ANSWER--The "Kingdom" in this Scripture represents those who become true followers of Jesus. "Keys" are a symbol of power to open. To the Apostle Peter was delegated the privilege and authority of first opening the message and work of the Gospel to the Jews, and later to the Gentiles. He did the opening work of the New Dispensation, first to the Jews at Pentecost, at which time as we read, "Peter stood up with the eleven"; he took the initiative, he opened the Gospel invitation to the Jews and the other Apostles followed him. There he used one key. More than three years later he used the other key to open the message of the Kingdom of heaven to the Gentiles when the Lord sent him to preach the Gospel to Cornelius who was the first Gentile to accept the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore the first to become a member of the Kingdom of heaven class. Thus we see that the Apostle Peter long ago used the keys referred to in this Scripture. There will be no occasion ever to use them again. Those who reach heaven will not pass through literal doors.
KINGDOM--Least In, Greater Than John the Baptist ::Q796:1:: QUESTION--What did Jesus mean when He declared, "There hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist; notwithstanding, he that is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he?" --`Matt. 11:11`. (I.B.S.)
ANSWER--To understand this statement of the Master it is necessary to remember the clearly marked distinction between the different "Ages." John was the last of the Prophets and belonged to the dispensation which was closing. The Apostles and other followers of Jesus, on the contrary, belonged to the New Dispensation, which Jesus was inaugurating. The Gospel call is a call to participate in the Kingdom of God--Messiah's Kingdom. Our Lord Jesus is to be the Great King of the World during that Millennial Age; and the Heavenly Father purposes to select from among men a "little flock" to be our Lord's associates in the work of uplifting and blessing the world of mankind. The first to be accepted into this Kingdom condition received the holy spirit at Pentecost. Since then, all who similarly consecrate and are similarly begotten of the holy spirit are accepted as of the same class, namely, as members of the Kingdom class. If faithful through the trials and testings of the present life, these shall be "kings and priests unto God" and unto Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years for the uplifting and blessing of mankind. (`Rev. 1:6`;`Rev. 20:4`.) The least one in this class will have a higher station than John the Baptist or any of the Prophets of the preceding dispensation; for all these will be spirit beings on the spirit plane. On the contrary, while John, with all the faithful of the past, will have great blessings, yet, since they will be on the earthly plane, their blessings will be restitution blessings to human perfection, etc.
KINGDOM--Nicodemus ::Q796:2:: QUESTION--Can you explain the Savior's words to Nicodemus--"Except a man be born of water, and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God?" `John 3:5`. (Pharisee.)
ANSWER--The Jewish nation was a consecrated nation, a covenant people. They were all baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud when they left Egypt. God accepted them in Moses, the mediator of their covenant at Mt. Sinai but, at the time Jesus was speaking, they had forgotten their covenant, some were openly living as publicans and sinners, and many others were self-righteous hypocrites. John's ministry, therefore, was repentance and baptism for the remission of sins--a return to God and to a recognition of the repentance and reformation of heart and life. Nicodemus was a Jew, and no Jew could become a follower of the Lord Jesus and enter into the kingdom, until first of all he had experienced this reformation and had been baptized, "born of water," in addition to this there must be the begetting of the spirit, and then in the resurrection, the birth to the spirit nature--"born of the spirit." Only those who experience this complete reformation of heart and mind, and who are "changed" in the resurrection, will ever enter into the kingdom of God.
KINGDOM--See Son of Man Coming In ::Q797:1:: QUESTION--"Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom." `Matt. 26:28`. Does this idea that some living at that time would continue to live on until the Lord's second advent? (C. W.)
ANSWER--The word "Kingdom" properly rendered is royal majesty. Continuing the narrative on down into the next chapter, it is stated that six days afterwards, the Lord took Peter, James and John and went apart from the rest of the disciples, up into a high mountain, and was there transfigured before them. His face was gloriously illuminated and became as resplendent as the sun, while His raiment was white as the light. The royal majesty of the Lord's appearance, together with the "vision" of Moses and Elijah, and the bright cloud over-shadowing all, formed an overwhelming arrangement of light and glory. The Apostle Peter afterwards, in writing of this glorious scene, declared that they were eyewitnesses of the majesty (royal majesty) of the Lord Jesus, and that they also heard the voice of the Heavenly Father coming from the excellent glory. (`2 Peter 1:16-18`.) In this way `Matt. 16:28`, was fulfilled.
KINGDOM--Suffering Violence ::Q797:2:: QUESTION--Will you please explain `Matt. 11:12` -- "And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force?" (T.C.W.)
ANSWER--This is a prophecy relating to the Church, the Kingdom class, the Kingdom of Heaven in its embryotic state. It has been remarkably fulfilled in the history of the true Church of Christ from the days of John to the present. The "violent," those of the Ishmael and Esau disposition, have always bitterly opposed and persecuted the Lord's true people, and apparently, have triumphed over the Kingdom of Heaven. Many Scriptures teach that this would be the condition of affairs in the world until the time would come when the Lord Jesus, at His second coming, would take unto Himself His great power and authority and establish His own righteous rule in the earth, overthrowing Satan's Empire and setting up the Kingdom of Heaven. The Apostle admonishes the Lord's people to be subject to the powers that be (`Rom. 13:1-7`) the worldly governments and dominions, but the time would come when these would be turned over to the Lord Jesus and His joint-heirs, and on the ruins of the old, selfish, evil, kingdoms and governments, God's Kingdom would be established, never to be removed.
KINGDOM--What Will Entitle Entrance? ::Q797:3:: QUESTION--I am trying to do the best I know how; will not this entitle me to an entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven? (M.E.W)
ANSWER--If you do to the very best of your ability you will get a great lesson as to your inability to do perfectly. Then, realizing that God, cannot approve that which is imperfect and self-condemned, you will he ready to pray,
"God be merciful to me a sinner." (`Luke 18:13`) Then the Lord will reveal to you the fact that there is only one door of salvation--Christ. Then, still desiring peace with God, you will seek Christ and be found in Him. The most God asks of anybody is that he do the best he can. We all need a Savior, for the reason, as St. Paul declares, "Ye cannot do the things that ye would." (`Gal. 5:17`) We cannot do perfectly because we are imperfect; we are imperfect because we were born in sin and "shapen in iniquity." (`Psa. 2:5`) (`Psa. 51:5`) The Jews, who were under the Law Covenant, tried to justify themselves before God by what they did, but wholly failed. In discussing this question the Apostle points out that the only hope for deliverance is through Chist Jesus, who as the great Deliverer will come and turn away ungodliness from them. (`Rom. 7:18-25`)
KNOWLEDGE--What is the "Key" Jesus Referred to? ::Q798:1:: QUESTION--What is the "key of knowledge" referred to in `Luke 11:52`, where the Lord Jesus said to the Scribes and Pharisees "Ye have taken away the key of knowledge; ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered?" (Y.E.K.)
ANSWER--Some one has said "The summary want of the age is that last philosophy into which shall have been sifted all other philosophy, which shall be at once catholic and eclectic, which shall be the joint growth and fruit of reason and faith, and which shall shed forth through every walk of research the blended light of discovery and revelation." The Bible is just such a revelation and contains that true philosophy which is the basis for all philosophies. It is the "key of knowledge," the Standard of Truth, and all lines of investigative thought which ignore this Standard and are contrary thereto, are "vain philosophies and science falsely so-called." (`1 Tim. 6:20`.) The "lawyers," Doctors of the Law, the Doctors of Divinity of our Lord's time, had made void the Word of the Lord through their traditions and speculations. (`Mark 7:13`.) The people, looking to these "lawyers" for true instruction regarding the Lord's Word, were deceived and confused by their false teachings.
LAW--"Eye for an Eye" ::Q798:2:: QUESTION--What is mean by the expression, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth"? (`Exo. 21:24`.)
ANSWER--The Law given to the Israelites by the Lord, through Moses as the Mediator for that nation, was designed to emphasize and impress the lesson of the Divine principle of JUSTICE on the minds of the people. All through that wonderful system of laws this principle is boldly prominent. Justice is inexorable, demanding an exact equivalent for the thing that is lost or injured by a violation of the principles of righteousness. The scales must balance perfectly. Just as the laws of the material or natural realm are fixed and absolute --and any violation of these laws of nature must exact the penalty--so also in the moral realm. As surely as cause and effect are related, so any violation of the principles of righteousness demands a recompense and the penalty is exacted. There is no escape. Let no one deceive himself on this point. If one wilfully injures
another, he has to the same extent injured himself. The law of action and reaction operates in the moral realm just as positively as in the arrangements of the material universe. He is happiest who observes the principles of righteousness most fully, and he is unhappiest who violates them most. It follows, therefore, that love is the fulfilling of the Law. Love for the Lord would prompt one to be obedient to His just commands, and love for the neighbor would induce one to do good unto all men as the opportunities were presented. This great truth was beautifully set forth by the Master and His Apostles. See `Matt. 22:37-40`, and `Rom. 13:10`. And yet how few are observing this rule! Consequently, how much unhappiness there is in the world!
LIE--Ananias ::Q799:1:: QUESTION--Did Ananias tell the first lie, and is that the reason why we often speak of an "Ananias Club" whose members are reported to be notorious liars?
ANSWER--The Lord Jesus declared that Satan told the fist lie, saying, "He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it." (`John 8:44`.) The first lie told was by Satan in Eden when he said to Mother Eve, "Ye shall not surely die." (`Gen. 3:4`.) This was false because a contradiction to God's plain statement, "Thou shalt surely die." (`Gen. 2:17`.) It may truly be said that all the false doctrines of "Heathendom" and "Christendom" have had their foundation in this falsehood told by Satan. Satan's falsehood was the cause of the disobedience of the first man which resulted in the sentence of Adam to death, and which death sentence by inheritance has passed upon all of his offspring. (`Rom. 5:12`.) Ananias was an offspring of Adam. He was born under the condemnation of death, shapen in sin and brought forth in iniquity. (`Psa. 2:5`.) (`Psa. 51:5`) Therefore, the natural tendency was downward, hence all who would be honest and upright must fight against evil.
LIFE--Explanation of ::Q799:2:: QUESTION--What is life?
ANSWER--To live is to possess sentient being; to be capable of consciousness, joy or sorrow, pleasure or pain. Life, in its highest sense, is known as immortality. Immortality signifies inherent life, a life not sustained by outside supplies, conditions or influence, but life possessed in one's self. Life possessed in this sense belonged originally to God alone, but it has been given by the Father to the Lord Jesus Christ; and He promises this life to His faithful Church, His Bride, His companions in Kingdom glory. However, life in an inferior sense is the possession of the angels through the grace of the Creator, who is pleased that they shall enjoy it everlastingly in harmony with His will. Eternal life is preferred to mankind in general; it will be granted to so many of Adam's race as shall ultimately, under the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom, be recovered completely from the imperfections of sin and death, and who shall maintain that perfection by continued obedience
to the Divine requirements. All who sin after receiving full light, shall not live.
LIFE--"Second Chance" ::Q800:1:: QUESTION--Would not the teaching of a future probation tend to make the people careless and sinful in this life, and knowing that they were to have a second chance in the life to come? (Dubious)
ANSWER--Not nearly as much as to teach that a hardened wretch by a deathbed confession would immediately be ushered into Heaven! Besides, a future probation would not signify a "second chance," save for a limited few, the Church of Christ, now being selected out of the world (`Acts 15:14`) to be the Bride, the Lamb's Wife. Most of the criminals inhabiting the jails and prisons of our land are, or were, members of some religious system that taught the sinner-hardening doctrine of eternal torment. Did the false teaching defer them from committing crime? Those who believe that the Creator is a God of love, and mercy, and justice, and that He has arranged seasons of blessings for the world in the coming age, when mankind is to have its only chance of salvation, are invariably ennobled, and elevated to a higher plane of morality, with greater reverence for their Creator, a God, whom to know, is to love. The truth sanctifies, while the error debases.
LYING--Is It Ever Justifiable? ::Q800:2:: QUESTION--Is a lie ever justifiable? (H.V.D.)
ANSWER--The development of character is the main purpose of our present existence. The importance of this work is manifest when we reflect that our interests throughout eternity depend entirely upon the kind of character we develop in this life. It is by contending against adverse influences that character is formed. Nearly all of the influences of the conditions of this life are opposed to the principles of righteousness. Those who are willing to fight the good fight of faith, struggling to rise against the downward tendencies of this present evil world, are assured of a high and heavenly reward in the life to come, as well as receiving the reward in this present time of a clear conscience and the glorious satisfaction of having lived a noble, honest life! Those who follow the lines of least resistance, drifting with the tide, may think theirs is the easiest way, but this is only a vain delusion for, after all, they have travelled the hardest way. "The way of the transgressor is hard." (`Pro. 13:15`.) A lie is never justifiable; and not only so, it is unprofitable. It weakens one's character in proportion to the enormity of the offense involved in the relating of the lie. Every step away from truth will have to be retraced either in this life or in the life to come. Throughout the Scriptures lying is condemned. Satan is called "a liar from the beginning." The character of the Lord Jesus is the standard of righteousness set before us, and in all His earthly experiences He set forth the truth and condemned the error. He spoke the truth at all times, and when it was not expedient to tell the truth, He was silent.
MAN--God Repenting Creation ::Q801:1:: 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 of 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 omniscent, 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 or 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.`)
MAN--His Age: Stated in Years or Lunar Months ::Q801:2:: QUESTION What proof have we that the ages of the antediluvians were stated in years and not in lunar months, as taught by some scientists?
ANSWER--Many have endeavored to account for the remarkable longevity of the antediluvians, some of whom lived to the ripe old age of 800 and 900 years. Regarding Methuselah, the oldest man mentioned in the Bible being an elderly gentleman of 969 years of age, various theories are offered, one of which is referred to in the question before us. However, we can readily see by consulting the Sacred Narrative, that this theory would not fit the situation. The 5th Chapter of Genesis, in setting forth the genealogy of different ones, states the ages when these had children. If we were to estimate on the basis of a year as being in reality only a lunar month of time, we become involved in difficulties, for according to this method of reckoning Cainan was but five years and ten months of age when he had a son; also Mahalaleel was five years and five months old when his son Jared was born. The real cause of advanced ages of those who lived prior to the deluge is presented in the Bible. The human race had deteriorated but slightly from that condition of perfection which Adam had enjoyed preceding his disobedience. Consequently, with splendid organisms and very slightly impaired vitality, the spark of life would be maintained for centuries. How different the conditions now, when the average length of life is about thirty-five years! Malignant diseases, caused by germs and bacteria, are infesting the race fearfully, and even with all the aid of science and hygenic precautions, how hard to preserve the dim spark of life!
MAN--How Long Living? ::Q802:1:: QUESTION--Does the Bible teach how long man has been living on the earth?
ANSWER--The Bible does give a satisfactory answer to this question. Scientists have indulged in much speculation as to the length of time man has been on the earth. Their guesses have ranged over a wide field. One celebrated geologist claims it has been fifty thousand years since the first man was in Egypt, while another names 250,000 years since the first man was on European soil. In contrast with these speculative theories we have the clear and connected chain of Bible chronology, which shows that less than seven thousand years have elapsed since the creation of the first man. The Bible is the oldest and most authentic history concerning man. It indulges in no guesses, but clearly teaches that Adam was the first man. It gives its own chronology, which is subdivided as follows: From Adam to the flood, 1,656 years; from the flood to Abraham, 427 years; from thence to the exodus and the giving of the Law, 40 years; from thence to the division of Canaan, 46 years; next the period of the Judges, 450 years; and the period of the Kings, 513 years; from thence to A.D. 1911 makes a total of 6,039 years since Adam's creation. This is the result shown by the best Bible chronologists who have written on the subject.
MAN--In What Sense "Image of God"? ::Q802:2:: QUESTION--The Scripture reads: "And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness." (`Gen. 1:26`). Does this mean physically, with all facial and bodily variations we see in people today, or is the "soul" "the image of God" and uniform in all people? Or what is the meaning of this Scripture?
ANSWER--This "image of God" does not mean physical shape because "God is a spirit" and man is human. Nor does it mean the "soul." "Soul" is the synonymous term for man- -man is a soul. "In His image" means that man was made with reasoning power and moral intelligence. God made man a free moral agent, and fashioned him appropriately to earthly conditions and nature. God endowed him with the sense of justice, reason, love and righteousness, and thus he was an image of the great Jehovah in these qualities of character. "After Our likeness," we understand to mean that as God made man to be in the likeness of God, He made man to be the king of the earth and gave him dominion over all the things of the earth. The first man being created in the image and likeness of God was, in every respect, perfect. Some modern scientists hold that man is a creature of evolution. If evolution be true the Bible is false from Genesis to Revelation. If the Bible statement of man's creation is true, and all Christian people hold that it is true, then the evolution theory is utterly false as respects man.
MAN--Relationship to God and Woman ::Q802:3:: QUESTION--What does the Apostle Paul mean when he says, "Man . . . is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man"? (`1 Cor. 11:7`.) (M.L.B.)
ANSWER--In the Genesis account of the creation of man, it is stated that he was in the "image and likeness of God." The words in the text would more properly be: "Man . . . is the glorious image of God." These words of the Apostle apply, of course, to the first perfect man, and not to man as he is today in his fallen depraved and degenerated state. The woman was created to be his "help-meet" (`Gen. 2:18`) and in the proper relationship that should exist between the two, would be to his honor and glory. In the third verse of this chapter, (`1 Cor. 11;3`) the Apostle explains that the "head of the woman is the man." (`Eph. 5:22-32.`) The Heavenly Father has arranged that His Son, the Annointed Jesus, who is in the "express image of the Father's person," (`Heb. 1:3`) is to have a Bride. (`Rev. 21:9`) This Bride is to be made up of a class, the elect overcomers of the Gospel Age. When completed and glorified, the Bride, the Church, will be the "Helpmeet" of Christ, and will be to His honor and glory.
MAN--What is He? ::Q803:1:: QUESTION--What is man? Is he half spiritual and half fleshly, or is he entirely a human or earthly being?
ANSWER--There is not a single expression to be found in the Scriptures in which it is stated that man was created in any sense a spirit being. On the contrary, the Bible distinctly asserts that man is of "the earth earthy," that he was formed of the dust of the ground and that the breath of life was breathed into his nostrils and he became a living soul. (`1 Cor. 15:45-47`; `Gen. 2:7`.) The Scriptural expression, "And the spirit returns to God who gave it," has reference to the life principle or spark of life which the Lord imparted to Adam when he was created from the dust of the ground. This breath of life is the active principle that makes the living being and when removed from the body it returns to the Creator who is the source or fountain of all life. The Psalmist declares that man was created a little lower than the angels, the lowest of the spirit beings. Man is the highest of the animals or earthly beings, and in the divine arrangements was to be the ruler or the monarch over the earthly realm having dominion over the beast of the field and the fish of the sea and the fowls of the air. In view of this plain teaching of the Bible on this matter, we can understand the words of our Lord and His Apostles that one must be begotten of the holy spirit in order to have a spiritual existence in any sense. The Lord Jesus was the first one to be developed as a spiritual new creature, from the fleshly or earthly condition. Although He was a perfect man, we read that He was made perfect through sufferings (`Heb. 2:10`) as a spiritual "new creature," "being, indeed, put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in spirit." (`1 Pet.3:18` --Diaglott.)
MARRIAGE--Unbeliever Sanctified By Believer ::Q803:2:: QUESTION--Can you explain the words of the Apostle Paul (`1 Cor.7:14`): "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the (believing) wife and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the (believing) husband; else were your children unclean (sinners under condemnation, unjustified,
unrelated to God, aliens from His care and blessing, but now are they holy")?
ANSWER--As the disobedience and alienation of Adam and Eve from the Heavenly Father brought alienation to all their offspring, so the reconciliation of the Lord's people through the merits of the great atonement, not only brings them back to harmony with God, but their children as well are counted as justified through their parents, up to such a time as the child shall have an intelligence and will of its own. The question is more complex, however, when one parent is the Lord's and the other is a stranger and an alien from Him; but the Apostle assures us that in such a case God counts the child as His, through whichever one of its parents is the Lord's disciple. The standing of the believing parent is counted as offsetting and overruling the standing of the unconsecrated parent, so far as the child is concerned.
MATERIALIZATION--Appearance of the Dead: Fallen Angels ::Q804:1:: QUESTION--What are we to think of the amazing occurrences, accounts of which are appearing in the daily press and in the monthly publications, to the effect that messages have been received from the noted English publicist, Wm.T. Stead, who was drowned when the Titanic sank mid-ocean; and that he has appeared and conversed with several well-known people on different occasions? Does this not prove that the dead are not dead but more alive than ever? (Aviator.)
ANSWER--It is true that many remarkable manifestations of an unseen, supernatural power have been reported through the daily press of late. There is no doubt as to the authenticity of these demonstrations. They are vouched for by the very best of human testimony. As the Scriptures unmistakably teach that the dead are unconscious in the tomb and will not be awakened until the resurrection morning, we are forced to the conclusion that these supernatural phenomena are not created by those who have gone down into death. The Bible explains the mystery to those who are willing to accept its testimony. It tells about the fallen angels, demons, who left their former habitation, their spiritual estate, in the antediluvian times, and went contrary to the Divine will, for which they have been restrained in chains of darkness (the darkness of the night) until the judgment time. These have manifested their power all down through the ages, obsessing people, impersonating the dead, and otherwise deceiving mankind. Note carefully the following Scriptures: `Exo. 22:18`; `Deut. 17:9-12`; `Lev. 19:31`; `Lev. 20:6`; `2 Kings 21:2,6,11`; `1 Chron. 10:13,14`; `Acts 16:16-18`; `Gal. 5:10-21`; `Isa. 8:19,20`; `Isa. 19:3`.
MILLENNIUM--Before or After Christ's Coming? ::Q804:2:: QUESTION--According to `Rev. 20:6`; `1 Thes. 4:16`, will the Millennium be before or after the coming of Christ? It is claimed by some that the Millennium began in the year 799 and ended in the year 1799 A.D.-- Millennium meaning one thousand years--and is known
as the Papal Millennium. Is that the Millennium mentioned in the Bible?
ANSWER--The Scriptures above referred to, together with many others, show that Christ will reign during the Millennium, and we all know that Christ has not reigned yet. If Christ was reigning now we would not have the great systems of evil in the earth, for the Scriptures declare that when "His judgments are in the earth then the people shall learn righteousness." (`Isa. 26:9.`) The Scriptures in your question declare that "the dead in Christ shall rise first" at His coming. In harmony with this we see that then He will take unto Himself His great power and reign, as set forth in `Rev. 11:17,18`. Jesus Himself declared (`Mat. 25:31`), that His reign would follow His second coming.
MILLENNIUM--No Infant There ::Q805:1:: QUESTION--Please explain `Isa. 65:20`, which reads: "There shall no more come thence an infant of days, nor an old man that shall not have the full length of his days; for as a lad shall one die a hundred years old; and as a sinner shall be accursed he who dieth at a hundred years old." (G.A.N.)
ANSWER--The verses connecting, particularly the 25th, show that it is during the Age in which divine favor and blessings are to be disseminated over the world, and when the terms of salvation are much more favorable to humanity than now, that an incorrigible sinner dying at an hundred years of age will be but as a child. The apparent teaching of the Scriptures is, that a thousand years have been set apart in the Creator's plan of salvation, and that this period of time, constituting the judgment or trial day of the world, will immediately follow the Christian Era. In the meantime, those who are to be the judges and rulers over the world in that day are now being prepared and qualified for that future work. (`Acts 17:31`; `1 Cor. 6:2, 3`.) In that Age of joy and blessing (`Psa. 92:4-9`), when a wayfaring man though a fool shall not err concerning the way of salvation (`Isa. 35:8-10`), all will have at least an hundred years to make some progress in the way of righteousness. Failing to do this they will die as an infant, for one an hundred years of age, comparatively speaking, is but an infant to one a thousand years old, for all who will comply with the terms of righteousness will live to the end of the thousand years, and may make their existence eternal if they successfully endure the final trial or test at the end of that Age, when Satan is loosed for a little season. (`Rev. 20:7`.)
MIRACLES--What Were "Greater Works Than These"? ::Q805:2:: QUESTION--Please explain `John 14:12`: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (J.A.B.)
ANSWER--Whatever may be the meaning of the Master's words, it is obvious that not any of His followers have ever been able to do "greater works" than He accomplished
as regards the miraculous works of opening the blind eyes, unstopping the deaf ears, raising the dead, stilling the tempest, etc. The "works," therefore, must be of a different nature, or upon a larger scale. Both of these are true. The last expression of the verse should be noted in this connection- -"because I go unto my Father." Our Lord, when he ascended on high, and had presented the merits of His sacrifice in behalf of His followers, could then bestow the holy Spirit of sonship upon those who, through faith and obedience, would become members of His Church. These receiving the holy Spirit, or power of God, would be enabled to accomplish the "greater works" of opening the spiritually blind eyes, unstopping the spiritually deaf ears, raising to spiritual life those who were dead in trespasses and sins, and stilling the tempests of the soul; all of which, from the Divine viewpoint, is a far greater work than the merely physical healing, etc. Then again, when the Church of Christ has been glorified in the Heavenly state, the work of raising the dead, and healing, blessing and restoring to full life and health and joy and happiness, will be executed on a world-wide scale, for the promise is that all the families of the earth will be blessed through "The Seed of Abraham"--Jesus and the members of His Body, the Church. (`Gen. 22:18`; `Gal. 3:27-29`.)
MIRACLES--Why Not In Our Day? ::Q806:1:: QUESTION--Are we to accept the Bible account of the miracles that were performed in olden times? Why are not miracles performed in our day? (Doubtful.)
ANSWER--This is an age of miracles, with messages being flashed thousands of miles through space, and under the seas, and around the globe. Marvelous discoveries and wonderful inventions are being made almost daily. Some of the achievements of our times almost eclipse those of former days, even the miracles of which we read in the Scriptures. As a matter of fact, miracles are transpiring all about us continually. The reproduction of living organism, either animal or vegetable, is beyond our comprehension, as well as beyond our power--hence miraculous. We can see the exercise of life principle, but can neither understand it nor produce it. Two seeds are planted side by side; the conditions, air, water, and soil are alike; they grow we cannot tell how, nor can the wisest philosopher explain this miracle. These seeds develop characteristics that are exactly opposite, though the conditions were the same. The Creator who formed all of the marvels that we see about us in the material world, would surely be able to perform the miracles narrated in the Bible, and therefore, we need have no doubts as to their authenticity.
MOSES--Michael and Devil Dispute Over Body ::Q806:2:: QUESTION--In `Jude 9`, is described a contention and dispute between Michael, the Archangel, and the Devil over the body of Moses. Why this dispute? (C.W.W.)
ANSWER--We quote from an eminent authority an explanation as to the reason for the contention between Michael and the Devil: "The Lord Himself buried Moses, hiding the place of the sepulchre. The primary reason for
this probably was to hinder the Israelites from carrying his corpse as a mummy, which in after time might have become a temptation to idolatry. The passage in `Jude 9`, which mentions Michael contending with Satan concerning the body of Moses, is a hint along this line that Satan desired to have the corpse to use it for the further misleading of the people, but that the Lord through Michael the Archangel hindered, prevented this, and kept the burial place a secret from the Israelites. But there is another view of this matter which is interesting because it relates to spiritual Israelites. Jesus and the Church unitedly constitute the antitypical, or greater Moses--the Spiritual. Their inheritance is not to be earthly but heavenly, and a grave is a symbol of hope as respects an earthly resurrection. Hence it was appropriate that the type should not show an earthly grave since the antitype has no hope in that connection."
MOSES and ELIJAH--How Recognized on Mount ::Q807:1:: QUESTION--At the transfiguration of Jesus, `Matt. 17:3`, states that Elias and Moses appeared and talked with Him. Will you please explain how it was possible for the Apostles to recognize that these two who were with the Lord were Moses and Elias? (W.C.C.)
ANSWER--As the Scriptural narrative does not contain the information as to the modus operandi by which the Apostles recognized the Patriarchs, we are forced to rely upon our own resources, and to accept that which would appeal to us as the most reasonable solution of the matter, without forming a too positive conclusion. There are two ways by which it would be reasonable to suppose the Apostles were made aware of the identity of the two who appeared with the Lord. In the account it says, "There appeared unto them Moses and Elias, talking with Him." During this conversation it would be the most natural thing in the world for the Lord to address them by their names. Then again, as they were coming down from the mountain with the Lord, He may have informed them as to the identity of the two they saw in the "vision." They did not actually see Moses and Elias but merely a "vision," as stated by the Savior when He said, "Tell the vision to no man until the Son of man be risen from the dead." (`Mat. 27:9`.)
NATURE--Christ's ::Q807:2:: QUESTION--Was Christ human and Divine at the same time?
ANSWER--The word "Divine" signifies "the nature of God." The Creator, God, is a Spirit Being glorious and immortal, dwelling in light that is inaccessible to mortal man. One possessing the Divine, immortal nature could never die. The human nature is the highest form of the earthly or fleshly nature. The Divine nature is the highest form of the spirit nature. The spiritual nature is one thing and the fleshly nature is another thing. (`1 Cor. 15: 44-46`.) The blending of the two natures would produce a hybrid nature or being. As to which nature Christ possessed while in the flesh, let the scriptures speak: "The
Word (Logos, Jesus) was made flesh." (`John 1:14`.) "Christ. . . being indeed put to death (A Divine being could not die) in the flesh, but made alive in spirit." (`1 Pet. 3:18`.) "Since then the children have one common nature of flesh and blood. He also in like manner partook of these; in order that by means of His death He might vanquish him that hath the power of death." (`Heb. 2:14`; see also `Heb. 2:6,7,9`.) From the Scriptures it is apparent that the Lord Jesus left His spiritual nature and condition when He became the "Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all." At His resurrection He received the Divine nature and honor and glory as a reward for His obedience to the Father's will even unto death. Nature is simply organism, and varies according to the form or quality of the organism. The element of life is always the same.
NEIGHBOR--Who? ::Q808:1:: QUESTION--One of the commandments of the Bible reads, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." How may I know who is my neighbor?
ANSWER--Our Lord gives a clear answer to this question in `Luke 10:29-37`. He describes a man in distress and need. A priest came along and seeing the man passed by on the other side as if he were afraid he would be contaminated by even paying attention to the sufferer. A Levite did likewise. Then came a Samaritan (Samaritans were a mixed people, common and despised by the priestly class of Jews), and ministered unto the wants of the sufferer. The principle here taught is, that every man is your neighbor and should be treated kindly, generously, according to the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." "Love your neighbors as yourself" and show that you do love them by dealing with all honestly, fairly and exactly as you would like others to deal with you. The Apostle Paul announces the proper principle saying, "Do good unto all men as you have opportunity." (`Gal. 6:10`.)
NEW CREATURE--And Sin ::Q808:2:: QUESTION--Please explain this Scripture found in `1 John 3:8`: "Whosoever is born of God doth not sin; for His seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin because he is born of God."
ANSWER--A better translation from the original Greek manuscripts renders the passage thus: "No one who has been begotten by God practices sin; because His Seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been begotten by God." This begetting takes place at the time of the receiving of the Holy Spirit. In other words, it is the beginning of the new spiritual life, the living of the Christlike life. This "new creature" (`2 Cor. 5:17`) is in an embryotic state or condition while in the flesh and will be born of the spirit in the resurrection. The spirit of the Lord God is the power or influence exerted upon the minds and hearts of those who have surrendered their own wills and are obedient to the Divine will. This holy power of the Lord gradually transforms the mind of the Christian, shaping
the mental faculties so that earthly hopes, desires and ambitions die, while heavenly spiritual ones are developed. The spirit-begotten New Creature becomes spiritually minded, develops a new mind; his mind is renewed for so states the Apostle: "Be not conformed to the things of this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds." (`Rom. 12:2`.) Because of the weakness and the imperfections of the flesh we sin almost constantly, not willfully; the new mind, the mind of Christ cannot sin. All who are honest with themselves will acknowledge that they are imperfect and cannot do the things that they would, perfectly. (See `1 John 1:8`; `1 John 2:1`.) The embryotic New Creature (the mind of Christ dominated by the Holy Spirit) cannot sin (willfully) as long as "His Seed (the spirit) remaineth in him."
NOAH--Drunkenness ::Q809:2:: 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.9:21`?
ANSWER--How true are the words of the poet:
The evil that men do lives 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.
NOMINAL CHURCH--Recognizing True Christians ::Q809:2:: QUESTION--I am a young married man and my wife and I desire to be good Christian people. We think we ought to go
to church and worship God, but as there are ten different churches in our neighborhood, I am at a loss to know which to make our church home. I have attended each one several times, and none of them seems to satisfy our minds and hearts. In one church it is all formality and dress; in another it is a continual plea for money; in another the Bible is seldom referred to, but it is all Higher Criticism and Evolution. I am almost disgusted and would like to know if my wife and I cannot remain at home and read our Bible and be good Christians without supporting with our time and money what appears to me as being "clubs" instead of churches. (Candid.)
ANSWER--It is true that we can worship the Lord at home, and unless we do worship the Lord at home, our church worship would be of little benefit. Worship is not a mere form but devotion of the heart. However, we are admonished of the Lord to "forsake not the assembling of ourselves together" (`Heb. 10:25`), and we should look carefully for a gathering of the Lord's people, however small in number. True Christians may be readily recognized by the test which the Master Himself instituted, "by their fruits ye shall know them."
NOMINAL CHURCHES--Parable of Vine and Branches ::Q810:1:: QUESTION--In the parable of the vine and the branches given by the Lord Jesus (`John 15:1-8`), are we to understand that the branches would represent the different churches and denominations? (S. S. Scholar.)
ANSWER--A critical examination of the parable should thoroughly convince any Bible student that the "branches" could in no way represent the five-or six-hundred different religious denominations of Christendom. At the time the parable was given, there were no denominations, and none were organized until several centuries afterward. The Lord never authorized the formation of these denominational systems, and furthermore, He has never recognized them as His representatives. If anything, they are of the "vine of the earth" (`Rev. 14:18`) for they are of an earthly or human origin. It is very evident that this fact is coming more and more to be recognized even by the representatives of the various religious bodies as, in general, they are advocating a federation of all the churches, and the eradication of denominational lines. See what the Apostle has to say about denominationalism, `1 Cor. 3:3,4`. The Master was addressing His disciples and telling them that they were the branches. His language is, "I am the true vine, ye are the branches." It becomes more apparent that He was referring to the individual when in the fifth verse, He says, "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch." This same intimate relationship existing between the Lord and His faithful followers is pictured by the Apostle when he uses the illustration of the natural body to show how the brethren in Christ are members in particular of the body of Christ, `1 Cor. 12:14-27`.
ORDINATION--Scriptural Method ::Q810:2:: QUESTION--What is the Scriptural method of ordination? It seems to me that the laymen should have something to say as to who shall be their representatives. Have the clergy
arrogated to themselves privileges in this connection to which they are not entitled? (American)
ANSWER--Priestcraft, and not the teachings of our Lord and His Apostles, is responsible for the division of the church into two classes, called "clergy" and "laity." It is still the spirit of priestcraft that seeks to lord it over God's heritage in every way possible--proportionately to the density of the ignorance prevailing in any congregation. The word "ordain," in respect to elders--those who preside over the church- -occurs in `Titus 1:5`. It is from the Greek which signifies "to place down." "Set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I gave thee charge." (R.V.) On the fact of it, this text seems to imply that Titus was empowered to appoint these elders, regardless of the wishes of the congregations (churches, ecclesias); and it is on this view that the whole clerical system rests. The leading churches all claim for their bishops an apostolic authority to set, to place or appoint, elders for the congregations--without the stretching forth of the hand, or vote of the church. This text is the bulwark of this idea; but it appears to be rather a weak support when we notice the last clause, "As I gave thee charge," and reflect that the Apostle would surely not give Titus "charge" or instruction to do differently from what he (the Apostle) did in this matter. The account of the Apostle's own procedure, rightly translated, is very explicit: "And when they had elected them elders by a show of hands in every ecclesia, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord." (`Acts 14:23`)
PAUL--Apostleship ::Q811:1:: QUESTION--Considering Paul's positive claim to be an Apostle, specially called of God, who saw Jesus, and that the choice of Matthias to be the successor of Judas, by the Eleven, was before the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, are we to consider him (Paul) as the successor of Judas, remembering that there were to be but twelve Apostles, and that Matthias was not afterward heard of?
ANSWER--It is evident from the Scriptural account that the Eleven were acting without due warrant and authority in selecting Matthias to be the successor of Judas. They had been instructed to tarry at Jerusalem and wait for enduement from on high by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and it was during this waiting period and before they were endued with power, that they mistakenly cast lots and chose Matthias. The Lord did not reprove them for this undesigned meddling with His arrangement, but simply ignored their choice, and in His own time brought forward the Apostle Paul, declaring, "He is a chosen vessel unto Me." There can be no question but that the Lord arranged that there should be but twelve Apostles, and in evidence of this note how the Lord particularly chose those twelve, calling to mind the prominence of the number twelve in sacred things pertaining to this election. And we cap the climax by pointing to the symbolical picture of the glorified Church furnished in Rev. 21:1. In the picture the statement is most distinctly made that the twelve foundations
of the City are precious, and in them were written the names of the "twelve Apostles of the Lamb . . ."--no more, no less.
PEACE--Vs. Vast Preparations for War ::Q812:1:: QUESTION-- How shall we understand the Prophet's words: "And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (`Isa. 2:4`) in view of the fact that all of the nations are learning war and making vast preparations for a great international conflict? Think of the armies and navies and munitions of war! Have in mind also the frightful instruments of destruction that are being devised, such as submarines, airplanes, murderous machine guns and terrific explosives, etc. Will peace never be established in the earth?
ANSWER--The Prophet Joel foretold just the conditions that we see about us in the world today (see `Joel 3:9-11`). The Lord Jesus also informed His followers that "wars and rumors of wars as well as dreadful calamities would continue all down through the centuries until the time of His second advent (`Mat. 24:6,7`), and then in the very end of the Age, "the last days," would be the great tribulation, a time of war and trouble involving all nations, the preparations for which are fulfilled in the conditions of the present. When the final great cataclysm, the overwhelming flood of trouble, has drawn to its close, then Messiah's reign of peace begins. A universal government will be established in the earth, the Kingdom of God, and "the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called . . . The Prince of Peace; of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end." (`Isa. 9:6,7`) The connecting verses to the one quoted in your question, show that the conditions of peace referred to will not be established until after the "mountain" (Kingdom) of the Lord is set up in the earth. (See verses 2 and 3)
PHYSICAL EXERCISE--IS It Sin? ::Q812:2:: QUESTION--Is it proper for a Christian to engage in physical exercises, or physical culture? I would like to have your thought on this matter and, if possible, any Scriptures bearing on the subject, as I know of some people who seemingly think it a sin to devote any thought to the care of the body. (J.E.M.)
ANSWER--The mind or will is the master of the body. The condition of the mind is largely affected by the condition of the body. A sound mind in a sound body is the ideal condition. To keep the body and the mind in proper condition, it is essential that they be exercised, for it is a law of nature that inaction produces decay and disease. Any stagnant pond is a good illustration of this law. The Christian, whose desire is to serve his God and his fellow-man, and who wills to do so, should recognize that he can work out his will and desires more effectively with a sound mind and a sound body than with those that are disabled or injured through neglect or disuse. Considering the body from this standpoint, as an instrument or a machine to be utilized by
the will in accomplishing good works, it would be the part of wisdom to have it in excellent condition in order to achieve the best results. The orderly, systematic care of the body tends to develop those very traits of character that are essential to the Christian development. Temperance, self-control, determination, patience, self-denial, etc., are naturally acquired by those who pursue a regular course of training with the object of devoting their time and energies to the service of their Lord. The Apostle says, "Bodily training is profitable for a little; but piety is profitable for all things, having a promise of the present life, and of that which is future." (`1 Tim. 4:8`)
PLEIADES--Binding Sweet Influences of ::Q813:1:: QUESTION--What is the explanation of `Job 38:31`, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?"
ANSWER--This passage of Scripture, as with all the inspired statements from the Lord, is profound in its depth of meaning. In Job's day, men did not possess the wonderful astronomical instruments which have been devised in modern times and by which marvelous discoveries have been made. With the primitive means at their disposal, it was beyond the bounds of reasonable possibilities for the ancients to attain to the degree of astronomical knowledge and information at present enjoyed. It is only by inspiration (imparted knowledge from the Creator), that we can account for the fact that they possessed a more accurate knowledge of science and astronomy than we possess today. In the mightiest structure ever erected by man and also the oldest building on the earth, a monument over four thousand years old, the Great Pyramid in Egypt, are contained in its measurements and outlined in its chambers and passageways, scientific facts such as the number of days in the solar year down to the exact fraction thereof, the mean distance to the sun from the earth, and also the number of years in the precessional cycle. But the crowning feature of all its scientific presentations is that some years ago, that the Pleiades, the most renowned of all the heavenly groups of stars, from the center of the Universe, around which revolve all the celestial bodies in space, just as the earth and planets revolve around the sun, forming our solar system. What a depth of meaning therefore is breathed into that wonderful expression of Job, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades?"
POOR--Will Earth Always Have Them? ::Q813:2:: QUESTION-- Please explain the Scripture, "The poor ye have always with you." (`John 12:8`.) Does this mean that there will always be poor on the earth?
ANSWER--Jesus was addressing His disciples, and through them all consecrated Christians. At Jesus' second coming all of His faithful followers, then remaining on the earth, will be taken away to heavenly conditions, as He stated that He would go away to prepare a place for these, and He would come again for them, and when Christ's Kingdom is fully established and the blessings flow out therefrom to the people, there will be neither rich nor poor,
but all shall be brought to one common level (`Isa. 11:4,5`). Messiah's reign will result in peace, joy, happiness, health and plenty to all the righteous. Then "they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (`Jer. 31:34`; `Jer. 33:6`; `Micah 4:3,4`.)
PRAYER--Elders Praying for Healing ::Q814:1:: QUESTION--Are we to understand from `James 5:14-16`, that it is possible for the "Elders of the Church," at the present day, to heal the sick by prayer and anointing with oil?
ANSWER--The following is a more literal translation of the verses cited than that in the Authorized Version: "Is any weak among you (weak in the faith, morally and spiritually weak or ailing) let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, annointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the wearied one (weary in well doing; the one who is in a "backslidden" condition. The prayers and the words of exhortation and encouragement to righteousness on the part of the "elder" brothers in the church will have the effect of raising up, stimulating and reviving the spiritually weary and fainting one). And the Lord shall raise him up, and though he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him. Therefore confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Evidently the weakness and faintness are spiritual, and the restoration and healing also spiritual. There is no instance mentioned in the Scriptures of where the Apostles or their associates healed each other of their physical maladies or ailments. When Timothy was afflicted with indigestion, the elders were not called in to pray over him; but the Apostle counseled the use of a little wine for his infirmity. The Apostle Paul himself was afflicted with painfully weak eyes (a "thorn in the flesh") and prayed for relief, but his prayer was not granted. From the foregoing, we conclude that Christians are nowhere authorized to practice "faith healing" amongst themselves.
PRAYER--For Health ::Q814:2:: QUESTION--Is it proper for Christians to pray for health?
ANSWER--A babe in Christ might pray for physical health in all good conscience and might be granted an answer as a reward for the faith and prayer. But an advanced Christian, who had proceeded from justification to sanctification--one who had consecrated life and health and all to God, and who, in return, had been begotten of the holy Spirit to a new nature--such a Christian should not pray for health. He should discern that his consecration includes his setting aside of all claim to earthly blessing, as an exchange for spiritual life, spiritual health, spiritual clothing, spiritual food, and by and by, in the resurrection--the spiritual body. His prayer should be, Thy will be done in me; give me today my daily portion, according to Thy Divine wisdom, of what would be for my best interests as a New Creature in Christ, a member of the Body of Christ, the
Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven. He should remember the Lord's words to the effect that after all these things--food and raiment--the Gentiles seek and are solicitous and inclined to pray; whereas those who have become New Creatures have higher interests and can fully trust the Lord to give what is best.
PRAYER--For "Sinners": Asking Amiss ::Q815:1:: QUESTION--I have heard good devout Christian brethren praying to the Lord and pleading, during revival services, that sinners might be saved and that the sinners might not have rest day or night until they gave their hearts to the Lord. Also they prayed that God would stir up a great revival amongst the people and that sinners wold be saved from an awful hell. But I find that these brethren's prayers have not been answered as only a few are converted and of these the most of them go back into the world again. Were these brethren praying right or wrong? You know it says, "Ask and I will give." (G.C.)
ANSWER--The Lord Jesus and His Apostles never prayed for the conversion of sinners and they never authorized any one to do so. In that notable prayer of the Lord Jesus to the Heavenly Father as given in the 17th chapter of the Gospel of St. John, the Lord said, "I pray for them: I pray not for the world (sinners), but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine." Here our Lord was praying for His Apostles, and in the 20th verse of this chapter, He prayed for those who would believe on Him through their word, and ignored "sinners" completely. The reason why some good Christian brethren have not had their prayers answered is because they have asked amiss. (See `James 4:3`.)
PURGATORY--Not Taught in Scripture ::Q815:2:: QUESTION--Is there such a place as purgatory, and if so, where is it taught in the Scriptures?
ANSWER--The word "purgatory" is from the Latin tongue and signifies primarily a place of purification or making clean. The thought usually involved in the consideration of the term is that an intermediate state of condition exists for those who die and who at the time of death--while professing Christianity-- were not sufficiently cleansed from their sins to justify an immediate entrance into heaven, the abode of the pure and saintly ones. Hence, they must expiate their sins by enduring intense suffering in flames and sorrow for a period of time in proportion to the amount of sin to be eradicated. We are not aware that this view is set forth in the Bible. There is, however, a condition of purgatory presented in the teachings of the Scriptures. It is becoming very clear to all enlightened Bible scholars that the period of Christ's reign on earth for the space of a thousand years--when Satan is bound and the knowledge of the Lord is filling the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep--that then the nations of earth will learn righteousness and gradually be purged of all iniquity and unrighteousness and in this way be prepared to enter into the conditions of eternal life. This, of course, will be after the second advent. The world is not to be scorched
and blistered in a vain attempt to make it pure and upright, but the Lord will rule in righteousness and love and win the race by His kindness and tender mercies.
RACE--Were Both Adam and Jesus Representatives? ::Q816:1:: QUESTION--Were Adam and Jesus in any sense representatives of the race?
ANSWER--Adam, as the federal head of his family, was its representative in Eden. This is demonstrated by the fact that all of his posterity are involved in everything affecting him. Thus the sentence of death which directly passed upon Adam affected and impaired every one of his offspring. Jesus was not a representative in this sense; He was made a man, a "little lower than the angels, that He might, by the grace of God, taste death for every man." (`Heb. 2:9`) He becomes Adam's substitute, his Redeemer. He pays for Adam the penalty demanded by divine Justice. He gave His life "a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (`1 Tim. 2:6`) Since Adam was the representative of the whole human family, therefore, all of the human race must share with him in the benefits to accrue through the redemption provided by Jesus, his substitute. Thus the death of Jesus is made efficacious to all who will accept the benefit thereof, by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, as we read: "As in Adam all die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive." (`1 Cor. 15:22`)
REFORMS--What Does Religions Wave Indicate? ::Q816:2:: QUESTION--Does the religious wave over the country indicate anything, or is it a "flash in the pan?" (Reader)
ANSWER--We believe that it is indicative of much that is important to the welfare of the entire race of mankind. Not that we anticipate that it will result in converting the race to Christianity, or "save the world for Jesus," but that it indicates that mankind in general is longing after the higher and holier things. All honor to the noble men and women who are striving to better human conditions, and who are sacrificing much in their efforts! However, the Lord in His Word, the Bible, has pointed out a more excellent way than all of the religious and reformation movements combined. In the first place, the Scriptures foretell that the world will never be converted to Christianity until after the Lord Jesus' second coming. (See the following Scriptures and note carefully as they relate to the "last days," or "the time of the end." `Mat. 24:37-39`; `2 Tim. 3:1-5,13`; `Jam. 5:1-5`) From these statements of the Sacred Writers, we see that the world will be far from being converted to Christ at His coming and will have very little regard for the teachings of the Master. Are not the facts in harmony with the Scripture prophecies? In spite of all the missionary efforts put forth, there are more than double the number of heathen in the world today than there were a century ago, according to the latest compiled missionary statistics! What are the conditions in Christendom so-called? There are far more bloodshed, wars, crimes, greed and graft than in all the heathen lands combined! Christians may well pray, "Thy Kingdom come," for that is the only hope for the world.
REINCARNATION--John As Elijah ::Q817:1:: QUESTION--What did Christ mean when He referred to John the Baptist as Elijah? (`Mat. 17:11,12`) Is this an evidence that He recognized reincarnation as a truth?
ANSWER--The theory of reincarnation is nowhere taught in the Scriptures. Our Lord Jesus and the Apostles never, in all their teachings, said a word about reincarnation. 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`)
RESURRECTED--What Meant by "It" in `1 Corinthians 15:42-44`? ::Q817:2:: QUESTION--Since the Apostle clearly explains in `1 Cor. 15:35-38`, that the body will not be resurrected, what does he mean when he says: "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption," etc. (`1 Cor. 15:42-44`) What is meant by the expression, "it"? What is resurrected?
ANSWER--We answer that "it" is the soul that is restored or resuscitated. What was it that died? The Scripture reply is: "The soul that sineth, it shall die." The living, intelligent, sentient being is to be raised up by Divine power in the time of resurrection--"when all who are in their graves shall come forth." A phonograph with recording cylinder, furnishes an excellent illustration of the resurrection. The cylinder placed in the machine will have impressions formed upon it by sounds produced by the voice or by some other means. After the cylinder has received its full impression, it is laid away and preserved for some years while the phonograph is destroyed. By and by the cylinder is taken from its place and put into a new phonograph where the original sounds are reproduced. Thus it is with the individual. His character is formed by the impressions received in the daily experiences of life. His body corresponds to the machine. In course of time he dies. The body is destroyed and the character or identity is preserved by the Lord--we know not how nor where. In the resurrection the character (wax cylinder) will be placed in a new body (machine) and the original thoughts, memory, etc., will be reproduced. A fine "record" will be placed in a high-class machine. A poor record (if not destroyed because of worthlessness) will be placed in a lower grade instrument.
RESURRECTION--Animals ::Q818:1:: QUESTION--Will faithful animals such as dogs and cats be resurrected?
ANSWER--The matter of exterminating dogs and cats is being agitated in some of the large cities as it is claimed that these animals transmit disease germs and more or less endanger the lives of the people in various other ways. Mr. A's dog may be highly thought of in the family circle and yet be a nuisance to Mr. B. And Mr. B's cat may be inclined to make night hideous for Mr. A. We cannot imagine a bull pup or a rat terrier trotting up and down the golden streets of the New Jerusalem; or some antiquated tom cat crawling around the glittering spires of the Holy City. Indeed, the Bible--after describing the City and mentioning those who will be privileged to enter it--says that "without are dogs." (`Rev. 22:15`) And St Peter tells of "the natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed." (`2 Peter 2:12`) There is nothing in the Bible indicating the resurrection of animals.
RESURRECTION--General and Universal ::Q818:2:: QUESTION--Can you show from the Scriptures that there is any such thing as a general resurrection of the dead? (S.J.R.)
ANSWER--The Bible is the only book in all the earth that does teach a general resurrection of the dead. In the first place, it sets forth that the dead are dead and not alive; and that because they are dead a resurrection is necessary to make them alive. If alive already, there could be no resurrection. The Scriptures teach that the entire race was condemned to death because of Adam's transgression. (`1 Cor. 15:21,22`; `Rom. 5:12,18,19`) In the following Scriptures it is declared in unmistakable terms that Jesus Christ, as the Savior of the world, died for "all," every man." (`1 Tim. 2:5, 6`; `Heb. 2:2,9`; `1 John 2:2`) This last citation shows, beyond all controversy, that Christ is the "propitiation" --satisfaction--not only for "our sins," the Church's sins, but also for the sins of the whole world. Because of the "ransom for all," the hour is coming in the which all who are in their graves shall come forth at the voice of the Son of man (`John 5:28,29`), the righteous to an immediate raising up to life, and the evil to a gradual raising up (resurrection) by judgment. The Apostle elsewhere affirms a general resurrection. (See `Acts 24:15`)
RESURRECTION--Of Mankind: To What Condition? ::Q818:3:: QUESTION--When the world of mankind are awakened from the tomb, to what conditions will the members of the race be awakened? (Cherub)
ANSWER--There are two resurrections mentioned in the Scriptures: the resurrection of the just and the unjust. (`John 5:28,29`; `Acts 24:15`.) The just or righteous--the Church of Christ gathered out from among the nations during this Christian Era--are to experience a special resurrection. This is referred to in the Scriptures as the "first" or chief resurrection: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection . . . these shall be kings and
priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years." (`Rev. 20:6`.) These are to reign on the earth (`Rev. 5:10`) over the world of mankind, who will have been awakened from the tomb by the Lord at His second coming. The object of this reign is to resurrect, or raise up the fallen race of humanity by judgments to a condition of righteousness, perfection and life. When all the willing and obedient have attained to perfect life at the conclusion of the thousand years, they will continue to inhabit the earth throughout eternity, for the earth will have been restored to the Edenic conditions that prevailed when Adam was placed in the Garden. The earth will abide forever, as God formed it to be inhabited, and He assures us that the place of His feet shall be made glorious. The Church will experience a resurrection to spiritual, heavenly conditions; the world, aside from the Church, is to be resurrected to human perfection and life.
RESURRECTION--Provision for Life's Necessities ::Q819:1:: QUESTION--Since the Bible teaches a general awakening of all who have died and since in all probability the majority of the race of mankind will be saved and inasmuch as they are to live upon the earth--how will it be possible to provide the necessities of life, food, etc., for the billions of humanity that will be on the earth when all are resurrected--particularly in view of the fact that with the present population of the earth-- 1,600,000,000--millions are on the verge of want and starvation? (Anxious)
ANSWER--A careful and liberal estimate of the number of all the people who have lived upon the earth from the time of the creation of the first man down to the present would be about 20,000,000,000. If three-fourths of these should attain eternal life (doubtless a liberal estimate), it would signify that 15,000,000,000 would have to be provided for. The area of the earth's surface included within the temperate zone is over 102,000,000 square miles. This would afford each individual more than four and one-half acres of surface in which to rove about. When it is reflected that the "desert is to bloom and blossom as the rose" and the "earth is to yield her increase," producing spontaneously the fruits and flowers instead of the thorns, briars and weeds and that in all probability the seas and oceans will be greatly diminished, thus increasing the land area, it can be readily seen that it would be a simple matter for the Creator to arrange for the bountiful provision of the necessities of life for all mankind. A great deal of the want and deprivation experienced by the race now is caused by selfishness as there is sufficient produced to supply the needs of all. In that time, selfishness will be eradicated from the human heart.
RESURRECTION--What is Celestial Body? ::Q819:2:: QUESTION--The Bible seems to infer that we will have celestial bodies. If so, are they these human bodies cleaned and made whole, revamped and made over? (C.T.)
ANSWER--The 15th Chapter of 1 Corinthians (`1 Cor. 15`) is an inspired treatise on the topic of the resurrection. In it the Apostle sets forth practically every phase and point relating
to this momentous subject. He begins by giving a synopsis of the Gospel in a few brief words: "How that Christ died for our sins . . . and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day." He then names the witnesses to attest the fact of Christ's resurrection. In the 11-17 verses, he affirms and emphasizes the fact of Christ's resurrection. The 18th verse contains a statement that nearly all Christian people have overlooked or misunderstood. If Christ was not put to death and resurrected, "Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished!" "Perished" means destroyed or annihilated. Let no one advance the absurd idea that the Apostle was referring to the bodies of those who had "fallen asleep," for the bodies of all perish and disintegrate into dust. But he had reference to the individual, the being, the soul. "The soul that sinneth it shall die." (`Eze. 18:4`) Because Christ died for all, all are coming forth from the tomb. What comes forth--the body? Let the Apostle answer: "O senseless man! that which thou sowest is not made alive except it die; and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body which shall be . . . so also is the resurrection . . . it is sown a natural body, it (the soul) is raised a spiritual body (or being). Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (therefore) we shall be changed . . . at the last trump... the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed." (`1 Cor. 15:35-53`)
RICH MAN AND LAZARUS--Does Parable Teach Eternal Torment? ::Q820:1:: QUESTION--Does Christ's statement as to the "Rich Man" and "Lazarus" teach that the wicked go to eternal torment at death? (V.P.)
ANSWER--There is not a single word in this much discussed parable about the Rich Man being a wicked man or the Poor Man being a good man. Therefore, in answer to the question, it could be positively stated that there is nothing said about the wicked going to eternal torment at death. To interpret the story literally just as it reads, as so many are prone to do who believe in the theory of eternal torment for nearly every one but themselves, involves one in a number of absurdities. It would signify that all who are clad in purple and fine linen and who fare sumptuously every day, are at death to be placed in a furnace of fire and tormented. It would also mean that unless we were poverty stricken beggars, the companion of dogs, full of sores, and fed on crumbs at some rich man's back gate, we would never be able to wing our flight to Abraham's bosom when we departed this life. Poor Abraham would experience considerable difficulty in clasping all of the poor to his expansive bosom! The parable, rightly understood, does not in the remotest degree teach the monstrous doctrine of eternal torment.
RICH MAN AND LAZARUS--Meaning of Parable Concealed from World ::Q820:2:: QUESTION-- Conceding that "Dives and Lazarus" is a parable, representing the Jews' and the Gentiles' positions of favor and disfavor during this Christian Age, the question
arises concerning the figure itself: (a) Is it not a well- known fact that or Lord used everyday occurrences and things to make up the various figures and "dark sayings" (sheep, goats, seed, sower, harvest, reaper, stewards, etc.)? (b) Then why did Lazarus die to be carried to Abraham's bosom? Why must the "Rich Man" be alive in torment when he is DEAD?
If "hell" is a place of "forgetfulness," why did the "Rich Man" remember his "five brothers?" Lastly, if the Lord knew of such a place, why did He picture Dives in the hell of Dante's Inferno--even for the sake of a figure? (T.E.)
ANSWER--The Scriptures were written and arranged in such a way by the Lord, through the inspired writers that they could not be understood excepting by those who would come into harmony with Him by faith and obedience. The Lord is pleased to enlighten His children by the operation of the holy spirit through His Divine purposes. It is related of our Lord Jesus, that in all of His teachings He addressed the multitudes in parables and dark sayings and then afterwards explained them to His disciples. (`Mark 4:11,33,34`) The parable of "The Rich Man and the Poor Man" is a remarkable prophecy of conditions relating to the Jews and the Gentiles and, we believe, could have been stated in no other way without disclosing the realities which was evidently intended by the Lord should remain disguised or concealed from the world in general and whose real significance would be known only by His devoted followers. The entire book of Revelation is composed of prophecies thus concealed in signs, symbols and figures.
RIGHTEOUS--Why more "Bad Luck" Than Selfish ::Q821:1:: QUESTION--I have noticed that people who try to live right and be Christians have more "bad luck" than those who are selfish and wicked. Does the Bible give any reason for this?
ANSWER--Yes, the Bible does give the reason. On the principle that a skiff rowed against the stream is twice as likely to be bumped into by logs and debris as if it were floating down stream, even so, the man who strives against selfishness and sin has a harder fight. The natural tendency of the world is downward. The Christian finds as the Redeemer said, that "Strait (difficult) is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it." (`Mat. 7:14`.) The Lord permits the Christian to have adverse experiences that his character may be developed. Willingness to brave opposition indicates a character pleasing to the Lord. Weak Christians become discouraged with these experiences, but strong Christians grow stronger in the Lord and develop strong characters. It is to the faithful Christian that God has given the promise of joint-heirship with Jesus in His Kingdom. To such He says, "We might through much tribulation enter the Kingdom of God." (`Acts. 14:22`)
RIGHTEOUSNESS--"Sun of": What Is Signified? ::Q821:2:: QUESTION--What is signified by the Scriptural expression, "The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in its beams?" (`Mal. 4:2`) (X. X. X.)
ANSWER--In the prophetic language of the Scriptures, the condition of the race of mankind throughout its entire history in sin and ignorance, suffering and death, is likened to a dark night time. "Darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people" is the Prophet's declaration. Truly it has been a fearful time of darkness in which mankind has been groping for the better things which instinctively all realize do not exist at this time but must come somehow, somewhere. And in this dreadful night time how many have dreamed fearful dreams, having the awful nightmare of eternal torment before their minds! But, thank God, the Scriptures represent that a day is approaching, "The Day of the Lord," in the dawning of which all the shadows of ignorance and prejudice shall roll away. The Psalmist, in poetic expressions, portrays the transition from the darkness of the night to the glorious radiance of the day. "Weeping may endure for a night; but joy cometh in the morning." Yes, it is to be a joyous time for the world when all shall be enlightened concerning the goodness of the Creator and when sorrow and sighing; suffering and death shall be no more. The "Sun of Righteousness" will be formed of the members of the Church of Christ, as the Lord Jesus declared, "The righteous shall shine as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father." (`Mat. 13:43`) It shall arise with "healing in its beams" in the sense that the Church together with her Lord will be manifested in power and great glory to all the world and will illuminate the whole earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Father which will result in the healing and blessing of all the families, kindred, and nations of the earth. It is no wonder that the "whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God" --this glorious Sun of Righteousness. (`Rom. 8:22,19`)
RIGHTEOUSNESS--Vs. Regeneration ::Q822:1:: QUESTION --Is it proper to speak of those who have turned from sin to righteousness as being regenerated or having a regenerated heart?
ANSWER--The term "regenerated" is equivalent to the expression of "being born again." There are but two places in the Scriptures where the expression "regeneration" occurs. In `Titus 3:5`, it is used to represent the reforming and justifying influences of faith in the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ; and again in `Matthew 19:28`, where it is used to represent that glorious moral, social, political, religious, and physical change which will be introduced by the Messiah who says, "Behold, I make all things new." (`Rev. 21:5`) The process of regeneration is now going on in the experiences of the members of the Church of Christ--the Christians. These have been begotten of the Spirit and must grow and develop as "new creatures," and will be born of the Spirit in the resurrection when as glorious spirit beings they will be invisible and powerful and can then go and come as the wind. (`John 3:8`) In the regeneration of the world, after the Church has experienced the new birth, the race will be restored to its primitive conditions of perfection and life as represented in Adam in the Garden of Eden--"The Times of Restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets." (`Acts 3:19-21`)
RIVER--Of Life, Actual or Symbolic? ::Q823:1:: QUESTION --What about the "River of the Water of Life, clear as crystal?" (`Rev. 22:1,2`) Is it an actual river? If so, how may one get a drink out of it?
ANSWER--If we were disposed to accept this as a literal statement, we might well do as the old Spanish explorer, Ponce De Leon, did--search for the Fountain of Perpetual Youth! And we might have the consoling thought that surely there would be enough water in this river of the water of life to put out all the fires of the "lake of fire and brimstone" mentioned in the eighth verse of the preceding chapter! Dispensing with absurdities, we recognize that a wonderful symbolical picture is here presented to our mental gaze--a gloriously beautiful city of vast proportions and all of gold and precious stones, reflecting the radiance of the marvelous light that glows within and which emanates from that great Being who is the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, the Almighty God! And forth from the street of gold, there flows this lovely river whose waters are as clear as crystal and whose banks are adorned with trees "whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations!" The city is "the Bride, the Lamb's Wife," the Church of Christ glorified. The river is the stream of truth and not the muddy waters of the traditions of men that shall flow from the Church when it is complete and highly exalted. The Lord had promised that whoever would drink of the water (the truth) that He should give, it would make of him "a well of water springing up into eternal life." (`John 4:14`) These wells or springs of water have been in course of development throughout this Christian Era and when they are all brought together--the 144,000 mentioned in the 7th and 14th chapters there will be formed a mighty flow of truth, of which all the nations will be invited to partake. The Spirit and the Bride will then say, Come, and whosoever is athirst may come and partake of the Waters of Life freely. (`Rev. 22:17`)
SABBATH--First or Seventh Day? ::Q823:2:: QUESTION--Which day should be observed as the Sabbath Day, the first day or the seventh day of the week? (I.B.S.A.)
ANSWER--It would depend upon the religious belief of the one who asks the question. To the Jew the seventh day (Saturday) is the one to be observed, as it was commanded in the Law that was given to the Israelites that they should keep the seventh day as a holy day. That Law is still binding upon the Jews. If a Seventh Day Adventist, then let him keep the seventh day, for he believes that he is under the Law, and with that belief he certainly should keep the seventh day. To those who are members of some one of the various Protestant Churches, or of the Roman Catholic Church, let them observe the first day (Sunday) as the day of rest, as they believe that it is so commanded, and surely it would not be right for them to violate their conscience by doing otherwise. To the true Christian, the consecrated child of God, let these keep every day holy unto the Lord and not merely one day in seven. And let these enjoy a rest by faith in the Lord and in His sure promises. Let no one attempt to judge another in respect to this matter of ob
serving the sabbath or holy days. No one has the right to judge his fellowman in this regard; but let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind (`Rom. 14:4,5`). If any one presumes to judge another in these matters, he is violating a direct command of the Lord as expressed by one of His inspired Apostles (`Col. 2:16`). If any one should say that we are not saved and that we are lost because we do not observe some special day, ask him gently but firmly--"Who made thee a judge?"
SALVATION--Death Upon All, Life Provided for All. ::Q824:1:: QUESTION-- Kindly explain `1 Tim. 2:4-6`.
ANSWER--God will have all men to be saved (from the death conditions that came upon all because of father Adam's disobedience; just as the whole race is in a dying condition with the vast majority in the tomb, so the Lord will have "all," "every man," saved from this condition of death) and to come to the knowledge of the truth (in order to bring the race--all men--to the knowledge of the truth it would be necessary to resurrect them from the grave, for very few members of the race have come to the knowledge of the truth in this present life, as the Lord Jesus Himself stated on one occasion, "Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it"), for there is one God (not three Gods nor many), and one Mediator (go-between), the Man Christ Jesus, who (will satisfy the claims of Divine Justice and bring about the atonement or reconciliation between God and men, because, by the grace of God, He) gave Himself a ransom for all ("every man," which truth; or fact is), to be testified (to all) in due time, when all have come forth from the tomb.
SALVATION--Father's Drawing Vs. Water of Life Freely. ::Q824:2:: QUESTION--Would you please explain what is meant by John's Gospel, sixth chapter and forty fourth verse; and does this harmonize with `Rev. 22:17`--"Whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely"? (H.B.M.)
ANSWER--Jesus' words, "No man can come to Me except the Father which sent Me draw him," have long perplexed Bible scholars and Christian people in general. The thought usually is that the Lord is desirous that all mankind should be saved in this present Christian Era. And if this be so, then why does the Father "draw" so few to Christ? Why does He not draw all men unto Him? The difficulty is that many have failed to note the Scripture teachings concerning the Divine purpose. All Bible scholars recognize that the doctrine of "election" is taught in the Scriptures. And nearly all are aware that "free grace" is likewise set forth. In attempting to apply both these Bible teachings to the present Era, confusion has resulted. God is now drawing to Christ such as He desires shall be members of His Church, the Bride of Christ. In other words, God is "calling" or inviting a few--"the elect"--to be joint-heirs with His Son in the glories of the Kingdom. When this election is completed, then God's free grace will be extended to all the world of mankind.
SALVATION--Three Ways. ::Q825:1:: QUESTION-- Is it true that the "Highway of Holiness" is opened up 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 broadway, leading to destruction," "The narrow way to life," and the "Highway of Holiness." (`Mat. 7:13,17`; `Isa. 35:9`.) 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."
SANCTIFIED--Children and Unbeliever by Believing Spouse. ::Q825:2:: QUESTION --Can you explain the words of the Apostle Paul (`1 Cor. 7:14`), "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the (believing) wife and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the (believing) husband; else were your children unclean (sinners under condemnation, unjustified, unrelated to God, aliens from His care and blessing), but now are they holy"?
ANSWER--As the disobedience and alienation of Adam and Eve from the Heavenly Father brought alienation to all their offspring, so the reconciliation of the Lord's people through the merits of the great atonement, not only brings them back to harmony with God, but their children as well are counted as justified through their parents, and on account of their parents, up to such a time as the child shall have an intelligence and will of its own. The question is more complex, however, when one parent is the Lord's and the other is a stranger and an alien from Him; but the Apostle assures us that in such a case God counts the child as His, through whichever one of its parents is the Lord's disciple. The standing of the believing parent, is counted as offsetting and overruling the standing of the unconsecrated parent, so far as the child is concerned.
SATAN--Did God Create? ::Q825:3:: QUESTION-- Did God create Satan? (C.F.T.)
ANSWER--According to the Bible, Satan, of his own
volition, became the adversary of God. Originally, as God created him, he was holy, pure, grand of character and of a high order of angelic nature, a "covering cherub" (`Eze. 28:16`). He transformed himself from the loyal, glorious servant of God, to a bitter enemy and opponent. The Scriptures tell us what constituted this transforming work--that it was an evil thought, a disloyal thought, an ambitious thought. The angel Lucifer--signifying "bright morning star"--said within himself, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God (the other angels) . . . I will be like the Most High (`Isa. 14:12-14`). As God is the Emperor of the entire Universe, I should like to be the Emperor of some quarter of it where I might reign supreme and work out my own schemes and plans." Lucifer's opportune moment came when our first parents were created. Perceiving that they had procreative powers, he seized upon the thought that by alienating them from God, he could wield an influence over them and eventually have an earthly dominion of his own. God has permitted him to carry out much of his scheme, while he was, at the same time, unconsciously working out a part of the Divine Program. It is not to be understood that Satan has in any sense thwarted the Divine Program; on the contrary it has been a part of God's great plan to permit evil to reign for 6,000 years and then to bind Satan and establish righteousness.
SATAN--"Prince of this World." ::Q826:1:: QUESTION--Kindly explain `John 14:30` --"Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." (A.W.W.)
ANSWER--The first part of the text relates to the time following the Lord's resurrection. Jesus had been put to death as a human being, a perfect man, and was raised a glorious spirit being of the highest order, of the Divine nature. In His highly exalted spiritual state, endowed with glory, honor and immortality, it was appropriate that the Lord should manifest a greater measure of dignity, in order to impress upon the minds of His followers the change that had taken place. He who had been the meek and lowly Nazarene, so poor that He had not where to lay His head, after His resurrection would be so no longer, but the all-powerful Divine Lord, next to the Heavenly Father in power and authority. During the forty days from the time of His resurrection to the time of His ascension into Heaven, he manifested Himself and talked very rarely with His disciples. The "prince of this world," Satan, was coming in the sense that he would triumph over the world of mankind and bring it into subjection to his own evil sway and dominion until the time for the Lord to set up His own Kingdom at His second coming.--`2 Cor. 4:4`.
SATAN--Ruler of Present Evil World. ::Q826:2:: QUESTION--Who is the "Prince of this world," mentioned in the following Scripture texts: `John 16:11`, and `John 12:31`? (Subscriber.)
ANSWER--There are three great ages or dispensations of time outlined in the Bible. The first of these is referred to as "the world that was," and the second as "the world
that now is," and the last as the "world to come wherein dwelleth righteousness." The "world that now is," or "this present evil world," is the one over which Satan is the "Prince" or ruler. The Apostle elsewhere refers to Satan as "the god of this world." (`2 Cor. 4:4`.) It is because Satan is the ruler over this present order of things during this dispensation that it is termed an "evil world." All will agree that evil is very much in evidence, and that the influences of the past and present are universally inclined towards sin and unrighteousness. How difficult it is to do right now; and how easy it is to take the downward way! Our Lord is not ruling over the nations now, and will not until the appointed time for Him to take unto Himself His great power and authority and establish His own Kingdom in the earth. Then, as the Scriptures declare, "the kingdoms of this world will become our Lord's and His Christ's and He shall reign for the Ages of the Ages." This agrees with the Savior's words when He said, "My Kingdom is not of this world."
SATAN--Will Have No Successor. ::Q827:1:: QUESTION--If Satan (the Devil) is the grand general supervisor over the lower regions, and he is to be destroyed, as we read in the Scriptures--(`Heb. 2:14`) who will be appointed to look after the interests of his department after his demise? (Q.E.D.)
ANSWER--Not only will Satan be destroyed, but we read also that "hell," the place of supposed fire and brimstone, is to deliver up all the dead that are there and then the place itself destroyed-- (`Rev. 21:13,14`). The "lake of fire and brimstone," as all Bible scholars now know, is the symbolic expression denoting destruction, annihilation, or extinction of being. Death and hell being cast into this "lake," would, therefore, signify their destruction, or termination. Demonstrating the truth of this interpretation of the symbols, we find it stated in the `22nd chapter and the 4th verse` that "there shall be no more death"--it having been destroyed in the "lake of fire and brimstone." Satan will have no successor, and the fire-proof demons will join the army of unemployed!
SATAN--Will He Be Destroyed Before Death? ::Q827:2:: QUESTION--Since Jesus is to reign until all enemies are put under His feet, and the last enemy to be destroyed is death (`1 Cor. 15:25,26`) would it not prove that Satan and his hosts would be destroyed before death is destroyed, and that both would be destroyed during the reign of Jesus?
ANSWER--The Apostle's argument is so clear and convincing in this `fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians` relative to the reign of our Lord Jesus and the object or purpose to be accomplished by that reign, that there is but one answer to the question and that one in the affirmative. It is apparent to all thinking minds that Christ's reign has not yet begun, for the Scriptures declare that during the reign of the Lord, the great adversary of the race, Satan, will be bound, and that in the close of that reign he will be loosed for a little season. A single glance over the conditions
existing in the world will serve to convince anyone that Satan is still a very active personality. However, conditions in the next Age, the period of Christ's reign, will experience a radical change as gradually the evil, selfish elements are eliminated. The last of the evil things that have so long afflicted the race, death, "and him that had the power of death" shall be destroyed (`Heb. 2:14`; `Rev. 21:4`).
SCIENCE--Does Harmonize with Joshua's Request re Sun? ::Q828:1:: QUESTION--It is claimed by scientists that the earth's motion upon its axis has not varied a second for thousands of years. In view of this how shall we account for the statement of `Joshua 10:13`, "The sun and moon stood still and the sun hasted not to go down about a whole day." Does this record imply that the earth's motion upon its axis was stopped or its velocity lessened? (J.W.A.)
ANSWER--A critical examination of this passage in the Hebrew language in which the Old Testament was written, discloses the fact that Joshua never requested the Lord to cause the sun and moon to stand still. His request was that the sunlight and the moonlight might be restrained, or prevented from shining through the dark clouds of the storm mentioned in verse 11, in which great hailstones had been formed, and doubtless were accompanied by thunder and lightning, all of which would strike terror into the hearts of the Amorites. Had the dark clouds rolled away and the sun shone forth, the enemies of Israel, who were sun worshippers, would have plucked up courage and resisted the onslaughts of Joshua and his army. So the sunlight and the moonlight remained dim (Hebrew, dum) about a whole day, "until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies." The scientists are right and in harmony with the Scriptures, for the earth did not cease to revolve upon its axis, but continued to pursue the even tenor of its way. The Bible rightly interpreted and understood is consistent with reason and with facts.
SCIENCE--Primitive State of Human Race. ::Q828:2:: QUESTION--Are there not remains of buried cities in Egypt containing evidence, pictorial drawings, hieroglyphics, etc., which antiquarians are in general agreed evidence a civilized, prosperous, and opulent people living about 7,000 years before the Christian era? And how many more thousands of years must it have taken for these to rise from conditions of barbarism--the universally conceded, primitive state of the entire human race? (R.J.S.)
ANSWER--It is passing strange that antiquarians which acknowledging the skill, ingenuity and wisdom of the ancients, evidencing a degree of civilization far in advance of any other prior to that of the present day, persist in calling the earlier peoples of the earth, "barbarous" and "primitive." The Egyptian ruins have been and are the marvels of modern times. Engineers and architects who have examined those mighty monuments of a former age, have declared that with all of our boasted civilization and enlightenment, it is doubtful if there is sufficient wisdom and knowledge in the world today to even duplicate those wondrous structures.
The oldest building in Egypt is conceded by all recognized authorities to be the Great Pyramid, and the date of this construction is well established, about 2170 B.C. It is still the wonder of the world as it was in ancient times, when placed by the Greeks at the head of the list of the "Seven Wonders of the World." The seven thousand years antiquity of the buried cities of Egypt, has long been recognized as being fictitious, as pictorial representations of the Pyramid have been discovered in all of those ruins showing that they were erected after the Great Pyramid had been built. Therefore, there is nothing in Egypt to disprove the Bible chronology, to the effect that the race had its origin 4128 B.C.
SCRIPTURES--Why Confusion About Teachings? ::Q829:1:: QUESTION--Why is there so much confusion existing in the world today as to the true teachings of the Scriptures?
ANSWER--The study of the Scriptures, as with all other lines of investigation, must be conducted systematically, else confusion results. The Apostle Paul counsels us along this line saying, "Study to show thyself approved unto God (not unto men), rightly dividing the word of truth." Many have erred in failing to follow this rule. For instance, in reading `Rev. 19:20`, some have insisted that the lake of fire and literal brimstone is a real lake filled with brimstone and fire. A mere novice should recognize the passage as highly figurative, especially in view of the fact that it states that a beast and a false prophet are to be cast into it. No thoughtful person would conclude that a real beast and false prophet are meant. Many Bible students have entirely overlooked the importance of "rightly dividing the Word." The Apostle shows that the Divine arrangement, as thus far revealed, is divided into three great dispensations or ages, referred to in our Bibles as "Worlds" (See `2 Peter 3`). The major portion of the prophecies relate to the world or age to come, and when we strive to make them fit present evil conditions, confusion results. To illustrate: If we apply the prophecy of `Isa. 35:8-10`, to the past or present, it is meaningless, whereas it is in exact harmony with the glorious reign of the Messiah, which we all know to be future. As corroborative of this manner of dividing the Word, we see that our Lord (`Matt.7:13,14`) speaks of the present evil world as "a broad way leading to destruction" and the way to life through Christ as "a strait and narrow way," while in his great prophecy in `Matt. 25:31-46`, He confirms the prophetic statement of Isaiah.
SCRIPTURES--Wrested by Unlearned and Unstable. ::Q829:2:: QUESTION--Please explain `2 Pet. 3:16`, "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction."
ANSWER--From the reading of this chapter, it is evident that "these things," referred to by the Apostle, are the things relating to the three worlds and the three heavens of which he was writing. In `2 Cor. 12:1-4`,
the Apostle Paul relates how that special visions and revelations had been given him by the Lord, and among these was a view of the "third heaven," and of "paradise." This was a glimpse of "the new heavens and the new earth" mentioned in the 13th verse of this chapter. St. Paul was not permitted to give the details of what had been revealed to him, nevertheless, these revelations influenced all of his writings and caused him to give such expressions as were hard to be understood, but which, in the light of subsequent events, are now being clearly revealed to the sincere and earnest student of the Scriptures. It is now seen that the "unlearned and unstable" have wrested many of the Apostle's statements from their true connection and significance, Scriptures that apply to "the new heavens and the new earth" have been variously warped and twisted from their true application and forcibly assigned to "the heavens that are now" and "this present evil world." As an illustration of this: the Apostle explains that "God has appointed a day (a thousand-year day--`2 Pet. 3:8`) in the which He will judge the world in righteousness" (`Acts 17:31`), yet many have misapplied this statement and have declared that the world is on trial (being judged) at present.
SECOND DEATH--Cast Into Lake of Fire. ::Q830:1:: QUESTION--Please explain this Scripture: "Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire, this is the second death?"
ANSWER--The first death came upon Adam because of sin, and death has been reigning in the earth since, and men have died because of inherited sin. Death is spoken of in the Scriptures as a great enemy. Under the reign of Christ the dead shall return from the land of the enemy, the tomb, the death condition. (`Jer. 31:15-17`; `John 5:28,29`). All those who have become Christ's in this life receive their trial now. Those who have had no opportunity to accept the Lord will be given a trial then, and if obedient will be rewarded with eternal life on the earth. The reign of Christ is for the purpose of restoring all that was lost in Adam (`Acts 3:19-22`) and as the Scriptures declare: "He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (`1 Cor. 15:25,26`). In the Scripture quoted in your question, "hell" is from the Greek word "Hades," meaning the tomb. Death means the result of the curse that came upon Adam. The words used by our Lord were figurative. The "lake of fire" is a symbol of complete destruction, here called the "second death," therefore the second death refers to that death from which there will be no resurrection.
SECOND DEATH--Meaning of. ::Q830:2:: QUESTION--What is meant by the "Second Death" mentioned in the book of Revelation?
ANSWER--The first death, the death which came upon the human family through the disobedience of Father Adam, extended to every member of the human race. But according to God's providence, foreknown and fully declared, Christ died for the sins of the whole world; and in due time every member of Adam's race is to be recovered from that sin and from its death penalty, which for six thousand
years has been upon the race. In other words, as Adam brought mankind under the first death penalty, so Christ will release all mankind from that death penalty and give every member of the race a full and fair opportunity to attain perfection and eternal life. Whoever refuses that favor and opportunity--whoever sins willfully and deliberately against that light, will come under the sentence of death again; and this time it will not be Adamic death, but Second Death. And the difference between the two deaths is that the latter will know no revocation--there will be no redemption from it and no resurrection.
SECOND DEATH--Tormented Forever Symbolic. ::Q831:1:: QUESTION--Please explain `Rev. 20:10`, particularly the last clause of the verse which reads: "and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (E.W.D.)
ANSWER--All Bible students recognize that the expressions of this chapter and verse are highly figurative. Where it is stated that a "beast and false prophet" are to be cast into the "lake of fire and brimstone," no reasoning mind would say that literal beast, or a literal false prophet were meant; but that these were symbols, and represent false and beastly systems. And if not an actual beast is meant, so also with the "lake of fire and brimstone." This lake would fittingly symbolize absolute destruction, for whatever is cast into fire and brimstone, the two most destructive agencies known to mankind, is immediately destroyed and not preserved in any sense. As stated in the 14th verse, it is the "second death"--annihilation. To our understanding, the "devil" here mentioned is not Satan himself, but is an evil system--a devilish power. These evil systems--false civil and ecclesiastical powers--in the end of the Age are to be "tormented day and night," as long as they last, with financial, social, and religious difficulties and pains. "Forever and ever" is from the Greek aionion which signifies lasting. The "torment" will last until these Satanic systems are consumed.
SERPENT--Method Used To Tempt. ::Q831:2:: QUESTION--Who was the serpent? What was its form? In what way did he induce our first parents to disobey the Lord? (W.H.M.)
ANSWER--The Genesis account of the seduction of our first parents by Satan is very brief. There is just a sufficient amount of detail given to show how sin entered into the world and death by sin. The Bible is the only book in all the world that goes back to the beginning and logically and consistently sets forth the origin of sin and death. After concisely stating the facts, it does not ramble all around the point by bringing in a mass of unnecessary detail. It was not written to amuse, charm, or satisfy curiosity. In the first three chapters of the Bible the origin, fall and death of the race are described; and in the last three chapters of the Bible, the elimination of sin and death, and the uplifting and blessing of mankind are set forth. From the brief account given of the tragedy that occurred in the Garden of Eden, we might surmise that the serpent was merely one of the number that were in existence at that
time and that Satan, a powerful spirit being, controlled, or obsessed it and caused it to act and to speak in a manner such as would deceive mother Eve. Inasmuch as the Bible does not furnish the particulars, it would be impossible for anyone to set forth all the facts.
SIN--David Numbering the People. ::Q832:1:: QUESTION--Why was it a sin for David to number the people (`2 Sam. 24` and `1 Chron. 21`)?
ANSWER--While it is not stated in the Scriptural account that the Lord did not wish the Israelites to be numbered, yet we are convinced from the reading of these chapters, particularly verses one and eight of `1st Chronicles`, 21st chapter, that such was the case and that He had given instructions to that effect. In the third verse of this same chapter, we find Job, David's chief officer, protesting against this action of the King; saying that it would be "a cause of trespass to Israel." We may reason, too, that as David sat upon "the throne of the Lord" (`1 Chron. 29:23`) as the Lord's representative, he was acting without instructions and due authority in taking the census of the people and was therefore presumptuous in the matter, and deserving of punishment as a rebuke in not first ascertaining the Divine will of God, the true King of Israel. There is a valuable lesson here for all who profess to be God's people, and that is, to first seek the Lord's instruction and guidance in life's affairs and not to lean to their own understanding and natural preferences. The reasoning faculties of all are more or less unbalanced; no one has a perfectly balanced mind, and hence it would be the part of true wisdom to follow the instructions of the Lord.
SIN--Forgiveness for Sinful Life. ::Q832:2:: QUESTION--If a person has led a sinful life and has been instrumental in causing others to sin, would it be possible for such a one to be fully forgiven and all their past sins cancelled if they should repent and ask the Lord to forgive them?
ANSWER--There should be no question in the mind of any one on this point. The Scriptures abound with expressions in which the Divine love and compassion of God, the Heavenly Father, are set forth. The great Creator of the Universe sacrificed His well-beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to redeem the world and to reconcile it to Himself. Those, therefore, who will accept the Lord Jesus as their Savior, believing that He by the grace of God tasted death for every man--these are freely forgiven all their past iniquities. The Apostle Paul, before his conversion to Christianity, was bitterly opposed to the cause of Christ and went about persecuting the followers of the Master--putting them in prison and arranging that some should be put to death. We remember that he consented to the death of Stephen, the first martyr. Yet with all this, the Lord freely forgave him. Note the following Scriptures as evidencing the full and complete forgiveness of all those who are truly repentant and who desire to draw nigh to God through Christ (`Isa. 1:18`; `Psa. 103:10-14`; `Acts 26:18`; `Eph. 1:7`; `Col. 1:14`).
SIN--Unpardonable. ::Q833:1:: QUESTION--What is the unpardonable sin?
ANSWER--The unpardonable sin is a sin which God declines to pardon or forgive--a sin, therefore, which must be punished, must be expiated by the sinner. There may be said to be different degrees of unpardonable sin, however. An unpardonable sin is one that is committed against light and knowledge. All sins of weakness and ignorance are pardonable, because God has made provision for the pardon of these in the death of Christ. Since all of our weakness and ignorance came to us through the fault of our Father Adam, and since Jesus redeemed the world from that transgression and all of its hereditary taint, therefore, every sin attributed to that fall alone is a pardonable sin.
There are, however, what might be termed mixed sins in which a measure of wilfulness, knowledge and intelligence combine with a certain measure of ignorance and weakness. For such sins there would be forgiveness to the extent of the weakness and ignorance, but punishment would be required to the extent of the knowledge and wilfulness. A wilful sin against full light and knowledge would be a sin against the holy spirit of God. Such, knowingly committed, would bring the sinner under the sentence of the sin namely, the Second Death.
SINS--Some Men's Are Open Before Hand. ::Q833:2:: QUESTION--To my mind, the following text of Scripture is one of the most puzzling to be found in the Bible--"Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after."--`1 Tim. 5:24`. (C. M.)
ANSWER--The Scriptures point out two spiritual classes among the Lord's people, one class of which will be kings and priests unto God, and will be seated upon the throne of Divine authority and power. This is a comparatively small class, and is called the "Little Flock," the "very elect," "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood," etc. The other class is comparatively large, and is called the "great multitude which no man can number," and are represented as being before the throne, as servants and messengers. (`Rev. 7:9-15`.) These two classes are referred to in the parable of the "Wise and Foolish Virgins." The first class, "the very elect," have all their sins up for judgment beforehand, before the general judgment time for the world. They are on trial in this present time and have all their sins atoned for and expiated. The other class, "the great company," will have its sins up for judgment following after the judgment of the "Little Flock," having "come up through great tribulation, and washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." The Apostle's letter was addressed to Timothy, a child of God, and his instructions relate to the worldly ones outside of the Church of Christ. Indeed, the world's sins, both Adamic and willful, are all fully atoned for by the above two classes in association with the Lord Jesus Christ as the "sin-offerings" of this great Atonement Day.
SODOM--Lot's Wife Turning to Salt. ::Q833:3:: QUESTION--We read in the Bible that as Lot and his wife were fleeing from Sodom, his wife looked back at the
city and was instantly turned into a pillar of salt; can that be literally true?
ANSWER--We see no reason for thinking otherwise than that the statement with reference to Lot's wife is a literal one. We can conceive of no reason why the record should be otherwise than literal. The Great Master, Himself, referred to the incident and made no criticism of the narrative (`Luke 17:32`). Why then should we criticize it? The Scriptures show that the Angels of the Lord had warned Lot to take his wife and daughters and flee out of the City of Sodom, and they started in their flight, but instead of keeping steadily on after once starting, Lot's wife turned to look back--evidently desiring the things left behind--and she was turned into a pillar of salt. The Apostle shows us that these lessons or examples were for the benefit of others. In other words, types and shadows of greater things. Space does not here permit us to discuss the type and anti-type.
SOUL--Can It Die? ::Q834:1:: QUESTION--Can the soul die? I read in the Bible such expressions as these, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (`Eze. 18:4`), "Every soul that will not hear the voice of that Prophet shall be DESTROYED from amongst the people (`Acts 3:23`), etc., yet on every hand the doctrine of "The Immortality of the soul" is being taught and nearly every one believes that the soul cannot die, but is doomed to live on forever. I am much confused in regard to this matter.
ANSWER--Some years ago this question was discussed by theologians and others, and at that time, having the general thought or teaching in mind, which was supposed to be the truth, many were led to investigate along this line and were vastly surprised to find that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is entirely of heathen origin and nowhere taught in the Bible. Under the glare of the increasing light of our day, many ministers have come to a recognition of this fact and are now engaged in preaching that which the Scriptures teach, viz., that it is the soul (the living, intelligent being) which enters into death. The soul is "asleep," "dead" and will remain in that condition of unconsciousness until resuscitated at the time of the resurrection of the dead. Immortality is conditional. By examining the following Scriptures, it will he seen at once that immortality is a reward that will be conferred upon those who are faithful and obedient to the commands of the Lord and who prove their worthiness to receive this "Crown of Life" (`Rom. 2:7`; `1 Cor. 15:53,54`). See also `1 Tim. 6:15,16`.
SOUL--Does It Sleep When Body Dead? ::Q834:2:: QUESTION--Does the soul of man sleep when the body is dead? (J.H.L.)
ANSWER--Various have been the theories as to the condition of the soul after death. The Bible teaching regarding this much discussed question is very clear and simple, and there need be no confusion of mind at all if we are willing to accept what the Scriptures teach. In the case of
the first man who sinned, let us see what it was that sinned, and what it was that suffered the penalty for disobedience. The account of the creation of man mentions three things--body, soul, and spirit. The body was formed of the dust of the ground. God breathed into its nostrils "the breath (spirit) of life, and man became a living soul." Man did not receive a soul, but he became a soul." The union of the life or energizing principle, the breath with the body, produced the living intelligent being--the soul. What was it that sinned? Surely it was not so much dust, the body. Neither was it the "breath of life" that disobeyed, but it was the soul, the living being, Adam, that sinned against the Lord. Then what was it that died? Hear what the Scriptures declare--"The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (`Eze. 18:4`.) It is, therefore, according to the highest authority in all the Universe, the soul that sinks into unconsciousness at death is to awaken on the resurrection morning.
SOUL--Does Woman Have One? ::Q835:1:: QUESTION--Has woman a soul? We read that man "became a living soul," but nothing is said about the woman having a soul! Hence my question. (L.B.)
ANSWER--As the Scriptures are silent on this subject, and as much as the gentler and fairer sex is to be admired, to be in harmony with the Bible, and to answer the question therefrom (however painful it may be to state the fact) it is necessary to set forth the awful truth that women do not have souls! But what is still more painful to relate, according to the Bible, man does not possess a soul, either! Some good, well-meaning people who have read their Bibles, but not with careful thought, have been rather careless in the use of language when referring to Scriptural matters. No one has a soul; but every living, breathing creature is a soul. In the quotation above it is stated that "man became a living soul" and not that he was given a soul. The breath of life, the energizing principle imparted to the body alone is the soul. It was the union of the two, the life and the body, which produced the intelligent creature--the soul. Woman, therefore, is as much a soul as man.
SOUL--Is It a Part of Man? ::Q835:2:: QUESTION--In `Gen.2:7`, we read that "man became a living soul"; and in `Job 14:22`, we read "his soul within him." Is the soul a part of man, or is the whole of man a living soul? (E.)
ANSWER--For Ages, one of the most momentous questions, and one most frequently propounded has been "What is the soul?" The Bible answers the question so directly and simply that students of the Scriptures are now marvelling that this question should ever have perplexed any in the past. The life-giving quality, the energizing principle, in union with the organism, or body, forms the living, intelligent being. This being, whether sheep, elephant, horse, man, angel, or devil, is the soul. For proof of this in the Scriptures, carefully note the following citations, the first two in the marginal readings of the Authorized Version. (`Gen. 1:20,30`; `Gen 2:7`.) The word soul in this connection,
is from the Hebrew nephesh which means literally "a breathing creature." Man does not possess a soul, but he is a soul. The entire being is the soul. Job's expression must be understood in the poetic sense, and signifies that man would suffer and mourn from his inmost being, "from the bottom of his soul," as is sometimes said in the vernacular. Statements have appeared in the public press from time to time, emanating from some reputed authorities, to the effect that the "soul" has been weighed and photographed. This can easily be accomplished by any amateur photographer equipped with a camera and a pair of freight scales!
SOUL--Meaning Of. ::Q836:1:: QUESTION--Will you please tell me what is the soul? (N.U.M.)
ANSWER--The Bible gives the correct definition to your question. We read, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul." (`Gen.2:7`.) God did not give a soul to man, but He created man a soul or being. The word soul is translated from the Hebrew word "nephesh," which means "a breathing, sentient being." That is to say, God formed Adam of the dust of the ground, the body was not the soul; neither was the breath of life which God breathed, or blew into his nostrils the breath of life and the result was a living, breathing, animate being, then for the first time properly termed a soul. The word soul is not applied to man only. Animals are souls. In the first, second, and ninth chapters of Genesis, the words "living soul" are applied in the Hebrew language to the lower animals nine times. Man as a soul is different from the lower animals or souls by reason of his higher organism; he has superior mental endowments. He is the highest order of animal creation.
SOUL--What Becomes of it at Death? ::Q836:2:: QUESTION--What becomes of the soul at death? Is it put into the grave with the body, or does it fly away in a disembodied state, and go soaring around through space, waiting and longing for the time to come when it can get back into its body (put on its clothes again, so to speak) at the resurrection? (J.A.G.)
ANSWER--There is much confusion of thought regarding this matter. Many are disposed to express the matter wrongly by saying that they have a soul in place of saying that they are a soul. There is considerable difference in having a cow and being a cow! All living beings are souls from the Scriptural standpoint. (`Gen.1:20-30`. Margin.) When father Adam disobeyed the Lord, it was not his body, the dust of the ground that sinned. Neither was it the energizing principle, the breath of life, that sinned. But it was Adam himself, the living intelligent being, the soul, that sinned. Therefore, it was the soul that died, as the Scriptures declare, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (`Eze. 18:4`). In the resurrection, it is the soul that is to be resuscitated. "Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades--the tomb"--was spoken of our Lord Jesus.
SPIRIT--Is it Same as Soul? `1 Thes. 5:23` ::Q837:1:: QUESTION--St. Paul, in `1 Thes. 5:23`, prays God . . ."Your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless," etc. If not, kindly enlighten fully (J.W.C.)
ANSWER--In his prayer, St. Paul evidently distinguishes between spirit, soul, and body. We should bear in mind that his letter was addressed to the Church collectively, and not so much to individuals. We can be quite sure that the Apostle did not refer to individuals, for whatever interpretation we may put upon "soul and spirit," we are in the singular, not the plural number. St. Paul expresses his earnest desire that until the Lord's return the Church might be preserved entire, without schism, in the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace. In `Acts 4:32`, we read that "The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul," and in `Eph. 4:4`, the Apostle points out that there is one BODY AND ONE SPIRIT. As in the creation of Adam, with the entrance of the breath of life, man became a living soul, an intelligent, sentient being, so with the New Creation. Inspired with the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, the members of the Church, which is His Body, should work in unity and harmony in doing the will of the Lord and witnessing to the truth of the Gospel.
SPIRIT--"Shall Return unto God Who Gave it." ::Q837:2:: QUESTION--Do you mean to say that the spirit of the Thief, who died upon the cross when the Lord Jesus was crucified, remained in the grave with his body? If so, do the spirits of our dear friends, who turned to Christ in this life, remain with their bodies in the grave until the Lord's return? (D.D.)
ANSWER--The inspired writers of the Bible tell us just what became of the spirit of the thief who died upon the cross. And they also tell us what becomes of the spirits of those who were devoted followers of Christ and were faithful even unto death. It would not do for us to say what became of these spirits. Too many so-called leaders of religious thought have theorized and speculated as to what became of the spirits of the departed dead and have set forth the results of their vain imaginings. Let us not add to the awful confusion by presenting ideas of our own, but let us hear what the Scriptures declare, recognizing that the Lord God is surely able to guide us into the knowledge of the Truth. We read, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." (`Eccl. 12:7`.) This text reminds us of the original sentence of death pronounced upon Adam for disobedience. He had been formed of the dust and therefore he should forfeit his life and return unto dust. He died. The breath of life (the spirit), the energizing of life principle, was removed from the body and returned to God, who is the source or fountain of all life. The living soul, the intelligent being, died. As the Bible says, "The soul that sinneth it shall die." (`Eze. 18:4`.) From these scriptures it is evident that the spirit of the thief and of all who die returns to God. This animating principle
(spirit), called life, is to be given to all of the faithful and obedient in the resurrection.
SPIRIT AND BRIDE--Meaning of `Rev. 22:17` ::Q838:1:: QUESTION--What is meant by these words, "The Spirit and the Bride say come?" (`Rev. 22:17`.)
ANSWER--The Spirit clearly refers to Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom. His Bride is to be the Church glorified. (See `Rev. 21:9`; `Rev.19:7-9`.) The marriage, or union, referred to in the last Scripture, takes place at the second coming of Christ (`John 14:3`). The reign of Christ (Bride and Bridegroom) follows, and then the message will go forth to the world, inviting all to come and obey Christ and receive eternal life; and the obedient shall live. And the obedient will be privileged to repeat the invitation to others, that "whosoever will may come and take of the water of life freely." The Church of Christ in its present condition of development is referred to by the Apostle as "the chaste virgin, espoused to one Husband" (`2 Cor. 11:2`). She will not become the Bride of Christ until at the time of the Bridegroom's presence, when the marriage of the Lamb shall take place and the marriage supper shall follow (`Rev. 19:9`). Evidently, from the fore-going, it is manifest that the expression "whosoever will does," not apply to all at this time, and will not be true until the wedding is consummated.
SPIRIT BEING--Explanation of. ::Q838:2:: QUESTION--What is a spirit being?
ANSWER--According to the Scriptures, it is a creature, or personality, inhabiting the spiritual plane of existence, a higher plane than that of the human or earthly creatures. Just as the Divine nature, the nature of God, is the highest order of the spiritual realm, so man is of the highest order of the animal or earthly existence. Angels are spirit beings (`Psa. 104:4`) and we read that man was created "a little lower than the angels." (`Psa. 8:5`.) A change of nature is promised to all of those who will be of the Church of Christ; those who "make their calling and election sure" and who eventually will be associated with their Lord and Savior in the glories of the Kingdom as His "joint-heirs." This "change" of nature is wonderfully described by the Apostle in the fifteenth chapter of `1 Cor. 15:42-52`. Those who will experience this transformation of nature are said to be "born of the spirit" and this will take place in the resurrection. These then will be powerful, and invisible to mortal eye, just as the angels are all around and Jehovah's messengers in past ages, yet unseen. Jesus described this matter of the "wind" to picture the condition of those who shall be born of the spirit in the resurrection morning, `John 3:6-8`.
SPIRITISM--"Empty as Hollow Gourd." ::Q838:3:: QUESTION--Has Spiritism ever benefitted the members of the race of mankind in any way? If so, how? (Victim.)
ANSWER--The value of Spiritism to the world is summed up in the words of a well-known author as follows: "According to the theory of Spiritualists there are a hundred
times as many disembodied spirits about us as there are men in the flesh. Among them are all the poets, authors, orators, musicians and inventors of past ages. They know all they ever knew when they were in the flesh, and have been learning a great deal more since; and with their added powers and extended experience they should be able to do what mortals have never done before. They have had free access to the public mind and public press, with no end of mediums ready to receive their communications and thousands and thousands of anxious inquirers who have questioned them, and earnestly desired to obtain information from them. They have talked and rapped, they have tipped and rattled, they have fiddled and scribbled, they have materialized and dematerialized, they have entranced and exhibited; they have told us many things which we knew before; many things which we do not know yet; and many other things which it was no matter whether we knew or not; but when we come to real instruction, reliable information, or profitable and valuable knowledge, Spiritualism is as barren as Sahara, as empty as a hollow gourd."
SPIRITISM--Mediums Communicating With Dead. ::Q839:1:: QUESTION--Do Spiritualist Mediums really communicate with the spirits of the dead?
ANSWER--Spiritualism is a rapidly growing movement, numbering several millions of people, among which are some of the brightest minds of the day. There is no question as to many of the facts clearly established in the rites and ceremonies of Spiritism. Many of the phenomena produced, with the aid of spirit mediums, have been pronounced as beyond all controversy supernatural. The Bible tells us exactly to what these phenomena may be attributed. A clear account is given of the fall of some of the angels from Divine grace because of disobedience. These are restrained "in chains of darkness" (the darkness of the night--manifestations can take place only in the dark), until the judgment time. These demons or fallen angels have impersonated the dead and represented that they wished to communicate with their friends through the aid of mediums. Evidently it is displeasing to the Lord for any of His people to communicate with these demons. (See `Isa. 8:19,20`). The Superintendent of one of the largest insane asylums stated recently that fully one half of the insane patients were obsessed by evil spirits.
SPIRITISM--What is a Witch? ::Q839:2:: QUESTION--"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."--`Exo. 22:18`. From this expression would we not understand that the writers of the Scriptures believed in the existence of witches? What is a witch? (F.C.)
ANSWER--Throughout the world today there are thousands and millions of people who firmly believe in what is known as "Spiritism." Among those who thus believe are some of the brightest minds of the day--doctors, lawyers, judges, professors, etc., a class of people who would not be deceived by mere sleight-of-hand performances, or by hallucinations. These know that it is possible to communicate with beings of the spiritual realm, through the aid of
spirit mediums, clairaudiants, clairvoyants, and the like--the modern wizards and witches. Few recognize that every one of these spirit beings who thus communicate with members of the race of mankind are of the demons, or fallen angels--evil spirits--whose sole aim and purpose is to deceive the members of the race by impersonating the dead, and representing that they are the spirits of the departed ones. The Sacred Writers certainly recognized the existence of the demons, and of the witches (spirit mediums) of their day.
SPIRITS--Familiar, and Wizards. ::Q840:1:: QUESTION--Please explain `Isa. 8:19-22`, where the Prophet speaks of "familiar spirits," and "wizards" that work in the dark. (A.B.S.)
ANSWER--The "familiar spirits" are the demons that infest earth's atmosphere, and who are busily engaged in impersonating the dead, representing that they are the spirits of the departed ones, and thus confusing and deceiving many, who have not given heed to the instructions of the Scriptures to the effect that the dead are dead, and will not be alive or conscious until the awakening time in the resurrection. The "wizards" are the mediums who act as the agents of these and mutter and work mysteriously in the dark, in place of working out in the open where all may be clear and plain. The powers of righteousness do not have to labor in the dark and in an underhand way, as they have nothing to conceal. The "hungry" ones are those who have neglected "the law and the testimony"--God's Word--and are giving heed to the doctrines of demons. They are dissatisfied and suffer the pangs of regret and remorse, because there is nothing to satisfy their cravings in the direction in which they are seeking to be enlightened. Theirs is a deplorable condition of darkness and anguish of mind, as they have neglected the only real source of comfort and consolation--the Scriptures.
SPIRITS IN PRISON--Who Are They? ::Q840:2:: QUESTION--Who are "The spirits in prison?" (`1 Pet. 3:19`.) (Secretary).
ANSWER--The "spirits" or spirit beings, are the ones referred to by the Apostle in the following verse as having been disobedient during the antediluvian period of time, in the days of Noah. Turning back to the early records of the Scriptures, we find that in `Gen. 6:1-4`, it is narrated how and in what manner these spirit beings disobeyed, and why they were cast into prison. Note the contrast in the expression, "The sons of God (the angels--`Job 2:1`) saw the daughters of men." These spiritual sons of God left their habitation, the spiritual realm, and materializing as human beings, took unto them wives of the daughters of men. In this way the "men of renown," "the mighty men," the "giants in the earth," were brought into existence. This was contrary to the Lord's arrangements, and therefore we read that those angels were deprived of their liberties under certain limitations: "And the angels which kept not their first estate (their spiritual state) but left their own
lasting chains, under darkness (the darkness of the night, for they can operate only under the cover of the night or conditions of darkness), unto the judgment of the great day." (`Jude 6`.) The Apostle Peter also refers to them when he says, "God spared not the angels who sinned, but degraded them, and delivered them into chains of darkness." --Corrected Translation. (`2 Pet. 2:4`.) All history, both sacred and secular, is replete with instances of obsession, or demonizations, by these demons, or fallen angels. It was to these "spirits" that our Lord, by His death and resurrection, Preached a powerful sermon in pantomime.
SYMBOLIC FIGURES--"Heavens"--"Broken Cisterns"--''Water." ::Q841:1:: QUESTION--Please explain `Jer. 2:12,13`. What are the "heavens" referred to; and what do the "broken cisterns that can hold no water" represent? (B.S.A.)
ANSWER--Evidently the Prophet is using highly symbolic language to convey his thoughts. The larger portion of the prophecies of the Bible are put forth in figurative expressions and in parables and dark sayings, for they were not intended of the Lord to be understood until at the time of their fulfillment. The "heavens" would symbolize the powers of ecclesiasticism and the "fountains" would symbolize the truth, the Lord's word. The time would come, therefore, as foretold by the Prophet, when the Lord's professing "people," Christians, would forsake the Lord and His Word, and would "hew" out or fashion for themselves "cisterns" or receptacles to hold the muddy waters of the traditions of men. The creeds and religious systems are in a very dilapidated and broken state and wholly incapable of holding the waters of the truth. The old effete systems of the past are breaking up and are absolutely useless so far as holding the waters of the truth are concerned.
SYMBOLIC FIGURES--Sea and Waves Roaring. ::Q841:2:: QUESTION--What is the meaning of the words "the sea and the waves roaring?" (`Luke 21:25`.) (R.H.)
ANSWER--The murmuring of the rising wind is distinctly audible to the ear. The sea and the waves of the troubled masses of humanity are already beginning to heave and toss and foam. The increasing winds of strife are driving the great sea of mankind into a frenzied state of revolt against the present social order--"the world that now is"--wave on wave, mounting higher and higher and rolling in upon the rocks and cliffs. The sullen thunder and roar of the sea as it breaks in ever increasing fury upon the shore, jarring and shaking the mountains to their center, forecasts only too well the on-coming of the cataclysm that is foreordained to overwhelm the entire world. The "earth" (society) and the "mountains" (kingdoms and governments) will be removed and carried into the midst of the sea (the turbulent and raging masses of humanity). (`Psa. 46:2,3`.) The great "waves" (nihilism, communism, socialism, and anarchism) are sweeping with irresistible force against the bulwarks of present institutions. [Habitation (the spiritual realm), He hath reserved in age]??
SYMBOLIC FIGURES--No More Sea. ::Q842:1:: QUESTION--Is the Scriptural statement, "and there were no more sea," to be taken literally? See `Rev.21:1`.
ANSWER--In the Scriptures the word "sea" is used, not merely as a name for a body of water, but also symbolically, as representing lawless, restless, dissatisfied, discontented humanity. In His great prophecy (`Luke 21:5-36`) our Lord tells us that in the time of trouble, with which the Millennial Age will be introduced, the sea and the waves will roar; and in `Psa. 46:1-3`, is pictured, that the symbolic mountains, or kingdoms, of earth will go down, overwhelmed by the symbolic sea, in an anarchistic storm. When once the Messiah's Kingdom shall have brought order out of the present confusion, after it shall have established the world's interests upon a proper basis of equity, there will be "no more sea," in the sense that there will no longer be a restless, dissatisfied element amongst the masses of mankind.
But while many of the prophecies have had both a literal and a symbolic fulfillment, yet we are not wise enough to say whether or not this one will have a literal fulfillment. We feel sure, however, that it will have a symbolic fulfillment as already suggested. Even if the literal sea should continue, we know of no reason why the continents of earth might not be united by the raising of submerged lands to connect them. However, it is best for us not to indulge in speculation along this line, of which we have no absolute knowledge.
SYMBOLIC FIGURES--Woe Unto Them With Child. ::Q842:2:: QUESTION--Will you kindly explain the seemingly harsh Bible statement, the expression of the Savior, as given in the `24th chapter of Matthew, the 19th verse`-- "And woe be unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days?" (J.G.D.)
ANSWER--This expression is a portion of our Lord's great prophecy relating to events and conditions that would develop in the last days of the Christian dispensation. As with all prophetic expressions it is in highly figurative language. The clue to the understanding of this prophecy is found elsewhere in the Scriptures. A woman is used as symbolical representation of the church. Thus the true Church of Christ is referred to as the "chaste virgin" and also in another picture as the "Bride the Lamb's wife" (`2 Cor. 11:2`; `Rev. 21:9`). The false churches are represented as corrupt and debauched women (`Rev. 17:1-5`), compare these five verses with `Rev. 21:9-11`. The "mother church" is represented as a lewd woman, and also as the great mystical city of Babylon. Her daughters, the ecclesiastical systems that are the offspring of the parent system, are likewise represented as being babes both embryonic and new-born. They have need of the milk of the Word as the Apostle says (`Heb. 5:12-14`) they are not sufficiently developed in knowledge and grace to assimilate the strong and important doctrines. It will be a special time of sorrow for the false religious systems in that day, "those who are with child," and also to those who are dispensing the milk--in other words "giving suck."
TALENTS--Parable of. ::Q843:1:: QUESTION--Kindly explain `Matt. 25:29`; "From him that hath NOT shall be taken away even that which he hath." (E.M.)
ANSWER--This verse occurs in the Parable of the talents, and if we supply the word increased after not, the thought is clear. During the Gospel Age--that period between the going away and the coming again of Christ Jesus--His servants have been entrusted with the Gospel of the Kingdom. All professing Christians have obligations and responsibilities to tell out the "good tidings of great joy," according to their knowledge and opportunity. Those who improve their talents increase them, and because faithful to the light and privileges granted to them, will receive the "Well done" of the Master. All who neglect to use their talents for the blessing of others will not have the Lord's approval. On the contrary, they will lose not only the light they once enjoyed, but also the reward of faithfulness. Let us then heed the exhortation of our Lord, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
TEACHING--Does God Teach Directly? ::Q843:2:: QUESTION--The Scriptures declare, "They shall be all taught of God" (`John 6:45`). Does God teach each one of His children directly through His Word?
ANSWER--God uses various instrumentalities for communicating His instructions. Thus the Lord Jesus Himself is called the Father's "Word"--the Message, the Logos (`John 1:1`; `Rev. 19:13`). St. Paul speaks of him saying, "God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son" (`Heb. 1:1,2`). This message has been repeated by the Apostles. We read that when our Lord "ascended up on high He--gave gifts unto men," and these gifts are still with us. He explains these gifts to be Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ, until we come unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (`Eph. 4:8;11-13'). So we see that the instructions of God may come through His disciples, teachers, evangelists, etc.; but they must all be recognized as emanating from the Father through the Son.
TEACHING--Survival of the Fittest. ::Q843:3:: QUESTION--Is the doctrine of "survival of the fittest" true; and is it in harmony with the teachings of the Scriptures? (Troglodyte.)
ANSWER--The combined testimony of the evidences in nature, aside from the inspired revelations of the Scriptures, is opposed to the theory of the best surviving the worst. In the realm of vegetation it is universally recognized that the finest flowers, fruits and vegetables, are produced only by the utmost care in training and cultivation. These fine varieties, if left to themselves, quickly deteriorate in quality, or else are entirely overcome by the weeds, thorns and briars. Does not this same principle hold in the animal kingdom? High-bred horses, dogs, and cattle, if left without the guiding hand of man, quickly degenerate
into lower breeds, or else are entirely destroyed by inferior species of animals. This same principle is true with the races of men, as all history demonstrates, and as foretold in the Scriptures. Beginning with the Babylonian Empire, when it had reached to the very zenith of its glory, it fell in one night, yielding to the inferior kingdom of the Medes and Persans. These in turn yielded to the Greeks. Then Greece with all her learning succumbed to the inferior Latin races. And who is not familiar with the history of Rome which arose on the ruins of Greece? In the shattered remains of the Roman Empire, the modern nations of Europe and America, another mighty civilization, has reared its crest to a vast height, and is doomed to destruction. (See `Dan. 2:31-45`.) This present evil world, with its conditions of "the survival of the worst," is to pass away; and on its ruins will be established a new order of things, called "The world to come wherein dwelleth righteousness," in which "the survival of the fittest" will be absolutely true.--`2 Pet.3:13`.
TEACHINGS--FolIowing One Man's. ::Q844:1:: QUESTION Is it right to follow the teachings of any ONE MAN, or should we expect to be individually taught through the study of the Bible?
ANSWER--The Scriptures answer, "One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren" (`Matt. 23:8`). We should not follow man, nor manmade creeds or systems. God exercised the supervising care over His consecrated people; as we read, "Now hath God set the members, every one of them, in the Body, as it hath pleased him" (`1 Cor. 12:18`); therefore He advises Christians to come together to assist in building each other up in the most holy faith (`Heb. 10:24,25`). He directs the church to select elders--not Lords, nor Masters, nor Reverends (`1 Tim. 3:3`; `Titus 1:5-9`). These are "overseers" to feed the flock of God (`Acts 21:28`; `1 Pet. 5:1-3`). St. Paul says, "Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ." The most faithful have been followers of the Apostle, who followed in the footsteps of Jesus. This is not following man, but following the Divine leadings through the Lord and the Apostles. Similarly today we note God's leadings through His servants. In this we are following Jesus Christ, not man.
Individual study of the Bible seems indispensable to proper Christian development, and is commendable, just as individual study of Geology would be commendable; but one must not ignore the aids to Bible study which God has providentially furnished; to do so would be as unwise as for a pupil in astronomy to ignore the astronomical instruments and findings of others who have preceded him in the study of the same science. "Study to show thyself approved unto God (not unto men); rightly dividing the Word of truth" (`2 Tim. 2:15`).
THIEF ON CROSS--Difference Between Paradise and Heaven. ::Q844:2:: QUESTION--How could the repentant thief on the cross go to Paradise THAT DAY, with Jesus, when Jesus did not
ascend to Heaven until forty days aftcr His resurrection on the third day?
ANSWER--The word "Paradise" signifies, "a delightful garden, park, or pleasure ground." The garden of Eden was the original Paradise, where man dwelt before disobeying the Divine command. Because of disobedience he lost this Paradise. (`Gen. 3:22-24`.) When the race of mankind comes again into harmony with the Creator by becoming obedient to the Lord, the "earth will become as the Garden of Eden," and mankind will be restored to that Edenic condition. (`Acts 3:19-21`; `Eze. 36:35`.) "The desert shall bloom and blossom as the rose and springs shall break forth in the wilderness, and the solitary place shall be glad for them--the happy world of mankind. (`Isaiah 35`.) Such conditions will take place when our Lord "comes into his kingdom." The thief asked to be remembered "when Thou comest into Thy kingdom," and our Lord will come into His kingdom at His second coming. Our Lord did not go to Paradise that day, but went to the tomb, as the Scriptuies declare, from which he was raised the third day. The passage with the punctuation propery made, placing the comma after the word "today," clears the matter up. "Verily I say unto thee today (now), thou shalt be with Me in Paradise"--at My second coming, when the Kingdom of Heaven shall be established in the earth. Punctuation is a modern invention, dating from the year 1515 A.D. The comma was placed in the text by the translators under King James, and it is evident that they made the mistake of placing it before instead of after "today."
THIEVES AND ROBBERS--All That Ever Came Before Me Are. ::Q845:1:: QUESTION--We read in the 10th chapter and the 8th verse of the Gospel of `John` the following words of the Savior--"All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers." Who are referred to by the terms "thieves and robbers?" (A.N.F.)
ANSWER--The Lord Jesus was narrating a parable illustrating certain arrangements and conditions. Every sheepfold must of necessity have a door or gate and this would be for the use of the shepherd and the sheep. As stated in verse 1, any person attempting to enter the sheepfold in any other way than by the door would be a thief and a robber. Our Lord Jesus, as the "Shepherd," by fulfilling the terms of the Law Covenant, entered the "door" and secured all the blessings and privileges which had been promised in the Law. The Scribes and Pharisees--"the thieves and robbers"--on the other hand, had been endeavoring to "climb up some other way," by a hypocritical observance of the letter of the Law, rather than by a heart observance and fulfillment of the spirit of the Law. Jesus, as the "Good Shepherd," laid down His life for the "sheep." The Scribes and Pharisees neglected the interests of the people and were engaged in seeking their own gain--wealth and fame--while piously posing as religious leaders.
TIME--How Long Was a Time? ::Q846:1:: QUESTION--What is the meaning of the expression found in `Dan. 12:7` --"Time, times and a half?" How long was a "time?"
ANSWER--A year, or "time," according to the old Hebrew method of preserving chronological records, was ordinarily a year of twelve lunar months of approximately thirty days each, or 360 days. In the symbolic prophecies of the Scriptures, a day stood for a year. (See `Eze. 4:1-8`; `Num. 14:33,34`.) A "time" therefore, of three hundred and sixty days in a prophetic sense, would signify 360 years. In the expression under consideration there are three and one-half times, or 1,260 years. The same period is mentioned in the book of `Rev; in chapter 12:14`, it is called three and one-half times (360 x 3« = 1,260); in `chapter 13:5`, it is termed forty-two months (30 x 42 = 1,260); and in chapter `12:6`, it is called twelve hundred and sixty days. Bible scholars in general have reached the conclusion that these twelve hundred and sixty years came to an end in the year 1799 A.D. Noting the fulfillment of this prophecy at that time, and following this clue, a number of students of prophecy are expecting that the "seven times" (`Lev. 26:17`, `Lev. 18, 24,28`) or 2520 years, in which the Jewish people were to be subject to the Gentile powers and kingdoms, will terminate in the year 1914 A.D. as their kingdom was overturned and destroyed in the year 606 B.C. "Seven times," or two thousand five hundred and twenty years, bring us to the date 1914, when the Jews will be restored to their own land, to have a government or kingdom of their own, which will be the nucleus of the coming universal government so frequently referred to in the Scriptural prophecies.
TRINITY--Is Expression "The Triune God" Scriptural? ::Q846:2:: QUESTION--What is understood by the expression, "the triune God?" (E.S.M.)
ANSWER--Some have thought this to be a scriptural expression, but it is not to be found in the Bible. It is believed to have originated in the heathen mythologies of the Hindoos in ancient India. Webster defines the term "triune" as three in one--"an epithet used to express the unity of a trinity of persons in the Godhead." We know of but one passage in the Bible that actually teaches the doctrine of a "triune God." But this passage is now conceded to be spurious by all Bible scholars. The words found in `1 John 5,7` ("in heaven the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one; and there are three that bear witness in earth"), are not contained in any of the oldest Greek manuscripts. The Religious Dictionary, page 944, says: "It was not until the fourth century that the Trinitarian view began to be elaborated and formulated into a doctrine, and an endeavor made to reconcile it with the belief of the Church in one God . . . Out of the attempt to solve this problem sprang the doctrine of the Trinity . . . Trinity is a very marked feature in Hindooism, and is discernible in Persian, Egyptian, Roman, Japanese, Indian, and the most ancient Grecian mythologies."
TRINITY--Metiphysical or Ethical Sense? ::Q847:1:: QUESTION--Is the oneness between Jesus Christ and God, the Heavenly Father, ethical or metaphysical? (R.A.H.)
ANSWER--In the early history of the Church, after the Apostles had fallen asleep, many bitter controversies were engaged in over this very question. But now in these latter days when knowledge is increasing along all lines, and particularly so as regards the knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures, the solution of the matter is clearly seen. There is not a single passage of Scripture to be found in which it is set forth that the Lord Jesus and the Father are one in the metaphysical sense. Two texts are usually relied upon to support the metaphysical view, but it has been wrongly translated and the other is spurious as it is not contained in any of the old Greek manuscripts. The first of these, `John 1:1`, should read--"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with (ho theos) the God, and the Word was (theos) a God. The same was in the beginning with (ho theos) the God." The Logos was a God (mighty one) and was with the God (the Almighty One). The spurious passage is found in `1 John 5:7`, and consists of the words, "in heaven the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth." As showing that the oneness of the Father and the Son is in the ethical sense we need only to quote a portion of the Lord Jesus' prayer--"I pray not for the world but for them which Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine . . . neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us . . . that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one."--`John 17:9,20-23`.
TRINITY--This is My Beloved Son. ::Q847:2:: QUESTION--If Christ was God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; how could a voice from heaven say--"This is My beloved Son," when He was a man on earth? (Diogenes.)
ANSWER This is an age of general enlightenment. Knowledge is increasing along all lines, and specially so in regard to the teachings of the Scriptures. The superstitions and theories of the darker past are fading away in the light that is gradually widening out unto the perfect day. The shadows of ignorance and prejudice are still lingering here and there; but those minds of bolder sway that have burst the bonds and shackles of the creeds and traditions of former times, are rejoicing in the glorious liberty that comes to those who know the truth. God's Word has been woefully misrepresented both by friends and foes, and because many have been taught to believe that the absurd theories found in the creeds are contained in the Bible; these, in the light of our day, are rejecting the Bible as the inspired Word of God in place of studying the Scriptures to ascertain what they really teach. The expression of the creeds, contained in the question, is nowhere found in the Bible. Our Lord Jesus never claimed to be "God the Father" but always said that He was the Son of God.
"My Father is greater than I"; "God sent His Son into the world." Our Lord Jesus was not His own Father; but as the Scriptures declare He "was the beginning of the creation of God." The voice from heaven to the Son on earth proves absolutely, unless we deny our reasoning faculties and become unreasonable, that the Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus are two distinct personalities.
TROUBLE--Last Days. ::Q848:1:: QUESTION--Can you explain the first six verses of the fifth chapter of James (`Jam. 5:6`)? (J.G.S.)
ANSWER--This is a prophecy relating to "the last days" (`verse 3`) and is contrary to the expectations of many Christian people who are anticipating the world's conversion to Christianity before the second coming of the Lord. This is a clear-cut statement of the Apostle describing the conditions that would exist in the last times. Had he been living in these times he could not have described the situation of affairs in the world more accurately or concisely. Is it not true that "treasures have been heaped together?" It is said that one man controls directly and indirectly more than $16,000,000,000 and that another individual has given away over $200,000,000 and yet has not touched the principal of his wealth. Are not the "rich men" living in pleasure; and are they not "wanton" (extravagant-luxurious) in their ways of living? (`Verse 5`.) Expensive palaces, yachts, automobiles, jewels, balls, banquets, and various forms of amusements are aggravating the poor and the unemployed to such an extent that they are crying out; and these "cries" (`verse 4`) have swelled into a mighty volume and find expression throughout all the public press. Do not all intelligent people know that the vast accumulation of wealth has been brought about mainly by "fraud" (verse 4)? It is the farming class, "the laborers who have reaped down your fields," that are the real wealth producers of the world, and these are the ones who have been defrauded the most by the political and financial frauds of the times. Pity the poor rich (verse 1) in the coming "time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation" (`Mat. 24:21`), for theirs will be a season of special sorrow and anguish of mind when all the accumulated wealth will become valueless. `Verses 2 and 3`.
TROUBLE--Time of, Worldwide. ::Q848:2:: QUESTION--What is meant by the Scriptures which declare that in the last days there would be a fearful time of trouble (`Dan. 12:1`; `Mat. 24:21,22`)? Has this any reference to the industrial and social crisis that is now developing throughout the world?
ANSWER--There have been seasons of severe trouble and destruction at various times in the history of the race, such as the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, when about a million and a quarter of Jews were slain, and the French Revolution, when vast numbers were slaughtered by the mobs and by the troops--a reign of terror indeed--but the "time of trouble" in the end of this age (not the end of the world for "the earth abideth forever"--`Eccl. 1:4`) is represented as being more dreadful than any preceding
experience, in the sense that it will be world-wide and not a local disturbance as were the previous seasons of destruction. (See `Rev. 16:14`; `Luke 21:25`; `Zep. 3:8,9`.) The Scriptures clearly indicate in what way the trouble will be developed, after the nations, kingdoms and governments have become associated together, forming a general community of interests, such as we see existing now, when all are brought together by financial, political, and social ties, treaties and alliances. It will be an industrial and social conflict that will involve all classes and be terrible when the climax is reached. The battle lines are already sharply drawn. Organized capital on the one hand and organized labor on the other are the two forces arrayed against each other in deadly conflict. The Apostle James writes almost like a Socialist in describing some of the phases of the impending struggle--`Jam. 5:1-5`. After the "trouble" is over conditions will be established on a new basis, and an era of peace and prosperity be ushered in-- `Hag. 2:7`.
TROUBLE--What Advantage Knowledge of God's Plan? ::Q849:1:: QUESTION--Of what practical advantage is a knowledge of the truth of God's character and plan of salvation, to one in time of trouble, disappointment, sorrow, etc.? (We refer particularly to one who is already converted--a member of the Church.) (E.W.)
ANSWER--The knowledge of God, the Creator, that He is wise and just, loving and all powerful, and that He is our loving Heavenly Father, one that we can draw nigh unto with confidence and trust in every time of need, through the merits of the Anointed Savior, is a wonderful source of comfort and consolation, and is of far more practical benefit than all that earthly wealth or fame could possibly bestow. After all; real advantage or benefit is that which brings peace and happiness to the heart. Those who have the consciousness that they are the children of the Most High God, and that He loves them, and is over-ruling all of the affairs of life to their interest and welfare as spiritual children; ah, these have that inward peace and joy and happiness, that not all the storms, and trials and afflictions of life can mar or take away. The knowledge of the plan of the ages, brings unspeakable joy to those who thus know what God has in reservation for those who love Him; and not only for these, the Church of Christ, but also for all the families of the earth--the world of mankind. In view of the high exaltation to glory, honor, and immortality, at the right hand of the Majesty on high, promised to the Lord's faithful people; how trifling and insignificant must seem the trials and hardships of life! And thus the Apostle Paul expresses the matter saying "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
VOTING--Secular Elections. ::Q849:2:: QUESTION--The Lord Jesus taught the Christians to pray, "Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth." Does that mean that all Christian people should join together and vote for the election of only Christian men to office in order that God's will might be done on the earth?
ANSWER --The true footstep followers of the Lord Jesus are called to a "heavenly calling" (`Heb. 3:1`), to the "high calling of God" (`Phil. 3:13`.) They are running for the office of joint heirship with Christ Jesus in His Kingdom. The Apostle Paul was one of these runners. He realized that a man cannot well run for two offices at the same time. He said, "Do not be conformed to this world." (`Rom. 12:2`.) That is to say, do not become entangled with the things of this world. Again he said, "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (`Phil. 3:13,14`); and in harmony with this Jesus said, "Ye are not of this world"; and again, "My kingdom is not of this world," meaning this present evil order of things; therefore we come to the conclusion that the chief duty of the Christian is to avoid entangling alliance with worldly systems, and to devote himself to preparing for the kingdom of our Lord when He comes. All good citizens should desire righteous men in office, but a righteous government cannot be established by imperfect men, hence the hope of the Christian is in the Bible teaching that Christ Jesus, the great Messiah, will, in God's due time, set up His kingdom, and establish righteousness in the earth.
WEATHER--Does God Control It? ::Q850:1:: QUESTION--Does God give orders for the weather every day?
ANSWER--No; nor does He every day order the stars in their courses, nor the earthquakes, famines and pestilences. At the present time, because of sin, the entire course of nature is permitted to be out of joint, so far as this earth is concerned. Our weather is not ideal at all times; God knows this and permits it as a part of the penalty of death upon Adam's race. Present conditions are not what God would have provided for Adam and his posterity had sin not entered into the world. Extremes of heat and cold, floods and droughts, death-dealing tornadoes and cyclones are the world's portion as criminals under death sentence; they are parts of the curse. Christians are not exempted from these, but are required to walk by faith, sharing the world's experiences; yet by this faith and the Holy Spirit to recognize themselves as "sons of God without rebuke" (`Phil. 2:15`), learning through all life's experiences lessons which will fit them for their future work of glory with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom. God's promise is that then there shall be no more curse--no more dying, no more crying. Instead, the time will come for the restitution of man and his earthly home to the perfection of grandeur of the Edenic condition (`Acts 3:19-21`.) Thus God will make the place of His feet, the earth, "glorious." Paradise lost will be Paradise regained.
WILL--Guides for Discerning God's Will. ::Q850:2:: QUESTION--I am sure all Christians want to do God's will, but how can we determine his will in our affairs?
ANSWER--If we have not wholly become God's people by consecration, His message to us is, "This is the will of
God, even your sanctification" (`1 Thess. 4:3`). If we are His people we are to search His Word, which has been written for our benefit. In it He says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (`Pro. 3:5,6`). When we are perplexed we should go to Him in prayer, resting content with whatever He may permit, study His Word and seek to be guided thereby. He has said to us, "All things shall work together for good to those who love God, to those who have been called according to His purpose" (`Rom. 8:28`). We will, if we follow this course, soon learn to appreciate the fact that all the precious promises in the Bible are for the guidance and benefit of the Christian. Exercising faith in these, we should use our best judgment to follow the Lord's will in all things, carrying no anxious thought respecting the future and watching for His providential leadings.
WOMAN--Seven Take Hold of One Man. ::Q851:1:: QUESTION--"And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man." (`Isa. 4:1`.) What is the meaning of this Scripture? (Interested.)
ANSWER--In the symbolisms of the Scriptures a "woman" represents a church. Just as the Church of Christ is said to be the "Bride, the Lamb's Wife." The false churches or anti-Christian religious systems are symbolized as wicked women. (`Rev. 17:5`.) The number seven is always representative of fullness, or completion, in the expressions of the Bible. Therefore, we have the picture before our minds of a time when the full number, or all of the churches (in this case the false churches) would be seeking to be called by the name of the "one man"--Christ--in order that their reproach might be taken away. These churches, which in reality are worldly organizations, as they are filled with a worldly spirit, and supported by worldly individuals, are being reproached more and more because of their worldiness; and recognizing this, they are strenuously claiming to be "Christian Churches." The "seven Women" are taking hold of the "One Man," but He does not recognize them, as He has but the one Bride, the true Church.
WOMAN--Suffrage Movement and the Bible. ::Q851:2:: QUESTION--May I ask your views on the "Woman's Suffrage" question? Should women have equal rights with men? What is the attitude of the Bible toward this momentuous subject? I use the term "momentuous" advisedly because the Suffrage Movement is extending around the world, and to my mind is one of the most important phases of the general conditions existing in these hyperbolical times. (F.E.W.)
ANSWER--It is very evident to the close observer that men and women, the world over, are more and more approaching a condition of equality. This is largely due to the changing state of affairs in the industrial and social realms. Women are entering in upon every line of accomplishment in the commercial world, and in the realms of art, science, and literature. They have been driven into the world of business and industry by the harsh competitive
system of the day, and having taken their position side by side with men in every other walk of life, it is the logical sequence in the trend of events that they should enter in upon conditions of equality in the political arena. This is well, and is certainly in agreement with what the Scriptures indicate will be brought to pass in the "times of restoration" (`Acts 3:19-21`) the thousand years in which the race of humanity will be restored to the perfect conditions represented in the first man, Adam, before Eve had been formed from his side. Adam combined in himself the masculine and feminine qualities, and when Eve was formed for the purposes of propagation, the feminine qualities were incorporated in her personality. When the race has multiplied sufficiently to fill the earth (`Gen. 1:28`) propagation will cease and the members of both sexes will become as Adam was before Eve was formed. See `Mat. 22:30`.
WORLD--Conversion to Christianity. ::Q852:1:: QUESTION--Have we any reason for anticipating the World's conversion to Christianity before long?
ANSWER--We have every reason to expect the world's conversion to Christ not many years hence, but perhaps this work will be brought about in an entirely different way and manner than is usually supposed. The Scriptures clearly foretold that the world would be far from being in harmony with the Lord and His righteous laws at the close of this present age or evil world. (`Rev. 11:17,18`; `2 Tim. 1:5`; `Mat. 24:37-39`.) And that it would not be until after our Lord's second advent that all the nations would be brought to a knowledge of the truth, the way of salvation, and then converted to Christ and His rule of love and kindness. Meantime an election is taking place which when completed will result in the formation of a special class of the Lord's earnest devoted followers who when glorified and united with their Lord in the spiritual or heavenly realms will constitute the governing body, the Kings and Priests, under whose righteous administration, the nations shall all be taught of God and learn righteousness. (`Isa. 26:9`; `Isa 54:13`.) It will require all of the thousand years of Messiah's reign to subdue all unrighteousness and bring into subjection all evil and error. "For He must reign until He has placed all enemies under His feet even death the last enemy shall be destroyed." `1 Cor. 15:25,26`.
WORLD--End of. ::Q852:2:: QUESTION--When will the world come to an end? (P.W.L.)
ANSWER--According to the Scriptures the term "world" signifies age or dispensation. Three great worlds are outlined in the Divine Plan of the Ages, as revealed in the Bible. (See `2 Pet. 3:5-13`.) The first "world" or dispensation passed away at the time of the Flood. The second "world," or "present evil world," is likewise to pass away, in a fiery time of trouble--not a literal "fire," but a destructive season of lawlessness that will destroy the "elements"--labor, capitalistic, etc., etc., that go to make up the present social order. "The world to come wherein dwelleth righteousness" will never come to end, but is to
continue throughout eternity. The world that now is" (`Titus 2:12`) is already being violently shaken, and is beginning to crumble away financially, politically, socially, and ecclesiastically. The evidences about us, in the fulfillment of the Scripture prophecies, are clear and strong that within the next decade, the new and better order ("the world to come") will be established in the earth.
WORLD--Is It Growing Worse? ::Q853:1:: QUESTION--Is the world growing worse? If not, what does the Apostle Paul mean by the words, "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived"? (`2 Tim. 3:13`.)
ANSWER--In some respects the world was never better than it is today. We know of no time in history when the public press so fearlessly and boldly exposed wrong doing as now. Education has helped to bring about better moral conditions. Of course a great deal of this morality is on the surface, as it was in the closing days of the Jewish Age, when Jesus told the chief religionists that they were whited walls, outwardly beautiful, but inwardly corrupt. The Apostle, in the Scripture to which you refer, evidently had in mind the deceivers and leaders astray in the Church. These, in the end of the Age, will become more bold; as foretold, their deceptions will become strong delusions, following which many will believe a lie (`2 Thes 2:11`). "They shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (`1 Tim. 4:1`). Many theological teachers today are denying the Bible and advancing strong arguments in favor of Higher Criticism, Evolution, etc., thus growing worse and worse in repudiating the "faith once delivered to the saints" (`Jude 3,4`), "deceiving and being themselves deceived."
WORLD--Trial Time. ::Q853:2:: QUESTION--"Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?"--`1 Cor. 6:2`. Does this signify that the world is not now on trial for eternal life? (C.J.W.)
ANSWER--This Scripture is in conformity with the united testimony of the teachings of all the Prophets and the Apostles to the effect that the world's judgment day, or trial time, is not in this present Christian Era, but is yet future--"God hath appointed a day (a thousand year day--`2 Pet. 3:8`) in the which He will judge the world in righteousness." (`Acts 17:31`.) Those who, in association with Christ, shall judge the world in mercy, justice and love, are now being qualified for that high office, by having developed in them saintly, Christlike characters. These "saints," who have learned to love their neighbors as themselves, and who even love their enemies, are the ones who, in the future age, will offer every inducement to the world of mankind to come into harmony with the gracious requirements of the Divine Law of love and justice and receive eternal life. The fact that the followers of Christ are not judging now proves conclusively that the world is not on trial for eternal life at the present time. The judgment day, in place of being a time of terror, distress and sorrow, is represented in the Scriptures as being a special time of joy and gladness for the world.--`Psa. 96.`