our eyes to the great fact that the vast majority of these are in nearly as great darkness as the remaining three-fourths of the world’s population, the heathen. Into how few hearts and minds has this true light shined! The Apostle’s explanation is the only one that covers the case. He declares, “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the glorious light of the goodness of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord should shine into their hearts.”—2 Cor. 4:6.

How sad! Three-fourths of the world in total darkness, while nearly all of those who say, We see, are “blind also”! (John 9:40.) If by the grace of God our eyes have been opened to some degree to appreciate this great light, let us not be highminded but fear lest the light should pass from us, lest we should ever get into darkness again, lest pride of heart or the cares of this world or the deceitfulness of riches, or any other thing should again blind us to the goodness and grace of God in Christ. Even Christians, the Apostle intimates, see only in part, but may see increasingly in proportion as they come into line and accord with the divine plan respecting them. Let us keep in memory how he wrote respecting some true followers of the Lord in his day, saying, “I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom

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and of revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”—Eph. 1:16-18.

In verses six to eight the Apostle begins to particularize respecting the Lord’s earthly ministry, and shows us that John the Baptist was divinely commissioned to bear testimony and witness to the Lord, to this great Light, the object being the giving of a ground for faith in Jesus as the Light, the life of the world. John was not the Light, but merely the messenger of it, one to point out the true Light. And we remember, indeed, that John was particular not to take any honor in respect to these matters to himself, but declared plainly that his mission was to introduce the Messiah; and as soon as he received from the Father the witness that Jesus was indeed the expected one he made haste to proclaim the Lord, declaring himself unworthy to even be his servant to unfasten his shoes. So faithful was John’s testimony that many of his own disciples at once forsook him and became followers of Jesus, as the record shows.


As he was the Father’s Word or Messenger he was also the Father’s Light, whose mission it was to reveal, to make known, the Father’s love, that thereby those who had eyes to see might be attracted, drawn, blessed. Alas, how many were blind! Eyes had they but they saw not, and understanding had they and appreciated not. Those who did see, who did appreciate, what a blessing they received!—not only those who saw the Lord personally but those who have since seen his glory, his light, through the words of his faithful messengers under the guidance of his holy Spirit. “Blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear.” What a blessed thought lies half hidden in the Apostle’s words—in the declaration that this true Light shall enlighten every man born into the world! What a ray of hope this lights up in the sympathetic and Christian heart! All who have the Spirit of God, who so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son to be its Redeemer, are sure to be sympathetic with the world in its lost and blinded condition. To such this promise is a reassurance of all the glorious privileges and messages sent by the Lord through the prophets telling of the age of glory, when the Messiah shall be the Sun of Righteousness to scatter the darkness and miasm of sin and death and to bring in everlasting righteousness and life to the world—to whomsoever will accept the same.

Nothing is plainer than that our dear Redeemer has not yet enlightened those born into the flesh four thousand years before he was made flesh and died for our redemption. It is equally clear that not more than one in ten of those born into the world during the past two thousand years since he redeemed us have ever heard of that great transaction or had the opportunity of thus being enlightened and blessed. This, then, is the glad message, the good tidings of great joy which shall yet be unto all people—our dear Redeemer is not only the Redeemer of the Church and the light of the Church, but the Redeemer of the world, the light of the world, that shall ultimately enlighten every man born into the world, every son and daughter of Adam. In this connection we are reminded of the words of the Apostle to Timothy, “There is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all—to be testified in due time.”—I Tim. 2:5,6.


Ah, yes! there is a due time for every feature of the divine plan, and not until all of these various features have been developed will its glory and beauty fully appear. For two thousand years the world was

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left practically without hope of any kind; during the next two thousand years Abraham and his seed alone of all the families of the earth enjoyed divine favor and a partial knowledge of the glorious plan of salvation which would be outworked by Messiah, who according to the flesh would be of the seed of Abraham; during the last two thousand years the knowledge of Messiah has been largely hidden from the Jews and from the majority of other nations, but has gone nevertheless hither and thither, selecting a peculiar people, a Royal Priesthood, a holy nation—spiritual Israel. Each of these features has its due time: in due time God revealed the outlines of his plan to Abraham; in due time Christ died for the ungodly; in due time his second coming will usher in his Kingdom and with it the blessing of all the families of the earth, when the true Light shall lighten every man.

“He was in the world, the world was made by him and the world knew him not. He came unto his own [nation] and his own [people] received him not.” Thus briefly the rejection of Christ by the blind world and blinded Israel is recorded. But this blindness, which God foreknew and had left provision for in his plan, did not hinder our dear Redeemer from accomplishing the gracious purposes intended. He came not to reign, not to be ministered unto, but to serve Israel and the world as their Redeemer—to purchase them with his own blood, and to draw them out from under the condemnation that rested upon all because of disobedience to the divine law. Grandly he finished the work that was given him to do.

But not all rejected him: a small remnant as compared with the whole nation believed on him, trusted him and obeyed him, and were blessed by him in a special manner. These were the apostles, and other faithful brethren to the number of about five hundred. (I Cor. 15:6.) To these by divine arrangement a special favor or blessing was extended—the privilege of passing from the house of servants to the house of sons. Moses was the head of the house of servants—natural Israel; Christ is the Head of the house of sons—spiritual Israel. This the Apostle points out, saying, “Moses, verily, was faithful as a servant over all his house; but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we if we hold fast the confidence of our rejoicing firm unto the end.”—Heb. 3:5,6.


The Jews never claimed to be sons of God, neither are they referred to in the Scriptures as such. No greater dignity than that of being servants of the Most High God could possibly have been dreamed of up to the time when our Lord himself announced the privilege of adoption to the new nature. In evidence of this we remember that the Jews sought to stone our Lord simply because he claimed to be a son of God.

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(John 5:17,18.) The place and time of adoption for these believers was in the upper room at Pentecost, when the spirit of adoption was granted unto them—the holy Spirit, the anointing: and similarly the spirit of adoption is granted to all the followers of the Lord during all the centuries since, although not accompanied by the same miracles and manifestations granted and necessary in the beginning. It is this begetting of the spirit to a newness of life on the spiritual plane to which the Apostle refers, saying, “Which were begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” The word born, as used both in the Common and Revised Versions, is erroneous and misleading; begotten is the proper translation of genao in this case. We note also that Westcott bears out this thought, saying, “Literally begotten, as in I John 2:29; 3:9.”

The Apostle is very particular to show that this begetting to the new nature is as necessary to the new creation as begettal of the flesh is necessary to human generation. Furthermore, he hedges the subject all around to prove that the begetting power is not of heredity, not of blood, not of the will of the flesh directly or indirectly, not of the will of man in any sense of the word: God alone does this begetting, God alone accepts to membership in this new creation, God alone imparts the seal of his adoption; and hence those so begotten, when born in the resurrection, will be in the highest sense of the word children of the Highest, “heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Coming back to our original topic to view our Lord’s advent amongst men from the standpoint of the faithful disciple, he says, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Note first the statement that he was made flesh, a totally different thought from that expressed in some of the creeds when they speak of the Lord as “incarnate.” To be incarnate would signify to get into flesh as though the flesh were merely a covering or garment. This is not the statement nor the significance of the Scriptural testimony, which is very explicit, “made flesh.” The Revised Version, following the original still more exactly if possible, gives it, “The Word became flesh.” This is in accord also with the statement of Romans 1:3, that our Lord was made “of the seed of David according to the flesh;” and again, the statement of Galatians 4:4, that “God sent forth his Son made by a woman.”


The apostles and all believers who had intercourse with our Lord in the days of his flesh experienced, “beheld, his glory.” They beheld the grandeur, the nobility, the perfection of the “man Christ Jesus”—a perfection and glory seen in no other because all others were sinners, while he by virtue of special birth was holy, harmless, separate from sinners. The Word glory here represents the same thought as in Psalms 8:5, where, speaking of Adam and his perfection and God likeness as the perfect man in the image of God, it is declared that God “crowned him with glory and honor.” Similarly our Lord Jesus was crowned with glory and honor of human perfection in the days of his flesh, and his disciples beheld this dignity of human perfection, which marked him as separate and distinct from all others; and they recognized it as differentiating him from the world of sinners, marking him as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth—abounding in every proper and desirable quality and characteristic.

Another thought is somewhat covered by our translation in the word dwelt. In the Greek this signifies tabernacled or tented, as if it read, “The Word was made flesh and tabernacled amongst us.” A tabernacle was intended to be a temporary residence or dwelling, and thus the Scriptures point out that our Lord took the human nature, “was made flesh,” not that he might forever be a fleshly being, a human being, but merely temporarily. Other Scriptures fully corroborate this thought, and it seems strange indeed that Christian people should have so generally received the erroneous thought that our Lord is now a human being, a flesh-and-blood being in heaven. Quite to the contrary—flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of heaven. Our Lord was changed in his resurrection and is now, as the Apostle declares, “a quickening Spirit,” and again “Now the Lord is that Spirit.” Again he declares that all of the Lord’s people who shall be joint-heirs with him in his Kingdom must be “changed,” because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom.”

It would be too bad indeed to think that our Lord had made the great stoop from heavenly conditions to earthly conditions, laying aside the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, being made flesh and suffering on our behalf, and that then, after thus being obedient to the Father and serving us so graciously, he should be obliged to remain forever upon the lower fleshly plane of being. It would indeed be a distressing thought. But not only do the Scriptures cited above prove the contrary of this, but in harmony with the statement of the text we are considering, namely, that he merely tabernacled with us for a little while, the Apostle distinctly explains the object of our Lord’s coming into the world and shows that it was all accomplished at his death: he says he was made flesh that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Heb. 2:9.) That was the object, the only object, the only necessity for our Lord’s becoming a man, and when he had finished that work which the Father gave him to do he was glorified, and, as we are distinctly told, he was highly exalted and given a name above every name—“far above principalities and powers and every name that is named.” Phil. 2:9; Eph. 1:21.

The Apostle John proceeds to show that John the Baptist fully proclaimed the Lord as the Messiah, and doubtless he notes this fact because many of the Jews evidently had great confidence in John the Baptist though rejecting Jesus. The Apostle proceeds to say that the fulness of Christ, the grace and merit which were in him, have been conferred upon all of his followers, his true disciples, “grace for grace,” or, more literally, favor upon favor. This last expression seems to be a statement of what all the Lord’s people recognize in their own experiences, namely—that the blessing coming to them first in their relationship to the Lord is by no means all of his favor; that they may grow in grace, grow in knowledge, grow in the fruits of the Spirit, and possess favor upon favor additionally,

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continuously to the end of the course; and then—in the resurrection morning—that which is perfect shall come as the climax of God’s favor, and we shall be like our Redeemer and see him as he is and share his glory.

Proceeding, the Apostle contrasts Moses, the typical mediator, the head of the typical house of Israel, with Christ, his antitype, the Head of Spiritual Israel. The Law Covenant communicated and mediated by Moses was a great blessing to that nation in many respects; but the grace and truth, God’s favor and the knowledge of his wonderful plan, came not through Moses but came through Christ, and not to the followers of Moses but to the followers of Christ.

Our lesson concludes by pointing out that our Lord Jesus was the only begotten Son of his Father’s bosom, and that his mission in the world was to declare the Father, to make him known, to reveal the Father first to the Church, and ultimately, in due time, to the world. The Father, standing as the embodiment of perfection and righteousness, could not properly and justly recognize sin and sinners, for they are wholly contrary to the best interests of the universe and contrary to the divine purposes: they can not be recognized by God. Hence, if he would exercise mercy it must be through another—a mediator. His love and mercy, therefore, are revealed to us in Christ, and are none the less his because exercised toward us in this circuitous manner, and with the reservation that no man cometh unto the Father but by him, and that there is no other name given under heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved. Thus the entire work of the Son in man’s redemption, in the instruction of his followers, and ultimately in the judgment and blessing of all the families of the earth—all of these will be but the revelation of the Father, the showing of his real character both for love and justice, wisdom and power.


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—JOHN 1:18-34.—JANUARY 8.—

Golden Text:—“Behold the Lamb of God,

which taketh away the sin of the world.”

JOHN THE BAPTIST had the great honor and distinction of being the first of God’s witnesses amongst men respecting God’s only begotten Son. John was a grand character, from whatever standpoint we view him, and all of the Lord’s people now seeking to witness faithfully may draw some valuable lessons from his course, in addition to which we shall show that he was a type of all the faithful witnesses of the Lord throughout this Gospel age. He was not an example to us in respect to his manner of speech or dress or general methods; nevertheless his peculiarities in these respects especially adapted him to the witnessing which the Lord designed him to do. Living in a time of increase of wealth and luxury, John was all the more attractive as the prophet of the Lord by reason of his peculiar disregard of the conventionalities of the time, and the evidences these gave of his complete separation from the world, his complete devotion to his special ministry. The people of Israel, as our Lord pointed out, carefully cherished the memories of their great prophets and garnished their sepulchers, although they were not sufficiently careful to heed their teachings. Amongst the ancient prophets Elijah was one of the most revered, and the fact that John the Baptist simulated him in his apparel and general demeanor and forceful teaching attracted the people much more than otherwise would have been the case.

Little is told us respecting John except that he was a cousin of Jesus and six months older, beginning his ministry at thirty years of age. Therefore he had been teaching and baptizing just six months before the Lord came to him for baptism. His ministry continued for a year after Jesus’ baptism; then he was shut up in prison for about a year before he was beheaded. Our lesson opens with a reference to John’s witnessing—calling upon the people to repent because God’s Kingdom was about ready to be established, urging them that they would not be fit for a share in it unless their hearts were fully turned to the Lord and away from sin.

Other Scriptures show us that for some time the nation of Israel had been looking for Messiah and that false Messiahs had arisen from time to time, and one record is that “all men were in expectation of him.” Under these circumstances it is not surprising that the Jews urged the leaders of their nation, priests and Levites, to go to John and interview him and advise them respecting his message. Our lesson recounts the visit and the testimony John gave. Apparently it was the expectation of the questioners that John would claim to be the Messiah himself, and it was probably with surprise that they learned from his own lips that he made no such boast—“he confessed and denied not.” Their next question was, “Art thou Elias?” (the Greek form of the word Elijah), and he replied, “I am not.” Remembering the prophecy of Deuteronomy, “A prophet shall the Lord raise up unto you like unto me [Moses],” they next inquired whether or not John were that prophet, and he answered, No.

Surprised they then asked, “Who art thou, then? We must make some report respecting you.” Humbly and faithfully John declared that he was merely a nameless voice calling attention to the great Messiah, heralding his coming: he was like a voice in the wilderness declaring that a way must be prepared for the coming of the Kingdom, for which Israel had been hoping and longing and praying for centuries.


It will be noticed that John distinctly declared that he was not the Elijah, and some have felt perplexed over the matter because our Lord, on referring to John and in answer to the query of the disciples about Malachi’s testimony that Elijah must first come, declared of John, “This is the Elijah if ye will receive it.” The explanation already given we repeat: As Jesus in the flesh was the forerunner of the Messiah in glory and power, who will take his great power and reign in the opening of the Millennial age, and as the Apostle shows the Christ will be of many members, Jesus the Head and the Church his body, in the Kingdom glory, so, similarly, John the Baptist was a forerunner

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to a greater one than himself, a more important witness composed of many members, witnessing over a period of nearly nineteen centuries, preparing the way for Messiah’s Kingdom and announcing it. John in the flesh introduced Jesus in the flesh; but the greater than John, the Elijah of many members, will introduce the greater, the glorious Christ of many members.

The real Elijah, who for nineteen centuries has been fulfilling the predictions of Malachi, the prophet, has been composed of the many faithful witnesses for Christ throughout this Gospel age. Jesus himself in the flesh was the first of those who witnessed a good confession before Pilate and before the Jewish nation; the apostles witnessed similarly, and all down through the Gospel age the Lord’s people in the flesh have witnessed—have witnessed against sin and in favor of righteousness, have witnessed the necessity for turning from sin to righteousness in order to be prepared for a share in the Kingdom, have witnessed that the Kingdom of the Lord is to be established in the hands of the glorified, and that it will bring in everlasting righteousness and fulfil the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.”

Hence we see that the words of Jesus and the words of John the Baptist are in full accord; John was not the Elijah mentioned by the Prophet, and yet he did a work of Elijah to those amongst the Jews who received his message. As it is the work of the greater Elijah to draw attention to the great Christ and the great work to be accomplished by him, so it was the mission of John in the Jewish nation to call attention to Jesus in the flesh, and in this sense of the word he was the Elijah to those who received it because to them he did the work of Elijah. From this standpoint we see a grand antitypical Elijah, the Church in the flesh, doing a great work of witnessing throughout this Gospel age, and preparing for the establishment of the Kingdom in the end of the age; and we see the great work of Messiah, Head and body, Bridegroom and Bride, which will immediately follow this testimony.

The Prophet Malachi declared that one of two things would follow the work of the true Elijah, either it would turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and of the children to the fathers—that is, bring into full accord and loving harmony the people—or else it would result in the bringing of a great curse upon the people and great tribulation. The world must be made ready for Messiah’s Kingdom either by repentance and true conversion to the Lord or by judgments of the Lord. Malachi does not state which way the results will be accomplished, but other Scriptures clearly indicate that the work of the antitypical Elijah would not succeed, would not convert the world, and that as a result the establishment of Messiah’s Kingdom would come in connection with a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation—the curse mentioned by Malachi, the great tribulation mentioned by our Lord.

From this standpoint, recognizing John the Baptist as a part of the typical Elijah and the Church in the flesh as the antitypical, we must draw lessons of humility as well as of zeal and faithfulness from John’s course: not only did he make the preaching of the Gospel the chief object of life, to the extent of carelessness respecting all interests of this life, but additionally he boasted nothing of himself. His main mission in life was to prepare the people for the Messiah and to point them to him; and our success as members of the antitypical Elijah will be in proportion as self is ignored and Christ is made the theme of our discourses, the center of our teachings.

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It is the worldly idea and the nominal Church idea that all associated with religious teaching should make some great boast or claim respecting themselves—that they are wonderful prophets, or reverend, or doctors of divinity, or something else above the ordinary: no wonder then that the Priests and Levites, accustomed to this sort of thing, were surprised to find John making no such boasts and basing his preaching upon no such claims. They inquired what right, then, he had to be baptizing at all, if he were merely a servant, not a lord over God’s heritage. The same thought prevails today; and unless some boastful title or position or authority is claimed, the right to preach, the right to witness for the Lord in public, is called in question by many. Let us who have followed carefully the scriptural proprieties in such matters boast nothing, but rather as John and, later, Jesus did, let our boasts be that we are merely servants, not lords; merely witnesses, not great or honorable or reverend, not priests. By and by, when the Master’s views of matters shall be expressed, he will show that those who sought to exalt themselves failed of his approval, while those who humbled themselves, seeking only the privilege of service, have his approval. Directing their minds away from himself to Jesus, John declared, “There standeth one in your midst whom you do not recognize: him I declare, him I introduce as so great, so honorable, that I am not worthy even to be his servant, to loose the strings of his shoes.” Similarly humble feelings should pervade the hearts and testimonies of all who are true members of the antitypical Elijah, witnessing to the Lord of glory, who is about to establish his Kingdom. Alas, that self love and self-pride should at times hinder the testimony. Alas, that some seem to draw attention to themselves rather than to the King. Let us, dear brethren and sisters, in proportion as we have opportunity for witnessing, be careful, be faithful. Our faithfulness in witnessing to the Lord shall be the test of our worthiness to be members of his glorified Body.


In bearing witness John called attention to the fact that what he did in the way of water baptism was insignificant, unimportant in comparison to the work of Messiah and his baptism of the holy Spirit. Jesus baptized none with the holy Spirit during his ministry. The baptism taking place at Pentecost, after he had died for our sins and ascended up on high, had appropriated a portion of the merit of his sacrifice to the credit of believers—then the latter received the baptism of the holy Spirit. There is a similarity between the work of John and that of the Church in the flesh in respect to this feature also. We can witness to the Lord and perform the symbol of baptism into

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his death, but further than this we cannot go. Our glorified Head must give the great blessing by bringing the consecrated under the blessing and favor of the holy Spirit; and later on, when all the present witnessing has been finished and when the Atonement Day sacrificing shall all have been accomplished, the glorified Christ shall pour out his Spirit upon all flesh, as during this Gospel age he pours it out upon his special servants and handmaidens.


This was the first formal proclamation of Jesus by John to his disciples and to the public. It occurred at least forty-two days after our Lord’s baptism, for immediately following that he was forty days in the wilderness being tested. After the wilderness temptation, probably very soon, he returned to John’s company at Jordan. Shortly after this proclamation by John, our Lord departed from his vicinity, so that a simultaneous work by John and by Jesus was for a time in progress in different localities, for we read that Jesus and his disciples baptized more than did John and his disciples—though Jesus himself baptized not.

Our Lord was variously represented in the sacrifices of the Jews at their festivals: for instance he was typified by the peaceful lamb at their spring festival, and he was the antitype of the bullock of their Atonement Day sacrifices. It was with full propriety, therefore, that John announced Jesus as the “Lamb of God”—meek, gentle, patient, unassuming, the passover sacrifice for Israel and for the whole world. In the ears of the unregenerate such a title as lamb would not sound very dignified: amongst the coats of arms of chivalry, wolves’ heads, bullocks’ heads, lions’ heads, serpents’ heads, etc., are freely used to represent the strength and the prowess of the families, but where will we find anyone taking a lamb as a symbol of dignity? To the Lord’s consecrated people, however, the lamblike quality of our dear Redeemer and his patient and willing sacrifice on our behalf are beautifully represented in this symbol of a lamb—the Lamb of God, God’s Lamb, provided by him as the sacrifice for our sins, as the price of our redemption from the curse or sentence of death. This must be our witness, too, “Behold the Lamb of God.” The world must be pointed to the great sacrifice for sins, and not to Christ as the great Teacher. After they have received him as the Lamb, acknowledging their sins and need of his precious blood, then they will be ready to hear his words, to be taught of him; but no instruction can be rightly received until first our Lord is accepted as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.

It is worthy of note that although our Lord’s sacrifice had begun at this time, John did not say the Lamb of God which took away the sin of the world. The entire sacrifice of Christ was necessary as the offset price to justice for the sin of Adam and his race. That price must be laid down before any of the sins of the world could be cancelled. And we remember, too, that it was necessary that our Lord should be raised from the dead and should ascend up on high, there to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. After his resurrection as the great High Priest he appropriated of the merit of his sacrifice “on our behalf,” but not yet on behalf of the world. Only believers are included in the appropriation of the precious blood already made.

Our Lord is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world and not merely the sin of the Church, but his work is not yet finished. It begins with the appropriation which clears believers; it will reach its full accomplishment after the glorification of the Church, when the sins of the whole world will be cancelled. The merit or value of the entire transaction was in the sacrifice of our dear Redeemer, but in the divine plan the arrangement was made as it is, so that we who are now justified in advance of the world might have fellowship with our Lord and share in his sufferings, share in his sacrifice and share also in his glory by and by, and in the dispensing of the blessings incidental to the taking away of the sins of the world. None should overlook the fact that it is the divine intention not to stop in taking away the sins of the Church and the household of faith, typified by the Priests and Levites, but that ultimately our Lord’s sacrifice shall be appropriated to bringing blessings unto all the families of the earth.


Proceeding, John explained that Jesus was the one to whom he had previously referred in his preaching—the one who would come later and take the more honorable place because of his being so much the greater. John’s statement that he knew him not should not be understood to signify that he did not know that Jesus was his own cousin nor that he was unacquainted with him previously, but that he knew him not as the Messiah previously. John then explains that when he was himself commissioned to preach and to baptize the Lord informed him that he would see a better witness to the Son of God, the Messiah, and that he would know him by a certain sign by seeing the holy Spirit descend upon him like a dove, remaining upon him. John says that he did see this sign in Jesus’ case just following his baptism, and that he was, therefore, fully qualified to give this witness that he was the Son of God.

So it must be with us, dear fellow-witnesses: We must see for ourselves that Jesus is the Son of God, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, before we can be God’s witnesses respecting him. Alas, that it must be said that many of those who today in prominent pulpits are claiming to be God’s witnesses are thoroughly unqualified to give the witness, since, according to their own confession, they know not Jesus as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. The higher criticism and evolution doctrines have so undermined the faith of the majority of those who claim to be ministers and ambassadors and witnesses for God and for Christ that they cannot give the forceful witness such as alone will carry weight on this subject. We who have seen, we who have tasted, we who have to some extent appreciated the merit that is in the Lamb of God, may well rejoice in our privilege of being his witnesses; and it is to these faithful witnesses in the flesh, begotten of the holy Spirit, that the blessed privilege shall shortly be granted of being sharers with the Lord in his Kingdom and glory and work.