VOL. XXXIV AUGUST 15 No. 16
A. D. 1913--A. M. 6041
God Manifest in the Flesh.........................243
Our Lord's Beauty of Holiness.................244
Incarnation Theory Not Scriptural.............245
The New Covenant..................................245
Sealing the New Covenant......................246
The Sin Unto Death............................246
Future Rewards and Punishments................247
The Church Not Under the New Covenant.........247
Typical Distribution of Blessings.............248
"The Spirits of Just Men Made Perfect"............248
Spiritual Promises to Natural Israel..............249
Fear a Cause of Great Nervous Tension.............250
Individual Conquest of Our Inheritance............250
The Conquest of Canaan a Type.................251
Practical Lessons From the Life of Eli............251
The Flaw in Eli's Character...................251
The Golden Calf...................................253
"Keep Yourselves From Idols"..................253
Tables of the Law Replaced........................254
An Interesting Question...........................255
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"GOD MANIFEST IN THE FLESH"
"Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels."--`1 Timothy 3:16`.
GOD, the great Origin, or Fountain, of Life, is pleased to manifest Himself in various creations. And all of His intelligent creations which He recognized as sons were in His likeness. The Logos, the beginning of God's creation, was in the Divine likeness. Not only was He a spirit being (and God is a Spirit), but more than this, He was a spirit being in the character likeness of His Father, His Creator.
Moreover, when the Logos became the active agent of the Father in creating the various orders--angels, cherubim, seraphim--they were all created in the image of the Father. The angel sons of God sang together and shouted for joy as they saw the different creations. When it came time to make a still different order of creatures, an order that had never before existed, namely, human beings, God carried out through the Logos His purpose of creating man in His own image, His own likeness. And God declared Himself well pleased with man.
A description of the first man is given us in the Eighth Psalm: "Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet; all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea." Adam was the master or king of all these. He represented something that the angels did not represent; for none of them were ever set over anything. God Himself is the Ruler of all, and Adam and the Logos were the only ones who were in any sense of the word set over anything.
When God made man, He made him like Himself in this particular--that he had a dominion. When the angels were created, they were God manifest in different orders of beings--cherubim, seraphim and the lower orders of angels. When it came to the creation of man, he was made in God's image. God was manifest in flesh. But we cannot say that God is manifest in fallen flesh now. The original likeness to God has been obliterated by sin. The reign of Sin and Death has to a considerable extent erased these traces of God's image. And the Scriptures plainly show us that we have lost this image and likeness of the Creator.
Adam was called a son of God because he was in covenant relationship with God; but when he became a sinner, he lost this relationship. None of the Jews were sons of God. Abraham was styled a friend of God. Although God had approved of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Prophets and others in Israel, and indicated that a great blessing would be theirs, they could not be treated as sons. God said, in substance, when speaking to Abraham, My friend, I will make with you My Covenant. "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
GOD MANIFEST IN PERFECT HUMANITY
But everything must wait until that great antitypical Seed of Abraham should come. We have the record of how this One would come who was to be the Deliverer,
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the Antitypical Seed of Abraham. After reasoning about the Logos--how He was made flesh and dwelt amongst them--St. John declares that Jesus had the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, full of truth. This was the way above all others in which God was manifest in the flesh.
When the lower animals saw Adam, they saw the very best representation of God possible to them. Nothing could be made in the flesh that would be more like God. And when the time came for God to send His Son into the world, He set before Him the great privilege of being man's Redeemer. And when He was made flesh, all those who beheld Him saw the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father. When any looked upon Him, they saw the Father in the most absolute sense in which it would be possible for them to see Him.
God said to Moses, "No man shall see My face and live." Saul of Tarsus merely had a glimpse of Jesus glorified, and yet the glory was so great that if he had had a full look he would not have lived. Jesus was the express image of the Father. Jesus is the express image of the Father. And if no man can see God and live, then he cannot see the glorified Jesus and live.
GOD MANIFEST IN THE PRINCES
But God has made a provision that when Christ's Kingdom shall be established amongst men, there will be earthly representatives through whom Messiah will govern and uplift mankind during the thousand years. God has just such a class prepared and ready for this work-- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the other Ancient Worthies. These are to be counted worthy of an instantaneous awakening to human perfection. These experience no change of nature in their resurrection, because they were not begotten of the Spirit. There was no one begotten of the Spirit until Pentecost, except our Lord at Jordan. "The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus
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was not yet glorified." Therefore those Ancient Worthies had merely the testimony that they pleased God. Because of their loyalty to God and the principles of righteousness, some of these Ancient Worthies "were stoned; some were sawn asunder; some were tempted; some were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world was not worthy."--`Hebrews 11:37,38`.
These, although they had received God's Promise, received not the things promised them. For instance, God had promised Abraham, "All the land which thou seest will I give unto thee." Abraham must have a resurrection in order for God's Word to come true. He must get that land. But there was no suggestion to Abraham of glory, honor, and immortality--no suggestion to him of becoming a partaker of the Divine nature and a joint-heir with Jesus. See `Acts 7:5`; `Hebrews 11:8-10,17,39,40`.
This began with Jesus. Christ has not only brought to men the knowledge of life and immortality, but also that there is a privilege of gaining this life with Him: "Which salvation began to be spoken by our Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him." (`Hebrews 2:3`.) But the Ancient Worthies had the faith to believe God, to trust His Promise and to wait for the fulfilment of that Promise. They merely had the intimation that God would roll away the curse. And Abraham's Seed was to be the glorious channel of God's blessing--"In thee and in thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." So St. Paul tells us that they received not the things promised them, "God having provided some better thing for us [the Gospel Church], that they without us should not be made perfect."--`Hebrews 11:40`.
The Ancient Worthies cannot get their blessing before we get ours. The Bride must be glorified, and then the faithful of the past can come in and get their blessing. Then forthwith the Kingdom will be established. And Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the other Worthies will be the first children of Christ. Instead of being the fathers, they will be the children, and He will make them princes, rulers in all the earth. (`Psalm 45:16`.) Being resurrected perfect men, they will be the perfect images of God. In each one of these Ancient Worthies God will be manifest in the flesh. They will be princes at that time and will rule the earth, under Christ's Kingdom.
Jesus corroborated this thought when He said, "Ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Prophets, in the Kingdom of God." (`Luke 13:28`.) Of Himself He said, "Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more." (`John 14:19`.) If we should not be changed to spirit conditions by the power of our resurrection, we would not see him any more than will others who will continue on the human plane. Those who have died in Christ, and those "who are alive and remain," will, at His manifestation, be made like Him, be "changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." At the moment of our change we shall see not only our Lord, but all the holy angels--all on the spirit plane, who are now invisible to us. They can see humanity, but humanity cannot see them.
God was manifest in the flesh; first, in the case of Adam; secondly, in the case of Jesus; and thirdly, He will be manifest in the flesh of those Ancient Worthies, who will be reckoned deserving of a better resurrection than the rest of the world.
OUR LORD'S BEAUTY OF HOLINESS
When in derision the soldiers placed upon the head of our Lord a crown of thorns, and arrayed him in a purple robe, and led Him into the judgment hall, Pilate looked upon Him in admiration, and exclaimed, "Behold the Man!" or (see Strong's Concordance) "Behold the countenance!" I am a Gentile and not of your race, but here you have sent to me for sentence the most glorious Jew on earth! None can have a really beautiful character without the inner beauty being reflected in the face. If a man be a vicious character, he cannot hide it from his features. If he be of a loving disposition, it will show in his face. What, then, shall we think of our Lord! His face must have been one of marvelous beauty! No wonder the people flocked to see Him because of His graciousness of speech and His wonderful beauty--the image of God!
The Psalmist has asked, "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest [carest for] him? For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor." (`Psalm 8:4,5`.) But man has fallen into sin, alienation, darkness! The Satanic influence works sin and has brought about man's fall from the image of his Creator. It is God's great purpose to bring humanity back from sin and imperfection. He will uplift all those who desire to be righteous.
"We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor [the perfection of human nature]; that He by the grace [favor] of God should taste death for every man." (`Hebrews 2:9`.) We see the broad basis of God's Plan laid in the redemptive work at Calvary. We see that it must be the Redeemer's life that would be the price of human redemption. "For since by man came death, by man comes also the resurrection of the dead. For as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive. But every man in his own order; Christ [the Anointed, the Messiah class], the first fruits; afterwards they that are Christ's at His Coming [Greek, during His presence]." (`I Corinthians 15:21-23`.) Jesus says, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First Resurrection." Such shall be kings and priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.--`Rev. 20:6`.
So, then, "God manifest in the flesh" was clearly exhibited in the Man Christ Jesus, in His perfection. But God was specially and more particularly manifest in the flesh of Jesus when He presented Himself to John at Jordan, as He reached the period of thirty years of age, and there gave Himself sacrificially. "Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me) to do Thy will, O God." There He offered Himself without spot, in harmony with God's will. And the Divine acceptance was indicated in the form of a dove coming upon Him--not that the Holy Spirit is like a dove, but that God gave the outward manifestation so that John would have some means of identification of the Messiah, so that he could say, "I saw the Spirit descending from Heaven, like a dove, and it abode upon Him."
From the time of Jesus' baptism God dwelt in Him in a peculiar manner; as the Apostle John says of the Church, God dwelleth in us and we in God. (`I John 4:16`.) The Father took up His abode in Jesus, and qualified Him to make known the Divine Plan. Our Lord said, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."--`Luke 4:16-21`; `Isaiah 61:1-3`.
OUR LORD'S TEMPTATION IN THE WILDERNESS
From the time when Jesus received the Holy Spirit, we read that the Heavenly things were made known unto
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Him. For as the Apostle says, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God...neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." When Jesus, therefore, received the begetting of the Holy Spirit, He received spiritual discernment. He came to see how the types of the Old Testament fitted to Himself. He saw that the serpent in the wilderness represented Himself.
When He saw these things, we remember that He was in the wilderness. He had the entire Scriptures in His mind. From childhood He had been in the habit of attending the synagogue; and with His perfect mind, the Scriptures would be thoroughly engraved there. He could quote any Scripture ad libitum. And when Satan quoted the Scriptures, Jesus understood them.
At the end of the forty days, when Jesus was weak from fasting, was the most favorable time for the Adversary to tempt Him. When He had before Him the thought of all the shame and ignominy connected with His sacrificial death, it would be enough to make any one's heart quail! The moment when He realized that He was to be counted as a blasphemer, and contrary to God, was the most opportune moment for Satan. And the Father permitted Him to be tempted--permitted the Adversary to tempt Him at this particular time.
Then Satan addressed himself to the mind of our Lord: I know you very well. We had a long acquaintance in the past, and I know the mission on which you have come. You do not realize, I know, the power that came upon You when You were baptized. I beheld how the power of God came upon You. You have need only to command these stones to be turned into bread. I realize that You can do a great work, and I would like to join with You in the matter. But first of all, You should have something to eat.
Jesus knew Satan--He knew that Satan was Lucifer, who had rebelled against the Divine Government, and who was imprisoned on this planet. When Satan appeared to Jesus, we may be sure that he tried to appear as an angel of light, and to pretend that he wished to be on God's side, and that he now wished to co-operate with God. But Jesus knew that His power was not given Him for the purpose of sustaining His life, and He would not yield to the temptation.
Therefore Satan next took Him to a high mountain-- this was in the spirit of their minds--and showed Him how he--Satan--was "the prince of this world" and all the kingdoms thereof. And he said, You see, then, that I have the power to help You. Can You afford to be without such assistance? I am in sympathy with You. You will save mankind and deliver them all from death. Instead of your having to suffer, as God's Plan is, we will work together, and You shall not have to suffer. But first, You must acknowledge me. That was the way I started out. I wanted to show what kind of a kingdom I could set up. I said, "I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High," I will have an empire of my own. I advise You to come in and share with me. I will give You all the glory You could ask. I intend to be the prince of this world. Do You not see that everything is in my hands?
But in these temptations Jesus conquered. And the victory was so complete that Satan thought it not worth while to tempt Him again! He thought that if He could not move Jesus when He was on the verge of starvation, it was of no use to try any further. So he never made another attempt, so far as the record goes.
THE INCARNATION THEORY NOT SCRIPTURAL
After this, as Jesus went about doing good, healing the sick, and preaching to the people, everything was in perfect conformity to the Father's will. If the Father had been there incarnated in a fleshly body, He could not have done His own will more perfectly. But Jesus was not incarnated. The incarnation of our Lord is only a theory invented during the Dark Ages. For He humbled Himself to become a man, and "became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (both in Heaven and in the earth)...and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."--`Philippians 2:8-11`.
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THE NEW COVENANT
"Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel, and with the House of Judah."--`Jeremiah 31:31`.
THE New Covenant is the Scriptural name for the new arrangement between God and man, by which God purposes to receive mankind into harmony again with Himself. Harmony with God was the covenant relationship which Adam originally enjoyed, but which he lost by His disobedience, and which was renewed typically at Mt. Sinai with Israel, although they could not get the blessing of life out of it.
The mediation of the Law Covenant was effected through Moses. (`Exodus 19:3-9`; `24:3-8`.) God agreed that if Israel would keep His Law they should have everlasting life. The inauguration of that Law Covenant was effected by the mediator, Moses, through the sacrifices which he offered. In the typical arrangement of the old Law Covenant, these Atonement Day sacrifices were repeated year by year continually.
While the mediation of the old Law Covenant brought Israel into typical relationship to God, the mediation of the New Law Covenant will bring all mankind into actual Covenant relationship, into a position of Divine favor, provided that they will continue to keep the Divine Law. God will introduce this New Law Covenant through the Mediator of the New Covenant, in whom the whole arrangement centers, and through whom it will be carried out. For a period of one thousand years this Mediator will do a work for mankind. As a Priest, He will uplift humanity; as a King, He will rule them in righteousness. It will take a full thousand years to bring the people out of their degradation, and restore them to the image and likeness of God, lost by Adam in Eden.
The basis of mediation on the part of the better Mediator will be the better sacrifices of this Gospel Age. In the antitypical arrangement these sacrifices will never be repeated. Through the better sacrifices, the antitypical Mediator will have the power to start the people with a clean slate, as it were. So it is written, "Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (`Hebrews 8:12`.) Again, "I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."--`Ezekiel 36:26`.
Thus Adam's sin and condemnation, which came to mankind
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by heredity, will no more be remembered by anybody. But the work of taking away the stony heart will be gradual. The disciplinary processes of the Kingdom will gradually relieve mankind of hard-heartedness, and make them tender-hearted and affectionate. All who enter that new condition of things will no longer be held accountable for Adam's sin. We read in `Ezekiel 18:2-4`, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." Under the new order of things he who dies will die for his own sin.
Since all mankind are in a condition of imperfection, all will still be liable to sin. The only arrangement by which they can attain everlasting life will be by their adoption into the family of the Mediator--The Christ. He will quicken their mortal bodies. No Divine condemnation will hold over against them from the past. Only such as come into this relationship will receive the Divine blessings. Under the New Covenant, the special favors of the Lord will be only for the obedient. Whoever rejects the opportunities for upbuilding will be destroyed from among the people.--`Acts 3:23`.
SEALING THE NEW COVENANT
God cannot enter into a covenant with people who are under His own sentence of death. Therefore, under the typical arrangement of the Law Covenant, the death of bulls and goats was accepted as a sacrifice to God. This did not mean that the blood of bulls and goats was sufficient to take away sin; but the it was a typical representation of the real sacrifices, under the real Covenant.
If the New Covenant were now sealed, then all the blood of the Covenant must have been previously prepared. If this were already shed, then we could have no chance of sharing in the death of Christ. It is evident, then, that the New Covenant is not sealed. The antitypical Bullock has been slain, and His blood taken into the Most Holy. The antitypical goat is in process of being slain. When its sacrifice shall have been completed, all of the blood will be in the hands of the great High Priest. Then will come the application of the blood as an offset to Adam's sin. At the end of this Gospel Age the great Mediator will be ready to do the work assigned to Him.
The first work of the New Dispensation will be the antitypical application of the blood in the antitypical Most Holy, upon the Mercy-Seat, to make a reconciliation for the sins of all the people. Until that shall have been done, the New Covenant cannot be inaugurated. Our High Priest has been commissioned to inaugurate the New Covenant. The application of the blood will be the sealing --the making valid.
The New Covenant has been promised for centuries, but it has not yet gone into effect. As soon as this Blood of Atonement shall have been applied for the sins of all the people, the New Covenant will be inaugurated. We see, then, that the blood is to be applied in cancelation of the sins of the whole world as an offset for the sin of Adam--
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which includes his race.
At the beginning of the New Dispensation the world begins life anew, so to speak--not individually, not personally, but collectively, through the Mediator. The merit of the Mediator is to be applied. It is the Mediator who makes satisfaction for the sins of the world; and all the resulting blessings come through the Mediator's hands. Throughout the Millennial Age whoever would have life must get it through the Lifegiver, who will give it under the terms of the New Covenant. (`I John 5:12`.) None can get his share of the blessing except by acceptance of the terms of the New Covenant, and by endeavor to live up to them. All who do so will be helped, and granted grace sufficient through the Mediator.
While the sprinkling of the blood upon the Mercy-Seat on behalf of all the people takes place before Restitution begins, or before the right to live can be given to any of the Ancient Worthies, nevertheless, those who would get God's blessing, His uplifting influence, must become Israelites--that is, become believers in God, by believing in the Mediator, who will be God's Representative. This Law will be applicable to the whole world. If mankind would get everlasting life, they must accept Christ and join themselves to this earthly Kingdom class. Christ's Kingdom must rule the earth until all the wicked are destroyed. --`I Corinthians 15:24-26`.
NEW COVENANT BENEFITS WORLD-WIDE
All mankind will receive some benefit from the New Covenant, irrespective of acceptance of Christ. That benefit will be that they will be awakened from the tomb. As the Scriptures tell us, as by one man condemnation passed upon all, so likewise through one man justification to life is to pass upon all. (`Romans 5:12,18`.) Therefore, we would say that the benefits of the New Covenant will be applicable to everybody. If God had foreseen that nobody would adopt this arrangement, that fact no doubt would have altered His Plan.
All of the accounts against humanity having been canceled by Justice, mankind will be turned over to the Mediator. If man were not put under the Mediator, if he were kept under Divine Justice, he would immediately be condemned, because of his inability to do right. Therefore the Father will not take cognizance of sinners. They will be left to the Mediator. All who will be obedient will receive the blessings of the Kingdom, and those who do not become obedient under those conditions will go into the Second Death.
THE SIN UNTO DEATH
During the Gospel Age, the only ones who can commit the sin unto death, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, are those who have been enlightened of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul says, "As touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the Heavenly Gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the Age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance." (`Hebrews 6:4-6`. R.V.) Their sin would be wilful, otherwise called "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit."
Therefore only the Church are on trial now. We who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit are on trial for life or death. Those who now die the Second Death will have no opportunity in the future. If these begotten of the Holy Spirit are faithful, they will be granted to be of the Little Flock class. Those of the spirit-begotten class who fail to attain a place in the Little Flock, will, if overcomers eventually, receive life on a lower plane. They will be the Great Company. But if they fail to attain either of these positions, the only thing remaining for them is the Second Death.
As for the world, their Day of Judgment has not yet come. The world is still in condemnation through Father Adam--not recognized as having any rights at all. Some of the world are excellent people; but even these have neither part nor lot in the salvation of the present time. The blessed arrangement for them is in the Millennial Age, when all of their sins and iniquities will be forgotten.
Just as our sins are now canceled, so likewise will the whole world go free from the condemnation of sin absolutely,
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when the world shall have accepted of Christ, the great Mediator.
But they will, nevertheless, suffer certain judgments, or punishments, or stripes, for the deeds of this present life. This will not be because Justice will hold over anything against them, but because the weaknesses of human nature will have left wounds in their flesh. With them also it will be true that if they shall sin against the spirit of holiness, the Holy Spirit, knowingly and wilfully, the penalty will be condemnation to the Second Death.
Our Lord Jesus said that all manner of sin should be forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. But the Pharisees, to whom these words were addressed, could not commit this sin, because they had not the fulness of knowledge.--`Matthew 12:31,32`.
FORGIVENESS OF SIN ABSOLUTE
When God recognizes the satisfaction of Divine Justice and cleans the slate so far as sinners are concerned, this does not mean that He has merely transferred the account to Jesus, who will hold it against them. Our Lord Jesus will not hold against mankind the things which the Father has forgotten. On the contrary, as the Representative of the Father, the Lord will be glad to give mankind the benefit of that forgiveness, merely holding them at a distance from the Father--standing between as Mediator--to give them time for restoration, development of character, etc., taking away the stoniness of their hearts.
The Lord says through the Prophet, "Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." The Apostle Paul calls attention to this statement. He points out that under the Law Covenant this was not done, but that the sins remained; for atonement was made afresh for them year by year. The inferior sacrifices could not take away sin, but the original sins remained. (`Hebrews 10:1-4`.) This New Covenant in Christ, however, will absolutely take away sins. See `Jeremiah 31:31-34`; `Ezekiel 36:25-29`.
FUTURE REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS
The Scriptures tell us that "out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (`Isaiah 2:3`.) The Ancient Worthies are to be made princes in all the earth. (`Psalm 45:16`.) This, of course, would appeal first and primarily to the Jew, who would naturally be the first to come under the new regulations. We may not say that all of the Jews will do so, but we believe that a considerable number of them will. In time others will join them. There are many good people who have not taken the vow of consecration to the Lord, but who would like to help rather than to hinder others. Such will in due time attach themselves to the Kingdom, which shall be "the desire of all nations."
In the case of the Ancient Worthies their freedom from imperfection will make them conspicuous. As the world comes to know about these, they will say, Are not these God's people? Mankind will perceive that God has rewarded the Ancient Worthies by giving them a better resurrection, and will learn that their better resurrection was given because of faithfulness in the past.
COVENANT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD CONDITIONAL
Christ, having laid down the price of the sins of the whole world, will eventually hand that price over to Justice. The price having been accepted by Justice, the sins of the whole world will be remitted; and everything will be turned over to the great Mediator. After the inauguration of the New Covenant, it will be the part of the people to strive to come up to the requirements of that Covenant; although if they then unwittingly violate God's Law, they will not be amenable to that Law, during the Mediatorial Reign; for the Mediator will stand between them and the Law.
The Mediator will not hold against any one the transgressions of this present life. This does not mean that mankind will have bodies which will give them no trouble; but that under the arrangements of the New Covenant, this better Mediator purposes to help them out of the difficulties that are theirs by reason of their fallen condition. He will help the people to understand the requirements of the New Covenant.
The satisfaction of Justice is necessary before any one can experience Restitution. Even the Ancient Worthies cannot be blessed without this satisfaction of Justice. After the Mediator has made satisfaction to Divine Justice, and has been privileged to inaugurate the New Covenant, the Ancient Worthies will be the first to be blessed under it. They will have in their resurrection complete Restitution to human perfection; for during their lifetime they had this testimony, that they pleased God.--`Heb. 11:5`.
The Ancient Worthies cannot, of course, enter into the New Covenant arrangement until they shall have been awakened from the sleep of death; therefore, as stated in the foregoing, the claims of Justice must be met before they are awakened. As soon as God will have made the New Covenant with them, these Ancient Worthies will form the nucleus of the earthly phase of the Kingdom. The earthly seed of Abraham will be added to, from all the different families, or nations, of the world.
Covenant relationship with God means perfection. Mankind will be reaching this perfection during the thousand years of Christ's Kingdom. But they will not enter into it until the end of the thousand years, when the Mediator will turn them over to God. At the close of that time, they will be privileged to enter into this Covenant
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relationship with Jehovah. Then they must stand or fall individually. As we read, at the end of the thousand years Satan shall be loosed for a little season; and all that love unrighteousness will be deceived by him. The remainder of mankind, having passed their test successfully, will be received into everlasting life. Then they will be in covenant relationship with God--without a Mediator--just as Adam was in covenant relationship with his Creator before sin entered into the world.
THE CHURCH NOT UNDER THE NEW COVENANT
The Church is not under the New Covenant; therefore it is not proper to speak of the Church as being blessed by the New Covenant. But the Church receives a great blessing and privilege in respect to the New Covenant. If there were to be no New Covenant, there would be no need of a Mediator, or of the Better Sacrifices whereby it is to be instituted.
St. Paul states that God has made us able ministers of the New Covenant, thus indicating that we have something to do with the preparation for it. (`2 Corinthians 3:6`.) Unless there were Better Sacrifices, there would be no basis for that New Covenant. The sufferings which the Church undergo at this present time are a blessed privilege to us; for we are ministers of that New Covenant, in the sense that we are serving it by training for future service--after it shall have been inaugurated.
Suppose that there was a great building in process of erection. The men working upon the construction of that building might be said to be greatly benefited by that building--not that they would be benefited in the future,
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when the building is in use, but they are being benefited during its construction. So now the Church class receives certain blessings and privileges in connection with the New Covenant. Later, the entire world will be blessed thereby, in a very different way.
During this Gospel Age, God is dealing merely with the Church, not with the world. There is, however, some resemblance between the blessings of God now coming upon the Church and those coming upon the world by and by. Then the Lord will rewrite His Law in the hearts of mankind, as it was originally written in Adam's heart. At the end of the thousand years, all mankind will be fleshly images of God, except those found unworthy and destroyed in the Second Death.
The Church are said to have new hearts now--right views of things. In the case of the Church, however, there is not a taking away of the stoniness of heart, but there is a new nature, a new heart. This, of course, has something to do with the flesh, since the flesh has something to do with the New Creature. The Law of God is recognized in the flesh, under the compulsion of the New Creature.
TYPICAL DISTRIBUTION OF BLESSINGS
The New Covenant is the blessing which the Church gives to mankind. It is God's Covenant, of course. God promised to arrange this matter; and He has so arranged that it shall go to the world through Christ the Head and the Church, His Body. It is by the Better Sacrifices that the giving to the world of this New Covenant blessing is possible.
If, then, the Church are to give these things, they must first have had them. No man can give away what he did not first possess. This thought that the New Covenant is a testament, or gift, of Christ to the world is made very prominent in the Scriptures. It is a gift in which the Church shares; for "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we be dead with Him, we shall live with Him"; and all things are ours because we are His.
These things are clearly set forth in the Old Testament types. St. Paul explains that Isaac was the heir of Abraham, and was typical of The Christ. Isaac did not receive his inheritance by a New Covenant, but by the primary, or original, Covenant. This Covenant was not the Law Covenant.
In `Micah 4:1-4` we read that in the last days, "the mountain [Kingdom] of the House of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains [kingdoms], and many people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, and to the House of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths."
The succeeding verses of the chapter show the influence that will be exerted. The blessings and prosperity will then be with those who will be in harmony with God. But now it is different. "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (`2 Timothy 3:12`.) They "shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My name's sake." (`Matthew 5:11`.) These things indicate that those faithful to God during this Age will have more hardship than have those who are unfaithful.
Many of the worldly, even the wicked of the world, have great prosperity at the present time. (The world thinks that we are making our lives miserable by the course which we pursue. But we are not doing this; on the contrary, we are enjoying ourselves and are having a good time. We have much advantage every way.) In the future, God tells us, it will be different. Then, whoever does wickedly shall suffer; and whoever does righteously shall receive blessing. When that time comes, the blessing of Restitution will be of God; and the only way to gain that blessing will be by coming into harmony with the new order of things in the Kingdom of Messiah.
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"THE SPIRITS OF JUST MEN MADE PERFECT"
"But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the City of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the General Assembly and Church of the First-born, which are written in Heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect."--`Hebrews 12:22,23`.
THE Apostle is here addressing the Church, and is pointing down to the end, or consummation, of this Age. The context indicates that at the end of this Age everything that can be shaken will be shaken--all will be shaken out except that which is unshakeable. And the unshakeable thing is the Kingdom, which will then be ushered in. The Apostle likens the time of its inauguration to the inauguration of the Law Covenant at Mt. Sinai, when all the people heard the thunderings, and the noise of the trumpets, and saw the lightnings and the mountain smoking; and when Moses "drew near unto the thick darkness where God was"; and Moses went up into the mountain. All of this was typical--the sealing of the Law Covenant at the hands of the typical mediator, Moses.--`Exodus 20:18-22`.
The antitype is what we are approaching--what will be reached by the Church at the end of this Age. There will then be commotion, strife, in the world--thunderings, lightnings. And as in the type, so in the antitype, the people will be discouraged, and in great fear and trouble. By the end of the time of trouble, the New Covenant will be inaugurated. The Mediator will be Jesus the Messiah, as the glorified Head, and the Church His Body.
The Apostle says [see Diaglott rendering] that we are approaching the General Assembly of the Church of the First-borns. In this will be included Christ, the Head, and all the faithful of this Age, of the past and of the present. It will include both the Little Flock and the Great Company; for together they constitute the Church of the First-borns, whose names are written in Heaven. Consequently this demonstration will be made after the Little Flock shall have been gathered. We are every day approaching nearer to this time--are getting into it somewhat even now.
The Apostle also says we are approaching the place where "the spirits of just men" will be made perfect. It would not be reasonable to suppose that he would first mention the Church of the First-borns, including them all and then mention a part of them. Hence we conclude that this phrase refers to another class. Our minds naturally go out in inquiry, thinking of the Ancient Worthies --a class who are merely waiting until the Church shall be glorified. Thus these come in here in proper course, or order. So after telling about the assembling of the Church of the First-borns, St. Paul tells of this other class--"the spirits of just men made perfect." But there is another reason why these could not be the Church, and would be the Ancient Worthies--and that is that neither the Church nor the Great Company will be "men made perfect." The very condition on which the Church become
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of the spirit class is that they give up the human nature.
But how shall we apply this expression to the Ancient Worthies? We do this by the transposition of a few words, thus: "We are coming to the perfect men whose spirits are just." And the Ancient Worthies were just, although they had fleshly imperfections. The Apostle has referred to this class and told us that they will have a better resurrection, though not so good a resurrection as the Church will receive. The Ancient Worthies will attain the better resurrection in that they will be perfected flesh when they come up from the tomb. As they were just in spirit, so will they be perfect men in the beginning of the Restitution time.
The figure of a mountain is one commonly used in the Scriptures for a kingdom. Mount Zion represents the Kingdom of God. This Mount Zion Kingdom is to include the whole earth. This Kingdom is about to be established. Its establishment is what the Apostle is discussing. A kingdom is in figure also called a City; but strictly speaking, a mountain represents the nation, and a city represents the government of that nation. This figure of speech is very common today. If we read that Berlin does thus and so, we know that the German Government is referred to; or if we read of St. Petersburg's doing thus and so, it means the Russian Government; similarly, Washington would represent the Government of the United States, and London, the British Government.
Our text has reference to the holy Kingdom of God. And then, not to lose its identity, but to carry the thought that the City represents the whole Kingdom, the Apostle speaks of the City of God as the Heavenly Jerusalem. Thus he carries our minds to the thought that as the literal Jerusalem was the capital of the typical Kingdom of God, so there will be a New Jerusalem--a higher Government --which is to be God's Kingdom to rule over the whole earth. Thus these various pictures are used to show us the antitype of the kingdom of earthly Zion, of Jerusalem. Then follow the other statements, and the one that appertains to the righteous in spirit made perfect. These were already righteous in spirit, and now they will be made perfect, by having this better Resurrection which the Lord has promised.
In connection with this we have the statement, "an innumerable company of angels." These we think will be the spiritual angels of God, who have had to do with so much service for God. We think they are the same angels of whom our Lord spoke when He said that He would confess us before His Father and before the Holy angels--those who have been ministers to the saints all the way down through this Age. It is very fitting that they should meet us, and that they should see our introduction to the Father.
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SPIRITUAL PROMISES TO NATURAL ISRAEL
IN THE Scriptures the word spiritual is generally used in a particular way referring to those who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit, as our Lord and all those who accept Him and consecrate themselves to do the will of God. All promises and all things which appertain to these are particularly classified and styled as spiritual promises and spiritual things. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (`I Cor. 2:14`.) So, then, if God gave anything spiritual to the Israelites before the Spiritual Dispensation, they did not appreciate it, since none could do so except through spirit-begetting.
Nevertheless, there were spiritual things given to Natural Israel, which they were unable to receive. The Apostle says, "The Law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under Sin." (`Rom. 7:14`.) That Law given at Sinai came from the Spirit Being of the highest order--God Himself. It did not take hold merely of the fleshly instincts, and control the body alone, but it took hold of the heart, the mind, the will. None of the Jews could keep that Law because they were sold under Sin. It was a spiritual Law that could be kept only by a spirit-begotten person or a person in the image of God.
SPIRITUAL LESSONS IN THE LAW
Certain of the lessons of the Law were spiritual, also; as, for instance, the rock in the wilderness, which, when smitten, gave forth water abundantly, and the manna, each afforded a spiritual lesson. But Israel did not understand anything about the Spiritual Rock or the Spiritual Water of Life. So of the Law that was given to them: they could see only the outer part, or shell. Nor could any see further until the due time for the begetting of the Spirit. We may say, then, that a great many spiritual things were given to Israel, but only such of them as were Israelites indeed, and in harmony with God would be made able, in due time, to see these.
The spiritual things were in the Law all the time, but they were not disclosed, not manifest, not seen by the Jew, because of his own condition of mind; and the first Israelite who was permitted to see spiritual things was Jesus Himself, after He was begotten of the Spirit and able to appreciate these things. But the Jewish nation, not coming up to the required standard, was not able to appreciate them. Certain ones who desired to walk in Jesus' steps received through Him a covering, and they also were begotten of the Holy Spirit and could appreciate spiritual things. Thus the Apostle says that the righteousness of the Law is "fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." We cannot keep the Law in our flesh, but in our hearts, our minds. "With the mind I serve the Law of God."--`Rom. 8:4`; `7:25`.
BASIS OF SPIRITUAL INSIGHT
When God made a Covenant with Abraham, saying, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed," He said that Abraham's seed should be as the stars of heaven and as the sand of the seashore. This is a spiritual Promise, which, of course, the Jews at that time were not able to appreciate, as the Apostle Peter intimates. When realizing that as a nation they had crucified the Son of God, many said, What shall we do? St. Peter said, "Repent...for this Promise is unto you, and to your children." (`Acts 2:38,39`.) It was a spiritual Promise and belonged to them, but on condition that they would take certain steps.
Only a few of the Jews were in the proper attitude to meet this condition. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power [the privilege, the right] to become the sons of God. (`John 1:11,12`.) And these, coming into the relation of Spiritual Israelites, were enabled by this begetting of the Holy Spirit to appreciate
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the spiritual things given to such Israelites. All the truths that we have are drawn from those things God gave to the Natural Israelites. And we can understand them, though the Natural Israelite could not. The Apostle says, "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the Election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." (`Rom. 11:7`.) So then, they were seeking for the spiritual, whether they understood it or not. Except the few, however, they did not attain the spiritual, because of an improper condition of heart. But the spiritual must have been there for them to seek after, else they could not have sought it.
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FEAR A CAUSE OF GREAT NERVOUS TENSION
"The Lord is My Helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."--`Hebrews 13:6`.
FEAR is one of the greatest evils in the world, causing much nervous tension and distress. It is a result of man's being out of harmony with the Creator. We may be sure that the angels have no fear. God maintains them in their peaceful condition because they are in harmony with Him. We may be sure, also, that this was the case with our first parents. When they were created they had no fear. Divine protection was over them. But when sin came in, the curse followed. Being for six thousand years under the reign of Sin and Death, man has become very fearful. He realizes that there are forces outside of himself with which he cannot cope. And this knowledge robs him of much of the pleasure of life.
There are a few people who have lost this fear, but these are the exceptions. Our text tells us of some who do not fear, and shows us why this is a reasonable condition. They no longer fear what man can do unto them, because the Lord is their Helper. The fear of man is a greater fear than the fear of beasts. As the poet wrote,
"Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn." On account of sin many have become murderers. Though they are restrained by the law from committing the overt act, they have the murder spirit, the selfish spirit. This leads to all kinds of wrong-doing--unrighteousness. Those who will not actually take life, may commit murder by the use of slanderous words. Thus they inspire fear in the minds of others.
THE SOURCE OF RELIEF
The Psalmist speaks of some who had gotten rid of this fear of man--of such were Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Prophets. And what was true of them should be true of the consecrated Body of Christ. The reason for this peace of mind is that these have come into special relationship with God. By the Covenant of Sacrifice, made possible to them by the Savior, they have become sons of God; "and if children, then heirs; heirs of God,
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and joint-heirs with Christ," their Lord. God thus being their Father has a deep interest in them; and so they learn to trust His Love and Wisdom and Power.
With this confidence in God, then, these have no fear. He has assured them that He is able to make all things work together for their good. If at first they found that as followers of Jesus they had more trials, more difficulties from the world, the flesh and the Adversary than any other people in the world, this realization may have filled them with alarm and intimidated them. But as they have gone to the Father in the spirit of prayer and hearkened to the message which He has sent through the Prophets and Apostles, they have learned that He is dealing with them as New Creatures. Gradually they learn that "no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly."
The Father will not withhold anything necessary for the proper development of His children. He also promises that we shall not be tempted above that we are able to endure, lest some injury come to us. Thus we see that He is supplying all our needs, enabling us to lay down our earthly lives. And as we learn the proper lessons from our experiences, we find that perfect love casts out all servile fear of our Heavenly Father; for we love and trust Him. We have no fear of the Adversary, because we know that the Lord will not permit the Adversary to injure us, if we keep close to Him. And if God permits us to have experiences of trial from the Adversary and our fellowmen, He does so to the intent that these may work out good to us.
"My God, I set my seal that Thou art true,
Of Thy good promise not one thing hath failed!"
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INDIVIDUAL CONQUEST OF OUR INHERITANCE
"Be thou strong and very courageous."--`Joshua 1:7`.
THE words of our text were addressed by the Lord to Joshua, who was leader of Israel after the death of Moses. He had special need of these encouraging words. The Israelites were a stiff-necked generation. It was difficult for any one to be their leader. Especially difficult was it because Moses had been for many years with them. It is always difficult for a smaller man to take a larger man's place.
In some respects it was easier to direct Israel while they were anticipating the coming into the Promised Land, before they had entered it. During the forty years in the wilderness they had learned to depend on the Lord. In a few brief words we have given us quite a clear idea of the Lord's manner of dealing with His people during these forty years. Moses, in exhorting the people to fear and love the Lord, and in recounting their provocations of Him, tells them that they shall possess the Land, and adds, "And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no. And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.
"Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee." (`Deut. 8:2-5`.) Israel had very few battles during the time of their wandering. The Amalekites had had some little skirmishes with them, but on the whole they had experienced very little trouble,
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and yet they had rebelled against the Lord and against Moses more than once.
Now, their enemies were entrenched in the Land of Canaan, and it would require strength and courage to take the Land. Their instructions from the Lord were that they should occupy Canaan. God was taking the land from the Canaanites because, like the Sodomites, they had gone as far in their wickedness as Divine Wisdom saw best to permit. Instead of taking the Canaanites away as the Sodomites had been taken away, the Lord caused the Israelites to conquer them and to wrest the land from them.
THE CONQUEST OF CANAAN A TYPE
In Israel's taking possession of the land of Canaan, we believe there was a typical significance. In some respects the Israelites, warring against the Canaanites, typified the war that the New Creature has with the flesh. In proportion as the New Creature takes possession of the entrenched positions of the old creature, it overcomes and gets possession of the land. The New Creatures, God's people, are under the leadership of the antitypical Joshua. They are to overcome the weaknesses and meannesses of the fallen nature, to the best of their ability.
In the case of Natural Israelites with the Canaanites, the latter were strongly entrenched in the land, and they were not to be overcome without many battles. The Canaanites had their mountain fastnesses, to which they could retreat. These typify the fastnesses in our nature to which the fallen inclinations retreat when we find it impossible as New Creatures to vanquish them. As St. Paul says, "Ye cannot do the things that ye would." (`Gal. 5:17`.) But our ability to gain the victory will be in proportion to our faith in God and our reliance on Him.
Thus it was with the Israelites. In proportion as they trusted the Lord, they had success in getting possession of the land, conquering their inheritance. With the exception of the tribe of Levi, a certain inheritance was given to each tribe. So with us as individual New Creatures. There is a certain inheritance to be apportioned to each of us. We cannot conquer for each other. Each must conquer his own inheritance individually.
The words of our text were addressed to Joshua, the leader of Israel. The words can be understood as referring to all the Israelites, but especially to Joshua because he was their leader. The word Joshua means savior, deliverer. The Greek form of the Hebrew word Joshua is Jesus. As Joshua was to deliver the Lord's people, and give them possession of the Land of Promise, so Jesus is to deliver God's Spiritual Israel, and give them their inheritance.
The words of our text then implied that there would be trials and difficulties connected with the conquest of Canaan: "Be thou strong and very courageous." Those trials and difficulties would require strength and courage in the typical Israelite. Likewise this is true of all who would be sharers with our Lord in the antitypical Promised Land.
There is a difference between being strong and being courageous. One might be strong, invulnerable in the position he has taken, and yet not be courageous for further conquests. The difference between these two qualities is particularly illustrated in the Little Flock and the Great Company. The Lord's true people should be strong in their determination to lay down their lives in self-sacrifice, that by laying down the earthly life they may become partakers of the Divine life. God has no blessing for those who will not put forth earnest effort.
Even the Great Company must be strong, or they will not get the palms of victory. The difference between the Little Flock and the Great Company is that while the Great Company will finally overcome, with the Lord's help, yet they will not have been very courageous. Therefore they cannot be of the Little Flock, who are close followers of the great Leader, our Joshua, in battling for their life, gladly laying down their lives in the service of Jehovah. Joshua represents the "more than conqueror" class. The strength of the Lord is supplied to this class. Therefore they are very courageous in overcoming everything that is in opposition to the Divine will.
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PRACTICAL LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF ELI
"It is the Lord; let Him do what seemeth Him good."--`1 Samuel 3:18`.
THROUGH Samuel the Lord had sent Eli a message indicating that disaster would come to his house. The words of our text were spoken when he heard that the calamity was intended of the Lord, and indicate therefore submission before the disaster rather than afterward. So these words represent humility on the part of Eli.
Eli had been a judge in Israel for many years; and so far as the record goes, he was thoroughly exemplary himself--just, in all his dealings. But his sons were styled "sons of Belial"--they were wicked in various ways. While, therefore, Eli's own influence was for the benefit of the nation of Israel, here was a contrary influence which grew up under his protection, under his sanction. Had these evil-doers been others than those of his own family, doubtless Eli would have dealt with them according to his authority as a judge. We have here an illustration of a man who, though godly himself, was weak as the head of his family. As the head of his household he should have trained up his children in the way they should go. He should have trained them up in righteousness; otherwise they should have ceased to be members of his household, and should have come under certain restraint, which he, as a law-giver, should have enforced.
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THE FLAW IN ELI'S CHARACTER
From this story we may draw a lesson as to what God expects of us and our families. If a child were meddlesome, thieving, immoral or otherwise an injurious person, the Christian parent should not allow such things to go on. He is obligated to bring the matter to some kind of termination. If, however, a child has a thought different from our own as to what constitutes reverence to God, we are not to assume that he should be brought under restraint.
We are to recall that this message came to Eli through the boy Samuel. Samuel had, after the manner of a Prophet in those days, heard the voice of the Lord calling him and speaking to him. Thinking it was Eli's voice, he had gone to him and asked, What will you have? And Eli replied that he had not called him, and directed him to lie down again. This was repeated three times, and Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child. He therefore instructed Samuel again to lie down, but that if the call was repeated he should answer, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth," indicating his readiness to do Him service. Samuel did as he was directed, and the
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Lord told him that because of Eli's carelessness in respect to the doings of his family, they should be cut off from the priesthood.
ELI'S BEAUTIFUL SUBMISSION
It was quite a remarkable thing that Eli should manifest no resentment against the channel the Lord had used! Eli had received Samuel into his family when the child had been consecrated by his parents. Now, finding that apparently God was passing him by and communicating with him through the child, the circumstance would have furnished sufficient cause for a proud spirit to rise up in resentment. But Eli's course proved that his own heart was tender. He answered, when Samuel explained what the Lord had told him, "It is the Lord; let Him do what seemeth Him good." It is the Lord's judgment. It is surely right! surely good! Let the Lord do what seemeth to Him good, even though it means disaster to my own family, even though it means the cutting off of my own family from the priesthood.
This cutting off from the priesthood would mean that the sons of Eli would die, for they were the priests in the regular lineal order of the Aaronic priesthood. This is a very beautiful example of absolute submission. If Eli was weak in some respects, he was strong in others, as is shown in his humility and submission. Those who are meek and teachable themselves, often find great difficulty in being sufficiently positive in their dealing with others who are properly under their control. The quality of character which would tend to make them meek and submissive toward the Lord, would tend to make them kind and lenient toward others. But it is good to be able to carry out with firmness the will of the Lord in respect to others, and at the same time be meek and submissive in respect to the Lord, His providence and arrangements.
LESSONS FOR THE CHRISTIAN
As Christians we may learn valuable lessons from this incident. We should make sure as to our willingness to receive the Truth in whatever way the Lord is pleased to send it to us, whether from the mouth of a little child, or whether unlearned men, like St. Peter and St. John, may bring it.
It may have been difficult for the priests of the Apostles' day to hear those unlearned men speaking with power the Message from God; and they would say, Surely God would not speak through such stammering lips! God would surely not pass us by--we who have spent years in study, and who are recognized as priests of the Divine order! Being in this wrong attitude of heart and mind, they rejected not only those humble men with their Message, but also the Lord Himself.
This is also the spirit of the world. Whoever is faithful in speaking the Word of God from the Bible will have less and less attention from the worldly-wise. An ever-increasing number of people are thinking of the works of creation as having come about by processes of Evolution. More and more they are thinking that the Bible is not the Word of God; but that the Apostles were merely deluded men, deceived men; that Jesus Himself did not know what He was doing. They think that He was a good man, that doubtless God Himself was with Him, because of the good that flowed from His teaching. And yet they think that they could give forth better wisdom-- these great teachers who would like to make a new Bible after their own heart!
In our own day, the worldly-wise are looking from the wrong standpoint. They are looking in the wrong direction, they are not looking to see the New Dispensation now coming in. They will not recognize what is now taking place until the sunlight of Truth begins to flood the world. Then, turning about, they will perceive the real Sun of Righteousness, and begin to grasp the whole situation. We are glad that they will turn about and take a view of matters from a different standpoint. But all who are God's true children are ready to receive God's Message from whatever source it may come to them.
A specially important thought in our text is that Eli was submissive to the calamity. This was a good condition of heart for him. Thus, not striving against the Divine will, but meekly bowing to it, he showed that his trouble was merely that of weakness of the flesh. We find that there is now a similar condition existing. It is the duty of the Lord's people today to recognize that the present order of nominal church systems is passing away, and will presently be overthrown in the great time of trouble. This message naturally enough causes resentment in the hearts of a great many. They have been boasting of their great financial power, their strength, etc. And the mention of the fall of this would naturally awaken their opposition. We must not be surprised, therefore, that their anger is aroused against us, as we tell them of the time of trouble that is before us.
HEART LOYAL, BUT WEAK
To Eli, this message that his family would be cut off from the priesthood was a severe blow. And so our Message about the Royal Priesthood is not a palatable message to nominal Christendom. But some of the Lord's people among them today are not in sympathy with the trend of affairs. These are the ones who will say, "It is the Lord; let Him do what seemeth Him good!"
This will be the attitude of the Great Company. They are weak in standing forth for the Lord, and yet submissive in the time of trouble, and loyal to the Lord's cause and the interests affiliated therewith.
Samuel would seem to represent more clearly the Little Flock class, and Eli the Great Company class--the latter being weak in some respects, but loyal at heart to the Lord. But it is the Samuel type that we should seek to copy--so fully out of sympathy are we with unrighteousness and sin, and so fully in accord with righteousness. We are ready to speak God's Message, which must necessarily be a very unpleasant one. As it is unpleasant for us now to tell forth the approaching disaster that will involve both Church and State, so to Samuel it must have been a very unpleasant duty to go to his best friend, his benefactor, bearing from the Lord a message of disaster to himself and his family.
We would do well to speak sympathetically of these things, rather than coldly, rather than exultingly. We do sympathize with them, both in the condition of things at the present time and also regarding the things we recognize to be coming upon them. More and more do we receive word of ministers, telling us that they perceive that the power of God is departing from their congregations, and that evidences are on every hand that they have been wrong doctrinally, and that the general trend of the present time is toward social unrest and upheaval.
"O! teach me, Lord, the art
With Wisdom to remove
The errors that deceive the heart,
And Truth to clearly prove.
"O! arm me with the mind,
Meek Lamb, that was in Thee;
And let my fervent zeal be joined
With grace and charity."
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THE GOLDEN CALF
--SEPTEMBER 21.--`EXODUS 32:15-20,30-35`.--
"Little children, keep yourselves from idols."--`1 John 5:21`.
THE Israelites experienced a severe trial of faith and obedience soon after they had entered into covenant relationship with God. In their trial they failed utterly. The Covenant was broken. However, after punishing them, God renewed the Covenant with them. This constituted a fresh manifestation of Divine Mercy.
The circumstances of this testing are a part of this lesson. Moses, by Divine direction, after the making of the Covenant, went up into Mt. Sinai, taking with him Joshua as his servant. He was gone forty days--a comparatively long period, under the circumstances. The Israelites felt themselves very much like children in the hands of Moses. To them he was God's representative in a very special sense. His prolonged absence gave room for the cultivation of faith, patience, trust.
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They remembered the trying experiences through which they had passed. The Egyptians and slavery were behind them; the Amalekites, who already had attacked them, were still their enemies and might renew the attack. What would they do in the absence of Moses whose upheld hands had brought them God's favor and prosperity in battle?
Here worldly wisdom came in. Aaron, the high priest, the brother of Moses and his representative in leadership, was perplexed as to how to keep the people from utter discouragement, fear, etc. They seemed to need and to call for a representative of God visible to their eyes. They apparently were unable fully to trust to the God whom they could not see, after His special representative, Moses, was out of their sight.
The leaders of the people took counsel together and determined that they would make a representation of Jehovah--an image which the people, looking upon, could use as an instrument of worship. We are not to suppose that the Israelites recognized the golden calf as their God Jehovah, but used it merely as a symbol, or representation, just as the heathen use idols as representatives of their gods, and just as some Christians consider it proper to use the crucifix as a representation of Christ--not to worship, but merely to assist the faith and to hold the attention.
Today's lesson seems clearly to indicate that God was greatly displeased with their symbolical representation of Himself. This was one of His commands given to the Israelites: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness" of God, or of anything, to bow down before it and worship it as a symbol of God.
MAKING THE GOLDEN CALF
We are not to suppose that the calf was made of solid metal. It is not at all probable that all the jewelry of all the Israelites, gathered together, would have been nearly enough to make a calf of any size of solid metal. The supposition is that, after the manner of that time, the calf was made either of clay or wood and then laminated, or covered over with the molten metal--the gold which had constituted the jewelry of the people. This in turn doubtless was graven, or tooled. Having made the idol, the people rejoiced in it as an evidence of God in their midst. They gave themselves up to a season of frolic--singing, dancing, feasting.
This was the condition of things at the end of the forty days spent by Moses in the mount with God. As he came down from the mountain with the tables of the Law, he heard the shouts of the people, and then beheld them worshiping the golden calf and offering sacrifices and incense to it. Moses was angry. He was the mediator between God and Israel--the representative of both. He had a right to be angry; for he was charged by God with the responsibility of that nation, and he realized that a serious crime against the Divine Covenant had taken place during his absence.
Moses dashed the tables of stone--the tables of the Law--into fragments, indicating that the Covenant was broken. He went down to the people, angry against them, as God's representative. Armed with Divine authority, he let fall upon them a just penalty for their departure from God and rapid retrogression into sin.
Still, as the representative of the people, Moses was a patriot of the highest order. He went to God in prayer, and besought that if the penalty of this sin was the casting off of his people he might be blotted out instead. This was in response to God's proposition that Moses alone seemed to be loyal, and that God would make of him the nation who should inherit the promises made to Israel. Such patriotism as Moses here evinced has surely not often been equalled. It meant loyalty to his work as Israel's representative and mediator, and at the same time loyalty to God, whom he also represented.
"KEEP YOURSELVES FROM IDOLS"
Let us now apply the lesson to Spiritual Israel. After the Christian has left the world, the slavery, the sin, after he has passed the bitter experiences of Marah, after he has had manifestations of God's favor, after he has partaken of the Bread from Heaven, after he has entered fully into Covenant relationship with God--there comes a time when he must walk by faith, and not by sight. He is being proved by the Lord. If he fails in this lesson, as the typical Israelites did, it will be a serious matter for him.
We are not meaning to suggest that any Christian would be liable to make a golden image literally. We do mean to say, however, that this matter of making images, and of allowing them to divert and absorb our worship of God is one of the greatest trials and tests which comes to Spiritual Israelites. The golden calf which some set up to worship is business. They give themselves wholly to it, sacrificing their time and energy. They treat it as a god. The love of money and of the things which money can procure leads into idolatry, and thereby breaks their covenant with the Lord.
Others idolize the opposite sex, and give all that they possess for its favor and fellowship. They worship the creature more than the Creator, as the Apostle explains. They are making a great mistake. Jesus declared this, saying, He that loves father, or mother, or children, or self or any other creature more than Me is not worthy of Me.
Still another idol is to be noted--the idol of sectarianism. St. Paul warned against this idol, saying, "One of you says, I am of Paul; another, I am of Apollos; another, I am of Peter." (`I Cor. 1:12`; `3:4`.) Then he inquires, Is not this reverencing of men a form of idolatry? putting it, "Are ye not carnal?" The same principle we may apply to ourselves today, and guard ourselves against sectarian worship. If one says, "I am of Calvin"; another, "I am of Luther"; another, "I am of Wesley"; etc., are not these evidences of carnality? And worse than this, is there not danger of worshiping the human institutions which bear these human names, and thus of having something to come
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between the soul of the Christian and his God? We believe that there is a serious danger along this line. We urge Spiritual Israelites that they cease to worship the creed idols, and that all God's children turn from idols of every kind, and worship and reverence God alone.
The tendency to formulate and reverence the creeds instead of the Bible has been manifest ever since the first one was made--the Nicene creed--A.D. 325. Every creed tends to take the place of the Bible, just as the Talmud does with the Jews. Jesus spoke against this, saying, "Ye do make void the Word of God through your traditions."
The creeds of Christendom are our Christian traditions respecting the Truth. God's intention evidently was that His people should have no creed except the Bible as a whole. They were to believe all of the Word of God and to search the Scriptures daily, to ascertain its teachings. Thus God's people were to grow in grace and knowledge, as would not be possible were creed idols to be set up and divert the attention of the Lord's people in various directions.
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TABLES OF THE LAW REPLACED
"Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness."--`Nehemiah 9:17`.
WHOEVER fails to see that Moses and Israel and the Law were types fails of getting the real lesson out of them. Moses was not merely a type of Jesus; but as St. Peter explains, he was a type of the entire Church of Christ, of which Jesus is the Head--the Church of Glory. St. Peter's words are, "Moses truly said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me."-- `Acts 3:22,23`.
Jesus was raised up first, and since Pentecost the raising up from amongst the brethren has progressed. The work will be consummated when the full number of the elect Church shall have been found, tested, proven and accepted to glory. Then the antitypical Moses will begin His great work of delivering all of mankind who desire to come back into harmony with God--all of whom were represented in the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Church of this Gospel Age is, as St. James declares (`1:18`), "A kind of first-fruits [to God] of His creatures." Otherwise it is called the Church of the First-borns, and was typically represented in the tribe of Levi, all of whom represented the first-borns of Israel, saved in the Passover. These first-borns were divided into two classes--the priests and their servants. The priests represented The Christ--High Priest and under priests. The Levites represented the remaining number of the overcomers.
The antitypical Priests will be made a Royal Priesthood. Jesus, the great High Priest, invested with kingly honors, will have associated with Himself the faithful Little Flock, a Royal Priesthood, His joint-heirs. The remainder of the overcoming Church are colaborers on a less glorious plane, yet spiritual. The work of all will be primarily to bless the people of the earth desiring to come into harmony with God, and typically represented in the remaining tribes of Israel.
THE FIRST TABLES OF THE LAW
The first tables of the Law were prepared by the Lord Himself, as well as written by Him. This represents how man in his creation was a perfect image of his Creator,
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formed, created, in full accord with the Divine will and fully expressive of the Divine Law. Adam needed no further preparation, and he needed no other law than that which was in and of himself as a perfect being.
But by reason of sin this Law was broken. Poor humanity no longer has a proper judgment respecting sin and righteousness. The original tables are shattered and have grown illegible. Man needs the great Mediator, to make reconciliation for his iniquity and then to rewrite the Law of God in his flesh.
Moses was instructed to hew out the two tables of the Law. This would represent that The Christ of glory is fully commissioned to prepare the hearts of mankind for the rewriting of the Divine Law. To prepare man to obey God's Law will require that they shall experience Restitution --lifting up out of sin and degradation. This work, committed to Moses in the type, is in the antitype committed to Christ.
The second coming of Moses down from the mountain with the two tables of the Law was peculiarly different from the presentation of the first tables, which were broken. Coming with the second tables, Moses' face shone; and it was necessary for him to put on a veil, which thereafter he wore when in the presence of the Israelites, but removed when going into the presence of God.
This is understood to signify that Christ's work as the Mediator, at His Second Advent, will be accompanied by a veiling of His glory, so that the world will not see Jesus. This He declared, "Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more; but ye shall see Me." However, the Apostle explains that the Church will be prepared to see Christ in His glory by being changed from the earthly nature to the Heavenly nature. "We shall see Him as He is"; for "we shall be like Him"--"changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye"; for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." (`I John 3:2`; `I Cor. 15:50-52`.) We remember that Saul of Tarsus saw Jesus thus in His glory "shining above the brightness of the sun" at noonday. Seeing him unveiled, Saul was smitten to the earth and seriously blinded.
The putting on of the veil (`Exodus 34:1,4,28-35`) represented that at the Second Advent of Christ, when He will accomplish His great work as Mediator for man and become their Leader into the Land of Promise--Paradise restored--He will veil His glory from mankind, and speak to them through the veil, and not directly from the spirit plane. While mankind will see Jesus no more, it will be to their advantage. Instead, they will see Him represented in the Ancient Worthies; as He declared, "Ye shall see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets."-- `Luke 13:28`.
Nor will that mean that mankind will merely see the Ancient Worthies as they were. Rather, the world will see them resurrected in human perfection, and therefore perfect, in the image of God, samples of what all mankind may attain unto, if they will but give heed to the words of the great Prophet--the antitypical Moses.
St. Peter tells us of that time, saying, "It shall come to pass that the soul that will not hear [obey] that Prophet [The Glorious Messiah] shall be destroyed from amongst the people."--`Acts 3:22,23`.
OTHER FEATURES OF THE TYPE
The anointing of the priests of the Aaronic priesthood typified the anointing of Jesus and His Royal Priesthood.
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As in the type, sacrifices were necessary to be offered before the anointing and consecration to the offices were possible, so it must be in the antitype. Jesus needed to offer up Himself, and by that offer of Himself to show His devotion and loyalty to God by sacrificing even unto death.
Similarly, those called to be members of the Body of Christ, the under priesthood, of which He is the High Priest, could consecrate to their office only by sacrifice. In the case of the typical High Priest the sacrifice was a bullock. The antitype was the Lord's own body. In the case of the typical under priests the sacrifice was the goat. The antitype is the flesh, the human nature of the Church. Thus when St. Paul exhorts the Church in respect to their portion, he says, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, and your reasonable service."--`Rom. 12:1`.
The same sacrifices which proved the loyalty of the typical high priest and the under priests became also sacrifices of atonement for the sins of the people--typical of the real sacrifices which are the basis for the forgiveness of the sins of the world and thus for the reconciliation of the world, in God's due time. These are the "better sacrifices," mentioned by St. Paul. (`Heb. 9:23`.) In other words, everything in the type was on a small scale, inferior to the antitype. The typical mediator offered typical sacrifices. The real Mediator offers "better sacrifices." The typical mediator led the typical tribes of Israel into the Land of Promise. The antitypical Mediator, during the thousand years of His Reign, will lead all who become people of God back to the blessings and privileges lost through Adam's disobedience, and redeemed by the Sacrifice at Calvary.
A MERCIFUL, GRACIOUS GOD
Our Golden Text describes the God who appeals to our hearts--the merciful One, gracious, ready to pardon, slow to anger, abundant in loving-kindness. It is difficult for us to imagine how much Christians and the world in general have lost through our miserable misconceptions of the character of God, handed down to us through the creeds of the Dark Ages.
The thought that God has been intent upon torturing His creatures at the hands of demons throughout eternity has doubtless been the cause of much of the infidelity now prevalent, as well as a great hindrance to the cause of Christ amongst the heathen. Mankind of today cannot worship and appreciate Brother Calvin's misconception of the Almighty's character. The whole world should breathe freer since our Presbyterian friends have repudiated that feature of Calvin's doctrine which declared all non-elect infants bound for eternal torture.
In the past, God manifested His mercy and kindness in a typical way to the typical people, merely chastening them for sins, but forgiving them, and permitting them to go on and try further. Yet God never fully manifested to the world His Love and Mercy until our Lord's First Advent. Of that great event we read, "Herein is manifested the Love of God toward us, in that He sent His Only Begotten Son into the world," that "whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Up to that time Sin and Death had reigned without cessation for 4,124 years. The sending of His Son was the first expression of God's purpose of forgiveness. But He has not yet forgiven the world's sins. He has only made the proper provision for them through the death of His Son, that the sins of the world may be cancelled in God's own due time. The whole world is still "lying in the Wicked One"--slaves of Sin and Death. The world's hope lies beyond, in the glorious Reign of Messiah's Kingdom. It centers in Him as the antitypical Prophet, Priest and King. Messiah, as the Seed of Abraham, according to the Promise, will bless, uplift and assist back into harmony with God all the willing and obedient of all the families of the earth.
The only work yet done is the calling of the Church to be Messiah's Bride, and joint-heir and co-worker with Him in that glorious Messianic Kingdom, for which we wait and pray, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven." In that Kingdom God's Loving-kindness, as well as His Wisdom and Power, will be abundantly witnessed to angels and to men.
"The remnant saved from Israel's race,
Redeemed from Israel's fall,
Shall praise Him for His wondrous grace,
And hail Him Lord of all.
"Gentiles shall come, and coming sing,
Throughout this earthly ball,
Hosannas to our heavenly King,
And hail Him Lord of all."
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AN INTERESTING QUESTION
NOT BY RIGHT, STILL BY GRACE
Question.--Did Christ's death give to every person a right to a resurrection?
Answer.--No! Christ's death gave nothing to any person except to Christ Himself. Our Lord's faithfulness unto death gave Him a right to a better resurrection, according to the Father's promise. Having received that better resurrection, He no longer needs the earthly life and earthly rights, which He "laid down" in obedience to the Father's Program. However, since He did not forfeit those earthly rights, and did not give them away, they are still His.
Not needing them Himself now, because He has the better, the spiritual, as His reward, the Lord has those earthly rights in the Father's hands to His credit on the books of Justice. He is holding that credit on the books of Justice, and intends, according to the Father's arrangement, to use it in due time for the purchase of the world. In the end of this Gospel Age, He will present the merit of His sacrifice "for all people." We are assured that
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it will be accepted by Justice and that all mankind will come forth, will be turned over to the Redeemer, who will then take unto Himself His great power and will reign for a thousand years, as the Mediator between God and man. This mediation will reach mankind through Israel, with whom the New Covenant will be inaugurated.
While waiting for the time to come when He shall give His earthly rights as a Restitution blessing to mankind, the Redeemer in carrying out the Father's Program makes use of His merit in the interest of those whom the Father draws and calls to be the Church of the First-borns. To each called and obedient one who turns from sin and presents his body a living sacrifice to the Father, the Redeemer, as his Advocate, imputes a sufficiency of His Merit to make the sacrifice acceptable. Then, as soon as the sacrifice is accepted and completed, the imputed merit of Christ will be thereby freed and returned, so that in the end of the Age, after the Church has been assisted by the imputation of Christ's merit, the original amount in the hands of Justice will be unimpaired--sufficient for the sins of the whole world--sufficient to give Restitution blessings to Adam and all of his posterity.