VOL. XXX OCTOBER 15 No. 20
A.D. 1909--A.M. 6038
Have "The Watch Tower" Teachings
Afflictions of Christ for Church and World........308
The Passover and Atonement Sacrifices.........308
The Sin of the World..........................309
The Ransom-Price and the Sin-Offering.........309
Is There Merit in Our Sacrifices?.............310
Our Merit Not Demanded by Justice.............311
"Jesus' Blood" and "the Blood of the
One Mediator, Jesus...........................312
The Abrahamic Covenant Not the New
A Conscience Void of Offense......................316
Preaching Christ to the Rulers....................318
Berean Studies on the Atonement...................319
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
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HAVE "THE WATCH TOWER" TEACHINGS CHANGED?
DO THE changes recently made in the teachings of THE WATCH TOWER respecting the Covenants affect any of the fundamentals of doctrine, or any of the features of the Divine Plan of the Ages as previously recognized and presented in SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Vols. I. to VI.?
If the word change be understood to signify a repudiation of anything once held as truth, then we deny that any change has occurred in our teaching. As we pass along a roadway over hill and dale, there are continual changes in one sense of the word--changing scenes--but such do not imply a change in the traveler's course--a retracing of his steps. So the "pathway of the just is as a shining light" and those who follow it find it shining "more and more unto the perfect day." They will not need to say, as some have said recently, "For seventeen years we thought we were in the right way, but now must retrace our steps and go back to where we then began, and take a different path." Such as were in the right path of shining light and stay therein will never need to say, "We once thought TABERNACLE SHADOWS OF BETTER SACRIFICES the most clear and only satisfactory solution of the subject in the world, but now we must retrace our steps and must repudiate all that we ever believed respecting the antitypical Atonement Day and its better sacrifices. We must go back and count all of those years as worse than wasted."
In this sense of the word change, THE WATCH TOWER publications have been unchangeable from the first until now. What is spoken of as a "change" should not be properly so termed. Nothing is changed. Every step of the journey has been right--not one step needs to be retraced or otherwise repudiated. This is one of the evidences of Divine leading-- of our Lord's supervision of the Father's work during the time of his presence.
As recently shown in THE WATCH TOWER, our presentations on the subject of the Covenants to-day are in fullest accord with those we made a quarter of a century ago. What then is it that our opponents call a "change"? Merely the fact that from the first we used the term New Covenant too slackly --while we claimed that while it belonged to the future, to the Millennial Age, it would not be operative to Israel and the world until then.
We nevertheless held (unscripturally as we now see) that our justification was somehow connected with that New Covenant, although we could not explain how or why we should be under two covenants. We still see the necessity for our justification. We still see that it is based upon our Lord's sacrifice. We still see that our share in it is obtained by faith--that we are "justified by faith." But now we see that the New Covenant has nothing whatever to do with this faith or with our justification, and that no Scripture so teaches. Have we lost anything? No. We merely cast aside as useless, unscriptural, unnecessary, the thought that our justification had anything whatever to do with the New Covenant. We now see the force of the Bible presentation of the subject --that we are justified by faith--"faith in his blood"--faith in the sacrifice of Jesus, the Just for the unjust. We now see that the New Covenant is promised--not to us, but to Israel and all men. We have turned aside from nothing of any value to us. We have all the actualities which we ever had, and, additionally, the light shines the brighter upon our pathway.
As an illustration: Suppose you were walking into the country to a friend's home and an umbrella were given you to carry to him. Suppose that in the journey you thought that you needed the umbrella either for rain or shine and carried it over you. Suppose that by and by you discovered that you did not need its covering and let it down and carried
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it to your friend for whom it was intended. Would that signify that you had lost your way or changed your path or retraced your steps? Assuredly not!
Similarly the Church are "able ministers of the New Covenant," preparing it, carrying forward its various interests to present them to Israel and the world in due time. If for a time we with others thought that Covenant for our use on the way, and got under it, or supposed ourselves under it, was it wrong or a change of our way or path when we got free from the supposition that we needed that New Covenant? Assuredly not! The "twelve stars" (`Rev. 12:1`) shed the more light upon our pathway by reason of our getting from under the unscriptural delusion.
But have we cast away the New Covenant? By no means. We are still "able ministers (servants) of the New Covenant" --still carrying it forward for Israel and mankind--serving it all the more faithfully because the more intelligently, the more Scripturally. Note well that the "change" of doctrine is on the part of those who are opposing us--they have already so changed their course that they are blind to many of the previous things they once saw. They are losing "the secret of the Lord" (`Psa. 25:13`), "the mystery"--revealed only to the saints and hidden from all others.--`Col. 1:26`.
But, says another, has not THE WATCH TOWER "changed" so that now it denies Jesus as the Mediator between God and men? Does not this mean a repudiation of the ransom and a denial of the necessity and fact of the Atonement? Would not this signify a renouncement of Jesus as the Savior or Redeemer? And would not this be a great "change" indeed?
Yes, indeed; those would be great changes, surely. But THE WATCH TOWER has made no such changes in its teachings. Such misstatements are merely a part of the Midnight Howl, designed of the Adversary to stampede the true sheep. Our opponents, blinded by the Adversary (and possibly attempting "to draw away disciples after themselves"), are "howling" and skiting "dust" to cause confusion amongst the Lord's consecrated people. God permits it as a test of the loyalty of his people and their faith in him as the Shepherd of the flock.
THE WATCH TOWER still teaches that all of Adam's children are sinners and all under death-sentence. It still teaches that there is none other name than that of Jesus, given under heaven or among men, whereby we must be saved--through
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faith in his blood--in his sacrifice--in his ransom-price--in his atonement for sin. Can any one believe more than this respecting the efficacy of the precious blood? Where did our opponents learn of the significance of the ransom-price and the philosophy of the Atonement between God and men, than in THE WATCH TOWER publications? What have our opponents written on this subject, or what has ever been written on this subject, that as strongly teaches the value of the precious blood and its necessity as the price of salvation for the Church and the world? We challenge presentation of proof on this subject.
THE WATCH TOWER, as ever, teaches that our Lord Jesus is the great Prophet, Priest, King, Judge and Mediator for Adam and his race, whom God appointed to this service from before the foundation of the world. We still teach that he will fulfil all those offices by the close of the Millennium. We still hold, since 1880, that the Church is a special class "called" to be "copies of God's dear Son" as his Bride and joint-heir in all his offices toward "men," the world. We still hold that these are members of the great Prophet, Priest, King, Judge, Mediator; that figuratively our Lord Jesus is the "Head" and the Church his "Body." We still hold that in the Divine purpose this special class was foreknown, as well as Jesus, from before the foundation of the world. (`Rom. 8:29`; `I. Pet. 1:2`.) We still hold that this is the Mystery hid from previous ages and now made known only to the saints, as a special favor through the Word and by the holy Spirit.
Wherefore, then, the "howl" against us? Because we emphasize, to those permitted to see the "Mystery," what the Scriptures clearly teach, namely, that God deals in a special manner with the elect Church, different from his dealing with the world; because those of us who ever were rebellious have surrendered, and because we desire righteousness and truth, and can and do exercise justifying faith in Jesus' meritorious sacrifice. These sacrifice their restitution life-rights and by a consecration vow to the Lord become dead as men and alive as "new creatures," "members in particular of the Body of the Christ"--the great Prophet, Mediator, King, Priest and Judge of the world.
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AFFLICTIONS OF CHRIST FOR CHURCH AND WORLD
ST. PAUL writes, "I fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his Body's sake, which is the Church." (`Col. 1:24`.) How should this text be understood in harmony with the thought that the Church is represented in the sacrifice of the Lord's goat, whose blood was sprinkled "for all the people"?
We are to "lay down our lives for the brethren" (`I John 3:16`) in serving them, but the merit of that sacrifice and its application at the end of this age, at the close of the antitypical Atonement Day, is a different matter. The merit of the sacrifice--Jesus' merit passed through his "Body"--when presented to Justice on the Mercy Seat by the High Priest is quite another matter from the spending of the strength. Who will claim that the Apostle in this text meant that he or we could do sacrifice for the Church's sin? Our Lord will properly apply the merit as his own "for the sins of all the people."
The same principle holds true in respect to our Lord's sacrifice. He did not lay down his life day by day in the service of the world, but in the service of God's peculiar people Israel, and especially in the service of such of those as evidenced that they were "Israelites indeed, in whom was no guile."
Although the merit of Christ's sacrifice (after being passed through the Church selected from Jews and Gentiles) is ultimately to be applied for the cancellation of "the sins of the whole world," he did not in any sense or degree lay down his life in serving the world. He said to his disciples, "Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (`John 17:16`.) And in sending them forth to preach the Gospel he charged them not to go to the world, saying, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; for I am not sent save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." In a word, then, it matters not to Justice how our Lord's life was consumed or laid down--instantly, or during three and one-half years--it was a sacrifice or giving up of certain earthly rights belonging to him--an asset, a virtue, a price which he, as a New Creature, was privileged to dispense and did give to us, the "household of faith." Likewise the "household of faith," being justified through the merit of Jesus' sacrifice presented to Justice, was invited to become dead to earthly rights with him--to sacrifice restitution rights and privileges. It matters not how, in God's providence, our lives may be spent or in what kind of service they are consumed --at the wash-tub, in the store, in the pulpit, or otherwise; the restitution rights are sacrificed and those rights in the end will be made available to natural Israel and to the world under the New Covenant arrangement. "They shall obtain mercy through your mercy." (`Rom. 11:31`.) We are to have no preference as to how our sacrifice will be accepted of the Lord; but, if different doors are opened to us, we should follow the Apostle's exhortation and, as far as possible, "do good unto all men, especially unto the household of faith," "laying down our lives for (in the service of) the brethren." We have nothing to do, as sacrificers, with how our Lord, the great High Priest, will ultimately apply those restitution privileges which we sacrifice in the sealing of the New Covenant.
THE PASSOVER AND THE ATONEMENT SACRIFICES
What is the relationship between the sacrificed Passover lamb and the Atonement Day sin-offering?
These types view sin-atonement from two different standpoints. As we have frequently heretofore shown, Jesus the Lamb of God was the antitype of the Passover lamb. The Passover, observed by the Jews yearly in the spring, memorialized the passing over or saving of the firstborns of Israel at the time when all the other firstborns of Egypt were slain by Divine decree. The death of that lamb, which typified the death of Jesus, was therefore not for all the people, but merely for the firstborns who were passed over "in that night." The "household of faith" are Scripturally represented as "the Church of the firstborns" and that night typified this Gospel Age, when gross darkness covers the earth and will continue to cover it until the Sun of Righteousness with healing in his beams will arise, ushering in the Millennial Day. Then there will be a general deliverance of all Israelites from bondage to Egypt, the world. In other words, when the Millennial morning shall be ushered in, the passed-over Church will alone have been spared or passed over or been delivered from death by the efficacy of the blood of the Lamb. However, the general deliverance of the people resulted, and so deliverance will come to all who will accept it during the Millennium. Only the Church are being passed over now. The general deliverance of the world will be in order soon. That deliverance could not in God's order take place without first the passing over of the firstborn. Thus we see that the typical Passover Lamb is our Lord Jesus alone and that we, his Church, his members, are not at all represented in that
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lamb and its death. Thus the Apostle says, speaking of that Lamb, our Lord Jesus, "Christ our sacrifice is slain; therefore let us keep the feast."
The Day of Atonement sacrifices were Divinely placed exactly at the opposite end of the year, apparently to disassociate the two types. They give a detailed illustration of the work of atonement, so far as God is concerned. As shown in TABERNACLE SHADOWS the Day of Atonement as a whole represented the entire Gospel Age--"the acceptable day" of sacrifice. The bullock, which represented the priest, was the type of our Lord Jesus in the flesh. Its sacrifice typified his death, "the Just for the unjust." The application of its blood was efficacious for the members of the High Priest's family--the under-priests, "himself," his Body, and for his entire "house," the house of the
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tribe of Levi. It applied to none other. Then came the second sacrifice of the Atonement Day--"the Lord's goat." It was not sacrificed for the priest nor for his house, but for "all the people." It represented Christ's Bride, the Church. It and "the scape-goat" were supplied by the people and therefore represented mankind in a general way, while the bullock was furnished by the priest and represented Jesus' flesh--"a body hast thou prepared me" "for the suffering of death." The Lord's goat was treated just as the bullock was treated--just as we are assured that the Bride class must suffer with Christ and have similar experiences to his. At the close of the Atonement day of sacrifice, otherwise called "the acceptable year of the Lord," and, again, "Now is the acceptable time," the time in which God will accept us as sacrifices--the blood of "the Lord's goat" was sprinkled in the Most Holy as was the blood of the bullock. The antitype of this will be at the close of this age, when the merit (blood) of Christ, passed through the Church, will be applied on the Mercy Seat "for the people"--atoning for their sins and sealing the New (Law) Covenant and its Mediatorial Kingdom.
Both of these animals represented the High Priest: the bullock, our Lord and Head, and the goat, his Body, the Church. When the high priest sprinkled the blood of the bullock, it represented "his own blood," the merit of his own sacrifice. He applied it for us, not for the world; hence only believers and not the world in general have had the blessing secured by our Lord's sacrifice, thus far. Meantime, according to Divine intention, the Church has been gradually in process of selection--according to willingness in sacrificing earthly interests--walking in the footsteps of our Lord; filling up the sufferings of Christ; laying down their lives for the brethren. Our presentation of ourselves to the Lord was at the door of the tabernacle, as represented by the tethering of the goat there. Thus we offered ourselves and, when we were accepted, our sacrifice as the Lord's goat class began. This acceptance was indicated by the killing processes. Henceforth we ceased to be men and were recognized on a new plane as "members of the Body of Christ," without any headship of our own. Consequently, when at the end of the Day of Atonement sacrificing the antitypical High Priest shall make a further presentation of the blood of the goat upon the mercy-seat, it will be "his own blood" in two senses of the word:
(1) It will be his own in the sense that all the merit was originally his and appropriated to us in order that we might have the opportunity to share with him in sacrifice. The sacrificial merit merely passed through us, "the Lord's goat" class. We were favored by the privilege accorded of "suffering with him that [in due time] we might be also glorified together with him." It is not necessary to question whether our sacrifice could add anything to the merit of the transaction, because no more merit was necessary than that which our Lord had and which he applied on our behalf.
Undoubtedly there is a merit in the Church's work, else the Scriptures would not so indicate. But if we were actually perfect instead of reckonedly perfect, it would still be true that only one man was directly condemned by Justice and hence the death of only one man was needed to constitute the ransom-price of the whole world. Justice does not object to the extra sacrifice, however. Yea, Justice has promised a great reward to the 144,000 joint-sacrificers --that they may become joint-heirs with Christ Jesus, their Lord and Head. Justification is a free gift from God through Jesus our Lord; but "the high calling" is everywhere classed as a reward of merit intended only for "him that overcometh"; "They shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy," although when drawn by the Father to the Son we were "sinners," "defiled," "children of wrath"; but ye are washed, ye are sanctified--but ye are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus and by the spirit of our God."--`I. Cor. 6:11`.
"That which God has cleansed call not thou unclean." While God called "the mean things," he does not leave them thus, but justifies by faith in Christ, and sanctifies by the Truth, by giving them opportunity to share in Christ's sacrifice; to share in Christ's "cup" of the blood of the New Covenant shed for them and for many; to share Christ's baptism into death; thus to learn obedience even unto death in the school of Christ; and finally to share in his glory, honor and immortality--the divine nature.
The cleansing of justification by faith is for the very purpose of cleansing us that we might be acceptable sacrifices on his altar. See `Malachi 3:3`; `Rom. 12:1`.
(2) The blood (merit) which our Lord will apply as soon as the Church shall have finished her share in his sacrifice will be "his own blood," in the sense that he accepted or adopted us as his members, we losing our personality in the transaction in the same manner that a bride loses her name and her individuality at marriage. All that we have and are belong to the great Bridegroom, and we are delighted that he is pleased to count us in with himself in any sense of the word in connection with his sufferings of this present time, and the glories which will follow.
"THE SIN OF THE WORLD"
John the Baptist declared of Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world!" The type of the Passover shows the death of the lamb only in connection with the firstborn of Israel. Its blood on the doorposts was for the protection of the firstborn, and not for the remainder of Israel. Since the firstborn represented "the Church of the firstborn" now in process of selection, and since the others of Israel represent those of the world who will ultimately be saved from the bondage of Pharaoh and Egypt (typifying Satan, sin and present worldly conditions), how can we apply John's words, namely, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world?"
If there were no other Scriptures on the subject, we would be at a loss to know how to understand the discrepancy. However, other Scriptures show us that the Church of the Firstborn, passed over in this night of this Gospel Age, will be the Church of Glory soon. Then, under the headship of Christ, it will constitute a Royal Priesthood, which, during the Millennial Age, will bless mankind with assistance, instruction and uplifting influences of every kind. The Lamb of God has not yet taken away the sin of the world. He began to lay down the ransom-price at his baptism at Jordan. He finished this at Calvary. He ascended up on high with that price in his hand, so to speak, and presented it not for the world but for the Church. As the Apostle declares, "He ascended up on high there to appear in the presence of God for us"--for the household of faith--for the antitypical priests and Levites. Other Scriptures show us that the merit of Christ when passed through the Church will be made available in the end of this age for the sin of the world. Thus and then the Lamb of God will take away the sin of the world--in God's due time and order.
The separateness of the types is here again duly noted: Moses was not one of the firstborns, but Aaron, his brother, was. In this type, therefore, Moses does not appear. Subsequently while all the passed-over ones were, by Divine direction, exchanged for the tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe represented those firstborns, and Aaron, the high priest, became the representative of our Lord, the High Priest of our profession or order.
THE RANSOM-PRICE AND THE SIN-OFFERING
How should we distinguish between the ransom-price and the sin-offering?
The ransom price relates to the valuable thing itself, namely, the blood or death of Christ--a ransom price sufficient for the payment of the penalty of one member of the human family or of all, as it may be applied. The sin-offering shows the manner in which the ransom-price is applicable or effective to the cancellation of the sins of the whole world. As already shown, under Divine arrangement,
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the ransom-price was first made effective toward the Church and justified freely every believer in an acceptable attitude of mind--an attitude of consecration to be a loyal follower of the Lord Jesus. Secondly, at the end of this age, the ransom-price having been applied to the Church and used by her and laid down in death again, will be available in the hands of the great High Priest as the sin-offering, the Atonement price for the sins of the whole world--aside from the household of faith already justified through its merit.
Let us give an illustration: Suppose a man possessing property valued at $10,000. Suppose a number of friends of his had been kidnapped and were held as hostages by bandits, a ransom-price of $10,000 being demanded for their release. Suppose that our friend sold his $10,000 property and got the cash with a view to paying their ransom-price. That cash would be the ransom-price for the liberation of his imprisoned friends. No less sum would do. No greater sum was necessary, for one or for all. The
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selling of the property and the getting of the ransom-money into his possession would not constitute a satisfaction for his friends. That must come later. At his convenience he could take this ransom-price and apply it for one of the captives or two or more, or even for all. The application of the money, whether in one portion or in different portions at different times, corresponds to the presentation of the sin-offering on behalf of sinners.
When the property was sold its money value was the ransom-price of those sinners, even though not applied. So Jesus gave himself, surrendered his life as a ransom-price sufficient for the sins of the whole world, and in the interest of the world of mankind. This work he began at Jordan and finished three and a half years later at Calvary. The moment he died the ransom-price was complete, was laid down. But this value was not turned over to Justice and made applicable to mankind when Jesus died, nor three days later when he arose from the dead, nor forty days later when he ascended up on high. A little later, after he had ascended on high, he appeared in the presence of God for us (for the household of faith) as our Redeemer, our Advocate, our great High Priest. He had in his possession the merit of his own sacrifice, the ransom-price, and there and then he offered it on our behalf. This is shown in the type by the High Priest taking into the Most Holy the blood of the bullock, which represented his human sacrifice, the ransom-price which he possessed. He took that blood or ransom-price into the "most holy" and there sprinkled it upon the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat, thus applying it for us (for his Body, the "little flock") and for his house--the household of faith.
As we have heretofore shown, this value or ransom-price is freely applicable to every conservative believer giving reckonedly earthly rights, perfection and privileges. But these are given to us conditionally, upon our covenant to sacrifice them, after the example of our Redeemer, our Lord. When we agreed to thus sacrifice we were accepted as members of his "Body." We there lost our identity with humanity and were begotten of the holy Spirit, and were thenceforth recognized as New Creatures in Christ Jesus--"members in particular of the Body of Christ," sharing with him now the privileges of the Holy (the light of the candlestick, the shew bread, and the privileges of the golden altar) with the agreement that in due time, as "his members," we shall pass beyond the veil into the Most Holy, to be thereafter with the Lord. That time will mark the completion of "his resurrection"-- the First Resurrection. Thereafter the great High Priest, Head and Members, in glory, in the Most Holy, will offer his second sacrifice, namely, his ransom-price sacrificially passed through his Church, his Body. The merit of the Head having thus passed through the members of the Body is virtually the same sacrifice as the first one, but now is ready to be applied afresh. The type (`Lev. 16`) shows this application as "the blood of the Lord's goat," and that it was applied on behalf of "all the people."
Thus with the end of this age Christ will offer to Justice (represented in the Mercy Seat) full satisfaction for the sin of the world--the Adamic sin. This will be acceptable to the Father and forthwith the entire world will be turned over to the great Messiah, Prophet, Priest, King, Judge, Mediator between God and mankind--that he may do with them as he wills. In harmony with the Father's arrangement, our Lord will at once begin to exercise the functions of his offices, including those of Mediator of the New Covenant. Israel, cast off, will be reclaimed. "The law shall go forth from Mt. Zion (spiritual Israel) and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem (the Kingdom on the earthly plane). The blessing of the Lord will eventually reach all the families of the earth through Israel. "The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth." The blessings of restitution, identified with the new Mediatorial Kingdom, may be attained by all mankind by their acceptance of the New Covenant conditions-- by their becoming Israelites indeed.
IS THERE MERIT IN OUR SACRIFICES?
Is there or is there not a value and merit in the sacrifice which the Church is invited to participate in, in harmony with the Apostle's words, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service?"--`Rom. 12:1`.
We are accustomed to say that we are saved from wrath and made the children of God, not for any work or merit or righteousness on our part, but purely, solely, by the grace, the favor, of God; and that any attempt on our part to proffer to the Lord good works, would be rejected by him, because as "children of wrath" we can do no work that God could accept, being sinners and under just condemnation. Hence the forgiveness of our sins, our reconciliation to the Father, must be purely and solely upon the grounds of Jesus' merit and sacrifice--his ransom sacrifice.
This is all exactly true and just as we have presented it for years, and as we still hold and present it. This grace, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is what we Scripturally term "justification by faith"--not by works! However, after being justified by faith, after being reckoned of God as freed from Adamic imperfection, through the applied merit of our Redeemer, we are on a new footing entirely, where we may do works acceptable to God, and, more than this, where we are required to do those works. Cancellation of sin, the legal covering of our blemishes, is made operative to us only when (acting upon our faith justification) we become followers of our Redeemer and covenant to walk in his steps. Then we received the begetting of the holy Spirit and started as embryo New Creatures, as prospective members of the Body of Christ, the Royal Priesthood. "No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." (`Heb. 5:4`.) But when we responded to the Divine "call" and entered into a covenant of sacrifice with Christ (`Psalm 50:5`) to be dead with him, to suffer with him, and when the holy Spirit was received as God's acceptance of this contract, thenceforth works, self-denials, sufferings, faithful endurance, were expected, yea, were required.
Everyone who thus becomes a branch in the True Vine obtains a possession without works, without merit of his own; but, having become a branch, it is required of him that he should bring forth fruit. Did not our Lord explain this matter, saying, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away (cuts it off from fellowship in the Vine); and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." (`John 15:1,2`.) So our justification was through faith a free gift from God through Christ Jesus our Lord; but from the moment of our sanctification it has been our privilege to bring forth fruit and to labor while it is called today and to be servants and ambassadors of God. We are God's servants doing a preparatory work in the interest of the New Covenant which God hath promised from long ago, and of which our Lord Jesus, at his death, became a surety or guarantor (`Heb. 7:22`), and which is soon to be sealed with the merit
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of his sacrifice, "his blood," after it shall have served its present purposes of justifying the household of faith and thus giving them the opportunity of suffering with Christ and of entering into his glory. In a word, those justified by faith and sanctified in Christ Jesus are required to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, while God works in them by his holy Spirit, the promises of his Word and his providences.
There is, therefore, according to the Scriptures, in God's sight a labor, a work, a sacrifice, possible for the Church and a merit in the faithful performance thereof. Of our Lord Jesus it is written, "A body hast thou prepared me" "for the suffering of death." (`Heb. 10:5`.) The bodies of believers born in imperfection, by reason of the fall, are not fit for sacrifice. With our minds we desire to do the will of God, but our bodies are imperfect. Instead of preparing for us special bodies for sacrifice the Lord provides through Jesus' sacrifice a justifying merit which covers, in his sight, all the blemishes and imperfections of those who have the spirit of loyalty and obedience and who undertake the consecration vow as members of the Body of Christ. The Body of Jesus, specially prepared for the sacrifice, was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. Our bodies are made holy and acceptable to God, not actually, nor by a covenant, nor by a mediator, but by a Redeemer, "through faith in his blood."
The merit in our Lord was that of the willing mind, the obedient heart which delighted to do the Father's will, in the perfect body in which it was tested to "obedience even unto death, even to the death of the cross." With us also, the thing that is meritorious in the sight of the Father is the willing mind, the obedient heart, though in an imperfect body, reckoned perfect through faith in the precious blood. We are assured that our trial, our testing, will not be according to our flesh, but according to our renewed wills, minds, hearts. The various members of the Body of Christ vary greatly as respects physical conditions, blemishes, heredity, environment, etc. In every case the Divine tests are not to prove our flesh, which is conceded to be actually imperfect and unworthy, but which is ignored in this testing and counted dead. It is thus as New Creatures that God is testing, and to us he says, "Ye are [reckonedly] not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." (`Rom. 8:9`.) And again, "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh." (`2 Cor. 5:16`.) God knows us according to the spirit, the will, the heart, the intent.
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It is the New Creature which does acceptable works which will be rewarded in the Kingdom. And the rewards will vary as shown by our Lord's parables of the Pounds and the Talents; and as shown in the Apostle's words, "As star differeth from star in glory, so also will be The Resurrection, the Church Resurrection. In conclusion then--as men we cannot commend ourselves to God by any works possible to us, because we are all imperfect and our works would be imperfect. But as new creatures our willing services and sacrifices are "holy and acceptable to God" and our reasonable service.
OUR MERIT NOT DEMANDED BY JUSTICE
If, then, it be true that the Church has a merit as a New Creation; that her sacrifice is holy and acceptable in the sight of God, why should we declare that all the merit of the redemptive plan is the merit of Jesus, and that no portion of that merit which secures the cancellation of the world's sin is from the Church?
It is not because the sacrifice of the Church has no merit, but because that merit is not needed, and therefore not called for, in Divine arrangement, that it is not thus acceptable. Our Lord's sacrifice was a sufficient price for the sins of the whole world; and it pleased the Father to allow that one sacrifice to be efficacious for the sins of the whole world, instead of allowing merit of ours to commingle with it. The commingling of the merit of the Church with the merit of the Lord might be misunderstood by angels or men to signify that the merit of Jesus was insufficient and needed to be supplemented with the merit of the sacrifice of the Church. It was because not needed, because, in the Divine arrangement, only the one man, Adam, was on trial--only he was directly sentenced to death. None of his race was so sentenced. We all merely share in the effects of his death sentence.
When in due time God sent forth his Son with a specially prepared body to be Adam's Redeemer, the merit of his sacrifice was sufficient as an offset for Adam's sin, and hence sufficient to cover all the effects of that sin in Adam's race. There was, therefore, in our Lord's sacrifice a sufficiency of merit for the sins of the whole world. Before using it for the world, before applying it for the sealing of the New Covenant, with Israel and all nations through Israel, our Lord Jesus, in harmony with the Divine program from before the foundation of the world, used this merit upon the household of faith, "Even as many as the Lord your God shall call." (`Acts 2:39`.) After giving us the benefit of it and requiring it of us again he (and we associated with him) will apply his merit on behalf of "all the people." We with him, and under him as our Head, will be the great Mediator between God and men--the world--the Mediator of the New Covenant of which we are now, with him, ministers and servants engaged in the preparatory operations. It pleased the Father, and therefore pleases all who are in harmony with him, that in our Lord Jesus all fulness should dwell--that the full credit of the redemptive work should thus be in him, and that the merit of our sacrificing should not be counted in, as it is not necessary. As all things are of the Father, so, according to his purpose, all things shall be of the Son, and we by him, and the world by him.
"JESUS' BLOOD" AND "THE BLOOD OF THE NEW
The Scriptures repeatedly mention the fact that we are justified by faith in his blood--in the blood of Jesus. They also speak of the blood of the Covenant wherewith we were sanctified." (`Heb. 10:29`.) And again in `Hebrews 13:20,21` we read, "Through the blood of the everlasting Covenant make you perfect." How shall we understand this? Do these Scriptures all three refer to the same thing?
No, these Scriptures do not refer to the same thing. The first one relates to us as natural men, sinners, before we made our consecration to the Lord and became New Creatures. We, as members of the fallen race, were first justified by faith through the merit of Christ's blood. This justification lifted us from the plane of sin and death condemnation, to a standing with God of life and harmony. From this standpoint we were invited to become joint-sacrificers with Jesus Christ our Lord--sharers with him in his great work for mankind, namely, the sealing of the New Covenant with his blood, and ultimately the blessing of the world during the Millennium under the conditions of that New Covenant. So, then, it was after we had been justified by faith in the blood of Jesus that we were sanctified, set apart, consecrated through or in connection with "the blood of the New Covenant"--by our consecration to be dead with Christ, to be buried with him by baptism into his sacrificial death--to drink of his cup of suffering, ignominy, shame, death--to partake of or share his blood--set apart or devoted to the serving of the New Covenant for Israel and the world. It was on account of our entering into this great engagement that the Heavenly Father sanctified us or set us apart, separated us from the world by begetting us to a new nature through his holy Spirit. "Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."--`John 17:16`.
The text cited in the last question, "The blood of the everlasting Covenant make you perfect," refers not to a perfecting of the flesh--not to anything which refers to us as natural men. It refers to us as New Creatures who have been begotten of the holy Spirit because, after we were justified through faith in the blood of Jesus, we presented our bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God as part and parcel of our Lord Jesus' sacrifice and,
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under his Headship, to be associated with him in his sacrifice for the sealing of the New Covenant; and by and by to be associated with him in the glorious work of establishing that New Covenant, after it shall have been sealed for the blessing of Israel and the world. It is through our obedience to our Sacrificial Vow to "be dead with Christ" as joint-sacrificers in connection with the sealing of the New Covenant that we may become members of his Body, the Vine. It is this sacrificing with him which will make us perfect as New Creatures and give us a share with our Lord in his glory, honor and immortality. Thus we see that justification by faith in the blood of Jesus is the first step, by which believers separate themselves from the world according to the will of God; and that participation with our Lord in his sacrifice is the second step of sanctification. There could be no such step of sanctification, no perfecting as new creatures of the "divine nature" had it not been that God granted us the privilege of sharing with our Lord in his sacrificial death, in his work of sealing the New Covenant with his blood.
The majority of Christians, of course, have gone no further than the first step of justification through faith in the blood of Jesus. Failing to go on, to "present their bodies living sacrifices" and to thus share with Christ in his sacrificial death, they are not privileged to understand "the mystery of God" (`Rev. 10:7`), which is "Christ in you the hope of Glory" (`Col. 1:27`)--your membership in the Body of Christ, your share with him in present sufferings and future glory.
When the disciples James and John said to the Master, "Lord, grant that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy Kingdom," they were already consecrated, in the sense of agreeing to take up the cross to follow after Jesus in the narrow way. But the Father had not yet accepted their consecration, and set them apart, and did not do so until Pentecost. Our Lord Jesus, therefore, addressed them not as New Creatures, but as justified men, when he answered their request, saying, "Ye know not what ye ask! Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of and be baptized with the baptism (into sacrificial death) that I am baptized with?"-- `Mark 10:37,38`.
Here we see that drinking of the cup--drinking and partaking of the blood of the New Covenant shed for us and for all for the remission of sins and being baptized with Christ's baptism into a sacrificial death--was a wholly different matter from justification by faith. They were already justified by faith, but could not sit on the throne unless they would be sanctified by participation in Christ's death.
ONE MEDIATOR, JESUS
St. Paul declares that there is "one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all." (`I. Tim. 2:5,6`.) Should we understand this one Mediator, the man Christ Jesus, to refer to the complete Christ, Head and Body, as when the Apostle declares that the Church shall ultimately "come unto the full stature of a man in Christ?" (`Eph. 4:13`.) And again he declares that God is selecting some from amongst the Jews and some from amongst the Gentiles, "that of the twain he might make one new man."--`Eph. 2:15`.
We admit that such an interpretation as the question suggests has considerable force, and that much could be said in its favor, inasmuch as the Apostle tells us that God, who foreknew our Lord Jesus, foreknew us also, and hence foreknew the share he had provided for the Church in the "filling up of that which is behind of the afflictions of The Christ."
However, this is not the interpretation of this text which appeals to the Editor as being probably the Apostle's thought. While the matter is concededly an open question, we prefer the thought that the Apostle by the words, "The man Christ Jesus, who gave himself," refers to our Lord Jesus personally and not at all to the Church, his Body. We hope to give in our next issue a thorough examination of this text.
ABLE MINISTERS OF THE NEW COVENANT
In what sense was our Lord Jesus "the Messenger of the Covenant" and in what sense are we the "able ministers (or messengers) of the New Covenant"?--`Mal. 3:1`; `2 Cor. 3:8`.
Our Lord was the Messenger of the New Covenant by a divine promise. Israel was aware that their Law Covenant under its Mediator Moses had not brought to
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them the long-expected blessings implied in the Abrahamic Covenant. God had promised that at a future time he would make a New Covenant with them (`Jer. 31:31`), thus implying that they were right in not expecting much from the Law Covenant. Of course, a New Covenant would imply a new mediator for that Covenant. This Moses himself had foretold, saying, "A prophet (teacher, mediator) shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren like unto me" (but greater). (`Acts 3:23`.) They understood that this great Prophet or Mediator would be Messiah, and they consequently longed for and delighted in the prospect of his coming.
This is the thought behind Malachi's prophecy, "He shall come, even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in." Of course at that time our Lord had not yet become the messenger or servant of the Covenant, hence this was merely a prophecy respecting his future work. He became the Messenger or Servant of the New Covenant at Jordan, when he consecrated his all unto death as the ransom-price for the world (its application in due season). He there began to serve the New Covenant by providing the price, the blood, which should ultimately seal the New Covenant or make it effective. The laying down of his life was not the sealing of the Covenant, however, but merely a preparatory work. He there became the "surety" or guarantor that in due time the New Covenant would be sealed and made effective. In his sacrifice of himself our Lord was serving a Covenant not yet sealed, but merely promised or guaranteed.
Similarly the Lord is now gathering his Church, a "little flock," to be members of the antitypical Prophet, Priest, King, Judge, Mediator between God and the world of mankind during the Millennium. These called, chosen, spirit-begotten, are "able ministers of the New Covenant," after the same manner as their Lord--walking in his steps. They minister or serve the New Covenant as an attorney serves in drawing up an agreement or Covenant. It will not be a Covenant until sealed, but, while it is in process of preparation it is spoken of as a Covenant and, in writing the agreement, the attorney is serving that agreement by putting it into shape, arranging for its sealing, etc. So Christ and his members are able or qualified ministers or servants of the New Covenant which God has promised and in which the hope of Israel and the world is centered.
In what way do Christ and the Church now minister for or serve that New Covenant? In various ways:
(1) In gathering the members of the Body of the great Mediator.
(2) In learning and teaching to others the lessons necessary to qualify for the position.
(3) In preparing the blood with which it is to be sealed--"his blood," "Jesus' blood," appropriated first to the Church and ultimately, after having served its purpose in the justification of the Church, to be passed on for the blessing of the world through the sealing of the New Covenant with Israel.
BROOKLYN BETHEL HYMNS FOR NOVEMBER
After the singing of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table we consider the MANNA text: (1) 332; (2) 293; (3) 60; (4) 66; (5) 313; (6) 146; (7) 52; (8) 4; (9) 5; (10) 162; (11) 79; (12) 222; (13) 291; (14) 209; (15) 130; (16) 279; (17) 93; (18) 325; (19) 144; (20) 113; (21) 210; (22) 229; (23) 12; (24) 95; (25) 62; (26) 105; (27) 273; (28) 246; (29) 153; (30) 24; (31) 315.
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THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT NOT THE NEW COVENANT
WHAT answer should we give to those who are now endeavoring to "teach" that the Abrahamic Covenant, which had no mediator, was merely a promise on God's part and not a Covenant at all? They claim that God's promise to Abraham was merely a preliminary statement and that the New Covenant was sealed and made effective by the death of our Lord Jesus, and that he, as the Mediator of the New Covenant, mediates first between God and the Church, and that during the Millennial Age, he will mediate further between God and the world of mankind.
It seems scarcely worth while to make any answer at all to such an unreasonable and unscriptural presentation of the matter so far as "teachers" are concerned. However, bold statements and misapplied texts sometimes carry weight with the unstable and Scripturally unlearned; hence we feel justified in examining this question publicly. As for the claim that a promise is not a Covenant, that is doubtless true in a legal sense, as between men. So an attorney would say that a mere promise without consideration would be of no binding force in the human courts of law, because men's minds and plans are subject to change; and that any man may change his intentions and not be held responsible for his change, if there were no binding agreement or covenant or consideration given. But surely this is not true of any promise of God, who cannot lie, whose promise cannot be broken. God's promise, therefore, is most absolutely a covenant and binding agreement. All the weight of Divine veracity binds it. But, lest human weakness and unbelief should doubt the Divine Word, God condescended to make his promise a Covenant in the most binding and authoritative manner conceivable. He bound his promise with an oath.
The Scriptures over and over again refer to God's words with Abraham, not only as a promise, but as a Covenant. As, for instance, before it was made, God said to Abraham, Come out of thine own land into a land that I will show thee, and I will make a Covenant with thee. It was in harmony with that promise that Abraham removed to the land of Canaan, where God declares that he did make a Covenant with him, to the effect that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed. The prophet tells us that that Covenant was confirmed three times to Abraham with an oath--again to Isaac and again to Jacob. (See `Gen. 17:19`; `22:18`; `26:4`; `28:14`.) This which the Apostle styles The Promise (particular and special above all promises) is also called a Covenant thirteen times in the Book of Genesis alone, besides numerous other references which anyone can find with a concordance.
It seems strange indeed that a desire to establish a theory could warp the judgment of any Christian Bible student to such an extent that he would endeavor to ignore the greatest of all imaginable Covenants on record--the Covenant on which all of our hopes as Christians depend. Hearken to the Apostle Paul's estimation of this Covenant as stated in `Hebrews 6`. Urging the Israelites to patience and faith that they might inherit the promises, St. Paul says, "For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,...for men verily swear by the greater and an oath for confirmation is the end of all strife. In this matter God, desiring more abundantly to show unto the heirs of the promise the immutability [the unchangeableness] of his counsel [or purpose], confirmed the promise by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." The Apostle thus shows that the Abrahamic Covenant (without a mediator, because it was unconditional) was firmly bound in a manner that would be satisfactory even amongst men, namely, by an oath.
How much more convincing is God's oath, making sure, unchangeable that basic Covenant made with Abraham, assuring the heirs of the promise ("us") that ultimately all mankind will receive a blessing, and that it would come through us. (`Gal. 3:29`.) The Apostle tells us that that oath was intended of God for us rather than for Abraham, to give us strong consolation, that we might lay hold firmly of the hope set before us in that promise--that Abrahamic Covenant. He adds (`v. 19`) that we have this hope as an anchor of the soul sure and steadfast within the veil, whither Jesus has entered as our forerunner, to whom we are approaching--as members to our Head. He is the Head of that Seed of promise. We, the members of his Body, will shortly follow him beyond the veil and share his glorious work of blessing the nations, beginning with Israel, under a New Covenant. We, as the adopted members of the Body of Christ, are directly the beneficiaries of the original Covenant, whose other features of blessing the world will all be worked out through us-- under the New Covenant arrangement with Israel.
Surely there is no consistency or reason in ignoring this great Oath-bound Covenant made in Abraham's day, consummated by the Divine oath. If it were not a Covenant, or if, as a Covenant, it was not ratified or made operative until the days of Jesus, why should the Apostle say that the Law Covenant was added to the Abrahamic Covenant 430 years after the Abrahamic Covenant was made? Evidently St. Paul considered the Abrahamic Covenant well established, for he adds that the Law Covenant afterwards instituted could not disannul the Abrahamic Covenant (`Gal. 3:17`). It must have been a thoroughly completed Covenant, firmly bound with the Divine oath, else the statement that it could not be disannulled would be an untruth.
Hearken again to St. Paul's discussion of the matter with the Galatians. He says, "This I say, that the Covenant, that was confirmed ("previously ratified"--Strong's Lexicon) before of God in Christ, the Law [Covenant], which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect." As showing the inferiority of the Law Covenant in comparison to the Old (original) Abrahamic Covenant, St. Paul tells us (`Gal. 4:22-31`) that Abraham's two wives, Sarah and Hagar, were allegorical; that the son of Sarah represented The Christ, the Church, Head and Body, while the son of Hagar represented the nation of fleshly Israel. He says, "Which things are an allegory: for these are the two Covenants; the one from the
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Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar, which corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children." On the contrary, he declares that Sarah corresponds to Jerusalem which is above and free, the mother of us all. He adds, "We, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of the promise." (`V. 28`.) It required nearly seventeen centuries for the development of Hagar's son, Fleshly Israel, under the Law Covenant. The Son of Sarah [the original or Abrahamic Covenant], has already been more than eighteen centuries in process of development. Through him all nations shall be blessed. He secured earthly-life-rights by his obedience; he sacrificed or laid these down at Calvary; he during this age has made them available to his "Body," and soon will again have laid them down sacrificially. Then he will be ready to give them as a legacy to Natural Israel and the world.--`Rom. 11:31`.
Israel realized the value of this Covenant made with Abraham: it constituted the basis of all their hopes and faith and trust. They supposed that the Law Covenant needed to be added to it, and therefore they accepted it as an amendment; but they continually trusted, hoped, in the original Covenant, as St. Paul says, "Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God, hope yet to come." (`Acts 26:7`.) It was after Israel had become discouraged with their inability to keep the Law that God encouraged them, by assuring them that he would make a New Covenant with them, which would operate more favorably--more to their advantage. And so he will. By the end of this Gospel Age, after having selected the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, the New Covenant with Israel will go into effect. As it is written, "This is my Covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins. The Deliverer (Mediator, Prophet, Priest, King) shall come out of Sion (the Gospel Church) and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (natural Israel)."-- `Rom. 11:26,27`.
Undoubtedly then we may assure all who have the hearing ear, that the Gospel Church is not the seed of two mothers or Covenants, but of one, and that that one is the Sarah Covenant, the old, original, oath-bound Covenant. Sarah had but one child, Isaac, who typified The Christ, Head and Body--the heir of all. "We, brethren, as Isaac
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was, are the children of the promise"--heirs of the great privilege of blessing all the families of the earth, as members of the great antitypical Mediator of Israel's New Law Covenant, which will displace and supersede the old Law Covenant.
"AFTER THOSE DAYS I WILL MAKE A NEW
In `Jeremiah 31:33` we read, "after those days," as setting a date for the New Covenant. Why is this? And what days must precede the making of the New Covenant?
God foretold that if Israel would be faithful he would bless them in every sense of the word, but that if they would walk contrary to him, he would walk contrary to them and chastise them "seven times for their sins." (`Lev. 26:28`.) This expression in this connection is, with variations, repeated three times. In one instance the word "MORE" is used. "I will chastise you seven times more for your sins." The Hebrew word rendered more, according to Strong's translation, would properly be rendered "continuously."
This threat of punishment we interpret to mean, not that the Lord would give Israel seven times as much punishment as they should have, but that he would punish them seven times (seven years) more (continuously) for their sins. These seven times or seven years were not literal years surely, for they received more punishment than that on numerous occasions. The seven times we interpret as symbolical years, in harmony with other Scriptures--a day for a year, on the basis of three hundred and sixty days to a year. Thus the seven times would mean 7 x 360, which equals 2520 literal years. And the word more or continuously would signify that this period of 2520 years would not be the sum of all their various years of chastisement at various "times," but this experience of 2520 years of national chastisement would be one continuous period.
Next we should ask, Has there been such a continuous period of disfavor in Israel's national history? The answer is, Yes. In the days of Zedekiah, the last king to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord, the Word of the Lord concerning the matter was, "O, thou profane and wicked prince, whose time has come that iniquity should have an end: Take off the diadem! Remove the crown! I will overturn, overturn, overturn it [the crown, the kingdom] until he comes whose right it is, and I will give it unto him." (`Ezek. 21:25-27`.) This period of 2520 years, or seven symbolic times, will expire, according to our reckoning (DAWN-STUDIES, Vol. II., Chap. IV.) in October, 1914. In other words, the period of Gentile times, of Gentile supremacy in the world, is the exact parallel to the period of Israel's loss of the kingdom and waiting for it at the hands of Messiah.
Messiah at his First Advent found them unready as a nation to be his bride, to share with him as the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, and it has required, as God foreknew and foretold, all of this intervening period to select Spiritual Israel, the royal priesthood, the "holy nation," the "peculiar people," the Body of Christ, the Body of the Mediator between God and mankind.
These are the "days" referred to in Jeremiah's prophecy respecting the New Covenant, "after those days"--after the "seven times" of Israel's chastisement will come the time of God's favor under the New Covenant, with its better Mediator --the great prophet, Priest, Mediator, Judge and King-- Jesus the Head and the Church his Body, Jesus the Bridegroom, and the Church his Bride and joint-heir.
Note how this corresponds to a nicety with St. Paul's explanation in `Romans XI`. He points to the fact that all of God's blessings were in the Abrahamic Covenant, which as a root had developed Israel as a nation--the seed of Abraham according to the flesh. The living Israelites were branches of that olive tree (`vs. 16-21`). Had they been in the right heart condition, "Israelites indeed," they would as a whole have been accepted by Christ as his members--allowed to remain members or branches in the olive tree, which represented Abraham's Spiritual Seed. But they were not ready, and hence all except the few who became Spiritual Israelites were broken off, because of unbelief. During this Gospel Age the places of the broken off branches have been filled by called and chosen ones of every nation, people, kindred and tongue. Thus Spiritual Israel has become the "holy nation" or kingdom class, under the headship of Messiah, as his prospective Bride or Body or Royal Priesthood.
The Apostle reminds us (`vs. 25-29`) that Israel's rejection from Divine favor is not perpetual, but merely in respect to this High Calling to membership in the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, membership in the Body of Messiah, the great antitypical Prophet, Priest, Mediator, King, who, when complete in the end of this age, will begin the great work of blessing all the families of the earth. The Apostle assures us that in the Divine Plan Israel will have a share in that work of blessing the world, but on a lower plane than that of the Spiritual Seed. They, as the natural seed of Abraham, will be the first to receive blessings from the glorified Mediator under the New Covenant which will be made directly with that nation, as foretold by the Prophet `Jeremiah (31:31`) --"after those days" of the sealing of that Covenant by the great Mediator with his blood.
St. Paul refers directly to this New Covenant to be made with Israel at the end of this age (`v. 27`), saying, "This is my Covenant unto them (natural Israel), when I shall take away their sins." (`Rom. 11:27`.) The taking away of their sins is a necessity for them, before they can receive this New Covenant, because God makes no Covenant with sinners. Israel's sins were not cancelled by our Lord when he ascended up on high and appeared in the presence of God for us-- according to the type sprinkling the blood on the Mercy Seat for the sins of those for whom it was applied--us, "the household of faith"--not them, not Israel in the flesh, nor any others, than "us."
According to the type a second sin-offering was to be made; "the Lord's goat" was also to be sacrificed by the Priest and its blood sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat, not for the household of faith, but "for all the people." That Lord's goat, as we have seen, typified the Church, the Body of Christ, made acceptable for sacrifice through the merit of Christ's blood and sacrificed by our High Priest throughout this Gospel Age. We delight in this sacrifice and "present our bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, and our reasonable service," because we are assured that if we suffer with him, and be dead with him in his sacrificial death, we shall also live with him and reign with him in his Mediatorial Kingdom, which will bless Israel and the world.--`Rom. 12:1`.
This same expression, "after those days," occurs in connection with Joel's prophecy of the outpouring of the holy Spirit. Through him the Lord declares the ultimate pouring out of the Divine blessing, the holy Spirit, upon all flesh; but he informs us that it will be "after those days." It is still future; hence here is another evidence that this expression, "after those days," signifies after the completion of the work of the selection of the Church--the Bride of the Messiah--the Mediator, the Christ. The Lord proceeds to say through the prophet that his holy Spirit would first be poured out upon his special servants and handmaidens, "during those days." And it has been so: ever since Pentecost, the holy Spirit has been for the servants and handmaidens of the Lord, and for no others. It cannot reach the others-- the world of mankind in general--until "after those days." The same thought is expressed by the Apostle when he says that "our Lord is a propitiation [a satisfaction] for our sins [the Church's sins--throughout this Gospel Age], and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" [in due time].--`I John 2:2`.
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This secondary application of the merit of our Lord upon the Mercy Seat, on behalf of the world, corresponds to the second sprinkling of the blood on the Atonement Day--"the blood of the Lord's goat"--"his own blood" "on behalf of all the people," sealing for them, consummating, the New Covenant.
Why has the New Covenant been so long delayed? We reply that, although it was promised centuries before Christ, it did not become an assured fact until our Lord Jesus died. His death was sufficient to have sealed that New Covenant and at once to have brought in restitution blessings to Israel, and through Israel to the world in general, if the Redeemer, when he ascended on high, had so applied the merit of his sacrifice. But it is evident that he did not so apply it; first, by the fact that Israel's restitution did not
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begin there, and has not begun yet, and will not begin until "after those days." Secondly, it is proven by the other fact that the merit of Christ's sacrifice, which was not given to Israel for the sealing of Israel's New [Law] Covenant, was given to another class, to a new nation, to Spiritual Israel, and has been applicable to and brought manifest blessings to her during all these centuries of the Gospel Age.
So, then, in the Scriptural language, that which our Lord did do in connection with the promised New Covenant between God and Israel at his first advent, was that he became a "surety" and guarantee for its later fulfilment. (`Heb. 7:22`.) From that time, therefore, the New Covenant may be considered as assured or legislated or guaranteed, but not put into force, because, as the Apostle declares, a testament or will is of no binding force until the death of the testator. In harmony with the Divine Plan the Redeemer applied the merit of his sacrifice to a special class "called" and "drawn of the Father" during this Gospel Age, to be members, to join with him in his sacrifice. These were to receive of his fulness, his merit, as the atonement for their sins, and then they were to drink of his blood or share in his death, that his blood or the merit of his sacrifice might as a blessing pass through them and permit them by sacrificing restitution blessings to attain the divine nature and glory. (`2 Peter 1:4`.) None of these may keep the blessing of restitution privileges. Each was obliged in advance to pledge his life in sacrifice with his Lord before his final acceptance and begettal of the holy Spirit to joint-heirship with the Head in his glory, honor and immortality. So then the reason that the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah's day and assured by our Lord's death has not yet gone into effect and become operative in restitution blessings to Israel and the world is, that the death of the testator has not yet been fully accomplished; for the testator, through whom Israel will get that great blessing of the New Covenant, is not our Lord Jesus alone, but The Christ, Head and Body.
To this agree the words of the Apostle again, namely, that natural Israel will "obtain mercy through your [Spiritual Israel's] mercy." (`Rom. 11:31`.) The laying down of the restitution rights received by us from the Lord through faith in his blood is our sacrifice of the same, the dying of the Testator's Body. (`2 Cor. 4:10`.) Israel is to be the beneficiary of this testament, this legacy, this will, the merit of which is all as Jesus said, "in his blood," in his cup, which we must drink.
BAPTIZED INTO MOSES--BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST
If the Church are to be members of the great Mediator, why are not Israel, who were baptized into Moses, (`I Cor. 10:1,2`) thus made members of the Mediator of the Law Covenant?
The Divine arrangement which used Moses, Aaron, the tribe of Levi and all Israel as types is complex, so that the unlearned and unstable are in danger of wresting them to their own injury. Whoever will begin with the Passover type of the deliverance of the first-born and proceed with the history of the typical people down to the time when they entered Canaan and then turn to the death of Christ as the antitypical Passover lamb and attempt to parallel the experiences of the Church and the world with the experiences of Israel, will find himself thoroughly confused until he comes to understand that in Israel a number of types mingled and overlapped.
For instance: Recognizing the Passover lamb as typical of our Lord Jesus and his death; and recognizing the first-born of Israel spared "in that night" as typical of Spiritual Israel, we know that "that night" typified this Gospel Age. We know also that the following morning typified the Millennial morning. The deliverance of Israel through the Red Sea would therefore seemingly typify the final deliverance of the whole world of mankind from the bondage of sin and death, typified by Pharaoh and his army. Similarly the overthrow of Pharaoh's army would seemingly represent the ultimate destruction of Satan and every evil influence at the close of the Millennial Age. That was the end of that type.
With the end of that type another began; for the march of Israel toward Mt. Sinai, where they entered into covenant relationship with the Lord, typified the approach of the Gospel Church and of the whole world to the condition of things pictured by St. Paul in `Hebrews 12`--the end of this Age, and a time of trouble and the establishment of the New [Law] Covenant with Israel for the blessing of all the families of the earth. And following this, the wilderness journey constitutes still another type representing God's people and the failure of many to enter into his rest, because of lack of faith. Subsequently the smiting of the rock by Moses and his not being permitted to enter the promised land is yet another type. The crossing of Jordan is still another type. The appointment of Joshua, the new leader, instead of Moses, is still another type. The falling of the walls of Jericho is still another type. Israel's conquering the various enemies in the land of Canaan is still another type.
Coming back now to the first-mentioned of these types-- the one which began with the killing of the Passover lamb, the sprinkling of its blood, the eating of its flesh during "that night" in which the firstborns were passed over and spared-- we notice that the feature of the type which has to do with "the Church of the Firstborn" and this Gospel Age was passed before the time when the Israelites as a nation were baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud. Consequently that baptism into Moses evidently pictured, not the baptism of the Church of the Firstborn into Christ's death, but the baptism of the whole world of mankind into Christ's life during the Millennium.
The Church passes from justification of life into sacrificial death with the Lord to become members of the Mediator's "Body." But the Israelites passed through the sea and the cloud, not into death, but into liberty--into freedom as a nation. That baptism into Moses evidently therefore represented the deliverance of the groaning creation into the liberty wherewith Christ proposes to make free all who will come unto him in response to his drawing during the Millennial Age. Thus the Apostle tells us that, as Jesus already is the Head of the Church, which is his Body, so ultimately he will be the Head of all creation, because it is the will of God "to gather together in one all things under one Head."-- `Eph. 1:10`.
This we have sought to illustrate in the Chart of the Ages in DAWN-STUDIES, Vol. I. In the pyramid of that chart we show our Lord Jesus the Head, the Church his Body, the Great Company, Fleshly Israel restored, and ultimately all nations brought under the one Headship. The same thought that the world will become Christ's in the possessive sense is expressed by St. Paul. When telling of the resurrection he says, "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust--Christ the firstfruits; afterwards they that are his at (during) his presence." (`I Cor. 15:23`.) The Apostle expresses the same thought that the world will be brought under the control and under the name of Christ, saying, "In whom the whole family of God, both in heaven and in earth, is named."--`Eph. 3:15`.
So then in this type of Israel's being baptized into Moses we have a suggestion of what belongs to the Millennial Age, but no suggestion whatever appertaining to the Church of the Firstborn during this Age--no suggestion of a baptism into Christ's sufferings and death. Indeed, nowhere in that type is the association between the Head and the members shown. It merely pictures to us the Lamb of God slain, and our privilege of being spared or passed over from death into life in this Gospel Age--before the general deliverance of mankind from the power of sin and death.
MUST ADAM FIRST BE REDEEMED?
Accepting the Scriptural presentation that "By one man's disobedience sin entered into the world, and death as a result of sin, and thus death passed upon all men, for that all are sinners" (`Rom. 5:12-19`); accepting also the declaration of Scripture, "As by man came death, by man also comes the resurrection of the dead" (`I Cor. 15:21`); also the assurance that "As all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive" (`I Cor. 15:22`), shall we understand that Adam must first be redeemed and atoned for before any of his children can receive reconciliation? If so, should we understand that Adam was included amongst the believers, the household of faith, on whose behalf Jesus, our great High Priest, appeared and made satisfaction for sin when he appeared in the presence of God for us?
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Most assuredly we should not! St. Paul did not mention Adam in his list of Ancient Worthies in `Hebrews 11`. On the contrary, our expectation for Adam is that as a man of the world class, "all people," his sin will be atoned for in the end of this age, when the great High Priest shall antitypically sprinkle his blood on the Mercy Seat for the sins of the whole world, "all the people," as at the beginning of this age he made atonement for our sins--the Church's. Our expectation also is that Father Adam will be one of the last
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to be awakened from the sleep of death and be brought forth to the privileges, blessings, opportunities and testings of the Millennial Age.
Our thought is that the restitution blessings will begin with the generation living at the time of the inauguration of the Mediator's Kingdom; that it will deal first with these and bring them to a measure of recuperation before beginning with any of those who sleep in the dust of the earth; and further that those of the sleepers who went down into death most recently will be the first to come up, while those who went down first will be the last to come up. In other words, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Our thought is that quite probably the awakenings of the world will be in response to the prayers of their friends during the Millennium; and that those living at any time will be specially interested in praying for such as were their acquaintances or relatives. We can see no reason why Father Adam should take any precedence in connection with the work of redemption. While it is true that he was the man through whom sin and death entered the world, nevertheless amongst the thousands of millions of his children he has no pre-eminence in the sight of Justice, whose record respecting humanity we understand to be: One man's sin--penalty, Death.
Likewise, although our Lord Jesus is the one who paid our penalty, yet Justice in her records would probably take no particular note of that fact, but would merely enter the record, One holy, harmless, undefiled man died and made appropriation of the merit of his death for the household of faith. Later we may assume the records of Justice read, The merit of the one man who died, the Just for the unjust, which was appropriated to "the household of faith," having been laid down again sacrificially, is now applied again--this time "on behalf of all the people" not included in the first application.
The sacrifice of the man Christ Jesus was sufficient for the sins of the whole world, and that ultimately it will be made available for the cancellation of the sins of the world is because Justice in the condemnation merely sentenced Father Adam as a man and has paid no attention to his children in the way of separate condemnation, but counted them all as members of the one man. Hence the death of Jesus could have been applied for anyone of Adam's race, or for any number of them, or for all of them, including Adam. And this last will be the ultimate result.
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A CONSCIENCE VOID OF OFFENSE
--`ACTS 24`.--OCTOBER 17.--
Golden Text:--"Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense towards God and towards men."
FELIX, the Roman governor, received St. Paul a prisoner. His enemies, the high priest and other Jewish rulers, hastened from Jerusalem to Caesarea, thirsting for his blood. They brought with them a Roman lawyer, Tertullus. His knowledge of Roman usage and his skill as a pleader would, they hoped, enable them to prove that St. Paul was a dangerous character--a sort of anarchist. Felix was the judge. There were no jurors. Tertullus made his charges and confirmed them by witnesses from Jerusalem.
Shrewdly the Roman attorney complimented the governor along the lines of his hitherto efficiency in preserving the peace and putting down every form of insurrection and maintaining quiet and order. This very completely paved the way for the lawyer's request that the governor should continue this praiseworthy course and rid the land of an obnoxious trouble-maker--the Apostle. Witnesses were produced who testified respecting the first tumult in the temple and also respecting the one of the following day in which the Sanhedrin became divided into two parts, and a general uproar ensued. The Apostle was credited with being a ringleader of a sect called Nazarenes, and it was claimed that he made trouble the whole world over amongst both Jews and Greeks.
This was his case. He charged that the prisoner was guilty of sacrilege--that he had defiled the temple, and the inference was deducible that he had caused rioting within the holy sanctuary. The witnesses were produced to prove that these charges were true.
The governor motioned to the Apostle that he was at liberty to answer the charges. St. Paul opened his defense by remarking that he was gratified that his judge had been on the bench for some time and was well acquainted with Jewish customs; that he would understand, therefore, what a novice could not, why the Apostle had come to Jerusalem to worship after the manner of the Jews, to celebrate one of their religious festivals. He came not to raise an insurrection, but to worship, and no witness had testified, nor was it true, that he was found in the temple even disputing or gathering a crowd; neither did he do these things in the synagogues, nor anywhere; neither could his enemies prove the things of which they accused him. This, his answer, was logical and complete. Still the governor could not understand why there should be such a commotion under the circumstances; hence it was necessary for the Apostle to explain that the Jews had an antipathy against him, because of his different belief and not because of any wrongdoing.
"A RESURRECTION OF THE JUST AND UNJUST"
St. Paul avowed that he had experienced no change in his Jewish belief--that he still believed the teachings of the Law and the writings of the prophets; and that he still held to the fundamental Jewish doctrine of the necessity of a resurrection of the dead, and that thereby God's blessing should ultimately come to Israel and through Israel to all the families of the earth. And, continued the Apostle, I exercise myself, discipline myself, train myself, to keep my conscience pure, free from violation of Divine and human laws. This was a grand testimony. The force of it should have had weight, not only with the governor and the prosecuting attorney, but also with the Jews, who murderously sought the Apostle's life, because of a little difference of opinion on religious questions. What a lesson we have here! A Roman governor and judge of not too savory a reputation; a prosecuting attorney willing, regardless of justice, to sell his talents for money; the Jewish high priest, typical of the great Messiah, associating himself with those who were endeavoring to pervert justice and to destroy one "of the sale of the earth"!
Our Lord foretold that some of his disciples would stand before kings and princes, but that they should not be dismayed, for he would stand by them to give them aid. How literally this was fulfilled in St. Paul's case! How evidently the Lord stood by him and gave him the suitable words! He proceeded to explain that he brought alms to his nation, the offerings of Gentiles, who had heard his message of the grace of God. Certain Jews from Asia found him purified in the temple, but without cry or tumult. Those Jews should have been brought as witnesses, or those who were making the charges against him should have been specific--should have said what he did tumultuously in the temple, or what wrongdoing they found in him on the day following the mob, when before the Sanhedrin. Only one thing could they charge, namely, that he cried out while standing amongst them, "Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question this day." Surely the governor could not think that in this there was anything akin to rioting or anarchy. The prisoner had been quite in the right, while those accusing him had been in the wrong.
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The Apostle's testimony shows us that in all of his preaching he laid special stress upon the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead--the just and the unjust. Alas, that in our day this doctrine has been measurably lost sight of. Few Christians ever think of the resurrection. Few have ever heard a sermon on that subject. Why is this? We reply that it is because a great error has come in amongst Christian people in respect to the condition of the dead. According to both Catholics and Protestants only the saintly are fit for heaven at death. Both agree that only finished characters could properly be admitted there. Both agree to our Lord's words respecting the Kingdom, "Few there be that find it." Our Catholic friends tell us that nearly all heathens, Catholics and Protestants go to Purgatory, where terrible sufferings for centuries will purge them of sin and prepare them for heaven. Many Protestant friends tell us that they do not see even this hope--that from their standpoint only the "little flock" go to heaven, and all the great mass of mankind, unprepared for the presence of God, must be sent somewhere and that the only place for them is a hell of eternal torture, from which there will be no escape. We need not quarrel with either party. Both views are too horrible to be reasonable or just, not to mention loving!
We prefer to go back to the words of Jesus and the Apostles and to note that, according to their teachings, the dead are really dead and that their only hope is, as the Apostle expresses it, a resurrection hope, "the hope of the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust." It is not the resurrection of the body that the Bible teaches, but a resurrection of the soul, and that "God will give it a body" at the time of the awakening. (`I Cor. 15:38`.) We could wish that all Christian people would arouse themselves to a fresh study of the Scriptures: that the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead should be given its proper place: and that thus much of the fog of "the dark ages" might be gotten rid of--fog which has troubled us, saddened our hearts and turned many away from God and the Bible--into infidelity.
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RIGHTEOUSNESS, TEMPERANCE, COMING JUDGMENT
The governor-judge, after hearing both sides, set aside the case until Lysias, who made the arrest, should be heard. Meantime St. Paul was given great liberty, the real status of his case being evidently quite clearly understood by the governor.
Subsequently Felix, evidently much impressed by the Apostle's demeanor, called for him again at a time when his wife, a Jewess, was present. He wished her to hear the Gospel message, which somehow seems to have appealed to him as reasonable. St. Paul doubtless reviewed much of his previous testimony, and then reasoned respecting a coming judgment or trial--that eternal destinies are not fixed, as a result of the present life. Assuredly he pointed out that God had appointed a day of trial or judgment for the world of mankind--the Millennial day, a thousand years long. In it the whole world of mankind shall have a full trial as to worthiness or unworthiness of perfection and life everlasting. The obedient shall be blessed, uplifted, raised up, up to perfection. The wilfully disobedient shall be destroyed in the Second Death. If then the trial of the world is in the future age, and if in the present time God is merely electing or selecting the Church to be the Bride of his Son and his Joint-Heir in the Kingdom, which is to bless the world, how could these matters have any special influence upon Felix and his wife? In two ways:
(1) It might influence them to accept Christ and seek to be of the "elect" Church.
(2) Knowing of their future trial they should know also that the words and deeds of the present life have much to do with the status of the individual when awakened from the tomb. The vicious, the hypocritical, the self-righteous, the wanton, the profligate, degrade themselves and increase the number of steps that will be before them in the Millennium. On the contrary, every good deed, every victory gained, every practice of moderation, would make the individual correspondingly the better prepared for the next life. Every generous deed of the present life makes its impress upon the character and will bring proportionate blessings in that Millennial Judgment Day. On the contrary, every evil deed, every violation of conscience, will surely receive its "stripes" or just punishments.
As Felix listened he was conscience-stricken. According to this theory he would have much to give account for as one of the "unjust" in the resurrection. The Apostle said nothing about fiery tortures, which an intelligent mind must repudiate as unreasonable, but his argument was all the stronger without these. His forceful argument was, "A just recompense of reward, both for the just and the unjust." The Apostle was dismissed with the memorable words, "Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season I will call thee." Time and again Felix called for the Apostle, but never apparently did he find his heart in a sufficiently mellow and humble condition to accept the Apostle's message and surrender to the Lord. A lesson in this connection for us all is that we should do promptly whatever we realize to be our duty. St. Paul remained a prisoner two years, comfortably provided for, preparing for the further services of his important life, and writing several epistles.
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BRO. RUSSELL'S ITINERARY THROUGH MARITIME PROVINCES
Lv. Boston, Mass., Thursday, Oct. 7............. (Dom.At.S.S.Co.)............................... 1:00 p.m. Arr. Yarmouth, N.S., Friday, " 8............. (Dom.At.S.S.Co.)............................... 7:00 a.m. Lv. Yarmouth, N.S., Saturday, " 9............. (Dom.At.R.R.).................................. 9:40 a.m. Arr. Middleton, N.S., Saturday, " 9............. (Dom.At.R.R.).................................. 1:16 p.m. Lv. Middleton, N.S., Saturday, " 9............. (Dom.At.R.R.).................................. 2:48 p.m. Arr. Berwick, N.S., Saturday, " 9............. (Dom.At.R.R.).................................. 3:31 p.m. Lv. Berwick, N.S., Saturday, " 9............. (Dom.At.R.R.).............................about 9:30 p.m. Arr. Truro, N.S., Saturday, " 9............. (Dom.At.R.R.)............................about 12:00night Lv. Truro, N.S., Monday, " 11............. (Intercol.R.R.)................................ 6:00 a.m. Arr. Halifax, N.S., Monday, " 11............. (Intercol.R.R.)................................ 8:45 a.m. Lv. Halifax, N.S., Monday, " 11............. (Intercol.R.R.)................................ 5:00 p.m. Arr. Sydney, C.B.I., Tuesday, " 12............. (Intercol.R.R.)................................ 5:30 a.m. Lv. Sydney, C.B.I., Tuesday, " 12............. (Intercol.R.R.)................................11:30 p.m. Arr. Pictou, N.S., Wednesday, " 13............. (Intercol.R.R.)................................ 8:30 a.m. Lv. Pictou, N.S., Wednesday, " 13............. (Str. Northumberland).......................... 4:20 p.m. Arr. Charlottetown, P.E.I., Wednesday, " 13............. (Str. Northumberland).....................about 8:30 p.m. Lv. Charlottetown, P.E.I., Friday, " 15............. (P.E.I.R.R.)................................... 7:45 a.m. Arr. St. John, N.B., Friday, " 15............. (Intercol.R.R.)................................ 5:20 p.m. Lv. St. John, N.B., Saturday, " 16............. (Maine Cent.R.R.).............................. 6:25 a.m. Arr. Boston, Mass., Saturday, " 16............. (Maine Cent.R.R.).............................. 9:00 p.m. Lv. Boston, Mass., Sunday, " 17............. (B.&A.R.R.).................................... 8:30 a.m. Arr. Worcester, Mass., Sunday, " 17............. (B.&A.R.R.).................................... 9:36 a.m.
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PREACHING CHRIST TO THE RULERS
--`ACTS 25:6`; `26:32`.--OCTOBER 24.--
Golden Text:--"I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."--`2 Tim. 1:12`.
THE Roman governor, Felix, of Judea, was succeeded by Festus, and, willing to curry favor with the Jews, he left Paul a prisoner, although confessedly he had found him not guilty of any infraction of the Roman law and was persuaded that his enemies were frantically jealous of him. The two years of St. Paul's imprisonment doubtless afforded excellent opportunities for his mature study of the Divine Plan set forth in the Scriptures.
Festus, the new governor, went at once to Jerusalem, the center of his province, there to become acquainted with the chief men of the people, amongst whom he must preside as governor and judge. St. Paul's enemies were on the alert to accomplish against him through the new governor what they failed to do with Felix. However, after setting forth the arguments of Tertullus to prejudice his mind, they feared to have a trial before him, because of the weakness of their cause. Hence they proposed to Festus that after all the dispute with St. Paul was more along religious than civil lines, and that therefore the desirable thing would be that he should be delivered to the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem for trial, according to the Jewish law, and drop the charges against him before the Roman Court. Meantime the plans had been matured whereby in the name of God and religion and the "good of the cause" the Apostle was to be assassinated on the journey. Alas that such criminal injustice cannot be charged against the Jews of that age alone, but that in every age and in almost every religious system the mental unbalance is such that in the heat of the moment atrocious crimes have been advocated and perpetrated in the name of God and holiness! What lessons we may learn from these excerpts of history! When will mankind learn that as justice is the foundation of the Divine Government, everything contrary thereto must be displeasing to God? Recently the civilized world celebrated the birth of that great and good man, John Calvin; yet all were shocked afresh as we remembered that his hand signed the death-warrant which led Servetus, a fellow-Christian, to the stake. When will we learn that the results of injustice will be more injurious to the doer than to the done? "Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne."--`Psa. 89:14`.
ST. PAUL, FESTUS AND AGRIPPA
The governor placed the proposition of the Jews before St. Paul, asking him (because he was a Roman citizen) whether he were willing to accept a discharge as respected the Roman Court and to stand trial before his own countrymen. The Apostle, realizing the situation, promptly declined the offer and instead appealed his case to Rome, his privilege as a Roman citizen, which could not be denied him. But as the governor in sending a prisoner to Rome was expected to prefer charges, Festus was puzzled to know what charges, if any, he could formulate against the Apostle.
Shortly the ceremonies of Festus' inauguration took place
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in Caesarea, and King Agrippa of Galilee did his respects by attending, his wife Bernice accompanying him. As Agrippa and his wife professed the Hebrew faith, Festus, who had no knowledge thereof, embraced the opportunity to have their assistance in formulating charges against St. Paul, whose crime, if any, could be understood from the Jewish standpoint. Hence before these and the chief captains of the military forces and the prominent citizens, the Apostle was called to give his version of the enmity of his people against him.
Thus a fresh opportunity for the preaching of the Gospel before people of prominence was afforded the Apostle. And his appeal to Caesar's Court would mean an introduction of himself and of the religion which he represented before the highest authority in the world. Thus does the Lord mysteriously work the counsel of his own will and cause the wrath of men to praise him. And thus does he put before his faithful servants fresh opportunities to serve his cause. How much every faithful follower of Jesus should be encouraged by this to faithfulness, to singleness of heart, to the improvement of every opportunity, realizing the Lord's supervision of the work and of his service.
As a true gentleman, St. Paul opened his speech before these earthly dignitaries by complimenting King Agrippa as much as he truthfully could--on the fact that he would be heard by one who was expert in all Jewish matters. He pointed to the fact that his course of life from youth was well known in Jerusalem and throughout the Jewish nation. Many of them could witness if they would to his strictness as a religionist. "And now," he declared, "I am standing on trial for my hope in the promise which God made unto our fathers --a promise which all Jews are hoping will have fulfilment. Nevertheless it is for this hope's sake that I am accused by the Jews." The hope of Israel centered in God's oath-bound Covenant to Abraham, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." St. Paul was preaching that this promise was in process of fulfilment; that Jesus, as the Son of God, by obedience to the Law and by his sacrifice of his earthly rights, had become the Head of this promised Seed of Abraham by his resurrection to the plane of spirit glory, honor and immortality. He was teaching that since Pentecost the Lord was selecting both from Jews and Gentiles a "little flock," to be Messiah's bride and joint-heir, members of the Spiritual Seed of Abraham; and that when this selection shall have been accomplished, the great Messiah, Head and members, in glory will set up the long-promised Kingdom of God. Its blessing will come first to natural Israel for their restitutional uplifting, and subsequently will extend through Israel to "all the families of the earth."
Surely St. Paul pointed to the prophecies which tell of the sufferings of Messiah and of the glories that will follow. The Jews all knew of the sufferings of Jesus and the sufferings of his followers, but they disputed his resurrection to glory and that his followers would by and by share his resurrection change. The whole dispute between himself and the Jews was in respect to whether or not Jesus arose from the dead. If he did not arise the Jews were right. No valid hopes could be built upon a dead man, however good he might have been. If he arose, St. Paul and the followers of Jesus were right, because his resurrection to glory should be considered a demonstration of Divine approval and of the Messiahship which he claimed and of his Kingdom to come in due time.
He explained how once he also had opposed Jesus and persecuted his followers, shutting them up in prison and giving his vote with others for their death. He had compelled them to blaspheme Jesus to escape sufferings and in his madness had extended his energies from Jerusalem to outside cities. He explained the Revelation of the Lord, given him near Damascus--the light above the brightness of the sun, and the voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." He explained the commission he then received, that he was to preach to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews, the resurrection of Jesus, the gathering of his elect members and in due time the establishment of his Kingdom; and that all should repent and turn to God. It was for these things that he was in bondage and his life in jeopardy, until he was obliged to appeal to Caesar's tribunal. He pointed out that the sufferings of Christ had been foretold by the prophets and that Jesus acknowledged persecutions of his followers as being of himself--his members.
"THOU ART BESIDE THYSELF"
The governor heard with amazement the recital and, interrupting, then said, "Thou art beside thyself. Much learning doth make thee mad." But St. Paul replied, "I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness: King Agrippa knoweth of these things." Thus it is still. From the worldly standpoint the true follower of Jesus is branded a fanatic, a fool, unbalanced. But from the Christian's standpoint the view is reversed--the worldly are
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unwise and money-mad. The worldly see merely the earthly things, the transitory. The Christian sees with the eye of faith glory, honor and immortality and a share with the Redeemer in the privileges of the Millennial Kingdom, which is shortly to bless the world with a reign of righteousness, in fulfilment of the Lord's prayer, "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."
St. Paul appealed to Agrippa: Did he not believe the prophecies cited? The reply of the king is a matter of dispute --whether he said, "With a little more time and eloquence you might persuade me to be a Christian," or whether he said, "Do you think that in so brief an argument you could make of me a Christian, with all that that word means of discredit?" St. Paul's reply favors the former interpretation: "I would to God that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds."
A nobler sentiment, a broader spirit of charity, in a prison, falsely accused and unjustly restrained, cannot be imagined. Only those who have been with Jesus and learned of him could thus exemplify the sympathy and moderation which he taught. Oh, that all of Christ's disciples might learn also to be meek and lowly of heart and find rest to their souls, for who can doubt that St. Paul, the prisoner, with his glorious hopes, was happier every way than any of those who heard him?
BEREAN STUDIES ON THE ATONEMENT
THE TEXT-BOOK USED FOR THIS COURSE
IS SCRIPTURE STUDIES, SERIES V (E)*
Questions on Scripture Study V.--
Man for whom Atonement was made
(1) Is there such a thing as a spirit soul? If so, explain the difference between it and the human soul, and give the illustration of the candle. P. 343, par. 2.
(2) Describe the resurrection processes and show how the personal identity or soul will be restored, while the flesh will not be restored. P. 338-343, par. 3.
(3) Is there danger of a miscarriage so that the resurrected ones would fail to identify themselves? And would the danger be any the less if the same particles of matter were miraculously preserved, readjusted and quickened? Must we not in any event depend upon Divine power only. P. 343, par. 3.
(4) Is there any suggestion of the Scriptures to the effect that the bodies which go down to the tomb will be restored atom by atom? What says the Apostle?
(5) Quote the Apostle's words on this subject and explain the matter. P. 343, last par.
(6) In what sense does the "breath of life" return to God who gave it?
(7) In what sense did God give the spirit of life? In what sense did he remand that gift? In what sense is provision made for its restoration? If no arrangement had been made for its restoration what would have been man's condition in death? P. 344, par. 1.
(8) Why is death so frequently spoken of as a "sleep" in the Scriptures? Give an illustration of our Lord's use of the word sleep as referring to death. Is there any record of Lazarus having any conscious experiences during the four days he was asleep--dead? Would our Lord have called him from glory if he had been in heaven? Would such an awakening mean a blessing or a loss? Give a full explanation of it. P. 344, par. 2.
(9) Why is the resurrection time spoken of as the "morning"? Give the quotation and citation. P. 345, par. 1.
(10) Give nine quotations and citations from the New Testament in which death is referred to as a "sleep." P. 345.
(11) Give similar citations from the Old Testament. P. 346.
(12) Will those awakening from the death "sleep" have any consciousness of the lapse of time between their falling asleep in death and their awakening in the resurrection? P. 346, last par.
(13) Will the resurrection work be practically a reawakening and will it be as great or a greater manifestation of Divine power than the original creation of Adam and Eve? P. 347.
(14) Why is a living dog better than a dead lion? and how do the Scriptures use this comparison to illustrate the meaning of death to the human family? P. 347.
(15) Quote some Scriptures which show that the dead know not anything and that there is no work nor device nor wisdom in the grave whither all go.
(16) What did St. Paul mean by his statement that some say "there is no resurrection of the dead"? And could there be a resurrection of the dead if nobody is dead--if all, when they seem to die, really become more alive? P. 348, par. 2-4.
(17) What did the Apostle mean by saying that "if there be no resurrection of the dead then is Christ not risen?" P. 348, par. 5.
(18) What did St. Paul mean by the statement, "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain?" P. 348, par. 5.
(19) What did he mean by the statement that "If the dead rise not, Christ is not risen," and the Apostles were false witnesses, preaching a false Gospel? P. 348, par. 5.
(20) In his argument for the resurrection does the Apostle anywhere state or otherwise imply whether he refers to a resurrection of the body or of the soul? Give a Scriptural citation showing why. P. 349, par. 1.
(21) How would the Apostle have stated himself if he held the same views that the majority of people hold on this subject? P. 349, par. 1.
(22) Show how the Apostle taught a resurrection of the soul and how that denied the resurrection of the body which died. P. 349, par. 2.
(23) Why did the Apostle in arguing the importance of the resurrection of the dead in `I Cor. 15` say (`Vs. 17,18`), "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished?" In what sense could they be perished if they went directly to heaven and were more than ever alive at the time when they appeared to be dead? Do those who claim that the soul cannot die thereby deny the resurrection of the soul or sentient being? P. 349, last par.
(24) Why is it claimed, contrary to the Scriptures, that God's promise of a resurrection applies merely to the body, and why is there perplexity concerning the words of the inspired Apostle?
(25) If, as is admitted, the death of Christ was the sacrifice for sin, what death was it? And if in dying he became more alive than before he died, in what sense did he die for our sins, or what was given as the ransom price for the sinner's forfeited life. P. 349, last par.
(26) Respecting those who fall asleep in Christ as members of his Body and whose hope is to share in the glory and honor of the First Resurrection, will theirs be a resurrection of the body or a resurrection of the soul possessed of a new body? P. 350, par. 1.
(27) God is a Spirit (Being). Is he Scripturally said to be a soul? If so, where? P. 350, par. 1.
(28) What philosophy did the Athenians have which led them to reject St. Paul's words relative to the resurrection of the dead? Quote and cite the texts. P. 350, par. 2.
(29) To what extent had the Platonic philosophy invaded Judaism at the time of our Lord? Explain the matter with proof texts. P. 351.
(30) Why did Josephus mention prominently a sect of the Jews which was so small as not to be mentioned in the New Testament?
(31) Was eternal torment any part of the Jewish faith?
PUBLIC MINISTRIES OF THE TRUTH
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLES PULPIT
ASSOCIATION OF BROOKLYN, N.Y.
TRURO, N.S., OCT. 10, 11, 13
A General Convention has been requested for this locality and is now arranged for in connection with Brother Russell's Maritime Province Tour (see corrections to schedule on page 317). He expects to be present on Sunday, Oct. 10, with a morning rally at 10 and address to the interested at 11 o'clock. Public meeting in Academy Hall at 3 p.m.: Subject, "The Thief in Paradise, the Rich Man in Hell, and Lazarus in Abraham's Bosom." Brethren of ability will address the other sessions. Buy full-fare one-way ticket, securing certificate, which when properly validated will obtain free return privilege on nearly all the roads. Will you be present?
DALLAS, TEX., OCT. 24, 25
The society will be represented by Brothers F. Draper and E. J. Coward, of the Pilgrim Staff. Special rates are obtainable on account of the Dallas State Fair.
INDIANAPOLIS, IND., DEC. 17, 18, 19
ONE-DAY LOCAL CONVENTIONS ADDRESSED BY THE
EDITOR OF THIS JOURNAL AS FOLLOWS:
WORCESTER, MASS, OCT. 17
Praise and Testimony Meeting at 10:30 a.m. Public meeting at 3 p.m. in Franklin Square Theatre, 2 Southbridge street. Evening meeting for the interested at 7:30 o'clock held (as morning meeting) in Horticultural Hall, 18 Front street.
PHILADELPHIA, PA., OCT. 24
AKRON, OHIO, OCT. 31
BROOKLYN, N.Y., NOV. 7
==================== ::page 322::
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