Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
TWOFOLD OBJECT OF GOSPEL PREACHING
"This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all
the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall
the end come."
In the words of our text our Lord Jesus Christ makes a statement as to the purpose of the Gospel Message of the present Age. That purpose is quite different from what Christian people in general have thought it to be.
Many have supposed that the object to be attained during this Age has been the conversion of the world. But not so, according to the Scriptures. The end mentioned in our text is not the end of the world, but the end of the preaching of the Gospel. After the preaching of the Gospel has accomplished its work, this kind of preaching will no longer be necessary. The work of this Gospel Age, as laid out by the Master, is not the conversion of the world, but the preaching of the Gospel as a witness to all the nations.
There is a distinction between the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Kingdom itself. The Gospel of the Kingdom is the Message concerning the Kingdom, the Glad Tidings of the Kingdom. When this Message shall have accomplished its work of gathering out a special class from amongst the people to constitute the Bride of Christ, then the Kingdom itself will be inaugurated and will begin its work, which will be for the salvation of the world at large. So we make the distinction between the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Kingdom. The Gospel is the announcement beforehand that the Kingdom is coming. When the Kingdom comes, of course the preaching that it is coming will be at an end; for the entire object of this preaching is to prepare for this coming Kingdom of God "under the whole heavens."
WHY BUT FEW HAVE HEARING EARS
The Scriptures inform us that since our Lord’s ascension to the right hand of the Majesty on High, He has been waiting until the time shall come for the Heavenly Father to make His enemies His footstool. (
.) In other words, He is waiting until His glorious Kingdom shall be inaugurated for the blessing of all the families of the earth. Meantime, those who hope to reign with Him have an important work to do in themselves, co-operating with their Lord in the preparation of themselves for their great future exaltation.
Additionally, they are to proclaim the Gospel Message, preaching it to every one who has an ear to hear, in order that the full number of the Bride class may be gathered in and fitted for their positions in the Kingdom.
But not many will hear this Message of the Kingdom.
The great majority of people are filled with their own ideas. Some are engrossed in money making, in pleasure seeking, in art, in music, etc. As a result, comparatively few have an ear for the Truth of God, the Message of the Kingdom. But upon the few who have the hearing ear, this glorious Message has a marvelous effect; for it transforms their entire lives.
In calling out this class God uses no force, no coercion.
It is strictly a voluntary matter. The Gospel Message is only for those who appreciate it; and they will receive a great blessing. As the Master said to His disciples, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear." (
.) When our Lord was preaching in Palestine, comparatively few had an ear to hear. The majority were too full of their own ideas and projects. And thus it has been all down the Gospel Age.
However, God is not blaming those who have no ears to hear the Message of the Gospel; and neither should we. We do not smite a blind man because he does not see. On the contrary, we sympathize with him. So we
should do with those who have no spiritual sight. There are very many who lack spiritual sight, many who cannot exercise faith in what they cannot see; and according to the Scriptures they are not responsible for their failure.
As the Apostle Paul says, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not." For this reason they cannot see. (
.) Later on, under the Messianic Kingdom, these blind eyes will be opened.—
So then, we perceive that this Message of the Kingdom was never designed to reach those now blinded by the Adversary. And this class forms the great majority of mankind. God never purposed that the Kingdom Message should convert the world, but that the Kingdom itself should do this work when it is established in the earth. The Message is designed for only a "little flock."
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom," said the Master. (
.) Only the Royal Family will get the Kingdom.
All others will be the subjects of the Kingdom.
THE PRICELESS PEARL NOW OFFERED
The earth is the one rebellious province in God’s Universe.
There are only a few members of Adam’s race who are inclined to listen to the Word of God and to follow its instructions. By nature our minds are all more or less twisted through the Adamic fall, and not one is fit to be a member of God’s Royal Family. But there are some who have a disposition of heart to do right, who hunger and thirst after God and righteousness. It is to such that the good Message of the Kingdom appeals.
The Gospel attracts those who have an interest in the things of God, but passes by those who lack such interest.
God is seeking for those who, when they learn of His wonderful Plan for human salvation from sin and death, will become so thoroughly engrossed in it that they will practically forget everything else. Thenceforth His Plan will be the only thing of special value to them. Some
of us have found it even so in our own cases. All other things are but secondary—eating, drinking, the kind of clothing we wear, whether we are poor or rich, etc. We desire merely to be neat in person and to have sufficient food to give us the strength required for what our Lord has given us to do.
With us the main object in life is the attainment of the great Heavenly treasure to which the Gospel called our attention. We are like the merchantman who was seeking goodly pearls, and who, when he had found one pearl of great price, sold all that he had and bought that pearl. (
.) The Kingdom of Heaven, the Messianic Kingdom, with its glory and honor and with its privileges in connection with the world’s uplift to human perfection, constitutes the great prize peculiar to this Gospel Age. Never before this Age was this prize possible of attainment; and the opportunity to attain it will end with this Age.
Everybody is seeking something in life. The vast majority have before their minds some object or aim, to the attainment of which they expend their energies.
Some are seeking the pearl of large financial influence in their community. Others seek the pearl of great wealth, the finest house in town, etc. Still others bend every effort to become famous musicians or great singers. A young woman may have before her mind the pearl of a cosy home, with a kind husband and little children. So there are pearls of many kinds and sizes. Whoever has no worthy object in life, no high ideal before his mind, is indeed a pitiable creature.
But the Pearl of great price presented to us in the Scriptures far eclipses all other pearls in value. Whoever possesses this Pearl will be in harmony with God.
The majority of mankind have no God, although everybody really needs Him; for we were created so. The highest organs in the human head show that worship of our Creator is a natural requirement of man’s being.
But the race is so fallen from its original perfection, and our God has been so grossly misrepresented to us, that few realize their need. What we were told concerning Him was so terrible that we did not care to know anything more about Him. Contrary to our nature, we turned aside because of these misrepresentations of His character. Nevertheless, the first step is to come into harmony with God, to become His child, and to learn that "like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that reverence Him."—
HOW TO SECURE THIS GREAT PEARL
As we examine this Pearl more closely, we see a marvelous beauty that we had not noticed before. We see that God has made a wonderful offer to those who will renounce the world and consecrate themselves fully to Him, to follow in the footsteps of their Redeemer, faithful even unto death. For these the Heavenly Father has in reservation great glory, high honor and a change of nature from human to Divine. (
.) These constitute the Church of Christ, and the Church will be joint-heir with Christ Jesus in His Kingdom, through which God has purposed to bless the world.
Whoever gets the Pearl will have the privilege of being associated with our Lord Jesus in the work of helping the world up out of ignorance, superstition and sin. For a thousand years this wonderful privilege will be afforded to Christ and His Church—the privilege of raising to human perfection and everlasting life all of the poor, fallen race of Adam who will accept the offer. Who would not rejoice at the prospect of uplifting the world from sin and death conditions to perfection and life!
What would not we give thus to bless and uplift all our relatives and friends who are not now interested in the Kingdom! How glad we are that all mankind will have the privilege of hearing and knowing about God!
But this is not all. After Christ and the Church shall have brought the poor world back to perfection,
righteousness and life, the Church will be forever associated with her Lord, to show forth the riches of Jehovah’s grace throughout the ages of eternity. (
.) Surely this is "a Pearl of great price."
Are we asked what we must give to secure this Pearl?
In the parable, the merchantman sold all that he possessed to obtain that Pearl; and so must we. It makes no difference whether we have much or little, we must give our all. We must yield ourselves wholly and unreservedly to God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. In one sense the Pearl is very cheap—practically a gift; for the most that any of us may possess is as nothing in comparison.
Yet in the sense that in order to purchase it we must submit ourselves fully to the Lord, henceforth to have no will of our own in anything, to suffer reproach, scorn, persecution, loss of friends, tribulations—all necessary to our preparation for future service—the cost is considerable. But whoever has once gotten a glimpse of the Pearl will gladly pay the price.
CONDITIONS FOR OBTAINING THE PEARL
Whoever accepts this wonderful offer which God has made must enter into a Covenant of Sacrifice with Jehovah. (
.) Day by day he must thereafter carry out his Covenant. He must study the course followed by our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our great Exemplar; then he must walk in the Savior’s steps. He must deny himself—put himself fully into the hands of our Lord—and enter the School of Christ, learning daily lessons of faith and obedience.
After we have consecrated ourselves fully to the Lord, all that we have is His; and we are only His stewards, who must render to Him an account for our use of time, influence, means, strength, and all. We have very little to render to the Lord at best. When the time necessary for eating, sleeping, earning a livelihood, etc., is deducted, we have not much left for active service for God. Therefore we are, so far as we are able, to redeem the time
from earthly affairs, spending as little as possible commensurate with duty and necessity in housework, business, etc. Some of the earthly treasures can be relinquished in the interest of the Heavenly treasures, that more time may be given to the study of God’s Word, in helping the brethren along the good way, and in proclaiming the Message of grace to others.
The number who will obtain this Pearl is limited.
During the entire Gospel Age only 144,000 are to be selected to form the glorified Church class. This number, we believe, is very nearly complete. Therefore if we wish to be winners of the prize we must be up and doing.
The time is short; and we must be about our Father’s business. It is the Father’s business that we cultivate the fruits of the Holy Spirit—putting away malice, hatred, strife, and putting on meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly-kindness, love. This is the Father’s business; and by so doing we are getting ready to carry on His business by and by. He wishes us to attend to our own education now, and to do all that we can to help others to get their education also. This is not the time to attend to the interests of the world.
This does not mean that we shall do nothing for the world, however; for we are to do good unto all as we have opportunity, especially to the Household of Faith.
Seek first the Kingdom of God for yourself; and afterward look after the brethren and those needing your assistance. Be kind and considerate toward all. Watch for opportunities to give a pleasant word or a smile—to your grocer, your iceman, your milkman, your butcher, etc. Do kindly by them. They will see that you are different from others, and that you are not trying to pick a flaw in everything that they have. This does not mean that you are to be willing to be taken advantage of, but that you are showing a kindly spirit towards them. By so doing, you may pave the way for speaking the Gospel Message to them afterwards.
We cannot know how much good may result from these seemingly small things. Thus doing, we shall be showing forth the Lord’s praise, which is to be our constant aim. All of this is preparing us for the Kingdom, laying up treasures to buy this great Pearl. To do so will take all that we have, however much or little. There is no other way to secure it.
With the majority, the sole object of life seems to be something to eat or to drink, a little pleasure, some attractive apparel, etc. Comparatively few know for what they are living or why they are in the world. To live in this way is to live like an animal. Rather than to have our mind in such a state we would prefer to be blotted out of existence. But how glorious it is to lift our thoughts and minds to things Above, to live for God and for the eternal future! Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the glories which God has prepared for them that love Him above all else.
GOSPEL WITNESSING ALMOST COMPLETED
The Gospel of the Kingdom has been preached in all the world as a witness unto all nations. The end of the present Dispensation is at hand. The shaking process, which is to remove everything not in full harmony with the incoming Messianic Kingdom, is progressing. The Bride of Christ will soon be complete beyond the veil.
The time of the deliverance of the Church is at hand.
The end may come very suddenly. We wish only our Father’s time and way. Let us, then, be faithful unto death. Daily we are learning patience, cheerful endurance, submission to the will of the Lord. All this is shown in the faces of the Lord’s dear people. Let us continue thus to let our light shine; and soon, we trust, we shall gain the Pearl of Great Price—in the Kingdom.