Q46:1 QUESTION (1909)—l—When there were no other inhabitants of the earth but Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel, into what country did Cain and Abel go to take unto themselves wives, there being but four people (the above named) upon the earth, according to Scripture?
ANSWER—The Scriptures do not say there were no more than four people upon the earth. The Scriptures do not mention the daughters of Adam, and the supposition would be in harmony with the record, that when Cain took a wife, he took one of his sisters. There was no objection to a brother and sister marrying then, for in many respects they would be better adapted. The reason for their not marrying today is that the race has so deteriorated that for a brother and sister to marry, their children would inherit the characteristics of the family to such an extent that they would go insane, and therefore the law forbids it, even to cousins and second cousins.
ANSWER—The Apostle says, Let us go to Him without the camp. In the English of today we would say, Let us go to Him outside the camp. We do not use the word "without" the camp in that same way today. Let us go to Him outside the camp—what does that mean? Well the camp would represent that condition of things which claimed to be in harmony with God. Look back in Jesus' day: Jesus went outside the camp. Was it the Gentile camp? No. What was the camp with Him? The camp in Jesus' time was composed of all those who professed to be God's people, holy people—all the Jewish people who professed to be in harmony with the Lord. What would it mean that He went outside the camp? He was pledged in his faithfulness and loyalty to God to take His stand which took Him outside of the sympathy and fellowship of those who were not fully Israelites indeed—all the Jews that were Israelites indeed in whom was no guile could appreciate it, and they, like the disciples, were in the attitude of the Levites that were approaching the Holy and drawing near to the Lord, and were, like the Levites, ministering in the Court. This would represent the attitude of all believers inside of that white curtain. But those who constituted the camp at that time were nominal professors who did not appreciate fully, and Jesus in order to be faithful to God and His message was obliged to stand for the truth, for that which is right, and that brought Him out of sympathy and out of accord with the great nominal mass of the Jewish people. Now the Apostle says, Let us go to Him outside the camp. What does this mean? It meant to the Apostles of old that they should also take the same stand toward the law that Jesus took toward the law; the same stand toward the Pharisees and scribes and the [Page Q47] doctors of the law that Jesus took. Then to those afterwards who became associated with the Gentiles, as, for instance Paul, Silas, and Barnabas, who ministered to the Gentiles, we think outside the camp meant outside the synagogue of the Jews and all of those who professed to be in harmony with God that were living in Rome, or wherever they might be—whoever stood for and claimed to be God's people constituted the camp. What does it mean today? The camp today means all of Christendom, all the dear people who claim that they are spiritual Israelites, that is God's camp. It is found principally in the United States and Europe. And all of God's people who are sincerely following in the footsteps of Jesus will find that they will not be appreciated by the general camp. In other words, the nominal church will not generally appreciate the spirit of the Lord and the teachings of the Lord, and therefore all who would be faithful to Jesus and walk in his steps will find themselves today just as much out of accord with the camp of today as Jesus and the Apostles found themselves out of accord with the camp of their day. To go to Him without the camp today means that we will take up our cross, whatever sacrifice it might mean to you and me, the breaking of tender ties with dear fellow Christians who are Methodists, or Presbyterians, etc., willing to go to the Lord and be faithful and loyal to Him at any cost, no matter how others may view it. And as a matter of fact it was those of the camp that persecuted Jesus and the Apostles; and it is those of the camp who have persecuted the Church which is the Body of Christ from that day to this.
Q47:1 QUESTION (1915)—1—Pastor Russell says, "The children of Israel's journey through the wilderness toward the land of Canaan was typical of the Christian's journey through this world of sin toward the Heavenly Canaan." Typical Israel did all their fighting after they got into the land of Canaan. Where is the antitypical Canaan, and what are the antitypical Canaanites, and how are they fought by antitypical Israel?
ANSWER.—The Apostle Paul intimates that this whole matter of Israel's history was typical of the experience of Christians. (1 Cor. 10:11, margin.) But we need to be very cautious; for in some instances we are leaning, in a certain degree, to our judgment. But my thought would be that this traveling toward Canaan typifies the attempt to enter into a proper relationship with God. Israel did not enter into Canaan as quickly as they might have done. If they had had proper faith they might have entered in very soon. They might at once have gone from Mount Sinai into the land of Canaan, and had God's blessing with them. They did not go in because of unbelief. So any of us who wandered through a wilderness state before coming into the family of God did so, not because it was necessary, but because we did not exercise sufficient faith. We did not need to wait forty years, or any period of time, but could have come quickly; by consecration we could have entered in at once.
But the majority were delayed. Like the Jews, they did not enter in quickly. Instead of promptly entering into the blessings they might have had through the exercise of more[Page Q48] faith, many wandered around many years. Joshua there represented Jesus, in type. The sooner the Jews would recognize Joshua and his leadership, the sooner would he cross Jordan and enter the land of Canaan. So the sooner we recognized that the Law could accomplish nothing for us, the sooner we ourselves, under Joshua (Jesus) got into Canaan. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, then began the wars with the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. These represent the weaknesses of our human nature that we are to battle against and overcome, that we may take possession of the whole Land of Promise, the privileges we have as the children of God.
ANSWER.—The captivity that is on the world is the captivity of slavery to sin and death. That is the great captivity. As the Apostle declares, we as a race were sold to sin and the wages of sin came down on the whole race; we are all sinners; and we are all dying. That is captivity. You remember how the prophets and our Lord also speak of the tomb as being the great prison house, and speak of even the whole world in their limitations, mental, moral and physical, as being captives. Now, our Lord when He died, did so as the great Ransomer, as the Redeemer of the whole race. He bought the prison house and all the prisoners, and all of those who were in a dying condition, and now He has thus led captivity captive. He owns the captives, and in His own due time He is going to open the prison doors, and say, "Come forth, show yourselves."
ANSWER.—I think that some of the people of the world do build character, and I have seen many such people, but none of the building along that line would have any purpose or give them any consideration from God's standpoint of the call. Whatever they do, however, will he that much built against the times of restitution, and if they are that far up the ladder and out of the degradation and mire, they will have that much shorter time. Therefore, I would teach them that every step downward would mean disaster to that extent, and when God's time shall come, every endeavor shall have its reward. But the building of character for Christ is, of course, only applicable to the Church, for the Bible was written for the Church, to those who are in the school of Christ, those who are seeking to be His.
Q48:3 QUESTION (1910-Z)—3—What constitutes the difference between the outward polish and politeness of some natural men and that polish and politeness which properly belongs to the New Creature, developed in the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit?
ANSWER.—The qualities of meekness, gentleness, patience, etc., are qualities that belonged to the first man when he was created in the image and likeness of God. They are, [Page Q49] therefore, human qualities that may be cultivated to a certain extent by any human being, and should be striven for by all. But, as a matter of fact, as a result of the fall, selfishness and general meanness have depraved the appetites and ways of all mankind to so great an extent that, as the Scriptures say, there is none righteous, perfect, no, not one; "from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot," all are imperfect. Hence no natural man would have these glorious traits of character largely and fully developed, though there certainly is a difference between the development of some and that of others.
We see, however, that aside from these natural graces, some worldly people have assumed something of the various graces of the Spirit. In their business methods they attempt to be gentle, and properly so. It is considered a part of the proper conduct of colleges, and especially ladies' seminaries, to instruct the young in politeness, in what to say and what not to say; in how to say things and how not to say things; and all of this brings an outward smoothness to these persons in their general deportment. In such cases, however, the smoothness is cultivated because of the idea that this constitutes "good breeding"; that this is what any lady or gentleman should do or say; and thus it may be a mere veneer, not really affecting the sentiments of the heart. The person may be outwardly very calm and smooth and pleasant, and yet at heart feel very sour and envious and mean.
Those who are merely outward observers might not be able to ascertain whether that man or woman were actuated by the proper spirit or not. They might not be able to know whether these changes were the "fruits of the spirit" or fruits of good education, but anyone knowing well the private life of such persons would he sure to ascertain the facts, because, as the old expression has it, "Murder will out"; and these persons, while they might preserve a smooth outward demeanor, would occasionally, in private at least, demonstrate that they were not in sympathy with the outward demeanor, but that it was merely a veneer, and to that extent hypocrisy. Perhaps a measure of hypocrisy in that sense would be advisable for some people; it might be better for them to put on a little veneer if they cannot have the genuine article; better that they should appear smooth rather than appear rough; it would at least help the world along a little for them to be as smooth as they are able in their general dealings.
The merchant who, after pulling down large stocks of goods and telling a customer that it is no trouble at all to show goods, that he is just pleased at having the opportunity to do so, and that there is no obligation whatever in the matter, and showing the very essence of politeness, but who, after the lady is gone out of the store, stamps his foot and complains, announces thus to all in his company, that his politeness is merely assumed as a necessity in the business. He does this either for his own sake, if he is the proprietor of the store, or for the sake of his situation, if he is an employee.
With the Christian these graces are developed from within. Whatever he may have been naturally, smooth or rough, the New Creature cultivates and approves these graces in the heart, and they reach from the heart all the way to the surface. It is the new mind that is regulating the New[Page Q50] Creature, and the New Creature, instead of having smoothness merely on the outside, has it running clear through the grain from the very core.
This New Creature that is thus developing may not at all times have as smooth an outward exterior as some of the old creatures who have the veneer for the sake of money or for other reasons. They may have worse natural dispositions; they may have naturally less patience, or less sympathy, or may be moved by such honesty as would lead them to avoid saying anything different from what they would feel, anything different from what would be their sentiments; and their sentiments, not having yet reached the right point, sometimes impel them to say the wrong thing. These, of course, should learn to govern the outward man even before all their sentiments have come into fullest sympathy with the Spirit of the Lord. They should recognize the proprieties of outward conduct, and speedily get in line with these proprieties, and as rapidly as possible bring every sentiment into full accord with the Spirit of the Lord that they may become more and more kind and loving and helpful to others and thus "show forth the praises of him who has called them out of darkness into his marvelous light."
ANSWER—I think, dear friends, that the proper point at which we could say that, would be when we reach the mark of perfect love. For instance, you came to the Lord and made your consecration, you entered the School of Christ and began to learn of him. That was about the time you found out how short you were of the proper measure. Will the Lord ever be able to make anything out of me? Now the Lord is going to measure you according to your mind and is waiting for you to get to the mark of perfect love, which is the standard of a perfect character, for none will be worthy of a place in the kingdom or eternal life except those that reach this mark, either now or in the Millennial Age. God has nothing for anyone except those that reach that standard in his mind and heart. He may have weaknesses, etc., and you may speak things that you are sorry for, and must apologize for, but your heart is at the mark—perfect love—and that is the reason you want to apologize, because you have reached the mark of perfect love. You love God, and all mankind, and wish to do good to all, as you have an opportunity. After a person gets where he can love his enemies, he is at the mark of perfect love. He will not be perfect in flesh, for that will not be possible in this age. Many still have to put a bridle upon their tongues, etc., you must hold in the old nature. This I have often illustrated by a bad dog which would represent our old nature, and for which the new creature is responsible. We must hold him in. Our intentions are good, as is shown by the fact that when the heat or excitement of the moment is passed, then the heart goes back to the principles of righteousness, and asks for forgiveness from the Father. He will ask for forgiveness for anything he has done. You might say, it will be harder to rectify this, than not to have done it in the first place. Surely. But that is what you must do, if you want [Page Q51] to prove to the Lord that your heart is for righteousness, and whenever you find you have made a mistake, you must rectify it. Now, then, if you get to that place, you have gotten to the place where, to my understanding, you are at the mark of perfect love, toward God, men, etc. You desire good for all and injury toward none. From that moment, I understand, the Lord counts you as one having a crown apportioned to you. That is one thing, but seeing that no man take your crown is another thing. After granted to you it still remains that if you are moved from the mark, pressed aside by difficulties, you are not standing this test, and you will not be worthy of being an overcomer. So you see there is a mark of character, without which none will be acceptable in the kingdom, spiritual or earthly. Now we must demonstrate our love and devotion, that is what we live for to-day and tomorrow, and in all your Christian experience, from the time you enter the school of Christ, for you are to learn of him as quickly as possible and get to the mark of perfect love toward all.
Q51:1 QUESTION (1913-Z)—1—How near to the character likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ must one attain on this side the veil in order to have good hope of being one of the elect on the other side of the veil?
ANSWER—Jehovah God will not accept anything that is imperfect. Even our human nature presented to him sacrificially by the High Priest needed first to be covered by the merit of the Priest Himself and to be thus perfected before being Divinely accepted. In thinking of ourselves, however, we are to remember that we have the New Creature in an earthen vessel. It is the New Creature that must have the likeness of Christ.
In the flesh we are beset by the world, the flesh and the Devil. All these things conspire to hinder the New Creature from working perfectly in the old body. The will must be nothing less than perfect. As Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart ." (Matt. 5:8) Purity of heart must be absolute .
The pure of heart are those whose intentionsare pure, whose motivesare pure, who desire the best—long for the best. These may have strong consolation, may have full confidence toward God respecting the glorious things He has promised; for they could do no more than the best they are able to do in the natural body—and thus show their devotion.
ANSWER.—No, we are not to mix figures. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus is one figure, and developing the fruits of the spirit is another. They may represent the same thing, but we are not to confuse these things. The Apostle enumerates the fruits of the spirit, kindness, meekness, patience, brotherly kindness, love. Is that walking in the footsteps of Jesus? No, not exactly. But as we seek to do as Jesus did, it will lead to the development of those fruits or graces. Obedience to the Lord's arrangements develop these fruits in our characters.[Page Q52]
ANSWER—There is no patent way, my dear brethren (laughter). It means perseverance; it means loyalty; it means faithfulness. There is no royal road; there is no way by which you can have a "presto-change" and become Christ-like without putting forth effort.
In the case of our Lord Jesus, in the Father's arrangement, according to the Father's Plan, it required some time to develop patience and to be tested along all the necessary lines on which His Church was also to be tested (Heb. 4:15). There is no short route, then! The Lord will try His people, will judge and prove His people. He will not have any but proved people in that chosen company. If they will not stand the test and prove faithful, God will not let them into the Kingdom.
So then, the only way that I can suggest is the one plain way of the Bible. Naturally, the first thing would be the giving of ourselves fully to the Lord. Secondly, we are to seek to walk in His ways. And we are to let our light shine, whatever may be the cost. We are to study the Word; we are to be constant in prayer; we are to watch ourselves and the Lord's providences, keeping ourselves in the love of God. The Lord will see to it that there is enough opposition all along our pathway to properly develop and prove us, and if we are faithful, it will mean more or less of suffering. These will be the sufferings of Christ, and if we cheerfully endure even unto death, then we know we shall be counted worthy of the prize—Kingdom, glory and honor. We are to remember that the Lord not only called us to honor, but to righteousness, to holiness. Therefore seek to live righteously, soberly, self—sacrificingly.
God has given us an understanding of what is pleasing and acceptable to Him and what is displeasing to Him in our characters. He tells that He is pleased that we should have a large measure of His Holy Spirit. We are to manifest the meekness, the gentleness of Christ. The Apostle says that we are to abound in patience, in self-control, in long-suffering, in brotherly kindness, in love. If these fruits be in us, and then if they reach the abounding condition or degree, we shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord; and so an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior. But he who does not appreciate the necessity of this is blind, as the Apostle says; he cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins (2 Pet. 1:7-9).
If a spirit-begotten New Creature fails to see the privilege of cultivating the Master's spirit—the spirit of holiness—it is because he is not making progress. He is like a new-born child that has not learned to focus its eyes. You know a kitten does not get its eyes open until the ninth day, and then it comes gradually to properly use its eyes. So with us as New Creatures at the beginning of our experience: we do not know at first how to focus our spiritual eyesight. But, surely, as we grow more and more toward maturity we must come to have the proper focus on all the affairs of life. We must see "what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2). And if, in the very beginning, we have a desire to do that will and to go on [Page Q53]unto perfection, we shall understand it better and be more and more able to perform it.
Q53:1 QUESTION (1909)—1—Does the reaching of plane "L" (chart) in the first resurrection, bring full personal glory, immortality, the Divine nature? If so, how are we to understand that the Great Company who are to be raised to that plane through great tribulation will not be immortal? Why does plane "L" bring immortality to one class and not to another?
ANSWER—In making the chart it was not possible to show everything, and we are surprised that it shows as much as it does. Plane "L" represents spiritual perfection, and it represents the plane to which both the Great Company and the Little Flock will come, but the Little Flock will have the additional glory and distinction called "immortality," or the Divine nature, separate and distinct from the Great Company. The way it is represented on the chart will not affect the matter in reality.
Q53:2 QUESTION (1912-Z)—2—In describing the Chart you say, Vol. 1, page A211, "These, when born from the dead in the resurrection, will have the divine nature and form." Please harmonize this statement with another found on page 235, which reads thus: "We know not how long it will be after their change, or perfecting, as spirit beings (plane L), before they as a full and complete company will be glorified (plane K) with the Lord, united with Him in power and great glory."
ANSWER—The two quotations are in perfect accord. The questioner's difficulty is in respect to what is signified by plane "L" and plane "K" on the Chart. Plane "L" represents the personal glory of our Lord and the Church by the power of the First Resurrection, from human' nature to divine nature. We understand that all the members of the elect Church will experience such a change, from mortal to immortal conditions, from human to divine nature, from weakness to power, from dishonor to glory, from animal to spirit conditions (1 Cor. 15:44), before being ushered into the glory of power and dominioN' represented by plane "K." In other words, the first quotation refers to the personal exaltatioN' of all the spirit-begotten, overcoming class in the First resurrection, to plane "L," and the second to their exaltation to plane "K," which will come when the Heavenly Bridegroom shall present His Bride complete, without fault or blame, before the Heavenly Father, as pictured in the 45th Psalm.
Q54:1 QUESTION (1906)—1—Are there any special words of instruction and comfort in God's Word to the children of consecrated parents, who must most likely go through the time of trouble, and who will not have reached the years of accountability?
ANSWER—I would say that while we do not know of any words that are directly addressed to such children, we do know this: That from the Lord's standpoint all of His people are precious, and all of their interests are precious—not only themselves, but their little ones and everything that would be theirs would be certainly precious in the sight of the Lord. It is a selfevident fact and does not really need any statement in the Scriptures. I would say that all children of believers are under the Lord's special protection and care up to the time of their personal accountability, when they have responsibility for themselves; and we may certainly conclude that all such will be under the special supervision of the angel of the Lord.
ANSWER—I think the principal reason is that they are not properly trained in the way in which they should go. I think people in the truth need a little lesson along the line of training children. Perhaps we have something that works to our disadvantage in the matter. The more your heart becomes large, and forgiving, and generous, the more you will forgive your friends, and your children, but you must remember that when dealing with your children, you are not dealing with them as with another man or woman; you must look at the character that is being formed, and you must, in line with the Lord's arrangements, bring discipline to bear so as to fashion that character in the way in which the Lord would have it go. If it is a crooked little twig, you must put on splints where it is crooked and help straighten it up, because if you allow it to grow up to be a big tree with those crooks, you can never put on splints that will straighten it out. I think some of the friends are inclined to spare the rod, and do not notice what the Scriptures say. We are not to spare the rod when it is necessary. We are to take God's way in the matter. Does God spare the rod on you when it is necessary? By no means. "Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me." I am glad God has a rod and a staff for His people; glad that He does not let us go without correction, if we need it. But when we have the right spirit in the matter, we will feel more of a regret that we have need of the chastisement than the getting of the chastisement itself. The worst thing of the rod should be, "I am so sorry that I need to be chastised, and that I did not correct myself, or hold myself in the proper restraint." And that is what you want to cultivate in the child—not that the child shall get a certain number of whippings, but that as children of God, it is your duty and responsibility, and you must whip it. I can count the whippings I got in my life on my fingers; I got just five, and I remember all about every one of them, and all the circumstances connected with them. I got three from [Page Q55] my mother. I want to tell you about one of them. I was about five, as near as I can remember. Of course, I may have gotten some spankings when I was so small I did not know about it, but when I was about five, I remember I got one. My mother taught me to the best of her knowledge. She had a pair of leather tawers that would bite at the end, but do no real harm. There were about six or eight tails to them—"Their hurt was in their tails." "Charles, bring the tawers and come up stairs." So I carried the tawers up stairs. She said, now, sit down here and I will read to you out of the Bible. She thought I had prevaricated, or had twisted the truth; not that I had told a point-blank lie, but twisted the truth a little, as most children are inclined to do, especially if some older folks laugh at them and think they are smart; but I did not have anyone to laugh at me and think it was smart if I should do anything of that kind. I learned that that was not the way to do. So she read to me from Revelations all about those without, all the liars shall have their place with those who burn with fire and brimstone, etc., and she said, "Charles, I do not want you to have your portion with those in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, and it is my duty, as your mother, to give you chastisement, and I must do it. I do not want to whip you, but I must do it for your good. This is the teaching of the Lord's Word, and this is what will happen if you should grow up to be a liar, and if you should grow up to become a bad man." You see how much impression that made on my mind, that little suggestion from the Scriptures. Of course, if she had understood the matter, she never would have made that application of the Scripture, but she could have found some other Scripture that would have been equally forcible, and perhaps more so. The fact that God has no use for liars can be very easily impressed on the mind of a child.
ANSWER—Well, I presume they will occupy a position in laps if they are small enough. I may suppose that you mean that if any of the consecrated have had children, how will they fare? Undoubtedly there will be many kind hearted people living then, and when they know that these children are the children of the glorified, they will be very glad to take care of them. We may also be quite sure that the parents who will be on the other side the vail will be more able to care for their children than when here.
What blessings will they receive? They will receive the same as the rest of the families of the earth, for whom Christ has died, and for whom God has made an abundant provision for a knowledge of Himself.
Q55:2 QUESTION (1910)—2—To what extent should the Truth people, Bible Students, educate their children, knowing the shortness of the time between now and the time of trouble, for instance, and also in view of the fact that in any higher education there is a tendency toward infidelitv, higher criticism and agnosticism? Would you advise a common education in music? [Page Q56]
ANSWER—My thought, dear friends, would be that the majority of children would be better off if they would not go beyond, or much beyond, a common school education. I do not know of a college anywhere that would really do them any good. I remind you of a young man who came from India. His father was a native of India and had embraced Christianity, and, according to this son, his father was a genuine Christian, and so this young man was very anxious to come to America and get his education. Apparently his father was connected with the Methodist Church Mission in India. At all events, the young man sought out a Methodist college here. Not having great means, he worked his way through college, and in the four years that he spent in getting his education he lost every bit of his Christianity, and every bit of his faith in the Bible, and was turned out, graduated from a Methodist college, a higher critic, a total unbeliever. That young man subsequently was met by one of the Bible students, and it was suggested he attend one of the conventions. He said he did not have the money to spare. The party gave him the money for his expenses. He attended and was considerably interested, but not convinced, because he had lost his faith to such a degree. It was suggested that he should study further, and that he should study the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES. He went through the six volumes, and at the completion said that he rejoiced that he had found God and the Bible again, and the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior. He is back again in India, preaching Christ there, and preaching him from the true standpoint. Now I would not run the risk with any child I loved—and I would love any child of mine, I am sure; every parent ought to love his children—I would not want to do for that child anything that would result in the loss of the best thing he has—his faith. It would not be with my consent that my child would go even through the high school, because you will find the same higher criticism now even in the ordinary high schools, and not merely in the colleges. They have these so-called scientific text books, about man having been a monkey and dropping his tail, etc.
As for music, I would think something would depend on the circumstances of the parent and the aptitude of the child. If a child has no aptitude for music, I think it would be a waste of time trying to get music into it; but if the child had quite a talent for music, that might be a proper excuse for at least teaching the rudiments of music, whether you would think proper to go further or not. But if the child has real talent for music and you give it the rudiments, I think the talent will take care of the rest. The trouble with most people is, they have not any talent, and it is all an effort to manufacture talent—and most of it is very annoying to their neighbors.
Q56:1 QUESTION (1910)—Part 1:—Is it not stated in your writings that male and female were made for the purpose of filling the earth and that the six thousand year day (epoch) was the limit of time for that work, and the seventh thousand year day was for restoring them to the image of Adam before he was divided and made sex?
ANSWER—I would answer that that is partially true, but not exactly as stated. We do not understand that God made [Page Q57] man male and female for the purpose of filling the earth. He made man because he wished to make man, then divided man into two separate parts that the earth might be filled.
Part 2:--Why, then, does a Pilgrim teach that children will be born all during the Millennium, thus leading away many, and say you teach it, also that God has to have the children born of the Blessed, to take the places of the 144,000?
ANSWER—I do not know what Pilgrim is referred to. The Society cannot be responsible for every word that is uttered by every Pilgrim. It tries to leave as much liberty of thought and expression as possible and as seems reasonable to each one, and tries to have only those in the service of the Society who are pure and honorable in their intentions, and clear in their understanding and presentation of the Truth. The Society cannot guarantee that every Pilgrim shall speak exactly as the President of the Society believes to be the Truth.
Unfortunately, an article appeared in the Watch Tower some time ago, which I think is in line with this question. At the time it was handed to me, I recognized that it was from a brother quite clear in the truth, and I did not scan the letter quite as carefully as I should otherwise have done, and I overlooked this little feature. It is not my thought that children will be born during the Millennial Age to take the place of the 144,000. I would advise that none of you trouble your heads with any such questions. We have plenty to think of that bears upon our interests in the making our calling and election sure, without bothering with such details of the next age. Had I noticed that particular feature of this letter it would not have been published. I admit that I was not as careful as I should have been. I suppose I will continue to learn as long as I live. We try to be careful about every word that goes into the Watch Tower, but we do not claim to be infallible; we are doing the best we can.
It was a mistake to publish that article, but it should not worry anyone, for it is not very important, anyway. What difference to you and me? It is not of sufficient importance to say that such a brother, having that view, does not belong to the Lord; it is not a part of the Truth. My suggestion to any Pilgrim brother along the line of this question, or any other such question, is that it would be better to leave them alone. There is nothing to be gained by the agitation of such questions.
Q57:1 QUESTION (1910)—1—Should the saints go right on and educate their children in this day for earthly positions, knowing they will not get into those positions in this age? Will such an education (college or university) be of value in the Millennium?
ANSWER—I answer that education is a very excellent thing, and undoubtedly, during the time of Messiah's kingdom there will be wonderful educational facilities granted to the whole world, but those educational arrangements will be under a different supervision, and they will be very different in many respects from the education now given.
My advice is, as stated through the Watch Tower, that I advise all Christians not to send their children to colleges [Page Q58] or universities; for if they do, they will risk a great deal through infidelity and unbelief, and they will be doing their children a positive injury.
I think of a dear Christian brother who inquired of me about five years ago in regard to sending his daughter to a female college. I advised to the contrary, stating that she would probably lose her faith in the Bible. He thought he would pick out a good one, and so he selected the best, and it probably is. It was a religious institution, having a denominational foundation. He talked with me a short time ago and said, My daughter has her education, but the poor girl has no Christian religion, or faith in the Bible, or in Jesus Christ left, and I really doubt if she has any faith in God.
Another case mentioned recently in the Watch Tower was that of a young man who came to this country from India. He studied at one of the leading universities and came out an infidel and unbeliever. He is now in India, because he got over his infidelity through reading the six volumes of Scripture Studies, and he is now a thorough believer in the Bible. My advice is, then, give your children an education up to the public school limit, not even attempting to take them through high school, for they get plenty of Higher Criticism in the high schools, and it will not be long before they have it in the common schools also.
ANSWER—No, not at all. The ancient worthies passed through quite an experience to get to the plane on which they will be. Think what it was for Abraham, the trial of his faith, the demonstration of his loyalty! Think what it was to the prophets, what it cost them! Your child has not passed through anything that would count it worthy to share with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets in human perfection, and the earthly representatives of the kingdom. The fact that the child was innocent is very good, but that does not give it a place of reward. Before it has any reward, it will be necessary for it to develop character. Those who get into the little flock will get there as a result of the development of character. Those of the ancient worthy class will be in that class because of the development of character. What, then, does come to the children of believers? I answer, the Scriptures clearly indicate that the children of believers are under a special, divine, providential care. I cannot tell you how. I merely believe it because God's word says so. Let me quote you from the Apostle Paul, "The believing husband sanctifieth the unbelieving wife"—that is to say, it is not necessary that the child should have both parents in the Lord in order to be under divine supervision. If one of the parents is consecrated to the Lord, the child is counted as belonging to that parent, and God's blessing will follow. Likewise the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife, otherwise were your children unholy. That does not mean that he will take them to heaven. It does not mean that he will see that they will belong to the little flock if they grow up. It means that they will be[Page Q59] favored, that their affairs of life will be overruled for good to them, but the will of the child remains. God never encroaches on the will of any of his creatures. That child, so long as it is without a will, so long as it is immature in judgment, will be under divine supervision. So I would say to the parents who view with some apprehension the coming of the time of trouble that the Bible tells us about, such as never was since there was a nation. Commit those children to the Lord with full confidence that he is able to care for them better than you could even if you remained with them.
ANSWER—No; when the Apostle speaks of the believing wife sanctifying the unbelieving hushand, and likewise the unbelieving husband sanctifying the unbelieving wife, lest their children be unholy, but now are they holy, he is not referring to the spirit nature, but merely referring to that which the parent could give to his child, namely: a relation to God as tentatively justified until the child would be of age to think and act for itself. So we understand all the children of believing parents are subject to divine care and supervision in the sense that children who are not children of the consecrated would not have special supervision and divine care. But this does not extend to their becoming Spirit—begotten. No one can attain Spirit-begetting except by the divinely appointed steps, and those are the steps of sacrifice, presenting your bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. All children that present themselves thus sacrificially in Jesus' name or merit before the acceptable time ceases, if they are old enough to make such a presentation of themselves, would be begotten of the spirit. We have no thought that God would have an objection to the child if the child were of a sufficient age to know thoroughly what it was doing.
ANSWER—It is a long head that made that question. I guess I cannot answer that. I will say something along this line, however, not exactly in answer to the question. To my understanding, the manifestation of divine power through the class mentioned, the ancient worthies resurrected as perfect men, will be so complete, so wonderful a manifestation of divine power, that it will give a sufficiency of proof to all those who are in harmony with the Lord; the Jews, in particular, will recognize them. That is as well as I can answer the question.
ANSWER—We understand that they will still be the children of Adam. When we think of our Lord as the Life-giver of the world, we should remember that He is the Life-giver only to those who come unto the Father through Him. When the masses of mankind awaken in the next Age, they will not have undergone any change which would lift them out of Adam and condemnation to death, into Christ and justification of life.
The New Covenant which God will seal with the precious blood of Christ is to be a Covenant primarily with Israel—to those Jews who are His people, to those who will accept Christ. The faithful Israelites who will accept the Lord and the Covenant relationship through the Mediator which is thus inaugurated for their benefit, will, as soon as they do this, come under the blessings of this Covenant. But mankind in general, who will not yet have come to a position of acceptance of the Mediator, will still be in the same attitude of today—aliens, strangers, foreigners. The work of the Church during that time is described in (Rev. 22:17), "And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come." But none will begin to live until they partake of the Water of life.
The world of mankind now go down into death as strangers, aliens from God, and it will be for them after their awakening to avail themselves of the privileges of that time. The Apostle John declares, "He that hath the Son hath life." Those who are awakened will not have this life, not having come into relationship with Christ. His relationship to them during the next Age will evidently be that of a benevolent Ruler, who is willing to enlighten them, to adopt them, if they will, as children, and who is willing to bring them up to the condition where they may have life everlasting. It will take the entire thousand years to fully perfect the race—to bring them up to perfection.
The Lord Jesus will become the Father of all, just as soon as they comply with the required terms. He will give them, first, enlightenment and knowledge. Then if they use this knowledge, light and opportunity, and desire to come into harmony with Him, He will receive them as His children, and grant them the blessings under the New Covenant.
We recall the Scripture which says that the Law shall go forth from Mt. Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. "And many people shall go any say, Come ye, and let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths."
These people represent the world in general outside of those who have accepted the terms of the Covenant. It represents them as learning a lesson and desiring to come into harmony with God. They say one to another, Let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord's House, and let us walk in His paths. Not until they do this will the Mediator recognize them in any sense of the word, nor will they be on probation for everlasting life. As soon as they are ready to walk in the way of holiness, they will be counted as His children.
Q61:1 QUESTION (1910)—1—In (2 Cor. 5:16) we read, "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature." Does it mean that one in Christ is actually a new creature, or merely reckoned so in God's sight, and does he become this new creature when begotten of the Holy Spirit, or wait for a quickening of the Spirit?
ANSWER—I answer that, to my understanding, we become new creatures in Christ Jesus actually, not reckonedly. The reckoning feature is done when Christ gives you his merit. There you stand just as you are, the best you can make yourself, and you present yourself to God a living sacrifice; but he says, it is not worthy of sacrifice. So Jesus imputes his merit to it. Then you are reckoned to be perfect. That is the only reckoning. God reckons it so. Under that he accepts the sacriflce as though it were a perfect sacrifice. God makes you a new creature, and from that moment old things have passed away. Of course, if you owe a man a debt you are bound to discharge it if you can, but if you are unable to pay it, it is not charged up against the new creature. The new creature has no right to contract debts in a general way. "Owe no man anything." Each should be very careful how he goes into debt. If obliged to borrow he should give some security, otherwise you had better wait until the Lord arranges it some other way.
Q61:2 QUESTION (1911)—2—(Rev. 14:4): "These are they which were not defiled with women for they are virgins." If the word"women" here signifies the church, can anyone having a denominational connection have an opportunity of being a part of the one hundred and forty-four thousand of the third verse?
ANSWER—I understand that this question was sent me specially by a Methodist minister on the ground. We understand that the suggestion is a correct one, "Those that were not defiled by women" having no reference to the female sex, but that it refers to these ecclesiastical women mentioned in Revelation. All Bible exponents of the Protestant kind recognize there are two women especially mentioned in Revelation; the one the true women, the bride class, the other the false woman, and Protestants in general understand that false woman to represent the papacy. Then again other Protestants understand that the Scriptures which refer to the mother and daughters refer to the papacy and these denominational daughters, or systems, which sprang from her, and have more or less of her nature, disposition and characteristics. The Bible proposition is that the church is a virgin church, viz.: not united to the world at all, and that this is the error that was made by the early church in leaving Christ as the prospective bridegroom and becoming united with the nation of Rome. This constituted an illicit union; for as the bride of Christ she had no right whatever to be associated with any earthly dominion, and that in becoming associated with the Roman emperor she lost her standing. We have not time now to go into this matter in detail, as it would require more than this morning to do so, but we are merely giving some brief outlines in answer to this question. A very general confusion of mind sprang up after the long [Page Q62] period of darkness which we call the dark ages; various reformations were started, and amongst those was the German reformation in which Luther was one of the principal figures, and Zwingli and Melancthon were others. These good men were striving after more truth and a better under standing of God's word. We believe they were to some extent successful, but only partially so; it was not then due time for God to show the full, clear light of his Word, but he intended to allow people to remain in a considerable degree of darkness until the due time. Some of those of that time remained very loyal to God, and stood free and separate from the things of this world, so that they thus maintained a virgin character. Others of them became enamored of worldly government, and as a result we see that amongst the various Protestant denominations there sprang up very similar conditions to those which had prevailed between the church of Rome and the government of Rome. And as that condition of union between the church state constituted figuratively the Roman Catholic church, a harlot system, one living not in pure conformity with her vow to the Lord, so the same rule of application would make the German church equally a harlot system, and the Russian church equally a harlot system, and the church of England equally a harlot system, and the churches of Sweden and Norway and Denmark equally harlot systems. We are to remember that this word "harlotry" as used in Revelation is merely a symbolical term; there is nothing more than that to be understood, nor that the church of England people were harlots, nor anything of that kind, but merely it is a figure representing the wrong attitude of that system towards God and towards his plan. God has proposed to take out of the world a people for his name, and Saint Paul tells us that this church of the living God now is espoused as a chaste virgin unto one husband, which is Christ, and she is not to marry nor to expect to marry until the bridegroom comes and the marriage shall take place. On the contrary, the church of Rome claims that it was proper to marry. She claims that she is married, and she claims that she has children. In other words, the church of Rome in particular is based on hierarchy. By hierarchy is meant the official church as in separation and distinction from the ordinary members of the Catholic church. That is, the ordinary Catholic is not a member of the Catholic church at all. You will notice that in their conversation they speak of all the priests as father, and all the people as children they; are children of the church. The church therefore professes to have brought forth children. The Roman Catholic church claims to have brought forth these children, and she numbers her children by the hundreds of millions. And Protestants, falling into something of the same error, have been trying to bring forth millions of children, too; each denonimation is trying to bring forth children. This is the wrong thought. There is to be no bringing forth of children until after the marriage. The bride of Christ is to be a virgin church, united only to him. It will be after the marriage that the children will come forth in God's order. All through the thousand years of Christ's reign, Christ will be the father, or lifegiver, to the world of mankind, and the church will be the mother, or the life-sustainer, for the world of mankind, and the whole world of mankind coming back to [Page Q63]restitution privileges and blessings and everlasting life if they will, and will thus become the children of Christ and the children of the church. Therefore in the Scriptures our Lord is represented symbolically as being the everlasting Father. This does not mean that he becomes the heavenly Father, but he becomes the father of everlasting life to the human family. He is not a father to the church; he is our elder brother. He is our bridegroom but never referred to as the father of the church. And so the apostle says you remember, "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten us." The same one that begat him has begotten us, and he is to be the Father of the restitution class of the future, and the church now being developed is still to maintain her virginity and is to be the mother of that restitution class. So then you see, my dear friends, how the Bible uses this word harlotry, and what is the exact meaning of it.
Now coming to our question more particularly, what is the significance of being defiled with women? This might be a matter of more or less conjecture; there might be room for some differences as to what this would mean. Our thought would be this, not that one is necessarily defiled by having become a member of the Methodist church, or the church of England, or the church of Rome; I believe there have been saintly and pure people in all of these churches, and in all of these systems, but those saintly ones were not defiled. They were in her, but not of her. You see there is a difference. God speaks of some of his children as being in Babylon. This whole system of things according to the Bible, according to Jesus' words, is Babylon. Babylon is the name for the mother, the papal system, and the daughters also have the same name, Babylon. And what does Babylon mean? It means confusion, mixture and improper relationship. That is what is included in the word Babylon. Now then some are in Babyon and not of Babylon, just the same as the children of Israel were carried captive into Babylon, but they were not Babylonians. There was a difference. And in due time God sent forth the message to all of natural Israel that if those who had been carried in captivity into Babylon desired to return to the Lord their God, and to the land of promise, they might do so, and Cyrus gave that decree you remember, and many of them did return. And so God has given an invitation to all of his people that are in Babylon that if they are truly his people they should come out of Babylon. No one is called out of Babylon until he hears the Lord's voice. People are not responsible for anything that is said which they do not hear. So you and I may have been in Babylon for years and not have had any responsibility or any impurity, we were not defiled, because we did not know any better. Our own attitude of heart toward God and toward the things of God's Word was a pure virgin attitude. So then the Lord speaks of these as some of his people in Babylon. They were not his people unless they were pure, unless they were virgins. The moment they became impure he would not class them as his people. But he says, "Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins." That implies that you are not yet partakers of her sins; you are my people, in her, but not yet partakers. How is that? Because you did not know any better; you did not see anything [Page Q64] better; you had no responsibility for what you did not see and did not understand. Well, when shall we have the responsibility, then? When do we come to responsibility? What constitutes responsibility? This, my dear brother: I was not responsible for what I was born to, and what was in my head from childhood; and God did not hold me responsible; nor you, nor anyone else; but after we come to see these errors into which these great systems of men have gotten, after we begin to see the truth, after we begin to see that God's holy name is blasphemed, that his holy character is misrepresented, that we have said things about our heavenly Father that we would be ashamed to say about ourselves or of our earthly parents, yet we admit they are all imperfect and fallen—we have said things about our heavenly Father that were scandalous, we have charged him with the most diabolical acts, and the most diabolical intentions, we have said that he created our world of mankind and knew what he was doing, had full power and full wisdom, and intended from the beginning to damn nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand, and to have them roast through all eternity, and that he made fireproof devils to handle them; that he created a great place called hell in which all of this diabolical work was going on—we slandered our heavenly Father. If anyone would say that about you or me, would not we be angry? We would indeed. If they would say that you had so treated a rat, you would be angry, and you would deserve to he angry. The man that would do such things to a rat is not an honorable man. No honorable man would treat a poor rat that way—predestinate the rat before it was born, foreordain it to eternal torture. And that is what we have been charging to our heavenly Father. It is awful, it is terrible, God forgive us ! I am sure he does; we are ashamed of it. But now just take that one point of false doctrine—and there are other points too; and there are other points of good doctrine. I am not claiming for a moment that all we have believed, and all our forefathers believed, was wrong—not at all. We were saints when we were in Babylon, and we want to maintain our saintship; but now coming down to the close of the age God is lifting the vail, and he is in this day showing us more clearly respecting his plans, his purposes, his arrangement, and the real teaching of his Word. And now then after we once see that this doctrine is blasphemy against God, after we once see that it was concocted in the human mind, evidently instigated by our great adversary, the devil—after we once see what an awful thing it is, if then we wish to uphold earthly systems and give our lives and strength and talents and means, to up-holding these diabolical teachings, then we are worse than any others there; we are the worst of the whole lot. The man who does this fully knowing and intentionally, is the only man to blame at all. You and I, if we would stay in and uphold these things, would be more blameworthy than some who are in and who are not so conscious of what is the trouble.
So then, this Scripture tells us that there are some that will be defiled by these women—by these earthly systems. Why do you call them earthly systems? Why do you show them in contrast to the heavenly system. God has only one church; there is not a man in the world who will deny that. [Page Q65] No one of any good sense who has any faith in his Bible at all will deny that the Bible teaches there is only one church, the church of the living God, the church of the first—borns, whose names are written in heaven. Whence, then come all these different denominations, Catholics and Protestants numbering up into the hundreds? Well, they come from men. They come from error. They come from ignorance. They come from superstition. They are the results of endeavors to get to the light, and wrong conceptions of how to get to the light. Do you blame these people? Not at all. We are not blaming anybody. The blame comes to the person who, after seeing the real facts of the case, stands in and indorses these systems and upholds them. Now then he will be deflled. And how would he be defiled? Why his whole conscience must be defiled, for he knows that the system is wrong; he is defiled immediately by having a contact with that which he recognizes to be wrong, and feels to be untrue to God, to be untrue to the principles of righteousness; he defiles not only his conscience, but he does dishonor to God, and dishonor to the denomination, and everything else. What right has any man to stay inside of a denomination and deny the teachings of that denomination? He is stultifying himself to do so, is he not? He is branding himself as a fraud, professing to believe what he knows he does not believe, claiming to teach what he knows he does not teach; or, on the other band, teaching that which he knows is wrong and professing that which he does not believe at all. The whole matter is wrong; such are defiled by the women. But those who come out when they see the right and the wrong on the question, who take their stand for right, they are delivering their souls from Babylon. "Flee out of Babylon, saith the Lord; deliver every man his soul." Now no one is responsible to flee out unless he sees that it is Babylon, but the very suggestion that it is Babylon to every honest person means that he should make an investigation, and a thorough one, to know whether or not he is in Babylon. If he says, "Well, God's voice says, 'flee out of Babylon,' and I believe that the svstem is Babylon, but I do not wish to look into it for fear I find it true," that means he is dishonest with himself; he is defiling himself. There is only one way of being thoroughly honest, and that is to be honest.
ANSWER—In a great variety of ways our Lord was made unto us wisdom. He is the Head of the Church which is His Body. And as the head is the center of knowledge, so the Lord Jesus is the Head of His Church. But the particular thought of the text seems to be that of a progressive order. Looking, then, to see how Jesus was our wisdom before He became our Justifier and Sanctifier, we perceive that the Scriptural declaration is that "no man cometh to the Father but by" our Lord.
Previous to justification the Father draws, for none can come to Christ except through the Father. After the Father has drawn, the wisdom comes from Christ, who instructs us how to come to the Father. Just as the disciples were instructed [Page Q66] by our Lord, so it is all the way down throughout the Age. There is no other way by which men may be saved—"None other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Sinners could not be acceptable to the Father except by the way of justification such as the Father has provided. This justification means their blessing. "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Mat. 11:28.) We need to be instructed. The light was not prior to Jesus Christ for we read that He is the Light. He makes that statement Himself: "I am the light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."—John 1:9; 8:12.
This wisdom was first promulgated by our Lord. So the same wisdom which instructed His disciples guides men back to the Father, instructs them as to what discipleship means, makes them wise in order that they may take the steps by which that discipleship is to be gained. Whoever will be His disciples must take up their cross and follow Him. No matter in what way one may get the wisdom, it comes to him from our Lord Jesus Christ; and without this wisdom we could not know how to come to God. No one can ever come to God without this wisdom. And so His wisdom instructs what will be the reward of discipleship,
Our Lord appeared in the presence of God for us—on our behalf. Thus, according to the Father's plan and arrangement, He became the Justifier of those who come to the Father by Him, and none can get the justification' except by a consecration of life. Then He becomes their santification' by assisting them in everything necessary to their sanctification. They have the will to do, and as they have this will, so now He works in them a sanctified character in life.
This course being followed, the one who has the wisdom of the narrow way first obtains justification' through our Lord's blood and then sanctification' through following in the Lord's footsteps. Finally comes the deliverance redemption' by the First Resurrection. The One who led us all the way is the One who leads us still and who will finally lead us into the New Jerusalem, the glorious condition beyond the veil.
ANSWER—The body which God prepared for sacrifice may properly be viewed from two standpoints: First, the Father prepared the body of Jesus, in that He was born holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, and of the human family through His mother. This is the foundation of the whole matter. But the Apostle Peter and also the Apostle Paul inform us that God foreknew the Church, "the Body of Christ," and, therefore, foreknew the sufferings of the Head—foreknew our share in the sufferings and also in His glory.
In speaking therefore of the body which God prepared we should properly enough think how the Father prepared a body for Jesus which was actually, physically perfect and corresponding to the body of Adam, who was afterward condemned, and also prepared the way by which the "Body [Page Q67] of Christ" should be justified from the sinfulness of the flesh, that thus He might offer not only Himself, the Head, but also "the Church, His Body," a "living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God."
In (Heb. 10:10) the Apostle is contrasting the atonement day sacrifice of the typical high priest with the antitypical atonement day sacrifice of the antitypical High Priest, Jesus. The typical high priest needed once every year, repeatedly (not daily), to offer up sacrifices. The first part of the sacrifice was for his own sin, and the second part of the sacrifice was for the sins of the people. The first part was the bullock, and the second part the offering of the goat. These two offerings constituted the one sacrifice for sin on the day of atonement! And so, in the antitype, the offering of our Lord Jesus, when He offered up Himself, was for "himself," that is, for His Body, those who are to be His Church, the household of faith. And then, a further part of His sacrifice has been the offering up of these members of His Body, in harmony with their wills and in harmony with the Divine provision. Thus the antitypical atonement day sacrifices for sin have been in progress for eighteen hundred years. The special merit of the sacrifice was that which our Lord Himself offered, through which our offerings are made acceptable. It is one sacrifice in the sense that it is all one Body of one Priest that is offered, for the Apostle said, "We are partakers of the sufferings of the Anointed," and, "if we suffer with Him we shall reign with Him"; "if one member suffer all members suffer."ALL OFFERING MUST BE DONE BY THE PRIEST
In (Heb. 7:27) the Apostle said, "This He did once when he offered up Himself." The question arises, To whom does this refer? Does it mean Jesus, and the members of His Body offering up Himself? We answer, No. The members of the Body do not offer up themselves; they present themselves; but the offering, so far as God is concerned, must be done by the Priest, Jesus, the "High Priest of our profession." The Apostle says that this He did once, and we answer, Here the thought is one fulfilment of the one type. In the type there were two sacrifices offered, and it is here called His sacrifice. Our Lord offered up Himself at Jordan, and He offered up all the members of His Body, the Church, at Pentecost. The offering of Himself personally at Jordan was accepted of the Father, and the remainder of Christ's sacrifice was merely the fulfilling of the terms of the sacrifice. So the presentation of the Church before the Father was accomplished at Pentecost, though it has required the entire Gospel Age to complete the sacrifice. This, too, was shown in the atonement day type: The high priest, after offering up the bullock, took the blood into the Holy and later into the Most Holy and sprinkled it on behalf of himself and his household—the members of his body and the household of faith—the underpriests and the Levites. Next the high priest came to the door of the Tabernacle and slew the goat, representing the acceptance of [Page Q68]justified believers as His Body and their consecration to death. In the type this did not represent the second coming of Christ, but merely His manifestation in connection with the sacrifice of the Body which is the Church. In the antitype our Lord as the High Priest manifested His power in the Church at Pentecost by sending the Holy Spirit upon them and thus giving the intimation that their sacrifice was made and acceptable in the Father's sight. All of the Church who have since come in were counted in there—just as in our Lord's prayer He said, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on Me through their word." Similarly the acceptance of the Church at Pentecost as joint-sacrificers, as part of Christ's sacrifice, has continued ever since and we are members of His Body, each in his turn being sacrificed until the entire sacrifice of the Great High Priest once for all shall have been accomplished, and that accomplishment, we believe, is near. The expression, "If one member of the Body of Christ suffer, all the members suffer with it" (1 Cor. 12:26) does not, of course, signify that the dead members of the Church would suffer with the living members, nor that those not yet begotten of the Spirit would suffer with the Apostles, nor that members in different parts of the world would suffer with the other members of whom they were ignorant. It merely means that there is such a sympathy and union and fellowship in the Body of Christ that each is intimately and deeply interested in every other member, so that the interests of one are the interests of all. As, for instance, where there are two or three of the Lord's people in fellowship, as a little ecclesia or class, they are, in this sense of the word, a Body of Christ and are interested in each other, and suffer with each other in the tribulations, persecutions and difficulties of life. And, in a larger sense of the word, any of the members of the Body of Christ, in any part of the world, learning of the sufferings of other members of the Body would correspondingly feel an interest, a sympathy and fellowship in their sufferings, or in their joys.
In the statement, "A body hast thou prepared me," we must be careful not to read in what is not stated. It Is not stated, "A body hast thou prepared me as a ransom price," but, "A body hast thou prepared me" (Heb. 10:5), "for the suffering of death." (Heb. 2:9.) The suffering of death on the part of our Lord Jesus constituted the ransom price for the sin of the whole world. But the Body, which is the Church, the Father prepares through justification for association with Jesus in the "suffering of death," but this does not constitute the Church partakers in the ransom-price. Only one ransom-price was necessary, and that was one perfect man's death, and that had already been arranged for before the Church was invited to become joint-sufferers and joint-heirs with the Redeemer as His members. The word "sacrifice" seems to be confusing to some. We are exhorted to present our bodies living sacrifices, but our presentation of our bodies to the Lord should not be confounded with the Lord's presentation of us. Going back to the type we find that two goats were presented to the Lord at the door of the Tabernacle. They were presented [Page Q69]to be sacrificed, and so, when speaking of them, one might properly say, Those are the sacrificial goats; and whoever presented the goats might in one sense of the word be said to be the sacrificer. But the word sacrifice, when used in the sense of devotion, or setting apart for sacrifice, should not be confounded with the sacrificing work by the high priest. The goats were not sacrificed merely because they were presented or devoted. God dealt not with the people, but with the priest, and only when the priest had slain the animal was it sacrificed, from the Divine standpoint. Then, and only then, was it really acceptable to God as a sacrifice. Applying this, then, we may desire to come to God and learn that now is the acceptable day, now is the time when the Body of Christ may be devoted, or presented to the Lord. But something more is necessary than our presentation, and that further thing is the work which is accomplished for us by the High Priest, Jesus; namely, His acceptance, or His endorsement of our consecration, and the presentation of our offeririg as a part of His sacrifice. When the High Priest presents us with His merit imputed, then, and not until then, does our offer become a "sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God."
Q69:1 QUESTION (1912-Z)—1—In (1 Cor. 15:28) we read that when Christ shall have accomplished the work appointed for Him—the work of His Millennial Kingdom and reign—and shall have put down all enemies (the last enemy to be destroyed being death), the Son also will be subject unto the Father, who put all things under Him. In what sense will He be "subject" then more than during the Millennium?
ANSWER—The special thought very evidently is that during Messiah's reign the Lord Jesus will be given full power and authority to control the world. That is the particular business appointed to Him. You will remember that the Father, speaking of that time, says, "Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance"; and He declares that they shall be ruled with a rod of iron.—(Psa. 2:8,9). This thousand-year period, known as the Millennium, is set apart for this work. Suppose that you were given a position by the Government, or the State, with commission to do a certain thing for a certain period of time, with the understanding that when it is accomplished you will be given a reward for doing it. You are instructed: "Everything is in your hands. Do the work, and you may have all of 1912 in which to do it. Attend to the matter." Then what? After having completed the work, you resign this special commission, this special office conferred upon you for the year. You will no longer hold it. So at the end of the Millennium our Lord Jesus will no longer hold office as Mediator between God and men, as He will have done for the one thousand years. Why not? There will be nothing more to be accomplished. During the thousand years He will have done His work as Mediator so thoroughly that there will be nothing more to do. That special work will have been fully accomplished. [Page Q70]
Q70:1 QUESTION (1911)—1—What should we understand in a general way to be comprehended in the term "Failure to live up to one's privilege as a Christian?" Does this include a failure to study the Scriptures, or an opportunity for serving the Lord along mechanical lines, the same as one's time and energy to the extent of incapacity only for the study of the Scriptures?
ANSWER—Well, this is a very complicated question. No one can answer questions properly except along general lines, and it remains for each individual Christian to apply those lines. This is God's will, this is God's way; otherwise God would have said through Jesus or through the Apostles, do this, don't do that, do the other thing; but he has not placed us in such bondage as that, and thus limited us. He has left us along general lines to know certain principles and to exercise our thoughts along those lines, and thus he puts a responsibility upon you for your conduct, and upon me for my conduct, and this is an elastic system that allows different people of different conditions of mind each one to put the proper bondage on himself, and it keeps other people from bringing him into bondage. Thus the Church of Christ can be at full liberty. Everything that the Lord has said is an obligation, but the Lord has not made very many obligations. You will find the obligations generally made by men. This denomination says, you shall not chew tobacco, that one says you shall not drink whiskey, another one says you have got to wear that shaped coat, and another one, cut your hair in this way, and another one says you must walk in such a way. All of these things are of men; there is nothing of this kind in the Bible. The Bible lays down broad general principles and gives every man and every woman a right to use his or her own mind upon the subject. As, for instance, someone said to me, "Brother Russell, can a man chew tobacco and be a Christian? And it is right to smoke? And is it right to drink coffee? And is it right to wear a hat with a feather in it? And is it right to wear a broad hat, etc.?" And I say, "My dear brother, you have a right to do anything you please, which you think will glorify God and do good to yourself and to your neighbor. Drink all the whiskey you think will glorify God. God does not say, snip off this, and snip off that; the Lord says, give your whole heart to me make a full consecration; everything goes down; you have no earthly rights. Love merely whatever God says he approves of remembering that you are a new creature in Christ Jesus."
ANSWER—I answer that the reason we expect it to begin there in the full sense is that the Father laid out the plan of this whole age. Here Bro. Russell gave a long talk on the "Times of the Gentiles" showing that their lease of [Page Q71]power began in 606 B.C. and will end in the fall of 1914, which can be found in detail in Vol.2, of the Dawns.
ANSWER—We answer that there have been times of trouble this good while. (You know we have a trouble corner over there, and he smiled and pointed over to his little office.) There have been and there will be times of trouble as far as the Church is concerned. Look at the persecutions. But the reference here, and properly enough, is to the "Great Time of Trouble" that is referred to in Daniel, twelfth chapter, where he says, "there shall be a time of trouble such as never was before," and our Lord adds, "No and never shall be again." Well that is the time of trouble that is in our minds, and it will not begin nor end in 1914. The time of trouble may be a beginning now, but those beginnings are only leading up to the real trouble. If there was a whirlwind coming you would expect to first see dust and commotion before the houses would be swept away, and so we see in Russia. The time of trouble, the awful time of anarchy, to our understanding, commences really there, though like the dust of the whirlwind there will be and is now trouble preceding the awful anarchy. As to how long it will last I do not know, but I cannot imagine how it could last long. As an illustration; take Pittsburg or Allegheny, and suppose they were cut off from the railroads. No peace to any man that goeth out or that cometh in. Everything would run out in a short time. We eat a good deal in Allegheny and Pittsburg. But, in the olden times, they had cities that would stand long sieges for months or years, like Port Arthur. They had great supplies. Our cities are not now in that condition with great supplies laid up; we live from hand to mouth. When anarchy comes it will bring terrible conditions, and I do not see how it could possibly last long. Things, I think, will come to an abrupt end within a year. In those times, when people are laying their hands on everything they can get, the farmers are not going to raise wheat for others just to give it away.
ANSWER—I answer, it is based on this ground: that He comes to accomplish a work and that the work is, He must reign until He shall have put down all authority and all insubordination, and shall have brought everything into harmony with God, and shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father. The Scriptures say that He must reign a thousand years. Therefore, we see that when His presence came in 1874 it was intended to last the whole thousand years. Now when we speak of it in that way, we do not mean to have it understood that the Lord must stand at one particular place on earth, or that He is to stand on the earth at all; because spirit beings do not need to have platforms, etc., to stand on. We are not to think of it as meaning that the Lord has a fixed place, and that He cannot get away from the earth. That is not the thought we wish to give at all. That is not our thought. Our thought is, [Page Q72] that our Lord came for the purpose of reigning, and He will not give up that purpose nor that work. He may go to and from the heavenly Father's presence, and the Church may also go to and from the heavenly Father's presence, but still their work is in connection with the earth, and this is their kingdom, just as President Roosevelt is supposed to be in this country while he is president of the country, yet he sometimes makes journeys to Cuba, or he may go to Panama, or somewhere else, and he has really gone out of the country; yet in a sense he is still in the country, because, if he has gone to Panama, he has left certain persons to represent the presidential office in Washington; and he is still president, whether he is in Washington or in Oyster Bay. So, with our Lord Jesus during all the Millennial Age; He will still be the reigning King of earth, just the same as we say now He has ascended up on high, there to appear in the presense of God for us. He is set down at the right hand of the majesty of God on High, but that does not mean that God is sitting in a great place and never moves from it, or that Jesus has sat down there and that he has not gone away all the time that he has been at the right hand of God's majesty, but in the sense that He is next to the Father; He is the one next in honor, and dignity to the Father, and He will always maintain that; He will be at the right hand of the Father when He is reigning as a King on the earth; as we say, speaking of the second coming of Christ, the Son of Man shall come in glory at the right hand of the Father. When He is coming in the clouds with great power and glory, He will be at the right hand of the Father all of that time.
ANSWER—I think not. I see, dear friends, from different questions that come to me from different places, that thought is prevailing, and I may have been guilty of having started it for all I know. That is about the closing of the door. Now, everyone has a right to use language in his own way, and as long as he keeps within certain bounds, no one can say he is talking amiss. So, we can talk about the door of opportunity closing, but I wish you to notice that the Bible does not speak of the door of opportunity closing. Undoubtedly there will come a time when the opportunity to spread the truth will be more or less hampered, when things will be greatly curtailed, and people, perhaps, who are opposed to us may try to make out that we are in some manner or form anarchists. The idea is growing that all anarchy should be put down, and we are in full sympathy with that. We think anarchists are unreasonable and unsafe people, and that they should be restrained. But we expect the time to come, not many years hence, when some will say of us, "You are anarchists, against the government, and against the Churches." And they will have power with the government, and there will be laws passed that will squeeze the anarchists, and then we will be squeezed in with them, so as to get rid of us to some extent. You might call that perhaps, in some sense, the closing of the door of opportunity [Page Q73] to proclaim the truth. We know that cannot come until God is ready. In the meantime, we can expect that the truth is going to have a very wide circulation. My expectation, dear friends, is different from that of a good many. I know some of the Lord's people are thinking the harvest work is about done now, but as I have been telling you for some years back that my understanding is the work is not nearly done; there is a whole lot more work to do. We had in the Watch Tower office about three years ago a change in our method of keeping the list of Tower subscribers from books to the card system. We had an arrangement made for holding the cards, and the question arose, how large we should make it. I said, We will make it large enough for fifty-five thousand. Some said, O, that is too large. No, I said, I think we are going to need most of that space for 55,000 subscribers to the Tower. Now, we have not yet got them, but we think they are going to come in. Our expectancy is there will be large numbers of people coming into a measure of the truth, and a measure of sympathy, and there are people in all the denominations who are true saints at heart, and have heen more or less blinded and confused by churchianity, and they supposed things were more like what they saw on the outside, as Jesus said about the scribes and Pharisees that people looked on the outside and saw that they were beautiful and whitewashed, and Jesus said that inwardly they were full of all manner of impurity. So the people of all denominations are beginning to wake up and look about them and say. What does this mean? Am I wrong? Am I so fanatical that I cannot be in sympathy with other people? It is not they that are wrong; it is the institutions that are wrong; and their hearts are searching for the Lord, for there is a famine, not for bread or for water, but for the hearing of the Word of the Lord. Some of this class are beginning to see that they are hungry. Now, we believe that class is everywhere within your reach and mine, and that the Lord is giving us a great privilege in hunting for them. You remember that only in one place in the Scriptures do they speak of the door shutting, and that is in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. And there it says, the Bridegroom came. We apply that to the year 1874, and this was called to the attention of the wise virgins, "Behold the Bridegroom"—not behold the Bridegroom cometh, but behold the Bridegroom, as representing His presence, and then all the virgins arose and trimmed their lamps, and some of them had oil in their vessels as well as their lamps. Now, you know what the lamp is, and what the vessel is which carried the Holy Spirit. You must have both. If you are without oil, then something is wrong. You must get the oil or you cannot be one of the wise virgins, and you remember the wise virgins went with the Bridegroom in to the marriage and the door was shut. Now, that is the door of the parable. When did the door shut? After the wise virgins had gone in. What does that mean? It means after the last one of the Little Flock has made his calling and election sure, and has been tested sufficiently, and has been passed as a successful one, and the high calling is ended, and the last one has gone beyond the vail, that the door is shut. That is the parable. Then afterwards came the other[Page Q74] virgins, the foolish virgins, that had gotten oil in the in the meantime. Yes, they got the experience, and development, and the knowledge, and the light, and then they came, and knocked and said, We are a little bit late, but let us in please. We heard about this, but we did not have the oil in our lamps. But, the answer comes, "I cannot recognize you. The whole company, the elect company, is all in. I cannot recognize you." What will they do? They will pass through the great time of trouble, as the parable shows, and there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. The time of trouble that will come on the whole world will cause a great amount of anguish, and disappointment, and sorrow, in these ways, represented by that familiar expression, weeping and gnashing of teeth.
ANSWER—Well, it seems to be a figure of speech that is pointing down to the end of this age. Look, for instance, at the Jewish Age. When the Jewish Age came to an end and the harvest of that age was ripe, the Lord called it a "harvest;" He said He was the reaper and He Himself went out and began a reaping work amongst the Jews then. And then came the plowman, before the reaping was done and before the harvest was all over. Who was the plowman? Why, the Lord and the Apostles, preaching the glorious message. There was a double work being accomplished:—there not only reaping the Jewish people, but following that began the work of preparing for the new dispensation, the Gospel dispensation; a new dispensation altogether was ushered in. So one overlapped on to the other. So similarly in the end of this age, the reaping work is the close of the age; the harvest is the end of the age. In the time of the harvest the Lord sends forth the reapers, and the reaping work is now going on. But that is not the end of God's plan; there is another dispensation about to he ushered in and that is to be the time for sowing the great field with the true seed; and now in the time of harvest, the plowman is already beginning and he is overtaking the reapers. The reaper is hardly out of the way before the plowman comes along. What do you mean by that? Why, I mean this harvest work will hardly have accomplished its intention, and gathered the little flock and the great company into the great barn of the Lord until the plowman of trouble will be running his furrows through the world; and in the time of the gathering of the great company, the time of trouble will be on the world.
ANSWER—Inadvertently we have used this expression of closing the door in two ways. At times we have used it in respect to the work that is to be done until the close of the age, until the opportunity for service shall shut down as represented in the parable, and no more laborers will be admitted. Apparently no others were admitted during the twelfth hour, but we do not know when that door will close. It is open now and may stand open all this [Page Q75]year, and I cannot say how long it will stand open, how soon the eleventh hour will close and the twelfth hour will begin. We may have something to say on that subject in the Watch Tower. That is also one of those thoughts that is working, but it has not worked satisfactorily yet. Then as to the other door, in the parable of the "Wise and Foolish Virgins," the Wise Virgins followed Him and then went in with Him and the door was closed; then followed the Foolish Virgins and knocked at the door, saying, "Lord, Lord, open unto us," but the door was shut. That is the door through which the Bride-class will enter, and when it is shut, it will never open again. To my understanding that door and the door to service should be kept separate. That door the King will close when the last member of the Body of Christ shall have finished his sacrifice, and gone beyond the vail, the complete number will be gathered and enter into glory. When that will be I do not know. Perhaps not for a year or maybe more, after the door to service has closed. There will be a time of testing to prove those who have already entered the door of service.
ANSWER—No. He is our Advocate whether He is present or not. He always has access to the Father, and we are not separate; so as the Head of the Body He represents the Body. Does your head represent your body, or your hand? Your head always.
Q75:4 QUESTION (1909)—4—In 2 Kings 25:3-6; Jer. 39:2-5, Jer. 52:6-9, it is stated that the overthrow of Zedekiah occurred on the 9th day of the 4th month. As the year referred to throughout Kings is the Sacred Year, beginning about April of our calendar, the 9th day of the 4th month would correspond to about July 1st. The overthrow of Zedekiah marks the beginning of the Gentile Times, and if this occurred in July, would not the Times of the Gentiles end in July? Would it be July, 1914, or July, 1915?
ANSWER—We think not. If the brother or sister who wrote the question will go over the chronology, they will find that these Times will end in October, 1914. You should remember that in figuring chronology you count backward from A. D. for the 606, and forward from A. D. for the 1914.
ANSWER—I am glad that question is there, my dear brothers and sisters. You will notice that in my own teachings and writings I am careful to avoid any other dates than these. I know nothing about other dates. In the third volume of Scripture Studies there is a suggestion, but it is offered only as a suggestion, merely that a certain measurement in the Pyramid (not in the Word of God) looks as though it might point down to 1910 or 1911, but we do not say that it does mean anything, but merely throw out a suggestion. Don't anticipate, don't say things are to occur, for we do not know, at least I don't, and don't believe anyone else does. My advice is to follow the Apostle when he says, "We speak those things that we know." Don't say anything about those things that you do not know.
Quite likely you will wish you had not after a while. Nineteen hundred and fourteen is the time when the "Gentile Times" will end. What does that mean? I do not know, but I think it is when God lets go in a general sense of the word, and permits things to take their course; and we can readily suppose, as the Apostle says, that the course of nature would be set on fire, because of strife. In the world of mankind, I shall expect a time of great trouble, which the Bible marks out as having its beginning about October, 1914, but I think, dear friends, that it is more important, instead of telling of the time of trouble, to tell about the good things. The poor people who get into the time of trouble will have all they want of it then. I have enough now, and so have you. The Scriptures say that through much tribulation shall we enter the kingdom, and if we pay attention to our duties, we will get enough without taking time to tell them about the time of trouble. The world will not be profited by our telling, either. We do not wish to scare anybody. We see the bad effects of this scare-religion in times past. While we can tell them that there is a storm coming, we can also tell them that God is going to make that a blessing, and we are glad for the whole world of mankind, that this time of refreshing is near, "Speak of the time of rest that nears." They have enough tribulation, and I advise not to talk too much about the tribulation. I think of one brother who had a large bump of imagination, who told his wife all about the time of trouble and told it as though he had been there already, telling her what flour would be a barrel at that time, etc., etc., so that his poor wife was almost afraid of the Truth. If he had said, My dear, there is a time of trouble coming and those who make the Lord their refuge, he will have a supervising care over them, I think it would have had a better effect. I [Page Q77] have very little faith in any kind of scare religion, it does not work well. Another thing while at it. It is not quite in this question, but it is kind of a second cousin to the question. To what extent should the Pilgrims and other brothers preach "Brother Russell"? I say, not at all. You have plenty, dear friends, to preach and the Apostle says, "We preach Christ." Brother Russell is very glad if the Lord has used him as a finger-board to point the right road for your eyes, that you can see wonderful things in the Word of God, but it is not Brother Russell, but it is the Lord that has used him. As you see the finger-board points out it is so many miles to Jamestown, it is not the finger-board, but the person that painted and put it there that is to be appreciated. So my advice is that you do not search the Scriptures to find anything about Brotner Russell, but that you search to find things about the "glorious One" whom we all reverence. You remember we had already pointed to it 15 years ago and made this statement applicable. You remember that John the Revelator had seen this and that, and other things, and he said he fell at the feet of the angel who showed me these things, saying, "See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God." That is the right thought, but there is a tendency in this direction, and a danger to worship the creature, or instrumentality, rather than the Creator who uses the instrumentality. Let us not make that mistake. I do not want any to make that mistake through any inadvertency on my part.
ANSWER—I do not know. There are many people who can tell you a great deal more about 1910, 1911, 1912 and 1913 than I can. All I know is there are certain dates that seem to be well fixed as far as we understand the Scriptures—1874, 1878, 1881 and October, 1914. I do not know about anything between at all. If other people do, they have a right to talk about it. But do you not say something in the third volume of Scripture studies about 1910? Yes, I said we might take a measurement up over that step. We do not know whether there is anything to be measured that way or not, but suppose we do take a measurement over the top of that step: It would indicate about the year 1910. But I do not know whether God meant something to be marked for 1910 or not. I think by the time we have passed that time, we might see something perhaps for 1910. Perhaps we have gotten up on that step now, for all I know. Things are going along pretty rapidly just now, dear friends.
Q77:2 QUESTION (1910)—2—Does the Society sanction all the pilgrims say concerning 1911 and 1912? I have noticed in our congregation that the elders who do not agree with all the pilgrims say concerning those dates, are thought to be out of harmony with the Society. What is best to do in that connection?
ANSWER—I have tried and am still trying to influence all the pilgrim brethren against the preaching of any time period this side of October, 1914, where 1915 Jewish time begins. [Page Q78] I think it is very unwise to be preaching anything else. Now you know the liberal way in which we try to do these things. We try to find as little fault as possible with anyone who has a good character, and is seemingly accomplishing a good work; we try to exercise as little of a grasp on them as to what they shall say as possible; but it is not with any consent of mine, nor with any endorsement of mine, nor of the Society of which I have the honor to be the head, that any pilgrim brother make any preachment respecting any dates this side of October, 1914. And I advise all the dear friends that you have nothing positive to put your finger on—you merely have some guesses and some surmises, and it is wise to avoid these guessings and surmisings and to stand fast by what we do know. I think it is the safer plan. We certainly urge on all the dear pilgrims and elders, and upon all, that they try to have the one mind. I would not mind saying this, and it is not preaching time at all: Someone says to me, Brother Russell, I think I see something that might be construed to mean that the organization of the Federation which you have been talking about, is coming next year. Well, I say, Brother, perhaps you do and perhaps you do not. I do not know, and I am looking for it, and have been looking for it right along; it is not going to make any particular difference to me whether they organize their Federation this year or next year; I am leaving that in the Lord's hands. I do not know that it would make a particle of difference whether they organize this year, or the next year, or the year after. The Lord has the whole matter in his supervision, and you and I have plenty to do; we do not need to worry about these things that are speculative. We have so much that is positive, and that, I think, is what we do well to impress upon ourselves and upon others.
Q78:1 QUESTION (1913)—1—Would our Lord have any definte time in mind when He used the words as recorded in Mat. 26:29, "But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father's Kingdom?"
ANSWER—I would suppose that the Master meant by "that day" what is frequently meant by that same expresion "that day" as in contrast with these six days, that great seventh day, the Millennial day, the thousand year day of His Kingdom: in that day we will have joy.
ANSWER—We have never thought of giving the "Watch Tower" so important a place as that. Anyway, the "Watch Tower" was started in 1879, and the "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society" was started in 1880, and the mere matter of getting a charter for it does not signify that it was not existent before that time. The getting of a charter does not make a society. You can form a society without a charter, but it is limited. The Society is just as much a society if two or three of you make it without a [Page Q79] charter, as if five hundred make it with a charter; it is a society all the same, an association. In any case, we think this has nothing to do with the matter. Our thought is that the Harvest is marked by the presence of the Lord, and the Reaper's presence indicates a time of harvest. From the prophecies we believe that the Lord became present as Reaper in 1874. It is the prophecies, we think, that mark the Harvest beginning, rather than any other thing.
ANSWER—Our supposition has been—and we, of course, supposed that we were looking at it from the Bible standpoint—our supposition has been that during the period that we call the Gentile Times the whole work of God in the selection of the Church would be completed. Perhaps it would be just as well for me to give you a brief summary of why we think that 1914 is the particular date, and what has been accomplished and should be expected to be accomplished during that interim or period. I remind you, then, that God once had in the world a typical people, and that these people He organized into a typical kingdom, the Kingdom of Israel, and on the throne of the typical kingdom He placed a typical king. David being the representative of that kingly line, the Lord promised him, "There shall not fail thee a man in My sight to sit on the throne of Israel," of his seed; and so we read of David's son, Solomon, and how Solomon sat upon the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord—not upon David's throne—upon the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord. It was God's throne, it was God's Kingdom, only in a typical way. Solomon followed David, and Solomon's son followed him, and so there was a continuation of the Davidic line for a certain time. Then there came a time when God stopped that order of things. The last king of David's line who reigned over the people of Israel was King Zedekiah, and to him and of him God said at that time, "O, thou profane and wicked prince, whose time is come for iniquity to have an end. This shall not be the same (I will discontinue this order of things), this shall not be the same. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it until He come whose right it is, and I will give it unto him." Now, then, you see, there was David's line. "There shall not fail thee a man to sit upon thy throne forever." And so for all these years God kept the tribe of Judah in a prominent place, and David's posterity sat upon the throne as long as it continued. But in Zedekiah God discontinued that earthly kingdom, and there has been no earthly Kingdom of God from that time on. He was the last of the order of David. The people of Israel, you remember, were carried into Babylonian captivity. They came back afterward from the Babylonian captivity, but they never had any kings of David's line, and they never had any kings of their own at all. The Maccabees did endeavor to have a kingdom, you remember, but unsuccessfully; but they were not of the promised line of David; and then down to the time of the first advent there were certain kings of the Herodian line but Herod's line was not David's line. Indeed the kingdom of Herod was not of a Jewish line at all. They were of Esau and not Jews at all. So then, according [Page Q80] to history and according to prophecy, Zedekiah was the last king of David's line that sat upon the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord. What happened then? Well, God has had no typical kingdom, from the time of Zedekiah down to when? Down to now. In all that time He has had no kingdom in the earth. Well, but, you say, Brother Russell, there have been some who claimed to be the Kingdom of God. Oh, yes, my brethren, and so the Bible tells us about the kingdoms of this world, but they are not the Kingdom of God. We are still praying, "Thy kingdom come." And it will be Messiah's kingdom that will come then. There will be no inferior substitution in the mean time. On the contrary, when God took away the kingdom from His own nation, the seed of Abraham, He gave the dominion of the world, by a kind of leasehold, to the Gentiles. And Jesus referred to that, you remember, in speaking of the "times of the Gentiles." And He says that the times, or years, of the Gentiles would continue until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled. When He used these words He was thinking about the fact that Jerusalem would be completely overwhelmed and destroyed, as it was destroyed in the year 70, and Jesus said it would continue to be destroyed until the completion of the Gentile Times. Well, when did the Gentile times begin? We answer that they began where God's typical kingdom ended when the crown was removed from Zedekiah. Well, what happened at that time to indicate that Gentile times began then? Oh, something very important occurred. At that time there were various nations in the world larger than the people of Israel. There was Egypt, and the Babylonians, and other nations, but these were two of the other nations near to Israel. And Babylonia became very great, and the greatness of Babylonia dates especially from the time of the overthrow of Israel. At that time God recognized Babylonia as being the first of the Gentile kingdoms that would have control of the world, and it became the Universal Empire. You remember it was about that time that Nebuchadnezzar had that very peculiar dream, a dream that impressed him so much in his sleep, that when he awakened he simply remembered that it was a very important dream, but he could not think what it was. Then he called his wise men and said, "I have had a dream, and I cannot tell you now what it was. Tell me the dream and the interpretation of it." And they said, O, king, this is a difficult matter. Tell us the dream and we will interpret it. But we can't tell what the dream was. No king has ever asked his wise men to tell a dream and the interpretation as well. But the king said, O, well, if you can't tell me the dream you don't know what the proper interpretation is. It would be easy for you to fix up an interpretation if I were to tell you the dream. Anybody could do that. If you were able to tell the dream and the interpretation, well and good. If you had any real wisdom from the gods you could tell just as easily what the dream is. Go ahead now. If you can't tell what the dream is, I will know you are fraudulent, and I will put every one of you to death. And so there was great fear, you remember, and finally, amongst those wise men was Daniel, who had been carried captive to Babylon as a young man at a previous time of the war, about eighteen year [Page Q81]before Zedekiah lost his crown. And Daniel, the prophet, came forward and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O, king, live forever. Let not the king be hasty in this matter. Let time be given, and the God of Heaven will answer the king's question and we will tell the king what the dream was." And the king was very anxious to have his dream explained and to know what it was, and so he said, "Very well, we'll give you time." At the appointed time Daniel appeared before the king and said, "O, king, this was the dream, for the God of Heaven has revealed it unto me: Thou sawest in thy vision of thy head upon thy bed, and behold a great and mighty image; the height was tremendous; and the head was of gold, and the breast and arms were of silver and the belly and thighs of brass and the legs were of iron, and the feet were of iron and miry clay; and thou beheld, O king, until a stone was cut out of the mountains without hands and it smote the image in the feet thereof, and then the iron and clay and brass and silver and gold all became as the chaff of the summer's threshing floor and the wind carried them all away, and the stone that smote the image on the feet, it grew and became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." And the king said, That's exactly my dream. You've got it exactly. Now I know you have some way of telling about that dream. Come on, now, and tell me the interpretation. So Daniel proceeded to give the interpretation, and he said, "Thou, O king, art the head of gold. Thy kingdom is the first one in that image." Why? Were there not others before? Because, previous to that time God had had His own kingdom in the world, and there couldn't be any other universal empire as long as God's kingdom was in the world. So now is the start, you see. Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom was the head. It was recognized from that moment, from the time that God through the prophet had said, "Remove the diadem (from Zedekiah), take off the crown; I will overturn it," and meantime, while it is overturned, God gave the rulership to these nations represented in the image. The head was Babylon, the silver breast and arms Medo-Persia, the belly and thighs were the government of Grecia, when Greece was the universal empire, and then came the legs of iron, representing the Roman Empire in its days of greatness and power. Then came the feet, representing what is called the Holy Roman Empire, that is to say, a mixture of religious and civil power, and in these feet the miry clay mixed with the iron represented an imitation of the stone. Now, imagine the feet there, a certain part of iron, and miry clay all smeared over those feet, would look very much like the stone which hit the feet, wouldn't they? And that is what the Lord represented, you see. The miry clay represented the religious institutions of the present time, commingling with the civil power of the present time. On the one part it is claimed, for instance, that Great Britain is a civil power. On the other hand it is claimed that Great Britain is an ecclesiastical power, and the bishop of the church of England sits in the Parliaments of England in the House of Lords, with the civil lords, and thus they are mixing the miry clay, represented in human, earthly church systems, and secular power, that claim to be God's kingdom, combining it with the strength that there really is [Page Q82] in the civil power. The same thing is true of Catholicism. The same thing is true of the Greek Catholic Church in Russia, etc., as they all claim, they use the civil power and they have the ecclesiastical system in outward appearance—it appears religious, but the strength of all is in the civil power. It is merely an imitation of God's kingdom, and not the real thing. It belongs to the kingdoms of this world. And so the kingdoms of earth today calling themselves God's kingdoms are just as much civil governments as they ever were, only they are not as honest; not that the people are necessarily dishonest, but that they have got the wrong ideas in their minds, and they are fully convinced along the lines of error. Now, then, the great image was a picture, of what? The Gentile governments that should bear rule over all the earth. How long? The whole period of that image, from the head, Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar's time, down to the feet and toes of the kingdom of the present time. That whole image represents the Gentile governments, and the times of the Gentiles is the period between the time that image was set up or came into power, and the time that that stone is to smite the image upon the feet and crush its power. Do not think, dear friends, that I am saying for a minute that you and I are to strike the image. Oh, no! God has given us no such commission. It is the heavenly Father that will do the smiting, and you and I have nothing to do with that; but so long as these various civil governments have the power, you and I are to recognize that God gave this power to these Gentile governments, and we are not to seek to disrupt that power; we are not to fight against these governments: we are to recognize these governments, because, as St. Paul tells us, "The powers that be are ordained of God." He authorized them to be. He did not say they were His kingdoms, and when any of these kingdoms claim to be God's kingdom they are telling that which is fraudulent and wrong. They are Gentile kingdoms, outside of God's kingdom. The word Gentile in the Scriptures stands for outsiders, those who are not God's people. This word Gentile, that is also translated "heathen," is the same word that is translated "Gentiles", interchangeably. So that all these kingdoms represent the Gentile image, that Gentile, or heathen kingdom—not God's kingdom. Where had God's kingdom been? Oh, not prominent, but subject. The Jews, after their return from Babylon never were a free people. They were always subject to one or another of the civil powers. One or another of the great nations ruled over the world, and ruled over them. They were under the Medo-Persian and under the Grecians and under the Romans; and now they are more or less subject to the "Holy Roman Empire": as they have suffered as much, perhaps, at the hands of the Holy Roman Empire as they have suffered from any of the others. So then it is during this time that God has permitted the Gentiles to rule the world, we understand He has been doing another work, namely, the gathering out of the world a people, a Kingdom class, and the Apostle Peter speaks of this, saying to the Church, you remember, "Ye are a holy nation, [Page Q83] a peculiar people, a royal priesthood." You and I belong to that—not that we are the finished priesthood yet. The real royal priesthood will be that priesthood, or that portion of us that will attain unto the first resurrection and will be joint heirs with our Lord in the heavenly glory, having made our calling and election sure, having been fully baptized into Christ's death, and we shall also be risen with Him in that day of glory. But while that is the hope of the Church, we are not in that Kingdom yet, in its fullest sense. We are not yet brought into the Kingdom proper. We are the ones who are to be the Kingdom class, if we are found to be faithful to the Lord. Faithful is He who hath called us into that Kingdom honor, and who will also do it and, as Jesus said, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." But He has not given it to you yet. He is going to give it to you at the end of this age. He is going to give it to you when the Master himself comes into the great place of power to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Then we also shall reign with Him and be like Him and share His glory. Now then, when will Christ's Kingdom come? Well, we answer, not until these great kingdoms have reached their culmination. What will that be? That will be the end of the Gentile Times. So, then, when God said to Zedekiah, "I will overturn this crown and this kingdom until He comes whose right it is," it means that there will be an interval, without God's Kingdom, from the days of Zedekiah down to the day of the establishment of the real Kingdom of God, in which Christ is the great King over all the earth, and He tells us that when He shall appear in His glory, we shall appear with Him in glory. But that isn't yet. Now, dear friends, our expectation has been that these Gentile times would finish with the present year, 1914, and that with the finishing of the Gentile times, forthwith, immediately, God's kingdom would begin to manifest itself. I do not know yet that this is not true. It will have to be shown. Perhaps somebody can prove that it is not true, but I do not think anyone yet can prove that it is not true. If we come to the full end of 1914 and nothing transpires following that time to indicate the establishment of Christ's Kingdom amongst mankind, then perhaps we will have to reconsider matters; but not until then will it be necessary for us to reconsider. It is for the other party to prove that it will not be so. Why do you think it will be in October, 1914 (we are making a good deal out of this question, but I infer that this is just as interesting to you as some other part of the questions would be)? Why do we think that 1914 should be the consummation of Gentile times? What reason have you for thinking that it will come in 1914 any more than in 1910 or 1920? This reason: We endeavored to find the date on which the kingdom was taken away from Israel, the date on which the crown was taken from Zedekiah, the date on which the kingdom of Israel there ceased, the kingdom of Judah there ceased and went into absolute captivity and the city of Jerusalem went into destruction. Now what year was that? We understand, as nearly as we are able to calculate: we do not claim infallibility, but as nearly as we are able to know, from all the history there is to be known, we believe that to [Page Q84] be the year 606 B. C. We will not go into all the proofs. That would take us all afternoon, and you have it in print, you have read it for yourselves and you know whether you believe it or whether you do not believe it and you were not urged to believe it. I simply set before you what I found there, what seemed to be, to me, the most reasonable answer to this matter, and you believed as much of it or as little of it as appealed to your heart. Now then, suppose it were the year 606, what would that have to do with 1914? Why, this, my dear friends: We found that there were two things stated in the Bible, one in respect to natural Israel and the other in respect to these Gentile Times. In respect to natural Israel it seems to be quite clearly pointed out that they would have "seven times" of very severe, trying experiences and punishments from God, discipline, disciplinary punishments. And these seven times of Israel's chastisement, as God foretold in the book of Leviticus, were not seven literal years, because they had many more chastisements than seven literal years. We believe, therefore, that they were seven symbolical years, and a symbolical year in Bible usage is three hundred and sixty years, corresponding, you see, to the lunar month, the lunar year—three hundred and sixty days, and so, three hundred and sixty years, a day for a year. And so seven years, or seven times, is seven times three hundred and sixty, which would be twenty-five hundred and twenty. And similarly, therefore, twenty-five hundred and twenty years would seem to be the measure of Israel's subjection to the Gentile governments, 2,520 years. Well, were they subject to the first? Yes. To whom? To Nebuchadnezzar. Were they subject to Medo-Persia? Yes. Were they subject to the Grecians, represented by the brass? Yes. And the Romans, represented by the iron? Yes. They have been subject since then? You know they have been subject. Twenty-five hundred and twenty years, come this fall, as nearly as we are able to reckon. What does that mean? Why, that means that the time for Israel's deliverance from Gentile dominion should be the end of this year. Well, what will that mean? Well, we do not know yet what it will mean, but we rather think there will be something or other, either in the way of the downfall of these kingdoms represented in the image, or in some other way it will be shown that God's favor is returning or has returned in special form to Israel. Are there any signs along that line? Yes, some signs; for instance, we have the Zionistic movement, which began only quite recently, and this Zionism is looking just in that direction, hoping for the restoration of national power to the Jewish people—hoping for it, desiring it, laboring for it. And where did the Jews get that idea? Ah, we are not wise enough to say. We should not wonder at all if the Spirit of the Lord stirred them up at the appropriate time to look for and wait for and strive for the restoration of their national entity at the right time. We believe so. Well now, what about the other things? What about the Church? What about these Gentiles? Well, we answer, that similarly there are seven times marked out for the Gentiles; and their times began at the same period, at the same time, we believe, the year 606 B.C., and the seven times of the Gentiles is just as long—2,520 years, and measure down, we [Page Q85]believe, to the end of the year 1914 and the beginning of the year 1915. What should we expect then? Why, we should expect that by the end of 1914 the lease of power, this great lease that God gave to the Gentiles, the times of the Gentiles, would expire. And what would this mean? Why, you have lived in a house, and perhaps your lease has expired, and with the expiration of the lease the landlord sends you a notice to quit and get out. So I presume that the Gentiles will be served with a notice to quit. And just what that will mean to the Gentiles I am not wise enough to know. And if you do not quit and give possession of the house according to your lease, if you do not do so peaceably and quietly, in all probability the officer would come 'round and put you out on to the street. And so I am not expecting that the Gentiles know anything about this notice to quit, and they are not thinking of quitting at all. King Edward has no thought of saying, "Here, Lord, here is my crown, take it, please, and begin your reign." And the czar of Russia, his cousin, has no thought of doing that, and the other great kings of the world know nothing about the Messiah and His Kingdom. They do not realize the facts in the case. We are not blaming them at all, but we see that they are not prepared to quit. But we believe they are going to have a notice to quit, and they are quite unprepared for it. What do you think it will mean? Why, I think it will be about time. Well, how will it be done? Now, that takes more wisdom than I have. Well, you might say, it would necessarily mean, of course, that God would use some good people to put them out. Oh, not necessarily, my dear brother. Not necessarily. The officer who comes to put you out of the house might not be a good man at all. He might be a very rough and tumble sort of fellow that would come to set your stuff out. And so God sometimes uses the wrath of man, and the wrath of the devil, to praise Him, and He may use some other power. For aught I know, He may use anarchy to put these kingdoms out. It is not for me to say. I do not know. I merely know that you and I are commissioned to follow peace toward all men. We are not the ones to put them out. Therefore we can sit still, with great equanimity of mind, and say, When God's time comes, whenever it is, the Gentile lease will terminate and He will oust them from their positions, no matter how strong they may seem to be, and the Kingdom will be given to the people of the saints of the Most High God, the Kingdom and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heavens, as Daniel describes it, and the people of the saints of the Most High God will take the Kingdom and possess the Kingdom forever, even forever and ever. That means a long while. We don't believe that the Gentiles will be given another lease. We believe they were merely given this lease in the interim, because God's time had not yet come for the establishment of His Kingdom. Now, then, about the Church. That is the essence of this question, and the rest has been marginal. About the Church: We have understood that the Church is all to be gathered out before that time, because Jesus seemed to imply that in some of His statements. He said, for instance, speaking of the kingdom of the world: "Watch ye, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things coming upon the world," and so we think it is not unreasonable that we should [Page Q86] say, if these things are coming upon the world as it is declared, when the times of the Gentiles have expired, if these things are to be a great time of trouble as the Bible says, a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, we say, if we are going to escape them, why, we suppose that we will be translated, or changed or something, having our resurrection change, before that time. So now that wasn't bad reasoning, was it? Even if it should be found to be wrong in the end, it doesn't seem to be illogical to my head, and I am not ashamed of it at all. Other people may be if they like, I am not. Well, now, is there any possibility that we might not be there? Yes, there is a possibility. There are two ways of escaping trouble. You might escape the trouble and be right in it. Is not that so? Yes, it is. A good many people think I have been in a peck of trouble for several years past. I have been escaping it all, my dear friends. If I look very much troubled, why I belie my feelings; I am not troubled a bit. I only wish that my enemies could have just as good a time, and especially all my friends (laughter and hand clapping). Well, now, the Lord may have something of that character for us, and for all I know the Church may be here during that time of trouble or during a portion of that time of trouble. There is nothing in the Bible that says just as soon as the Gentile times are ended all the Church will be glorified. The Church may be here after the trouble is begun, perhaps. Perhaps. It is possible. We'll see. And we'll be content whatever we see, won't we! That is the situation, dear friends! "Content, whatever lot I see, since 'tis my God that leadeth me." Could we be otherwise than content with God's leading? We may be sure that all the leadings of our Heavenly Father and of our Heavenly Lord will all be for good, that we will have every reason to enjoy His leadings. He doeth all things well. Well, how might it be? Well, it might be that we would remain through this time of trouble. And do you think, Brother Russell, that all the saints will be sealed? Well, now, the sealing, we understand, dear friends, is a work that begins with the Holy Spirit operating upon our hearts at the very time that we begin to do the will of God. The Apostle speaks of this sealing of the Holy Spirit. The sealing, you know, as it was done in olden times, was done with a seal—an instrument of hard metal or stone, usually a stone, impressing upon soft wax and giving a certain impress there that can be distinguished afterward. And so God, accepting us as His people, our hearts becoming verv tender, and we as New Creatures giving ourselves fully to Him, has begun the work of impressing His character and likeness upon us, and we are in the process of being sealed with the Holy Spirit; and that sealing work has been going on, hasn't it? Yes, you know something about it. Yes, thank God you do! Well, there is a further sealing mentioned in the book of Revelation, you remember. There is a sealing in their foreheads; and something mentioned in Revelation as not having been common to the people of God, but as being opportune, and transpiring, in the end of the age; and we read, you remember, that the four angels are holding back the four winds; that the great time of trouble (I am not giving you the exact words), that the time of trouble should not break loose upon the world until the servants of God had been [Page Q87] sealed in their foreheads. Now that is a different sealing, you see. As Christians, we have always had, from the beginning of our experiences, the sealing process in our hearts, the character likeness of our Lord made more and more prominent, and so had our fathers and our grandfathers and all the Church of Christ had that sealing work going on in the heart. But now this sealing in the forehead signifies the giving, or impressing, intellectually. Has that been going on for a while? Yes, my dear brother, and you know it. Just as surely as you have had any of that sealing in the forehead you are aware that your intellect is sharper and brighter and clearer. You understand God's character, you understand God's plan, you understand God's Word as you never did before. And this sealing process is to continue until what? Until all the number that belong to the Elect Church shall have been sealed in their foreheads. Will there not be many of the saintly ones of God's people left in ignorance? Not one! Not one! All of the one hundred and forty-four thousand that shall stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion will all of them be sealed in their foreheads; not necessarily all of the 144,000 in the flesh, because they have been selected throughout the whole age, you know; but all who belong to that class who will be living in the end of this age will have the sealing in this way; and the others that belong to that class, by experiencing the resurrection they get their sealing in still a more thorough manner, if you please; but the entire 144,000 receive this sealing in their foreheads, this intellectual knowledge of which this is a picture. So we believe it must be. So it has been in process. A part of the work that you and I rejoice in having the privilege of having a part in is this work of helping to bring to others the knowledge of God's character and plan. The pilgrim work and the scattering of tracts and the Photo Drama of Creation and the colporteur work and every other part of the work is with a view to helping our fellow Christians to have this sealing in their foreheads, to get a clear, intellectual understanding of God's plan. And some can't see it at all. Why not? Because they are not drawn by God to receive it. And others do receive it. Yes, because to them it is given to receive it. Just as Jesus said in the end of His age, to some, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to all outsiders these things are spoken in parables and dark sayings, that hearing they might hear and not understand." It is not for them to understand. In other words, God does not wish His plan known to everybody. He does wish it known to His consecrated people. "The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence Him. He will show them His covenant." And now in the end of the age is the time, we believe, that light and knowledge is especially due to this class. "Light is sown for the righteous." St. Paul, speaking on this very subject, says, after telling about that great time of trouble that is coming upon the world, says it shall come upon them as a thief and as a snare and they shall not know, "but ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are the children of the light and the children of the day," and God will show you enough on the subject that you will not be like the world, overtaken unawares, and not knowing what to expect. So it is coming over the whole world. The Gentiles do not know what is coming. [Page Q88] They see the difficulties and they wonder about different things, but they do not know what is coming. Now then, though it isn't in the question, I think it is a part of the question and perhaps as much of interest as the others here, therefore I will go on: Suppose that we should remain here! I am fully convinced that I would rather stay here if the Lord wants me to stay here. I couldn't go if He did not want me, anyway, but I am pleased to stay if it is the Lord's will. If the Lord were to say, "You can have your choice of going or staying," I think I should say, "Dear Lord, if you want me to stay, I'll stay." Wouldn't you? Of course you would. Now there is a scripture to which we called attention in the WATCH TOWER recently, that is, two or three months ago, that leaves a little room for question whether or not the Church might be completed and somehow or other accepted in the Lord right here in the flesh, right here amongst men, and yet their destiny, so to speak, be settled, and yet we would not die—or attain to the resurrection just yet. That scripture says : "Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud upon their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute the judgments written. This honor have all His saints." Now you see there's room there for the thought. Why? How? Notice the glory that these saints shall have. Some of God's people are at rest, while others are in short beds—trundle beds, so to speak, and those that are of full size are represented as having full-sized beds, etc. And the two-edged sword, what is that? Why, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Now, we won't need the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, in our hands after we get into the glory beyond the veil, will we? We do not think so. I doubt very much that we will use the Word of God as the sword of the Spirit after we are changed. I think we will have more powerful weapons, more spiritual weapons even than the spiritual Word of God. What more? "The high sounding praises of God upon our lips." That can just as well be on this side of the veil. So the bed seems to indicate this side of the veil, and the sword, and then the text says, "To execute the judgments written." Why, are we to execute the judgments in the flesh? I do not know. I have no idea. I am not trying to execute judgment, my dear brethren, and I will not do so until the Lord makes it very positive to me that I should. He will have to push me out and make it very plain if I am to do that. I am not going to assume that I am to use any force with anybody until he makes it positively plain. If that is it, if the time should come, He will know how to make it plain to us, and then we will do our duty, we trust, every one; but we will wait until we see. I am simply suggesting these thoughts, because we are nearing the end of 1914, and I wish to leave this thought in your mind: that there is a possibility of our not being changed this year, and that there is a possibility that the Church may be completed and yet we will not be changed. It is possible that the Gentile Times will end on time as expected, and yet the Church not be changed. Another question I will anticipate: Suppose that the Gentile Times should end in October, 1914, what would be the logical thing to expect? Well, I am not sure what to expect. [Page Q89] We could not be sure, we would not know, whether it would take the Lord fifteen minutes or fifteen days or fifteen years to put out the kingdoms of this world. It is merely a guess, but one guess that we might give with a little bit of scriptural basis is this: We have seen parallelisms between the Jewish Age and the Gospel Age. We have seen that the forty years of the harvest in the end of the Jewish Age corresponds with the forty years' harvest in the end of the Christian Age. We have seen that at the end of the forty years of Israel's harvest, the nation of Israel was destroyed within approximately six or seven months after the end of their harvest—a little more than six months. And so, following the same parallel, if it is a parallel (I am not sure that it is), if it is a parallel, it would seem to imply that the great trouble should be expected to come upon the world in the six months following October, 1914. Well, now, if you will wait until this time next year and see how it is, and we have another convention, then we will perhaps be wiser; but I hope we will not be any the less loyal to the Lord and His Word, whatever may be the circumstances or conditions. We did not consecrate until the end of the Gentile Times, nor dlid we consecrate until the end of 1914 not until the end of 1915, but we consecrated, if we consecrated properly, until death.
Q89:1 QUESTION (1914)—1—Dear Brother Russell, in the event of October of this year coming and going, and you should still be in the flesh, do you think that that would be an indication that the Lord had left you out of the High Calling class?
ANSWER—I would not. Our understanding, dear friends, respecting October, 1914, is that to the best of our judgment—judgment of the Scripture testimony, of how to read the chronology furnished in the Bible, to the best of our judgment the year 1914, the month of October, will mark the end of the Gentile times. Now we do not know that it will be so, because there is a difference between faith and knowledge. Now we know in part on any subject more or less distinctly seen some have more accurate judgment and some less. But God does not propose that His people in the present time shall walk by sight, but by faith. That is His intention. He has not, therefore, given us on some lines that which will be positive evidence so that we may walk by sight. As for instance, He has told us about the "crown of life" laid up for us, but you have never seen it except by the eye of faith, and yet that is the very thing you are running for and spending your life for, and unless you have full faith in that crown of life, you would not be laying down your present life and seeking to live in the future. In the matter of chronology, we remind you of what we said in the Studies in the Scriptures. It is not a thing that can positively be known. We pointed out in the Second Volume that the chronology there set forth is the best, and most accurate, according to the Bible, that we are able to determine; but we also pointed out that the Bible does not pretend to give the day the week and the month chronologically: that it gives certain periods in a lump sum, and therefore there will be always occasion to exercise faith in [Page Q90] connection with the chronology. We told you that in our judgment this chronology was correct, though it was admitted to be fallible and possibly might vary for a year or a few years; but that it seemed to be corroborated and made strong by the fact that certain prophecies of the Bible seemed to intermesh and interlock with it and it made the chronology of the Bible appear to us that He meant it to be used, and I am using it in my faith and I am acting according to this chronology. I believed these prophetic parts fitted into it and that it is connected with all of God's doings. There seems to be a fitness all the way down and I cannot see how they could so fit together unless God intended it, and if so, these things were for our admonition, for our instruction. So I placed upon each reader the responsibility for thinking the matter out for himself. We have as much in the Bible as we ever had, and I merely pointed out how the matter looked to me, and asked you to use your judgment. I think the same about the chronology that I ever thought. I see no place where there is a flaw. I would not know where to put my finger on any item there and say, that is a mistake. I do not know any such place. It all looks to me as it did thirty years ago. Why then, Brother Russell, here it is 1914. And have all of the things occurred that you thought would occur by this time? No, that is true. They have not all occurred. How do you account for that? Perhaps I was expecting more to occur than I should have expected. I see nothing whatever to indicate to me that the chronology is in error, that our expectations are wrong. I am more convinced every day that I live that the great Divine Plan of the Ages is the only plan that could be a Divine plan; that no human being could possibly have concocted that plan. When you compare the Divine plan in the Bible with all of the human plans and theories how simple and absurd all human theories are. Think of the thoughts given us about the doctrine of election. I need not single out any one. Take all of the creeds that have come down to us, and there is not an intelligent man in the world that would think of defending any of those creeds. They are all too absurd for the light of our day, and when we hold up the Plan of the Ages everything else on earth is put to shame and wants to get into the dark. Whether they like it or not it is so. The Great Plan shows God's knowledge of the affairs of the universe; God provided a "Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world." God permitted the sin, the fall. Why He permitted sin, His intention respecting the fallen ones that they should be redeemed in due time, the time or restitution, that it should come in due time, and in the interim God would select a Church to be joint heirs with Christ in the kingdom work, is all shown in this Great Plan. You cannot make me believe that any human being could make such a plan. Sometimes I see such futile efforts of humanity for making plans. For more than 6,000 years men have been making plans for God, and they are all silly, and the part that is not silly is devilish. [Page Q91] So then, nothing that could happen in 1914, or any other time, would change my mind one whit in respect to the great Divine Plan of the Ages. What about it being near the time when the Kingdom is to be established? I think, so many times, that every added indication shows that it is near, even at the doors, that I cannot doubt, whether the culmination comes in 1914, 1915 or some other year, it is near, even at the doors. When I see from the Bible the record given us, as I understand, as we have presented and you have read that we have been in the harvest time ever since 1874, that this is the harvesting of Christendom, I am astonished at how true every feature of that work seems to be, of the demonstration that we are in the harvest and the work is in progress. We have had forty years of this harvest, or will have in a few months. What have we seen? According to the Bible we have understood that during this harvest time the great Chief Reaper was to be present, not known to the world but to His sheep the knowledge of His presence coming out gradually from one to another and it has been so. The parousia, the presence, unknown to the world that Jesus foretold when he told us that his coming would be "as a thief in the night," of which the Apostles said the world would all be taken by surprise and that they would not know what hour he would come, "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief" because ye are children of the light and of the day, therefore God would make known to you enough of the light on this subject to give you the information that we might not be in darkness with the world respecting the presence of the Lord. What are some of the evidences? I answer Jesus himself told us what would be the special work He would do at His second coming and before He was manifest as present to the world. Before He would manifest himself to the world He would be present and do a work for the Church and that would be this. He told of the parable of the talents and the pounds, how He gave certain pounds and talents to His servants and went into a far country, Heaven itself, to be invested with kingly power and authority On His return He would first call His own servants and reckon with them. Has it been so during the past forty years? Yes. There has been a reckoning with the Lord's servants and a giving of account of how they have used the talents and blessings and opportunities that have come to them, and in proportion as they were found to have received and used these well in that same proportion they have entered into the joys of their Lord. I am not wishing to say that you and I have entered fully into the joys of our Lord yet. No, there is more. That part where we shall have rulership over two cities, five cities, etc., that will be entering into the joys to the full extent. All who have been found faithful in this harvest, when the Master has called their name and they have been found faithful to the talents they did have, will be lifted up and given the high reward of being joint heirs with Christ. These are now learning to know of the love of God which passeth understanding. This has been going on for forty years. [Page Q92] The Bible says that at the time there would be such a blessing on the loyal ones of the Lord, there would be another class—a nominal class—with whom things would not be so favorable, and I believe it has been so; and I believe that is what the Bible calls a spewing out of the mouth by the Lord in connection with certain persons who have not been loyal to Him; and that work of separation has been going on as a separation of the wheat from the tares, the tares to be bound in bundles for the burning. I will not attempt to go into details, merely touching points known to every one of us, and I am doing this merely to stimulate your pure minds by way of remembrance, rather than to say anything new. We have said all this in print and you have read it before. We are merely reminding you of it. I have believed in all of these things for over forty years and I still do. What is the next step in order? The Bible tells us it will be the Epiphania of Jesus. What is that? The shining forth. What is to be revealed? The one whom we recognize already. We already recognize the presence of our Savior the present One, the Great Reaper, but the world knows Him not. Just as it was at the first advent. Jesus was present but the Jews knew Him not. John the Baptist said of Him, "There standeth One among you whom you know not." We believe there has been One with us during these forty years here, the Present One, the King, God has appointed, and the world knows Him not. He is not revealed unto them. He has come "as a thief in the night," getting the bride class ready, gathering out a people peculiar to himself. He is gathering the jewels, seeing to the finishing touches of their polishing, getting them ready to be set in the great diadem in the hand of God. God is getting ready these jewels, the mounting of these jewels in the diadem frame will be the installation of the Church in the Kingdom. Their change in the resurrection which we are hoping will come to the Lord's people soon and in which we are hoping to participate. Now further, we have seen and been expecting the Jews would be going back to Palestine, and at the beginning of this harvest time no Jew in the world had thought of going back to Palestine. They were all looking to their own chronology which has a difference of several hundred years from ours. There is nothing to be expected until the end of the 6,000 years. I think that is 350 years yet according to their chronology. In the last twenty years the Jews have been waking up, paying no attention to their chronology and hoping for the restoration to Israel and hoping God would grant them a national existence again—the very thing that according to the Bible is now due to be accomplished. We expect a larger enlightening of those, posssibly, than we have seen. We thought more Jews would go than have, but we were not wise enough to know how many were going. What we do see is a sufficient number to fulfill God's word—a gathering of some of the most earnest Jews from all parts of the world. Not always the richest Jews, but it is said some eighteen millionaires are living at Jerusalem now. God tells how the Jews will be regathered there, with considerable wealth at about this time, possibly not this year or for several years, but all of these things are [Page Q93] coming our way and my faith in the ultimate carrying out of all these things is the same that it ever was. There is another matter. What is going to slip past in October, 1914? I suppose you think the Gentile times won't end there? I do not know anything of the kind. I do not know but what they will. You do not know. Nobody else can say they will not end there. Let us wait and see. What is meant by that anyway? says one. I will grant, dear friends, perhaps three-fourths of this audience know exactly what is meant by the term "Gentile Times" now as well as after I give a more detailed explanation but for the sake of the one-fourth I will say God in times past had given a kingdom to Israel and it was typical of Messiah's kingdom that was first of all recognized in King David, and we read of him that he sat upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord. Now lots of other kingdoms today claim to be the kingdoms of the Lord, but they make the claim without Bible authority. David sat on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord, and God said of the fruit of his loins there should be some one to sit on that throne forever, that He would never lack some one to sit on that throne—God's throne. And He never has. Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord in the room of his father David. Then followed Solomon's sons down to the last king, whose name was Zedekiah, and he was the last of David's line to sit on the throne of Judah over the people of God as representative of God's kingdom. What then occurred? In his day God said to him, "O thou profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end. Thus said the Lord God; Remove the diadem and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more until He come whose right it is; and I will give it to Him." Do you get the thought? There was the typical kingdom continued from David to Zedekiah and then taken away from the earth never to be replaced until the Messiah should replace it as God's true kingdom at his reign. And it has been so. There is no failure of that prophecy. Have the Jews not had a king since? None that God recognized. What about Maccabean, Herod, etc. The Maccabeans did not come from the line God recognized, and the Herod family were not only not of David's line, but were not Jews at all. They were the sons of Esau. It has been true that from Zedekiah down to the present time, there has been no king of David's line, and the next one to reign is the Messiah. What of that? That time from which their kingdom was broken off until Messiah would come, we believe was mentioned when He told them through Moses about how He would overturn them and punish them seven times—seven years. Not seven literal years, because they werc punished much more than seven literal years, many times more. What does this mean? Seven times as much as they ought to be punished? No. What does it mean, then? We believe that he meant that God would punish them seven symbolic years for their sins. How much is that? [Page Q94]According to the Bible a symbolic year is 360 years—360 days to a lunar year and a day representing a year, so a symbolic year is 360 years. What of that? Seven times would be seven times 360 years, or 2,520 years. Where would they begin? They would begin the very time that God took away the crown and the diadem from Zedekiah. Where would they measure to? To the time when Messiah would take His kingdom. When will that be? To our understanding, my dear brothers and sisters, Zedekiah lost his crown in the year 606 B. C., and from here—606 B.C.—measuring down 2,520 years to the best of our knowledge and belief, will expire with October, 1914. Now if anybody else can change that, let him do so. We have not found anyone that can. We do not say it is infallibly true, but we have not found anything wrong with it but we see that the right time for Him to receive His authority in the world will be October, 1914. Perhaps that is wrong, but I do not think it is far wrong. It does not seem probable. Those were years of Jewish punishment for their sins. They did not relate to the other punishment and how they got their great punishment, had their national existence taken away when they rejected Jesus, and they have had no national existence since the year A. D. 70. And they will have none until the day in which they will delight to say, "'Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord Jehovah." They will be glad to see him. How do you know they will? The Bible says so. The Bible says He is going to pour upon them fire, symbolical for trouble. I will pour upon them the spirit of prayer and of supplication, and they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced. They will look with the eye of their understanding just as you have. Have you seen Him? Yes. Have you looked at Jesus? Yes. May not the Jew also? Yes, and he is about to do so, we believe. We understand one of the first things of the new order of things will be pouring upon Israel their share of the blessings and their eyes will be opened to recognize Him whom they rejected more than eighteen hundred years ago. Looking from another standpoint, Jesus said in prophesy that "Jerusalem would continue to be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled." Was it trodden down in his day? Yes. Were they not governed from Rome? Surely. Now, Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, does not that imply that there are certain times of the Gentiles? Yes. What does that mean? Did God give the world over to the Gentiles for a time? Yes. How do you know? Jesus said so, and you can go to the Bible and find the proof. God took the kingdom from Zedekiah and the crown was taken from him. Then God recognized the Gentile governments for the first time. Prove that. That is easy enough. You remember Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, when exercising his power in overthrowing Zedekiah and utterly destroying Jerusalem, taking many of them captives, was the beginning of that period—the overturning of the crown—and to show us clearly where the authority went according to the divine view. God gave a vision and an interpretation of that. I will remind you of it. Eighteen years before Zedekiah's [Page Q95] kingdom was taken from him, a young man of a noble family of the Jews was taken prisoner with others, and that young man was Daniel; and he was put among the wise men of the land of Babylon to have special education and privileges, and he had been in Babylon for eighteen years. And when this time came represented in the dream, the king sent out word that he had had a dream, and called upon all of the wise men to come in the morning, and when they came in, he told them that he had had a dream the night before and it was very interesting and puzzling, and one of the most puzzling things was that the dream had gone from him and he could not remember it, and he told them that he wanted them to tell him the dream and what it meant. The wise men told him that no king had ever asked such a thing of his wise men before, that if he would tell them his dream they would give him some kind of an interpretation of it. The king answered them that he could see very easily how a man could make up some kind of an interpretation of it if they had the dream told them; but that if they had the divine power they could tell the dream and the interpretation also. "If you cannot do that I will have you put to death as imposters, letting on that you have connection with the gods which you have not." They were frightened, but when Daniel heard of it (it seems he was not with them before the king) he said to the king, "Why is this haste? If you will allow a certain time to be granted, there is One who is able to answer the king and give him the dream and the interpretation. That is the God whom I, Daniel, serve." "Very well, time will be granted." And at the time appointed, Daniel came before the king and told him the dream, and you remember it well. "Thou, O King, sawest, and, behold, a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee, and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, and his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." "You have got it right," said the king. "That is exactly the dream. Now tell the interpretation." And Daniel proceeded to say, "The God of Heaven hath revealed unto the king this thing." That was from God. "Thou art this head of gold." A king over kings. You are the first one represented in this great image. This represents all of the Gentile governments that would ever bear rule over the earth. That represents the time between when God took away the typical kingdom and the time He would restore it. The description shows us that the head was the kingdom of Babylon, the next was Medo- Persia, the next Grecia, and the next the Roman Empire, represented by the legs, and the next in order was the holy Roman Empire, represented by the feet of iron and clay. The iron in the feet, by the way we understand, [Page Q96] represents the powers of the state. The Roman Empire still exists, not in the form it was first recognized, but in the fact that it was a combination of church and state, and the two uniting sought to rule over all Europe and the world, and generally there has been a disintegration between the iron (civil) and the clay (ecclesiastical) powers. Some places the iron is more prominent and some places the clay. The iron, which has the strength, is usually the most prominent. The clay, representing ecclesiasticism in the mixture, corresponds, shall I say, is the counterfeit of the stone? In other words, this power in combination with the civil power claims it was God's kingdom, claims that instead of smiting the image and destroying it, the stone itself had taken on the divine character and was ruling. The great kings of Europe today, practically all of them, claim that they are God's kingdom, and yet that they are civil powers. On the one hand they are currying power with earthly kings, and on the other hand they claim to be God's kingdom. Such kingdoms claim that the Emperor Joseph is reigning there by divine authority, also Emperor William, Czar of Russia, etc. We are living down in the days of these kings represented by the feet and more particularly the toes. What is the next thing in order? According to the Bible, the next thing is that the whole image is going to be broken in fragments, and "become the chaff of the summer threshing floor," and be completely removed. The Bible says, Choose whom you will serve and whom you will believe. I think we have learned to put our confidence in the Word of God. We believe what it tells us, no matter what it says to anybody else. The Word of God tells us that the next thing in order is for the stone to smite the image, and after the smiting the stone will fill the whole earth. I believe just what the Bible says. It need not make any difference to you what I believe, either, but what the Bible says. We are going by God's Word and not by each other. We have had bad enough experience in trying to follow men. We are not following men, but God. These things are sure. The Lord said so. No matter whether the smiting of the image will occur in 1915 or not. God only knows; but according to the best knowledge I have of the Bible, that will be the time when we shall expect that the image will be smitten in the feet. Why say 1915 and not 1914? Because these Gentile governments, represented by the image Babylon, Medo-Persia, etc., were given their places to occupy for a certain specific time, between the time Zedekiah's crown was taken away and the time when Messiah's Kingdom would be established. All of that time they must have. It is like a lease given to you. If you received a lease expiring October, 1914, why then, just as soon as the lease would expire it would be time for you to get out of the premises. Suppose you did not know that your lease had expired; it was long and you had forgotten it was for October 1st, 1914. You were building, planting and fixing up the house as though you were expecting to stay there forever. Now your lease has run out; what would you then expect? You would receive some notice to get out. Suppose you did not go? You would be put out. [Page Q97]What we see about the Gentile Times is that God gave a lease to the Gentiles when He took away the kingdom from the typical Israel. He said to the Gentiles, I am going to give you the lease or opportunity in which you may take hold of the affairs of the world and see if you can bring to the world such things as make for peace. We want to say here, some of these Gentile nations have done wonderfully well. I congratulate many of them on having done splendidly, all we could expect, all beastly governments, they have done the best they could. Who could bring perfection out of an impure thing? What do we think today as we are nearing the close of the Gentile Times, the 2,520 years, beginning 606 B. C. and expiring October, 1914? Have they brought in everlasting righteousness? No. Have they brought happiness to the world? No. Have they brought that which will be the desire of all nations? No. What must we hope for? What God has declared He will bring, and Messiah's Kingdom will bring to mankind "the desire of all nations." Are any of the nations getting ready to move? I have not heard of it. Don't they know the Gentile Times have expired? I guess not. The truth has gone all over the world? Yes, but it is foolishness to them. If the emperor heard anything about the times of the Gentiles he would laugh. So would the king of England, or the czar of Russia. Even the Emperor William would have a good laugh at the thought that God had anything to do with a better government than his. How could God get a better one? It would naturally occur to these gentlemen that God could hardly choose a better king or ruler than is now in office. All of these men are imperfect and are all laboring under more or less of a delusion and the false doctrines of the past, and are so bewildered and weak they could not do better if they did not know how. Their lease will expire and God who gave it to them will take back things in His control and set up the Kingdom in the hands of the Messiah that Jesus taught us to pray for, "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." What do you expect, then, Brother Russell, in October, 1914? I expect October will come and the kings of the earth—the Gentiles—will not know that their lease is expired. What then? A thunder clap out of a clear sky, that will begin to show these kings that a new Ruler is taking possession of the world. How will it come? I do not know the particulars. I have merely the outline. The first thing in order will be the manifestation of God's kingdom. How? The revealment, the making known. What do you mean? The Epiphania. He has been here and is to continue a thousand years. His parousia will not end in this forty years. None others are made aware of these things yet. "Ye brethren are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief." Next in order will be (the apokalupsis) the revealment. How will that be? "I have my idea," some one says. "I think that He will come and will sit on the circle of the Heaven and every eye will look up and all fall down and weep and howl." Not a bit of it. I think the Bible way of telling that matter is this way, dear friends: "He shall be [Page Q98] revealed in flaming fire taking vengeance." What is that? A great system of judgments will begin at that time. Flaming fire, outward manifestation of judgment. Why did you say fire? Because the Bible uses that as a symbolical expression just as He said the fiery trials which are to try you, and the gold is being prepared by fire. It is said of the world, not the Church, "He shall be revealed in flaming fire taking vengeance." That will be after October, 1914? Yes. How long will it take? I do not know. Have you any guess? Guesses are very dangerous things, and if I will do any guessing I will give you the reason why I guess. In this case we have seen the parallel in the ending of the Jewish age. The city was destroyed in A. D. 70. The ending of the Gospel Age and the baptism of trouble will come, the elements will melt with fervent heat, the capitalistic elements and all, the whole world will become like a furnace, every man's hand against his neighbor. That is the Bible description of it. The fire will come on the men in a natural way. It is their own fire that they built. It is because they are not living up to their grant. The Bible indicates that this condition would have come long ago if God had not held it back. When the right time comes God will no longer hold the four winds back, and the conflagration will be thorough, and swift, and terrible. Jesus said, speaking of that time, "Unless those days be shortened no flesh shall be saved. But for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." What about the elect's sakes? What about them? The elect are going to set up the Kingdom and stop that. They will interfere and bring order out of confusion. How long did it take for the trouble that came upon the Jews to destroy them? About one year. After the forty years are ended, what might be expected here? Perhaps one year here might be enough of this trouble. God only knows. We are merely offering an idea. So I will expect 1915 will be a very severe year. Where will the Church be then? Part of the question here. I am giving a liberal interpretation of this question and answer at the same time a half dozen other questions that will be asked. What about the Church? I do not know. I can only guess, and as I said before, guesses are very unsafe. Our supposition would be what we have always understood that when He would appear, when He would be manifest in the flaming fire, we would appear with Him. That would imply that we would be gone from here. Another Scripture says, "Watch, that ye may be able to escape these things." That implies that we shall be gone, we think. It is implication. We are not sure. We would naturally suppose that the Church gathering would be before the end or by the end of the Gentile Times, but we are not certain. We call your attention to one of the Psalms and the statement therein made. "Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand. To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishment upon the people. To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron. To execute upon them the judgments written: This honor have all the saints." [Page Q99] We pointed out in a recent Tower, dear friends, some of these things that seem to imply that the saints shall enter into some kind of glory this side the veil. We are not sure. We do not wish to prophesy. We are merely trying to read a prophecy. Our thought has always been that we would have nothing to do with the judging of the world until we had passed beyond the veil; but this seems to imply that some of the work would be done this side, because the bed seems to represent ease, the sword the Bible which is the Word of God. We say to ourselves while we might have the high sounding praise of God in our mouths on the other side of the veil, we would not need to be on the bed of rest or have the sword of the Spirit. On the other side we will have something more perfect. These are for use here under present conditions. Therefore, there is something in that Psalm which seems to me to say the reward referred to may be here. What of it? Apparently the next verse says they are to share with all the saints in the execution of the judgments written. What would that mean? It might seem that some of God's people might remain on this side of the veil, while others would be on the other side, and the two were one complete body acceptable to the Lord and might jointly engage in some work, they there and we here. There is a thought we might take. There is a possibility of it, and I am merely keeping my eye of faith and understanding open to see. I am not saying it is so, but we are in a place where we do not know. Our faith is strong, but whether all of our expectations in respect to the changes will be fulfilled by October 1st, or a year afterwards, I do not know, but whatever is God's will for you, is your will, I trust. Whatever is God's will for me, is my will; and if God has something beyond what I had thought, I will be very glad to have His will be done. Aren't you? I am sure you are. I understand there are some of the dear friends at the Convention whose faith is shaky and they feel like selling out. I would like to find them. How much do you want for what you have gotten? Count up all you have received. What will you take for it? Say the word. Will you take $1,000.00? (From the audience.) No. Will you take $1,000,000.00? No. Will you take the whole world? No, no. You have a great bargain anyhow. Whatever comes you have a good bargain anyway. You are laying hold upon and appreciating what Jesus told us about the pearl of great price—a priceless pearl. Sell everything you have to obtain this pearl. You sold out your own will once and you have nothing to say whether God's plan is October, 1914, or 1940. It is none of your business. You gave all to the Lord. It is His. Content whatever lot I see, Since 'tis my God that leadeth me.
ANSWER.—I answer that if we had needed Christ as a Mediator, then God would have provided Him as a mediator, and the fact that God did not provide Him as our mediator, proves that we do not need Him as such. The Scriptures never speak of a mediator except from the standpoint of a [Page Q100] covenant. Whenever the Scriptures speak of a mediator, they always speak of it in connection with a covenant. As for instance, there was Moses, the mediator of the Law covenant, and Christ the mediator of the new covenant. Abraham had no mediator. Why? The Apostle Paul explains that the first covenant was all of God, and God is One and where there is only one party there is no need of a mediator. What does He mean? Why, in the original covenant He made with Father Abraham there were no conditions specified at all. God says, I will do thus and so. He does not say, I will do thus and so if you do so and so. Where it is merely an unconditional promise you do not need a mediator to carry out the plans and see that the two parties do right by each other. There are not two parties to it. God is the only party to that covenant. The Law covenant was made with the nation of Israel. Are we under the new covenant? No, because the new covenant has not come yet. The new covenant belongs to the future. How does it read; "After those days, I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." Do you belong to the house of Israel or the house of Judah? No. Then the new covenant is not for you. If we are faithful we will be members of the mediator class of that new covenant. In other words, you and I are invited to become members of the mediator of the new Covenant. Christ is the mediator, but He is going to have a bride. Someone may say, Where do we come in? What covenant are we under? We are under the original covenant, which required no mediator. The church does not need a mediator. What does it need? Can they come direct to the Father? No Well, what do they need? They need just what the Scriptures tell us we have—an advocate with the Father.
ANSWER—I do not clearly see just what that means. To improperlyurge the vow might be along that line. It would be improper to urge any one to take any vow against his conscience—but it would be proper to urge what he thought would be for their good. It would be proper for him to let them know what he thought would be the advantages of the matter. That would not be urging the matter except in the Scripture sense: As the Apostle Paul said, "I beseech you, therefore"—but you say, "Paul, you are urging that too much." No. If it is against your conscience do not present your bodies living sacrifices. Where does it say anywhere in the Bible that you must submit yourself a living sacrifice? It doesn't say that anywhere That which you must do is a command. The Lord tells us He is pleased to have us if we present our bodies living sacrifices. He tells us, "Now is the acceptable time." You and I know what are the privileges and what are the rewards—so the Apostle Paul realized what a reward was to come to those who would submit, and he said, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." So about the vow. There is no command in the Scriptures that you should take that vow or any vow, but the Scriptures indicate that the people who are the Lord's people will [Page Q101] be taking vows representing their determination. A vow is a voluntary act on your own part. But you ask, "Did you ever take a vow, brother?" Yes, sir; I have taken numbers of them. "Were they a good thing for you?" Yes; I found them very good. I took a vow of consecration to the Lord—that all my acts and words would be pleasing to Him. You say, "That is a pretty comprehensive vow. You are a slave to that vow." Yes, sir; being set free from the law of sin and death we become the servants of the law of righteousness—we become the bond slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have no liberty at all. I am bound to do what I believe is the Lord's will. I am glad to be the slave of the Just One. I would not be a slave to you or to any government or system. I have never been in any church but one—that was a Congregational church, and I got out of that. Now I am not in bondage to any person or thing in all the world—only to the Lord. If you get the right comprehension of anything that I write you will understand that I never ask you to come into bondage to any man or thing—but only to the Lord. There is one vow that you may properly make. That is the marriage vow between husband and wife. But all other vows I want to make to the Lord and I want them to be such as will bring me more into submission to His will. As a child I never even signed the temperance pledge because I felt as though this was binding myself to someone else. If I ever come to see that I should make this to the Lord I will make it, as my responsibility I recognize as being to the Lord. The intimation would be that the one who wrote this question had the thought that I was urging the vow upon some one in the sense of stifling his judgment. No. Only I suggest that they look at the matter carefully, prayerfully, and see if there would be anything to their advantage or disadvantage. If you see anything to your advantage take it. If not, don't take it. I think of a vow I took some years ago. It was after some of the revolving picture-shows that they have in all cities—moving pictures—came before the public. I looked through several of these and after I had gone away I thought the matter over and said: I don't believe it is to my advantage to look through that box. I made a vow that I would never look through one again. You ask: Was there any sin in looking through? No, not at all. But to me it would be sin now if I did it.
ANSWER—Stifling our judgment is one thing and stifling our conscience is another. If it is a question of stifling our conscience or our judgment, I would say it would be better to stifle our judgment, for we must not stifle our conscience. If it is merely a question of judgment and the responsibility of judgment doesn't devolve upon us, leave it to the congregation. Submit your judgment to the others—submit your thought for the decision of the others. If your judgment is better than the others you owe it to the others to tell them—and then be quiet. Otherwise you might be like the juryman who said the other eleven men had no sense at all because they wouldn't see the matter as he did. [Page Q102]
ANSWER—In the order of the Church it would be very proper for us to submit ourselves to the arrangements of the congregation while worshipping together. If we are of those who are of the Lord's consecrated people it would be for us to say what the order of the meeting would be and proper for those worshipping together to say what it would be in the absence of such an elder. It would also be proper for an elder to say who should lead the meeting if he were going to be absent; and it would he proper for the one appointed by the elder to obey his suggestions kindly, as far as possible, as the Apostle says, "Submit yourselves one to another." For instance, if Brother Sherman opened this meeting and he chose to say "Shall we stand to sing such a verse?" barring any physical weaknesses we should arise, instead of saying:, "Who gave you liberty to suggest that we should arise?" Or for an illustration, suppose some one else should say, "Shall we bow our heads in prayer?" and some one else should say, "Well, I am in the habit of standing up when I pray. I am going to stand up." To have a certain amount of willingness to fall in line with everything that is not a matter of conscience is a good thing. The Lord's people have a good deal of combativeness, and unless we have this quality we will not be overcomers. But unless it is brought into control it is likely to make us contentious, difficult to get along with, hard to live with. We should submit ourselves as far as possible to every reasonable regulation. If each had his own right and will there would be confusion all the time. It is a good thing to have to submit ourselves one to another; it is a good thing to learn' to submit ourselves—but when it is a matter of conscience we are to have sufficient courage and manhood to stand by that conscience so we would not violate that conscience. There are a whole lot of things in the world that do not involve conscience at all.
ANSWER—Those words, you remember, were applied to the first stage of the Church, and our thought is that they meant there was a love for Jesus, and for God, and the great Plan of Salvation manifested in the days of Jesus and the Apostles, for a little while during the first century, and that gradually much of that love and zeal became less and less and they left their first love. We might apply that in a general way to everybody. I have found some who at first found the truth of God very precious and sweet, but finally persecution arose and opposition, and they found out how much it would cost, and they did not realize their privileges, that these were necessary to prove if they were worthy, and some of them have lost their first love, and become lukewarm, in their attitude toward the truth. Do not become lukewarm, but be very zealous . The heavenly race demands all of the zeal and energy that you and I can put forth. The more you and I can see of the beauty of the [Page Q103]divine plan, of the privilege of reigning with our dear Redeemer, and of the little that we can offer in sacrifice, the more we should appreciate the privilege of doing with our might what our hands find to do.
Q103:1 QUESTION (1909)—1—In 1 Cor. 12:28, we read: "God hath set some in the church; first, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers; . . . helps, governments." Who are the governors, and to what extent do they govern?
ANSWER—It does not say governors, but governmental rule, order or law. The whole congregation, by the direction of God's Word recognize's certain rules as proper, the orderly course of the conduct of meetings. Every one who is a child of God and makes any progress in the way of the Lord, ought to come to the place where he could see the wisdom of certain rules in the Church of Christ. Anybody who is not willing to recognize the rules and regulations made for the Church is to that extent an anarchist. We believe in the law of the land or of this city. It is better to have some rules or laws, even if they be imperfect, than to be without them. We admit that there might be too many laws and regulations and restrictions, but the Church of the Lord are to seek to know and appreciate and to use the liberty that God gives—everything must be done decently and in order. The object of each class should be to have as much liberty as would be good for each class. So God is the one we are to recognize, the one who has established the order in the Church.
Q103:2 QUESTION (1910)—2—In case where some little bitterness sprang up between two brothers in the church, and they refused to speak to one another, and it is evident to all the class that they are not in the right relationship, what should be the attitude of the elders in that case? Should they make the matter in any way public, or should the matter be allowed to drift along, especially if it does not interfere with the church in a general way?
ANSWER—My thought would be, brother, there may be certain matters that are individual, and that the Church had best not take any notice of, but do the way the Bible says God did with some things. We read of certain things that God winked at. And so the Church needs to wink at certain things—that is, not to notice them. Now where there is a little difference springs up between two persons, if the Church attempted to interfere, it would be busy all the time, perhaps. But each one should remember that it would be proper to bring it to their attention, and if either or both of these parties were causing divisions they should be noted or marked by the others, and not treated quite so cordially—not spurned as brethren, but not put into any place of office or service of the class, and just treat them a little more coolly, because they are not walking circumspectly, apparently, but are causing some division. Then it would also be proper for any of the elders, if they thought they saw a good opportunity, to have a little private conversation with either of those brethren, and say, "Brother, is there anything in your affair that I could help with? I notice you and Brother Brown are not getting along very nicely; I want to say to [Page Q104]you that as an elder of the Church, do not forget Matt. 18:15; if Brother Brown has done you any harm do not forget that Scripture, and if I could be of any service to you at any time I will be ready." "Well, I want to tell you about it—"No, brother, I do not wish to have you tell me about it I think it would be wrong for me to listen to the matter; it would have to come to me in the regular Scripture way. If there is a difference between you and Brother Brown I do not wish to hear it, it would be wrong for me to encourage you in stating it. God has provided a way, as Jesus said, in Matt. 18:15-17. He tells us how we shall do—go first to him, try to make it up with Brother Brown; if you fail to do that, and he is doing you some harm, and makes you feel as though you cannot be a kind brother to him, then come and get a couple of brethren to go with you. If you want to call me to go with you I will be pleased to serve you and do everything I can to bring about peace and harmony. But I do not wish to hear anything in advance; it would not be right; I would not be a suitable one if I did listen to anything you had to say. If Brother Brown has done you harm, go to him and then after you have been unsuccessful if it is still important enough in your mind to make a breach between you and him, then take, as the Scriptures say, one or two others and have a conference, and if it is still unheeded and if neither you nor he can see the thing harmoniously, then it may be brought to the Church if you wish, but not sooner than that."
Q104:1 QUESTION (1910)—1—The strong ones in our Church are opposed to present truth, and those who are most faithful are not teachers and are younger in the truth. The opposers are holding on to the meetings, as they are principally elders. What are the faithful, weak majority to do?
ANSWER—Well, I have no idea from whom the question comes, so I can answer it with the greater freedom. I can see that there are certain principles involved in all that the Lord has laid down in respect to his people, and that they are to choose from amongst those for elders, or for elder brothers, those who are most qualified to represent the Master in the congregation. If any of those who have been long in the truth, and who have natural ability, have become such as this brother evidently thinks some have become, then they are to be considered from the Apostle's standpoint as heady, and it would be proper for the congregation to follow what they believe to be the Lord's will in respect to electing them or not electing them the next time. My thought would be that it would be injurious to any brethren who are really in this condition to elect them to any place of prominence. It would be to their good, and the very best thing as helpful to them, if they were allowed to remain outside of any teaching capacity for a while, even though the apparent prosperity of the meetings would seemingly be interfered with. It probably would not be interfered with, because any who are in such a wrong attitude of mind as this question intimates would certainly be likely to do more harm than good every day, and every meeting, and to be getting more harm than good themselves. But, now, it does not follow that the brother who has written this question has the proper focus [Page Q105] on the matter. Perhaps he has some wrong impression; I am not competent to judge; know nothing about the case, nothing about the elders, nothing about the writer of the note. But it would be his duty to try to look as calmly, and patiently, and benevolently, at the elders that have been serving as it is possible for him to do, and for all the congregation to so regard the matter. And perhaps it would not be unwise for the brother to call on each one of the elders whom he thinks is not quite right, one at a time, and kindly tell them what he fears, and suggest that he is not wishing to judge, but that he sees certain things, and ask them to consider these matters—whether it might not be the adversary is gaining some advantage over them, and have a nice kind brotherly or sisterly talk. Generally a good plan is, if they get angry with that, and you have been very kind and considerate in the way of presenting it, it shows that there is something wrong. They might not agree with it necessarily; they might say, Why, brother, you have misunderstood me. I did not mean that at all; you have been looking too critically at it; what I meant was thus and so. In any event, it should be a means of assistance to those who would be in this supposedly wrong condition. Before undertaking anything of the kind, I would advise that each one who would undertake to do anything in the way of correcting a brother or a sister, or even giving a suggestion to anyone, should first make the matter a subject of prayer, make sure that their own heart and mind are all right, that they had no bitterness, and that they were seeing things as generously as possible. Let us first get right ourselves—as the Lord puts it, first cast out any mote, or beam, as the case might be, from your own yes, and then with the clearer sight you would thus have you may be able to be a blessing to some brother who is having a mote or beam in his eye.
Q105:1 QUESTION (1910)—1—Is it correct to say that we are members of the Body of Christ both as justified human beings and as New Creatures? My question is prompted by the fact that in the last Tower you say that we are members of him as New Creatures, members of Christ spiritually, and not of the man Christ Jesus. In another place you explain in Volume 6 that the Little Flock during the Gospel Age has been Christ in the flesh.
ANSWER—I am not sure if I get the thought of the questioner, but in my own mind there is no contradiction between the statements of the Tower and the Dawn. Therefore, I will state my thought on the subject again and perhaps make it clearer to the questioner. My thought is that we are not members of the Body of Christ at all, in any sense of the word, until we have made the consecration, and until he has appropriated his merit to complete our insufficiency, and until the Father has accepted us and begotten us of his holy Spirit. Then we are New Creatures, and as such, members prospectively of the Body of Christ. We are called the Body of Christ, called the Royal Priesthood from the moment we make the consecration, and if we fail then we drop out from being members of the Body of the great High Priest and we become merely members of the household of faith, or members of the [Page Q106] Great Company class, or members of the foolish virgin class, but we do not become members of his Body until we have made our consecration. No one is competent to say of another that he has ceased to make his consecration. It is not given to us to determine who are and who are not. It is the Lord's own work, and it is for him to determine who are in the Body and who may remain. "Every branch IN ME who beareth not fruit (of love, the fruits of the spirit), the Father taketh away. Every branch that remaineth IN ME, he pruneth that it may bring forth more fruit. Herein is your Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit."
Q106:1 QUESTION (1910)—l—"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless with exceeding joy." Will the Church be presented into the immediate presence of the Father at the beginning or at the end of the Millennial reign?
ANSWER—Undoubtedly at the beginning of the Millennial reign. That is my opinion. We already are children of God and the banquet that the Scriptures refer to is the marriage supper of the Lamb and to my understanding symbolically pictures or represents our union with the Lord on the plane of glory and that he will present us to the Father faultless. Why should there be a delay of a thousand years? I can think of no reason. I expect to see the Father before very long after I am changed. Yet I understand there will be a little delay because apparently the Church will be changed first, and then apparently there will be a little delay in waiting for the Great Company; because, you remember, in Revelation, after describing in the 18th chapter the fall of Babylon, and those who did not come out of Babylon, the Great Company class, then in the 19th chapter we read, Babylon is fallen and the marriage of the Lamb is come, his wife hath made herself ready. They who are speaking are not of that happy class, but they said, Let us rejoice because it has taken place; we are glad that the Bride class has gone in. The marriage is one thing and the supper is another thing. So a message comes to this great multitude, saying, Blessed is he that is invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. My understanding is that the Great Company class are going to have the glorious privilege of coming in with the Church into this great festivity. Primarily it is for the Church, but the Great Company will have a share in it. So these are pictured in Psalm 45, as the Bride which is all glorious within, she shall be brought unto the King in raiment of fine needlework of gold, and the virgins, her companions, shall follow her, and they also shall be brought in before the King. This represents the two classes, the Little Flock and the Great Company.
ANSWER—I understand that the Great Company is already in existence and they will not be gathered specially, but will be manifested. Babylon will fall and that will shake them free, for they did not have sufficient courage [Page Q107] to get out, and when the walls fall down, they will stand free, but it will be too late to get any special reward. My thought is that the Church may possibly be here until October, 1914, and the Great Company also, and Babylon by that time will fall, which will break down all barriers, etc., and leave the Great Company free. By that time we expect that the Little Flock will be all changed.
Q107:1 QUESTION (1910)—1—When Peter said to the Jews, "Ye are the children of the promise and of the covenant which God made to our fathers, saying to Abraham in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed," which covenant did he mean-the Sarah or the New covenant of the Millennial Age?
ANSWER—Well, the covenant God made with our fathers would especially refer to the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They were the fathers; Father Abraham, Father Isaac, Father Jacob. God made the first directly with Abraham, renewed it with Isaac, and then with Jacob, so that was the covenant. Then the Israelites were in natural processional order to get the blessings first, but though as a nation they had rejected God and crucified the Messiah, yet this would not be held against them, for they had not been cast off as individuals, though they had been as a nation—they were still in the special line of favor. You remember Peter's wonderful address on the day of Pentecost, telling how the Jewish people through their elders had taken Jesus and by wicked hands had crucified the Son of God. They were pricked to the heart and said, What shall we do? They saw that a great deal of condemnation would attach to the killing of the Son of God, their Messiah. What must we do? And the Apostle's words were these, Repent and God will have mercy upon you, the children of Abraham, and those who follow in the direction of the prophets. Come into harmony with God and make repentant endeavors. I will paraphrase the matter. Jesus said, five days before the crucifixion. Your house is left unto you desolate. Ye shall see me no more until that day, the Millennial day, when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. But Peter wants to point out that they were not yet broken off. While the nation was broken off, the individuals were not broken off. Seventy weeks of years were appropriated to that nation in a special way. For sixty-nine weeks, at the end of it, Messiah the prince would come, and that was the appointed time when Jesus was baptized, at the end of sixty-nine weeks. Then the one week, the seventieth week of seven years, remained, and Jesus, during the first half, for three and a half years, did all his ministry and died in the middle of that week, as the prophet foretold, "He shall be cut off, not for himself, in the midst of the week." But now, you see, after Jesus died there still remained three and a half years of favor due them of that seventy years. One-half of the last week was still due to them according to God's covenant or promise to them, that he would give them the full seventy weeks. It was in this last half of the seventieth week, three and a half years after the cross, that the great work was done amongst the Jews. So the Lord said that he would cut short the work in righteousness, for a short work [Page Q108] will he make. How did he cut it short? In that he gave up the nation at the time he died. Had he any right to cut it short? Yes. He will cut it short in righteousness. It was righteous in the sense that God did them no injustice, but a great favor by casting off the nation there and completing the ministry in the midst of the week. It permitted him to ascend up on high and appear in the presence of God, sprinkle the blood of atonement on the mercy-seat, and then God's blessing came upon the waiting church in the upper room at Pentecost. And so that last half of the three and a half years they were under the Spirit ministration instead of the simple teaching and hearing, etc. Before he died he said, I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot hear them now. But when the Holy Spirit was poured out they were greatly blessed. So, then, the fact that our Lord died in the middle of that seventieth week, or three and a half years before their favor ended, was to their advantage. It was in righteousness, in their favor. So, then, they still belonged to the promise, they had not been cast off. The Apostle Paul is speaking from a later date when he said some of these branches were broken off, but Peter was speaking at a time before any were broken off. Jesus said before the crucifixion, Your house is left unto you desolate. Individually they were surely God's favorites, and so Peter was right in saying, Ye are still the children of the promise, ye are still of the original tree, you have not been broken off; so, then, repent and get back into harmony with God.
ANSWER—No. When people cannot see a thing it is no use talking about it, when it is a matter of types. The matter of a type must be seen from the mind. If the type said it in so many words it would be different. If a person cannot see it there is no use talking about it; it is a matter of blindness. You say, I cannot see the clock. I am sorry, for I can see the clock.
ANSWER—Yes that is my understanding. (Hear, hear.) Father Abraham was introduced to the Father, or the Father introduced himself to Father Abraham and made a covenant with him, and there was no mediator there that we ever heard of, and so also with Enoch, who walked with God and God took him. There was no mediator in the matter. God could not give to either of those men full restoration to his favor in the sense of giving them eternal life. The meaning of mediator is "one who stands between," and to keep two parties at variance apart, and to reconcile them to one another. But an advocate is one who stands alongside of, to be the spokesman, to be able to help in the matter, and so the Apostle does not say, We have a Mediator, but he does say we have an Advocate with the [Page Q109]Father. The Church has the Advocate. Why, then, is there this difference, some having an Advocate and some a Mediator? Because the world is that portion of humanity not yet reconciled, and it needs a Mediator to come in and instruct and bring it about, whereas the class that God accepts in the present time must be in such an attitude of mind as Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob, or as Enoch; whatever they might have been by nature, they must have come to the Lord in the sense of desiring to be his, and surrendering their wills to him, otherwise he could not receive them. For such there was no Advocate before Jesus came, and consequently they never could get eternal life. All they could get would be friendship with God—they could not be introduced to the Father in the sense of coming into Divine fellowship, but we do by first turning from sin; second, drawing nigh, and then he draws nigh to us, and then he points us to the Saviour, and then we are introduced to the Saviour and he becomes our spokesman, our Advocate, and he has promised to appropriate of his merit to cover our imperfection so as to make up to us what we lack physically and in every way, that we might offer an acceptable offering that God could accept. He made up to me what I lacked, but he did not stand between us because God had already drawn me, and he has drawn you; as the Scriptures say, No man cometh to the Father except by me, and again, No man can come to me except the Father who sent me draw him. That is in the present time. In the future it will not be so. It will not be the Father who does the drawing in the Millennial Age, because in the beginning of the Millennial Age the Father will give over the whole world into the hands of the Redeemer, who purchases or makes application of his merit for the world en-masse. During the Millennial Age the great Mediator will raise them up, up, and give them chastisements and encouragements necessary to lift them up if they will. But if they will not, then they will be destroyed in the Second Death. After raising them up, then at the close of the Millennial Age he will present the whole world en-masse to the Father, into the Father's hands, perfect.
ANSWER—I trust that we, as the Church, are accepted, now. The Apostle says, "We are accepted in the beloved. Now I assume the questioner means, Are we to be changed before that time? I know no Scripture that says it, and there is nothing to that effect in the Dawns. The matter started in connection with the description of the Great Pyramid. One measurement there seems to imply that something might be expected by 1910; that is to say, if that measurement was intended, but that is a supposed measurement of that step at the top of the grand gallery, and we do not know that it is especially intended to mark that; but if the mark of that step be taken, the step itself would seem to imply an impediment, or step. What we might expect is not our change, but a great test, for that whole step speaks of a test; it is hard to get over. The whole passage-way is difficult, but the step especially so. We are [Page Q110] in the year 1910, now, and it seems to me that quite a considerable test has come to the Church, and perhaps that is what we might interpret that matter to mean. I am glad that by the grace of God we still stand, and as the Apostle says, let us be humble that we may still stand, for only such will be able to. According to the Scriptures, the first qualification is meekness, gentleness, patience, etc., and so this meekness or humility will be a test of character all the way along. Make sure to get the truth and to hold it, and the Lord will not take it away from any except those who are not meek. The Apostle says, Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in due time.
ANSWER—I answer yes. To my understanding the Church of the First-born takes in the Great Company as well as the Little Flock, whereas the other expression, the Church which is his Body, does not include the Great Company, but excludes them. The Church which is his Body is the Royal Priesthood class, of which he is the high priest and head, and we are members in particular of the Body of Christ, which is the Church.
ANSWER—We recognize that we are not a royal priesthood, in the full sense of the word, yet, because we are not yet certain that we shall be in the priesthood finally. We must first make our calling and election sure. It will have to be determined whether we shall be in the "Little Flock" or "Great Company—whether Priests or Levites—or whether we shall be worthy of life at all. Since this matter, then, is in process of determination and will not be fully settled until our death, it follows that we are not in the fullest sense of the word officiating priests, but candidates for this priesthood, and temporarily acknowledged as priests and counted as priests—just as some time you might meet a gentleman who had been nominated for Governor. By way of compliment you might say, "Good morning, Governor." He is not really a Governor yet. That will be determined by the election, but before he is elected it might be proper or courteous to call him Governor. And so with us. We hope we shall make our calling and election sure that we shall be of that royal priesthood in the fullest sense and in one sense we are now members in the Body, in that we have already received a begetting of the Spirit, acknowledgment of the Lord as ambassadors of God. This is an acknowledgment in one sense of the word and our priestly office, for these priests are "ambassadors," and to whatever extent we are conducting ourselves as ambassadors of God, to that extent we are priests of God—of the probationary kind, and not fully of the Melchisedec kind, which we shall be when our change shall come and we shall be like our Lord. [Page Q111]
ANSWER—Briefly summed up, the Church is called by special invitation, to a "high calling;" a high station—now to suffer with Christ, that she may in due time reign with him. This suffering with Christ is not suffering for sin we may commit, for he never suffered in any such sense. If we suffer with him, our suffering must be along the line of experiencing injustice and in laying down our lives in the service of righteousness. His sufferings were sacrificial sufferings, hence if we share in his sufferings, our sufferings must be sacrificial. We share with him in the begetting of the Holy Spirit and we share with him in his resurrection, if, as the Apostle says, we are faithful in suffering with him, faithful in the matter of participating in his death; for, "If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him." Looking at the matter from the standpoint of the Scriptures we shall see that they sometimes speak of Christ and the Church under the figure of one great Priest, Jesus the Head and the Church his Body, his consecrated self-sacrificing members, and the "Great Company," the antitypical house of Levi, the servants of the Priest. Sometimes the Scriptures speak of us as the under-priesthood, and Christ Jesus as representing the Head of this priesthood. In all these figures the thought is that in some sense we share with our Lord in his work. As the Apostle expresses it, "we are one loaf," all members or participants in that one loaf. The breaking of that one loaf, which was accomplished in our Lord Jesus primarily, is continuing in those who are accepted as members of him, continuing in those who keep their hearts with all diligence. In the matter of sin atonement, "we were children of wrath even as others," and therefore we had nothing wherewith we could procure the redemption either of ourselves or of anybody else. Hence we were wholly dependent upon God's provision in Christ Jesus our Lord, "who gave himself a ransom for all"—a ransom-price. We, therefore, have none of this ransom merit in us; but when he gives us a share of this, or imputes it to us, and then, by virtue of our consecration and his becoming our Advocate, the Father receives us as members of his Body, we thus become members of the Ransomer, because his work of ransoming is not completed. He has indeed given the ransom-price, but he has not yet applied this price for all. We had nothing whatever to do with the matter at the time the price was laid down, but we become identified with him before that price is applied to the world. We have, therefore, that much share in the ransoming-work, because the word "ransom" takes the thought not only of the work that Jesus did in the past, but also of the whole procedure down to the very end of the millennial Age. To ransom means, not only to purchase, but to receive or to recover the thing that is purchased. We have nothing to do with the payment of the price that secures the ransom, but we have something to do—and are counted in with him—in the work of recovering that which was bought with his merit. [Page Q112] It will take all of the Millennial Age to recover mankind in the full sense of the word, to ransom them or to bring them back; as we read, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave." The ransom-price for that purpose was paid nearly 1,900 years ago, but they are not yet ransomed from the grave and will not be until the awakening time in the Millennium. Then, as they gradually come out of sin and death conditions, the full intent and purpose of that ransoming will be in process of accomplishment, and since the Church is to be associated with Christ in all the work of the Millennial Kingdom, therefore the Church, in that sense of the word, will be identified with the ransoming work, or the work of deliverance. As represented in the "sin-offering," the merit originally proceeded from the great High Priest, who is Jesus, and that merit is conferred upon the Church, his Body, not apart from himself, but as members of himself. He does not treat us as separate from himself. He is simply adding to himself these members, and as soon as we become justified through his merit and accepted of the Father as members of his Body, we are members of the great High Priest who has a great work to do; and when the merit that has been imputed to us, and to every spirit-begotten member of the household of faith, shall be available for disposal the second time, all the members of his Body will have participation in the application of his sacrifice, in the sprinkling of the New Covenant. Our Lord's present invitation is to drink with him his "cup," to partake of it. This is the blood of the New Covenant, his blood, "shed for many for the remission of sins," of which we are all to drink, and it takes the entire Gospel Age to find the proper number of those who are thus invited in harmony with the Father's plan, and who are willing to drink of this cup, to be baptized into his death.
Q112:1 QUESTION (1910-Z)—l—Our Lord declared that many in that day shall say, "Lord, Lord, have we not taught in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works?" And his declaration continues that he will then say to such, "I never knew you. Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity ." (Matt. 7:22,23.) How shall we understand this in harmony with the above statement of our Lord that his disciples should not forbid him who followed not with them, but who cast out devils in his name?
ANSWER—We would understand that God may permit people to do certain good works who are not fit for the Kingdom class, who are not fully submissive to the Lord Jesus and his Headship, who are not fully taught and used of him. They may be exercising a certain amount of faith and the Lord may recognize them to that extent, but he will not guarantee that anybody who has power to work miracles and preach publicly, will be granted a place in the Kingdom. We are therefore not at liberty to say that everyone who is engaged in mission work or slum work will be in the Kingdom. He may be doing a good work; but he may not be of that special class which the Lord is now seeking. We are not to object to his work, if it is a good work. It is not ours to interfere with him, for the Lord is able to take care of his own work. It is our work to take care of ourselves, although we are not to acknowledge or co-operate with those [Page Q113] who we believe are associating error even with good works. We should not in any sense lend our influence to the assistance of evil. We are to take the standpoint of leaving to the Lord the management of his own affairs, the interests of his cause in general. He is abundantly able to attend to the whole matter. We are to see to it that our hearts are fully sub-missive, and that our head, our wills, are under the Head ship, Leadership of the Lord; that his will is done in us, and that our sacrifices are not made to be seen of men, but are made as unto God; thus we shall have his approval in that day. To such he says he will be glad to give acknowledgment, and to confess them before the Father and his holy angels.
ANSWER—Well, the brother who writes this question does not understand what we mean. He ought to read about twelve times more what we have written about what an advocate is, and what a mediator is. We have only written on the subject about forty times. If you read it over twelve times you will get it well in. You see the difficulty is that we get our heads badly mixed up sometimes on these matters. Now try and get it straight this time. A mediator is one who stands between. An advocate is one who stands along side of—totally different thoughts. Christ will be the mediator between God and men, between God and the world, for a thousand years, when be will stand between God and men. God will have nothing to do with the world and the world will have nothing to do with God. Christ will be the one between—the mediator standing in between, completely cutting off all relationship, and the world will have nothing whatever to do with the Father until the end of the thousand years when the mediator shall step out of the way and say, "Now, Father, I hand over the world to you." In the meantime under the mediatorship of Christ the world will be taught and chastened and helped, everything that can be done for them will be done to bring them up to perfection, and when they are at the perfection point, then they will be turned over to the Father at the close of Christ's reign. Now that is not what Christ does for you and for me. He does not stand between you and the Father. On the contrary he brings us nigh to God—"Ye were brought nigh"—not kept at a distance. It is the very reverse. There are two ways of dealing with the sinners. We were sinners and they are sinners, but in dealing with those sinners, they will not be in a condition to come in the same way that we are coming. We are coming to God because we desire to come. The rest of the world are not desiring to come; they will need to have a kingdom established that will thrash them. They will need a good thrashing the first thing, and a good deal of switching all the way along through the thousand years as they may need it until they learn righteousness. But the church that God is calling out first loves righteousness, and hates iniquity; and they are striving for this standard; they may have weaknesses of the flesh, and they may not always do what they wish, as Saint Paul says, but still their hearts' [Page Q114]desires are for God and for righteousness; and thus God is drawing this class, and drawing them to Himself. And when he draws them to Himself, He is not willing to receive them in their imperfect condition, therefore He points them, as they draw near to him, to Jesus, whose meritorious sacrifice is the basis of all reconciliation either for the church now or for the world bye and bye. And when they come to Jesus, he acts as their advocate, as their attorney, as the one who pleads their cause, as the one who says, "Heavenly Father, I will stand good for this one who desires to come back into harmony with You." The Father has made this arrangement and is very pleased to receive them. So the advocate brings one nigh to God and we become sons of God, and God deals with us as sons, and calls us his heirs, for if we are children of God we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, our Lord, who is our advocate. But with the world in the next age, it will be altogether different. The Mediator will stand between and have his kingdom for dealing with them. It will be a mediatorial kingdom that will separate them from God and keep them separate for their good. For the world to be brought nigh to God in the same sense that the church is brought nigh, would be disadvantageous. I will say, however, dear friends, that I think there are some people who will never understand the meaning of certain words. That is to say, I have an idea that there are people who have not that keen discernment of mind that would enable them to discriminate in respect to words, and what I would say to such people is this: If you cannot understand it, never mind. Do you believe that the death of Jesus in some way is the ground or condition upon which the Father is willing to receive you? Yes. Very well, come on those conditions. That is the way the church has been coming for centuries past, and did not understand the difference between mediator and advocate at all; and it is not perhaps any more necessary that everybody should understand the difference between mediator and advocate than it was that they should understand the difference between those terms a century ago. The point to be remembered is that Christ is our Savior and that without him we have no standing with the Heavenly Father. Get that point clear whatever else you have clear or do not have clear. If you can understand the philosophy of the matter well and good; you get that much more blessing; but if you cannot, do not worry yourself about it. It is thus like chronology. I should think that one-half of the friends do not have that quality of the mind which would enable them to understand a chronological proposition. And some of them might feel that because they could not understand all that was written in the second volume of Scripture studies on chronology, they could not be saints. Not at all, dear friends. Those who can understand chronological matters, let them have that pleasure. Let those who cannot do so not worry themselves about it.
Q114:1 QUESTION (1911)—1—Will the church be awakened in the divine nature or on the spirit plane corresponding to angels, as our Lord was, and then at the marriage feast received their reward, the divine nature? [Page Q115]
ANSWER—The person who asked this question knows more about it, apparently, than I do. How does he know that our Lord was raised on the spirit plane without the divine nature? I do not know anything of the kind. I believe that our Lord was raised from the dead to the divine nature—put to death in the flesh and quickened in the spirit and that as a spirit being he was of the divine nature. Do not understand me to mean that he was the Father. It seems as though we get our minds so twisted, and our language is so in danger of being twisted in our poor heads, that we can hardly make these matters simple enough. Understand me to believe and to teach that our Lord Jesus never was the Heavenly Father and never will be the Heavenly Father. Understand me to say, with the Bible, that as the head of the woman is the man, so the head of the church is Christ, and the head of Christ is God. That is the Scriptural order of the matter. But this doctrine of the trinity which has got into people's minds confuses and blinds all their thinking powers. So then our Lord was raised from the dead to the glory of the Father—not to being a part of the Father, but to share in the Father's glory—glory, honor, immortality was the high reward—and this is confirmed by the Apostle's statement in respect to the resurrection of the church (1 Cor. 15), "Sown in dishonor, raised in glory, sown in weakness, raised in power, sown an animal body and raised a spiritual body;" and he goes on to say, "For this corruption must put on incorruption, immortality;" and evidently from the structure of the sentence he is saying that the resurrection moment is the moment of immortality, the divine nature.
Q115:1 QUESTION (1911)—1—Saint Paul says, "We are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." Doesn't the word "prophets" here refer to the prophets of the old Bible and not to the prophets of the New Testament?
ANSWER—I would think the Apostle is here referring to the prophets of the Old Testament times, but this is the foundation for faith that was laid in their prophecy. Now there are other prophets mentioned in the Scripture, as, for instance, the Apostle says that when Christ ascended up on high he gave gifts unto men, and then he goes on to tell what those gifts were; he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some teachers, and some evangelists. He is not here speaking of the prophets of old. In this text he is speaking about the orators, because this word prophet as used in the Greek stands for one who publicly expounds, publicly declares, makes public proclamations—that is, a prophet, or, literally, a teller-forth.
ANSWER—Yes, and this was illustrated in the two sons of Rachel, Rachel being a type of Zion, we might say, her first born son was Joseph, who attained to the throne, and her second born son was Benjamin, and Benjamin's name signifies, "Son of my pain," and she died in giving birth to Benjamin. We understand this is a type. God intended it [Page Q116] to be a type of how there will he two classes delivered here—two classes for the spiritual plane, the little flock which will be the bride class, and then following them will be the great company class, as it is called in the Scriptures, or the foolish virgin class, from another standpoint. They will all be virgins, but one class will be the wise virgins who make their calling and election sure by following the directions, and the others will be the foolish virgins, who will fail to make their calling and election sure, and who will have to come up through a great time of trouble, and these two classes are represented in the two sons of Rachel. The first son, Joseph, was the one who reached the throne. Joseph became, through great tribulation of a certain kind, the ruler of Egypt and was the purchaser of all the land, and was a type of Messiah and his glorious kingdom, and Benjamin became a type of the great company class, who do not attain to the throne.
ANSWER—The Church may Scripturally be viewed from two standpoints: (1) The Church in glory will consist exclusively of the Redeemer and His Bride class, His joint-heirs, or, under the other figure, "Jesus, the Head, and the Church, His Body"—"members in particular of the Body of Christ." These alone will have part in the "first resurrection"; these alone will reign with Christ a thousand years. (2) In the present time, however, the Church is spoken of as the Bride of Christ, in a formative or developing state, His espoused. Each one who makes a full consecration of himself to the Lord, trusting in the merit of Jesus, when begotten of the Holy Spirit, is counted a member of the Body of Christ. As a member he is to grow in grace, knowledge and love, putting off the former things of the flesh and putting on the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. These, however, develop into three different classes: (a) A "little flock," a Royal Priesthood, who will become exclusively the Body of Christ, through participation in the "first resurrection." (b) A "great company" class, loyal to God and in the end faithful, but not sufficiently zealous to be considered sacrificing priests, not worthy, therefore, to be counted of the Body of the "more than conquerors." These will ultimately come off conquerors and attain the plane of spirit being to which they were begotten at the time of their consecration. These will be the "virgin companions" of the Bride, serving in the Temple. A third class, described by St. Paul as falling away and counting the blood of the Covenant wherewith they were sanctified an ordinary thing and despising the great favor and privilege of sanctification through justification. These are described also by St. Peter as "the sow returned to her wallowing in the mire"—as turned from spiritual hopes and promises to earthly. These, once counted members of the Body of Christ, will die the Second Death, as brute beasts.
Q116:2 QUESTION (1911-Z)—2—Are we to understand from your remarks in The Watch Tower of April 1, 1911, page 102, [Page Q117] column 2, paragraph 2 and 3, that your opinion has altered respecting the "change" of the Church?
ANSWER—No; we have no different thought from that heretofore presented. We still believe that since 1878 we are in the time indicated by the statement, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, they shall rest from their labors, and their works follow with them."—Rev. 14:13. We must all die, but "we shall not all sleep." In the cases of those remaining alive at the time of our Lord's second presence, there will be no need to sleep—the moment of death will be the moment of resurrection change.—Psa. 82:7; 1 Cor. 15:51,52.
Q117:1 QUESTION (1912)—1—On March 15,1902, Special Parousia Tower, you state that we are not to understand that the Lord will take the Church away to Heaven and come again and make His "Epiphania" or "Apokalupsis," for that would be the Third Advent, which is nowhere even hinted at in Scripture. You might please harmonize with statement in 1911 Convention Report that the Church in the beginning of the Millennium will be presented to the Father.
ANSWER—When the Church will be completed and will have passed beyond the Vail, I do not know how many days or even months will elapse, but some little time will intervene, and then the Church will be presented to the Father, and then the Great Company are said to follow Him to be presented before the King. It will not be a coming and going to and from heaven at all. The Lord is at the right hand of His father in heaven, and I understand that the Lord Jesus Christ will be always in that position. He does not leave His place vacant for one moment. The Church, as His Bride, will have the same privilege as He has. This is not a going away and a coming again. We shall be there and sit forever with the Lord with all the liberties of the angelic hosts and having still higher liberties and powers.
ANSWER—No! They have not reigned at any time. At least, if they have reigned, we have not found it out, and they have made a poor reign of it so far. All the reigning we have seen in the world thus far has been a rather poor kind. We would say, however, that the kings of the earth are doing the best they can do; they are doing just as wisely as they know how to do under the circumstances and conditions. We are not specially faulting them. Take the Czar of Russia, for instance: the poor man does not know how to do better than he is doing. Probably the same is true of the Emperor of Austria, the President of France, King George of Great Britain, Emperor William of Germany, etc. These would all rather see their people happy; but they are imperfect men with imperfect subjects and are surrounded by such conditions as are almost impossible to overcome. Therefore we are not to fault them that their reign is not perfect. If they had perfect subjects, doubtless the world's condition would be very much better. [Page Q118] The reign of Christ did not in any sense begin in the past. Our Catholic friends claim that Christ began His reign some time ago; and that for over a thousand years the Pope has been the representative of Christ as King of Earth; that it is not Christ Himself who is to reign, but His vicegerent, a title which they give to the Pope, meaning the one who rules instead of Christ.
We think that our Catholic friends are laboring under a misapprehension. They do not get the proper thought. You remember the Apostle says of some, Ye have reigned as kings in the earth; you are getting along very prosperously; you have had no trouble or persecution at all. Then after making fun of them a little, he says, I would to God that ye did reign; for if you did, we would reign with you.—1 Cor. 4:8. We hold that this is still true. When the reign of Christ begins, you will find it such a thorough reign that all the members of His Body will have some part in it. So we assume that when our Lord's Kingdom shall begin its reign conditions, for the whole world will be very much changed. If the reign of Christ should begin today, the saints would be with Him; for He is to be the great Judge, the saints the under-judges; He is to be the great King, the saints the under-kings; He is to be the great Priest, the saints the under-priests—"A Royal Priesthood," "Kings and priests unto God," who "shall reign with Christ a thousand years." With His reign will begin the reign of righteousness, for the Scriptures intimate that sin will be suppressed promptly. Nothing shall hurt, or offend, or destroy, in all God's holy Kingdom. (Isa. 11:9.) Nothing will be allowed to do so. The Great Judge will know how to inflict such punishments and so promptly as to prevent the reign of evil; and then the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness; for instance, if some one wished to speak evil of his neighbor and a punishment, such as paralysis of the tongue, should come upon him merely for the intention', before he spoke the evil, do you not suppose that he would learn the lesson that he must not think evil? He would not speakthe evil, for his tongue would be paralyzed before he even spoke the word. The Bible says that he will learn the lesson. "When the judgments of the Lord are in the earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." (Isa. 26:9.) It will not take them long to learn. They will not need to have calamity overtake them many times before they will learn that it would be better for them not to do wrong. This will not, of course, affect the heart; but it will enable them to learn to do right, to see the effect of righteousness in the world. Thus they will have the opportunity of either loving or hating that condition. If they learn to love that condition they will get into the right attitude of heart, pleasing and acceptable to God; and so at the end of Christ's millennial reign they will be ready to have the full blessing of eternal life; but, even though not permitted to do the wrong thing, if at heart they still love iniquity, with all the knowledge before them and experience behind them, if they will not learn to love righteousness and hate iniquity, they will be of those worthy of cutting off in the Second Death, from which there will be no recovery. [Page Q119]
ANSWER—In the present time there is a Church of Christ on probation. We sometimes say that we are members of the Church Militant; but to be a member of the Church Militant will not prove that we shall be in the Church Triumphant. Only those who are "faithful unto death" will be in the Church Triumphant. St. Paul, whom God had set in a very high position in the Church feared lest he might become a castaway. He said, "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (1 Cor. 9:27.) Various privileges and opportunities are granted to us while in the flesh, and our acceptance in the end and our participation in the glory beyond will depend upon our faithfulness here. The Apostle says that the various members, "fitly framed together, grow into an holy Temple in the Lord." (Eph. 2:21.) We may not use this figure too literally or we may get into confusion. The stones in the Temple differ to some extent one from the other. In what is called "random range work" building there are places for little stones and places for larger stones. This might, in some respects, represent our being a larger or a smaller stone in the Temple—representing the privileges or honor which we may have beyond the veil. St. Paul also says that he was trying to do much more, that he was trying to have a larger share in the trials and self-denials, in order that he might have a larger share in the work beyond. This did not mean that he desired self-aggrandizement, or that he was either proud or self-seeking.. And we shall not be so if we would attain that to which God would have us attain—the glorious character-likeness of our Master.
Q119:2 QUESTION (1915-Z)—2—Matt. 20:27 reads, "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant." Is it a proper desire to be chief among the Lord's people, and are we to understand that the positions in the Kingdom of Heaven will be assigned entirely on the basis of the amount of service we render here?
ANSWER—The Lord had been pointing out to His disciples a certain weakness on their part—a desire to be the greatest—a desire that is general in the human family—an ambitious spirit. The context says that amongst the Gentiles there are some who exercise a lordship and have others to serve them in a menial way, but that this was not to be the case amongst the disciples of Jesus. They were to be actuated by a different spirit. With the followers of Christ there is not to be a spirit to dominate, to rule others, but a spirit of love, which seeks to serve others, to do for others, a spirit which is willing to sacrifice personal interest in the service of others. On this basis we consider further the words of this text. There will be some among the Lord's people who will be chief. It is necessarily so in any company or class or association where people are not all equal in talents—where some are born with more talents and some with less. Some one is bound to be chief. An absolute equality is not possible. [Page Q120]It is advisable, too, that there be some among the saints of God to guide the Church. What, then, is to be the standard as to who is to be chief? Shall it be the one who would browbeat the others? No; this is not the standard. Shall it be one who will have a masterful influence and pleasant words, who will dominate merely because of some talent, or because of superior education or wealth—something of this kind? No; this could not be the standard. What, then, will be the standard as to those who will be recognized as chief ones in the Church?
We reply, We should look for those who have most of the spirit of service. He who renders the greatest amount of service and brings the greatest spiritual blessing to the Class—the one who tries most to truly serve—consider him your chief. While our Lord's words were addressed to all the apostles, and not merely to one individual, yet they are applicable also to the individual. The thought should come home to each of our hearts, that if any of us have ambition for service in some special capacity, we are not to do like worldly people. We should take the opposite track, and leave any honor of men out of the question entirely. We should leave God to attend to that matter as shall seem to Him best, and be content merely to be a servant to the brethren. Let the Lord see how willing you are to serve in any manner. The person without any ambition never amounts to any thing. We need to have ambition if we are sowing or plowing or whatever we are doing—we need ambition to spur us on to do whatever we do in a satisfactory manner. And so if we have the opportunity of serving the Truth, we should seek to serve it in the most capable manner possible. Otherwise we should not be capable servants of the Lord. But we are to lay aside any desire to be chief so far as ambition for personal glory is concerned. We are to seek to serve the Lord the best we know how. If you can serve the Lord in some respects better than I, and I can learn something from you, well and good. And if afterwards you can learn something from me, so be it. True, we should be patterning after that which is especially commendable and doing all we can to further the Lord's Cause. And this service should be prompted by love. Any service not prompted by love is not acceptable in the sight of the Lord.
The Apostle Paul says that those who desire the office of a bishop are desiring a good thing. It is a noble service. The office in the Apostles' day was not the exalted official position it is understood to be in the nominal church systems of today. A bishop then was a humble, untitled servant of the Church, caring for the interests of the sheep. Every servant of the Church should seek to be efficient, should love to be, as far as he is able, a caretaker over the flock of God. Amongst these Elder brethren, pastors of the congregation, there will be those of different natural abilities. Each should seek to use his talents, his opportunities, in the service of the Lord, of the brethren and of the Truth. It is a pity that any of the Lord's people today forget the standard which the Master is here setting up. These seem to think that the office of Elder has become theirs by [Page Q121] right, instead of realizing that the appointment to this office is by vote of the Ecclesia, the company of the Lord's people, and is to be the voice of the Church. We believe that the attitude of each one should be to be willing to accept the voice of the Ecclesia, the Church, implicitly. If he has become a member of the congregation by casting in his lot with the others, he has thus become subject to the rules that represent the controlling majority, whether it be a majority of one or of a larger per cent. Having done this, he should seek to continue in this attitude, whether chosen an Elder or whether another is chosen. Very frequently a congregation makes the mistake of selecting for Elder a brother who does not have the proper qualifications. This sometimes means dissatisfaction on the part of some of the class, and leads to the breaking away of some to form another class. We think this is not the wise course. We think that if the class made a mistake, the Lord is able to overrule it for good; and that therefore those who withdraw lose some experiences which would be valuable to them. We are not always sure, however, that the class made a mistake. How can we know but that the Lord has some lesson in this matter? lf we have asked the Lord's blessing on whoever would be the choice, we should abide by that choice. If the one not chosen has ability for properly presenting the Truth and knows a number of places where he can be used and useful, we think that the brother should take advantage of whatever opportunities may present themselves. He need not leave the class, however. He could perform whatever service came to his hand. Perhaps he could use his time and talent in class extension work—not feeling restricted in this direction because he was not elected Elder. He might go out and find opportunities for service. So the change in Elders might mean to the brother not elected or not re-elected that the Lord was indicating to him another field of usefulness. The Lord's providences might be leading out for wider influence and usefulness for him. We should not be influenced by what men of the world shall say or think of us. This is immaterial; and it is immaterial what the Church shall think. We should seek to please the Lord. We should not esteem ourselves too highly, but rather give a preference to others in our estimation. Positions in the Kingdom of Heaven, we understand, will be awarded according to the degree of the development of the fruits of the Holy Spirit; and this means a love which will lead to zeal in the Lord's service.
ANSWER—The expression, "anointing of the Spirit," is slightly different from the expression, "begetting of the Spirit." The thought connected with the word "begetting" is that of an instantaneous work, while the thought connected with "anointing" is a more gradual work. We are under the process of anointing from the time we enter the Lord's family, from the time we are recognized as members of the family of Christ, and receive a place in the glorious company of Royal Priests. We know that some fail to get their [Page Q122]full anointing. Some of those who have been properly received, and begotten of the Holy Spirit, will fail to be fully anointed, and therefore will fail to be of the Royal Priesthood Class. They will be of the Great Company Class instead. We therefore think that the expression, "anointing of the Spirit," must include that mollifying and mellowing development which comes as we grow in grace and in knowledge, and not merely the time when we were anointed (begotten) to come into the family of God.
ANSWER—We believe to the contrary—that instead of all the Feet-members being changed at one time, it will be a gradual work. One may be changed tonight, another tomorrow, etc.; and yet their change may be said to be all at one time in the sense that it is all in the Harvest time, all in the end of the Age. The change of some will be in the close of the Harvest period. As an individual matter, it will be one person after another. The Apostle says, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed;" for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." Our change will be "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." It will not be a gradual change to the individual but an instantaneous change. Instead of sleeping as the saints of the past have done, when our time comes to die, ours will be an instantaneous change. The Psalmist prophetically says, "I have said, ye are gods, and all of you children of the Most High. But ye shall die like men;" and this Scripture we understand to refer to the dying process that comes to all of the Church, the same as to mankind in general. We are New Creatures and hence the expression that we shall "die likemen." As men die, so we will die. Men do not generally die in bunches; so we would think it strange if many of us should die at one time. The world will not discern any difference between our death and the death of other men.
ANSWER—The members of the Church suffer for any sins of the flesh they do not properly repent of and properly make amends for. The Apostle says that if we would judge ourselves, if we would punish ourselves, correct ourselves, we would not be judged of the Lord. If we would thoroughly attend to these matters ourselves, we would not need to be chastened by the Lord. When He finds it necessary to deal with us, it is that we may not be condemned with the world. The whole world is in a condemned condition. God is choosing some who will be justified to life everlasting on the spirit plane. If we are faithful it will not be necessary for the Lord to punish us, but rather to encourage and help us. This would not mean that we shall not have trials and difficulties, but it does mean that if we chasten ourselves we shall not be punished by the Lord for our sins, for the weaknesses of our flesh which we might have avoided, and for which we are to some extent responsible. We are not to suppose that a New Creature would sin wilfully. If he thus sinned, he would be no longer a New [Page Q123]Creature. He would have gone back, like the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire. The sins that the New Creature would suffer for would be those sins of the flesh which he might have avoided, and which he failed to correct. These sufferings would give him a sharper appreciation of his duties; they would be disciplining for his good. But this may not be the thought of the questioner. He may mean, "What has the Church to do with the Sin-offering?" The Church has nothing to do with the Sin-offering, as a Church. It is the Lord Jesus who is the responsible One in the whole matter. In the type it was not the under priests that did the offering, but the high priest. So it was the Lord Jesus that offered up Himself. He offers us up as His members, but He does not do this contrary to our wills. We desire that He will offer us up as parts of Himself, that we may thus have a share in "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that shall follow." It is His merit alone that gives virtue to our sacrifice. The whole responsibility, therefore, is in the hands of the great High Priest, our Lord. We share with Him in the world's Sin-offering, as His members. We participate in the sufferings which are counted as His sufferings. You and I could not atone for sins by our sufferings—either for our own sins or for those of others. That is all in the Lord's hands.
Q123:1 QUESTION (1915)—1—"But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Deliverance" (1 Cor. 1:30). How is Christ made unto us Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Deliverance?
ANSWER.—God has made Jesus to be all these things to the Church. That is to say, all these various things are to be attained by the Church through Jesus. You could not attain to any of these things yourselves. I could not attain to them of myself. Indeed, no one could. Therefore it is God's appointment that all these qualities and blessings should come to us through the Lord Jesus. First of all, Jesus is made unto us Wisdom. He gives us the necessary knowledge to come to God. That is the first step. "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me" (John 14:6). You have not yet become a child of God, but you need a measure of wisdom in order that you may come to the Father. So Jesus becomes to us Wisdom; and He continues to be our Wisdom all the way through. Then Christ "is made unto us Righteousness"—justification. When He was first made unto us Wisdom, we were not fully justified. But we were justified when we accepted the terms which that Wisdom taught us, and made our consecration accordingly. Then Christ became our Justification. How? By imputing to us the merit of His sacrifice. This justified us legally. How much merit do we need? Each one needs whatever he lacks of perfection. We all lack something of perfection. Some lack more and some less. There is none righteous—perfect. We might place the perfect standard at one hundred. We might say that some would reach the 50 per cent (half of a man or woman in moral quality). Perhaps some would have only 25 per cent (a quarter of a man or woman). What [Page Q124] do you mean by a quarter of a man or woman? I mean that they are depraved, fallen, to the extent of three-quarters. Such a one would have only one-quarter of what would be required to make up a perfect man. I believe that the average person reaches no more than the mark of 25 per cent, or is one-quarter of a real man. I think that is about the proportion. I am not to judge in any individual case. Judge yourself according to your own estimate of the matter. Now, then, the person who is one-quarter of a perfect man is lacking three-quarters, and for Jesus to justify him would mean the imputing to him of three-quarters; for the meaning of the word justification is to make right, to make perfect. If, for instance, you need a dollar and have only twenty-five cents, some one will need to make up seventy-five cents. It is the same in weight. If you have only four ounces and need to have a pound, some one will need to make up the other twelve ounces. So with justification, one hundred being the standard. If you have but 25 per cent of character and of physical soundness, you need just 75 per cent imputed to you. If you have 50 per cent, the Lord will make up the other 50 per cent. For the person having only 10 per cent of character the Lord proposes to make up the other 90 per cent. So the better you are naturally the less the Lord will do for you. Strange as that proposition may seem, nevertheless it is the case. The less He will need to do for you. This is the proposition of justification, the making of you right. No one needs to be more than right, only just right. Then Jesus becomes our Sanctification, in the sense that He is our Teacher. We enter the School of Christ as pupils and need sanctification. He not only sanctifies us in the sense of bringing us into covenant relationship with our Heavenly Father, where we are set apart as God's children by the giving of the Holy Spirit, but He continues to be our Sanctifier, our Instructor, even unto the end, instructing us in the Truth, making us more and more fully set apart, as He prayed for the Church—"Sanctify them through Thy Truth, Thy Word is Truth" (John 17:17). Our Lord Jesus is the One who applies the Truth to the Church, which is His' Body. And this application of the Truth-teaching us and leading us in the right way—is His way of sanctifying. It might be said that it is the Father who sanctifies. So it is; and it might be equally said that it is the Father who justifies, makes righteous before the Law; but He does all this through the Son. It is likewise true that the Father gives the wisdom, but through the Son. God has honored the Son by appointing Him heir of all things. So with the Deliverance. It is to be the great resurrection "change" that will bring this to us, and Jesus is to be our Deliverer. He is the One who calls all the saints from the sleep of death, as He declares, you remember: "All that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God and shall come forth" (John 5:28). And we who are alive and remain at His coming will be changed by Him. He will be the Deliverer of all His Church. Although the Bible says that the Father is the Great Deliverer, and it was the Father who raised up our Lord Jesus, and who "will raise us up also" from the tomb, yet it will be by Jesus. All things are ofthe Father and by the Son. [Page Q125]
ANSWER—There is, of course, a certain amount of Christian liberty that we believe the Lord would be pleased that people always exercise. For instance, suppose a brother were to go to another brother's home, and two or three neighbors came in to spend the evening. Then suppose one should say, "Let us have a game of chess," and another would say, "No, let us have a Bible study." We do not think it would be the Lord's will to say, "No, we cannot have a Bible study, because it is not authorized by our class, but we will play chess." We might properly reason that, while no meeting had been arranged there by the ecclesia, there could be no objection to having a Bible study or to talking along Bible lines. The host might say, "We will ask in some more of the neighbors for another meeting next week. I have tried to tell them about these things and will be glad to have them hear you." I cannot see that there would be anything wrong in such a course. If those attending desired a regular meeting, it should be turned over to the I. B. S. A. local class, which would supply the leaders. But now suppose some of a class say, "We will start another regular meeting;" this would be a different case entirely. They have a right to form a new ecclesia, but in so doing they would be breaking away from the original ecclesia. They could not then properly go back to the other meeting and say, "We will vote here." There must be consistency in what we do. All who become members of an ecclesia more or less give up their personal liberties that they may have the advantages of co-operation. But this would not mean such bondage that we could not have a Bible study, but must spend the evening playing games instead.
ANSWER—Apparently, my dear friends, the Church now has no part whatever in the binding of kings. At least we do not see yet how you and I have any part in that work; we do not see that the kings are bound. What part the Church may have in that work later we do not know. The Bible shows that they will have an important part, but how they will exercise that privilege when the time comes remains to be seen. God has not shown just how His plan will be worked out. We need to be in position to do our part when the time comes, but we must be satisfied to leave the matter in the Lord's hands. In the armies of the world the men in the ranks do not know when an attack is to be made, right up to the time when the order to advance is given. In due time you and I will get our orders. In the meantime we are to keep the armor on; we are to keep it clean and bright; we are not to get sleepy or weary in well-doing, but to grow strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.
Q125:3 QUESTION (1916-Z)—3—In the Millennium will Jesus alone be the Life-giver to the world, or will the Church also be associated with Him as members of the Life-giver, and have power to awaken the dead? [Page Q126]
ANSWER—The subject of giving life may be viewed from different standpoints. In a certain sense the mother as well as the father of a child is its life-giver—in the sense that the child could not have attained individual existence without the mother. And yet, strictly speaking, the father alone is the life-giver; for the life-germ comes from him. So the Bible uses this natural illustration of an earthly father, or life-giver, to picture a great spiritual truth. The world is dead in Adam—under sentence of death. Jesus has laid down the Ransom-price which will offset that sentence. By virtue of so doing He will have the right, as soon as the merit of His sacrifice is applied for the world, to become the Life-giver of Adam and his race. The human life-rights which He will give will be those which He Himself laid down in death. But as Jesus by the will of God has associated the Church with Himself, both in the sufferings of this present time and in the glory that is to follow, she will have to do with the giving of life to the world. Her work is illustrated in Mother Eve and in womankind in general. It will be the work of the Church to nourish the world of mankind—to nourish the spark of life which they will receive from the Redeemer. Under this nourishment and care, as many of the world as will co-operate will rise up out of sin and death conditions to perfection. Thus the Bride of Christ will have to do with the life-giving, but merely as the associates of the great Life-giver. The Ransomer, Jesus, alone is the One who can dispense His own life-rights. And Jesus Himself said, "All that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God and shall come forth." (John 5:25,29.) Any work which the glorified Church may do in connection with the restoration of the world will be as His assistants.
ANSWER—It was not the intention of any paragraph in Tabernacle Shadows to indicate anything of that kind. I would like to repeat this ten thousand times: Nobody but one person could purchase the world because it was only one man that sinned, and so only one man to redeem. The ransom is a corresponding price. He gave Himself as a ransom, not with the church as though it is something that He is continuing to do through them. He finished that at Calvary. He has not made an actual application of it as yet, but the provision of the ransom price was made before we came into God's plan at all. We did not come in until Jesus had finished His work at Calvary. Then came in the selection of the church. First, He was to be the Captain of our salvation, and then could have a body of soldiers under Him. He was to be the Head over His fellows. The selection of these fellows began after the completion of His sacrifice. Only Jesus had died and ascended up on High, and had made satisfaction and imputation. (God had not recognized any of the Church at all), and then, when that was done—the church not in it at all—God through Jesus shed forth the Holy Spirit. We have nothing to do with the payment of that price. That is all the work of Jesus. [Page Q127]
ANSWER—I do not know what was in the mind of the one who asked that question. The church had no merit according to the flesh, but the church is not in the flesh. "We are not in the flesh, but in the spirit." The body of Christ is the new creation, and it has already much merit. When God made us new creatures we had some merit, and I hope we will keep that merit which God grants to all those who are His children. Everyone must have some merit, or else God would not recognize him at all. In Ephesians we read that God will do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think: there must be some merit there. Then, we read about being worthy. Some blessings will come to the church because the church will be found worthy. Has the church any merit of an earthly kind that it could appropriate to the world? The merit of the new creation is one thing, but we have no merit according to the flesh that we could give away. But have we anything of that kind? Yes. The Bible pictures that if you suffer for righteousness sake in your flesh, then a meritorious thing has been accomplished so far as you are concerned. You have thereby suffered a loss of your rights. There is a certain amount of merit belonging to those rights that you lost, and a certain amount of demerit to those who caused this loss. God pictures this as a kind of an imputation to the world. I remind you of Leviticus 16 that certain sins of the people beyond the ordinary ones covered by the Day of Atonement sacrifices, had to be otherwise atoned for in another way, so also while the forgiveness of all Adamic sin all belongs to Jesus, yet, what we might suffer for righteousness sake, all this suffering might all go as a kind of credit for somebody else and serve to make up for the loss to others who have done wrong beyond that which is attributable to father Adam. This will make a balance. This will all be balanced before the new age comes in. That is the reason for the coming trouble, because God will balance the account. The church will have something to its credit according to one part of the picture of Leviticus XVI.
ANSWER—The Apostle intimates that we do have the same sign, but it is the circumcision of the heart and not of the flesh. With spiritual Israel it is spiritual circumcision. The Apostle tells us these are the things we are to have circumcised—anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife, works of the flesh and works of the devil. Cut these off and then you are circumcised in the heart. That doesn't mean that you never make the mistake of having an angry thought. It is not your flesh, but you as a new creature that is a member of the Body of Christ. The flesh is merely a servant of that new creature and the new creature will keep the body under to the best of its ability.
ANSWER—Years ago, dear friends, I had my experience when a Congregationalist. There was a fair and voting contest on and I remember very well that I solicited from one person, and he very promptly handed me two dollars and seemed pleased to give it. After receiving the two dollars I felt ashamed. I said, You begged. My answer was, You begged for the church. But you would be ashamed to beg for yourself. Yes, I would, but this was for the Lord. But if you would be ashamed to beg for yourself should you not be more ashamed to beg for the Lord? Is the Lord poor? I said, No, and I will never beg or solicit again, nor have I from that time to now. The question is, How can we spend so much money when we solicit none? People voluntarily push it on us. That is no joke. People really say, "Brother Russell, I am deeply interested in these things and would like to put a little money in. Can I have a chance?" We say, Brother, there is all of the chance in the world. Sometimes people, without the least expectation on my part, have handed me money. For instance, one afternoon when going to a question meeting, a gentleman came up to me and handed me a piece of paper. I put it in my pocket, thinking it was a question. When I got to the platform and pulled it out I found a check for $1,000. I remembered then that the gentleman who had handed me the check had told me how he had been a very wicked man. He lived in the western country, and while a member of the Presbyterian church, he told me he had not been a Christian at all. He gambled, smoked, drank, and did nearly everything which a Christian ought not to do. He did not say, nor do I, that the Presbyterian church would encourage him in this. He told me he did not know what Christianity was until he read the Studies in the Scriptures. After learning the reasonableness and goodness of God's plan he wanted to use his money to help spread the knowledge which he had appreciated so much, hence handed me the check. This is the manner in which the money has been supplied. Our thought has been that as long as the Lord wishes the work to go on, He can take care of supplying the funds. It is His business to attend to how much He sends. If the Lord ever withholds the supply the work will go down in proportion.
Q128:2 QUESTION (1913)—2—Representatives of the International Bible Students' Association have given out the report in Springfield that the entire expense of their propaganda and work is covered by voluntary contributions. Please explain the exact meaning of the term "voluntary contributions."
ANSWER—It is a contribution not in any manner solicited. We do make known the results of our work every year in an annual report, as seems proper, but no names of contributors are given. No one even gets a chance to get his name before the church, or other contributors. Whatever is given is unto the Lord and no attempt is made to flaunt any human donation. We simply use what is voluntarily handed in.
ANSWER—Our general thought is that this matter of the solicitation of money has become rather obnoxious in the sight of a great many, and that the Lord's name might be, perhaps, more glorified if we do not solicit money. Furthermore, we recognize the fact that our Heavenly Father is very rich. All of the gold and silver is His, and all of the cattle on a thousand hills. If He needed money He would not need to ask us, and He has never commissioned us, that we know of, to ask or solicit in any manner in His name. As He has not commissioned us so to do we think it not proper to do so. This is no reflection upon others having a different view. They have their rights.
ANSWER—We think there are two tracts, and only two that the colporteurs should give out. That is not saying anything against the other tracts. One is No. 54, "The Dark Cloud and the Silver Lining," and "Do You Know" is also a good one. We advise that the Colporteurs do not take the other tracts, but let the volunteers give out the others.
ANSWER—I don't know any reason why they should not, but my thought is this: that the colporteur would do better to avoid volunteer work and use his time in a little different way. For instance, those colporteuring the week, and supposedly using up about all the energy they have to spare, when Sunday comes, had better look over their book of names and see who are marked as interested, and use their time in visiting them.
ANSWER—I would not think it right for a wife, for instance, to leave [Page Q130] her home and husband in any measure of neglect. She has a wifely duty towards her husband and her home. But if this husband were in the truth and agreeable to it, all right. If he were a worldly husband, he has a right to demand that his home should be cared for; that is part of the wife's contract, which I think she must not violate.
ANSWER—I do not think the tracts usually need introduction, particularly unless the person happened to be on the porch, when I would just say something like this: "Will you have some free reading matter?" Put the word "Free" in quite prominently so they will not think it is something for sale, and make sure they hear it.
ANSWER—I would say, never under any circumstances should we be rude or act in any unchristian manner; not for the price of a dozen sets should we think of doing anything that would bring discredit to the Great Master whom we represent. We are to remember that we are ambassadors for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and as such we must not think of doing anything that would he mean, or even going down to the plane of those we are talking to, if they are mean. How then must we do? I answer thus: We might very properly say, "Well now, lady (or sir), you certainly ordered these with full knowledge, and I really think that you are hardly considering my circumstances properly when you refuse to take them. You know it took considerable of my time to call here and talk to you on the subject, and I am not paid anything for this; it is a love for the truth and a desire to serve you. And then consider that it takes time for me to bring you the book, and the labor is worth something of course. Now all I have in this matter is an allowance by the Society that I get such a proportion of whatever comes in from those books, which are sold at cost price. Three books for one dollar don't amount to anything, and I should not think you would back out of this matter unless there was some misconception in your mind. It seems to me that somebody must have been saying something to you to prejudice you, and you have perhaps forgotten what I said to you about the books when I took your order. Now, my friend, let me tell you that there are enemies of this book, but as a rule you will find the enemies are those who have never read them. The enemies of these books are people who have never studied them. I take it that you are an intelligent [Page Q131] man (or woman, as the case may be—and that can be said of nearly everybody that would order a book); you seem to have a great deal of intelligence, and I suppose you do some thinking for yourself. Now I will say this to you, that if you will take the books and keep them for a week or a month, I will tell you where I will be, and if you then tell me, after reading them, that they are not helpful to you, and not worth much more than a dollar, I will take them back and refund your money, and that will be all that will be said about it." So I would make a very dignified argument, and if after I had said everything that I could reasonably say, they concluded they would not take them, I would just say, "Well, all right; we will leave it that way; I will take them back."
ANSWER—I do not think I would ask the person to pay me for my time, unless it was a case like this: If it was a party who had bought the books and paid for them, and was asking me to give the money back again, saying he did not want to read them, then I think it would be proper to say to him: "Well, now, my friend, if you really insist on my taking them back, you certainly would be willing that I should have something for my time, and I think you will admit that a quarter for the time I spent with you in coming to canvass and a quarter for bringing them to you is little enough. But I do not want the books back; I want you to get the benefit of them; that is the reason I am in this work." By the time he has reasoned out all of that, he will be likely to allow you to persuade him to take the books.
Q131:2 QUESTION (1906)—2—I have sold quite a number of the five-cent volumes where I could not sell the others. In one case a gentleman says, "You are selling these for ten cents, and they are marked five cents on the front." Is it better to sell them for five cents and not get the revenue, or should that be changed so nobody will be inclined to be prejudiced?
ANSWER—I would just say the five cents on there is all right. You can send and get as many of those you want at five cents a copy. They are published just at cost price. The five cents is what I am getting for my time in bringing them around. If you stop for a moment and think about it you will see that I could not afford to sell them at five cents.
Q131:3 QUESTION (1906)—3—In delivering a set of books ordered by a lady, I handed her husband the books, and while his wife went in after the money, he says, "Are these books anything like Millennial Dawn?" I said, "This work treats on lines of chronology, etc." I turned him off the track and got the money and went away. After going away I felt a little bad, wondering If I had taken the right course.
ANSWER—I think probably we would have to supply in our minds part [Page Q132] of what we supposed. We would suppose from the man's question that he has some prejudice against Millennial Dawn, and that his prejudice is unfounded. That is to say, it is founded upon some misrepresentation or misunderstanding of what Millennial Dawn is. So this is not what he thinks Millennial Dawn is, so far as we know; therefore, I think you were justified in putting it in the form you did.
Q132:1 QUESTION (1906)—1—Would you always advise where people ask if those books are Millennial Dawn that we pursue the course mentioned by the brother here? Sometimes they have the Millennial Dawn books in the house, and if we sell them the Studies, and a half hour after we are gone they discover they have got exactly the same thing, and must realize that we knew it was the same thing, wouldn't it prejudice them? Is it always wise?
ANSWER—I should say I do not think a case, such a you mention would occur once in a thousand times, that the person who knew what was in Millennial Dawn would be opposed. It is when they have a misconception of it when they are opposed. Therefore when you have such a question, you are merely having a question with a wrong face to it in their minds. Another brother did this way: He said, "In some respects this book is very much like Millennial Dawn, and by-the-way Millennial Dawn has a great many things in it." The party bought it, but he would not buy Millennial Dawn. I would not advise, however, that any person should violate his or her conscience in the matter.
ANSWER—I think a great deal depends on the colporteur himself whether he could sell five or six or three better. As far as our experience goes, it would seem to indicate that the majority can sell three copies just about as easily as they can sell one copy. The selling of three for 98 cents seems to strike people as being remarkably cheap, whether they are interested in the books or not. You could say, "There are two sets of these studies; the first set is 98 cents the books of the other set are thicker, and if you want them either now or in the future you can get them also." So you see you can let them know there are two sets, but in speaking of them as different sets, you are thus keeping their minds free from thinking that they were not getting a complete set. Each book is really complete in itself.
ANSWER—I would say, "Yes, I am a minister doing this work as being the very best way in which I can get the gospel into the hands of the people." "To what denomination do you belong?" "I am working under the auspices of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, which is strictly undenominational."
Q132:4 QUESTION (1906)—4—Where books are ordered, [Page Q133] and you come to deliver them, and the husband objects to having them in the house, and the wife is willing to pay you for your trouble, but finally takes them reluctantly, is it all right?
ANSWER—I would always prefer that they take the books. I would say, "If you can explain to your husband that they are religious books, and you would like to have him examine them and if he finds anything wrong with them that is another matter; but I am sure when he reads them he will be pleased to have them in the house."
ANSWER—Well, there are some people you could not prove anything to. But one way of proving they are not denominational is to show that they were not gotten out by any denomination; no denomination is backing them; and they will have to take your word in the matter anyway until they have had a chance to read. If any denomination is disposed to endorse them, we have no objection.
Q133:4 QUESTION (1916)—4—A certain brother is in the colporteur work; he has a father and two brothers. His brothers can take care of his father, and they do. Is he required to provide for his father in such a case?
ANSWER—Of course, we might not know all the particulars of the case, dear friends, and therefore an answer to a question of this kind might not be what it would be if we did know all the particulars; but, so far as the question goes—so far as we can understand the question—it looks as though this brother might consider himself at liberty to engage in the colporteur work since others will care for his father.
ANSWER—One of the Doctors of the Law endeavored to entrap the Lord on a question of the relative importance of the Divine commandments, asking which Jesus considered the great one of all. The [Page Q134] Great Teacher promptly divided the ten commandments into two, according to the Law (Deut. 6:5), and answered, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." This is the first and great (chief) commandment. And the second is like unto it—"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. What could the Lawyer say to such a summarization of the Law? He had nothing left to say. He was answered as never before.
ANSWER—The ten commandments were not nailed to the cross at all. They were given to the Jew, and they are still upon the Jew to this day. The covenant which God made with Israel He has not repudiated. Their law covenant will finally be merged into the new covenant. Their blessings promised through the prophets will not come to them through their law covenant. The Lord said, "But not by thy covenant," (Ezekiel 16:61.) Israel's old covenant will cover them until they are brought under the new mediator of the new covenant, Christ Jesus the Head, and the Church his Body. In proportion to the Jews endeavor to keep the law of the ten commandments they have had, and will have, blessings from God. Christians are not under the law of the ten commandments, given only to Israel at Sinai; but we have always been, and all of God's creatures everywhere are, under the spirit of the ten commandments to the extent that they know them. This spirit of the law was expressed by the Lord Jesus when he said that the law is briefly comprehended in two commandments: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul and strength." Every Christian is under that commandment. The angels are under that commandment. All of God's creatures who live in harmony with Him must know and love God with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength. The second commandment, Jesus tells us, is that we shall love our neighbor as ourself. All Christians are under that commandment. Jesus and the apostles were under it and every angel is under it. The divine will for all God's creatures was the spirit of that law of Israel, which will never pass away. But to the Church has been given a third commandment. Jesus said: "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you." This is applicable only to the Church. This command is not of universal application. It is given only to the Church and for this Gospel Age. We are not to love the world or the angels in this way, but merely one another. How much shall we love the brethren? To the extent of giving our life for them, as Jesus laid down his life for us. We must cultivate that love if we would have God's highest, grandest blessings. Some may get into the Great Company without this degree of love, but all of those who get into the Body of Christ must love one another as Jesus loved them. The apostle, speaking of how Christ died for us, says: "We also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." All of the "more than conquerors" will keep this our third commandment. Thus only can we fulfill our "covenant by sacrifice." What was it that Jesus nailed to the cross? It was the law covenant. It [Page Q135] was the covenant or agreement, that God made with the Jews, under which they had some hope of becoming a part of the elect Church. If they could keep God's perfect law it would demonstrate that they were perfect beings. In that case they could have been transferred to the "covenant by sacrifice" without being redeemed. Of course, they could not keep the works of the law covenant—that covenant which required all the good work a perfect man could render. God knew this, but the Israelites did not. God's covenant provided that if they could do those things they might have everlasting life, and not need to be redeemed. When Jesus came and kept all the law covenant's requirements, he became heir to the promises of that law covenant. Thus all hopes by others under that covenant were at an end. Any blessings under that law covenant could only come through Christ—in no other way. It was that covenant that was nailed to the cross. Some of the Jews, the apostles and others, finally came to realize that their only way of getting these blessings which the Sinai law offered would be by coming to Christ and becoming dead with him—suffering with him. We who were Gentiles become part of spiritual Israel, and participate in the blessings natural Israel had hoped to get; but this we receive through Christ under the terms of his covenant of sacrifice: "Gather My saints together unto Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." (Psa. 50:5.)
ANSWER—There is nothing in this Scripture that says that we should lend to everybody who wishes to ask for a loan, either of goods or money; but we should not turn away with a deaf ear from those in need. The Scriptures say, Do good and lend, hoping for no recompense. (Luke 6:35) We should also have that beneficent disposition which desires to do good to all men, especially those of the household of faith. But we should use discretion and wisdom. Often the very best thing to do to a person is to lend him something, even if sure that he would not return it; for thus the way to his coming any more would be barred to some extent at least.
Q135:2 QUESTION (l914)—2—A brother, new in the truth and well beloved, was forced through a business policy to risk losing his position or subscribe for a religious journal entitled "The Christian Advocate." This journal has repeatedly published articles reviling the Servant of the Truth. This brother is placed in a very peculiar position, having had very heavy expenses on account of serious illness of several of the members of the family. How should this brother be advised and should he be re-elected as elder?
ANSWER—If I were that brother I would subscribe for a half dozen copies if necessary. Would I give $6.00 for my job? Yes, or $12.00 if I thought it worth it. I would not think he did wrong by subscribing for a journal even if it did revile Brother Russell. I will forgive him. I think the brother has good common sense. We need common sense, among elders also. [Page Q136]
ANSWER—They will not be under condemnation in the sense of being under the curse, because our Lord has paid the penalty for them, and it is on that account that they are to be brought out from under the curse, from under the divine sentence. They will no longer be under the divine sentence of death, but they will still be under some of the effects of the curse. They will be under the effects of the condemnation, but not under the condemnation itself. The legal condemnation passes away when the great High Priest shall have finished the work of the day of atonement and sprinkled the blood in the Most Holy. The traces of the condemnation, as found in the blemishes of the race, will still continue and require the work of restitution during the millennial age to bring mankind up out of that condition of imperfection to the full perfection of all that was lost.
ANSWER—I answer that the world is not justified in any sense of the word; they are not to be justified by faith. He who gave His life as a ransom, when He ascended up on High, did not present that merit on behalf of the world, but to the household of faith, the members of His body, and they only. After this merit shall have passed through the Church, this same merit will seal the New Covenant with Israel, and then Israel will have the blessing and favor of God, and all who will come into covenant relation ship with God will have that blessing, and then every nation, kindred and tongue will be able to come to God. They will not be justified by faith; they will not be justified at any time until they are actually justified at the end of the Millennial Age. What does justification mean? It means to make right. It means the whole restitution work of the Millennial Age, at the end of which the whole world will be made right and in harmony with God, they will have gotten back all that was lost through Adam. This matter of being justified by faith applies only to the Gospel Age. Why do we have this different from the world? Because God is calling this elect class, and He is giving us this justification so that we will have something to offer. Only these will have a share in the sacrifice of Christ, only these will be glorified with Him. This justification is given to you and to me and to all the household of faith, because we are not of the world, we are of a different spirit, chosen out of the world, drawn of the Father to the Son. The Son accepts and then He applies justification by faith so that they can offer the same on the altar, and thus share in the high calling. To the rest of the world there is no justification except at the end of the Millennial Age.
Q136:3 QUESTION (1911)—3—(John 5:24), "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and will not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life." [Page Q137]
ANSWER—That means this: That those who come now into heart relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ will not be in that future condemnation with the world. The whole world during the thousand years of Messiah's reign will be in condemnation, and have the opportunity of coming out of the condemnation, rising up out of it and getting back into harmony with God, but those who now accept Christ come into relationship with him, and may be thought of and considered as having made a union now in advance with the great life-giver; and if they make that arrangement with him now, and by faith walk in his footsteps as his disciples, they will not need to come into the world's condemnation, the world's judgment, trial, because they pass from death unto life immediately. That is to say, they are counted already as having passed from death unto life; they are counted already as becoming new creatures and are merely waiting for the time to come when by the change in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, in the first resurrection, their course will be completed and they will be like their Lord, and share his glory.
Q137:1 QUESTION (1914)—1—Since all were condemned in Adam, is it proper to say that the Jews were doubly condemned, or should we say that their failure to keep the law was an additional proof of their condemnation?
ANSWER—It is proper to state it the way God's Word puts it, for we do not know very much about it ourselves. The Apostle speaks of the Law being a special condemnation to the Jew, and he tells us Gentiles that if we were to get under the same condemnation as the Jew we would be getting into a double condemnation, which means that there was something extra in their case. He says, "Ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the Law?" He points out how every one that did not keep the law was condemned by not doing so, and that the whole Jewish nation was condemned because of not keeping that law. Then he proceeds to show that a Jew could only get free from the law by dying to the law, while we, who are Gentiles by nature, could get into Christ because we were already condemned in Adam. We do not have to die to the law, but every Jew had to die to the law before he could get into Christ at all. So that in one sense of the word you see that the Jews were around the corner, as it were, and having a more difficult way to get into Christ. How did that come? This way: The whole race was condemned in Adam. We are all of one race. We were all alike sinners, the same sentence upon all, from Father Adam. But God made this special proposition to them: Now, I propose to you a special thing, that I will count you out of the general run of mankind and I will count you a special people and will make a special covenant with you and I will give you a special mediator, Moses. Now if you wish to come under these terms as a people, then you will have the opportunity by obedience to this law, I will give you everlasting life, and by disobedience you agree that I shall sentence you to death. And they said, "It is agreed," and as you see, they were already under one sentence of death through Adam, and now God typically lifts them out of that condemnation in which the whole world was, and, typically, through the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of [Page Q138] the heifer, He typically placed them on a new platform and gave them a special condition and a special covenant and entered into a covenant with them, and they bartered all their future rights in that covenant. Therefore, when they failed to keep the law they as it were had their second trial. They accepted it as a preference to the future trial. They got their condemnation. Therefore, the Bible proceeds to show that Jesus not only died for the world, but that He also especially died for the Jews, and the Bible points out especially that there were certain features of God's law that were upon the Jews that made it necessary that Christ should die especially for them, as it is written in the law, "Cursed is every one that dieth on a tree." "Therefore," says the Apostle, "He was made a curse for us (for us Jews)." He did not need to die on the tree for the Gentiles. There was nothing in God's law for Adam that he should die on the tree. There was nothing in God's law, therefore, that required that Jesus must die on the tree, that He must be crucified, that is, in the original law given to Adam; no reason why Jesus must have died such a sacrificial death as that of crucifixion; but it was necessary for the Jew, because that was the curse, the highest culmination of the Jewish law, the special weight and force of the curse, the very extreme of the curse, as the law said, "Cursed is he that dieth and hangeth on a tree." Therefore, says St. Paul, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."
ANSWER—A conqueror is one who finally triumphs. The Great Company class will all be conquerors, and in the Millennial Age all of mankind will also be conquerors, except those who will die the second death. No one will get from the Lord the blessing of eternal life unless he becomes a conqueror, an overcomer. To be more than a conqueror is to do something more, something greater, than to enter eternal life by the skin of the teeth. A more than conqueror does something special. For instance, the Lord Jesus not merely kept the law, but additionally he laid down his life, sacrificially. So he was more than a mere conqueror. So also it will be with all of those who will be footstep followers of the Lord Jesus. If faithful unto death in the sense of sacrificing the rights of the present time, yielding up our human preferences and all such things, we, like our Master, are more than conquerors. This course of self-denial and self-sacrifice in harmony with the Master's example is much more than merely refraining from sinful things. All such will share his glory with him, as members of his Body. "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." (Rom. 5:20.) Is God's grace the merit of our Lord Jesus imputed proportionately, or is it God's patience, forgiveness, instructions, testings and chastisements? Does it require the whole, or only a proportionate part of the merit to justify tentatively any individual coming to God through our Lord Jesus? We often complicate subjects in our minds by a great amount of reasoning. The more simple we can keep our mental processes the better. Sin abounds everywhere, in one sense of the word, in the entire human family. But the [Page Q139] apostle's thought seems to be that while sin has abounded in every member of the race, it abounds more in some members of the human family than in others. In imputing justifying merit to the Church, if God were to give the same amount of grace to each individual, some would have more than was needed, while others would not have a sufficiency. Hence we have the statement, "Where sin abounded, there grace did so much more abound," implying that God supplies His grace in Christ to each needy penitent in proportion to his needs. If there was more sin, then there was also more grace; if there was more depravity, there was likewise more grace to cover. In other words, God's grace through Christ is not evenly distributed in the sense of giving so much to each individual, but is imputed to each according to necessity. Now the second question: "Does it require the whole or only a proportionate part of Christ's merit to justify tentatively any individual coming to God through our Lord Jesus?" The merit of Christ does not justify tentatively at all. What we term tentative justification is that measure of divine favor which goes to man by God's arrangement before he comes into touch with the grace of the Lord Jesus at all. When he begins to see that he is a sinner, and to turn from sin to seek God and to seek righteousness, he is taking what we might term a tentatively justified course. He is approachingthat condition which God has arranged may be his to enjoy. But he has not reached it yet. He has no blessings except those coming to him because he has taken the right course in turning toward that which God approves. He is more pleasing to God in the sense that he is heading toward righteousness. When he believes in God, and seeks to please Him, he has a measure of peace as a result. But he has not come into the family of God, and his sins are not forgiven. The blessing he enjoys has come to him from taking the course of faith and obedience to the Law of righteousness—much or little. This is pictured in the Tabernacle. The individual coming into the Court is not justified, but is approaching the justified condition. He sees the altar, and has a blessing through the realization that Christ died for our sins. He is not justified yet, but merely sees the divine provision. He says, "I believe it," and has a corresponding blessing. The next step is one of cleansing by washing at the laver. That signifies the putting away of the filth of the flesh, or striving to do so. It does not mean that he is now justified. If a person has been living an immoral life, and tries to put away those sins and live properly, he is getting nearer to God, and he will be bringing himself more peace of mind. If he has the right disposition he will continue on, otherwise he will turn back. But if he goes on he will come to the door of the Tabernacle. He can go no further by any power of his own. He is represented here by the Lord's goat, tethered, or tied, at the door of the Tabernacle. He has been approaching as a believer; he has cleansed himself from outward sins; and as he now sees the privilege of sacrifice, he ties himself at the door. This means that he devoted, or consecrates, himself to the Lord. He gives up his own will. But still he is not justified. He is merely seeking justification. He has been taking the right course, however, which we call "tentative justification," because he is on the way, [Page Q140] and getting more of the experiences necessary to bring him to actual justification. He cannot justify himself. He can only tie himself at the door. What will justify him? Here the priest accepts him, but even this does not justify him. "It is God that justifieth." The high priest comes and imputes his merit, and then divine acceptance is indicated by the begetting of the Holy Spirit. The priest accepts the sacrifice with the purpose of carrying out the sacrifice the goat agreed to in tying himself at the door; namely, the surrender of the present life, in exchange for the higher one—the spiritual. When in the type the high priest killed the goat, that represented the acceptance of the sacrifice. It represented that the high priest imputed his merit to the goat, and that it is, therefore, justified, sanctified and fully accepted by God. Now the last part of the question: "Does it require the whole or only a proportionate part of Christ's merit to justify? It requires the whole of the merit of Christ to justify one single human being. Jesus could not divide up his life amongst twenty thousand millions of people, and give a little scrap of his sacrificial merit to each individual. The thought is that Jesus has a sufficiency of sacrificial merit to justify the one man who sinned, Adam, and since the whole race have become sinners through the one man, the giving up of life by the Lord Jesus has provided a sufficiency of merit to justify the one original sinner, and all born in sin and condemnation through the disobedience of Adam. It is all one transaction. That transaction has not yet been completed; but it will be completed in the end of this age. As soon as that has been done the whole world will be turned over to Jesus, and he will become lord of lords. Up to the present time he has merely laid down his life; he has merely put it into the hands of his Father. Nothing more is needed. It is sufficient for the one sinner and for all his race dying for his sin. The merit already in the hands of Justice has not yet been appropriated in a legal way. It will be thus legally applied in the sealing of the new covenant with its full provision whereby all men may be rescued from Adamic sin and death. What do we mean by the imputation of Christ's merit? The Church does not need restitution, because in coming to the Lord we agreed to give up our earthly rights that we may have a share with Jesus in the spiritual blessings that God has made possible to us through His Son. If we have his spirit, if we devote ourselves to doing the Father's will even at the cost of our lives, as he devoted himself, then the Father will be pleased to give to us the divine nature, even as He gave it to Jesus. (2 Peter 1:4.) Because we by nature are sinners who desire to walk in our Redeemer's footprints, and to sacrifice our earthly interests in doing the Father's will, we are unacceptable. Only that which is perfect can come to God's altar. The Father could not justly deal with us as He dealt with Jesus, because we are sinners under the sentence of death. What arrangement has God made for us? We each have more or less of physical strength, more or less of physical life, more or less of talent or ability, more or less of money, and perhaps some other things. These are our all—all we have to devote, or offer, to the Lord. We have no right to everlasting life— [Page Q141] merely a little unexpired scrap of life received from Father Adam. We offer to God our little scrap of life and talent, because informed that God has provided for our acceptance through Jesus' sacrifice. Jesus Christ the Righteous offers himself as our advocate. He was the one who had right to life, but sacrificially laid it down for mankind. He is by that sacrifice to be empowered to give life everlasting to the world by and by. But if we renounce our interest in the world's restitution provision, what will He do for us? He will enable us to present our bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to the Father. (Rom. 12:1.) Whether or not we understand we may accept the fact. It is our privilege to understand the philosophy of this matter now better that some of our forefathers could, because it is God's due time for "the wise to understand." The Bible tells us that since we desire that our bodies be devoted to death, we merely give our consent that what we have shall be sacrificed. Jesus, the one who would have given us life in the future age, with all the world, says, "If you are willing to give what you have, I will appropriate on your behalf that which I would have given you in restitution times, so making your sacrifice acceptable to the Father." Jesus imputes to us now what he otherwise would have given us by and by. He does not impute the same amount of righteousness to each, because some require more, while others require less. Whatever we lack of perfection will be what he will impute to us now, instead of giving it to us by and by in restitution times. It is not an imputation of the kind implied in the question, a little today, a little tomorrow, and so on. The imputing was all done at once before we could be accepted by the Father. Some one inquires: "Should we not need less and less of the Savior's merit to be imputed as we grow in grace daily?" No! Such a question shows a wrong conception of the subject. There is no imputing after the first imputation, which makes us acceptable sacrifices. The new creature does not need any imputation of merit; for the new creature is sinless. It was the old creature that needed imputation, in order that God could accept the sacrifice and beget us as new creatures. The moment we became new creatures the old things passed away and all things became new. The old creature was counted dead from that moment, and is not to be recognized by us; nor does the Father recognize it. We are non-existent as old creatures. The new creature needs no justification because it does not sin. Is the new creature perfect at the time of its spirit-begetting? No! It will not be perfected until after its resurrection "change." But although imperfect it is holy. To sin is to do something wrong intentionally, wilfully. Ignorance is not sin. Weakness of our consecrated flesh is not sin on the part of the new creature. "He that is begotten of God sinneth not." The new creature is young and undeveloped, but, begotten of the Holy Spirit, he will want to grow in grace and knowledge, and in all of the fruits of the Holy Spirit; he will want to follow the teachings and example of his great Lord and Head, and to become more like the Heavenly Father. God has arranged that all things shall work together for good to all whom He begets as new [Page Q142] creatures. God will bless their every trial and experience. Even the slips they may make, in blindness or weakness, or what not, of their sacrificed flesh He is willing to bless so that they may learn lessons therefrom and become stronger thereby. If the new creature is entrapped, or ensnared, through weakness of the flesh, he should go at once to the throne of heavenly grace and get right with God. He will thus show that he loves righteousness, and that he does not love sin. He will seek to profit by the experience, and will endeavor to keep as far as possible from further similar failures. Nothing less than this would be in harmony with the covenant we have made. Will the Lord forgive the repented of trespass or sin, and upon what basis? We answer, that so far as the sin would be merely weakness of the flesh, or some matter in which the new creature was helpless, God would consider this as being due to the flesh and would not hold it against the penitent new creature. He would expect you to learn the lesson from it, but it would not be charged to you as a new creature. It would be needful for you to go to the Father and the Lord Jesus and ask forgiveness for the weakness of your flesh. You should seek grace to avoid a repetition of the offense. The forgiveness would be granted upon the basis of the original imputation. That covers your sins as long as you have flesh. Nevertheless your flesh may be given "stripes" for its correction in righteousness. What if there be a measure of wilfulness in our sins? In proportion as there would be a mixture of wilfulness it would he sinful. No matter how small the degree of our consent to sin, we would be to that extent in harmony with the enemy. We have enlisted on the side of the Lord, and if we show any sympathy toward unrighteousness or sin it implies a wrong condition. The Lord would be offended at that new creature. Has he sinned? No, not in the scriptural sense of committing full, wilful sin—he has trespassed. If we sin wilfully it would mean the death of the new mind—the new creature would no longer exist. The old creature, come to life, would be subject to the second death. If the new creature shows the Lord that he is not in sympathy with the sin, there is forgiveness provided. The Lord accepts his intentions, and will not take from him His Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, he would receive chastisements in his flesh. Would the merit of Jesus be involved in the forgiving of the new creature's trespass? No! Jesus has nothing to do with atoning for sin' on the part of new creatures. His atonement sacrifice was for the sin of Adam and his race, and not for new creatures. If the new creature fails to be faithful to the Lord he must receive chastisements in the flesh, in order that he may be helped to make straight paths for his feet. There is no atonement for new creatures.
Q142:1 QUESTION (1909)—1—We that have consecrated our ALL to the Lord, and have none to provide for but ourselves, would it be improper to make provision for ourselves for the last two or three years of this dispensation, or should we sacrifice every dollar, as fast as we come into possession of it, in the interests of the Lord, the brethren, and the truth? [Page Q143]
ANSWER—Well, now, I think circumstances might differ. It would seem to me that to sacrifice every dollar would not be wise and would not be the Lord's will. The Apostle speaks of some as laying by that they might have to give to them that are in necessity. Now I think that would apply to yourself, to have something laid by so that you would not have to go out and beg, and that you might have something to give to your neighbor if his child died, etc., that you might be in place to render aid to others. I do not know that I have caught the thought of the one who asked the question, but I might mention another matter that I have been inquired of respecting. Some have said, Brother Russell, I have some money and I would like to give it in the Lord's work, but I might need it. Have you any way or arrangement at the Bible House or Tabernacle that means could be so used? Answering, I have said, Yes, we have made an arrangement with several of the friends like this: If they have some money that they are not sure but they may need it and they wish to put it in the work, we will give them a receipt which states that if at a later date they should need any or all of it, we would refund it to them. You will not understand that I am asking for money, but merely answering a question.
Q143:1 QUESTION (1909)—1—(Matt. 5:23,24), "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar and there remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Does this mean that debts of money must all be paid before consecration?
ANSWER—No, I would not understand that to be the meaning of it. If you are owing a neighbor something, if you borrowed it, or had credit from him, something that was a bargain, and you did not deceive him, he was taking his chances when he gave that credit or made the loan. I am not encouraging any of you to get credit, but I am reminding you of the Scripture, "Owe no man." I would rather live on potatoes and salt than go into debt. If you have some money at home or in the bank and merely needed something for temporary needs, that would not be borrowing, but merely an accommodation, and you would return the money as soon as you could get to your bank-book. But to go into debt, I would advise that all the Lord's people avoid it. But if you were in debt contrary to your will, it would not mean that you could not come to the Heavenly Father because you owed someone some money. In coming to God's throne you might have to make apologies for being in debt, and might have to promise that you would try to learn a good lesson from the experience, but I do not understand that the Lord would be hindering us from coming to His throne for grace, and if by His providences we were blessed with health and opportunities we would work and pay off the debts. But I have some friends that seem to be lacking in their makeup and go into debt with the brethren or their neighbors, and seemingly forget all the responsibility of the debt and thus bring disgrace and dishonor to the Lord's cause and to the name Christian. I feel, dear friends, that that [Page Q144]kind of conduct cannot be too severely reprimanded. I have spoken to a number of them, some of whom get a pretty fair salary, but they make no efforts to pay their debts, and I fear the Lord will chastise them or they will lose out. I fear that it is a dangerous condition to be in. I know a man who owed a considerable amount of money, and the Lord allowed him to earn a hundred dollars a month, but he did not see his way clear to save money out to pay his debts. I thought something was wrong with him, but I was not his judge, but I must apply the case to myself and suggest it to you. "How hardly shall they get into the kingdom." God loves justice, righteousness and proper dealings with our neighbors, and if you do not like to deal justly with your neighbor, I fear that you have not come up to the mark of perfect love or justice. Let us learn the necessary lesson, and if you are unfortunate enough to get into debt, let us do all in our power to pay it off. I think that brother, when he got one hundred dollars a month, ought, if possible, to have laid aside fifty, forty or twenty dollars a month to pay off those debts. It would have been to his advantage, and I believe it would have pleased the Lord, and if he had been reverent to the Lord, the reverence of the Lord would have led him to do it.
ANSWER—I would think it would be the duty for every parent to provide for his own. As, for instance, suppose you had half a dozen children and some of them were small, you would have a duty toward them as a parent. You elected to bring them into the world and you would have some responsibility toward them, especially that portion of their lives in which they are not able to provide for themselves, and if I were father of any children I would feel that it would be right to give them some share in the property that I had accumulated, of which I was a caretaker. Even if I felt sure that it would have no value after ten years I would feel that it was right to put aside a certain portion. I would not treat them from the same standpoint with which I would govern myself, but would treat them from their own standpoint. I do not understand, however, that this is all that is in the question. If a father has much money is he to consider that it belongs to his children and divide it among them? That is a different question. Providing for those who are not able to provide for themselves is one thing, and giving away money that we have is another thing. We are to give an account to God and not to our children. These are two different propositions. God has made you responsible for your children while they need care, and He requires that you make some provision for them.
Q144:2 QUESTION (1909)—2—If the consecrated attend the Fair for the purpose of satisfying their love for the beautiful, is it wasting consecrated time and money? If not, give scriptural references from or patterns, Christ and the Apostles.
ANSWER—I am not aware that Christ and the Apostles [Page Q145] ever went to the Fair. There is no record in the New Testament that they ever attended one in Seattle, so the brother has given me a question I cannot answer. I can only give an opinion on the subject, based on the conduct of our Lord and the Apostles, and the instructions they laid down for us With our Lord and the Apostles, I think we may safely conclude that duty and the service of the Lord and the Truth took precedence above everything else. If, therefore, you could not attend the Fair without violating some duty or obligation, or opportunity to serve the truth, I think you would be dissatisfied if you went there. On the other hand, we find that our Lord did have a love for the beautiful, and while He did not go to the Fair to see the lilies grow, He did see them grow and took a lesson from them, saying: "Behold the lilies," etc. So along spiritual lines, I think the Lord wants us to be hungry and thirsty for His Word. Applying these principles to ourselves, I would suppose that any of us might go to the Fair either to advantage, or to disadvantage. You can see some good or bad and draw either good or bad lessons from nearly everything that you see or do. If you see that there is something there of value that you can make use of, then I think you would be wisely making use of your time or money, just the same as you would spend money and time to get information from schooling. To those who are rightly disposed there are some valuable lessons to be obtained from Fairs, not that I have seen this Fair, but I have seen other Fairs, and have gotten lessons which led me to see how our Lord is getting ready for the great Millennial epoch, looking at the wonderful advances in the last few years, and seeing that all of these are coming forth for us. If our hearts are in the proper tune, we could get a blessing. Or, you could spend your time and money in looking at a monkey, or some human being trying to look and act like a monkey—then you would receive an injury instead of a blessing and be seriously disadvantaged. He has not made me responsible for you, nor you for me, but each should seek to glorify the Father the best he can.
ANSWER—I answer, Yes. To our understanding God had a general call open until a certain period of time, all through the Gospel Age, and as long as that call was open, anybody might make the consecration and God would accept him; but when that call ceased, then matters would be different from that time, then consecration would not necessarily mean that the Lord would accept him. He might and He might not accept his consecration. How would that be? Our thought is that in 1881 the full number of the Lord's choice had been reached, and therefore the call ceased. Just the same as if we had a feast here and places at the table for a certain number of people. Boy, go out and ring the bell and say: Anybody come in until the seats are filled. When the seats were filled then no more would come in. Suppose that some who are here feel like taking off the wedding garment, as in one of the parables, or should say, I do not think I will [Page Q146]partake of the feast, but will take some exercise, and should go out. The boy at the door might be informed that whenever one goes out he could let in one who is in waiting. That is the thought we have in respect to the present time, since 1881. Remember, that the elect class is a Little Flock, and remember also that there is a Great Company also with them. The Little Flock go on and gladly and willingly fulfill the terms of their consecration, while the Great Company class, hold back. They do not develop the spirit of Christ to the extent of being willing sacrifices in the service of God and the truth. By the way, I remind you of the fact that in 1881, just following the time when Moody, Sankey, Whittle and Bliss had been doing a wonderful work in America and England, stirring up the consecrated people of the world they were talking good, sound sense about consecration, the Lord's Second Coming, etc. I wondered then, but could not understand the reason. By way of interjection I heard incidentally that while Mr. Moody was near his dying hour, he expressed the thought that he had a great deal of faith in the things written in that book called "Millennial Dawn." I was pleased to hear it and glad that it made his dying hour happy. I also heard of another man, Bishop McCabe, formerly known as Chaplain McCabe, and said to have been a very noble Christian man. I heard through apparently good sources that he made a similar statement to that of Mr. Moody. I know the books were called to his attention by a friend. But in both cases it evidently was not published in the papers, and those who did not publish it evidently thought they were doing God a service by keeping it out. Now, as I said, in 1881 Messrs. Moody, Sankey, Whittle and Bliss had been stirring up the whole civilized world on the subject of consecration, and apparently a large number made consecration to the Lord. Just suppose at that time, for sake of illustration, that there were forty thousand consecrated people. You say, That is a very small number. Well, dear friends, the more I think of the matter the more I wonder where the Lord is going to find the number. I used to think of how small the number is, 144,000, but of late I have been wondering how it will be possible to find the required number. Suppose there were forty thousand living at the time the call ceased in 1881. These would have been given a certain length of time to prove whether they would have the Lord's way or not, whether faithful to their covenant of sacrifice. The majority of that forty thousand would not make willing sacrifices, only a Little Flock. And as with that forty thousand, so with all in the past. What proportion of the forty thousand would prove faithful? Well, for sake of illustration, let us make it liberal and say, ten thousand. Let them represent the Little Flock and the thirty thousand the Great Company. What would that mean? It would mean that as they came to the point of testing and trial, it would leave that number of places to be filled. All who are not of the elect class, copies of God's dear Son, their places would be made vacant. The Lord would not make another call, but merely let others come in to take their places. [Page Q147] Question, If it was down to a place where there was only one place to be filled, which one would get it? I suppose it would be the one in whose heart God saw the most of the Character likeness of Christ. My thought is that it is not a matter between two, but that there are from twenty to thirty thousand places to be filled, and the Lord seems to be opening the doors and hearts to many more than in the past, for now the knowledge of the truth is being spread abroad more than in the past and those who are coming in give evidence of being as loyal to the Lord as those who came in some time ago. So, if some of us came in some time ago and have the evidence of our acceptance by Him, thank God, take heed that no man take thy crown, watch, for you might lose it. The fact that you were in proves nothing, for you might be cast out, which will be done, if you do not develop and continue to be consecrated to the Lord. Let us do with our might what our hands find to do, and apply the truth to our own hearts and lives.
ANSWER—It is always proper for a man to consecrate. All during the Jewish and Gospel ages it has been in order for people to consecrate. Take Abraham as an illustration. No prize of the High Calling was offered to those who consecrated in the Jewish age, but God will give them their suitable reward. If the Little Flock was complete, I would say, give your all to the Lord and do the best you can to be a saint of the Lord and to have His good mercy fulfilled in you, regardless of the reward or prize. You have a reasonable service to do, even the laying down of your lives. Be assured that He who called you will give you a suitable reward. What would you think of a great King, would he give you a mean reward? No, but according to His riches and the standing of His Kingdom.
Q147:2 QUESTION (1909)—2—As consecrated children of God is it proper for us, with the light we have, to take advantage of those who are in the darkness; for instance, mortgaging property and having the mortgage come due when the property will have no value, or borrowing money and paying interest until is worthless?
ANSWER—My answer is that each one must follow his own conscience and the degree of light he has on a subject of this kind. It is a question very much like the one the Apostle had, regarding the eating of meat which had been offered to idols. If he thought that the offering of the meat to idols had done it harm, etc., he would not eat it. So the person who would think it wrong, to him it would be wrong. To my understanding he would be doing no wrong, merely acting upon his faith, and the other people acting upon their faith. The man would do just the same if you told him all that you know, and would laugh up his sleeve, and probably beat down the price. You do not know it, you merely believe it is so. Measure your own conduct by your own faith, and as to that faith, have it to yourself. [Page Q148]
Q148:1 QUESTION (1909)—1—What should be our attitude toward those who seem to be in harmony with all the doctrinal points of the Truth, yet continue to fellowship with those who no longer meet with the class on account of the Vow, Covenants, etc., and acknowledge that they are in sympathy with those who oppose the Truth?
ANSWER—I would think our attitude toward them should be that as outlined by the Apostle Paul in Romans 16:17: " Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which we have learned; and avoid them." Meaning that we should not treat them with the same hearty fellowship that we would if they were showing a different spirit. It would not be right to show them any angry spirit, or do them any wrong, or speak any evil about anybody, but that a proper attitude, in their interest, as well as for our own interest, and the interest of others could be shown by not sympathizing with their attitude. Avoid them and prefer the company of those who are in the spirit and fellowship of the truth. Since the word "Vow" is mentioned in this question, I would say that in my opinion it would not be right and proper to make a discrimination against anybody in fellowship because he or she had not taken the vow—the vow is not a law; it is a privilege. If we take a vow and get a blessing from it, thank God. If they fail to do so and lose the blessing, then they are the ones that suffer from it. I would think there might be a little difference if it were an elder or a teacher in the church. An elder or one who is looked up to as a leader in any class might reasonably be expected to take the vow, or tell why he did not take it; otherwise the class would have reason to think that such a leader had something in his life or conduct which conflicted with the vow. My thought would be that any elder or brother who had anything in his mind or conduct in conflict with the vow would not be a suitable representative of the class. For my part I cannot see what any reasonably minded brother could have against the vow. We admit that it is not a binding obligation, but we expect a great deal of those who are elders and we are justified in finding in them a great deal of exemplary conduct. One who stands as the leader or representative of a class ought to be, as the Apostle said, above the average, and I cannot see what one who is above the average could find to object to in the vow. If anyone can find anything, I would like to have him show it to me.
ANSWER—My answer, dear friends, is, that the calling of God belongs to this age, and it is our understanding, as already published, that the calling time has ceased. Nobody is being called, because a sufficient number have already responded, is the thought that we have. That is, that a sufficient number had responded in 1881. You remember the evidence we set forth in the second and third volumes of Scripture Studies. Our thought is, the Lord represents that as one would go out, or would fail to be accounted worthy [Page Q149] of a place as one of the priests, and take his position as one of the Levites, of the Great Company, that someone else would be allowed to take his place—as the Scripture suggests, "Take heed, let no man take thy crown." These consecrated ones who had crowns assigned to them, if they are not faithful, so they will receive the crown, will lose it, and somebody else who had no special calling, somebody who is hungering and thirsting, consecrated, and waiting, will be ready to receive it. So, then, our answer to the question in brief would be, If you want to consecrate to the Lord, do not stop to inquire—if you have a right spirit about the matter you will not stop to inquire how much you are going to get; if you have the right spirit in the matter, you will want to give your heart to the Lord and give him all you have, and wish you had ten times as much as you have to give, irrespective of what you are to get. If you are only to get earthly life, you will want to consecrate yourself. Any other spirit would be a wrong spirit. So make your consecration and leave it to the Lord what reward he is going to give you. Like a great man would do on the earth, much more so the great God will do on the spiritual plane. If you were dealing with a king and you did him a small service, you would not expect he would give you a penny; if he would give you anything he would be likely to give you a dollar, if he were a rich king. So with our heavenly Father, whenever he gives any rewards, you may be sure they are exceedingly abundant more than you could ever ask or think, according to the riches of his grace.
ANSWER—My thought is, dear friends, that if they were immersed without understanding consecration, then their immersion was a mere bath—that it did not either hurt or help them a bit. Whoever does not understand consecration does not understand baptism. The consecration vow we have is first, and that is the real baptism. The symbol in water, to be a symbol at all, must follow—could not go before it.
Q149:2 QUESTION (1910-Z)—2—Please explain the following text:"Go and sell all that thou hast, and come and take up thy cross and follow me, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven." Should we go and do as the Master advised?
ANSWER—If that young man had assented to our Lord's proposition, and had made further inquiry as to the particulars, it is our opinion that the Lord would have modified his statement to the extent of suggesting that the selling and giving to the poor be not done all at once, but gradually, as the necessities might seem to open up. In the language of the Apostle, "Let your moderation be manifest to all." We are to use earthly things and earthly opportunities and temporalities with great moderation, self-denial, as the case may seem to make necessary. We are to have bowels of mercy, compassion, sympathy, love. Did not our Lord allow Mary to anoint his head and also his feet and were not these caresses and manifestations [Page Q150] of love of an earthly sort? There are various items to intimate the Lord's special love for Lazarus, Martha, and Mary, James and John, and for his mother. And this would seem to give us ground for a similar course. But as Jesus did not allow those earthly loves to hinder him from the Father's service, so we, also, must be on the alert about the Father's business.
ANSWER—No, we do not so understand the matter. The chapter in Scripture Studies, Vol. 2, showing the parallels between the Jewish and Christian Dispensations makes prominent four dates, viz., (1) October, 1874; (2) April, 1878; (3) October, 1881, and (4) October, 1914; these dates being parallel to four in the Jewish harvest, viz., (1) The beginning of our Lord's ministry; the beginning of the trial or harvest time of the Jewish nation, October, 29; (2) The end of our Lord's ministry, His crucifixion, and the rejection of the Jewish nation as a nation, April, 33 (See Scripture Studies, Vol.2, chapter 7); (3) The close of the "seventy weeks" (Dan. 9:24-27) of favor upon the Jewish nation—October, 36—after which the Gospel privileges were open to the Gentiles, Cornelius being the first convert; (4) The full end of trouble and destruction which came upon Israel's polity, October, 69. It should be clearly noticed that the parallels between the Jewish and Gospel Ages all belong to the nominal systems then and now, and if this is borne in mind, it will prevent our applying these parallels either to the gathering out of the Gospel Church or to the gathering of the Lord's people out of Babylon now. Noting these parallels, we find 1874 as the beginning of this "harvest" and the gathering together of the "elect" from the four winds of heaven; 1878 as the time when Babylon was formally rejected, Laodicea spewed out—the time from which it is stated, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen"—fallen from Divine favor. The parallel in 1881 would seem to indicate that certain favors were still continued to those in Babylon up to that date, notwithstanding the rejection of the system; and since that date we would understand that that relationship has been in no sense an advantageous one, but has been in many senses of the word a distinct disadvantage, from which only with difficulty could any free themselves, the Lord's grace and truth assisting. And in harmony with this parallelism, October, 1914, will witness the full end of Babylon, "as a great millstone cast into the sea," utterly destroyed as a system. Coming back: We concede it reasonable to infer that the close of the favors upon fleshly Israel represent the close of the special favor of this Gospel Age, viz., the invitation to the High Calling; accordingly, our understanding is that the open' or general "call" of this Age to Kingdom honors ceased in October, 1881. However, as already shown in Scripture Studies, we make a distinction between the end of the "call" and the closing of the "door;" and believe that the door into the Kingdom class is not yet closed; that it stands ajar for a time, to permit those who had already accepted [Page Q151] the "call" and who fail to use its privileges and opportunities in self-sacrifice to be thrust out, and to permit others to enter to take their crowns, in harmony with (Rev. 3:11). The present time, therefore, from 1881 until the door of opportunity for sacrifice in the Lord's service shall fully close, is a period of " sifting" as respects all who are already in Divine favor, in covenant relationship with God And since those who have gone into the "Feast" through the "door" represent all who are called (except those who have afterward been rejected and expelled), it follows that the places of those thus expelled must be taken by some who were not previously amongst the called, amongst the consecrated. This, we trust, makes plain the answer to your question, proving that some not previously consecrated will, in the eleventh hour, be admitted to the vineyard labors and to the rewards of the faithful, after the open call ceased, and before the "door" closes. Indeed, we are to distinctly remember that in speaking of the gathering to take place during this harvest time, our Lord mentions amongst others those who have been in the field (in the world), apparently referring to a class who previously had been neither justified nor sanctified through the Truth. See Scripture Studies, Vol. 3, chap. 6.
ANSWER—We believe that there is still room. That is to say that the full number of the elect has not yet been found, and tested, etc., and therefore our expectation would be that anyone making a full, thorough consecration of himself to the Lord would still be begotten of the Holy Spirit. But if the question be in the form in which it is here stated, "Could one be consecrated and not be begotten of the Holy Spirit?" we would say, "Yes, he could be consecrated so far as his part is concerned." Your consecration and my consecration, our part, is merely to present ourselves to God. It is for God then to say whether he accepts that consecration. During this time, this gospel age, the Scriptures speak of this as the acceptable day, the acceptable year, the acceptable time of the Lord, and we believe that he is ready and willing to accept all of those who come unto the Father through Christ, and that all such are accepted, and if they are accepted as members of the Body of Christ they will be begotten of the Holy Spirit. But as we have said before, so we say again, we believe that in the not distant future there will be people who will make a consecration, who will make a presentation of themselves to God, and for whom there will be no place left, because, as the parable shows, the wise virgin class will all have entered into the marriage and the door will be shut, and then there will be no one else enter in, because that class, when completed, will have no additions. Those who would then present themselves would not be begotten of the Holy Spirit. But this would not mean that God would be displeased with the offer of themselves; rather God would be very pleased to have them offer themselves—just as God was undoubtedly pleased with Abraham, with Isaac, with Jacob, and all the prophets who offered themselves freely to know and to do the divine will to the extent God was willing to receive them. They got [Page Q152] a great blessing. So we should advocate, with every person with whom we have an influence, that the proper course, the proper duty for every human being, the reasonable service would be to present their bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God. He will not spurn the sacrifice, but whether he will beget you to the Holy Spirit depends on whether your sacrifice is offered in time, before the door is shut, before the last member of the elect has been gathered in.
ANSWER—No, there will be no begetting of the Spirit that we know of after the high calling is closed; and if there is no begetting of the Spirit then, there will be no birth of the spirit. The only thought we have in connection with that is what we expressed a moment ago, namely; that some might be accepted as of the Ancient Worthy class if they laid down their lives in loyalty to the Lord in that time of trouble, and then when the ancient worthy class may possibly have the spirit nature given to them at the end of the millennium, such being of that class might have the opportunity to obtain the spirit nature.
ANSWER—Our thought is that it is part of the divine plan to give the ancient worthies a change of nature in the end of the millennial age, as a reward for their faithfulness, and their service during the millennial age—that quite likely they will receive the spirit nature at the end of the millennial age. This is partly conjectural and partly built upon certain texts of Scripture which we have already considered in the Watch Tower and which we need not therefore enter into here.
ANSWER—We would presume that if they were faithful, as the prophets of old were faithful, to the extent of laying down their lives in the service of righteousness and truth, that God would give them a share some way with the ancient worthies. In other words, that if such should pass into the time of trouble to a considerable degree, and there lose their lives because of faithfulness to the Lord, that he would do just the same for them that he will do for the ancient worthies—they will be counted in with the ancient worthy class.
Q152:4 QUESTION (1911)—4—If any brother or sister after coming into present truth, and making a full consecration to the Lord, and following him for some time, and then lose their temper and do things they are afterwards sorry for, do they hereby risk losing their crown? [Page Q153]
ANSWER—We are not to understand that the Lord is judging us by some little act like losing the temper. The losing of the temper one time might have a comparatively small effect; its real value is in the bearing it has on some other time, and the development of a wrong character. Whoever has an impatient disposition is in the wrong attitude. A great many might be liable to lose their temper, because they might have naturally a weakness along the line of patience, and it would be their duty to strive against such impatience; but we are not to think that one act of impatience will necessarily lose us the crown. The Lord is not wanting to see if he can find something against us; he is rather wishing us to make our calling and election sure. So then a slip of some kind would be something we would be very sorry for, and something we should take to the Lord in prayer, and something we should consider as a kind of spot or wrinkle on our wedding robe, but that would not mean that we had taken off the robe. And all of those who wear the robe are covered by its perfection, and if a spot come on the robe, then it is the duty of such a one to take it to the Lord in prayer, and ask for forgiveness, and make good to the one injured if anyone has been injured, making right so far as possible any wrong that has been done. If any one's feelings ever have been hurt, see that they are assuaged,—so that acknowledgment is made of the wrong to whoever it is properly due. Then realizing the forgiveness of the Lord and of the brother we might forgive ourselves in the sense that we will not hold it against ourselves perpetually, but we will see the lesson and let the facts go by. Indeed I think many Christians can say that some of their best lessons in the Christian way have been through their own failures. When they failed on a point that showed them where they were weak, showed them where they must put in the reinforcement to gain the greater strength. So we find various points of weakness in our character, of patience or anything of the kind, an evil speaking tongue, or anything that would be contrary to the direction of his Word, we should build up that part of our character, but should not necessarily feel that it had lost us our crown. If so there would be very few of us who would ever be able to say that we had any right to a crown after a little while. Who is there in all the church of Christ, except the great head himself, that could say that he was perfect in thought and word and deed, from the time he became a follower of the Lord? No one. If we were able to do that, we really would not need any robe at all; if we could walk perfectly we would need no covering; if we were perfect we would not need any Redeemer. It is because of our imperfection that we need a Redeemer. This does not mean that we have any sympathy with sin or weaknesses, but striving against these we will do all we can to overcome them; and some can overcome very much easier than others. I know of some perhaps who have really a difficulty the other way. They are too little inclined to be impatient; they put up with everything from themselves and from everybody else; it all goes; they do not have sufficient character. The person who is impatient is more or less a person of good strong character, and he may be impatient for the time being, but he wants to learn how to put on the brakes. [Page Q154]
ANSWER—It certainly would be possible that one might make a full consecration of himself and yet not be begotten of the Holy Spirit. That was the case with Abraham and with others of the worthies before our Lord's time—before Pentecost—and that will be the condition of things after the full selection of the church has been made. But just when, just with whom that will begin, no one living could know. We have no reason to think that we have reached that particular time yet, because we see some who have made a consecration quite recently and have given good evidence of having been begotten of the Spirit, which would imply to us that there is still a shortage, so to speak, in the number of elect—that there is still therefore an opportunity of coming into this class.
ANSWER—My understanding is that we crossed that line in 1881, namely: as we set forth in the Scripture Studies, at that time the call ceased, but the door was not yet shut. That at that time a sufficient number had made their consecration, and if they had all proved faithful, the little flock would have been complete. But there was no prospect that they would all prove faithful, and whatever number of them would prove unfaithful, either to the extreme degree of going into the second death, or to the lesser degree of not showing a sufficiency of zeal, and thus going into the great company class these deflections would leave that many more openings or opportunities for others to come in. Our thought is, that since then quite a good many people of the Lord have come in. A relative question may come in, then, "How may we assure ourselves, to some degree at least, respecting those who now come into harmony with the Lord? What proof of evidence would we have, if any, that they had been accepted of the Lord, and begotten of the Holy Spirit, and would be eligible to the little flock class?" I answer, there might be several evidences or proofs. One would be their manifestation of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, including love of the brethren. Another would be the manifestation of a knowledge of the truth, because the apostle says that no one can understand the deep things of God, except by the spirit of God. Therefore, anybody able to clearly grasp and comprehend the deep things of God becomes to himself and to others a strong influential testimony that he has been begotten of the Spirit, and that he may therefore make his calling and election sure. And another evidence of God's favor would be an opportunity granted to such ones to suffer for Christ's sake, to endure something, to lay down his life in the Lord's service. In other words, the privilege of sacrificing, because sacrifice is to be understood as a great privilege. If we do not suffer with him we will not reign with him, therefore, to have the opportunity, or to enjoy the opportunity, of suffering with Christ, is one of the best evidences we have of our acceptance with God.[Page Q155]
ANSWER—It is my understanding that there are such. It is my understanding that the Scriptures refer to this very class when we read in the eighteenth chapter of Revelation where God is speaking to his people in Babylon, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and receive not of her plagues." They could not be God's people unless they were Spirit-begotten, and they could not come out of her unless they were in her.
Q155:2 QUESTION (1911)—2—I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice. Why in quoting this do you use the plural number, sacrifices, instead of sacrifice?
ANSWER—It would depend. The apostle did not mean, evidently, that the brethren were to present all their bodies as one sacrifice, but each to present his own body, and the construction of the sentence would depend upon which way you wished to use it; whether, "I beseech all ye brethren that you all present your bodies," or "I beseech each of you brethren to present his own body," the same thought would be in it; it would not change anything at all.
ANSWER—I would say, no. Whoever has made his consecration, and then has certain evidences, would he justified in supposing that God accepted him, and that he is in the race, and it was with him to make his calling and election sure. What are some of those evidences? It would seem to me one evidence would be his love of the brethren. The Scriptures put it that way. Another evidence would be his love for God and his Word. Another evidence would be his desire to serve the Lord and the brethren, his desire to serve righteousness; all of these would be evidence or proofs that God had accepted him, and that he had a new mind, a new disposition, that he had received the mind of Christ after he had been begotten of the Holy Spirit. And another evidence would be that such a one might perhaps find opportunities for serving the Lord, and a further evidence would be that he would begin to have a deeper appreciation of the truth, and a better understanding of it. Whoever would have these various evidences, or proofs, I would encourage to think that God had accepted his offering through Christ's merit.
ANSWER—No, we do not so understand the matter. The chapter in Scripture Studies, Vol. II, showing the parallels between the Jewish and Christian Dispensations, makes prominent four dates, viz., (1) October, 1874; (2) April, 1878; (3) October, 1881, and (4) October, 1914; these dates being parallel to four in the Jewish harvest, viz., (1) The beginning of our Lord's ministry; the beginning of the trial or harvest time of the Jewish nation, October, 29; (2) The end of our Lord's ministry, His crucifixion, and the rejection of the Jewish nation as a nation, April, 33 (See Scripture Studies, Vol 2, chapter 7); (3) The close of the "seventy weeks" (Dan. 9:24-26) of favor upon the Jewish nation—October, 36—after which the Gospel privileges were open to the Gentiles, Cornelius being the first convert; (4) The full end of trouble and destruction which came upon Israel's polity, October, 69. It should be clearly noticed that the parallels between the Jewish and Gospel Ages all belong to the nominal systems then and now, and if this is borne in mind, it will prevent our applying these parallels either to the gathering out of the Gospel Church or to the gathering of the Lord's people out of Babylon now. Noting these parallels, we find 1874 as the beginning of this "harvest" and the gathering together of the "elect" from the four winds of heaven; 1878 as the time when Babylon was formally rejected, Laodicea.
ANSWER—These words are properly applicable to two classes. First, they apply to a class termed "brethren," in the sense that they are no longer opponents, but sympathetically in harmony with the consecrated. The Apostle was urging these to complete the work of grace which they had already begun. Secondly, the text applies to those who have made the consecration, and urges them to complete the work. I urge you, brethren, that day by day you attend to this matter of presenting your bodies living sacrifices until the work be accomplished. This, he says, is a reasonable service, acceptable to God. Although St. Paul does not say how the great Advocate will make the sacrifice acceptable, yet this is to be understood by Christians, who know that they are accepted in the Beloved. After that class have given up their lives, after they have put all in the Lord's hands, they understand that they, themselves, as members of the Body of Christ, are to die daily. Hence it is that daily an opportunity comes to us to lay down life in the Lord's service. While this is a dailydying, yet, in another sense of the word, it is a sacrifice to the end of life. Our Lord Jesus said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!" (Luke 12:50.) In one sense, His sacrifice was accepted at Jordan. In another sense it was day by day until that baptism was completed on the cross and He cried, "It is finished!"
ANSWER—It would certainly be possible for one to consecrate, because it will always be proper to consecrate; as it was proper to consecrate long before the Gospel Age began. Abraham and the Prophets made consecration of their lives—they showed that they did. Remember how the Apostle states the matter in the 11th chapter of Hebrews: Some were stoned to death, others sawn asunder, etc. Of whom, he says, the world was not worthy. Their lives were consecrated to God and to righteousness. If proper for them to consecrate, it is still proper for everybody. But, in the second place, Is God bound in any way to accept every consecration? The answer is, No. God is never bound to accept any sacrifice. In a general way, of course, "God is no respecter of persons." His favor was first thrown open to all the Jews, and secondly to all the Gentiles: That all who accept the terms may come into the Christ-body until a sufficient number shall have been found, until the foreordained number have made consecration, and made their calling and election sure. How shall we know when the full number has so consecrated? It is not for us to know! In a general way, we believe that the outward call ceased in 1881. We realize, however, that all who will be accepted as members of the Body of Christ must have trials of faith and loyalty before being assigned a definite place in the Kingdom. Reprobates will constitute the Second Death class. Others may be assigned to the Great Company class. All such would be counted out of membership in the Royal Priesthood. Each one put out as unworthy would leave a vacancy, and release one crown. Such vacancies, we understand, are now being filled after the general Call has ceased—from among those who offer themselves. If there were ten consecrated persons waiting at the time there was only one vacancy left, it would probably be the one most thoroughly developed, and most fully in harmony with the Lord that would be given that one place and the remaining crown. Our thought is that in 1878 there were a great many who had not passed their trial in full; that there were in the nominal churches many thousands who had made full consecration, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. I remember well Evangelist Moody's campaign. At that time a great many seemed to be genuine converts, for his preaching seemed to be very different from that of the majority of evangelists. He preached forgiveness through the blood of Christ, and full consecration to God. Many at that time made a full consecration, had their names tentatively written and filled up the list. But when testings came on, many were found unworthy of a higher reward than that of the Great Company. Others taking the places of the failures also had to be tested and sifted. Vacancies occurred and still others came in to have an opportunity. We see evidences that this had been going on for the last thirty years, and we believe that it is still going on, and that there are some names still being listed and that there are crowns waiting for such. [Page Q158] Our reason is this: We see people who were godless people, who had never made any consecration to God, who have quite recently made a full consecration to God, and received that evidence which seems to indicate that God has accepted them. What evidence? The eyes of their understanding were opened so that they could see the spiritual or deep things of God. And a further evidence is that they are having opportunities to sacrifice. We make a covenant that we will sacrifice, but it is for the Lord to give us the opportunity. We see some of these getting the opportunities and using them, and this implies that when they made their consecration there was a place open and they are filling it. The fact that so many have been thus accepted since 1878 seems to imply quite a considerable vacancy in that list and that it is gradually filling up. It is not for us to say how much of a vacancy remains, nor just when it will be filled. We do surely believe, however, that it will be filled before the close of "the times of the Gentiles"; which we think end with October, 1914. As for others who have not yet consecrated we can say with St. Paul, I beseech you, brethren, present your bodies living sacrifices—do your best, maybe there is an opening and you may get in. We will tell them just what we would have them tell us if we were to change places, namely, to consecrate their time, talent, and all to God. God will give good pay—He always does—whatever the reward it will be a prize.
ANSWER—The brother wants to know what to do about his mind being occupied by reading worldly magazines and newspapers; he has about eight worldly magazines and newspapers. He says his mind wanders on those things. The more you feed your mind with anything in one direction, the more it will wander there. So I would feed it with good spiritual food and have it wander in the right direction. We used to have a cow that we always gave the very best grass in the barn, and the very best place, but she always thought the grass over the fence was better. She would break ropes and everything else in order to get over. So that is the way with our natural dispositions. Whatever is a little piece off from us we are inclined to want. We want to get so fenced off from the world that we will not any longer desire those things, but, as the Apostle says, set our affection on things above and not on things beneath. This word "Set" is one that indicates continual setting. You need to keep setting, set it today, and tomorrow morning set it early, and if it slips off early set it back again; and if it slips off set it back again, and by and by you will be too busy to have time to wander. That is the best advice I could give. You can become overcharged with the affairs of this life by very trifling things, things that are not worthy of your attention at all, but foolishness, if you only give your mind to what another person imagines and made a story about. I will tell you what I think: that we have in the Bible the most wonderful story, the most wonderful drama that was ever known. I don't know much about theaters and novels, but I can imagine how a novel goes; I know they have plots [Page Q159]and schemes, etc. I think I could write a novel, too if I tried, but the point I am making is, the Bible has the most wonderful plot. Think of how it goes away back and shows Eden in all its beauty and grandeur, then the coming in of the serpent and the temptation of our first parents, mother Eve being deceived and father Adam being perplexed, gives his very life for his wife, because he thinks he could never live without her, and deliberately sins against his God's commands. Is there enough there for you? I think so. What about the results? Look what has come into the world as the result of sin. You could not have any deeper plot than to think how the Adversary and the fallen angels have all been conspiring to blind and delude men during all of this entire period. Then think about the picture God gives us of His own love wherewith He loved us, the great Creator looking down from His holy habitation and beholding our condition in sin and degradation, and He hearkened and heard the groaning of the prisoners. What prisoners? The prisoners of sin, bound hand and foot. Some are bound tighter than others, and some have a ball and chain onto their shackles; but all are bound, all are prisoners of sin, all are going down to the prison house of death. Do you want anything more of a novel than that? Then God saw there was no one that could deliver; no one could help man out of his trouble. When this prison-house shuts its doors no iron or steel bars are like the bars of death; once closed on an individual, no power but God's can open those bars and bring those prisoners forth. So then the picture tells us that when God took in the situation, he realized He alone could help. He wished us to see that condition, and then His own eye pitied, His own arm brought the salvation. It has not brought it yet; He has merely stretched forth His arm. We have seen the arm of the Lord. What do you mean by that? Jesus was the arm that the Lord revealed. Has He delivered yet? No, He has redeemed, He has died the just for the unjust, He has made satisfaction to justice so when the proper time comes men can come out from under the curse or sentence of death. But that is not enough for our novel; we want more. What shall we have now? The Father would have a bride for His son. What kind shall she be, and how shall she be called? She has only the filthy rags of sin and imperfection; all she has to commend her is her desire to be in harmony with God. Then the one to be bridegroom provides for her purification and cleansing and justification—providing her with a wedding garment. Is there not a good deal of plot about that? Then what must she do. She must receive this robe of Christ's righteousness which is to be the wedding garment. A marriage is going to take place, and the bride is going to get ready by getting a robe from the bridegroom. Then what shall she do with it? She must embroider it. She gets the robe for nothing and has the stamped pattern given to her. What pattern? Christ is the pattern and she must do the embroidery work herself. She must work out her own salvation with fear and trembling, seeing carefully that every stitch on the robe shall conform to the pattern the Lord has given her. What does the embroidery represent? It represents the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit, and you know unless you have those fruits and graces you will never [Page Q160] be accounted worthy to be a joint-heir in the Kingdom. And what are the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit? Meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love. How long does it take to embroider these? It takes longer with some and shorter with others. Some can get their hearts fixed on this glorious pattern and so appreciate it that it is the great desire of their lives to cultivate these graces of the Holy Spirit. As they go to the Lord the first thing in the morning they say, Lord help me to cultivate the fruits of Thy spirit today. Why? I want to be pleasing to the Bridegroom, and be ready at such time as He comes to claim His Bride, that I may be accounted worthy to enter in as a member of the Bride class. And then all the trials and difficulties the Bridegroom knew the Bride class would be obliged to pass through. He allowed us to be tempted in all points like He was tempted. Why so? Because He wants to have a Bride class who can endure temptation, and endure hardness, show loyalty, and manifest they are not merely so-so Christians, but really overcomers, seeking to know and to do God's will and having that spirit of love for righteousness and truth that would lead them to lay down their lives in the service of the truth and for righteousness rather than to receive the pleasures of sin for a time. He has taken more than 1,800 years for this very purpose. He knew there would not be very many who would love Christ and lay down their lives to be right, if they found it to be policy to do wrong. I am not saying that He wants to do the others any harm, or roast them. No one would want to roast them; that is not the thought; but when He wanted to find a Bride class the Father will approve, He is going to make sure He gets the right kind. Every one of them will be approved of the Father. He shall present them blameless and unreprovable before the Father in love, after they have had all of these trials. Then what will they do after that? Mark you! this is the drama that began away back at the fall of the race, and it has continued down to the betrothal of Christ. Is not the Church married now? No, brother, you do not know whether you will be of the marriage class or not. We are merely the betrothed now. We are engaged to Him and everything is contingent upon our developing the character, upon our wearing this robe, and upon our showing our love and zeal by the embroidering of our robe with the fruits and graces of the spirit as the Lord indicates is pleasing to Him. Then what? Then comes the marriage of the Lamb when the Bride has made herself ready. And what will be the marriage? The marriage will be that union with the Lord. How will it be brought about? By the change from imperfect human nature to Divine nature—changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Then we are to be forever with the Lord. And is there not a supper, or something? Yes, or we might call it a breakfast, if you please. It is in the morning. The word supper comes from the general word, to sup. You may sup in the morning, noon or evening. It means to eat. So this supper is to be the first great banquet that we will have on the other side of the vail. Who ever thought all that drama was in the Bible? It is very wonderful. And what next? Well, before the supper begins they will wait a little while. What for? The Bridesmaids. Who [Page Q161]are they? Oh, there is to be a secondary company. They were part of the church at one time; they made a consecration and were begotten of the Holy Spirit, just the same as the Bride class, but they failed to make their calling and election sure to that high position to which they were invited. They were not sufficiently zealous and loyal. Were they disloyal? Oh, No! No disloyal ones will be given anything at God's hands. By and by they will come up through great tribulation and wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, and be before the throne instead of on the throne. They will have palms of victory instead of crowns of glory. So we read in the Psalm that after Jesus, the King, shall introduce the Bride before the Father, then the virgins, her companions that followed after her, shall also be brought into the presence of the King. Oh, there is a grand drama there in all that Bible picture. Then have we anything more? Yes, the King and Queen are going to reign for a thousand years, and everybody is going to be blessed. In all that empire there will be no attempt to take from the people their rights, and make everything subservient to the King, and the people poor. The very reverse of this. The King will take delight in lifting the people up, refreshing them, and bringing them to perfection. Then by the end of the thousand years, when all the unfit ones are destroyed from amongst the people, all of these grand beings will show forth the praises of God. Is there anything more? Astronomers tell us that all of the stars are suns like our sun, and have planets around them just the same as the planets around our own sun. Are these worlds yet to be inhabited? If God formed not the earth in vain, but made it to be inhabited, do you not think these other worlds should not be made in vain, but they should all be inhabited? We think so. Then who is to do that great work? God says that Christ shall be first in all things, so that will put Him first in that great work. Who will come next in God's arrangement? The Lord says that the church shall be next to Him. Now we have Christ and the church and a great work for them for all eternity in the peopling of all these worlds. Are there many of them? We are told there are about a thousand millions of them. Now if anybody can make a greater drama than that I would like to see it. My heart is rejoicing and overflowing with gratitude to God for the privilege now of having a chance to become an heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ, my Savior. We have all been called in one hope of our calling, and this is the hope of our calling. Is it sufficiently grand for you? Do you know of any other kind of business in which you could become so rich as that? I tell you the Scriptures are indeed right when they tell us about the riches of God's grace, and when Jesus tells us that is the pearl of great price, and if any man once gets his eyes on it, and appreciates the value of that Kingdom, to go and dispose of everything he has in order to win that prize. So let us do, dear friends.
ANSWER—I have been a little perplexed about the Fifth Sunday Conventions. But the rule with me is, When not sure stand still. It is pretty nearly a balance with me whether they are an advantage or a disadvantage, but not being sure I have said nothing about it. I remember that I did publish a letter in the Watch Tower in which the Fifth Sunday Conventions were mentioned. That was understood by some to be an endorsement. I think I would not have published that part of the letter had I noticed it. However, so far as I can see now, my advice would be, Let each class seek wisdom from above on the subject. If they prove profitable spiritually, continue them. If you doubt their profit discontinue them. If I were to give any definite advice, it would be against them, but I am not prepared to give adverse advice, not being sufficiently informed. As to having so many meetings that only a few could attend: I think it would be preferable to have studies that the class would generally attend. Usually Bible Study classes are not too large. Besides the Sunday meetings, I always encourage the friends to have Prayer and Testimony Meeting on Wednesday night. They tell me they are having a great blessing in using the Manna Text for the following Thursday as the central thought for the next meeting. The week's experiences furnish abundant and helpful testimonies the following Wednesday. We are glad to note that the friends are observing these mid-week meetings so generally. As for other meetings. I do not advise the reading of the Scripture Studies in the public meetings. Each should do his reading first at home or on the street car, etc. The class study is a different matter entirely. Of course you could use the questions in your private study and might get much good out of them, but the questions are more helpful when used in the class. Our vessels are so leaky that we can afford to read the Bible over time and again. And the Studies in the Scriptures are merely the Bible in a classified form, a topical arrangement, so to speak. When reading the "Dawns," you are reading the Bible. Those reading the Bible in this way are getting much more knowledge of the Bible. A desultory reading of the Bible does not give as much information as a topical study. Some of the brethren tell me that they have formed a Dawn Study League in their several classes. Each member agrees that if possible he will read so many pages every day. I understand that is working pretty well. You remember that someone suggested that in a letter published in the Watch Tower. It has been taken up by a great many, who are reading the six volumes through in from six to twelve months—reading twenty-four or twelve pages a day respectively. The reading of the series every year keeps the Truth fresh and clear in the memory—and in the heart. This plan, followed by many individuals, will doubtless work well in the Class League.
Q162:1 QUESTION (1908)—1—What should be the attitude of those established in the truth, who have no desire to judge or criticise, when in Berean or other Bible studies they hear from the leader, or someone else, confused expressions which they know to be contrary to the Scriptures, but they are being [Page Q163] received as truth by the babes in Christ? Should they be silent, or should they ask some question to bring out the truth? If the truth causes any to withdraw from association from the class, how should that be regarded by the consecrated?
ANSWER—I answer, dear friends, that there are some unimportant matters,—in one sense of the word no truth is unimportant,—but there are truths that are not as important as others, and which might be let pass by if they were infringed upon a little. The person addressing the class, whether a brother or a sister, or whoever may be speaking, may give expression to his or her view of the truth, and it should be understood by the class as his or her view, and that the one speaking does not claim to be inspired or infallible, but that he is expressing his view of the matter, and it should be understood by the class that each one can express his or her view of the matter. I should say that if I were present in such a case as here suggested, I would hope the class would be in such a condition that I could present the matter in question in a proper way, and I would try not to do it in antagonistic form and say, "Now I disagree with that." There are various ways of putting things. You might say, "Well, brother, might we not take this view of the matter? Is not this a consistent view to take? I will give what I think to be right." And then state your view; he has stated his view and he cannot object to your stating your view, if it is given concisely, and in a kind manner. Then you have done your duty and it is not necessary to have a fight on the subject and determine that one must be laid on the shelf because of a little difference of opinion. As he has had his opportunity to express his understanding of the matter, see that the truth is always represented so far as you are concerned, and especially if it is any important matter; but if it is a matter of tweedle-de-de or tweedle-de-dum, don't pay any attention to it. I think of one brother now, who is a very good hearted brother I am sure, but he has the mistaken idea that if a point be brought up it must be fought out until one or the other dies. That is a mistaken notion, dear friends. All of the friends are to judge in their own minds, and you and I are to be content when we have made our statement of our view, and let other people take whatever they like. Is not that practically what we are doing anyway? You get something in the Watch Tower; you are not bound to believe it, and I will not get angry with you if you do not believe it. That is part of your business. I will go ahead and state in the next Watch Tower what I think again, and you have a right if you choose to write me and state that you do not believe it, and I will say, All right, you do not have to.
ANSWER—Our thought is, dear friends, that each one is accountable for his own conscience in all matters. There is no law laid down in the Bible on this subject, but there is good advice on many subjects, and the general rule is that you and I should do the will of the Lord to the best of our [Page Q164] ability. You and I are not alike, and it is for your conscience to decide for you, and for my conscience to decide for me. To my understanding, these letter circles are not specially advantageous; because I think that the time spent in the writing of those letters might be spent more profitably. That might not always be true, but I think that in many cases it is true, and that you might have larger opportunities for personal study and contact with the Church if the time given to these letters was not so given. This might not apply to everybody, for some may have no other opportunity, but I think I know of some who neglect the Church, or their own families, and neglect opportunities for their own personal upbuilding by spending their time in this circle letter writing. But, as I said at the beginning, that is a matter for your conscience to deal with, and it is not a matter for me to decide for you.
Q164:1 QUESTION (1906)—1—In Isa. 54 we read of the barren one, which Paul identifies in Gal. 4:27, to my understanding, with the Church. Does this chapter refer to the Church? In what sense is Jehovah her husband? "For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name."
ANSWER—I understand the picture here given is that of the covenant. The Apostle is describing the two great covenants that God made. You remember He made one covenant with Abraham, then later on made another covenant, and He promises still later on to make a new covenant. The Law Covenant was added to the Abrahamic Covenant, the Apostle says, 430 years later. The New Covenant is still future. Now, these three covenants were typified, or prefigured, in the three wives of Abraham. Abraham represents the heavenly Father, Isaac represents Jesus; and Rebecca, the wife of Isaac, represents the Church. Now, Abraham, as the Father, makes these three covenants; the first covenant was the Abrahamic covenant, which is represented by Sarah. It was a result of that first covenant that Isaac was born. And Isaac's bride was given to him under that first Abrahamic covenant. Then you will remember the Apostle goes on to say that the second covenant, the Law covenant was represented by Hagar, who was the second wife of Abraham. Hagar's son was born first, and you remember the Apostle says that represents how the Jewish people were the first that came into the inheritance, under God's favor according to that arrangement, and yet that was the son of the bond woman—"Cast out therefore the son of the bond-woman (the child of Abraham according to the flesh) for he shall not be heir with the son of the free woman." Who was the free woman? The free woman was the Abrahamic Covenant. Who was the bond-woman? The Law Covenant. Who are the children of the Law Covenant? The Jews, according to the flesh. Who are the children of the free woman? Christ and the Church. "We, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise"—the children of the Abrahamic covenant. Now, Sarah was Abraham's married wife, and since Abraham represented or typified God, so the wife of Abraham represented God's covenant. This is the covenant that is going to be fruitful, that is going to bear the seed of promise, the seed that is to bless all the families of the earth. The Hagar,[Page Q165] or Law covenant, never did bear the seed and was never intended to do so; but as the Apostle says, that thing was an allegory, a figure or picture that God gave. And so the New Covenant is typified in the third wife of Abraham, Keturah. And we read that Abraham had many children by Keturah, and God proposes that in due time he will have many sons under the New Covenant; many children of God will come into harmony with him under the New Covenant; but during this gospel age he developed the Isaac seed, "which seed is Christ; and if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise"—heirs according to everything that was to come through that Abrahamic covenant, and the privilege of blessing all the families of the earth, because you remember afterwards that although Abraham had many children, yet all of them received their blessing through Isaac, and so must all who ever become sons of God receive their blessings through the anti-typical Isaac, Christ and the Church.
ANSWER—I answer: The Apostle says that it is to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. In other words, he gives us that as a picture that God's blessings of every kind begin with the Jew. He gave the Jew the first opportunity under the Abrahamic Covenant, when Christ came to His own and His own received Him not. And when it comes to the blessings of the New Covenant, the opportunity will come to the Jew first, and he must take his stand, but it is ultimately to reach to all the families of the earth. The Jews may come in and share with the Church, and with the Ancient Worthies in the matter of carrying this glorious message to the other nations, and peoples, and kindreds, and tongues, and to whatever extent they have the right attitude of heart, they will embrace that opportunity; it will be to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. And the Apostle says, you remember, "If the casting away of Israel meant the bringing in of a blessing, what will the gathering of Israel again mean but life from the dead ?"—in general to the whole world of mankind.
ANSWER—I answer, dear friends, that all of God's blessings come under the Abrahamic Covenant, either directly or indirectly. The Abrahamic Covenant reads: "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." That has two parts, the seed and the blessing of the world. Only the first part of this blessing is realized by us who are coming into membership with Christ, as the Seed of Abraham—"If we be Christ's, then are we Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." What is that promise? That promise is that, as the seed of Abraham, you shall bless all the families of the earth. Secondly, you see this Abrahamic promise covers the whole blessing of the Millennial age, as well as the special blessing that comes to us in the Gospel [Page Q166] age. But under this Abrahamic Covenant God arranges this New Covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah: namely, that He will have mercy on their iniquities, etc. Now this Covenant does not conflict with the old one at all. The old one said merely, there would be a blessing, and that was a sufficient guarantee to our faith that it would be a good blessing, not merely a nominal blessing, but a blessing in reality. Now, secondly, the New Covenant comes in and explains to us how this blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant will reach mankind; it will reach them through the forgiveness of their sins, through Christ as the great Prophet, Priest and King, who will establish His Kingdom, causing the knowledge of the Lord to fill the whole earth, and forgiveness to go to every individual, and his assistance out of degradation. They are not at all in conflict.
Q166:1 QUESTION (1908)—1—"Your covenant with death shall be annulled and your agreement with hell (sheol, the grave) shall not stand. When the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then shall ye be trodden down by it." Please explain what the scourge is, and who will be trodden down by it?
ANSWER—We had that as a text in a weekly sermon about a month ago. We tried to show this overflowing scourge will be the great time of trouble, which is immediately in front of us, this time of trouble which will be partly shared in by the recovery of liberty on the part of the fallen angels, etc.; that this will be the overflowing scourge, and the Lord says of it that it is a great work, that it is a strange work, and that they will all marvel that He will permit it. Again through the Apostle to the Thessalonians, he says, "For this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie: That they might all be damned (condemned) who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Condemned how? Condemned as unworthy of being of the Bride Class, just the same as it was in the end of the Jewish age the Lord gathered out those who were fit to be His, the "little flock" class, from the Jews, and all the remainder of that nation were condemned, passed by, and the wrath of God came on them to the uttermost, says the Apostle. And so here now the Lord is gathering out the Church, and all the remainder are condemned, because this is the only class He is intending to gather out, and when He has found the perfect class, the others are all necessarily disapproved or condemned, and they shall go into the great time of trouble. Thank God also for the silver lining of that cloud, and that a glorious blessing shall be to as many as are in the right attitude of heart immediately following.
Q166:2 QUESTION (1909)—2—I have been told that as the law of type and antitype requires that the antitype begin to operate immediately after the type passes away, without any intermission, that therefore the New Covenant must have begun to operate immediately upon the passing away of the Old (Law) Covenant. I do not know how to meet that argument; what would you say? [Page Q167]
ANSWER—I would say that we do not know that the New Covenant is the antitype of the Old Law Covenant. Who said that it was, and how did he find it out? Is there anything in the Scriptures which says that the New Covenant is the antitype of the Old Law Covenant? If so, please inform me. On the contrary, there are a great many things in the Old Law Covenant that are not yet fulfilled. It contains, you remember, a type of the selection of Aaron and his sons. The antitype is in this Gospel Age, and it is not all completed yet. The Law Covenant includes the day of atonement, on which the sacrifices were offered for the priest and Levites and household of faith, and then for the people, and those in the antitype have not yet been fulfilled; we find the antitype all through this Gospel Age. We find that after the second sacrifice on the Day of Atonement that the High Priest went forth and gave his blessing to the people, and they rose up and gave a shout to the Lord. That represents a time after the Church and Christ have been glorified, after the new dispensation has begun, and that is all future. More than that, the Law Covenant contained arrangements for all the people to come to the priests throughout the year with their trespass-offerings, representing how, all through the Millennial Age, mankind will come to the High Priest and Under Priests to present their offerings to the Lord. Therefore the Law Covenant mentions various typical features of this age and of the Millennial Age. Another feature, the Law Covenant is not ended yet, so if anybody wants to find out when the New Covenant begins, find out when the Old will end. It was not made with you or with me, therefore, it will not end with us. It was made with the Jews, and the bondage is still upon the Jewish nation, and the blindness upon that people is still untaken away. When our Lord by obedience to the Law captured the prize of eternal life, He took away all the value, but the Law Covenant rested upon the Jews after His death, and that Jewish nation has been under the terms and condition of that Law Covenant all these 1800 years since Jesus died, and there is no way of getting out from under that covenant except by accepting Jesus as the antitype of Moses the Great Mediator. The Apostle said it holds until death, and he represents it as a marriage which holds until death. The only way a Jew can become free is by dying to the Law that he might be married to Christ. The Jew that is not dead to the Law is still under the Law because Christ is the end of the Law to everyone that believeth—not the end of the Law for righteousness to anybody else. All Jews who do not believe are still under the condemnation of the Law. That is the reason they are separated from all other nations today. God included all in unbelief that in due time He might have mercy upon all.
Q167:1 QUESTION (1909)—1—Watch Tower 1909, page 110, first column, paragraph 2, expresses this thought: "And it is consequently after the Gospel Age when they are pardoned freely for Christ's sake and restored to the condition of sinless perfect manhood, that the New Covenant comes into force." Is not this a correct statement? Every earthly covenant is only in force after the mediator has finished his work, as, for instance, [Page Q168] ex-President Roosevelt's mediatorial work between Russia and Japan, which covenant is still in force. Is not this true of the New Covenant that it is being made during the Millennial Age and then comes into full force between God and man after that age?
ANSWER—No, I think not. I am not certain that this is a perfect quotation. I do not think that I wrote it as it is here written. If it appears in this form in the columns of the Tower, I think somebody in the office must have left out a word, or something. Expressing the thought now, this Mediator of the New Covenant has two parts; a part for God and a part for men. The part toward God began in our Lord more than eighteen hundred years ago, as represented in His sacrifice and its application for the Church and this entire arrangement has been going on all down through the Gospel Age, because the Church is being accepted as the Body of Christ, and is being permitted to share in His sacrifice, so that by the end of the Gospel Age, the merit of the anti-typical bullock passes through the Church and will be applied for the sealing of the New Covenant, which will immediately go into effect as respects the world of mankind in general. That procedure at the end of the Gospel Age is represented by the Lord in the Tabernacle Shadows as the sprinkling of the blood of the goat, which is "for the sins of the people," and then the conditions of the New Covenant will be made applicable for all the world through Israel. God will then be satisfied as respects the sins of the whole world, and the whole world will consequently he turned over to Jesus as the Mediator, and His kingdom will be the only rule throughout the thousand years of the mediatorial reign. The New Covenant will begin its work at the beginning of the Millennial Age, and continue its work of reconciling the world and destroying in death those who will not come into harmony with its arrangements, so that at the end of the Millennium, the whole world can be presented blameless before the Father.
Q168:1 QUESTION (1909)—1—Please explain which covenant is referred to in Heb. 13:20, "Now the God of peace which brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus that Great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant."
ANSWER—You see that the person who wrote this question did not understand the Scripture. This would mean by the way it is quoted here that Jesus was brought from the dead by the everlasting covenant. We need to add a few words to the question, namely, "Through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect." That is it, "through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect." It does not say. Through the blood of the everlasting covenant justify you from your sins, because the Apostle is writing to such as are already justified, to the saints, and tells such that the same power that brought our Lord from the dead is able to perfect us through the blood of the New Covenant, by laying down our lives and sharing with our Master in His death. [Page Q169]
Q169:1 QUESTION (1909)—1—In Jer. 31, our Heavenly Father says He will make a New Covenant with Israel, "not according to the covenant made with them, when he took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt." While you have made plain the covenants, and told us that the difference is the difference in mediators, if both the Law Covenant past, and the covenant future are Law Covenants, will not the second be according to the first?
ANSWER—I have seemed to intimate that the New Covenant is the old Law Covenant, and is according to the covenant made. Our answer is this, that the Law Covenant was given to Israel. It included as a part of it the mediator of that Law Covenant, because the covenant as a whole could not work out for them anything more than the mediator of that covenant could accomplish by it; the limitations of the mediator were the limitations of the covenant—do you get the thought? The advantage of the New Covenant is that it will have a better mediator. He has a perfect human life and He gave that as the redemption price of the race of mankind, and eventually it will effect the purchase of the whole world, and therefore the New Covenant will be able to fulfill the arrangement which has already provided for the sins of the whole world, and their complete cancellation is by reason of their having a better mediator, and therefore it will be a better covenant. You could not imagine a better law than that given to the Jews, ."Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength." He could not have used a higher law than that, dear friends; it represents the full measure of a perfect man's capacity, whether living in Adam's time, or at the end of the Millennial Age; He could not have a higher standard of law than that—complete obedience to God, complete love to God, and to love his neighbor as himself. In that sense of the word, the old Law Covenant and the New Law Covenant are just the same, but the difference is that the one did not accomplish the blessing of Israel and of the world, while the other will accomplish that blessing. Therefore the reason the New Covenant will be a better covenant is because it will have a better Mediator, one who will be able to accomplish the blessings promised.
ANSWER—Yes. To my understanding, the Sarah feature of the covenant will come to an end when the promised seed shall have come to its fullness. The Sarah Covenant did not come to an end when Jesus reached the plane of spirit glory, representing Isaac in the picture, but it did come to an end before Rebecca was united to Isaac. Rebecca represents the church class, and their union represents the union of Christ and the Church, and at the time when Isaac and Rebecca were united, Sarah was dead, for we read that Isaac took her into Sarah, his mother's tent, representing that the Church, typified by Rebecca, will take the place of this Sarah Covenant, and the Church will be the power through which the Lord will bring to pass the blessing of the New Covenant, which will bless all the families of the earth. The [Page Q170] Sarah Covenant brings forth the seed, and the Church operates in connection with this and will bless all families of the earth.
ANSWER—I do not know whether Rebecca was called to be Isaac's bride before or after Sarah died; I do not recall anything in the text which says that Sarah was dead when Abraham sent his servant to get a bride for Isaac. My recollection is that when the bride had come, he took her into Sarah's tent.
ANSWER—It can be stated in this way that the Abrahamic Covenant included particularly the spiritual seed, but that it shadowed forth an earthly seed also, as representing just the way that it will be fulfilled; Christ and the Church being the spiritual seed and through them all the blessing should come, first to the earthly seed, and then to all the families of the earth who will become the seed of Abraham. Under the New Covenant, God's blessing will not be to all nations, but merely to one nation, the seed of Abraham, as Jer. 31:31 says, "After those days I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah," not with Egypt, Persia, etc., but with Israel, and this New Covenant with Israel will not be applicable to other nations, but only to Israel, because it is the seed of Abraham according to the flesh. The Abrahamic Covenant reflecting the light and blessing through the New Covenant by His will or testament through death, gives the blessing of restitution to the nation of Israel, and then, through the nation of Israel, it will be made applicable to as many as will come in'. You remember what the Scriptures tell us about that Millennial time at its beginning; they intimate that the nations at that time will be taking notice of Israel, and God's special blessings to Israel. "The Law shall go forth from Zion (Spiritual Israel), and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Natural Israel)." The nations of the world will be looking on and seeing God's blessings with Israel, will say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord's house, He will teach us His way, we also will walk in His paths." The nations of the world will see that all of God's blessings are coming to the nation of Israel and they will want a share also, and it shall come to pass that the nation that will not go up to walk in the Lord's way, and hear His word, upon that nation there shall be no rain. The word [Page Q171] "rain" represents all the blessings of restitution, coming from the refreshing showers of God's mercies, health, strength and deliverance from the pests of the earth, the thorns and thistles, and sickness shall not be upon the nations, and this new arrangement will be under the rule of the Ancient Worthies. Nothing will appeal to people more than practical facts. They will be dying still, and life will be only where the New Covenant goes, and will be only for those who come under the New Covenant arrangement, and as these many nations see the blessings of those under the New Covenant, they will desire also to come in, and this is God's arrangement; that, whosoever will may come in that they may all become Israelites; and so, at the end of the Millennial Age, the whole world will be Israelites, and the whole world will be the seed. Abraham then, as it is written, will be the "father of many nations."
Q171:1 QUESTION (1909)—1—(Rom. 11:27,28.) "For this is the Covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel they are enemies for your sake, but as touching the election, they are beloved for the Father's sake." If the sins are to be taken away at the time the Covenant is established, and the Covenant is established in the beginning of the Millennial Age, would that apply that individuals living in the Millennium had their sins canceled without faith in Christ?
ANSWER—I answer, No. What is done at the beginning of the Millennial Age is that a provision is made for those people under the conditions of that New Covenant. That does not hinder their wills operating; they can resist if they will. Only by becoming in harmony with that New Covenant can they get the blessing. The first thing the Lord will do will be to remove their blindness. That means they will see, and when they see and look upon Him whom they have pierced, then if the spirit of prayer and supplication is upon them and they turn to the Lord, as the Apostle represents that they will do, then those coming into harmony with the New Covenant arrangements, God will forgive their sins and remember their iniquities no more and will graciously deal with them as if they had not crucified the Son of God. As they respond more and more, He will take away their stony hearts and give them a heart of flesh. That will not be done instantaneously, for it will take time. I should not wonder if it would be years after they come to the Lord before they will come back into the tender condition of heart, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake forgave them.
ANSWER—I understand the Mosaic Law will be the law itself, in round numbers. The Mosaic Law, we may assume, is the very simplest law that God could give. God could have higher requirements, but I do not know how He could bring down His law to any simpler statements. Our Lord quoted from Deuteronomy, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy [Page Q172] God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." That is the whole law and you cannot make it any less, and I do not see how you could make it much higher. That is the law the whole world will be under during the Millennial Age; they must all come up to that standard at the end of the Millennial Age or they will not be ready for eternal life.
Q172:1 QUESTION (1910)—1—If natural Israel is to be grafted into the good olive tree from which they were broken off, does not this prove that the New Covenant was complete in Jesus? If not, how can they be grafted into something which had no existence before their blindness is removed?
ANSWER—I answer that this good olive tree was in existence long before Jesus came into the world. So this good olive tree was not this New Covenant arrangement, but represented God's favor to Israel as the seed of Abraham. God's promise was the root of the tree and was made to Abraham, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." This natural seed of Abraham was the holy nation, and had these been in a right condition of mind and heart to receive the Lord and the Truth, he would have received them and then they would have been the Spiritual Israel by remaining in this olive tree. They were already in, as we tried to illustrate before. The root of the whole matter was in the Covenant made with Abraham. As a result, the Jewish nation had sprung up and God had promised that that nation, a holy people, should be his power for the blessing of the world. The Apostle explains that many of them were broken off because of unbelief, but they were not cast off forever, only until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in; some were allowed to remain. The Apostle John said in his Gospel, "To a many as received him to them gave he power (or liberty) to become sons of God." They still remained in the olive tree, still natural children of Abraham. By coming into Christ they were transferred and became members of spiritual Israel. We were all Gentiles by nature, all grafted into the same spiritual seed, so that we make the antitypical spiritual Israel mentioned in Revelation 7, where we read about the 144,000, 12,000 out of each of the 12 tribes. We do not know how many of those who received our Lord during his ministry in the three and a half years belonged to the different tribes. There were several thousand at Pentecost, and each one belonged to one of the 12 tribes. Paul, you remember, described himself as belonging to the tribe of Benjamin, but probably more of them were of the tribe of Judah, no matter where they belong, that number, 144,000, is to be made up and Gentiles will be brought in to make it complete or whole. Now if they abide not in unbelief, God is able to graft them in again, but they must come in just the way the Gentiles come in, for they have no patent or inside way. Those who remained then were in due time transferred into Christ before the host of Israel was cast off, they abide, but if once broken off, they would have just the same process of engrafting as if they were Gentiles. In other words, the Jew has no advantage over the Gentile and has had no advantage since they were broken off, but before they were broken off they did have an advantage. [Page Q173]
ANSWER—I answer, that it did not end at the cross, it has not yet ended, it will not end until the New Law Covenant with its better Mediator supersedes, or takes the place, of the Old Law Covenant. That is the only way the Jew can get out from under the bondage of his covenant. So the Apostle says, They are shut up unto it. There is no other way of getting out from under it. Now look! The way any Jew got into Christ was by becoming dead to the Law; he must renounce all hope in the Law and die to it, that he might be married and joined to another, even to Christ. So the Jews who did not do it, and have not done it, are still under the Law, and the only way to get out from under it is to die to it. They will have to stay under it until the better Mediator takes the place of the typical one, and the other antitypical things shall be brought in.
ANSWER—The prize is gone. Just as if a race-course was open and you were a runner, there was just the one prize, and suppose you ran along that race-course and you were the one that won that prize. Others might run around it for a year and they would not get a prize. So it is with the Jews. They can keep on running and running, but the prize is gone, as far as the Law Covenant is concerned. A Brother :—Brother Russell, the friends seem to think they can see you better if you get up higher, in the pulpit. (Brother Russell had been standing down on the floor in front of the pulpit, as the pulpit was one of the old-fashioned ones, in fact, it is reputed to be the identical pulpit which Whitfield formerly occupied.) Brother Russell :—Friends, come up higher. (Much clapping of hands.) Brother Russell :—I can't look down on all of you. (Some of us were under the gallery, so he could not look down upon us, the pulpit was so high he could look down upon the rest.)
ANSWER—Yes, in the sense that they who recognized the Law Covenant and its Mediator Moses, or those who sat in Moses' seat and who represented the institutions Moses had made and established, and which were included in the Temple and all the privileges of the Jews upon the Day of Atonement and the year following. In that typical sense they were brought near to God and treated as though fully reconciled, although at the end of the year they were recognized as not being in harmony with him, the type had to be gone through with again. Our Lord tells us that two men went up to the Temple to pray, etc. Jesus says, I tell you that that publican and sinner went down to his house justified rather than the other man. So you see, in that sense [Page Q174] of the word, the whole Jewish people were in a prayerful relationship to the Lord; they were all consecrated; "they were all baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud." They had the benefit of those institutions on their behalf. Others, not Jews, did not have the privilege of having God hear their prayers. Let us remind you respecting Cornelius, who was a just man. He prayed always, and gave much alms to the people,—three very important points—but his prayers could not come up to God until after the Jewish dispensation had ended, and "the middle wall" had been removed. Then his prayers and alms came up before God. As the result the Lord sent an angel to him who said, Your prayers and alms have come up; send for one Peter, when he shall come he shall tell you the words that shall be to the saving of thyself and thy people.
ANSWER—If he was a member of the Jewish nation then he was in this special covenant-relationship with God. Adam, when he sinned, lost his covenant standing with God and was sentenced to death. God made a new arrangement with the Seed of Abraham, that he would enter into a Covenant with them as though they were perfect; and to this end Moses became their mediator. We have every reason to suppose that Moses was also a participator in the arrangement as well as being the mediator of it. So we suppose that Moses was under the Law the same as were his successors, and this Covenant, by its arrangement year by year continually, not only put them, at the first, in this condition of typical justification or covenant-relationship with God, but it gave them a whole year of that favorable condition; and only at the end of the year, when the period for which the sacrifice had been offered had lapsed, were they no longer in covenant-relationship with God. Then they put on sackcloth and ashes and, like the remainder of the world, they were sinners, under condemnation, but under more condemnation than the rest of the world because they had the additional condemnation of the Law. We understand, then, that if Moses could have kept the Law under that Covenant, God would have been bound to give him eternal life according to the promise—"He that doeth these things shall live by them." God did not say anything about Christ or believing in Christ or anything of that kind; merely, he that doeth these things shall have eternal life by doing them. And so we think that this promise applied to Moses and all the Israelites under the Law, and still applies to the Jews. And we believe God would give eternal life to anyone who could do those things perfectly, but this offer was made only to the Jews. They were out from Adamic condemnation in that tentative sense; not that they had escaped, for since they still bore unchanged the same imperfections as the remainder of the children of Adam, they could not do what they wished to do; as the Apostle says, "We cannot do the things that we would." So they had a condemnation as a people which other nations did not have. Adam, individually, had been sentenced to [Page Q175] death. His children did not have, individually, that condemnation. They were born' in "prison"—in this death condition. But in the case of the Jews, God treated them as though they had been separated from the remainder of the world. It was as if they had said, "We did not do anything wrong, Lord; why do you not give us a chance?" "I will give you a chance; I will give you my Law to keep." "What will you give us if we keep your Law perfectly?" "I will give you eternal life." "We will keep it. We agree to keep your Law, and you agree to give us life." So, then, these children of Adam, the Jews, who, like the rest of the world, were not on individual trial previously, and had not, therefore, been sentenced as individuals, but were merely sharing the effect of Adam's condemnation—all these Jews were now put on trial for life, and when they failed it meant a special penalty upon them, because they now had an individual trial and failed. Therefore, we see that it was necessary that the Jew, under this second condemnation, or this individual trial and individual condemnation, should all be under Moses as the Mediator, so that Christ could take the place of this Mediator and effect something for that nation. Moses was merely typical of the better Mediator. Therefore, since they were in that Mediator, who was only a type of Christ, God was merely showing to them in a typical way what he will do for them by and by, when Christ will be Mediator of their New (Law) Covenant.—Jer. 31:31.
Q175:1 QUESTION (1910)—1—In studying on the covenants along the lines we have received from the Watch Tower, we find certain subjects seem to bring up a division in the class when we touch on the mediator. Would you think it wise to continue that service if we found that those divisions came up or should we drop the studies and take up something else?
ANSWER—I would think the subject of the covenants would be a very proper subject to discuss, and that if any regular brother of the class were present and had some different views, that it would be very proper to give him the opportunity to express what he had to say, but not with a view to his continuing to express it and continuing to interrupt the class at every session. If he has something to say, and is able to say it in a manner that would be interesting, allow him to have his way, because he would have that right you see, justly; as a member of the class he has a right to be heard, but if it be so that the majority of the class are not in favor of his presentation, and do not wish him to continue presenting it, then I think the brother should be asked to discontinue his side of the question, saying, Brother, we gave you a good opportunity and the class heard what you have to say, and they do not care to have it further considered, and you will please therefore not interrupt our studies on the subject. And I would go right along with the lesson and discuss the matter in harmony with the wishes of the class. If, however, the class, as a whole, wishes to discontinue the subject, I would [Page Q176] know nothing else to do than to follow the instructions of the class, understanding that the class has the deciding voice in every matter.
ANSWER—This handwriting of ordinance was against us. Who are the "us"? The us are those who have accepted Christ. The handwriting of ordinance is still over the Jews, and they are still obligatory. Whatsoever the Law says, it says to them that are under Law. There is no way to get out from it. They are shut up under it. At the end of this age he will bring in the New Law Covenant, which will swallow up the Old Law Covenant.
ANSWER—We answer that Jesus was born under the Law Covenant, and therefore obligated to keep the Law, and he did keep the Law, but the Law would never have made him the spiritual seed of Abraham. He was of the natural seed of Abraham by virtue of Mary's being a child of Abraham and so was related to Abraham. But in order to be the seed of Abraham to bless all the families of the earth, he would have to be more than the natural seed of Abraham according to the flesh; because, according to the flesh he would never have been able to give eternal life. The most that Jesus could do would be to keep the law and have eternal life for himself, and then he would assist others. If so, Jesus as a perfect man, under the Law, approved by the Law as worthy of eternal life, as the man Jesus, as such he had a right, he was entitled to all the right and privileges that Adam had, and no more, and no less. That, however, would not permit him to be the great seed of Abraham on the spiritual plane. He must get to the spiritual plane before he could give the blessings. How did he get on that plane? I answer, under the Abrahamic Covenant. But how? In this way: God's offer to Jesus, according to the flesh, was that if he offered himself a living sacrifice, then his earthly rights would constitute an asset. It would be a thing of value, something that belonged to him, something that he could use. So, when Jesus kept the Law and merely laid down his life in obedience to the Father's will, that sacrifice was something to his credit, and the Father rewarded his obedience by giving him the new nature. He became a new creature before he arose from the dead, as soon as he was begotten of the spirit, as soon as he made a consecration of his earthly nature at Jordan, when he said, Lo, I come, as it is written in the volume of the Book, I delight to do thy will. There was the place where the Father recognized him and begot him of the Holy Spirit, and he became the Royal Priest of the new nation, and therefore he became perfect at his resurrection, and became the Lord of Glory, who is to bless you and me and all of the race. What will this High Priest do for the people? He has something to do with now. What is that? He has his earthly nature. [Page Q177] How? It belongs to him, he laid it down at Jordan, and finished his sacrifice at Calvary when he cried, "It is finished." It is complete and to his credit and is in the Father's hands. What is the value of it? It is the ransom price for the sins of the whole world. Has he paid it over for the world? Oh, no, not for the world. It is in the hands of justice and he can determine when it will be paid over. It is just the same as if you had some money in a bank, and when you turn it over you do not pay it to anyone, but when you send a check telling the bankers to pay it over, then it is paid over. Meantime, it lays in the banker's hands to your credit. So Christ's sacrifice has lain in the Father's hands for more than eighteen centuries. When will he use it? At the end of this age, for then he will apply it for the sins of all mankind and God will accept it and forthwith will turn over the whole world of mankind to Jesus and they will be subject to him in everything pertaining to the earth and his Kingdom will begin, for the purpose of lifting up the world, for which Christ has died, and for which he will in due time apply the merit of his sacrifice. What is he doing with his sacrifice in the meantime? He is using it in another way. He says, your sacrifice will not be acceptable, for you have not a sufficiency of merit for the Father to accept it. He says, I will add to your sacrifice enough of my merit, already in the Father's hands, to make your sacrifice acceptable to the Father, and as soon as he accepts your sacrifice then you are counted dead as a human being, and you are a new creature. So it has gone on all through this Gospel Age. This makes all of the sacrifice of the Church acceptable in God's sight, both of the Little Flock and the Great Company, all who make a consecration. It is the only condition upon which the Father accepts any of our sacrifices, the only condition for receiving the holy Spirit. If any fail to sacrifice, it becomes a matter of the destruction of the flesh, rather than of sacrifice. Jesus was developed under the Law Covenant as the man Christ Jesus, but as the New Creature he was developed and got to that position under the Abrahamic Covenant, by virtue of presenting his body a living sacrifice. Notice the Scriptures say, speaking of the Church, "Gather together my saints unto me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." Who are they? The word "saint" means "holy one." Who will these saints be? First of all, the great saint Jesus, the Holy One of all, the one who was actually perfect to begin with, and became the High Priest on the Divine plane by virtue of his sacrifice. Then all the other holy ones who come in walking in his footsteps, sacrificing as he sacrificed, and associated with him, following in his footsteps. All these are the holy ones, the Lord's jewels, and he is now making these up. That is the only way Jesus became the spiritual seed of Abraham, by the sacrifice of his earthly nature. That is the only way you and I can become members of the spiritual seed of Abraham. Others will not be of the spiritual class at all.
Q177:1 QUESTION (1910-Z)—1—(1) Please explain Heb. 9:15, viz., Revised Version—"And for this cause he is the mediator of a New Covenant, [Page Q178] that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first Covenant, they that have been called may revive the promise of the eternal inheritance." (2) I understand the Man Christ Jesus, by the sacrifice of his human life, paid the ransom price for the whole world. (3) Then he could offer his "footstep followers" a share in that sacrifice. (4) If he did not then at his death seal the New Covenant with his blood and become mediator of that New Covenant, could he offer the Church a share in his mediatorial work? (5) I understand the New Covenant is the law of love; am I right? (6) Please explain John 13:34—"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another." Was it a forerunner of the New Covenant he was about to seal for them? For convenience we have numbered the items above, and will now number our replies to correspond. (1) This text shows a contrast between the old Law Covenant and the New (Law) Covenant. The original or Abrahamic Covenant, under which Christ and his Body as the Spiritual Seed of Abraham is being developed, is not in the discussion. The Apostle wrote to those who still trusted in the Law Covenant and declared that it was necessary, not only to believe in Christ, but also to keep the Law and to be circumcised, in order to have any Divine favor. This the Apostle is controverting as untrue. He shows that the Law Covenant mediated by Moses was typical of a superior New Covenant, of which Messiah is the Mediator. Moses' Covenant was already dead, to the extent that the prize it offered had been won by Jesus. It is still alive, however, upon all the Jews as a bondage from which they could get free only in one of two ways; either by dying to the Law Covenant and to all of its hopes and prospects and renouncing all earthly restitution rights and thus becoming a joint-heir with Christ as a member of Messiah's Body during this Gospel Age; or, accepting the other alternative, get free from the old Law Covenant by transfer, when the New (Law) Covenant shall go into effect as its substitute, at the beginning of the Millennium. Then all Jews and their appurtenances will be transferred from Moses, the incompetent mediator to the Messiah of glory, the competent Mediator of the better Covenant, whose provisions will bless Israel and all the families of the earth willing to come in under its benevolent provisions. This text has no reference to any except Jews who were under the old Law Covenant. It does not at all refer to Gentiles. It shows that God's provision is that Messiah is the Mediator of Israel's New Covenant and that his death, when so applied, will be sufficient to cancel the transgressions of Israel under their old Law Covenant. This will make it possible for them as a nation yet to attain the earthly part of the Abrahamic Covenant's provision for Abraham's earthly seed, as the sand of the sea shore. Thus eventually Israel as God's "called" nation will receive all that they ever expected—and more. Israel's promises were not heavenly or spiritual, but earthly: "All the landthat thou seest, to thee (Abraham) will I give it, and to thy seed after [Page Q179] thee"; and as the chief nation of earth they were to teach all nations "every man under his own vine and fig tree." Those promises are sure as God's word. They merely wait until the "Mystery" of a multitudinous Mediator shall be finished (in sacrifice and in resurrection glory.) Then the "Mystery" Mediator will have sealed Israel's New Covenant by his death as its Testator. Then the "called" nation of Israel will "receive the eternal inheritance" for which they have waited more than thirty-five centuries. St Paul explains this further in Rom. 11:17-29,31. (2) As elsewhere shown, our Lord's sacrifice did not pay for the sins of the world, but did provide the ransom price which he will later present to Justice on behalf of the sins of the world. (3) Your argument is not logical. If our Lord had finished his work of sacrifice he could not give his footstep followers a share therein. (4) The Scriptures nowhere say that our Lord sealed the New Covenant with his blood. Neither was it necessary for him to seal the New Covenant before he would be its Mediator. He was the Mediator of the New Covenant in the Divine purpose and promise centuries before he became the man Christ Jesus. He was the Mediator of the New Covenant when born in Bethlehem in exactly the same sense that he was then the Savior of the world: not because he had sealed the New Covenant nor because he had saved the world, but because he was the One through whom the world's salvation and the New Covenant for its blessing were eventually to be accomplished. Our Lord has not yet saved the world, nor has he acted as the Mediator of the New Covenant but he will accomplish both purposes during the Millennial Age; and at its conclusion the prophecy will be fulfilled, "He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied." Our Lord was privileged to offer his Church a share with himself in his Mediatorial Kingdom on condition that she would share in his cup of suffering and self-sacrifice—share in his baptism into his death. So doing she shall share his reward of glory, honor and immortality in "his resurrection." (Phil. 3:10.) And sharing his glory and throne as his jointsacrificer and joint-heir of the promise she would be with him jointly the Mediator between God and men—the world—during the Millennial Age—the work of reconciling the world, or so many of them as may prove willing to receive the blessing of regeneration. (5) You are not right. There is a difference between a covenant and the law of a covenant. God's Law given to Israel summarized was, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy being and with all thy strength; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." That Law is perfect and will be the basis or Law of the New Covenant. Moses as a Mediator under his Covenant purposed to help Israel to keep that Law, and God covenanted to give them eternal life, if they would do so. But they were unable to keep that Law perfectly in act and thought and word, and hence they reaped its condemnation of death and not its proffered blessing of life. Under that Covenant Moses was privileged to arrange sacrifices and offerings for sin, and thus year by year so cleanse the [Page Q180] people for a year at a time from their original condemnation. But he had no means of actually blotting out their sins and no power or right to actually restore them to perfection and ability to keep that Law. The New Covenant will have the same Law exactly, but the Mediator having by then paid over to Justice the ransome-price of the world, secured by his own sacrificial death, will then have full charge of mankind and be fully empowered to deal mercifully with their imperfections and to help them step by step out of their sin and death condition back to perfection, and to cut off the rebellious in the Second Death. At the close of the Millennium he will present the willing and obedient to the Father actually perfect. Thus it will be seen that God's dealings with mankind under the typical Law Covenant, and under its antitype the New Covenant, is along the lines of actual obedience to the Divine Law, and not along the lines of reckoned obedience through faith. As obedience to the old Law Covenant held the reward of human perfection and life, so the rewards of the New (Law) Covenant will be similar—eternal life or eternal death.
Quite to the contrary of both of these arrangements, the Church is now called to a "heavenly calling" under the Abrahamic Covenant—to the members of the Body of Christ, who, with Jesus her Head, will constitute the Mediator of the New Covenant. The Church is "not under Law, but under grace," not judged according to the flesh and earthly restitution, but judged according to the heart and intention; and required to sacrifice restitution rights to the attainment of "the high calling" life and glory on the spirit plane as members of the Mediator of the New Covenant. (6) No, that "New Commandment" represents a higher law than was given to the Jew under the Law Covenant, hence higher also than will be given to Israel and mankind under the New Covenant. The New Commandment mentioned by our Lord is not the Father's commandment at all, but the command of our Head, our Teacher, to all those who have entered the School of Christ and who are hoping to become "members" of the Anointed One—members of the Mediator, Prophet, Priest and King of the new dispensation. Justice could not give this new command: all that Justice could command is expressed in the Law given to Israel, namely, supreme love for God and love for the neighbor as for one's self. This new commandment which the Lord gave applies only to the Church of this Gospel Age. In effect it is this: If you would be my disciples, if you would share my throne and glory and immortality, you must have my spirit. You must do more than keep the Law. You must be more than just. You must be self-sacrificing. If you would share my glory I command and direct that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12.) I have loved you to the extent of laying down my life for you sacrificially. You must have this same spirit and cast in your lot with me in self-sacrifice, or you cannot be my disciples, nor share my glory, and associate in my work as the Mediator for the blessing of Israel and mankind. Whosoever will be my disciple must take up his cross and follow me, that where I am there shall my disciple be. Surely no one can doubt the Savior's meaning—my disciples must die with me. [Page Q181]
ANSWER—I answer, that the Abrahamic covenant is the term which is more comprehensive than the other terms. The Abrahamic covenant, you remember, declares that all the families of the earth shall be blessed, but that they shall be blessed through the seed of Abraham. Now there are two features. It implies a blesser, the Abrahamic seed, and also a blessing, through that seed, to all the families of the earth, so that the Abrahamic promise really covers everything God intends ever to do both to the New Creature on the spirit plane and to the human family on the earthly plane. But, following the Apostle's guidance in the matter as he has outlined in his epistle to the Galatians, we see that this Abrahamic promise has various features or divisions. It was first offered to Israel through the Abrahamic covenant, which was the law covenant, as the Apostle explains. It was the Abrahamic covenant, for it was Abraham who begot Ishmael and it was Abraham who begot Isaac; so you see it is the Abrahamic covenant that brings forth these two classes. First the Jewish nation, under the Jewish law, represented by the Hagar wife, the mother of that seed, Ishmael, part of the seed of Abraham, but not the seed of Abraham, because it was said, "In Isaac thy seed shall be called." The special one through whom the blessing is to come to all the families of the earth will not be Ishmael, but Isaac. The mother of Isaac was Sarah, and the Apostle, in Galatians, points out that Sarah was a type of our covenant by which God brings forth the Isaac class, and then says, "We brethren, as Isaac was, are children of the promise." We take the place of Isaac. Now who are we? Well, we are to share with the Lord Jesus, who is the head over the church, which is his body, and the whole church composes this Isaac seed of Abraham, through which all the families of the earth are to be blessed. First the natural seed of Abraham, and subsequently all the other nations. Now what has this to do with the covenant of sacrifices? I answer, the covenant of sacrifice is the same as the Sarah covenant. It was Isaac who was offered upon the altar, you in remember; it was Isaac that was received again from the dead a figure, so it is the whole antitypical Isaac (Jesus the head and the church his body) that are offered upon the altar, and are received again from the dead in the first resurrection, and these, then, will constitute the spiritual seed of Abraham, through whom the blessings will go to all natural Israel and to the world. Why is it a covenant by sacrifice? Because it is not possible in God's arrangement for it to be any other way. See? Our Lord Jesus, according to the flesh, was of the seed of Abraham, and according to the flesh he was born under the law, and he was obedient unto the law, and under all that he could do as a man, but he could not fulfill the things God had declared would be fulfilled by the seed of Abraham. Suppose we imagine that Jesus had remained a man, perfect, unblemished, in every sense of the word perfect, in full loyalty to righteousness and to God; suppose he had remained [Page Q182] in that condition, without making a sacrifice of his human nature, and died the just for the unjust, he would have had a right to life because God's law promised, "He that doeth these things shall live by them." Therefore, Jesus, obedient to the divine law, would have entitled him to the right of everlasting life as long as he maintained that obedience, and he would have been the greatest of all, the greatest of the whole earth. He might have been a great king, far greater than Solomon, for he had a wisdom and power beyond anything that Solomon had, and a right to all that Adam possessed and lost. "Unto thee shall it come, O thou prince of the flock, even the first dominion." The dominion that Adam had and lost. It came to the one who would keep the law and he would have a right to all the blessings God gave to mankind originally. But what could he have done with the whole human family? O, indeed, he might have told them to eat this kind of food, and beware how they would sleep, how to do this, that and the other thing; he might have given very wise suggestions, wiser than any we have from our learned physicians and surgeons; also wise suggestions about government, etc. He might have had power to make certain laws and to enforce those laws, but what of it? At very most, humanity might have been improved but a little bit, but never could have had eternal life, because all were sentenced to death, because "Dying, thou shalt die." And that sentence of death must be removed before mankind could possibly be released from it. Therefore, had Jesus as the man Jesus exerted himself and assumed the power of a king of the earth, he would have failed to accomplish the things that God foretold would be accomplished as the seed of Abraham; he would not have been the seed of Abraham and could not have fulfilled that promise. What then? God directed the matter, and so God set before him the great and glorious prize of the high calling, that he might be not only the king of the earth, but king on a higher plane; not only a priest and king among men, but a glorified priest on the spirit plane, combining the office of king and priest, after the order of Melchisedec, or typed by Melchisedec. So this was the promise set before him that he should not only have the promise of blessing mankind, but eventually he might be associated with the father throughout all eternity, he might be made partaker of the divine nature. Jesus accepted that proposition, and without knowing at the time all that it would cost, he said, "I delight to do thy will, O my God." I have come to do thy will, all that is written in the book. What book? O, the book of the divine will, the book that is represented in Revelation by the scroll, written on the inside and on the outside, and sealed with the seven seals. He came to do the Father's will. The Father's will was already established before the foundation of the world, and Jesus came to do the Father's will—everything found written in the book, whatever it might be. Then there was another book in which these things were written, the books of the Old Testament, all the various books, Genesis, the Prophets, the Psalms, etc. They were all a part of the great book that God had dictated to the prophets, who wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, and no man knew the meaning of those things; and, as the Apostle Peter tells us [Page Q183] even the angels desired to look into these things, but knew not the meaning of those prophecies, and our Lord Jesus, when he came in the flesh, knew not the meaning of them. Why? Because as St. Paul explains it, it is impossible for anyone to know, except as they were specially enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and our Lord Jesus, as the perfect man, who had left the heavenly glory and became man, that he might become our redemption price, was not permitted to know those things, because St. Paul says, "The natural man (even though perfect) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned." So our Lord Jesus, when he went forth at thirty years of age and gave himself at Jordan, laying down his life, saying, I delight to do thy will, O God, everything that is written in the book, he was speaking about things which be did not know, because he did not know the meaning of them. He did not know the purpose of the sin-offering, and of the scapegoat, and the meaning of the types of the goat and the lamb, and the eating of it, and the sprinkling of its blood, and the shew-bread and all of those wonderful types. He did not know and could not know, because they were all sealed and in the Father's hands. They were not for him to know until first he would show his absolute confidence in the great Creator, the Heavenly Father, by giving up all that be had to do the Father's will, everything written in the book. You remember he came to John at Jordan and would symbolize his consecration of his all, and was buried symbolically in the water, indicating full submission of his manhood, even unto death, to do the Father's will. Then he was raised symbolically from the water, to indicate the rising to the new nature to which God had declared he should come. Then what? O, you remember, that as he went up out of the water the heavens were opened up, the great illumination of the higher things. The word heavens in both the Greek and Hebrew signifies "higher things." And in this case the higher things would be these spiritual truths, the higher things that he had not seen before, the things that eye and ear have not seen and heard, neither entered into the heart of man, etc. They were the things God had written in the book centuries upon centuries ago, and he agreed to do those things. Now, then, they opened before him. What was the result? A wonderful illumination! In the same order as you have received the illumination, as Paul says, "You endured a great fight of afflictions after ye were illuminated, etc." What kind did you have, and when? I answer, they came as a result of your consecration, however, your and my illumination to our dear Redeemer. Note the Scriptures tell us that God gives his spirit by measure to you and to me when we receive the Holy Spirit by adoption. We have only a certain capacity, and we can receive only according to our capacity, and only as we get free from the spirit of the world can we be filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, ours is an increasing capacity, but in the case of our Redeemer, he was the perfect one and had full capacity, and there was nothing there to hinder him from receiving the spirit without measure. You remember how it follows that Jesus was led of the spirit into the wilderness. What spirit led him? One of the evil spirits? O no! One of the holy spirits? O no! It was his own spirit, his own mind [Page Q184] that led him into the wilderness. At his consecration he had declared that he would do all that was written in the book, and now that the illumination came upon him and he began to understand those things, everything began to be clear to him—the killing of the lamb, the sprinkling of the blood, the eating of the lamb, the sin-offering, the blood of the bullock and goat, the scapegoat, etc.—all these things poured in upon him, all things concerning his death and resurrection. The very things he told his disciples about, saying, "O slow of heart to believe all that were written in the law and the prophets!" All began to pour in upon him now, as his mind was illuminated, and he turned aside into the wilderness, there to have opportunity to see the plan of God from Genesis to Malachi. As a child he heard the law read in the synagogue from Sabbath to Sabbath, and with his perfect brain he could remember every word of it, doubtless quote the old Testament from Genesis to Malachi, but to understand it was another matter. Now under the illumination he could understand, and he wanted to get it all straight before he began his work. The Father was showing him what he should do. He was finding out what was in the book—it was a test to him. Would he be loyal, or would he fail? Had God made too narrow a path for him, and too difficult a way, and would he fail to be the redeemer? You remember how much the Master was interested in this matter. For forty days and nights he was in the wilderness, and so intent upon considering those wonderful things brought to his attention by the illumination of the Holy Spirit that he neither ate nor drank, and absolutely never thought of food; because we read, "When the forty days were ended he hungered." We have had the mistaken thought that Satan was with him and tempted him forty days, but no, when the forty days were ended, then came Satan. And when he was at this weakest point, when he saw what his sacrifice meant, what it involved for him, and when he saw the whole course of his experience marked out, then Satan was permitted to come and tempt him when weak from fasting, mentally weak. The loyalty of the Lord's heart was shown—his reply was, "Get thee behind me, Satan." None of your plans are worthy of comparing with God's plan, yet you tell me that you have a better plan. I tell you, I will have nothing to do with you. I have consecrated my life to the Lord, to do his will and in his service. That is worthy our attention, dear friends. He did not say, Let us talk it over and discuss it a little. No, that would have been dangerous. "Resist the Adversary and he will flee from you." Jesus resisted so thoroughly, that we do not hear that he ever thought it worth while to come back again.
ANSWER—We answer that there is no direct statement in those words, nor is it necessary. What is not stated is not to be understood. That is a rule of all reason and logic. It is what is stated that is to be taken into consideration. There was no mediator mentioned. It is for those who claim that the Abrahamic Covenant had a Mediator to prove it. [Page Q185] The Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews (6th chapter) tried to show the strength and power of the Abrahamic Covenant; but he does not tell us of or point to any Mediator as having had charge of it. On the other hand, he does point to God's Word and God's oath as the foundation of that Covenant. He says that is was approved to us by two immutable things—that God could neither lie nor break his oath. The Apostle very particularly shows that the Law Covenant was added to the Abrahamic Covenant and that, added 430 years afterward, it had a Mediator. So St. Paul proceeds to explain that in the case of that original Covenant, because there was but one party, there was no need of a mediator. A mediator stands between two parties to see that each does his part. Moses was the Mediator of the Law Covenant. He stood between God and Israel. (Deut. 5:5.) On the one hand he represented God and on the other, Israel. But as respects the Abrahamic Covenant there was only one party. God is that One. Therefore there was no need of a mediator. Why not? Because God did not make any condition with which the Seed of Abraham would have to comply. He gave his oath to this covenant, instead of a mediator. God said I will do it; therefore there was no place for a mediator. And there was no mediator. The original Covenant did not say how many additional or subordinate covenants would be made. As to the promised seed of Abraham, God did not explain how he would secure to Abraham such a wonderful seed as would bless all the families of the earth. Abraham did not know how this was to be done. We know how God secures to Abraham this wonderful seed. He set before his Son the promise of a great reward. And he, for the sake of the glory set before him, humbled himself to become a man. When he left the heavenly glory he was merely preparing to fulfill the Covenant. He was not yet the seed of Abraham. Jesus the babe was of Abraham's seed according to the flesh, but not the seed of Abraham mentioned in the covenant. Even when Jesus was thirty years of age he was not the seed of Abraham referred to in that covenant. It was not until he voluntarily offered himself in consecration at Jordan that he became the seed of Abraham. At that very moment the seed of Abraham began to be represented in him—when he received the begetting of the holy Spirit. He reached completion as the Head of that Seed when on the third day he arose from the dead to the spirit condition. In other words, the Seed of Abraham was not yet in existence when God made that promise or covenant to Abraham. Then Jesus set before his followers that same joy; and when we consecrate similarly we enter into a covenant with God by sacrifice, as "members" of the Anointed One. We thus agree to present our bodies, to lay down our lives. And we have the promise that God will raise us up as the body to the same exalted condition of heavenly glory to which he raised our Redeemer and Master. "If ye be Christ's (if ye comply with the conditions), then are ye Abraham's Seed and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29.) In a certain sense we are already the Seed of Abraham, but not until we share "his (Jesus') resurrection" will we be the Seed in the complete sense. The first work which that Seed will do will be to extend this great promise that God has made [Page Q186] world-wide. Its utmost breadth will be attained by instituting a new covenant with Israel by which Israel may attain eternal life on the human plane, and all nations through Israel. A covenant between two parties, both contracting, requires a mediator. As, for instance, in the ordinary affairs of life, the general law of the State steps in and serves as mediator between all contracting parties. And so in contracts between God and men, it is necessary to have a mediator. But suppose you said to me, I intend to give you tomorrow this diamond ring. Should I ask, Where is the mediator? Who will guarantee to me that you will give me the ring? You would probably answer, There is no need of a mediator; it is a voluntary gift. And so in our Covenant of Sacrifice. It is a voluntary act. God has made a certain provision: "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear." We agree to enter into our sacrifice voluntarily and our Advocate agrees to help us. If we do these things that we have agreed to do, we get the reward—glory, honor and immortality. The Oath As Instead of a Mediator In the Abrahamic Covenant God's oath, attesting his Word, served to ratify the Covenant, to make it binding, to hold it sure. It thus took the place which might have been occupied by a mediator, had there been conditions mutually binding upon the Almighty and upon some of his people. There was no mediator, because, as already stated, the promise was an unconditional one: God proffered to do certain things—to provide through Abraham's posterity a seed capable of blessing the world. Hence no mediator was necessary. But notice that St. Paul, in speaking of this Abrahamic Covenant (Heb. 6:17), declares that God "confirmed it by an oath." The word here rendered confirmed is defined by Strong's lexicon, to interpose (as, arbiter). Young defines the Greek word mesiteuo, rendered confirmed in our text, "to be or act as a mediator."
ANSWER—It will go into effect just as soon as the mediator is completed—Jesus the head, and the church the body—as soon as the first resurrection will have been accomplished; and we know not how many days or weeks might intervene before the thing will be finally ushered in, but practically what it is waiting for is the completion of the body, the mediator, the completion of the sacrifices, and then his taking his great power and sealing that covenant with his blood, and beginning to put it into effect. We would say it would be very shortly after the last member of the church shall have finished his share in the sacrificing, and is glorified with his Redeemer. And when will it end? The new covenant will end in one sense of the word, with the close of the Millennial Age, when the mediator, having accomplished the work—having brought the people all up to perfection, all that are willing, and having destroyed the unwilling, the world then brought up to perfection will be turned over to the Father, and the [Page Q187]mediator will step from between. The Father has agreed to accept them under this new covenant arrangement, he does accept them, and that is the end of the new covenant—so far as this new covenant arrangement is concerned. But, in another sense of the word, there is another covenant that will continue after that throughout eternity. God's covenant with all mankind and with the angels is that if they will be obedient to him they will enjoy everlasting life and have all the blessings he has provided. So, just as soon as Jesus turns over the world to the Father, it is because this special covenant of mercy is ended, and it ends because it will have accomplished its work. Then he steps from between and the new covenant is at an end, having done its work; and the world is back in the hands of the Father as it was before sin entered the world. The Father treats the world just the same as he treated Adam. As he put Adam on trial, and that meant that Adam was in covenant relationship with God, so he will put the world on trial, and that will mean that the world is in covenant relationship with God; they will be on trial to see whether they will stand and personally be responsible to the conditions of obedience; if they will not, they will die the second death. It is pictured in Revelation, 20, you remember, Satan will be loosed, and the trial will affect the whole world of mankind, and as many as are disobedient will be counted to have the spirit of the adversary, and will be destroyed with him. All those who will have the spirit of obedience, and will maintain their covenant relationship with God, will enjoy everlasting life and all the blessings that God has for those who are in full harmony with himself.
ANSWER—The covenant is a conditional one. That is shown by the fact that it has a mediator. If it were an unconditional covenant, it would not need a mediator. As, for instance, the Abrahamic covenant is unconditional and has no mediator, as the Apostle points out. It is all a one-sided covenant; or, as the lawyers say, a unilateral covenant. It is one-sided, or unilateral, in the sense that it is simply what God himself will do, without having any other condition or making any requirement. The new covenant, however, will be conditional, there will be two parts. God says, "After those days I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah," and the mediator comes in. That mediator, God is getting ready now. Christ is the mediator of the new covenant—Jesus, the head of the Christ, and the church, the body of Christ, will be the great mediator, and stand between God and Israel, and all who get blessings through Israel.
ANSWER—I will say, dear friends, the mediation of the New Covenant Godward requires all of this Gospel age. Our Lord Jesus began that work in His ministry; that was all included in what He did; when He consecrated himself it [Page Q188] was to die, and the object of that death was that it might be the sealing the New Covenant between God and Israel and mankind. The mediation of the New Covenant Godward, that is to say, making matters satisfactory to God in relation to the New Covenant, has taken all of this Gospel age. First of all, Jesus gave His own life, and then when He was leaving the world, and just finishing the matter, He represented His blood and His own sacrifice by the memorial cup, and said to his disciples, "Drink ye all of it. This is the blood of the New Covenant, shed for many for the remission of sins." That is an invitation for you and me, and all who are His disciples, to be sharers in the sufferings of Christ, and that is the same thought you remember given to the two disciples when they asked, "Lord, grant that we might sit, one on thy right hand and the other on thy left in the kingdom." Jesus said unto them, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?" Are you willing? There was the condition; if they would drink of the cup they might sit on the throne; if they would not drink of the cup they could not sit on the throne. Now this is a matter that is going on now; if you and I become sharers with Christ in the sacrificing class, He accepts us, justifies us, gives us all the merit we have, we make a full consecration to Him, and do all in our power in line with that consecration. He says he will carry the matter through, and we shall be members of that glorious body, and our sacrifices now He will count as His own, and it will be part of His sacrifice; and so we read that we fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. This has been going on now for over eighteen hundred years, and they are not all filled up yet; and not until these afflictions of Christ, not until that sacrifice, is complete, will that blood of the New Covenant then be ready to apply at the end of this age to the sealing the New Covenant, to make it operative. How will it seal it? It will seal it God-ward. All that has gone on so far has been merely the preparation for the sealing of it; then as soon as the last member of the Church has finished his course and the sacrificing is all over, then it will be applied. Who will apply it? You? No. Me? No. Who? Why, Jesus will apply it. Will it be His own blood? Yes. How so? Because you are members of that body. Is it not His own then? "Without me ye can do nothing." Suppose my hand were to talk about what it could do. I would say, Hand, you have nothing to do with this at all; it is the head that does everything. He has given us permission, or privileges, to come in and be members of that body, but He is always the head over that body which is the Church. Now when at the end of this age He shall apply His blood on behalf of mankind, and thus settle the demands of justice against the world of mankind, it will be his own blood, because He has adopted you and me as His members, therefore whatever sacrificing you do is part of His, and whatever sacrificing I do it is His, because His spirit dwelleth in us. So it is all part of His sacrifice. As soon as the body of Christ is complete, and the sacrificing is complete then the blood of the New Covenant is applied, and as soon as it is applied, presented to God in the Most Holy at the end of this age, immediately, according to the type, the forgiveness of the world's sins is accomplished,—all the Adamic sins are cancelled, and immediately [Page Q189] Christ takes possession of the world as the great King of Glory that He may bless the world. Now they are to be on trial; they could not be on trial until their sins were set aside, but just as soon as their sins are set aside, immediately they are on trial. So do you not see what proof we have that the New Covenant has not gone into effect yet. That is for the world, and it says so. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days (What days? The Gospel days), saith the Lord: I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord; for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Heb. 8:8-12.) Thank God for the glorious Covenant for Israel, and through Israel for the whole world. Now, then, we have the two parts. It will take all the Millennial age to carry that out. It took the 1800 years of the Gospel age to accomplish the sufferings of the Christ, and the sprinkling of the Covenant to make it operative, and to seal the Covenant with the blood. Then the other side, manward, will take all of the thousand years to sprinkle the people with the truth, and to bless them, so that this New Covenant takes for its preparation for ratifying, the 1800 years of the Gospel age, and the carrying out of that work requires all of the thousand years. It is in the Dawns.
ANSWER—A covenant between God and men would of necessity need to be mediated Godward first, because until God's justice is satisfied, nothing could be done for mankind. So this new covenant is not yet mediated Godward at all. The great High Priest is preparing to mediate this new covenant. What is he doing? Well, he has been getting himself ready. He must be an anointed priest. The head was anointed 1,800 years ago, the body is still in process of anointing, and not quite complete; the last members of the church must be included in that anointing before the great High Priest will be ready to do his work. Secondly, this great High Priest also offers sacrifices. He began with the offering of himself. He has been continuing his sacrificing work all down through the 1800 years of this age, and has not yet finished his work of offering the antitypical sacrifices and not until then' will he be ready to offer the blood, and the blood it is that makes atonement for the soul. Now the blood of Christ is used here symbolically. We do not think for a moment that the Lord Jesus is going to take some literal blood into the presence of the Father. He will take that which blood represents. Blood symbolizes the value of a life that was laid down, the just for the unjust, and he [Page Q190] will make application of that sacrifice to the Father to justice. And this is the picture you remember in the day of atonement sacrifices when he sprinkled the mercy seat with the blood, that constitutes the satisfaction of justice. That is making the atonement Godward, and just as soon as that application of the blood at the mercy seat shall have been accomplished, God will be satisfied, justice will be satisfied. That will constitute the sealing, the completion of the new covenant, to the extent that the great Mediator of that new covenant will then be fully authorized and empowered to proceed with the new covenant and bring all its blessing to the people. Then for a thousand years this great Mediator of the new covenant will be sprinkling the blood on the people, cleansing the people, purifying the people by the merit of his own sacrifice. He will be giving to them the things they need, and helping them up out of their defilement and imperfection, and thus the work toward God will be accomplished in a very short time indeed, and the work toward mankind will require all the thousand years to fully complete it.
Q190:1 QUESTION (1911)—1—Respecting the New Covenant, could it be said from any point of view that it will be sealed by one hundred and forty-four thousand and one? That is to say, Christ Jesus and the 144,000 redeemed from amongst men.
ANSWER—I would not think that a proper view. I do not understand that you and I and others of the members of the body of Christ have anything whatever to do with the sealing of this new covenant; it is Christ who seals it. To illustrate: if it were a document that were about to be signed, and I signed it, you would not say, "Well the thumb signed it, and the first finger signed it," and leave out the left hand that did not sign it. No, I signed a covenant; I signed an agreement. Who signed it? Not my fingers, but it is my head that signed it. It is the "I" that signed it; and when you think of the "I", you think of the individual. You think of the head. You do not address my hand as though it had anything to do with the matter. You do not say, "Dear hand, I appreciate you very much, you did thus and so. The hand has no responsibility; the head has the whole responsibility. In the body of Christ we lose our personality in the matter; we merge ourselves and lose our identity. In the language of the Scriptures we are beheaded, that we may all be members under one head. So you have no head of your own, and I have no head of my own, and this is the sense in which the Scriptures use a woman to represent the church, and the man to represent Christ Jesus; and the Scriptures show that as the husband is the head of the wife, even so Christ is the head of the church. Now then, it is the one personality that is here reckoned with. It is our Lord who seals the new covenant. He might have sealed it without us, but we are privileged to come in and be members of him, and he has the same individuality, and the same head all the time, and the same responsibility toward that covenant. That is to say, all the merit which is necessary, and which goes to make good that new covenant, came from our dear Redeemer's death, and not from anything that we added to it.
ANSWER—We think it would not be reasonable to suppose that it would be consistent with the Divine principles, after Adam had had a full and complete trial, and after he had failed in that trial, and after he had been sentenced to death, that God should belittle his government and his decision by making another proposition to him, after he had gotten into a more or less fallen condition. It would seem that even the suggestion of a trial would have been inconsistent with Divine principles, unless full satisfaction had first been made for the transgression already committed. We see quite a difference between Adam and the children' of Adam, who were born in imperfection and who have never willingly and wilfully and intelligently sinned against God and who have never been given an offer or opportunity to see whether they would be able to keep that Divine Law. God gave Israel certain surroundings of typical justification and typical sanctification, etc., for the purpose of imparting general instruction foreshadowing the great blessing which he ultimately will bestow upon all mankind—giving them the opportunity of coming back into Divine favor and eternal life.
ANSWER—We answer no, it did not. The apostle Paul explains that the Abrahamic covenant did not need to be sealed, except in the way that God, himself, sealed it. The apostle explains that a covenant where there is only one to be bound, does not need a mediator. Now, in this original, or Abrahamic covenant, there was only one party that was bound. God did not say, "Abraham, if you do this, thus and so, I will do thus and so." There would have been two parts of the covenant then, and if so, a mediator would be proper, to see that both parties carried out thoroughly, their agreement. But the Abrahamic covenant was without any condition. God merely said to Abraham, "Abraham, I will tell you something I intend to bless all the families of the earth; and I will tell you something more! I intend to bless them all through your posterity." That is all there was of it. Now, instead of sealing this, instead of having it ratified by blood, through a mediator, God merely said, "You have my word for this, that I will make it sure in another way; I will give you my oath, backing up my Word." So the apostle says, "Not by blood, not by a mediator, but by two immutable things, the Word of God and the oath of God," this Abrahamic covenant was made fast, or made sure. And so it stands today. First, all the families of the earth will be blessed, and secondly, they will all be blessed through Abraham's seed. Abraham's seed, we see, first of all, to be the church class—the saintly few, the little flock, like unto the stars of heaven. St. Paul says, Gal. 3:29, If ye be Christ's, if ye belong to him, then are ye part of Abraham's seed, and heirs according [Page Q192] to that covenant God promised. But there is a natural seed of Abraham represented by the ancient worthies, and those who shall come in afterwards. These will also be God's channel of blessing the world, through Abraham's seed, the spiritual, and through Abraham's seed, the natural. All the families of the earth will yet have a blessing.
ANSWER—The text would seem to show that these words apply to the spiritual seed of Abraham—the church class, the little flock. The mercies of David consisted of God's promise to him that the one who would be the great King of Israel, the great Messiah, would be one from his posterity. This one was our Lord Jesus Christ, primarily, and secondarily this one is all those who become members of his body—the church. The apostle says, in Gal. 3:29, "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed;" so, equally it will be true that if you are Christ's, you are David's seed; and the sure mercies of David were that his seed should sit upon the throne to be the Messiah; and so Jesus has promised, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne"—the Messianic throne.
Q192:2 QUESTION (1912)—2—Since the Law Covenant was made with the Jewish nation representatively in Moses, was Moses therefore at one and the same time under the Law Covenant and the Mediator of that Covenant?
ANSWER—Yes! He mediated the Covenant he was under himself. To mediate a Covenant is merely to bring the thing into effect. In this matter of the Covenant, Moses acted merely as the agent of God, and he was instructed to make all the arrangements in the matter. Moses was one of the nation for whom these arrangements were made and he was bound by the Covenant as were all the rest of that nation. Suppose that a member of the city corporation of Glasgow brought a law into force to, say, make every citizen sweep the pavement in front of the house, that person is not exempt from the effect of that law if he himself is a citizen of this city. So it is as I have told you with reference to the Covenant and Moses.
Q192:3 QUESTION (1912)—3—Was the Law Covenant added to the Abrahamic Covenant and if so, how can we reconcile this thought with Gal. 3:15, "Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth or addeth thereto."
ANSWER—The Law Covenant was added in one sense and yet it was not added in another sense. The Abrahamic Covenant was to stand, and it could not be disannulled or set aside, and no one could alter its terms in any way at all. In the Abrahamic Covenant God made the promise that He would provide a Seed for Abraham and in that Seed of Abraham all the nations would be blessed. That is the substance of that Covenant. God gave the Jewish nation the Law Covenant. It was in this way: The Jew, by keeping the Law Covenant, could not be the Spiritual Seed. Jesus [Page Q193]was perfect and He only could keep that Covenant and this made Him able to become the promised Spiritual Seed. It proved Him to be worthy to present Himself a living sacrifice, and because of that Covenant and because of His ability to keep that Law, therefore he got the higher blessing and thus became the Spiritual Seed. He entered into a Covenant of Sacrifice. None of this interfered with the Abrahamic Covenant; it stands still the same. Jesus did not become the Heir to the Abrahamic Promises. He showed that He was fit to be a sacrifice, and then He made a Covenant of Sacrifice. Those who make this Covenant are "The Seed." That is those who make this Covenant of Sacrifice, Jesus was the first one of these. He was made the Spiritual Seed when He was raised from the dead. The "Man" was not the Spiritual Seed, and Jesus even as a perfect man could not give life to the race. He did not disannul or make void the Law Covenant.
ANSWER—The Law Covenant is still in force to them under that Law Covenant and that Law Covenant was made with the Seed of Abraham according to the flesh. There is one line through Isaac, and the Covenant is condemning that line to this day. There are only two ways of coming under the new Covenant. The one way open is that which was opened in Jesus' day, namely: by becoming dead to the Law Covenant to be married to another. To be thus reckoned dead to the Law Covenant is one way. They must die to the Law Covenant and become alive to another hope. Thus they will be "dead with Christ." They must be dead with Christ in order that they may have a share with him hereafter. Another way is this: The Law Covenant is the shadow of the New Covenant. The Law Covenant is the shadow of the New Law Covenant, and as the mediator of the Law Covenant was the shadow of the Great Mediator, Christ, Head and Body. God has been raising up a Prophet all these many years. Jesus the Head: the Church the Body: that is the order. Then this Great Prophet, the antitypical Moses, will be complete. God has spoken to us now through His Son, but Christ's speaking has not yet begun. The Father is inviting the Bride now. "No man can come unto ME except the Father draw him." The thousand year work will be by the Son. Notice how the typical Moses represents this antitypical Moses here, and the institution of the Law Covenant typified the institution of this New Covenant. Whenever type ceases the antitype begins. So this Law Covenant goes on until the New Covenant takes its place. The New Covenant will then be sealed. The New Covenant will take the place of the Law Covenant. And what will become of the old Covenant? My dear brethren, what becomes of Tuesday when Wednesday takes its place? The New Covenant will begin when the Mediator is ready. This will only be when the Christ is complete in Head and Body. If we are members of the Body of the Mediator of that New Covenant we cannot be under the Law Covenant. I hope that I have made myself clear to all of you. [Page Q194]
ANSWER—I think that He could have fulfilled the Law Covenant without sacrificing His human rights. I think that the whole world during the next age will fulfill the Law Covenant. I understand that it is the Law Covenant, the New Law Covenant, that is coming into force and will be everlastingly in force when mankind shall have reached perfection. All men will and must keep that New Covenant or else they will not have everlasting life, and so forth. But that will not mean that they are to die sacrificially. Similarly with our Lord, the Law did not ask Him to die sacrificially; it was the promise to Abraham that induced Him to die sacrificially; He could not bless the world unless He died sacrificially. By keeping the Law He proved his own individual right to life, but He had nothing to give to mankind unless He laid down that perfect life.
ANSWER—We would say, both. The Abrahamic covenant promised Abraham a seed and that that seed would be the agent for the blessing of all the families of the earth, and, the Apostle explains, that seed was Christ. We see how our Lord Jesus was by nature the child of Abraham, the Abrahamic seed, but not as the Abrahamic seed according to the flesh was He the one able to release the world. Before He could do anything for the world He must die as the natural seed of Abraham; the natural seed of Abraham must be sacrificed just as was pre-figured in the case of Isaac. Our Lord actually laid Himself down and sacrified Himself, but God raised Him a New Creature from the dead, and it is the New Creature of our Lord Jesus that is the spiritual seed of Abraham, and it is the spiritual seed of Abraham, not the natural seed of Abraham, that is to bless all the families of the earth. So, then, Christ is tile antitype of Isaac; as the spiritual seed He was raised from the dead. You and I were invited to become His members, although we are not of the Abrahamic seed according to the flesh; we are merely brought into the Abrahamic seed according to the spirit, and we become Abraham's seed on the spiritual plane because we become members of the body of Christ. But no one can enter into the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise except by the door of sacrifice. Could not the Jews have become the spiritual seed of Abraham without sacrificing the flesh? No, nor can any except by sacrificing the flesh, and so it is perfectly in harmony that we come under both of these. Our Lord says, "Gather My saints together unto Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." Jesus was the first Saint, and He made a covenant with God and made His sacrifice, and He was accepted to the spiritual plane of the seed of Abraham. He has invited us, both Jews and Gentiles, to come in and be fellow heirs with Him by entering into the spiritual plane and becoming members of the spiritual seed of Abraham, and so, the Apostle says, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye [Page Q195] Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise," but you cannot become Christ's except by sharing in His sacrifice.
ANSWER—This refers to the covenant God made with the Israelites respecting the seventy weeks, because the context shows this. It shows that this is the work of the covenant referred to, that during this time God would accomplish certain things—the sealing up of the vision and prophecy, anointing the Most Holy, and so on. All this will take place during the seventy years of weeks, four hundred ninety years, and in the seventieth week, at the end of the sixty-ninth week, the Messiah was to appear, and in the midst of the seventieth week Messiah was to be cut off, but not for Himself. Then the full seventieth week would run three and one-half years beyond the cutting off of Messiah, and that seventieth week or period of favor to natural Israel continued with them, and the Apostles indicate that although the days were shortened in one sense of the word in Christ dying, saying, "Your house shall be left unto you desolate," God's favor continued with the people until the full end of the seventieth week, until the three and one-half years after Jesus' crucifixion, it was not an injustice. No injustice was done in making it short, for it was really beneficial to them. The Jews will get something better by Christ dying in the midst of the seventieth week—they will get a New Covenant. God confirmed to them, fixed to them, set to them, that full period of seventy weeks of years, four hundred ninety years, and not until the close did He give the first Gentile an opportunity of having any share in the Gospel call; that first one, we remember, was Cornelius.
Q195:2 QUESTION (1916)—2—Isa. 42:6 reads: "I, the Lord, have called thee in righteousness, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles." Should we understand this to mean that the glorified Church will be the new covenant?
ANSWER—This Scripture evidently refers to Christ Jesus the Head and the Church his Body. "I have given thee for a covenant of the people" does not mean that Jesus or the Church become the covenant, but that God gives Christ and the Church in connection with the making of this covenant. There could be no covenant without Christ and the Church, because it is the blood of Christ that constitutes the sealing value of the new covenant. That new covenant must be sealed, and it is to be sealed by the blood of Christ. While the ransom feature is all in the Lord Jesus and his death, yet the Church is counted in as his Body, and the blood of the whole Church is counted in as a part of that blood that will seal the new covenant, or make it operative.
ANSWER—The Abrahamic Covenant is an allembracing arrangement Everything that God has done and will yet do for our race is included in that Abrahamic Covenant. The Law Covenant of Israel was added to this Covenant "because of transgression." Although only a typical arrangement, nevertheless the Law Covenant developed a certain faithful class, to be made, "princes in all the earth" during the Millennial Age. This Covenant was represented by Hagar; and her son Ishmael represented the nation of Israel. (Gal. 4:21-31.) The Christ, the New Creation class, was represented in Isaac, Sarah's son. Sarah, Abraham's first wife, represented that part of the Abrahamic Covenant which pertained to the Spiritual Seed, the New Creation, that which we sometimes speak of as the Sarah Covenant. This Sarah Covenant—the Grace Covenant, the Covenant of Sacrifice (Psa. 50:5)—brings forth the Isaac class, the Church, Head and Body. Even as Isaac was not born after the flesh in the ordinary sense (Abraham and Sarah being too old naturally), but was a special creation, so with The Christ company, the Church. This "Isaac" class is developed as a distinctly new creation, formed from members of the fallen human race. The Divine invitation to these is to present their bodies living sacrifices. They sacrifice their human nature that they may attain with their Head, the antitypical "Isaac," the Divine nature—something never before offered. After this New Creation is completed, the blessing indicated in God's Promise to Abraham will reach all the families of the earth. It will reach them, first through the "Isaac" Seed, the New Creation, and secondly, through the Ancient Worthies, developed in the Ages preceding this Age, under God's typical arrangements. All kindreds and families of the earth will be blessed by the privilege or opportunity to become children of Abraham, children of God, whom Abraham represented in a figure. "I have made thee a father of many nations (Genesis 17:5; Rom. 4:17), said the Lord to Abraham—"In becoming thy seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves." These will be blessed under the New Covenant, an arrangement whereby the Abrahamic Covenant will be fulfilled as relates to Israel and to all. The Abraliamic Covenant, then, embraces all the other Covenants, those Covenants being merely different features of God's arrangements by which the work implied in the great Abrahamic Covenant or Promise is to be accomplished. As we have elsewhere previously shown, Abraham took another wife, after the death of Sarah—Keturah. By her he had many sons and daughters. Thus the New Covenant is typed and its grand work of bringing many to life—to "the liberty of the sons of God."—Rom. 8:19,21.
ANSWER—I would say, No; the keeping of the Law Covenant did not require the death of Jesus. To make the matter clearer and more explicit, we remember that the law was given as a condition for life and not as a condition for death. "He that doeth these things shall live by them." [Page Q197] They were not to die by doing them. Any one who would keep God's law would live, and have the right to everlasting life; so Jesus in keeping that law had a right to live forever. The law did not require the death of Jesus. It was His desire to accept the Father's proposition to become a new creature, and, in order to become a new creature, He covenanted to do the Father's will at any cost—going beyond the requirements of the law. He permitted His life to be taken from Him, but the law did not require this of Him. He had a right to life, and He might have prayed that it might be continued to Him, but, instead of doing so, He permitted it to be taken from Him, and thus He died "The Just for the unjust" that He might become the great Mediator between God and man and might give that right to human life which He laid down on behalf of the whole world to all the obedient ones of Adam's race in the age to come.
ANSWER—We believe the divine revelation, and if we had no Bible we think it would be proper to look for one. We could not imagine that a great loving Creator would have a plan for his creatures, bring them into existence, and not provide some revelation respecting his will regarding them. So that even when I had thrown away my Bible, when I did not know its value, I got to looking for a Bible somewhere and I searched amongst all the heathen religions to see if I could find one any better than the one I had thrown away, and I found nothing nearly as rational, nearly as reasonable, as the Bible when I understood it. We believe its account of creation is the only authorized account
ANSWER.—I do not understand this matter in the way the questioner does. I do not understand God made the earth before the sun. The sun was in existence long before, and the earth was revolving around the sun, but the sun did not become the light of the earth until the fourth day. The earth was enveloped, according to the Scriptures, and according also to science, in a great cloud of mist which went up from the land and from the water, and formed a great circle around the earth, obscuring the sun entirely—a circle very much like the rings of Saturn, and this circle of the waters above, as well as the waters below, hindered the light from penetrating through until the fourth day.
ANSWER—All of that takes in so much that if the questioner really wants the answer he had best read the books. Now we have six volumes and I do not make a penny from them, and they are sold at cost price for the purpose of getting them into the hands of all the people so cheaply that everybody can afford to have them, and they answer all these questions, why God created the world, why he made man,[Page Q198] why he permitted sin, etc. I do not think I could do justice to this question in a few minutes and have any time for other questions before me. It would not be fair because one person has written out about nineteen questions that his should all be answered and the others not be answered. I think they had better be divided, and so I will tear it off here, and leave the remaining questions on this list until we see if we have any time for them. I believe you will all agree with that.
ANSWER—Create is the larger word of the two and would include the whole process. As, for instance, from the time that we are begotten of the Holy Spirit, we are new creatures in the sense that we are begotten in the very same way as is the embryotic in the natural realm, after which this embryo grows until the birth in the first resurrection. Or, take another figure from the Bible. We are at first babes, and then by development we become men and perfected. It is the difference between the start and the full completion. The completion will be tile creation. We are begotten of the spirit at the start—this initiates the work—we then grow until we become quickened, and in due process we are born. As spirit beings we are now in this process of development. The New Creation waits for the grand consummation in the first resurrection.
ANSWER—I never thought of that. They are simply made there by the artist to represent windows. I drew the original sketch in a rough way, and he followed the idea, and it merely represents the cross for a window instead of being some other shape. The three has nothing to do with it,—it does not prove the trinity.
ANSWER—It is not the Lord's will that a certain individual shall get the crown, as though he said, Now I have just taken a fancy to you, and it will make me sorry through all eternity if you do not get that. The Lord on the contrary is dealing on a higher plan than that. What the Lord admires in you is not the shape of your face, or form, but the character of your heart; if your heart loses that character of loyalty to righteousness, and love of the Lord, to that extent you have lost the favor of the Lord, and you are not the one He wants to get the prize; it will not be His will that you get it at all, but he would say, I do not want you, I will not have you. But if you abide in His love, by abiding in these conditions, you prove that you are pleasing, and He is very willing that you should have all of that which would come to you according to your call; and so His will shall be done in any event.
ANSWER—Considering the connecting verses, it becomes evident that this is one of the Messianic Psalms and is, in the main, a prophecy relating to the Church of Christ—the Bride class. The King's Daughter, the Bride of the King's Son, was to be formed of an elect class made up of Israelites, both those who were so by birth, and those (Gentiles) who by faith and adoption, should become the Seed of Abraham—Israelites indeed. (Rom. 9:6). The "fathers" of this class (Rom. 11:28) were the patriarchs of old—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc. These are referred to by the Apostle Paul in Heb. 11:39,50—"These all having obtained a good report through faith received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for [Page Q751]us, that these without us should not be made perfect." The "better things" for the "us" class are the Heavenly honors and the Kingly powers and authority, to be conferred upon the Bride, the "joint-heir" of the Son of God. These, who now are "children," in the day of resurrection, will "make perfect" and give life to the "fathers." The relationship will then be reversed; the Father (Life-giver) will be the Christ, the Messiah, Jesus the Head and the Church, His Body; and the patriarchs, the fathers of Israel, will be the children.
ANSWER—The context shows that the two things in the Apostle's mind (and which to choose he "wot not") were life and death. A third thing, however, enters in, which he has no difficulty in deciding is far better than either living in the flesh or dying in the Lord. This he earnestly desired, viz., the coming again of Christ, at whose return he hoped to be changed, made like Him, and be with Him. The Greek word translated "depart" in the above quotation is the same as that translated "return" in Luke 12:36, and has the same meaning. Jesus said to his disciples: "If I go . . . I will come again." In coming again (the Father sending Him—see Acts 3:20), He would "depart" from the Father and at the same time "return" to His disciples. Had the Apostle's words "to depart" been translated "for the returning" they would be equally correct, and would harmonize with the other Scripture.
Q751:2 QUESTION—Since Christ is referred to as the "Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6) and the angels announced at His birth—"Peace on earth, good will to men" (Luke 2:14), how is it that we find the Lord Jesus Himself saying, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on the earth? I tell you Nay; but rather division?" (F.W.)
ANSWER—The whole history of the Christian Era has been one of bloodshed, wars and strife. And these for the most part have been brought about by differences of religious opinions. In Matthew 24th chapter, our Lord set forth a wonderful prophecy relating to the conditions that would develop in the world down to the time when He would return to establish His own Kingdom or government in the earth. There would be wars and rumors of war, earthquakes, famines, pestilences; and then, in the very end of the Age "a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation." He foretold that His followers would suffer violence; that they would be persecuted and misrepresented; and that even in their own households there would be divisions. The Master's words are being strikingly fulfilled. They are just as true today as at any time in the past. The Lord never taught that conditions of peace and prosperity would be established in the earth prior to His second coming; but just to the contrary. The object of His coming again is to thoroughly demolish the present evil of things, and then to [Page Q752] inaugurate the Creator's Government which will bring about universal peace and joy and happiness to all the families of the earth. Then Christ the Lord will be the "Prince of Peace;" and then, and not till then, will the angel's song be realized- -"Peace on earth; good will towards men."
ANSWER—There are representatives of Christ in the world today—not those who are merely professing Christians, in name only, but the true, heart-devoted, sincere followers of the Master, and by considering the world's treatment of these we can safely approximate as to what would be the Lord's experiences were He to appear in the flesh as at His first advent. The saintly few who humbly walk in the footsteps of Christ, devoting their all in assisting the poor and in preaching the Gospel, are not held in the very high esteem by the people, as a rule. And is not this in harmony with the words of our Lord and the Apostles? (Mat. 5:10-12; Rom. 8:17,18; 2 Tim. 2:12; 1 Cor. 1:26,27.) After all, the common people heard our Lord gladly and marveled at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. They wished to make Him their king on one occasion, and accorded a triumph to Him at the time of His entry into the city of Jerusalem. It was the Scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders of that time, that opposed and persecuted the Lord, and finally induced the multitude to cry out against Him. It is even so now. Worldly people admire an upright Christian man, his sincerity and honesty, even though they might consider him foolish for striving to live up to his faith. But it is the modern Scribes and Pharisees who hate those that are setting forth the true teachings of the Scriptures. Therefore, in view of the foregoing, we have reason to believe that the Master would fare no better in the world today than at His first advent, were He to appear as then.
ANSWER—The Apostle Paul declares that "By faith ye are saved." Some people cannot exercise the quality of faith. The Apostle also declares that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, which means in order to have faith one must study the Word of God and believe it. The Apostle Paul answers this question when he declares that the God of this world (Satan), manifested in this present evil order of things, has blinded the minds of those who do not believe (2 Cor. 4:4). The great Adversary, Satan, is the author of so many false doctrines that many good, honest people have become greatly confused by them. One system has taught one doctrine, another class, equally honest, another doctrine, until we have in the world [Page Q753] more than three hundred different denominations, all having some truth mixed with much error. Many honest people have been unable to separate the truth from the error, and accept only the truth and reject the error, hence the confusion and refusal to have anything to do with either. If all were to follow the admonition of the Apostle, "Study to show yourself approved unto God," and not follow man-made theories, there would be less confusion and more who would readily accept the Scriptural teachings.
ANSWER—It is a mistake to suppose that the earth will be converted at the time of the second coming of Christ. His coming and the establishment of His Kingdom are for the very purpose of converting the world and uplifting mankind in general out of sin and death conditions which now prevail. In describing the work of Christ, the Apostle mentions this Kingdom, saying, "He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet (all insubordination, etc.). The last enemy to be destroyed is death" (1 Cor. 15:26). The anger of the nations at the time of the Second Advent will not necessarily be against the Lord; but rather the spirit of selfishness, which is already prevalent in the world, will break forth as a consuming fire, destroying the social fabric and bringing utter ruin. At that time Messiah's Kingdom will interpose for the preservation of mankind and for the establishment of a new order of things. This new order of things will result in converting the world to righteousness (Isa. 11:2-5). And the peoples of earth "shall beat their swords into plow shares, and their spears into pruning hooks and nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isa. 2:4).
Q753:2 QUESTION—How does the manner of reckoning time in the age in which Moses lived compare with the chronological methods now in use, and if there is any difference would it not account for the great age of Methuselah as given in the Scriptures?
ANSWER—The Jewish method of reckoning time which was in use in the days of Moses, was a combination of solar and lunar time. It was a simple, automatic self-adjusting system, which, so far as the final results were concerned, was as accurate as the present methods in use. The Jewish months were thirty days in length corresponding to the lunations of the moon. Ordinarily twelve of these made up the year of three hundred and sixty days. The discrepancies resulting from this method were rectified by the unique arrangement of starting the new year with the new moon nearest the vernal equinox. Some years by this method contained thirteen months instead of twelve. The length of years, therefore, in Moses' time was in the aggregate the same as today. The extreme old age of the antediluvians [Page Q754] can reasonably be accounted for by considering the Bible narrative to the effect that originally the human race was perfect, and because of death entering into the world as the result of sin, the race began to deteriorate. In its more perfect state, the average length of life of the race would be far more than it is today after the past six thousand years of degeneration. This of course is in opposition to the theory of evolution, which maintains that the condition of the human race is gradually improving. However, no one has ever been able to advance a single proof in evidence of the truth of this theory, and those most advanced in scientific knowledge are now rejecting it.
Q754:1 QUESTION—What may we understand the Lord's words to signify where He says—"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold or hot. So then because thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."—Rev. 3:15,16. (J.E.D.)
ANSWER—The seven churches in Asia represent the seven stages of development, or epochs in the history of the one true Church of Christ. The message to the church in Laodicea relates, therefore, to the last or present period of the Church's existence. It is during this final stage of the history of the Christian Church that we may expect the repudiation or spewing out of relationship with the Lord as his mouthpiece, and of recognition as members of His true Church, of all those who are "lukewarm" and indifferent in the service of the Lord—Christians in name only and not heart-devoted followers of the Lord. It is daily becoming more manifest to all careful observers that there is a wide distinction between real Christianity, and the great mass of professing Churchianity. Perhaps the most reprehensible class of people on the earth is that which is formed of those who are half-hearted and indifferent to the great and important affairs of life.
Q754:2 QUESTION—What is the Church's message to the world at this time? This is a day of transition; new lines of thought and new conditions are rapidly superseding the old, and does not this apply to ecclesiastical affairs as well? (Reverend)
ANSWER—This is one of the fundamental questions of the times. Ministers everywhere are asking themselves and each other as to the proper course to pursue in their efforts to keep abreast of the times. Many are making the mistake of ignoring the foundation teachings of the Scriptures, and are devoting themselves to setting forth the theories of "Evolution" and "Higher Criticism," which are nothing more or less than insidious forms of skepticism and infidelity. Any clergyman who proclaims these theories from the pulpit, has no right to the title of "Minister of the Gospel." He is either a knave or a hypocrite if he continues to pose as a Christian minister, while undermining the faith of his hearers, in proclaiming that which is in direct opposition to the teachings of the Bible. It is no cause for surprise [Page Q755] that so few people attend church services now-a-days, when we reflect that many clergymen are preaching anything but the Gospel. The duty of all true Christians is to make known the wonderful tidings of salvation through Christ and His coming Kingdom which, when established in the earth, will result in the blessing of all the race of mankind. The message of the Church to the world now is—"THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND"; that kingdom for which all earnest Christians have prayed. "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth even as it is done in heaven."
Q755:1 QUESTION—I am the financial secretary of a church and, as such, I have the responsibility of raising funds for the various expenses of our regular church work. I must confess that I am strained past the compass of my wits to know how to get any more money out of our members than we are doing at the present time. The difficulty with us is that our expenses are increasing every month. We have some high-priced singers in or choir and must continue to raise their salaries, or else they will leave us. We must have a new organ and keep up with the other churches all around us or lose our membership. Kindly suggest some up-to-date methods of getting money. We have tried suppers, and sociables, and fairs, and grab-bags, etc., and our congregation seems to be a little tired of these methods; so please give us some new ideas? (PERPLEXED.)
ANSWER—There are two methods by which the modern church may be made a success. One of these is to popularize the church membership by transforming the church into a "social club." Have elaborate musical programs with very brief sermons for the regular services, and at other times, theatricals, smokers, balls, and entertainments. The other method is to adopt the one used by the Lord Jesus and His Apostles.
ANSWER—There is but one Church, from the Scriptural standpoint. In the language of the Apostle, it is "The Church of the First-Born which are written in heaven;" or the "Church of the living God;" or again, "The Church of Christ."—Heb. 12:23; 1 Tim. 3:15; Rom. 16:16. It was this Church which our Lord established and He gave it no party name. It was merely the Church of Christ. Since then good people, more or less confused by the errors of the Dark Ages, have separated themselves into various bands and churches of human organization and bound themselves together by human creeds. These are known by various names. None of these Churches of men are authorized by the Bible nor mentioned in it. However, the one "Church of the Living God" is composed of the saintly people of God in all of these denominations, or outside of all of them, as the case may be. Hence, the oldest Church is the Church of Christ; and it is the only Church, in the Divine estimation. Each saint must desire and strive for membership in this Church as his greatest privilege.[Page Q756] Consecrated believers join this Church in a probationary sense now, but an entrance into full membership in that Church, which is the Body of Christ, will be granted only to the "overcomers," after they shall have finished their course and have become participants in the First Resurrection.
ANSWER—For more than sixteen centuries the Lord dealt exclusively with the Jewish nation. They were His specially chosen people and favored above every other nation in the earth. The Lord told them on one occasion that He recognized them only of all the families of the earth (Amos 3:2). The Israelites were informed that if faithful to the Lord, and obedient to His commands, they would be a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and that His favor would never depart from them. But they became disobedient to the Lord's instructions and consequently, the time came when they were cast aside and no longer recognized as His people. The Divine favor was then turned to the Gentiles and these were granted the opportunity to become members of the Royal Priesthood. This Priesthood would have been completely made up from the twelve tribes of Israel—twelve thousand from each tribe—had there been a sufficient number of faithful obedient ones to make up the predestinated number of 144,000. As only a remnant of that nation of the Jews accepted Christ, as their Savior when He presented Himself to them, the invitation went to the Gentiles, and all throughout this Gospel Age the selection has been going on amongst the nations of the earth aside from the Jews. When "the fullness (the full number) of the Gentiles be come in," then favor will once more return to the Jews and all Israel shall be saved (Rom. 11:25-27). The elect 144,000 will be kings and priests unto God and shall reign with Christ during the thousand years mentioned in Rev. 20:1-6.
ANSWER—The Lord was answering a question propounded by a lawyer who was of the Pharisees, a religious sect, the members of which made great professions of morality and piety. They were great sticklers for the various features of the letter of the Law; and, as far as outward conditions of morality were concerned, they were shining examples of righteousness; making examples of righteousness; making long prayers on the street corners; contributing largely to the support of the priests and the expenses of the Temple with its religious duties and ceremonies; and so particular were they in their habits of cleanliness, that the Lord sarcastically said of them on one occasion that they strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel! Yes; they [Page Q757] were a self-righteous and self-loving class who swallowed the camel of hypocrisy and injustice, but strained at the observance of the mere letter of the law. For one of the most scathing arraignments of any class to be found in any language, read the 23rd chapter of Matthew. Is there such a class of moral and religious people in existence today? Then let them give heed to the awful denunciations of the Lord. How fitting, then, was the Master's reply to this lawyer! Summing up all the instructions of the Law and the Prophets (the faithful servants and teachers of the law) He set forth the very essence or spirit of these instructions in the one word- -Love. The Jewish Law was engraved on two tablets of stone. The first tablet contained the Laws relating to man's obligations to his Creator. The other tablet set forth the duties of man toward his fellowman. Therefore, "Thou shalt love thy God with all thine heart . . . and love thy neighbor as thyself."
ANSWER—Man when created was endowed with the moral faculties; that is, the faculties with which to determine between the right and the wrong. The faculties were perfect in the first man formed by the Creator. The Divine Law was written in the very nature of the perfect human being—Adam. When man disobeyed the Almighty Being who had formed him, he knew that he had violated the principles of righteousness and justice and therefore his conscience reproved him—his moral facilities were offended—and with the woman he hid himself from the presence of the Lord.
The sense of discerning good and evil, differentiating between right and wrong, has been sadly marred and fulled by the long centuries of the experiences of the race with sin, evil and degradation, until the conscience alone is no longer a safe guide to direct life's affairs. The conscience, even of the best, is now and then erroneous and doubtful. Therefore, as individual timepieces need to be regulated by some standard of time, so our consciences require constant regulation by some standard of morality and righteousness—the Word of God, the Bible.
Q757:2 QUESTION—Can you tell me where I can find it stated in the Scriptures that our Lord was forty days old when He was presented in consecration to the Heavenly Father by His parents? Is this the basis for the custom observed by some in presenting their children to the Lord?
ANSWER—As narrated in the second chapter of Luke, verses 21-23, (Luke 2:21-23) the mother of Jesus, in conformity with the Law which had been given to the Israelites by the Lord God through Moses, presented Him in consecration to the Heavenly Father. (See Exo. 13:12,15,6.) This presentation could not take place until the time of the mother's purification had been fulfilled; which, according to the Law, (Lev. 12:1-4) would require forty days. All of the first-born of the children of Israel are represented as belonging unto the Lord, and to redeem these from sacrificial [Page Q758] service the Law required that a substitute should be offered, either a lamb, or two doves, and these must be sacrificed. (Exo. 13:12-15.) We believe that it was this Jewish custom that is largely responsible for the consecration services observed by some of the Lard's saintly people of the present day.—1 Sam. 1:22-28.
ANSWER—The word "day" as used in the Scriptures, signifies a fixed period of time. We read of a fourth year day; "the day of temptation in the wilderness." (Heb. 3:8,9.) Again, we have the Scriptural statement that "One day with the Lord is as a thousand years." (2 Pet. 3:8.) A year is frequently spoken of as a day; as, "I have appointed thee each a day far a year." (Eze. 4:6.) Furthermore the entire Gospel Age is called "The day of salvation."—2 Cor. 6:2. When considering the statements of Genesis respecting the six creative Days or periods, or epochs, we should not limit our thoughts to a twenty-four hour day, but examine the subject and see what period of time is signified. Doing this, we find that a twenty-four hour day could not be meant, for the sun did not appear until the fourth of these creative days; hence, in the first three of these creative days there could have been no twenty-four-hour-day period such as we now note. We would not, however, go to the opposite extreme and join with so-called Scientists in their claim that there were millions of years elapsing in the creative period.
We find satisfactory evidence in the Scriptures, that one of these creative "days" was a period of seven thousand years and, hence that the entire creative week would be 7,000 x 7 = 49,000 years. And although it is, we believe, quite reasonable ample for the work represented as being accomplished therein—in ordering and filling of the earth, already in existence.
ANSWER—The first and second chapters of the book of Genesis are wrongly divided. There are two accounts of the work of creation and the division of the chapters should show this and be in harmony with divisions contained in the narrative. The first account ends with the third verse of the second chapter, and the second account begins with the fourth verse of the second chapter. The first account relates to the epochal division of the work as arranged by the Lord. The second account is a commentary on the first, explanatory of details, "These are the generations," or developments, of the heavens and the earth and their creatures, from a time before there was any plant or herb. The first and principal account gives the word "God" when speaking of the Creator, and the second, or commentary account points out that it was Jehovah God who did the entire work—"in the day" that He made the heavens and [Page Q759]the earth—thus grasping the whole as one larger epoch day, including the work of the six already enumerated.
ANSWER—The Scriptural evidence that this is a period of 7,000 years is clear. "God rested (from His work of creation) on the seventh day." When Psalm 95 was written God was still resting; nor had any change taken place when the Epistle to the Hebrews was written, for there (ch. 4.) is held out to the Church the offer of sharing in God's rest. Even when the Kingdom of Heaven is established God's rest continues, for the work of the Kingdom is committed into the hands of the Son. At the close of that reign of 1,000 years (Rev. 20) the Son will deliver up the Kingdom to the Father, "That God may be all in all." Since there are about 6,000 years from the creation to the second coming of Christ, and 1,000 years of Christ's Presence, it follows that God's day of rest is about 7,000 years long. During His long "day" God has not been entirely idle, but has done such Sabbath-day works as have in His wisdom been deemed works of necessity. The work of restoring the human race from its degradation—during the last part of that day will also be Sabbath work. Like the ox or ass, it has fallen into a pit, and God has made provision for its restoration.
The fourth commandment does not say that God worked six days of twenty-four hours and then rested the other twenty-four. The Jewish Sabbath and its system of Sabbaths are types of the greater Sabbath—the heavenly.