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IN A recent issue we mentioned a Brother in Australia, once tenderly referred to in these columns as "our beloved son Timothy," who has apparently gone blind respecting spiritual things. We noted that he had broken out into print to proclaim that for seventeen years, as he now sees it, he labored under the delusions of our teachings, and to apologize for having done his best to re-echo the same. Poor man! We wonder if his wife induced him to write so foolishly? Yet all those seventeen years both he and his wife have proclaimed were the most blessed years of their Christian experience, the years of their best growth in grace and knowledge. Now they declare that what they then believed was the very key to the Divine Plan of the Ages, was a false key—namely "the mystery"—that the Church, the Body of Christ, is to be sharer with her Lord in his glory, by virtue of being privileged "to partake of his sufferings," "to be dead with him"; "For if we suffer with him, we shall reign with him; if we be dead with him, we shall live with him." This "mystery," this key to the understanding of the Divine Plan, they now declare to be the rankest error—so rank that it makes the Editor of this journal and the thousands rejoicing in this Truth and the light which it sheds upon the Divine Word amenable to the Second Death.
It is truly remarkable what a twist can come into the human mind when once it cuts loose from the cord of Truth saying, "Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us." Fancying that they have themselves gotten out of Second Death conditions (from which it is impossible to renew anybody), they are now intent upon helping all of "The Watch Tower" readers out of this same Second Death condition; reasoning, doubtless, that if they could escape after seventeen years, others who have come in more recently might have as good a chance; but of course there would be no chance for the Editor of "The Watch Tower" left alone. Poor him!
Still filled with this notion, the same Brother and Sister have issued a leaflet entitled, "Wake Up!" Having gotten "awake" themselves they are anxious to awaken others—to what? Presumably to the condition they were in seventeen years ago, when first they came into the light of Present Truth shining from this Journal and its subsidiary publications. We assure this dear Brother and Sister that seventeen years ago, and since, all in our power has been done to awaken them and all of the dear "household of faith" everywhere. We believe that they were awakened and that now they have gone asleep again and are merely dreaming in their sleep—having a nightmare experience. Would that we knew how to properly awaken them, that they might comprehend their present experience as nocturnal hallucinations. We wish to say again, however, that if anybody knows of a better interpretation of God's Word than that which we present, we advise him by all means to accept it. More than this, if anyone has thoroughly examined our presentations of the Divine Plan and does not find his heart and his head at rest and his longings satisfied as nothing else could do, we advise him or her to search further. As for ourself, we can only say that we are so satisfied with the Divine Plan that we could not part with a single feature of it. During the thirty-five years of the harvest time in which we have been proclaiming [R4473 : page 277] these truths, we have had nothing to discard, nothing to reject as erroneous. On the other hand, our pathway, as promised, has been shining more and more as it led onward. No steps have needed to be retraced. We have no expectation that the Lord leads his people in a wrong way for thirty-five years, nor for seventeen years, and will then need to wake them up to retrace their steps. On the contrary, "Our King is marching on!" and all who are following him will continue to find that he leads in a right way and that their "pathway shineth more and more unto the perfect day."
Someone may ask, Do you, then, claim infallibility and that every sentence appearing in "The Watch Tower" publications is stated with absolute correctness? Assuredly we make no such claim and have never made such a claim. What motive can our opponents have in so charging against us? Are they not seeking to set up a falsehood to give themselves excuse for making attacks and to endeavor to pervert the judgments of others? Did Moses or Aaron or Joshua or David or Solomon or any of the prophets ever make such a claim for themselves? Or would anybody make such a claim for them? The very suggestion is absurd. The most we could claim for the best of them would be that they were loyal to God in their hearts, that they sought to do his will and to be guided by his Word and providences, and that God did make use of them in one way and another for the service of his cause and the blessing and instruction of his people. What need would we have to claim more than this for "The Watch Tower"?
In the above we are not instituting comparisons as to the degree of use or usefulness of the parties named. Some the Lord used more and some he used less. Some made fewer mistakes and others more. We are merely pointing out the unreasonable position taken by our opponents. The degree of their heart disloyalty to God and unbrotherliness toward us, which impels them to make such unkind and untruthful presentations, is not for us to determine. They are not our servants. We are neither responsible for their utterances, nor competent to determine the degree of their sin or the proper punishment therefor. They profess to be servants of Christ, as do we, and to the Master each of us must give an account. Nay, since we are in the day of accounting, it is but proper for us to understand that each one is now giving an account and that the Lord is saying to each, "Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee." (Luke 19:22.) The merciful, kind, loving, may expect mercy; they are of the kind to whom the Lord has promised the [R4473 : page 278] riches of his grace. The unmerciful, the bitter, the hard, the cruel, may not expect mercy. They have not the heart development which would make them proper subjects for mercy. They are in that condition which, for their own good, will necessitate their being cast into the outer darkness of the world, where shortly there will be much wailing and chagrin and gnashing of teeth and disappointment in the great time of trouble with which this age will close. This tribulation will be with a view to melting their hearts and sweetening their characters; or, failing of this, will mean to such the Second Death.
(1) They claim that we have improperly applied Matthew 24:45, etc., to "The Watch Tower" publications and that, upon that assumed authority, we have sought to take away the liberties of the Church and to "lord it" over God's heritage. We reply, Not so. Not until our Sept. 15 issue, were even the counter claims re Matt. 24:45, presented in these columns. Those applications were made by our enemies as something they could combat. And the more they have combatted their supposed man of straw, the more they have shown up their own impotence and the truth of the proposition they wished in advance to discredit. Thus our opponents have called attention to a matter which our modesty would have hindered our mentioning. The more they have attacked our position the larger is the number who have realized its truthfulness.
(2) When the above argument goes against them our opponents next declare that if "The Watch Tower" be recognized as "that servant" of Matthew 24:45, then they believe that verses 48-51 should be expected to have fulfilment upon us. The wish of their minds is father to the thought—that they see the dreadful things of these verses fulfilled in us. By hook or crook they must seek to prove that "The Watch Tower" now claims that the Lord delayeth his coming. They must try to prove that "The Watch Tower" is smiting its "fellow-servants" and gluttonously eating and drinking with drunken Babylon. An evil mind and a large imagination can prove anything to its own satisfaction, just as the scribes and Pharisees, at our Lord's First Advent, accused him of being a gluttonous person and wine bibber, keeping company with prostitutes and the lower orders of society, with which they would have nothing to do. Just so they claimed that he was "Beelzebub, the Prince of devils." He was charged with blasphemy and executed as a criminal. His words to us forewarn us to expect similarly false accusations and cruel treatment, for "the servant is not above his Master." To these charges we reply:—
We are by no means affiliating with Babylon and no one appreciates that fact or would substantiate our claim more thoroughly than Babylon herself. We have not smitten the brethren. The files of "The Watch Tower" for thirty years prove this. Even our enemies are referred to in kindly and generous terms. On the contrary, those acquainted with the facts know that both publicly and privately "false brethren" have smitten us on both cheeks, as well as backbitten us, slandered us and done everything mean and contemptible and contrary to the Spirit of the Lord. We have committed our case to the Lord; or, rather, we have recognized that our case is the Lord's. We are confident that we are doing his will in not rendering evil for evil nor slander for slander, but contrariwise, blessings in return for injuries. We continue to do all in our power to hold forth the Truth in its glorious beauty, that, peradventure, not only its friends will be the more charmed and blessed, but that possibly some of its enemies may be recovered from their folly.
To the charge that we have boasted and that we have sought and are seeking to bring the people of God under bondage to human systems, we reply: These charges are surely false, so far as our heart is concerned, as the Lord knows our heart. It is wholly his for use in his service for the promulgation of his Truth, for the blessing of his people. Moreover, we believe that all the facts of the case viewed by any conscientious mind, fully, thoroughly and permanently contradict the claims of our opponents. Our publications continually set before God's people the Divine standard, the Bible. They uphold it as no other writings in the world do. They appeal to it on every occasion for the answer to every question for the instruction of God's people in every particular, as no other publications do, so far as we are aware. If there are any other publications on earth which so clearly set forth the rights of the Church as against all popes, bishops, clergy, and their enslaving tendencies, we have no knowledge of them and would be gratified to see them and to know that others have either equaled or surpassed our efforts to have God's people know the Truth, that the Truth should make them free.
Indeed, we have wondered if our faithfulness to the Church in pointing out the liberties and authority of the ecclesia, and that pastors, elders and deacons are the servants of the Church, and not her lords, may not be the very reason why some of the elders and leaders amongst them seem especially opposed to "Scripture Studies," Vol. VI. Some instances have been brought to our attention in which the liberties of the Church have been usurped by the leaders who, wishing to maintain the usurpation, have tried to hinder the Lord's flock from hearing the Shepherd's voice telling them their proper course from "The Watch Tower." It is not for us to judge any. "The Lord will judge his people." It is for us to forewarn all with whom we have influence that the nearer they get individually, and as classes and Churches, into exact harmony with the teachings of the Lord's Word, in that same proportion will they be ready and able to stand the crucial tests that are upon us now.
May we suggest that to our understanding the special trials of this "hour of temptation" begin with the leaders and progress more and more amongst those who have been called out of darkness into God's marvelous light? Later on this will reach the clergy of the nominal Church and its laity, and eventually, the wholly unregenerate masses. The Apostle's words represent well our own sentiments toward all with whom we have influence, namely, "Remember, that by the space of [thirty] years I ceased not to warn every one night and day."—Acts 20:31.
It is charged against us that our teachings on vital truths have changed and that still we are sending out to the public "Scripture Studies" which give forth our former teachings and that thus we are guilty of dishonesty. Our opponents ought to be glad if this were true, for they give the impression that they agree with the publications as they are going forth, but would disagree with them if they were changed. This is another case of "deceiving and being deceived." Our opponents wish for something to quarrel about and to charge against us; so they seize upon this matter, which we will shortly show is a subterfuge, and misrepresentation, whether from misunderstanding or not is not for us to judge. It will be noticed, however, that so far from loving the "Scripture Studies" and trying to buy up a whole edition of them in their present form and before any changes are made, these opponents have no love for the "Scripture Studies," are not circulating them [R4474 : page 278] at all, and many of them have been adverse to them for some time and merely awaited an opportunity and an excuse for striking a murderous blow at "The Watch Tower"—"that servant."
The fact is that we are teaching no new doctrine and disowning no old doctrine. And we debated for a time whether or not it would be worth while at all to make the very few changes in "Scripture Studies" necessary to bring them up to the light of the present moment. We finally concluded that it would be wise to make these [R4474 : page 279] few changes. We did not think worth while to mention the trifling changes to those who are readers of "The Watch Tower," but since the subject has been brought up by our opponents we shall take pleasure in showing forth the slight changes that have been deemed expedient. Our readers will be surprised to note their nothingness. Our opponents, anxious to justify themselves and to scatter error and to interrupt the harvest work (which they cannot do), have seized upon these points of clearer light and sought to make out of them something great, revolutionary, opposed to everything before presented; opposed to Christ; opposed to the Ransom; opposed to everything that is good and holy. To effect this end they are ready to twist and turn and double upon their own track times out of number. Their "midnight howl" might well be, "Anything for a cudgel wherewith the beat 'that servant,' and to kill him, as far as spiritual influence is concerned, and to get possession of the Vineyard!"
Perhaps it would be dignifying these opponents too much to ask if they are amongst the princes who counsel together and at whom "the Lord shall laugh and have them in derision."—Psa. 2:2-4.
We have always held that Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant. We have always held that the Church is the Body of The Christ. We have always held that the New Covenant will go into effect with Israel and with the world through Israel at the Second Coming of our Lord, after the Church shall have gone up into Mt. Zion—into the spiritual Kingdom in the power of the First Resurrection—"His Resurrection." We have always held that this Mediator, Jesus the Head, and the Church his Body, will stand between God and the world of mankind during the Millennium—that the world will have no intercourse with God, the Father, until after the Messiah, the Mediator, "that great Prophet," antitypical of Moses, shall have accomplished for Israel and the world all the blessed provisions of the New Covenant. We are still holding and still teaching all these things.
We have always held that the Church, as the Body of Christ, partakes with him of Divine favor on the spirit plane as heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant—not as heirs of the Law Covenant, nor as heirs of the New Covenant. (Gal. 3:29.) We still hold this. We have always held and still hold that natural Israel cannot attain to Divine blessings under the Law Covenant and that the privileges and hopes of that Covenant all passed away when Jesus inherited all of its blessings and rights at his death and in his resurrection. We have held and still hold that the Law Covenant, although devoid of any power to give life or blessings to the Jew, is still a bondage upon that people and will continue upon them, and that the only way that they can get out from under its sentence of death is either by accepting Christ as their husband now, and becoming his associates in the spiritual Kingdom as members of the Church, or else by participating as a nation in the blessings of the New Covenant, which will be opened to them at our Lord's Second Advent, when the Church is complete and when the New Covenant will go fully into effect.
What, then, is the difference?—what then the enlightenment on the pathway which we now see and to which our opponents find an opportunity for declaring hostilities long rankling in their bosoms? This: Recognizing that the New Covenant will during the Millennium bless Israel and all nations with Restitution privileges, human perfection, etc., we formerly assumed that in some sense, which we could not explain, its influence came in advance to the Gospel Church during this Age, giving us justification or Restitution to human rights through faith, instead of actually, as the world will have these during the Millennium. This view was essentially right, but not in every particular. The fact is that, as the Scriptures say, we are "justified by faith," and not by any Covenant. The New Covenant has nothing whatever to do with justification by faith. Under it the glorified Christ will grant to Israel and the world, not a reckoned restitution, but an actual one, through works which they will be assisted to perform.—Rev. 20:13.
We now see still more clearly than before that the New Covenant and its Mediator is the Divine provision between God and the sinful world only. We see that God, during the present age, is calling for a special class who have the eye of faith, the ear of appreciation and the heart of obedience—"even as many as the Lord your God shall call." He calls no others than these. By his providences and his Word he calls them to accept Jesus as their Redeemer, through whom alone by justifying faith the Father may deal with them, and accept them as "members of the Anointed." Through faith in the Redeemer (not through any Covenant) he offers these the privileges of consecrating their reckoned earthly rights and their share in the resurrection or restitution blessings coming to the world. He proposes that such as accept this arrangement may be counted in with Christ as sharers in his sufferings and as dying as his members, and may be rewarded with a share with him on the heavenly plane as members of the promised Seed of Abraham. When now we look at the Lord's Word we find that we were confusing our vision by trying to apply the New Covenant to ourselves and by supposing that it had anything whatever to do with justification by faith or that justification by faith needed any Covenant.
We can see now that the New Covenant is not in operation yet; hence the Mediator of the New Covenant is not performing his work under that Covenant yet. His first work will be to seal the Covenant. We saw before that all the blessing, all the resurrection life, all the future opportunities to any member of Adam's race must come through the precious blood of Christ and that it, therefore, must contain the value which will ultimately seal the New Covenant and secure its blessings to Israel and the world. We still see this, but we see that our Lord, instead of at once applying his blood to seal the New Covenant, did something very different. He applied it for the sins of the "household of faith," who, during the Gospel Age, would believe in him and make consecration of themselves to the Father's service and be begotten of the holy Spirit. For over eighteen centuries his blood has been efficacious for these and for these alone and has brought to these and to these alone reckoned restitution rights. Israel did not receive actual restitution because their New (Law) Covenant, which provides for this, has not yet been sealed.
Evidently the New Covenant was not sealed at our Lord's First Advent, although Jesus there, as "the Mediator of the New Covenant," shed his precious blood, necessary to its sealing. Yet Jesus surely has not given up the office of Mediator of the New Covenant which he undertook. He has not refused to apply his blood to the sealing of the New Covenant. He is merely doing something else first, in harmony with the Father's will from before the foundation of the world.—2 Pet. 1:2,3.
Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant, tarries before he mediates that New Covenant, to gather together the "very elect," who are to constitute his members, his Body, his joint-heirs, in the Millennial glory and mediatorial work. He is the Messenger or servant of the New Covenant and each one of the Church now being called and chosen becomes an underservant and messenger of the New Covenant. As St. Paul declares, "He hath made us able ministers (servants) of the New Covenant." (2 Cor. 3:6.) This work of qualifying the Church, the members of the Body of the Mediator, prepares them for a future service in helping Israel and the world under and through the terms of the New Covenant. And additionally St. Paul and the other Apostles and each of the Lord's faithful ones are ministers or servants of this New Covenant now, in that they are engaged, as the Lord's mouth-pieces, in calling the members of the Body of Christ, and engaged also as the Lord's representatives in edifying one another and building one another up in the "most holy faith," preparing [R4474 : page 280] one another as members of the Body of the Mediator, the Body of Christ, to be associated with him in the work of his Mediatorial Kingdom of a thousand years.
Surely there is no change, no casting away of any item of Truth, in connection with these matters. On the contrary, the whole subject of the New Covenant is still further clarified by our seeing that it has nothing whatever to do with the justification of the Church—that it is still future; that it has not yet been sealed; that on the contrary, the offer to our Lord's followers is that they may partake with him of his cup, of his sacrifice, of his suffering. Our sharing with him as members of the Body of the great Prophet, Priest, King of the world and Mediator of the New Covenant, under which Israel and the world will be blessed, is made dependent upon our having share with him in his sufferings. This explains why the blessings of the world did not begin eighteen centuries ago. This explains why Israel was cast off and its New Covenant not entered into for all these centuries. (Jer. 31:31.) This explains why restitution could not come to Israel and through Israel to the world until the Second Coming of Christ, when the "elect" number of his followers would have drank his cup of suffering of sacrifice, of self-denial. "If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him; if we be dead with him we [page 280] shall also live with him." If we be justified by faith [R4474 : page 280] in his blood, and be accepted as members in his Body through consecration unto death, we then shall be members [R4475 : page 280] of the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, through whose mercy natural Israel shall obtain mercy and become the earthly Seed of Abraham under the New Covenant arrangement and be used in dispensing the blessings of God to all the families of the earth. See Romans 11:25-36.
It is charged that to deceive and to mislead, "The Watch Tower" made a false quotation in its issue of January 1, 1909, page 12, quoting, "This is the blood," instead of "This is my blood." This objection is far-fetched. As is well known, the different Gospels state our Lord's words in slightly different form. Luke says, "This cup is the New Covenant in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:20.) Mark says, "This is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many." (Mark 14:24.) Matthew says, "This is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many." (Matt. 26:28.) What is the difference between these expressions, the blood of the New Covenant, and, my blood of the New Covenant? Is not Jesus' blood the only one that could be meant? This is exactly our contention, that the cup represented our Lord's sufferings and that he gave it to his disciples, saying, "Drink ye all of it"; Divide it amongst yourselves. Our contention is that it was Jesus' cup of which he drank and that he gave it to his disciples to finish—that thus symbolically we were invited to be partakers of the sufferings of Christ.—2 Cor. 1:5-7.
It is our opponents who deny that the Lord drank of the cup—that it was his cup. They, not we, claim that he drank of one cup and we of another—that his sufferings were of one kind and ours of a different character. We have pointed out their error, citing them to I Cor. 10:16, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion, [Greek, Komonia, participation] of the blood of Christ"—the sacrifice of Christ? And again, "After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood." (1 Cor. 11:25.) It is our contention that is supported by these Scriptures. They show that the cup represented the blood, the death, the sacrifice of Christ, whose purpose or intention is the sealing of the New Covenant; and they show that our Redeemer invited us to participate with him in that cup of sacrificial death.
Such objections are merely dust-throwing. The text means the same thing exactly whichever way it is read, for Christ's blood is the blood, the only blood, by which the New Covenant can be sealed. And it is this blood, this merit, which shall ultimately seal the New Covenant, that our Lord now passes through us, the Church, members of his Body—permitting us to drink of his cup, that we may also participate in his glories. Thus he said to the disciples who desired to sit upon the Throne, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?" (Matt. 20:22.) Our Lord there indicated clearly that none will ever sit with him in the Throne except those who share with him in his sacrifice—not a different cup, not a different sacrifice. As to how the my was changed to the we may never know, as the matter passed through the hands of the stenographer, the type-setter and proof reader. But we emphasize the fact that no violence was done and that our argument would have been better served by the my than by the the, as that is just what we are upholding, that we share with our Lord in his cup.
The opposing Brother and his wife want to know why we did not answer at length a not very kindly-worded letter received from them. We did answer the letter in a kindly way; that we hoped might be most helpful to them. We did not write a book, nor even a pamphlet, thinking or hoping that by the time their letter had reached us their minds would have clarified to some extent, and that no answer would really be necessary. The fact is that when the heart gets soured spiritual truths and harmonies lose their beauty—no amount of explaining will prove satisfactory. The heart that is contentious and that sitteth in the seat of the scornful, is not in a condition to receive the blessings of the Lord. On the contrary, we read, "The meek will he guide in judgment and teach his way." We quote below from our letter, to show that we did not neglect this Brother's spiritual interests, but treated him according to the best wisdom granted to us of the Lord. The closing paragraphs of our letter, dated November 24, 1908, read:—
"Dear Brother, were I to judge of your heart from the phraseology of this letter alone, I should be inclined to suppose that your faith in the Lord and in Present Truth had wholly lost its anchorage. The intimations of your letter would seem to imply either that the Lord had nothing whatever to do with what we call the Harvest and the Harvest Work, and that the whole matter is an error and a fraud, or else that you had gradually been reaching a very severe judgment of his poor methods of conducting an unwise selection of instruments for it and that you feel half inclined to tell him so, and to give him pointers all along the line, whereby he might profit and not let his work go to smash before the Harvest time is ended.
"Dear Brother, I love you and nothing herein is written in any harsh or unkind spirit, but quite to the contrary, to, if possible awaken you to a realization of the fact that you are in a very dangerous attitude of mind—that after years of faithfulness and devotion you are in danger of making shipwreck within sight of the heavenly port. Dear Brother, search your heart diligently with the candle of the Lord's Word and find and destroy anything that may be there in the nature of leaven. We are surely in the "hour of temptation," and the principal tests upon us will be faith and love—faith in the Lord, the Supervisor of the Work, and faith in all those who are truly his—and who love the Lord and the Brethren.
We have applied to the Church as a whole the Apostle Paul's words respecting himself (Col. 1:24) to show the participation of the Apostle and of all the fellow-members in the Body of Christ in the sufferings of our Head. He says, "I Paul...fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his Body's sake, which is the Church." We have called attention to the fact that when all the sufferings [R4475 : page 281] of the Church, the Body of Christ, are complete, the blood of that sacrifice, antitypically sprinkled in the "most holy," will be on behalf of and in cancellation of the sins of "the people" (Leviticus 16:15), "The sins of the whole world." We have pointed out specifically that all the merit was in our Lord Jesus, typified by the bullock sin-offering, and that the Church's share in the "better sacrifices," represented in the Lord's goat sin-offering, is of grace and not of merit.
Our opponents think they find an objection to this in that portion of the text quoted above, which says, "for his Body's sake, which is the Church." They say, "The Watch Tower" declares that the merit of the sacrifice of the "Lord's goat," those accepted as members of Christ's Body, will be sprinkled upon the mercy-seat for the cancellation of the people's sins, while St. Paul says his sufferings were for the Church. We reply that there is no conflict here. The sufferings of Christ came to him in connection with his services to the Church; and the sufferings of the members of his Body come to them similarly in the service of the Church; but as to what application of this merit the High Priest will make is another matter. The Scriptures show us that the merit of his own sacrifice, "the bullock," was sprinkled or applied on behalf of the antitypical priests and Levites and that his secondary sacrifice of the flesh of those accepted as his members, "The Lord's goat," will be applied "for the people." In other words, the Church is exhorted, "We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren." This is our Lord's new commandment to us. But as to how he will apply the merit of this part of his sufferings in cancellation of the sins of the people is explained to such of us as can understand "the mystery." Our knowing or not knowing how the High Priest applies his own blood, passed through the Church, has nothing to do with the fact that it will be applied "for the sins of the people."
It seems difficult to make sufficiently lucid for some, the fact that while all of Adam's race are sinners, "children of wrath," nevertheless they are of two classes—(1) Those who have eyes and ears to discern the Lord's provision of mercy in Christ and whose hearts are obedient to the same, and (2) others whose ears and eyes are closed to the message of grace and whose hearts are rebellious. The first of these, amenable to God's grace, are drawn now by the Father—"even as many as the Lord your God shall call." These, because not rebellious, are drawn to Jesus for faith-justification. He becomes their Advocate and they, begotten of the holy Spirit, are at once sons of God.
The second class, "carnally minded," rebellious, "not subject to the law of God," cannot be dealt with in the same manner. For them God has provided the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, which shall put down rebellion by force, bind Satan and scatter the powers of darkness and flood the world with the true knowledge of the Lord. The world for a thousand years will be under what is termed "Martial Law." In other words, it will be under a Mediatorial Kingdom whose mission will be to establish harmony between God and men—between God and the world, from which the Church will have been previously selected. By the close of the Mediatorial Kingdom peace and harmony will be established, and then, as a pacified province of God's great Empire, it will be turned over to Jehovah. In other words, the [R4476 : page 281] world will require 1000 years to reach that peace with God which the elect class of this age reaches almost instantly, by faith similar to Abraham's.—James 2:23.
Abraham needed no Mediator to justify him. He was "justified by faith," and so are we. (Rom. 5:1.) But Abraham did need a Redeemer, and so do we—Jesus Christ the righteous, who died for our sins and through faith in whose blood we have remission of sins. (Matt. 26:28; Acts 10:43.) In Bible usage the word Mediator is always used in connection with a Covenant. Moses was the Mediator of the Law Covenant; Jesus is the Mediator of the New (Law) Covenant, under the terms of which he will shortly establish his Mediatorial Kingdom for the blessings of Israel and the world.—Jer. 31:31; Ezk. 16:60,61; Rom. 11:27,31.
Abraham needed no Advocate; but we need one: not to secure forgiveness of original sin, but as our Head to represent our every interest as New Creatures. Because of ignorance, and weakness, and having the treasure of our spirit-begetting in earthen vessels, we as sons of God could not hope to make good our consecration vows. We need an Advocate and have been provided one—"Jesus Christ the righteous," "who ever liveth to make intercession for us"—as new creatures, his members.
In view of these indisputable facts is not the Scripture teaching reasonable when it declares that the Heavenly Father, during this age, "draws" or "calls" such as he chooses for "members of the Body of Christ"—the Prophet, Priest, King and Mediator of the Millennial Age? And is it not equally reasonable that we are told that during the Millennium Christ will "draw all men unto himself"—whether they hear or forbear?
We reiterate, therefore, that all the drawing thus far done from the time of our Lord to the present has been done by the Heavenly Father himself—not by a mediator nor by an advocate. It is our Lord himself who declares, "No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him, and he that cometh unto me (by the Father drawn) I will by no means cast out" (reject). (John 6:44,37.) Our Lord followed the same thought when he declared that he is the Vine, we the branches, and the Heavenly Father the Husbandman, and that this Vine, the Church, is of the Father's own right hand planting—separate and distinct from the world. Jesus gave the same thought in the parable which represents the Heavenly Father as making a Marriage Supper for his Son, and sending forth his servants to invite the bidden ones. When those already bidden did not satisfactorily respond the Father sent forth other servants into the highways and hedges that the banquet feast might be provided with guests. The same lesson is taught by our Lord's words, "My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."—John 10:29.
The same lesson is typically taught in Abraham's sending his servant Eliezer to select a bride for Isaac. Abraham, the type of God, sent his servant, the type of the holy Spirit, to select a Bride, type of the Church, for his son Isaac, type of Jesus. Rebecca needed no mediator between herself and Abraham, for she came at his call and was guided by his servant. She was related to Abraham before her invitation to become Isaac's bride, just as all those invited to become the Bride of Christ by the Father's invitation were previously related to him as members of the "household of faith." The marriage took place after Abraham's agencies for the selection of the Bride had accomplished their work. So now, with the completion of the Divine selection of the Church, will come the Heavenly Bridegroom to receive her to himself, in the field near the antitypical well, Laharoi. Later she will be presented before the Heavenly Father and the holy angels and will become the Bride-Consort of her Lord, her Head, her Redeemer.
Then the lifting up of Christ will be complete. Unto him "every knee will bow, of things in heaven and things in earth," the Church also acknowledging him her Lord, her Head. Then will come the time when the exalted One, Head and Body, will fulfil his promise, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32.) The drawing will continue throughout the Millennial Age, until every member of the race shall have felt its influence and impetus and all the willing and obedient shall have been blessed, uplifted, restored to perfection. We do not claim that our Lord's lifting up to the glory of power was separate or apart from his being lifted up on the cross. On the contrary, "no cross no crown." We hold that our Lord and subsequently his members attain [R4476 : page 282] to the position of glory by the "narrow way" of the cross of self-sacrifice; and that without this experience he would have had no authority or power to draw and uplift the world of mankind. In other words, the right of the Christ in glory to seal the New Covenant and to be its servant or Mediator, through whom all the families of the earth will be blessed, is based upon his sacrificial death. Truly "the prophets spake of the sufferings of The Christ [Head and Body] and of the glory that should follow."
Our Lord was lifted up on the cross that he might have the right to draw all men, but he was lifted up to resurrection glory that he might have the ability to draw all. The two thoughts are logically inseparable.—John 12:32.
In harmony with this we read of the Father's address to the Anointed, "Ask of me and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." (Psalm 2:8.) St. Paul points out to us that the fulfilment of this will be at our Lord's Second Coming, after the Father shall have drawn the Church; after Christ shall have justified them, and the Father shall have begotten them by the holy Spirit, and they shall have finished their course and been accounted worthy to attain to joint-heirship with their Redeemer as members of the Spiritual Seed of Abraham. Nothing can be plainer to those whose eyes of understanding are opened to appreciate the "Mystery." The whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God; waiting for the shining forth of the Sun of Righteousness; waiting for the drawing work of the great Mediator between God and the world to begin and to proceed to its glorious accomplishment.
In our issue, Z.'94, p. 349, we said, "The Jewish converts could scarcely realize the greatness of the change from the Law Covenant to the New Covenant." Instead of new we should have said grace Covenant, meaning the original Abrahamic Covenant, typified by Sarah. (Gal. 3:29; 4:28.) In the same article we remarked that Gentiles needed no longer to become Jews, but had access to God through Christ and [as ministers of the N.C. to participation in the mediation of] the New Covenant in his blood. This is a correct statement. The only reason for the calling of the Gentiles during this Gospel Age to be associated with Christ is that we may thus share with him in his blood of the New Covenant—his sacrifice, and subsequently share with him in putting that New Covenant with Israel into force during the Millennium.
Again in "The Tower" of '93, p. 372, we said, "Let us look at the Church under the New Covenant. Her relation to the New Covenant is during the Gospel Age. But to her the covering mercy of that Covenant is not to permit time to reach physical, mental and moral perfection, but to give her a standing before God, where she can offer herself to God a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, through the merit of Christ—under the merciful provisions of the New Covenant." This is not a proper statement, as we now see the matter. The essence of it all is true enough, namely, that through Christ the Church has a reckoned perfection and standing before God, an opportunity to offer herself a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God through the merit of Christ. The only mistake is in the added words, under the merciful provisions of the New Covenant." This thought came down to us from the dark ages and was a mote hindering our vision. We now see that the Bible says nothing whatever about the Church being "under the merciful provisions of the New Covenant." God's merciful provisions for the world are all in that New Covenant, but not so with the Church. His provision for his called and drawn is Scripturally styled "justification by faith." Nothing here is changed or abandoned. The Church's justification is the same, and the New Covenant stands as ever, but in its proper place—a Covenant or arrangement by which the world will receive its blessing during the Millennium.
In the same connection, p. 373, we said, "The New Covenant is absolutely necessary with its provision of the covering of our sins by the merit of our Redeemer's sacrifice." And again, "Our Lord gave himself a Ransom, a corresponding price, a substitute, for all, but he represents before the bar of Justice since the Resurrection only those who come unto God by him, under the gracious terms of the New Covenant, sealed or ratified by his death." The essential thoughts here are correct. The only error was in assuming that the New Covenant, which belongs to the next age, had anything to do with our justification, which is purely by faith in the blood of Christ.
Similarly, following the common error and neglecting the direct statement of the Bible, we wrote in "The Tower," 1901, p. 182, "Meantime throughout the Gospel Age the Lord's people, by the eye of faith, beheld the great High Priest as their Mediator who ever liveth to make intercession for us." We should have used the Scriptural term Advocate instead of the word Mediator. Again we said, "They are accepted with the Father, not directly, but indirectly, 'accepted in the beloved,' who is our intercessor, our Mediator." Again, instead of Mediator we should have said Advocate. We used the word Mediator in a loose, unscriptural manner, as others still do. We had not then noticed that the term Mediator in Scriptural usage is always connected with the mediation [R4477 : page 282] of a Covenant. Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant and, as St. Paul points out in Hebrews 12:24-28, we shall in the end of the age, as his Church complete, in the General Assembly of the Firstborn, come to him, the Mediator of the New Covenant, as his Bride and Joint-heirs in carrying out its blessed provisions for the uplift of Israel and the world.
Our Covenant is the original Abrahamic Covenant, the Oath-Bound Covenant, which God consummated four hundred years before the old Law Covenant. It needed no mediator, has no mediator, because, as the Apostle points out, it has no contingencies to be mediated. God promised that in his own time and way he would develop the Seed of Abraham. He has about accomplished this. "No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God." (Heb. 5:4.) Our Lord Jesus was called first and responded loyally for the joy that was set before him. The Heavenly Father is now calling the members of the Body—"as many as the Lord your God shall call." These, holy and acceptable through Christ's sacrifice, he will soon "raise up with him" as participants in the Spiritual Seed. Then, with the Anointed complete and ready, the New Covenant promised centuries ago to Israel will go into effect.
Note another case in which we used the terms New Covenant and Mediator improperly, though the thought behind was, and still is, entirely correct. We said, "If anyone lose his relationship to Christ through the loss of his faith in the precious blood or through the loss of the holy Spirit through wilful sin, such an one falls out of the protection, the care, the covering, of Jesus." That is all right, but we erroneously added the Mediator of the New Covenant. True, Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant, but, to bring in the fact here seems to imply that his mediatorship and the New Covenant have something to do with the Church. This is a mistake. Those words in bold type added nothing to the articles and injure them not at all by being omitted now.
In "The Tower" of '02, p. 223, we said, "It is nearly nineteen centuries since the New Covenant was sealed with the precious blood of our Mediator." We there said something for which there is no Scripture and hence something we should not have said and which we now properly correct. The New Covenant is not yet sealed. The blood of Jesus—the merit of his sacrifice—which will eventually seal the New Covenant at the end of this age, is now being otherwise used. It has been applied to the Church for her Justification, in order that she might have justified human rights to sacrifice and thereby might come into membership in the Body of Christ, the great Mediator, the antitype of Moses, whom [R4477 : page 283] God has been raising up during this Gospel Age. (Acts 3:23.) So far from telling us that Christ sealed the New Covenant, the Scriptures tell us the very reverse, namely, that he became the "surety" of it. (Heb. 7:22.) A sealed Covenant needs no "surety," but an unsealed Covenant does need a "surety." Thus we have a little more light upon the subject—not contradictory of any teaching or principle of Christian faith or practice, but further explanatory of the Divine purposes and arrangements.
In our issue of 1906, p. 26, we said, "Our Lord Jesus in his own person has been the Mediator between the Father and the 'household of faith' during this Gospel Age." This statement is incorrect. No Scripture so declares. It is a part of the smoke of the dark ages which we are glad now to wipe from our eyes. As already shown in this article we now see more clearly than ever how no man can come unto the Son during this Gospel Age except drawn by the Father, and that none will be in the elect Church except "as many as the Lord your God shall call," and as shall then make their calling and election sure, "for no man taketh this honor unto himself"—neither the High Priest nor the under-priests nor the Levites. We are all called of God to be his agents as the Spiritual Seed of Abraham in mediating the New Covenant for the blessing of natural Israel and the world.
The great hour of temptation foretold in the Psalms and prophecies and by our Lord and the apostles, "The hour of temptation shall come upon all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth," is upon us and, as the Apostle suggests, the question is not, "Who shall fall," but, "Who shall be able to stand?" Or, as stated through the prophet of old, "Who may abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi (the 'household of faith') and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness."—Mal. 3:2,3.
The Scriptures tell us that the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that reverence him for their deliverance or protection. They intimate also that Satan and the fallen angels are very desirous of invading our minds and hearts and bodies with evil suggestions. To a greater or lesser extent we must surely believe that Divine providence through the human will has raised a considerable barrier for the protection of the natural man from the evil spirits. Otherwise, surely through evil promptings and obsessions, the world centuries since would have gone mad under such infernal impulsings. We may be sure, however, that as the Adversary specially opposed the Lord, so he marks out and specially assaults the faithful members of his Body—and the greater their prominence the more severe would naturally be the attack. "We are not ignorant of his devices," nor of the fact that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against wicked spirits in influential positions." (Eph. 6:12.) Without Divine assistance surely all would be led captive at his will—misled, ensnared by him who puts darkness for light and endeavors to show the light to be darkness.
Our thought is that for the testings of this hour the Lord permits the Adversary to come very close to the tempted, so that the slightest inclination in their hearts towards evil would quickly put them in contact with the adverse influence of the Adversary. No wonder, then, it is the hour of temptation! No wonder all except the saints, the "very elect," will be unable to stand! The saints, as they find the close approach of the Adversary, will draw nearer and nearer to the Lord and feel restful and content only "under the shadow of the Almighty." And they will thank God for any help at hand, such as the Vow, which he may send to assist them into the "secret place of the Most High." As for those who come under the power of the Adversary we can only expect that their hearts and minds will become more and more perverse. Not only may we expect that they will "speak perverse things to draw away disciples after them," but we are to remember further that "many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the Truth shall be evil-spoken of."—Acts 20:30; 2 Pet. 2:2.
What may we not expect if the Lord in the closing hours of this age shall permit the Adversary and his supporters, through Hypnotism, Spiritism, etc., to come close to humanity and overcome the barriers of the will, which hitherto has been man's protection! What might we not expect as the result—anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife and general devilishness, inaugurating a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation—every man's hand against his brother and neighbor! The following are the changes made in "Studies in the
Scriptures" to harmonize with the foregoing presentations
on the subject of the New Covenant, its Mediator,
and the Church's justification by faith and acceptance as
the Seed of Abraham under the original Oath-Bound
Covenant of Grace:
Page 298, line 8, "but only for the remnant selected from the twelve and the residue selected from among the Gentiles," changed to, "It must first be sealed by the blood (death) of the Mediator—Head and Body, from Jews and Gentiles."
Page 342, lines 17, 18, 3416 inches, changed to, 3457 inches to agree with later accurate measurement, would seem to mark 1915. The former figures were "paper measure" from Piazzi Smith's illustration supposed to have been drawn to a scale, but found inaccurate.
Page 28, line 15, "by divine prearrangement sealed," changed to, "made possible the sealing of." Lines 20 and 21, "The New Covenant had been sealed," changed to, "the redemption had been secured." Next to last line, "which sealed," changed to, "for sealing."
Page 88, line 13, "the call of this Gospel Age could not be promulgated or effected until our Lord had sealed the New Covenant with his blood," changed to, "the call [R4478 : page 283] of this Gospel Age could not be promulgated until first our Lord by his death had become 'surety' for the New Covenant."—Heb. 7:22.
Page 168, line 5, "sealed," changed to, "secures." Line 7, "reconciliation with him through this Redeemer, and his sacrifice only," changed to, "fellowship with our Redeemer in his sacrifice and reward." Line 13, changed to, "privilege of communion in Christ's blood."
Page 432, lines 11 and on from bottom, changed to, "received him as the antitypical Moses. As they were baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud, the acceptance of Christ, as instead of Moses, would imply that they were in Christ, as members of his Body, under him as their Head, and through association with him, ministers of the New Covenant, of which the complete glorified Christ, Head and Body, will be the Mediator."—Acts 3:23; 2 Cor. 3:6.
We recommend the friends to note the above changes in their volumes of "Scripture Studies." We submit to any honest mind that the changes, while trifling, are very helpful; but that they in no sense or degree affect our faith in the fundamentals of God's Word—that our Lord Jesus' death is the basis of all hope for both the Church and the world; that all the merit of redemption proceeds therefrom; that the privilege of sharing in our Lord's sacrifice, and subsequently in his Millennial glory, is "the Mystery" respecting which some never were permitted to see, and concerning which others are now evidently being blinded; that shortly Abraham's natural seed will be saved from their blindness and become the beneficiaries of the New Covenant and share the work of dispensing Divine mercy to all the families of the earth. This is God's Covenant with them—they shall obtain (Divine) mercy through your mercy.—Romans 11:27-32.
We close this article as we began it, with the suggestion that the dear friends who are shouting "Wake up!" are merely experiencing a nightmare. They have gone to sleep and their confused notions are merely "nocturnal hallucinations," which would be amusing to us did we not realize the seriousness of their condition. In their somnambulism they are in danger of falling from all the precious things which they and we had hoped they might attain. Those who have any influence with persons in this condition should use every energy to wake them up. Nevertheless let no harsh or unkind word be uttered, either to them or in respect to them. The present is a time of trial, of testing of character and of faithfulness, not only for them, but for all who have named the name of Christ.