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IN THE WORDS "beget" and "begetting," which are frequently used in the Scriptures, an analogy is drawn between the spiritual begetting and birth and the human begetting and birth. We are not, however, to understand the spiritual begetting and birth to be like the natural in every particular. It is merely an illustrative figure to give us a thought. The thought is that we are begotten of the holy Spirit of God with a view to our becoming partakers of the divine nature and that all who are spirit-begotten in the present time are begotten with that hope, with that object and end in view. It is to this end that the Apostle Peter says, God "has given us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might become partakers of the divine nature."
We see the great Pattern, our Lord Jesus, in whom was illustrated all these various features that are applicable to us. We ask ourselves, To what was he begotten? The answer is that undoubtedly he was begotten to the divine nature; that he could not have reached perfection on any lower spirit plane; that if he had not come off "conqueror" in the fullest sense of the word he would have had nothing; and only those who attain his character-likeness and are overcomers—conquerors in the highest sense of the word—will be with him to share his glory and partake of his divine nature. Those who will constitute the "great company" class are such as fail to come off "more than conquerors"; they are those who, in other words, would have made "shipwreck" of the whole matter had it not been for the Divine provision which we find outlined in the Word of God to the effect that these, "who through fear of death are all their lifetime subject to bondage," and who therefore fail to go on in the most approved manner, courageously, in the footsteps of Jesus, "shall be saved so as by fire"; they shall be saved by being forced to the point where they must either deny the Lord or else battle for righteousness.
We find this "great multitude" accorded the name of "overcomers," victors, as the palm branches granted to them indicates (Rev. 7:9), and we read that "they washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." They attain to a lower station than the divine. Evidently they attain that station through stress rather than through the voluntary walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Had Jesus been in their position; had he not come off "more than a conqueror," he would have made failure altogether, because there was no provision made to force him into anything or to make good for any lack of zeal on his part. Hence he was begotten to the divine nature and could not have received anything else. But what he [R4665 : page 264] does for the "great company" class is something aside entirely from that to which they were called and to which it was their privilege to attain had they reached this fullest degree of character-likeness to their Lord.
We answer, we might use an illustration from the earthly plane that would help us to some extent. We might say that a father desired to beget a son in his own likeness, his own nature; and in the begetting of this son, suppose that there were also begotten two other children. We will suppose that the birth was a birth of triplets—one son and two daughters. The son, we will suppose, was the objective point, the desire, the intention, at the time of the begetting, but the result yielded more than this. Now, the two female children thus born were born of the same begettal and were begotten to the same nature, and yet there is a difference between these in the birth. Just so in the spiritual birth. The begetting of each was to the divine nature. In the original purpose the "great company" did not enter in. They were, of course, foreknown, but they were not of the original design, if you please.
Now what constituted the difference between the birth of the male and of the female child? We realize that this is dealing with a delicate subject which is little understood, and which is considerably in question, but as far as we understand the latest deductions of Science, they teach that the nourishment of the newly begotten infant, during the early portion of the period of gestation, decides as to whether it will develop as a male or a female, and for a certain time nothing can be determined as to the sex; but as time goes on the development takes one or the other form. As to what may be the elements that would tend to produce the one more than the other or the kind of food that would be best suited to produce either kind, we need not discuss, but we can see from this an illustration of the spirit plane and can see that those who partake most abundantly of the grace of God ministered to us through the Truth will be the ones who will be born on the divine plane. These exceeding great and precious promises that are given to us are the spiritual food upon which we, as embryotic New Creatures, must feed. No matter how much food may be supplied, if, for any reason, we fail to appropriate the necessary spiritual nourishment, we will be deficient to some extent. The Apostle's words seem to corroborate this thought—"To us are given exceeding great and precious promises that by these we might become partakers of the divine nature"—that is to say, If we do not use these we will not be partakers of this nature, but by the use of these exceeding great and precious promises we may "make our calling and election sure" and become joint-heirs with Christ on this highest plane and not on the lower plane.
We will supplement the thought respecting the begetting and birth of two different classes during the present time—the "little flock" and the "great company"—and suggest two other illustrations that have been brought to our attention as illustrating the possibility of differing results from similar begettings, depending upon the nourishment.
One of these illustrations is in the case of bees and the other in the case of ants: In the case of bees, from the same begetting come three different classes—the queen bee, the working bee and the drone bee—and the difference seems to be in the amount of feeding that each class gets. Those which are intended to be queen bees are specially fed, and those which are to be the working bees have another kind of food, and similarly with the drones.
There are also three classes of ants, and it is supposed that while all the eggs have the same appearance and there seems to be no difference whatever in these, the various results seem to be produced to some extent by the different feeding of the larva during their development.
Both of these illustrate very well what we are speaking of respecting the Church and the Great Company. The Church class is specially fed on the Truth of God's Word, the great and precious promises. Such as feed upon these may be developed to the highest plane, the divine nature, while others not so fed, not so nourished, will be born on the lower plane.