following Scriptures that God guides the affairs of nations, and chooses their rulers?
The Most High ruleth in the Kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men."--`Dan. 4:17`.
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God."--`Rom. 13:1,2`.
ANSWER.--These Scriptures are in harmony with other statements of Scripture. In the case of Nebuchadnezzar, for instance, after he had been seven years insane, lying amongst the beasts of the field, his reason returned to him and he extolled the God of Heaven, acknowledging that God setteth up those whom He will and putteth down those whom He will. We understand that God's dealing with King Nebuchadnezzar was prophetic.
In the case of Israel God had very particular oversight of their affairs, and dealt with their rulers. David was anointed when he was a youth, to be king in due time instead of Saul. So with several others of their kings--the Lord had them anointed in advance. It might be said of Israel, that whoever sat upon the throne was there as the Lord's representative. We remember also that on one occasion the Prophet of God was sent to anoint one of the kings of Syria and to give him a prophecy respecting himself, that he should take the throne.
Looking back, we see that in the case of Pharaoh, the perverse king of Egypt, God declared, "For this very purpose I raised thee up, that I might show forth My Power in thee." God did not approve of Pharaoh, but used him to show forth His own glory. God also used King Cyrus of Persia as a servant to perform His bidding.
GOD'S SUPERVISION OF CURRENT EVENTS
All of these recorded instances show a vital interest on God's part as to who shall come forward and who shall be retarded when these matters would affect His own Plan. We are not to understand that these different kings represented God's choice as respects their loyalty to Him, but that these were the ones through whom the Divine Plan in operation could be signally manifested and outworked. And so it is today. The Lord knows which of the men running for the office of President of the United States in the fall of 1912 would be the most suitable--the one who would most fully co- operate in the carrying out of the very conditions which He is pleased to permit to come to pass at this time.
The Lord guides in the affairs of nations now, only in so far as such oversight will promote the fulfillment of His own purposes. When the monarchs of various countries declare themselves "King by the grace of God," we do not agree to the thought they have in mind in making such claim. They are expressing the thought which has prevailed throughout Christendom for centuries--that they reign as representatives of the Kingdom of God, and by His special favor. And likewise the Catholic Church: When the Pope claims that he is the head of the Church of Christ, claims that he is Christ's Vice-regent, he thus claims that Christ has set up His Kingdom, and that the Pope reigns in His stead.
OVERRULE TO OUTWORKING GOD'S PLAN
After the Papal power waned in Europe, and the Protestants came into power, the Protestant rulers claimed the same right that the Catholics had claimed--to rule as the Lord's special representatives. And it is from this standpoint that kings maintain that they reign "by the grace of God," that the Kingdom of God is set up, and that they are reigning in God's Kingdoms. We do not understand this to be the right thought, but that in God's providence He permits these to occupy the thrones of the world for the time being. We understand that God does exercise a supervisory oversight in respect to them--not that He has authorized them to represent Him, or that He is responsible for their deeds and acts, but that He is so controlling matters as to cause them to outwork His own arrangements.
God will not convert a king in order to do this; He will not make him a saint. But He can allow or hinder events without interfering with the free will of any individual, and without becoming responsible for his government.
We may assume that this supervision of Divine Power is for the ultimate interest of mankind. We remember that there is a Prince of Darkness, who is seeking to do violence to humanity. Our thought is that the Divine Power hinders or restrains, so that the worst things cannot come to pass until His due time, and He overrules to bring those into power who will have the disposition to do what He purposes to permit when His due time has arrived. However, since the Lord does not explain to us just how He does this, it would be wise for us not to be too emphatic in our statements.
NATURE--Divine vs. Image of God. ::Q502:1:: QUESTION (1915)--1--Does not the attainment of the Divine nature mean attainment to the image of God in which man in the beginning was created? Does not the word nature here have the significance of disposition, character?
ANSWER.--It does not! Man never had the divine nature. The Apostle Paul points out, in discussing this subject of natures, in connection with the resurrection, that there is one flesh of fish, another of beasts, another of birds, and another of men. The fish does not have the same kind of flesh the bird has. We all know the difference. The flesh of fish, and of birds, and of beasts, is all different.
Then comes man, the highest of all the earthly beings. The Apostle calls our attention to the higher forms of existence; he calls attention to another plane of life. He shows that man, the highest of the earthly creatures, is lower than the lowest of the spiritual beings. He tells us about angels, principalities, powers, and the divine nature, the highest of all. The perfect human being is God manifest in the flesh. It is as close to the divine nature as the flesh could come. It represents the divine nature as nearly as is possible for a human being. The angels are also in God's image or likeness; the cherubim and seraphim as well, although on a higher scale than man. The highest of all is the divine nature. That nature only God had originally. And that kind of spirit nature which God has He gave to Jesus at His resurrection, as a reward for His faithfulness. Jesus did not have it before He became a man; but as the Father has inherent life, I.e., life in Himself, not a life
derived from food and water, "So hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself." We cannot understand that kind of life. I cannot imagine how God could give a life that has no need of anything to sustain it. You never had any experience along that line. I never had. We would have been as great as God is to fully comprehend Him.
We see the difference between apprehending and comprehending. To comprehend is to take in fully. To apprehend is to touch, or lay hold upon. You and I can apprehend, or lay hold of God, but not very clearly, because we are so little and He is so great. We cannot comprehend God. We can simply touch Him, or apprehend Him.
The Apostle dwelt upon this matter; he was apprehending, or touching God, as God had apprehended or touched him. God has laid hold of us, come in touch with us. We do not come in touch with God and say, "We will have Him for our God." He laid hold upon us and told us about His arrangement for us. We were responsive to it; we thought how wonderful that He would thus take notice of us. So we are seeking to apprehend that for which we are apprehended of God. Man was not created in God's image in the sense that he is of the divine nature, which is far above cherubim and seraphim, while man is a little lower than even angels.
NEIGHBOR--Who? ::Q503:1:: QUESTION (1905)--1--Who is our neighbor?
ANSWER.--Our Lord tells us in the parable of the "Good Samaritan." `Luke 10:29-37`.
NERO--Present Condition. ::Q503:2:: QUESTION (1913)--2--What is the present condition of Nero's soul? Where is he--in hell?
ANSWER.--I have no private information from Nero, my dear friends. I merely know what the Bible says. It says that Nero is in hell--the Bible hell, not in the hell of Dante, which is quite a different matter. Dante, you know, had a large imagination and he pictured purgatory and described how he went with an angel and looked into different places. He saw some with their heads down in the fire and their feet up being roasted; others had their feet down and the flames were coming up around their bodies; others were being rained upon with molten fire; others were being chased by devils with pitchforks, and still others were being frozen. People living in cold countries are supposed to like heat, and therefore Dante imagined that in purgatory they would be frozen. All this is imagination. As for hell, Dante did not dare to describe it. He went to the door and said, "He who enters here abandons hope," and did not enter.
The soul of Nero is where other souls are--it is dead. There was no fake about it. The devil is wrong in saying he is more alive than when he lived. He will stay dead until the time when the great Life-Giver will call him forth, as the Master said, `John 5:28,29`: "Marvel not, the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear the voice of the Son of Man and come forth; they who have done good (the saintly class, having divine approval) unto the resurrection of life." They will have the perfect life, "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." As the Apostle says, "Every man will come forth in his own order," in his own band, or company. How many bands there will
be I do not know, as God has not revealed it. I know not in which of these bands Nero shall come forth. I know they shall come forth. Jesus says, "They shall come forth unto a resurrection of damnation." Yes, my brother, the word damnation is there, but it is a very unfortunate translation, which has confused a great many of God's people. This is an illustration of how the human mind works when it is twisted by false doctrine. The translators, having in mind the eternal torment of the wicked, when they came to this word translated it damnation, whereas, had their minds not been beclouded they would not have so translated it. It does not mean eternal torment any more than it means potatoes. It means crisis, it means decision. They will come forth to demonstrate fully whether they will come into harmony with God and prove worthy of life, or not. The test now is not such a test. We are having our crisis now. If we have heard his voice, accepted his terms and entered into a covenant of sacrifice, then, having bound ourselves by this covenant to be his disciples and walk in his footsteps, our crisis will begin there, and continue through the remainder of our lives to determine whether we will obtain the prize of the high calling.
When the world will come forth from the tomb they will come forth to a crisis; not damnation at all. The same word occurs five times in the same chapter and in only one other place is it mistranslated damnation. We see the meaning of the word crisis. The sense of the Greek word has come into the English word also. We have incorporated words from various languages, and we use the word in the English in exactly the proper way. As for instance: If the doctor comes to a home and some one has a fever. We ask, "Is it a serious case?" He says, "I cannot tell until the crisis." What does he mean? The turning point, or point of decision, which will be the seventh, fourteenth, or twenty first day, as the case may be; it will always come on a seven, and when that is reached there will be a change for the better or worse. That is the meaning of the word crisis. If the doctor would come in and, after examining the patient you would ask him as to the outlook, and he would say, "I cannot tell until the damnation," what would you think of that? That would be the translation given in `John 5:28,19`, and it is equally absurd there.
The dead shall come forth to a resurrection of judgment, of testing, a crisis will be reached in their affairs. From that time they will not be allowed to do as they please. They will be compelled to be obedient to the rules of the kingdom, or receive stripes. If they resist far enough they will die the second death. If they respond to the opportunities they will be raised up to perfection, and by obedience to God they may have everlasting life.
NEW COVENANT--Re Gentiles? ::Q504:1:: QUESTION (1906)--1--Would it be right to say that the Gentiles would come under the New Covenant when they never have been under any other covenant with God?
ANSWER.--Yes, it would be right, because the New Covenant does not mean another covenant. It will be another covenant for those who were under a previous one, but "new" and "another" have not the same significance. The Lord says, "After those days I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel and the house of Judah," etc. In stating this matter respecting the new covenant, if we were to follow the connection it might seem at first as though it referred only to the Jews, but we are to remember that the Jewish people were a typical people. And just so if we read about the day of Atonement in the Law, you will find that the sin offering was made for the tribe of Levi, and then the second part of the sin offering for all the remainder of Israel. Now, where would you apply it? The Apostle applies it to every creature. In other words, all Israel means every creature in the outcome. In the type it was simply done with Israel, Israel as a nation being representative of the whole world in that atonement sacrifice. That is to say, all of God's provisions are for those who will ultimately become Israelites indeed. There will not be any provision for any who are aliens and strangers and foreigners. But now there is reason why people are aliens from God--the great adversary blinds their minds. All people who will come into harmony with God's plan through Christ, the great son of Abraham, will become thereby the children of Abraham, and thus will be a part of the "all Israel," who will have this new covenant confirmed with them and have the blessings and privileges included in it.
NEW CREATURES--Are We Actually or Reckoned? ::Q505:1:: QUESTION (1906)--1--Are we actually new creatures at the moment of our consecration, or reckoned so?
ANSWER.--I presume the brother means in the moment of the acceptance of our consecration. It is one thing for us to consecrate, and another thing for the Lord to accept the consecration. I understand the point of this question to be on the word "actual." Are we actually new creatures, or are we merely reckoned new creatures, is the thought. I think persons might, with equal sincerity, state the matter both ways, and have different thoughts. Actually I am a man, physically I have a human body, a human brain, etc., but the Lord tells me to reckon myself dead. Now I reckon myself dead. He tells me to reckon that I have passed from death unto life, and that I am now alive. But my human being, and human life, and human rights have been sacrificed, and I am now a new creature; I am to reckon that so. He tells me that He reckons it so. That is to say, He is going to deal with me from the standpoint as though I were a new creature, with whom old things have passed away, and all things have become new.
So you see it depends on how we are thinking of the matter, when stating these things. Words are only vehicles for conveying thoughts. It is the right thought we want to get, and use the most reasonable words we know how to express it. So I can see how some words say we are not actually new creatures, but only reckonedly new creatures, and that we will be actually new creatures when we enter into the full perfection of the new nature in the resurrection; and yet I can see how the other might be stated also, and say that actually we have something new, that we are new as compared with what we were before, in the sense that we have the new mind, and that God is dealing with the new mind, rather than with the body, and since He is dealing with the new mind, it is an actual new mind, a new will, a new purpose, a new intention. So you see the answer
to this question just depends on which way you are viewing it.
NEW CREATURE--Responsibility for Past Sins. ::Q506:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--Does God hold you as a new creature responsible for the sins of the past?
ANSWER.--No, not at all. Sometimes people tell me secrets of their past life that are very profound, and this is one of the things that I have aimed to show them from the Scriptures, that from the time they have made their consecration God through Christ made up to them all their insufficiency, and then they were new creatures, and nothing of the past was held against them as new creatures on account of what they may have done as old creatures before they were accepted of the Lord.
The new creature, let me say, has only the earthly body through which to act at the present time; therefore, as the Apostle says, we may will, it may be our intention to do so and so, yet we may find ourselves not able to perform. However, as a new creature, you must will to do perfectly. God knows that you have only the earthen vessel and is not expecting you to do more than you can, only all that you can do. Bring every power of the body into subjection. In the `8th chapter of Romans` he speaks of the spirit of Christ dwelling in you. Think what a power that is! Why, that power was able to raise Jesus from the dead. Is not that a wonderful power? Yes. Well, now, if you have received the holy Spirit of God and that was sufficient to raise Jesus from the dead, do you not think that will enable us to do considerable? Well, the Apostle says, let that spirit come more and more into the control of your mortal bodies. If you are new creatures, then as such you will bring your flesh as nearly as possible up to that standard every day.
I have found some dear friends troubled in spirit, because they have tried and failed or because someone else has done better than they could do. So I think of one brother in the Truth who said, Brother Russell, I wish I could do that the way you do. Well, I said, My brother, if you could do that as well as I can I would be ashamed. I was a Christian before you were born, and if you could do as well without my practice it would be a great shame to me. He said, Well, now, I never thought of it in that way.
NEW CREATURE--An Individual Matter. ::Q506:2:: QUESTION (1912-Z)--2--"If any man be in Christ, he is a New Creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (`2 Cor. 5:17`.) Are we to understand from this Scripture that The Christ, Head and Body, is the New Creature, or should we understand that this term, New Creature, applies to the individual members of the Church?
ANSWER.--Undoubtedly this is an individual matter. Individually we make consecration of our human nature in likeness to our Lord's consecration of His flesh. Individually we are begotten of the Holy Spirit. Individually we are on trial for everlasting life or everlasting death. Individually we must make our calling and election sure, or fail. Individually we must be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Individually, as we have borne the
image of the earthly one, we shall bear the image of the heavenly.
Moreover, this New Creation includes not only our Lord, its Head, and the Church, His Bride, but also the equally spirit- begotten. They, too, will belong to this New Creation because they will no longer be members of the human family. This New Creation embraces all who belong to "the Church of the First-borns, whose names are written in heaven." (`Heb. 12:23`.) The chiefest in this glorious Church will be the Royal Priesthood. The lesser brethren on the spirit plane will be the antitypical Levites, the Great Company class.
NEW CREATURE--Re the Robe. ::Q507:1:: QUESTION (1912-Z)--1--Can the New Creature's body sin?
ANSWER.--The New Creature's proper body is the Spirit body of the First Resurrection. But before getting it he is placed on probation and given his old human body to practice with. The New Creature cannot make the old body obey him perfectly. But he can develop strength in his endeavors to bring words, actions and thoughts into perfect accord with the perfect Law of God--Love.
Unable to conquer, he must show the Captain of his salvation his loyalty to the core by "fighting a good fight."
The imperfections of the flesh to which the new mind does not consent are all of heredity--all from Adamic weakness-- all, therefore, forgivable by the Redeemer, who merely needs to be appealed to as the great Advocate. But every transgression of the flesh is charged to the New Creature, who owns the flesh and is using it. This obligates repentance, prayer, etc., and means the greater blessing to the New Creature. To whatever extent the New Creature gives consent or sympathy to the sin of his flesh he is worthy of "stripes," which correctively will assist in his character development. "What son is he whom his Father chasteneth not?"
The New Creature only is given the wedding robe, the robe of Christ's righteousness, as a covering for his imperfect flesh. It represents his justification as a New Creature. It shows him as in Divine sight, holy, harmless, undefiled, through the merit of Jesus his Advocate and Redeemer.
NEW CREATURE--And Sin. ::Q507:2:: QUESTION (1912-Z)--2--Can the New Creature sin?
ANSWER.--Yes! and No! The Apostle says, "He cannot sin, for his seed remaineth in him." (`1 John 3:9`.) That is to say, so long as any New Creature continues to possess the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, he cannot consent wilfully to do sin. If one Spirit-begotten does sin wilfully it implies that prior to that wilful sin he parted with his spirit of holiness (lost the seed of his begetting) and got instead a spirit of sin, the spirit of the Adversary. In other words, a holy person, possessing God's Spirit of begetting, cannot wilfully and intentionally do that which he knows to be unholy and displeasing to God. He cannot take pleasure in sin. He once died to it, and to have it revive means a return to wallowing in the mire--"twice dead, plucked up by the roots"; ready to be taken and destroyed as a brute beast--`Jude 12`; `2 Pet. 2:12`.
NEW CREATURE--Is Body Part of? ::Q508:1:: QUESTION (1912)--l--Is the body of a consecrated person a part of the New Creature?
ANSWER.--Yes and no. It is not a part of the New Creature because the New Creature is spiritual, and the new body, which belongs to the New Creature he has not yet received, but he is hoping to receive it according to the Lord's promise, when he shall have demonstrated his loyalty--in his resurrection. We have this treasure (the New Creature, the new will, the new mind) in an earthen vessel. The earthen vessel is not the New Creature. But on the contrary we might properly say that the body belongs to the New Creature; in the same sense that your dog belongs to you. Your dog represents you or is you to such an extent that you would be held responsible for what he does. You would be liable for damage which he might do. So as a New Creature, he must keep the mortal body muzzled, and keep it from doing harm in the world. It is yours to use. But, you as a New Creature, will prosper and develop and become more and more established in the Lord in proportion as the Old Creature becomes more and more dead. The Apostle tells us, "Reckon ye yourselves dead to sin, but alive to righteousness." He tells us that the spirit of Christ operating in us should quicken or energize our mortal bodies in the service of the Lord, as the servants of the New Creature. Draft the mortal body into the service of the Great King as alive from the dead--that is the thought.
NEW CREATURE--Is It Divine? ::Q508:2:: QUESTION (1912)--2--Is the New Creature divine?
ANSWER.--The New Creature is begotten to the divine nature. The intention of begetting was to bring these new creatures to the divine plane or nature. "We are all called in the one hope of our calling." St. Peter tells us that God gave "the great and precious promises, that we might become partakers of the divine nature. We were begotten of the Holy Spirit with this end in view. Then, properly, the question might come in, Will all who are begotten of the Holy Spirit attain to the divine nature?
We answer, No. Some, according to the Scriptures, begotten of the Holy Spirit, will go into the Second Death, and not attain to any nature. Others begotten of the Holy Spirit will not attain to the divine nature, but attain to a spirit nature, lower than the divine. How this will be has been illustrated in the WATCH TOWER, but we will repeat some of the illustrations. For instance, among the bees: All bees are begotten in just the same way, whether they turn out to be a drone, queen bee or worker. There are three kinds, and the begetting is the same in every case. The after treatment causes the difference. One larvae becomes the queen simply because supplied a greater abundance of food and not because of any different begetting. So with the Church, begotten of the Holy Spirit. God provides the nourishment, and if you and I appropriate this and use it, it will build us up, and we will become the Queen, the Lord's Bride. Otherwise we may develop into the Great Company class or fail altogether in the Second Death.
NEW CREATURE--Is It Real or Reckoned? ::Q509:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--Is the New Creature real or merely reckoned?
ANSWER.--The New Creature is real, so real that the New Creature can die the second death. If it were only a reckoned matter it would not be so serious, but the whole proposition is carried out, to my understanding, on a real basis; that we must really, not reckonedly, come and present ourselves a living sacrifice. Christ needed to have really died before He could impute His merit to us. If it were merely a reckoned matter, God could have dealt with the lackings we have, but Jesus really ascended up on high and presented the merit of His sacrifice on our behalf. Not until that moment could God grant the Holy Spirit to the waiting disciples, and that Holy Spirit came to them as a real begetting to the new nature, "old things have passed away and all things have become new;" very positively so, in my judgment.
NEW CREATURE--How Perish? ::Q509:2:: QUESTION (1914)--2--How can the New Creature perish, if, as the Bible declares, we are "begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible?"
ANSWER.--The New Creature is begotten of incorruptible seed in the sense that this seed will not become unholy. It will not be corrupted. Therefore, the Apostle argues, if any of God's people, after receiving the holy Spirit, if they turn away from that holy Spirit, they are losing it entirely, that they are dying to it, that God's Spirit cannot be corrupted. You may give your will or consent to God's Spirit and then you may afterward take your will away from God's Spirit of begetting; but the Spirit of God always stays pure, holy, incorruptible, but that Spirit in you is the begettal or the energy of God working in you and to bring you to that incorruptible condition, if you allow that holy Spirit in you to do God's good pleasure, and then eventually, by the change of resurrection by God's favor you would be an incorruptible being beyond the veil. It is the holy Spirit that is incorruptible. It is the holy Spirit that cannot be perverted, and it will not stoop to corruption. As long, therefore, as we have this spirit energizing us and actuating us, we are incorruptible, but as soon as we renounce that, we do not change God's Spirit, but we become corrupted ourselves, and will die the second death, as St. Paul explains.
NINETY-AND-NINE--Vs. The Sinner. ::Q509:3:: QUESTION (1911)--3--Please comment on `Luke 15:7`; "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance." Who are the ninety and nine, and who is the sinner?
ANSWER.--This being a parabolic statement, it is not proper that we or anyone else should speak dogmatically. Neither the Lord nor the apostles have given us the interpretation. We must merely give you our guess; and our broad guess would be that the Lord here means to teach that there is great sympathy in heaven for all of those who have fallen in sin and who will be recovered out of it. Any sinner recovered from his sin would be a source of joy and rejoicing amongst the holy ones among the angels--more
joy over the returning of a sinner from his way than from the fact that a great many angels never sinned at all, and never left the right way, and never did therefore, return to it. As for man, there are no just men that need no repentance. There never have been. Adam was the only just, perfect man who ever lived, and by the deeds of the law none were justified. And as the apostle says, "There is none righteous; no, not one." Then anybody repenting would be one who had been an unjust person, and all the world had been unjust. All mankind, therefore, in coming back to God must come back repentedly, and there is joy in heaven over all the human family as they come back in harmony with God and in harmony with righteousness. We are not to think that the angels would despise those who come back, nor that the heavenly Father would despise them, but rather, there would be great joy in the recovery of each one from his fallen and sinful state, whether he come back now under the condition of the Gospel call, or whether he shall come back in the under Messiah's kingdom--no matter, there will always be joy in heaven over everyone who comes back into harmony with God. And whoever these just persons are, who need no repentance, they are not on earth, as far as we know. The angels of heaven, alone, would seem to me to fit this description, as being just persons who need no repentance. They never fell from their obedience to God, and never needed to be redeemed, or repent. Christ never died for their sins, for they have no sins. These great things God has done and Christ has done for sinners. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. That was for you and for me, and we were not just persons, nor anybody of the human kind.
NOMINAL CHURCHES--Re Visiting Them. ::Q510:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--In view of the fact that several dear brethren are coming into the truth, would the suggestion in a recent Tower of visiting the nominal churches apply to congregations of "Holy Rollers," etc.? Do you approve of visiting such meetings, under any circumstances?
ANSWER.--Our suggestion in the Watch Tower was to the effect that it should not be considered as a sinful thing for us to visit some of the nominal churches. I have found some dear brethren and sisters who seem to feel that if they would even go into a nominal church they would commit a sin. I think they are making a mistake; and that mistake would quite likely crop out somewhere in their experiences with others and be injurious to the cause and to themselves. Therefore, this answer in the Watch Tower was to the effect that if there were no other meetings we could attend, and no other service would be neglected by our attending these, it might not be amiss sometimes to go to some nominal church meeting, and to take part, for instance, in a testimony meeting, using our opportunity with the others either to give a testimony or to offer a prayer and to join with them in singing. I could go into nearly any Methodist or Presbyterian congregation and feel sure I could have a good time with them. I believe many of them are well meaning. The fact that they are not as far advanced in Bible study as ourselves and do not see the divine plan as clearly as we do need not hinder us from having good fellowship with them to the extent they do see. If they love God, if they revere the name
of the Lord Jesus Christ, and if they are seeking to walk honestly, and soberly, and decently, let us be glad to give them recognition to that extent. Now, I do not wish to be understood as advising anybody to neglect meetings where they could go to still more spiritual advantage. As the Apostle says, Forget not the assembling of yourselves together. It is still better if you can meet with those who are advanced in the truth, and who could help you and to whom you in turn could be of special help. That certainly should be your course and certainly would be what you should do.
Then in respect to the meetings with Seventh Day Adventists, and Holy Rollers, Christian Scientists, and Spiritualists-I do not know how many the brother included in his question, but I would advise you to stay just as far away from all such people as you can; not because they are out of the general run, but because they seem to be, to our judgment, seriously out of the way. I cannot imagine, for instance, that we could be of any good or get any good in a Christian Science meeting. I feel sure that, for my own part, I would be doing wrong, and that I would be giving my influence to something that would be really pernicious, injurious. I would feel different in going amongst Methodists, and Presbyterians, and Baptists, and Episcopalians; I would feel that I was not doing any serious injury, and perhaps might have an opportunity of doing some good.
As for Spiritualists, I would not meet with them under any consideration, would not attend a seance if you would pay me a thousand dollars for it. Why? Because I thoroughly believe it is of the adversary, and I would think that I was putting myself in the way of evil, and that quite possibly some injury would come to me, I would not know how. If I did not know better the matter would be quite different, but since I do know better I am responsible for what I do know; and, similarly, with those who do not know better about Christian Science. No doubt honest people are amongst them, and honest people commingle with them. But, to my understanding, both Spiritualists and Christian Scientists deny the very fundamentals of Christianity.
Now, about the Holy Rollers. I have no doubt that some of them mean very well, and are deluded of the adversary, and I am sorry for them. But that would not mean that I should in any manner encourage them, or take any part with them; my conscience would not permit it. I would feel that I was dishonoring the Lord and that I was doing injury to them by being with them and seeming to give any measure of consent. But now these matters are for each one's own conscience and if anybody thinks differently, God bless him, let him follow his own conscience.
"OFFERING"--Used in Two Different Senses. ::Q511:1:: QUESTION (1911-Z)--1--"For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp." (`Heb. 13:11`.) Would this show that the Sin-Offering is made in the antitypical Most Holy?
ANSWER.--In general those who have translated anything in the Bible respecting the Tabernacle have seemingly been very careless in the use of the terms Holy, Most Holy, Holy place, etc. They did not discern that these terms were used
in different senses by the Jews, in connection with different portions of the Tabernacle. Correctly translated, our text reads: "The bodies of those beasts, whose blood is taken into the Most Holy as an offering for sin, are burned without the camp."' We must remember that the word "offering" is Scripturally used in two different senses. In one sense of the word, our Lord offered himself at baptism, when He gave Himself to do the Father's will. That was His offering of Himself, His gift, when He presented Himself at Jordan. He finished the offering of His gift when He laid down His life on Calvary; and that life, laid down on Calvary, is an appropriate Sin-Offering. But it remained for the High Priest to ascend up on high, there to appear in the presence of God for us, to make application of the Sin-Offering. The sprinkling of the blood on the Mercy Seat was done in the Most Holy. But the presentation of that Sin-Offering was made at Jordan--or, in the type, when the bullock was slain.
OFFSPRING--In Him Live, Move and Have Our Being. ::Q512:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--(`Acts 17:28`), "For in him we live and move and have our being, as certain also of your own poets have said for we are also his offspring." What is meant by the words, "We are also his offspring?"
ANSWER.--The Apostle was addressing the heathen people at Athens who had erected an altar to the unknown God, and the Apostle wanted to address them along the line of their superstition. When talking with another it is a good point to get in harmony with them as much as possible. Don't get him down and make him mad. A great many of the Lord's dear people, with the best of intentions, arouse the antagonism of the one they are talking with, and thus do injury to both the truth and to themselves. The Lord did not send us to fight. If there is anybody that needs to be fought with it is ourselves. You remember the commission, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has sent me to preach the Gospel to the meek." As soon as you find that the person you are talking with is not meek, you should draw off--don't antagonize him, don't take a chisel and hammer and try to give him a ear. Our commission goes on to say that we are not only to preach the gospel, but to "Bind up the broken-hearted." We are not to try to break their hearts. Many seem to think they have a commission to go out and see how many hearts they can break, but there is not a word of that in the Commission. Look for the hearts that are already broken, for there are plenty of them in the world. You and I want to be peace-makers, trying to do all the good that we can, to bind up the broken hearts and pour in the oil of the spirit of the Lord. Let the Lord use the devil and others to break people's hearts; He knows how. Anything that you and I do must be with the words of life. Sometimes some word will enter into the very heart, just as when Peter said that the Jews had killed the Prince of Life; but let it be the arrow of truth and not of your own words, and let that cause them to fall under Him. When they manifest some sorrow and contrition, remember what Peter said to them when they asked, Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved? Did Peter say, You ought to be sorry, get down there and be sorry for a while? No, he put on some oil right away, and started to bind up the broken
hearts. He said, Repent, dear friends, I wot that ye did it in ignorance, God knows that. And so he tried to heal them.
Another part of the question is this: In talking with these men at Athens, Paul said, I noticed one of your altars as I passed by, and on it were inscribed the words: "To the Unknown God." Now, I declare unto you, etc. Paul went on to tell them that they ought not to think of these idols as being God, but that God is the great Creator who made all mankind, and he reminded them that some of their own prophets acknowledged this same thought. He was working in with them, you see. Paul is not here saying that they were sons of God and in harmony with God. The whole world lieth in the wicked one who keeps them under his power by telling them that God is a furious God and leading them to hate Him. No, the Apostle would encourage them to know God who made them, and who will welcome them back if they come in His appointed way.
OPIATES--Should the Consecrated Use Them? ::Q513:1:: QUESTION (1912)--1--Would a person who is fully consecrated to God, and who suffers from an incurable disease, commit sin in taking a remedy containing an opiate, when suffering from severe pain, sometimes incapacitating him from work, because of suffering so severely?
ANSWER.--Such a person would not be committing a sin in taking an opiate. We are allowed to relieve such pain. We are allowed to relieve the pain of hunger by eating. And so, if we are diseased by thirst we relieve the distress by drinking. All foods in this sense are remedies. We remedy the case by taking that which relieves. If I were in such a condition, if I had such an incurable disease that brought great pain, and the opiate was the only right and proper thing to relieve the pain, I would feel justified in taking the opiate. I would try, however, to not deceive myself, but would get the advice of some medical man, a doctor, to tell me whether he thought it was necessary in my case. If he said, No, that I would injure myself, stupefy myself, then I would say, I cannot use it. No two cases would be exactly alike. As a rule all opiates are injurious and should be used only as a last resort under competent advice.
OPPORTUNITY--When Cease to Help Truth Financially. ::Q513:2:: QUESTION (1911)--1--How soon will the opportunity to help the cause of the truth in a financial way cease?
ANSWER.--It depends on how soon you die. It might stop tonight with some of us. I don't know. I think the right way to do is to live according to our judgment, according to God's providence. If all we have belongs to him, use the best wisdom he gives you today, and when tomorrow comes, use the best wisdom you know then. Leave it to the Lord to determine how soon the opportunity will be shut off. If he has not given you any opportunities today, then do not use them; you do not need to worry about what you cannot do. I have known some Christian friends who were greatly worried because they could not do something. My thought would be that God does not expect us to do what we cannot do. What we should be anxious about is, what is possible for us to do. How can we order our steps according to his
Word? What can we do that will be pleasing to him, and will serve his cause? Let each decide this for himself. You know I never solicit money.
ORDINATION--The True. ::Q514:1:: QUESTION (1915-Z)--1--When, by whom and how were you ordained a minister of the Gospel?
ANSWER.--Before answering this question, I would call attention to the Scriptural teaching on the subject of ordination. From what we believe to be the Bible standpoint, there are two ordinations proper. One is of God; one of men. The ordination of God is the begetting of the Holy Spirit. Without this no one is authorized to preach the Gospel. If any are preaching without this ordination they are, to our understanding, preaching without Divine ordination. They are doing something that they are not authorized to do.
Our Lord told how He was ordained to be a preacher; and the Scriptures tell us that we are to walk in His steps and to have experiences similar to His own in many respects. As ministers of the Cross, we are to copy our Lord Jesus Christ as fully as we are able to do. But He was perfect, and we are imperfect. Consequently we are to have the forgiveness of our sins, while he had no sins. He, therefore, constitutes the basis of forgiveness of all who come unto the Father through faith in His blood. He mentions His own ordination, saying, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; because He had anointed Me to preach good tidings to the meek." (`Isa. 61:1`.) As that ordination came upon Jesus, it later came upon the disciples at Pentecost; and all down the Gospel Age it has come upon the followers of Christ, anointing them to preach the Gospel.--`Luke 4:17-21`; `1 John 2:27`.
All who have received the ordination of God have the authority to preach according to their opportunities and abilities. Some of them may be deaf mutes and cannot preach audibly. Others may be limited by sex; sisters cannot preach as do the brethren; but they can preach, nevertheless, in "showing forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light." (`1 Pet. 2:9`.) Moreover, they are fully ordained to make known the good tidings, but, according to the Apostle Paul's statement, not in a public way. There are some men who cannot preach publicly on account of lack of talent or opportunity, but all men, by their lives and conversation, can proclaim the glory and honor of the great and loving God who lifted them out of darkness into light, out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and placed their feet upon a Rock and established their goings.--`Psa. 40:2`.
There comes, however, another special ordination of those who are called ministers of the Gospel, in which class I count myself. This is ordination by the Church, and is recognized by all denominations everywhere. By some it is considered a mere form, by some it is performed with great ceremony, by others with less ceremony. But to our understanding, each congregation should have those whom it has chosen ordained in a Scriptural way--by the stretching forth of hands--by a vote.
The form of the statement in `Acts 14:23`, with other frequent references to elders in connection with all churches,
justifies the inference that ordination was the invariable custom in the early Church. The term "elders," as seen in this text, includes evangelists, pastors, teachers, and prophets-- public exponents. Hence it is important that we learn what is meant by the word "ordained."
At the present time the word ordination is generally used in reference to a ceremony of installation; but this is not the significance of the Greek word cheirotoneo, used in this text. It means "to elect by stretching out the hands," still the usual form of voting. This definition is given in Professor Young's "Analytical Concordance to the Bible." As this may be considered a Presbyterian authority, we give also the definition set forth in Strong's "Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible," which may be considered a Methodist authority. The latter defines the root of the word--"A hand-reacher, or voter (by raising the hand)."
The Scriptural method of ordaining elders in all the churches is by congregational election--by stretching forth the hand in a vote. To insist upon such an election before serving is to follow Scriptural order; it fortifies the elder, and, additionally, reminds the congregation of its duties and responsibilities as appointees of the elders in the Lord's name and Spirit--as expressing God's choice, God's will. Additionally, the Scriptural arrangement interests the members of the congregation in all the words and deeds of the elders, as their servants and representatives. It opposes the too prevalent idea that the elders own and rule the congregation, and puts an end to their thinking of them as "my people"--rather than as "the Lord's people, whom I serve."
Whoever has not been ordained in these two ways is not an ordained minister of the Gospel in the Scriptural sense. First, the Divine ordination is necessary; second, the earthly ordination is necessary. By the grace of God I have both of these.
In the case of those who are doing a public work in the name of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, they are ordained as a whole. They are sent forth by the officers of the Society; and as a majority of the classes everywhere are recognized by the Society, and as they in turn recognize the Society, they therefore recognize this ordination through the Society.
ORDINATION--Authority For. ::Q515:1:: QUESTION (1915-Z)--1--Where did the Society get the authority for sending out preachers?
ANSWER.--It gets its authority primarily from the Lord, who authorizes all His people, who receive the Holy Spirit to go forth. Secondly, the Society is a business organization for religious work in the service of the Lord, by printing books, pamphlets, charts, etc., and by sending out its representatives to preach--by word of mouth and by printed page. This is its only business. It is acting in the same way as did the Church at Antioch, who especially chose Paul and Barnabas to do a missionary work, and who voted these to be representatives of that Church.--`Acts 13:2,3`.
When Paul and Barnabas went forth, they did not say, "We preach in our name." They would have had a right to go in the name of the Lord and preach; but, in addition,
they had the financial backing, we understand, of the Antioch congregation, just as today our representatives have the backing of the Society. When they go to a place, they can say, "Here is a letter which shows that we are acting for the Society." So they do not go simply in the name of Christ, but they go as representatives of this Society, which is known to be doing an evangelizing work.
ORDINATION--Under What Name? ::Q516:1:: QUESTION (1915--Z)--1--Is the name of your Association: the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY? or the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS' ASSOCIATION?
ANSWER.--It is both. They are virtually the same thing. The INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION, the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY and the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION are in many respects identical. Why have three names? For the same reason that there are in the various churches different Societies--the Home Missionary Society, the Christian Endeavor Society and the Epworth League, etc., etc. Are they not all doing the same work and trying to help people to live a Christian life, etc.? Yes. Why have different Societies? For the reason that each has a different branch of the work to which to attend.
So is it with us. The parent Association is the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, chartered under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania. Its purpose is to publish the Truth, to send forth missionaries, etc., etc. The property that was necessary to transact business, etc., was in its name; for no other was necessary in the State of Pennsylvania.
When we moved here to New York, we were informed that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society could not hold title to property here. We were told, "You can do business in a personal way, but not as a Society. So if you want to do any business here, you must be chartered as an Association." "Very well, then," we said, "we will organize the Peoples Pulpit Association." This is merely another name for the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, for New York business.
Later on, in Great Britain, we were informed, "Your American Charter does not count for anything here." Consequently we took out a Charter there for the International Bible Students' Association. This reads practically the same as the Charter of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
These three different Societies were made necessary by the law of different states and countries. For some things the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is the preferable name. It is the parent Society and the one to which contributions are made. Whoever makes a donation is expected, if he will, to make it in the name of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
The Peoples' Pulpit Association is the only one of the three that can do business here in New York, and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society deals with the Peoples' Pulpit Association as though they were two independent organizations. Nevertheless they are the same--just as with the different Societies of the nominal churches, which would have, perhaps, the same treasurer.
Thus the whole management is by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and these auxiliary organizations
merely help in carrying on its work. We sometimes use one name and sometimes another, just as any one would have the right to use any names appropriate to his work. It is equally appropriate to say that we are the International Bible Students' Association. We are Bible students, and are helping Bible students in all parts of the world, by the printed page, by financial assistance and in other ways. It is also appropriate to use the name Peoples' Pulpit Association in connection with persons who are engaged in preaching and are acting under guidance of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
In other words, the Peoples' Pulpit Association cannot transact business except through the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has the management, and the Peoples' Pulpit Association does the work--absolutely.
The International Bible Students Association has no legal status except in Great Britain; the Peoples Pulpit Association has none except in New York State.
We keep the "Watch Tower" prominent in letter heads, etc., so that the friends would not misunderstand us and think that the "Watch Tower" has gone out of the work. We use one name or another, as would seem to be most convenient in the work. For instance, we now have on the title page of the Studies in the Scriptures the name International Bible Students Association, instead of Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, as formerly. Here we have a distinctive name, different from others. There are Bible Teachers Associations, Tract Societies, etc., etc.; but here we have a name especially appropriate to put on our publications, because it represents exactly the thought which we desire to express.
ORDINATION--Re Laying On of Hands. ::Q517:1:: QUESTION (1915-Z)--1--How should we understand the Apostle's advice to Timothy to "Lay hands suddenly on no man?" Does not this imply a formal ordination?
ANSWER.--The Apostle Paul's words to Timothy might be variously understood. If we should read in tomorrow morning's paper that some one suddenly laid hands on a man we would understand that he had been assaulted. We are to remember that this is not the way the expression would be understood in the Greek, but that the translators gave us what they thought the proper meaning. The early Church had a ceremony of formally laying hands on the heads of their elders, deacons, etc. When the Apostles did this, it was the indication of the impartation of the Holy Spirit. None but the Apostles could bestow this. The Churches may have had some custom amongst themselves in the way of appointing ministers, however, that in thus doing they might indicate that they approved of such persons.
There would be nothing improper in a similar ceremony, if a Pilgrim were sent forth by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society for a special service of some kind. The officers of the Society might step forward, lay their hands on the Pilgrim's head and say, "You are the representative of the Society." The priests in olden time laid their hands upon the head of the animal that was to be offered--to show that it represented them. So some one might be sent forth by the Society; but a ceremonial laying on of hands would be
merely an appeal to the eye, carrying with it no other authority than the words, "You are appointed for such and such service," etc.
This leaves each little company of the Lord's people to use whatever ceremony they choose. Episcopalians and Catholics use a great deal of ceremony; other denominations use less. We believe that we also have the right to use as much or as little ceremony as we choose. The meaning of the word ordination is to authorize. True ordination is, first, of the Holy Spirit; second, of the association sending forth its servant with the Gospel Message.
ORDINATION--Re School of Theology. ::Q518:1:: QUESTION (1915-Z)--1--From what School of Theology were you graduated?
ANSWER.--I am still in the School of Christ and have not yet been graduated. We get our theology from the Bible. Some of our friends have taken their theology otherwise, have taken it from human instructors, and have afterwards found that they had wasted their time. Some things which they were taught were Scriptural, and some things were sectarian. We are simply trying to find out what the Bible teaches. As the Apostle Paul said to Timothy, so we desire to do: Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth."
--`2 Tim. 2:15`.
The Apostle did not tell Timothy to go to some Theological School, or, tell him which would be the proper one to attend if he wished to get confused. He merely told the young man to rightly divide the Word of Truth--to see which portions refer to Natural Israel and which refer to Spiritual Israel; which are earthly promises, belonging to the natural man, and which are spiritual promises, belonging to the Christian; which belong to the present time, and which to the future.
Some of our number have been graduated from a theological seminary. At the time of their graduation they thought that their school was the best there was. But since they entered into the School of Christ, they find that really they would have been much better off if they had not gone to the seminary at all; for it took many months and years to get out of their heads the errors which were there drilled in.
ORDINATION--Object of Society's List of Questions. ::Q518:2:: QUESTION (1916-Z)--2--What is the object of the Society in getting out a list of questions with the intimation that the person who could answer those questions in a manner satisfactory to the Society would be considered a Minister of the Divine Word?
ANSWER.--Those questions are designed to fill a long-felt want. The questions are quite unsectarian; they are all Scriptural. The Society desires to know from the Pilgrims who are now in the service, or from any others who may at any time represent the Society as Pilgrims, what are their thoughts, their sentiments and their understanding as respects these fundamental questions appertaining to the Gospel of Christ. Any Brother not willing to answer those questions would be considered to be confused in his mind, unstable, and hence not qualified to teach--not "apt to teach." This would not imply that he might not still be a Brother, but that he would not be considered a Brother suitable for
the Pilgrim service. Neither would it mean that the Brother must not preach, but merely that the Society would not recommend him as an exponent of the Divine Word.
Any Brother willing to answer the questions, but showing considerable confusion in his replies, would to us indicate that he needed further instruction before he could properly represent the Society and what the Society believes to be the Truth respecting God's Word. Such a Brother would probably be brought to Brooklyn and have an opportunity to participate for a time in other features of the service, as well as in the Bible Study classes held at every meal time; and, by fullest liberty, have an opportunity of asking any kind of questions on subjects connected with the Truth, that thus the whole matter might be thoroughly regulated and clearly seen and understood.
A FRIENDLY SUGGESTION.
Many of the Sisters in the Bethel Family, learning about the questions, made a special request that they might have a list of these and give their answers, with a view to practice and instruction which they might thus derive. Elders and Deacons in various classes have similarly requested the questions. We believe that it would be profitable for all of the classes of Bible Students everywhere, if they would choose to Eldership such as could answer these questions so as to be worthy of the Society's V.D.M. degree. This might make a good many changes amongst the Elders, but we believe that they would be profitable changes. Furthermore, we believe that all Elders earnestly desiring to teach the Truth, and the Truth only, would be glad to have the very assistance which these questions would bring to them.
We have been surprised, sometimes, how careless some of the dear friends seem to be in respect to those whom they elect or ordain as Elders--often novices, contrary to the direction of the Lord's Word, thus doing harm both to the novice and to the class. (`1 Tim. 3:1-7`.) Next to the importance of the election of only a consecrated, spirit begotten child of God to Eldership should be the question. To what extent has he availed himself of the privileges of study, information? It is our thought that it is unwise to choose as an Elder any Brother who has not read at least once the entire six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures, or who is not a regular Watch Tower reader. Let it be borne in mind that the Society exercises no authority, makes no criticism, but merely gives advice; and that in the interest of the Lord's cause and the Lord's people.
ORDINATION--Re Present Ministers. ::Q519:1:: QUESTION (1916-Z)--1--Are there any such Ministers of the Divine Word, now?
ANSWER.--Yes, assuredly! Every Pilgrim sent out by the Society is sent out as a Minister of the Divine Word, not a minister of creeds, nor of "isms"; but purely and simply a Minister of the Word of God. And in every case where a congregation of the Lord's people has elected a consecrated, spirit-begotten child of God to be an Elder, they have by their election ordained, or set apart, or indicated, that Elder as being a Minister of the Divine Word--one who serves, distributes, dispenses the Truth of God's Word.
ORDINATION--Re Title V.D.M. ::Q520:1:: QUESTION (1916-Z)--1--What is the meaning of V.D.M., and what would be signified by the conferring of the V.D.M. Degree?
ANSWER.--The title V.D.M. is a very old one. Indeed, it has been out of use so long that comparatively few know its meaning. The three letters represent the Latin words, Verbi Dei Minister. The English of this is, "Minister of the Divine Word." When, during the Dark Ages, the Divine Word fell into disuse and creeds were substituted, this title was generally lost and ignored. There were no ministers of the Divine Word; for the Divine Word was not preached, but, instead, the creeds of men. Instead of these simple words so expressive of the proper thought in connection with all the Lord's public servants, we today have high sounding titles, such as Reverend and Doctor of Divinity, which are quite unscriptural. To confer the degree of Minister of the Divine Word would not mean to ordain, but merely imply that the Society in giving this degree had looked into the reputation, and so far as possible into the character and especially into the doctrinal development of the person to whom the degree was given, and that he was in the estimation of the Examining Board found worthy of being called a Minister of the Divine Word.
ORDINATION--Re Society Withdrawal of Ordination. ::Q520:2:: QUESTION (1916-Z)--2--Would the withdrawal of the Society's appointment or ordination mean that the Pilgrim thus suspended from its service would have no right to preach thereafter?
ANSWER.--Surely not! In withdrawing its appointment from a Pilgrim the Society would merely be indicating that for some reason it no longer was represented by that Pilgrim, and that it no longer was responsible for him or his teachings or his conduct or his maintenance. The Pilgrim brother thus dropped from the Pilgrim List might still be a Brother and be so esteemed by the Society, but might not be any longer considered a suitable person to represent the Society, either by reason of showing some weakness of character or some lack of the aptness to teach or some other reason which the Society would believe should not be encouraged, or for which it would not wish to be held responsible, or for various reasons, illness, etc.
ORDINATION--Withdrawing Pilgrim Ordination. ::Q520:3:: QUESTION (1916-Z)--3--Has the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society the right to withdraw ordination from a Pilgrim brother?
ANSWER.--Yes, surely! If it has the power to appoint and direct, it has power also to withdraw its past appointment and direction.
ORDINATION--W.T.B.&T.S. Workers. ::Q520:4:: QUESTION (1916-Z)--4--Does the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society ever "ordain" ministers or representatives in connection with the Harvest Work?
ANSWER.--It does. All the Pilgrims are thus ordained, appointed, or set apart for the special work of the ministry. Keep in memory always that ceremony is not ordination, but that appointment and direction are ordination. The Society ordains, authorizes, directs the course of the Pilgrims who
are its representatives as well as the representatives of the Lord and His Word.
ORDINATION--Not of Men. ::Q521:1:: QUESTION (1916-Z)--1--If it is proper that all Elders and Deacons should thus be ordained and should not attempt to serve regularly without ordination, what did St. Paul mean when he declared that he was an Apostle not of men nor by men, but by the Lord Jesus Christ?--`Gal. 1:1`.
ANSWER.--No man or congregation is competent to appoint or elect an Apostle. No congregational vote would make one of the brethren an Apostle. That is a special office or function which is of Divine appointment solely. Thus the Lord Jesus appointed only twelve Apostles--"Twelve Apostles of the Lamb"--St. Paul taking the place of Judas, who lost his apostleship. (`Rev. 21:14`; `Psa. 109:8`; `Acts 1:20`.) It is in this particular that the Church of Rome, the Church of England, and the Greek Church do violence to the principles of God's Word, in that they claim to make, but do not really make, Apostolic Bishops--bishops possessed of apostolic power and authority.
St. Paul did not desire us to understand that he took no notice of earthly appointment, except in respect to his apostolic office. On the contrary, the Church at Antioch ordained Paul and Barnabas and afterwards Paul and Silas, to be their representatives and apparently at their expense to carry the Message to others. The Antioch Church did not ordain the Apostle Paul to be an Apostle, but ordained him to be their missionary; and he accepted their ordination and rendered reports to them, as the account in Acts shows --`Acts 14:26-28`.
ORDINATION--Of Elders and Deacons. ::Q521:2:: QUESTION (1916-Z)--2--Are all Elders and Deacons chosen by congregations of God's people to be considered Divinely ordained?
ANSWER.--No, no one can be considered Divinely ordained who has not received the begetting of the Holy Spirit. For a congregation to ordain any one who does not profess to be fully consecrated to God and to have received the begetting of the Holy Spirit is for them to do what they have not been authorized by the Lord to do. The person thus chosen would be merely the representative of the church thus ordaining him, but would not be a representative of the Lord.
But for a congregation to recognize the Lord's authorization of a Brother, and to recognize further his aptness to teach and his possession of the qualities fitting him for service according to the Divine Word, means the giving to that Brother of a proper election or ordination to be the representative of the congregation in the name of the Lord. No Brother should attempt to serve a company of the Lord's people without their request, and their request or their vote constitutes their appointment of him to that service--in other words, their ordination of him, or appointment, for the service, whether for a day or a year.
OVERCOMERS--Who Are More Than Overcomers? ::Q521:3:: QUESTION (1912)--3--Is there any place in your writings where you use this statement: "More than overcomers?" Is it proper to speak of the Little Flock as more than overcomers?
ANSWER.--Yes, such a statement is proper because the Bible speaks of it that way. The Bible says, "He is able to bring us off conquerors and more than conquerors." The Great Company will be conquerors in the sense that they will finally get the victory. Otherwise they would not attain everlasting life at all. In Revelation, 7th chapter, (`Rev. 7`) they are pictured as coming up out of the great tribulation, etc. Will they not be victors? Yes. Will they not be conquerors? Yes.
Those who get upon the Throne will be "more than conquerors." To be conquerors would mean that we would be faithful, not deny His name, not repudiate Christ. Whoever does that is a conqueror and I am glad this will be true of the Great Company Class. But, to be more than conquerors we must seek opportunities to serve, and present our bodies continually and wholly lay down our lives. A conqueror is a man who does not run away when attacked. But the man who leads in an attack is a Hero--more than a conqueror.
OVERCOMING--How Long Before Reward? ::Q522:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--In `Rev. 3:5`, we read: "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels." How soon after the last member has passed beyond the vail, will this take place?
ANSWER.--I have no inside information, dear friends. I think the Lord is here referring to the present time, because unless you have in this present life, and before you pass the vail, the white raiment, and your name written in heaven, and unless it remains unblotted out, you will never pass into the Most Holy, as a member of the Christ. So this, to my understanding, refers to this side the vail. "I will confess your name before my Father, and before His angels." If your name and my name is there, I suppose the Father knows it, and I suppose the angels have some way of knowing it, but if we fail to overcome, then our names will not be confessed, but will be blotted out.
PAPACY--Re Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Sunday Resurrection. ::Q522:2:: QUESTION (1909)--2--If Papacy is the Anti-Christ, why should we hold to the old tradition of Palm Sunday, Good Friday and the Sunday morning resurrection?
ANSWER.--If Papacy should hold to Christ, should we deny Christ? I guess not. Papacy did not get only that which was wrong; Satan was too smart for that. There is a lot that is true in Papacy, but the trouble is that there is so much error that the truth is vitiated, and they are not able to use the truth because of the error. Thank God, if we get rid of the error and hold the truth.
What about Palm Sunday? I do not think that the Catholics made that, but that Jesus gave it to us centuries before there was a Catholic church. When Jesus rode on the ass, it was in fulfillment of the prophecy of `Zec. 9:9`. Now, when the people began to put their garments in the way and to shout, Hosanna, who was it that forbade it? It was the Pharisees, not the Roman Catholic church. Who said, Let them alone? It was Jesus. Palm Sunday was
not established by the Roman Catholic church. The palm represented the victorious ride of the King through the city.
Well, Brother Russell, you sometimes have a discourse upon that subject. Well, is that not right? At another time I have a discourse and call attention to the death of our Redeemer. Why not? Do the Catholics do me out of that? I guess not.
Well, how about Good Friday? It is just as good as any other day to me. If any wish to keep Friday as a special remembrancer of Christ's death, I have no objection. If they find it profitable to do this, God bless them--let them do what they are trying to do to remember the day upon which our Redeemer died.
What about Sunday morning? I do not know what that means. Why should we not celebrate it; we are all interested in it? The heathen are not interested in it. The Catholics celebrate Easter Sunday, but they do not know anything about the resurrection.. They think that when a man dies that he is more alive than before. They know that resurrection is in the Bible, but they do not know what it means. Of all the people upon the earth, we are the only ones that really want a resurrection, and if there are any people who should celebrate it, I want to celebrate it. If any one has objections to it because the Catholics do it, he has a right to his objections. I want to think that every Sunday represents the resurrection of our Lord, and about the time of the annual celebration, I like to see the cross brought forth in the various discourses, as it shows that the claims of justice will be satisfied through it, and that under the new arrangement there will be a resurrection of the dead. So, to me, the resurrection of the dead and Sunday become more precious every day.
PARADISE--Promise to Thief on Cross. ::Q523:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--Please explain Christ's promise to the repentant thief on the cross. Second, is the earth to be paradise?
ANSWER.--You remember the thief asked the Lord a special request, saying: Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom. Our Lord has not come into His Kingdom yet, and hence the time when that thief wished to be remembered has not come. We are still praying, "Thy Kingdom come, etc." If Christ had His Kingdom, we would not be praying thus. The Lord answered the thief's request just as he requested. The word rendered "verily" means the same as "amen," so be it. I will remember you when I come into my Kingdom.
How, then, did it come that we got the wrong idea? It was because we were not fully posted in the Word of God. When our Lord died He did not go to paradise, but He went into the tomb. We read that God raised Christ from the dead; He was dead and rose from the dead on the third day, and He did not come back from paradise. You remember that when He did rise, one of the Marys clasped Him by the feet, but He said: Detain me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father and to your Father, and to my God and to your God. The difficulty is because the "comma" is in the wrong place. As the Bible was originally written, there were no marks of punctuation; it is a modern convenience. What our Lord did say
in effect was this: I say unto you today, notwithstanding that I am hanging on the cross and it looks as though I was a deceiver, etc., yet I say unto you today, this dark day, thou shalt be with me in paradise.
PAROUSIA--When Recognized. ::Q524:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--In the "Harvest Siftings" it is stated that it was a few months after October, 1874, when it was first realized that the Lord was Present, and in Volume Four, page 612, it is stated that it was nearly a year after October, 1874, before the fact of the Lord's presence was recognized. Is the month of 1875 known in which it was first realize that the Lord was present, and when was the first public announcement of this great fact made?
ANSWER.--I think those two statements are in full accord. I think a year is a few months. Whenever it is stated a few months in any writing, the Bible or any other, that is supposed to imply that it is not specific or a clearly defined number of months, but merely a general statement and not a particular one. I could not give the exact time; I do not know; no one else does; it simply was on or about or along there somewhere, that we began to have thoughts along that line. Now you see no thought comes up full-fledged at first; every fly begins a very small fly, and becomes a larger fly.
PASSOVER--How Often Repeated? ::Q524:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--Was the blood of the Passover lamb sprinkled year by year continually, or was this done only the one time in Egypt?
ANSWER.--I do not know; it was to have been a symbol. That is the way it was commanded at the beginning, and quite likely it was followed all the way down. If there is anyone here who is a Jew, he could tell us perhaps whether it is customary now for the Jews to sprinkle the blood on the door post. I do not suppose that they do. I am not sure.
PASSOVER--Who Typified by First-born? ::Q524:3:: QUESTION (1912)--3--Did the "Firstborn" who were passed over on account of the shed blood of the Lamb typify the HEAD AND BODY of the Church, or the CHURCH ONLY?
ANSWER.--Why! the Church only; NOT our Lord Jesus. He was not passed over by anything. He died. In the full sense of the word He was the Lamb. His blood makes us "The Church of the First Born." Where would be the Lamb for His Own Justification if He were passed over? He did not need a Lamb. He passed over by Himself. He passed over by His obedience even unto Death. Now that enables Him to pass us over as the Church of the First Born through His blood applied to us.
PASSOVER--Passover as Related to Atonement Day. ::Q524:4:: QUESTION (1913)--4--What is the relationship between the Passover type and the annual Day of Atonement? Does the Passover represent the Ransom being paid, and the day of Atonement, following, the cleansing of the people as result of the ransom work?
ANSWER.--I would say that these two are not related at all. God put them at opposite ends of the year, away from each other. The one is the type of one thing, the other is the type of another thing.
The word "ransom" is not shown in either: there is no picture of the ransom in either case. The word "ransom" or thought of ransom is given elsewhere.
PASSOVER AND ATONEMENT--When And Why Observed ::Q525:1:: QUESTION (1916)--1--Why was the Passover celebrated, on the evening of the 14th day of the first month, and the annual Atonement Day on the 10th day of the seventh month?
ANSWER.--Because God wanted them to be different. The two things have no direct relationship the one to the other. The one is a picture of the passing over of the Church of the First Born, whereas the other is a picture of the suffering of Christ and the Church during the gospel age as a basis and preparation for their dispensing of blessings to all the families of the earth during the Millennial Age. The passover Lamb merely represented the death of Jesus and the passing over of His people during this age and consequently another and different picture is given to represent the death of Jesus and the Church and the consequent blessing of the world in the age to come. He did not want them to run into each other. The one referred to the death of Jesus and the other was given to make a different picture.
PASTOR--Electing You If Not Able to Visit Class. ::Q525:2:: QUESTION (1912)--2--Would it be proper or well for one to nominate Pastor Russell to be a Pastor of a class for a year or any set period, the class may decide to vote? The thought is that you would likely be present only as represented by the printed page, or through correspondence.
ANSWER.--I do not quite catch the purport of the question, but would say, in some respects it might be considered rather a formal matter. As a matter of Providence, through the Watch Tower and through correspondence, I am practically Pastor in all the little Ecclesias represented in the Watch Tower lists. If the friends take a formal vote and elect me Pastor, I am pleased to have it that way, and if they prefer not to do so, they have their choice. And whether they make the election for a year or without limit is also for them to decide.
PASTORAL WORK--Elders Not Directors. ::Q525:3:: QUESTION (1916)--3--Should the sisters start the Pastoral Work without consulting the Elders; and should they go ahead with it even though one Elder is not in favor?
ANSWER.--The Elders have nothing to do with the Pastoral Work. The Elders are Elders, and should therefore attend to the work of the Elders. The Pastoral Work is for the Pastor, and the Pastor should therefore attend to it. The letters of instruction pertaining to this work have not been sent to any except those who have indicated to me that they have chosen me to be their Pastor, and since they have invited me to be their Pastor, I am endeavoring to do that work for them. If the letters have been sent to any who have not this desire, please return them and I will have nothing to do with them. But in all cases where I am the Pastor, I will use and co-operate with the sisters as I think best.
Evidently the objector does not understand this matter. There is nothing in it that I know of to antagonize the Elders, and should there be any Elders who have not enough
work to do to keep them occupied, it would be in order for them to be getting busy. There is an abundance of work for the Elders and Deacons to do and they should therefore be kept busy in doing the work which the Lord has committed to their care, but the case of the sisters is different, and we are now trying to find something for them to do, and are rejoiced that the way is now opening. If any of the Elders hinder and find fault with this work, our advice to the class would be that at the next election, they be dropped from the eldership. Each one should learn to attend to his own business, and not interfere with others, and in this way will the work prosper- -by each one attending to his own part of the work. Should anyone try to stop the work of the Lord, they had better be dropped, because the class will get along better without them. "Let all things be done decently and in order!"
PASTORAL WORK--Co-operation of Elders and Sisters. ::Q526:1:: QUESTION (1916)--1--Will you please explain a little more about the co-operation of the elders and deacons of a class with the sisters in the pastoral work?
ANSWER.--I cannot explain any more than has already been explained in the letters sent out. To each class has been sent two letters bearing upon this work. The one is for the sister who will act as lieutenant and representative of the pastoral work, while the other is for the elders and class in general. These letters explain everything as fully as I know how to explain, and it would be useless for me to take time to explain what is not therein stated. I repeat that, these letters only went to such classes as had intimated that they had chosen me to be their pastor. These letters explain the matter fully. If you cannot understand the matter by a single reading, then read again, and if necessary, a second and third time, until it becomes clear to you. Take each part separately. One of them has nothing to do with the congregation in general, but simply contains instructions for those who will be carrying out this plan of work, while the other is to the elders et al to show how they can co-operate in it.
I believe you will find that when this work is gotten well under way, it will not only afford the sisters an opportunity for service that will be very encouraging to them, but additionally, that, it will open the way for the elders to do more than they now do, and will also open the way for well-qualified deacons to enter the eldership. There is so much work to be done that the question arises as to whether or not we are doing the work of the Lord? Just so surely as we are in the Harvest time, so surely will we be called to do what the Lord is giving us to do.
Should anyone inquire whether this would be a good chance to get other brethren into the work who had not previously had experience in this kind of service, we would answer, No; this is not the place for any inexperienced person. They should get their experience beforehand. We do not want to put mere novices in such a work. "Not a novice" either in doctrine or in speaking should be employed in any of this class extension work. Novices should indeed get experience, but, how? At one time in Pittsburgh (and some have tried it since in New York), (in Pittsburgh I had something to do with it), we started what we called a School of the Prophets, not that this name meant to us what it did when
originally used, but still a name that seemed to us quite appropriate for the work in hand when considered in the light of the New Testament. A prophet in the Bible sense was one who was a public speaker, not especially one who was a seer and had revelations, but a public speaker, and it was in this sense that the Apostle Paul used this word when he said, "Desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy," which would suggest the thought that we should choose rather to have ability as public speakers. Now, then, we perceived that some brethren had talents for public speaking and we suggested that they come together as a little class to hear and criticize each other in speaking. They did not speak to the public, or to the class, at all. They had no qualifications, especially, for speaking. Some had a disposition that might be drawn out and cultivated. But we did not wish to impose upon a class by having them listen to unqualified speakers. No one should wish to bore a class or anyone else. Only those who were qualified and have shown talent and ability should be chosen to speak for the class or the public. Our instructions and training to that end should be given and received privately. In this class we had one appointed as a special critic, and then all present had the opportunity of criticizing the speaker. Some of these young men criticized each other pretty sharply until there was danger of them all being discouraged. It became necessary, therefore, for me to caution them against criticizing too closely lest there should be nothing left but skin and bones. I think it would be well to have such a school under proper control for the training of class and public speakers, and not impose upon the class or the public by giving them unqualified, inexperienced novices for speakers.
We believe this to be a very important matter in connection with the success of the Pastoral work, and would consider it to be one of the best and most efficient ways of cooperating with the sisters in this work.
PASTORAL WORK--Not For Brothers. ::Q527:1:: QUESTION (1916)--1--Would you advise a brother and sister to quit the Eureka Drama and colporteur work to take up pastoral and colporteur work?
ANSWER.--We would not advise the brother so to do for the reason that there is nothing in this line in connection with the pastoral work for the brother to do. The brother has evidently gotten the wrong view of the matter. This pastoral work is for the sisters. One reason is that the sisters have more time during the day than the brethren, who are generally employed otherwise during the day; and secondly, very many of the sisters have a great deal more tact in approaching people than the brethren have. Not that all the sisters are in possession of more tact than the brethren, but rather, it is a good opportunity for them to do their part of the work and thus increase the opportunities of the brethren for giving chart talks, and subsequently conducting first volume studies. We should not think of the start in this work as being the end by any means. The start will be the beginning indeed, but only the beginning. You will start in with the lists furnished you from Brooklyn of names that have come in from time to time through the Drama, public addresses and the colporteur service--that is the start--but my thought is, if the Lord is going to do the great work
which we expect will be done within the next few years that, in all probability this smiting of the Jordan is going to arouse a great deal of interest throughout the whole world, with the inevitable result that larger crowds will be in attendance, a large number of names will be handed in, and consequently this phase of the work will expand and continue, so that the opportunities for chart talks and first volume studies will multiply as the time goes on. This I apprehend to be a part of God's great plan.
My advice to the sister would be that she remain in the regular colporteur service just as long as the Lord may be pleased to bless her in it, and this might mean that the brother continue also in the Eureka Drama work as heretofore. This would seem to be the best for the present, and then, in the future, should the Lord so provide, it may be their privilege either to enter the pastoral work or have their present field of service enlarged.
PEACE--Enemies at Peace With a Man. ::Q528:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--"When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him."--`Pro. 16:7`. What does this signify?
ANSWER.--Well, we can say surely that when a man's ways please the Lord, if it so please the Lord, he can make his enemies to be at peace with him. So far as I know, the ways of our Lord Jesus please the Father, but he did not make his enemies to be at peace with him, for they put him to death. So far as St. Paul was concerned, we believe his ways pleased the Lord, but it did not please the Lord to make St. Paul's enemies to be at peace with him, but they put him to death. So the most I could see in this would be that at some proper time God will make man's foes to be at peace with him, if he is in harmony with God, but that proper time does not seem to be this Gospel age, for now a man's foes shall be they of his own household, and whosoever will live godly will suffer persecution.
PEACE--Re Loving God's Law. ::Q528:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--"Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them." A sister says that nothing in the Word of God shall offend them.
ANSWER.--We will not discuss what this sister means or what the other sister thinks, or what somebody else says. When you have a question, give the question and do not mind about what you think. I am the one that is going to say on this occasion what I think. But what does this text mean? I answer that God's law is so reverenced by all of those who really love him that when they contemplate what God has said, it becomes a law to their lives and becomes a ruling power in their lives, and nothing shall stumble them. The word "offend" here is used in the sense of stumble, or trip. If they love God's law, if they are not merely obeying God's law because it is a form and ceremony and other people say they ought to, but because they really love that law, they appreciate the principles of God's justice and righteousness and various commands, and in his law they meditate; they like to think it over and see how just God's requirements are, how kind he is, and appreciate all the teachings of God's law-- that is the attitude of mind that nothing will stumble. The people that get stumbled
are those that are not rightly in harmony with God's law-- using the word Law of God here in the broad general sense of complying with all of God's requirements, not only through the words of Jesus, but also through the law of Moses, and the words of the Apostles, God's law in the general sense that God's law signifies justice, that they love the Lord, their God, with all their hearts, and their neighbor as themselves. It will be pretty hard to stumble those who really love that principle. It takes a little while to learn enough of God's law to appreciate it and to really love it. We sometimes begin by obeying the law before we really learn to love it; but as surely as we make progress and grow in grace, knowledge and character-likeness of the Lord, we will come to love the principles of his righteousness and desire to have them not merely because God says we ought to do so, and we must do so to be in his family, but because we will come to appreciate the principles of righteousness that are behind his requirements.
PEACE--When Will They Cry "Peace?" ::Q529:1:: QUESTION (1915)--1--The Prophet Jeremiah says that they shall say, "Peace! Peace! when there is no peace." St. Paul, in speaking of the present time, says, "And when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them" (`Jer. 6:14`; `1 Thess. 5:3`). Do these Scriptures apply now, or do they refer to Armageddon?
ANSWER.--We think that this saying of "Peace! Peace!" has been going on for some years. The Church systems and everybody have been claiming, every since the first Peace Conference at The Hague, that war had come to an end, that we were living in the time of peace, that we were having the time of peace that the Bible tells us about. They thought this was true; but those of us who had a better knowledge of the Bible knew it was not true. A great Time of Trouble must first come. The Lord long ago pointed out this great Time of Trouble, which has already begun and which will culminate in an awful period of anarchy, the Armageddon of the Scriptures. So they have been saying, Peace. Peace! when there is no peace, and no ground for peace. There can be no true peace so long as there is sin; for sin is the great difficulty with the world.
As long as men are imperfect and have the control of the world, there cannot be peace--the peace that God has purposed. That peace can come, as the Bible points out, only by Messiah's taking full control. He will bring in the peace. Now, in the meantime, the Lord is letting the nations go their way, that they may show what they can do for themselves. He is no longer holding back the winds of strife--let the winds blow; let the great passions of mankind manifest themselves, and grow from bad to worse, until they end in anarchy. When anarchy has accomplished the complete destruction of the present Order, it will be time for the setting up of the Kingdom of Christ, and He will bring the whole trouble to a sudden termination. But meantime all must learn that no human efforts of imperfect men and women can bring the peace that the world really desires and must have.
PENNY--Why Do Some Mourn? ::Q529:2:: QUESTION (1908)--2--And when they had received it, the
penny, in `Matt. 20:11`, they murmured against the good man of the house. If the penny signifies the great prize of glory, honor and immortality, how or why does that class, who receive it, murmur?
ANSWER--I answer that in these parables we do not expect that every little feature will find a correspondency. Some of the features would seem to be introduced merely to round out the story to make it a reasonable story, or to call attention to some particular feature. In this case to have passed by the fact that each one had received a penny and made no comment on it would have laid the matter open for some to say, "It is strange they did not make a complaint. Everybody now-days would have made a complaint. By introducing this feature, that there was a query as to why some had received only the sum the others had received, it draws attention prominently to the fact that it was the same price or same reward that was given to all of those who are faithful to a long period and to those who are faithful to a shorter period; if they all get exactly the same, it makes that point prominent in the parable. It is a finger that points to that feature, so to speak, and says, "this is the prominent feature of the parable." We are not to expect dear friends, that any who received of the Lord's blessing, which is represented here by the penny, would have a disposition to murmur against the Lord. Rather we are to understand that anyone who would be inclined to murmur would not be in the Kingdom at all. Our thought, then, is: this is introduced in the parable to show the general fact that there would be this one reward given to the whole company that would be rewarded at all. I am not sure, however, that the penny represents glory, honor and immortality. I think that the penny quite properly might be understood to refer to everlasting life merely, without representing the additional features of glory, honor and immortality. According to the Scriptures, we are not all to get the same thing. The Apostle tells us there will be those in the Kingdom who will differ the one from the other, as star differeth from star in glory; but one thing will be common to all of those, namely, they will all have eternal life; all who have honestly and persistently labored in the Lord's cause will be accounted worthy of eternal life; whatever other blessings may be given to them in addition to this are not shown in this parable.
PENNY--Of Parable, Pastor Russell's Dying Statement. ::Q530:1:: QUESTION (1916)--1--Who will give the penny?
ANSWER--I don't know.
PENNY--What It Represents. ::Q530:2:: QUESTION (1916)--2--In Matthew 20,(`Mat.20:2`) the Parable of the Penny, we read, verse 2, "And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard." What does the penny represent? Again, in verse 6, (`Mat. 20:6`),we read, "And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle." Do we understand the eleventh hour is past? Again, in the 11th verse, (`Mat. 20:11`) "And when they had received it they murmured against the good man of the house." What does the murmuring represent, or signify?
ANSWER--We have dealt with this question several times in the Watch Tower, but I will briefly outline the matter
again. Perhaps others also may have forgotten what was written. The parable is one that is difficult to understand with all its peculiar features; as for instance, this giving of the penny seems to be on this side of the veil, because, when it was paid there were some there who murmured, and surely no one would murmur on the other side. If they had been disposed to murmur they would not have been on the other side. The giving of this penny seems surely to mean something that will occur in this present life, before our change, and at the end of this age. Then, it is to be given by the Steward, and given to those who have been laboring in the harvest. I do not know definitely how this will turn out. You are aware that most of the things of God's Word that are prophetical are difficult to understand in detail until they have been, or, are in the process of fulfilment; and I think this parable is about to be fulfilled. I can give only a suggestion. This great work of Smiting Jordan which, I think, is the thing before us, and is to be done within the next few years, is somehow to be connected with this matter. Just how, I do not know. I am looking, and so are you. We will see in due time. It is a parable and will be made clear and will then meet our expectations fully. So then, let us avoid any spirit of murmuring and let us be thankful for all our privileges given to us, and let us not think for a moment that, if the sisters be given an opportunity to serve we should murmur against them for having such opportunity!
PERFECT MAN--Till We All Come to the. ::Q531:1:: QUESTION (1911)--l--What is meant by the perfect man in the text which says, "Till we all come to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God, and to a perfect man?"
ANSWER--What perfect man? How could we all come to the full stature of a perfect man? This is the perfect man that the Apostle frequently refers to; as, for instance, in the third chapter of Acts we read, Moses truly said to your fathers, a prophet shall the Lord, your God raise up unto you, from amongst your brethren. That prophet, that great teacher, is the Messiah. That is the perfect man. Jesus is the head of the Messiah. God has been raising up that Messiah, raising up that great Prophet, that great Priest, that great King, that great Judge, that great Man in this larger sense, in which we sometimes use the word "Man"--the figurative sense, the head and the members. So this is the Apostle's thought when he says that the hand can not say to the foot, I have no need of you, nor the eye to the hand, I have no need of you, for every member of the body is necessary. What body? This great man. Why is God raising up a great man? We answer that this great man, or the figure of a man, refers to the church--Jesus the head and the church, his body. This is the great Messiah that God has been raising up for now eighteen hundred and more years--raising up from amongst your brethren. This is the Messiah of whom Moses spake, saying, "Moses truly said unto the fathers, a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you." He did not say that it would take eighteen hundred years to raise him up, but it has taken the eighteen hundred years, and he is not completely raised up yet. So the Apostle in this text is telling that when our Lord ascended on high he gave gifts unto
men in fulfillment of what is written in the Old Testament Scriptures; to some he gave apostles and some prophets, an some evangelists, etc., for the work of the ministry. What is that? For the work of the service. What service? The service of the church, the service of the truth, the service of the body of Christ. For what purpose and for how long? Until we all come--until by the processes of the preaching of the Gospel and all of this work that these gifts were given to forward and to carry out--until we all come, even the last member shall come, into relationship as members of that glorious body--that glorious man that is to have dominion of the world as God represented.
And this is the same man Saint Paul refers to again when he says that God took some from the Jews and some from the Gentiles and of the twain making a new man; thus making peace or thus balancing as between Jew aud Gentile. The chief members were the Jews. The Lord Jesus himself, and the early members of this man were taken from the Jewish nation and then also some from the Gentiles. So this one great man of which Jesus is the head, is to be composed of Jews and Gentiles by nature, who, during the thousand years of Messiah's reign, will reign gloriously and carry out all the glorious projects which the heavenly Father caused to be written in the Old Testament Scriptures and of which also the Apostles and our Lord spoke.
PERFECTION--In Millennial Age. ::Q532:1:: QUESTION (1911)--l--Will any reach perfection during the millennial age, before the end of that age? And, if so, will they come into actual relationship with God before the end of the age?
ANSWER--We answer yes, some will come to perfection before the end of the age. We know, for instance, that the ancient worthies will come to perfection immediately upon their resurrection, because their trial has been passed; therefore the ancient worthies will be just such a class. We will suppose that the questioner has particular reference to the remainder of mankind, and our answer would be, that according as each one is prompt to obey the institutions and laws and regulations of Messiah's kingdom, in that same proportion he will make the more rapid progress toward perfection. Just the same as it is with us now: in proportion as we are whole-hearted, in that proportion will we sooner reach the mark of perfect love. Some are quite slow in getting to where they can love their enemies, and others get there comparatively quick, and so with those who will be on trial during the millennial reign; they will have the opportunity of coming to perfection; they must all come to perfection, or else they will die the second death; and they may come to that perfection as rapidly as they choose. We might say that in proportion as they are obedient to the laws of the kingdom, the blessing will come to them, raising them up, up to perfection.
Now, the other part of the question, "Will they come into actual relationship with God before the end of the age?" We answer that this question might be viewed from two standpoints; in one sense, all who will come into harmony with God at all at that time will come under the provisions of the new covenant; they will be in relationship with God at once if they accept Messiah and attempt to order
their lives according to his kingdom. They will immediately be in covenant relationship with God. That is to say, God's covenant through Christ is, that eventually, if they are faithful and loyal, they will be in full harmony with him. God will treat them from the beginning through Messiah, through his kingdom, as though they were back in harmony with God. But not until the end of the millennial age will this covenant accomplish its full work of introducing these people actually, fully and completely, to God. At that time, the great Mediator of the new covenant will, so to speak, step from between and allow the world of mankind, brought to perfection, to have direct contact with the heavenly Father, and be in subjection directly to the laws of his kingdom, justice. All mediation will be out of the way then, all mercy, all covering of imperfection, will be taken away, and each one being perfect, will be responsible for his perfection to his Creator. They are in this blessed condition in the sense of his relationship all the way down, but at the end of the thousand years they are more directly in this covenant relationship, and obliged to stand each one for himself without the Mediator between.
PERFECTION--Be as Jehovah. ::Q533:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--"Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect." What does this signify?
ANSWER--It signifies this: that God's perfection is the standard. He cannot have one standard of perfection for you, and another for me, and another for somebody else. There is just one who is perfect and that is our heavenly Father. When you were children in school they gave you a copy book, and at the top of the book was a copy and it was perfect, it was copper plate; you could not improve on it, you could not make anything like it; and so God knows we are imperfect; he knows we are not able to be like the Father in perfection, but he sets his perfection as our copy, just as your teacher gave you the copy book. I do not know whether this is the custom now or not; it was when I went to school. And I remember well that in school the top line of our writing usually looked better than the last line. The top line was nearer to the copy and we looked more at the copy when we made it, and when we got down nearer to the bottom we got to copying our own until the last line was sure to be worse than the first. That is just the condition with us, dear friends. We are in danger ourselves day by day, of taking some other brother or sister, and saying, "I will be like him, or like her !" God says, through our Lord Jesus, "Be ye like unto your Father in heaven," that is the copy, that is the sample, follow that as near as you are able. And how is he going to judge us? Will he judge us according to the flesh? No, the church he is now selecting, he will not judge according to the flesh, but according to the spirit; that is, according to the intention, according to the will, according to the efforts; and so if you and I are pure in heart, and zealous to know and to do the Lord's will to the best of our ability, then the Master will pass upon our following his copy, and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of thy Lord; you have been faithful in a few things (trying to copy) you shall be ruler over many things," sharing the great honor with the Master of ruling the world.
PERSECUTION--Re Living Godly. ::Q534:1:: QUESTION (l909)--1--"They that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Who, the old man, or the new man?
ANSWER--I think that they both suffer some. Their interests are so closely related that if one suffers they both do.
PHOTO DRAMA--Re Exhibiting in Theaters. ::Q534:2:: QUESTION (1915)--2--Is it manifesting the spirit of Babylon to have the Photo Drama of Creation exhibited in a theater after the theater manager has just shown his regular production?
ANSWER--It would not seem that way to me. If so it would be wrong to talk to a man about the Truth after he had been hearing some bad talk. This would seem like reasoning in a circle. Each one has a right, however, to use his own judgment. If any of you are in the photo drama work, do not do anything to hurt your conscience. As for me, I would be glad to show the drama to 5,000 after they had attended a regular theater, if I had the opportunity.
PILGRIMS--Re Local Pilgrim Work.
::Q534:3:: QUESTION (l9l0)--3--Where a brother starts out to do a similar work to the Pilgrim work on his own account and he reports to various classes, making dates, aud asking them to arrange meetings, etc., I would like to ask what the attitude of the class should be in that respect?
ANSWER--The Society, wishing to be entirely free and to leave everybody else entirely free, has no means of doing other than it does, namely, to try to send forth as pilgrims only such as it believes would be especially qualified for the work. We do not doubt there are other brethren that have many of the qualifications for the work, and it is not for us to decide they have not, and that they could not do any good; therefore, we do not attempt to assert authority over any congregation, but leave the matter entirely to the congregation. The fact that the Society is not sending out the brother, implies that it has not seen him to be one that it believes to be especially favorable as a representative of the Society. Now that does not reflect against any one. I think of two cases. One is the case of a brother who is a very nice brother, as far as I have any knowledge of him, and believe he is very loyal to the truth, and a very good brother, but the brother has a deficiency of education; and while we do not claim at all that education should stand in the way of his serving, yet we believe it would not be wise, not be to the glory of the Lord, that we should send forth as a pilgrim a brother, even if he had other qualifications, who lacked ability to speak the English language with a fair degree of correctness. That is the only objection to that brother; nothing against his character at all. Another brother, who has opportunity of doing some service, and who is a very nice brother, and whom we would be very glad to have in the pilgrim work, if his family and home affairs permitted, but his home affairs are not in such shape that he can give his time to the service. We are very glad if he finds opportunity to run out on Sundays and serve the friends. All cases are not just like these two, but I am giving these two favorable illustrations so that you may have them before your minds. Our thought would be that each congregation
must judge respecting any such person, and use their own judgment as to whether it would be to their profit to have these serve them or not. If they think it is, then notify them; if they think it would not be to their profit, let them not invite them. The Society merely says, those whom we send out we hold ourselves responsible for, and if they do not conduct themselves morally, and intellectually, and religiously, according to reasonable lines, the Society wishes to be informed respecting the matter. We believe that those who are sent forth have special qualifications for this ministry and that is the reason they are sent; but that is not saying anything against others; it leaves the congregation free to do whatever seems to them best.
PILGRIMS--Entertainment of. ::Q535:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--Should a Church which for various reasons cannot entertain Pilgrims in their homes, entertain them at a hotel, or withdraw their request for Pilgrim visits?
ANSWER--I think that would be the proper thought, if it is impossible for the friends to entertain the visiting brethren, either at their homes or at a suitable place--not necessarily a hotel, a good boarding house; Pilgrim brethren are not fastidious; something comfortable and reasonable is all that is expected you know; anything you would give the Master if he had been here would certainly be good enough for any of his followers, and I suppose most of them get as good as the Lord had. But it would be the thought, my dear friends, that the invitation is for those who are willing to entertain the Pilgrims. If therefore you are not able to entertain the Pilgrims in either of these ways, that statement should go to the office so that the office would be rightly informed, and advise the Pilgrim brother in harmony therewith.
PILGRIMS--Proper Course for Entertainment, Etc. ::Q535:2:: QUESTION (1913-Z)--2--Is it wise or proper for a Pilgrim en journey to be entertained by those who are out of sympathy with the Vow and with the work of the Society in general, even though he be an Elder of the Class?
ANSWER--Most decidedly not. Furthermore, the Pilgrims should make clear to the Class that they had greatly erred in selecting such a one for an Elder, and should help them to rectify the matter as quickly as possible.
If the Class likes that Elder who is out of accord with the Society's work, it should not make a request for Pilgrim service. Some of the Lord's dear sheep are very stupid. Meekness and gentleness are commendable; but there are times when they would mean disloyalty to God.
POPE--Re Peter Being the First. ::Q535:3:: QUESTION (1911)--3--Was St. Peter the first Pope of Rome? If so, was his presence ever mentioned in the English Bible? Also please say if Roman Catholicism is Christianity?
ANSWER--St. Peter was not the first Pope according to any history we have. Our Catholic friends may have some way of stretching their minds to imagine he was the first Pope, but I know of nothing on which they could base the claim. I do not think they can produce any evidence on which to base it. That St. Peter was in Rome and that St. Paul was in Rome, I think goes without saying, but they were there suffering, not as popes. They were not attempting to rule anybody. You know the Pope claims to be the Viceregent
of Christ, to be reigning instead of Christ. Now the Apostle Peter never claimed to be reigning instead of Christ.
Is Roman Catholicism Christianity? Yes, it is Christianity; that is, it claims to acknowledge Christ, and to be a system of religion based on that knowledge of Christ. And the Catholic Church has some doctrines which are very good. And the Methodist Church has some that are very good, and the Presbyterians have some that are very good, also the Baptists. And the Catholics have some that are very bad, and the Methodists have some that are very bad--and so on through the list. What you and I want to do is to throw away all these creeds and get right back to what Jesus and the apostles and prophets said.
POUND--Meaning Of in Parable. ::Q536:1:: QUESTION (1911)--l--In the parable of the pounds what does the pound represent? If your answer be that justification is meant by the pounds, please explain what is meant by ten pounds at the end of the way, and the fact that the ten-pound servant was given the pound of the one-pound servant.
ANSWER--There are two parables that are alike in many particulars; the one describes the giving to the servants of a pound apiece, and the other describes the giving of various talents, some more and some less, one talent, two talents, five talents. And they gained various pounds. The parable of the talents, we might remark, seems to fit very well to the different talents which God's people possess. For instance, some might have a talent for private conversation. Another might have a talent that would be in the same direction, and also another talent for public service. And another might have a talent for writing. So you see one might have a number of talents and another have only one talent, in any conspicuous degree. At least that is what we think the Lord had in mind when he gave that parable. This would represent you and me in our varied conditions of mind and body, and opportunity, and the reward of the talents would be that everyone who is faithful in using whatever he might have, whether it was one, two, or five talents, if they have been faithful over the few things, some more and some less, all equally faithful would get the same general reward.
Now the parable of the pounds was different, in that each servant got a separate pound--one pound, no more, no less; the Lord did not explain what a pound meant, therefore you and I are left to try to understand from the facts and circumstances; etc., what they might refer to. I have suggested in the Watch Tower that these pounds represent justification, that each gets justification whether he has many talents, or a few talents, and that justification means the making of the individual right, or acceptable with God. Now after he is thus made right or acceptable with God through this one blessing that comes to him, justification, that justifies his entire being, and whether he have more abilities or less abilities, they are justified by that one blessing of the pounds in the parable. So then if you had many talents, there would not be any of them counted unless you are first justified. This gift of the Lord, justification, is a particular gift that he gives us, and it has really made you his servant. Justification covers all the natural talents you have, whether it be few or many, and at the end of your course you are to present all that you have to the Lord as his servant, and he
will call you to an account at the end of this age for all the talents you possess, all of which comes through justification, and would not be counted at all without justification.
The question inquires further as to how the one talent would be taken from one person and given to the person who had made use of the matter. And this seems to apply to both parables. If one fails to use his opportunities and privileges, they will be given to another. St. Paul gives us an illustration along that line. In St. Paul's experience you remember he found some of the brethren who were not exceedingly or extremely careful to be used in the Lord's service, and he strove all the more to do what he could; if there was any brother that was short in any way here was another opportunity for St. Paul to come in and do that much more. He intimates in some places if they had been up to their responsibility they would have been looking out for his temporal welfare, and he mentions it after he had gone to another place. He did not tell them while he was there. Now if you had chosen to contribute to my expenses I could have served the cause much better while with you, but as it was I was obliged to labor in making tents, that I might not be chargeable to any of you. But they lost a great privilege. Now he intimates that if he found anybody who was losing an opportunity, and that if he could work overtime and get that opportunity he would be glad to do that much more. So you and I have so many talents of our own that naturally belong to us, and we are to be faithful in using those talents and pounds in the Lord's service, and if there is any failure on the part of any other one we are not to stop to quarrel with him and fail to use our own, but to go ahead and use our own, picking up this opportunity the brother is neglecting and carry on that much more, so that we will get a great blessing even if he is losing one.
PRAYER--Moses Prayed to Be Blotted Out. ::Q537:1:: QUESTION (1907)--1--Moses said, "And if not, blot me I pray thee out of thy book, which thou hast written." What book is it that Moses referred? Is it the one referred to in `Rev. 3:5`?
ANSWER--I would say yes, the same book; evidently the book of God's remembrance, the book of life. God is represented as having one special book in which only the names of the Bride of Christ are written. We are not to understand that Heaven has a large bookkeeping department. That is not the thought. We are not told how He keeps the record. We do not suppose that it is kept with paper and ink, but God has His own way of keeping in knowledge. The Lord knows them that are His, and they are in His book of remembrance, and that is all we need to know. What did Moses mean then, when he said, "If not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book?" We understand Moses here as the mediator for Israel, and representative of Israel, was very patriotic. He had been appointed of God to represent that nation, and he was so fully imbued with patriotism that there was not a particle of selfishness on his own part. He did not want anything to interfere with the interests of Israel; and you remember God, in order to quiet him, said, "Now, Moses, you see this is a disobedient people and they are continually backsliding; let me alone that I may blot them out of existence, and I will take you and your family and make
of you this great nation who will inherit all of these promises." And you remember Moses' prayer. It shows a very noble, high standard of patriotic feeling, and brotherly kindness that very few could appreciate. Moses was evidently a very noble character, and in that respect very worthy to be compared to our Lord Jesus Christ who took practically the same point of view, and as our representative risked the blotting out of His own life on our behalf.
PRAYER--Re Sisters Leading In. ::Q538:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--Is there any Scripture to show that the sisters should lead in prayer and take any active part in the public worship, or is there any Scripture to the contrary?
ANSWER--The answer to this question would lead to quite a lengthy discussion of many Scriptures, and I think I will answer the question best by referring you to the 6th Volume of Scripture Studies.
PRAYER--Making Personal Mention. ::Q538:2:: QUESTION (1909)--2--Do you think it advisable to mention Brother Russell frequently when offering prayer in public, or is it the thought conveyed in the vow that these supplications should be included with our more private petitions?
ANSWER--My thought would be, dear friends, to leave each to the dictates of his own conscience. If it is proper to ask one to pray in public, let him pray according to his own heart's desires. If there is anything lacking, he will find it out, and then we will let the Lord direct the work, otherwise we may forget the Lord is attending to it.
PRAYER--Re Testimony Meeting. ::Q538:3:: QUESTION (1911-Z)--3--What would you suggest as a topic for the Wednesday evening testimony meeting?
ANSWER--We have had many suggestions relative to the advisability of unanimity of topic for these meetings. We take this opportunity of reiterating the counsel in Studies in the Scriptures, Volume VI, namely, that we know of no meetings more helpful than the testimony meetings, where they are properly conducted, and after the friends have had about a month's experience with them. Testimonies as to one's conversion years before, or as to how one first received the knowledge of the Truth, may be very good in General Conventions, etc., but such testimonies we certainly believe very tedious and tiresome in a weekly class. It would be tiresome also for the friends to tell you what they ought to do and what experiences they ought to have. What is desirable and refreshing is crisp, up-to-date testimonies touching the events and experiences of the preceding week. Such meetings tend to make all of the classes holding them more attentive to note the providences of God and the lessons of life daily and hourly. Thus more valuable experience is gained daily than when such things are passed by with little or no attention.
We recommend this plan for Wednesday evening and that Thursday's Manna text becomes the topic for each new week ending with the Wednesday night meeting.
There is nothing in the nature of a bondage in this suggestion. But those who approve might accept it, and those who do not approve may do otherwise. It is the affair of each class. It would be, however, very nice to know, not
only that the Vow and its prayer daily draw all of the Lord's people close to the Mercy Seat, but also it would be pleasant to know that all are thinking of God's providences along the same lines each week.
PRAYER--Vain Repetition. ::Q539:1:: QUESTION (1912-Z)--1--In `Matt. 6:7`, our Lord tells us, "when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." The Apostle Paul, writing to the Church (`Col. 4:2`), exhorts that they "continue in prayer;" again we read of the widow who was heard for her importunity. (`Luke 18:2-5`.) Is this a suggestion that we should importune? How could we importune without repetition?
ANSWER--We are to recognize a distinct difference between the "vain repetitions" of the heathen, which our Lord condemned, and the "continuing instant in prayer," "in everything giving thanks," in "praying and not fainting," acts which our Lord and the Apostles enjoined. (`Rom. 12:12`; `Luke 18:1`, etc.) This difference the Lord illustrated in the case of the woman who came to a judge repeatedly, asking that he avenge her of her enemy. Although the judge was not a man who would act justly, yet he did her justice on account of her persistence. In commenting upon her course, our Lord said that if an unjust judge be moved on account of importunity to do justice, how much more a just judge!
The thought illustrated in the parable is that of a person who cries to the Lord that injustice is being done--as with the Church at the present time. We all realize that we are suffering injustice. We cry, "O Lord, deliver us! deliver us from the Adversary!" Will God never deliver the Church? For eighteen hundred years the Church has been praying thus; and God has not answered this prayer. Will He never answer? Our Lord intimates that we should not lose faith. We are to have full confidence in His promises. Injustice will not forever obtain. The time will come, we are told, when Satan shall be bound and deceive the people no more.--`Rev. 20:2,3`
Therefore we do right to pray, "Thy Kingdom come," week after week, year after year, century after century. To grow faint or grow weary in prayer would not be right. The proper course is to believe that God will fulfill what He has promised; and that all will come out in harmony with His will.
On another occasion our Lord gave a parable wherein one asked his neighbor for food and was refused. (`Luke 11:5-8`.) He asked again. Finally the neighbor gave it to him on account of his importunity, on account of his patiently persisting. This parable, also, emphasizes the thought of importunate prayer. God has the blessing, and not only is able to give it, but has promised to do so. The delay in granting the request is because His due time has not come. Hence we are not to give up nor to become weary, but to be constant in our prayers.
This is all very different, however, from the "vain repetitions" which our Lord condemned. But we do not think that our Lord desires us to use repetition in our prayers. Some people use the words, "Our Father," or "Our God," or "Heavenly Father" more frequently than would seem to be good form--even using them in every fourth of fifth sentence.
Their prayer would sound better on earth if they did not use these repetitions; though, no doubt, the repetitions would be understood in Heaven; for these people seem to be as earnest as others.
Sometimes, after we have had morning worship and prayer, the one called upon to ask the blessing at table practically repeats the morning prayer. This course would imply that the person had forgotten that the general blessing had been asked in that prayer, and that he should be asking a blessing on the morning meal. To ask a blessing on the meal is not to pray in the ordinary sense of the word. Whoever "asks the blessing" should ask something in connection with the food and not attempt to pray for neighbors, relatives, etc.
But the repetitions which our Lord had in mind and which are specially reprehensible in the Lord's sight are formal prayers merely. To illustrate: the Chinese are said to have a praying wheel, which enables them to make many "vain repetitions" without the trouble of speaking a word.
It would seem that our Catholic friends also are given to a great deal of repetition in prayer. They repeat, "Hail, Mary!" and believe that God will save them from suffering in purgatory for their repetitions. Some of the poor creatures say, "Hail, Mary!" as often and as fast as they can.
So with the Mohammedans. They say, "Great is Allah! Mohammed is His Prophet! Great is Allah! Mohammed is His Prophet!" again and again. We do not know what good they are doing, for they are surely wasting a great deal of valuable time to no purpose. We do not wish to make light of these people nor of their conduct. But we are bound to think that with those who are intelligent such prayers are only form. With those who are not intelligent it is different. We believe that they are sincere; and so our course is to think sympathetically of them, but not to do as they do, not to pray as they pray. Prayer in private, in our own room, may be as long as we please; but prayer in public should be short and to the point.
PRAYER--Should We Pray to Jesus? ::Q540:1:: QUESTION (1912)--1--Are there special instances in which we should appeal to the Lord Jesus?
Answer.--I cannot think of any circumstance in which the Lord Jesus could do more than the Father. But in my own mind and prayer I think of the two being one because their wills are one, and therefore I never make any mistake. I find myself thinking sometimes of one and sometimes of the other, but it is Thy will and not My will, and so I try to blot out any distinction.
PRAYER--In Whose Name? ::Q540:2:: QUESTION (1912)--2--How must we pray in the name of the Father?
ANSWER--Upon the basis of His name.
PRAYER--To Whom Do You Address Yours? ::Q540:3:: QUESTION (l912)--3--Are you addressing your prayers only to the Father in the name of the Son?
ANSWER--Usually I follow that form of addressing the heavenly Father--only in the name of the Lord Jesus; but I have found myself in prayer addressing the Lord Jesus himself, for I find nothing in the Scriptures to contradict that, for they say to honor the Son even as we honor the
Father. Nearly all the Scriptures follow that course of addressing the Father and I think of only one that is different "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
PRAYER--Re No Blessings for Others Without Our Prayers. ::Q541:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--Does the Bible teach there are blessings which we may not receive except through the prayers of others?
ANSWER--The Lord has many blessings at His disposal, and from certain Scriptures we might infer that He is pleased to grant some blessings in response to prayer. Therefore the Apostle said to some in his day, "Brethren, pray for us." He did not mean he could not pray for himself; he did not mean that the other Apostles could not pray for themselves; he did not mean they could not pray for each other; he did not mean he had lost fellowship with the Father and the Father would not hear him. He said, Brethren, pray for us that a door may be opened unto us whereby we may have opportunity of spreading the Gospel of Christ. Do you suppose the Apostle meant that merely as a formality and he thought it did not make a particle of difference, but just said, Pray for us, pray for us, as meaning nothing but merely a form? No, we prefer not to suppose that the Apostle was merely using a form; we would rather prefer to suppose he is teaching a certain lesson, that a certain blessing would come through remembering the Apostles in prayer. I presume that God who is rich in mercy, and has plenty of blessings to give, is pleased to encourage His people to pray, is pleased to have us pray. Why would God be pleased to have you pray? Is He just sitting there watching to see whether little you or little I kneel down to pray or not? Oh, no, that is not the thought at all! But God sees it will do you a great deal of good if you will exercise faith in the matter of prayer, and it will do me a good deal of good if I will exercise faith in prayer. Therefore He arranges as part of the means by which He would bless you and me that He will be inquired of concerning these things that He desires to do for us. He would thus encourage us to pray. As, for instance, when St. Peter was in prison and the Angel of the Lord came to him and waked him up, he was not praying. The Angel smote off the shackles from his hands and led him out, the doors opening before them, and the keepers being asleep, then the Angel sent him on his way rejoicing, and Peter, hardly realizing whether it was a dream or what it might be, walked down the street; he knew the street very well, and presently he came to the door where there was a meeting being held; it was late at night, but the meeting was going on; they were praying for Peter, and saying, Oh, Lord, the Apostle James is slain and now the authorities are threatening our beloved brother Peter. What will we do if all the Apostles are taken from us? They were having an all-night prayer meeting. And when St. Peter got to the door and knocked and the little maid came and looked out and saw St. Peter there, she did not know whether she had seen a ghost or not. Of course she heard about ghosts and she ran back to say that St. Peter was at the door. Why, nonsense! Peter is in prison! Their prayers had been answered. Do you not think that God gave them a great blessing in
answer to their prayer? Do you think if they had not prayed they would have had as much blessing? The Lord might have set St. Peter free, but when in answer to prayer it meant such a blessing to those dear disciples, such a strengthening of their faith, and such joy and blessing. So whoever falls in line with the Lord's arrangements and prays and remembers the Lord's work in various places is getting a blessing in his own heart, and the Lord intimates indirectly that this will have some effect. I cannot understand the philosophy of it at all, I do not pretend to, but somehow we are given to understand that God will be pleased to not change His plan for your prayers and mine--no, no, God is not going to change the Universe around to suit us; we are not wise enough to tell Him in our prayers what He should do, but He is so wise He can hear our prayers and give us blessings. So He has arranged in proportion in which we have loyalty, faith, etc., we are to have prayer. The Lord's people who have not learned the power of prayer are weak Christians. So the Scriptures everywhere encourage the Lord's people to pray always; to be in the spirit, the attitude of prayer at all times, and full of thanksgiving to God.
And I think while I am right at this point I must take the opportunity of saying that any home that has no prayer regularly offered in it is not a proper home--is not the one that should be your home or my home. Wherever you live, wherever I live, wherever any of the Lord's consecrated people live, there the family altar should be reared and should be regularly served--just as regularly as the breakfast is served. This does not mean that you shall force your grown children to participate in worship which they do not appreciate; or if your husband or wife is out of sympathy and unwilling to participate that you should insist on it, and raise a row in order to have the worship there, for God would not be pleased with such conditions. But the child of God should have that attitude of prayer that would be inclining his heart always to have the prayer anyway, and then at a proper time the wife might be quietly inquired of if she would like to join in the prayer service. It might be put in as nice a way as possible. Or, on the other hand, it might be the husband who was not in sympathy, and the wife might approach him and say, "Husband, wouldn't you think it would be very nice if we might have a prayer altar in our home and honor our Creator and our Savior?" And many a worldly man would say, "Why, yes, I guess it is all right." And if the Christian wife did not make some such suggestion the worldly husband would probably say, "Well I don't know, if I professed to be a Christian like my wife does, I think I would want to have prayer at home." Likewise, the wife, if her husband didn't say anything about it, would quite likely say, "If I were in my husband's place and claiming to be a Christian, I would like to have prayer at home." The wife would not like to say that. The husband would not like to say that. Therefore the one that does appreciate the matter should take the initiative, and in a quiet way and not at an inopportune time, but at a time when there is a good opportunity--not when there is something of haste going on and there is not time to consider it, just going away or something--but when there is time. Seek
wisdom as to how we shall present the matter to husband or wife or to children. Do it in the wisest way--be wise as serpents. On every occasion use wisdom, and pray to God as to how you shall take any important step in respect to your life or your home. Ask God if you may have the altar in your home before you ask husband or wife for co-operation. Then suppose she refuse and say, "No, I don't want any altar to the Lord in this house." Not many are disposed to put it that way. And in mentioning the matter there is a nice way to do it. You can say, "Wife, I know you do not look at matters exactly as I do, but for all of that you believe also as I do in the great Creator, and that it is proper for every creature to worship the Creator, and I would suggest that it would be very nice for us, especially when we have children, that we should set an example of reverencing God, and having our home a model home. What do you say, wife? Shall we make that start? Say we take three minutes at least of every morning to approach the Lord, or if possible have it five minutes or more, or without limitation, and perhaps have a hymn of praise before the prayer is offered." But if it is a case where any objection is made, say, "Would you object to our having just three minutes? Would you co-operate with that?" I would not say, "Would .you object?" I would infer he would not object. I would say, "Would you be willing to co-operate to the extent of joining in if we should establish such a little altar of prayer to the Lord in this home? I believe it would be a blessing to us both, and the children. I believe our hearts would thus be drawn to God better, and we would have more of His blessing on our home." I think that would work well. I know there are some who feel, Oh, there is no use asking my husband, or my wife, they are bitter against it. Perhaps the bitterness sometimes comes in our not being wise enough in the way of presenting it. There are very few people who are really bitter against God. As a rule, people usually respect the Creator, and especially in proportion as we seek to be ourselves kind, gentle and loving; and as they can see we are trying to be considerate of their interests and their rights, and to deal justly with the family, in that same proportion they will have respect to our religion, and respect to our God, and respect to our worship. But suppose they would object and say, "No, I would not have anything to do with it at all." "You won't, of course, object to my having such an arrangement and I will just ask the children. I thought I would mention it to you first. Maybe you will think differently of it, and perhaps you will join with us; it would be so much nicer." And then go ahead. Do not consider there is a prohibition, or do not put it in that form as though there would be. We have a right to take for granted that all reasonable people would be willing that we should exercise our consciences and our rights. That would not mean that your husband should get up and have to make his own breakfast while you stopped and prayed; that would not be the right attitude at all; that would bring disgrace on religion; but while careful to attend to all the duties and proprieties in your case, as husband and wife; if you pray, do it wisely.
And then as to the children; if they are grown children,
they should be differently approached. Many parents, I think, make the great mistake of forgetting that their children do grow. They always think that it is "little Annie" and little Annie gets taller, and taller, and taller, but still she is "little Annie" until she gets up so big. And so it is "little Harry." And they always think back somehow to the time in which they talked as children. No child enjoys being treated as a child. Every child that is properly balanced in mind would rather be treated as a little man or a little lady, and the parent can do that, and not by flattery, but in a very proper way. They can say, "Now, Harry," or Mary, "I want you to be a very model little gentleman, or lady. No matter how rude the other boys and girls may be, I want you to be a regular little gentleman, or lady." The child will like that; they may affect that they don't like it, but way down deep they do.
"I want to play with the other boys."
"But, my dear son, how rudely some of these boys act; you would not like me to think of you in that way--you see how rudely they play. You see some girls romp like that-- you won't enjoy that. You can cultivate good manners and grow up nice in a polished way and become a little gentleman or little lady, or you can grow up and always be rude. If you do not grow up in refinement you will not be fit for good society. Now I would like to see you the most polished boy or girl in this neighborhood, so that wherever you go they will say, 'Notice that little boy! Notice that little girl!' Now, my child, I want you to pattern after this. I am not trying to fill you full of pride, so you would strut around. A proud boy and a proud girl will bring upon them the odium of their little playmates. You are not to be proud, but simply be kind, and gentle, and cleanly and tidy no matter how poor your clothes are they can always be kept tidy; and wherever you go see that you do not get them covered with mud and dirt. Be ashamed if anyone says you are proud, or look proud, but make sure you always look like a little lady or gentleman." The children will like that, and if the parents would only get next to their children and have them feel that the ones most interested in them is father and mother, they will remember that when they grow up. Train up a child in the way it should go, and when old it will not depart from that way. It will have more influence than most people seem to realize. What we see in the world in respect to children is nearly a shame. They seem so uncouth, it looks as though they had no parental training at all. Anybody in the truth should know better than to have their children that way. I think of a time when I was in Pennsylvania and took dinner with a brother there. He was a Pennsylvania German, as we say, and after dinner he said to me as we went in the parlor before going to meeting: "Brother Russell, you met my boys and girls at the table."
"Yes, and they seemed to be very nice, respectful and quiet: nothing rude about them; I was pleased to know that."
He said, "I am proud of my sons and my daughters, Brother Russell; I do feel they are above the average, but they are not what would have been if I had had the sixth volume when they were little. But, as you say, after the tree is grown you can twist it all out of shape and get kinks
out, and I have straightened them up all I can. But I cannot, without having trouble, do any more, and I know that would not be wise, and we are to act wisely. So they are pretty nice, but not as nice as they would have been if I had known how to train them as you say from the cradle, or before they were born."
Do not forget the training that comes in before they are born, the most important of all training, but the next is to begin when they are babies and keep up the training. Never laugh at your children. Many parents injure their influence by laughing at a child. The child is sensitive. "If my father makes fun of me when I tell him something I won't tell him anything any more." You want to keep the confidence of your son and daughter so that when they come to the age when they are having beaux, etc., they will still want to come to father and mother and say, "I have a beau." They do not generally want to do that, but it ought to be that way. Your influence with them should be such they would love you and could not keep it back, and would say, "I have a beau, what do you think of him?" They would want your opinion of him. And they would not think of marrying anybody except one the father and mother would say is a suitable companion, for they would have such confidence in your judgment. But in order to have that influence you must be wise as a serpent and follow the directions of the Lord's Word. I tell you if we had our lives to live over again, or if we had lived all the way down, when we were 100 years old we would know something; but we must be thankful for the light and knowledge that comes and make the best use of it when it does come, and if you have made mistakes, do the best you can. If before you knew the Lord yourself and understood His Word you had children and they grew up like wild weeds, you have every reason to be sorry, but you cannot help it. Be kind and patient, be generous, be as helpful as possible, be a real father and mother, and remember they have their failings that you helped to give to them, and be that much more sympathetic with those failings in the sense of giving much more time and assistance to overcome their weaknesses.
PHYSICAL PERFECTION--Re Medical and Surgical Discoveries. ::Q545:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--Will restitution, physical perfection, any way be helped by medical and surgical discoveries, or will restitution be wholly brought about by the power of Jesus to the willing and obedient?
ANSWER--I can tell you about that, I hope, in about two years. I could not more than guess now, and I would always want a difference between what is written and what is guess work. Some people put their guesses and Bible so much together you cannot tell when they are guessing and when they are telling about what the Bible says. Whenever it is a pure guess I want to say that it is. Now I guess that the Lord will allow certain things to come about partly by surgery and medicine at the beginning; I should not wonder at all if there would not be some wonderful discoveries. It would seem as though they are leading on to better things, and yet everything might in another way be viewed from a different standpoint. Jesus did not use any medicine when He healed the sick, and those things Jesus did were illustrations
of coming blessings of the Millennial day. So the result of it is, I don't know.
PRAYER--Position In. ::Q546:1:: QUESTION (1908)--1--Should not Christians, when they pray to God, do so on their knees whenever possible? Should not this form usually be adhered to? ANSWER--The Lord gives a great deal of liberty. There is not a word stated in the Scriptures as to how we shall come to God in prayer, and those who prefer and think they do better to stand when they pray have nothing in the Scriptures to tell them to the contrary; and those who prefer to kneel and feel that in that manner they can come nearer to the Lord, and pour out their hearts most reverently, have nothing in the Scriptures to hinder them; and those who prefer to bow the head have nothing in the Scriptures to hinder them. I agree that kneeling is a very reverential posture, but I am not sure that in every case it is the better one. Suppose we say now, Let us all kneel down in prayer. You would find that as you kneel down you would make a great deal of noise, for one thing, and it would inconvenience your neighbor for another, and you would all get your clothes soiled with the mire off your shoes, and there would be many disadvantages about kneeling. Now, if the Lord had said to kneel, you and I would want to kneel, no matter how much trouble we got into. But when the Lord has not said to kneel, but left it to our option, I think we should use our common sense. My common sense would say that God is no respecter of form in the matter; it is the heart; if the heart kneels down before God, He is pleased with it. If the heart does not kneel down, then it does not count for anything anyway, so what we want is to kneel in our hearts, or get into the most humble attitude we know so far as our hearts are concerned, and then let each one, and the circumstances of the matter, determine what shall be the form. So far as my own private prayers are concerned, I nearly always kneel in the morning and in the evening devotion, but I pray to the Lord a great many times when not kneeling. Usually the last thing in bed before I go to sleep, and the first thing in the morning before I get out, I pray. So I pray in bed, and after I get up, and before I go to bed. I presume you do the same. Now there is no hindrance. You see it gives us full liberty. And you see the Apostle says. "Praying. always and giving thanks." Well you could not be on your knees always that is evident; it must give us liberty at other times, and not restrict the matter to praying only on our knees.
PREACHING--To all Nations. ::Q546:1:: QUESTION (1910)--2--"Go ye therefore and preach to all nations, baptizing then in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." If the salvation of the world is future, what would there be gained by teaching the nations and baptizing them?
ANSWER--Well, the questioner seems to get the impression that our Lord in using these words made a mistake, because if Jesus meant that his disciples should disciple all nations (that is a Greek word, disciple all, not teach), the questioner seems to get the thought that all nations should be disciples, and these disciples be baptized. What do we find? Only a mere handful are disciples, and only a mere handful
have been baptized, and so according to the questioner's account, the Lord made a great mistake. Well, now, that is not the way to look at it. The Lord Jesus did not make any mistake; let us read this question and scrutinize it from a different standpoint. Go ye, therefore, and disciple all nations; that is, make disciples of every nation. Not merely amongst the Jews. At first he said, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any of the cities of the Samaritans enter ye not, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and find disciples. But now he is giving a broader, wider application for the Gospel Age and in due time, when led of the spirit, they did go to all nations, not making any discriminations--go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them. Who, the nations or the disciples? The disciples. Whoever you can make into a disciple, baptize him. Did he say they would be successful in making disciples of all nations? It is still true that he is not calling all. Many are called, but not all, only those who have the ear to hear. The Apostle said, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of those who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine into them and they should be converted." Who is the god of this world? Satan. He has blinded the minds of all. Some with Pantheism, some with fatalism, some with one error and some with another, and even amongst Christians he has brought in all kinds of blindness and error--along the lines of eternal torment, purgatory and other lines. He blinds them to the love of God, to the real character of God, and to the call of this Gospel Age. All those who have not believed. Why should he want to blind them? Lest the glorious light of the goodness of God should shine into their hearts. He does not want God's goodness to shine into their hearts.
PRE-EXISTENCE--Could Jesus Remember His? ::Q547:1:: QUESTION (1912)--1--When our Lord was a human being (previous to His begetting) could He remember His pre-existence?
ANSWER--We do not know enough on this subject to permit us to give a very full, clear and satisfactory answer. So far as we could reason on the subject, our Lord could not know of His pre-existence, before He was begotten of the Holy Spirit, except by natural means. His mother, Mary, would tell Him about His miraculous birth, about the angel that appeared to her, etc. At all events, the Bible says, He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. Thus He was developing until He was thirty years of age.
Our supposition is that He knew that He was miraculously born, for a purpose. He knew as a child that He must be about His Father's business as soon as the divine arrangement would permit--that much we know. It is just as well that we do not speculate too much on features not Scripturally revealed.
When thirty years of age we read that the Holy Spirit came upon Him and He was illuminated. "The heavens opened unto Him." His mind was made clear as to the Divine Plan and arrangement. We are justified in supposing, then, that it was not thus clear, illuminated before. He knew that He came into the world and was there for a special mission. He knew what that mission was, but did
not have the matter in clear form until the Holy Spirit came upon Him. He knew that He proceeded and came forth from God, and knew that He was to return to the Father. He spoke of the glory He had with the Father before the world was, and He would not refer to it without having a knowledge of it; but this was after His anointing by the Spirit.
PRESENT TRUTH--Result If One Leaves it. ::Q548:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--If a brother who is begotten of the Spirit and has been prominent in teaching Present Truth, as presented through the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, but afterwards teaches what he thinks is the Gospel, but contrary to Present Truth, and continues in that condition unto death, what would be the result, whether he would have a chance on any plane or not?
ANSWER--Too deep for me, dear friends. I do not know; we are not appointed to judge one another. We will wish him very well if he is dead. If the Lord has anything good for him, we are willing that he should have it. We would have reason to fear, however, for if he was once in the Truth and lost it, that it was a bad sign, for we would think that one who has had Present Truth would appreciate it more and more. We are not to judge, but will leave the matter in the Lord's hands.
PRESENT TRUTH--Definition. ::Q548:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--What is "present truth" and what is it to be in the truth?
ANSWER--We answer that present truth would be that truth which at any time would be the particular message or fact that God would have his people take notice of. For instance, if we were today to preach about a flood of water coming, it would not be present truth; but for Noah to preach about a flood of waters coming was present truth; it was present truth in his day. He preached that thing that was due at that time; so today present truth is that truth that pertains to our time, the harvest time of the Gospel Age, the glorious morning of the new dispensation--everything pertaining to this is in that sense present truth. There are other truths that are always proper, of course, such as the fact of our heavenly Father's greatness, and love, and wisdom, and justice, and power; and such as the fact that our Lord Jesus came into the world and died for sinners. These truths are always present; but what is meant by present truth particularly is those features of truth which apply to the present time, and more particularly than to any other time. So I understand, then, in answer to the question, that the present truth of this time is the harvest message; that we are living in the harvest time of this Gospel Age, when the Lord is about to make up his jewels, and that the Gospel Age is to close and the new dispensation of Messiah's Kingdom is about to be inaugurated. To be in the truth would mean, therefore, in that sense of the word, to have a knowledge of those things, and be a loyal one in supporting those things, and in promulgating the message that is now due.
PRESENT TRUTH--Result to Those Failing to Believe. ::Q548:3:: QUESTION (1911)--3--Is it possible for anyone to have the present truth at this time, and come into the great company
class, or will they be obliged to make their calling and election, or go into the second death.?
ANSWER--I know of no limitation of the kind that is implied in this question. My understanding is that there are persons at the present time, who have a knowledge of present truth, who may fail to make good; they may come short of the standard and not be acceptable as members of the body of Christ. I would not think that they would necessarily go into the second death. No one will go into the second death, we may be sure, unless that person willfully, intentionally, repudiates the Lord and his grace. God is not anxious to put anyone into the second death, and there are doubtless many people who will come short of the high ideal that the Lord will require, but who are far too good for the second death. But our suggestion is that we should all strive to make our calling and election; and it will require that we strive.
PRESENT TRUTH--Many Christians Not Yet Enlightened. ::Q549:1:: QUESTION (1915-Z)--1--Is there anyone at the present time outside of Present Truth who has the Holy Spirit?
ANSWER--There are various degrees of the Spirit of holiness which may be possessed by the child of God at various times in his experience. We may ourselves have more of the Holy Spirit now than we have ever had before implying that there was a time when we did not have so much. Or there may be some who have less, implying that they have not been growing spiritually, and are grieving the Holy Spirit with which they were sealed.
We are not to think that all who are begotten of the Holy Spirit are exactly on the same plane, in either their spiritual appetites, or their development, or their knowledge of God's Plan. We grow in grace as we grow in knowledge. If our measure of grace lessens, the knowledge begins to fade. As a matter of fact, the whole world has been laboring under such delusions that we are surprised, when we "wake up," to see how little we did know--to see how ignorant we were of some of the precious messages God has given us.
And as we were children of God before we received full knowledge, so we believe it is possible for others to be children of God without having the full knowledge. We are living in the end of the Harvest time, when, we believe, the Lord is causing the knowledge of the Truth to encircle the world. And yet the Adversary is raising "dust," calumny, to hinder the people from appreciating it.
It is in very rare cases that God does as He did with Saul of Tarsus--strike him down with a great light, brighter than the sun at noonday. And it is because we believe that there are still children of God attempting to live on husks and skimmed milk--that there are such brethren in Christ who need the assistance we are able to give them--that we are trying to help them. Otherwise we would abandon all special effort at propaganda, knowing that there will be favorable conditions for all as soon as the Kingdom shall be established.
The Bible speaks of the Great Company class as the "great multitude," as though the foolish virgin class were larger than the wise virgin class. And the Scriptures indicate that the Great Company class will not all have fled from Babylon before its overthrow. "Come out of her, My
people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." This call has been going out for now thirty-seven years. It is God's call.
The Scriptures show us that some will come out, and others will not come out, will not be released from Babylonish fetters. These foolish virgins will see that their lack of love and zeal has lost them a place in the Bride class. But they are virgins, nevertheless, and will have a place, or portion, as the companions of the Bride. They will follow her into the King's Palace. They will be bridesmaids, if you please--a position of lesser honor; but they will attain everlasting life. So we have reason to believe that the numbers of God's people begotten of the Holy Spirit and still in Babylon are considerable. If we were in their place and they in our place, we feel sure that they would make heroic efforts to help us out of Babylon; so we are doing likewise.
PRIDE--Remedy for. ::Q550:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--Have you any suggestions for a tendency toward too much head, and not enough heart?
ANSWER--I would think it a very dangerous disease, and I think the Great Physician has put the proper medicine in the medicine chest that he has given us; that he has given us the proper remedies in his Word; he is instructing us to cultivate meekness, and to cultivate love; the meekness will reduce the size of the head, and the love will increase the size of the heart.
PRIESTHOOD--Beginning of Melchisedec Priesthood. ::Q550:2:: QUESTION (1910-Z)--2--When did our Lord become a Priest after the order of Melchisedec?
ANSWER--Our Lord entered upon his Melchisedec priesthood individually, personally, at the time of his resurrection, when, as the Apostle declares, God announced, "Let all the angels of God worship him." In this individual sense he became the Melchisedec Priest, although only the "Head" was yet formed. Since the intelligence is in the head, we can see how the head might stand for the body, as could no other member of the body. A hand stretched forth might represent the body, but it could not have the intelligence of the head, and we could not say that the presence was there, but as soon as the Head was born from the dead, as soon as the Head was accepted as the Melchisedec Priest, that soon the whole matter would have a standing with God, the intelligence residing in the Head. We agree, however, that we shall not exercise our full office as a Melchisedec Priest until the whole Church shall be with their Head in glory, members of his Body. A Melchisedec Priest is a blessing Priest, a Priest who has the power to bless. Melchisedec was able to bless Abraham. Far superior, therefore, to the Aaronic priesthood is the Melchisedec priesthood.
Our Lord could not have been this Melchisedec Priest until his resurrection, evidently, because he had nothing with which to bless. Before he could do any blessing he must himself lay down his life, and by laying down his human life in obedience to the Father, he would thus receive or have to his credit the merit which he could draw upon in the blessing of us, and ultimately all the families of the earth.
PRIESTHOOD--Length of the Melichisedec. ::Q550:3:: QUESTION --3--How long will this Priesthood of the order of Melchisedec last?
ANSWER--"Thou art a Priest for the age," or rather, a Priest ever, an ever-Priest, a lasting Priest; not one who would pass away by death; not one who would drop his office in some unsatisfactory manner, but one who would fully accomplish all the purposes for which he was appointed as a Priest. Our Lord was appointed a Priest because there was necessity for a Priest. It is not an office that would be necessary amongst the angels, who are perfect, but it is an office necessary amongst men, because of their imperfection. To be a Priest, therefore, to the end or completion, would mean that he would be a Priest, Mediator, Reconciler, Harmonizer in this matter of estrangement between God and man. Therefore, this office will end with the Millennial Age, when he shall have accomplished all this work and will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father. Then he will be a Priest no more. There will be no need of a Priest of any kind, sacrificing or reigning. The very significance of the office is that of intercessor or mediator, or assister in some manner of those who are in some difficulty.
PRIESTHOOD--Significance of the Under-Priests. ::Q551:1:: QUESTION (1910-Z)--1--In the appointment of the Aaronic priesthood, Aaron was the High Priest and his sons were associate priests. Is the fact that his sons were associated with him specially typical?
ANSWER--Evidently the type was intended to teach that these under-priests were the members, or body, of the High Priest, because that was the form in which the matter was expressed. He was to "make atonement for himself and his house." Now, what is the thought in this word "himself?" How would we most clearly express it? What relationship except that of a wife would more nearly represent one's self? The sons of Aaron, then, would represent him in a special manner, as though they were his body. A father is represented in his son in a particular sense. The type of the High Priest in his office would thus be maintained through successive generations. The sons were not, as sons, typical, but sons were in type the best representation of the body of the priest that could be made, and hence were representative of us, who are the Body of Christ.
PRIESTHOOD--Present Work of Antitypical Priest. ::Q551:2:: QUESTION --2--Are there any antitypical priests doing a priestly work at this time?
ANSWER--To our understanding the picture of the "priest" is an individual picture. It is not a work which priests are in a collective sense to do, but here the one priest is to do the work. In other words, the under-priests are merely recognized as representatives of the priest, the same as we are representatives of Christ. In that sense of the word it might be said that there is only one priest, the officiating priest, the one who does the particular work; but in another sense there is an under-priesthood--in the sense that we have a separate personality, as individuals, yet acting in conjunction with our Lord as his members.
While recognizing the Scripture, "ye are a royal priesthood," let us lay stress on the Apostle's words which declare of our Lord, "if he were on earth he could not be a priest, seeing that there are priests who offer according to the Law." The Apostle then proceeds to prove that our Lord was a Priest after the order of Melchisedec, and that this
Melchisedec priesthood was acknowledged of God with an oath, and that Aaron and his priesthood were never acknowledged thus. But respecting this man the Lord said, "I have sworn with an oath, thou art a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec."
Melchisedec was, of course, only the one priest, and that one priest, therefore, represented all our Lord's members, and since the great work of the antitypical Priest is in the future, and is not the present work, we see that this is the reason why Aaron is not so particularly referred to in the type of the Great Priest. The Great Priest will really do his great work during the Millennial Age, and what is done in the present time is merely a preparatory work, preparing himself for work.
First, the Lord Jesus, in the three and one-half years of his ministry, proved himself worthy to be the Priest, and during the 1800 years since he is proving us worthy to be his members, and by the time he shall have completed his work of proving us all worthy, with himself, for this great and honorable position of Prophet, Priest, Mediator, King, Judge of the world, he will at the same time have to his credit certain merit which he can apply for the world and on account of which he can perform a priestly office for mankind. The priestly office, as before stated, is more that of the future than of the present. The present time is the sacrificing time, the time for making a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice.
We agree, of course, that none of us is doing the sacrificing. The high priest smote the bullock and killed it, and the high priest, likewise, smote the goat and killed it. Then came the presentation; as, for instance, when the Apostle Says, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God," etc., he is not here saying, Perform the work of a priest upon your body, but offer yourself as a sacrifice to the Lord; he may accept you; he may sacrifice you, and he may perform a service upon you which will prepare you for a share with himself, as a member of his Body, in the glorious work of the future, in the work of blessing all the families of the earth, in the work of ushering in the Times of Restoration which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.--`Acts 3 :19-21`.
PRIESTHOOD--Why Were Not Job and Others Priests? ::Q552:1:: QUESTION (1910-Z)--1--Since it was the priests who were to offer the sacrifices and since no one could be a priest except he was called of God, how was it that some of the Ancient Worthies, Job and others, who were not priests, offered up sacrifices?
ANSWER--The sacrifices which these offered were not sin offerings. They did not offer up sacrifices according to the types of the Law, as the Day of Atonement sacrifices, for instance. This whole arrangement of the Jewish Law, by which the sacrificing was taken out of the individual's hands and put into the hands of the priests, was a new departure in God's dealings.
Abraham, we know, presented offerings before the establishment of the Priesthood. The exact time in which Job lived we do not know. We merely know that he was Job of Uz, and walked before God with a perfect heart; but we think we are justified in supposing that he did not live during
the Law dispensation, with its typical sacrifices. If this be true, his course was in full line with Abraham's course when he offered up sacrifices. When Abraham was stayed from offering his son, he offered up the ram caught in the thicket, as the Lord directed.
What these patriarchs did in the matter of offering up sacrifices was evidently a token on their part of appreciation of God and of the fact that a sacrifice for sins was necessary, just as Abel brought the firstlings of his flock and offered them to God, though he was not called to be a priest; but none of these sacrifices was accepted in the same sense that the sacrifices were accepted under the Law. None of these sacrifices ever made the offerers themselves perfect, nor did they atone for anyone else; they were merely the same as a prayer would be, a manifestation of a good desire of heart and of appreciation of God and a desire to reverence him, and a recognition of the fact that sin required some atonement. So when the Lord showed how this sin-atonement was to be made he pictured the work of this Gospel Age. He appointed a priest to represent the Lord Jesus, and under-priests to represent the Church. A work of sacrifice was done on a particular day of the year--the Atonement Day--representing the work of this Gospel Age in which these "better sacrifices" for sin are offered; and under this larger arrangement no one is permitted to offer the sacrifice except a priest, God thus indicating that the work is entirely under his supervision and direction.
PRIESTS--Under Priests in the Holy. ::Q553:1:: QUESTION (1915)--1--In the type, did the under priests have access to the Holy of the Tabernacle on the Day of Atonement?
ANSWER--The account might be read in different ways, but my reading of it leads me to understand that the under priests did have access to the Holy on the Atonement Day. Some others might think differently. I think this is in full accord with what we know to be the experience of the Church--that we all have access to the holy from the time we are spirit-begotten. We are now in the antitypical Atonement Day. To say that the under priests in the antitypical Priesthood are in the Holy, and then to say that the type did not teach that we should be there, I think would be a contradiction between type and antitype. I think they did have access to the Holy during the entire Day of Atonement.
PRIZE--How to Gain the Great. ::Q553:2:: QUESTION (1910-Z)--2--Is it the spirit of obedience to the Lord's commands that will gain the great prize?
ANSWER--What the Lord is looking for at the present time is the spirit of sacrifice or self-denial--not merely the spirit of obedience to commands. Few, of course, would resist a Divine command, if thundered from heaven. Our test is more crucial than that. It is a test of obedience to what we understand to be the will of God or the privilege of service in his cause. Those who delight to do his will, those who delight to serve his cause, even at the cost of sacrifice to earthly interests, are the very ones he is now seeking. "He seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in Truth!" "Now is the acceptable time;" now is the time for those to come forward who desire to offer themselves unreservedly, and who desire that the Lord shall accept
their offering, which they know is not of great value. The more the sacrifice costs you, the more we may be sure it will be appreciated of the Lord. For any to give the Lord a thing which has no value in their own estimation would be in the nature of an insult, instead of sacrifice.
Our experiences in life should draw us closer to the Lord, not only in the form of prayer; but moment by moment, in every little emergency of life, we should learn to expect heavenly guidance.
Every accepted sacrificer who fails to carry out his sacrifice will surely miss the "high calling," and, if our expectations are correct, will share with the "great company" in the "destruction of the flesh," which, after consecration, they were unwilling to devote day by day.
PRIZE--Re Philosophy of Covenants and Ransom. ::Q554:1:: QUESTION (1910-Z)--1--Is it possible to be both justified and sanctified without knowing the philosophy respecting the Covenants and the Ransom?
ANSWER--It is true that one might be both justified and sanctified through faith in the blood before learning anything about the Covenants or the philosophy of the Ransom. And one might retain equally justification and sanctification through faith in that blood, irrespective of philosophies respecting the Divine methods of the applications of Christ's merit. This was true in our own case. Subsequently, having obtained grace from the Lord and some knowledge of his Plan--the philosophies of the Atonement, etc.--we served it out to others in his name. He advised us through his Word that these things were "meat in due season," and that the path of the just would shine more and more. In harmony with these promises, we have clearer light. increasingly, which is ours to dispense to whomsoever has "an ear to hear."
The Old Law Covenant was for the natural seed of Abraham, and similarly the New Law Covenant will be instituted with them, as taking the place of the old one and bringing them a blessing, which they failed to get under the one of which Moses was the mediator. Ours is the faith Covenant, the original Covenant, to which the old one was added, and to which the new one will be added in due time.
PRODIGAL SON--Whom Did He Represent. ::Q554:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--What company or people are represented by the prodigal son of the parable?
ANSWER--I answer that it was a class that was living in our Lord's day. The scribes and Pharisees were seeking to be at harmony with God, and outwardly at least were in harmony with him, whom he recognized as sitting in the seat of Moses, as being representatives of the Lord and of the Father also. The younger son represents those Jews who became profligate and who wasted their privileges as Jews, and became publicans and sinners, outlaws, and lived as Gentiles instead of living in harmony with God, as represented in the parable. Now the Pharisees were very bitter against these publicans and sinners, and because Jesus talked with them and sat with them, they said, This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them, we are the holy ones. Jesus was seeking to correct that error of Pharasaical pride. That is not God's way, as they were doing. If you have found these people hungering for my word, you should have been
glad to see them come out to me. They should have said, There is a man, and the publicans and sinners are attracted to him, praise God, that some of those brethren who have gone off into sin are coming back, we are glad of it. But now, said the Lord, that is not your attitude. When you see them coming back and being properly received and blessed, that God is feeding them, etc., putting a new robe on them, etc., you say, we will stay out if you are going to let them come in. Jesus said, if you stay out, then you will stay out, for God is receiving them. You are the elder brother, these privileges are yours, you did not go out, you should have been ready to receive them, you should have said, we are glad to have you back, there is plenty for us all--that should have been your attitude. This parable is given as a reproof to that Pharasaical class.
PUNISHMENT--Re Everlasting. ::Q555:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--How can you say that the punishment of the wicked will not be everlasting?
ANSWER--I did not say anything of the kind--it will be everlasting.
PURCHASE--What the Lord Bought? ::Q555:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--We understand that the Lord has not yet bought the world. Has the Lord purchased the Church? If not, how shall we understand the Scripture which says, "Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price?"
ANSWER--I understand it to say, ye and not they. Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price." Our Lord Jesus is represented as having paid the price to justice as far as the Church is concerned, and the Church is bought, and all of this class who become part of the Church are therefore included and dealt with under this gracious promise in advance of the world. But the world is not yet bought.
PURITY--Life of. ::Q555:3:: QUESTION (1911)--3--Do you believe in physical regeneration, or the living of a continent, chaste life?
ANSWER--I think this is a question upon which, as the apostle says, everyone should be fully pursuaded in his own mind; it is not a subject that is laid down as a law in the Word of God. It is, therefore, not a Scriptural question. The Scriptures in general exhort toward all purity, but the Scriptures also say that marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled. It is not in the authority of anybody to supersede the words of Jesus and the apostles. The apostle, nevertheless, does give the exhortation that for those to whom it may be possible to live a life of chastity, it would be a very desirable one, saying, "He that marries does well, and he that marries not does better."
PYRAMID--Date 1910. ::Q555:4:: QUESTION (1910)--4--What importance do you attach to the date October, 1910, in view of the suggestion in the Pyramid?
ANSWER--In the chapter on the Pyramid, in the third volume of Scripture Studies, we made mention of the fact that a measurement might be taken up the front of that large step, you remember, that is at the top of the Grand Gallery; that it could be measured up that step and along that step to about the junction line. We did not have the
exact measurement of that, but we took what is termed a paper measurement. That is to say, if anything is drawn to a scale, you can, by measuring very carefully with a piece of paper, estimate pretty closely, and our estimate of that, as I remember it, and as recorded there in the third volume, was that the point of time in inches would seem to represent October, 1910; but we did not give that as anything positive, nor as anything we know. I do not know anything about October, 1910. It is merely a suggestion. When it comes to October, 1910, I think it will be very well for you to have both eyes open and look around and see if you see anything. But the dates that are given to us prophetically are the ones I think we ought to especially give heed to. Now these prophetic dates seem to be, 1874, October; 1878, in the spring; and then 1881, in October; and then October, 1914. Now these, as far as we can tell, are the dates marked in prophecy, and to these we do well that we take heed as unto a light shining in a dark place, as St. Peter says. That does not mean that we know now, or that we ever knew, nor that we say now, nor that we ever said, that the suggestions made respecting these dates which are based upon prophecies are indisputable; nor that we have ever claimed infallibility in the interpretation of the prophecies in connection with them. What do we say, in the Scripture Studies, you will remember, is this: That to our understanding, this teaches this, and that teaches that, and the other teaches the other. We do not see any other way they could be held together, or any other conclusion that could be reached; and for my own part, therefore, I believe that those dates signify such and such things. That is all we have ever said; we never said we were infallible in these things. We believe them. We have believed them from the first; we are acting upon that belief. But, my dear friends, if October, 1915, came, or October, 1920, came, and no great time of trouble, and no change of all the Church came, it would not overthrow my faith in the divine plan of the ages for a moment. God is selecting a Church as the Seed of Abraham, and that Church as the Seed of Abraham is predestinated to do the work of blessing all the families of the earth; whether 1915 is the exact time for that to begin, or the trouble that will introduce that time of blessing, is another matter. I believe October, 1914, is the time when we may expect that great time of trouble, because it seems to our judgment, as far as we can understand the Scriptures, that is the time when the Gentile period of lease, or tenure, will expire, and when, therefore, we may expect that the time of trouble shall be ushered in; and that time of trouble we understand is the one the Scriptures tell about--a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, a time of trouble which shall overwhelm all sorts of government, and every institution of the present time; and a time of trouble which thus will make ready and prepare mankind for the glorious reign of Christ and his Church, for the blessing and uplifting of all the families of the earth.
QUICKENING--And the Mark. ::Q556:1:: QUESTION (1907)--l--In a recent issue of a Tower, you say we are not quickened until we reach the mark, and that some are never quickened. Do you mean that only those of
the consecrated who do reach the mark are quickened to any degree or in any sense?
ANSWER--I would not like to take the position that no quickening would commence until after the mark had been reached. The Apostle uses as an illustration the natural birth: "First, begetting, then quickening, then the birth." We are first begotten by the Word of Truth; then if we continue to be related to the Lord, the time of quickening, the energizing, will come; and then if this energizing continues, and we continue to grow in grace and knowledge, we eventually in the first resurrection will be born. But I would not like to say that no one would manifest any signs of energy or quickening in the Lord's service until first he had reached the mark of perfect love, but I would think it fair to say that nobody would reach the mark of perfect love, without being quickened. That just as surely as he would get to the place where he loved the Lord with all his heart, and where he would love his neighbor, and his enemies even, he would be at the place where he would be sure to be quickened or energized in the service of the Lord and in the service of his neighbor. That is what we wished to say in the Tower.