Question.—Since I find that the approaching time of trouble will mean anarchy and the destruction of all values, I feel little disposed to put forth energy for more than life's necessities. Is this right or wrong?
It is our opinion that the disorders prevailing during the time of anarchy will render title to property null and void, so far as transfer or sale will be concerned. Nevertheless, it would not be unreasonable to expect that a home of modest appearance would as likely be respected as anything. Rents and mortgages, we think, would be of little account as a reliance for income. Similarly, insurance will probably be of little value; the mutual societies failing first when the "hard times" come, and thus assisting in bringing the anarchy. People who are learning to depend on such assistance will be the more despondent and desperate when this reliance fails.
But all this, while it should properly hinder us from having the world's spirit of land and money hunger, should not hinder us from reasonable energy in our business; for surely, even if money would lose all value at that time, there is still opportunity for using it wisely in the Lord's service in the interim, and should we not thus to some extent be conforming our course to the Master's words, when he admonished that we lay up treasures in heaven, where it will be safe?
Question.—If the dead are dead, and an awakening, a reanimation, is necessary to future consciousness, in what way should we understand our Lord's comments on God's words to Moses, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob"—"Not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live unto him?"—Luke 20:37,38.
Answer.—This is to be understood from the standpoint mentioned by the Apostle when he tells us that the believers should not sorrow for their dead friends, as do others, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, let us also believe that those who sleep in Jesus will God bring [from the dead] by him." While the original sentence was not that man should sleep, in Jesus or otherwise, but that he should utterly die, lose all life and all rights to life, yet God shows us that it was his plan from the very beginning to provide a Redeemer, and that in the redemption sacrifice the ransom would be paid and mankind be released from the original sentence. It was in view of this plan that God spoke to all the faithful of the times past respecting his purposes. Thus it was that he said to Moses that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the God who had made promises to these that would surely be fulfilled, promises which declared that in them and their seed all the families of the earth would be blessed, promises, therefore, which implied their awakening from the dead, and which implied, therefore, that from the divine standpoint they were not extinct, not annihilated, but merely resting in death until the due time should come, mentioned by Job, when he says, "O that thou wouldst hide me in the grave until thy wrath be overpast; then thou shalt call and I will answer thee, for thou wilt have a desire unto the work of thy hands." (Job 14:13,15.) The "wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness" now, and has been so revealed ever since father Adam's transgression. It is revealed and may be seen in all the sickness and pain and trouble and dying, and just as the Apostle says, makes of the world in general a "groaning creation, travailing in pain together, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God"—waiting for the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom, under Christ the Head and the Church his brethren, his bride, his body.
Our Lord was answering the Sadducees, who deny that there will be any resurrection of the dead, and he offered this testimony in proof, not that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were not dead, but in proof that there would be a resurrection for them, which would have been an impossibility had they become, as the Sadducees claimed, extinct. Our Lord, in other words, tells us that all those who are in harmony with him are not, in his estimation, dead, in the full sense of the word dead, but merely for the time being sleeping and waiting until the morning. As the prophet declares, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning"—the resurrection morning. Had it not been his plan to have a resurrection, God would not have referred to Abraham and others in such a manner as he did.