VOL. XXXI JANUARY 1 No. 1
A.D. 1910--A.M. 6038
Views From The Watch Tower........................ 3
Outlook for the Truth......................... 4
Greetings to Pilgrims and Colporteurs............. 5
"Give Thee for a Covenant"........................ 6
The Ministry of Reconciliation................ 6
The Last of the Prophets.......................... 7
Our Lord's Second Coming.......................... 8
Jesus Baptized and Tempted........................ 9
"For This He Did Once"............................ 10
Drinking the Lord's Cup........................... 12
The Wedding Garment............................... 12
Growth in Grace and Knowledge..................... 13
Questions on the Covenants........................ 13
Berean Studies on the Atonement................... 15
THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION
THIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.
Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.
This Journal stands firmly for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (`I Pet. 1:19`; `I Tim. 2:6`.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (`I Cor. 3:11-15`; `2 Pet. 1:5-11`) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed."--`Eph. 3:5-9,10`.
It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.
TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH
That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the
Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and
the chief corner stone of his Temple, through which, when finished,
God's blessing shall come "to all people," and they find access to
him.--`I Cor. 3:16,17`; `Eph. 2:20-22`; `Gen. 28:14`; `Gal. 3:29`. That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these
"living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready,
the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection;
and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting
place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--`Rev. 15:5-8`. That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom
for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that
cometh into the world," "in due time."--`Heb. 2:9`; `Jno. 1:9`; `I Tim. 2:5,6`. That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as
his joint-heir.--`I John 3:2`; `John 17:24`; `Rom. 8:17`; `2 Pet. 1:4`. That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's
witness to the world; and to prepare to be kings and priests in the
next age.--`Eph. 4:12`; `Matt. 24:14`; `Rev. 1:6`; `20:6`. That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to all by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution
of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient,
at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church--when all the
wilfully wicked will be destroyed.--`Acts 3:19-23`; `Isa. 35`.
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.
Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: 24 Eversholt St., London, N.W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Equitable Building, Collins St., Melbourne.
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE. SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the Studies, etc.
ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH, DANISH AND ITALIAN EDITIONS. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., POSTOFFICE ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA
ONE-DAY CONVENTIONS AND SPECIAL SERVICES
ADDRESSED BY THE EDITOR OF THIS JOURNAL
WINNIPEG, MAN., THURSDAY, JAN. 6
All meetings in Manitoba Hall, 293 Portage avenue. Morning Rally for Praise and Testimony meeting at 10:30 o'clock. Address to the interested at 3 o'clock. Public meeting at 8 p.m. Subject, "Man's Past, Present and Future in the Light of the Bible." Visiting friends heartily welcomed.
HAMILTON, ONT., SATURDAY, JAN. 8
Public meeting at 8 p.m., in Y.M.C.A. Hall, James and Jackson streets. Subject, "Man's Past, Present and Future in the Light of the Bible."
MID-WINTER NORTHERN CONVENTION,
TORONTO, ONT., JAN. 8-10
Come, all who can, with hearts prepared for a blessing. We are not able to advise at this issue where the general sessions will be held, but the public meeting on Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock will be in the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Reduced rates on the certificate plan are expected, so that it will be desirable to ask for certificate when purchasing the one-way ticket at full fare. This, when properly validated, will entitle the holder to return trip ticket at a very low rate.
Local particulars may be had from Mr. F. W. Manton, 100 McPherson avenue, Toronto, Ont.
FOUR SPECIAL SERVICES SUNDAYS--JAN. 16, 23, 30
AND FEB. 6--BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC
(Lafayette Avenue and St. Felix Street.)
CHURCH FEDERATION--COUNTING THE COST
Jan. 16, 3.00 p.m.--Topic: "What Congregationalists, Methodists and Presbyterians Must Surrender."
Jan. 23, 3.00 p.m.--Topic: "What Baptists, Disciples and Adventists Must Surrender."
Jan. 30, 3.00 p.m.--Topic: "What Episcopalians, Catholics and Lutherans Must Surrender."
Feb. 6, 3.00 p.m.--Topic: "The Church Militant's Surrender to the Church Triumphant."
Because of its large seating capacity, these will be held in the Academy of Music instead of the Brooklyn Tabernacle. However, a testimony meeting will be held at 10.00 a.m. each of these Sundays in the Tabernacle, and a plain luncheon will be served at noon, also in the evening at 6.00 p.m., preceding a question meeting at 7.30 p.m.
An opportunity for Baptism will be arranged for the evening of Jan. 23.
NORFOLK, VA., FEB. 13
WILMINGTON, N.C., FEB. 14
CHARLESTON, S.C., FEB. 15
SAVANNAH, GA., FEB. 16
JACKSONVILLE, FLA., FEB. 17
MID-WINTER SOUTHERN CONVENTION AT
TAMPA, FLA., FEB. 18-21
CUMBERLAND, MD., FEB. 27
SMALL CROSS AND CROWN BUTTONS
We have these again in stock at 2 for 5 cents, or 25 cents per dozen.
SPIRITISM BOOKLET IN SWEDISH
At 10 cents each, or 60 cents per dozen, postpaid.
QUESTIONS ON "TABERNACLE SHADOWS"
We have these printed in cheap form and will supply them free to those who have "Tabernacle Shadows" and who will request them.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
THE YEAR 1910 opens auspiciously upon a world which may be said to be nervous and doubtful, if not fearful. Hope still holds the reins, however. MONEY IS THE KING IN THE PRESENT ORDER OF THINGS, EVERYWHERE! His palace is entrenched, a veritable fortress, practically impregnable. His interest from bonds--National, State, County, Municipal, Railroad--and real estate mortgages represents more each year than all the gold money in the world could pay. Hence the debtors must make good the deficiency with other bonds, etc. Thus Money owns, and, in the last analysis, Rules the World. Moreover, its debts are protected by most stringent laws and regulations, and with armies and navies, militia and police. Money could not be better off than it is to-day.
Indirectly money has noted the fat things of the world and has appropriated them and operates them through gigantic trusts and combines. The smaller business enterprises, Money disdains to touch. It leaves these to the weary and heavy-laden, that they may have some share in the property and be able to pay the interest on the bonds. The smaller manufacturers of the world, between satisfying the demands of trades' unionism and paying the interest on their bonded debts, find it impossible to say that the New Year opens prosperously. Still they hope, and, as they read descriptions of their fellow-manufacturers in other lands, they rejoice that business is no worse than it is, and hope for "better times."
A bountiful harvest has given foundation for a fair degree of prosperity amongst the people as a whole and, everything considered, America is a very favored land.
For a long time the wealth of Europe has been largely derived from its trade with foreign countries. King Money in Great Britain has levied tribute on the entire heathen world. To protect this he has the largest navy on earth and watches jealously any neighbor who might be a competitor. King Money in Germany is growing rapidly rich and has great ambition. He can produce more manufactures than he can use and he desires to share the trade of the British King Money. To get this he is willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in building battleships. The English King Money fears that his supremacy of the seas would thus be endangered if the German King Money were on an equal sea-footing. His servants, the English Press, of course, are greatly interested and excited. The whole British Nation is aroused to excitement.
A German war scare makes some fearful and some belligerent. The claim is, that a strong German navy would compete with the British, take away her trade and starve her people by blockading her ports. The argument advanced is that war should be declared against Germany speedily, while the British navy is so much the stronger of the two, and that, with her navy destroyed, Germany should never be allowed to rebuild one which would in any degree be a menace to that of Great Britain. Meantime the British and the Germans are impoverishing their treasuries with war preparations, and latterly Austria has become bent on being a sea power, and is also building Dreadnaughts. With the amount of zeal everywhere manifested to serve King Money it would not at all surprise us if there should be a cruel and dreadful war between the two great "Christian" nations, Great Britain and Germany, within two years.
How far-reaching would be the influence of such a war is difficult to guess. India, which has for so long been under British control and yielded rich returns to King Money, is already in a ferment of revolution. Russia at such a time would be glad to free India from the domination of Great Britain and then would seek to grasp India as her own possession.
Meantime China and Japan are making wonderful strides in civilization--especially in war preparations. Soldiers are being drilled; cannon are being manufactured--and in general these great heathen powers which have been dormant for so long are getting awake. Presumably they have their own King Money managing their affairs. In the event of a war between Britain and Germany, if Russia should interfere with India, Japan as a British ally, would attack Russia, with China as her assistant. It would be easy for imagination to picture other nations becoming embroiled in the strife. Thus a great European war may be comparatively near. Many prominent Englishmen have expressed themselves much more positively than this--that war cannot be long averted.
Late advices from China and Japan indicate great business prosperity there. Some who have been examining the fundamental causes for the industrial awakening tell us that the basis of it lies in the fact that although gold is the nominal money standard of those lands, silver is the real standard--the money in which the business is conducted. Doing business with the cheaper money practically gives China and Japan a tariff wall of one hundred per cent. and increasingly closes the ports of those great nations to European and American goods manufactured on the gold basis. The demonetization of silver, which was intended by King Money to bring to him wealth from peoples afar, as well as at home, is gradually closing upon him the doors of heathendom, representing three-fourths of humanity. The Chinese and Japanese hope soon to be able to duplicate at lower prices the wares of Europe and America. And those who ignore the imminence of Messiah's Kingdom might well stand in dread of "a commercial invasion," as well as a political one, from Oriental lands within a quarter of a century.
The peoples of Southern Europe are feeling the influences of civilization and education, and are arousing themselves from lethargy and beginning to feel the gnawings of discontent. Socialism is spreading through the armies of Europe, and the various States are instructing their discontented millions in the use of all the implements of warfare and death, even while their national lives are threatened.
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It looks as though five years more would see the poorer classes of Europe awake, and, mad with envy and discontent, ready to pull down upon their own heads the social structures of the world in the vain hope that thus they can get more of the coveted gold.
In our own land it is really surprising to see how quickly and how thoroughly the millions of emigrants from Europe are absorbed and Americanized and civilized. Here everything is very quiet socially, but occasionally we have evidences that underneath the surface there is anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife--that the poor world as a whole is not Christianized. It is really only galvanized with a semblance of Christianity in outward conduct, and liable at any moment
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to manifest those characteristics which St. Paul describes as sensual and devilish. Certainly comparatively few have the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit--meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love!
At any time in any quarter of the world conditions might suddenly arise which would convulse the financial world, and through it the social world, or vice versa. We cannot say that this might not come soon, although we see no apparent cause of such a convulsion in this year, 1910. The power of the Labor Unions all recognize. The unionists well know that they could paralyze business and bring starvation or surrender within one month.
THE "RELIGIOUS WORLD"
Strictly speaking, the world is not religious, yet so closely allied are nominal Christianity of all denominations and worldly institutions of every kind that some name is needed to describe the Babylonish mixture.
Thank God, there are still good people, and apparently some of them in every denomination; but most evidently they not only are not in the majority, but are a very small minority--quite unable to control the situation. The outward forms continue in all denominations, but they all seem to be honey-combed with unbelief. Higher Criticism, Evolution, Theosophy, Christian Science, Psychic Research, etc., have practically swallowed them up and there is left only the "form of godliness without its power," except in the small minority of consecrated saints already referred to. And those we are seeking for, and shall seek for by every power at our command, for they are all to be found and enlightened, blessed, ripened, gathered, before the end of the harvest time.
Church Federation on a large scale comes on slowly, but the spirit of it is making great progress in various directions. Church Federation is getting into practical shape in many cities. Undoubtedly it already is a force, but we are still to expect a still more formal organization or Federation, and the vitalizing of the same through affiliation with the Episcopal system. Not until then will the "image of the beast" have power to speak, to command, to enforce its edicts.--`Rev. 13:15-17`.
OUTLOOK FOR THE TRUTH
In some respects the Truth has never had a brighter or more prosperous outlook than at the present time. It has never wielded as much influence as now for the enlightenment of the people. Never before have so many millions of intelligent, thinking people been brought in contact with a knowledge of the Divine Plan of the Ages and a knowledge of the effectiveness of the Ransom Price laid down on Calvary! Never before has the trumpet given a clearer sound! Never before have the soldiers of the cross had the armor more completely at their command or been better versed in how to use the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God! Never before have those who understand the Truth seemed more awake to the responsibilities of the hour or more zealous to use them to the glory of Immanuel! What may we not expect, accordingly, in the year 1910 in the line of scattering the Volunteer matter and putting the "Bible Keys" into the hands of every Bible student; and THE WATCH TOWER into the hands of every one who manifests interest; and the sermons weekly into the hands of all our neighbors!
Dear Brethren, what solemn resolutions or vows do you intend to make to the Lord respecting your faith and zeal and self-denials in his service during the year beginning? Let us promise nothing rashly; but, after considering well our wonderful privileges and opportunities, let us promise and do with our might, what our hands find to do.
"YOUR ADVERSARY THE DEVIL"
What we have said respecting the glorious opportunities for service and a good outlook for the work should not be understood to signify no attacks from the Adversary. Quite to the contrary indeed. If from time to time in the past our great Enemy has assaulted the Truth and all who would seek to be faithful to it, what reason have we for supposing that he would be less on the alert or less aggressive in the present or succeeding years? On the contrary our expectation is that the battle for right, for Truth, will wax hotter and hotter. Those unwilling to trust the Lord and those who are confident of themselves might about as well surrender now as any other time. Be assured that only the faithful and the courageous overcomers will stand the testing of this evil day. But this will not discourage us, if we will trust in the gracious promises of our Lord that greater is he that is for us than all that are against us.
The Apostle calls particular attention to "perils amongst false brethren" in our day and he particularly pointed us to the heady and high-minded and told us that "Of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them." Such things are to be expected in 1910. Let us not be surprised, but on the alert to resist such besetments by increased humility. It surely is a fact that those who once enjoyed the light of present Truth and who have left it seem thereafter more deficient of decency, reasonableness, honesty, manhood and womanhood than do worldly people, or those who have never seen the Truth. One might know how to calculate on what the worldly foe might do or say or insinuate, for they all have limits beyond which they would not think of going; but as for these false brethren, there is no calculating what they may do or say. Expecting such assaults we need not be disconcerted but "trust in the Lord and do good."
WHAT MANNER OF SPIRIT ARE YE OF?
Eighteen centuries ago when the Samaritans refused to sell bread for our Lord's company, the Apostle James and John in their loving zeal for the Master, said, "Lord, Wilt thou that we command fire from heaven" to destroy these men and their city? But Jesus rebuked them, saying, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. The Son of man came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them."-- `Luke 9:54-56`.
These words are to be the guide of all the Lord's followers to-day, as well as before. We are not to render evil for evil, nor slander for slander, but, contrariwise, are to speak kindly, lovingly, generously, of those who, as foretold, will say all manner of evil against us falsely for Christ's sake--because we are his servants and representatives. And the more prominent our position, the more virulent will be their attacks. If we can remember that they are deluded and that the attacks are really from the Adversary, it will help us to feel kindly, sympathetically toward them, instead of maliciously and hatefully.
We urge upon the dear readers of this Journal that during the year 1910, more than ever before, they shall seek to walk very close to the Lord--in meekness and humility, in patience and love to the brethren, and in love and zeal for the Lord and for the Truth.
Although somewhat disappointed that we are not even able to report seven thousand names to the Vow--not more than one-third of THE WATCH TOWER list, nevertheless we have many reasons for believing that some of the dear friends who have not taken the Vow formally are striving to live up to its principles, and striving thereby to have a share of the blessings which it seems to be bringing to all who take it in sincerity, and in love of the Truth and the principles of righteousness.
We urge all to beware of making the Vow a test of brotherhood in Christ. Leave every matter of personal liberty with the individual, recognizing all who fully turn from sin to righteousness and avow full faith in the Redeemer as
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the Savior and a full consecration to him as "members of his Body." What preference you should give in the election of Elders to one who has taken the Vow or to one who has not taken it is for yourselves to decide, according to your own judgment; just as the matter of the use of tobacco would not bar Christian brotherhood, but might be considered in the choice of an Elder of the Church.
Should any in opposing the Vow show a bitter spirit, a fighting spirit, remember the Apostle's words, "Mark them which cause divisions...and avoid them." (`Rom. 16:17`.) Nevertheless treat them not as enemies and think not of them as such, and hope for their return to a better spirit. Let us each remember, however, that his own chief ground for scrutiny and criticism is his own heart and his own life. Let us each fight the good fight there and avoid in every possible manner contentions and strife with the brethren, except it should be unavoidable along the lines of some violation of righteousness or the spirit of a good conscience and then let it be with loving and peaceable desires and endeavors.
THE NEW COMMANDMENT
Many of you have already obtained this year's motto card, the low prices of which are mentioned elsewhere. The texts for the year are most beautiful. The first is the New Commandment of the Master given to those who will be his disciples--those who would consecrate their lives with his, even unto death. "Love one another as I have loved you"-- unto self-sacrifice. (`John 15:12`.) The second text might be termed an apostolic commentary on this New Commandment. St. John wrote to fellow-Christians, "We ought (also) to lay down our lives for the brethren" (`I John 3:16`)--following the example of our illustrious Redeemer and glorified Head. If you have several of these motto cards, have one in each room so that you will think continually upon brotherly love, assured that it is the final test of character in God's sight. Not only keep the motto card in sight, but keep the
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sentiments continually in mind. Thus striving together in the unity of the Spirit and the bonds of peace and seeking to walk closely under the shadow of the Almighty, the year 1910 will assuredly be to us all a happy year. It will be full of happiness, however many trials and difficulties it may contain. The Lord knows how to make all things work together for our good!
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1910--GREETINGS TO PILGRIMS
BELOVED IN THE LORD:--The opportunity for a Christmas and New Year's Letter is again at hand. My heart goes out with peculiar warmth and interest to the six hundred co-laborers whom I now address. I feel that you individually and collectively are very close in my heart's affections. It is right that we should consider, appreciate and admire the Christian likeness of the Lord in each other--and I see so much of this in you, dear friends. Your loyalty and faithfulness to the Truth, coupled with your zeal for its service, are continually an inspiration. I doubt not they also inspire many of the Lord's dear sheep who long for some such service as that in which you are engaged, but are denied the privilege, because of other duties and responsibilities.
As I look over the various departments of the harvest work I perceive that every feature of it is being used of the Lord for the blessing of his people and the enlightenment of the world. The Conventions and other public meetings are doing a grand work; the printed sermons are influencing many minds; THE WATCH TOWER and the newspapers and the Volunteering are accomplishing much. But the Colporteur work, in connection with the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, seems to be pre-eminently used of the Lord, in the full deliverance of those who have been more or less influenced by the Truth through other channels. I inform you of this for your special encouragement, well knowing of your many discouragements. Dear Colporteurs, you are awakening more than ever to an appreciation of your wonderful opportunities, and I rejoice accordingly!
Some years ago the work was esteemed more as a business. Of late an increasing number appreciate the fact that they have a great ministry of the Truth to serve. No longer are they satisfied to sell the books--good as that work alone often is. More and more the privilege is appreciated of watering the seed sown--of calling back upon those who gave evidence of Christian character and spirit--to see if they were reading and to help them wisely over any difficulties, and later to assemble them with others for Chart Talks, which later on develop into Dawn-Bible-Studies. The kind word, the happy face, the gentle presentation of Christian work in the encouragement of the study of the Scriptures, etc., find the hearts of those who are really hungering and thirsting after righteousness. It finds some hearts that never before tasted of the grace of God.
The Spirit of the Lord in the Colporteurs magnetically attracts the "wheat" class, and family relationship and oneness in Christ is recognized. The tired, the troubled, the soul-hungry, find in these "angels" which are flying through the midst of heaven (`Mark 13:27`), the sympathy, consolation, Christian love, etc., which their hearts have longed for and nowhere else found. The solace which they have sought in vain in the sects they had reason to expect in the Lord's followers, but rarely found. Is it any wonder that such would be ready to hear the message of Truth, and ready to confess that they had long been burdened and perplexed with the error?
At the opening of another year we bid you God-speed for the New Year, dear fellow-Pilgrims and Colporteurs. May the Lord's blessing continue with you richly, rewarding you, not only in the life to come, but also with large measures of blessing in the present time, and, if for your good, granting you to see some fruitage to your labors. One dear Colporteur reports that during the year, by the Lord's grace, she has been guided with the message to seven who have received it gladly. It is not merely the planting of the seed, but the watering of it and the holding of it that brings it to fruitage.
We take this opportunity of calling your attention to the great work that is being done through the newspapers and Volunteer work. You may not have great opportunities of assisting in either of these departments of service directly, but you can at least exercise a good influence in favor of them with others. There are many cities and towns which have never been volunteered. We offer the printed matter free every year, but the dear friends residing in or near these places have not yet realized what a blessing they are missing when they neglect this service. Cannot you give them suggestions and examples along these lines and thus add to the service of the Truth and to their joy and spiritual blessing through participation?
In the matter of the newspapers publishing the sermons: Where a paper in the County publishes, mention the fact in your canvass. It will help you effect a sale of the books and you may secure an order for the paper in combination. Make such price as you think proper: You have the published prices in the Peoples Pulpit and this will permit you to give a clubbing discount, as between the newspaper, THE WATCH TOWER and the DAWN-STUDIES. Make such combinations as you please. The one important thing is that no price ever shall be quoted in the combination that would be less than the cost of the newspaper.
Inform the friends you meet of the importance of sustaining the publishers of the sermons in view of the fact that the Adversary is ever on the alert through various channels to discourage them and to interrupt this form of spreading the Truth. Have in mind that the publishers of these newspapers have no interest in the Truth, but merely in the circulation of their paper and in the profit. Advise friends not to attempt to write theology to the editor, but to leave that to the sermons, and merely to express their own pleasure, interest, satisfaction in the reading of them and that this constitutes their chief interest in the paper.
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We invite the Pilgrims, as well as the Colporteurs, to send to us the addresses of such persons as desire the sermons but cannot afford the cost.
We desire to send a little Christmas token to each regular Pilgrim in the service and to each regular Colporteur. By "regular" we mean such as devotes entire time to the work, or at least one-half of his time.
Please accept one of the new gold Cross and Crown pins and advise us at your convenience where we shall send it. Reckon on its leaving here January 11, which will give us time to get through with our Christmas rush.
We will enclose one of the little booklets, "The Sweet Brier Rose," and trust that the sentiments of the poem are those of your heart. We send also one of the "Heart Bookmarks" and trust that the sentiments thereon expressed will find echo in your souls throughout the coming year. "Keep thy heart with all diligence" for the Lord and in his service and love, which means in the love and service of all who are truly his. Thus doing, undoubtedly the year 1910 will be to us a very happy and profitable one. As you look at the grape clusters on the bookmark, let them remind you of the Master's words, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit"-- fruits of the spirit of love.
Still remember throughout the coming year, as in the past, that my Christian love for you is very deep and very warm, and that in all your afflictions I am afflicted, and that if at any time you are in trouble, I would have you call on me, after you have first called upon the Lord.
Wishing you a very joyous Christmas and a very happy New Year, 1910, I remain, as ever,
Your brother and servant in Christ, C. T. RUSSELL.
The above was prepared as a letter, but later concluded that as we are rushed in the office work it would save labor and reach you equally well through THE WATCH TOWER. We conclude, indeed, that others might be interested also.
Possibly amongst their New Year's resolutions the dear Colporteurs will include the following: (1) To send us promptly the lists of addresses of those who purchased STUDIES. (2) That on each Report Sheet they will give their own name and address. (3) That they will begin on the first page of Report blank. (4) That they will give at the head of each list name of the town and county. (5) That they will write very plainly. We use these lists for sending samples of our literature and have been obliged to destroy many because imperfect along some of the above lines.
BROOKLYN BETHEL HYMNS FOR FEBRUARY
After the singing of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table we consider the MANNA text: (1) 130; (2) 219; (3) 293; (4) 259; (5) 109; (6) 291; (7) 41; (8) 325; (9) 50; (10) 214; (11) 52; (12) 72; (13) 32; (14) 296; (15) 294; (16) 4; (17) 264; (18) 144; (19) 313; (20) 316; (21) 210; (22) 162; (23) 272; (24) 18; (25) 226; (26) 60; (27) 110; (28) 178.
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"GIVE THEE FOR A COVENANT"
THUS saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers: Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee, and I will preserve thee and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places."--`Isa. 49:7-9`.
Full often have we made application of this Scripture to our Lord, the Head, and the Church, his Body. We now call attention particularly to the feature which declares, "I will preserve thee and give thee for a Covenant unto the people, to establish the earth," etc. Notice the fact that the people and their earthly inheritance are here differentiated from the great Mediator of the Covenant, through whom the people are to be blessed. Our Lord has not yet received the heathen for an inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession. He has not yet regathered and blessed natural Israel and made them the special channels of his blessings to mankind. For more than eighteen centuries he has been waiting at the right hand of majesty for his foe to be turned over to him--for the time to come when he shall take to himself his great power and reign. The beginning of that reign will be the binding of Satan. Then the blessing and uplifting of the groaning creation will follow. Gradually the world will be prepared to resume covenant relations with God at the close of the Millennium.
Why the delay? Why did he not begin the work at once, immediately after he ascended up on high? The Scripture answer is that, in harmony with the Divine Plan, he has been waiting for the "members" of his Body to join with him in sacrifice in the sufferings of this present time, that they may share with him as his "members" in the glorious work to which he has been appointed as the spiritual Seed of Abraham. (`Gal. 3:29`.) From this standpoint all the work of God's people during this Gospel Age is so much of the ministry of the world's New Covenant--serving that New Covenant by getting themselves and each other ready for the future work of glory at the expense of self-denials as respects earthly things and the present life.
Note St. Paul's application of our text to the Church. He quotes the passage as applicable to the Body of Christ, saying, "We, then, workers together, beseech also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted [the antitypical Atonement Day], and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time [when we, like our Lord, may sacrifice earthly rights and restitution privileges and thereby attain the spiritual blessing of our 'high calling of God in Christ Jesus']; behold, now is the day of salvation"--the great salvation to the Divine nature.--`2 Cor. 6:1,2`.
Reading again the prophecy from which this quotation is made--our text--we perceive that there is no room to question that the entire Christ Head and Body was given as a Covenant for the people, the world, to institute general times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began.--`Acts 3:19-21`.
We see, in this connection, also the appropriateness of our Lord's speaking of his "Cup" of suffering and death which he invited his faithful to share with him as being not only his own blood shed for us, but also "the blood of the New Covenant shed for many," in which we are privileged to participate. Those who see and who appreciate the privilege rejoice to be accounted worthy to have fellowship or participation with Christ in his sufferings and sacrifices, that they may have share with him also in his glories and work. The blood of the New Covenant signifies the "better sacrifices" by which God has been pleased to arrange to bring the whole world anew into Covenant relations with himself.
THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION
"If any man be in Christ, he is a New Creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [Such are already back into harmony or covenant relationship with God.] And all [these] things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ [brought us back to covenant relationship], and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation: to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech men by us; we pray men in Christ's stead, Be ye reconciled to God. For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin [offering] for us [him], who knew no sin; that we might become God's righteousness in him."--`2 Cor. 5:17-21`.
The careful student will note in the words quoted four
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parts distinctly separate: God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church, and the world. God and the world are in opposition. Divine sentence of condemnation passed upon all the human family, determining that they were out of covenant relations with God--imperfect, unable to keep the Divine requirements, and therefore under death condemnation. In due time God sent forth his Son, with the avowed object of reconciling the world. Jesus did not even attempt to do so. He confined his efforts entirely to the Jewish nation and amongst them to the seeking for the "lost sheep," as many as the Father would draw to him.
Having finished his ransom-sacrifice, he ascended on high and applied it, not for the world, but for those who should believe on him and become his followers by consecration. The Apostle was one of these, as he explained to others, and incidentally to us of the same class to-day. The results of our Lord's appropriation of his merit on our behalf, was our consequent harmony with God and share in the reconciliation, not done by our Lord, but in a measure committed to us, his "members." He says, as above quoted, "God hath reconciled us to himself through Jesus and hath given to us the ministry [service] of reconciliation"; not the service of our own reconciliation, which is already passed, but the service of making known to the world the great fact that through the merit of Christ's death, whosoever wills may return to harmony with God, be reconciled to him. Our message is that this reconciliation is eventually to reach the whole world, but that, at the present time, it is intended only for "him that hath an ear to hear."
As ambassadors for God, as "members" of The Christ, it is our ministry or service in the world to carry the message to all who can hear it--to persuade men, to encourage them by word and example, to be reconciled to God--to accept his terms and conditions and to submit themselves fully to his will. This ministry or service in the present time affects merely the gathering of "the household of faith," including the "elect," but this is not the end of the service. Those faithful in the present work of the ministry of reconciliation will be counted worthy by the Lord of a share in the glorious work of the future. The reconciliation of that time will differ from the message of the present time. Now we persuade, we urge, we entreat, we lay down our lives for the brethren. We seek by word and example to encourage, to entice them to the Lord--to have fellowship in his sufferings and in our ministry.
The ministry of the future will be entirely different-- it will be glorious. Instead of suffering and sacrificing and being rejected of men, the future reconciliation work will be accomplished on a plane of glory. Our Lord and Head, glorified, will be the King of kings and Lord of lords. We, his humble followers, will be "changed" by the power of the First Resurrection and, as "members" of his "glorious Body," we will sit upon his throne. We will exercise under him the office of Prophet, Priest, King, Mediator between God and men, the world. No longer will men be entreated, but, on the contrary, the Law shall go forth from Mt. Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (`Isaiah 2:3`.) And "the soul that will not obey that Prophet shall be destroyed from among his people," after full, fair warning and helpful advice.--`Acts 3:23`.
This ministry of reconciliation committed to the Church, now and hereafter, is sometimes referred to as the ministry of the New Covenant--the service of bringing Israel in covenant relationship with God anew. These royal priests serve the New Covenant by way of making ready, under the guidance of their Head, the sacrificing of their restitution rights as underpriests. The duties and privileges of this "royal priesthood" are now a sacrificing service; by and by a reigning, restoring and teaching service. "As he was, so are we in this world."--`I John 4:17`.
`Verse 21` above quoted tells how our Lord became the sin-offering for us, the household of faith, and that this is in order that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. In other words, we his "members" may be the channels through whom his merit would be applied for the propitiation of the world's sins, under the terms of the New Testament, or bequest, in his blood. This is in harmony with the Apostle's statement that God's mercy through Christ will be extended to Israel through the Church. As it is written, "They shall obtain mercy through your mercy." It is God's mercy through Christ which will pass through the Church to natural Israel to whomsoever wills of all the families of the earth. Thank God for the privilege of this ministry of reconciliation committed unto us!--`Rom. 11:27`.
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THE LAST OF THE PROPHETS
--JANUARY 2.--`MATTHEW 3:1-12`.--
Golden Text:--"The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."--`V. 3`.
JOHN the Baptist was the last of the prophets and, as Jesus declares, "one of the greatest." To him was committed the honorable service of directly announcing the Savior, who said of him, "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist; notwithstanding, he that is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (`Matt. 11:11`.) The last representative of the "house of servants," he discharged the duties of his office with dignity, declaring Jesus to be the long-promised Messiah-King, who was about to select a Bride class, to be his joint-heirs in his Kingdom. The Prophet recognized that he himself was not eligible to this class, yet rejoiced in his privilege of announcing the Bridegroom, saying, "He that hath the Bride is the Bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice; this my joy therefore is fulfilled."--`John 3:29`.
The Scriptures maintain a clear distinction between people of God prior to Pentecost, called friends and servants of God, and the people of God since Pentecost, called the sons of God. The latter are sons because begotten of the holy Spirit to a new nature--a spirit nature--to be fully attained by a share in the First Resurrection. This important point is distinctly marked by St. Paul. After recounting the faithfulness of God's people of the past, who had this testimony, "That they pleased God," he declares "All these died in faith, not having received the promise (fulfillment), God having reserved some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."--`Hebrew 11:39,40`.
The "better thing for us" is the spiritual part of the great Abrahamic promise. We are invited to become members of the spiritual Seed of Abraham--the Christ, the Messiah, Prophet, Priest, Mediator, King, of which our Redeemer, our Lord, is Head. The work of this spiritual Seed as King and Mediator of the New Covenant between God and the world will progress throughout the Millennial Age. Divine favor was cut off from the natural seed of Abraham during the past eighteen centuries and bestowed upon the spiritual Seed selected from both Jews and Gentiles.
But as soon as the spiritual Seed, "the Elect," shall be completed, the blessing of the Lord shall proceed from and through the spiritual Seed to the natural seed, eventually fulfilling God's promises of an earthly kind so long deferred to Israel. Notice how distinctly St. Paul outlines all this in `Romans 11:25-32`.
Thus seen, John's mission was to arouse the people of Israel to the fact that Messiah had come, that the time of the inauguration of the long-promised Kingdom of God was at hand, and that if they, as a people, desired to share in it, in harmony with their long-cherished hopes, they should at once begin preparation. Not as a whole would the favored nation be accepted, but as individuals. All, therefore, should make a searching of their hearts, and if they found evil therein, if they have been living in known violation of the Law, they should repent and turn from the sin, and they should symbolize their reformation in the presence of witnesses by a baptism which symbolically represented this putting away of sin.
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God chose a strong, rugged character to bear this message. Providentially John's experiences in the wilderness specially qualified him; and his peculiar raiment and food enabled him to be independent of all religious sects and parties amongst the Jews and gave him freedom of utterance, which he might not otherwise have had. At the same time these peculiarities made his message all the more striking to the minds of the people.
As an illustration of his boldness, he challenged some of the prominent religionists of his time, who came to his preaching and baptism. He declared that they were the offspring of vipers and that their repentance would not be considered genuine without certain proofs, and that they might rid themselves of the delusion that they could inherit any share in the Kingdom merely because they were the natural children of Abraham, since God was able to fulfil his promise to Abraham along other lines.
John's declaration that now the axe was laid at the roots of the trees and that all not bringing forth good fruit would be hewn down and cast into the fire, was merely a figurative way of saying that the testing time for the Jewish people had come, that it was an individual matter, and that only such as bore good fruit in their characters and lives would any longer be recognized of the Lord as Israelites and identified with the Kingdom. All the remainder, cut off from those privileges, would go into the fire of tribulation and destruction with which their national existence would cease.
He was faithful in telling his hearers that his work and his baptism were merely preparatory; that the greater teachings and the higher baptism Messiah would institute. The honor and dignity of Messiah were so great that in comparison he was not worthy to be his most menial servant to carry his shoes. Messiah's baptism would be of two parts, the one upon the faithful, the other upon the unfaithful. "Israelites indeed" he would baptize with the holy Spirit and subsequently the unworthy, the non-fruitbearing, would experience a baptism of fire, of trouble, of national destruction.
Again he illustrated the character of Messiah's work in their nation, comparing it to the winnowing of wheat from chaff.
The entire mass, the entire nation, would be tossed about by the great winnower, in order that every grain of wheat might be found and separated from the chaff. The wheat was cared for, garnered, to a new state or condition at Pentecost and subsequently. The chaff of the nation was cast into a fire of trouble, insurrection and anarchy, which consumed them as people, as a nation, A.D. 70. That fire was unquenchable in the sense that it was the Divine intention that the nation should be consumed and it was not in the power of the ablest of statesmen and rulers to prevent this--to quench the fire. It burned itself out, as stated.
St. Paul calls attention to this matter saying, "Wrath is upon this people unto the uttermost," that all things written in the Law and the prophets concerning them should have fulfillment. Space does not permit our rehearsing here what we have already presented at length in the SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Series II, Study VIII, respecting the fact that John the Baptizer, as forerunner of Jesus, Jesus' representative to the Jews, was but a partial fulfillment of the type of Elijah. As many of our readers have the SCRIPTURE STUDIES in their libraries, we commend to them this most interesting feature, which is closely related to to-day's study. An antitypical Elijah is there shown, composed of Jesus in the flesh and his followers in the flesh, who must do a preparatory work in the world, in introduction of the Messiah of glory, Jesus the Head, and the Church his Body.
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OUR LORD'S SECOND COMING
NOTWITHSTANDING all that we have written on this subject, some appear not to fully comprehend it; as, for instance, is implied in a query just received: If the Church must "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ" (`Col. 1:24`); if every "member" must finish the work of presenting his "body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God" through Jesus (`Rom. 12:1`); if the blood of the New Covenant will only then be sprinkled on the antitypical mercy-seat "for the sins of all the people," before the great antitypical Priest comes forth to bless the world, would not this prove that the parousia of our Lord did not begin in October 1874; that we are not now living in the days of his parousia? Our answer is, No, it would not.
To the very best of our ability we have endeavored to make clear that the parousia of our Lord is wholly different from his epiphania. Both of these Greek words are translated coming in our common Bible, but in the Greek they have very different significations. The word parousia signifies presence, but does not signify any outward manifestation of that presence. It is used in respect to the first stage of the Second Advent, in which our Lord is said to come "as a thief in the night" to reckon with his own servants and to take the faithful of them with him to the heavenly mansion or condition prepared for them.
Our Lord's parousia and the gathering of the elect, we understand, has been in progress since October, 1874. It will continue until all of the "elect" shall have been gathered and glorified. In one sense our Lord will continue to be present as the world's King to the conclusion of the Millennial Age; but his parousia, in the sense of secrecy of presence, will terminate when, as the Scriptures declare, "He shall be revealed in flaming fire (judgments), taking vengeance on all who will not obey the Truth," but enlightening and revivifying all who will hear and, to the extent of their opportunity, obey his message. The parousia is to the Church and for the Church only. The epiphania or apokalupsis of the Lord in power and great glory is not to the Church nor for the Church, but to the world and for the world. "When he shall thus appear we also shall appear with him in glory," the Apostle declares. --`Col. 3:4`.
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Applying these things to the Atonement Work of this Gospel Age and the resulting restitution work of the Millennial Age, the matter is clear. Our Lord, as the great High Priest, ascended on high and applied his blood--the merit of his sacrifice--on behalf of the Church--the antitypical priests and Levites. Immediately, as shown in the type, after making atonement for our sins, the High Priest appeared at the door of the tabernacle--amongst his consecrated ones waiting at Pentecost in the upper room. His presence was manifested amongst them by the holy Spirit, and the sacrificing of the Church, made acceptable by Jesus' blood, began. The work has progressed ever since with those who are spiritually seated with Christ in the holies. Soon the last of the great Priest's "members" will have suffered in the flesh.
Now, in the harvest time, he is present to gather the sleeping ones and to further test and perfect "us who are alive and remain." The High Priest is doing no work outside of the "holy" of the antitypical Tabernacle. His presence is unknown to the world. Soon Bridegroom and Bride will be ushered into the presence of the Father in eternal glory. The "marriage supper of the Lamb" will be celebrated, and then Bride and Bridegroom, Head and members complete in glory, will come forth to bless the world. That crowning day of joy to the Church will be followed by our Lord's apokalupsis and epiphania. To the world he shall be revealed in flaming fire of the time of trouble, but nevertheless with power and great glory, "and all his saints with him." The great Mediator of the New Covenant will not be seen with the natural eye, nor by any except as their eyes of understanding open and they begin to grasp the situation. The first to "look upon him whom they pierced" will be the natural Israelite. Brought into Covenant relationship with God through the "better Mediator than Moses," they will be trained, chastened, blessed and uplifted by him during the Millennium; so that by the end of the Millennium they shall be ready for the everlasting Covenant condition of perfection in harmony with God.
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JESUS BAPTIZED AND TEMPTED
--`MATTHEW 3:13-17`; `4:1-11`.--JANUARY 9.--
Golden Text:--"In that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted."--`Hebrews. 2:18`.
JOHN'S baptism, as we saw in a previous study, was intended merely as a sign of reformation. There is no intimation that either John or his disciples or others of the "Israelites indeed" made use of it. Nothing in the Jewish Law required it either. Our lesson notes the fact that John objected to our Lord's being baptized, because he was not a sinner. He was "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners."
Our Lord's baptism, therefore, as intimated in his reply to John, was a new institution, which he did not explain at the time, but which, later on, he showed was a symbol of his consecration unto death, not as a sinner, but as a sin-offering. He thus consecrated as soon as he was thirty years of age, the legal age at which a priest could offer sacrifice. The language of his heart is told us by St. Paul, "Lo, I come, as in the volume of the Book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God." (`Heb. 10:7`.) There, declares the Apostle, he began to set aside the typical sacrifices of the Law Covenant by beginning the "better sacrifices"--the antitypes.
In symbol our Lord declares that his perfect human will and all his earthly rights and powers were fully consecrated, even unto death, and that he was trusting the Father's promise that such an obedience would result in his resurrection from the dead to the spirit plane which he left, in order to become man's Redeemer. This symbolical consecration to death was responded to by the Father by the impartation of the holy Spirit as a beginning or start of the new spiritual nature which he would enter into fully by resurrection after the completion of his sacrifice. He was there begotten of the Spirit. Three and a half years later, in his resurrection, he was born of the spirit, "The first born from the dead." (`Col. 1:18`.) An additional attestation of Divine favor was the voice, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
From a child Jesus sought to be about the Father's business, and to know the teachings of the Scripture respecting his appointed work. His anointing by the holy Spirit quickened his understanding and made all that he had learned much more significant. At once he began to see lengths and breadths and heights and depths not possible of discernment previously, because, as the Apostle declares, "The natural man [even though perfect] discerneth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned....But God hath revealed them unto us [Christ and all of his Spirit-begotten followers] by his Spirit, which searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."-- `I Cor. 2:14,10`.
This illumination (`Heb. 10:32`) gave Jesus such new views respecting his work that he was thereby impelled to go aside into the wilderness to think and pray and study what his course should be as outlined by the Law and the prophets. He spent forty days thus, fasting, praying, studying. When weak as a result of these experiences the Tempter was permitted to assault him with suggestions of ways and means of carrying out his work, which were far different from those which he found in the Scriptures,--which his perfect mind grasped completely, having heard them read by course in the synagogue from childhood.
OUR LORD'S THREE TEMPTATIONS
The three temptations experienced by our Lord illustrated all the temptations of his followers as New Creatures. "He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin." He was not tempted as a father, as a mother, as a drunkard, as a gambler--and neither are these the temptations experienced by his followers. Of the weaknesses of the flesh he had none, while his followers have many; but the merit of his sacrifice is efficacious for the forgiveness of all the blemishes of his followers to the extent that they are unwilling, unintentional faults. Their testing is not along those lines, even as his were not. Proper understanding of our Lord's three temptations reveals to us that they are the same by which we are tested as New Creatures, his spirit-begotten disciples.
Temptation I. Hungry after his long fast, our Lord's flesh cried out for nourishment, and the Tempter, affecting a kindly interest in his welfare, suggested that, having received the holy Spirit, he now possessed the power of miracles and should use it to transform the stones into food. Our Lord subsequently used this power in feeding multitudes, but it would have been sinful for him to use it upon himself--to sustain the human life which he had already consecrated to death. He might use any ordinary means to supply his physical needs, but the holy Spirit was given him for another purpose--not for gratification of the flesh, even legitimately. Our Lord at once recognized the principle involved and promptly refused the suggestion, declaring, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." In a word, if he would deserve eternal life it must be as a result of absolute obedience to the Divine Law. To create and eat the bread for the nourishment of his life in opposition to the Divine Law would be disobedience; and that, so far from meaning life, would have meant death everlasting.
Applying this temptation to our Lord's subsequent career and that of his followers, the lesson is this: Obedience to the Divine will is paramount every way, and holy privileges of the Church in spiritual matters must not be bartered for earthly advantage. The wrong course is symbolically prefigured in Esau's selling his birthright for a mess of pottage. (`Heb. 12:16`.) Every temptation to sacrifice spiritual privileges or violate spiritual responsibilities for the attainment of earthly advantages would be a yielding to this form of temptation.
Temptation II. It is not necessary to suppose that our Lord went to Jerusalem and to the pinnacle of the Temple in person to experience his temptation. On the contrary he was all the while in the wilderness and went to the Holy City merely mentally, guided there by Satan's suggestion that he could bring himself and his glorious mission quickly to the attention of all the people by performing a stupendous miracle --by leaping from the pinnacle of the temple into the chasm below and then arising unhurt. He could then explain to the multitude his heavenly errand and awe them to faith. Seeing that our Lord had repulsed his first temptation by quoting Scripture, Satan now attempted to support the second temptation with a text of Scripture, which, on its face, might appear to be properly applied by him. The passage reads much as though it were specially intended as a suggestion to our Lord to perform the very feat suggested--"For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone."--`Psa. 91:11,12`.
Our Lord promptly discerned the fallacy of the argument and the misapplication of the Scripture, which really belongs to the feet members of the Body of Christ, which is
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the Church, in this very time in which we are living, when stumbling-blocks to Christian faith are in the way, and when God is providing special light upon his Word and special assistance to the "feet" members of the Body of Christ--that they may surmount the difficulties and receive blessing instead of injury.
It would have been sin for our Lord to follow the course indicated because, although not misusing the Divine power, he would have been tempting God to use Divine power for his deliverance, whereas this was unnecessary, as he had not been called upon to thus hazard his life, but rather was required to sacrifice it--laying it down in the service of the Truth and of humanity. Our Lord's answer was directly to the point and was another quotation from Holy Writ; "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." In every case Satan seems to have realized that he was promptly and fully met by the quotations and his temptation shown to be contrary to the Divine instruction.
Our Lord's followers are tempted along this line also-- tempted to presume on the goodness of God and by words or acts to place themselves in such positions as would test or
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tempt God in respect to his providential care of them-- along lines which he has never authorized in his Word. The wonder-working spirit is contrary to the spirit of humility anyway and, if gratified, would lead to spiritual pride and egotism. God wishes his people now to "walk by faith and not by sight." Moreover the "call" of this Gospel Age is along lines of faith in the promises, rather than faith respecting the wonder-working achievements of others or of ourselves. Meekness, humility, faith, all stand arrayed on the side of the question which our Lord took and which his followers should take.
Temptation III. Again it is unnecessary for us to assume that there is any very high mountain in the wilderness in which Jesus was being tempted, for there is no such high mountain there. Nor is there a mountain in all the earth on whose pinnacles all the kingdoms of the world could be seen in a moment. In this case, also, our Lord was mentally transported to a high mountain, to a great, lofty kingdom overlooking and overtopping all earthly empires. For in Bible symbology a mountain represents a kingdom. In a brief moment Satan pictured himself to our Lord as the ruler of all earth's kingdoms--as having the ruling empire of earth, controlling all empires. This is in accord with the Scripture which declares that Satan is the Prince of this world (this age), and that he "now ruleth in the hearts of the children of disobedience"--thus ruling the vast majority.
After thus picturing his own power over the world--the power of a usurping prince imposing upon the ignorance and superstition of mankind, Satan's argument paraphrases thus: I know well the object of your coming, and the promise that your kingdom shall bless all the world and uplift the willing and obedient out of sin and death conditions. I assure you that I wish you well in the enterprise. As the ruler amongst men, I deplore present conditions myself. I suggest, therefore, that you undertake the work of reform amongst men as my lieutenant and assistant. If you will thus recognize, honor, reverence (worship) me, I will co-operate with you and turn the world of mankind over to your care. You, then, will be their earthly king or ruler, while I, Satan, as a spirit-being, would still control after the manner of an over-lord. This is the best you could do. The matter is fully in my hands, as you will judge from your present view of human conditions. If you take any other course, it will bring you disappointment, scorn, defeat, shame. If you take the course I suggest it will bring you prosperity and honor.
Our Lord's reply was, "Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." The temptation passed successfully, Satan withdrew and holy angels ministered to our Lord.
A similar temptation is sure to come to every follower of the Lord, from the same Adversary, in one form or another. These are permitted by the Lord for the testing of our characters, even as in his own case. The temptation is, Will we connive with and recognize unjust and sinful institutions, because they have power and because to oppose them would imply their opposition and the braving of shame and scorn and death. Such temptations may come to the tempted through political or social or religious institutions, saying, serve us and we will assist you. But in every case behind the temptation is the Adversary. Those who have not learned to love righteousness and to hate iniquity--all who have not come to the point of a full submission of their will to the Divine will--are in danger of falling in such a temptation. But those whose hearts are loyal to the core, as was the Redeemer's, will repulse the Adversary and disdain his proffer of assistance on such terms or any terms.
Our Lord had no Advocate to sympathize with him and to succor and encourage him in the hour of temptation: "Of the people there was none with him." With us, however, matters are different. Our Lord, as our great High Priest, by the merit of his own sacrifice for man's sin, has ascended on high and has appeared as the Advocate of all those who are now being "called of God" to faith in his blood, and to walk in his steps, and to be baptized into his death, and to share with him glory, honor and immortality in "His Resurrection." (`Phil. 3:10`.) This great Advocate, having been tempted in all these lines, is able to succor us. Yet he waits for us to realize our needs and to apply for succor at the throne of grace, as intimated by our text.
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"FOR THIS HE DID ONCE"
"Such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled; ...who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's; for this he did once, when he offered up himself."--`Heb. 7:26,27`.
HAD St. Paul written this epistle for the purpose of explaining the typical and antitypical Sin Atonement, he would have written differently. As heretofore shown, he was merely combating the prevalent thought amongst Jews of his day that the Law Covenant and its priestly arrangements were Divinely intended to be perpetual. Whoever so thought would be unable to discern the fact that God intended a new priesthood, symbolized by Melchizedek--one combining the kingly with the priestly office. Until the Jews could get this view of the matter, they could not properly understand:
(1) That the Jewish nation and priesthood and sacrifices and legal code must pass away.
(2) St. Paul would show them the Divine intention of a New Covenant with a new high priest and new underpriests and better sacrifices for its institution.
(3) Only by so seeing could they comprehend the Gospel message: that Christ the New Creature is the High Priest of a new order and that we, "his members," are the underpriests of that new order, as spirit-begotten New Creatures. Only from this standpoint could they comprehend how the spirit-begotten Jesus, as the Priest, could put to death Jesus in the flesh and make of him a sin-sacrifice. Only from this standpoint could they understand how the members of Christ, under the headship of the glorified High Priest, could follow in his footsteps of sacrifice and, begotten of the holy Spirit as New Creatures, present their bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God through the merit of the High Priest already entered into the Most Holy as their Advocate and the Mediator of the New Covenant for the world. Only from this standpoint could they understand how we are called of God to suffer with Christ, that by and by we, his members, may share his glory--as his Bride.
Our text declares that Christ our High Priest "needeth not daily [continually] as those typical high priests, to offer up sacrifices--first, for his own sins, and then for the people's --"for this he did once, when he offered up himself." Turning to the record in `Leviticus XVI`, we find that the typical Priest made two offerings; the first "for himself and his house," and the second for all the remainder of "the people" of Israel. The first sacrifice was a bullock. The second was a goat. These St. Paul elsewhere refers to as the typical "better sacrifices." (`Heb. 9:23`.) Let us meet the question squarely. What is signified by these two sacrifices--the bullock and the goat. Our opponents, and indeed everybody else, say that the death of our Lord Jesus is the antitype of both-- the slain bullock represents him and the slain goat represents him. They tell us that both sacrifices took place at the same time, being finished at Calvary.
We request them to explain why two animals should be killed to represent the one death of Jesus, but they cannot answer. They merely repeat that they believe the two sacrifices were one and simultaneous--that they merely represented two aspects of the same sacrifice. We ask if that be so, why did the Apostle state the matter so differently--"First for his own sins and then for the sins of the people." Why was this same order distinctly marked in the Day of Atonement type? (`Leviticus 16`.) They have no answer. We ask them further how they understand the statement that the High Priest offered
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sacrifice first for his own sins? Did our Lord Jesus have sins of his own which needed a sacrifice? Was he not holy, harmless and undefiled? Again they have no answer.
The answer to this question presented twenty-nine years ago, when the pamphlet, "Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices," was first published, is the only answer consistent with the facts and the testimonies of Scripture. Those who now are opposing these teachings once believed the presentations of "Tabernacle Shadows" or claimed that they did. Now their blindness is so sudden and so complete that they hesitate to admit that they ever believed our presentations. To beginners they endeavor to make it appear that THE WATCH TOWER has suddenly changed its teaching on this subject.
We recommend to all WATCH TOWER readers a careful, prayerful review of the teachings of "Tabernacle Shadows"-- a re-examination of the first principles of the "mystery of God." Meantime we briefly rehearse certain features of the teachings applicable to the text under consideration.
In the preceding `verse (26`) the Apostle declares our High Priest "holy, harmless and undefiled, separate from sinners." We should not, therefore, understand his statement in the `27th verse`, that Jesus offered up sacrifice "first for his own sins" to mean the contrary of what he had just stated-- that our Lord had no sins. We should understand him here, in harmony with his statement elsewhere, to refer to the Church as the Body of Christ. The "Head" was perfect, but the "Body" was imperfect. The Head needed no covering during the day of sacrifice, but the Body needed the white linen garments symbolical of justification. It is the Church, therefore, that is referred to as "himself," his "members," for whom he offered the first sacrifice--his personal sacrifice finished at Calvary.
The Leviticus account shows that this first offering was not for himself only, but also "for his house"--in the type the house or tribe of Levi; in the antitype the "household of faith"--the "great company." We cannot think of any objection that any reasonable mind could offer to this explanation, which is the only one that in any sense of the word fits the facts. At one time we supposed that only these two classes were intended to be saved. And as a matter of fact, none others are yet saved in any sense of the word. Unbelievers have not escaped the "condemnation that is upon the world." The unregenerate have not received the mark of Divine acceptance of the holy Spirit. "The whole world lieth in the Wicked One"--unto this day.--`I John 5:19`.
The type shows us that the great Priest not only sacrificed, but additionally that he made appropriation of the merit of that sacrifice in the "Most Holy" before he offered the second sacrifice--"the Lord's goat." How was this fulfilled? We reply that forty days after our Lord completed his sacrifice at Calvary and arose from the dead, he ascended on high, appeared in the presence of God for us (his members or Body and his house). He applied the merit of his sacrifice on our behalf, and secured for all consecrated believers of this Gospel Age full reconciliation with the Father and full privilege to become dead with him to earthly interests and restitution favors, and alive with him to the glories, honors and immortality of the Spirit nature.
The manifestation of the Father's acceptance of the arrangement was given at Pentecost. The disciples and others, "about five hundred brethren," had already exercised justifying faith and had already consecrated to be dead with him, but this arrangement could not go into effect until it had the Father's approval. And God could not approve nor consider our sacrifice "holy and acceptable" (`Rom. 12:1`) until our great Redeemer, the Chief Priest of our order, had appeared for us and applied on our behalf the merits of his sacrifice-- justifying us to restitution rights. As soon as these were properly credited to us, our sacrifice of them could be accepted, and no sooner. Hence the Pentecostal blessing signifies:
First, that our Lord's sacrifice was every way acceptable to the Father.
Second, that it had been applied to the household of faith, including his proposed Body.
Third, the Church there waiting at Pentecost was representative of the entire Church and household of faith of this entire Age.
Fourth, the impartation of the holy Spirit signified God's acceptance of the Church's sacrifice already tendered--signified the killing of the Lord's goat, as represented in the type. Thus the two sacrifices of the great antitypical High Priest have already been performed, though the second one has not yet been completed. The first one Jesus made at Jordan, when "he offered up himself." There the Father's acceptance of his sacrifice was indicated by the descent of the holy Spirit upon him in the water. That sacrifice he finished at Calvary, as we have seen. His second sacrifice--"the Lord's goat"-- was offered at Pentecost and acknowledged by the holy Spirit. This work of sacrifice in the various members has progressed for over eighteen centuries. Soon, we believe, all the sufferings of the Body of Christ will be accomplished. Already the members have begun to go beyond the veil and to be joined to the Head. Soon the last member will have completed his share in these sufferings of Messiah and shall have passed beyond the veil. Then a little while longer and the special tribulations of the close of this Age upon the "great company" class will serve for the destruction of their flesh, that they may attain spirit conditions on a lower plane than the Body of Christ.--`I Cor. 5:5`.
Thus will be accomplished first, the glorification of the Head; secondly, the union of the members to the Head will complete the glorious High Priest, who, as Prophet, Priest and King, will be the great Messiah, the great Mediator of the New Covenant, which through natural Israel will bless all the families of the earth. The scapegoat class will constitute the servants of the glorified Priest.
Do our opponents inquire why our text says, This he did once, after specifying two offerings, "first for his own sins, and then for the people's"?
We reply: that when the Apostle wrote these words the High Priest had already made both sacrifices, and had sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High, awaiting the time when the last member of his Body shall have suffered with him faithfully unto death--awaiting the end of this Age-- for the inauguration of the great Mediatorial Kingdom which is to bless Israel and the world. "Once" is here used in the sense of already. This he did already.
Do our opponents inquire what is meant by "daily" in the statement, "Who needeth not daily to offer up sacrifice"? We reply: that the word daily here is used as we frequently use the term, in the sense of continually. We have already called attention to a similar illustration, where Daniel's prophecy speaks of antichrist taking away the daily sacrifice. We have shown that this signifies that antichrist set aside the merit of the continual sacrifice of Jesus. (See Vol. III. STUDIES, page 25.)
As a matter of fact, the sin-offerings here described were not performed every day, but merely on a certain day every year--"year by year continually," or time after time on the appointed day of the year. In this text the thought would be that our High Priest needs not to be continually repeating his "better sacrifices," as did the earthly priests year by year repeat the types. The once doing of this sacrificial work in the beginning of this antitypical "Atonement Day" is sufficient for all time. And as the High Priest, when the first sacrifice was finished, applied its merit for justification to his Body and to his house, so at the end of the second sacrifice--the sacrifice of the Lord's goat, which typified his "members," he will present the blood of that sacrifice to God on behalf of the world. But he will not apply it directly on behalf of the world, because the world is in no condition to be reconciled to God; hence we are shown that with the blood of these two sacrifices the High Priest will seal or negotiate the New Covenant with Israel, that under its terms all the families of the earth will have the privilege of its blessings--the mediatorial blessing.
In the type the blood of the goat was sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat or propitiatory, just the same as the blood of the bullock, but for a different purpose. As the first was for the Body, the "members," and the household, the second was not for those, but for all the people of Israel other than those
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represented in the tribe of Levi. The antitype of this is clear and shows us that the great High Priest will apply the blood of the antitypical goat on behalf of all the world of mankind, who by restitution and instruction will be brought into relationship with God as his Israel--under the terms of the New Covenant.
Both sacrifices were made by the priest, not by the bullock, not by the goat; and when our Lord shall present the blood of his secondary sacrifice--the blood of his Church, "holy and acceptable to God" (`Rom. 12:1`)--he will be presenting "his own blood"--not yours, not mine. Our individuality was all surrendered to our Lord at the beginning, so that his faithful followers, even in their earthly lives, are reckoned as his "members" and their flesh as his flesh. Moreover, since all the merit which justified us and made our sacrifice acceptable was appropriated to us by our Redeemer --loaned to us for the purpose of sacrificing it--is it not eminently proper that the results should be spoken of as his blood? It surely is!
Take another view of the matter. Our Lord at his consecration surrendered up all his right to earthly things as a man, as an act of obedience to the Father's will. He did not
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appropriate those earthly rights to the world or to anybody. (`Heb. 9:14`.) Those earthly rights, therefore, were to our Lord's credit in the heavenly accounts--at his command, to be used as he might please. When the Father rewarded his obedience with high exaltation to a spirit nature in his resurrection, it left him with those human rights to his credit for his disposal. He had not disposed of them to anybody, up to the time that he "ascended up on high." Then he appeared in the presence of God for us--as our Advocate. He applied those earthly rights to us--not thereby giving us heavenly blessings, but restitution rights, represented in his sacrifice of the earthly things. But it was not the Divine Plan to give the elect those earthly restitution blessings to keep, and thereby to cut out natural Israel and the whole world from restitution.
Those restitution rights were given to us conditionally, or, we might say, they were loaned to us, or made ours reckonedly for a time, and for a purpose. The purpose was that we, accepting these by faith, might consecrate them to the Lord unreservedly--even unto death--that thus the merit loaned to us would go back again to the credit of our Redeemer, in order that he might use that merit over again, applying it the second time for the release of natural Israel and the world from condemnation and death. Meantime the blessing granted to us through this loan or imputation of restitution earthly rights secured by our Lord's death, gives us the privilege of sacrificing those earthly rights as members of the Body of Christ. And this in turn gives us the right, the privilege, of sharing with him in his glory. "For if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him." If we drink of his cup and be baptized by baptism into his death, we shall thus share life and blessings on the spirit plane and sit with him in his Throne.--`2 Tim. 2:12`.
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DRINKING THE LORD'S CUP
"Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?"-- `Matt. 20:22`.
"The cup which my Father hath given me shall I not drink it?"--`John 18:11`.
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion [koinonia, partnership or participation--Strong's Concordance] of the blood of Christ?"--`I Cor. 10:16`.
St. Paul knew of only two cups--the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils.--`I Cor. 10:21`.
Did our Lord drink of his own cup? And was it his cup which he passed to his disciples? And is it not this cup in which we must have "participation" if we would sit with him in his throne, and share also in due time his cup of joy in the Kingdom?
If our Lord did not participate in his own cup, but gave it all to us (his Church) to drink, in what sense would it be his cup which the Father poured for him and in which he allows us to participate?
Let no man beguile you from the prize by voluntarily (without reason) submitting to and reverencing as messengers (of Truth those who thus far have given no evidence of teaching ability in that God never sent you any message through them). They are merely intruding into what they admit they have not seen. Their fleshly mind being vainly puffed up they fail to hold the Headship of the Lord and the membership of the Church as his Body. They fail to recognize that "God hath set the various members in the Body of Christ." Hence they fail to see that the "Body" having nourishment, eating of the living bread and drinking of the cup, is knitted together and "increaseth with the increase of God." --`Col. 2:18,19`.
Some dear friends think that we are laying too much stress on the importance of our drinking of the cup of which our Lord drank. The above quotation shows that our Lord laid similar stress on it. Neither James nor John nor any one can sit on His throne unless he drink of Christ's cup. Our opponents make a serious error in thinking that the Lord's "cup" symbolizes justification. On the contrary, only the justified by faith are privileged to drink of His cup. The cup symbolizes the means of our sanctification, by which we exchange our justified earthly rights for the heavenly inheritance and joint-heirship.
The Apostles, when invited to drink of the cup, were already justified by faith--counted, like Abraham and others of the past, worthy of actual restitution under Israel's New Law Covenant when the due time should arrive. But they could not actually drink of the Redeemer's cup and be "baptised with his baptism" "into his [sacrificial] death" until he as their Advocate should appear in the presence of God for them. Then the holy Spirit at once came upon them recognizing them as Christ's "members"--his "brethren," his fellow or joint-sacrifices, who have a share or participation in his cup.
All the sufferings of Christ are sacrificial. "As he is, so are we in this world." (`I John 4:17`.) The sufferings of the Head are the sufferings of the Body and the sufferings of the Body are the sufferings of the Christ as a whole. "If one member suffers all the members suffer with it."
Our opponents who are losing their sight on this subject answer, that our sufferings are not like those of our Lord, because his were sacrificial, whilst ours are expiatory or because of our sins and weaknesses. Nay, we answer. St. Peter says that some indeed suffer as busybodies and evildoers; but he declares, "If any man suffer as a Christian, let him glorify God on this behalf." A Christian suffers as Christ suffered, not for his sins, but for his right-doing. Jesus was just, we are justified by faith. He consecrated his just self to death in obedience to God's invitation. We in obedience to the same invitation consecrate our justified selves to be dead with him, to be baptised with his death-baptism, to drink of his sacrificial cup and by partaking of it to become his "members" in glory and participators in the work of his Mediatorial Kingdom.
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THE WEDDING GARMENT
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I have read with interest and profit THE TOWER of December 1st. I was especially interested in the article on the "Wedding Garment," and would like to ask you a question concerning it: Is it your thought that only those who consecrate are ever really justified--have the robe of Christ's righteousness imputed to them, covering their sins and reckoning them perfect; that other believers have only the blessing of the knowledge of provision of justification which will be freely given them only on condition that they sacrifice in the footsteps of our Redeemer?
With much Christian love, I remain yours in the One Hope. CLARENCE E. FOWLER.
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We understand the Scriptures to teach that there is a difference between a faith-justification and an actual-justification. The world during the Millennial Age under the processes of restitution will have full, grand opportunities for advancing from sin and death conditions to actual justification, righteousness--Covenant relationship with God. In the past the Ancient Worthies, because of faith in God, were esteemed by him and treated as in harmony with him, in Covenant relationship by faith, as though they were perfect. But more than that faith-justification they could not attain until after the merit of Christ's sacrifice would be appropriated for them. Christian believers of this Gospel Age are in a still different position. They are justified by faith in the same manner as were the Ancient Worthies, but additionally, Christ, having now made a special application of the merit of his sacrifice on their behalf under agreement that they will not keep it in a restitutionary sense, but that they will sacrifice it--after the manner shown us in our Lord's example.
So, then, at the beginning of our Christian experience we are granted fellowship with God through a faith-justification, which continues available for a reasonable time to permit us to come to a knowledge of the grace of God. It permits our coming to a knowledge of our privileges of sacrificing with our Redeemer; in becoming dead with him to all earthly interests, as well as dead to sin. The taking of this stand of consecration--self-sacrifice--brought to us Divine acceptance, manifested by the begetting of the holy Spirit, and from that position as New Creatures we must progress and make our calling and our election sure. Those who, after coming to a knowledge of the Truth and to an opportunity of consecration to sacrifice unto death, and then fail to respond obediently, lose their justification, in the sense that it fails to become vital--divinely approved. Such receive the grace of God in vain--they receive a knowledge of God's mercy and of their own privileges without profiting thereby--without accepting the only "call" of this age.--`Eph. 4:4`.
Our conclusion or summary, then, is this: There is a justification by faith, which for a time gives a reckoned
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standing with God in his favor, during this age; but in order for this to become vital justification, it must be followed sooner or later by a full consecration. It is to those who consecrate to sacrifice, "those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice" (`Psa. 50:5`), and who thus by faith become betrothed to Christ as members of his Body through fellowship in his sufferings--it is to these that the wedding garment is given. At a Jewish wedding, we cannot imagine the offering of robes to passers-by, who merely have knowledge that a wedding is in prospect. The parabolic picture applies to such persons as have heard of the wedding and believed in it and have turned from other works and pleasure with a desire to enter and participate in the matter. Their desires would extend to the taking of the first steps, of entering the door, before they would be handed the wedding garment. So with us. We had a reckoned justification from the time we first believed in Christ, trusted in his merit and heard something of the conditions upon which we could become his joint-heirs. It was not until we had counted the cost and fully decided to enter in, that we were reckoned as members of the Church of the First-born--members of Christ's Betrothed.
It follows, then, that the taking off of the wedding garment would properly enough symbolize either of two acts:
(1) Repudiation of the sacrificial work of Christ; or,
(2) Repudiation of our nuptial contract--to suffer with him; to be dead with him; to drink of his cup; to be baptized into his death; to go to him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
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GROWTH IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
The Apostle enjoins, "Humble yourselves therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." Following this advice I write to say that I fear that some of the matters reported to you respecting me were at least partially true. I have always sought to have a conscience void of offense toward God, but fear that I neglected the after part of that text--"and toward men." I have been inclined to please myself and to have others recognize my ideals and standards of thought, word and deed, whereas I should have sought, rather, to have my every word and deed such that everyone, saint and sinner, would have approved--had that been possible.
The third item of the Vow, which I read daily, should have helped me on this point had I gotten the full force of it, as I now do. How plainly it states and emphasizes the matter: "I vow to thee that I will still more carefully, if possible, scrutinize my every thought and word and deed, to the intent that I may be the better enabled to serve thee and thy dear flock." Why did I not see that satisfying my own conscience was not enough; I should have been prompt to cut off any liberty (though cherished as a right hand), if thereby I might more efficiently serve the flock of God for whom Christ died.
I now perceive that the Adversary's trap lay in drawing inferences and putting subtle meanings on words--somewhat as the Christian Scientists do, but not to so great an extreme. My brain structure naturally leads me toward the mystic, the symbolic, and occult. Doubtless I would have been swallowed up with occultism and spiritism had it not been for the Truth. I still had several books on things occult when the Vow came out; and when I took the Vow I burned those books. I now see, however, that I did not entirely rid my mind of the influence of those books--they still influenced my reasoning.
I now resolve afresh, dear Brother Russell, that my influence shall be all it possibly can be for the Lord and for his flock. I have resolved that following your advice and example I shall hereafter stick closer than ever to the Word and also to the Vow--in their letter and spirit.
I heartily appreciate your kind admonitions, and pray God that they may not only bless me, but also through my ministries help many of the Lord's dear household of faith. And I here suggest that if in your judgment this very letter might be helpful to others, I am quite agreeable to your publishing it.
Relying upon the grace promised to help in every time of need, and upon the merit of the precious blood presented on my behalf on the part of our great Advocate for our sins (`I John 2:1`), I remain, beloved Brother Russell,
Yours in our dear Redeemer, our Sin-Offering,
M. L. HERR.
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QUESTIONS ON THE COVENANTS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
(1) Please explain `Heb. 9:15`, viz., Revised Version-- "And for this cause he is the mediator of a New Covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first Covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance."
(2) I understand the Man Christ Jesus, by the sacrifice of his human life, paid the ransom price for the whole world.
(3) Then he could offer his "footstep followers" a share in that sacrifice.
(4) If he did not then at his death seal the New Covenant with his blood and become mediator of that New Covenant, could he offer the Church a share in his mediatorial work?
(5) I understand the New Covenant is the law of love; am I right?
(6) Please explain `John 13:34`--"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another." Was it a forerunner of the New Covenant he was about to seal for them?
For convenience we have numbered the items above, and will now number our replies to correspond.
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(1) This text shows a contrast between the old Law Covenant and the New [Law] Covenant. The original or Abrahamic Covenant, under which Christ and his Body as the Spiritual Seed of Abraham is being developed, is not in the discussion. The Apostle wrote to those who still trusted in the Law Covenant and declared that it was necessary, not only to believe in Christ, but also to keep the Law and to be circumcised, in order to have any Divine favor. This the Apostle is controverting as untrue. He shows that the Law Covenant mediated by Moses was typical of a superior New Covenant, of which Messiah is the Mediator.
Moses' Covenant was already dead, to the extent that the prize it offered had been won by Jesus. It is still alive, however, upon all the Jews as a bondage from which they could get free only in one of two ways; either by dying to the Law Covenant and to all of its hopes and prospects and renouncing all earthly restitution rights and thus becoming a joint-heir with Christ as a member of Messiah's Body during this Gospel Age; or, accepting the other alternative, get free from the old Law Covenant by transfer, when the New [Law] Covenant shall go into effect as its substitute, at the beginning of the Millennium. Then all Jews and their appurtenances will be transferred from Moses, the incompetent mediator, to the Messiah of glory, the competent Mediator of the better Covenant, whose provisions will bless Israel and all the families of the earth willing to come in under its benevolent provisions.
This text has no reference to any except Jews who were under the old Law Covenant. It does not at all refer to Gentiles. It shows that God's provision is that Messiah is the Mediator of Israel's New Covenant and that his death, when so applied, will be sufficient to cancel the transgressions of Israel under their old Law Covenant. This will make it possible for them as a nation yet to attain the earthly part of the Abrahamic Covenant's provision for Abraham's earthly seed, as the sand of the sea shore. Thus eventually Israel as God's "called" nation will receive all that they ever expected --and more. Israel's promises were not heavenly or spiritual, but earthly: "All the land that thou seest to thee (Abraham) will I give it, and to thy seed after thee"; and as the chief nation of earth they were to teach all nations "every man under his own vine and fig tree."
Those promises are sure as God's word. They merely wait until the "Mystery" of a multitudinous Mediator shall be finished (in sacrifice and in resurrection glory). Then the "Mystery" Mediator will have sealed Israel's New Covenant by his death as its Testator. Then the "called" nation of Israel will "receive the eternal inheritance" for which they have waited more than thirty-five centuries. St. Paul explains this further in `Romans 11:27-29,31`.
(2) As elsewhere shown, our Lord's sacrifice did not pay for the sins of the world, but did provide the ransom price which he will later present to Justice on behalf of the sins of the world.
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(3) Your argument is not logical. If our Lord had finished his work of sacrifice he could not give his footstep followers a share therein.
(4) The Scriptures nowhere say that our Lord sealed the New Covenant with his blood. Neither was it necessary for him to seal the New Covenant before he would be its Mediator. He was the Mediator of the New Covenant in the Divine purpose and promise centuries before he became the man Christ Jesus. He was the Mediator of the New Covenant when born in Bethlehem in exactly the same sense that he was then the Savior of the world: not because he had sealed the New Covenant nor because he had saved the world, but because he was the One through whom the world's salvation and the New Covenant for its blessing were eventually to be accomplished.
Our Lord has not yet saved the world, nor has he acted as the Mediator of the New Covenant; but he will accomplish both purposes during the Millennial Age; and at its conclusion the prophecy will be fulfilled, "He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied." Our Lord was privileged to offer his Church a share with himself in his Mediatorial Kingdom on condition that she would share in his cup of suffering and self-sacrifice--share in his baptism into his death. So doing she shall share his reward of glory, honor and immortality in "his resurrection." (`Phil. 3:10`.) And sharing his glory and throne as his joint-sacrificer and joint-heir of the promise she would be with him jointly the Mediator between God and men--the world--during the Millennial Age--the work of reconciling the world, or so many of them as may prove willing to receive the blessing of regeneration.
(5) You are not right. There is a difference between a covenant and the law of a covenant. God's Law given to Israel summarized was, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy being and with all thy strength; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." That Law is perfect and will be the basis or Law of the New Covenant. Moses as a Mediator under his Covenant purposed to help Israel to keep that Law, and God covenanted to give them eternal life, if they would do so. But they were unable to keep that Law perfectly in act and thought and word, and hence they reaped its condemnation of death and not its proffered blessing of life. Under that Covenant Moses was privileged to arrange sacrifices and offerings for sin, and thus year by year to cleanse the people for a year at a time from their original condemnation. But he had no means of actually blotting out their sins and no power or right to actually restore them to perfection and ability to keep that Law.
The New Covenant will have the same Law exactly, but the Mediator having by then paid over to Justice the ransom-price of the world, secured by his own sacrificial death, will then have full charge of mankind and be fully empowered to deal mercifully with their imperfections and to help them step by step out of their sin and death condition back to perfection, and to cut off the rebellious in the Second Death. At the close of the Millennium he will present the willing and obedient to the Father actually perfect.
Thus it will be seen that God's dealings with mankind under the typical Law Covenant, and under its antitype the New Covenant, is along the lines of actual obedience to the Divine Law, and not along the lines of reckoned obedience through faith. As obedience to the old Law Covenant held the reward of human perfection and life, so the rewards of the New [Law] Covenant will be similar--eternal life or eternal death.
Quite to the contrary of both of these arrangements, the Church is now called to a "heavenly calling" under the Abrahamic Covenant--to be members of the Body of Christ, who, with Jesus her Head, will constitute the Mediator of the New Covenant. The Church is "not under Law, but under grace," not judged according to the flesh and earthly restitution, but judged according to the heart and intention; and required to sacrifice restitution rights to the attainment of "the high calling" life and glory on the spirit plane as members of the Mediator of the New Covenant.
(6) No, that "New Commandment" represents a higher law than was given to the Jew under the Law Covenant, hence higher also than will be given to Israel and mankind under the New Covenant. The New Commandment mentioned by our Lord is not the Father's commandment at all, but the command of our Head, our Teacher, to all those who have entered the School of Christ and who are hoping to become "members" of the Anointed One--members of the Mediator, Prophet, Priest and King of the new dispensation. Justice could not give this new command: all that Justice could command is expressed in the Law given to Israel, namely, supreme love for God and love for the neighbor as for one's self. This new commandment which the Lord gave applies only to the Church of this Gospel Age. In effect it is this: If you would be my disciples, if you would share my throne and glory and immortality, you must have my spirit. You must do more than keep the Law. You must be more than just. You must be self-sacrificing. If you would share my glory I command and direct that you love one another as I have loved you. (`John 15:12`.) I have loved you to the extent of laying down my life for you sacrificially. You must have this same spirit and cast in your lot with me in self-sacrifice, or you cannot be my disciples, nor share my glory, and associate in my work as the Mediator for the blessing of Israel and mankind. Whosoever will be my disciple must take up his cross and follow me, that where I am there shall my disciple be. Surely no one can doubt the Savior's meaning --my disciples must die with me.
BEREAN STUDIES ON THE ATONEMENT
THE TEXT-BOOK USED FOR THIS COURSE
IS SCRIPTURE STUDIES, SERIES (V)*
Questions on Life and Immortality
It is recommended that each question be answered by the members of the class first, before referring to the comments of the DAWN-STUDIES.
(1) State the difference between the imaginings of worldly philosophers respecting the immortality of the soul, and the distinct statement of God's Word on the subject. P. 387, par. 1.
(2) Give some arguments to the proposition that God intends to give life everlasting only to the righteous and to withhold it from others. P. 387.
(3) State what is the ordinary acceptation of the word "immortality," and then give the Scriptural limitations of that word. P. 388.
(4) In discussing a subject with those who have the usual thought that the words eternal life and immortality signify the same thing, is it not wise on our part to assent that we believe in immortality as our friends in general do; that we believe that Divine arrangements have made possible everlasting life for every member of our race? Would it not be wise, then, before leaving the topic to explain that the Scriptures make a distinction between these terms everlasting-life and immortality, and that, while declaring that all the obedient ones of God's creation shall have everlasting life, they also declare that God alone possessed immortality originally and that he has given this great blessing of inherent life to his son and purposes to give this same inherent life to the Bride class and to none others? P. 388.
(5) Is there hope of immortality held out in the Scriptures for any human being? P. 388, last par.
(6) Show the reason (philosophy) of your answer. P. 389.
(7) What is the correct definition of the word "mortal" and of the word "immortality"? P. 390, par. 1.
(8) Was Adam created mortal or immortal? Show the philosophy of the answer. Pp. 390, 391.
(9) What is said of immortal souls, dying souls, never dying souls? P. 392.
(10) What do we know about the mortality or immortality of angels? P. 392.
(11) When was immortality brought to light in the Scriptures and by whom and how? P. 393.
(12) Did Christ's death secure immortality to men or to the angels or to the saints of this Gospel Age?
(13) Explain the relationship of Christ's death to human Restitution and to the obtaining of immortality on the part of the Church. P. 393, last par.
(14) What did our Lord's Gospel bring to light respecting God's provision for mankind in general? P. 393, last par.
(15) What is God's provision for the "elect" of this Gospel Age? Pp. 393, 394.
(16) Is immortality an element of the Divine nature? Prove the answer. P. 393.
(17) Will the "elect" attain to a station more or less glorious than that of the holy angels of the highest order, and why? Pp. 394, 395.
(18) When is the reward of the Divine nature conferred upon the Church? At the begetting of the Holy Spirit, or in the First Resurrection? Explain. P. 396.
(19) If we are all called in the one hope of our calling and all begotten by the same word of Truth and same holy Spirit, how does it come that only a "little flock" of these really obtain the divine nature, while the "Great Company" obtain spirit life, but without the immortal feature?
(20) Is the natural begetting and birth the figure or illustration of the spiritual begetting and birth? And would not the fact that some are born males and some born females fully correspond to the fact that in the spiritual birth some will be of the "Little Flock" and some of the "Great Company"? And if it is a fact that no appreciable difference is discernible between the male and the female foetus for a considerable time, does not this correspond to the thought that there is no difference between early experiences of the "Little Flock" and the "Great Company" for a considerable time after justification, consecration and the begetting of the holy Spirit?
(21) Why is the resurrection of the Church spoken of as "The" resurrection? P. 396, par. 1.
(22) Are the terms of our election too exacting or is the Divine requirement only a "reasonable service"? Show how. Explain `John 5:26` and also `Ephesians 3:6`, and say whether or not these texts give intimation of the gift of immortality extending beyond the elect Church. P. 396, par. 3.
(23) Is there more than one word translated immortality in the Bible? What other? P. 396, last par.
(24) Give two Greek words rendered immortality and state the particulars of their meaning. P. 397.
(25) Quote all the texts of Scripture in which the word athanasia (immortality) occur.
(26) Quote the texts in which aptharsia and apthartos occur. And examine and explain each of these sixteen texts, in harmony with the foregoing. Pp. 397, 398.
(27) What are the claims of evolutionists respecting mankind's hope for everlasting life? Explain the falsity of their premises and deductions. P. 398.
(28) What does the Christian see in the Bible contrary to these evolution propositions? P. 398.
(29) Taking the Bible as the oldest authority and crediting it with no higher authority than other histories, what are the evidences that father Adam and mother Eve were close relatives to the ape family? Elaborate this. P. 399.
(30) What can be said of the shallow reasoning of some who pose as scientists and who claim that matter is indestructible and that this proves that humanity is indestructible? Does not such a claim imply a desire for eternal life and also a desire to get away from the Divine provision as expressed in the sentence of death and in the promise that through Christ there shall in due time be a resurrection of the dead? P. 399, last par.
(31) Explain the Divine Program from the Bible standpoint and show the reasonableness thereof. P. 400-402.
(32) If the word "curse," as used in connection with the condemnation of our race, signifies the blight of sin and death, what does the promised removal of the "curse" imply? P. 403, par. 1.
(33) What advantages accrue through the Divine arrangement of permitting sin, redeeming from sin, and, in due time, restoring obedient sinners to Divine favor and everlasting life? P. 403, par. 1.
(34) Why has the dying of the race been a gradual one, rather than a sudden execution of the sentence, "Dying thou shalt die"? P. 403, par. 2.
(35) Quote three strong texts of Scripture in support of the thought that death, not eternal torment, is God's penalty for sin, and answer the queries of those who claim that resurrection would require of the Almighty more power than he is able to exercise. P. 404.
*Five years ago DAWN-STUDIES, VOL. V., was reset, and unfortunately the type was not exactly same size as before; and hence page for page they differ. The references given in these Berean Studies apply to the present edition, a copy of which postpaid will cost you but 30c. But keep your old edition, for unfortunately the new Bible Helps refer to its pages.
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
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