Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
VOL. XXVIII JUNE 15 No. 12
A.D. 1907--A.M. 6035
Admonitions for the Consecrated...................179
Patience and Forbearance Commended............180
"Consider One Another to Provoke".............181
"Love Seeketh Not Her Own"....................182
Led by a Way that They Knew Not...................183
"The Bread that Came Down from Heaven"........184
"Come Near Before the Lord"...................185
This Doth God Require.............................186
The Law Covenant for Israel Only..............187
"Fulfil the Law of Christ"....................188
A Scape-goat Query................................190
Some Interesting Letters..........................191
LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
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THE INDIANAPOLIS CONVENTION, JUNE 14-17
ALL SESSIONS IN
"TOMLINSON HALL," COR. DELAWARE AND MARKET STS.
BUREAU OF INFORMATION IN UNION DEPOT
We have secured a rate of two cents per mile within the territory of the Central Passenger Association, embracing railroads west of Buffalo, Pittsburg and Wheeling, in Ohio, Indiana, Lower Michigan and a considerable portion of Illinois. Excursion tickets should be asked for the "Watch Tower Convention, Indianapolis." These tickets will require to be signed at Indianapolis before using on return passage, and will be sold on June 13th and 14th, and be good for return journey to leave Indianapolis not later than June 18th, and return ticket must be signed in the presence of the Agent. (However, in a considerable portion of this territory, the two cent a mile rate already prevails without a special excursion ticket.)
The Western Association has declined to make any special concession; friends from that territory must do the best they can in the matter of purchasing tickets. Remember the "mileage" plan; or, where a number are in one party, the "theatrical rate."
The Eastern Trunk Lines Association, governing New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland Railroads, will grant us a special rate, on a signature ticket, of two cents a mile each way, provided we can furnish
the names and addresses of those desirous of attending. Friends within this territory desirous of attending the Indianapolis Convention will say so at once; a postal card will do. On receipt of it we will procure a special order for a ticket and mail it to you.
Friends from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, etc., desirous of attending the Convention at Indianapolis should ADVISE US AT ONCE, so that we may procure for them from the railroads
for two-cent-per-mile rates.
Reports seem to indicate that there will be a large gathering at Indianapolis.
In private residences accommodations can be had for 50c and $1.00 each per night. In hotels board and lodging can be procured for $1, $1.25, $2, and upward to $5 per day.
Write at once,
if you wish us to procure accommodations, stating briefly and pointedly what kind, number of persons, sex and color, and if married couples wish to room together. Do not expect any alteration of your party's location after writing. If others join it later they will be accommodated in the order of notification. Address all letters to C. A. Wise, 1112 W. 30th St., Indianapolis, Ind.
BRITISH PILGRIMAGE OF BRO. A. E. WILLIAMSON
Thornhill, Eng. June 26 East Kirkby, Eng. July 12, 13 Oldham, " " 27 Liverpool, " " 14, 15 Macclesfield, " " 28 Warrington, " " 16 Manchester, " " 29, 30 Atherstone, " " 17 Poulton-le-Fylde, July 1 Leicester, " " 18, 19 Belfast, Ire. " 3, 4 Nottingham, " " 20, 21 Bangor, " " 6 Worcester, " " 22 Dublin, " " 7, 8 Tewkesbury, " " 23 Carlow, " " 10 Cardiff, Wales " 24, 25
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ADMONITIONS FOR THE CONSECRATED
"I write unto thee...that thou mayest know how thou
oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is
the Church of the living God, the pillar and
ground of the truth."--`I Tim. 3:14,15`.
IT is one thing to make our consecration to the Lord, to be his and to serve him even unto death, and another thing to carry out that service day by day in all the little details of life. Our Lord's words --that he that is faithful in that which is least would be faithful also in greater things--is well illustrated by the fact that it would be comparatively easy for us to finish our sacrifice by suicide, or even by going to the stake, and a much more difficult thing to day by day hold our sacrifice on the altar in all the little affairs of life--in self-denials, in patience, in perseverance, in brotherly kindness, in gentleness--to receive reviling and revile not again, to be smitten mentally or physically and not to retaliate; this endurance of a lingering crucifixion-death is much more difficult. But we can readily see that the Lord's plan is greatly to our advantage, in the sense that while the consecration evidences a right spirit, will or intention, the gradual carrying out of that consecration tends more and more to develop the character-likeness of our Lord in us. Hence the Apostle urges that we learn to rejoice even in tribulations, knowing that they will work out in us various fruits and graces of the Lord's Spirit, as we receive them in the proper attitude of heart and seek to learn the lessons they teach.
GOOD BEHAVIOR IN THE CHURCH
Recognizing that we are all defective according to the flesh, that none of us come up to the divine standard of perfection, and that our only perfection is that of the heart, the will, we must not wonder if occasionally we have trials and testings, aggravations, one from the other, though it must be the will, the desire, the intent of each to provoke one another to love and good works and not to anger, hatred and evil works. (`Heb. 10:24`.) For ourselves we must recognize the very highest standard of God-likeness, and as for others of the Body we must be prepared to allow our love for them and for the Lord to cover a multitude of blemishes should they appear to us. And each one, in proportion as he or she follows this course, is pleasing to the Lord, is pure in heart--a copy of God's dear Son-- and, covered with the robe of the Redeemer's merit, is considered from God's standpoint, not according to his imperfect flesh, but according to his perfect-intentioned heart or will. To us, "in the Church" does not signify in a meeting-house, but amongst the Lord's people. Neither does it mean merely when we are assembled together, but it includes all of our dealings with them, every day and all the time. And we all should desire to learn the lesson how we ought to conduct ourselves in or amongst the members of the Church, the Body of Christ, the tabernacle of the holy Spirit amongst men.
Everywhere in the Bible the Lord sets before us perfect Love as the standard, and we must therefore suppose that all who have passed the standard of babes in Christ, and have come to some measure of knowledge of the Lord through his Word and Spirit, recognize this love standard and are seeking to conform to it. We must therefore suppose that the difficulties which from time to time arise amongst such are largely because of imperfect development of knowledge and experience in applying the love standard, as well as because of imperfections of the flesh. Hence the Scriptural exhortation that we grow in grace as well as in knowledge, and that we be more and more filled with the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of love, the spirit of a sound mind, the spirit of brotherly kindness, the spirit of meekness, the spirit of patience--the holy Spirit.
ARE CONTENTIONS NECESSARY?
We reply that they are sometimes, but not nearly so often as they occur. There is just one ground of contention authorized, and we find it in the words, "Contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the
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saints." (`Jude 3`.) But since the spirit of contention is everywhere in the Bible reprehended, we must understand the Apostle to mean that only the important points of our faith are to be contended for. We must not give place to any who deny the personality of the heavenly Father, and who would teach in the Church that God is a great big nothing, merely a principle of good; and if there is anything good in the sense of useful in the piece of iron or wood or stone or in any other substance, there is that much of God in it. We must contend earnestly against such vain philosophies, as being not only foreign to the faith once delivered to the saints, but antagonistic to it to the last degree. We must contend also for the ransom, because it is the very foundation of the faith once delivered to the saints --that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that he rose for our justification. This would imply a contention against various false claims, such as that our Lord was not made flesh but remained a spirit being, to whom death was quite impossible--that he merely assumed for a time the human body, pretending that it was himself, and pretending that he died when it died.
We must hold to the faith once delivered to the saints, that our Lord left the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, that he humbled himself and was made flesh, and that he did this not as an example, but that he by the grace of God "tasted death for every man"--that he might die the Just for the unjust to bring us to God. This means additionally that we must contend that his death was a real death, the Just for the unjust, else our faith in him as a Savior and Redeemer would depart. Furthermore, if we did not believe that he really died, really gave himself as a corresponding price for father Adam, thus purchasing him and his race, how could we believe in his resurrection from the dead? How could anyone be resurrected from death if he had not gone into it? We must also hold to and contend earnestly for the great fact that God's work during this Gospel Age is the selection of the Bride of Christ--the Church of the First-born-- and that this election, completed at our Lord's second coming, will have its consummation in the resurrection of the little flock to glory, honor and immortality in the Kingdom, as the Royal Priesthood under Christ their Royal Head and High Priest, that as the Spiritual Seed of Abraham they may fulfil the Abrahamic Covenant, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." For all these fundamentals of our religion, including the declaration that sin entered into the world by Adam's transgression and that we are all partakers of his sin and of its penalty, and all need redemption--all these first principles of the faith we must stand for, contend for. To be indifferent to these and to allow error to creep in and to be promulgated, taught in the Church, would be a serious sin and show unfaithfulness on the part of those who had pledged themselves as soldiers of the cross to defend it.
But aside from such fundamentals, the Lord's people should seek to exercise great moderation amongst themselves upon any point of doctrine not clearly enunciated--upon the meaning of any parable not explained in the Scripture itself. Neither should there be any dispute or division as respects Brother Russell or any other brother. Each should be allowed to exercise his own judgment in respect to things not specifically stated in the Word of God. Each should feel a delicacy or reserve about promulgating any doctrine or matter not specifically and clearly taught in the Scriptures, and above all he should be sure never to teach or attempt to teach speculations if he himself is not thoroughly convinced respecting the same. Each one has enough to contend with in the twists and kinks of his own imperfect judgment without having others add to his difficulties by the rehearsal of matters which they admit they do not clearly understand. There is so much in God's Word that is simple and plain and well substantiated that we can talk about and think about, that we are well nigh inexcusable for far-away speculations. The Scriptures declare, "The secret things belong unto God, but the things revealed belong unto us."--`Deut. 29:29`.
PATIENCE AND FORBEARANCE COMMENDED
If some dear brother has a peculiar theory or hobby and feels that he cannot rest until he has presented it to the Church, there should be some opportunity given him to let off steam--even if it would not be advisable to hear him in the most public manner lest visitors should conclude that his fancies represented the general thought of the Church. But if after he has been heard on some occasion, and it be the judgment of the Church that his theories are unreasonable, unscriptural, he should be content with having given his view; and if he be not content, but desires to ride his theory continually as a hobby, to the annoyance of others and to the interference with the general spirit of worship and progress in study, it would seem to be the duty of the elders to call his attention to the fact, and to remind him that he has been heard, and therefore his urging the matter is in the nature of a contention, not for a fundamental of the truth, but for a theory, and that such contention is reproved
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throughout the Scriptures as contrary to the will of the Lord and to the good of his people, themselves included, and that therefore they cannot permit the matter to continue.--`Titus 3:9`.
The Apostle speaks of those who are "contentious and obey not the truth." (`Rom. 2:8`.) The intimation is that the contentious spirit or disposition is generally to be found amongst those who are not living up to the spirit of the truth which they have already recognized. They have been attempting to grow in knowledge without growing in grace--in love, in kindness, gentleness, meekness, patience, etc.; and those who are right at heart will be pleased to note this as their difficulty, and to correct the same, because what would it profit us to contend for our theories and cause confusion in the Church of God, and be ultimately reprimanded by the Lord and be unable to pass the examination for perfect love and Christ-likeness, and
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therefore be counted unworthy a place in the Bride class! Surely such contentions, such theorizings, are well worthy of the Apostle's reprimand, and well worthy to be heeded by us all.
The Apostle's exhortation that "nothing be done through strife or vain-glory" gives another suggestion along this line, namely, that some have naturally the spirit of strife, and therefore more to overcome along this line than have some others. Some, it is intimated, have a vain-glorious spirit, the spirit of pride and ambition, which gets themselves and others into difficulty. But are we to reject those who are naturally combative, naturally ambitious? Are we to say that they therefore are not of the Body, and cut them off? By no means; rather we should seek to so exemplify the proper course in our own conduct as to impress a lesson upon them and upon all with whom we have contact. Wherever we see a wrong spirit in another our first thought should be, Have I any of that disposition myself? and our first correction should be in our own hearts and conduct. Thus casting the mote or beam out of our own eyes we would be the better prepared to approach our brother with gentleness and kindness, and unobtrusively to render him assistance in getting the better of his difficulties.
BEREANS WHO "FIGHT TO A FINISH"
Some of the Lord's dear brethren of excellent heart and noble intention seem to get the improper thought in connection with the Berean studies. They seem to say to themselves, There can be but one right thought on this subject, and that one the truth; and everyone else here should want the truth, and we should contend and dispute on this question if necessary all night and fight the matter until some one gives up and sees that he is wrong. This is an evil thought entirely, and is productive of great discomfort and disadvantage, and a hindrance to spirituality in various classes. On the one hand we are to appreciate more those who do some thinking of their own about a subject than those who do no thinking, and who merely swallow a statement set forth by others. But there is a proper limit to be observed: the Lord has had great patience with us all in our slowness to learn, and surely we should be patient with each other. He lays down line upon line, precept upon precept, and is slow to anger and plenteous of mercy, and very generous toward all those who give evidence of desiring to do his will.
We certainly are not authorized to do less than this in his name and as his representatives. Rather our realization of our own obtuseness in the past should make us very sympathetic with others who are slow to see, slow to hear, slow to understand. Each therefore should be content if he have a reasonable opportunity for presenting his view on any question, and should not attempt to enforce and crowd it in upon another. If the Editor has stated his view, and one or more do not see the matter exactly so, and the question is not fundamental, then it would be the proper course to let the matter rest there, and to allow the Lord eventually as the great Teacher, through his providences to gradually bring us to where we could the more completely see eye to eye. In this we have the opportunity for learning the lesson of patience and forbearance, brotherly kindness, meekness, gentleness--Love.
"CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER TO PROVOKE"
If anyone of a contentious mind would set himself about it, he would have no difficulty in provoking in others resentment and evil works; but the Apostle urges, that having the holy Spirit of love dwelling in our hearts, we should consider one another to provoke unto love and good works. We should study one another's natural dispositions from a sympathetic standpoint, with a view to helping each other over difficulties and weaknesses. And how much of this is possible! Frequently it is possible by speaking a kind word, gently, sympathetically, lovingly, to help some dear brother or sister to keep balanced--to overcome some of his or her weaknesses, the expression of which would be injurious to himself as well as to the Church or others. How we should all study this spirit of helpfulness and recognize it as the spirit of love, the Spirit of the Lord! Let us remember that a soft answer, a kind and gentle word, may be helpful and turn away anger, but that grievous words and strifeful words, cutting words, sarcastic words, are almost sure to stir up anger. (`Prov. 15:1`.) Let us therefore study more and more to be gentle toward all and kind and affectionate one toward another, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.--`Eph. 4:32`.
Another point upon which forbearance and consideration seem very necessary is in respect to the choosing of leaders. Some very devoted brethren seem to get the impression that they should have no part in electing as an Elder anyone they could not endorse in every particular. We agree that no immoral person should be chosen to eldership under any consideration, and that if an Elder be found to be immoral his resignation should be immediately called for. But usually this is not the ground of difference: the Lord's people would never knowingly choose an immoral person as a standard-bearer or leader in spiritual things. But suppose that in a congregation there be one person whom the majority may consider vastly superior and better qualified every way than any other of their number to be their Elder or leader, and suppose that a minority of the congregation have a liking for the presentations or manners or what not of another brother, and suppose that another minority have a preference for still another brother, or at least a desire to see him brought forward into the public service of the Church, believing that he has talents that could be used of the Lord to his glory. What shall each party do?--fight it out on political lines and say, We have power, and therefore authority to elect our man, and you must either join in this or quit the company? By no means!
This might be "good politics" amongst the worldly, but it would be quite out of harmony with the spirit of love which must govern in the Church. In gaining
a victory we might wound one or more of the Lord's
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brethren, might offend our Lord, and do ourselves incalculable injury in our race for the great prize. Such a "victory" would be a
of our real aims and aspirations --a victory for our great Adversary. Are we not to consider one another, and seek not every man merely his own preferences, but seek to build one another up in the most holy faith? The spirit of love would therefore seem to dictate that more than one Elder should be elected in such a case--two or three or more, as the supply of material and the desires of the company could be reasonably interpreted, without violating the general directions of the Lord's Word. A fair and reasonable decision should be such as would be proportionate to the number of the brethren. Some might be found specially well adapted to the leading of one kind of meeting and others to the leading of another kind, and the Apostle points out that we have need of every member of the body, so that the eye cannot even say to the hand or the foot--I have no need of you. The thought we should have in mind is that there is plenty of room for all of the Lord's people to do service.
When the Apostle points out the qualifications of an Elder he mentions the ideal, just as our Lord mentions the ideal to us all when he says, "Be ye like unto your Father which is in heaven." We cannot be like the heavenly Father fully, completely, but we can have him as our standard or pattern to which we are striving to attain. Similarly, few elders may come up to the standard of qualification mentioned by the Apostle, but these qualifications should not be overlooked by any in their expression of a choice, or rather in their expression of what they believe to be the Lord's choice in the matter. "Forbearing one another in love," says the Apostle. O, how this forbearance and consideration of one another's preferences, tastes, views, would help to make us all more and more like the glorious Lord himself, and how it would smooth many of the wrinkles and difficulties, and bring peace in every little company of the Lord's people! We are not thinking of nor striving for the kind of peace and quiet that prevails in the graveyard or which prevails in the sleeping room, but the kind which the Lord would approve amongst those who are awake and alive and thoroughly consecrated to him, and forbearing and considering one another because of their love for the Head and for all those who are seeking to walk in his steps.
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"LOVE SEEKETH NOT HER OWN"
All of the Lord's people should gradually come more and more to be ashamed of a self-seeking spirit and disposition and to appreciate more and more the spirit of love, which thinks not of personal interests but of the good of others, especially those of the household of faith. If a brother thinks that he has some talents which he would be pleased to use in the Lord's service in the Church, it is proper for him to be on the alert for opportunity to use these, but also proper for him to avoid imposing himself or his services on the Church. While glad to serve the Church freely, without money or price, while glad to give time, strength, energy and every talent to the service of the Truth, the spirit of meekness as well as the spirit of wisdom should hinder him from crowding his services upon the Church more than the latter could appreciate. Better go gently, and trust to the Lord to guide and to eventually indicate who shall serve the Church and to what extent they shall serve and in what capacity. This, the Lord's way, the Scriptural way, will be found to be the wisest one--any other course will sooner or later bring difficulty to all concerned.
"WHOM THE SON MAKES FREE"
It is difficult for many of us to keep balanced respecting our personal liberties: we are largely influenced by the customs and practices of those surrounding us, and need continually to hearken to the voice of the Lord in his Word. Because in Babylon it is customary that nothing should be done without ordination, a feeling sometimes creeps in amongst those less developed in grace and truth that is somewhat in accord with that: the feeling, for instance, that no meetings must be held except as they are appointed by the Church and conducted by one of the elected elders. There are advantages coming from a recognition of the oneness of the Church, and the appointing of meetings when and where they may be most helpful and to be led by those esteemed to have superior qualifications. But we must never lose sight of the fact that neither the Lord nor the apostles placed any limitations upon the liberties of individuals, and hence we may not do so. Note our Lord's words--"Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (`Matt. 18:20`.) That promise is as true today as it ever was, and places no restriction upon any of the Lord's people.
If, therefore, any of the Lord's flock feel that their best spiritual interests are not served by the arrangements already made by the Church, they are fully at liberty to start a meeting that will be more helpful to them--any kind of a meeting not in conflict with the provisions of the Scriptures. In case of such a necessity seeming to present itself to any, our advice would be that they seek to appoint such meetings at a time and place that would not be in conflict with the appointments of the general congregation. If then it be desirable, as we hold that it generally is, that the Church should take a general supervision of such matters, it should recognize its responsibility and appoint a sufficiency of meetings and of the desired kinds, and under such leadership as will meet the necessities of the dear people--that all may be fed, that all may be strengthened, that all may progress, and that all may be maintained in unity of heart and in love and fellowship and cooperation.
This may be as suitable a time as any for mentioning again, what has already been emphasized in DAWN STUDIES, Vol. VI., namely, that in our opinion the Lord's dear flock grow most in grace and strength where testimony meetings and Berean classes and
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DAWN studies are given quite a prominent place amongst their meetings. In these social gatherings, especially in the meetings devoted to testimony, prayer and praise, the dear friends have opportunities for getting into sympathetic touch with one another, which is most helpful, and which binds them more together in the bonds of Christian love than perhaps any other meetings could do. In the Allegheny Church these meetings are held every Wednesday evening, and are eight in number, in various parts of Pittsburg and suburbs. The average attendance for last quarter was more than one hundred and fifty, and the influence going out from these meetings is, we believe, excellent. How glad we would be if all the dear company who are able would attend them and partake of their refreshing influences. Many, we are sure, if obliged to choose one kind of meeting only would vote for the testimony meeting, or else that the testimony feature be made an important part of some other meeting. Let us remember that this is much of the kind of a meeting described by the Apostle in the early Church, as "When you come together."--`I Cor. 14:26`.
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LED BY A WAY THAT THEY KNEW NOT
--`EXODUS 16:1-15`.--JULY 7.--
Golden Text:--"I am the living bread which
came down from heaven."--`John 6:51`.
FULL of exultation at their great deliverance by the mighty hand of God, the Israelites, still guided by the cloudy pillar, journeyed for the promised land by a circuitous route. They started upon the journey, which lasted forty years, while it might have been accomplished in as many days. The object of the long delay was their instruction in righteousness, especially in faith. This would have been profitable for any people, but especially for a subject people born in a state of serfdom, and hence unused to liberty and initiative. But, more than this, natural Israel was intended of the Lord to constitute a type or shadow of spiritual Israel, and the lessons of the former were to be illustrative of the lessons of the latter. Whoever has read the story of Israel, and failed to discern that they and their experiences were foreshadowings of better things coming, has failed to get the gist of the lesson the Lord would teach. The experiences and instructions of the wilderness journey remind us of the poet's words, "God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform."
The first lesson of the journey showed that the people had much to learn along the lines of faith and trust in the Lord. One would have thought that the plagues upon Egypt resulting in their liberty would have been convincing proof to them of divine favor, and would have secured them from every doubt and fear that he who had begun a good work on their behalf would surely not desert them on the threshold. Nevertheless, after journeying for three days slowly they came to the waters of Marah, and sore was their disappointment when they found that they had been appropriately named--Marah, signifying bitter. The waters were brackish and unpalatable and unfit for use. A great murmuring ascended from all sides, the disappointment was intense. Where was Moses? Why was the water brackish? The cry of the people to Moses was in unbelief, reproach; but Moses cried unto the Lord in faith, and the Lord showed him a tree which, cast into the waters, acted as a medicine, sweetening them, making them fit for use. The lesson to the people must have been a valuable one, leading them to trust the Lord more fully and to realize his continued care for their interests.
Water, one of the most important elements for human sustenance, is used in the Scriptures to represent the Truth --the message of God--the hope of everlasting life. In a certain sense the Law Covenant made with Israel was such a hope, such a fountain of water, of which the Israelites might drink and be refreshed and be enabled to gain eternal life. But while the Law was good in many respects, it had in it certain condemnatory qualities which hindered it from giving to the Israelites the refreshment and the life everlasting which they had hoped for. The Law made nothing perfect, writes the Apostle--yea, he adds, that which was thought to be unto life was found to be unto death.--`Rom. 7:10`.
HEALING THE BRACKISH WATERS
Moses, the Mediator of the Law Covenant, typified the Christ (Head and Body), the Mediator of the New Covenant, and the tree that Moses cast into the waters for their sweetening represented another tree--the one referred to in the statement, "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." (`Gal. 3:13`.) The tree represented the cross of Christ, the agency through which the waters of truth and divine law become waters of grace and blessing for the world of mankind in general when, in the Millennial Age, they shall be delivered from the bondage of Satan and sin, represented by the slavery of Egypt. As the Apostle points out, it will not be possible for God to make a new law under which to bless mankind, for the Law given to Israel was good, was perfect, as the law of God must always be. The divine promises represented by the water were poisoned by sin-- by Adam's disobedience--and hence were unsuitable and could not give the desired blessing. The cross of Christ, by cancelling Adamic sin, cancelled also the condemnation of the divine law against mankind, and eventually will permit the great antitypical Mediator to make the gracious promises of God good, refreshing, applicable to all who seek to walk in the ways of the Lord. The New Covenant between God and Israel, in which all the families of the earth are to share the benefit, will shortly be sealed with the precious blood--be confirmed, made operative. It merely waits for the completion of the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement, and meantime the Church of the First-born are counted in as members of the Body of the Mediator, and permitted to suffer with him--to share with him in the sufferings of the present time, that they may also have a share in the glory that shall follow, when the New Covenant shall be sealed, and through it the blessing of the Lord extend to every creature.
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"Traveling o'er the desert's scorching sand,
Father, lead me! grasp my hand.
Lead me on! Lead me on!
When at Marah, parched with heat,
And the sparkling fountain greet,
Make the bitter water sweet.
Lead me on! Lead me on!"
The New Creation is not under the Law but under grace--not under the Law Covenant nor under the New Covenant, but under the original Covenant, the "Everlasting Covenant," which reads, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." As the Apostle assures us, it is the privilege of the Church of the First-born, who make their calling and election sure, to constitute members of the "Seed," which under the New Covenant is to bless first natural Israel and subsequently all nations: "Ye, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise." (`Gal. 4:28`.) "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's Seed, and heirs according to the promise." (`Gal. 3:29`.) The original Covenant, as the Apostle explains, was typified by Sarah: that Covenant was the mother of our Lord and of all his members. We have nothing to do with the Hagar Covenant, the Law Covenant, nor with the Keturah Covenant, the New Covenant, except that the promise is that in and through the elect Seed of the Sarah Covenant the offspring of both the other covenants, are to receive their blessings.
TWELVE FOUNTAINS AND SEVENTY PALMS
A journey of a few hours brought the Israelites to Elim, noted for its twelve fountains, or springs, and its seventy palm trees. It was a delightful resting place, symbolical of the blessings which may be enjoyed after our trials. The twelve springs, fountains, remind us of the apostles, God's special gift or blessing to the Church, through whom have come the refreshments of the water of life, and who are to be prominent also, according to the Lord's promise, in the Kingdom--in the work of blessing Israel and all the nations. The seventy palm trees remind us of the seventy whom our Lord commissioned subsequently to the twelve apostles, and whose ministries typified the public services of this Gospel Age down to its harvest or close. As the seventy were directed to go into every city whither our Lord would ultimately go, and were instructed, "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel until the Son of man be come," it signified that our mission is to all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues, wherever we may find a hearing ear, with the assurance that we shall not have more than accomplished the work of declaring the good tidings to every nation until the second coming of the Son of man in the power and great glory of his Kingdom.
Our lesson opens with the declaration that the Israelites removed from Elim, going toward Mount Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month--just thirty days from the time they left Egypt, following the Passover. Apparently, therefore, they stayed at Elim about two weeks before entering the wilderness region surrounding Mount Sinai, one of whose peaks was called Mount Horeb, where God manifested himself to Moses in the burning bush. Not only had Moses made this journey several times, but Aaron also, for we remember that after the Lord's first revelation at the burning bush he sent Aaron to Moses and they met in Horeb, the Mount of God. That meeting of Moses and Aaron prior to the passing over of the first-born, etc., might not improperly be understood to symbolize the beginning of this Gospel Age, and to be a picture of the two features of the work of Christ: Aaron representing the sacrificial work as the priest, and Moses representing the future work as the leader and commander of the people. The Church of the First-born was typically represented in the under-priests, the sons of Aaron, and also typically represented in the body of Moses, illustrating our participation in the sufferings of Christ in this present time and also our inheritance in him in the glory that shall follow.
The journeying of the people toward Mount Sinai, then, would represent the carrying out of the great program outlined at the beginning, when Moses and Aaron met by divine arrangement; the gathering of all the hosts of Israel to Mount Sinai typified not the blessings which came to the Church at Pentecost, but the blessings which are about to come to the world, all mankind who are ready and willing to receive them under the New Covenant. The covenant made with natural Israel at Sinai by Moses, the mediator of that Law Covenant, typified specifically the new and better Covenant about to be made with Israel, and incidentally with the whole world of mankind through the better Mediator, the Christ, Head and Body. The Apostle clearly sets this forth in his delineations in `Hebrews 12`, where he pictures the time of trouble in the end of this age in connection with the sealing of the New Covenant with its type at Mount Sinai when and where the Law Covenant was sealed and made effective. His intimation is that in the trouble near at hand everything that can be shaken, political, social, religious, financial, will be shaken thoroughly, until only the unshakable, true things, shall remain. And these unshakable things he tells us will be related to the Kingdom of Messiah in which we shall share, "We receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken."
"THE BREAD THAT CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN"
Travelers tell us that the wilderness surrounding Sinai is far from barren. One declares: "The whole sides of the valley through which the children of Israel marched are still tufted with brushwood, which doubtless afforded food for their beasts. Lastly, the herbage under these trees and shrubs is completely covered with snails of a prodigious size and of the best sort. However uninviting such a repast might appear to us, they are here esteemed a great delicacy. These mollusks of the land would aid in sustaining the people."
We can see, however, that so mighty a host would have a very limited bill of fare, and realizations of the conditions will help us to sympathize with them in their murmurings when they said, "Would to God we had died by the hands of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill the whole assembly with hunger." It appeared to them that their first hopes had died, that no preference of the Lord had been shown them, and that they should have continued under the Egyptian bondage. We see their lack of faith and that the lessons of the plagues and the sea and the healing of
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the waters of Marah had not given them full assurance of faith that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was leading them forth to fulfil in them his glorious promises made to the fathers--the blessing of the world.
But while blaming them for lack of faith we are not to blame them for desiring some of the necessities of life, nor does the Lord blame them for the latter; rather he was waiting for them to appreciate their need, so that they might the better appreciate the bountiful provision which he had intended. In answer to their cry God sent them bread from heaven--not indeed baked, cut in slices and buttered, but according to the Lord's usual way he did for them what they could not do for themselves: he provided the substance from which they might make their bread. The distribution of the manna and its daily sending through a long period marks it as a miracle.
There are indeed other mannas from that desert of Arabia. One kind is exuded in drops from the tamarisk tree, and is a sweet, semi-fluid substance. The manna of commerce is an exudation from the flowering ash. But none of the known mannas of Arabia correspond to this described in Exodus: (1) The supply is very small and only at special seasons of the year; (2) they are unsuitable for food; (3) they can be kept indefinitely. The manna of the Israelites spoiled after twenty-four hours except that gathered on the sixth day, which corrupted not for forty-eight hours, leaving a rest from the gathering on the seventh day, the Sabbath. It was ground in mills, and baked as bread or stewed. By this miracle of the manna the Lord taught the Israelites faith in him as their great Provider.
To Spiritual Israelites there is a lesson in connection with the manna also: it is Scripturally called the "bread of angels," and again, the "bread of the mighty," and again, the "bread of heaven." (`Psa. 78:25`.) It was a food supplied by the Lord's providence. Our Lord Jesus tells us that he was the antitype of this bread--that it typified the life-giving qualities which he possessed and which he sacrificed on our behalf; that all the dying race might profit through his death and obtain a right to life eternal. Thank God that some of us have had the eyes of our understanding opened to hear the message of good tidings respecting its value. More than
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this, some of us have already tasted that the Lord is gracious, and we have already fed on this bread from heaven, rejoicing the while that it is not only for the First-born but for all Israel--for all who eventually shall desire to come into accord with our God. It was some of this manna that by divine direction was put into the golden pot which was hidden in the ark with the scroll of the Law under the golden mercy seat, typifying, illustrating, the immortality which the Lord has provided for the Church of the First-born, to whom he has sent the message, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna." (`Rev. 2:17`.) That incorruptible hidden manna in the golden pot represents the grace of God in the Church of the First-born, and teaches what is elsewhere plainly stated in the Scriptures, that the "little flock" shall enjoy the incorruptible life, immortality. While these will have inherent life, the remainder of God's creatures in their eternal perfection will instead of this have supplied to them eternal life.
"COME NEAR BEFORE THE LORD"
The lesson of faith was to be so impressed before the sending of the manna that its coming was foretold, and the Israelites were gathered to behold the glory of the Lord. They looked at the cloud which represented the Lord and which was caused to shine with resplendent glory. And as Aaron spoke to the congregation, telling them that their murmurings had been against the Lord and not against himself and Moses, and directing their attention to the cloud, behold, the glory, the brightness, of the Lord appeared in the cloud, and a message, saying, "I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them saying, At even shall ye eat flesh and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God." How patient was the Lord in his dealings with his people--full of compassion and of tender mercy. The people should have cried unto the Lord, "Give us this day our daily bread," but should not have murmured and stipulated that they wanted something as good as the flesh-pots of Egypt.
Many Spiritual Israelites may learn a lesson along this line. It is not for us to dictate to the Lord how he shall provide for us, but by faith to accept his provision according to his promises, and while waiting for the same to make our requests, make them unto the Lord--but always according to his will. "Thy will be done" should be the spirit of our hearts, and hence the spirit of our prayers. Our Father knoweth what things we have need of before we ask him, and he is more willing to give good gifts unto his children than are earthly parents to give good gifts to theirs.
"He that hath led will lead all through the wilderness;
He that hath fed will feed; he that hath blessed, will bless."
QUAIL ABOUT TWO CUBITS DEEP
Travelers tell us that in the spring of the year large flocks of quail frequently cross the Arabian Gulf of the Red Sea. They come in great flocks, and, wearied with their long flight across the water, they fly low, so as to be easily within the reach of man. Tristram says, "I have myself found the ground in Algeria in the month of April covered with quail for an extent of many acres at daybreak, where on the preceding afternoon there had been none." The reading of `Numbers 11:7` seems to imply that on this occasion the quail were nearly two cubits deep, and infidels have pointed to the fact as an absurdity. It would be entirely possible, however, for us to understand the narrative to signify that the great quantities of quail flew low, even within two cubits of the ground, thus insuring a large catch on the part of the flesh-hungry Israelites. The subsequent narrative indicates that the quail were not sent regularly, but only on rare occasions--so far as appears only here in the wilderness of Sinai and in the wilderness of Paran.-- `Numbers 11:31-34`.
The next morning after the shower of quail the Israelites had a new experience with the "corn from heaven." It came with the dew, and when the latter left the little grains of food were scattered all over the country side. Thenceforth it became a part of the regular labor of each family to gather its portion of the heavenly manna. The word manna
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is supposed to signify, What is it? Moses answered, "It is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat." What a constant reminder they would have, in the necessity for gathering this grain, grinding it, making bread of it, etc., of the Lord's providential care for their interests. How full of faith and loyalty to him they should have subsequently become --more and more as the days went by. We are, therefore, continually astonished to find evidences of lack of faith and a disposition to contamination with idolatry, etc. If all this seems strange to us we should allow it to make a deep impression upon our minds and apply it to ourselves. For have not we the true Bread that came down from heaven? and has not God so arranged our affairs and interests that it is quite necessary for us to go continually to the throne of the heavenly grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need? Nevertheless, is it not true that many find their hearts overcharged with the cares of this life, and that their faith in the Lord continually needs to be refreshed? How few there are who go regularly to the throne of grace to obtain their supply of daily refreshment! How few who belong to the New Creation realize that the New Creature needs daily bread as much as does the natural man.
The supply of manna was a beautiful figure of the supply of grace in Christ: it needed to be gathered daily; it would not keep over for succeeding days. The lesson of this would seem to be that those who accumulate much of God's grace and truth must also be dispensers of it. It is not provided with a view to the creation of a spiritual aristocracy. How often we have seen this exemplified: those who study the Word merely for themselves, and who do not commingle with the brethren and share their blessings, are not in the long run as much advantaged as we would have expected. Our gathering of the manna is to be day by day: our feeding on the heavenly bread is to be a continuous privilege, without which we will not have the strength for the journey of life; but with it we would be strong in the Lord, and may perchance be permitted to assist others by the dispensing of divine grace to them.
When our Lord declared himself to be the Bread from heaven, many of his hearers failed to comprehend the simile, and said, "This is a hard saying. Will this man give us of his flesh to eat?" They failed to see that our Lord personified the Truth, the great plan of God which centered in him, the life which he had come to give on behalf of the world, that we might live through him. To eat the flesh of Jesus literally would have merely produced flesh, but to eat of him in the sense of partaking of the blessings and mercies of God provided in him, and in the sense of appropriating his Spirit and disposition, is the proper thought. As we partake of our Lord's qualities they become ours, as we feed upon him in our hearts we become strong in faith and in all the graces of his Spirit. Let us then daily gather our portion of manna and daily seek to use it all, and realize that it will be our portion until we reach the heavenly Canaan. Surely then all the supply of divine grace experienced by the Lord's faithful should be stimulating to our faith and confidence in him who has called us from darkness into his marvelous light.
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THIS DOTH GOD REQUIRE
--`EXODUS 20:1-11`.--JULY 14.--
Golden Text:--Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
OUR lesson relates to the first four of the ten commandments delivered to the Israelites at Mount Sinai as the basis of the Covenant which the Lord made with the nation of Israel there. The journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai is about 150 miles, and with intermediate stops nearly fifty days were consumed in reaching it. We recall the leading experiences of these fifty days: (1) The passing at the Red Sea; (2) the making sweet the waters of Marah; (3) the rest at the wells of Elim near the palm grove; (4) the beginning of the supply of manna; (5) the smiting of the rock from which gushed waters for their refreshment--typical, as the Apostle tells us, of Christ and the life and refreshment which now come to spiritual Israelites by faith (`1 Cor. 10:4`); (6) the battle with the Amalekites, in which Israel, untrained to battle, was victorious, while Aaron and Hur upheld the hands of Moses and "the Lord fought for them"; (7) the organization of the nation by the appointment of seventy elders as judges under Moses.
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All of these experiences were designed of the Lord to prepare Israel for further blessings and mercies, and to make them typical of Spiritual Israel and the heavenly favors to be bestowed upon them in due time. When Moses said to Pharaoh that the Lord commanded that the people should go into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to him, it was but a vague statement of a great fact. The sacrifice which the Lord proposed was a consecration of themselves and all that they possessed to him and to his service. The experiences of the fifty days were calculated to establish faith in the Lord, and to ground and establish the hope of the Abrahamic Covenant under which they had essayed to leave Egypt to seek the promised land where the blessing would be granted. They had now arrived at the spot in the wilderness, at Mount Sinai, where God proposed to enter into covenant relationship with them. This was, therefore, the important epoch in their history. God proposed to adopt them as his people, and that Moses should be the mediator between him and them.
THE LAW COVENANT SEALED
The Law was read in the hearing of the elders and representatives of the people, and signified the terms and conditions upon which the Lord would grant them his special favor and blessing. If they would obey his statutes and keep his commandments he would make of them a great nation; he would give them prosperity of every kind; he who would do those things should live, and the blessing of the Lord would prosper his every interest. This implied eternal life, though it is doubtful if the faith of the people could fully grasp this part of the blessing. They all, however, could appreciate the fact that they were promised
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health and wealth if obedient to the Law. On the other hand, if disobedient it was to mean to them disease, national and individual sickness, pain, sorrow, poverty. They were called upon to take their stand once and forever. Would they be the Lord's people and nation and enter into this covenant, or would they not? They responded favorably; they declared, "These things will we do." But little did they appreciate the comprehensiveness of these divine commands --they saw only the outward aspect and not the spirit of the Law.
The Apostle assures us that it was impossible for them or for any other members of the imperfect race to fulfil the requirements of that Law in its real spirit and depth-- that the divine Law measures the full capacity of a perfect human being, and hence that no imperfect being, none of the fallen race, could possibly keep that Law. He says of it, "The commandment which was ordained to life, I [we Jews] found to be unto death." (`Rom. 7:10`.) This was not the fault of the Law, for, as the Apostle declares, the Law was just and perfect and good. It was the fault of the fall, because "there is none righteous, no not one," therefore there is none able to keep the perfect Law in its very spirit. This fact, however, was kindly veiled from the eyes of the Israelites that they might with the greater courage undertake to do their best and receive the full measure of possible blessing under the circumstances. God from the beginning foresaw the entire plan, and meant in this Law Covenant with Israel merely their blessing at the time, and to use them as a type of Spiritual Israel, who as the great antitypical Mediator will in due time provide for them the benefits of the New Covenant, which will make allowance for their imperfections, and during the Millennium bring them and all others of mankind who desire harmony with God back to full relationship with the Creator and to eternal life--destroying wilful evil-doers.
THE LAW COVENANT FOR ISRAEL ONLY
Much needless confusion prevails respecting the application of the Decalogue. Few seem to notice that it was the basis of the Covenant made with Israel, and that it included in its provisions, promises and penalties only the Jewish nation. Its commands had nothing whatever to do with the Egyptians or any other nation of that time or since, neither are they now applicable to Spiritual Israel. Even those Jews once under this Law Covenant needed to be freed from it before they could become espoused to Christ. The Apostle most distinctly states this, saying to the Jews that, so far as its blessings and opportunities were concerned, these ended at the cross of Christ, that Christ made an end of the Law Covenant, nailing it to the cross. (`Col. 2:14`.) He further shows us that every Jew who believed in Christ needed first to recognize the death or end of the Law Covenant under which he had previously been bound before he could become married to Christ, betrothed to Christ as a member of the Bride class, Spiritual Israel.
It will be remembered that the Apostle tells us that the Law Covenant was typified in Hagar, whose son Ishmael typified the Jewish nation under the bondage of the Law-- not free, not sons of God in the highest sense, not heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant. He points out that this higher position of the sons was represented in Isaac, whose mother, Sarah, represented the original Abrahamic Covenant, which God made 430 years before the Law Covenant was added at Mount Sinai. As Hagar, the bondservant, brought forth her son first, so Natural Israel was developed before Spiritual Israel: as later Sarah bore the true heir to Abraham, so later the Abrahamic Covenant bore the antitypical house of sons, Spiritual Israel, of which Jesus is the Head and the Spirit-begotten ones members. Our Lord also refers to this change of dispensation and shows that all who were of suitable condition of mind in the Jewish nation were privileged to be transferred from the Law Covenant and the Ishmael seed to the better Covenant, as members of the Isaac class, the house of sons. He says he came unto his own and his own received him not [as a nation], but to as many as received him, to them gave he liberty [power, privilege] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."--`John 1:12`.
If the ten commandments, the basis of the Jewish Covenant, were only given to that nation and not to the world, is the world without a covenant? We answer, Yes: the world never has been under any law of God, never has been recognized by God, whose time for dealing with the world is in the future under the terms of the New Covenant, at the hands of the greater Mediator than Moses, namely: Christ, Head and Body. Thus we read, "God has appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness." (`Acts 17:31`.) That day has not yet come, hence the world is not on trial, is not being judged, rewarded or punished. The day of the world's trial will as surely come as Natural Israel's time of favor and trial came when they were delivered from Egypt, and as surely as Spiritual Israel's day of favor and judgment came, beginning with our Lord and Pentecost.
Meantime, since the casting off of Natural Israel at the time of our Lord's crucifixion, God has been dealing only with Spiritual Israel, rewarding, punishing, chastising, etc., "every son whom he receiveth"--but not the world, whom he has not received nor entered into covenant relationship with. "The world still lieth in the wicked one," is still blinded by the "god of this world," is still under Adamic condemnation, and therefore still "children of wrath," to whom no favor is due until the inauguration of the Millennial Kingdom.
ALL COMMANDED TO REPENT
With the end of the Jewish Law Covenant, with the accomplishment of Christ's sacrifice at Calvary and the application of the merit thereof to the household of faith, all men everywhere were commanded to repent, and to know that God was prepared to give the trial or testing to all, to the intent that the willing and obedient might be adjudged worthy of everlasting life if assisted thereto through the Redeemer. The law of God was originally written in man's constitution in that he was created in the image and likeness of God, with the qualities of mind which would enable him to appreciate right and wrong, justice and injustice, and esteem righteousness. But the fall largely erased this law from the human heart, until today, in some of the more savage, only the merest trace of conscience and appreciation of right and wrong remain. Consequently the eyes of their
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understanding and the ears of their heart remain closed to the message that is now promulgated, urging all everywhere to repent and turn to the Lord. That this is true is demonstrated: our Lord called attention to the fact that few have ears to hear and eyes to see, and declared of some who received his message, "Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear." Furthermore, the promise is that eventually, during the Millennial age, all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears be unstopped.
"FULFIL THE LAW OF CHRIST"
The Decalogue is styled the Law of Moses because, as the Apostle declares, "The Law came by Moses, but grace and truth by Jesus Christ." The Jew who did not receive Christ did not receive the grace and truth, and the Christian who has received Christ and his grace and truth is "not under the Law [Covenant] but under grace." (`Rom. 6:14`.) The Law of Christ is a very different one from that of the ten commandments, and yet there is an agreement between them, because, though Moses' Law was given to the house of servants and the Law of Christ was given to the house of sons, both emanated from the Father and both are based
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upon his eternal law of righteousness.
No wonder, then, that there is a harmony between them. The Law of Christ is positive and is called a new commandment. It does not attempt to say what we shall not do, as did Moses' Law, but taking the positive form tells us what all of Christ's followers shall do, must do, in order to be acceptable to him. His law is that we shall love God and "love one another as I have loved you." Under this divine arrangement with the house of sons he that loveth not is not of God--"if any man have not the Spirit of Christ [the spirit of love] he is none of his," and if he have the spirit of love for God and consequently for his fellowmen he would not think of doing things forbidden the house of servants in the Decalogue. What was proper enough as a prohibition to the natural man would be wholly inappropriate to the members of the New Creation, the Body of Christ, who have been begotten of the holy Spirit of love. What an insult it would be to such to command them not to blaspheme God's name, not to worship other gods, not to kill, not to steal! Would God steal? would God murder? and would any who have been begotten of his Spirit have the wish or desire to do these things? Surely not! Hence the prohibitions contained in the ten commandments are not for the New Creation and were never given to them. As the Apostle declares, "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death"--the Mosaic Law.-- `Rom. 8:2`.
"MOSES GAVE YOU THE LAW"
These were Jesus' words, and he adds, "none of you keepeth it." (`John 7:19`.) They could not keep it, could not be justified by it. Do we then of the New Creation keep the still higher law of love? and if so, how? The Scriptures answer--"The righteousness of the Law [its requirements --full obedience] is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit"--who are striving to the best of our ability to be in harmony with the very essence of the divine will, Love. Not that we can walk up to the spirit of the Law, but that when we walk after it with our best endeavors God counts it unto us as though we walked up to its requirements--the merit of Christ our Lord and Head being imputed to and compensating for all our unwilling imperfections.
Nevertheless, although we are not under the Mosaic Law, we--the New Creatures, begotten of the holy Spirit and accepted in the Beloved under the Covenant of grace-- may gain valuable lessons from an examination of the Law of Moses, because the study of it will open wider and wider the eyes of our understanding to see what are the particular and exact requirements of the divine law and our own natural shortcomings. Our study of the Law, however, will not bring to us condemnation, for we remember that we are not under the Law but under grace--not condemned because unable to fulfil every requirement of the Law, but justified before God and the Law through the merit of Jesus when we put forth our best efforts to the accomplishment of the divine will. In the declarations of the Law designed for Natural Israel we see the outlines of the perfect will of God, and the more clearly we discern this the more it will enable us to fulfil the desires of our hearts and to come into fuller accord with God's perfect will in thought, word and deed.
THE FIRST TWO COMMANDMENTS
God properly puts himself first, for he is first, head, chief over all beings and all things, and to him properly belongs their homage, their reverence, and only as mankind come to realize this do they approximate the spirit of a sound mind. The Israelites had been in contact with idolatry in Egypt, and would again be in contact with it when they entered Canaan. The first lesson they were to learn was, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one"--Jehovah-- and "thou shalt have no other gods before me." No other rulers of any kind were to be allowed to usurp the place and honor of the great Ruler, nor should they attempt to make any likeness of the true God, for a true representation of him could not be made. They were to bow down to nothing in the sky or on the earth or in the waters as an object of worship, but were to recognize the true God as the invisible one, whose energy and power are everywhere present throughout the universe. Disregard of this command would bring upon them trouble, for God would not consider it a light thing, but would visit the iniquities upon them to the third and fourth generations of those despising him, and would show mercy unto thousands of those loving him and keeping his commandments. The application of this commandment to Natural Israel is very evident; its language is simplicity itself. What lessons can Spiritual Israelites draw from this command given to Natural Israel?
We can, as the Apostle urges, keep our hearts from idols; we are not in danger of making idols of wood or stone or metal in the image of God. We have too thoroughly gotten rid of the ignorance and superstition engendered by the fall to take such a course; but we should remember how natural it is for us to turn the organs of reverence and worship into improper channels, and to give a measure of worship to children or parents or husband or wife or minister; or to have such an appreciation of and desire for honor of men as to reverence their gift of office, or to have such a love for money and the honors and blessings it will give as
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to become Mammon worshipers. Thus we may draw valuable lessons from what the Lord said to the house of servants, and although we cannot apply the letter of the commandment to the sons, the latter can get blessings from the spirit of it.
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
The command, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain," was evidently very appropriate as a limitation upon the Jews, the house of servants. It forbade profane swearing of every kind, and would be proper for the natural man everywhere and always. Why should any profane the name of the Almighty? Why should not all the world fear so wrong a course? This taking of God's name in vain would include perjury, false swearing, which has always been punished by all civilized peoples. Under the Jewish Law an offender was to be punished with the very penalty which his perjury was intended to prevent. It was punished by the Egyptians with death or mutilation, and by the Greeks with a heavy fine, and ultimately with the loss of civil rights. In the world the man who uses the name of the Deity profanely is properly esteemed to be no gentleman--to be coarse, rude, vulgar. It may well be noted here, however, that nothing in this command even among the Jews would have hindered them from the taking of a legal oath before a court of law. Such oaths are not profane nor taking the Lord's name in vain. They are merely affirmations in public that the thing said is the truth as God knows it to be the truth.
What lesson may the Spiritual Israelite learn from this commandment? We reply that none who are Israelites indeed, begotten of the spirit of love for God, would need any command not to blaspheme his name by profane swearing. We can make still more deep and suitable application of the command, however: we who have accepted Christ, who have vowed the full consecration of all we have and are to the Lord, have been begotten of his Spirit, and been told that we may consider him our Father and ourselves his children--we should realize that in one sense of the word we have taken upon us the name of the Lord. Just the same as a child adopted into a family takes the name of the family, so we have taken upon ourselves the name of the sons of God in accepting the divine proposition to this effect. As we accepted this holy relationship with a realization of what it signifies--"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (`1 John 3:2`)--having confessed this relationship before man, it is for us to show and for them and the Lord to see whether it has been in vain or with a sincere heart. If the latter, we will to the extent of our ability be showing forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light, and this thought will help to hold us firm and loyal to our obligations to the Lord and his truth, and to all the members of the household of faith, to each of whom we have become related through this spirit of adoption. In line with this the Apostle exhorts, "See that ye receive not the grace of God in vain." (`2 Cor. 6:1`.) Our adoption into the Lord's family in the present life is merely on probation. If faithful the matter will be confirmed, and we will be granted our perfect bodies in the First Resurrection and a share with our Redeemer in his glory, honor and immortality. If we receive this relationship in vain sin lieth at the door, and we will be excluded from the family in glory whatever may be our portion either in the Great Company of `Rev. 7` or wherever.
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT TO ISRAEL
In this command the Lord set apart the seventh day in each week that thereon the people should do no work. This would be a blessing to them in giving rest from toil and opportunity for recuperating and for thoughts of him who had made this provision for their necessities. The command contained no obligation to do good, to preach, to teach, nor even to receive instructions on this day. It merely commanded rest, leaving it to the individual Jew to determine how he would employ his own time. By general
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consent, however, the nation seemed to recognize the propriety of devoting the Sabbath day to consideration of the divine Law and the precious promises, and even to the prophecies. The appointment of the day was in the interest of all; to the poor it would mean protection from the greed of capital, and to the enterprising and prosperous it would mean a break upon their selfish propensities--the acknowledgment of the Lord and of the interests of their fellow-creatures. With the command was a reminder that in some respects it resembled the course of Jehovah, who, after six creative epochs, "rested on the seventh." The lesson to Natural Israel was plainly evident; what does this command impart to Spiritual Israel?
We might be at a loss to know what lesson would be in this commandment for us did not the Lord through the Apostle make the matter very clear, assuring us that the Sabbath rest of the Jewish nation was typical of the higher and better rest of the house of sons. The Israelites were obliged to rest every seventh day, every seventh year and every jubilee year, that they might make a type of a better rest which God provided, and which would be entered into first by Spiritual Israel and subsequently by Natural Israel and the whole world. The Apostle explains this matter in `Hebrews 4`, where he speaks of a rest [Sabbath] into which the Spiritual Israelites now enter, represented by the Sabbath day of the Jew, and also of another rest that remaineth for the people of God which we should fear to come short of, namely, the great Sabbath, the Millennial Kingdom--the seventh thousand-year period.
As elsewhere more fully pointed out,* Israel's day Sabbaths every year pointed to a culmination, for following the Passover they counted seven times seven days, which brought them to the fiftieth day or Pentecost. As the Passover typified the death of Christ, so their fiftieth day pointed out the full complete rest or Sabbath of the present time, into which the Spiritual Israelites entered at Pentecost, when they received from the Father through the Lord Jesus the holy Spirit, which indicated that their sins were covered and that they were accepted of the Father as New Creatures, begotten of the holy Spirit. So all followers of Jesus from that time to the present, when begotten of the holy Spirit, are accepted into this rest of faith, and, ceasing from all hope of self-justification, accept Christ as the end of the Law
*MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. VI.
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for righteousness, and the imputation of his merit as the full satisfaction for their sins and reconciliation with the Father. Only those who have had this experience have ever kept the real antitypical Sabbath. And so long as they maintain this faith and trust they are fulfilling the antitype of the Sabbath day given to Natural Israel.
This, as the Apostle explains, excludes works and the Jewish Law as a basis of reconciliation to God, and accepts instead the blood of Christ; but it does not exclude works as manifestations of our love, thankfulness and devotion to God in view of his mercy in the forgiveness of our sins. On the contrary, our faith and hope and trust without the works of thankfulness would, the Apostle assures us, soon die, for a faith not manifested by endeavors to do right would not have the divine approval. Indeed, the measure of our rest in the Lord and his finished work will depend largely upon the measure of our thankfulness and appreciation, and the latter will manifest itself in loving devotion to him and the righteousness which he represents.
Thus has God bound together our faith and obedience to the extent of our ability and the rest or Sabbath which we may enjoy. He who lacks this rest lacks the evidence that he is an Israelite indeed and in covenant relationship with God through Christ. He who has this rest of heart has in it a foretaste, an assurance, of the perfect rest of the future. For if now we can rest by faith, notwithstanding the besetments of the flesh and the Adversary under present adverse conditions, how gloriously we will rest by and by, when that which is perfect shall have come, not only in our own change to the Lord's character-likeness, but in the change of all the outward environments which will then be accomplished. On the other hand, the hope and faith respecting a future rest or Sabbath is without foundation if we do not enjoy the present rest by faith, if the peace of God which passeth all understanding is not ours.
We are not in this repudiating the observance of a day of rest every week, but we are repudiating any demands of the fourth commandment upon Spiritual Israelites as respects any day of the week, for that commandment was not given to us but to Natural Israel. Ours is the higher commandment. Nevertheless we are to recognize as of divine oversight and permission the fact that a weekly Sabbath day is enjoined by a civil law throughout Christendom. We rejoice in such a privilege, and consider it a great mercy to the natural man that he has thus by law a portion of time set apart for rest, with the privilege and opportunity for mental improvement. This wonderful privilege and blessing should be especially appreciated by all those who enjoy the higher light of Present Truth. If it is a privilege for the world to have one day in seven for rest from physical toil, how much more is it a blessing to those whose eyes and ears of understanding are gradually opening more and more to the heavenly things! We could use profitably two or three Sabbaths every week for the study of the divine Word and for building one another up in the most holy faith.
We trust that with this view clearly before our minds none will use his knowledge on this subject to his own injury, to his own loss, nor to the breaking down of an institution which, however falsely based in the minds of the public, is so great a blessing to all and almost indispensable to us who are seeking to walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. By obedience to the laws of the State respecting abstinence from labor and business we not only set a good example in letter and in spirit as obedient to the powers that be, but we strengthen our influence for the Truth as lovers of law and order and righteousness, and thus furnish ourselves with better opportunities for presenting to those who have the spiritual sight and hearing the true significance of the Sabbath to the Israelite indeed.
While this Sabbath-keeping of rest is especially for the consecrated, as the Jew commanded that his children and his servants were similarly to rest, so all who come under our influence, either as our children or employes, should be influenced by our rest and be partakers of our trust and confidence in God--through our knowledge of him, which they could only partially appreciate.
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A "SCAPE-GOAT" QUERY
WHY is it that after telling of the Atonement Day sacrifices and of the application of their blood--the first for the sins of the priest and his house or the Levitical family and the second "for the sins of all the people"--
we read of the confessing of the trespasses of the people on the head of the Scape-goat? What sins would
after the atonement for all with the blood?
We reply that the antitypical sacrifices of the Atonement Day for the sins of all the people cancel all of the Adamic guilt and condemnation for all; and this includes all hereditary sins and blemishes. None of these sins remain to be confessed over the head of the Scape-goat.
But there are other sins of measurable wilfulness committed against a measure of light and knowledge. These are not Adamic and are not covered by the sin offerings. It is these sins and trespasses that are represented as put upon the Scape-goat class--the "Great Company." In the antitype, shortly to be enacted, the "great company" will be allowed to suffer for some of the partly wilful sins of the world--especially "Babylon's."
Glancing back to the "harvest" of the Jewish Age we see there a picture of what is coming here. There the Jewish people, cast off from divine favor, went into an awful time of trouble. And our Lord, referring to that trouble, said, "Upon you shall come [the penalty for] all the righteous blood shed upon the earth--from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias. ...Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon
Similarly, all the blood of God's holy ones, from the beginning of this Gospel Age, will be required of the present generation, and will bring about the great "time of trouble, such as was not since there was a nation." The martyrs of the past, "the souls under the altar," are represented as crying out symbolically for
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this vindication of Justice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge the world and avenge our blood upon them that dwell on the earth." They were bid wait until others, their brethren, should be killed similarly, when the guilt for all would be avenged.--`Rev. 6:9-11`.
Why require the full payment for all the wrongs of the ages at their closing?--is it asked?
Because the chief light of each age comes at its close, and because those who sin against such light are worthy of more severe judgment than similar evildoers preceding them who had less light.
It was on this principle that our Lord charged the Jews of his day, who opposed the true light, with being more guilty than all their predecessors who had persecuted the just. And on the same principle he declares to us, "Come out of her ['Babylon'], my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her
Those who remain in Babylon now, in the light of Present Truth, are endorsers of Babylon and indirectly endorsers of all of her past wrong doing. And to endorse the wrongs of the past in the light of the present is to double the responsibility and to deserve the plagues of the whole, is the Scriptural argument.
Let us, then, see that in the Scape-goat type the Lord pictures the sending into the "wilderness" of isolation and persecution the "Great Company," who after consecration were unwilling to go voluntarily "outside the camp, bearing the reproaches" of the Christ. They shared not in the sin-atonement, but will be permitted, yea forced, to bear the weight of the world's sins and thus to become dead to the world--that their spirit-being may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Many, many thanks indeed for your kindness in sending me reading matter which I appreciate far more than words or pen can tell.
I now feel like a new person altogether since reading the TOWER and tracts. I was brought up a Catholic and was, therefore, kept in ignorance of the divine Truth. I no longer feel afraid to read the Bible, as through your kindness and charity in sending me the reading you have I now see everything in a new, more reasonable and loving light. With many, many thanks, I am, V. K.,--
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I am meeting with larger success than ever before in getting people to read Vol. I by using the following two simple plans:
(1) I fold the 5c DAWN and carry it in my hip-pocket under my coat. When I find someone that I can interest, I immediately tell him I have a book I have been reading and pull out the copy. I then give him a regular Colporteur's canvass as though to sell it to him but finally loan it to him under his promise to read and return when through with it. Loaning it gives me the right to look it up after a lapse of time.
(2) Carrying several 5c copies in this way and canvassing house after house, beginning right next door to my house, I get the right party by inquiring, "Is there anyone here who is specially interested in the Bible?" My object is to get Vol. I in the hands of the most religiously inclined person in each house. I loan it saying I will call after two or three weeks. The call gives an opportunity to water seed or to secure the book. Right in my own block I have found about six or seven interested readers already. There is nothing like being prepared.
Your brother, G. H. F.,--
MY DEAR BROTHER:--
Having just read the article under the heading, "She hath done what she could," I was moved to lay the paper down and write you. Of course, I will not be able while in the flesh to express my feelings while reading and weeping as I realized that I could not wash my dear Redeemer's feet. Oh how I longed that I could have the honor of washing yours. Yes, I got the ready consent of my mind that I could so joyfully go through the Bible House bathing the feet of each member of the same, even if it required the entire night till dawn. For a time I felt I was unfortunate in not having an opportunity to bathe the feet of some dear brother tonight. Then I was made to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory that I had in some sense bathed the feet-members of Christ with tears. All glory and honor be to him for such ecstacies of peace and joy even while in the flesh.
Bless the Lord, oh my soul, for ZION'S WATCH TOWER. If such is the sweetness of the streams, what must the fountain be? If such joys are lavished upon us here, what must it be to be there?
Dear brother, enclosed find an increased "Good Hopes" offering as a token of my increased love.
Your brother in the faith, J. T. B.,--
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Love and greetings! It was too cold here to do very much colporteur work this winter, but what I could do has been a great blessing to me and we will leave results to the Lord.
He has richly blessed the work the past year. Several have, through books it was my privilege to carry, already come out of Babylon and are rejoicing in the Lord and his Truth.
The past year has been one of the happiest I have known since engaging in the work, as it has been so full of opportunities of service. Pray for me that I may prove worthy of the vocation to which I am called. You are all remembered daily by me at the throne of grace.
Brother K., who is one of the Cleveland class, has sold fifteen volumes since January 1. These he sold to people with whom he comes in contact in his business. Reading the last year's report was what made him want to have a share in the harvest work.
Oh that all could see what a privilege it is to engage in some way to spend and be spent in the service of the Lord. May the Lord's blessing be with you all in rich measure.
Yours in the one hope, T. B.,--