VOL. VII. PITTSBURGH, PA., OCTOBER, 1885. NO. 2.
HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE.
C. T. RUSSELL, Editor and Publisher.
NO. 40 FEDERAL ST. ALLEGHENY, PA.
The Editor recognizes a responsibility to the Master, relative to what shall appear in these columns, which he cannot and does not cast aside; yet he should not be understood as endorsing every expression of correspondents, or of articles selected from other periodicals.
TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION.
TERMS:--Fifty cents a year, postage prepaid. You may send by Draft, P.O. Money Order, or Registered Letter, payable to C. T. RUSSELL.
Three shillings per year. Remit by Foreign Postal Money Order.
This paper will be sent free to any of the Lord's poor who will send a card yearly requesting it. Freely we have received and freely we would give the truth. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat--yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." And you that have it-- "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently--and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."-- `ISAIAH 55:1,2`.
FORTUNATELY we have come across another small lot of "YOUNG'S ANALYTICAL GREEK, HEBREW AND ENGLISH CONCORDANCES"--the best--the "Author's Edition," at much below the present price of the work. We desire that many might avail themselves of the opportunity for obtaining a work so valuable, indeed almost indispensable to Bible study. This great book is cheap at the regular price, five dollars; but we have secured this lot so as to offer them to you at just half the price. They are new and perfect. See last page, last column.
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VIEW FROM THE TOWER.
The announcement in our last issue, that we had in view a plan by which those zealous for service could probably use as much time as they could gather from the absolute necessities of life, brought a shower of Postal Cards to our office. These, should they lead to nothing more, have proved already a blessing to your fellow servant, the Editor, refreshing his heart as he perceived from your earnest words how deeply the truth had taken hold of your hearts as well as of your intellects.
When one's heart is absorbed with the truth, he not only seeks by every means and every sacrifice to promulgate it, that others may be blessed with it, but he will look for fruit from his labor; he cannot help it. And thus it is that you and I as we labor for the cause we love, desire as the Apostle expresses it, to "know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord;" to see some of the fruit. Yet we must learn to labor on steadily whether fruit appears or not, knowing that though the germination be tedious and the growth and ripening slow, the ultimate success of the labor is assured by the all-wise Master in whose service we engage. If we go forth earnest in the service, and fully consecrated, he will surely use us; and if done for him only, our labor cannot be in vain. "He that goeth forth and weepeth [feeling the importance and cost of the work in self-sacrifice] bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again bringing his sheaves." `Psa. 126:6`.
Sometimes the blessing comes in an unlooked for way, even as in the present case your cards were refreshing messengers to us. And again, the blessing of consecrated service, is sure to be greater upon ourselves than upon others. He that watereth others, shall himself be abundantly refreshed. To the extent that you have been a laborer for the Master and have sacrificed anything for the spread of his truth, we feel sure you have received present pay of this sort, as well as persecutions (`2 Tim. 3:12`) besides the laid up hopes and promises "reserved in heaven for you."
This, your experience and mine, was the experience of others before us in the service; and to us, as to them, God sometimes grants a glimpse of the fruit of labor when we feel faint and discouraged. Thus it was with the Lord; after considerable labor and teaching "many went back" and followed him as disciples no more, and Jesus said unto the twelve, "Will you also go away?" Then came the refreshing evidence that the truth had taken fast hold of some, when Peter answered "Lord to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life, and we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." (`John 6:66-69`.) Not only was Jesus' heart cheered by Peter's zeal, but Peter also was blessed, "Blessed art thou Simon." `Matt. 16:16,17`.
Elijah felt lonely, and that his efforts to refute the false teachers of Baal were yielding no fruit, and prayed that he might die; but God who knew all about it, encouraged him with the assurance that seven thousand of Israel were still faithful to the truth, who doubtless had been helped and strengthened by Elijah's labors.
Paul, the great Apostle, whose writings have been, and yet are God's storehouse of wisdom and instruction, from which the faithful throughout the age have been supplied with "meat in due season," appears to have written almost all of his epistles with a view to correct some doctrinal errors into which he saw the various companies of God's children liable to fall, or to help them out of errors into which they had already fallen. Little did he suppose probably that his zeal and efforts to assist the saints and guard them with truth, were to be so widespread in their influence as God's guideposts to the Pilgrims of eighteen centuries.
So with us dear friends; we must not gauge our sacrifices and efforts by the little we are permitted to see of the results, but must press on. In fact while interest in the work enters largely into our sacrifice, we must beware and remember that our sacrifice was made to God, and not in any particular interest of our own, in the work; and while we take an absorbing interest in the work, as the development of his plans, we should remember that our consecration was to the Lord; that in accepting it, the Lord made no promise to show us any fruit of labor, and hence whatever we enjoy in this way is God's favor more than promised. In order that we may ever feel our own insufficiency, and that all the needed power and wisdom for the work is in him who is at the helm "working all things after the counsel of his own will, we are not permitted to see much fruit from our own individual labor. Otherwise success in his labor might enkindle pride and self-sufficiency, and make us unfit for further service. But we thank God that we are given so clear a view of the grand results at the end, worked out by the various agencies operating under divine supervision.
Seeing the final results, portrayed in God's Word, should lead us to diligence and sacrifice that we at that time may find, that by the favor of God our labors and tears, and weariness, and endurance of the reproaches of Christ, (`Luke 6:22,23`.) were not in vain, and that in the accomplished results we shall have some share, and then more fully than now appreciate the privilege of being co-workers with God and with our Lord Jesus in the greatest and grandest work of God--Redemption, Reconciliation, and Restitution of the race.
Ah, yes; the Master saw little fruit of his sacrifice when he died, and you and I must expect a similar experience. But of him it is written, "He shall see the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied. (`Isa. 53:11`.) The grand results will abundantly prove the wisdom of God, and the cost, though great, will prove none too great when actually seen as God already foresees it. Then, too, all who now sacrifice for and suffer with Christ shall be satisfied fully. If they have had travail and have made sacrifices, not for error, but for the truth; not for sects, but for Christ, they shall receive great reward (`Matt. 5:11,12`); they shall be satisfied when they enter into the joys of their Lord.
Recently, in looking over our list of English readers, the smallness of the number suggested the fact that each of the about three hundred had cost an outlay of about forty dollars. (The outlay, of which these are as yet the only fruitage, amounted to nearly eleven thousand dollars, aside from the willing labor connected with it.) And the thought came, How many of these appreciate the truth? How many, as they see what it costs in reputation to hold the truth, regret that they ever received it? How many--how few--appreciate the truth at forty dollars--at what it cost to bring it to their ears?
These were discouraging thoughts; and then we thought of the great cost-- of the Master's sacrifice--of what the expense of our salvation had been; not in silver and gold, but the precious blood of Christ, and the precious cost as well, in self-denial to him who made himself of no reputation, and, though rich, became poor for our sakes, that he might redeem and bless us. As we saw how few there are who appreciate the first great cost, or endeavor to do a part in the same direction, we said to ourselves, Ah! it is because they and we all see but imperfectly. The world, the flesh and the adversary paint things in false colors before men's minds, and it is only as the truth shines in and gets possession of us that we are able even to approximate its value.
The mail then brought us three English letters, one from a new reader, who had just received a copy of "Food," and two from older readers, one of which, from dear Brother Riley, was just in time for the last TOWER, which contains some extracts from it. We said, as we read Bro. R.'s letter, and saw how firmly the truth had taken hold of him, What is such fruit worth? Our answer, as we considered our own estimation of the value of the truth--beyond price, preferred to millions of money and oceans of respect and influence--was, one such heart made glad and brought nigh to the Lord and refreshed by his glorious plans, as seen in the unfoldings of his word of truth, is well worth the entire expenditure, made in England, of time and labor and money. If no other one there had been reached and blessed, doubtless Bro. R. would refuse such a price in exchange for it. And who can tell how many shall yet believe through the words and efforts of these already blessed.
Then came the memory of sacrifices which we knew some had made [and we know probably of but few of the sacrifices and sacrificers--God alone knows them all]; the sick sister who, not being able to give time or money, cast into the Lord's treasury two long switches of her hair to be sold, and the funds used in the spread of the truth; and the sister who, in the same interest, sold a gold watch chain, in which she had once prided. Under the influence of truth that pride had given place to zeal for the truth. We remembered also the brother in Kentucky who, having no money to spare, sent a watch, and a sister who, from the same motives, sent a gold ring; and many others who we know are denying themselves many things which they once prided in, such as costly apparel, etc., that they may have means which they can and do use in the blessed service. Let all such remember, as they hear of
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hearts made glad by the truth, that they have had a share in the work of blessing.
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If we may not see much fruit from our individual labor, thank God for what we are permitted to see of fruit to our united efforts. As memory called up these and other sacrifices, and the many whom we know to be using the spare moments and holidays in spreading the truth, or attempting to spread it (which is as highly appreciated by him who looks upon our hearts--who accepts our endeavors rather than our results); and as we noted the many and earnest answers to the proposed new plan of labor mentioned in our last issue, which have come, and are still coming to hand, we thanked God and took courage afresh.
We need scarcely tell you that "a book of remembrance"--a special record--is made in our office of those whose zeal for the Master and his Word is thus evidenced; and who can doubt that such and a much more perfect record is kept by the Master. They are his and found on his side in this day, when he is selecting his jewels. As he tests each one, can we doubt that he measures their love for him by the spirit of sacrifice for the truth which actuates them? Then let us value more and more our privilege of showing our love for him by gladly bearing reproach, and dishonor, and weariness, and inconvenience in the cause of truth--the cause of God.
These thoughts, encouraging and strengthening to us, we give to you, that they may likewise do you good.
"Truth! how sacred is the treasure;
Teach us, Lord, its worth to know;
Vain the hopes, and short the pleasure,
Which from other sources flow."
If we could properly estimate truth, it would make us careful lest we should lose it, and we should value less its price in self-denial, and appreciate more the privilege of communicating it to others, even at the cost of further self-denial. Sacrifices of time, and money, and reputation would be considered "light" matters and would "work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," while we would be prepared thereby to look not at the things which are seen, our sacrifices, etc., but at the things which are not seen--the exceeding great reward in reservation for the overcomers.
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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS.
St. Louis Co., Mo., Sept. 28, 1885.
C. T. RUSSELL, DEAR FRIEND IN CHRIST:--You will find enclosed one dollar to pay for the TOWER. I am doing all I can to spread the glorious truths. I am very poor in this world's treasures, but rich in faith. Year before last I had the TOWER sent to a brother of mine and he loaned it to his neighbors. I was there since, and was surprised to see how much good fifty cents could do. Men who had never feared God, who would not talk on religion, had their Bibles searching for more light, and would hardly talk of anything else. I am "anxious for greater service in the vineyard," and wish to know the plan you have to suggest. I have one copy of "Food" very nearly worn out by loaning and desire more, please. I know it is but little I can do, but I know it will be acceptable to our Father.
Yours in Christ, __________.
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GENTLEMEN:--Working in an empty house some days ago, I found some leaves of a book treating on the Bible. There is nothing to lead me to a conclusion as to what the title is, but every leaf I have is about the Bible and its teachings. "Why Evil was Permitted, The Day of Judgment, The Plan of the Ages," etc. These leaves have whetted my appetite, and after searching well I found what appears to be the last leaf, and it directs me to address a letter as this is directed for further information on these matters. I can only say that, not only I, but others with whom I associate, are never tired of talking, reading or hearing of these things. The leaves I have I would not sell for money, but I should like more, and I hope you may be able to supply me, God bless you richly. Yours in Christ,
Berrien Co., Michigan.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER.--Dear Friends:--A pamphlet published by you, accidentally came to my notice a few days ago, and although torn and mutilated, I have read all I can of it, and desire more of that light that seems to have penetrated your soul. In accordance with your request, which I find on last page of cover, I write you as an earnest, prayerful seeker after truth; knowing that in time past it has pleased God to send light to his children through one another, as in the case of Cornelius (`Acts 10`). My prayer is "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"
Now I send to Pittsburgh, to Zion's Watchman, that he may tell me what to do, and send me what he thinks I need. I think I could use several of the pamphlets to good advantage.
Yours in fellowship of Christ,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--It is with heartfelt thankfulness that I write to you for the TOWER. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. The TOWER is looked for with delight, not by myself alone, others here look for it with equal pleasure, and we desire you to send it for another year. The subjoined list are the names of those who send money. We have of late had a real feast through the TOWER; it has opened up the Scriptures so that we can now search for ourselves. What once was to us very nearly a sealed book, now becomes full of harmony and beauty. We are already despised and rejected of nominal Christians, but we count it joy that we are accounted worthy to thus suffer with him. Since we have seen something of the truth, and are no longer building with the wood, hay and stubble of men's traditions.
Our little Bible class does not grow very large, but we are not building on numbers. We find we get some very precious seasons with about four, and I think up to the present our best meetings have been the smallest; and during the week when two or three meet for a few minutes we often part with some new thought or reminder of the grandeur of the plan or character of God, and go forth with renewed energy to serve him. I find the experience vastly different from my previous experience in the nominal church, then doubting and fearing with a very indefinite idea of what was future both for the servants of God and those who did not serve him.
But now we are glad to see that all shall be taught of God. Looking at the unfolding plan of God we cannot but see that his ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts higher than our thoughts. Please send more reading matter. We are gradually finding interested readers.
Your brother in Christ. __________.
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Neosho Co., Kan.
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:--If I should not be too late please forward a wall chart to my address for which I will pay express charges. I expect to return to my own nation in the near future (Cherokee Indians) and I will be more able to make the vision plain. I would send you money to pay for one or two years subscription of your paper, the Z.W.T., if I had it; but just now I am so pressed financially that I can scarcely keep my family, but hope I can do something soon. I preach as often as I can leave home, and ride from ten to twenty miles to make known this truth. Pray the Lord to bless his poor servant, who once was blind but thank God that now I see. I ever remain your brother in the Anointed One. __________.
[N.B. The supply of WALL CHARTS is exhausted.]
Toledo, Ohio, Sept. 20, 1885.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Again is the welcome Z.W.T. at hand. But alas I can not read it any more. [A cataract has been forming over his sight gradually.] Having it read second-hand, and by those not consecrated however well meaning they be, it has not the satisfactory result as when read by myself. I am hungry for the glad tidings, but for the present cannot be satisfied and must now draw on the store gathered when natural sight was one of the blessings. Please inform me what your plan is for the consecrated ones. If I cannot see to read I may find a willing ear to talk to. Hoping you may be able to gather the meaning of this communication, the Lord bless you and be with you in his work is my prayer. Yours in Christ, __________.
Mitchell Co., N.C., Sept. 29, '85.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--A suggestion in your last number of WATCH TOWER to those having time to invest in the Master's service at the eleventh hour, caught my eye and moved my heart, as I had been asking the Lord to open up the way that I might be enabled to do more effectual work in his vineyard. Not that I have been idle or careless about the "glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people," or of the Church's glorious position, either; as I have been lecturing on these glorious themes for some time past until this summer, when the powers of darkness became somewhat alarmed, taking possession for the present, but it is only for the present, for they have already whipped themselves.
It was after this manner: I had, as a feeble instrument in the hands of the Master, built up a considerable Sunday attendance, on lectures and Bible readings, in a section deserted by all denominations, but formerly belonging to the Baptists. They saw a good chance to reorganize their church and Sabbath school, which they did, offering me the superintendent's place if I would join them. Telling them I was not for sale, of course they left me "out in the cold." Many were dissatisfied with the proceedings and caused considerable interruption, so much so, that they now have no Sabbath school and very seldom any preaching.
Their preacher passed my house today and told me that perhaps he would leave this fall, not having been here quite twelve months. Truth will prevail. He sees there are impressions of God's eternal truth so deeply rooted that he will either have to submit to it or leave.
I was lecturing on the Millennium and God's promises to the Jews, when by a strange circumstance I fell in with your Sample Copy of Z.W.T. This has been over two years since. I was led by God's Word to see that there are deeper and richer blessings for the church and world than held out by the sects. Praying for more light on these glorious truths, the Lord sent your publications. It would be strange to you indeed, if you could know the harmony in our teachings before I saw your views, or heard of them. But I only had the outlines until the Lord brought us together. O then, what light indeed, rayed forth from "ZION'S WATCH TOWER."
Ever since I have been circulating your publications and lecturing. In this and the adjoining county deep impressions have been made and I feel confident will show fruit in God's "due time." The Methodists and Baptists prevail in this country, and held strong antagonism until the true light burst forth; since, they have become alarmed and are holding meetings together. Pilot and Herod were made friends in condemning the Lord of Glory. Strange coincident with his first rejection! It is only a question of time, when the way will be open for more successful labor. Patience for the Lord's "due time," is what we all, perhaps, are deficient in. May we "let patience have her perfect work."
I have engaged a school, but am not bound for any definite period; I only take it while waiting for the Lord to open up something in which I can serve him better. If he has directed through you in the "plan" mentioned in last TOWER we will shortly "know of his will." I wish to stand ready for whatsoever and whenever he may call me.
Being aware of the great value of time with you, and the vast importance of the glorious work in which the Lord has called you, makes me feel as an intruder by writing so much, but I cannot close without giving you an expression of my feelings and desires as a co-worker in the closing gospel harvest of the age, which indeed "is ripe" while "the laborers are few."
The vast importance of the truth of the millennial glory so thrills my whole being, that I could proclaim the "glad tidings from Greenland's icy mountains to India's coral strand," and "from the rivers to the ends of the earth" in honor to the name of Jesus who is riding forth in his majesty.
Sweetest name on mortal tongue,
Sweetest notes in Seraph's song.
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NOT to know evil, that is innocence; but to know evil and choose the good, that is virtue.
A WORD spoken pleasantly is a large spot of sunshine on a sad heart; who has not felt its effects? A smile is like the bursting out of the sun behind a cloud to him who thinks he has no friend in the world.
TRUE repentance consists in the heart being broken for sin and from sin. Some repent, yet never reform; they resemble a man traveling in a dangerous path, who frequently starts and stops, but never turns aside.
"THAT fortitude which has encountered no dangers, that prudence which has surmounted no difficulties, that integrity which has been attacked by no temptation, can best be considered but as gold not yet brought to the test, of which therefore the true value cannot be assigned."
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OUT AND INTO.
Out of disaster and ruin complete,
Out of the struggle and dreary defeat,
Out of my sorrow, and burden, and shame,
Out of the evils too fearful to name,
Out of my guilt and the criminal's doom,
Out of the dreading, and terror, and gloom;
Into the sense of forgiveness and rest,
Into inheritance with all the blest,
Into a righteous and permanent peace,
Into the grandest and fullest release,
Into the comfort without an alloy,
Into a perfect and permanent joy.
Wonderful love that has wrought all for me!
Wonderful work that has thus set me free!
Wonderful ground upon which I have come!
Wonderful tenderness, welcoming home!
Out of the terror at standing alone,
Out, and for ever, of being my own,
Out of the hardness of heart and of will,
Out of the longings which nothing could fill,
Out of the bitterness, madness and strife,
Out of myself and of all I called life;
Into the light and the glory of God,
Into the holy, made clean by blood,
Into His arms, the embrace and the kiss,
Into the scene of ineffable bliss,
Into the quiet, the infinite calm,
Into the place of the song and the psalm.
Wonderful holiness, bringing to light!
Wonderful grace, putting all out of sight!
Wonderful wisdom, devising the way!
Wonderful power that nothing can stay!
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There is "one mediator between God and men, the man [Greek anthropos--human being] Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom [Greek antilutron --a corresponding price] for all."-- `1 Tim. 2:5,6`.
The Greek word translated Mediator in this text is mesites, and has the significance of the English word mediator, viz., "middle man," or reconciler, or, as defined by Webster, "one who interposes between parties at variance for the purpose of reconciling them."
On this subject there are two views, both of which we believe to be very erroneous. First, we mention the view growing popular recently among so-called advanced thinkers, viz., that God, after trying to secure man's attention and love and reconciliation for four thousand years with very little success, changed his plan of operations and sent Jesus to entreat for him with mankind and to win man's love over to God, that thus reconciliation between God and men might be effected. They take this view because a false theory compels it; their theory being that God has nothing against mankind that would require a Mediator to adjust and settle, while mankind has supposed grievances against God which the Mediator was needed to dispel. This class, for the same reason, find no meaning or sense in the Scriptural statement that Jesus was a ransom for all men. They claim that God required no ransom for sinners, but was so full of love for men that he could not permit his justice to act in opposition to them; that God's love over-mastered his justice.
This theory makes void the ransom, and the atonement through it, in a most deceptive manner, because it pretends to accept all the Scriptural statements on these subjects, though it as really opposes and makes void the Scriptures on these subjects as do open infidels.
Its influence is really more misleading than theirs. But not only does such a theory make void the ransom, but it is totally unreasonable of itself, being in opposition to all the known facts.
Facts testify in hundreds of ways that "the wrath of God" rests upon the race. Sickness, pain and death, pestilence, cyclones and earthquakes are facts however we may account for them. We must either conclude (1) that our Creator cannot prevent and remedy these evils, or (2) that he is careless of our welfare, or (3) these evils are permitted by him as a penalty for sins, and as a manifestation of his just wrath and righteous indignation therefor. We are not left to conjecture as to which of these views of the facts are correct; for the Bible not only assures us (1) that God is able to prevent evil, and has all power in heaven and in earth, and (2) that he is not careless and indifferent to the welfare of his creatures, and that he loves them; but (3) that death with all its attendant miseries and troubles, is the just penalty for sin, (`Rom. 6:23`; `Deut. 32:45`; `Gen. 2:17`; `3:17-19`; `Rom. 5:17-19`.) and that exposure to the disorders of nature as experienced in earthquakes, cyclones, etc., are incidental adjuncts of the curse which came upon man as the just wages or recompense for the sin of their representative Adam, and are therefore evidences of divine disfavor or opposition.
That the Scriptures clearly state these facts to be evidences of the WRATH of God, should be known to all. The apostle speaking for himself and the Church, says, We "were by nature [through the fallen nature inherited] children of wrath even as others." (`Eph. 2:3`.) "For the wrath of God is revealed [displayed] from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness." (`Rom. 1:18`.) Not only is there the present general display of divine displeasure against the race, (death, etc.) but the Scriptures point to a "wrath to come," "a day of wrath and righteous judgment of God" (`Rom. 2:5`.) the great time of trouble in the end of this age. The wrath manifested in death, etc., for Adam's sin, is supplemented by that to come because of the wilfulness and perversity of Adam's fallen children.
Such as shall accept of Christ as their ransom, we are expressly told "shall be saved from wrath through him" (`Rom. 5:9`): while on such as believe not in the Redeemer "the wrath of God abideth" [continues]. (`Jno. 3:36`.) Such as now accept of Christ and become his obedient followers, are saved or delivered from wrath to come; and even now, though not delivered from present wrath and penalties of sin, they are assured of God's acceptance of the ransom and of his favor toward them and of a full release shortly from every vestige of the curse and wrath now resting on all. Thus by faith we reckon ourselves delivered or "saved from wrath through him" (`Rom. 5:9`.) whom God raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from wrath to come. `1 Thess. 1:10`. The same word is rendered vengeance, `Rom. 3:5`. Is God unrighteous that taketh vengeance? Compare `verses 23 to 26`.
From these texts, as well as from the facts about us, slow indeed would be the mind, or obstinately obtuse the heart that would claim that the great Creator could not be angry under just and proper cause. It would be as improper for our Creator to refrain from righteous indignation and wrath when there is a just and proper cause, as it would be for him to be angry without a cause. He is angry with wickedness and sin every day (`Psa. 7:11`), and declares that ultimately, sin, and all who love it, shall be no more.
The same Greek word rendered "wrath" in the above texts, is rendered "angry" in `Mark 3:5`, "He [Jesus] looked about on them with ANGER, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts." This was proper anger, a righteous indignation at hypocrisy and wilful opposition to the light.
While God announces his anger, and shows its justice, he bids us beware of it, lest, because of our fallen condition, we err in judgment. We therefore recognizing ourselves as imperfect in judgment, are admonished to leave it for him who cannot err, and who says "Vengeance is mine I will repay." Hence we are exhorted to "put off all these--anger, wrath," etc., (`Col. 3:8`) and let all bitterness and wrath and anger... be put away from you," (`Eph. 4:31`.) and to be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." (`James 1:19`.) The Greek word used in these three illustrations referring to the Church is orge the same exactly as used above in referring to the "wrath" of Jehovah, and the "anger" of Jesus. The reason, as we have shown, is that we are not capable in our present fallen condition to judge our fallen fellow creatures; hence while God's wrath is a righteous indignation "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." (`Jas. 1:20`.) Hence the command, "Be ye angry and sin not." There may be instances of wrong and oppression when we should be angry, when to be otherwise minded would be wrong, and would show either a sympathy with the wrong, or a lazy fear of the result of opposing it. We must remember our own weakness and liability, and be ready to cease resentment upon evidence of true repentance and reform, remembering that God has said, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." (`Rom. 12:19`.) We say, therefore, that this view, which ignores and denies the wrath of God against sin and sinners, and which therefore sees no necessity for Christ as a mediator for man's sin toward God, is in direct opposition, both to the facts of life and to Scripture testimony.
But now let us look at the other distorted view of the mediation of Christ, the view generally known as orthodox. It pictures before men's minds, a God so angry as to be ferocious and cruel, whose rage against sinners pursues them not only during the present existence, but beyond the grave, and supplies them with existence for the one and only purpose of torturing them everlastingly. Then dropping for the time being their unscriptural and absurd idea that there are three Gods, "one in person," they speak of Christ Jesus as being very different from Jehovah; for whereas the one, as described, would be the personification and embodiment of hate, anger and malice, the other, they represent as love and love only. While according to this view Jehovah was engaged in hurrying off earth's millions to everlasting torture, Jesus appeared and by a sacrifice of himself, placated, or in a measure, satisfied the wrath of Jehovah.
According to this view, Jesus having finished the sacrifice for man's sins, ascended to heaven, where it is claimed he sits upon what is termed his mediatorial throne. It is claimed that Jesus will occupy the mediatorial throne until the end of all probation. Their claim is that while he sits as mediator between God and men, he will plead for the sinner, and importune God not to send him into everlasting torture, but to let him come into heaven; and that when Jesus shall leave that mediatorial throne and come a second time, there is no more hope for sinners. Then it is claimed Jesus will look again over the already fixed verdict of the just and unjust, in what they term the judgment day, and thereafter Jesus and his Church join with Jehovah in the grand (?), glorious (?) and delightful (?) work of superintending the everlasting and hopeless torture of the great majority of the human race in endless woe, either mental or physical, or as claimed by some, both.
We deeply pity the benighted mind to which this view of God's character and plan has the slightest appearance of right or truth. Such know neither the Father nor the Son.
The idea of so-called Protestants on the Mediatorship of Jesus is very closely related to that of Roman Catholics on the same subject. The Church of Rome directs the sinner to go to the priest, who will intercede for him with the Virgin
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and dead saints, and these in turn intercede with Jesus, who finally intercedes with Jehovah and secures the forgiveness of sin. Protestants, leaving out the mediation of priests, dead saints, and the virgin, come directly to Jesus, as a Mediator and Intercessor. The thought presented is that of the angry Jehovah approached by the loving Jesus, who PLEADS for us, showing the wounds of Calvary, until finally the Father relents and reluctantly receives the sinner. This view is forcibly expressed in the following verse from an old and familiar hymn:
"For me he ever lives,
For me to INTERCEDE;
His all redeeming love,
His precious blood to PLEAD.
Forgive him, O forgive, they cry,
Nor let that ransomed sinner die."
Alas! that any claiming the name of Christ, and possessing the Bible, should be in such ignorance of the character of Jehovah therein revealed. Instead of repelling his ransomed creatures and requiring the pleading and interceding of a Mediator to induce him to be reconciled to us, the very reverse is true. All the mediation is in the past, so far as God is concerned; and ever since the ransom-sacrifice of Jesus was accepted as the propitiation or satisfaction for our sins and the sins of the whole world, Jehovah's attitude has been propitious [favorable --gracious] toward the sinner, ready and willing to receive all that come to him in and by the merit of that propitiatory sacrifice. And it has been the mission of the Apostles and of all who have become the children of God through faith in the finished work of Christ, to herald the fact to all men that God is now ready and willing to receive all who thus come. Therefore, as says the Apostle, it is, "As though God did beseech you by us, we PRAY YOU in Christ's stead, BE YE reconciled to God." (`2 Cor. 5:20`.) This text shows that the part of Christ's work of mediation which related to the settlement of the claims of justice against us, as sinners, was at a full end--finished, completed, and that the part remaining was the making known of this divine reconciliation to the sinners, making them aware of God's favor and willingness to receive all that come unto him through the finished work of the Mediator.
How clearly the Scriptures guard us against the two extreme theories of man. They assure us that God is love; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender compassion; that he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but would that all would turn unto him and live; that he authorized Christ and all his followers to be his ambassadors and ministers, to make known the good tidings of reconciliation accomplished "by the death of
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his Son, whom he set forth to be a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (`Rom. 3:25`, and `1 John 2:2`.) They assure us also that Jehovah's love and wisdom planned the redemption, and that, in raising Christ from the dead, he gave proof of the acceptableness of the sacrifice, and of the certainty of the resultant blessing. It is not only true that in due time God sent his only begotten Son for our redemption (`Rom. 5:6`), and that God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (`Rom. 5:8`), but it is true also that this was Jehovah's original plan, and that before sin entered, even before the foundation of the world (`1 Pet. 1:18-20`; `Rev. 13:8`), his wisdom and love provided, and beheld in the distance, "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
So far as God is concerned, the mediation of Christ Jesus is all in the past. As the Apostle expresses it in the text under consideration, the Mediator who stood BETWEEN the just Creator and his condemned and guilty creatures, was "the man Christ Jesus," and not the exalted Jesus. He mediated by giving himself a ransom [a corresponding price] for all. It is not the glorified Jesus that intercedes as mediator and prays pardon for sinners. If such were the case, the Son of God need not have come into the world to die for the sinners, but might from the first have prayed for them. But if prayers only were needed, no mediator would have been necessary, for God himself "SO LOVED the world" --"while we were yet sinners." It was because no mediation, in the sense of entreaty, was necessary, and because no such action could mediate between God's violated law and the sinner, that the mediation was accomplished in a totally different manner. The Mediator was the man Christ Jesus. He became a man that he might be the Mediator. The act of mediation consisted in the man Jesus giving himself a ransom [corresponding price] for all men, to meet the penalty of the law of God against all men, that henceforth the condemnation of sin and its penalty death being removed, there might be no obstacle hindering men from the enjoyment of God's blessing and favor. In a word, the sacrifice for sins is the mediation, and the Sacrificer at the time of the sacrifice is the Mediator.
That this is the correct idea, is not only borne out by reason, and the above statement of Scripture, but by every text in which the word Mediator, as applied to Jesus, occurs. The same word occurs as follows: `Gal. 3:19,20`; `1 Tim. 2:5`; `Heb. 8:6`; `9:15` and `12:24`. These refer to Jesus and Moses, both as mediators. They show that Moses, as the mediator of the Law Covenant, was a type of Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant.
The apostle, after informing us that Christ was mediator of the New Covenant, adds, (`Heb. 9:15-22`--Diaglott) "For where a covenant exists, the death of that which has ratified it, is necessary ...a covenant is firm [binding] over dead victims, since it is never valid when that which ratifies it [or, is to ratify it] is alive. Hence not even the first [i.e. the Law Covenant] has been [was] instituted without blood," [though the blood used in the type was not the actual blood of Moses the typical mediator of that typical covenant, but the blood of beasts representing Moses' blood]. For every commandment of the law having been spoken by Moses to all the people, taking the blood of bullocks and of goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop he sprinkled both the book [of the law, the covenant] itself, and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of [or evidence of the death, of that which ratified] the covenant which God enjoined on you."
It will be observed that the killing [shedding of the blood] of the bullocks and goats, was the mediation, their death representing the death of Moses the mediator of that covenant. In the killing of these, the mediation was completed; the covenant was ratified and in full force that very instant. The sprinkling of the blood upon the book and people was not a part of the mediating of the covenant, for the covenant had no force or binding value until the mediation was complete, finished. That which mediated for the sins of the people RATIFIED, or completed the covenant, i.e. made its provisions applicable to the people. The sprinkling of the people and book came as a result of the ratifying of the covenant; as a result of the mediation for their sins typically represented in the death of the beasts.
As in the typical, so in the real mediation for sin, which ratifies and brings into force the better covenant--the New Covenant. The man Christ Jesus mediated or came between God and man by meeting the penalty of the law against which mankind had sinned. He opened up a new and living way [a new way of life] by bringing into operation a New Covenant or new arrangement between God and man. The original arrangement entered into between God and his creatures was, that if obedient to God, man should live forever. This we failed in as a race, represented in Adam, and the penalty--death--came upon all. God could not make another contract or covenant with men whereby they could have life, while they were already under sentence of death for the violation of the original covenant or arrangement. Hence it was impossible for a new covenant or arrangement between God and man to take effect at all, until the penalty of the violation of the original engagement had been met by the payment of a ransom-- a corresponding price. The one paying that price and removing the obstruction which hindered the making of a New Covenant, is the MEDIATOR. The man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding price, did thus cancel the penalty of the violated covenant, and thus opened the way for the "New Covenant," or new contract between God and men; wherefore he is called, "The Mediator of the New Covenant." Compare `Heb. 9:15`.
Thus the death of Christ, by meeting our penalty, mediating for us or making "reconciliation for iniquity," RATIFIED or established the New Covenant, putting it into force, and so, immediately after Jesus' sacrifice was complete and had been formally presented to God on our behalf, came the Pentecostal blessing, marking the beginning of the New Covenant.
It may help us to appreciate the matter, if we examine the New Covenant and see what kind of an arrangement it is, and also the typical covenant of which Moses was the mediator, as represented in the dying beasts.
The New Covenant or new arrangement between God and man, is that expressed to Israel, whose sacrifices, covenants, etc., were typical of those to be instituted once for all men. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.... This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days [after a while or by-and-by],
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saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord'; for they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more." `Jer. 31:31-34`.
The new and future covenant is here compared and contrasted with the Law Covenant, under which, as a nation, they had long been. The thing to be desired was to get rid entirely of the original sin and condemnation, and to get a clear understanding of God's requirements and have a fresh trial--i.e., to be permitted each individually to stand trial for life or death according to obedience or disobedience, in hope of obtaining and retaining everlastingly the right of life.
Israel supposed that they had received virtually this, when the Law Covenant was ratified. With great pomp and solemnity, that covenant was instituted at the hands of Moses, and they were assured, as the items of the Law were announced to them, that "The man that doeth these things shall LIVE" as a consequence [have life as long as he doeth them]. `Rom. 10:5`; `Gal. 3:12`; `Lev. 18:5`. But their bright hopes were soon blighted, for one after another died, giving evidence that none of them kept their part of the covenant fully; and it soon became evident that, By the deeds of the Law [Covenant] could no flesh be justified in God's sight. `Rom. 3:20`.
This was God's object in giving them that typical covenant. He thus showed them their own depraved condition, to convince them that a great remedy was needed for the great malady of sin-- that a great Saviour was needed to deliver them from the enemy's power. The Law Covenant was given to teach this lesson, and to typify and illustrate the operations of the New Covenant coming after it, as well as to fill up the time intervening before the right time of the introduction of the New Covenant which it typified.
The New Covenant is like its type, the Law Covenant, except that its range will be greater; it will embrace the world represented by Israel; its provisions will be grander and deeper as an antitype is always superior to that which is used to typify it. Comparing the two, under the Apostle's direction, we can see the vast superiority of the New Covenant over its type: The typical covenant, established or ratified or mediated by the death of bulls or goats as sacrifices for original sin, was insufficient; for such sacrifices "can never take away sins"; (`Heb. 10:11`), their death was not a ransom--not a corresponding price, to the death of man, not equivalent in value to the penalty resting upon mankind for the violation of the original covenant by their representative, Adam, and nothing short of this could cancel the sin and remove its penalty really. That God so regarded their covenant is evident from the fact that it had to be repeatedly ratified every year by the sacrifice of more bulls and goats on the typical "Day of Atonement," thus indicating that the original guilt was not blotted out and canceled, but merely RECKONED SO for a year at a time. This process of ratifying the typical covenant yearly, and offering life to every Israelite who would live up to its requirements, was kept up for centuries, though none of them gained the coveted boon--until the man Christ Jesus, came--a perfect man whose life came not through a father of the Adamic race, but from Adam's Father, Jehovah. Thus we see another use for the Law Covenant; it pointed out and served to prove the man Christ Jesus the only perfect man, and hence the only one who could give a ransom--a corresponding price for the transgression of the first perfect man's failure to obey the first covenant.
But as the sacrifices by which the Law covenant was mediated were only typical and temporary, and hence of no lasting value to sinners, so also, the other provisions of that covenant; for instance, the law given them and which they covenanted to obey, was written in tables of stone, and their hearts being left in the depraved condition, to keep the law was an impossibility--it could only condemn them, as out of harmony with it.
Now contrast with this the New Covenant and its better conditions. The foundation of the New Covenant is sure; the mediation is thorough and complete and needs not a yearly repetition; the putting away of original sin is by "one sacrifice for sins forever" (`Heb. 10:12`), because the Mediator of the New Covenant mediated not with the blood of others [bulls and goats] "but by his own blood," by "better sacrifices" than those (`Heb. 9:12 and 23`), "when He offered up himself" (`Heb. 7:27`) "a ransom for all." Thus seen the security of the New Covenant rests upon the cancellation of the penalty of the original covenant violated by Adam our representative. A corresponding price, i.e., a ransom, is the only complete settlement of the old case which would admit of a new covenant being entered into with us. Hence the importance of realizing the RANSOM price given by the man Christ Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant, before we can appreciate fully its blessed provisions. The man Jesus was not only a better sacrifice than bulls and goats, but His better sacrifice became the "surety of a better covenant." `Heb. 7:22`.
Notice that by the provisions of the New Covenant the sinners released from the penalty of the former violated covenant, will not only have a new trial, but will, in addition, have restored to them the original perfections of being, whereby they shall individually have as full an opportunity of rendering obedience, and meriting life everlasting, as Adam their representative had under the first covenant. And their trial will be backed up by the lesson learned from Adam's disobedience and their own experience under sin. This is indicated in the promise of the New Covenant--"I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts." Thus it was with Adam; he needed not to have God's law written on tablets of stone, for his instruction, because his very being was permeated with that law. His mind (spirit) was in harmony with God's mind (spirit). Sin had not warped and twisted his judgment and made wrong to appear right. Malice, selfishness and pride had not at that time displaced righteousness and love, the image of God in which he was created. And not only was his mind in harmony with God, but his body also. He had then none of the physical imperfections
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and tendencies to evil that now so hinder and incapacitate, for perfect obedience to God: So deeply was the Law of God originally written in the perfect human organism that even the past six thousand years of degradation, sin, ignorance, superstition, and misery has not entirely blotted out that law; and to-day even the most degraded savages give evidence of some appreciation of right and wrong, even without the written law. "These having not the [written] law," "show the work [or give evidence] of the law, written in their hearts ...their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or excusing." (`Rom. 2:15`.) This glimmer of conscience, often so distorted by superstition and error as to lead into deeper error, serves to illustrate what it would be to have the full Law of God clearly and deeply written in the heart.
But, moreover, the word "heart" is used to represent the center of affections, hence the promise of the New Covenant is not only to give mankind an intellectual knowledge of the Lord, so that they shall need no further instruction one of another, but the law will be deeply and lastingly engraven in the very center of the affections of all who will accept the provisions of that covenant. O how different is this new covenant from its type given to Israel! how much grander the sacrifice of mediation which cancelled the old and ratified the new. How much better to have the heart-written law (which implies restitution to God's image) than the law written on tables of stone.
Thank God for the New Covenant, praise him for its bountiful provisions for every member of the fallen race; and above all, noting how all else depended upon its mediation and ratification by the settlement of our indebtedness or penalty under the original covenant (death), let us, above all, praise God for the gift of his Son, the Mediator, "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom." Compare `Heb. 10:16-20` with `Jer. 31:31-34`.
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OUR ACCESS TO GOD THROUGH THE ONE MEDIATOR.
"Having therefore boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." `Heb. 10:19`.
"No man cometh unto the Father but by me." `John 14:6`.
From the foregoing it will be plain, we trust, that the mediation is all in the past, that it is not the living, glorified Jesus who is now mediating between God and men and propitiating God as toward and for us, but that the mediating and propitiating work, is all completed, finished, ended by the Mediator who gave himself as the mediatory or propitiatory sacrifice --the man Christ Jesus.
This being true, it is evident that there is no longer any barrier or hindrance to prevent any sinner who accepts of that mediation--the ransom--from having access to the Father without any one to intercede further on his behalf. It is evident that to obtain the forgiveness of sins provided for by that propitiating ransom, the sinner for whom it was given has only to go to God and claim the forgiveness, and needs not to bring any other sacrifice for sins than that ONE, and needs no Mediator either in earth or heaven. This simple truth is beautifully expressed by the poet:--
"In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to The cross I cling."
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Alas! how humanity would bar the way which God through Christ has made so open and free. How the traditions of men would hinder and obstruct the way of the sinner. Papacy set the example, saying by actions and practices, God is not fully satisfied with the ransom: He must be approached by Jesus and pleaded with to receive you; and Jesus loves his mother, say they, and would make special effort for the sinner if his mother requested it, and the Virgin Mary, say they, would not take special interest in the sinner's plea for mercy and forgiveness unless she were importuned by a regularly ordained priest, and the priest would not spend his effort for the sinner unless it paid either in money or influence. Protestant sects obtained much of the same spirit of error from the false doctrine that the penalty for sin is everlasting misery instead of everlasting extinction --death. This false doctrine has produced an awful dread and fear of God which love cannot cast out, while life and this error lasts. Of this the Lord speaks through the Prophet, saying, "Their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men." `Isa. 29:13`. Having such a fear of Jehovah and not seeing clearly that the ransom given cancelled all the claims of justice against the race, and silences forever the condemnations of the curse against those who, by faith, lay hold of that ransom, they still feel a need for some one to stand between them and Jehovah and plead forgiveness for them. And this wrong idea leads to other wrongs of action. Teaching an unwillingness on God's part to receive the sinner freely and fully, without being urged to do so by Jesus, is the foundation of what is known among some of God's children as the "mourner's bench," where the repentant sinner, seeking forgiveness, is taught, by practice and example at least, that tears and groans and entreaties of himself and others must precede any forgiveness of sins or acceptance with God. To thus represent him as requiring entreaty is to misrepresent God and the teaching of his Word, and to undervalue the efficacy of the precious ransom sacrifice by which we have full, free and uninterrupted access to the Father. The way to life does not need to be opened by groans and pleadings; it was opened more than eighteen centuries ago by the Mediator--the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a RANSOM for all.
The custom of so-called Revival Meetings to call upon sinners to arise, and thereby request an interest in the prayers of Christians present, is a part of the same error. It is virtually saying to sinners that they need the intercession or pleading of saints with Jesus, and of Jesus with the Father, before they can be at harmony with God. It thus deceives the sinner and helps to fix an error in his mind, which even though he should become converted, will for years be a stumbling block to him, and through him to others, preventing many from correctly apprehending God's character and plan.
Doubtless from this error, in conjunction with others, has sprung the erroneous but common custom of praying for the conversion of friends. While it is proper for us to make known to the Lord our interest in our friends, and in sinners in general, yet it is not proper for us to request God to change his plan and arrangements and to adopt our plans. Rather, we should listen to his word, and learn what is his way and then reverently say, Not my will but thine be done, and not my way and time but thine.
For an imperfect human being to attempt to direct the all-wise Jehovah, is the very extreme of presumption. It is evidently born of the idea that we love the sinner more than God loves him; that our love is deeper and stronger than that of the Father, who so loved the world, while all were yet sinners, as to send his Son to mediate and ratify the New Covenant, which would bless all the families of the earth; or that our love is deeper than that of him who declares, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend." Those who feel that their love for sinners is greater than this, should reflect that they have shown less love and made less sacrifice for sinners.
A proper view of the matter would lead to some such conclusion as the following:--
Here is a friend whom I love; I desire that he shall come into harmony with God--be converted from ways of sin and unbelief to ways of righteousness and faith. What shall I do about it? Shall I pray to God and entreat him to love him and to provide for his welfare? No; because I realize that he already loves him more than I do, and that he has already made provision for him at great cost. What then can I do for my friend? First of all, I can inform myself of what plan and arrangement God has made for him, assured from the very outstart that that plan must be as much more wise, loving, and just, than any I could design, as God is more wise, just and loving than I am.
When I find in God's word that a full ransom has been given for all, and that a New Covenant, a new way and arrangement, was thereby opened for all, I realize that my friend, myself, and all others are sure to be given an opportunity for life everlasting under its bountiful provisions. Thanking God then, that my friend has been redeemed, and that "in due time" he will be brought to understand the conditions of the New Covenant, and helped to comply with those conditions, I rejoice in this.
Then, I inquire of the Lord through HIS WORD, whether, in order to partake of the New Covenant blessings, my friend must recognize and accept of its provisions now; and I find the answer there, and in the facts of life, that only a few of the whole race, who shall be blessed by that covenant, learn anything of it in this present time, that the vast majority die in infancy and in almost total ignorance of it, but that whoever hears of it and receives it now, during the Christian age, has the opportunity and privilege of sacrificing, and thus of receiving the additional favor promised to such. Now I say to myself: I know that my friend will be blessed through the ransom, and brought to a knowledge of that blessed truth, and to the enjoyment of the favors thus opened up--some time. There can be no doubt of this. But now, I wish that he could see it and receive the truth now, that thus he might have the honor and blessing to be conferred on the overcomers of this age. The fact that God says that some are so blinded by the ruler of this world (`John 12:31`) that they cannot see the truth, suggests at once that there is a strong possibility that my friend might be one of these, whose mind is so prejudiced and blinded that he cannot receive the message of redemption and reconciliation until the next age shall have removed the obstacles and hindrances, when all the blinded eyes shall be opened. `Isa. 35:5`.
But desirous of doing all I can for my friend, and, if possible, of getting him upon the race course for the grand prize of the divine nature, I inquire again of God's Word--Lord, according to thy wise and gracious plan, are all who may run for that prize arbitrarily called? or is the call for all who can hear and receive it? The answer is, "He that hath an ear, let him hear;" "To-day, if ye will [or shall] hear his voice, harden not your hearts" (`Heb. 4:7`); for whosoever cometh unto the Father by the Mediator is accepted, and has every privilege and opportunity of any other. So then, all that I can do in the matter is to try in every way to reach the "ear" of my friend with the good tidings. Some have less ear to hear than others, therefore the Lord tells us that we should use wisdom and prudence, not in what we shall tell him, for we must tell the truth and nothing else; but we should use wisdom and prudence in how we tell it; that time, circumstances and manner may be favorable for reaching his ear with the truth concerning God's love, God's plan and the favors now obtainable. Therefore, if I go to God in prayer concerning the matter, I may not pray for my friend, that God would change his plan, and do the work of reaching his ear; for if that were best, he would do so without my asking. But I may well pray for wisdom to guide me in my endeavor to proclaim the good tidings, so that if my friend have "an ear to hear" I may be able to reach it and "let him hear."
The Apostle declares, that it has pleased God by the foolishness [i.e., seemingly slow and unsuccessful method] of preaching [teaching--declaring] to save them that believe. (`1 Cor. 1:21`.) He does not say anywhere that it is God's plan to save people because people pray for them; nor is there an instance in Scripture where Jesus or the Apostles prayed for the conversion of any one. Whence then comes the practice to-day, except, as we say, it is born of erroneous views of the love of God and a failure to appreciate the fullness of the ransom and the ultimate breadth of its results, under the provisions of the New Covenant? The bringing of men into harmony with God in the next age, will be by the same means as in this age--preaching--but under circumstances more favorable to their hearing [i.e., believing or accepting] than at present.
But stop, here is another consideration: There is a limit placed upon the time, "To-day if you will [or shall] hear his voice." Yes, to-day limits it in two ways; it is to-day, or during the Christian age, that there is any if about the hearing, for in the coming age all shall hear; for this is the will of God, that all shall come to a knowledge of the truth (`1 Tim. 2:4`); and one of the provisions of the New Covenant, ratified by the blood of the Mediator, is, that the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth, and then none shall need
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"say to his neighbor, know thou the Lord, for all shall know him." Yes, it is shall hear and shall know then, but it is if any man have an ear, and if he come in contact with the truth, and if he hear, now. The "if" is limited to "to-day" --the present Christian age; it has no place beyond.
But further, the "if," and the to-day, limit it in another way. If we hear to-day, i.e., during the Christian age while the CALL to the divine nature is being made; if we hear that call, to both suffer and reign with Christ. But "if" we do not hear it "to-day" we will not again hear that call; for the "little flock" to be joint-heirs with Christ and partakers of the divine nature will have been completed, and the call will be different thereafter, though it will be grand
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also. It will have all the blessings and promises contained in the New Covenant, but not the added blessings of the Abrahamic covenant. None will then be called to be of the "seed"--the Christ which shall bless the world (See `Gal. 3:29`) for that company will be complete, but the call will then be to share the blessings of the New Covenant, and be thus blessed by the "seed" now being selected through suffering and sacrifice.
And since we find the Scriptures teaching clearly that the CALL to the divine nature is now at an end, we must not in preaching express that call to our unconverted friends, but should point them to the New Covenant blessings of restitution. We may say to them, See the goodness of God, the breadth of the salvation, the ransom fully as far reaching as the curse; let it lead thee to repentance; give thy heart to God, let him at once begin to write upon you his perfect law, and at once begin to restore you, both mentally to his image, and to physical perfection. It took 6,000 years to blot out that law and bring you to your present unlikeness to him, but it will not take so long to restore you. He promises that it shall be done, for all who will accept it, within the 1,000 years of the reign of Christ. Begin at once to taste the fellowship with God, and to express by obedience your appreciation of his great love as manifested in his great and loving plans.
We see, then, that ALL and the FULLEST MEDIATION between God and man, was accomplished in the death of the Mediator--the man Christ Jesus, though God did not formally accept of it for several days after it was made, and though all mankind will not even have ability to accept its provisions until some time in the millennial day. Reconciliation on God's part was deferred until Jesus had ascended on high and formally presented the ransom given for his formal approval and acceptance. It was accepted by God, and this was indicated by marked manifestation of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. So many of the race then living as had ears to hear and eyes to see, and who accepted of the ransom and the New Covenant which it ratified, were then brought into harmony and fellowship with God. So many of the race as have since heard and accepted have had the privilege, while others, the great mass of the race for whom the ransom was given, will come to "see" and "hear" only after the Prince of darkness shall be bound and the Sun of righteousness shall have risen with healing in his wings, bringing blessings and restoration, mentally and morally as well as physically, to all the blind, deaf and lame. Then they shall hear and all shall know, and thus be enabled to avail themselves of every blessing provided under the New Covenant, even to life everlasting, as a reward of obedience everlasting.
Thus seen, the ONE Mediator, the man Christ Jesus was sufficient, and the mediation accomplished by him when he gave himself a RANSOM was abundant, and therefore the way of access to God and to everlasting life, stands open wide to every sinner who shall either now, or in the next age, see by faith the sacrifice, and grasp by faith the ransom and the mediation accomplished in it.
Then take away the hindrances and let sinners come to God. Put away the false idea of Jesus standing before the throne of God pleading for the sinners as though God were unjust and unwilling to grant the favors which he himself had arranged for by the sacrifice of his Son. Take away priests, and saints, and virgin; take away your mourners benches and your unscriptural prayers which only hinder the sinner. And instead of praying with him or for him instruct him; point him to the strait road, the open way to life. Give him full assurance of your faith, making very plain to him the greatness and all-sufficiency of the ransom given and the mediation completed, FINISHED at Calvary.
Dear dying Lamb thy precious blood,
Shall never lose its POWER,
'Till all the RANSOMED ones of earth
Are saved from Satan's power.
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AN ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER, INTERCEDING FOR US.
"If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." `1 John 2:1`.
This passage is supposed to favor the thought, that when coming to the Father, the glorified Jesus must act as an ambassador or advocate with the Father, to plead for our acceptance and forgiveness. This we have already shown to be contrary to reason as well as contrary to the spirit and word of God. How then is this statement of John's to be understood? We answer that when this statement concerning the advocate is taken in connection with the context, all is clear and plain. The evidence of our ransom, presented by Jesus when he ascended on high, is, and ever shall be, our advocate. As the blood of Abel "cried" or spoke to God after his death, so the blood of the man Christ Jesus, the Mediator, speaks for every sinner for whom he died, for all who come unto God trusting in his sacrifice for sins. The blood of Abel cried for vengeance, but not so the blood of Christ. (`Heb. 12:24`.) It speaks peace and pardon to the sinner, and speaks full satisfaction (propitiation) to God, for our sins. That blood, that sacrifice, that ransom presented by Jesus, is our advocate; ever with the Father, ever heard on behalf of every repentant sinner, and Jesus, the glorified, has no need to further plead for our forgiveness.
And this is plainly the apostle's teaching. In the `preceding verse` he says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves." "If we confess our sins, he [God] is JUST TO FORGIVE us our sins." Then in explanation of why we may know certainly of our forgiveness and see how God to be JUST must forgive us, the apostle points to our advocate, the blood which speaks for us--"Jesus Christ the righteous"--without sin, therefore a perfect ransom, the satisfaction for our sins and for all sins. He thus points us to Calvary and to the acceptance of that ransom price as our advocate.
We read of the INTERCESSION of Christ for us, and it is well that we should appreciate its meaning. "It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." "He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (`Rom. 8:34`; `Heb. 7:25`.) These statements are not out of harmony with the foregoing. They do not teach that Christ Jesus prays or entreats with the Father for our acceptance. The Greek word used rather signifies to deal or to show cause. He ever liveth to deal or negotiate for them. The same Greek word is translated "deal" in `Acts 25:24`.
Now the question arises, What negotiation is necessary? If the man Christ Jesus by the sacrifice of himself met all the obligations and penalties of the original covenant, and opened up a new way of life--by ratifying a new covenant with his blood, and if whoever cometh to the Father by him--accepting of the ransom from the old, and the conditions of the New Covenant, is acceptable with the Father, why need there be any further dealing or negotiation on our behalf?
We answer, The rolling away of the condemnation of the first covenant is not sufficient. If all the old score were blotted out, the sinner would still need to be helped; for if when the old score was settled, he was presented to God as a person against whom not a charge could be found--fully cleared of all guilt, how long would such an one maintain such a standing? Not a moment; for though cleansed, if not made perfect; if not freed from the weaknesses resulting from the fall, we would be condemned again under the new covenant, were it not that the Great High Priest deals for us.
As our Redeemer he bought us. His sacrifice is our price. As our Restorer he will bring us to perfection and to fellowship with the Father. Because he is perfect and acceptable with the Father, we, whom he purchased, and whom he represents, are acceptable through him representatively.
As in the person of Adam, death passed upon all represented in him long before each individual became totally dead, so in Christ's person as their representative, a right to life has come to all mankind long before each individual becomes fully alive--perfect. (Adam was the representative of the race by nature, by creation; Christ being their representative by virtue of ownership; having bought us with his own precious blood.) We will not be personally worthy of recognition by the Father until made actually perfect.
Thus, then, while imperfect, Christ deals with us for God; judging and correcting us, etc., and he deals with God for us, by appropriating to us the merit of his own sacrifice. When the present trial is past, if we are accounted worthy of life, when we reach the point of actual perfection we shall need no one to "deal"
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for us, or to represent us, but we will deal directly with the Father ourselves.
But now, and so long as we are imperfect, it would be "a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (`Heb. 10:26-31`.) Fearful, in that every imperfect being, judged by the law of God, would be found imperfect, and hence as unworthy of life, condemned to death. Specially fearful, because it would be "the second death," for all were released from the condemnation of the first or Adamic death by the ransom, and should be hid or covered by the Redeemer until perfected. And all may be so covered who are willing to be; hence if they "fall into the hands of the living God" before perfection has been reached, it must be by a willful rejection of the Redeemer's merit. In thus removing their cause from his negotiation or dealing, such are face to face with Him whose laws they violate, and whose appointed way of reconciliation they thus spurn when they reject Jesus' merit as their justification, and attempt to deal with God themselves as though perfect or not requiring a ransom.
But in all this there is nothing in favor of the usual idea of INTERCESSION, of Jesus pleading for sinners, and praying the Father to accept them. It is rather that of a representative or attorney, who, as our case is called, acts for us, represents us, applying the merits of his ransom-sacrifice to each one coming to the Father by him. He continues to supply and apply that meritorious sacrifice until we, made perfect, shall have no further need of it, though that sacrifice and merit shall never be forgotten --in eternity. Thus he not only redeems us from guilt, but is able (and willing) to save to the uttermost--completely --all who come to the Father by him.
Thus every Scripture points to the merit of the sacrifice on our behalf. His sacrifice redeemed us, he bought all; all are his, and he represents all whom he purchased, and will continue to represent them, and to deal for them, until such times as he shall have perfected them and presented them perfect to the Father, (`1 Cor. 15:27,28` and `Jude 24`.) unless they wilfully and designedly remove their case from his charge.
Those whom the apostle mentions as falling into the hands of the living God and receiving his fiery indignation, and being devoured or destroyed as his adversaries, are those who reject the ransom and refuse God's spirit of favor therein extended to them--who reject the efficacy of the blood which sealed and ratified the New Covenant and attempt to stand before God and deal for themselves with all their imperfection.
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THE LAW COVENANT AND ITS MEDIATION TYPICAL NOT REAL.
The Law Covenant made with Israel was binding upon them when they accepted its conditions, to the extent that it was a REAL covenant. And well it is for Israel that theirs was only a typical covenant and its conditions, penalties, etc., only typical; because, had that covenant been real, they in coming under its conditions would have become individually liable to its penalty, DEATH. For though this penalty is no worse, but in fact the same, that was upon them and the whole world, before, as sharers of the condemnation upon Adam their representative, yet there would have been this difference: that instead of one man's disobedient act and one man's penalty, to be met before another covenant could be ratified or put into operative force, there would have been the disobedience of every one of the millions of Israelites to be met by a corresponding price. Nothing short of ten million saviours would have been a corresponding price for ten million individual sinners. Consequently, only one man's disobedience and penalty, being thus far settled by one man--Christ Jesus, it follows, that if Israel's covenant had been real, if its Mediator brought them under a new condition of individual obligation, then indeed the Law Covenant would have been a curse and injury and not a blessing; for under that covenant all would have been individually condemned to death. And not one of those individuals could have life or any other blessing under the New Covenant, because if individually liable under the Law Covenant, each Jew would require an individual redeemer to die for him--to pay his ransom price, death.
We know that millions of saviours have not died to ransom millions of Jews, consequently, if their covenant were a real one, they are not redeemed from its penalty to this day.
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But that their covenant was not real, but typical only, can be clearly shown in two ways: First, because no new covenant could be made by the Creator, with any of the race, offering them life on any conditions whatever, SO LONG as they were already under his own condemnation, as unworthy of life for the violation of a former covenant. In other words, the sin, the condemnation, the penalty of the covenant violated by the race representatively, through Adam must be fully paid by a ransom--[a corresponding price]--before any new covenant guaranteeing life could be ratified or instituted.
The Law Covenant was not preceded by settlement or cancellation of the claims of the Adamic covenant against the Israelites. True it was preceded by sacrifices of bulls and goats (`Heb. 9:19-22`) as, or representative of sin-offerings, but it must be evident to all that those sacrifices "could never take away sin" (`Heb. 10:4 and 11`,) because they were not a ransom; that is, they were not a corresponding price for man's sin. The price of man's sin was man's destruction --man's death, and not the destruction of bulls and goats. The death of millions of bulls and goats would not settle the penalty of the broken covenant; nothing could settle it short of the death of a perfect man, against whom the original covenant had no claims. No, such sacrifice for sins was made until Jesus was "made flesh" for this very object and gave himself a ransom. And in this act of giving himself a ransom, we have seen that the man Christ Jesus mediated the New Covenant and the only real covenant ever ratified or sealed since the fall in Eden.
That the Law Covenant was not a real one, but only typical of the New Covenant, is proved also by the fact that Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man (`Heb. 2:9`), and that "as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon ALL MEN unto justification of life." (`Rom. 5:18`.) For if Israel, or any of the race were justified to life, i.e., freed from the condemnation of death which came through the violation of the Adamic covenant by the mediation of the death of bulls and goats as a sacrifice for sins, so as to make another covenant with them possible, before Jesus came, then the Apostle was in error on the subject; for in that case it would not be true that the justification to life came on all through Christ, EVEN AS the condemnation came on all through Adam.
But all were justified by the one Mediator whose sacrifice was real and complete, and the only satisfaction of the penalties of the original covenant; hence the only mediation capable of establishing another covenant. Consequently, the Covenant of the Law based upon a typical and not an actual mediation or sacrifice for sins, could only have been a typical covenant, since it is impossible for any covenant to be of more value than is given it by the ratifier: The ratification being typical, the covenant could be no more.
It follows then, that the Law Covenant was introduced in order that sin might be recognized in its full enormity; that the individual responsibility under the new covenant might be illustrated, and that the necessity of the help, or mediation of the sacrifice given by the man Christ Jesus, might be shown. Since the Law was not the real new covenant, but only its type, it follows that in being placed under it, and being unable to meet its requirements, Israel incurred no additional guilt to that which they in common with all mankind already were under, incurred through Adam's failure. Hence the benefits resulting to them, through Jesus' ransom, which cancelled the old and ratified the New Covenant, is the same exactly as that of all the rest of mankind. The end of their typical covenant, by the introduction of its antitype, the new, removed entirely and forever, all the provisions of their typical covenant, whether as seen from the above standpoint, it (typically) increased their sin and condemnation, or whether viewed as a typical favor and blessing; in either case it passed away totally when the real took the place of the typical.
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SPECIAL FAVORS BEYOND THOSE OF THE NEW COVENANT.
The question may arise with some, Do not the Scriptures hold out special promises and blessings to Israel above the blessings promised to mankind in general? And if, as above shown, the New Covenant applies equally to all men because its Mediator gave himself a ransom for all, then where come in the special promises and blessings and favors promised to Israel (as well as to the Christian Church) as the Apostle quotes: "This is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (`Rom. 11:27`.) Does not this point to special favors, to be fulfilled toward them in the future?
We answer, that God made his covenant in two parts. One part was that he would take away all sin and imperfection, and write his law again in the heart of flesh as originally possessed by Adam. This was typified in the Law Covenant, and will be fully realized under the New Covenant. The other part of God's plan is shown in another promise or covenant--the Abrahamic Covenant or promise that, THE SEED OF ABRAHAM should be honored by being used as an instrumentality in bringing those New Covenant blessings to the world of mankind.
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But though the Abrahamic promise, "In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed," was made before the formal announcement of the New Covenant, yet it was made dependent on the ratification of the New Covenant, since none could be "blessed" truly while all were under "the curse" of death for the violated Adamic covenant. Hence the utter removal of sin was typically shown in the symbol of circumcision, and the sacrifice of atonement for sin kept continually before the minds of Abraham and all the patriarchs as a pre-requisite to communion with God.
The conditions of the New Covenant then will apply to all mankind alike, and not in any special manner or degree to Israel. All mankind were alike condemned through Adam, alike redeemed and ransomed by Christ, and will have equal privileges under the redemption. All shall have full opportunity for believing and laying hold upon the ransom and of being restored to harmony with God through it; and by obedience to God's law all will have equal rights and opportunities to have life everlasting. Consequently the extra blessing which comes to "Israel after the flesh," the natural "seed of Abraham," and to the Church, the true Israel of God, the higher "Seed of Abraham" (`Gal. 3:29`) is wholly outside the provisions of the New Covenant--embraced in the promise made to Abraham.
To the Abrahamic promise then we must look for special blessings or privileges, always remembering, however, that none but those who shall first have shared in the blessings of the New Covenant are eligible to those privileges and opportunities of blessing others by administering the favors of that New Covenant.
Though not generally discerned, the promise to Abraham includes TWO SEEDS children according to natural process, of generation, and children by special power of God, not actually children of Abraham, but children of Him whom Abraham typified, (`Rom. 4:17`--margin.) children of God. These are the Spiritual Israel. These two seeds were typified by Ishmael and Isaac--Abraham's sons. (See `Gal. 3:7,29` and `Gen. 22:17,18`.) The one, the natural, is represented in the promise "as the sand of the sea"; and the other "as the stars of heaven." (`Gen. 22:17`.) In the fulfillment of all the provisions of the New Covenant blessings, there will be ample opportunity for using both of these "seeds," though the fact that there are two, has been hidden from the sight of the majority both of Israel fleshly and spiritual. The former saw and yet see, only the fleshly seed; the latter see generally only the spiritual seed; but we find clear Scriptural evidence that there are two seeds--the natural and the spiritual, not only from the foregoing, but, says the same Apostle, the promise made through Abraham is "of faith" and favor in order that "the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham." (`Rom. 4:16`.) Hence it is written, "I have made thee a father of many nations"--or seeds. Isaac, the chief of Abraham's seed, represents the Church--the spiritual seed; Ishmael, Paul assures us, represented fleshly Israel (`Gal. 4:22-25`), also blessed through Isaac.
The spiritual seed--"as the stars of heaven" is the choicest portion of the promise; and the natural children of Abraham were first offered this honorable position in the beginning of the Christian age. A few of them accepted and laid hold of it, and the remainder of that elect company has been in process of selection and will be completed during this age, and will be composed chiefly of Gentiles. This entire company will be made like their head Christ Jesus--spirit-beings and will be engaged with Jesus in the most exalted sense in the accomplishment of the blessing of all earth's families. But there will be a use, and place, in this work of blessing in which men, human beings, may be used; and in this part of the blessing some of the natural children of Abraham shall share. Israel shall be among the first to appreciate the kingdom of Christ when it shall be fully inaugurated or "set up," and among the first to render obedience to it. They will be the first, therefore, to be blessed by it and in turn to be associated with the spiritual powers in conferring its blessings upon all the families of the earth.
This is shown clearly in Paul's argument on this very subject. Read his question, `Rom. 11:1`, and then his reply in `verses 23,24` and his proof in `verses 25 to 27`. Then comes the grand climax of his argument: "As concerning the gospel [the special favor of the Christian age, though a few have received it, as stated in `verse 5`, yet the nation as a whole have been cut off from the gospel favor] they are [treated as God's] enemies for your sakes [that you Gentiles might become inheritors in the Abrahamic promise]. But as touching the election, they are [still] beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and callings of God, are without repentance." He has promised certain blessings to the natural children of Abraham, and He did so with full knowledge of all succeeding circumstances and developments, and He never changes from any unconditional promise, such as that made to Abraham. `Verses 28 and 29`. Then follows in `verses 30 to 33` a statement of how Israel shall obtain mercy and be made to share the original promise through the instrumentality of the Christian Church, "They shall obtain mercy through your mercy"--They shall obtain this promised favor of God, through, and by means of, your receiving the chief favor, and thus the boundless unsearchable riches of God's wisdom and favor, will be manifested to them, as well as to us, and through them from us and to the world in general.
The same root promise bears both these "seeds" of Abraham, but both are not developed at once. First the natural, afterward the spiritual, and then, as Paul informs us (`Rom. 11`), finally the natural grafted in again. The natural "seed" mentioned in that promise started as branches out of the first, and as such, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets and the man Christ Jesus were developed as worthy and fit to have part in the work of blessing when the right time should come. Then, when the time had come for the development of the spiritual seed --The Church of which Jesus the "new creature" is "HEAD"--those natural branches were "broken off" and cast aside, while a new set of branches were grafted into that original root--the Abrahamic covenant. During the Christian age, the new growth of the new kind of branches, has been developing, and at the end of this age another change will come and the re-engrafting of the original branches will take place. These natural branches which for so long have seemed as thoroughly cast off of God as the Gentiles appeared to be previously, shall be grafted in again, and shall be sharers again of the richness of the root-promise, though they are and always will be, natural or human branches, while the overcoming Church selected during the Christian age will have secured the choicest portion of that same promise. (`Rom. 11:7,8`.) Thus the two sets of branches, or two seeds--natural and spiritual-- come out of the ONE ROOT PROMISE made to Abraham, and together, though in very different ways, these two seeds become instrumentalities in blessing all the families of the earth under the provisions of the New Covenant mediated and ratified by the man Christ Jesus, when he gave himself a ransom for all who were condemned to death under the original covenant in Eden.
It will be perceived, then, that the blessing of the World under the New Covenant mediated and ratified eighteen centuries ago waits for the full development of the "Seeds" of Abraham, The spiritual seed, Christ (`Gal. 3:29`) and the natural seed developed previously, to which shall be added the broken-off branches of the same root who, as the Day Dawns, shall not continue in unbelief, and thus and then the blessing shall spread to all the families of earth.
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NOT WITH OBSERVATION.
"And as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage....Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." `Luke 17:26-30`.
We once read this passage as though the ordinary affairs of life would be condemned as crimes in the day of the Lord's presence. But the above words were occasioned by the demand of the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God should come, and imply that so unobserved would be the incoming of that kingdom that the world would know nothing of his presence for a time, and buying, selling, eating and drinking, etc., would go on without interruption. He would not come as an earthly conqueror comes, with chariots and horses and armies with banners flying, and all the pomp of war. Nor would His heralds proclaim his presence in the "desert," or in the "secret chambers" of one organization or another, doing many wondrous works. Neither shall a great invisible trumpet sound out so loudly as to be heard over all the earth, and causing graves to open, rocks to rend and mountains to shake, be the signal of his coming. If he came in any way like these, his approach would be observed, and it would not be true that "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation," and it would be hard to deceive the commonest observer with regard to it--much less "the elect."
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Peter tells us (`2 Peter 3:4`) that so unperceived will be his presence that scoffers will say, "Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning," and adds: "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth, and the works in it shall be burned up" (discovered --ancient MSS.). This is in harmony with the Master's words to the Pharisees. The day comes unobserved; the heavens (ruling powers, political and ecclesiastical, founded as they are by usurpation and with tyranny, despotism, injustice, error, superstition, prejudice and ignorance entering largely into their very foundation principles)--these shall pass away with a "rushing sound," as escaping steam that must obey the decisive action of the "fervent heat."
The Son of man himself in his "day" is as the lightning "flashing out of the one part under heaven and shining to the other part under heaven," as the flashes of truth upon all subjects and questions lighten up more and more the understandings of mankind, and as they come to see more clearly their condition of bondage and their rights to life and its blessings, they will per-force act and respond to the influence of those truths: The sword out of his mouth-- the "Fire of God's Wrath;" the "Fire of his Jealousy;" the "Fervent Heat" which will compel the usurpation to pass away with great noise, and burn up all the works however wonderful they may have been, that man has so fondly or proudly done in opposition to the plan of this kingdom, although done in the name of the King himself.
By the FIRE of truth shall every man's works be tried, of whatsoever sort it is; God's PLAN of his kingdom and saving of mankind from their enslaved condition under the Prince of this world--together with the subjugation of all his enemies, is so far beyond, and more excellent than man could conceive, that we can rejoice to "wait upon the Lord" until the day that he rises up to the prey-- seeing it is his determination--his plan declared--"to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger, for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language (one manner of communication) that they may all call upon the name of the Lord with one consent" (`Zeph. 3:8,9`).
In all this the trouble and vexation consequent upon the burning up of every obstacle to his kingdom will be observed plainly enough, for there is no single question that must not pass through the fire. Yet his presence is unseen, except as revealed by these his acts. And the world will be well along in the Day of the Lord eating, drinking, etc., before they perceive the cause of the change of rulership and recognize the kingdom of heaven that "cometh not by outward observation." H. L. GILLIS.
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"A THROUGH TICKET."
The above is the caption of a tract published and circulated in great quantities, by THE AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY of New York City, from which we give the following extract:--
"Dying fellow travelers to eternity, how long have you been on the road? May-be it is only a few years; yet in that short time, how far and fast you may have journeyed in the wrong direction --on the road which ends in woe. Apply at once for a through ticket upon the royal road which the King of heaven himself has cast up and opened--a through ticket, with the life insurance included. You know not how soon you will reach your journey's end, or pass the station beyond which it will be impossible to change your course. An hour longer may fix your home in hell forever, as you cannot come back to remedy the neglect.
"Are you old, and near the end of your journey, and still in the wrong train, or uncertain where you are going? Oh, awake to your danger. Heaven or hell must soon burst on your vision; a company of angels or devils are waiting for your arrival; their conveyances are all ready; your place is prepared. Holy angels and saints are waiting to greet you with joy, or devils and lost spirits to aid in torturing your wretched soul. Maybe you will find among them your own children, to curse you for your example, and charge their damnation on your neglect of their souls."
The thought that in any age any but savages would believe and teach such things must be humiliating to every one who feels the least respect for human intelligence; but when we remember that this is published in the Nineteenth Century when Bibles are printed by the million every year and can be had by the poorest, and that it is published in America, the land of freedom and schools, the humiliation is more than doubled.
But even worse than all this, this blasphemy against our Heavenly Father's character and plans, is published in the name of Christianity--in the name of him who so loved sinners as to give himself a ransom for all. Alas! Alas! Dear Master, how far from thy spirit is that of some who call themselves by thy name! How far from thy words are theirs! how far from thy thoughts and plans are theirs! As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are thy ways higher and grander and more beneficent than theirs, and thy thoughts than their thoughts. (`Isa. 55:9`.) Oh that they would taste and see that the Lord is good, that his mercy endureth forever. (`Psa. 34:8`; `106:1`.) Language fails us in seeking to express our abhorrence of such unscriptural, God-dishonoring statements. How then must it appear to the Master himself?
And yet as shown by the report of the "Amer. Tract Society" for the year past, their receipts were $357,470, out of which 56,000,000 pages of tract matter were published and distributed, carrying poisonous blasphemy, of which the above is one sample, into thousands of homes.
Those giving their dollars and their influence in proclaiming such doctrines, such poison, labelled "Gospel" will ere long be greatly ashamed of their misuse of their Lord's money. "They shall be ashamed" when "He shall appear to your joy" (`Isa. 66:5`) who from love of THE TRUTH, and in its support, have sacrificed time, money, influence--all.
Think of it! over a third of a million dollars to enable the "Amer. Tract Society" to proclaim:--"Heaven or hell must soon burst upon your vision; a company of angels or devils are awaiting your arrival; their conveyances are all ready....Holy angels are waiting to greet you with joy, or devils and lost spirits to aid in torturing your wretched soul;" and less than two thousand dollars for the same time to enable "Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society" to tell the "Good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people."
And yet those few who have given of their "living," intelligently, from the heart desiring the spread of the "good tidings," have not only "cast in more" than the wealthy of Babylon in the esteem of the Master, but they have given in such manner as to glorify instead of dishonor him. And furthermore, the influence and effect of the little sum, under God's blessing is far greater than that of the large one. The walls of Babylon are crumbling and its doctrines of Eternal Torment, dying gradually, but surely, notwithstanding over a hundred thousand ministers are paid large salaries for its support, and millions of dollars are spent annually to enforce and support these doctrines and systems.
Ah, what better evidence could we have of the present power of the "Prince of this World" "The God [ruler] of this World," to blind and deceive and use God's careless children as his tools, than we have here before us in this and other similar systems and circumstances: wearing the garb of Christ's service, yet [deludedly] diverting money, influence and energy to the support of blasphemous errors and calumnies upon Jehovah the God of Justice and Love. Arise, O Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered. Awake, O Zion, put on thy strength, for one shall chase a thousand. Their ROCK is not as our rock, our opponents themselves being witnesses.
::R794 : page 8::
AN OBJECTION ANSWERED.
A reader takes exception to a statement made in our last issue, page 3-- The Undefiled One. We say therein-- "Had Adam remained perfect--his life unforfeited and unimpaired, his offspring would have been the same (i.e. perfect), any imperfections of Eve would not have affected them." An objector thinks we have erred in such conclusion, because experience teaches that children do frequently partake of the nature and disposition of their mother.
We fully agree that, as it is, children do partake from the mother, but our statement does not apply to present condition of things. Let it be distinctly noted that we stated as shown in the above quotation, the conditions under which we claimed children would not be affected by the mother, viz.: If the originally perfect father, Adam, had REMAINED PERFECT.
But what difference can the blemish of the father have upon the mother's influence upon the child? may be asked.
None, we answer. It would not affect the mother but it would vastly affect the unborn child and its dependance upon the mother. As we endeavored to show in our last issue, we claim that a perfect life germ from a perfect father could appropriate to its use and perfect development such elements of nutrition provided by the mother as would be beneficial, and could reject or pass off without injury any undesirable elements. And that on the other hand an imperfect, diseased, dying germ from an imperfect and dying father would be less able to rightly appropriate what is supplied, even if the supplies furnished were the purest and best, from a perfect mother and where the supply would be diseased from a diseased, dying mother, the influence on the already dying germ can well be surmised. It would appropriate the bad as well as the good elements, and being weakly already, would be very susceptible to injurious influences.
And this is in harmony with all known facts of science as well as in harmony with God's revelation. We remind our readers again of the illustration given in the original article, viz., the effect of the same food upon a sick person, as compared with its effect upon a comparatively healthy person--to the one it might increase the sickness, to the other promote health.
As we are upon the side of the Scriptures, we leave others to discuss it with the author of the Scriptures if they cannot see this to be clear--it seems very clear and harmonious from our standpoint.
The Scriptures positively declare the facts; we have merely coupled them together to show, any who can see them, their reasonableness and harmony. It is a Scriptural statement that death came through Adam, not Eve--By one man's disobedience death passed upon all. And again it is of the Bible, that one perfect man was born of one imperfect mother. He was holy, undefiled, separate from sinners--one who inherited not death and imperfection; but on the contrary, "In him was life." The life, the perfection, the purity was not tainted with the imperfections of which his mother in common with others of the condemned race was a sharer. The cause of this is found in the fact that the life principle was not imperfect, but perfect--transferred from the higher plane of a pre-existent condition,--"In him was life."
Hence it is that he alone could redeem mankind. He alone could give the ransom or corresponding price. A perfect man had been tried as the representative of a perfect race and had sinned; had been condemned with all in him, and a perfect man alone could be the ransom. Jesus was a ransom, hence Jesus was a perfect man. Hence perfect men and women could have been born of Eve, as Adam's children, had he not sinned.
But our questioner asks, If Jesus was perfect why is it written that he was "MADE PERFECT through sufferings." (`Heb. 2:10`.) We answer that he was perfect as a man, but was made a perfect "new creature" of the DIVINE nature through or because he obediently suffered death on our behalf. This is more fully elaborated in our issue of January, '82 under the caption, "Jesus made perfect." See, also, March, '83 issue, "Perfecting the new nature."