ADAM--Created--Not Born as His Posterity Was. ::Q741:1:: QUESTION--Was Adam "born in sin and shapen iniquity" as is stated in the Scriptures of all of Adam's posterity? --`Psa. 11:5`. (A.N.D.)
ANSWER--Strictly speaking, Adam was not born; he was created of the dust of the ground. Science confirms this statement of the Bible, for all of the elements contained in the human body are found in the earth. Man was a distinct creation; and not a product of evolution as some deluded scientists maintain. When God formed man of the earthly elements He pronounced him "very good," and the Scriptures elsewhere declare that all of God's works are perfect. (`Deut. 32:4`.) As a perfect man it was optional with Adam as to whether he would obey the Lord or not. The very fact that Adam had the power of choosing between the good and the evil proves that he had not created a mere machine but that he was a free moral agent and hence in the image of God as the Scriptures affirm. If Adam had been imperfect, of a sinful nature, degraded and evil as the race is today, the Lord would never have placed him on trial. As a result of Adam's disobedience, he passed under the sentence of death and involved all of his posterity in the same awful sentence and from that time to the present the race has journeyed over the downward way leading to destruction. Death reigns as all will admit. The race is to be delivered from death at the second coming of Christ as the Apostle says "For He must reign until He has placed all enemies under His feet; even death the last enemy shall be destroyed." "And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away." `1 Cor. 15:26`; `Rev. 21:4`.
ADAM--If Perfect, How Sinned? ::Q741:1:: QUESTION--If Adam was perfect; how could he have sinned? It seems to me that a perfect man would have acted in a perfect manner. It is the imperfect individual that sins or acts imperfectly. Kindly explain this matter as I am frequently brought face to face with this proposition.(Eve)
ANSWER--From the Scriptural narrative of the creation of man, it is evident that God, the Creator, designed to have an intelligent creature made in His own likeness, with an individual will capable of deciding for good or evil. Man has the power of willing to do as he, himself desires. Had he been created otherwise he would not have been in the likeness of God, but a mere machine controlled and directed by the Divine will. We may reasonably suppose that Adam chose to disobey the Lord because of his love for Eve. She had been deceived by the Adversary, Satan, and had partaken of the forbidden fruit, the penalty for which was death. Adam, realizing that she must die, deliberately chose to share her fate, as life without her would not be worth living. We are distinctly told that Adam was not deceived (`1 Tim. 2:14`) and we could conceive of no other motive on the part of a perfect man in disobeying the Divine mandate, than that of love for his bride.
ADAM--Living Soul vs Lifegiving Spirit. ::Q742:1:: QUESTION--The first man Adam became a living soul (`1 Cor. 15:45`; `Gen. 2:7`), the last Adam (the Lord from heaven, `1 Cor. 15:47`) at His resurrection became a life giving spirit also?
ANSWER--The Scriptures in outlining the Divine Program as it relates to the salvation of mankind plainly teach that the present Christian Era, from the time of our Lord's first advent to the time of His second coming, has been set apart for the purpose of selecting and developing a special class, the members of which in the resurrection will be changed from fleshly to spiritual conditions. In this present life these are said to be begotten of the spirit, then quickened of the spirit and finally born of the spirit in the resurrection morning. These are to be like their Lord and see Him as He is, changed from mortal to immortal conditions. All others, Adam included, are to be awakened unto a resurrection by judgment (`John 5:28,29`--not damnation. See Revised Version), a raising up to perfection as human beings, and these are to inhabit the earthly plane of existence. Only the Lord Jesus and His joint heirs, the Church of Christ, will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, the heavenly or spiritual honors and blessings, while the world of mankind in general will obtain blessings and life eternal as natural or fleshly beings. See `1 Cor.15th chapter`.
ADAM--Where Did He Go at Death? ::Q742:2:: QUESTION--What became of Adam when he died; did he go to heaven or hell?
ANSWER--We may be sure Adam did not go to heaven at death, because three thousand years later Jesus said, "No man hath ascended up to heaven" (`John 3:13`). The judgment, or sentence, of death was passed upon Adam by the Lord, who said, "For dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return" (`Gen. 3:19`). This judgment, of death was gradually enforced during a period of 930 years, by Adam being denied access to the life giving food in Eden (See `Gen. 3:23,24`), at the end of which time Adam was completely dead. He therefore went into the death condition. He went to hell--not the hell of the Dark Ages, which has been represented as a lake of fire and brimstone, but to the hell of the Bible, which word is translated from the Hebrew word sheol and the Greek word hades, and properly translated into the English word grave, tomb, or state of death. Likewise all of Adam's children, inheriting this death sentence, have followed him, at death, to the tomb. The entire race would have been exterminated had it not been that God provided for the redemption and resurrection of the race through Christ, Jesus. "Who gave His life that we might have life."
ALTAR--In the Midst of Egypt. ::Q742:3:: QUESTION--"In that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of Hosts in the land of Egypt." (`Isa. 19:19,20`.) What may we understand by this Scripture?
ANSWER--There is but one structure in all the earth that could by any possibility fulfill the requirements of the text, and that is the Great Pyramid in Egypt. The whole of northern Egypt forms a sector shaped country the center of which is marked by the Pyramid. To mathematicians and scientists the center of a sector is also at the border thereof, and thus, as to location, the Pyramid is clearly indicated. It has always stood as the greatest wonder in the world because of its enormous dimensions, great antiquity and marvelous exhibition of engineering skill. With its original casting-stones in position, all highly polished like white marble, and so accurately joined together that it was almost impossible to distinguish the joints, this immense structure of solid masonry, covering over thirteen acres of ground and nearly five hundred feet in height, was truly a magnificent spectacle as it glittered in the rays of the dazzling Egyptian sunlight. To the ancients it was known as "The Terrible Crystal." Recent investigation of the interior passage ways and chambers has revealed the fact that these form a wonderful system of symbols in which the entire plan of salvation as presented in the Scripture is outlined. Because it is such a great "witness," in that it so clearly corroborates the teachings of the Lord's Word, it is now becoming generally known as "The Stone Bible," Melchizedek, "a Priest of the Most High God," is reputed to have been the builder, and the date of its construction has been well established as being the year 2170 B.C. It is, therefore, the oldest building on earth.
ANGELS--Re Hell (Tartarus) ::Q743:1:: QUESTION--In `2 Pet. 2:4`, Revised Version, we read, "For if God spared not the angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits of darkness to be reserved unto judgment." What is the meaning of the word, "Hell" or as the marginal reading gives it "TARTARUS," which is the Greek word translated "hell?"(C.V.B.)
ANSWER--The translators of the Revised Version of the Scriptures erred when they planned in the marginal readings the word "Tartarus" for that is not the word contained in the original Greek manuscripts. The word tartaroo, used by Peter, very closely resembles tartarus, a word used in Grecian mythology as the name for a dark abyss or prison. But the word tartaroo seems to refer us more to an act than to a place. The fall of the angels who sinned was from honor and dignity, into dishonor and condemnation, and the thought seems to be--"God spared not the angels who sinned, but degraded them, and delivered them into the chains of darkness." This is the only place in the Scriptures where this word tartaroo occurs, and refers to the condition of the fallen angels or evil spirits, and not to the members of the human race in any sense or particular. See `Jude 6`, where it also reads, "the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation. He hath reserved in age-lasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment day."
ANGELS--How Apostles Were Made Spectacle ::Q743:2:: QUESTION--"For we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men."--`1 Cor. 4:9`. How were
the Apostles made a "spectacle" to the angels? (Curious)
ANSWER--Evidently the angels and all other spirit beings, of which there are myriads upon myriads (`Rev.5:11`) are interested observers of the events transpiring upon this little globe of ours. What the race of mankind is learning by actual experience the spirit beings are learning by observation. As the poet has expressed the thought-- "All the world's a stage and men and women merely players." The word "spectacle," in the marginal rendering of the Authorized Version, is theater. The Apostles were being made "a show of" before the world, and angels, and men, because of their loyalty to the cause of Christ. Enduring all manner of hardships, bitter persecutions, and regarded as religious fanatics--"fools"--because of their prominence in advocating the teachings of Christ, they were specially observed. Thus it was with the Master Himself; by His sufferings, His death, and His resurrection, He preached a powerful sermon in pantomime to the "spirits in prison" (The fallen angels who disobeyed in the time of Noah. `2 Pet. 2:4`; `1 Pet. 3:18-20`).
ANGELS--Re Marriage to Daughters of Men. ::Q744:1:: QUESTION--If the "Sons of God" (`Gen. 6:4`) were the angels who left their former habitation, or first estate-- the spiritual realm (`Jude 3`)--how is it that they could marry the "daughters of men" and have children since it is understood from the Master's words (`Mat. 22:30`) that the angels are sexless? (L.T.H.)
ANSWER--From many Scriptures it is apparent that the angels, or spirit beings, have the power of materializing as human beings. This materialization is complete, as the following Scriptural citations indicate, showing that these materialized beings could eat and drink and perform all of the functions of the natural being of the earthly plane of existence. (`Gen. 18:8`; `Gen. 32:24`; `Zec. 1:9,5`; `Luke 1:30`; `Acts 12:7-10`.) It is evident that the angels in their proper habitation, the spiritual realm, do not possess the powers of reproduction. It would, therefore, be impossible for them to have angelic progeny. It is only as they materialize as human beings that they could exercise the powers belonging to the race of mankind, and thus bring children into the world of the fleshly nature. Because some of the angels did this without the Divine sanction, they were punished by being restrained in chains of darkness unto the Judgment day.
ANGELS--What Are They Like? ::Q744:2:: QUESTION--What is an angel? We are told by our ministers that if we go to church and pay our pew rent and never do anything real bad that some day we will be an angel and go to heaven when we die. Now, I want to know what angels are like. Did they all live as men and women upon the earth before they became angels, and how did they become angels before there were any churches and regular collections? Was there ever a cheaper way of getting to be a angel than now? (J.U.D.)
ANSWER--The popular conception of angels is that they are radiant beings dressed in white with wings attached
to their shoulder blades. They are invariably represented as women, and are supposed to spend the larger part of their time seated upon clouds and fingering harps. In the Bible, angels are referred to as spirit beings, who act as the messengers of the Lord. We know of no Scriptures in which it is stated that human beings will ever become angels. On the contrary, the Lord has promised earthly blessings to all of the world of mankind, who will be obedient to His righteous laws of justice and love, when His Kingdom is established in the earth. Salvation will be free to all who will accept it upon the terms and conditions of full obedience to the Divine will. `Mat. 6:10`.
APOSTLES CREED--Is it Scriptural? ::Q745:1:: QUESTION--Most church denominations throughout the world have adopted the Apostles' Creed. Why is it called the "Apostles Creed"? Was it written by the Apostles, and where do we find it in the Bible?
ANSWER--What is known among the Christians as the "Apostles Creed," was not written by the Apostles of our Lord, hence it is nowhere found in the Bible. As to its origin, we quote from Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, a recognized authority by scholars, as follows: "There is indeed extent, a brief summary of Christian doctrines, which is called the Apostles' Creed; and which, from the fourth century onward was attributed to Christ's ambassadors themselves. But at this day, all who have any knowledge of antiquity, confess unanimously that this opinion is a mistake, and has no foundation. Those judge far more wisely and rationally who think that this creed arose from small beginnings, and was gradually enlarged as occasions required in order to exclude new errors from the church." It was probably given its name by those who prepared it, as signifying that in their judgment, it contained only truths taught by the Apostles. It contains many truths, but it is not wholly Scriptural. For instance: "I believe in the resurrection of the body," whereas nothing in the Bible teaches that our bodies are to be resurrected. The Bible teaches that the soul will be resurrected. Of the resurrection the Apostle says, "Thou sowest not that body that shall be. But God giveth it (the soul-being) a body as it hath pleased Him and to each seed its own body." Surely the Apostle was not speaking of the body when he uses the word "it," otherwise the body would have a body, therefore two bodies, which is absurd. Further he states, "It (the soul-being) is sown a natural body; it (the soul or being) is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body." (`1 Cor. 15:35,37,44`).
ARK--Difference Between Noah's and Children of Israel. ::Q745:2:: QUESTION--What is the difference between Noah's ark and the ark which the children of Israel had in the wilderness of sin?
ANSWER--You have probably heard of the preacher who said to his congregation: "I can bring myself to believe that Noah built an ark, in which he and the wild animals were sheltered during the flood, but when it comes to making
me believe that the children of Israel toted that ark around on their shoulders in the wilderness for forty years, that's too much for me to swallow." Evidently he thought there was no difference in the two arks.
Noah's ark was a large boat or vessel, larger than any now made. The ark which the children of Israel had in the wilderness was a rectangular box made of wood overlaid with gold, the lid or cover of which was made of pure gold. The approximate size of this ark was 4 feet long, 3 feet broad and 3 feet high, a detailed description of it being given in `Exo. 25:10-22`. Inside the ark was kept the golden bowl of manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the two tables of the Law (See `Heb. 9:4`). The ark, together with all other furnishings of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, was a shadow or picture of good things to come. (See`Heb. 8:5`; `Heb. 10:1`; `Col. 2:17`.)
BEGOTTEN--When Was Jesus Begotten? ::Q746:1:: QUESTION--When did our Lord become the "only begotten Son of God?"
ANSWER--The pre-human existence of the Lord Jesus is clearly established in the Scriptures. His own testimony of Himself was that He is "The faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." `Rev. 3:14`. We find then that our Lord became the "only begotten Son of God" at the time of his creation, which was before the foundation of the earth, and before the existence of any other thing in creation with the exception, of course, of God Himself, who created or begot Him. In agreement with this thought of our Lord's pre-existence from the very beginning we read, "He is the image of the invisible God-- first born of all creation; because by Him were all things created, those in the heavens and those on the earth, visible and invisible--whether thrones, or lordships, or governments, or authorities: all things were created by Him and for Him, and He precedes all things, and in Him all things have been permanently placed." (`Col. 1:15-18.`) The thought conveyed by the title, "The Only Begotten Son of God," is that the Lord Jesus was Himself the only direct creation or begetting of the Heavenly Father.
BIBLE--Contradictions ::Q746:2:: QUESTION--Are there not a number of contradictions in the Bible? And if the Bible is not in harmony with itself; how can we say that it is inspired? (Pater.)
ANSWER--There are seemingly many contradictory statements contained in the Bible, and these are due to several causes. One of which are the errors of translation from the original languages in which the Scriptures were written, into the various modern tongues. It is claimed that the Authorized and Douay Versions of the Bible are amenable to twenty thousand amendations! The Revised Versions, both English and American have corrected many of these errors but not all. No one would claim that the translators were inspired. Another fruitful cause for seeming contradictions is, that many Scriptures texts have been taken from their proper connections by Bible expositors and interpreted to mean just opposite to what they do signify. In
this way the Bible can be made to support any theory. For instance: in one place it says Judas "went out and hanged himself," and then in another place "go thou and do likewise!" To those who "rightly divide the word of truth" (`2 Tim. 2:15`) there is not a single contradiction in all the sacred writings.
BIBLE--Contradictions Re "Traditions" ::Q747:1:: QUESTION--How shall we harmonize the apparently contradictory expressions found in the following Scriptural quotations--"Thus have ye made the commandments of God of none effect through your TRADITIONS"? (`Mat. 15;6`; `Mark 7:13`.) "And profited in the Jew's religion above many my equals in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the TRADITIONS of my fathers"? (`Gal. 1:14.`) "There fore, brethren, stand fast and hold the TRADITIONS which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (`2 Thess. 2:15`)?
ANSWER--The Savior's words addressed to the Scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders of His day, have reference to the theories and opinions that had been formed and handed down from the past that were not based upon the inspired testimony of the Prophets and the faithful servants of the Lord. Many of these teachings were in direct opposition to the instructions contained in the Holy Scriptures, and because they were being set forth by those who had been appointed to teach the people the true understanding of the message of the Lord, they were received as being true. In this way the commandment of the Lord had been made void. The Apostle's words had reference to the teachings of the Scriptures and also to his own instructions, which he had presented to those that he was addressing. In other words, there are true traditions and false traditions. All of those which are in harmony with the teachings of the Divine Word are true, and all those which are not in harmony are false and not to be accepted. We cannot be particular in our efforts to get the truth.
BIBLE--Explanation of `Mark 16:18`. ::Q747:2:: QUESTION--Is it possible for Christians to handle deadly serpents and to drink poisons without suffering injury in any form as stated in `Mark 16:18`? (R.F.D.)
ANSWER--Since God invites man to reason on His Word (`Isa. 1:18`), we must know that His Word is reasonable. The quotation in the question is unreasonable. But is it a part of God's Word? We answer, No. St. Mark's Gospel originally ended with verse nine, chapter sixteen; the additional verses (10-20 inclusive), which includes the above quotation, are not found in the old manuscripts of the Bible. All scholars are agreed that the addition was made about six hundred years after St. Mark's Gospel was written, and hence the quoted words are no part of the Gospel, and we know them to be untrue. To sanction them, now that we know about them, would be to join with those who wrote them in adding to the Word of God (`Rev. 22:18,19`). Human experience shows that not even the best of Christians can, with impunity, "Take up serpents and drink deadly poison."
BIBLE--Why so Difficult to Understand? ::Q748:1:: QUESTION--Why did God give us a Bible so difficult to understand? Why wasn't the Bible written in such a way that it could be as easily understood as the daily paper? (Scribe.)
ANSWER--The Bible is generally conceded to be one of the most difficult books in all the earth to understand. The brightest minds of the world for centuries have differed as to its teachings. Whole libraries of books have been written by authors whose views have conflicted woefully with one another. The entire Christian world today is divided up into more than six hundred factions whose ideas as to the teachings of the Bible are at variance with each other. Yes; the Bible is hard to understand, and few there are who do understand it. It is plainly evident that its Great Author did not wish it to be understood by all, and the Bible itself testifies in harmony with this thought. The disciples came to the Master on one occasion and asked Him, practically the same question that we are now considering. They said "Why speakest thou unto them (the people) in parables (dark sayings?)" In other words: Why Lord, do you not teach the people in clear, plain, and simple language, so that all can understand? "He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you (my followers) to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given." (`Mat. 13:10,11`). The "mysteries of the Kingdom," the Divine plan of the Ages revealed in the Scriptures, the knowledge of which, is only for those who come into harmony with the Divine will of the Almighty God, the Sovereign Lord of all creation. The Bible is a sealed book to all others, no matter how intellectual they may be. See `1 Cor. 2:7-14`.
BIBLE--Why so Hard to Understand? ::Q748:2:: QUESTION--Why is the Bible so hard to understand? Why cannot EVERY ONE capable of reading the printed page comprehend God's Word?
ANSWER--The Bible was not written for the unbelieving, nor was it written in such a manner that the world could understand its teachings. In order to understand the Bible we must come into the attitude of pupils of Christ and must be taught of him. The Bible is like a telescope; it is not sufficient that you see the outside of it, its pedestal and joints. It is not even sufficient that we even look through the telescope. Many have looked down a telescope merely along its shining barrel without seeing out at the other end at all. Even when we look through the telescope properly and out at the other end, still we must have it properly adjusted so that we may obtain the best results and discern objects accurately. So it is with the Bible; as we draw nigh to God, he draws nigh to us; and thus we are enabled to appreciate more and more the deep things of his Word. But only the saintly Bible student is able to understand and appreciate the "breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ" (`Eph. 3:18`) which passeth knowledge, but which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures. St. Paul gives us the key to the proper understanding, saying, "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." But God hath revealed them unto us (the Church, the consecrated) by his spirit. (`1 Cor. 2:14,10.`) Even the deep things of God are made known by our acquiring more of the spirit of God, the spirit of Truth, the spirit of the Word.
BORN--Of the Spirit ::Q749:1:: QUESTION--What does it mean to be born of the spirit? What happens when that takes place? Some have said that I am not saved unless I have been born of the spirit, and received some miraculous evidence of this. This has made me a trifle anxious, as I earnestly desire to be saved, and thus far haven't experienced anything remarkable in the way of supernatural demonstrations, although I am endeavoring to live a Christian life.
ANSWER--The Scriptures abound with illustrations which were intended to portray the varying conditions of the Christian's experience, and, unless we give careful attention to the details of these word pictures, we are liable to become confused as to their true significance. In the conversation which Nicodemus had with our Lord Jesus (`John 3:1-8`), the Master, in explaining the matter of spiritual regeneration, used the natural order or arrangement to represent the spiritual--"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit." Just as there is the begetting of the fleshly being, then the quickening and finally the birth, so also with the spiritual ones. The Christian is first begotten of the spirit (Begotten again--`1 Pet. 5:3`), then quickened by the spirit (`Rom. 8:11`) and then having attained to full development as an embryotic "New Creature" he will be "born of the spirit" in the resurrection--"changed" from a fleshly, human being to a heavenly spiritual one--See `1 Cor. 15:50-53`. All who experience the new birth will be invisible, powerful, even as are the angels and all spirit beings. Observe the force of the Master's words--"Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the spirit."
BRIDE--One of Many References to Church. ::Q749:2:: QUESTION--How can we prove to the extremely critical that the people taken for the Lord's name (`Acts 15:14`) are the ones referred to, in the Scriptures, as the "Bride," "the Lamb's Wife," "The New Jerusalem," etc.? (H.J.K.)
ANSWER--The "extremely critical" are the very ones to recognize the reasonableness of the doctrine of election so positively outlined in this passage. It is the thinking, critical minds that are rejecting the antiquated, obsolete theories of the past, and now are coming to see the truth concerning the Divine purpose. How reasonable, then, to those who view the facts and reason critically, are the Bible teachings relating to the selection of "a people for His name," and that this election has been in process of development throughout the entire Christian Era! Naturally,
the mind would seek further enlightenment as to the identity of this special people, or class. The various passages of Scripture relating to this class would logically fit into place, and it would be recognized that it is the Church of Christ the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, the "New Jerusalem," etc. And then how reasonable and consistent the teaching that following this election the Heavenly Father, who is all love and compassion, and goodness, will through this glorified Class--Christ and His Church--rebuild the ruins of David, which are fallen down, restore the Jews to their own land-- and "after this," invite all the Gentiles upon whom His name is called"--the world of mankind--to come back into harmony with Himself and receive eternal life and joy and peace. See the verses following the one cited in the question.
BRIDE--When Will Spirit and Bride Say, Come? ::Q750:1:: QUESTION--`Rev. 22:17` says: "The Spirit and the Bride say, Come." Has this Scripture been fulfilled, and if not, when will it be"?
ANSWER--This will he fulfilled in the future for the following reasons: There is no "Bride" now. Jesus during the Gospel Age has been preparing a place for the Bride as he declared (`John 14:2-4`). The union of the Bride and the Bridegroom takes place at the second coming of our Lord (`Rev. 19:6-8`). During the Gospel Age the prospective members of the Bride class have the Lord's spirit in them. Each true follower of Jesus is "a well of water springing up unto everlasting life." (`John 4:14`.) Bye and bye when these well-springs are all brought together and united with our Lord, then the Bride and the Bridegroom will constitute the great "river of life," or "water of life" which shall flow out from the throne of God and which shall bless and heal all the nations of the earth, in harmony with the promise which God made to Abraham saying, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Then all who will, may come, and take of this "water of life" freely. The water of life means the message of truth setting forth the means of blessing. All who will accept may have its blessings, but those who do not accept and render obedience to the Lord shall not receive a blessing.
CHILDREN--Instead of Thy fathers. ::Q750:2:: QUESTION--Will you please explain the 16th verse of the 45th Psalm, "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou, mayest make princes in all the earth." (J.W.A.)(`Psa. 45:16`)
ANSWER--Considering the connecting verses, it becomes evident that this is one of the Messianic Psalms and is, in the main, a prophecy relating to the Church of Christ-- the Bride class. The King's Daughter, the Bride of the King's Son, was to be formed of an elect class made up of Israelites, both those who were so by birth, and those (Gentiles) who by faith and adoption, should become the Seed of Abraham-- Israelites indeed. (`Rom. 9:6`). The "fathers" of this class (`Rom. 11:28`) were the patriarchs of old--Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc. These are referred to by the Apostle Paul in `Heb. 11:39,50`--"These all having obtained a good report through faith received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for
us, that these without us should not be made perfect." The "better things" for the "us" class are the Heavenly honors and the Kingly powers and authority, to be conferred upon the Bride, the "joint-heir" of the Son of God. These, who now are "children," in the day of resurrection, will "make perfect" and give life to the "fathers." The relationship will then be reversed; the Father (Life-giver) will be the Christ, the Messiah, Jesus the Head and the Church, His Body; and the patriarchs, the fathers of Israel, will be the children.
CHRIST--Paul's Desire to be With Him. ::Q751:1:: QUESTION--Will you kindly explain `Philippians 1:23`, "For I am in a strait betwixt two having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better?" (Dorfia)
ANSWER--The context shows that the two things in the Apostle's mind (and which to choose he "wot not") were life and death. A third thing, however, enters in, which he has no difficulty in deciding is far better than either living in the flesh or dying in the Lord. This he earnestly desired, viz., the coming again of Christ, at whose return he hoped to be changed, made like Him, and be with Him. The Greek word translated "depart" in the above quotation is the same as that translated "return" in `Luke 12:36`, and has the same meaning. Jesus said to his disciples: "If I go . . . I will come again." In coming again (the Father sending Him --see `Acts 3:20`), He would "depart" from the Father and at the same time "return" to His disciples. Had the Apostle's words "to depart" been translated "for the returning" they would be equally correct, and would harmonize with the other Scripture.
CHRIST--"Prince of Peace"--When? ::Q751:2:: QUESTION--Since Christ is referred to as the "Prince of Peace" (`Isa. 9:6`) and the angels announced at His birth--"Peace on earth, good will to men" (`Luke 2:14`), how is it that we find the Lord Jesus Himself saying, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on the earth? I tell you Nay; but rather division?" (F.W.)
ANSWER--The whole history of the Christian Era has been one of bloodshed, wars and strife. And these for the most part have been brought about by differences of religious opinions. In `Matthew 24th chapter`, our Lord set forth a wonderful prophecy relating to the conditions that would develop in the world down to the time when He would return to establish His own Kingdom or government in the earth. There would be wars and rumors of war, earthquakes, famines, pestilences; and then, in the very end of the Age "a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation." He foretold that His followers would suffer violence; that they would be persecuted and misrepresented; and that even in their own households there would be divisions. The Master's words are being strikingly fulfilled. They are just as true today as at any time in the past. The Lord never taught that conditions of peace and prosperity would be established in the earth prior to His second coming; but just to the contrary. The object of His coming again is to thoroughly demolish the present evil of things, and then to
inaugurate the Creator's Government which will bring about universal peace and joy and happiness to all the families of the earth. Then Christ the Lord will be the "Prince of Peace;" and then, and not till then, will the angel's song be realized- -"Peace on earth; good will towards men."
CHRIST--Treatment Today vs. First Advent. ::Q752:1:: QUESTION--In the present day enlightenment, if Christ were here in person as at the time of His first advent, do you believe the people would treat Him the same as they did then?
ANSWER--There are representatives of Christ in the world today--not those who are merely professing Christians, in name only, but the true, heart-devoted, sincere followers of the Master, and by considering the world's treatment of these we can safely approximate as to what would be the Lord's experiences were He to appear in the flesh as at His first advent. The saintly few who humbly walk in the footsteps of Christ, devoting their all in assisting the poor and in preaching the Gospel, are not held in the very high esteem by the people, as a rule. And is not this in harmony with the words of our Lord and the Apostles? (`Mat. 5:10-12`; `Rom. 8:17,18`; `2 Tim. 2:12`; `1 Cor. 1:26,27`.) After all, the common people heard our Lord gladly and marveled at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. They wished to make Him their king on one occasion, and accorded a triumph to Him at the time of His entry into the city of Jerusalem. It was the Scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders of that time, that opposed and persecuted the Lord, and finally induced the multitude to cry out against Him. It is even so now. Worldly people admire an upright Christian man, his sincerity and honesty, even though they might consider him foolish for striving to live up to his faith. But it is the modern Scribes and Pharisees who hate those that are setting forth the true teachings of the Scriptures. Therefore, in view of the foregoing, we have reason to believe that the Master would fare no better in the world today than at His first advent, were He to appear as then.
CHRIST--Why Good People not Believers. ::Q752:2:: QUESTION--I know a great many good and honest people who do not even claim to be Christians; why don't they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?
ANSWER--The Apostle Paul declares that "By faith ye are saved." Some people cannot exercise the quality of faith. The Apostle also declares that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, which means in order to have faith one must study the Word of God and believe it. The Apostle Paul answers this question when he declares that the God of this world (Satan), manifested in this present evil order of things, has blinded the minds of those who do not believe (`2 Cor. 4:4`). The great Adversary, Satan, is the author of so many false doctrines that many good, honest people have become greatly confused by them. One system has taught one doctrine, another class, equally honest, another doctrine, until we have in the world
more than three hundred different denominations, all having some truth mixed with much error. Many honest people have been unable to separate the truth from the error, and accept only the truth and reject the error, hence the confusion and refusal to have anything to do with either. If all were to follow the admonition of the Apostle, "Study to show yourself approved unto God," and not follow man-made theories, there would be less confusion and more who would readily accept the Scriptural teachings.
CHRIST'S COMING--Will All Be Converted? ::Q753:1:: QUESTION--If all people are to be converted to Christ before he comes to set his Kingdom, why is it written in `Rev. 18`, that "the nations were angry" at his coming?
ANSWER--It is a mistake to suppose that the earth will be converted at the time of the second coming of Christ. His coming and the establishment of His Kingdom are for the very purpose of converting the world and uplifting mankind in general out of sin and death conditions which now prevail. In describing the work of Christ, the Apostle mentions this Kingdom, saying, "He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet (all insubordination, etc.). The last enemy to be destroyed is death" (`1 Cor. 15:26`). The anger of the nations at the time of the Second Advent will not necessarily be against the Lord; but rather the spirit of selfishness, which is already prevalent in the world, will break forth as a consuming fire, destroying the social fabric and bringing utter ruin. At that time Messiah's Kingdom will interpose for the preservation of mankind and for the establishment of a new order of things. This new order of things will result in converting the world to righteousness (`Isa. 11:2-5`). And the peoples of earth "shall beat their swords into plow shares, and their spears into pruning hooks and nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (`Isa. 2:4`).
CHRONOLOGY--Reckoning Time Now vs. Moses' Time ::Q753:2:: QUESTION--How does the manner of reckoning time in the age in which Moses lived compare with the chronological methods now in use, and if there is any difference would it not account for the great age of Methuselah as given in the Scriptures?
ANSWER--The Jewish method of reckoning time which was in use in the days of Moses, was a combination of solar and lunar time. It was a simple, automatic self-adjusting system, which, so far as the final results were concerned, was as accurate as the present methods in use. The Jewish months were thirty days in length corresponding to the lunations of the moon. Ordinarily twelve of these made up the year of three hundred and sixty days. The discrepancies resulting from this method were rectified by the unique arrangement of starting the new year with the new moon nearest the vernal equinox. Some years by this method contained thirteen months instead of twelve. The length of years, therefore, in Moses' time was in the aggregate the same as today. The extreme old age of the antediluvians
can reasonably be accounted for by considering the Bible narrative to the effect that originally the human race was perfect, and because of death entering into the world as the result of sin, the race began to deteriorate. In its more perfect state, the average length of life of the race would be far more than it is today after the past six thousand years of degeneration. This of course is in opposition to the theory of evolution, which maintains that the condition of the human race is gradually improving. However, no one has ever been able to advance a single proof in evidence of the truth of this theory, and those most advanced in scientific knowledge are now rejecting it.
CHURCH--Last of Seven Stages--Laodicea ::Q754:1:: QUESTION--What may we understand the Lord's words to signify where He says--"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold or hot. So then because thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."--`Rev. 3:15,16`. (J.E.D.)
ANSWER--The seven churches in Asia represent the seven stages of development, or epochs in the history of the one true Church of Christ. The message to the church in Laodicea relates, therefore, to the last or present period of the Church's existence. It is during this final stage of the history of the Christian Church that we may expect the repudiation or spewing out of relationship with the Lord as his mouthpiece, and of recognition as members of His true Church, of all those who are "lukewarm" and indifferent in the service of the Lord--Christians in name only and not heart-devoted followers of the Lord. It is daily becoming more manifest to all careful observers that there is a wide distinction between real Christianity, and the great mass of professing Churchianity. Perhaps the most reprehensible class of people on the earth is that which is formed of those who are half-hearted and indifferent to the great and important affairs of life.
CHURCH--Message to World at This Time. ::Q754:2:: QUESTION--What is the Church's message to the world at this time? This is a day of transition; new lines of thought and new conditions are rapidly superseding the old, and does not this apply to ecclesiastical affairs as well? (Reverend)
ANSWER--This is one of the fundamental questions of the times. Ministers everywhere are asking themselves and each other as to the proper course to pursue in their efforts to keep abreast of the times. Many are making the mistake of ignoring the foundation teachings of the Scriptures, and are devoting themselves to setting forth the theories of "Evolution" and "Higher Criticism," which are nothing more or less than insidious forms of skepticism and infidelity. Any clergyman who proclaims these theories from the pulpit, has no right to the title of "Minister of the Gospel." He is either a knave or a hypocrite if he continues to pose as a Christian minister, while undermining the faith of his hearers, in proclaiming that which is in direct opposition to the teachings of the Bible. It is no cause for surprise
that so few people attend church services now-a-days, when we reflect that many clergymen are preaching anything but the Gospel. The duty of all true Christians is to make known the wonderful tidings of salvation through Christ and His coming Kingdom which, when established in the earth, will result in the blessing of all the race of mankind. The message of the Church to the world now is-- "THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND"; that kingdom for which all earnest Christians have prayed. "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth even as it is done in heaven."
CHURCH--Nominal-re Raising Funds ::Q755:1:: QUESTION--I am the financial secretary of a church and, as such, I have the responsibility of raising funds for the various expenses of our regular church work. I must confess that I am strained past the compass of my wits to know how to get any more money out of our members than we are doing at the present time. The difficulty with us is that our expenses are increasing every month. We have some high-priced singers in or choir and must continue to raise their salaries, or else they will leave us. We must have a new organ and keep up with the other churches all around us or lose our membership. Kindly suggest some up-to-date methods of getting money. We have tried suppers, and sociables, and fairs, and grab-bags, etc., and our congregation seems to be a little tired of these methods; so please give us some new ideas? (PERPLEXED.)
ANSWER--There are two methods by which the modern church may be made a success. One of these is to popularize the church membership by transforming the church into a "social club." Have elaborate musical programs with very brief sermons for the regular services, and at other times, theatricals, smokers, balls, and entertainments. The other method is to adopt the one used by the Lord Jesus and His Apostles.
CHURCH--The Oldest ::Q755:2:: QUESTION--Which is the oldest church? (C.D.A.)
ANSWER--There is but one Church, from the Scriptural standpoint. In the language of the Apostle, it is "The Church of the First-Born which are written in heaven;" or the "Church of the living God;" or again, "The Church of Christ."--`Heb. 12:23`; `1 Tim. 3:15`; `Rom. 16:16`. It was this Church which our Lord established and He gave it no party name. It was merely the Church of Christ. Since then good people, more or less confused by the errors of the Dark Ages, have separated themselves into various bands and churches of human organization and bound themselves together by human creeds. These are known by various names. None of these Churches of men are authorized by the Bible nor mentioned in it. However, the one "Church of the Living God" is composed of the saintly people of God in all of these denominations, or outside of all of them, as the case may be. Hence, the oldest Church is the Church of Christ; and it is the only Church, in the Divine estimation. Each saint must desire and strive for membership in this Church as his greatest privilege.
Consecrated believers join this Church in a probationary sense now, but an entrance into full membership in that Church, which is the Body of Christ, will be granted only to the "overcomers," after they shall have finished their course and have become participants in the First Resurrection.
CHURCH--Who Are 144,000? ::Q756:1:: QUESTION--What do we understand by the 144,000 mentioned in the seventh and fourteenth chapters of Revelation? (J.A.D.)
ANSWER--For more than sixteen centuries the Lord dealt exclusively with the Jewish nation. They were His specially chosen people and favored above every other nation in the earth. The Lord told them on one occasion that He recognized them only of all the families of the earth (`Amos 3:2`). The Israelites were informed that if faithful to the Lord, and obedient to His commands, they would be a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and that His favor would never depart from them. But they became disobedient to the Lord's instructions and consequently, the time came when they were cast aside and no longer recognized as His people. The Divine favor was then turned to the Gentiles and these were granted the opportunity to become members of the Royal Priesthood. This Priesthood would have been completely made up from the twelve tribes of Israel--twelve thousand from each tribe--had there been a sufficient number of faithful obedient ones to make up the predestinated number of 144,000. As only a remnant of that nation of the Jews accepted Christ, as their Savior when He presented Himself to them, the invitation went to the Gentiles, and all throughout this Gospel Age the selection has been going on amongst the nations of the earth aside from the Jews. When "the fullness (the full number) of the Gentiles be come in," then favor will once more return to the Jews and all Israel shall be saved (`Rom. 11:25-27`). The elect 144,000 will be kings and priests unto God and shall reign with Christ during the thousand years mentioned in `Rev. 20:1-6`.
COMMANDMENTS--"On Two Hang Law and Prophets." ::Q756:2:: QUESTION--When the Lord said, "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (`Mat. 22:40`), what did He mean by the "law and the prophets"? (M.A.M.)
ANSWER--The Lord was answering a question propounded by a lawyer who was of the Pharisees, a religious sect, the members of which made great professions of morality and piety. They were great sticklers for the various features of the letter of the Law; and, as far as outward conditions of morality were concerned, they were shining examples of righteousness; making examples of righteousness; making long prayers on the street corners; contributing largely to the support of the priests and the expenses of the Temple with its religious duties and ceremonies; and so particular were they in their habits of cleanliness, that the Lord sarcastically said of them on one occasion that they strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel! Yes; they
were a self-righteous and self-loving class who swallowed the camel of hypocrisy and injustice, but strained at the observance of the mere letter of the law. For one of the most scathing arraignments of any class to be found in any language, read the 23rd chapter of Matthew. Is there such a class of moral and religious people in existence today? Then let them give heed to the awful denunciations of the Lord. How fitting, then, was the Master's reply to this lawyer! Summing up all the instructions of the Law and the Prophets (the faithful servants and teachers of the law) He set forth the very essence or spirit of these instructions in the one word- -Love. The Jewish Law was engraved on two tablets of stone. The first tablet contained the Laws relating to man's obligations to his Creator. The other tablet set forth the duties of man toward his fellowman. Therefore, "Thou shalt love thy God with all thine heart . . . and love thy neighbor as thyself."
CONSCIENCE--What Is It? ::Q757:1:: QUESTION--What is conscience?
ANSWER--Man when created was endowed with the moral faculties; that is, the faculties with which to determine between the right and the wrong. The faculties were perfect in the first man formed by the Creator. The Divine Law was written in the very nature of the perfect human being--Adam. When man disobeyed the Almighty Being who had formed him, he knew that he had violated the principles of righteousness and justice and therefore his conscience reproved him--his moral facilities were offended--and with the woman he hid himself from the presence of the Lord.
The sense of discerning good and evil, differentiating between right and wrong, has been sadly marred and fulled by the long centuries of the experiences of the race with sin, evil and degradation, until the conscience alone is no longer a safe guide to direct life's affairs. The conscience, even of the best, is now and then erroneous and doubtful. Therefore, as individual timepieces need to be regulated by some standard of time, so our consciences require constant regulation by some standard of morality and righteousness--the Word of God, the Bible.
CONSECRATION--re Presentation of Lord After 40 days. ::Q757:2:: QUESTION--Can you tell me where I can find it stated in the Scriptures that our Lord was forty days old when He was presented in consecration to the Heavenly Father by His parents? Is this the basis for the custom observed by some in presenting their children to the Lord?
ANSWER--As narrated in the second chapter of Luke, verses 21-23, (`Luke 2:21-23`) the mother of Jesus, in conformity with the Law which had been given to the Israelites by the Lord God through Moses, presented Him in consecration to the Heavenly Father. (See `Exo. 13:12,15,6`.) This presentation could not take place until the time of the mother's purification had been fulfilled; which, according to the Law, (`Lev. 12:1-4`) would require forty days. All of the first-born of the children of Israel are represented as belonging unto the Lord, and to redeem these from sacrificial
service the Law required that a substitute should be offered, either a lamb, or two doves, and these must be sacrificed. (`Exo. 13:12-15`.) We believe that it was this Jewish custom that is largely responsible for the consecration services observed by some of the Lard's saintly people of the present day. --`1 Sam. 1:22-28`.
CREATION--Days of, How Long? ::Q758:1:: QUESTION--Were the six days of creation literal days of twenty-four hours each?
ANSWER--The word "day" as used in the Scriptures, signifies a fixed period of time. We read of a fourth year day; "the day of temptation in the wilderness." (`Heb. 3:8,9`.) Again, we have the Scriptural statement that "One day with the Lord is as a thousand years." (`2 Pet. 3:8`.) A year is frequently spoken of as a day; as, "I have appointed thee each a day far a year." (`Eze. 4:6`.) Furthermore the entire Gospel Age is called "The day of salvation." --`2 Cor. 6:2`. When considering the statements of Genesis respecting the six creative Days or periods, or epochs, we should not limit our thoughts to a twenty-four hour day, but examine the subject and see what period of time is signified. Doing this, we find that a twenty-four hour day could not be meant, for the sun did not appear until the fourth of these creative days; hence, in the first three of these creative days there could have been no twenty-four-hour-day period such as we now note. We would not, however, go to the opposite extreme and join with so-called Scientists in their claim that there were millions of years elapsing in the creative period.
We find satisfactory evidence in the Scriptures, that one of these creative "days" was a period of seven thousand years and, hence that the entire creative week would be 7,000 x 7 = 49,000 years. And although it is, we believe, quite reasonable ample for the work represented as being accomplished therein--in ordering and filling of the earth, already in existence.
CREATION--Two Accounts of the Work. ::Q758:2:: QUESTION--Were there two works of creation as narrated in the first and second chapters of Genesis, (`Gen 1` and `Gen 2`)or are these simply two accounts of the same works of creation? (E.M.)
ANSWER--The first and second chapters of the book of Genesis are wrongly divided. There are two accounts of the work of creation and the division of the chapters should show this and be in harmony with divisions contained in the narrative. The first account ends with the third verse of the second chapter, and the second account begins with the fourth verse of the second chapter. The first account relates to the epochal division of the work as arranged by the Lord. The second account is a commentary on the first, explanatory of details, "These are the generations," or developments, of the heavens and the earth and their creatures, from a time before there was any plant or herb. The first and principal account gives the word "God" when speaking of the Creator, and the second, or commentary account points out that it was Jehovah God who did the entire work--"in the day" that He made the heavens and
the earth--thus grasping the whole as one larger epoch day, including the work of the six already enumerated.
CREATIVE "Day"--How Long is the Seventh? ::Q759:1:: QUESTION--Please give the Scripture evidence for the statement that the seventh creative "day" is a period of 7,000 years (Questioner.) Harmonize with the fourth commandment. (R.M.)
ANSWER--The Scriptural evidence that this is a period of 7,000 years is clear. "God rested (from His work of creation) on the seventh day." When `Psalm 95` was written God was still resting; nor had any change taken place when the Epistle to the Hebrews was written, for there (ch. 4.) is held out to the Church the offer of sharing in God's rest. Even when the Kingdom of Heaven is established God's rest continues, for the work of the Kingdom is committed into the hands of the Son. At the close of that reign of 1,000 years (`Rev. 20`) the Son will deliver up the Kingdom to the Father, "That God may be all in all." Since there are about 6,000 years from the creation to the second coming of Christ, and 1,000 years of Christ's Presence, it follows that God's day of rest is about 7,000 years long. During His long "day" God has not been entirely idle, but has done such Sabbath-day works as have in His wisdom been deemed works of necessity. The work of restoring the human race from its degradation--during the last part of that day will also be Sabbath work. Like the ox or ass, it has fallen into a pit, and God has made provision for its restoration.
The fourth commandment does not say that God worked six days of twenty-four hours and then rested the other twenty-four. The Jewish Sabbath and its system of Sabbaths are types of the greater Sabbath--the heavenly.
DAY OF PREPARATION--Meaning of ::Q759:2:: QUESTION--What is the meaning of `Nahum 2:3,4`, particularly the expression "Day of His Preparation?"
ANSWER--Many of the prophecies of the Bible relate to the last times or the last days, not of the planet an which we dwell, for "the earth abideth forever" (`Eccl. 1:4`), but rather of this present evil world or dispensation, when a new Age or order of things would be ushered in. Thus the "Day of His Preparation" would be the day or period of time when the Lord God would prepare or make ready the elements and conditions for the new dispensation, sometimes alluded to as "The Golden Age of Prophecy." As a matter of fact, are we not living in a period of transition? Marvelous changes are being wrought out, old things are passing away and new conditions are being developed. In connection with this prophecy of Nahum we would direct attention to the statement of the Prophet (`Dan. 12:4`) that "many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased," in the time of the end. The people are running to and fro all over the earth today by means of these very "chariots with flaming torches"--the automobiles, trolley cars, and railway trains, which "rage in the streets and jostle one against another in the broad ways." The Bible prophecies, more than seventy in number, relating to this "Day of Preparation," clearly indicate that we are on the
eve of a glorious New Era in which the Divine blessings will be showered forth upon all the nations of the earth.
DEAD--Re `Rev. 14:13`--How Can Dead Continue Works? ::Q760:1:: QUESTION--What does this mean: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; but their works follow with them?"--`Rev. 14:13`. How can the dead continue their works when there is no consciousness, wisdom or knowledge in the grave? `Ecc. 9:10`. (M.J.E.)
ANSWER--Addressing the members of the Church of Christ, the followers of the Lord Jesus, the Apostle says "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (`Col. 3:3`.) From the Divine viewpoint, so far as the earthly existence is concerned, these are reckoned dead, and alive as new creatures in Christ. It is these dead who die in the Lord. Theirs is a sacrificial death, and they die daily `1 Cor. 15:31`), until they have finished the dying process in actual death. But now, from a certain time, those of this class who die, in place of sleeping in the tomb, at the moment of death enter into the glorious heavenly state where their works will continue with them. St. Paul refers to this very matter when he says, "Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump." (`1 Cor. 15:51,52`). From henceforth, from that time, we understand the Scriptures to teach, the Lord's people have entered at once into their reward.
DEAD--Re Let the Dead Bury Their Dead. ::Q760:2:: QUESTION--How shall we understand the Savior's words --"Let the dead bury their dead?" (`Mat. 8:21,22`.)
ANSWER--When our first parent, father Adam, disobeyed the Divine commands the death sentence passed upon him, and in the legal sense and from the Creator's standpoint, he was dead although he lived for nine hundred and thirty years afterwards. The dying process began and was consummated when Adam passed into the tomb. The entire race was involved with Adam in this death sentence, as the Scriptures declare--"As by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin and so death passed upon all men." As in Adam all die" (`Rom. 5:12`; `1 Cor. 15:22`). From this view of the matter we may understand the Lord's word, "Let the dead (the legally dead) bury their dead (the actually dead)." It is because all were condemned to death in Adam that all will be made alive in Christ (see `Rom. 5:18,19`). Corroborating the words of the Lord Jesus the Apostle says, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge that if one died for all then were all dead" (`2 Cor. 5:14`). Jesus, in the laying down of His life, was giving Himself "a ransom for all" --those under the sentence of death and those who have entered into the great prison house of death, the tomb.
DEAD--Made Alive in Christ. ::Q760:3:: QUESTION--Here is a Scripture that is confusing. If you can explain it I will be very thankful to you. It reads, "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."--`1 Cor. 15:22`. What is the meaning of the latter part?
ANSWER--The correct translation of this text is thus: "As in Adam all die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive." Adam by disobedience brought death upon himself, and all his children being then in his loins all inherited death. The redemption price for Adam and all his race has been provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In due time Christ will offer to Adam and all his children, all the human family, life eternal. This offer will come to the world in the reverse order, however, the last being first and the first (Adam) being last. All after coming to a knowledge of the truth concerning the redemptive work of Christ, who accept Christ and obey him will be made alive. Accepting Christ and obeying Christ in the sense that they will became the children of Christ. Those who refuse to came into Christ will not receive eternal life, but will suffer eternal destruction. Christ is the Great Life Giver of the human race, and during His reign he will offer to all, life as a free gift, and those accepting it upon the terms offered will come up to full and perfect life.
DEAD--Moses and Elijah on Mount--How? ::Q761:1:: QUESTION--If Moses and Elijah were actually dead, how could they appear on the Mount of Transfiguration with our Lord Jesus? (`Mat. 17:1-3`.)
ANSWER--While Moses and Elijah both passed from the scene of earth's experiences under peculiar and mysterious circumstances, yet we are assured that both died. (`Deut. 34:5`; `Heb. 11:13`.) The Scriptures everywhere represent the dead as being in a condition of unconsciousness, "asleep" in the tomb, the grave--"The dead know not anything," for there is no wisdom, nor device, nor knowledge in the grave whither thou goeth" (`Eccl 9:5,10`). We must carefully examine the text under consideration, for the true meaning, recognizing that all of the expressions of the inspired Scriptures are in complete harmony. The ninth verse of this same chapter explains the matter, where we note the words of the Master- -"Tell the vision to no man." What the Apostle saw therefore was merely a "vision" of Moses and Elijah with the Lord, just as St. John on the Isle of Patmas saw visions of beasts, angels, etc., and not actual things themselves. Moses surely had not been resurrected and made perfect at that time, for we are informed that our Lord Jesus was the first to rise from the dead and be glorified. Note also the Apostle Paul's words in `Heb. 11:39,40` where he sets forth that Moses and the other ancient worthies of the past have yet to be made perfect by those of the church class when glorified in the heavenly Kingdom with Christ.
DEAD--Re Seeing Visions and Hearing Celestial Music. ::Q761:2:: QUESTION--If the dead are asleep in the graves awaiting the time of the resurrection at Christ's second coming, when all who are in their graves shall be awakened and shall come forth, as the Scriptures affirm; how shall we understand the experiences of some who, at the time of their departure from this life, see heavenly visions of angels, and hear strains of celestial music? (W.E.D.)
ANSWER--As it is emphatically set forth throughout the entire Scriptures that the dead are "asleep" "in their graves" and that "the dead know not anything," "for there is neither wisdom, nor device, nor knowledge in the grave whither thou goest"; and that all will remain in this sleep of death until the awakening time, when "all who are in their graves shall come forth at the voice of the Son of Man"; we must conclude that the dying ones did not enter at once into heaven; and that what they saw was not an actual glimpse of celestial glories, but merely a phantasmagoria induced by an excited condition of the imaginative powers of the mind, with a correspondingly dormant state of the reasoning faculties. The Lord Jesus declared at His first advent that no one had ascended into Heaven; and the Apostle says that the sleeping ones will be awakened and changed at the second advent.-- See `John 3:13`; `1 Cor. 15:51,52`.
DEAD--Who were Dead Preached to in `1 Pet. 4:6`? ::Q762:1:: QUESTION--Will you kindly explain the words of the Apostle as found in `1 Pet. 4:6`? Who were the dead that the Gospel was preached to? And when and by whom? How will they be judged in the flesh and live to God in the spirit? (J.P.H.)
ANSWER--In the preceding verses the Apostles says "Speaking evil of you who shall give an account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead." From these words it is manifest that he is addressing the followers of Christ who have became dead to the things of the world and alive to the heavenly or spiritual things. The Apostle continues with this thought, saying that it is for this reason (because we who are dead to the world and alive toward God are being called out now, as the Lord's elect class, therefore) the Gospel is preached to us who are judges as in the flesh, like all other men, the Lord may judge us in the spirit, begotten to a newness of life. These spiritual new creatures have their judgment time in this present life and are judged in the flesh with its weakness and blemishes inherited from Adam.
DEATH--Adam Lived 930 Years After Sentence ::Q762:2:: QUESTION--God said to Adam, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." How can you harmonize this with the record that "all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died?"-- `Gen. 2:17`; `Gen 5:5`.
ANSWER--St. Peter gives us the key to this question in his declaration, "One day with the Lord is as a thousand years" (`2 Pet. 3:8`). Father Adam began to die as soon as he was cut off from the privileges of the garden of Eden; for while he was living therein he had the Divine permission to freely eat of the trees of the garden--with a single exception-- and he was sustained by their life-giving fruit; but after his disobedience he was thrust out into the unprepared earth, and Cherubim with a flaming sword kept the pathway to Eden that he might not return thither to partake further of its sustaining fruit, but should die, in harmony with the sentence. "In the day that thou eateth
thereof, thou shalt surely die" (`Gen. 2:17`). The dying there began, and continued gradually for nine hundred and thirty years, until life was extinct--Adam was dead. This all took place within a thousand year day.
DEATH--Vs. Annihilation ::Q763:1:: QUESTION--Is there any difference between death and annihilation?
ANSWER--In the Scriptures we find that there are two kinds of death mentioned; the Adamic condition of death, and the "Second Death." The first could not properly be termed annihilation, as the Lord has arranged that all who have died because of Adam's sin (the whole world of mankind) are to be released from this sentence of death and awakened at the time of Christ's second coming. These, from the Bible standpoint, have merely been "asleep." Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man," and therefore the entire race will be awakened from the tomb. (`John 5:28,29`.) During the reign of Christ and His Bride, the Church, who then will judge or try the world, if any continue in apposition to God's law of righteousness, and love, and justice, they will go into the "Second Death." This condition of death is annihilation. "They shall suffer everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord." "But these, as natural brute beasts, shall utterly perish in their own corruption."--`Obadiah 16`; `2 Thess. 1:9`; `2 Pet. 2:12`.
DEATH--Define ::Q763:2:: QUESTION--What is death?
ANSWER--Death is the cessation of life; the cutting off of the great privilege or boon of living. It signifies annihilation so far as the being or intelligence is concerned. Death, as it now reigns in the world, and to which the entire human family is subjected, is, however, not annihilation, simply because our Creator has graciously provided a recovery from it. The basis for that recovery was laid in the death of our Redeemer--"the just for the unjust" (`1 Pet. 3:18`). The time for the recovery will be in the Resurrection Day, the Last Day, the seventh thousand-year-period from the creation of man. During Messiah's reign of a thousand years he will recover Adam and all his race from the effects of the first transgression, giving them life again. That is to say, the privilege of attaining to everlasting life and perfection will be placed within the reach of Adam and all of his race, and only by the wilful rejection of the grace of God will any fail to attain to this life. Such as wilfully and deliberately reject the grace of God, are represented by the Scriptures as dying the Second Death. That will be annihilation, or eternal death- -extinction as brute beasts--because no provision has been made for the recovery or succor of such (`2 Pet. 2:12`).
DEATH--Does Last Moment Confession Guaranty Heaven? ::Q763:3:: QUESTION--If a man has lived a sinful life, committed murder and robbed the widows and orphans, etc., and then at the last moment, with his dying breath, confesses
his sins and accepts Christ as his Savior, will he not go immediately to Heaven and be with the Lord in glory? (W.S.)
ANSWER--When we think of the vast numbers of vicious, depraved characters, hardened criminals, convicts, etc., who at the solicitation of clergymen and religious devotees have "made their peace with God" at the last moment before being ushered into eternity by electrocution or by dying a natural death, we wonder that intelligent people would for an instant entertain the idea that these had all entered into Heaven! Is it possible that the saintly followers of Jesus, who walked the narrow way of self-sacrifice, suffering and death, and who developed characters of love and kindness and goodness--that these saintly few, for the saints are very few, when they reach Heaven, will find it crowded with the lowest scum of the earth! Much confusion of thought in this connection has resulted from the misapplication of the Savior's words addressed to the dying thief upon the cross. By placing the comma where it properly belongs after the word "today," the meaning of the Lord's words is clear. The thief did not go to heaven, or to Paradise that day; but went into the tomb there to remain until the Kingdom of Christ is set up at the Lord's second coming, when Paradise will be restored. Not only this thief, but the other thief as well, may then receive eternal life on the terms of obedience to the Divine Laws of justice and love. Failing in this, they will die the Second Death.
DEATH--How Can the Dead Die? (`Rev. 14:13`) ::Q764:1:: QUESTION--"And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from hence forth." `Rev. 14:13`. Who are the dead who die in the Lord, and how can a dead person die? (A.C.D.)
ANSWER--There are three kinds of death mentioned in the Scriptures--the Adamic death; the sacrificial death, as death of Christ; and the "second death."
The Adamic condition of death, passed upon all the human race because of Adam's disobedience. The world of mankind may be regarded as a convict race under sentence of death-- "As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men." (`Rom. 5:12`.) The death of Christ is different from that of Adam and his posterity. Adam died as a convict; the Lord Jesus died, not as a convict, but as a sacrifice for the sin of the world. His was a sacrificial death, and began at Jordan when He presented Himself in full consecration to God, and was "finished" (`John 19:30`) when He died upon the cross, three and one-half years later. From the Divine viewpoint, the Lord Jesus was no longer considered as a man from the time of His consecration; but was regarded as a spiritual "new creature." He was dead according to the flesh, and was alive according to the spirit. Thus it is with the true followers of Christ. "As many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death." (`Rom. 6:3`.) From the time of full consecration to God, these are counted as being dead, as says the Apostle-- "Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God." (`Col. 3:3`.) These are the "dead who die in the Lord" --dying daily in the Lord's service, and in the service of the truth (`1 Cor. 15:31`). See also `Rom. 6:8`; `Col. 2:23`.
DEATH--Of Josiah ::Q765:1:: QUESTION--In `2 Kings 22:20th` verse we read "Behold, therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, aud thou shall be gathered into thy grave in peace." Then in `2 Kings 23:29-30`, we are told that Josiah was killed at Megiddo. Please explain and harmonize. (M.D.G.)
ANSWER--The promise which the Lord made to Josiah, as stated in `2 Kings 22:20`, was because of the splendid work of reformation which the king had inaugurated and was prosecuting against the false and idolatrous religious systems that had become established in the land, during the preceding reigns of the kings of Judah. While it is not specifically stated that this promise was conditioned on Josiah's continued faith and obedience to the Lord, yet we can be assured that such must have been the case, for all of God's promises are of this nature. As Josiah did not die in peace, but was slain in battle, we would naturally be led to examine the Scriptures to find wherein Josiah had acted contrary to the Lord's will. The incidents narrated in the next chapter, are described more in detail in `2 Chronicles 35th` chapter and the reason why Josiah suffered a violent death is clearly outlined in the 20th verse. What a lesson far all--to mind their own business and not to meddle in the affairs of others!
DEATH--Surely Die vs. Eyes Opened ::Q765:2:: QUESTION--In `Gen. 2:16,17`, we read-- "And the Lord God commanded the man saying . . . but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." In `Gen. 3:4,5`, we read as follows-- "And the Serpent said unto the Woman, Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil." My question is: which of these statements are we to regard as true? (I.D.)
ANSWER--The Apostle says that God cannot lie, and one of the ancient writers of the Scriptures declared that "God is not a man that He should lie." (`Titus 1:2`; `Num. 23:19`.) Our Lord, on the contrary, in speaking of Satan, the Serpent, said-- "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh of a lie he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it." (`John 8:44`.) In view of these plain declarations of the Scriptures, it would be advisable to accept the Lord's Word an the subject of death being the penalty for disobedience. Scientists, our own senses, and the Word of God, all agree that the dead are dead; and not alive, as Satan and all his emissaries would have us believe. See `Rom. 3:4`.
DEATH--"Their Worm Shall Not Die." ::Q765:3:: QUESTION--I've always had a sneaking idea that somewhere in the subterraneum depth of my make-up there was an immortal worm or something which could never be extinguished, and when this tabernacle that I am inhabiting disintegrates into its original elements, this whatever-it-
may-be will pass into the great beyond, off somewhere in the realms of boundless space. Now, what I'd like to know is: ain't there some Scriptures that proves my idea is correct? I ain't never been able to find it myself, although my grandmother said as how it was there. (Z.E.D.)
ANSWER--The Bible does not speak of the place where "their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched." (`Isa. 66:24`.) This place, however, has reference to the Valley of Gehenna, where the refuse of the city of Jerusalem was cast. In this valley fire and brimstone were kept burning continually. The bodies of dead animals, and criminals who had been executed, were sometimes thrown into this place. These would frequently lodge upon the rocks and would be consumed by worms, which were undying until the carcasses were consumed. Thus the Prophet was forcefully picturing the absolute destruction of the wicked, and was in no sense picturing their preservation. As there is to be a resurrection of the dead, it follows that there must be something that is preserved when death takes place. This "what-ever-it-may-be" is the character or the identity, which, in the awakening, will be endowed with a new body and with life. See `1 Cor., 15th` chapter. Scientists and Bible students have never discovered any "immortal worms."
DEATH--re Those Who Die Without Baptism. ::Q766:1:: QUESTION--I have just lost a dear little girl who never was baptized. I am about mad with grief and sorrow. Some people tell me that she is lost to all eternity and may possibly now be writhing in eternal torture. I have called in our minister and he only shakes his head in doubt. I have also talked with ministers of other denominations and can get no consolation. I will appreciate it if your question box can give me a satisfactory answer. I want God's word and no guesses if you please. ( an anxious mother.)
ANSWER--We appreciate your sorrow and anxiety. Many mothers have been comforted by the Lord's word found in `Jer. 31:15`. "Thus saith the Lord, A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children, because they were not." (They were dead, unconscious, "The dead know not anything." --`Ecc. 9:5`.) These children of Rachel were not in eternal torment, and there is no record of their ever having been baptized. "Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears... they shall came again from the land of the enemy." Death is always spoken of in the Bible as an enemy, and the last enemy to be destroyed is death. (`1 Cor. 15:26`.) All the sleeping ones shall return from the tomb, "the land of the enemy," when Christ shall come again, (`John 5:28,29`- -Revised version.)
DEATH--Re Tree falleth. ::Q766:2:: QUESTION--Kindly explain the last part of the third verse of Ecc., the eleventh chapter: "In the place where the tree falleth there it shall be."
ANSWER--We find this scripture to be in harmony with the remainder of the Bible and as particularly expressed in the ninth chapter of this same book of Ecclesiastes--
"for there is no work nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest." When an individual dies- -falls as a tree in death--so shall he remain in the same condition in which he went into the death state, even as the tree of the forest remains at rest. According to the ideas of some good, well-meaning people, when a man dies there is something that escapes and goes winging its flight around through space, and, according to this theory, this intangible essence that it is liberated from the body, is the real individuality, and thus the person is more alive than ever and perfectly conscious. With this view in mind, and referring to the scriptures quoted in the question, we would be forced to understand that when a tree falls it does not actually die, but something passes from it and it is very much alive somewhere. However, there is no such absurdity about the Bible teachings, to the effect that the dead are dead (and not alive) and will be awakened in the morning of the resurrection.
DEMONS--Responsible for Rapping Tables & Other Antics. ::Q767:1:: QUESTION--The Boston (Mass.) press recently devoted columns of conservative space to describing the antics performed by the furniture in the parish home of a Catholic priest residing in one of the suburban districts of that center of the intellectual universe. Tables and chairs waltzed about the room, and a brass costumer threw itself downstairs, while an alarm clock behaved in a most alarming manner, hurling itself across the room and then repeating the stunt after being restored to its original position. The several inmates of the house were duly impressed by these extraordinary proceedings, but were unable to account for them. Perhaps you can explain the mystery. What? (Psyche)
ANSWER--Reports of similar proceedings, in all parts of the globe, indicate that the powers of darkness are becoming very active. These peculiar manifestations can be attributed to nothing else than to the operation of the demons that infest earth's atmosphere. Let no one for a moment suppose that these phenomena are produced by those who have died, and that these are indications of an effort on their part to communicate with their friends and relatives in the flesh. Our friends are asleep in the tomb, wholly unconscious (`Ecc. 9:10`) and therefore, could not be spending their time in throwing furniture around, thumping on banjos, twanging guitars, and rapping on tables. If our friends had nothing better to do on the other side, than to engage in such silly antics, as these spiritual phenomena usually are, we would do well to treat them with cold contempt. The tendency of spiritualism is invariably downward; no one has ever been influenced to the higher and nobler things through the power of the demons.
DEMONS--re Speaking in Unknown Tongues. ::Q767:2:: QUESTION--What is meant by the expression "unknown tongues" as mentioned by the Apostle in `1 Cor. 14th` chapter? Is it possible for anyone to speak in unknown tongues at the present time? (J.J.L.)
ANSWER--On the day of pentecost, as the Apostles were gathered together at Jerusalem, the holy spirit, the
power of God, rested upon them and by its influence they were enabled to speak in unknown languages, so that the peoples of different countries and nationalities were able to understand the message which the Apostles were delivering. (`Acts 2:1-12`.) This gift of the spirit was conferred upon others of the Lord's followers later and was for the purpose of qualifying them to bear witness to the truth to people of foreign lands. In the chapter referred to in the question, the Apostle discourses at some length on this subject of "tongues" and explains that they were merely for a sign which was not to be used unless an interpreter were present. Although he could speak in more tongues or languages than all of the brethren, yet he would rather speak five words and be understood than to utter ten thousand words and not be understood. When the church was thoroughly established and the gospel message in its completeness had gone abroad, there was no longer any need for the "signs" or the miraculous gifts of the spirit and therefore, they ceased. (`1 Cor. 13:8`.) It is true that same today have the faculty of speaking in unknown tongues, but this is not accomplished through the power of the Lord; it is of the evil one. A single glance at the frenzied condition, and the paroxysms of those speaking in the unknown tongues, should be conclusive evidence that they are obsessed by demons or evil spirits.
DESTRUCTION--Everlasting--in What Way? ::Q768:1:: QUESTION--Do the words "everlasting" and "forever and ever" as applied to the punishment of the wicked, mean an eternity of misery, and torment, or merely punishment for a season? Cannot the wicked be destroyed? If they are fireproof and indestructible; then have they not eternal life as well as the righteous? And if they have eternal life, how shall we understand the words of the inspired writer when he says "and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him"? `John 3:15` (Serious).
ANSWER--Let no one be deceived regarding the duration of the punishment of the wicked, as it is repeatedly put forth in the scriptures that it is for eternity and not merely for a season. However; it is not a question as to the duration of the punishment, but it is a question as to the nature of the punishment. It is about this point that many Christians have been confused. When the Apostle says, concerning the ultimate fate of the wicked, "they shall suffer everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord," they at once get the thought of the eternal feature of the punishment, but do not get the proper idea as to its nature; reasoning generally that "destruction" means preservation (in fire and brimstone). Death is the punishment for sin. It is the penalty for disobedience. "The wages of sin is death" (`Rom. 6:23`.) And when death is eternal, it is eternal punishment. There should be no question on this point. The scriptural proposition is very plain. "The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." The wicked, who after full light and knowledge, refused to accept of the grace of God as manifested through Christ, will never receive the "gift" of eternal life.
DESTRUCTION--The Mountain of--(Battle of Armageddon) ::Q769:1:: QUESTION--What is the meaning of the word "Armageddon"? Also, what is signified by "the battle of Armageddon"? These are expressions that I see are appearing quite frequently in the daily press these balmy political days, and my curiosity is aroused considerably. (T.R.)
ANSWER--The name is found in `Rev. 16:16`, and means literally "The Mountain of Destruction." It is supposed to have reference to the place where the Lord caused fearful destruction of the enemies of Israel before the armies of Gideon, and of Jehosaphat. On both of these occasions, the slaughter of the allied armies of the foe was terrible and the rout was complete (`Judges 8`; `2 Chronicles 20`). These are believed to be types or illustrations of the "time of troubles such as was not since there was a nation" in the end of this Christian era, when "the whole world is gathered together for the battle of the great day of God the Almighty." (`Dan. 12:1`; `Rev.14:14`; `Zeph. 3:8`.)
As a matter of fact, the opposing hosts of this last final conflict are gathering at this present time. The spirit of revolution and anarchism in the world is generating a boiling, seething condition of affairs. The warring political factions, the militant suffragettes, the socialists, the nihilists, the anarchists, the labor organizations, the capitalistic combinations, and the ecclesiastical system, all in opposition to each and all, are rushing headlong to the Mountain of Destruction--Armageddon. The nations of the earth are already gathered together, forming one vast community of general interests, commercially, financially, and politically, and associated by the modern methods of communication, the cables, wireless telegraphs, railways and steamship lines. Armageddon will truly be an awful place of destruction with all the world engaged in that last final struggle!
DIVINE NATURE--Explain Nature ::Q769:2:: QUESTION--What is meant by Divine nature, etc.? What is the meaning of the word nature in these connections? (A.P.N.)
ANSWER--The word "nature" in its true sense, as applied to creatures, or beings, signifies the kind of organism and sphere of existence in which they live and move and have their being. Thus when human nature is referred to, it signifies the conditions of existence relating to the human race. The angelic nature is in a higher and different sphere of existence than that of humanity. (`Psa. 8`.) As there is a vast difference between the conditions of existence of a fish and a bird, so we may reasonably suppose there is just as wide a difference between the human and angelic. The Divine nature is the highest of all natures, and is different from all others in this regard--it possesses inherent life and is, therefore, immortal. Whereas all other natures possess life that is not inherent, but is sustained by partaking of the life-giving elements peculiar to the different natures. A blending of natures would be a hybrid thing--a monstrosity. The Lord Jesus experienced two changes of nature-- from spiritual to human (`Heb. 2:16,17`) and then
from human to Divine. It is promised in the Scriptures that the faithful followers of Christ shall also experience a change of nature, and will "became partakers of the Divine nature"- -the nature of God. `2 Pet. 1:4`.
DIVINITY--Is Jesus Divine? ::Q770:1:: QUESTION--Can we say that Jesus is divine and yet not worship Him as deity? (H.A.R.)
ANSWER--The Logos is designated "The Only Begotten Son" of God. The thought conveyed by this expression is that the Logos, the Lord Jesus, is the only direct creation or begetting of the Heavenly Father, while all others of God's sons (angels as well as men), were His indirect creation through the Logos. Hence the propriety, the truthfulness, of the statement, that He is the Only Begotten Son of God. The Lord Jesus has ever been the agency or channel through whom the Divine purposes have been accomplished. As the direct agent of the Heavenly Father it is appropriate that He should be honored even as the Father is honored. And so it is written, "That all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father." (`John 5:23`.) After the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, He was highly exalted, receiving glory, honor, and immortality, the divine nature. In view of this high exaltation, and of His position of special favor at the right hand of the Majesty an high, it is no cause for surprise that we find it stated that all should bow the knee to Him: "Him hath God highly exalted, and given Him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow."--`Phil. 2:9`.
EARTH--Was Motion Reversed?--Dial of King Ahaz. ::Q770:2:: QUESTION--In `2 Kings 20:11`, we read that Isaiah the Prophet cried unto the Lord; and He brought the shadow of the sun ten degrees backwards, by which it had gone down on the dial of Ahaz. Does this record teach that the Lord reversed the earth's motion upon its axis? (A.)
ANSWER--The possibility of such a miracle has been questioned by many, who have insisted that it would involve not only stoppage of the motion of the earth upon its axis, but an impossible retrograde movement, to be accomplished in a moment of time. However, Professor Garbett, writing far a magazine called Knowledge, declares that he knew of an afternoon some years ago when, on many sun-dials in Southern England, there occurred exactly the wonder described in the book of Kings. Asked by Astronomer R.A. Proctor to describe it, he writes as follows: "The shiftings of the shadows an the dials, that Isaiah predicted to sick Hezekiah, are liable to occur at any place, when these two circumstances occur: (1) That the upper atmosphere is in that condition which causes two bright parhelion or mock suns to appear an opposite sides of the sun; and (2) that the lower air contains drifting clouds, massive enough to hide often two of the three (apparent suns). When the real sun and eastern mock sun are hidden, there is only the western (mock sun) to cast shadows, which then coincides with what the sun would cast an hour and a half later; but if the clouds shift so as to hide the west parhelion, and disclose the eastern, the shadows instantly become such as
the sun cast an hour and a half earlier. . . . On March 29, 1858, these effects occurred, had any one been looking, on every dial of Portsea, and very probably of much of Hampshire besides. The parhelia were present and bright enough at about 11 a.m. and still better at 1 p.m.
EARTH--Scriptural vs. Scientific View of Future ::Q771:1:: QUESTION--The Bible says "The earth abideth forever" (`Ecc. 1:4`). How do we harmonize this with the conclusions reached by scientists that the solar system is gradually running down and that eventually the earth will become cold and lifeless?
ANSWER--Even if the conclusions of scientists were realized as suggested above, it would not be out of harmony with the Bible statement, for the earth would still be "abiding" although in a lifeless form. Various have been the speculations as to the ultimate fate of the earth. Some have conjectured that the earth would eventually drop into the sun and thus be consumed. Others have suggested that a collision would occur with some comet or with another planet, and in this way, the earth would be disposed of. The suppositions of scientists have served to amuse a not too credulous public and, we believe, not many have taken them seriously as to their wild guesses. How reasonable and consistent the Bible teaching to the effect that the Creator formed the earth to be inhabited, and that while it is still in an imperfect condition as a habitation for mankind, yet it is to be made glorious and perfect and in its beautified state will form an everlasting dwelling place for the regenerated human race! See `Isa. 14:18`.
EARTH--Will it be Burned Up? ::Q771:2:: QUESTION--Are we to understand from the words of St. Peter (`2 Pet. 3:10`) that the earth is to be burned up at some time or other? And what is the meaning of the expression--"the elements shall melt with fervent heat?"
ANSWER--The symbolical earth of St. Peter's prophecy doubtless refers to the social order of things or organized society, represented in the various forms of government now existing. In referring to the last times or the last days, our Lord foretold a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation--`Mat. 24:21` and the scriptures in general show how this "trouble" will be developed, and that it will be so destructive in character that it will result in the dissolution of the present evil, selfish, social structure, preparatory to the establishment of the "new earth"--verse 13--founded upon principles of equity, justice and love. The "elements" which constitute the present "earth" or social order, are the socialistic element, the capitalistic element, the labor element, etc. Who can not see that the friction existing between the various elements is constantly increasing, and that it is a question of but short time when the friction will become so intense that the elements, bursting forth into open flame, "will melt (be dissolved) with fervent heat," and thus the entire social fabric will be destroyed? As showing that the "fire" is not literal, we have in mind the Prophet's description of this same destructive time of trouble, in which it is stated that after
the "fire" has done its work, the Lord will "then" turn to the people a pure language. `Zeph. 3:8,9`.
EARTH--Will Present Resources Last Forever? ::Q772:1:: QUESTION--The scriptures state that God created the Earth not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited. (`Isa. 14:18`.) And also that the earth abideth forever. (`Ecc. 1:4`.) This seems to imply that the earth will be populated forever. If this be true, where will they get their supplies from, such as coal, minerals, timber, etc. when the present sources are exhausted? (E.M.)
ANSWER--The earth is composed of different elements. These elements, while they may change their forms and disappear from mortal vision, always remain the same elements. No instance has ever been known of where one element changed into another. But there is constant change taking place throughout all of the realms of nature. Yet, nothing is gained, and nothing is lost. Water changes from a solid (ice) into vapor (steam) and then into its elementary gases--H2O. Then the operation is reversed. The gases change to vapor--the vapor to liquids, and the liquids to solids. We may reason from this that when the coal, minerals, timber, etc., have all been used in their present form, and having been transformed into some other state, they will be utilized in that state or condition. And this process could go on throughout eternity without exhausting in the slightest degree the original elements. The process of change is always in a circle, and all that mankind will need to do will be to follow the circle around to its initial starting point and then repeat the process throughout all the years of eternity.
ELIJAH--Re John the Baptist. ::Q772:2:: QUESTION--What did Christ mean when he referred to John the Baptist as Elijah? (`Matt. 17:2,12`). Is this an evidence that he recognized re-incarnation as the truth?
ANSWER--The theory of re-incarnation is nowhere taught in the scriptures. Our Lord Jesus and the Apostles never, in all their teachings, said a word about re-incarnation. As to the meaning of the Savior's words referred to in the question, we recognize that He was calling to mind the prophecy of `Mal. 4:5,6`. John the Baptist was one of the greatest of the prophets, and it was his mission to prepare the way of the Messiah, the Christ, by performing a reformation work in preaching repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, and declaring the kingdom of heaven at hand. This message was to the Jews and to them only, as they had been the Lord's chosen people for many centuries. But now a new dispensation was about to be ushered in. The kingdom of heaven was at hand. And it was John's mission to prepare the people for the new order of things. This He did in the power and spirit of Elijah. (`Luke 1:16,17`.) We know positively that John was not Elijah for we have his own testimony on the subject. "And they asked him, what then? Art thou Elijah? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No." (`John 1:21.`)
ENOCH--Translated--How Harmonized / All Died in Faith. ::Q773:1:: QUESTION--`Heb. 11:5`, we read that Enoch was translated that he should not see death. Then in the 13th verse we read that these all DIED in faith, referring to those mentioned in the preceding verses. Would this include Enoch among those mentioned? And if so please harmonize the two statements. (F.G.)
ANSWER--From the Genesis statement (`Gen. 5:22-24`) and the Apostles' words in the 5th verse of this 11th chapter of Hebrews, (`Heb. 11:5`) we are inclined to believe that the Lord translated Enoch that he should not see death; that in some way Enoch's life was preserved. As the scriptures do not say where the Lord placed Enoch that he should not see death, it would be idle speculation an our part to attempt to set forth just where to look for him. If Enoch, then, is alive somewhere as the 5th verse indicates, the expression of the 13th verse--"these all died in faith"--would have no reference to him. The Apostle was evidently referring to those mentioned in the 12th verse, and not to those mentioned in the preceding verses. "Therefore sprang from one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith."
EVIL--Origin. ::Q773:2:: QUESTION--Where did evil originate? Is God the author of evil? (`Isa. 14:7`; `Amos 3:6`.)
ANSWER--The word evil in the texts cited has the meaning in the Hebrew language of adversity. These evils or calamities were sent upon the Jews as chastisements for their violation of the terms of the covenant which they had made with the Lord. The evil here referred to was not evil in the sense of its being a wrong or a sin. Right and wrong, good and evil as principles have always existed and always will. Principles are eternal. Sin was produced by the evil principle becoming active, and began with Satan who permitted evil to control and dominate his course of action. Sin and evil were introduced into the world by Satan when he induced our first parents to disobey the Divine command. Thus the race has come under the dominion of sin and death supervised by Satan, the God (ruler) of this "present evil world." (`2 Cor. 4:4`.) At the appointed time when the Lord shall again control earth's affairs, establishing his own kingdom in the earth, Satan is to be bound and eventually will be destroyed, while evil will gradually cease to be active until at the close of Christ's reign, when sin and evil in their various forms, suffering, and death, shall be no more. (`Rev. 21:3-5`.)
EVIL--Why Does God Permit? ::Q773:3:: QUESTION--Why does God the great creator who has all power and wisdom permit the reign of sin and evil in the earth? When we see all of the sorrow and misery existing in the world because of the evil we wonder that a just and loving creator would permit these things when he has the ability to put an end to them at any time?
ANSWER--This is a very important question and one that thinking minds have pondered by using a fact of history to illustrate the matter. In ancient times during the reign of a just and wise ruler over a large part of the earth, a rebellion occurred in a certain portion of the empire. A usurper arose and, misrepresenting the character of the emperor, succeeded in inducing the people of this particular province to no longer render obedience to their rightful sovereign. Although the emperor had the power to suppress the rebellion at once, he permitted the tyrant to rule over the province, and in this way let the people experience the hardships and evils of misrule, that they might the better appreciate the advantages of the wise and beneficent reign of the monarch. Also it would furnish an object lesson to the people of the other provinces. And thus it turned out. The people in time grew exceedingly weary of the woe and sorrows inflicted by the usurper, and when the opportunity finally presented itself to escape from his dominion, they gladly returned to complete harmony with their emperor, expressing their allegiance and full submission to his just commands. Satan, "The God (ruler) of this present evil world," is to be bound eventually and the people, liberated from his dominion and tyranny, and instructed in righteousness, for, when "the judgments of the Lord are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness," will then appreciate the wise and just commands of their creator, their rightful sovereign.
FAITH--Can it Remove a Literal Mountain? ::Q774:1:: QUESTION--In `Matt. 17:20`, Jesus said to his disciples "if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Could one have faith to remove a literal mountain? (A.C.D.)
ANSWER--The question would seem to be a preposterous one, but when we reflect upon the meaning of the word faith; that it is not imagination or blind credulity, but, as defined by the Apostle, "Faith is a basis of things hoped for; a conviction of things unseen." (`Heb. 11:1`.) We can see that our Lord's teaching here is in agreement with what he taught on another occasion (`John 15:7`) where he set forth that the request must be in harmony with the Divine will. But since there is no basis of evidence for faith that the will of God is to remove literal mountains in answer to any idle or self-willed, or ignorant commands of men to do so, a genuine faith in his willingness to do it now is an impossibility. But regarding the mountain as a symbol of difficulty and obstruction in our individual Christian course, or in the course of God's work, we know that "Miracles" are wrought for those who exercise faith; and they going forward in the strength of the Lord, are permitted to overcome difficulties and to work righteousness otherwise impossible.
FAITH--How Cultivated? ::Q774:2:: QUESTION--How can I get faith when I don't have it naturally?
ANSWER--Faith may be cultivated as any other mental
quality, and is increased in proportion to knowledge and reliance upon that knowledge. To have faith in God we must learn His character, plans, and purposes. This we acquire by a study of His word and relying upon the promises and truths therein stated. False doctrines have made God's character appear hideous. "Fear (dread) of him is taught by the precepts of men." A true knowledge of his character and plan greatly increase our faith in and love for him. Faith is scripturally defined as "the understanding of things hoped far, the proof of things unseen." Man hopes for eternal life in happiness. A basis for that hope is found in the word of God. A doubter may become a most earnest and tenacious believer upon receiving proper evidence. "Life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ." (`Rom. 6:23`.) His word is the only evidence pointing out clearly the way of obtaining that gift. To increase our faith we must, therefore, study God's word in a humble and prayerful manner, with the desire to know and do His will, and to rely upon His word. One who knows the letter of His word and fails to rely upon it has little faith. Another both knows the word and relies upon it and strong faith results. This is illustrated by the following incident; A man doubting the strength of the ice to bear his weight crawled across the river an his hands and knees, and just as he reached the opposite shore he was overtaken by a man, who had confidence in the strength of the ice, gaily driving a team of horses hitched to a sled loaded with pig iron.
FAITH--When Son of Man Cometh--Shall He Find? ::Q775:1:: QUESTION--`Luke 18:8`, "Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh shall He find faith on the earth?" Is it the mountain-moving faith that will be lacking? Please explain. (A.C.D.)
ANSWER--A word for word rendering from the oldest Greek manuscripts of the quotation given above is as follows: "But the Son of Man coming, indeed, will He find the faith on the earth?" The "faith" in the text would have the meaning of system of belief or doctrines, as expressed in the Bible statement, "The faith once delivered to the saints." The Master's words imply that the existence of the true faith at the time of His second coming would be somewhat doubtful. The Lord's words are remarkably fulfilled in the conditions of the present day. We see that, owing to the hundreds of conflicting creeds and doctrinal systems; the many "isms," and the strong delusions and multiplied errors; so that if it were possible the very elect would be deceived; not many are holding to the true faith--only the "very elect." (`Matt. 24:24`.) The object of the Lord's return is to put aside all of the evil and the error, and to fill the whole earth with the true faith and knowledge of God and thus to bring about the blessing of all mankind.--`Habakkuk 2:14`.
FATHER'S HOUSE--Many Mansions ::Q775:2:: QUESTION--What did Jesus mean when he said, "In my Father's house are many mansions"?
ANSWER--In the larger sense, the Universe is God's home or house, and this earth is His footstool. We know not
how many angelic orders there are, but the Scriptures intimate that there are spirit beings of various grades, of different nature, each perfect, but differing one from the other. The Divine Plan, in connection with their creation, made full arrangement for their comfort and happiness to all eternity. Similarly, when God created man He provided for his welfare to all eternity, giving him an earthly home, mansion, or apartment in the great House. Our Lord, in calling His Church, invited them to become God's "New Creation." He promised those who would become His footstep followers, bearing their cross after Him, that eventually they should be with Him, sharing His glory on the heavenly plane. They should be like unto the angels, but higher than the angels--His Bride. There is no place yet for this "New Creation," except in the Father's purpose, or plan, in which provision for the Church, as the Bride of Christ, had already been made. But it needed to be prepared for them, and they needed to be prepared for it. This preparation has gone on from the time our Lord said, "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (`John 14:2,3`).
FIRE--Re Burning Up Earth. ::Q776:1:: QUESTION--What kind of fire must that be which is to burn up the earth at the end of the world, when it is written of that very time, "THERE SHALL NOT BE A COAL TO WARM AT, NOR FIRE TO SIT BEFORE?" See `Isa. 47:14`.
ANSWER--The Scriptures in many places refer to the time of destruction in the end of the present order of things under various symbols or illustrations such as "fire," "earthquake," "whirlwind," etc. The literal earth or planet on which we dwell is not referred to in connection with these statements, but the present social order, with all of its selfishness and evil, is to be destroyed in a destructive time of trouble "such as was not since there was a nation." The earth itself will never pass away, for the Bible declares the Lord formed it to be inhabited and will eventually "make the place of His feet (His footstool--the earth) glorious." The expression of the Prophet, "there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before," we understand to signify that during the time of trouble and distress that shall come upon the nations in the last days, there will be no place or source of comfort and consolation for the class of false prophets or prognosticators of the preceding verse.
FIRE--Will Earth be Destroyed by Actual? ::Q776:2:: QUESTION--We hear of so many great fires these days, I wonder if the Bible shows that the earth will be destroyed by actual fire?
ANSWER--An improper conception of the Scriptures has led to many ludicrous conclusions concerning the destruction of the earth by fire. A man in western Pennsylvania became so thoroughly imbued with the thought that the world will be burned up by the Lord in the last days, that he vigorously protested against the great consumption of coal,
gas and oil now being mined and removed from below the earth's surface, declaring, "that the Lord will not have enough fuel with which to burn up the world when the time comes to do so, if this thing keeps up." Others have had the thought that even the literal heavens will be consumed in that dreadful conflagration. If the heaven is to be destroyed, where would even the Lord find a habitation?
The Apostle's words in `2 Pet. 3` are cited as authority by those who hold the theory of a literal destruction of heaven and earth. But let us observe that the Apostle is using figurative language. He mentions three worlds and three heavens, clearly meaning dispensation or ages each relating to a different social order and a spiritual rule. One of these ended with a great flood and the present is to pass away with a "great time of trouble" (`Dan. 12:1`). The prophet (`Zep. 3:8,9`) points out that after the present order of things passes away "then the Lord will turn to the people a pure message that they may all call upon the Lord," thus showing that the people remain. The Lord "made the earth to be inhabited" (`Isa. 14:18`) (`Isa. 45:18`). "The earth abideth forever" (`Eccl. 1:4`). It shall yet be a fit habitation for man. (`Psa. 67:6`.)
FLOOD--After, and Noah's Intoxication ::Q777:1:: QUESTION--If Noah was a just and respectable old gentleman of some six hundred years of age, how is it that we find him getting intoxicated--becoming drunk--as recorded in (`Gen 9:20`).
ANSWER--How true are the words of the poet--
"The evil that men do live after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones." But one instance of straying from the path of rectitude and sobriety in a long life of fidelity to the principles of righteousness will stand out with startling distinctness and will be the subject of more consideration than all of the individual's noble acts and traits combined. However, we shall not leave Noah defenseless, but will call attention to the fact that his intoxication was after the flood and was wholly unintentional. The flood wrought great changes in the atmospheric conditions of our earth; to our understanding the deluge was produced by the precipitation to the earth of an immense quantity of water which previously had surrounded the earth at a distance as a cloudy canopy. The dissolution of this canopy or envelope of water not only produced the flood, but altered the conditions of nature so that storms, rains, etc., resulted, things which had never been before. (`Gen. 2:5,6`.) Another result, we believe, was the development of an acidulous condition of the atmosphere tending to produce ferment, which directly affected human longevity, so that according to the Scriptures the average of human life decreased from eight and nine hundred years to one hundred. This ferment from the changed atmosphere, affecting the grape, generated "mold," and hence the alcoholic condition which produces drunkenness. According to the record, Noah's drunkenness was the result of the first vintage of grapes after the flood, and it evidently was contrary to all of his experiences preceding the flood. We are justified, therefore, in supposing that this one instance of Noah's having been intoxicated was the
result of ignorance respecting the changed character of the grape product fermented.
FLOOD--Description Noah's Ark ::Q778:1:: QUESTION--How large was Noah's Ark, and how did it compare with modern vessels as to size and capacity?
ANSWER--The Bible (`Gen. 6:15`) gives the dimensions as follows: Three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits broad and thirty cubits high. The length of the cubit is variously estimated. The modern cubit is 18 inches, linear measure; the sacred cubit of the Jews is 21.88 inches. According to the latter the ark was 547.3 feet long, 91.2 feet wide and 54 feet high. The capacity, 2,730,782 cubic feet. Tonnage, 81,042. It is impossible however, to do more than merely to estimate the dimensions as no one can be absolutely sure as to the length of the cubit according to which the ark was constructed. There are some modern vessels of greater length than the ark, but the capacity of the ark was three times as great as any vessel afloat. It provided plenty of room for Noah and his family and pairs of all the 244 species of animals, taken in, as scheduled by the Buffon, together with all supplies needed for the long voyage. The design has been found in actual practice to yield the best results for safety and stowage.
FLOOD--Literal or Spiritual? ::Q778:2:: QUESTION--Are we to accept a literal flood,or does `Gen. 6, 7, 8`, give an account of a spiritual flood? (R.E.)
ANSWER--Scientific thought is coming more and more into harmony with the Scripture teachings as to the occurrence of an actual flood at about the time indicated in the Genesis account. From the latest investigations and researches, the conclusion has been formed that this earth was, in times remote, a part of the sun, and that it was thrown off, or detached from the central orb in the form of gas. In course of time, this whirling mass would cool and condense, and resolve itself into solids and liquids with the central mass as a nucleus around which several canopies or rings, similar to the rings of the planet Saturn, were developed. These would condense and in turn would eventually be precipitated to the earth one by one. Science and the Bible agree that there were six of these "canopies," and these, coming to the earth in their regular order, formed the six creative "days" or epochs as narrated in the first chapter of Genesis; the last one, being of water, brought about the deluge, or Noah's flood.
FOOLS--For Christ's Sake ::Q778:3:: QUESTION--The Apostle says--"We are fools for Christ's sake!"--what did he mean by this expression? How are Christians made fools? See `1 Cor. 4:10`.
ANSWER--The Apostle Paul, because of his zeal and earnestness in the cause of Christ, had suffered opposition and persecution of various kinds and had even endured hunger and thirst and hardships, as he proceeds to narrate in this same chapter. To those without faith in Christ and His teachings this was all foolishness on the part of the Apostle. To them he seemed to be a religious fanatic--a
fool. And evidently some of the Christian brethren at Corinth got this same idea, deeming it needless to endure so much contempt and hardships for the Master's cause. These conditions have prevailed all down throughout the Christian Era, the consecrated, devoted people of the Lord, who have given their all, sacrificing ease, comfort and worldly fame and riches in their desire to serve Him who endured so much for their sakes, have ever been ridiculed and despised by the common lot who, because of their diminutive mental and moral caliber, could not appreciate the grandeur and the nobility of the characters and teachings of these who truly deserve the name of Christian. Well has one expressed the matter in the following lines--
"The few by whom high truth was recognized
Who foolishly their full hearts left unguarded
Revealing to the crowd their noble vision
Have always banished been crucified."
GOD--Divine Impossibilities ::Q779:1:: QUESTION--I heard a man the other day say that there are some things that God cannot do. Is that so or not?
ANSWER--In the very nature of things there are some things that it would be impossible for God, the great Creator, to do. Our infidel friends say that it would be impossible for God to create two hills without a valley; however, we believe this could easily be accomplished by putting one hill on top of the other.
The Bible itself tells of some things beyond the range of Divine possibilities. For instance, the Apostle Paul (`Heb. 6:13`) says that God could "swear by no other greater than Himself." Since the Lord God is the Supreme Being of the universe and none therefore greater than He, the truth of the Apostle's words is evident. Again we are informed that "He cannot deny Himself (`2 Tim. 2:13`). Because of His immutability or unchangeableness (`Jam. 1:17`) it would be impossible for the Lord God to deny Himself, or to do any wrong in any sense. The Divine character of Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power could never be altered or swayed in the slightest degree. This gives us confidence indeed that all of the Divine purposes will be accomplished exactly as prearranged from before the foundation of the earth. "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world." (`Acts 15:18`.)
GOD--His Love vs. Commands To Destroy ::Q779:2:: QUESTION--If God is a God of love, as the Bible tells us, how can we understand His command to the children of Israel to utterly destroy their enemies, men, women, and children? (B.R.)
ANSWER--The Land of Canaan belonged to the Israelites as it had been given to Abraham and promised to his seed as an everlasting possession. The Philistines, Amorites and others who inhabited the land at the time when Moses under Divine direction led the Israelites out of Egypt, were a semi-barbarous race whose sins and iniquities had come to the full. It was because they had become so depraved that the Lord saw that it would be best to destroy them. Let us suppose that a people, occupying the land of Canaan
today, were to become so degraded and corrupt that they were a menace to civilization, robbing and massacring innocent people, and in all ways being obnoxious both to themselves and to other nations. Would it be thought an unwise, unjust, or unloving arrangement for the Lord to cause their removal and entire destruction in order to make way for the establishment of the Israelites in their own land? Many of the prophecies of the Scriptures clearly indicate that we may expect within the next few years just such a development of affairs, and that the Israelites will be gathered back into their own country from the uttermost parts of the earth. (See `Jer.32:36-44`.) Reverting to the question: we see women and children, young and old, dying off in multitudes every day with but very little evidence of the Lord's love in any direction. However, the Lord has arranged in His plan of salvation a time and a way when all the race shall be delivered from the death conditions--`Isa. 35:8-10`; `Rev. 21:3-5`.
GOD--His Love vs. Commands to Destroy Enemies ::Q780:1:: QUESTION--If God is a God of love as the Bible tells us; how can we understand His command to the Children of Israel to utterly destroy their enemies, men, women and children? (E.A.)
ANSWER--Four hundred years ago North America was a vast wilderness inhabited by roving bands of savages who warred with one another and practiced all kinds of barbarities. Today, in place of the scattered tribes of murderous Indians, there are millions of civilized and enlightened people who are engaged in developing the higher and nobler qualities of mind and heart and cultivating the arts and sciences and the various branches of industry. Which of these two arrangements is the best? Was the Lord unjust or unloving in overruling the affairs of earth so that the Indians should practically be destroyed root and branch in order to make way for civilization? We think not. The same conditions prevailed in the land of Canaan. The Philistines, Amorites, etc., who occupied the land were practically savages, as they engaged in all forms of idolatrous worship, offering up human sacrifices in connection therewith. It was because their wickedness and depravity had reached to such a stage that God, in His wisdom and justice, saw that it would be best to destroy them and to place in the land a people, who, under His instructions, attained to a high degree of civilization. When the Jews were about to enter the land the Lord established a system of laws with them with the assurance that if they obeyed the Law they would be marvelously blest, and if disobedient they would be severely punished.
GOD--"No Man Hath Seen" vs. "Ye... Have Seen My Father Also." ::Q780:2:: QUESTION--Can you explain these two passages of Scripture: `John 1:18`, "No man hath seen God at any time;" and `John 14:9`, "Ye that have seen me, have seen my Father also?" (L.M.)
ANSWER--The first expression should be understood in the concrete sense. No mortal being could see the Lord God
and live--"Whom no man hath seen, nor can see." The last expression, to be understood in harmony with the first, should be considered in the abstract. As it was impossible for the Lord's followers to actually see God, the Heavenly Father, the only way then in which they could see God was in the representative sense. Our Lord Jesus, fully and perfectly represented the Father. He was God manifested in the flesh. The Father's love, and mercy, justice, and wisdom, were all manifest in the Life and teachings of the Lord Jesus. Those then, who became acquainted with the Lord Jesus, were made acquainted with the Father. The Lord Jesus never claimed to be the Heavenly Father personally; but always taught that He was the Son of God. The Scriptures declare that God sent His only begotten Son into the world. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself in the same sense in which He will be "all in all" when the Son shall have delivered up the Kingdom to the Father at the close of Christ's millennial reign.--`1 Cor. 15:17,28`.
GOD--What is Meant by "Repented" Man's Creation ::Q781:1:: QUESTION--"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart; and the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth." If God is omniscient, knowing the end from the beginning, how could He REPENT of His course in creating man?
ANSWER--The word "repent" means "To change the mind, or course of conduct, on account of regret or dissatisfaction with what has occurred." The question then is, Did God change His mind (plan) or His course of conduct? We claim that, knowing the end from the beginning, God's mind could not be changed; hence "repent" in this text must signify change of conduct. That is, God did change His course of dealing with man because of man's wickedness, which grieved Him, but He did not change His mind or plans, because these plans had from the very first recognized the corrupting and degrading tendency of sin, and provided (in purpose of mind) the Lamb of God--"slain from the foundation of the world" -- as the redemption price. (`Rev. 13:8`; `Rev. 17:8`.)
GOD'S CARE--Fatherless and Widow ::Q781:2:: QUESTION--Please explain why the Scriptures refer to God's special care over the fatherless and the widow and says nothing about the widower and the motherless? It seems to me that where the wife and mother is taken away it is much sadder than where the husband and father is removed from the family circle.
ANSWER--In many places in the Scriptures the expression "fatherless," in the original language in which the Bible was written, has the significance of bereaved or orphans. The thought is that the Lord's special care and compassion are over the weak, helpless and the bereaved ones, and not that He has less consideration for the motherless
than for the fatherless. We read "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works. The Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous, and preserveth the stranger; He relieveth the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked He turneth upside down"--`Psa. 145:9,10`; `Psa. 146:8,9`. Again we read "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise." (`Psa. 51:17`.) All those who are mourning and sorrowful, who will draw nigh unto God through Christ, will be comforted whether they are motherless or fatherless; widowers or widows.
GOSPEL--Meaning of ::Q782:1:: QUESTION--Please explain what is meant by Preaching the Gospel, and what is the Gospel?
ANSWER--The word gospel signifies a message of glad tidings. Preaching the Gospel means proclaiming the good tidings, or massage of gladness, to others. When the Lord Jesus came He declared, "The spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek." During the three and a half years of His ministry He preached the good news of the coming Kingdom and the blessings it is to bring to the human race. He commissioned His true followers to do the same thing, and those who have been telling others of the redemptive work of Christ and the blessings of His coming Kingdom have thus been preaching the Gospel. In these modern times the public press has become the most effective way of getting great truths before the people and the Gospel is being preached through the press wheresoever the glad tidings of Messiah's Kingdom is being published. From this it will be seen that much that is preached is mislabeled "Gospel." All sorts of bad tidings of great misery are many times improperly styled "Gospel."
HATRED--Of Unrighteousness and Injustice Proper ::Q782:2:: QUESTION--If hatred is not a virtue, why does it say in `Eccl. 3:8` "There is a time to hate?" Why does Christ say in `Luke 14:2` "If any man come to me and HATE not his father and mother, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple?" (F. W.)
ANSWER--Our Lord in all of His instructions to His followers continually admonished them to love one another, and not only this but that they were to love their enemies as well. (`John 13:35`; `Mat. 5:43,44-46`; `1 Pet. 2:23`.) Therefore, it would not be consistent to think that the Lord would counsel His followers to HATE those that were near and dear to themselves, and towards whom there was every incentive to love and esteem. The Lord evidently used this word to impress the thought upon the minds of those who would be His followers, that the terms of discipleship are very rigid and exacting. In other words; none could become disciples of the Master unless they loved Him more than all earthly ties, or considerations. None can ever be recognized by the Lord as His follower unless they have taken the step to be obedient to the Divine will even though it
meant the loss of every valued object and the sacrifice of life itself! The thought conveyed in the expression found in `Eccl. 3:8`, is that there are times and seasons when it would be proper to "hate," or despise that which is contrary to the principles of righteousness and justice. All should hate injustice and be out of sympathy with those who oppress and injure the weak and helpless. Also, those who are in opposition to the Lord and His just laws and arrangements, and who wilfully go contrary thereto, should be righteously shunned and despised--"hated with a perfect hatred." --`Psa.139:21,22`.
HEALINGS--BY the Faithless ::Q783:1:: QUESTION--Can you give some Scriptural proof that faith healing as it is practiced today is of the Adversary or the Evil One? I know that it cannot be of the Lord because there are some who are engaged in performing wonderful cures, as I happen to know personally and who are devoid of faith in the teachings of the Bible. For instance, a close relation of mine was raised from a death bed by the powers of one of these "healers" who in his teachings was denying the very foundation principles of the Scriptures. (A.N.)
ANSWER--There is no question but that many remarkable cures are effected by some who seemingly are able to exert an influence, that is beyond and above the natural powers of man. It is equally true that many of these healers make no professions as to Christianity. Their power then must be from an evil source, as the righteous Lord would not aid those who are not in harmony with Himself. In agreement with this thought we read in `Mat. 7:22,23`, that some would accomplish many wonderful works, even in the name of Christ, yet the Lord would not recognize them. After all, the Lord's followers are not to be known by their "great works"--"by their fruits ye shall know them." `Mat. 7:20`.
HEAVEN AND HELL--"Keys" ::Q783:2:: QUESTION--Somebody told me that Saint Peter must have a higher position than the Lord Jesus because St. Peter has the keys to heaven, whereas the Lord Jesus has the keys to hell. Where do we find this in he Bible and please explain? (W.P.M.)
ANSWER--A "key," in the symbolisms of the Scriptures, is representative of the opening power vested in the one who has been duly authorized to act, just as is sometimes expressed in the vernacular--"He holds the key to the situation." St. Peter was given two "keys" (`Mat. 16:19`), one of which he used on the day of Pentecost when he opened the way for the Jews to enter into the Kingdom by preaching the Gospel of Christ and the Kingdom (`Acts 2:22-36`.) Three thousand Jews entered in though this opened door (verse 41) on that very day. The second key was used three and one-half years later when St Peter opened up the way for the Gentiles to enter into the Kingdom, by preaching the Gospel to Cornelius who accepting the message, and believing, became the first Gentile convert to Christianity. (`Acts 10:44,45`.) In `Rev. 1:18` the glorified Savior is represented as speaking, saying "I am He that liveth,
and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death." The Lord Jesus, by virtue of His death and resurrection, accomplished the redemption of the race of mankind from death and hell-- hades, the grave. Because He thus bought the race, He has the "keys," the opening power, to release all mankind from the great prison house of death and the tomb, as we read concerning the Lord Jesus--"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me . . . to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." `Isa. 61:1`.
HELL--Did Christ Descend There? ::Q784:1:: QUESTION--Is it a Biblical fact that Christ descended into hell after His crucifixion and before His resurrection?
ANSWER--Many Christians are quite perplexed as to where the Lord Jesus was from the time of His crucifixion to the time of His resurrection. Some have the thought that He was away somewhere preaching to the spirits in prison (`1 Pet. 3:19`); some that He was with the thief in Paradise (`Luke 23:43`); some that He was in Heaven, and some that He was in a place of fire and brimstone called Hell. (`Psa. 16:10`; `Acts 2:31`.) However, the Bible does not leave us in doubt about the matter but plainly teaches that the Lord Jesus was in hell during the three days following the crucifixion. The hell of the Scriptures is not the hell of the creeds, but the condition of death, the grave. Jesus was in the tomb, the grave. He was dead, as the Bible affirms, and was raised the third day. See the following Scriptures and forget about the confusion of the creeds which in the main are unscriptural. (`1 Cor. 15:3,4`; `1 Cor.12:16`; `Acts 2:24`; `Rom. 6:4`; `1 Pet. 1:21`.) The Hebrew sheol the Greek word hades, and the English word hell all signify the same thing--the grave, the condition of the dead. All enlightened Bible Scholars and clergymen versed in the original languages of the Scriptures will acknowledge, if they are honest and unprejudiced, that there is not the slightest suggestion, in the original meaning of these words, of fire, brimstone and torment. We have not the space here to give an explanation of the Scriptures referred to at the beginning of this reply, but can assure all that these are in entire harmony with themselves, rightly understood, and with all the rest of the Scriptures which teach that our Lord was in the tomb for the three days preceding His resurrection.
HELL--Where? Who Created It? ::Q784:2:: QUESTION--Where is hell, and who created it? (I.N.J.)
ANSWER--The so-called "orthodox hell," of a vast furnace of fire and brimstone, manned by fire-proof devils with pitch forks in their hands, who are busily engaged in jabbing and tormenting the billions of poor unfortunates--all of the human race, with the exception of the few saints, who with much difficulty manage to squeeze through the pearly gates into the heavenly city--exists only in the feeble minds and perverted imaginations of those who have given heed to the "doctrines of demons" (`1 Tim. 4:1`) and
who have never thoughtfully studied the Scriptures. This "hell" was created in the Dark Ages of the past by corrupt and ignorant priests influenced by evil spirits who misrepresented and blasphemed the character of the Almighty God, who is wise and just, loving and merciful, as the Scriptures everywhere affirm. In the increasing light of our day, when the people are brushing the smoke and dust of the Ages of gloom from their eyes, it is clearly seen that "hell," in the Scriptures, is nothing more than the condition of death--the tomb. The Hebrew word sheol and the Greek hades from which the word hell is used in the English translations, have this significance. All go to hell--the grave--the death state, and will remain there until the resurrection. Adam created, or brought this "hell," or condition of death, upon the race by his disobedience. See `Rom. 5:12`.
HIGHWAY--Of Holiness, If Open and Plain, Why Confusion? ::Q785:1:: QUESTION--Is it true that the "Highway of Holiness" is opened now and that the way of salvation is so plain that a "wayfaring man though a fool shall not err therein" (`Isa. 35:8-10`)? If the way is so plain and clear and simple that a foolish person need make no mistake about it, then why is there so much confusion among the learned clergymen, Doctors of Divinity, etc., as to the proper methods of salvation, some teaching one thing and some another? As an honest skeptic and one seeking to know the way of salvation, can you direct me to this "Highway?"
ANSWER--We are not surprised that you have failed to find the "Highway." The Lord Jesus referring to the conditions of salvation during this present Gospel Age, declares that "Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life and few there be that find it." As a matter of fact the Scriptures point out three ways: --"The broad way, leading to destruction," "The narrow way to life," and the "Highway of Holiness." (`Mat. 7:13,14`; `Isa. 35:8,9`.) It is very evident from the conditions which you mention, that the latter of these ways has not been in existence thus far, but as the Scriptures affirm, it will be opened up for the world at the time of our Lord's second coming. Then when Satan, that old "lion" (`1 Pet. 5:8`), is bound (`Rev. 20:2`), the Prophet's words shall be fulfilled--"No lion shall be there," and "the redeemed of the Lord (the world of mankind) shall go up thereon with everlasting joy and singing upon their heads, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
IGNORANCE--Will It Save Heathen? ::Q785:2:: QUESTION--What will become of the heathen? Will they be saved because of their ignorance?
ANSWER--If ignorance were a basis of salvation then all should have been left in ignorance, for then all would have been saved. And if the heathen are saved through ignorance then also all of the babes and children who have died before attaining years of discretion and knowledge, and therefore in ignorance--these likewise should be saved. What a great missionary Herod must have been when he slew so many of the infants of Bethlehem, for of course these were all
saved to Kingdom glory! And what a pity we did not all die as infants! Heaven would be a delightful place filled with heathen and infants! We are informed in the Scriptures that the heathen's trial time for eternal life will be after the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, when not only the heathen but all the world of mankind shall be fully enlightened as to the way of salvation; when the way is so plain that a wayfaring man, though unlearned, shall not err. The babes developing to maturity will likewise have their opportunity of salvation, for eternal life is to be given to those only who exercise faith and obedience. Those who disobey, after full opportunity has been received, shall die the "second death."
IMMORTALITY--Do Men Possess Now? ::Q786:1:: QUESTION--I read in `1 Tim. 6:16`, that the Apostle Paul speaking of God says--"Who only hath immortality." In the same chapter, `19th verse`, the brethren are exhorted to good works, "that they may lay hold on eternal life." And the only place I find the word "immortal" is in `1 Tim. 1:17`, which also refers to God, and in `Rom. 6:23`, the Apostle says--"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Then again `Rom. 2:6,7`, shows that the gift has to be sought for--"By patient continuance in well-doing." Therefore if immortality or eternal life is the gift of God as a reward to those who faithfully fulfill His desires, from whence is the authority derived by those who teach that man is now in possession of immortal life?
ANSWER--This is a question that is frequently asked these days by those who are not content to accept a mere assertion without a "thus saith the Lord." There is but one statement to be found in the Scriptures which could be construed as teaching that man was in any sense immortal; that he would not and that he could not die. This is found in the third chapter of Genesis, the fourth verse, `Gen 3:4`. However, we suggest that before any one accepts this as due authority they read the passage and note carefully who it was that made the statement!
IMMORTALITY--Now, Or Future Only? ::Q786:2:: QUESTION--I read in `1 Tim. 6:16`, that the Apostle Paul speaking of God says--"Who only hath immortality." In the same chapter, 19th verse, the brethren are exhorted to good works, "that they may lay hold on eternal life." And the only place I find the word "immortal" is in `1 Tim. 1:17`, which also refers to God, and in `Rom. 6:23`, the Apostle says--"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Then again `Rom. 2:6,7`, shows that the gift has to be sought for--"By patient continuance in well-doing." Therefore if immortality or eternal life is the gift of God as a reward to those who faithfully fulfill His desires, from whence is the authority derived by those who teach that man is now in possession of immortal life?
ANSWER--This is a question that is frequently asked these days by those who are not content to accept a mere assertion without a "thus saith the Lord." There is but one statement
to be found in the Scriptures which could be construed as teaching that man was in any sense immortal; that he would not and that he could not die. This is found in the third chapter of Genesis, the fourth verse. However, we suggest that before any one accepts this as due authority they read the passage and note carefully who it was that made the statement!
INFANTS--Heaven ::Q787:1:: QUESTION--Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven" (`Mark 10:14`). Does this not mean that there will be infants in heaven?
ANSWER--There is a simplicity and gentleness about a little child which all good people appreciate. The Master was not so overwhelmed with His great work as to be unable to realize the desire of the Jewish mothers to have Him give their little ones a blessing. Therefore, when the disciples would spare Him the annoyance, He rebuked them and, calling for the little ones, He blessed them. The statement, "For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven," must not, however, be understood to imply that the Lord is electing or selecting such little children for His joint-heirs in the Kingdom; we must interpret Scripture by Scripture. We must remember His words that only "overcomers" can share with Him in the Kingdom (`Rev. 2:7,11,17,26`; `Rev 3:5,12,21`); and again, we are to remember His declaration that those who would be His disciples must take up their cross and follow Him. Such things could not be true of infants. Heart purity and simplicity are necessary for the Kingdom, but more than these are required. The text of the question should be understood in harmony with our Master's words, "Except ye . . . become as little children ye shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven" (`Mat. 18:3`). The emphasis lies upon the word "as" in the sense of like. Only the child-like and trustful disciples can experience God's highest favor--a share in His Kingdom.
INSPIRATION--Of Apostles ::Q787:2:: QUESTION--How and to what extent were the Apostles inspired?
ANSWER--There are some at the present day who believe that modern authors, teachers and poets are as fully inspired as were the Apostles. Even some clergymen apparently have the thought that they themselves are as authentic and reliable authorities, and should be regarded as such. If this view is the right one, then inspiration is a cheap article, and wholly unreliable when we reflect upon the many conflicting theories and doctrines that have been promulgated by modern theological authorities. The Apostle Peter, in referring to the inspiration of the Sacred Writers, declares that "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (`2 Pet. 1:21`.) That is to say, God's holy power or influence operating upon the minds of the Prophets caused them to speak and to write of future things in relationship to the Divine purposes, which even they themselves did not understand. (`Dan. 12:8,9`.) The Apostles likewise were caused to write of
matters that would be necessary to the spiritual interests and welfare of the Lord's people in after times. (`2 Tim. 3:16,17`.) Plenary inspiration has not existed since the days of our Lord and the Apostles, and is not needed, as the Scriptures are complete and sufficient of themselves.
IRRESPONSIBLES--What Becomes of Them? ::Q788:1:: QUESTION--We know what becomes of the obedient and disobedient, but there is another class, which really cannot be called obedient nor yet disobedient. I mean the irresponsible, and they who love this present world and have not even a desire to know what God requires of them, and which, in my opinion, form the vast majority of mankind even in this enlightened age (so-called). What becomes of them? (P.E.I.)
ANSWER--The answering of this question involves the consideration of the doctrines of "Election" and "Free Grace," both clearly taught in the scriptures, as all Bible Scholars recognize. It is only within recent years that the beautiful harmony existing between these two doctrines has been recognized. From many Scriptures, of which we will only cite a few, it will be seen that the entire Christian Era, from the time of our Lord Jesus' first advent down to the time of His second coming, is the period in which the "Election" takes place, the election or selection of those who shall constitute the Bride, the Church of Christ. (See `1 Pet. 1:2`; `Eph. 1:4`; `2 Pet. 1:10`; `Acts 15:14-18`.) When, at the close of this Christian Age, the work of election is consummated, then God's free grace will be extended to all the remainder of mankind, through the selected class, who were elected to be kings and priests unto God and with their Lord Jesus to reign for the space of a thousand years over the nations of the earth for the purpose of lifting them up out of sin and death to human perfection and eternal life. Now is the Church's opportunity to make her calling and election sure; then will be the world's opportunity of receiving God's free grace. Election now and Free Grace then. See `Acts 15:14-18`; `Rev. 22:17`; `Acts 3:19-21`.
ISRAEL--Judgments, Repentance and Reconciliation ::Q788:2:: QUESTION--Can you explain the first three verses of the sixth chapter of Hosea? (`Hos 6:1-3`)
ANSWER--These verses, doubtless, refer to Israel's judgments and their final repentance and reconciliation. The three days we understand to be the days of the larger week, one thousand years to each day. In this larger week the seventh day will be the seventh thousand-year period--the Sabbath of rest from sin and Satan. Recognizing time from this standpoint and applying to each thousand years the parallel day of the week, we find that, as over four thousand years had passed and the fifth thousand had begun at the time the Jews had experienced the judgments of the Lord in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, it was therefore at a time corresponding to the fifth day of the lesser week, namely Thursday, the first day of the three mentioned. Friday the second day, and Saturday (the seventh day Sabbath) the third, in which the Israelites will be revived and raised up to Divine favor and life.
It is to be early in the morning of this third day--the thousand years of Messiah's reign--that "all Israel shall be saved"- -`Rom. 11:26`. Then will be the seasons of refreshing which shall come from the presence of the Lord as indicated in the "rain" mentioned in the third verse and referred to by the Apostle Peter--`Acts 3:19-21`.
JERUSALEM--Literal or Symbolic? ::Q789:1:: QUESTION--Will the New Jerusalem (`Rev. 21:2`) be a literal city of gold and gems, and will it come floating down through the sky and locate somewhere on the earth? If so, how, when, and where?
ANSWER--We are aware that quite a number seem to hold the thought of an actual city, with all of its walls, buildings, towers and turrets, coming down from above and locating in the land of Palestine. Those who have this thought should try to bear in mind that much of the Bible is written in highly symbolic or figurative language. The dimensions of this city are given in furlongs in this same chapter. If we reduce these to miles, we have for the dimensions fifteen hundred miles in length and breadth and height. A city of this magnitude could scarcely be placed in the small land of Palestine, which measures less than two hundred miles in its greatest length. By noting the expressions of the 9th verse, it will become apparent to all that not a literal city is referred to, but a symbolic one is meant. The angel showed St. John "The Bride, the Lamb's wife," in symbol, as a beautiful city. Surely no one would so far ignore the faculties of intelligence and reason as to say that the Bride of Christ is to be a literal city. This Bride is the same one represented as saying, in almost the closing words of the Bible, "Come and partake of the waters of life freely." The Bride is the Church class composed of the faithful followers of Christ, of whom the Apostle Paul speaks, saying: "I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (`2 Cor. 11:2`).
JERUSALEM--"New"--Literal or Spiritual? ::Q789:2:: QUESTION--What is meant by the New Jerusalem referred to in `Rev. 21 and 22` chapters? (M.M.)
ANSWER--A close reading of these chapters will convince any student that a literal city was certainly not meant. In symbolic prophecy a "city" signifies a religious government backed by power and authority. Thus the "holy city, the New Jerusalem," is the symbol used to represent the established Kingdom of God, the overcomers of the Gospel Church exalted and reigning in glory. The Church is also, and in the same connection, represented as a woman, "the bride, the Lamb's wife," in power and glory, and backed by the power and authority of Christ, her husband. "And there came unto me one of the seven angels... saying Come hither, I will shew thee the bride the Lamb's wife. And he . .. shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem." (`Rev. 21:9,10`.) It is evident that we should "spiritualize" this narrative because St. John himself did so, for he says "And he carried me away in spirit." (`Rev. 21:10`.) That is to say in a spiritual sense he viewed
the wonders of this great city, and not actually, in a literal sense. The dimensions of the city are given in furlongs, which, if reduced to miles would mean that it measured 1,500 miles in length, and breadth, and height! Surely no such literal city will ever be established on this little globe of ours. Recognizing the meaning of the symbols we have a beautiful picture representing the gradual establishment of the Divine Kingdom of the Heavens on the earth, when the Church, the Lamb's wife, is ruling in royal majesty with Christ, "the Prince of Peace."
JERUSALEM--Why Rebuild? ::Q790:1:: QUESTION--Will Jerusalem ever be rebuilt and for what purpose?
ANSWER--The most remarkable movement ever occurring amongst the Jewish people since the time of the destruction of their capital city, Jerusalem, is now in process of development, and is known as "The Zionist Movement." The primary object of this movement is the establishment of the Jews in their own land under a government of their own. This would mean the rebuilding of the city in the event of the success of this movement. There are many prophecies which show that the Jews shall return to Divine favor and shall again be established in their own country, and that the City of Jerusalem will be rebuilt. We cite but one--`Jer. 31:27-40`. The clear intimation of the teachings of the Scriptures is that Jerusalem will become the Capital City of the world, "for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem," "And many people shall go and say, Come ye and let us go up to the mountain (Kingdom) of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob: and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths." (`Isa. 2:3`.) For a remarkable confirmation of this, in the words of the New Testament, see `Acts 15:16,17`.
JESUS--Date of Birth ::Q790:2:: QUESTION--Is there any positive proof that our Lord Jesus was born on Christmas Day, Dec. 25th, and if so where can it be found? (A.S.)
ANSWER--There is nothing to prove that Christ was born December 25th, but the evidence is clear and strong that the time of His birth was about October 1st. It is generally recognized that Jesus was crucified on Friday, April 3d, A.D. 33. The fact that His crucifixion occurred at the close of the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, and that this date rarely falls on Friday, but did so in the year A.D. 33 substantiates that date so thoroughly even Usher, who adopted B.C. 4 as the date of Jesus' birth, was forced to admit that His crucifixion was A.D. 33. Our Lord was thirty years of age when He began His ministry, and it is clear that His ministry was for three and a half years only. This generally conceded fact is proved by Daniel's prophecy (`Dan. 9:25-27`) concerning Christ's cutting off in the middle of the seventieth week of Israel's favor. The "seventy weeks" (A day for a year--490 days, or 490 years-- `Eze. 4:6`) dating from 454 B.C. terminated A.D. 36. In the "midst" of that last week of seven years, the "seventieth
week," Christ was "cut off" --crucified--April 3d, A.D. 33. As the Lord Jesus was thirty-three and a half years old when He died, we have only to measure back that length of time to the date of His death to ascertain the date of His birth, which would be about Oct. 3d, B.C. 2. It is certain that the midwinter date, December 25th, does not well agree with the statement of the Scriptures, that at the time of our Lord's birth the shepherds were in the fields with their flocks.
JESUS--Seeming Discrepancy of Genealogy ::Q791:1:: QUESTION--I find in Matthew and Luke what purport to be the genealogies of Christ. Matthew gives His ancestry back to Abraham; Luke goes back to Adam. Between Christ ad David, Matthew gives 27 generations, and Luke gives 42; and none of the names in these two lists are the same. Will you please explain this seeming discrepancy?
ANSWER--Our Lord Jesus became related to the human family by taking our nature through His mother Mary. Mary's genealogy, as traced by Luke, leads back to David through his son Nathan. (`Luke 3:23`.) (Joseph is here styled "the son of Heli," that is, the son of Eli, Mary's father, by marriage, or legally; or as we would say, son-in- law of Eli. By birth, Joseph was the son of Jacob, as stated in `Matt. 1:16`), while Joseph's genealogy, as given by Matthew, traces also back to David through his son Solomon. (`Matt. 1:6-16`.) Joseph having accepted Mary as his wife, and adopted Jesus, her son, as though He were his own son, this adoption would entitle Jesus to reckon Joseph's genealogy; but such a tracing back to the family of David was not necessary, because His mother came also of David, by another line. Thus the seeming discrepancy is due to the fact that Luke gives Mary's genealogy while Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph. The difference in the number of generations from David to Christ need not be considered as remarkable. It would be remarkable had they been the same.
JEWS--Gathering As Bird Under Wings ::Q791:2:: QUESTION--Would you kindly explain the 37th and 38th verses of Matthew 22 (should be`Mat. 23:37,38`) where the Lord said "O Jerusalem Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and killest them which are sent unto thee how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a bird gathers her brood under her wing, but ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate?" (H.B.P)
ANSWER--The Savior standing upon the Mt. of Olives and gazing out upon the Holy City, Jerusalem, gave expression to these words with a heart filled with conflicting emotions. For three and one-half years He had been laying down His life for the Jewish people in preaching to them the wonderful tidings of the Kingdom of God. He had healed the sick, comforted the sorrowing and the afflicted, and even raised the dead in some instances. Now, on this sad day, after having ridden into the city in triumph, and being rejected by the nation, through their representatives, the Scribes and Pharisees; in sorrow and with tears, He declared that they as a nation were cast off from Divine
favor and no longer recognized as the chosen people of God. How true to the declaration of the Lord are the facts of history as outlined in the secular annals of the race! From that moment they declined in favor, and disaster after disaster came upon them until the nation was conquered by the Roman arms, and they as a people were scattered abroad throughout the whole earth to he persecuted, oppressed, and slaughtered by the Gentiles. The Jew is the miracle of history; "the man without a country." The Lord Jesus, in prophetic vision, foresaw all the long centuries of afflictions that would come upon them, and in His sympathy and love, grieved for them, and gave expression to His love by saying "How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a bird gathers her brood under her wings, but ye would not!" Corrected Translation.
JEWS--Return to Palestine ::Q792:1:: QUESTION--Does the Bible teach a return of the Jews to Palestine, and is that country large enough for all of Abraham's descendants? (F.W.)
ANSWER--The Bible answer is YES to both questions: (a) "I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and will bring you again into the land of Israel." "Ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God." "And they shall say, this land that was desolate is become like the Garden of Eden" (`Eze. 37:12`; `Eze. 36:27-35`). (b) What is known as the land of Palestine is but a very small part of the promised land, which is to stretch from the Nile to the Euphrates (`Gen. 15:18`), and appears to include Arabia as well as parts of Egypt and the Soudan, an area equal to the half of Europe. Much of this is now desert land, but "the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." (`Isa. 35:1`.) Thus there will be ample space and abundant provision made for the Israelites in the promised land--promised for an everlasting possession to Abraham and his descendants--when God's favor will have returned to them as foretold by the Prophets--`Rom. 11:25-27`.
JEWS--Why Called "Chosen People?" ::Q792:2:: QUESTION--Why were the Jews called "God's chosen people?" Were the ancient Jews different from the modern ones?
ANSWER--Abraham was the father of the Jewish people. God made promise to him, saying, "In thy Seed all the families of the earth shall he blessed." Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, had twelve sons, who became the head of the twelve tribes of Israel, or Jews. God made a covenant with His people, saying to them: "If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation" (`Exo. 19:5,6`). For more than eighteen centuries God's dealings were with this people exclusively, as he said through His prophet, "Ye only have I known of all the families of the earth" (`Amos 3:2`). Time after time
God reiterated His promise that the Messiah should come to them, and when Jesus came the masses of the Jews were not heeding God's promises: being led by the Clergy class, themselves negligent of the promises, therefore blind, as Jesus said, "Blind leaders of the blind," they rejected Jesus Christ and were cast off from God's favor (`Matt. 23:37-39`). The words of our Lord clearly imply that God's favor will again return to this people; He said, "Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." The Apostles point out that God there began to turn his favor to the Gentiles, and when the requisite number have been selected from among these to constitute the Kingdom class, as promised, then God's favor will again be shown to the Jews as a people (See `Rom. 11:1-5 and 25-28`).
JOB--Real or Allegorical? ::Q793:1:: QUESTION--Was Job a real personage, or only an allegorical character?
ANSWER--We believe Job to have been a real person--a man. He is so referred to in the following Scriptures: `Job 1:1`; `Eze. 14:14-20`; `James 5:11`. This does not alter the fact, however, that a great allegorical lesson is taught by Job's experiences. As a whole, his life represented the experiences of the human family in the loss of everything. Job lost his children, friends, home, health, the affections of his wife--all --and he was nigh unto destruction in the tomb. Then came the turning point. He was restored to Divine favor and to all the blessings which he had formerly enjoyed, and had more abundance than he ever had before. This pictures the experiences of the human race. Adam, in Eden, was perfect, joyful and rich in life and a perfect home. He lost all of these, being driven from Eden and compelled to battle with the sterile soil of the earth. By and by, when the "Restitution of all things, spoken by Jehovah through His holy prophets," shall have come to the world, the human race will likewise be restored to Divine favor and receive greater blessings than ever before experienced.
JUDGMENT--God's Impartial ::Q793:2:: QUESTION--Will you kindly explain and harmonize Romans 2nd chapter, 7th to 10th verses inclusive? (`Rom. 2:7-10`). (W.H.H.)
ANSWER--In the 6th verse the Apostle says :--"Who will render to every man according to his deeds"--at the time when God's judgments will be manifested as stated in the 5th verse. Coming to the seventh verse, he points out that those who patiently continue in well doing, seeking for glory, honor, and immortality shall receive eternal life, at the time indicated in the preceding two verses. And, at that time, those who will persist in wrongdoing, shall be punished by experiencing Divine indignation and wrath. But those who, when the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, will comply with the principles of righteousness shall experience Divine favor and blessings, both Jews and Gentiles. This presentation of the matter is in harmony with the general teachings of the Scriptures which show that the Church of Christ, now being selected out
from the nations of the earth, shall receive "glory, honor, and immortality"; while the world of mankind--the righteous and obedient--whose trial for eternal life will follow the glorification of the Church, shall receive the "glory, honor, and peace" of perfect human conditions.
JUDGMENT--What Is "Doomsday?" ::Q794:1:: QUESTION--What is meant by the term "Doomsday?" (A.B.C.)
ANSWER--It is that last dreadful day in the which (according to the antiquated theories of an obsolete theological formation) the Lord will return to the earth, and take His seat upon a great white throne, and then all nations will be gathered before Him, for judgment. As the judgments proceed, the mountains and the rocks will come tumbling down, and the sea and all the waves will roar under the agitations of a mighty storm. About this time a terrible earthquake will shake things up so severely that all the things that can be shaken will be removed. In connection with these terrifying phenomena of nature, there will be the sounding of the last trump, and tremendous voices will be heard in the air. Amidst this deafening uproar, while "the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds" is transpiring, the 20,000,000,000 and more of the human race will be judged, and all within the limitations of a twenty-four hour day. When the final summing up takes place, the Great Judge will invite the few saints, "the little flock," to enter into the conditions of bliss, while to the vast majority of the race He will issue the command to depart into an eternity of torment in fire and brimstone. With the pronouncement of the final sentence of doom, a terrible fire will break forth; the elements shall melt with fervent heat; and the heavens and earth being on fire shall be dissolved! This lurid picture of the judgment time was evidently formed by some one with highly developed imaginative powers, who gathered together a number of symbolic and figurative expressions from the Scriptures with which to produce this amusing sketch of "doomsday," which has served to frighten some good and bad children nearly to death!
JUDGMENT DAY--When and How Long? ::Q794:2:: QUESTION--What is meant by the "Judgment Day," and when will it be? Is it to be a 24 hour day?
ANSWER--The term "Judgment" includes a hearing or trial and the final conclusion or result of that trial. Not all are judged at once. To illustrate, the Church is now on trial or judgment, which trial or judgment has been in progress since Pentecost. The faithful in this judgment shall be rewarded, as we read, "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." (`Rev. 2:10`.) The Judgment Day as applied to the world in general is entirely a different matter. It is manifest that the whole world could not be tried and judged within 24 hours. The Apostle says, "God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness" (`Acts 17:31`). Again we read: "That one day is with the Lord as a thousand years" (`2 Peter 3:8`). The judgment of the world by Christ will cover a period of one thousand years (`Rev. 20:4-6`).
That the judgment of the world had not come in the Apostle Paul's day is clearly shown by his words in the Scripture above noted (`Acts 17:31`). This and other Scriptures clearly show that Christ is to be the Judge of the world when he sets up his kingdom at his second coming. In `Matthew 25:31-46` our Lord gave a description of the judgment of the world, clearly pointing out that it would take place at His second appearing. This is conclusive proof that the world's judgment is not yet in progress.
JUDGMENTS--Israe1's--Hosea 6:1-3 ::Q795:1:: QUESTION--Can you explain the first three verses of the sixth chapter of Hosea?
ANSWER--These verses, doubtless, refer to Israel's judgments and their final repentance and reconciliation. The three days we understand to be the days of the larger week, one thousand years to each day. In this larger week the seventh day will be the seventh thousand-year period--the Sabbath of rest from sin and Satan. Recognizing time from this standpoint and applying to each thousand years the parallel day of the week--we find that, as over four thousand years had passed and the fifth thousand had begun at the time the Jews had experienced the judgments of the Lord in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, it was therefore at a time corresponding to the fifth day of the lesser week, namely Thursday, the first day of the three mentioned. Friday the second day, and Saturday (the seventh-day Sabbath) the third, in which the Israelites will be revived and raised up to Divine favor and life. It is to be early in the morning of this third day--the thousand years of Messiah's reign--that "All Israel shall be saved"--`Rom. 11:26`. Then will be the seasons of refreshing which shall come from the presence of the Lord as indicated in the "rain" mentioned in the third verse and referred to by the Apostle Peter--`Acts 3:19-21`.